Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al Madinah and Meccah/Volume II

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frontispiece of Volume II

VOLUME II. al-Madinah[edit]

Chapter XV. THROUGH THE SUBURB OF AL-MADINAH TO HAMID'S HOUSE.[edit]

As we looked Eastward, the sun arose out of the horizon of low hill, blurred and dotted with small tufted trees, which gained from the morning mists a giant stature, and the earth was stained with purple and gold. Before us lay a spacious plain, bounded in front by the undulating ground of Nijd: on the left was a grim pile of rocks, the celebrated Mount Ohod, with a clump of verdure and a white dome or two nestling at its base. Rightwards, broad streaks of lilac-coloured mists, here thick with gathered dew, there pierced and thinned by the morning rays, stretched over the date groves and the gardens of Kuba, which stood out in emerald green from the dull tawny surface of the plain. Below, distant about two miles, lay Al-Madinah; at first sight it appeared a large place, but a closer inspection proved the impression to be erroneous. A tortuous road from the Harrah to the city wound across the plain, and led to a tall rectangular gateway, pierced in the ruinous mud-wall which surrounds the suburb. This is the "Ambari" entrance. It is flanked on the left (speaking as a sketcher) by the domes and minarets of a pretty Turkish building, a "Takiyah," erected by the late Mohammed Ali for the reception of Darwaysh travellers; on the right by a long low line of white-washed buildings garnished

[p.286] with ugly square windows, an imitation of civilised barracks. Beginning from the left hand, as we sat upon the ridge, the remarkable features of the town thus presented themselves in succession. Outside, among the palm trees to the north of the city, were the picturesque ruins of a large old Sabil, or public fountain; and, between this and the enceinte, stood a conspicuous building, in the Turkish pavilion style-the Governor's palace. On the north-west angle of the town-wall is a tall white-washed fort, partly built upon an outcropping mass of rock: its ramparts and embrasures give it a modern and European appearance, which contrasts strangely with its truly Oriental history.[FN#1] In the suburb "Al-Manakhah," the "kneeling-place of camels," the bran-new domes and minarets of the Five Mosques stand brightly out from the dull grey mass of house and ground. And behind, in the most Easterly part of the city, remarkable from afar, is the gem of Al-Madinah,-the four tall substantial towers, and the flashing green Dome under which the Apostle's remains rest.[FN#2] Half concealed by this mass of buildings and by the houses of the town, are certain white specks upon a green surface, the tombs that adorn the venerable cemetery, Al-Bakia. From that point southwards begins the mass of palm groves celebrated in Al-Islam as the "Trees of Al-Madinah."

[p.287] The foreground is well fitted to set off such a view; fields of black basaltic scoriae showing clear signs of a volcanic origin, are broken up into huge blocks and boulders, through which a descent, tolerably steep for camels, winds down into the plain.

After a few minutes' rest I remounted, and slowly rode on towards the gate. Even at this early hour the way was crowded with an eager multitude coming out to meet the Caravan. My companions preferred walking, apparently for the better convenience of kissing, embracing, and s[h]aking hands with relations and friends. Truly the Arabs show more heart on these occasions than any Oriental people I know; they are of a more affectionate nature than the Persians, and their manners are far more demonstrative than those of the Indians. The respectable Maryam's younger son, a pleasant contrast to her surly elder, was weeping aloud for joy as he ran round his mother's camel, he standing on tiptoe, she bending double in vain attempts to exchange a kiss; and, generally, when near relatives or intimates, or school companions, met, the fountains of their eyes were opened. Friends and comrades greeted one another, regardless of rank or fortune, with affectionate embraces, and an abundance of queries, which neither party seemed to think of answering. The general mode of saluting was to throw one arm over the shoulder and the other round the side, placing the chin first upon the left and then upon the right collar-bone, and rapidly shifting till a "jam satis" suggested itself to both parties. Inferiors recognized their superiors by attempting to kiss hands, which were violently snatched away; whilst mere acquaintances gave each other a cordial "poignee de mains," and then raising the finger tips to their lips, kissed them with apparent relish.

Passing through the Bab Ambari we defiled slowly down a broad dusty street, and traversed the Harat

[p.288] (Quarter), Al-Ambariyah, the principal in the Manakhah suburb. The thoroughfare is by no means remarkable after Cairo; only it is rather wider and more regular than the traveller is accustomed to in Asiatic cities. I was astonished to see on both sides of the way, in so small a place, so large a number of houses too ruinous to be occupied. Then we crossed a bridge, a single little round arch of roughly hewn stone, built over the bed of a torrent, Al-Sayh,[FN#3] which in some parts appeared about fifty feet broad, with banks showing a high and deeply indented water-mark. Here the road abuts upon an open space called the "Barr al-Manakhah.[FN#4] or more concisely Al-Barr, "the Plain." Straightforward a line leads directly into the Bab al-Misri, the Egyptian gate of the city. But we turned off to the right; and, after advancing a few yards, we found ourselves at the entrance of our friend Hamid's house.

The Shaykh had preceded us early that morning, in order to prepare an apartment for his guests, and to receive the first loud congratulations and embraces of his mother and the "daughter of his uncle.[FN#5]" Apparently he had not concluded this pleasing duty when we arrived, for the camels were kneeling at least five minutes at his door, before he came out to offer the usual hospitable salutation. I stared to see the difference of his appearance this morning. The razor had passed over his head

[p.289] and face[FN#6]; the former was now surmounted by a muslin turband of goodly size, wound round a new embroidered cap; and the latter, besides being clean, boasted of neat little moustaches turned up like two commas, whilst a well-trimmed goat's beard narrowed until it resembled what our grammars call an "exclamation point." The dirty, torn shirt, with the bits of rope round the loins, had been exchanged for a Jubbah or outer cloak of light pink merinos, a long-sleeved Caftan of rich flowered stuff, a fine shirt of Halaili,[FN#7] silk and cotton, and a sash of plaid pattern, elaborately fringed at both ends, and, for better display, wound round two-thirds of his body. His pantaloons were also of Halaili, with tasteful edgings about the ankles like a "pantilette's," while his bare and sun-burnt feet had undergone a thorough purification before being encased in new Mizz[FN#8] (inner slippers), and Papush (outer slippers), of bright lemon-coloured leather of the newest and most fashionable Constantinopolitan cut. In one of his now delicate hands the Shaykh bore a mother-of-pearl rosary, token of piety; in the other a handsome pipe with a jasmine stick, and an expensive amber mouth-piece; his tobacco pouch, dangling from his waist, like the little purse in the bosom pocket of his coat, was of broadcloth richly embroidered with gold. In course of time I saw that all

[p.290] my companions had metamorphosed themselves in an equally remarkable manner. As men of sense they appeared in tatters where they were, or when they wished to be, unknown, and in fine linen where and when the world judged their prosperity by their attire. Their grand suits of clothes, therefore, were worn only for a few days after returning from the journey, by way of proof that the wearer had wandered to some purpose; they were afterwards laid up in lavender, and reserved for choice occasions, as old ladies in Europe store up their state dresses.

The Shaykh, whose manners had changed with his garments, from the vulgar and boisterous to a certain staid courtesy, took my hand, and led me up to the Majlis [FN#9] (parlour), which was swept and garnished, with all due apparatus, for the forthcoming reception-ceremony. And behind us followed the boy Mohammed, looking more downcast and ashamed of himself than I can possibly describe; he was still in his rags, and he felt keenly that every visitor staring at him would mentally inquire,-

"Who may that snob be?"

With the deepest dejectedness he squeezed himself into a corner, and Shaykh Nur, who was foully dirty, as an Indian en voyage always is, would have joined him in his shame, had I not ordered the "slave" to make himself generally useful.

It is customary for all relations and friends to call upon the traveller the very day he returns, that is to say, if amity is to endure. The pipes therefore stood ready filled, the Diwans were duly spread, and the coffee[FN#10] was being boiled upon a brazier in the passage.

[p.291] Scarcely had I taken my place at the cool windowsill,-it was the best in the room,-when the visitors began to pour in, and the Shaykh rose to welcome and embrace them. They sat down, smoked, chatted politics, asked all manner of questions about the other wayfarers and absent friends; drank coffee; and, after half an hour's visit, rose abruptly, and, exchanging embraces, took leave. The little men entered the assembly, after an accolade at the door, noiselessly, squatted upon the worst seats with polite conges to the rest of the assembly; smoked, took their coffee, as it were, under protest, and glided out of the room as quietly as they crept in.

The great people, generally busy and consequential individuals, upon whose countenances were writ large the words "well to do in the world," appeared with a noise that made each person in the room rise reverentially upon his feet; sat down with importance, monopolised the conversation; and, departing in a dignified manner, expected all to stand on the occasion.

The Jihad (Holy War), as usual, was the grand topic of conversation. The Sultan had ordered the Czar to become a Moslem. The Czar had sued for peace, and offered tribute and fealty. But the Sultan had exclaimed-

"No, by Allah! Al-Islam!"

[p.292] The Czar could not be expected to take such a step without a little hesitation, but "Allah smites the faces of the Infidels!" Abd al-Majid would dispose of the "Moskow[FN#11]" in a short time; after which he would turn his victorious army against all the idolaters of Feringistan, beginning with the English, the French, and the Arwam or Greeks.[FN#12] Amongst much of this nonsense,-when applied to for my opinion, I was careful to make it popular,-I heard news foreboding no good to my journey towards Maskat. The Badawin had decided that there was to be an "Arab contingent," and had been looking forward to the spoils of Europe: this caused quarrels, as all the men wanted to go, and not a ten-year-old would be left behind. The consequence was, that this amiable people was fighting in all directions. At least so said the visitors, and I afterwards found out that they were not far wrong.

The Samman is a great family, in numbers as in dignity; from 8 A.M. till mid-day therefore the Majlis was crowded with people, and politeness delayed our breakfasts until an unconscionable hour.

To the plague of strangers succeeded that of children. No sooner did the parlour become, comparatively speaking, vacant than they rushed in en masse, treading upon our toes, making the noise of a nursery of madlings, pulling to pieces everything they could lay their hands upon, and using language that would have alarmed an old man-o'war's-man.[FN#13] In fact, no one can conceive the plague but

[p.293] those who have studied the "enfan[t]s terribles" which India sends home in cargoes.

One urchin, scarcely three years old, told me, because I objected to his perching upon my wounded foot, that his father had a sword at home with which he would cut my throat from ear to ear, suiting the action to the word. By a few taunts, I made the little wretch furious with rage; he shook his infant fist at me, and then opening his enormous round black eyes to their utmost stretch, he looked at me, and licked his knee with portentous meaning. Shaykh Hamid, happening to come in at the moment, stood aghast at the doorway, chin in hand, to see the Effendi subject to such indignity; and it was not without trouble that I saved the offender from summary nursery discipline. Another scamp caught up one of my loaded pistols before I could snatch it out of his hand, and clapped it to his neighbour's head; fortunately, it was on half-cock, and the trigger was stiff. Then a serious and majestic boy about six years old, with an inkstand in his belt, in token of his receiving a literary education, seized my pipe and began to smoke it with huge puffs. I ventured laughingly to institute a comparison between the length of his person and the pipe-stick, when he threw it upon the ground, and stared at me fixedly with flaming eyes and features distorted by anger. The cause of this "bouldness" soon appeared. The boys, instead of being well beaten, were scolded with fierce faces, a mode of punishment which only made them laugh.

They had their redeeming points, however; they were manly angry boys, who punched one another like Anglo-Saxons in the house, whilst abroad they were always

[p.294] fighting with sticks and stones. And they examined our weapons,-before deigning to look at anything else,-as if eighteen instead of five had been the general age.

At last I so far broke through the laws of Arab politeness as to inform my host in plain words-how inconceivably wretched the boy Mohammed was thereby rendered!-that I was hungry, thirsty, and sleepy, and that I wanted to be alone before visiting the Harim. The good-natured Shaykh, who was preparing to go out at once in order to pray before his father's grave, immediately brought me breakfast; lighted a pipe, spread a bed, darkened the room, turned out the children, and left me to the society I most desired-my own. I then overheard him summon his mother, wife, and other female relatives into the store-room, where his treasures had been carefully stowed away. During the forenoon, in the presence of the visitors, one of Hamid's uncles had urged him, half jocularly, to bring out the Sahharah. The Shaykh did not care to do anything of the kind. Every time a new box is opened in this part of the world, the owner's generosity is appealed to by those whom a refusal offends, and he must allow himself to be plundered with the best possible grace. Hamid therefore prudently suffered all to depart before exhibiting his spoils; which, to judge by the exclamations of delight which they elicited from feminine lips, proved highly satisfactory to those most concerned.

After sleeping, we all set out in a body to the Harim, as this is a duty which must not be delayed by the pious. The boy Mohammed was in better spirits, the effect of having borrowed from Hamid, amongst other articles of clothing, an exceedingly gaudy embroidered coat. As for Shaykh Nur, he had brushed up his Tarbush, and, by means of some cast-off dresses of mine, had made himself look like a respectable Abyssinian slave, in a nondescript toilette, half Turkish, half Indian. I propose to reserve

[p.295] the ceremony of Ziyarat, or Visitation, for another chapter, and to conclude this with a short account of our style of living at the Shaykh's hospitable house.

Hamid's abode is a small corner building, open on the North and East to the Barr al-Manakhah: the ground floor shows only a kind of vestibule, in which coarse articles, like old Shugdufs, mats and bits of sacking, are lying about; the rest are devoted to purposes of sewerage. Ascending dark winding steps of ragged stone covered with hard black earth, you come to the first floor, where the men live. It consists of two rooms to the front of the house, one a Majlis, and another converted into a store. Behind them is a dark passage, into which the doors open; and the back part of the first story is a long windowless room, containing a Hanafiyah,[FN#14] or large copper water-pot, and other conveniences for purification. On the second floor is the kitchen, which I did not inspect, it being as usual occupied by the "Harim."

The Majlis has dwarf windows, or rather apertures in the northern and eastern walls, with rude wooden shutters and reed blinds; the embrasures being garnished with cushions, where you sit, morning and evening, to enjoy the cool air. The ceiling is of date-sticks laid across palm-rafters stained red, and the walls are of rough scoriae, burnt bricks, and wood-work cemented with lime. The only signs of furniture in the sitting-room are a Diwan[FN#15] round the sides and a carpet in the centre. A

[p.296] huge wooden box, like a seaman's chest, occupies one of the corners. In the southern wall there is a Suffah, or little shelf of common stone, sunk under a single arch; upon this are placed articles in hourly use, perfume-bottles, coffee-cups, a stray book or two, and sometimes a turband, to be out of the children's way. Two hooks on the western wall, hung jealously high up, hold a pair of pistols with handsome crimson cords and tassels, and half a dozen cherry-stick pipes. The centre of the room is never without one or more Shishas[FN#16] (water pipes), and in the corner is a large copper brazier containing fire, with all the utensils for making coffee either disposed upon its broad brim or lying about the floor. The passage, like the stairs, is spread over with hard black earth, and is regularly watered twice a day during the hot weather.

The household consisted of Hamid's mother, wife, some nephews and nieces, small children who ran about in a half-wild and more than half-nude state, and two African slave girls. When the Damascus Caravan came

[p.297] in, it was further reinforced by the arrival of his three younger brothers.

Though the house was not grand, it was made lively by the varied views out of the Majlis' windows. From the East, you looked upon the square Al-Barr, the town walls and houses beyond it, the Egyptian gate, the lofty minarets of the Harim, and the distant outlines of Jabal Ohod.[FN#17] The north commanded a prospect of Mohammed's Mosque, one of the Khamsah Masajid,[FN#18] or the five suburban Mosques[FN#19]; of part of the fort-wall; and, when the Damascus Caravan came in, of the gay scene of the "Prado" beneath. The Majlis was tolerably cool during the early part of the day: in the afternoon the sun shone fiercely upon it. I have described the establishment at some length as a specimen of how the middle classes are lodged at Al-Madinah. The upper ranks affect Turkish and Egyptian luxuries in their homes, as I had an opportunity of seeing at Omar Effendi's house in the "Barr;" and in these countries the abodes of the poor are everywhere very similar.

Our life in Shaykh Hamid's house was quiet, but not disagreeable. I never once set eyes upon the face of woman, unless the African slave girls be allowed the title. Even these at first attempted to draw their ragged veils over their sable charms, and would not answer the simplest question; by degrees they allowed me to see them, and they ventured their voices to reply to me; still they never threw off a certain appearance of shame.[FN#20]

[p.298] I never saw, nor even heard, the youthful mistress of the household, who stayed all day in the upper rooms. The old lady, Hamid's mother, would stand upon the stairs, and converse aloud with her son, and, when few people were about the house, with me. She never, however, as afterwards happened to an ancient dame at Meccah, came and sat by my side.

When lying during mid-day in the gallery, I often saw parties of women mount the stairs to the Gynaeconitis, and sometimes an individual would stand to shake a muffled hand[FN#21] with Hamid, to gossip awhile, and to put some questions concerning absent friends; but they were most decorously wrapped up, nor did they ever deign to deroger, even by exposing an inch of cheek.

At dawn we arose, washed, prayed, and broke our fast[FN#22] upon a crust of stale bread, before smoking a pipe, and drinking a cup of coffee.[FN#23] Then it was time to dress, to mount, and to visit the Harim or one of the Holy Places outside the city. Returning before the sun became intolerable, we sat together, and with conversation, Shishas and Chibuks,[FN#24] coffee, and cold water perfumed with mastich-smoke,[FN#25] we whiled away the time till our

[p.299] "Ariston," a dinner which appeared at the primitive hour of 11 A.M. The meal, here called Al-Ghada, was served in the Majlis on a large copper tray, sent from the upper apartments. Ejaculating "Bismillah"-the Moslem "grace"-we all sat round it, and dipped equal hands in the dishes set before us. We had usually unleavened bread, different kinds of meat and vegetable stews; and, at the end of the first course, plain boiled rice eaten with spoons; then came the fruits, fresh dates, grapes, and pomegranates.

After dinner I used invariably to find some excuse-such as the habit of a "Kaylulah[FN#26]" (mid-day siesta) or the being a "Saudawi[FN#27]"-a person of melancholy temperament-to have a rug spread in the dark passage behind

[p.300] the Majlis; and there to lie reading, dozing, smoking, or writing, en cachette, in complete deshabille, all through the worst part of the day, from noon to sunset.

Then came the hour for receiving or paying visits. We still kept up an intimacy with Omar Effendi and Sa'ad the Demon, although Salih Skakkar and Amm Jamal, either disliking our society, or perhaps thinking our sphere of life too humble for their dignity, did not appear once in Hamid's house. The evening prayers ensued, either at home, or in the Harim, followed by our Asha or "deipnon," another substantial meal like the dinner, but more plentiful, of bread, meat, vegetables, plain rice and fruits, concluding with the invariable pipes and coffee.

To pass our soiree, we occasionally dressed in common clothes, shouldered a Nabbut,[FN#28] and went to the cafe; sometimes on festive occasions we indulged in a Taatumah (or Itmiyah), a late supper of sweetmeats, pomegranates, and dried fruits. Usually we sat upon mattresses spread upon the ground in the open air at the Shaykh's door; receiving evening visits, chatting, telling stories, and making merry, till each, as he felt the approach of the drowsy god, sank down into his proper place, and fell asleep.

Whatever may be the heat of the day, the night at Al-Madinah, owing, I suppose, to its elevated position, is cool and pleasant. In order to allay the dust, the ground before the Shaykh's door was watered every evening, and the evaporation was almost too great to be safe,-the boy Mohammed suffered from a smart attack of lumbago,

[p.301] which, however, yielded readily to frictions of olive oil in which ginger had been boiled.

Our greatest inconvenience at night-time was the pugnacity of the animal creation. The horses of the troopers tethered in the Barr were sure to break loose once in twelve hours. Some hobbled old nag, having slipped the headstall, would advance with kangaroo-leaps towards a neighbour against whom it had a private grudge. Their heads would touch for a moment; then came a snort and a whinny, a furious kick, and, lastly, a second horse loose and dashing about with head and tail viciously cocked. This was the signal for a general breaking of halters and heel-ropes; after which, a "stampede" scoured the plain, galloping, rearing, kicking, biting, snorting, pawing, and screaming, with the dogs barking sympathetically, and the horse-keepers shouting in hot pursuit.

It was a strange sight to see by moonlight the forms of these "demon steeds" exaggerated by the shades; and, on more than one occasion, we had all to start up precipitately from our beds, and yield them to a couple of combatants who were determined to fight out their quarrel a l'outrance, wherever the battle-field might be.

The dogs at Al-Madinah are not less pugnacious than the horses.[FN#29] They are stronger and braver than those that haunt the streets at Cairo; like the Egyptians, they have amongst themselves a system of police regulations, which brings down all the posse comitatus upon the unhappy straggler who ventures into a strange quarter of the town. They certainly met in Al-Barr upon common

[p.302] ground, to decide the differences which must arise in so artificial a state of canine society.

Having had many opportunities of watching them, I can positively assert that they were divided into two parties, which fought with a skill and an acharnement that astounded me. Sometimes when one side gave way, and as the retreat was degenerating into a sauve qui peut, some proud warrior, a dog-hero, would sacrifice himself for the public weal, and with gnashing teeth and howls of rage encounter the assaults of the insolent victors until his flying friends had time to recover heart. Such an one my companions called "Mubariz.[FN#30]" At other times, some huge animal, an Ajax of his kind, would plunge into the ring with frantic yells, roll over one dog, snap at a second, worry a third for a minute or two, and then dash off to a distant part, where a thicker field required his presence. This uncommon sagacity has been remarked by the Arabs, who look on amused at their battles. Current in Al-Hijaz are also certain superstitions about the dog resembling ours; only, as usual, more poetical and less grotesque. Most people believe that when the animal howls without apparent cause in the neighbourhood of a house, it forbodes death to one of the inmates; for the dog they say can distinguish the awful form of Azrail, the Angel of Death, hovering over the doomed abode, whereas man's spiritual sight is dull and dim by reason of his sins.

When the Damascus Caravan entered Al-Madinah, our day became a little more amusing. From the windows of Shaykh Hamid's house there was a perpetual succession of strange scenes. A Persian nobleman, also, had pitched his tents so near the door, that the whole course of his private life became public and patent to the boy Mohammed,

[p.303] who amused his companions by reporting all manner of ludicrous scenes. The Persian's wife was rather a pretty woman, and she excited the youth's fierce indignation, by not veiling her face when he gazed at her,-thereby showing that, as his beard was not grown, she considered him a mere boy.

"I will ask her to marry me," said Mohammed, "and thereby rouse her shame!"

He did so, but, unhappy youth! the fair Persian never even ceased fanning herself.

The boy Mohammed was for once confounded.

[FN#1] In the East, wherever there is a compound of fort and city, that place has certainly been in the habit of being divided against itself. Surat in Western India is a well-known instance. I must refer the reader to Burckhardt (Travels in Arabia, vol. ii., page 281, and onwards) for a detailed account of the feuds and affrays between the "Agha of the Castle" and the "Agha of the Town." Their day has now gone by,-for the moment. [FN#2] Sir John Mandeville, writing in the 14th century, informed Europe that "Machomet lyeth in the Cytee of Methone." In the 19th century, Mr. Halliwell, his editor, teaches us in a foot-note that "Methone" is Meccah! It is strange how often this gross mistake is still made by respectable authors in France as well as in England. [FN#3] This torrent is called Al-Sayh,-"the Running Water,"-which, properly speaking, is the name of a well-wooded Wady outside the town, in the direction of Kuba. [FN#4] "Manakhah" is a place where camels kneel down; it is a derivation from the better known root to "Nakh," or cause the animal to kneel. [FN#5] Arabs, and, indeed, most Orientals, are generally received after returning from a journey, with shrill cries of joy by all the fair part of the household, and they do not like strangers to hear this demonstration. [FN#6] An Eastern Barber is not content to pass the razor over hairy spots: he must scrape the forehead, trim the eyebrows, clean the cheeks, run the blade rapidly over the nose, correct the upper and under lines of the mustaches, parting them in the centre, and so on. [FN#7] Halaili is a cotton stuff, with long stripes of white silk, a favourite material amongst the city Arabs. At Constantinople, where the best is sold, the piece, which will cut into two shirts, costs about thirty shillings. [FN#8] The "Mizz" (in colloquial Arabic Misd) are the tight-fitting inner slippers of soft Cordovan leather, worn as stockings inside the slipper; they are always clean, so they may be retained in the Mosque or on the Diwan (divan or sofa). [FN#9] The Majlis ("the Place of Sitting") is the drawing or reception room; it is usually in the first story of the house, below the apartments of the women. [FN#10] The coffee drank at Al-Madinah is generally of a good quality. In Egypt that beverage in the common coffee-shops is,-as required to be by the people who frequent those places,-"bitter as death, black as Satan, and hot as Jahannam." To effect this desideratum, therefore, they toast the grain to blackness, boil it to bitterness, and then drink scalding stuff of the consistency of water-gruel. At Al-Madinah, on the contrary,-as indeed in the houses of the better classes even in Egypt,-the grain is carefully picked, and that the flavour may be preserved, it is never put upon the fire until required. It is toasted too till it becomes yellow, not black; and afterwards is bruised, not pounded to powder. The water into which it is thrown is allowed to boil up three times, after which a cold sprinkling is administered to clear it, and then the fine light-dun infusion is poured off into another pot. Those who admire the "Kaimak," or froth, do not use a second vessel. The Arabs seldom drink more than one cup of coffee at a time, but with many the time is every half-hour of the day. The coffee-husk or "Kishr" of Al-Yaman is here unknown. [FN#11] The common name for the Russians in Egypt and Al-Hijaz. [FN#12] The Greeks are well known at Al-Madinah, and several of the historians complain that some of the minor holy places had fallen into the hands of this race, (Moslems, or pretended Moslems, I presume), who prevented people visiting them. It is curious that the impostor Cagliostro should have hit upon the truth when he located Greeks at Al-Madinah [FN#13] Parents and full-grown men amuse themselves with grossly abusing children, almost as soon as they can speak, in order to excite their rage, and to judge of their dispositions. This supplies the infant population with a large stock-in-trade of ribaldry. They literally lisp in bad language. [FN#14] The Hanafiyah is a large vessel of copper, sometimes tinned, with a cock in the lower part, and, generally, an ewer, or a basin, to receive the water. [FN#15] It is wonderful that this most comfortable, inexpensive, and ornamental style of furnishing a room, has not been oftener imitated in India and the hot countries of Europe. The Diwan-it must not be confounded with the leathern perversion which obtains that name in our club smoking-rooms-is a line of flat cushions ranged round the room, either placed upon the ground, or on wooden benches, or on a step of masonry; varying in height according to the fashion of the day. When such foundation is used, it should be about a yard in breadth, and slope very gently from the outer edge towards the wall, for the greater convenience of reclining. Cotton-stuffed pillows, covered with chintz for summer, and silk for winter, are placed against the wall, and can be moved to make a luxurious heap; their covers are generally all of the same colour, except those at the end. The seat of honour is denoted by a small square cotton-stuffed silk coverlet, placed in one of the corners, which the position of the windows determines, the place of distinction being on the left of the host. Thus in Egypt you have a neatly-furnished room for L5 or L6. [FN#16] The Madinah Shisha is a large cocoa-nut, with a tall wooden stem, both garnished with brass ornaments; some trifling differences in the latter distinguish it from the Meccah pipe. Both are inconveniently mounted upon small brass tripods, and are easily overturned, scattering fire and water over the carpets. The "lay," or snakes, are the substantial manufacture of Al-Yaman. Some grandees at Al-Madinah have glass Turkish Shishas and Constantinople snakes, which are of admirable elegance, compared with the clumsy and unsightly Arab inventions. (See page 80, ante.) [FN#17] From this window I sketched the walls and the Egyptian gate of Al-Madinah. [FN#18] "Five mosques." [FN#19] This Mosque must not be confounded with the Harim. It is described in Chapter XV. [FN#20] Their voices are strangely soft and delicate, considering the appearance of the organs from which they proceed. Possibly this may be a characteristic of the African races; it is remarkable amongst the Somali women. [FN#21] After touching the skin of a strange woman, it is not lawful in Al-Islam to pray without ablution. For this reason, when a fair dame shakes hands with you, she wraps up her fingers in a kerchief, or in the end of her veil. [FN#22] Nafukku'r rik, literally, "Let us open the saliva," is most idiomatic Hijazi for the first morsel eaten in the morning. Hence it is called Fakkur' rik, also Gura and Tasbih: the Egyptians call it "Al-Fatur." [FN#23] Orientals invariably begin by eating an "akratisma" in the morning before they will smoke a pipe, or drink a cup of coffee; they have also an insuperable prejudice against the internal use of cold water at this hour. [FN#24] The tobacco generally smoked here is Syrian, which is brought down in large quantities by the Damascus caravan. Latakia is more expensive, and generally too dry to retain its flavour. [FN#25] The interior of the water jar is here perfumed with the smoke of mastich, exactly as described by Lane, (Mod. Egyptians, vol i. ch. 5). I found at Al-Madinah the prejudice alluded to by Sonnini, namely, that the fumes of the gum are prejudicial, and sometimes fatal to invalids. [FN#26] Kaylulah is the half hour's siesta about noon. It is a Sunnat, and the Prophet said of it, "Kilu, fa inna 'sh' Shayatina la Takil,"-"Take the mid-day siesta, for, verily, the demons sleep not at this hour." "Aylulah" is slumbering after morning prayers (our "beauty sleep"), which causes heaviness and inability to work. Ghaylulah is the sleeping about 9 A.M., the effect of which is poverty and wretchedness. Kaylulah (with the guttural kaf) is sleeping before evening prayers, a practice reprobated in every part of the East. And, finally, Faylulah is sleeping immediately after sunset,-also considered highly detrimental. [FN#27] The Arabs, who suffer greatly from melancholia, are kind to people afflicted with this complaint; it is supposed to cause a distaste for society, and a longing for solitude, an unsettled habit of mind, and a neglect of worldly affairs. Probably it is the effect of overworking the brain, in a hot dry atmosphere. I have remarked, that in Arabia students are subject to it, and that amongst their philosophers and literary men, there is scarcely an individual who was not spoken of as a "Saudawi." My friend Omar Effendi used to complain, that at times his temperament drove him out of the house,-so much did he dislike the sound of the human voice,-to pass the day seated upon some eminence in the vicinity of the city. [FN#28] This habit of going out at night in common clothes, with a Nabbut upon one's shoulders, is, as far as I could discover, popular at Al-Madinah, but confined to the lowest classes at Meccah. The boy Mohammed always spoke of it with undisguised disapprobation. During my stay at Meccah, I saw no such costume amongst respectable people there; though oftentimes there was a suspicion of a disguise. [FN#29] Burckhardt (Travels in Arabia, vol. ii., p. 268) remarks that Al-Madinah is the only town in the East from which dogs are excluded. This was probably as much a relic of Wahhabi-ism, (that sect hating even to look at a dog), as arising from apprehension of the Mosque being polluted by canine intrusion. I have seen one or two of these animals in the town, but I was told, that when they enter it in any numbers, the police-magistrate issues orders to have them ejected. [FN#30] The "Mubariz" is the single combatant, the champion of the Arabian classical and chivalrous times.

Chapter XVI. A VISIT TO THE PROPHET'S TOMB.[edit]

Burton Nabi.gif

Having performed the greater ablution, and used the toothstick as directed, and dressed ourselves in white clothes, which the Apostle loved, we were ready to start upon our holy errand. As my foot still gave me great pain, Shaykh Hamid sent for a donkey. A wretched animal appeared, raw-backed, lame of one leg, and wanting an ear, with accoutrements to match, a pack-saddle without stirrups, and a halter instead of a bridle. Such as the brute was, however, I had to mount it, and to ride through the Misri gate, to the wonder of certain Badawin, who, like the Indians, despise the ass.

"Honourable is the riding of a horse to the rider, But the mule is a dishonour, and the donkey a disgrace,"

says their song. The Turkish pilgrims, however, who appear to take a pride in ignoring all Arab points of prejudice, generally mount donkeys when they cannot walk. The Badawin therefore settled among themselves, audibly enough, that I was an Osmanli, who of course could not understand Arabic, and they put the question generally,

"By what curse of Allah had they been subjected to ass-riders?"

But Shaykh Hamid is lecturing me upon the subject of the Mosque. The Masjid Al-Nabawi, or the Prophet's Mosque, is one of the Haramayn, or the "two sanctuaries" of Al-Islam,

[p.305] and is the second of the three[FN#1] most venerable places of worship in the world; the other two being the Masjid al-Harim at Meccah (connected with Abraham) and the Masjid al-Aksa of Jerusalem (the peculiar place of Solomon). A Hadis or traditional saying of Mohammed asserts, "One prayer in this my Mosque is more efficacious than a thousand in other places, save only the Masjid al-Harim.[FN#2]" It is therefore the visitor's duty, as long as he stays at Al-Madinah, to pray there the five times per diem, to pass the day in it reading the Koran, and the night, if possible, in watching and devotion.

A visit to the Masjid al-Nabawi, and the holy spots within it, is technically called "Ziyarat" or Visitation.[FN#3] An essential difference is made between this rite and Hajj or pilgrimage. The latter is obligatory by Koranic order upon every Moslem once in his life: the former is only a meritorious action. "Tawaf," or circumambulation of the House of Allah at Meccah, must never be performed at the Apostle's tomb. This should not be visited in the Ihram or pilgrim dress; men should not kiss it, touch it with the hand, or press the bosom against it, as at the Ka'abah; or rub the face with dust collected near the sepulchre; and those who prostrate themselves before it, like certain ignorant Indians, are held to be

[p.306] guilty of deadly sin. On the other hand, to spit upon any part of the Mosque, or to treat it with contempt, is held to be the act of an Infidel.

Thus the learned and religious have settled, one would have thought, accurately enough the spiritual rank and dignity of the Masjid al-Nabawi. But mankind, especially in the East, must always be in extremes. The orthodox school of Al-Malik holds Al-Madinah, on account of the sanctity of, and the religious benefits to be derived from, Mohammed's tomb, more honourable than Meccah. Some declare that the Apostle preferred his place of refuge, blessing it as Abraham did Meccah. Moreover, as a tradition declares that every man's body is drawn from the ground in which he is buried, Al-Madinah evidently had the honour of supplying materials for the Apostle's person. Others, like Omar, were uncertain which to prefer. The Wahhabis, on the other hand, rejecting the Intercession of the Apostle on the Day of Judgment, considering the grave of a mere mortal unworthy of notice, and highly disgusted by the idolatrous respect paid to it by certain foolish Moslems, plundered the sacred building with sacrilegious violence, and forbade visitors from distant countries to enter Al-Madinah.[FN#4]

The general consensus of Al-Islam admits the superiority of the Bayt Allah ("House of God") at Meccah to the whole world; and declares Al-Madinah to be more venerable than every part of Meccah, and consequently all the earth, except only the Bayt Allah. This last is a juste milieu view by no means in favour with the inhabitants of either place. In the meanwhile the Meccans claim unlimited superiority over the Madani: the Madani over the Meccans.

[p.307]Passing through muddy streets,-they had been freshly watered before evening time,-I came suddenly upon the Mosque. Like that at Meccah, the approach is choked up by ignoble buildings, some actually touching the holy "enceinte," others separated by a lane compared with which the road round St. Paul's is a Vatican Square.[FN#5] There is no outer front, no general prospect of the Prophet's Mosque; consequently, as a building, it has neither beauty nor dignity.

And entering the Bab al-Rahmah[FN#6]-the Gate of Pity,-by a diminutive flight of steps, I was astonished at the mean and tawdry appearance of a place so universally venerated in the Moslem world. It is not, like the Meccan Temple, grand and simple, the expression of a single sublime idea: the longer I looked at it, the more it suggested the resemblance of a museum of second-rate art, an old Curiosity-shop, full of ornaments that are not accessories, and decorated with pauper splendour.

The Masjid al-Nabi is a parallelogram about four hundred and twenty feet in length by three hundred and forty broad, the direction of the long walls being nearly north and south. As usual in Al-Islam, it is a hypaethral building with a spacious central area, called Al-Sahn, Al-Hosh, Al-Haswah, or Al-Ramlah,[FN#7] surrounded by a peristyle with numerous rows of pillars like the colonnades of an Italian cloister. The arcades or porticoes are flat-ceilinged, domed above with the small Media

[p.308] Naranja, or half-orange cupola of Spain, and divided into four parts by narrow passages, three or four steps below the level of the pavement. Along the whole inner length of the Northern short wall runs the Majidi Riwak, so called from the then reigning Sultan.[FN#8] The Western long wall is occupied by the Riwak of the Rahmah Gate; the Eastern by that of the Bab al-Nisa, the "Women's Entrance.[FN#9]"

Embracing the inner length of the Southern short wall, and deeper by nearly treble the amount of columns than the other porticoes, is the main colonnade, called Al-Rauzah[FN#10] (the Garden), the adytum containing all that is venerable in the building. These four Riwaks, arched externally, are supported internally by pillars of different shape and material, varying from fine porphyry to dirty plaster. The Southern, where the sepulchre or cenotaph stands, is paved with handsome slabs of white marble and marquetry work, here and there covered with coarse matting, and above this by unclean carpets, well worn by faithful feet.[FN#11]

But this is not the time for Tafarruj or lionising.

[p.309] Shaykh Hamid warns me, with a nudge, that other things are expected of a Zair (visitor). He leads me to the Bab al-Salam, fighting his way through a troop of beggars, and inquires markedly if I am religiously pure.[FN#12] Then, placing our hands a little below and on the left of the waist, the palm of the right covering the back of the left, in the position of prayer, and beginning with the dexter feet,[FN#13] we pace slowly forwards down the line called the Muwajihat al-Sharifah, or "the Illustrous Fronting," which, divided off like an aisle, runs parallel with the Southern wall of the Mosque. On my right hand walks the Shaykh, who recites aloud the following prayer, making me repeat it after him.[FN#14] It is literally rendered, as, indeed, are all the formulae, and the reader is requested to excuse the barbarous fidelity of the translation.

"In the Name of Allah and in the faith of Allah's Apostle! O Lord, cause me to enter the Entering of Truth, and cause me to issue forth the Issuing of Truth, and permit me to draw near to Thee, and make me a Sultan Victorious[FN#15]!" Then follow blessings upon the Apostle, and afterwards: "O Allah! open to me the Doors of Thy Mercy, and grant me Entrance into it, and protect me from the Stoned Devil!"

During this preliminary prayer we had passed down two-thirds of the Muwajihat al-Sharifah. On the left hand is a dwarf wall, about the height of a man, painted with arabesques, and pierced with four small doors which

[p.310] open into the Muwajihat. In this barrier are sundry small erections, the niche called the Mihrab Sulaymani,[FN#16] the Mambar, or pulpit, and the Mihrab al-Nabawi.[FN#17]

The two niches are of beautiful mosaic, richly worked with various coloured marbles, and the pulpit is a graceful collection of slender columns, elegant tracery, and inscriptions admirably carved. Arrived at the Western small door in the dwarf wall, we entered the celebrated spot called Al-Rauzah, after a saying of the Apostle's, "Between my Tomb and my Pulpit is a Garden of the Gardens of Paradise.[FN#18]" On the North and West sides it is

[p.311] not divided from the rest of the portico; on the South runs the dwarf wall, and on the East it is limited by the west end of the lattice-work containing the tomb.

Accompanied by my Muzawwir I entered the Rauzah, and was placed by him with the Mukabbariyah[FN#19] behind me, fronting Meccah, with my right shoulder opposite to, and about twenty feet distant from, the dexter pillar of the Apostle's Pulpit.[FN#20] There, after saying the afternoon prayers,[FN#21] I performed the usual two bows in honour of the temple,[FN#22] and at the end of them recited the hundred and ninth and the hundred and twelfth chapters of the Koran-the "Kul, ya ayyuha'l-Kafiruna," and the "Surat al-Ikhlas," called also the "Kul, Huw' Allah," or the Declaration of Unity; and may be thus translated:

"Say, He is the one God! "The eternal God! "He begets not, nor is He begot!

[p.312] "And unto Him the like is not."

After which was performed a single Sujdah (Prostration) of Thanks,[FN#23] in gratitude to Allah for making it my fate to visit so holy a spot.

This being the recognised time to give alms, I was besieged by beggars, who spread their napkins before us on the ground, sprinkled with a few coppers to excite generosity. But not wishing to be distracted by them, before leaving Hamid's house I had changed two dollars, and had given the coin to the boy Mohammed, who accompanied me, strictly charging him to make that sum last through the Mosque.

My answer to the beggars was a reference to my attendant, backed by the simple action of turning my pockets inside out; and, whilst he was battling with the beggars, I proceeded to cast my first coup-d'oeil upon the Rauzah.

The "Garden" is the most elaborate part of the Mosque. Little can be said in its praise by day, when it bears the same relation to a second-rate church in Rome as an English chapel-of-ease to Westminster Abbey. It is a space of about eighty feet in length, tawdrily decorated so as to resemble a garden. The carpets are flowered, and the pediments of the columns are cased with bright green tiles, and adorned to the height of a man with gaudy and unnatural vegetation in arabesque. It is disfigured by handsome branched candelabras of cut crystal, the work, I believe, of a London house, and presented to the shrine by the late Abbas Pasha of Egypt.[FN#24]

The only admirable feature of the view is the light

[p.313] cast by the windows of stained glass[FN#25] in the Southern wall. Its peculiar background, the railing of the tomb, a splendid filigree-work of green and polished brass, gilt or made to resemble gold, looks more picturesque near than at a distance, when it suggests the idea of a gigantic bird-cage. But at night the eye, dazzled by oil-lamps[FN#26] suspended from the roof, by huge wax candles, and by smaller illuminations falling upon crowds of visitors in handsome attire, with the richest and the noblest of the city sitting in congregation when service is performed,[FN#27] becomes less critical. Still the scene must be viewed with Moslem bias, and until a man is thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the East, the last place the Rauzah will remind him of, is that which the architect primarily intended it to resemble-a garden.

Then with Hamid, professionally solemn, I reassumed the position of prayer, and retraced my steps. After passing through another small door in the dwarf wall that bounds the Muwajihah, we did not turn to the right, which would have led us to the Bab al-Salam; our course was in an opposite direction, towards the Eastern wall of the temple. Meanwhile we repeated, "Verily Allah and His Angels[FN#28] bless the Apostle! O ye who believe, bless him,

[p.314] and salute Him with Honour!" At the end of this prayer, we arrived at the Mausoleum, which requires some description before the reader can understand the nature of our proceedings there.

The Hujrah[FN#29] or "Chamber" as it is called, from the circumstance of its having been Ayishah's room, is an irregular square of from fifty to fifty-five feet in the South-East corner of the building, and separated on all sides from the walls of the Mosque by a passage about twenty-six feet broad on the South side, and twenty on the East. The reason of this isolation has been before explained, and there is a saying of Mohammed's, "O Allah, cause not my Tomb to become an Object of Idolatrous Adoration! May Allah's Wrath fall heavy upon the People who make the Tombs of their Prophets Places of Prayer[FN#30]!"

[p.315] Inside there are, or are supposed to be, three tombs facing the South, surrounded by stone walls without any aperture, or, as others say, by strong planking.[FN#31] Whatever this material may be, it is hung outside with a curtain, somewhat like a large four-post bed. The external railing is separated by a dark narrow passage from the inner, which it surrounds; and is of iron filigree painted of a vivid grass green,-with a view to the garden. Here carefully inserted in the verdure, and doubly bright by contrast, is the gilt or burnished brass work forming the long and graceful letters of the Suls character, and disposed into the Moslem creed, the Profession of Unity, and similar religious sentences.

On the South side, for greater honour, the railing is plated over with silver, and silver letters are interlaced with it. This fence, which connects the columns and forbids passage to all men, may be compared to the baldacchino of Roman churches. It has four gates: that to the South is the Bab al-Muwajihah; Eastward is the gate of our Lady Fatimah; westward the Bab al-Taubah (of Repentance), opening into the Rauzah or garden; and to the North, the Bab al-Shami or Syrian gate. They are constantly kept closed, except the fourth, which admits, into the dark narrow passage above alluded to, the officers who have charge of the treasures there deposited; and the eunuchs who sweep the floor, light [p.316] the lamps, and carry away the presents sometimes thrown in here by devotees.[FN#32]

Burton Tomb Hierarchy.PNG

In the Southern side of the fence are three windows, holes about half a foot square, and placed from four to five feet above the ground; they are said to be between three and four cubits distant from the Apostle's head. The most Westerly of these is supposed to front Mohammed's tomb, wherefore it is called the Shubak al-Nabi, or the Prophet's window. The next, on the right as you front it, is Abu Bakr's, and the most Easterly of the three is Omar's.

Above the Hujrah is the Green Dome, surmounted outside by a large gilt crescent springing from a series of globes. The glowing imaginations of the Moslems crown this gem of the building with a pillar of heavenly light, which directs from three days' distance the pilgrims' steps towards Al-Madinah. But alas! none save holy men (and perhaps, odylic sensitives), whose material organs are piercing as their spiritual vision, may be allowed the privilege of beholding this poetic splendour.

Arrived at the Shubak al-Nabi, Hamid took his stand about six feet or so out of reach of the railing, and at that respectful distance from, and facing[FN#33] the Hazirah (or presence),

[p.317] with hands raised as in prayer, he recited the following supplication in a low voice, telling me in a stage whisper to repeat it after him with awe, and fear, and love:-

"Peace be upon Thee, O Apostle of Allah, and the Mercy of Allah and his Blessings! Peace be upon Thee, O Apostle of Allah! Peace be upon Thee, O Friend of Allah! Peace be upon Thee, O best of Allah's Creation! Peace be upon Thee, O pure Creature of Allah! Peace be upon Thee, O Chief of Prophets ! Peace be upon Thee, O Seal of the Prophets! Peace be upon Thee, O Prince of the Pious! Peace be upon Thee, O Apostle of the Lord of the (three) Worlds! Peace be upon Thee, and upon Thy Family, and upon Thy pure Wives! Peace be upon Thee, and upon all Thy Companions! Peace be upon Thee, and upon all the Prophets, and upon those sent to preach Allah's Word! Peace be upon Thee, and upon all Allah's righteous Worshippers! Peace be upon Thee, O thou Bringer of Glad Tidings! Peace be upon Thee, O Bearer of Threats! Peace be upon Thee, O thou bright Lamp! Peace be upon Thee, O thou Apostle of Mercy! Peace be upon Thee, O Ruler of Thy Faith! Peace be upon Thee, O Opener of Grief! Peace be upon Thee! and Allah bless Thee! and Allah repay Thee for us, O Thou Apostle of Allah! the choicest of Blessings with which He ever blessed Prophet! Allah bless Thee as often as Mentioners have mentioned Thee, and Forgetters have forgotten Thee! And Allah bless Thee among the First and the Last, with the best, the highest, and the fullest of Blessings ever bestowed on Man; even as we escaped Error by means of Thee, and were made to see after Blindness, and after Ignorance were directed

[p.318] into the Right Way. I bear Witness that there is no god but the God (Allah), and I testify that Thou art His Servant, and His Apostle, and His Faithful Follower, and Best Creature. And I bear Witness, O Apostle of Allah! that Thou hast delivered thy Message, and discharged Thy Trust, and advised Thy Faith, and opened Grief, and published Proofs, and fought valiantly for Thy Lord, and worshipped Thy God till Certainty came to Thee (i.e. to the hour of death). And we Thy Friends, O Apostle of Allah! appear before Thee, Travellers from distant lands and far Countries, through Dangers and Difficulties, in the Times of Darkness, and in the Hours of Day, longing to give Thee Thy Rights (i.e. to honour Thee by benediction and visitation), and to obtain the Blessings of Thine Intercession, for our Sins have broken our Backs, and Thou intercedest with the Healer. And Allah said,[FN#34] �And though they have injured themselves, they came to Thee, and begged Thee to secure their Pardon, and they found God an Acceptor of Penitence, and full of Compassion.' O Apostle of Allah, Intercession! Intercession! Intercession[FN#35]! O Allah, bless Mohammed and Mohammed's Family, and give Him Superiority and high Rank, even as Thou didst promise Him, and graciously allow us to conclude this Visitation. I deposit on this spot, and near Thee, O Apostle of God, my everlasting Profession (of faith) from this our Day, to the Day of Judgment, that there is no god but Allah, and that our Lord Mohammed is His Servant and His Apostle.[FN#36] Amen! O Lord of the (three) Worlds![FN#37]"

[p.319] After which, performing Ziyarat[FN#38] for ourselves, we repeated the Fatihah or "opening" chapter of the Koran.

"In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate! "Praise be to Allah, who the (three) Worlds made. "The Merciful, the Compassionate. "The King of the Day of Faith. "Thee (alone) do we worship, and of Thee (alone) do we ask Aid. "Guide us to the Path that is straight- "The Path of those for whom thy Love is great, not those on whom is Hate, nor they that deviate. "Amen! O Lord of Angels, Jinnis, and Men![FN#39]"

After reciting this mentally with upraised hands, the forefinger of the right hand being extended to its full length, we drew our palms down our faces and did alms-deeds, a vital part of the ceremony. Thus concludes the first part of the ceremony of visitation at the Apostle's tomb.

[p.320] Hamid then stepped about a foot and half to the right, and I followed his example, so as to place myself exactly opposite the second aperture in the grating called Abu Bakr's window. There, making a sign towards the mausoleum, we addressed its inmate, as follows:-

"Peace be upon Thee, O Abu Bakr, O Thou Truthful One! Peace be upon Thee, O Caliph of Allah's Apostle over his People! Peace be upon Thee, O Companion of the Cave, and Friend in Travel! Peace be upon Thee, O Thou Banner of the Fugitives and the Auxiliaries! I testify Thou didst ever stand firm in the right Way, and wast a Smiter of the Infidel, and a Benefactor to Thine own people. Allah grant Thee through His Apostle Weal! We pray Almighty God to cause us to die in Thy Friendship, and to raise us up in Company with His Apostle and Thyself, even as He hath mercifully vouchsafed to us this Visitation.[FN#40]"

After which we closed one more step to the right, and standing opposite Omar's window, the most easterly of the three, after making a sign with our hands, we addressed the just Caliph in these words:-

"Peace be upon Thee, O Omar! O Thou Just One! Thou Prince of True Believers! Peace be upon Thee, who spakest with Truth, and who madest Thy Word agree with the Strong Book! (the Koran): O Thou Faruk! (the Separator).[FN#41] O Thou Faithful One! who girdedst thy Loins with the Apostle, and the First Believers, and with them didst make up the full Number forty,[FN#42] and thus causedst to be accomplished the Apostle's Prayer,[FN#43] and

[p.321] then didst return to Thy God a Martyr leaving the World with Praise! Allah grant Thee, through his Apostle and his Caliph and his Followers, the best of Good, and may Allah feel in Thee plenary Satisfaction!"

Shaykh Hamid, after wrenching a beggar or two from my shoulders, then permitted me to draw near to the little window, called the Apostle's, and to look in. Here my proceedings were watched with suspicious eyes. The Persians have sometimes managed to pollute the part near Abu Bakr's and Omar's graves by tossing through the aperture what is externally a handsome shawl intended as a present for the tomb.[FN#44] After straining my eyes for a time, I saw a curtain,[FN#45] or rather hangings, with

[p.322] three inscriptions in long gold letters, informing readers that behind them lie Allah's Apostle and the first two Caliphs.

The exact place of Mohammed's tomb is moreover distinguished by a large pearl rosary, and a peculiar ornament, the celebrated Kaukab-al-Durri, or constellation of pearls, suspended to the curtain breast-high.[FN#46] This is described to be a "brilliant star set in diamonds and pearls," placed in the dark that man's eye may be able to bear its splendours: the vulgar believe it to be a "jewel of the jewels of Paradise." To me it greatly resembled the round glass stoppers used for the humbler sort of decanters; but I thought the same of the Koh-i-Nur. Moreover I never saw it quite near enough to judge fairly, and I did not think fit to pay an exorbitant sum for the privilege of entering the inner passage of the baldaquin.[FN#47]

[p.323] Altogether the coup-d'oeil had nothing to recommend it by day. At night, when the lamps, hung in this passage, shed a dim light upon the mosaic-work of the marble floors, upon the glittering inscriptions, and the massive hangings, the scene is more impressive.

Never having seen the Tomb,[FN#48] I must depict it from books,-by no means an easy task. Most of the historians are silent after describing the inner walls of the Hujrah. Al-Kalkashandi declares in eo lapidem nobilem continere sepulchra Apostoli, Abubecr et Omar, circumcinctum peribole in modum conclavis fere usque ad tectum assurgente, quae velo serico nigro obligatur. This author, then, agrees with my Persian friends, who declare the sepulchre to be a marble slab. Ibn Jubayr, who travelled in A.H. 580, relates that the Apostle's coffin is a box of ebony (abnus) covered with sandal-wood, and plated with silver; it is placed, he says, behind a curtain, and surrounded by an iron grating. Al-Samanhudi,[FN#49] quoted by Burckhardt, declares that the curtain covers a square building of black stones, in the interior of which are the tombs of Mohammed and of his two immediate successors. He adds that the tombs are

[p.324] deep holes; and that the coffin which contains the Apostle is cased with silver, and has on the top a marble slab inscribed "Bismillah! Allahumma salli alayh!" ("In the name of Allah! Allah have Mercy upon Him[FN#50]!")

The Apostle's body, it should be remembered, lies, or is supposed to lie, stretched at full length on the right side, with the right palm supporting the right cheek, the face fronting Meccah, as Moslems are always buried, and consequently the body lies with the head almost due West and the feet due East. Close behind him is placed Abu Bakr, whose face fronts the Apostle's shoulder[FN#51]; and, lastly, Omar holds the same position with respect to his predecessor.

The places they are usually supposed to occupy, then, would be thus disposed. But Moslem historians are not agreed even upon so simple a point as this. [p.325] Many prefer this position, in line [figure] -some thus, in unicorn [figure] -and others the right angle.[FN#52] [figure]

It is popularly asserted that in the Hujrah there is now spare place for only a single grave, reserved for Isa bin Maryam after his second coming. The historians of Al-Islam are full of tales proving that though many of their earlier saints, as Osman the Caliph and Hasan the Imam, were desirous of being buried there; and that although Ayishah, to whom the room belonged, willingly acceded to their wishes, son of man has as yet been unable to occupy it.

After the Fatihah pronounced at Omar's tomb, and the short inspection of the Hujrah, Shaykh Hamid led me round the south-east corner of the baldaquin.[FN#53] Turning

[p.326] towards the north, we stopped at what is commonly called the Mahbat Jibrail ("Place of the Archangel Gabriel's Descent with the Heavenly Revelations"), or simply Al-Malaikah-the Angels. It is a small window in the Eastern wall of the Mosque; we turned our backs upon it, and fronting the Hujrah, recited the following prayer:-

"Peace be upon You, O Angels of Allah, the Mukarrabin (cherubs), and the Musharrifin (seraphs), the pure, the holy, honored by the Dwellers in Heaven, and by those who abide upon the Earth. O beneficent Lord! O Long-suffering! O Almighty! O Pitier! O thou Compassionate One! perfect our Light, and pardon our Sins, and accept Penitence for our Offences, and cause us to die among the Holy! Peace be upon Ye, Angels of the Merciful, one and all! And the Mercy of God and His Blessings be upon You!" After which I was shown the spot in the Hujrah where Sayyidna Isa shall be buried[FN#54] by Mohammed's side.

[p.327] Then turning towards the West, at a point where there is a break in the symmetry of the Hujrah, we arrived at the sixth station, the sepulchre or cenotaph of the Lady Fatimah. Her grave is outside the enceinte and the curtain which surrounds her father's remains; so strict is Moslem decorum, and so exalted its opinion of the "Virgin's"[FN#55] delicacy. The Eastern side of the Hujrah, here turning a little Westward, interrupts the shape of the square, in order to give this spot the appearance of disconnection with the rest of the building. The tomb, seen through a square aperture like those above described, is a long catafalque, covered with a black pall. Though there is great doubt whether the Lady be not buried with her son Hassan in the Bakia cemetery, this place is always visited by the pious Moslem. The following is the prayer opposite the grave of the amiable Fatimah:-

"Peace be upon Thee, Daughter of the Apostle of Allah! Peace be upon Thee, Daughter of the Prophet of Allah! Peace be upon Thee, thou Daughter of Mustafa! Peace be upon Thee, thou Mother of the Shurafa![FN#56] (seed of Mohammed.) Peace be upon Thee, O Lady amongst Women! Peace be upon Thee, O fifth of the Ahl al-Kisa![FN#57] Peace be upon Thee, O Zahra and Batul![FN#58] (Pure and Virgin).

[p.328] Peace be upon Thee, O Daughter of the Apostle! Peace be upon Thee, O Spouse of our Lord Ali al-Murtaza! Peace be upon Thee, O Mother of Hasan and Husayn, the two Moons, the two Lights, the two Pearls, the two Princes of the Youth of Heaven, and Coolness of the Eyes[FN#59] (i.e. joy and gladness) of true Believers! Peace be upon Thee, and upon Thy Sire, Al-Mustafa, and Thy Husband, our Lord Ali! Allah honour his Face, and Thy Face, and Thy Father's Face in Paradise, and Thy two Sons, the Hasanayn! And the Mercy of Allah and His Blessings!"

We then broke away as we best could from the crowd of female "askers," who have established their Lares and Penates under the shadow of the Lady's wing; and, advancing a few paces, we fronted to the North, and recited a prayer in honour of Hamzah, and of the martyrs who lie buried at the foot of Mount Ohod.[FN#60] We then turned to the right, and, fronting the Easterly wall, prayed for the souls of the blessed whose mortal spirits repose within Al-Bakia's hallowed circuit.[FN#61]

After this we returned to the Southern wall of the Mosque, and, facing towards Meccah, we recited the following supplication:-"O Allah! (three times repeated) O Compassionate! O Beneficent! O Requiter (of good and

[p.329] evil)! O Prince! O Ruler! O ancient of Benefits! O Omniscient! O Thou who givest when asked, and who aidest when Aid is required, accept this our Visitation, and preserve us from Dangers, and make easy our Affairs, and broaden our Breasts, (gladden our hearts), and receive our Prostration, and requite us according to our good Deeds, and turn not against us our evil Deeds, and place not over us one who feareth not Thee, and one who pitieth not us, and write Safety and Health upon us and upon Thy Slaves, the Hujjaj (pilgrims), and the Ghuzzat (fighters for the faith), and the Zawwar[FN#62] (visitors to the tomb), and the Home-dwellers and the Wayfarers of the Moslems, by Land and by Sea, and pardon those of the Faith of our Lord Mohammed One and All!"

>From the Southern wall we returned to the "Apostle's Window," where we recited the following tetrastich and prayer:-

"O Mustafa! verily, I stand at Thy door, A man, weak and fearful, by reason of my sins: If Thou aid me not, O Apostle of Allah! I die-for, in the world there is none generous as Thou art!"

"Of a Truth, Allah and His Angels bless the Apostle! O Ye who believe, bless Him and salute Him with salutation![FN#63] O Allah! verily I implore Thy Pardon and supplicate Thine Aid in this World as in the next! O Allah! O Allah! abandon us not in this Holy Place to the consequences of our Sins without pardoning them, or to our Griefs without consoling them, or to our Fears, O Allah! without removing them. And Blessings and Salutation to Thee, O Prince of Apostles, Commissioned (to preach the word), and laud be to Allah, the Lord of the (three) Worlds!"

We turned away from the Hujrah, and after gratifying

[p.330] a meek-looking but exceedingly importunate Hindi beggar, who insisted on stunning me with the Chapter Y, S.,[FN#64] we fronted Southwards, and taking care that our backs should not be in a line with the Apostle's face, stood opposite the niche called Mihrab Osman. There Hamid proceeded with another supplication. "O Allah! (three times repeated), O Safeguard of the Fearful, and Defender of those who trust in Thee, and Pitier of the Weak, the Poor, and the Destitute! accept us, O Beneficent! and pardon us, O Merciful! and receive our Penitence, O Compassionate! and have Mercy upon us, O Forgiver!-for verily none but Thou canst remit Sin! Of a Truth Thou alone knowest the hidden, and veilest Man's Transgressions: veil, then, our Offences, and pardon our Sins, and broaden our Breasts, and cause our last Words at the Supreme Hour of Life to be the Words, �There is no god but Allah,[FN#65] and our Lord Mohammed is the Apostle of Allah!' O Allah! cause us to live according to this Saying, O thou Giver of life; and make us to die in this Faith, O thou Ruler of Death! And the best of Blessings and the completest of Salutations upon the sole Lord of Intercession, our Lord Mohammed and His Family, and His Companions One and All!"

Lastly, we returned to the Garden,[FN#66] and prayed another two-bow prayer, ending, as we began, with the worship of the Creator.

[p.331] Unfortunately for me, the boy Mohammed had donned that grand embroidered coat. At the end of the ceremony the Aghas, or eunuchs of the Mosque, a race of men considered respectable by their office, and prone to make themselves respected by the freest administration of club-law, assembled in Al-Rauzah to offer me the congratulation Ziyaratak Mubarak-"Blessed be thy Visitation,"-and to demand fees. Then came the Sakka, or water-carrier of the Mosque well, Zemzem,[FN#67] offering a tinned saucer filled from the holy source. And lastly I was beset by beggars.

Some were mild beggars and picturesque, who sat upon the ground immersed in the contemplation of their napkins; others, angry beggars who cursed if they were not gratified; and others noisy and petulant beggars, especially the feminine party near the Lady's tomb, who captured me by the skirt of my garment, compelling me to ransom myself. There were, besides, pretty beggars, boys who held out the right hand on the score of good looks; ugly beggars, emaciated rascals whose long hair, dirt, and leanness entitled them to charity; and lastly, the blind, the halt, and the diseased, who, as Sons of the Holy City, demanded from the Faithful that support with which they could not provide themselves. Having been compelled by my companions, highly against my inclination, to become a man of rank, I was obliged to pay in proportion, and my almoner in the handsome coat, as usual, took a kind of pride in being profuse. This first visit cost me double what I had intended-four dollars-nearly one pound sterling, and never afterwards could I pay less than half that sum.[FN#68]

[p.332] Having now performed all the duties of a good Zair, I was permitted by Shaykh Hamid to wander about and see the sights. We began our circumambulation at the Bab al-Salam,[FN#69] the Gate of Salvation, the South-Western entrance pierced in the long wall of the Mosque. It is a fine archway handsomely encrusted with marble and glazed tiles; the many gilt inscriptions on its sides give it, especially at night-time, an appearance of considerable splendour. The portcullis-like doors are of wood, strengthened with brass plates, and nails of the same metal. Outside this gate is a little Sabil, or public fountain, where those who will not pay for the water, kept ready in large earthen jars by the "Sakka" of the Mosque, perform their ablutions gratis. Here all the mendicants congregate in force, sitting on the outer steps and at the entrance of the Mosque, up and through which the visitors must pass.

About the centre of the Western wall is the Bab alRahmah, the Gate of Pity, which admits the dead bodies of the Faithful when carried to be prayed over in the Mosque. There is nothing remarkable in its appearance; in common with the other gates it has huge folding doors, iron-bound, an external flight of steps, and a few modern inscriptions.

The Bab Majidi, or Gate of the Sultan Abd al-Majid, stands in the centre of the Northern wall; like its portico, it is unfinished, but its present appearance promises that it will eclipse all except the Bab al-Salam.

The Bab al-Nisa, or Gate of Women, is in the Eastern wall opposite the Bab al-Rahmah, with which it is connected by the "Farsh al-Hajar," a broad band of stone, two or three steps below the level of the portico,

[p.333] and slightly raised above the Sahn or the hypaethral portion of the Mosque. And lastly, in the Southern portion of the same Eastern wall is the Bab Jibrail, the Gate of the Archangel Gabriel.[FN#70]

All these entrances are arrived at by short external flights of steps leading from the streets, as the base of the temple, unlike that of Meccah, is a little higher than the foundation of the buildings around it. The doors are closed by the attendant eunuchs immediately after the night prayers, except during the blessed month Al-Ramazan and in the pilgrimage season, when pious visitors pay considerable fees there to pass the night in meditation and prayer.

The minarets are five in number; but one, the Shikayliyah, at the North-West angle of the building, has been levelled, and is still in process of being rebuilt. The Munar Bab al-Salam stands by the gate of that name: it is a tall, handsome tower, surmounted by a large ball or cone[FN#71] of brass gilt or burnished. The Munar Bab al-Rahmah, about the centre of the Western wall, is of more simple form than the others: it has two galleries, with the superior portion circular, and surmounted by the conical "extinguisher"-roof so common in Turkey and Egypt. On the North-East angle of the Mosque stands the Sulaymaniyah Munar, so named after its founder, Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent. It is a well-built and substantial stone-tower divided into three stages; the two

[p.334] lower portions are polygonal, the upper cylindrical, and each terminates in a platform with a railed gallery carried all round for the protection of those who ascend.

And lastly, from the South-East angle of the Mosque, supposed to be upon the spot where Belal, the Apostle's loud-lunged crier, called the first Moslems to prayer, [FN#72] springs the Munar Raisiyah, so called because it is appropriated to the Ruasa or chiefs of the Mu'ezzins. Like the Sulaymaniyah, it consists of three parts: the first and second stages are polygonal; and the third, a cylinder, is furnished like the lower two with a railed gallery. Both the latter minarets end in solid ovals of masonry, from which project a number of wooden triangles. To these and to the galleries on all festive occasions, such as the arrival of the Damascus caravan, are hung oil-lamps-a poor attempt at illumination, which may rationally explain the origin of the Madinite superstition concerning the column of light which crowns the Prophet's tomb. There is no uniformity in the shape or the size of these four minarets, and at first sight, despite their beauty and grandeur, they appear somewhat bizarre and misplaced. But after a few days I found that my eye grew accustomed to them, and I had no difficulty in appreciating their massive proportions and lofty forms.

Equally irregular are the Riwaks, or porches, surrounding the hypaethral court. Along the Northern wall there will be, when finished, a fine colonnade of granite, paved with marble. The Eastern Riwak has three rows of pillars, the Western four, and the Southern, under which stands the tomb, of course has its columns ranged deeper than all the others. These supports of the building are of different material; some of fine marble, others of

[p.335] rough stone, plastered over and painted with the most vulgar of arabesques,-vermilion and black in irregular patches and broad streaks, like the stage-face of a London clown.[FN#73] Their size, moreover, is different, the Southern colonnade being composed of pillars palpably larger than those in the other parts of the Mosque. Scarcely any two shafts own similar capitals; many have no pedestal, and some of them are cut with a painful ignorance of art. I cannot extend my admiration of the minarets to the columns-in their "architectural lawlessness" there is not a redeeming point.

Of these unpraisable pillars three are celebrated in the annals of Al-Islam, for which reason their names are painted upon them, and five others enjoy the honour of distinctive appellations. The first is called Al-Mukhallak, because, on some occasion of impurity, it was anointed with a perfume called Khaluk. It is near the Mihrab al-Nabawi, on the right of the place where the Imam prays; and it notes the spot where, before the invention of the Pulpit, the Apostle, leaning upon the Ustuwanat al-Hannanah-the Weeping Pillar[FN#74]-used to recite the Khutbah or Friday sermon.

The second stands third from the Pulpit, and third from the Hujrah. It is called the Pillar of Ayishah, also the Ustuwanat al-Kurah, or the Column of Lots, because the Apostle, according to the testimony of his favourite wife, declared that if men knew the value of the place, they would cast lots to pray there: in some books it is known as the Pillar of the Muhajirin or Fugitives, and others mention it as Al-Mukhallak-the Perfumed.

