Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al Madinah and Meccah/Volume III
Volume III. Meccah
Chapter XXVII. THE FIRST VISIT TO THE HOUSE OF ALLAH.
THE boy Mohammed left me in the street, and having at last persuaded the sleepy and tired Indian porter, by violent kicks and testy answers to twenty cautious queries, to swing open the huge gate of his fortress, he rushed up stairs to embrace his mother. After a minute I heard the Zaghritah,[FN#1] Lululu, or shrill cry which in these lands welcomes the wanderer home; the sound so gladdening to the returner sent a chill to the stranger�s heart.
Presently the youth returned. His manner had changed from a boisterous and jaunty demeanour to one of grave and attentive courtesy�I had become his guest. He led me into the gloomy hall, seated me upon a large carpeted Mastabah, or platform, and told his bara Miyan[FN#2] (great Sir), the Hindustani porter, to bring a light. [p.160] Meanwhile a certain shuffling of slippered feet above informed my ears that the Kabirah,[FN#3] the mistress of the house, was intent on hospitable thoughts. When the camels were unloaded, appeared a dish of fine vermicelli, browned and powdered with loaf sugar. The boy Mohammed, I, and Shaykh Nur, lost no time in exerting our right hands; and truly, after our hungry journey, we found the Kunafah delicious. After the meal we procured cots from a neighbouring coffee-house, and we lay down, weary, and anxious to snatch an hour or two of repose. At dawn we were expected to perform our Tawaf al-Kudum, or �Circumambulation of Arrival,� at the Harim.
Scarcely had the first smile of morning beamed upon the rugged head of the eastern hill, Abu Kubays,[FN#4] when we arose, bathed, and proceeded in our pilgrim-garb to the Sanctuary. We entered by the Bab al-Ziyadah, or principal northern door, descended two long flights of steps, traversed the cloister, and stood in sight of the Bayt Allah.
There at last it lay, the bourn of my long and weary Pilgrimage, realising the plans and hopes of many and many a year. The mirage medium of Fancy invested the
[p.161] huge catafalque and its gloomy pall with peculiar charms. There were no giant fragments of hoar antiquity as in Egypt, no remains of graceful and harmonious beauty as in Greece and Italy, no barbarous gorgeousness as in the buildings of India; yet the view was strange, unique�and how few have looked upon the celebrated shrine! I may truly say that, of all the worshippers who clung weeping to the curtain, or who pressed their beating hearts to the stone, none felt for the moment a deeper emotion than did the Haji from the far-north. It was as if the poetical legends of the Arab spoke truth, and that the waving wings of angels, not the sweet breeze of morning, were agitating and swelling the black covering of the shrine. But, to confess humbling truth, theirs was the high feeling of religious enthusiasm, mine was the ecstasy of gratified pride.
Few Moslems contemplate for the first time the Ka�abah, without fear and awe: there is a popular jest against new comers, that they generally inquire the direction of prayer. This being the Kiblah, or fronting place, Moslems pray all around it; a circumstance which of course cannot take place in any spot of Al-Islam but the Harim. The boy Mohammed, therefore, left me for a few minutes to myself; but presently he warned me that it was time to begin. Advancing, we entered through the Bab Benu Shaybah, the �Gate of the Sons of the Shaybah[FN#5]� (old woman). There we raised our
[p.162] hands, repeated the Labbayk, the Takbir, and the Tahlil; after which we uttered certain supplications, and drew our hands down our faces. Then we proceeded to the Shafe�is� place of worship�the open pavement between the Makam Ibrahim and the well Zemzem�where we performed the usual two-bow prayer in honour of the Mosque. This was followed by a cup of holy water and a present to the Sakkas, or carriers, who for the consideration distributed, in my name, a large earthen vaseful to poor pilgrims.
The word Zemzem has a doubtful origin. Some derive it from the Zam Zam, or murmuring of its waters, others from Zam! Zam! (fill! fill! i.e. the bottle), Hagar�s impatient exclamation when she saw the stream. Sale translates it stay! stay! and says that Hagar called out in the Egyptian language, to prevent her son wandering. The Hukama, or Rationalists of Al-Islam, who invariably connect their faith with the worship of Venus, especially, and the heavenly bodies generally, derive Zemzem from the Persian, and make it signify the �great luminary.� Hence they say the Zemzem, as well as the Ka�abah, denoting the Cuthite or Ammonian worship of sun and fire, deserves man�s reverence. So the Persian poet Khakani addresses these two buildings:�
�O Ka�abah, thou traveller of the heavens!� �O Venus, thou fire of the world!�
Thus Wahid Mohammed, founder of the Wahidiyah sect, identifies the Kiblah and the sun; wherefore he says the door fronts the East. By the names Yaman (�right-hand�), Sham (�left-hand�), Kubul, or the East wind (�fronting�), and Dubur, or the West wind (�from the back�), it is evident that worshippers fronted the rising sun. According to the Hukama, the original Black Stone represents Venus, �which in the border of the heavens is a star of the planets,� and symbolical of the
[p.163] generative power of nature, �by whose passive energy the universe was warmed into life and motion.� The Hindus accuse the Moslems of adoring the Bayt Ullah.
�O Moslem, if thou worship the Ka�abah, Why reproach the worshippers of idols?�
says Rai Manshar. And Musaylimah, who in his attempt to found a fresh faith, gained but the historic epithet of �Liar,� allowed his followers to turn their faces in any direction, mentally ejaculating, �I address myself to thee, who hast neither side nor figure;� a doctrine which might be sensible in the abstract, but certainly not material enough and pride-flattering to win him many converts in Arabia.
The produce of Zemzem is held in great esteem. It is used for drinking and religious ablution, but for no baser purposes; and the Meccans advise pilgrims always to break their fast with it. It is apt to cause diarrhoea and boils, and I never saw a stranger drink it without a wry face. Sale is decidedly correct in his assertion: the flavour is a salt-bitter, much resembling an infusion of a teaspoonful of Epsom salts in a large tumbler of tepid water. Moreover, it is exceedingly �heavy� to the digestion. For this reason Turks and other strangers prefer rain-water, collected in cisterns and sold for five farthings a gugglet. It was a favourite amusement with me to watch them whilst they drank the holy water, and to taunt their scant and irreverent potations.
The strictures of the Calcutta Review (No. 41, art. 1), based upon the taste of Zemzem, are unfounded. In these days a critic cannot be excused for such hasty judgments; at Calcutta or Bombay he would easily find a jar of Zemzem water, which he might taste for himself. Upon this passage Mr. W. Muir (Life of Mahomet, vol. i, p. cclviii.) remarks that �the flavour of stale water bottled up for months would not be a criterion of the same water freshly drawn.� But it might easily be analysed.
The water is transmitted to distant regions in glazed
[p.164] earthern jars covered with basket-work, and sealed by the Zemzemis. Religious men break their lenten fast with it, apply it to their eyes to brighten vision, and imbibe a few drops at the hour of death, when Satan stands by holding a bowl of purest water, the price of the departing soul. Of course modern superstition is not idle about the waters of Zemzem. The copious supply of the well is considered at Meccah miraculous; in distant countries it facilitates the pron[o]unciation of Arabic to the student; and everywhere the nauseous draught is highly meritorious in a religious point of view.
We then advanced towards the eastern angle of the Ka�abah, in which is inserted the Black Stone; and, standing about ten yards from it, repeated with upraised hands, �There is no god but Allah alone, Whose Covenant is Truth, and Whose Servant is Victorious. There is no god but Allah, without Sharer; His is the Kingdom, to Him be Praise, and He over all Things is potent.� After which we approached as close as we could to the stone. A crowd of pilgrims preventing our touching it that time, we raised our hands to our ears, in the first position of prayer, and then lowering them, exclaimed, �O Allah (I do this), in Thy Belief, and in verification of Thy Book, and in Pursuance of Thy Prophet�s Example�may Allah bless Him and preserve! O Allah, I extend my Hand to Thee, and great is my Desire to Thee! O accept Thou my Supplication, and diminish my Obstacles, and pity my Humiliation, and graciously grant me Thy Pardon!� After which, as we were still unable to reach the stone, we raised our hands to our ears, the palms facing the stone, as if touching it, recited the various religious formulae, the Takbir, the Tahlil, and the Hamdilah, blessed the Prophet, and kissed the finger-tips of the right hand. The Prophet used to weep when he touched the Black Stone, and said that it was the place for the pouring forth of tears. According to most authors, the
[p.165] second Caliph also used to kiss it. For this reason most Moslems, except the Shafe�i school, must touch the stone with both hands and apply their lips to it, or touch it with the fingers, which should be kissed, or rub the palms upon it, and afterwards draw them down the face. Under circumstances of difficulty, it is sufficient to stand before the stone, but the Prophet�s Sunnat, or practice, was to touch it. Lucian mentions adoration of the sun by kissing the hand.
Then commenced the ceremony of Tawaf,[FN#6] or circumambulation, our route being the Mataf�the low oval of polished granite immediately surrounding the Ka�abah. I
[p.166] repeated, after my Mutawwif, or cicerone,[FN#7] �In the Name of Allah, and Allah is omnipotent! I purpose to circuit seven circuits unto Almighty Allah, glorified and exalted!� This is technically called the Niyat (intention) of Tawaf. Then we began the prayer, �O Allah (I do this), in Thy Belief, and in Verification of Thy Book, and in Faithfulness to Thy Covenant, and in Perseverance of the Example of the Apostle Mohammed�may Allah bless Him and preserve!� till we reached the place Al-Multazem, between the corner of the Black Stone and the Ka�abah door. Here we ejaculated, �O Allah, Thou hast Rights, so pardon my transgressing them.� Opposite the door we repeated, �O Allah, verily the House is Thy House, and the Sanctuary Thy Sanctuary, and the Safeguard Thy Safeguard, and this is the Place of him who flies to Thee from (hell) Fire!� At the little building called Makam Ibrahim we said, �O Allah, verily this is the Place of Abraham, who took Refuge with and fled to Thee from the Fire!�O deny my Flesh and Blood, my Skin and Bones to the (eternal) Flames!� As we paced slowly round the north or Irak corner of the Ka�abah we exclaimed, �O Allah, verily I take Refuge with Thee from Polytheism, and Disobedience, and Hypocrisy, and evil Conversation, and evil Thoughts concerning Family, and Property, and Progeny!� When fronting the Mizab, or spout, we repeated the words, �O Allah, verily I beg of Thee Faith which shall not decline, and a Certainty which shall not perish, and the good Aid of Thy Prophet Mohammed�may Allah bless Him and preserve! O Allah, shadow me in Thy Shadow on that Day when there is no Shade but Thy Shadow, and cause me to drink from the Cup of Thine Apostle Mohammed�may Allah bless Him and preserve!�that pleasant Draught after which is no Thirst to all Eternity, O Lord of Honour and Glory!� Turning the
[p.167] west corner, or the Rukn al-Shami, we exclaimed, �O Allah, make it an acceptable Pilgrimage, and a Forgiveness of Sins, and a laudable Endeavour, and a pleasant Action (in Thy sight), and a store which perisheth not, O Thou Glorious! O Thou Pardoner!� This was repeated thrice, till we arrived at the Yamani, or south corner, where, the crowd being less importunate, we touched the wall with the right hand, after the example of the Prophet, and kissed the finger-tips. Finally, between the south angle and that of the Black Stone, where our circuit would be completed, we said, �O Allah, verily I take Refuge with Thee from Infidelity, and I take Refuge with Thee from Want, and from the Tortures of the Tomb, and from the Troubles of Life and Death. And I fly to Thee from Ignominy in this World and the next, and I implore Thy Pardon for the Present and for the Future. O Lord, grant to me in this Life Prosperity, and in the next Life Prosperity, and save me from the Punishment of Fire.�
Thus finished a Shaut, or single course round the house. Of these we performed the first three at the pace called Harwalah, very similar to the French pas gymnastique, or Tarammul, that is to say, �moving the shoulders as if walking in sand.� The four latter are performed in Ta�ammul, slowly and leisurely; the reverse of the Sai, or running. These seven Ashwat, or courses, are called collectively one Usbu ([Arabic]). The Moslem origin of this custom is too well known to require mention. After each Taufah[,] or circuit, we, being unable to kiss or even to touch the Black Stone, fronted towards it, raised our hands to our ears, exclaimed, �In the Name of Allah, and Allah is omnipotent!� kissed our fingers, and resumed the ceremony of circumambulation, as before, with �Allah, in Thy Belief,� &c.
At the conclusion of the Tawaf it was deemed advisable to attempt to kiss the stone. For a time I stood
[p.168] looking in despair at the swarming crowd of Badawi and other pilgrims that besieged it. But the boy Mohammed was equal to the occasion. During our circuit he had displayed a fiery zeal against heresy and schism, by foully abusing every Persian in his path[FN#8]; and the inopportune introduction of hard words into his prayers made the latter a strange patchwork; as �Ave Maria purissima,�arrah, dont ye be letting the pig at the pot,�sanctissima,� and so forth. He might, for instance, be repeating �And I take Refuge with Thee from Ignominy in this World,� when �O thou rejected one, son of the rejected!� would be the interpolation addressed to some long-bearded Khorasani,��And in that to come���O hog and brother of a hoggess!� And so he continued till I wondered that none dared to turn and rend him. After vainly addressing the pilgrims, of whom nothing could be seen but a mosaic of occupits and shoulder-blades, the boy Mohammed collected about half a dozen stalwart Meccans, with whose assistance, by sheer strength, we wedged our way into the thin and light-legged crowd. The Badawin turned round upon us like wild-cats, but
[p.169] they had no daggers. The season being autumn, they had not swelled themselves with milk for six months; and they had become such living mummies, that I could have managed single-handed half a dozen of them. After thus reaching the stone, despite popular indignation testified by impatient shouts, we monopolised the use of it for at least ten minutes. Whilst kissing it and rubbing hands and forehead upon it I narrowly observed it, and came away persuaded that it is an aerolite. It is curious that almost all travellers agree upon one point, namely, that the stone is volcanic. Ali Bey calls it �mineralogically� a �block of volcanic basalt, whose circumference is sprinkled with little crystals, pointed and straw-like, with rhombs of tile-red feldspath upon a dark background, like velvet or charcoal, except one of its protuberances, which is reddish.� Burckhardt thought it was �a lava containing several small extraneous particles of a whitish and of a yellowish substance.�
Having kissed the stone we fought our way through the crowd to the place called Al-Multazem. Here we pressed our stomachs, chests, and right cheeks to the Ka�abah, raising our arms high above our heads and exclaiming, �O Allah! O Lord of the Ancient House, free my Neck from Hell-fire, and preserve me from every ill Deed, and make me contented with that daily bread which Thou hast given to me, and bless me in all Thou hast granted!� Then came the Istighfar, or begging of pardon; �I beg Pardon of Allah the most high, who, there is no other God but He, the Living, the Eternal, and unto Him I repent myself!� After which we blessed the Prophet, and then asked for ourselves all that our souls most desired.[FN#9]
[p.170] After embracing the Multazem, we repaired to the Shafe�is� place of prayer near the Makam Ibrahim, and there recited two prostrations, technically called Sunnat al-Tawaf, or the (Apostle�s) practice of circumambulation. The chapter repeated in the first was �Say thou, O Infidels�: in the second, �Say thou He is the one God.[FN#10]� We then went to the door of the building in which is Zemzem: there I was condemned to another nauseous draught, and was deluged with two or three skinfuls of water dashed over my head en douche. This ablution causes sins to fall from the spirit like dust.[FN#11] During the potation we prayed, �O Allah, verily I beg of Thee plentiful daily Bread, and profitable Learning, and the healing of every Disease!� Then we returned towards the Black Stone, stood far away opposite, because unable to touch it, ejaculated the Takbir, the Tahlil, and the Hamdilah; and thoroughly worn out with scorched feet and a burning head,�both extremities, it must be remembered, were bare, and various delays had detained us till ten A.M.,�I left the Mosque.[FN#12]
The boy Mohammed had miscalculated the amount of lodging in his mother�s house. She, being a widow
[p.171] and a lone woman, had made over for the season all the apartments to her brother, a lean old Meccan, of true ancient type, vulture-faced, kite-clawed, with a laugh like a hyena, and a mere shell of body. He regarded me with no favouring eye when I insisted as a guest upon having some place of retirement; but he promised that, after our return from Arafat, a little store-room should be cleared out for me. With that I was obliged to be content, and to pass that day in the common male drawing-room of the house, a vestibule on the ground floor, called in Egypt a Takhta-bush.[FN#13] Entering, to the left (A) was a large Mastabah, or platform, and at the bottom (B) a second, of smaller dimensions and foully dirty. Behind this was a dark and unclean store-room (C) containing the Hajis� baggage. Opposite the Mastabah was a firepan for pipes and coffee (D), superintended by a family of lean Indians; and by the side (E) a doorless passage led to a bathing-room (F) and staircase (G).
I had scarcely composed myself upon the carpeted Mastabah, when the remainder was suddenly invaded by the Turkish, or rather Slavo-Turk, pilgrims inhabiting the house, and a host of their visitors. They were large, hairy men, with gruff voices and square figures; they did not take the least notice of me, although[,] feeling the intrusion, I stretched out my legs with a provoking nonchalance.[FN#14] At last one of them addressed me in Turkish, to which I
[p.172] replied by shaking my head. His question being interpreted to me in Arabic, I drawled out, �My native place is the land of Khorasan.� This provoked a stern and stony stare from the Turks, and an �ugh!� which said plainly enough, �Then you are a pestilent heretic.� I surveyed them with a self-satisfied simper, stretched my legs a trifle farther, and conversed with my water-pipe. Presently, when they all departed for a time, the boy Mohammed raised, by request, my green box of medicines, and deposited it upon the Mastabah; thus defining, as it were, a line of demarcation, and asserting my privilege to it before the Turks. Most of these men were of one party, headed by a colonel of Nizam, whom they called a Bey. My acquaintance with them began roughly enough, but afterwards, with some exceptions, who were gruff as an English butcher when accosted by a lean foreigner, they proved to be kind-hearted and not unsociable men. It often happens to the traveller, as the charming Mrs. Malaprop observes, to find intercourse all the better by beginning with a little aversion.
In the evening, accompanied by the boy Mohammed, and followed by Shaykh Nur, who carried a lantern and a praying-rug, I again repaired to the �Navel of the World[FN#15]; this time aesthetically, to enjoy the delights of the hour after the �gaudy, babbling, and remorseful day.� The moon, now approaching the full, tipped the brow of Abu Kubays, and lit up the spectacle with a more solemn light. In the midst stood the huge bier-like erection,�
�Black as the wings Which some spirit of ill o�er a sepulchre flings,��
[p.173] except where the moonbeams streaked it like jets of silver falling upon the darkest marble. It formed the point of rest for the eye; the little pagoda-like buildings and domes around it, with all their gilding and fretwork, vanished. One object, unique in appearance, stood in view�the temple of the one Allah, the God of Abraham, of Ishmael, and of their posterity. Sublime it was, and expressing by all the eloquence of fancy the grandeur of the One Idea which vitalised Al-Islam, and the strength and steadfastness of its votaries.
The oval pavement round the Ka�abah was crowded with men, women, and children, mostly divided into parties, which followed a Mutawwif; some walking staidly, and others running, whilst many stood in groups to prayer. What a scene of contrasts! Here stalked the Badawi woman, in her long black robe like a nun�s serge, and poppy-coloured face-veil, pierced to show two fiercely flashing orbs. There an Indian woman, with her semi-Tartar features, nakedly hideous, and her thin legs, encased in wrinkled tights, hurried round the fane. Every now and then a corpse, borne upon its wooden shell, circuited the shrine by means of four bearers, whom other Moslems, as is the custom, occasionally relieved. A few fair-skinned Turks lounged about, looking cold and repulsive, as their wont is. In one place a fast Calcutta Khitmugar stood, with turband awry and arms akimbo, contemplating the view jauntily, as those �gentlemen�s gentlemen� will do. In another, some poor wretch, with arms thrown on high, so that every part of his person might touch the Ka�abah, was clinging to the curtain and sobbing as though his heart would break.
From this spectacle my eyes turned towards Abu Kubays. The city extends in that direction half-way up the grim hill: the site might be compared, at a humble distance, to Bath. Some writers liken it to Florence; but conceive a Florence without beauty! To the South
[p.174] lay Jabal Jiyad the Greater,[FN#16] also partly built over and crowned with a fort, which at a distance looks less useful than romantic[FN#17]: a flood of pale light was sparkling upon its stony surface. Below, the minarets became pillars of silver, and the cloisters, dimly streaked by oil lamps, bounded the views of the temple with horizontal lines of shade.
Before nightfall the boy Mohammed rose to feed the Mosque pigeons, for whom he had brought a pocketful of barley. He went to the place where these birds flock�the line of pavement leading from the isolated arch to the Eastern cloisters. During the day women and children are to be seen sitting here, with small piles of grain upon little plaited trays of basket-work. For each they demand a copper piece; and religious pilgrims consider it their duty to provide the reverend blue-rocks with a plentiful meal.
The Hindu Pandits assert that Shiwa and his spouse, under the forms and names of Kapot-Eshwara (pigeon god) and Kapotesi, dwelt at Meccah. The dove was the device of the old Assyrian Empire, because it is supposed Semiramis was preserved by that bird. The Meccan pigeons, resembling those of Venice, are held sacred probably in consequence of the wild traditions of the Arabs about Noah�s dove. Some authors declare that in Mohammed�s time, among the idols of the Meccan Pantheon, was a pigeon carved in wood, and above it another, which Ali, mounting upon the Prophet�s shoulder, pulled down. This might have been a Hindu, a Jewish, or a Christian symbol. The Moslems connect the pigeon
[p.175] on two occasions with their faith: first, when that bird appeared to whisper in Mohammed�s ear; and, secondly, during the flight to Al-Madinah. Moreover, in many countries they are called �Allah�s Proclaimers,� because their movement when cooing resembles prostration.
Almost everywhere the pigeon has entered into the history of religion, which probably induced Mr. Lascelles to incur the derision of our grandfathers by pronouncing it a �holy bird.� At Meccah they are called the doves of the Ka�abah, and they never appear at table. They are remarkable for propriety when sitting upon the holy building. This may be a minor miracle: I would rather believe that there is some contrivance on the roof. My friend Mr. Bicknell remarks: �This marvel, however, having of late years been suspended, many discern another omen of the approach of the long-predicted period when unbelievers shall desecrate the sacred soil.�
Late in the evening I saw a negro in the state called Malbus�religious frenzy. To all appearance a Takruri, he was a fine and a powerful man, as the numbers required to hold him testified. He threw his arms wildly about him, uttering shrill cries, which sounded like le le le le! and when held, he swayed his body, and waved his head from side to side, like a chained and furious elephant, straining out the deepest groans. The Africans appear unusually subject to this nervous state which, seen by the ignorant and the imaginative, would at once suggest �demoniacal possession.[FN#18]� Either their organisation is more impressionable, or more probably, the hardships, privations, and fatigues endured whilst wearily traversing inhospitable wilds, and perilous seas, have exalted their
[p.176] imaginations to a pitch bordering upon frenzy. Often they are seen prostrate on the pavement, or clinging to the curtain, or rubbing their foreheads upon the stones, weeping bitterly, and pouring forth the wildest ejaculations.
That night I stayed in the Harim till two A.M., wishing to see if it would be empty. But the morrow was to witness the egress to Arafat; many, therefore, passed the hours of darkness in the Harim. Numerous parties of pilgrims sat upon their rugs, with lanterns in front of them, conversing, praying, and contemplating the Ka�abah. The cloisters were full of merchants, who resorted there to �talk shop,� and to vend such holy goods as combs, tooth-sticks, and rosaries. Before ten P.M. I found no opportunity of praying the usual two prostrations over the grave of Ishmael. After waiting long and patiently, at last I was stepping into the vacant place, when another pilgrim rushed forward; the boy Mohammed, assisted by me, instantly seized him, and, despite his cries and struggles, taught him to wait. Till midnight we sat chatting with the different ciceroni who came up to offer their services. I could not help remarking their shabby and dirty clothes, and was informed that during pilgrimage, when splendour is liable to be spoiled, they wear out old dresses; and appear endimanches for the Muharram fete, when most travellers have left the city. Presently my two companions, exhausted with fatigue, fell asleep; I went up to the Ka�abah, with the intention of �annexing� a bit of the torn old Kiswat or curtain, but too many eyes were looking on. At this season of the year the Kiswat is much tattered at the base, partly by pilgrims� fingers, and partly by the strain of the cord which confines it when the wind is blowing. It is considered a mere peccadillo to purloin a bit of the venerable stuff; but as the officers of the temple make money by selling it, they certainly would visit detection with an
[p.177] unmerciful application of the quarterstaff. The piece in my
possession was given to me by the boy Mohammed before I left Meccah. Waistcoats cut out of the Kiswah still make the combatants invulnerable in battle, and are considered presents fit for princes. The Moslems generally try to secure a strip of this cloth as a mark for the Koran, or for some such purpose. The opportunity, however, was favourable for a survey, and with a piece of tape, and the simple processes of stepping and spanning, I managed to measure all the objects concerning which I was curious.
