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Superstitions

Submitted to:

SIR ABID
Submitted by:
Rafay Hamid Usman Hussain Mustajab Ali (08-CE-46) (08-CE-61) (08-CE-27)

Date:25 april 2009

Department Of Computer Science and Engineering University of Engineering & Technology Lahore

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Contents
Date:25 april 2009...................................................................................................0 Department Of Computer Science and Engineering..................................................0 University of Engineering & Technology Lahore........................................................0 INTRODUCTION:.........................................................................................................3 FOUNDATION:............................................................................................................4 TYPES OF SUPERSTITIONS:.........................................................................................4 GOOD LUCK SUPERSTITIONS:.................................................................................4 BAD LUCK SUPERSTITIONS:....................................................................................5 MYTHS AND FOLK LORES:.......................................................................................5 CAUSES OF SUPERSTITIONS:......................................................................................6 OUR ANCESTORS:...................................................................................................7 WEAK FAITH IN RELIGION:.......................................................................................7 ILLETERACY:............................................................................................................8 FOLKTALES:............................................................................................................8 DESIRES:.................................................................................................................8 PARANORMAL PHENOMENON:................................................................................8 ANALYSIS:..................................................................................................................9 REPORT FROM SCANLON ET AL:...............................................................................10 EFFECTS OF SUPERSTITIONS:...................................................................................10 Psychological Effects:...........................................................................................11 SOCIAL EFFECTS:..................................................................................................11 RELIGIOUS EFFECTS:.............................................................................................13

INTRODUCTION:
Superstition is derived from a Latin word “SUPERSTITIO” which means “Standing in Awe”, used in Latin as an unreasonable or excessive belief in

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fear or magic. So it is understandable that superstition is a belief or notion that is not based on reason or knowledge. The word superstition is used for irrational beliefs of people; it is a belief that is inconsistent with the known laws of science or with what is considered true and rational. For example, a girl counts the leaves of a flower and she says: “One, he comes; two, he tarries; three, he caught; four, he marries; five, he goes away.” Of course the flower did not grow and number of its leaves was not determined with reference to the courtship or marriage of this girl, neither could there have been any intelligence that misguided her hand when she selected that particular flower. So, counting the number of leaves of the flower in any way cannot determine whether the future of an individual is to be happy or miserable.

FOUNDATION:
The foundation of superstition is ignorance, the superstructure is faith and the dome is a vain hope. Superstition is the child of the ignorance and the mother of the misery. It is commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy and spiritual beings, particularly the irrational belief that future events can be influenced or fore-told by specific, unrelated behaviors or occurrences.

TYPES OF SUPERSTITIONS:
There are three types of superstitions.
1. Good luck Superstitions 2. Bad luck Superstitions 3. Myths and Folklores

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GOOD LUCK SUPERSTITIONS:
Good luck superstitions are those which according to people bring good luck. EXAMPLES: •
• •

At times, a horse-shoe may be found above doorways, when positioned like a regular “U”. It is supposed to collect good luck. Clover is believed to protect humans and animals from evil spells and is thought to be good luck to find a four-leaf clover. A rabbit’s foot brings good luck. Wearing your birth stone will bring you good luck. Clothes worn inside out will bring good luck. An itchy palm means money will come your way.


BAD LUCK SUPERSTITIONS:
Bad luck superstitions are those which according to people bring bad luck. EXAMPLES:

In western culture the number 13 is perceived as unlucky. Sometimes it is replaced by 12A or in some buildings the floor 13 is skipped completely.

• •

If a black cat crosses your path you will have a bad luck. To break a mirror will bring you seven years of bad luck. To open an umbrella in the house is to bring bad luck. A bird that comes in your window brings bad luck.

MYTHS AND FOLK LORES:
Myths and folklores are the unwritten and traditional stories accepted as history. These are basically the false stories that have been inserted in our minds, mostly by our ancestors.

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EXAMPLES: •

If the flame of the candle flickers and then turns blue, there is a spirit in the room. If a bird flies through your house, it indicates important news if it cannot get out, the news will be death. A bat in the house is the sign of the death. When a crow cocks it means that the guests will arrive in your house.

• •

These are some of the types of superstitions which are believed but actually they are not I had come across some and nothing come alike. It is believed:

Washing a car will bring rain.

This cannot be true because a large number of people wash their cars daily and there is no rain.

It is bad luck to sing at the table.

Thousands of people sing standing on the table infect our pop singers prefer such kind of activities while performing but nothing happens.

If the bottom of your feet itches you will have a trip.

My friend had an itch in the bottom of his feet and doctor advised him not to walk for three days. ”A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstitions and art into pedantry.”

CAUSES OF SUPERSTITIONS:
There are many causes of superstitions. Large numbers of people themselves are not aware that whether they believe in superstitions or they are imposed to believe.

