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he begins by acknowledging that rice has a living essence of its own which he is bound to treat with respect. In short, he considers that all nature is teeming with life and that his own soul is walking in the midst of invisible foes. All of these evil spirits find worshipers among Moslems in the Malay States to-day. The pawang or witch-doctor and not the Moslem priest is called in to exorcise them. This he does with old-fashioned magic with admixture of the names of Allah and Mohammed. “The pawang or witch-doctor is in great demand by orthodox Mohammedan Malays, especially in times of sickness, although he often appeals openly to Siva or uses such language as the following:
“I am the equal of the Archangels,
In reading a standard work on Animism by Kruijt, I noted the following particulars in which Animism and Islam agree. The correspondence is the more remarkable because my experiences have been limited to East Arabia and Egypt. That is to say Islam in its cradle already had these features of paganism or primitive Animism:
The putting of blood upon the door-posts and the foundations when a house is being built (p. 23). The special importance of the placenta as the double of the child (p. 26). Hair as the seat of the soul (pp. 26–37). Among the pagans there are ceremonies connected with the shaving of the hair in infancy. The Toradjas nail bits of the human scalp or shreds of hair to the palm trees to make them more fruitful. The same is done with the hair of infants. When a mother leaves her child for a journey she ties some of her own hair to that of the child so that “the child believes the mother is still present.” Hair offerings take place as in Islam. The finger nails are connected with the soul and have spiritual value (p. 38). Also the teeth (p. 39). Spittle, perspiration, tears and the other excretions of the body all contain soul-stuff (pp. 40–47) and one may see in all the superstitions of the animist the same practices that are related of Mohammed the Prophet and his companions in Moslem Tradition. (See references given later.) The use of urine as medicine is not more common among pagans of Celebes than in Moslem lands where the practice of Mohammed the Prophet and his teaching is still supreme. One needs only to consult books like Ed Damiri, or Tub-en-Nabawi. The use of blood of animals, of saliva, of blowing, spitting and stroking in order to bring benefit to the patient is universal among animists; it was also common in early Islam and is to-day. It is recorded in early tradition that Mohammed practiced cures in this manner. In Java and Sumatra spitting is a common method for curing the sick (pp. 62–63). Among Animists amulets and anklets are worn to keep the soul in the body; at the time of death the nose, the ears, the mouth, etc., are carefully plugged up to prevent the soul escaping. These customs at the time of burial are universal also in Islam (p. 76). Among Animists sneezing is considered unfortunate, for then the soul tries to escape from the body; yawning is on the other hand a good sign, for the breath comes inward. Perhaps for this reason the Moslems everywhere ask forgiveness of God when they sneeze, but praise Him when they yawn (pp. 92–93). The belief that souls of men may inhabit animals such as dogs, cats, gazelles, snakes, etc., is Animistic. The same is taught in Moslem books, for example in “The Arabian Nights,” which gives us a faithful picture of popular Islam. The bones of animals contain soul matter and are therefore dreaded by the animist or used for special purposes of good or ill (pp. 128). We may connect with this the belief of the Moslems that bones are the food of jinn and must not be touched. Mr. Kruijt shows in Chapter VI of his book (p. 157) that soul-stuff exists in certain metals, iron, gold, silver, lead. These are therefore powerful protectors against evil spirits. Iron objects are used to defend infants in the cradle (p. 161). The same practice is carried on in Arabia, Egypt, Persia and Morocco. The soul after death takes its flight into the animal kingdom (pp. 171–180); especially changing to dwell in butterflies, birds, mice, lizards, snakes. May we not connect with this the teaching of Islam that the souls of Moslem martyrs go into the crops of green birds until the resurrection day ? Or closer yet is the common belief in metempsychosis based upon Roran legends, developed in the commentaries. Does not the Koran teach that Jews were changed into apes and Tradition tell us that Jews and Christians were changed into hogs? When we read the pages of Kruijt on the