At last sleep began to weigh heavily upon my eyelids. I awoke my companions, and in the dizziness of slumber they walked with me through the tall narrow street from the Bab al-Ziyadah to our home in the Shamiyah. The brilliant moonshine prevented our complaining, as other travellers have had reason to do, of the darkness and the difficulty of Meccah�s streets. The town, too, appeared safe; there were no watchmen, and yet people slept everywhere upon cots placed opposite their open doors. Arrived at the house, we made some brief preparations for snatching a few hours� sleep upon the Mastabah, a place so stifling, that nothing but utter exhaustion could induce lethargy there.
[FN#1] The Egyptian word is generally pronounced �Zaghrutah,� the plural is Zagharit, corrupted to Ziraleet. The classical Arabic term is �Tahlil�; the Persians call the cry �Kil.� It is peculiar to women, and is formed by raising the voice to its highest pitch, vibrating it at the same time by rolling the tongue, whose modulations express now joy, now grief. To my ear it always resembled the brain-piercing notes of a fife. Dr. Buchanan likens it to a serpent uttering human sounds. The �unsavoury comparison,� however, may owe its origin to the circumstance that Dr. Buchanan heard it at the orgies of Jagannath. [FN#2] As an Indian is called �Miyan,� sir, an elderly Indian becomes �bara Miyan,� great or ancient sir. I shall have occasion to speak at a future period of these Indians at Meccah. [FN#3] �Sitt al-Kabirah,� or simply �Al-Kabirah,� the Great Lady, is the title given to the mistress of. the house. [FN#4] This hill bounds Meccah on the East. According to many Moslems, Adam, with his wife and his son Seth, lie buried in a cave here. Others place his tomb at Muna; the Majority at Najaf. The early Christians had a tradition that our first parents were interred under Mount Calvary; the Jews place their grave near Hebron. Habil (Abel), it is well known, is supposed to be entombed at Damascus; and Kabil (Cain) rests at last under Jabal Shamsan, the highest wall of the Aden crater, where he and his progeny, tempted by Iblis, erected the first fire-temple. It certainly deserves to be the sepulchre of the first murderer. The worship, however, was probably imported from India, where Agni (the fire god) was, as the Vedas prove, the object of man�s earliest adoration. [FN#5] The popular legend of this gate is, that when Abraham and his son were ordered to rebuild the Ka�abah, they found the spot occupied by an old woman. She consented to remove her house on condition that the key of the new temple should be entrusted to her and to her descendants for ever and ever. The origin of this is, that Benu Shaybah means the �sons of an old woman� as well as �descendants of Shaybah.� And history tells us that the Benu Shaybah are derived from one Shaybah (bin Osman, bin Talhah, bin Shaybah, bin Talhah, bin Abd al-Dar), who was sent by Mu�awiyah to make some alterations in the Ka�abah. According to others, the Ka�abah key was committed to the charge of Osman bin Talhah by the Prophet. [FN#6] The Moslem in circumambulation presents his left shoulder; the Hindu�s Pradakshina consists in walking round with the right side towards the fane or idol. Possibly the former may be a modification of the latter, which would appear to be the original form of the rite. Its conjectural significance is an imitation of the procession of the heavenly bodies, the motions of the spheres, and the dances of the angels. These are also imitated in the circular whirlings of the Darwayshes. And Al-Shahristani informs us that the Arab philosophers believed this sevenfold circumambulation to be symbolical of the motion of the planets round the sun. It was adopted by the Greeks and Romans, whose Ambarvalia and Amburbalia appear to be eastern superstitions, introduced by Numa, or by the priestly line of princes, into their pantheism. And our processions round the parish preserve the form of the ancient rites, whose life is long since fled. Moslem moralists have not failed to draw spiritual food from this mass of materialism. �To circuit the Bayt Ullah,� said the Pir Raukhan (As. Soc. vol. xi. and Dabistan, vol. iii., �Miyan Bayazid�), �and to be free from wickedness, and crime, and quarrels, is the duty enjoined by religion. But to circuit the house of the friend of Allah (i.e. the heart), to combat bodily propensities, and to worship the Angels, is the business of the (mystic) path.� Thus Sa�adi, in his sermons,�which remind the Englishman of �poor Yorick,���He who travels to the Ka�abah on foot makes a circuit of the Ka�abah, but he who performs the pilgrimage of the Ka�abah in his heart is encircled by the Ka�abah.� And the greatest Moslem divines sanction this visible representation of an invisible and heavenly shrine, by declaring that, without a material medium, it is impossible for man to worship the Eternal Spirit. [FN#7] The Mutawwif, or Dalil, is the guide at Meccah. [FN#8] In A.D. 1674 some wretch smeared the Black Stone with impurity, and every one who kissed it retired with a sullied beard. The Persians, says Burckhardt, were suspected of this sacrilege, and now their ill-fame has spread far; at Alexandria they were described to me as a people who defile the Ka�abah. It is scarcely necessary to say that a Shi�ah, as well as a Sunni, would look upon such an action with lively horror. The people of Meccah, however, like the Madani, have turned the circumstance to their own advantage, and make an occasional �avanie.� Thus, nine or ten years ago, on the testimony of a boy who swore that he saw the inside of the Ka�abah defiled by a Persian, they rose up, cruelly beat the schismatics, and carried them off to their peculiar quarter the Shamiyah, forbidding their ingress to the Ka�abah. Indeed, till Mohammed Ali�s time, the Persians rarely ventured upon a pilgrimage, and even now that man is happy who gets over it without a beating. The defilement of the Black Stone was probably the work of some Jew or Greek, who risked his life to gratify a furious bigotry. [FN#9] Prayer is granted at fourteen places besides Al-Multazem, viz.:�
1. At the place of circumambulation. 2. Under the Mizab, or spout of the Ka�abah. 3. Inside the Ka�abah. 4. At the well Zemzem. 5. Behind Abraham�s place of prayer. 6 and 7. On Mounts Safa and Marwah. 8. During the ceremony called �Al-Sai.� 9. Upon Mount Arafat. 10. At Muzdalifah. 11. In Muna. 12. During the devil-stoning. 13. On first seeing the Ka�abah. 14. At the Hatim or Hijr. [FN#10] The former is the 109th, the latter the 112th chapter of the Koran (I have translated it in a previous volume). [FN#11] These superstitions, I must remark, belong only to the vulgar. [FN#12] Strictly speaking we ought, after this, to have performed the ceremony called Al-Sai, or the running seven times between Mounts Safa and Marwah. Fatigue put this fresh trial completely out of the question. [FN#13] I have been diffuse in my description of this vestibule, as it is the general way of laying out a ground-floor at Meccah. During the pilgrimage time the lower hall is usually converted into a shop for the display of goods, especially when situated in a populous quarter. [FN#14] This is equivalent to throwing oneself upon the sofa in Europe. Only in the East it asserts a decided claim to superiority; the West would scarcely view it in that light. [FN#15] Ibn Haukal begins his cosmography with Meccah �because the temple of the Lord is situated there, and the holy Ka�abah is the navel of the earth, and Meccah is styled in sacred writ the parent city, or the mother of towns.� Unfortunately, Ibn Haukal, like most other Moslem travellers and geographers, says no more about Meccah. [FN#16] To distinguish it from the Jiyad (above the cemetery Al-Ma�ala) over which Khalid entered Meccah. Some topographers call the Jiyad upon which the fort is built �the lesser,� and apply �greater� to Jiyad Amir, the hill north of Meccah. [FN#17] The Meccans, however, do not fail to boast of its strength; and has stood some sieges. [FN#18] In the Mandal, or palm-divination, a black slave is considered the best subject. European travellers have frequently remarked their nervous sensibility. In Abyssinia the maladies called �bouda� and �tigritiya� appear to depend upon some obscure connection between a weak impressionable brain and the strong will of a feared and hated race�the blacksmiths.
Chapter XXVIII. THE CEREMONIES OF THE YAUM AL-TARWIYAH, OR THE FIRST DAY.
AT ten A.M., on the 8th Zu�l Hijjah, A.H. 1269 (Monday, 12th Sept., 1853), habited in our Ihram, or pilgrim garbs, we mounted the litter. Shaykh Mas�ud had been standing at the door from dawn-time, impatient to start before the Damascus and the Egyptian caravans made the road dangerous. Our delay arose from the tyrannical conduct of the boy Mohammed, who insisted upon leaving his little nephew behind. It was long before he yielded. I then placed the poor child, who was crying bitterly, in the litter between us, and at last we started.
We followed the road by which the Caravans entered Meccah. It was covered with white-robed pilgrims, some few wending their way on foot[FN#1]; others riding, and all men barefooted and bareheaded. Most of the wealthier classes mounted asses. The scene was, as usual, one of strange contrasts: Badawin bestriding swift dromedaries; Turkish dignitaries on fine horses; the most picturesque beggars, and the most uninteresting Nizam. Not a little wrangling mingled with the loud bursts of Talbiyat. Dead animals dotted the ground, and carcasses had been cast into a dry tank, the Birkat al-Shami which caused every Badawi to
[p.179] hold his nose.[FN#2] Here, on the right of the road, the poorer pilgrims, who could not find houses, had erected huts, and pitched their ragged tents. Traversing the suburb Al-Ma�b�dah (Ma�abadah), in a valley between the two barren prolongations of Kayka�an and Khandamah, we turned to the north-east, leaving on the left certain barracks of Turkish soldiery, and the negro militia here stationed, with the Saniyat Kuda�a in the background. Then, advancing about 3000 paces over rising ground, we passed by the conical head of Jabal Nur,[FN#3] and entered the plain of many names.[FN#4] It contained nothing but a few whitewashed walls, surrounding places of prayer, and a number of stone cisterns, some well preserved, others in ruins. All, however, were dry, and water-vendors crowded the roadside. Gravel and lumps of granite grew there like grass, and from under every large stone, as Shaykh Mas�ud took a delight in showing, a small scorpion, with tail curled over its back, fled, Parthian-like, from the invaders of its home. At eleven A.M., ascending a Mudarraj, or flight of stone steps, about thirty yards broad, we passed without difficulty, for we were in advance of the caravans, over the Akabah, or Steeps,[FN#5] and the narrow, hill-girt entrance, to the low gravel basin in which Muna lies.
[p.180] Muna, more classically called Mina,[FN#6] is a place of considerable sanctity. Its three standing miracles are these: The pebbles thrown at �the Devil� return by angelic agency to whence they came; during the three Days of Drying Meat rapacious beasts and birds cannot prey there; and, lastly, flies do not settle upon the articles of food exposed so abundantly in the bazars.[FN#7] During pilgrimage, houses are let for an exorbitant sum, and it becomes a �World�s Fair� of Moslem merchants. At all other seasons it is almost deserted, in consequence, says popular superstition, of the Rajm or (diabolical) lapidation.[FN#8] Distant about three miles from Meccah, it is a long, narrow, straggling village, composed of mud and stone houses of one or two stories, built in the common Arab style. Traversing a narrow street, we passed on the left the Great Devil, which shall be described at a future time. After a quarter of an hour�s halt, spent over pipes and coffee, we came to an open space, where stands the Mosque �Al-Khayf.� Here, according to some Arabs, Adam lies, his head being at one end of one long wall, and his feet at another, whilst the dome covers his omphalic region. Grand preparations for fireworks were being made in this square; I especially remarked a fire-ship,
[p.181] which savoured strongly of Stambul. After passing through the town, we came to Batn al-Muhassir, �The Basin of the Troubler,[FN#9]� (Satan) at the beginning of a descent leading to Muzdalifah (the Approacher), where the road falls into the valley of the Arafat torrent.
At noon we reached the Muzdalifah, also called Mashar al-Haram, the �Place dedicated to religious Ceremonies.[FN#10]� It is known in Al-Islam as �the Minaret without the Mosque,� opposed to Masjid Nimrah, which is the �Mosque without the Minaret.� Half-way between Muna and Arafat, it is about three miles from both. There is something peculiarly striking in the distant appearance of the tall, solitary tower, rising abruptly from the desolate valley of gravel, flanked with buttresses of yellow rock. No wonder that the ancient Arabs loved to give the high-sounding name of this oratory to distant places in their giant Caliph-empire.
Here as we halted to perform the mid-day prayer, we were overtaken by the Damascus Caravan. It was a grand spectacle. The Mahmil, no longer naked as upon the line of march, flashed in the sun all green and gold. Around the moving host of white-robed pilgrims hovered a crowd of Badawin, male and female, all mounted on swift dromedaries, and many of them armed to the teeth. As their drapery floated in the wind, and their faces were veiled with the �Lisam,� it was frequently difficult to
[p.182] distinguish the sex of the wild being, flogging its animal to speed. These people, as has been said, often resort to Arafat for blood-revenge, in hopes of finding the victim unprepared. Nothing can be more sinful in Al-Islam than such deed�it is murder, �made sicker� by sacrilege; yet the prevalence of the practice proves how feeble is the religion�s hold upon the race. The women are as unscrupulous: I remarked many of them emulating the men in reckless riding, and striking with their sticks every animal in the way.
Travelling Eastward up the Arafat Fiumara, after about half an hour we came to a narrow pass called Al-Akhshabayn[FN#11] or the �Two Rugged Hills.� Here the spurs of the rock limited the road to about a hundred paces, and it is generally a scene of great confusion. After this we arrived at Al-Bazan (the Basin),[FN#12] a widening of the plain; and another half-hour brought us to the Alamayn (the �Two Signs�), whitewashed pillars, or rather thin, narrow walls, surmounted with pinnacles, which denote the precincts of the Arafat plain. Here, in full sight of the Holy Hill, standing boldly out from the deep blue sky, the host of pilgrims broke into loud Labbayks. A little beyond, and to our right, was the simple enclosure called the Masjid Nimrah.[FN#13] We then
[p.183] turned from our eastern course northwards, and began threading our way down the main street of the town of tents which clustered about the southern foot of Arafat. At last, about three P.M., we found a vacant space near the Matbakh, or kitchen, formerly belonging to a Sharif�s palace, but now a ruin with a few shells of arches.
Arafat is about six hours� very slow march, or twelve miles,[FN#14] on the Taif road, due east of Meccah. We arrived there in a shorter time, but our weary camels, during the last third of the way, frequently threw themselves upon the ground. Human beings suffered more. Between Muna and Arafat I saw no fewer than five men fall down and die upon the highway: exhausted and moribund, they had dragged themselves out to give up the ghost where it departs to instant beatitude.[FN#15] The spectacle showed how easy it is to die in these latitudes[FN#16]; each man suddenly staggered, fell as if shot; and, after a brief convulsion, lay still as marble. The corpses were carefully taken up, and carelessly buried that same evening, in a vacant space amongst the crowds encamped upon the Arafat plain.[FN#17]
The boy Mohammed, who had long chafed at my pertinacious [p.184] claim to Darwaysh-hood, resolved on this occasion to be grand. To swell the party he had invited Omar Effendi, whom we accidentally met in the streets of Meccah, to join us[;] but failing therein, he brought with him two cousins, fat youths of sixteen and seventeen, and his mother�s ground-floor servants. These were four Indians: an old man; his wife, a middle-aged woman of the most ordinary appearance; their son, a sharp boy, who spoke excellent Arabic[FN#18]; and a family friend, a stout fellow about thirty years old. They were Panjabis, and the bachelor�s history was instructive. He was gaining an honest livelihood in his own country, when suddenly one night Hazrat Ali, dressed in green, and mounted upon his charger Duldul[FN#19]�at least, so said the narrator�appeared, crying in a terrible voice, �How long wilt thou toil for this world, and be idle about the life to come?� From that moment, like an English murderer, he knew no peace; Conscience and Hazrat Ali haunted him.[FN#20] Finding
[p.185] life unendurable at home, he sold everything; raised the sum of twenty pounds, and started for the Holy Land. He reached Jeddah with a few rupees in his pocket[;] and came to Meccah, where, everything being exorbitantly dear and charity all but unknown, he might have starved, had he not been received by his old friend. The married pair and their son had been taken as house-servants by the boy Mohammed�s mother, who generously allowed them shelter and a pound of rice per diem to each, but not a farthing of pay. They were even expected to provide their own turmeric and onions. Yet these poor people were anxiously awaiting the opportunity to visit Al-Madinah, without which their pilgrimage would not, they believed, be complete. They would beg their way through the terrible Desert and its Badawin�an old man, a boy, and a woman! What were their chances of returning to their homes? Such, I believe, is too often the history of those wretches whom a fit of religious enthusiasm, likest to insanity, hurries away to the Holy Land. I strongly recommend the subject to the consideration of our Indian Government as one that calls loudly for their interference. No Eastern ruler parts, as we do, with his subjects; all object to lose productive power. To an �Empire of Opinion� this emigration is fraught with evils. It sends forth a horde of malcontents that ripen into bigots; it teaches foreign nations to despise our rule; and it unveils the present nakedness of once wealthy India. And we have both prevention and cure in our own hands.
As no Moslem, except the Maliki, is bound to pilgrimage without a sum sufficient to support himself and his family, all who embark at the different ports of India should be obliged to prove their solvency before being provided with a permit. Arrived at Jeddah, they should present the certificate at the British Vice-Consulate, where they would become entitled to assistance in case of necessity. The Vice-Consul at Jeddah ought also to be instructed
[p.186] to assist our Indian pilgrims. Mr. Cole, when holding that appointment, informed me that, though men die of starvation in the streets, he was unable to relieve them. The highways of Meccah abound in pathetic Indian beggars, who affect lank bodies, shrinking frames, whining voices, and all the circumstance of misery, because it supports them in idleness.
There are no fewer than fifteen hundred Indians at Meccah and Jeddah, besides seven or eight hundred in Al-Yaman. Such a body requires a Consul.[FN#21] By the representation of a Vice-Consul when other powers send an officer of superior rank to Al-Hijaz, we voluntarily place ourselves in an inferior position. And although the Meccan Sharif might for a time object to establishing a Moslem agent at the Holy City with orders to report to the Consul at Jeddah, his opposition would soon fall to the ground.
With the Indians� assistance the boy Mohammed removed the handsome Persian rugs with which he had covered the Shugduf, pitched the tent, carpeted the ground, disposed a Diwan of silk and satin cushions round the interior, and strewed the centre with new Chibuks, and highly polished Shishahs. At the doorway was placed a large copper fire-pan, with coffee-pots singing a welcome to visitors. In front of us were the litters, and by divers similar arrangements our establishment was made to look fine. The youth also insisted upon my removing the Rida, or upper cotton cloth, which had become way-soiled, and he supplied its place by a rich cashmere, left with him, some years before, by a son of the King of Delhi. Little thought I that this bravery of attire would lose me every word of the Arafat sermon next day.
Arafat, anciently called Jabal Ilal ([Arabic]), �the Mount
[p.187] of Wrestling in Prayer,� and now Jabal al-Rahmah, the �Mount of Mercy,� is a mass of coarse granite split into large blocks, with a thin coat of withered thorns. About one mile in circumference, it rises abruptly to the height of a hundred and eighty or two hundred feet, from the low gravelly plain�a dwarf wall at the Southern base forming the line of demarcation. It is separated by Batn Arnah ([Arabic]), a sandy vale,[FN#22] from the spurs of the Taif hills. Nothing can be more picturesque than the view it affords of the azure peaks behind, and the vast encampment scattered over the barren yellow plain below.[FN#23] On the North lay the regularly pitched camp of the guards that defend the unarmed pilgrims. To the Eastward was the Sharif�s encampment, with the bright Mahmils and
[p.188] the gilt knobs of the grandees� pavilions; whilst on the Southern and Western sides the tents of the vulgar crowded the ground, disposed in Dowar, or circles. After many calculations, I estimated the number to be not fewer than 50,000 of all ages and sexes; a sad falling off, it is true, but still considerable.
Ali Bey (A.D. 1807) calculates 83,000 pilgrims; Burckhardt (1814), 70,000. I reduce it, in 1853, to 50,000; and in A.D. 1854, owing to political causes, it fell to about 25,000. Of these at fewest 10,000 are Meccans, as every one who can leave the city does so at pilgrimage-time. The Arabs have a superstition that the numbers at Arafat cannot be counted, and that if fewer than 600,000 mortals stand upon the hill to hear the sermon, the angels descend and complete the number. Even this year my Arab friends declared that 150,000 spirits were present in human shape. It may be observed that when the good old Bertrand de la Brocquiere, esquire-carver to Philip of Burgundy, declares that the yearly Caravan from Damascus to Al-Madinah must always be composed of 700,000 persons, and that this number being incomplete, Allah sends some of his angels to make it up, he probably confounds the Caravan with the Arafat multitude.
The Holy Hill owes its name[FN#24] and honours to a well-known legend. When our first parents forfeited Heaven by eating wheat, which deprived them of their primeval purity, they were cast down upon earth. The serpent descended at Ispahan, the peacock at Kabul, Satan at Bilbays (others say Semnan and Seistan), Eve upon Arafat, and Adam at Ceylon. The latter, determining to seek his wife, began a journey, to which earth owes its present mottled appearance. Wherever our first father [p.189] placed his foot�which was large�a town afterwards arose; between the strides will always be �country.� Wandering for many years, he came to the Mountain of Mercy, where our common mother was continually calling upon his name, and their recognition gave the place the name of Arafat. Upon its summit, Adam, instructed by the archangel Gabriel, erected a Mada�a, or place of prayer: and between this spot and the Nimrah Mosque the couple abode till death. Others declare that after recognition, the first pair returned to India, whence for 44 years in succession they visited the Sacred City at pilgrimage-time.
From the Holy Hill I walked down to look at the camp arrangements. The main street of tents and booths, huts and shops, was bright with lanterns, and the bazars were crowded with people and stocked with all manner of Eastern delicacies. Some anomalous spectacles met the eye. Many pilgrims, especially the soldiers, were in laical costume. In one place a half-drunken Arnaut stalked down the road, elbowing peaceful passengers and frowning fiercely in hopes of a quarrel. In another part, a huge dimly-lit tent, reeking hot, and garnished with cane seats, contained knots of Egyptians, as their red Tarbushes, white turbands, and black Za�abuts showed, noisily intoxicating themselves with forbidden hemp. There were frequent brawls and great confusion; many men had lost their parties, and, mixed with loud Labbayks, rose the shouted names of women as well as of men. I was surprised at the disproportion of female nomenclature�the missing number of fair ones seemed to double that of the other sex�and at a practice so opposed to the customs of the Moslem world. At length the boy Mohammed enlightened me. Egyptian and other bold women, when unable to join the pilgrimage, will pay or persuade a friend to shout their names
[p.190] in hearing of the Holy Hill, with a view of ensuring a real presence at the desired spot next year. So the welkin rang with the indecent sounds of O Fatimah! O Zaynab! O Khayz�ran![FN#25] Plunderers, too, were abroad. As we returned to the tent we found a crowd assembled near it; a woman had seized a thief as he was beginning operations, and had the courage to hold his beard till men ran to her assistance. And we were obliged to defend by force our position against a knot of grave-diggers, who would bury a little heap of bodies within a yard or two of our tent.
One point struck me at once�the difference in point of cleanliness between an encampment of citizens and of Badawin. Poor Mas�ud sat holding his nose in ineffable disgust, for which he was derided by the Meccans. I consoled him with quoting the celebrated song of Maysunah, the beautiful Badawi wife of the Caliph Mu�awiyah. Nothing can be more charming in its own Arabic than this little song; the Badawin never hear it without screams of joy.
�O take these purple robes away, Give back my cloak of camel�s hair, And bear me from this tow�ring pile To where the Black Tents flap i� the air. The camel�s colt with falt�ring tread, The dog that bays at all but me, Delight me more than ambling mules� Than every art of minstrelsy; And any cousin, poor but free, Might take me, fatted ass! from thee.[FN#26]�
[p.191] The old man, delighted, clapped my shoulder, and exclaimed, �Verily, O Father of Mustachios, I will show thee the black tents of my tribe this year!�
At length night came, and we threw ourselves upon our rugs, but not to sleep. Close by, to our bane, was a prayerful old gentleman, who began his devotions at a late hour and concluded them not before dawn. He reminded me of the undergraduate my neighbour at Trinity College, Oxford, who would spout Aeschylus at two A.M. Sometimes the chant would grow drowsy, and my ears would hear a dull retreating sound; presently, as if in self-reproach, it would rise to a sharp treble, and proceed at a rate perfectly appalling. The coffee-houses, too, were by no means silent; deep into the night I heard the clapping of hands accompanying merry Arab songs, and the loud shouts of laughter of the Egyptian hemp-drinkers. And the guards and protectors of the camp were not �Charleys� or night-nurses.