Twenty cubits distant from Ayishah's Pillar, and the second from the Hujrah, and the fourth from the Pulpit, is the Pillar of Repentance, or of Abu Lubabah. It derives its name from the following circumstance. Abu Lubabah was a native of Al-Madinah, one of the Auxiliaries and a companion of Mohammed, originally it is said a Jew, according to others of the Beni Amr bin Auf of the Aus tribe. Being sent for by his kinsmen or his allies, the Benu Kurayzah, at that time capitulating to Mohammed, he was consulted by the distracted men, women, and children, who threw themselves at his feet, and begged of him to intercede for them with the offended Apostle. Abu Lubabah swore he would do so: at the same time, he drew his hand across his throat, as much as to say, "Defend yourselves to the last, for if you yield, such is your doom." Afterwards repenting, he bound himself with a huge chain to the date-tree in whose place the column now stands, vowing to continue there until Allah and the Apostle accepted his penitence-a circumstance which did not take place till the tenth day, when his hearing was gone and he had almost lost his sight.

The less celebrated pillars are the Ustuwanat al-Sarir, or Column of the Cot, where the Apostle was wont to sit meditating on his humble couch-frame of date-sticks. The Ustuwanat Ali notes the spot where the fourth Caliph used to pray and watch near his father-in-law at night. At the Ustuwanat al-Wufud, as its name denotes, the Apostle received envoys, couriers, and emissaries from foreign places. The Ustuwanat al-Tahajjud now stands where Mohammed, sitting upon his mat, passed the night in prayer. And lastly is the Makam Jibrail (Gabriel's place), for whose other name, Mirbaat al-Bair, "the Pole of the Beast of Burden," I have been unable to find an explanation.

The four Riwaks, or porches, of the Madinah Mosque open upon a hypaethral court of parallelogramic shape.

[p.337] The only remarkable object in it[FN#75] is a square of wooden railing enclosing a place full of well-watered earth, called the Garden of our Lady Fatimah.[FN#76] It now contains a dozen date-trees-in Ibn Jubayr's time there were fifteen. Their fruit is sent by the eunuchs as presents to the Sultan and the great men of Al-Islam; it is highly valued by the vulgar, but the Olema do not think much of its claims to importance. Among the palms are the venerable remains of a Sidr, or Lote tree,[FN#77] whose produce is sold for inordinate sums. The enclosure is entered by a dwarf gate in the South-Eastern portion of the railing, near the well, and one of the eunuchs is generally to be seen in it: it is under the charge of the Mudir, or chief treasurer. These gardens are not uncommon in Mosques, as the traveller who passes through Cairo can convince himself. They form a pretty and an appropriate feature in a building erected for the worship of Him "Who spread the Earth with Carpets of Flowers and drew shady Trees from the dead Ground." A tradition of the Apostle also declares that "Acceptable is Devotion in the Garden and in the Orchard."

[p.338] At the South-East angle of this enclosure, under a wooden roof supported by pillars of the same material, stands the Zemzem, generally called the Bir al-Nabi, or "the Apostle's well." My predecessor declares that the brackishness of its produce has stood in the way of its reputation for holiness. Yet a well-educated man told me that it was as "light" (wholesome) water[FN#78] as any in Al-Madinah,-a fact which he accounted for by supposing a subterraneous passage[FN#79] which connects it with the great Zemzem at Meccah. Others, again, believe that it is filled by a vein of water springing directly under the Apostle's grave: generally, however, among the learned it is not more revered than our Lady's Garden, nor is it ranked in books among the holy wells of Al-Madinah.

Between this Zemzem well and the Eastern Riwak is the Stoa, or Academia, of the Prophet's city. In the cool mornings and evenings the ground is strewed with professors, who teach the young idea, as an eminent orientalist hath it, to shout rather than to shoot.[FN#80] A few feet to the South of the palm garden is a moveable wooden planking painted green, and about three feet high; it serves to separate the congregation from the Imam when he prays here; and at the North-Eastern angle of the enclosure is a

[p.339] Shajar Kanadil, a large brass chandelier, which completes the furniture of the court.

After this inspection, the shadows of evening began to gather round us. We left the Mosque, reverently taking care to issue forth with the left foot, and not to back out of it as is the Sunnat or practice derived from the Apostle, when taking leave of the Meccan Temple.

To conclude this long chapter. Although every Moslem, learned and simple, firmly believes that Mohammed's remains are interred in the Hujrah at Al-Madinah, I cannot help suspecting that the place is doubtful as that of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. It must be remembered that a tumult followed the announcement of the Apostle's death, when the people, as often happens, believing him to be immortal,[FN#81] refused to credit the report, and even Omar threatened destruction to any one that asserted it.

Moreover the body was scarcely cold when the contest about the succession arose between the fugitives of Meccah and the auxiliaries of Al-Madinah: in the ardour of which, according to the Shi'ahs, the house of Ali and Fatimah-within a few feet of the spot where the tomb of the Apostle is now placed-was threatened with fire, and Abu Bakr was elected Caliph that same evening. If anyone find cause to wonder that the last resting-place of a personage so important was not fixed for ever, he may find many a parallel case in Al-Madinah. To quote no other, three several localities claim the honour of containing the Lady Fatimah's mortal spoils, although one might suppose that the daughter of the Apostle and the mother of the Imams would not be laid in an unknown grave. My reasons for incredulity are the following: [p.340] From the earliest days the shape of the Apostle's tomb has never been generally known in Al-Islam. For this reason it is that graves are made convex in some countries, and flat in others. Had there been a Sunnat,[FN#82] such would not have been the case.

The accounts of the learned are discrepant. Al-Samanhudi, perhaps the highest authority, contradicts himself. In one place he describes the coffin; in another he expressly declares that he entered the Hujrah when it was being repaired by Kaid-Bey, and saw in the inside three deep graves, but no traces of tombs.[FN#83] Either, then, the mortal remains of the Apostle had, despite Moslem superstition,[FN#84] mingled with the dust, (a probable circumstance

[p.341] after nearly nine hundred years' interment), or, what is more likely, they had been removed by the Shi'ah schismatics who for centuries had charge of the sepulchre.[FN#85]

And lastly, I cannot but look upon the tale of the blinding light which surrounds the Apostle's tomb, current for ages past and still universally believed upon the authority of the attendant eunuchs, who must know its falsehood, as a priestly gloss intended to conceal a defect.

I here conclude the subject, committing it to some future and more favoured investigator. In offering the above remarks, I am far from wishing to throw a doubt upon an established point of history. But where a suspicion of fable arises from popular "facts," a knowledge of man and of his manners teaches us to regard it with favouring eye.[FN#86]

[FN#1] Others add a fourth, namely, the Masjid al-Takwa, at Kuba. [FN#2] The Moslem divines, however, na�vely remind their readers, that they are not to pray once in the Al-Madinah Mosque, and neglect the other 999, as if absolved from the necessity of them. The passage in the text merely promises 1000 blessings upon that man's devotion who prays at the Prophet's Mosque. [FN#3] The visitor, who approaches the Sepulchre as a matter of religious ceremony, is called "Zair," his conductor "Muzawwir," whereas the pilgrim at Meccah becomes a "Haji." The Imam Malik disapproved of a Moslem's saying, "I have visited the Prophet's tomb," preferring him to express himself thus-"I have visited the Prophet." Others again dislike the latter formula, declaring the Prophet too venerable to be so visited by Amr and Zayd. [FN#4] In A.D. 1807, they prevented Ali Bey (the Spaniard Badia) from entering Al-Madinah, and it appears that he had reason to congratulate himself upon escaping without severe punishment. [FN#5] Nothing in the Spanish cathedrals suggests their oriental origin and the taste of the people, more than the way in which they are hedged in by secular buildings. [FN#6] The ceremony of Ziyarat, however, begins at the Bab al-Salam. We rode up to this gate only in order to avoid the sun. [FN#7] Haswah is a place covered with gravel: Ramlah, one which is sanded over. Both are equally applicable, and applied to the areas of Mosques. Al-Sahn is the general word; Al-Hosh is occasionally used, but is more properly applied to the court-yard of a dwelling-house. [FN#8] This Riwak was begun about five or six years ago by Abd al-Majid. To judge from the size of the columns, and the other preparations which encumber the ground, this part of the building will surpass all the rest. But the people of Al-Madinah assured me that it will not be finished for some time,-a prophecy likely to be fulfilled by the present state of Turkish finance. [FN#9] This gate derives its peculiar name from its vicinity to the Lady Fatimah's tomb; women, when they do visit the Mosque, enter it through all the doors indifferently. [FN#10] It is so called by the figure synecdoche: it contains the Rauzah or the Prophet's Garden, and therefore the whole portico enjoys that honoured name. [FN#11] These carpets are swept by the eunuchs, who let out the office for a certain fee to pilgrims, every morning, immediately after sunrise. Their diligence, however, does by no means prevent the presence of certain little parasites, concerning which politeness is dumb [FN#12] Because if not pure, ablution is performed at the well in the centre of the hypaethra. Zairs are ordered to visit the Mosque perfumed, and in their best clothes, and the Hanafi school deems it lawful on this occasion only to wear dresses of pure silk. [FN#13] In this Mosque, as in all others, it is proper to enter with the right foot, and to retire with the left. [FN#14] I must warn the reader that almost every Muzawwir has his own litany, which descends from father to son: moreover, all the books differ at least as much as do the oral authorities. [FN#15] That is to say, "over the world, the flesh, and the devil." [FN#16] This by strangers is called the Masalla Shafe'i, or the Place of Prayer of the Shafe'i school. It was sent from Constantinople about 100 years ago, by Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent. He built the Sulaymaniyah minaret, and has immortalised his name at Al-Madinah, as well as at Meccah, by the number of his donations to the shrine. [FN#17] Here is supposed to have been one of the Prophet's favourite stations of prayer. It is commonly called the Musalla Hanafi, because now appropriated by that school. [FN#18] This tradition, like most others referring to events posterior to the Prophet's death, is differently given, and so important are the variations, that I only admire how all Al-Islam does not follow Wahhabi example, and summarily consign them to oblivion. Some read "Between my dwelling-house (in the Mosque) and my place of Prayer (in the Barr al-Manakhah) is a Garden of the Gardens of Paradise." Others again, "Between my house and my pulpit is a Garden of the Gardens of Paradise." A third tradition-"Between my tomb and my pulpit is a Garden of the Gardens of Paradise, and verily my pulpit is in my Full Cistern," or "upon a Full Cistern of the Cisterns of Paradise," has given rise to a new superstition. "Tara," according to some commentators, alludes especially to the cistern Al-Kausar; consequently this Rauzah is, like the black stone at Meccah, bona fide, a bit of Paradise, and on the day of resurrection, it shall return bodily to the place whence it came. Be this as it may, all Moslems are warned that the Rauzah is a most holy spot. None but the Prophet and his son-in-law Ali ever entered it, when ceremonially impure, without being guilty of deadly sin. The Mohammedan of the present day is especially informed that on no account must he here tell lies, or even perjure himself. Thus the Rauzah must be respected as much as the interior of the Bayt Allah at Meccah. [FN#19] This is a stone desk on four pillars, where the Muballighs (or clerks) recite the Ikamah, the call to divine service. It was presented to the Mosque by Kaid-Bey, the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. [FN#20] I shall have something to say about this pulpit when entering into the history of the Harim. [FN#21] The afternoon prayers being Farz, or obligatory, were recited, because we feared that evening might come on before the ceremony of Ziyarat (visitation) concluded, and thus the time for Al-Asr (afternoon prayers) might pass away. The reader may think this rather a curious forethought in a man who, like Hamid, never prayed except when he found the case urgent. Such, however, is the strict order, and my Muzawwir was right to see it executed. [FN#22]. This two-bow prayer, which generally is recited in honour of the Mosque, is here, say divines, addressed especially to the Deity by the visitor who intends to beg the intercession of his Prophet. It is only just to confess that the Moslems have done their best by all means in human power, here as well as elsewhere, to inculcate the doctrine of eternal distinction between the creature and the Creator. Many of the Maliki school, however, make the ceremony of Ziyarat to precede the prayer to the Deity. [FN#23] The Sujdah is a single "prostration" with the forehead touching the ground. It is performed from a sitting position, after the Dua or supplication that concludes the two-bow prayer. Some of the Olema, especially those of the Shafe'i school, permit this "Sujdah of thanks" to be performed before the two-bow prayer if the visitor have any notable reason to be grateful. [FN#24] The candles are still sent from Cairo. [FN#25] These windows are a present from Kaid-Bey, the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. [FN#26] These oil lamps are a present from the Sultan. [FN#27] The five daily liturgies are here recited by Imams, and every one presses to the spot on account of its peculiar sanctity. [FN#28] In Moslem theology "Salat" from Allah means mercy, from the angels intercession for pardon, and from mankind blessing. The act of blessing the Prophet is one of peculiar efficacy in a religious point of view. Cases are quoted of sinners being actually snatched from hell by a glorious figure, the personification of the blessings which had been called down by them upon Mohammed's head. This most poetical idea is borrowed, I believe, from the ancient Guebres, who fabled that a man's good works assumed a beautiful female shape, which stood to meet his soul when winding its way to judgment. Also when a Moslem blesses Mohammed at Al-Madinah, his sins are not written down for three days,-thus allowing ample margin for repentance,-by the recording angel. Al-Malakayn (the two Angels), or Kiram al-Katibin (the Generous Writers), are mere personifications of the good principle and the evil principle of man's nature; they are fabled to occupy each a shoulder, and to keep a list of words and deeds. This is certainly borrowed from a more ancient faith. In Hermas II. (command. 6), we are told that "every man has two angels, one of godliness, the other of iniquity," who endeavour to secure his allegiance,-a superstition seemingly founded upon the dualism of the old Persians. Mediaeval Europe, which borrowed so much from the East at the time of the Crusades, degraded these angels into good and bad fairies for children's stories. [FN#29] Burckhardt writes this word Hedjra (which means "flight"). Nor is M. Caussin de Perceval's "El Hadjarat" less erroneous. At Madinah it is invariably called Al-Hujrah-the chamber. The chief difficulty in distinguishing the two words, meaning "chamber" and "flight," arises from our only having one h to represent the hard and soft h of Arabic, ???? [Arabic text] and ???? [Arabic text]. In the case of common saints, the screen or railing round the cenotaph is called a "Maksurah." [FN#30] Yet Mohammed enjoined his followers to frequent graveyards. "Visit graves; of a verity they shall make you think of futurity!" And again, "Whoso visiteth his two parents' grave, or one of the two, every Friday, he shall be written a pious child, even though he might have been in the world, before that, a disobedient." [FN#31] The truth is no one knows what is there. I have even heard a learned Persian declare that there is no wall behind the curtain, which hangs so loosely that, when the wind blows against it, it defines the form of a block of marble, or a built-up tomb. I believe this to be wholly apocryphal, for reasons which will presently be offered. [FN#32] The peculiar place where the guardians of the tomb sit and confabulate is the Dakkat al-Aghawat (eunuch's bench) or Al-Mayda-the table-a raised bench of stone and wood, on the North side of the Hujrah. The remaining part of this side is partitioned off from the body of the Mosque by a dwarf wall, inclosing the "Khasafat al-Sultan," the place where Fakihs are perpetually engaged in Khitmahs, or perusals of the Koran, on behalf of the reigning Sultan. [FN#33] The ancient practice of Al-Islam during the recitation of the following benedictions was to face Meccah, the back being turned towards the tomb, and to form a mental image of the Prophet, supposing him to be in front. Al-Kirmani and other doctors prefer this as the more venerable custom, but in these days it is completely exploded, and the purist would probably be soundly bastinadoed by the eunuchs for attempting it. [FN#34] This is the usual introduction to a quotation from the Koran. [FN#35] It may easily be conceived how offensive this must be to the Wahhabis, who consider it blasphemy to assert that a mere man can stand between the Creator and the creature on the last day. [FN#36] This is called the Testification. Like the Fatihah, it is repeated at every holy place and tomb visited at Al-Madinah. [FN#37] Burckhardt mentions that in his day, among other favours supplicated in prayer to the Deity, the following request was made,-"Destroy our enemies, and may the torments of hell-fire be their lot!" I never heard it at the Prophet's tomb. As the above benediction is rather a long one, the Zair is allowed to shorten it a discretion, but on no account to say less than "Peace be upon Thee, O Apostle of Allah"-this being the gist of the ceremony. [FN#38] Though performing Ziyarat for myself, I had promised my old Shaykh at Cairo to recite a Fatihah in his name at the Prophet's tomb; so a double recitation fell to my lot. If acting Zair for another person (a common custom, we read, even in the days of Al-Walid, the Caliph of Damascus), you are bound to mention your principal's name at the beginning of the benediction, thus: "Peace be upon Thee, O Apostle of Allah from such an one, the son of such an one, who wants Thine Intercession, and begs for Pardon and Mercy." Most Zairs recite Fatihahs for all their friends and relations at the tomb. [FN#39] I have endeavoured in this translation to imitate the imperfect rhyme of the original Arabic. Such an attempt, however, is full of difficulties: the Arabic is a language in which, like Italian, it is almost impossible not to rhyme. [FN#40] It will not be necessary to inform the reader more than once that all these several divisions of prayer ended with the Testification and the Fatihah. [FN#41] Faruk,-the separator,-a title of Omar. [FN#42] When the number of the Ashab or "Companions" was thirty-nine, they were suddenly joined by Omar, who thus became the fortieth. [FN#43] It is said that Mohammed prayed long for the conversion of Omar to Al-Islam, knowing his sterling qualities, and the aid he would lend to the establishment of the faith. [FN#44] This foolish fanaticism has lost many an innocent life, for the Arabs on these occasions seize their sabres, and cut down every Persian they meet. Still, bigoted Shi'ahs persist in practising and applauding it, and the man who can boast at Shiraz of having defiled Abu Bakr's, Omar's, or Osman's tomb becomes at once a lion and a hero. I suspect that on some occasions when the people of Al-Madinah are anxious for an "avanie," they get up some charge of the kind against the Persians. So the Meccans have sometimes found these people guilty of defiling the house of Allah-at which Infidel act a Shi'ah would shudder as much as a Sunni. This style of sacrilege is, we read, of ancient date in Arabia. Nafil, the Hijazi, polluted the Kilis (Christian church) erected by Abrahah of Sanaa to outshine the Ka'abah, and draw off worshippers from Meccah. The outrage caused the celebrated "affair of the Elephant." (See D'Herbelot, Bibl. Or., v. "Abrahah.") [FN#45] Burckhardt, with his usual accuracy, asserts that a new curtain is sent when the old one is decayed, or when a new Sultan ascends the throne, and those authors err who, like Maundrell, declare the curtain to be removed every year. The Damascus Caravan conveys, together with its Mahmil or emblem of royalty, the new Kiswah (or "garment") when required for the tomb. It is put on by the eunuchs, who enter the baldaquin by its Northern gate at night time, and there is a superstitious story amongst the people that they guard their eyes with veils against the supernatural splendours which pour from the tomb. The Kiswah is a black, purple, or green brocade, embroidered with white or with silver letters. A piece in my possession, the gift of Omar Effendi, is a handsome silk and cotton Damascus brocade, with white letters worked in it-manifestly the produce of manual labour, not the poor dull work of machinery. It contains the formula of the Moslem faith in the cursive style of the Suls character, seventy-two varieties of which are enumerated by calligraphists. Nothing can be more elegant or appropriate than its appearance. The old curtain is usually distributed amongst the officers of the Mosque, and sold in bits to pilgrims; in some distant Moslem countries, the possessor of such a relic would be considered a saint. When treating of the history of the Mosque, some remarks will be offered about the origin of the curtain. [FN#46] The place of the Prophet's head is, I was told, marked by a fine Koran hung up to the curtain This volume is probably a successor to the relic formerly kept there, the Cufic Koran belonging to Osman, the fourth Caliph, which Burckhardt supposes to have perished in the conflagration which destroyed the Mosque. [FN#47] The eunuchs of the tomb have the privilege of admitting strangers. In this passage are preserved the treasures of the place; they are a "Bayt Mal al-Muslimin," or public treasury of the Moslems; therefore to be employed by the Caliph (i.e. the reigning Sultan) for the exigencies of the faith. The amount is said to be enormous, which I doubt. [FN#48] And I might add, never having seen one who has seen it. Niebuhr is utterly incorrect in his hearsay description of it. It is not "enclosed within iron railings for fear lest the people might surreptitiously offer worship to the ashes of the Prophet." The tomb is not "of plain mason-work in the form of a chest," nor does any one believe that it is "placed within or between two other tombs, in which rest the ashes of the first two Caliphs." The traveller appears to have lent a credulous ear to the eminent Arab merchant, who told him that a guard was placed over the tomb to prevent the populace scraping dirt from about it, and preserving it as a relic. [FN#49] Burckhardt writes this author's name El Samhoudy, and in this he is followed by all our popular book-makers. Moslems have three ways of spelling it: 1. Al-Samhudi, 2. Al-Samahnudi, and 3. Al-Samanhudi. I prefer the latter, believing that the learned Shaykh, Nur al-Din Ali bin Abdullah al-Hasini (or Al-Husayni) was originally from Samanhud in Egypt, the ancient Sebennitis. He died in A.H. 911, and was buried in the Bakia cemetery. [FN#50] Burckhardt, however, must be in error when he says "The tombs are also covered with precious stuffs, and in the shape of catafalques, like that of Ibrahim in the great Mosque of Meccah." The eunuchs positively declare that no one ever approaches the tomb, and that he who ventured to do so would at once be blinded by the supernatural light. Moreover the historians of Al-Madinah all quote tales of certain visions of the Apostle, directing his tomb to be cleared of dust that had fallen upon it from above, in which case some man celebrated for piety and purity was let through a hole in the roof, by cords, down to the tomb, with directions to wipe it with his beard. This style of ingress is explained by another assertion of Al-Samanhudi, quoted by Burckhardt. "In A.H. 892, when Kaid-Bey rebuilt the Mosque, which had been destroyed by lightning, three deep graves were found in the inside, full of rubbish, but the author of this history, who himself entered it, saw no traces of tombs. The original place of Mohammed's tomb was ascertained with great difficulty; the walls of the Hujrah were then rebuilt, and the iron railing placed round it, which is now there." [FN#51] Upon this point authors greatly disagree. Ibn Jubayr, for instance, says that Abu Bakr's head is opposite the Apostle's feet, and that Omar's face is on a level with Abu Bakr's shoulder. [FN#52] The vulgar story of the suspended coffin has been explained in two ways. Niebuhr supposes it to have arisen from the rude drawings sold to strangers. Mr. William Bankes (Giovanni Finati, vol. ii., p. 289) believes that the mass of rock popularly described as hanging unsupported in the Mosque of Omar at Jerusalem was confounded by Christians, who could not have seen either of these Moslem shrines, with the Apostle's Tomb at Al-Madinah. [FN#53] Some Moslems end their Ziyarat at the Apostle's Tomb; others, instead of advancing, as I did, return to the Apostle's window, pray, and beg pardon for their parents and themselves, and ask all they desire, concluding with prayers to the Almighty. Thence they repair to the Rauzah or Garden, and standing at the column called after Abu Lubabah, pray a two-bow prayer there; concluding with the "Dua," or benediction upon the Apostle, and there repeat these words: "O Allah, Thou hast said, and Thy word is true, �Say, O Lord, pardon and show Mercy; for Thou art the best of the Merciful,' (chap. 23). O God, verily we have heard Thy Word, and we come for Intercession to Thy Apostle from our own Sins, repenting our Errors, and confessing our Shortcomings and Transgressions! O Allah, pity us, and by the Dignity of Thy Apostle raise our Place, (in the Heavenly Kingdom)! O Allah, pardon our Brothers who have preceded us in the Faith!" Then the Zair prays for himself, and his parents, and for those he loves. He should repeat, "Allah have mercy upon Thee, O Apostle of Allah!" seventy times, when an angel will reply, "Allah bless thee, O thou blesser." Then he should sit before the Pulpit, and mentally conceive in it the Apostle surrounded by the Fugitives and the Auxiliaries. Some place the right hand upon the pulpit, even as Mohammed used to do. The Zair then returns to the column of Abu Lubabah, and repents his sins there. Secondly, he stands in prayer at Ali's Pillar in front of the form. And, lastly, he repairs to the Ustuwanat al-Ashab (the Companions' Column) the fourth distant from the Pulpit on the right, and the third from the Hujrah on the left; here he prays and meditates, and blesses Allah and the Apostle. After which, he proceeds to visit the rest of the holy places. [FN#54] It is almost unnecessary to inform the reader that all Moslems deny the personal suffering of Christ, cleaving to the heresy of the Christian Docetes,-certain "beasts in the shape of men," as they are called in the Epistles of Ignatius to the Smyrneans,-who believed that a phantom was crucified in our Saviour's place. They also hold to the second coming of the Lord in the flesh, as a forerunner to Mohammed, who shall reappear shortly before the day of judgment. Bartema (Appendix 2) relates a story concerning the Saviour's future tomb. [FN#55] This epithet will be explained below. The reader must bear in mind, that this part of the Harim was formerly the house of Ali and Fatimah; it was separated from the Hujrah-the abode of Mohammed and Ayishah-only by a narrow brick wall, with a window in it, which was never shut. Omar Bin Abd al-Aziz enclosed it in the mosque, by order of Al-Walid, A.H. 90. [FN#56] Plural of Sharif, a descendant of Mohammed. [FN#57] The "people of the garment," so called, because on one occasion the Apostle wrapped his cloak around himself, his daughter, his son-in-law, and his two grandsons, thereby separating them in dignity from other Moslems. [FN#58] Burckhardt translates "Zahra" "bright blooming Fatimah." This I believe to be the literal meaning of the epithet. When thus applied, however, it denotes "virginem [Greek text] nescientem," in which state of purity the daughter of the Apostle is supposed to have lived. For the same reason she is called Al-Batul, the Virgin,-a title given by Eastern Christians to the Mother of our Lord. The perpetual virginity of Fatimah, even after the motherhood, is a point of orthodoxy in Al-Islam. [FN#59] Meaning "joy and gladness in the sight of true believers." [FN#60] The prayer is now omitted, in order to avoid the repetition of it when describing a visit to Mount Ohod. [FN#61] The prayers usually recited here are especially in honour of Abbas, Hasan, (Ali, called) Zayn al-Abidin, Osman, the Lady Halimah, the Martyrs, and the Mothers of the Moslems, (i.e. the Apostle's wives), buried in the holy cemetery. When describing a visit to Al-Bakia, they will be translated at full length. [FN#62] Hujjaj is the plural of Hajj-pilgrims; Ghuzzat, of Ghazi-crusaders; and Zawwar of Zair-visitors to Mohammed's tomb. [FN#63] "Taslim" is "to say Salam" to a person. [FN#64] The Ya Sin (Y, S), the 36th chapter of the Koran, frequently recited by those whose profession it is to say such masses for the benefit of living, as well as of dead, sinners. Most educated Moslems commit it to memory. [FN#65] Or more correctly, "There is no Ilah but Allah," that is, "There is no god but the God." [FN#66] Some Zairs, after praying at the Caliph Osman's niche, leave the Mosque, especially when the "Jama'at," or public worship, is not being performed in the Rauzah. Others, as we did, pray alone in the Garden, and many authors prefer this conclusion to Visitation, for the reason above given. [FN#67] This has become a generic name for a Well situated within the walls of a Mosque. [FN#68] As might be expected, the more a man pays, the higher he estimates his own dignity. Some Indians have spent as much as 500 dollars during a first visit. Others have "made Maulids," i.e., feasted all the poor connected with the temple with rice, meat, &c., whilst others brought rare and expensive presents for the officials. Such generosity, however, is becoming rare in these unworthy days. [FN#69] This gate was anciently called the Bab al-Atakah, "of Deliverance." [FN#70] Most of these entrances have been named and renamed. The Bab Jibrail, for instance, which derives its present appellation from the general belief that the archangel once passed through it, is generally called in books Bab al-Jabr, the Gate of Repairing (the broken fortunes of a friend or follower). It must not be confounded with the Mahbat Jibrail, or the window near it in the Eastern wall, where the archangel usually descended from heaven with the Wahy or Inspiration. [FN#71] By some wonderful process the "Printer's Devil" converted, in the first edition, this "ball or cone" into "bull or cow." [FN#72] Belal, the loud-lunged crier, stood, we are informed, by Moslem historians, upon a part of the roof on one of the walls of the Mosque. The minaret, as the next chapter will show, was the invention of a more tasteful age. [FN#73] This abomination may be seen in Egypt on many of the tombs,-those outside the Bal al-Nasr at Cairo, for instance. [FN#74] The tale of this Weeping Pillar is well known. Some suppose it to have been buried beneath the pulpit: others-they are few in number-declare that it was inserted in the body of the pulpit. [FN#75] The little domed building which figures in the native sketches, and in all our prints of the Al-Madinah Mosque, was taken down three or four years ago. It occupied part of the centre of the square, and was called Kubbat al-Zayt-Dome of Oil; or Kubbat al-Shama-Dome of Candles,-from its use as a store-room for lamps and wax candles. [FN#76] This is its name among the illiterate, who firmly believe the palms to be descendants of trees planted there by the hands of the Prophet's daughter. As far as I could discover, the tradition has no foundation, and in old times there was no garden in the hypaethral court. The vulgar are in the habit of eating a certain kind of date, "Al-Sayhani," in the Mosque, and of throwing the stones about; this practice is violently denounced by the Olema. [FN#77] Rhamnus Nabeca, Forsk. The fruit, called Nabak, is eaten, and the leaves are used for the purpose of washing dead bodies. The visitor is not forbidden to take fruit or water as presents from Al-Madinah, but it is unlawful for him to carry away earth, or stones, or cakes of dust, made for sale to the ignorant. [FN#78] The Arabs, who, like all Orientals, are exceedingly curious about water, take the trouble to weigh the produce of their wells; the lighter the water, the more digestible and wholesome it is considered. [FN#79] The common phenomenon of rivers flowing underground in Arabia has, doubtless, suggested to the people these subterraneous passages, with which they connect the most distant places. At Al-Madinah, amongst other tales of short cuts known only to certain Badawi families, a man told me of a shaft leading from his native city to Hazramaut: according to him, it existed in the times of the Prophet, and was a journey of only three days! [FN#80] The Mosque Library is kept in large chests near the Bab al-Salam; the only MS. of any value here is a Koran written in the Sulsi hand. It is nearly four feet long, bound in a wooden cover, and padlocked, so as to require from the curious a "silver key." [FN#81] So the peasants in Brittany believe that Napoleon the First is not yet dead; the Prussians expect Frederick the Second; the Swiss, William Tell; the older English, King Arthur; and certain modern fanatics look forward to the re-appearance of Joanna Southcote. Why multiply instances in so well known a branch of the history of popular superstitions? [FN#82] The Sunnat is the custom or practice of the Apostle, rigidly conformed to by every good and orthodox Moslem. [FN#83] The reader will bear in mind that I am quoting from Burckhardt. When in Al-Hijaz and at Cairo, I vainly endeavoured to buy a copy of Al-Samanhudi. One was shown to me at Al-Madinah; unhappily, it bore the word Wakf (bequeathed), and belonged to the Mosque. I was scarcely allowed time to read it. (See p. 102, ante.) [FN#84] In Moslem law, prophets, martyrs, and saints, are not supposed to be dead; their property, therefore, remains their own. The Olema have confounded themselves in the consideration of the prophetic state after death. Many declare that prophets live and pray for forty days in the tomb; at the expiration of which time, they are taken to the presence of their Maker, where they remain till the blast of Israfil's trumpet. The common belief, however, leaves the bodies in the graves, but no one would dare to assert that the holy ones are suffered to undergo corruption. On the contrary, their faces are blooming, their eyes bright, and blood would issue from their bodies if wounded. Al-Islam, as will afterwards appear, abounds in traditions of the ancient tombs of saints and martyrs, when accidentally opened, exposing to view corpses apparently freshly buried. And it has come to pass that this fact, the result of sanctity, has now become an unerring indication of it. A remarkable case in point is that of the late Sharif Ghalib, the father of the present Prince of Meccah. In his lifetime he was reviled as a wicked tyrant. But some years after his death, his body was found undecomposed; he then became a saint, and men now pray at his tomb. Perhaps his tyranny was no drawback to his holy reputation. La Brinvilliers was declared after execution, by her confessor and the people generally, a saint;-simply, I presume, because of the enormity of her crimes. [FN#85] NOTE TO THIRD EDITION.-I have lately been assured by Mohammed al-Halabi, Shaykh al-Olema of Damascus, that he was permitted by the Aghawat to pass through the gold-plated door leading into the Hujrah, and that he saw no trace of a sepulchre. [FN#86] I was careful to make a ground-plan of the Prophet's Mosque, as Burckhardt was prevented by severe illness from so doing. It will give the reader a fair idea of the main point, though, in certain minor details, it is not to be trusted. Some of my papers and sketches, which by precaution I had placed among my medicines, after cutting them into squares, numbering them, and rolling them carefully up, were damaged by the breaking of a bottle. The plan of Al-Madinah is slightly altered from Burckhardt's. Nothing can be more ludicrous than the views of the Holy City, as printed in our popular works. They are of the style "bird's-eye," and present a curious perspective. They despise distance like the Chinese,-pictorially audacious; the Harrah, or ridge in the foreground appears to be 200 yards, instead of three or four miles, distant from the town. They strip the place of its suburb Al-Manakhah, in order to show the enceinte, omit the fort, and the gardens north and south of the city, enlarge the Mosque twenty-fold for dignity, and make it occupy the whole centre of the city, instead of a small corner in the south-east quarter. They place, for symmetry, towers only at the angles of the walls, instead of all along the curtain, and gather up and press into the same field all the venerable and interesting features of the country, those behind the artist's back, and at his sides, as well as what appears in front. Such are the Turkish lithographs. At Meccah, some Indians support themselves by depicting the holy shrines; their works are a truly Oriental mixture of ground plan and elevation, drawn with pen and ink, and brightened with the most vivid colours-grotesque enough, but less unintelligible than the more ambitious imitations of European art.

Chapter XVII. AN ESSAY TOWARDS THE HISTORY OF THE PROPHET'S MOSQUE.[edit]

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Description Illustration
Author Richard Francis Burton
Date 1857(1857)
Source Second Edition of Burton's "Pilgrimage"
Permission
(Reusing this file)
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).
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IBN ABBAS has informed the world that when the eighty individuals composing Noah's family issued from the ark, they settled at a place distant ten marches and twelve parasangs[FN#1] (thirty-six to forty-eight miles) from Babel or Babylon. There they increased and multiplied, and spread into a mighty empire. At length under the rule of Namrud (Nimrod), son of Kanaan (Canaan), son of Ham, they lapsed from the worship of the true God: a miracle dispersed them into distant parts of the earth, and they were further broken up by the one primaeval language being divided into seventy-two dialects.

A tribe called Aulad Sam bin Nuh (the children of Shem), or Amalikah and Amalik,[FN#2] from their ancestor Amlak bin Arfakhshad bin Sam bin Nuh, was inspired

[p.344]with a knowledge of the Arabic tongue[FN#3]: it settled at Al-Madinah, and was the first to cultivate the ground and to plant palm-trees. In course of time these people extended over the whole tract between the seas of Al-Hijaz (the Red Sea) and Al-Oman, (north-western part of the Indian Ocean), and they became the progenitors of the Jababirah[FN#4] (tyrants or "giants") of Syria, as well as the Farainah (Pharaohs) of Egypt.[FN#5] Under these Amalik such

[p.345]was the age of man that during the space of four hundred years a bier would not be seen, nor "keening" be heard, in their cities.

The last king of the Amalik, "Arkam bin al-Arkam,[FN#6]" was, according to most authors, slain by an army of the children of Israel sent by Moses after the Exodus,[FN#7] with orders thoroughly to purge Meccah and Al-Madinah of their Infidel inhabitants. All the tribe was destroyed, with the exception of the women, the children, and a youth of the royal family, whose extraordinary beauty persuaded the invaders to spare him pending a reference to the Prophet. When the army returned, they found that Moses had died during the expedition, and they were received with reproaches by the people for having violated his express command. The soldiers, unwilling to live with their own nation under this reproach, returned to Al-Hijaz, and settled there.

Moslem authors are agreed that after the Amalik the Benu Israel ruled in the Holy Land of Arabia, but the learned in history are not agreed upon the cause of their emigration. According to some, when Moses was returning from a pilgrimage to Meccah, a multitude of his followers, seeing in Al-Madinah the signs of the city which, according to the Taurat, or Pentateuch, should hear the preaching of the last Prophet, settled there, and were joined by many Badawin of the neighbourhood who

[p.346]conformed to the law of Moses. Ibn Shaybah also informs us that when Moses and Aaron were wending northwards from Meccah, they, being in fear of certain Jews settled at Al-Madinah, did not enter the city,[FN#8] but pitched their tents on Mount Ohod. Aaron being about to die, Moses dug his tomb, and said, "Brother, thine hour is come! turn thy face to the next world!" Aaron entered the grave, lay at full length, and immediately expired; upon which the Jewish lawgiver covered him with earth, and went his way towards the Promised Land.[FN#9]

Abu Hurayrah asserted that the Benu Israel, after long searching, settled in Al-Madinah, because, when driven from Palestine by the invasion of Bukht al-Nasr (Nebuchadnezzar), they found in their books that the last Prophet would manifest himself in a town of the towns of Arabiyah,[FN#10] called Zat Nakhl, or the "Place of Palm trees." Some of the sons of Aaron occupied the city; other tribes settled at Khaybar,[FN#11] and in the neighbourhood,

[p.347]building "Utum," or square, flat-roofed, stone castles for habitation and defence. They left an order to their descendants that Mohammed should be favourably received, but Allah hardened their hearts unto their own destruction. Like asses they turned their backs upon Allah's mercy,[FN#12] and the consequence is, that they have been rooted out of the land.

The Tarikh Tabari declares that when Bukht al-Nasr,[FN#13] after destroying Jerusalem, attacked and slew the king of Egypt, who had given an asylum to a remnant of the house of Israel, the persecuted fugitives made their way into Al-Hijaz, settled near Yasrib (Al-Madinah), where they founded several towns, Khaybar, Fadak, Wady al-Subu, Wady al-Kura, Kurayzah, and many others. It appears, then, by the concurrence of historians, that the Jews at an early time either colonised, or supplanted the Amalik at, Al-Madinah.

At length the Israelites fell away from the worship of the one God, who raised up against them the Arab tribes of Aus and Khazraj, the progenitors of modern Ansar. Both these tribes claimed a kindred origin, and

[p.348]Al-Yaman as the land of their nativity. The circumstances of their emigration are thus described. The descendants of Yarab bin Kahtan bin Shalik bin Arkfakhshad bin Sam bin Nuh, kinsmen to the Amalik, inhabited in prosperity the land of Saba.[FN#14] Their sway extended two months' journey from the dyke of Mareb,[FN#15] near the modern capital of Al-Yaman, as far as Syria, and incredible tales are told of their hospitality and of the fertility of their land. As usual, their hearts were perverted by prosperity. They begged Allah to relieve them from the troubles of extended empire and the duties of hospitality by diminishing their possessions. The consequence of their impious supplications was the well-known Flood of Iram.

The chief of the descendants of Kahtan bin Saba, one of the ruling families in Al-Yaman, was one Amru bin Amin Ma al-Sama,[FN#16] called "Al-Muzaykayh" from his rending in pieces every garment once worn. His wife Tarikah Himyariah, being skilled in divination, foresaw the fatal event, and warned her husband, who, unwilling to break from his tribe without an excuse, contrived the following stratagem. He privily ordered his adopted son, an orphan

[p.349]to dispute with him, and to strike him in the face at a feast composed of the principal persons in the kingdom. The disgrace of such a scene afforded him a pretext for selling off his property, and, followed by his thirteen sons,-all borne to him by his wife Tarikah,-and others of the tribe, Amru emigrated Northwards. The little party, thus preserved from the Yamanian Deluge, was destined by Allah to become the forefathers of the Auxiliaries of his chosen Apostle.

All the children of Amru thus dispersed into different parts of Arabia. His eldest son, Salabah bin Amru, chose Al-Hijaz, settled at Al-Madinah, then in the hands of the impious Benu Israel, and became the father of the Aus and Khazraj. In course of time, the new comers were made by Allah an instrument of vengeance against the disobedient Jews. Of the latter people, the two tribes Kurayzah and Nazir claimed certain feudal rights (well known to Europe) upon all occasions of Arab marriages. The Aus and the Khazraj, after enduring this indignity for a time, at length had recourse to one of their kinsmen who, when the family dispersed, had settled in Syria. Abu Jubaylah, thus summoned, marched an army to Al-Madinah, avenged the honour of his blood, and destroyed the power of the Jews, who from that moment became Mawali, or clients to the Arabs.

For a time the tribes of Aus and Khazraj, freed from the common enemy, lived in peace and harmony. At last they fell into feuds and fought with fratricidal strife, until the coming of the Prophet effected a reconciliation between them. This did not take place, however, before the Khazraj received, at the battle of Buas (about A.D. 615), a decided defeat from the Aus.

It is also related, to prove how Al-Madinah was predestined to a high fate, that nearly three centuries before the siege of the town by Abu Jubaylah, the Tobba

[p.350]al-Asghar[FN#17] marched Northward, at the requisition of the Aus and Khazraj tribes, in order to punish the Jews; or, according to others, at the request of the Jews to revenge them upon the Aus and Khazraj. After capturing the town, he left one of his sons to govern it, and marched onwards to conquer Syria and Al-Irak.

Suddenly informed that the people of Al-Madinah had treacherously murdered their new prince, the exasperated Tobba returned and attacked the place; and, when his horse was killed under him, he swore that he would never decamp before razing it to the ground. Whereupon two Jewish priests, Ka'ab and Assayd, went over to him and informed him that it was not in the power of man to destroy the town, it being preserved by Allah, as their books proved, for the refuge of His Prophet, the descendant of Ishmael.[FN#18]

The Tobba Judaized. Taking four hundred of the priests with him, he departed from Al-Madinah, performed pilgrimage to the Ka'abah of Meccah, which he invested with a splendid covering[FN#19]; and, after erecting a house

[p.351]for the expected Prophet, he returned to his capital in Al-Yaman, where he abolished idolatry by the ordeal of fire. He treated his priestly guests with particular attention, and on his death-bed he wrote the following tetrastich:-

"I testify of Ahmad that he of a truth "Is a prophet from Allah, the Maker of souls. Be my age extended into his age, I would be to him a Wazir and a cousin."

Then sealing the paper he committed it to the charge of the High Priest, with a solemn injunction to deliver the letter, should an opportunity offer, into the hands of the great Prophet; and that, if the day be distant, the missive should be handed down from generation to generation till it reached the person to whom it was addressed. The house founded by him at Al-Madinah was committed to a priest of whose descendants was Abu Ayyub the Ansari, the first person over whose threshold the Apostle passed when he ended the Flight. Abu Ayyub had also charge of the Tobba's letter, so that after three or four centuries, it arrived at its destination.

Al-Madinah was ever well inclined to Mohammed. In[FN#20]

[p.352]the early part of his career, the emissaries of a tribe called the Benu Abd al-Ashhal came from that town to Meccah, in order to make a treaty with the Kuraysh, and the Apostle seized the opportunity of preaching Al-Islam to them. His words were seconded by Ayyas bin Ma'az, a youth of the tribe, and opposed by the chiefs of the embassy; who, however, returned home without pledging themselves to either party.[FN#21] Shortly afterwards a body of the Aus and the Khazraj came to the pilgrimage of Meccah: when Mohammed began preaching to them, they recognised the person so long expected by the Jews, and swore to him an oath which is called in Moslem history the "First Fealty of the Steep.[FN#22]"

After the six individuals who had thus pledged themselves returned to their native city, the event being duly bruited abroad caused such an effect that, when the next pilgrimage season came, twelve, or according to others forty persons, led by As'ad bin Zara[r]ah, accompanied the original converts, and in the same place swore the "Second Fealty of the Steep." The Prophet dismissed them in company with one Musab bin Umayr, a Meccan, charged to teach them the Koran and their religious duties, which in those times consisted only of prayer and the Profession of Unity. They arrived at Al-Madinah on a Friday, and this was the first day on which the city witnessed the public devotions of the Moslems.

After some persecutions, Musab had the fortune to convert a cousin of As'ad bin Zararah, a chief of the Aus, Sa'ad bin Ma'az, whose opposition had been of the fiercest. He persuaded his tribe, the Benu Abd al-Ashhal, to break

[p.353]their idols and openly to profess Al-Islam. The next season, Musab having made many converts, some say seventy, others three hundred, marched from Al-Madinah to Meccah for their pilgrimage; and there induced his followers to meet the Prophet at midnight upon the Steep near Muna. Mohammed preached to them their duties towards Allah and himself, especially insisting upon the necessity of warring down infidelity. They pleaded ancient treaties with the Jews of Al-Madinah, and showed apprehension lest the Apostle, after bringing them into disgrace with their fellows, should desert them and return to the faith of his kinsmen, the Kuraysh. Mohammed, smiling, comforted them with the assurance that he was with them, body and soul, for ever. Upon this they asked him what would be their reward if slain. He replied, "Gardens 'neath which the streams flow,"-that is to say, Paradise.

Then, in spite of the advice of Al-Abbas, Mohammed's uncle, who was loud in his denunciations, they bade the Preacher stretch out his hand, and upon it swore the oath known as the "Great Fealty of the Steep." After comforting them with an Ayat, or Koranic verse, which promised heaven, the Apostle divided his followers into twelve bodies; and placing a chief at the head of each,[FN#23] dismissed them to their homes. He rejected the offer made by one of the party-namely, to slay all the idolaters present at the pilgrimage-saying that Allah had favoured him with no such order. For the same reason he refused their invitation to visit Al-Madinah, which was the principal object of their mission; and he then took an affectionate leave of them.

[p.354]Two months and a half after the events above detailed, Mohammed received the inspired tidings that Al-Madinah of the Hijaz was his predestined asylum. In anticipation of the order, for as yet the time had not been revealed, he sent forward his friends, among whom were Omar, Talhah, and Hamzah, retaining with him Abu Bakr[FN#24] and Ali. The particulars of the Flight, that eventful accident to Al-Islam, are too well known to require mention here; besides which they belong rather to the category of general than of Madinite history.

Mohammed was escorted into Al-Madinah by one Buraydat al-Aslami and eighty men of the same tribe, who had been offered by the Kuraysh a hundred camels for the capture of the fugitives. But Buraydat, after listening to their terms, accidentally entered into conversation with Mohammed; and no sooner did he hear the name of his interlocutor, than he professed the faith of Al-Islam. He then prepared for the Apostle a standard by attaching his turband to a spear, and anxiously inquired what house was to be honoured by the presence of Allah's chosen servant. "Whichever," replied Mohammed, "this she-camel[FN#25] is ordered to show me." At the last

[p.355]halting-place, he accidentally met some of his disciples returning from a trading voyage to Syria; they dressed him and his companion Abu Bakr in white clothing which, it is said, caused the people of Kuba to pay a mistaken reverence to the latter. The Moslems of Al-Madinah were in the habit of repairing every morning to the heights near the city, looking out for the Apostle; and, when the sun waxed hot, they returned home. One day, about noon, a Jew, who discovered the retinue from afar, suddenly warned the nearest party of Ansar, or Auxiliaries of Al-Madinah, that the fugitive was come. They snatched up their arms and hurried from their houses to meet him.

Mohammed's she-camel advanced to the centre of the then flourishing town of Kuba. There she suddenly knelt upon a place which is now consecrated ground; at that time it was an open space, belonging, they say, to Abu Ayyub the Ansari, who had a house there near the abodes of the Benu Amr bin Auf. This event happened on the first day of the week, the twelfth of the month Rabia al-Awwal[FN#26] (June 28, A.D. 622), in the first year of the Flight: for which reason Monday, which also witnessed the birth, the mission, and the death of the Prophet, is an auspicious day to Al-Islam.

After halting two days in the house of Kulsum bin Hadmah at Kuba, and there laying the foundation of the

[p.356]first Mosque upon the lines where his she-camel trod, the Apostle was joined by Ali, who had remained at Meccah, for the purpose of returning certain trusts and deposits committed to Mohammed's charge. He waited three days longer; on Friday morning (the 16th Rabia al-Awwal, A.H. 1,=2nd July, A.D. 622), about sunrise he mounted Al-Kaswa, and, accompanied by a throng of armed Ansar on foot and on horseback, he took the way to the city. At the hour of public prayer,[FN#27] he halted in the Wady or valley near Kuba, upon the spot where the Masjid al-Jum'ah now stands, performed his devotions, and preached an eloquent sermon. He then remounted. Numbers pressed forward to offer him hospitality; he blessed them, and bade them stand out of the way, declaring that Al-Kaswa would halt of her own accord at the predestined spot. He then advanced to where the Apostle's pulpit now stands. There the she-camel knelt, and the rider exclaimed, as one inspired, "This is our place, if Almighty Allah please!"

Descending from Al-Kaswa, he recited, "O Lord, cause me to alight a good Alighting, and Thou art the Best of those who cause to alight!" Presently the camel rose unaided, advanced a few steps, and then, according to some, returning, sat down upon her former seat; according to others, she knelt at the door of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, whose abode in those days was the nearest to the halting-place. The descendant of the Jewish High Priest in the time of the Tobbas, with the Apostle's permission, took the baggage off the camel, and carried it into his house. Then ensued great rejoicings. The Abyssinians came and played with their spears. The


[p.357]maidens of the Benu Najjar tribe sang and beat their kettle-drums. And all the wives of the Ansar celebrated with shrill cries of joy the auspicious event; whilst the males, young and old, freemen and slaves, shouted with effusion, "Allah's Messenger is come! Allah's Messenger is here!"

Mohammed caused Abu Ayyub and his wife to remove into the upper story, contenting himself with the humbler lower rooms. This was done for the greater convenience of receiving visitors without troubling the family; but the master of the house was thereby rendered uncomfortable in mind. His various remarks about the Apostle's diet and domestic habits, especially his avoiding leeks, onions, and garlic,[FN#28] are gravely chronicled by Moslem authors.

After spending seven months, more or less, at the house of Abu Ayyub, Mohammed, now surrounded by his wives and family, built, close to the Mosque, huts for their reception. The ground was sold to him by Sahal and Suhayl, two orphans of the Benu Najjar,[FN#29] a noble family of the Khazraj. Some time afterwards one Harisat bin al-Nu'uman presented to the Prophet all his houses in the vicinity of the temple. In those days the habitations of the Arabs were made of a framework of Jarid or palm sticks, covered over with a cloth of camel's hair, a curtain of similar stuff forming the door. The more splendid had walls of unbaked brick, and roofs of palm fronds plastered

[p.358]over with mud or clay. Of this description were the abodes of Mohammed's family. Most of them were built on the North and East of the Mosque, which had open ground on the Western side; and the doors looked towards the place of prayer. In course of time, all, except Abu Bakr[FN#30] and Ali, were ordered to close their doors, and even Omar was refused the favour of having a window opening into the temple.

Presently the Jews of Al-Madinah, offended by the conduct of Abdullah bin Salam, their most learned priest and a descendant from the Patriarch Joseph, who had become a convert to the Moslem dispensation, began to plot against Mohammed.[FN#31] They were headed by Hajj bin Akhtah, and his brother Yasir bin Akhtah, and were joined by many of the Aus and the Khazraj. The events that followed this combination of the Munafikun, or Hypocrites, under their chief, Abdullah, belong to the domain of Arabian history.[FN#32]

Mohammed spent the last ten years of his life at Al-Madinah. He died on Monday, some say at nine A.M., others at noon, others a little after, on the twelfth of Rabia al-Awwal in the eleventh year of the Hijrah. When his family and companions debated where he should be buried, Ali advised Al-Madinah, and Abu Bakr, Ayishah's chamber,

[p.359]quoting a saying of the deceased that prophets and martyrs are always interred where they happen to die. The Apostle was placed, it is said, under the bed where he had given up the ghost, by Ali and the two sons of Abbas, who dug the grave. With the life of Mohammed the interest of Al-Madinah ceases, or rather is concentrated in the history of its temple. Since then the city has passed through the hands of the Caliphs, the Sharifs of Meccah, the Sultans of Constantinople, the Wahhabis, and the Egyptians. It has now reverted to the Sultan, whose government is beginning to believe that, in these days when religious prestige is of little value, the great Khan's title, "Servant of the Holy Shrines," is purchased at too high a price. As has before been observed, the Turks now struggle for existence in Al-Hijaz with a soldier ever in arrears, and officers unequal to the task of managing an unruly people. The pensions are but partly paid,[FN#33] and they are not likely to increase with years. It is probably a mere consideration of interest that prevents the people rising en masse,

[p.360]and re-asserting the liberties of their country. And I have heard from authentic sources that the Wahhabis look forward to the day when a fresh crusade will enable them to purge the land of its abominations in the shape of silver and gold.

The Masjid al-Nabi, or Prophet's Mosque, is the second in Al-Islam in point of seniority, and the second, or, according to others, the first in dignity, ranking with the Ka'abah itself. It is erected around the spot where the she-camel, Al-Kaswa, knelt down by the order of Heaven. At that time the land was a palm grove and a Mirbad, or place where dates are dried. Mohammed, ordered to erect a place of worship there, sent for the youths to whom it belonged, and certain Ansar, or Auxiliaries, their guardians; the ground was offered to him in free gift, but he insisted upon purchasing it, paying more than its value. Having caused the soil to be levelled and the trees to be felled, he laid the foundation of the first Mosque.

In those times of primitive simplicity its walls were made of rough stone and unbaked bricks: trunks of date-trees supported a palm-stick roof, concerning which the Archangel Gabriel delivered an order that it should not be higher than seven cubits, the elevation of Moses's temple. All ornament was strictly forbidden. The Ansar, or men of Al-Madinah, and the Muhajirin, or Fugitives from Meccah, carried the building materials in their arms from the cemetery Al-Bakia, near the well of Ayyub, north of the spot where Ibrahim's Mosque now stands, and the Apostle was to be seen aiding them in their labours, and reciting for their encouragement,

"O Allah! there is no good but the good of futurity, Then have mercy upon my Ansar and Muhajirin!"

The length of this Mosque was fifty-four cubits from North to South, and sixty-three in breadth, and it was hemmed in by houses on all sides save the Western. Till the seventeenth

[p.361]month of the new aera the congregation faced towards the Northern wall. After that time a fresh revelation turned them in the direction of Meccah, Southwards: on which occasion the Archangel Gabriel descended and miraculously opened through the hills and wilds a view of the Ka'abah, that there might be no difficulty in ascertaining its true position.

After the capture of Khaybar in A.H. 7, the Prophet and his first three successors restored the Mosque, but Moslem historians do not consider this a second foundation. Mohammed laid the first brick, and Abu Hurayrah declares that he saw him carry heaps of building materials piled up to his breast. The Caliphs, each in the turn of his succession, placed a brick close to that laid by the Prophet, and aided him in raising the walls. Al-Tabrani relates that one of the Ansar had a house adjacent which Mohammed wished to make part of the place of prayer; the proprietor was promised in exchange for it a home in Paradise, which he gently rejected, pleading poverty. His excuse was admitted, and Osman, after purchasing the place for ten thousand dirhams, gave it to the Apostle on the long credit originally offered.

This Mosque was a square of a hundred cubits. Like the former building, it had three doors: one on the South side, where the Mihrab al-Nabawi, or the "Prophet's Niche," now is; another in the place of the present Bab al-Rahmah; and the third at the Bab Osman, now called the Gate of Gabriel. Instead of a Mihrab or prayer-niche,[FN#34] a large block of stone directed the congregation; at first it was placed against the Northern wall

[p.362]of the Mosque, and it was removed to the Southern when Meccah became the Kiblah.

In the beginning the Prophet, whilst preaching the Khutbah or Friday sermon, leaned when fatigued against a post.[FN#35] The Mambar,[FN#36] or pulpit, was the invention of a Madinah man, of the Benu Najjar. It was a wooden frame, two cubits long by one broad, with three steps, each one span high; on the topmost of these the Prophet sat when he required rest. The pulpit assumed its present form about A.H. 90, during the artistic reign of Al-Walid.

In this Mosque Mohammed spent the greater part of the day[FN#37] with his companions, conversing, instructing, and

[p.363]comforting the poor. Hard by were the abodes of his wives, his family, and his principal friends. Here he prayed, at the call of the Azan, or devotion-cry, from the roof. Here he received worldly envoys and embassies, and the heavenly messages conveyed by the Archangel Gabriel. And within a few yards of the hallowed spot, he died, and found a grave.

The theatre of events so important to Al-Islam could not be allowed-specially as no divine decree forbade the change-to remain in its pristine lowliness. The first Caliph contented himself with merely restoring some of the palm pillars, which had fallen to the ground: Omar, the second successor, surrounded the Hujrah, or Ayishah's chamber, in which the Prophet was buried, with a mud wall; and in A.H. 17, he enlarged the Mosque to 140 cubits by 120, taking in ground on all sides except the Eastern, where stood the abodes of the "Mothers of the Moslems.[FN#38]" Outside the Northern wall he erected a Suffah, called Al-Batha-a raised bench of wood, earth, or stone, upon which the people might recreate themselves with conversation and quoting poetry, for the Mosque was now becoming [a] place of peculiar reverence to men.[FN#39]

The second Masjid was erected A.H. 29, by the third Caliph, Osman, who, regardless of the clamours of the people, overthrew the old walls and extended the building

[p.364]greatly towards the North, and a little towards the West; but he did not remove the Eastern limit on account of the private houses. He made the roof of Indian teak,[FN#40] and the walls of hewn and carved stone. These innovations caused some excitement, which he allayed by quoting a tradition of the Prophet, with one of which he appears perpetually to have been prepared. The saying in question was, according to some, "Were this my Mosque extended to Safa"-a hill in Meccah-"it verily would still be my Mosque"; according to others, "Were the Prophet's Mosque extended to Zu'l Halifah[FN#41] it would still be his." But Osman's skill in the quotation of tradition did not prevent the new building being in part a cause of his death. It was finished on the first Muharram, A.H. 30.

At length, Al-Islam, grown splendid and powerful, determined to surpass other nations in the magnificence of its public buildings.[FN#42] In A.H. 88, Al-Walid[FN#43] the First, twelfth Caliph of the Benu Ummayah race, after building, or rather restoring, the noble "Jami' al-Ammawi" (cathedral of the Ommiades) at Damascus, determined to

[p.365]display his liberality at Al-Madinah. The governor of the place, Umar bin Abd Al-Aziz, was directed to buy for seven thousand Dinars (ducats) all the hovels of raw brick that hedged in the Eastern side of the old Mosque. They were inhabited by descendants of the Prophet and of the early Caliphs, and in more than one case, the ejection of the holy tenantry was effected with considerable difficulty. Some of the women-ever the most obstinate on such occasions-refused to take money, and Omar was forced to the objectionable measure of turning them out of doors with exposed faces[FN#45] in full day. The Greek Emperor, applied to by the magnificent Caliph, sent immense presents, silver lamp chains, valuable curiosities,[FN#46] forty loads of small cut stones for pietra-dura, and a sum of eighty thousand Dinars, or, as others say, forty thousand Miskals of gold. He also despatched forty Coptic and forty Greek artists to carve the marble pillars and the casings of the walls, and to superintend the gilding and the mosaic work. One of these Christians was beheaded for sculpturing a hog on the Kiblah wall; and another, in an attempt to defile the roof, fell to the ground, and his brains were dashed out. The remainder Islamized, but this did not prevent the older Arabs murmuring that their Mosque had been turned into a Kanisah, a Christian idol-house.

The Hujrah, or chamber, where, by Mohammed's permission, Azrail, the Angel of Death, separated his

[p.366]soul from his body, whilst his head was lying in the lap of Ayishah, his favourite wife, was now for the first time taken into the Mosque. The raw-brick enceinte[FN#46] which surrounded the three graves was exchanged for one of carved stone, enclosed by an outer precinct with a narrow passage between.[FN#47] These double walls were either without a door, or had only a small blocked-up wicket on the Northern side, and from that day (A.H. 90), no one, says Al-Samanhudi, has been able to approach the sepulchre.[FN#48] A minaret was erected at each corner of the Mosque.[FN#49] The building was enlarged to 200 cubits by 167, and was finished in A.H. 91. When Al-Walid, the Caliph, visited it in state, he inquired of his lieutenant why greater magnificence had not been displayed in the erection; upon which Omar, the governor, informed him,

[p.367]to his astonishment, that the walls alone had cost forty-five thousand ducats.[FN#50]

The fourth Mosque was erected in A.H. 191, by Al-Mahdi, third prince of the Benu Abbas or Baghdad Caliphs-celebrated in history only for spending enormous sums upon a pilgrimage. He enlarged the building by adding ten handsome pillars of carved marble, with gilt capitals, on the Northern side. In A.H. 202, Al-Ma'amun made further additions to this Mosque. It was from Al-Mahdi's Masjid that Al-Hakim bi'Amri 'llah, the third Fatimite Caliph of Egypt, and the deity of the Druze sect, determined to steal the bodies of the Prophet and his two companions. About A.H. 412, he sent emissaries to Al-Madinah: the attempt, however, failed, and the would-be violators of the tomb lost their lives. It is generally supposed that Al-Hakim's object was to transfer the Visitation to his own capital; but in one so manifestly insane it is difficult to discover the spring of action. Two Christians, habited like Maghrabi pilgrims, in A.H. 550, dug a mine from a neighbouring house into the temple. They were discovered, beheaded, and burned to ashes. In relating these events the Moslem historians mix up many foolish preternaturalisms with credible matter. At last, to prevent a recurrence of such sacrilegious attempts, Al-Malik al-Adil Nur al-Din of the Baharite Mamluk Sultans, or, according to others, Sultan Nur al-Din Shahid Mahmud bin Zangi, who, warned by a vision of the Apostle, had started for Al-Madinah only in time to discover the two Christians, surrounded the holy place with a deep trench filled with molten lead. By this means Abu Bakr and Omar, who had run considerable risks of their own, have ever since been enabled to occupy their last homes undisturbed.

In A.H. 654, the fifth Mosque was erected in consequence of a fire, which some authors attribute to a

[p.368]volcano that broke out close to the town in terrible eruption[FN#51]; others, with more fanaticism and less probability, to the schismatic Benu Husayn, then the guardians of the tomb. On this occasion the Hujrah was saved, together with the old and venerable copies of the Koran there deposited, especially the Cufic MSS., written by Osman, the third Caliph. The piety of three sovereigns, Al-Mustasim (last Caliph of Baghdad), Al-Muzaffar Shems al-Din Yusuf, chief of Al-Yaman, and Al-Zahir Beybars, Baharite Sultan of Egypt, completed the work in A.H. 688. This building was enlarged and beautified by the princes of Egypt, and lasted upwards of two hundred years.

The sixth Mosque was built, almost as it now stands, by Kaid-Bey, nineteenth Sultan of the Circassian Mamluk kings of Egypt, in A.H. 888: it is now therefore more than four centuries old. Al-Mustasim's Mosque had been struck by lightning during a storm; thirteen men were killed at prayers, and the destroying element spared nothing but the interior of the Hujrah.[FN#52] The railing and dome were restored; niches and a pulpit were sent from Cairo, and the gates and minarets were distributed as they are now. Not content with this, Kaid-Bey established "Wakf" (bequests) and pensions, and introduced order among the attendants on the tomb. In the tenth century, Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent paved with fine white marble the Rauzah or garden, which Kaid-Bey, not daring to alter, had left of earth, and erected the fine minaret that bears his name.

[p.369]During the dominion of the later Sultans, and of Mohammed Ali, a few trifling presents, of lamps, carpets, wax candles and chandeliers, and a few immaterial alterations, have been made. The present head of Al-Islam is, as I have before said, rebuilding one of the minarets and the Northern colonnade of the temple.

Such is the history of the Mosque's prosperity.

During the siege of Al-Madinah by the Wahhabis,[FN#53] the principal people seized and divided amongst themselves the treasures of the tomb, which must have been considerable. When the town surrendered, Sa'ud, accompanied by his principal officers, entered the Hujrah, but, terrified by dreams, he did not penetrate behind the curtain, or attempt to see the tomb. He plundered, however, the treasures in the passage, the "Kaukab al-Durri[FN#54]" (or pearl star), and the ornaments sent as presents from every part of Al-Islam. Part of these he sold, it is said, for 150,000 Riyals (dollars), to Ghalib, Sharif of Meccah, and the rest he carried with him to Daraiyah, his capital.[FN#55] An accident prevented any further desecration of the building. The greedy Wahhabis, allured by the appearance of the golden or gilt globes and crescents surmounting the green dome, attempted to throw down the latter. Two of their number, it is said, were killed by falling

[p.370]from the slippery roof,[FN#56] and the rest, struck by superstitious fears, abandoned the work of destruction. They injured, however, the prosperity of the place by taxing the inhabitants, by interrupting the annual remittances, and by forbidding visitors to approach the tomb. They are spoken of with abhorrence by the people, who quote a peculiarly bad trait in their characters, namely, that in return for any small religious assistance of prayer or recitation, they were in the habit of giving a few grains of gunpowder, or something equally valuable, instead of "stone-dollars.[FN#57]"

When Abdullah, son of Sa'ud, had concluded in A.D. 1815 a treaty of peace with Tussun Pasha, the Egyptian General bought back from the townspeople, for 10,000 Riyals, all the golden vessels that had not been melted down, and restored the treasure to its original place. This I have heard denied; at the same time it rests upon credible evidence. Amongst Orientals the events of the last generation are, usually speaking, imperfectly remembered, and the Olema are well acquainted with the history of vicissitudes which took place 1200 years ago, when profoundly ignorant of what their grandfathers witnessed. Many incredible tales also I heard concerning the present wealth of the Al-Madinah Mosque: this must be expected when the exaggeration is considered likely to confer honour upon the exaggerator.


The establishment attached to the Al-Madinah Mosque is greatly altered since Burckhardt's time,[FN#58] the result of the increasing influence of the Turkish half-breeds

[p.371]It is still extensive, because in the first place the principle of divided labour is a favourite throughout the East, and secondly because the Sons of the Holy Cities naturally desire to extract as much as they can from the Sons of other cities with the least amount of work. The substance of the following account was given to me by Omar Effendi, and I compared it with the information of others upon whom I could rely.

The principal of the Mosque, or Shaykh al-Harim, is no longer a neuter.[FN#59] The present is a Turkish Pasha, Osman, appointed from Constantinople with a salary of about 30,000 piastres a month. His Naib or deputy is a black eunuch, the chief of the Aghawat,[FN#60] upon a pay of 5000 piastres. The present principal of this college is one Tayfur Agha, a slave of Esma Sultanah, sister to the late Sultan Mahmud. The chief treasurer is called the Mudir al-Harim; he keeps an eye upon the Khaznadar, or treasurer, whose salary is 2000 piastres. The Mustaslim is the chief of the Katibs, or writers who settle the

[p.372]accounts of the Mosque; his pay is 1500, and under him is a Nakib or assistant upon 1000 piastres. There are three Shaykhs of the eunuchs who receive from 700 to 1000 piastres a month each. The eunuchs, about a hundred and twenty in number, are divided into three orders. The Bawwabin, or porters, open the doors of the Mosque. The Khubziyah sweep the purer parts of the temple, and the lowest order, popularly called "Battalin," clean away all impurities, beat those found sleeping, and act as beadles, a duty here which involves considerable use of the cane. These men receive as perquisites presents from each visitor when they offer him the usual congratulation, and for other small favours, such as permitting strangers to light the lamps,[FN#61] or to sweep the floor. Their pay varies from 250 to 500 piastres a month: they are looked upon as honourable men, and are, generally speaking, married, some of them indulging in three or four wives,-which would have aroused Juvenal's bile. The Agha's character is curious and exceptional as his outward conformation. Disconnected with humanity, he is cruel, fierce, brave, and capable of any villany. His frame is unnaturally long and lean, especially the arms and legs, with high shoulders, protruding joints, and a face by contrast extraordinarily large; he is unusually expert in the use of weapons, and sitting well "home," he rides to admiration, his hoarse, thick voice investing him with all the circumstances of command.

