The Angels in the Nile: A Theme in Nubian Ritual

Fadwa al-Guindi

in Nubian Ceremonial Life

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9789774249556
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781617970955 | DOI:
The Angels in the Nile: A Theme in Nubian Ritual

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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

Chapter.  4427 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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