She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the house-owner’s black slave returned and knocked at the door, Ali the Cairene, son of the merchant Hasan, opened it to him and the negro, seeing him comfortably sitting, returned in haste to his master with the good tidings, saying, “O my Lord, the merchant, who is lodged in the house inhabited by the Jinn,1 is alive and well and sitteth on the bench behind the door.” Then the merchant rose joyfully and went to the house, taking breakfast with him; and, when he saw Ali, he embraced him and kissed him between the eyes, asking, “How hath Allah dealt with thee?”; and Ali answered, “Right well, I slept upstairs in the marble saloon.” Quoth the merchant, “Did aught come to thee or didst thou see any thing?” and quoth Ali “No, I recited some little of the Sublime Koran and slept till morning, when I arose and, after making the minor ablution and praying, seated myself on the bench behind the door.” “Praised be Allah for safety!” exclaimed the merchant, then left him and presently sent him black slaves and white Mamelukes and handmaidens with household gear. They swept the house from top to bottom and furnished it with magnificent furniture; after which three white slaves and three blacks and four slave-girls remained with him, to serve him, while the rest returned to their master’s house. Now when the merchants heard of him, they sent him presents of all manner things of price, even to food and drink and clothes, and took him with them to the market, asking, “When will thy baggage arrive?” And he answered, “After three days it will surely come.” When the term had elapsed, the servant of the first hoard, the golden rain, came to him and said, “Go forth and meet the treasure I have brought thee from Al–Yaman together with thy Harim; for I bring part of the wealth in the semblance of costly merchandise; but the eunuchs and Mamelukes and the mules and horses and camels are all of the Jann.” Now the Jinni, when he betook himself to Cairo, found Ali’s wife and children in sore misery, naked and hungry; so he carried them out of the city in a travelling-litter and clad them in sumptuous raiment of the stuffs which were in the treasure of Al–Yaman. So when Ali heard this, he arose and repairing to the merchants, said to them, “Rise and go forth with us from the city, to meet the caravan bringing my merchandise, and honour us with the presence of your Harims, to meet my Harim.” “Hearkening and obedience,” answered they and, sending for their Harims, went forth all together and took seat in one of the city-gardens; and as they sat talking, behold, a dust-cloud arose out of the heart of the desert, and they flocked forth to see what it was. Presently it lifted and discovered mules and muleteers, tent-pitchers and linkmen, who came on, singing and dancing, till they reached the garden, when the chief of the muleteers walked up to Ali and kissing his hand, said to him, “O my master, we have been long on the way, for we purposed entering yesterday; but we were in fear of the bandits, so abode in our station four days, till Almighty Allah rid us of them.” Thereupon the merchants mounted their mules and rode forward with the caravan, the Harims waiting behind, till Ali’s wife and children mounted with them; and they all entered in splendid train. The merchants marvelled at the number of mules laden with chests, whilst the women of the merchants wondered at the richness of the apparel of his wife and the fine raiment of her children; and kept saying each to other, “Verily, the King of Baghdad hath no such gear; no, nor any other of the kings or lords or merchants!” So they ceased not to fare forwards in high great state, the men with Ali of Cairo and the Harims with his Harim, till they came to the mansion — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
1 The “haunted” house proper, known to the vulgar and to spiritualists becomes, I have said, amongst Moslems a place tenanted by Jinns.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that they ceased not to fare forwards in high state, the men with Ali’s men and the women with his wife, till they came to the mansion, where they alighted and brought the mules and their burdens into the midst of the courtyard. Then they unloaded them and warehoused the goods whilst the merchants’ wives went up with Ali’s family to the saloon, which they found as it were a luxuriant garden, spread with magnificent furniture. They sat in mirth and good cheer till noon, when they brought them up the midday meal, all manner meats and sweetmeats of the very best; and they ate and drank costly sherbets and perfumed themselves thereafter with rose-water and scented woods. Then they took leave and went home, men and women; and, when the merchants returned to their places, they sent presents to the husband according to their conditions; and their wives likewise sent presents to the wife, so that there came to them great store of handmaids and negroes and Mamelukes; and all kinds of goods, such as grain, sugar and so forth, in abundance beyond account. As for the Baghdad merchant, the landlord of the house, he abode with Ali and quitted him not, but said to him, “Let the black slaves and servants take the mules and the common cattle into one of my other houses, to rest.” Quoth Ali, “They set out again to-night for such a place.” Then he gave them leave to go forth and camp outside the city, that they might start on their journey at night-come; whereupon, hardly believing that they were dismissed, they took leave of him and departing to the outliers of the city, flew off through the air to their several abodes. So Ali and his house-owner sat together till a third of the night was past, when their colloquy ended and the merchant returned to his own house and Ali went up to his wife and children and after saluting them, said, “What hath befallen you in my absence all this time?” So she told him what they had suffered of hunger and nakedness and travail, and he said, “Praised be Allah for safety! How did ye come?” Answered she, “O my lord, I was asleep with my children yesternight, when suddenly and unexpectedly one raised us from the ground and flew with us through the firmament without doing us any hurt, nor did he leave flying with us, till he set us down in a place as it were an Arab camping-ground, where we saw laden mules and a travelling litter borne upon two great mules, and around it servants, all boys and men. So I asked them, ‘Who are ye and what are these loads and where are we?;’ and they answered, ‘We are the servants of the merchant Ali of Cairo, son of the merchant-jeweller, who hath sent us to fetch you to him at Baghdad.’ Quoth I, ‘Tell me, is it far or near, hence to Baghdad?’ They replied, ‘Near: there lieth between us and the city but the darkness of the night.’ Then they mounted us in the litter and, when the morrow dawned, we found ourselves with thee, without having suffered any hurt whatever.” Quoth he, “Who gave you these dresses?;” and quoth she, “The chief of the caravan opened one of the boxes on the mules and taking out thereof these clothes, clad me and thy children each in a suit; after which he locked the case and gave me the key, saying, ‘Take care of it, till thou give it to thy husband.’ And here it is safe by me.” So saying, she gave him the key, and he said, “Dost thou know the chest?” Said she, “Yes, I know it.” So he took her down to the magazine and showed her the boxes, when she cried, “This is the one whence the dresses were taken;” upon which he put the key in the lock and opened the chest, wherein he found much raiment and the keys of all the other cases. So he took them and fell to opening them, one after another, and feasting his eyes upon the gems and precious ores they contained, whose like was not found with any of the kings; after which he locked them again, took the keys, and returned to the saloon, saying to his wife, “This is of the bounty of Almighty Allah!” Then bringing her to the secret slab he turned the pin and opened the door of the closet, into which he entered with her and showed her the gold he had laid up therein. Quoth she, “Whence came all this to thee?” “It came to me by the grace of my Lord,” answered he:— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Ali’s wife had looked upon the gold she said to him, “Whence came all this to thee?” “It came to me by the grace of my Lord,” answered he: “When I left thee in my trouble, I shipped at Bulak for Damietta and met a friend there who forwarded me to Damascus”: in brief he told her all that had befallen him, from first to last. Said she, “O my lord, all this cometh by boon of thy father’s blessing and orisons when he prayed for thee, before his death, saying, ‘I beseech Allah to cast thee into no straits except He grant thee ready relief!’ So praised be Allah Almighty for that He hath brought thee deliverance and hath requited thee with more than went from thee! But Allah upon thee, O my lord, return not to thy practice of associating with doubtful folk; but look thou fear Allah (whose name be exalted!) both in private and in public.” And as she went on to admonish him, he said, “I accept thine admonition and beg the Almighty to remove the froward from amongst us and stablish us in His obedience and in the observance of the law and practice of His Prophet, on whom be blessings and peace!” After that Ali and his wife and children were in all solace of life and gladness; and he opened him a shop in the merchants’ bazar and, stocking it with a somewhat of jewels and bullion, sat therein with his children and white servants. Presently he became the most considerable of the merchants of Baghdad, and his report reached the King of that city,1 who sent a messenger to command his attendance, saying, “Answer the summons of the King who requireth thee.” He replied, “I hear and obey,” and straightway prepared his present and he took four trays of red gold and, filling them with jewels and precious metals, such as no King possessed, went up to the palace and presenting himself before the presence, kissed the ground between his hands and wished him endurance of goods and glory in the finest language he could command. Said the King, “O merchant, thou cheerest our city with thy presence!” and Ali rejoined, “O King of the age, thy slave hath brought thee a gift and hopeth for acceptance thereof from thy favour.” Then he laid the four trays before the King, who uncovered them and seeing that they contained gems, whose fellows he possessed not and whose worth equalled treasuries of money, said, “Thy present is accepted, O merchant, and Inshallah! we will requite thee with its like.” And Ali kissed his hands and went away; whereupon the King called his grandees and said to them, “How many of the Kings have sought my daughter in marriage?” “Many,” answered they; and he asked, “Hath any of them given me the like of this gift?”; whereto they replied, “Not one, for that none of them hath its like;” and he said, “I have consulted Allah Almighty by lot as to marrying my daughter to this merchant. What say ye?” “Be it as thou reckest,” answered they. Then he bade the eunuch carry the four trays into his serraglio and going in to his wife, laid them before her. She uncovered them and seeing therein that whose like she possessed not; no, nor a fraction thereof, said to him, “From which of the Kings hadst thou these?: perchance of one of the royalties that seek thy daughter in marriage?” Said he, “Not so, I had them of an Egyptian merchant, who is lately come to this our city. Now when I heard of his coming I sent to command him to us, thinking to make his acquaintance, so haply we might find with him somewhat of jewels and buy them of him for our daughter’s trousseau. He obeyed our summons and brought us these four trays, as a present, and I saw him to be a handsome youth of dignified aspect and intelligent as elegant, almost such as should be the sons of Kings. Wherefore my heart inclined to him at sight, and my heart rejoiced in him and I thought good to marry my daughter to him. So I showed the gift to my grandees, who agreed with me that none of the Kings hath the like of these and I told them my project. But what sayst thou?”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
1 Needless to say there never was a Sultan or a King of Baghdad nor a Duke of Athens. This story would seem not to have been written by the author of “the Emir bin Tahir,” etc. Night ccccxxiv.
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the King of Baghdad, after showing the presents to his wife and highly praising Ali, the merchant-jeweller, and informing her of the proposed marriage, asked, “But what sayst thou?” She replied, “O King of the age, the ordering this affair is in Allah’s hand, and thine, and whatso Allah willeth shall come to pass.” Rejoined the King, “If it be His will, I will marry her to none other than this young man.” He slept on this resolve and on the morrow, he went out to his Divan and summoned Ali and the rest of the merchants of Baghdad, and when all came bade them be seated. Then said he, “Bring me the Kazi of the Divan” and they brought him; whereupon the King said to him, “O Kazi, write the contract of marriage between my daughter and the merchant Ali the Cairene.” But Ali said, “Thy pardon, O our lord the Sultan! It befitteth not that a trader such as I, be the King’s son-in-law.” Quoth the King, “It is my will to bestow this favour upon thee, as well as the Wazirate;” and he invested him forthwith in the Wazir’s office and ministerial robes. Then Ali sat down in the chair of the Wazirate and said, “O King of the age, thou hast bestowed on me this; and indeed I am honoured by thy bounties; but hear one word I have to say to thee!” He replied, “Say on, and fear not.” Quoth Ali, “Since it is thine august resolution to marry thy daughter, thou wouldst do better to marry her to my son. Quoth the King, “Hast thou then a son?”; and Ali replied, “Yes.” “Send for him forthwith,” said the King. Thereupon answered Ali “Hearkening and obedience!”, and despatched a servant to fetch his son, who came and kissing the ground before the King, stood in an attitude of respect. The King looked at him and seeing him to be yet comelier than his daughter and goodlier than she in stature and proportion and brightness and perfection, said to him, “What is thy name, O my son?” “My name is Hasan, O our lord the Sultan,” replied the young man, who was then fourteen years old. Then the Sultan said to the Kazi, “Write the contract of marriage between my daughter Husn al-Wujdd and Hasan, son of the merchant Ali the Cairene.” So he wrote the marriage-contract between them, and the affair was ended in the goodliest fashion; after which all in the Divan went their ways and the merchants followed the Wazir Ali, escorting him to his house, where they gave him joy of his advancement and departed. Then he went in to his wife, who seeing him clad in the Wazir’s habit, exclaimed, “What is this?”; when he told her all that had passed from first to last and she joyed therein with exceeding joy. So sped the night and on the morrow, he went up to the Divan, where the King received him with especial favour and seating him close by his side, said, “O Wazir, we purpose to begin the wedding festivities and bring thy son in to our daughter.” Replied Ali, “O our lord the Sultan, whatso thou deemest good is good.” So the Sultan gave orders to celebrate the festivities, and they decorated the city and held high festival for thirty days, in all joy and gladness; at the end of which time, Hasan, son of the Wazir Ali, went in to the Princess and enjoyed her beauty and loveliness. When the Queen saw her daughter’s husband, she conceived a warm affection for him, and in like manner she rejoiced greatly in his mother. Then the King bade build for his son-in-law Hasan Ali-son a palace beside his own; so they built him with all speed a splendid palace in which he took up his abode; and his mother used to tarry with him some days and then go down to her own house. After awhile the Queen said to her husband, “O King of the age, Hasan’s lady-mother cannot take up her abode with her son and leave the Wazir; neither can she tarry with the Wazir and leave her son.” “Thou sayest sooth,” replied the King, and bade edify a third palace beside that of Hasan, which being done in a few days he caused remove thither the goods of the Wazir, and the Minister and his wife took up their abode there. Now the three palaces communicated with one another, so that when the King had a mind to speak with the Wazir by night, he would go to him or send to fetch him; and so with Hasan and his father and mother. On this wise they dwelt in all solace and in the greatest happiness — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the King and the Wazir and his son ceased not to dwell in all solace and in the greatest happiness awhile, till the King fell ill and his sickness grew on him. So he summoned the lords of his realm and said to them, “There is come upon me a sore malady, peradventure a mortal; and I have therefore summoned you to consult you respecting a certain matter, on which I would have you counsel me as you deem well.” They asked, “What is the matter of which thou wouldst take counsel with us, O King?”; and he answered, “I am old and sickly and I fear for the realm after me from its enemies; so I would have you all agree upon some one, that I may proclaim him King in my lifetime and so ye may be at ease.” Whereupon quoth they with one voice, “We all approve of thy daughter’s husband Hasan, son of the Wazir Ali; for we have seen his wit and perfect understanding, and he knoweth the place of all, great and small.” Asked the King, “Are ye indeed agreed upon this?” and they answered, “Yes.” Rejoined he “Peradventure ye all say this to my face, of respect for me; but behind my back ye will say otherwise.” However, they all replied, “By Allah, our word is one and the same in public and in private, and we accept him frankly and with heartiness of heart and breadth of breast.” Quoth he, “Since the case is thus, bring the Kazi of the Holy Law and all the Chamberlains and Viceroys and Officers