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admit with equal facility the wonderful stories related by Christians, and on some occasions conform in their conduct to the popular prejudices of even these people; as in the instance given by Cantemir, of the lord of a village, who suffered no work to be done on St. Phocas's day, because formerly the saint, in revenge for the profanation of his festival, had burnt their standing corn. The opinion, that sanctity of life, independently of any particular religious persuasion, is sufficient for salvation, is silently embraced by a few liberal Turks, though it is condemned by the Mahometan church as a heresy.
It has been observed, that in all ages, men satiated with enjoyments, are most inclined to become atheists; and men the most to be pitied are superstitious. But atheism, either speculative or practical, is a vice which is rare among the Turks; for when the doctrines of the existence of God, and the immortality of the soul have been implanted in the mind by early education, they cannot be eradicated, unless perhaps, by intense and perverted study and reflection, of which the Turks, from habitual indolence, are incapable. The terrors of conscience, which generate in the vicious and profligate, a wish to disbelieve, and at last perhaps, a trembling hope that they do disbelieve these doctrines, operate but little on the minds of men who are firmly convinced, that the divine favour is never withdrawn from those, who are stedfast in their profession of faith, and constant in the practice of the ceremonies of religion. The belief and performance of both are simple and easy, and not only may exist unconnected with virtue, but may even expiate vicious conduct. Hence that tranquillity with respect to futurity which never abandons the Turk; and hence his neglect of palliatives for an evil, of which, as far as regards himself as a believer, he cannot consistently suspect the existence.
The popular religion of the Turks consist in belief, prayers, ablutions, and fastings at stated periods.
They are called to namaz (prayers) five times a day, by the muezzinn (chanter), who recites, from the highest tower of the jami, the hymn ezann, containing a confession of faith in the following form." God most high! I bear witness that there is no God but God; I bear witness that Mahomet is the prophet of God. Come to prayer; come to the asylum of salvation.-Great God! There is no God but God."
The canonical hours for the morning prayer are from the first dawning of the day to sun-rise. This prayer was first performed by Adam on his expulsion from Paradise, when he returned thanks to God on being delivered from the darkness of night, and again permitted to behold the approach of day. Towards the conclusion of the morning ezann, the muezzinn exhorts the
faithful to be deligent in their devotions, by repeating immediately after the words, come to the asylum of salvation, "prayer is preferable to sleep, prayer is preferable to sleep." The namaz of noon, which may be said at any period of the interval between the meridian and the next succeeding namaz, was instituted by Abraham after his purposed sacrifice of his son Isaac. The afternoon namaz, in which the prophet Jonas first expressed his gratitude on being cast up from the belly of the whale, begins when the shadow projected on the dial is of twice the length of the and it may gnomon; be said as long as the sun continues above the horizon. The evening prayer is believed by Mahometans to have been instituted by Jesus Christ; the hours appointed by this namaz are from the setting of the sun to complete nocturnal darkness, when the night prayer is performed, in imitation of Moses. On Friday, which is consecrated to public worship in commemoration of the creation of man, the Mahometants recite an additional namaz, and a prayer salath' uldjuma between sunrising and noon.
In the namaz there are several prostrations, some of which must not on any account be omitted, being farz, or the immediate command of God: others may be omitted, though not without some degree of sin, being sunneth, institutions of the prophet, or rather an imitation of his practice.
The Turks admit of purgatory, in which the believer is to repeat the prayers which he omitted in his life time, or neglected to say at the appointed times. They assert that the sinful soul is greatly benefited by the prayers of the living, and still more so by the reading of the Koran, whereby the angel Gabriel is assisted in guarding the soul from the devils, during the forty days of its hovering about the grave wherein the body is laid.
The abdest, or ablution of the hands, face, mouth, head, neck, arms, and feet, accompanied with suitable prayers, is performed by the Turks in a particular manner, to distinguish them from the Persians, and is an indispensable preparation to the namaz. or prayer. Ghoussoul is the purification of the whole body, in cases which are specified in the religious code of the Mahometans. Ghassl, or simple washing, is ordered for removing any visible or substantial impurity, from the clothes or the person, of a nature to invalidate or annul the virtue of prayer.
The fast of the month of ramazan consists in abstaining from food or drink, or any gratification of the senses, during the whole time of the sun's continuance above the horizon.
The immediate ministers of religion make no part of the body of ulema. In the larger mosques there are sheiks, or preachers: kiatibs, readers or deacons, who, in imitation of the prophet and caliphs, and in the name and under the sacerdotal authority of
the sultan, discharge the functions of the imameth or high priesthood; imams, who recite the namaz; and muezzins, who summon the people to prayers; besides cayyims or sextons. In villages, or small parishes, the duties of the whole are performed by the imam, who is sometimes also the hogia, or schoolmaster for the children: but he owes this appointment to his being the only person possessing sufficient leisure or the necessary qualifications.
The ministers of religion throughout the Turkish empire are subordinate to the civil magistrate, who exercises over them the powers of a diocesan. He has the privilege of superseding and removing those whose conduct is reproachable, or who are unequal to the dignified discharge of the duties of their office. The magistrates themselves may, whenever they think proper, perform all the sacerdotal functions, and it is in virtue of this prerogative, joined to the influence which they derive from their judicial power and their riches, that they have so marked a pre-eminence, and so preponderant an authority, over the ministers of public worship.
