‘Mu­gasees’ Mar­ket

Kuwait Times - - FROM THE ARABIC PRESS - By Dr Saleh Al-Ojairi

In the decades be­fore Kuwait struck oil, we had many old mar­kets. Some of these still ex­ist, while oth­ers have van­ished and ceased to ex­ist. These in­clude ‘Wa­jef’ (stand­ing), Harem (women), Ibn Duaij, Jatt (fod­der), Meat, Fish, Vegetable, Tin, Black­smiths, Char­coal, Wa­ter, Dates, AlMo­jel, White, Jews, In­ner, Besht (cloak) and Mu­gasees mar­kets.

The Mu­gaseess mar­ket is one of those that are not needed any­more. It used to con­vene fol­low­ing the Asr (even­ing) prayers on Fri­days and lasted till sun­set. Ety­mo­log­i­cally, the word ‘mu­gasees’ means des­ti­tute peo­ple who usu­ally sold fur­ni­ture or house­hold items they owned to make some money to tide for them­selves and their fam­i­lies. In ad­di­tion, many stolen items were usu­ally sold in this mar­ket, where peo­ple could make prized bar­gains and buy things cheaply.

In 1935, the late Amir Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah gave my late fa­ther, Mo­hammed Saleh Al-Ojairi, a piece of land in Sal­hiya (the location of Sal­hiya fire sta­tion nowa­days), where we built a house, a mosque and an­other house as an en­dow­ment an­nexed to the mosque. One day at noon, wor­ship­pers pre­par­ing for prayers found that a pul­ley used to draw wa­ter out of a well was miss­ing. They re­ported the theft to my fa­ther, who asked if they had seen the thief, but none of them had seen him and they failed to de­scribe him. “I will bring it back to you be­fore sun­set,” he told them with his usual sure words and wit. The peo­ple thought he was go­ing to buy a new one for them, but to their sur­prise, just be­fore sun­set, he brought them back the very same pul­ley. “How did you get it back?” they asked. “I sim­ply bought it very cheaply from the thief him­self at the Mu­gasees Mar­ket,” my fa­ther told them!

In ad­di­tion, many stolen items were usu­ally sold in this mar­ket

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