03 November, 2010

'A Journey to Tarim, the City of Light '

Nowhere else in Hadhramaut, is spirituality elevated to the highest level as in Tarim; no where else are there as many mosques per capita, as there; no where else is Hadhramaut's social structure so clear and as well defined as in Tarim; and no where else on Earth are the Sayyids - believed to be descendants of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم - as highly concentrated and as of a high percentage, as in it. No where else too, is Hadhramaut's ornamental and wonderful architecture as vivid as in Tarim. And due to its being very religious, no where else in Hadhramaut is mahar or dowry for marriage and the cost for marrying as low as there.

From time immemorial, Tarim has been Hadhramaut's theological and academic center. It is Tarim's spirituality and it being a center for knowledge that provides a backdrop for the award-winning journalist,  blogger and author - Ethar El-Katatney's book: Forty Days and Forty Nights in Yemen: A Journey to Tarim, the City of Light.
Life in our world today has become so intense and busy that we sometimes feel like we need a 'disconnect and recharge' button. Tarim was that place for me where spirituality is in the air and where I felt my soul could breathe. A place where I could connect with my Creator, learn more about myself and return to the world rejuvenated.

With these very words, Ethar El-Katatney introduces her debut book, Forty Days and Forty Nights in Yemen: A Journey to Tarim, the City of Light. In this book, she meticulously and frankly writes her diary in a small town called "Tarim" in Hadhramaut Valley of Eastern Yemen. She went there in summer 2008 to attend a 40-day intensive Islamic summer course on three aspects: knowledge, spiritual wayfaring, and Da`wah.

The author had first written her diaries in Tarim, Yemen, in a blog that was then published by the London-based publishing house in early 2010.
The book is detailed and has many photos. What makes the book very interesting, is that it is one of a kind. It is unique. No where will you find a book written in English as informative and that beautifully describes someone's experience in Hadhramaut, where El-Ketaney attended a course in traditional Islamic sciences - as her book. With its in-depth discussion of Islam, stunning photographs, personal ruminations, and daily anecdotes - Forty Days and Forty Nights in Yemen: A Journey to Tarim, the City of Light - captures a momentous time in the 23-year-old's life, and is a meditative, thought-provoking experience for the reader.