Before praying, all Muslim worshippers must purify themselves by performing ritual ablutions. Mosques provide fountains or individual water spigots so that each person can carry out this ritual cleansing.
Outside many mosques in India, small shops sell perfumes and small ornaments. Before prayer, all must perform ritual ablutions to purify oneself. From an early period, perfumes have been associated with the idea of purification.
Small older brother has accompanied his family for this ritual celebrating the birth and health of his siblings and cousins. [For description of the ritual, see cbind0043.]
Every mosque prominently displays a clock. The clock reminds Muslims of the injunction to pray five times daily. This colorfully painted and decorated clock is located on a pillar just in front of the mehrab and notes the subsequent prayer time.
At this shrine, couples pray to the saint, Zar Zari Zar Baksh, for his help in conceiving a healthy child. When the child is old enough, the couples promise tol return and make an offering of thanksgiving. This ritual consists of distributing sweetbreads equal in weight to that of the child. To determine this weight, two metal crates are balanced by a rope hanging over the limb of a large tree in the courtyard of the dargah. Often travelling from great distances, families dress in their finest clothes and bring many family members to share in this festive celebratory ritual.
This child in her finest dress and blud scarf sits patiently in the metal crate of the balance as she is weighed against the bags of sweetbreads to be distributed to the community. Following a custom widely practiced in all religious communities in South Asia, the girl, as the primary participant in the ritual, wears a garland of fresh flowers.
Older siblings and cousins entertaining the infant while he waits for the weighing to be completed. [For description of the ritual, see cbind0043.]
The speakers visible in this photo are used to announce the call to prayer.
Sign in English and Hindi for the Tomb of the last Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb. Behind this sign is a small sign explaining that anyone who vandalizes this monument will be subject to imprisonment of up to three months, a fine of up to 5000 rupees [more than $100], or both.
Passages from the Qur'an are used as decorations and as reminders of the presence of God in homes and in public places, as well as in mosques.
This sign in the courtyard of the mosque complex explains that this area contains the Shrine of the saint, Zainuddin, and the tomb of the son of Aurangzeb, Azamshah. The sign is written in English, Hindi, and Urdu.
Before entering this verandah area, men remove their shoes and perform the ritual ablutions before prayer. On this open platform, men from the community pray at the five designated times during the day.
Inside the tomb, typical Mughal designs such as this flower within a mehrab have been carved into the marble walls.
These women are holding their female and male children as they wait to perform the ritual of thanksgiving. Many women visiting the shrine note that the prayers of women offered at the dargah are understood to be more efficacious than those of men. [For description of the ritual, see cbind0043.]
Family members wait to perform the ritual thanking the saint for helping them to conceive a healthy child.