Besides the eunuchs, there are a number of free servants, called Farrashin, attached to the Mosque; almost all the middle and lower class of citizens belong to this order. They are divided into parties of thirty each, and are changed every week, those on duty receiving a Ghazi or twenty-two piastres for their services. Their business

[p.373]is to dust, and to spread the carpets, to put oil and wicks into the lamps which the eunuchs let down from the ceiling, and, generally speaking, diligently to do nothing.

Finally, the menial establishment of the Mosque consists of a Shaykh al-Sakka (chief of the water-carriers), under whom are from forty-five to fifty men who sprinkle the floors, water the garden, and, for a consideration, supply a cupful of brackish liquid to visitors.


The literary establishment is even more extensive than the executive and the menial. There is a Kazi, or chief judge, sent every year from Constantinople. After twelve months at Al-Madinah, he passes on to Meccah, and returns home after a similar term of service in the second Holy City. Under him are three Muftis,[FN#62] of the Hanafi, the Shafe'i, and the Maliki schools; the fourth, or Hanbali, is not represented here or at Cairo.[FN#63] Each of these officers receives as pay about two hundred and fifty piastres a month. The Ruasa,[FN#64] as the Mu'ezzins (prayer-callers) here call themselves, are extensively represented; there are forty-eight or forty-nine of the lowest order, presided over by six Kubar or Masters, and these again are under the Shaykh al-Ruasa, who alone has the privilege of calling to prayers from the Raisiyah minaret. The Shaykh receives a hundred and fifty piastres, the chiefs about a hundred, and the common criers sixty; there are

[p.374]forty-five Khatibs, who preach and pray before the congregation on Fridays for a hundred and twenty piastres a month; they are under the Shaykh al-Khutaba. About the same sum is given to seventy-five Imams, who recite the five ordinary prayers of every day in the Mosque; the Shaykh al-Aimmat is their superior.[FN#65]

Almost all the citizens of Al-Madinah who have not some official charge about the temple qualify themselves to act as Muzawwirs. They begin as boys to learn the formula of prayer, and the conducting of visitors; and partly by begging, partly by boldness, they often pick up a tolerable livelihood at an early age. The Muzawwir will often receive strangers into his house, as was done to me, and direct their devotions during the whole time of their stay. For such service he requires a sum of money proportioned to his guests' circumstances, but this fee does not end the connexion. If the Muzawwir visit the home of his Zair, he expects to be treated with the utmost hospitality, and to depart with a handsome present. A religious visitor will often transmit to his cicerone at Meccah and at Al-Madinah yearly sums to purchase for himself a prayer at the Ka'abah and the Prophet's Tomb. The remittance is usually wrapped up in paper, and placed in a sealed leathern bag, somewhat like a portfolio, upon which is worked the name of the person entitled to receive it. It is then given in charge either to a trustworthy pilgrim, or to the public treasurer, who accompanies the principal caravans.

I could procure no exact information about the amount of money forwarded every year from Constantinople and Cairo to Al-Madinah; the only point upon which men seemed to agree was that they were defrauded of half their dues. When the Sadaka and Aukaf (the alms and bequests) arrive at the town, they are committed by the Surrah, or

[p.375]financier of the caravan, to the Muftis, the chief of the Khatibs, and the Kazi's clerk. These officers form a committee, and after reckoning the total of the families entitled to pensions, divide the money amongst them, according to the number in each household, and the rank of the pensioners. They are divided into five orders:- The Olema, or learned, and the Mudarrisin, who profess, lecture, or teach adults in the Harim. The Imams and Khatibs. The descendants of the Prophet. The Fukaha, poor divines, pedadogues, gerund-grinders, who teach boys to read the Koran. The Awam, or nobile vulgus of the Holy City, including the Ahali, or burghers of the town, and the Mujawirin, or those settled in the place. Omar Effendi belonged to the second order, and he informed me that his share varied from three to fifteen Riyals per annum.

[FN#1] In Oriental geography the parasang still, as in the days of Pliny, greatly varies, from 1500 to 6000 yards. Captain Francklin, whose opinion is generally taken, makes it (in his Tour to Persia) a measure of about four miles (Preface to Ibn Haukal, by Sir Gore Ouseley). [FN#2] M.C. de Perceval (Essai sur l'Histoire des Arabes avant l'Islamisme), makes Amlak son of Laoud (Lud), son of Shem, or, according to others, son of Ham. That learned writer identifies the Amalik with the Phoenicians, the Amalekites, the Canaanites, and the Hyksos. He alludes, also, to an ancient tradition which makes them to have colonised Barbary in Africa. [FN#3] The Dabistan al-Mazahib relates a tradition that the Almighty, when addressing the angels in command, uses the Arabic tongue, but when speaking in mercy or beneficence, the Deri dialect of Persian. [FN#4] These were the giants who fought against Israel in Palestine. [FN#5] In this wild tradition we find a confirmation of the sound geographical opinion which makes Arabia "Une des pepinieres du genre humain" (M. Jomard). It must be remembered that the theatre of all earliest civilisation has been a fertile valley with a navigable stream, like Sind, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. The existence of such a spot in Arabia would have altered every page of her history; she would then have become a centre, not a source, of civilisation. Strabo's Malothes river in Al-Yaman is therefore a myth. As it is, the immense population of the peninsula-still thick, even in the deserts-has, from the earliest ages, been impelled by drought, famine, or desire of conquest, to emigrate into happier regions. All history mentions two main streams which took their rise in the wilds. The first set to the North-East, through Persia, Mekran, Baluchistan, Sind, and the Afghan Mountains, as far as Samarkand, Bokhara, and Tibet; the other, flowing towards the North-West, passed through Egypt and Barbary into Etruria, Spain, the Isles of the Mediterranean, and Southern France. There are two minor emigrations chronicled in history, and written in the indelible characters of physiognomy and philology. One of these set in an exiguous but perennial stream towards India, especially Malabar, where, mixing with the people of the country, the Arab merchants became the progenitors of the Moplah race. The other was a partial emigration, also for commercial purposes, to the coast of Berberah, in Eastern Africa, where, mixing with the Galla tribes, the people of Hazramaut became the sires of the extensive Somali and Sawahil nations. Thus we have from Arabia four different lines of emigration, tending N.E. and S.E., N.W. and S.W. At some future time I hope to develop this curious but somewhat obscure portion of Arabian history. It bears upon a most interesting subject, and serves to explain, by the consanguinity of races, the marvellous celerity with which the faith of Al-Islam spread from the Pillars of Hercules to the confines of China-embracing part of Southern Europe, the whole of Northern and a portion of Central Africa, and at least three-fourths of the continent of Asia. [FN#6] Of this name M.C. de Perceval remarks, "Le mot Arcam etait une designation commune a tous ces rois." He identifies it with Rekem (Numbers xxxi. 8), one of the kings of the Midianites; and recognises in the preservation of the royal youth the history of Agag and Samuel. [FN#7] And some most ignorantly add, "after the entrance of Moses into the Promised Land." [FN#8] In those days, we are told, the Jews, abandoning their original settlement in Al-Ghabbah or the low lands to the N. of the town, migrated to the highest portions of the Madinah plain on the S. and E., and the lands of the neighbourhood of the Kuba Mosque. [FN#9] When describing Ohod, I shall have occasion to allude to Aaron's dome, which occupies the highest part. Few authorities, however, believe that Aaron was buried there; his grave, under a small stone cupola, is shown over the summit of Mount Hor, in the Sinaitic Peninsula, and is much visited by devotees. [FN#10] It must be remembered that many of the Moslem geographers derive the word "Arabia" from a tract of land in the neighbourhood of Al-Madinah. [FN#11] Khaybar in Hebrew is supposed to signify a castle. D'Herbelot makes it to mean a pact or association of the Jews against the Moslems. This fort appears to be one of the latest as well as the earliest of the Hebrew settlements in Al-Hijaz. Benjamin of Tudela asserts that there were 50,000 Jews resident at their old colony, Bartema in A.D. 1703 found remnants of the people there, but his account of them is disfigured by fable. In Niebuhr's time the Beni Khaybar had independent Shaykhs, and were divided into three tribes, viz., the Benu Masad, the Benu Shahan, and the Benu Anizah (this latter, however, is a Moslem name), who were isolated and hated by the other Jews, and therefore the traveller supposes them to have been Karaites. In Burckhardt's day the race seems to have been entirely rooted out. I made many inquiries, and all assured me that there is not a single Jewish family now in Khaybar. It is indeed the popular boast in Al-Hijaz, that, with the exception of Jeddah (and perhaps Yambu', where the Prophet never set his foot), there is not a town in the country harbouring an Infidel. This has now become a point of fanatic honour; but if history may be trusted, it has become so only lately. [FN#12] When the Arabs see the ass turn tail to the wind and rain, they exclaim, "Lo! he turneth his back upon the mercy of Allah!" [FN#13] M.C. de Perceval quotes Judith, ii. 13, 26, and Jeremiah, xlix. 28, to prove that Holofernes, the general of Nebuchadnezzar the First, laid waste the land of Midian and other parts of Northern Arabia. [FN#14] Saba in Southern Arabia. [FN#15] The erection of this dyke is variously attributed to Lukman the Elder (of the tribe of Ad) and to Saba bin Yashjab. It burst according to some, beneath the weight of a flood; according to others, it was miraculously undermined by rats. A learned Indian Shaykh has mistaken the Arabic word "Jurad," a large kind of mouse or rat, for "Jarad," a locust, and he makes the wall to have sunk under a "bar i Malakh," or weight of locusts! No event is more celebrated in the history of pagan Arabia than this, or more trustworthy, despite the exaggeration of the details-the dyke is said to have been four miles long by four broad-and the fantastic marvels which are said to have accompanied its bursting. The ruins have lately been visited by M. Arnaud, a French traveller, who communicated his discovery to the French Asiatic Society in 1845. [FN#16] Ma al-Sama, "the water (or "the splendour") of heaven," is, generally speaking, a feminine name amongst the pagan Arabs; possibly it is here intended as a matronymic. [FN#17] This expedition to Al-Madinah is mentioned by all the pre-Islamatic historians, but persons and dates are involved in the greatest confusion. Some authors mention two different expeditions by different Tobbas; others only one, attributing it differently, however, to two Tobbas,-Abu Karb in the 3rd century of the Christian era, and Tobba al-Asghar, the last of that dynasty, who reigned, according to some, in A.D. 300, according to others in A.D. 448. M.C. de Perceval places the event about A.D. 206, and asserts that the Aus and Khazraj did not emigrate to Al-Madinah before A.D. 300. The word Tobba or Tubba, I have been informed by some of the modern Arabs, is still used in the Himyaritic dialect of Arabic to signify "the Great" or "the Chief." [FN#18] Nothing is more remarkable in the annals of the Arabs than their efforts to prove the Ishmaelitic descent of Mohammed; at the same time no historic question is more open to doubt. [FN#19] If this be true it proves that the Jews of Al-Hijaz had in those days superstitious reverence for the Ka'abah; otherwise the Tobba, after conforming to the law of Moses, would not have shown it this mark of respect. Moreover there is a legend that the same Rabbis dissuaded the Tobba from plundering the sacred place when he was treacherously advised so to do by the Benu Hudayl Arabs. I have lately perused "The Worship of Ba'alim in Israel," based upon the work of Dr. R. Dozy, "The Israelites in Mecca." By Dr. H. Oort. Translated from the Dutch, and enlarged, with Notes and Appendices, by the Right Rev. John William Colenso, D.D. (Longmans.) I see no reason why Meccah or Beccah should be made to mean "A Slaughter"; why the Ka'abah should be founded by the Simeonites; why the Hajj should be the Feast of Trumpets; and other assertions in which everything seems to be taken for granted except etymology, which is tortured into confession. If Meccah had been founded by the Simeonites, why did the Persians and the Hindus respect it? [FN#20] It is curious that Abdullah, Mohammed's father, died and was buried at Al-Madinah, and that his mother Aminah's tomb is at Abwa, on the Madinah road. Here, too, his great-grandfather Hashim married Salma Al-Mutadalliyah, before him espoused to Uhayhah, of the Aus tribe. Shaybah, generally called Abd al-Muttalib, the Prophet's grandfather, was the son of Salma, and was bred at Al-Madinah. [FN#21] Ayyas bin Ma'az died, it is said, a Moslem. [FN#22] "Bayat al-Akabat al-ula." It is so called because this oath was sworn at a place called Al-Akabah (the Mountain-road), near Muna. A Mosque was afterwards built there to commemorate the event. [FN#23] Some Moslem writers suppose that Mohammed singled out twelve men as apostles, and called them Nakil, in imitation of the example of our Saviour. Other Moslems ignore both the fact and the intention. M.C. de Perceval gives the names of these Nakils in vol. iii. p. 8. [FN#24] Orthodox Moslems do not fail to quote this circumstance in honour of the first Caliph, upon whom moreover they bestow the title of "Friend of the Cave." The Shi'ahs, on the other hand, hating Abu Bakr, see in it a symptom of treachery, and declare that the Prophet feared to let the "Old Hyena," as they opprobriously term the venerable successor, out of his sight for fear lest he should act as spy to the Kuraysh. The voice of history and of common sense is against the Shi'ahs. M.C. de Perceval justly remarks, that Abu Bakr and Omar were men truly worthy of their great predecessor. [FN#25] This animal's name, according to some, was Al-Kaswa ("the tips of whose ears are cropped"); according to others Al-Jada'a ("one mutilated in the ear, hand, nose, or lip"). The Prophet bought her for 800 dirhams, on the day before his flight, from Abu Bakr, who had fattened two fine animals of his own breeding. The camel was offered as a gift, but Mohammed insisted upon paying its price, because, say the Moslem casuists, he being engaged in the work of God would receive no aid from man. According to M.C. de Perceval, the Prophet preached from the back of Al-Kaswa the celebrated pilgrimage sermon at Arafat on the 8th March, A.D. 632. [FN#26] The Prophet is generally supposed to have started from Meccah on the first of the same month, on a Friday or a Monday. This discrepancy is supposed to arise from the fact that Mohammed fled his house in Meccah on a Friday, passed three days in the cave on Jabal Saur, and finally left it for Al-Madinah on Monday, which therefore, according to Moslem divines, was the first day of the "Hijrah." But the aera now commences on the 1st of the previous Muharram, an arrangement made seventeen years after the date of the flight by Omar the Caliph, with the concurrence of Ali. [FN#27] The distance from Kuba to Al-Madinah is little more than three miles, for which six hours-Friday prayers being about noon-may be considered an inordinately long time. But our author might urge as a reason that the multitude of people upon a narrow road rendered the Prophet's advance a slow one, and some historians relate that he spent several hours in conversation with the Benu Salim. [FN#28] Mohammed never would eat these strong smelling vegetables on account of his converse with the angels, even as modern "Spiritualists" refuse to smoke tobacco; at the same time he allowed his followers to do so, except when appearing in his presence, entering a Mosque, or joining in public prayers. The pious Moslem still eats his onions with these limitations. Some sects, however, as the Wahhabis, considering them abominable, avoid them on all occasions. [FN#29] The name of the tribe literally means "sons of a carpenter"; hence the error of the learned and violent Humphrey Prideaux, corrected by Sale. [FN#30] Some say that Abu Bakr had no abode near the Mosque. But it is generally agreed upon, that he had many houses, one in Al-Bakia, another in the higher parts of Al-Madinah, and among them a hut on the spot between the present gates called Salam and Rahmah. [FN#31] It is clear from the fact above stated, that in those days the Jews of Arabia were in a state of excitement, hourly expecting the advent of their Messiah, and that Mohammed believed himself to be the person appointed to complete the law of Moses. [FN#32] In many minor details the above differs from the received accounts of Pre-Islamitic and early Mohammedan history. Let the blame be borne by the learned Shaykh Abd al-Hakk al-Muhaddis of Delhi, and his compilation, the "Jazb al-Kulub ila Diyar al-Mahhub (the "Drawing of Hearts towards the Holy Parts"). From the multitude of versions at last comes correctness. [FN#33] A Firman from the Porte, dated 13th February, 1841, provides for the paying of these pensions regularly. "It being customary to send every year from Egypt provisions in kind to the two Holy Cities, the provisions and other articles, whatever they may be, which have up to this time been sent to this place, shall continue to be sent thither." Formerly the Holy Land had immense property in Egypt, and indeed in all parts of Al-Islam. About thirty years ago, Mohammed Ali Pasha bought up all the Wakf (church property), agreeing to pay for its produce, which he rated at five piastres the ardeb, when it was worth three times as much. Even that was not regularly paid. The Sultan has taken advantage of the present crisis to put down Wakf in Turkey. The Holy Land, therefore, will gradually lose all its land and house property, and will soon be compelled to depend entirely upon the presents of the pilgrims, and the Sadakah, or alms, which are still sent to it by the pious Moslems of distant regions. As might be supposed, both the Meccans and the Madani loudly bewail their hard fates, and by no means approve of the Ikram, the modern succedaneum for an extensive and regularly paid revenue. At a future time, I shall recur to this subject. [FN#34] The prayer-niche and the minaret both date their existence from the days of Al-Walid, the builder of the third Mosque. At this age of their empire, the Moslems had travelled far and had seen art in various lands; it is therefore not without a shadow of reason that the Hindus charge them with having borrowed their two favourite symbols, and transformed them into an arch and a tower. [FN#35] The Ustawanat al-Hannanah, or "Weeping-Post." See page 335, chapter XVI., ante. [FN#36] As usual, there are doubts about the invention of this article. It was covered with cloth by the Caliph Osman, or, as others say, by Al-Mu'awiyah, who, deterred by a solar eclipse from carrying out his project of removing it to Damascus, placed it upon a new framework, elevated six steps above the ground. Al-Mahdi wished to raise the Mambar six steps higher, but was forbidden so to do by the Imam Malik. The Abbasides changed the pulpit, and converted the Prophet's original seat into combs, which were preserved as relics. Some historians declare that the original Mambar was burnt with the Mosque in A.H. 654. In Ibn Jubayr's time (A.H. 580), it was customary for visitors to place their right hands upon a bit of old wood, inserted into one of the pillars of the pulpit; this was supposed to be a remnant of the "weeping-post." Every Sultan added some ornament to the Mambar, and at one time it was made of white marble, covered over with a dome of the "eight metals." It is now a handsome structure, apparently of wood, painted and gilt of the usual elegant form, which has been compared by some travellers with the suggesta of Roman Catholic churches. I have been explicit about this pulpit, hoping that, next time the knotty question of Apostolic seats comes upon the tapis, our popular authors will not confound a Curule chair with a Moslem Mambar. Of the latter article, Lane (Mod. Egyptians, chap. iii.) gave a sketch in the "Interior of a Mosque." [FN#37] The Prophet is said to have had a dwelling-house in the Ambariyah, or the Western quarter of the Manakhah suburb, and here, according to some, he lodged Mariyah, the Coptic girl. As pilgrims do not usually visit the place, and nothing of the original building can be now remaining, I did not trouble myself about it. [FN#38] Meaning the Prophet's fifteen to twenty-five wives. Their number is not settled. He left nine wives and two concubines. It was this title after the Koranic order (chap, xxxiii. v. 53) which rendered their widowhood eternal; no Arab would willingly marry a woman whom he has called mother or sister. [FN#39] Authors mention a place outside the Northern wall called Al-Suffah, which was assigned by Mohammed as a habitation to houseless believers; from which circumstance these paupers derived the title of Ashab al-Suffah, "Companions of the Sofa." [FN#40] So I translate the Arabicised word "Saj." [FN#41] A place about five miles from Al-Madinah, on the Meccan way. See Chap. XIV. [FN#42] And curious to say Al-Islam still has the largest cathedral in the world-St. Sophia's at Constantinople. Next to this ranks St. Peter's at Rome; thirdly, I believe, the "Jumma Masjid," or cathedral of the old Moslem city Bijapur in India; the fourth is St. Paul's, London, [FN#43] It is to this monarch that the Saracenic Mosque-architecture mainly owes its present form. As will be seen, he had every advantage of borrowing from Christian, Persian, and even Indian art. From the first he took the dome, from the second the cloister-it might have been naturalised in Arabia before his time-and possibly from the third the minaret and the prayer-niche. The latter appears to be a peculiarly Hindu feature in sacred buildings, intended to contain the idol, and to support the lamps, flowers, and other offerings placed before it. [FN#44] The reader will remember that in the sixth year of the Hijrah, after Mohammed's marriage with Zaynab, his wives were secluded behind the Hijab, Pardah, or curtain. A verse of the Koran directed the Moslems to converse with them behind this veil. Hence the general practice of Al-Islam: now it is considered highly disgraceful in any Moslem to make a Moslemah expose her face, and she will frequently found a threat upon the prejudice. A battle has been prevented by this means, and occasionally an insurrection has been caused by it. [FN#45] Amongst which some authors enumerate the goblet and the mirror of Kisra. [FN#46] The outer wall, built by Al-Walid, remained till A.H. 550, when Jamal al-Din of Isafahan, Wazir to Nur al-Din Shahid Mahmud bin Zangi, supplied its place by a grating of open sandal woodwork, or, as others say, of iron. About the same time, Sayyid Abu 'l Hayja sent from Egypt a sheet of white brocade, embroidered in red silk with the chapter Y.S., in order to cover the inner wall. This was mounted on the accession of Al-Mustazi bi'llah, the Caliph, after which it became the custom for every Sultan to renew the offering. And in A.H. 688, Kalaun of Egypt built the outer network of brass as it now is, and surmounted it with the Green Dome. [FN#47] The inner wall, erected by Al-Walid, seems to have resisted the fire which in A.H. 654 burnt the Mosque to the ground. Also, in A.H. 886, when the building was consumed by lightning, the Hujrah was spared by the devouring element. [FN#48] After the Prophet's death and burial, Ayishah continued to occupy the same room, without even a curtain between her and the tomb. At last, vexed by the crowds of visitors, she partitioned off the hallowed spot with a wall. She visited the grave unveiled as long as her father Abu Bakr only was placed behind the Prophet; but when Omar's corpse was added, she always covered her face. [FN#49] One of these, the minaret at the Bab-al-Salam, was soon afterwards overthrown by Al-Walid's brother Sulayman, because it shaded the house of Marwan, where he lodged during his visit to Al-Madinah in the cold season. [FN#50] The dinar (denarius) was a gold piece, a ducat, a sequin. [FN#51] I purpose to touch upon this event in a future chapter, when describing my route from Al-Madinah to Meccah. [FN#52] "On this occasion," says Al-Samanhudi, quoted by Burckhardt, "the interior of the Hujrah was cleared, and three deep graves were found in the inside, full of rubbish, but the author of this history, who himself entered it, saw no traces of tombs." Yet in another place he, an eye-witness, had declared that the coffin containing the dust of Mohammed was cased with silver. I repeat these details. [FN#53] Burckhardt has given a full account of this event in his history of the Wahhabis. [FN#54] See Chapter XVI., ante. [FN#55] My predecessor estimates the whole treasury in those days to have been worth 300,000 Riyals,-a small sum, if we consider the length of time during which it was accumulating. The chiefs of the town appropriated 1 cwt. of golden vessels, worth at most 50,000 dollars, and Sa'ud sold part of the plunder to Ghalib for 100,000 (I was told one-third more), reserving for himself about the same amount of pearls and corals. Burckhardt supposes that the governors of Al-Madinah, who were often independent chiefs, and sometimes guardians of the tombs, made occasional draughts upon the generosity of the Faithful. [FN#56] I inquired in vain about the substance that covered the dome. Some told me it was tinfoil; others supposed it to be rivetted with green tiles. [FN#57] The Badawi calls a sound dollar "Kirsh Hajar," or "Riyal Hajar," a "stone dollar." [FN#58] At the same time his account is still carefully copied by our popular and general authors, who, it is presumed, could easily become better informed. [FN#59] The Persians in remote times, as we learn from Herodotus (lib. 6), were waited upon by eunuchs, and some attribute to them the invention. Ammianus Marcellinus (lib. 14) ascribes the origin to Semiramis. In Al-Islam, the employment of such persons about the Mosque is a "Bida'ah" or custom unknown in the time of the Prophet. It is said to have arisen from the following three considerations: 1. These people are concentrated in their professions; 2. They must see and touch strange women at the shrines; and 3. The shrines are "Harim," or sacred, having adyta which are kept secret from the prying eyes of men, and, therefore, should be served by eunuchs. It is strange that the Roman Catholic church, as well as the Moslem Mosque, should have admitted such an abomination. [FN#60] One of these gentry, if called "Tawashi,"-his generic name,-would certainly insult a stranger. The polite form of address to one of them is "Agha"-Master,-in the plural "Aghawat." In partibus, they exact the greatest respect from men, and the title of the Eunuch of the Tomb is worth a considerable sum to them. The eunuchs of Al-Madinah are more numerous and better paid than those of Meccah: they are generally the slaves of rich men at Constantinople, and prefer this city on account of its climate. [FN#61] The "Sons of the City," however, are always allowed to do such service gratis; if, indeed, they are not paid for it. [FN#62] Others told me that there were only two muftis at Al-Madinah, namely, those of the Hanafi and Shafe'i schools. If this be true, it proves the insignificance of the followers of Malik, which personage, like others, is less known in his own town than elsewhere. [FN#63] The Hanbali school is nowhere common except in Nijd, and the lands Eastward as far as Al-Hasa. At present it labours under a sort of imputation, being supposed to have thrown out a bad offshoot, the Wahhabis. [FN#64] "Ruasa" is the plural of Rais, a chief or president. It is the term generally applied in Arabia to the captain of a vessel, and in Al-Yaman it often means a barber, in virtue, I presume, of its root-Ras, the head. [FN#65] Some say that the Egyptian distinction between the Imam Khatib and the Imam Ratib does not obtain at Al-Madinah.

Chapter XVIII. AL-MADINAH.[edit]

IT is equally difficult to define, politically and geographically, the limits of Al-Hijaz. Whilst some authors, as Abulfeda,[FN#1] fix its Northern frontier at Aylah (Fort Al-'Akabah) and the Desert, making Al-Yaman its Southern limit, others include in it only the tract of land lying between Meccah and Al-Madinah. The country has no natural boundaries, and its political limits change with every generation; perhaps, therefore, the best distribution of its frontier would be that which includes all the property called Holy Land, making Yambu' the Northern, and Jeddah the Southern extremes, while a line drawn through Al-Madinah, Suwayrkiyah, and Jabal Kora-the mountain of Taif-might represent its Eastern boundary. Thus Al-Hijaz would be an irregular parallelogram, about two hundred and fifty miles in length, with a maximum breadth of one hundred and fifty miles.


Two meanings are assigned to the name of this venerated region. Most authorities make it mean the "Separator," the "Barrier," between Nijd and Tahamah,[FN#2] or between Al-Yaman and Syria. According to others, it signifies the "colligated," i.e. by mountains. It is to be observed that the people of the country, especially the Badawin, distinguish the lowlands from the high region

[p.377]by different names; the former are called Tahamat al-Hijaz-the sea coast of Al-Hijaz, as we should say in India, "below the Ghauts;" the latter is known peculiarly as Al-Hijaz.[FN#3]

Madinat al-Nabi,[FN#4] the Prophet's City, or, as it is

[p.378]usually called for brevity, Al-Madinah, the City, is situated on the borders of Nijd, upon the vast plateau of high land

[p.379] which forms central Arabia. The limits of the sanctuary called the Hudud al-Harim, as defined by the Apostle, may still serve to mark out the city's plain. Northwards, at a distance of about three miles, is Jabal Ohod, or, according to others, Jabal Saur, a hill somewhat beyond Ohod; these are the last ribs of the vast tertiary and primitive chine[FN#5] which, extending from Taurus to near Aden, and from Aden again to Maskat, fringes the Arabian trapezium. To the South-west the plain is bounded by ridges of scoriaceous basalt, and by a buttress of rock called Jabal Ayr, like Ohod, about three miles distant from the town. Westward, according to some authors, is the Mosque Zu'l-Halifah. On the East there are no natural landmarks, nor even artificial, like the "Alamayn" at Meccah; an imaginary line, therefore, is drawn, forming an irregular circle of which the town is the centre, with a diameter from ten to twelve miles. Such is the sanctuary.[FN#6] Geographically considered, the

[p.380]plain is bounded, on the East, with a thin line of low dark hills, traversed by the Darb al-Sharki, or the "Eastern road," through Al-Nijd to Meccah: Southwards, the plateau is open, and almost perfectly level as far as the eye can see.

Al-Madinah dates its origin doubtless from ancient times, and the cause of its prosperity is evident in the abundant supply of water, a necessary generally scarce in Arabia. The formation of the plateau is in some places salt sand, but usually a white chalk, and a loamy clay, which even by the roughest manipulation makes tolerable bricks. Lime also abounds. The town is situated upon a gently-shelving part of the plain, the, lowest portion of which, to judge from the versant, is at the southern base of Mount Ohod, hence called Al-Safilah, and the highest at the Awali, or plains about Kuba, and the East.


The Southern and South-Eastern walls of the suburb are sometimes carried away by violent "Sayl," or torrents, which, after rain, sweep down from the Western as

[p.381]well as from the Eastern highlands. The water-flow is towards Al-Ghabbah, lowlands in the Northern and Western hills, a little beyond Mount Ohod. This basin receives the drainage of the mountains and the plain; according to some absorbing it, according to others collecting it till of sufficient volume to flow off to the sea. Water, though abundant, is rarely of good quality. In the days of the Prophet, the Madani consumed the produce of wells, seven of which are still celebrated by the people.[FN#7] Historians relate that Omar, the second Caliph, provided the town with drinking-water from the Northern parts of the plains by means of an aqueduct. The modern city is supplied by a source called the Ayn al-Zarka or Azure Spring,[FN#8] which arises some say at the foot of Mount Ayr, others, with greater probability, in the date-groves of Kuba. Its waters were first brought to Al-Madinah by Marwan, governor in Al-Mu'awiyah's day. It now flows down a subterraneous canal, about thirty feet below the surface; in places the water is exposed to the air, and

[p.382]steps lead to it for the convenience of the inhabitants: this was the work of Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent. After passing through the town it turns to the North-west, its course being marked by a line of circular walls breast high, like the Kariz of Afghanistan, placed at unequal distances, and resembling wells: it then loses itself in the Nakhil or palm-groves. During my stay at Al-Madinah, I always drank this water, which appeared to me, as the citizens declared it to be, sweet and wholesome.[FN#9] There are many wells in the town, as water is found at about twenty feet below the surface of the soil: few produce anything fit for drinking, some being salt and others bitter. As usual in the hilly countries of the East, the wide beds and Fiumaras, even in the dry season, will supply travellers for a day or two with an abundance of water, filtrated through, and, in some cases, flowing beneath the sand. |

The climate of the plain is celebrated for a long, and, comparatively speaking, a rigorous winter; a popular saying records the opinion of the Apostle "that he who patiently endures the cold of Al-Madinah and the heat of Meccah, merits a reward in Paradise." Ice is not seen in the town, but may frequently be met with, it is said, on Jabal Ohod; fires are lighted in the houses during winter, and palsies attack those who at this season imprudently bathe in unwarmed water. The fair complexions of the people prove that this account of the brumal rigours is not exaggerated. Chilly and violent winds from the Eastern Desert are much dreaded, and though Ohod screens the town on the North and North-East, a gap in the mountains to the North-West fills the

[p.383]air at times with raw and comfortless blasts. The rains begin in October, and last with considerable intervals through six months; the clouds, gathered by the hill-tops and the trees near the town, discharge themselves with violence, and about the equinoxes, thunder-storms are common. At such times the Barr al-Manakhah, or the open space between the town and the suburbs, is a sheet of water, and the land near the Southern and the South-Eastern wall of the faubourg becomes a pool. Rain, however, is not considered unhealthy here; and the people, unlike the Meccans and the Cairenes, expect it with pleasure, because it improves their date-trees and fruit plantations.[FN#10] In winter it usually rains at night, in spring during the morning, and in summer about evening time. This is the case throughout Al-Hijaz, as explained by the poet Labid in these lines, which describe the desolate site of an old encampment:-

"It (the place) hath been fertilised by the first spring showers of the constellations, and hath been swept by The incessant torrents of the thunder-clouds, falling in heavy and in gentle rains, >From each night-cloud, and heavily dropping morning-cloud, And the even-cloud, whose crashings are re-echoed from around." "It (the place) hath been fertilised by the first spring showers of the constellations, and hath been swept by The incessant torrents of the thunder-clouds, falling in heavy and in gentle rains, >From each night-cloud, and heavily dropping morning-cloud, And the even-cloud, whose crashings are re-echoed from around."

And the European reader will observe that the Arabs generally reckon three seasons, including our autumn, in their summer. The hot weather at Al-Madinah appeared to me as extreme as the hibernal cold is described to be, but the air was dry, and the open plain prevented the faint and stagnant sultriness which distinguishes Meccah. Moreover, though the afternoons were close, the nights and the mornings were cool and dewy. At this season the citizens sleep on the house-tops, or on the ground

[p.384]outside their doors. Strangers must follow this example with considerable circumspection; the open air is safe in the Desert, but in cities it causes, to the unaccustomed, violent catarrhs and febrile affections.


I collect the following notes upon the diseases and medical treatment of the Northern Hijaz. Al-Madinah has been visited four times by the Rih al-Asfar[FN#11] (yellow wind), or Asiatic Cholera, which is said to have committed great ravages, sometimes carrying off whole households. In the Rahmat al-Kabirah, the "Great Mercy," as the worst attack is piously called, whenever a man vomited, he was abandoned to his fate; before that, he was treated with mint, lime-juice, and copious draughts of coffee. It is still the boast of Al-Madinah, that the Taun, or plague, has never passed her frontier.[FN#12] The Judari, or smallpox, appears to be indigenous to the countries bordering upon the Red Sea; we read of it there in the earliest works of the Arabs,[FN#13] and even to the present time it sometimes sweeps through Arabia and the Somali

[p.385] country with desolating violence. In the town of Al-Madinah it is fatal to children, many of whom, however, are in these days inoculated[FN#14]: amongst the Badawin, old men die of it, but adults are rarely victims, either in the City or in the Desert. The nurse closes up the room whilst the sun is up, and carefully excludes the night air, believing that, as the disease is "hot,[FN#15]" a breath of wind will kill the patient. During the hours of darkness, a lighted candle or lamp is always placed by the side of the bed, or the sufferer would die of madness, brought on by evil spirits or fright. Sheep's wool is burnt in the sick-room, as death would follow the inhaling of any perfume. The only remedy I have heard of is pounded Kohl (antimony) drunk in water, and the same is drawn along the breadth of the eyelid, to prevent blindness. The diet is Adas (lentils),[FN#16] and a peculiar kind of date, called Tamr al-Birni. On the twenty-first day the patient is washed with salt and tepid water.

Ophthalmia is rare.[FN#17] In the summer, quotidian and

[p.386]tertian fevers (Hummah Salis) are not uncommon, and if accompanied by emetism, they are frequently fatal.

[p.387]The attack generally begins with the Naffazah, or cold fit, and is followed by Al-Hummah, the hot stage. The principal remedies are cooling drinks, such as Sikanjabin (oxymel) and syrups. After the fever the face and body frequently swell, and indurated lumps appear on the legs and stomach. There are also low fevers, called simply Hummah; they are usually treated by burning charms in the patient's room. Jaundice and bilious complaints are common, and the former is popularly cured in a peculiar way. The sick man looks into a pot full of water, whilst the exorciser, reciting a certain spell, draws the heads of two needles from the patient's ears along his eyes, down his face, lastly dipping them into water, which at once becomes yellow. Others have "Mirayat," magic mirrors,[FN#18] on which the patient looks, and looses the complaint.

[p.388] Dysenteries frequently occur in the fruit season, when the greedy Arabs devour all manner of unripe

[p.389]peaches, grapes, and pomegranates. The popular treatment is by the actual cautery; the scientific affect the use of drastics and astringent simples, and the Bizr al-Kutn (cotton-seed), toasted, pounded, and drunk in warm water. Almost every one here, as in Egypt, suffers more or less from haemorrhoids; they are treated by dietetics-eggs and leeks-and by a variety of drugs, Myrobalans, Lisan-al-Hamal (Arnoglossum), etc. But the patient looks with horror at the scissors and the knife, so that they seldom succeed in obtaining a radical cure. The Filaria Medinensis, locally called "Farantit," is no longer common at the place which gave it its European name. At Yambu', however, the people suffer much from the Vena appearing in the legs. The complaint is treated here as in India and in Abyssinia: when the tumour bursts, and the worm shows, it is extracted by being gradually wound round a splinter of wood. Hydrophobia is rare, and the people have many superstitions about it. They suppose that a bit of meat falls from the sky, and that a dog eating it becomes mad. I was assured by respectable persons, that when a man is bitten, they shut him up with food, in a solitary chamber, for four days, and that if at the end of that time he still howls like a dog, they expel the Ghul (demon) from him, by pouring over him boiling water mixed with ashes-a certain cure I can easily believe. The only description of leprosy known in Al-Hijaz is that called "Al-Baras": it appears in white patches on the skin, seldom attacks any but the poorer classes, and is considered incurable. Wounds are treated by Marham, or ointments, especially by the "Balesan," or Balm of Meccah; a cloth is tied round the limb, and

[p.390]not removed till the wound heals, which amongst this people of simple life, generally takes place by first intention. Ulcers are common in Al-Hijaz, as indeed all over Arabia. We read of them in ancient times. In A.D. 504, the poet and warrior, Amr al-Kays, died of this dreadful disease, and it is related that when Mohammed Abu Si Mohammed, in A.H. 132, conquered Al-Yaman with an army from Al-Hijaz, he found the people suffering from sloughing and mortifying sores, so terrible to look upon that he ordered the sufferers to be burnt alive. Fortunately for the patients, the conqueror died suddenly before his inhuman mandate was executed. These sores here, as in Al-Yaman,[FN#19] are worst when upon the shin bones; they eat deep into the leg, and the patient dies of fever and gangrene. They are treated on first appearance by the actual cautery, and, when practicable, by cutting off the joint; the drugs popularly applied are Tutiya (tutty) and verdigris. There is no cure but rest, a generous diet, and change of air.

By the above short account it will be seen that the Arabs are no longer the most skilful physicians in the world. They have, however, one great advantage in their practice, and they are sensible enough to make free use of it. As the children of almost all the respectable citizens are brought up in the Desert, the camp becomes to them a native village. In cases of severe wounds or chronic diseases, the patient is ordered off to the Black Tents, where he lives as a Badawi, drinking camels' milk (a diet for the first three or four days highly cathartic), and doing nothing. This has been the practice from time immemorial in Arabia, whereas Europe is only beginning to systematise the adhibition of air, exercise, and simple living. And even now we are obliged to veil it under the garb of charlatanry-to call it a "milk-cure" in Switzerland,

[p.391]a "water-cure" in Silesia, a "grape-cure" in France, a "hunger-cure" in Germany, and other sensible names which act as dust in the public eyes.

Al-Madinah consists of three parts,-a town, a fort, and a suburb little smaller than the body of the place. The town itself is about one-third larger than Suez, or nearly half the size of Meccah. It is a walled enclosure forming an irregular oval with four gates. The Bab al-Shami, or " Syrian Gate," in the North-West side of the enceinte, leads towards Jabal Ohod, Hamzah's burial-place, and the mountains. In the Eastern wall, the Bab al-Jum'ah, or Friday Gate, opens upon the Nijd road and the cemetery, Al-Bakia. Between the Shami and the Jum'ah gates, towards the North, is the Bab al-Ziyafah (of Hospitality); and Westwards the Bab al-Misri (Egyptian) opens upon the plain called the Barr al-Manakhah. The Eastern and the Egyptian gates are fine massive buildings, with double towers close together, painted with broad bands of red, yellow, and other colors, not unlike that old entrance of the Cairo citadel which opens upon the Ramayliyah plain. They may be compared with the gateway towers of the old Norman castles-Arques, for instance. In their shady and well-watered interiors, soldiers keep guard, camel-men dispute, and numerous idlers congregate, to enjoy the luxuries of coolness and of companionship. Beyond this gate, in the street leading to the Mosque, is the great bazar. Outside it lie the Suk al-Khuzayriyah, or greengrocers' market, and the Suk al-Habbabah, or the grain bazar, with a fair sprinkling of coffee-houses. These markets are long masses of palm-leaf huts, blackened in the sun and wind, of a mean and squalid appearance, detracting greatly from the appearance of the gates. Amongst them there is a little domed and whitewashed building, which I was told is a Sabil or public fountain. In the days of the Prophet the town

[p.392] was not walled. Even in Al-Idrisi's time (twelfth century), and as late as Bartema's (eighteenth century), the fortifications were mounds of earth, made by order of Kasim al-Daulat al-Ghori, who re-populated the town and provided for its inhabitants. Now, the enceinte is in excellent condition. The walls are well built of granite and lava blocks, in regular layers, cemented with lime; they are provided with "Mazghal" (or "Matras") long loopholes, and "Shararif" or trefoil-shaped crenelles: in order to secure a flanking fire, semicircular towers, also loopholed and crenellated, are disposed in the curtain at short and irregular intervals. Inside, the streets are what they always should be in these torrid lands, deep, dark, and narrow, in few places paved-a thing to be deprecated-and generally covered with black earth well watered and trodden to hardness. The most considerable lines radiate towards the Mosque. There are few public buildings. The principal Wakalahs are four in number; one is the Wakalat Bab Salam near the Harim, another the Wakalat Jabarti, and two are inside the Misri gate; they all belong to Arab citizens. These Caravanserais are used principally as stores, rarely for dwelling-places like those of Cairo; travellers, therefore, must hire houses at a considerable expense, or pitch tents to the detriment of health and to their extreme discomfort. The other public buildings are a few mean coffee-houses and an excellent bath in the Harat Zarawan, inside the town: far superior to the unclean establishments of Cairo, it borrows something from the luxury of Stambul. The houses are, for the East, well built, flat-roofed and double-storied; the materials generally used are a basaltic scoria, burnt brick, and palm wood. The best enclose spacious courtyards and small gardens with wells, where water basins and date trees gladden the owners' eyes. The latticed balconies, first seen by the overland European traveller at Malta, are here common, and the windows are

[p.393]mere apertures in the wall, garnished, as usual in Arab cities, with a shutter of planking. Al-Madinah fell rapidly under the Wahhabis, but after their retreat, it soon rose again, and now it is probably as comfortable and flourishing a little city as any to be found in the East. It contains between fifty and sixty streets, including the alleys and culs-de-sac. There is about the same number of Harat or quarters; but I have nothing to relate of them save their names. Within the town few houses are in a dilapidated condition. The best authorities estimate the number of habitations at about 1500 within the enceinte, and those in the suburb at 1000. I consider both accounts exaggerated; the former might contain 800, and the Manakhah perhaps 500; at the same time I must confess not to have counted them, and Captain Sadlier (in A.D. 1819) declares that the Turks, who had just made a kind of census, reckoned 6000 houses and a population of 18,000 souls. Assuming the population to be 16,000 (Burckhardt raises it as high as 20,000), of which 9000 occupy the city, and 7000 the suburbs and the fort, this would give a little more than twelve inhabitants to each house, a fair estimate for an Arab town, where the abodes are large and slaves abound.[FN#20]

The castle joins on to the North-West angle of the city enceinte, and the wall of its Eastern outwork is pierced for

[p.394]a communication through a court strewed with guns and warlike apparatus, between the Manakhah Suburb and the Bab al-Shami, or the Syrian Gate. Having been refused entrance into the fort, I can describe only its exterior. The outer wall resembles that of the city, only its towers are more solid, and the curtain appears better calculated for work. Inside, a donjon, built upon a rock, bears proudly enough the banner of the Crescent and the Star; its whitewashed walls make it a conspicuous object, and guns pointed in all directions, especially upon the town, project from their embrasures. The castle is said to contain wells, bomb-proofs, provisions, and munitions of war; if so, it must be a kind of Gibraltar to the Badawin and the Wahhabis. The garrison consisted of a Nisf Urtah,[FN#21] or half battalion (four hundred men) of Nizam infantry, commanded by a Pasha; his authority also extends to a Sanjak, or about five hundred Kurdish and Albanian Bash-Buzuks, whose duty it is to escort caravans, to convey treasures, and to be shot at in the Passes. The Madani, who, as usual with Orientals, take a personal pride in their castle, speak of it with much exaggeration. Commanded by a high line of rocks on the North-West, and built as it is in most places without moat, glacis, earthwork, or outworks, a few shells and a single battery of siege guns would soon render it untenable. In ancient times it has more than once been held by a party at feud with the town, for whose mimic battles the Barr al-Manakhah was a fitting field. Northward from the fort, on the road to Ohod, but still within fire, is a long many-windowed building, formerly Da'ud Pasha's palace. In my time it had been bought by Abbas Pasha of Egypt.

[p.395]The suburbs lie to the South and West of the town. Southwards they are separated from the enceinte by a wide road, called the Darb al-Janazah, the Road of Biers, so called because the corpses of certain schismatics, who may not pass through the city, are carried this way to their own cemetery near the Bab al-Jumah, or Eastern Gate. Westwards, between Al-Madinah and its faubourg, lies the plain of Al-Manakhah, about three-quarters of a mile long, by three hundred yards broad. The straggling suburbs occupy more ground than the city: fronting the enceinte they are without walls; towards the West, where open country lies, they are enclosed by mud or raw brick ramparts, with little round towers, all falling to decay. A number of small gates lead from the suburb into the country. The only large one, a poor copy of the Bab al-Nasr at Cairo, is the Ambari or Western entrance, through which we passed into Al-Madinah. The suburb contains no buildings of any consequence, except the Khaskiyah, or official residence of the Muhafiz (governor), a plain building near the Barr al-Manakhah, and the Khamsah Masajid, or the Five Mosques, which every Zair is expected to visit. They are

The Prophet's Mosque in the Manakhah. Abu Bakr's near the Ayn al-Zarka. Ali's Mosque in the Zukak al-Tayyar of the Manakhah. Some authors call this the "Musalla al-Id," because the Prophet here prayed the Festival Prayer. Omar's Mosque, near the Bab Kuba of the Manakhah, and close to the little torrent called Al-Sayh. Belal's Mosque, celebrated in books; I did not see it, and some Madani assured me that it no longer exists.

A description of one of these buildings will suffice, for they are all similar. Mohammed's Mosque in the Manakhah stands upon a spot formerly occupied, some say, by the Jami Ghamamah. Others believe it to be founded upon the Musalla al-Nabi, a place where the

[p.396]Apostle recited the first Festival prayers after his arrival at Al-Madinah, and used frequently to pray, and to address those of his followers who lived far from the Harim,[FN#22] or Sanctuary. It is a trim modern building of cut stone and lime in regular layers, of parallelogramic shape, surmounted by one large and four small cupolas. These are all whitewashed; and the principal is capped with a large crescent, or rather a trident, rising from a series of gilt globes: the other domes crown the several corners. The minaret is of the usual Turkish shape, with a conical roof, and a single gallery for the Mu'ezzin. An Acacia-tree or two on the Eastern side, and behind it a wall-like line of mud houses, finish the coup-d'oeil; the interior of this building is as simple as is the exterior. And here I may remark that the Arabs have little idea of splendour, either in their public or in their private architecture. Whatever strikes the traveller's eye in Al-Hijaz is always either an importation or the work of foreign artists. This arises from the simple tastes of the people, combined, doubtless, with their notable thriftiness. If strangers will build for them, they argue, why should they build for themselves? Moreover, they have scant inducement to lavish money upon grand edifices. Whenever a disturbance takes place, domestic or from without, the principal buildings are sure to suffer. And the climate is inimical to their enduring. Both ground and air at Al-Madinah, as well as at Meccah, are damp and nitrous in winter, in summer dry and torrid: the lime is poor; palm-timber soon decays: even foreign wood-work suffers, and a few years of neglect suffice to level the proudest pile with the dust.

The suburbs to the South of Al- Madinah are a collection

[p.397]of walled villages, with plantations and gardens between. They are laid out in the form, called here, as in Egypt, Hosh-court-yards, with single-storied tenements opening into them. These enclosures contain the cattle of the inhabitants; they have strong wooden doors, shut at night to prevent "lifting," and they are capable of being stoutly defended. The inhabitants of the suburb are for the most part Badawi settlers, and a race of schismatics who will be noticed in another chapter. Beyond these suburbs, to the South, as well as to the North and Northeast, lie gardens and extensive plantations of palm-trees.

[FN#1] To the East he limits Al-Hijaz by Yamamah (which some include in it), Nijd, and the Syrian desert, and to the West by the Red Sea. The Greeks, not without reason, included it in their Arabia Petraea. Niebuhr places the Southern boundary at Hali, a little town south of Kunfudah (Gonfoda). Captain Head (Journey from India to Europe) makes the village Al-Kasr, opposite the Island of Kotambul, the limit of Al-Hijaz to the South. [FN#2] Or, according to others, between Al-Yaman and Syria. [FN#3] If you ask a Badawi near Meccah, whence his fruit comes, he will reply "min Al-Hijaz," "from the Hijaz," meaning from the mountainous part of the country about Taif. This would be an argument in favour of those who make the word to signify a "place tied together," (by mountains). It is notorious that the Badawin are the people who best preserve the use of old and disputed words; for which reason they were constantly referred to by the learned in the palmy days of Moslem philology. "Al-Hijaz," also, in this signification, well describes the country, a succession of ridges and mountain chains; whereas such a name as "the barrier" would appear to be rather the work of some geographer in his study. Thus Al-Nijd was so called from its high and open lands, and, briefly, in this part of the world, names are most frequently derived from some physical and material peculiarity of soil or climate. [FN#4] Amongst a people, who, like the Arabs or the Spaniards, hold a plurality of names to be a sign of dignity, so illustrious a spot as Al-Madinah could not fail to be rich in nomenclature. A Hadis declares, "to Al-Madinah belong ten names": books, however, enumerate nearly a hundred, of which a few will suffice as a specimen. Tabah, Tibah, Taibah, Tayyibah, and Mutayyibah, (from the root "Tib," "good," "sweet," or "lawful,") allude to the physical excellencies of Al-Madinah as regards climate-the perfume of the Prophet's tomb, and of the red rose, which was a thorn before it blossomed by the sweat of his brow-and to its being free from all moral impurity, such as the presence of Infidels, or worshippers of idols. Mohammed declared that he was ordered by Allah to change the name of the place to Tabah, from Yasrib or Asrib. The latter, according to some, was a proper name of a son of Noah; others apply it originally to a place west of Mount Ohod, not to Al-Madinah itself; and quote the plural form of the word, "Asarib," ("spots abounding in palms and fountains,") as a proof that it does not belong exclusively to a person. However this may be, the inauspicious signification of Yasrib, whose root is "Sarab," (destruction,) and the notorious use of the name by the Pagan Arabs, have combined to make it, like the other heathen designation, Al-Ghalabah, obsolete, and the pious Moslem who pronounces the word is careful to purify his mouth by repeating ten times the name "Al-Madinah." Barah and Barrah allude to its obedience and purity; Hasunah to its beauty; Khayrah and Khayyarah to its goodness; Mahabbah, Habibah and Mahbubah, to the favour it found in the eyes of the Prophet; whilst Jabirah, Jabbarah, and Jabarah, (from the root Jabr, joining or breaking), at once denote its good influence upon the fortunes of the Faithful and its evil effects upon the Infidel. "Al-Iman," (the Faith,) is the name under which it is hinted at in the Koran. It is called Shafiyah (the Healer), on account of the curative effects of earth found in its neighbourhood; Nasirah, the Saving, and Asimah, the Preserving, because Mohammed and his companions were there secure from the fury of their foes; Fazihah, the Detector, from its exposing the Infidel and the hypocrite; Muslimah and Muminah, the Faithful City; Mubarakah, the Blessed; Mahburah, the Happy; and Mahturah, the Gifted. Mahrusah, the Guarded; and Mahfuzah, the Preserved, allude to the belief that an angel sits in each of its ten main streets, to watch over the town, and to prevent "Antichrist" entering therein. "Al-Dajjal," as this personage is called, will arise in the East and will peregrinate the earth; but he will be unable to penetrate into Meccah; and on approaching Jabal Ohod, in sight of Al-Madinah, he will turn off towards his death-place, Al-Sham (Damascus). In the Taurat or Pentateuch, the town is called Mukaddasah, the Holy, or Marhumah the Pitied, in allusion to the mission of Mohammed; Marzukah, the Fed, is a favourable augury of plenty to it, and Miskinah, the Poor, hints that it is independent of treasure of gold or store of silver to keep up its dignity. Al-Makarr, means the Residence or the Place of Quiet; Makinat, the Firmly-fixed, (in the right faith); Al-Harim, the Sacred or Inviolable; and, finally, Al-Balad, the Town, and Al-Madinah, the City by excellence. So an inhabitant calls himself Al-Madani, whilst the natives of other and less-favoured "Madinahs" affix Madini to their names. Its titles are Arz-Allah, Allah's Land; Arz al-Hijrah, the Land of Exile; Akkalat al-Buldan, the Eater of Towns; and Akkalat al-Kura, the Eater of Villages, on account of its superiority, even as Meccah is entitled Umm al-Kura, the Mother of Villages; Bayt Rasul Allah, House of Allah's Prophet; Jazirat alArab, Isle of the Arab; and Harim Rasul Allah, the Sanctuary of Allah's Prophet. In books and letters it has sometimes the title of Madinah Musharrafah, the Exalted; more often that of Madinah Munawwarah, the Enlightened-scil. by the lamp of faith and the column of light supposed to be based upon the Prophet's tomb. The Moslems are not the only people who lay claim to Al-Madinah. According to some authors-and the legend is more credible than at first sight it would appear-the old Guebres had in Arabia and Persia seven large fire temples, each dedicated to a planet. At "Mahdinah," as they pervert the word, was an image of the Moon, wherefore the place was originally called the "Religion of the Moon." These Guebres, amongst other sacred spots, claim Meccah, where they say Saturn and the Moon were conjointly venerated; Jerusalem, the Tomb of Ali at Najaf, that of Hosayn at Kerbela, and others. These pretensions of course the Moslems deny with insistance, which does not prevent certain symptoms of old and decayed faith peeping out in localities where their presence, if duly understood, would be considered an abomination. This curious fact is abundantly evident in Sind, and I have already alluded to it (History of Sind). [FN#5] Such is its formation in Al-Hijaz. [FN#6] Within the sanctuary all Muharramat, or sins, are forbidden; but the several schools advocate different degrees of strictness. The Imam Malik, for instance, allows no latrinae} nearer to Al-Madinah than Jabal Ayr, a distance of about three miles. He also forbids slaying wild animals, but at the same time he specifies no punishment for the offence. Some do not allow the felling of trees, alleging that the Prophet enjoined their preservation as an ornament to the city, and a pleasure to visitors. Al-Khattabi, on the contrary, permits people to cut wood, and this is certainly the general practice. All authors strenuously forbid within the boundaries slaying man (except invaders, infidels, and the sacrilegious), drinking spirits, and leading an immoral life. As regards the dignity of the sanctuary, there is but one opinion; a number of Hadis testify to its honour, praise its people, and threaten dreadful things to those who injure it or them. It is certain that on the last day, the Prophet will intercede for, and aid, all those who die, and are buried, at Al-Madinah. Therefore, the Imam Malik made but one pilgrimage to Meccah, fearing to leave his bones in any other cemetery but Al-Bakia. There is, however, much debate concerning the comparative sanctity of Al-Madinah and Meccah. Some say Mohammed preferred the former, blessing it as Abraham did Meccah. Moreover, as a tradition declares that every man's body is drawn from the dust of the ground in which he is buried, Al-Madinah, it is evident, had the honour of supplying materials for the Prophet's person. Others, like Omar, were uncertain in favour of which city to decide. Others openly assert the pre-eminence of Meccah; the general consensus of Al-Islam preferring Al-Madinah to Meccah, save only the Bayt Allah in the latter city. This last is a juste-milieu view, by no means in favour with the inhabitants of either place. In the meanwhile the Meccans claim unlimited superiority over the Madani; the Madani over the Meccans. [FN#7] These seven wells will be noticed in Chapter XIX., post. [FN#8] I translate Al-Zarka "azure," although Sir G. Wilkinson remarks, apropos of the Bahr al-Azrak, generally translated by us the "Blue Nile," that, "when the Arabs wish to say dark or jet black, they use the word �Azrak.'" It is true that Azrak is often applied to indeterminate dark hues, but "Aswad," not Azrak, is the opposite to Abyaz, "white." Moreover, Al-Zarka in the feminine is applied to women with light blue eyes; this would be no distinctive appellation if it signified black eyes, the almost universal colour. Zarka of Yamamah is the name of a celebrated heroine in Arab story, and the curious reader, who wishes to see how much the West is indebted to the East, even for the materials of legend, will do well to peruse her short history in Major Price's "Essay," or M.C. de Perceval's "Essai," &c., vol. i., p. 101. Both of these writers, however, assert that Zarka's eyes, when cut out, were found to contain fibres blackened by the use of Kohl, and they attribute to her the invention of this pigment. I have often heard the legend from the Arabs, who declare that she painted her eyes with "Ismid," a yellow metal, of what kind I have never been able to determine, although its name is everywhere known. [FN#9] Burckhardt confounds the Ayn al-Zarka with the Bir al-Khatim, or Kuba well, of whose produce the surplus only mixes with it, and he complains loudly of the "detestable water of Madinah." But he was ill at the time, otherwise he would not have condemned it so strongly after eulogising the salt-bitter produce of the Meccan Zemzem. [FN#10] The people of Nijd, as Wallin informs us, believe that the more the palms are watered, the more syrup will the fruit produce; they therefore inundate the ground, as often as possible. At Al-Jauf, where the date is peculiarly good, the trees are watered regularly every third or fourth day. [FN#11] Properly meaning the Yellow Wind or Air. The antiquity of the word and its origin are still disputed. [FN#12] Burckhardt (Travels in Arabia, vol. ii.) informs us, that in A.D. 1815, when Meccah, Yambu', and Jeddah suffered severely from the plague, Al-Madinah and the open country between the two seaports escaped. [FN#13] Conjecture, however, goes a little too far when it discovers small-pox in the Tayr Ababil, the "swallow birds," which, according to the Koran, destroyed the host of Abrahat al-Ashram. Major Price (Essay) may be right in making Ababil the plural of Abilah, a vesicle; but it appears to me that the former is an Arabic and the latter a Persian word, which have no connection whatever. M.C. de Perceval, quoting the Sirat al-Rasul, which says that at that time small-pox first appeared in Arabia, ascribes the destruction of the host of Al-Yaman to an epidemic and a violent tempest. The strangest part of the story is, that although it occurred at Meccah, about two months before Mohammed's birth, and, therefore, within the memory of many living at the time, the Prophet alludes to it in the Koran as a miracle. [FN#14] In Al-Yaman, we are told by Niebuhr, a rude form of inoculation-the mother pricking the child's arm with a thorn-has been known from time immemorial. My Madinah friend assured me that only during the last generation, this practice has been introduced amongst the Badawin of Al-Hijaz. [FN#15] Orientals divide their diseases, as they do remedies and articles of diet, into hot, cold, and temperate.

[FN#16] This grain is cheaper than rice on the banks of the Nile-a fact which enlightened England, now paying a hundred times its value for "Revalenta Arabica," apparently ignores. [FN#17] Herodotus (Euterpe) has two allusions to eye disease, which seems to have afflicted the Egyptians from the most ancient times. Sesostris the Great died stone-blind; his successor lost his sight for ten years, and the Hermaic books had reason to devote a whole volume to ophthalmic disease. But in the old days of idolatry, the hygienic and prophylactic practices alluded to by Herodotus, the greater cleanliness of the people, and the attention paid to the canals and drainage, probably prevented this malarious disease becoming the scourge which it is now. The similarity of the soil and the climate of Egypt to those of Upper Sind, and the prevalence of the complaint in both countries, assist us in investigating the predisposing causes. These are, the nitrous and pungent nature of the soil-what the old Greek calls "acrid matter exuding from the earth,"-and the sudden transition from extreme dryness to excessive damp checking the invisible perspiration of the circumorbital parts, and flying to an organ which is already weakened by the fierce glare of the sun, and the fine dust raised by the Khamsin or the Chaliho. Glare and dust alone, seldom cause eye disease. Everyone knows that ophthalmia is unknown in the Desert, and the people of Al-Hijaz, who live in an atmosphere of blaze and sand, seldom lose their sight. The Egyptian usually catches ophthalmia in his childhood. It begins with simple conjunctivitis, caused by constitutional predisposition, exposure, diet, and allowing the eye to be covered with swarms of flies. He neglects the early symptoms, and cares the less for being a Cyclops, as the infirmity will most probably exempt him from military service. Presently the sane organ becomes affected sympathetically. As before, simple disease of the conjunctiva passes into purulent ophthalmia. The man, after waiting a while, will go to the doctor and show a large cicatrix in each eye, the result of an ulcerated cornea. Physic can do nothing for him; he remains blind for life. He is now provided for, either by living with his friends, who seldom refuse him a loaf of bread, or if industriously inclined, by begging, by acting Mu'ezzin, or by engaging himself as "Yamaniyah," or chaunter, at funerals. His children are thus predisposed to the paternal complaint, and gradually the race becomes tender-eyed. Most travellers have observed that imported African slaves seldom become blind either in Egypt or in Sind. Few Englishmen settled in Egypt lose their sight, except they be medical men, who cannot afford time to nurse the early symptoms. The use of coffee and of water as beverages has much to do with this. In the days of hard drinking our Egyptian army suffered severely, and the Austrian army in Tuscany showed how often blindness is caused by importing Northern habits into Southern countries. Many Europeans in Egypt wash their eyes with cold water, especially after walking, and some use once a day a mildly astringent or cooling wash, as Goulard's lotion or vinegar and water. They avoid letting flies settle upon their eyes, and are of opinion that the evening dews are prejudicial, and that sleeping with open windows lays the foundation of disease. Generally when leaving a hot room, especially a Nile-boat cabin, for the cold damp night air, the more prudent are careful to bathe and to wipe the eyes and forehead as a preparation for change of atmosphere. During my short practice in Egypt I found the greatest advantage from the employment of counter-irritants,-blisters and Pommade Emetise,-applied to the temples and behind the ears. Native practitioners greatly err by confining their patients in dark rooms, thereby injuring the general health and laying the foundation of chronic disease. They are ignorant that, unless the optic nerve be affected, the stimulus of light is beneficial to the eye. And the people by their dress favour the effects of glare and dust. The Tarbush, no longer surrounded as of old by a huge turband, is the least efficient of protectors, and the comparative rarity of ophthalmic disease among the women, who wear veils, proves that the exposure is one of its co-efficient causes. [FN#18] This invention dates from the most ancient times, and both in the East and in the West has been used by the weird brotherhood to produce the appearances of the absent and the dead, to discover treasure, to detect thieves, to cure disease, and to learn the secrets of the unknown world. The Hindus called it Anjan, and formed it by applying lamp-black, made of a certain root, and mixed with oil to the palm of a footling child, male or female. The Greeks used oil poured into a boy's hand. Cornelius Agrippa had a crystal mirror, which material also served the Counts de Saint Germain and Cagliostro. Dr. Dee's "show-stone" was a bit of cannel coal. The modern Sindians know the art by the name of Gahno or Vinyano; there, as in Southern Persia, ink is rubbed upon the seer's thumb-nail. The people of Northern Africa are considered skilful in this science, and I have a Maghrabi magic formula for inking the hand of a "boy, a black slave girl, a virgin, or a pregnant woman," which differs materially from those generally known. The modern Egyptians call it Zarb al-Mandal, and there is scarcely a man in Cairo who does not know something about it. In selecting subjects to hold the ink, they observe the right hand, and reject all who have not what is called in palmistry the "linea media naturalis" straight and deeply cut. Even the barbarous Finns look into a glass of brandy, and the natives of Australia gaze at a kind of shining stone. Lady Blessington's crystal ball is fresh in the memory of the present generation, and most men have heard of Electro-Biology and the Cairo magician. Upon this latter subject, a vexed one, I must venture a few remarks. In the first account of the magician by Mr. Lane, we have a fair and dispassionate recital of certain magical, mystical, or mesmeric phenomena, which "excited considerable curiosity and interest th[r]oughout the civilised world." As usual in such matters, the civilised world was wholly ignorant of what was going on at home; otherwise, in London, Paris, and New York, they might have found dozens studying the science. But a few years before, Dr. Herklots had described the same practice in India, filling three goodly pages; but he called his work "Qanoon-i-Islam," and, consequently, despite its excellencies, it fell still-born from the press. Lady H. Stanhope frequently declared "the spell by which the face of an absent person is thrown upon a mirror to be within the reach of the humblest and most contemptible of magicians;" but the civilised world did not care to believe a prophetess. All, however, were aroused by Mr. Lane's discovery, and determined to decide the question by the ordeal of reason. Accordingly, in A.D. 1844, Mr. Lane, aided by Lord Nugent and others, discovered that a "coarse and stupid fraud" had been perpetrated upon him by Osman Effendi, the Scotchman. In 1845, Sir G. Wilkinson remarked of this rationalism, "The explanation lately offered, that Osman Effendi was in collusion with the magician, is neither fair on him nor satisfactory, as he was not present when those cases occurred which were made so much of in Europe," and he proposed "leading questions and accidents" as the word of the riddle. Eothen attributed the whole affair to "shots," as schoolboys call them, and ranked success under the head of Paley's "tentative miracles." A writer in the Quarterly explained them by suggesting the probability of divers (impossible) optical combinations, and, lest the part of belief should have been left unrepresented, Miss Martineau was enabled to see clear signs of mesmeric action, and by the decisive experiment of self, discovered the magic to be an "affair of mesmerism." Melancholy to relate, after all this philosophy, the herd of travellers at Cairo is still divided in opinion about the magician, some holding his performance to be "all humbug," others darkly hinting that "there may be something in it." [FN#19] They distinguish, however, between the Hijaz "Nasur" and the "Jurh al-Yamani," or the "Yaman Ulcer." [FN#20] I afterwards received the following information from Mr. Charles Cole, H.B.M. Vice-Consul at Jeddah, a gentleman well acquainted with Western Arabia, and having access to official information: "The population of Al-Madinah is from 16,000 to 18,000, and the Nizam troops in garrison 400. Meccah contains about 45,000 inhabitants, Yambu' from 6000 to 7000, Jeddah about 2500 (this I think is too low), and Taif 8000. Most of the troops are stationed at Meccah and at Jeddah. In Al-Hijaz there is a total force of five battalions, each of which ought to contain 800 men; they may amount to 3500, with 500 artillery, and 4500 irregulars, though the muster rolls bear 6000. The Government pays in paper for all supplies, (even for water for the troops,) and the paper sells at the rate of forty piastres per cent." [FN#21] The Urtah or battalion here varies from 800 to 1000 men. Of these, four form one Alai or regiment, and thirty-six Alai an Urdu or camp. This word Urdu, pronounced "Ordoo," is the origin of our "horde." [FN#22] One of the traditions, "Between my house and my place of prayers is a Garden of the Gardens of Paradise," has led divines to measure the distance: it is said to be 1000 cubits from the Bab Salam of the Harim to this Musalla.

Chapter XIX. A RIDE TO THE MOSQUE OF KUBA.[edit]

THE principal places of pious visitation in the vicinity of Al-Madinah are the Mosques of Kuba, the Cemetery Al-Bakia, and the martyr Hamzah's tomb, at the foot of Mount Ohod. These the Zair is directed by all the Olema to visit, and on the holy ground to pray Allah for a blessing upon himself, and upon his brethren of the faith.

