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there are people in the world, and that on each leaf is the name of a human being. On the night of the 15th of Shaʻbân this tree is shaken by some means just after sunset, and the leaves whereon are the names of those who are to die in the ensuing year fall to the ground. The prayer, usually recited after the XXXVIth Chapter of the Ķur'ân, which treats of the Resurrections, in Mr. Lane's translation is as follows :-.“ O God, O Thou Gracious, and Who art not an object of grace, O Thou Lord of Dignity and Honour, and of Beneficence and Favour, there is no deity but Thou, the Support of those who seek to Thee for refuge, and the Helper of those who have recourse to Thee for help, and the Trust of those who fear. O God, if Thou have recorded me in Thy abode, upon the Mother of the Book,* miserable, or unfortunate, or scanted in my sustenance, cancel, O God, of Thy goodness, my misery, and misfortune, and scanty allowance of sustenance, and confirm me in Thy abode, upon the Mother of the Book, as happy, and provided for, and directed to good : for Thou hast said (and Thy saying is true) in Thy Book revealed by the tongue of Thy commissioned Prophet, 'God will cancel what He pleaseth, and confirm ; and with Him is the Mother of the Book.' O my God, by the very great revelation (which is made] on the night of the middle of the month of Shaabân the honoured, in which every determined decree is dispensed and confirmed, remove from me whatever affliction I know, and what I know not, and what Thou best knowest ; for Thou art the most Mighty, the most Bountiful. And bless, O God, our lord Mohammad, the Illiterate Prophet, and his family and Companions, and save them."
* I.e., the Preserved Tablet in Heaven, on which are recorded all God's decrees, the destinies of all men, and the original copy of the Kur'ân; but some think that the “Mother of the Book” means the knowledge of God. The idea of the existence of a "Tablet of Destiny" is much older than the time of Muḥammad.
The worshippers who go to say their midday prayers in the mosque on Friday arrange themselves in rows parallel to that side of the mosque in which is the niche, and face that side. Each man washes himself before he enters the mosque, and before he goes in he takes off his shoes and carries them in his left hand, sole to sole, and puts his right foot first over the threshold. Having taken his place he performs two “bowings," and remains sitting. The reader recites the XVIIIth Chapter of the ķu’rân until the call to prayer is heard, when he stops ; after the call to prayer is ended the men stand
up and perform two "bowings.” A servant of the mosque, the Murakki, then opens the folding doors at the foot of the pulpit stairs, and taking out a straight wooden sword, stands a little to the right of the doorway, with his right side towards the kibla, and, holding the sword with his right hand with its point on the ground, says, “Verily God and His angels bless the Prophet. Oye who believe, bless him, and greet him with a salutation.” Then one or more persons who stand on the platform opposite the niche say words similar to the following :-“ O God, bless and save and beatify the most noble of the Arabs and Persians, the Imâm of Mecca and Al-Medina and the Temple, to whom the spider showed favour, and wove its web in the cave ; and whom the lizard saluted, and before whom the moon was cloven in twain, our lord Mohammad, and his Family and Companions.” The Muraķķi then recites the call to prayer, followed by those on the platform, and before this is ended the Imâm, or the preacher, comes to the foot of the pulpit, takes the wooden sword from the Muraķki's hand, ascends the pulpit, and sits on the top step of the platform. The Murakki then recites some traditional words of the Prophet, and having said to the congregation, “Be ye silent : ye shall be rewarded : God shall recompense you,” sits down. The preacher (Khatib) now rises, and holding the wooden sword (this is only done in countries which the Arabs have conquered by the sword), delivers his sermon, at the end of which he says, “ Pray ye to God," and then sits down, when he and the whole congregation engage in private prayer. After this the men on the platform say, “Amen, Amen, O Lord of the beings of the whole world.” When this is done the preacher preaches a second sermon, wherein, if necessary, petitions are offered up for an abundant inundation of the Nile, for rain, for success in battle, for a speedy and safe journey to Mecca when the pilgrimage is at hand, etc. In these days it is perhaps hardly necessary to point out that the Muhammadans never pray to Muḥammad the Prophet, but to God, and God only.
2. Almsgiving. Alms are of two kinds, obligatory and voluntary, and they are regarded as of great assistance in causing God to hear prayer; it has been said by one of the Khâlifs that “prayer carries us half-way to God, fasting brings us to the door of his palace, and alms procure us admission." Alms are to be given of cattle, money, corn, fruits, and merchandise sold, and one-fortieth part must be given either in money or kind of everything received.
3. Fasting. The three degrees of fasting are :--1. The restraining of the lusts of the body; 2. The restraining of the members of the Lody from sin ; and 3. The fasting of the heart from worldly cares, and compelling the mind to dwell upon God. The Muhammadan must abstain from eating and drinking, and any physical indulgence, every day during the month of Ramadân from dawn until sunset, unless physically incapacitated; it is said that this month was chosen as the month for fasting because in it the Kur'ân was sent down from heaven, Strict Muḥammadans suffer nothing to enter their mouths during the day, and regard the fast as broken if a man smell perfumes, or bathe, or swallow
his spittle, or kiss or touch a woman, or smoke; on and after sunset they eat and drink as they please.
4. The Pilgrimage to Mecca. Every Muhammadan must undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his life, for Muḥammad is said to have declared that he who does not do so may as well die a Jew or a Christian. The object of the pilgrimage is to visit the Ka'aba and perform certain ceremonies there. The Ka'aba stands in oblong square, which, according to Burckhardt, is 250 paces long, and 200 paces broad; according to Burton the measurement is 257 paces by 210. Ali Bey made it 536 feet 9 inches by 356 feet. The Ka'aba is enclosed by a great wall, none of the sides of which run in a straight line. The square has on the east side a colonnade, with four rows of pillars, each 20 feet high and from 18 to 21 inches in diameter ; on the three other sides the pillars are in three rows, and are united by pointed arches, every four of which support a small dome plastered and whitened on the outside. The domes are 152 in number, and the pillars are said to number 589 or 555; Burton counted 554 pillars. Some of the walls and arches are gaudily painted in stripes of yellow, red, and blue, as are all the minarets; the floor is paved with stones badly cemented together. The Ka'aba is 115 paces from the north colonnade, and 88 from the south.
It is an oblong massive structure, 18 paces long, 14 broad, and is from 35 to 40 feet high; Burton made it 55 feet long, and 45 broad, and thought its height was greater than its length. It is built of gray granite, the stones being tolerably well fitted together, and held by excellent mortar like Roman cement. The building which now stands was erected in 1627. The Ka'aba stands on a base 2 feet high, and has a nearly flat roof; from a distance it has the appearance of a perfect cube. The door is on the east side, seven feet from the ground; it is plated with silver
1. The Black Stone.
2. Cupboard of aloe wood, in which the keyl of the Ka'aba is kept. The padlock is of silver gilt.
3. The South (or Yaman) Corner.
The upper part of the walls and the ceiling are covered with gold. flowered damask, which is looped up about six feet from the ground. The pavement is of slabs of white and coloured marbles, arranged chequer-wise.
The cover of the key is of red, black and green silk, embroidered with inscriptions in gold; it is made, like the Kiswab, in the manu. factory of Al-Khurunfish in Cairo, by the family of Bêt as-Sadi.