of state before me to-morrow, and we will order the affair after the goodliest fashion.” “We hear and we obey,” answered they and withdrawing, notified all the Olema,1 the doctors of the law and the chief personages among the Emirs. So when the morrow dawned, they came up to the Divan and, having craved and obtained permission to enter, they saluted the King, saying, “Here are we all in thy presence.” Whereto he made reply, “O Emirs of Baghdad, whom will ye have to be King over you after me, that I may inaugurate him during my lifetime, before the presence of you all?” Quoth they with one voice, “We are agreed upon thy daughter’s husband Hasan, son of the Wazir Ali.” Quoth he, “If it be so, go all of you and bring him before me.” So they all arose and, repairing to Hasan’s palace, said to him, “Rise, come with us to the King.” “Wherefore?” asked he, and they answered, “For a thing that will benefit both us and thee.” So he went in with them to the King and kissed the ground before his father-in-law who said to him, “Be seated, O my son!” He sat down and the King continued, “O Hasan, all the Emirs have approved of thee and agreed to make thee King over them after me; and it is my purpose to proclaim thee, whilst I yet live, and so make an end of the business.” But Hasan stood up and, kissing the ground once more before the King, said to him, “O our lord the King, among the Emirs there be many who are older than I and greater of worth; acquit me therefore of this thing.” But all the Emirs cried out saying, “We consent not but that thou be King over us.” Then said Hasan, “My father is older than I, and I and he are one thing; and it befits not to advance me over him.” But Ali said, “I will consent to nothing save whatso contenteth my brethren; and they have all chosen and agreed upon thee; wherefore gainsay thou not the King’s commandment and that of thy brethren.” And Hasan hung his head abashed before the King and his father. Then said the King to the Emirs, “Do ye all accept of him?” “We do,” answered they and recited thereupon seven Fátihahs.2 So the King said, “O Kazi, draw up a legal instrument testifying of these Emirs that they are agreed to make King over them my daughter’s husband Hasan.” The Kazi wrote the act and made it binding on all men,3 after they had sworn in a body the oath of fealty to Hasan. Then the King did likewise and bade him take his seat on the throne of kingship; whereupon they all arose and kissed King Hasan’s hands and did homage to him, and swore lealty to him. And the new King dispensed justice among the people that day in fashion right royal, and invested the grandees of the realm in splendid robes of honour. When the Divan broke up, he went in to and kissed the hands of his father-in-law who spake thus to him, “O my son, look thou rule the lieges in the fear of Allah;”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
1 Plur. of Álim=one learned in the law, a D.D. Mohammed did his best to abolish the priest and his craft by making each Moslem paterfamilias a pontifex in his own household and he severely condemned monkery and celibacy. But human nature was too much for him: even before his death ascetic associations began to crop up. Presently the Olema in Al–Islam formed themselves into a kind of clergy; with the single but highly important difference that they must (or ought to) live by some honest secular calling and not by the “cure of souls”; hence Mahomet IV. of Turkey was solemnly deposed. So far and no farther Mohammed was successful and his success has secured for him the lively and lasting hatred of the ecclesiastical caste which he so honestly and wisely attempted to abate. Even to the present day missionaries have a good word for the Guebre and the Buddhist, the Brahmanist and the Confucian, but none for the Moslem: Dr. Livingstone, for one instance of many, evidently preferred the Fetichist, whom he could convert, to the Unitarian Faithful whom he could not.
2 i.e. they recited seven times (an unusual number), for greater solemnity, the opening Chapter of the Koran which does general duty on such occasions as making covenants and swearing fealty. This proclaiming a King by acclamation suggests the origin of the old and venerable Portuguese institution.
3 By affixing his own seal and that of the King. This in later times was supplanted by the “Tughrá,” the imperial cypher or counter-mark (much like a writing master’s flourish), with which Europe has now been made familiar through the agency of Turkish tobacco.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when King Hasan was quit of the Divan, he went in to and kissed the hands of his wife’s father, who spake thus to him, “O my son, look thou rule the lieges in the fear of Allah;” whereto he replied, “O my father, through thy prayers for me, the grace and guidance of Allah will come to me.” Then he entered his own palace and was met by his wife and her mother and their attendants, who kissed his hands and gave him joy of his advancement, saying, “Be this day blessed!” Next he went in to his father and mother, who joyed with exceeding joy in that which Allah had vouchsafed him of his advancement to the kingship, and his father charged him to fear Allah and to deal mercifully with his subjects. He passed the night in glee and gladness, and on the morrow, having prayed the obligatory prayers ending with the usual short chapters1 of the Koran, he went up to the Divan, whither came all his officers and dignitaries. He passed the day in dispensing justice among the folk, bidding to graciousness and forbidding ungraciousness and appointing to place and displacing, till day-end, when the Divan broke up, after the goodliest fashion, and all the troops withdrew and each went his own way. Then he arose and repaired to the palace, where he found his father-in-law’s sickness grown heavy upon him and said to him, “May no ill befal thee!” At this the old King opened his eyes and said, “O Hasan!” and he replied, “At thy service, O my lord.” Quoth the old King “Mine appointed hour is at hand: be thou careful of thy wife and her mother, and look thou fear Allah and honour thy parents; and bide in awe of the majesty of the Requiting King and bear in mind that He commandeth justice and good works.” And King Hasan replied, “I hear and obey.” Now after this the old King lingered three days and then departed into the mercy of Almighty Allah. So they laid him out and shrouded and buried him and held over him readings and perlections of the Koran, to the end of the customary forty days. And King Hasan, son of the Wazir, reigned in his stead, and his subjects joyed in him and all his days were gladness; moreover, his father ceased not to be his chief Wazir on his right hand, and he took to himself another Wazir, to be at his left hand. His reign was a prosperous and well ordered, and he lived a long life as King of Baghdad; and Allah blessed him, by the old King’s daughter, with three sons who inherited the kingdom after him; and they abode in the solace of life and its pleasures till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the Severer of societies. And the glory be to Him who is eternal and in whose hand are annulling and confirming. And of the tales they tell is one of
1 Arab. “Wird”=the twenty-five last chapters of the Koran which are repeated, one or more at a time, after the end of the “Farz,” or obligatory prayers and ad libitum with the Sunnat or customary, and the Náfilah or supererogatory.
A man of the pilgrims once slept a long sleep and awaking, found no trace of the caravan. So he rose up and walked on, but lost his way and presently came to a tent, where he saw an old woman standing at the entrance and by her side a dog asleep. He went up to the tent and, saluting the old woman, sought of her food, when she replied, “Go to yonder Wady and catch thy sufficiency of serpents, that I may broil of them for thee and give thee to eat.” Rejoined the pilgrim, “I dare not catch serpents nor did I ever eat them.” Quoth the old woman, “I will go with thee and catch some; fear not.” So she went with him, followed by the dog, to the valley and, catching a sufficient number of serpents, proceeded to broil them. He saw nothing for it (saith the story teller) but to eat, in fear of hunger and exhaustion; so he ate of the serpents.1 Then he was athirst and asked for water to drink; and she answered, “Go to the spring and drink.” Accordingly, he went to the spring and found the water thereof bitter; yet needs must he drink of it despite its bitterness, because of the violence of his thirst. Presently he returned to the old woman and said to her, “I marvel, O ancient dame, at thy choosing to sojourn in this place”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
1 The sensible creed of Al–Islam freely allows anthropophagy when it saves life; a contrast to the sentimentalism of the West which brings a “charge of cannibalism” against unfortunate expeditionists. I particularly allude to the scandalous pulings of the English Press over the gallant and unfortunate Greely voyage. (The Academy, Sept. 25, 1884.)