Early one Saturday morning, I started for Kuba with a motley crowd of devotees. Shaykh Hamid, my Muzawwir, was by my side, mounted upon an ass more miserable than I had yet seen. The boy Mohammed had procured for me a Meccan dromedary, with splendid trappings, a saddle with burnished metal peaks before and behind, covered with a huge sheepskin died crimson, and girthed over fine saddle-bags, whose enormous tassels hung almost to the ground. The youth himself, being too grand to ride a donkey, and unable to borrow a horse, preferred walking. He was proud as a peacock, being habited in a style somewhat resembling the plume of that gorgeous bird, in the coat of many colours-yellow, red, and golden flowers, apparently sewed on a field of bright green silk-which cost me so dear in the Harim. He was armed, as indeed all of us were, in readiness for the Badawin, and he anxiously awaited opportunities of discharging his pistol. Our course lay from Shaykh Hamid's house in the Manakhah, along and up the

[p.399]Fiumara, "Al-Sayh," and through the Bab Kuba, a little gate in the suburb wall, where, by-the-bye, my mounted companion was nearly trampled down by a rush of half-wild camels. Outside the town, in this direction, Southward, is a plain of clay, mixed with chalk, and here and there with sand, whence protrude blocks and little ridges of basalt. As far as Kuba, and the Harrah ridge to the West, the earth is sweet and makes excellent gugglets.[FN#1] Immediately outside the gate I saw a kiln, where they were burning tolerable bricks. Shortly after leaving the suburb, an Indian, who joined our party upon the road, pointed out on the left of the way what he declared was the place of the celebrated Khandak, or Moat, the Torres Vedras of Arabian History.[FN#2] Presently the Nakhil, or palm plantations, began. Nothing lovelier to the eye, weary with hot red glare, than the rich green waving crops and the cool shade, the "food of vision," as the Arabs call it, and "pure water to the parched throat." For hours I could have sat and looked at it. The air was soft and balmy; a perfumed breeze, strange luxury in Al-Hijaz, wandered amongst the date fronds; there were fresh flowers and bright foliage; in fact, at Midsummer, every beautiful feature of Spring. Nothing more delightful to the ear than the warbling of the small birds, that sweet familiar sound; the splashing of tiny cascades from the wells into the wooden troughs,

[p.400]and the musical song of the water-wheels. Travellers-young travellers-in the East talk of the "dismal grating," the "mournful monotony," and the "melancholy creaking of these dismal machines." To the veteran wanderer their sound is delightful from association, reminding him of fields and water-courses, and hospitable villages, and plentiful crops. The expatriated Nubian, for instance, listens to the water-wheel with as deep emotion as the Ranz des Vaches ever excited in the hearts of Switzer mercenary at Naples, or "Lochaber no more," among a regiment of Highlanders in the West Indies. The date-trees of Al-Madinah merit their celebrity. Their stately columnar stems, here, seems higher than in other lands, and their lower fronds are allowed to tremble in the breeze without mutilation.[FN#3] These enormous palms were loaded with ripening fruits; and the clusters, carefully tied up, must often have weighed upwards of eighty pounds. They hung down between the lower branches by a bright yellow stem, as thick as a man's ankle. Books enumerate a hundred and thirty-nine varieties of trees; of these between sixty and seventy are well known, and each is distinguished, as usual among Arabs, by its peculiar name. The best kind is Al-Shelebi; it is packed in skins, or in flat round boxes covered with paper, somewhat in the manner of French prunes, and sent as presents to the remotest parts of the Moslem world.[FN#4] The fruit is about two inches long, with a small stone,

[p.401]and has a peculiar aromatic flavour and smell; it is seldom eaten by the citizens on account of the price, which varies from two to ten piastres the pound. The tree, moreover, is rare, and is said to be not so productive as the other species. The Ajwah[FN#5] date is eaten, but not sold, because a tradition of the Prophet declares, that whoso breaketh his fast every day with six or seven of these fruits, need fear neither poison nor magic. The third kind, Al-Hilwah, also a large date, derives a name from its exceeding sweetness: of this palm the Moslems relate that the Prophet planted a stone, which in a few minutes grew up and bore fruit. Next comes Al-Birni, of which was said, "It causeth sickness to depart, and there is no sickness in it." The Wahshi on one occasion bent its head, and "salamed" to Mohammed as he ate its fruit, for which reason even now its lofty tuft turns earthwards. The Sayhani (Crier) is so called, because when the founder of Al-Islam, holding Ali's hand, happened to pass beneath, it cried, "This is Mohammed the Prince of Prophets, and this is Ali the Prince of the Pious, and the Progenitor of the Immaculate Imams.[FN#6]" Of course the descendants of so intelligent a vegetable hold high rank in the kingdom of palms, and the vulgar were in the habit of eating the Sayhani and of throwing the stones about the Harim. The Khuzayriyah is thus named because it preserves its green colour, even when ripe; it is dried and preserved as a curiosity. The Jabali is the common fruit: the poorest kinds are the Laun and

[p.402]the Hilayah, costing from four to seven piastres per mudd.[FN#7]

I cannot say that the dates of Al-Madinah are finer than those of Meccah, although it is highly heretical to hold such tenet. The produce of the former city was the favourite food of the Prophet, who invariably broke his fast with it: a circumstance which invests it with a certain degree of relic-sanctity. The citizens delight in speaking of dates as an Irishman does of potatoes, with a manner of familiar fondness: they eat them for medicine as well as for food; "Rutab," or wet dates, being held to be the most saving, as it is doubtless the most savoury, of remedies. The fruit is prepared in a great variety of ways: the favourite dish is a broil with clarified butter, extremely distasteful to the European palate. The date is also left upon the tree to dry, and then called "Balah": this is eaten at dessert as the "Nukliyat"-the quatre mendiants of Persia. Amongst peculiar preparations must be mentioned the "Kulladat al-Sham[FN#8]" (necklace of Sham). The unripe fruit is dipped in boiling water to preserve its gamboge colour, strung upon a thick thread and hung out in the air to dry. These strings are worn all over Al-Hijaz as necklaces by children, who seldom fail to munch the ornament when not in fear of slappings; and they are sent as presents to distant countries.

[p.403]January and February are the time for the masculation[FN#9] of the palm. The "Nakhwali," as he is called, opens the female flower, and having inserted the inverted male blossom, binds them together: this operation is performed, as in Egypt, upon each cluster.[FN#10] The fruit is ripe about the middle of May, and the gathering of it, forms the Arabs' "vendemmia." The people make merry the more readily because their favourite diet is liable to a variety of accidents: droughts injure the tree, locusts destroy the produce, and the date crop, like most productions which men are imprudent enough to adopt singly as the staff of life, is often subject to complete failure.

One of the reasons for the excellence of Madinah dates is the quantity of water they obtain: each garden or field has its well; and even in the hottest weather the Persian wheel floods the soil every third day. It has been observed that the date-tree can live in dry and barren spots; but it loves the beds of streams and places where moisture is procurable. The palms scattered over the other parts of the plain, and depending solely upon rain water, produce less fruit, and that too of an inferior quality.


Verdure is not usually wholesome in Arabia, yet invalids leave the close atmosphere of Al-Madinah to seek health under the cool shades of Kuba. The gardens are divided by what might almost be called lanes, long narrow lines with tall reed fences on both sides. The graceful branches of the Tamarisk, pearled with manna, and cottoned over with dew, and the broad leaves of the castor plant, glistening in the sun, protected us from the morning

[p.404]rays. The ground on both sides of the way was sunken, the earth being disposed in heaps at the foot of the fences, an arrangement which facilitates irrigation, by giving a fall to the water, and in some cases affords a richer soil than the surface. This part of the Madinah plain, however, being higher than the rest, is less subject to the disease of salt and nitre. On the way here and there the earth crumbles and looks dark under the dew of morning; but nowhere has it broken out into that glittering efflorescence which denotes the last stage of the attack. The fields and gardens are divided into small oblongs, separated from one another by little ridges of mould which form diminutive water-courses. Of the cereals there are luxuriant maize, wheat, and barley, but the latter two are in small quantities. Here and there patches of "Barsim," or Egyptian clover, glitter brightly in the sunbeams. The principal vegetables are Badanjan (Egg-plant), the Bamiyah (a kind of esculent hibiscus, called Bhendi in India), and Mulukhiyah (Corchoris olitorius), a mucilaginous spinage common throughout this part of the East. These three are eaten by citizens of every rank; they are, in fact, the potatoes and the greens of Arabia. I remarked also onions and leeks in fair quantities, a few beds of carrots and beans; some Fijl (radishes), Lift (turnips), gourds, cucumbers, and similar plants. Fruit trees abound. There are five descriptions of vines, the best of which is Al-Sharifi, a long white grape of a flavour somewhat resembling the produce of Tuscany.[FN#11] Next to it, and very similar, is Al-Birni. The Hijazi is a round fruit, sweet, but insipid, which is also the reproach of the Sawadi, or black grape. And lastly, the Raziki is a small white fruit, with a diminutive stone. The Nebek, Lote,

[p.405]or Jujube, is here a fine large tree with a dark green leaf, roundish and polished like the olive; it is armed with a short, curved, and sharp thorn,[FN#12] and bears a pale straw-coloured berry, about the size of the gooseberry, with red streaks on the side next the sun. Little can be said in favour of the fruit, which has been compared successively by disappointed "Lotus eaters[FN#13]" to a bad plum, an unripe cherry, and an insipid apple. It is, however, a favourite with the people of Al-Madinah, who have reckoned many varieties of the fruit: Hindi (Indian), Baladi ("native"), Tamri (date-like), and others. There are a few peaches, hard like the Egyptian, and almost tasteless, fit only for stewing, but greedily eaten in a half-ripe state; large coarse bananas, lime trees, a few water-melons, figs, and apples, but neither apricots nor pears.[FN#14] There are three kinds of pomegranates: the best is the Shami (Syrian): it is red outside, very sweet, and costs one piastre: the Turki is large, and of a white colour: and the Misri has a greenish rind, and a somewhat sub-acid and harsh flavour; the latter are sold at one-fourth the price of the best. I never saw in the East, except at Meccah, finer fruits than the Shami: almost stoneless like those of Maskat, they are delicately perfumed, and as large as an infant's head. Al-Madinah is celebrated, like Taif, for its "Rubb Rumman," a thick pomegranate syrup, drunk

[p.406]with water during the hot weather, and esteemed cooling and wholesome.

After threading our way through the gardens, an operation requiring less time than to describe them, we saw, peeping through the groves, Kuba's simple minaret. Then we came in sight of a confused heap of huts and dwelling-houses, chapels and towers with trees between, and foul lanes, heaps of rubbish, and barking dogs,-the usual material of a Hijazi village. Having dismounted, we gave our animals in charge of a dozen infant Badawin, the produce of the peasant gardeners, who shouted "Bakhshish" the moment they saw us. To this they were urged by their mothers, and I willingly parted with a few paras for the purpose of establishing an intercourse with fellow-creatures so fearfully and wonderfully resembling the tailless baboon. Their bodies, unlike those of Egyptian children, were slim[FN#15] and straight, but their ribs stood out with curious distinctness; the colour of the skin was that oily lamp-black seen upon the face of a European sweep; and the elf-locks, thatching the cocoa-nut heads, had been stained by the sun, wind, and rain to that reddish-brown hue which Hindu romances have appropriated to their Rakshasas or demons. Each anatomy carried in his arms a stark-naked miniature of himself, fierce-looking babies with faces all eyes, and the strong little wretches were still able to extend the right hand and exert their lungs with direful clamour. Their mothers were fit progenitors for such progeny: long, gaunt, with emaciated limbs, wall-sided, high-shouldered, and straight-backed, with pendulous bosoms, spider-like arms, and splay feet. Their long elf-locks, wrinkled faces, and high cheek-bones, their lips darker than the epidermis, hollow staring eyes, sparkling as if to light up the extreme

[p.407]ugliness around, and voices screaming as though in a perennial rage, invested them with all the "charms of Sycorax." These "Houris of Jahannam" were habited in long night-gowns dyed blue to conceal want of washing, and the squalid children had about a yard of the same material wrapped round their waists for all toilette. This is not an overdrawn portrait of the farmer race of Arabs, the most despised by their fellow-countrymen, and the most hard-favoured, morally as well as physically, of all the breed.

Before entering the Mosque of Al-Kuba[FN#16] it will be necessary to call to mind some passages of its past history. When the Apostle's she-camel, Al-Kaswa, as he was approaching Al-Madinah after the flight from Meccah, knelt down here, he desired his companions to mount the animal. Abu Bakr and Omar[FN#17] did so; still she sat upon the ground; but when Ali obeyed the order, she arose. The Apostle bade him loose her halter, for she was directed by Allah, and the Mosque walls were built upon the line over which she trod. It was the first place of public prayer in Al-Islam. Mohammed laid the first brick, and with an "Anzah," or iron-shod javelin, marked out the direction of prayer[FN#18]: each of his successors followed his example. According to most historians, the

[p.408]land belonged to Abu Ayyub the Ansari, the Apostle's host; for which reason the "Bayt Ayyub," his descendants, still perform the service of the Mosque, keep the key, and share with the Bawwabs, or porters, the alms and fees here offered by the Faithful. Others declared that the ground was the property of one Linah, a woman who was in the habit of tethering her ass there.[FN#19] The Apostle used to visit it every Saturday[FN#20] on foot, and always made a point of praying the dawn-prayer there on the 17th Ramazan.[FN#21] A number of traditions testify to its dignity: of these, two are especially significant. The first assures all Moslems that a prayer at Kuba is equal to a Lesser Pilgrimage at Meccah in religious efficacy; and the second declares that such devotion is more acceptable to the Deity than prostrations at the Bayt al-Mukuddas (Jerusalem). Moreover, sundry miracles took place here, and a verset of the Koran descended from heaven. For which reasons the Mosque was much respected by Omar, who, once finding it empty, swept it himself with a broom of thorns, and expressed his wonder at the lukewarmness of Moslem piety. It was originally a square building of very small size; Osman enlarged it in the direction of the minaret, making it sixty-six cubits each way. It is no longer "mean and decayed" as in Burckhardt's time: the Sultan Abd al-Hamid, father of

[p.409]the Sultan Mahmud, erected a minaret of Turkish shape and a neat structure of cut stone, whose crenelles make it look more like a place of defence than of prayer. It has, however, no preten[s]ions to grandeur. To the South a small and narrow Riwak (porch), with unpretending columns, looks out Northwards upon a little open area simply sanded over; and this is the whole building.

The large Mastabah or stone bench at the entrance of the Mosque was crowded with sitting people: we therefore lost no time, after ablution and the Niyat ("the Intention") peculiar to this Visitation, in ascending the steps, in pulling off our slippers, and in entering the sacred building. We stood upon the Musalla al-Nabi (the Prophet's place of Prayer)[FN22]: after Shaykh Nur and Hamid had forcibly cleared that auspicious spot of a devout Indian, and had spread a rug upon the dirty matting, we performed a two-bow prayer, in font of a pillar into which a diminutive marble Mihrab or niche had been inserted by way of memento. Then came the Dua, or supplication, which was as follows:

"O Allah! bless and preserve, and increase, and perpetuate, and benefit, and be propit[i]ous to, our Lord Mohammed, and to his Family, and to his Companions, and be Thou their Preserver! O Allah! this is the Mosque Kuba, and the Place of the Prophet's Prayers. O Allah! pardon our Sins, and veil our Faults, and place not over us one who feareth not Thee, and who pitieth not us, and pardon us, and the true Believers, Men and Women, the Quick of them and the Dead: for verily Thou, O Lord, art the Hearer, the near to us, the Answerer of our Supplications." After which we recited the Testification and the Fatihah, and we drew our palms as usual down our faces.

We then moved away to the South-Eastern corner of the edifice, and stood before a Mihrab in the Southern wall.

[p.410]It is called "Takat al-Kashf" or "Niche of Disclosure," by those who believe that as the Prophet was standing undecided about the direction of Meccah, the Archangel Gabriel removed all obstructions to his vision. There again we went through the two-bow prayer, the Supplication, the Testification, and the Fatihah, under difficulties, for people mobbed us excessively. During our devotions, I vainly attempted to decipher a Cufic inscription fixed in the wall above and on the right of the Mihrab,-my regret however, at this failure was transitory, the character not being of an ancient date. Then we left the Riwak, and despite the morning sun which shone fiercely with a sickly heat, we went to the open area where stands the "Mabrak al-Nakah," or the "Place of kneeling of the she-Dromedary.[FB#23]" This, the exact spot where Al-Kaswa sat down, is covered with a diminutive dome of cut stone, supported by four stone pillars: the building is about eight feet high and a little less in length and in breadth. It has the appearance of being modern. On the floor, which was raised by steps above the level of the ground, lay, as usual, a bit of dirty matting, upon which we again went through, the ceremonies above detailed.

Then issuing from the canopy into the sun, a little outside the Riwak and close to the Mabrak, we prayed upon the "Makan al-Ayat,[FN#24]" or the "Place of Signs." Here was revealed to Mohammed a passage in the Koran especially alluding to the purity of the place and of the people of Kuba, "a Temple founded in Purity from its first Day;" and again: "there live Men who love to be

[p.411]cleansed, and verily Allah delights in the Clean." The Prophet exclaimed in admiration, "O ye Sons of Amr! what have ye done to deserve all this Praise and Beneficence?" when the people offered him an explanation of their personal cleanliness which I do not care to repeat. The temple of Kuba from that day took a fresh title-Masjid al-Takwa, or the "Mosque of Piety."

Having finished our prayers and ceremonies at the Mosque of Piety, we fought our way out through a crowd of importunate beggars, and turning a few paces to the left, halted near a small chapel adjoining the South-West angle of the larger temple. We there stood at a grated window in the Western wall, and recited a Supplication, looking the while reverently at a dark dwarf archway under which the Lady Fatimah used to sit grinding grain in a hand-mill. The Mosque in consequence bears the name of Sittna Fatimah. A surly-looking Khadim, or guardian stood at the door demanding a dollar in the most authoritative Arab tone-we therefore did not enter.

At Al-Madinah and at Meccah the traveller's hand must be perpetually in his pouch: no stranger in Paris or in London is more surely or more severely taken in. Already I began to fear that my eighty pounds would not suffice for all the expenses of sight-seeing, and the apprehension was justified by the sequel. My only friend was the boy Mohammed, who displayed a fiery economy that brought him into considerable disrepute with his countrymen. They saw with emotion that he was preaching parsimony to me solely that I might have more money to spend at Meccah under his auspices. This being palpably the case, I threw all the blame of penuriousness upon the young Machiavel's shoulders, and resolved, as he had taken charge of my finances at Al-Madinah, so at Meccah to administer them myself.


After praying at the window, to the great disgust of the Khadim, who openly asserted that we were "low

[p.412]fellows," we passed through some lanes lined with beggars and Badawi children, till we came to a third little Mosque situated due South of the larger one. This is called the Masjid Arafat, and is erected upon a mound also named Tall Arafat, because on one occasion the Prophet, being unable to visit the Holy Mountain at the pilgrimage season, stood there, saw through the intervening space, and in spirit performed the ceremony. Here also we looked into a window instead of opening the door with a silver key, and the mesquin appearance of all within prevented my regretting the necessity of economy. In India or in Sind every village would have a better Mosque. Our last visit was to a fourth chapel, the Masjid Ali, so termed because the Apostle's son-in-law had a house upon this spot.[FN#25] After praying there-and terribly hot the little hole was!-we repaired to the last place of visitation at Kuba-a large deep well called the Bir al-Aris, in a garden to the West of the Mosque of Piety, with a little oratory adjoining it. A Persian wheel was going drowsily round, and the cool water fell into a tiny pool, whence it whirled and bubbled away in childish mimicry of a river. The music sounded sweet in my ears; I stubbornly refused to do any more praying-though Shaykh Hamid, for form's sake, reiterated with parental emphasis, "how very wrong it was,"-and I sat down, as the Prophet himself did not disdain to do, with the resolution of enjoying on the brink of the well a few moments of unwonted "Kayf." The heat was overpowering, though it was only nine o'clock, the sound of the stream was soothing, that water-wheel was creaking a lullaby, and the limes and pomegranates, gently rustling, shed voluptuous fragrance through the morning air. I fell asleep, and-wondrous the contrast!-dreamed that I was once more standing

"By the wall whereon hangeth the crucified vine,"

[p.413]looking upon the valley of the Lianne, with its glaucous seas and grey skies, and banks here and there white with snow.

The Bir al-Aris,[FN#26] so called after a Jew of Al-Madinah, is one which the Apostle delighted to visit. He would sit upon its brink with his bare legs hanging over the side, and his companions used to imitate his example. This practice caused a sad disaster. In the sixth year of his caliphate, Osman, according to Abulfeda and Yakut, dropped from his finger the propheti[c] ring which, engraved in three lines with "Mohammed-Apostle-(of) Allah," had served to seal the letters sent to neighbouring kings, and had descended to the first three successors.[FN#27] The precious article was not recovered after three days' search, and the well was thenceforward called Bir al-Khatim-of the Seal Ring. It is also called the Bir al-Taflat-of Saliva[FN#28]-because the Prophet honoured it by expectoration, as, by-the-bye, he seems to have done to almost all the wells in Al-Madinah. The effect of the operation upon the Bir al-Aris, says the historians, was to sweeten the water, which before was salt. Their testimony, however, did not prevent my detecting a pronounced medicinal taste in the lukewarm draught drawn for me by Shaykh Hamid. In Mohammed's days the total number of wells is recorded to

[p.414] have been twenty: most of them have long since disappeared; but there still remain seven, whose waters were drunk by the Prophet, and which, in consequence, the Zair is directed to visit.[FN#29] They are known by the classical title of Saba Abar, or the seven wells, and their names are included in this couplet:

"Aris and Ghars, and Rumah and Buza'at And Busat, with Bayruha and Ihn."[FN#30]

[p.415]After my sleep, which was allowed to last until a pipe or two of Latakia had gone round the party, we remounted our animals. Returning towards Al-Madinah, my companions pointed out to me, on the left of the village, a garden called Al-Madshuniyah. It contains a quarry of the yellow loam or bole-earth, called by the Arabs, Tafl, by the Persians, Gil-i-Sarshui, and by the Sindians, Metu. It is used as soap in many parts of the East, and, mixed with oil, it is supposed to cool the body, and to render the skin fresh and supple. It is related that the Prophet cured a Badawi of the Benu Haris tribe, of fever, by washing him with a pot of Tafl dissolved in water, and hence the earth of Al-Madinah derived its healing fame. As far as I could learn from the Madani, this clay is no longer valued by them, either medicinally or cosmetically: the only use they could mention was its being eaten by the fair sex, when in the peculiar state described by "chlorosis."


[FN#1] The Baradiyah or gugglets of Al-Madinah are large and heavy, of a reddish-grey colour, and celebrated for cooling water, a property not possessed by those of Meccan fabric. [FN#2] I afterwards found reason to doubt this location. Ibn Jubayr (12th century), places it an arrow-shot from the Westward wall of Al-Madinah, and seems to have seen it. M.C. de Perceval states, I know not upon whose authority, that it was dug to protect the North-west, the North, and the North-eastern sides of the town: this is rendered highly improbable by the features of the ground. The learned are generally agreed that all traces of the moat had disappeared before our 15th century. [FN#3] In Egypt, the lower branches of the date are lopped off about Christmas time to increase the flavour of the fruit; and the people believe that without this "Taklim," as it is called, the tree would die. In Upper Egypt, however, as at Al-Madinah, the fronds are left untouched. [FN#4] The visitor from Al-Madinah would be badly received by the women of his family, if he did not present them on his return with a few boxes of dates, some strings of the same fruit, and skins full of henna powder. Even the Olema allow such articles to be carried away, although they strictly forbid keepsakes of earth or stone. [FN#5] This fruit must not be confounded with the enucleated conserve of dates, which in Arabia, as in Egypt, is known by the name of Ajwah. The Arabs infinitely despise the stuff sold at Alexandria and Cairo, declaring that it is fit only for cows. The Ajwah of the Oases, particularly of Siwah, is of excellent quality. [FN#6] So in A.D. 1272 the Crucifix spoke to St. Thomas Aquinas. Superstitions are of no age or country. [FN#7] At Al-Madinah- 12 Dirhams--------------(drams)------------------make 1 Wukkiyah (ounce). 20 Wukkiyah-------------------------------------------1 Ratl (pound). 33 Wukkiyah and 3-------(drams)-----------------------1 Wukkah (less than 2 lbs).

4 Wukkah---------------------------------------------1 Mudd.

24 Mudd-----------------------------------------------1 Ardeb. This Ratl, or pound, is the larger one applied to particular articles of commerce-such as meat, vegetables, and clarified butter; coffee, rice, soap, &c., are sold by the smaller Ratl of Meccah, equal to 140 dirhams. In Egypt, the Ratl is 144 Dirhams or 12 Wukkiyahs,-about 1 lb. 2 oz. and 8 dwts. troy. [FN#8] "Necklace of Syria." I was told they derive this name from the place where they are made. "Al-Safra" (on the Meccah road) being also called Al-Sham (Damascus). [FN#9] This is a translation of the Arab word "Tazkir," which is certainly more appropriate than our "caprification" applied to dates. [FN#10] The male tree is known by its sterility. In some countries only the fecundating pollen is scattered over the female flower, and this doubtless must have been Nature's method of impregnating the date. [FN#11] The resemblance is probably produced by the similarity of treatment. At Al-Madinah, as in Italy, the vine is "married" to some tall tree, which, selfish as a husband, appropriates to itself the best of everything,-sun, breeze, and rain. [FN#12] This thorn (the Rhamnus Nabeca, or Zizyphus Spina Christi) is supposed to be that which crowned the Saviour's head. There are Mimosas in Syria; but no tree, save the fabled Zakhum, could produce the terrible apparatus with which certain French painters of the modern school have attempted to heighten the terrors of the scene. [FN#13] For what reason I am entirely unable to guess, our dictionaries translate the word Sidr (the literary name of the tree that bears the Nebek) "Lote-tree." No wonder that believers in "Homeric writ" feel their anger aroused by so poor a realisation of the beautiful myth. [FN#14] The only pears in Al-Hijaz, I believe, are to be found at Taif, to which place they were transplanted from Egypt. [FN#15] Travellers always remark the curious pot-bellied children on the banks of the Nile. This conformation is admired by the Egyptians, who consider it a sign of strength and a promise of fine growth. [FN#16] I believe Kuba to be about three miles S.S.E. of Al-Madinah; but Al-Idrisi, Ibn Haukal, and Ibn Jubayr all agree in saying two miles. [FN#17] Osman, the fourth Companion, was absent at this time, not having returned from the first or Little Flight to Abyssinia. [FN#18] Some believe that in this Mosque the direction of prayer was altered from Jerusalem to Meccah, and they declare, as will presently be seen, that the Archangel Gabriel himself pointed out the new line. M.C. de Perceval forgets his usual accuracy when he asserts "le Mihrab de la Mosquee de Medine, qui fut d'abord place au Nord, fut transfere au Midi: et la Mosquee prit le nom de �Masjid-el-Kiblatayn,' Mosquee des deux Kiblah. In the first place, the Mihrab is the invention of a later date, about ninety years; and, secondly, the title of Al-Kiblatyn is never now given to the Mosque of Al-Madinah. [FN#19] This degrading report caused certain hypocrites to build a kind of rival chapel called the Mosque Zarar. It was burnt to the ground shortly after its erection, and all known of it is, that it stood near Kuba. [FN#20] Some say on Monday, probably because on that day Mohammed alighted at Kuba. But the present practice of Al-Islam, handed down from generation to generation, is to visit it on the Saturday. [FN#21] There is on this day at Kuba a regular Ziyarat or visitation. The people pray in the Harim of Al-Madinah, after which they repair to the Kuba Mosque, and go through the ceremonies which in religious efficacy equal an Umrah or Lesser pilgrimage. In books I have read that the 15th of Ramazan is the proper day. [FN#22] This is believed to be the spot where the Prophet performed his first Rukat, or prayer-bow. [FN#23] "Mabrak" is the locative noun from the triliteral root "Baraka-he blessed, or he (the camel) knelt upon the ground." Perhaps this philological connection may have determined Mohammed to consider the kneeling of the dromedary a sign that Allah had blessed the spot. [FN#24] "Ayat" here means a verset of the Koran. Some authors apply the above quoted lines to the Prophet's Mosque at Al-Madinah exclusively, others to both buildings. [FN#25] Ibn Jubayr informs us that Abu Bakr, Ayishah, and Omar had habitations at Kuba. [FN#26] Some authors mention a second Bir al-Aris, belonging in part to the Caliph Osman. According to Yakut, "Aris" is the Hebrew or Syriac word for a peasant; he quotes the plural form Arisun and Ararisah. [FN#27] Others assert, with less probability, that the article in question was lost by one Ma'akah, a favourite of Osman. As that ill-fated Caliph's troubles began at the time of this accident, the ring is generally compared to Solomon's. Our popular authors, who assert that Mohammed himself lost the ring, are greatly in error. [FN#28] According to some authors, Mohammed drew a bucket of water, drank part of the contents, spat into the rest, and poured it back into the well, which instantly became sweet. Ibn Jubayr applies the epithet Bir Al-Taflat peculiarly to the Aris well: many other authors are not so exact. [FN#29] The pious perform the Lesser Ablution upon the brink of the seven wells, and drink of the remnant of the water in "Tabarruk" or to secure the blessings of God. [FN#30] Some alter the 3rd, the 5th, and the 7th names to Bir al-Nabi, a well in the Kuba gardens, Bir al-Ghurbal, and Bir al-Fukayyir, where the Prophet, together with Salman the Persian and others of his companions, planted date trees. The Bir al-Aris has already been described. The Bir al-Ghars, Gharas or Ghurs, so called, it is said, from the place where it was sunk, about half a mile N.E. of the Kuba Mosque, is a large well with an abundance of water. Mohammed used to perform ablution on its brink, and directed Ali to wash his corpse with seven skins full of the water. The Bir Rumah is a large well with a spring at the bottom, dug in the Wady al-Akik, to the north of the Mosque Al-Kiblatayn. It is called "Kalib Mazni" (the old well of Mazni), in this tradition; "the best of old wells is the old well of Mazni." And ancient it must be if the legend say true, that when Abu Karb besieged Al-Madinah (A.D. 495), he was relieved of sickness by drinking its produce. Some assert that it afforded the only sweet water in Al-Madinah when the Prophet arrived there. The town becoming crowded by an influx of visitors, this water was sold by its owner, a man of the Benu Ghaffar tribe, or according to others, by one Mazni, a Jew. Osman at last bought it by paying upwards of 100 camels. The Bir Buza'at, or Biza'at, or Bisa'at, is in the Nakhil or palm plantations, outside the Bab al-Shami or North-western gate of Al-Madinah on the right of the road leading to Ohod. Whoever washes in its waters three times shall be healed. The Bir Busat is near the Bakia cemetery, on the left of the road leading to Kuba. The Prophet used to bathe in the water, and he declared it healthy to the skin. The Bir Bayruha, under whose trees the Prophet was fond of sitting, lies outside the Bab Dar al-Ziyafah, leading to Mount Ohod. The Kamus gives the word "Bayruha upon the measure of Fayluha." Some authorities upon the subject of Ziyarat, write Bayruha, "Bir Ha,"-the well of Ha, and variously suppose "Ha" to be the name of a man, a woman, or a place. Yahut mentions other pronunciations: "Bariha," "Bariha," "Bayriha," &c. The Bir Ihn is in a large garden E. of Kuba. Little is said in books about this well, and the people of Al-Madinah do not know the name.

Chapter XX. THE VISITATION OF HAMZAH'S TOMB.[edit]

ON the morning of Sunday, the twenty-third Zu'l Ka'adah (28th August, 1853), arrived from Al-Sham, or Damascus,[1] the great Caravan popularly called Hajj al-Shami, the "Damascus pilgrimage," as the Egyptian Cafila is Al-Misri,[2] or the Cairo pilgrimage. It is the main stream which carries off all the small currents that, at this season of general movement, flow from Central Asia towards the great centre of the Islamitic world, and in 1853 it amounted to about seven thousand souls. The arrival was anxiously expected by the people for several reasons. In the first place, it brought with it a new curtain for the Prophet's Hujrah, the old one being in a tattered condition; secondly, it had charge of the annual stipends and pensions of the citizens; and thirdly, many families expected members returning under its escort to their homes. The popular anxiety was greatly increased by the disordered state of the country round about; and, moreover, the great caravan had been one day late, generally arriving on the morning of the twenty-second Zu'l Ka'adah.[3]

During the night three of Shaykh Hamid's brothers, who had entered as Muzawwirs with the Hajj, came suddenly to the house: they leaped off their camels, and lost not a moment in going through the usual scene of kissing, embracing, and weeping bitterly for joy. I arose in the morning, and looked out from the windows of the Majlis. The Barr al-Manakhah, from a dusty waste dotted with a few Badawi hair-tents, had assumed all the various shapes and the colours of a kaleidoscope. The eye was bewildered by the shifting of innumerable details, in all parts totally different from one another, thrown confusedly together in one small field; and, however jaded with sight-seeing, it dwelt with delight upon the variety, the vivacity, and the intense picturesqueness of the scene. In one night had sprung up a town of tents of every size, colour, and shape; round, square, and oblong; open and closed,-from the shawl-lined and gilt-topped pavilion of the Pasha, with all the luxurious appurtenances of the Harim, to its neighbour the little dirty green "rowtie" of the tobacco-seller. They were pitched in admirable order: here ranged in a long line, where a street was required; there packed in dense masses, where thoroughfares were unnecessary. But how describe the utter confusion in the crowding, the bustling, and the vast variety and volume of sound? Huge white Syrian dromedaries, compared with which those of Al-Hijaz appeared mere pony-camels, jingling large bells, and bearing Shugdufs[4] (litters) like miniature green tents, swaying and tossing upon their backs; gorgeous Takht-rawan, or litters carried between camels or mules with scarlet and brass trappings; Badawin bestriding naked-backed "Daluls[5]" (dromedaries), and clinging like apes to the hairy humps; Arnaut, Kurd, and Turkish Irregular Cavalry, fiercer looking in their mirth than Roman peasants in their rage; fainting Persian pilgrims, forcing their stubborn camels to kneel, or dismounted grumbling from jaded donkeys; Kahwajis, sherbet sellers, and ambulant tobacconists crying their goods; country-people driving flocks of sheep and goats with infinite clamour through lines of horses fiercely snorting and biting and kicking and rearing; townspeople seeking their friends; returned travellers exchanging affectionate salutes; devout Hajis jostling one another, running under the legs of camels, and tumbling over the tents' ropes in their hurry to reach the Harim; cannon roaring from the citadel; shopmen, water-carriers, and fruit vendors fighting over their bargains; boys with loud screams bullying heretics; a well-mounted party of fine old Arab Shaykhs of the Hamidah clan, preceded by their varlets, performing the Arzah or war dance,-compared with which the Pyrenean bear's performance is grace itself,-firing their duck-guns upwards, or blowing the powder into the calves of those before them, brandishing their swords, leaping frantically the while, with their bright coloured rags floating in the wind, tossing their long spears tufted with ostrich feathers high in the air, reckless where they fall; servants seeking their masters, and masters their tents, with vain cries of Ya Mohammed[6]; grandees riding mules or stalking on foot, preceded by their crowd-beaters, shouting to clear the way; here the loud shrieks of women and children, whose litters are bumping and rasping against one another; there the low moaning of some poor wretch that is seeking a shady corner to die in: add a thick dust which blurs the outlines like a London fog, with a flaming sun that draws sparkles of fire from the burnished weapons of the crowd, and the brass balls of tent and litter; and-I doubt, gentle reader, that even the length, the jar, and the confusion of this description is adequate to its subject, or that any "word-painting" of mine can convey a just idea of the scene.

This was the day appointed for our visiting the martyrs of Ohod. After praying the dawn prayers as directed at the Harim, we mounted our donkeys; and, armed with pistols and knives, we set out from the city. Our party was large. Sa'ad the Demon had offered to accompany us, and the bustle around kept him in the best of humours; Omar Effendi was also there, quiet-looking and humble as usual, leading his ass to avoid the trouble of dismounting every second minute.[7] I had the boy Mohammed and my "slave," and Shaykh Hamid was attended by half a dozen relations. To avoid the crush of the Barr al-Manakhah, we made a detour Westwards, over the bridge and down the course of the torrent-bed "Al-Sayh." We then passed along the Southern wall of the castle, traversed its Eastern outwork, and issued from the Bab al-Shami. During the greater part of the time we were struggling through a living tide; and among dromedaries and chargers a donkey is by no means a pleasant monture. With some difficulty, but without any more serious accident than a fall or two, we found ourselves in the space beyond and northward of the city. This also was covered with travellers and tents, amongst which on an eminence to the left of the road, rose conspicuous the bright green pavilion of the Emir Al-Hajj, the commandant of the Caravan.[8] Hard by, half its height surrounded by a Kanat or tent wall, stood the Syrian or Sultan's Mahmil (litter), all glittering with green and gilding and gold, and around it were pitched the handsome habitations of the principal officers and grandees of the pilgrimage. On the right hand lay extensive palm plantations, and on the left, strewed over the plain, were signs of wells and tanks, built to supply the Hajj with water. We pass two small buildings, one the Kubbat Al-Sabak, or Dome of Precedence, where the Prophet's warrior friends used to display their horsemanship; the second the Makan, or burial-place of Sayyidna Zaki al-Din, one of Mohammed's multitudinous descendants. Then we fall into a plain, resembling that of Kuba, but less fertile. While we are jogging over it, a few words concerning Mount Ohod may not be misplaced. A popular distich says,

"Verily there is healing to the eye that looks Unto Ohod and the two Harrahs[9](ridges) near."

And of this holy hill the Apostle declared, "Ohod is a Mountain which loves Us and which We love: it is upon the Gate of Heaven[10];" adding,

"And Ayr[11] is a Place which hates Us and which We hate: it is upon the Gate of Hell." The former sheltered Mohammed in the time of danger; therefore, on Resurrection Day it will be raised to Paradise: whereas Jabal Ayr, its neighbour, having been so ill-judged as to refuse the Prophet water on an occasion while he thirsted, will be cast incontinently into Jahannam. Moslem divines, be it observed, ascribe to Mohammed miraculous authority over animals, vegetables, and minerals, as well as over men, angels, and jinnis. Hence the speaking wolf, the weeping post, the oil-stone, and the love and hate of these two mountains. It is probably one of the many remains of ancient paganism pulled down and afterwards used to build up the edifice of Al-Islam. According to the old Persians, the sphere has an active soul. Some sects of Hindus believe "mother earth," upon whose bosom we little parasites crawl, to be a living being. This was a dogma also amongst the ancient Egyptians, who denoted it by a peculiar symbol,-the globe with human legs. Hence the "Makrokosmos" of the plagiaristic Greeks, the animal on a large scale, whose diminutive was the "Mikrokosmos"-man. Tota natura, repeats Malpighi, existit in minimis. Amongst the Romans, Tellus or Terra was a female deity, anthropomorphised according to their syncretic system, which furnished with strange gods their Pantheon, but forgot to append the scroll explaining the inner sense of the symbol. And some modern philosophers, Kepler, Blackmore, and others, have not scrupled to own their belief in a doctrine which as long as "Life" is a mere word on man's tongue, can neither be proved nor disproved. The Mohammedans, as usual, exaggerate the dogma,-a Hadis related by Abu Hurayrah casts on the day of judgment the sun and the moon into hell fire.

Jabal Ohod owes its present reputation to a cave which sheltered the Apostle when pursued by his enemies[12]; to certain springs of which he drank,[13] and especially to its being the scene of a battle celebrated in Al-Islam. On Saturday, the 11th Shawwal, in the third year of the Hijrah (26th January, A.D. 625), Mohammed with seven hundred men engaged three thousand Infidels under the command of Abu Sufiyan; ran great personal danger, and lost his uncle Hamzah, the "Lord of Martyrs." On the topmost pinnacle, also, is the Kubbat Harun, the dome erected over Aaron's remains. It is now, I was told, in a ruinous condition, and is placed upon the "pinnacle of seven hills[14]" in a position somewhat like that of certain buildings on St. Angelo in the Bay of Naples. Alluding to the toil of reaching it, the Madani quote a facetious rhyme inscribed upon the wall by one of their number who had wasted his breath:-

"Malun ibn Malun
Man tala'a Kubbat Harun!"

Anglice, "The man must be a ruffian who climbs up to Aaron's dome." Devout Moslems visit Ohod every Thursday morning after the dawn devotions in the Harim; pray for the Martyrs; and, after going through the ceremonies, return to the Harim in time for mid-day worship. On the 12th of Rajab, Zairs come out in large bodies from the city, encamp on the plain for three or four days, and pass the time in feasting, jollity, and devotion, as is usual at pilgrimages and at saints' festivals in general.

After half an hour's ride we came to the Mustarah or resting-place, so called because the Prophet sat here for a few minutes on his way to the battle of Ohod. It is a newly-built square enclosure of dwarf whitewashed walls, within which devotees pray. On the outside fronting Al-Madinah is a seat like a chair of rough stones. Here I was placed by my Muzawwir, who recited an insignificant supplication to be repeated after him. At its end with the Fatihah and accompaniments, we remounted our asses and resumed our way. Travelling onwards, we came in sight of the second Harrah or ridge. It lies to the right and left of the road, and resembles lines of lava, but I had not an opportunity to examine it narrowly.[15] Then we reached the gardens of Ohod, which reflect in miniature those of Kuba; and presently we arrived at what explained the presence of verdure and vegetable life,-a deep Fiumara full of loose sand and large stones denoting an impetuous stream. It flows along the Southern base of Ohod, said to be part of the plain of Al-Madinah, and it collects the drainage of the high lands lying to the South and South-east. The bed becomes impassable after rain, and sometimes the torrents overflow the neighbouring gardens. By the direction of this Fiumara I judged that it must supply the Ghabbah or "basin" in the hills north of the plain. Good authorities, however, informed me that a large volume of water will not stand there, but flows down the beds that wind through the Ghats westward of Al-Madinah, and falls into the sea near the harbour of Wijh. To the south of the Fiumara is a village on an eminence, containing some large brick houses now in a ruinous state; these are the villas of opulent and religious citizens who visited the place for change of air, recreation, and worship at Hamzah's tomb. Our donkeys presently sank fetlock-deep in the loose sand of the torrent-bed. Then reaching the Northern side, and ascending a gentle slope, we found ourselves upon the battle-field.

This spot, so celebrated in the annals of Al-Islam, is a shelving strip of land, close to the Southern base of Mount Ohod. The army of the Infidels advanced from the Fiumara in crescent shape, with Abu Sufiyan, the general, and his idols in the centre. It is distant about three miles from Al-Madinah, in a Northerly direction.[16] All the visitor sees is hard gravelly ground, covered with little heaps of various coloured granite, red sandstone, and bits of porphyry, to denote the different places where the martyrs fell, and were buried.[17] Seen from this point, there is something appalling in the look of the Holy Mountain. Its seared and jagged flanks rise like masses of iron from the plain, and the crevice into which the Moslem host retired, when the disobedience of the archers in hastening to plunder enabled Khalid bin Walid to fall upon Mohammed's rear, is the only break in the grim wall. Reeking with heat, its surface produces not one green shrub or stunted tree; neither bird nor beast appeared upon its inhospitable sides, and the bright blue sky glaring above its bald and sullen brow, made it look only the more repulsive. I was glad to turn away my eyes from it.

To the left of the road North of the Fiumara, and leading to the mountains, stands Hamzah's Mosque, which, like the Harim of Al-Madinah, is a Mausoleum as well as a fane. It is a small strongly built square of hewn stone, with a dome covering the solitary hypostyle to the South, and the usual minaret. The Westward wing is a Zawiyah or oratory,[18] frequented by the celebrated Sufi and Saint, Mohammed al-Samman, the "Clarified Butter-Seller," one of whose blood, the reader will remember, stood by my side in the person of Shaykh Hamid. On the Eastern side of the building a half wing projects; and a small door opens to the South, upon a Mastabah or stone bench five or six feet high: this completes the square of the edifice. On the right of the road opposite Hamzah's Mosque, is a large erection, now in ruins, containing a deep hole leading to a well, with huge platforms for the accommodation of travellers. Beyond, towards the mountains, are the small edifices presently to be described.

Some Turkish women were sitting veiled upon the shady platform opposite the Martyrs' Mosque. At a little distance their husbands, and the servants holding horses and asses, lay upon the ground, and a large crowd of Badawin, boys, girls, and old women, had gathered around to beg, draw water, and sell dry dates. They were awaiting the guardian, who had not yet acknowledged the summons. After half an hour's vain patience, we determined to proceed with the ceremonies. Ascending by its steps the Mastabah subtending half the Eastern wall, Shaykh Hamid placed me so as to front the tomb. There standing in the burning sun, we repeated the following prayer: "Peace be upon Thee, O our Lord Hamzah! O Paternal Uncle of Allah's Apostle! O Paternal Uncle of Allah's Prophet! Peace be upon Thee, O Paternal Uncle of Mustafa! Peace be upon Thee, O Prince of the Martyrs! O Prince of the Happy! Peace be upon Thee, O Lion of Allah! O Lion of His Prophet!" After which, we asked Hamzah and his companions to lend us their aid in obtaining for us and ours pardon, worldly prosperity and future happiness. Scarcely had we finished, when, mounted on a high-trotting dromedary, appeared the emissary of Mohammed Kalifah, descendant of Al-Abbas, who keeps the key of the Mosque, and who receives the fees and donations of the devout. It was to be opened for the Turkish pilgrims. I waited to see the interior. The Arab drew forth from his pouch, with abundant solemnity, a bunch of curiously made keys, and sharply directed me to stand away from and out of sight of the door. When I obeyed, grumblingly, he began to rattle the locks, and to snap the padlocks, opening them slowly, shaking them, and making as much noise as possible. The reason of the precaution-it sounded like poetry if not sense-is this. It is believed that the souls of martyrs, leaving the habitations of their senseless clay,[19] are fond of sitting together in spiritual converse, and profane eye must not fall upon the scene. What grand pictures these imaginative Arabs see! Conceive the majestic figures of the saints-for the soul with Mohammedans is like the old European spirit, a something immaterial in the shape of the body-with long grey beards, earnest faces, and solemn eyes, reposing beneath the palms, and discussing events now buried in the gloom of a thousand years. I would fain be hard upon this superstition, but shame prevents. When in Nottingham, eggs may not be carried out after sunset; when Ireland hears Banshees, or apparitional old women, with streaming hair, and dressed in blue mantles; when Scotland sees a shroud about a person, showing his approaching death; when France has her loup-garous, revenants, and poules du Vendredi Saint (i.e. hens hatched on Good Friday supposed to change colour every year): as long as the Holy Coat cures devotees at Treves, Madonnas wink at Rimini, San Januario melts at Naples, and Addolorate and Estatiche make converts to hysteria at Rome: whilst the Virgin manifests herself to children on the Alps and in France, whilst Germany sends forth Psychography, whilst Europe, the civilised, the enlightened, the sceptical, dotes over clairvoyance and table-turning, and whilst even hard-headed America believes in "mediums," in "snail-telegraphs," and "spirit-rappings,"[20]-I must hold the men of Al-Madinah to be as wise, and their superstition to be as respectable, as that of others. But the realities of Hamzah's Mosque have little to recommend them. The building is like that of Kuba, only smaller: and the hypostyle is hung with oil lamps and ostrich eggs, the usual paltry furniture of an Arab mausoleum. On the walls are a few modern inscriptions and framed poetry, written in a calligraphic hand. Beneath the Riwak lies Hamzah, under a mass of black basaltic stone,[21] resembling that of Aden, only more porous and scoriaceous, convex at the top, like a heap of earth, without the Kiswah,[22] or cover of a saint's tomb, and railed round with wooden bars. At his head, or westward, lies Abdullah bin Jaysh, a name little known to fame, under a plain whitewashed tomb, also convex; and in the courtyard is a similar pile, erected over the remains of Shammas bin Osman, another obscure Companion.[23] We then passed through a door in the Northern part of the Western wall, and saw a diminutive palm plantation and a well. After which we left the Mosque, and I was under the "fatal necessity" of paying a dollar for the honour of entering it. But the guardian promised that the chapters Y.S. and Al-Ikhlas should be recited for my benefit, the latter forty times; and if their efficacy be one-twentieth part of what men say it is, the reader cannot quote against me a certain popular proverb concerning an order of men easily parted from their money.

Issuing from the Mosque, we advanced a few paces towards the mountain. On our left we passed by-at a respectful distance, for the Turkish Hajis cried out that their women were engaged in ablution-a large Sahrij or tank, built of cut stone with steps, and intended to detain

[p.430] the overflowing waters of the torrent. The next place we prayed at was a small square, enclosed with dwarf whitewashed walls, containing a few graves denoted by ovals of loose stones thinly spread upon the ground. This is primitive Arab simplicity. The Badawin still mark the places of their dead with four stones planted at the head, the feet, and the sides; in the centre the earth is either heaped up Musannam (i.e. like the hump of a camel), or more generally left Musattah (level). I therefore suppose that the latter was the original shape of the Prophet's tomb. Within the enclosure certain martyrs of the holy army were buried. After praying there, we repaired to a small building still nearer to the foot of the mountain. It is the usual cupola springing from four square walls, not in the best preservation. Here the Prophet prayed, and it is called the Kubbat al-Sanaya, "Dome of the Front Teeth," from the following circumstance. Five Infidels were bound by oath to slay Mohammed at the battle of Ohod: one of these, Ibn Kumayyah, threw so many stones, and with such goodwill, that two rings of the Prophet's helmet were driven into his cheek, and blood poured from his brow down his mustachios, which he wiped with a cloak to prevent the drops falling to the ground. Then Utbah bin Abi Wakkas hurled a stone at him, which, splitting his lower lip, knocked out one of his front teeth.[24] On the left of the Mihrab, inserted low down in the wall, is a square stone, upon which Shaykh Hamid showed me the impression of a tooth[25]: he kissed it with peculiar reverence, and so did I. But the boy Mohammed being by me objurgated-for I remarked in him a jaunty demeanour combined with neglectfulness of ceremonies-saluted it sulkily, muttering the while hints about the holiness of his birthplace exempting him from the trouble of stooping. Already he had appeared at the Harim without his Jubbah, and with ungirt loins-in waistcoat and shirt-sleeves. Moreover, he had conducted himself indecorously by nudging Shaykh Hamid's sides during divine service. Feeling that the youth's "moral man" was, like his physical, under my charge, and determined to arrest a course of conduct which must have ended in obtaining for me, the master, the reputation of a "son of Belial," I insisted upon his joining us in the customary two-bow prayers. And Sa'ad the Demon, taking my side of the question with his usual alacrity when a disturbance was in prospect, the youth found it necessary to yield. After this little scene, Shaykh Hamid pointed out a sprawling inscription blessing the Companions of the Prophet. The unhappy Abu Bakr's name had been half effaced by some fanatic Shi'ah, a circumstance which seemed to arouse all the evil in my companion's nature; and, looking close at the wall I found a line of Persian verse to this effect:

"I am weary of my life (Umr), because it bears the name of Umar."[26]

We English wanderers are beginning to be shamed out of our "vulgar" habit of scribbling names and nonsense in noted spots. Yet the practice is both classical and oriental. The Greeks and Persians left their marks everywhere, as Egypt shows; and the paws of the Sphinx bears scratches which, being interpreted, are found to be the same manner of trash as that written upon the remains of Thebes in A.D. 1879. And Easterns appear never to

[p.432]enter a building with a white wall without inditing upon it platitudes in verse and prose. Influenced by these considerations, I drew forth a pencil and inscribed in the Kubbat al-Sanaya,

Burton Abdullah Name.PNG

Issuing from the dome, we turned a few paces to the left, passed northwards, and thus blessed the Martyrs of Ohod:

"Peace be upon Ye, O Martyrs! Peace be upon Ye, O Blessed! ye Pious! ye Pure! who fought upon Allah's Path the good Fight, who worshipped your Lord until He brought you to Certainty.[27] Peace be upon You of whom Allah said (viz., in the Koran), �Verily repute not them slain on God's Path (i.e., warring with Infidels); nay, rather they are alive, and there is no Fear upon them, nor are they sorrowful!' Peace be upon Ye, O Martyrs of Ohod! One and All, and the Mercy of Allah and His Blessings."


Then again we moved a few paces forward and went through a similar ceremony, supposing ourselves to be in the cave that sheltered the Apostle. After which, returning towards the torrent-bed by the way we came, we stood a small distance from a cupola called Kubbat al-Masra. It resembles that of the "Front-teeth," and notes, as its name proves, the place where the gallant Hamzah fell by the spear of Wahshi the slave.[28] We faced towards it and finished the ceremonies of this Ziyarat by a Supplication, the Testification, and the Fatihah.

In the evening I went with my friends to the Harim. The minaret galleries were hung with lamps, and the inside of the temple was illuminated. It was crowded with Hajis, amongst whom were many women, a circumstance which struck me from its being unusual.[29] Some pious pilgrims, who had duly paid for the privilege, were perched upon ladders trimming wax candles of vast dimensions, others were laying up for themselves rewards in Paradise, by performing the same office to the lamps; many were going through the ceremonies of Ziyarat, and not a few were sitting in different parts of the Mosque apparently overwhelmed with emotion. The boys and the beggars were inspired with fresh energy, the Aghawat were gruffer and surlier than I had ever seen them, and the young men about town walked and talked with a freer and an easier demeanour than usual. My old friends the Persians-there were about 1200 of them in the Hajj Caravan-attracted my attention. The doorkeepers stopped them with curses as they were about to enter, and all claimed from each the sum of five piastres, whilst other Moslems were allowed to enter the Mosque free. Unhappy men! they had lost all the Shiraz swagger, their mustachios dropped pitiably, their eyes would not look any one in the face, and not a head bore a cap stuck upon it crookedly. Whenever an "'Ajami," whatever might be his rank, stood in the way of an Arab or a Turk, he was rudely thrust aside, with abuse muttered loud enough to be heard by all around. All eyes followed them as they went through the ceremonies of Ziyarat, especially as they approached the tombs of Abu Bakr and Omar,-which every man is bound to defile if he can,-and the supposed place of Fatimah's burial. Here they stood in parties, after praying before the Prophet's window: one read from a book the pathetic tale of the Lady's life, sorrows, and mourning death, whilst the others listened to him with breathless attention. Sometimes their emotion was too strong to be repressed. "Ay Fatimah! Ay Muzlumah! Way! way!-O Fatimah! O thou injured one! Alas! alas!" burst involuntarily from their lips, despite the danger of such exclamations; tears trickled down their hairy cheeks, and their brawny bosoms heaved with sobs. A strange sight it was to see rugged fellows, mountaineers perhaps, or the fierce Iliyat of the plains, sometimes weeping silently like children, sometimes shrieking like hysteric girls, and utterly careless to conceal a grief so coarse and grisly, at the same time so true and real, that I knew not how to behold it. Then the Satanic scowls with which they passed by, or pretended to pray at, the hated Omar's tomb! With what curses their hearts are belying those mouths full of blessings! How they are internally canonising Fayruz-the Persian slave who stabbed Omar in the Mosque-and praying for his eternal happiness in the presence of the murdered man! Sticks and stones, however, and not unfrequently the knife and the sabre, have taught them the hard lesson of disciplining their feelings; and nothing but a furious contraction of the brow, a roll of the eye, intensely vicious, and a twitching of the muscles about the region of the mouth, denote the wild storm of wrath within. They generally, too, manage to discharge some part of their passion in words. "Hail Omar, thou hog!" exclaims some fanatic Madani as he passes by the heretic-a demand more outraging than requiring a red-hot, black-north Protestant to bless the Pope. "O Allah! hell him!" meekly responds the Persian, changing the benediction to a curse most intelligible to, and most delicious in, his fellows' ears.[30]

An evening hour in the steamy heat of the Harim was equal to half a dozen afternoons; and I left it resolved never to revisit it till the Hajj departed from Al-Madinah. It was only prudent not to see much of the 'Ajamis; and as I did so somewhat ostentatiously, my companions discovered that the Shaykh Abdullah, having slain many of those heretics in some war or other, was avoiding them to escape retaliation. In proof of my generalistic qualities, the rolling down of the water jar upon the heads of the Maghribi Pilgrims in the "Golden Thread" was quoted, and all offered to fight for me a l'outrance. I took care not to contradict the report.

Chapter XXI. THE PEOPLE OF AL-MADINAH.[edit]

AL-MADINAH contains but few families descended from the Prophet�s Auxiliaries. I heard only of four whose genealogy is undoubted. These were,�

1. The Bayt al-Ansari, or descendants of Abu Ayyub, a most noble race whose tree ramifies through a space of fifteen hundred years. They keep the keys of the Kuba Mosque, and are Imams in the Harim, but the family is no longer wealthy or powerful.

2. The Bayt Abu Jud: they supply the Harim with Imams and Mu�ezzins.[FN#l] I was told that there are now but two surviving members of this family, a boy and a girl.

3. The Bayt al-Sha�ab, a numerous race. Some of the members travel

professionally, others trade, and others are employed in the Harim.

4. The Bayt al-Karrani, who are mostly engaged in commerce.

There is also a race called Al-Nakhawilah,[FN#2] who,

[p.2]according to some, are descendants of the Ansar, whilst others derive them from Yazid, the son of Mu�awiyah: the latter opinion is improbable, as the Caliph in question was a mortal foe to Ali�s family, which is inordinately venerated by these people. As far as I could ascertain, they abuse the Shaykhayn (Abu Bakr and Omar): all my informants agreed upon this point, but none could tell me why they neglected to bedevil Osman, the third object of hatred to the Shi�ah persuasion. They are numerous and warlike, yet they are despised by the townspeople, because they openly profess heresy, and are moreover of humble degree. They have their own priests and instructors, although subject to the orthodox Kazi; marry in their own sect, are confined to low offices, such as slaughtering animals, sweeping, and gardening, and are not allowed to enter the Harim during life, or to be carried to it after death. Their corpses are taken down an outer street called the Darb al-Janazah�Road of Biers�to their own cemetery near Al-Bakia. They dress and speak Arabic, like the townspeople; but the Arabs pretend to distinguish them by a peculiar look denoting their degradation: it is doubtless the mistake of effect for cause, about all such

�Tribes of the wandering foot and weary breast.�

number of reports are current about the horrid

[p.3]customs of these people, and their community of women[FN#3] with the Persian pilgrims who pass through the town. It need scarcely be said that such tales coming from the mouths of fanatic foes are not to be credited. I regret not having had an opportunity to become intimate with any of the Nakhawilah, from whom curious information might be elicited. Orthodox Moslems do not like to be questioned about such hateful subjects; when I attempted to learn something from one of my acquaintance, Shaykh Ula al-Din, of a Kurd family, settled at Al-Madinah, a man who had travelled over the East, and who spoke five languages to perfection, he coldly replied that he had never consorted with these heretics. Sayyids and Sharifs,[FN#4] the descendants of the Prophet, here abound. The Benu Hosayn of Al-Madinah have their head-quarters at Suwayrkiyah:[FN#5] the former place contains six or seven families; the latter, ninety-three or ninety-four. Anciently they were much more numerous, and such was their power, that for centuries they retained charge of the Prophet�s tomb. They

[p.4]subsist principally upon their Amlak, property in land, for which they have title-deeds extending back to Mohammed�s day, and Aukaf, religious bequests; popular rumour accuses them of frequent murders for the sake of succession. At Al-Madinah they live chiefly at the Hosh Ibn Sa�ad, a settlement outside the town and south of the Darb al-Janazah. There is, however, no objection to their dwelling within the walls; and they are taken to the Harim after death, if there be no evil report against the individual. Their burial-place is the Bakia cemetery. The reason of this toleration is, that some are supposed to be Sunni, or orthodox, and even the most heretical keep their �Rafz[FN#6]� (heresy) a profound secret. Most learned Arabs believe that they belong, like the Persians, to the sect of Ali: the truth, however, is so vaguely known, that I could find out none of the peculiarities of their faith, till I met a Shirazi friend at Bombay. The Benu Hosayn are spare dark men of Badawi appearance, and they dress in the old Arab style still affected by the Sharifs,�a Kufiyah (kerchief) on the head,[FN#7] and a Banish, a long and wide-sleeved garment resembling our magicians� gown, thrown over the white cotton Kamis (shirt): in public they always carry swords, even when others leave weapons at home. There are about two hundred families of Sayyid Alawiyah,�descendants of Ali by any of his wives but Fatimah, they bear no distinctive mark in dress or appearance, and are either employed at the

[p.5]temple or engage at trade. Of the Khalifiyah, or descendants of Abbas, there is, I am told, but one household, the Bayt Al-Khalifah, who act as Imams in the Harim, and have charge of Hamzah�s tomb. Some declare that there are a few of the Siddikiyah, or descendants from Abu Bakr; others ignore them, and none could give me any information about the Benu Najjar.

The rest of the population of Al-Madinah is a motley race composed of offshoots from every nation in Al-Islam. The sanctity of the city attracts strangers, who, purposing to stay but a short time, become residents; after finding some employment, they marry, have families, die, and are buried there with an eye to the spiritual advantages of the place. I was much importuned to stay at Al-Madinah. The only known physician was one Shaykh Abdullah Sahib, an Indian, a learned man, but of so melancholic a temperament, and so ascetic in his habits, that his knowledge was entirely lost to the public. �Why dost thou not,� said my friends, �hire a shop somewhere near the Prophet�s Mosque? There thou wilt eat bread by thy skill, and thy soul will have the blessing of being on holy ground.� Shaykh Nur also opined after a short residence at Al-Madinah that it was bara jannati Shahr, a �very heavenly City,� and little would have induced him to make it his home. The present ruling race at Al-Madinah, in consequence of political vicissitudes, is the �Sufat,[FN#8]� sons of Turkish fathers by Arab mothers. These half-castes are now numerous, and have managed to secure the highest and most lucrative offices. Besides Turks, there are families originally from the Maghrib, Takruris, Egyptians in considerable numbers, settlers from Al-Yaman and other parts of Arabia, Syrians, Kurds, Afghans, Daghistanis from the Caucasus, and a few Jawis�Java Moslems. The Sindis, I was told, reckon about one hundred families, who are exceedingly despised for their

[p.6]cowardice and want of manliness, whilst the Baluch and the Afghan are respected. The Indians are not so numerous in proportion here as at Meccah; still Hindustani is by no means uncommonly heard in the streets. They preserve their peculiar costume, the women persisting in showing their faces, and in wearing tight, exceedingly tight, pantaloons. This, together with other reasons, secures for them the contempt of the Arabs. At Al-Madinah they are generally small shopkeepers, especially druggists and sellers of Kumash (cloth), and they form a society of their own. The terrible cases of misery and starvation which so commonly occur among the improvident Indians at Jeddah and Meccah are here rare.

The Hanafi school holds the first rank at Al-Madinah, as in most parts of Al-Islam, although many of the citizens, and almost all the Badawin, are Shafe�is. The reader will have remarked with astonishment that at one of the fountain-heads of the faith, there are several races of schismatics, the Benu Hosayn, the Benu Ali, and the Nakhawilah. At the town of Safra there are said to be a number of the Zuyud schismatics,[FN#9] who visit Al-Madinah, and have settled in force at Meccah, and some declare that the Bayazi sect[FN#10] also exists.

The citizens of Al-Madinah are a favoured race, although the city is not, like Meccah, the grand mart of the Moslem world or the meeting-place of nations. They pay no taxes, and reject the idea of a �Miri,� or land-cess, with extreme disdain. �Are we, the children of the Prophet,� they exclaim, �to support or to be supported?� The Wahhabis, not understanding the argument, taxed them,

[p.7]as was their wont, in specie and in materials, for which reason the very name of those Puritans is an abomination. As has before been shown, all the numerous attendants at the Mosque are paid partly by the Sultan, partly by Aukaf, the rents of houses and lands bequeathed to the shrine, and scattered over every part of the Moslem world. When a Madani is inclined to travel, he applies to the Mudir al-Harim, and receives from him a paper which entitles him to the receipt of a considerable sum at Constantinople. �The �Ikram� (honorarium), as it is called, varies with the rank of the recipient, the citizens being divided into these four orders, viz.

First and highest, the Sadat (Sayyids),[FN#11] and Ima[m]s, who are entitled to twelve purses, or about �60. Of these there are said to be three hundred families.

The Khanahdan, who keep open house and receive poor strangers gratis. Their Ikram amounts to eight purses, and they number from a hundred to a hundred and fifty families.

The Ahali[FN#12] (burghers) or Madani properly speaking, who have homes and families, and were born in Al-Madinah. They claim six purses.

The Mujawirin, strangers, as Egyptians or Indians, settled at, though not born in, Al-Madinah. Their honorarium is four purses.

The Madani traveller, on arrival at Constantinople, reports his arrival to his Consul, the Wakil al-Haramayn. This �Agent of the two Holy Places� applies to the Nazir al-Aukaf, or �Intendant of Bequests�; the latter,

[p.8]after transmitting the demand to the different officers of the treasury, sends the money to the Wakil, who delivers it to the applicant. This gift is sometimes squandered in pleasure, more often profitably invested either in merchandise or in articles of home-use, presents of dress and jewellery for the women, handsome arms, especially pistols and Balas[FN#13] (yataghans), silk tassels, amber pipe-pieces, slippers, and embroidered purses. They are packed up in one or two large Sahharahs, and then commences the labour of returning home gratis. Besides the Ikram, most of the Madani, when upon these begging trips, are received as guests by great men at Constantinople. The citizens whose turn it is not to travel, await the Aukaf and Sadakat (bequests and alms),[FN#14] forwarded every year by the Damascus Caravan; besides which, as has been before explained, the Harim supplies even those not officially employed in it with many perquisites.

Without these advantages Al-Madinah would soon be abandoned to cultivators and Badawin. Though commerce is here honourable, as everywhere in the East, business is �slack,[FN#15]� because the higher classes prefer the idleness of administering their landed estates, and being servants to the Mosque. I heard of only four respectable houses, Al-Isawi, Al-Sha�ab, Abd al-Jawwad, and a family from Al-Shark (the Eastern Region).[FN#16] They all deal in grain, cloth, and provisions, and perhaps the richest have a capital of twenty thousand dollars. Caravans in

[p.9]the cold weather are constantly passing between Al-Madinah and Egypt, but they are rather bodies of visitors to Constantinople than traders travelling for gain. Corn is brought from Jeddah by land, and imported into Yambu� or via Al-Rais, a port on the Red Sea, one day and a half�s journey from Safra. There is an active provision trade with the neighbouring Badawin, and the Syrian Hajj supplies the citizens with apparel and articles of luxury�tobacco, dried fruits, sweetmeats, knives, and all that is included under the word �notions.� There are few store-keepers, and their dealings are petty, because articles of every kind are brought from Egypt, Syria, and Constantinople. As a general rule, labour is exceedingly expensive,[FN#17] and at the Visitation time a man will demand fifteen or twenty piastres from a stranger for such a trifling job as mending an umbrella. Handicraftsmen and artisans�carpenters, masons, locksmiths, potters, and others�are either slaves or foreigners, mostly Egyptians.[FN#18] This proceeds partly from the pride of the people. They are taught from their childhood that the Madani is a favoured being, to be respected however vile or schismatic; and that the vengeance of Allah will fall upon any one who ventures to abuse, much more to strike him.[FN#19] They receive a stranger at the shop window with the haughtiness of Pashas, and take pains to show him, by words as well as by looks, that they consider themselves as

[p.10]�good gentlemen as the king, only not so rich.� Added to this pride are indolence, and the true Arab prejudice, which, even in the present day, prevents a Badawi from marrying the daughter of an artisan. Like Castilians, they consider labour humiliating to any but a slave; nor is this, as a clever French author remarks, by any means an unreasonable idea, since Heaven, to punish man for disobedience, caused him to eat daily bread by the sweat of his brow. Besides, there is degradation, moral and physical, in handiwork compared with the freedom of the Desert. The loom and the file do not conserve courtesy and chivalry like the sword and spear; man �extends his tongue,� to use an Arab phrase, when a cuff and not a stab is to be the consequence of an injurious expression. Even the ruffian becomes polite in California, where his brother-ruffian carries his revolver, and those European nations who were most polished when every gentleman wore a rapier, have become the rudest since Civilisation disarmed them.

