« ElőzőTovább »
flow into the roots. Then four pots of giya (beer) were brought, and were drunk by the rain-makers. After this, the eldest of the nine (Mai-Shibko) would rise, put on the hide and call out: “You Youths, You Youths, You Youths, ask the Man (Allah) to send down water for us, tell the Owner of the Heavens that men are dying here, ask him to spit upon us.” The eight others would rise and stand around the old man, and call out in a loud voice what they had been told to say, and add: “If you do not send rain we will kill this old man. We are true to you, see, we have sacrificed a bull to you.” Then brandishing their weapons in the air, they would continue: “If you do not send down the rain, we will throw up our clubs at you.” ” Regarding prayers for rain offered up by the Mohammedans in China we glean the following from the Revue du Monde Musulman (Vol. 26, p. 89, article by G. Cordier): “A procession is formed headed by the ahong, or priest, carrying three objects which I will here describe: “(1). A sack filled with 7,000 stones, very clean and which have been gathered from the bed of some river near by. These may be said to represent a sort of rosary as ten prayers are repeated over each stone. “(2) A sword of the shape employed in the mosques but without a sheath. On the handle of this sword is inscribed the words pao-kien, i.e., the ‘precious sword,” and in Arabic the creed. This sword is made of wood and is covered with inscriptions in Arabic characters and carried in a case made of yellow linen. “ (3) A tablet made of brass. The Chinese call it Chao p’ai, that is to say the ‘Tablet that is planted.’ The Moslems call it t'ong Pai, ‘Tablet of brass,” and in Arabic lukh nahas. This tablet is also covered with Arabic inscriptions. 80 “The Ban of the Bori,” pp. 185, 189.
“Forty-four flags covered with quotations from the Koran are also carried in these processions, and as they march prayers are chanted. Arriving at Hei-long-t'an, the source of the black dragon, the procession halts near the basin called Etang du dragon. There a Moslem beats the water with the sword while the prayers are continued. “This done an ahong holding the brass tablet gets into the water and throws it in so as to make a fish come out (others say a water snake). When this is caught they place it in some water taken from the same source and carry it back to the mosque and is kept there until the rain comes down. When this happens it is taken back to the basin where it is again thrown in.” ” In conclusion we may here give four of the short final chapters of the Koran that are used at the time of the five daily prayers and which contain allusions to animistic and pagan practices current in Arabia before Islam. It is true that the beautiful opening chapter of the Koran with its lofty theism and the chapter of the Forenoon with its pathetic reference to Mohammed's childhood are frequently on Moslem lips. So also is the chapter of the Unity (CXII). But what thoughts a Moslem has when he repeats the following chapters, if he understands the words, we may learn from the commentaries. After reading what they tell us there remains little doubt that paganism entered Islam by the door of the Roran' “In the name of the merciful and compassionate God. “Verily, we sent it down on the Night of Power!
31 “A few days ago,” writes Miss H. E. Levermore of Tsinchow, “the Moslems had a rain procession,- a thing rarely known with them. It is said once before they had one, and the informer significantly adds, ‘ and they revolted just after.” In this procession there was no noise, great order and devotion being observed. The Moslems walked the streets carrying incense and reading their incantations. Two chairs carrying Moslem sacred books were caried, whilst the priests had open Arabic Korans in their hands.”
“And what shall make thee know what the Night of Power is? — the Night of Power is better than a thousand months!
“The angels and the spirits descend therein, by the permission of their Lord with every bidding.
“Peace it is until rising of the dawn!” ”
“In the name of the merciful and compassionate God. “By the snorting chargers. “And those who strike fire with their hoofs. “And those who make incursions in the morning, “And raise up dust therein. “And cleave through a host therein. “Verily, man is to his Lord ungrateful; and, verily, he is a witness of that. “Verily, he is keen in his love of good. “Does he not know when the tombs are exposed, and what is in the breasts is brought to light? “Verily, thy Lord upon that day indeed is well aware.” ”
“In the name of the merciful and compassionate God.
