THE House of Allah1 has been so fully described by my predecessors, that there is little inducement to attempt a new portrait. Readers, however, may desire a view of the great sanctuary, and, indeed, without a plan and its explanation, the ceremonies of the Harim would be scarcely intelligible. I will do homage to the memory of the accurate Burckhardt, and extract from his pages a description which shall be illustrated by a few notes.
“The Kaabah stands in an oblong square (enclosed by a great wall) 250 paces long, and 200 broad,2 none of the sides of which runs quite in a straight line, though at first sight the whole appears to be of a regular shape. This open square is enclosed on the eastern side by a colonnade. The pillars stand in a quadruple row; they are three deep on the other sides, and are united by pointed arches, every four of which support a small dome plastered and whitened on the outside. These domes, according to Kotobeddyn, are 152 in number.3 The pillars are above twenty feet in height, and generally from one foot and a half to one foot and three quarters in diameter; but little regularity has been observed in regard to them. Some are of white marble, granite or porphyry; but the greater number are of common stone of the Meccah mountains.4 El Fasy states the whole at 589, and says they are all of marble excepting 126, which are of common stone, and three of composition. Kotobeddyn reckons 555, of which, according to him, 311 are of marble, and the rest of the stone taken from the neighbouring mountains; but neither of these authors lived to see the latest repairs of the Mosque, after the destruction occasioned by a torrent in A.D. 1626.5 Between every three or four column stands an octagonal one, about four feet in thickness. On the east side are two shafts of reddish grey granite in one piece, and one fine grey porphyry with slabs of white feldspath. On the north side is one red granite column, and one of fine-grained red porphyry; these are probably the columns which Kotobeddyn states to have been brought from Egypt, and principally from Akhmim (Panopolis), when the chief (Caliph) El Mohdy enlarged the Mosque in A.H. 163. Among the 450 or 500 columns which form the enclosure I found not any two capitals or bases exactly alike. The capitals are of coarse Saracen workmanship; some of them, which had served for former buildings, by the ignorance of the workmen, have been placed upside down upon the shafts. I observed about half a dozen marble bases of good Grecian workmanship. A few of the marble columns bear Arabic or Cufic inscriptions, in which I read the dates 863 and 762 (A.H.).6 A column on the east side exhibits a very ancient Cufic inscription, somewhat defaced, which I could neither read nor copy. Some of the columns are strengthened with broad iron rings or bands,7 as in many other Saracen buildings of the East. They were first employed by Ibn Dhaher Berkouk, king of Egypt, in rebuilding the Mosque, which had been destroyed by fire in A.H. 802.8”
“Some parts of the walls and arches are gaudily painted in stripes of yellow, red, and blue, as are also the minarets. Paintings of flowers, in the usual Muselman style, are nowhere seen; the floors of the colonnades are paved with large stones badly cemented together.”
“Some paved causeways lead from the colonnades towards the Kaabah, or Holy House, in the centre.9 They are of sufficient breadth to admit four or five persons to walk abreast, and they are elevated about nine inches above the ground. Between these causeways, which are covered with fine gravel or sand, grass appears growing in several places, produced by the Zem Zem water oozing out of the jars which are placed in the ground in long rows during the day.10 There is a descent of eight or ten steps from the gates on the north side into the platform of the colonnade, and of three or four steps from the gates on the south side.”
“Towards the middle of this area stands the Kaabah; it is 115 paces from the north colonnade, and 88 from the south. For this want of symmetry we may readily account, the Kaabah having existed prior to the Mosque, which was built around it, and enlarged at different periods. The Kaabah is an oblong massive structure, 18 paces in length, 14 in breadth, and from 35 to 40 feet in height.11 It is constructed of the grey Mekka stone, in large blocks of different sizes joined together, in a very rough manner, with bad cement.12 It was entirely rebuilt, as it now stands, in A.D. 1627. The torrent in the preceding year had thrown down three of its sides, and, preparatory to its re-erection, the fourth side was, according to Asamy, pulled down, after the Olemas, or learned divines, had been consulted on the question whether mortals might be permitted to destroy any part of the holy edifice without incurring the charge of sacrilege and infidelity.”
“The Kaabah stands upon a base two feet in height, which presents a sharp inclined plane.13 Its roof being flat, it has at a distance the appearance of a perfect cube.14 The only door which affords entrance, and which is opened but two or three times in the year,15 is on the north side and about seven feet above the ground.16 In the first periods of Islam, however, when it was rebuilt in A.H. 64 by Ibn Zebeyr (Zubayr), chief of Mecca, it had two doors even with the ground floor of the Mosque.17
The present door (which, according to Azraky, was brought hither from Constantinople in A.D. 1633), is wholly coated with silver, and has several gilt ornaments; upon its threshold are placed every night various small lighted wax candles, and perfuming pans, filled with musk, aloe-wood, &c.18”
“At the north-east19 corner of the Kaabah, near the door, is the famous ‘Black Stone’20; it forms a part of the sharp angle of the building,21 at four or five feet above the ground.22 It is an irregular oval, about seven inches in diameter, with an undulating surface, composed of about a dozen smaller stones of different sizes and shapes, well joined together with a small quantity of cement, and perfectly well smoothed: it looks as if the whole had been broken into many pieces by a violent blow, and then united again. It is very difficult to determine accurately the quality of this stone, which has been worn to its present surface by the million touches and kisses it has received. It appeared to me like a lava, containing several small extraneous particles of a whitish and of a yellowish substance. Its colour is now a deep reddish brown, approaching to black. It is surrounded on all sides by a border composed of a substance which I took to be a close cement of pitch and gravel of a similar, but not quite the same, brownish colour.23 This border serves to support its detached pieces; it is two or three inches in breadth, and rises a little above the surface of the stone. Both the border and the stone itself are encircled by a silver band,24 broader below than above, and on the two sides, with a considerable swelling below, as if a part of the stone were hidden under it. The lower part of the border is studded with silver nails.”
“In the south-east corner of the Kaabah,25 or, as the Arab call it, Rokn al-Yemany, there is another stone about five feet from the ground; it is one foot and a half in length, and two inches in breadth, placed upright, and of the common Meccah stone. This the people walking round the Kaabah touch only with the right hand; they do not kiss it.26”
“On the north side of the Kaabah, just by its door,27 and close to the wall, is a slight hollow in the ground, lined with marble, and sufficiently large to admit of three persons sitting. Here it is thought meritorious to pray: the spot is called El Maajan, and supposed to be where Abraham and his son Ismail kneaded the chalk and mud which they used in building the Kaabah; and near this Maajan the former is said to have placed the large stone upon which he stood while working at the masonry. On the basis of the Kaabah, just over the Maajan, is an ancient Cufic inscription; but this I was unable to decipher, and had no opportunity of copying it.”
“On the west (north-west) side of the Kaabah, about two feet below its summit, is the famous Myzab, or water-spout,28 through which the rain-water collected on the roof of the building is discharged, so as to fall upon the ground; it is about four feet in length, and six inches in breadth, as well as I could judge from below, with borders equal in height to its breadth. At the mouth hangs what is called the beard of the Myzab; a gilt board, over which the water flows. This spout was sent hither from Constantinople in A.H. 981, and is reported to be of pure gold. The pavement round the Kaabah, below the Myzab, was laid down in A.H. 826, and consists of various coloured stones, forming a very handsome specimen of mosaic. There are two large slabs of fine verdi antico29 in the centre, which, according to Makrizi, were sent thither, as presents from Cairo, in A.H. 241. This is the spot where, according to Mohammedan tradition, Ismayl the son of Ibrahim, and his mother Hajirah are buried; and here it is meritorious for the pilgrim to recite a prayer of two Rikats. On this side is a semicircular wall, the two extremities of which are in a line with the sides of the Kaabah, and distant from it three or four feet,30 leaving an opening, which leads to the burial-place of Ismayl. The wall bears the name of El Hatym31; and the area which it encloses is called Hedjer or Hedjer Ismayl,32 on account of its being separated from the Kaabah: the wall itself also is sometimes so called.”
