When East Meets West
Channel: Yaser Birjas
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Live is somebody that we are honored to have with us, Jeff Yes, our bridge is covering the topic of when East meets West. In sha Allah it's not much of a mystery, but inshallah we're going to be exploring it with you on our upcoming trip with among Arabs blesseth voyages to the beautiful country of Bosnia. I'm in my turquoise teal, that color that I used to see all over this beautiful country mashallah when I was there Alhamdulillah and inshallah we are going to be joined with our instructor our lead for this experience shift yes or bridge? Yes. In sha Allah who is going to be guiding us for this session. So as salaam alaikum wa Rahmatullah chef. Yes, sir. Just second to left
here for being with us. And in this webinar, right, how are you doing today? I'm hamdulillah Berman, and Allah subhanaw taala. All of you welcome to this presentation on the beautiful country of Bosnia.
does that become a locker chef? I know there's a lot that you have to cover. And I really liked the topic that we've chosen specifically because I feel like Bosnia encapsulates that better than any country that I've visited at Hamdulillah. So let's jump right in and shall we'll be with you here in the chat. Bismillah Bismillah Alhamdulillah Allah means that allow southern border cannot be in a Muhammad Ali was seldom at the Stephen K teratoma that I want to welcome you all, to this presentation on when the East meets the West. My personal experience with Bosnia as a country, and as a culture as well, too. And that's why I would love to make many, many people also experienced
similar to what I've been through hamdulillah of this beautiful country, beautiful people and culture. Just to give an idea on how my story with Boston wanted to start really and how it all got together. Subhan Allah is how the East met the west over there. And what that really meant to me and to many of us, will come right now from the Father, even west, so we can come actually, to East from us, which is in Bosnia right now. So back in the 1990s, I was still studying in the University back in 1992, through 1996. And when I was studying there in Medina, we started hitting the news about the Bosnian War and the civil war that erupted after the collapse of Yugoslavia. And subhanAllah it
was so really disheartening, seeing how the whole world that failed the people of Bosnia and let go of the massacres and genocides almost you could say, that was happening over there. And as I was studying and Subhanallah, my heart was was thinking about how can I really help the people over there.
And I asked my teachers, as some of my mentors, they all of them said, Look, finish your education, first Inshallah, to Allah, and then you can go there to help with the relief work and rebuilding the country until help assist with that, whatever, the people, they need the most over there, because they're gonna need someone to teach and someone to bring them back again,
to their Islamic identity, and so on. So that's what I did until 1996. When I graduate to Medina. And I was, I had a choice on a lot, I had a choice to travel to different places. But then I personally thought, You know what, I want to give this account of this knowledge hamdulillah I've graduated, I have a degree in Islamic Studies right now, what can I do? How can I help the people there. So I said, you know, this, let's go to Bosnia, I applied, and I got accepted to travel there with some of those international agencies, to go to Bosnia. And it was, I still remember that it was back in spring, early spring, march 1997, when we first landed in Istanbul, so that Istanbul were
waiting for visas to be to be started to be actually given to us. And it took us about a week really to get the visa because again, wasn't anything established over there yet. So finally, Hamdulillah, we got our visa myself and a couple of my friends who are also accepted into the international program of relief workers. So we got our, our our visa, and then we flew in into into Sarajevo. And that's the first site that I have a body And subhanAllah as you were, as we were flying in. And Sunday, you're going to also experience as well, in shallow data as you fly in. The country itself is not really a large country. It's a mountainous country. And those mountains because of this, you
have to drive you have to drive around and go around many, many different valleys and mountain tips and so forth. It makes the distance so far you drive long hours, but geographically speaking, it's not really that long. If you stretch the country itself, if you stretch all these mountains, probably the countryside of Bosnia will become bigger than the United States of America altogether. But because all the mount all of the land is gonna like put into into Manta SubhanAllah. So as we were coming closer and closer, the airport is not a big airport, and it's still the same location, the same size almost from that from that time from the 1990s. I remember as we were going down
there, I noticed that many of the houses we were looking at, they're missing the roofs. Roofs are missing. You can see the signs of the war obviously and
The under shelling and and the shooting and so on, completely destroyed region around the airport, the airport was one of those main hubs of the battlefield at the time. And we're going to see that in shall if you if you decide to come and join us inshallah is probably going to take you to, to the tunnel of hope. And that was a tunnel that was dug underneath the aerodrome underneath the runway of the airport. So that gives that the lifeline for many people who survived that those years in Sarajevo. So when we were landing Subhanallah, the first thing I saw was all that destruction. And it kind of like broke my heart. But at that same moment, we became very anxious a little bit,
because we're not sure if it was safe. If the country is already right now, in good hand, it was under control. So as we were landing, and there wasn't really much of arrangement, yet, the country was not yet established, you simply just come down off the plane, grab your bags and go into the country, by the way, that's how easy it was actually, at that time until the start stablishing, the borders and the international community and so forth. My my assignment was with the Saudi committee, the highest, the highest committee for the help of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or the heartache. And then we were stayed in Ilija, which is an area where our hotel is going to be shallow that as we go
there, it's one of those suburbs of the of the capital Sarajevo. We spent there in the guest house about a month or so, trying to figure out, you know, where we're going to be, we're going to be working in Shallotte, in which region of Bosnia in that time I remember since most of the people in the guesthouse, were not really from Bosnia, they come from international destination to help. So I was we were there in that house, and it was freezing. It was still spray, but it was really, really freezing. And I was wondering, I'm asking the people is your man, is there any kind of, you know, heating system over here that we can, you know, work it out? And everybody's there it goes, You know
what, honestly, we don't know if you want to check it out yourself. Go ahead, check it out. So I started looking around and found that all these radiators in the rooms, there must be some central heating in that area.
