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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

The Legacy to Modern Egypt                385
)olished, for it was strongly held among the Semites, but its
st tenuous links with its theoretical basis were cut, and it was
:t adrift as an isolated, inexplicable, but all the more tenacious
Dservance.
The principle of ablutions before worship was known to the
gyptians as it was to many other nations. Pharaoh was purified
Y having water poured over him. This, and not bathing as in
idia, is still the prescribed technique. The people were also
:customed to wash before reading the holy books and before
itering the temple. All that was necessary was to detach the
bservance from the temple and attach it to the mosque.
The attitudes of prayer too were not very different from what
ley are now. The two sets are merely variants. No great
hange of form was therefore needed. The main change was
i the intention. Islam reserves them strictly for God. In the
as-reliefs they appear to be accorded to men, but it must be
smembered that the king was a god, not a man. The true
oints of difference are whether there is one god or many, and
whether a man can be identified with the god or not.
Some Arab customs came in the wake of the new system of
ieas, not as an integral part of it. They could thus settle down
a peace beside similar indigenous fragments. Thus the new
hape of tomb was not obligatory. It acquired considerable
>opularity, for some reason or other, and is by far the com-
monest now; but it did not oust completely the old, stepped,
vastaba form which is now known to be at least as old as the
?irst Dynasty. Having come down to the masses it is naturally
nuch reduced in size. So far from being antagonistic the two
ypes can actually blend, as is usual in tombs of the Khedivial
amily: the simple Arabic tomb is superposed on two or three
ligh plinths. The result is a mastaba with the high proportions
>f the Arab type.
There are cases, however, where compromise is impossible,
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