Symbiosis is a Genuine and Deep-Rooted Practice in the Sudanese Life

Wed, 27 Sep 2017


 Sulaiman Yahia Mohamed

    The life of the Sudanese society is remarkably affected by the culture of the Muslim majority, although there are also some followers of other divine religions, such as Christianity, and other non-divine religions.  The importance of the paper emanates from its concern with searching for the extent of practicing symbiosis as a genuine and deep-rooted value in the Muslim and non-Muslim Sudanese society. The paper aims at recognition of the behavioral and moral effect of such value on patterns of interrelation and peaceful co-existence among the Sudanese individuals and groups when on move or staying.  The hypothesis that symbiosis always leads to unity, interdependence, cooperation, brotherhood, cohesion and collaboration is to be proven. The paper tries, in addition, to prove that symbiosis removes the economical and living differences among people and promotes co-existence, justice and equality. Accordingly, the paper adopted the descriptive analytic methodology as part of a practical application based on the Holly Quran, some Prophetic Traditions and some citations from the Bible used as evidences in explaining and interpreting all values of symbiosis. In addition, one of the most important genres of multi-thematic folklore of habits, traditions, norms, proverbs and common popular tales common among the society and make up its heritage is tackled. The hypothesis is to be proven by evidencing that the practiced multi-dimensional symbiosis can create a strong and solid civilizational environment that makes a man able to protect himself and defend his civilizational identity against the threatening Western and Eastern danger and environment that may protect him from destruction, deformation, thawing out and loss in the situations of the fierce conflict of civilizations on-going around him.  In this way, a person can effectively contribute to the cultural dialog taking place today throughout the countries of the world without losing his personality or ideology in the process of take and give, and affecting and being affected.
The paper recommends to encourage the present and future generations to get a feel for symbiosis as a great civilizational heritage and noble human value, reap its benefits in his life and live among the peoples of the world.
Key Words: symbiosis- chosen- next neighbor- does not give him up- plight-folklore- underlying- buckthorn – reward- carriage way- on call help-voluntary assistance- mediators- shelter- Zakat-Futra

• Introduction
• Symbiosis from the Religious Point of View
• Patterns of Symbiosis:
• Symbiosis in the Sudanese Folklore
• Relationship between Man of Countryside and City:
• Sessions of Peacemakers and Rakuba:
• Symbiosis in Sudanese Folk Stories:
• Sources and References:



This paper handles the symbiosis, its importance, genuineness and deep-rooting in the Sudanese society. It searches and describes Islam and Christianity, in particular, as a religion holds culture and culture is life. It highlights some wide cultural receptacles such as habits, traditions, norms and popular tales that are related to religion or emanating  from it and express symbiosis as a great value of life.
    The importance of the paper lies in presenting a scientific specialized study which analyzes, discusses, explains and interprets the meaning of symbiosis, its patterns, values, values, advantage and actual practice within the heritage of the Sudanese society. The study, also, aims at recognizing the fact and class of symbiosis and highlight some doctrinal references  and cultural environment equivalent which contributed to instilling symbiosis in the Sudanese Muslim and Non-Muslim feelings, emotions, perceptions, values and morals, hypothesizing that symbiosis is a religious and social value intensively practiced by the Sudanese society and supported by Islam, Christianity and other cultural heritages. The paper follows the analytic descriptive methodology in its functional context to search, explain, analyze, discuss the symbiosis patterns and highlight its physical and sensory dimensions in the Sudanese life. It quoted many Quranic texts and Prophetic traditions witch commended on symbiosis and sowed examples of heritage topics that evidenced it. Virtually, it was proved that symbiosis is a noble value in life and formed the Sudanese personality and contributed to form its behavior, morals and interaction with others, whether closely related or remotely related
    Symbiosis became a quality of the Sudanese person and distinguished him from many peoples in the world. Therefore, the paper recommended the importance of maintaining symbiosis and practice it intensively to contribute to address the problems and advance it so that it will be a good example for others to follow.       
    The word “Takaful” in Arabic- meaning symbiosis was unanimously explicated based on the word of Allah in Quran, Al Oran, verse 37 (وأنبتهانباتاحسناوكفلهازكريا) “ He made her grow up as a good girl and entrusted her to the care of Zakareya”. So, the verb Yakful from the noun Takaful means to sustain or to take care of somebody. Upbringing and spending somebody. Takffal bil shay, means he committed himself to do it, and takffala bil dain – he ensured to perform the debt, kaffalaho- means he guaranteed him. Terminologically, takaful (symbiosis) means collective coexistence, collaboration, cooperation, unselfishness, providing money, food and drinks for the poor and needy people and giving charity to the needy and insolvents and others and extend ways of justice, brotherhood and noble morality.
Symbiosis from the Religious Point of View:
Islam is the predominant religion in Sudan. It is the most influential on the Sudanese life. Next, is Christianity. Then come some other non-divine religions of some minorities in some limited areas inhabited by small numbers of Sudanese groups, compared to the large Sudanese community. However, the influence of Islam in Sudan on different areas of Sudan is extensive , whether those areas are inhabited by Muslims or non-Muslims. Islam is capable to have a civilizational  influence on peoples, nations, individuals, groups, all who are associated with it or believe in it or come to contact with those who believe in it,  in favorable circumstances. The power of governments with their legislative, political, executive and services institutions, primarily, education with its national curricula, media with its planned programs and economy supported by market dominance and movement of goods, commercial commodities and productive activities and the overall methods and modes of living can have a great influence. There are many common values of life between the Islam, Christianity and non- divine  religions, as well the presence of controlling behavioral criteria and concurred moral standards.  In addition, Islam spread Arabic language as the first language in the state in a country that teems with many local languages which easily blended with it and formed many Arab dialects spoken all over Sudan. This, in turn, helped Arabic language to predominate as a mother language  and still broadening in its interaction with the local tongues in the north, south, east, west and center, forming many language standards. There are Sudanese who adopted Arab language as their mother language and speak Arabic, even if with a distinguished accent. Some borrowed examples from Arabic and abandoned their local language and mixed them when speaking, or speak both, if required, except some minority that speak Arabic sparingly, or in the other governmental and educational institutions or in markets and public occasions.   Thus, Islam is of the widest span and spread in Sudan. It made many chances available to practice symbiosis in Sudan.
a/ Symbiosis in Holly Quran
Quran  is the Holly Book of Islam sent by Almighty Allah to all people and  revealed via Archangel  Gabriel to Prophet Mohamed, the Seal of prophets , peace be upon him, as a guidance and mercy to all creatures.
