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or to keep off evil spirits, of which the Moslem world seems to swarm. These rags are also worn by criminals to escape the police.” Mekkeya, a Moslem convert at Bahrein, Arabia, says that people who deal in magic often take the head of a sheep, bury it in the cemetery and every night for seven days go to the place, where they first curse father and mother forty times, and then open the grave. If the head salutes him for each of these seven nights he digs it up and takes it home with him where it is kept in state and gives an answer regarding all the owner's intended magic. Should it fail to answer during one of the seven nights, it cannot be used. For magic purposes pieces of the Kaaba-covering, Zem Zem water, earth which is mixed with water and used as medicine, date stones from Mecca, etc., are kept in a box in the house because of the blessing they are supposed to contain. The following is one form of magic prevalent in Algeria. A dish of semoule is placed before a dead body dug out of its grave and placed in an upright position before the dish, while some one takes the dead hand and presses it over the semoule; it is then made into little figures of various descriptions and sold as charms. Sometimes words are written on paper which is then pounded up and given to some one in their coffee or food. Writing is also put into the mouth of a toad. The mouth is then sewn up, the toad's limbs are bound together and the toad is put into a hole in the ground. As the toad pines and dies the person for whom the charm is bought also pines and dies. Sometimes a ketuba is tied to the neck of a tortoise and the tortoise put at the doorstep of the person hated with his or her name attached, who will then also pine away and die. Sometimes a viper's head is cut off, dried in the sun and pounded up and mixed with the food or drink of the victim, who dies. All these things are the work of talebs. There are numerous other forms of magic of the same sort for bringing about the illness or death of some one, or as love-charms. Many animistic customs are in vogue among Moslems in connection with their marriage ceremonies. The reader is referred to a complete treatise on the subject by Edward Westermarck (“Marriage Ceremonies in Morocco,” Macmillan, London, 1914), from which we quote one example: “As a protection against magic the gift removed from the wheat which is to be used for the wedding is thrown into a river, water-course or spring, or buried in the ground; the bridegroom steps three times over the bundle of old clothes containing his shaved-off hair; the bride is carefully guarded by women on her way to the bridegroom’s place, particularly for fear lest some malevolent person should in a magical manner deprive her of her virginity; she shakes out the henna powder from her slippers and throws it into water; and when the young wife pays her first visit to her parents she goes and comes back in the evening, being still very susceptible to the evil eye.” One has only to compare these practices with the marriage customs of pagan tribes to see how much of animism lies back of them. The whole question of sexual pollution in Islam can be explained best of all by animistic belief. To refer once more to Westermarck: — “The Moors say that a scribe is afraid of evil spirits only when he is sexually unclean, because then his reciting of passages of the Koran — the most powerful weapon against such spirits — would be of no avail. Sexual cleanness is required of those who have anything to do with the corn,” for such persons are otherwise supposed to pollute its holiness, and also, in many cases, to do injury to themselves.” 12 Cf. Frazer, The Corn Spirit, in his “The Golden Bough.”
