If you are invited to a Dewaniah, you are not expected to bring food, drinks,
Muslims pray 5 times daily where each prayer lasts for about
15 minutes: at dawn, midday, mid-afternoon, sunset, and nightfall. Prayers
are usually held at the Islamic worship places called "Mosques". Regular
gathering in Dewaniahs usually takes place after nightfall prayer and
sometimes between the sunset and the nightfall prayers.
entering the house as you approach the Dewaniah notice the Dewaniah's
door. If shoes and sandals were left at the door by other guests, then
take off your shoes. It is customary when entering a Dewaniah or an office
to greet everyone there by saying "Alsalamo-Alikom", which means "peace
be with you" and it is the equivalent of saying "hello". The reply to
this greeting is "Wa'alikom Alsalam".
Once inside the Dewaniah, everyone
will stand up to greet you and shake your hand. Start with the person
standing on your right side or the one who is approaching you. If you
are a first time visitor or elderly, most likely your host and the attendants
will offer you a seat at the head of the Dewaniah as a sign of respect
Dewaniahs are furnished with couches; traditional ones don't have couches
and attendants sit on the floor. The floor is covered with Persian rugs
and against the walls of the Dewaniah there are pillows to rest your back
against. Notice that in both modern and traditional Dewaniahs, attendants
are seated in a circle to ensure that no one is facing someone's else
back. Also, remember the rule that the soles of your feet should not point
directly toward someone else.
office or Dewaniah visits you might be offered Arabian coffee, which is
served in small cups without sugar or milk. The coffee server will keep
filling up your cup until you signal that you are done by slightly shaking
your empty cup and either saying "Bass, Shokrann", which means "no more,
thank you", or by covering the cup with the palm of your hand while returning
the cup to the coffee server.
Remember that you should always use your
right hand. It is advisable that you accept at least one cup of coffee
as a way of honoring this traditional hospitality.