For more than 60 years, Mam Qader Hama Rah Sh, 67, used to stand in the middle of the “Warti Grand Mosque” to receive his share of nuts or distribute them to worshipers after the end of every Friday prayer.
Distributing walnuts after Friday prayers, especially in the fall and winter seasons, is one of the most prominent customs in Warti district, which is located 150 km northeast of Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Hama Rahsh, who inherited it from his father, who recommended him to preserve it, still remembers it. This well-established social work in order to bring happiness to the hearts of the residents of the region.
“We inherited this social tradition from our fathers and grandfathers, and they recommended us to continue to implement it,” Hama Rahsh told Al Jazeera Net, while he was waiting for one of the worshipers to receive his share of nuts.
In the past, raisins and dates were distributed with walnuts, but with the passage of time it was limited to distributing nuts to the worshipers in the mosque, usually by an elderly man, often from the notables of the region or religious sheikhs in it.
10 pieces of walnut are placed inside a small white bag, and distributed to worshipers after the end of Friday prayers, a phenomenon that has been going on for about 300 years, according to Hamah Rash, who used to do this in appreciation of his greatness in recent years.
And about the reason for choosing Friday to distribute the nuts, Hama Rahsh says, “Our ancestors chose Friday to do this work because it is a blessed day in Islam, and it is an ongoing charity.”
The Iraqi elder acknowledges that the continuation of this phenomenon and the adherence to customs and traditions by the residents of the district made it a component of its identity, to be famous and known among other regions, and confirms that the distribution of walnuts and adherence to customs and traditions increased intimacy and love among the residents.
food for visitors
Warti is one of the areas known for cultivating walnuts in Iraqi Kurdistan, as it possesses vast lands of up to tens of kilometers, and this is what helped it to set examples with good types of walnuts at the country level.
Mulla Yassin Abdullah Warti, a well-known imam in the area, says that the implementation of the will of the dead is one of the things that must be implemented, especially with regard to charitable deeds, and the implementation of the will to distribute walnuts in the area came to serve as an ongoing charity for the dead in the area, and it is a work that has been going on for tens of years years.
The commitment of the residents of Warti to implement the will prompted some of them to allocate large areas of their lands to grow walnuts in order to distribute its fruits to the worshipers according to their custom, Mulla Yassin tells Al Jazeera Net, in addition to the fact that many visitors or passers-by in the area obtain their shares of walnuts, and sometimes it serves as their livelihood of food on their travels.
As for the reason for choosing walnuts specifically for distribution after Friday prayers, Mulla Yassin says that the region’s fame for good types of walnuts and the large production of them is the main motive for this.
For his part, journalist Amanj Warti, one of the well-known journalists in the district, says that despite the modern change that the world is witnessing at the level of technology, customs and traditions have remained rooted in the hearts of the residents of the district.
Amanj Warti confirms to Al Jazeera Net that Warti’s adherence to this folklore is only evidence of its authenticity and its need for such customs and traditions to increase love among its members, and this is what helped make it almost devoid of incidents of theft and murder.