The concept of symbiosis in Islam as expressed in the Quran includes anything related to the act of philanthropy, charity and zakat, in addition to substantiation of sympathy and cooperation among people as Almighty says: “
AND WORSHIP God [alone], and do not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught beside Him. And do good unto your parents, and near of kin, and unto orphans, and the needy, and the neighbor from among your own people, and the neighbor who is a stranger, and the friend by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom you rightfully possess. Verily, God does not love any of those who, full of self-conceit, act in a boastful manner”  (al nisa, 36). And He says: “in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves”, (Baqara 177). Also, He says: “And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression”, (Maidah, verse 2).
The Holly Quran  provokes people to  brotherhood and compassion, honor and symbiosis. As He hates avarice and tightwads who hoard their money and not give in charity to the poor and needy, as Almighty says:      “Let not those who are niggardly in giving for charity from what Allah has blessed them with, think that it is good for them: nay it is very bad for them. All the wealth they hoarded with niggardly behavior will be hung around their necks like a collar on the Day of Resurrection. It is Allah who will inherit the heavens and the earth. Allah is well aware of all your actions”, al Imran, verse 180). Money is Allah’s money. He created all sources of wealth, but people abuse  distribution and exploitation.
b/ Symbiosis in Prophetic Tradition:
the Messenger of God (PBUH) gave a great attention to symbiosis and , as stated in the prophetic traditions: “ The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever”. He , also says: “ One is not a true believer until he wishes for others what he wishes for himself” . calling people to deny themselves and meet the need of others although they need what they give out. For example, a Muslim has to suffer thirst for water to and give his water to others. He must be hungry so others will satisfy their hunger. This is the real meaning  of symbiosis . Ibn Omer, May Allah accept them both, narrated that the Messenger  of God said: “A Muslim is a brother of (another) Muslim, he neither wrongs him nor does hand him over to one who does him wrong. If anyone fulfills his brother's needs, Allah will fulfill his needs; if one relieves a Muslim of his troubles, Allah will relieve his troubles on the Day of Resurrection".
C/  Khalwa (Religious School)  and Maseed ( a place for learning Quran)
Scrutiny of Forms of Symbiosis in Both
Khalwa is the conventional religious institution where Quran is memorized  and reading and writing are learned. Khalwa is the basis of the beginning of education in Sudan. It was primarily established as an educational system to memorize Quran in writing and reading and its roots go back to  the Islamic  lands of Andolus which were known as Countries of Islamic Mghrib. It came to Sudan via the western gate (Darfur) after its fall in the hands of the Christians in December 1200 in its retreat eastward  to Higaz . from hence, it stretched as an educational system in all parts of Sudan and disseminated the Maghrib pen and writing, in addition to Warsh Reading and what was known by the Sudanese Handwriting . when the Turkish Colonization introduced the modern education system in 1921 which was improved by the English-Egyptian Condominium,   they did not cancel the Khalwa, but annexed it school taking advantage of it in establishing the modern educational schools.
Religious Khalwas were frequented by immigrants (students) from different parts of the country for the purpose of memorizing, reading and reciting Quran. They lived together a common fraternal  life in eating and drinking without feeling any differences among them whether in age or stages of memorization, writing and reading , known by Sharafa according to the memorization of parts of Quran. They live a symbiotic life with each other. They collected  firewood (Nar eltaqaba) and brought drinking and ablution water. They collectively cultivated their farm  in part work, harvested by themselves, took their subsistence and equally distributed what they sold at the market. Inhabitants of the region where the Khalwa exists,  donated money and food to the Fekki (Quran teacher) and his disciples and gave them presents for heaven’s sake , regarding them as student of knowledge and religion.   
According to the education system followed at Khalwa, there are two types of Khalwa; the first is stationary at the Village or district. The second is mobile  in compliance with the migration of the Prophet (PBUH) and his honorable companions to support the Islamic religion.  
They consider migration for the sake of God as the core of the Islamic religion, because wherever they stay, they are cordially welcomed by the people of the area. They give them presents demanding the good and blessing, winning the consent of Almighty and winning the great reward. They say their  famous proverb ( Good is contained in the advent of arrivals). When the migrant or the  stationary Khalwa pupil reaches any stage of Quran memorization, he will be honored. He writes the last sura he memorized or part of it on a plate and decorates with some Islamic decorations after the approval of the Feki. He sand and his other companions  who reached the same level tour the village or district and knock on the doors, one by one. People bestow gifts on them to reward them for getting to that level and to spur them to continue their education and memorization of the remaining part of Quran. There are well known Khalwas in Sudan and some of them are named after their founders and some of them carry the names of the regions they were founded in, such as Ghubush Khalwas in Abu Hamed in North of Sudan, Alfadni Khalwas in the center of Sudan, Hamesh Koraib Khalwas in the East of Sudan, Kriu Khalwa of Imam Malik Alnotawi in the West of Sudan where sons of Sultans of Darfur Islamic Sultanate studied and Azzeriba Khalwa of the late Sheikh, Abdulrahim Alburae and other Khalwas.  
