Saturday, September 14, 2019

Moroccan Mint Tea - "A Hint of the Forbidden"

Morocco is one of the biggest importers in the world of Chinese green tea leaves and was in 2014 the second most country for tea drinking with an average of 4.34 kg per person. Yet tea has not always had a warm welcome in Morocco

On the health side, of all the teas, green tea is the most famous. He is one of the few to preserve its virtues in hot water because it is the least transformed. according to the National Agency for Food Safety (ANSES) tea contains three main families of antioxidants: catechins, theaflavins and thearubigins.  In a cup of green tea there are up to 400 mg of polyphenols, a family of organic molecules widely present in the plant kingdom, . Thanks to these compounds, tea is considered the drink with the strongest antioxidant activity. The antioxidant power of green tea extracts is four times higher than that of vitamin C. According to several studies, green tea also has beneficial properties in the prevention of cancer.

Yet, over the years, there have been many attempts to ban it and tea has never been well received by some Moroccan scholars. Even in the twentieth century, some of them continued to fight Atay and to try to persuade Moroccans not to consume it.

Morocco's flagship drink, intrinsically linked to the hospitality of Moroccans, tea did not, however, benefit from the blessing of some Moroccan ulemas at its first appearance. Discovered in 2737 BC by the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, tea did not arrive in the Arab world and Morocco until the 18th century.

Under the reign of Sultan Ismail, tea remains a mainly makhzanian commodity. It is thus served to the king, princes, ambassadors, and prominent personalities of the Sultan's court. In her book " The Art of Tea in Morocco ", previously quoted by Yabiladi, Noufissa Kessar Raji reports that Queen Anne of England (1665-1714) estimated that "two large copper tea fountains and a little tea of good quality would be what could soften the heart of the Emperor of Morocco who held sixty-nine English prisoners of war ".

Years later, the English surgeon William Lempriere, called in 1789, at the court of Sultan Mohammed Mohammed Abdallah (Mohammed III), "surprised that the tea is served in beautiful cups of porcelain from India, a remarkable smallness, the small amount that is used both of this drink shows the whole case that the Moors do, "says Noufissa Kessar Raji.

In an article, the centre  Mominoun Without Borders for Studies and Research (MWB) tells how tea or "Ataty" became famous in the 18th century, after "European emissaries had offered gifts to the Alawite Sultan for the release of their captives, including tea and sugar bags. "

More specifically, the work of Abdelahad Sebti and Abderrahmane Lakhssassi, entitled " From Tea to Atay: history and habits " (Editions Faculty of letters and rights of Rabat, 1999) states that this commodity is widespread in cities between 1830 and 1860.

But while this hot drink is the favourite of Moroccans for several years and is still claimed by almost all tourists visiting the kingdom, tea was the subject of several criticisms, including that of the ulema, when it arrived in Morocco.

For example, Abdelahad Sebti and Abderrahmane Lakhssassi cite several scholars who have expressed their opposition to this new drink for various reasons. They quote in particular the Fqih Ahmed Ibn Abdelmalek Alaoui, a cadi in Fes and Meknes, who died in 1826. Exercising as a judge, he "refused the testimonies [in front of his court] of those who had consumed tea", one writes. The cadi justified his opinion by the fact that "the man must avoid anything of which he does not know the verdict of Allah" and relied on the opinions of El Ghazali and Imam Shâfi'î.

Even at the beginning of the twentieth century, several imams had continued to oppose the consumption of tea. The two authors of "From Tea to Atay: history and habits" report indeed a story relayed by Mohamed Mokhtar Soussi (1900-1963) of Hajj Abed El Baichouri, one of the imams who supported Ahmed El Hiba. Hajj Abed El Baichouri asserted that "tea contains a hint of forbidden". He explained, still according to Mohamed Mokhtar Soussi, to have heard about a "factory in Paris of tea and sugar where they used carrion bones and blood".

Among the fatwas on the consumption of tea having marked the minds of Moroccans, MWB Center quotes Ahmed Hamed Ben M'hamed Ben Mukhtar Allah, Mauritanian Sheikh, famous in Morocco. "Because I was one of his consumers, and I drank it, in many ways and with many fools and miscreants," he explained, assuring "that those who experiment are better than those who hear only." Ahmed Hamed Ben M'hamed Ben Mukhtar Allah said that tea is part of the follow-up of instinct, desire and the devil's way. "I hope that anyone who reads my work will be guided by Allah," he concluded.

The sheikh had also warned against the consumption of tea, saying that the drink "diverts from prayer" and that it "harms health if it is eaten on an empty stomach". He also said that tea leads to "mixing with slaves and young people, hearing obscene speeches and talking about people".

