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Title: Arabian Society In The Middle Ages - Studies From The Thousand And One Nights
Author: Lane, Edward William
Language: English
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    [Illustration: Cover]

    _Three Vols., demy 8vo, cloth extra, 7s. 6d. each._


    Commonly called, in England, "THE ARABIAN NIGHTS'

    A New Translation from the Arabic, with copious Notes, by EDWARD

    Illustrated by many hundred Engravings on Wood, from Original
    Designs by WILLIAM HARVEY.

    A New Edition, from a Copy annotated by the Translator, edited
    by his Nephew, EDWARD STANLEY POOLE. With a Preface by STANLEY









    [_All rights reserved_]


    E. H. PALMER,


When Mr. Lane translated the "Thousand and One Nights," he was not
content with producing a mere rendering of the Arabic text: he saw that
the manners and ideas there described required a commentary if they were
to become intelligible to an unlearned reader. At the end of each
chapter of his translation, therefore, he appended a series of
explanatory notes, which often reached the proportions of elaborate
essays on the main characteristics of Mohammadan life.

These notes have long been recognized by Orientalists as the most
complete picture in existence of Arabian society--or rather of those
Arab, Persian, or Greek, but still Mohammadan, conditions of life and
boundaries of the mental horizon which are generally distinguished by
the name of Arabian. Their position and arrangement, however, scattered
as they were through three large volumes, and inserted in the order
required not by their subjects but by the tales they illustrated,
rendered them difficult to consult, and cumbrous, if not impossible, to
read consecutively. It has often been suggested that a reprint of the
principal notes, in a convenient form and in natural sequence, would be
a welcome addition to the scholar's as well as to the general library.
The publication of a new impression of the "Thousand and One Nights"
presented an opportunity for discussing the project; and the result is
the present volume.

My task, as editor, has been a simple one. I have rejected only those
notes which have no value apart from the main work--glossarial notes,
for instance, giving the English of the proper names occurring in the
Arabian Nights; disquisitions on the probable date of the composition of
the tales; and others inseparably connected with the stories themselves.
The rest I have arranged in a series of chapters, interweaving the
shorter notes in the longer, and giving as far as possible an air of
unity to each division. Beyond such verbal alterations as were required
by the separation of the notes from the text to which they referred,
occasional changes in punctuation, and a slight alteration in the
spelling of Oriental names in accordance with my great-uncle's latest
method, I have not interfered with the form of the notes as they
appeared in the edition of 1859. Such insignificant changes as I have
made, I think I may state with confidence, would have been approved by
the author. Beyond a few notes distinguished by square brackets, a new
and very minute index (in which all Arabic words are explained), and a
list of the authorities quoted, I have added nothing of my own.

It may be objected to the title of the book that a considerable part of
the notes is composed of recollections of Mr. Lane's personal
experiences in Cairo in the early part of the present century. The
subject-matter, however, is really mediæval. The notes have all the same
purpose: to explain the conditions of life and society as they were at
the time when the "Thousand and One Nights" assumed their present
collected form. Upon various grounds Mr. Lane placed this redaction or
composition at about the end of the fifteenth century. Accordingly, a
large proportion of these notes consist of extracts from the more famous
Arabic historians and other authors of the later Middle Ages, such as
Ibn El-Jowzee (who died in A.D. 1256), El-Ḳazweenee (1283),
Ibn-el-Wardee (1348), Ibn-Khaldoon (1406), El-Maḳreezee (1441),
Es-Suyooṭee (1505), who all knew Arabian society in precisely the
state described in the "Thousand and One Nights." Most of these
authorities were unpublished when the notes were written, and Mr. Lane's
quotations are from manuscripts in his own possession. Some are still
inedited; and though many have been printed at the Booláḳ Press and
elsewhere, it is surprising how little they have been used by European

To the records of these mediæval writers, Mr. Lane added the results of
his personal experience; and in doing so he was guilty of no
anachronism: for the Arabian Society in which a Saladin, a Beybars, a
Barḳooḳ, and a Ḳait-Bey moved, and of which the native
historians have preserved so full and graphic a record, survived almost
unchanged to the time of Moḥammad ´Alee, when Mr. Lane spent many
years of intimate acquaintance among the people of Cairo. The life that
he saw was the same as that described by El-Maḳreezee and
Es-Suyooṭee; and the purely Muslim society in which Mr. Lane
preferred to move was in spirit, in custom, and in all essentials the
same society that once hailed a Hároon er-Rasheed, a Jaạfar
el-Barmekee, and an Aboo-Nuwás, among its members. The continuity of
Arabian social tradition was practically unbroken from almost the
beginning of the Khalifate to the present century, at least in such a
metropolis of Islám as Cairo, or as Damascus or Baghdad. European
influence has been busy in demolishing it. Cairo has long been trying to
become a bastard Paris instead of the picturesque city of El-Mo´izz and
Ṣaláḥ-ed-Deen, and to forget its traditions of the palmy days of
Islám and its memorials of the chivalrous heroes of crusading times. It
would be impossible now to gather the minute details of a purely
Mohammadan society which Mr. Lane found ready to his eye and hand; and
it is therefore the more fortunate that the record of Arabian Society,
as it was during the Khalifate and under the rule of the Memlooks in the
Middle Ages, and as it continued to be in Egypt to the days of
Moḥammad ´Alee, was faithfully preserved in the "Manners and Customs
of the Modern Egyptians," and in the notes to the "Thousand and One
Nights," which are here for the first time presented in a separate and
consecutive form.


    _December, 1882._




    Articles of Faith--Predestination--Ritual and Moral Laws:
    prayer, almsgiving, fasting, pilgrimage, etc.--Civil Laws:
    marriage, divorce, inheritance, manumission--Criminal Laws:
    murder, retaliation, theft, etc.--Religious Festivals          1



    Angels and Jinn (Genii)--Various kinds of Jinn--Preadamite
    Jinn--History of Iblees--Long life of the Jinn and manner of
    death; assumed shapes--A Jinneeyeh wife--Spirits of the
    whirlwind and waterspout--Abodes of the Jinn--Solomon's power
    over them--Ghools and other inferior orders                   25



    Welees and their Ḳuṭbs--El-Khiḍr and
    Elias--Miracles--Influence--Self-denial and asceticism--Two
    authentic saints--General habits--A historical saint--Pilgrimage
    to the tombs--Annual festivals--A Zikr performed by
    Darweeshes--A Khatmeh--Religious murder                       47



    Spiritual magic, divine or Satanic--Babel--Hároot and
    Auguration--Chiromancy--Omens--Dreams--A dream of the Great
    Plague, 1835--Lucky and unlucky days--Natural
    magic--Alchymy--The magician Ṣádoomeh and his miracles        80



    The seven Heavens--Paradise--Form and divisions of the
    earth--The Sea of Darkness--Fountain of Life--Mountains of
    Ḳáf--The lower earths--What the earth stands on--The stages
    of Hell                                                       97



    The Heroic Age--´Okáḍh--The Ḳur-án--The Middle
    Age--Corrupt dialects--´Abd-el-Melik--Hároon Er-Rasheed and
    Abu-l´Atáhiyeh--The Barmekees--Dresses of honour--Two items in
    Hároon's account book--Rewards to poets--Ḥammád's good
    fortune--Reception of Greek ambassadors by a Khaleefeh--A
    niggardly king outwitted--The decline of Arabian
    literature--Letters--The language of flowers, and emblematical
    conversation--Secret signs--El-Mutanebbee's warning--The
    language of birds and beasts                                 109



    Muslim meals and mode of eating--Principal dishes--A typical
    feast--Public dinners--Clean and unclean
    meats--Drinks--Hospitality--Bread and salt--A thief thwarted--An
    Arabian room--A hall or saloon--The use of wine--Date wine,
    etc.--Prevalence of the habit of drinking wine in the present
    day and in history--A bout interrupted--Moderate
    drinking--Effects of wine--´Abd-el-Melik and his
    slave--Preparations for a banquet--Fruits--A
    rose-lover--Favourite flowers--Music--Ibráheem El-Móṣilee and
    Hároon Er-Rasheed--Isḥáḳ
    El-Móṣilee--Mukháriḳ--Performers--Unveiled women
    singers--Arab music--Lyric songs--Other amusements--The
    Bath--Hunting and hawking                                    135



    Ceremonies at birth, and on the seventh day--Giving the
    name--Sacrifice--Shaving the head--Suckling--Care of
    children--Evil eye--Respect for parents--The future state of
    children who die young--Early education of the
    father--Circumcision--Schools and teaching--Private
    tuition--Education of girls--Arab character                  186



    Love among Arabs--Three tales of true love--Umm-´Amr--The ideal
    of beauty--Coiffure--Gait--Woman's counsel--Marriage and
    divorce--Laws and general habits--Choice of a wife--Prohibited
    degrees--Cousins preferred--Ages--A wife's
    qualifications--Dowry--Marriage contract--Festivities and
    ceremonies of marriage--Wedding horoscopes--Employment of the
    ḥareem--Polygamy and the Muslim social system in
    general--Affection between wives                             207



    Conditions, rights, and disabilities of slaves--Emancipation--
    White slaves--Treatment--The Prophet's injunctions--´Othmán's
    compunction--Jaạfar's wife                                   250



    Last duties--Washing--Grave-clothes--Funeral--Sacrifice--
    Biers--The tomb--Preparing for the examining angels--Visits
    to the grave--State of the soul between death and the
    resurrection--The Well of Barahoot                           258

    INDEX                                                        267

    AUTHORS AND WORKS REFERRED TO                                281




The confession of the Muslim's faith is briefly made in these
words,--"There is no deity but God: Moḥammad is God's
Apostle,"--which imply a belief and observance of everything that
Moḥammad taught to be the word or will of God. In the opinion of
those who are commonly called orthodox, and termed Sunnees, the
Mohammadan code is founded upon the Ḳur-án, the Traditions of the
Prophet, the concordance of his principal early disciples, and the
decisions which have been framed from analogy or comparison. The Sunnees
consist of four sects, Ḥanafees, Sháfi´ees, Málikees, and Hambelees,
so called after the names of their respective founders. The other sects,
who are called Shiya´ees (an appellation particularly given to the
Persian sect, but also used to designate generally all who are not
Sunnees), are regarded nearly in the same light as those who do not
profess El-Islám (the Mohammadan faith); that is, as destined to eternal

I. The Mohammadan faith embraces the following points:--

1. Belief in God, who is without beginning or end, the sole Creator and
Lord of the universe, having absolute power, and knowledge, and glory,
and perfection.

2. Belief in his Angels, who are impeccable beings, created of light;
and Genii (Jinn), who are peccable, created of smokeless fire. The
Devils, whose chief is Iblees, or Satan, are evil Genii.[1]

3. Belief in his Prophets and Apostles;[2] the most distinguished of
whom are Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Moḥammad. Jesus is
held to be more excellent than any of those who preceded him, to have
been born of a virgin, and to be the Messiah and the word of God and a
Spirit proceeding from him, but not partaking of his essence and not to
be called the Son of God. Moḥammad is held to be more excellent than
all, the last and greatest of prophets and apostles, the most excellent
of the creatures of God.

4. Belief in his Scriptures, which are his uncreated word, revealed to
his prophets. Of these there now exist, but held to be greatly
corrupted, the Pentateuch of Moses, the Psalms of David, and the Gospels
of Jesus Christ; and, in an uncorrupted and incorruptible state, the
Ḳur-án, which is held to have abrogated, and to surpass in
excellence, all preceding revelations.

5. Belief in the general Resurrection and Judgment, and in future
rewards and punishments, chiefly of a corporeal nature: the punishments
will be eternal to all but wicked Mohammadans; and none but Mohammadans
will enter into a state of happiness.

6. Belief in God's Predestination of all events, both good and evil.

The belief in fate and destiny (el-ḳaḍà wa-l-ḳadar)[3]
exercises a most powerful influence upon the actions and character of
the Muslims. Many hold that fate is in some respects absolute and
unchangeable, in others admitting of alteration; and almost all of them
_act_ in many of the affairs of life as if this were their belief. In
the former case, it is called "el-ḳaḍà el-moḥkam;" in the
latter, "el-ḳaḍà el-mubram" (which term, without the explanation
here given, might be regarded as exactly synonymous with the former).
Hence the Prophet, it is said, prayed to be preserved from the latter,
as knowing that it might be changed; and in allusion to this changeable
fate, we are told, God says, "God will cancel what He pleaseth, and
confirm;"[4] while, on the contrary, the fate which is termed
"moḥkam" is appointed "destiny" decreed by God.[5]

Many doctors have argued that destiny respects only the _final state_
of a certain portion of men (believers and unbelievers), and that in
general man is endowed with free will, which he should exercise
according to the laws of God and his own conscience and judgment,
praying to God for a blessing on his endeavours, or imploring the
intercession of the Prophet or of any of the saints in his favour, and
propitiating them by offering alms or sacrifices in their names, relying
upon God for the result, which he may then, and then only, attribute to
fate or destiny. They hold, therefore, that it is criminal to attempt
resistance to the will when its dictates are conformable with the laws
of God and our natural consciences and prudence, and so passively to
await the fulfilment of God's decrees.--The doctrine of the Ḳur-án
and the traditions respecting the decrees of God, or fate and destiny,
appears, however, to be that they are altogether absolute and
unchangeable, written in the beginning of the creation on the "Preserved
Tablet" in heaven; that God hath predestined every event and action,
evil as well as good,--at the same time commanding and approving good,
and forbidding and hating evil; and that the "cancelling" mentioned in
the preceding paragraph relates (as the context seems to show) to the
abrogation of former scriptures or revelations, not of fate. But still
it must be held that He hath not predestined the _will_; though He
sometimes inclines it to good, and the Devil sometimes inclines it to
evil. It is asked, then, If we have the power to will, but not the power
to perform otherwise than as God hath predetermined, how can we be
regarded as responsible beings? The answer to this is that our actions
are judged good or evil according to our intentions, if we have faith:
good actions or intentions, it should be added, only increase, and do
not cause, our happiness if we are believers; and evil actions or
intentions only increase our misery if we are unbelievers or
irreligious: for the Muslim holds that he is to be admitted into heaven
only by the mercy of God, on account of his faith, and to be rewarded in
proportion to his good works.

The Prophet's assertions on the subject of God's decrees are considered
of the highest importance as explanatory of the Ḳur-án.--"Whatever is
in the universe," said he, "is by the order of God."--"God hath
pre-ordained five things on his servants; the duration of life, their
actions, their dwelling-places, their travels, and their
portions."--"There is not one among you whose sitting-place is not
written by God, whether in the fire or in paradise."--Some of the
companions of the Prophet, on hearing the last-quoted saying, asked him,
"O Prophet, since God hath appointed our places, may we confide in this,
and abandon our religious and moral duties?" He answered, "No: because
the happy will do good works, and those who are of the miserable will do
bad works."

The following of his sayings further illustrate this subject:--"When God
hath ordered a creature to die in any particular place, He causeth his
wants to direct him to that place."--A companion asked, "O Prophet of
God, inform me respecting charms, and the medicines which I swallow, and
shields which I make use of for protection, whether they prevent any of
the orders of God." Moḥammad answered, "These also are by the order
of God." "There is a medicine for every pain: then, when the medicine
reaches the pain it is cured by the order of God."[6]--When a Muslim,
therefore, feels an inclination to make use of medicine for the cure of
a disease, he should do so, in the hope of its being predestined that he
shall be so cured. On the predestination of diseases, I find the
following curious quotation and remark in a manuscript work[7] by
Es-Suyooṭee, who wrote in the fifteenth century, in my
possession:--"El-Ḥaleemee says, 'Communicable or contagious diseases
are six: small-pox, measles, itch or scab, foul breath or putridity,
melancholy, and pestilential maladies; and diseases engendered are also
six: leprosy, hectic, epilepsy, gout, elephantiasis, and phthisis.' But
this does not contradict the saying of the Prophet, 'There is no
transition of diseases by contagion or infection, nor any omen that
brings evil:' for the transition here meant is one occasioned by the
disease itself; whereas the effect is of God, who causes pestilence to
spread when there is intercourse with the diseased."--A Bedawee asked
the Prophet, "What is the condition of camels which stay in the deserts?
verily you might say they are deer, in health and in cleanness of skin;
then they mix with mangy camels, and they become mangy also."
Moḥammad said, "What made the first camel mangy?"[8]

Notwithstanding, however, the arguments which have been here adduced,
and many others that might be added, declaring or implying the
unchangeable nature of all God's decrees, I have found it to be the
opinion of my own Muslim friends that God may be induced by supplication
to change certain of his decrees, at least those regarding degrees of
happiness or misery in this world and the next; and that such is the
general opinion appears from a form of prayer which is repeated in the
mosques on the eve of the middle (or fifteenth day) of the month of
Shaạbán, when it is believed that such portions of God's decrees as
constitute the destinies of all living creatures for the ensuing year
are confirmed and fixed. In this prayer it is said, "O God, if Thou
_hast recorded_ me in thy abode, upon 'the Original of the Book' [the
Preserved Tablet], miserable or unfortunate or scanted in my sustenance,
_cancel_, O God, of thy goodness, my misery and misfortune and scanty
allowance of sustenance, and confirm me in thy abode, upon the Original
of the Book, as happy and provided for and directed to good,"[9] etc.

The Arabs in general constantly have recourse both to charms and
medicines, not only for the cure but also for the prevention of
diseases. They have, indeed, a strange passion for medicine, which shows
that they do not consider fate as altogether unconditional. Nothing can
exceed the earnestness with which they often press a European traveller
for a dose; and the more violent the remedy, the better are they
pleased. The following case will serve as an example:--Three
donkey-drivers, conveying the luggage of two British travellers from
Booláḳ to Cairo, opened a bottle which they observed in a basket, and
finding it to contain (as they had suspected) brandy, emptied it down
their throats: but he who had the last draught, on turning up the
bottle, got the tail of a scorpion into his mouth; and, looking through
the bottle to his great horror saw that it contained a number of these
reptiles, with tarantulas, vipers, and beetles. Thinking that they had
poisoned themselves, but not liking to rely upon fate, they persuaded a
man to come to me for medicine. He introduced the subject by saying, "O
Efendee, do an act of kindness: there are three men poisoned; in your
mercy give them medicine, and save their lives:" and then he related the
whole affair, without concealing the theft. I answered that they did not
deserve medicine; but he urged that by giving it I should obtain an
immense reward. "Yes," said I; "'he who saveth a soul alive shall be as
if he had saved the lives of all mankind.'"[10] I said this to try the
feeling of the applicant, who, expressing admiration of my knowledge,
urged me to be quick, lest the men should die; thus showing himself to
be no unconditional fatalist. I gave him three strong doses of tartar
emetic; and he soon came back to thank me, saying that the medicine was
most admirable, for the men had hardly swallowed it when they almost
vomited their hearts and livers and everything else in their bodies.

From a distrust in fate some Muslims even shut themselves up during the
prevalence of plague; but this practice is generally condemned. A Syrian
friend of mine who did so nearly had his door broken open by his
neighbours. Another of my friends, one of the most distinguished of the
´Ulamà, confessed to me his conviction of the lawfulness of quarantine
and argued well in favour of it; but said that he dared not openly avow
such an opinion. "The Apostle of God," said he, "God favour and preserve
him! hath commanded that we should not enter a city where there is
pestilence, nor go out from it. Why did he say, 'Enter it
not'?--because, by so doing, we should expose ourselves to the disease.
Why did he say, 'Go not out from it?'--because, by so doing, we should
carry the disease to others. The Prophet was tenderly considerate of our
welfare: but the present Muslims in general are like bulls [brute
beasts]; and they hold the meaning of this command to be, Go not into a
city where there is pestilence, because this would be rashness; and go
not out from it, because this would be distrusting God's power to save
you from it."

Many of the vulgar and ignorant among modern Muslims, believe that the
unchangeable destinies of every man are written upon his head, in what
are termed the sutures of the skull.

II. The principal Ritual and Moral Laws are on the following subjects,
of which the first four are the most important.

1. Prayer (eṣ-ṣaláh) including preparatory purifications. There
are partial or total washings to be performed on particular occasions
which need not be described. The ablution which is more especially
preparatory to prayer (and which is called wuḍoo) consists in washing
the hands, mouth, nostrils, face, arms (as high as the elbow, the right
first), each three times; and then the upper part of the head, the
beard, ears, neck, and feet, each once. This is done with running water,
or from a very large tank, or from a lake, or the sea.

Prayers are required to be performed five times in the course of every
day; between daybreak and sunrise, between noon and the ´aṣr, (which
latter period is about mid-time between noon and nightfall), between the
´aṣr and sunset, between sunset and the ´eshè (or the period when the
darkness of night commences), and at, or after, the ´eshè. The
commencement of each of these periods is announced by a chant (called
adán), repeated by a crier (muëddin) from the mádineh, or minaret, of
each mosque; and it is more meritorious to commence the prayer then than
at a later time. On each of these occasions, the Muslim has to perform
certain prayers held to be ordained by God, and others ordained by the
Prophet; each kind consisting of two, three, or four "rek´ahs;" which
term signifies the repetition of a set form of words, chiefly from the
Ḳur-án, and ejaculations of "God is most Great!" etc., accompanied by
particular postures; part of the words being repeated in an erect
posture; part, sitting; and part, in other postures: an inclination of
the head and body, followed by two prostrations, distinguishing each
rek´ah.[11] These prayers may in some cases be abridged, and in others
entirely omitted. Other prayers must be performed on particular

On Friday, the Mohammadan Sabbath, there are congregational prayers,
which are similar to those of others days, with additional prayers and
exhortations by a minister, who is called Imám, or Khaṭeeb. The Selám
(or Salutation) of Friday--a form of blessing on the Prophet and his
family and companions,--is chanted by the muëddins from the mádinehs of
the congregational mosques half-an-hour before noon. The worshippers
begin to assemble in the mosque as soon as they hear it, and arranging
themselves in rows parallel to, and facing, that side in which is the
niche that marks the direction of Mekkeh, each performs by himself the
prayers of two rek´ahs, which are supererogatory, and then sits in his
place while a reader recites part or the whole of the 18th chapter of
the Ḳur-án. At the call of noon, they all stand up, and each again
performs separately the prayers of two rek´ahs ordained by the Prophet.
A minister standing at the foot of the pulpit-stairs then proposes to
bless the Prophet: and accordingly a second Selám is chanted by one or
more other ministers stationed on an elevated platform. After this, the
former minister, and the latter after him, repeat the call of noon
(which the muëddins have before chanted from the mádinehs); and the
former enjoins silence. The Khaṭeeb has already seated himself on the
top step or platform of the pulpit. He now rises and recites a
khuṭbeh of praise to God and exhortation to the congregation; and, if
in a country or town acquired by arms from unbelievers, he holds a
wooden sword, resting its point on the ground. Each of the congregation
next offers up some private supplication; after which, the Khaṭeeb
recites a second khuṭbeh, which is always the same or nearly so, in
part resembling the first, but chiefly a prayer for the Prophet and his
family, and for the general welfare of the Muslims. This finished, the
Khaṭeeb descends from the pulpit, and, stationed before the niche,
after a form of words[12] differing slightly from the call to prayer has
been chanted by the ministers on the elevated platform before mentioned,
recites the divinely-ordained prayers of Friday (two rek´ahs) while the
people do the same silently, keeping time with him exactly in the
various postures. Thus are completed the Friday-prayers; but some of the
congregation remain, and perform the ordinary divinely-ordained prayers
of noon.

Other occasions for special prayer are the two grand annual festivals;
the nights of Ramaḍán, the month of abstinence; the occasion of an
eclipse of the sun or moon; for rain; previously to the commencement of
battle; in pilgrimage; and at funerals.

2. Alms-giving. An alms, called "zekáh," is required by law to be given
annually, to the poor, of camels, oxen (bulls and cows) and buffaloes,
sheep and goats, horses and mules and asses, and gold and silver
(whether in money or in vessels, ornaments, etc.), provided the property
be of a certain amount, as five camels, thirty oxen, forty sheep, five
horses, two hundred dirhems, or twenty deenárs. The proportion is
generally one-fortieth, which is to be paid in kind or in money or other

3. Fasting (eṣ-Ṣiyám). The Muslim must abstain from eating and
drinking, and from every indulgence of the senses, every day during the
month of Ramaḍán, from the first appearance of daybreak until sunset,
unless physically incapacitated.--On the first day of the following
month, a festival, called the Minor Festival, is observed with public
prayer and with general rejoicing, which continues three days.

4. Pilgrimage (el-Ḥájj). It is incumbent on the Muslim, if able, to
perform at least once in his life the pilgrimage to Mekkeh and Mount
´Arafát. The principal ceremonies of the pilgrimage are completed on
the 9th of the month of Dhu-l-Ḥijjeh: on the following day, which is
the first of the Great Festival, on the return from ´Arafát to Mekkeh,
the pilgrims who are able to do so perform a sacrifice, and every other
Muslim who can is required to do the same: part of the meat of the
victim he should eat, and the rest he should give to the poor. This
festival is otherwise observed in a similar manner to the minor one,
above mentioned; and lasts three or four days.

The less important ritual and moral laws may here be briefly
mentioned.[13]--One of these is circumcision, which is not absolutely
obligatory.--The distinctions of clean and unclean meats are nearly the
same in the Mohammadan as in the Mosaic code. Camel's flesh is an
exception; being lawful to the Muslim. Swine's flesh, and blood, are
especially condemned; and a particular mode of slaughtering animals for
food is enjoined, accompanied by the repetition of the name of
God.--Wine and all inebriating liquors are strictly forbidden.--So too
is gaming.--Music is condemned; but most Muslims take great delight in
hearing it.--Images and pictures representing living creatures are
contrary to law.--Charity, probity in all transactions, veracity
(excepting in a few cases),[14] and modesty, are virtues
indispensable.--Cleanliness in person, and decent attire, are
particularly required. Clothes of silk and ornaments of gold or silver
are forbidden to men, but allowed to women: this precept, however, is
often disregarded.--Utensils of gold and silver are also condemned: yet
they are used by many Muslims.--The manners of Muslims in society are
subject to particular rules with respect to salutations, etc.

Of the Civil Laws, the following notices will suffice.--A man may have
four wives at the same time, and according to common opinion as many
concubine slaves as he pleases.--He may divorce a wife twice, and each
time take her back again; but if he divorce her a third time, or by a
triple sentence, he cannot make her his wife again unless by her own
consent and by a new contract, and after another man has consummated a
marriage with her and divorced her.--The children by a wife and those by
a concubine slave inherit equally, if the latter be acknowledged by the
father. Sons inherit equally: and so do daughters; but the share of a
daughter is half that of a son. One-eighth is the share of the wife or
wives of the deceased if he have left issue, and one-fourth if he have
left no issue. A husband inherits one-fourth of his wife's property if
she have left issue, and one-half if she have left no issue. The debts
and legacies of the deceased must first be paid. A man may leave
one-third [but no more] of his property in any way he pleases.--When a
concubine slave has borne a child to her master, she becomes entitled to
freedom on his death.--There are particular laws relating to commerce.
Usury and monopoly are especially condemned.

Of the Criminal Laws, a few may be briefly mentioned. Murder is
punishable by death, or by a fine to be paid to the family of the
deceased, if they prefer it.--Theft, if the property stolen amount to a
quarter of a deenár, is to be punished by cutting off the right hand,
except under certain circumstances.--Adultery, if attested by four
eye-witnesses, is punishable by death (stoning): fornication, by a
hundred stripes, and banishment for a year.--Drunkenness is punished
with eighty stripes.--Apostasy, persevered in, by death.

The Ḳur-án ordains that murder shall be punished with death; or,
rather, that the free shall die for the free, the slave for the slave,
and the woman for the woman;[15] or that the perpetrator of the crime
shall pay, to the heirs of the person whom he has killed, if they will
allow it, a fine, which is to be divided according to the laws of
inheritance already explained. It also ordains that unintentional
homicide shall be expiated by freeing a believer from slavery, and
paying a fine to the family of the person killed, unless they remit it.
But these laws are amplified and explained by the same book and by the
Imáms. A fine is not to be accepted for murder unless the crime has been
attended by some palliating circumstance. This fine, the price of blood,
is a hundred camels; or a thousand deenárs (about £500) from him who
possesses gold; or, from him who possesses silver, twelve thousand
dirhems (about £300). This is for killing a free man; for a woman, half
that sum; for a slave, his or her value, but this must fall short of the
price of blood for the free. A person unable to free a believer must
fast two months as in Ramaḍán. The accomplices of a murderer are
liable to the punishment of death. By the Sunneh (or Traditions of the
Prophet) also, a man is obnoxious to capital punishment for the murder
of a woman; and by the Ḥanafee law, for the murder of another man's
slave. But he is exempted from this punishment who kills his own child
or other descendant, or his own slave, or his son's slave, or a slave of
whom he is part-owner; so also are his accomplices: and according to
Esh-Sháfi´ee, a Muslim, though a slave, is not to be put to death for
killing an infidel, though the latter be free. A man who kills another
in self-defence, or to defend his property from a robber, is exempt from
all punishment. The price of blood is a debt incumbent on the family,
tribe, or association, of which the homicide is a member. It is also
incumbent on the inhabitants of an enclosed quarter, or the proprietor
or proprietors of a field, in which the body of a person killed by an
unknown hand is found; unless the person has been found killed in his
own house.

Retaliation for intentional wounds and mutilations is allowed by the
Mohammadan law, like as for murder, "an eye for an eye," etc.;[16] but a
fine may be accepted instead, which the law allows also for
unintentional injuries. The fine for a member that is single (as the
nose) is the whole price of blood, as for homicide; for a member of
which there are two, and not more (as a hand), half the price of blood;
for one of which there are ten (a finger or toe), a tenth of the price
of blood: but the fine of a man for maiming or wounding a woman is half
of that for the same injury to a man; and that of a free person for
injuring a slave varies according to the value of the slave. The fine
for depriving a man of any of his five senses, or dangerously wounding
him, or grievously disfiguring him for life, is the whole price of

The Mohammadan law ordains that a person who is adult and of sound mind,
if he steals an article of the value of a quarter of a deenár (or piece
of gold) from a place to which he has not ordinary or free access, shall
lose his right hand; but this punishment is not to be inflicted for
stealing a free child, or anything which, in the eye of the law, is of
no pecuniary value, as wine, or a musical instrument; and there are some
other cases in which the thief is not to be so punished. For the second
offence, the left foot is to be cut off; and for the third and
subsequent offences, according to the Ḥanafee code, the culprit is to
be punished by a long imprisonment; or, by the Sháfi´ee law, for the
third offence, he is to lose his left hand; for the fourth, his right
foot; and for further offences, he is to be flogged or beaten. The
punishment is the same for a woman as for a man. This law induced a
freethinking Muslim to ask, "If the hand is worth five hundred deenárs
[this being the fine for depriving a man of that member], why should it
be cut off for a quarter of a deenár?" He was answered, "An honest hand
is of great value; but not so is the hand that hath stolen." Amputation
for theft, however, is now seldom practised: beating, or some other
punishment, is usually inflicted in its stead for the first, second, and
third offence; and frequently, death for the fourth.

The Muslims observe two grand ´Eeds or Festivals in every year. The
first of these immediately follows Ramaḍán, the month of abstinence,
and lasts three days: it is called the Minor Festival. The other, which
is called the Great Festival, commences on the tenth of Dhu-l-Ḥijjeh,
the day when the pilgrims, halting in the Valley of Minè, on their
return from Mount ´Arafát to Mekkeh, perform their sacrifice: the
observance of this festival also continues three days, or four.

Early in the first morning, on each of these festivals, the Muslim is
required to perform a lustration of his whole person, as on the mornings
of Friday; and on the first morning of the Minor Festival he should
break his fast with a few dates or some other light food, but on the
Great Festival he abstains from food until he has acquitted himself of
the religious duties now to be mentioned. Soon after sunrise on the
first day of each festival, the men, dressed in new or in their best
clothes, repair to the mosque or to a particular place appointed for
the performance of the prayers of the ´Eed. On going thither, they
should repeat frequently "God is most Great!"--on the Minor Festival
inaudibly, on the other aloud. The congregation having assembled repeat
the prayers of two rek´ahs; after which the Khaṭeeb recites a
khuṭbeh, _i.e._ an exhortation and a prayer. On each of these
festivals, in the mosque or place of prayer and in the street and at
each other's houses, friends congratulate and embrace one another,
generally paying visits for this purpose; and the great receive visits
from their dependants. The young on these occasions kiss the right hand
of the aged, and servants or dependants do the same to their masters or
superiors, unless the latter be of high rank, in which case they kiss
the end of the hanging sleeves or the skirt of the outer garment. Most
of the shops are closed, excepting those at which eatables and sweet
drinks are sold; but the streets are filled with people in their

On the Minor Festival, which, as it terminates an arduous fast, is
celebrated with more rejoicing than the other,[17] servants and other
dependants receive presents of new articles of clothing from their
masters or patrons; and the servant receives presents of small sums of
money from his master's friends, whom, if they do not visit his master,
he goes to congratulate; as well as from any former master, to whom he
often takes a plate-full of kaḥks. These are sweet cakes or biscuits
of an annular form, composed of flour and butter, with a little
´ajameeyeh (a thick paste consisting of butter, honey, a little flour,
and some spices) inside. They are also often sent as presents on this
occasion by other people. Another custom required of the faithful on
this festival is the giving of alms.

On the Great Festival, after the prayers of the congregation, every one
who can afford it performs, with his own hand or by that of a deputy, a
sacrifice of a ram, he-goat, cow or buffalo, or she-camel; part of the
meat of which he eats, and part he gives to the poor, or to his friends
or dependants. The ram or goat should be at least one year old; the cow
or buffalo, two years; and the camel, five years; and none should have
any considerable mutilation or infirmity. A cow or buffalo, or a camel,
is a sufficient sacrifice for seven persons. The clothes which were put
on new at the former festival are generally worn on this occasion; and
the presents which are given to servants and others are usually somewhat

On each of the two festivals it is also customary, especially with the
women, to visit the tombs of relations. The party generally take with
them a palm-branch, and place it, broken in several pieces, or merely
its leaves, upon the tomb or monument; or some, instead of this, place
sweet basil or other flowers. They also usually provide themselves with
sweet cakes, bread, dates, or some other kind of food, to distribute to
the poor. But their first duty on arriving at the tomb is to recite the
Fátiḥah (the opening chapter of the Ḳur-án), or to employ a person
to recite previously a longer chapter, generally the thirty-sixth
(Soorat Yá-Seen), or even the whole of the book: sometimes the visitors
recite the Fátiḥah, and, after having hired a person to perform a
longer recitation, go away before he commences. The women often stay all
the days of the festivals in the cemeteries, either in tents or in
houses of their own erected there for their reception on these and other
occasions. The tent of each party surrounds the tomb which is the object
of their visit. In the outskirts of the cemeteries, swings and
whirligigs are set up, and story-tellers, jugglers, and dancers amuse
the populace.


[1] See below, 25 ff.

[2] An Apostle is distinguished from a mere Prophet by his having a
_book_ revealed to him.

[3] I use two words (perhaps the best that our language affords) to
express corresponding Arabic terms, which some persons regard as
synonymous, but others distinguish by different shades of meaning. On
what I consider the best authority, the word which I render "fate"
respects the decrees of God in a general sense; while that which I
translate "destiny" relates to the particular applications of those
decrees. In such senses these terms are here to be understood when
separately employed.

[4] Ḳur-án, xiii. 39.

[5] El-Insán el-Kámil, by ´Abd-El-Kereem El-Jeelee, quoted by
El-Isḥáḳee in his account of Ibráheem Pásha el-Maḳtool.

[6] Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, i. 26-34, 373. [Cp. S. Lane-Poole, "The
Speeches and Tabletalk of the Prophet Moḥammad" (1882), 180-182.]

[7] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil wa-Murshid el-Mutaähhil, section 7.

[8] Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 381.

[9] For a translation of the whole of this prayer, see my "Account of
the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians," ch. xxv.

[10] Ḳur. v. 35.

[11] For a fuller account of the prayers, see "Modern Egyptians," ch.

[12] The Iḳámeh: see below, ch. viii.

[13] [For the collected legislation of the Ḳur-án, see my "Speeches
and Tabletalk of the Prophet Moḥammad," 133 ff. S. L-P.

[14] Among a people by whom falsehood, in certain cases, is not only
allowed but commended, oaths of different kinds are more or less
binding. In considering this subject we should also remember that oaths
may sometimes be expiated. There are some oaths which, I believe, few
Muslims would falsely take; such as saying, three times, "By God the
Great!" (Wa-lláhi-l-´aẓeem), and the oath upon the muṣḥaf (or
copy of the Ḳur-án), saying, "By what this contains of the word of
God!" This latter is rendered more binding by placing a sword with the
sacred volume, and still more so by the addition of a cake, or piece of
bread, and a handful of salt. But a form of oath which is generally yet
more to be depended upon is that of saying, "I impose upon myself
divorcement!" (that is, "the divorce of my wife, if what I say be
false!"); or, "I impose upon myself interdiction!" which has a similar
meaning ("My wife be unlawful to me!"); or, "I impose upon myself a
triple divorcement!" which binds a man by the irrevocable divorce of his
wife. If a man use any of these three forms of oath falsely, his wife,
if he have but one, is divorced by the oath itself, if proved to be
false, without the absolute necessity of any further ceremony; and if he
have two or more wives, he must under such circumstances choose one of
them to put away.

[15] [But see my "Speeches and Tabletalk of the Prophet Mohammad," 139,
S. L-P.]

[16] Ḳur. v. 49.

[17] Hence it has been called, by many travellers, and even by some
learned Orientalists, the Great Feast; but it is never so called by the



The Muslims, in general, believe in three different species of created
intelligent beings: Angels, who are created of light; Genii, who are
created of fire; and Men, created of earth. The first species are called
Meláïkeh (sing. Melek); the second, Jinn (sing. Jinnee); the third, Ins
(sing. Insee). Some hold that the Devils (Sheyṭáns) are of a species
distinct from Angels and Jinn; but the more prevailing opinion, and that
which rests on the highest authority, is, that they are rebellious Jinn.

"It is believed," says El-Ḳazweenee, "that the Angels are of a simple
substance, endowed with life and speech and reason, and that the
difference between them and the Jinn and Sheyṭáns is a difference of
species. Know," he adds, "that the Angels are sanctified from carnal
desire and the disturbance of anger: they disobey not God in what He
hath commanded them, but do what they are commanded. Their food is the
celebrating of his glory; their drink, the proclaiming of his holiness;
their conversation, the commemoration of God, whose name be exalted;
their pleasure, his worship; they are created in different forms, and
with different powers." Some are described as having the forms of
brutes. Four of them are Archangels; Jebraeel or Jibreel (Gabriel), the
angel of revelations; Meekaeel or Meekál (Michael), the patron of the
Israelites; ´Azraeel, the angel of death; and Isráfeel, the angel of the
trumpet, which he is to sound twice, or as some say thrice, at the end
of the world--one blast will kill all living creatures (himself
included), another, forty years after, (he being raised again for this
purpose, with Jebraeel and Meekaeel), will raise the dead. These
Archangels are also called Apostolic Angels. They are inferior in
dignity to human prophets and apostles, though superior to the rest of
the human race: the angelic nature is held to be inferior to the human
nature, because all the Angels were commanded to prostrate themselves
before Adam. Every believer is attended by two guardian and recording
angels, one of whom writes his good actions, the other, his evil
actions: or, according to some, the number of these angels is five, or
sixty, or a hundred and sixty. There are also two Angels, called Munkir
(vulg. Nákir) and Nekeer, who examine all the dead and torture the
wicked in their graves.

The species of Jinn is said to have been created some thousands of years
before Adam. According to a tradition from the Prophet, this species
consists of five orders or classes; namely, Jánn (who are the least
powerful of all), Jinn, Sheyṭáns (or Devils), ´Efreets, and Márids.
The last, it is added, are the most powerful; and the Jánn are
transformed Jinn, like as certain apes and swine were transformed
men.[18]--It must, however, be remarked here that the terms Jinn and
Jánn are generally used indiscriminately as names of the whole species
(including the other orders above mentioned), whether good or bad; and
that the former term is the more common; also, that Sheyṭán is
commonly used to signify any evil Jinnee. An ´Efreet is a powerful evil
Jinnee: a Márid, an evil Jinnee of the most powerful class. The Jinn
(but, generally speaking, evil ones) are called by the Persians Deevs;
the most powerful evil Jinn, Nárahs (which signifies "males," though
they are said to be males and females); the good Jinn, Perees, though
this term is commonly applied to females.

In a tradition from the Prophet, it is said, "The Jánn were created of a
smokeless fire."[19] El-Jánn is sometimes used as a name of Iblees, as
in the following verse of the Ḳur-án:--"And the Jánn [the father of
the Jinn; _i.e._ Iblees] we had created before [_i.e._ before the
creation of Adam] of the fire of the samoom [_i.e._ of fire without
smoke]."[20] Jánn also signifies "a serpent," as in other passages of
the Ḳur-án;[21] and is used in the same book as synonymous with
Jinn.[22] In the last sense it is generally believed to be used in the
tradition quoted in the commencement of this paragraph. There are
several apparently contradictory traditions from the Prophet which are
reconciled by what has been above stated: in one, it is said that
Iblees was the father of all the Jánn and Sheyṭáns,[23] Jánn being
here synonymous with Jinn; in another, that Jánn was the father of all
the Jinn,[24] Jánn being here used as a name of Iblees.

"It is held," says El-Ḳazweenee, a writer of the thirteenth century,
"that the Jinn are aërial animals, with transparent bodies, which can
assume various forms. People differ in opinion respecting these beings:
some consider the Jinn and Sheyṭáns as unruly men, but these persons
are of the Moạtezileh [a sect of Muslim freethinkers]; and some hold
that God, whose name be exalted, created the Angels of the light of
fire, and the Jinn of its flame [but this is at variance with the
general opinion], and the Sheyṭáns of its smoke [which is also at
variance with the common opinion], and that [all] these kinds of beings
are [usually] invisible[25] to men, but that they assume what forms they
please, and when their form becomes condensed they are visible."--This
last remark illustrates several descriptions of Jinnees in the "Thousand
and One Nights," where the form of the monster is at first undefined, or
like an enormous pillar, and then gradually assumes a human shape and
less gigantic size. It is said that God created the Jánn (or Jinn) two
thousand years before Adam (or, according to some writers, much
earlier), and that there are believers and infidels, and every sect,
among them, as among men.[26] Some say that a prophet, named Yoosuf, was
sent to the Jinn; others, that they had only preachers or admonishers;
others, again, that seventy apostles were sent, before Moḥammad, to
Jinn and men conjointly.[27] It is commonly believed that the preadamite
Jinn were governed by forty (or, according to some, seventy-two) kings,
to each of whom the Arab writers give the name of Suleymán (Solomon);
and that they derive their appellation from the last of these, who was
called Jánn Ibn Jánn, and who, some say, built the Pyramids of Egypt.
The following account of the preadamite Jinn is given by
El-Ḳazweenee.--"It is related in histories that a race of Jinn in
ancient times, before the creation of Adam, inhabited the earth and
covered it, the land and the sea, and the plains and the mountains; and
the favours of God were multiplied upon them, and they had government
and prophecy and religion and law. But they transgressed and offended,
and opposed their prophets, and made wickedness to abound in the earth;
whereupon God, whose name be exalted, sent against them an army of
Angels, who took possession of the earth, and drove away the Jinn to the
regions of the islands, and made many of them prisoners; and of those
who were made prisoners was ´Azázeel [afterwards called Iblees, from his
_despair_]; and a slaughter was made among them. At that time, ´Azázeel
was young: he grew up among the Angels [and probably for that reason was
called one of them], and became learned in their knowledge, and assumed
the government of them; and his days were prolonged until he became
their chief; and thus it continued for a long time, until the affair
between him and Adam happened, as God, whose name be exalted, hath said,
'When we said unto the Angels, Worship[28] ye Adam, and [all] worshipped
except Iblees, [who] was [one] of the Jinn.'"[29]

"Iblees," we are told by another author, "was sent as a governor upon
the earth, and judged among the Jinn a thousand years, after which he
ascended into heaven, and remained employed in worship until the
creation of Adam."[30] The name of Iblees was originally, according to
some, ´Azázeel (as before mentioned); and according to others,
El-Ḥárith: his patronymic is Aboo-Murrah, or Abu-l-Ghimr.[31] It is
disputed whether he was of the Angels or of the Jinn. There are three
opinions on this point.--1. That he was of the Angels, from a tradition
from Ibn-´Abbás.--2. That he was of the Sheyṭáns (or evil Jinn); as
it is said in the Ḳur-án, "except Iblees, [who] was [one] of the
Jinn:" this was the opinion of El-Ḥasan El-Baṣree, and is that
commonly held.--3. That he was neither of the Angels nor of the Jinn;
but created alone, of fire. Ibn-´Abbás founds his opinion on the same
text from which El-Ḥasan El-Baṣree derives his: "When we said unto
the Angels, Worship ye Adam, and [all] worshipped except Iblees, [who]
was [one] of the Jinn" (before quoted): which he explains by saying,
that the most noble and honourable among the Angels are called "the
Jinn," because they are _veiled_ from the eyes of the other Angels on
account of their superiority; and that Iblees was one of these Jinn. He
adds that he had the government of the lowest heaven and of the earth,
and was called the Ṭáoos (literally, Peacock) of the Angels; and that
there was not a spot in the lowest heaven but he had prostrated himself
upon it: but when the Jinn rebelled upon the earth, God sent a troop of
Angels who drove them to the islands and mountains; and Iblees being
elated with pride, and refusing to prostrate himself before Adam, God
transformed him into a Sheyṭán. But this reasoning is opposed by
other verses, in which Iblees is represented as saying, "Thou hast
created _me_ of _fire_, and hast created _him_ [Adam] of earth."[32] It
is therefore argued, "If he were created originally of fire, how was he
created of light? for the Angels were [all] created of light."[33] The
former verse may be explained by the tradition that Iblees, having been
taken captive, was exalted among the Angels; or perhaps there is an
ellipsis after the word "Angels;" for it might be inferred that the
command given to the Angels was also (and _à fortiori_) to be obeyed by
the Jinn.

According to a tradition, Iblees and all the Sheyṭáns are
distinguished from the other Jinn by a longer existence. "The
Sheyṭáns," it is added, "are the children of Iblees, and die not but
with him, whereas the [other] Jinn die before him;"[34] though they may
live many centuries. But this is not altogether accordant with the
popular belief: Iblees and many other evil Jinn are to survive mankind,
but they are to die before the general resurrection, as also even the
Angels, the last of whom will be the Angel of Death, ´Azraeel. Yet not
_all_ the evil Jinn are to live thus long: many of them are killed by
shooting stars, hurled at them from heaven; wherefore, the Arabs, when
they see a shooting star (shiháb), often exclaim, "May God transfix the
enemy of the faith!" Many also are killed by other Jinn, and some even
by men. The fire of which the Jinnee is created circulates in his veins,
in place of blood: therefore, when he receives a mortal wound, this
fire, issuing from his veins, generally consumes him to ashes.

The Jinn, it has been already shown, are peccable. They eat and drink,
and propagate their species, sometimes in conjunction with human beings;
in which latter case, the offspring partakes of the nature of both
parents. In all these respects they differ from the Angels. Among the
evil Jinn are distinguished the five sons of their chief, Iblees;
namely, Teer, who brings about calamities, losses and injuries;
El-Aạwar, who encourages debauchery; Sóṭ, who suggests lies;
Dásim, who causes hatred between man and wife; and Zelemboor, who
presides over places of traffic.[35]

The most common forms and habitations or places of resort of the Jinn
must now be described.