Frequently, some big huts are built in the center of the Sudanese countryside and one unit is called Khalwa or Takeyak  (Hospice). It serves as a place for  guests coming from far away or caravans of immigrants who often do not know anyone in the village or those who are directed to such places to be hosted.  Wherefore , it is called guests Khalwa. Sometimes it is built in the courtyard of the village Sheikh’s house, or next to it or next to the mosque where the common people of the village provide them with food and drink.
Similar to Khalwa is what is known in different parts of Sudan by Maseed. It is always next to the mosque or domes of Sufi sheikhs and sometimes part of the house of anyone of Sufi sheikhs.
It is frequented by large numbers of Quran students , whether the disciples,  from the sheikh’s village or visiting the sheikh from other areas. Sometimes, visitors of the sheikh will be from outside Sudan. Some will be coming for treatment but the majority will be coming in order to memorize Quran in the hand of the sheikh.   The leader of the Sufi approach is respected by his disciples who secure his living and payment of all the expenses of the Maseed or Sheikhdom including building, food, drink, clothes, expenses and all other requirements , no matter big they are.
2/ The Mosque:
The mosque is the house of Allah where Muslims perform the five prayers  in congregation . it is the place where people of different social categories and living conditions gather to perform the obligatory prayer and where people feel the religious fraternity, equality, interdependence and cohesion. All these are feelings characterized by purity, highness and spiritual serenity and promote the spirit of doing good and love ,  good work and going for people through thick and thin. They are names of meanings of symbiosis, and compassion among Muslims. People say in their prayers: “  O Almighty make us almsgivers to Thy Muslim slaves, the poor and needy. They, also, say: “ O God do not make our hands tied to our necks and do not make us squanderers; brothers of devils”, in compliance with His word: “ Treat not the orphan with oppression and chide not him who asks”. He says, also, :”  Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah , the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves” Baqara 177) and  other noble verses.
We see many of the needy and the sick standing after the Prayers stating their needs to the worshippers to help them solve their problems which face them and which they cannot solve, because they do not possess anything to save them. Also, there are donation boxes at the mosques  for good doers to donate , besides some needy persons sit near the doors of the mosques asking for assistance. Also, they distribute give outs such as balila (boiled legumes seeds), sweetmeats and dates. Their numbers increase at the times of Eid Alfitr and Aid AlAdha , and this practice is a sort of compassion and symbiosis among the Muslims.  Besides a building by wealthy  people who  dedicate it as an  incessant  charity. Sometimes mosques are built by self-help.
e/ Month of Ramadan:
Month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Higri year in which Muslims performs the rite  of Fasting. They fast from food and drink and anything prohibited for Muslims to do from dawn to sunset except for those who have rightful excuse who must perform it later and make atonement.  It is one of the five pillars of Islam  as the Prophet  says: “ Islam is built on five testimony that there is no god but Allah and that Mohamed is the Messenger of Allah, establishing prayer, paying zakat, fasting and pilgrimage for those who can afford”. And says Almighty: “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous”. (Baqara,183). Almighty says: “ every worship by  a Muslim is for himself, but Ramadan is for Him (for Allah). He alone knows if  a person is actually fasting or not, because it has many health and financial advantages, willpower, patience,  durability. It makes a person practically feels  the pains of others from hunger and thirst and he remembers how much they are suffering and the difficulty of their lives. So, he empathizes them  and give them what he has as in better situation.
Adel Salim Eleid says in this regard: “ The month of Ramadan is a special month  for the Muslims. In Ramadan , they compete to get closer to God by obeying Him and they rejoice its arrival and virtues.  Over the years,  this joy has taken different forms of appreciation and not sanctification  and ways to purify the soul from desecration . The  common denominators of the Islamic celebrations became of specific nature that combine the religious, social and spiritual aspects. With the passage of time, Muslims have come to distinguish  their events with several celebrations that made the government officials give official attention and issue decrees to organize such celebrations”.   He , also says: “ The month of Ramadan is a great month  and Allah is a Kind Lord. Since Allah scribed on the believers fasting during Ramadan and blessed it by revealing Quran in Ramadan, this month has become a month of much repentance, worship, obedience and being closer to God by charity,  benevolence , prayers and worshipping. How is the case not so when Laylatul Qadr ( The night of power) which is better than one thousand months, in which Allah forgives all the previous sins of His worshippers.
Fuad Musa says about Ramadan: “  people care much about Ramadan . they await it very eagerly. They receive it in graciousness and pleasure as a valued guest and  they  cry on its departure. They feel lonely and they miss it, as they say: “ May God not make us miss you” . This is similar to what the Sudanese  say expressing their sadness on the departure of Ramadan : “ We miss you, Ramadan”.  Muslims, generally congratulate each other when the month of Ramadan comes. A Muslim says to his Muslim brother :  Ramadan Kreem ( Generous Ramadan ) and the other replies: Allahu Akram ( Allah is the Most Generous)  or Alli Tahibu kulu kareem (All you love are generous), that is in order to express their happiness with days of the blessed month of Ramadan  with its incessant good . Thus, they express their generosity and celebration  of Ramadan, P. 123.  This proves that the Month of Ramadan is a month of mercy, goodness and blessing , and all these prove that Muslims, in general, have strong compassion, love and symbiosis among themselves  and Sudanese in particular. In the month of Ramadan, we see numerous forms of symbiosis and compassion of the Muslims in Sudan and many of the Muslims of other countries, for example:
1.    Throwing feasts and  setting  breakfast tables, usually called, Mauaed Al –Rahma ( Charity Banquets ) which many Muslims will be keen to set for the poor and passers-by.
