The Ribat

Just across the square from the mosque is the Ribat with it’s imposing watch-tower. Built in the 9th century AD, it started as a fortress for military volunteers of Islam before serving as a retreat for Sufi mystics and caravanserai for traders/travelers. 11 centuries later, the structure still stands tall. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

As I stood atop the tower, I started musing over the significance of the Ribat. While it might be outdated for its purpose in the modern world, it would do well for us to have our own spiritual Ribat in our mindspace .The Ribat was not only meant to defend a faith, but also a place of introspection and reflection for the monks and mystics. It was also a place open to outside influences as traders and travellers from afar came and brought with them new thoughts, ideas and perspectives. I’d like to think that the Ribat enriched the faith it was meant to just defend.

So may it be with your own spiritual Ribat!


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