Aug 13, 2015


While crossing the Sirat bridge it is determined if the soul will receive punishment or reward. Out of the great weight of sins the unlucky will soon fall off the bridge into boiling tar. Souls which are good and noble, and with that have many good deeds, will easily cross the bridge and reach heaven. However, this belief is not the only among the Bosnian folk, we also come across different beliefs. As people claim the soul of the dead rests in the grave or on the seventh floor of the heavens, until judgement day. On that day everything will be levelled, hills and meadows will disappear and everything will be destroyed. The honourable Qur'an mentions this in the Surat Ez-Zilaz (Earthquake):

When the earth is shaken with its [final] earthquake, And the earth discharges its burdens, And man says, "What is [wrong] with it?" -That Day, it will report its news, Because your Lord has commanded it. That Day, the people will depart separated [into categories] to be shown [the result of] their deeds. So whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it, And whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it.

To the dead ancestors one usually says prayers in the eve of Monday and Friday. The things one prayed and forgave, would be given (handed) to the dead in the next world. According to folk belief the thing one prayed is rolling down a large hill into the valley, like haystack carried by wind, where souls of the dead eagerly watch and wait if they will receive hedija from their loved ones. According to this description we get the idea of how people imagines the afterlife to be, at least the one which is reserved of sinful souls, which somewhat corresponds with the notion of hell which is located in a deep abyss. In the folk perception souls are trapped inside a space surrounded by tall mountains and hills, from which there is no escape. In that space they are treated as prisoners, which is after all confirmed by the belief of delivering the prayer.
That's why we need to conclude that in Bosnian traditions afterlife, especially hell, does not start and finish by the fall into the fire, instead through hell there are various scenes of torture and abuse of sinful souls. People claim that, for example, a woman which had an abortion or in some other way killed its child will be doomed to run madly after a small bird trying to unsuccessfully catch it. Bird as the personification of the soul is present in Bosnian mythology through the mysterious bird Meknjača or bird Plačo.
All evil which a person did during his life will come to the fore in the afterlife, where evil deeds are emphasized to the degree where they become absolute, so that the soul directly and brutally faces its sins.
Suffering of sinful souls, according to Bosnian folk, stop only five times a day, while the Imam is uttering the Azzan (call to prayer). That's why farmers in the past would stop their field work when they would hear Azzan, because the living also need rest at that moment, empathising with the sorrows of those which serve them in hell and at the same time that short period should be moments of reflection and warning that they shouldn't sin and be bad people.