Abdelahad Sebti and Abderrahmane Lakhssassi, for their part, describe how Mohamed ibn Abdelkabir al-Kettani, who had opposed, with other ulemas, Moulay Abdelaziz, had also expressed his opposition to this drink . "He forbade the consumption of tea especially to his disciples and fought him in meetings and occasions," said his son El Baker Al Kettani.

However, more moderate opinions have been expressed by other Moroccan scholars. In "Al It'haf", quoted by Abdelahad Sebti and Abderrahmane Lakhssassi, Abd Rāhmān Ibn Zaydān related the story of the Fqih Idriss (19th century), son of Sultan Moulay Slimane, who "prepared the tea containers at the time of his Classes". "When he saw that his students were getting bored or distracted, he ordered his servants to serve them tea to awaken their senses," said Ibn Zaydān.

MBW quotes another Moroccan imam, Sheikh Mohammed Ben Al Mouayyad Ben Sidi who, in a fatwa issued in 1925, said that "we must not forbid what has not been forbidden in the Koran, "

But over time, all the opinions of the scholarsdid not prevent Moroccans and foreigners visiting Morocco from enjoying tea and discovering its various variations, such as jasmine or mint tea. And even the recent information on traces of pesticides that would contain some brands sold in Morocco do not seem to affect the love of Moroccans for Atay.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

12th Fez Festival of Sufi Culture - Provisional Programme

12ème édition du Festival de Fès de la Culture Soufie. Du 19 au 26 Octobre 2019, sous le thème : La Culture Soufie, un humanisme spirituel pour notre temps 

The Fes Festival of Sufi culture. Organised in partnership with the group Eco-Media, the new edition will be held from October 19 to 26 under the theme "Sufi culture, a spiritual humanism for our time". This association between notions of humanism and spirituality aims, according to the president of this event, Faouzi Skali, to go back in time.

"This choice may seem all the more surprising since the first term refers, in Western history since the fourteenth century (but especially since the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries), to a movement of thought whose purpose was to emancipate itself from transcendent orders of religion and the sacred, "he says. This movement was part of its own way in an already old debate, in West as in East, between faith and reason, religion and politics, freedom and transcendence. "But the philosophical responses that emerge at one time or another from such a debate are never innocent, they carry a promise of civilization, a choice of society," adds the festival's president. The latter promises a high quality edition. It invites international experts to the debates of Bouinania and renowned artists for creative frescoes and Sufi shows. Among them are Françoise Atlan, Marouane Hajji and various spiritual groups (Tariqas) from Morocco and elsewhere.

Faouzi Skali

Le Festival de Fès de la Culture Soufie a choisi cette année d'associer les notions d'humanisme et de spiritualité. Ce choix peut paraître d'autant plus étonnant que le premier terme renvoie, dans l'histoire occidentale depuis le XIVème siècle (mais surtout depuis le XVIII et XIXème siècle) à un mouvement de pensée dont le but était de s'émanciper des ordres transcendants de la religion et du sacré .

Jour 1 : Samedi 19 Octobre 2019
16h00 : Conférence et Cérémonie d’Ouverture Officielle du Festival – La Salle de la Préfecture, Fès - Médina
21h00 : Création artistique Al shushtari Prince des troubadours - Première Mondiale - Françoise Atlan (chant, France - Maroc), Curro Piñana (chant flamenco, Espagne), Marouane Hajji (Chant, Maroc), Ensemble Al Shushtari dirigé par Mostafa Amri (musique soufie, Maroc) - Sous la direction artistique de Carole Latifa Ameer – Bab al Makina

Jour 2 : Dimanche 20 Octobre 2019

Jour 3 : Lundi 21 Octobre 2019
9h30 – 12h30 : Table ronde « Faire revivre l'Esprit de Fès par la culture soufie » - Medersa Bouananiya
17h30- 19h30 : Table ronde « Enjeux sociétaux et spirituels face au transhumanisme » - Medersa Bouananiya
21h00 : Tariqa Sharqawiya – Parc Jnan Sbil

Jour 4 : Mardi 22 Octobre 2019
9h30 – 12h30 : Table ronde: « Pratique de la non-violence au quotidien » - Medersa Bouananiya
17h30- 19h30 : Visite spirituelle de Fès: « Le Soufisme, un art de vivre » dans des lieux historiques et spirituels de Fès (Palais, Riads et Jardins privés).
(Parallèlement du festival et sur inscription )
Conférence, FFCS 2017
21h00: Tariqa Rissouniya – Parc Jnan Sbil
Tariqa Sharqawiya, FFCS 2017