The following traditions from the Prophet are the most to the purpose
that I have seen.--The Jinn are of various shapes; having the forms of
serpents, scorpions, lions, wolves, jackals, etc.[36] The Jinn are of
three kinds: one on the land, one in the sea, and one in the air.[37]
The Jinn consist of forty troops; each troop consisting of six hundred
thousand.[38]--The Jinn are of three kinds: one have wings and fly;
another are snakes and dogs; and the third move about from place to
place like men.[39] Domestic snakes are asserted to be Jinn on the same

The Prophet ordered his followers to kill serpents and scorpions if they
intruded at prayers; but on other occasions he seems to have required
first to admonish them to depart, and then, if they remained, to kill
them. The Doctors, however, differ in opinion whether _all_ kinds of
snakes or serpents should be admonished first, or whether _any_ should;
for the Prophet, say they, took a covenant of the Jinn [probably after
the above-mentioned command], that they should not enter the houses of
the faithful: therefore, it is argued, if they enter, they break their
covenant, and it becomes lawful to kill them without previous warning.
Yet it is related that ´Aïsheh, the Prophet's wife, having killed a
serpent in her chamber, was alarmed by a dream, and fearing that it
might have been a Muslim Jinnee, as it did not enter her chamber when
she was undressed, gave in alms, as an expiation, twelve thousand
dirhems (about £300), the price of the blood of a Muslim.[40]

The Jinn were said to appear to mankind most commonly in the shapes of
serpents, dogs, cats, or human beings. In the last case, they are
sometimes of the stature of men, and sometimes of a size enormously
gigantic. If good, they are generally resplendently handsome: if evil,
horribly hideous. They become invisible at pleasure, by a rapid
extension or rarefaction of the particles which compose them, or
suddenly disappear in the earth or air or through a solid wall. Many
Muslims in the present day profess to have seen and held intercourse
with them:--witness the following anecdote, which was related to me by a
Persian with whom I was acquainted in Cairo, named Abu-l-Ḳásim, a
native of Jeelán, then superintendent of Moḥammad ´Alee's
Printing-office at Booláḳ.

One of this person's countrymen, whom he asserted to be a man of
indubitable veracity, was sitting on the roof of a house which he had
hired, overlooking the Ganges, and was passing the closing hour of the
day, according to his usual custom, in smoking his Persian pipe and
feasting his eyes by gazing at the beautiful forms of Indian maidens
bathing in the river, when he beheld among them one so lovely that his
heart was overpowered with desire to have her for his wife. At nightfall
she came to him, and told him that she had observed his emotion and
would consent to become his wife; but on the condition that he should
never admit another female to take or share her place, and that she
should only be with him in the night time. They took the marriage-vow to
each other, with none for their witness but God; and great was his
happiness, till, one evening, he saw again, among a group of girls in
the river, another who excited in him still more powerful emotions. To
his surprise, this very form stood before him at the approach of night.
He withstood the temptation, mindful of his marriage-vow; she used every
allurement, but he was resolute. His fair visitor then told him that she
was his wife; that she was a jinneeyeh; and that she would always
thenceforward visit him in the form of any females whom he might chance
to desire.

The Zóba´ah, which is a whirlwind that raises the sand or dust in the
form of a pillar of prodigious height, often seen sweeping across the
deserts and fields, is believed to be caused by the flight of an evil
Jinnee. To defend themselves from a Jinnee thus "riding in the
whirlwind," the Arabs often exclaim, "Iron! Iron!" (Ḥadeed!
Ḥadeed!), or, "Iron! thou unlucky!" (Ḥadeed! yá mashoom!) as the
Jinn are supposed to have a great dread of that metal: or they exclaim,
"God is most great!" (Alláhu akbar!).[41] A similar superstition
prevails with respect to the water-spout at sea, as may be seen in the
adventures of King Shahriyár in the introduction to the "Thousand and
One Nights."

It is believed that the chief abode of the Jinn is in the Mountains of
Ḳáf, which are supposed to encompass the whole of our earth. But they
are also believed to pervade the solid body of our earth, and the
firmament; and to choose as their principal places of resort or of
occasional abode, baths, wells, ovens, ruined houses, market-places, the
junctures of roads, the sea, and rivers. The Arabs, therefore, when they
pour water on the ground, or enter a bath, or let down a bucket into a
well, and on various other occasions, say "Permission!" or "Permission,
ye blessed!" (Destoor! or Destoor yá mubárakeen![42])The evil spirits
(or evil Jinn), it is said, had liberty to enter any of the seven
heavens till the birth of Jesus, when they were excluded from three of
them: on the birth of Moḥammad they were forbidden the other
four.[43] They continue, however, to ascend to the confines of the
lowest heaven, and there listening to the conversation of the Angels
respecting things decreed by God, obtain knowledge of futurity, which
they sometimes impart to men, who, by means of talismans, or certain
invocations, make them to serve the purposes of magical performances.
What the Prophet said of Iblees, in the following tradition, applies
also to the evil Jinn over whom he presides:--His chief abode [among
men] is the bath; his chief places of resort are the markets, and the
junctures of roads; his food is whatever is killed without the name of
God being pronounced over it; his drink, whatever is intoxicating; his
muëddin, the mizmár (a musical pipe, _i.e._ any musical instrument); his
Ḳur-án, poetry; his written character, the marks made in
geomancy;[44] his speech, falsehood; his snares, women.[45]

That particular Jinn presided over particular places was an opinion of
the early Arabs. It is said in the Ḳur-án, "And there were certain
men who sought refuge with certain of the Jinn."[46] In the Commentary
of the Jeláleyn, I find the following remark on these words:--"When they
halted on their journey in a place of fear, each man said, 'I seek
refuge with the lord of this place, from the mischief of his foolish
ones!'" In illustration of this, I may insert the following tradition,
translated from El-Ḳazweenee:--"It is related by a certain narrator
of traditions, that he descended into a valley with his sheep, and a
wolf carried off a ewe from among them; and he arose, and raised his
voice, and cried, 'O inhabitant of the valley!' whereupon he heard a
voice saying, 'O wolf, restore to him his sheep!' and the wolf came with
the ewe, and left her and departed." The same opinion is held by the
modern Arabs, though probably they do not use such an invocation. A
similar superstition, a relic of ancient Egyptian credulity, still
prevails among the people of Cairo. It is believed that each quarter of
this city has its peculiar guardian-genius, or Agathodaemon, which has
the form of a serpent.[47]

It has already been mentioned that some of the Jinn are Muslims, and
others infidels. The good Jinn acquit themselves of the imperative
duties of religion, namely, prayers, alms-giving, fasting during the
month of Ramaḍán, and pilgrimage to Mekkeh and Mount ´Arafát; but in
the performance of these duties they are generally invisible to human

It has been stated, that, by means of talismans, or certain invocations,
men are said to obtain the services of Jinn; and the manner in which the
latter are enabled to assist magicians, by imparting to them the
knowledge of future events, has been explained above. No man ever
obtained such absolute power over the Jinn as Suleymán Ibn Dáood
(Solomon, the son of David).

This he did by virtue of a most wonderful talisman, which is said to
have come down to him from heaven. It was a seal-ring, upon which was
engraved "the most great name" of God, and was partly composed of brass
and partly of iron. With the brass he stamped his written commands to
the good Jinn; with the iron (for the reason before mentioned, p. 36),
those to the evil Jinn or Devils. Over both orders he had unlimited
power; as well as over the birds and the winds,[49] and, as is generally
said, over the wild beasts. His Wezeer, Áṣaf the son of Barkhiyà, is
also said to have been acquainted with "the most great name," by
uttering which, the greatest miracles may be performed,--even that of
raising the dead. By virtue of this name engraved on his ring, Suleymán
compelled the Jinn to assist in building the Temple of Jerusalem, and in
various other works. Many of the evil Jinn he converted to the true
faith, and many others of this class, who remained obstinate in
infidelity, he confined in prisons. He is said to have been monarch of
the whole earth. Hence, perhaps, the name of Suleymán is given to the
universal monarchs of the preadamite Jinn; unless the story of his own
universal dominion originated from confounding him with those kings.

The injuries related to have been inflicted upon human beings by evil
Jinn are of various kinds. Jinn are said to have often carried off
beautiful women, whom they have forcibly kept as their wives or
concubines. Malicious or disturbed Jinn are asserted often to station
themselves on the roofs or at the windows of houses, and to throw down
bricks and stones on persons passing by. When they take possession of an
uninhabited house, they seldom fail to persecute terribly any person who
goes to reside in it. They are also very apt to pilfer provisions, etc.
Many learned and devout persons, to secure their property from such
depredations, repeat the words "In the name of God, the Compassionate,
the Merciful!" on locking the doors of their houses, rooms, or closets,
and on covering the bread-basket, or anything containing food.[50]
During the month of Ramaḍán, the evil Jinn are believed to be
confined in prison; and therefore, on the last night of that month, with
the same view, women sometimes repeat the words above mentioned, and
sprinkle salt upon the floors of the apartments of their houses.[51]

To complete this sketch of Arabian demonology, an account must be added
of several creatures generally believed to be of inferior orders of the

One of these is the Ghool, which is commonly regarded as a kind of
Sheyṭán or evil Jinnee, that eats men; and is also described by some
as a Jinnee or an enchanter who assumes various forms. The Ghools are
said to appear in the forms of human beings, and of various animals, and
in many monstrous shapes; to haunt burial-grounds and other sequestered
spots; to feed upon dead human bodies; and to kill and devour any human
creature who has the misfortune to fall in their way: whence the term
"Ghool" is applied to any cannibal. An opinion quoted by a celebrated
author respecting the Ghool is that it is a demoniacal animal, which
passes a solitary existence in the deserts, resembling both man and
brute; that it appears to a person travelling alone in the night and in
solitary places, and being supposed by him to be itself a traveller,
lures him out of his way.[52]

Another opinion stated by him is this: that when the Sheyṭáns attempt
to hear words by stealth [from the confines of the lowest heaven] they
are struck by shooting-stars; and some are burnt; some, falling into a
sea, or rather a large river (baḥr), are converted into crocodiles;
and some, falling upon the land, become Ghools. The same author adds the
following tradition:--"The Ghool is any Jinnee that is opposed to
travels, assuming various forms and appearances;"[53] and affirms that
several of the Companions of the Prophet saw Ghools in their travels,
and that ´Omar, among them, saw a Ghool while on a journey to Syria,
before El-Islám, and struck it with his sword. It appears that "Ghool"
is, properly speaking, a name only given to a _female_ demon of the kind
above described: the male is called "Ḳuṭrub." It is said that
these beings, and the Ghaddár or Gharrár, and other similar creatures
which will presently be mentioned, are the offspring of Iblees and of a
wife whom God created for him of the fire of the samoom (which here
signifies, as in an instance before mentioned, "a smokeless fire"); and
that they sprang from an egg.[54] The female Ghool, it is added, appears
to men in the deserts, in various forms, converses with them, and
sometimes yields herself to them.

The Seạláh, or Saạláh, is another demoniacal creature, described
by most authors as of the Jinn. It is said that it is mostly found in
forests; and that when it captures a man, it makes him dance, and plays
with him as the cat plays with the mouse. A man of Iṣfahán asserted
that many beings of this kind abounded in his country; that sometimes
the wolf would hunt one of them by night, and devour it, and that, when
it had seized it, the Seạláh would cry out, "Come to my help, for the
wolf devoureth me!" or it would cry, "Who will liberate me? I have a
hundred deenárs, and he shall receive them!" but the people knowing that
it was the cry of the Seạláh, no one would liberate it; and so the
wolf would eat it.[55]--An island in the sea of Eṣ-Ṣeen (China) is
called "the Island of the Seạláh," by Arab geographers, from its
being said to be inhabited by the demons so named: they are described as
creatures of hideous forms, supposed to be Sheyṭans, the offspring of
human beings and Jinn, who eat men.[56]

The Ghaddár, or Gharrár,[57] is another creature of a similar nature,
described as being found in the borders of El-Yemen, and sometimes in
Tihámeh, and in the upper parts of Egypt. It is said that it entices a
man to it, and either tortures him in a manner not to be described, or
merely terrifies him, and leaves him.[58]

The Delhán is also a demoniacal being, inhabiting the islands of the
seas, having the form of a man, and riding on an ostrich. It eats the
flesh of men whom the sea casts on the shore from wrecks. Some say that
a Delhán once attacked a ship in the sea, and desired to take the crew;
but they contended with it; whereupon it uttered a cry which caused them
to fall upon their faces, and it took them.[59]

The Shiḳḳ is another demoniacal creature, having the form of half
a human being (like a man divided longitudinally); and it is believed
that the Nesnás is the offspring of a Shiḳḳ and of a human being.
The former appears to travellers; and it was a demon of this kind who
killed, and was killed by, ´Alḳamah, the son of Ṣafwán, the son of
Umeiyeh; of whom it is well known that he was killed by a Jinnee. So
says El-Ḳazweenee.

The Nesnás (above mentioned) is described as resembling half a human
being; having half a head, half a body, one arm, and one leg, with which
it hops with much agility; as being found in the woods of El-Yemen, and
being endowed with speech: "but God," it is added, "is all-knowing."[60]
It is said that it is found in Ḥaḍramót as well as El-Yemen; and
that one was brought alive to El-Mutawekkil: it resembled a man in form,
excepting that it had but half a face, which was in its breast, and a
tail like that of a sheep. The people of Ḥaḍramót, it is added,
eat it; and its flesh is sweet. It is only generated in their country. A
man who went there asserted that he saw a captured Nesnás, which cried
out for mercy, conjuring him by God and by himself.[61] A race of people
whose head is in the breast, is described as inhabiting an island called
Jábeh (supposed to be Java), in the Sea of El-Hind (India).[62] A kind
of Nesnás is also described as inhabiting the Island of Ráïj, in the Sea
of Eṣ-Ṣeen (China), and having wings like those of the bat.[63]

The Hátif is a being that is heard, but not seen; and is often
mentioned by Arab writers. It is generally the communicator of some
intelligence in the way of advice, or direction, or warning.

Here terminating this chapter, I must beg the reader to remark that the
superstitious fancies which it describes are prevalent among all classes
of the Arabs, and the Muslims in general, learned as well as vulgar.


[18] Mir-át ez-Zemán (MS. in my possession)--a great history whose
author lived in the thirteenth century of our era. See also Ḳur. v.

[19] Mir-át ez-Zemán. Ḳur. lv. 14. The word which signifies "a
smokeless fire" has been misunderstood by some as meaning "the flame of
fire:" El-Jóheree (in the Ṣiḥáḥ) renders it rightly; and says
that of this fire was _the_ Sheyṭán (Iblees) created.

[20] Ḳur. xv. 27; and Commentary of the Jeláleyn.

[21] Ḳur. xxvii. 10; and xxviii. 31; and the Jeláleyn.

[22] Ḳur. lv. 39, 74; and the Jeláleyn.

[23] ´Ikrimeh, from Ibn-´Abbás, in the Mir-át ez-Zemán.

[24] Mujáhid, from the same, ibid.

[25] Hence the appellations of "Jinn" and "Jánn."

[26] Tradition from the Prophet, in the Mir-át ez-Zemán.

[27] Ibid.

[28] The worship here spoken of is prostration, as an act of obeisance
to a superior being.

[29] Ḳur. xviii. 48.

[30] Eṭ-Ṭabaree, quoted in the Mir-át ez-Zemán.

[31] Mir-át ez-Zemán.

[32] Ḳur. vii. 11; and xxxviii. 77.

[33] Mir-át ez-Zemán.

[34] El-Ḥasan El-Baṣree, in the Mir-át ez-Zemán. My interpolation
of the word "other" is required by his opinion before stated.

[35] Mujáhid, quoted by El-Ḳazweenee.

[36] Mujáhid, from Ibn-´Abbás, in the Mir-át ez-Zemán.

[37] El-Ḥasan El-Baṣree, ibid.

[38] ´Ikrimeh, from Ibn-´Abbás, ibid.

[39] Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 314.

[39a] Ibid. ii. 311, 312.

[40] Mir-át ez-Zemán. See above, p. 18.

[41] Modern Egyptians, ch. x.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Sale, in a note on chap. xv. of the Ḳur-án.

[44] So I translate the word "khaṭṭ;" but in Es-Suyooṭee's
Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil wa-Murshid el-Mutaähhil, section 7, I find, in its
place, the word "weshm," or "tattooing;" and there are some other slight
variations and omissions in this tradition as there quoted.

[45] El-Ḳazweenee.

[46] Ḳur. lxxii. 6.

[47] Modern Egyptians, ch. x.

[48] Ibid. ch. xxiv.

[49] Ḳur. xxvii. 17; xxxviii. 35.

[50] Modern Egyptians, ch. x.

[51] Ibid.

[52] El-Ḳazweenee.

[53] El-Jáḥiz (´Amr Ibn-Baḥr).

[54] Tradition from Wahb Ibn-Munebbih, quoted in the account of the
early Arabs in the Mir-át ez-Zemán.

[55] El-Ḳazweenee.

[56] Ibn-El-Wardee [fourteenth century].

[57] Its name is written differently in two different MSS. in my

[58] El-Ḳazweenee, and Mir-át ez-Zemán.

[59] El-Ḳazweenee. In my MS. of Ibn-El-Wardee, I find the name
written "Dahlán." He mentions an island called by this name, in the Sea
of ´Omán; and describes its inhabitants as cannibal Sheyṭáns, like
men in form, and riding on birds resembling ostriches. There is also an
inferior class of the Jinn, termed El-Ghowwáṣah, that is, the Divers
or Plungers in the seas.

[60] El-Ḳazweenee, in the khátimeh [or epilogue] of his work.

[61] Mir-át ez-Zemán.

[62] Ibn-El-Wardee.

[63] Idem.



The Arabs entertain remarkable opinions with respect to the offices and
supernatural powers of their saints, which form an important part of the
mysteries of the Darweeshes (Dervishes), and are but imperfectly known
to the generality of Muslims.

Muslim Saints and devotees are known by the common appellation of
Welees, or particular favourites of God. The more eminent among them
compose a mysterious hierarchical body, whose government respects the
whole human race, infidels as well as believers, but whose power is
often exercised in such a manner that the subjects influenced by it know
not from what person or persons its effects proceed. The general
governor or coryphaeus of these holy beings is commonly called the
Ḳuṭb, which literally signifies a "pole," or an "axis," and is
metaphorically used to signify a "chief," either in a civil or
political, or in a spiritual sense. The Ḳuṭb of the saints is
distinguished by other appellations: he is called Ḳuṭb el-Ghós, or
Ḳuṭb el-Ghóth (the Ḳuṭb of Invocation for Help), etc.; and
simply, El-Ghós.[64] The orders under the rule of this chief are called
´Omud (or Owtád), Akhyár, Abdál, Nujaba, and Nuḳaba: I name them
according to their precedence.[65] Perhaps to these should be added an
inferior order called Aṣḥáb ed-Darak, _i.e._ "Watchmen," or
"Overseers." The members are not known as such to their inferior
unenlightened fellow-creatures, and are often invisible to them. This is
more frequently the case with the Ḳuṭb, who, though generally
stationed at Mekkeh, on the roof of the Kaạbeh, is never visible
there, nor at any of his other favourite stations or places of resort;
yet his voice is often heard at these places. Whenever he and the saints
under his authority mingle among ordinary men, they are not
distinguished by a dignified appearance, but are always humbly clad.
These, and even inferior saints, are said to perform astonishing
miracles, such as flying in the air, passing unhurt through fire,
swallowing fire, glass, etc., walking upon water, transporting
themselves in a moment of time to immense distances, and supplying
themselves and others with food in desert places. Their supernatural
power they are supposed to obtain by a life of the most exalted piety,
and especially by constant self-denial, accompanied with the most
implicit reliance upon God, by the services of good genii, and, as many
believe, by the knowledge and utterance of "the most great name" of God.
A miracle performed by a saint is distinguished by the term "karámeh"
from one performed by a prophet, which is called "moạjizeh."

El-Khiḍr and Ilyás (Elias), are both believed to have been
Ḳuṭbs, and the latter is called in the Ḳur-án an apostle; but
it is disputed whether the former was a prophet or merely a welee. Both
are said to have drunk of the Fountain of Life, and to be in consequence
still living; and Ilyás is commonly believed to invest the successive
Ḳuṭbs. The similarity of the miracles ascribed to the Ḳuṭbs
to those performed by Elias or Elijah, I have remarked in a former
work.[66] Another miracle, reminding us of the mantle of Elijah in the
hands of his successor, may here be mentioned.--A saint who was the
Ḳuṭb of his time, dying at Tunis, left his clothes in trust to his
attendant, Moḥammad El-Ashwam, a native of the neighbouring regency
of Tripoli, who desired to sell these relics, but was counselled to
retain them, and accordingly, though high prices were bidden for them,
made them his own by purchase. As soon as they became his property, he
was affected, we are told, with a divine ecstasy, and endowed with
miraculous powers.[67]

Innumerable miracles are related to have been performed by Muslim
saints, and large volumes are filled with the histories of their
wonderful lives. The author of the work from which the above story is
taken, mentions, as a fact to be relied on, in an account of one of his
ancestors, that, his lamp happening to go out one night while he was
reading alone in the riwáḳ of the Jabart (of which he was the
sheykh), in the great mosque El-Azhar, the forefinger of his right hand
emitted a light which enabled him to continue his reading until his
naḳeeb had trimmed and lighted another lamp.[68]

From many stories of a similar kind that I have read, I select the
following as a fair specimen: it is related by a very celebrated saint,
Ibráheem El-Khowwáṣ.--"I entered the desert [on pilgrimage to Mekkeh
from El-´Iráḳ], and there joined me a man having a belt round his
waist, and I said, 'Who art thou?'--He answered, 'A Christian; and I
desire thy company.' We walked together for seven days, eating nothing;
after which he said to me, 'O monk of the Muslims, produce what thou
hast in the way of refreshment, for we are hungry:' so I said, 'O my
God, disgrace me not before this infidel:' and lo, a tray, upon which
were bread and broiled meat and fresh dates and a mug of water. We ate,
and continued our journey seven days more; and I then said to him, 'O
monk of the Christians, produce what thou hast in the way of
refreshment; for the turn is come to thee:' whereupon he leaned upon his
staff, and prayed; and lo, two trays, containing double that which was
on my tray. I was confounded, and refused to eat: he urged me, saying,
'Eat;' but I did it not. Then said he, 'Be glad; for I give thee two
pieces of good news: one of them is that I testify that there is no
deity but God and that Moḥammad is God's Apostle: the other, that I
said, O God, if there be worth in this servant, supply me with two
trays:--so this is through thy blessing.' We ate, and the man put on the
dress of pilgrimage, and so entered Mekkeh, where he remained with me a
year as a student; after which he died, and I buried him in [the
cemetery] El-Maạlà." "And God," says the author from whom I take this
story, "is all-knowing:" _i.e._ He alone knoweth whether it be strictly
true: but this is often added to the narration of traditions resting
upon high authority.[69]

The saint above mentioned was called "El-Khowwáṣ" (or the maker of
palm-leaf baskets, etc.) from the following circumstance, related by
himself.--"I used," said he, "to go out of the town [Er-Rei] and sit by
a river on the banks of which was abundance of palm-leaves; and it
occurred to my mind to make every day five baskets [ḳuffehs], and to
throw them into the river, for my amusement, as if I were obliged to do
so. My time was so passed for many days: at length, one day, I thought I
would walk after the baskets, and see whither they had gone: so I
proceeded awhile along the bank of the river, and found an old woman
sitting sorrowful. On that day I had made nothing. I said to her,
'Wherefore do I see thee sorrowful?' She answered, 'I am a widow: my
husband died leaving five daughters, and nothing to maintain them; and
it is my custom to repair every day to this river, and there come to me,
upon the surface of the water, five baskets, which I sell, and by means
of them I procure food; but to-day they have not come, and I know not
what to do.' Upon hearing this, I raised my head towards heaven, and
said, 'O my God, had I known that I had more than five children to
maintain, I had laboured more diligently.'" He then took the old woman
to his house, and gave her money and flour, and said to her, "Whenever
thou wantest anything, come hither and take what may suffice thee."[70]

An irresistible influence has often been exercised over the minds of
princes and other great men by reputed saints. Many a Muslim Monarch has
thus been incited (as the Kings of Christendom were by Peter the Hermit)
to undertake religious wars, or urged to acts of piety and charity, or
restrained from tyranny, by threats of Divine vengeance to be called
down upon his head by the imprecations of a welee. ´Alee, the favourite
son of the Khaleefeh El-Ma-moon, was induced for the sake of religion to
flee from the splendour and luxuries of his father's court, and after
the example of a self-denying devotee to follow the occupation of a
porter in a state of the most abject poverty at El-Baṣrah, fasting
all the day, remaining without sleep at night in a mosque, and walking
barefooted, until, under an accumulation of severe sufferings, he
prematurely ended his days, dying on a mat. The honours which he refused
to receive in life were paid to him after his death: his rank being
discovered by a ring and paper which he left, his corpse was anointed
with camphor and musk and aloes, wrapped in fine linen of Egypt, and so
conveyed to his distressed father at Baghdád.[71]

Self-denial I have before mentioned as one of the most important means
by which to attain the dignity of a welee. A very famous saint,
Esh-Shiblee, is said to have received from his father an inheritance of
sixty millions of deenárs (a sum incredible, and probably a mistake for
sixty thousand, or for sixty million dirhems) besides landed property,
and to have expended it all in charity: also, to have thrown into the
Tigris seventy hundred-weight of books, written by his own hand during a
period of twenty years.[72]

Sháh El-Karmánee, another celebrated saint, had a beautiful daughter,
whom the Sulṭán of his country sought in marriage. The holy man
required three days to consider his sovereign's proposal, and in the
mean time visited several mosques, in one of which he saw a young man
humbly occupied in prayer. Having waited till he had finished, he
accosted him, saying, "My son, hast thou a wife?" Being answered "No,"
he said, "I have a maiden, a virtuous devotee, who hath learned the
whole of the Ḳur-án, and is amply endowed with beauty. Dost thou
desire her?"--"Who," said the young man, "will marry me to such a one as
thou hast described, when I possess no more than three dirhems?"--"_I_
will marry thee to her," answered the saint: "she is my daughter, and I
am Sháh the son of Shujáạ El-Karmánee: give me the dirhems that thou
hast, that I may buy a dirhem's worth of bread, and a dirhem's worth of
something savoury, and a dirhem's worth of perfume." The
marriage-contract was performed; but when the bride came to the young
man, she saw a stale cake of bread placed upon the top of his mug; upon
which she put on her izár, and went out. Her husband said, "Now I
perceive that the daughter of Sháh El-Karmánee is displeased with my
poverty." She answered, "I did not withdraw from fear of poverty, but on
account of the weakness of thy faith, seeing how thou layest by a cake
of bread for the morrow."[73]

One of my friends in Cairo, Abu-l-Ḳásim of Jeelán, entertained me
with a long relation of the mortifications and other means which he
employed to attain the rank of a welee. These were chiefly self-denial
and a perfect reliance upon Providence. He left his home in a state of
voluntary destitution and complete nudity, to travel through Persia and
the surrounding countries and yet more distant regions if necessary, in
search of a spiritual guide. For many days he avoided the habitations of
men, fasting from daybreak till sunset, and then eating nothing but a
little grass or a few leaves or wild fruits, till by degrees he
habituated himself to almost total abstinence from every kind of
nourishment. His feet, at first blistered and cut by sharp stones, soon
became callous; and in proportion to his reduction of food, his frame,
contrary to the common course of nature, became (according to his own
account) more stout and lusty. Bronzed by the sun, and with his black
hair hanging over his shoulders (for he had abjured the use of the
razor), he presented in his nudity a wild and frightful appearance, and
on his first approaching a town, was surrounded and pelted by a crowd of
boys; he therefore retreated, and, after the example of our first
parents, made himself a partial covering of leaves; and this he always
afterwards did on similar occasions, never remaining long enough in a
town for his leafy apron to wither. The abodes of mankind he always
passed at a distance, excepting when several days' fast, while
traversing an arid desert, compelled him to obtain a morsel of bread or
a cup of water from the hand of some charitable fellow-creature.

One thing that he particularly dreaded was to receive relief from a
sinful man, or from a demon in the human form. In passing over a parched
and desolate tract, where for three days he had found nothing to eat,
not even a blade of grass, nor a spring from which to refresh his
tongue, he became overpowered with thirst, and prayed that God would
send him a messenger with a pitcher of water. "But," said he, "let the
water be in a green Baghdádee pitcher, that I may know it to be from
Thee, and not from the Devil; and when I ask the bearer to give me to
drink, let him pour it over my head, that I may not too much gratify my
carnal desire."--"I looked behind me," he continued, "and saw a man
bearing a green Baghdádee pitcher of water, and said to him, 'Give me to
drink;' and he came up to me, and poured the contents over my head, and
departed! By Allah it was so!"

Rejoicing in this miracle, as a proof of his having attained to a degree
of wiláyeh (or saintship), and refreshed by the water, he continued his
way over the desert, more firm than ever in his course of self-denial,
which, though imperfectly followed, had been the means of his being thus
distinguished. But the burning thirst returned shortly after, and he
felt himself at the point of sinking under it, when he beheld before him
a high hill, with a rivulet running by its base. To the summit of this
hill he determined to ascend, by way of mortification, before he would
taste the water, and this point, with much difficulty, he reached at the
close of day. Here standing, he saw approaching, below, a troop of
horsemen, who paused at the foot of the hill, when their chief, who was
foremost, called out to him by name, "O Abu-l-Ḳásim! O Jeelánee! Come
down and drink!"--but persuaded by this that he was Iblees with a troop
of his sons, the evil Genii, he withstood the temptation, and remained
stationary until the deceiver with his attendants had passed on and were
out of sight. The sun had then set; his thirst had somewhat abated; and
he only drank a few drops.

Continuing his wanderings in the desert, he found upon a pebbly plain an
old man with a long white beard, who accosted him, asking of what he was
in search. "I am seeking," he answered, "a spiritual guide; and my heart
tells me that thou art the guide I seek." "My son," said the old man,
"thou seest yonder a saint's tomb; it is a place where prayer is
answered; go thither, enter it, and seat thyself: neither eat nor drink
nor sleep; but occupy thyself solely, day and night, in repeating
silently, 'Lá iláha illa-lláh' (There is no deity but God); and let not
any living creature see thy lips move in doing so; for among the
peculiar virtues of these words is this, that they may be uttered
without any motion of the lips. Go, and peace be on thee!"

"Accordingly," said my friend, "I went thither. It was a small square
building, crowned by a cupola; and the door was open. I entered, and
seated myself, facing the niche and the oblong monument over the grave.
It was evening, and I commenced my silent professions of the unity, as
directed by my guide; and at dusk I saw a white figure seated beside me,
as if assisting in my devotional task. I stretched forth my hand to
touch it; but found that it was not a material substance; yet there it
was: I saw it distinctly. Encouraged by this vision, I continued my task
for three nights and days without intermission, neither eating nor
drinking, yet increasing in strength both of body and of spirit; and on
the third day, I saw written upon the whitewashed walls of the tomb, and
on the ground, and in the air, wherever I turned my eyes, 'Lá iláha
illa-lláh;' and whenever a fly entered the tomb, it formed these words
in its flight. By Allah it was so! My object was now fully attained: I
felt myself endowed with supernatural knowledge: thoughts of my friends
and acquaintances troubled me not; but I knew where each one of them
was, in Persia, India, Arabia, and Turkey, and what each was doing. I
experienced an indescribable happiness. This state lasted several years;
but at length I was insensibly enticed back to worldly objects: I came
to this country; my fame as a calligraphist drew me into the service of
the government; and now see what I am, decked with pelisses and shawls,
and with this thing [a diamond order] on my breast; too old, I fear, to
undergo again the self-denial necessary to restore me to true happiness,
though I have almost resolved to make the attempt."

Soon after this conversation, he was deprived of his office, and died of
the plague. He was well known to have passed several years as a
wandering devotee; and his sufferings, combined with enthusiasm,
perhaps disordered his imagination, and made him believe that he really
saw the strange sights which he described to me; for there was an
appearance of earnestness and sincerity in his manner, such as I thought
could hardly be assumed by a conscious impostor.

Insanity, however, if not of a very violent and dangerous nature, is
commonly regarded by Muslims as a quality that entitles the subject of
it to be esteemed as a saint; being supposed to be the abstraction of
the mind from worldly affairs, and its total devotion to God. This
popular superstition is a fertile source of imposture; for, a reputation
for sanctity being so easily obtained and supported, there are numbers
of persons who lay claim to it from motives of indolence and
licentiousness, eager to receive alms merely for performing the tricks
of madmen, and greedy of indulging in pleasures forbidden by the law;
such indulgences not being considered in their case as transgressions by
the common people, but rather as indications of holy frenzy. From my own
observation I should say that lunatics or idiots, or impostors,
constitute the majority of the persons reputed to be saints among the
Muslims of the present day; and most of those who are not more than
slightly tinged with insanity are darweeshes.

A reputed saint of this description in Cairo, in whom persons of some
education put great faith, affected to have a particular regard for me.
He several times accosted me in an abrupt manner, acquainted me with
the state of my family in England, and uttered incoherent predictions
respecting me, all of which communications, excepting one which he
qualified with an "in sháa-lláh" (or "if it be the will of God"), I must
confess, proved to be true; but I must also state that he was acquainted
with two of my friends who might have materially assisted him to frame
these predictions, though they protested to me that they had not done
so. The following extract from a journal which I kept in Cairo during my
last visit to Egypt, will convey some idea of this person, who will
serve as a picture of many of his fraternity.--To-day (Nov. 6th, 1834),
as I was sitting in the shop of the Pásha's booksellers, a reputed
saint, whom I have often seen here, came and seated himself by me, and
began, in a series of abrupt sentences, to relate to me various matters
respecting me, past, present, and to come. He is called the sheykh ´Alee
el-Leythee. He is a poor man, supported by alms; tall and thin and very
dark, about thirty years of age, and wears nothing at present but a blue
shirt and a girdle and a padded red cap. "O Efendee," he said, "thou
hast been very anxious for some days. There is a grain of anxiety
remaining in thee yet. Do not fear. There is a letter coming to thee by
sea, that will bring thee good news." He then proceeded to tell me of
the state of my family, and that all were well excepting one, whom he
particularized by description, and who he stated to be then suffering
from an intermittent fever. [This proved to be exactly true.] "This
affliction," he continued, "may be removed by prayer; and the
excellences of the next night, the night of [_i.e._ preceding] the first
Friday of the month of Rejeb, of Rejeb, the holy Rejeb, are very great.
I wanted to ask thee for something to-day; but I feared, I feared
greatly. Thou must be invested with the wiláyeh [_i.e._ be made a
welee]: the welees love thee, and the Prophet loves thee. Thou must go
to the sheykh Muṣṭafà El-Munádee and the sheykh El-Baháee.[74]
Thou must be a welee." He then took my right hand, in the manner
commonly practised in the ceremony which admits a person a darweesh, and
repeated the Fátiḥah; after which he added, "I have admitted thee my
darweesh." Having next told me of several circumstances relating to my
family--matters of an unusual nature--with singular minuteness and
truth, he added, "To-night, if it be the will of God, thou shalt see the
Prophet in thy sleep, and El-Khiḍr and the Seyyid El-Bedawee. This is
Rejeb, and I wanted to ask thee--but I feared--I wanted to ask of thee
four piasters, to buy meat and bread and oil and radishes. Rejeb! Rejeb!
I have great offices to do for thee to-night."

Less than a shilling for all he promised was little enough: I gave it
him for the trouble he had taken; and he uttered many abrupt prayers for
me. In the following night, however, I saw in my sleep neither
Moḥammad, nor El-Khiḍr, nor the Seyyid El-Bedawee, unless, like
Nebuchadnezzar, I was unable on awaking to remember my dreams.

Some reputed saints of the more respectable class, to avoid public
notice, wear the general dress and manners of their fellow-countrymen,
and betray no love of ostentation in their acts of piety and
self-denial; or live as hermits in desert places, depending solely upon
Providence for their support, and are objects of pious and charitable
visits from the inhabitants of near and distant places, and from casual
travellers. Others distinguish themselves by the habit of a darweesh, or
by other peculiarities, such as a long and loose coat (called dilḳ)
composed of patches of cloth of various colours, long strings of beads
hung upon the neck, a ragged turban, and a staff with shreds of cloth of
different colours attached to the top; or obtain a reputation for
miraculous powers by eating glass, fire, serpents, etc. Some of those
who are insane, and of those who feign to be so, go about, even in
crowded cities, in a state of perfect nudity, and are allowed to commit
with impunity acts of brutal sensuality which the law, when appealed to,
should punish with death. Such practices are forbidden by the religion
and law even in the cases of saints; but common and deeply-rooted
superstition prevents their punishment.

During the occupation of Egypt by the French, the Commander-in-chief,
Menou, applied to the sheykhs (or ´Ulamà) of the city for their opinion
"respecting those persons who were accustomed to go about in the streets
in a state of nudity, crying out and screaming, and arrogating to
themselves the dignity of wiláyeh, relied upon as saints by the
generality of the people, neither performing the prayers of the Muslims
nor fasting," asking whether such conduct was permitted by the religion,
or contrary to the law. He was answered, "Conduct of this description is
forbidden, and repugnant to our religion and law and to our traditions."
The French General thanked them for this answer, and gave orders to
prevent such practices in future, and to seize every one seen thus
offending; if insane, to confine him in the Máristán (or hospital and
lunatic asylum); and if not insane, to compel him either to relinquish
his disgusting habits, or to leave the city.[75]

Of reputed saints of this kind, thus writes an enlightened poet,
El-Bedree El-Ḥijázee:--

    "Would that I had not lived to see every fool esteemed among men
        as a Ḳuṭb!
    Their learned men take him as a patron, nay, even as Lord, in
        place of the Possessor of Heaven's throne.
    Forgetting God, they say, 'Such a one from all mankind can
        remove affliction.'
    When he dies, they make for him a place of visitation, and strangers
        and Arabs hurry thither in crowds:
    Some of them kiss his tomb, and some kiss the threshold of the
        door, and the very dust.
    Thus do the idolaters act towards their images, hoping so to obtain
        their favour."

These lines are quoted by El-Jabartee, in his account of a very
celebrated modern saint, the seyyid ´Alee El-Bekree (events of Rabeeạ
eth-Thánee, 1214). A brief history of this person will not be here
misplaced, as it will present a good illustration of the general
character and actions of those insane individuals who are commonly
regarded as saints.

The seyyid ´Alee El-Bekree was a mejzoob (or insane person) who was
considered an eminent welee, and much trusted in: for several years he
used to walk naked about the streets of Cairo, with a shaven face,
bearing a long nebboot (or staff), and uttering confused language, which
the people attentively listened to, and interpreted according to their
desires and the exigencies of their states. He was a tall, spare man,
and sometimes wore a shirt and a cotton skull-cap; but he was generally
barefooted and naked. The respect with which he was treated induced a
woman, who was called the sheykhah Ammooneh, to imitate his example
further than decency allowed: she followed him whithersoever he went,
covered at first with her izár (or large cotton veil thrown over the
head and body), and muttering, like him, confused language. Entering
private houses with him, she used to ascend to the ḥareems, and
gained the faith of the women, who presented her with money and clothes,
and spread abroad that the sheykh ´Alee had looked upon her, and
affected her with religious frenzy, so that she had become a weleeyeh,
or female saint. Afterwards, becoming more insane and intoxicated, she
uncovered her face, and put on the clothing of a man; and thus attired
she still accompanied the sheykh, and the two wandered about, followed
by numbers of children and common vagabonds; some of whom also stripped
off their clothes in imitation of the sheykh, and followed, dancing;
their mad actions being attributed (like those of the woman) to
religious frenzy, induced by his look or touch, which converted them
into saints. The vulgar and young, who daily followed them, consequently
increased in numbers; and some of them, in passing through the
market-streets, snatched away goods from the shops, thus exciting great
commotion wherever they went. When the sheykh sat down in any place, the
crowd stopped, and the people pressed to see him and his mad companions.
On these occasions the woman used to mount upon the maṣṭabah of a
shop, or ascend a hillock, and utter disgusting language, sometimes in
Arabic, and sometimes in Turkish, while many persons among her audience
would kiss her hands to derive a blessing. After having persevered for
some time in this course, none preventing them, the party entered one
day the lane leading from the principal street of the city to the house
of the Ḳáḍee, and were seized by a Turkish officer there residing,
named Jaạfar Káshif, who, having brought them into his house, gave
the sheykh some food, and drove out the spectators, retaining the woman
and the mejzoobs, whom he placed in confinement. He then liberated the
sheykh ´Alee, brought out the woman and the mejzoobs and beat them, sent
the woman to the Máristán and there confined her, and set at large the
rest, after they had prayed for mercy and clothed themselves and
recovered from their intoxication. The woman remained awhile confined in
the Máristán, and when liberated lived alone as a sheykhah, believed in
by men and women, and honoured as a saint with visits and festivals.

The seyyid ´Alee, after he had thus been deprived of his companions and
imitators, was constrained to lead a different kind of life. He had a
cunning brother, who, to turn the folly of this saint to a good account,
and fill his own purse, (seeing how great faith the people placed in
him, as the Egyptians are prone to do in such a case), confined him in
his house, and clothed him, asserting that he had his permission to do
so, and that he had been invested with the dignity of Ḳuṭb. Thus
he contrived to attract crowds of persons, men and women, to visit him.
He forbade him to shave his beard, which consequently grew to its full
size; and his body became fat and stout from abundance of food and rest;
for, while he went about naked, he was, as before mentioned, of a lean
figure. During that period he used generally to pass the night wandering
without food through the streets in winter and summer. Having now
servants to wait upon him, whether sleeping or waking, he passed his
time in idleness, uttering confused and incoherent words, and sometimes
laughing and sometimes scolding; and in the course of his idle loquacity
he could not but let fall some words applicable to the affairs of some
of his listening visitors, who attributed such expressions to his
supernatural knowledge of the thoughts of their hearts, and interpreted
them as warnings or prophecies. Men and women, and particularly the
wives of the grandees, flocked to him with presents and votive
offerings, which enriched the coffers of his brother; and the honours
which he received ceased not with his death. His funeral was attended by
multitudes from every quarter. His brother buried him in the mosque of
Esh-Sharáïbee, in the quarter of the Ezbekeeyeh, made for him a
maḳṣoorah (or railed enclosure) and an oblong monument over the
grave, and frequently repaired thither with readers of the Ḳur-án,
munshids to sing odes in his honour, flag-bearers, and other persons,
who wailed and screamed, rubbed their faces against the bars of the
window before his grave, and caught the air of the place in their hands
to thrust it into their bosoms and pockets. Men and women came crowding
together to visit his tomb, bringing votive offerings and wax candles
and eatables of various kinds to distribute for his sake to the
poor.[76] The oblong monument over his grave, resembling a large chest,
was covered, when I was in Cairo, with a black stuff ornamented by a
line of words from the Ḳur-án, in white characters, surrounding it. A
servant who accompanied me during my rides and walks used often to stop
as we passed this tomb, and touch the wooden bars of the window above
mentioned with his right hand, which he then kissed to obtain a

In most cases greater honour is paid to a reputed saint after his death,
than he receives in his life. A small, square, whitewashed building,
crowned with a dome, is generally erected as his tomb, surrounding an
oblong monument of stone, brick, or wood, which is immediately over the
sepulchral vault. At least one such building forms a conspicuous object
close by, or within, almost every Arab village; for the different
villages, and different quarters of every town and city, have their
respective patron saints, whose tombs are frequently visited, and are
the scenes of periodical festivals, generally celebrated once in every
year. The tombs of many very eminent saints are mosques; and some of
these are large and handsome edifices, the monument being under a large
and lofty dome and surrounded by an enclosure of wooden railings, or of
elegantly worked bronze. In these buildings also, and in some others,
the monument is covered with silk or cotton stuff ornamented with words
from the Ḳur-án, which form a band around it. Many buildings of the
more simple kind erected in honour of saints, and some of the larger
description, are mere cenotaphs, or cover only some relic of the person
to whom they are dedicated. The tombs and cenotaphs, or shrines of
saints, are visited by numerous persons, and on frequent occasions; most
commonly on a particular day of the week. The object of the visitor, in
general, is to perform some meritorious act, such as taking bread, or
other food, or money, for the poor, or distributing water to the
thirsty, on account of the saint, to increase his rewards in heaven, and
at the same time to draw down a blessing on himself; or to perform a
sacrifice of a sheep, goat, calf, or other animal, which he has vowed to
offer, if blessed with some specific object of desire, or to obtain
general blessings; or to implore the saint's intercession in some case
of need. The flesh of the devoted animal is given to the poor. The
visitors also often take with them palm-branches, or sprigs of myrtle,
or roses or other flowers, to lay upon the monument, as they do when
they visit the tombs of their relations. The visitor walks round the
monument, or its enclosure, from left to right, or with his left side
towards it (as the pilgrims do round the Kaạbeh), sometimes pausing
to touch its four angles or corners with his right hand, which he then
kisses; and recites the opening chapter of the Ḳur-án (the
Fátiḥah) standing before one or each of its four sides. Some visitors
repeat also the chapter of Yá-Seen (the 36th), or employ a person to
recite this, or even the whole of the Ḳur-án, for hire. The reciter
afterwards declares that he transfers the merit of this work to the soul
of the deceased saint. Any private petition the visitor offers up on his
own account, imploring a favourable answer for the sake of the saint, or
through his intercession; holding his hands before his face like an open
book, and then drawing them down his face. Many a visitor, on entering
the tomb, kisses the threshold, or touches it with his right hand, which
he then kisses; and on passing by it, persons often touch the window and
kiss the hand thus honoured.

The great periodical or annual festivals are observed with additional
ceremonies, and by crowds of visitors. These are called Moolids (more
properly Mólids), and are held on the anniversary of the birth of the
saint or in commemoration of that event. Persons are then hired to
recite the Ḳur-án in and near the tomb during the day; and others,
chiefly darweeshes, employ themselves during the night in performing
zikrs, which consist in repeating the name of God, or the profession of
his unity, etc., in chorus, accompanying the words by certain motions of
the head, hands, or whole body; munshids, at intervals, singing
religious odes or love songs during these performances, to the
accompaniment of a náy, which is a kind of flute, or the arghool, which
is a double reed-pipe. These moolids are scenes of rejoicing and of
traffic, which men and boys and girls attend to eat sweetmeats, and
drink coffee and sherbets, or to amuse themselves with swinging, or
turning on a whirligig, or witnessing the feats of conjurers, or the
performances of dancers; and to which tradesmen repair to sell or barter
their goods. The visitors to the great moolids of the Seyyid Aḥmad
El-Bedawee at Ṭanṭà in the Delta of Egypt, which are great fairs
as well as religious festivals, are almost as numerous as the pilgrims
at Mekkeh. During a moolid, the inhabitants of the houses in the
neighbourhood of the tomb hang lamps before their houses, and spend a
great part of the night listening to the story-tellers at the
coffee-shops, or attending the zikrs.

These latter performances, though so common among the Arabs, are
inconsistent with the spirit of the Mohammadan religion, and especially
with respect to music, which was not employed in religious ceremonies
until after the second century of the Flight. The Imám Aboo-Bekr
Eṭ-Ṭoosee, being asked whether it were lawful or not to be present
with people who assembled in a certain place and read a portion of the
Ḳur-án, and, after a munshid had recited some poetry, would dance and
become excited and play upon tambourines and pipes,--answered, that such
practices were vain, ignorant, and erroneous, not ordained by the
Ḳur-án or the Traditions of the Prophet, but invented by those
Israelites who worshipped the Golden Calf; that the Prophet and his
companions used to sit so quietly that a bird might alight upon the head
of any one of them and not be disturbed; that it was incumbent on the
Sulṭán and his vicegerents to prevent such persons from entering the
mosques and other places for these purposes; and that no one who
believed in God and the Last Day should be present with them or assist
them in their vain performances: such, he asserted, was the opinion of
the Imáms of the Muslims.[77] Some eminent doctors, however, have
contended for the lawfulness of these practices.

