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Nubian Ceremonial LifeStudies in Islamic Syncretism and Cultural Change$
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John G. Kennedy

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9789774249556

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774249556.001.0001

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The Angels in the Nile: A Theme in Nubian Ritual

The Angels in the Nile: A Theme in Nubian Ritual

(p.104) Chapter 5 The Angels in the Nile: A Theme in Nubian Ritual
Nubian Ceremonial Life

Fadwa al-Guindi

American University in Cairo Press

The intent of this chapter is to present an ethnographic account of the Nubian subset of river-related beliefs and rituals. It describes the supernatural beings in the Nile, the “water angels”. These beings were called malayket-al-bahr. Clearly, just as the river Nile was of focal importance to the Nubian people, the river angels were a central theme in their beliefs and rituals. It is not an unusual phenomenon that such creatures were believed to exist in a river as significant to a people as the Nile was to the Nubians. The significance of this river-related subset is twofold. First, it embodied an integral set of relations within the Nubian belief system as a whole. Second, although beliefs associated with malayket-al-bahr have been shared by the Kenuz people in general, they were mainly related to the women's domain of ritual experience.

Keywords:   river-related beliefs, rituals, water angels, malayket-al-bahr, Kenuz people

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