By the tariff quoted below it will be evident that Al-Madinah is not a cheap place.[FN#20] Yet the citizens,

[p.11]despite their being generally in debt, manage to live well. Their cookery, like that of Meccah, has borrowed something from Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Persia, and India: as all Orientals, they are exceedingly fond of clarified butter.[FN#21]

[p.12]I have seen the boy Mohammed drink off nearly a tumbler-full, although his friends warned him that it would make him as fat as an elephant. When a man cannot enjoy clarified butter in these countries, it is considered a sign that his stomach is out of order, and all my excuses of a melancholic temperament were required to be in full play to prevent the infliction of fried meat swimming in grease, or that guest-dish,[FN#22] rice saturated with melted�perhaps I should say�rancid butter. The �Samn� of Al-Hijaz, however, is often fresh, being brought in by the Badawin; it has not therefore the foul flavour derived from the old and impregnated skin-bag which distinguishes the �ghi� of India.[FN#23] The house of a Madani in good circumstances is comfortable, for the building is substantial, and the attendance respectable. Black slave-girls here perform the complicated duties of servant-maids in England; they are taught to sew, to cook, and to wash, besides sweeping the house and drawing water for domestic use. Hasinah (the �Charmer,� a decided misnomer) costs from $40 to $50; if she be a mother, her value is less; but neat-handedness, propriety of demeanour, and skill in feminine accomplishments, raise her to $100=�25. A little black boy, perfect in all his points, and tolerably intelligent, costs about a thousand piastres; girls are dearer, and eunuchs fetch double that sum. The older the children become, the

[p.13]more their value diminishes; and no one would purchase[,] save under exceptional circumstances, an adult slave, because he is never parted with but for some incurable vice. The Abyssinian, mostly Galla, girls, so much prized because their skins are always cool in the hottest weather, are here rare; they seldom sell for less than �20, and they often fetch �60. I never heard of a Jariyah Bayza, a white slave girl, being in the market at Al-Madinah: in Circassia they fetch from �100 to �400 prime cost, and few men in Al-Hijaz could afford so expensive a luxury. The Bazar at Al-Madinah is poor, and as almost all the slaves are brought from Meccah by the Jallabs, or drivers, after exporting the best to Egypt, the town receives only the refuse.[FN#24]

The personal appearance of the Madani makes the stranger wonder how this mongrel population of settlers has acquired a peculiar and almost an Arab physiognomy. They are remarkably fair, the effect of a cold climate; sometimes the cheeks are lighted up with red, and the hair is a dark chestnut�at Al-Madinah I was not stared at as a white man. The cheeks and different parts of the children�s bodies are sometimes marked with Mashali or Tashrih, not the three long stripes of the Meccans,[FN#25] but little scars generally in threes. In some points they approach very near the true Arab type, that is to say, the Badawi of ancient and noble family. The cheek-bones are high and saillant, the eye small, more round than long,

[p.14] piercing, fiery, deep-set, and brown rather than black. The head is small, the ears well-cut, the face long and oval, though not unfrequently disfigured by what is popularly called the �lantern-jaw�; the forehead high, bony, broad, and slightly retreating, and the beard and mustachios scanty, consisting of two tufts upon the chin, with, generally speaking, little or no whisker. These are the points of resemblance between the city and the country Arab. The difference is equally remarkable. The temperament of the Madani is not purely nervous, like that of the Badawi, but admits a large admixture of the bilious, and, though rarely, the lymphatic. The cheeks are fuller, the jaws project more than in the pure race, the lips are more fleshy, more sensual and ill-fitting; the features are broader, and the limbs are stouter and more bony. The beard is a little thicker, and the young Arabs of the towns are beginning to imitate the Turks in that abomination to their ancestors�shaving. Personal vanity, always a ruling passion among Orientals, and a hopeless wish to emulate the flowing beards of the Turks and the Persians�perhaps the only nations in the world who ought not to shave the chin�have overruled even the religious objections to such innovation. I was more frequently appealed to at Al-Madinah than anywhere else, for some means of removing the opprobrium �Kusah,� or scant-bearded man. They blacken the beard with gall-nuts, henna, and other preparations, especially the Egyptian mixture, composed of sulphate of iron one part, ammoniure of iron one part, and gall-nuts two parts, infused in eight parts of distilled water. It is a very bad dye. Much refinement of dress is now found at Al-Madinah,�Constantinople, the Paris of the East, supplying it with the newest fashions. Respectable men wear either a Benish or a Jubbah; the latter, as at Meccah, is generally of some light and flashy colour, gamboge, yellow, tender green, or bright pink.

[p.15]This is the sign of a �dressy� man. If you have a single coat, it should be of some modest colour, as a dark violet; to appear always in the same tender green, or bright pink, would excite derision. But the Hijazis, poor and rich, always prefer these tulip tints. The proper Badan, or long coat without sleeves, still worn in truly Arab countries, is here confined to the lowest classes. That ugliest of head-dresses, the red Tunisian cap, called �Tarbush,[FN#26]� is much used, only the Arabs have too much regard for their eyes and faces to wear it, as the Turks do, without a turband. It is with regret that one sees the most graceful head-gear imaginable, the Kufiyah and the Aakal, proscribed except amongst the Sharifs and the Badawin. The women dress, like the men, handsomely. Indoors they wear, I am told, a Sudayriyah, or boddice of calico and other stuffs, like the Choli of India, which supports the bosom without the evils of European stays. Over this is a Saub, or white shirt, of the white stuff called Halaili or Burunjuk, with enormous sleeves, and flowing down to the feet; the Sarwal or pantaloons are not wide, like the Egyptians�, but rather tight, approaching to the Indian cut, without its exaggeration.[FN#27] Abroad, they throw over the head a silk or a cotton Milayah, generally chequered white and blue. The Burka (face-veil), all over Al-Hijaz is white, a decided improvement in point of cleanliness upon that of Egypt. Women of all ranks die the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands black; and trace thin lines down the inside of the

[p.16]fingers, by first applying a plaster of henna and then a mixture, called �Shadar,� of gall-nuts, alum, and lime. The hair[,] parted in the centre, is plaited into about twenty little twists called Jadilah.[FN#28] Of ornaments, as usual among Orientals, they have a vast variety, ranging from brass and spangles to gold and precious stones; and they delight in strong perfumes, musk, civet, ambergris, attar of rose, oil of jasmine, aloe-wood, and extract of cinnamon. Both sexes wear Constantinople slippers. The women draw on Khuff, inner slippers, of bright yellow leather, serving for socks, and covering the ankle, with Papush of the same material, sometimes lined with velvet and embroidered with a gold sprig under the hollow of the foot. In mourning the men show no difference of dress, like good Moslems, to whom such display of grief is forbidden. But the women, who cannot dissociate the heart and the toilette, evince their sorrow by wearing white clothes and by doffing their ornaments. This is a modern custom: the accurate Burckhardt informs us that in his day the women of Al-Madinah did not wear mourning.

The Madani generally appear abroad on foot. Few animals are kept here, on account, I suppose, of the expense of feeding them. The Cavalry are mounted on poor Egyptian nags. The horses generally ridden by rich men are generally Nijdi, costing from $200 to $300. Camels are numerous, but those bred in Al-Hijaz are small, weak, and consequently little prized. Dromedaries of good breed, called Ahrar[FN#29] (the noble) and Namani, from the place of that name, are to be had for any sum between $10 and $400; they are diminutive, but exceedingly swift, surefooted, sagacious, thoroughbred, with eyes like the

[p.17]antelope�s, and muzzles that would almost enter a tumbler. Mules are not found at Al-Madinah, although popular prejudice does not now forbid the people to mount them. Asses come from Egypt and Meccah: I am told that some good animals are to be found in the town, and that certain ignoble Badawi clans have a fine breed, but I never saw any. Of beasts intended for food, the sheep is the only common one in this part of Al-Hijaz. There are three distinct breeds. The larger animal comes from Nijd and the Anizah Badawin, who drive a flourishing trade; the smaller is a native of the country. Both are the common Arab species, of a tawny colour, with a long fat tail. Occasionally one meets with what at Aden is called the Berberah sheep, a totally different beast,�white, with a black broad face, a dew-lap, and a short fat tail, that looks as if twisted up into a knot: it was doubtless introduced by the Persians. Cows are rare at Al-Madinah. Beef throughout the East is considered an unwholesome food, and the Badawi will not drink cow�s milk, preferring that of the camel, the ewe, and the goat. The flesh of the latter animal is scarcely ever eaten in the city, except by the poorest classes.

The manners of the Madani are graver and somewhat more pompous than those of any Arabs with whom I ever mixed. This they appear to have borrowed from their rulers, the Turks. But their austerity and ceremoniousness are skin-deep. In intimacy or in anger the garb of politeness is thrown off, and the screaming Arab voice, the voluble, copious, and emphatic abuse, and the mania for gesticulation, return in all their deformity. They are great talkers as the following little trait shows. When a man is opposed to more than his match in disputing or bargaining, instead of patiently saying to himself, S�il crache il est mort, he interrupts the adversary with a Sall� ala Mohammed,�Bless the Prophet. Every good Moslem is obliged to obey such requisition by responding, Allahumma

[p.18] salli alayh,�O Allah bless him! But the Madani curtails the phrase to �A�n,[FN#30]� supposing it to be an equivalent, and proceeds in his loquacity. Then perhaps the baffled opponent will shout out Wahhid, i.e., �Attest the unity of the Deity�; when, instead of employing the usual religious phrases to assert that dogma, he will briefly ejaculate �Al,� and hurry on with the course of conversation. As it may be supposed, these wars of words frequently end in violent quarrels; for, to do the Madani justice, they are always ready to fight. The desperate old feud between the �Juwwa,� and the �Barra,��the town and the suburbs�has been put down with the greatest difficulty. The boys, indeed, still keep it up, turning out in bodies and making determined onslaughts with sticks and stones.[FN#31]

It is not to be believed that in a town garrisoned by Turkish troops, full of travelled traders, and which supports itself by plundering Hajis, the primitive virtues of the Arab could exist. The Meccans, a dark people, say of the Madani, that their hearts are black as their skins are white.[FN#32] This is, of course, exaggerated; but it is not too

[p.19] much to assert that pride, pugnacity, a peculiar point of honour and a vindictiveness of wonderful force and patience, are the only characteristic traits of Arab character which the citizens of Al-Madinah habitually display. Here you meet with scant remains of the chivalry of the Desert. A man will abuse his guest, even though he will not dine without him, and would protect him bravely against an enemy. And words often pass lightly between individuals which suffice to cause a blood feud amongst Badawin. The outward appearance of decorum is conspicuous amongst the Madani. There are no places where Corinthians dwell, as at Meccah, Cairo, and Jeddah. Adultery, if detected, would be punished by lapidation according to the rigour of the Koranic law[FN#33]; and simple immorality by religious stripes, or, if of repeated occurrence, by expulsion from the city. But scandals seldom occur, and the women, I am told, behave with great decency.[FN#34] Abroad, they have the usual Moslem

[p.20]pleasures of marriage, lyings-in, circumcision feasts, holy isitations, and funerals. At home, they employ themselves with domestic matters, and especially in scolding �Hasinah� and �Za�afaran.� In this occupation they surpass even the notable English housekeeper of the middle orders of society�the latter being confined to �knagging� at her slavey, whereas the Arab lady is allowed an unbounded extent of vocabulary. At Shaykh Hamid�s house, however, I cannot accuse the women of

�Swearing into strong shudders The immortal gods who heard them.�

They abused the black girls with unction, but without any violent expletives. At Meccah, however, the old lady in whose house I was living would, when excited by the melancholy temperament of her eldest son and his irregular hours of eating, scold him in the grossest terms, not unfrequently ridiculous in the extreme. For instance, one of her assertions was that he�the son�was the offspring of an immoral mother; which assertion, one might suppose, reflected not indirectly upon herself. So in Egypt I have frequently heard a father, when reproving his boy, address him by �O dog, son of a dog!� and �O spawn of an Infidel�of a Jew�of a Christian!� Amongst the men of Al-Madinah I remarked a considerable share of hypocrisy. Their mouths were as full of religious salutations, exclamations, and hackneyed quotations from the Koran, as of indecency and vile abuse�a point in which they resemble the Persians. As before

[p.21] observed, they preserve their reputation as the sons of a holy city by praying only in public. At Constantinople they are by no means remarkable for sobriety. Intoxicating liquors, especially Araki, are made in Al-Madinah, only by the Turks: the citizens seldom indulge in this way at home, as detection by smell is imminent among a people of water-bibbers. During the whole time of my stay I had to content myself with a single bottle of Cognac, coloured and scented to resemble medicine. The Madani are, like the Meccans, a curious mixture of generosity and meanness, of profuseness and penuriousness. But the former quality is the result of ostentation, the latter is a characteristic of the Semitic race, long ago made familiar to Europe by the Jew. The citizens will run deeply in debt, expecting a good season of devotees to pay off their liabilities, or relying upon the next begging trip to Turkey; and such a proceeding, contrary to the custom of the Moslem world, is not condemned by public opinion. Above all their qualities, personal conceit is remarkable: they show it in their strut, in their looks, and almost in every word. �I am such an one, the son of such an one,� is a common expletive, especially in times of danger; and this spirit is not wholly to be condemned, as it certainly acts as an incentive to gallant actions. But it often excites them to vie with one another in expensive entertainments and similar vanities. The expression, so offensive to English ears, Inshallah Bukra�Please God, tomorrow�always said about what should be done to-day, is here common as in Egypt or in India. This procrastination belongs more or less to all Orientals. But Arabia especially abounds in the Tawakkal al� Allah, ya Shaykh!�Place thy reliance upon Allah, O Shaykh!�enjoined when a man should depend upon his own exertions. Upon the whole, however, though alive to the infirmities of the Madani character, I thought favourably of it, finding among this people more of the redeeming point, manliness,

[p.22]than in most Eastern nations with whom I am acquainted.

The Arabs, like the Egyptians, all marry. Yet, as usual, they are hard and facetious upon that ill-treated subject�matrimony. It has exercised the brain of their wits and sages, who have not failed to indite notable things concerning it. Saith �Harikar al-Hakim� [(]Dominie Do-All) to his nephew Nadan (Sir Witless), whom he would dissuade from taking to himself a wife, �Marriage is joy for a month and sorrow for a life, and the paying of settlements and the breaking of back (i.e. under the load of misery), and the listening to a woman's tongue!� And again we have in verse:�

�They said �marry!� I replied, �far be it from me To take to my bosom a sackful of snakes. I am free�why then become a slave? May Allah never bless womankind!��

And the following lines are generally quoted, as affording a kind of bird�s-eye view of female existence:�

�From 10 (years of age) unto 20, A repose to the eyes of beholders.[FN#35] From 20 unto 30, Still fair and full of flesh. From 30 unto 40, A mother of many boys and girls. From 40 unto 50, An old woman of the deceitful. From 50 unto 60, Slay her with a knife. From 60 unto 70, The curse of Allah upon them, one and all!�

Another popular couplet makes a most unsupported assertion:�

�They declare womankind to be heaven to man, I say, �Allah, give me Jahannam, and not this heaven.��

Yet the fair sex has the laugh on its side, for these railers at Al-Madinah as at other places, invariably marry. The

[p.23]marriage ceremony is tedious and expensive. It begins with a Khitbah or betrothal: the father of the young man repairs to the parent or guardian of the girl, and at the end of his visit exclaims, �The Fatihah! we beg of your kindness your daughter for our son.� Should the other be favourable to the proposal, his reply is, �Welcome and congratulation to you: but we must perform Istikharah[FN#36] (religious lot casting)�; and, when consent is given, both pledge themselves to the agreement by reciting the Fatihah. Then commence negotiations about the Mahr or sum settled upon the bride[FN#37]; and after the smoothing of this difficulty follow feastings of friends and relatives, male and female. The marriage itself is called Akd al-Nikah or Ziwaj. A Walimah or banquet is prepared by the father of the Aris (groom), at his own house, and the Kazi attends to perform the nuptial ceremony, the girl�s consent being obtained through her Wakil, any male relation whom she commissions to act for her. Then, with great pomp and circumstance, the Aris visits his Arusah (bride) at her father�s house; and finally, with a Zuffah or procession and sundry ceremonies at the Harim, she is brought to her new home. Arab funerals are as simple as their marriages are complicated. Neither Naddabah (myriologist or hired keener), nor indeed any female, even a relation, is present at burials as in other parts of the Moslem world,[FN#38] and it is esteemed disgraceful

[p.24]for a man to weep aloud. The Prophet, ho doubtless had heard of those pagan mournings, where an effeminate and unlimited display of woe was often terminated by licentious excesses, like the Christian�s half-heathen �wakes,� forbad [a]ught beyond a decent demonstration of grief. And his strong good sense enabled him to see through the vanity of professional mourners. At Al-Madinah the corpse is interred shortly after decease. The bier is carried though the streets at a moderate pace, by friends and relatives,[FN#39] these bringing up the rear. Every man who passes lends his shoulder for a minute, a mark of respect to the dead, and also considered a pious and a prayerful act. Arrived at the Harim, they carry the corpse in visitation to the Prophet�s window, and pray over it at Osman�s niche. Finally, it is interred after the usual Moslem fashion in the cemetery Al-Bakia.

Al-Madinah, though pillaged by the Wahhabis, still abounds in books. Near the Harim are two Madrasah or colleges, the Mahmudiyah, so called from Sultan Mahmud, and that of Bashir Agha: both have large stores of theological and other works. I also heard of extensive private collections, particularly of one belonging to the Najib al-Ashraf, or chief of the Sharifs, a certain Mohammed Jamal al-Layl, whose father is well-known in India. Besides which, there is a large Wakf or bequest of books, presented to the Mosque or entailed upon particular families.[FN#40] The celebrated Mohammed Ibn Abdillah al-Sannusi[FN#41] has removed

[p.25] his collection, amounting, it is said, to eight thousand volumes, from Al-Madinah to his house in Jabal Kubays at Meccah. The burial-place of the Prophet, therefore, no longer lies open to the charge of utter ignorance brought against it by my predecessor.[FN#42] The people now praise their Olema for learning, and boast a superiority in respect of science over Meccah. Yet many students leave the place for Damascus and Cairo, where the Riwak al-Haramayn (College of the Two Shrines) in the Azhar Mosque University, is always crowded; and though Omar Effendi boasted to me that his city was full of lore, he did not appear the less anxious to attend the lectures of Egyptian professors. But none of my informants claimed for Al-Madinah any facilities of studying other than the purely religious sciences.[FN#43] Philosophy, medicine, arithmetic, mathematics, and algebra cannot be learnt here. I was careful to inquire about the occult sciences, remembering that Paracelsus had travelled in Arabia, and that the Count Cagliostro (Giuseppe Balsamo), who claimed the Meccan Sharif as his father, asserted that about A.D. 1765 he had studied alchemy at Al-Madinah. The only trace I could find was a superficial knowledge of the Magic Mirror. But after denying the Madani the praise of varied learning, it must be owned that their quick observation and retentive memories have stored up for

[p.26]them an abundance of superficial knowledge, culled from conversations in the market and in the camp. I found it impossible here to display those feats which in Sind, Southern Persia, Eastern Arabia, and many parts of India, would be looked upon as miraculous. Most probably one of the company had witnessed the performance of some Italian conjuror at Constantinople or Alexandria, and retained a lively recollection of every man�uvre. As linguists they are not equal to the Meccans, who surpass all Orientals excepting only the Armenians; the Madani seldom know Turkish, and more rarely still Persian and Indian. Those only who have studied in Egypt chaunt the Koran well. The citizens speak and pronounce[FN#44] their language purely; they are not equal to the people of the southern Hijaz, still their Arabic is refreshing after the horrors of Cairo and Maskat.

The classical Arabic, be it observed, in consequence of an extended empire, soon split up into various dialects, as the Latin under similar circumstances separated into the Neo-Roman patois of Italy, Sicily, Provence, and Languedoc. And though Niebuhr has been deservedly

[p.27]censured for comparing the Koranic language to Latin and the vulgar tongue to Italian, still there is a great difference between them, almost every word having undergone some alteration in addition to the manifold changes and simplifications of grammar and syntax. The traveller will hear in every part of Arabia that some distant tribe preserves the linguistic purity of its ancestors, uses final vowels with the noun, and rejects the addition of the pronoun which apocope in the verb now renders necessary.[FN#45] But I greatly doubt the existence of such a race of philologists. In Al-Hijaz, however, it is considered graceful in an old man, especially when conversing publicly, to lean towards classical Arabic. On the contrary, in a youth this would be treated as pedantic affectation, and condemned in some such satiric quotation as

�There are two things colder than ice,
A young old man, and an old young man.�

Burton Hibaz illustration.PNG

[FN#1] Ibn Jubayr relates that in his day a descendant of Belal, the original Mu�ezzin of the Prophet, practised his ancestral profession at Al-Madinah. [FN#2] This word is said to be the plural of Nakhwali,�one who cultivates the date tree, a gardener or farmer. No one could tell me whether these heretics had not a peculiar name for themselves. I hazard a conjecture that they may be identical with the Mutawalli (also written Mutawilah, Mutaalis, Metoualis, &c., &c.), the hardy, courageous, and hospitable mountaineers of Syria, and C�lesyria Proper. This race of sectarians, about 35,000 in number, holds to the Imamship or supreme pontificate of Ali and his descendants. They differ, however, in doctrine from the Persians, believing in a transmigration of the soul, which, gradually purified, is at last �orbed into a perfect star.� They are scrupulous of caste, and will not allow a Jew or a Frank to touch a piece of their furniture: yet they erect guest-houses for Infidels. In this they resemble the Shi�ahs, who are far more particular about ceremonial purity than the Sunnis. They use ablutions before each meal, and herein remind us of the Hindus. [FN#3] The communist principles of Mazdak the Persian (sixth century) have given his nation a permanent bad fame in this particular among the Arabs. [FN#4] In Arabia the Sharif is the descendant of Hasan through his two sons, Zaid and Hasan al-Musanna: the Sayyid is the descendant of Hosayn through Zayn al-Abidin, the sole of twelve children who survived the fatal field of Kerbela. The former devotes himself to government and war; the latter, to learning and religion. In Persia and India, the Sharif is the son of a Sayyid woman and a common Moslem. The Sayyid �Nejib al-Taraf� (noble on one side) is the son of a Sayyid father and a common Moslemah. The Sayyid �Nejib al-Tarafayn� (noble on both sides) is one whose parents are both Sayyids. [FN#5] Burckhardt alludes to this settlement when he says, �In the Eastern Desert, at three or four days� journey from Medinah, lives a whole Bedouin tribe, called Beni Aly, who are all of this Persian creed.� I travelled to Suwayrkiyah, and found it inhabited by Benu Hosayn. The Benu Ali are Badawin settled at the Awali, near the Kuba Mosque: they were originally slaves of the great house of Auf, and are still heretical in their opinions. [FN#6] �Refusing, rejecting.� Hence the origin of Rafizi,��a rejector, a heretic.� �Inna rafaznahum,���verily we have rejected them,� (Abu Bakr, Omar, and Osman,) exclaim the Persians, glorying in the opprobrious epithet. [FN#7] Sayyids in Al-Hijaz, as a general rule, do not denote their descent by the green turband. In fact, most of them wear a red Kashmir shawl round the head, when able to afford the luxury. The green turband is an innovation in Al-Islam. In some countries it is confined to the Sayyids; in others it is worn as a mark of distinction by pilgrims. Khudabakhsh, the Indian, at Cairo generally dressed in a tender green suit like a Mantis. [FN#8] Plural of Suftah�a half-caste Turk. [FN#9] Plural of Zaydi. These are well-known schismatics of the Shi�ah persuasion, who abound in Southern Arabia. [FN#10] The Bayazi sect flourishes near Maskat, whose Imam or Prince, it is said, belongs to the heretical persuasion. It rejects Osman, and advocates the superiority of Omar over the other two Caliphs. [FN#11] Sadat is the plural of Sayyid. This word in the Northern Hijaz is applied indifferently to the posterity of Hasan and Hosayn. [FN#12] The plural of Ahl, an inhabitant (of a particular place). The reader will excuse my troubling him with these terms. As they are almost all local in their application, and therefore are not explained in such restricted sense by lexicographers, the specification may not be useless to the Oriental student. [FN#13] The Turkish �yataghan.� It is a long dagger, intended for thrusting rather than cutting, and has a curve, which, methinks, has been wisely copied by the Duke of Orleans, in the bayonet of the Chasseurs de Vincennes. [FN#14] See chapter xvii. [FN#15] Omar Effendi�s brothers, grandsons of the principal Mufti of Al-Madinah, were both shopkeepers, and were always exhorting him to do some useful work, rather than muddle his brains and waste his time on books. [FN#16] See chapter xiv. [FN#17] To a townsman, even during the dead season, the pay of a gardener would be 2 piastres, a carpenter 8 piastres per diem, and a common servant (a Bawwab or porter, for instance), 25 piastres per mensem, or �3 per annum, besides board and dress. Considering the value of money in the country, these are very high rates. [FN#18] Who alone sell milk, curds, or butter. The reason of their monopoly has been given in Chapter xiii. [FN#19] History informs us that the sanctity of their birth-place has not always preserved the people of Al-Madinah. But the memory of their misfortunes is soon washed away by the overwhelming pride of the race. [FN#20] The market is under the charge of an Arab Muhtasib or Bazar-master, who again is subject to the Muhafiz or Pasha governing the place. The following was the current price of provisions at Al-Madinah early in August, 1853: during the Visitation season everything is doubled:� 1 lb. mutton, 2 piastres, (beef is half-price, but seldom eaten; there is no buffalo meat, and only Badawin will touch the camel). A fowl, 5 piastres. Eggs, in summer 8, in winter 4, for the piastre. 1 lb. clarified butter, 4 piastres, (when cheap it falls to 2 1/2 Butter is made at home by those who eat it, and sometimes by the Egyptians for sale). 1 lb. milk, 1 piastre. 1 lb. cheese, 2 piastres, (when cheap it is 1, when dear 3 piastres per lb.) A Wheaten loaf weighing 12 dirhams, 10 parahs. (There are loaves of 24 dirhams, costing 1/2 piastre.) 1 lb. dry biscuits, (imported), 3 piastres. 1 lb. of vegetables, 1/2 piastre. 1 Mudd dates, varies according to quality from 4 piastres to 100. 1 lb. grapes, 1 1/2} piastre. A lime, 1 parah. A pomegranate, from 20 parahs to 1 piastre. A water-melon, from 3 to 6 piastres each. 1 lb. peaches, 2 piastres. 1 lb. coffee, 4 piastres, (the Yamani is the only kind drunk here). 1 lb. tea, 15 piastres, (black tea, imported from India). 1 lb. European loaf-sugar, 6 piastres, (white Egyptian, 5 piastres brown Egyptian, 3 piastres; brown Indian, for cooking and conserves, 3 piastres). 1 lb. spermaceti candles, 7 piastres, (called wax, and imported from Egypt). 1 lb. tallow candles, 3 piastres. 1 Ardeb wheat, 295 piastres. 1 Ardeb onions, 33 piastres, (when cheap 20, when dear 40). 1 Ardeb barley, 120 piastres, (minimum 90, maximum 180). 1 Ardeb rice, Indian, 302 piastres, (it varies from 260 to 350 piastres, according to quality). Durrah or maize is generally given to animals, and is very cheap. Barsim (clover, a bundle of) 3 Wakkiyahs, (36 Dirhams), costs 1 parah. Adas or Lentil is the same price as rice. 1 lb. Latakia tobacco, 16 piastres. 1 lb. Syrian tobacco, 8 piastres. 1 lb. Tumbak (Persian), 6 piastres. 1 lb. olive oil, 6 piastres, (when cheap it is 4). A skin of water, 1/2 piastre. Bag of charcoal, containing 100 Wukkah, 10 piastres. The best kind is made from an Acacia called �Samur.� The Parah (Turkish), Faddah (Egyptian), or Diwani (Hijazi word), is the 40th part of a piastre, or nearly the quarter of a farthing. The piastre is about 2 and two-fifths pence. Throughout Al-Hijaz there is no want of small change, as in Egypt, where the deficiency calls for the attention of the Government. [FN#21] Physiologists have remarked that fat and greasy food, containing a quantity of carbon, is peculiar to cold countries; whereas the inhabitants of the tropics delight in fruits, vegetables, and articles of diet which do not increase caloric. This must be taken cum grano. In Italy, Spain, and Greece, the general use of olive oil begins. In Africa and Asia�especially in the hottest parts�the people habitually eat enough clarified butter to satisfy an Esquimaux. [FN#22] In Persia, you jocosely say to a man, when he is threatened with a sudden inroad of guests, �Go and swamp the rice with Raughan (clarified butter).� [FN#23] Among the Indians, ghi, placed in pots carefully stopped up and kept for years till a hard black mass only remains, is considered a panacea for diseases and wounds. [FN#24] Some of these slaves come from Abyssinia: the greater part are driven from the Galla country, and exported at the harbours of the Somali coast, Berberah, Tajurrah, and Zayla. As many as 2000 slaves from the former place, and 4000 from the latter, are annually shipped off to Mocha, Jeddah, Suez, and Maskat. It is strange that the Imam of the latter place should voluntarily have made a treaty with us for the suppression of this vile trade, and yet should allow so extensive an importation to his dominions. [FN#25] More will be said concerning the origin of this strange custom, when speaking of Meccah and the Meccans. [FN#26] The word Tarbush is a corruption from the Persian Sarpush,��head-covering,� �head-dress.� The Anglo-Saxon further debases it to �Tarbush.� The other name for the Tarbush, �Fez,� denotes the place where the best were made. Some Egyptians distinguish between the two, calling the large high crimson cap �Fez,� the small one �Tarbush.� [FN#27] In India, as in Sind, a lady of fashion will sometimes be occupied a quarter of an hour in persuading her �bloomers� to pass over the region of the ankle. [FN#28] In the plural called Jadail. It is a most becoming head-dress when the hair is thick, and when�which I regret to say is rare in Arabia�the twists are undone for ablution once a day. [FN#29] Plural of �Hurrah,� the free, the noble. [FN#30] See vol. i., p. 436, ante. [FN#31] This appears to be, and to have been, a favourite weapon with the Arabs. At the battle of Ohod, we read that the combatants amused themselves with throwing stones. On our road to Meccah, the Badawi attacked a party of city Arabs, and the fight was determined with these harmless weapons. At Meccah, the men, as well as the boys, use them with as much skill as the Somalis at Aden. As regards these feuds between different quarters of the Arab towns, the reader will bear in mind that such things can co-exist with considerable amount of civilization. In my time, the different villages in the Sorrentine plain were always at war. The Irish still fight in bodies at Birkenhead. And in the days of our fathers, the gamins of London amused themselves every Sunday by pitched battles on Primrose Hill, and the fields about Marylebone and St. Pancras. [FN#32] Alluding especially to their revengefulness, and their habit of storing up an injury, and of forgetting old friendships or benefits, when a trivial cause of quarrel arises. [FN#33] The sentence is passed by the Kazi: in cases of murder, he tries the criminal, and, after finding him guilty, sends him to the Pasha, who orders a Kawwas, or policeman, to strike off his head with a sword. Thieves are punished by mutilation of the hand. In fact, justice at Al-Madinah is administered in perfect conformity with the Shariat or Holy Law. [FN#34] Circumcisio utriusque sexus apud Arabos mos est vetustissimus. Aiunt theologi mutilationis hujus religiosae inventricem esse Saram, Abrahami uxorem quae, zelotypia incitata, Hagaris amorem minuendi gratia, somnientis puellae clitoridem exstirpavit. Deinde, Allaho jubente, Sara et Abrahamus ambo pudendorum partem cultello abscissere. Causa autem moris in viro mundities salusque, in puella impudicitiae prophylactica esse videntur. Gentes Asiaticae sinistra tantum manu abluentes utuntur; omnes quoque feminarem decies magis quam virorum libidinem aestimant. (Clitoridem amputant, quia, ut monet Aristoteles, pars illa sedes est et scaturigo veneris�rem plane profanam cum Sonninio exclamemus!) Nec excogitare potuit philosophus quanti et quam portentosi sunt talis mutilationis effectus. Mulierum minuuntur affectus, amor, voluptas. Crescunt tamen feminini doli, crudelitas, vitia et insatiabilis luxuria. (Ita in Eunuchis nonnunquam, teste Abelardo, suberstat cerebelli potestas, quum cupidinis satiandi facultas plane discessit.) Virilis quoque circumcisio lentam venerem et difficilem efficit. Glandis enim mollities frictione induratur, dehinc coitus tristis, tardus parumque vehemens. Forsitan in quibusdam populis localis quoque causa existit; caruncula immoderate crescente, amputationis necessitas exurgit. Deinde apud Somalos, gentem Africanam, excisio nympharum abscissioni clitoridis adjungitur. �Feminina circumcisio in Kahira Egyptiana et El Hejazio mos est universalis. Gens Bedouina uxorem salvam ducere nolit.��Shaykh al-Nawawi �de Uxore ducenda,� &c., &c. [FN#35] A phrase corresponding with our �beaute du diable.� [FN#36] This means consulting the will of the Deity, by praying for a dream in sleep, by the rosary, by opening the Koran, and other such devices, which bear blame if a negative be deemed necessary. It is a custom throughout the Moslem world, a relic, doubtless, of the Azlam or Kidah (seven divining-arrows) of the Pagan times. At Al-Madinah it is generally called Khirah. [FN#37] Among respectable citizens 400 dollars would be considered a fair average sum; the expense of the ceremony would be about half. This amount of ready money (�150) not being always procurable, many of the Madani marry late in life. [FN#38] Boys are allowed to be present, but they are not permitted to cry. Of their so misdemeaning themselves there is little danger; the Arab in these matters is a man from his cradle. [FN#39] They are called the Asdikah; in the singular, Sadik. [FN#40] From what I saw at Al-Madinah, the people are not so unprejudiced on this point as the Cairenes, who think little of selling a book in Wakf. The subject of Wakf, however, is an extensive one, and does not wholly exclude the legality of sale. [FN#41] This Shaykh is a Maliki Moslem from Algiers, celebrated as an Alim (sage), especially in the mystic study Al-Jafr. He is a Wali or saint; but opinions differ as regards his Kiramat (saint�s miracles): some disciples look upon him as the Mahdi (the forerunner of the Prophet), others consider him a clever impostor. His peculiar dogma is the superiority of live over dead saints, whose tombs are therefore not to be visited�a new doctrine in a Maliki! Abbas Pasha loved and respected him, and, as he refused all presents, built him a new Zawiyah (oratory) at Bulak; and when the Egyptian ruler�s mother was at Al-Madinah, she called upon him three times, it is said, before he would receive her. His followers and disciples are scattered in numbers about Tripoli and, amongst other oases of the Fezzan, at Siwah, where they saved the Abbe Hamilton�s life in A.D[.] 1843. [FN#42] Burckhardt�s Travels in Arabia, vol. ii. p. 174. [FN#43] Of which I have given an account in chapter xvi. [FN#44] The only abnormal sound amongst the consonants heard here and in Al-Hijaz generally is the pronouncing of k (A[rabic]) a hard g�for instance, �Gur�an� for �Kur�an� (a Koran), and Haggi or Hakki (my right). This g, however, is pronounced deep in the throat, and does not resemble the corrupt Egyptian pronunciation of the jim (j, [Arabic]), a letter which the Copts knew not, and which their modern descendants cannot articulate. In Al-Hijaz, the only abnormal sounds amongst the vowels are o for u, as Khokh, a peach, and [Arabic] for [Arabic], as Ohod for Uhud. The two short vowels fath and kasr are correctly pronounced, the former never becoming a short e, as in Egypt (El for Al and Yemen for Yaman), or a short i, as in Syria (�min� for �man� who? &c.) These vowels, however, are differently articulated in every part of the Arab world. So says St. Jerome of the Hebrew: �Nec refert atrum Salem aut Salim nominetur; cum vocalibus in medio literis perraro utantur Hebraei; et pro voluntate lectorum, ac varietate regionum, eadem verba diversis sonis atque accentibus proferantur.� [FN#45] e.g., Ant Zarabt�thou struckedst�for Zarabta. The final vowel, suffering apocope, would leave �Zarabt� equally applicable to the first person singular and the second person singular masculine.

Chapter XXII. A VISIT TO THE SAINTS' CEMETERY.[edit]

A splendid comet, blazing in the western sky, had aroused the apprehensions of the Madani. They all fell to predicting the usual disasters�war, famine, and pestilence,�it being still an article of Moslem belief that the Dread Star foreshows all manner of calamities. Men discussed the probability of Abd al-Majid�s immediate decease; for here as in Rome,

�When beggars die, there are no comets seen: The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes:�

and in every strange atmospheric appearance about the time of the Hajj, the Hijazis are accustomed to read tidings of the dreaded Rih al-Asfar.[FN#l]

Whether the event is attributable to the Zu Zuwabah�the �Lord of the Forelock,��or whether it was a case of post hoc, erg�, propter hoc, I would not commit myself by deciding; but, influenced by some cause or other, the Hawazim and the Hawamid, sub-families of the Benu-Harb, began to fight about this time with prodigious fury. These tribes are generally at feud, and the least provocation fans their smouldering wrath into a flame. The Hawamid number, it is said, between three and four thousand fighting men, and the Hawazim not more than seven hundred: the latter however, are considered a race of desperadoes who pride themselves upon never retreating,

[p.29]and under their fiery Shaykhs, Abbas and Abu Ali, they are a thorn in the sides of their disproportionate foe. On the present occasion a Hamidah[FN#2] happened to strike the camel of a Hazimi which had trespassed; upon which the Hazimi smote the Hamidah, and called him a rough name. The Hamidah instantly shot the Hazimi, the tribes were called out, and they fought with asperity for some days. During the whole of the afternoon of Tuesday, the 30th of August, the sound of firing amongst the mountains was distinctly heard in the city. Through the streets parties of Badawin, sword and matchlock in hand, or merely carrying quarterstaves on their shoulders, might be seen hurrying along, frantic at the chance of missing the fray. The townspeople cursed them privily, expressing a hope that the whole race of vermin might consume itself. And the pilgrims were in no small trepidation, fearing the desertion of their camel-men, and knowing what a blaze is kindled in this inflammable land by an ounce of gunpowder. I afterwards heard that the Badawin fought till night, and separated after losing on both sides ten men.

This quarrel put an end to any lingering possibility of my prosecuting my journey to Maskat,[FN#3] as originally intended. I had on the way from Yambu� to Al-Madinah privily made a friendship with one Mujrim of the Benu-Harb. The �Sinful,� as his name, ancient and classical amongst the Arabs, means, understood that I had some motive of secret interest to undertake the perilous journey. He could not promise at first to guide me, as his beat lay between Yambu�, Al-Madinah, Mec[c]ah, and Jeddah. But he offered to make all inquiries about the route, and to

[p.30] bring me the result at noonday, a time when the household was asleep. He had almost consented at last to travel with me about the end of August, in which case I should have slipped out of Hamid�s house and started like a Badawi towards the Indian Ocean. But when the war commenced, Mujrim, who doubtless wished to stand by his brethren the Hawazim, began to show signs of recusancy in putting off the day of departure to the end of September. At last, when pressed, he frankly told me that no traveller�nay, not a Badawi�could leave the city in that direction, even as far as historic Khaybar,[FN#4] which information I afterwards ascertained to be correct. It was impossible to start alone, and when in despair I had recourse to Shaykh Hamid, he seemed to think me mad for wishing to wend Northwards when all the world was hurrying towards the South. My disappointment was bitter at first, but consolation soon suggested itself. Under the most favourable circumstances, a Badawi-trip from Al-Madinah to Maskat, fifteen or sixteen hundred miles, would require at least ten months; whereas, under pain of losing my commission,[FN#5] I was ordered to be at Bombay before the end of March. Moreover, entering Arabia by Al-Hijaz, as has before been said, I was obliged to leave behind all my instruments except a watch and a pocket-compass, so the benefit rendered to geography by my trip would have been scanty. Still remained

[p.31] to me the comfort of reflecting that possibly at Meccah some opportunity of crossing the Peninsula might present itself. At any rate I had the certainty of seeing the strange wild country of the Hijaz, and of being present at the ceremonies of the Holy City. I must request the reader to bear with a Visitation once more: we shall conclude it with a ride to Al-Bakia.[FN#6] This venerable spot is frequented by the pious every day after the prayer at the Prophet�s Tomb, and especially on Fridays.

Our party started one morning,�on donkeys, as usual, for my foot was not yet strong,�along the Darb al-Janazah round the Southern wall of the town. The locomotion was decidedly slow, principally in consequence of the tent-ropes which the Hajis had pinned down literally all over the plain, and falls were by no means unfrequent. At last we arrived at the end of the Darb, where I committed myself by mistaking the decaying place of those miserable schismatics the Nakhawilah[FN#7] for Al-Bakia, the glorious cemetery of the Saints. Hamid corrected my blunder with tartness, to which I replied as tartly, that in our country�Afghanistan�we burned the body of every heretic upon whom we could lay our hands. This truly Islamitic custom was heard with general applause, and as the little dispute ended, we stood at the open gate of Al-Bakia. Then having dismounted I sat down on a low Dakkah or stone bench within the walls, to obtain a general view and to prepare for the most fatiguing of the Visitations.

There is a tradition that seventy thousand, or according to others a hundred thousand saints, all with faces like full moons, shall cleave on the last day the yawning bosom

[p.32] of Al-Bakia.[FN#8] About ten thousand of the Ashab (Companions of the Prophet) and innumerable Sadat are here buried: their graves are forgotten, because, in the olden time, tombstones were not placed over the last resting-places of mankind. The first of flesh who shall arise is Mohammed, the second Abu Bakr, the third Omar, then the people of Al-Bakia (amongst whom is Osman, the fourth Caliph), and then the incol[ae] of the Jannat al-Ma�ala, the Meccan cemetery. The Hadis, �whoever dies at the two Harims shall rise with the Sure on the Day of judgment,� has made these spots priceless in value. And even upon earth they might be made a mine of wealth. Like the catacombs at Rome, Al-Bakia is literally full of the odour of sanctity, and a single item of the great aggregate here would render any other Moslem town famous. It is a pity that this people refuses to exhume its relics.

The first person buried in Al-Bakia was Osman bin Maz�un, the first of the Muhajirs, who died at Al-Madinah. In the month of Sha�aban, A.H. 3, the Prophet kissed the forehead of the corpse and ordered it to be interred within sight of his abode.[FN#9] In those days the field was covered with the tree Gharkad; the vegetation was cut down, the ground was levelled, and Osman was placed in the centre of the new cemetery. With his own hands Mohammed planted two large upright stones at the head and the feet of his faithful follower[FN#10]; and in process of time a dome covered the spot. Ibrahim, the Prophet�s infant second

[p.33] son, was laid by Osman�s side, after which Al-Bakia became a celebrated cemetery.

The Burial-place of the Saints is an irregular oblong surrounded by walls which are connected with the suburb at their south-west angle. The Darb al-Janazah separates it from the enceinte of the town, and the eastern Desert Road beginning from the Bab al-Jumah bounds it on the North. Around it palm plantations seem to flourish. It is small, considering the extensive use made of it: all that die at Al-Madinah, strangers as well as natives, except only heretics and schismatics, expect to be interred in it. It must be choked with corpses, which it could never contain did not the Moslem style of burial greatly favour rapid decomposition; and it has all the inconveniences of �intramural sepulture.� The gate is small and ignoble; a mere doorway in the wall. Inside there are no flower-plots, no tall trees, in fact none of the refinements which lightens the gloom of a Christian burial-place: the buildings are simple, they might even be called mean. Almost all are the common Arab Mosque, cleanly whitewashed, and looking quite new. The ancient monuments were levelled to the ground by Sa�ad the Wahhabi and his puritan followers, who waged pitiless warfare against what must have appeared to them magnificent mausolea, deeming as they did a loose heap of stones sufficient for a grave. In Burckhardt�s time the whole place was a �confused accumulation of heaps of earth, wide pits, and rubbish, without a singular regular tomb-stone.� The present erections owe their existence, I was told, to the liberality of the Sultans Abd al-Hamid and Mahmud.

A poor pilgrim has lately started on his last journey, and his corpse, unattended by friends or mourners, is carried upon the shoulders of hired buriers into the cemetery. Suddenly they stay their rapid steps, and throw the body upon the ground. There is a life-like pliability

[p.34] about it as it falls, and the tight cerements so define the outlines that the action makes me shudder. It looks almost as if the dead were conscious of what is about to occur. They have forgotten their tools; one man starts to fetch them, and three sit down to smoke. After a time a shallow grave is hastily scooped out.[FN#11] The corpse is packed in it with such unseemly haste that earth touches it in all directions,�cruel carelessness among Moslems, who believe this to torture the sentient frame.[FN#12] One comfort suggests itself. The poor man being a pilgrim has died �Shahid��in martyrdom. Ere long his spirit shall leave Al-Bakia,

�And he on honey-dew shall feed, And drink the milk of Paradise.�

I entered the holy cemetery right foot forwards, as if it were a Mosque, and barefooted, to avoid suspicion of being a heretic. For though the citizens wear their shoes in the Bakia, they are much offended at seeing the Persians follow their example. We began by the general benediction[FN#13]: �Peace be upon Ye, O People of Al-Bakia! Peace be upon Ye, O Admitted to the Presence of the

[p.35] Most High! Receive Ye what Ye have been promised! Peace be upon Ye, Martyrs of Al-Bakia, One and All! We verily, if Allah please, are about to join You! O Allah, pardon us and Them, and the Mercy of God, and His Blessings!� After which we recited the Chapter Al-Ikhlas and the Testification, then raised our hands, mumbled the Fatihah, passed our palms down our faces, and went on.

Walking down a rough narrow path, which leads from the western to the eastern extremity of Al-Bakia, we entered the humble mausoleum of the Caliph Osman�Osman �Al-Mazlum,� or the �ill-treated,� he is called by some Moslems. When he was slain,[FN#14] his friends wished to bury him by the Prophet in the Hujrah, and Ayishah made no objection to the measure. But the people of Egypt became violent; swore that the corpse should neither be buried nor be prayed over, and only permitted it to be removed upon the threat of Habibah (one of the �Mothers of the Moslems,� and daughter of Abu Sufiyan) to expose her countenance. During the night that followed his death, Osman was carried out by several of his friends to Al-Bakia, from which, however, they were driven away, and obliged to deposit their burden in a garden, eastward of and outside the saints� cemetery. It was called Hisn Kaukab, and was looked upon as an inauspicious place of sepulture, till Marwan included it in Al-Bakia. We stood before Osman�s monument, repeating, �Peace be upon Thee, O our Lord Osman, Son of Affan![FN#15] Peace be upon

[p.36] Thee, O Caliph of Allah�s Apostle! Peace be upon Thee, O Writer of Allah�s Book! Peace be upon Thee, in whose Presence the Angels are ashamed![FN#16] Peace be upon Thee, O Collector of the Koran! Peace be upon Thee, O Son-in-Law of the Prophet! Peace be upon Thee, O Lord of the Two Lights (the two daughters of Mohammed)![FN#17] Peace be upon Thee, who fought the Battle of the Faith! Allah be satisfied with Thee, and cause Thee to be satisfied, and render Heaven thy Habitation! Peace be upon Thee, and the Mercy of Allah and His Blessing, and Praise be to Allah, Lord of the (three) Worlds!� This supplication concluded in the usual manner. After which we gave alms, and settled with ten piastres the demands of the Khadim[FN#18] who takes charge of the tomb: this double-disbursing process had to be repeated at each station.

Then moving a few paces to the North, we faced Eastwards, and performed the Visitation of Abu Sa�id al-Khazari, a Sahib or Companion of the Prophet, whose sepulchre lies outside Al-Bakia. The third place visited was a dome containing the tomb of our lady Halimah, the Badawi wet-nurse who took charge of Mohammed[FN#19]:

[p.37] she is addressed hus; �Peace be upon Thee, O Halimah the Auspicious![FN#20] Peace be upon Thee, who performed thy Trust in suckling the Best of Mankind! Peace be upon Thee, O Wet-nurse of Al-Mustafa (the chosen)! Peace be upon Thee, O Wet-nurse of Al-Mujtaba (the (accepted)![FN#21] May Allah be satisfied with Thee, and cause Thee to be satisfied, and render Heaven thy House and Habitation! and verily we have come visiting Thee, and by means of Thee drawing near to Allah�s Prophet, and through Him to God, the Lord of the Heavens and the Earths.[FN#22]�

After which, fronting the North, we stood before a low enclosure, containing ovals of loose stones, disposed side by side. These are the Martyrs of Al-Bakia, who received the crown of glory at the hands of Al-Muslim,[FN#23] the general of the arch-heretic Yazid[FN#24] The prayer here recited differs so little from that addressed to the martyrs of Ohod, that I will not transcribe it. The fifth station is near the centre of the cemetery at the tomb of Ibrahim, who died, to the eternal regret of Al-Islam, some say six months old, others in his second year. He was the son

[p.38] of Mariyah, the Coptic girl, sent as a present to Mohammed by Jarih, the Mukaukas or governor of Alexandria. The Prophet with his own hand piled earth upon the grave, and sprinkled it with water,�a ceremony then first performed,�disposed small stones upon it, and pronounced the final salutation. For which reason many holy men were buried in this part of the cemetery, every one being ambitious to lie in ground which has been honored by the Apostle�s hands. Then we visited Al-Nafi Maula, son of Omar, generally called Imam Nafi al-Kari, or the Koran chaunter; and near him the great doctor Imam Malik ibn Anas, a native of Al-Madinah, and one of the most dutiful of her sons. The eighth station is at the tomb of Ukayl bin Abi Talib, brother of Ali.[FN#25] Then we visited the spot where lie interred all the Prophet�s wives, Khadijah, who lies at Meccah, alone excepted. Mohammed married fifteen wives of whom nine survived him. After the �Mothers of the Moslems,� we prayed at the tombs of Mohammed�s daughters, said to be ten in number.

In compliment probably to the Hajj, the beggars mustered strong that morning at Al-Bakia. Along the walls and at the entrance of each building squatted ancient dames, all engaged in anxious contemplation of every approaching face, and in pointing to dirty cotton napkins spread upon the ground before them, and studded with a few coins, gold, silver, or copper, according to the expectations of the proprietress. They raised their voices to demand largesse: some promised to recite Fatihahs, and the most audacious seized visitors by the skirts of their

[p.39] garments. Fakihs, ready to write �Y.S.,� or anything else demanded of them, covered the little heaps and eminences of the cemetery, all begging lustily, and looking as though they would murder you, when told how beneficent is Allah�polite form of declining to be charitable. At the doors of the tombs old housewives, and some young ones also, struggled with you for your slippers as you doffed them, and not unfrequently the charge of the pair was divided between two. Inside, when the boys were not loud enough or importunate enough for presents, they were urged on by the adults and seniors, the relatives of the �Khadims� and hangers-on. Unfortunately for me, Shaykh Hamid was renowned for taking charge of wealthy pilgrims: the result was, that my purse was lightened of three dollars. I must add that although at least fifty female voices loudly promised that morning, for the sum of ten parahs each, to supplicate Allah in behalf of my lame foot, no perceptible good came of their efforts.

Before leaving Al-Bakia, we went to the eleventh station, [FN#26] the Kubbat al-Abbasiyah, or Dome of Abbas. Originally built by the Abbaside Caliphs in A.H. 519, it is a larger and a handsomer building than its fellows, and it is situated on the right-hand side of the gate as you enter. The crowd of beggars at the door testified to its importance: they were attracted by the Persians who assemble here in force to weep and to pray. Crossing the threshold with some difficulty, I walked round a mass of tombs which occupies the centre of the building, leaving but a narrow passage between it and the walls. It is railed round, and covered over with several �Kiswahs� of green cloth worked with white letters: it looked like a confused

[p.40] heap, but it might have appeared irregular to me by the reason of the mob around. The Eastern portion contains the body of Al-Hasan, the son of Ali and grandson of the Prophet[FN#27]; the Imam Zayn al-Abidin, son of Al-Hosayn, and great-grandson to the Prophet; the Imam Mohammed al-Bakir (fifth Imam), son to Zayn al-Abidin; and his son the Imam a�afar al-Sadik�all four descendants of the Prophet, and buried in the same grave with Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, uncle to Mohammed. It is almost needless to say that these names are subjects of great controversy. Al-Musudi mentions that here was found an inscribed stone declaring it to be the tomb of the Lady Fatimah, of Hasan her brother, of Ali bin Hosayn, of Mohammed bin Ali, and of Ja�afar bin Mohammed. Ibn Jubayr, describing Al-Bakia, mentions only two in this tomb, Abbas and Hasan; the head of the latter, he says, in the direction of the former�s feet. Other authors

[p.41] relate that in it, about the ninth century of the Hijrah, was found a wooden box covered with fresh-looking red felt cloth, with bright brass nails, and they believe it to have contained the corpse of Ali, placed here by his own son Hasan.

Standing opposite this mysterious tomb, we repeated, with difficulty by reason of the Persians weeping, the following supplication:��Peace be upon Ye, O Family of the Prophet! O Lord Abbas, the free from Impurity and Uncleanness, and Father�s Brother to the Best of Men! And Thou too O Lord Hasan, Grandson of the Prophet! And thou also O Lord Zayn al-Abidin[FN#28]! Peace be upon Ye, One and All, for verily God hath been pleased to deliver You from all Guile, and to purify You with all Purity. The Mercy of Allah and His Blessings be upon Ye, and verily He is the Praised, the Mighty!� After which, freeing ourselves from the hands of greedy boys, we turned round and faced the southern wall, close to which is a tomb attributed to the Lady Fatimah.[FN#29] I will not repeat the prayer, it being the same as that recited in the Harim.

[p.42] Issuing from the hot and crowded dome, we recovered our slippers after much trouble, and found that our garments had suffered from the frantic gesticulations of the Persians. We then walked to the gate of Al-Bakia, stood facing the cemetery upon an elevated piece of ground, and delivered the general benediction.

�O Allah! O Allah! O Allah! O full of Mercy! O abounding in Beneficence! Lord of Length (of days), and Prosperity, and Goodness! O Thou, who when asked, grantest, and when prayed for aid, aidest! Have Mercy upon the Companions of thy Prophet, of the Muhajirin, and the Ansar! Have Mercy upon them, One and All!

[p.43] Have Mercy upon bdullah bin Hantal� (and so on, specifying their names), �and make Paradise their Resting-place, their Habitation, their Dwelling, and their Abode! O Allah! accept our Ziyarat, and supply our Wants, and lighten our Griefs, and restore us to our Homes, and comfort our Fears, and disappoint not our Hopes, and pardon us, for on no other do we rely; and let us depart in Thy Faith, and after the Practice of Thy Prophet, and be Thou satisfied with us! O Allah! forgive our past Offences, and leave us not to our (evil) Natures during the Glance of an Eye, or a lesser Time; and pardon us, and pity us, and let us return to our Houses and Homes safe,� (i.e., spiritually and physically) �fortunate, abstaining from what is unlawful, re-established after our Distresses, and belonging to the Good, thy Servants upon whom is no Fear, nor do they know Distress. Repentance, O Lord! Repentance, O Merciful! Repentance, O Pitiful! Repentance before Death, and Pardon after Death! I beg pardon of Allah! Thanks be to Allah! Praise be to Allah! Amen, O Lord of the (three) Worlds!�

After which, issuing from Al-Bakia,[FN#30] we advanced

[p.44] northwards, leaving the city gate on the left hand, till we came to a small Kubbah (dome) close to the road. It is visited as containing the tomb of the Prophet�s paternal aunts, especially of Safiyah, daughter of Abd al-Muttalib, sister of Hamzah, and one of the many heroines of early Al-Islam. Hurrying over our devotions here,�for we were tired indeed,�we applied to a Sakka for water, and entered a little coffee-house near the gate of the town: after which we rode home.

I have now described, at a wearying length I fear, the spots visited by every Zair at Al-Madinah. The guide-books mention altogether between fifty and fifty-five Mosques and other holy places, most of which are now unknown even by name to the citizens. The most celebrated of these are the few following, which I describe from hearsay. About three miles to the North-west of the town, close to the Wady al-Akik, lies the Mosque called Al-Kiblatayn��The Two Directions of Prayer.� Some give this title to the Masjid al-Takwa at Kuba.[FN#31] Others assert that the Prophet, after visiting and eating

[p.45] at the house of an old woman named Umm Mabshar, went to pray the mid-day prayer in the Mosque of the Benu Salmah. He had performed the prostration with his face towards Jerusalem, when suddenly warned by revelation he turned Southwards and concluded his orisons in that direction.[FN#32] I am told it is a mean dome without inner walls, outer enclosures, or minaret.

The Masjid Benu Zafar (some write the word Tifr) is also called Masjid al-Baghlah�of the She-mule,�because, according to Al-Matari, on the ridge of stone to the south of this Mosque are the marks where the Prophet leaned his arm, and where the she-mule, Duldul, sent by the Mukaukas as a present with Mariyah the Coptic girl and Yafur the donkey, placed its hoofs. At the Mosque was shown a slab upon which the Prophet sat hearing recitations from the Koran; and historians declare that by following his example many women have been blessed with offspring.[FN#33] This Mosque is to the East of Al-Bakia.

The Masjid al-Jumah�of Friday,�or Al-Anikah�of the Sand-heaps,�is in the valley near Kuba, where Mohammed prayed and preached on the first Friday after his flight from Meccah [FN#34]

The Masjid al-Fazikh�of Date-liquor�is so called because when Abu Ayyub and others of the Ansar were sitting with cups in their hands, they heard that intoxicating

[p.46] draughts were for the future forbidden, upon which they poured the liquor upon the ground. Here the Prophet prayed six days whilst he was engaged in warring down the Benu Nazir Jews. The Mosque derives its other name, Al-Shams�of the Sun�because, being erected on rising ground East of and near Kuba, it receives the first rays of morning light.

To the Eastward of the Masjid al-Fazikh lies the Masjid al-Kurayzah, erected on a spot where the Prophet descended to attack the Jewish tribe of that name. Returning from the battle of the Moat, wayworn and tired with fighting, he here sat down to wash and comb his hair, when suddenly appeared to him the Archangel Gabriel in the figure of a horseman dressed in a corslet and covered with dust. �The Angels of Allah,� said the preternatural visitor, �are still in Arms, O Prophet, and it is Allah�s Will that Thy foot return to the Stirrup. I go before Thee to prepare a Victory over the Infidels, the Sons of Kurayzah.� The legend adds that the dust raised by the angelic host was seen in the streets of Al-Madinah, but that mortal eye fell not upon horseman�s form. The Prophet ordered his followers to sound the battle-call, gave his flag to Ali,�the Arab token of appointing a commander-in-chief,�and for twenty-five days invested the habitations of the enemy. This hapless tribe was exterminated, sentence of death being passed upon them by Sa�ad ibn Ma�az, an Ausi whom they constituted their judge because he belonged to an allied tribe. Six hundred men were beheaded in the Market-place of Al-Madinah, their property was plundered, and their wives and children were reduced to slavery.

�Tantane relligio potuit suadere malorum!�

The Masjid Mashrabat Umm Ibrahim, or Mosque of the garden of Ibrahim�s mother, is a place where Mariyah the Copt had a garden, and became the mother of

[p.47] Ibrahim, the Prophet�s second son.[FN#35] It is a small building in what is called the Awali, or highest part of the Al-Madinah plain, to the North of the Masjid Benu Kurayzah, and near the Eastern Harrah or ridge.[FN#36]

Northwards of Al-Bakia is, or was, a small building called the Masjid al-Ijabah�of Granting,�from the following circumstance. One day the Prophet stopped to perform his devotions at this place, which then belonged to the Benu Mu�awiyah of the tribe of Aus. He made a long Dua or supplication, and then turning to his Companions, exclaimed, �I have asked of Allah three favours, two hath he vouchsafed to me, but the third was refused!� Those granted were that the Moslems might never be destroyed by famine or by deluge. The third was that they might not perish by internecine strife.

The Masjid al-Fath (of Victory), vulgarly called the �Four Mosques,� is situated in the Wady Al-Sayh,[FN#37] which comes from the direction of Kuba, and about half a mile to the East of �Al-Kiblatayn.� The largest is called the Masjid al-Fath, or Al-Ahzab�of the Troops,�and is alluded to in the Koran. Here it is said the Prophet prayed for three days during the Battle of the Moat, also called the affair �Al-Ahzab,� the last fought with the Infidel Kuraysh under Abu Sufiyan. After three days of devotion, a cold and violent blast arose, with rain

[p.48] and sleet, and discomfited the foe. The Prophet�s prayer having here been granted, it is supposed by ardent Moslems that no petition put up at the Mosque Al-Ahzab is ever neglected by Allah. The form of supplication is differently quoted by different authors. When Al-Shafe�i was in trouble and fear of Harun al-Rashid, by the virtue of this formula he escaped all danger: I would willingly offer so valuable a prophylactory to my readers, only it is of an unmanageable length. The doctors of Al-Islam also greatly differ about the spot where the Prophet stood on this occasion; most of them support the claims of the Masjid al-Fath, the most elevated of the four, to that distinction. Below, and to the South of the highest ground, is the Masjid Salman al-Farsi, the Persian, from whose brain emanated the bright idea of the Moat. At the mature age of two hundred and fifty, some say three hundred and fifty, after spending his life in search of a religion, from a Magus (fire-worshipper)[FN#38] becoming successively a Jew and a Nazarene, he ended with being a Moslem, and a Companion of Mohammed. During his eventful career he had been ten times sold into slavery. Below Salman�s Mosque is the Masjid Ali, and the smallest building on the South of the hill is called Masjid Abu Bakr. All these places owe their existence to Al-Walid the Caliph: they were repaired at times by his successors.

The Masjid al-Rayah�of the Banner�was originally built by Al-Walid upon a place where the Prophet pitched his tent during the War of the Moat. Others call it Al-Zubab, after a hill upon which it stands. Al-Rayah is separated from the Masjid al-Fath by a rising ground called Jabal Sula or Jabal Sawab[FN#39]: the former

[p.49] being on the Eastern, whilst the latter lies upon the Western declivity of the hill. The position of this place is greatly admired, as commanding the fairest view of the Harim.

About a mile and a half South-east of Al-Bakia is a dome called Kuwwat Islam, the �Strength of Al-Islam.� Here the Apostle planted a dry palm-stick, which grew up, blossomed, and bore fruit at once. Moreover, on one occasion when the Moslems were unable to perform the pilgrimage, Mohammed here produced the appearance of a Ka�abah, an Arafat, and all the appurtenances of the Hajj. I must warn my readers not to condemn the founder of Al-Islam for these puerile inventions.