The following is an account of a Zikr I myself witnessed. The zikkeers
(or performers of the zikr), who were about thirty in number, sat
cross-legged upon matting extended close to the houses on one side of
the street, in the form of an oblong ring.[78] Within this ring, along
the middle of the matting, were placed three very large wax candles,
each about four feet high, and stuck in a low candlestick. Most of the
zikkeers were Aḥmedee darweeshes, persons of the lower orders, and
meanly dressed: many of them wore green turbans. At one end of the ring
were four munshids (or singers of religious odes), and with them was a
player on the kind of flute called náy. I procured a small seat of
palm-sticks from a coffee-shop close by, and, by means of a little
pushing and the assistance of my servant, obtained a place with the
munshids, and sat there to hear a complete act, or "mejlis," of the
zikr; which act commenced at about three o'clock, Muslim time (or three
hours after sunset), and continued two hours.

The performers began by reciting the opening chapter of the Ḳur-án,
all together, their sheykh, or chief, first exclaiming, "El-Fátiḥah!"
They then chanted the following words:--"O God, bless our lord
Moḥammad among the former generations; and bless our lord Moḥammad
among the latter generations; and bless our lord Moḥammad in every
time and period; and bless our lord Moḥammad in the highest degree,
unto the day of judgment; and bless all the prophets and apostles among
the inhabitants of the heavens and of the earth; and may God (whose
name be blessed and exalted!) be well pleased with our lords and our
masters, those persons of illustrious estimation, Aboo-Bekr and ´Omar
and ´Othmán and ´Alee, and with all the favourites of God. God is our
sufficiency; and excellent is the Guardian! There is no strength nor
power but in God, the High, the Great! O God! O our Lord! O thou liberal
of pardon! O thou most bountiful of the most bountiful! O God!
Amen!"--They were then silent for three or four minutes; and again
recited the Fátiḥah, but silently. This form of prefacing the zikr is
commonly used by almost all orders of darweeshes in Egypt.

The performers now began the zikr itself. Sitting in the manner above
described, they chanted, in slow measure, "Lá iláha illa-lláh" ("There
is no deity but God") to the following air:--

[Illustration: Lá iláha illa-lláh. Lá iláha illa-lláh. Lá iláha

bowing the head and body twice in each repetition of "Lá iláha
illa-lláh." Thus they continued about a quarter of an hour; and then,
for about the same space of time, they repeated the same words to the
same air, but in a quicker measure and with correspondingly quicker
motions. In the mean time, the munshids frequently sang to the same (or
a variation of the same) air portions of a ḳaṣeedeh or of a
muweskshaḥ;[79] an ode of a similar nature to the Song of Solomon,
generally alluding to the Prophet as the object of love and praise; and
at frequent intervals one of them sang out the word "meded," implying an
invocation for spiritual or supernatural aid.

The zikkeers, after having performed as above described, next repeated
the same words to a different air for about the same length of time;
first very slowly, then quickly. The air was as follows:--

[Illustration: Lá iláha illa-lláh. Lá iláha illa-lláh. Lá iláha

Then they repeated these words again, to the following air, in the same

[Illustration: Lá iláha illa-lláh. Lá iláha illa-lláh.]

They next rose, and, standing in the same order in which they had been
sitting, repeated the same words to another air. After which, still
standing, they repeated these words in a very deep and hoarse tone,
laying the principal emphasis upon the word "Lá" and the penultimate
syllable of the following words, and uttering apparently with a
considerable effort: the sound much resembled that which is produced by
beating the rim of a tambourine. Each zikkee turned his head alternately
to the right and left at each repetition of "Lá iláha illa-lláh." One of
them, a eunuch, at this part of the zikr, was seized with an epileptic
fit, evidently the result of a high state of religious excitement; but
nobody seemed surprised at it, for occurrences of this kind at zikrs are
not uncommon. All the performers now seemed much excited; repeating
their ejaculations with greater rapidity, violently turning their heads,
and sinking the whole body at the same time: some of them jumping. The
eunuch above mentioned was again seized with fits several times; and I
generally remarked that this happened after one of the munshids had sung
a line or two and exerted himself more than usual to excite his hearers:
the singing was, indeed, to my taste, very pleasing. The contrast
presented by the vehement and distressing exertions of the performers at
the close of the zikr, and their calm gravity and solemnity of manner at
the commencement, was particularly striking. Money was collected during
the performance for the munshids. The zikkeers receive no pay.

The most approved and common mode of entertaining guests at modern
private festivities among the Arabs is by a Khatmeh, which is the
recitation of the whole of the Ḳur-án. Three or more persons of the
inferior class of the professors of religion and law, who are called
faḳeehs (vulgarly, fiḳees) are usually hired for this purpose.
Schoolmasters, and students of the collegiate mosques who devote
themselves to religion and law, are the persons most commonly thus
employed. Their mode of recitation is a peculiar kind of chanting,
which, when well executed, I found very agreeable, at least for an hour
or so: but the guests seldom have to listen to the chanting of the whole
of the Ḳur-án: the reciters usually accomplish the greater portion of
their task, in a somewhat hurried manner, before the guests have
assembled, each of them chanting in turn a certain portion, as a
thirtieth part of the whole (called a juz), or half of one of these
sections (a ḥezb), or, more commonly, a quarter (rubạ). Afterwards
they chant more leisurely, and in a more musical manner; but still by
turns. These recitations of the whole of the Ḳur-án are performed on
various festive occasions, but are most usual after a death; the merit
of the performance being transferred to the soul of the deceased.

In the year 1834, when I was residing in Cairo, a General in the service
of Moḥammad ´Alee hired a large party of men to perform a recital of
the Ḳur-án in his house in that city, and then went up into his
ḥareem and strangled his wife, in consequence of a report which
accused her of inchastity. The religious ceremony was designed as
preparatory to this act, though the punishment of the woman was contrary
to the law, since her husband neither produced four witnesses of the
imputed crime, nor allowed her to clear herself of the charge by her own
oath. Another case of diligence in the performance of a religious duty,
accompanied by the contemplation of murder, but murder on a larger
scale, occurred in the same city shortly after. Suleymán Agha, the
Siláḥdár, being occupied in directing the building of a public
fountain as a work of charity to place to the account of a deceased
brother, desired to extend the original plan of the structure; and to do
this, it was necessary that he should purchase two houses adjoining the
plot in which the foundations had been laid: but the owners of these
houses refused to sell them, and he therefore employed a number of
workmen to undermine them by night and cause them to fall upon their
inhabitants. His scheme, however, but partially succeeded, and no lives
were sacrificed. This man was notorious for cruelty, but he was a person
of pleasing and venerable countenance and engaging manners: whenever I
chanced to meet him, I received from him a most gracious salutation. He
died before I quitted Egypt.


[64] D'Ohsson (i. 315, 316) asserts the Ḳuṭb to be the chief
minister of the Ghós; and gives an account somewhat different from that
which I offer of the orders under his authority: but perhaps the Turkish
Darweeshes differ from the Arab in their tenets on this subject.

[65] It is said that "the Nuḳaba are three hundred; the Nujaba,
seventy; the Abdál, forty; the Akhyár, seven; the ´Omud, four; the Ghós
[as before mentioned], one. The Nuḳaba reside in El-Gharb [Northern
Africa to the west of Egypt]; the Nujaba, in Egypt; the Abdál, in Syria;
the Akhyár travel about the earth; the ´Omud, in the corners of the
earth; the abode of the Ghós is at Mekkeh. In an affair of need, the
Nuḳaba implore relief for the people; then, the Nujaba; then, the
Abdál; then, the Akhyár; then, the ´Omud; and if their prayer be not
answered, the Ghós implores, and his prayer is answered."
(El-Isḥáḳee's History, preface.)--This statement, I find, rests on
the authority of a famous saint of Baghdád Aboo-Bekr El-Kettánee, who
died at Mekkeh, in the year of the Flight, 322. (Mir-át ez-Zemán, events
of that year).

[66] Modern Egyptians, ch. x.

[67] El-Jabartee's History of Modern Egypt, vol. ii., obituary of the
year 1201 (MS. in my possession).--The appellation of "the four
Ḳuṭbs" is given in Egypt to the seyyid Aḥmad Rifá´ah, the
seyyid ´Abd-El-Ḳádir El-Jeelánee, the seyyid Aḥmad El-Bedawee, and
the seyyid Ibráheem Ed-Dásooḳee, the founders of the four orders of
darweeshes most celebrated among the Arabs, called Rifá´eeyeh,
Ḳádireeyeh, Aḥmedeeyeh, and Baráhimeh.

[68] El-Jabartee's History, vol. i., obituary of the year 1188.

[69] Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of the year 291.

[70] Mir-át ez-Zemán, 1. 1.

[71] Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of the year 218.

[72] Ibid., events of the year 334.

[73] Es-Suyooṭee's Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 4.

[74] These are two very celebrated welees.

[75] El-Jabartee's History, vol. iii., events of the month of
Shaạbán, 1215 (A.D. 1800-1801).

[76] El-Jabartee's History, vol. ii., obituary of the year 1207, and
events of Rejeb, 1200; and vol. iii., events of Rabeeạ eth-Thánee,

[77] El-Isḥáḳee, reign of El-Mutawekkil. Cp. De Sacy, Chrest.
Arabe, i. 122, 123 (2nd ed.).

[78] The zikr here described was performed near the tomb of a saint, for
whose sake it was celebrated. The ceremony is often performed in a
sepulchral mosque, and often in the court, or in a chamber, of a private

[79] For an example, see Modern Egyptians, ch. xxiv.



An implicit belief in magic is entertained by almost all Muslims; and
him among them who denies its truth they regard as a freethinker or an
infidel. Some are of opinion that it ceased on the mission of
Moḥammad; but these are comparatively few. Many of the most learned
Muslims, to the present age, have deeply studied it; and a much greater
number of persons of inferior education (particularly schoolmasters)
have more or less devoted their time and talents to the pursuit of this
knowledge. Recourse is had to it for the discovery of hidden treasures,
for alchymical purposes, for the acquisition of the knowledge of
futurity, to procure offspring, to obtain the affection of a beloved
object, to effect cures, to guard against the influence of the evil eye,
to afflict or kill an enemy or a rival, and to attain various other
objects of desire.

There are two descriptions of magic: one is spiritual, and regarded by
all but freethinkers as true; the other natural, and denounced by the
more religious and enlightened as deceptive.

I. Spiritual magic, which is termed er-Rooḥánee (vulg. Rowḥánee),
chiefly depends upon the virtues of certain names of God and passages
from the Ḳur-án, and the agency of Angels and Jinn. It is of two
kinds: High and Low (´Ilwee and Suflee), or Divine and Satanic
(Raḥmánee, _i.e._ relating to "the Compassionate," and Sheyṭánee).

1. Divine magic is regarded as a sublime science, and is studied only by
good men, and practised only for good purposes. Perfection in this
branch of magic consists in the knowledge of "the most great name" of
God (el-Ism el-Aạẓam); but this knowledge is imparted to none but
the peculiar favourites of heaven. By virtue of this name, which was
engraved on his seal-ring, Suleymán (Solomon) subjected to his dominion
the Jinn and the birds and the winds. By pronouncing it, his minister
Áṣaf, also, transported in an instant to the presence of his
sovereign in Jerusalem the throne of the Queen of Sheba.[80] But this
was a small miracle to effect by such means; for by uttering this name a
man may even raise the dead. Other names of the Deity, commonly known,
are believed to have particular efficacies when uttered or written; as
also are the names of the Prophet; and Angels and good Jinn are said to
be rendered subservient to the purposes of divine magic by means of
certain invocations. Of such names and invocations, together with words
unintelligible to the uninitiated in this science, passages from the
Ḳur-án, mysterious combinations of numbers, and peculiar diagrams and
figures, are chiefly composed written charms employed for good purposes.
Enchantment, when used for benevolent purposes, is regarded by the
vulgar as a branch of lawful or divine magic; but not so by the learned:
and the same remark applies to the science of divination.

2. Satanic magic, as its name implies, is a science depending on the
agency of the Devil and the inferior evil Jinn, whose services are
obtained by means similar to those which propitiate, or render
subservient, the good Jinn. It is condemned by the Prophet and all good
Muslims, and only practised for bad purposes.

Bábil, or Babel, is regarded by the Muslims as the fountain head of the
science of magic, which was, and, as most think, still is, taught there
to mankind by two fallen angels, named Hároot and Mároot, who are there
suspended by the feet in a great pit closed by a mass of rock. According
to the account of them generally received as correct, these two angels,
in consequence of their want of compassion for the frailties of mankind,
were rendered, by God, susceptible of human passions, and sent down upon
the earth to be tempted. They both sinned, and being permitted to choose
whether they would be punished in this life or in the other, chose the
former. But they were sent down not merely to experience temptation,
being also appointed to tempt others by means of their knowledge of
magic; though it appears that they were commanded not to teach this art
to any man "until they had said, 'Verily we are a temptation; therefore
be not an unbeliever.'"[81] The celebrated traditionist, Mujáhid, is
related to have visited them under the guidance of a Jew. Having removed
the mass of rock from the mouth of the pit or well, they entered.
Mujáhid had been previously charged by the Jew not to mention the name
of God in their presence; but when he beheld them, resembling in size
two huge mountains, and suspended upside-down, with irons attached to
their necks and knees, he could not refrain from uttering the forbidden
name; whereupon the two angels became so violently agitated that they
almost broke the irons which confined them, and Mujáhid and his guide
fled back in consternation.[82]

Enchantment, which is termed es-Seḥr, is almost universally
acknowledged to be a branch of satanic magic; but some few persons
assert that it _may_ be, and by some _has_ been, studied with good
intentions, and practised by the aid of good Jinn: consequently, that
there is such a science as _good_ enchantment, which is to be regarded
as a branch of _divine_ or _lawful_ magic. The metamorphoses are said to
be generally effected by means of spells or invocations to the Jinn,
accompanied by the sprinkling of water or dust, etc., on the object to
be transformed. Persons are said to be enchanted in various ways: some,
paralyzed, or even deprived of life; others, affected with irresistible
passion for certain objects; others, again, rendered demoniacs; and
some, transformed into brutes, birds, etc. The evil eye is believed to
enchant in a very powerful and distressing manner. This was acknowledged
even by the Prophet.[83] Diseases and death are often attributed to its
influence. Amulets,[84] which are mostly written charms, of the kind
above described, are worn by many Muslims with the view of
counteracting, or preserving from, enchantment; and for the same
purpose, many ridiculous ceremonies are practised.

Divination, which is termed el-Kiháneh, is pronounced on the highest
authority to be a branch of satanic magic, though not believed to be so
by all Muslims. According to an assertion of the Prophet, what a
fortune-teller says may sometimes be true; because one of the Jinn
steals away the truth, and carries it to the magician's ear: for the
Angels come down to the region next to the earth (the lowest heaven),
and mention the works that have been pre-ordained in heaven; and the
Devils (or evil Jinn) listen to what the Angels say, and hear the orders
predestined in heaven and carry them to the fortune-tellers. It is on
such occasions that shooting-stars are hurled at the Devils.[85] It is
said that "the diviner obtains the services of the Sheyṭán by magic
arts, and by names [invoked], and by the burning of perfumes, and he
informs him of secret things: for the Devils, before the mission of the
Apostle of God," it is added, "used to ascend to heaven and hear words
by stealth."[86] That the evil Jinn are believed still to ascend
sufficiently near to the lowest heaven to hear the conversation of the
Angels, and so to assist magicians, appears from the former quotation,
and is asserted by all Muslims. The discovery of hidden treasures before
alluded to, is one of the objects for which divination is most studied.
The mode of divination called Ḍarb el-Mendel is by some supposed to
be effected by the aid of evil Jinn; but the more enlightened of the
Muslims regard it as a branch of natural magic.[87]

There are certain modes of divination which cannot properly be classed
under the head of spiritual magic, but require a place between the
account of this science and that of natural magic. The most important of
these branches of Kiháneh is Astrology, which is called ´Ilm en-Nujoom.
This is studied by many Muslims in the present day; and its professors
are often employed by the Arabs to determine a fortunate period for
laying the foundation of a building, commencing a journey, etc.; but
more frequently by the Persians and Turks. The Prophet pronounced
astrology to be a branch of magic.[88] Another branch of Kiháneh is
Geomancy, called Ḍarb er-Raml;[89] a mode of divination from certain
marks made on sand (whence its appellation), or on paper; and said to be
chiefly founded on astrology. The science called ez-Zijr, or el-´Eyáfeh,
is a third branch of Kiháneh; being divination or auguration chiefly
from the motions and positions or postures of birds or of gazelles and
other beasts of the chase. Thus what was termed a Sániḥ, that is,
such an animal standing or passing with its right side towards the
spectator, was esteemed among the Arabs as of good omen; and a Báriḥ,
or an animal of this kind with its left side towards the spectator, was
held as inauspicious.[90] El-Ḳiyáfeh, under which term are included
Chiromancy and its kindred sciences, is a fourth branch of Kiháneh.
Et-Tefául, or the taking an omen, particularly a good one, from a name
or words accidentally heard or seen or chosen from a book, belongs to
the same science.

The taking a fál, or omen, from the Ḳur-án is generally held to be
lawful. Various trifling events are considered as ominous. For instance,
a Sulṭán quitting his palace with his troops, a standard happened to
strike a "thureiyà" (a cluster of lamps, so called from resembling the
Pleiades), and broke them: he drew from this an evil omen, and would
have relinquished the expedition; but one of his chief officers said to
him, "O our Lord, thy standards have reached the Pleiades;"--and, being
relieved by this remark, he proceeded, and returned victorious.[91] The
interpretation of dreams, termed Taạbeer el-Menámát, must also be
classed among the branches of this science. According to the Prophet, it
is the only branch of divination worthy of dependance. "Good dreams,"
said he, "are one of the parts of prophecy," and "nothing else of
prophecy remains." "Good dreams are from God; and false dreams from the
Devil." "When any one of you has a bad dream, spit three times over your
left shoulder, and seek protection with God from the Devil thrice; and
turn from the side on which the dream was, to the other."[92] This rule
is observed by many Muslims. Dreams are generally so fully relied upon
by them as to be sometimes the means of deciding contested points in
history and science. The sight, in a dream, of anything green or white,
or of water, is considered auspicious; anything black or red, or fire,

This firm belief in dreams will be well illustrated by the following
anecdote, which was related to me in Cairo, shortly after the terrible
plague of the year 1835, by the sheykh Moḥammad Eṭ-Ṭanṭáwee,
who had taken the trouble of investigating the fact, and had ascertained
its truth.

A tradesman, living in the quarter of El-Ḥanafee, in Cairo, dreamed
during that plague that eleven persons were carried out from his house
to be buried, victims of this disease. He awoke in a state of the
greatest distress and alarm, reflecting that eleven was the total number
of the inhabitants of his house, including himself, and that it would be
vain in him to attempt, by adding one or more members to his household,
to elude the decree of God and give himself a chance of escape: so
calling together his neighbours, he informed them of his dream, and was
counselled to submit with resignation to a fate so plainly foreshown,
and to be thankful to God for the timely notice with which he had been
mercifully favoured. On the following day, one of his children died; a
day or two after, a wife; and the pestilence continued its ravages among
his family until he remained in his house alone. It was impossible for
him now to entertain the slightest doubt of the entire accomplishment of
the warning: immediately, therefore, after the last death that had taken
place among his household, he repaired to a friend at a neighbouring
shop, and calling to him several other persons from the adjoining and
opposite shops, he reminded them of his dream, acquainted them with its
almost complete fulfilment, and expressed his conviction that he, the
eleventh, should very soon die. "Perhaps," said he, "I shall die this
next night: I beg of you, therefore, for the sake of God, to come to my
house early to-morrow morning, and the next morning and the next if
necessary, to see if I be dead, and, when dead, that I am properly
buried; for I have no one with me to wash and shroud me. Fail not to do
me this service, which will procure you a recompense in heaven. I have
bought my grave-linen: you will find it in a corner of the room in which
I sleep. If you find the door of the house latched, and I do not answer
to your knocking, break it open."

Soon after sunset he laid himself in his lonely bed, though without any
expectation of closing his eyes in sleep; for his mind was absorbed in
reflections upon the awful entry into another world, and a review of his
past life. As the shades of night gathered around him he could almost
fancy that he beheld, in one faint object or another in his gloomy
chamber, the dreadful person of the Angel of Death: and at length he
actually perceived a figure gliding in at the door, and approaching his
bed. Starting up in horror, he exclaimed, "Who art thou?"--and a stern
and solemn voice answered, "Be silent! I am ´Azraeel, the Angel of
Death!"--"Alas!" cried the terrified man; "I testify that there is no
deity but God, and I testify that Moḥammad is God's Apostle! There is
no strength nor power but in God, the High, the Great! To God we belong,
and to Him we must return!"--He then covered himself over with his
quilt, as if for protection, and lay with throbbing heart, expecting
every moment to have his soul torn from him by the inexorable messenger.
But moments passed away, and minutes, and hours, yet without his
experiencing any hope of escape; for he imagined that the Angel was
waiting for him to resign himself, or had left him for a while, and was
occupied in receiving first the souls of the many hundred human beings
who had attained their predestined term in that same night and in the
same city, and the souls of the thousands who were doomed to employ him

Daybreak arrived before his sufferings terminated; and his neighbours,
coming according to their promise, entered his chamber, and found him
still in bed; but observing that he was covered up and motionless as a
corpse, they doubted whether he were still alive, and called to him. He
answered, with a faint voice, "I am not yet dead; but the Angel of Death
came to me in the dusk of the evening, and I expect him every moment to
make his return, to take my soul: therefore trouble me not; but see me
washed and buried."--"But why," said his friends, "was the street-door
left unlatched?"--"I latched it," he answered, "but the Angel of Death
may have opened it."--"And who," they asked, "is the man in the court?"
He answered, "I know of no man in the court: perhaps the Angel who is
waiting for my soul has made himself visible to you, and been mistaken
in the twilight for a man."--"He is a thief," they said, "who has
gathered together everything in the house that he could carry away, and
has been struck by the plague while doing so, and now lies dead in the
court, at the foot of the stairs, grasping in his hand a silver
candlestick."--The master of the house, after hearing this, paused for a
moment, and then, throwing off his quilt, exclaimed, "Praise be to God,
the Lord of all creatures! That is the eleventh, and I am safe! No doubt
it was that rascal who came to me and said that he was the Angel of
Death. Praise be to God! Praise be to God!"

This man survived the plague, and took pleasure in relating the above
story. The thief had overheard his conversation with his neighbours,
and, coming to his house in the dusk, had put his shoulder to the wooden
lock, and so raised the door and displaced the latch within. There is
nothing wonderful in the dream, nor in its accomplishment; the plague of
1835 entirely desolated many houses, and was mostly fatal to the young;
and all the inhabitants of the house in question were young excepting
the master.

The distinction of fortunate and unfortunate days should also here be
mentioned. Thursday and Friday, especially the latter, are considered
fortunate; Monday and Wednesday, doubtful; Sunday, Tuesday, and
Saturday, especially the last, unfortunate. It is said that there are
seven evil days in every [lunar] month: namely, the third, on which
Ḳábeel (Cain) killed Hábeel (Abel); the fifth, on which God cast down
Adam from paradise, and afflicted the people of Yoonus (Jonas), and on
which Yoosuf (Joseph) was cast into the well; the thirteenth, on which
God took away the wealth of Eiyoob (Job), and afflicted him, and took
away the kingdom from Suleymán (Solomon), and on which the Jews killed
the prophets; the sixteenth, on which God exterminated and buried the
people of Looṭ (Lot), and transformed three hundred Christians into
swine and Jews into apes, and on which the Jews sawed asunder Zekeriyà
(Zachariah); the twenty-first, on which Pharaoh was born, and on which
he was drowned, and on which his nation was afflicted with the plagues;
the twenty-fourth, on which Numrood (Nimrod) killed seventy women, and
cast El-Khaleel (Abraham) into the fire, and on which was slaughtered
the camel of Ṣáliḥ; and the twenty-fifth, on which the suffocating
wind was sent upon the people of Hood.[93]

II. Natural magic, which is called es-Seemiyà, is regarded by most
persons of the more enlightened classes of Muslims as altogether a
deceptive art, no more worthy of respect than legerdemain; but it seems
to be nearly allied to enchantment, for it is said to effect, in
appearance, the most wonderful transformations, and to cause the most
extraordinary visions; affecting the senses and imagination in a manner
similar to opium. This and other drugs are supposed by some persons to
be the chief means by which such illusions are caused; and perfumes,
which are generally burnt in these performances, may operate in a
similar manner. As such things are employed in performances of the kind
called Ḍarb el-Mendel, before mentioned, these feats are regarded by
many as effected by natural magic, notwithstanding what has been said
above respecting the services of evil Jinn being procured by means of
perfumes. Alchymy (El-Keemiyà) is a branch of natural magic. It is
studied by many Muslims of the present day, and by some of considerable
talents and attainments.

The most celebrated of the magicians who have gained notoriety in Egypt
during the course of the last hundred years was the sheykh Aḥmad
Ṣádoomeh, who flourished somewhat more than sixty years ago.[94]
Several persons of Cairo, men of intelligence and of good education,
have related to me various most marvellous stories of his performances,
on the authority of eye-witnesses whom they considered veracious; but a
more credible account of this magician I have found in the work of the
excellent historian of Modern Egypt. This author mentions the sheykh
Ṣádoomeh as an aged man of venerable appearance who derived his
origin from the town of Semennood in the Delta, and who acquired a very
great and extensive celebrity for his attainments in spiritual and
natural magic, and for holding converse, face to face, with Jinn, and
causing them to appear to other persons, even to the blind, as men
acquainted with him informed the historian. His contemporaries, says
this writer, entertained various opinions respecting him; but, among
them, a famous grammarian and general scholar, the sheykh Ḥasan
El-Kafráwee, regarded him as a first-rate saint, who performed evident
miracles; this learned man pronouncing as such the effects of "his
legerdemain and natural magic." His fame he describes as having
increased until he was induced to try an unlucky experiment.

A Memlook chief, Yoosuf Bey, saw some magic characters written on the
body of one of his female slaves, and, exasperated by jealousy,
commanded her with a threat of instant death to tell him who had done
this. She confessed that a woman had taken her to the sheykh
Ṣádoomeh, and that he had written this charm to attract to her the
Bey's love. Upon hearing this, he instantly sent some attendants to
seize the magician, put him to death, and throw him into the Nile; which
was done.[95] But the manner in which the seizure was made, as related
to me by one of my friends, deserves to be mentioned. Several persons,
one after another, endeavoured to lay hold upon him; but every arm that
was stretched forth for this purpose was instantly paralyzed, through a
spell muttered by the magician; until a man behind him thrust a gag into
his mouth, and so stopped his enchantments.

Of the stories related to me of Ṣádoomeh's miracles, the following
will serve as a specimen:--In order to give one of his friends a treat,
he took him to the distance of about half an hour's walk into the desert
on the north of Cairo; here they both sat down, upon the pebbly and
sandy plain, and, the magician having uttered a spell, they suddenly
found themselves in the midst of a garden, like one of the gardens of
paradise, abounding with flowers and fruit-trees of every kind,
springing up from a soil clothed with verdure brilliant as the emerald
and irrigated by numerous streamlets of the clearest water. A repast of
the most delicious viands and fruits and wines was spread before them by
invisible hands; and they both ate to satiety, taking copious draughts
of the various wines. At length, the magician's guest sank into a deep
sleep; and when he awoke, he found himself again in the pebbly and sandy
plain, with Ṣádoomeh still by his side.

The reader will probably attribute this vision to a dose of opium or
some similar drug; and such I suppose to have been the means employed;
for I cannot doubt the integrity of the narrator, though he would not
admit such an explanation,--regarding the whole as an affair of magic
effected by the operation of the Jinn.


[80] Ḳur. xxvii. 40; and Commentary of the Jeláleyn.

[81] Ḳur. ii. 96.

[82] El-Ḳazweenee, account of the well of Bábil, in his ´Ajaïb

[83] See Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 374.

[84] "Talisman," is a corruption of the Arabic word "ṭalsam." I write
this latter word in accordance with the manner in which it is generally
pronounced by the Arabs, and the manner in which my sheykh has written
it; by some it is written "ṭilsem," and "ṭilism." It is a term
applied to mystical characters; and also to seals, images, etc., upon
which such characters are engraved or inscribed. These characters are
astrological, or of some other magical kind. The purposes for which
ṭalsams are contrived are various; one has the property of preserving
from enchantment, or from a particular accident, or a variety of evils;
another protects a treasure with which it is deposited; a third, by
being rubbed, procures the presence and services of a Jinnee.

[85] See Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 384 ff.; and above, 33 and 38.

[86] Account of the early Arabs, in the Mir-át ez-Zemán.

[87] Some curious performances of this kind, by means of a fluid mirror
of ink, have been described in my "Account of the Manners and Customs of
the Modern Egyptians," ch. xii., and in No. 117 of the _Quarterly

[88] Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 385.

[89] Or Ḍarb er-Ramal, also called ´Ilm er-Raml. There are several
treatises on Geomancy by Eastern writers: but I have not met with any of
these; nor have I seen a geomantic tablet. I have only seen the mode of
performing geomantic experiments upon paper. The invention of the
science is ascribed by some to Idrees (Enoch), by some to Daniel, by
some to Ham the son of Noah, and by others to Hermes Trismegistus.

[90] Mir-át ez-Zemán, 1. 1.

[91] El-Isḥáḳee, in his account of the reign of El-Moạtaṣim,
the son of Hároon.

[92] Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 388.

[93] El-Isḥáḳee, close of his account of the reign of El-Emeen.

[94] I write in 1837.

[95] El-Jabartee's History, account of the death of Yoosuf Bey in the
year of the Flight 1191; and account of the death of the Sheykh Ḥasan
El-Kafráwee in the year 1202.



When we call to mind how far the Arabs surpassed their great master,
Aristotle, in natural and experimental philosophy, and remember that
their brilliant discoveries constituted an important link between those
of the illustrious Greek and of our scarcely less illustrious
countryman, Roger Bacon, their popular system of cosmography becomes an
interesting subject for our consideration.

According to the common opinion of the Arabs (an opinion sanctioned by
the Ḳur-án, and by assertions of their Prophet, which almost all
Muslims take in their literal sense), there are Seven Heavens, one above
another, and Seven Earths, one beneath another; the earth which we
inhabit being the highest of the latter, and next below the lowest
heaven.[96] The upper surface of each heaven and of each earth are
believed to be nearly plane, and are generally supposed to be circular;
and are said to be five hundred years' journey in width. This is also
said to be the measure of the depth or thickness of each heaven and each
earth, and of the distance between each heaven or earth and that next
above or below it. Thus is explained a passage of the Ḳur-án in which
it is said that God hath created seven heavens and as many earths, or
stories of the earth, in accordance with traditions from the

Traditions differ respecting the fabric of the seven heavens. In the
most credible account, according to a celebrated historian, the first is
described as formed of emerald; the second, of white silver; the third,
of large white pearls; the fourth, of ruby; the fifth, of red gold; the
sixth, of yellow jacinth; and the seventh, of shining light.[98]

Some assert Paradise to be in the seventh heaven; and, indeed, I have
found this to be the general opinion of my Muslim friends: but the
author above quoted proceeds to describe, next above the seventh heaven,
seven seas of light; then, an undefined number of veils, or separations,
of different substances, seven of each kind; and then, Paradise, which
consists of seven stages, one above another; the first (Dár el-Jelál, or
the Mansion of Glory), of white pearls; the second (Dár es-Selám, or the
Mansion of Peace), of ruby; the third (Jennet el-Ma-wà, or the Garden of
Rest), of green chrysolite; the fourth (Jennet el-Khuld, or the Garden
of Eternity), of green[99] coral; the fifth (Jennet en-Na´eem, or the
Garden of Delight), of white silver; the sixth (Jennet el-Firdós, or the
Garden of Paradise), of red gold; and the seventh (Jennet ´Adn, or the
Garden of Perpetual Abode, or of Eden), of large pearls; this last
overlooking all the former, and canopied by the Throne of the
Compassionate (´Arsh Er-Raḥmán). These several regions of Paradise
are described in some traditions as forming so many degrees, or stages,
ascended by steps.

Though the opinion before mentioned respecting the form of the earth
which we inhabit is that generally maintained by the Arabs, there have
been, and still are, many philosophical men among this people who have
argued that it is a globe, because, as El-Ḳazweenee says, an eclipse
of the moon has been observed to happen at different hours of the night
in eastern and western countries. Thus we find Ptolemy's measurement of
the earth quoted and explained by Ibn-El-Wardee:--The circumference of
the earth is 24,000 miles, or 8,000 leagues, the league being three
miles; the mile, 3,000 royal cubits; the cubit, three spans; the span,
twelve digits; the digit, five barley-corns placed side by side; and the
width of the barley-corn, six mule's-hairs. El-Maḳreezee [† 1442]
also, among the more intelligent Arabs, describes[100] the globular form
of the earth, and its arctic and antarctic regions, with their day of
six months, and night of six months, and their frozen waters, etc.

For ourselves, however, it is necessary that we retain in our minds the
opinions first stated, with regard to the form and dimensions of our
earth; agreeing with those Muslims who allow not philosophy to trench
upon revelation or sacred traditions. It is written, say they, that God
hath "spread out the earth,"[101] "as a bed,"[102] and "as a
carpet;"[103] and what is round or globular cannot be said to be spread
out, nor compared to a bed, or a carpet. It is therefore decided to be
an almost plane expanse. The continents and islands of the earth are
believed by the Arabs (as they were by the Greeks in the age of Homer
and Hesiod) to be surrounded by "the Circumambient Ocean," el-Baḥr
el-Moḥeeṭ; and this ocean is described as bounded by a chain of
mountains called Ḳáf, which encircle the whole as a ring, and confine
and strengthen the entire fabric. With respect to the extent of the
earth, our faith must at least admit the assertion of the Prophet, that
its width (as well as its depth or thickness) is equal to five hundred
years' journey, allotting the space of two hundred to the sea, two
hundred to uninhabited desert, eighty to the country of Yájooj and
Májooj (Gog and Magog), and the rest to the remaining creatures:[104]
nay, vast as these limits are, we must rather extend than contract them,
unless we suppose some of the heroes of the "Thousand and One Nights" to
travel by circuitous routes. Another tradition will suit us better,
wherein it is said, that the inhabited portion of the earth is, with
respect to the rest, as a tent in the midst of a desert.[105]

But even according to the former assertion it will be remarked that the
countries now commonly known to the Arabs (from the western extremity of
Africa to the eastern limits of India, and from the southern confines of
Abyssinia to those of Russia), occupy a comparatively insignificant
portion of this expanse. They are situated in the middle; Mekkeh,
according to some,--or Jerusalem, according to others,--being exactly in
the centre. Adjacent to the tract occupied by these countries are other
lands and seas, partially known to the Arabs. On the north-west, with
respect to the central point, lies the country of the Christians or
Franks, comprising the principal European nations; on the north, the
country of Yájooj and Májooj, before mentioned, occupying, in the maps
of the Arabs, large tracts of Asia and Europe; on the north-east,
central Asia; on the east, Eṣ-Ṣeen (China); on the south-east, the
sea or seas of El-Hind (India), and Ez-Zinj (Southern Ethiopia), the
waves of which (or of the former of which) mingle with those of the sea
of Eṣ-Ṣeen, beyond; on the south, the country of the Zinj; on the
south-west, the country of the Soodán, or Blacks; on the west is a
portion of the Circumambient Ocean, which surrounds all the countries
and seas already mentioned, as well as immense unknown regions adjoining
the former, and innumerable islands interspersed in the latter.

These _terrae incognitae_ are the scenes of some of the greatest wonders
described in the "Thousand and One Nights;" and are mostly peopled with
Jinn (Genii). On the Moḥeeṭ, or Circumambient Ocean, is the ´Arsh
Iblees, or Throne of Iblees: in a map accompanying my copy of the work
of Ibn-El-Wardee, a large yellow tract is marked with this name,
adjoining Southern Africa. The western portion of the Moḥeeṭ is
often called "the Sea of Darkness" (Baḥr eẓ-Ẓulumát, or,
Baḥr eẓ-Ẓulmeh). Under this name (and the synonymous
appellation of el-Baḥr el-Muzlim) the Atlantic Ocean is described by
the author just mentioned; though, in the introduction to his work, he
says that the Sea of Darkness surrounds the Moḥeeṭ. The former may
be considered either as the western or the more remote portion of the

In the dark regions (Eẓ-Ẓulumát, from which, perhaps, the
above-mentioned portion of the Moḥeeṭ takes its name),[106] in the
south-west quarter of the earth, according to the same author, is the
Fountain of Life, of which El-Khiḍr[107] drank, and by virtue of
which he still lives and will live till the day of judgment. This
mysterious person, whom the vulgar and some others regard as a prophet
and identify with Ilyás (Elias, Elijah), and whom some confound with St.
George, was, according to the more approved opinion of the learned, a
just man or saint, the Wezeer and counsellor of the first
Dhu-l-Ḳarneyn, who was a universal conqueror, but an equally doubtful
personage, contemporary with the patriarch Ibráheem (Abraham).
El-Khiḍr is said to appear frequently to Muslims in perplexity, and
to be generally clad in green garments; whence, according to some, his
name (which signifies "green"). The Prophet Ilyás is also related to
have drunk of the Fountain of Life. During the day-time, it is said,
El-Khiḍr wanders upon the seas, and directs voyagers who go astray;
while Ilyás perambulates the mountains or deserts, and directs persons
who chance to be led astray by the Ghools: but at night they meet
together, and guard the rampart of Yájooj and Májooj,[108] to prevent
these people from making irruptions upon their neighbours. Both,
however, are generally believed by the modern Muslims to assist pious
persons in distress in various circumstances, whether travelling by land
or by water.

The Mountains of Ḳáf, which bound the Circumambient Ocean and form
a circular barrier round the whole of our earth, are described by
interpreters of the Ḳur-án as composed of green chrysolite, like the
green tint of the sky.[109] It is the colour of these mountains, said
the Prophet, that imparts a greenish hue to the sky. It is said, in a
tradition, that beyond these mountains are other countries; one of gold,
seventy of silver, and seven of musk, all inhabited by angels, and each
country ten thousand years' journey in length, and the same in
breadth.[110] Some say that beyond it are creatures unknown to any but
God:[111] but the general opinion is, that the mountains of Ḳáf
terminate our earth, and that no one knows what is beyond them. They are
the chief abode of the Jinn, or Genii.

It has already been said that our earth is the first, or highest, of
seven earths, which are all of equal width and thickness and at equal
distances apart. Each of these earths has occupants. The occupants of
the first are men, genii, brutes, etc.; the second is occupied by the
suffocating wind that destroyed the infidel tribe of Ad; the third, by
the stones of Jahennem (or Hell), mentioned in the Ḳur-án in these
words, "the fuel of which is men and stones;"[112] the fourth, by the
sulphur of Jahennem; the fifth, by its serpents; the sixth, by its
scorpions, in colour and size like black mules and with tails like
spears; the seventh, by Iblees and his troops.[113]

Whether these several earths are believed to be connected with each
other by any means, and if so how, we are not expressly informed; but,
that they are supposed to be so is evident. With respect to our earth in
particular, as some think, it is said that it is supported by a rock,
with which the Mountains of Ḳáf communicate by means of veins or
roots; and that when God desires to effect an earthquake at a certain
place, He commands the mountain (or rock) to agitate the vein that is
connected with that place.[114] But there is another account, describing
our earth as upheld by certain successive supports of inconceivable
magnitude, which are under the seventh earth; leaving us to infer that
the seven earths are in some manner connected together. This account, as
inserted in the work of one of the writers above quoted, is as
follows:--The earth [under which appellation are here understood the
seven earths] was, it is said, originally unstable; "therefore God
created an angel of immense size and of the utmost strength, and ordered
him to go beneath it [_i.e._ beneath the lowest earth] and place it on
his shoulders; and his hands extended beyond the east and west, and
grasped the extremities of the earth [or, as related in Ibn-El-Wardee,
the seven earths] and held it [or them]. But there was no support for
his feet: so God created a rock of ruby, in which were seven thousand
perforations, and from each of these perforations issued a sea, the size
of which none knoweth but God, whose name be exalted; then he ordered
this rock to stand under the feet of the angel. But there was no support
for the rock: wherefore God created a huge bull, with four thousand eyes
and the same number of ears, noses, mouths, tongues, and feet; between
every two of which was a distance of five hundred years' journey; and
God, whose name be exalted, ordered this bull to go beneath the rock;
and he bore it on his back and his horns. The name of this bull is
Kuyootà.[115] But there was no support for the bull: therefore God,
whose name be exalted, created an enormous fish, that no one could look
upon on account of its vast size, and the flashing of its eyes, and
their greatness; for it is said that if all the seas were placed in one
of its nostrils, they would appear like a grain of mustard-seed in the
midst of a desert: and God, whose name be exalted, commanded the fish to
be a support to the feet of the bull.[116] The name of this fish is
Bahamoot [Behemoth]. He placed, as its support, water; and under the
water, darkness: and the knowledge of mankind fails as to what is under
the darkness."[117]--Another opinion is, that the [seventh] earth is
upon water; the water, upon the rock; the rock, on the back of the bull;
the bull, on a bed of sand; the sand, on the fish; the fish, upon a
still, suffocating wind; the wind, on a veil of darkness; the darkness,
on a mist; and what is beneath the mist is unknown.[118]

It is generally believed that under the lowest earth, and beneath seas
of darkness of which the number is unknown, is Hell, which consists of
seven stages, one beneath another. The first of these, according to the
general opinion, is destined for the reception of wicked Mohammadans;
the second, for the Christians; the third, for the Jews; the fourth, for
the Sabians; the fifth, for the Magians; the sixth, for the Idolaters;
the seventh, by general consent, for the Hypocrites. Jahennem is the
general name for Hell, and the particular name for its first stage.[119]
The situation of Hell has been a subject of dispute; some place it in
the seventh earth; and some have doubted whether it be above or below
the earth which we inhabit.

At the consummation of all things, God, we are told, will take the whole
earth in his [left] hand, and the heavens will be rolled together in his
right hand;[120] and the earth will be changed into another earth; and
the heavens, [into other heavens];[121] and Hell will be brought nigh to
the [tribunal of God].[122]


[96] This notion of the seven heavens appears to have been taken from
the "seven spheres;" the first of which is that of the Moon; the second,
of Mercury; the third, of Venus; the fourth, of the Sun; the fifth, of
Mars; the sixth, of Jupiter; and the seventh, of Saturn; each of which
orbs was supposed to revolve round the earth in its proper sphere. So
also the idea of the seven earths seems to have been taken from the
division of the earth into seven climates; a division which has been
adopted by several Arab geographers.

[97] Ḳur. lxv. 12, and Moḥammad's answers to ´Abd-Allah Ibn-Selám,
quoted by Ibn-El-Wardee (MS.); and Mekḥool, quoted by the same
author; and Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 652, 653.

[98] Ibn-Esh-Shiḥneh (MS.).

[99] In another MS. of the same author, "yellow."

[100] In his Khiṭaṭ (MS.).

[101] Ḳur. xiii. 3, and several other places.

[102] Ḳur. ii. 20, and lxxviii. 6.

[103] Ḳur. lxxi. 18.

[104] Mekḥool, quoted by Ibn-El-Wardee.

[105] Wahb Ibn-Munebbih, quoted by El-Maḳreezee in his Khiṭaṭ.

[106] Ibn-El-Wardee, however, says that its name is derived from its
terrors and difficulties.

[107] [Cp. Lane's Selections from the Ḳur-án, 128 ff., 2nd ed. 1879.]

[108] History of El-Khiḍr in the Mir-át ez-Zemán.

[109] El-Ḳazweenee.

[110] Moḥammad's answers to ´Abd-Allah Ibn-Selám, quoted by

[111] El-Ḳazweenee.

[112] Ḳur. ii. 22, and lxvi. 6.

[113] Mir-át ez-Zemán.

[114] Tradition from the Prophet, recorded by Ibn-´Abbás, and quoted by
Ibn-El-Wardee; and by El-Isḥáḳee, in describing an earthquake that
happened in his lifetime. See also the next note.

[115] In Ibn-Esh-Shiḥneh, "Kuyoothán;" the orthography of this word
is doubtful, as the vowel-points are not written. As the tradition is
related in Ibn-El-Wardee, this bull takes a breath twice in the course
of every day (or twenty-four hours): when he exhales, the sea flows; and
when he inhales, it ebbs. But it must not be imagined that none of the
Arabs has any notion of the true theory of the tides: the more learned
among them explain this phenomenon by the influence of the moon. Many of
the Arabs attribute earthquakes to the shaking of this bull.

[116] In Ibn-El-Wardee, a quantity of sand is introduced between the
bull and the fish.

[117] Ed-Demeeree, on the authority of Wahb Ibn-Munebbih, quoted by
El-Isḥáḳee, 1. 1.

[118] Ibn-El-Wardee.

[119] [The other stages are Laẓà, El-Ḥuṭameh, Sa´eer, Saḳar,
Jeheem, and Ḥáwiyeh.

[120] Ḳur. xxxix. 67.

[121] Ḳur. xiv. 49.

[122] Ḳur. lxxxix. 24.



Perhaps there are no people in the world who are such enthusiastic
admirers of literature, and so excited by romantic tales, as the Arabs.
Eloquence, with them, is lawful magic: it exercises over their minds an
irresistible influence. "I swear by God," said their Prophet, "verily
abuse of infidels in verse is worse to them than arrows."[123]

In the purest, or Heroic Age of Arabic literature, which was anterior to
the triumph of the Mohammadan religion, the conquest which the love of
eloquence could achieve over the sanguinary and vindictive feelings of
the Arabs was most remarkably exemplified in the annual twenty days'
fair of ´Okáḍh.

The fair of ´Okáḍh "was not only a great mart opened annually to all
the tribes of Arabia; but it was also a literary congress, or rather a
general concourse of virtues, of glory and of poetry, whither the
hero-poets resorted to celebrate their exploits in rhyming verse, and
peacefully to contend for every kind of honour. This fair was held in
the district of Mekkeh, between Eṭ-Ṭáïf and Nakhleh and was opened
at the new moon of Dhu-l-Ḳaạdeh; that is to say, at the
commencement of a period of three sacred months, during which all war
was suspended and homicide interdicted.... How is it possible to
conceive that men whose wounds were always bleeding, who had always acts
of vengeance to execute, vengeances to dread, could at a certain epoch
impose silence upon their animosities, so as tranquilly to sit beside a
mortal enemy? How could the brave who required the blood of a father, a
brother, or a son, according to the phraseology of the desert and of the
Bible,[124] who long, perhaps, had pursued in vain the murderer,--meet
him, accost him peacefully at ´Okáḍh, and only assault with cadences
and rhymes him whose presence alone seemed to accuse him of impotence or
cowardice,--him whom he was bound to slay, under pain of infamy, after
the expiration of the truce? In fine, how could he hear a panegyric
celebrating a glory acquired at his own expense, and sustain the fire of
a thousand looks, and yet appear unmoved? Had the Arabs no longer any
blood in their veins during the continuance of the fair?

"These embarrassing questions ... were determined [to a great degree],
during the age of Arab paganism, in a manner the simplest and most
refined: at the fair of ´Okáḍh, the heroes were masked [or veiled].
In the recitations and improvisations, the voice of the orator was aided
by that of a rhapsodist or crier, who was stationed near him, and
repeated his words. There is a similar office in the public prayers; it
is that of the muballigh (transmitter), who is employed to repeat in a
loud voice what is said in a lower tone by the Imám.... The use of the
mask [or veil] might, however, be either adopted or dispensed with _ad
libitum_; as is proved by the narratives of a great number of quarrels
begun and ended at ´Okáḍh....

"It was in this congress of the Arab poets (and almost every warrior was
a poet at the age which I am considering) that the dialects of Arabia
became fused into a magic language, the language of the Ḥejáz, which
Moḥammad made use of to subvert the world; for the triumph of
Moḥammad is nothing else than the triumph of speech."[125] The
Ḳur-án is regarded by the Arabs as an everlasting miracle, surpassing
all others, appealing to the understanding of every generation by its
inimitable eloquence. A stronger proof of the power of language over
their minds could hardly be adduced; unless it be their being capable of
receiving as a credible fact the tradition that both genii and men were
attracted by the eloquent reading of David, when he recited the Psalms;
that the wild beasts and the birds were alike fascinated; and that
sometimes there were borne out from his assembly as many as four hundred
corpses of men who died from the excessive delight with which he thus
inspired them![126] It may be added, that the recitation or chanting of
the Ḳur-án is a favourite means of amusing the guests at modern
private festivities.

