Sitaad is a genre of religious panegyrics laced with spirituality and a yearning to emulate and fuse with some respected earlier women of Islam - most notably Fatima (the daughter of Prophet Muhammad - Peace and blessings be upon him) and others who lived before the coming of Islam such as Xaawa (Eve). The term Xaawaleey which can be translated as 'the party of Eve' alludes to that common bond and shared identify among women which transcends time, space and belief. Other than its spiritual significance, it is a medium where some women turn up to temper any negative feelings giving them trouble, and eventually it assists them reconcile with the reality of world they live in. When the incanting, often accompanied by clapping and drumming, reaches its climax, some even pass into ecstasy and spiritual intoxication (jibbo), in which they later emerge strong out of the session, relieved, full of optimism and energy to face the challenges of their immediate future. For children, it is a festive occasion and for wayfarers, a place where they can quench their thirst and satiate their hunger.
Moreover, in contrast to the local contemporary women institutions working in women empowerment programs whose actions are often looked at by most men with suspicion, women of Sitaad never use it as a forum to conspire against men or challenge their hegemony. Instead, they use such occasions in consoling those among them who suffered bereavement or experienced misfortune, help their sick and poor, and enjoin the good and advice themselves against evil doing. An ideal character every women of Sitaad wants to be identified with is Raalliyo (the Good Woman) which is synonymous to the Arabic word Mar'at-u-Saliha who has a place of esteem in Islam. A woman who is Raalliyo can be contrasted with Arliyo - an unruly and rebellious one.
This book looks into the history of Sitaad and its place in the Somali culture. It also looks into the transformation it has gone through during the past two decades and the impact of contemporary revivalist Islamic movements on its continuity. While the book underlines the important role women of Sitaad played in disseminating some basic facts about Islam within the circles of womenfolk, it also laments the attitude of men that deprived them the right to learn and practice their faith. The women were seen only to serve assisting their husbands in fulfilling their spiritual journey leading to the bliss.
Finally, the book also documents more than a dozen Sitaad songs discussing different issues such as spirituality, fidelity, peace, philanthropy etc. It is also a reflection of the concerns and yearning of Somali women which has always been overlooked.
|Publisher:||Liibaan Publishers, Denmark, Copenhagen|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.25(d)|