Skills associated with traditional handicraft


Al taresh

Correspondence in the past relied on verbal communication.

Messengers, known as Al taresh, were known for their personable ways and ability to summarise messages and choose the appropriate timing to present the message and the language and terminology according to the message content and occasion. In the modern era, Al taresh would be equivalent to the postman. 

In our colloquial dialect, the term Al taresh is used to refer to a messenger who is sent to communicate a matter or deliver a specific item to another person. 
It is common for Al taresh to say:

"الطّارش المحدثاني يِغْني عن الكَتّيبْ"
“God willing, the Al taresh (messenger) is carrying good news.” This means that perhaps this messenger is carrying good tidings, so people rejoice about the arrival of good news. 

Al taresh has been featured in many poems, including one by poet Al Mayassa Al Nadeeb, who said:

قم يا نديبي شد واعتد
وأوصل جدا راعي الدعيات

Another poet says:

يا طارشي بندب سوالي جدوى الذي بالحال معلوم
لي شط حالي واستوالي حبه وسط لفؤاد مرسوم 

Al taresh was a necessary seasonal occupation in the past, when people delivered messages inside or outside the country. They would also be asked to deliver verbal messages – be they happy, sad, unexpected or any other kind. 

The narrators confirm that Al taresh conveyed news and items personally. He would also carry written or oral messages, poetry, or other tools that require trust and honesty for their delivery. Al taresh uses ways to protect what he is carrying – if it is a written message or item, he uses a special bag, known in the colloquial dialect as ‘al khareetah’, to carry what he has to deliver to its destination, and to transport it from one place to another. He may either travel on foot or ride a camel, horse or donkey which used to be the main forms of transport in the past. Al taresh was also sometimes called a delegate or emissary, and he was required to be honest, tactful, and have high morals. He would sometimes be paid a fee, depending on the party that sent him, but in general the matter was done according to customary norms of cooperation between members of the community. The poet, Abdul Rahman bin Naaman said:

يا طارشي على الرنج وأنته سايقه
شل الكتاب وسير صوب أرحامي 

A popular proverb about Al taresh among the people is:

"الطّارش المحدثاني يِغْني عن الكَتّيبْ"
“Al taresh sings out the message.”


This proverb emphasizes the importance of Al taresh’s eloquence, his talent for speaking and his ability to select the right words to deliver the message he came with. This is better than a letter written by a skilled writer, because that presents only one aspect and one point of view. Al taresh, on the other hand, uses several methods, including selecting the appropriate words according to the stature of the person being addressed, as well as the manner of standing and sitting in front of him, and the use of eye contact and body language to suit the nature of the message and the person he is delivering to. 


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