The robes and the throne.
The sirat and the scales.
The intercession.
The scales of justice.
The pond.


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In this survey of the present use of the creed and the clear teaching based on some of its six articles, the conclusion is irresistible that the monotheism of Islam has degenerated in popular belief to a much larger degree than is generally appreciated. It is idle to talk of pure monotheism when dealing with popular Islam.


ONE of the most impressive rites of Islam is the daily prayer ritual. It has elicited the admiration of many who have observed it, and, ignorant of the real character and content of Moslem prayer interpreted it entirely from the Christian standpoint. What is understood by prayer, however, in Christendom, and what the Moslem calls by the same name are to a degree distinct conceptions. In the punctilious regard of position, prostration, ablution and the peculiar gestures and movements of the hand, the head and the body it is clear that prayer is more than a spiritual exercise. Moslems themselves are at a loss to explain the reason for many of the details which they have learned from their youth. The various sects in orthodox Islam can be distinguished by the casual observer most easily in the method of ablution and in the prostration of the prayer ritual. Theodore Nöldeke of Germany, and the Dutch scholar Prof. A. J. Wensinck have made a special study of the origin and detail of the prayer ritual, the latter more especially of the Moslem laws of ablution.** Further study of the sources given and long experience in many Moslem lands have led to the following observations and conclusions on the subject. In the preparation of the five daily prayers, especially in the process of ablution — the object of the Moslem seems to be to free himself from everything that has connection with 12 Der Islam, Band IV, Animisme und Daemonenglaube. Der Islam, Band V, Heft I, “Die Entstehung der muslimischen

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The “Paiza " or Restaurant board from China. This hangs over every place where pure (Moslem) food is sold. The Arabic inscriptions contain the text of the Koran regarding purity of food, the name of the shop-keeper and date, while in the center surrounding the ablution-vessel are words which signify the absolute ritual purity of all that is sold.

It is significant that the Turkish flag appears with the Chinese flag at the top.


supernatural powers or demons as opposed to the worship of the one true God. That is the reason for its supreme importance. Wensinck tells us that these beliefs have little or nothing to do with bodily purity as such, but are intended to free the worshiper from the presence or influence of evil spirits. It is this demonic pollution which must be removed. In two traditions from Muslim we read, “Said the Prophet: ‘If any of you wakens up from sleep then let him blow his nose three times. For the devil spends the night in a man's nostrils.’” And again: “Said Omar ibn elRhitab (may God have mercy on him): ‘A certain man performed ablution but left a dry spot on his foot.’ When the Prophet of God saw it he said: “Go back and wash better,’ then he returned and came back to prayer. Said the Prophet of God: “If a Moslem servant of God performs the ablution when he washes his face every sin which his face has committed is taken away by it with the water or with the last drop of water. And when he washes his hands the sin. of his hands are taken away with the water or with the last drop of water. And when he washes his feet all the sins which his feet have committed are taken away with the water or with the last drop of water until he becomes pure from sin altogether.’” Goldziher has shown in one of his essays that, according to Semitic conception, water drives away demons. That ablution in Islam as taught by Mohammed to his disciples was originally not intended to remove physical uncleanness but was a ceremonial precaution against spiritual evil, of demons, etc., is evident when we compare it with the ablutions practiced by pagan races in their ritual. For example, Skeat describes the bath ceremony as practiced at Perak: “Limes are used in Perak, as we use soap. When a Malay has resolved on having a really good “scrub” they are cut in two and squeezed (ramas) in the hand. In Penang a root called sintok is usually preferred to limes. When the body is deemed sufficiently cleansed, the performer, taking his stand facing the East, spits seven times, and then counts up to seven aloud. After the word Tujoh (seven) he throws away the remains of the limes or sintok to the West, saying aloud, Pergi-lah samua sial jambalang deripada badan aku ka pusat tasek Pawjangi, “Misfortune and spirits of evil, begone from my body to the whirlpool of the lake Paujangi!” Then he throws (jurus) a few buckets of water over himself, and the operation is complete.” “The ceremony just described is evidently a form of purification by water. Similar purificatory ceremonies form an integral part of Malay customs at birth, adolescence, marriage, sickness, death, and in fact at every critical period of the life of a Malay.” " According to al-Bokhari the washings before prayer should always begin on the right side of the body and not on the left. Another tradition gives the value of the hairs of the Prophet when they fell in the washing-vessel. The Prophet used to wash his feet when he wore sandals by simply passing his hands over the outside of the sandals; the object, therefore, cannot have been to cleanse impurity but to ward off demons. Another tradition is given as follows: According to 'Abd-el-Rahman, a man came to Omar ibn el-Khattab and said, “I am in a state of impurity and cannot find water.” Ammar ibn Yasir said to Omar ibn el-Khattab, “Do you remember the day that you and I traveled together. You did not make your prayers, but I rolled myself in the sand and prayed. When I told the Prophet of this, he said, ‘That was enough,’ and so saying he took some earth in his hands, blew on it and then rubbed his face and hands with it.” “* 'Abd-el-Rahman was witness when “Amar said to

8 Skeat's “Malay Magic,” p. 278. 4 5 “Les Traditions de Bokhari,” by O. Houdas, p. 126.

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