Profile: Mohammed the baker, at Qatar’s Souq Waqif

All photos by Baba Tamim

In a hidden corner in one of the corridors of Souq Waqif, an old man spends 12-16 hours of his day making money to support his family while smiling at passersby.

Mohammed Abdul Aziz Durbar was 16 years old when he moved to Qatar from Iran. The 57-year-old works as a baker at “Kabab Al Tayeb,” an Iranian restaurant at the Souq.

Durbar’s day begins at 7am, when he mixes flour in a machine to prepare dough for the large flat bread served at the eatery.

“The process of making bread is time consuming, so a lot of steps are involved,” he told Doha News this week. “And when I am finally done making over a 1,000 loafs of bread a day, I get sound sleep.”

Bread making

Baba Tamim

Bread making

The restaurant is next to a mosque, which makes it easy for Durbar to be close to his creator, he said.

In addition to being dedicated to his prayers, Durbar is also steadfast about his work, something that inspires many of his colleagues and customers alike.

Speaking to Doha News, one of his longtime co-workers said:

“What’s so unique about Mohammad is that he doesn’t take any breaks from the work other than prayers. While most of us would pass time here and there, and take appropriate breaks to not feel burdened, he stays mostly in the corner of the restaurant working tirelessly.”

Durbar is married with six kids, whom he travels to see in Iran every six months.

Souq baker

Baba Tamim

Souq baker

He explained, “I save QR2,000 a month after free food and accommodation. So the savings go for the studies of my kids’, except the eldest boy who works as a salesman at a perfume shop in Iran. It’s tough but thanks to the Almighty I am happy about my life.”

Kabab Al Tayeb has a limited menu but delicious offerings, according to customers.

The restaurant serves chicken, kofta, liver kababs, as well as salad and grilled vegetables. Prices range from two pieces of bread for QR1 to QR20 for a kabob platter that includes bread.

Because most of the seating is outside, the baker’s corner is an attraction for many. Many people take pictures of Durbar as he works, which he said he likes.

“People visiting from different countries come and take pictures of me, some eat some don’t eat – it doesn’t matter.”

Thoughts?


This entire feature was shot on an iPhone. To learn how to tell your own photo-stories on your mobile, consider signing up for our upcoming photography workshop, which will be taught by Baba Tamim. More information can be found here. Doha News members are entitled to a 20 percent discount.

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