[FN#1] Pilgrims who would win the heavenly reward promised to those who walk, start at an early hour. [FN#2] The true Badawi, when in the tainted atmosphere of towns, is always known by bits of cotton in his nostrils, or by his kerchief tightly drawn over his nose, a heavy frown marking extreme disgust. [FN#3] Anciently called Hira. It is still visited as the place of the Prophet�s early lucubrations, and because here the first verse of the Koran descended. As I did not ascend the hill, I must refer readers for a description of it to Burckhardt, vol. i. p. 320. [FN#4] Al-Abtah, �low ground�; Al Khayf, �the declivity�; Fina Makkah, the �court of Meccah�; Al-Muhassib (from Hasba, a shining white pebble), corrupted by our authors to Mihsab and Mohsab. [FN#5] The spot where Kusay fought and where Mohammed made his covenant. [FN#6] If Ptolemy�s �Min�i� be rightly located in this valley, the present name and derivation �Muna� (desire), because Adam here desired Paradise of Allah, must be modern. Sale, following Pococke, makes �Mina� (from Mana) allude to the flowing of victims� blood. Possibly it may be the plural of Minyat, which in many Arabic dialects means a village. This basin was doubtless thickly populated in ancient times, and Moslem historians mention its seven idols, representing the seven planets. [FN#7] According to Mohammed the pebbles of the accepted are removed by angels; as, however, each man and woman must throw 49 or 70 stones, it is fair to suspect the intervention of something more material. Animals are frightened away by the bustling crowd, and flies are found in myriads. [FN#8] This demoniacal practice is still as firmly believed in Arabia as it formerly was in Europe. [FN#9] Probably because here Satan appeared to tempt Adam, Abraham, and Ishmael. The Qanoon e Islam erroneously calls it the �Valley of Muhasurah,� and corrupts Mashar al-Haram into �Muzar al-Haram� (the holy shrine). [FN#10] Many, even since Sale corrected the error, have confounded this Mashar al-Haram with Masjid al-H?r?m of Meccah. According to Al-Fasi, quoted by Burckhardt, it is the name of a little eminence at the end of the Muzdalifah valley, and anciently called Jabal Kuzah; it is also, he says, applied to �an elevated platform inclosing the mosque of Muzdalifah.� Ibn Jubayr makes Mashar al-Haram synonymous with Muzdalifah, to which he gives a third name, �Jami.� [FN#11] Buckhardt calls it �Mazoumeyn,� or Al-Mazik, the pass. �Akeshab� may mean wooded or rugged; in which latter sense it is frequently applied to hills. Kayka�an and Abu Kubays at Meccah are called Al-Akshshabayn in some books. The left hill, in Ibn Jubayr�s time, was celebrated as a meeting-place for brigands. [FN#12] Kutb al-Din makes another Bazan the Southern limit of Meccah. [FN#13] Burckhardt calls this building, which he confounds with the �Jami Ibrahim,� the Jami Nimre; others Namirah, Nimrah, Namrah, and Namurah. It was erected, he says, by Kait Bey of Egypt, and had fallen into decay. It has now been repaired, and is generally considered neutral, and not Sanctuary ground, between the Harim of Meccah and the Holy Hill. [FN#14] Mr. W. Muir, in his valuable Life of Mahomet, vol. i, p. ccv., remarks upon this passage that at p. 180 ante, I made Muna three miles from Meccah, and Muzdalifah about three miles from Muna, and Arafat three miles from Muzdalifah,�a total of nine. But the lesser estimate does not include the outskirts of Meccah on the breadth of the Arafat Plain. The Calcutta Review (art. 1, Sept. 1853) notably errs in making Arafat eighteen miles east of Meccah. Ibn Jubayr reckons five miles from Meccah to Muzdalifah, and five from this to Arafat. [FN#15] Those who die on a pilgrimage become martyrs. [FN#16] I cannot help believing that some unknown cause renders death easier to man in hot than in cold climates; certain it is that in Europe rare are the quiet and painless deathbeds so common in the East. [FN#17] We bury our dead, to preserve them as it were; the Moslem tries to secure rapid decomposition, and makes the graveyard a dangerous as well as a disagreeable place. [FN#18] Arabs observe that Indians, unless brought young into the country, never learn its language well. They have a word to express the vicious pronunciation of a slave or an Indian, �Barbaret al-Hunud.� This root Barbara ([Arabic]), like the Greek �Barbaros,� appears to be derived from the Sanscrit Varvvaraha, an outcast, a barbarian, a man with curly hair. [FN#19] Ali�s charger was named Maymun, or, according to others, Zu�l Janah (the winged). Indians generally confound it with �Duldul,� Mohammed�s mule. [FN#20] These visions are common in history. Ali appeared to the Imam Shafe�i, saluted him,�an omen of eternal felicity,�placed a ring upon his finger, as a sign that his fame should extend wide as the donor�s, and sent him to the Holy Land. Ibrahim bin Adham, the saint-poet hearing, when hunting, a voice exclaim, �Man! it is not for this that Allah made thee!� answered, �It is Allah who speaks, his servant will obey!� He changed clothes with an attendant, and wandered forth upon a pilgrimage, celebrated in Al-Islam. He performed it alone, and making 1100 genuflexions each mile, prolonged it to twelve years. The history of Colonel Gardiner, and of many others amongst ourselves, prove that these visions are not confined to the Arabs. [FN#21] There is a Consul for Jeddah now, 1879, but till lately he was an unpaid. [FN#22] This vale is not considered �standing-ground,� because Satan once appeared to the Prophet as he was traversing it. [FN#23] According to Kutb al-Din, the Arafat plain was once highly cultivated. Stone-lined cisterns abound, and ruins of buildings are frequent. At the Eastern foot of the mountain was a broad canal, beginning at a spur of the Taif hills, and conveying water to Meccah; it is now destroyed beyond Arafat. The plain is cut with torrents, which at times sweep with desolating violence into the Holy City, and a thick desert vegetation shows that water is not deep below the surface. [FN#24] The word is explained in many ways. One derivation has already been mentioned. Others assert that when Gabriel taught Abraham the ceremonies, he ended by saying �A�arafata manasik�ak?��hast thou learned thy pilgrim rites? To which the Friend of Allah replied, �Araftu!��I have learned them. [FN#25] The latter name, �Ratan,� is servile. Respectable women are never publicly addressed by Moslems except as �daughter,� �female pilgrim,� after some male relation, �O mother of Mohammed,� �O sister of Omar,� or, tout bonnement, by a man�s name. It would be ill-omened and dangerous were the true name known. So most women, when travelling, adopt an alias. Whoever knew an Afghan fair who was not �Nur Jan,� or �Sahib Jan�? [FN#26] The British reader will be shocked to hear that by the term �fatted ass� the intellectual lady alluded to her husband. The story is that Mu�awiyah, overhearing the song, sent back the singer to her cousin and beloved wilds. Maysunah departed with her son Yazid, and did not return to Damascus till the �fatted ass� had joined his forefathers. Yazid inherited, with his mother�s talents, all her contempt for his father; at least the following quatrain, addressed to Mu�awiyah, and generally known in Al-Islam, would appear to argue anything but reverence:�
�I drank the water of the vine: that draught had power to rouse Thy wrath, grim father! now, indeed, �tis joyous to carouse! I�ll drink!�Be wroth!�I reck not!�Ah! dear to this heart of mine It is to scoff a sire�s command, to quaff forbidden wine.�
Chapter XXIX. THE CEREMONIES OF THE YAUM ARAFAT, OR THE SECOND DAY.
THE morning of the ninth Zu�l Hijjah (Tuesday, 13th Sept.) was ushered in by military sounds: a loud discharge of cannon warned us to arise and to prepare for the ceremonies of this eventful day.
After ablution and prayer, I proceeded with the boy Mohammed to inspect the numerous consecrated sites on the �Mountain of Mercy.� In the first place, we repaired to a spot on rising ground to the south-east, and within a hundred yards of the hill. It is called �Jami al-Sakhrah[FN#1]��the Assembling Place of the Rock�from two granite boulders upon which the Prophet stood to perform �Talbiyat.� There is nothing but a small enclosure of dwarf and whitewashed stone walls, divided into halves for men and women by a similar partition, and provided with a niche to direct prayer towards Meccah. Entering by steps, we found crowds of devotees and guardians, who for a consideration offered mats and carpets. After a two-bow prayer and a long supplication opposite the niche, we retired to the inner compartment, stood upon a boulder and shouted the �Labbayk.�
Thence, threading our way through many obstacles
[p.193] of tent and stone, we ascended the broad flight of rugged steps which winds up the southern face of the rocky hill. Even at this early hour it was crowded with pilgrims, principally Badawin and Wahhabis, who had secured favourable positions for hearing the sermon. Already their green flag was planted upon the summit close to Adam�s Place of Prayer. The wilder Arabs insist that �Wukuf� (standing) should take place upon the Hill. This is not done by the more civilised, who hold that all the plain within the Alamayn ranks as Arafat. According to Ali Bey, the Maliki school is not allowed to stand upon the mountain. About half way up I counted sixty-six steps, and remarked that they became narrower and steeper. Crowds of beggars instantly seized the pilgrims� robes, and strove to prevent our entering a second enclosure. This place, which resembles the former, except that it has but one compartment and no boulders, is that whence Mohammed used to address his followers; and here, to the present day, the Khatib, or preacher, in imitation of the �Last of the Prophets,� sitting upon a dromedary, recites the Arafat sermon. Here, also, we prayed a two-bow prayer, and gave a small sum to the guardian.
Thence ascending with increased difficulty to the hill-top, we arrived at a large stuccoed platform,[FN#2] with prayer-niche and a kind of obelisk, mean and badly built of lime and granite stone, whitewashed, and conspicuous from afar. It is called the Makam, or Mada�a Sayyidna Adam.[FN#3] Here we performed the customary ceremonies amongst a crowd of pilgrims, and then we walked down the little hill.
[p.194] Close to the plain we saw the place where the Egyptian and Damascus Mahmils stand during the sermon; and, descending the wall that surrounds Arafat by a steep and narrow flight of coarse stone steps, we found on our right the fountain which supplies the place with water. It bubbles from the rock, and is exceedingly pure, as such water generally is in Al-Hijaz.
Our excursion employed us longer than the description requires�nine o�clock had struck before we reached the plain. All were in a state of excitement. Guns fired incessantly. Horsemen and camel-riders galloped about without apparent object. Even the women and the children stood and walked, too restless even to sleep. Arrived at the tent, I was unpleasantly surprised to find a new visitor in an old acquaintance, Ali ibn Ya Sin the Zemzemi. He had lost his mule, and, wandering in search of its keepers, he unfortunately fell in with our party. I had solid reasons to regret the mishap�he was far too curious and too observant to suit my tastes. On the present occasion, he, being uncomfortable, made us equally so. Accustomed to all the terrible �neatness� of an elderly damsel in Great Britain, a few specks of dirt upon the rugs, and half a dozen bits of cinder upon the ground, sufficed to give him attacks of �nerves.�
That day we breakfasted late, for night must come before we could eat again. After mid-day prayer we performed ablutions; some the greater, others the less, in preparation for the �Wukuf,� or Standing. From noon onwards the hum and murmur of the multitude increased, and people were seen swarming about in all directions.
A second discharge of cannon (at about 3.15 P.M.) announced the approach of Al-Asr, the afternoon prayer, and almost immediately we heard the Naubat, or band preceding the Sharif�s procession, as he wended his way towards the mountain. Fortunately my tent was pitched close to the road, so that without trouble I had a perfect
[p.195] view of the scene. First swept a cloud of mace-bearers, who, as usual on such occasions, cleared the path with scant ceremony. They were followed by the horsemen of the Desert, wielding long and tufted spears. Immediately behind them came the Sharif�s led horses, upon which I fixed a curious eye. All were highly bred, and one, a brown Nijdi with black points, struck me as the perfection of an Arab. They were small, and all were apparently of the northern race.[FN#4] Of their old crimson-velvet
[p.196] caparisons the less said the better; no little Indian Nawab would show aught so shabby on state occasions.
After the chargers paraded a band of black slaves on foot bearing huge matchlocks; and immediately preceded by three green and two red flags, came the Sharif, riding in front of his family and courtiers. The prince, habited in a simple white Ihram, and bare-headed, mounted a mule; the only sign of his rank was a large green and gold embroidered umbrella, held over him by a slave. The rear was brought up by another troop of Badawin on horses and camels. Behind this procession were the tents, whose doors and walls were scarcely visible for the crowd; and the picturesque background was the granite hill, covered, wherever standing-room was to be found, with white-robed pilgrims shouting �Labbayk,� and waving the skirts of their glistening garments violently over their heads.
Slowly and solemnly the procession advanced towards the hill. Exactly at the hour Al-Asr, the two Mahmils had taken their station side by side on a platform in the lower slope. That of Damascus could be distinguished as the narrower and the more ornamented of the pair. The Sharif placed himself with his standard-bearers and his retinue a little above the Mahmils, within hearing of the preacher. The pilgrims crowded up to the foot of the mountain: the loud �Labbayk� of the Badawin and
[p.197] Wahhabis[FN#5] fell to a solemn silence, and the waving of white robes ceased�a sign that the preacher had begun the Khutbat al-Wakfah, or Sermon of the Standing (upon Arafat). From my tent I could distinguish the form of the old man upon his camel, but the distance was too great for ear to reach.
But how came I to be at the tent?
A short confession will explain. They will shrive me who believe in inspired Spenser�s lines�
�And every spirit, as it is more pure, And hath in it the more of heavenly light, So it the fairer body doth procure To habit in.��
The evil came of a �fairer body.� I had prepared en cachette a slip of paper, and had hid in my Ihram a pencil destined to put down the heads of this rarely heard discourse. But unhappily that red cashmere shawl was upon my shoulders. Close to us sat a party of fair Meccans, apparently belonging to the higher classes, and one of these I had already several times remarked. She was a tall girl, about eighteen years old, with regular features, a skin somewhat citrine-coloured, but soft and clear, symmetrical eyebrows, the most beautiful eyes, and a figure all grace. There was no head thrown back, no straightened neck, no flat shoulders, nor toes turned out�in fact, no �elegant� barbarisms: the shape was what the Arabs love, soft, bending, and relaxed, as a woman�s
[p.198] figure ought to be. Unhappily she wore, instead of the usual veil, a �Yashmak� of transparent muslin, bound round the face; and the chaperone, mother, or duenna, by whose side she stood, was apparently a very unsuspicious or complaisant old person. Flirtilla fixed a glance of admiration upon my cashmere. I directed a reply with interest at her eyes. She then by the usual coquettish gesture, threw back an inch or two of head-veil, disclosing broad bands of jetty hair, crowning a lovely oval. My palpable admiration of the new charm was rewarded by a partial removal of the Yashmak, when a dimpled mouth and a rounded chin stood out from the envious muslin. Seeing that my companions were safely employed, I entered upon the dangerous ground of raising hand to forehead. She smiled almost imperceptibly, and turned away. The pilgrim was in ecstasy.
The sermon was then half over. I was resolved to stay upon the plain and see what Flirtilla would do. Grace to the cashmere, we came to a good understanding. The next page will record my disappointment�that evening the pilgrim resumed his soiled cotton cloth, and testily returned the red shawl to the boy Mohammed.
The sermon always lasts till near sunset, or about three hours. At first it was spoken amid profound silence. Then loud, scattered �Amins� (Amens) and volleys of �Labbayk� exploded at uncertain intervals[.] At last the breeze brought to our ears a purgatorial chorus of cries, sobs, and shrieks. Even my party thought proper to be affected: old Ali rubbed his eyes, which in no case unconnected with dollars could by any amount of straining be made to shed even a crocodile�s tear; and the boy Mohammed wisely hid his face in the skirt of his Rida. Presently the people, exhausted by emotion, began to descend the hill in small parties; and those below struck their tents and commenced loading their camels, although at least an hour�s sermon remained. On this occassion, [p.199] however, all hurry to be foremost, as the �race from Arafat� is enjoyed by none but the Badawin.
Although we worked with a will, our animals were not ready to move before sunset, when the preacher gave the signal of �Israf,� or permission to depart. The pilgrims,
��swaying to and fro, Like waves of a great sea, that in mid shock Confound each other, white with foam and fear,�
rushed down the hill with a �Labbayk� sounding like a blast, and took the road to Muna. Then I saw the scene which has given to this part of the ceremonies the name of Al-Daf�a min Arafat,�the �Hurry from Arafat.� Every man urged his beast with might and main: it was sunset; the plain bristled with tent-pegs, litters were crushed, pedestrians were trampled, camels were overthrown: single combats with sticks and other weapons took place; here a woman, there a child, and there an animal were lost; briefly, it was a chaotic confusion.
To my disgust, old Ali insisted upon bestowing his company upon me. He gave over his newly found mule to the boy Mohammed, bidding him take care of the beast, and mounted with me in the Shugduf. I had persuaded Shaykh Mas�ud, with a dollar, to keep close in rear of the pretty Meccan; and I wanted to sketch the Holy Hill. The senior began to give orders about the camel�I, counter-orders. The camel was halted. I urged it on: old Ali directed it to be stopped. Meanwhile the charming face that smiled at me from the litter grew dimmer and dimmer; the more I stormed, the less I was listened to�a string of camels crossed our path�I lost sight of the beauty. Then we began to advance. Again, my determination to sketch seemed likely to fail before the Zemzemi�s little snake�s eye. After a few minutes� angry search for expedients, one suggested itself. �Effendi!� said old Ali, �sit quiet; there is danger here.� I tossed about like one suffering from evil conscience or from the
[p.200] colic. �Effendi!� shrieked the senior, �what art thou doing? Thou wilt be the death of us.� �Wallah!� I replied with a violent plunge, �it is all thy fault! There!� (another plunge)��put thy beard out of the other opening, and Allah will make it easy to us.� In the ecstasy of fear my tormentor turned his face, as he was bidden, towards the camel�s head. A second halt ensued, when I looked out of the aperture in rear, and made a rough drawing of the Mountain of Mercy.
At the Akhshabayn, double lines of camels, bristling with litters, clashed with a shock more noisy than the meeting of torrents. It was already dark: no man knew what he was doing. The guns roared their brazen notes, re-echoed far and wide by the harsh voices of the stony hills. A shower of rockets bursting in the air threw into still greater confusion the timorous mob of women and children. At the same time martial music rose from the masses of Nizam and the stouter-hearted pilgrims were not sparing of their Labbayk[FN#6] and �id kum Mubarak[FN#7]���May your Festival be happy!�
After the pass of the Two Rugged Hills, the road widened, and old Ali, who, during the bumping, had been in a silent convulsion of terror, recovered speech and spirits. This change he evidenced by beginning to be troublesome once more. Again I resolved to be his equal. Exclaiming, �My eyes are yellow with hunger!� I seized a pot full of savoury meat which the old man had previously stored for supper, and, without further preamble, began to eat it greedily, at the same time ready to shout with laughter at the mumbling and grumbling sounds that proceeded from the darkness of the litter. We were at least three hours on the road before reaching
[p.201] Muzdalifah, and being fatigued, we resolved to pass the night there.[FN#8] The Mosque was brilliantly illuminated, but my hungry companions[FN#9] apparently thought more of supper and of sleep than of devotion.[FN#10] Whilst the tent was being raised, the Indians prepared our food, boiled our coffee, filled our pipes, and spread our rugs. Before sleeping each man collected for himself seven �Jamrah��bits of granite the size of a small bean.[FN#11] Then, weary with emotion and exertion, all lay down except the boy Mohammed, who preceded us to find encamping ground at Muna. Old Ali, in lending his mule, made the most stringent arrangements with the youth about the exact place and the exact hour of meeting�an act of simplicity at which I could not but smile. The night was by no means peaceful or silent. Lines of camels passed us every ten minutes, and the shouting of travellers continued till near dawn. Pilgrims ought to have nighted at the Mosque, but, as in Burckhardt�s time, so in mine, baggage was considered to be in danger thereabouts, and consequently most of the devotees spent the sermon-hours in brooding over their boxes.
[FN#1] Ali Bey calls it �Jami al-Rahmah��of mercy. [FN#2] Here was a small chapel, which the Wahhabis were demolishing when Ali Bey was at Meccah. It has not been rebuilt. Upon this spot the Prophet, according to Burckhardt, used to stand during the ceremonies. [FN#3] Burckhardt gives this name to a place a little way on the left and about forty steps up the mountain. [FN#4] In Solomon�s time the Egyptian horse cost 150 silver shekels, which, if the greater shekel be meant, would still be about the average price, �18. Abbas, the late Pasha, did his best to buy first-rate Arab stallions: on one occasion he sent a mission to Al-Madinah for the sole purpose of fetching a rare work on farriery. Yet it is doubted whether he ever had a first-rate Nijdi. A Badawi sent to Cairo by one of the chiefs of Nijd, being shown by the viceroy�s order over the stables, on being asked his opinion of the blood, replied bluntly, to the great man�s disgust, that they did not contain a single thoroughbred[.] He added an apology on the part of his laird for the animals he had brought from Arabia, saying, that neither Sultan nor Shaykh could procure colts of the best strain. For none of these horses would a staunch admirer of the long-legged monster called in England a thoroughbred give twenty pounds. They are mere �rats,� short and stunted, ragged and fleshless, with rough coats and a slouching walk. But the experienced glance notes at once the fine snake-like head, ears like reeds, wide and projecting nostrils, large eyes, fiery and soft alternately, broad brow, deep base of skull, wide chest, crooked tail, limbs padded with muscle, and long elastic pasterns. And the animal put out to speed soon displays the wondrous force of blood. In fact, when buying Arabs, there are only three things to be considered,�blood, blood, and again blood. In Marco Polo�s time, Aden supplied the Indian market. The state of the tribes round the �Eye of Yaman� has effectually closed the road against horse-caravans for many years past. It is said that the Zu Mohammed and the Zu Hosayn, sub-families of the Benu Yam, a large tribe living around and north of Sana�a, in Al-Yaman, have a fine large breed called Al-Jaufi, and the clan Al-Aulaki, ([Arabic]), rear animals celebrated for swiftness and endurance. The other races are stunted, and some Arabs declare that the air of Al-Yaman causes a degeneracy in the first generation. The Badawin, on the contrary, uphold their superiority, and talk with the utmost contempt of the African horse. In India we now depend for Arab blood upon the Persian Gulf, and the consequences of monopoly display themselves in an increased price for inferior animals. Our studs are generally believed to be sinks for rupees. The Governments of India now object, it is said, to rearing, at a great cost, animals distinguished by nothing but ferocity. It is evident that Al-Hijaz never can stock the Indian market. Whether Al-Nijd will supply us when the transit becomes safer, is a consideration which time only can decide. Meanwhile it would be highly advisable to take steps for restoring the Aden trade by entering into closer relations with the Imam of Sana�a and the Badawi chiefs in the North of Al-Yaman. [FN#5] I obtained the following note upon the ceremonies of Wahhabi pilgrimage from one of their princes, Khalid Bey:�The Wahhabi (who, it must be borne in mind, calls himself a Muwahhid, or Unitarian, in opposition to Mushrik�Polytheist�any other sect but his own) at Meccah follows out his two principal tenets, public prayer for men daily, for women on Fridays, and rejection of the Prophet�s mediation. Imitating Mohammed, he spends the first night of pilgrimage at Muna, stands upon the hill Arafat, and, returning to Muna, passes three whole days there. He derides other Moslems, abridges and simplifies the Ka�abah ceremonies, and, if possible, is guided in his devotions by one of his own sect. [FN#6] This cry is repeated till the pilgrim reaches Muna; not afterwards. [FN#7] Another phrase is �Antum min al-aidin���May you be of the keepers of festival!� [FN#8] Hanafis usually follow the Prophet�s example in nighting at Muzdalifah; in the evening after prayers they attend at the Mosque, listen to the discourse, and shed plentiful tears. Most Shafe�is spend only a few hours at Muzdalifah. [FN#9] We failed to buy meat at Arafat, after noon, although the bazar was large and well stocked; it is usual to eat flesh there, consequently it is greedily bought up at an exorbitant price. [FN#10] Some sects consider the prayer at Muzdalifah a matter of vital importance. [FN#11] Jamrah is a �small pebble;� it is also called �Hasa,� in the plural, �Hasayat.�
Chapter XXX. THE CEREMONIES OF THE YAUM NAHR, OR THE THIRD DAY.
AT dawn on the id al-Kurban (10th Zu�l Hijjah, Wednesday, 14th September) a gun warned us to lose no time; we arose hurriedly, and started up the Batn Muhassir to Muna. By this means we lost at Muzdalifah the �Salat al-id,� or �Festival Prayers,� the great solemnity of the Moslem year, performed by all the community at daybreak. My companion was so anxious to reach Meccah, that he would not hear of devotions. About eight A.M. we entered the village, and looked for the boy Mohammed in vain. Old Ali was dreadfully perplexed; a host of high-born Turkish pilgrims were, he said, expecting him; his mule was missing�could never appear�he must be late�should probably never reach Meccah�what would become of him? I began by administering admonition to the mind diseased; but signally failing in a cure, I amused myself with contemplating the world from my Shugduf, leaving the office of directing it to the old Zemzemi. Now he stopped, then he pressed forward; here he thought he saw Mohammed, there he discovered our tent; at one time he would �nakh� the camel to await, in patience, his supreme hour; at another, half mad with nervousness, he would urge the excellent Mas�ud to hopeless inquiries. Finally, by good fortune, we found one of the boy Mohammed�s cousins, who led us to an enclosure [p.203] called Hosh al-Uzam, in the Southern portion of the Muna Basin, at the base of Mount Sabir.[FN#1] There we pitched the tent, refreshed ourselves, and awaited the truant�s return. Old Ali, failing to disturb my equanimity, attempted, as those who consort with philosophers often will do, to quarrel with me. But, finding no material wherewith to build a dispute in such fragments as �Ah!���Hem!���Wallah!� he hinted desperate intentions against the boy Mohammed. When, however, the youth appeared, with even more jauntiness of mien than usual, Ali bin Ya Sin lost heart, brushed by him, mounted his mule, and, doubtless cursing us �under the tongue,� rode away, frowning viciously, with his heels playing upon the beast�s ribs.