2.    Multiplicity of  the collective breakfasts and specification of foods and drinks for Ramadan.
3.    Distribution of  the fasting bag, fasting box and fasingt provisions for people, in general, and for the poor and needy, in particular.
4.    Neighbors get together in the streets,  parks and neighboring mosques, and everyone brings his breakfast. They have a collective breakfast and invite all the poor who do not have a breakfast meal or the wayfarers who are overtaken by the time of breakfast while they are far from their houses.
5.    Diligence of some people to give out the  zakat due on  their monies during the month of Ramadan for the purpose of easing the difficulties of  poor Muslims. Those who do not know whom they would give their zakat,  will give it to charitable authorities which will undertake the distribution to the beneficiary poor and needy who frequent them. How frequently we see a crowd of the poor line up in front of  the houses and stores of the rich people waiting for zakat to be distributed to them!
6.    Payment of compensation (Fidia) daily by those who cannot fast Ramadan for legitimate excuses, and distribution to the poor beginning with the kin.
7.    Give out zakat al-Fitr (zakat for ending the fast) due on every Muslim and distribute it to the poor and needy before the Eid prayer .
8.    Division of Ramadan to three tens by several Muslim families
a. The first ten days focus will be on food, throwing feasts and banquets, invitation of relatives and friends and distribution of some foods to the poor and needy, who live next to the feast giver.
b. The second ten days for family meeting and special get together  occasion in order to make nice chats, recite Quran, storytelling , especially the religious stories, and the biography of the Prophet.
c. The last ten days they prefer to perform Omra (visitation to Mekka), buying clothes, toys for children and house ornaments .
e. Eid al-Adha
This is a religious tradition due on every Muslim reached the age of majority and able to buy an offering by himself and on behalf of his dependant members of his family in order to please God and in revival of this ritual. It is practiced in commemoration of  the redemption  of Ishmael by Almighty Allah,  when Ishmael accepted to be scarified  in response to his father dream. God redeemed him by a fat ram, as mentioned in Quran. Meats  of Eid al- adha  shall be distributed to the poor and needy.
Similarly, meats and foods are offered at several occasions for the purpose of immolation, expelling  devils,  seeking refuge from Satan and revocation of magic, seeking health, when cured from  a serious disease  or welcoming valued  travelers and visitors as a sort of hospitality, good loyalty  and expression of joy and pleasure. These feasts are held to bless harvests, on owning a new house,  for disaster prevention,  keeping out of difficulties, circumcision, marriage, a birth of a new child, victory, solution of a problem,  steering clear of crisis and other occasions.   These are noble traditions and habits that  indicate the power of faith and extent of generosity of the Sudanese. This involves a sort of symbiosis and compassion among people, especially, the skins of  animals killed as offerings at Eid al adha and  traditional occasions will be given to charitable funds as donations to be sold and their returns used as a support for the funds.
Patterns of Symbiosis:
There are different patterns of symbiosis, such as:
1.    worship (spiritual) symbiosis:  represented in the collective performance of worship, including what the scholars call Collective Obligations, like bathing the dead, death prompts and burial.
2. Ethical Symbiosis:  relates to the responsibility of the Muslim community  for common morals, as Allah says: “The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong (Al-tauba 71), in addition to clearing the society from spread of problems, quarrel, corruption and collapse , obeying Allah’s  command { And fear a trial which will not strike those who have wronged among you exclusively, and know that Allah is severe in penalty }(Al anfal 25)
3. Defensive Symbiosis :  means collective participation to defend the land of Islam and sanctuaries , in compliance with Allah’s word: “Go forth, whether light or heavy, and strive with your wealth…..” (Al tauba 41)
4. Decent or Moral Symbiosis:  feeling for, respecting and cooperating with others,  in compliance with the word of the Prophet: “ You will not be a believer unless you wish your brother what you wish yourself”  “ the best of the people……… for people” and Allah’s word “but rather give them preference over themselves, even though poverty be their own lot” Al hashr 9)
5. Economical Symbiosis:  Almighty Allah says “And do not give the weak-minded your property, which Allah has made a means of sustenance for you, but provide for them with it and clothe them and speak to them words of appropriate kindness.” (Al nisa 5). Consequently, Islam forbade monopoly, manipulation of wealth.  The best example of this kind of symbiosis is the zakat which Allah ordained to be taken from the rich and given to the poor and others so that the community will help each other.
6. Family Symbiosis: It concerns itself with the well building of the family as it is the first building block to have a strong and cohesive society, in understanding that the strong shall assist the weak and the rich shall feed the poor,  and expenditure on parents, children and wife. The Prophet (PBUH) says “All of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards”
7. Criminal Symbiosis: concerns the responsibility and  collaboration of the society to deal with problems and aggression on properties and honors, As Almighty says:” [As for] the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands in recompense for what they committed as a deterrent [punishment] from Allah . And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise”.  (Maidah 38)
8.  Didactic  Symbiosis: Islam requires the learned to teach others to eradicate illiteracy. Almighty Said: “Indeed, those who conceal what We sent down of clear proofs and guidance after We made it clear for the people in the Scripture - those are cursed by Allah and cursed by those who curse, Except for those who repent and correct themselves and make evident [what they concealed]. Those - I will accept their repentance, and I am the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful” al baqara 159-160).
9. Political Symbiosis: requires political participation, as Allah says: and whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves” (al shura 38).