She said, it hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the palmer-man drank the bitter draught for stress of thirst, he returned and said “I marvel, O ancient dame, at thy choosing to sojourn in this place and thy putting up with such meat and drink!” She asked, “And how is it then in thy country?”; whereto he answered, “In my country are houses wide and spacious and fruits ripe and delicious and waters sweet and viands savorous and of goodly use and meats fat and full of juice and flocks innumerous and all things pleasant and all the goods of life, the like whereof are not, save in the Paradise which Allah the Omnipotent hath promised to His servants pious.” Replied she, “All this have I heard: but tell me, have ye a Sultan who ruleth over you and is tyrannical in his rule and under whose hand you are; one who, if any of you commit an offence, taketh his goods and ruineth him and who, whenas he will, turneth you out of house and home and uprooteth you, stock and branch?” Replied the man, “Indeed that may be;” and she rejoined, “If so, by Allah, these your delicious food and life of daintyhood and gifts however good, with tyranny and oppression, are but a searching poison, while our coarse meat which in freedom and safety we eat is a healthful medicine. Hast thou not heard that the best of boons, after Al–Islam, the true Faith, are sanity and security?”1 “Now such boons (quoth he who telleth the tale) may be by the just rule of the Sultan, Vice-regent of Allah on His earth, and the goodness of his polity. The Sultan of time past needed but little awfulness, for when the lieges saw him, they feared him; but the Sultan of these days hath need of the most accomplished polity and the utmost majesty, because men are not as men of by-gone time and this our age is one of folk opprobrious, and is greatly calamitous, noted for folly and hardness of heart and inclined to hate and enmity. If, therefore, the Sultan (which Almighty Allah forfend!) be weak or wanting in polity and majesty, this will be the assured cause of his country’s ruin. Quoth the proverb, ‘An hundred years of the Sultan’s tyranny, but not one year of the people’s tyranny one over other.’ When the lieges oppress one another, Allah setteth over them a tyrannical Sultan and a terrible King. Thus it is told in history that one day there was sent to Al–Hajjáj bin Yúsuf a slip of paper, whereon was written, ‘Fear Allah and oppress not His servants with all manner of oppression.’ When he read this, he mounted the pulpit (for he was eloquent and ever ready of speech), and said, ‘O folk, Allah Almighty hath made me ruler over you, by reason of your frowardness;’”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
1 The story is mere Æsopic: the “Two dogs” contains it all. One of Mohammed’s sensible sayings is recorded and deserves repetition:—“Empire endureth with infidelity (idolatry, etc.), but not with tyranny.”
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Hajjaj Yousuf-son read the paper he mounted the pulpit and said, “O folk, Allah Almighty hath made me ruler over you by reason of your frowardness; and indeed, though I die yet will ye not be delivered from oppression, with these your ill deeds; for the Almighty hath created like unto me many an one. If it be not I, ’twill be one more mischievous than I and a mightier in oppression and a more merciless in his majesty; even as saith the poet:1 —
‘For not a deed the hand can try
Save ‘neath the hand of God on high,
Nor tyrant harsh work tyranny
Uncrushed by tyrant harsh as he.’
Tyranny is feared: but justice is the best of all things. We beg Allah to better our case!” And among tales is that of
1 This couplet occurs in Night xxi. (vol. i. 207); so I give Torrens (p.207) by way of variety.
There was once in Baghdad a man of consequence and rich in monies and immoveables, who was one of the chiefs of the merchants; and Allah had largely endowed him with worldly goods, but had not vouchsafed him what he longed for of offspring; and there passed over him a long space of time, without his being blessed with issue, male or female. His years waxed great; his bones became wasted and his back bent; weakness and weariness grew upon him, and he feared the loss of his wealth and possessions, seeing he had no child whom he might make his heir and by whom his name should be remembered. So he betook himself with supplication to Almighty Allah, fasting by day and praying through the night. Moreover, he vowed many vows to the Living, the Eternal; and visited the pious and was constant in supplication to the Most Highest, till He gave ear to him and accepted his prayer and took pity on his straining and complaining; so that, before many days were past, he knew carnally one of his women and she conceived by him the same night. In due time she finished her months and, casting her burden, bore a male child as he were a slice of the moon; whereupon the merchant fulfilled his vows in his gratitude to Allah, (to whom be honour and glory!) and gave alms and clothed the widow and the orphan. On the seventh night after the boy’s birth, he named him Abu al-Husn,2 and the wet-nurses suckled him and the dry-nurses dandled him and the servants and the slaves carried him and handled him, till he shot up and grew tall and throve greatly and learnt the Sublime Koran and the ordinances of Al–Islam and the Canons of the True Faith; and calligraphy and poetry and mathematics and archery. On this wise he became the union-pearl of his age and the goodliest of the folk of his time and his day; fair of face and of tongue fluent, carrying himself with a light and graceful gait and glorying in his stature proportionate and amorous graces which were to many a bait: and his cheeks were red and flower-white was his forehead and his side face waxed brown with tender down, even as saith one, describing him,
“The spring of the down on cheeks right clearly shows:
And how when the Spring is gone shall last the rose?
Dost thou not see that the growth upon his cheek
Is violet-bloom that from its leaves outgrows.”
He abode awhile in ease and happiness with his father, who rejoiced and delighted in him, till he came to man’s estate, when the merchant one day made him sit down before him and said, “O my son, the appointed term draweth near; my hour of death is at hand and it remaineth but to meet Allah (to whom belong Majesty and Might!). I leave thee what shall suffice thee, even to thy son’s son, of monies and mansions, farms and gardens; wherefore, fear thou Almighty Allah, O my son, in dealing with that which I bequeath to thee and follow none but those who will help thee to the Divine favour.” Not long after, he sickened and died; so his son ordered his funeral,3 after the goodliest wise, and burying him, returned to his house and sat mourning for him many days and nights. But behold, certain of his friends came in to him and said to him, “Whoso leaveth a son like thee is not dead; indeed, what is past is past and fled and mourning beseemeth none but the young maid and the wife cloistered.” And they ceased not from him till they wrought on him to enter the Hammam and break off his mourning. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
1 Lane (ii. 636) omits this tale, “as it would not only require a volume of commentary but be extremely tiresome to most readers.” Quite true; but it is valuable to Oriental Students who are beginning their studies, as an excellent compendium of doctrine and practice according to the Shafi’í School.
2 Pronounced Aboo ‘l-Husn = Father of Beauty, a fancy name.
3 As in most hot climates so in Egypt the dead are buried at once despite the risk of vivisepulture. This seems an instinct with the Semitic (Arabian) race teste Abraham, as with the Gypsy. Hence the Moslems have invoked religious aid. The Mishkát al-Masábih (i. 387) makes Mohammed say, “When any one of you dieth you may not keep him in the house but bear him quickly to his grave”; and again, “Be quick in raising up the bier: for if the dead have been a good man, it is good to bear him gravewards without delay; and if bad, it is frowardness ye put from your necks.”
