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When a Baamrani involuntarily opens his mouth, he immediately reacts covering it with one of his hands; in this way he prevents the devil to spit inside him. This fear to the devil together with the evil eye, are the two big fears of Ifni natives and Muslims, too.

There is a lot written on Baamranis’ beliefs, but because of its originality, we are considering what was observed in that Territory by Domenech Lafuente.

As Mohammedan believers, they know what the prophet said, “The eye has an influence nobody can escape from; in this way, the only thing that can prevail over destiny, will surely be the evil eye”. One of the centers of pernicious emanation from where the inauspicious influences of the evil eye are irradiated is envy. When someone envies too much, it shows in the exterior, even without noticing it, and causes different misfortunes. A beautiful boy watched by an “aagra” or “tigurt” (sterile woman); a good hand for embroidery; a selected bull; early vegetables  are only safe from sicknesses, thanks to the different talismans that they hang or  put in a specific way to repel the dangerous effluvium.

Many of the jewelry that we consider decorative assets are discreet talismans that protect them from evil. This is the reason why we see some silver coins on women’s foreheads and necks, and on many boys and girls.

Envy has to be contained, repressed. Our praises over something must be measured, not only with the intention but also with the expression. That is why it is convenient, in our first contact with any person worthy to be envied, to say a religious phrase, like "God bless you", and with that we show that there’s no intention to harm her/ him, since, independently of our envy at that moment, without noticing it, we may be carriers in our look, of inauspicious influence--, as we are pronouncing words that nullify the evil eye.

We already know that silver has the magic virtue, among others, to repel the evil eye. For this reason we also see hands (that are attributed to Fátima, Mohammed’s daughter), on women’s chests. So, in times of silver coins, when a baby was born, the mother’s friends that visited her left a coin on the baby’s chest. This was the way to show interest towards the infant, wish him good and protect him against envy.

Fatima’s hand is a talisman against the evil eye. The natives call it “jámsa” (five), because of the number of fingers. And, as this word has already absorbed the magic power of the hand, it becomes a barrier against the evil eye. We must be very careful with the use of this word to avoid offending the person we are talking to, as he may think that, with it, we are trying to prevent or repel a harmful emanation. Being inconvenient and considered of bad luck to pronounce it, we must say, then, “id-dee” (your hand), or “aad-dat id-dec” (the number of your hand) or “aarbia n uahed” (four and one), but never “jámsa” (five). 

It is weird that, being the use of the number “five” limited, this jewel is named “jámsa” by the people of the place. They use the diminutive “jomisha”. It would be more natural to call it “hand” (“id” in Arab; “afús” in Tachelhit), as we call it.

If, in the stores that offer many curious and attractive objects, we find one of these craftsman’s works, we can see that the hand lacks relief and it is very thin. We can clearly notice that the finger in the middle outstands from the rest, apart from the figure of the thumb. In some “jámsas” this and the little finger are the same size, symmetrical and curved, while the forefinger and the annular finger are the same and symmetrical, too. According to Domenech this seems to demonstrate that the “jomisía” didn’t represent in its origin, a hand. Muslims take special care to differentiate the right from the left; this one is associated to magic practices; the other one to religious events.

Remember that, according to Mohammed, it is recommended to go into the mosque on the right side, to start cutting your nails by the right hand, to cut the right side of the moustache before the left one, to start putting on your shoes on the right foot and take off the left one first, when taking off the trousers, the left leg must be first; never shake the left hand when greeting  someone, and, when you  walk  with a person you respect, this one must be on the right.

Observing the “jomisias”, of equal thumb and little finger, we can start to associate words with gestures, trying to represent them in this symbolic jewel. Many times we have seen in fights among women - full of cursing and threats - how one of them ends up the dangerous scene by saying the word “sebáa” (finger), together with a rude gesture, in which the middle finger is separated from the others and moved forward. This is an insult. With this gesture, the “digritus infamis” has advanced and it symbolizes the desire to do harm.

On the contrary, if in the quarrel, a woman wants to offend another, she curses her saying, “jamsa fi aainie” (five-fingers-in your eye). Through this gesture, the action cannot correspond with the desire: one cannot put the five fingers in one eye. It is different when they say, “sebáa fi aainie” (finger in your eye); in this case, the harmful wish has a worse intention. If she is more determined to fulfill her goal she says: “burst an eye”. We presume it is the evil eye. And the gesture that goes together with the phrase is the result of extending the finger of the heart, of her right hand, in direction of the offended person, to prevent her calamitous irradiations.