10. Social Symbiosis: here, there are innumerable   forms of social symbiosis and all are religion-conscious and became an intrinsic part of the habits, traditions and norms of the Sudanese society and distinguish it from other societies. Some are carried out by the State or backed up by the State, and some by the initiatives of the Sudanese society which is  packed  with the spirit of cooperation, collaboration, compassion  and symbiosis, for instance:
1. Charitable Funds
2. Charitable Societies
3. Charitable Organizations
4. Voluntary work Organizations
5. Rescue Youth
6. Charitable Bodies and Institutions and Endowments
7. Charitable Associations
8. Self-help Funds
9.  Fund to fight Thirst
10.  Deposit Funds
11.  Students Subsidy Funds
12.  Poor states Subsidy Funds
13. Zakat Chamber
14. Family Bank
15.  Micro finance for productive families
16. Treatment symbiotic project
17. Social Symbiotic Project
18.  Productive student project
19.  Orphans  sponsorship project
20 . Hospice of infirm and the elderly
21. House of unknown parentage and adoption
22. Subsidy funds for those whose hearts are reconciled
Symbiosis in the Sudanese Folklore:
The term folklore was initiated by the German Archeologist of the British origin, William Jones Thomas in 1948, and it has a specific definition. However, it can be defined based on the subjects it studies and fields in which it studies them. It has become an academic science with rules, theories and topics organized by its different  genres, including habits, traditions,  norms, spiritual beliefs and popular beliefs.
Thus, folklore, in general, and the  Sudanese folklore, in particular,  contains a number of patterns of symbiosis in  its religious and social sense. This is expressed in some Sudanese cultural practices. It reflects the dimensions of the social life that prevail in the Sudanese society,  asserting that it is a symbiotic society that comes among the topics of customs, traditions and norms and can be presented as follows:
1.Nafeer : mobilization for  free collective work without payment. That means, a group of people cooperate to accomplish a job in form of assistance to that person  who needs assistance either because he is unable to do that work by himself as he or she is of old age, disabled, blind or something similar, or just to joint efforts to accomplish their works together in order to gain time and save the individual effort. Examples are: building a house, mosque, school, clinic or a police station, for instance, or plowing,  harvesting a farm, digging a well or other things. There are forms of Nafeer, as the caller of Nafeer proving all the work supplies, including tools, machinery, materials used, food and drink or every person bringing part of  the required supplies, in this case, as a sort of contribution to establish Nafeer. The other form is that some people provide the necessary supplies to make Nafeer. In all cases, the symbiosis is the core of the collective process based on the voluntary participation  without demanding a compensation or any other return except  assistance and sense of unity, interdependence and helping each other.
2. Similar to this, is the Faza (Turning to somebody for assistance). It is one of the patterns of symbiosis to assist whoever needs assistance and help whoever requests help such as the collective participation in retrieving stolen or lost money, dealing with fires and disaster  preventing. Especially , river and rain floods, famines, destruction of crops  and death of animals as a result of fatal diseases   and campaigns  for relief, payment of blood money, fines and compensations and other forms of collective  mobilization.
3.  Also, forms of symbiosis as  deep-rooted religious and cultural practice in the Sudanese life include collective circumcision and collective  wedding, that is marrying a group of young girls to young men at one time with easy and simple terms  to encourage them to get married according to the Prophetic say “ Get married and Allah will make you rich” and he says: “ The one for the  least dowry  is of  the best virtue”.  On collective wedding,  people of the district agree on specific cost for wedding that will be binding for any young man who wants get married.
Whim Pens:
They are, also, known by neglected animals, pens for keeping the neglected and stray animals , such as camels, horses, donkeys , cattle, sheep and goats in order to protect them from beasts, thirsty or any other harm or keep them from destroying crops or being stolen. They are  placed together in a special pen under control of a specific person appointed  by the Omda and seconded by the local authorities to keep the animals, take care of them and announce them  in remote area and nearby areas  to locate the owner and demanding him to pay a fine determined in accordance with certain terms known to the local authorities. The owner has to come and take his animals back in a given period, otherwise they will be confiscated and sold at an auction. In both cases,  the money will be entrusted to the Omda who will turn it over to the concerned authorities. The person taking care  of the pen will be paid a certain percentage of the money.
Relationship between Man of Countryside and City:
One of the forms of the social symbiosis in Sudan is that underlying the relationship between the inhabitants of countryside and their relatives in the city. The Sudanese society, in general, is subject to extended family system whose members are distributed between rural and urban  areas.
They stay in contact with their relatives , whatever the circumstances. Those who live in the city because of the nature of their work  or  came for education and even the expatriates communicate with their relatives in the countryside, whether remote or nearby,  on annual leaves or by modern communication media. They bring them gifts and send them money to make them happy, participate in the solution of their problems, support them in their daily living or to educate their children, their charitable funds or their productive projects.  The people of countryside come to their relatives in the city, either on normal visits, asking for help, for the purpose of medical treatment, education or looking for job opportunities,  especially, most of the residents of the cities have roots in the countryside. They are aware of the circumstances of their relatives in the countryside and they perceive their sufferings and they  are keen to contact them and not to drop them , no matter how long a period they are away from them.
Kinship is recommended by Islam and the local proverb goes “ centaurs is created from earth” or ( your kinship before you perish” or “ a man without a kin has no value”  or  “ Relatives are the shady tree” or “ The lame to her rest home” or “ if your relatives are dogs, make yourself a tail” and other proverbs. When they bid them farewell and intend to return to the countryside after meeting their needs in the city, they are loaded with gifts and the cost of their travel is paid for them and they are given what affordable money and supplies.
6. Aldra:
The place where the people who live in each part of a village meet to eat, drink, talk, chat and enquire about cattle and grazing, where herdsmen sleep  and guests are received.  It will be under a tree near to the house of the youngest married son and called after the name of the eldest man of the quarter . it is a residential institution with its special constituent system based on the mode of the mobile pastoral life. It is the second smallest unit in their social hierarchical  system which begins with smallest unit; Eial al surwal (Eial alragul), Sheikh, Omda, then the largest unit with the lord - the tribal leader. Life at the rural community, in this sense, is a symbiotic life. Everyone comes with what he can afford of food and drink, except the children who are not required to provide any food or drink. They are dependent on the elders.