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Abu al-Husn was visited by his friends and taken to the Hamman and persuaded to break off his mourning, he presently forgot his father’s charge, and his head was turned by his riches; he thought fortune would always wone with him as it was, and that wealth would ever wax and never wane. So he ate and drank and made merry and took his pleasure and gave gifts of gear and coin and was profuse with gold and addrest himself up to eating fowls and breaking the seals of wine-flasks and listening to the giggle of the daughter of the vine, as she gurgled from the flagon and enjoying the jingle of the singing-girls; nor did he give over this way of life, till his wealth was wasted and the case worsened and all his goods went from him and he bit his hands1 in bitter penitence. For of a truth he had nothing left, after that which he had squandered, but a concubine, a slave-girl whom his father had bequeathed to him with the rest of his estate: and she had no equal in beauty and loveliness and brightness and liveliness and symmetric stature and perfect grace. She was past mistress in every manner of arts and accomplishments and endowed with many excellences, surpassing all the folk of her age and time. She was grown more notorious than a way-mark,2 for her seductive genius, and outdid the fair both in theory and practice, and she was noted for her swimming gait, flexile and delicate, albeit she was full five feet in height and by all the boons of fortune deckt and dight, with strait arched brows twain, as they were the crescent moon of Sha’abán,3 and eyes like gazelles’ eyne; and nose like the edge of scymitar fine and cheeks like anemones of blood-red shine; and mouth like Solomon’s seal and sign and teeth like necklaces of pearls in line; and navel holding an ounce of oil of benzoin and waist more slender than his body whom love hath wasted and whom concealment hath made sick with pine and hind parts heavier than two hills of sand; briefly she was a volume of charms after his saying who saith,
“Her fair shape ravisheth, if face to face she did appear,
And if she turn, for severance from her she slayeth sheer.
Sun-like, full-moon-like, sapling-like, unto her character
Estrangement no wise appertains nor cruelty austere.
Under the bosom of her shift the garths of Eden are
And the full-moon revolveth still upon her neck-rings’ sphere.”4
She seemed a full moon rising and a gazelle browsing, a girl of nine plus five5 shaming the moon and sun, even as saith of her the sayer eloquent and ingenious,
“Semblance of full-moon Heaven bore,
When five and five are conjoined by four;
’Tis not my sin if she made of me
Its like when it riseth horizon o’er.”6
Clean of skin, odoriferous of breath, it seemed as if she were of fire fashioned and of crystal moulded; rose-red was the cheek of her and perfect the shape and form of her; even as one saith of her, describing her,
“Scented with sandal7 and musk, right proudly doth she go,
With gold and silver and rose and saffron-colour aglow. A flower in a garden she is, a pearl in an ouch of gold
Or an image in chapel8 set for worship of high and low.
Slender and shapely she is; vivacity bids her arise,
But the weight of her hips says, ‘Sit, or softly and slowly go.’
Whenas her favours I seek and sue for my heart’s desire,
‘Be gracious,’ her beauty says; but her coquetry answers, ‘No.’
Glory to Him who made beauty her portion, and that
Of her lover to be the prate of the censurers, heigho!”9
She captivated all who saw her, with the excellence of her beauty and the sweetness of her smile,10 and shot them down with the shafts she launched from her eyes; and withal she was eloquent of speech and excellently skilled in verse. Now when Abu al-Husn had squandered all his gold, and his ill-plight all could behold, and there remained to him naught save this slave-girl, he abode three days without tasting meat or taking rest in sleep, and the handmaid said to him, “O my lord, carry me to the Commander of the Faithful, Harun al-Rashid,”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
1 This biting of the hand in Al–Haríri expresses bitterness of repentance and he uses more than once the Koranic phrase (chapter vii., 148) “Sukita fí aydíhim,” lit. where it (the biting) was fallen upon their hands; i.e. when it repented them; “sukita” being here not a passive verb as it appears, but an impersonal form uncommon in Arabic. The action is instinctive, a survival of the days when man was a snarling and snapping animal (physically) armed only with claws and teeth.
2 Arab. “‘Alam,” applied to many things, an “old man” of stones (Kákúr), a signpost with a rag on the top, etc.
3 The moon of Ramazan was noticed in Night ix. That of Sha’aban (eighth month) begins the fighting month after the conclusion of the Treuga Dei in Rajab. See Night ccclxxviii.
4 These lines have occurred in Night cccxix. I give Mr. Payne’s version for variety.
5 i.e. in her prime, at fourteen to fifteen.
6 i.e. pale and yellow.
7 The word means the wood; but it alludes to a preparation made by levigating it on a stone called in India “Sandlásá.” The gruel-like stuff is applied with the right hand to the right side of the neck, drawing the open fingers from behind forwards so as to leave four distinct streaks, then down to the left side, and so on to the other parts of the body.
8 Arab. “Haykal” which included the Porch, the Holy and the Holy of Holies. The word is used as in a wider sense by Josephus A. J. v. v. 3. In Moslem writings it is applied to a Christian Church generally, on account of its images.
9 These lines having occurred before, I here quote Mr. Payne.
10 Arab writers often mention the smile of beauty, but rarely, after European fashion, the laugh, which they look upon as undignified. A Moslem will say “Don’t guffaw (Kahkahah) in that way; leave giggling and grinning to monkeys and Christians.” The Spaniards, a grave people, remark that Christ never laughed. I would draw the reader’s attention to a theory of mine that the open-hearted laugh has the sound of the vowels a and o; while e, i, and u belong to what may be roughly classed as the rogue order.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth the slave-girl to her master, “O my lord, carry me to Harun al-Rashid, fifth of the sons of Abbas, and seek of him to my price ten thousand dinars. If he deem me dear, say to him: ‘O Prince of True Believers, my handmaid is worth more than this: do but prove her, and her value will be magnified in thine eyes; for this slave-girl hath not her equal, and she were unfit to any but thou.’” And she added, “Beware, O my lord, of selling me at less than the sum I have named; indeed ’tis but little for the like of me.” Now her owner knew not her worth nor that she had no equal in her day; but he carried her to the Caliph and set her in the presence and repeated what she had bidden him say. The Caliph asked her, “What is thy name?”; to which she answered, “My name is Tawaddud.”1 He then enquired, “O Tawaddud, in what branches of knowledge dost thou excel?”; and she replied, “O my lord, I am versed in syntax and poetry and jurisprudence and exegesis and philosophy; and I am skilled in music and the knowledge of the Divine ordinances and in arithmetic and geodesy and geometry and the fables of the ancients. I know the Sublime Koran by heart and have read it according to the seven, the ten and the fourteen modes. I know the number of its chapters and versets and sections and words; and its halves and fourths and eighths and tenths; the number of prostrations which occur in it and the sum total of its letters; and I know what there is in it of abrogating and abrogated2; also what parts of it were revealed at Al–Medinah and what at Meccah and the cause of the different revelations. I know the Holy Traditions of the Apostle’s sayings, historical and legendary, the established and those whose ascription is doubtful; and I have studied the exact sciences, geometry and philosophy and medicine and logic and rhetoric and composition; and I have learnt many things by rote and am passionately fond of poetry. I can play the lute and know its gamut and notes and notation and the crescendo and diminuendo. If I sing and dance, I seduce, and if I dress and scent myself, I slay. In fine, I have reached a pitch of perfection such as can be estimated only by those of them who are firmly rooted in knowledge.”3 Now when the Caliph heard these words spoken by one so young, he wondered at her eloquence, and turning to Abu al-Husn, said, “I will summon those who shall discuss with her all she claimeth to know; if she answer correctly, I will give thee the price thou askest for her and more; and if not, thou art fitter to have her than I.” “With gladness and goodly gree, O Commander of the Faithful,” replied Abu al-Husn. So the Caliph wrote to the Viceroy of Bassorah, to send him Ibrahim bin Siyyár the prosodist, who was the first man of his day in argument and eloquence and poetry and logic, and bade him bring with him readers of the Koran and learned doctors of the law and physicians and astrologers and scientists and mathematicians and philosophers; and Ibrahim was more learned than all. In a little while they arrived at the palace of the Caliphate, knowing not what was to do, and the Caliph sent for them to his sitting-chamber and ordered them to be seated. So they sat down and he bade bring the damsel Tawaddud who came and unveiling, showed herself, as she were a sparkling star.4 The Caliph set her a stool of gold; and she saluted, and speaking with an eloquent tongue, said, “O Commander of the Faithful, bid the Olema and the doctors of law and leaches and astrologers and scientists and mathematicians and all here present contend with me in argument.” So he said to them, “I desire of you that ye dispute with this damsel on the things of her faith, and stultify her argument in all she advanceth;” and they answered, saying, “We hear and we obey Allah and thee, O Commander of the Faithful.” Upon this Tawaddud bowed her head and said, “Which of you is the doctor of the law, the scholar, versed in the readings of the Koran and in the Traditions?” Quoth one of them, “I am the man thou seekest.” Quoth she, “Then ask me of what thou wilt.” Said the doctor, “Hast thou read the precious book of Allah and dost thou know its cancelling and cancelled parts and hast thou meditated its versets and its letters?” “Yes,” answered she. “Then,” said he, “I will proceed to question thee of the obligations and the immutable ordinances: so tell me of these, O damsel, and who is thy Lord, who thy prophet, who thy Guide, what is thy point of fronting in prayer, and who be thy brethren? Also what thy spiritual path and what thy highway?” Whereto she replied, “Allah is my Lord, and Mohammed (whom Allah save and assain!) my prophet, and the Koran is my guide and the Ka’abah my fronting; and the True-believers are my brethren. The practice of good is my path and the Sunnah my highway.” The Caliph again marvelled at her words so eloquently spoken by one so young; and the doctor pursued, “O damsel, with what do we know Almighty Allah?” Said she, “With the understanding.” Said he, “And what is the understanding?” Quoth she, “It is of two kinds, natural and acquired.”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
1 i.e. gaining the love of another, love.