And that's one of the Eastern experiences when you come to the west, you come from the east, it's all hot in Saudi Arabia and Arab country. You already that heating system over there. But I saw the senses. You know what, there must be some heating system over here, going all the way down to the basement. And Marcia, there's a huge furnace, huge orange furnace with so much of coal. I'm just like, Oh my God, there is something you can work it out. So Subhanallah I started trying to figure it out. The language was difficult to understand. So eventually, I figured out how to turn it on. It turned on that same night, we were sweating. Because it was I just put so much actually call away. I
didn't know how much to measure it. But it was so hard to pass that night. And it was it was the joke of the whole season. So Hamdulillah we were kind of taken turns in keeping the house warm for all the guests Mashallah. But then Subhanallah, one spring started and and the summer came in the country just showed really the beautiful, beautiful breeze, you don't need any air conditioning, they just opened the windows and Subhanallah the winds are blowing in. And everything is so beautiful and so amazing. So then eventually, we were assigned to go to an area called Zabludowicz, which is in the central
area of Bosnia near as another town called Vinnitsa. And as we were driving through, the driver was telling us look, the situation was still not stable. The country was still divided. So you have three entities over there. They were the Bosnians. They were the corporations, and they were the Serbs. So each one of them will still hold on to territories and lands and they still you know, on edge. And it wasn't it wasn't simple and easy to go through these territories without of course being noticed as being foreigner, our our cars used to have international and diplomatic plates, because working with international community. So we were able to go through some of these villages,
some of these towns and you can see you can even feel the tension. And that time until we arrived at a small town called Zabludowicz II, which Subhanallah was supposed to be a temporary station for his spot for me. But it ended up spending their four years of my life and value. I was there Subhanallah temporary in a small in the masjid. They put us in a small room in the masjid. And then from there, you could start seeing the people of the community. I mean, it was an interesting thing you would observe when you go there. How the Muslim community in Bosnia was so resilient with all the pressure that was put on them to kind of strip away from their Muslim identity but they were very resilient.
They're massages are mashallah, they're Hamdulillah. They're still there. And they deliberately build a measure with a very long and very tall minaret so you can see it from far away. You will see them as it in the middle of the mountain and you can still see the minaret you will drive from farm distances across the Valley and across the river you can still see the manor as an indication this is actually is this Muslim town or Muslim Village. Another thing that we we've noticed Subhanallah is that this whole confused identity along with Stan would be interesting to see that right inside light I
outside of the masjid, you are in the masjid. And right outside across the street from the masjid, with walking distance, you will see what the Quran khalfan has, which means like a club or cafe shop, and so forth sells alcohol and so on. And usually in the middle of the summer, because you open the windows and the cup opens the window as well, too. So the music mixed with the advanced sounds, but interestingly, every time they hear that, they turn off the music SubhanAllah. And I'm like, somehow, look, no matter how much the corruption happened, the filter is still clean. The Federal still, they, when they hear the other, they just turn off the music, and everybody become
respectable for a few minutes until the Salah is over. And then eventually, the whole party starts over again, along with Stan, but that shows us how much mixed culture has affected the population, the people and our brothers and sisters in Bosnia, in Zabludowicz, you we spend with our spend the first the first year there, I was still actually bachelor. And we were doing martial a lot of activities with the youth and with the communities. And then I decided, You know what, I want to get married, I want to bring my wife to help me out there. So I went to Jordan and I got married that candelabras my wife, Eva, and she spent three more years with me in Bosnia, where we really became
part of the community literally, you become like family. It's not like you're, you're just visiting, you're a tourist, no, we were not really tourists. We were people, we were the family, we were also part of the culture as well, we learned how to cook their food, we learn how to, to make their coffee, we learn how to dress the dress code, we learned so much. And even the language as well. Subhanallah it was an interesting, you know, experience really to be part of the culture, not just visiting it, living it literally. And being part of it that hamdulillah Bananaman. So
during those years, I just want to share one personal experience to show how beautiful the people are Subhanallah how amazing it is. So when we arrived there, I was living with, with my roommate, a friend of mine who was working with me, they stayed there for a year. And then he left actually. But in that year, we rented
like a like a basement area, not a basement, like a basement or first floor, or below floor actually, in a house in a small town. The house was owned by a couple, we had three kids, one of the children, the oldest child was actually killed in during the war. And
somehow they were left with their son and their daughter. Eventually when we're there, I think for somehow for some reason, the lady the lady of course of the of the house, she took us as her children. And interestingly, she kind of viewed my roommate who looked exactly like her older son who passed on the wall. So she got like, adopted us really, without even asking any questions without even actually requesting anything. Every every now and then you hear a knock on the door. And then she you open the door. She leaves us a tray of food on the floor. I'm like, Hmm, interesting. So we were introduced to the Bosnian food like that SubhanAllah. So breakfast, lunch,
dinner. And then you go to the masjid, you run, run a program come back again, you see that the house was cleaned and even your laundry was taken care of. I'm just like, come on. There's too much. We're not used to that. But the hospitality was amazing, really was really amazing. One time, my friend they are we were invited to go to
a village in the mountains. So there was no no route for cars. So we had to work somehow. And as we were working, obviously, it's more an agrarian society, a lot of farms a lot of lands. So we were walking in the mud.
When we arrived in the house over there, our feet, our leg, our boots, were all muddy. Obviously, we spent the time over there, we had dinner, we met the village, the villagers, the community that people would translate those obviously. And then as we were leaving Subhanallah we couldn't even recognize our shoes, because they were clean, polished. I'm just like, Whoa, this is unbelievable. So what happened when we did that? So this is actually their way of saying thank you for walking through the mud to come to our place, that they clean your shoes for you. And just like wow, this is interesting. Now, I don't know after all these years, what kind of culture we left for us in the
villages these days, because I am Xena with the TV and the people traveling around the world and being mixed cultures also, I hope that is still holding on to these very basic, beautiful traditions of the past. So fast forward, my friend actually he left on my wife and I we lived in that in the same apartment for some time. And, And subhanAllah it's it's an interesting thing, the lady she of course of the house, she took my wife as her daughter in law. And she started teaching her you know, the Bosnian cuisine and sweets and stuff and even though this the interesting thing, even though they could not speak the language together, because my wife didn't know Bosnian and the ladies know
Arabic or English so they were speaking with whatever language they spoke but they just made the wonderful relationships Allah for some time until we start speaking that language with them.
The show some dedication that I learned Subhanallah from them no matter how the fitrah of hearty the life change, the filter was still intact. One time I was in my in my apartment and then I had a knock on the door and the lady she said, Are you free? I said, Yes, she goes, come with me. So I walk up the stairs with her. And she asked me to stay outside of the house. So I stepped outside of the house. And then eventually she said to me,
she came out from the house holding and her arms, all these beautiful figurines, Crystal and porcelain figurines. And she goes, Is this halal or haram?
