Ustadh used to speak highly of Mauritanians and their phenomenal memories not just of men but of women too , who had memorized dictionaries such as Al-Qamoos in their old age! I’m surprised at women making such an effort because usually one would not expect a woman to find it beneficial or even worth the time to do that. Ustadh also used to mention how the air of Mauritania is so pure and if there’s one place on the earth where people are closest to the Sunnah in terms of their simple minimalistic lifestyle, that would be Mauritania. The Shaykhs there teach in tents and you have to go through a lot of struggle to be able to learn. The kind of people who study there and come out as ‘graduates’ are real gems. However, the outskirts of Mauritania is where the Sufi Shaykhs have a hub so if one wishes to travel, they must go deep to the real authentic sources.
I believe it was Sh. Abu ‘Eesa who also said that upon his visit to Mauritania, he entered the Masjid before the Friday prayer and decided to recite some Quraan. He didn’t find a single MusHaf in the Masjid! Why? Because people do not need it over there. They have it all memorized, mashaa’Allah! From little kids to adults!It’s the norm there.
And Ustadh also said that if you recite the Quraan in any public place in a dialect other than Wersh then people there correct you as if you are reciting it incorrectly! They do not hesitate from doing that and they do not know that there are other dialects of recitation. People there are very humble and welcoming. They share whatever they have and do not mind at all eating and drinking from the same utensils like Muslims nowadays have the nerve to. Mauritanians also make your life their business and take part in it.
It is not a place for most people who have lived a life of luxury and you need nerves of steel to be able to live there. Your Tawakul in Allah SWT gets strengthened when the sandstorms kick in or you’re in an emergency situation and you do not have the facility to call 911. A lot of people may call such a place lacking in facilities but I call it a place full of excellent opportunities to facilitate your Eeman in Allah SWT. That’s the best of facilities a place can ever provide.
Anyway, may Allah SWT grant us the company of those who are strong adherents of the Sunnah and give us the opportunity to learn from them.Ameen.