Observations on the Mussulmauns of India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 486 pages of information about Observations on the Mussulmauns of India.

[15] The Sharif, ‘honourable,’ is the local ruler of Mecca and the
    Hajaz:  see Encyclopaedia Britannica, xvii. 952; Burton,
    Pilgrimage, ii. 3.

[16] As-Salamu-’alai-kum, ‘Peace be with you!’

[17] Nadir Shah, born a shepherd, A.D. 1687, aided Shah Tahmasp
    against Ashraf, leader of the Afghans, defeated him, and restored
    his master in 1730.  Afterwards he deposed Tahmasp, and raised his
    infant son to the throne of Persia, under the title of ’Abbas III. 
    But he continued to rule the country, and on the death of ’Abbas in
    1736 he became king.  He marched on India in 1739, defeated the Emperor
    Muhammad on the historic field of Panipat, sacked Delhi, and
    perpetrated a horrible massacre.  He returned to Persia laden with
    spoil, but his tyranny excited the hostility of the nobles, and he was
    assassinated in 1747, and buried at Mashhad.

[18] Sayyid Hashim.

[19] Alkhalaq, Turkish, ‘a coat with sleeves’.

LETTER X

The Zuckhaut (God’s portion).—­Syaads restricted the benefit of this charity.—­The Sutkah.—­The Emaum’s Zaumunee (protection).—­The Tenths, or Syaads’ Due.—­Mussulmauns attribute thanks to God only, for all benefits conferred.—­Extracts from the ’Hyaatool Kaaloob’.—­Mahumud’s advice.—­His precepts tend to inculcate and encourage charity.—­Remarks on the benevolence of Mussulmauns.

On the subject of Zuckhaut, commanded by Mahumud to his followers, I shall have little to remark;—­the nature of the institute is intended to oblige mankind to share with the poor a due portion of those benefits they have received through the bounty of Divine Providence.  Every Mussulmaun is expected by this law to set apart from his annual income one-fortieth part, denominated Zuckhaut (God’s portion), for the sole benefit of the poor.  I believe there are not many,—­judging by what I have witnessed among the Mussulmaun population of Hindoostaun,—­who do not expend a much larger portion of their yearly income in charitable donations, than the enjoined fortieth part.

The poor Syaads are not allowed to receive any relief from ’the Zuckhaut’[1]; they being of the Prophet’s blood, are not to be included with the indigent for whom these donations are generally set apart.  The strict Mussulmaun of the Sheah sect usually deducts one-tenth[2] from whatever money comes into his possession as ‘the Syaads’ due’, to whom it is distributed, as proper objects present themselves to his knowledge; much in the same way as the tribe of Levi are entitled to the tenth of the produce from their brethren of Israel by the Mosaic law.

The Syaads are likewise restricted from accepting many other charitable offerings,—­sutkah for instance—­by which is meant the several things composing peace-offerings, offerings in atonement, &c.  The better to explain this I must here describe some of the habits of the Mussulmaun population:—­When any person escapes from a threatened danger, or accident, their friends send offerings of corn, oil, and money; all that is thus sent to the person preserved, must be touched by his hand and then distributed amongst the poor and needy.

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