2 i.e. the abrogated passages and those by which they are abrogated. This division is necessary for “inspired volumes,” which always abound in contradictions. But the charge of “opportunism” brought against the Koran is truly absurd; as if “revelation” could possibly be aught save opportune.
3 Koran iv. 160, the chapter “Women.”
4 She unveiled, being a slave-girl and for sale. If a free woman show her face to a Moslem, he breaks out into violent abuse, because the act is intended to let him know that he is looked upon as a small boy or an eunuch or a Chriastian — in fact not a man.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the damsel continued, “The understanding is of two kinds, natural and acquired. The natural is that which Allah (to whom be honour and glory!) created for the right direction of His servants after His will; and the acquired is that which men accomplish by dint of study and fair knowledge.” He rejoined, “Thou hast answered well.” Q “Where is the seat of the understanding?”—“Allah casteth it in the heart whence its lustrous beams ascend to the brain and there become fixed.” Q “How knowest thou the Prophet of Allah?” “By the reading of Allah’s Holy Book and by signs and proofs and portents and miracles!” Q “What are the obligations and the immutable ordinances?” “The obligations are five. (1) Testification that there is no iláh1 but Allah, no god but the God alone and One, which for partner hath none, and that Mohammed is His servant and His apostle. (2) The standing in prayers.2 (3) The payment of the poor-rate. (4) Fasting Ramazan. (5) The Pilgrimage to Allah’s Holy House for all to whom the journey is possible. The immutable ordinances are four; to wit, night and day and sun and moon, the which build up life and hope; nor any son of Adam wotteth if they will be destroyed on the Day of Judgment.” Q “What are the obligatory observances of the Faith?” “They are five, prayer, almsgiving, fasting, pilgrimage, fighting for the Faith and abstinence from the forbidden.” Q “Why dost thou stand up to pray?” “To express the devout intent of the slave acknowledging the Deity.” Q “What are the obligatory conditions which precede standing in prayer?” “Purification, covering the shame, avoidance of soiled clothes, standing on a clean place, fronting the Ka’abah, an upright posture, the intent3 and the pronouncing ‘Allaho Akbar’ of prohibition.”4 Q “With what shouldest thou go forth from thy house to pray?” “With the intent of worship mentally pronounced.” Q “With what intent shouldest thou enter the mosque?” “With an intent of service.” Q “Why do we front the Kiblah5?” “In obedience to three Divine orders and one Traditional ordinance.” Q “What are the beginning, the consecration and the end of prayer?” “Purification beginneth prayer, saying the Allaho Akbar of prohibition consecrateth, and the salutation endeth prayer.” Q “What deserveth he who neglecteth prayer?” “It is reported, among the authentic Traditions of the Prophet, that he said, ‘Whoso neglecteth prayer wilfully and purposely hath no part in Al–Islam.’”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
1 Ilah=Heb. El, a most difficult root, meaning strength, interposition, God (Numen) “the” (article) “don’t” (do not), etc. etc.
2 As far as I know Christians are the only worshippers who kneel as if their lower legs were cut off and who “join hands” like the captive offering his wrists to be bound (dare manus). The posture, however, is not so ignoble as that of the Moslem “Sijdah” (prostration) which made certain North African tribes reject Al–Islam saying, “These men show their hind parts to heaven.”
3 i.e. saying “I intend (purpose) to pray (for instance) the two-bow prayer (ruka’tayn) of the day-break,” etc.
4 So called because it prohibits speaking with others till the prayer is ended.
5 Lit. “any thing opposite;” here used for the Ka’abah towards which men turn in prayer; as Guebres face the sun or fire and idolators their images. “Al–Kiblatayn” (= the two Kiblahs) means Meccah and Jerusalem, which was faced by Moslems as well as Jews and Christians till Mohammed changed the direction. For the occasion of the change see my Pilgrimage, ii. 320.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that after the damsel had repeated the words of that Holy Tradition the doctor cried, “Thou hast replied aright: now say me, what is prayer?” “Prayer is communion between the slave and his lord, and in it are ten virtues: (1) it illumineth the heart; (2) it maketh the face shine; (3) it pleaseth the Compassionate One; (4) it angereth Satan; (5) it conjureth calamity; (6) it wardeth off the mischief of enemies; (7) it multiplieth mercy; (8) it forfendeth vengeance and punishment; (9) it bringeth the slave nigh unto his lord; and (10) it restraineth from lewdness and frowardness. Hence it is one of the absolute requisites and obligatory ordinances and the pillar of the Faith.” Q “What is the key of prayer?” “Wuzd or the lesser ablution.”1 Q “What is the key to the lesser ablution?” “Intention and naming the Almighty.” Q “What is the key of naming the Almighty?” “Assured faith.” Q “What is the key of faith?” “Trust in the Lord.” Q “What is the key of trust in the Lord?” “Hope.” Q “What is the key of hope?” “Obedience.” Q “What is the key of obedience?” “The confession of the Unity and the acknowledgment of the divinity of Allah.” Q “What are the Divine ordinances of Wuzu, the minor ablution?” “They are six, according to the canon of the Imam al-Sháfi’í Mohammed bin Idris (of whom Allah accept!): (1) intent while washing the face; (2) washing the face; (3) washing the hands and forearms; (4) wiping part of the head; (5) washing the feet and heels; and (6) observing due order.2 And the traditional statutes are ten: (1) nomination; (2) and washing the hands before putting them into the water-pot; (3) and mouth-rinsing; (4) and snuffing;3 (5) and wiping the whole head; (6) and wetting the ears within and without with fresh water; (7) and separating a thick beard; (8) and separating the fingers and toes;4 (9) and washing the right foot before the left and (10) doing each of these thrice and all in unbroken order. When the minor ablution is ended, the worshipper should say, I testify that there is no god but the God, the One, which for partner hath none, and I testify that Mohammed is His servant and His apostle. O my Allah, make me of those who repent and in purity are permanent! Glory to Thee, O my God, and in Thy praise I bear witness, that there is no god save Thou! I crave pardon of Thee and I repent to Thee! For it is reported, in the Holy Traditions, that the Prophet (whom Allah bless and preserve!) said of this prayer, ‘Whoso endeth every ablution with this prayer, the eight gates of Paradise are open to him; he shall enter at which he pleaseth.’” Q “When a man purposeth ablution, what betideth him from the angels and the devils?” “When a man prepareth for ablution, the angels come and stand on his right and the devils on his left hand.5 If he name Almighty Allah at the beginning of the ablution, the devils flee from him and the angels hover over him with a pavilion of light, having four ropes, to each an angel glorifying Allah and craving pardon for him, so long as he remaineth silent or calleth upon the name of Allah. But if he omit to begin washing with naming Allah (to whom belong might and majesty!), neither remain silent, the devils take command of him; and the angels depart from him and Satan whispereth evil thoughts unto him, till he fall into doubt and come short in his ablution. For (quoth he on whom be blessing and peace!), ‘A perfect ablution driveth away Satan and assureth against the tyranny of the Sultan’; and again quoth he, ‘If calamity befal one who is not pure by ablution; verily and assuredly let him blame none but himself.’” Q “What should a man do when he awaketh from sleep?” “He should wash his hands thrice, before putting them into the water vessel.” Q “What are the Koranic and traditional orders anent Ghusl, the complete ablution6?” “The divine ordinances are intent and ‘crowning’7 the whole body with water, that is, the liquid shall come at every part of the hair and skin. Now the traditional ordinances are the minor ablution as preliminary; rubbing the body; separating the hair and deferring in words8 the washing of the feet till the end of the ablution.”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
1 Which includes Tayammum or washing with sand. This is a very cleanly practice in a hot, dry land and was adopted long before Mohammed. Cedrenus tells of baptism with sand being administered to a dying traveller in the African desert.