And I'm like, wait a minute, I mean, that looks very expensive stuff. It's so expensive. So what do you mean she goes? Is this halal? Or haram? Can I keep this in the house or not? I said if you're talking about leaving it in display and so I said, I tried to kind of find a way to have her see the answer for herself. She goes just tell me Can I keep it in the house or not? I said Honestly, no. will lie no hesitation, she went straight to a trashcan that was outside next door she just dropped everything down there she was exactly I think she went down. And the thing that she left me outside of the door I'm just like, wondering what has happened. But for me, I just felt Hello that true and
again, genuine intention that they really want to come back to the to the roots. They want to go back again to where it was held for them. That is the Muslim tradition, Mashallah. We spent some time over there. And then after we left, and that's something I didn't know that our relationship was very strong Subhan Allah with them and with everybody else in the community, Mashallah. So that when we left, it wasn't too long after we left, we came to the US in 2000. i A year or so after that, I came to realize that our landlady actually her name was No, no, she actually she, she passed away. And it was an interesting thing, because I didn't know what happened during those years. So it
took us about maybe 16 years later, or 17 years later to go back again to Bosnia, which was a couple of years ago, actually, in 2020. We went back again to Bosnia for the first time for me for the first time after all these years, cannula, and immediately, we wanted to start looking for the family. And we contacted the daughter she was she's already mashallah married and have kids. She said, I want to see you. I want to talk to you right now. Eventually, we met with her and she tells us something interesting. Her father was still alive. He was in his 80s at that time.
And he was also one of those great friends for us. SubhanAllah. So she was telling us that look, when you know, she was saying that my mom, you don't know how much my parents loved you guys, that when you left, she said I she said that. I think my mom died because she couldn't handle your departure. Like she got like her children left the country SubhanAllah. And I believe that I believe that because what happened is that she told us that when before you left, guys, when you left the apartment, she told my dad don't rent that apartment to anybody. They're going to come back.
he took that word for the letter. Even after she passed away. She did. She did not actually rent that place ever. And when we came visiting the house, I noticed the door was open. He knew that we were coming. So he opened the door for us. And we just suppose an interesting nostalgic moment. We just went there and we opened the door. Literally the apartment not as new as it used to be obviously there was some storage here and there. But it was never rented to anybody. Because she thought that one day they're going to come back again. I want to leave this place for them. But it was it took about 20 years of hunting for us to get back there molars found Merson here, we set up
with anchor referred concern which actually we sat down with him we would have started remembering all these beautiful memories from the past. And you know, the loving time that we spent together Subhanallah it was like a father figure for us and we hugged we kissed and then eventually we left. Four months later he was telling me that sorry about not renting that store that actually houses and it says four months later when we arrived back to the US over here, he also passed away.
And as if he was just waiting for us to come to hand us the keys and say you know what, I deliver the message I need to leave right now. I just want to share this story with you guys because I thought that look this is how no matter how far we are how distant we are Subhanallah our eonni our our Muslim identity makes us brothers and sisters no matter how far we are. When the East meets the West, those titles just disappeared because we become one of them. But obviously Bosnia has its own unique has its own unique tradition. And I want to share with you two things that you you probably need to know about the culture Subhanallah Bosnia has history and we're going to share I'm going to
share with you some of that history in a few seconds inshallah Zildjian. But in terms of the language and then the language they speak language that originally was hybrid, so there is a lot of Arabic Turkish Persian words in the Bosnian language half
obviously after the Hungarian and then it was lovely and you know, rule when era, a lot of the Bosnian language became more what they called serbo Croatian language. The Bosnians, they're very proud of their tradition they still call it Bosnian and they have their own words into the Bosnian language some of it is intertwined with Islamic tradition. So for example, one of the, the beautiful words they used to say halali Halal it comes from Halal which means that the halal basically like you know what I free you your Halal salah I free you from any liability or any obligation and even when they buried the dead. They ask everybody do you do you have qualified basically like an English
halophyte the individual the one who passed they said hello hello there and they like mela forgiven. So they have those beautiful principles of forgiveness. And you know the moment Subhanallah also from the beautiful word I learned from them is whenever they speak about the book and serbo Croatian language is called Caniggia for the book. But the original Bosnian word for a book is actually is cheetah and I guess those who understand the product is they see the resemblance of the word in Arabic right? Because all the Arabic is Kitab and inverse is citta. Some Arabs until this day, they still also called cheetah because the fella Hain and they come from the village. So they pronounce
the CAPTCHA as well too. Even though it was a word such as for covert, which means Do they still use the same word in Arabic as well, too. And one of the funny expressions I learned from the Bosnians, when they get frustrated, they say tau by rb, which is based like como la just give me the Toba mela and give you the tuber from this thing. It's just it's a funny expression. Until now, they still use the exact same expression whenever they want to express their frustration. And this is a tow by our OB likes upon. It's one of those beautiful things that you learn from the people when you go there. In terms of their food, something I learned about the Bosnian culture, because there are mostly
agrarian society, they live off their lands, obviously, it's rarely that you will find a house that doesn't have a piece of land where they plant their own food. However, 20 years later, when we visited later on, I found out that a lot of the people and a lot of that then you Bosnian generation got modernized. So the whole idea of having a cow in the backyard, what do you have a barn that you have fresh milk and fresh cheese and fresh meat is almost gone.