Jour 5 : Mercredi 23 Octobre 2019
9h30 – 12h30: Table ronde: "Religions et Droits humains" - Medersa Bouananiya
19h-22h : Vernissage, exposition : Sami-Ali, rencontre-signature avec l’artiste puis
Récital de poésie soufie et de musique – Lieu à déterminer
Conférence, FFCS 2017

Jour 6 : Jeudi 24 Octobre 2019
9h30 – 12h30: Table ronde : « ‘Al bahr al madîd ’, l'interprétation spirituelle du Coran selon Ibn ' Ajiba » - Medersa Bouananiya
17h30- 19h30 : Récital poétique et musical, Leili Anvar et Farzaneh Joorabchi, Les contes des sages perses (première mondiale) en lien avec la sortie du livre aux éditions du SEUIL - Dar Batha, Annexe Institut Français - Fès
21h00 : Tariqa Sqalliya et tariqa Halvetiya ussakiya : la khalwatiya du Maroc à la Turquie – Parc Jnan Sbil

Jour 7 : Vendredi 25 Octobre 2018
9h30 – 12h30 : Table ronde : Prier au quotidien selon les trois traditions Abrahamiques : « Prier pour quoi faire ? » - La Salle de la Préfecture, Fès -Médina
17h-17h45 : Le musc des secrets : le parfum et le désir dans la poésie persane, conférence de Leili Anvar – Lieu à déterminer
17h45-19h30 : Parfums sacrés, master classe et atelier avec le maître-parfumeur Abderezzak Benchaâbane – Lieu à déterminer
(Parallèlement du festival et sur inscription )
21h00 : Tariqa Wazzaniya – Parc Jnan Sbil

Jour 8 : Samedi 26 Octobre 2019 Création artistique pour la clôture
9h30 – 12h30 : Table ronde : Projet de création d'une plateforme de la Culture Soufie, état des lieux - Medersa Bouananiya
20h30 : Cérémonie de Clôture – création artistique : Le langage secret des fleurs et des parfums, avec Fatima-Zohra Qortobi (chant, Maroc), Farzaneh Joorabchi (chant, Iran), Ferhat Oguz Korc (chant, Turquie) et derviches tourneurs, Amal Ayouch, Leili Anvar, Théophile de Wallensbourg (comédiens). Sous la direction artistique de Carole Latifa Ameer
– Bab al Makina

Parmi les intervenants pressentis (par ordre alphabétique) :
« Mohamed Adiouane (Maroc), Mohammed Alaoui Belrhiti (Maroc), Moulay Driss Alaoui Mdaghri (Maroc), Carole Latifa Ameer (France-Inde), Leili Anvar (France), Françoise Atlan (France), Mohcine Ayouche (Maroc), Adbelilah Benarafa (Maroc), Abderezzak Benchaâbane (Maroc), Saïda Bennani (Maroc), Ikram Bennani (Maroc), Ghaleb Bencheikh (France), Théophile De Wallensbourg (France), Mounir El Kadiri Boutchich (Maroc), Al Aziz Eddebbarh (USA-Maroc), Courtney Erwyn (USA), Driss Fassi Fihri (Maroc), Jean-Pierre Flachaire (France), Éric Geoffroy (France), Mohammed Ghani (Maroc), Roderick Grierson (Canada), Abdou Hafidi (France-Maroc), Suad Hakim (Liban), Thami Harak (Maroc), Touria Iqbal (Maroc), Mohamed Kabbaj (Maroc), Jaafar Kansoussi (Maroc), Bariza Khiari (France), Nizar Liemlahi (Maroc-Espagne), Cristóbal López Romero (Espagne), Souada Maoulainine (Maroc), Naila Hayat Noon (Pakistan), Cheikha Nûr (Turquie), Abdellah Ouazzani (Maroc), Khaled Roumo (France-Syrie), Ibrahim Salama (Suisse-Egypte), Meryem Sebti (France-Maroc), Salamatou Sow (Niger), Ahmed Taoufiq (Maroc), Cherif Sidi Brahim Tidjani (Maroc), François-Xavier Tilliette (France)»
Ce programme peut être sujet à modifications


Saturday, September 07, 2019

The View From Fez Tops 5 Million!

From its humble beginnings, The View From Fez has reached another milestone.

Thanks to our readers around the world


Friday, September 06, 2019

Yellow Vested Car Guardians in Morocco

Visitors to Morocco often comment on the yellow-vested men who guard parked cars. However, there is now a call from Moroccans to denounce the parking attendants.