2 The Koranic order for Wuzú is concise and as usual obscure, giving rise to a host of disputes and casuistical questions. Its text runs (chapt. v.), “O true believers, when you prepare to pray, wash (Ghusl) your faces, and your hands unto the elbows; and rub (Mas-h) your hands and your feet unto the ankles; and if ye be unclean by having lain with a woman, wash (Ghusl) yourselves all over.” The purifications and ceremonious ablutions of the Jews originated this command; and the early Christians did very unwisely in not making the bath obligatory. St. Paul (Heb. xi. 22) says, “Let us draw near with a true heart . . . having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with clean (or pure) water.” But this did not suffice. Hence the Eastern Christian, in hot climates where cleanliness should rank before godliness, is distinguished by his dirt which as a holy or reverend man he makes still dirtier, and he offers an ugly comparison with the Moslem and especially the Hindu. The neglect of commands to wash and prohibitions to drink strong waters are the two grand physical objections of the Christian code of morality.
3 Arab. “Istinshák”=snuffing up water from the palm of the right hand so as to clean thoroughly the nostrils. This “function” is unreasonably neglected in Europe, to the detriment of the mucous membrane and the olfactory nerves.
4 So as to wash between them. The thick beard is combed out with the fingers.
5 Poor human nature! How sad to compare ita pretensions with its actualities.
6 Complete ablution is rendered necessary chiefly by the emission of semen either in copulation or in nocturnal pollution. The water must be pure and not less than a certain quantity, and it must touch every part of the skin beginning with the right half of the person and ending with the left. Hence a plunge-bath is generally preferred.
7 Arab. “Ta’mím,” lit. crowning with turband, or tiara, here=covering, i.e. wetting.
8 This practice (saying “I purpose to defer the washing of the feet,” etc.) is now somewhat obsolete.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the damsel had recounted to the doctor what were the divine and traditional orders anent Ghusl or total ablution, quoth he, “Thou hast replied aright: now tell me what are the occasions for Tayammum, or making the ablution with sand and dust; and what are the ordinances thereof, divine and human?” “The reasons are seven, viz.: want of water; fear lest water lack; need thereto; going astray on a march; sickness; having broken bones in splints and having open wounds.1 As for its ordinances, the divine number four, viz., intent, dust, clapping it to the face and clapping it upon the hands; and the human number two, nomination and preferring the right before the left hand.” Q “What are the conditions, the pillars or essentials, and the traditional statutes of prayer?” “The conditions are five: (1) purification of the members; (2) covering of the privy parts; (3) observing the proper hours, either of certainty or to the best of one’s belief; (4) fronting the Kiblah; and (5) standing on a clean place. The pillars or essentials number twelve: (1) intent; (2) the Takbír or magnification of prohibition; (3) standing when able to stand2; (4) repeating the Fatihah or opening chapter of the Koran and saying, ‘In the name of Allah, the Compassionating, the Compassionate!’ with a verse thereof according to the canon of the Imam Al–Shafi’i; (5) bowing the body and keeping it bowed; (6) returning to the upright posture and so remaining for the time requisite; (7) prostration and permanence therein; (8) sitting between two prostrations and permanence therein; (9) repeating the latter profession of the Faith and sitting up therefor; (10) invoking benediction on the Prophet (whom Allah bless and preserve!) (11) the first Salutation,3 and (12) the intent of making an end of prayer expressed in words. But the traditional statutes are the call to prayer; the standing posture; raising the hands (to either side of the face) whilst pronouncing the prohibition; uttering the magnification before reciting the Fatihah; seeking refuge with Allah4; saying, ‘Amen’; repeating the chapter of the Koran after the Fatihah, repeating the magnifications during change of posture; saying, ‘May Allah hear him who praiseth Him! and O our Lord, to Thee be the praise!’; praying aloud in the proper place5 and praying under the breath prayers so prescribed; the first profession of unity and sitting up thereto; blessing the Prophet therein; blessing his family in the latter profession and the second Salutation.” Q “On what is the Zakát or obligatory poor-rate taxable?” “On gold and silver and camels and oxen and sheep and wheat and barley and holcus and millet and beans and vetches and rice and raisins and dates.” Q “What is the Zakát or poor-rate on gold?” “Below twenty miskals or dinars, nothing; but on that amount half a dinar for every score and so on proportionally.6” Q “On silver?” “Under two hundred dirhams nothing, then five dirhams on every two hundred and so forth.” Q “On camels?” “For every five, an ewe, or for every twenty-five a pregnant camel.” Q “On sheep?” “An ewe for every forty head,” Q “What are the ordinances of the Ramazan Fast?” “The Koranic are intent; abstinence from eating, drinking and carnal copulation, and the stoppage of vomiting. It is incumbent on all who submit to the Law, save women in their courses and forty days after childbirth; and it becomes obligatory on sight of the new moon or on news of its appearance, brought by a trustworthy person and commending itself as truth to the hearer’s heart; and among its requisites is that the intent be pronounced at nightfall. The traditional ordinances of fasting are, hastening to break the fast at sundown; deferring the fore-dawn meal,7 and abstaining from speech, save for good works and for calling on the name of Allah and reciting the Koran.” Q “What things vitiate not the fast?” “The use of unguents and eye-powders and the dust of the road and the undesigned swallowing of saliva and the emission of seed in nocturnal pollution or at the sight of a strange woman and blooding and cupping; none of these things vitiates the fast.” Q “What are the prayers of the two great annual Festivals?” “Two one-bow prayers, which be a traditional ordinance, without call to prayer or standing up to pronounce the call;8 but let the Moslem say, ‘Prayer is a collector of all folk!’9 and pronounce ‘Allaho Akbar’ seven times in the first prayer, besides the Takbir of prohibition; and, in the second, five times, besides the magnification of rising up (according to the doctrine of the Imam Al–Shafi’i, on whom Allah have mercy!) and make the profession of the Faith.”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
1 Arabs have a prejudice against the hydropathic treatment of wounds, holding that water poisons them: and, as the native produce usually contains salt, soda and magnesia, they are justified by many cases. I once tried water-bandages in Arabia and failed dismally.