The priests in their habits of life are not distinguished from other citizens: they live in the same society and engage in the same pursuits: they sacrifice no comforts, and are compelled to no acts of self-denial; their influence on society is entirely dependent on their reputation for learning and talents, or gravity and moral conduct. They are seldom the professed instructors of youth, much less of men, and by no means are they considered as the directors of conscience. They merely chant aloud the church service, and perform offices, which the master of a family or the oldest person in company, as frequently, and as consistently, perform as themselves. The Turks know nothing of those expiatory ceremonies which give so much influence to the priesthood: all the practices of their religion can be, and are performed without the interference of their priests.
The institution of the different orders of dervishes is foreign to the genuine spirit of the Mahometan religion. Some of the Ottoman ministers have even attempted their suppression; but the vulgar, who certainly consider their ceremonies as of the nature of incantation, submit to their caprices, and court their benediction by respect and liberality.
The professors of Islamism, in the genuine spirit of piety, consider that religion is best characterised by acts of public utility. They have been accused of ostentation in their charities, and of being actuated only by the spirit of pride or superstition; but it is surely a pardonable, if not even a laudable, superstition, to suppose the author of all good, looking with complacency on the humble imitation of his perfections; and a justifiable pride, to
and refreshed, the ignorant instructed, and the sick healed, by our beneficence. A khan or caravanserai for the accommodation of travellers, a mosque with its schools and hospitals, a fountain, a bridge, or a public road, cannot be unostentatiously established, without abridging their utility. "We must not attribute their erection," says Mr. Eton, "to patriotism or public spirit." Be it so: but I have gallopped across a scorching desert, in hopes of discovering a fountain to allay the thirst of myself or my horse, and have blessed the philanthropy which had searched out, and erected a monument on, the only spot which furnished water. Baron de Tott asserts, that "the namaz giahs, or places for ablution and prayer, erected on the road side, are worth a great number of indulgences, for which the Turks, who obtain them, find a ready sale." But the Turks are unacquainted with indulgences; they indeed allow that the merit of good works may be transferred or sold; and their historians relate that Sultan Bajazet, after vainly endeavouring to prevail on a pasha to yield to him the merit of erecting a bridge over a torrent, which interrupted the communication between Constantinople and Adrianople, struck off the pasha's head, swam across the torrent at the hazard of his life, and ordered his army to halt till the waters had abated.
Hospitality to strangers, and giving alms to the poor, are virtues to which the Oriental nations are much habituated. In imitation of the patriarchs, and with unaffected simplicity, the tables of the rich and great are daily open to all who can with propriety present themselves; while inferior persons of every class range themselves around the tables of the officers of their household and their domestics; and the fragments are distributed at the door to the poor and the hungry. A servant would blush at the idea of making a perquisite of them: even the peasant will offer the corner of his hut to the traveller, and rather than refuse him a welcome, will put himself to considerable inconvenience to entertain him. The right of proprietorship is seldom exerted to exclude from a garden, an orchard, or a vineyard, any person who may choose to enter them, and to pluck and eat the herbs or the fruit. I will not wholly attribute to the same principle their tenderness to the inferior classes of animals, as in some cases they seem to be restrained from molesting or destroying them, as much by indolence as humanity. The dog, as an unclean animal whose contact produces legal defilement, is rigorously excluded from their dwellings and the courts of their mosques. But they allow dogs to increase in their streets till they become an intolerable nuisance, even in the day time, and are really a formidable evil to those, who have occasion to pass through the Turkish quarter of the town at night. These animals have divided the city into districts. They jealously guard from encroachment the imaginary
line which bounds their native territory; and they never transgress it, either in their pursuit of an invading dog, or in their at tack on the passenger, whom they deliver over at their frontier to be worried by the neighbouring pack. Constantinople may be considered as the paradise of birds: the doves feed unmolested on the corn which is conveyed in open lighters across the harbour, and they feed with such a confidence of safety that they scarcely yield a passage to the boat-men or labourers. The confused noise of the harbour is increased by the clang of sea-birds: to shoot at them in the neighbourhood of the city would be rash; and even in the villages on the Bosphorus inhabited by Franks, where the Turks can only censure, they never fail to reproach the murdering of them as wanton cruelty. The hog alone, of all animals, excites in the Turks a sense of loathing and abhorrence; and though permitted in the infidel quarters of some provincial towns, is scrupulously banished from the capital and its suburbs. The hog, however, is a creature destined by nature to live in filth and mire, and to cleanse the neighbourhood of the habitations of men; and it may be worth inquiry, whether the absence of so useful an animal, by deranging the order of nature, may not tend to the production, or facilitate the progress, of the plague.
The physical effect of climate upon the character, though its operation cannot be wholly denied, is yet so much over-ruled by moral causes, that they alone form the line of demarcation between the different inhabitants of this great empire. The austerity of the Mahometan religion gives to its votaries a certain moroseness of character, which, towards the person of a different persuasion, is heightened into superciliousness. The gravity of deportment, which such a religion necessarily generates, is left without its proper corrective, the gayety inspired by the presence and conversation of women. The Turk is usually placid, hypochondriac, and unimpassioned; but, when the customary sedateness of his temper is ruffled, his passions, unsoftened in their expression by the influence of female manners, are furious and uncontroulable. The individual seems possessed with all the ungovernable fury of a multitude; and all ties, all attachments, all natural and moral obligations are forgotten and trampled upon, till his rage is appeased or subsides. De Tott represents them as “seeking celebrity by murder, without having courage to commit it deliberately, and deriving from intoxication only sufficient resolution for such a crime." But intoxication itself is a vice so rare among the Turks, that it is evident De Tott must have drawn his general conclusion from some particular instance. It has been asserted, with more truth, by a more ancient author than De Tott, "that brawls and quarrels are rare among the Turks: assassinations are unheard of; and though among men striving onward in