In what may be termed the Middle Age of Arabic literature, beginning
with the triumph of the Mohammadan religion and extending to the
foundation of the Empire of Baghdád, the power of eloquence over the
educated classes of the Arabs probably increased in proportion as it
became less familiar to them: for early in this age they began to
simplify their spoken language in consequence of their intercourse with
strangers, who could not generally acquire the difficult, old dialect of
their conquerors, which consequently began to be confined to literary
compositions. That such a change took place at this period appears from
several anecdotes interspersed in Arabic works. The Khaleefeh El-Weleed
(who reigned near the close of the first century of the Flight), the
son of ´Abd-El-Melik, spoke so corrupt a dialect that he often could not
make himself understood by the Arabs of the desert. A ridiculous
instance of the mistakes occasioned by his use of the simplified
language which is now current is related by Abu-l-Fidà. The same author
adds that the father and predecessor of this prince was a man of
eloquence, and that he was grieved by the corrupt speech of his son,
which he considered as a defect that incapacitated him to be a future
ruler of the Arabs, who were still great admirers of purity of speech,
though so large a proportion of them spoke a corrupt dialect. So he sent
him to a house to be instructed by a grammarian; but after the youth had
remained there a long time, he returned to his father more ignorant than
before. Vulgarisms, however, would sometimes escape from the mouth of
´Abd-El-Melik himself; yet so sensible was he to eloquence, that when a
learned man, with whom he was conversing, elegantly informed him of an
error of this kind, he ordered his mouth to be filled with jewels.
"These," said his courteous admonisher, "are things to be treasured up,
not to be expended:"--and for this delicate hint he was further rewarded
with thirty thousand pieces of silver and several costly articles of

It may be added that this Khaleefeh was in the beginning of his reign an
unjust monarch, but was reclaimed to a sense of his duty by the
following means. Being one night unable to sleep, he called for a person
to tell him a story for his amusement. "O Prince of the Faithful," said
the man thus bidden, "there was an owl in El-Móṣil, and an owl in
El-Baṣrah; and the owl of El-Móṣil demanded in marriage for her
son the daughter of the owl of El-Baṣrah: but the owl of El-Baṣrah
said, 'I will not, unless thou give me as her dowry a hundred desolate
farms.' 'That I cannot do,' said the owl of El-Móṣil, 'at present;
but if our sovereign (may God, whose name be exalted, preserve him!)
live one year, I will give thee what thou desirest.'" This simple fable
sufficed to rouse the prince from his apathy, and he thenceforward
applied himself to fulfil the duties of his station.[128]

In the most flourishing age of Arabic poetry and general literature and
science, beginning with the foundation of the Empire of Baghdád and
extending to the conquest of Egypt by the ´Othmánlee Turks, the
influence of eloquent and entertaining language upon the character of
the Arab sovereigns was particularly exemplified, as the following
anecdotes will show.

It is related by El-Aṣma´ee that Hároon Er-Rasheed, at a grand fête
which he was giving, ordered the poet Abu-l´Atáhiyeh to depict in verse
the voluptuous enjoyments of his sovereign. The poet began thus:--

    "Live long in safe enjoyment of thy desires under the shadow of
        lofty palaces!"

"Well said!" exclaimed Er-Rasheed: "and what next?"

    "May thy wishes be abundantly fulfilled, whether at eventide or in
        the morning!"

"Well!" again said the Khaleefeh: "then what next?"

    "But when the rattling breath struggles in the dark cavity of the
    Then shalt thou know surely that thou hast been only in the midst
        of illusions."

Er-Rasheed wept; and Faḍl, the son of Yaḥyà, said, "The Prince of
the Faithful sent for thee to divert him, and thou hast plunged him into
grief." "Suffer him," said the prince; "for he hath beheld us in
blindness, and it displeased him to increase it."[129]

The family of the Barmekees (one of the most brilliant ornaments of
which was the Wezeer Jaạfar, who has been rendered familiar to us by
the many scenes in which he is introduced in the "Thousand and One
Nights") earned a noble and enduring reputation by their attachment to
literature and the magnificent rewards they conferred on learned men. It
was peculiarly hard, therefore, that literature contributed to their
melancholy overthrow. Poets were employed by their enemies to compose
songs artfully pointed against them, to be sung before the prince to
whom they owed their power. Of one of these songs, the following lines
formed a part:--

    "Would that Hind had fulfilled the promises she made us, and healed
        the disease under which we suffer!
    That she had once, at least, acted for herself! for imbecile, indeed,
        is he who doth not so."

"Yea! By Allah! Imbecile!" exclaimed the Khaleefeh, on hearing these
verses: his jealousy was roused; and his vengeance soon after fell
heavily upon his former favourites.[130]

One of the Khaleefehs having invited the poets of his day to his palace,
a Bedawee, carrying a water-jar to fill at the river, followed them, and
entered with them. The Khaleefeh, seeing this poor man with the jar on
his shoulder, asked him what brought him thither. He returned for answer
these words:--

    "Seeing that this company had girded on the saddles
    To repair to thy overflowing river, I came with my jar."

The Khaleefeh, delighted with his answer, gave orders to fill his jar
with gold.[131]

It has long been a common custom of Eastern princes to bestow dresses
of honour upon men of literature and science, as well as upon their
great officers and other servants. These dresses were of different kinds
for persons of different classes or professions. The most usual kind was
an ample coat. With dresses of this description were often given
gold-embroidered turbans, and sometimes to Emeers (or great military
officers) neck-rings or collars (called ṭóḳs), some of which were
set with jewels, as also bracelets and swords ornamented with precious
stones; and to Wezeers, instead of the ṭóḳ, a necklace of

The following striking record will convey an idea of the magnificence of
some of these dresses of honour, or in other words of the liberality of
a Muslim prince, and at the same time of the very precarious nature of
his favour. A person chancing to look at a register kept by one of the
officers of Hároon Er-Rasheed, saw in it the following entry:--"Four
hundred thousand pieces of gold, the price of a dress of honour for
Jaạfar, the son of Yaḥyà, the Wezeer." A few days after, he saw
beneath this written,--"Ten ḳeeráṭs, the price of naphtha and
reeds, for burning the body of Jaạfar, the son of Yaḥyà."[133]

Arab princes and other great men have generally been famous for highly
respecting and liberally rewarding men of literature and science, and
especially poets. El-Ma-moon and many others are well known to us for
their patronage of the learned. Er-Rasheed carried his condescension to
them so far as to pour the water on the hands of a blind man,
Aboo-Mo´áwiyeh, one of the most learned persons of his time, previously
to his eating with him, to show his respect for science.[134] We have
already seen how a Khaleefeh ordered the mouth of a learned man to be
filled with jewels. To cram the mouth with sugar or sweetmeats for a
polite or eloquent speech, or piece of poetry, has been more commonly
done; but the usual presents to learned men were, and are, dresses of
honour and sums of money. Ibn-´Obeyd El-Bakhteree, an illustrious poet
and traditionist who flourished in the reign of El-Musta´een, is said to
have received so many presents that after his death there were found,
among the property which he left, a hundred complete suits of dress, two
hundred shirts, and five hundred turbans.[135] A thousand pieces of gold
were often given, and sometimes ten, twenty, or thirty thousand, and
even more, for a few verses; nay, for a single couplet.

The prodigality of Arab princes to men of learning may be exemplified by
the following anecdote.--Ḥammád, surnamed Er-Ráwiyeh, or the famous
reciter, having attached himself to the Khaleefeh El-Weleed, the son of
´Abd-El-Melik, and shown a contrary feeling towards his brother Hishám,
fled, on the accession of the latter, to El-Koofeh. While there, a
letter arrived from Hishám, commanding his presence at Damascus: it was
addressed to the governor, who, being ordered to treat him with honour,
gave him a purse containing a thousand pieces of gold, and dispatched
him with the Khaleefeh's messenger.

On his arrival at Damascus, he was conducted before Hishám, whom he
found in a splendid saloon, seated under a pavilion of red silk
surmounted by a dome of yellow brocade, attended by two female slaves of
beauty unsurpassed, each holding a crystal ewer of wine. His admission
during the presence of members of the king's ḥareem was a very
unusual and high honour: the mention of the wine will be explained in
the next chapter. After Ḥammád had given the salutation[136] and the
Khaleefeh had returned it, the latter told him that he had sent for him
to ask respecting a couplet of which he could only remember that it
ended with the word "ibreeḳ," which signifies "a ewer." The reciter
reflected awhile, and the lines occurred to his mind, and he repeated
them. Hishám cried out in delight that the lines were those he meant;
drank a cup of wine, and desired one of the female slaves to hand a cup
to Ḥammád. She did so; and the draught, he says, deprived him of
one-third of his reason. The Khaleefeh desired him to repeat the lines
again, and drink a second cup; and Ḥammád was deprived of another
third of his reason in the same manner; and said, "O Prince of the
Faithful, two-thirds of my reason have departed from me." Hishám
laughed, and desired him to ask what he would before the remaining third
should have gone; and the reciter said, "One of these two female
slaves." The Khaleefeh laughed again, and said, "Nay, but both of them
are thine, and all that is upon them and all that they possess, and
beside them fifty thousand pieces of gold."--"I kissed the ground before
him," says Ḥammád, "and drank a third cup, and was unconscious of
what happened after. I did not awake till the close of the night, when I
found myself in a handsome house, surrounded by lighted candles, and the
two female slaves were putting in order my clothes and other things. So
I took possession of the property, and departed, the happiest of the
creatures of God."[137]

In the beginning of the year of the Flight 305 (A.D. 917), two
ambassadors from the Greek Emperor (Constantine VII., Porphyrogenitus)
arrived in Baghdád on a mission to the Khaleefeh El-Muḳtedir,
bringing an abundance of costly presents. They were first received by
the Wezeer, who, at the audience which he granted to them in his garden
palace, displayed a degree of magnificence that had never before been
manifested by any of his rank. Pages, memlooks, and soldiers crowded
the avenues and courts of his mansion, the apartments of which were hung
with tapestry of the value of thirty thousand deenárs; and the Wezeer
himself was surrounded by generals and other officers on his right and
left and behind his seat, when the two ambassadors approached him,
dazzled by the splendour that surrounded them, to beg for an interview
with the Khaleefeh. El-Muḳtedir, having appointed a day on which he
would receive them, ordered that the courts and passages and avenues of
his palace should be filled with armed men, and that all the apartments
should be furnished with the utmost magnificence. A hundred and sixty
thousand armed soldiers were arranged in ranks in the approach to the
palace; next to these were the pages of the closets and chief eunuchs,
clad in silk and with belts set with jewels, in number seven
thousand,--four thousand white and three thousand black,--besides seven
hundred chamberlains; and beautifully ornamented boats of various kinds
were seen floating upon the Tigris hard by.

The two ambassadors passed first by the palace of the chief chamberlain,
and, astonished at the splendid ornaments and pages and arms which they
there beheld, imagined that this was the palace of the Khaleefeh. But
what they had seen here was eclipsed by what they beheld in the latter,
where they were amazed by the sight of thirty-eight thousand pieces of
tapestry of gold-embroidered silk brocade, and twenty-two thousand
magnificent carpets. Here also were two menageries of beasts, by nature
wild but tamed by art and eating from the hands of men: among them were
a hundred lions, each with its keeper. They then entered the Palace of
the Tree, enclosing a pond from which rose the Tree: this had eighteen
branches, with artificial leaves of various colours and with birds of
gold and silver (or gilt and silvered) of every variety of kind and size
perched upon its branches, so constructed that each of them sang. Thence
they passed into the garden, in which were furniture and utensils not to
be enumerated; in the passages leading to it were suspended ten thousand
gilt coats of mail. Being at length conducted before El-Muḳtedir,
they found him seated on a couch of ebony inlaid with gold and silver,
to the right of which were hung nine necklaces of jewels, and the like
to the left, the jewels of which outshone the light of day. The two
ambassadors paused at the distance of about a hundred cubits from the
Khaleefeh, with the interpreter. Having left the presence, they were
conducted through the palace, and were shown splendidly caparisoned
elephants, a giraffe, lynxes, and other beasts. They were then clad with
robes of honour, and to each of them was brought fifty thousand dirhems,
together with dresses and other presents. It is added that the
ambassadors approached the palace through a street called "the Street of
the Menárehs," in which were a thousand menárehs or minarets. It was at
the hour of noon; and as they passed, the muëddins from all these
minarets chanted the call to prayer at the same time, so that the earth
almost quaked at the sound, and the ambassadors were struck with

The Orientals well understand how to give the most striking effect to
the jewels which they display on their dress and ornaments on occasions
of state. Sir John Malcolm, describing his reception by the King of
Persia, says, "His dress baffled all description. The ground of his
robes was white; but he was so covered with jewels of an extraordinary
size, and their splendour, from his being seated where the rays of the
sun played upon them, was so dazzling, that it was impossible to
distinguish the minute parts which combined to give such amazing
brilliancy to his whole figure."

A whimsical story is told of a King who denied to poets those rewards to
which usage had almost given them a claim. This King, whose name is not
recorded, had the faculty of retaining in his memory an ode after having
only once heard it; and he had a memlook who could repeat an ode that he
had twice heard, and a female slave who could repeat one that she had
heard thrice. Whenever a poet came to compliment him with a panegyrical
ode, the King used to promise him that if he found his verses to be his
original composition, he would give him a sum of money equal in weight
to what they were written upon. The poet, consenting, would recite his
ode; and the King would say, "It is not new, for I have known it some
years;" and would repeat it as he had heard it. After which he would
add, "And this memlook also retains it in his memory;" and would order
the memlook to repeat it: which, having heard it twice, from the poet
and the king, he would do. The King would then say to the poet, "I have
also a female slave who can repeat it;" and on his ordering her to do
so, stationed behind the curtains, she would repeat what she had thus
thrice heard: so the poet would go away empty-handed. The famous poet,
El Aṣma´ee, having heard of this proceeding, and guessing the trick,
determined upon outwitting the King; and accordingly composed an ode
made up of very difficult words. But this was not his only preparative
measure, another will be presently explained, and a third was to assume
the dress of a Bedawee, that he might not be known, covering his face,
the eyes only excepted, with a lithám (a piece of drapery) in accordance
with a custom of Arabs of the desert.

Thus disguised, he went to the palace, and having asked permission,
entered, and saluted the King, who said to him, "Whence art thou, O
brother of the Arabs, and what dost thou desire?"

The poet answered, "May God increase the power of the King! I am a poet
of such a tribe, and have composed an ode in praise of our Lord the

"O brother of the Arabs," said the King, "hast thou heard of our

"No," answered the poet; "and what is it, O King of the age?"

"It is," replied the King, "that if the ode be not thine, we give thee
no reward; and if it be thine, we give thee the weight in money of what
it is written upon."

"How," said El-Aṣma´ee, "should I assume to myself that which belongs
to another, and knowing, too, that lying before kings is one of the
basest of actions? But I agree to this condition, O our Lord the

So he repeated his ode. The King, perplexed, and unable to remember any
of it, made a sign to the memlook--but he had retained nothing; and
called to the female slave, but she also was unable to repeat a word.

"O brother of the Arabs," said he, "thou hast spoken truth, and the ode
is thine without doubt; I have never heard it before: produce,
therefore, what it is written upon, and we will give thee its weight in
money, as we have promised."

"Wilt thou," said the poet, "send one of the attendants to carry it?"

"To carry what?" asked the King; "is it not upon a paper here in thy

"No, our lord the Sulṭán," replied the poet; "at the time I composed
it I could not procure a piece of paper upon which to write it, and
could find nothing but a fragment of a marble column left me by my
father; so I engraved it upon this, and it lies in the court of the

He had brought it, wrapped up, on the back of a camel. The King, to
fulfil his promise, was obliged to exhaust his treasury; and to prevent
a repetition of this trick, (of which he afterwards discovered
El-Aṣma´ee to have been the author), in future rewarded the poets
according to the usual custom of kings.[139]

In the present declining age of Arabian learning (which may be said to
have commenced about the period of the conquest of Egypt by the
´Othmánlees), literary recreations still exert a magical influence upon
the Arabs. Compositions of a similar nature to the tales of the
"Thousand and One Nights" (though regarded by the learned as idle
stories unworthy of being classed with their literature) enable numbers
of professional story-tellers to attract crowds of delighted listeners
to the coffee-shops of the East; and now that the original of this work
is printed and to be purchased at a moderate price, it will probably
soon in a great measure supersede the romances of Aboo-Zeyd,
Eẓ-Ẓáhir, and ´Antarah. As a proof of the powerful fascinations
with which the tales of the "Thousand and One Nights" affect the mind of
a highly enlightened Muslim, it may be mentioned that the latest native
historian of Modern Egypt, the sheykh ´Abd-Er-Raḥmán El-Jabartee, so
delighted in their perusal that he took the trouble of refining the
language of a copy of them which he possessed, expunging or altering
whatever was grossly offensive to morality without the somewhat
redeeming quality of wit, and adding many facetiæ of his own and of
other literati. What has become of this copy I have been unable, though
acquainted with several of his friends, to discover.

The letters of Muslims are distinguished by several peculiarities
dictated by the rules of politeness. The paper is thick, white, and
highly polished: sometimes it is ornamented with flowers of gold; and
the edges are always cut straight with scissors. The upper half is
generally left blank, and the writing never occupies any portion of the
second side. A notion of the usual style of letters may be obtained from
several examples in the "Thousand and One Nights." The name of the
person to whom the letter is addressed, when the writer is an inferior
or an equal, and even in some other cases, commonly occurs in the first
sentence, preceded by several titles of honour; and is often written a
little above the line to which it appertains; the space beneath it in
that line being left blank: sometimes it is written in letters of gold,
or red ink. A king writing to a subject, or a great man to a dependant,
usually places his name and seal at the head of his letter. The seal is
the impression of a signet (generally a ring, worn on the little finger
of the right hand), upon which is engraved the name of the person,
commonly accompanied by the words "His [_i.e._ God's] servant," or some
other words expressive of trust in God and the like. Its impression is
considered more valid than the sign-manual, and is indispensable to give
authenticity to the letter. It is made by dabbing some ink upon the
surface of the signet and pressing this upon the paper: the place which
is to be stamped being first moistened by touching the tongue with a
finger of the right hand and then gently rubbing the part with that
finger. A person writing to a superior or an equal, or even to an
inferior to whom he wishes to show respect, signs his name at the bottom
of his letter, next the left side or corner, and places the seal
immediately to the right of this: but if he particularly desire to
testify his humility, he places it beneath his name, or even partly
over the lower edge of the paper, which consequently does not receive
the whole of the impression. The letter is generally folded twice in the
direction of the writing, and enclosed in a cover of paper, upon which
is written the address in some such form as this:--"It shall arrive, if
it be the will of God, whose name be exalted, at such a place, and be
delivered into the hand of our honoured friend, etc., such a one, whom
God preserve." Sometimes it is placed in a small bag, or purse, of silk
embroidered with gold.

Many persons of the instructed classes, and some others among the Arabs,
often take delight and show much ingenuity and quickness of apprehension
in conversing and corresponding by means of signs and emblems, or in a
conventional, metaphorical language, not understood by the vulgar in
general and sometimes not by any excepting the parties engaged in the
intercourse. In some cases, when the main metaphor employed is
understood, the rest of the conversation becomes easily intelligible,
without any previous explanation; and I have occasionally succeeded in
carrying on a conversation of this kind, but I have more frequently been
unsuccessful in attempting to divine the nature of a topic in which
other persons were engaged. One simple mode of secret conversation or
correspondence is by substituting certain letters for other letters.

Many of the women are said to be adepts in this art, or science, and to
convey messages, declarations of love, and the like, by means of fruits,
flowers, and other emblems. The inability of numbers of women in
families of the middle classes to write or read, as well as the
difficulty or impossibility frequently existing of conveying written
letters, may have given rise to such modes of communication. Lady Mary
Wortley Montagu, in one of her charming letters from the East, has
gratified our curiosity by a Turkish love-letter of this kind.[140] A
specimen of one from an Arab with its answer, may be here added:--An
Arab lover sent to his mistress a fan, a bunch of flowers, a silk
tassel, some sugar-candy, and a piece of a chord of a musical
instrument; and she returned for answer a piece of an aloe-plant, three
black cumin-seeds, and a piece of a plant used in washing.[141] His
communication is thus interpreted. The fan, being called "mirwaḥah,"
a word derived from a root which has among its meanings that of "going
to any place in the evening," signified his wish to pay her an evening
visit: the flowers, that the interview should be in her garden: the
tassel, being called "shurrábeh," that they should have sharáb[142] (or
wine): the sugar-candy, being termed "sukkar nebát," and "nebát" also
signifying "we will pass the night," denoted his desire to remain in her
company until the morning: and the piece of a chord, that they should be
entertained by music. The interpretation of her answer is as follows.
The piece of an aloe-plant, which is called "ṣabbárah" (from
"ṣabr," which signifies "patience"--because it will live for many
months together without water), implied that he must wait: the three
black cumin-seeds explained to him that the period of delay should be
three nights: and the plant used in washing informed him that she should
then have gone to the bath, and would meet him.[143]

A remarkable faculty is displayed by some Arabs for catching the
meaning of secret signs employed in written communications to them, such
signs being often used in political and other intrigues. The following
is a curious instance.--The celebrated poet El-Mutanebbee, having
written some verses in dispraise of Káfoor El-Ikhsheedee, the
independent Governor of Egypt, was obliged to flee and hide himself in a
distant town. Káfoor was informed of his retreat, and desired his
secretary to write to him a letter promising him pardon and commanding
him to return; but told the writer at the same time that when the poet
came he would punish him. The secretary was a friend of the poet, and,
being obliged to read the letter to the Prince when he had written it,
was perplexed how to convey to El-Mutanebbee some indication of the
danger that awaited him. He could only venture to do so in the exterior
address; and having written this in the usual form, commencing "In
sháa-lláh" (If it be the will of God) "this shall arrive," etc., he put
a small mark of reduplication over the "n" in the first word, which he
thus converted into "Inna," the final vowel being understood. The poet
read the letter and was rejoiced to see a promise of pardon; but on
looking a second time at the address was surprised to observe the mark
of reduplication over the "n." Knowing the writer to be his friend, he
immediately suspected a secret meaning, and rightly conceived that the
sign conveyed an allusion to a passage in the Ḳur-án commencing with
the word "Inna," and this he divined to be the following:--"Verily the
magistrates are deliberating concerning thee, to put thee to
death."[144] Accordingly, he fled to another town. Some authors add that
he wrote a reply conveying by a similar sign to his friend an allusion
to another passage in the Ḳur-án:--"We will never enter the country
while they remain therein."[145] It is probable that signs thus employed
were used by many persons to convey allusions to certain words; and such
may have been the case in the above-mentioned instance: if not, the poet
was indeed a wonderful guesser.

It is commonly believed by the Muslims (learned and unlearned) that all
kinds of birds and many (if not all) beasts have a language by which
they communicate their thoughts to each other; and we are told in the
Ḳur-án[146] that Suleymán (Solomon) was taught the language of
birds.[147] I thought that I could boast of an accomplishment very rare
in Christian countries, in having learned in Egypt somewhat of this
language; for instance, that the common cry of the pigeon is "Allah!
Allah!" ("God! God!"); that of the ringdove, "Kereem! Towwáb!"
("Bountiful! Propitious!"--an ejaculation addressed to God); that of the
common dove, "Waḥḥidoo rabbakumu-llezee khalaḳakum
yeghfir-lakum zembakum!" ("Assert the unity of your Lord who created
you, that He may forgive you your sin!"): but I afterwards found that
several specimens of this language were given by Ez-Zamakhsheree, and
had been published in Europe.[148] The cock cries, "Uzkuru-lláha, yá
gháfiloon!" ("Commemorate God, O ye negligent!"): the ḳaṭà (a kind
of grouse), "Men seket selim!" ("He who is silent is safe!") The latter,
however, would do better if it did itself attend to the maxim it utters;
for its cry (which to the uninstructed in the language of birds sounds
merely "ḳaṭà! ḳaṭà!"--its own name) tells where it is to be
found by the sportsman, and thus causes its own destruction.--Hence the
proverb, "More veracious than the ḳaṭà."

An Arab historian mentions a parrot which recited the Soorat Yá-Seen
(or 36th chapter of the Ḳur-án), and a raven which recited the Soorat
es-Sijdeh (or 32nd chapter) and which, on arriving at the place of
prostration (or verse which should be recited with prostration), would
perform that action, and say, "My body prostrateth itself to Thee, and
my heart confideth in Thee." But these are not the most remarkable cases
of the kind. He affirms that there was a parrot in Cairo which recited
the Ḳur-án from beginning to end. The Pásha, he says, desiring to try
its talent, caused a man to recite a chapter of the Ḳur-án in its
presence, and to pass irregularly from one chapter to another, with the
view of leading the bird into error; but, instead of this being the
result, the parrot corrected him![149]


[123] Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 424. This of course alludes to
_Arab_ unbelievers. [For a fuller account of ancient Arab poetry, with
examples, see my Introduction to Lane's "Selections from the Ḳur-án,"
xiv.-xxxi. 2nd ed. S. L-P.]

[124] Genesis ix. 5.

[125] Lettres sur l'Histoire des Arabes avant l'Islamisme, par Fulgence
Fresnel (Paris, 1836, pp. 31 ff.); an author who is at present [1837]
devoting talents of the very highest order to the study and illustration
of the history and literature of the early Arabs, and to whose
conversations and writings I must acknowledge myself indebted for the
most valuable information.

[126] El-Isḥáḳee.

[127] El-Isḥáḳee.

[128] El-Isḥáḳee.

[129] Fakhr-ed-Deen, in De Sacy, Chrestomathie Arabe.

[130] Ibn-Khaldoon.

[131] Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt (MS.), chap. vii.

[132] El-Maḳreezee's Khiṭaṭ, chapter entitled "Khizánet

[133] Fakhr-ed-Deen, ubi supra. The ḳeerát of Baghdád was the
twentieth part of a deenár or piece of gold.

[134] Fakhr-ed-Deen, ubi supra.

[135] D'Herbelot, art. "Bokhteri."

[136] Various different modes of obeisance are practised by the Muslims.
Among these, the following are the more common or more remarkable: they
differ in the degree of respect that they indicate, nearly in the order
in which I shall mention them; the last being the most respectful:--1.
Placing the right hand upon the breast.--2. Touching the lips and the
forehead or turban (or the forehead or turban only) with the right
hand.--3. Doing the same, but slightly inclining the head during that
action.--4. The same as the preceding, but inclining the body also.--5.
As above, but previously touching the ground with the right hand.--6.
Kissing the hand of the person to whom the obeisance is paid.--7.
Kissing his sleeve.--8. Kissing the skirt of his clothing.--9. Kissing
his feet.--10. Kissing the carpet or ground before him.--The first five
modes are often accompanied by the salutation of "Peace be on you:" to
which the reply is, "On you be peace and the mercy of God and his
blessings." The sixth mode is observed by servants or pupils to masters,
by the wife to the husband, and by children to their father and
sometimes to the mother. The last mode is seldom observed but to kings;
and in Arabian countries it is now very uncommon.

[137] Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, chap. vii.

[138] Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of 305.

[139] Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, chap. viii.

[140] The art here mentioned was first made known to Europeans by a
Frenchman, M. Du Vigneau, in a work entitled "Secrétaire Turc, contenant
l'Art d'exprimer ses pensées sans se voir, sans se parler, et sans
s'écrire:" Paris, 1688: in-12. Von Hammer has also given an interesting
paper on this subject in the "Mines de l'Orient," No. 1: Vienna, 1809.
(Note to Marcel's "Contes du Cheykh El-Mohdy," iii. 327, 328: Paris,

[141] Called "ghásool el-azrár." In Delile's Flora Ægyptiaca, the name
of ghásool is given to the mesembryanthemum nodiflorum, class
icosandria, order pentagynia.

[142] This name is now given to sherbet.

[143] Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, chap. x.

[144] Ḳur. xxviii. 19.

[145] Ḳur. v. 27.

[146] Ḳur. xxvii. 16.

[147] Manṭiḳ eṭ-ṭeyr.

[148] Alcoranus Marraccii, p. 511.

[149] El-Isḥáḳee; reign of the Khaleefeh El-Musta´een, the son of



The Muslim takes a light breakfast after the morning-prayers, and dinner
after the noon-prayers; or a single meal instead of these two, before
noon. His principal meal is supper, which is taken after the prayers of
sunset. A man of rank or wealth, when he has no guest, generally eats
alone; his children eat after him, or with his wife or wives. In all his
repasts he is moderate with regard to the quantity which he eats,
however numerous the dishes.

In the Middle Ages it appears that the dishes were sometimes, I believe
generally, placed upon a round embroidered cloth spread on the floor,
and sometimes on a tray, which was either laid on the floor or upon a
small stand or stool. The last is the mode now always followed in the
houses of the higher and middle classes of the Arabs. The table is
usually placed upon a round cloth spread in the middle of the floor, or
in a corner next two of the deewáns or low seats which generally extend
along three sides of the room. It is composed of a large round tray of
silver, or tinned copper, or of brass, supported by a stool, commonly
about fifteen or sixteen inches high, made of wood and generally inlaid
with mother-of-pearl, and ebony or other wood, or tortoise-shell. When
there are numerous guests, two or more such tables are prepared. The
dishes are of silver or tinned copper, or china. Several of these are
placed upon the tray; and around them are disposed some round flat cakes
of bread, with spoons of box-wood, ebony, or other material, and usually
two or three limes cut in halves, to be squeezed over certain of the
dishes. When these preparations have been made, each person who is to
partake of the repast receives a napkin; and a servant pours water over
his hands. A basin and ewer of either of the metals first mentioned are
employed for this purpose; the former has a cover with a receptacle for
a piece of soap in its centre, and with numerous perforations through
which the water runs during the act of washing, so that it is not seen
when the basin is brought from one person to another. It is
indispensably requisite to wash at least the right hand before eating
with the fingers anything but dry food; and the mouth also is often
rinsed, the water being taken up into it from the right hand. The
company sit upon the floor, or upon cushions, or some of them on the
deewán, either cross-legged or with the right knee raised:[150] they
retain the napkins before mentioned, or a long napkin, sufficient to
surround the tray, is placed upon their knees; and each person, before
he begins to eat, says, "In the name of God," or "In the name of God,
the Compassionate, the Merciful." The master of the house begins first:
if he did not do so, some persons would suspect that the food was
poisoned. The thumb and two fingers of the right hand serve instead of
knives and forks; and it is the usual custom for a person to help
himself to a portion of the contents of a dish by drawing it towards
the edge, or taking it from the edge, with a morsel of bread, which
he eats with it: when he takes too large a portion for a single
mouthful, he generally places it on his cake of bread. He takes from any
dish that pleases him; and sometimes a host hands a delicate morsel with
his fingers to one of his guests. It is not allowable to touch food with
the left hand (as it is used for unclean purposes), excepting in a
few cases when both hands are required to divide a joint.

Among the more common dishes are the following:--lamb or mutton, cut
into small pieces, and stewed with various vegetables, and sometimes
with peaches, apricots, or jujubes, and sugar; cucumbers or small
gourds, or the fruit of the black or white egg-plant, stuffed with rice
and minced meat, vine-leaves or pieces of lettuce-leaf or cabbage-leaf,
enclosing a similar composition; small morsels of lamb or mutton,
roasted on skewers, and called kebáb; fowls simply roasted or boiled, or
boned and stuffed with raisins, pistachio-nuts, crumbled bread, and
parsley; and various kinds of pastry and other sweets. The repast is
frequently opened with soup; and is generally ended with boiled rice,
mixed with a little butter and seasoned with salt and pepper; or after
this is served, a water-melon or other fruit, or a bowl of a sweet drink
composed of water with raisins and sometimes other kinds of fruit boiled
in it, and then sugar, with a little rose-water added to it when cool.
The meat, having generally little fat, is cooked with clarified butter,
and is so thoroughly done that it is easily divided with the fingers.

A whole lamb, stuffed in the same manner as the fowls above mentioned,
is not a very uncommon dish; but one more extraordinary, of which
´Abd-El-Laṭeef gives an account[151] as one of the most remarkable
that he had seen in Egypt, I am tempted to describe. It was an enormous
pie, composed in the following manner:--Thirty pounds of fine flour
being kneaded with five pounds and a half of oil of sesame, and divided
into two equal portions, one of these was spread upon a round tray of
copper about four spans in diameter. Upon this were placed three lambs,
stuffed with pounded meat fried with oil of sesame and ground
pistachio-nuts, and various hot aromatics, such as pepper, ginger,
cinnamon, mastic, coriander-seed, cumin-seed, cardamom, nut [or
nutmeg?], etc. These were then sprinkled with rose-water infused with
musk; and upon the lambs, and in the remaining spaces, were placed
twenty fowls, twenty chickens, and fifty smaller birds; some of which
were baked, and stuffed with eggs; some, stuffed with meat; and some,
fried with the juice of sour grapes, or that of limes, or some similar
acid. To the above were added a number of small pies; some filled with
meat and others with sugar and sweetmeats; and sometimes the meat of
another lamb, cut into small pieces, and some fried cheese. The whole
being piled up in the form of a dome, some rose-water infused with musk
and aloes-wood was sprinkled upon it; and the other half of the paste
first mentioned was spread over, so as to close the whole: it was then
baked, wiped with a sponge, and again sprinkled with rose-water infused
with musk.

On certain periodical festivals, and on other occasions it has long
been, and still is, a custom of Muslim princes to give public feasts to
all classes of their subjects, in the palace. El-Maḳreezee quotes a
curious account of the feasts which were given on the festival following
Ramaḍán to the inhabitants of Cairo by the Fáṭimee Khaleefehs. At
the upper end of a large saloon was placed the sereer (or couch) of the
monarch, upon which he sat with the Wezeer on his right. Upon this seat
was placed a round silver table, with various delicacies, of which they
alone ate. Before it, and extending nearly from the seat to the other
extremity of the saloon, was set up a kind of table or platform
(simáṭ) of painted wood, resembling a number of benches placed
together, ten cubits or about eighteen or nineteen feet in width. Along
the middle of this were ranged twenty-one enormous dishes, each
containing twenty-one baked sheep, three years old and fat, together
with fowls, pigeons, and young chickens, in number 350 of each kind, all
of which were piled together in an oblong form to the height of the
stature of a man, and enclosed with dry sweetmeat. The spaces between
these dishes were occupied by nearly five hundred other dishes of
earthenware, each of which contained seven fowls, and was filled with
sweetmeats of various kinds. The table was strewn with flowers, and
cakes of bread made of the finest flour were arranged along each side;
there were also two great edifices of sweetmeats, each weighing 17 cwt.,
which were carried thither by porters with shoulder poles, and one of
them was placed at the commencement and the other at the close of this
sumptuous banquet. When the Khaleefeh and the Wezeer had taken their
seats upon the couch, the officers of state, who were distinguished by
neck-rings or collars, and the inferior members of the Court, seated
themselves in the order of their respective ranks; and when they had
eaten, they gave place to others. Two officers distinguished themselves
at these feasts in a very remarkable manner. Each of them used to eat a
baked sheep and ten fowls dressed with sweetmeats, and ten pounds of
sweetmeats besides, and was presented with a quantity of food carried
away from the feast to his house, together with a large sum of money.
One of them had been a prisoner at ´Asḳalán; and after he had
remained there some time, the person into whose power he had fallen
jestingly told him that if he would eat a calf belonging to him, the
flesh of which weighed several hundredweights, he would emancipate him.
This feat he accomplished and thus obtained his liberation.[152]

With respect to clean and unclean meats, the Muslim is subject to nearly
the same laws as the Jew. Swine's flesh, and blood, are especially
forbidden to him; but camel's flesh is allowed. The latter, however,
being of a coarse nature, is never eaten when any other meat can be
obtained, excepting by persons of the lower classes and by Arabs of the
desert. Of fish, almost every kind is eaten (excepting shell-fish),
usually fried in oil: of game, little; partly in consequence of frequent
doubt whether it have been lawfully killed. The diet consists in a great
measure of vegetables, and includes a large variety of pastry. A very
common kind of pastry is a pancake, which is made very thin, and folded
over several times like a napkin; it is saturated with butter, and
generally sweetened with honey or sugar; as is also another common kind
which somewhat resembles vermicelli.

The usual beverage at meals is water, which is drunk from cooling,
porous, earthen bottles, or from cups of brass or other metal: but in
the houses of the wealthy, sherbet is sometimes served instead of this,
in covered glass cups, each of which contains about three-quarters of a
pint. The sherbet is composed of water made very sweet with sugar, or
with a hard conserve of violets or roses or mulberries. After every time
that a person drinks, he says, "Praise be to God;" and each person of
the company says to him, "May it be productive of enjoyment:" to which
he replies, "May God cause thee to have enjoyment." The Arabs drink
little or no water during a meal, but generally take a large draught
immediately after. The repast is quickly finished; and each person, as
soon as he has done, says, "Praise be to God," or "Praise be to God, the
Lord of all creatures." He then washes in the same manner as before, but
more thoroughly; well lathering his beard and rinsing his mouth.

"Whoever," said the Prophet, "believes in God and the day of
resurrection, must respect his guest; and the time of being kind to him
is one day and one night; and the period of entertaining him is three
days; and after that, if he does it longer, he benefits him more; but it
is not right for a guest to stay in the house of the host so long as to
incommode him." He even allowed the "right of a guest" to be taken by
force from such as would not offer it.[153] The following observations,
respecting the treatment of guests by the Bedawees, present an
interesting commentary upon the former precept:--"Strangers who have not
any friend or acquaintance in the camp, alight at the first tent that
presents itself: whether the owner be at home or not, the wife or
daughter immediately spreads a carpet, and prepares breakfast or dinner.
If the stranger's business requires a protracted stay, as, for instance,
if he wishes to cross the Desert under the protection of the tribe, the
host, after a lapse of three days and four hours from the time of his
arrival, asks whether he means to honour him any longer with his
company. If the stranger declares his intention of prolonging his visit,
it is expected that he should assist his host in domestic matters,
fetching water, milking the camel, feeding the horse, etc. Should he
even decline this, he may remain; but he will be censured by all the
Arabs of the camp: he may, however, go to some other tent of the nezel
[or encampment], and declare himself there a guest. Thus, every third or
fourth day he may change hosts, until his business is finished, or he
has reached his place of destination."[154]

The obligation which is imposed by eating another person's
bread and salt, or salt alone, or eating such things with
another, is well known; but the following example of it may be new to
some readers.--Yaạḳoob the son of El-Leyth Eṣ-Ṣaffár, having
adopted a predatory life, excavated a passage one night into the palace
of Dirhem the Governor of Sijistán, or Seestán; and after he had "made
up a convenient bale of gold and jewels, and the most costly stuffs, was
proceeding to carry it off, when he happened in the dark to strike his
foot against something hard on the floor. Thinking it might be a jewel
of some sort or other, a diamond perhaps, he picked it up and put it to
his tongue, and, to his equal mortification and disappointment, found it
to be a lump of rock-salt; for having thus tasted the salt of the owner,
his avarice gave way to his respect for the laws of hospitality; and
throwing down his precious booty, he left it behind him, and withdrew
empty-handed to his habitation. The treasurer of Dirhem repairing the
next day, according to custom, to inspect his charge, was equally
surprised and alarmed at observing that a great part of the treasure and
other valuables had been removed; but on examining the package which lay
on the floor, his astonishment was not less, to find that not a single
article had been conveyed away. The singularity of the circumstance
induced him to report it immediately to his master: and the latter
causing it to be proclaimed throughout the city, that the author of this
proceeding had his free pardon, further announced that on repairing to
the palace, he would be distinguished by the most encouraging marks of
favour." Yaạḳoob availed himself of the invitation, relying upon
the promise, which was fulfilled to him; and from this period he
gradually rose in power until he became the founder of a Dynasty.[155]

In the houses of persons of the higher and middle classes in Cairo, the
different apartments generally resemble each other in several respects
and are similarly furnished. The greater portion of the floor is
elevated about half a foot, or somewhat more, above the rest. The higher
portion is called leewán (a corruption of "el-eewán"), and the lower,
durḳá´ah, from the Persian dar-gáh. When there is but one leewán, the
durḳá´ah occupies the lower end, extending from the door to the
opposite wall. In a handsome house, it is usually paved with white and
black marble and little pieces of red tile inlaid in tasteful and
complicated patterns; and if the room is on the ground-floor, and
sometimes in other cases, it has in the centre a fountain which plays
into a small shallow pool lined with coloured marbles like the
surrounding pavement. The shoes or slippers are left upon the
durḳá´ah previously to stepping upon the leewán. The latter is
generally paved with common stone and covered with a mat in summer, and
a carpet over this in winter; and a mattress and cushions are placed
against each of its three walls, composing what is called a "deewán," or
divan. The mattress, which is commonly about three feet wide and three
or four inches thick, is placed either on the floor or on a raised frame
or a slightly elevated pavement; and the cushions, which are usually of
a length equal to the width of the mattress and of a height equal to
half that measure, lean against the wall. Both mattresses and cushions
are stuffed with cotton and are covered with printed calico, cloth, or
some more expensive stuff. The deewán which extends along the upper end
of the leewán is called the ṣadr, and is the most honourable: and the
chief place on this seat is the corner which is to the right of a person
facing this end of the room; the other corner is the next in point of
honour; and the intermediate places on the same deewán are more
honourable than those on the two side-deewáns. To a superior, and often
to an equal, the master or mistress yields the chief place. The corners
are often furnished with an additional mattress of a square form, just
large enough for one person, placed upon the other mattress, and with
two additional (but smaller) cushions to recline against. The walls are
for the most part plastered and white-washed, and generally have two or
more shallow cupboards, the doors of which, as well as those of the
apartments, are fancifully constructed with small panels. The windows,
which are chiefly composed of curious wooden lattice-work, serving to
screen the inhabitants from the view of persons without, as also to
admit both light and air, commonly project outwards, and are furnished
with mattresses and cushions. In many houses there are, above these,
small windows of coloured glass, representing bunches of flowers, etc.
The ceiling is of wood, and certain portions of it, which are carved or
otherwise ornamented by fanciful carpentry, are usually painted with
bright colours, such as red, green, and blue, and sometimes varied with
gilding; but the greater part of the wood-work is generally left

The ḳá´ah is a large and lofty apartment, commonly having two leewáns
on opposite sides of the durḳá´ah. One of these is in most instances
larger than the other, and is held to be the more honourable part. Some
ḳá´ahs, containing three leewáns, one of these being opposite the
entrance, or four leewáns composing the form of a cross with the
durḳá´ah in the centre, communicate with the small chambers or
closets, or have elevated recesses which are furnished in the same
manner as the leewáns. That part of the roof which is over the
durḳá´ah rises above the rest, sometimes to nearly twice the height
of the latter, and is generally surmounted by a lantern of wooden
lattice-work to admit the air.

The prohibition of wine, or rather of fermented and intoxicating
liquors, being one of the most remarkable and characteristic points of
the Mohammadan religion, it might be imagined that the frequent stories
in the "Thousand and One Nights," describing parties of Muslims as
habitually indulging in the use of forbidden beverages, are scandalous
misrepresentations of Arab manners and customs. There are, however, many
similar anecdotes interspersed in the works of Arab historians, which
(though many of them are probably untrue in their application to
particular individuals) could not have been offered to the public by
such writers if they were not of a nature consistent with the customs of
a considerable class of the Arab nation.

In investigating this subject, it is necessary in the first place to
state that there is a kind of wine which Muslims are permitted to drink.
It is properly called nebeedh (a name which is _now_ given to
_prohibited_ kinds of wine), and is generally prepared by putting dry
grapes, or dry dates, in water, to extract their sweetness, and
suffering the liquor to ferment slightly until it acquires a little
sharpness or pungency. The Prophet himself was in the habit of drinking
wine of this kind, which was prepared for him in the first part of the
night; he drank it on the first and second days following; but if any
remained on the morning of the third day, he either gave it to his
servants or ordered it to be poured out upon the ground.[156] Such
beverages have, therefore, been drunk by the strictest of his followers;
and Ibn-Khaldoon strongly argues that nebeedh thus prepared from dates
was the kind of wine used by the Khaleefehs Hároon Er-Rasheed and
El-Ma-moon, and several other eminent men, who have been commonly
accused of habitually and publicly indulging in debauches of wine
properly so called, that is, of inebriating liquors.[157]

Nebeedh prepared from raisins is commonly sold in Arab towns under the
name of "zebeeb," which signifies "raisins." This I have often drunk in
Cairo, but never could perceive that it was in the slightest degree
fermented. Other beverages, to which the name of "nebeedh" has been
applied (though, like zebeeb, no longer called by that name), are also
sold in Arab towns. The most common of these is an infusion of licorice,
and called by the name of the root, ´erḳ-soos. The nebeedh of dates
is sold in Cairo with the dates themselves in the liquor; and in like
manner is that of figs. Under the same appellation of nebeedh have been
classed the different kinds of beer now commonly called boozeh. Opium,
hemp, etc., are now more frequently used by the Muslims to induce
intoxication or exhilaration. The young leaves of the hemp are generally
used alone, or mixed with tobacco, for smoking; and the capsules,
without the seeds, enter into the composition of several intoxicating

By my own experience I am but little qualified to pronounce an opinion
respecting the prevalence of drinking wine among the Arabs; for, never
drinking it myself, I had little opportunity of observing others do so
during my residence among Muslims. I judge, therefore, from the
conversations and writings of Arabs, which justify me in asserting that
the practice of drinking wine in private and by select parties is far
from being uncommon among modern Muslims, though certainly more so than
it was before the introduction of tobacco into the East, in the
beginning of the seventeenth century of our era: for this herb, being in
a slight degree exhilarating, and at the same time soothing, and
unattended by the injurious effects that result from wine, is a
sufficient luxury to many who, without it, would have recourse to
intoxicating beverages merely to pass away hours of idleness. The use of
coffee, too, which became common in Egypt, Syria, and other countries
besides Arabia, a century earlier than tobacco, doubtless tended to
render the habit of drinking wine less general. That it was adopted as a
substitute for wine appears even from its name, "ḳahweh," an old
Arabic term for wine; whence our "coffee."

There is an Arabic work of some celebrity, and not of small extent,
entitled "Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt,"[158] apparently written shortly before
the Arabs were in possession of the first of these substitutes for wine,
nearly the whole of which consists of anecdotes and verses relating to
the pleasures resulting from or attendant upon the use of wine; a few
pages at the end being devoted to the condemnation of this practice, or,
in other words, to proving the worthlessness of all that precedes. Of
this work I possess a copy, a quarto volume of 464 pages. I have
endeavoured to skim its cream; but found it impossible to do so without
collecting at the same time a considerable quantity of most filthy scum;
for it is characterised by wit and humour plentifully interlarded with
the grossest and most revolting obscenity. Yet it serves to confirm what
has been above asserted. The mere existence of such a work, (and it is
not the only one of the kind), written by a man of learning, and I
believe a Ḳáḍee, (a judge), or one holding the honourable office
of a guardian of religion and morality,[159] and written evidently _con
amore_, notwithstanding his assertion to the contrary,--is a strong
argument in favour of the prevalence of the practice which it paints in
the most fascinating colours, and then condemns. Its author terminates a
chapter (the ninth), in which many well-known persons are mentioned as
having been addicted to wine, by saying, that the Khaleefehs, Emeers,
and Wezeers, so addicted, are too numerous to name in such a work; and
by relating a story of a man who placed his own wife in pledge in the
hands of a wine-merchant, after having expended in the purchase of the
forbidden liquor all the property that he possessed. He excuses himself
(in his preface) for writing this book, by saying that he had been
ordered to do so by one whom he could not disobey; thus giving us a
pretty strong proof that a great man in his own time was not ashamed of
avowing his fondness for the prohibited enjoyment. If then we admit the
respectable authority of Ibn-Khaldoon, and acquit of the vice of
drunkenness those illustrious individuals whose characters he
vindicates, we must still regard most of the anecdotes relating to the
carousals of other persons as being not without foundation.