This gesture to liberate from the evil eye is practiced, too, in a discreet way, when someone crosses a person that, for some reason- well dressed, with jewels- may provoke envy. In this case the right hand is behind the back, extending the middle finger in direction to the left hand, while whispering: “Permit God that his sight falls beyond me”.

Still, there is another formula that has the same insulting intention and looks for the same material damage, to be free of the evil threat, but through an indecent phrase, together with a rude gesture.

Regarding the sacred animals, the author of “Del Islám”, tells us it is a popular belief that a genius - “Yen”-, lives in cats and protects the animal. If someone dares to bother or mistreat a cat, is in danger to suffer an awful death. The punishment is not finished here, it will continue in the grave, where the angels will go to torture the bad Muslim.

Islamic Berbers know about Prophet Mohammed’s life. They know of the delicate and loving gesture of Al-lah’s messenger, who was once sitting, absentminded, and when he tried to stand up, he realized that a cat had given birth to her kittens on his soft, comfortable dress. The Prophet did not bother the feline; he cut his esteemed clothes as an example of affection towards the animal. This explains how the respect to this tradition derived in veneration towards cats. 

“Another respected animal is the frog, because it is considered a loyal worshipper of Al-lah. It is believed that it spends nights without sleeping, constantly repeating that name. It is also believed that if someone dares to use his/ her arm or foot to kill one of these batrachians, that part of the body will completely dry. Many people see these reptiles as creatures sanctified by Al-lah, but some others suspect that each frog embodies a “yennía” (possessed). Thus, frogs are respected, fondled and treated kindly. If a woman finds an injured frog, she talks to the animal and takes care of its health; she calls it “dif Al-lah” (God’s guest). 

Related to these reptiles, there is a strange legend of a laundress, who was washing wool in a stream when she saw a frog, which she kindly greeted. As she observed that the animal was about to give birth in order to congratiate with it, she offered herself as midwife. A few days later some young women came, begging her to follow them to the stream. There she found some frogs that asked her to close her eyes; when she opened them, she found herself in a strange house, next to a woman ready to give birth. She helped her and was paid with two baskets with silver. Again, she was forced to close her eyes; when she opened them, she was in her own house again.

As the frogs had recommended her absolute silence about the recent events, at the beginning the woman didn’t answer the questions to justify her absence. Her sons insisted so much that she finally told them what had happened. And, as she had been warned of the punishment, she became blind and, some time later, she died.

If we talk about the natives’ fear to extinguish fire, we will remember what happened to poor Ich-yo, a beautiful Berber, who lived in the Anti Atlas foothills: “It was a “fuming” day: suffocating and intolerable. Ich-yo had just cooked some bread in the oven. She had sweated a lot because of the high temperatures of the day and the fire. She was so impatient to end this task that, instead of letting the embers slowly extinguish, she threw some water over them. Ich-yo went out of the house door and soon felt uneasiness: she got sick that same day.

Some old woman with knowledge on witchcraft and spells immediately realized she had been possessed by a “Yen”. She went for help to a “Fakih”, expert in the art of magic. In order to entreat the evils spirits, he practiced the rituals and pronounced the exact words. Soon after, he started a conversation with the “talent” (female “genius”) as the evil spirit was a female.  

“When the “Fakih” asked her why she was inside Ich-yo, the “talent” answered that the woman had blinded her by throwing water in the fire where she was living. The “talent” and the exorcist kept on talking. As he realized that she was not pleased with her revenge, he asked her to leave Ich-yo alone. She agreed assuring she would go to the water. Ich-yo drank water and was set free.

“However, seven days later, the beautiful Berber was again possessed. She went to “Fakih” for a second time; once again the rituals, but this time he found the “talent” in a bad mood. The exorcist’s face reflected the impotence and failure of his mysterious phrases. The “talent” refused to accept any agreement. As Ich-yo had blinded her, she had to die and; seven days later, she did. When this news was spread and reached the Ba Aamrán, many men were thoughtful, but all women felt fear”.

 
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