7. Furash (Place of receiving condolences on the deceased).
Furash will be set up near the house of the relatives of the deceased or in an open place close to the house. All the Sudanese believe in death and attribute, in term of faith, to the command of the Almighty, they believe in the truth of death and say: “ Death is truth and life is false”, and “ God is the owner of what He gave and what He took) in compliance to the word of God { They will die even if they are in fortified palaces} and they recite the poem of their poet “ All men no matter how long they live will be carried in a coffin” or they say: “ his days have come to end”, and other words. We see the symbiotic life in attending the funeral, performing the prayer for the dead man and burring in the Muslim’s cemetery, arranging for a reception place of condolences where everybody will come even if his not related to the deceased except by the brotherhood of Islam. They ask God forgiveness to the deceased and consolation of the relatives to relieve their grief  and pay some money to cover the expenses of Furash and give the remaining to  the family of the deceased, especially, the inheritors. They ask Good for pardon and forgiveness and that God may receive him well and enter him to His spacious paradise with the believers and foregoing Muslims. People eat and drink and the relatives come from remote places and nearby to attend the days of Furash and the occasion of the offering for the salvation of the deceased soul. Then, inheritors bring money and the belongings  of the deceased and distribute them to the  qualified inheritors according to Islamic Sharria, after the debts are paid and the will is  carried out. Burial and reception of condolences have become part of the Sudanese habits and traditions of the Sudanese society and emphasizes and reflects a pompous image of the religious and social symbiosis of the Sudanese society.
8. Traditional Marriage:
Traditional marriage is the traditional bond between man and woman and takes several forms, some of which are optional and some are obligatory. It is an occasion for all relatives and friends to meet to participate in the wedding and celebrate the happy occasion and congratulate the bride  and  the bridegroom. The symbiosis lies, here, in giving a big banquet attended by all who came for the wedding parading from every deep ravine, including the rich and poor, whether coming on written invitation or oral invitation.  They express this occasion in their proverb (The sovereignty of the Son of Arabs is on the day of his wedding) in indication to the large number of people attending. In this case, the bridegroom is compared to the king surrounded by a crowd of his family and courtiers. They, also, say ( the relatives of the bridegroom are craving for a bite), indicating that they would not eat except after everybody is satisfied. The guests will be so many to finish the food and the relatives of the bridegroom would find only a little left for them. They are extremely generous and unselfish.
9. Courage, Virility, Magnanimity and Generosity:
Courage, virility, magnanimity and generosity are symbiotic behavioral values of the Sudanese society emanating from the habits and traditions   composing the dimensions of the Sudanese personality. They, also, make up the cultural elements common between all Sudanese individuals and groups, still in the formative stage by way of the disparity of the cultural and social environments in Sudan. They include confrontation of all dangers and fighting the odds and fierce battles to defend the homeland and defend land, money and honor. They sing for their homeland and land of their ancestors with its Nile, inhabitants and wellbeing. They sing for its values, mountains, sky and all its topographical features. They chant hymns ,anthem  and songs of praise and enthusiasm that reflect their courageous  stands, history  throughout the country   and its splendid glory.
Sessions of Peacemakers and Rakuba:
Sessions of Peacemakers:
Peacemakers are the persons who are granted experience, wisdom and know-how. They know how to solve problems and conciliate between individuals and groups and settle the differences. They can be found in all the Sudanese societies. People always go to them for this purpose and sessions are held to judge between disputing parties or litigants justly for compromise. Sessions are frequently held by the tribal leaders and wise men to mediate between two Sudanese disputing parties and the settle such disputes and make peace between them and urge them towards community peaceful coexistence.
Rakuba is a community symbiotic term in a form of an inherited customary law through generations resorted to settle disputes and make compromises
The name “Rakuba” is taken from the name of that traditional building where peacemakers hold their sessions of settlement of disputes. They depend on the old Arab traditions and ethics which applied before to settle disputes by agreeing on a certain settlement satisfactory for both parties. It became a customary law invoked by subsequent generation without alteration thereof because it is a law agreed upon by all. One a problem occurs between any two groups, they look for a Rakuba, if there is any, to resort to it and depend on it the settlement of the dispute between them.
Similar to Rakuba is “ The Tea Pot”, after completing the proceedings of the Rakuba,  the released person will serve tea to all attendees. So, Tea Pot is complementary   to Rakuba.
There is also what is called “ The Book Fraternity” as a form of a symbiotic customary law inherited among Sudanese groups. It is a kind of an alliance of two persons from two different groups who previously swore on the Holley Book to be full brothers. The relationship between them applies to all members of the two groups. They resort to it, in a similar way to Rakuba to settle their disputes.
Symbiosis in Sudanese Folk Stories:
Unlike the European classification of the stories, puzzles and folk tales in Africa, in general, and Sudan, in particular, we can classify them at two levels. The first includes riddles and puzzles and folk tales. The second mostly religious, historical, social or political contains, among its objectives and functions, many symbiotic values of the Sudanese society.  Examples are:
a)    it was said that among the sources from which the name of Gaaleyeen (one of the largest Arabized tribes in Sudan)  was derived from the name of their ancestor Ibrahim Juol, meaning scarab because of his black color, or Ibrahim Jaal as an euphemism for a virtuous, generous and rich man, according to the symbiotic narrative. They say, people came to him from every place asking him to rescue them from famine  which hit the country at that time. He used to welcome them and say: “ Jaalnakum Taeishuna baynana fi amnin wa salam) meaning “ You are welcome. We will make you live among us in security and peace”.  Thus, those comers were named Jaaleyeen and they formed the Jaali Group.
b)    Also, Sultan Ali Dinar  made a unique example in establishing some symbiotic projects inside and outside Sudan. He dug Abar Ali ( Wells of Ali) at the Migat of the people of Madina ( the place at which people coming from Madina begin the state of Ihram) and known by Zil Khalifa. The name of Abar Ali superseded the old name Zil Khalifa and now it is only known by Abar Ali  to water pilgrims  coming from every deep ravine. In addition, Ali Dinar built religious endowments around the two holly mosques in Mekka and Madina where he bought lands, including the land of Sudan’s Consulate in Jeddah and that piece of land on which Alzubair’s palace is built in the center of Madina Al-Minowera.