Mohammed had been delayed, he said, by the difficulty of finding asses. We were now to mount for �the Throwing,[FN#2]� as a preliminary to which we washed �with seven waters� the seven pebbles brought from Muzdalifah, and bound them in our Ihrams. Our first destination was the entrance to the western end of the long line which composes the Muna village. We found a swarming crowd in the narrow road opposite the �Jamrat al-Akabah,[FN#3]� or, as it is vulgarly called, the Shaytan al-Kabir�the �Great Devil.� These names distinguish it from another pillar, the �Wusta,� or �Central Place,� (of stoning,) built in the middle of Muna, and a third at the eastern end, �Al-Aula,� or the �First Place.[FN#4]� The �Shaytan al-Kabir� is a dwarf buttress of rude
[p.204] masonry, about eight feet high by two and a half broad, placed against a rough wall of stones at the Meccan entrance to Muna. As the ceremony of �Ramy,� or Lapidation, must be performed on the first day by all pilgrims between sunrise and sunset, and as the fiend was malicious enough to appear in a rugged Pass,[FN#5] the crowd makes the place dangerous. On one side of the road, which is not forty feet broad, stood a row of shops belonging principally to barbers. On the other side is the rugged wall against which the pillar stands, with a chevaux de frise of Badawin and naked boys. The narrow space was crowded with pilgrims, all struggling like drowning men to approach as near as possible to the Devil; it would have been easy to run over the heads of the mass. Amongst them were horsemen with rearing chargers. Badawin on wild camels, and grandees on mules and asses, with outrunners, were breaking a way by assault and battery. I had read Ali Bey�s self-felicitations upon escaping this place with �only two wounds in the left leg,� and I had duly provided myself with a hidden dagger. The precaution was not useless. Scarcely had my donkey entered the crowd than he was overthrown by a dromedary, and I found myself under the stamping and roaring beast�s stomach. Avoiding being trampled upon by a judicious use of the knife, I lost no time in escaping from a place so ignobly dangerous. Some Moslem travellers assert, in proof of the sanctity of the spot, that no Moslem is ever killed here: Meccans assured me that accidents are by no means rare.
Presently the boy Mohammed fought his way out of the crowd with a bleeding nose. We both sat down upon a bench before a barber�s booth, and, schooled by adversity,
[p.205] awaited with patience an opportunity. Finding an opening, we approached within about five cubits of the place, and holding each stone between the thumb and the forefinger[FN#6] of the right hand, we cast it at the pillar, exclaiming, �In the name of Allah, and Allah is Almighty! (I do this) in Hatred of the Fiend and to his Shame.� After which came the Tahlil and the �Sana,� or praise to Allah. The seven stones being duly thrown, we retired, and entering the barber�s booth, took our places upon one of the earthern benches around it. This was the time to remove the Ihram or pilgrim�s garb, and to return to Ihlal, the normal state of Al-Islam. The barber shaved our heads,[FN#7] and, after trimming our beards and cutting our nails, made us repeat these words: �I purpose loosening my Ihram according to the Practice of the Prophet, Whom may Allah bless and preserve! O Allah, make unto me in every Hair, a Light, a Purity, and a generous Reward! In the name of Allah, and Allah is Almighty!� At the conclusion of his labour, the barber politely addressed to us a �Na�iman�Pleasure to you!� To which we as ceremoniously replied, �Allah give thee pleasure!� We had no clothes with us, but we could use our cloths to cover our heads, and slippers to defend our feet from the fiery sun; and we now could safely twirl our mustachios and stroke our beards�placid enjoyments of which we had been deprived by the
[p.206] Laws of Pilgrimage. After resting about an hour in the booth, which, though crowded with sitting customers, was delightfully cool compared with the burning glare of the road, we mounted our asses, and at eleven A.M. we started Meccah-wards.
This return from Muna to Meccah is called Al-Nafr, or the Flight[FN#8]: we did not fail to keep our asses at speed, with a few halts to refresh ourselves with gugglets of water. There was nothing remarkable in the scene: our ride in was a repetition of our ride out. In about half an hour we entered the city, passing through that classical locality called �Batn Kuraysh,� which was crowded with people, and then we repaired to the boy Mohammed�s house for the purpose of bathing and preparing to visit the Ka�abah.
Shortly after our arrival, the youth returned home in a state of excitement, exclaiming, �Rise, Effendi! dress and follow me!� The Ka�abah, though open, would for a time be empty, so that we should escape the crowd. My pilgrim�s garb, which had not been removed, was made to look neat and somewhat Indian, and we sallied forth together without loss of time.
A crowd had gathered round the Ka�abah, and I had no wish to stand bareheaded and barefooted in the midday September sun. At the cry of �Open a path for the Haji who would enter the House,� the gazers made way. Two stout Meccans, who stood below the door, raised me in their arms, whilst a third drew me from above into the building. At the entrance I was accosted by several officials, dark-looking Meccans, of whom the blackest and plainest was a youth of the Benu Shaybah family,[FN#9]
[p.207] the sangre-azul of Al-Hijaz. He held in his hand the huge silver-gilt padlock of the Ka�abah,[FN#10] and presently taking his seat upon a kind of wooden press in the left corner of the hall, he officially inquired my name, nation, and other particulars. The replies were satisfactory, and the boy Mohammed was authoritatively ordered to conduct me round the building, and to recite the prayers. I will not deny that, looking at the windowless walls, the officials at the door, and the crowd of excited fanatics below�
�And the place death, considering who I was,�[FN#11] my feelings were of the trapped-rat description, acknowledged by the immortal nephew of his uncle Perez. This did not, however, prevent my carefully observing the scene during our long prayers, and making a rough plan with a pencil upon my white Ihram.
Nothing is more simple than the interior of this celebrated building. The pavement, which is level with the ground, is composed of slabs of fine and various coloured marbles, mostly, however, white, disposed chequerwise. The walls, as far as they can be seen, are of the same material, but the pieces are irregularly shaped, and many of them are engraved with long inscriptions in the Suls and other modern characters. The upper part of the walls, together with the ceiling, at which it is considered disrespectful to look,[FN#12] are covered with handsome
[p.208] red damask, flowered over with gold,[FN#13] and tucked up about six feet high, so as to be removed from pilgrims� hands. The flat roof is upheld by three cross-beams, whose shapes appear under the arras; they rest upon the eastern and western walls, and are supported in the centre by three columns[FN#14] about twenty inches in diameter, covered with carved and ornamented aloes wood.[FN#15] At the Iraki corner there is a dwarf door, called Bab al-Taubah (of Repentance).[FN#16] It leads into a narrow passage and to the staircase by which the servants ascend to the roof: it is never opened except for working purposes. The �Aswad� or
[p.209] �As�ad[FN#17]� corner is occupied by a flat-topped and quadrant-shaped press or safe,[FN#18] in which at times is placed the key of the Ka�abah.[FN#19] Both door and safe are of aloes wood. Between the columns, and about nine feet from the ground, ran bars of a metal which I could not distinguish, and hanging to them were many lamps, said to be of gold.
Although there were in the Ka�abah but a few attendants engaged in preparing it for the entrance of pilgrims,[FN#20] the windowless stone walls and the choked-up door made it worse than the Piombi of Venice; perspiration trickled in large drops, and I thought with horror what it must be when filled with a mass of furiously jostling and crushing fanatics. Our devotions consisted of a two-bow prayer,[FN#21] followed by long supplications at the Shami (West) corner, the Iraki (north) angle, the Yamani (south), and, lastly, opposite the southern third of the back wall.[FN#22] These concluded, I returned to the door, where payment is made. The boy Mohammed told me that the total expense would be seven dollars. At the same time he had been indulging aloud in his favourite rhodomontade, boasting of my greatness, and had declared me to be an Indian pilgrim, a race still supposed at
[p.210] Meccah to be made of gold.[FN#23] When seven dollars were tendered, they were rejected with instance. Expecting something of the kind, I had been careful to bring no more than eight. Being pulled and interpellated by half a dozen attendants, my course was to look stupid, and to pretend ignorance of the language. Presently the Shaybah youth bethought him of a contrivance. Drawing forth from the press the key of the Ka�abah, he partly bared it of its green-silk gold-lettered etui,[FN#24] and rubbed a golden knob quartrefoil-shaped upon my eyes, in order to brighten them. I submitted to the operation with a good grace, and added a dollar�my last�to the former offering. The Sharif received it with a hopeless glance, and, to my satisfaction, would not put forth his hand to be kissed. Then the attendants began to demand vails I replied by opening my empty pouch. When let down from the door by the two brawny Meccans, I was expected to pay them, and accordingly appointed to meet them at the boy Mohammed�s house; an arrangement to which they grumblingly assented. When delivered from these troubles, I was congratulated by my sharp companion thus: �Wallah, Effendi! thou hast escaped well! some men have left their skins behind.[FN#25]�
[p.211] All pilgrims do not enter the Ka�abah[FN#26]; and many refuse to do so for religious reasons. Omar Effendi, for instance, who never missed a pilgrimage, had never seen the interior.[FN#27] Those who tread the hallowed floor are bound, among many other things, never again to walk barefooted, to take up fire with the fingers, or to tell lies. Most really conscientious men cannot afford the luxuries of slippers, tongs, and truth. So thought Thomas, when offered the apple which would give him the tongue which cannot lie:�
��My tongue is mine ain,� true Thomas said. �A gudely gift ye wad gie to me! I neither dought to buy nor sell At fair or tryst, where I may be, I dought neither speak to prince or peer, Nor ask of grace from fair ladye!��
Amongst the Hindus I have met with men who have proceeded upon a pilgrimage to Dwarka, and yet who would not receive the brand of the god, because lying would then be forbidden to them. A confidential servant of a friend in Bombay na�vely declared that he had not been marked, as the act would have ruined him. There is a sad truth in what he said: Lying to the Oriental is meat and drink, and the roof that shelters him.
The Ka�abah had been dressed in her new attire when we entered.[FN#28] The covering, however, instead of being
[p.212] secured at the bottom to the metal rings in the basement, was tucked up by ropes from the roof, and depended over each face in two long tongues. It was of a brilliant black, and the Hizam�the zone or golden band running round the upper portion of the building�as well as the Burka (face-veil), were of dazzling brightness.[FN#29] The origin of this custom must be sought in the ancient practice of typifying the church visible by a virgin or bride. The poet Abd al-Rahim al Bura�i, in one of his Gnostic effusions, has embodied the idea:� ([Arabic]) �And Meccah�s bride (i.e. the Ka�abah) is displayed with (miraculous) signs.�
This idea doubtless led to the face-veil, the covering, and the guardianship of eunuchs.
The Meccan temple was first dressed as a mark of
[p.213] honour by Tobba the Himyarite when he Judaized.[FN#30] If we accept this fact, which is vouched for by Oriental history, we are led to the conclusion that the children of Israel settled at Meccah had connected the temple with their own faith, and, as a corollary, that the prophet of Al-Islam introduced their apocryphal traditions into his creed. The pagan Arabs did not remove the coverings: the old and torn Kiswah was covered with a new cloth, and the weight threatened to crush the building.[FN#31] From the time of Kusay, the Ka�abah was veiled by subscription, till Abu Rabi�at al-Mughayrah bin Abdullah, who, having acquired great wealth by commerce, offered to provide the Kiswah on alternate years, and thereby gained the name of Al-adil. The Prophet preferred a covering of fine Yaman cloth, and directed the expense to be defrayed by the Bayt al-Mal, or public treasury. Omar chose Egyptian linen, ordering the Kiswah to be renewed every year, and the old covering to be distributed among the pilgrims. In the reign of Osman, the Ka�abah was twice clothed, in winter and summer. For the former season, it received a Kamis, or Tobe (shirt) of brocade; with an Izar, or veil: for the latter a suit of fine linen. Mu�awiyah at first supplied linen and brocade; he afterwards exchanged the former for striped Yaman stuff, and ordered Shaybah bin Osman to strip the Ka�abah and to perfume the walls with Khaluk. Shaybah divided the old Kiswah among the pilgrims, and Abdullah bin Abbas did not object to this distribution.[FN#32] The Caliph Ma�amun (9th century) ordered
[p.214] the dress to be changed three times a year. In his day it was red brocade on the 10th Muharram; fine linen on the 1st Rajab; and white brocade on the 1st Shawwal. At last he was informed that the veil applied on the 10th of Muharram was too closely followed by the red brocade in the next month, and that it required renewing on the 1st of Shawwal. This he ordered to be done. Al-Mutawakkil (ninth century), when informed that the dress was spoiled by pilgrims, at first ordered two to be given and the brocade shirt to be let down as far as the pavement: at last he sent a new veil every two months. During the Caliphat of the Abbasides this investiture came to signify sovereignty in Al-Hijaz, which passed alternately from Baghdad to Egypt and Al-Yaman. In Al-Idrisi�s time (twel[f]th century A.D.) the Kiswah was composed of black silk, and renewed every year by the Caliph of Baghdad. Ibn Jubayr writes that it was green and gold. The Kiswah remained with Egypt when Sultan Kalaun[FN#33] (thirteenth century A.D.) conveyed the rents of two villages, �Baysus� and �Sindbus,[FN#34]� to the expense of providing an outer black and an inner red curtain for the Ka�abah, with hangings for the Prophet�s tomb at Al-Madinah. When the Holy Land fell under the power of Osmanli, Sultan Salim ordered the Kiswah to be black; and his son Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent (sixteenth
[p.215] century A.D.), devoted considerable sums to the purpose. The Kiswah was afterwards renewed at the accession of each Sultan. And the Wahhabis, during the first year of their conquest, covered the Ka�abah with a red Kiswah of the same stuff as the fine Arabian Aba or cloak, and made at Al-Hasa.
The Kiswah is now worked at a cotton manufactory called Al-Khurunfish, of the Tumn Bab al-Sha�ariyah, Cairo. It is made by a hereditary family, called the Bayt al-Sadi, and, as the specimen in my possession proves, it is a coarse tissue of silk and cotton mixed. The Kiswah is composed of eight pieces�two for each face of the Ka�abah�the seams being concealed by the Hizam, a broad band, which at a distance looks like gold; it is lined with white calico, and is supplied with cotton ropes. Anciently it is said all the Koran was interwoven into it. Now, it is inscribed �Verily, the First of Houses founded for Mankind (to worship in) is that at Bekkah[FN#35]; blessed and a Direction to all Creatures�; together with seven chapters, namely, the Cave, Mariam, the Family of Amran, Repentance, T.H. with Y.S. and Tabarak. The character is that called Tumar, the largest style of Eastern calligraphy, legible from a considerable distance.[FN#36] The Hizam is a band about two feet broad, and surrounding the Ka�abah at two-thirds of its height. It is divided into four pieces, which are sewn together. On the first and second is inscribed the �Throne verslet,� and on the third and fourth the titles of the reigning Sultan. These inscriptions are, like the Burka, or door curtain, gold worked into red silk, by the Bayt al-Sadi. When the Kiswah is ready at Khurunfish, it is carried in
[p.216] procession to the Mosque Al-Hasanayn, where it is lined, sewn, and prepared for the journey.[FN#37]
After quitting the Ka�abah, I returned home exhausted, and washed with henna and warm water, to mitigate the pain of the sun-scalds upon my arms, shoulders, and breast. The house was empty, all the Turkish pilgrims being still at Muna; and the Kabirah�the old lady�received me with peculiar attention. I was ushered into an upper room, whose teak wainscotings, covered with Cufic and other inscriptions, large carpets, and ample Diwans, still showed a sort of ragged splendour. The family had �seen better days,� the Sharif Ghalib having confiscated three of its houses; but it is still proud, and cannot merge the past into the present. In the �drawing-room,� which the Turkish colonel occupied when at Meccah, the Kabirah supplied me with a pipe, coffee, cold water, and breakfast. I won her heart by praising the graceless boy Mohammed; like all mothers, she dearly loved the scamp of the family. When he entered, and saw his maternal parent standing near me, with only the end of her veil drawn over her mouth, he began to scold her with divers insinuations. �Soon thou wilt sit amongst the men in the hall!� he exclaimed. �O, my son,� rejoined the Kabirah, �fear Allah: thy mother is in years!��and truly she was so, being at least fifty. �A-a-h� sneered the youth, who had formed, as boys of the world must do, or appear to do, a very low estimate of the sex. The old lady understood the drift of the exclamation, and departed with a half-laughing �May Allah disappoint thee!� She soon, however, returned, bringing me water for ablution; and having heard that I had not yet sacrificed a sheep at Muna, enjoined me to return and perform without delay that important rite.
[p.217]After resuming our laical toilette, and dressing gaily for the great festival, we mounted our asses about the cool of the afternoon, and, returning to Muna, we found the tent full of visitors. Ali ibn Ya Sin, the Zemzemi, had sent me an amphora of holy water, and the carrier was awaiting the customary dollar. With him were several Meccans, one of whom spoke excellent Persian. We sat down, and chatted together for an hour; and I afterwards learned from the boy Mohammed, that all had pronounced me to be an �Ajami.
After their departure we debated about the victim, which is only a Sunnat, or practice of the Prophet.[FN#38] It is generally sacrificed immediately after the first lapidation, and we had already been guilty of delay. Under these circumstances, and considering the meagre condition of my purse, I would not buy a sheep, but contented myself with watching my neighbours. They gave themselves great trouble, especially a large party of Indians pitched near us, to buy the victim cheap; but the Badawin were not less acute, and he was happy who paid less than a dollar and a quarter. Some preferred contributing to buy a lean ox. None but the Sharif and the principal dignitaries slaughtered camels. The pilgrims dragged their victims to a smooth rock near the Akabah, above which stands a small open pavilion, whose sides, red with fresh blood, showed that the prince and his attendants had been busy at sacrifice. [FN#39] Others stood before their tents, and, directing the victim�s face towards the Ka�abah, cut its throat, ejaculating, �Bismillah! Allaho Akbar[FN#40]�
[p.218] The boy Mohammed sneeringly directed my attention to the Indians, who, being a mild race, had hired an Arab butcher to do the deed of blood; and he aroused all Shaykh Nur�s ire by his taunting comments upon the chicken-heartedness of the men of Hind. It is considered a meritorious act to give away the victim without eating any portion of its flesh. Parties of Takruri might be seen sitting vulture-like, contemplating the sheep and goats; and no sooner was the signal given, than they fell upon the bodies, and cut them up without removing them. The surface of the valley soon came to resemble the dirtiest slaughter-house, and my prescient soul drew bad auguries for the future.
We had spent a sultry afternoon in the basin of Muna, which is not unlike a volcanic crater, an Aden closed up at the seaside. Towards night the occasional puffs of Samum ceased, and through the air of deadly stillness a mass of purple nimbus, bisected by a thin grey line of mist-cloud, rolled down upon us from the Taif hills. When darkness gave the signal, most of the pilgrims pressed towards the square in front of the Muna Mosque, to enjoy the pyrotechnics and the discharge of cannon. But during the spectacle came on a windy storm, whose lightnings, flashing their fire from pole to pole paled the rockets; and whose thunderings, re-echoed by the rocky hills, dumbed the puny artillery of man. We were disappointed in our hopes of rain. A few huge drops pattered upon the plain and sank into its thirsty entrails; all the rest was thunder and lightning, dust-clouds and whirlwind.
[FN#1] Even pitching ground here is charged to pilgrims. [FN#2] Some authorities advise that this rite of �Ramy� be performed on foot. [FN#3] The word �Jamrah� is applied to the place of stoning, as well as to the stones. [FN#4] These numbers mark the successive spots where the Devil, in the shape of an old Shaykh, appeared to Adam, Abraham, and Ishmael, and was driven back by the simple process taught by Gabriel, of throwing stones about the size of a bean. [FN#5] I borrow this phrase from Ali Bey, who, however, speaks more like an ignorant Catalonian than a learned Abbaside, when he calls the pillar �La Maison du Diable,� and facetiously asserts that �le diable a eu la malice de placer sa maison dans un lieu fort etroit qui n�a peut-etre pas 34 pieds de large.� [FN#6] Some hold the pebble as a schoolboy does a marble, others between the thumb and forefinger extended, others shoot them from the thumb knuckle, and most men consult their own convenience. [FN#7] The barber removed all my hair. Hanifis shave at least a quarter of the head, Shafe�is a few hairs on the right side. The prayer is, as usual, differently worded, some saying, �O Allah this my Forelock is in Thy Hand, then grant me for every Hair a Light on Resurrection-day, by Thy Mercy O most Merciful of the Merciful!� I remarked that the hair was allowed to lie upon the ground, whereas strict Moslems, with that reverence for man�s body�the Temple of the Supreme�which characterizes their creed, carefully bury it in the earth. [FN#8] This word is confounded with �Dafa� by many Moslem authors. Some speak of the Nafr from Arafat to Muzdalifah and the Dafa from Muzdalifah to Muna. I have used the words as my Mutawwif used them. [FN#9] They keep the keys of the House. In my day the head of the family was �Shaykh Ahmad.� [FN#10] In Ibn Jubayr�s time this large padlock was of gold. It is said popularly that none but the Benu Shaybah can open it; a minor miracle, doubtless proceeding from the art of some Eastern Hobbs or Bramah. [FN#11] However safe a Christian might be at Meccah, nothing could preserve him from the ready knives of enraged fanatics if detected in the House. The very idea is pollution to a Moslem. [FN#12] I do not known the origin of this superstition; but it would be unsafe for a pilgrim to look fixedly at the Ka�abah ceiling. Under the arras I was told is a strong planking of Saj, or Indian teak, and above it a stuccoed Sath, or flat roof. [FN#13] Exactly realising the description of our English bard:� �Goodly arras of great majesty, Woven with gold and silk so close and nere, That the rich metal lurked privily, As feigning to be hid from envious eye.� [FN#14] Ibn Jubayr mentions three columns of teak. Burckhardt and Ali Bey, two. In Al-Fasi�s day there were four. The Kuraysh erected six columns in double row. Generally the pillars have been three in number. [FN#15] This wood, which has been used of old to ornament sacred buildings in the East, is brought to Meccah in great quantities by Malay and Java pilgrims. The best kind is known by its oily appearance and a �fizzing� sound in fire; the cunning vendors easily supply it with these desiderata. [FN#16] Ibn Jubayr calls it Bab al-Rahmah. [FN#17] The Hajar al-Aswad is also called Al-As�ad, or the Propitious. [FN#18] Here, in Ibn Jubayr�s time, stood two boxes full of Korans. [FN#19] The key is sometimes placed in the hands of a child of the house of Shaybah, who sits in state, with black slaves on both sides. [FN#20] In Ibn Jubayr�s day the Ka�abah was opened with more ceremony. The ladder was rolled up to the door, and the chief of the Benu Shaybah, ascending it, was covered by attendants with a black veil from head to foot, whilst he opened the padlock. Then, having kissed the threshold, he entered, shut the door behind him, and prayed two Rukats; after which, all the Benu Shaybah, and, lastly, the vulgar were admitted. In these day the veil is obsolete. The Shaykh enters the Ka�abah alone, perfumes it and prays; the pilgrims are then admitted en masse; and the style in which the eunuchs handle their quarter-staves forms a scene more animated than decorous. [FN#21] Some pray four instead of two bows. [FN#22] Burckhardt erroneously says, �in every corner.� [FN#23] These Indians are ever in extremes, paupers or millionaires, and, like all Moslems, the more they pay at Meccah the higher becomes their character and religious titles. A Turkish Pasha seldom squanders as much money as does a Moslem merchant from the far East. Khudabakhsh, the Lahore shawl-dealer, owned to having spent 800l. in feastings and presents. He appeared to consider that sum a trifle, although, had a debtor carried off one tithe of it, his health would have been seriously affected. [FN#24] The cover of the key is made, like Abraham�s veil, of three colours, red, black or green. It is of silk, embroidered with golden letters, and upon it are written the Bismillah, the name of the reigning Sultan, �Bag of the key of the holy Ka�abah,� and a verselet from the �Family of Amran� (Koran, ch. 3). It is made, like the Kiswah, at Khurunfish, a place that will be noticed below. [FN#25] �Ecorches���pelati;� the idea is common to most imaginative nations. [FN#26] The same is the case at Al-Madinah; many religious men object on conscientious grounds to enter the Prophet�s mosque. The poet quoted below made many visitations to Al-Madinah, but never could persuade himself to approach the tomb. The Esquire Carver saw two young Turks who had voluntarily had their eyes thrust out at Meccah as soon as they had seen the glory and visible sanctity of the tomb of Mohammed. I �doubt the fact,� which thus appears ushered in by a fiction. [FN#27] I have not thought it necessary to go deep into the list of �Muharramat,� or actions forbidden to the pilgrim who has entered the Ka�abah. They are numerous and meaningless. [FN#28] The use of the feminine pronoun is explained below. When unclothed, the Ka�abah is called Uryanah (naked), in opposition to its normal state, �Muhramah,� or clad in Ihram. In Burckhardt�s time the house remained naked for fifteen days; now the investiture is effected in a few hours. [FN#29] The gold-embroidered curtain covering the Ka�abah door is called by the learned �Burka al-Ka�abah� (the Ka�abah�s face-veil), by the vulgar Burka Fatimah; they connect it in idea with the Prophet�s daughter. [FN#30] The pyramids, it is said, were covered from base to summit with yellow silk or satin. [FN#31] At present the Kiswah, it need scarcely be said, does not cover the flat roof. [FN#32] Ayishah also, when Shaybah proposed to bury the old Kiswah, that it might not be worn by the impure, directed him to sell it, and to distribute the proceeds to the poor. The Meccans still follow the first half, but neglect the other part of the order given by the �Mother of the Moslems.� Kazi Khan advises the proceeds of the sale being devoted to the repairs of the temple. The �Siraj al-Wahhaj� positively forbids, as sinful, the cutting, transporting, selling, buying, and placing it between the leaves of the Koran. Kutb al-Din (from whom I borrow these particulars) introduces some fine and casuistic distinctions. In his day, however, the Benu Shaybah claimed the old, after the arrival of the new Kiswah; and their right to it was admitted. To the present day they continue to sell it. [FN#33] Some authors also mention a green Kiswah, applied by this monarch. Embroidered on it were certain verselets of the Koran, the formula of the Moslem faith, and the names of the Prophet�s Companions. [FN#34] Burckhardt says �Bysous� and �Sandabeir.� [FN#35] From the �Family of Amran� (chap. 3). �Bekkah� is �a place of crowding�; hence applied to Meccah generally. Some writers, however, limit it to the part of the city round the Harim. [FN#36] It is larger than the suls. Admirers of Eastern calligraphy may see a �Bismillah,� beautifully written in Tumar, on the wall of Sultan Mu�ayyad�s Mosque at Cairo. [FN#37] Mr. Lane (Mod. Egypt. vol. iii. chap. 25) has given an ample and accurate description of the Kiswah. I have added a few details, derived from �Khalil Effendi� of Cairo, a professor of Arabic, and an excellent French scholar. [FN#38] Those who omit the rite fast ten days; three during the pilgrimage season, and the remaining seven at some other time. [FN#39] The camel is sacrificed by thrusting a pointed instrument into the interval between the sternum and the neck. This anomaly may be accounted for by the thickness and hardness of the muscles of the throat. [FN#40] It is strange that the accurate Burckhardt should make the Moslem say, when slaughtering or sacrificing, �In the name of the most Merciful God!� As Mr. Lane justly observes, the attribute of mercy is omitted on these occasions.
