Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/166

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138 The Popular Ritual of

of a town is either a whitewajshed enclosure or, as is the case with the two msdlldf outside Fez, simply contains a long straight wall with a prayer niche {makrab), turned towards Mecca, and a pulpit {inunbar'), ascended by a flight of steps, in the centre (Plate VII.). In some country places the msdlla is indicated by a cairn or a row of stones with a central cairn representing the makrab. It must be a place where the persons who pray are sheltered from any evil influence which might otherwise deprive their prayers of their efficacy. If on any occasion a man who is engaged in praying sees another person coming in front of him, he immediately for the same purpose places a couple of stones or some other object between himself and the passer-by. I noticed this once when my little caravan passed a scribe who was praying on the roadside ; but it also holds true of persons who are praying indoors, a glass or a bottle, or any- thing near at hand, being in such a case used as a shelter.

At Fez, on the first morning of the feast, the people who are assembled at the rnsalla sing : — La ildha Ilia llahu, allahii dkbar. Jillwa sicbhdn allaJii u l-hamdii lillaJii. wd Id hdula wd Id kfavdfa illd biildh, (" There is no god but God, God is most great. Praise be to God and thanks be to God. There is neither power nor strength but with God "). When the Sultan arrives, the singing comes to an end, and the fki who is going to conduct the service enters the makrab and says there two rek'dt, or forms of prayer, in the usual manner, with his face turned towards the East and his back towards the people. Everybody present follows his example. He then turns round, addressing the congre- gation with the phrase S-salamn 'dlikum ! (" Peace be with you ! "), which is repeated by the latter ; it is believed that if anybody should say this before the fkt, his prayer would be of no avail. The/"^/ ascends the niunbar and reads the kotba, with the book in his right hand and a staff in his left. In country places the ceremonies differ in certain details. For example, among the Ait Sadden the men