The Masjid Onayn lies South of Hamzah�s tomb. It is on a hill called Jabal al-Rumat, the Shooters� Hill, and here during the battle of Ohod stood the archers of Al-Islam. According to some, the Prince of Martyrs here received his death-wound; others place that event at the Masjid al-Askar or the Masjid al-Wady.[FN#40]

Besides these fourteen, I find the names, and nothing but the names, of forty Mosques. The reader loses little by my unwillingness to offer him a detailed list of such appellations as Masjid Benu Abd al-Ashhal, Masjid Benu Harisah, Masjid Benu Harim, Masjid al-Fash, Masjid al-Sukiya, Masjid Benu Bayazah, Masjid Benu Hatmah,

�Cum multis aliis qu� nunc perscribere longum est.�

[FN#1] The cholera. See chapter xviii. [FN#2] The word Hawamid is plural of Hamidah, Hawazin of Hazimi. [FN#3] Anciently there was a Caravan from Maskat to Al-Madinah. My friends could not tell me when the line had been given up, but all were agreed that for years they had not seen an Oman caravan, the pilgrims preferring to enter Al-Hijaz via Jeddah. [FN#4] According to Abulfeda, Khaybar is six stations N.E. of Al-Madinah; it is four according to Al-Idrisi; but my informants assured me that camels go there easily, as the Tarikh al-Khamisy says, in three days. I should place it 80 miles N.N.E. of Al-Madinah. Al-Atwal locates it in 65� 20' E. lon., and 25� 20' N. lat; Al-Kanun in lon. 67� 30', and lat. 24� 20'; Ibn Sa�id in lon. 64� 56', and lat. 27�; and D�Anville in lon. 57�, and lat. 25�. In Burckhardt�s map, and those copied from it, Khaybar is placed about 2� distant from Al-Madinah, which I believe to be too far. [FN#5] The Parliamentary limit of an officer�s leave from India is five years: if he overstay that period, he forfeits his commission. {to me the comfort of reflecting that possibly at Meccah some opportunity of crossing the Peninsula might present itself. At any rate I had the certainty of seeing the strange wild country of the Hijaz, and of being present at the ceremonies of the Holy City. I must request the reader to bear with a Visitation once more: we shall conclude it with a ride to Al-Bakia.[FN#6] This venerable spot is frequented by the pious every day after the prayer at the Prophet�s Tomb, and especially on Fridays. [FN#6] The name means �the place of many roots.� It is also called Bakia Al-Gharkad�the place of many roots of the tree Rhamnus. Gharkad is translated in different ways: some term it the lote, others the tree of the Jews (Forskal, sub voce). [FN#7] See chapter xxi., ante. [FN#8] The same is said of the Makbarah Benu Salmah or Salim, a cemetery to the west of Al-Madinah, below rising ground called Jabal Sula. It has long ago been deserted. See chapter xiv. [FN#9] In those days Al-Madinah had no walls, and was clear of houses on the East of the Harim. [FN#10] These stones were removed by Al-Marwan, who determined that Osman�s grave should not be distinguished from his fellows. For this act, the lieutenant of Mu�awiyah was reproved and blamed by pious Moslems. [FN#11] It ought to be high enough for the tenant to sit upright when answering the interrogatory angels. [FN#12] Because of this superstition, in every part of Al-Islam, some contrivance is made to prevent the earth pressing upon the body. [FN#13] This blessing is in Mohammed�s words, as the beauty of the Arabic shows. Ayishah relates that in the month Safar, A.H. 11, one night the Prophet, who was beginning to suffer from the headache which caused his death, arose from his couch, and walked out into the darkness; whereupon she followed him in a fit of jealousy, thinking he might be about to visit some other wife. He went to Al-Bakia, delivered the above benediction (which others give somewhat differently), raised his hands three times, and turned to go home. Ayishah hurried back, but she could not conceal her agitation from her husband, who asked her what she had done. Upon her confessing her suspicions, he sternly informed her that he had gone forth, by order of the Archangel Gabriel, to bless and to intercede for the people of Al-Bakia. Some authors relate a more facetious termination of the colloquy.�M.C. de Perceval (Essai, &c., vol. iii. p. 314.) [FN#14] �Limping Osman,� as the Persians contemptuously call him, was slain by rebels, and therefore became a martyr according to the Sunnis. The Shi�ahs justify the murder, saying it was the act of an �Ijma al-Muslimin,� or the general consensus of Al-Islam, which in their opinion ratifies an act of �lynch law.� [FN#15] This specifying the father Affan, proves him to have been a Moslem. Abu Bakr�s father, �Kahafah,� and Omar�s �Al-Khattab,� are not mentioned by name in the Ceremonies of Visitation. [FN#16] The Christian reader must remember that the Moslems rank angelic nature, under certain conditions, below human nature. [FN#17] Osman married two daughters of the Prophet, a circumstance which the Sunnis quote as honourable to him: the Shi�ahs, on the contrary, declare that he killed them both by ill-treatment. [FN#18] These men are generally descendants of the Saint whose tomb they own: they receive pensions from the Mudir of the Mosque, and retain all fees presented to them by visitors. Some families are respectably supported in this way. [FN#19] This woman, according to some accounts, also saved Mohammed�s life, when an Arab Kahin or diviner, foreseeing that the child was destined to subvert the national faith, urged the bystanders to bury their swords in his bosom. The Sharifs of Meccah still entrust their children to the Badawin, that they may be hardened by the discipline of the Desert. And the late Pasha of Egypt gave one of his sons in charge of the Anizah tribe, near Akabah. Burckhardt (Travels in Arabia, vol. i. p. 427) makes some sensible remarks about this custom, which cannot be too much praised. [FN#20] Al- �Sadiyah,� a double entendre; it means auspicious, and also alludes to Halimah�s tribe, the Benu Sa�ad. [FN#21] Both these words are titles of the Prophet. Al-Mustafa means the �Chosen�; Al-Mujtaba, the �Accepted.� [FN#22] There being, according to the Moslems, many heavens and many earths. [FN#23] See chapter xx. [FN#24] The Shafe�i school allows its disciples to curse Al-Yazid, the son of Mu�awiyah, whose cruelties to the descendants of the Prophet, and crimes and vices, have made him the Judas Iscariot of Al-Islam. I have heard Hanafi Moslems, especially Sayyids, revile him; but this is not, strictly speaking, correct. The Shi�ahs, of course, place no limits to their abuse of him. You first call a man �Omar,� then �Shimr,� (the slayer of Al-Hosayn), and lastly, �Yazid,� beyond which insult does not extend. [FN#25] Ukayl or Akil, as many write the name, died at Damascus, during the Caliphate of Al-Mu�awiyah. Some say he was buried there, others that his corpse was transplanted to Al-Madinah, and buried in a place where formerly his house, known as �Dar Ukayl,� stood. [FN#26] Some are of opinion that the ceremonies of Ziyarat formerly did, and still should begin here. But the order of visitation differs infinitely, and no two authors seem to agree. I was led by Shaykh Hamid, and indulged in no scruples. [FN#27] Burckhardt makes a series of mistakes upon this subject. �Hassan ibn Aly, whose trunk only lies buried here (in El Bakia), his head having been sent to Cairo, where it is preserved in the fine Mosque called El-Hassanya.� The Mosque Al-Hasanayn (the �two Hasans�) is supposed to contain only the head of Al-Hosayn, which, when the Crusaders took Ascalon, was brought from thence by Sultan Salih or Beybars, and conveyed to Cairo. As I have said before, the Persians in Egypt openly show their contempt of this tradition. It must be remembered that Al-Hasan died poisoned at Al-Madinah by his wife Ja�adah. Al-Hosayn, on the other hand, was slain and decapitated at Kerbela. According to the Shi�ahs, Zayn al-Abidin obtained from Yazid, after a space of forty days, his father�s head, and carried it back to Kerbela, for which reason the event is known to the Persians as �Chilleyeh sar o tan,� the �forty days of (separation between) the head and trunk.� They vehemently deny that the body lies at Kerbela, and the head at Cairo. Others, again, declare that Al-Hosayn�s head was sent by Yazid to Amir bin al-As, the governor of Al-Madinah, and was by him buried near Fatimah�s Tomb. Nor are they wanting who declare, that after Yazid�s death the head was found in his treasury, and was shrouded and buried at Damascus. Such is the uncertainty which hangs over the early history of Al-Islam[.] [FN#28] The names of the fifth and sixth Imams, Mohammed al-Bakia and Ja�afar al-Sadik, were omitted by Hamid, as doubtful whether they are really buried here or not. [FN#29] Moslem historians seem to delight in the obscurity which hangs over the lady�s last resting-place, as if it were an honour even for the receptacle of her ashes to be concealed from the eyes of men. Some place her in the Harim, relying upon this tradition: �Fatimah, feeling about to die, rose up joyfully, performed the greater ablution, dressed herself in pure garments, spread a mat upon the floor of her house near the Prophet�s Tomb, lay down fronting the Kiblah, placed her hand under her cheek, and said to her attendant, �I am pure and in a pure dress; now let no one uncover my body, but bury me where I lie!� When Ali returned he found his wife dead, and complied with her last wishes. Omar bin Abd al-Aziz believed this tradition, when he included the room in the Mosque; and generally in Al-Islam Fatimah is supposed to be buried in the Harim. Those who suppose the Prophet�s daughter to be buried in Al-Bakia rely upon a saying of the Imam Hasan, �If men will not allow me to sleep beside my grandsire, place me in Al-Bakia, by my mother.� They give the following account of his death and burial. His body was bathed and shrouded by Ali and Omar Salmah. Others say that Asma Bint Umays, the wife of Abu Bakr, was present with Fatimah, who at her last hour complained of being carried out, as was the custom of those days, to burial like a man. Asma promised to make her a covered bier, like a bride�s litter, of palm sticks, in shape like what she had seen in Abyssinia: whereupon Fatimah smiled for the first time after her father�s death, and exacted from her a promise to allow no one entrance as long as her corpse was in the house. Ayishah, shortly afterwards knocking at the door, was refused admittance by Asma; the former complained of this to her father, and declared that her stepmother had been making a bride�s litter to carry out the corpse. Abu Bakr went to the door, and when informed by his wife that all was the result of Fatimah�s orders, he returned home making no objection. The death of the Prophet�s daughter was concealed by her own desire from high and low; she was buried at night, and none accompanied her bier, or prayed at her grave, except Ali and a few relatives. The Shi�ahs found a charge of irreverence and disrespect against Abu Bakr for absence on this occasion. The third place which claims Fatimah�s honoured remains, is a small Mosque in Al-Bakia, South of the Sepulchre of Abbas. It was called Bayt al-Huzn�House of Mourning�because here the lady passed the end of her days, lamenting the loss of her father. Her tomb appears to have formerly been shown there. Now visitors pray, and pray only twice,�at the Harim, and in the Kubbat al-Abbasiyah. [FN#30] The other celebrities in Al-Bakia are:�

Fatimah bint As�ad, mother of Ali. She was buried with great religious pomp. The Prophet shrouded her with his own garment (to prevent hell from touching her), dug her grave, lay down in it (that it might never squeeze or be narrow to her), assisted in carrying the bier, prayed over her, and proclaimed her certain of future felicity. Over her tomb was written, �The grave hath not closed upon one like Fatimah, daughter of As�ad.� Historians relate that Mohammed lay down in only four graves: 1. Khadijah�s, at Meccah. 2. Kasim�s, her son by him. 3. That of Umm Ruman, Ayishah�s mother. 4. That of Abdullah al-Mazni, a friend and companion.

Abd al-Rahman bin Auf was interred near Osman bin Maz�un. Ayishah offered to bury him in her house near the Prophet, but he replied that he did not wish to narrow her abode, and that he had promised to sleep by the side of his friend Maz�un. I have already alluded to the belief that none has been able to occupy the spare place in the Hujrah.

Ibn Hufazah al-Sahmi, who was one of the Ashab al-Hijratayn (who had accompanied both flights, the greater and the lesser), here died of a wound received at Ohod, and was buried in Shawwal, A.H. 3, one month after Osman bin Maz�un.

Abdullah bin Mas�ud, who, according to others, is buried at Kufah.

Sa�ad ibn Zararah, interred near Osman bin Maz�un.

Sa�ad bin Ma�az, who was buried by the Prophet. He died of a wound received during the battle of the Moat.

Abd al-Rahman al-Ausat, son of Omar, the Caliph. He was generally known as Abu Shahmah, the �Father of Fat�: he sickened and died, after receiving from his father the religious flogging�impudicitiae causa.

Abu Sufiyan bin al-Haris, grandson of Abd al-Muttalib. He was buried near Abdullah bin Ja�afar al-Tayyar, popularly known as the �most generous of the Arabs,� and near Ukayl bin Abi Talib, the brother of Ali mentioned above.

These are the principal names mentioned by popular authors. The curious reader will find in old histories a multitude of others, whose graves are now utterly forgotten at Al-Madinah. [FN#31] See chapter xix. [FN#32] The story is related in another way. Whilst Mohammed was praying the Asr or afternoon prayer at the Harim he turned his face towards Meccah. Some of the Companions ran instantly to all the Mosques, informing the people of the change. In many places they were not listened to, but the Benu Salmah who were at prayer instantly faced Southwards. To commemorate their obedience the Mosque was called Al-Kiblatayn. [FN#33] I cannot say whether this valuable stone be still at the Mosque Benu Tifr. But I perfectly remember that my friend Larking had a mutilated sphynx in his garden at Alexandria, which was found equally efficacious. [FN#34] See chapter xvii. [FN#35] Mohammed�s eldest son was Kasim, who died in his infancy, and was buried at Meccah. Hence the Prophet�s p�donymic, Abu Kasim, the sire of Kasim. [FB#36] Ayishah used to relate that she was exceedingly jealous of the Coptic girl�s beauty, and of the Prophet�s love for her. Mohammed seeing this, removed Mariyah from the house of Harisat bin al-Numan, in which he had placed her, to the Awali of Al-Madinah, where the Mosque now is. Oriental authors use this term �Awali,� high-grounds, to denote the plains to the Eastward and Southward of the City, opposed to Al-Safilah, the lower ground on the W. and N.W. [FN#37] I am very doubtful about this location of the Masjid al-Fath. [FN#38] A magus, a magician, one supposed to worship fire. The other rival sect of the time was the Sab�an who adored the heavenly bodies. [FN#39] The Mosque of �reward in heaven.� It is so called because during the War of the Moat, the Prophet used to live in a cave there, and afterwards he made it a frequent resort for prayer. [FN#40] Hamzah�s fall is now placed at the Kubbat al-Masra. See chapter xx.

Chapter XXIII. THE DAMASCUS CARAVAN.[edit]

THE Damascus Caravan was to set out on the 27th Zu�l Ka�adah (1st September). I had intended to stay at Al-Madinah till the last moment, and to accompany the Kafilat al-Tayyarah, or the �Flying Caravan,� which usually leaves on the 2nd Zu�l Hijjah, two days after that of Damascus.

Suddenly arose the rumour that there would be no Tayyarah,[FN#l] and that all pilgrims must proceed with the Damascus Caravan or await the Rakb. This is a Dromedary Caravan, in which each person carries only his saddle-bags. It usually descends by the road called Al-Khabt, and makes Meccah on the fifth day. The Sharif Zayd, Sa�ad the Robber�s only friend, had paid him an unsuccessful visit. Schinderhans demanded back his Shaykh-ship, in return for a safe-conduct through his country: �Otherwise,� said he, �I will cut the throat of every hen that ventures into the passes.�

The Sharif Zayd returned to Al-Madinah on the 25th Zu�l Ka�adah (30th August). Early on the morning of the next day, Shaykh Hamid returned hurriedly from the bazar, exclaiming, �You must make ready at once, Effendi!�there will be no Tayyarah�all Hajis start to-morrow�Allah will make it easy to you!�have you

[p.51] your water-skins in order?�you are to travel down the Darb al-Sharki, where you will not see water for three days!�

Poor Hamid looked horrorstruck as he concluded this fearful announcement, which filled me with joy. Burckhardt had visited and had described the Darb al-Sultani, the road along the coast. But no European had as yet travelled down by Harun al-Rashid�s and the Lady Zubaydah�s celebrated route through the Nijd Desert.

Not a moment, however, was to be lost: we expected to start early the next morning. The boy Mohammed went forth, and bought for eighty piastres a Shugduf, which lasted us throughout the pilgrimage, and for fifteen piastres a Shibriyah or cot to be occupied by Shaykh Nur, who did not relish sleeping on boxes. The youth was employed all day, with sleeves tucked up, and working like a porter, in covering the litter with matting and rugs, in mending broken parts, and in providing it with large pockets for provisions inside and outside, with pouches to contain the gugglets of cooled water.

Meanwhile Shaykh Nur and I, having inspected the water-skins, found that the rats had made considerable rents in two of them. There being no workman procurable at this time for gold, I sat down to patch the damaged articles; whilst Nur was sent to lay in supplies for fourteen days. The journey is calculated at eleven days; but provisions are apt to spoil, and the Badawi camel-men expect to be fed. Besides which, pilferers abound. By my companion�s advice I took wheat-flour, rice, turmeric, onions, dates, unleavened bread of two kinds, cheese, limes, tobacco, sugar, tea and coffee.

Hamid himself started upon the most important part of our business. Faithful camel-men are required upon a road where robberies are frequent and stabbings occasional, and where there is no law to prevent desertion or to limit new and exorbitant demands. After a time he

[p.52] returned, accompanied by a boy and a Badawi, a short, thin, well-built old man with regular features, a white beard, and a cool clear eye; his limbs, as usual, were scarred with wounds. Mas�ud of the Rahlah, a sub-family of the Hamidah family of the Benu-Harb, came in with a dignified demeanour, applied his dexter palm to ours,[FN#2] sat down, declined a pipe, accepted coffee, and after drinking it, looked at us to show that he was ready for nego[t]iation. We opened the proceedings with �We want men, and not camels,� and the conversation proceeded in the purest Hijazi.[FN#3] After much discussion, we agreed, if compelled to travel by the Darb al-Sharki, to pay twenty dollars for two camels,[FN#4] and to advance Arbun, or earnest-money, to half that amount.[FN#5] The Shaykh bound himself to provide us with good animals, which, moreover, were to be changed in case of accidents: he was also to supply his beasts with water, and to accompany us to Arafat and back. But, absolutely refusing to carry my large chest, he declared that the tent under the Shugduf was burden enough for one camel; and that the green box of drugs, the saddle-bags, and the provision-sacks, surmounted by Nur�s cot, were amply sufficient for the other. On our part, we bound ourselves to feed the

[p.53] Shaykh and his son, supplying them either with raw or with cooked provender, and, upon our return to Meccah from Mount Arafat, to pay the remaining hire with a discretionary present.

Hamid then addressed to me flowery praises of the old Badawi. After which, turning to the latter, he exclaimed, �Thou wilt treat these friends well, O Mas�ud the Harbi!� The ancient replied with a dignity that had no pomposity in it,��Even as Abu Shawarib�the Father of Mustachios[FN#6]�behaveth to us, so will we behave to him!� He then arose, bade us be prepared when the departure-gun sounded, saluted us, and stalked out of the room, followed by his son, who, under pretext of dozing, had mentally made an inventory of every article in the room, ourselves especially included.

When the Badawin disappeared, Shaykh Hamid shook his head, advising me to give them plenty to eat, and never to allow twenty-four hours to elapse without dipping hand in the same dish with them, in order that the party might always be �Malihin,��on terms of salt.[FN#7] He concluded

[p.54] with a copious lecture upon the villainy of Badawin, and on their habit of drinking travellers� water. I was to place the skins on a camel in front, and not behind; to hang them with their mouths carefully tied, and turned upwards, contrary to the general practice; always to keep a good store of liquid, and at night to place it under the safeguard of the tent.

In the afternoon, Omar Effendi and others dropped in to take leave. They found me in the midst of preparations, sewing sacks, fitting up a pipe, patching water-bags, and packing medicines. My fellow-traveller had brought me some pencils[FN#8] and a penknife, as �forget-me-nots,� for we were by no means sure of meeting again. He hinted, however, at another escape from the paternal abode, and proposed, if possible, to join the Dromedary-Caravan. Shaykh Hamid said the same, but I saw, by the expression of his face, that his mother and wife would not give him leave from home so soon after his return.

Towards evening-time the Barr al-Manakhah became a scene of exceeding confusion. The town of tents lay upon the ground. Camels were being laden, and were roaring under the weight of litters and cots, boxes and baggage. Horses and mules galloped about. Men were rushing wildly in all directions on worldly errands, or hurrying to pay a farewell visit to the Prophet�s Tomb. Women and children sat screaming on the ground, or ran to and fro distracted, or called their vehicles to escape the danger of being crushed. Every now and then a random shot excited all into the belief that the departure-gun had sounded. At times we heard a volley from the robbers� hills, which elicited a general groan, for the pilgrims were still, to use their own phrase, �between fear

[p.55] and hope,� and, consequently, still far from �one of the two comforts.[FN#9]� Then would sound the loud �Jhin-Jhin� of the camels� bells, as the stately animals paced away with some grandee�s gilt and emblazoned litter, the sharp plaint of the dromedary, and the loud neighing of excited steeds.

About an hour after sunset all our preparations were concluded, save only the Shugduf, at which the boy Mohammed still worked with untiring zeal; he wisely remembered that he had to spend in it the best portion of a week and a half. The evening was hot, we therefore dined outside the house. I was told to repair to the Harim for the Ziyarat al-Wida�a, or the �Farewell Visitation�; but my decided objection to this step was that we were all to part,�how soon!�and when to meet again we knew not. My companions smiled consent, assuring me that the ceremony could be performed as well at a distance as in the temple.

Then Shaykh Hamid made me pray a two-bow prayer, and afterwards, facing towards the Harim, to recite this supplication with raised hands:

�O Apostle of Allah, we beg Thee to entreat Almighty Allah, that He cut off no Portion of the Good resulting to us, from this Visit to Thee and to Thy Harim! May He cause us to return safe and prosperous to our Birth-places; aid then us in the Progeny he hath given us, and continue to us his Benefits, and make us thankful for our daily Bread! O Allah, let not this be the last of our Visitations to Thy Apostle's Tomb! Yet if Thou summon us before such Blessing, verily in my Death I bear Witness, as in my Life,� (here the forefinger of the right hand is extended, that the members of the body may take part with the tongue and the heart) �that there

[p.56] is no god but Allah, One and without Partner, and verily that our Lord Mohammed is His Servant and His Apostle! O Allah, grant us in this World Weal, and in the future Weal, and save us from the torments of Hell-fire! Praise to Thee, O Lord, Lord of Glory, greater than Man can describe! and Peace be upon the Apostle, and Laud to Allah, the Lord of the (three) Worlds.� This concludes, as usual, with the Testification and the Fatihah. Pious men on such an occasion go to the Rauzah, where they strive, if possible, to shed a tear,�a single drop being a sign of acceptance,�give alms to the utmost of their ability, vow piety, repentance, and obedience, and retire overwhelmed with grief, at separating themselves from their Prophet and Intercessor. It is customary, too, before leaving Al-Madinah, to pass at least one night in vigils at the Harim, and for learned men to read through the Koran once before the tomb.

Then began the uncomfortable process of paying off little bills. The Eastern creditor always, for divers reasons, waits the last moment before he claims his debt. Shaykh Hamid had frequently hinted at his difficulties; the only means of escape from which, he said, was to rely upon Allah. He had treated me so hospitably, that I could not take back any part of the �5 lent to him at Suez. His three brothers received a dollar or two each, and one or two of his cousins hinted to some effect that such a proceeding would meet with their approbation.

The luggage was then carried down, and disposed in packs upon the ground before the house, so as to be ready for loading at a moment�s notice. Many flying parties of travellers had almost started on the high road, and late in the evening came a new report that the body of the Caravan would march about midnight. We sat up till about two A.M., when, having heard no gun, and having seen no camels, we lay down to sleep through the sultry remnant of the hours of darkness.

[p.57]Thus, gentle reader, was spent my last night at Al-Madinah.

I had reason to congratulate myself upon having passed through the first danger. Meccah is so near the coast, that, in case of detection, the traveller might escape in a few hours to Jeddah, where he would find an English Vice-Consul, protection from the Turkish authorities, and possibly a British cruiser in the harbour. But at Al-Madinah discovery would entail more serious consequences. The next risk to be run was the journey between the two cities, where it would be easy for the local officials quietly to dispose of a suspected person by giving a dollar to a Badawi.

[FN#1] The �Tayyarah,� or �Flying Caravan,� is lightly laden, and travels by forced marches. [FN#2] This �Musafahah,� as it is called, is the Arab fashion of shaking hands. They apply the palms of the right hands flat to each other, without squeezing the fingers, and then raise the hand to the forehead. [FN#3] On this occasion I heard three new words: �Kharitah,� used to signify a single trip to Meccah (without return to Al-Madinah), �Ta�arifah,� going out from Meccah to Mount Arafat, and �Tanzilah,� return from Mount Arafat to Meccah. [FN#4] And part of an extra animal which was to carry water for the party. Had we travelled by the Darb al-Sultani, we should have paid 6� dollars, instead of 10, for each beast. [FN#5] The system of advances, as well as earnest money, is common all over Arabia. In some places, Aden for instance, I have heard of two-thirds the price of a cargo of coffee being required from the purchaser before the seller would undertake to furnish a single bale. [FN#6] Most men of the Shafe�i school clip their mustachios exceedingly short; some clean shave the upper lip, the imperial, and the parts of the beard about the corners of the mouth, and the forepart of the cheeks. I neglected so to do, which soon won for me the epithet recorded above. Arabs are vastly given to �nick-naming God�s creatures�; their habit is the effect of acute observation, and the want of variety in proper names. Sonnini appears not to like having been called the �Father of a nose.� But there is nothing disrespectful in these personal allusions. In Arabia you must be �father� of something, and it is better to be father of a feature, than father of a cooking pot, or father of a strong smell (�Abu-Zirt.�) [FN#7] Salt among the Hindus is considered the essence and preserver of the seas; it was therefore used in their offerings to the gods. The old idea in Europe was, that salt is a body composed of various elements, into which it cannot be resolved by human means: hence, it became the type of an indissoluble tie between individuals. Homer calls salt sacred and divine, and whoever ate it with a stranger was supposed to become his friend. By the Greek authors, as by the Arabs, hospitality and salt are words expressing a kindred idea. When describing the Badawin of Al-Hijaz, I shall have occasion to notice their peculiar notions of the Salt-law. [FN#8] The import of such articles shows the march of progress in Al-Hijaz. During the last generation, schoolmasters used for pencils bits of bar lead beaten to a point. [FN#9] The �two comforts� are success and despair; the latter, according to the Arabs, being a more enviable state of feeling than doubt or hope deferred.

Chapter XXIV. FROM AL-MADINAH TO AL-SUWAYRKIYAH.[edit]

Burton Pilgrims Costume.gif

FOUR roads lead from Al-Madinah to Meccah. The [�]Darb al-Sultani,� or �Sultan�s Highway,� follows the line of coast: this general passage has been minutely described by my exact predecessor. The �Tarik al-Ghabir,� a mountain path, is avoided by the Mahmil and the great Caravans on account of its rugged passes; water abounds along the whole line, but there is not a single village and the Sobh Badawin, who own the soil[,] are inveterate plunderers. The route called �Wady al-Kura� is a favourite with Dromedary Caravans; on this road are two or three small settlements, regular wells, and free passage through the Benu Amr tribe. The Darb al-Sharki, or �Eastern road,� down which I travelled, owes its existence to the piety of the Lady Zubaydah, wife of Harun al-Rashid. That munificent princess dug wells from Baghdad to Al-Madinah, and built, we are told, a wall to direct pilgrims over the shifting sands.[FN#1] There is a fifth road, or rather mountain path, concerning which I can give no information.

At eight A.M. on Wednesday, the 26th Zu�l Ka�adah

[p.59] (31st August, 1853), as we were sitting at the window of Hamid�s house after our early meal, suddenly appeared, in hottest haste, Mas�ud, our Camel-Shaykh. He was accompanied by his son, a bold boy about fourteen years of age, who fought sturdily about the weight of each package as it was thrown over the camel�s back; and his nephew, an ugly pock-marked lad, too lazy even to quarrel. We were ordered to lose no time in loading; all started into activity, and at nine A.M. I found myself standing opposite the Egyptian Gate, surrounded by my friends, who had accompanied me thus far on foot, to take leave with due honour. After affectionate embraces and parting mementoes, we mounted, the boy Mohammed and I in the litter, and Shaykh Nur in his cot. Then in company with some Turks and Meccans, for Mas�ud owned a string of nine camels, we passed through the little gate near the castle, and shaped our course towards the North. On our right lay the palm-groves, which conceal this part of the city; far to the left rose the domes of Hamzah�s Mosques at the foot of Mount Ohod; and in front a band of road, crowded with motley groups, stretched over a barren stony plain.

After an hour�s slow march, bending gradually from North to North-East, we fell into the Nijd highway, and came to a place of renown called Al-Ghadir, or the Basin.[FN#2] This is a depression conducting the drainage of the plain towards the northern hills. The skirts of Ohod still limited the prospect to the left. On the right was the Bir Rashid (Well of Rashid), and the little whitewashed dome of Ali al-Urays, a descendant from Zayn al-Abidin:�the tomb is still a place of Visitation. There we halted and turned to take farewell of the Holy City. All the

[p.60] pilgrims dismounted and gazed at the venerable minarets and the Green Dome,�spots upon which their memories would for ever dwell with a fond and yearning interest.

Remounting at noon, we crossed a Fiumara which runs, according to my Camel-Shaykh, from North to South; we were therefore emerging from the Madinah basin. The sky began to be clouded, and although the air was still full of Samu[m], cold draughts occasionally poured down from the hills. Arabs fear this

�bitter change Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce,�

and call that a dangerous climate which is cold in the hot season and hot in the cold. Travelling over a rough and stony path, dotted with thorny Acacias, we arrived about two P.M. at the bed of lava heard of by Burckhardt.[FN#3] The

[p.61] aspect of the country was volcanic, abounding in basalts and scoriae, more or less porous: sand veiled the black bed whose present dimensions by no means equal the descriptions of Arabian historians. I made diligent enquiries about the existence of active volcanoes in this part of Al-Hijaz, and heard of none.

At five P.M., travelling towards the East, we entered a Bughaz,[FN#4] or Pass, which follows the course of a wide Fiumara, walled in by steep and barren hills,�the portals of a region too wild even for Badawin. The torrent-bed narrowed where the turns were abrupt, and the drift of heavy stones, with a water-mark from six to seven feet

[p.62] high, showed that after rains a violent stream runs from East and South-East to West and North-West. The fertilising fluid is close to the surface, evidenced by a spare growth of Acacia, camel-grass, and at some angles of the bed by the Daum, or Theban palm.[FN#5] I remarked what was technically called �Hufrah,� holes dug for water in the sand; and the guide assured me that somewhere near there is a spring flowing from the rocks.

After the long and sultry afternoon, beasts of burden began to sink in numbers. The fresh carcases of asses, ponies, and camels dotted the wayside: those that had been allowed to die were abandoned to the foul carrion-birds, the Rakham (vulture), and the yellow Ukab; and all whose throats had been properly cut, were surrounded by troops of Takruri pilgrims. These half-starved wretches cut steaks from the choice portions, and slung them over their shoulders till an opportunity of cooking might arrive. I never saw men more destitute. They carried wooden bowls, which they filled with water by begging; their only weapon was a small knife, tied in a leathern sheath above the elbow; and their costume an old skull-cap, strips of leather like sandals under the feet, and a long dirty shirt, or sometimes a mere rag covering the loins. Some were perfect savages, others had been fine-looking men, broad-shouldered, thin-flanked, and long-limbed; many were lamed by fatigue and by thorns; and looking at most of them, I fancied death depicted in their forms and features.

After two hours� slow marching up the Fiumara eastwards, we saw in front of us a wall of rock; and, turning abruptly southwards, we left the bed, and ascended rising ground. Already it was night; an hour, however, elapsed before we saw, at a distance, the twinkling fires, and heard the watch-cries of our camp. It was

[p.63] pitched in a hollow, under hills, in excellent order; the Pasha�s pavilion surrounded by his soldiers and guards disposed in tents, with sentinels, regularly posted, protecting the outskirts of the encampment. One of our men, whom we had sent forward, met us on the way, and led us to an open place, where we unloaded the camels, raised our canvas home, lighted fires, and prepared, with supper, for a good night�s rest. Living is simple on such marches. The pouches inside and outside the Shugduf contain provisions and water, with which you supply yourself when inclined. At certain hours of the day, ambulant vendors offer sherbet, lemonade, hot coffee, and water-pipes admirably prepared.[FN#6] Chibuks may be smoked in the litter; but few care to do so during the Samu[m]. The first thing, however, called for at the halting-place is the pipe, and its delightfully soothing influence, followed by a cup of coffee, and a �forty winks� upon the sand, will awaken an appetite not to be roused by other means. How could Waterton, the traveller, abuse a pipe? During the night-halt, provisions are cooked: rice, or Kichri, a mixture of pulse and rice, is eaten with Chutnee and lime-pickle, varied, occasionally, by tough mutton and indigestible goat.

We arrived at Ja al-Sharifah at eight P.M., after a march of about twenty-two miles.[FN#7] This halting-place is

[p.64] the rendezvous of Caravans: it lies 50� south-east of Al-Madinah, and belongs rather to Nijd than to Al-Hijaz.

At three A.M., on Thursday (Sept. 1), we started up at the sound of the departure-gun, struck the tent, loaded the camels, mounted, and found ourselves hurrying through a gloomy pass, in the hills, to secure a good place in the Caravan. This is an object of some importance, as, during the whole journey, marching order must not be broken. We met with a host of minor accidents, camels falling, Shugdufs bumping against one another, and plentiful abuse. Pertinaciously we hurried on till six A.M., at which hour we emerged from the Black Pass. The large crimson sun rose upon us, disclosing, through purple mists, a hollow of coarse yellow gravel, based upon a hard whitish clay. About five miles broad by twelve long, it collects the waters of the high grounds after rain, and distributes the surplus through an exit towards the North-west, a gap in the low undulating hills around. Entering it, we dismounted, prayed, broke our fast, and after half an hour�s halt proceeded to cross its breadth. The appearance of the Caravan was most striking, as it threaded its slow way over the smooth surface of the Khabt (low plain).[FN#8] To judge by the eye, the host was composed of at fewest seven thousand souls, on foot, on horseback, in litters, or bestriding the splendid camels of Syria.[FN#9] There were eight gradations of pilgrims.

[p.65] The lowest hobbled with heavy staves. Then came the riders of asses, of camels, and of mules. Respectable men, especially Arabs, were mounted on dromedaries, and the soldiers had horses: a led animal was saddled for every grandee, ready whenever he might wish to leave his litter. Women, children, and invalids of the poorer classes sat upon a �Haml Musattah,��rugs and cloths spread over the two large boxes which form the camel�s load.[FN#10] Many occupied Shibriyahs; a few, Shugdufs, and only the wealthy and the noble rode in Takht-rawan (litters), carried by camels or mules.[FN#11] The morning beams fell brightly upon the glancing arms which surrounded the stripped Mahmil,[FN#12] and upon the scarlet and gilt conveyances of the grandees. Not the least beauty of the spectacle was its wondrous variety of detail: no man was dressed like his neighbour, no camel was caparisoned, no horse was

[p.66] clothed in uniform, as it were. And nothing stranger than the contrasts; a band of half-naked Takruri marching with the Pasha�s equipage, and long-capped, bearded Persians conversing with Tarbush�d and shaven Turks.

The plain even at an early hour reeked with vapours distilled by the fires of the Samum: about noon, however, the air became cloudy, and nothing of colour remained, save that milky white haze, dull, but glaring withal, which is the prevailing day-tint in these regions. At mid-day we reached a narrowing of the basin, where, from both sides, �Irk,� or low hills, stretch their last spurs into the plain. But after half a mile, it again widened to upwards of two miles. At two P.M. (Friday, Sept. 2), we turned towards the South-west, ascended stony ground, and found ourselves one hour afterwards in a desolate rocky flat, distant about twenty-four miles of unusually winding road from our last station. �Mahattah Ghurab,[FN#13]� or the Raven�s Station, lies 10� south-west from Ja al-Sharifah, in the irregular masses of hill on the frontier of Al-Hijaz, where the highlands of Nijd begin.


After pitching the tent, we prepared to recruit our supply of water; for Mas�ud warned me that his camels had not drunk for ninety hours, and that they would soon sink under the privation. The boy Mohammed, mounting a dromedary, set off with the Shaykh and many water-bags, giving me an opportunity of writing out my journal. They did not return home until after nightfall, a delay caused by many adventures. The wells are in a Fiumara, as usual, about two miles distant from the halting-place, and the soldiers, regular as well as irregular, occupied the water and exacted hard coin in exchange for it. The men are not to blame; they would die of starvation but for this resource. The boy Mohammed had been engaged in several quarrels; but after

[p.67] snapping his pistol at a Persian pilgrim�s head, he came forth triumphant with two skins of sweetish water, for which we paid ten piastres. He was in his glory. There were many Meccans in the Caravan, among them his elder brother and several friends: the Sharif Zayd had sent, he said, to ask why he did not travel with his compatriots. That evening he drank so copiously of clarified butter, and ate dates mashed with flour and other abominations to such an extent, that at night he prepared to give up the ghost.

We passed a pleasant hour or two before sleeping. I began to like the old Shaykh Mas�ud, who, seeing it, entertained me with his genealogy, his battles, and his family affairs. The rest of the party could not prevent expressing contempt when they heard me putting frequent questions about torrents, hills, Badawin, and the directions of places. �Let the Father of Moustachios ask and learn,� said the old man; �he is friendly with the Badawin,[FN#14] and knows better than you all.� This reproof was intended to be bitter as the poet�s satire,�

�All fools have still an itching to deride,

 And fain would be upon the laughing side.�

It called forth, however[,] another burst of merriment, for the jeerers remembered my nickname to have belonged to that pestilent heretic, Sa�ud the Wahhabi.

On Saturday, the 3rd September, the hateful signal-gun awoke us at one A.M. In Arab travel there is nothing more disagreeable than the Sariyah or night-march, and yet the people are inexorable about it. �Choose early Darkness (daljah) for your Wayfarings,� said the Prophet, �as the Calamities of the Earth (serpents and wild beasts) appear not at Night.� I can scarcely find words to express the weary horrors of the long dark march, during which the hapless traveller, fuming, if a European, with disappointment in his hopes of �seeing the country,� [p.68] is compelled to sit upon the back of a creeping camel. The day-sleep, too, is a kind of lethargy, and it is all but impossible to preserve an appetite during the hours of heat.

At half-past five A.M., after drowsily stumbling through hours of outer gloom, we entered a spacious basin at least six miles broad, and limited by a circlet of low hill. It was overgrown with camel-grass and Acacia (Shittim) trees, mere vegetable mummies; in many places the water had left a mark; and here and there the ground was pitted with mud-flakes, the remains of recently dried pools. After an hour�s rapid march we toiled over a rugged ridge, composed of broken and detached blocks of basalt and scori�, fantastically piled together, and dotted with thorny trees. Shaykh Mas�ud passed the time in walking to and fro along his line of camels, addressing us with a Khallikum guddam, �to the front (of the litter)!� as we ascended, and a Khallikum wara, �to the rear!� during the descent. It was wonderful to see the animals stepping from block to block with the sagacity of mountaineers; assuring themselves of their forefeet before trusting all their weight to advance. Not a camel fell, either here or on any other ridge: they moaned, however, piteously, for the sudden turns of the path puzzled them; the ascents were painful, the descents were still more so; the rocks were sharp; deep holes yawned between the blocks, and occasionally an Acacia caught the Shugduf, almost overthrowing the hapless bearer by the suddenness and the tenacity of its clutch. This passage took place during daylight. But we had many at night, which I shall neither forget nor describe.

Descending the ridge, we entered another hill-encircled basin of gravel and clay. In many places basalt in piles and crumbling strata of hornblende schiste, disposed edgeways, green within, and without blackened by sun and rain, cropped out of the ground. At half-past ten we

[p.69] found ourselves in an �Acacia-barren,� one of the things which pilgrims dread. Here Shugdufs are bodily pulled off the camel�s back and broken upon the hard ground; the animals drop upon their knees, the whole line is deranged, and every one, losing temper, attacks his Moslem brother. The road was flanked on the left by an iron wall of black basalt. Noon brought us to another ridge, whence we descended into a second wooded basin surrounded by hills.

Here the air was filled with those pillars of sand so graphically described by Abyssinian Bruce. They scudded on the wings of the whirlwind over the plain,�huge yellow shafts, with lofty heads, horizontally bent backwards, in the form of clouds; and on more than one occasion camels were thrown down by them. It required little stretch of fancy to enter into the Arabs� superstition. These sand-columns are supposed to be Jinnis of the Waste, which cannot be caught, a notion arising from the fitful movements of the electrical wind-eddy that raises them, and as they advance, the pious Moslem stretches out his finger, exclaiming, �Iron! O thou ill-omened one[FN#15]!�

During the forenoon we were troubled by the Samum, which, instead of promoting perspiration, chokes up and hardens the skin. The Arabs complain greatly of its violence on this line of road. Here I first remarked the difficulty with which the Badawin bear thirst. Ya Latif,��O Merciful!� (Lord),�they exclaimed at times; and yet they behaved like men.[FN#16] I had ordered them to place the

[p.70] water-camel in front, so as to exercise due supervision. Shaykh Mas�ud and his son made only an occasional reference to the skins. But his nephew, a short, thin, pock-marked lad of eighteen, whose black skin and woolly head suggested the idea of a semi-African and ignoble origin, was always drinking; except when he climbed the camel�s back, and, dozing upon the damp load, forgot his thirst. In vain we ordered, we taunted, and we abused him: he would drink, he would sleep, but he would not work.

At one P.M. we crossed a Fiumara; and an hour afterwards we pursued the course of a second. Mas�ud called this the Wady al-Khunak, and assured me that it runs from the East and the South-east in a North and North-west direction, to the Madinah plain. Early in the afternoon we reached a diminutive flat, on the Fiumara bank. Beyond it lies a Mahjar or stony ground, black as usual in Al-Hijaz, and over its length lay the road, white with dust and with the sand deposited by the camels� feet. Having arrived before the Pasha, we did not know where to pitch; many opining that the Caravan would traverse the Mahjar and halt beyond it. We soon alighted, however, pitched the tent under a burning sun, and were imitated by the rest of the party. Mas�ud called the place Hijriyah. According to my computation, it is twenty-five miles from Ghurab, and its direction is South-East twenty-two degrees.

Late in the afternoon the boy Mohammed started with a dromedary to procure water from the higher part of the Fiumara. Here are some wells, still called Bir Harun, after the great Caliph. The youth returned soon with two bags filled at an expense of nine piastres. This being the 28th Zu�l Ka�adah, many pilgrims busied themselves

[p.71] rather fruitlessly with endeavours to sight the crescent moon. They failed; but we were consoled by seeing through a gap in the Western hills a heavy cloud discharge its blessed load, and a cool night was the result.

We loitered on Sunday, the 4th September, at Al-Hijriyah, although the Shaykh forewarned us of a long march. But there is a kind of discipline in these great Caravans. A gun[FN#17] sounds the order to strike the tents, and a second bids you move off with all speed. There are short halts, of half an hour each, at dawn, noon, the afternoon, and sunset, for devotional purposes, and these are regulated by a cannon or a culverin. At such times the Syrian and Persian servants, who are admirably expert in their calling, pitch the large green tents, with gilt crescents, for the dignitaries and their harims. The last resting-place is known by the hurrying forward of these �Farrash,� or tent �Lascars,� who are determined to be the first on the ground and at the well. A discharge of three guns denotes the station, and when the Caravan moves by night a single cannon sounds three or four halts at irregular intervals. The principal officers were the Emir Hajj, one Ashgar Ali Pasha, a veteran of whom my companions spoke slightingly, because he had been the slave of a slave, probably the pipe-bearer of some grandee who in his youth had been pipe-bearer to some other grandee. Under him was a Wakil, or lieutenant, who managed the executive. The Emir al-Surrah�called simply Al-Surrah, or the Purse�had charge of the Caravan-treasure, and of remittances to the Holy Cities. And lastly there was a commander of the

[p.72] forces (Bashat al-Askar): his host consisted of about a thousand Irregular horsemen, Bash-Buzuks, half bandits, half soldiers, each habited and armed after his own fashion, exceedingly dirty, picturesque-looking, brave, and in such a country of no use whatever.

Leaving Al-Hijriyah at seven A.M., we passed over the grim stone-field by a detestable footpath, and at nine o�clock struck into a broad Fiumara, which runs from the East towards the North-West. Its sandy bed is overgrown with Acacia, the Senna plant, different species of Euphorbiae, the wild Capparis, and the Daum Palm. Up this line we travelled the whole day. About six P.M., we came upon a basin at least twelve miles broad, which absorbs the water of the adjacent hills. Accustomed as I have been to mirage, a long thin line of salt efflorescence appearing at some distance on the plain below us, when the shades of evening invested the view, completely deceived me. Even the Arabs were divided in opinion, some thinking it was the effects of the rain which fell the day before: others were more acute. It is said that beasts are never deceived by the mirage, and this, as far as my experience goes, is correct. May not the reason be that most of them know the vicinity of water rather by smell than by sight? Upon the horizon beyond the plain rose dark, fort-like masses of rock which I mistook for buildings, the more readily as the Shaykh had warned me that we were approaching a populous place. At last descending a long steep hill, we entered upon the level ground, and discovered our error by the crunching sound of the camel[s�] feet upon large curling flakes of nitrous salt overlying caked mud.[FN#18] Those civilised birds, the kite and the crow, warned us that we were in the vicinity of man. It was not, however, before eleven P.M. that we entered the confines of Al-Suwayrkiyah. The fact was

[p.73] made patent to us by the stumbling and the falling of our dromedaries over the little ridges of dried clay disposed in squares upon the fields. There were other obstacles, such as garden walls, wells, and hovels, so that midnight had sped before our weary camels reached the resting-place. A rumour that we were to halt here the next day, made us think lightly of present troubles; it proved, however, to be false.

During the last four days I attentively observed the general face of the country. This line is a succession of low plains and basins, here quasi-circular, there irregularly oblong, surrounded by rolling hills and cut by Fiumaras which pass through the higher ground. The basins are divided by ridges and flats of basalt and greenstone averaging from one hundred to two hundred feet in height. The general form is a huge prism; sometimes they are table-topped. From Al-Madinah to Al-Suwayrkiyah the low beds of sandy Fiumaras abound. From Al-Suwayrkiyah to Al-Zaribah, their place is taken by �Ghadir,� or hollows in which water stagnates. And beyond Al-Zaribah the traveller enters a region of water-courses tending West and South-West The versant is generally from the East and South-East towards the West and North-West. Water obtained by digging is good where rain is fresh in the Fiumaras; saltish, so as to taste at first unnaturally sweet, in the plains; and bitter in the basins and lowlands where nitre effloresces and rain has had time to become tainted. The landward faces of the hills are disposed at a sloping angle, contrasting strongly with the perpendicularity of their seaward sides, and I found no inner range corresponding with, and parallel to, the maritime chain. Nowhere had I seen a land in which Earth�s anatomy lies so barren, or one richer in volcanic and primary formations.[FN#19] Especially

[p.74] towards the South, the hills were abrupt and highly vertical, with black and barren flanks, ribbed with furrows and fissures, with wide and formidable precipices and castellated summits like the work of man. The predominant formation was basalt, called the Arabs� Hajar Jahannam, or Hell-stone; here and there it is porous and cellular; in some places compact and black; and in others coarse and gritty, of a tarry colour, and when fractured shining with bright points. Hornblende is common at Al-Madinah and throughout this part of Al-Hijaz: it crops out of the ground edgeways, black and brittle. Greenstone, diorite, and actinolite are found, though not so abundantly as those above mentioned. The granites, called in Arabic Suwan,[FN#20] abound. Some are large-grained, of a pink colour, and appear in blocks, which, flaking off under the influence of the atmosphere, form ooidal blocks and boulders piled in irregular heaps. Others are grey and compact enough to take a high polish when cut. The syenite is generally coarse, although there is occasionally found a rich red variety of that stone. I did not see eurite or euritic porphyry except in small pieces, and the same may be said of the petrosilex and the milky and waxy quartz.[FN#21] In some parts, particularly between Yambu� and Al-Madinah, there is an abundance of tawny

[p.75] yellow gneiss markedly stratified. The transition formations are represented by a fine calcareous sandstone of a bright ochre colour: it is used at Meccah to adorn the exteriors of houses, bands of this stone being here and there inserted into the courses of masonry. There is also a small admixture of the greenish sandstone which abounds at Aden. The secondary formation is represented by a fine limestone, in some places almost fit for the purposes of lithography, and a coarse gypsum often of a tufaceous nature. For the superficial accumulations of the country, I may refer the reader to any description of the Desert between Cairo and Suez.

[FN#1] The distance from Baghdad to Al-Madinah is 180 parasangs, according to �Abd al-Karim: �Voyage de l�Inde, a la Mecque;� translated by M. Langles, Paris, 1797. This book is a disappointment, as it describes everything except Al-Madinah and Meccah: these gaps are filled up by the translator with the erroneous descriptions of other authors, not eye-witnesses. [FN#2] Here, it is believed, was fought the battle of Buas, celebrated in the pagan days of Al-Madinah (A.D. 615). Our dictionaries translate �Ghadir� by �pool� or �stagnant water.� Here it is applied to places where water stands for a short time after rain. [FN#3] Travels in Arabia, vol. 2, p, 217. The Swiss traveller was prevented by sickness from visiting it. The �Jazb al-Kulub� affords the following account of a celebrated eruption, beginning on the Salkh (last day) of Jamadi al-Awwal, and ending on the evening of the third of Jamadi al-Akhir, A.H. 654. Terrible earthquakes, accompanied by a thundering noise, shook the town; from fourteen to eighteen were observed each night. On the third of Jamadi al-Akhir, after the Isha prayers, a fire burst out in the direction of Al-Hijaz (eastward); it resembled a vast city with a turretted and battlemental fort, in which men appeared drawing the flame about, as it were, whilst it roared, burned, and melted like a sea everything that came in its way. Presently red and bluish streams, bursting from it, ran close to Al-Madinah; and, at the same time, the city was fanned by a cooling zephyr from the same direction. Al-Kistlani, an eye-witness, asserts that �the brilliant light of the volcano made the face of the country as bright as day; and the interior of the Harim was as if the sun shone upon it, so that men worked and required nought of the sun and moon (the latter of which was also eclipsed?).� Several saw the light at Meccah, at Tayma (in Nijd, six days� journey from Al-Madinah), and at Busra, of Syria, reminding men of the Prophet�s saying, �A fire shall burst forth from the direction of Al-Hijaz; its light shall make visible the necks of the camels at Busra.� Historians relate that the length of the stream was four parasangs (from fourteen to sixteen miles), its breadth four miles (56? to the degree), and its depth about nine feet. It flowed like a torrent with the waves of a sea; the rocks, melted by its heat, stood up as a wall, and, for a time, it prevented the passage of Badawin, who, coming from that direction, used to annoy the citizens. Jamal Matari, one of the historians of Al-Madinah, relates that the flames, which destroyed the stones, spared the trees; and he asserts that some men, sent by the governor to inspect the fire, felt no heat; also that the feathers of an arrow shot into it were burned whilst the shaft remained whole. This he attributes to the sanctity of the trees within the Harim. On the contrary, Al-Kistlani asserts the fire to have been so vehement that no one could approach within two arrow-flights, and that it melted the outer half of a rock beyond the limits of the sanctuary, leaving the inner parts unscathed. The Kazi, the Governor, and the citizens engaged in devotional exercises, and during the whole length of the Thursday and the Friday nights, all, even the women and children, with bare heads wept round the Prophet�s tomb. Then the lava current turned northwards. (I remarked on the way to Ohod signs of a lava-field.) This current ran, according to some, three entire months. Al-Kistlani dates its beginning on Friday, 6 Jamadi al-Akhir, and its cessation on Sunday, 27 Rajab: in this period of fifty-two days he includes, it is supposed, the length of its extreme heat. That same year (A.H. 654) is infamous in Al-Islam for other portents, such as the inundation of Baghdad by the Tigris, and the burning of the Prophet�s Mosque. In the next year first appeared the Tartars, who slew Al-Mu�tasim Bi�llah, the Caliph, massacred the Moslems during more than a month, destroyed their books, monuments, and tombs, and stabled their war-steeds in the Mustansariyah College. [FN#4] In this part of Al-Hijaz they have many names for a pass:�Nakb, Saghrah, and Mazik are those best known. [FN#5] This is the palm, capped with large fan-shaped leaves, described by every traveller in Egypt and in the nearer East. [FN#6] The charge for a cup of coffee is one piastre and a half. A pipe-bearer will engage himself for about �1 per mensem: he is always a veteran smoker, and, in these regions, it is an axiom that the flavour of your pipe mainly depends upon the filler. For convenience the Persian Kaliun is generally used. [FN#7] A day�s journey in Arabia is generally reckoned at twenty-four or twenty-five Arab miles. Abulfeda leaves the distance of a Marhalah (or Manzil, a station) undetermined. Al-Idrisi reckons it at thirty miles, but speaks of short as well as long marches. The common literary measures of length are these:�3 Kadam (man�s foot) = 1 Khatwah (pace): 1000 paces = 1 Mil (mile); 3 miles = 1 Farsakh (parasang); and 4 parasangs = 1 Barid or post. The �Burhan i Katia� gives the table thus:�24 finger breadths (or 6 breadths of the clenched hand, from 20 to 24 inches!) = 1 Gaz or yard; 1000 yards = 1 mile; 3 miles = 1 parasang. Some call the four thousand yards measure a Kuroh (the Indian Cos), which, however, is sometimes less by 1000 Gaz. The only ideas of distance known to the Badawi of Al-Hijaz are the fanciful Sa�at or hour, and the uncertain Manzil or halt: the former varies from 2 to 3� miles, the latter from 15 to 25. [FN#8] �Khabt� is a low plain; �Midan,� �Fayhah,� or �Sath,� a plain generally; and �Batha,� a low, sandy flat. [FN#9] In Burckhardt�s day there were 5,000 souls and 15,000 camels. Capt. Sadlier, who travelled during the war (1819), found the number reduced to 500. The extent of this Caravan has been enormously exaggerated in Europe. I have heard of 15,000, and even of 20,000 men. I include in the 7,000 about 1,200 Persians. They are no longer placed, as Abd al-Karim relates, in the rear of the Caravan, or post of danger. [FN#10] Lane has accurately described this article: in the Hijaz it is sometimes made to resemble a little tent. [FN#11] The vehicle mainly regulates the expense, as it evidences a man�s means. I have heard of a husband and wife leaving Alexandria with three months� provision and the sum of �5. They would mount a camel, lodge in public buildings when possible, probably be reduced to beggary, and possibly starve upon the road. On the other hand the minimum expenditure,�for necessaries, not donations and luxuries,�of a man who rides in a Takht-rawan from Damascus and back, would be about �1,200. [FN#12] On the line of march the Mahmil, stripped of its embroidered cover, is carried on camel-back, a mere framewood. Even the gilt silver balls and crescent are exchanged for similar articles in brass. [FN#13] Mahattah is a spot where luggage is taken down, i.e., a station. By some Hijazis it is used in the sense of a halting-place, where you spend an hour or two. [FN#14] �Khalik ma al-Badu� is a favourite complimentary saying, among this people, and means that you are no greasy burgher. [FN#15] Even Europeans, in popular parlance, call them �devils.� [FN#16] The Eastern Arabs allay the torments of thirst by a spoonful of clarified butter, carried on journeys in a leathern bottle. Every European traveller has some recipe of his own. One chews a musket-bullet or a small stone. A second smears his legs with butter. Another eats a crust of dry bread, which exacerbates the torments, and afterwards brings relief. A fourth throws water over his face and hands or his legs and feet; a fifth smokes, and a sixth turns his dorsal region (raising his coat-tail) to the fire. I have always found that the only remedy is to be patient and not to talk. The more you drink, the more you require to drink�water or strong waters. But after the first two hours� abstinence you have mastered the overpowering feeling of thirst, and then to refrain is easy. [FN#17] We carried two small brass guns, which, on the line of march, were dismounted and placed upon camels. At the halt they were restored to their carriages. The Badawin think much of these harmless articles, to which I have seen a gunner apply a match thrice before he could induce a discharge. In a �moral� point of view, therefore, they are far more valuable than our twelve-pounders. [FN#18] Hereabouts the Arabs call these places �Bahr milh� or �Sea of Salt�; in other regions �Bahr bila ma,� or �Waterless Sea.� [FN#19] Being but little read in geology, I submitted, after my return to Bombay, a few specimens collected on the way, to a learned friend, Dr. Carter, Secretary to the Bombay branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. His name is a guarantee of accuracy. [FN#20] The Arabic language has a copious terminology for the mineral as well as the botanical productions of the country: with little alteration it might be made to express all the requirements of our modern geology. [FN#21] NOTE TO THIRD EDITION.�This country may have contained gold; but the superficial formation has long been exhausted. At Cairo I washed some sand brought from the eastern shore of the Red Sea, north of Al-Wijh, and found it worth my while. I had a plan for working the diggings, but H.B.M.�s Consul, Dr. Walne, opined that �gold was becoming too plentiful,� and would not assist me. This wise saying has since then been repeated to me by men who ought to have known better than Dr. Walne.

Chapter XXV. THE BADAWIN OF AL-HIJAZ.[edit]

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THE Arab may be divided into three races, a classification which agrees equally well with genesitic genealogy, the traditions of the country, and the observations of modern physiologists.[FN#1]

[p.77]The first race, indigens or autochthones, are those sub-Caucasian tribes which may still be met with in the province of Mahrah, and generally along the coast between Maskat and Hazramaut. [FN#2] The Mahrah, the Janabah, and the Gara especially show a low development, for which hardship and privation alone will not satisfactorily account.[FN#3] These are Arab al-Aribah for whose inferiority oriental fable accounts as usual by thaumaturgy.

The principal adven� are the Noachians, a great Chaldaean or Mesopotamian tribe which entered Arabia about

[p.78] 2200 A.C., and by slow and gradual encroachments drove before them the ancient owners and seized the happier lands of the Peninsula. The great Anzah and the Nijdi families are types of this race, which is purely Caucasian, and shows a highly nervous temperament, together with those signs of �blood� which distinguish even the lower animals, the horse and the camel, the greyhound and the goat of Arabia. These advenae would correspond with the Arab al-Mutarribah or Arabicized Arabs of the eastern historians.[FN#4]

The third family, an ancient and a noble race dating from A.C. 1900, and typified in history by Ishmael, still occupies the so-called Sinaitic Peninsula. These Arabs, however, do not, and never did, extend beyond the limits of the mountains, where, still dwelling in the presence of their brethren, they retain all the wild customs and the untamable spirit of their forefathers. They are distinguished from the pure stock by an admixture of Egyptian blood,[FN#5]

[p.79] and by preserving the ancient characteristics of the Nilotic family. The Ishmaelities are sub-Caucasian, and are denoted in history as the Arab al-Mustarribah, the insititious or half-caste Arab.

Oriental ethnography, which, like most Eastern sciences, luxuriates in nomenclative distinction, recognises a fourth race under the name of Arab al-Mustajamah. These �barbarized Arabs� are now represented by such a population as that of Meccah.

That Aus and Khazraj, the Himyaritic tribes which emigrated to Al-Hijaz, mixed with the Amalikah, the Jurham, and the Katirah, also races from Al-Yaman, and with the Hebrews, a northern branch of the Semitic family, we have ample historical evidence. And they who know how immutable is race in the Desert, will scarcely doubt that the Badawi of Al-Hijaz preserves in purity the blood transmitted to him by his ancestors.[FN#6]

[p.80] I will not apologise for entering into details concerning the personale of the Badawin[FN#7]; a precise physical portrait of race, it has justly been remarked, is the sole deficiency in the pages of Bruce and of Burckhardt.

The temperament of the Hijazi is not unfrequently the pure nervous, as the height of the forehead and the fine texture of the hair prove. Sometimes the bilious, and rarely the sanguine, elements predominate; the lymphatic I never saw. He has large nervous centres, and well-formed spine and brain, a conformation favourable to longevity. Bartema well describes his colour as a �dark leonine�; it varies from the deepest Spanish to a chocolate hue, and its varieties are attributed by the people to blood. The skin is hard, dry, and soon wrinkled by exposure. The xanthous complexion is rare, though not unknown in cities, but the leucous does not exist. The crinal hair is frequently lightened by bleaching, and the pilar is browner than the crinal. The voice is strong and clear, but rather barytone than bass: in anger it becomes a shrill chattering like the cry of a wild animal. The look of a chief is dignified and grave even to pensiveness; the �respectable man�s� is self-sufficient and fierce; the lower orders look ferocious, stupid, and inquisitive. Yet there is not much difference in this point between men of the same tribe, who have similar pursuits which engender

[p.81] similar passions. Expression is the grand diversifier of appearance among civilised people: in the Desert it knows few varieties.

The Badawi cranium is small, ooidal, long, high, narrow, and remarkable in the occiput for the development of Gall�s second propensity: the crown slopes upwards towards the region of firmness, which is elevated; whilst the sides are flat to a fault. The hair, exposed to sun, wind, and rain, acquires a coarseness not natural to it[FN#8]: worn in Kurun[FN#9]�ragged elf-locks,�hanging down to the breast, or shaved in the form Shushah, a skull-cap of hair, nothing can be wilder than its appearance. The face is made to be a long oval, but want of flesh detracts from its regularity. The forehead is high, broad, and retreating: the upper portion is moderately developed; but nothing can be finer than the lower brow, and the frontal sinuses stand out, indicating bodily strength and activity of character. The temporal fossa are deep, the bones are salient, and the elevated zygomata combined with the �lantern-jaw,� often give a �death�s-head� appearance to the face. The eyebrows are long, bushy, and crooked, broken, as it were, at the angle where �Order� is supposed to be, and bent in sign of thoughtfulness. Most popular writers, following De Page,[FN#10] describe the Arab eye as large, ardent,

[p.82] and black. The Badawi of the Hijaz, and indeed the race generally, has a small eye, round, restless, deep-set, and fiery, denoting keen inspection with an ardent temperament and an impassioned character. Its colour is dark brown or green-brown, and the pupil is often speckled. The habit of pursing up the skin below the orbits, and half closing the lids to exclude glare, plants the outer angles with premature crows�-feet. Another peculiarity is the sudden way in which the eye opens, especially under excitement. This, combined with its fixity of glance, forms an expression now of lively fierceness, then of exceeding sternness; whilst the narrow space between the orbits impresses the countenance in repose with an intelligence not destitute of cunning. As a general rule, however, the expression of the Badawi face is rather dignity than that cunning for which the Semitic race is celebrated, and there are lines about the mouth in variance with the stern or the fierce look of the brow. The ears are like those of Arab horses, small, well-cut, �castey,� and elaborate, with many elevations and depressions. The nose is pronounced, generally aquiline, but sometimes straight like those Greek statues which have been treated as prodigious exaggerations of the facial angle. For the most part, it is a well-made feature with delicate nostrils, below which the septum appears: in anger they swell and open like a blood mare�s. I have, however, seen, in not a few instances, pert and offensive �pugs.� Deep furrows descend from the wings of the nose, showing an uncertain temper, now too grave, then too gay. The mouth is irregular. The lips are either bordes, denoting rudeness and want of taste, or they form a mere line. In the latter case there is an appearance of undue development in the upper portion of the countenance, especially when the jaws are ascetically thin, and the chin weakly retreats. The latter [p.83] feature, however, is generally well and strongly made. The teeth, as usual among Orientals, are white, even, short and broad�indications of strength. Some tribes trim their mustaches according to the �Sunnat�; the Shafe�i often shave them, and many allow them to hang Persian-like over the lips. The beard is represented by two tangled tufts upon the chin; where whisker should be, the place is either bare or is thinly covered with straggling pile.

The Badawin of Al-Hijaz are short men, about the height of the Indians near Bombay, but weighing on an average a stone more. As usual in this stage of society, stature varies little; you rarely see a giant, and scarcely ever a dwarf. Deformity is checked by the Spartan restraint upon population, and no weakly infant can live through a Badawi life. The figure, though spare, is square and well knit; fulness of limb seldom appears but about spring, when milk abounds: I have seen two or three muscular figures, but never a fat man. The neck is sinewy, the chest broad, the flank thin, and the stomach in-drawn; the legs, though fleshless, are well made, especially when the knee and ankle are not bowed by too early riding. The shins do not bend cucumber-like to the front as in the African race.[FN#11] The arms are thin, with muscles like whipcords, and the hands and feet are, in point of size and delicacy, a link between Europe and India. As in the Celt, the Arab thumb is remarkably long, extending almost to the first joint of the index,[FN#12] which, with its easy rotation, makes it a perfect prehensile instrument: the palm also is fleshless, small-boned, and [p.84] elastic. With his small active figure, it is not strange that the wildest Badawi gait should be pleasing; he neither unfits himself for walking, nor distorts his ankles by turning out his toes according to the farcical rule of fashion, and his shoulders are not dressed like a drill-sergeant�s, to throw all the weight of the body upon the heels. Yet there is no slouch in his walk; it is light and springy, and errs only in one point, sometimes becoming a strut.

Such is the Badawi, and such he has been for ages. The national type has been preserved by systematic intermarriage. The wild men do not refuse their daughters to a stranger, but the son-in-law would be forced to settle among them, and this life, which has its charms for a while, ends in becoming wearisome. Here no evil results are anticipated from the union of first cousins, and the experience of ages and of a mighty nation may be trusted. Every Badawi has a right to marry his father�s brother�s daughter before she is given to a stranger; hence �cousin� (Bint Amm) in polite phrase signifies a �wife.[FN#13]� Our physiologists[FN#14] adduce the Sangre Azul of Spain and the case of the lower animals to prove that degeneracy inevitably follows �breeding-in.[FN#15]�

[p.85] Either they have theorised from insufficient facts, or civilisation and artificial living exercise some peculiar influence, or Arabia is a solitary exception to a general rule. The fact which I have mentioned is patent to every Eastern traveller.

After this long description, the reader will perceive with pleasure that we are approaching an interesting theme, the first question of mankind to the wanderer��What are the women like?� Truth compels me to state that the women of the Hijazi Badawin are by no means comely. Although the Benu Amur boast of some pretty girls, yet they are far inferior to the high-bosomed beauties of Nijd. And I warn all men that if they run to Al-Hijaz in search of the charming face which appears in my sketch-book as �a Badawi girl,� they will be bitterly disappointed: the dress was Arab, but it was worn by a fairy of the West. The Hijazi woman�s eyes are fierce, her features harsh, and her face haggard; like all people of the South, she soon fades, and in old age her appearance is truly witch-like. Withered crones abound in the camps, where old men are seldom seen. The sword and the sun are fatal to

�A green old age, unconscious of decay.�

The manners of the Badawin are free and simple: �vulgarity� and affectation, awkwardness and embarrassment, are weeds of civilised growth, unknown to the People of the Desert.[FN#16] Yet their manners are sometimes dashed with a strange ceremoniousness. When two frends meet, they either embrace or both extend the right hands, clapping palm to palm; their foreheads are either pressed together, or their heads are moved from side to side, whilst for minutes together mutual inquiries are made and answered. It is a breach of decorum, even when eating, to turn the back upon a person, and if a Badawi

[p.86] does it, he intends an insult. When a man prepares coffee, he drinks the first cup: the Sharbat Kajari of the Persians, and the Sulaymani of Egypt,[FN#17] render this precaution necessary. As a friend approaches the camp,�it is not done to strangers for fear of startling them,�those who catch sight of him shout out his name, and gallop up saluting with lances or firing matchlocks in the air. This is the well-known La�ab al-Barut, or gunpowder play. Badawin are generally polite in language, but in anger temper is soon shown, and, although life be in peril, the foulest epithets�dog, drunkard, liar, and infidel�are discharged like pistol-shots by both disputants.

The best character of the Badawi is a truly noble compound of determination, gentleness, and generosity. Usually they are a mixture of worldly cunning and great simplicity, sensitive to touchiness, good-tempered souls, solemn and dignified withal, fond of a jest, yet of a grave turn of mind, easily managed by a laugh and a soft word, and placable after passion, though madly revengeful after injury. It has been sarcastically said of the Benu-Harb that there is not a man

�Que s�il ne violoit, voloit, tuoit, bruloit Ne fut assez bonne personne.�

The reader will inquire, like the critics of a certain modern humourist, how the fabric of society can be supported by such material. In the first place, it is a kind of societe leonine, in which the fiercest, the strongest, and the craftiest obtains complete mastery over his fellows, and this gives a

[p.87] keystone to the arch. Secondly, there is the terrible blood-feud, which even the most reckless fear for their posterity. And, thirdly, though the revealed law of the Koran, being insufficient for the Desert, is openly disregarded, the immemorial customs of the Kazi al-Arab (the Judge of the Arabs)[FN#18] form a system stringent in the extreme.

The valour of the Badawi is fitful and uncertain. Man is by nature an animal of prey, educated by the complicated relations of society, but readily relapsing into his old habits. Ravenous and sanguinary propensities grow apace in the Desert, but for the same reason the recklessness of civilisation is unknown there. Savages and semi-barbarians are always cautious, because they have nothing valuable but their lives and limbs. The civilised man, on the contrary, has a hundred wants or hopes or aims, without which existence has for him no charms. Arab ideas of bravery do not prepossess us. Their romances, full of foolhardy feats and impossible exploits, might charm for a time, but would not become the standard works of a really fighting people.[FN#19] Nor would a truly valorous race admire

[p.88] the cautious freebooters who safely fire down upon Caravans from their eyries. Arab wars, too, are a succession of skirmishes, in which five hundred men will retreat after losing a dozen of their number. In this partisan-fighting the first charge secures a victory, and the vanquished fly till covered by the shades of night. Then come cries and taunts of women, deep oaths, wild poetry, excitement, and reprisals, which will probably end in the flight of the former victor. When peace is to be made, both parties count up their dead, and the usual blood-money is paid for excess on either side. Generally, however, the feud endures till, all becoming weary of it, some great man, as the Sharif of Meccah, is called upon to settle the terms of a treaty, which is nothing but an armistice. After a few months� peace, a glance or a word will draw blood, for these hates are old growths, and new dissensions easily shoot up from them.

But, contemptible though their battles be, the Badawin are not cowards. The habit of danger in raids and blood-feuds, the continual uncertainty of existence, the desert, the chase, the hard life and exposure to the air, blunting the nervous system; the presence and the practice of weapons, horsemanship, sharpshooting, and martial exercises, habituate them to look death in the face like men, and powerful motives will make them heroes. The English, it is said, fight willingly for liberty, our neighbours for glory; the Spaniard fights, or rather fought, for religion and the Pundonor; and the Irishman fights for the fun of fighting. Gain and revenge draw the Arab�s sword; yet then he uses it fitfully enough, without the gay gallantry of the [p.89] French or the persistent stay of the Anglo-Saxon. To become desperate he must have the all-powerful stimulants of honour and of fanaticism. Frenzied by the insults of his women, or by the fear of being branded as a coward, he is capable of any mad deed.[FN#20] And the obstinacy produced by strong religious impressions gives a steadfastness to his spirit unknown to mere enthusiasm. The history of the Badawi tells this plainly. Some unobserving travellers, indeed, have mistaken his exceeding cautiousness for stark cowardice. The incongruity is easily read by one who understands the principles of Badawi warfare; with them, as amongst the Red Indians, one death dims a victory. And though reckless when their passions are thoroughly aroused, though heedless of danger when the voice of honour calls them, the Badawin will not sacrifice themselves for light motives. Besides, they have, as has been said, another and a potent incentive to cautiousness. Whenever peace is concluded, they must pay for victory.

There are two things which tend to soften the ferocity of Badawi life. These are, in the first place, intercourse with citizens, who frequently visit and entrust their children to the people of the Black tents ; and, secondly, the social position of the women.

The Rev. Charles Robertson, author of a certain

[p.90] �Lecture on Poetry, addressed to Working Men,� asserts that Passion became Love under the influence of Christianity, and that the idea of a Virgin Mother spread over the sex a sanctity unknown to the poetry or to the philosophy of Greece and Rome.[FN#21] Passing over the objections of deified Eros and Immortal Psyche, and of the Virgin Mother�symbol of moral purity�being common to every old and material faith,[FN#22] I believe that all the noble tribes of savages display the principle. Thus we might expect to find, wherever the fancy, the imagination, and the ideality are strong, some traces of a sentiment innate in the human organisation. It exists, says Mr. Catlin, amongst the North American Indians, and even the Gallas and the Somal of Africa are not wholly destitute of it. But when the barbarian becomes a semi-barbarian, as are the most polished Orientals, or as were the classical authors of Greece and Rome, then women fall from their proper place in society, become mere articles of luxury, and sink into the lowest moral condition. In the next stage, �civilisation,� they rise again to be �highly accomplished,� and not a little frivolous.

