The hostile desert environment did not just lead to a total dependency between the individual and the clan, it also obliged to a fabulous hospitality towards other desert travelers. In the vast silence and brooding solitude of the Sinai, it was a special event to meet a stranger.
A new face is a reason for great interest, generosity and careful etiquette, all values that are celebrated in poetry, proverbs and songs of the Bedouins. A stranger could stay three days without being asked of his whereabouts. He was considered and treated as a guest and
enjoyed full protection of the clan.
Diya'fa is strongly ritualized. If an animal is slaughtered for a guest, this is done in accordance with Islamic laws. Guests are ritually incorporated into their hosts' households and are protected as if they were family.
Upon arrival guests are welcomed and a rug is immediately spread out. They will be served sweet tea with a
local mint (Habbaq) in small glasses. Guests are honored and information is exchanged over and over again (a ritual of giving and taking) and it the most important ritual starts, the preparation of Qahwha - fresh Bedouin (Arabic) coffee:
- The beans are roasted, cooled and
grinded with a little cardamom in a large wooden coffee mortar (Hawhant). The sound of the crushing of the roasted coffee beans in the Hawhant is the basis of the rhythm of the Bedouin music.
- An ornate metal coffee pot with a long spout (Bakra'ash) is filled with water and brought to the boil on the fire and the grinded coffee with
cardamom and sugar are added. The whole is brought again to the boiling point, and then it is allowed to rest in the smoldering fire.
The coffee is ritually served in small porcelain cups without an earpiece (Finghel), which are half full and in accordance with the ritual always will