Majlis, translated from Arabic as “sitting place”, is the area where people come together for administrative, religious or social gatherings. In Islamic countries the term is used to describe the National Assembly, Parliament or a Legislative Council.
In everyday life in the UAE, majlis is called the part of the house where the head of the family receives and entertains his male guests. In the beginning majlis was a tent that was eventually replaced by a carpeted room. The guests sit on large cushions placed around the room. At the majlis the guests are offered dates and other traditional Emirati sweets, drink coffee or tea and smoke the shisha. Because of the hot climate, Majlis gatherings traditionally happen after sunset and can go on for hours. Common topics of discussion are everyday life matters, religious topics and recollection of the past.