Go and growing your own vegetable outside of the house is not for everybody anymore. But it used to be almost like for everybody in the house that we lived in. We had about three acres of land that ran lady she would grow everything and she would say hey guys, go on and go wherever you want to get from them. So you get the salad material, the potatoes and onions and everything fresh, organic, no hormones added nothing evidence. So first of Hala we used to have everyday fresh milk at the door. And on the surface. You have also the you could say the butter marshals already for the producer to get it. It's a very organic lifestyle if you live in, in small towns and villages as well too. So
their food is really organic, it's beautiful. It's healthy, Mashallah. And that's why the people, they don't go to the gyms really, because they're healthy, they walk, they work with their hands, they eat healthy food, everything is mashallah, as it's manufactured for us here in the West, but over there is just for them, everything is just natural. And it was so beautiful Subhan even the bread, they bake it there, and you break everything. And because because the life is very busy life. In the summer, they work so hard in the field to survive in the winter. So as a result in the winter, they're very social people very, very social. That's why the culture of drinking coffee is
very common. They want to invite you to the car or to the coffee, they say Harmon Acaba, they do this, because they have the manual mill where they grind the coffee fresh in front of you. And if they want to even make it actually more fresh, they even they roast the beans right in front of you outside of the house, before they get you in and they grind the coffee and they cook it and they make they make it for you. And you drink it you know them in a specific style. Maybe some of you seen the videos, I actually I put them online for people to watch it. But eventually it's a very social culture in the evening and that's why they love to talk to people you find them sitting
together or what's inside gatherings and, and mashallah like the whole family and family feel is still there and a lot of Bananaman. In the summer, though, they're very, very busy working in the field. And that's why because of that, their food has to be something quick and something also full of fat so they can actually survive the winter and also work so hard, which is why the Bosnian cuisine is not in an extensive cuisine. There isn't the answer. Many dishes you could say I would say are exquisite, you know, dishes unless someone learned something from outside as well. And YouTube is now becoming the source for many people to learn that stuff. But
Some of their most popular food is called PETA and the PETA Allah burek. And the Turkish actually language is similarly baked phyllo dough with meat or potato or cheese sometimes they put you know spinach and and butter and so forth. They have different flavors. It's very simple very basic inshallah when you get a chance and we go to Sarajevo we hope to take that very special actually
break and pizza place they do it on on charcoal. So it's a very special place we will take you there to practice to practice to practice that and learned inshallah Tabata Katana
so yeah if you if you think that buzzing because he is going to be extensive because you know it's not that explain extensive cuisine, very simple but most of it is from what they grow in their own actually learned and it was beautiful handler to eat these things very healthy. Another thing that is very common that you have RP they like them Sharpies, although the Java is not like the regular Java which is the cover basically it's a small ground meat that they do but it has a very beautiful Bosnian flavor to it. And it comes with nice beautiful thick bread when you when you shall try it out like whether I'm fasting right now so it's basically I'm start rolling right now with all that
talk about the food, but it really it is so good mashallah something that hopefully inshallah we'll experience when we get there but in the last version hamdulillah so if I'd say that when you hear the word halal and by Eva Halal Antiva when you go to the village most of the of course the ham they eat the halal the world slaughtered meat. It's not as for everybody, unfortunately, but many many handler Muslims they've practiced the rituals of the holiday behind so forth. So you eat the halal turban over there really, it's slaughtered properly. And it's also grazing naturally in the in the farms in the fields without any artificial it the feeding and so on. So that's something to to look
into when we go there Inshallah, Diana, something I noticed about Bosnia, when you get there is the massage the massage, and Hamdulillah. For us here in the West who come to America, you have the freedom to come to worship anytime you want the message handler by means you do whatever you want to do in terms of activities. But for the Bosnians, you could tell you could tell us an historic village, a historic village of Bosnia versus somewhere from from a new era, based on where the magic is located.
In the old towns back in the days, the method was a central, central to every village in every town. So you see that the measure is somewhere in the middle and the whole town is built around it. And that's the natural thing, obviously for the Muslim community because our life revolves around our Dino practice of our deen. But later on during the Hungarian era and then the Yugoslavian era, the communist era, particularly they kind of like unfortunately got most of these massages out of commission.
They tried to erase the Muslim identity completely. So many of these massages became part time institutions or places they only open it. And on the weekend just for people to learn basic of Arabic alphabets, they call it Sephora. At that time, it just like a guided by them Rania basically and then
only for Saturdays and Sundays and for Friday on the Versace Juma that's it and when you and if they open a masjid four or five times because bench market manager German which is based like a big deal I mentioned that prays five times a day basically Subhanallah
we noticed that in the in the new new era of Bosnia during the communist era, when they build massages, they build them outside of the village outside of a town like even they made it so so remote from the from the from the people that people don't go there regularly the massage became only a symbolic thing for the for the village that's it.
But at hamdulillah with the revival of the Muslim community in Bosnia, the massage are being reused and handled for the right purpose for the lighter Baraka whatever you're gonna see for yourself when you travel there, if the measure is somewhere independent from the town, it was built in an in a later Later era later age. Also from the things that we noticed from the culture there, the building, how they built their structures. So you can tell a Muslim village from a non Muslim village because the Muslims were the Croatians who are Catholics and the Serbians who are Orthodox Christians. They're intertwined they're intermingling in different villages. But you can tell a
Muslim handsome I'm Muslim has for a very long time until things got mixed up afterwards obviously, is that Muslims they used to build a house with a square roof a square root
the Catholics the Croatian the Serbs they were built actually differently but the muscle will do it actually exclusively square so there's predominantly like a Muslim feature for their houses. And that's something that they kind of like you can tell the villages Muslim village from non Muslim village based on how they design their houses
and Subhanallah the
way they build their houses, obviously, because of the weather. Yes, you have a big house but then then during the winter because of the lack of resources, especially coal and wood, to warm the houses, they cannot summarize the entire house on one floor becomes the main place for them to live where they actually live living area, dining area, and even also, their sleeping actually place would be in the same place but it's a it really helped create the family bond, because they're always together in the same place And subhanAllah it becomes a strong, strong feature for the community and for the family.
