What you are about to see is a snippet of the past brought to the present.

In the deepest of deserts and terrain lie teachers and representatives of the Prophets (as) teaching peace and love, righteousness and honour.

If you want to experience possibly what it might have been like to be around the great Sheikhs of the past or possibly around the Prophet (saw), then the Badia or outbacks of the mountainous desert of Mauritania is where you must head. As soon as you land in Noukachott 9;s ( the capital) 39;makeshift' airport you are thrown back centuries at the sight of the face s and gowns of the Mauritanians.

A mix of arab and African black the Mauritanians are some of the most hospitable and learned people in the world. Every other Tom, Dick or Harry will be a Hafiz of the Quran or capable of teaching one of the sciences or arts at a basic level.

The country's climate and landscape is harsh and shows on the faces of the people, the real knowledge lies in the desert and outback.

This particular visit undertaken by brother Abdullah was to visit Sheikh Murabit Al Hajj (ra) in Twemerit, two days travel from the capital. Sheikh Murabit al Hajj(ra) was responsible for what we now know as Imam Hamza Yusuf (ra).

'' this journey changed me forever, even if it was only 5 weeks I grew 5 years in those 5 weeks!'' Abdullah Shamis

On the way there are plenty of outback traditional madrassahs teaching the art of peace and love through intense study and memorisation. Being there is not only a learning, but a real retreat from the world and a chance to reconnect with the stars in the skies as they are.

The combination of photography in film form has preserved images of what in years to come may certainly change. The following images were taken in september 2002.