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place of ordures, they strip off their smocks, and annoint their bodies with cow milk (which in Arabia is esteemed medicinal), and then the witches cry, “We be issued from the religion of Islam.’ So they gad it in the dim streets, and woe worth any man returning lateward if they meet with him! For they will compel him to lie with them; and if he should deny them, they will change him into the form of some beast — an ox, a horse, or an ass: and he shall afterward lose his mind, and in the end perish miserably. But they eat, wellah, the heart (and he is aware of it) of him who consents to them, and suck the blood of his living body; and after this he will become a fool, and be a dazing man all his days.”
The sorcerer who desires to exercise his magic art begins by sacrificing a black cock. He then reads his spell, ties his knots, or flings his magical readings into the wells. All this is done in the same fashion to-day as was customary before Mohammed. To such practices the last two chapters of the Koran refer. Much more important and more widespread than the magic of producing demonic influence is the magic of acting against them — what might be called “antimagic.” Illness, especially in the case of children, is caused by Jinn. The one remedy is therefore magic. And consists in stroking or rubbing, the tying of knots, or spitting and blowing. I have seen an educated kadi in Arabia solemnly repeat chapters from the Koran and then blow upon the body of his dying child, in order to bring back health again. The Rev. Edwin E. Calverley tells this story: “What do you suppose I have just seen 2° exclaimed an excited Jew to a Christian in a Moslem city of Arabia.
“What was it? Where did you see it?”
“There was a whole group of Arab women standing outside the big door of the mosque and they all had cups or glasses in their hands.”
“Oh, they were beggars, and they were waiting for the men to get through reciting their prayers.” “But no, they were not beggars, because I saw the beggars at another door, and besides, I watched the men as they came out of the mosque, and, it is hard to believe it, they spat right into the cups and glasses and bowls that the women and children and even men held out to them. Some of the Moslems spat into one cup after another, into every cup that was put near them. I never saw the like in all my life I’’ “That is indeed most strange and revolting! What were they doing it for ? I’m sure I don’t know. Why don't you go and ask some Moslem about it?” Soon he came back, utterly disgusted. “Did you find out what the purpose is ?” “Yes, and that is the most repulsive thing of all! I wouldn’t have believed it about them if anybody but one of their own religion had told it to me. Those people with the cups and bowls have some friend or some one in their family who is sick, and they are collecting the spittle of the men who have just finished their prayers for their sick ones at home.” My Moslem friends could not give me the religious authority supporting their unhygienic custom, but such authority exists nevertheless. Al Bukhari (Sahih VII, p. 150) gives two traditions reporting Mohammed's sanction for the practice. After recording the usual “chain of witnesses, Al Bukhari relates that “Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) said that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told a sick man, “In the name of Allah the earth of our land and the saliva of some of us cure our sick, by the permission of our Lord.’” Spitting is used for all difficult performances, for example, to open locks that will not otherwise yield to the key. (See Doughty Vol. I, p. 527 and Vol. II, p. 164.) In this way they cure sick camels. Doughty says (Vol. II, p. 164): “Another time I saw Salih busy to cure a mangy thelāl; he sat with a bowl of water before him, and mumbling thereover he spat in it, and mumbled solemnly and spat many times; and after a half-hour of this work the water was taken to the sick beast to drink. Spitting (a despiteful civil defilement) we have seen to be some great matter in their medicine. Is it that they spit thus against the malicious jinn” Parents bid their young children spit upon them: and an Arabian father will often softly say to the infant son in his arms, ‘Spit upon babul spit, my darling.’” Another case he gives as follows: (Vol. I, p. 527): “A young mother yet a slender girl, brought her wretched babe, and bade me spit upon the child’s sore eyes; this ancient Semitic opinion and custom I have afterward found wherever I came in Arabia. Meteyr nomads in el-Kasim have brought me, some of them bread and some salt, that I should spit in it for their sick friends. Their gossips followed to make this request with them and when I blamed their superstition they answered simply, that ‘such was the custom here from time out of mind.’” In regard to blowing and spitting as methods of healing or conferring a blessing, it is important to note the Arabic distinction between mafakha and mafatha, the latter means to blow with spittle. A Moslem correspondent in Yemen points out this distinction and says that there is no real healing power or hurting power in the dry breath. It is the spittle or soul-stuff that transfers good or ill. Among the animistic tribes of West Africa spitting is one of the means of conferring a blessing. The same thing is true among the Barotse of South Africa. Mr. Nassau writes: “The same Benga word, tuwaka, to spit, is one of the two words which mean also ‘to bless.” In pronouncing a blessing there is a violent expulsion of breath, the hand or head of the one blessed being held so near the face of the one blessing that sometimes in the act spittle is actually expelled upon him.” 8 Concerning South Africa he quotes a testimony of Wilson: “Relatives take leave of each other with elaborate ceremony. They spit upon each other's faces and heads, or rather, pretend to do so, for they do not actually emit saliva. They also pick up blades of grass, spit upon them, and stick them about the beloved dead. They also spit on the hands: all this is done to ward off evil spirits. Spittle also acts as a kind of taboo. When they do not want a thing touched they spit on straws, and stick them all about the object.” In India, we are told, many women with their little children go to the mosques at the prayer hour and stand near the door. After prayers as the people come out from the mosques still repeating their wazifas they breathe on these children. Often in case of sickness in the family some one is sent for (such as an Imam) who repeats some suras or verses of the Roran and either directly breathes on the sick or on a little water which is given to the sick to drink. Sometimes he touches his tongue with his forefinger and then the tongue of the sick, and in this way saliva is used for healing purposes.” “In Yemen,” writes a Moslem correspondent, “it is common to blow on the sick or use saliva for healing. But it is necessary that the one who blows or uses spittle should be a pious man, and that before he does it the Fatiha be repeated. This practice is in accordance with the example of the Prophet as he worked miracles in this way and his Companions did likewise.” In Tabriz, Persia, a holy man often is asked to say prayers for the sick and breathe on them. “Some people,” says Mr. Gerdener of South Africa, “who have been to Mecca are supposed to possess the power to breathe on the face of the sick and cure them. Passing the hand in front of the face is also resorted to, especially for children.” In Bahrein, Arabia, saliva mixed with oil, is used as an ointment and is also taken internally. It is collected in a cup from various contributors! The Mullah's breath is supposed to be efficacious in sickness. He receives a fee for this treatment. “Mrs. D. called on the women of Sheikh J 's household, and he was in the room doctoring a sick boy. He sat beside him,” writes Miss Kellien, “muttering pious phrases supposedly from the Koran, and punctuating every few words by spitting towards the child’s face, and then watching her to see how she took it. She said his wives were convulsed with laughter which they were careful to hide, and had apparently little faith in the virtue of such treatment.” To cure headache in Algeria the taleb will take hold of the patient’s head with the first finger and thumb across the brow and gently blow upon the patient’s face until the pain has disappeared. A taleb will spit in the mouth of a patient supposed to be possessed by jinn, knock him sharply on the back between the shoulder-blades, and the evil spirit will leave him. In Tunis if a person is ill, some one is brought who spits on his own hands and wipes them over the sick person’s face and hands. Among Moslems everywhere sneezing has an evil significance and may have bad results. To ward these off, those who are present utter a pious formula. This was the custom before Islam as well as to-day. Gaping is of the devil (Bukhari 2:180), therefore it is followed by the expression, “I take refuge in God (from Satan).” The chief danger, however, always present to the Semitic