One thing interesting from the Islamic identity of the Muslim community in Bosnia is that we rattle aid Allah Akbar, Allah Allahu Akbar. So the tech bureaux basically it's almost an every beautiful occasion there used to be. So whether someone's getting married, there's been, someone has actually gone for how to lose their career. Someone is born to use the way and even someone when they when they die, they take them to the janazah they also the technical as well to like Allah Akbar, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah will hand beautiful chanting almost an every occasion you hear it from the people martial law. And by the way, I've learned that I've seen
regardless how religious they are, it doesn't matter how religious they are, they still will chant with everybody, because it became part of their identity. And one of the beautiful things I've seen when they were when they go to hajj, there was like a big deal when they go to Hajj. And it's still a big deal. Obviously, there's no doubt about it. So as they escort the hijab, from that village, the buses come and they take the hijab, and as the hijab are leaving and the buses are leaving, people will be walking behind the bus during tech period, the same thing as well, a
log law, we don't take the right for the hijab, so that then Allah subhanaw taala make their paths easy for them. That's what they did, actually, they do. And when they come back from from Hajj,
met with those who go to Hajj, usually they have a special turban that they start wearing, that was to be in the past, I think they do this anymore, but they can tell that he's Hajia. And the Hajia is someone who has a very special status in the community back then because they've they've sacrificed a lot to go to Hajj like they they value religiosity at that time, that's of course, in the in the classical era of the Bosnian community, in terms of the culture of the religious culture, they follow the Hanafi culture Hanafi tradition, journal generally, however, because of living on the, on the fringe, and the far end of the of the Hanafi and community. So it became more like westernized
schools of thought. So there are a lot of a lot of practices that will be kind of foreign to the matter to the school of thought. But it's kind of like accommodating all of the changes that happens in the society over there. So but you will still see still they they believe that they actually follow the Hanafi school and they adhere to it and they, they they they're proud of course of their tradition, as well too. So that's something you're going to see when you go to the massage and inshallah Baraka with Allah. Before the war. The Hijab was something extremely foreign, very, very foreign, actually. And as a matter of fact, it's interesting. When we were living there back in
1992, our neighbor an elderly lady, she came visiting one time she doesn't she wasn't here, maybe 70s probably not even older than that. So she was telling us that she still she said when I was not too long ago she was she was where she used to wear the hijab and the niqab.
And that was in the 1990s. She was like more than 50 years ago. Basically she would say or even even more than she said, she used to cover her face used to cover I'm going to show a picture and all of that when the last version. She says she used to wear the niqab, but then they the orders came that they removed and covered him in the hijab unfortunately, that was during the Hungarian era and then came after the loving era afterwards. But mashallah, nowadays when you start
walking around and driving around the handle this revival for the light about ACOTA diva the revival is actually is
is make it make gives you hope Alhamdulillah when you walk around in Sarajevo, a lot of hijab is mashallah a lot of young men also growing their beards and hamdulillah when you go to the massage martial, you find a lot of young people going there as well to that much of it reviving the spirit of the Muslim ummah, and that can be for the lighter barakaatuh Alhamdulillah last year we took a group from the blessed voyage with us to experience Bosnia I want to share with you some of what we actually experienced there so I'm going to share and share my screen with you
when the last version.
Okay, so can you see this
Ah beautiful poetry just for those who are planning to travel with us insha Allah azza wa jal to find out and Imam Shafi says the hara van Ohtani futala villa was half a frivolous very comfortable due to free German work, this album is short and while my mother was about to magic, like there are many things you learned from traveling the journey far away from home in the pursuit of glory and travel for traveling will grant you five benefits, relief from your worries, a possible fortune, new knowledge etiquette and accompany vulnerable people, I open shallow data on that journey you will be able to acquire them all been in line as urgent. If you look at the map of Bosnia in Europe right
now, if you look at the red, the red color over here, this is actually the land of Bosnia. And you'll notice that it's actually in the heart of Europe. It is in the heart of Europe and very strategic also location not too far from Italy, which is why it's very significant if you look at it Sarajevo and Rome. That distance explains why the Ottomans they were actually adamant at being there. And if you look at the boundaries and the border political borders of Bosnia it's interesting, interesting geography look what cool well, Croatia looks like Croatia is not from Bosnia and Herzegovina and then goes all the way towards the west from some from Bosnia and takes a
very narrow strip all the way over the sea kind of like banning Bosnia from having any borders on the scene
before for generations they always try to keep the keep in Bosnia trap so doesn't have any actually yeah, and the size are actually
placed on the sea except for that narrow passage about 12 kilometers wide if you notice it on the on the south that's the only place they have access to the water for trade. That's it. So to keep it active, far away from from from the sea, from the seaports in terms of the actual
origin of the bus, there's many people they say that actually there are other means they're invaders. They're not, you know,
indigenous to the community to the land over there, but that's not true. They were way before actually the Ottomans came way before even the Romans came. They were very special people are aliens. And we've when we were traveling around some of the our tour guides, they showed us some of the older you could say see some of these actually pictures are original to the trip as well to we're going to see some of them inshallah we'll visit some places when the layout Xeloda
it's it fell under the Roman I mean, under the Ottoman Empire only during the time, the fatter all the way until the recent time with the 1800s.
This is a picture you will see shelter in the main Masjid in downtown Sarajevo, the main method Raza festival basic method who was one of the leaders and one of the early governors of Bosnia for the Ottomans. And he himself he created an entire an entire culture in Sarajevo. An entire Islamic madrasa was built on the Fallen carriages name. Now, nowadays, the measure itself actually has his name, and Subhanallah because him and his wife did not have children. So they dedicated all their wealth and their money and charity to spread the deen and the Dharma. So they have a hotel in that area used to be for visitors and travelers so they can rest as they come and visit the Boston area.
That if you see this, this if you look at the picture over here, you will also see that the the architect, the architecture actually designs how they change. This is from the Austro Hungarian era that ruled Bosnia which is concerned to the bus as an occupation, it was annexed to the Austro Hungarian Kingdom or Empire at that time.
