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JURA

Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

In Arabic, the word jura or jurrah means a gulp or as much as is swallowed, as it is said jura al-ma'a (he swallowed the water), juratan minadewa (dose of medicine), or jara ar-ma'a (made drunk little water). The Arabic word jarw or jurw also means whelp, cub, small fruit or anything little. In Persian, the word jura means equal in size or weight, draught, gulp or remains at the bottom of vessel. The word jurrah occurs once in the Koran: "He will drink it little by little (jurrah) and will not be able to swallow it agreeably" (14:17). The jura is a tabarruk (benedictory gift) among the Ismailis to be given in the Jamatkhana.

The Koran says, "Take alms out of their property, you would cleanse them and purify them thereby, and pray for them; surely your prayer is a relief to them" (9:103). Thus, the existence of the Prophet was a baraka for mankind on earth. The showering of baraka continued in his descendants to purify the believers in every age. Whatever one receives from the Imam, it is a baraka for him. The jura is the best example of the baraka for the believers. The Muslims generally call the benedictory gift as tabarruk, while the word hissa is prevalent for it among the Shi'ites.

Masud bin Khalid narrated that once he presented meat of a goat to the Prophet, who returned a part of it as a tabarruk (Hayatus Sahaba, Karachi, 1999, 3:713). Abu Huraira reports that whenever a new fruit arrived in Medina, people brought it before the Prophet, who recited, "O'God! Bestow baraka in our fruits"(allahuma barik lana fi thamrana). Anas bin Malik narrates: Once Akedar of Dumat al-Jandal presented the Prophet a pitcher of Turanja'bin (Persian manna). When he finished his prayer, he went to his Companions and distributed a piece to each person. Khalid bin Walid took its two pieces, and said, "I have taken two pieces while other have taken one piece only." The Prophet said, "Eat it and let your family members also eat it" (al-Kanz, 4:47). Abu Huraira narrates: One day the Prophet distributed dates among his Companions in the mosque. Each of us got seven dates, one of them being stoneless, which I liked more (al-Muslim, 2:297). Anas bin Malik relates: Once someone presented dates to the Prophet. He would be distributing while eating from the heap at the same time" (Ibid. 2:180). Jabir relates: Once the Prophet called me, and holding my hand he passed by the cells of his consorts and entered one of them. He asked something to eat and three small-sized breads were presented. He took one bread and put before me, and another before himself and then he divide the third one into two parts, and gave one piece to me and another before him, and we ate (Ibid. 2:136). Once the Prophet halted at a place, where a certain woman sent her goat through her son. The Prophet milked it and sent to that woman. The woman again sent another goat, and the Prophet again milked it and drank and left some for that woman (al-Kanz, 4:45). Abdullah bin Busr said: My father once said to my mother that it would be auspicious hour if she prepared food for the Prophet. My mother prepared tharid for him. My father went and brought the Prophet with him. The Prophet put his blessed hand on the top of that food, and returned, saying them to start eating after reciting the name of God. Those present there started eating. The Prophet then also ate and prayed, "O'God! Forgive them. Show Thy Compassion unto them and make their provisions blessed" (al-Kanz, 8:48). The house of Ayub Ansari in Medina had two storeys. He offered the upper floor but the Prophet preferred the ground one for the convenience of visitors. Ayub Ansari used to send meals to the Prophet twice every day, and what left was shared by him and his wife as a tabaruk. He used to eat from the side of the plate, which had the marks of the Prophet's fingers (Isabah fi Ahwal'il Sahabah, 1:357-8).

The Prophet recommended seven ajwa (the best variety of dates in Medina), called "the mother of dates" (umm al-tamr) as a tabarruk in the morning to counteract the effect of poison and other ills throughout the day. The Muslims in general make five pieces of ajwa, and eat each piece in the morning before sunrise for five days as a tabarruk.

Makrizi writes in Khitat (1:453) that, "During the banquet for the new year in Egypt, the Fatimid Caliph distributed food with his own hands, the recipient kissed it, made a gesture as if to eat it, and then placed it in his sleeve for the baraka. When all those present had filled their sleeves, the vizir said,


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