One of my friends, who enjoys a high reputation, ranking among the most
distinguished of the ´Ulamà of Cairo, is well known to his intimate
acquaintances as frequently indulging in the use of forbidden beverages
with a few select associates. I disturbed him and his companions by an
evening visit on one of these occasions, and was kept waiting within the
street door while the guests quickly removed everything that would give
me any indication of the manner in which they had been employed; for the
announcement of my (assumed) name,[160] and their knowledge of my
abstemious character, completely disconcerted them. I found them,
however, in the best humour. They had contrived, it appeared, to fill
with wine a _china_ bottle, of the kind used at that season (it was
winter) for water; and when any one of them asked the servant for water,
this bottle was brought to him; but when I made the same demand, my host
told me that there was a bottle of water on the sill of the window
behind that part of the deewán upon which I was seated. The evening
passed away very pleasantly, and I should not have known how unwelcome
was my intrusion had not one of the guests with whom I was intimately
acquainted, in walking part of the way home with me, explained to me the
whole occurrence. There was with us a third person, who, thinking that
my antipathy to wine was feigned, asked me to stop at his house on my
way and take a cup of "white coffee," by which he meant brandy.

Another of my Muslim acquaintances in Cairo I frequently met at the
house of a common friend, where, though he was in most respects very
bigoted, he was in the habit of indulging in wine. For some time he
refrained from this gratification when I was by; but at length my
presence became so irksome to him that he ventured to enter into an
argument with me on the subject of the prohibition. The only answer I
could give to his question, "Why is wine forbidden?" was in the words of
the Ḳur-án, "Because it is the source of more evil than profit."[161]
This suited his purpose, as I intended it should; and he asked, "What
evil results from it?" I answered, "Intoxication and quarrels, and so
forth."--"Then," said he, "if a man take not enough to intoxicate him
there is no harm;"--and, finding that I acquiesced by silence, he added,
"I am in the habit of taking a little; but never enough to intoxicate.
Boy, bring me a glass." He was the only Muslim, however, whom I have
heard to argue against the absolute interdiction of inebriating liquors.

Histories tell us that some of the early followers of the Prophet
indulged in wine, holding the text above referred to as indecisive; and
that Moḥammad was at first doubtful upon this subject appears from
another text, in which his followers were told not to come to prayer
when they were drunk, until they should know what they would say;[162]
an injunction nearly similar to one in the Bible[163]: but when frequent
and severe contentions resulted from their use of wine, the following
more decided condemnation of the practice was pronounced:--"O ye who
have become believers! verily wine and lots and images and
divining-arrows are an abomination of the work of the Devil; therefore,
avoid them, that ye may prosper."[164] This law is absolute; its
violation in the smallest degree is criminal. The punishment ordained by
the law for drinking (or, according to most doctors, for even tasting)
wine or spirits, or inducing intoxication by any other means, on
ordinary occasions, is the infliction of eighty stripes in the case of a
free man, and forty in that of a slave: but if the crime be openly
committed in the course of any day of the month of Ramaḍán, when
others are fasting, the punishment prescribed is death!

The prohibition of wine hindered many of the Prophet's contemporaries
from embracing his religion. It is said that the famous poet
El-Aạshà, who was one of them, delayed to join this cause on this
account, until death prevented him. A person passing by his tomb (at
Menfooḥah, in El-Yemámeh), and observing that it was moist, asked the
reason, and was answered that the young men of the place, considering
him still as their cup-companion, drank wine over his grave, and poured
his cup upon it.[165]

Yet many of the most respectable of the pagan Arabs, like certain of the
Jews and early Christians, abstained totally from wine, from a feeling
of its injurious effects upon morals, and, in their climate, upon
health; or more especially from the fear of being led by it into the
commission of foolish and degrading actions. Thus, Ḳeys the son of
Áṣim being one night overcome with wine attempted to grasp the moon,
and swore that he would not quit the spot where he stood until he had
laid hold of it: after leaping several times with the view of doing so,
he fell flat upon his face; and when he recovered his senses, and was
acquainted with the cause of his face being bruised, he made a solemn
vow to abstain from wine ever after.[166] A similar feeling operated
upon many Muslims more than religious principle. The Khaleefeh
´Abd-El-Melik Ibn-Marwán took pleasure in the company of a slave named
Naṣeeb, and one day desired him to drink with him. The slave replied,
"O Prince of the Faithful, I am not related to thee, nor have I any
authority over thee, and I am of no rank or lineage; I am a black slave,
and my wit and politeness have drawn me into thy favour: how then shall
I take that which will plunder me of these two qualities, and by what
shall I then propitiate thee?" The Khaleefeh admired and excused

It was the custom of many Muslim princes, as might be inferred from the
above anecdote, to admit the meanest of their dependants to participate
in their unlawful carousals when they could have no better companions;
but poets and musicians were their more common associates on these
occasions; and these two classes, and especially the latter, are in the
present day the most addicted to intoxicating liquors. Few modern Arab
musicians are so well contented with extraordinary payment and mere
sweet sherbet as with a moderate fee and plenty of wine and brandy; and
many of them deem even wine but a sorry beverage.

It was usual with the host and guests at wine-parties to wear dresses of
bright colours, red, yellow, and green;[168] and to perfume their beards
and mustaches with civet, or to have rose-water sprinkled upon them; and
ambergris or aloes-wood, or some other odoriferous substance, placed
upon burning coals in a censer, diffused a delicious fragrance
throughout the saloon of the revels.

The wine, it appears, was rather thick, for it was necessary to strain
it:[169] it was probably sweet, and not strong, for it was drunk in
large quantities. In general, perhaps, it was nebeedh of dry raisins
kept longer than the law allows. It was usually kept in a large earthen
vessel, called denn, high, and small at the bottom, which was partly
imbedded in the earth to keep it upright. The name of this vessel is now
given to a cask of wood; but the kind above mentioned was of earth, for
it was easily broken. A famous saint, Abu-l-Ḥoseyn En-Nooree, seeing
a vessel on the Tigris containing thirty denns belonging to the
Khaleefeh El-Moạtaḍid, and being told that they contained wine,
took a boat-pole, and broke them all, save one. When brought before the
Khaleefeh to answer for this action, and asked by him, "Who made thee
Moḥtesib?"[170] he boldly answered, "He who made thee
Khaleefeh!"--and was pardoned.[171]

Pitch was used by the Arabs, as it was by the Greeks and Romans, for
the purpose of curing their wine; the interior of the denn being coated
with it. A smaller kind of earthen jar, or amphora (báṭiyeh), and a
bottle of leather (baṭṭah), or of glass (kinneeneh), were also
used. The wine was transferred for the table to glass jugs, or
long-spouted ewers (ibreeḳs). These and the cups were placed upon a
round embroidered cloth spread on the floor, or upon a round tray. The
latter is now in general use, and is supported on the low stool already
described as being used at ordinary meals. The guests sat around,
reclining against pillows; or they sat upon the deewán, and a page or
slave handed the cup, having on his right arm a richly embroidered
napkin, on the end of which the drinker wiped his lips. The cups are
often described as holding a fluid pound, or little less than an English
pint, and this is to be understood literally, or nearly so: they were
commonly of cut glass, but some were of crystal or silver or gold.[172]
With these and the ewers or jugs were placed several saucers, or small
dishes (nuḳuldáns), of fresh and dried fruits (nuḳl); and fans and
fly-whisks, of the kind described on a former occasion, were used by the

The most common and esteemed fruits in the countries inhabited by the
Arabs may here be mentioned.

The date (belaḥ) deserves the first place. The Prophet's favourite
fruits were fresh dates (ruṭab) and water-melons; and he ate them
both together.[173] "Honour," said he, "your paternal aunt, the
date-palm; for she was created of the earth of which Adam was
formed."[174] It is said that God hath given this tree as a peculiar
favour to the Muslims; that he hath decreed all the date-palms in the
world to them, and they have accordingly conquered every country in
which these trees are found; and all are said to have derived their
origin from the Ḥijáz.[175] The palm-tree has several well-known
properties that render it an emblem of a human being; among which are
these: that if the head be cut off, the tree dies; and if a branch be
cut off, another does not grow in its place.[176] Dates are preserved in
a moist state by being merely pressed together in a basket or skin, and
thus prepared are called ´ajweh. There are many varieties of this fruit.
The pith or heart of the palm (jummár) is esteemed for its delicate

The water-melon (biṭṭeekh, vulg. baṭṭeekh), from what has
been said of it above, ought to be ranked next; and it really merits
this distinction. "Whoso eateth," said the Prophet, "a mouthful of
water-melon, God writeth for him a thousand good works, and cancelleth a
thousand evil works, and raiseth him a thousand degrees; for it came
from Paradise;"--and again, "The water-melon is food and drink, acid and
alkali, and a support of life," etc.[177] The varieties of this fruit
are very numerous.

The banana (móz) is a delicious fruit. The Prophet pronounced the
banana-tree to be the only thing on earth that resembles a thing in
Paradise, because it bears fruit both in winter and summer.[178]

The pomegranate (rummán) is another celebrated fruit. Every pomegranate,
according to the Prophet, contains a fecundating seed from

The other most common and esteemed fruits are the following;--the apple,
pear, quince, apricot, peach, fig, sycamore-fig, grape, lote, jujube,
plum, walnut, almond, hazel-nut, pistachio-nut, orange, Seville orange,
lime, lemon, citron, mulberry, olive, and sugar-cane.[180]

Of a selection of these fruits consists the dessert which accompanies
the wine; but the table is not complete without a bunch or two of
flowers placed in the midst.

Though the Arabs are far from being remarkable for exhibiting taste in
the planning of their gardens, they are passionately fond of flowers,
and especially of the rose (ward). The Khaleefeh El-Mutawekkil
monopolized roses for his own enjoyment; saying, "I am the King of
Sulṭáns, and the rose is the king of sweet-scented flowers; therefore
each of us is most worthy of the other for a companion." The rose in his
time was seen nowhere but in his palace: during the season of this
flower he wore rose-coloured clothes; and his carpets were sprinkled
with rose-water.[181] A similar passion for the rose is said to have
distinguished a weaver in the reign of El-Ma-moon. He was constantly
employed at his loom every day of the year, even during the
congregational-prayers of Friday, excepting in the rose-season, when he
abandoned his work and gave himself up to the enjoyment of wine early in
the morning and late in the evening, loudly proclaiming his revels by

    "The season has become pleasant! The time of the rose is come!
        Take your morning potations, as long as the rose has blossoms
        and flowers!"

When he resumed his work, he made it known by singing aloud--

    "If my Lord prolong my life until the rose-season, I will take again
        my morning potations: but if I die before it, alas! for the loss
        of the rose and wine!

    "I implore the God of the supreme throne, whose glory be extolled,
        that my heart may continually enjoy the evening potations to
        the day of resurrection."

The Khaleefeh was so amused with the humour of this man that he granted
him an annual pension of ten thousand dirhems to enable him to enjoy
himself amply on these occasions. Another anecdote may be added to show
the estimation of the rose in the mind of an Arab. It is said that
Rowḥ Ibn-Ḥátim, the governor of the province of Northern Africa,
was sitting one day, with a female slave, in an apartment of his palace,
when a eunuch brought him a jar full of red and white roses which a man
had offered as a present. He ordered the eunuch to fill the jar with
silver in return; but his slave said, "O my lord, thou hast not acted
equitably towards the man; for his present to thee is of two colours,
red and white." The Emeer replied, "Thou hast said truly;" and gave
orders to fill the jar for him with silver and gold (dirhems and
deenárs) intermixed. Some persons preserve roses during the whole of the
year in the following manner. They take a number of rose-buds and fill
with them a new earthen jar, and, after closing its mouth with mud so as
to render it impervious to the air, bury it in the earth. Whenever they
want a few roses, they take out some of these buds, which they find
unaltered, sprinkle a little water upon them and leave them for a short
time in the air, when they open and appear as if just gathered.[182]

The rose is even a subject of miracles. It is related by Ibn-Ḳuteybeh
that there grows in India a kind of rose, upon the leaves of which is
inscribed, "There is no deity but God:"[183] But I find a more
particular account of this miraculous rose. A person, who professed to
have seen it, said, "I went into India, and I saw at one of its towns a
large rose, sweet-scented, upon which was inscribed, in white
characters, 'There is no deity but God; Moḥammad is God's apostle:
Aboo-Bekr is the very veracious: ´Omar is the discriminator:' and I
doubted of this, whether it had been done by art; so I took one of the
blossoms not yet opened, and in it was the same inscription; and there
were many of the same kind there. The people of that place worshipped
stones, and knew not God, to whom be ascribed might and glory."[184]
Roses are announced for sale in the streets of Cairo by the cry of "The
rose was a thorn: from the sweat of the Prophet it blossomed!" in
allusion to a miracle recorded of Moḥammad. "When I was taken up into
heaven," said the Prophet, "some of my sweat fell upon the earth, and
from it sprang the rose; and whoever would smell my scent, let him smell
the rose." In another tradition it is said, "The white rose was created
from my sweat on the night of the Meạráj;[185] and the red rose, from
the sweat of Jebraeel;[186] and the yellow rose, from the sweat of
El-Buráḳ."[187] The Persians take especial delight in roses;
sometimes spreading them as carpets or beds on which to sit or recline
in their revellings.

But there is a flower pronounced more excellent than the rose, that of
the Egyptian privet, or Lawsonia inermis.[188] Moḥammad said, "The
chief of the sweet-scented flowers of this world and of the next is the
fághiyeh;" and this was his favourite flower.[189] I approve of his
taste; for this flower, which grows in clusters somewhat like those of
the lilac, has a most delicious fragrance. But, on account of
discrepancies in different traditions, a Muslim may with a clear
conscience prefer either of the two flowers next mentioned.

The Prophet said of the violet (benefsej), "The excellence of the
extract of violets, above all other extracts, is as the excellence of me
above all the rest of the creation: it is cold in summer, and hot in
winter:" and, in another tradition, "The excellence of the violet is as
the excellence of el-Islám above all other religions."[190] A delicious
sherbet is made of a conserve of sugar and violet-flowers.

The myrtle (ás or narseen) is the rival of the violet. "Adam," said the
Prophet, "fell down from Paradise with three things; the myrtle, which
is the chief of sweet-scented flowers in this world; an ear of wheat,
which is the chief of all kinds of food in this world; and pressed
dates, which are the chief of the fruits of this world."[191]

The anemone[192] was monopolized for his own enjoyment by Noạmán
Ibn-El-Mundhir (King of El-Ḥeereh, and contemporary of Moḥammad),
as the rose was afterwards by El-Mutawekkil.[193]

Another flower much admired and celebrated in the East is the
gilliflower (menthoor or kheeree). There are three principal kinds; the
most esteemed is the yellow, or gold-coloured, which has a delicious
scent both by night and day; the next, the purple, and other dark kinds,
which have a scent only in the night; the least esteemed, the white,
which has no scent. The yellow gilliflower is an emblem of a neglected

The narcissus (narjis) is very highly esteemed. Galen says, "He who has
two cakes of bread, let him dispose of one of them for some flowers of
the narcissus; for bread is the food of the body, and the narcissus is
the food of the soul." Hippocrates gave a similar opinion.[195]

The following flowers complete the list of those celebrated as most
appropriate to add to the delights of wine:--the jasmine, eglantine,
Seville-orange-flower, lily, sweet-basil, wild thyme, buphthalmum,
chamomile, nenuphar, lotus, pomegranate-flower, poppy, ketmia, crocus or
saffron, safflower, flax, the blossoms of different kinds of bean, and
those of the almond.[196]

A sprig of Oriental willow[197] adds much to the charms of a bunch of
flowers, being the favourite symbol of a graceful woman.

But I have not yet mentioned all that contributes to the pleasures of an
Eastern carousal. For what is the juice of the grape without melodious
sounds? "Wine is as the body; music, as the soul; and joy is their
offspring."[198] All the five senses should be gratified. For this
reason an Arab toper, who had nothing, it appears, but wine to enjoy,

    "Ho! give me wine to drink; and tell me 'This is wine;'"

for in drinking his sight and smell and taste and touch would all be
affected; but it was desirable that his hearing should also be

Music was condemned by the Prophet almost as severely as wine. "Singing
and hearing songs," said he, "cause hypocrisy to grow in the heart, like
as water promoteth the growth of corn:"[200]--and musical instruments he
declared to be among the most powerful means by which the Devil seduces
man. An instrument of music is the Devil's muëddin, serving to call men
to his worship. Of the hypocrisy of those attached to music, the
following anecdote presents an instance:--A drunken young man with a
lute in his hand was brought one night before the Khaleefeh
´Abd-El-Melik the son of Marwán, who, pointing to the instrument, asked
what it was, and what was its use. The youth made no answer; so he asked
those around him; but they also remained silent, till one, more bold
than the rest, said, "O Prince of the Faithful, this is a lute: it is
made by taking some wood of the pistachio-tree, and cutting it into thin
pieces, and gluing these together, and then attaching over them these
chords, which, when a beautiful girl touches them, send forth sounds
more pleasant than those of rain falling upon a desert land; and my wife
be separated from me by a triple divorce, if every one in this council
is not acquainted with it, and doth not know it as well as I do, and
thou the first of them, O Prince of the Faithful." The Khaleefeh
laughed, and ordered that the young man should be discharged.[201]

The latter saying of the Prophet, respecting the Devil, suggests
another anecdote related of himself by Ibraheem El-Móṣilee, the
father of Isḥáḳ; both of whom were very celebrated musicians. I
give a translation of it somewhat abridged.--"I asked Er-Rasheed," says
Ibraheem, "to grant me permission to spend a day at home with my women
and brothers; and he gave me two thousand deenárs, and appointed the
next Saturday for this purpose. I caused the meats and wine and other
necessaries to be prepared, and ordered the chamberlain to close the
door, and admit no one: but while I was sitting, with my attendants
standing in the form of a curved line before me, there entered and
approached me a sheykh, reverend and dignified and comely in appearance,
wearing short khuffs,[202] and two soft gowns, with a ḳalensuweh
[sugarloaf hat] upon his head, and in his hand a silver-headed staff;
and sweet odours were diffused from his clothes. I was enraged with the
chamberlain for admitting him; but on his saluting me in a very
courteous manner, I returned his salutation, and desired him to sit
down. He then began to repeat to me stories, tales of war, and poetry;
so that my anger was appeased, and it appeared to me that my servants
had not presumed to admit him until acquainted with his politeness and
courteousness. I therefore said to him, 'Hast thou any inclination for
meat?' He answered, 'I have no want of it.'--'And the wine?' said I. He
replied, 'Yes.' So I drank a large cupful, and he did the same, and then
said to me, 'O Ibraheem, wilt thou let us hear some specimen of thy art
in which thou hast excelled the people of thy profession?' I was angry
at his words; but I made light of the matter, and, having taken the lute
and tuned it, I played and sang; whereupon he said, 'Thou hast performed
well, O Ibraheem.' I became more enraged, and said within myself, 'He is
not content with coming hither without permission, and asking me to
sing, but he calls me by my name, and proves himself unworthy of my
conversation.' He then said, 'Wilt thou let us hear more? If so we will
requite thee.' And I took the lute and sang, using my utmost care on
account of his saying, 'we will requite thee.' He was moved with
delight, and said, 'Thou hast performed well, O my master
Ibraheem:'--adding, 'Wilt thou permit thy slave to sing?' I answered,
'As thou pleasest:'--but thinking lightly of his sense to sing after me.
He took the lute, and tuned it; and, by Allah! I imagined that the lute
spoke in his bands with an eloquent Arab tongue. He proceeded to sing
some verses commencing,--

    'My heart is wounded! Who will give me for it a heart without a

The narrator continues by saying that he was struck dumb and motionless
with ecstasy; and that the strange sheykh, after having played and sung
again, and taught him an enchanting air (with which he afterwards
enraptured his patron, the Khaleefeh), vanished. Ibraheem, in alarm,
seized his sword; and was the more amazed when he found that the porter
had not seen the stranger enter or leave the house; but he heard his
voice again, outside, telling him that he was Aboo-Murrah (the

Ibraheem El-Móṣilee, his son Isḥák, and Mukkáriḳ[204] (a pupil
of the former), were especially celebrated among Arab musicians and
among the distinguished men of the reign of Hároon Er-Rasheed.
Isḥáḳ El-Móṣilee relates of his father Ibraheem that when
Er-Rasheed took him into his service he gave him a hundred and fifty
thousand dirhems and allotted him a monthly pension of ten thousand
dirhems, besides occasional presents [one of which is mentioned as
amounting to a hundred thousand dirhems for a single song], and the
produce of his (Ibraheem's) farms: he had food constantly prepared for
him; three sheep every day for his kitchen, besides birds; three
thousand dirhems were allowed him for fruits, perfumes, etc., every
month, and a thousand dirhems for his clothing; "and with all this,"
says his son, "he died without leaving more than three thousand deenárs,
a sum not equal to his debts, which I paid after his death."[205]
Ibraheem was of Persian origin, and of a high family. He was commonly
called the Nedeem (or cup-companion), being Er-Rasheed's favourite
companion at the wine-table; and his son, who enjoyed the like
distinction with El-Ma-moon, received the same appellation, as well as
that of "Son of the Nedeem." Ibraheem was the most famous musician of
his time, at least till his son attained celebrity.[206]

Isḥáḳ El-Mósilee was especially famous as a musician; but he was
also a good poet, accomplished in general literature, and endowed with
great wit. He was honoured above all other persons in the pay of
El-Ma-moon, and enjoyed a long life; but for many years before his death
he was blind.[207]

Mukháriḳ appears to have rivalled his master Ibraheem. The latter, he
relates, took him to perform before Er-Rasheed, who used to have a
curtain suspended between him and the musicians. "Others," he says,
"sang, and he was unmoved; but when I sang, he came forth from behind
the curtain, and exclaimed, 'Young man, hither!' and he seated me upon
the couch (sereer) and gave me thirty thousand dirhems."[208] The
following anecdote (which I abridge a little in translation) shows his
excellence in the art which he professed, and the effect of melody on an
Arab:--"After drinking with the Khaleefeh [El-Ma-moon, I think,] a whole
night, I asked his permission," says he, "to take the air in the
Ruṣáfeh [quarter of Baghdád], which he granted; and while I was
walking there, I saw a damsel who appeared as if the rising sun beamed
from her face. She had a basket, and I followed her. She stopped at a
fruiterer's, and bought some fruit; and observing that I was following
her, she looked back and abused me several times; but still I followed
her until she arrived at a great door, after having filled her basket
with fruits and flowers and similar things. When she had entered and the
door was closed behind her, I sat down opposite to it, deprived of my
reason by her beauty; and knew that there must be in the house a wine

"The sun went down upon me while I sat there; and at length there came
two handsome young men on asses, and they knocked at the door, and when
they were admitted, I entered with them; the master of the house
thinking that I was their companion, and they imagining that I was one
of his friends. A repast was brought up, and we ate, and washed our
hands, and were perfumed. The master of the house then said to the two
young men, 'Have ye any desire that I should call such a one?'
(mentioning a woman's name). They answered, 'If thou wilt grant us the
favour, well:'--so he called for her, and she came, and lo, she was the
maiden whom I had seen before, and who had abused me. A servant-maid
preceded her, bearing her lute, which she placed in her lap. Wine was
then brought, and she sang, while we drank, and shook with delight.
'Whose air is that?' they asked. She answered, 'My master
Mukháriḳ's.' She then sang another air, which she said was also mine;
while they drank by pints; she looking aside and doubtfully at me until
I lost my patience, and called out to her to do her best: but in
attempting to do so, singing a third air, she overstrained her voice,
and I said, 'Thou hast made a mistake:'--upon which she threw the lute
from her lap in anger, so that she nearly broke it, saying, 'Take it
thyself, and let us hear thee.' I answered, 'Well;' and, having taken it
and tuned it perfectly, sang the first of the airs which she had sung
before me; whereupon all of them sprang upon their feet and kissed my
head. I then sang the second air, and the third; and their reason almost
fled with ecstasy.

"The master of the house, after asking his guests and being told by them
that they knew me not, came to me, and, kissing my hand, said, 'By
Allah, my master, who art thou?' I answered, 'By Allah, I am the singer
Mukháriḳ.'--'And for what purpose,' said he, kissing both my hands,
'camest thou hither?' I replied, 'As a spunger;'--and related what had
happened with respect to the maiden: whereupon he looked towards his two
companions and said to them, 'Tell me, by Allah, do ye not know that I
gave for that girl thirty thousand dirhems, and have refused to sell
her?' They answered, 'It is so.' Then said he, 'I take you as witnesses
that I have given her to him.'--'And we,' said the two friends, 'will
pay thee two-thirds of her price.' So he put me in possession of the
girl, and in the evening when I departed, he presented me also with rich
dresses and other gifts, with all of which I went away; and as I passed
the places where the maiden had abused me, I said to her, 'Repeat thy
words to me;' but she could not for shame. Holding the girl's hand, I
went with her immediately to the Khaleefeh, whom I found in anger at my
long absence; but when I related my story to him he was surprised, and
laughed, and ordered that the master of the house and his two friends
should be brought before him, that he might requite them; to the former
he gave forty thousand dirhems; to each of his two friends, thirty
thousand; and to me a hundred thousand; and I kissed his feet and

It is particularly necessary for the Arab musician that he have a
retentive memory, well stocked with choice pieces of poetry and with
facetious or pleasant anecdotes, interspersed with songs; and that he
have a ready wit, aided by dramatic talent, to employ these materials
with good effect. If to such qualifications he adds fair attainments in
the difficult rules of grammar, a degree of eloquence, comic humour, and
good temper, and is not surpassed by many in his art, he is sure to be a
general favourite. Very few Muslims of the higher classes have
condescended to study music, because they would have been despised by
their inferiors for doing so; or because they themselves have despised
or condemned the art. Ibraheem, the son of the Khaleefeh El-Mahdee, and
competitor of El-Ma-moon, was a remarkable exception: he is said to have
been an excellent musician and a good singer.

In the houses of the wealthy, the vocal and instrumental performers were
usually (as is the case in many houses in the present age) domestic
female slaves, well instructed in their art by hired male or female
professors. In the "Thousand and One Nights," these slaves are commonly
described as standing or sitting unveiled in the presence of male
guests; but from several descriptions of musical entertainments that I
have met with in Arabic works it appears that according to the more
approved custom in respectable society they were concealed on such
occasions behind a curtain which generally closed the front of an
elevated recess. In all the houses of wealthy Arabs that I have entered,
one or each of the larger saloons has an elevated closet, the front of
which is closed by a screen of wooden lattice-work to serve as an
orchestra for the domestic or hired female singers and instrumental

To a person acquainted with modern Arabian manners, it must appear
inconsistent with truth to describe (as is often the case in the
"Thousand and One Nights") such female singers as exposing their faces
before strange men, unless he can discover in sober histories some
evidence of their having been less strict in this respect than the
generality of Arab women at the present time. I find, however, a
remarkable proof that such was the case in the latter part of the ninth
century of the Flight, and the beginning of the tenth: that is, about
the end of the fifteenth century of our era. The famous historian
Es-Suyooṭee, who flourished at this period, in his preface to a
curious work on wedlock, written to correct the corrupt manners of his
age, says:--"Seeing that the women of this time deck themselves with the
attire of wantons, and walk in the sooḳs (or market-streets) like
female warriors against the religion, and uncover their faces and hands
before men to incline (men's) hearts to them by evil suggestions, and
play at feasts with young men, thereby meriting the anger of the
Compassionate [God], and go forth to the public baths and assemblies
with various kinds of ornaments and perfumes and with conceited gait;
(for the which they shall be congregated in Hell-fire, for opposing the
good and on account of this their affected gait;) while to their
husbands they are disobedient, behaving to them in the reverse manner,
excepting when they fear to abridge their liberty of going abroad by
such conduct; for they are like swine and apes in their interior nature,
though like daughters of Adam in their exterior appearance; especially
the women of this age; not advising their husbands in matters of
religion, but the latter erring in permitting them to go out to every
assembly; sisters of devils and demons, etc. etc.... I have undertaken
the composition of this volume."[210] A more convincing testimony than
this, I think, cannot be required.

The lute (el-´ood) is the only instrument that is generally described as
used at the entertainments which we have been considering. Engravings of
this and other musical instruments are given in my work on the Modern
Egyptians. The Arab viol (called rabáb) was commonly used by inferior

The Arab music is generally of a soft and plaintive character, and
particularly that of the most refined description, which is
distinguished by a peculiar system of intervals. The singer aims at
distinct enunciation of the words, for this is justly admired; and
delights in a trilling style. The airs of songs are commonly very short
and simple, adapted to a single verse, or even to a single hemistich;
but in the instrumental music there is more variety.

Scarcely less popular as an amusement and mode of passing the time is
the bath, or hammám,--a favourite resort of both men and women of all
classes among the Muslims who can afford the trifling expense which it
requires; and (it is said) not only of human beings, but also of evil
genii; on which account, as well as on that of decency, several precepts
respecting it have been dictated by Moḥammad. It is frequented for
the purpose of performing certain ablutions required by the religion, or
by a regard for cleanliness, for its salutary effects, and for mere

The following description of a public bath will convey a sufficient
notion of those in private houses, which are on a smaller scale and
generally consist of only two or three chambers. The public bath
comprises several apartments with mosaic or tesselated pavements,
composed of white and black marble and pieces of fine red tile and
sometimes other materials. The inner apartments are covered with domes,
having a number of small round glazed apertures for the admission of
light. The first apartment is the meslakh, or disrobing room, which has
in the centre a fountain of cold water, and next the walls wide benches
or platforms encased with marble. These are furnished with mattresses
and cushions for the higher and middle classes, and with mats for the
poorer sort. The inner division of the building, in the more regularly
planned baths, occupies nearly a square: the central and chief portion
of it is the principal apartment, or ḥarárah, which generally has the
form of a cross. In its centre is a fountain of hot water, rising from a
base encased with marble, which serves as a seat. One of the angles of
the square is occupied by the beyt-owwal, or antechamber of the
ḥarárah: in another is the fire over which is the boiler; and each of
the other two angles is generally occupied by two small chambers, in one
of which is a tank filled with warm water, which pours down from a spot
in the dome; in the other, two taps side by side, one of hot and the
other of cold water, with a small trough beneath, before which is a
seat. The inner apartments are heated by the steam which rises from the
fountain and tanks, and by the contiguity of the fire; but the
beyt-owwal is not so hot as the ḥarárah, being separated from it by a
door. In cold weather the bather undresses in the former, which has two
or three raised seats like those of the meslakh.

With a pair of wooden clogs to his feet, and having a large napkin round
his loins, and generally a second wound round his head like a turban, a
third over his chest, and a fourth covering his back, the bather enters
the ḥarárah, the heat of which causes him immediately to perspire
profusely. An attendant of the bath removes from him all the napkins
excepting the first; and proceeds to crack the joints of his fingers and
toes, and several of the vertebrae of the back and neck; kneads his
flesh, and rubs the soles of his feet with a coarse earthen rasp, and
his limbs and body with a woollen bag which covers his hand as a glove;
after which, the bather, if he please, plunges into one of the tanks. He
is then thoroughly washed with soap and water and fibres of the
palm-tree, and shaved, if he wish it, in one of the small chambers which
contain the taps of hot and cold water; and returns to the beyt-owwal.
Here he generally reclines upon a mattress, and takes some light
refreshment, while one of the attendants rubs the soles of his feet and
kneads the flesh of his body and limbs, previously to his resuming his
dress. It is a common custom now to take a pipe and a cup of coffee
during this period of rest.

The women are especially fond of the bath, and often have entertainments
there; taking with them fruits, sweetmeats, etc., and sometimes hiring
female singers to accompany them. An hour or more is occupied by the
process of plaiting the hair and applying the depilatory, etc.; and
generally an equal time is passed in the enjoyment of rest or
recreation or refreshment. All necessary decorum is observed on these
occasions by most ladies, but women of the lower orders are often seen
in the bath without any covering. Some baths are appropriated solely to
men; others, only to women; and others, again, to men during the
forenoon, and in the afternoon to women. When the bath is appropriated
to women, a napkin, or some other piece of drapery is suspended over the
door to warn men from entering.

Before the time of Moḥammad, there were no public baths in Arabia;
and he was so prejudiced against them, for reasons already alluded to,
that he at first forbade both men and women from entering them:
afterwards, however, he permitted men to do so, if for the sake of
cleanliness, on the condition of their wearing a cloth; and women also
on account of sickness, child-birth, etc., provided they had not
convenient places for bathing in their houses. But notwithstanding this
license, it is held to be a characteristic of a virtuous woman not to go
to a bath even with her husband's permission: for the Prophet said,
"Whatever woman enters a bath, the devil is with her." As the bath is a
resort of the Jinn, prayer should not be performed in it, nor the
Ḳur-án recited. The Prophet said, "All the earth is given to me as a
place of prayer, and as pure, except the burial-ground and the bath."
Hence also, when a person is about to enter a bath, he should offer up
an ejaculatory prayer for protection against evil spirits; and should
place his left foot first over the threshold. Infidels have often been
obliged to distinguish themselves in the bath, by hanging a signet to
the neck, or wearing anklets, etc., lest they should receive those marks
of respect which should be paid only to believers.[211]

Hunting and hawking, which were common and favourite diversions of the
Arabs, and especially of their kings and other great men, have now
fallen into comparative disuse among this people. They are, however,
still frequently practised by the Persians, and in the same manner as
they are generally described in the "Thousand and One Nights."[212] The
more common kinds of game are gazelles, or antelopes, hares, partridges,
the species of grouse called "ḳaṭà," quails, wild geese, ducks,
etc. Against all of these, the hawk is generally employed, but assisted
in the capture of gazelles and hares by dogs. The usual arms of the
sportsmen in mediæval times were the bow and arrow, the cross-bow, the
spear, the sword and the mace. When the game is struck down but not
killed by any weapon, its throat is immediately cut. If merely stunned
and then left to die, its flesh is unlawful food. Hunting is allowable
only for the purpose of procuring food, or to obtain the skin of an
animal, or for the sake of destroying ferocious and dangerous beasts;
but the rule is often disregarded. Amusement is certainly, in general,
the main object of the Muslim huntsman; but he does not with this view
endeavour to prolong the chase; on the contrary, he strives to take the
game as quickly as possible. For this purpose nets are often employed,
and the hunting party, forming what is called the circle of the chase
(ḥalḳat eṣ-ṣeyd), surround the spot in which the game is

"On the eastern frontiers of Syria," says Burckhardt, "are several
places allotted for the hunting of gazelles: these places are called
'masiade' [perhaps more properly, 'maṣyedehs']. An open space in the
plain, of about one mile and a half square, is enclosed on three sides
by a wall of loose stones, too high for the gazelles to leap over. In
different parts of this wall, gaps are purposely left, and near each gap
a deep ditch is made on the outside. The enclosed space is situated near
some rivulet or spring to which in summer the gazelles resort. When the
hunting is to begin, many peasants assemble, and watch till they see a
herd of gazelles advancing from a distance towards the enclosure, into
which they drive them: the gazelles, frightened by the shouts of these
people and the discharge of fire-arms, endeavour to leap over the wall,
but can only effect this at the gaps, where they fall into the ditch
outside, and are easily taken, sometimes by hundreds. The chief of the
herd always leaps first: the others follow him one by one. The gazelles
thus taken are immediately killed, and their flesh is sold to the Arabs
and neighbouring Felláḥs."[213] Hunting the wild ass is among the
most difficult sports of the Arabs and Persians.


[150] A pious Muslim generally sits at his meals with the right knee
raised, after the example of the Prophet, who adopted this custom in
order to avoid too comfortable a posture in eating, as tempting to
unnecessary gratification.

[151] Hist. Aegypt. Compend. 180-182. (Oxon. 1800.)

[152] El-Maḳreezee's Khiṭaṭ: Account of the Khaleefehs'

[153] Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 329.

[154] Burckhardt, Notes on the Bedouins and Wahábys, 8vo. ed. i. 178,

[155] Price's Retrospect of Mahom. History, ii. 229.

[156] Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 339.

[157] De Sacy, Chrestomathie Arabe, i. 125-131, Arabic text.

[158] That is, a race-course for sallies of wit and eloquence on the
subject of wine: the word "kumeyt" being used, in preference to more
than a hundred others that might have been employed, to signify "wine,"
because it bears also the meaning of "a deep red horse." The book has
been already quoted in these pages.

[159] His name is not mentioned in my copy; but D'Herbelot states it to
have been Shems-ed-Deen Moḥammad ibn-Bedr-ed-Deen Ḥasan
el-Ḳáḍee; and writes his surname "Naouagi," or "Naouahi."

[160] [Mr. Lane followed the usual custom of travellers of his day who
wished to be intimate with the Egyptians, and took the name of
Manṣoor Effendee. A letter from Bonomi to him, under this name,
exists in the British Museum (25,658, f. 67), and has led the compilers
of the Index to the Catalogue of Additions to the MSS., published in
1880, into the pardonable error of inventing an "Edward Mansoor Lane."
S. L-P.]

[161] Ḳur. ii. 216.

[162] Ḳur. iv. 46.

[163] Lev. x. 9.

[164] Ḳur. v. 92.

[165] Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, chap. ix.

[166] Ibid, khátimeh.

[167] Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, 1. 1.

[168] Fakhr-ed-Deen, in De Sacy, Chrest. Arabe.

[169] "While tears of blood trickle from the strainer, the ewer beneath
it giggles." (Eṣ-Ṣadr Ibn-El-Wekeel, quoted in the Ḥalbet
el-Kumeyt, chap. xiii.)--The strainer is called "ráwooḳ."

[170] The Moḥtesib is inspector of the markets, the weights and
measures, and provisions, etc.

[171] Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of the year 295.

[172] The cup, when full, was generally called "kás:" when empty,
"ḳadaḥ," or "jám." The name of kás is now given to a small glass
used for brandy and liqueurs, and similar to our liqueur-glass: the
glass or cup used for wine is called, when so used, "koobeh:" it is the
same as that used for sherbet; but in the latter case it is called

[173] Es-Suyooṭee, account of the fruits of Egypt, in his history of
that country (MS.)

[174] Es-Suyooṭee.

[175] Ibid.

[176] El-Ḳazweenee, MS.

[177] Ibid.

[178] Es-Suyooṭee, ubi supra.

[179] Ibid.

[180] The Arabic names of these fruits are, tuffáḥ (vulgo,
tiffáḥ), kummetrè, safarjal, mishmish, khókh, teen, jummeyz (vulgo,
jemmeyz), ´eneb, nabḳ or sidr, ´onnáb (vulgo, ´annáb), ijjás or
barḳooḳ, józ, lóz, bunduḳ, fustuḳ, burtuḳán, nárinj,
leymoon, utrujj or turunj, kebbád, toot, zeytoon, and ḳaṣab

[181] Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, chap. xvii.; and Es-Suyooṭee, account of
the flowers of Egypt, in his history of that country.

[182] Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, chap. xvii.

[183] Ibid.

[184] Es-Suyooṭee, ubi supra.

[185] The night of the Prophet's Ascension [in dream, into Heaven].

[186] Gabriel, who accompanied the Prophet.

[187] The beast on which Moḥammad dreamed he rode from Mekkeh to
Jerusalem previously to his ascension. These traditions are from
Es-Suyooṭee, ubi supra.

[188] This flower is called "fághiyeh," and more commonly "temer
el-ḥennà;" or, according to some, the fághiyeh is the flower produced
by a slip of temer el-hennà, planted upside down, and superior to the
flower of the latter planted in the natural way!

[189] Es-Suyooṭee, ubi supra.

[190] Ibid.

[191] Es-Suyooṭee.

[192] Shaḳáïḳ. The "adhriyoon," or "ádharyoon," is said to be a
variety of the anemone.

[193] From the former, or from "noạmán," signifying "blood," the
anemone was named "shaḳáïḳ en-noạmán."

[194] Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, chap. xvii.

[195] Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt; Es-Suyooṭee, ubi supra; and

[196] The Arabic names of these flowers are, yásameen, nisreen, zahr (or
zahr nárinj), soosan, reeḥán (or ḥobaḳ), nemám, bahár,
uḳḥowán, neelófar, beshneen, jullanár or julnár, khashkhásh,
khiṭmee, zaạfarán, ´oṣfur, kettán, báḳillà, and lebláb, and

[197] Bán, and khiláf or khaláf. Both these names are applied to the
same tree (which, according to Forskál, differs slightly from the salix
Ægyptiaca of Linnæus) by the author of the Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt and by
the modern Egyptians.

[198] Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, chap. xiv.

[199] Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, chap. xi.

[200] Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 425.

[201] Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, chap. xiv.

[202] Soft boots, worn inside the slippers or shoes.

[203] Halbet el-Kumeyt, chap. xiv.

[204] I am not sure of the orthography of this name, particularly with
respect to the first and last vowels; having never found it written with
the vowel points. It is sometimes written with ḥ for kh, and f for

[205] Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, 1.1.

[206] He was born in A.H. 125, and died in 213, or 188.

[207] He was born A.H. 150, and died in 235.

[208] Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of the year 231. He died in this year.

[209] Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, chap. vii.

[210] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil.

[211] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section vii.

[212] See Sir John Malcolm's "Sketches in Persia," i. ch. v.

[213] Notes on the Bedouins and Wahábys, i. 220, ff.



In few cases are the Mohammadans so much fettered by the directions of
their Prophet and other religious instructors as in the rearing and
education of their children. In matters of the most trivial nature,
religious precedents direct their management of the young. One of the
first duties is to wrap the new-born child in clean white linen, or in
linen of some other colour, but not yellow. After this some person (not
a female) should pronounce the adán[214] in the ear of the infant,
because the Prophet did so in the ear of El-Ḥasan when Fáṭimeh
gave birth to him; or he should pronounce the adán in the right ear, and
the iḳámeh (which is nearly the same) in the left.[215]

It was formerly a custom of many of the Arabs, and perhaps is still
among some, for the father to give a feast to his friends on seven
successive days after the birth of a son; but that of a daughter was
observed with less rejoicing. The general modern custom is to give an
entertainment only on the seventh day, which is called Yóm es-Subooạ.

On this occasion, in the families of the higher classes, professional
female singers are hired to entertain a party of ladies, friends of the
infant's mother, who visit her on this occasion, in the ḥareem; or a
concert of instrumental music, or a recitation of the whole of the
Ḳur-án, is performed below by men. The mother, attended by the
midwife, being seated in a chair which is the property of the latter,
the child is brought, wrapped in a handsome shawl or something costly;
and, to accustom it to noise, that it may not be frightened afterwards
by the music and other sounds of mirth, one of the women takes a brass
mortar and strikes it repeatedly with the pestle, as if pounding. After
this, the child is put into a sieve and shaken, it being supposed that
this operation is beneficial to its stomach. Next, it is carried through
all the apartments of the ḥareem, accompanied by several women or
girls, each of whom bears a number of wax candles, sometimes of various
colours, cut in two, lighted, and stuck into small lumps of paste of
ḥennà, upon a small round tray. At the same time the midwife, or
another female, sprinkles upon the floor of each room a mixture of salt
with seed of the fennel-flower, or salt alone, which has been placed
during the preceding night at the infant's head; saying as she does
this, "The salt be in the eye of the person who doth not bless the
Prophet!" or, "The foul salt be in the eye of the envier!" This ceremony
of the sprinkling of salt is considered a preservative for the child and
mother from the evil eye; and each person present should say, "O God,
bless our lord Moḥammad!" The child, wrapped up and placed on a fine
mattress, which is sometimes laid on a silver tray, is shewn to each of
the women present, who looks at its face, says, "O God, bless our lord
Moḥammad! God give thee long life!" etc., and usually puts an
embroidered handkerchief, with a gold coin (if pretty or old, the more
esteemed) tied up in one of the corners, on the child's head, or by its
side. This giving of handkerchiefs and gold is considered as imposing a
debt, to be repaid by the mother, if the donor should give her the same
occasion; or as the discharge of a debt for a similar offering. The
coins are generally used for some years to decorate the head-dress of
the child. After these presents for the child, others are given for the
midwife. During the night before the seventh-day's festivity, a
water-bottle full of water (a dóraḳ in the case of a boy, and a
ḳulleh[216] in that of a girl), with an embroidered handkerchief tied
round the neck, is placed at the child's head while it sleeps. This,
with the water it contains, the midwife takes and puts upon a tray and
presents it to each of the women; who put presents of money for her into
the tray. In the evening, the husband generally entertains a party of
his friends.[217]

On this day, or on the fourteenth, twenty-first, twenty-eighth, or
thirty-fifth day after the birth, several religious ceremonies are
required to be performed; but they are most approved if observed on the
seventh day. One of these is the naming. I believe, however, that it is
a more common custom to give the name almost immediately after the
birth, or about three hours after. Astrologers were often consulted on
this occasion; but the following directions are given on higher
authority, and are generally followed.--"The father should give his son
a good name, ... not a name of self-praise, as Rasheed [Orthodox], Emeen
[Faithful], etc.... The Prophet said, 'The names most approved by God
are ´Abd-Allah [Servant of God] and ´Abd-Er-Raḥmán [Servant of the
Compassionate], and such like.' He also said, 'Give my name, but do not
distinguish by my surname of relationship:' but this precept, they say,
respects his own lifetime, ... because he was addressed, 'O
Abu-l-Ḳásim!' and now it is not disapproved; but some disapprove of
uniting the name and surname, so as to call a person Moḥammad and
Abu-l-Ḳásim. And if a son be called by the name of a prophet it is
not allowable to abuse or vilify him, unless the person so named be
facing his reproacher, who should say, 'Thou' [without mentioning his
name]: and a child named Moḥammad or Aḥmad should be [especially]
honoured.... The Prophet said, 'There is no people holding a
consultation at which there is present one whose name is Moḥammad or
Aḥmad, but God blesseth all that assembly:' and again he said,
'Whoever nameth his child by my name, or by that of any of my children
or my companions, from affection to me or to them, God (whose name be
exalted) will give him in Paradise what eye hath not seen nor ear
heard.' And a son should not be named King of kings, or Lord of lords;
nor should a man take a surname of relationship from the name of the
eldest of his children; nor take any such surname before a child is born
to him."[218] The custom of naming children after prophets, or after
relations or companions of Moḥammad, is very common. No ceremony is
observed on account of the naming.

On the same day, however, two practices which I am about to mention are
prescribed to be observed; though, as far as my observations and
inquiries allow me to judge, they are generally neglected by the modern
Muslims. The first of these is a sacrifice. The victim is called
´aḳeeḳah. It should be a ram or goat; or two such animals should
be sacrificed for a son, and one for a daughter. This rite is regarded
by Ibn-Ḥambal as absolutely obligatory: he said, "If a father
sacrifice not for his son, and he [the son] die, that son will not
intercede for him on the day of judgment." The founders of the three
other principal sects regard it in different and less important lights,
though Moḥammad slew an ´aḳeeḳah for himself after his
prophetic mission. The person should say, on slaying the victim, "O God,
verily this ´aḳeeḳah is a ransom for my son such a one; its blood
for his blood, and its flesh for his flesh, and its bone for his bone,
and its skin for his skin, and its hair for his hair. O God, make it a
ransom for my son from hell fire." A bone of the victim should not be
broken.[219] The midwife should receive a leg of it. It should be cooked
without previously cutting off any portion of it; and part of it should
be given in alms.

After this should be performed the other ceremony above alluded to,
which is this:--It is a sunneh ordinance, incumbent on the father, to
shave or cause to be shaved the head of the child, and to give in alms
to the poor the weight of the hair in gold or silver. This should also
be done for a proselyte.[220] On the subsequent occasions of shaving the
head of a male child (for the head of the male is frequently shaven), a
tuft of hair is generally left on the crown, and commonly for several
years another also over the forehead.

Circumcision is most approved if performed on the same day;[221] but
the observance of this rite is generally delayed until the child has
attained the age of five or six years, and sometimes several years
later. (See p. 200).

