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Posted On: 3 September 2018 04:18 pm
Updated On: 1 June 2021 12:19 pm

The Majlis culture in Qatar

Khadiza Begum
Khadiza Begum
Content Writer
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Majlis is an Arabic term meaning "a place of sitting" where friends, family and community members gather to discuss local issues, exchange news, receive guests, socialize and be entertained. As the Arab culture is very warm and cordial, majlis provides them with a platform to entertain guests in a separate area while maintaining privacy in the homes.

For several centuries, it has been a sign of enduring Arabic hospitality. The culture is still alive and it keeps Qataris together! The majlis goes more lively with several tiny cups of steaming coffee poured from a dallah along with Arabic desserts and dates!

The Majlis culture in Qatar

Majlis also plays an important role in transfering of oral heritage, including folk stories, folk songs and ‘Nabati’ poetry.

Majlish culture

The traditional setting of a majlis combines with carpets on the floor and cushions against the wall. The walls are decorated with beautiful pictures, desert landscapes, falcon hunting scenes and tent paintings.

 Arabic traditional incense bukhoor agar used in majlis
( Arabic traditional incense. Images credit: iStock)

One of the most common features of the Majlis is an incense burner including incense, for example, Oud, Safran and Santalum. It is used to spread a nice aroma in the majlis.

The Majlis culture in Qatar

Additionally, Arabian coffee, Karak tea, shisha, fruits and sweets are all symbols of generosity of the host to the guests.

Modern majlis

In the past, majlis interior designs used to be very simple and down-to-earth. The designs were mostly followed by the Bedouin seating style, daybeds, and loose comforters. With the advances of time, different designs have been evolved and modern Arabic majlis designs encompass all styles and formations. However, still a lot of Majlis designs hold the very old traditional concepts with a few modern twists that reflect the fusion between the Arab and Western worlds.

Majlis etiquette: The Do’s and Don’t

Arabic coffee

Every culture and ethnicity has its own do’s and don’ts when it comes to etiquette, and the Qatari Majlises are no different. From how to eat to how to show your respect to others, here is what to do and what to avoid the next time you stop by the majlis of a Qatari friend.

• Dress modestly. Wear loose, long clothing that covers your body.
• Upon entering the majlis you should remove your shoes.
• The formal greeting extended to the host and other guests upon your arrival is “Salaam aleikum” (peace be upon you) and reply to this is “Aleikum assalaam” (and on you peace).
• Usually, refreshment will be offered upon your arrival. It should be accepted with your right hand.
• Food is eaten with the fingers. Only the right hand should be used for eating. The left hand is considered as unclean.

Have you ever visited a Qatari majlis? Do let us know in the comments section below. And don't forget to like and share this article. It keeps us going!

(Photo credits: iStock)