Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 6.djvu/23

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introduction.

Kaabah is still shown there; it is called the maqâm Ibrahîm or Abraham′s station, and is mentioned several times in the Qur′ân.

The well Zemzem, amongst the most venerated objects in the sacred precincts of Mecca, is believed to be the spring which Hagar discovered when she fled out into the wilderness with her son Ishmael. It was a small stream flowing from one of the surrounding hills, and this having in course of time dried up, Abd al Muttalib, Mohammed′s grandfather, caused the well to be dug on the spot whence the spring originally issued.

The Kaabah, so far as the dim legends of antiquity throw any light on the subject, remained for a long period in the hands of the descendants of Ishmael, and on their migrating to other parts of the peninsula its guardianship became vested in their kinsmen, the Jorhamites. These were driven out by the Amalekites, who were in turn defeated by the combined forces of the Ishmaelites and Jorhamites, the latter of whom again became masters of the temple. The Jorhamites were defeated and deposed by a coalition of the Benu Bakr and Benu ‘Huzâ′hah, and the charge of the Kaabah remained with the last-mentioned tribe.

‘Amr ibn La‘hy, a chief of the Benu ‘Huzâ′hah, now assumed the political and religious chieftainship of Mecca, and it was in his reign that the idols were placed in the Kaabah. The result of this was vastly to increase the importance of the city and its temple, as the various objects to which individual tribes paid worship were then all concentrated within its precincts.

Quzâi, an ancestor of the prophet, making common cause with the Benu Kenânah, defeated the Benu Bakr and Benu ‘Huzâ′hah and restored the custody of the Kaabah to his own tribe, the Qurâis.

From Quzâi it descended to his eldest son ‘Abd ed Dar, from whom the principal offices were however transferred to is brother ‘Abd Menâf. These were the privilege of supplying the pilgrims with water and food at the time of the ‘Hagg; the command of the army and civic head-

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