“Tradition says that the Kaabah once extended as far as the Hatym, and that this side having fallen down just at the time of the Hadj, the expenses of repairing it were demanded from the pilgrims, under a pretence that the revenues of government were not acquired in a manner sufficiently pure to admit of their application towards a purpose so sacred. The sum, however, obtained, proved very inadequate; all that could be done, therefore, was to raise a wall, which marked the space formerly occupied by the Kaabah. This tradition, although current among the Metowefs (cicerones) is at variance with history; which declares that the Hedjer was built by the Beni Koreish, who contracted the dimensions of the Kaabah; that it was united to the building by Hadjadj,33 and again separated from it by Ibn Zebeyr. It is asserted by Fasy, that a part of the Hedjer as it now stands was never comprehended within the Kaabah. The law regards it as a portion of the Kaabah, inasmuch as it is esteemed equally meritorious to pray in the Hedjer as in the Kaabah itself; and the pilgrims who have not an opportunity of entering the latter are permitted to affirm upon oath that they have prayed in the Kaabah, although they have only prostrated themselves within the enclosure of the Hatym. The wall is built of solid stone, about five feet in height, and four in thickness, cased all over with white marble, and inscribed with prayers and invocations neatly sculptured upon the stone in modern characters.34 These and the casing are the work of El Ghoury, the Egyptian sultan, in A.H. 917. The walk round the Kaabah is performed on the outside of the wall — the nearer to it the better.”
“Round the Kaabah is a good pavement of marble35 about eight inches below the level of the great square; it was laid in A.H. 981, by order of the sultan, and describes an irregular oval; it is surrounded by thirty-two slender gilt pillars, or rather poles, between every two of which are suspended seven glass lamps, always lighted after sunset.36 Beyond the poles is a second pavement, about eight paces broad, somewhat elevated above the first, but of coarser work; then another six inches higher, and eighteen paces broad, upon which stand several small buildings; beyond this is the gravelled ground; so that two broad steps may be said to lead from the square down to the Kaabah. The small buildings just mentioned which surround the Kaabah are the five Makams,37 with the well of Zem Zem, the arch called Bab es Salam, and the Mambar.”
“Opposite the four sides of the Kaabah stand four other small buildings, where the Imaums of the orthodox Mohammedan sects, the Hanefy, Shafey, Hanbaly, and Maleky take their station, and guide the congregation in their prayers. The Makam el Maleky on the south, and that of Hanbaly opposite the Black Stone, are small pavilions open on all sides, and supported by four slender pillars, with a light sloping roof, terminating in a point, exactly in the style of Indian pagodas.38 The Makam el Hanafy, which is the largest, being fifteen paces by eight, is open on all sides, and supported by twelve small pillars; it has an upper story, also open, where the Mueddin who calls to prayers takes his stand. This was built in A.H. 923, by Sultan Selim I.; it was afterwards rebuilt by Khoshgeldy, governor of Djidda, in 947; but all the four Makams, as they now stand, were built in A.H. 1074. The Makam-es’-Shafey is over the well Zem Zem, to which it serves as an upper chamber.39”
“Near their respective Makams the adherents of the four different sects seat themselves for prayers. During my stay at Meccah the Hanefys always began their prayer first; but, according to Muselman custom, the Shafeys should pray first in the Mosque; then the Hanefys, Malekys, and Hanbalys. The prayer of the Maghreb is an exception, which they are all enjoined to utter together.40
The Makam el Hanbaly is the place where the officers of government and other great people are seated during prayers: here the Pasha and the sheriff are placed, and in their absence the eunuchs of the temple. These fill the space under this Makam in front, and behind it the female Hadjys who visit the temple have their places assigned, to which they repair principally for the two evening prayers, few of them being seen in the Mosque at the three other daily prayers: they also perform the Towaf, or walk round the Kaabah, but generally at night, though it is not uncommon to see them walking in the day-time among the men.”
“The present building which encloses Zem Zem stands close by the Makam Hanbaly, and was erected in A.H. 1072: it is of a square shape, and of massive construction, with an entrance to the north,41 opening into the room which contains the well. This room is beautifully ornamented with marbles of various colours; and adjoining to it, but having a separate door, is a small room with a stone reservoir, which is always full of Zem Zem water. This the Hadjys get to drink by passing their hand with a cup through an iron grated opening, which serves as a window, into the reservoir, without entering the room. The mouth of the well is surrounded by a wall five feet in height and about ten feet [i]n diameter. Upon this the people stand who draw up the water in leathern buckets, an iron railing being so placed as to prevent their falling in. In El Fasy’s time there were eight marble basins in this room, for the purpose of ablution.”
“On the north-east (south-east) side of Zem Zem stand two small buildings, one behind the other,42 called El Kobbateyn; they are covered by domes painted in the same manner as the Mosque, and in them are kept water-jars, lamps, carpets, mats, brooms, and other articles used in the very Mosque.43 These two ugly buildings are injurious to the interior appearance of the building, their heavy forms and structure being very disadvantageously contrasted with the light and airy shape of the Makams. I heard some Hadjys from Greece, men of better taste than the Arabs, express their regret that the Kobbateyn should be allowed to disfigure the Mosque. They were built by Khoshgeldy, governor of Djidda A.H. 947; one is called Kobbet el Abbas, from having been placed on the site of a small tank said to have been formed by Abbas, the uncle of Mohammed.”
“A few paces west (north-west) of Zem Zem, and directly opposite to the door of the Kaabah, stands a ladder or staircase,44 which is moved up to the wall of the Kaabah on days when that building is opened, and by which the visitors ascend to the door. It is of wood, with some carved ornaments, moves on low wheels, and is sufficiently broad to admit of four persons ascending abreast. The first ladder was sent hither from Cairo in A.H. 818 by Moyaed Abou el Naser, King of Egypt.”
“In the same line with the ladder and close by it stands a lightly built insulated and circular arch, about fifteen feet wide, and eighteen feet high, called Bab es’ Salam, which must not be confounded with the great gate of the Mosque, bearing the same name. Those who enter the Bait Ullah for the first time are enjoined to do so by the outer and inner Bab-es-Salam; in passing under the latter they are to exclaim, ‘O God, may it be a happy entrance.’ I do not know by whom this arch was built, but it appears to be modern.45”
“Nearly in front of the Bab-es-Salam and nearer the Kaabah than any of the other surrounding buildings, stand[s] the Makam Ibrahim.46 This is a small building supported by six pillars about eight feet high, four of which are surrounded from top to bottom by a fine iron railing, while they leave the space beyond the two hind pillars open; within the railing is a frame about five feet square, terminating in a pyramidal top, and said to contain the sacred stone upon which Ibrahim stood when he built the Kaabah, and which with the help of his son Ismayl he had removed from hence to the place called Maajen, already mentioned. The stone is said to have yielded under the weight of the Patriarch, and to preserve the impression of his foot still visible upon it; but no hadjy has ever seen it,47 as the frame is always entirely covered with a brocade of red silk richly embroidered. Persons are constantly seen before the railing invoking the good offices of Ibrahim; and a short prayer must be uttered by the side of the Makam after the walk round the Kaabah is completed. It is said that many of the Sahaba, or first adherents of Mohammed, were interred in the open space between this Makam and Zem Zem48; from which circumstance it is one of the most favourite places of prayers in the Mosque. In this part of the area the Khalif Soleyman Ibn Abd el Melek, brother of Wolyd (Al-Walid), built a fine reservoir in A.H. 97, which was filled from a spring east of Arafat49; but the Mekkawys destroyed it after his death, on the pretence that the water of Zem Zem was preferable.”