2 The sick man says his prayers lying in bed, etc., and as he best can.
3 i.e. saying, “And peace be on us and on the worshippers of Allah which be pious.”
4 i.e. saying, “ I seek refuge with Allah from Satan the Stoned.”
5 Certain parts should be recited aloud (jahr) and others sotto voce (with mussitation=Khafi). No mistake must be made in this matter where a Moslem cannot err.
6 Hence an interest of two-and-a-half percent is not held to be “Ribá” or unlawful gain of money by money, usury.
7 The meal must be finished before the faster can plainly distinguish the white thread from the black thread (Koran ii. 183); some understand this literally, others apply it to the dark and silvery streak of zodiacal light which appears over the Eastern horizon an hour or so before sunrise. The fast then begins and ends with the disappearance of the sun. I have noticed its pains and penalties in my Pilgrimage, i. 110, etc.
8 For the “Azán” or call to prayer see Lane, M. E., chapt. xviii. The chant, however, differs in every country, and a practical ear will know the land by its call.
9 Arab. “Hadís” or saying of the Apostle.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the damsel had answered the doctor anent the Festival-prayers, quoth he, “Thou hast replied aright: now tell me what are the prayers prescribed on the occasion of an eclipse of the sun or moon?” “Two one-bow prayers without call to prayer or standing thereto by the worshipper, who shall make in each two-bow prayer double standing up and double inclinations and two-fold prostrations, then sit and testify and salute.” Q “What is the ritual of prayer for rain?” “Two one-bow prayers without call to prayer or standing thereto; then shall the Moslem make the profession and salute. Moreover the Imam shall deliver an exhortation and ask pardon of Allah, in place of the magnification, as in the two sermons of the Festivals and turn his mantle upper edge downwards and pray and supplicate.” Q “What are the Witr, the additional or occasional prayers?” “The least is a one-bow prayer and the most eleven.” Q “What is the forenoon prayer?” “At least, two one-bow prayers and at most, twelve.” Q “What hast thou to say of the I’itikáf or retreat1?” “It is a matter of traditional ordinance.” Q “What are its conditions?” “(1) intent; (2) not leaving the mosque save of necessity; (3) not having to do with a woman; (4) fasting; and (5) abstaining from speech.” Q “Under what conditions is the Hajj or Pilgrimage2 obligatory?” “Manhood, and understanding and being a Moslem and practicability; in which case it is obligatory on all, once before death.” Q “What are the Koranic statutes of the Pilgrimage?” “(1) The Ihrám or pilgrim’s habit; (2) the standing at Arafat; (3) circumambulating the Ka’abah; (4) running between Safá and Marwah3; and (5) shaving or clipping the hair.” Q “What are the Koranic statutes of the ‘Umrah4 or lesser pilgrimage?” “Assuming the pilgrim’s habit and compassing and running.” Q “What are the Koranic ordinances of the assumption of the pilgrim’s habit?”5 “Doffing sewn garments, forswearing perfume and ceasing to shave the head or pare the nails, and avoiding the killing of game, and eschewing carnal copulation.” Q “What are the traditional statutes of the pilgrimage?” “(1) The crying out ‘Labbay’ka, Adsum, Here am I, O our Lord, here am I!’64 (2) the Ka’abah-circuitings7 of arrival and departure; (3) the passing the night at the Mosque of Muzdalifah and in the valley of Mina, and (4) the lapidation.8” Q “What is the Jihád or Holy War and its essentials?” “Its essentials are: (1) the descent of the Infidels upon us; (2) the presence of the Imam; (3) a state of preparation; and (4) firmness in meeting the foe. Its traditional ordinance is incital to battle, in that the Most High hath said, ‘O thou my Prophet, incite the faithful to fight!’9” Q “What are the ordinances of buying and selling?” “The Koranic are: (1) offer and acceptance and (2) if the thing sold be a white slave, by whom one profiteth, all possible endeavour to convert him to Al–Islam; and (3) to abstain from usury; the traditional are: making void10 and option before not after separating, according to his saying (whom Allah bless and preserve!), ‘The parties to a sale shall have the option of cancelling or altering terms whilst they are yet unseparated.’”, Q “What is it forbidden to sell for what?” “On this point I mind me of an authentic tradition, reported by Náf’i11 of the Apostle of Allah, that he forbade the barter of dried dates for fresh and fresh figs for dry and jerked for fresh meat and cream for clarified butter; in fine, all eatables of one and the same kind, it is unlawful to buy or barter some for other some.12” Now when the doctor of law heard her words and knew that she was wit-keen, penetrative, ingenious and learned in jurisprudence and the Traditions and the interpretation of the Koran and what not else, he said in his mind, “Needs must I manoeuvre with her, that I may overcome her in the assembly of the Commander of the Faithful.” So he said to her, “O damsel, what is the lexicographical meaning of Wuzu?” And she answered, “Philologically it signifieth cleanliness and freedom from impurities.” Q “And of Salát or prayer?” “An invocation of good” Q “And of Ghusl?” “Purification.” Q “And of Saum or fasting?” “Abstention.” Q “And of Zakát?” “Increase. Q “And of Hajj or pilgrimage?” “Visitation.” Q “And of Jihád?” “Repelling.” With this the doctor’s arguments were cut off — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
1 “Al-I’itikaf” resembles the Christian “retreat;” but the worshipper generally retires to a mosque, especially in Meccah. The Apostle practised it on Jabal Hira and other places.
2 The word is the Heb. “Hagg” whose primary meaning is circularity of form or movement. Hence it applied to religious festivals in which dancing round the idol played a prime part; and Lucian of “saltation” says, dancing was from the beginning and coeval with the ancient god, Love. But man danced with joy before he worshipped, and, when he invented a systematic saltation, he made it represent two things, and only two things, love and war, in most primitive form, courtship and fighting.
3 Two adjoining ground-waves in Meccah. For these and for the places subsequently mentioned the curious will consult my Pilgrimage, iii. 226, etc.
4 The ‘Umrah or lesser Pilgrimage, I have noted, is the ceremony performed in Meccah at any time out of the pilgrim-season proper, i.e. between the eighth and tenth days of the twelfth lunar month Zu ‘l-Hijjah. It does not entitle the Moslem to be called Hájj (pilgrim) or Hájí as Persians and Indians corrupt the word.
5 I need hardly note that Mohammed borrowed his pilgrimage-practices from the pagan Arabs who, centuries before his day, danced around the Meccan Ka’abah. Nor can he be blamed for having perpetuated a Gentile rite, if indeed it be true that the Ka’abah contained relics of Abraham and Ishmael.
6 On first sighting Meccah. See Night xci.
7 Arab. “Tawáf:” the place is called Matáf and the guide Mutawwif. (Pilgrimage, iii. 193, 205.) The seven courses are termed Ashwát.
8 Stoning the Devil at Mina. (Pilgrimage, iii. 282.) Hence Satan’s title “the Stoned” (lapidated not castrated).
9 Koran viii. 66; in the chapter entided “Spoil,” and relating mainly to the “day of Al–Bedr.
10 Arab. “Al-Ikálah”= cancelling: Mr. Payne uses the technical term “resiliation.”
11 Freedman of Abdallah, son of the Caliph Omar and noted as a traditionist.
12 i.e. at a profit: the exchange must be equal — an ordinance intended to protect the poor. Arabs have strange prejudices in these matters; for instance it disgraces a Badawi to take money for milk.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:48