In another place he shows how the bride brings blessing to others just as she does among the pagan races of Malaysia. “When milk is offered to the bride on her way to the bridegroom's place, she dips her finger into it or drinks a few drops and blows on the rest, so as to impart to it a little of her holiness, and the milk is then mixed with other milk to serve as a charm against witchcraft, or poured into the churn to make the butter plentiful; or when, on her arrival at the bridegroom’s place, his mother welcomes her with milk, she drinks of it herself and sprinkles some on the people. She hurls the lamb, which is handed her, over the bridegroom’s tent so that there shall be many sheep in the village.” Astrology with its belief that the sun, the moon and the planets preside over the seven days of the week and govern by their good or bad influences, is generally prevalent among the uneducated classes. Books on astrology are among the best sellers even in the shops near the Azhar in Cairo. The following invocations taken from the “Book of Treasures” of the celebrated physician and philosopher, Ibn Sina (died A.D. 1035), are still used and published widely (one would hardly call the prayers monotheistic): Invocation to Venus. O blessed, moist, temperate, subtle, aromatic, laughing and beautiful Princess, who art the mistress of jewels, ornaments, gold, silver, amusements, and of social gatherings; O Lady of sports and jokes, conquering, alluring, repelling, strengthening, love-inspiring, matchmaking ! O Lady of joy, I pray thee to grant my wishes by the permission of God the Most High ! Invocation to Mercury. Overacious, excellent, just, eloquent Prince who art pleasant to look at, a writer, an arithmetician, a master of wickedness, fraud, trickery and helper in all stratagems! O truthful, noble, subtle and light one, whose nature and graciousness are unknown, as they are boundless, because thou art boding good the well-boding ones, and boding evil with the evil-boding; a male with males, a female with females, diurnal with diurnals, and nocturnal with nocturnals, accommodating thyself to their natures, and assimilating thyself to their forms. Everything is thine. I ask thee to do my will, by the permission of God.” In astrology it is generally believed that Saturn presides over Saturday, and his color is black; the Sun presides over Sunday and his color is yellow; the moon presides over Monday and his color is green; Mars presides over Tuesday and his color is red; Mercury presides over Wednesday and his color is blue; Jupiter presides over Thursday and his color is sandal; Venus presides over Friday and her color is white. There are also seven angels, one for each day of the week, and special perfumes which are to be burned in connection with these incantations. The modus operandi in the books on this subject is to take the first letters of the names of the persons concerned and use them with the tables of astrology. We then take the first letter of the planet relating to the person or thing asked for, writing them, and putting the sign of the accusative case on a hot letter, that of the nominative on a dry one, and that of the genitive on a moist one, and the thing is done. E.g. if we wish to join the letters of Mahmud and Fatimah with the letter of the planet representing the thing asked for, namely Venus (Zuhrah), we take the first letter of Mahmud, the first of Fatimah, and the first of Venus. Then we operate with them, fumigating them with the appropriate perfumes; you must however have your nails cut, put on your best clothes, and be alone; and your wish will be granted by the permission of God. It is still customary to get the horoscope of new-born children from astrologers. We can also learn the future by Geomancy which is called in Arabic Ilm ar raml (sand) because the figures and dots were formerly traced on that material, instead of on paper as at present; the operator is called Rammal, and he not seldom calls in astrology to aid him in his vaticinations and prognostications. Books on Geomancy are numerous enough, but the actual modus operandi must be learned from a practitioner. See the illustration on page 185. Of many other magical practices in vogue among Moslems to-day we cannot write at length. I may mention, however, the use of magic bowls or cups, which goes back to great antiquity. Generally speaking the cups are of two kinds. One is called Taset al Khadda from the Arabic root khadda which means “to shake your cup.” “ This kind is also called Taset al Turba. These all are used for healing, and to drive away the ills of the body. A specimen of this sort, so carefully kept by old families, may be seen in the Arab Museum, made by an engraver called Ibrahim in 1581 A.D. According to a Coptic writer the owners of such goblets often lend them to others who need them. The right manner to use the goblet is to fill it with water in the early morning, place some ordinary keys in it and leave them until the following day, when the patient drinks the water. This operation is repeated, three, seven, or forty consecutive nights until the patient gets rid of the evil effects of his fright. It would not be strange if the oxide of iron acted on the patients. The Moslem goblets generally contain Koran inscriptions and the keys spoken of are suspended by wires from the inner cup which rests in the center of the Taseh. This is fastened to the cup by a screw allowing the inner cup to revolve so that the keys reach every position of the outer goblet. Two magic cups which I purchased, the smaller one at Alexandria, the larger at Cairo, are both made of brass, the larger measuring a little over eight inches in diameter and two inches in 14 See Lane's Dictionary.
18 From the article on Magic by E. Rehatsek, M.C.E., in the Journal of the Asiatic Society, Vol. XIV, No. 37.