“On the side of Makam Ibrahim, facing the middle part of the front of the Kaabah, stands the Mambar, or pulpit of the Mosque; it is elegantly formed of fine white marble, with many sculptured ornaments; and was sent as a present to the Mosque in A.H. 969 by Sultan Soleyman Ibn Selym.50 A straight, narrow staircase leads up to the post of the Khatyb, or preacher, which is surmounted by a gilt polygonal pointed steeple, resembling an obelisk. Here a sermon is preached on Fridays and on certain festivals. These, like the Friday sermons of all Mosques in the Mohammedan countries, are usually of the same turn, with some slight alterations upon extraordinary occasions.51”
“I have now described all the buildings within the inclosure of the temple.”
“The gates of the Mosque are nineteen in number, and are distributed about it without any order or symmetry.52”
Burckhardt’s description of the gates is short and imperfect. On the eastern side of the Mosque there are four principal entrances, seven on the southern side, three in the western, and five in the northern wall.
The eastern gates are the Greater Bab al-Salam, through which the pilgrim enters the Mosque; it is close to the north-east angle. Next to it the Lesser Bab al-Salam, with two small arches; thirdly, the Bab al-Nabi, where the Prophet used to pass through from Khadijah’s house; and, lastly, near the south-east corner, the Bab Ali, or of the Benu Hashim, opening upon the street between Safa and Marwah.
Beyond the north-eastern corner, in the northern wall, is the Bab Duraybah, a small entrance with one arch. Next to it, almost fronting the Ka’abah, is the grand adit, “Bab al-Ziyadah,” also known as Bab al-Nadwah. Here the colonnade, projecting far beyond the normal line, forms a small square or hall supported by pillars, and a false colonnade of sixty-one columns leads to the true cloister of the Mosque. This portion of the building being cool and shady, is crowded by the poor, the diseased, and the dying, during Divine worship, and at other times by idlers, schoolboys, and merchants. Passing through three external arches, pilgrims descend by a flight of steps into the hall, where they deposit their slippers, it not being considered decorous to hold them when circumambulating the Ka’abah.53 A broad pavement, in the shape of an irregular triangle, whose base is the cloister, leads to the circuit of the house. Next to the Ziyadah Gate is a small, single-arched entrance, “Bab Kutubi,” and beyond it one similar, the Bab al-Ajlah ([Arabic]), also named Al-Basitiyah, from its proximity to the college of Abd al Basitah. Close to the north-west angle of the cloister is the Bab al-Nadwah, anciently called Bab al-Umrah, and now Bab al-Atik, the Old Gate. Near this place and opening into the Ka’abah, stood the “Town Hall” (Dar al-Nadwah), built by Kusay, for containing the oriflamme “Al-Liwa,” and as a council-chamber for the ancients of the city.54
In the western wall are three entrances. The single-arched gate nearest to the north angle is called Bab Benu Saham or Bab al-Umrah, because pilgrims pass through it to the Tanim and to the ceremony Al-Umrah (Little Pilgrimage). In the centre of the wall is the Bab Ibrahim, or Bab al-Khayyatin (the Tailors’ Gate); a single arch leading into a large projecting square, like that of the Ziyadah entrance, but somewhat smaller. Near the south-west corner is a double arched adit, the Bab al-Wida’a (“of farewell”): hence departing pilgrims issue forth from the temple.
At the western end of the southern wall is the two-arched Bab Umm Hani, so called after the lady’s residence, when included in the Mosque. Next to it is a similar building, “Bab Ujlan” [Arabic] which derives its name from the large college “Madrasat Ujlan”; some call it Bab al-Sharif, because it is opposite one of the palaces. After which, and also pierced with two arches, is the Bab al-Jiyad (some erroneously spell it Al-Jihad, “of War”), the gate leading to Jabal Jiyad. The next is double arched, and called the Bab al-Mujahid or Al-Rahmah (“of Mercy”). Nearly opposite the Ka’abah, and connected with the pavement by a raised line of stone, is the Bab al-Safa, through which pilgrims now issue to perform the ceremony “Al-Sai”; it is a small and unconspicuous erection. Next to it is the Bab al-Baghlah with two arches, and close to the south-east angle of the Mosque the Bab Yunus, alias Bab Bazan, alias Bab al-Zayt, alias Bab al-Asharah (“of the ten”), because a favourite with the first ten Sahabah, or Companions of the Prophet. “Most of these gates,” says Burckhardt, “have high pointed arches; but a few round arches are seen among them, which, like all arches of this kind in the Heja[z], are nearly semi-circular. They are without ornament, except the inscription on the exterior, which commemorates the name of the builder, and they are all posterior in date to the fourteenth century. As each gate consists of two or three arches, or divisions, separated by narrow walls, these divisions are counted in the enumeration of the gates leading into the Kaabah, and they make up the number thirty-nine. There being no doors to the gates, the Mosque is consequently open at all times. I have crossed at every hour of the night, and always found people there, either at prayers or walking about.55”
“The outside walls of the Mosques are those of the houses which surround it on all sides. These houses belonged originally to the Mosque; the greater part are now the property of individuals. They are let out to the richest Hadjys, at very high prices, as much as 500 piastres being given during the pilgrimage for a good apartment with windows opening into the Mosque.56 Windows have in consequence been opened in many parts of the walls on a level with the street, and above that of the floor of the colonnades. Hadjys living in these apartments are allowed to perform the Friday’s prayers at home; because, having the Kaabah in view from the windows, they are supposed to be in the Mosque itself, and to join in prayer those assembled within the temple. Upon a level with the ground floor of the colonnades and opening into them are small apartments formed in the walls, having the appearance of dungeons; these have remained the property of the Mosque while the houses above them belong to private individuals. They are let out to water-men, who deposit in them the Zem Zem jars, or to less opulent Hadjys who wish to live in the Mosque.57 Some of the surrounding houses still belong to the Mosque, and were originally intended for public schools, as their names of Medresa implies; they are now all let out to Hadjys.”
“The exterior of the Mosque is adorned with seven minarets irregularly distributed:— 1. Minaret of Bab el Omra (Umrah); 2. Of Bab el Salam; 3. Of Bab Aly; 4. Of Bab el Wodaa (Wida’a); 5. Of Medesa Kail (Kait) Bey; 6. Of Bab el Zyadi; 7. Of Medreset Sultan Soleyman.58 They are quadrangular or round steeples, in no way differing from other minarets. The entrance to them is from the different buildings round the Mosque, which they adjoin.59 A beautiful view of the busy crowd below is attained by ascending the most northern one.60”
Having described at length the establishment attached to the Mosque of Al-Madinah, I spare my readers a detailed account of the crowd of idlers that hang about the Meccan temple. The Naib al-Harim, or vice-intendant, is one Sayyid Ali, said to be of Indian extraction; he is superior to all the attendants. There are about eighty eunuchs, whose chief, Sarur Agha, was a slave of Mohammed Ali Pasha. Their pay varies from 100 to 1,000 piastres per mensem; it is, however, inferior to the Madinah salaries. The Imams, Mu’ezzins, Khatibs, Zemzemis, &c., &c., are under their respective Shaykhs who are of the Olema.61
Briefly to relate the history of the Ka’abah.
The “House of Allah” is supposed to have been built and rebuilt ten times.