Chapter XXXI. THE THREE DAYS OF DRYING FLESH.
ALL was dull after the excitement of the Great Festival. The heat of the succeeding night rendered every effort to sleep abortive; and as our little camp required a guard in a place so celebrated for plunderers, I spent the greater part of the time sitting in the clear pure moon-light.[FN#1]
After midnight we again repaired to the Devils, and, beginning with the Ula, or first pillar, at the Eastern extremity of Muna, threw at each, seven stones (making a total of twenty-one), with the ceremonies before described.
On Thursday (Sept. 15th, 1853), we arose before dawn, and prepared with a light breakfast for the fatigues of a climbing walk. After half an hour spent in hopping from boulder to boulder, we arrived at a place situated on the lower declivity of the Jabal Sabir, the northern wall of the Muna basin. Here is the Majarr al-Kabsh, �the Dragging-place of the Ram,� a small, whitewashed square, divided
[p.220] into two compartments. The first is entered by a few ragged steps in the south-east angle, which lead to an enclosure thirty feet by fifteen. In the north-east corner is a block of granite (A), in which a huge gash, several inches broad, some feet deep, and completely splitting the stone in knife-shape, notes the spot where Ibrahim�s blade fell when the archangel Gabriel forbade him to slay Ismail his son. The second compartment contains a diminutive hypogaeum (B). In this cave the patriarch sacrificed the victim, which gives the place a name. We descended by a flight of steps, and under the stifling ledge of rock found mats and praying-rugs, which, at this early hour, were not overcrowded. We followed the example of the patriarchs, and prayed a two-bow prayer in each of the enclosures. After distributing the usual gratification, we left the place, and proceeded to mount the hill, in hope of seeing some of the apes said still to haunt the heights. These animals are supposed by the Meccans to have been Jews, thus transformed for having broken the Sabbath by hunting.[FN#2] They abound in the elevated regions about Arafat and Taif, where they are caught by mixing the juice of the Asclepias and narcotics with dates and other sweet bait.[FN#3] The Hijazi ape is a hideous cynocephalus, with small eyes placed close together, and almost hidden by a disproportionate snout; a greenish-brown coat, long arms, and a stern of lively pink, like fresh meat. They
[p.221] are docile, and are said to be fond of spirituous liquors, and to display an inordinate affection for women. Al-Mas�udi tells about them a variety of anecdotes. According to him their principal use in Hind and Chin was to protect kings from poison, by eating suspected dishes. The Badawin have many tales concerning them. It is universally believed that they catch and kill kites, by exposing the rosy portion of their persons and concealing the rest; the bird pounces upon what appears to be raw meat, and presently finds himself viciously plucked alive. Throughout Arabia an old story is told of them. A merchant was once plundered during his absence by a troop of these apes; they tore open his bales, and, charmed with the scarlet hue of the Tarbushes, began applying those articles of dress to uses quite opposite to their normal purpose. The merchant was in despair, when his slave offered for a consideration to recover the goods. Placing himself in the front, like a fugleman to the ape-company, he went through a variety of man�uvres with a Tarbush, and concluded with throwing it far away. The recruits carefully imitated him, and the drill concluded with his firing a shot; the plunderers decamped and the caps were recovered.
Failing to see any apes, we retired to the tent ere the sun waxed hot, in anticipation of a terrible day. Nor were we far wrong. In addition to the heat, we had swarms of flies, and the blood-stained earth began to reek with noisome vapours. Nought moved in the air except kites and vultures, speckling the deep blue sky: the denizens of earth seemed paralysed by the fire from above. I spent the time between breakfast and nightfall lying half-dressed upon a mat, moving round the tent-pole to escape the glare, and watching my numerous neighbours, male and female. The Indians were particularly kind, filling my pipe, offering cooled water, and performing similar little offices. I repaid them with a supply of provisions,
[p.222] which, at the Muna market-prices, these unfortunates could ill afford.
When the moon arose the boy Mohammed and I walked out into the town, performed our second lapidation,[FN#4] and visited the coffee-houses. The shops were closed early, but business was transacted in places of public resort till midnight. We entered the houses of numerous acquaintances, who accosted my companion, and were hospitably welcomed with pipes and coffee. The first question always was, �Who is this pilgrim?� and more than once the reply, �An Afghan,� elicited the language of my own country, which I could no longer speak. Of this phenomenon, however, nothing was thought: many Afghans settled in India know not a word of Pushtu, and even above the Passes many of the townspeople are imperfectly
[p.223] acquainted with it. The Meccans in consequence of their extensive intercourse with strangers and habits of travelling, are admirable conversational linguists. They speak Arabic remarkably well, and with a volubility surpassing the most lively of our continental nations. Persian, Turkish, and Hindustani are generally known: and the Mutawwifs, who devote themselves to various races of pilgrims, soon become masters of many languages.
Returning homewards, we were called to a spot by the clapping of hands[FN#5] and the loud sound of song. We found a crowd of Badawin surrounding a group engaged in their favourite occupation of dancing. The performance is wild in the extreme, resembling rather the hopping of bears than the inspirations of Terpischore. The bystanders joined in the song; an interminable recitative, as usual, in the minor key, and�Orientals are admirable timists�it sounded like one voice. The refrain appeared to be� �La Yayha! La Yayha!� to which no one could assign a meaning. At other times they sang something intelligible. For instance:� [Arabic] That is to say,�
�On the Great Festival-day at Muna I saw my lord. I am a stranger amongst you, therefore pity me!�
This couplet may have, like the puerilities of certain modern and European poets, an abstruse and mystical
[p.224] meaning, to be discovered when the Arabs learn to write erudite essays upon nursery rhymes. The style of saltation, called Rufayah, rivalled the song. The dancers raised both arms above their heads, brandishing a dagger, pistol, or some other small weapon. They followed each other by hops, on one or both feet, sometimes indulging in the most demented leaps; whilst the bystanders clapped with their palms a more enlivening measure. This I was told is especially their war-dance. They have other forms, which my eyes were not fated to see. Amongst the Badawin of Al-Hijaz, unlike the Somali and other African races, the sexes never mingle: the girls may dance together, but it would be disgraceful to perform in the company of men.
After so much excitement we retired to rest, and slept soundly.
On Friday, the 12th Zu�l Hijjah, the camels appeared, according to order, at early dawn, and they were loaded with little delay. We were anxious to enter Meccah in time for the sermon, and I for one was eager to escape the now pestilential air of Muna.
Literally, the land stank. Five or six thousand animals had been slain and cut up in this Devil�s Punch-bowl. I leave the reader to imagine the rest. The evil might be avoided by building abattoirs, or, more easily still, by digging long trenches, and by ordering all pilgrims, under pain of mulct, to sacrifice in the same place. Unhappily, the spirit of Al-Islam is opposed to these precautions of common sense,��Inshallah� and �Kismat� must take the place of prevention and of cure. And at Meccah, the head-quarters of the faith, a desolating attack of cholera is preferred to the impiety of �flying in the face of Providence,� and the folly of endeavouring to avert inevitable decrees.[FN#6]
[p.225] Mounting our camels, and led by Mas�ud, we entered Muna by the eastern end, and from the litter threw the remaining twenty-one stones. I could now see the principal lines of shops, and, having been led to expect a grand display of merchandise, was surprised to find only mat-booths and sheds, stocked chiefly with provisions. The exit from Muna was crowded, for many, like ourselves, were flying from the revolting scene. I could not think without pity of those whom religious scruples detained another day and a half in this foul spot.
After entering Meccah we bathed, and when the noon drew nigh we repaired to the Harim for the purpose of hearing the sermon. Descending to the cloisters below the Bab al-Ziyadah, I stood wonder-struck by the scene before me. The vast quadrangle was crowded with worshippers sitting in long rows, and everywhere facing the central black tower: the showy colours of their dresses were not to be surpassed by a garden of the most brilliant flowers, and such diversity of detail would probably not be seen massed together in any other building upon earth. The women, a dull and sombre-looking group, sat apart in their peculiar place. The Pasha stood on the roof of Zemzem, surrounded by guards in Nizam uniform. Where the principal Olema stationed themselves, the crowd was thicker; and in the more auspicious spots nought was to be seen but a pavement of heads and shoulders. Nothing seemed to move but a few Darwayshes, who, censer in hand, sidled through the rows and received the unsolicited alms of the Faithful. Apparently in the midst, and raised above the crowd by the tall, pointed pulpit, whose gilt spire flamed in the sun, sat the preacher, an old man with snowy beard. The style of head-dress
[p.226] called Taylasan[FN#7] covered his turband, which was white as his robes,[FN#8] and a short staff supported his left hand.[FN#9] Presently he arose, took the staff in his right hand, pronounced a few inaudible words,[FN#10] and sat down again on one of the lower steps, whilst a Mu�ezzin, at the foot of the pulpit, recited the call to sermon. Then the old man stood up and began to preach. As the majestic figure began to exert itself there was a deep silence. Presently a general �Amin� was intoned by the crowd at the conclusion of some long sentence. And at last, towards the end of the sermon, every third or fourth word was followed by the simultaneous rise and fall of thousands of voices.
I have seen the religious ceremonies of many lands, but never�nowhere�aught so solemn, so impressive as this.
[FN#1] It is not safe to perform this ceremony at an early hour, although the ritual forbids it being deferred after sunset. A crowd of women, however, assembled at the Devils in the earlier part of the 11th night (our 10th); and these dames, despite the oriental modesty of face-veils, attack a stranger with hands and stones as heartily as English hop-gatherers hasten to duck the Acteon who falls in their way. Hence, popular usage allows stones to be thrown by men until the morning prayers of the 11th Zu�l Hijjah. [FN#2] Traditions about these animals vary in the different parts of Arabia. At Aden, for instance, they are supposed to be a remnant of the rebellious tribe of �ad. It is curious that the popular Arabic, like the Persian names, Sa�adan, Maymun, Shadi, &c., &c., are all expressive of (a probably euphuistic) �propitiousness.� [FN#3] The Egyptians generally catch, train, and take them to the banks of the Nile, where the �Kurayeati� (ape-leader) is a popular character. [FN#4] This ceremony, as the reader will have perceived, is performed by the Shafe�is on the 10th, the 11th, and the 12th of Zu�l Hijjah. The Hanafis conclude their stoning on the 13th. The times vary with each day, and differ considerably in religious efficacy. On the night of the 10th (our 9th), for instance, lapidation, according to some authorities, cannot take place; others permit it, with a sufficient reason. Between the dawn and sunrise it is Makruh, or disapproved of. Between sunrise and the declination is the Sunnat-time, and therefore the best. From noon to sunset it is Mubah, or permissible: the same is the case with the night, if a cause exist. On the 11th and 12th of Zu�l Hijjah lapidation is disapproved of from sunset to sunrise. The Sunnat is from noon to sunset, and it is permissible at all other hours. The number of stones thrown by the Shafe�is, is 49, viz., 7 on the 10th day, 7 at each pillar (total 21) on the 11th day, and the same on the 12th Zu�l Hijjah. The Hanafis also throw 21 stones on the 13th, which raises their number to 70. The first 7 bits of granite must be collected at Muzdalifah; the rest may be taken from the Muna valley; and all must be washed 7 times before being thrown. In throwing, the Hanafis attempt to approach the pillar, if possible, standing within reach of it. Shafe�is may stand at a greater distance, which should not, however, pass the limits of 5 cubits. [FN#5] Here called Safk. It is mentioned by Herodotus, and known to almost every oriental people. The Badawin sometimes, though rarely, use a table or kettledrum. Yet, amongst the �Pardah,� or miuscal modes of the East, we find the Hijazi ranking with the Isfahani and the Iraki. Southern Arabia has never been celebrated for producing musicians, like the banks of the Tigris to which we owe, besides castanets and cymbals, the guitar, the drum, and the lute, father of the modern harp. The name of this instrument is a corruption of the Arabic �Al-�ud� ([Arabic text]), through liuto and luth, into lute. [FN#6] NOTE TO THIRD EDITION.�Since this was written there have been two deadly epidemics, which began, it is reported, at Muna. The victims, however, have never numbered 700,000, nor is �each pilgrim required to sacrifice one animal at the shrine of Mohammed,�(!) as we find it in �Cholera Prospects,� by Tilbury Fox, M.D. (Hardwicke). [FN#7] A scarf thrown over the head, with one end brought round under the chin and passed over the left shoulder composes the �Taylasan.� [FN#8] As late as Ibn Jubayr�s time the preacher was habited from head to foot in black; and two Mu�ezzins held black flags fixed in rings on both sides of the pulpit, with the staves propped upon the first step. [FN#9] Mr. Lane remarks, that the wooden sword is never held by the preacher but in a country that has been won from infidels by Moslems. Burckhardt more correctly traces the origin of the custom to the early days of Al-Islam, when the preachers found it necessary to be prepared for surprises. And all authors who, like Ibn Jubayr, described the Meccan ceremonies, mention the sword or staff. The curious reader will consult this most accurate of Moslem travellers; and a perusal of the pages will show that anciently the sermon differed considerably from, and was far more ceremonious than, the present Khutbah. [FN#10] The words were �Peace be upon ye! and the Mercy of Allah and His Blessings!�
Chapter XXXII. LIFE AT MECCAH, AND UMRAH, OR THE LITTLE PILGRIMAGE.
MY few remaining days at Meccah sped pleasantly enough. Omar Effendi visited me regularly, and arranged to accompany me furtively to Cairo. I had already consulted Mohammed Shiklibha�who suddenly appeared at Muna, having dropped down from Suez to Jeddah, and having reached Meccah in time for pilgrimage�about the possibility of proceeding Eastward. The honest fellow�s eyebrows rose till they almost touched his turband, and he exclaimed in a roaring voice, �Wallah! Effendi! thou art surely mad.� Every day he brought me news of the different Caravans. The Badawin of Al-Hijaz were, he said, in a ferment caused by the reports of the Holy War, want of money, and rumours of quarrels between the Sharif and the Pasha: already they spoke of an attack upon Jeddah. Shaykh Mas�ud, the camel man, from whom I parted on the best of terms, seriously advised my remaining at Meccah for some months even before proceeding to Sana�a. Others gave the same counsel. Briefly I saw that my star was not then in the ascendant, and resolved to reserve myself for a more propitious conjuncture by returning to Egypt.
The Turkish colonel and I had become as friendly as two men ignoring each other�s speech could be. He had derived benefit from some prescription; but, like all his countrymen, he was pining to leave Meccah.[FN#1] Whilst the
[p.228] pilgrimage lasted, said they, no mal de pays came to trouble them; but, its excitement over, they could think of nothing but their wives and children. Long-drawn faces and continual sighs evidenced nostalgia. At last the house became a scene of preparation. Blue chinaware and basketed bottles of Zemzem water appeared standing in solid columns, and pilgrims occupied themselves in hunting for mementoes of Meccah; ground-plans; combs, balm, henna, tooth-sticks; aloes-wood, turquoises, coral, and mother-o�-pearl rosaries; shreds of Kiswah-cloth and fine Abas, or cloaks of camels�-wool. It was not safe to mount the stairs without shouting �Tarik� (Out of the way!) at every step, on peril of meeting face to face some excited fair.[FN#2] The lower floor was crowded with provision-vendors; and the staple article of conversation seemed to be the chance of a steamer from Jeddah to Suez.
Weary of the wrangling and chaffering of the hall below, I had persuaded my kind hostess, in spite of the surly skeleton her brother, partially to clear out a small store-room in the first floor, and to abandon it to me between the hours of ten and four. During the heat of the day clothing is unendurable at Meccah. The city is so �compacted together� by hills, that even the Samum can scarcely sweep it; the heat reverberated by the bare rocks is intense, and the normal atmosphere of an Eastern town communicates a faint lassitude to the body and irritability to the mind. The houses being unusually strong and well-built, might by some art of thermantidote be rendered cool enough in the hottest weather:
[p.229] they are now ovens.[FN#3] It was my habit to retire immediately after the late breakfast to the little room upstairs, to sprinkle it with water, and to lie down on a mat. In the few precious moments of privacy notes were committed to paper, but one eye was ever fixed on the door. Sometimes a patient would interrupt me, but a doctor is far less popular in Al-Hijaz than in Egypt. The people, being more healthy, have less faith in physic: Shaykh Mas�ud and his son had never tasted in their lives aught more medicinal than green dates and camel�s milk. Occasionally the black slave-girls came into the room, asking if the pilgrim wanted a pipe or a cup of coffee: they generally retired in a state of delight, attempting vainly to conceal with a corner of tattered veil a grand display of ivory consequent upon some small and innocent facetiousness. The most frequent of my visitors was Abdullah, the Kabirah�s eldest son. This melancholy Jacques had joined our caravan at Al-Hamra, on the
[p.230] Yambu� road, accompanied us to Al-Madinah, lived there, and journeyed to Meccah with the Syrian pilgrimage; yet he had not once come to visit me or to see his brother, the boy Mohammed. When gently reproached for this omission, he declared it to be his way�that he never called upon strangers until sent for. He was a perfect Saudawi (melancholist) in mind, manners, and personal appearance, and this class of humanity in the East is almost as uncomfortable to the household as the idiot of Europe. I was frequently obliged to share my meals with him, as his mother�though most filially and reverentially entreated�would not supply him with breakfast two hours after the proper time, or with a dinner served up forty minutes before the rest of the household. Often, too, I had to curb, by polite deprecation, the impetuosity of the fiery old Kabirah�s tongue. Thus Abdullah and I became friends, after a fashion. He purchased several little articles required, and never failed to pass hours in my closet, giving me much information about the country; deploring the laxity of Meccan morals, and lamenting that in these evil days his countrymen had forfeited their name at Cairo and at Constantinople. His curiosity about the English in India was great, and I satisfied it by praising, as a Moslem would, their politike, their evenhanded justice, and their good star. Then he would inquire into the truth of a fable extensively known on the shores of the Mediterranean and of the Red Sea. The English, it is said, sent a mission to Mohammed, inquiring into his doctrines, and begging that the heroic Khalid bin Walid[FN#4] might be sent to proselytise them. Unfortunately,
[p.231] the envoys arrived too late�the Prophet�s soul had winged its way to Paradise. An abstract of the Moslem scheme was, however, sent to the �Ingreez,� who declined, as the Founder of the New Faith was no more, to abandon their own religion; but the refusal was accompanied with expressions of regard. For this reason many Moslems in Barbary and other countries hold the English to be of all �People of the Books� the best inclined towards them. As regards the Prophet�s tradition concerning the fall of his birthplace, �and the thin-calved from the Habash (Abyssinians) shall destroy the Ka�abah,� I was informed that towards the end of time a host will pass from Africa in such multitudes that a stone shall be conveyed from hand to hand between Jeddah and Meccah. This latter condition might easily be accomplished by sixty thousand men, the distance being only forty-four miles, but the citizens consider it to express a countless horde. Some pious Moslems have hoped that in Abdullah bin Zubayr�s re-erection of the Ka�abah the prophecy was fulfilled[FN#5]: the popular belief, however, remains that the fatal event is still in the womb of time. In a previous part of this volume I have alluded to similar evil presentiments which haunt the mind of Al-Islam; and the Christian, zealous for the propagation of his faith, may see in them an earnest of its still wider diffusion in future ages. [FN#6]
Late in the afternoon I used to rise, perform ablution, and repair to the Harim, or wander about the bazars till sunset. After this it was necessary to return home and prepare for supper�dinner it would be called in the West.
[p.232] The meal concluded, I used to sit for a time outside the street-door in great dignity, upon a broken-backed black-wood chair, traditionally said to have been left in the house by one of the princes of Delhi, smoking a Shishah, and drinking sundry cups of strong green tea with a slice of lime, a fair substitute for milk. At this hour the seat was as in a theatre, but the words of the actors were of a nature somewhat too Fescennine for a respectable public. After nightfall we either returned to the Harim or retired to rest. Our common dormitory was the flat roof of the house; under each cot stood a water-gugglet; and all slept, as must be done in the torrid lands, on and not in bed.
I sojourned at Meccah but a short time, and, as usual with travellers, did not see the best specimens of the population. The citizens appeared to me more civilised and more vicious than those of Al-Madinah. They often leave
�Home, where small experience grows,�
and�qui multum peregrinatur, raro sanctificatur�become a worldly-wise, God-forgetting, and Mammonish sort of folk. Tuf w� asaa, w� aamil al-saba��Circumambulate and run (i.e. between Safa and Marwah) and commit the Seven (deadly sins)��is a satire popularly levelled against them. Hence, too, the proverb Al-haram f� il Haramayn��Evil (dwelleth) in the two Holy Cities�; and no wonder, since plenary indulgence is so easily secured.[FN#7] The pilgrim is forbidden, or rather dissuaded, from abiding at Meccah after the rites, and wisely. Great emotions must be followed by a re-action. And he who stands struck by the first aspect of Allah�s house, after a few months, the marvel waxing stale, sweeps past with indifference or something worse.
[p.233] There is, however, little at Meccah to offend the eye. As among certain nations further West, a layer of ashes overspreads the fire: the mine is concealed by a green turf fair to look upon. It is only when wandering by starlight through the northern outskirts of the town that citizens may be seen with light complexions and delicate limbs, coarse turbands, and Egyptian woollen robes, speaking disguise and the purpose of disguise. No one within the memory of man has suffered the penalty of immorality. Spirituous liquors are no longer sold, as in Burckhardt�s day,[FN#8] in shops; and some Arnaut officers assured me that they found considerable difficulty in smuggling flasks of Araki from Jeddah.
The Meccan is a darker man than the Madinite. The people explain this by the heat of the climate. I rather believe it to be caused by the number of female slaves that find their way into the market. Gallas, Sawahilis, a few Somalis, and Abyssinians are embarked at Suakin, Zayla, Tajurrah, and Berberah, carried in thousands to Jeddah, and the Holy City has the pick of every batch. Thence the stream sets Northwards, a small current towards Al-Madinah, and the main line to Egypt and Turkey.[FN#9]
Most Meccans have black concubines, and, as has been said, the appearance of the Sharif is almost that of a negro. I did not see one handsome man in the Holy City, although some of the women appeared to me beautiful. The male profile is high and bony, the forehead recedes, and the head rises unpleasantly towards the region of firmness. In most families male children, when forty days old, are taken to the Ka�abah, prayed over, and carried home, where the barber draws with a razor three parallel gashes
[p.234] down the fleshy portion of each cheek, from the exterior angles of the eyes almost to the corners of the mouth. These Mashali, as they are called,[FN#10] may be of modern date: the citizens declare that the custom was unknown to their ancestors. I am tempted to assign to it a high antiquity, and cannot but attribute a pagan origin to a custom still prevailing, despite all the interdictions of the Olema. In point of figure the Meccan is somewhat coarse and lymphatic. The ludicrous leanness of the outward man, as described by Ali Bey, survives only in the remnants of themselves belonging to a bygone century. The young men are rather stout and athletic, but in middle age�when man �swills and swells��they are apt to degenerate into corpulence.