Of course, all the way until the First World War when it erupted and the first world war just to give an idea is that bridge over here is where the the assassination of the Archduke
of Austria Hungary Empire happened and took place which was the reason why the old the entire first world war started. As a result of that. Towards the end of the war. Eventually, Bosnia was
by the Germans, as a matter of fact, was given to the Croatians but eventually, Joseph Tito restored the borders back to where it used to be fought during the Ottoman time. So there's always a debate over the original borders of Bosnia, who does if there anything is even called independent Bosnian, the coloration of the Serbs they always say there isn't but the Bosnian they say there is of course, they have their own history, you no evidence and proofs for that. Eventually, the war continued even until recently was what the Civil War led to the civil war in Bosnia. When Yugoslavia collapsed, Slovenia took off as an independent state, Serbia, Croatia took off as serving as an independent
state and both of coders struggled briefly before they were given their independence by the Yugoslavian country which is led by predominantly Serbian,
to eventually the Bosnia has a different story when they tried to also declare their independence. They were, they were attacked from all from all sides. The Croatians claimed this to be theirs and about Serbia as they claim to be theirs and the buzzer wants to keep it in independent. The work continuing from 1991 until December 1995. And right before the war was over, there was the unfortunate, you know, genocide of the Muslim population Srebrenica back in July 11 1995. Eventually, the whole world was watching and Hanalei was a Saudi and
episode and dark spot in the history of Europe at that time. But nowadays, if you look at the geography of Bosnia, the population still mixed up. So there are specific territories for Muslims, specific authorities for Serbs and courageous but then there are a lot of areas where they overlap. And if you look at that map, the green that darkly green and and light green signifies to two regions, which creates the federal city of Bosnia that serves serves
Republica and also the Bosnia and Herzegovina. Just to give an idea that Bosnia Herzegovina there are two territories so the the northern Eastern territory of Athens called Bosnia which has a European climate and southern western territory is called Herzegovina, and has actually more like Mediterranean climate. So just like in the Villa de Xiang, basically you can find zaytoun, olives, pomegranates, teen figs, and so forth down actually down south in that in that area territory. This is what how it looks like right now in terms of two actually territories that that puts together the entire country of Bosnia.
This is now Sarajevo back in the 1930s 1940s. If you see how the ladies actually used to dress up and how the men used to dress up, I've seen some actually villages back in my state 1990s few villagers from the elderly, very, very old people still dressed up like that. It was an interesting sight to see it acted as if it's something from an old movie, and it's Panama. And that's that's an actual photography photograph. It was colored recently, to show the possibility how it looked like back then.
This is the niqab, the face covering that was part of the culture back then in Sarajevo as well too.
So for us in the blessed voice from last year, we went to different places. The first day we visit Srebrenica to commemorate of course you know the events and for that happened there. And we visited the site the memorial of
the victims of robbery and Allah's mercy and the amount of anatomy then we went back to Sarajevo, there was a like a love lecture, but this time it's been replaced with the prophetic household. Inshallah we're going to be given that like I was surprised to be honest with that mashallah, there are many people who speak English, they wanted to come and learn and the room was full Mashallah. So we're going to be doing this again in sha Allah Allah this time we're going to be discussing the prophetic household the family life of the prophet Sallallahu Sallam lecturing in the hotel health so if anyone knows anybody there you can send them that flyer inshallah data which is going to be
online, and you can share it with the people so that you can come and join us inshallah and Sarajevo and that David in the last
second day, we went to an area called conics. And so near Masdar, one of the things you could see here, the water comes out naturally from the mountain river
is so fresh, so beautiful, so amazing, is put your hands down there, so called you drink it, and you don't need any filters for that. It's just so beautiful.
Massage and this is one massive monster we visited during the night. Subhanallah was we were surprised that many many people were they were young Mashallah. And one of them was graduate of Medina as well too. We met somebody from there from Medina, the Imam graduate of Omar kura, I believe or something like that. Or Azhar. But hamdulillah there is there is a revival and many people they come to this place as much as the visit and the masjid is more than 500 years old. And it's interesting anecdote, they sought permission from the Imam. If they could actually climb the minaret and many of the brothers and sister they went all the way up there actually to I didn't dare
to go up there. It's a panel it's
claustrophobic so it's a kind of like very tight, but many people they went up there and they will have a nice beautiful view of the city itself.
There's an area called black guy where the rejected house and river here you could hear that from the minarets cannula. It was so beautiful.
And it was reflecting in the valley of the region over there. The fortress there is one of those fortresses that used to be the border of historic Bosnia that leads to the sea.
This is what the view that if you look through that window, you will see basically the direction of the West that leads to the C word. All trade
used to come through that know that passage.
This is a method that was destroyed unfortunate during the war and a handler was restored back later on, courtesy of the Turkish community actually.
And that this is a visit we wanted to do. It took us two days to take that visit because of the rain. And we had a beautiful, interesting encounter with them that day mashallah and hope inshallah we're not going to see that this year. So you can have our University on time when the last gel but panela the rain was just, it's an interesting how that unfolds in Bosnia. In an instant, and just in a second, it's clear, you just go just buy a cup of coffee come out, it's already actually fallings Carla profusely and, and that's exactly what happened to us. We just came out of the buses. And by the time we walked just few steps away from the buses from the from the parking lot, it's falling
apart was pouring, not even just not even nearly drizzle, just pouring immediately. And it was a beautiful fun time that we spent together before we get back again to the buses. And
here's the Imam of the masjid in Sarajevo Actually, we met with him in downtown.
We visited the madrasa over there as well too.
In Sarajevo, in traveling is one of the historic sites of in Bosnia, this group that I'm standing with actually some of my old students from from Zabludowicz when I when they heard that I was coming there they met me in in traveling mashallah we had beautiful times to spend together and a lot of anatomy. This is some of the sights of the last day we spent 100 walking through the old city of Sarajevo and do some shopping. And we went also to the new tunnel of hope that gave the people's cannula the lifeline during the war and Sarajevo and then we just came to conclusion we learn few things about ourselves and we're almost so here's some of them are my summaries for what we learned
from that experience
they were very happy to see their American brothers and sister really handle their was very excited when they know that we're coming from America just like wow. That's interesting. So Paula, when we start an advertising for the trip, this year, I received a lot of emails and a lot of private messages from Bosnians, which is like wow, we thank you very much for you know, for highlighting our country, our culture, we're very happy would love to have you here, blah, blah, blah. And everyone was asking, Hey, we want to come to our area, we want to come to our city and just like calm down people, we can we can go everywhere. But they were very excited to know that their Muslim brothers
and sisters from America they come to visit in the Laurel Bananaman, we also
with come to the importance of the outcome of many of these massages, you know, survived hundreds of years and all because they have some sort of financial independence in the past which was called walk today. It's something important we need to learn from our community in Bosnia insha Allah barakaatuh tradition, they preserved Islamic tradition and cultural tradition as well to do the design like I talked about the food and cuisine hamdulillah and even actually learning the Arabic alphabets in their in their in their tradition, especially to learn the Quran as well to very resilient people, no matter how many generations past and how many atrocities they had to go through
mashallah, you go there and you see the resilience and the revival of the community as well to very resourceful hamdulillah country is very rich everywhere you go around, rich, I'm talking about resources but unfortunately politically speaking the issues with that, but everywhere you go, there's water, there's there are farms, you can you can grow everything Marshall over there, throw a seed over there, it's gonna grow treats canola, this is how easy is to grow plants over there. Hamdulillah I mean, and it's so beautiful, and they're just there's waiting for the brothers and sister discovered
at their destination as well to an investment idea for anybody who would like to come with us Inshallah, to see you know what I want to check what I can do over there, there's a good opportunity for intrapreneurship and helping hamdulillah reviving the culture and tradition also make some money over there. Many many people from different countries of the world they go there and they invest and mashallah they revive the community and also make few bucks over there as well too.
