Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 4.djvu/19

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.
 

Naomi, sing to us with the tambourine and other instruments!" So she sang these couplets to a lively measure,

"By His life who holds my guiding rein, I swear * I'll meet on
     love ground parlous foe nor care:
Good sooth I'll vex revilers, thee obey * And quit my slumbers
     and all joy forswear:
And for thy love I'll dig in vitals mine * A grave, nor shall my
     vitals weet 'tis there!"

And Ni'amah exclaimed, "Heaven favoured art thou, O Naomi!" But whilst they led thus the most joyous life, behold! Al-Hajjáj,[1] the Viceroy of Cufa said to himself, "Needs must I contrive to take this girl named Naomi and send her to the Commander of the Faithful, Abd al-Malik bin Marwán, for he hath not in his palace her like for beauty and sweet singing." So he summoned an old woman of the duennas of his wives and said to her, "Go to the house of Al-Rabi'a and foregather with the girl Naomi and combine means to carry her off; for her like is not to be found on the face of the earth." She promised to do his bidding; the next

  1. BinYúsuf al-Sakafi, a statesman and soldier of the seventh and eighth centuries (A.D.). He was Governor of Al-Hij az and Al-Irak under the fifth and sixth Ommiades, and I have noticed his vigorous rule of the Moslems' Holy Land in my Pilgrimage (iii. 194, etc.). He pulled down the Ka'abah and restored it to the condition in which it now is. Al-Siyuti (p. 219) accuses him of having suborned a man to murder Ibn Omar with a poisoned javelin, and of humiliating the Prophet's companions by "sealing them in the necks and hands," that is he tied a thong upon the neck of each and sealed the knot with lead. In Irak he showed himself equally masterful, but an iron hand was required by the revolutionists of Kufah and Basrah. He behaved like a good Knight in rescuing the Moslem women who called upon his name when taken prisoners by Dahir of Debal (Tathá in Sind). Al-Hajjaj was not the kind of man the Caliph would have chosen for a pander; but the Shi'ahs hates him and have given him a lasting bad name. In the East men respect manly measures, not the hysterical, philanthropic pseudo-humanitarianism of our modern government which is really the cruellest of all. When Ziyád bin Abihi was sent by Caliph Mu'awiyah to reform Bassorah, a den of thieves, he informed the lieges that he intended to rule by the sword and advised all evil-doers to quit the city. The people were forbidden, under pain of teeth, to walk the streets after prayers, on the first night two hundred suffered; on the second five and none afterwards. Compare this with our civilised rule in Egypt where even bands of brigands, a phenomenon perfectly new and unknown to this century, have started up, where crime has doubled in quantity and quality, and where "Christian rule" has thoroughly scandalised a Moslem land.