Keeping a legacy alive
Bait al Khonji has kept alive a legacy of bringing people of all cultures together for many decades now. It’s a tradition that becomes even more evident during the month of Ramadan, when people of different cultures and walks of life are invited for elaborate iftars at Bait al Khonji located in the Areen area of Muttrah.
The house was built many years ago when it served as a hub for traders both international and domestic. The latter came from different regions of the sultanate.
In the past, Bait al Khonji has hosted councils of traders from different countries. Its fame spread far and wide during its day serving as a meeting point where traders and travellers converged on to exchange news and hear Arab and international radio stations. Interestingly, there were no broadcasting stations in the sultanate before 1970.
The monumental edifice was built in 1920s by two brothers Mohammed and Ahmed, sons of Abdullah bin Ahmed al Khonji. Since then, the house has continued to welcome one and all keeping alive the tradition of its founding fathers from one generation to the next.
In the present times, Khalil bin Abdullah al Khonji and his brothers endeavour to keep the legacy alive by receiving guests from every strata of society, including government officials, diplomats, academics, intellectuals, business leaders and community representatives.
Since the death of the late Muhammad al Khonji in 1989 and Abdullah al Khonji in 1991, Khalil and his brothers have made every effort to continue the work of their forefathers.
Majlis al Khonji, within Bait al Khonji, has played a significant role in not just Muttrah but Omani society. During Ramadan, Bait al Khonji hosts iftars that are attended by a large number of guests, including ambassadors of Gulf and Arab states as well as family, colleagues, neighbours and friends.
The majlis allocates some iftar gatherings exclusively for women, while other evenings are reserved for members of various groups such as architectures, medical practitioners, tourism sector, industry, sportsmen, etc. One iftar evening is dedicated to Muttrah and Muscat residents, while another for the traders based in Muttrah. The latter is an opportunity for everyone of these individuals, who play a significant role in Oman’s economy and tourism sector considering the historic maritime location they operate in, to meet.
"Bait al Khonji also plays an important role by hosting weekly brainstorming sessions on various subjects including socio-economic issues throughout the year and hosting working sessions for trade councils," said Khalil al Khonji, chairman of Al Khonji Group.