It's important for us to learn from the past, so that we live a better inshallah future for ourselves, our communities, regardless where we come from, there's just a picture of tissue audit. So this is the trapeze as you can see it on the left hand and the break or the the pita, up to the right. So you can shallow to Allah get ready to take some Bosnian food and enjoy some tourist moments. By the way that the grapes I have in my hand, it's from the street. It's not even anyone's house. It's from the streets. It grows everywhere. Subhanallah just so beautiful, and it tastes so good. I'm the little bit I mean, that was just a last picture we had together with some of the
members of the group from last time we went to Sarajevo. We were going to Charlotte to take you to do some shopping experience as well and in
The main center the main mall in Sarajevo, Charlotte. So just an idea to what people should expect if they ever come and join us in shallow data on that trip. Mala who data are live right now? If you guys have any question for me, this Mila more than happy to help with that
beautiful Zach malaco shift, I'll give everyone a chance to take any questions, whether it's about Bosnia, whether it's about this specific trip that we are taking with Chef Yes, or leading you through this experience in person. It's taking place at the end of May from the 19th Let me just double check the dates in sha Allah to that may 19 to May 26 This year, so you have a few weeks left to take advantage. And the earlybird actually ends tonight at midnight. So like three and a half hours from now. And I know we only have a handful of seats left to begin with, there's one seat left for a sister and a triple room and then there's just I think less than a dozen seats left after that
inshallah so please do make sure that you do take advantage if you're interested. Someone's asking us citizens don't need a visa for Bosnia Correct.
Don't only that, they don't need that. They just, if anything, it's gonna be at the border actually. Oh, yeah. The visa on arrival. Basically, they just give it to you. When you when you get there. No issues. hamdulillah Faisal, you're saying you have a question? If you don't have to raise your hand? That's okay. Let me just get you unmuted, and then inshallah you can ask your question. You guys can come on the mics as well, as well to ask the questions. Go right ahead.
Yeah, sorry. I'm old school.
We are trying to book and it's very hard to get there. So I was wondering how you guys booked to get there because it's like a whole day it takes a whole day.
You guys have any? Do you have any tips? Like how are people booking to get to cereal?
In terms of what you're talking about in terms of booking for
flights? Yeah, I mean, you could go is from the US actually, whether through Turkish Airlines, so to Istanbul going to Bosnia, or you want a faster route, you go to European destinations, the most common destination actually is through through Germany, Lufthansa, the Frankfurt we are to Frankfurt, usually to Sarajevo. That's the fastest route probably for many people who come from from the US over here. Okay, so do you guys deal with are there certain travel agencies for this? Or is it just better to just book online? I think have so can can better answer this question for you. Um, Inshallah, I'll connect with you about this. But to be honest, I think it's cheapest to go online
and to do it individually. Myself, sorry, go ahead. My husband has been checking online and he just told me to ask about like if there's any other tips of how to find flights? No, I think I think what she has said is probably your safest bet. Someone's mentioned in the chat that they have us a travel agency so if you guys have an a couple of people are mentioning that they went through Lufthansa they got a little cheaper deal through them so I think it'd be great to get tips from others who are interested in going as well but I think it's say that I have personally in personal experience has been cheapest to book individually as opposed to using
Sora actually on the church you're saying she goes through Austrian Airlines and the lands in in Vienna before going actually to Sarajevo so check check whatever is available in Sharla Okay, and then two more questions. Is there is this like because I know we don't read it or I'm wrong with you chef Yes sir. We it was through Daraa salaam so who coordinates this is this you just personally you yourself? This is Blizzard voice doesn't matter of Institute okay. And we have local agency actually there in Bosnia that we deal with over there. Okay, so they are locals and they know everything action hamdulillah and sister Amina managed to zero so on the call as well with us. She is one of
our group leads as well Mashallah. She's Bosnia herself Yanni. And she's the one who's connecting us with everybody. hamdulillah Okay, I'm leaving my kids so I'm kind of like asking about Wi Fi so that I can be able to talk to them every five minutes. It's my first time leaving them. Yeah, unfortunately. There is no internet is very primitive country they just run on.
On word and charcoals Come on.
All over the place. You will have Wi Fi you will have also if you can, if you have a T Mobile.
T Mobile Yes. Then you have then you have full service. Okay. Okay. hamdulillah Al Hamdulillah.
real concern is just actually you know what to do.
And Bosnia you can get you can get the actual SIM card like right when you step out of the airport at convenience shop. Like literally there's a stall you just pay a couple bucks you get your thing and it's how fast you have connection. It was the easiest country at candlelight together as long before T Mobile to win that help. That was
great questions. I'm glad that you asked me that. I'm sure others had
those same questions as well I see a couple of hands raised as well. So in sha Allah and recommend you're welcome to ask your question you Samina definitely.
FISA first that's a real mom question. So
I don't have kids but as an answer I understand that Patrick
I just wanted to ask real quick I saw that the itinerary was gonna be available today like the full or maybe I'm mixing up my date toughsat I don't know if
that's coming in today or I think it's tomorrow is tomorrow. Okay, probably just mixing up my date then. But I just had to quick like more cultural questions on since I know we're going to be visiting on some massages as well in Sharla just I guess, are we going to be able to find out a little bit more about the dress code and what's appropriate in Bosnia and everything like that, like what they expect from people were visiting.