Fetish (pp. 197– 232) we are struck in almost every paragraph with parallel beliefs current in Islam. Stones are sacred because they contain spirits. Trees are sacred for the same reason: “If a man has been successful in fighting, it has not been his natural strength of arm, quickness of eye, or readiness of resource that has won success; he has certainly got the mana of a spirit or of some deceased warrior to empower him, conveyed in an amulet of a stone round his neck, or a tuft of leaves in his belt, in a tooth hung upon a finger of his bow hand, or in the form of words with which he brings supernatural assistance to his side ’’ (p. 201). Word for word this might be said of Moslems to-day. With regard to stone-worship Kruijt tells us of sacred stones in the Indian Archipelago (pp. 204–210) which receive worship because they fell from heaven (cf. “The Black Stone at Mecca’’) or because of their special shape. Among the Dajaks of Serawak, Chalmers tells of the interior of a Lundu house at one end of which were collected the relics of the tribe. “These consisted of several round-looking stones, two deers’ heads, and other inferior trumpery. The stones turn black if the tribe is to be beaten in war, and red if to be victorious; any one touching them would be sure to die; if lost, the tribe would be ruined.” (p. 209.) The Black Stone at Mecca is also believed to have changed color. Tree-worship, by hanging amulets on the tree to produce fertility or bring blessing, is common in Celebes and New Guinea (p. 215) not only, but in Arabia, Egypt and Morocco. The effect of all this, even on the conception of God in Islam, is of importance. JHere also there are points of contact as well as points of contrast. “What has Animism made of God,” asks Warneck, “the holy and gracious Creator and Governor of the world ! It has divested Him of His omnipotence, His love, His holiness and righteousness and has put Him out of all relation with man. The idea of God has become a mere decoration; His worship a caricature. Spirits inferior to men, whose very well-being is dependent on men's moods, are feared instead of the Almighty; the rule of an inexorable fate is substituted for the wise and good government of God. Absurd lies are believed concerning the life after death, and efforts are made to master the malevolent spirits by a childish magic.” Is this not true of Arabia also } Regarding the impotence of Mohammedanism to reject animistic influences which have dragged down to its lowest levels the ideas of God, Warneck goes on to say, “Mohammedanism even with its higher idea of God, cannot introduce into the heathenism which it influences any development for the better. The heathen, who have passed over to Islam, quietly retain their demon-worship. Instead of the purer idea of God raising them, they drag it down to their own level, a proof of the tremendous down-drag which animistic religions possess” (p. 100). “Mohammedanism,” he says in another place, “has been unable to remove the fear of evil spirits. On the contrary, it assists in the expulsion of the spirits by its malims. It allows the people to go on worshiping ancestors, and adds new spirits of Arabic origin to those already worshiped. Islam nowhere appears among Animists as a deliverer’” (pp. 114–115.) The missionary is not so much concerned after all with the fact of Animism in Islam as he is with the utter failure of Islam to meet Animistic practices and overcome them. Gottfried Simon has shown conclusively that Islam cannot uproot pagan practices or remove the terror of spirits and demon-worship in Sumatra and Java.” This is true everywhere. In its conflict with Animism Islam has not been the victor but the vanquished. Christianity on the contrary, as Harnack has shown, did win in its conflict with demonworship and is winning to-day.” Animism in Islam offers points of contact and contrast that may well be used by the missionary. Christianity’s message and power must be applied to the superstitions of Islam and especially to these pagan practices. The fear of spirits can be met by the love of the Holy Spirit; the terror of death by the repose and confidence of the Christian; true exorcism is not found in the zar but in prayer; so-called demonic possession can often be cured by medical skill; and superstition rooted out by education. Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Unseen World, especially the world of demons and angels. Christ points out the true ladder of Jacob and the angels of 18 “The Progress and Arrest of Islam in Sumatra,” London, 1912.
12 Chas. E. G. Tisdall in “The Missionary Review of the World,” 1916.