Home organisation: Takafes Art Center, Fez, Morocco
Host organisation: Academy of the Arts of the World, Cologne
Five years ago, I packed a small bag and thought of taking a long journey on my own. I walked for miles in the land of ALLAH, seeking a certain peace within my soul amongst nature and its’ inhabitants. A day away was all I could manage, and I returned home, feeling weak and melancholy, with no desire to return on this journey anytime soon.
I was born in 1989, in the city of Fez to wonderful and caring parents who named me Abdelali on the seventh day after my birth as it was already written on the “Preserved Slate”. To both of my parents, I was the ‘awesome’ son out of a busload of eleven children. We all lived together in a small and modest home that was always filled with warmth, love and harmony, with the blessing of ALLAH. However, I was not fortunate enough to be spoiled by my parents as we come from very humble surroundings where hard physical labor was all that we knew to make ends meet.
In order to cover the expenses of my education, my Mother pushed me to secure employment at an early age, in the field of handicrafts such as tailoring and jewelry making. I earned very little engaging in such menial work and therefor, accompanied with my greed for a higher income, I decided the best way to earn a better wage, was to work in the field of construction. Even though, my stature was lean and slender, I was always told that my bones were “strong enough to handle the harsh work of construction”.
Although, I was studying towards a major in Science, I was helplessly in love with literature and English as a foreign language. During my secondary and high school years, my school friends and I lived only for the thrill and adventure that accompanied our spirit of youth, even if we knew Education was the best route to our future success. But, I pursued my love to the English Language, which later led me to get a Bachelor of Arts in English Studies and then study Sufi literature as a personal field of interest.
At that very tender age, I was also a strong believer in Islamic Education, so, I did my best to attend most of the religious sessions of all the Sheikhs in the local Masjids of my neighborhood and revised Quran under their strict supervision. In addition to that, I carried myself as a God fearing individual and therefore I was a good example to most of my fellow school friends. During certain school events and ceremonies, I often would lead the Salah in the absence of the Imam, and recite the holy Quran, especially during the school events organized in the blessed month of Ramadan.
I am always mesmerized by the beauty and sublimity of the Diamond River of Fez, as it is drawn in my imagination—the stream flowing gently beneath the sacred grounds, standing walls and narrow streets of Fez. I will forever be enthralled by the souls of the Salihin who roamed the streets, squares, Masjids and Quranic schools of Fez, with their spirituality and knowledge, their spirits will forever be flying over the Medina and cover it with their purity of souls. They are called Sufis and I have the honor to be called so.
Now, I can feel the desire to walk for miles and miles with a strong feeling of peace in my soul and a full trust in nature and its’ inhabitants, but it must be a round trip because I miss everyone and everyplace that puts an irremovable thumb of love on my heart.
Text with kind permission by Abdelali from his Blog
Takafes is a cultural center in Fes, Morocco, created to promote culturally innovative activities in Fez and the region promoting cultural diversity. Our main focus at Takafes is to facilitate social change through cultural activities promoting the creation, appreciation and engagement of arts and culture and encouraging cultural exchange through artistic innovation.
CrossCulture Plus Projects
The ifa programme CrossCulture Plus is supporting the transition process in North Africa and the Near and Middle East. It helps its alumni and their organizations from Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen to set up small projects with the aim of strengthening social and political reform processes and to promote exchange with Germany. Funding for CrossCulture Plus is provided as part of the Federal Foreign Office’s transformation partnerships.
ifa provides guidance to project initiators and their institutions during the project implementation, for example with workshops covering project management, financial administration and impact-oriented monitoring. They also enjoy the benefit of expert advice and have the opportunity to learn from each other.