1. The first origin of the idea is manifestly a symbolical allusion to the angels standing before the Almighty and praising his name. When Allah, it is said, informed the celestial throng that he was about to send a vice-regent on earth, they deprecated the design. Being reproved with these words, “God knoweth what ye know not,” and dreading the eternal anger, they compassed the Arsh, or throne, in adoration. Upon this Allah created the Bayt al-Ma’amur, four jasper pillars with a ruby roof, and the angels circumambulated it, crying, “Praise to Allah, and exalted be Allah, and there is no ilah but Allah, and Allah is omnipotent!” The Creator then ordered them to build a similar house for man on earth. This, according to Ali, took place 40, according to Abu Hurayrah, 2,000 years before the creation; both authorities, however, are agreed that the firmaments were spread above and the seven earths beneath this Bayt al-Ma’amur.
2. There is considerable contradiction concerning the second house. Ka’ab related that Allah sent down with Adam62 a Khaymah, or tabernacle of hollow ruby, which the angels raised on stone pillars. This was also called Bayt al-Ma’amur. Adam received an order to compass it about; after which, he begged a reward for obedience, and was promised a pardon to himself and to all his progeny who repent.
Others declare that Adam, expelled from Paradise, and lamenting that he no longer heard the prayers of the angels, was ordered by Allah to take the stones of five hills, Lebanon, Sinai, Tur Zayt (Olivet), Ararat, and Hira, which afforded the first stone. Gabriel, smiting his wing upon earth, opened a foundation to the seventh layer, and the position of the building is exactly below the heavenly Bayt al-Ma’amur — a Moslem corruption of the legends concerning the heavenly and the earthly Jerusalem. Our First Father circumambulated it as he had seen the angels do, and was by them taught the formula of prayer and the number of circuits.
According to others, again, this second house was not erected till after the “Angelic Foundation” was destroyed by time.
3. The history of the third house is also somewhat confused. When the Bayt al-Ma’amur, or, as others say, the tabernacle, was removed to heaven after Adam’s death, a stone-and-mud building was placed in its stead by his son Shays (Seth). For this reason it is respected by the Sabaeans, or Christians of St. John, as well as by the Moslems. This Ka’abah, according to some, was destroyed by the deluge, which materially altered its site. Others believe that it was raised to heaven. Others, again, declare that only the pillars supporting the heavenly tabernacle were allowed to remain. Most authorities agree in asserting that the Black Stone was stored up in Abu Kubays, whence that “first created of mountains” is called Al-Amin, “the Honest.”
4. Abraham and his son were ordered to build the fourth house upon the old foundations: its materials, according to some, were taken from the five hills which supplied the second; others give the names Ohod, Kuds, Warka, Sinai, Hira, and a sixth, Abu Kubays. It was of irregular shape; 32 cubits from the Eastern to the Northern corner; 32 from North to West; 31 from West to South; 20 from South to East; and only 9 cubits high. There was no roof; two doors, level with the ground, were pierced in the Eastern and Western walls; and inside, on the right hand, near the present entrance, a hole for treasure was dug. Gabriel restored the Black Stone, which Abraham, by his direction, placed in its present corner, as a sign where circumambulation is to begin; and the patriarch then learned all the complicated rites of pilgrimage. When this house was completed, Abraham, by Allah’s order, ascended Jabal Sabir, and called the world to visit the sanctified spot; and all earth’s sons heard him, even those “in their father’s loins or in their mother’s womb, from that day unto the day of resurrection.”
5. The Amalikah (descended from Imlik, great grandson of Sam, son of Noah), who first settled near Meccah, founded the fifth house. Al-Tabari and the Moslem historians generally made the erection of the Amalikah to precede that of the Jurham; these, according to others, repaired the house which Abraham built.
6. The sixth Ka’abah was built about the beginning of the Christian era by the Benu Jurham, the children of Kahtan, fifth descendant from Noah. Ismail married, according to the Moslems, a daughter of this tribe, Da’alah bint Muzaz ([Arabic]) bin Omar, and abandoning Hebrew, he began to speak Arabic (Ta arraba). Hence his descendants are called Arabicized Arabs. After Ismail’s death, which happened when he was 130 years old, Sabit, the eldest of his twelve sons, became “lord of the house.” He was succeeded by his maternal grandfather Muzaz, and afterwards by his children. The Jurham inhabited the higher parts of Meccah, especially Jabal Ka’aka’an, so called from their clashing arms; whereas the Amalikah dwelt in the lower grounds, which obtained the name of Jiyad, from their generous horses.
7. Kusay bin Kilab, governor of Meccah and fifth forefather of the Prophet, built the seventh house, according to Abraham’s plan. He roofed it over with palm leaves, stocked it with idols, and persuaded his tribe to settle near the Harim.
8. Kusay’s house was burnt down by a woman’s censer, which accidentally set fire to the Kiswah, or covering, and the walls were destroyed by a torrent. A merchant-ship belonging to a Greek trader, called “Bakum” ([Arabic]), being wrecked at Jeddah, afforded material for the roof, and the crew were employed as masons. The Kuraysh tribe, who rebuilt the house, failing in funds of pure money, curtailed its proportions by nearly seven cubits and called the omitted portion Al-Hatim. In digging the foundation they came to a green stone, like a camel’s hunch, which, struck with a pickaxe, sent forth blinding lightning, and prevented further excavation. The Kuraysh, amongst other alterations, raised the walls from nine to eighteen cubits, built a staircase in the northern breadth, closed the western door and placed the eastern entrance above the ground, to prevent men entering without their leave.
When the eighth house was being built Mohammed was in his twenty-fifth year. His surname of Al-Amin, the Honest, probably induced the tribes to make him their umpire for the decision of a dispute about the position of the Black Stone, and who should have the honour of raising it to its place.63 He decided for the corner chosen by Abraham, and distributed the privilege amongst the clans. The Benu Zahrah and Benu Abd Manaf took the front wall and the door; to the Benu Jama and the Benu Sahm was allotted the back wall; the Benu Makhzum and their Kuraysh relations stood at the southern wall; and at the “Stone” corner were posted the Benu Abd al-Dar, the Benu As’ad, and the Benu Ada.
9. Abdullah bin Zubayr, nephew of Ayishah, rebuilt the Ka’abah in A.H. 64. It had been weakened by fire, which burnt the covering, besides splitting the Black Stone into three pieces, and by the Manjanik (catapults) of Hosayn ([Arabic]) bin Numayr, general of Yazid, who obstinately besieged Meccah till he heard of his sovereign’s death. Abdullah, hoping to fulfil a prophecy,64 and seeing that the people of Meccah fled in alarm, pulled down the building by means of “thin-calved Abyssinian slaves.” When they came to Abraham’s foundation he saw that it included Al-Hijr, which part the Kuraysh had been unable to build. The building was made of cut stone and fine lime brought from Al-Yaman. Abdullah, taking in the Hatim, lengthened the building by seven cubits, and added to its former height nine cubits, thus making a total of twenty-seven. He roofed over the whole, or a part; re-opened the western door, to serve as an exit; and, following the advice of his aunt, who quoted the Prophet’s words, he supported the interior with a single row of three columns, instead of the double row of six placed there by the Kuraysh. Finally, he paved the Mataf, or circuit, ten cubits round with the remaining slabs, and increased the Harim by taking in the nearer houses. During the building, a curtain was stretched round the walls, and pilgrims compassed them externally. When finished, it was perfumed inside and outside, and invested with brocade. Then Abdullah and all the citizens went forth in a procession to the Tanim, a reverend place near Meccah, returned to perform Umrah, the Lesser Pilgrimage, slew 100 victims, and rejoiced with great festivities.