The Meccan is a covetous spendthrift. His wealth, lightly won, is lightly prized. Pay, pension, stipends, presents, and the Ikram, here, as at Al-Madinah, supply the citizen with the means of idleness. With him everything is on the most expensive scale, his marriage, his religious ceremonies, and his household expenses. His
[p.235] house is luxuriously furnished; entertainments are frequent, and the junketings of his women make up a heavy bill at the end of the year. It is a common practice for the citizen to anticipate the pilgrimage season by falling into the hands of the usurer. If he be in luck, he catches and �skins� one or more of the richest Hajis. On the other hand, should fortune fail him, he will feel for life the effect of interest running on at the rate of at least fifty per cent., the simple and the compound forms of which are equally familiar to the wily Sarraf.[FN#11]
The most unpleasant peculiarities of the Meccan[s][FN#12] are their pride and coarseness of language. Looking upon themselves as the cream of earth�s sons, they resent with extreme asperity the least slighting word concerning the Holy City and its denizens. They plume themselves upon their holy descent, their exclusion of Infidels,[FN#13] their strict fastings, their learned men, and their purity of language.[FN#14] In fact, their pride shows itself at every moment;
[p.236] but it is not the pride which makes a man too proud to do �dirty work.� My predecessor did not remark their scurrility: he seems, on the contrary, rather to commend them for respectability in this point. If he be correct, the present generation has degenerated. The Meccans appeared to me distinguished, even in this foul-mouthed East, by the superior licentiousness of their language. Abuse was bad enough in the streets, but in the house it became intolerable. The Turkish pilgrims remarked, but they were too proud to notice it. The boy Mohammed and one of his tall cousins at last transgressed the limits of my endurance. They had been reviling each other vilely one day at the house-door about dawn, when I administered the most open reprimand: �In my country (Afghanistan) we hold this to be the hour of prayer, the season of good thoughts, when men remember Allah; even the Kafir doth not begin the day with curses and abuse.� The people around approved, and the offenders could not refrain from saying, �Thou hast spoken truth, O Effendi!� Then the bystanders began, as usual, to �improve the occasion.� �See,� they exclaimed, �this Sulaymani gentleman, he is not the Son of a Holy City, and yet he teacheth you�ye, the children of the Prophet!�repent and fear Allah!� They replied, �Verily we do repent, and Allah is a Pardoner and the Merciful!��were silent for an hour, and then abused each other more foully than before. Yet it is a good point in the Meccan character, that it is open to reason, it can confess itself
[p.237] in error, and it displays none of that doggedness of vice which distinguishes the sinner of a more stolid race. Like the people of Southern Europe, the Semite is easily managed by a jest: though grave and thoughtful, he is by no means deficient in the sly wit which we call humour, and the solemn gravity of his words contrasts amusingly with his ideas. He particularly excels in the Cervantic art, the spirit of which, says Sterne, is to clothe low subjects in sublime language. In Mohammed�s life we find that he by no means disdained a joke, sometimes a little hasarde, as in the case of the Paradise-coveting old woman. The redeeming qualities of the Meccan are his courage, his bonhommie, his manly suavity of manners, his fiery sense of honour, his strong family affections, his near approach to what we call patriotism, and his general knowledge: the reproach of extreme ignorance which Burckhardt directs against the Holy City has long ago sped to the Limbo of things that were. The dark half of the picture is formed by pride, bigotry, irreligion, greed of gain, immorality, and prodigal ostentation. Of the pilgrimage ceremonies I cannot speak harshly. It may be true that �the rites of the Ka�abah, emasculated of every idolatrous tendency, still hang a strange unmeaning shroud around the living theism of Islam.� But what nation, either in the West or in the East, has been able to cast out from its ceremonies every suspicion of its old idolatry? What are the English mistletoe, the Irish wake, the Pardon of Brittany, the Carnival, and the Worship at Iserna? Better far to consider the Meccan pilgrimage rites in the light of Evil-worship turned into lessons of Good than to philosophize about their strangeness, and to blunder in asserting them to be insignificant. Even the Badawi circumambulating the Ka�abah fortifies his wild belief by the fond thought that he treads the path of �Allah�s friend.�
At Arafat the good Moslem worships in imitation of
[p.238] the �Pure of Allah[FN#15]�; and when hurling stones and curses at three senseless little buttresses which commemorate the appearance of the fiend, the materialism of the action gives to its sentiment all the strength and endurance of reality. The supernatural agencies of pilgrimage are carefully and sparingly distributed. The angels who restore the stones from Muna to Muzdalifah; the heavenly host whose pinions cause the Ka�abah�s veil to rise and to wave, and the mysterious complement of the pilgrim�s total at the Arafat sermon, all belong to the category of spiritual creatures walking earth unseen,�a poetical tenet, not condemned by Christianity. The Meccans are, it is true, to be reproached with their open Mammon-worship, at times and at places the most sacred and venerable; but this has no other effect upon the pilgrims than to excite disgust and open reprehension. Here, however, we see no such silly frauds as heavenly fire drawn from a phosphor-match; nor do two rival churches fight in the flesh with teeth and nails, requiring the contemptuous interference of an infidel power to keep around order. Here we see no fair dames staring with their glasses, braques at the Head of the Church; or supporting exhausted nature with the furtive sandwich; or carrying pampered curs who, too often, will not be silent; or scrambling and squeezing to hear theatrical music, reckless of the fate of the old lady who�on such occasions there is always one�has been �thrown down and cruelly trampled upon by the crowd.� If the Meccan citizens are disposed to scoff at the wild Takruri, they do it not so publicly or shamelessly as the Roman jeering with ribald jest at the fanaticism of strangers from the bogs of Ireland. Finally, at Meccah there is nothing theatrical, nothing that suggests the opera; but all is simple and impressive, filling the mind with
�A weight of awe not easy to be borne,�
and tending, I believe, after its fashion, to good.
[p.239] As regards the Meccan and Moslem belief that Abraham and his son built the Ka�abah, it may be observed the Genesitic account of the Great Patriarch has suggested to learned men the idea of two Abrahams, one the son of Terah, another the son of Azar (fire), a Prometheus who imported civilisation and knowledge into Arabia from Harran, the sacred centre of Sabaean learning.[FN#16] Moslem historians all agree in representing Abraham as a star-worshipper in youth, and Eusebius calls the patriarch son of Athar; his father�s name, therefore, is no Arab invention. Whether Ishmael or his sire ever visited Meccah to build the Ka�abah is, in my humble opinion, an open question. The Jewish Scripture informs us only that the patriarch dwelt at Beersheba and Gerar, in the south-west of Palestine, without any allusion to the annual visit which Moslems declare he paid to their Holy City. At the same time Arab tradition speaks clearly and consistently upon the subject, and generally omits those miraculous and superstitious adjuncts which cast shadows of sore doubt upon the philosophic mind.
The amount of risk which a stranger must encounter at the pilgrimage rites is still considerable. A learned Orientalist and divine intimated his intention, in a work
[p.240] published but a few years ago, of visiting Meccah without disguise. He was assured that the Turkish governor would now offer no obstacle to a European traveller. I would strongly dissuade a friend from making the attempt. It is true that the Frank is no longer, as in Captain Head�s day,[FN#17] insulted when he ventures out of the Meccan Gate of Jeddah; and that our Vice-Consuls and travellers are allowed, on condition that their glance do not pollute the shrine, to visit Taif and the regions lying Eastward of the Holy City. Neither the Pasha nor the Sharif would, in these days, dare to enforce, in the case of an Englishman, the old law, a choice thrice offered between circumcision and death. But the first Badawi who caught sight of the Frank�s hat would not deem himself a man if he did not drive a bullet through the wearer�s head. At the pilgrimage season disguise is easy on account of the vast and varied multitudes which visit Meccah exposing the traveller only to �stand the buffet with knaves who smell of sweat.� But woe to the unfortunate who happens to be recognised in public as an Infidel�unless at least he could throw himself at once upon the protection of the government.[FN#18] Amidst, however, a crowd of pilgrims, whose fanaticism is worked up to the highest pitch, detection would probably ensure his dismissal at once al numero de� piu. Those who find danger the salt of pleasure may visit Meccah; but if asked whether the results justify the risk, I should reply in the negative. And the Vice-Consul at Jeddah would only do his duty in peremptorily forbidding European travellers to attempt Meccah without disguise, until the day comes when such steps can be taken in the certainty of not causing a mishap;
[p.241] an accident would not redound to our reputation, as we could not in justice revenge it.[FN#19]
On the 14th Zu�l Hijjah we started to perform the rite of Umrah, or Little Pilgrimage. After performing ablution, and resuming the Ihram with the usual ceremonies, I set out, accompanied by the boy Mohammed and his brother Abdullah. Mounting asses which resembled mules in size and speed,[FN#20] we rode to the Harim, and prayed there. Again remounting, we issued through the Bab al-Safa towards the open country north-east of the city. The way was crowded with pilgrims, on foot as well as mounted, and their loud Labbayk distinguished those engaged in the Umrah rite from the many whose business was with the camp of the Damascus Caravan. At about half a mile from the city we passed on the left a huge heap of stones, where my companions stood and cursed. This grim-looking cairn is popularly believed to note the place of the well where Abu Lahab laid an ambuscade for the Prophet. This wicked uncle stationed there a slave, with orders to throw headlong into the pit the first person who
[p.242] approached him, and privily persuaded his nephew to visit the spot at night: after a time, anxiously hoping to hear that the deed had been done, Abu Lahab incautiously drew nigh, and was precipitated by his own bravo into the place of destruction.[FN#21] Hence the well-known saying in Islam, �Whoso diggeth a well for his brother shall fall into it himself.� We added our quota of stones,[FN#22] and proceeding, saw the Jeddah road spanning the plain like a white ribbon. In front of us the highway was now lined with coffee-tents, before which effeminate dancing-boys performed to admiring Syrians; a small whitewashed �Bungalow,� the palace of the Emir al-Hajj, lay on the left, and all around it clustered the motley encampment of his pilgrims. After cantering about three miles from the city, we reached the Alamayn, or two pillars that limit the Sanctuary; and a little beyond it is the small settlement popularly called Al-Umrah.[FN#23] Dismounting here, we
[p.243] sat down on rugs outside a coffee-tent to enjoy the beauty of the moonlit night, and an hour of Kayf, in the sweet air of the Desert.
Presently the coffee-tent keeper, after receiving payment, brought us water for ablution. This preamble over, we entered the principal chapel; an unpretending building, badly lighted, spread with dirty rugs, full of pilgrims, and offensively close. Here we prayed the Isha, or night devotions, and then a two-bow prayer in honour of the Ihram,[FN#24] after which we distributed gratuities to the guardians, and alms to the importunate beggars. And now I perceived the object of Abdullah�s companionship. The melancholy man assured me that he had ridden out for love of me, and in order to perform as Wakil (substitute) a vicarious pilgrimage for my parents. Vainly I assured him that they had been strict in the exercises of their faith. He would take no denial, and I perceived that love of me meant love of my dollars. With a surly assent, he was at last permitted to act for the �pious pilgrim Yusuf (Joseph) bin Ahmad and Fatimah bint Yunus,��my progenitors. It was impossible to prevent smiling at contrasts, as Abdullah, gravely raising his hands, and directing his face to the Ka�abah, intoned, �I do vow this Ihram of Umrah in the name of Yusuf Son of Ahmad, and Fatimah Daughter of Yunus; then render it attainable unto them, and accept it of them! Bismillah! Allaho Akbar!�
[p.244] Remounting, we galloped towards Meccah, shouting Labbayk, and halting at every half-mile to smoke and drink coffee. In a short time we entered the city, and repairing to the Harim by the Safa Gate, performed the Tawaf, or circumambulation of Umrah. After this dull round and necessary repose we left the temple by the same exit, and mounting once more, turned towards Al-Safa, which stands about a hundred yards South-East of the Mosque, and as little deserves its name of �Mountain� as do those that undulate the face of modern Rome. The Safa end is closed by a mean-looking building, composed of three round arches, with a dwarf flight of stairs leading up to them out of a narrow road. Without dismounting, we wheeled our donkeys[FN#25] round, �left shoulders forward,� no easy task in the crowd, and, vainly striving to sight the Ka�abah through the Bab al-Safa, performed the Niyat, or vow of the rite Al-Sai, or the running.[FN#26] After Tahlil, Takbir, and Talbiyat, we raised our hands in the supplicatory position, and twice repeated,[FN#27] �There is no god but Allah, Alone, without Partner; His is the Kingdom, unto Him be Praise; He giveth Life and Death, He is alive and perisheth not; in His Hand is Good, and He over all Things is Omnipotent.� Then, with the donkey-boys leading our animals and a stout fellow preceding us with lantern and a quarter-staff to keep off the running Badawin, camel-men, and riders of asses, we descended Safa, and walked slowly down the street Al-Massa, towards Marwah.[FN#28]
[p.245] During our descent we recited aloud, �O Allah, cause me to act according to the Sunnat of Thy Prophet, and to die in His faith, and defend me from errors and disobedience by Thy Mercy, O most Merciful of the Merciful!� Arrived at what is called the Batn al-Wady (Belly of the Vale), a place now denoted by the Milayn al-Akhzarayn (the two green pillars[FN#29]), one fixed in the Eastern course of the Harim, the other in a house on the right side,[FN#30] we began the running by urging on our beasts. Here the prayer was, �O Lord, pardon and pity, and pass over what Thou knowest, for Thou art the most dear and the most generous! Save us from Hell-fire safely, and cause us safely to enter Paradise! O Lord, give us Happiness here and Happiness hereafter, and spare us the Torture of the Flames!� At the end of this supplication we had passed the Batn, or lowest ground, whose farthest limits were marked by two other pillars.[FN#31] Again we began to ascend, repeating, as we went, �Verily, Safa and Marwah are two of the Monuments of Allah. Whoso, therefore, pilgrimeth to the Temple of Meccah, or performeth Umrah, it shall be no Crime in him (to run between them both). And as for him who voluntarily doeth a good Deed, verily Allah is Grateful and Omniscient[FN#32]!� At length we reached Marwah, a little rise like Safa in the lower slope of Abu Kubays. The houses cluster in amphitheatre shape above it, and from the Masa�a, or street below, a short flight of steps to a platform, bounded on three sides like a tennis-court, by tall walls without arches. The
[p.246] street, seen from above, has a bowstring curve: it is between eight and nine hundred feet long,[FN#33] with high houses on both sides, and small lanes branching off from it. At the foot of the platform we brought �right shoulders forward,� so as to face the Ka�abah, and raising hands to ears, thrice exclaimed, �Allaho Akbar.� This concluded the first course, and, of these, seven compose the ceremony Al-Sai, or the running. There was a startling contrast with the origin of this ceremony,�
�When the poor outcast on the cheerless wild, Arabia�s parent, clasped her fainting child,��
as the Turkish infantry marched, in European dress, with sloped arms, down the Masa�a to relieve guard. By the side of the half-naked, running Badawin, they look as if Epochs, disconnected by long centuries, had met. A laxity, too, there was in the frequent appearance of dogs upon this holy and most memorial ground, which said little in favour of the religious strictness of the administration.[FN#34]
Our Sai ended at Mount Marwah. There we dismounted, and sat outside a barber�s shop, on the right-hand of the street. He operated upon our heads, causing us to repeat, �O Allah, this my Forelock is in Thy Hand, then grant me for every Hair a light on the Resurrection-day, O Most Merciful of the Merciful!� This, and the paying for it, constituted the fourth portion of the Umrah, or Little Pilgrimage. Throwing the skirts of our garments over our heads, to show that our �Ihram� was now exchanged for the normal state, �Ihlal,� we cantered to the Harim, prayed there a two-bow prayer, and returned home not a little fatigued.
[FN#1] Not more than one-quarter of the pilgrims who appear at Arafat go on to Al-Madinah: the expense, the hardships, and the dangers of the journey account for the smallness of the number. In theology it is �Jaiz,� or admissible, to begin with the Prophet�s place of burial. But those performing the �Hajjat al-Islam� are enjoined to commence at Meccah. [FN#2] When respectable married men live together in the same house, a rare occurrence, except on journeys, this most ungallant practice of clearing the way is and must be kept up in the East. [FN#3] I offer no lengthened description of the town of Meccah: Ali Bey and Burckhardt have already said all that requires saying. Although the origin of the Bayt Ullah be lost in the glooms of past time, the city is a comparatively modern place, built about A.D. 450, by Kusay and the Kuraysh. It contains about 30,000 to 45,000 inhabitants, with lodging room for at least treble that number; and the material of the houses is brick, granite, and sandstone from the neighbouring hills. The site is a winding valley, on a small plateau, half-way �below the Ghauts.� Its utmost length is two miles and a half from the Mab�dah (North) to the Southern mount Jiyad; and three-quarters of a mile would be the extreme breadth between Abu Kubays Eastward,�upon whose Western slope the most solid mass of the town clusters,�and Jabal Hindi Westward of the city. In the centre of this line stands the Ka�abah. I regret being unable to offer the reader a sketch of Meccah, or of the Great Temple. The stranger who would do this should visit the city out of the pilgrimage season, and hire a room looking into the quadrangle of the Harim. This addition to our knowledge is the more required, as our popular sketches (generally taken from D�Ohsson) are utterly incorrect. The Ka�abah is always a recognisable building; but the �View of Meccah� known to Europe is not more like Meccah than like Cairo or Bombay. [FN#4] It is curious that the Afghans should claim this Kuraysh noble as their compatriot. �On one occasion, when Khalid bin Walid was saying something in his native tongue (the Pushtu or Afghani), Mohammed remarked that assuredly that language was the peculiar dialect of the damned. As Khalid appeared to suffer from the observation, and to betray certain symptoms of insubordination, the Prophet condescended to comfort him by graciously pronouncing the words �Ghashe linda raora,� i.e., bring me my bow and arrows. (Remarks on Dr. Dorn�s Chrestomathy of the Pushtu or Afghan Language. Trans. Bombay As. Society, 1848.) [FN#5] See the ninth building of the Ka�abah, described in chap. iv. [FN#6] It requires not the ken of a prophet to foresee the day when political necessity�sternest of [Greek]!�will compel us to occupy in force the fountain-head of Al-Islam. [FN#7] Good acts done at Meccah are rewarded a hundred-thousand-fold in heaven; yet it is not auspicious to dwell there. Omar informs us that an evil deed receives the punishment of seventy. [FN#8] It must be remembered that my predecessor visited Meccah when the Egyptian army, commanded by Mohammed Ali, held the town. [FN#9] In another place I have ventured a few observations concerning the easy suppression of this traffic. [FN#10] The act is called �Tashrit,� or gashing. The body is also marked, but with smaller cuts, so that the child is covered with blood. Ali Bey was told by some Meccans that the face-gashes served for the purpose of phlebotomy, by others that they were signs that the scarred was the servant of Allah�s house. He attributes this male-gashing, like female-tat[t]ooing, to coquetry. The citizens told me that the custom arose from the necessity of preserving children from the kidnapping Persians, and that it is preserved as a mark of the Holy City. But its wide diffusion denotes an earlier origin. Mohammed expressly forbad his followers to mark the skin with scars. These �beauty marks� are common to the nations in the regions to the West of the Red Sea. The Barabarah of Upper Egypt adorn their faces with scars exactly like the Meccans. The Abyssinians moxa themselves in hetacombs for fashion�s sake. I have seen cheeks gashed, as in the Holy City, among the Gallas. Certain races of the Sawahil trace around the head a corona of little cuts, like those of a cupping instrument. And, to quote no other instances, some Somalis raise ghastly seams upon their chocolate-coloured skins. [FN#11] Sayrafi, money-changer; Sarraf, banker; the Indian �Shroff,� banker, money-changer, and usurer. [FN#12] When speaking of the Meccans I allude only to the section of society which fell under my observation, and that more extensive division concerning which I obtained notices that could be depended upon. [FN#13] The editor of Burckhardt�s �Travels in Arabia� supposes that his author�s �sect of light extinguishers� were probably Parsees from Surat or Bombay. The mistake is truly ludicrous, for no pious Parsee will extinguish a light. Moreover, infidels are not allowed by law to pass the frontiers of the Sanctuary. The sect alluded to is an obscure heresy in Central Asia; and concerning it the most improbable scandals have been propagated by the orthodox. [FN#14] It is strange how travellers and linguists differ upon the subject of Arabic and its dialects. Niebuhr compares their relation to that of Proven�al, Spanish, and Italian, whereas Lane declares the dialects to resemble each other more than those of some different counties in England. Herbin (Grammar) draws a broad line between ancient and modern Arabic; but Hochst (Nachrichten von Marokos und Fez) asserts that the difference is not so great as is imagined. Perhaps the soundest opinion is that proposed by Clodius, in his �Arabic Grammar�: �dialectus Arabum vulgaris tantum differt ab erudita, quantum Isocrates dictio ab hodierna lingua Gr�ca.� But it must be remembered that the Arabs divide their spoken and even written language into two orders, the �Kalam Wati,� or vulgar tongue, sometimes employed in epistolary correspondence, and the �Nahwi,� or grammatical and classical language. Every man of education uses the former, and can use the latter. And the Koran is no more a model of Arabic (as it is often assumed to be) than �Paradise Lost� is of English. Inimitable, no man imitates them. [FN#15] Safi Ullah�Adam. [FN#16] The legend that Abraham was the �Son of Fire� might have arisen from his birthplace, Ur of the Chaldees. This Ur (whence the Latin uro) becomes in Persian Hir; in Arabic Irr or Arr. It explains the origin of �Orotalt� better than by means of �Allahu Ta�ala.� This word, variously spelt Ourotalt, Orotalt, and Orotal (the latter would be the masculine form in Arabic), is Urrat-ilat, or the goddess of fire, most probably the Sun (Al-Shams) which the Semites make a feminine. Forbiggen translates it Sonnen-gott, an error of gender, as the final consonant proves. The other deity of pagan Arabia, Alilat, is clearly Al-Lat. May not the Phoenicians have supplied the word �Irr,� which still survives in Erin and in Ireland? even so they gave to the world the name of Britain, Brettainke, Barrat et Tanuki ([Arabic lettering]), the land of tin. And I should more readily believe that Eeran is the land of fire, than accept its derivation from Eer (vir) a man. [FN#17] Captain C. F. Head, author of �Eastern and Egyptian Scenery,� was, as late as A.D. 1829, pelted by the Badawin, because he passed the Eastern gate of Jeddah in a Frankish dress. [FN#18] The best way would be to rush, if possible, into a house; and the owner would then, for his own interest, as well as honour, defend a stranger till assistance could be procured. [FN#19] Future pilgrims must also remember that the season is gradually receding towards the heart of the hot weather. For the next fifteen years, therefore, an additional risk will attend the traveller. [FN#20] Pliny is certainly right about this useful quadruped and its congeners, the zebra and the wild ass, in describing it as �animal frigoris maxime impatiens.� It degenerates in cold regions, unless, as in Afghanistan and Barbary, there be a long, hot, and dry summer. Aden, Cutch, and Baghdad have fine breeds, whereas those of India and South-Eastern Africa are poor and weak. The best and the highest-priced come from the Maghrib, and second to them ranks the Egyptian race. At Meccah careful feeding and kind usage transform the dull slave into an active and symmetrical friend of man: he knows his owner�s kind voice, and if one of the two fast, it is generally the biped. The asses of the Holy City are tall and plump, with sleek coats, generally ash or grey-coloured, the eyes of deer, heads gracefully carried, an ambling gait, and extremely sure-footed. They are equal to great fatigue, and the stallions have been known, in their ferocity, to kill the groom. The price varies from 25 to 150 dollars. [FN#21] Such is the popular version of the tale, which differs in some points from that recorded in books. Others declare that here, in days gone by, stood the house of another notorious malignant, Abu Jahl. Some, again, suppose that in this place a tyrannical governor of Meccah was summarily �lynched� by the indignant populace. The first two traditions, however, are the favourites, the vulgar�citizens, as well as pilgrims�loving to connect such places with the events of their early sacred history. Even in the twelfth century we read that pilgrims used to cast stones at two cairns, covering the remains of Abu Lahab, and the beautiful termagant, his wife. [FN#22] Certain credulous authors have contrasted these heaps with the clear ground at Muna, for the purpose of a minor miracle. According to them this cairn steadily grows, as we may believe it would; and that, were it not for the guardian angels, the millions of little stones annually thrown at the devils would soon form a mass of equal magnitude. This custom of lapidation, in token of hate, is an ancient practice, still common in the East. Yet, in some parts of Arabia, stones are thrown at tombs as a compliment to the tenant. And in the Somali country, the places where it is said holy men sat, receive the same doubtful homage. [FN#23] It is called in books Al-Tanim (bestowing plenty); a word which readers must not confound with the district of the same name in the province Khaulan (made by Niebuhr the �Thumna,� �Thomna,� or �Tamna,� capital of the Catabanites). Other authors apply Al-Tanim to the spot where Abu Lahab is supposed to lie. There are two places called Al-Umrah near Meccah. The Kabir, or greater, is, I am told, in the Wady Fatimah, and the Prophet ordered Ayishah and her sister to begin the ceremonies at that place. It is now visited by picnic parties and those who would pray at the tomb of Maimunah, one of the Prophet�s wives. Modern pilgrims commence always, I am told, at the Umrah Saghir (the Lesser), which is about half-way nearer the city. [FN#24] Some assume the Ihram garb at this place. [FN#25] We had still the pretext of my injured foot. When the Sai rite is performed, as it should be, by a pedestrian, he mounts the steps to about the height of a man, and then turns towards the temple. [FN#26] I will not trouble the reader with this Niyat, which is the same as that used in the Tawaf rite. [FN#27] Almost every Mutawwif, it must be remembered, has his own set of prayers. [FN#28] �Safa� means a large, hard rock; �Marwah,� hard, white flints, full of fire. [FN#29] In former times a devastating torrent used to sweep this place after rains. The Fiumara bed has now disappeared, and the pillars are used as landmarks. Galland observes that these columns are planted upon the place which supported Eve�s knees, when, after 300 years� separation, she was found by Adam. [FN#30] This house is called in books Rubat al-Abbas. [FN#31] Here once stood �As�af� and �Naylah,� two idols, some say a man and a woman metamorphosed for stupration in the Temple. [FN#32] Koran, chap. ii. [FN#33] Ibn Jubayr gives 893 steps: other authorities make the distance 780 short cubits, the size of an average man�s forearm. [FN#34] The ceremony of running between Safa and Marwah is supposed to represent Hagar seeking water for her son. Usually pilgrims perform this rite on the morning of visiting the Ka�aba.