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Infact some of the main causes of being our superstitious are: • • • • • •

Our ancestors Weak faith in religion Illiteracy Folktales Fear On desires Paranormal phenomenon’s

OUR ANCESTORS:
The factor that imposed us to believe in superstitions is our ancestors. Their belief on some of the superstitions is strong to such an extent that denying these we don’t feel comfort. Infact our minds are so made that we start believing in superstitions. The myths and the folklores which have been passed on from generation to generation are basically due to this factor. EXAMPLE: This example is related to me. “When I inquire my mother about the origin of any superstition, she always replies that she heard this from my “Dadi Ma”. I am sure my grandmother must had heard this from her mother and this chain is coming from where, it can’t be traced”.

WEAK FAITH IN RELIGION:
One of the most important reasons of our being superstitious is deviation and weak faith in our religion. We always look towards people when we face some problem, thinking that they gen get out of this crucial situation without thinking that Allah Almighty is the most beneficent. A typical example is that we prefer consulting “Aalim babas” in our problems. We start thinking that these people can do anything. How it is possible?? They are the same

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humans as we are, so how can they do something for us. Also if they can do something then they must have change their own luck and fate. So going to “Aalims” matters nothing. Only Allah can do anything. So in course of the critical period we must pray to Allah rather wasting our time and money.

ILLETERACY:
Illiteracy and ignorance are the major cause that made us superstitious. If the complete analysis is analyzed then the main point that explains the reason is “illiteracy”. Only those people believe in superstitions that are illiterate. They always believe in false beliefs and mostly prefer people to solve their problems. Many of these people not only get looted due to this but also trap many of their fellows in believing such conditions. The survey has revealed that many such people play an important role in trapping their fellows. They tend them to go to different fortune tellers to get know about their future.

FOLKTALES:
Folktales are basically the same as the myths and folklores. These are the fake stories that are deeply affecting our minds. It’s a true that our belief on superstitions is also caused by these folktales. These are the stories with no foundation but the most important thing is that these create an interest that makes us to believe in superstitions.

DESIRES:
Our desire also plays an important as causing a superstition in our minds. The things which we like and love to do indulge them into the stories and make a new 0superstition and this type of superstitions are then spread through a word of mouth. For example if a person likes to wear pendant or

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some kind of birthstone, he will say that if a person wears a birthstone it will bring good luck to him.

PARANORMAL PHENOMENON:
Another important factor that has made us superstitious is paranormal phenomenons. These are some accidental incidents that may occur with any person. Actually these are the accidents that incidentally take place but the people with weak faith and must say that the people who are overwhelming extract a point from such accidents and these paranormal phenomenon’s become a “Superstition”. The main focusing point that such people explains may relate to the old superstitions also but in most of the cases people look for the new entries. This can be said that they invent the new superstitions. What actually they are trying is to create a fear.

ANALYSIS:
The majority of Westminster College students believe in superstitions. A survey was made and the following results are concluded:

S u p le v e l
1 2 3 4

 1-not superstitious 19%  2-a little superstitious50%  3-moderately superstitious 27.4%

 4- Very superstitious 3.4%

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0.5

 A-A charm can bring you
0.4

good luck.  B-Breaking off the longer

0.3

piece of a wishbone will bring you good luck.
0.448

Mean

0.2

 C-Crossing your fingers help

to avoid bad luck and helpa
0.259

wish come true.
0.155 0 .121

0.1
0.121

0 .10 3 0.052

 D-Evil

Spirits

cannot

harm

0.0 86

0.086

you when you are standing in
H I

0 Ao B C1 D E F Go

a circle.

 E-Garlic protects from evil spirits and vampires.  F-Friday the thirteenth is an unlucky day.  G-If a black cat crosses your path, you will have bad luck.  H-If you walk under a ladder, you will have bad luck.  I-Breaking a mirror will bring you seven years of bad luck.

REPORT FROM SCANLON ET AL:
Scanlon et al has reported that in England and US less people drive on Friday the 13 less people drive their cars. But on the same hand more accidents are reported than other Fridays.

EFFECTS OF SUPERSTITIONS:
Superstitions play an important role in affecting not only minds of the people but also has many effects in a society.

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Every field of life is affected by superstitions.

The three main effects of the superstitions are: • • • Psychological Effects Social Effects Religious Effects

Psychological Effects:
Superstitions play an important role in affecting the minds of the people. They directly hammer our mind in taking us to positivity or negativity. The psychological effects of superstitions are the main effects. It can change the mind of the people and their minds can be changed due to the effects of superstitions. Perceiving superstitions to b true or false always cause thinking in our minds that superstitions may be the something that may exist. It is also a fact that many people deny these superstitions apparently. Their minds are not clear that whether superstitions exist or not and if such a person ever practice and that event incidentally this may change the opinion of that purpose. Deeply hold beliefs shared by substantial number of people can be used as a psychological weapon because it permits win to some degree of probability and the prediction of individual or group behavior under a certain condition. Action against a superstitious believes can also have a negative effect on health of some patients.

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If the positive effects of superstitions are considered, then it can be used as a Placebo Effect. It is used for the dummy treatment of some patients. In Placebo effect the treatment is done through “Expectations”.