The Caliph Abd al-Malik bin Marwan besieged Abdullah bin Zubayr, who, after a brave defence, was slain. In A.H. 74, Hajjaj bin Yusuf, general of Abd al-Malik’s troops, wrote to the prince, informing him that Abdullah had made unauthorised additions to and changes in the Harim: the reply brought an order to rebuild the house. Hajjaj again excluded the Hatim and retired the northern wall six cubits and a span, making it twenty-five cubits long by twenty-four broad; the other three sides were allowed to remain as built by the son of Zubayr. He gave the house a double roof, closed the western door, and raised the eastern four cubits and a span above the Mataf, or circuit, which he paved over. The Harim was enlarged and beautified by the Abbasides, especially by Al-Mahdi, Al-Mutamid, and Al-Mutazid. Some authors reckon, as an eleventh house, the repairs made by Sultan Murad Khan. On the night of Tuesday, 20th Sha’aban, A.H. 1030, a violent torrent swept the Harim; it rose one cubit above the threshold of the Ka’abah, carried away the lamp-posts and the Makam Ibrahim, all the northern wall of the house, half of the eastern, and one-third of the western side. It subsided on Wednesday night. The repairs were not finished till A.H. 1040. The greater part, however, of the building dates from the time of Al Hajjaj; and Moslems, who never mention his name without a curse, knowingly circumambulate his work. The Olema indeed have insisted upon its remaining untouched, lest kings in wantonness should change its form: Harun al-Rashid desired to rebuild it, but was forbidden by the Imam Malik.
The present proofs of the Ka’abah’s sanctity, as adduced by the learned, are puerile enough, but curious. The Olema have made much of the verselet: “Verily the first house built for mankind (to worship in) is that in Bakkah65 (Meccah), blessed and a salvation to the three worlds. Therein (fihi) are manifest signs, the standing-place of Abraham, which whoso entereth shall be safe” (Kor. ch. 3). The word “therein” is interpreted to mean Meccah; and the “manifest signs” the Ka’abah, which contains such marvels as the foot-prints on Abraham’s platform and the spiritual safeguard of all who enter the Sanctuary.66 The other “signs,” historical, psychical, and physical, are briefly these: The preservation of the Hajar al-Aswad and the Makam Ibrahim from many foes, and the miracles put forth (as in the War of the Elephant), to defend the house; the violent and terrible deaths of the sacrilegious; and the fact that, in the Deluge, the large fish did not eat the little fish in the Harim. A wonderful desire and love impel men from distant regions to visit the holy spot, and the first sight of the Ka’abah causes awe and fear, horripilation and tears. Furthermore, ravenous beasts will not destroy their prey in the Sanctuary land, and the pigeons and other birds never perch upon the house, except to be cured of sickness, for fear of defiling the roof. The Ka’abah, though small, can contain any number of devotees; no one is ever hurt in it,67 and invalids recover their health by rubbing themselves against the Kiswah and the Black Stone. Finally, it is observed that every day 100,000 mercies descend upon the house, and especially that if rain come up from the northern corner there is plenty in Irak; if from the south, there is plenty in Yaman; if from the east, plenty in India; if from the western, there is plenty in Syria; and if from all four angles, general plenty is presignified.
1 “Bayt Ullah” (House of Allah) and “Ka’abah,” i.e. cube (house), “la maison carree,” are synonymous.
2 Ali Bey gives 536 feet 9 inches by 356 feet: my measurement is 257 paces by 210. Most Moslem authors, reckoning by cubits, make the parallelogram 404 by 310.
3 On each short side I counted 24 domes; on the long, 35. This would give a total of 118 along the cloisters. The Arabs reckon in all 152; viz., 24 on the East side, on the North 36, on the South 36, one on the Mosque corner, near the Zarurah minaret; 16 at the porch of the Bab al-Ziyadah; and 15 at the Bab Ibrahim. The shape of these domes is the usual “Media-Naranja,” and the superstition of the Meccans informs the pilgrim that they cannot be counted. Books reckon 1352 pinnacles or battlements on the temple wall.
4 The “common stone of the Meccah mountains” is a fine grey granite, quarried principally from a hill near the Bab al-Shabayki, which furnished material for the Ka’abah. Eastern authors describe the pillars as consisting of three different substances, viz.: Rukham, white marble, not “alabaster,” its general sense; Suwan, or granite (syenite?); and Hajar Shumaysi,” a kind of yellow sandstone, so called from “Bir Shumays,” a place on the Jeddah road near Haddah, the half-way station.
5 I counted in the temple 554 pillars. It is, however, difficult to be accurate, as the four colonnades and the porticos about the two great gates are irregular; topographical observations, moreover, must here be made under difficulties. Ali Bey numbers them roughly at “plus de 500 colonnes et pilastres.”
6 The author afterwards informs us, that “the temple has been so often ruined and repaired, that no traces of remote antiquity are to be found about it.” He mentions some modern and unimportant inscriptions upon the walls and over the gates. Knowing that many of the pillars were sent in ships from Syria and Egypt by the Caliph Al-Mahdi, a traveller would have expected better things.
7 The reason being, that “those shafts formed of the Meccan stone are mostly in three pieces; but the marble shafts are in one piece.”
8 To this may be added, that the façades of the cloisters are twenty-four along the short walls, and thirty-six along the others; they have stone ornaments, not inaptly compared to the French “fleur de lis.” The capital and bases of the outer pillars are grander and more regular than the inner; they support pointed arches, and the Arab secures his beloved variety by placing at every fourth arch a square pilaster. Of these there are on the long sides ten, on the short seven.
9 I counted eight, not including the broad pavement which leads from the Bab al-Ziyadah to the Ka’abah, or the four cross branches which connect the main lines. These “Firash al-Hajar,” as they are called, also serve to partition off the area. One space for instance is called “Haswat al-Harim,” or the “Women’s sanded place,” because appropriated to female devotees.
10 The jars are little amphoræ, each inscribed with the name of the donor and a peculiar cypher.
11 My measurements give 22 paces or 55 feet in length by 18 (45) of breadth, and the height appeared greater than the length. Ali Bey makes the Eastern side 37 French feet, 2 inches and 6 lines, the Western 38° 4’ 6”, the Northern 29 feet, the Southern 31° 6’, and the height 34° 4’. He therefore calls it a “veritable trapezium.” In Al-Idrisi’s time it was 25 cubits by 24, and 27 cubits high.
12 I would alter this sentence thus:—“It is built of fine grey granite in horizontal courses of masonry of irregular depth; the stones are tolerably fitted together, and are held by excellent mortar like Roman cement.” The lines are also straight.
13 This base is called Al-Shazarwan, from the Persian Shadarwan, a cornice, eaves, or canopy. It is in pent-house shape, projecting about a foot beyond the wall, and composed of fine white marble slabs, polished like glass; there are two breaks in it, one opposite and under the doorway, and another in front of Ishmael’s tomb. Pilgrims are directed, during circumambulation, to keep their bodies outside of the Shazarwan; this would imply it to be part of the building, but its only use appears in the large brass rings welded into it, for the purpose of holding down the Ka’abah covering.
14 Ali Bey also errs in describing the roof as “plat endessus.” Were such the case, rain would not pour off with violence through the spout. Most Oriental authors allow a cubit of depression from South-West to North-West. In Al-Idrisi’s day the Ka’abah had a double roof. Some say this is the case in the present building, which has not been materially altered in shape since its restoration by Al-Hajjaj, A.H. 83. The roof was then eighteen cubits long by fifteen broad.
15 In Ibn Jubayr’s time the Ka’abah was opened every day in Rajah, and in other months on every Monday and Friday. The house may now be entered ten or twelve times a year gratis; and by pilgrims as often as they can collect, amongst parties, a sum sufficient to tempt the guardians’ cupidity.