A little investigation reveals that the so-called guardians are simply people who have spent twenty dirhams to buy a vest and then positioned themselves where motorists want to park in what should be free parking. A social media campaign is that drivers must defend free parking and denounce any attempt to confer legality to the practice of collecting rents by car guards.

The initiators of this campaign have denounced the practice of guarding in the Kingdom. "Just buy a vest for 20 dirahms and choose a place where motorists often stop to ask 2 dirhams or more. It's insane, and it does not exist in any country, "he lashed out.

Likewise, they have argued that those concerned are far from being professional caretakers in that their activity is not to monitor cars but rather to rent just part of the public parking space . In addition, the initiators of the campaign do not intend to lead this fight alone.

That is why they asked the Government to play its part so that the order reigns. According to them, it will be for decision-makers to offer real jobs "to the carriers of the vests and  to avoid the continuation of the illegal exploitation of the citizens by car keepers."


Sunday, September 01, 2019

Who says libraries are all indoor?

According to a tender published in early August by the municipality of Casablanca, city ​​authorities are looking for companies to install reading libraries in public gardens.
Book stand located at the Orangery Park, Strasbourg (France).

According to this document, the city wants to install a kiosk per public park, in the sixteen districts of the economic capital.

Interested companies have until September 17 to submit their offer. The winner of the call will then be in charge of construction and development work, electricity, electrical connections, coatings ... These reading kiosks would be a first in Morocco.

It remains to be seen what kind of books will be made available to Casablanca walkers.

The Medina Children's Library

Fez may not have outdoor libraries, but has its own success story with the famous Medina Children's Library. The library was started in January 2015 by a group of neighbours living in the Fez Medina. who wanted to offer the children in the community a place where they could discover books and develop a love of reading. This is the only children’s library in Fez and has over 1,200 visits each month!

See More - Click here


Thursday, August 29, 2019

Morocco: Storm Alert!

According to the Directorate of National Meteorology (DMN) after the locally strong thunderstorms that took place on Wednesday from 14:00 to 23:00, they will return Thursday from 11:00 to 23:00 in several provinces of the Kingdom.

In a special weather report, the DMN indicates that the provinces of Al Haouz, Azilal, Ouarzazate, Taroudant, Chichaoua, Marrakesh, Rehamna, Al Haouz, Taroudant, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Beni Mellal, Kelaa Sraghna and Midelt are affected by these showers.

According to the DMN these showers may be locally accompanied by hailstorms and storm gusts


Hassan II Mosque Hammams Now Open to Public

The hammams of the Hassan II mosque have finally opened their doors to the public.

Stack under the great Mosque Hassan II, this hammam with XXL proportions spread over 6000m 2 divided (in equal parts) between ladies and gentlemen. After the reception, the stairs that lead to two temples of well-being. The Moorish baths, first, with three levels of heat: barely heated, hot or under the steam (be careful,  not to stay the whole session, just minutes to soften the skin). In addition to the traditional hammam, there are also thalassotherapy baths with water drawn directly from the Atlantic. The setting is magnificent, Aal in a traditional Moroccan decor all zelliges and marble, with basins that evoke antique baths, floral fountains, mouldings and stucco old ceilings.

At the end of your hammam, back to the top: near the reception is the tea room where you will be offered different soothing herbal teas, for even more rest.

Rates are very reasonable. The entry of the Moorish baths is thus at 50 dirhams and that of the thalasso baths at 150 dirhams.

But other more complete options, are on offer. In side steam rooms, there are 5, simple scrub (90 dirhams), exfoliation with soaping, wrap, care with argan oil, shea butter care and finally coffee care at 450 DH.

On the thalasso side, you can treat yourself to a hydro massage course in the heated seawater pool (150 DH). A coach guides you around the 1m20 deep pool, in front of jets that massage all a different part of the body: legs, fall of the kidneys, stomach or even lower neck and shoulders. If you want to complete the course with the advice of the coach, you can also take aquacycling or aquabiking courses, which combine two benefits: sports and massage. The jets of water, added to the exercise have a draining action, effective against cellulite and beneficial for the blood circulation.

Be aware,  it takes a good two hours (at least) to combine the experience hammam and thalassotherapy.

Open from 9h to 23h, the last access being at 21h.
Hammam Hassan II Hassan II
Grand Mosque
1, Boulevard de la Corniche, Casablanca
Tel. : +212 5 22 48 28 86


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Holidays are Over

The View From Fez is back!

For the first time in ten years we took an extended three month holiday while we researched the Moorish influences in Greece, Cyprus, France and Portugal. An amazing trip.

Now we are back in Fez and ready to keep posting about the wonderful life in Morocco.