Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/167

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The Great Feast in Morocco. 139

walk to the msdlla in procession, headed by a man carrying a flag which has been brought from Mecca by some re- turned pilgrim and is only used on this occasion. While they proceed, the first half of the troop chant, — AlldJiu dkbar, alldhu dkbar, allalm dkbar, wa lilldhi l-Jidrnd (" God is most great, God is most great, God is most great, and thanks be to God ! "). The latter half continue, — Siibhdn alldhi II l-haindii lilldhi, wa Id ildha ilia lldhii (" Praise be to God and thanks be to God, and there is no god but God "). This chant is then repeated antiphonally till they arrive at the msdlla. After the two rek'dt have been said by the fki and the congregation, and the fki has read the hotba, he seats himself on a mat and calls down blessings on the Sultan, the people, and the feast. At the conclusion of every prayer the congregation, likewise sitting, express their assent by an amin. The fki wipes down his face with his palms, saying, — L-hamdu lilldhi rabbi l-dlaniin ! (" Thanks be to God, the Lord of the worlds ! "). The people get up, kiss the head of the fkt, who still remains sitting, and wish him a blessed feast with the usual phrase, Nbdrh^ I'tdnnes. They then do the same to one another and go away all together, chanting as before. But they must not go back the same way as they came ; this is a rule strictly followed not only by the Ait Sddden but in Fez and other places as well, and is reported by Muhammedan writers to have been observed by the Prophet himself' It is said that there is merit in every step to the msdlla {kill halfa b-hasdfia), and that this merit would be cancelled by the homeward steps along the same route ; but I have also heard another and, as it seems, more acceptable explanation of the custom in question, namely,

^ The letter h represents a sound which is very similar to the German ck in ich.

®E1-Buhari, Sahih, French translation by Houdas and Mar9ais, 1903, vol. i, p. 323: — " Quand c'etait un jour de fete^le Prophete prenait un chemin different (au retour)."