16 This mistake, in which Burckhardt is followed by all our popular authors, is the more extraordinary, as all Arabic authors call the door-wall Janib al-Mashrik — the Eastern side — or Wajh al-Bayt, the front of the house, opposed to Zahr al-Bayt, the back. Niebuhr is equally in error when he asserts that the door fronts to the South. Arabs always hold the “Rukn al-Iraki,” or Irak angle, to face the polar star, and so it appears in Ali Bey’s plan. The Ka’abah, therefore, has no Northern side. And it must be observed that Moslem writers dispose the length of the Ka’abah from East to West, whereas our travellers make it from North to South. Ali Bey places the door only six feet from the pavement, but he calculates distances by the old French measure. It is about seven feet from the ground, and six from the corner of the Black Stone. Between the two the space of wall is called Al-Multazem (in Burckhardt, by a clerical error, “Al-Metzem,” vol. i. p. 173). It derives its name, the “attached-to,” because here the circumambulator should apply his bosom, and beg pardon for his sins. Al-Multazem, according to M. de Perceval, following d’Ohsson, was formerly “le lieu des engagements,” whence, according to him, its name[.] “Le Moltezem,” says M. Galland (Rits et Ceremonies du Pelerinage de la Mecque), “qui est entre la pierre noire et la porte, est l’endroit ou Mahomet se reconcilia avec ses dix compagnons, qui disaient qu’il n’etait pas veritablement Prophete.”
17 From the Bab al-Ziyadah, or gate in the northern colonnade, you descend by two flights of steps, in all about twenty-five. This depression manifestly arises from the level of the town having been raised, like Rome, by successive layers of ruins; the most populous and substantial quarters (as the Shamiyah to the north) would, we might expect, be the highest, and this is actually the case. But I am unable to account satisfactorily for the second hollow within the temple, and immediately around the house of Allah, where the door, according to all historians, formerly on a level with the pavement, and now about seven feet above it, shows the exact amount of depression, which cannot be accounted for simply by calcation. Some chroniclers assert, that when the Kuraysh rebuilt the house they raised the door to prevent devotees entering without their permission. But seven feet would scarcely oppose an entrance, and how will this account for the floor of the building being also raised to that height above the pavement? It is curious to observe the similarity between this inner hollow of the Meccan fane and the artificial depression of the Hindu pagoda where it is intended to be flooded. The Hindus would also revere the form of the Meccan fane, exactly resembling their square temples, at whose corners are placed Brahma, Vishnu, Shiwa and Ganesha, who adore the great Universal Generator in the centre. The second door anciently stood on the side of the temple opposite the present entrance; inside, its place can still be traced. Ali Bey suspects its having existed in the modern building, and declares that the exterior surface of the wall shows the tracery of a blocked-up door, similar to that still open. Some historians declare that it was closed by the Kuraysh when they rebuilt the house in Mohammed’s day, and that subsequent erections have had only one. The general opinion is, that Al-Hajjaj finally closed up the western entrance. Doctors also differ as to its size; the popular measurement is three cubits broad and a little more than five in length.
18 Pilgrims and ignorant devotees collect the drippings of wax, the ashes of the aloe-wood, and the dust from the “Atabah,” or threshold of the Ka’abah, either to rub upon their foreheads or to preserve as relics. These superstitious practices are sternly rebuked by the Olema.
19 For North-East read South-East.
20 I will not enter into the fabulous origin of the Hajar al-Aswad. Some of the traditions connected with it are truly absurd. “When Allah,” says Ali, “made covenant with the Sons of Adam on the Day of Fealty, he placed the paper inside the stone”; it will, therefore, appear at the judgment, and bear witness to all who have touched it. Moslems agree that it was originally white, and became black by reason of men’s sins. It appeared to me a common aerolite covered with a thick slaggy coating, glossy and pitch-like, worn and polished. Dr. Wilson, of Bombay, showed me a specimen in his possession, which externally appeared to be a black slag, with the inside of a bright and sparkling greyish-white, the result of admixture of nickel with the iron. This might possibly, as the learned Orientalist then suggested, account for the mythic change of colour, its appearance on earth after a thunderstorm, and its being originally a material part of the heavens. Kutb al-Din expressly declares that, when the Karamitah restored it after twenty-two years to the Meccans, men kissed it and rubbed it upon their brows; and remarked that the blackness was only superficial, the inside being white. Some Greek philosophers, it will be remembered, believed the heavens to be composed of stones (Cosmos, “Shooting Stars”): and Sanconiathon, ascribing the aerolite-worship to the god Cœlus, declares them to be living or animated stones. “The Arabians,” says Maximus of Tyre (Dissert. 38, p. 455), “pay homage to I know not what god, which they represent by a quadrangular stone.” The gross fetichism of the Hindus, it is well known, introduced them to litholatry. At Jagannath they worship a pyramidal black stone, fabled to have fallen from heaven, or miraculously to have presented itself on the place where the temple now stands. Moreover, they revere the Salagram, as the emblem of Vishnu, the second person in their triad. The rudest emblem of the “Bonus Deus” was a round stone. It was succeeded in India by the cone and triangle; in Egypt by the pyramid; in Greece it was represented by cones of terra-cotta about three inches and a half long. Without going deep into theory, it may be said that the Ka’abah and the Hajar are the only two idols which have survived the 360 composing the heavenly host of the Arab pantheon. Thus the Hindu poet exclaims:—
“Behold the marvels of my idol-temple, O Moslem!
That when its idols are destroy’d, it becomes Allah’s House.”
Wilford (As. Soc. vols. iii. and iv.) makes the Hindus declare that the Black Stone at Mokshesha, or Moksha-sthana (Meccah) was an incarnation of Moksheshwara, an incarnation of Shiwa, who with his consort visited Al-Hijaz. When the Ka’abah was rebuilt, this emblem was placed in the outer wall for contempt, but the people still respected it. In the Dabistan the Black Stone is said to be an image of Kaywan or Saturn; and Al-Shahristani also declares the temple to have been dedicated to the same planet Zuhal, whose genius is represented in the Puranas as fierce, hideous, four-armed, and habited in a black cloak, with a dark turband. Moslem historians are unanimous in asserting that Sasan, son of Babegan, and other Persian monarchs, gave rich presents to the Ka’abah; they especially mention two golden crescent moons, a significant offering. The Guebers assert that, among the images and relics left by Mahabad and his successors in the Ka’abah, was the Black Stone, an emblem of Saturn. They also call the city Mahgah — moon’s place — from an exceedingly beautiful image of the moon; whence they say the Arabs derived “Meccah.” And the Sabaeans equally respect the Ka’abah and the pyramids, which they assert to be the tombs of Seth, Enoch (or Hermes), and Sabi the son of Enoch. Meccah, then, is claimed as a sacred place, and the Hajar al-Aswad, as well as the Ka’abah, are revered as holy emblems by four different faiths — the Hindu, Sabæan, Gueber, and Moslem. I have little doubt, and hope to prove at another time, that the Jews connected it with traditions about Abraham. This would be the fifth religion that looked towards the Ka’abah — a rare meeting-place of devotion.
21 Presenting this appearance in profile. The Hajar has suffered from the iconoclastic principle of Islam, having once narrowly escaped destruction by order of Al-Hakim of Egypt. In these days the metal rim serves as a protection as well as an ornament.
22 The height of the Hajar from the ground, according to my measurement, is four feet nine inches; Ali Bey places it forty-two inches above the pavement.
23 The colour was black and metallic, and the centre of the stone was sunk about two inches below the metal circle. Round the sides was a reddish-brown cement, almost level with the metal, and sloping down to the middle of the stone. Ibn Jubayr declares the depth of the stone unknown, but that most people believe it to extend two cubits into the wall. In his day it was three “Shibr” (the large span from the thumb to the little finger-tip) broad, and one span long, with knobs, and a joining of four pieces, which the Karamitah had broken. The stone was set in a silver band. “Its softness and moisture were such,” says Ibn Jubayr, “that the sinner would never remove his mouth from it, which phenomenon made the Prophet declare it to be the covenant of Allah on earth.”
