In Damascene tradition, condolences are accepted separately by the men and the women of the family. In the case of the former, the family of the deceased sit in a row near the door to see all those coming and going, and every time a mourner comes in they stand up and welcome him, shaking his hand and then leading him to sit alongside the rest of the mourners, while the sheikh reads from the Quran. Every time a group of mourners comes, another group leaves. Passing the parents on the way out, they shake their heads exclaiming, "May God compensate you for your loss" to which the family members respond "God thank you for what you have done." They must accept condolences on three consecutive evenings.

As for the women relatives, one of them volunteers to get in touch with the closest of the female relatives, calling them to the deceased person's house to stand in the room in which they accept condolences, the 'asriyya. Thus, all the aunts, parents-in-law, nieces, sisters-in-law, daughters-in-law, and all the closest female relatives come to the house as soon as possible. The older women, of course, are the ones who actually stand in the 'asriyya accepting condolences. This act is one of showing how the deceased person stood with the relatives and the respect they owe him. Sometimes about ten women stand in the 'asriyya and at other times maybe even forty-five women, naturally depending on the deceased person's place in the hearts and minds of his friends and relatives.

Adopted from Siham Tergeman: Daughter of Damascus, English version by Andrea Rugh, Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, 1994.


Rami said...

Ayman, can you write 'asriyya in Arabic, because I didn’t understand the word (I am sorry, but I am really not familiar with the tradition).

Hasan Bazerbashi said...

Hi there ;)

I just wanted to comment about the point "while the sheikh reads from the Quran".

I know that reading Quran in the fuenerals is not a lovely in Islam.

Thanks for the nice blog :)

Cya ;)

Ayman said...

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Stellar said...

Hala Hasan...

How are you? Inshallah, good. :)

Commenting to what you said. In a wake (3aza) people should read Qur'an. I believe the whole Qur'an should be read.

Funerals, that's a different story, I'm not too sure about that but I guess praying the Funeral prayer (Salat al Janaza)must be done and that's about it.

Don't take my word on it because I'm not too sure about the procedure even though my grandfather died months ago but I couldn't make it at all because I was on the other side of the world.

Abdulhadi Najjar said...

Dear Ayman,

I liked this photo very much. It is ironic photo as the dead people are enjoying shadows of trees while living ones have no tree.
PLEASE, attach it with the application form at http://wed.4eco.com/files/wed-application.doc and post them back to me.
I will see you tomorrow.

Ayman said...

Thanks Abdulhadi. I will email you the picture and the application. See you :)