Sunday, December 4, 2022

The People

Religious Practices

Sacraments among Muslims

A special feature of the Muslim sacraments, is that they can be performed without the presence of the priest or Mullah, when they are not available for some reason or another. 

Paidaish is the first sacrament, which concerns the birth of a child.

The first delivery of the married woman is done at her mother's house. After the child is born, the Pesh Imam or Bangi from a Masjid is called and he says two mantras into the ears of the child; Azaan into the right ear and Ikayat into the left. Then honey is applied to the tongue of the child and it is bestowed a name. Among the Muslims the child is considered as born, a Muslim. If a priest is not available, the ceremony is done at home by the elder in the house. Akika ceremony is performed on the 7th or 14th, 21st or 40th day after the birth, when a goat is slaughtered, one goat in the case of a girl and two in the event of a boy being born. 

The second sacrament is Khatna intended for male children. It means the circumcision. It is called Sunta Korop in Konkani and the surgeon for this job used to come from outside Goa. But now most such operations are done in hospitals. A party is given thereafter to celebrate the event.

Bismilla is the third sacrament to initiate the child into education. There upon the child is taught the Koran etc. The fourth sacrament is Nikah or marriage. 

The fifth sacrament is Vafat when phrases relating to God are read out to the dying person. After a person has breathed his last, his legs and arms are straightened out, eyes and mouth closed and he is laid down to rest with his head in the direction of Mecca. Before the body is taken to the Kabrastan (graveyard) he is bathed with a lot of soap and aromatic flowers, the ceremony being known as 'gusul' after which new clothes are worn on the body. He is laid in the kafan (coffin). Three outfits for men and five dresses for women are kept separately in the coffin. Some verses from the Koran are read out. The body is taken to the Mosque and kept there for sometime and people and priest say namaz prayers. 

It is considered one's duty to take the dead body on one's shoulder. Women do not take part in the funeral procession. The coffin is then taken to the cemetery where close relatives lift up the coffin and bury it in the dug ground. 

Later, three days of Ziyarat are observed at the house of the deceased, with recitations from the Koran. On the third day snacks, fruits etc are served to all who participated in the funeral procession. On the 9th day and the 40th day as well as after three months and six months, food is served to people on behalf of the deceased.