24 The band is now a massive circle of gold or silver gilt. I found the aperture in which the stone is, one span and three fingers broad.
25 The “Rukn al-Yamani” is the corner facing the South. The part alluded to in the text is the wall of the Ka’abah, between the Shami and Yamani angles, distant about three feet from the latter, and near the site of the old western door, long since closed. The stone is darker and redder than the rest of the wall. It is called Al-Mustajab (or Mustajab min al-Zunub or Mustajab al-Dua, “where prayer is granted”). Pilgrims here extend their arms, press their bodies against the building, and beg pardon for their sins.
26 I have frequently seen it kissed by men and women.
27 Al-Ma’ajan, the place of mixing or kneading, because the patriarchs here kneaded the mud used as cement in the holy building. Some call it Al-Hufrah (the digging), and it is generally known as Makam Jibrail (the place of Gabriel), because here descended the inspired order for the five daily prayers, and at this spot the Archangel and the Prophet performed their devotions, making it a most auspicious spot. It is on the north of the door, from which it is distant about two feet; its length is seven spans and seven fingers; breadth five spans three fingers; and depth one span four fingers. The following sentence from Herklet’s “Qanoon e Islam” (ch. xii. sec. 5) may serve to show the extent of error still popular. The author, after separating the Bayt Ullah from the Ka’abah, erroneously making the former the name of the whole temple, proceeds to say, “the rain-water which falls on its (the Ka’abah’s) terrace runs off through a golden spout on a stone near it, called Rookn-e-Yemeni, or alabaster-stone), and stands over the grave of Ismaeel.”—!
28 Generally called Mizab al-Rahmah (of Mercy). It carries rain from the roof, and discharges it upon Ishmael’s grave, where pilgrims stand fighting to catch it. In Al-Idrisi’s time it was of wood; now it is said to be gold, but it looks very dingy.
29 Usually called the Hajar al-Akhzar, or green stone. Al-Idrisi speaks of a white stone covering Ishmael’s remains; Ibn Jubayr of “green marble, longish, in form of a Mihrab arch, and near it a white round slab, in both of which are spots that make them appear yellow.” Near them, we are told, and towards the Iraki corner, is the tomb of Hagar, under a green slab one span and a half broad, and pilgrims used to pray at both places. Ali Bey erroneously applies the words Al-Hajar Ismail to the parapet about the slab.
30 My measurements give five feet six inches. In Al-Idrisi’s day the wall was fifty cubits long.
31 Al-Hatim ([Arabic] lit. the “broken”). Burckhardt asserts that the Mekkawi no longer apply the word, as some historians do, to the space bounded by the Ka’abah, the Partition, the Zemzem, and the Makam of Ibrahim. I heard it, however, so used by learned Meccans, and they gave as the meaning of the name the break in this part of the oval pavement which surrounds the Ka’abah. Historians relate that all who rebuilt the “House of Allah” followed Abraham’s plan till the Kuraysh, and after them Al-Hajjaj curtailed it in the direction of Al-Hatim, which part was then first broken off, and ever since remained so.
32 Al-Hijr ([Arabic]) is the space separated, as the name denotes, from the Ka’abah. Some suppose that Abraham here penned his sheep. Possibly Ali Bey means this part of the Temple when he speaks of Al-Hajar ([Arabic]) Ismail — les pierres d’Ismail.
33 “Al-Hajjaj”; this, as will afterwards be seen, is a mistake. He excluded the Hatim.
34 As well as memory serves me, for I have preserved no note, the inscriptions are in the marble casing, and indeed no other stone meets the eye.
35 It is a fine, close, grey polished granite: the walk is called Al-Mataf, or the place of circumambulation.
36 These are now iron posts, very numerous, supporting cross rods, and of tolerably elegant shape. In Ali Bey’s time there were “trente-une colonnes minces en piliers en bronze.” Some native works say thirty-three, including two marble columns. Between each two hang several white or green glass globe-lamps, with wicks and oil floating on water; their light is faint and dismal. The whole of the lamps in the Harim is said to be more than 1000, yet they serve but to “make darkness visible.”
37 There are only four “Makams,” the Hanafi, Maliki, Hanbali, and the Makam Ibrahim; and there is some error of diction below, for in these it is that the Imams stand before their congregations, and nearest the Ka’abah. In Ibn Jubayr’s time the Zaydi sect was allowed an Imam, though known to be schismatics and abusers of the caliphs. Now, not being permitted to have a separate station for prayer, they suppose theirs to be suspended from heaven above the Ka’abah roof.
38 The Makam al-Maliki is on the west of, and thirty-seven cubits from, the Ka’abah; that of the Hanbali forty-seven paces distant.
39 Only the Mu’ezzin takes his stand here, and the Shafe’is pray behind their Imam on the pavement round the Ka’abah, between the corner of the well Zemzem, and the Makam Ibrahim. This place is forty cubits from the Ka’abah, that is say, eight cubits nearer than the Northern and Southern “Makams.” Thus the pavement forms an irregular oval ring round the house[.]
40 In Burckhardt’s time the schools prayed according to the seniority of their founders, and they uttered the Azan of Al-Maghrib together, because that is a peculiarly delicate hour, which easily passes by unnoticed. In the twelfth century, at all times but the evening, the Shafe’i began, then came the Maliki and Hanbali simultaneously, and, lastly, the Hanafi. Now the Shaykh al-Mu’ezzin begins the call, which is taken up by the others. He is a Hanafi; as indeed are all the principal people at Meccah, only a few wild Sharifs of the hills being Shafe’i.
41 The door of the Zemzem building fronts to the south-east.
42 This is not exactly correct. As the plan will show, the angle of one building touches the angle of its neighbour.
43 Their names and offices are now changed. One is called the Kubbat al-Sa’at, and contains the clocks and chronometers (two of them English) sent as presents to the Mosque by the Sultan. The other, known as the Kubbat al-Kutub, is used as a store-room for manuscripts bequeathed to the Mosque. They still are open to Burckhardt’s just criticism, being nothing but the common dome springing from four walls, and vulgarly painted with bands of red, yellow, and green. In Ibn Jubayr’s time the two domes contained bequests of books and candles. The Kubbat Abbas, or that further from the Ka’abah than its neighbour, was also called Kubbat al-Sharab (the Dome of Drink), because Zemzem water was here kept cooling for the use of pilgrims in Daurak, or earthen jars. The nearer was termed Kubbat al-Yahudi; and the tradition they told me was, that a Jew having refused to sell his house upon the spot, it was allowed to remain in loco by the Prophet, as a lasting testimony to his regard for justice. A similar tale is told of an old woman’s hut, which was allowed to stand in the corner of the Great Nushirawan’s royal halls.
44 Called “Al-Daraj.” A correct drawing of it may be found in Ali Bey’s work.
45 The Bab al-Salam, or Bab al-Nabi, or Bab benu Shaybah, resembles in its isolation a triumphal arch, and is built of cut stone.
46 “The (praying) place of Abraham.” Readers will remember that the Meccan Mosque is peculiarly connected with Ibrahim, whom Moslems prefer to all prophets except Mohammed.
