« ElőzőTovább »
erect stone to indicate the way the worshipper should turi his face, constitute so many oratories for the use of those whom the call to prayer surprises at a distance from the mosque, or who prefer to perform their devotions in the open air. It is obligatory on all Mohammedans to pray five times a day; but it is only on the Friday that they are expected to attend at the mosque for the purpose: and in
general, when a Moslem hears the call to prayers, or 2 knows that the hour is arrived, he will perform his devo
tions at any convenient place near that where he happens. to be at the time, after he has executed the required ablutions. These consist in washing the hands three times successively, as well as the face, the arms, the head, the neck, and the feet; and also the inside of the mouth, of the ears, and of the nostrils.
It is for the purpose of theseks ablutions that fountains are so abundantly provided.
In places where no water is to be had, the ablution may be
made with earth or sand. This practice is followed by 3 persons travelling in the deserts ; and with regard to per
sons at sea, who have no such substitutes, and cannot afford fresh water, they effect their ablutions by rubbing themselves with their hands alone, after having placed them on a stone. Sea-water is considered impure, and entirely unfit for the purposes of ablution. These washings are generally performed in a very slight way. In consequence of its being necessary to wash the arm up to the elbow, the Moslems have the sleeves of their dress with
buttons from the elbow to the wrist. The Turks and 4 Arabs generally wear their sleeves loose and unbuttoned,
to save the trouble of frequent unbuttoning and buttoning again ; but the Persians, who are much less observant of what their religion in this respect requires, are seldom seen but with their sleeves buttoned up. Indeed, every thing that their forms of worship demand, in regard to prayers and ablutions, is seldom performed by any Moslems except those of the higher and middle classes; and in all cases the morning, noon, and evening periods of prayer are the
most attended to, while the intermediate ones are compara5 tively neglected.
Although Christians are not generally allowed to enter the mosques, the ceremonies of prayer are so much performed in the streets and open places of towns, that the
most unobservant stranger soon becomes thoroughly acquainted with all the proceedings.
There are no bells in Mohammedan countries; but, at the appointed hours, an officer of the mosque, called the muezzin, mounts upon the minarets and calls the faithful
to prayers, or rather notifies that the proper time has ar6 rived. For this office the persons endowed with the most
sonorous voices are chosen in preference, and the distance at which they can be heard is such as to become a subject of surprise to Europeans. This notice is not delivered from every mosque, but only from such as are sufficient to afford an equal distribution of the sound over the city. The call consists of a declaration of the Mohammedan profession of faith : " There is no other God but God, and Mohammed is the Prophet of God!" with many repetitions ; then follows the invitation to prayers, to which, in the morning, is added the assurance that “ Prayer is better than sleep;" and the whole concludes with the declaration that God is most great, and most high, and that there is no other God but him.
When the call is heard, the devout who happen to be abroad hasten to the fountains and the streams to perform their ablutions: when this is done, if there are many present, one of the number assumes the office of an imaum, or leader, and, placing himself before them, with his face
towards Mecca, the rest follow him in his words and 8 postures.
Every canonical prayer is composed of an invocation, of different ricauts, and of the salutation. A ricaut consists of a series of seven positions of the body, with each of which a particular prayer or declaration is connected. 'The worshipper stands for a short time erect, as if endeavoring to fix his attention on the duties he is about to perform, with both the hands raised to the ears, and then repeats the declaration, “God is most great!” He then lets
his arms and hands hang down, in one sect, or crosses 9 them on his breast, in another, and in this posture repeats
the first chapter of the “ Koran.” It is short, commencing with praise, and ending in prayer for guidance in the right way.
The whole upper part of the body is then bent forward, with the hands resting upon the knees, and they say, with a loud voice, “God is most great!” Then, rising to their former position, they say,
God listens when praise is given to him.” And then they prostrate themselves, with their knees, hands, and faces on the ground, and, in this humblest of postures, declare again that “ God 10 is great." This declaration is repeated in all the remain
ing positions; which are-sitting down with their legs bent under them, so that the weight of the body rests upon the heels, which is a common sedentary posture among the Persians :—they then prostrate themselves as before ; and, finally, raise themselves upon their feet, if possible without touching the ground with their hands as they rise. This is the first ricaut, and the second is like it, except that, instead of raising themselves upon their feet from the last prostration, they seat themselves upon their heels, and in 11 this posture invoke blessings upon the Prophet, upon themselves, and upon all the faithful. If the prayer is intended to conclude with this ricaut, a longer address than any which preceded is added. It commences with a declaration of faith, and concludes with the invocation of blessings. After this, the worshipper, still sitting, turns his face first towards the right, and then towards the left, repeating each time, “ Peace be with you." These two ricauts constitute a complete prayer; and no new words or postures are introduced in the additional ricants, which 12 are required on particular occasions, or which the zealous
ly devout sometimes voluntarily undertake. The arrangement, however, is somewhat varied.
When the canonical prayers are completed, the worshipper, if a person of leisure and devotion, does not immediately rise and go away, but remains to count his beads The
rosary consists of ninety beads, and a distinct ejaculation is appropriated to each as it passes between the fingers. Each ejaculation generally consists of two words,
and declares a name or attribute of God. Almost all Mos13 lems, in the upper and middle ranks of life, carry in their pockets or bosoms a string of beads for this purpose, which they use not only on the occasion we are describing, but while sitting and smoking their pipes, walking in the streets, or even while engaged in conversation. The ejac ulation connected with each bead is more generally under'stood than expressed.
When a Moslem has gone over his beads at the regular
time of prayer, he folds his hands, and then, holding them 14 up, open, as if to receive something from above, he prays for such blessings as he desires for himself or his household. When this is concluded, he strokes his beard with his right band, and says,
« Praise be to God!" This concludes the whole.
The tree of deepest root is found
That love of life increased with years
The greatest love of life appears.
This great affection to believe,
2 When sports went round, and all were gay,
On neighbor Dobson's wedding-day,
Besides, in truth, I'm not prepared :
This is my wedding-day you know.”
What more he urged I have not heard :
So death the poor delinquent spared,
Yet, calling up a serious look,
Neighbor,” he said, “farewell! no more
Of cruelty upon iny name,
And grant a kind reprieve,
But when I call again this way,
To these conditions both consented,
What next the hero of our tale befell,
The willing muse shall tell :-
Nor once perceived bis growing old, 6 Nor thought of death as near ;
His friends not false, his wife no shrew,
He passed his hours in peace.
Brought on his eightieth year.
As all alone he sate,
Once niore before him stood.
Half killed with anger and surprise, “ So soon returned!" old Dobson cries,
“ So soon, d'ye call it ?" Death replies :