chapter  XVI
4 Pages

THE BĀRAH WAFĀT; NEW YEAR AND SPRING FESTIVALS

On the eleventh day in the evening or a little before sunset some people perform the Sandal of the Prophet--0n whom be the Peace !-that is to say, they put one or more cups full of perfumed powder (argaja) or sandalwood paste on one or more models of Buraq, in a tray, or in a cenotaph which is called 'the Henna' or 'the Mosque' (menhdi, masjid), and cover it with a flower sheet. Along with these are carried trays of cakes with music and fireworks, while the benediction and birth service are recited. Thus they proceed to the place where the footprint of the Prophet is kept. On arriving there, after saying the Fatiha, each person dips his hand in the sandal paste or perfumed powder and rubs a little on the foot-print. The flower sheet is spread over it and the cakes are given to those present. The reason why the sandalwood is carried on an image of Buraq is that this was the steed of the Prophet. The Buraq really should not be brought out at the Muharram, but only at this rite, so that the people may know that it was on this animal that Muhamn;iad Mustafa-Peace be on him !- ascended into Heaven. 2 But according to the Shar', or Law,

the keeping of such models, as well as pictures, in the house is unlawful. The Buraq is left near the foot-prints till the thirteenth day. As a rule, the person in charge of the foot-print makes a Buraq and carries out the sandalwood on it, and people in performance of vows make offerings to the foot-print.