47 This I believe to be incorrect. I was asked five dollars for permission to enter; but the sum was too high for my finances. Learned men told me that the stone shows the impress of two feet, especially the big toes, and devout pilgrims fill the cavities with water, which they rub over their eyes and faces. When the Caliph al-Mahdi visited Meccah, one Abdullah bin Osman presented himself at the unusual hour of noon, and informing the prince that he had brought him a relic which no man but himself had yet seen, produced this celebrated stone. Al-Mahdi, rejoicing greatly, kissed it, rubbed his face against it, and pouring water upon it, drank the draught. Kutb al-Din, one of the Meccan historians, says that it was visited in his day. In Ali Bey’s time it was covered with “un magnifique drap noir brode en or et en argent avec de gros glands en or;” he does not say, however, that he saw the stone. Its veils, called Sitr Ibrahim al-Khalil, are a green “Ibrisham,” or silk mixed with cotton and embroidered with gold. They are made at Cairo of three different colours, black, red, and green; and one is devoted to each year. The gold embroidery is in the Sulsi character, and expresses the Throne-verse, the Chapter of the Cave, and the name of the reigning Sultan; on the top is “Allah,” below it “Mohammed”; beneath this is “Ibrahim al-Khalil”; and at each corner is the name of one of the four caliphs. In a note to the “Dabistan” (vol. ii. p. 410), we find two learned Orientalists confounding the Black Stone with Abraham’s Station or Platform. “The Prophet honoured the Black Stone, upon which Abraham conversed with Hagar, to which he tied his camels, and upon which the traces of his feet are still seen.”
48 Not only here, I was told by learned Meccans, but under all the oval pavements surrounding the Ka’abah.
49 The spring gushes from the southern base of Mount Arafat, as will afterwards be noticed. It is exceedingly pure.
50 The author informs us that “the first pulpit was sent from Cairo in A.H. 818, together with the staircase, both being the gifts of Moayed, caliph of Egypt.” Ali Bey accurately describes the present Mambar.
51 The curious will find a specimen of a Moslem sermon in Lane’s Mod. Egypt. Vol. i. ch. iii.
52 Burckhardt “subjoins their names as they are usually written upon small cards by the Metowefs; in another column are the names by which they were known in more ancient times, principally taken from Azraky and Kotoby.” I have added a few remarks in brackets[.]
|Modern names||Arches||Ancient names|
|1.||Bab el Salam, composed of gates or arches||3||Bab Beni Shaybah (this is properly applied to the inner, not the outer Salam Gate.)|
|2.||Bab el Neby||2||Bab el Jenaiz, Gate of Biers, the dead being carried through it to the Mosque.|
|3.||Bab el Abbas, opposite to this the house of Abbas once stood||3||Bab Sertakat (some Moslem authors confound this Bab al-Abbas with the Gate of Biers.)|
|4.||Bab Aly||3||Bab Beni Hashem|
|5.||Bab el Zayt
Bab el Ashra
|2||Bab Bazan (so called from a neighbouring hill).|
|6.||Bab el Baghlah||2|
|7.||Bab el Szafa (Safa)||5||Bab Beni Makhzoum.|
|8.||Bab Sherif||2||Bab el Djiyad (so called because leading to the hill Jiyad)|
|9.||Bab Medjahed||2||Bab el Dokhmah.|
|10.||Bab Zoleykha||2||Bab Sherif Adjelan, who built it.|
|11.||Bab Om Hany, so called from the daughter of Aby Taleb||2||Bab el Hazoura (some write this Bab el Zarurah).|
|12.||Bab el Wodaa (Al-Wida’a), through which the pilgrim passes when taking his final leave of the temple||2||Bab el Kheyatyn, or Bab Djomah.|
|13.||Bab Ibrahim, so called from a tailor who had a shop near it||1|
|14.||Bab el Omra, through which pilgrims issue to visit the Omra. Also called Beni Saham||1||Bab Amer Ibn el Aas, or Bab el Sedra.|
|15.||Bab Atech (Al-Atik?)||1||Bab el Adjale.|
|16.||Bab el Bastye||1||Bab Zyade Dar el Nedoua.|
|17.||Bab el Kotoby, so called from an historian of Mekka who lived in an adjoining lane and opened this small gate into the Mosque||1|
|18.||Bab Zyade||3||(It is called Bab Ziyadah — Gate of Excess — because it is a new structure thrown out into the Shamiyah, or Syrian quarter.)|
|19.||Bab Dereybe||1||Bab Medrese.|
53 An old pair of slippers is here what the “shocking bad hat” is at a crowded house in Europe, a self-preserver. Burckhardt lost three pairs. I, more fortunately, only one.
54 Many authorities place this building upon the site of the modern Makam Hanafi.
55 The Meccans love to boast that at no hour of the day or night is the Ka’abah ever seen without a devotee to perform “Tawaf.”
56 This would be about 50 dollars, whereas 25 is a fair sum for a single apartment. Like English lodging-house-keepers, the Meccans make the season pay for the year. In Burckhardt’s time the colonnato was worth from 9 to 12 piastres; the value of the latter coin is now greatly decreased, for 28 go to the Spanish dollar all over Al-Hijaz.
57 I entered one of these caves, and never experienced such a sense of suffocation even in that favourite spot for Britons to asphixiate themselves — the Baths of Nero.
58 The Magnificent (son of Salim I.), who built at Al-Madinah the minaret bearing his name. The minarets at Meccah are far inferior to those of her rival, and their bands of gaudy colours give them an appearance of tawdry vulgarity.
59 Two minarets, namely, those of the Bab al-Salam and the Bab al-Safa, are separated from the Mosque by private dwelling-houses, a plan neither common nor regular.
60 A stranger must be careful how he appears at a minaret window, unless he would have a bullet whizzing past his head. Arabs are especially jealous of being overlooked, and have no fellow-feeling for votaries of “beautiful views.” For this reason here, as in Egypt, a blind Mu’ezzin is preferred, and many ridiculous stories are told about men who for years have counterfeited cecity to live in idleness[.]
61 I have illustrated this chapter, which otherwise might be unintelligible to many, by a plan of the Ka’abah (taken from Ali Bey al-Abbasi), which Burckhardt pronounced to be “perfectly correct.” This author has not been duly appreciated. In the first place, his disguise was against him; and, secondly, he was a spy of the French Government. According to Mr. Bankes, who had access to the original papers at Constantinople, Ali Bey was a Catalonian named Badia, and was suspected to have been of Jewish extraction. He claimed from Napoleon a reward for his services, returned to the East, and died, it is supposed, of poison in the Hauran, near Damascus. In the edition which I have consulted (Paris, 1814) the author labours to persuade the world by marking the days with their planetary signs, &c., &c., that he is a real Oriental, but he perpetually betrays himself. Some years ago, accurate plans of the two Harims were made by order of the present Sultan. They are doubtless to be found amongst the archives at Constantinople.
62 It must be remembered that the Moslems, like many of the Jews, hold that Paradise was not on earth, but in the lowest firmament, which is, as it were, a reflection of earth.
63 Others derive the surname from this decision.
64 As will afterwards be mentioned, almost every Meccan knows the prophecy of Mohammed, that the birthplace of his faith will be destroyed by an army from Abyssinia. Such things bring their own fulfilment.
65 Abu Hanifah made it a temporal sanctuary, and would not allow even a murderer to be dragged from the walls.
66 Makkah (our Meccah) is the common word; Bakkah is a synonym never used but in books. The former means “a concourse of people.” But why derive it from the Hebrew, and translate it “a slaughter”? Is this a likely name for a holy place? Dr. Colenso actually turns the Makaraba of Ptolemy into “Makkah-rabbah,” plentiful slaughter. But if Makaraba be Meccah, it is evidently a corruption of “Makkah” and “Arabah,” the Arab race. Again, supposing the Meccan temple to be originally dedicated to the sun, why should the pure Arab word “Ba’al” become the Hebræized Hobal, and the deity be only one in the three hundred and sixty that formed the Pantheon?
67 This is an audacious falsehood; the Ka’abah is scarcely ever opened without some accident happening.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:06