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periods appointed for Moslem prayer. Among the Malays each of these periods has a special meaning and a special guardian deity, one of the Hindu divinities. The table given corresponds very closely to the Moslem prayer schedule. “Perhaps the oldest and best known of the systems of lucky and unlucky times is the one called Katika Lima, or the Five Times. Under it the day is divided into five parts and five days form a cycle: to each of these divisions is assigned a name, the names being Maswara (Maheswara), Kala, S'ri, Brahma, and Bisnu (Vishnu), which recur in the order shown in the following table or diagram: **
Morning ... Forenoon . , Noon Afternoon Evening (pagi) (tengah naik) (tengah hari) (tengah turun) (petang) 1st day ........ Kala S'ri Brahma Bisnu 2nd day ........ Bisnu Maswara Kala S'ri Brahma 3rd day ........Brahma Bisnu Maswara Kala S'ri 4th day *-i Brahma Bisnu Maswara Kala 5th day S'ri Brahma Bisnu Maswara
The most interesting thing of all, however, is the tradition regarding the Sutra. The word means something that covers or protects; from what is it a protection and why is it used ? The Commentaries do not explain what the Sutra really means but it is very clearly a protection against demons, as is shown by the traditions given.”
According to Ibn Omar, on the feast day (when the fast was broken) the Messenger of God gave him an order when he went out to bring him a stick and to stick it before him and it was before this stick that he made his prayers, while the faithful were ranged behind him. He did the same thing when he traveled and it is from this that the emirs took the custom. Other authorities say the Sutra of the Prophet was the short spear or the camel-saddle, or his camel when kneeling.”
12 Skeat's “Malay Magic,” p. 545.
18 See “Muslim,” Vol. I, pp. 190, 193, 194, and Zarkani: “Com. on
al-Muwatta,” Vol. I, p. 283.
A curious tradition is given by Abu Dawud on the authority of Ibn Abbas who said, “I think the Apostle of God said, “If one of you prays without a sutra (a thing set up by a praying person) before him, his prayer is apt to be annulled by a dog, or an ass, or a pig, or a Jew, or a Magi, or a menstruating woman; if they pass before him they ought to be punished on that account, with the pelting of stones.’ >> 15 Abu-Johaifa said: “The Prophet went out during the heat of the day and when he came to El-Batha and prayed two rakas for the noon-prayer and the evening prayer, he stuck a pike before him and made his ablutions. The faithful washed themselves with the rest of the water.”” The following tradition is most important as it shows what the Sutra originally meant. The reference to the demon is animistic: “Abu Salih es-Sam'an said: ‘I saw something that separated him from the crowd. A young man of the Bni Abu Mo'ait trying to pass before him, Abu Said gave him a push full on the chest. The young man looked round for another way out and not finding any, he returned. Abu Said pushed him back still more violently. The young man cursed him and then went and told Merwan of Abu Said's conduct. The latter at this moment entered and Merwan said to him: “What is the matter with you, O Abu Said, that you thus treat one of your own religion?” “I have heard the Prophet pronounce these words,” answered Abu Said, “when one of you prays, let him place something before him which will separate him from the public, and if any one tries to pass between turn him away and if he refuse to leave let him use force, for it is a demon.”””” Muslim adds: * “If any of 15 Ad-Damiri's “Hayat Al-Hayawan,” Vol. I, p. 708. 16 “Les Traductions de Bokhari,” Houdas, p. 179.
17 “Les Traductions Bokhari,” Houdas, p. 181. 1s “Muslim,” Vol. I, p. 193.
you pray do not allow any one to pass between himself and the Sutra for it protects from the demons.” The Sutra or guard placed before the one in prayer is usually some object such as a stone or a stick placed at a certain distance from the one praying: i.e. about one foot beyond where his head would touch the ground. It is also a sign that none must pass before him, but never used except by men of mature years and serious mind, and then only in open or public places, never in a room or house-top. If stones are used they must never be less than three, otherwise it would seem as if the stone were the object of worship. There are cases in which passing before one at prayer is counted as sin either to the pray-er or to the one passing, i.e.: (a) If he who prays is obliged to pray in the public way, and there is no other way of passing except before him, there is sin neither to the pray-er or to the passer-by. (b) If he who prays chooses a public place in preference to one less exposed and one passes in front of him, who could as easily have gone behind, sin is accounted to both of them. (c) If he who prays chooses a public place in preference to one less exposed and the one who passes has no choice but to go in front of him sin is accounted to him who prays. (d) If he who prays chooses an unexposed place and some one deliberately passes in front when there is space behind, sin is accounted to the passer-by and not to him who prays. “The practices among the Shiah Moslems differ in some respects from those of the Sunnis,” says Miss Holliday of Tabriz, Persia. “A Shiah about to pray takes his place looking toward the Kibla at Mecca; if he be a strict Moslem he lays before him nearest the Kibla and where he can put his forehead upon it, the Muhr which is indispensable. It generally consists of earth from Kerbela, compressed into a small tablet and bearing Arabic inscriptions; it is various in shape. If one has not this object, he can use a common stone, a piece of wood or a clod of earth; in the baths they keep small pieces of wood for the convenience of worshipers. With regard to wood, they say all the trees in the world came from heaven, and their life is directly from God, so they are holy objects. The Kerbela talismans are called “turbat’ as being made from holy earth from the tomb city of the Imam Hussain. On the side nearest him of the muhr the worshiper lays a small pocket comb, then next to himself the rosary. “After prayer, they point the right forefinger first in the direction of the Kibla, saluting Mohammed as the Son of Abdullah and the Imam Hussain ‘grandson of the Prophet, son of Fatima,’ then to the east saluting Imam Riza as the Gareeb, or stranger, at Meshhed in Khorassan, then to the west, saluting the Imam Mahdi, as the Sahib-i-zaman or Lord of the Age. The back is to the north; this looks like sunworship.” Among the customs which are forbidden during prayer is that of crossing or closing the fingers. They should be held widely spread apart. We have the following tradition in Ibn Maja: * “Said the Prophet: “Do not put your fingers close together during prayer. It is also forbidden to cover the mouth during prayer.’” Another tradition reads that the Apostle of God saw a man who had crossed his fingers during prayer or joined them close together; he approached him and made him spread his fingers.” That the yawning, to which reference was made, has connection with spirits and demons is evident from a tradition given in the same paragraph, namely: “If any of you yawn, let him put his hand upon his mouth for verily the devil is laughing at him.” . The Moslem lives constantly in dread of evil spirits; this is