chapter  XXII
5 Pages

THE RAMAZĀN FESTIVAL

Special prayers are called the 'resting' (tarawrh) because the congregation sit down and rest during the night after each fourth ·prostration (rak'ah) and after every second blessing (salam). They take about an hour, consisting of twenty-three or, as some say, twenty prostrations with the blessing (salam) of the Prophet after every second prostration. 1 The Prophet commanded his followers to recite these prayers in the company of others with the Imam o~ leader after the prayer on retiring to rest ('isha ki namaz) and when three bows of the special or voluntary prayers (wajibu-l-watar) are still unrepeated .. The former being· completed the latter are recited. For the purpose of reciting the ' resting ' prayers · it is necessary to appoint a leader or Imam, or a Hafiz, one who knows the Koran by rote, as such a person is able to finish them in a couple of days. When the recitation of the whole Koran has been completed, the 'resting' prayers are discontinued. The Hafiz, or whoever has done this duty, is rewarded by a gift of money or clothes, as may have been arranged. Some people, after the rehearsal of the Koran has ended, continue reciting the ' resting ' prayers and the reading of the Koran beginning with chapter 105, 'The Elephant' (suratu-l-fil), or some .,ucceeding chapter, over and over, till the day before the end of the month. If there be no Hafiz it is necessary to repeat the ' resting ' prayers for thirty days. At the end of every fourth prostration the Imam with uplifted hands offers supplications to God, and the congregation respond ' Amin ! ' and ' A.m1n ! ' The Shi'as do not recite these prayers, nor do they enter a mosque for this reason, that after every four prostrations the congregation as well as the reader repeat the praises of the Four Companions, which they cannot endure to hear.