[p.91]Miss Martineau, when travelling through Egypt, once visited a harim, and there found, among many things, especially in ignorance of books and of book-making, materials for a heart-broken wail over the degradation of her sex. The learned lady indulges, too, in sundry strong and unsavoury comparisons between the harim and certain haunts of vice in Europe. On the other hand, male travellers generally speak lovingly of the harim. Sonnini, no admirer of Egypt, expatiates on �the generous virtues, the examples of magnanimity and affectionate attachment, the sentiments ardent, yet gentle, forming a delightful unison with personal charms in the harims of the Mamluks.�

As usual, the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes. Human nature, all the world over, differs but in degree. Everywhere women may be �capricious, coy, and hard to please� in common conjunctures: in the hour of need they will display devoted heroism. Any chronicler of the Afghan war will bear witness that warm hearts, noble sentiments, and an overflowing kindness to the poor, the weak, and the unhappy are found even in a harim. Europe now knows that the Moslem husband provides separate apartments and a distinct establishment for each of his wives, unless, as sometimes happens, one be an old woman and the other a child. And, confessing that envy, hatred, and malice often flourish in polygamy, the Moslem asks, Is monogamy open to no objections? As far as my limited observations go, polyandry is the only state of society in which jealousy and quarrels about the sex are the exception and not the rule of life.

In quality of doctor I have seen a little and heard much of the harim. It often resembles a European home composed of a man, his wife, and his mother. And I have seen in the West many a �happy fireside� fitter to make Miss Martineau�s heart ache than any harim in Grand Cairo.

[p.92] Were it not evident that the spiritualising of sexuality by sentiment, of propensity by imagination, is universal among the highest orders of mankind,�c�est l�etoffe de la nature que l�imagination a brodee, says Voltaire,�I should attribute the origin of �love� to the influence of the Arabs� poetry and chivalry upon European ideas rather than to mediaeval Christianity. Certain �Fathers of the Church,� it must be remembered, did not believe that women have souls. The Moslems never went so far.

In nomad life, tribes often meet for a time, live together whilst pasturage lasts, and then separate perhaps for a generation. Under such circumstances, youths who hold with the Italian that

�Perduto e tutto il tempo Che in amor non si spende,�

will lose heart to maidens, whom possibly, by the laws of the clan, they may not marry,[FN#23] and the light o� love will fly her home. The fugitives must brave every danger, for revenge, at all times the Badawi�s idol, now becomes the lodestar of his existence. But the Arab lover will dare all consequences. �Men have died and the worms have eaten them, but not for love,� may be true in the West: it is false in the East. This is attested in every tale where love, and not ambition, is the groundwork of the narrative.[FN#24] And nothing can be more tender, more

[p.93] pathetic than the use made of these separations and long absences by the old Arab poets. Whoever peruses the Suspended Poem of Labid, will find thoughts at once so plaintive and so noble, that even Dr. Carlyle�s learned verse cannot wholly deface their charm.

The warrior-bard returns from afar. He looks upon the traces of hearth and home still furrowing the Desert ground. In bitterness of spirit he checks himself from calling aloud upon his lovers and his friends. He melts at the remembrance of their departure, and long indulges in the absorbing theme. Then he strengthens himself by the thought of Nawara�s inconstancy, how she left him and never thought of him again. He impatiently dwells upon the charms of the places which detain her, advocates flight from the changing lover and the false friend, and, in the exultation with which he feels his swift dromedary start under him upon her rapid course, he seems to seek and finds some consolation for women�s perfidy and forgetfulness. Yet he cannot abandon Nawara�s name or memory. Again he dwells with yearning upon scenes of past felicity, and he boasts of his prowess�a fresh reproach to her,�of his gentle birth, and of his hospitality. He ends with an encomium upon his clan, to which he attributes, as a noble Arab should, all the virtues of man. This is Goldsmith�s deserted village in Al-Hijaz. But the Arab, with equal simplicity and pathos, has a fire, a force of language, and a depth of feeling, which the Irishman, admirable as his verse is, could never rival.

As the author of the Peninsular War well remarks, women in troubled times, throwing off their accustomed feebleness and frivolity, become helpmates meet for man. The same is true of pastoral life. [FN#25] Here, between the


[p.94] extremes of fierceness and sensibility, the weaker sex, remedying its great want, power, rises itself by courage, physical as well as moral. In the early days of Al-Islam, if history be credible, Arabia had a race of heroines. Within the last century, Ghaliyah, the wife of a Wahhabi chief, opposed Mohammed Ali himself in many a bloody field. A few years ago, when Ibn Asm, popularly called Ibn Rumi, chief of the Zubayd clan about Rabigh, was treacherously slain by the Turkish general, Kurdi Osman, his sister, a fair young girl, determined to revenge him. She fixed upon the �Arafat-day� of pilgrimage for the accomplishment of her designs, disguised herself in male attire, drew her kerchief in the form Lisam over the lower part of her face, and with lighted match awaited her enemy. The Turk, however, was not present, and the girl was arrested to win for herself a local reputation equal to the �maid� of Salamanca. Thus it is that the Arab has learned to swear that great oath �by the honour of my women.�

The Badawin are not without a certain Platonic affection, which they call Hawa (or Ishk) uzri�pardonable love.[FN#26] They draw the fine line between amant and amoureux: this is derided by the tow[n]speople, little suspecting how much such a custom says in favour of the wild men. Arabs, like other Orientals, hold that, in such matters, man is saved, not by faith, but by want of faith. They have also a saying not unlike ours�

�She partly is to blame who has been tried; He comes too near who comes to be denied.�

[p.95]The evil of this system is that they, like certain Southerns�pensano sempre al male�always suspect, which may be worldly-wise, and also always show their suspicions, which is assuredly foolish. For thus they demoralise their women, who might be kept in the way of right by self-respect and by a sense of duty.

From ancient periods of the Arab�s history we find him practising knight-errantry, the wildest form of chivalry.[FN#27] �The Songs of Antar,� says the author of the �Crescent and the Cross,� �show little of the true chivalric spirit.� What thinks the reader of sentiments like these[FN#28]? �This valiant man,� remarks Antar (who was �ever interested for the weaker sex,�) �hath defended the honour of women.� We read in another place, �Mercy, my lord, is the noblest quality of the noble.� Again, �it is the most ignominious of deeds to take free-born women prisoners.� �Bear not malice, O Shibub,� quoth the hero, �for of malice good never came.� Is there no true greatness in this sentiment?��Birth is the boast of the faineant; noble is the youth who beareth every ill, who clotheth himself in mail during the noontide heat, and who wandereth through the outer darkness of night.� And why does the �knight of knights� love Ibla? Because �she is blooming as the sun at dawn, with hair black as the midnight shades, with Paradise in her eye, her bosom an enchantment, and a form waving like the tamarisk when the soft wind blows from the hills of Nijd�? Yes! but his chest expands also with the thoughts of her �faith, purity, and affection,��it is her moral as well as her material excellence that makes her [p.96] the hero�s �hope, and hearing, and sight.� Briefly, in Antar I discern

�a love exalted high, By all the glow of chivalry;�

and I lament to see so many intelligent travellers misjudging the Arab after a superficial experience of a few debased Syrians or Sinaites. The true children of Antar, my Lord Lindsay, have not �ceased to be gentlemen.�

In the days of ignorance, it was the custom for Badawin, when tormented by the tender passion, which seems to have attacked them in the form of �possession,� for long years to sigh and wail and wander, doing the most truculent deeds to melt the obdurate fair. When Arabia Islamized, the practice changed its element for proselytism.

The Fourth Caliph is fabled to have travelled far, redressing the injured, punishing the injurer, preaching to the infidel, and especially protecting women�the chief end and aim of knighthood. The Caliph Al-Mu�tasim heard in the assembly of his courtiers that a woman of Sayyid family had been taken prisoner by a �Greek barbarian� of Ammoria. The man on one occasion struck her: when she cried �Help me, O Mu�tasim!� and the clown said derisively, �Wait till he cometh upon his pied steed!� The chivalrous prince arose, sealed up the wine-cup which he held in his hand, took oath to do his knightly devoir, and on the morrow started for Ammoria with seventy thousand men, each mounted on a piebald charger. Having taken the place, he entered it, exclaiming, �Labbayki, Labbayki!���Here am I at thy call!� He struck off the caitiff�s head, released the lady with his own hands, ordered the cupbearer to bring the sealed bowl, and drank from it, exclaiming, �Now, indeed, wine is good!�

Burtons Mosque.gif

To conclude this part of the subject with another far-famed instance. When Al-Mutanabbi, the poet, prophet, and warrior of Hams (A.H. 354) started together with his

[p.97] son on their last journey, the father proposed to seek a place of safety for the night. �Art thou the Mutanabbi,� exclaimed his slave, �who wrote these lines,�

��I am known to the night, the wild, and the steed, To the guest, and the sword, to the paper and reed[FN#29]�?�

The poet, in reply, lay down to sleep on Tigris� bank, in a place haunted by thieves, and, disdaining flight, lost his life during the hours of darkness.

It is the existence of this chivalry among the �Children of Antar� which makes the society of Badawin (�damned saints,� perchance, and �honourable villains,�) so delightful to the traveller who[,] like the late Haji Wali (Dr. Wallin), understands and is understood by them. Nothing more na�ve than his lamentations at finding himself in the �loathsome company of Persians,� or among Arab townspeople, whose �filthy and cowardly minds� he contrasts with the �high and chivalrous spirit of the true Sons of the Desert.� Your guide will protect you with blade and spear, even against his kindred, and he expects you to do the same for him. You may give a man the lie, but you must lose no time in baring your sword. If involved in dispute with overwhelming numbers, you address some elder, Dakhil-ak ya Shaykh!�(I am) thy protected, O Sir,�and he will espouse your quarrel with greater heat and energy, indeed, than if it were his own.[FN#30] But why multiply instances?

The language of love and war and all excitement is poetry, and here, again, the Badawi excels. Travellers complain that the wild men have ceased to sing. This is true if �poet� be limited to a few authors whose existence

[p.98] everywhere depends upon the accidents of patronage or political occurrences. A far stronger evidence of poetic feeling is afforded by the phraseology of the Arab, and the highly imaginative turn of his commonest expressions. Destitute of the poetic taste, as we define it, he certainly is: as in the Milesian, wit and fancy, vivacity and passion, are too strong for reason and judgment, the reins which guide Apollo�s car.[FN#31] And although the Badawin no longer boast a Labid or a Maysunah, yet they are passionately fond of their ancient bards.[FN#32] A man skilful in reading Al-Mutanabbi and the suspended Poems would be received by them with the honours paid by civilisation to the travelling millionaire.[FN#33] And their elders have a goodly store of ancient and modern war songs, legends, and love ditties which all enjoy.

[p.99]I cannot well explain the effect of Arab poetry to one who has not visited the Desert.[FN#34] Apart from the pomp of words, and the music of the sound,[FN#35] there is a dreaminess of idea and a haze thrown over the object, infinitely attractive, but indescribable. Description,

[p.100] indeed, would rob the song of indistinctness, its essence. To borrow a simile from a sister art; the Arab poet sets before the mental eye, the dim grand outlines of picture,�which must be filled up by the reader, guided only by a few glorious touches, powerfully standing out, and by the sentiment which the scene is intended to express;�whereas, we Europeans and moderns, by stippling and minute touches, produce a miniature on a large scale so objective as to exhaust rather than to arouse reflection. As the poet is a creator, the Arab�s is poetry, the European�s versical description. [FN#36] The language, �like a faithful wife, following the mind and giving birth to its offspring,� and free from that �luggage of particles� which clogs our modern tongues, leaves a mysterious vagueness between the relation of word to word, which materially assists the sentiment, not the sense, of the poem. When verbs and nouns have, each one, many different significations, only the radical or general idea suggests itself.[FN#37] Rich and varied synonyms, illustrating the finest shades of meaning, are artfully used; now scattered to startle us by distinctness, now to form as it were a star about which dimly seen satellites revolve. And, to cut short a disquisition

[p.101] which might be prolonged indefinitely, there is in the Semitic dialect a copiousness of rhyme which leaves the poet almost unfettered to choose the desired expression.[FN#38] Hence it is that a stranger speaking Arabic becomes poetical as naturally as he would be witty in French and philosophic in German. Truly spake Mohammed al-Damiri, �Wisdom hath alighted upon three things�the brain of the Franks, the hands of the Chinese, and the tongues of the Arabs.�

The name of Harami�brigand�is still honourable among the Hijazi Badawin. Slain in raid or foray, a man is said to die Ghandur, or a brave. He, on the other hand, who is lucky enough, as we should express it, to die in his bed, is called Fatis (carrion, the corps creve of the Klephts); his weeping mother will exclaim, �O that my son had perished of a cut throat!� and her attendant crones will suggest, with deference, that such evil came of the will of Allah. It is told of the Lahabah, a sept of the Auf near Rabigh, that a girl will refuse even her cousin unless, in the absence of other opportunities, he plunder some article from the Hajj Caravan in front of the Pasha�s links. Detected twenty years ago, the delinquent would have been impaled; now he escapes with a rib-roasting. Fear of the blood-feud, and the certainty of a shut road to future travellers, prevent the Turks proceeding to extremes. They conceal their weakness by pretending that [p.102] the Sultan hesitates to wage a war of extermination with the thieves of the Holy Land.

It is easy to understand this respect for brigands. Whoso revolts against society requires an iron mind in an iron body, and these mankind instinctively admires, however misdirected be their energies. Thus, in all imaginative countries, the brigand is a hero; even the assassin who shoots his victim from behind a hedge appeals to the fancy in Tipperary or on the Abruzzian hills. Romance invests his loneliness with grandeur; if he have a wife or a friend�s wife, romance becomes doubly romantic, and a tithe of the superfluity robbed from the rich and bestowed upon the poor will win to Gasparoni the hearts of a people. The true Badawi style of plundering, with its numerous niceties of honour and gentlemanly manners, gives the robber a consciousness of moral rectitude. �Strip off that coat, O certain person! and that turband,� exclaims the highwayman, �they are wanted by the daughter of my paternal uncle (wife).� You will (of course, if necessary) lend ready ear to an order thus politely attributed to the wants of the fair sex. If you will add a few obliging expressions to the bundle, and offer Latro a cup of coffee and a pipe, you will talk half your toilette back to your own person; and if you can quote a little poetry, you will part the best of friends, leaving perhaps only a pair of sandals behind you. But should you hesitate, Latro, lamenting the painful necessity, touches up your back with the heel of his spear. If this hint suffice not, he will make things plain by the lance�s point, and when blood shows, the tiger-part of humanity appears. Between Badawin, to be tamely plundered, especially of the mare,[FN#39] is a lasting disgrace; a man of

[p.103] family lays down his life rather than yield even to overpowering numbers. This desperation has raised the courage of the Badawin to high repute amongst the settled Arabs, who talk of single braves capable, like the Homeric heroes, of overpowering three hundred men.

I omit general details about the often-described Sar, or Vendetta. The price of blood is $800 = 200l., or rather that sum imperfectly expressed by live stock. All the Khamsah or A�amam, blood relations of the slayer, assist to make up the required amount, rating each animal at three or four times its proper value. On such occasions violent scenes arise from the conflict of the Arab�s two pet passions, avarice and revenge. The �avenger of blood� longs to cut the foe�s throat. On the other hand, how let slip an opportunity of enriching himself? His covetousness is intense, as are all his passions. He has always a project of buying a new dromedary, or of investing capital in some marvellous colt; the consequence is, that he is insatiable. Still he receives blood-money with a feeling of shame; and if it be offered to an old woman,�the most revengeful variety of our species, be it remarked,�she will dash it to the ground and clutch her knife, and fiercely swear by Allah that she will not �eat� her son�s blood.

The Badawi considers himself a man only when mounted on horseback, lance in hand, bound for a foray or a fray, and carolling some such gaiety as�

�A steede! a steede of matchlesse speede! A sword of metal keene! All else to noble minds is drosse, All else on earth is meane.�

Even in his sports he affects those that imitate war. Preserving the instinctive qualities which lie dormant in civilisation, he is an admirable sportsman. The children,

[p.104] men in miniature, begin with a rude system of gymnastics when they can walk. �My young ones play upon the backs of camels,� was the reply made to me by a Jahayni Badawi when offered some Egyptian plaything. The men pass their time principally in hawking, shooting, and riding. The �Sakr,[FN#40]� I am told, is the only falcon in general use; they train it to pursue the gazelle, which

[p.105] greyhounds pull down when fatigued. I have heard much of their excellent marksmanship, but saw only moderate practice with a long matchlock rested and fired at standing objects. Double-barreled guns are rare amongst them.[FN#41] Their principal weapons are matchlocks and firelocks, pistols, javelins, spears, swords, and the dagger called Jambiyah; the sling and the bow have long been given up. The guns come from Egypt, Syria, and Turkey; for the Badawi cannot make, although he can repair, this arm. He particularly values a good old barrel seven spans long, and would rather keep it than his coat; consequently, a family often boasts of four or five guns, which descend from generation to generation. Their price varies from two to sixty dollars. The Badawin collect nitre in the country, make excellent charcoal, and import sulphur from Egypt and India; their powder, however, is coarse and weak. For hares and birds they cut up into slugs a bar of lead hammered out to a convenient size, and they cast bullets in moulds. They are fond of ball-practice, firing, as every sensible man does, at short distances, and striving at extreme precision. They are ever backing themselves with wagers, and will shoot for a sheep, the loser inviting his friends to a feast: on festivals they boil the head, and use it as mark and prize. Those who affect excellence are said to fire at a bullet hanging by a thread; curious, however, to relate, the Badawin of Al-Hijaz have but just learned the art, general in Persia and Barbary, of shooting from horseback at speed.

Pistols have been lately introduced into the Hijaz, and are not common amongst the Badawin. The citizens incline to this weapon, as it is derived from Constantinople. In the Desert a tolerable pair with flint locks may be worth thirty dollars, ten times their price in England.

[p.106]The spears[FN#42] called Kanat, or reeds, are made of male bamboos imported from India. They are at least twelve feet long, iron shod, with a tapering point, beneath which are one or two tufts of black ostrich feathers.[FN#43] Besides the Mirzak, or javelin, they have a spear called Shalfah, a bamboo or a palm stick garnished with a head about the breadth of a man�s hand.

No good swords are fabricated in Al-Hijaz. The Khalawiyah and other Desert clans have made some poor attempts at blades. They are brought from Persia, India, and Egypt; but I never saw anything of value.

The Darakah, or shield, also comes from India. It is the common Cutch article, supposed to be made of rhinoceros hide, and displaying as much brass knob and gold wash as possible. The Badawin still use in the remoter parts Diraa, or coats of mail, worn by horsemen over buff jackets.

The dagger is made in Al-Yaman and other places: it has a vast variety of shapes, each of which, as usual, has its proper names. Generally they are but little curved (whereas the Gadaymi of Al-Yaman and Hazramaut is almost a semicircle), with tapering blade, wooden handle, and scabbard of the same material overlaid with brass. At the point of the scabbard is a round knob, and the weapon is so long, that a man when walking cannot swing his right

[p.107] arm. In narrow places he must enter sideways. But it is the mode always to appear in dagger, and the weapon, like the French soldier�s coupe-choux, is really useful for such bloodless purposes as cutting wood and gathering grass. In price they vary from one to thirty dollars.

The Badawin boast greatly of sword-play; but it is apparently confined to delivering a tremendous slash, and to jumping away from the return-cut instead of parrying either with sword or shield. The citizens have learned the Turkish scimitar-play, which, in grotesqueness and general absurdity, rivals the East Indian school. None of these Orientals knows the use of the point which characterises the highest school of swordsmanship.

The Hijazi Badawin have no game of chance, and dare not, I am told, ferment the juice of the Daum palm, as proximity to Aden has taught the wild men of Al-Yaman.[FN#44] Their music is in a rude state. The principal instrument is the Tabl, or kettle-drum, which is of two kinds: one, the smaller, used at festivals; the other, a large copper �tom-tom,� for martial purposes, covered with leather, and played upon, pulpit-like, with fist, and not with stick. Besides which, they have the one-stringed Rubabah, or guitar, that �monotonous but charming instrument of the Desert.� In another place I have described their dancing, which is an ignoble spectacle.

The Badawin of Al-Hijaz have all the knowledge necessary for procuring and protecting the riches of savage life. They are perfect in the breeding, the training, and the selling of cattle. They know sufficient of astronomy to guide themselves by night, and are acquainted

[p.108] with the names of the principal stars. Their local memory is wonderful. And such is their instinct in the art of asar, or tracking, that it is popularly said of the Zubayd clan, which lives between Meccah and Al-Madinah, a man will lose a she-camel and know her four-year-old colt by its foot. Always engaged in rough exercises and perilous journeys, they have learned a kind of farriery and a simple system of surgery. In cases of fracture they bind on splints with cloth bands, and the patient drinks camel�s milk and clarified butter till he is cured. Cuts are carefully washed, sprinkled with meal gunpowder, and sewn up. They dress gunshot wounds with raw camel�s flesh, and rely entirely upon nature and diet. When bitten by snakes or stung by scorpions, they scarify the wound with a razor, recite a charm, and apply to it a dressing of garlic.[FN#45] The wealthy have Fiss or ring-stones, brought from India, and used with a formula of prayer to extract venom. Some few possess the Tariyak (Theriack) of Al-Irak�the great counter-poison, internal as well as external, of the East. The poorer classes all wear the Za�al or Hibas of Al-Yaman; two yarns of black sheep�s wool tied round the leg, under the knee and above the ankle. When bitten, the sufferer tightens these cords above the injured part, which he immediately scarifies; thus they act as tourniquets. These ligatures also cure cramps�and there is no other remedy. The Badawi knowledge of medicine is unusually limited in this part of Arabia, where even simples are not required by a people who rise with dawn, eat little, always breathe Desert air, and �at night make the camels their curfew.� The great tonic is clarified butter, and the Kay, or actual cautery, is used even for rheumatism. This counter-irritant, together with a curious and artful phlebotomy,

[p.109] blood being taken, as by the Italians, from the toes, the fingers, and other parts of the body, are the Arab panaceas. They treat scald-head with grease and sulphur. Ulcers, which here abound, without, however, assuming the fearful type of the �Helcoma Yemenense,� are cauterised and stimulated by verdigris. The evil of which Fracastorius sang is combated by sudorifics, by unguents of oil and sulphur, and especially by the sand-bath. The patient, buried up to the neck, remains in the sun fasting all day; in the evening he is allowed a little food. This rude course of �packing� lasts for about a month. It suits some constitutions; but others, especially Europeans, have tried the sand-bath and died of fever. Mules� teeth, roasted and imperfectly pounded, remove cataract. Teeth are extracted by the farrier�s pincers, and the worm which throughout the East is supposed to produce toothache, falls by fumigation. And, finally, after great fatigue, or when suffering from cold, the body is copiously greased with clarified butter and exposed to a blazing fire.

Mohammed and his followers conquered only the more civilised Badawin; and there is even to this day little or no religion amongst the wild people, except those on the coast or in the vicinity of cities. The faith of the Badawi comes from Al-Islam, whose hold is weak. But his customs and institutions, the growth of his climate, his nature, and his wants, are still those of his ancestors, cherished ere Meccah had sent forth a Prophet, and likely to survive the day when every vestige of the Ka�abah shall have disappeared. Of this nature are the Hijazi�s pagan oaths, his heathenish names (few being Moslem except �Mohammed�), his ordeal of licking red-hot iron, his Salkh, or scarification,�proof of manliness,�his blood revenge, and his eating carrion (i.e., the body of an animal killed without the usual formula), and his lending his wives to strangers. All these I hold to be remnants of some old

[p.110] creed; nor should I despair of finding among the Badawin bordering upon the Great Desert some lingering system of idolatry.

The Badawin of Al-Hijaz call themselves Shafe�i but what is put into the mouths of their brethren in the West applies equally well here. �We pray not, because we must drink the water of ablution; we give no alms, because we ask them; we fast not the Ramazan month, because we starve throughout the year; and we do no pilgrimage, because the world is the House of Allah.� Their blunders in religious matters supply the citizens with many droll stories. And it is to be observed that they do not, like the Greek pirates or the Italian bandits, preserve a religious element in their plunderings; they make no vows, and they carefully avoid offerings.

The ceremonies of Badawi life are few and simple�circumcisions, marriages, and funerals. Of the former rite there are two forms, Taharah, as usual in Al-Islam, and Salkh, an Arab invention, derived from the times of Paganism.[FN#46] During Wahhabi rule it was forbidden under pain of death, but now the people have returned to it. The usual age for Taharah is between five and six; among

[p.111] some classes, however, it is performed ten years later. On such occasions feastings and merrymakings take place, as at our christenings.

Women being a marketable commodity in barbarism as in civilisation, the youth in Al-Hijaz is not married till his father can afford to buy him a bride. There is little pomp or ceremony save firing of guns, dancing, singing, and eating mutton. The �settlement� is usually about thirty sound Spanish dollars,[FN#47] half paid down, and the other owed by the bridegroom to the father, the brothers, or the kindred of his spouse. Some tribes will take animals in lieu of ready money. A man of wrath not contented with his bride, puts her away at once. If peaceably inclined, by a short delay he avoids scandal. Divorces are very frequent among Badawin, and if the settlement money be duly paid, no evil comes of them.[FN#48]

The funerals of the wild men resemble those of the citizens, only they are more simple, the dead being buried where they die. The corpse, after ablution, is shrouded in any rags procurable; and, women and hired weepers

[p.112] not being permitted to attend, it is carried to the grave by men only. A hole is dug, according to Moslem custom; dry wood, which everywhere abounds, is disposed to cover the corpse, and an oval of stones surrounding a mound of earth keeps out jackals and denotes the spot. These Badawin have not, like the wild Sindis and Baluchis, favourite cemeteries, to which they transport their dead from afar.

The traveller will find no difficulty in living amongst the Hijazi Badawin. �Trust to their honour, and you are safe,� as was said of the Crow Indians; �to their honesty and they will steal the hair off your head.� But the wanderer must adopt the wild man�s motto, omnia mea mecum porto; he must have good nerves, be capable of fatigue and hardship, possess some knowledge of drugs, shoot and ride well, speak Arabic and Turkish, know the customs by reading, and avoid offending against local prejudices, by causing himself, for instance, to be called Taggaa. The payment of a small sum secures to him a Rafik,[FN#49] and this �friend,� after once engaging in the task, will be faithful. �We have eaten salt together� (Nahnu Malihin) is still a bond of friendship: there are, however, some tribes who require to renew the bond every twenty-four hours, as otherwise, to use their own phrase, �the salt is not in their stomachs.� Caution must be exercised in choosing a companion who has not too many blood feuds. There is no objection to carrying a copper watch and a pocket compass, and a Koran could be fitted with secret pockets for notes and pencil. Strangers should especially avoid handsome weapons; these tempt the Badawin�s cupidity more than gold. The other extreme, defencelessness, is equally objectionable. It is needless to say that the traveller must never be seen writing anything but charms, and must on no account sketch in public. He should be careful in questioning, and rather lead up

[p.113] to information than ask directly. It offends some Badawin, besides denoting ignorance and curiosity, to be asked their names or those of their clans: a man may be living incognito, and the tribes distinguish themselves when they desire to do so by dress, personal appearance, voice, dialect, and accentuation, points of difference plain to the initiated. A few dollars suffice for the road, and if you would be �respectable,� a taste which I will not deprecate, some such presents as razors and Tarbushes are required for the chiefs.

The government of the Arabs may be called almost an autonomy. The tribes never obey their Shaykhs, unless for personal considerations, and, as in a civilised army, there generally is some sharp-witted and brazen-faced individual whose voice is louder than the general�s. In their leonine society the sword is the greater administrator of law.

Relations between the Badawi tribes of Al-Hijaz are of a threefold character: they are either Ashab, Kiman, or Akhwan.

Ashab, or �comrades,� are those who are bound by oath to an alliance offensive and defensive: they intermarry, and are therefore closely connected.

Kiman,[FN#50] or foes, are tribes between whom a blood feud, the cause and the effect of deadly enmity, exists.

Akhawat, or �brotherhood,� denotes the tie between the stranger and the Badawi, who asserts an immemorial and inalienable right to the soil upon which his forefathers fed their flocks. Trespass by a neighbour instantly causes war. Territorial increase is rarely attempted, for if of a whole clan but a single boy escape he will one day assert his claim to the land, and be assisted by all the Ashab, or [p.114] allies of the slain. By paying to man, woman, or child, a small sum, varying, according to your means, from a few pence worth of trinkets to a couple of dollars, you share bread and salt with the tribe, you and your horse become Dakhil (protected), and every one must afford you brother-help. If traveller or trader attempt to pass through the land without paying Al-Akhawah or Al-Rifkah, as it is termed, he must expect to be plundered, and, resisting, to be slain: it is no dishonour to pay it, and he clearly is in the wrong who refuses to conform to custom. The Rafik, under different names, exists throughout this part of the world; at Sinai he was called a Ghafir, a Rabia in Eastern Arabia, amongst the Somal an Abban, and by the Gallas a Mogasa. I have called the tax �black-mail�; it deserves a better name, being clearly the rudest form of those transit-dues and octrois which are in nowise improved by �progress.� The Ahl Bayt,[FN#51] or dwellers in the Black Tents, levy the tax from the Ahl Hayt, or the People of Walls; that is to say, townsmen and villagers who have forfeited right to be held Badawin. It is demanded from bastard Arabs, and from tribes who, like the Hutaym and the Khalawiyah, have been born basely or have become �nidering.� And these people are obliged to pay it at home as well as abroad. Then it becomes a sign of disgrace, and the pure clans, like the Benu Harb, will not give their damsels in marriage to �brothers.�

Besides this Akhawat-tax and the pensions by the Porte to chiefs of clans, the wealth of the Badawi consists in his flocks and herds, his mare, and his weapons. Some clans are rich in horses; others are celebrated for camels; and not a few for sheep, asses, or greyhounds. The Ahamidah tribe, as has been mentioned, possesses few animals; it subsists by plunder and by presents from

[p.115] pilgrims. The principal wants of the country are sulphur, lead, cloths of all kinds, sugar, spices, coffee, corn, and rice. Arms are valued by the men, and it is advisable to carry a stock of Birmingham jewellery for the purpose of conciliating womankind. In exchange the Badawin give sheep,[FN#52] cattle, clarified butter, milk, wool, and hides, which they use for water-bags, as the Egyptians and other Easterns do potteries. But as there is now a fair store of dollars in the country, it is rarely necessary to barter.

The Arab�s dress marks his simplicity; it gives him a nationality, as, according to John Evelyn, �prodigious breeches� did to the Swiss. It is remarkably picturesque, and with sorrow we see it now confined to the wildest Badawin and a few Sharifs. To the practised eye, a Hijazi in Tarbush and Caftan is ridiculous as a Basque or a Catalonian girl in a cachemire and a little chip. The necessary dress of a man is his Saub (Tobe), a blue calico shirt, reaching from neck to ankles, tight or loose-sleeved, opening at the chest in front, and rather narrow below; so that the wearer, when running, must either hold it up or tuck it into his belt. The latter article, called Hakw, is a plaited leathern thong, twisted round the waist very tightly, so as to support the back. The trousers and the Futah, or loin-cloth of cities, are looked upon as signs of effeminacy. In cold weather the chiefs wear over the shirt an Aba, or cloak. These garments are made in Nijd and the Eastern districts; they are of four colours, white, black, red, and brown-striped. The best are of camels� hair, and may cost fifteen dollars; the worst, of sheep�s wool, are worth only three; both are cheap, as they last for years. The Mahramah (head-cloth) comes from Syria; which, with Nijd, supplies also the Kufiyah or headkerchief. The Ukal,[FN#53] fillets bound over

[p.116] the kerchief, are of many kinds; the Bishr tribe near Meccah make a kind of crown like the gloria round a saint�s head, with bits of wood, in which are set pieces of mother-o�-pearl. Sandals, too, are of every description, from the simple sole of leather tied on with thongs, to the handsome and elaborate chaussure of Meccah; the price varies from a piastre to a dollar, and the very poor walk barefooted. A leathern bandoleer, called Majdal, passed over the left shoulder, and reaching to the right hip, supports a line of brass cylinders for cartridges.[FN#54] The other cross-belt (Al-Masdar), made of leather ornamented with brass rings, hangs down at the left side, and carries a Kharizah, or hide-case for bullets. And finally, the Hizam, or waist-belt, holds the dagger and extra cartridge cases. A Badawi never appears in public unarmed.

Women wear, like their masters, dark blue cotton Tobes, but larger and looser. When abroad they cover the head with a Yashmak of black stuff, or a poppy-coloured Burka (nose-gay) of the Egyptian shape. They wear no pantaloons, and they rarely affect slippers or sandals. The hair is twisted into Majdul, little pig-tails, and copiously anointed with clarified butter. The rich perfume the skin with rose and cinnamon-scented oils, and adorn the hair with Al-Shayh (Absinthium), sweetest herb of the Desert; their ornaments are bracelets, collars, ear and nose-rings of gold, silver, or silver-gilt. The poorer classes have strings of silver coins hung round the neck.

The true Badawi is an abstemious man, capable of living for six months on ten ounces of food per diem; the milk of a single camel, and a handful of dates, dry or fried in clarified butter, suffice for his wants. He despises the obese and all who require regular and plentiful meals, sleeps on a mat, and knows neither luxury nor comfort, freezing during one quarter and frying for three quarters of the year. But though he can endure hunger, like all

[p.117] savages, he will gorge when an opportunity offers. I never saw the man who could refrain from water upon the line of march; and in this point they contrast disadvantageously with the hardy Wahhabis of the East, and the rugged mountaineers of Jabal Shammar. They are still �acridophagi,� and even the citizens far prefer a dish of locusts to the Fasikh, which act as anchovies, sardines, and herrings in Egypt. They light a fire at night, and as the insects fall dead they quote this couplet to justify their being eaten�

�We are allowed two carrions and two bloods, The fish and locust, the liver and the spleen.[FN#55]�

Where they have no crops to lose, the people are thankful for a fall of locusts. In Al-Hijaz the flights are uncertain; during the last five years Al-Madinah has seen but few. They are prepared for eating by boiling in salt water and drying four or five days in the sun: a �wet� locust to an Arab is as a snail to a Briton. The head is plucked off, the stomach drawn, the wings and the prickly part of the legs are plucked, and the insect is ready for the table. Locusts are never eaten with sweet things, which would be nauseous: the dish is always �hot,� with salt and pepper, or onions fried in clarified butter, when it tastes nearly as well as a plate of stale shrimps.

The favourite food on the line of march is meat cut into strips and sun-dried. This, with a bag of milk-balls[FN#56]

[p.118] and a little coffee, must suffice for journey or campaign. The Badawin know neither fermented nor distilled liquors, although Ikhs ya�l Khammar! (Fie upon thee, drunkard!) is a popular phrase, preserving the memory of another state of things. Some clans, though not all, smoke tobacco. It is generally the growth of the country called Hijazi or Kazimiyah; a green weed, very strong, with a foul smell, and costing about one piastre per pound. The Badawin do not relish Persian tobacco, and cannot procure Latakia: it is probably the pungency of the native growth offending the delicate organs of the Desert-men, that caused nicotiana to be proscribed by the Wahhabis, who revived against its origin a senseless and obsolete calumny.

The almost absolute independence of the Arabs, and of that noble race the North American Indians of a former generation, has produced a similarity between them worthy of note, because it may warn the anthropologist not always to detect in coincidence of custom identity of origin. Both have the same wild chivalry, the same fiery sense of honour, and the same boundless hospitality: elopements from tribe to tribe, the blood feud, and the Vendetta are common to the to. Both are grave and cautious in demeanour, and formal in manner,�princes in rags or paint. The Arabs plunder pilgrims; the Indians, bands of trappers; both glory in forays, raids, and cattle-lifting; and both rob according to certain rules. Both are alternately brave to desperation, and shy of danger. Both are remarkable for nervous and powerful eloquence; dry humour, satire, whimsical tales, frequent tropes; boasts, and ruffling style; pithy proverbs, extempore songs, and languages wondrous in their complexity. Both, recognising no other occupation but war and the chase, despise artificers and the effeminate people of cities, as the game-cock spurns the vulgar roosters of the poultry-yard.[FN#57] The [p.119] chivalry of the Western wolds, like that of the Eastern wilds, salutes the visitor by a charge of cavalry, by discharging guns, and by wheeling around him with shouts and yells. The �brave� stamps a red hand upon his mouth to show that he has drunk the blood of a foe. Of the Utaybah �Harami� it is similarly related, that after mortal combat he tastes the dead man�s gore.

Of these two chivalrous races of barbarians, the Badawi claims our preference on account of his treatment of women, his superior development of intellect, and the glorious page of history which he has filled.

The tribes of Al-Hijaz are tediously numerous: it will be sufficient to enumerate the principal branches of the Badawi tree, without detailing the hundred little offshoots which it has put forth in the course of ages.[FN#58]

Those ancient clans the Abs and Adnan have almost died out. The latter, it is said, still exists in the neighbourhood of Taif; and the Abs, I am informed, are to be found near Kusayr (Cosseir), on the African coast, but not in Al-Hijaz. Of the Aus, Khazraj, and Nazir details have been given in a previous chapter. The Benu Harb is now the ruling clan in the Holy Land. It is divided by genealogists into two great bodies, first, the Benu Salim, and, secondly, the Masruh,[FN#59] or �roaming tribes.�

[p.120]The Benu Salim, again, have eight subdivisions, viz.:�

1. Ahamidah (Ahmadi)[FN#60]: this clan owns for chief, Shaykh Sa�ad of the mountains. It is said to contain about 3500 men. Its principal sub-clan is the Hadari. 2. Hawazim (Hazimi), the rival tribe, 3000 in number: it is again divided into Muzayni and Zahiri. 3. Sobh (Sobhi), 3500, habitat near Al-Badr. 4. Salaymah (Salimi), also called Aulad Salim. 5. Sa�adin (Sa�adani). 6. Mahamid (Mahmadi), 8000. 7. Rahalah (Rihayli), 1000. 8. Timam (Tamimi).

The Masruh tree splits into two great branches, Benu Auf, and Benu Amur.[FN#61] The former is a large clan, extending from Wady Nakia [Arabic] near Nijd, to Rabigh and Al-Madinah. They have few horses, but many dromedaries, camels, and sheep, and are much feared by the people, on account of their warlike and savage character. They separate into ten sub-divisions, viz.:�

1. Sihliyah (Sihli), about 2000 in number. 2. Sawaid (Sa�idi), 1000. 3. Rukhasah (Rakhis). 4. Kassanin (Kassan): this sub-clan claims origin from the old �Gassan� stock, and is found in considerable numbers at Wady Nakia and other places near Al-Madinah. 5. Ruba�ah (Rabai). 6. Khazarah (Khuzayri). 7. Lahabah (Lahaybi), 1500 in number. 8. Faradah (Faradi). 9. Benu Ali (Alawi). 10. Zubayd (Zubaydi), near Meccah, a numerous clan of fighting thieves.

Also under the Benu Amur�as the word is popularly pronounced�are ten sub-families.

1. Marabitah (Murabti). They [nrs. 1-5] principally inhabit the land about Al-Fara [Arabic] a collection of settlements four marches South of Al-Madinah, number about 10,000 men, and have droves of sheep and camels but few horses. 2. Hussar (Hasir). 3. Benu Jabir (Jabiri). [p.121] 4. Rabaykah (Rubayki). 5. Hisnan (Hasuni). 6. Bizan (Bayzani). 7. Badarin (Badrani). 8. Biladiyah (Biladi). 9. Jaham (the singular and plural forms are the same). 10. Shatarah (Shitayri).[FN#62]

The great Anizah race now, I was told, inhabits Khaybar, and it must not visit Al-Madinah without a Rafik or protector. Properly speaking there are no outcasts in Al-Hijaz, as in Al-Yaman and the Somali country. But the Hitman (pl. of Hutaym or Hitaym), inhabiting the sea-board about Yambu�, are taxed by other Badawin as low and vile of origin. The unchastity of the women is connived at by the men, who, however, are brave and celebrated as marksmen: they make, eat, and sell cheese, for which reason that food is despised by the Harb. And the Khalawiyah (pl. of Khalawi) are equally despised; they are generally blacksmiths, have a fine breed of greyhounds, and give asses as a dowry, which secures for them the derision of their fellows.

Mr. C. Cole, H. B. M.�s Vice-Consul at Jeddah, was kind enough to collect for me notices of the different tribes in Central and Southern Hijaz. His informants divide the great clan Juhaynah living about Yambu� and Yambu� al-Nakhl into five branches, viz.:�

1. Benu Ibrahimah, in number about 5000. 2. Ishran, 700. 3. Benu Malik, 6000. [p.122] 4. Arwah, 5000. 5. Kaunah, 3000. Thus giving a total of 19,700 men capable of carrying arms.[FN#63]

The same gentleman, whose labours in Eastern Arabia during the coast survey of the �Palinurus� are well known to the Indian world, gives the following names of the tribes under allegiance to the Sharif of Meccah.

1. Sakif (Thakif) al-Yaman, 2000. 2. Sakif al-Sham,[FN#64] 1000. 3. Benu Malik, 6000. 4. Nasirah, 3000. 5. Benu Sa�ad, 4000. 6. Huzayh (Hudhayh), 5000. 7. Bakum (Begoum), 5000. 8. Adudah, 500. 9. Bashar, 1000. 10. Sa�id, 1500. 11. Zubayd, 4000. 12. Aydah, 1000.

The following is a list of the Southern Hijazi tribes, kindly forwarded to me by the Abbe Hamilton, after his return from a visit to the Sharif at Taif.

1. Ghamid al-Badawy (�of the nomades�), 30,000. 2. Ghamid al-Hazar (�the settled�), 40,000. 3. Zahran, 38,000. 4. Benu Malik, 30,000. 5. Nasirah, 15,000. 6. Asir, 40,000. 7. Tamum, * 8. Bilkarn, * * together, 80,000. 9. Benu Ahmar, 10,000. 10. Utaybah, living north of Meccah: no number given. 11. Shu�abin. 12. Daraysh, 2000. [p.123] 13. Benu Sufyan, 15,000. 14. Al-Hullad, 3000.

It is evident that the numbers given by this traveller include the women, and probably the children of the tribes. Some exaggeration will also be suspected.

The principal clans which practise the pagan Salkh, or excoriation, are, in Al-Hijaz, the Huzayl and the Benu Sufyan, together with the following families in Al-Tahamah:

1. Juhadilah. 2. Kabakah. 3. Benu Fahm. 4. Benu Mahmud. 5. Saramu (?) 6. Majarish. 7. Benu Yazid.

I now take leave of a subject which cannot but be most uninteresting to English readers.

[FN#1] In Holy Writ, as the indigens are not alluded to�only the Noachian race being described�we find two divisions: 1 The children of Joktan (great grandson of Shem), Mesopotamians settled in Southern Arabia, �from Mesha (Musa or Meccah?) to Sephar� (Zafar), a �Mount of the East,��Genesis, x. 30: that is to say, they occupied the lands from Al-Tahamah to Mahrah. 2. The children of Ishmael, and his Egyptian wife; they peopled only the Wilderness of Paran in the Sinaitic Peninsula and the parts adjacent. Dr. Aloys Sprenger (Life of Mohammed, p. 18), throws philosophic doubt upon the Ishmaelitish descent of Mohammed, who in personal appearance was a pure Caucasian, without any mingling of Egyptian blood. And the Ishmaelitish origin of the whole Arab race is an utterly untenable theory. Years ago, our great historian sensibly remarked that �the name (Saracens), used by Ptolemy and Pliny in a more confined, by Ammianus and Procopius in a larger sense, has been derived ridiculously from Sarah the wife of Abraham.� In Gibbon�s observation, the erudite Interpreter of the One Primaeval Language,�the acute bibliologist who metamorphoses the quail of the wilderness into a �ruddy goose,��detects �insidiousness� and �a spirit of restless and rancorous hostility� against revealed religion. He proceeds on these sound grounds to attack the accuracy, the honesty and the learning of the mighty dead. This may be Christian zeal; it is not Christian charity. Of late years it has been the fashion for every aspirant to ecclesiastical honours to deal a blow at the ghost of Gibbon. And, as has before been remarked, Mr. Foster gratuitously attacked Burckhardt, whose manes had long rested in the good-will of man. This contrasts offensively with Lord Lindsay�s happy compliment to the memory of the honest Swiss and the amiable eulogy quoted by Dr. Keith from the Quarterly (vol. xxiii.), and thus adopted as his own. It may seem folly to defend the historian of the Decline and Fall against the compiler of the Historical Geography of Arabia. But continental Orientalists have expressed their wonder at the appearance in this nineteenth century of the �Voice of Israel from Mount Sinai� and the �India in Greece�[;] they should be informed that all our Eastern students are not votaries of such obsolete vagaries. [FN#2] This is said without any theory. According to all historians of long inhabited lands, the advenae�whether migratory tribes or visitors�find indigens or [Greek]. [FN#3] They are described as having small heads, with low brows and ill-formed noses, (strongly contrasting with the Jewish feature), irregular lines, black skins, and frames for the most part frail and slender. For a physiological description of this race, I must refer my readers to the writings of Dr. Carter of Bombay, the medical officer of the Palinurus, when engaged on the Survey of Eastern Arabia. With ample means of observation he has not failed to remark the similarity between the lowest type of Badawi and the Indigens of India, as represented by the Bhils and other Jungle races. This, from a man of science who is not writing up to a theory, may be considered strong evidence in favour of variety in the Arabian family. The fact has long been suspected, but few travellers have given their attention to the subject since the downfall of Sir William Jones� Indian origin theory. I am convinced that there is not in Arabia �one Arab face, cast of features and expression,� as was formerly supposed to be the case, and I venture to recommend the subject for consideration to future observers. [FN#4] Of this Mesopotamian race there are now many local varieties. The subjects of the four Abyssinian and Christian sovereigns who succeeded Yusuf, the Jewish �Lord of the Pit,� produced, in Al-Yaman, the modern �Akhdam� or �Serviles.� The �Hujur� of Al-Yaman and Oman are a mixed race whose origin is still unknown. And to quote no more cases, the �Ebna� mentioned by the Ibn Ishak were descended from the Persian soldiers of Anushirwan, who expelled the Abyssinian invader. [FN#5] That the Copts, or ancient Egyptians, were �Half-caste Arabs,� a mixed people like the Abyssinians, the Gallas, the Somal, and the Kafirs, an Arab graft upon an African stock, appears highly probable. Hence the old Nilotic race has been represented as woolly-headed and of negro feature. Thus Leo Africanus makes the Africans to be descendants of the Arabs. Hence the tradition that Egypt was peopled by AEthiopia, and has been gradually whitened by admixture of Persian and Median, Greek and Roman blood. Hence, too, the fancied connection of Aethiopia with Cush, Susiana, Khuzistan or the lands about the Tigris. Thus learned Virgil, confounding the Western with the Eastern Aethiopians, alludes to

�Usque coloratos Nilus devexus ad Indos.�

And Strabo maintains the people of Mauritania to be Indians who had come with Hercules. We cannot but remark in Southern Arabia the footprints of the Hindu, whose superstitions, like the Phoenix which flew from India to expire in Egypt, passed over to Arabia with Dwipa Sukhatra (Socotra) for a resting place on its way to the regions of the remotest West. As regards the difference between the Japhetic and Semitic tongues, it may be remarked that though nothing can be more distinct than Sanscrit and Arabic, yet that Pahlavi and Hebrew (Prof. Bohlen on Genesis) present some remarkable points of resemblance. I have attempted in a work on Sind to collect words common to both families. And further research convinces me that such vocables as the Arabic Taur [Arabic] the Persian Tora [Persian] and the Latin �Taurus� denote an ancient rapprochement, whose mysteries still invite the elucidation of modern science. [FN#6] The Sharif families affect marrying female slaves, thereby showing the intense pride which finds no Arab noble enough for them. Others take to wife Badawi girls: their blood, therefore, is by no means pure. The worst feature of their system is the forced celibacy of their daughters; they are never married into any but Sharif families; consequently they often die in spinsterhood. The effects of this custom are most pernicious, for though celibacy exists in the East it is by no means synonymous with chastity. Here it springs from a morbid sense of honour, and arose, it is popularly said, from an affront taken by a Sharif against his daughter�s husband. But all Arabs condemn the practice. [FN#7] I use this word as popular abuse has fixed it. Every Orientalist knows that Badawin (Bedouin) is the plural form of Badawi, an �ism al-nisbah,� or adjective derived from Badu, a Desert. �Some words notoriously corrupt,� says Gibbon, �are fixed, and as it were naturalised, in the vulgar tongue.� The word �Badawi� is not insulting, like �Turk� applied to an Osmanli, or �Fellah� to the Egyptian. But you affront the wild man by mistaking his clan for a lower one. �Ya Hitaymi,� for instance, addressed to a Harb Badawi, makes him finger his dagger. [FN#8] This coarseness is not a little increased by a truly Badawi habit of washing the locks with�[Arabic]. It is not considered wholly impure, and is also used for the eyes, upon which its ammonia would act as a rude stimulant. The only cosmetic is clarified butter freely applied to the body as well as to the hair. [FN#9] �Kurun� ([Arabic]) properly means �horns.� The Sharifs generally wear their hair in �Haffah� ([Arabic]), long locks hanging down both sides of the neck and shaved away about a finger�s breadth round the forehead and behind the neck. [FN#10] This traveller describes the modern Mesopotamian and Northern race, which, as its bushy beard�unusual feature in pure Arab blood�denotes, is mixed with central Asian. In the North, as might be expected, the camels are hairy; whereas, in Al-Hijaz and in the low parts of Al-Yaman, a whole animal does not give a handful fit for weaving. The Arabs attribute this, as we should, to heat, which causes the longer hairs to drop off. [FN#11] �Magnum inter Arabes et Africanos discrimen efficit [Greek]. Arabum parvula membra sicut nobilis aequi. Africanum tamen flaccum, crassum longumque: ita quiescens, erectum tamen parum distenditur. Argumentum validissimum est ad indagandam Egyptorum originem: Nilotica enim gens membrum habet Africanum.� [FN#12] Whereas the Saxon thumb is thick, flat, and short, extending scarcely half way to the middle joint of the index. [FN#13] A similar unwillingness to name the wife may be found in some parts of southern Europe, where probably jealousy or possibly Asiatic custom has given rise to it. Among the Maltese it appears in a truly ridiculous way, e.g., �dice la mia moglie, con rispetto parlando, &c.,� says the husband, adding to the word spouse a �saving your presence,� as if he were speaking of something offensive. [FN#14] Dr. Howe (Report on Idiotcy in Massachusetts, 1848,) asserts that �the law against the marriage of relations is made out as clearly as though it were written on tables of stone.� He proceeds to show that in seventeen households where the parents were connected by blood, of ninety-five children one was a dwarf, one deaf, twelve scrofulous, and forty-four idiots�total fifty-eight diseased! [FN#15] Yet the celebrated �Flying Childers� and all his race were remarkably bred in. There is still, in my humble opinion, much mystery about the subject, to be cleared up only by the studies of physiologists. [FN#16] This sounds in English like an �Irish bull.� I translate �Badu,� as the dictionaries do, �a Desert.� [FN#17] The Sharbat Kajari is the �Acquetta� of Persia, and derives its name from the present royal family. It is said to be a mixture of verdigris with milk; if so, it is a very clumsy engine of state policy. In Egypt and Mosul, Sulaymani (the common name for an Afghan) is used to signify �poison�; but I know not whether it be merely euphuistic or confined to some species. The banks of the Nile are infamous for these arts, and Mohammed Ali Pasha imported, it is said, professional poisoners from Europe. [FN#18] Throughout the world the strictness of the Lex Scripta is in inverse ratio to that of custom: whenever the former is lax, the latter is stringent, and vice versa. Thus in England, where law leaves men comparatively free, they are slaves to a grinding despotism of conventionalities, unknown in the land of tyrannical rule. This explains why many men, accustomed to live under despotic governments, feel fettered and enslaved in the so-called free countries. Hence, also, the reason why notably in a republic there is less private and practical liberty than under a despotism. The �Kazi al-Arab� (Judge of the Arabs) is in distinction to the Kazi al-Shara, or the Kazi of the Koran. The former is, almost always, some sharp-witted greybeard, with a minute knowledge of genealogy and precedents, a retentive memory and an eloquent tongue. [FN#19] Thus the Arabs, being decidedly a parsimonious people, indulge in exaggerated praises and instances of liberality. Hatim Tai, whose generosity is unintelligible to Europeans, becomes the Arab model of the �open hand.� Generally a high beau ideal is no proof of a people�s practical pre-eminence, and when exaggeration enters into it and suits the public taste, a low standard of actuality may be fairly suspected. But to convince the oriental mind you must dazzle it. Hence, in part, the superhuman courage of Antar, the liberality of Hatim, the justice of Omar, and the purity of Laila and Majnun under circumstances more trying than aught chronicled in Mathilde, or in the newest American novel. [FN#20] At the battle of Bissel, when Mohammed Ali of Egypt broke the 40,000 guerillas of Faisal son of Sa�ud the Wahhabi, whole lines of the Benu Asir tribe were found dead and tied by the legs with ropes. This system of colligation dates from old times in Arabia, as the �Affair of Chains� (Zat al-Salasil) proves. It is alluded to by the late Sir Henry Elliot in his �Appendix to the Arabs in Sind,��a work of remarkable sagacity and research. According to the �Beglar-Nameh,� it was a �custom of the people of Hind and Sind, whenever they devote themselves to death, to bind themselves to each other by their mantles and waistbands.� It seems to have been an ancient practice in the West as in the East: the Cimbri, to quote no other instances, were tied together with cords when attacked by Marius. Tactic truly worthy of savages to prepare for victory by expecting a defeat! [FN#21] Though differing in opinion, upon one subject, from the Rev. Mr. Robertson, the lamented author of this little work, I cannot refrain from expressing the highest admiration of those noble thoughts, those exalted views, and those polished sentiments which, combining the delicacy of the present with the chivalry of a past age, appear in a style

�As smooth as woman and as strong as man.�

Would that it were in my power to pay a more adequate tribute to his memory! [FN#22] Even Juno, in the most meaningless of idolatries, became, according to Pausanias (lib. ii. cap. 38), a virgin once every year. And be it observed that Al-Islam (the faith, not the practice) popularly decided to debase the social state of womankind, exalts it by holding up to view no fewer than two examples of perfection in the Prophet�s household. Khadijah, his first wife, was a minor saint, and the Lady Fatimah is supposed to have been spiritually unspotted by sin, and materially ever a virgin, even after giving birth to Hasan and to Hosayn. [FN#23] There is no objection to intermarriage between equal clans, but the higher will not give their daughters to the lower in dignity. [FN#24] For instance: �A certain religious man was so deeply affected with the love of a king�s daughter, that he was brought to the brink of the grave,� is a favourite inscriptive formula. Usually the hero �sickens in consequence of the heroine�s absence, and continues to the hour of his death in the utmost grief and anxiety.� He rarely kills himself, but sometimes, when in love with a pretty infidel, he drinks wine and he burns the Koran. The �hated rival� is not a formidable person; but there are for good reasons great jealousy of female friends, and not a little fear of the beloved�s kinsmen. Such are the material sentiments; the spiritual part is a thread of mysticism, upon which all the pearls of adventure and incident are strung. [FN#25] It is curious that these pastoral races, which supply poetry with namby-pamby Colinades, figure as the great tragedians of history. The Scythians, the Huns, the Arabs, and the Tartars were all shepherds. They first armed themselves with clubs to defend their flocks from wild beasts. Then they learned warfare, and improved means of destruction by petty quarrels about pastures; and, finally, united by the commanding genius of some skin-clad Caesar or Napoleon, they fell like avalanches upon those valleys of the world�Mesopotamia, India, and Egypt�whose enervate races offered them at once temptations to attack, and certainty of success. [FN#26] Even amongst the Indians, as a race the least chivalrous of men, there is an oath which binds two persons of different sex in the tie of friendship, by making them brother and sister to each other. [FN#27] Richardson derives our �knight� from Nikht ([Arabic]), a tilter with spears, and �Caitiff� from Khattaf, ([Arabic]) a snatcher or ravisher. [FN#28] I am not ignorant that the greater part of �Antar� is of modern and disputed origin. Still it accurately expresses Arab sentiment. [FN#29] I wish that the clever Orientalist who writes in the Saturday Review would not translate �Al-Layl,� by lenes sub nocte susurri: the Arab bard alluded to no such effeminacies. [FN#30] The subject of �Dakhl� has been thoroughly exhausted by Burckhardt and Layard. It only remains to be said that the Turks, through ignorance of the custom, have in some cases made themselves contemptible by claiming the protection of women. [FN#31] It is by no means intended to push this comparison of the Arab�s with the Hibernian�s poetry. The former has an intensity which prevents our feeling that �there are too many flowers for the fruit�; the latter is too often a mere blaze of words, which dazzle and startle, but which, decomposed by reflection, are found to mean nothing. Witness

�The diamond turrets of Shadukiam, And the fragrant bowers of Amberabad!�

[FN#32] I am informed that the Benu Kahtan still improvise, but I never heard them. The traveller in Arabia will always be told that some remote clan still produces mighty bards, and uses in conversation the terminal vowels of the classic tongue, but he will not believe these assertions till personally convinced of their truth. The Badawi dialect, however, though debased, is still, as of yore, purer than the language of the citizens. During the days when philology was a passion in the East, those Stephens and Johnsons of Semitic lore, Firuzabadi and Al-Zamakhshari, wandered from tribe to tribe and from tent to tent, collecting words and elucidating disputed significations. Their grammatical expeditions are still remembered, and are favourite stories with scholars. [FN#33] I say �skilful in reading,� because the Arabs, like the Spaniards, hate to hear their language mangled by mispronunciation. When Burckhardt, who spoke badly, began to read verse to the Badawin, they could not refrain from a movement of impatience, and used to snatch the book out of his hands. [FN#34] The civilized poets of the Arab cities throw the charm of the Desert over their verse, by images borrowed from its scenery�the dromedary, the mirage, and the well�as naturally as certain of our songsters, confessedly haters of the country, babble of lowing kine, shady groves, spring showers, and purling rills. [FN#35] Some will object to this expression; Arabic being a harsh and guttural tongue. But the sound of language, in the first place, depends chiefly upon the articulator. Who thinks German rough in the mouth of a woman, with a suspicion of a lisp, or that English is the dialect of birds, when spoken by an Italian? Secondly, there is a music far more spirit-stirring in harshness than in softness: the languages of Castile and of Tuscany are equally beautiful, yet who does not prefer the sound of the former? The gutturality of Arabia is less offensive than that of the highlands of Barbary. Professor Willis, of Cambridge, attributes the broad sounds and the guttural consonants of mountaineers and the people of elevated plains to the physical action of cold. Conceding this to be a partial cause, I would rather refer the phenomenon to the habit of loud speaking, acquired by the dwellers in tents, and by those who live much in the open air. The Todas of the Neilgherry Hills have given the soft Tamil all the harshness of Arabic, and he who hears them calling to each other from the neighbouring peaks, can remark the process of broadening vowel and gutturalising consonant. On the other hand, the Gallas and the Persians, also a mountain-people, but inhabiting houses, speak comparatively soft tongues. The Cairenes actually omit some of the harshest sounds of Arabia, turning Makass into Ma�as, and Sakka into Sa�a. It is impossible to help remarking the bellowing of the Badawi when he first enters a dwelling-place, and the softening of the sound when he has become accustomed to speak within walls. Moreover, it is to be observed there is a great difference of articulation, not pronunciation, among the several Badawi clans. The Benu Auf are recognised by their sharp, loud, and sudden speech, which the citizens compare to the barking of dogs. The Benu Amr, on the contrary, speak with a soft and drawling sound. The Hutaym, in addition to other peculiarities, add a pleonastic �ah,� to soften the termination of words, as A�atini hawajiyah, (for hawaiji), �Give me my clothes.� [FN#36] The Germans have returned for inspiration to the old Eastern source. Ruckert was guided by Jalal al-Din to the fountains of Sufyism. And even the French have of late made an inroad into Teutonic mysticism successfully enough to have astonished Racine and horrified La Harpe. [FN#37] This, however, does not prevent the language becoming optionally most precise in meaning; hence its high philosophical character. The word �farz,� for instance, means, radically �cutting,� secondarily �ordering,� or �paying a debt,� after which come numerous meanings foreign to the primal sense, such as a shield, part of a tinder-box, an unfeathered arrow, and a particular kind of date. In theology it is limited to a single signification, namely, a divine command revealed in the Koran. Under these circumstances the Arabic becomes, in grammar, logic, rhetoric, and mathematics, as perfect and precise as Greek. I have heard Europeans complain that it is unfit for mercantile transactions.�Perhaps! [FN#38] As a general rule there is a rhyme at the end of every second line, and the unison is a mere fringe�a long a, for instance, throughout the poem sufficing for the delicate ear of the Arab. In this they were imitated by the old Spaniards, who, neglecting the consonants, merely required the terminating vowels to be alike. We speak of the �sort of harmonious simple flow which atones for the imperfect nature of the rhyme.� But the fine organs of some races would be hurt by that ponderous unison which a people of blunter senses find necessary to produce an impression. The reader will feel this after perusing in �Percy�s Reliques� Rio Verde! Rio Verde! and its translation. [FN#39] In our knightly ages the mare was ridden only by jugglers and charlatans. Did this custom arise from the hatred of, and contempt for, the habits of the Arabs, imported into Europe by the Crusaders? Certainly the popular Eastern idea of a Frank was formed in those days, and survives to these. [FN#40] Baron Von Hammer-Purgstall, in the �Falkner-Klee,� calls this bird the �Saker-falke.� Hence the French and English names sacre and saker. The learned John Beckmann (History of Inventions, Discoveries, and Origins: sub voce) derives falconry from India, where, �as early as the time of Ctesias, hares and foxes were hunted by means of rapacious birds.� I believe, however, that no trace of this sport is found in the writings of the Hindus. Beckmann agrees with Giraldus, against other literati, that the ancient Greeks knew the art of hawking, and proves from Aristotle, that in Thrace men trained falcons. But Aristotle alludes to the use of the bird, as an owl is employed in Italy: the falcon is described as frightening, not catching the birds. �lian corroborates Aristotle�s testimony. Pliny, however, distinctly asserts that the hawks strike their prey down. �In Italy it was very common,� says the learned Beckmann, �for Martial and Apuleius speak of it as a thing everywhere known. Hence the science spread over Europe, and reached perfection at the principal courts in the twelfth century.� The Emperor Frederic II. wrote �De Arte Venandi cum Avibus,� and the royal author was followed by a host of imitators in the vulgar tongue. Though I am not aware that the Hindus ever cultivated the art, �lian, it must be confessed, describes their style of training falcons exactly similar to that in use among the modern Persians, Sindians, and Arabs. The Emperor Frederic owes the �capella,� or hood to the Badawi, and talks of the �most expert falconers� sent to him with various kinds of birds by some of the kings of Arabia. The origin of falconry is ascribed by Al-Mas�udi, on the authority of Adham bin Muhriz, to the king Al-Haris bin Mu�awiyah, and in Dr. Sprenger�s admirable translation the reader will find (pp. 426, 428), much information upon the subject. The Persians claim the invention for their just King, Anushirawan, contemporary with Mohammed. Thence the sport passed into Turkey, where it is said the Sultans maintained a body of 6000 falconers. And Frederic Barbarossa, in the twelfth century, brought falcons to Italy. We may fairly give the honour of the invention to Central Asia. [FN#41] Here called �bandukiyah bi ruhayn,� or the two-mouthed gun. The leathern cover is termed �gushat�; it is a bag with a long-ringed tassel at the top of the barrel, and a strap by which it is slung to the owner�s back. [FN#42] I described elsewhere the Mirzak, or javelin. [FN#43] Ostriches are found in Al-Hijaz, where the Badawin shoot after coursing them. The young ones are caught and tamed, and the eggs may be bought in the Madinah bazar. Throughout Arabia there is a belief that the ostrich throws stones at the hunter. The superstition may have arisen from the pebbles being flung up behind by the bird�s large feet in his rapid flight, or it may be a mere �foolery of fancy.� Even in lands which have long given up animal-worship, wherever a beast is conspicuous or terrible, it becomes the subject of some marvellous tale. So the bear in Persia imitates a moolah�s dress; the wolf in France is a human being transformed, and the beaver of North America, also a metamorphosis, belts trees so as to fell them in the direction most suitable to his after purpose. [FN#44] Not that the �Agrebi� of Bir Hamid and other parts have much to learn of us in vice. The land of Al-Yaman is, I believe, the most demoralised country, and Sana�a the most depraved city in Arabia. The fair sex distinguishes itself by a peculiar laxity of conduct, which is looked upon with an indulgent eye. And the men drink and gamble, to say nothing of other peccadilloes, with perfect impunity. [FN#45] In Al-Yaman, it is believed, that if a man eat three heads of garlic in good mountain-samn (or clarified butter) for forty days, his blood will kill the snake that draws it. [FN#46] Circumcisionis causa apud Arabos manifestissima, ulceratio enim endemica, abrasionem glandis aut praeputii, maxima cum facilitate insequitur. Mos autem quem vocant Arabes Al-Salkh ([Arabic] i.e. scarificatio) virilitatem animumque ostendendi modus esse videtur. Exeunt amici paterque, et juvenem sub dio sedentem circumstant. Capit tunc pugionem tonsor et pr�putio abscisso detrahit pellem [Greek] ab umbilico incipiens aut parum infra, ventremque usque ad femora nudat. Juvenis autem dextra pugionem super tergum tonsoris vibrans magna clamat voce [Arabic] i.e. caede sine timore. Vae si haesitet tonsor aut si tremeat manus! Pater etiam filium si dolore ululet statim occidit. Re confecta surgit juvenis et [Arabic] �Gloria Deo� intonans, ad tentoria tendit, statim nefando oppressus dolore humi procumbit. Remedia Sal, et [Arabic] (tumerica); cibus lac cameli. Nonnullos occidit ingens suppuratio, decem autem excoriatis supersunt plerumque octo: hi pecten habent nullum, ventremque pallida tegit cutis. [FN#47] The Spanish dollar is most prized in Al-Hijaz; in Al-Yaman the Maria Theresa. The Spanish Government has refused to perpetuate its Pillar-dollar, which at one time was so great a favourite in the East. The traveller wonders how �Maria Theresas� still supply both shores of the Red Sea. The marvel is easily explained: the Austrians receive silver at Milan, and stamp it for a certain percentage. This coin was doubtless preferred by the Badawin for its superiority to the currency of the day: they make from it ornaments for their women and decorations for their weapons. The generic term for dollars is �Riyal Fransah.� [FN#48] Torale, sicut est mos Judaicus et Persicus, non inspiciunt. Novae nuptae tamen maritus mappam manu capit: mane autem puellae mater virginitatis signa viris mulieribusque domi ostendit eosque jubilare jubet quod calamitas domestica, sc. filia, intacta abiit. Si non ostendeant mappam, maeret domus, �prima enim Venus� in Arabia, �debet esse cruenta.� Maritus autem humanior, etiamsi absit sanguis, cruore palumbino mappam tingit et gaudium fingens cognatis parentibusque ostendit; paululum postea puellae nonnulla causa dat divortium. Hic urbis et ruris mos idem est. [FN#49] An explanation of this term will be found below. [FN#50] It is the plural of �Kaum,� which means �rising up in rebellion or enmity against,� as well as the popular signification, a �people.� In some parts of Arabia it is used for a �plundering party.� [FN#51] Bayt (in the plural Buyut) is used in this sense to denote the tents of the nomades. �Bayt� radically means a �nighting-place�; thence a tent, a house, a lair, &c., &c. [FN#52] Some tribes will not sell their sheep, keeping them for guests or feasts. [FN#53] So the word is pronounced at Meccah. The dictionaries give �Aakal,� which in Eastern Arabia is corrupted to �Igal.� [FN#54] Called �Tatarif,� plural of Tatrifah, a cartridge. [FN#55] The liver and the spleen are both supposed to be �congealed blood.� Niebuhr has exhausted the names and the description of the locust. In Al-Hijaz they have many local and fantastic terms: the smallest kind, for instance, is called Jarad Iblis, Satan�s locust. [FN#56] This is the Kurut of Sind and the Kashk of Persia. The butter-milk, separated from the butter by a little water, is simmered over a slow fire, thickened with wheaten flour, about a handful to a gallon, well-mixed, so that no knots remain in it, and allowed to cool. The mixture is then put into a bag and strained, after which salt is sprinkled over it. The mass begins to harden after a few hours, when it is made up into balls and dried in the sun. [FN#57] The North American trappers adopted this natural prejudice: the �free trapper� called his more civilized confrere, �mangeur de lard.� [FN#58] Burckhardt shrank from the intricate pedigree of the Meccan Sharifs. I have seen a work upon the subject in four folio volumes in point of matter equivalent to treble the number in Europe. The best known genealogical works are Al-Kalkashandi (originally in seventy-five books, extended to one hundred); the Umdat al-Tullab by Ibn Khaldun; the �Tohfat al-Arab fi Ansar al-Arab,� a well-known volume by Al-Siyuti; and, lastly, the Sirat al-Halabi, in six volumes 8vo. Of the latter work there is an abridgment by Mohammed al-Banna al-Dimyati in two volumes 8vo.; but both are rare, and consequently expensive. [FN#59] I give the following details of the Harb upon the authority of my friend Omar Effendi, who is great in matters of genealogy. [FN#60]The first word is the plural, the second the singular form of the word. [FN#61] In the singular Aufi and Amri. [FN#62] To these Mr. Cole adds seven other sub-divisions, viz.:� 1. Ahali al-Kura (�the people of Kura?�), 5000. 2. Radadah, 800. 3. Hijlah, 600. 4. Dubayah, 1500. 5. Benu Kalb, 2000. 6. Bayzanah, 800. 7. Benu Yahya, 800. And he makes the total of the Benu Harb about Al-Jadaydah amount to 35,000 men. I had no means of personally ascertaining the correctness of this information. [FN#63] The reader will remember that nothing like exactitude in numbers can be expected from an Arab. Some rate the Benu Harb at 6000; others, equally well informed, at 15,000; others again at 80,000. The reason of this is that, whilst one is speaking of the whole race, another may be limiting it to his own tribe and its immediate allies. [FN#64] �Sham� which, properly speaking, means Damascus or Syria, in Southern Arabia and Eastern Africa is universally applied to Al-Hijaz.