The Muslims regard a child as a trust committed by God to its parents,
who, they hold, are responsible for the manner in which they bring it
up, and will be examined on this subject on the day of judgment. But
they further venture to say, that "the first who will lay hold of a man
on the day of judgment will be his wife and children, who [if he have
been deficient in his duty to them] will present themselves before God,
and say, 'O our Lord, take for us our due from him; for he taught us not
that of which we were ignorant, and he fed us with forbidden food, and
we knew not:' and their due will be taken from him."[222] By this is
meant, that a certain proportion of the good works which the man may
have done, and his children and wife neglected, will be set down to
their account: or that a similar proportion of their evil works will be
transferred to _his_ account.

The mother is enjoined by the law to give suck to her child two full
years, unless she have her husband's consent to shorten the period, or
to employ another nurse. "For suckling the child, a virtuous woman, who
eateth only what is lawful, should be chosen; for the unlawful [food]
will manifest its evil in the child; as the Prophet ... said, 'Giving
suck altereth the tempers.' But it is recommended by the Sunneh that the
mother herself suckle the child; for it is said in a tradition, 'There
is nothing better for a child than its mother's milk.' 'If thou wouldst
try,' it is added, 'whether the child be of an ingenuous disposition in
its infancy or not, order a woman who is not its mother to suckle it
after its mother has done so: and if it drink of the milk of the woman
who is not its mother, it is not of an ingenuous disposition.'"[223]

Children, being regarded by Muslim parents as enviable blessings, are to
them objects of the most anxious solicitude. To guard them from the
supposed influence of the envious or evil eye, they have recourse to
various expedients. When they are taken abroad, they are usually clad in
a most slovenly manner, and left unwashed, or even purposely smeared
with dirt; and as a further precaution a fantastic cap is often put upon
the child's head, or its head-dress is decorated with one or more coins,
a feather, a gay tassel, or a written charm or two sewed up in leather
or encased in gold or silver, or some other appendage to attract the
eye, that so the infant itself may pass unnoticed. If a person express
his admiration of another's child otherwise than by some pious
ejaculation, as for instance by praising its Creator (with the
exclamation of "Subḥána-lláh!" or Má sháa-lláh!" etc.) or invoking a
blessing on the Prophet, he fills the mind of the parent with
apprehension; and recourse is had to some superstitious ceremony to
counteract the dreaded influence of his envious glance. The children of
the poor from their unattractive appearance are less exposed to this
imaginary danger: they generally have little or no clothing and are
extremely dirty. It is partly with the view of protecting them from the
evil eye that those of the rich are so long confined to the ḥareem:
there they are petted and pampered for several years, at least until
they are of age to go to school; but most of them are instructed at

The children of the Muslims are taught to show to their fathers a degree
of respect which might be deemed incompatible with the existence of a
tender mutual affection; but I believe that this is not the case. The
child greets the father in the morning by kissing his hand, and then
usually stands before him in a respectful attitude, with the left hand
covered by the right, to receive any order or to await his permission to
depart; but after the respectful kiss, is often taken on the lap. After
the period of infancy, the well-bred son seldom sits in the presence of
his father; but during that period he is generally allowed much
familiarity. A Syrian merchant, who was one of my near neighbours in
Cairo, had a child of exquisite beauty, commonly supposed to be his
daughter, whom, though he was a most bigoted Muslim, he daily took with
him from his private house to his shop. The child followed him, seated
upon an ass before a black slave, and until about six years old was
dressed like most young ladies, but without a face-veil. The father then
thinking that the appearance of taking about with him a daughter of that
age was scandalous, dressed his pet as a boy, and told his friends that
the female attire had been employed as a protection against the evil
eye, girls being less coveted than boys. This indeed is sometimes done,
and it is possible that such might have been the case in this instance;
but I was led to believe that it was not so. A year after, I left Cairo:
while I remained there, I continued to see the child pass my house as
before, but always in boy's clothing.

It is not surprising that the natives of Eastern countries, where a very
trifling expense is required to rear the young, should be generally
desirous of a numerous offspring. A motive of self-interest conduces
forcibly to cherish this feeling in a wife; for she is commonly esteemed
by her husband in proportion to her fruitfulness, and a man is seldom
willing to divorce a wife, or to sell a slave, who has borne him a
child. A similar feeling also induces in both parents a desire to obtain
offspring, and renders them at the same time resigned to the loss of
such of their children as die in tender age. This feeling arises from
their belief of certain services, of greater moment than the richest
blessings this world can bestow, which children who die in infancy are
to render to their parents.

The Prophet is related to have said, "The infant children [of the
Muslims] shall assemble at the scene of judgment on the day of the
general resurrection, when all creatures shall appear for the reckoning,
and it will be said to the angels, 'Go ye with these into Paradise:' and
they will halt at the gate of Paradise, and it will be said to them,
'Welcome to the offspring of the Muslims! enter ye Paradise: there is no
reckoning to be made with you:' and they will reply, 'Yea, and our
fathers and our mothers:' but the guardians of Paradise will say,
'Verily your fathers and your mothers are not with you because they have
committed faults and sins for which they must be reckoned with and
inquired of.' Then they will shriek and cry at the gate of Paradise with
a great cry; and God (whose name be exalted, and who is all-knowing
respecting them) will say, 'What is this cry?' It will be answered, 'O
our Lord, the children of the Muslims say, We will not enter Paradise
but with our fathers and our mothers.' Whereupon God (whose name be
exalted) will say, 'Pass among them all, and take the hands of your
parents, and introduce them into Paradise.'" The children who are to
have this power are such as are born of believers, and die without
having attained to the knowledge of sin; and according to one tradition,
one such child will introduce his two parents into Paradise. Such
infants only are to enter Paradise; for of the children who die in
infancy, those of believers alone are they who would believe if they
grew to years of discretion. On the same authority it is said, "When a
child of the servant [of God] dies, God (whose name be exalted) saith to
the angels, 'Have ye taken the child of my servant?' They answer, 'Yea.'
He saith, 'Have ye taken the child of his heart?' They reply, 'Yea.' He
asketh them, 'What did my servant say?' They answer, 'He praised thee,
and said, Verily to God we belong, and verily unto Him we return!' Then
God will say, 'Build for my servant a house in Paradise, and name it the
House of Praise.'"

To these traditions, which I find related as proofs of the advantages of
marriage, the following anecdote, which is of a similar nature, is
added. A certain man who would not take a wife awoke one day from his
sleep, and demanded to be married, saying as his reason, "I dreamed that
the resurrection had taken place, and that I was among the beings
collected at the scene of judgment, but was suffering a thirst that
stopped up the passage of my stomach; and lo, there were youths passing
through the assembly, having in their hands ewers of silver, and cups of
gold, and giving drink to one person after another; so I stretched forth
my hand to one of them, and said, 'Give me to drink; for thirst
overpowereth me;' but they answered, 'Thou hast no child among us; we
give drink only to our fathers.' I asked them, 'Who are ye?' They
replied, 'We are the deceased infant children of the Muslims.'"[224]
Especial rewards in heaven are promised to mothers. "When a woman
conceives by her husband," said the Prophet, "she is called in heaven a
martyr [_i.e._ she is ranked, as a martyr in dignity]; and her labour in
childbed and her care for her children protect her from hell fire."[225]

"When the child begins to speak, the father should teach him first the
kelimeh [or profession of faith], 'There is no deity but God:
[Moḥammad is God's apostle]'--he should dictate this to him seven
times. Then he should instruct him to say, 'Wherefore exalted be God,
the King, the Truth! There is no deity but He, the Lord of the
honourable throne.'[226] He should teach him also the Throne-verse,[227]
and the closing words of the Ḥashr, 'He is God, beside whom there is
no deity, the King, the Holy,'" etc.[228]

As soon as a son is old enough, his father should teach him the most
important rules of decent behaviour: placing some food before him, he
should order him to take it with the right hand (the left being employed
for unclean purposes), and to say, on commencing, "In the name of God;"
to eat what is next to him, and not to hurry or spill any of the food
upon his person or dress. He should teach him that it is disgusting to
eat much. He should particularly condemn to him the love of gold and
silver, and caution him against covetousness as he would against
serpents and scorpions; and forbid his spitting in an assembly and every
similar breach of good manners, from talking much, turning his back upon
another, standing in an indolent attitude, and speaking ill of any
person to another. He should keep him from bad companions, teach him the
Ḳur-án and all requisite divine and prophetic ordinances, and
instruct him in the arts of swimming and archery, and in some virtuous
trade; for trade is a security from poverty. He should also command him
to endure patiently the chastisements of his teacher. In one tradition
it is said, "When a boy attains the age of six years he should be
disciplined, and when he attains to nine years he should be put in a
separate bed, and when he attains to ten years he should be beaten for
[neglecting] prayer:" and in another tradition, "Order your children to
pray at seven [years], and beat them for [neglecting] it at ten, and put
them in separate beds."[229]

Circumcision is generally performed before the boy is submitted to the
instruction of the schoolmaster.[230] Previously to the performance of
this rite, he is, if belonging to the higher or middle rank of society,
usually paraded about the neighbourhood of his parents' dwelling, gaily
attired, chiefly with female habits and ornaments, but with a boy's
turban on his head, mounted on a horse, preceded by musicians, and
followed by a group of his female relations and friends. This ceremony
is observed by the great with much pomp and with sumptuous feasts.
El-Jabartee mentions a fête celebrated on the occasion of the
circumcision of a son of the Ḳáḍee of Cairo, in the year of the
Flight 1179 (A.D. 1766), when the grandees and chief merchants and
´ulamà of the city sent him such abundance of presents that the
magazines of his mansion were filled with rice and butter and honey and
sugar; the great hall, with coffee; and the middle of the court, with
fire-wood: the public were amused for many days by players and
performers of various kinds; and when the youth was paraded through the
streets he was attended by numerous memlooks with their richly
caparisoned horses and splendid arms and armour and military band, and
by a number of other youths, who, out of compliment to him, were
afterwards circumcised with him. This last custom is usual on such
occasions; and so also is the sending of presents, such as those above
mentioned, by friends, acquaintances, and tradespeople. At a fête of
this kind, when the Khaleefeh El-Muḳtedir circumcised five of his
sons, the money that was scattered in presents amounted to six hundred
thousand pieces of gold, or about £300,000. Many orphans were also
circumcised on the same day, and were presented with clothes and pieces
of gold.[231] The Khaleefeh above mentioned was famous for his
magnificence, a proof of which I have given before (p. 122 ff.). At the
more approved entertainments which are given in celebration of a
circumcision, a recital of the whole of the Ḳur-án, or a zikr, is
performed: at some others, male or female public dancers perform in the
court of the house or in the street before the door.

Few of the children of the Arabs receive much instruction in
literature, and still fewer are taught even the rudiments of any of the
higher sciences; but there are numerous schools in their towns, and one
at least in almost every moderately large village. The former are mostly
attached to mosques and other public buildings, and, together with those
buildings, are endowed by princes or other men of rank, or wealthy
tradesmen. In these the children are instructed either gratis or for a
very trifling weekly payment, which all parents save those in indigent
circumstances can easily afford. The schoolmaster generally teaches
nothing more than to read, and to recite by heart the whole of the
Ḳur-án. After committing to memory the first chapter of the sacred
volume, the boy learns the rest in the inverse order of their
arrangement, as they generally decrease in length (the longest coming
first, and the shortest at the end). Writing and arithmetic are usually
taught by another master; and grammar, rhetoric, versification, logic,
the interpretation of the Ḳur-án, and the whole system of religion
and law, with all other knowledge deemed useful, which seldom includes
the mere elements of mathematics, are attained by studying at a
collegiate mosque, and at no expense; for the professors receive no pay
either from the students, who are mostly of the poorer classes, or from
the funds of the mosque.

The wealthy often employ for their sons a private tutor; and when he has
taught them to read, and to recite the Ḳur-án, engage for them a
writing-master, and then send them to the college. But among this class,
polite literature is more considered than any other branch of knowledge,
after religion. Such an acquaintance with the works of some of their
favourite poets as enables a man to quote them occasionally in company,
is regarded by the Arabs as essential to a son who is to mix in good
society; and to this acquirement is often added some skill in the art
of versification, which is rendered peculiarly easy by the copiousness
of the Arabic language and by its system of inflexion. These
characteristics of their noble tongue (which are remarkably exhibited by
the custom, common among the Arabs, of preserving the same rhyme
throughout a whole poem), while on the one hand they have given an
admirable freedom to the compositions of men of true poetic genius, have
on the other hand mainly contributed to the degradation of Arabic
poetry. To an Arab of some little learning it is almost as easy to speak
in verse as in prose; and hence he often intersperses his prose
writings, and not unfrequently his conversation, with indifferent
verses, of which the chief merit generally consists in puns or in an
ingenious use of several words nearly the same in sound but differing in
sense. This custom is frequently exemplified in the "Thousand and One
Nights," where a person suddenly changes the style of his speech from
prose to verse, and then reverts to the former.

One more duty of a father to a son I should here mention: it is to
procure for him a wife as soon as he has arrived at a proper age. This
age is decided by some to be twenty years, though many young men marry
at an earlier period. It is said, "When a son has attained the age of
twenty years, his father, if able, should marry him, and then take his
hand and say, 'I have disciplined thee and taught thee and married
thee: I now seek refuge with God from thy mischief in the present world
and the next.'" To enforce this duty, the following tradition is urged:
"When a son becomes adult and his father does not marry him and yet is
able to do so, if the youth do wrong in consequence, the sin of it is
between the two"--or, as in another report,--"on the father."[232] The
same is held to be the case with respect to a daughter who has attained
the age of twelve years.

The female children of the Arabs are seldom taught even to read. Though
they are admissible at the daily schools in which the boys are
instructed, very few parents allow them the benefit of this privilege;
preferring, if they give them any instruction of a literary kind, to
employ a sheykhah (or learned woman) to teach them at home. She
instructs them in the forms of prayer and teaches them to repeat by
heart a few chapters of the Ḳur-án, very rarely the whole book.
Parents are indeed recommended to withhold from their daughters some
portions of the Ḳur-án; to "teach them the Soorat ed-Noor [or 24th
chapter], and keep from them the Soorat Yoosuf [12th chapter]; on
account of the story of Zeleekhá and Yoosuf in the latter, and the
prohibitions and threats and mention of punishments contained in the

Needle-work is not so rarely, but yet not generally, taught to Arab
girls, the spindle frequently employs those of the poorer classes, and
some of them learn to weave. The daughters of persons of the middle and
higher ranks are often instructed in the art of embroidery and in other
ornamental work, which are taught in schools and in private houses.
Singing and playing upon the lute, which were formerly not uncommon
female accomplishments among the wealthy Arabs, are now almost
exclusively confined, like dancing, to professional performers and a few
of the slaves in the ḥareems of the great: it is very seldom now that
any musical instrument is seen in the hand of an Arab lady except a kind
of drum called darabukkeh and a ṭár (or tambourine), which are found
in many ḥareems, and are beaten with the fingers.[234] Some care,
however, is bestowed by the ladies in teaching their daughters what they
consider an elegant gait and carriage, as well as various alluring and
voluptuous arts with which to increase the attachment of their future

I have heard Arabs confess that their nation possesses nine-tenths of
the envy that exists among all mankind collectively; but I have not seen
any written authority for this. Ibn-´Abbás assigns nine-tenths of the
intrigue or artifice that exists in the world to the Copts, nine-tenths
of the perfidy to the Jews, nine-tenths of the stupidity to the
Maghrabees, nine-tenths of the hardness to the Turks, and nine-tenths of
the bravery to the Arabs. According to Kaạb El-Aḥbár, reason and
sedition are most peculiar to Syria, plenty and degradation to Egypt,
and misery and health to the Desert. In another account, faith and
modesty are said to be most peculiar to El-Yemen, fortitude and sedition
to Syria, magnificence or pride and hypocrisy to El-´Irák, wealth and
degradation to Egypt, and poverty and misery to the Desert. Of women, it
is said by Kaạb El-Aḥbár, that the best in the world (excepting
those of the tribe of Ḳureysh mentioned by the Prophet) are those of
El-Baṣrah; and the worst in the world, those of Egypt.[235]


[214] The call to prayer which is chanted from the mádinehs (or
minarets) of the mosques. It is as follows:--"God is most great!" (four
times). "I testify that there is no deity but God!" (twice). "I testify
that Moḥammad is God's Apostle!" (twice). "Come to prayer!" (twice).
"Come to security!" (twice). "God is most great!" (twice). "There is no
deity but God!"

[215] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 9. The iḳámeh differs from the
adán in adding "The time for prayer is come" twice after "come to

[216] The dóraḳ has a long narrow neck, the ḳulleh a short wide

[217] See Modern Egyptians, chap. xiv.

[218] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 9.

[219] Compare Exodus xiii. 13; and xii. 46.

[220] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 9; and Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ,
ii. 315, f.

[221] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 9.

[222] Ibid.

[223] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, 1.1.

[224] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 2.

[225] Idem., section 7.

[226] Ḳur-án, xxiii. 117.

[227] "God! there is no deity but He," etc., Ḳur. ii. 256.

[228] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 9.

[229] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 9.

[230] An analogous custom is mentioned in a note appended to the account
of circumcision in chap. ii. of my work on the Modern Egyptians.

[231] Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of the year 302.

[232] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 9, and Misḳát el-Maṣábeeḥ,
ii. 86.

[233] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 6.

[234] See Modern Egyptians, ch. xviii.

[235] El-Maḳreezee's Khiṭaṭ, and El-Isḥáḳee.



That sensual passion is very prevalent among the Arabs cannot be
doubted; but I think it unjust to suppose them generally incapable of a
purer feeling, worthy, if constancy be a sufficient test, of being
termed true love. That they are not so, appears evident to almost every
person who mixes with them in familiar society; for such a person must
have opportunities of being acquainted with many Arabs sincerely
attached to wives whose personal charms have long vanished, and who have
neither wealth nor influence of their own, nor wealthy or influential
relations, to induce their husbands to refrain from divorcing them. It
very often happens, too, that an Arab is sincerely attached to a wife
possessed, even in the best portion of her age, of few charms, and that
the lasting favourite among two or more wives is not the most handsome.
This opinion, I am sorry to observe, is at variance, as far as the Arabs
of the _towns_ are concerned, with that entertained by one of the most
intelligent and experienced of modern travellers who long resided among
this people,--the justly celebrated Burckhardt:[236] but it is confirmed
by numerous facts related by respectable Arab authors (and therefore not
regarded by them as of an incredible nature), as well as by cases which
have fallen under my own observation. The tale of Leylà and Mejnoon, the
Juliet and Romeo of Arabia, is too well known to be here repeated; but
among many other anecdotes of strong and constant love, the following
may be inserted.

The Khaleefeh Yezeed, the son of ´Abd-El-Melik, had two female slaves,
one of whom was named Ḥabbábeh and the other, Selámeh, to the former
of whom he was most ardently attached: he had purchased her for a
hundred thousand dirhems, and the other for ten thousand. In their
company he sometimes shut himself up for three months together, utterly
neglecting the affairs of his people. At length, being reproved for this
conduct by his brother Meslemeh, he promised to return to his duty: but
the two slaves diverted him from his purpose; and on the following
morning excited by their songs and caresses and by wine, he became
frantic with pleasure, and danced and sang like a madman, till a fatal
accident put a stop to his joy:--Ḥabbábeh, eating a pomegranate, was
choked by one of the grains, and immediately died.

The grief of Yezeed was so poignant that he would not quit the corpse,
but continued to kiss and fondle it, until it became corrupt. Being then
admonished by his attendants that proper respect required its burial, he
consented to commit it to the earth. After five days, however, his
desire to behold again the object of his love induced him to open the
grave, and though the corpse had become hideous he declared that it was
lovely as ever in his eyes. At the earnest request of Meslemeh, he
ordered the grave to be closed again, but he was unable to exist when
deprived of the sight of the remains of her who was at the same time his
slave and his mistress: he threw himself upon his bed, speechless, and
after lingering seventeen nights, expired and was buried by the side of
Ḥabbábeh. "May God," says the narrator, "have mercy on them

In the same work from which the above is taken, it is related that
Hároon Er-Rasheed, visiting Suleymán the son of Aboo-Jaạfar, one of
his chief officers, saw with him a female slave, named Ḍa´eefeh, of
excessive beauty, and being smitten by her charms demanded her as a
present. His request was granted; but Suleymán, from grief at the loss
of his mistress, fell sick; and during his illness was heard to

    "I appeal unto God against the affliction which He hath sent
        upon me through the Khaleefeh.

    "The world heareth of his justice; but he is a tyrant in the affair
        of Ḍa´eefeh.[238]

    "Love of her is fixed in my heart as ink upon the surface of

Er-Rasheed, being informed of his complaint, restored to him his
mistress, and with her his peace of mind. This anecdote is given as a
proof of strong love; but perhaps may not be thought much to the
purpose. The following, from the same work, is more apt.

During the hottest hour of an excessively sultry day, the Khaleefeh
Mo´áwiyeh the son of Aboo-Sufyán was sitting in a chamber which was open
on each side to allow free passage to the air, when he beheld a
barefooted Bedawee approaching him. Wondering what could induce this man
to brave the scorching heat, he declared to his attendants that if he
were come to demand of him any favour or aid or act of justice, his
request should be granted. The Bedawee addressed him in verse with a
pathetic appeal for justice against the tyranny of Marwán the son of
El-Ḥakam (afterwards Khaleefeh, Mo´áwiyeh's fourth successor), by
whom he had been forcibly deprived of his beloved wife Soạdà. The
Khaleefeh requiring a more particular account of his case, he related
the following facts. He had a wife, the daughter of his paternal uncle,
excessively beloved by him, and possessed a number of camels, which
enabled him to live in comfort; but a year of terrible drought deprived
him of his property and reduced him to utter want: his friends deserted
him, and his wife was taken away from him by her father. To seek redress
he repaired to Marwán, the Governor of his district, at El-Medeeneh,
who, having summoned the father of his wife, and herself, was so smitten
by the beauty of the woman that he determined to obtain her for himself
in marriage. To accomplish this, he threw the husband into prison, and
offered the father of the woman a thousand deenárs and ten thousand
dirhems for his consent to his marriage with her, promising to compel
her actual husband to divorce her; and this latter object, having
obtained the father's approval, he gained by severely torturing the
unfortunate Bedawee. It would have been vain for the woman to attempt
resistance; and so she became the wife of Marwán.

The oppressed Bedawee, having related these circumstances, fell down in
a swoon, and lay on the floor senseless, coiled up like a dead snake. As
soon as he recovered, the Khaleefeh wrote a poetical epistle to Marwán,
severely reproaching him for his baseness, and commanding him, on pain
of death, to divorce the woman and send her with his messenger. She was
accordingly divorced and sent, with an answer composed in the same
measure and rhyme, assuring the Khaleefeh that the sight of Soạdà
would convince him that her charms were irresistible; and this proved
too true. Mo´áwiyeh himself no sooner saw her than he coveted her, and
offered to give the Bedawee, if he would resign her to him, three
virgins from among his female slaves, together with a thousand deenárs
and an ample annual pension. The Bedawee shrieked with dismay, as though
he had received his death-blow, and indignantly rejected the offer. The
Khaleefeh then said to him, "Thou confessest that thou hast divorced
her, and Marwán has married her and acknowledged that he has divorced
her: we will therefore give her her choice: if she desire any other
than thee as her husband we will marry her to him, and if she prefer
thee we will restore her to thee." She, however, had the merit to prefer
the destitute Bedawee, and the Khaleefeh gave her up to him, with a
present of ten thousand dirhems.

Numerous instances of unreasonable love are recorded in the writings of
Arabs. It is related that a man fell in love with a lady from seeing the
impression of her hand upon a wall; and, being unable to win her, died.
Many men are said to have conceived a violent passion for damsels seen
in dreams; others, again, to have been affected thus merely by the ear.
An author relates his having been acquainted with an accomplished
schoolmaster who lost his heart from hearing a man sing the praises of a
woman named Umm-´Amr, and two days after shut himself up in his house to
mourn for her death, in consequence of his hearing the same man sing,--

    "The ass went away with Umm-´Amr; and she returned not, nor
        did the ass return."[239]

The reader should have some idea of the qualifications or charms which
the Arabs in general consider requisite to the perfection of female
beauty. He must not imagine that excessive fatness is one of these
characteristics, though it is said to be esteemed a chief essential to
beauty throughout the greater part of Northern Africa: on the contrary,
the maiden whose loveliness inspires the most impassioned expressions in
Arabic poesy and prose is celebrated for her slender figure,--she is
like the cane among plants, and is elegant as a twig of the oriental
willow. Her face is like the full moon, presenting the strongest
contrast to the colour of her hair, which (to preserve the nature of the
simile just employed) is of the deepest hue of night, and falls to the
middle of her back. A rosy blush overspreads the centre of each cheek;
and a mole is considered an additional charm. The Arabs, indeed, are
particularly extravagant in their admiration of this natural
beauty-spot; which, according to its place, is compared to a drop of
ambergris upon a dish of alabaster or upon the surface of a ruby. The
Anacreon of Persia affected to prize the mole upon the cheek of his
beloved above the cities of Samarḳand and Bukhárà.

The eyes of the Arab beauty are intensely black,[240] large, and long,
of the form of an almond: they are full of brilliancy, but this is
softened by a lid slightly depressed and by long silken lashes, giving a
tender and languid expression that is full of enchantment and scarcely
to be improved by the adventitious aid of the black border of koḥl;
for this the lovely maiden adds rather for the sake of fashion than
necessity, having what the Arabs term natural koḥl. The eyebrows are
thin and arched; the forehead is wide, and fair as ivory; the nose,
straight; the mouth, small; the lips of a brilliant red; and the teeth,
"like pearls set in coral." The forms of the bosom are compared to two
pomegranates; the waist is slender; the hips are wide and large; the
feet and hands, small; the fingers, tapering, and their extremities dyed
with the deep orange-red tint imparted by the leaves of the ḥennà.
The maid in whom these charms are combined exhibits a lively image of
"the rosy-fingered Aurora:" her lover knows neither night nor sleep in
her presence, and the constellations of heaven are no longer seen by him
when she approaches. The most bewitching age is between fourteen and
seventeen years; for then the forms of womanhood are generally developed
in their greatest beauty; but many a maiden in her twelfth year
possesses charms sufficient to fascinate every man who beholds her.

The reader may perhaps desire a more minute analysis of Arabian beauty.
The following is the most complete that I can offer him.--"Four things
in a woman should be _black_,--the hair of the head, the eyebrows, the
eyelashes, and the dark part of the eyes: four _white_,--the complexion
of the skin, the white of the eyes, the teeth, and the legs: four
_red_,--the tongue, the lips, the middle of the cheeks, and the gums:
four _round_,--the head, the neck, the forearms, and the ankles: four
_long_,--the back, the fingers, the arms, and the legs:[241] four
_wide_,--the forehead, the eyes, the bosom, and the hips: four
_fine_,--the eyebrows, the nose, the lips, and the fingers: four
_thick_,--the lower part of the back, the thighs, the calves of the
legs, and the knees: four _small_,--the ears, the breasts, the hands,
and the feet."[242]

Arab ladies are extremely fond of full and long hair; and, however amply
endowed with this natural ornament, to add to its effect they have
recourse to art. But the Prophet, abhorring all false attractions that
might at first deceive a husband and then disappoint him, "cursed the
woman who joined her own hair to that of another, or that of another to
her own, without her husband's permission: if she do it, therefore, with
his permission, it is not prohibited, unless she so make use of human
hair; for this is absolutely forbidden."[243] Hence the Arab women
prefer strings of silk to add to their hair.[244] Over the forehead, the
hair is cut rather short; but two full locks hang down on each side of
the face: these are often curled in ringlets, and sometimes plaited. The
rest of the hair is arranged in plaits or braids which hang down the
back. They are generally from eleven to twenty-five in number, but
always of an uneven number: eleven is considered a scanty number,
thirteen and fifteen are more common. Three times the number of black
silk strings (three to each plait of hair, and each three united at the
top), from sixteen to eighteen inches in length, are braided with the
hair for about a quarter of their length; or they are attached to a lace
or band of black silk which is bound round the head, and in this case
hang entirely separate from the plaits of hair. These strings, together
with certain ornaments of gold, etc., composed what is termed the
ṣafà. Along each string, except from the upper extremity to about a
quarter or (at most) a third of its length, are generally attached nine
or more little flat ornaments of gold, which are usually all of the same
form. The most common form is oblong, round at the lower extremity and
pointed at the upper, or the reverse. They are affixed (each by a little
ring at its upper extremity) about an inch, or a little more, apart; but
those of each string are purposely placed so as not exactly to
correspond with those of the others. At the end of each string is a
small gold tube, or a small polygonal gold bead, beneath which is most
commonly suspended (by a little ring) a gold coin, a little more than
half an inch in diameter. Such is the most general description of
ṣafà; but some ladies substitute for the gold coin a fanciful
ornament of the same metal, either simple, or with a pearl in the
centre; or they suspend in the place of this a little tassel of pearls,
or attach alternately pearls and emeralds to the bottom of the triple
strings, and a pearl with each of the little ornaments of gold first
mentioned. Coral beads are also sometimes attached in the same manner as
these pearls. The ṣafà I think the prettiest, as well as most
singular, of all the ornaments worn by Arab ladies. The glittering of
the little ornaments of gold, and their chinking together as the wearer
walks, have a peculiarly lively effect. A kind of crown--a circle of
jewelled gold (the lower edge of which was straight, and the upper
fancifully heightened to four or more points) surrounding the lower part
of a dome-shaped cap with a jewel or some other ornament at the
summit--was worn by many Arab ladies of high rank or great wealth,
probably until about two centuries ago. Another kind of crown is now
more generally worn, called a ḳurṣ. This is a round convex
ornament, generally about five inches in diameter, composed of gold set
with a profusion of diamonds, of open work, representing roses, leaves,
etc. It is sewed upon the top of the ṭarboosh; and is worn by most of
the ladies of Cairo, at least in full dress.[245]

The gait of Arab ladies is very remarkable: they incline the lower
part of the body from side to side as they step, and with the hands
raised to the level of the bosom they hold the edges of their outer
covering. Their pace is slow, and they look not about them, but keep
their eyes towards the ground in the direction to which they are going.

The wickedness of women is a subject upon which the stronger sex among
the Arabs, with an affectation of superior virtue, often dwell in common
conversation. That women are deficient in judgment or good sense is held
as a fact not to be disputed even by themselves, as it rests on an
assertion of the Prophet; but that they possess a superior degree of
cunning is pronounced equally certain and notorious. Their general
depravity is pronounced to be much greater than that of men. "I stood,"
said the Prophet, "at the gate of Paradise; and lo, most of its inmates
were the poor: and I stood at the gate of Hell; and lo, most of its
inmates were women."[246] In allusion to women, the Khaleefeh ´Omar
said, "Consult them, and do the contrary of what they advise." But this
is not to be done merely for the sake of opposing them, nor when other
advice can be had. "It is desirable for a man," says a learned Imám,
"before he enters upon any important undertaking, to consult ten
intelligent persons among his particular friends; or if he have not more
than five such friends, let him consult each of them twice; or if he
have not more than one friend, he should consult him ten times, at ten
different visits; if he have not one to consult, let him return to his
wife, and consult her, and whatever she advises him to do, let him do
the contrary: so shall he proceed rightly in his affair, and attain his
object."[247] A truly virtuous wife is, of course, excepted in this
rule: such a person is as much respected by Muslims as she is (at least,
according to their own account) rarely met with by them. When woman was
created, the Devil, we are told, was delighted, and said, "Thou art half
of my host, and thou art the depository of my secret, and thou art my
arrow, with which I shoot, and miss not."[248] What are termed by us
affairs of gallantry were very common among the Pagan Arabs, and are
scarcely less so among their Muslim posterity. They are, however,
unfrequent among most tribes of Bedawees, and among the descendants of
those tribes not long settled as cultivators. I remember being roused
from the quiet that I generally enjoyed in an ancient tomb in which I
resided at Thebes, by the cries of a young woman in the neighbourhood
whom an Arab was severely beating for an impudent proposal she had made
to him.

Marriage is regarded by the Muslims in general as a positive duty, and
to neglect it without a sufficient excuse subjects a man to severe
reproach. "When a servant [of God]," said the Prophet, "marries, verily
he perfects half his religion."[249] He once asked a man, "Art thou
married?" The man answered, "No." "And art thou," said he, "sound and
healthy?" The answer was, "Yes." "Then," said Moḥammad, "thou art one
of the brothers of the devils; for the most wicked among you are the
unmarried, and the most vile among your dead are the unmarried; moreover
the married are those who are acquitted of filthy conversation; and by
Him in whose hand is my soul, the devil hath not a weapon more effective
against the virtuous, both men and women, than the neglect of

The number of wives whom a Muslim may have at the same time is four. He
may marry free women, or take concubine slaves, or have of both these
classes. It is the opinion of most persons, I believe, among the more
strictly religious, that a man may not have more than four women,
whether they be wives alone, or concubine slaves alone, or of both
classes together; but the practice of some of the companions of the
Prophet, who cannot be accused of violating his precepts, affords a
strong argument to the contrary. ´Alee, it is said, "was the most devout
of the companions; but he had four wives and seventeen concubines
besides, and married, after Fáṭimeh (may God be well pleased with
her!), among all that he married and divorced, more than two hundred
women: and sometimes he included four wives in one contract, and
sometimes divorced four at one time, taking other four in their
stead."[251] This may perhaps be an exaggerated statement, but it is
certain that the custom of keeping an unlimited number of concubines was
common among wealthy Muslims in the first century of the Mohammadan era,
and has so continued. The famous author of the work above quoted urges
the example of Solomon to prove that the possession of numerous
concubines is not inconsistent with piety and good morals; not
considering that God in the beginning made one male and but one female.

It has been mentioned that a Muslim may divorce his wife twice and each
time take her back. This he may do, even against her wish, during a
fixed period, which cannot extend beyond three months, unless she be
_enceinte_, in which latter case she must wait until the birth of her
child before she will be at liberty to contract a new marriage. During
this period the husband is obliged to maintain her. If he divorce her a
third time, or by a triple sentence, he cannot take her again unless
with her own consent and by a new contract and after another marriage
has been consummated between her and another husband who also has
divorced her.

It is not a common custom, especially among the middle ranks, for a
Muslim to have more than one wife at the same time; but there are few of
middle age who have not had several different wives at different
periods, tempted to change by the facility of divorce.[252] The case of
´Alee has been mentioned above. Mugheyreh Ibn-Sheabeh married eighty
women in the course of his life;[253] and several more remarkable
instances of the love of change are recorded by Arab writers; the most
extraordinary case of this kind that I have met with was that of
Moḥammad Ibn-Eṭ-Ṭeiyib, the dyer of Baghdád, who died in the
year of the Flight 423, aged eighty-five years; of whom it is related on
most respectable authority that he married more than nine hundred
women![254] Supposing, therefore, that he married his first wife when he
was fifteen years of age, he must have had, on the average, nearly
thirteen wives _per annum_. The women, in general, cannot of course
marry so many successive husbands, not only because a woman cannot have
more than one husband at a time, but also because she cannot divorce her
husband. There have been, however, many instances of Arab women who have
married a surprising number of men in rapid succession. Among these may
be mentioned Umm-Khárijeh, who gave occasion to a proverb on this
subject. This woman, who was of the tribe of Bejeeleh, in El-Yemen,
married upwards of forty husbands; and her son Khárijeh knew not who was
his father. She used to contract a marriage in the quickest possible
manner: a man saying to her, "Khiṭb" ("I ask"--in marriage), she
replied "Nikḥ" ("I give"), and thus became his lawful wife. She had a
very numerous progeny; several tribes originating from her.[255]

For the choice of a wife, a man generally relies on his mother or some
other near female relation, or a professional female betrother (who is
called "kháṭibeh"); for there are many women who perform this office
for hire. The law allows him to see the face of the girl whom he
proposes to marry, previously to his making the contract; but in the
present day this liberty is seldom obtained, except among the lower
orders. Unless in this case, a man is not allowed to see unveiled any
woman but his own wife or slave, and those women to whom the law
prohibits his uniting himself in marriage: nay, according to some he is
not allowed to see his own niece unveiled, though he may not marry
her.[256] It should be added that a slave may lawfully see the face of
his own mistress; but this privilege is seldom granted in the present
day to any slave but a eunuch. An infringement of the law above
mentioned is held to be extremely sinful in both parties: "The curse of
God," said the Prophet, "is on the seer and the seen:" yet it is very
often disregarded in the case of women of the lower orders.

A man is forbidden, by the Ḳur-án[257] and the Sunneh, to marry his
mother, or other ascendant; daughter, or other descendant; his sister,
or half sister; the sister of his father or mother, or other ascendant;
his niece, or any of her descendants; his foster-mother who has suckled
him five times in the course of the first two years, or a woman related
to him by milk in any of the degrees which would preclude his marriage
with her if she were similarly related to him by consanguinity; the
mother of his wife; the daughter of his wife, in certain conditions; his
father's wife, and his son's wife; and to have at the same time two
wives who are sisters, or aunt and niece: he is forbidden also to marry
his unemancipated slave, or another man's slave, if he has already a
free wife; and to marry any woman but one of his own faith, or a
Christian, or a Jewess. A Mohammadan woman, however, may only marry a
man of her own faith. An unlawful liaison with any woman prevents a man
from marrying any of her relations who would be forbidden to him if she
were his wife.

A cousin (the daughter of a paternal uncle) is often chosen as a wife,
on account of the tie of blood which is likely to attach her more
strongly to her husband, or on account of an affection conceived in
early years. Parity of rank is generally much regarded; and a man is
often unable to obtain as his wife the daughter of one of a different
profession or trade, unless an inferior; or a younger daughter when an
elder remains unmarried. A girl is often married at the age of twelve
years, and sometimes at ten, or even nine: the usual period is between
twelve and sixteen years. At the age of thirteen or fourteen she may be
a mother. The young men marry a few years later.

The most important requisite in a wife is religion. The Prophet said, "A
virtuous wife is better than the world and all that it contains." "A
virtuous wife," said Luḳmán, "is like a crown on the head of a king;
and a wicked wife is like a heavy burden on the back of an old man."
Among the other chief requisites are agreeableness of temper, beauty of
form (undiminished by any defect or irregularity of features or
members), moderation in the amount of dowry required, and good birth. It
is said, "If thou marry not a virgin [which is most desirable], marry a
divorced woman, and not a widow; for the divorced woman will respect thy
words when thou sayest, 'If there were any good in thee thou hadst not
been divorced;' whereas the widow will say, 'May God have mercy on such
a one [her first husband]! he hath left me to one unsuited to me.'" But
according to another selfish maxim, the woman most to be avoided is she
who is divorced from a man by whom she has had a child; for her heart is
with him, and she is an enemy to the man who marries her after.[258]

Modesty is a requisite upon which too much stress cannot be laid; but
this, to an English reader, requires some explanation. ´Alee asked his
wife Fáṭimeh, "Who is the best of women?" She answered, "She who sees
not men, and whom they see not."[259] Modesty, therefore, in the opinion
of the Muslims, is most eminently shewn by a woman's concealing her
person, and restraining her eyes, from men. "The best rank of men [in a
mosque]," said the Prophet, "is the front; and the best rank of women is
the rear,"[260]--that is, those most distant from the men: but better
than even these are the women who pray at home.[261] Fruitfulness is
also a desirable qualification to be considered in the choice of a wife:
"it may be known in maidens," said the Prophet, "from their relations;
because, generally speaking, kindred are similar in disposition,
etc."[262] Lastly, contentment is to be enumerated among the requisites.
It is said, on the same authority, "Verily the best of women are those
that are most content with little."[263] To obtain a contented and
submissive wife, many men make their selection from among the classes
inferior to them in rank. Others, with a similar view, prefer a slave in
the place of a wife.

The consent of a young girl is not required: her father, or, if he be
dead, her nearest adult male relation, or a guardian appointed by will
or by the Ḳáḍee, acts as her wekeel or deputy, to effect the
marriage-contract for her. If of age, she appoints her own deputy. A
dowry is required to legalize the marriage; and the least dowry allowed
by the law is ten dirhems,--about five shillings of our money.
Moḥammad married certain of his wives for a dowry of ten dirhems and
the household necessaries, which were a hand-mill to grind the corn, a
water-jar, and a pillow of skin or leather stuffed with the fibres of
the palm-tree (leef), but some he married for a dowry of five hundred
dirhems.[264] With the increase of wealth and luxury, dowries have
increased in amount; but to our ideas they are still trifling: a sum
equivalent to about twenty pounds sterling being a common dowry among
Arabs of the middle classes for a virgin, and half or a third or quarter
of that sum for a divorced woman or a widow. Two thirds of the sum is
usually paid before making the contract, and the remaining portion held
in reserve to be paid to the woman in case of her divorce or in case of
the husband's death. The father or guardian of a girl under age receives
the former portion of her dowry; but it is considered as her property,
and he generally expends it, with an additional sum from his own purse,
in the purchase of necessary furniture, dress, etc., for her, which the
husband can never take from her against her own wish.

The marriage-contract is generally, in the present day, merely verbal;
but sometimes a certificate is written and sealed by the Ḳáḍee.
The most approved or propitious period for this act is the month of
Showwál: the most unpropitious, Moḥarram. The only persons whose
presence is required to perform it are the bridegroom (or his deputy),
the bride's deputy (who is the betrother), two male witnesses, if such
can be easily procured, and the Ḳáḍee or a schoolmaster or some
other person to recite a khuṭbeh, which consists of a few words in
praise of God, a form of blessing on the Prophet, and some passages of
the Ḳur-án respecting marriage. They all recite the Fátiḥah (or
opening chapter of the Ḳur-án), after which the bridegroom pays the
money. The latter and the bride's deputy then seat themselves on the
ground, face to face, and grasp each other's right hand, raising the
thumbs, and pressing them against each other. Previously to the
khuṭbeh, the person who recites this formula places a handkerchief
over the two joined hands; and after the khuṭbeh he dictates to the
two contracting parties what they are to say. The betrother generally
uses the following or a similar form of words: "I betroth to thee my
daughter [or her for whom I act as deputy] such a one [naming the
bride], the virgin [or the adult virgin, etc.], for a dowry of such an
amount." The bridegroom answers, "I accept from thee her betrothal to
myself." This is all that is absolutely necessary; but the address and
reply are usually repeated a second and third time, and are often
expressed in fuller forms of words. The contract is concluded with the
recital of the Fátiḥah by all persons present.

This betrothal, or marriage-contract, is often performed several years
before the wedding, when the two parties are yet children, or during the
infancy of the girl; but most commonly not more than about eight or ten
days before that event. The household furniture and dress prepared for
the bride are sent by her family to the bridegroom's house, usually
conveyed by a train of camels, two or three or more days before she is
conducted thither.

The feasts and processions which are now to be mentioned are only
observed in the case of a virgin-bride; a widow or divorced woman being
remarried in a private manner. I describe them chiefly in accordance
with the usages of Cairo, which appear to me most agreeable, in general,
with the descriptions and allusions in the "Thousand and One Nights."
The period most commonly approved for the wedding is the eve of Friday,
or that of Monday. Previously to this event, the bridegroom once or
twice or more frequently gives a feast to his friends; and for several
nights, his house and the houses of his near neighbours are usually
illuminated by numerous clusters of lamps, or by lanterns, suspended in
front of them; some, to cords drawn across the street. To these or other
cords are also suspended small flags, or square pieces of silk, each of
two different colours, generally red and green. Some say that the feast
or feasts should be given on the occasion of the marriage-contract;
others, on the actual wedding; others, again, on both these

The usual custom of the people of Cairo is to give a feast on the night
before the nuptials, and another on the wedding night; but some begin
their feasts earlier. Respecting marriage-feasts, the Prophet said, "The
first day's feast is an incumbent duty; and the second day's, a sunneh
ordinance; and the third day's, for ostentation and notoriety:" and he
forbade eating at the feast of the ostentatious.[266] It is a positive
duty to accept an invitation to a marriage-feast or other lawful
entertainment; but the guest is not obliged to eat.[267] The persons
invited and all intimate friends generally send presents of provisions
of some kind a day or two before. The Prophet taught that
marriage-feasts should be frugal: the best that _he_ gave was with one
goat.[268] He approved of demonstrations of joy at the celebration of a
marriage with songs, and according to one tradition by the beating of
deffs (or tambourines); but in another tradition the latter practice is
condemned.[269] The preferable mode of entertaining the guests is by the
performance of a zikr.

On the day preceding that on which she is conducted to the bridegroom's
house, the bride goes to the public bath, accompanied by a number of her
female relations and friends. The procession generally pursues a
circuitous route, for the sake of greater display; and on leaving the
house, turns to the right. In Cairo, the bride walks under a canopy of
silk borne by four men, with one of her near female relations on each
side of her. Young unmarried girls walk before her; these are preceded
by the married ladies; and the procession is headed and closed by a few
musicians with drums and hautboys. The bride wears a kind of pasteboard
crown or cap, and is completely veiled from the view of spectators by a
Kashmeer shawl placed over her crown and whole person; but some handsome
ornaments of the head are attached externally. The other women are
dressed in the best of their walking-attire. In the case, however, of a
bride of high rank, or of wealth, and often in the case of one belonging
to a family of the middle class, the ladies ride upon high-saddled
asses, without music or canopy; and the bride is only distinguished by a
Kashmeer shawl instead of the usual black silk covering, one or more
eunuchs sometimes riding at the head. In the bath, after the ordinary
operations of washing, etc., a feast is made, and the party are often
entertained by female singers.

Having returned in the same manner to her home, the bride's friends
there partake of a similar entertainment with her. Her hands and feet
are then stained with ḥennà, and her eyes ornamented with koḥl;
and her friends give her small presents of money, and take their leave.
"It is a sunneh ordinance that the bride wash her feet in a clean
vessel, and sprinkle the water in the corners of the chamber, that a
blessing may result from this. She should also brighten her face, and
put on the best of her apparel, and adorn her eyes with koḥl, and
stain [her hands and feet] with ḥennà [as above mentioned]; and she
should abstain, during the first week, from eating anything that
contains mustard, and from vinegar, and sour apples."[270]

The bride is conducted to the house of the bridegroom (on the following
day) in the same manner as to the bath, or with more pomp. In Cairo, the
bridal processions of persons of very high rank are conducted with
singular display. The train is usually headed by buffoons and musicians,
and a water-carrier loaded with a goat's-skin filled with sand and
water, of very great weight, which is often borne for many hours before
(as well as during) the procession, merely to amuse the spectators by
this feat of strength. Then follow (interrupted by groups of male or
female dancers, jugglers, and the like) numerous decorated open waggons
or cars, each of which contains several members of some particular trade
or art engaged in their ordinary occupations, or one such person with
attendants: in one, for instance, a kahwejee, with his assistants and
pots and cups and fire, making coffee for the spectators: in a second,
makers of sweetmeats: in a third, makers of pancakes (faṭeerehs): in
a fourth, silk-lace manufacturers: in a fifth, a silk-weaver, with his
loom: in a sixth, tinners of copper vessels, at their work: in a
seventh, white-washers, whitening over and over again a wall: in short,
almost every manufacture and trade has its representatives in a separate
waggon. El-Jabartee describes a procession of this kind in which there
were upwards of seventy parties of different trades and arts, each party
in a separate waggon, besides buffoons, wrestlers, dancers, and others;
followed by various officers, the eunuchs of the bride's family, ladies
of the ḥareem with their attendants, then the bride in a European
carriage, a troop of memlooks clad in armour, and a Turkish band of
music. It was a procession of which the like had not before been

The bride and her party, having arrived at the house, sit down to a
repast. The bridegroom does not yet see her. He has already been to the
bath, and at nightfall he goes in procession with a number of his
friends to a mosque, to perform the night-prayers. He is accompanied by
musicians and singers, or by chanters of lyric odes in praise of the
Prophet, and by men bearing cressets--poles with cylindrical frames of
iron at the top filled with flaming wood; and on his return, most of his
other attendants bear lighted wax candles and bunches of flowers.