The largest project he inherited from his forefathers, Sultans of the Islamic Darfur Sultanate is shroud   of the Holly Kaba, sending Mahmal (loaded camel caravan) and providing the two holly mosques bundle of money. For this reason The Sudanese used to say “ Deliver to whomsoever a bundle in thread)
In addition to sending the Mahmal to veil the holly Kaba annually from West of Sudan. Mahmal represents the utmost religious and social symbiosis if we have known the way it is collected and the purpose. According to the culture and books, Sultan Ali Dinar fasted Ramadan every year with a certain group of Darfurians. He gathered the scholars of Islam to observe Ramadan nights and recite holly Quran.
He used to order the inhabitants of that area of Darfur and neighboring areas to collect cash and in-kind donation to prepare the Mahmal. He chose certain persons to collect such donations which contained all good and pleasant dried foods and beverages, crops, honey, margarine, ostrich feathers, elephant tusks, cash monies, handicraft, camels, sheep and goats and take them to Tandalty (Alfasher, the word Fasher is derived from Sultan’s Fasher, meaning the court of the Sultan. It is borrowed from the Islamic Sultanate of Brno in Chad). All these things collected  will be placed in a big open area in the center of the city. Then, the Mahmal leader is appointed and slaves join the Mahmal to guard it and to be donated and other people coming from Islamic countries join them to serve the holly two mosques.
There is , also, the Sultan’s Bateyah. Bateyah means the enormous eating plate which is made from the trunks of large trees , such as Faidherbia albida tree.  Necessarily, a large number of people can eat out of this plate.  According to narrators, the Sultan made Friday in every week an open day for all people to come to his house and eat and drink and go back to their places at the end of the day. It is an open invitation to every person and his family. The said the Sultan used to distribute food to people with his own hands, move between them and listen to their complaints. Everybody took whatever he could take and he would need of grains, sesame, peanuts, dried meats, meat, oil, margarine, honey, food, salt and all other things. Therefore, this day was called Bateyah. It shows the symbiosis and compassion between the Sultan and his people, in general. He said by himself, when he was chosen for the Sultanate with approval of the English, after Kerary Battle, he found Darfur living the famous famine of 1906.
The Sultanate of Darfur was under Sultan Yusef, supported by Mahadi government. Then, Sultan Ali Dinar came and deposed  him and took back the rule of the Sultanate. He found with the former Sultan much money, cattle and stored crops. He distributed them to the Darfurians and gave whoever came to him, whether male or female, from the cattle as he or she wanted provided that they shall return it after the number of the cattle reaches seven, and he or she and their sons might benefit from their milk until they return them.
Thus, he was able to support the Darfurians and assist them to get rid of famine, poverty and need until they afforded  living once more.
They recount that a leader of one of the Gaali Groups requested one of Funge men to help him ease life of his relatives who suffered from famine and lost everything they owned. The man drew a fur which was on his saddle on which he was riding and placed it on the saddle of the other’s saddle and he told him to go and sell it and buy for its value something to quench their hunger. He said that was not sufficient. The Funge man directed him to go to one of the Fur Sultans who would, certainly solve his problem.
The Gaali leader went to the Sultan as a guest and told him his storey. The Sultan received him generously and collected him a number of camels, cattle, sheep, goats , donkeys, horses and herdsmen and gave them all to him. After, the Gaali spent a whole week, he asked the Sultan the permission to go. He  thanked him, bade him a warm farewell  and took with him all the things granted by the Sultan.
In this context, especially, in written  literature, we find several stories and tales that tell various forms of symbiosis as genuine practices of the Sudanese society. In the novel “ The Wedding of Ezzain” by the world famous Sudanese novelist, Altayeb Salih, the events which occurred at one of the villages of the land of Shaygeyah, are a good example of the rural life, in general, and explain how the settled people and herdsmen   live in compassion, love and symbiosis , in compliance with the Prophetic tradition “The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever”.  And “You will not be a believer unless you wish your brother what you wish yourself”.
There are, also,  other accounts recounted by the Sudanese in Diaspora, especially, in the Gulf countries, which earned them a good reputation, a high position, high respect and   high appreciation until they became  exemplary for expatriates. Sudanese clubs, societies and associations extends to all parts of the world highlighting the value of symbiosis and interdependence among them and sharing with each other in thick and thin. One of these stories tell about a Sudanese who was sick in a hospital. He was asked to buy some medicines and he had no money. He told the nurse to go and stand by the street and stop Sudanese passing and bring him. The nurse was astonished when the first two Sudanese he stooped their cars  and told them the situation , responded enthusiastically, bought the medicines  and very quickly went with the nurse  to meet the sick Sudanese. Then, they reported the case to the Sudanese community whose members came with their wives to take care of the Sudanese patient  until he recovered and left hospital.
Another story of the spirit of symbiosis rooted in the Sudanese , is that one day the car of a man of a man from the Gulf Countries broke down on one of the highways far from the city, because  one of the tires was flat and he had no spare tire and no one stopped to help him, except the first Sudanese happened to pass. He had no spare tire either, but he gave him his turban to put it on his head and  signal  to  any Sudanese passing.  Actually, he stopped the first Sudanese passing who gave him his only spare tire and solved his problem and resumed his journey. There are many of these stories which show the noble and genuine values of the Sudanese person.