Chapter XXXIII. PLACES OF PIOUS VISITATION AT MECCAH.
THE traveller has little work at the Holy City. With exceptions of Jabal Nur and Jabal Saur,[FN#1] all the places of pious visitation lie inside or close outside the city. It is well worth the while to ascend Abu Kubays; not so much to inspect the Makan al-Hajar and the Shakk al-Kamar,[FN#2] as to obtain an excellent bird�s-eye view of the Harim and the parts adjacent.[FN#3]
The boy Mohammed had applied himself sedulously to commerce after his return home; and had actually been seen by Shaykh Nur sitting in a shop and selling small curiosities. With my plenary consent I was made [p.248] over to Abdullah, his brother. On the morning of the 15th Zu�l Hijjah (19th Sept.) he hired two asses, and accompanied me as guide to the holy places.
Mounting our animals, we followed the road before described to the Jannat al-Ma�ala, the sacred cemetery of Meccah. A rough wall, with a poor gateway, encloses a patch of barren and grim-looking ground, at the foot of the chain which bounds the city�s western suburb, and below Al-Akabah, the gap through which Khalid bin Walid entered Meccah with the triumphant Prophet.[FN#4] Inside are a few ignoble, whitewashed domes: all are of modern construction, for here, as at Al-Bakia, further north, the Wahhabis indulged their levelling propensities.[FN#5] The rest of the ground shows some small enclosures belonging to particular houses,�equivalent to our family vaults,�and the ruins of humble tombs, lying in confusion, whilst a few parched aloes spring from between the bricks and stones.[FN#6]
[p.249] The cemetery is celebrated in local history: here the body of Abdullah bin Zubayr was exposed by order of Hajjaj bin Yusuf; and the number of saints buried in it has been so numerous, that even in the twelfth century many had fallen into oblivion. It is visited by the citizens on Fridays, and by women on Thursdays, to prevent that meeting of sexes which in the East is so detrimental to public decorum. I shall be sparing in my description of the Ma�ala ceremonies, as the prayers, prostrations, and supplications are almost identical with those performed at Al-Bakia.
After a long supplication, pronounced standing at the doorway, we entered, and sauntered about the burial-ground. On the left of the road stood an enclosure, which, according to Abdullah, belonged to his family. The door and stone slabs, being valuable to the poor, had been removed, and the graves of his forefathers appeared to have been invaded by the jackal. He sighed, recited a Fatihah with tears in his eyes, and hurried me away from the spot.
The first dome which we visited covered the remains of Abd al-Rahman, the son of Abu Bakr, one of the Worthies of Al-Islam, equally respected by Sunni and by Shi�ah. The tomb was a simple catafalque, spread with the usual cloth. After performing our devotions at this grave, and distributing a few piastres to guardians and beggars, we crossed the main path, and found ourselves at the door of the cupola, beneath which sleeps the venerable Khadijah, Mohammed�s first wife. The tomb was covered with a green cloth, and the walls of the little building were decorated with written specimens of religious poetry. A little beyond it, we were shown into another dome, the resting-place of Sitt Aminah, the Prophet�s mother.[FN#7] Burckhardt chronicles its ill-usage by [p.250] the fanatic Wahhabis: it has now been rebuilt in that frugal style that characterizes the architecture of Al-Hijaz. An exceedingly garrulous old woman came to the door, invited us in, and superintended our devotions; at the end of which she sprinkled rosewater upon my face. When asked for a cool draught, she handed me a metal saucer, whose contents smelt strongly of mastic, earnestly directing me to drink it in a sitting posture. This tomb she informed us is the property of a single woman, who visits it every evening, receives the contributions of the Faithful, prays, sweeps the pavement, and dusts the furniture. We left five piastres for this respectable maiden, and gratified the officious crone with another shilling. She repaid us by signalling to some score of beggars that a rich pilgrim had entered the Ma�ala, and their importunities fairly drove me out of the hallowed walls.
Leaving the Jannat al-Ma�ala, we returned towards the town, and halted on the left side of the road, at a mean building called the Masjid al-Jinn (of the Genii). Here was revealed the seventy-second chapter of the Koran, called after the name of the mysterious fire-drakes who paid fealty to the Prophet. Descending a flight of steps,�for this Mosque, like all ancient localities at Meccah, is as much below as above ground,�we entered a small apartment containing water-pots for drinking and all the appurtenances of ablution. In it is shown the Mauza al-Khatt (place of the writing), where Mohammed wrote a letter to Abu Mas�ud after the homage of the Jinnis. A second and interior flight of stone steps led to another diminutive oratory, where the Prophet used to pray and receive the archangel Gabriel. Having performed a pair of bows, which caused the perspiration
[p.251 to burst forth as if in a Russian bath, I paid a few piastres, and issued from the building with much satisfaction.
We had some difficulty in urging our donkeys through the crowded street, called the Zukak al-Hajar. Presently we arrived at the Bayt al-Nabi, the Prophet�s old house, in which he lived with the Sitt Khadijah. Here, says Burckhardt, the Lady Fatimah first saw the light[FN#8]; and here, according to Ibn Jubayr, Hasan and Hosayn were born. Dismounting at the entrance, we descended a deep flight of steps, and found ourselves in a spacious hall, vaulted, and of better appearance than most of the sacred edifices at Meccah. In the centre, and well railed round, stood a closet of rich green and gold stuffs, in shape not unlike an umbrella-tent. A surly porter guarded the closed door, which some respectable people vainly attempted to open by honeyed words: a whisper from Abdullah solved the difficulty. I was directed to lie at full length upon my stomach, and to kiss a black-looking stone�said to be the lower half of the Lady Fatimah�s quern[FN#9]�fixed at the bottom of a basin of the same material. Thence we repaired to a corner, and recited a two-bow at the place where the Prophet used to pray the Sunnat and the Nafilah, or supererogatory devotions.[FN#10]
Again remounting, we proceeded at a leisurely pace homewards, and on the way passed through the principal
[p.252] slave-market. It is a large street roofed with matting, and full of coffee-houses. The merchandise sat in rows, parallel with the walls. The prettiest girls occupied the highest benches, below were the plainer sort, and lowest of all the boys. They were all gaily dressed in pink and other light-coloured muslins, with transparent veils over their heads; and, whether from the effect of such unusual splendour, or from the re-action succeeding to their terrible land-journey and sea-voyage, they appeared perfectly happy, laughing loudly, talking unknown tongues, and quizzing purchasers, even during the delicate operation of purchasing. There were some pretty Gallas, douce-looking Abyssinians, and Africans of various degrees of hideousness, from the half-Arab Somal to the baboon-like Sawahili. The highest price of which I could hear was �60. And here I matured a resolve to strike, if favoured by fortune, a death-blow at a trade which is eating into the vitals of industry in Eastern Africa. The reflection was pleasant,�the idea that the humble Haji, contemplating the scene from his donkey, might become the instrument of the total abolition of this pernicious traffic.[FN#11] What would have become of that pilgrim had the crowd in the slave-market guessed his intentions?
Passing through the large bazar, called the Suk al-Layl, I saw the palace of Mohammed bin Aun, quondam Prince of Meccah. It has a certain look of rude magnificence,
[p.253] the effect of huge hanging balconies scattered in profusion over lofty walls, claire-voies of brickwork, and courses of various-coloured stone. The owner is highly popular among the Badawin, and feared by the citizens on account of his fierce looks, courage, and treachery. They described him to me as vir bonus, bene strangulando peritus; but Mr. Cole, who knew him personally, gave him a high character for generosity and freedom from fanaticism. He seems to have some idea of the state which should �hedge in� a ruler. His palaces at Meccah, and that now turned into a Wakalah at Jeddah, are the only places in the country that can be called princely. He is now a state prisoner at Constantinople, and the Badawin pray in vain for his return.[FN#12]
The other places of pious visitation at Meccah are briefly these:�
1. Natak al-Nabi, a small oratory in the Zukak al-Hajar. It derives its name from the following circumstance.
[p.254] As the Prophet was knocking at the door of Abu Bakr�s shop, a stone gave him God-speed, and told him that the master was not at home. The wonderful mineral is of a reddish-black colour, about a foot in dimension, and fixed in the wall somewhat higher than a man�s head. There are servants attached to it, and the street sides are spread, as usual, with the napkins of importunate beggars.
2. Maulid al-Nabi, or the Prophet�s birthplace.[FN#13] It is a little chapel in the Suk al-Layl, not far from Mohammed bin Aun�s palace. It is below the present level of the ground, and in the centre is a kind of tent, concealing, it is said, a hole in the floor upon which Aminah sat to be delivered.
3. In the quarter �Sha�ab Ali,� near the Maulid al-Nabi, is the birthplace of Ali, another oratory below the ground. Here, as in the former place, a Maulid and a Ziyarah are held on the anniversary of the Lion�s birth.
4. Near Khadijah�s house and the Natak al-Nabi is a place called Al-Muttaka, from a stone against which the Prophet leaned when worn out with fatigue. It is much visited by devotees; and some declare that on one occasion, when the Father of Lies appeared to the Prophet in the form of an elderly man, and tempted him to sin by asserting that the Mosque-prayers were over, this stone, disclosing the fraud, caused the Fiend to flee.
5. Maulid Hamzah, a little building at the old Bab Umrah, near the Shabayki cemetery. Here was the Bazan, or channel down which the Ayn Hunayn ran into the Birkat Majid. Many authorities doubt that Hamzah was born at this place.[FN#14]
[p.255] The reader must now be as tired of �Pious Visitations� as I was.
Before leaving Meccah I was urgently invited to dine by old Ali bin Ya Sin, the Zemzemi; a proof that he entertained inordinate expectations, excited, it appeared, by the boy Mohammed, for the simple purpose of exalting his own dignity. One day we were hurriedly summoned about three P.M. to the senior�s house, a large building in the Zukak al-Hajar. We found it full of pilgrims, amongst whom we had no trouble to recognise our fellow-travellers, the quarrelsome old Arnaut and his impudent slave-boy. Ali met us upon the staircase, and conducted us into an upper room, where we sat upon diwans, and with pipes and coffee prepared for dinner. Presently the semicircle arose to receive a eunuch, who lodged somewhere in the house. He was a person of importance, being the guardian of some dames of high degree at Cairo and Constantinople: the highest place and
[p.256] the best pipe were unhesitatingly offered to and accepted by him. He sat down with dignity, answered diplomatically certain mysterious questions about the dames, and applied his blubber lips to a handsome mouthpiece of lemon-coloured amber. It was a fair lesson of humility for a man to find himself ranked beneath this high-shouldered, spindle-shanked, beardless bit of neutrality; and as such I took it duly to heart.
The dinner was served up in a Sini, a plated copper tray about six feet in circumference, and handsomely ornamented with arabesques and inscriptions. Under this was the usual Kursi, or stool, composed of mother-o�-pearl facets set in sandal-wood; and upon it a well-tinned and clean-looking service of the same material as the Sini. We began with a variety of stews�stews with spinach, stews with Bamiyah (hibiscus), and rich vegetable stews. These being removed, we dipped hands in Biryani, a meat pillaw, abounding in clarified butter; Kimah, finely chopped meat; Warak Mahshi, vine leaves filled with chopped and spiced mutton, and folded into small triangles; Kabab, or bits of roti spitted in mouthfuls upon a splinter of wood; together with a Salatah of the crispest cucumber, and various dishes of water-melon cut up into squares.
Bread was represented by the Eastern scone, but it was of superior flavour, and far better than the ill-famed Chapati of India. Our drink was water perfumed with mastic. After the meat came a Kunafah, fine vermicelli sweetened with honey, and sprinkled with powdered white sugar; several stews of apples and quinces; Muhallibah, a thin jelly made of rice, flour, milk, starch, and a little perfume; together with squares of Rahah,[FN#15] a confiture
[p.257] highly prized in these regions, because it comes from Constantinople. Fruits were then placed upon the table; plates full of pomegranate grains and dates of the finest flavour.[FN#16] The dinner concluded with a pillaw of rice and butter, for the easier discussion of which we were provided with carved wooden spoons.
Arabs ignore the delightful French art of prolonging a dinner. After washing your hands, you sit down, throw an embroidered napkin over your knees, and with a �Bismillah,� by way of grace, plunge your hand into the attractive dish, changing ad libitum, occasionally sucking your finger-tips as boys do lollipops, and varying that diversion by cramming a chosen morsel into a friend�s mouth. When your hunger is satisfied, you do not sit for your companions; you exclaim �Al Hamd!� edge away from the tray, wash your hands and mouth with soap, display signs of repletion, otherwise you will be pressed to eat more, seize your pipe, sip your coffee, and take your �Kayf.� Nor is it customary, in these lands, to sit together after dinner�the evening prayer cuts short the seance. Before we rose to take leave of Ali bin Ya Sin, a boy ran into the room, and displayed those infantine civilities which in the East are equivalent to begging a present. I slipped a dollar into his hand; at the sight of which he, veritable little Meccan, could not contain his joy. �The Riyal!� he exclaimed; �the Riyal! look, grandpa�, the good Effendi has given me a Riyal!� The old gentleman�s eyes twinkled with emotion: he saw how easily the coin had slipped from my fingers, and he fondly hoped that he had not seen the last piece. �Verily thou art a good
[p.258] young man!� he ejaculated, adding fervently, as prayers cost nothing, �May Allah further all thy desires.� A gentle patting of the back evidenced his high approval.
I never saw old Ali after that evening, but entrusted to the boy Mohammed what was considered a just equivalent for his services.
[FN#1] Jabal Nur, or Hira, has been mentioned before. Jabal Saur rises at some distance to the South of Meccah, and contains the celebrated cave in which Mohammed and Abu Bakr took refuge during the flight. [FN#2] The tradition of these places is related by every historian. The former is the repository of the Black Stone during the Deluge. The latter, �splitting of the moon,� is the spot where the Prophet stood when, to convert the idolatrous Kuraysh, he caused half the orb of night to rise from behind Abu Kubays, and the other from Jabal Kayka�an, on the Western horizon. This silly legend appears unknown to Mohammed�s day. [FN#3] The pilgrimage season, strictly speaking, concluded this year on the 17th September (13th Zu�l Hijjah); at which time travellers began to move towards Jeddah. Those who purposed visiting Al-Madinah would start about three weeks afterwards, and many who had leisure intended witnessing the Muharram ceremonies at Meccah. [FN#4] This is the local tradition; it does not agree with authentic history. Muir (Life of Mahomet, vol. iv. p. 126) reminds me that Khalid and his Badawin attacked the citizens of Meccah without the Prophet�s leave. But after the attack he may have followed in his leader�s train. [FN#5] The reason of their Vandalism has been noticed in a previous volume. [FN#6] The Aloe here, as in Egypt, is hung, like the dried crocodile, over houses as a talisman against evil spirits. Burckhardt assigns, as a motive for it being planted in graveyards, that its name Saber denotes the patience with which the believer awaits the Last Day. And Lane remarks, �The Aloe thus hung (over the door), without earth and water, will live for several years, and even blossom: hence it is called Saber, which signifies patience.� In India it is hung up to prevent Mosquitoes entering a room. I believe the superstition to be a fragment of African fetichism. The Gallas, to the present day, plant Aloes on graves, and suppose that when the plant sprouts the deceased has been admitted into the gardens of �Wak��the Creator. Ideas breed vocables; but seldom, except among rhymesters, does a vocable give birth to a popular idea: and in Arabic �Sibr,� as well as �Sabr,� is the name of the Aloe. [FN#7] Burckhardt mentions the �Tomb of Umna, the mother of Mohammed,� in the Ma�ala at Meccah; and all the ciceroni agree about the locality. Yet historians place it at Abwa, where she gave up the ghost, after visiting Al-Madinah to introduce her son to his relations. And the learned believe that the Prophet refused to pray over or to intercede for his mother, she having died before Al-Islam was revealed. [FN#8] Burckhardt calls it �Maulid Sittna Fatimah�: but the name �Kubbat el Wahy,� applied by my predecessor to this locality, is generally made synonymous with Al-Mukhtaba, the �hiding-place� where the Prophet and his followers used in dangerous times to meet for prayer. [FN#9] So loose is local tradition, that some have confounded this quern with the Natak al-Nabi, the stone which gave God-speed to the Prophet. [FN#10] He would of course pray the Farz, or obligatory devotions, at the shrine. [FN#11] About a year since writing the above a firman was issued by the Porte suppressing the traffic from Central Africa. Hitherto we have respected slavery in the Red Sea, because the Turk thence drew his supplies; we are now destitute of an excuse. A single steamer would destroy the trade, and if we delay to take active measures, the people of England, who have spent millions in keeping up a West African squadron, will not hold us guiltless of negligence. NOTE TO SECOND EDITION.�The slave trade has, since these remarks were penned, been suppressed with a high hand; the Arabs of Al-Hijaz resented the measure by disowning the supremacy of the Porte, but they were soon reduced to submission. [FN#12] The Prince was first invested with the Sharifat by Mohammed Ali of Egypt in A.D. 1827, when Yahya fled, after stabbing his nephew in the Ka�abah, to the Benu Harb Badawin. He was supported by Ahmad Pasha of Meccah, with a large army; but after the battle of Tarabah, in which Ibrahim Pasha was worsted by the Badawin, Mohammed Bin Aun, accused of acting as Sylla, was sent in honourable bondage to Cairo. He again returned to Meccah, where the rapacity of his eldest son, Abdullah, who would rob pilgrims, caused fresh misfortunes. In A.D. 1851, when Abd al-Muttalib was appointed Sharif, the Pasha was ordered to send Bin Aun to Stambul�no easy task. The Turk succeeded by a man�uvre. Mohammed�s two sons, happening to be at Jeddah, were invited to inspect a man-of-war, and were there made prisoners. Upon this the father yielded himself up; although, it is said, the flashing of the Badawi�s sabre during his embarkation made the Turks rejoice that they had won the day by state-craft. The wild men of Al-Hijaz still sing songs in honour of this Sharif. NOTE TO SECOND EDITION.�Early in 1856, when the Sharif Abd al-Muttalib was deposed, Mohammed bin Aun was sent from Constantinople to quiet the insurrection caused by the new slave laws in Al-Hijaz. In a short space of time he completely succeeded. [FN#13] The 12th of Rabia al-Awwal, Mohammed�s birthday, is here celebrated with great festivities, feasts, prayers, and perusals of the Koran. These �Maulid� (ceremonies of nativity) are by no means limited to a single day in the year. [FN#14] The reader is warned that I did not see the five places above enumerated. The ciceroni and books mention twelve other visitations, several of which are known only by name. 1. Al-Mukhtaba, the �hiding-place� alluded to in the preceding pages. Its locality is the subject of debate. 2. Dar al-Khayzaran, where the Prophet prayed secretly till the conversion of Omar enabled him to dispense with concealment. 3. Maulid Omar, or Omar�s birthplace, mentioned in books as being visited by devotees in the 14th Rabia al-Awwal of every year. 4. Abu Bakr�s house near the Natak al-Nabi. It is supposed to have been destroyed in the twelfth century. 5. Maulid Ja�afar al-Tayyar, near the Shabayki cemetery. 6. Al-Mada�a, an oratory, also called Naf al-Arz, because creation here began. 7. Dar al-Hijrah, where Mohammed and Abu Bakr mounted for the flight. 8. Masjid al-Rayah, where the Prophet planted his flag when Meccah surrendered. 9. Masjid al-Shajarah, a spot at which Mohammed caused a tree to advance and to retire. 10. Masjid al-Ja�aranah, where Mohammed clad himself in the pilgrim garb. It is still visited by some Persians. 11. Masjid Ibrahim, or Abu Kubays. 12. Masjid Zu Tawa. [FN#15] Familiar for �Rahat al-Hulkum,��the pleasure of the throat,�a name which has sorely puzzled our tourists. This sweetmeat would be pleasant did it not smell so strongly of the perruquier�s shop. Rosewater tempts to many culinary sins in the East; and Europeans cannot dissociate it from the idea of a lotion. However, if a guest is to be honoured, rosewater must often take the place of the pure element, even in tea. [FN#16] Meccah is amply supplied with water-melons, dates, limes, grapes, cucumbers, and other vegetables from Taif and Wady Fatimah. During the pilgrimage season the former place sends at least 100 camels every day to the capital.
Chapter XXXIV. TO JEDDAH.
A GENERAL plunge into worldly pursuits and pleasures announced the end of the pilgrimage ceremonies. All the devotees were now �whitewashed��the book of their sins was a tabula rasa: too many of them lost no time in making a new departure �down south,� and in opening a fresh account. The faith must not bear the blame of the irregularities. They may be equally observed in the Calvinist, after a Sunday of prayer, sinning through Monday with a zest, and the Romanist falling back with new fervour upon the causes of his confession and penance, as in the Moslem who washes his soul clean by running and circumambulation; and, in fairness, it must be observed that, as amongst Christians, so in the Moslem persuasion, there are many notable exceptions to this rule of extremes. Several of my friends and acquaintances date their reformation from their first sight of the Ka�abah.
The Moslem�s �Holy Week� over, nothing detained me at Meccah. For reasons before stated, I resolved upon returning to Cairo, resting there for awhile, and starting a second time for the interior, via Muwaylah.[FN#1]
The Meccans are as fond of little presents as are nuns: the Kabirah took an affectionate leave of me, begged me to be careful of her boy, who was to accompany
[p.260] me to Jeddah, and laid friendly but firm hands upon a brass pestle and mortar, upon which she had long cast the eye of concupiscence.
Having hired two camels for thirty-five piastres, and paid half the sum in advance, I sent on my heavy boxes with Shaykh, now Haji Nur, to Jeddah.[FN#2] Omar Effendi was to wait at Meccah till his father had started, in command of the Dromedary Caravan, when he would privily take ass, join me at the port, and return to his beloved Cairo. I bade a long farewell to all my friends, embraced the Turkish pilgrims, and mounting our donkeys, the boy Mohammed and I left the house. Abdullah the Melancholy followed us on foot through the city, and took leave of me, though without embracing, at the Shabayki quarter.
Issuing into the open plain, I felt a thrill of pleasure�such joy as only the captive delivered from his dungeon can experience. The sunbeams warmed me into renewed life and vigour, the air of the Desert was a perfume, and the homely face of Nature was as the smile of a dear old friend. I contemplated the Syrian Caravan, lying on the right of our road, without any of the sadness usually suggested by a parting look.
It is not my intention minutely to describe the line down which we travelled that night: the pages of Burckhardt give full information about the country. Leaving Meccah, we fell into the direct road running south of Wady Fatimah, and traversed for about an hour a flat surrounded by hills. Then we entered a valley by a flight of rough stone steps, dangerously slippery and zigzag, intended to facilitate the descent for camels and for laden beasts. About midnight we passed into a hill-girt Wady, here covered with deep sands, there hard with [p.261] gravelly clay: and, finally, about dawn, we sighted the maritime plain of Jeddah.
Shortly after leaving the city, our party was joined by other travellers, and towards evening we found ourselves in force, the effect of an order that pilgrims must not proceed singly upon this road. Coffee-houses and places of refreshment abounding, we halted every five miles to refresh ourselves and the donkeys.[FN#3] At sunset we prayed near a Turkish guard-house, where one of the soldiers kindly supplied me with water for ablution.