Returned to his house, he leaves his friends in a lower apartment, and
goes up to the bride, whom he finds seated, with a shawl thrown over her
head, so as to conceal her face completely, and attended by one or two
females. The latter he induces to retire by means of a small present. He
then gives a present of money to the bride, as "the price of uncovering
the face," and having removed the covering (saying as he does so, "In
the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful"), he beholds her,
generally for the first time. On the occasion of this first visit, which
is called the "dukhool" or "dukhleh," he is recommended "to perfume
himself, and to sprinkle some sugar and almonds on the head of the bride
and on that of each woman with her (this practice being established by
existing usage and by traditions): also, when he approaches her, he
should perform the prayers of two rek´ahs, and she should do the same if
able: then he should take hold of the hair over her forehead, and say,
'O God, bless me in my wife, and bless my wife in me! O God, bestow upon
me [offspring] by her, and bestow upon her [offspring] by me! O God,
unite us, as thou hast united, happily; and separate us, when thou
separatest, happily!'"[272]

An astrological calculation is often made with the view of determining
by what sign of the zodiac the two persons are influenced who
contemplate becoming man and wife, and thence ascertaining whether they
will agree. This is often done in the present day by adding together the
numerical values of the letters composing his or her name and that of
the mother, and, if I remember right, subtracting from 12 the whole sum
if this is less than 12, or what remains after subtracting, or dividing,
by 12. Thus is obtained the number of the sign. The twelve signs,
commencing with Aries, correspond respectively with the elements of
fire, earth, air, water, fire, earth, and so on; and if the signs of the
two parties indicate the same element, it is inferred that they will
agree; but if they indicate different elements, the inference is that
the one will be affected by the other in the same manner as the element
of the one is by that of the other: thus, if the element of the man is
fire, and that of the woman, water, he will be subject to her rule.
Among other calculations of the same kind is the following:--The
numerical values of the letters composing the name of each of the two
parties are added together, and one of these two sums is subtracted from
the other: if the remainder is an uneven number, the inference is
unfavourable; but if even, the reverse.

Next to the service of the husband or master, the care of her children,
and attending to other indispensable domestic duties, the most important
occupation of the wife is that of spinning or weaving or needle-work.
"Sitting for an hour employed with the distaff is better for women,"
said the Prophet, "than a year's worship; and for every piece of cloth
woven of the thread spun by them they shall receive the reward of a
martyr."--´Áisheh, the Prophet's wife, thus declared the merit of
spinning:--"Tell the women what I say: There is no woman who spins until
she hath clothed herself but all the angels in the Seven Heavens pray
for forgiveness of her sins; and she will go forth from her grave on the
day of judgment wearing a robe of Paradise and with a veil upon her
head, and before her shall be an angel and on her right an angel who
will hand her a draught of the water of Selsebeel, the fountain of
Paradise; and another angel will come to her, and carry her upon his
wings, and bear her to Paradise. And when she enters Paradise, eighty
thousand maidens will meet her, each maiden bringing a different robe;
and she will have mansions of emeralds with three hundred doors, at each
of which will stand an angel with a present from the Lord of the
Throne."[273]--The arts above mentioned are pursued by the females in
the ḥareems of the middle and higher classes. Their leisure-hours are
mostly spent in working with the needle; particularly in embroidering
handkerchiefs, head-veils, etc., upon a frame called mensej, with
coloured silks and gold. Many women, even in the houses of the wealthy,
replenish their private purses by ornamenting handkerchiefs and other
things in this manner, and employing a delláleh (or female broker) to
take them to the market, or to other ḥareems, for sale.[274]

The separation of the sexes undoubtedly promotes the free intercourse
of people of the same sex and of different ranks, who thus are able to
associate together, regardless of difference of wealth or station,
without the risk of occasioning unequal matrimonial connections. This
separation is therefore felt by neither sex as oppressive, but is
regarded by them as productive of results which constitute the Muslim's
chief enjoyments,--the highest degree of domestic comfort, and the most
free and extensive society of his fellow men. Thus it is with both
sexes; and neither would give up the pleasure that they hence derive for
a different system of society, somewhat extending their domestic
intercourse, but often destroying the pleasures of home, and contracting
into a compass comparatively narrow the fellowship which they enjoyed

I must now remark upon some other effects of the same system. First, the
restriction of intercourse between the sexes before marriage renders
indispensable, to some, the facility of divorce; for it would be unjust
for a man who finds himself disappointed in his expectations of a wife,
whom he has never before seen, not to be enabled to put her away.
Secondly, it sometimes renders indispensable the licence of polygamy;
for a man who finds his first wife unsuited to him may not be able to
divorce her without reducing her to want; and the licence of polygamy
becomes as necessary in this case as that of divorce in another.
Thirdly, the liberty of polygamy renders the facility of divorce more
desirable for the happiness of women; since, when a man has two or more
wives, and one of them is dissatisfied with her situation, he is enabled
to liberate her. Fourthly, the licence of divorce often acts as a check
upon that of polygamy; for the fear of being obliged, by the influence
of his first wife, or by that of her relations, to divorce her if he
take a second, often prevents a man from doing this. Thus both these
licences are required by the most important principle of the
constitution of Muslim society, and each is productive of some moral
benefit. In considering the question of their expediency, we should also
remember that barrenness is much more common in hot climates than in
those which are temperate.

The Christian scheme is plainly opposed to polygamy; but as to divorce,
some have contended that it only forbids putting away a wife against her
will, unless for one cause.[275] Christians are often most unjust in
their condemnation of Muslim laws and tenets, and especially condemn
those which agree with the Mosaic code and the practices of holy men;
such as polygamy (which Moḥammad _limited_), divorce, war for the
defence of religion, purifications, and even minor matters.[276]
Moḥammad endeavoured to remove one of the chief causes of polygamy
and divorce, by recommending that a man should see a woman whom he
proposed to take as his wife.[277] We might imagine that he could have
made these practices less common than they now are, and always have
been, among his followers, had he given more licence, allowing the man
to enjoy a limited association with the object of his choice in the
presence of her female or male relations (the former of whom might be
veiled), without infringing further the general law of the separation of
the sexes. But he saw that such liberty would very seldom, if ever, be
allowed: scarcely any parents among the Arabs, except those of the lower
classes, permit the little licence which he recommended. Instead of
condemning him for allowing a plurality of wives, I think we should be
more reasonable if we commended him for diminishing and restricting the
number. I think, too, that as Moses allowed his people for the hardness
of their hearts to put away their wives, and God denounced not polygamy
when the patriarchs practised it, we should be more consistent as
believers in the Scriptures if we admitted the permission of these
practices to be more conducive to morality than their prohibition, among
a people similar to the ancient Jews to whom Moses allowed such liberty.
As to the privilege which Moḥammad assumed to himself, of having a
greater number of wives than he allowed to others, I have elsewhere
remarked,[278] that, in doing so, he may have been actuated by the want
of male offspring as much as impelled by voluptuousness.

"On the subject of polygamy," says a writer who has deeply studied
Muslim institutions and their effects, "a European has all the advantage
in discussion with a Turkish woman, because her feelings are decidedly
on the side of her antagonists; but then she has a tremendous power of
reply, in the comparison of the practical effects of the two systems,
and in the widely spread rumours of the heartlessness and the profligacy
of Europe. All the convictions of our habits and laws stand in hostile
array against the country where the principle of polygamy is admitted
into the laws of the state; but yet, while we reproach Islamism with
polygamy, Islamism may reproach us with practical polygamy, which,
unsanctioned by law and reproved by custom, adds degradation of the
mind to dissoluteness of morals."[279]

It should further be remarked that by sanctioning polygamy Moḥammad
did not make the practice general: nay, he could not. It is a licence
for the hard-hearted, which restrains them from worse conduct, and in
some cases, as already shown, a resource for the tender-hearted. "The
permission," observes the author just cited, "does not alter the
proportions of men and women. While, therefore, the law of nature
renders this practice an impossibility as regards the community, it is
here still further restrained among the few who have the means of
indulging in it, both by the domestic unquiet that results from it, and
by the public censure and reprobation of which it is the object."

I have remarked in a former work that polygamy "is more rare among the
higher and middle classes [in Egypt, and I believe in other Arab
countries] than it is among the lower orders; and it is not very common
among the latter. A poor man may indulge himself with two or more wives,
each of whom may be able, by some art or occupation, nearly to provide
her own subsistence; but most persons of the higher and middle orders
are deterred from doing so by the consideration of the expense and
discomfort which they would incur. A man having a wife who has the
misfortune to be barren, and being too much attached to her to divorce
her, is sometimes induced to take a second wife, merely in the hope of
obtaining offspring; and from the same motive he may take a third, and a
fourth; but fickle passion is the most evident and common motive both to
polygamy and to repeated divorces. They are comparatively few who
gratify this passion by the former practice. I believe that not more
than one husband among twenty has two wives."[280]

I hope I have shown that though I consider polygamy as necessary in the
constitution of Muslim society, to prevent a profligacy that would be
worse than that which prevails to so great a degree in European
countries, where people are united in marriage after an intimate mutual
acquaintance, I consider it as a necessary _evil_. When two or more
wives of the same man live together, or when they visit each other,
feelings of jealousy are generally felt and often manifested, and
especially on the part of the wife or wives who cannot claim precedence
by having been married before the other or others, or by reason of being
more favoured by the husband.[281] The wife first married usually enjoys
the highest rank: therefore parents often object to giving a daughter in
marriage to a man who has already another wife; and it frequently
happens that the woman who is sought in marriage objects to such a
union. The law provides in some measure against the discomforts arising
from polygamy, by giving to each wife a claim to a distinct lodging,
affording conveniences for sleeping, cooking, etc.; and further enjoins
the husband to be strictly impartial to his wives in every respect. But
fruitfulness and superior beauty are qualifications that often enable a
second, third, or fourth wife to usurp the place of the first; though in
many cases, as I have already remarked, the lasting favourite is not the
most handsome.

There are, however, many instances of sincere affection existing in
the hearts of fellow-wives. The following story of two wives of the
father of El-Jabartee, the modern Egyptian historian, related by
himself, and of undoubted truth, is a pleasing example.--Speaking of the
first of these two wives, the historian says,--

"Among her acts of conjugal piety and submission was this, that she used
to buy for her husband beautiful slave girls, with her own wealth, and
deck them with ornaments and apparel, and so present them to him,
confidently looking to the reward and recompense which she should
receive [in Paradise] for such conduct. He took, in addition to her,
many other wives from among free women, and bought female slaves; but
she did not in consequence conceive any of that jealousy which commonly
affects women. Among other strange events which happened was the
following. When the subject of this memoir [the author's father]
performed the pilgrimage in the year 1156 [A.D. 1743-44], he became
acquainted at Mekkeh with the sheykh ´Omar El-Ḥalabee who
commissioned him to purchase for him a white female slave, having such
and such qualifications. So when he returned from the pilgrimage, he
searched for female slaves among the slave-dealers, to choose from them
such a one as was wanted, and ceased not until he found the object of
his desire, and bought her. He brought her to his wife, to remain with
her until he should send her with a person to whom he was commissioned
to entrust her for the journey; and when the period at which she was to
depart arrived, he informed his wife of it, that she might prepare the
provisions for the way, and other necessaries. But she said to him, 'I
have conceived a great love for this maid, and I cannot endure
separation from her: I have no children, and I have taken her as a
daughter.' The girl Zeleekhá also wept, and said, 'I will not part from
my mistress, nor ever leave her.' 'Then what is to be done?' he asked.
She answered, 'I will pay her price from my own property, and do thou
buy another.' He did so. She then emancipated the girl, gave her to him
by a marriage-contract, prepared her paraphernalia, and furnished for
her a separate apartment; and he took her as his wife in the year 1165.
The former wife could not bear to be separated from her even for an
hour, although she had become her fellow-wife, and borne him children.
In the year 1182, the [emancipated] slave fell sick, and she [the first
wife] fell sick on account of her [friend's] sickness. The illness
increased upon both of them; and in the morning the slave arose, and
looked at her mistress when she seemed about to die, and wept, and said,
'O my God and my Lord, if Thou hast decreed the death of my mistress,
make my day to be before her day.' Then she lay down, and her disease
increased, and she died the next night; and they wrapped her up by the
side of her mistress. And her mistress awoke at the close of the night,
and felt her with her hand, and began to say, 'Zeleekhá! Zeleekhá!' They
said to her, 'She is asleep.' But she replied, 'My heart telleth me that
she is dead: and I saw in my sleep what indicated this event.' They then
said to her, 'May thy life be prolonged!'[282] And when she had thus
ascertained the event, she raised herself, and sat up, and said, 'No life
remaineth to me after her.' And she wept and wailed until the day
appeared, when they began to prepare for the speedy burial of the slave;
and they washed the corpse before her, and carried it to the grave. Then
she returned to her bed, and fell into the agonies of death, and died at
the close of the day; and on the following day they carried her corpse
to the grave in like manner."[283]


[236] I may suffer in public estimation for my differing in opinion from
this accomplished traveller and most estimable man; but I cannot, on
that account, abstain from the expression of my dissent. Our difference,
I think, may be thus explained. He conformed, in a great degree, to the
habits of the Arabs; but not to such an extent as I consider necessary
to obtain from them that confidence in his sympathy which would induce
them to lay open to him their character; and when a man is often treated
with coldness and reserve, I doubt whether the people from whom he
experiences such treatment can be judged by him with strict
impartiality. To be received on terms of equality by Arabs of the more
polished classes, an undeviating observance of their code of etiquette
is absolutely indispensable: but Burckhardt, I have been assured, often
violated this code by practices harmless enough to our notions and
probably also in the opinion of the Arabs of the Desert, but extremely
offensive to the people who enjoyed the least share of his esteem: his
most intimate acquaintances in Cairo generally refused, in speaking of
him, to designate him by the title of "sheykh" which he had adopted; and
yet the heaviest charge that I heard brought against him was his
frequent habit of _whistling_!--This fact has been mentioned, as
corroborating an observation of the same kind, by Mr. Urquhart ("Spirit
of the East," i. 417, 418), all of whose opinions relating to the East,
expressed in that work, and especially those regarding the
characteristics of the Eastern mind, are entitled to the highest

[237] Kitáb el-´Onwán fee Mekáïd en-Niswán, a work on the stratagems of
women (MS.).

[238] This word slightly varied (changed to Ḍa´eefih) bears another
meaning, namely, "his weak one:" the final vowel being suppressed by the
rule of waḳf.

[239] Kitáb el-´Onwán.

[240] The Arabs in general entertain a prejudice against blue eyes; a
prejudice said to have arisen from the great number of blue-eyed persons
among certain of their northern enemies.

[241] In another analysis of the same kind, it is said that four should
be _short_,--the hands, the feet, the tongue, and the teeth--but this is
metaphorically speaking; the meaning is, that these members should be
kept within their proper bounds. (Kitáb el-´Onwán.)

[242] An unnamed author quoted by El-Isḥáḳee, in his account of
the ´Abbásee Khaleefeh El-Mutawekkil.

[243] Kitáb el-´Onwán.

[244] By sending with a letter the silk strings of her hair, a lady
testifies the most abject submission. The same meaning is conveyed in a
more forcible manner by sending the hair itself. Thus when Cairo was
besieged by the Franks in the year of the Flight 564 (A.D. 1168),
El-´Áḍid, the last Fáṭimee Khaleefeh, sent letters to Noor-ed-Deen
Maḥmood, Sulṭán of Syria, imploring succour, and with them sent
his women's hair to show their subjection and his own. (Ibn
Esh-Shihneh). [So too El-Maḳreezee, with a slight variation. It was
in this siege that the old town now called erroneously Miṣr
el-´aṭeeḳah was burnt by order of the Wezeer Sháwir, the
conflagration lasting fifty-four days. (Khiṭaṭ, account of the
ruin of El-Fusṭáṭ and reign of El-´Áḍid.) E. S. P.]

[245] An engraving of a crown of this description, and another of one of
a more common kind, may be seen in my work on the Modern Egyptians,
Appendix A.

[246] Kitáb el-´Onwán.

[247] El-Imám El-Jara´ee, in his book entitled "Shir´at el-Islám."

[248] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 2.

[249] Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 79.

[250] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 1.

[251] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 1.

[252] By way of exception, however, on the woman's side, my sheykh
[Moḥammad ´Eiyád Eṭ-Ṭantáwee] writes:--"Many persons reckon
marrying a second time among the greatest of disgraceful actions.
This opinion is most common in the country-towns and villages; and
the relations of my mother are thus characterized, so that a woman
of them, when her husband dieth while she is young, or divorceth
her while she is young, passeth her life, however long it may be,
in widowhood, and never marrieth a second time."

[253] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 1.

[254] Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of the year above mentioned.

[255] Idem, Proverbs of the Arabs; and my Lexicon, _voce_ "khaṭaba."

[256] The izár, or eezár (for the word is written in two different
ways), is a piece of drapery commonly worn by Arab women when they
appear in public. It is about two yards or more in width (according to
the height of the wearer), and three yards in length; one edge of it
being drawn from behind, over the upper part of the head and forehead,
and secured by a band sewed inside, the rest hangs down behind and on
each side to the ground, or nearly so, and almost entirely envelops the
person; the two ends being held so as nearly to meet in front. Thus it
conceals every other part of the dress excepting a small portion of a
very loose gown (which is another of the articles of walking or riding
apparel), and the face-veil. It is now generally made of white calico,
but a similar covering of black silk for the married, and of white silk
for the unmarried, is now worn by women of the higher and middle
classes, called a ḥabarah.

It appears that the kind of face-veil, called in Arabic ḳináạ is a
piece of muslin, about a yard or more in length, and somewhat less in
width, a portion of which is placed over the head, beneath the izár, the
rest hanging down in front, to the waist, or thereabout, and entirely
concealing the face. I have often seen Arab women, particularly those of
the Wahhábees, wearing veils of this kind composed of printed muslin,
completely concealing their features, yet of sufficiently loose fabric
to admit of their seeing their way. But the more common kind of Arab
face-veil is a long strip of white muslin, or of a kind of black crape,
covering the whole of the face excepting the eyes, and reaching nearly
to the feet. It is suspended at the top by a narrow band, which passes
up the forehead, and which is sewed, as are also the two upper corners
of the veil, to a band that is tied round the head. This veil is called
burḳo´. The black kind is often ornamented with gold coins, false
pearls, etc., attached to the upper part. It is not so genteel as the
white veil, unless for a lady in mourning.

[257] Chap. iv. 26, 27.

[258] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 4.

[259] Idem, section 6.

[260] Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, i. 229.

[261] Idem, i. 223.

[262] Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 78.

[263] Idem, ii. 79.

[264] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 4.

[265] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 8.

[266] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 8.

[267] Ibid.; and Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 105.

[268] Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 104.

[269] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, loco laudato; and Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ,
ii. 89.

[270] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, 1.1.; Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 89.

[271] Account of the Emeer Moḥammad Agha El-Bároodee, obituary, year

[272] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 8.

[273] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 7.

[274] Modern Egyptians, ch. vi.

[275] "The Protestants of Hungary admit the plea of 'irrevocabile
odium.'"--Urquhart's Spirit of the East, ii. 416.

[276] A religious lady once asked me if I so conformed with the manners
of the Easterns as to eat in their "beastly manner." I replied, "Do not
call it a 'beastly manner:' call it the manner of our Lord and his
Apostles." But some excuse may be made in this case. I was determined,
when I first went to the East, never to conform to the practice of
eating with the fingers when I could avoid it; however, after I had
first seen the manner of doing this, I immediately adopted the custom,
and continued it.

[277] Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 81.

[278] Selections from the Ḳur-án, 1st. ed., p. 59.

[279] Urquhart's Spirit of the East, ii. 415-416. See the two chapters
on "the life of the Harem" and "State of Women," which I think the most
valuable portion of the book.

[280] Modern Egyptians, ch. vi.

[281] A fellow-wife is called, in Arabic, "ḍarrah," a word derived
from "ḍarar," which signifies "injury," because fellow-wives usually
experience injurious treatment, one from another. The word "ḍarrah,"
in vulgar or colloquial Arabic (by substituting a soft for an emphatic
_d_, and _u_ for _a_), is pronounced "durrah," which properly signifies
"a parrot." "The life of a fellow-wife is bitter" ("´eeshet
eḍ-ḍurrah murrah") is a common proverb. [Eṭ-Ṭantáwee.]

[282] This is the usual way of informing a person that another is dead.
Many say in the same case, "Mayest thou live!" and then being asked,
"Who is dead?" mention the name.

[283] El-Jabartee's History, vol. i., obituary of the year 1188.



A slave, among Muslims, is either a person taken captive in war, or
carried off by force, and being at the time of capture an infidel; or
the offspring of a female slave by another slave or by any man who is
not her owner, or by her owner if he does not acknowledge himself to be
the father: but the offspring of a male slave by a free woman is free. A
person who embraces the Mohammadan faith after having been made a slave
does not by this act become free, unless he flies from a foreign infidel
master to a Muslim country and there becomes a Mohammadan. A person
cannot have as a slave one whom he acknowledges to be within the
prohibited degrees of marriage. The slaves of the Arabs are mostly from
Abyssinia and the Negro countries: a few, in the houses of very wealthy
individuals, are from Georgia and Circassia.

Slaves have no civil liberty, but are entirely under the authority of
their owners, whatever may be the religion, sex, or age, of the latter;
and can possess no property, unless by the owner's permission. The
owner is entire master, while he pleases, of the person and goods of his
slave, and of the offspring of his female slave, which, if his, or
presumed to be his, he may recognize as his own legitimate child, or
not: the child, if recognized by him, enjoys the same privileges as the
offspring of a free wife; and if not recognized by him, is his slave.
The master may even kill his own slave with impunity for any offence;
and he incurs but a slight punishment (as imprisonment for a period at
the discretion of the judge) if he kills him wantonly. He may give away
or sell his slaves, excepting in some cases which will be mentioned; and
may marry them to whom he will, but not separate them when married. A
slave, however, according to most of the doctors, cannot have more than
two wives at the same time.

Unemancipated slaves, at the death of their master, become the property
of his heirs; and when an emancipated slave dies, leaving no male
descendants or collateral relations, the master is the heir; or, if the
master be dead, his heirs inherit the slave's property. As a slave
enjoys less advantages than a free person, the law in some cases ordains
that his punishment for an offence shall be half of that to which the
free is liable for the same offence, or even less than half: if it be a
fine or pecuniary compensation, it must be paid by the owner to the
amount, if necessary, of the value of the slave, or the slave must be
given in compensation.

When a man, from being the husband, becomes the master, of a slave, the
marriage is dissolved, and he cannot continue to live with her but as
her master, enjoying, however, all a master's privileges, unless he
emancipates her, in which case he may again take her as his wife with
her consent. In like manner, when a woman, from being the wife, becomes
the possessor, of a slave, the marriage is dissolved, and cannot be
renewed unless she emancipates him, and he consents to the re-union.

Complete and immediate emancipation is sometimes granted to a slave
gratuitously, or for a future pecuniary compensation. It is conferred by
means of a written document, or by a verbal declaration (expressed in
the words, "Thou art free," or some similar phrase) in the presence of
two witnesses, or by returning the certificate of sale obtained from the
former owner. Future emancipation is sometimes covenanted to be granted
on the fulfilment of certain conditions, and more frequently to be
conferred on the occasion of the owner's death. In the latter case the
owner cannot sell the slave to whom he has made this promise: and, as he
cannot alienate by will more than one-third of the whole property that
he leaves, the law ordains that if the value of the said slave exceeds
that portion, the slave must obtain and pay the additional sum. When a
female slave has borne a child to her master, and he acknowledges the
child to be his own, he cannot sell this slave, and she becomes free on
his death.

Abyssinian and white female slaves are kept by many men of the middle
and higher classes, and often instead of wives, as requiring less
expense and being more subservient; but they are generally indulged with
the same luxuries as free ladies, their vanity is gratified by costly
dresses and ornaments, and they rank high above free servants; as do
also the male slaves. Those called Abyssinians appear to be a mixed race
between negroes and whites, and are from the territories of the Gallas.
They are mostly kidnapped and sold by their own countrymen. The negro
female slaves, as few of them have considerable personal attractions
(which is not the case with the Abyssinians, many of whom are very
beautiful), are usually employed only in cooking and other menial
offices. The female slaves of the higher classes are often instructed in
plain needlework and embroidery, and sometimes in music and dancing.
Formerly many of them possessed sufficient literary accomplishments to
quote largely from esteemed poems, or even to compose extemporary
verses, which they would often accompany with the lute.

Slaves of either sex are generally treated with kindness; but at first
they are usually importuned, and not unfrequently used with much
harshness, to induce them to embrace the Mohammadan faith; which almost
all of them do. Their services are commonly light: the usual office of
the male white slave, who is called "memlook," is that of a page or a
military guard. Eunuchs are employed as guardians of the women, but only
in the houses of men of high rank or great wealth. On account of the
important and confidential office which they fill, they are generally
treated in public with especial consideration. I used to remark, in
Cairo, that few persons saluted me with a more dignified and
consequential air than these pitiable but self-conceited beings. Most of
them are Abyssinians or Negroes. Indeed, the slaves in general take too
much advantage of the countenance of their masters, especially when they
belong to men in power. The master is bound to afford his slaves proper
food and clothing, or to let them work for their own support, or to
sell, give away, or liberate them. It is, however, considered
disgraceful for him to sell a slave who has been long in his possession;
and it seldom happens that a master emancipates a female slave without
marrying her to some man able to support her, or otherwise providing for

The Prophet strongly enjoined the duty of kindness to slaves. "Feed your
memlooks," said he, "with food of that which ye eat, and clothe them
with such clothing as ye wear; and command them not to do that for which
they are unable."[284] These precepts are generally attended to, either
entirely or in a great degree. Some other sayings of the Prophet on this
subject well deserve to be mentioned--as the following:--"He who beats
his slave without fault, or slaps him on the face, his atonement for
this is freeing him."--"A man who behaves ill to his slave will not
enter into Paradise."--"Whoever is the cause of separation between
mother and child, by selling or giving, God will separate him from his
friends on the day of resurrection."--"When a slave wishes well to his
master, and worships God well, for him are double rewards."[285]

It is related of ´Othmán, "that he twisted the ear of a memlook
belonging to him, on account of disobedience, and afterwards, repenting
of it, ordered him to twist _his_ ear in like manner: but he would not.
´Othmán urged him, and the memlook advanced, and began to wring it by
little and little. He said to him, 'Wring it hard; for I cannot endure
the punishment of the day of judgment [on account of this act].' The
memlook answered, 'O my master, the day that thou fearest, I also
fear.'"--"It is related also of Zeyn el-´Ábideen, that he had a memlook
who seized a sheep, and broke its leg; and he said to him, 'Why didst
thou this?' He answered, 'To provoke thee to anger.' 'And I,' said he,
'will provoke to anger him who taught thee; and he is Iblees: go, and be
free, for the sake of God.'"[286]--Many similar anecdotes might be
added; but the general assertions of travellers in the East are more
satisfactory evidence in favour of the humane conduct of most Muslims to
their slaves.

It sometimes happens, though rarely, that free girls are sold as
slaves.[287] A remarkable instance is related in the Mir-át
ez-Zemán.[288]--Fátimeh, surnamed Ghareeb, a slave of the Khaleefeh
El-Moạtaṣim, the son of Hároon, was a poetess, accomplished in
singing and calligraphy, and extremely beautiful. Her mother was an
orphan; and Jaạfar, the famous Wezeer of Hároon Er-Rasheed, took her
as his wife; but his father, Yaḥyà, reproached him for marrying a
woman whose father and mother were unknown, and he therefore removed her
from his own residence to a neighbouring house, where he frequently
visited her; and she bore him a daughter, the above-mentioned Ghareeb,
and died. Jaạfar committed her infant to the care of a Christian
woman to nurse; and, on the overthrow of his family, this woman sold her
young charge as a slave. El-Emeen, the successor of Er-Rasheed, bought
her of a man named Sumbul, but never paid her price; and when he was
killed, she returned to her former master; but on the arrival of
El-Ma-moon at Baghdád, she was described to him, and he compelled Sumbul
to sell her to him. This Sumbul loved her so passionately that he died
of grief at her loss. On the death of El-Ma-moon, his successor,
El-Moạtaṣim, bought her for a hundred thousand dirhems, and
emancipated her. The historian adds that she composed several well-known
airs and verses.


[284] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, section 9.

[285] Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ii. 140, 141

[286] Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, 1.1.

[287] See Modern Egyptians, ch. vi.

[288] Events of the year 227.



The ceremonies attendant upon death and burial are nearly the same in
the cases of men and women. The face or the head of the dying person is
turned towards the direction of Mekkeh. When the spirit is departing,
the eyes are closed; and then, or immediately after, the women of the
house commence a loud lamentation, in which many of the females of the
neighbourhood generally come to join. Hired female mourners are also
usually employed, each of whom accompanies her exclamations of "Alas for
him!" etc. by beating a tambourine. If possible, the corpse is buried on
the day of the death;[289] but when this cannot be done, the lamentation
of the women is continued during the ensuing night; and a recitation of
several chapters, or of the whole, of the Ḳur-án is performed by one
or more men hired for the purpose.

The washing consists, first, in the performance of the ordinary ablution
that is preparatory to prayer, with the exception of the cleansing of
the mouth and nose, and secondly, in an ablution of the whole body with
warm water and soap, or with water in which some leaves of the lote-tree
have been boiled. The jaw is bound up, the eyes are closed, and the
nostrils, etc., are stuffed with cotton; and the corpse is sprinkled
with a mixture of water, pounded camphor, dried and pounded leaves of
the lote-tree, and sometimes other dried and pulverized leaves, and with
rose-water. The ankles are bound together;[290] and the hands placed
upon the breast.

The grave-clothing of a poor man consists of a piece or two of cotton,
or a kind of bag; but the corpse of a man of wealth is generally wrapped
first in muslin, then in cotton cloth of a thicker texture, next in a
piece of striped stuff of silk and cotton intermixed, or in a
ḳafṭán (a long vest) of similar stuff merely stitched together,
and over these is wrapped a Kashmeer shawl.[291] The colours most
approved for the grave-clothes are white and green. The body thus
shrouded is placed in a bier, which is usually covered with a Kashmeer
shawl, and borne on the shoulders of three or four men, generally
friends of the deceased.

There are some slight differences in the funeral ceremonies observed in
different Arab countries; but a sufficient notion of them will be
conveyed by briefly describing those which prevail in Cairo. The
procession to the tomb is generally headed by a number of poor men,
mostly blind, who, walking two and two, or three and three together,
chant, in a melancholy tone, the profession (or two professions) of the
faith, "There is no deity but God" and "Moḥammad is God's apostle,"
or sometimes other words. They are usually followed by some male
relations and friends of the deceased; and these, by a group of
schoolboys, chanting in a higher tone, and one of them bearing a copy of
the Ḳur-án, or of one of its thirty sections, placed upon a kind of
desk formed of palm-sticks, and covered with an embroidered kerchief.
Then follows the bier, borne head-foremost. Friends of the deceased
relieve one another in the office of carrying it; and casual passengers
often take part in this service, which is esteemed highly meritorious.
Behind the bier walk the female mourners, composing a numerous group,
often more than a dozen; or, if of a wealthy family, they ride. Each of
those who belong to the family of the deceased has a strip of cotton
stuff or muslin, generally blue, bound round her head, over the
head-veil, and carries a handkerchief, usually dyed blue (the colour of
mourning), which she sometimes holds over her shoulders, and at other
times twirls with both hands over her head or before her face, while she
cries and shrieks almost incessantly; and the hired female mourners,
accompanying the group, often celebrate the praises of the deceased,
though this was forbidden by the Prophet. The funeral procession of a
man of wealth is sometimes preceded by several camels, bearing bread and
water to give to the poor at the tomb; and closed by the led horses of
some of the attendants, and by a buffalo or other animal to be
sacrificed at the tomb, where its flesh is distributed to the poor, to
atone for some of the minor sins of the deceased.[292]

The bier used for conveying the corpse of a boy or a female has a cover
of wood, over which a shawl is spread; and at the head is an upright
piece of wood: upon the upper part of this, in the case of a boy, is
fixed a turban, with several ornaments of female head-dress; and in the
case of a female, it is similarly decked, but without the turban.

A short prayer is recited over the dead, either in a mosque or in a
place particularly dedicated to this service in or adjacent to the
burial-ground. The body is then conveyed, in the same manner as before,
to the tomb. This is a hollow, oblong vault, one side of which faces the
direction of Mekkeh, generally large enough to contain four or more
bodies, and having an oblong monument of stone or brick constructed over
it, with a stela at the head and foot. Upon the former of these two
stelae (which is often inscribed with a text from the Ḳur-án, and the
name of the deceased, with the date of his death), a turban, cap, or
other head-dress, is sometimes carved, showing the rank or class of the
person or persons buried beneath; and in many cases, a cupola supported
by four walls, or by columns, is constructed over the smaller monument.
The body is laid on its right side, or inclined by means of a few crude
bricks, so that the face is turned towards Mekkeh; and a person is
generally employed to dictate to the deceased the answers which he
should give when he is examined by the two angels Munkar and Nekeer. If
the funeral be that of a person of rank or wealth, the bread and water
before mentioned are then distributed to the poor.[293]

Towards the eve of the first Friday after the funeral, and often early
in the morning of the Thursday, the women of the family of the deceased
repeat their wailing in the house accompanied by some of their female
friends: male friends of the deceased also visit the house shortly
before or after sunset; and three or four persons are hired to perform a
recitation of the whole of the Ḳur-án. On the following morning, some
or all of the members of the deceased's family, but chiefly the women,
visit the tomb; they or their servants carrying palm-branches, and
sometimes sweet basil, to lay upon it, and often the visitors take with
them some kind of food, as bread, pancakes, sweet cakes of different
kinds, or dates, to distribute to the poor on this occasion. They recite
portions of the Ḳur-án or employ people to recite it, as has been
already mentioned.[294] These ceremonies are repeated on the same days
of the next two weeks; and again on the eve and morning of the Friday
which completes, or next follows, the first period of forty days after
the funeral; whence this Friday is called El-Arba´een, or Jum´at

It is believed that the soul remains with the body until the expiration
of the first night after the burial, when it departs to the place
appointed for the abode of good souls until the last day, or to the
appointed prisons in which wicked souls await their final doom; but with
respect to the state of souls in the interval between death and
judgment, there are various opinions which Sale thus states.[295] As to
the souls of the good, he says, "1. Some say they stay near the
sepulchres; with liberty, however, of going wherever they please; which
they confirm from Moḥammad's manner of saluting them at their graves,
and his affirming that the dead heard those salutations as well as the
living, though they could not answer. Whence perhaps proceeded the
custom of visiting the tombs of relations, so common among the
Mohammadans. 2. Others imagine they are with Adam, in the lowest heaven;
and also support their opinion by the authority of their prophet, who
gave out that in his return from the upper heavens in his pretended
night-journey, he saw there the souls of those who were destined to
paradise on the right hand of Adam, and those who were condemned to hell
on his left. 3. Others fancy the souls of believers remain in the well
Zemzem, and those of infidels in a certain well in the province of
Haḍramót, called Barahoot:[296] but this opinion is branded as
heretical [?]. 4. Others say they stay near the graves for seven days;
but that whither they go afterwards is uncertain. 5. Others that they
are all in the trumpet, whose sound is to raise the dead. And 6. Others
that the souls of the good dwell in the forms of white birds, under the
throne of God. As to the condition of the souls of the wicked, the more
orthodox held that they are offered by the angels to heaven, from whence
being repulsed as stinking and filthy, they are offered to the earth;
and, being also refused a place there, are carried down to the seventh
earth, and thrown into a dungeon, which they call Sijjeen, under a green
rock, or according to a tradition of Moḥammad, under the devil's jaw,
to be there tormented till they are called up to be joined again to
their bodies." But the souls of prophets are believed to be admitted
immediately into paradise, and those of martyrs are said to rest in the
crops of green birds which eat of the fruits of paradise and drink of
its rivers.[297]

Of the opinions above mentioned, with respect to the souls of the
faithful, I believe the first to be that which is most prevalent. It is
generally said that these souls visit their respective graves every
Friday; and according to some they return to their bodies on Friday,
after the period of the afternoon prayers, and on Saturday and Monday;
or on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; and remain until sunrise.[298]--I
believe also, from having heard frequent allusions made to it as a thing
not to be doubted, that the opinion respecting the Well of Barahoot
commonly prevails in the present day. El-Ḳazweenee says of it, "It is
a well _near_ Haḍramót; and the Prophet (God bless and save him!)
said, 'In it are the souls of the infidels and hypocrites.' It is an
´Adite well [_i.e._ ancient, as though made by the old tribe of ´Ad], in
a dry desert, and a gloomy valley; and it is related of ´Alee (may God
be well pleased with him!), that he said, 'The most hateful of districts
unto God (whose name be exalted!) is the Valley of Barahoot, in which is
a well whose water is black and fetid, where the souls of the infidels
make their abode.' El-Asma'ee hath related of a man of Haḍramót that
he said, 'We find near Barahoot an extremely disgusting and fetid smell,
and then news is brought to us of the death of a great man of the chiefs
of the infidels.' It is related, also, that a man who passed a night in
the Valley of Barahoot, said, 'I heard all the night [exclamations] of O
Roomeh! O Roomeh! and I mentioned this to a learned man, and he told me
that it was the name of the angel commissioned to keep guard over the
souls of the infidels.'"[299]


[289] "When any one of you dies," said the Prophet, "you must not keep
him in the house; but carry him quickly to his grave:" and again he
said, "Be quick in lifting up a bier; for if the deceased be a good man,
it is good to take him up quickly, and carry him to his grave, to cause
the good to arrive at happiness; and if the deceased be a bad man, it is
a wickedness which ye put from your neck." (Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ,
i. 374, 387.)

[290] Two customs, namely, tying the toes of the corpse, and placing a
knife, or rather a sword, upon the body, are still common in some Muslim
countries; but I did not hear of their being observed in Egypt, nor the
custom of putting salt with the knife or sword. Iron and salt are both
believed to repel genii, and to prevent their approach, and hence,
perhaps, are thus used.

[291] It is a common custom for a Muslim, on a military expedition, or
during a long journey, especially in the desert, to carry his
grave-linen with him; for he is extremely careful that he may be buried
according to the law.

[292] More than one is unusual; but at the funeral of Moḥammad ´Alee,
which I witnessed in Cairo, about eighty buffaloes were thus driven in
the procession.--E. S. P.

[293] See further Modern Egyptians, ch. xxviii.

[294] See above, 23 and 24.

[295] Preliminary Discourse, section iv.

[296] So in the Ḳámoos, and in my MS. of the ´Ajáïb el-Makhlooḳát
of El-Ḳazweenee; but by Sale written "Borhût."

[297] The Mohammadan law distinguishes several different descriptions of
martyrs. This honourable title is given to the soldier who dies in
fighting for the faith, or on his way to do so, or who dies almost
immediately after his having been wounded when so engaged; to a person
who innocently meets with his death from the hand of another; to a
victim of the plague, who does not flee from the disease, or of
dysentery; to a person who is drowned, and to one who is killed by the
falling of a wall or any building.

[298] Murshid ez-Zoowár ilà Ḳuboor, el-Abrár (the Director of the
Visitors to the Tombs of the Just) by ´Abd-er-Raḥmán El-Khazrejee
El-Anṣáree: MS. in my possession.

[299] ´Ajáïb el-Makhlooḳát.


    Aạshà, El- (poet), 155

    Aạwar, El- (son of Satan), 33

    ´Abd-El-Ḳádir El-Jeelánee (saint), 50, _n._

    ´Abd-El-Melik (Khaleefeh, A.D. 685-705), 113, 114, 156, 168

    Abel, 92

    Ablutions, 11

    ---- before meals, 136

    Abodes of the Jinn (Genii), 37, 104

    Aboo-Bekr Eṭ-Ṭoosee (theologian), 73

    Aboo-Murrah (surname of Satan), 31

    Aboo-Zeyd, romance of, 127

    Abraham, 2, 93

    Abstinence, 14

    Abu-l-´Atáhiyeh (poet), 114, 115

    Abu-l-Ghimr (surname of Satan), 31

    Abu-l-Ḳásim El-Jeelánee, 55

    Abyssinian slaves, 250, 253, 254

    Accomplishments, 205, 239

    ´Ad, ancient tribe of, 105, 265

    Adam, 2

    Adán (call to prayer), 11, 186

    Adhriyoon (anemone), 166, _n._

    ´Adid, El-, (Fáṭimee Khaleefeh, A.D. 1160-1171), 216, _n._

    Adultery, 17

    Agathodaemon, 39

    Aḥmad El-Bedawee (saint), 50, _n._, 62, 63, 72

    Aḥmad Rifá´ah (saint), 50, _n._

    Aḥmedeeyeh darweeshes, 50, _n._

    ´Aïsheh (wife of Moḥammad), 34, 239

    ´Ajameeyeh (a sweet paste), 23

    ´Ajweh (pressed dates), 160

    ´Aḳeeḳah (victim), 191

    Alchymy, 94

    ´Alee, 266

    ´Alee's wives, 222

    ´Alee El-Bekree (saint), 65-69

    ´Alee ibn-El-Ma-moon, 53

    ´Alee El-Leythee (saint), 60-63

    ´Alḳamah, 45

    Alláh (God), 133

    Alláhu Akbar! (God is Great!), 37

    Almond, 161, 167

    Almsgiving, 14, 23

    Aloes-wood, 157

    Ambassadors of Constantine VII., 121

    Ambergris, 157

    Ammooneh (female saint), 65-67

    Amphora, 158

    Amputation for theft, 17, 20, 21

    Amulets, 85

    Analysis of Arabian beauty, 215

    Anemone, 166

    Angel of Death, 90

    Angel who bears the earth, 106

    Angels, 2, 25, 26

    ----, fallen, 82

    ´Annáb (jujube), 161, _n._

    ´Antarah, romance of, 127

    Antechamber of bath, 180

    Antelope hunting, 183-185

    Apartments, 145

    Apostasy, 18

    Apostles, 2

    Apostolic angels, 26

    Apple, 161

    Apricot, 161

    Arabs, early, 109-112

    ´Arafát, Mount, 14, 21, 39

    Arba´een, El- (fortieth day after funeral), 263

    Archangels, 26

    Arms, 183

    ´Arsh Er-Raḥmán (Throne of the Compassionate), 99

    ´Arsh Iblees, 102

    Ás (myrtle), 165

    Asaf (Wezeer of Solomon), 40, 81

    Ascension of Moḥammad into Heaven, 164

    Asceticism, 53, 55-59

    Aṣḥáb ed-Darak (overseers), 48

    ´Asḳalán, 141

    Asma´ee, El- (poet), 114, 124-126

    ´Asr (afternoon prayer), 11

    Ass of Umm ´Amr, 213

    ----, wild, hunting the, 185

    Astrology, 84, _n._, 86, 237

    Atlantic Ocean, 102

    Auguration, 86, 87

    Author made a darweesh, 62

    ´Azázeel (the youthful Satan), 30, 31

    Azhar (the university mosque in Cairo), 50

    ´Azraeel (Angel of Death), 26, 33, 90

    Bábil (Babel), 82

    Baghdád, literary period at, 112, 114

    Bahamoot (the fish that bears the earth), 107

    Bahár (buphthalmum), 167, _n._

    Baḥr el-Moḥeeṭ, El- (Circumambient Ocean), 100, 102

    Baḥr el-Muzlim, El- (Atlantic Ocean), 102

    Baḥr eẓ-Ẓulumát, or eẓ-Ẓulmeh (Sea of Darkness,
        _i.e._ Atlantic Ocean), 102

    Bakhteree, El- (poet), 118

    Báḳillà (beanflower), 167, _n._

    Bán (willow), 167, _n._

    Banana, 161

    Banquets, public, 139-141

    Baráhimeh darweeshes, 50, _n._

    Barahoot, well of, 264, 266

    Báriḥ (inauguration), 87

    Barḳooḳ (plum), 161, _n._

    Barmekees (Barmecides), 115

    Basil, sweet, 24, 167

    Basket-making saint, 52

    Baṣrah, owl of El-, 114

    Bath, 179-183

    ---- spirits, 37, 38

    Báṭiyeh (jar), 158

    Baṭṭah (leather bottle), 158

    Baṭṭeekh (water-melon), 160

    Battues, 184

    Bat-winged Jinn, 46

    Beanflower, 167

    Beasts, language of, 133

    Beauty, Arab ideal of, 213-216

    Bedawee, El-, 50, _n._

    ----, poetic, 116

    ----, love of the, 211-213

    Beer, 149

    Behaviour, 198, 199

    Behemoth, 107

    Bekree, El- (saint), 65-69

    Belaḥ (date), 159

    Benefsej (violet), 165

    Beshneen (lotus), 167, _n._

    Betrothal, 230, 231

    Betrother, professional, 225

    Beverages, 142

    Beyt-owwal (antechamber), 180

    Biers, 258, _n._

    Birds, language of, 133

    Birth, ceremonies attending, 186-192

    Bisected Jinn, 45

    Biṭṭeekh (water-melon), 160

    Blacks, country of the, 102

    Blood, 15

    Blood-revenge, 19

    Blood-wit, 18, 35

    Books, destruction of, 54

    Boots, 169, _n._

    Boozeh (beer), 149

    Bottles, leather and glass, 158

    Bout of wine, 159

    Bow, 183

    Brandy, 154, 157

    Bread and salt, 144

    Breeding, good, 198, 199

    Bridal ceremonies, 232-238

    Bridegroom's ceremonies, 236, 237

    Buffalo sacrificed at funerals, 261

    Bull who bears the earth, 106

    Bunduḳ (hazel-nut), 161, _n._

    Buphthalmum, 167

    Burák, El- (the miraculous beast), 164

    Burckhardt, criticism of, 208, _n._

    Burial, 258-262

    Burḳo´ (face-veil), 225, _n._

    Burning the dead, 117

    Burtuḳán (orange), 161 _n._

    Butchering, 15

    Cain, 92

    Cakes, 23

    Call to prayer, 11, 12

    Camel's flesh, 15

    Camp, rules of hospitality, 143

    Cannibal Jinn, 41-44

    Carouse, 159

    Carpet, 146

    Carving, 147

    Cask, 158

    Ceiling, 147

    Censer, 157

    Centre of earth, 101

    Ceremonies attending death, 258, ff.

    Chamomile, 167

    Chant of Muëddin, 11, 12

    ---- of the Zikr, 75, 76

    Character, national, 205

    Charity, 14, 15, 54

    Charms, 6, 8, 82, 193

    Childhood and education, 186-206

    China, 44, 46, 102

    Chiromancy, 87

    Chrysolite, green, 104

    Circassian slaves, 249

    Circumcision, 15, 192, 200

    Cities, immorality of European, 243

    Citron, 161

    Civet, 157

    Civil laws, 16, 17

    Clean and unclean food, 141

    Clogs, 180

    Clothes, 16

    Cock, cry of, 133

    Code of Islám, 1

    Coffee, 150

    Coffee-seller, 235

    Coffee, white (brandy), 154

    Coiffure, 216-218

    Concubines, 17, 119, 124, 209, 222, 227, 247, 250-257

    Congress, literary, 109

    Coral, 218

    Corpse, treatment of, 258, 259

    Correspondence of Muslims, 127

    Corrupt dialect, 113

    Cosmography, 97-108

    Couch, 139

    Cousins' marriages, 227

    Creation of Jinn, 26-29

    Creed, 1-10

    Cremation, 117

    Cressets, 236

    Crier, 11

    Cries of birds, 133, 134

    Criminal law, 17-21

    Crocus, 167

    Crops of birds, 265

    Crossbow, 183

    Crowns, women's, 218

    Cruciform hall, 147

    Culture, Muslim, 202

    Cup, 158, 159

    Cupboards, 147

    Cup companion, 172

    Cushions, 146

    Da´eefeh (a slave-girl), 210

    Dahlán (species of Jinn), 44

    Daïs, 145

    Damascus, 118, 119

    Dancers, 201, 235

    Daniel, 86, _n._

    Darabukkeh (drum), 205

    Dár el-Jelál (Mansion of Glory, first stage of Paradise), 90

    Dár es-Selám (Mansion of Peace, second stage of Paradise), 99

    Darb el-Mendel (mode of divination), 85, 94

    Ḍarb er-Raml (geomancy), 86, _n._

    Dar-gáh, 145

    Dark regions, 103

    Darkness beneath the earth, 107

    Darkness, Sea of, 102

    Ḍarrah (co-wife), 245, _n._

    Darweeshes (Dervishes), 47, 48, 50, _n._

    Darweesh performance (zikr), 73-77

    Dásim (son of Satan), 33

    Dásooḳee, Ed-, 50, _n._

    Date, 159

    Date-wine, 148, 149

    Day of Judgment, 108

    Days, lucky and unlucky, 92

    Dead, examination of, 262

    Death, Angel of, 90

    ----, ceremonies of, 258-266

    Debts, 17

    Deenár (gold coin), 14, etc.

