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In the upper left-hand corner is a Torba or bit of pressed sacred clay from Kerbela used in daily prayer (see Chap. 3). The others are amulets made of stone and used against scorpion bite; one of them contains a magic square. The comb-amulet is worn by Moslem women to facilitate child birth. It contains a portion of the 19th Psalm in Arabic with Moslem introduction.
shown by other traditions regarding the prayer ritual. For example, we read in the Sunnan of Ibn Maja ” that Mohammed forbade prayer being made on or near watering places of camels because camels were created by devils. It is an old superstition that Satan had a hand in the creation of the camel; the explanation is given in the commentators. We are solemnly told that the fingers must be spread so as to afford no nestling place for evil demons and that therefore the method of washing the hands (Takhlil) consists in rubbing the outspread fingers of both hands between each other. (Ibn Maja, Vol. I, p. 158, Nasai, Vol. I, pp. 30, 173, 186–7.) The last reference is particularly important as it shows that Mohammed inculcated the practice of moving the first finger during prayer.” Undoubtedly the practice of combing the hair with the fingers outspread (Takhlil esh-Sha'ar) to which al-Bukhari refers (Vol. I, p. 51) has a similar significance. Some of the sects do not spread the fingers of the right hand during prayer but make a special effort to spread those of the left. This may be because the left hand is used for ablutions and therefore is specially apt to be infected by demonic influence. We give further reference to all such practices as recorded in a standard work on tradition, the Sunnan of An-Nasai.” 21 Vol. I, p. 134. 22 Takhlil is not only used of the fingers but of the toes as well, there also demons lurk. (See Sha'arani’s “Lawa'ih al Anwar fi Tabakat al Ahjar,” p. 26.) 23 In prayer there should be no gaps in the ranks of the worshipers lest Satan come between. Vol. I, p. 131. One should blow the nostrils three times when awakening so as to drive away the devil. Ibid., Vol. I, p. 27. The Prophet forbade sleep in bath-rooms because they are the abode of devils. Ibid., Vol. I, p. 15. The Prophet forbade facing the Kibla when fulfilling a call of nature, The niche in a mosque that shows the direction to which prayer is made called the Mihrab, i.e., “the place of fighting,” or perhaps, the instrument by which we fight the demons? There are many traditions concerning Mohammed's struggle with afrits and Jinn in a mosque. The most interesing one is given in Muslim (Vol. I, p. 204). “Said the Apostle of God (on him be prayers and peace): ‘A certain demon of the Jinn attacked me yesterday in order to stop my prayers, but, verily, God gave me victory over him. I was about to tie him to the side of a pillar of the pillars of the Mosque so that ye might get up in the morning and behold him, all of you, when I remembered the prayer of my brother Solomon: “O Lord, forgive me and give me a dominion such as no one ever had,” and after that God set the demon free l’” The Mihrab in a mosque, I am told, takes the place of the Sutra outside of a mosque and serves the same purpose. The forming of ranks in Moslem prayers as they face the Mihrab, is most important and therefore they are extremely careful of it. There are many traditions in this respect which can only have relation to belief in Jinn. For example, not only must the worshipers stand in a row, but in a mosque it is considered most important to stand so close together that nothing can possibly pass between. They stand ready like soldiers in massed-formation. Here is the tradition: Anas states that the Prophet said: “Observe your ranks, for I can see you from behind my back.” “Each one of us,” he adds, “put his shoulder in touch with his neighbor’s and his foot with that of his neighbor.”” We must add to this another superstition, namely, it is bad luck to pray on the left hand of the Imam. Ibn-'Abbas said: “On a certain night I made my prayers together with the Prophet. As I was placing myself on his left, the Messenger of God taking hold of me by the back of my head, placed me on his right. After having made our prayers, he lay down and rested until the muezzin came to look for him. Then he got up and made his prayers without making his ablutions.”” We have already spoken of the lifting of the hands in prayer. This is an important matter for discussion in all works of Fiqh. In the prayer called Qunut, which takes place during and as part of the morning prayer (Salat), the hands are raised in magical fashion. Goldziher believes the original signification of this was a curse or imprecation on the enemy; such was the custom of the Arabs. The Prophet cursed his enemies in this way. So did also the early Caliphs. In Lane's Dictionary (Art. Qunut) we find the present prayer given as follows: “O God, verily we beg of Thee aid, and we beg of Thee forgiveness. And we believe in Thee and we rely on Thee, and we laud Thee well, and we will not be unthankful to Thee for Thy favor, and we cast off and forsake him who disobeys Thee: O God, Thee we worship and to Thee we perform the divinely-appointed act of prayer, and prostrate ourselves; and we are quick in working for Thee and in serving Thee; we hope for Thy mercy, and we dread Thy punishment; verily (or may) Thy punishment overtake the unbelievers.” It is said of the Prophet that he stood during a whole month after the prayer of daybreak cursing the tribes of Rial and Dhukwan. We read in Al-Muwatta (Vol. I, p. 216) that at the time of the Qunut they used to curse their enemies, the unbelievers, in the month of Ramadhan. Later on this custom was modified or explained away. Al-Bukhari 25 Houdas' al Bukhari (French Trans.), p. 244.
for fear of Satan. Ibid., Vol. I, p. 15. The separation of the fingers (p. 30): the fingers of the right hand should be closed tight during prayer and of the left hand spread out, but the forefinger should remain straight. Ibid., Vol. I, p. 186. The forefinger should be bent when giving witness. Ibid., p. 187. The fingers should be moved. Ibid., p. 187. Turning the head around during prayer is caused by the devil. Ibid., Vol. I, p. 177. 24 Houdas' al Bukhari (French Trans.), p. 243; see also al Nasai, Vol. I, pp. 173 and 186–7.