I don't know if I think that might be more on the call next week, but I wasn't sure. Well, I think when you go there you will see that Bosnia is an open communal open society. So there was the hijab is and on hijab is those who actually you know, dress properly those who don't so European community European society that's what there was actually makes up over there. So democratic mashallah Hamdulillah I mean, generally speaking, they understand tourists come in right
they they allow tourists to come in actually to the masala and the massages usually but mashallah their massage not like in America you have a men section women section. The masses all open for everybody. The ladies they have some sort of like fuel lines in the back and the men actually in the front so you can go with your family to stay together as well. No
you're muted. Oh, sorry. Let me go over and yes sorry. I'm just the other question and this is just like a question because I went to Turkey in November and I saw that there were like cats everywhere I didn't know if that was also something in positive yarn. I just wanted to ask because I bring cat treats with me to Turkeys I was like should I bring cat treats with me for the cats in Bosnia? I don't know what do you what do you find in the States? I mean, it wasn't
cat has called Moscow over there. But I don't think we can see it. You see, cats are real animals like that.
When you go into a village, just like any other country, envision the countryside you find maybe some of these animals in the on the farm, but not in the in the main streets in the city. And I see I'm a big animal lover so I just wanted to check before I went so just thank you for answering my questions.
Already Perfect, great questions. Mashallah. Yes, bring cat bring all the cat treats. I remember there was quite a few in the old town. And so yeah, but especially around gazebo survey mosque. Our outlets here for new insha Allah please feel free to ask your question.
It's not a question to be honest. I just wanted to add on before because people were asking how to fly in. I currently live in Europe, mice in Austria, myself. And
stopping over in Vienna is very fast. It's very easy. And there's direct direct flights from Vienna to Sarajevo, but also for anyone willing to do it because it's a cheaper option. I think. If you arrive anywhere in Austria, or like south of Germany, there are also regular buses to cities like Sarajevo, that are also pretty cheap and especially cheaper than most flights. So
check it out. And maybe it's an option for some of you, especially if you're traveling on your own.
Is that okay? Thank you. Thank you very much. Well on election
night I want to tell
also, by the way I want to add some people that used to come through Croatia through through split so they land in Croatia and split and then they drive actually living they rent a car. They rent a car and they go to Sarajevo however from split all the way to Sarajevo, there's about three and a half hours drive. But if you're going to go and meet us for example in Mostar that's that's much closer. So it's less than half of the distance over there. We had a couple last year they came from Finland with a child they landed in split and they rented a car actually they came and join us and Sir in Mostar now
already just like look are sorry. I think I saw Pfizer's hand up again. I will say any other route any unique route that you take to get to Syria Well, honestly all of it is very scenic. That was one thing you learned is like Bosnia every there's mountains there's Turkic turquoise waters there's it's mashallah one of the coolest experiences it feels like you're living through a movie wherever you go in this country. Faiza I think you're asking another question or it had my my daughter just taught me how to raise my hand. Okay. I wanted to know about the weather. What is it what are we expecting in terms of weather especially for us hijab is we need to know how to unclear or layer.
Well, this is going to
In mid May, or end of May, I would say it's still spring and spring as can be cold. So usually it's during the day the temperature is very pleasant. But definitely during the night and early morning, it can be a little bit cold. So take that into consideration. So during when the sun goes up, and during the day, temperatures going to maybe go up to the 60s in terms of Fahrenheit, 60s and 70s. But in the morning, and in the evening, it can drop significantly to become very, very cold. Okay. So I think that everybody should make sure that they bring with them a jacket that they could use in shallow tobacco data during that time.
Beautiful, great question. I'm glad that everyone's thinking and Hamdulillah I don't see any other hands raised if anyone else has no don't pack everything that was
that was on permission to bag everything but if anyone else has questions in the chat, please feel free Inshallah, to drop them here. Does that Kamala Harris Yes, that was really beneficial to kind of get like a historical walkthrough and have your personal experiences as well and get a chance to be exposed to the body and culture for those who haven't. For those who are already registered, we cannot wait to start the trip and the experience with you guys and show I know there's going to be a couple more calls just to get you all situated in Sharla but for those who haven't this is one of your last few opportunities one because the price is going up tonight too because there's only like
a dozen spots left so make sure that you do secure its blessed voyages start blessing voyage.com forward slash Bosnia there's a lot more information on there and all the package details and all that it's also linked in a social media BIOS Yes I mean as right you can buy anything there as well and shift I don't know if you how long you spent in Bosnia last year that you were there, but it's like everyone speaks English like 80% of people that have the data. So now my time back in the 1990s there is no way Yeah, you had to let you have to learn the Bosnian language. Actually, they spoke they spoke probably Russian and German. More than anything else back then. But now English has
become a very common language. And hamdulillah Alhambra and that's what's really convenient is going to a Muslim country and being able to converse with everybody and not like feeling overwhelmed and having that comfort is really really nice to come Lilla as well. So someone's asking to Hell is asking what's the best currency to bring Bostian km or euros? Well, do you have a currency exchange all over the place? Just to give a heads up by the way for those who have been to Turkey recently the Bosnian currency is much stronger than the Turkish currency so don't expect the exchange to be the same.
When you go to Turkey $100 is gonna get you maybe 1200 the lira for example but in Bosnia $100 bill you can get you actually 300 Bosnian mark so it's a bit a bit more expensive just put it this way. But it still goes further than anywhere else. Of course Definitely not. You will enjoy to Charlottetown Inshallah, to Allah does that Kamala Harris chef I'm really jealous of you are registered. I hope that everyone else inshallah gets a chance whoever can to join you on this experience. And Chef thank you for the trip down memory lane in sha Allah Yes, you will have WhatsApp groups you'll have support throughout the entire experience that's the whole blessing and
Hamlin going with less voyages is that they deal with the logistics shift deals with all the kind of like that there'll be the historical experience and walking you through the kind of the highs and the emotional rollercoaster of the experience. No vaccine required I believe ship right. Before Okay, I have to do that. So no vaccination, no visa for a lot of you guys that have the delay one of the easiest countries to kind of deal with when it comes to travel logistics that hamdulillah and all the other logistics answers and questions that you guys have will be shared in shuttler over the next few days. Please do join us on the experience I can't wait for you guys to experience Bosnia
where she has her bridges and bless voyages and does that collector for being with us for today's webinar? Inshallah we'll see you in person hopefully your online very soon. For now. Take care. Stay happy, stay healthy, stay safe. And as Santa Monica what I'm a delight to