SOCIAL EFFECTS:
Superstition may be of any type is present in every field of life. Infact their social effects play an important role in their expanding. It affects the social life of people to great extent. In any field of life we can see the effects of superstitions. The alarming situation is that many professionals are also involved in this regard. Some examples that explain such conditions are: Many professional athletes use particular article of clothing to set their minds on creating a winning edge in competition. In this regard many great players of cricket, football, hockey, volleyball etc. always prefer to wear the shirts with some specific article and may a number also. An n analysis has revealed that many people have a concept in their minds that they have got some specific “Lucky Tie” or “Lucky Shirt”. Such people always prefer wearing such ties or shirts whenever they have to go for an interview for a job or to some special place. They think that wearing these lucky shirts will remove all the hurdles that may become a source or problem against their opportunity. In the same way some people always look towards the astrologers to know about a proper lucky time so that they can do their some of the important works on that day. According to the ideas of these people there is a period which favors you. So doing anything in that period will never cause a failure. For this purpose such people are at the hands of the astrologers who guide them that right time.

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Similarly, many people wear different charms with a believe that this will protect them from every kind of harm. This concept is mostly found in the people of the sub-continent. Different threads are used for this purpose. Mostly the black thread is asked to be bind in fastened or on wrist. Horoscope reading is the world wide superstitious activity. Thousands of people around the world read newspapers only to read their “Horoscopes”. Early in the morning this activity is practiced so that people may manage their activity according to the conditions that are explained in their “Horoscope”.

RELIGIOUS EFFECTS:
One of the alarming situation that has taken place due to excessive believe in superstitions is the effects that are badly affecting our religion. The faith of the most of the people is becoming weak and weak as their believes in superstitions is increasing. They never care whether our religion has said all this or not. They just go on following superstitions and in doing so perform many sinful acts. The most important point is that the image of our religion is does not count well when we follow superstitions rather following the principles of our religion. Also many people have made some superstitions in the religion also. This also creates some bad effects about our religion. Following superstitions has made us away from our religion to such an extent that we have forgotten what our religion says, what Allah has said, what our beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W) has said. In Quran Allah has said that:

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“If Allah touch thee with affliction, none can remove it but He; if He touch thee with happiness, He hath power over all things. He is the irresistible, (watching) from above over His worshippers; and He is the Wise, acquainted with all things”. No doubt beleiving on such superstitions is just the same as we have not a firm believe in Allah and might have other gods. This is another point which is explained in Quran as:

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“Whoever joins other gods with Allah, Allah will forbid him the Garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help”. Infact Allah has stressed to think and found the hidden treasures of Earth and not beleiving on superstitious or such false believes. Islam teaches its followers to use the mind accordingly. The mind is created by Allah to enable Man to ponder, scrutinise, and deliberate on Allah’s creations in the Universe.

In Quran Allah has said:

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“Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of Night and Day, there are indeed Signs for men of understanding”. Therefore we must not place our trust or be dependent on anything except Allah. We should not be dependent on a cause-and-effect phenomenon which is forbidden by the rule of Islam (Shari’a) such as witchcraft, sorcery and superstitions. The reason is that these can lead to annihilation of the faith and abrogation of the Shahadah. All these beliefs and acts do damage to the Aqeeda (faith) and further plunge the practitioners into ignominy and incur the Wrath of Allah. The punishment for these will surely be the Hell Fire.

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CONCLUSION
We have discussed much about the effects, causes and types of the superstitions. Most of the people are unaware of the superstitions they possess. These superstitions as told earlier are passed onto the people by their ancestors or from some paranormal phenomenons that take place in their life. These superstitions are basically the outcome of our fears. Living in the modern era, we people still fear the unknown, are afraid of the bad omens, are frightened of the misfortunes, and are uncertain and thus looking towards symbols and miracles which can give us relief from misery or bad luck. Here I confess, that even I am superstitious, “when I am selecting a suitable appropriate T-shirt in my cupboard, the first thought that triggers in my mind is,’ what happened last time when I was wearing this Tshirt?’ if I had a good experience then it is a good omen for me otherwise the T-shirt is a bad omen for me”. This example is I think satisfies my notion. As explained earlier that these false beliefs cause by good or bad incidents in life and from myths are the source of mental agony for us. These beliefs are not good or healthy for us in any way at all. So what should be done is that we should say good-bye to these false beliefs. It is never the attitude of a winner to believe in these superstitions rather it is the attitude of the looser to believe in these supernatural beliefs. Winner attitude means attitude of a person who has a command over his life, decisions and is not depressed by any sort of natural happening. If you think over it, you will realize that the streets, the stars, the days, the colours you see each and every thing has nothing to do with fate. The surroundings have nothing to do with you so come over your fears.

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For these reasons, let us refrain from engaging in these acts of superstition which lead to associating Allah with His own creations (Shirk) and incur His Wrath upon our entire life. Wemust worship Allah in entirety so that we may achieve success, happiness and security in this world and in the Hereafter. Now it is our responsibility to rational and logical and realizes that these things have nothing to do with us. As it is well said, “Man is the architect of his own fate”. So to leave these superstitions what we have to do is to pick up a copy and a pencil and write down the superstitions you believe in and work hard to get rid of them. So I conclude by saying that be positive and live your life to the fullest…

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