“Say, ‘I seek refuge in the Lord of the daybreak, from the evil of what He has created; and from the evil of the night when it cometh on; and from the evil of the blowers upon knots; and from the evil of the envious when he envies.’” ”
“Say, ‘I seek refuge in the Lord of men, the King of men, the God of men, from the evil of the whisperer, who slinks off, who whispers into the hearts of men — from jinns and men.’”
82 88 84 “The Quran,” Part II. Translated by E. H. Palmer. Suras 97, 100, 113, 114.
IT must not surprise us that a great deal of animism and old Arabian superstition persist in Islam. The words of Frazer apply in this connection: * “As in Europe beneath a superficial layer of Christianity a faith in magic and witchcraft, in ghosts and goblins has always survived and even flourished among the weak and ignorant, so it has been and so it is in the East. Brahminism, Buddhism, Islam may come and go, but the belief in magic and demons remains unshaken through them all, and, if we may judge of the future from the past, is likely to survive the rise and fall of other historical religions.” He goes on to say, “With the common herd, who compose the great bulk of every people, the new religion is accepted only in outward show, because it is impressed upon them by their natural leaders whom they cannot choose but follow. They yield a dull assent to it with their lips, but in their hearts they never really abandon their old superstitions; in these they cherish a faith such as they cannot repose in the creed which they nominally profess; and to these, in the trials and emergencies of life, they have recourse as to infallible remedies when the promises of the higher faith have failed them, as indeed such promises are apt to do.” ”
1 “The Scapegoat,” pp. 89–90. 2 This is true, alas, even in Christendom. But outside its pale, “Superstition has sacrificed countless lives, wasted untold treasures, embroiled nations, severed friends, parted husbands and wives, parents and children, putting swords and worse than swords between them; it has filled jails and mad-houses with innocent or deluded victims; it 66
What is here written has reference to the popular customs observed by Moslems in all lands and connected with haircutting, nail-trimming, and the use of the hand as an amulet, the latter especially in lower Egypt and North Africa. Cus
has broken many hearts, embittered the whole of many a life, and not content with persecuting the living it has pursued the dead into the grave and beyond it, gloating over the horrors which its foul imagination has conjured up to appall and torture the survivors. How numerous its ramifications and products have been is merely hinted in the following list of subjects given as cross-references in a public library catalogue card: Alchemy, apparitions, astrology, charms, delusions, demonology, devil-worship, divination, evil eye, fetishism, folk-lore, legends, magic, mythology, occult sciences, oracles, palmistry, relics, second sight, sorcery, spiritualism, supernatural, totems and witchcraft. This force has pervaded all provinces of life from the cradle to the grave, and, as Frazer says, beyond. It establishes customs as binding as taboo, dictates forms of worship and perpetuates them, obsesses the imagination and leads it to create a world of demons and hosts of lesser spirits and ghosts and ghouls, and inspires fear and even worship of them.””
Professor F. B. Dresslar of the University of California prepared a list of those things with which superstition was connected in that State. He secured the list through questions to grown-up people in the present century. It was as follows: Salt, bread and butter, tea and coffee, plants and fruit; fire, lightning, rainbow, the moon, the stars; babies, birds, owls, peacocks and their feathers, chickens, cats, dogs, cows, swine, horses, rabbits, rats, frogs and toads, fish, sheep, crickets, snakes, lizards, turtles, wolves, bees, dragon flies; chairs and tables, clocks, mirrors, spoons, knives and forks, pointed instruments, pins, hairpins, combs, umbrellas (mostly unlucky), candles, matches, teakettle, brooms, dishcloths, handkerchiefs, gardening tools, ladders, horseshoes, hay; days of the week and various festivals or fasts, especially Hallowe'en, birthdays; various numbers, counting, laughing, singing, crying; starting on a journey and turning back, two persons simultaneously saying the same thing, passing in at one door and out at another, walking on opposite sides of a post, stepping on cracks, sneezing, crossing hands while shaking hands, use of windows as exits, stumbling; itching of palm, eye, nose, ear, or foot; warts, moles; various articles of dress, shoes, precious stones, amulets and charms, rings, money; wish-bones; death and funerals, dreams, spiritisms, weddings, and initials.
* “The New Schaff Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge,” Vol. XI, p. 169.