Observations on the Mussulmauns of India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 594 pages of information about Observations on the Mussulmauns of India.

If any member of a family be ill, a tray is filled with corn, and some money laid on it:  it is then placed under the bed of the sick person for the night; in the morning this is to be distributed amongst the poor.  Some people cook bread, and place it in the same way with money under the bed of the sick.  All these things are called Sutkah[3] in whatever form they are planned, which is done in a variety of ways; and, when distributed to the poor, are never to be offered to, nor allowed to be accepted by, the Syaad race.  The scapegoat, an animal in good health and without blemish, is another offering of the Sutkah denomination:  a Syaad is not allowed to be one of the number to run after the goat released from the sick chamber.

When any one is going a journey, the friends send bands of silk or riband, in the folds of which are secured silver or gold coins; these are to be tied on the arm of the person projecting the journey, and such offerings are called ’Emaum Zaumunee’,[4] or the Emaum’s protection.  Should the traveller be distressed on his journey, he may, without blame, make use of any such deposits tied on his arm, but only in emergencies; none such occurring, he is expected, when his journey is accomplished in safety, to divide all these offerings of his friends amongst righteous people.  The Syaads may accept these gifts, such being considered holy,—­paak[5] is the original word used, literally clean.

They believe the Emaums have knowledge of such things as pertain to the followers of Mahumud and his descendants.  Thus they will say, when desiring blessings and comforts for another person, ’Emaum Zaumunee, Zaumunee toom kero!’[6] may the Emaums protect you, and give you their safe support!

The tenths, or Syaads’ dues, are never appropriated to any other use than the one designed.  Thus they evince their respect to the descendants of Mahumud; by these tenths the poorer race of Syaads are mainly supported; they rarely embark in trade, and never can have any share in banking, or such professions as would draw them into dealings of usury.  They are chiefly employed as writers, moonshies,[7] maulvees, and moollahs, doctors of law, and readers of the Khoraun; they are allowed to enter the army, to accept offices of state; and if they possess any employment sufficient to support themselves and family, the true Syaad will not accept from his neighbours such charitable donations as may be of service to the poor brethren of his race.  The Syaads, however poor, are seldom known to intrude their distresses, patiently abiding until relief be sent through the interposing power of divine goodness.

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Observations on the Mussulmauns of India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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