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Al Naqsa: the popular Ramadan custom in Al-Ahsaa

Al Naqsa is an old folk custom, popular in Gulf countries and the streets of Al-Ahsa Governorate in Saudi Arabia. It is traditional before breakfast time in Ramadan; children go out carrying the most delicious dishes to send to neighbours and relatives around them.

Jassim Al-Brahim, a Muslim farmer from Al-Ahsa Governorate, spoke to Al Arabiya in detail about this custom, explaining how Al Naqsa means that a person sends a delicious dish from his meal to one of their neighbours. However, when this dish is delivered, the receiver refuses to return an empty plate, so he gives it back full of different yummy food.”

“In the past, neighbours compete by exchanging dishes. You would see them like bees in the alleys due to the intensity of their competition, but nowadays few people practice this beautiful habit. Among the most famous dishes that neighbours in the region transmit are harees, logaimat, noodles or balaleet, and porridge”, he added. 

“[The tradition] abounds in the month of Ramadan and it is still related to this custom, whether in the holy month or other months, and I feel happy when I send my neighbour dates or other most delicious dishes”, he concluded.

Al Naqsa is an inherited societal habit that conveys love and affection among people, especially neighbours. The meaning of the word means cutting off, referring to taking from yourself to donate to others. This habit has increased social communication and familiarity between Muslims; it shows solidarity to those around us.

The Messenger, PBUH, commanded Muslim to do that when he said: “’He is not a believer whose stomach is filled while his neighbour goes hungry.'”

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