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erally invisible there are those who have second sight and can see the qarina. It wanders about at night in the shape of a cat. I have recently taken down verbatim from Sheikh Ahmed Muharram of Daghestan and later from Smyrna an account of the popular belief. He says that his statement represents the belief of all Turkish and Russian Mohammedans. The qurana (plural of qarina) come into the world from the 'Alalam ul Barzakhiya" at the time the child is conceived, before it is born; therefore during the act of coition, Moslems are told by their Prophet to pronounce the word “bismillah.” This will prevent the child from being overcome by its devil and turned into an infidel or rascal. The qarina exists with the foetus in the womb. When the child is born the ceremony of pronouncing the creed in its right ear and the call to prayer in the left is to protect the child from its mate. Among the charms used against qurana are portions of the Koran written on leaden-images of fish or on leaden discs. The qurana are invisible except to people who are idiots and to the prophets. These often have second vision. The qurana do not die with their human mates, but exist in the grave until the day of the resurrection, when they testify for or against the human being. The reason that young children die is because Umes Subyan (the child-witch) is jealous of the mother, and she then uses the qarina of the child to put an end to it. “The way I overcome my qarina,” said Ahmed Muharram, “is by prayer and fasting.” It is when a man is overcome with sleep that his qarina gets the better of him. “When I omit a prayer through carelessness or forgetfulness, it is my qarina and not myself. The qarina is not a spirit merely but has a spiritual body, and all of them differ in their bodily appearance, although invisible to us. The qarina does not increase in size, however, as does the child.” The Sheikh seemed to be in doubt in regard to the sex of the qarina. At first he would not admit that the sex relation was as indicated, thinking it improper for a man to have a female mate, but after discussion he said he was mistaken. He admitted also that all these popular beliefs were based upon the Koran and Tradition, although superstitious practice had crept in among the masses. A learned Sheikh at Caliub, a Moslem village near Cairo, was also consulted on the subject. At first he tried to explain away the idea of popular Islam by saying that the qarina only referred to the evil conscience or a man’s evil nature, but after a few questions he became quite garrulous, and gave the following particulars: The expectant mother, in fear of the qarina, visits the sheikha (learned woman) three months before the birth of the child, and does whatever she indicates as a remedy. These sheikhas exercise great influence over the women, and batten on their superstitious beliefs, often impersonating the qarina and frightening the ignorant. The Moslem mother often denies the real sex of her babe for seven days after it is born in order to protect its life from the qarina. During these seven days she must not strike a cat or she and the child will both die. Candles are lighted on the seventh day and placed in a jug of water near the head of the child, to guard it against the qarina. Before the child is born a special amulet is prepared, consisting of seven grains each of seven different kinds of cereal. These are sewn up in a bag, and when the infant is born it is made to wear it. The mother also has certain verses of the Koran written with musk water or ink on the inside of a white dish. This is then filled with water and the ink washed off and the contents taken as a potion. The Sheikh told me that the last two chapters of the Koran and also Surat Al Mujadala were most commonly used for this purpose. One of the most common amulets against the qarina or the child-witch is that called the “Seven Covenants of Solomon.” " In Upper Egypt the bride wears a special amulet against the qarina fastened to her hair at the back or elsewhere on her person. It consists of a triangular bag an inch long of colored cloth containing seeds. The tongue of a donkey dried is considered a most powerful charm against the qarina and is used as an amulet on the house or the person. A third amulet against the qarina of which I have a specimen from the village of Sirakna consists of a flat bronze ring three quarters of an inch in diameter. On this they tie threads of yellow, red, and blue silk. It is then hung in the armpit of a little child to protect it from the qarina. Charms and amulets against the qarina abound. Books on the subject are printed by the thousands of copies. Here, for example, are the directions given for writing an amulet in the celebrated book called “Kitab Mujaribat" by Sheikh Ahmed Al Dirbi (p. 105): “This (twenty-fourth) chapter gives an account of an amulet to be used against qarina and against miscarriage. This is the blessed amulet prepared to guard against all bodily and spiritual evils and against harm and sorcery and demons and fear and terror and jinn and the qarina and familiar spirits and ghosts and fever and all manner of illness and wetting the bed, and against the child-witch (Um es Subyan) and whirlwinds and devils and poisonous insects and the evil eye and pestilence and plague and to guard the child against weeping while it sleeps — and the mystery of this writing is great for those children who have fits every month or every week or who cannot cease from crying or to the woman who is liable to miscarriage. And it is said that this amulet contains the great and powerful name of God — in short, it is useful for all evils. It must be
6 The unseen world, Hades, the abode of souls after death and before birth.
The fish amulets are made of lead and are used against the Qarina. These are specially manufactured at Damanhur, a city of the Delta