Chapter XXVI. FROM AL-SUWAYRKIYAH TO MECCAH.[edit]

Burton village.gif

WE have now left the territory of Al-Madinah. Al-Suwayrkiyah, which belongs to the Sharif of Meccah, is about twenty-eight miles distant from Hijriyah, and by dead reckoning ninety-nine miles along the road from the Prophet�s burial-place. Its bearing from the last station was S.W. 11�. The town, consisting of about one hundred houses, is built at the base and on the sides of a basaltic mass, which rises abruptly from the hard clayey plain. The summit is converted into a rude fortalice�without one, no settlement can exist in Al-Hijaz�by a bulwark of uncut stone, piled up so as to make a parapet. The lower part of the town is protected by a mud wall, with the usual semicircular towers. Inside there is a bazar, well supplied with meat (principally mutton) by the neighbouring Badawin; and wheat, barley, and dates are grown near the town. There is little to describe in the narrow streets and the mud houses, which are essentially Arab. The fields around are divided into little square plots by earthen ridges and stone walls; some of the palms are fine-grown trees, and the wells appear numerous. The water is near the surface and plentiful, but it has a brackish taste, highly disagreeable after a few days� use, and the effects are the reverse of chalybeate.

The town belongs to the Benu Hosayn, a race of

[p.125] schismatics mentioned in the foregoing pages. They claim the allegiance of the Badawi tribes around, principally Mutayr, and I was informed that their fealty to the Prince of Meccah is merely nominal.

The morning after our arrival at Al-Suwayrkiyah witnessed a commotion in our little party: hitherto they had kept together in fear of the road. Among the number was one Ali bin Ya Sin, a perfect �old man of the sea.� By profession he was a �Zemzemi,� or dispenser of water from the Holy Well,[FN#1] and he had a handsome �palazzo� at the foot of Abu Kubays in Meccah, which he periodically converted into a boarding-house. Though past sixty, very decrepit, bent by age, white-bearded, and toothless, he still acted cicerone to pilgrims, and for that purpose travelled once every year to Al-Madinah. These trips had given him the cunning of a veteran voyageur. He lived well and cheaply; his home-made Shugduf, the model of comfort, was garnished with soft cushions and pillows, whilst from the pockets protruded select bottles of pickled limes and similar luxuries; he had his travelling Shishah (water-pipe),[FN#2] and at the halting-place, disdaining the crowded, reeking tent, he had a contrivance for converting his vehicle into a habitation. He was a type of the Arab old man. He mumbled all day and three-quarters of the night, for he had des insomnies. His nerves were so fine, that if any

[p.126] one mounted his Shugduf, the unfortunate was condemned to lie like a statue. Fidgety and priggishly neat, nothing annoyed him so much as a moment�s delay or an article out of place, a rag removed from his water-gugglet, or a cooking-pot imperfectly free from soot; and I judged his avarice by observing that he made a point of picking up and eating the grains scattered from our pomegranates, exclaiming that the heavenly seed (located there by Arab superstition) might be one of those so wantonly wasted.

Ali bin Ya Sin, returning to his native city, had not been happy in his choice of a companion this time. The other occupant of the handsome Shugduf was an ignoble-faced Egyptian from Al-Madinah. This ill-suited pair clave together for awhile, but at Al-Suwayrkiyah some dispute about a copper coin made them permanent foes. With threats and abuse such as none but an Egyptian could tamely hear, Ali kicked his quondam friend out of the vehicle. But terrified, after reflection, by the possibility that the man, now his enemy, might combine with two or three Syrians of our party to do him a harm, and frightened by a few black looks, the senior determined to fortify himself by a friend. Connected with the boy Mohammed�s family, he easily obtained an introduction to me; he kissed my hand with great servility, declared that his servant had behaved disgracefully; and begged my protection together with an occasional attendance of my �slave.�

This was readily granted in pity for the old man, who became immensely grateful. He offered at once to take Shaykh Nur into his Shugduf. The Indian boy had already reduced to ruins the frail structure of his Shibriyah by lying upon it lengthways, whereas prudent travellers sit in it cross-legged and facing the camel. Moreover, he had been laughed to scorn by the Badawin, who seeing him pull up his dromedary to mount and dismount, had questioned his sex, and determined him to be

[p.127] a woman of the �Miyan.[FN#3]� I could not rebuke them; the poor fellow�s timidity was a ridiculous contrast to the Badawi�s style of mounting; a pull at the camel�s head, the left foot placed on the neck, an agile spring, and a scramble into the saddle. Shaykh Nur, elated by the sight of old Ali�s luxuries, promised himself some joyous hours; but next morning he owned with a sigh that he had purchased splendour at the extravagant price of happiness�the senior�s tongue never rested throughout the livelong night.

During our half-halt at Al-Suwayrkiyah we determined to have a small feast; we bought some fresh dates, and we paid a dollar and a half for a sheep. Hungry travellers consider �liver and fry� a dish to set before a Shaykh. On this occasion, however, our enjoyment was marred by the water; even Soyer�s dinners would scarcely charm if washed down with cups of a certain mineral-spring found at Epsom.

We started at ten A.M. (Monday, 5th September) in a South-Easterly direction, and travelled over a flat, thinly dotted with Desert vegetation. At one P.M we passed a basaltic ridge; and then, entering a long depressed line of country, a kind of valley, paced down it five tedious hours. The Samum as usual was blowing hard, and it seemed to affect the travellers� tempers. In one place I saw a Turk, who could not speak a word of Arabic, violently disputing with an Arab who could not understand a word of Turkish. The pilgrim insisted upon adding to the camel�s load a few dry sticks, such as are picked up for cooking. The camel-man as perseveringly threw off the extra burthen. They screamed with rage, hustled each other, and at last the Turk dealt the Arab a heavy blow. I afterwards heard that the pilgrim was mortally wounded that night, his stomach being ripped

[p.128] open with a dagger. On enquiring what had become of him, I was assured that he had been comfortably wrapped up in his shroud, and placed in a half-dug grave. This is the general practice in the case of the poor and solitary, whom illness or accident incapacitates from proceeding. It is impossible to contemplate such a fate without horror: the torturing thirst of a wound,[FN#4] the burning sun heating the brain to madness, and�worst of all, for they do not wait till death�the attacks of the jackal, the vulture, and the raven of the wild.

At six P.M., before the light of day had faded, we traversed a rough and troublesome ridge. Descending it our course lay in a southerly direction along a road flanked on the left by low hills of red sandstone and bright porphyry. About an hour afterwards we came to a basalt field, through whose blocks we threaded our way painfully and slowly, for it was then dark. At eight P.M. the camels began to stumble over the dwarf dykes of the wheat and barley fields, and presently we arrived at our halting-place, a large village called Al-Sufayna. The plain was already dotted with tents and lights. We found the Baghdad Caravan, whose route here falls into the Darb al-Sharki. It consists of a few Persians and Kurds, and collects the people of North-Eastern Arabia, Wahhabis and others. They are escorted by the Agayl tribe and by the fierce mountaineers of Jabal Shammar. Scarcely was our tent pitched, when the distant pattering of musketry and an ominous tapping of the kettle-drum sent all my companions in different directions to enquire what was the cause of quarrel. The Baghdad Cafilah, though not more than 2000 in number, men, women and children, had been proving to the Damascus Caravan, that, being perfectly ready to fight, they were not going to yield any point of precedence. From that time the two bodies

[p.129] encamped in different places. I never saw a more pugnacious assembly: a look sufficed for a quarrel. Once a Wahhabi stood in front of us, and by pointing with his finger and other insulting gestures, showed his hatred to the chibuk, in which I was peaceably indulging. It was impossible to refrain from chastising his insolence by a polite and smiling offer of the offending pipe. This made him draw his dagger without a thought; but it was sheathed again, for we all cocked our pistols, and these gentry prefer steel to lead. We had travelled about seventeen miles, and the direction of Al-Sufayna from our last halting place was South-East five degrees. Though it was night when we encamped, Shaykh Mas�ud set out to water his moaning camels: they had not quenched their thirst for three days. He returned in a depressed state, having been bled by the soldiery at the well to the extent of forty piastres, or about eight shillings.

After supper we spread our rugs and prepared to rest. And here I first remarked the coolness of the nights, proving, at this season of the year, a considerable altitude above the sea. As a general rule the atmosphere stagnated between sunrise and ten A.M., when a light wind rose. During the forenoon the breeze strengthened, and it gradually diminished through the afternoon. Often about sunset there was a gale accompanied by dry storms of dust. At Al-Sufayna, though there was no night-breeze and little dew, a blanket was necessary, and the hours of darkness were invigorating enough to mitigate the effect of the sand and Samum-ridden day. Before sleeping I was introduced to a namesake, one Shaykh Abdullah, of Meccah. Having committed his Shugduf to his son, a lad of fourteen, he had ridden forward on a dromedary, and had suddenly fallen ill. His objects in meeting me were to ask for some medicine, and for a temporary seat in my Shugduf; the latter I offered with pleasure, as the boy Mohammed was

[p.130] longing to mount a camel. The Shaykh�s illness was nothing but weakness brought on by the hardships of the journey: he attributed it to the hot wind, and to the weight of a bag of dollars which he had attached to his waist-belt. He was a man about forty, long, thin, pale, and of a purely nervous temperament; and a few questions elicited the fact that he had lately and suddenly given up his daily opium pill. I prepared one for him, placed him in my litter, and persuaded him to stow away his burden in some place where it would be less troublesome. He was my companion for two marches, at the end of which he found his own Shugduf. I never met amongst the Arab citizens a better bred or a better informed man. At Constantinople he had learned a little French, Italian, and Greek; and from the properties of a shrub to the varieties of honey,[FN#5] he was full of � useful knowledge,� and openable as a dictionary. We parted near Meccah, where I met him only once, and then accidentally, in the Valley of Muna.

At half-past five A.M. on Tuesday, the 6th of September, we rose refreshed by the cool, comfortable night, and loaded the camels. I had an opportunity of inspecting Al-Sufayna. It is a village of fifty or sixty mud-walled, flat-roofed houses, defended by the usual rampart. Around it lie ample date-grounds, and fields of wheat, barley, and maize. Its bazar at this season of the year is well supplied: even fowls can be procured.

We travelled towards the South-East, and entered a country destitute of the low ranges of hill, which from Al-Madinah southwards had bounded the horizon. After

[p.131] a two miles� march our camels climbed up a precipitous ridge, and then descended into a broad gravel plain. From ten to eleven A.M. our course lay southerly over a high table-land, and we afterwards traversed, for five hours and a half, a plain which bore signs of standing water. This day�s march was peculiarly Arabia. It was a desert peopled only with echoes,�a place of death for what little there is to die in it,�a wilderness where, to use my companion�s phrase, there is nothing but He.[FN#6] Nature scalped, flayed, discovered all her skeleton to the gazer�s eye. The horizon was a sea of mirage; gigantic sand-columns whirled over the plain; and on both sides of our road were huge piles of bare rock, standing detached upon the surface of sand and clay. Here they appeared in oval lumps, heaped up with a semblance of symmetry; there a single boulder stood, with its narrow foundation based upon a pedestal of low, dome-shapen rock. All were of a pink coarse-grained granite, which flakes off in large crusts under the influence of the atmosphere. I remarked one block which could not measure fewer than thirty feet in height. Through these scenes we travelled till about half-past four P.M., when the guns suddenly roared a halt. There was not a trace of human habitation around us: a few parched shrubs and the granite heaps were the only objects diversifying the hard clayey plain. Shaykh Mas�ud correctly guessed the cause of our detention at the inhospitable �halting-place of the Mutayr� (Badawin). �Cook your bread and boil your coffee,� said the old man; �the camels will rest for awhile, and the gun will sound at nightfall.�

We had passed over about eighteen miles of ground; and our present direction was South-west twenty degrees of Al-Sufayna.

At half-past ten that evening we heard the signal for

[p.132] departure, and, as the moon was still young, we prepared for a hard night�s work. We took a south-westerly course through what is called a Wa�ar�rough ground covered with thicket. Darkness fell upon us like a pall. The camels tripped and stumbled, tossing their litters like cockboats in a short sea; at times the Shugdufs were well nigh torn off their backs. When we came to a ridge worse than usual, old Mas�ud would seize my camel�s halter, and, accompanied by his son and nephew bearing lights, encourage the animals with gesture and voice. It was a strange, wild scene. The black basaltic field was dotted with the huge and doubtful forms of spongy-footed camels with silent tread, looming like phantoms in the midnight air; the hot wind moaned, and whirled from the torches flakes and sheets of flame and fiery smoke, whilst ever and anon a swift-travelling Takht-rawan, drawn by mules, and surrounded by runners bearing gigantic mashals or cressets,[FN#7] threw a passing glow of red light upon the dark road and the dusky multitude. On this occasion the rule was �every man for himself.� Each pressed forward into the best path, thinking only of preceding his neighbour. The Syrians, amongst whom our little party had become entangled, proved most unpleasant companions: they often stopped the way, insisting upon their right to precedence. On one occasion a horseman had the audacity to untie the halter of my dromedary, and thus to cast us adrift, as it were, in order to make room for some excluded friend. I seized my sword; but Shaykh Abdullah stayed my hand, and addressed the intruder in terms sufficiently violent to make him slink away. Nor was this the only occasion on which my

[p.133] companion was successful with the Syrians. He would begin with a mild �Move a little, O my father!� followed, if fruitless, by �Out of the way, O Father of Syria[FN#8]!� and if still ineffectual, advancing to a �Begone, O he!� This ranged between civility and sternness. If without effect, it was supported by revilings to the �Abusers of the Salt,� the �Yazid,� the �Offspring of Shimr.� Another remark which I made about my companion�s conduct well illustrates the difference between the Eastern and the Western man. When traversing a dangerous place, Shaykh Abdullah the European attended to his camel with loud cries of �Hai! Hai[FN#9]!� and an occasional switching. Shaykh Abdullah the Asiatic commended himself to Allah by repeated ejaculations of Ya Satir! Ya Sattar[FN#10]!

[p.134]The morning of Wednesday (September 7th) broke as we entered a wide plain. In many places were signs of water: lines of basalt here and there seamed the surface, and wide sheets of the tufaceous gypsum called by the Arabs Sabkhah shone like mirrors set in the russet framework of the flat. This substance is found in cakes, often a foot long by an inch in depth, curled by the sun�s rays and overlying clay into which water had sunk. After our harassing night, day came on with a sad feeling of oppression, greatly increased by the unnatural glare:�

�In vain the sight, dejected to the ground, Stoop�d for relief: thence hot ascending streams And keen reflection pain�d.�

We were disappointed in our expectations of water, which usually abounds near this station, as its name, Al-Ghadir, denotes. At ten A.M. we pitched the tent in the first convenient spot, and we lost no time in stretching our cramped limbs upon the bosom of mother Earth. From the halting-place of the Mutayr to Al-Ghadir is a march of about twenty miles, and the direction south-west twenty-one degrees. Al-Ghadir is an extensive plain, which probably presents the appearance of a lake after heavy rains. It is overgrown in parts with Desert vegetation, and requires nothing but a regular supply of water to make it useful to man. On the East it is bounded by a wall of rock, at whose base are three wells, said to have been dug by the Caliph Harun. They are guarded by a Burj, or tower, which betrays symptoms of decay.

In our anxiety to rest we had strayed from the Damascus Caravan amongst the mountaineers of Shammar. Our Shaykh Mas�ud manifestly did not like the company; for shortly after three P.M. he insisted upon our striking the tent and rejoining the Hajj, which lay encamped about two miles distant in the western part of the basin. We

[p.135] loaded, therefore, and half an hour before sunset found ourselves in more congenial society. To my great disappointment, a stir was observable in the Caravan. I at once understood that another night-march was in store for us.

At six P.M. we again mounted, and turned towards the Eastern plain. A heavy shower was falling upon the Western hills, whence came damp and dangerous blasts. Between nine P.M. and the dawn of the next day we had a repetition of the last night�s scenes, over a road so rugged and dangerous, that I wondered how men could prefer to travel in the darkness. But the camels of Damascus were now worn out with fatigue; they could not endure the sun, and our time was too precious for a halt. My night was spent perched upon the front bar of my Shugduf, encouraging the dromedary; and that we had not one fall excited my extreme astonishment. At five A.M. (Thursday, 8th September) we entered a wide plain thickly clothed with the usual thorny trees, in whose strong grasp many a Shugduf lost its covering, and not a few were dragged with their screaming inmates to the ground. About five hours afterwards we crossed a high ridge, and saw below us the camp of the Caravan, not more than two miles distant. As we approached it, a figure came running out to meet us. It was the boy Mohammed, who, heartily tired of riding a dromedary with his friend, and possibly hungry, hastened to inform my companion Abdullah that he would lead him to his Shugduf and to his son. The Shaykh, a little offended by the fact that for two days not a friend nor an acquaintance had taken the trouble to see or to inquire about him, received Mohammed roughly; but the youth, guessing the grievance, explained it away by swearing that he and all the party had tried in vain to find us. This wore the semblance of truth: it is almost impossible to come upon any one who strays from his place in so large and motley a body.

[p.136]At eleven A.M. we had reached our station. It is about wenty-four miles from Al-Ghadir, and its direction is South-east ten degrees. It is called Al-Birkat (the Tank), from a large and now ruinous cistern built of hewn stone by the Caliph Harun.[FN#11] The land belongs to the Utaybah Badawin, the bravest and most ferocious tribe in Al-Hijaz; and the citizens denote their dread of these banditti by asserting that to increase their courage they drink their enemy�s blood.[FN#12] My companions shook their heads when questioned upon the subject, and prayed that we might not become too well acquainted with them�an ill-omened speech!

The Pasha allowed us a rest of five hours at Al-Birkat: we spent them in my tent, which was crowded with Shaykh Abdullah�s friends. To requite me for this inconvenience, he prepared for me an excellent water-pipe, a cup of coffee, which, untainted by cloves and by cinnamon, would have been delicious, and a dish of dry fruits. As we were now near the Holy City, all the Meccans were busy canvassing for lodgers and offering their services to pilgrims. Quarrels, too, were of hourly occurrence. In our party was an Arnaut, a white-bearded old man, so

[p.137] decrepit that he could scarcely stand, and yet so violent that no one could manage him but his African slave, a brazen-faced little wretch about fourteen years of age. Words were bandied between this angry senior and Shaykh Mas�ud, when the latter insinuated sarcastically, that if the former had teeth he would be more intelligible. The Arnaut in his rage seized a pole, raised it, and delivered a blow which missed the camel-man, but, which brought the striker headlong to the ground. Mas�ud exclaimed, with shrieks of rage, �Have we come to this, that every old-woman Turk smites us?� Our party had the greatest trouble to quiet the quarrel[l]ers. The Arab listened to us when we threatened him with the Pasha. But the Arnaut, whose rage was �like red-hot steel,� would hear nothing but our repeated declarations, that unless he behaved more like a pilgrim, we should be compelled to leave him and his slave behind.

At four P.M. we left Al-Birkat, and travelled Eastwards over rolling ground thickly wooded. There was a network of footpaths through the thickets, and clouds obscured the moon; the consequence was inevitable loss of way. About 2 A.M. we began ascending hills in a south-westerly direction, and presently we fell into the bed of a large rock-girt Fiumara, which runs from east to west. The sands were overgrown with saline and salsolaceous plants; the Coloquintida, which, having no support, spreads along the ground[FN#13]; the Senna, with its small green leaf; the Rhazya stricta[FN#14]; and a large luxuriant variety of the Asclepias gigantea,[FN#15] cottoned over with

[p.138] mist and dew. At 6 A.M. (Sept. 9th) we left the Fiumara, and, turning to the West, we arrived about an hour afterwards at the station. Al-Zaribah, �the valley,� is an undulating plain amongst high granite hills. In many parts it was faintly green; water was close to the surface, and rain stood upon the ground. During the night we had travelled about twenty-three miles, and our present station was south-east 56� from our last.

Having pitched the tent and eaten and slept, we prepared to perform the ceremony of Al-Ihram (assuming the pilgrim-garb), as Al-Zaribah is the Mikat, or the appointed place.[FN#16] Between the noonday and the afternoon prayers a barber attended to shave our heads, cut our nails, and trim our mustachios. Then, having bathed and perfumed ourselves,�the latter is a questionable

[p.139] point,�we donned the attire, which is nothing but two new cotton cloths, each six feet long by three and a half broad, white, with narrow red stripes and fringes: in fact, the costume called Al-Eddeh, in the baths at Cairo.[FN#17] One of these sheets, technically termed the Rida, is thrown over the back, and, exposing the arm and shoulder, is knotted at the right side in the style Wishah. The Izar is wrapped round the loins from waist to knee, and, knotted or tucked in at the middle, supports itself. Our heads were bare, and nothing was allowed upon the instep.[FN#18] It is said that some clans of Arabs still preserve this religious but most uncomfortable costume; it is doubtless of ancient date, and to this day, in the regions lying west of the Red Sea, it continues to be the common dress of the people.

After the toilette, we were placed with our faces in the direction of Meccah, and ordered to say aloud,[FN#19] �I vow this Ihram of Hajj (the pilgrimage) and the Umrah (the Little pilgrimage) to Allah Almighty!� Having thus performed a two-bow prayer, we repeated, without rising from the sitting position, these words, �O Allah! verily I purpose the Hajj and the Umrah, then enable me to accomplish the two, and accept them both of me, and make both blessed to me!� Followed the Talbiyat, or exclaiming�

�Here I am! O Allah! here am I� No partner hast Thou, here am I; Verily the praise and the grace are Thine, and the empire�

[p.140] No partner hast Thou, here am I[FN#20]!� And we were warned to repeat these words as often as possible, until the conclusion of the ceremonies. Then Shaykh Abdullah, who acted as director of our consciences, bade us be good pilgrims, avoiding quarrels, immorality, bad language, and light conversation. We must so reverence life that we should avoid killing game, causing an animal to fly, and even pointing it out for destruction[FN#21]; nor should we scratch ourselves, save with the open palm, lest vermin be destroyed, or a hair uprooted by the nail. We were to respect the sanctuary by sparing the trees, and not to pluck a single blade of grass. As regards personal considerations, we were to abstain from all oils, perfumes, and unguents; from washing the head with mallow or with lote leaves; from dyeing, shaving, cutting, or vellicating a single pile or hair; and though we might take advantage of shade, and even form it with upraised hands, we must by no means cover our sconces. For each infraction of these ordinances we must sacrifice a sheep[FN#22]; and it is commonly said by Moslems that none

[p.141] but the Prophet could be perfect in the intricacies of pilgrimage. Old Ali began with an irregularity: he declared that age prevented his assuming the garb, but that, arrived at Meccah, he would clear himself by an offering.

The wife and daughters of a Turkish pilgrim of our party assumed the Ihram at the same time as ourselves. They appeared dresse in white garments; and they had exchanged the Lisam, that coquettish fold of muslin which veils without concealing the lower part of the face, for a hideous mask, made of split, dried, and plaited palm-leaves, with two �bulls�-eyes� for light.[FN#23] I could not help laughing when these strange figures met my sight, and, to judge from the shaking of their shoulders, they were not less susceptible to the merriment which they had caused.

At three P.M. we left Al-Zaribah, travelling towards the South-West, and a wondrously picturesque scene met the eye. Crowds hurried along, habited in the pilgrim-garb, whose whiteness contrasted strangely with their black skins; their newly shaven heads glistening in the sun, and their long black hair streaming in the wind. The rocks rang with shouts of Labbayk! Labbayk! At a pass we fell in with the Wahhabis, accompanying the Baghdad Caravan, screaming �Here am I�; and, guided by a large loud kettle-drum, they followed in double file the camel of a standard-bearer, whose green flag bore in huge white letters the formula of the Moslem creed. They were wild-looking mountaineers, dark and fierce, with hair twisted into thin Dalik or plaits: each was armed with a long spear, a matchlock, or a dagger. They were seated upon coarse wooden saddles, without cushions or stirrups, a fine saddle-cloth alone denoting a

[p.142] chief. The women emulated the men; they either guided their own dromedaries, or, sitting in pillion, they clung to their husbands; veils they disdained, and their countenances certainly belonged not to a �soft sex.� These Wahhabis were by no means pleasant companions. Most of them were followed by spare dromedaries, either unladen or carrying water-skins, fodder, fuel, and other necessaries for the march. The beasts delighted in dashing furiously through our file, which being lashed together, head and tail, was thrown each time into the greatest confusion. And whenever we were observed smoking, we were cursed aloud for Infidels and Idolaters.

Looking back at Al-Zaribah, soon after our departure, I saw a heavy nimbus settle upon the hill-tops, a sheet of rain being stretched between it and the plain. The low grumbling of thunder sounded joyfully in our ears. We hoped for a shower, but were disappointed by a dust-storm, which ended with a few heavy drops. There arose a report that the Badawin had attacked a party of Meccans with stones, and the news caused men to look exceeding grave.

At five P.M. we entered the wide bed of the Fiumara, down which we were to travel all night. Here the country falls rapidly towards the sea, as the increasing heat of the air, the direction of the watercourses, and signs of violence in the torrent-bed show. The Fiumara varies in breadth from a hundred and fifty feet to three-quarters of a mile; its course, I was told, is towards the South-West, and it enters the sea near Jeddah. The channel is a coarse sand, with here and there masses of sheet rock and patches of thin vegetation.

At about half-past five P.M. we entered a suspicious-looking place. On the right was a stony buttress, along whose base the stream, when there is one, swings; and to this depression was our road limited by the rocks and thorn trees which filled the other half of the channel.

[p.143] The left side was a precipice, grim and barren, but not so abrupt as its brother. Opposite us the way seemed barred by piles of hills, crest rising above crest into the far blue distance. Day still smiled upon the upper peaks, but the lower slopes and the Fiumara bed were already curtained with grey sombre shade.

A damp seemed to fall upon our spirits as we approached this Valley Perilous. I remarked that the voices of the women and children sank into silence, and the loud Labbayk of the pilgrims were gradually stilled. Whilst still speculating upon the cause of this phenomenon, it became apparent. A small curl of the smoke, like a lady�s ringlet, on the summit of the right-hand precipice, caught my eye; and simultaneous with the echoing crack of the matchlock, a high-trotting dromedary in front of me rolled over upon the sands,�a bullet had split its heart,�throwing the rider a goodly somersault of five or six yards.

Ensued terrible confusion; women screamed, children cried, and men vociferated, each one striving with might and main to urge his animal out of the place of death. But the road being narrow, they only managed to jam the vehicles in a solid immovable mass. At every match-lock shot, a shudder ran through the huge body, as when the surgeon�s scalpel touches some more sensitive nerve. The Irregular horsemen, perfectly useless, galloped up and down over the stones, shouting to and ordering one another. The Pasha of the army had his carpet spread at the foot of the left-hand precipice, and debated over his pipe with the officers what ought to be done. No good genius whispered �Crown the heights.�

Then it was that the conduct of the Wahhabis found favour in my eyes. They came up, galloping their camels,�

�Torrents less rapid, and less rash,�

with their elf-locks tossing in the wind, and their flaring

[p.144] matches casting a strange lurid light over their features. Taking up a position, one body began to fire upon the Utaybah robbers, whilst two or three hundred, dismounting, swarmed up the hill under the guidance of the Sharif Zayd. I had remarked this nobleman at Al-Madinah as a model specimen of the pure Arab. Like all Sharifs, he is celebrated for bravery, and has killed many with his own hand.[FN#24] When urged at Al-Zaribah to ride into Meccah, he swore that he would not leave the Caravan till in sight of the walls; and, fortunately for the pilgrims, he kept his word. Presently the firing was heard far in our rear, the robbers having fled. The head of the column advanced, and the dense body of pilgrims opened out. Our forced halt was now exchanged for a flight. It required much management to steer our Desert-craft clear of danger; but Shaykh Mas�ud was equal to the occasion. That many were not, was evident by the boxes and baggage that strewed the shingles. I had no means of ascertaining the number of men killed and wounded: reports were contradictory, and exaggeration unanimous. The robbers were said to be a hundred and fifty in number; their object was plunder, and they would eat the shot camels. But their principal ambition was the boast, �We, the Utaybah, on such and such a [p.145] night, stopped the Sultan�s Mahmil one whole hour in the Pass.�

At the beginning of the skirmish I had primed my pistols, and sat with them ready for use. But soon seeing that there was nothing to be done, and wishing to make an impression,�nowhere does Bobadil now �go down� so well as in the East,�I called aloud for my supper. Shaykh Nur, exanimate with fear, could not move. The boy Mohammed ejaculated only an �Oh, sir!� and the people around exclaimed in disgust, �By Allah, he eats!� Shaykh Abdullah, the Meccan, being a man of spirit, was amused by the spectacle. �Are these Afghan manners, Effendim?� he enquired from the Shugduf behind me. �Yes,� I replied aloud, �in my country we always dine before an attack of robbers, because that gentry is in the habit of sending men to bed supperless.� The Shaykh laughed aloud, but those around him looked offended. I thought the bravado this time mal place; but a little event which took place on my way to Jeddah proved that it was not quite a failure.

As we advanced, our escort took care to fire every large dry Asclepias, to disperse the shades which buried us. Again the scene became wondrous wild:�

�Full many a waste I�ve wander�d o�er, Clomb many a crag, cross�d many a shore, But, by my halidome, A scene so rude, so wild as this, Yet so sublime in barrenness, Ne�er did my wandering footsteps press, Where�er I chanced to roam.�

On either side were ribbed precipices, dark, angry, and towering above, till their summits mingled with the glooms of night; and between them formidable looked the chasm, down which our host hurried with shouts and discharges of matchlocks. The torch-smoke and the night-fires of flaming Asclepias formed a canopy, sable

[p.146] above and livid red below; it hung over our heads like a sheet, and divided the cliffs into two equal parts. Here the fire flashed fiercely from a tall thorn, that crackled and shot up showers of sparks into the air; there it died away in lurid gleams, which lit up a truly Stygian scene. As usual, however, the picturesque had its inconveniences. There was no path. Rocks, stone-banks, and trees obstructed our passage. The camels, now blind in darkness, then dazzled by a flood of light, stumbled frequently; in some places slipping down a steep descent, in others sliding over a sheet of mud. There were furious quarrels and fierce language between camel-men and their hirers, and threats to fellow-travellers; in fact, we were united in discord. I passed that night crying, �Hai! Hai!� switching the camel, and fruitlessly endeavouring to fustigate Mas�ud�s nephew, who resolutely slept upon the water-bags. During the hours of darkness we made four or five halts, when we boiled coffee and smoked pipes; but man and beasts were beginning to suffer from a deadly fatigue.

Dawn (Saturday, Sept. 10th) found us still travelling down the Fiumara, which here is about a hundred yards broad. The granite hills on both sides were less precipitous; and the borders of the torrent-bed became natural quays of stiff clay, which showed a water-mark of from twelve to fifteen feet in height. In many parts the bed was muddy; and the moist places, as usual, caused accidents. I happened to be looking back at Shaykh Abdullah, who was then riding in old Ali bin Ya Sin�s fine Shugduf; suddenly the camel�s four legs disappeared from under him, his right side flattening the ground, and the two riders were pitched severally out of the smashed vehicle. Abdullah started up furious, and with great zest abused the Badawin, who were absent. �Feed these Arabs,� he exclaimed, quoting a Turkish proverb, �and

[p.147] they will fire at Heaven!� But I observed that, when Shaykh Mas�ud came up, the citizen was only gruff.

We then turned Northward, and sighted Al-Mazik, more generally known as Wady Laymun, the Valley of Limes. On the right bank of the Fiumara stood the Meccan Sharif�s state pavilion, green and gold: it was surrounded by his attendants, and he had prepared to receive the Pasha of the Caravan. We advanced half a mile, and encamped temporarily in a hill-girt bulge of the Fiumara bed. At eight A.M. we had travelled about twenty-four miles from Al-Zaribah, and the direction of our present station was South-west 50�.

Shaykh Mas�ud allowed us only four hours� halt; he wished to precede the main body. After breaking our fast joyously upon limes, pomegranates, and fresh dates, we sallied forth to admire the beauties of the place. We are once more on classic ground�the ground of the ancient Arab poets,�

�Deserted is the village�waste the halting place and home At Mina, o�er Rijam and Ghul wild beasts unheeded roam, On Rayyan hill the channel lines have left their naked trace, Time-worn, as primal Writ that dints the mountain�s flinty

face;[FN#25]��

and this Wady, celebrated for the purity of its air, has from remote ages been a favourite resort of the Meccans. Nothing can be more soothing to the brain than the dark-green foliage of the limes and pomegranates; and from

[p.148] the base of the Southern hill bursts a bubbling stream, whose

�Chaire, fresche e dolci acque�

flow through the gardens, filling them with the most delicious of melodies, the gladdest sound which Nature in these regions knows.

Exactly at noon Mas�ud seized the halter of the foremost camel, and we started down the Fiumara. Troops of Badawi girls looked over the orchard walls laughingly, and children came out to offer us fresh fruit and sweet water. At two P.M., travelling South-west, we arrived at a point where the torrent-bed turns to the right[;] and, quitting it, we climbed with difficulty over a steep ridge of granite. Before three o�clock we entered a hill-girt plain, which my companions called �Sola.� In some places were clumps of trees, and scattered villages warned us that we were approaching a city. Far to the left rose the blue peaks of Taif, and the mountain road, a white thread upon the nearer heights, was pointed out to me. Here I first saw the tree, or rather shrub, which bears the balm of Gilead, erst so celebrated for its tonic and stomachic properties.[FN#26] I told Shaykh Mas�ud to break off a

[p.149] twig, which he did heedlessly. The act was witnessed by our party with a roar of laughter; and the astounded Shaykh was warned that he had become subject to an atoning sacrifice. [FN#27] Of course he denounced me as the instigator, and I could not fairly refuse assistance. The tree has of late years been carefully described by many botanists; I will only say that the bark resembled in colour a cherry-stick pipe, the inside was a light yellow, and the juice made my fingers stick together.

At four P.M. we came to a steep and rocky Pass, up which we toiled with difficulty. The face of the country was rising once more, and again presented the aspect of numerous small basins divided and surrounded by hills. As we

[p.150] jogged on we were passed by the cavalcade of no less a personage than the Sharif of Meccah. Abd al-Muttalib bin Ghalib is a dark, beardless old man with African features derived from his mother. He was plainly dressed in white garments and a white muslin turband,[FN#28] which made him look jet black; he rode an ambling mule, and the only emblem of his dignity was the large green satin umbrella born[e] by an attendant on foot.[FN#29] Scattered around him were about forty matchlock men, mostly slaves. At long intervals, after their father, came his four sons, Riza Bey, Abdullah, Ali, and Ahmad, the latter still a child. The three elder brothers rode splendid dromedaries at speed; they were young men of light complexion, with the true Meccan cast of features, showily dressed in bright coloured silks, and armed, to denote their rank, with sword and gold-hilted dagger.[FN#30]

[p.151]We halted as evening approached, and strained our eyes, but all in vain, to catch sight of Meccah, which lies in a winding valley. By Shaykh Abdullah�s direction I recited, after the usual devotions, the following prayer. The reader is for[e]warned that it is difficult to preserve the flowers of Oriental rhetoric in a European tongue.

[p.152]O Allah! verily this is Thy Safeguard (Amn) and Thy (Harim)! Into it whoso entereth becometh safe (Amin). So deny (Harrim) my Flesh and Blood, my Bones and Skin, to Hell-fire. O Allah! save me from Thy Wrath on the Day when Thy Servants shall be raised from the Dead. I conjure Thee by this that Thou art Allah, besides whom is none (Thou only), the Merciful, the Compassionate. And have Mercy upon our Lord Mohammed, and upon the Progeny of our Lord Mohammed, and upon his Followers, One and All!� This was concluded with the �Talbiyat,� and with an especial prayer for myself.

We again mounted, and night completed our disappointment. About one A.M. I was aroused by general excitement. �Meccah! Meccah!� cried some voices; �The Sanctuary! O the Sanctuary!� exclaimed others; and all burst into loud �Labbayk,� not unfrequently broken by sobs. I looked out from my litter, and saw by the light of the Southern stars the dim outlines of a large city, a shade darker than the surrounding plain. We were passing over the last ridge by a cutting called the Saniyat Kuda�a, the winding-place of the cut.[FN#31] The �winding path� is flanked on both sides by watch-towers, which command the Darb al-Ma�ala or road leading from the North into Meccah. Thence we passed into the Ma�abidah (Northern suburb), where the Sharif�s Palace is built.[FN#32] After this, on the left hand, came

[p.153] the deserted abode of the Sharif bin Aun, now said to be a �haunted house.[FN#33]� Opposite to it lies the Jannat al-Ma�ala, the holy cemetery of Meccah. Thence, turning to the right, we entered the Sulaymaniyah or Afghan quarter. Here the boy Mohammed, being an inhabitant of the Shamiyah or Syrian ward, thought proper to display some apprehension. The two are on bad terms; children never meet without exchanging volleys of stones, and men fight furiously with quarterstaves. Sometimes, despite the terrors of religion, the knife and sabre are drawn. But their hostilities have their code. If a citizen be killed, there is a subscription for blood-money. An inhabitant of one quarter, passing singly through another, becomes a guest; once beyond the walls, he is likely to be beaten to insensibility by his hospitable foes.

At the Sulaymaniyah we turned off the main road into a byway, and ascended by narrow lanes the rough heights of Jabal Hindi, upon which stands a small whitewashed and crenellated building called a fort. Thence descending, we threaded dark streets, in places crowded with rude cots and dusky figures, and finally at two A.M. we found ourselves at the door of the boy Mohammed�s house.

[p.154]From Wady Laymun to Meccah the distance, according to my calculation, was about twenty-three miles, the direction South-East forty-five degrees. We arrived on the morning of Sunday, the 7th Zu�l Hijjah (11th September, 1853), and had one day before the beginning of the pilgrimage to repose and visit the Harim.

I conclude this chapter with a few remarks upon the watershed of Al-Hijaz. The country, in my humble opinion, has a compound slope, Southwards and Westwards. I have, however, little but the conviction of the modern Arabs to support the assertion that this part of Arabia declines from the North. All declare the course of water to be Southerly, and believe the fountain of Arafat to pass underground from Baghdad. The slope, as geographers know, is still a disputed point. Ritter, Jomard, and some old Arab authors, make the country rise towards the south, whilst Wallin and others express an opposite opinion. From the sea to Al-Musahhal is a gentle rise. The water-marks of the Fiumaras show that Al-Madinah is considerably above the coast, though geographers may not be correct in claiming for Jabal Radhwa a height of six thousand feet; yet that elevation is not perhaps too great for the plateau upon which stands the Apostle�s burial-place. From Al-Madinah to Al-Suwayrkiyah is another gentle rise, and from the latter to Al-Zaribah stagnating water denotes a level. I believe the report of a perennial lake on the eastern boundary of Al-Hijaz, as little as the river placed by Ptolemy between Yambu� and Meccah. No Badawi could tell me of this feature, which, had it existed, would have changed the whole conditions and history of the [p.155] country; we know the Greek�s river to be a Fiumara, and the lake probably owes its existence to a similar cause, a heavy fall of rain. Beginning at Al-Zaribah is a decided fall, which continues to the sea. The Arafat torrent sweeps from East to West with great force, sometimes carrying away the habitations, and even injuring the sanctuary.[FN#34]

[FN#1] There are certain officers called Zemzemi, who distribute the holy water. In the case of a respectable pilgrim they have a large jar of the shape described in Chap. iv., marked with his names and titles, and sent every morning to his lodgings. If he be generous, one or more will be placed in the Harim, that men may drink in his honour. The Zemzemi expects a present varying from five to eleven dollars. [FN#2] The shishah, smoked on the camel, is a tin canister divided into two compartments, the lower half for the water, the upper one for the tobacco. The cover is pierced with holes to feed the fire, and a short hookah-snake projects from one side. [FN#3] The Hindustani �sir.� Badawin address it slightingly to Indians, Chapter xii. [FN#4] When Indians would say �he was killed upon the spot,� they use the picturesque phrase, �he asked not for water.� [FN#5] The Arabs are curious in and fond of honey: Meccah alone affords eight or nine different varieties. The best, and in Arab parlance the �coldest,� is the green kind, produced by bees that feed upon a thorny plant called �sihhah.� The white and red honeys rank next. The worst is the Asal Asmar (brown honey), which sells for something under a piastre per pound. The Abyssinian mead is unknown in Al-Hijaz, but honey enters

into a variety of dishes. [FN#6] �La Siwa Hu,� i.e., where there is none but Allah. [FN#7] This article, an iron cylinder with bands, mounted on a long pole, corresponds with the European cresset of the fifteenth century. The Pasha�s cressets are known by their smell, a little incense being mingled with the wood. By this means the Badawin discover the dignitary�s place. [FN#8] �Abu Sham,� a familiar address in Al-Hijaz to Syrians. They are called �abusers of the salt,� from their treachery, and �offspring of Shimr� (the execrated murderer of the Imam Hosayn), because he was a native of that country. Such is the detestation in which the Shi�ah sect, especially the Persians, hold Syria and the Syrians, that I hardly ever met with a truly religious man who did not desire a general massacre of the polluted race. And history informs us that the plains of Syria have repeatedly been drenched with innocent blood shed by sectarian animosity. Yet Jalal al-Din (History of Jerusalem) says, �As to Damascus, all learned men fully agree that it is the most eminent of cities after Meccah and Al-Madinah.� Hence its many titles, �the Smile of the Prophet,� the �Great Gate of Pilgrimage,� �Sham Sharif,� the �Right Hand of the Cities of Syria,� &c., &c. And many sayings of Mohammed in honour of Syria are recorded. He was fond of using such Syriac words as �Bakhun! Bakhun!� to Ali, and �Kakhun! Kakhun!� to Hosayn. I will not enter into the curious history of the latter word, which spread to Egypt, and, slightly altered, passed through Latin mythology into French, English, German, Italian, and other modern European tongues. [FN#9] There is a regular language to camels. �Ikh! ikh!� makes them kneel; �Yahh! Yahh!� urges them on; �Hai! Hai!� induces caution, and so on. [FN#10] Both these names of the Almighty are of kindred origin. The former is generally used when a woman is in danger of exposing her face by accident, or an animal of falling. [FN#11] A �birkat� in this part of Arabia may be an artificial cistern or a natural basin; in the latter case it is smaller than a �ghadir.� This road was a favourite with Harun al-Rashid, the pious tyrant who boasted that every year he performed either a pilgrimage or a crusade. The reader will find in d�Herbelot an account of the celebrated visit of Harun to the Holy Cities. Nor less known in Oriental history is the pilgrimage of Zubaydah Khatun (wife of Harun and mother of Amin) by this route. [FN#12] Some believe this literally, others consider it a phrase expressive of blood-thirstiness. It is the only suspicion of cannibalism, if I may use the word, now attaching to Al-Hijaz. Possibly the disgusting act may occasionally have taken place after a stern fight of more than usual rancour. Who does not remember the account of the Turkish officer licking his blood after having sabred the corpse of a Russian spy? It is said that the Mutayr and the Utaybah are not allowed to enter Meccah, even during the pilgrimage season. [FN#13] Coloquintida is here used, as in most parts of the East, medicinally. The pulp and the seeds of the ripe fruit are scooped out, and the rind is filled with milk, which is exposed to the night air, and drunk in the morning. [FN#14] Used in Arabian medicine as a refrigerant and tonic. It abounds in Sind and Afghanistan, where, according to that most practical of botanists, the lamented Dr. Stocks, it is called �ishwarg.� [FN#15] Here called Ashr. According to Seetzen it bears the long-sought apple of Sodom. Yet, if truth be told, the soft green bag is as unlike an apple as can be imagined; nor is the hard and brittle yellow rind of the ripe fruit a whit more resembling. The Arabs use the thick and acrid milk of the green bag with steel filings as a tonic, and speak highly of its effects; they employ it also to intoxicate or narcotise monkeys and other animals which they wish to catch. It is esteemed in Hindu medicine. The Nubians and Indians use the filaments of the fruit as tinder; they become white and shining as floss-silk. The Badawin also have applied it to a similar purpose. Our Egyptian travellers call it the �Silk-tree�; and in Northern Africa, where it abounds, Europeans make of it stuffing for the mattresses, which are expensive, and highly esteemed for their coolness and cleanliness. In Bengal a kind of gutta percha is made by boiling the juice. This weed, so common in the East, may one day become in the West an important article of commerce. [FN#16] �Al-Ihram� literally meaning �prohibition� or �making unlawful,� equivalent to our �mortification,� is applied to the ceremony of the toilette, and also to the dress itself. The vulgar pronounce the word �heram,� or �l�ehram.� It is opposed to �ihlal,� �making lawful� or �returning to laical life.� The further from Meccah it is assumed, provided that it be during the three months of Hajj, the greater is the religious merit of the pilgrim; consequently some come from India and Egypt in the dangerous attire. Those coming from the North assume the pilgrim-garb at or off the village of Rabigh. [FN#17] These sheets are not positively necessary; any clean cotton cloth not sewn in any part will serve equally well. Servants and attendants expect the master to present them with an �ihram.� [FN#18] Sandals are made at Meccah expressly for the pilgrimage: the poorer classes cut off the upper leathers of an old pair of shoes. [FN#19] This Niyat, as it is technically called, is preferably performed aloud. Some authorities, however, direct it to be meditated sotto-voce. [FN#20] �Talbiyat� is from the word Labbayka (�here I am�) in the cry� �Labbayk� Allahumma, Labbayk�! (Labbayka) La Sharika laka, Labbayk�! Inna �l-hamda wa �l ni�amata laka wa �l mulk! La Sharika laka, Labbayk�!� Some add, �Here I am, and I honour thee, I the son of thy two slaves: beneficence and good are all between thy hands.� A single Talbiyah is a �Shart� or positive condition, and its repetition is a Sunnat or Custom of the Prophet. The �Talbiyat� is allowed in any language, but is preferred in Arabic. It has a few varieties; the form above given is the most common. [FN#21] The object of these ordinances is clearly to inculcate the strictest observance of the �truce of God.� Pilgrims, however, are allowed to slay, if necessary, �the five noxious,� viz., a crow, a kite, a scorpion, a rat, and a biting dog. [FN#22] The victim is sacrificed as a confession that the offender deems himself worthy of death: the offerer is not allowed to taste any portion of his offering. [FN#23] The reason why this �ugly� must be worn, is, that a woman�s veil during the pilgrimage ceremonies is not allowed to touch her face. [FN#24] The Sharifs are born and bred to fighting: the peculiar privileges of their caste favour their development of pugnacity. Thus, the modern diyah, or price of blood, being 800 dollars for a common Moslem, the chiefs demand for one of their number double that sum, with a sword, a camel, a female slave, and other items; and, if one of their slaves or servants be slain, a fourfold price. The rigorous way in which this custom is carried out gives the Sharif and his retainer great power among the Arabs. As a general rule, they are at the bottom of all mischief. It was a Sharif (Hosayn bin Ali) who tore down and trampled upon the British flag at Mocha; a Sharif (Abd al-Rahman of Waht) who murdered Captain Mylne near Lahedge. A page might be filled with the names of the distinguished ruffians. [FN#25] In these lines of Labid, the �Mina� alluded to must not, we are warned by the scholiast, be confounded with �Mina� (vulg. �Muna�), the Valley of Victims. Ghul and Rayyan are hills close to the Wady Laymun. The passage made me suspect that inscriptions would be found among the rocks, as the scholiast informs us that �men used to write upon rocks in order that their writing might remain.� (De Sacy�s Moallaka de Lebid, p. 289.) I neither saw nor heard of any. But some months afterwards I was delighted to hear from the Abbe Hamilton that he had discovered in one of the rock monuments a �lithographed proof� of the presence of Sesostris (Rhameses II.). [FN#26] The �balsamon� of Theophrastus and Dioscorides, a corruption of the Arabic �balisan� or �basham,� by which name the Badawin know it. In the valley of the Jordan it was worth its weight in silver, and kings warred for what is now a weed. Cleopatra by a commission brought it to Egypt. It was grown at Heliopolis. The last tree died there, we are told by Niebuhr, in the early part of the seventeenth century (according to others, in A.D. 1502); a circumstance the more curious, as it was used by the Copts in chrisome, and by Europe for anointing kings. From Egypt it was carried to Al-Hijaz, where it now grows wild on sandy and stony grounds; but I could not discover the date of its naturalisation. Moslems generally believe it to have been presented to Solomon by Bilkis, Queen of Sheba. Bruce relates that it was produced at Mohammed�s prayer from the blood of the Badr-Martyr. In the Gospel of Infancy (book i. ch. 8) we read,��9. Hence they (Joseph and Mary) went out to that sycamore, which is now called Matarea (the modern and Arabic name for Heliopolis). 10. And in Matarea the Lord Jesus caused a well to spring forth, in which St. Mary washed his coat; 11. And a balsam is produced or grows in that country from the sweat which ran down there from the Lord Jesus.� The sycamore is still shown, and the learned recognise in this ridiculous old legend the �hiero-sykaminon,� of pagan Egypt, under which Isis and Horus sat. Hence Sir J. Maundeville and an old writer allude reverently to the sovereign virtues of �bawme.� I believe its qualities to have been exaggerated, but have found it useful in dressing wounds. Burckhardt (vol. ii. p. 124) alludes to, but appears not to have seen it. The best balsam is produced upon stony hills like Arafat and Muna. In hot weather incisions are made in the bark, and the soft gum which exudes is collected in bottles. The best kind is of the consistence of honey, and yellowish-brown, like treacle. It is frequently adulterated with water, when, if my informant Shaykh Abdullah speak truth, it becomes much lighter in weight. I never heard of the vipers which Pliny mentions as abounding in these trees, and which Bruce declares were shown to him alive at Jeddah and at Yambu�. Dr. Carter found the balm, under the name of Luban Dukah, among the Gara tribe of Eastern Arabia, and botanists have seen it at Aden. We may fairly question its being originally from the banks of the Jordan. [FN#27] This being one of the �Muharramat,� or actions forbidden to a pilgrim. At all times, say the Moslems, there are three vile trades, viz., those of the Harik al-Hajar (stone-burner), the Kati� al-Shajar (tree-cutter, without reference to Hawarden, N.B.), and the Bayi� al-Bashar (man-seller, vulg. Jallab). [FN#28] This attire was customary even in Al-Idrisi�s time. [FN#29] From India to Abyssinia the umbrella is the sign of royalty: the Arabs of Meccah and Sena�a probably derived the custom from the Hindus. [FN#30] I purposely omit long descriptions of the Sharif, my fellow-travellers, Messrs. Didier and Hamilton, being far more competent to lay the subject before the public. A few political remarks may not be deemed out of place. The present Sharif, despite his civilised training at Constantinople, is, and must be a fanatic, bigoted man. He applied for the expulsion of the British Vice-Consul at Jeddah, on the grounds that an infidel should not hold position in the Holy Land. His pride and reserve have made him few friends, although the Meccans, with their enthusiastic nationality, extol his bravery to the skies, and praise him for conduct as well as for courage. His position at present is anomalous. Ahmad Pasha of Al-Hijaz rules politically as representative of the Sultan. The Sharif, who, like the Pope, claims temporal as well as spiritual dominion, attempts to command the authorities by force of bigotry. The Pasha heads the Turkish, now the ruling party. The Sharif has in his interest the Arabs and the Badawin. Both thwart each other on all possible occasions; quarrels are bitter and endless; there is no government, and the vessel of the State is in danger of being water-logged, in consequence of the squabbling between her two captains. When I was at Meccah all were in a ferment, the Sharif having, it is said, insisted upon the Pasha leaving Taif. The position of the Turks in Al-Hijaz becomes every day more dangerous. Want of money presses upon them, and reduces them to degrading measures. In February, 1853, the Pasha hired a forced loan from the merchants, and but for Mr. Cole�s spirit and firmness, the English proteges would have been compelled to contribute their share. After a long and animated discussion, the Pasha yielded the point by imprisoning his recusant subjects, who insisted upon Indians paying, like themselves. He waited in person with an apology upon Mr. Cole. Though established at Jeddah since 1838, the French and English Consuls, contented with a proxy, never required a return of visit from the Governor. If the Turks be frequently reduced to such expedients for the payment of their troops, they will soon be swept from the land. On the other hand, the Sharif approaches a crisis. His salary, paid by the Sultan, may be roughly estimated at �15,000 per annum. If the Turks maintain their footing in Arabia, it will probably be found that an honourable retreat at Stambul is better for the thirty-first descendant of the Prophet than the turbulent life of Meccah; or that a reduced allowance of �500 per annum would place him in a higher spiritual, though in a lower temporal position. Since the above was written the Sharif Abd al-Muttalib has been deposed. The Arabs of Al-Hijaz united in revolt against the Sultan, but after a few skirmishes they were reduced to subjection by their old ruler the Sharif bin Aun. [FN#31] Saniyat means a �winding path,� and Kuda�a, �the cut.� Formerly Meccah had three gates: 1. Bab al-Ma�ala, North-East; 2. Bab al-Umrah, or Bab al-Zahir, on the Jeddah road, West; and 3[.] Bab al-Masfal on the Yaman road. These were still standing in the twelfth century, but the walls were destroyed. It is better to enter Meccah by day and on foot; but this is not a matter of vital consequence in pilgrimage. [FN#32] It is a large whitewashed building, with extensive wooden balconied windows, but no pretensions to architectural splendour. Around it trees grow, and amongst them I remarked a young cocoa. Al-Idrisi (A.D. 1154) calls the palace Al-Marba�ah. This may be a clerical error, for to the present day all know it as Al-Ma�abidah (pronounced Al-Mab�da). The Nubian describes it as a �stone castle, three miles from the town, in a palm garden.� The word �Ma�abidah,� says Kutb al-Din, means a �body of servants,� and is applied generally to this suburb because here was a body of Badawin in charge of the Masjid al-Ijabah, a Mosque not now existing. [FN#33] I cannot conceive what made the accurate Niebuhr fall into the strange error that �apparitions are unknown in Arabia.� Arabs fear to sleep alone, to enter the bath at night, to pass by cemeteries during dark, and to sit amongst ruins, simply for fear of apparitions. And Arabia, together with Persia, has supplied half the Western world with its ghost stories and tales of angels, demons, and fairies. To quote Milton, the land is struck �with superstition as with a planet.� [FN#34] This is a synopsis of our marches, which, protracted on Burckhardt�s map, gives an error of ten miles. 1. From Al-Madinah to Ja al-Sharifah, S.E. 50� - 22 Miles 2. From Ja al-Sharifah to Ghurab, S.W. 10� - 24 Miles 3. From Ghurab to Al-Hijriyah, S.E. 22� - 25 Miles 4. From Al-Hijriyah to Al-Suwayrkiyah, S.W. 11� - 28 Miles 5. From Al-Suwayrkiyah to Al-Sufayna, S.E. 5� - 17 Miles 6. From Al-Sufayna to the �Benu Mutayr,� S.W. 20� - 18 Miles 7. From the �Benu Mutayr� to Al-Ghadir, S.W. 21� - 20 Miles 8. From Al-Ghadir to Al-Birkat, S.E. 10� - 24 Miles 9. From Al-Birkat to Al-Zaribah, S.E. 56� - 23 Miles 10.From Al-Zaribah to Wady Laymun, S.W. 50� - 24 Miles 11.From Wady Laymun to Meccah, S.E. 45� - 23 Miles Total English miles 248

END OF VOLUME II

Original footnotes[edit]

  1. This city derives its names, the "Great Gate of Pilgrimage," and the "Key of the Prophet's Tomb" from its being the gathering-place of this caravan.
  2. The Egyptians corruptly pronounce "Al-Misr," i.e. Cairo, as "Al-Masr."
  3. NOTE TO FOURTH EDITION.-I reprint the following from the Illustrated News in proof that the literati of England have still something to learn:-"On the 1st instant the annual ceremony of the departure of the Sure-emini with the Imperial gifts for the Prophet's tomb at Mecca took place in front of the palace at Constantinople. The Levant Herald states that the presents, which consist, beside the large money donation, of rich shawls and gold-woven stuffs, were brought out of the Imperial apartments and packed in presence of the Sultan, on two beautiful camels, which, after the delivery of the usual prayers, were then led in grand procession, accompanied by all the high officers of state, to the landing-place at Cabatash, where the Sure-emini and camels were embarked on a Government steamer and ferried over to Scutari. There the holy functionary will remain some days, till the faithful' of the capital and those who have come from the interior have joined him, when the caravan will start for Damascus. At this latter city the grand rendezvous takes place, and, that accomplished, the great caravan sets out for Mecca under the Emir-el-Hadj of the year. The Imperial presents on this occasion cost more than L20,000."
  4. The Syrian Shugduf differs entirely from that of Al-Hijaz. It is composed of two solid wooden cots about four feet in length, slung along the camel's sides and covered over with cloth, in the shape of a tent. They are nearly twice as heavy as the Hijazi litter, and yet a Syrian camel-man would as surely refuse to put one of the latter upon his beast's back, as the Hijazi to carry a Syrian litter. See p. 223, ante.
  5. This is the Arabic modern word, synonymous with the Egyptian Hajin, namely, a she-dromedary. The word "Nakah," at present popular in Al-Hijaz, means a she-dromedary kept for breeding as well as for riding.
  6. One might as sensibly cry out "John" in an English theatre.
  7. Respectable men in Al-Hijaz, when they meet friends, acquaintances, or superiors, consider it only polite to dismount from a donkey.
  8. The title of the Pasha who has the privilege of conducting the Caravan. It is a lucrative as well as an honourable employment, for the Emir enjoys the droit d'aubaine, becoming heir to the personal property of all pilgrims who die in the Holy Cities or on the line of march. And no Persian, even of the poorest, would think of undertaking a pilgrimage by this line of country, without having at least L80 in ready money with him. The first person who bore the title of Emir Al-Hajj was Abu Bakr, who, in the ninth year of the Hijrah, led 300 Moslems from Al-Madinah to the Meccah pilgrimage. On this occasion idolaters and infidels were for the first time expelled the Holy City.
  9. "Harrah" from Harr (heat) is the generic name of lava, porous basalt, scoriae, greenstone, schiste, and others supposed to be of igneous origin. It is also used to denote a ridge or hill of such formation. One Harrah has already been mentioned in Chapter XV. The second is on the road to Ohod. There is a third Harrah, called Al-Wakin or Al-Zahrah, about one mile Eastward of Al-Madinah. Here the Prophet wept, predicting that the last men of his faith would be foully slain. The prophecy was fulfilled in the days of Yazid, when the people of Al-Madinah filled their assembly with slippers and turbands to show that on account of his abominations they had cast off their allegiance as a garment. The "Accursed" sent an aged sinner, Muslim bin Akbah al-Marai, who, though a cripple, defeated the Madani in a battle called the "Affair of the Ridge," slaying of them 10,000 citizens, 1700 learned and great men, 700 teachers of the Koran, and 97 Karashi nobles. This happened in the month of Zu'l Hijjah, A.H. 63. For three days the city was plundered, the streets ran blood, dogs ate human flesh in the Mosque, and no fewer than 1000 women were insulted. It was long before Al-Madinah recovered from this fatal blow, which old Muslim declared would open to him the gates of Paradise. The occurrence is now forgotten at Al-Madinah, though it will live in history. The people know not the place, and even the books are doubtful whether this Harrah be not upon the spot where the Khandak or moat was.
  10. Meaning that on the Day of Resurrection it shall be so treated. Many, however, suppose Ohod to be one of the four hills of Paradise. The other three, according to Al-Tabrani from Amr bin Auf, are Sinai, Lebanon, and Mount Warkan on the Meccan road. Others suppose Ohod to be one of the six mountains which afforded materials for the Kaabah, viz., Abu Kubays, Sinai, Kuds (at Jerusalem), Warkan and Radhwah near Yambu'. Also it is said that when the Lord conversed with Moses on Sinai, the mountain burst into six pieces, three of which flew to Al-Madinah, Ohod, Warkan and Radhwah, and three to Meccah, Hira (now popularly called Jabal Nur), Sabir, (the old name for Jabal Muna), and Saur.
  11. "Ayr" means a "wild ass," whereas Ohod is derived from Ahad, "one,"-so called because fated to be the place of victory to those who worship one God. The very names, say Moslem divines, make it abundantly evident that even as the men of Al-Madinah were of two parties, friendly and hostile to the Prophet, so were these mountains.
  12. This Cave is a Place of Visitation, but I did not go there, as it is on the Northern flank of the hill, and all assured me that it contained nothing worth seeing. Many ignore it altogether.
  13. Ohod, it is said, sent forth in the Prophet's day 360 springs, of which ten or twelve now remain.
  14. Meaning that the visitor must ascend several smaller eminences. The time occupied is from eight to nine hours, but I should not advise my successor to attempt it in the hot weather.
  15. When engaged in such a holy errand as this, to have ridden away for the purpose of inspecting a line of black stone, would have been certain to arouse the suspicions of an Arab. Either, he would argue, you recognise the place of some treasure described in your books, or you are a magician seeking a talisman.
  16. Most Arab authors place Ohod about two miles N. of Al-Madinah. Al-Idrisi calls it the nearest hill, and calculates the distance at 6000 paces. Golius gives two leagues to Ohod and Ayr, which is much too far. In our popular accounts, "Mohammed posted himself upon the hill of Ohod, about six miles from Al-Madinah," two mistakes.
  17. They are said to be seventy, but the heaps appeared to me at least three times more numerous.
  18. A Zawiyah in Northern Africa resembles the Takiyah of India, Persia, and Egypt, being a monastery for Darwayshes who reside there singly or in numbers. A Mosque, and sometimes, according to the excellent practice of Al-Islam, a school, are attached to it.
  19. Some historians relate that forty-six years after the battle of Ohod, the tombs were laid bare by a torrent, when the corpses appeared in their winding-sheets as if buried the day before. Some had their hands upon their death wounds, from which fresh blood trickled when the pressure was forcibly removed. In opposition to this Moslem theory, we have that of the modern Greeks, namely, that if the body be not decomposed within a year, it shows that the soul is not where it should be.
  20. In fairness I must confess to believing in the reality of these phenomena, but not in their "spiritual" origin.
  21. In Ibn Jubayr's time the tomb was red.
  22. In the common tombs of martyrs, saints, and holy men, this covering is usually of green cloth, with long white letters sewn upon it. I forgot to ask whether it was temporarily absent from Hamzah's grave.
  23. All these erections are new. In Burckhardt's time they were mere heaps of earth, with a few loose stones placed around them. I do not know what has become of the third martyr, said to have been interred near Hamzah. Possibly some day he may reappear: meanwhile the people of Al-Madinah are so wealthy in saints, that they can well afford to lose sight of one.
  24. Formerly in this place was shown a slab with the mark of a man's head-like St. Peter's at Rome-where the Prophet had rested. Now it seems to have disappeared, and the tooth has succeeded to its honours.
  25. Some historians say that four teeth were knocked out by this stone. This appears an exaggeration.
  26. In Persian characters the word Umr, life, and Umar, the name of the hated caliph, are written in the same way; which explains the pun.
  27. That is to say, "to the hour of death."
  28. When Jubayr bin Mutim was marching to Ohod, according to the Rauzat al-Safa, in revenge for the death of his uncle Taymah, he offered manumission to his slave Wahshi, who was noted for the use of the Abyssinian spear, if he slew Hamzah. The slave sat in ambush behind a rock, and when the hero had despatched one Siba'a bin Abd al-Ayiz, of Meccah, he threw a javelin which pierced his navel and came out of his back. The wounded man advanced towards his assassin, who escaped. Hamzah then fell, and his friends coming up, found him dead. Wahshi waited till he saw an opportunity, drew the javelin from the body, and mutilated it, in order to present trophies to the ferocious Hinda (mother of Mu'awiyah), whose father Utbah had been slain by Hamzah. The amazon insisted upon seeing the corpse: having presented her necklace and bracelets to Wahshi, she supplied their place with the nose, the ears, and other parts of the dead hero. After mangling the body in a disgusting manner, she ended by tearing open the stomach and biting the liver, whence she was called "Akkalat al-Akbad." When Mohammed saw the state of his father's brother, he was sadly moved. Presently comforted by the inspirations brought by Gabriel, he cried, "It is written among the people of the seven Heavens, Hamzah, son of Muttalib, is the Lion of Allah, and the Lion of his Prophet," and ordered him to be shrouded and prayed over him, beginning, says the Jazb al-Kulub, with seventy repetitions of "Allah Akbar." Ali had brought in his shield some water for Mohammed, from a Mahras or stone trough, which stood near the scene of action (M.C. de Perceval translates it "un creux de rocher formant un bassin naturel"). But the Prophet refused to drink it, and washed with it the blood from the face of him "martyred by the side of the Mahras." It was of the Moslems slain at Ohod, according to Abu Da'ud, that the Prophet declared that their souls should be carried in the crops of green birds, that they might drink of the waters and taste the fruits of Paradise, and nestle beneath the golden lamps that hang from the celestial ceiling. He also forbade, on this occasion, the still popular practice of mutilating an enemy's corpse.
  29. The Prophet preferred women and young boys to pray privately, and in some parts of Al-Islam they are not allowed to join a congregation. At Al-Madinah, however, it is no longer, as in Burckhardt's time, "thought very indecorous in women to enter the Mosque."
  30. I have heard of a Persian being beaten to death, because instead of saying "Peace be with thee, Ya Omar," he insisted upon saying "Peace be with thee, Ya Humar (O ass!)" A favourite trick is to change "Razi Allahu anhu-may Allah be satisfied with him!"-to "Razi Allahu Aan." This last word is not to be found in Richardson, but any "Luti" from Shiraz or Isfahan can make it intelligible to the curious linguist.