Before nightfall I was accosted, in Turkish, by a one-eyed old fellow, who,
�with faded brow, Entrenched with many a frown, and conic beard,�
and habited in unclean garments, was bestriding a donkey as faded as himself. When I shook my head, he addressed me in Persian. The same man�uvre made him try Arabic; still he obtained no answer. Then he grumbled out good Hindustani. That also failing, he tried successively Pushtu, Armenian, English, French, and Italian. At last I could �keep a stiff lip� no longer; at every change of dialect his emphasis beginning with �Then who the d� are you?� became more emphatic. I turned upon him in Persian, and found that he had been a pilot, a courier, and a servant to Eastern tourists, and that he had visited England, France, and Italy, the Cape, India, Central Asia, and China. We then chatted in English, which Haji Akif spoke well, but with all manner of courier�s phrases; Haji Abdullah so badly, that he was counselled a course of study. It was not a little strange to hear such phrases as �Come �p, Neddy,� and �Cre nom d�un baudet,� almost within earshot of the tomb of Ishmael, the birthplace of Mohammed, and the Sanctuary of Al-Islam.
[p.262] About eight P.M. we passed the Alamayn, which define the Sanctuary in this direction. They stand about nine miles from Meccah, and near them are a coffee-house and a little oratory, popularly known as the Sabil Agha Almas. On the road, as night advanced, we met long strings of camels, some carrying litters, others huge beams, and others bales of coffee, grain, and merchandise. Sleep began to weigh heavily upon my companions� eye-lids, and the boy Mohammed hung over the flank of his donkey in a most ludicrous position.
About midnight we reached a mass of huts, called Al-Haddah. Ali Bey places it eight leagues from Jeddah. At �the Boundary� which is considered to be the half-way halting-place, Pilgrims must assume the religious garb,[FN#4] and Infidels travelling to Taif are taken off the Meccan road into one leading Northward to Arafat. The settlement is a collection of huts and hovels, built with sticks and reeds, supporting brushwood and burned and blackened palm leaves. It is maintained for supplying pilgrims with coffee and water. Travellers speak with horror of its heat during the day; Ali Bey, who visited it twice, compares it to a furnace. Here the country slopes gradually towards the sea, the hills draw off, and every object denotes departure from the Meccan plateau. At Al-Haddah we dismounted for an hour�s halt. A coffee-house supplied us with mats, water-pipes, and other necessaries; we then produced a basket of provisions, the parting gift of the kind Kabirah, and, this late supper concluded, we lay down to doze.
After half an hour�s halt had expired, and the donkeys were saddled, I shook up with difficulty the boy Mohammed, and induced him to mount. He was, to use his own expression, �dead from sleep�; and we had
[p.263] scarcely advanced an hour, when, arriving at another little coffee-house, he threw himself upon the ground, and declared it impossible to proceed. This act caused some confusion. The donkey-boy was a pert little Badawi, offensively republican in manner. He had several times addressed me impudently, ordering me not to flog his animal, or to hammer its sides with my heels. On these occasions he received a contemptuous snub, which had the effect of silencing him. But now, thinking we were in his power, he swore that he would lead away the beasts, and leave us behind to be robbed and murdered. A pinch of the windpipe, and a spin over the ground, altered his plans at the outset of execution. He gnawed his hand with impotent rage, and went away, threatening us with the Governor of Jeddah next morning. Then an Egyptian of the party took up the thread of remonstrance; and, aided by the old linguist, who said, in English �by G�! you must budge, you�ll catch it here!� he assumed a brisk and energetic style, exclaiming, �Yallah! rise and mount; thou art only losing our time; thou dost not intend to sleep in the Desert!� I replied, �O my Uncle, do not exceed in talk!��Fuzul (excess) in Arabic is equivalent to telling a man in English not to be impertinent�rolled over on the other side heavily, as doth Encelades, and pretended to snore, whilst the cowed Egyptian urged the others to make us move. The question was thus settled by the boy Mohammed who had been aroused by the dispute: �Do you know,� he whispered, in awful accents, �what that person is?� and he pointed to me. �Why, no,� replied the others. �Well,� said the youth, �the other day the Utaybah showed us death in the Zaribah Pass, and what do you think he did?� �Wallah! what do we know!� exclaimed the Egyptian, �What did he do?� �He called for�his dinner,� replied the youth, with a slow and
[p.264] sarcastic emphasis. That trait was enough. The others mounted, and left us quietly to sleep.
I have been diffuse in relating this little adventure, which is characteristic, showing what bravado can do in Arabia. It also suggests a lesson, which every traveller in these regions should take well to heart. The people are always ready to terrify him with frightful stories, which are the merest phantoms of cowardice. The reason why the Egyptian displayed so much philanthropy was that, had one of the party been lost, the survivors might have fallen into trouble. But in this place, we were, I believe,�despite the declarations of our companions that it was infested with Turpins and Fra Diavolos,�as safe as in Meccah. Every night, during the pilgrimage season, a troop of about fifty horsemen patrol the roads; we were all armed to the teeth, and our party looked too formidable to be �cruelly beaten by a single footpad.� Our nap concluded, we remounted, and resumed the weary way down a sandy valley, in which the poor donkeys sank fetlock-deep. At dawn we found our companions halted, and praying at the Kahwat Turki, another little coffee-house. Here an exchange of what is popularly called �chaff� took place. �Well,� cried the Egyptian, �what have ye gained by halting? We have been quiet here, praying and smoking for the last hour!� �Go, eat thy buried beans,[FN#5]� we replied. �What does an Egyptian boor know of manliness!� The surly donkey-boy was worked up into a paroxysm of passion by such small jokes as telling him to convey our salams to the Governor of Jeddah, and by calling the asses after the name of his tribe. He replied by �foul, unmannered, scurril taunts,� which only drew forth fresh derision, and the coffee-house keeper laughed consumedly,
[p.265] having probably seldom entertained such �funny gentlemen.�
Shortly after leaving the Kahwat Turki we found the last spur of the highlands that sink into the Jeddah Plain. This view would for some time be my last of
�Infamous hills, and sandy, perilous wilds;�
and I contemplated it with the pleasure of one escaping from it. Before us lay the usual iron flat of these regions, whitish with salt, and tawny with stones and gravel; but relieved and beautified by the distant white walls, whose canopy was the lovely blue sea. Not a tree, not a patch of verdure was in sight ; nothing distracted our attention from the sheet of turquoises in the distance. Merrily the little donkeys hobbled on, in spite of their fatigue. Soon we distinguished the features of the town, the minarets, the fortifications�so celebrated since their honeycombed guns beat off in 1817 the thousands of Abdullah bin Sa�ud, the Wahhabi,[FN#6] and a small dome outside the walls.
The sun began to glow fiercely, and we were not sorry when, at about eight A.M., after passing through the mass of hovels and coffee-houses, cemeteries and sand-hills, which forms the eastern approach to Jeddah, we entered the fortified Bab Makkah. Allowing eleven hours for our actual march,�we halted about three,�those wonderful donkeys had accomplished between forty-four
[p.266] and forty-six miles,[FN#7] generally in deep sand, in one night. And they passed the archway of Jeddah cantering almost as nimbly as when they left Meccah.
Shaykh Nur had been ordered to take rooms for me in a vast pile of madrepore�unfossilized coral, a recent formation,�once the palace of Mohammed bin Aun, and now converted into a Wakalah. Instead of so doing, Indian-like, he had made a gipsy encampment in the square opening upon the harbour. After administering the requisite correction, I found a room that would suit me. In less than an hour it was swept, sprinkled with water, spread with mats, and made as comfortable as its capability admitted. At Jeddah I felt once more at home. The sight of the sea acted as a tonic. The Maharattas were not far wrong when they kept their English captives out of reach of the ocean, declaring that we were an amphibious race, to whom the wave is a home.
After a day�s repose at the Caravanserai, the camel-man and donkey-boy clamouring for money, and I not having more than tenpence of borrowed coin, it was necessary to cash at the British Vice-Consulate a draft given to me by the Royal Geographical Society. With some trouble I saw Mr. Cole, who, suffering from fever, was declared to be �not at home.� His dragoman did by no means admire my looks; in fact, the general voice of the household was against me. After some fruitless messages, I sent up a scrawl to Mr. Cole, who decided upon admitting the importunate Afghan. An exclamation of astonishment and a hospitable welcome followed my self-introduction as an officer of the Indian army. Amongst other things, the Vice-Consul informed me that, in divers discussions with the Turks about the possibility of an Englishman finding his way en cachette to Meccah,
[p.267] he had asserted that his compatriots could do everything, even pilgrim to the Holy City. The Moslems politely assented to the first, but denied the second part of the proposition. Mr. Cole promised himself a laugh at the Turks� beards; but since my departure, he wrote to me that the subject made the owners look so serious, that he did not like recurring to it.
Truly gratifying to the pride of an Englishman was our high official position assumed and maintained at Jeddah. Mr. Cole had never, like his colleague at Cairo, lowered himself in the estimation of the proud race with which he has to deal, by private or mercantile transactions with the authorities. He has steadily withstood the wrath of the Meccan Sharif, and taught him to respect the British name. The Abbe Hamilton ascribed the attentions of the Prince to �the infinite respect which the Arabs entertain for Mr. Cole�s straightforward way of doing business,�it was a delicate flattery addressed to him.� And the writer was right; honesty of purpose is never thrown away amongst these people. The general contrast between our Consular proceedings at Cairo and Jeddah is another proof of the advisability of selecting Indian officials to fill offices of trust at Oriental courts. They have lived amongst Easterns, and they know one Asiatic language, with many Asiatic customs; and, chief merit of all, they have learned to assume a tone of command, without which, whatever may be thought of it in England, it is impossible to take the lead in the East. The �home-bred� diplomate is not only unconscious of the thousand traps everywhere laid for him, he even plays into the hands of his crafty antagonists by a ceremonious politeness, which they interpret�taking ample care that the interpretation should spread�to be the effect of fear or of fraud.
Jeddah[FN#8] has been often described by modern pens.
[p.268] Burckhardt (in A.D. 18) devoted a hundred pages of his two volumes to the unhappy capital of the Tihamat al-Hijaz, the lowlands of the mountain region. Later still, MM. Mari and Chedufau wrote upon the subject; and two other French travellers, MM. Galinier and Ferret, published tables of the commerce in its present state, quoting as authority the celebrated Arabicist M. Fresnel.[FN#9] These
[p.269] have been translated by the author of �Life in Abyssinia.� Abd al-Karim, writing in 1742, informs us that the French had a factory at Jeddah; and in 1760, when Bruce revisited the port, he found the East India Company in possession of a post whence they dispersed their merchandise over the adjoining regions. But though the English were at an early epoch of their appearance in the East received here with especial favour, I failed to procure a single ancient document.
Jeddah, when I visited it, was in a state of commotion, owing to the perpetual passage of pilgrims, and provisions were for the same reason scarce and dear. The two large Wakalahs, of which the place boasts, were crowded with travellers, and many were reduced to encamping upon the squares. Another subject of confusion was the state of the soldiery. The Nizam, or Regulars, had not been paid for seven months, and the Arnauts could scarcely sum up what was owing to them. Easterns are wonderfully amenable to discipline; a European army, under the circumstances, would probably have helped itself. But the Pasha knew that there is a limit to a man�s endurance, and he was anxiously casting about for some contrivance that would replenish the empty pouches of his troops. The worried dignitary must have sighed for those beaux jours when privily firing the town and allowing the soldiers to plunder, was the Oriental style of settling arrears of pay.[FN#10]
[p.270] Jeddah displays all the license of a seaport and garrison town. Fair Corinthians establish themselves even within earshot of the Karakun, or guard-post; a symptom of excessive laxity in the authorities, for it is the duty of the watch to visit all such irregularities with a bastinado preparatory to confinement. My guardians and attendants at the Wakalah used to fetch Araki in a clear glass bottle, without even the decency of a cloth, and the messenger twice returned from these errands decidedly drunk. More extraordinary still, the people seemed to take no notice of the scandal.
The little �Dwarka� had been sent by the Bombay Steam Navigation Company to convey pilgrims from Al-Hijaz to India. I was still hesitating about my next voyage, not wishing to coast the Red Sea in this season without a companion, when one morning Omar Effendi appeared at the door, weary, and dragging after him an ass more weary than himself. We supplied him with a pipe and a cup of hot tea, and, as he was fearful of pursuit, we showed him a dark hole full of grass under which he might sleep concealed.
The student�s fears were realised; his father appeared early the next morning, and having ascertained from the porter that the fugitive was in the house, politely called upon me. Whilst he plied all manner of questions, his black slave furtively stared at everything in and about the room. But we had found time to cover the runaway with grass, and the old gentleman departed, after a fruitless search. There was, however, a grim smile about his mouth which boded no good.
That evening, returning home from the Hammam, I found the house in an uproar. The boy Mohammed, who had been miserably mauled, was furious with rage; and Shaykh Nur was equally unmanageable, by reason of his fear. In my absence the father had returned with a posse comitatus of friends and relatives. They questioned the
[p.271] youth, who delivered himself of many circumstantial and emphatic mis-statements. Then they proceeded to open the boxes; upon which the boy Mohammed cast himself sprawling, with a vow to die rather than to endure such a disgrace. This procured for him some scattered slaps, which presently became a storm of blows, when a prying little boy discovered Omar Effendi�s leg in the hiding-place. The student was led away unresisting, but mildly swearing that he would allow no opportunity of escape to pass. I examined the boy Mohammed, and was pleased to find that he was not seriously hurt. To pacify his mind, I offered to sally out with him, and to rescue Omar Effendi by main force. This, which would only have brought us all into a brunt with quarterstaves, and similar servile weapons, was declined, as had been foreseen. But the youth recovered complacency, and a few well-merited encomiums upon his �pluck� restored him to high spirits.
The reader must not fancy such escapade to be a serious thing in Arabia. The father did not punish his son; he merely bargained with him to return home for a few days before starting to Egypt. This the young man did, and shortly afterwards I met him unexpectedly in the streets of Cairo.
Deprived of my companion, I resolved to waste no time in the Red Sea, but to return to Egypt with the utmost expedition. The boy Mohammed having laid in a large store of grain, purchased with my money, having secured all my disposable articles, and having hinted that, after my return to India, a present of twenty dollars would find him at Meccah, asked leave, and departed with a coolness for which I could not account. Some days afterwards Shaykh Nur explained the cause. I had taken the youth with me on board the steamer, where a bad suspicion crossed his mind. �Now, I understand,� said the boy Mohammed to his fellow-servant, �your master is a Sahib from India; he hath laughed at our beards.�
[p.272] He parted as coolly from Shaykh Nur. These worthy youths had been drinking together, when Mohammed, having learned at Stambul the fashionable practice of Bad-masti, or �liquor-vice,� dug his �fives� into Nur�s eye. Nur erroneously considering such exercise likely to induce blindness, complained to me; but my sympathy was all with the other side. I asked the Hindi why he had not returned the compliment, and the Meccan once more overwhelmed the Miyan with taunt and jibe.
It is not easy to pass the time at Jeddah. In the square opposite to us was an unhappy idiot, who afforded us a melancholy spectacle. He delighted to wander about in a primitive state of toilette, as all such wretches do; but the people of Jeddah, far too civilised to retain Moslem respect for madness, forced him, despite shrieks and struggles, into a shirt, and when he tore it off they beat him. At other times the open space before us was diversified by the arrival and the departure of pilgrims, but it was a mere rechauffe of the feast, and had lost all power to please. Whilst the boy Mohammed remained, he used to pass the time in wrangling with some Indians, who were living next door to us, men, women, and children, in a promiscuous way. After his departure I used to spend my days at the Vice-Consulate; the proceeding was not perhaps of the safest, but the temptation of meeting a fellow-countryman, and of chatting �shop� about the service was too great to be resisted. I met there the principal merchants of Jeddah; Khwajah Sower, a Greek; M. Anton, a Christian from Baghdad, and others.[FN#11]And I was introduced to Khalid Bey, brother of Abdullah bin Sa�ud, the Wahhabi. This noble Arab once held the
[p.273] official position of Mukayyid al-Jawabat, or Secretary, at Cairo, where he was brought up by Mohammed Ali. He is brave, frank, and unprejudiced, fond of Europeans, and a lover of pleasure. Should it be his fate to become chief of the tribe, a journey to Riyaz, and a visit to Central Arabia, will offer no difficulties to our travellers.
I now proceed to the last of my visitations. Outside the town of Jeddah lies no less a personage than Sittna Hawwa, the Mother of mankind. The boy Mohammed and I, mounting asses one evening, issued through the Meccan gate, and turned towards the North-East over a sandy plain. After half an hour�s ride, amongst dirty huts and tattered coffee-hovels, we reached the enceinte, and found the door closed. Presently a man came running with might from the town; he was followed by two others; and it struck me at the time they applied the key with peculiar empressement, and made inordinately low conges as we entered the enclosure of whitewashed walls.
�The Mother� is supposed to lie, like a Moslemah, fronting the Ka�abah, with her feet northwards, her head southwards, and her right cheek propped by her right hand. Whitewashed, and conspicuous to the voyager and traveller from afar, is a diminutive dome with an opening to the West; it is furnished as such places usually are in Al-Hijaz. Under it and in the centre is a square stone, planted upright and fancifully carved, to represent the omphalic region of the human frame. This, as well as the dome, is called Al-Surrah, or the navel. The cicerone directed me to kiss this manner of hieroglyph, which I did, thinking the while, that, under the circumstances, the salutation was quite uncalled-for. Having prayed here, and at the head, where a few young trees grow, we walked along the side of the two parallel dwarf walls which define the outlines of the body: they are about six paces apart, and between them, upon Eve�s
[p.274] neck, are two tombs, occupied, I was told, by Osman Pasha and his son, who repaired the Mother�s sepulchre. I could not help remarking to the boy Mohammed, that if our first parent measured a hundred and twenty paces from head to waist, and eighty from waist to heel, she must have presented much the appearance of a duck. To this the youth replied, flippantly, that he thanked his stars the Mother was underground, otherwise that men would lose their senses with fright.
Ibn Jubayr (twelfth century) mentions only an old dome, �built upon the place where Eve stopped on the way to Meccah.� Yet Al-Idrisi (A.D. 1154) declares Eve�s grave to be at Jeddah. Abd al-Karim (1742) compares it to a parterre, with a little dome in the centre, and the extremities ending in barriers of palisades; the circumference was a hundred and ninety of his steps. In Rooke�s Travels we are told that the tomb is twenty feet long. Ali Bey, who twice visited Jeddah, makes no allusion to it; we may therefore conclude that it had been destroyed by the Wahhabis. Burckhardt, who, I need
[p.275] scarcely say, has been carefully copied by our popular authors, was informed that it was a �rude structure of stone, about four feet in length, two or three feet in height, and as many in breadth�; thus resembling the tomb of Noah, seen in the valley of Al-Buka�a in Syria. Bruce writes: �Two days� journey from this place (? Meccah or Jeddah) Eve�s grave, of green sods, about fifty yards in length, is shown to this day�; but the great traveller probably never issued from the town-gates. And Sir W. Harris, who could not have visited the Holy Place, repeats, in 1840, that Eve�s grave of green sod is still shown on the barren shore of the Red Sea.� The present structure is clearly modern; anciently, I was told at Jeddah, the sepulchre consisted of a stone at the head, a second at the feet, and the navel-dome.
The idol of Jeddah, in the days of Arab litholatry, was called Sakhrah Tawilah, the Long Stone. May not this stone of Eve be the Moslemized revival of the old idolatry? It is to be observed that the Arabs, if the tombs be admitted as evidence, are inconsistent in their dimensions of the patriarchal stature. The sepulchre of Adam at the Masjid al-Khayf is, like that of Eve, gigantic. That of Noah at Al-Buka�a is a bit of Aqueduct thirty-eight paces long by one and a half wide. Job�s tomb near Hulah (seven parasangs from Kerbela) is small. I have not seen the grave of Moses (south-east of the Red Sea), which is becoming known by the bitumen cups there sold to pilgrims. But Aaron�s sepulchre in the Sinaitic peninsula is of moderate dimensions.
On leaving the graveyard I offered the guardian a dollar, which he received with a remonstrance that a man of my dignity should give so paltry a fee. Nor was he at all contented with the assurance that nothing more could be expected from an Afghan Darwaysh, however pious. Next day the boy Mohammed explained the
[p.276] Man�s empressement and disappointment,�I had been mistaken for the Pasha of Al-Madinah.
For a time my peregrinations ended. Worn out with fatigue, and the fatal fiery heat, I embarked (Sept. 26) on board the �Dwarka�; experienced the greatest kindness from the commander and chief officer (Messrs. Wolley and Taylor); and, wondering the while how the Turkish pilgrims who crowded the vessel did not take the trouble to throw me overboard, in due time I arrived at Suez.
And here, reader, we part. Bear with me while I conclude, in the words of a brother traveller, long gone, but not forgotten�Fa-hian�this Personal Narrative of my Journey to Al-Hijaz: �I have been exposed to perils, and I have escaped from them; I have traversed the sea, and have not succumbed under the severest fatigues; and my heart is moved with emotions of gratitude, that I have been permitted to effect the objects I had in view.�[FN#12]
[FN#1] This second plan was defeated by bad health, which detained me in Egypt till a return to India became imperative. [FN#2] The usual hire is thirty piastres, but in the pilgrimage season a dollar is often paid. The hire of an ass varies from one to three riyals. [FN#3] Besides the remains of those in ruins, there are on this road eight coffee-houses and stations for travellers, private buildings, belonging to men who supply water and other necessaries. [FN#4] In Ibn Jubayr�s time the Ihram was assumed at Al-Furayn, now a decayed station, about two hours� journey from Al-Haddah, towards Jeddah. [FN#5] The favourite Egyptian �kitchen�; held to be contemptible food by the Arabs. [FN#6] In 1817 Abdullah bin Sa�ud attacked Jeddah with 50,000 men, determining to overthrow its �Kafir-works�; namely, its walls and towers. The assault is described as ludicrous. All the inhabitants aided to garrison: they waited till the wild men flocked about the place, crying, �Come, and let us look at the labours of the infidel,� they then let fly, and raked them with matchlock balls and old nails acting grape. The Wahhabi host at last departed, unable to take a place which a single battery of our smallest siege-guns would breach in an hour. And since that day the Meccans have never ceased to boast of their Gibraltar, and to taunt the Madinites with their wall-less port, Yambu�. [FN#7] Al-Idrisi places Meccah forty (Arab) miles from Jeddah. Burckhardt gives fifty-five miles, and Ali Bey has not computed the total distance. [FN#8] Abulfeda writes the word �Juddah,� and Mr. Lane, as well as MM. Mari and Chedufau, adopt this form, which signifies a �plain wanting water.� The water of Jeddah is still very scarce and bad; all who can afford it drink the produce of hill springs brought in skins by the Badawin. Ibn Jubayr mentions that outside the town were 360 old wells(?), dug, it is supposed by the Persians. �Jeddah,� or �Jiddah,� is the vulgar pronounciation; and not a few of the learned call it �Jaddah� (the grandmother), in allusion to the legend of Eve�s tomb. [FN#9] In Chapters iii. and vi. of this work I have ventured some remarks upon the advisability of our being represented in Al-Hijaz by a Consul, and at Meccah by a native agent, till the day shall come when the tide of events forces us to occupy the mother-city of Al-Islam. My apology for reverting to these points must be the nature of an Englishman, who would everywhere see his nation �second to none,� even at Jeddah. Yet, when we consider that from twenty-five to thirty vessels here arrive annually from India, and that the value of the trade is about twenty-five lacs of rupees, the matter may be thought worth attending to. The following extracts from a letter written to me by Mr. Cole shall conclude this part of my task:� �You must know, that in 1838 a commercial treaty was concluded between Great Britain and the Porte, specifying (amongst many other clauses here omitted),� �1. That all merchandise imported from English ports to Al-Hijaz should pay 4 per cent. duty. �2. That all merchandise imported by British subjects from countries not under the dominion of the Porte should likewise pay but 5 per cent. �3. That all goods exported from countries under the dominion of the Porte should pay 12 per cent., after a deduction of 16 per cent. from the market-value of the articles. �4. That all monopolies be abolished.� �Now, when I arrived at Jeddah, the state of affairs was this. A monopoly had been established upon salt, and this weighed only upon our Anglo-Indian subjects, they being the sole purchasers. Five per cent. was levied upon full value of goods, no deduction of the 20 per cent. being allowed; the same was the case with exports; and most vexatious of all, various charges had been established by the local authorities, under the names of boat-hire, weighing, brokerage, &c., &c. The duties had thus been raised from 4 to at least 8 per cent. * * * This being represented at Constantinople, brought a peremptory Firman, ordering the governor to act up to the treaty letter by letter. * *
I have had the satisfaction to rectify the abuses of sixteen years�
standing during my first few months of office, but I expect all manner of difficulties in claiming reimbursement for the over-exactions.� [FN#10] M. Rochet (soi-disant d�Hericourt) amusingly describes this man�uvre of the governor of Al-Hodaydah. [FN#11] Many of them were afterwards victims to the �Jeddah massacre� on June 30, 1858. I must refer the reader to my �Lake Regions of Central Africa� (Appendix, vol. ii.) for an account of this event, for the proposals which I made to ward it off, and for the miserable folly of the �Bombay Government,� who rewarded me by an official reprimand. [FN#12] The curious reader will find details concerning Patriarchal and Prophetical Tombs in �Unexplored Syria,� i. 33�35.
END OF VOLUME III.
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