Symbiosis in the Sudanese Proverbs :
No matter how the opinions  differ on the concept of the popular proverb, it is customary among most of the folklorists and efficient researchers that the popular  proverb is an inherited  aphorism common in any culture of any people. The proverb is the mirror that reflects the customs, traditions, norms, values , spiritual and popular beliefs, behavior, ethics, philosophy and vision in life.  Thus, it is the most common form as being  a representative metaphor based on a compound simile. In terms of the literary drafting, it is so brief, perfectly constructed and melodious that it helps easy memorization, easy circulation and continuity over successive generations.
There are many aphorisms, proverbs and dictums and examples of sayings in which those who said them, their sources, functions and examples are incorporated. They contain many concepts and values associated to symbiosis among the Sudanese, such as saying:
1. If people are good-natured , a wooden bed or a boat can carry one hundred.
2. if the tree bends it leans on her sister
3. if the hat falls, it will be grabbed by the shoulder
4. whoever eats alone, will be chocked
5. The boiled grains of smiling faced person is better than the bread of the sullen
6. The poor shared a buckthorn
7. offer what it is available to you
8. God bless the food shared by many eaters
9. God bless and increase ( God replace)
10 . People for people and Allah for all
11. hand with hand throw far (cooperation and collaboration , as mobilization for assistance)
12. Nothing barks on the bed except the dog (getting bored of guests or reproaching them)
13. The lame back to its pen.
14. Centaurs is originally from earth ( a large block of mud built by bees)
15. So-and-so ate with us salt and bread ( friendship has been established and cannot be forgotten or denied).
16. Teas to please others (Usually, tea and water are offered to guests) to honor him
17. The Sudanese frequently repeat some words and phrases full  of spririt of faith and symbiosis, like  saying, for example: Allah is Generous, May God increase, God make it good and blessed, welcome and so on.
18. Some nicknames given to generous people reflect a sort of symbiosis among the poor and rich Sudanese communities, such as  Asha Aldaifan “ Guests Supper” as some commercial stores or milk shops may be called, or Asha Al Baytat (Supper for the girls who have no one to give them supper), as mentioned in the novel “ Season of Migration to the North” by Altayeb Salih, or Gamal Alsail  (load carrying camel).
Naum Shugair, in his book, Geography and History of Sudan, mentioned that Ismael Alwelli was a rich man and built a palace whose relics are in Al-Obeied in West of Sudan. He was nicknamed Ismael Gaila (Engailo in the language of Goldy ) the load carrying camel in indication to his generosity and giving out his money and food to others.
19. Also, they say” So-and-so is Awagel darib) meaning he is the generous and moralist man who make other people leave the road they are walking on and bend to his house  for food, drink and gifts.
20. Al- Sug Gadah Alnabi ( where you can find what you want).
And there are many other proverbs.
Future Vision:
In the context of the ongoing cultural conflict and cultural dialog today, lead by the globalization countries preaching the new world order lead by the West under the command of America on one hand and Eastern Europe under the Soviet Union on the other hand, The Islamic countries, in general, and Sudan, in particular, must unite and form a resistance force to fight  against  self and cultural alienation that make us our cultural identity.  We need to revive the Islamic noble religious values, especially, symbiosis in all its patterns and forms and instill them in the minds and feelings of the upcoming generation. We must begin with teaching them as part of the educational programs and we have to be keen to practice them practically and precisely in different fields of life.
Sources and References:
•    The Holly Quran, Prophetic Tradition, Bible, new Testament ,Arabic common translation  from the original language, Publishing Jouse, in Middle East.
•    Abdul Gabbar Abdullah Fadul , Judia in Darfur (Mediators in Darfur)
•    Abdul Hamid Musa Kasha, The Traditional Approach in Disputes Settlement,  reconciliation sessions, research paper, supplementary research to fulfill Master degree, Juba University, Peace and Development Studies Center, 2004.
•    Ahmed Mohamed Salih Al-Karuri, From the History of the Religious Education in Sudan, Omdurman Islamic University Printing and Publishing House, 1992.
•    Sulaiman Yahia Mohamed, Popular Proverbs, Origin , Source and Function, Khartoum , Sudan Printing Presses for Currency Limited, 2007.
•    Sulaiman Yahia Mohamed, Encyclopedia of Darfur Heritage, part 1, Sudan Printing Presses for Currency Limited, 2007
•    Mohamed Ibn Abi Bakr Abdulgader Al-Razi, Mukhtar Al- Sihah, Beirut, Dar Maktabt Al-Hilal, 1987.
•    Magdi Wahba Kamil Almuhandis, Dictionary of Arabic Terms in Arabic Language, edition 2, Beirut, Maktabat Libnan, 1984.
•    Magdi Wahba Kamil Almuhandis, Concise Dictionary, Arabic Language Academy, Arab Republic of Egypt, Eastern Advertising Company, Dar El Tahreer for Printing and Publishing, 1980.
•    Adel Salim Al Abd Al Jader, Month of Ramadan and Islamic Celebrations, Kuwaiti Al –Arabi magazine, Ministry of Information, issue 691, June 2016.
•    Mohamed Ibrahim Abu Saleem, About Sudanese Personality, Khartoum, Khartoum Publishing Printing House, 1979.
•    Awn Al-Sharief Gasim, Dictionary of Dialects in Sudan: Khartoum University Publishing House, 1985.
•    Ismael Ali Al-Fhail & Sulaiman Mohamed Ibrahim (Translation) : Personal Stories about Galeyeen, Intermixture of African, Arab and Islamic Elements, by : Sayed Hamid Hariz, Beirut, Dar Algabal, Dar Al-Mamun Limited. 1991.


Add Comment