    Deev (spirit), 27

    Deewán (divan), 146

    Degrees, prohibited, 226

    Delhán (species of Jinn), 44

    Delláleh (female broker), 239

    Demonology, 25-46

    Denn (earthen vessel), 158

    Dervishes, 47, 48, 50, _n._

    Destiny, 3-10

    Destoor yá mubárakeen! (Permission, ye blessed!), 37

    Devils, 2, 25, ff.

    Dhu-l-Ḥijjeh (last month of the Muslim year), 15, 21

    Dhu-l-Kaạdeh (eleventh month), 110

    Dhu-l-Ḳarneyn, 103

    Diabolic magic, 82-93

    Dialect, corrupt, 113

    Dilḳ (a loose coat), 63

    Dinners, public, 139-141

    Dirhem (silver coin), 14, etc.

    ---- (a governor of Sijistán), 144

    Diseases, 7, 10

    Dishes, 137 ff., 159

    Divan, 146

    Divination, 82, 84, 85

    Divine magic, 81, 82

    Diving Jinn, 44

    Divorce, 17, 222, 240-248

    Dogmas of Islám, 1-10

    Doors, 147

    Dóraḳ (water-bottle), 188

    Dove, cry of, 133

    Dowry of a bride, 229, 230

    Dreams, 88-92

    Dress at wine-parties, 157

    Dresses of honour, 116-118

    Drinking, 150

    ---- moderate, 154

    Drinks, 142

    Drives in hunting, 184

    Drum, 205

    Drunkenness, 18

    Duck, hawking, 183

    Dukhool, or dukhleh (visit), 237

    Dungeon under the Devil's jaw, 265

    Durḳá´ah (floor), 145

    Earth, 99-104

    ---- divisions of, 101-104

    ---- what it stands upon, 105-108

    Earths, the seven, 97, 105

    Earthquakes, 105, 107, _n._

    Eating, manner of, 135-137, 242, _n._

    Ecstasy, 50, 59, 77

    Education, 186-206

    ´Eed (festival), 21

    Eewán, El- (daïs), 145

    Eezár (veil), 225, _n._

    ´Efreets (species of Jinn), 27 ff.

    Eglantine, 167

    Eiyoob (Job), 93

    Elias, 49, 103

    Emancipation, 250-253

    Emblematic conversation, 129-133

    Embroidery, 205, 239

    Emeen, El- (Khaleefeh, A.D. 809-813), 256

    Enchantment, 82, 83

    ´Eneb (grape), 161, _n._

    Enoch, 86, _n._

    Epistles, Mohammadan, 127

    ´Erk-soos (licorice), 149

    ´Eshè (nightfall prayer), 11

    Establishment of Khaleefeh, 121

    Etiquette, 16

    ---- in correspondence, 128

    Eunuchs, 254

    Ewers, 158

    Excitement, religious, 77

    ´Eyáfeh, El- (auguration), 86

    Eye, evil, 84, 188, 193-195

    Eyes, blue, 214, _n._

    Ezbekeeyeh (quarter in Cairo), 68

    Faḍl ibn Yaḥyà (the Barmekee), 151

    Fághiyeh (privet), 165, _n._

    Fair of ´Okáḍh, 109-111

    Faith, confession of, 1

    Fál (omen), 87

    Family duty, 192

    Fans, 159

    Fasting, 14, 21

    Fate, 3-10

    Faṭeerehs (pancakes), 235

    Father and sons, 194, 195

    Fátiḥah, 24, 62, 74, 229, 230

    Fáṭimee Khaleefehs, A.D. 909-1171, 139

    Fáṭimeh (daughter of Moḥammad), 186, 222, 228

    Feasting and merrymaking, 135-185

    Feasts, public, 139-141

    Female education, 204, 205

    Festivals, 14, 15, 21-24

    ---- of saints, 71, 72

    Fig, 161

    Fig wine, 149

    Filial respect, 194

    Fines, 18

    Fire, smokeless, 27, 28

    Fire-eating saints, 49

    Fish that bears the world, 107

    Flax, 167

    Flowers, 161-167

    ---- for graves, 24

    Fly-whisks, 159

    Food, 137

    ---- manner of eating, 242, _n._

    ---- clean and unclean, 15, 141

    Forms of the Jinn, 34-36

    Formulæ of faith, 1

    Fortune-telling, 85

    Fountain, 145, 180

    ---- of Life, 138

    ---- of Paradise, 239

    Freethinkers, 28

    Freewill, 5

    Friday prayers, 12

    Fruits, 159

    Funerals, 260 ff.

    Furniture, 146

    ----, bridal, 230

    Fustuḳ (pistachio-nut), 161, _n._

    Gabriel, 26

    Gait of women, 178, 219

    Galen, 166

    Galla slaves, 253

    Gallantry, affairs of, 220

    Game, 183-185

    Gaming, 15

    Gardens of Rest, of Eternity, of Delight, of Paradise, and of Eden
        (or Perpetual Abode), third to seventh stages of Paradise, 99

    Gazelle hunting, 183-185

    Genii, 2, 25-46

    Geography, Arab, 101-104

    Geomancy, 38, 86, _n._

    George, St., 103

    Georgian slaves, 249

    Ghareeb (a slave poetess), 256

    Gharrár (species of Jinn), 43, 44

    Gházool el-azrár (a plant), 130, _n._

    Ghools, 41-43, 104

    Ghós, El- (chief saint), 48

    Ghowwáṣah, El- (diving Jinn), 44

    Gilding, 147

    Gilliflower, 166

    Glass bottles, jugs, and cups, 158

    Glass, coloured, 147

    Gluttony, 141

    Goat, sacrifice of, 191

    God, 2

    Gog and Magog, 101, 102, 104

    Gold and silver ornaments, 16

    Goose, wild, hawking, 183

    Gospels, 3

    Gourmets, 141

    Grape, 161

    Grave, 262

    ---- clothes, 259

    ---- stones, 261

    ---- visiting, 23, 69-71, 263

    Grouse, hawking, 183

    Guard, 254

    Guardian angels, 26

    ---- genius, 38, 39

    Guests, 143

    Ḥabarah (kind of veil), 225, _n._

    Ḥabbábeh (Yezeed's slave-girl), 209

    Hábeel (Abel), 92

    Habitations of the Jinn, 37

    Ḥadeed (iron), 36

    Haḍramót (province), 45, 264, 266

    Hagiology, 47-79

    Hair-dressing, 216-218

    Hair, sign of submission, 216, _n._

    Ḥájj (pilgrimage), 14

    Ḥalḳat eṣ-ṣeyd (circle of the chase), 184

    Hall, 147

    Ham, 86, _n._

    Hambelees (Muslim sect), 1

    Ḥammád Er-Ráwiyeh (poet), 118-120

    Hammám (bath), 179-183

    Ḥanafee quarter in Cairo, 88

    Ḥanafees (sect), 1, 20

    Ḥaráreh (chief room in bath), 180

    Hare, 183

    Ḥareem (women's apartments), 194

    ---- employments, 238, 239

    Ḥárith, El- (surname of Satan), 31

    Hároon Er-Rasheed (Khaleefeh, A.D. 786-809), 114-117, 169, 171,
        172, 210, 256

    Hároot and Mároot, 82, 83

    Ḥasan, El- (grandson of Moḥammad), 186

    Ḥashr (formula of faith), 198

    Hat, sugarloaf, 169

    Hawking, 183

    Hazel-nut, 161

    Heavens, the seven, 97

    Heirs, 17

    Hell, 105, 108

    Hemp, 149, 150

    Hennà, 215, 234

    Heresy, 1

    Hermes Trismegistus, 86, _n._

    Heroic age of literature, 109-111

    Hijár, 160

    Hind, El- (India), 45, 102

    Hippocrates, 167

    Hishám (Khaleefeh, A.D. 724-743), 118-120

    Ḥobaḳ (sweet basil), 167, _n._

    Holiday meetings, 22

    Homicide, 18

    Honour, place of, 146

    Hood, 93

    Horoscope, 237

    Hospitality, 143

    Houses, Arab, 145

    Hunting, 183-185

    Iblees (Satan), 2, 27, 28, 30-33, 38, 105

    Ibráheem (Abraham), 103

    Ibráheem Ed-Dásooḳee, 50, _n._

    Ibráheem El-Khowwáṣ (saint), 51

    Ibráheem El-Móṣilee (poet), 169-172

    Ibráheem ibn-El-Mahdee (poet), 176

    Ibreeḳ (ewer), 119, 158

    Ibn-´Obeyd El-Bakhteree (poet), 118

    Idrees, 86, _n._

    Ijjás (plum), 161, _n._

    Iḳámeh (form of praise), 186, _n._

    ´Ilm en-Nujoom (astrology), 86

    ´Ilwee, or high, magic, 81

    Ilyás (Elias), 49, 103

    Images, 15

    Imám (minister), 12

    Improvisation, 203

    Incarnations of Jinn, 34-36

    Incense, 157

    India, 46, 102

    Infants, 186-192

    ---- in Paradise, 196-198

    Infatuation, 213

    Infidels, distinguishing marks, 183

    Inheritance, 17

    Initiation of a darweesh, 62

    Ins (mankind), 25

    Insanity, 60

    In sháa-lláh (If it be the will of God), 61

    Inspector of markets, 158, _n._

    Intemperance, 151-157

    Intercession of saints, 4

    Interpretation of dreams, 88

    Intoxication, 18

    ----, penalty of, 155

    Invocations, 38, 39, 81, 82, 84

    Isḥáḳ El-Móṣilee (poet), 169, 171, 172

    Islám, 1-24

    Ism el-Aạẓam, El- (the most great name of God), 81

    Isráfeel (blower of Last Trump), 26

    Izár (veil), 225, _n._

    Jaạfar El-Barmekee, 115, 117, 256

    Jaạfar Káshif, 67

    Jabart, 50

    Jabartee's mother, El-, 246-248

    Jábeh (Java), 45

    Jahennem (Hell), 105, 108

    Jám (empty cup), 159

    Jánn (_i.q._ Jinn), 27 ff.

    ---- ibn-Jánn, 29

    Jar, 158

    Jasmine, 167

    Java, 45

    Jebraeel (Gabriel), 26

    Jeelánee, El-, 50, _n._

    Jemmeyz (sycamore-fig), 161, _n._

    Jennet ´Adn (Garden of Eden, seventh stage of Paradise), 99

    Jennet el-Firdós (Garden of Paradise, its sixth stage), 99

    Jennet el-Khuld (Garden of Eternity, fourth stage of Paradise), 99

    Jennet el-Ma-wà (Garden of Rest, third stage of Paradise), 99

    Jennet en-Na´eem (Garden of Delight, fifth stage of Paradise), 99

    Jerusalem, 101

    ----, Temple of, 40

    Jesus, 2

    Jewish and Muslim social systems, 242

    Jibreel (Gabriel), 26

    Jinn (Genii), 2, 25-46

    ---- abode of, 37, 104

    Jinnee (singular of Jinn), 25

    Jinneeyeh wife, 36

    Job, 93

    Jonas, 92

    Joseph, 92

    Józ (walnut), 161, _n._

    Judgment, 3

    ---- day, 108

    Jug, 158

    Jugglers, 24, 235

    Jujube, 161

    Jullanár, or Julnár (pomegranate flower), 167, _n._

    Jum´at el-Arba´een (the Friday forty days after funeral), 263

    Jummár (pith of palm), 160

    Jummeyz (sycamore-fig), 161, _n._

    Kaạb El-Aḥbar, sayings of, 206

    Kaạbeh (temple at Mekkeh), 48

    Ḳá´ah (hall or saloon), 147

    Ḳábeel (Cain), 92

    Ḳaḍà, El- (fate), 3

    Ḳaḍà el-moḥkam, El- (absolute fate), 3, 4

    Ḳaḍà el-mubram, El- (alterable fate), 3, 4

    Ḳadaḥ (empty cup), 159

    Ḳadar, El-, (destiny), 3

    Ḳádee (judge), 67, 151, 229, 230

    Ḳádireeyeh darweeshes, 59, _n._

    Ḳáf, mountains of, 37, 100, 104

    Káfoor, El-Ikhsheedee, Governor of Egypt, 131

    Kafráwee, El-, 95

    Ḳafṭán (long vest), 259

    Kaḥk (cake), 23

    Ḳahweh (coffee), 151

    Ḳahwejee (coffee-seller), 235

    Ḳalensuweh (sugarloaf hat), 169

    Karámeh (saint's miracle), 49

    Kás (full cup), 159

    Ḳaṣab es-sukkar (sugar-cane), 161, _n._

    Ḳaṣeedah (ode), 76

    Ḳaṭà (grouse), 133, 134, 183

    Kebbád (citron), 161, _n._

    Keemiyà, El- (alchymy), 94

    Ḳeerát (1/20th of a deenár), 117

    Kelimeh (profession of faith), 198

    Kereem (bountiful), 133

    Ketmia, 167

    Kettán (flax), 167, _n._

    Ḳeys ibn Aṣim, 156

    Khaláf (willow), 167, _n._

    Khaleefehs' magnificence, 119, 121, 122

    Khaleel, El- (Abraham), 93

    Khárijeh, 224

    Khashkhash (poppy), 167, _n._

    Khaṭeeb (minister), 12

    Khátibeh (betrother), 224

    Khátimeh (epilogue), 45, _n._

    Khatmeh (recitation of the whole Ḳur-án), 24, 78, 187, 201, 258

    Khaṭṭ (geomancy), 38, _n._

    Kheeree (gilliflower), 166

    Khiḍr, El- (a mythological saint), 49, 62, 63, 103

    Khiláf (willow), 167, _n._

    Khiṭb (I ask), 224

    Khiṭmee (Ketmia), 167, _n._

    Khokh (peach), 161, _n._

    Khowwás (basket-maker), 52

    Khuffs (soft inside boots), 169

    Khuṭbeh (minister's prayer and exhortation), 13, 22, 229, 230

    Kiháneh, El- (divination), 81-86

    Kináạ (face veil), 225, _n._

    Kinneeneh (glass bottle), 158

    King of flowers, 161-165

    ----, niggardly, 124-126

    Kiyáfeh, El- (chiromancy), 87

    Koḥl (collyrium), 214, 234

    Koobeh (wine-cup), 159, _n._

    Koofeh El- (city in ´Iráḳ), 118

    Koran. _See_ Ḳur-án and index of authors

    Ḳulleh (sherbet-cup), 159, _n._

    ---- (water-bottle), 188

    Kumeyt (red), 151, _n._

    Kummetrè (pear), 161, _n._

    Ḳur-án (Koran), 3. (_See_ index of authors.)

    ---- recitation, 24, 78, 187, 201, 258, 263

    ----, style of, 111, 112

    Ḳurṣ (crown), 218, _n._

    Ḳuṭb (chief saint), 47

    Ḳuṭb el-Ghóth (chief saint of invocation), 47

    Ḳuṭrub (species of Jinn), 43

    Kuyootà (the bull who carries the earth), 106

    Lá-iláha-illa-lláh! (There is no deity but God!), 58

    Lamentations, 258

    Lamp, miraculous, 50

    Language of birds and beasts, 133, _n._

    Last day, 108

    Lattice-work, 147

    Laws, civil, 16, 17

    ---- criminal, 17-21

    ---- moral and ritual, 10-16

    Lebláb (beanflower), 167, _n._

    Leewán (daïs), 145

    Lemon, 161

    Letters, 109-134

    Leylà and Mejnoon, 208

    Leymoon (lime), 161, _n._

    Leythee, El-, (saint), 60-63

    Libation at the tomb, 156

    Licorice beverage, 149

    Life, fountain of, 103

    Lily, 167

    Lime, 161

    Limitations of polygamy, 241

    Limits of Arab geography, 101

    Looṭ (Lot), 93

    Lotus, 161, 167

    Love, true, 207-213

    Lóz (almond), 161, _n._, 167, _n._

    Liqueur-glass, 159, _n._

    Liquors, fermented, 148-159

    Literature, 109-134

    Lunatic saints, 60

    Lute, 168, 170, 174, 178

    Mace, 183

    Mádineh (minaret), 11

    Madness, 60

    Magic, 38, 39, 80-96

    Magician, a famous, 91-96

    Magnificence of Khaleefehs, 119, 121, 122

    Magog, 101, 102, 104

    Mahdee, El- (Khaleefeh, A.D. 775-785), 176

    Májooj, 101, 102, 104

    Maḳṣoorah (railed enclosure), 68

    Málikees (sect), 1

    Ma-moon, El-, (Khaleefeh, A.D. 813-833), 117, 172-175, 256

    Manners, 16, 198, 199

    Mansions of Glory and of Peace, first and second stages of
        Paradise, 99

    Manṣoor Effendee, 153, _n._

    Mantle of prophecy, 50

    Manufactures, 235, 236

    Manumission, 252

    Marble pavement, 145

    Márids (species of Jinn), 27, ff.

    Máristán (hospital and madhouse in Cairo), 64, 67

    Market streets, 177

    Mároot and Hároot, 82, 83

    Marriage, 16, 203, 204, 207-248

    ---- contract, 230, 231

    ---- feasts, 232

    ---- law, 221

    ---- short form of, 224

    ---- with slaves, 252

    Martyrs, 265, _n._

    Marwán (Governor of Medeeneh), 211, 212

    Masks, 111

    Maṣyedehs (enclosures for battues), 184

    Mat, 146

    Mattress, 146

    Meals, 135 ff.

    Meạráj (ascension into Heaven), 146

    Meats, clean and unclean, 15, 141

    Meded (support), 76

    Medicines, 6, 8

    Meekaeel or Meekál (Michael), 26

    Mejzoob (lunatic), 65, 67

    Mekkeh, 12, 14, 21, 39, 101, 247

    Melek (angel), 25

    Memlooks (male white slaves), 254

    Menárehs, street of the, 123

    Menfooḥah (in Yemámeh), 155

    Menou, General, 64

    Mensej (embroidery frame), 239

    Menthoor (gilliflower), 166

    Meshoom (unlucky), 36

    Meslemeh (Yezeed's brother), 209

    Meslakh (disrobing room in bath), 180

    Michael, 26

    Middle Age of Arab literature, 112

    Midwife, 187

    Minaret, 11, 12

    Minè, Valley of, 21

    Minister, 12

    Miracles of saints, 49-52

    Mirwaḥah (fan), 130

    Mishmish (apricot), 161

    Mizmár (a musical pipe), 38

    Moạjizeh (prophet's miracle), 49

    Moạtaḍid, El- (Khaleefeh, A.D. 892-902), 158

    Moạtaṣim, El- (Khaleefeh, A.D. 833-842), 256

    Moạtezileh (freethinkers), 28

    Mo´áwiyeh (Khaleefeh, A.D. 661-680), 210-213

    Moderation in wine, 154

    Moḥammad the Prophet, 2

    ---- sayings of. _See_ index of authors, under _Ḳur-án_
        and _Mishkát_

    Moḥammad, praise of, 75

    Moḥammad ´Alee's funeral, 261, _n._

    Moḥammad El-Ashwam (a Tunisian saint), 50

    Moḥammad Ibn-Eṭ-Ṭeiyib (dyer of Baghdad), 224

    Mohammadanism, 1-24

    Moḥeeṭ (circumambient ocean), 102

    Moḥtesib (inspector), 158, _n._

    Mole, a beauty spot, 214

    Monogamy, 223, _n._

    Monopoly, 17

    Moolids, or Mólids (saints' festivals), 71, 72

    Moral laws, 10-16

    Mosaic legislation, 242

    Moses, 2

    Móṣil, owl of El-, 114

    Mosque, 12, 21

    ---- teaching, 202

    Mourning, 258

    ---- colour, 261

    Móz (banana), 161

    Muballigh (transmitter, at public prayers), 111

    Muëddin (crier), 11, 12, 38

    ----, Devil's, 168

    Mugheyreh ibn-Sheạbeh, 223

    Mujáhid, adventure of, 83

    Mukháriḳ (a singer), 171-175

    Muḳtedir, El-, (Khaleefeh, A.D. 908-932), 121, 201

    Mulberry, 161

    Munádee, El-, (saint), 62

    Munkir (angel who examines the dead), 26, 262

    Munshids (singers of odes), 71, 74

    Murder, 17, 18

    Muṣḥaf (copy of the Ḳur-án), 16, _n._

    Music, Arab, 15, 167-176, 178, 179

    ---- of the Zikr, 75, 76

    Musical parties, 174

    Musician's fees, 157

    Muṣṭafà El-Munádee (saint), 62

    Mutanebbee, El-, (poet), 131-133

    Mutawekkil, El-, (Khaleefeh, A.D. 847-861), 45, 161

    Mutilation, 20

    Muweshshaḥ (ode), 76

    Myrtle, 165

    Mythology, 25-46

    Nabḳ (lote), 161, _n._

    Naked saints, 63

    Naḳeeb, 50

    Nakhleh (near Mekkeh), 110

    Nákir (_i.q._ Munkir), 26

    Name, assumed, 153, _n._

    ----, the Most Great, 81

    Naming a child, 189, 190

    Napkin, 159

    Nárahs (Persian Jinn), 27

    Narcissus, 166

    Narcotics, 149, 150

    Nárinj (Seville orange), 161, _n._

    Narjis (narcissus), 166

    Narseen (myrtle), 165

    Naṣeeb (a slave), 156

    National character, 205

    Natural magic, 93

    Nebboot (long staff), 65

    Nebeedh (new wine), 148, 149

    Nedeem (cup companion), 172

    Needlework, 204

    Neelófar (Nenuphar), 167, _n._

    Negro slaves, 250, 253

    Nekeer (angel who examines the dead), 26, 262

    Nemám (wild thyme), 167, _n._

    Nenuphar, 167

    Nesnás (species of Jinn), 45, 46

    Nets in hunting, 184

    Niche, 12

    Nikḥ (I accept), 224

    Nimrod, 93

    Nisreen (eglantine), 167, _n._

    Noah, 2

    Noạmán (blood), 166, _n._

    Noạmán Ibn-El-Mundhir (King of El-Ḥeereh), 166

    Noor-ed-deen Maḥmood (Sulṭán of Syria), 216, _n._

    Nuḳl (fruits), 159

    Nuḳuldáns (saucers), 159

    Numrood (Nimrod), 93

    Nuts, 161

    Oaths, 16, _n._

    Obeisance, degrees of, 119, _n._

    Ocean, circumambient, 100, 102

    Odes, 68, 76

    ---- singers of, 72, 74, 236

    Odium irrevocabile, 241, _n._

    ´Okáḍh, fair of, 109-111

    Olive, 161

    ´Omán, Sea of (Persian Gulf), 44

    ´Omar (Khaleefeh, A.D. 634-644), on women, 42, 219

    Omens, 87

    Oneromancy, 88-92

    ´Onnáb (jujube), 161, _n._

    ´Ood, El-, (lute), 178

    Opium, 93, 96, 149

    Orange, 161

    Orders of Darweeshes, 48

    Ornaments, 16

    Orthodox theology, 1

    ´Oṣfur (safflower), 167, _n._

    ´Othmán (Khaleefeh, A.D. 644-656), 255

    Outwitting a king, 124-126

    Pages, 253

    Palm, praise of, 160

    Palm-branch, 23

    Palm-tree fibre, 181

    Pancakes, 235

    Panels, 147

    Paradise, 98, 99

    Parents and children, 192

    Parrot, talking, 134

    Partridge, hawking, 183

    Pavilion, royal, 119

    Peach, 161

    Peacock of the angels (surname of Satan), 31

    Pear, 161

    Pentateuch, 3

    Perees (fairies), 27

    Perfumes, 93, 157

    Persia, dress of the King of, 123

    Persian sect, 1

    Pharaoh, 93

    Pictures, 15

    Pie, a famous, 138, 139

    Pigeon, cry of, 133

    Pilgrimage, 14

    Pillar spirits, 29

    Pints, 159

    Pistachio-nut, 161

    Pitch for curing wine, 158

    Plague, 10

    ---- a dream of the Great, 88-92

    Platform, 13

    Pleiades, 87

    Plum, 161

    Plunging Jinn, 44

    Plurality of wives, 222

    Poems, examples, 115, 116

    Poetic contests, 110

    Poetry, 109-134, 203

    Polygamy, 221, 240-248

    Pomegranates, 161, 167

    Poppy, 167

    Potations, interrupted, 153

    Psalms, 3

    Prayers, 8, 11-14, 22

    ---- call to, 11, 12

    Preadamite Jinn, 29, 40

    Predestination, 3-10

    Pre-islamic Arabs, 109-112

    Presents, 116-120

    Preserved tablet, 5

    Price of blood, 18, 35

    Privet, Egyptian, 165

    Procession, bridal, 233-236

    Prophets, 2, 29

    Proverb, 133, 134, 245, _n._

    Ptolemy, 99

    Pulpit, 13

    Punishments, 3

    Purifications, 11

    Pyramid builders, 29

    Quail, hawking, 183

    Quarantine, 10

    Quince, 161

    Rabáb (viol), 178

    Rabeeạ eth-Thánee (the fourth month of the Muslim year), 65

    Raḥmánee or divine magic, 81, 82

    Raïj, Island in Chinese sea, 46

    Raisin-wine, 149

    Ram, sacrifice of, 191

    Ramaḍán (month of fasting), 14, 21, 39, 41

    Rasheed, Er-. _See_ Hároon.

    Ráwiyeh (reciter), 118

    Recording angels, 26

    Reeḥán (sweet basil), 167, _n._

    Rek´ah (form of Prayer), 11-13, 22, 237

    Religion, 1-24

    Religious excitement, 77

    Resurrection, 3

    Retaliation, 19

    Revenants, 265, 266

    Rewards of literature, 116-120, 171, 172 ff.

    Rifá´eeyeh darweeshes, 50, _n._

    Ringdove, cry of, 133

    Ring signature, 128

    Ritual laws, 10-16

    Riwáḳ (division in the Azhar), 50

    Robber thwarted, 144

    Rock of ruby beneath the earth, 106

    Romances, 127

    Rooḥánee or spiritual magic, 81-93

    Room in Arab house, 145

    Rose, 161-165

    ---- miraculous, 163, 164

    ---- preserved, 163

    ---- beds, 165

    ---- lover, 162

    ---- season, 162

    ---- sellers, cry of, 164

    ---- water, 157, 162

    Royal economy, 124-126

    Rowḥ ibn-Ḥátim, 163

    Rummán (pomegranate), 161

    Ruṣáfeh quarter in Baghdád, 173

    Ruṭab (fresh dates), 159

    Saạláh (species of Jinn), 43

    Ṣabbárah (aloe plant), 131

    Ṣabr (patience), 131

    Sacrifice, 15, 190, 191, 261

    Ṣádoomeh, the magician, 94-96

    Ṣafà (head-dress), 217-218

    Safarjal (quince), 161, _n._

    Ṣaffár, Eṣ-, (the brazier), 144

    Safflower, 167

    Saffron, 167

    Saints, 47-79

    Ṣaláh (prayer), 11

    Ṣáliḥ's camel, 93

    Saloon, 147

    Salt, 144

    ---- sprinkling, 41, 188

    Salutation of Friday, 12

    Salutations, 119, _n._

    Samoom, 28, 43

    Sániḥ (inauguration), 87

    Satan, 2

    Satanic magic, 82-93

    Saucers, 159

    Schools, 201, 202

    Scriptures, 2

    Sea of Darkness (Atlantic), 102

    ---- of light, 98

    Seal of Solomon, 40

    Seạláh (species of Jinn), 43

    Second sight, 61, 62

    Secret drinking, 153

    Secret signs, 132

    Sects of Islám, 1

    Seemiyà, Es-, (natural magic), 93

    Ṣeen, Eṣ-, (China), 44, 46, 102

    Seestán, or Sijistán, 144

    Seḥr, Es-, (enchantment), 83

    Selám (salutation), 12

    Selsebeel (fountain of Paradise), 239

    Semennood, 94

    Sereer (couch), 139

    Serpent, 28, 34

    Serpent-worship, 39

    Service in mosque, 12

    Seville orange, 161, 167

    Shaạbán (eighth month of the Muslim year), 8

    Sháfi´ee, Esh-, (the founder of the Sháfi´ee sect), 19

    Sháfi´ees (sect), 1, 19, 20

    Sháh El-Karmánee (saint), 54

    Shaḳáïḳ (anemone), 166, _n._

    Sharáb (wine: now sherbet), 131

    Sharaïbee, mosque of Esh-, 68

    Shaving the head, 191

    Sheba, Queen of, 81

    Shell-fish, forbidden, 141

    Sherbet of violets, 165

    Sheyṭán (devil), 25 ff.

    Sheyṭánee or Satanic magic, 82-93

    Shiháb (shooting-star), 33

    Shiḳḳ (species of Jinn), 45

    Shiya´ees (heretic sect), 1

    Shoes, 146

    Shooting-stars, 85

    Shroud, 259

    Shurraábeh (tassel), 131

    Sidr (lote), 161, _n._

    Sieve, for infants, 187

    Signature by ring, 128

    Signet, 128

    Signs, secret, 132

    ---- language by, 129-133

    Sijdeh, Soorat es- (32nd chapter of Ḳur-án), 134

    Sijistán (province of Persia), 144

    Sijjeen (dungeon under Devil's jaw), 264

    Simát (platform), 140

    Sin of cities in Europe, 243

    Singers, female, 177

    Ṣiyám (fasting), 14

    Slaughter of beasts, 15

    Slavery, 250-257

    Slaves, accomplishments of, 253

    ---- murder of, 251

    ---- offspring of, 250

    ---- treatment of, 253-255

    Slave-girls, price of, 256

    Smokeless fire, 27, 28

    Soạdà (a Bedaweeyeh), 211

    Social system, Mohammadan, 240-248

    Solomon, 29, 81, 93, 139

    Son, duty of a, 194

    Songs, 179

    Soodán (country of the Blacks), 102

    Sooḳ (market street), 177

    Soorah (= chapter of the Ḳur-án), 24

    Soorat en-Noor (24th chapter of Ḳur-án), 204

    Soorat es-Sijdeh (32nd chapter of the Ḳur-án), 134

    Soorat Yá-Seen (36th chapter of the Ḳur-án), 24, 134

    Soorat Yoosuf (12th chapter of the Ḳur-án), 204

    Soosan (lily), 167, _n._

    Sorcery, 80-96

    Sortes Koranicae, 81

    Sóṭ (son of Satan), 33

    Soul, 262-265

    Spear, 183

    Spells, 84

    Spheres of Heaven, 97, _n._

    Spinning, 238, 239

    Spirits, 25-46

    Spirits of dead, 263-266

    Spiritual magic, 81-93

    Sport, 183-185

    Stages of Hell, 108

    ---- of Paradise, 99

    Star, shooting, 33

    State after death, 263-266

    Stealing, 17, 20

    Stelae, 262

    Stoning to death, 17

    Story-tellers, 24

    Straining wine, 157

    Street of the Menárehs, 123

    Subterranean cosmography, 105-108

    Suckling, 193

    Suflee or low magic, 81

    Sugar-cane, 161

    Sugarloaf hat, 169

    Sukkar nebát (sugar-candy), 131

    Suleymán (Solomon), 29, 39, 40, 81, 93

    ----, son of Aboo-Jaạfar, 210

    Sumbul the slave-dealer, 256

    Sunnees (orthodox party), 1

    Sunneh (Traditions of the Prophet), 19:
      and see index of authors under _Mishkát_.

    Supernatural appearance, 59

    Superstitions, 25-46

    Surnames, 189, 190

    Sweat of the Prophet, 164

    Sweetmeat mountains, 140

    Sword, 183

    ---- at prayers, 13

    Swine's flesh, 15

    Sycamore-fig, 161

    Table, 135, 136, 140

    Ṭáif, Eṭ-, (near Mekkeh), 110

    Ṭalsam (talisman), 38, 39, 84, _n._

    Tambourine, 205, 258

    Ṭanṭà Festival, 72

    Ṭanṭáwee, Eṭ-, Sheykh, 88, 238

    Táoos (Peacock: surname of Satan), 31

    Tár (tambourine), 205

    Ṭarboosh (skull cap), 218, _n._

    Tattooing, 38, _n._

    Teen (fig), 161, _n._

    Teer (son of Satan), 33

    Tefául, Et-, (augury), 87

    Temer el-ḥennà (privet), 165, _n._

    Terrae incognitae, 102

    Theft, 17, 20

    Throne of the Compassionate, 99

    ---- of Iblees, 102

    ---- verse, 198

    Thureiyà (cluster of lamps), 87

    Thyme, wild, 167

    Tides caused by Bull Kuyootà, 107

    Tiffáḥ (apple), 161, _n._

    Tihámeh (in Western Arabia), 44

    Tiles, 145

    Tobacco, 150

    Ṭóḳ (collar), 117

    Tomb, 262

    ---- of saints, 69

    ---- visits to, 23, 69-71

    Ṭoosee, Et-, (theologian), 73

    Toot (mulberry), 161, _n._

    Topers, royal, 152

    Towwáb (propitious), 133

    Trade, learning a, 199

    Trades, 235, 236

    Tramp, Last, 26, 262

    Tuffáḥ (apple), 161

    Tuition, 202

    Turunj (lemon), 161, _n._

    Uḳḥowán (chamomile), 167, _n._

    ´Ulamà (sheykhs or doctors of the law), 64

    ´Ulamà's dictum on saints, 64

    Umm-´Amr and her ass, 213

    Umm-Khárijeh, 224

    Universe, Arab notions of, 97-108

    Unveiling the bride, 237

    Usury, 17

    Utrujj (lemon), 161, _n._

    Vault, 262

    Veil, 111, 225, _n._

    ---- disuse of, 177

    ---- of Heaven, 99

    Vendetta, 19, 110

    Verse, 203

    Vessel for wine, 158

    Viol, 178

    Violet, 165

    ---- sherbet, 165

    Virtues, 15, 16, 220

    Visits to the tombs, 23, 69, 263

    Vulgarisms, 113

    Wahhábee women, 225, _n._

    Wailing, 258, 262

    Wa-lláhi-l-´Aẓeem! (By God the Great!), 16, _n._

    Walls, 147

    Walnut, 161

    Ward (rose), 161-165

    Warning of death, 88

    Washing, 11

    ---- before meals, 136

    ---- the dead, 258

    Water-bottles, 188, _n._

    Water-melon, 159, 160

    Waterspout spirits, 37

    Weapons, 183

    Weaving, 205, 238

    Wedding ceremonies, 232-238

    ---- propitious months for, 230

    Weleed, El-, (Khaleefeh, A.D. 705-715), 112, 118

    Welees (saints), 47-79

    Weleeyeh (female saint), 66

    Well of Bábil, 83

    ---- spirits, 37

    Weshm (tattooing), 38, _n._

    Whirlwind spirits, 36

    White coffee (brandy), 154

    Wickedness of women, 219

    Widows, objections to, 228

    Wife, advice of, 219

    ---- choice of, 224

    ---- duties of, 238, 239

    ---- fellow-, 245, _n._

    ---- of the Jinn, 36

    ---- qualifications of, 227-229

    Wiláyeh (saintship), 57, 62

    Willow (oriental), 167

    Windows, 147

    Wine, 15, 148-159

    ----, Book of, 151

    Witnesses to a marriage, 229

    Wives, 207-248

    ---- love between two, 246-248

    Wives, plurality of, 222, 223

    Women, 207-248

    ---- in Hell, 219

    ---- position of, 240-248

    ---- wickedness of, 219

    World, Arab notions of, 97-108

    Wuḍoo (ablution), 11

    Yaạḳoob Eṣ-Ṣaffáree, 144

    Yájooj and Májooj, 101, 102, 104

    Yásameen (jasmine), 167, _n._

    Yá-Seen (=Y. S.; title of 36th chapter of Ḳur-án), 24

    Yemen, El-, (South Arabia), 44, 45

    Yezeed (Khaleefeh, A.D. 720-724), 208-210

    Yóm es-Subooạ (7th day after birth), 187-189

    Yoonus (Jonas), 92

    Yoosuf (Joseph), 92, 204

    ----, the Prophet of the Jinn, 29

    Yoosuf Bey, 95

    Zaạfarán (crocus or saffron), 167, _n._

    Zacharias, 93

    Ẓáhir, romance of Eẓ-, 127

    Zahr or Zahr-Nárinj (Seville orange-flower), 167, _n._

    Zebeeb (raisin wine), 149

    Zekáh (alms), 14

    Zekeriyà (Zacharias), 93

    Zeleekhá, 248

    ---- (Potiphar's wife), 204

    Zelemboor (son of Satan), 33

    Zemzem, will of, 264

    Zeyn el-´Ábideen, 255

    Zeytoon (olive), 161, _n._

    Zijr, Ez-, (auguration), 86

    Zikkeers (performances of a zikr), 73

    Zikr (Darweesh performance), 73-77, 201, 233

    Zinj, Ez-, (S. Ethiopia), 102

    Zodiacal signs in horoscopes, 238

    Ẓulumát, Eẓ-, (Dark Regions), 103.
      _See_ Baḥr.


   (_Authors' names are in small capitals; titles of books in
   italics. The figures refer to the pages of the present work._)

    ´ABD-EL-LAṬEEF († 1231), _Historiae Aegypti Compendium_.
    Ed. White. 138.

    _Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians_.
    See LANE.

    _´Ajáïb el-Makhlooḳát_. See ḲAZWEENEE.

    _Alcoran_. See _Ḳur-án_, JELÁLEYN, LANE, LANE-POOLE,


    _Arabic-English Lexicon_. See LANE.

    _Arabes avant l'Islamisme_. See FRESNEL.

    BURCKHARDT, _Notes on the Bedouins and Wahábys_. 144, 185.

    _Chrestomathie Arabe_. See SACY.

    _Commentary on the Ḳur-án_. See JELÁLEYN.

    _Egyptians, the Modern_. See LANE.

    FEYROOZÁBÁDEE, EL-, _Ḳámoos_. 263.

    FORSKÁL, _Descriptiones Animalium_. 167.

    FRESNEL, F., _Lettres sur l'Histoire des Arabes avant
    l'Islamisme_. 111.

    _Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt_. See EN-NOWWÁJEE.

    _History of Egypt_. See JABARTEE, ISḤÁḲEE,

    _Ḥusn el-Moḥáḍarah_. See SUYOOṬEE.

    _Insán el-Kámil, El-_. See JEELEE.

    ISḤÁḲEE, EL-. 4, 48, 73, 87, 93, 105, 107, 112-114, 134,
    206, 216.

    JABARTEE, EL-. _History of Modern Egypt_. MS. 50, 64, 65, 69,
    95, 236, 249, 256.

    JÁHIZ, EL-. 42.

    JARA´EE, EL-. _Shir´at el-Islám_. 220.

    JEELEE, ´ABD-EL-KEREEM, EL- († 1365). _El-Insán El-Kámil_
    (apud El-Isḥáḳee). 4.

    JELÁLEYN, EL-. _Commentary on the Ḳur-án_. 28, 81.

    JÓHEREE, EL-, _Ṣiḥáḥ_. 27.

    JOWZEE, IBN-EL-, († 1256), _Mir-át ez-Zemán_. MS. 27-34,
    43-45, 48, 52-54, 85, 87, 104, 105, 123, 158, 173, 201, 224.

    _Ḳámoos_. See FEYROOZÁBÁDEE.

    ḲAZWEENEE, EL-, († 1283), _Kitáb ´Ajáïb-el-Makhlooḳát_.
    MS. 28, 33, 38, 42-45, 83, 104, 160, 263.

    KHALDOON, IBN-, († 1406). 116.

    ilà Kuboor el-Abrár_. MS. 271.

    _Khiṭaṭ_. See MAḲREEZEE.

    _Kitáb el-´Onwán fee Mekáïd en-Niswán_. MS. 210, 213, 216, 220.

    _Ḳur-án_, quotations from:--

       CHAP.   VERSE.    PAGE.
         ii.    20        100
         ii.    22        105
         ii.    96         83
         ii.   216        184
         iv.    26, 27    226
         iv.    46        155
          v.    27        133
          v.    35          9
          v.    65         27
          v.    92        155
        vii.    11         32
       xiii.     3        100
       xiii.    29          4
        xiv.    49        108
         xv.    27         28
      xviii.    48         30
      xxiii.   117        195
      xxvii.    10         28
      xxvii.    16        133
      xxvii.    17         40
      xxvii.    40         81
     xxviii.    19        132
     xxviii.    31         28
     xxviii.    35         40
    xxxviii.    77         32
      xxxix.    67        108
         lv.    14         27
         lv.    39, 74     28
       lxvi.     6        105
       lxxi.    18        100
      lxxii.     6         38
    lxxviii.     6        100
     lxxxix.    24        108

    _Ḳur-án, Selections from_. See LANE.

    LANE, E. W.,
        _Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians_. 8, 12, 37, 39,
            41, 49, 76, 86, 189, 200, 205, 219, 239, 245, 255, 261.
        _Arabic-English Lexicon_. 224.
        _Selections from the Ḳur-án_. 103, 109, 243.

        _Speeches and Table-talk of the Prophet Moḥammad_. 6, 15, 18.
        _Introduction to_ LANE'S _Selections from the Ḳur-án_. 109.

    MAḲREEZEE, EL-, († 1441), _Khiṭaṭ_. MS. 100, 101,
    117, 118, 141, 206, 217.

    MALCOLM, SIR J., _Sketches in Persia_. 183.

    MARRACCI, _Alcoranus_. 133.

    _Mir-át ez-Zemán_. See JOWZEE.

    _Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ_. 6, 7, 34, 84-86, 88, 98, 109, 143,
    149, 168, 191, 221, 228, 229, 233, 235, 242, 255, 257, 258.

    MOḤAMMAD, _Speeches and Table-talk of_. See LANE-POOLE.

    _Murshid ez-Zuwár_, etc. See KHAZREJEE.

    El-Kumeyt_. MS. 116, 120, 126, 131, 156-158, 162-164, 166-169,
    171, 172, 176.

    _Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil wa-Murshid el-Mutaähhil_. See SUYOOṬEE.

    OHSSON, D'. 48.

    PRICE, D., _Retrospect of Mohammadan History_. 145.

    SACY, S. DE., _Christomathie Arabe_, second edition. 73, 115,
    149, 157.

    SALE, _The Koran_. 37, 263.

    SHIḤNEH, IBN-ESH-. 92, 106, 217.

    _Shir´at el-Islám_. See JARA´EE.

    _Ṣiḥáḥ_. See JÓHEREE.

    _Spirit of the East_. See URQUHART.

    SUYOOṬEE, ES- († 1505),
        _Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil wa-Murshid el-Mutaähhil_. MS. 7, 38, 55,
            178, 183, 186, 190-193, 198, 199, 204, 220-223, 228, 229,
            232, 233, 235, 237, 239, 255.
        _Ḥusn el-Moḥáḍarah_. MS. 159-162, 164-167.

    URQUHART, D., _Spirit of the East_. 208, 241, 244.

    WARDEE, IBN-EL-, († 1348), _Khareedet El-´Ajáïb_. MS. 44, 46,
    98, 101, 103-105, 107.


    =Page 44=, note 1, _for_ "fifteenth" _read_ "fourteenth."


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    _BY SIR A. HELPS._

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    ="The Wearing of the Green."=


    =Number Seventeen.=


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    =Atonement of Learn Dundas.=
    =The World Well Lost.=
    =Under which Lord?=
    =The Rebel of the Family.=
    ="My Love!"=
    =Paston Carew.=


    =Gideon Fleyce.=


    =The Waterdale Neighbours.=
    =A Fair Saxon.=
    =Dear Lady Disdain.=
    =Miss Misanthrope.=
    =Donna Quixote.=
    =The Comet of a Season.=
    =Maid of Athens.=


    =Quaker Cousins.=


    =Open! Sesame!=
    =Written in Fire.=


    =Life's Atonement.=
    =Joseph's Coat.=
    =A Model Father.=
    =By the Gate of the Sea.=
    =The Way of the World.=
    =A Bit of Human Nature.=
    =First Person Singular.=
    =Cynic Fortune.=
    =Coals of Fire.=
    =Val Strange.=




    =Gentle and Simple.=


    =Lost Sir Massingberd.=
    =Walter's Word.=
    =Less Black than We're Painted.=
    =By Proxy.=
    =High Spirits.=
    =Under One Roof.=
    =A Confidential Agent.=
    =From Exile.=
    =A Grape from a Thorn.=
    =For Cash Only.=
    =Some Private Views.=
    =The Canon's Ward.=
    =Talk of the Town.=
    =Glow-worm Tales.=

    _BY E. C. PRICE._

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    =The Autobiography of a Thief.=
    =Put Yourself in His Place.=
    =A Terrible Temptation.=
    =The Wandering Heir.=
    =A Woman-Hater.=
    =Singleheart and Doubleface.=
    =The Jilt.=
    =Good Stories of Men and other Animals.=
    =Foul Play.=
    =A Simpleton.=

    _BY MRS. J. H. RIDDELL._

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    _BY T. W. SPEIGHT._

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    =Buried Diamonds.=


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    Post 8vo, illustrated boards, =2s.= each.


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    =Grantley Grange.=


    =Ready-Money Mortiboy.=
    =With Harp and Crown.=
    =This Son of Vulcan.=
    =The Case of Mr. Lucraft.=
    =The Golden Butterfly.=
    =By Celia's Arbour.=
    =The Monks of Thelema.=
    ='Twas In Trafalgar's Bay.=
    =The Seamy Side.=
    =The Ten Years' Tenant.=
    =The Chaplain of the Fleet=
    =My Little Girl.=


    =All Sorts and Conditions of Men.=
    =The Captains' Room.=
    =All In a Garden Fair.=
    =Dorothy Forster.=
    =Uncle Jack.=
    =Children of Gibeon.=


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    =New Magdalen.=
    =The Frozen Deep.=
    =Law and the Lady.=
    =The Two Destinies.=
    =Haunted Hotel.=
    =The Fallen Leaves.=
    =Jezebel's Daughter.=
    =The Black Robe.=
    =Heart and Science.=
    ="I Say No."=
    =The Evil Genius.=


    =Sweet Anne Page.=
    =A Fight with Fortune.=
    =From Midnight to Midnight.=


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    =Blacksmith and Scholar.=
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    =You Play me False.=


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    =Archie Lovell.=






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    =The Second Mrs. Tillotson.=
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    =The Lady of Brantome.=
    =Fatal Zero.=
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    =Filthy Lucre.=


    =One by One.=
    =Queen Cophetua.=
    =A Real Queen.=

    _Prefaced by Sir H. BARTLE FRERE._

    =Pandurang Hari.=


    =One of Two.=


    =The Capel Girls.=


    =Robin Gray.=
    =For Lack of Gold.=
    =What will the World Say?=
    =In Honour Bound.=
    =In Love and War.=
    =For the King.=
    =In Pastures Green.=
    =Queen of the Meadow.=
    =A Heart's Problem=
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    =Braes of Yarrow.=
    =The Golden Shaft.=
    =Of High Degree.=
    =Fancy Free.=
    =Mead and Stream.=
    =Loving a Dream.=
    =A Hard Knot.=
    =Heart's Delight.=


    =Dr. Austin's Guests.=
    =The Wizard of the Mountain.=
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    =Dick Temple.=


    =Brueton's Bayou.=
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    =Under the Greenwood Tree.=


    =The Tenth Earl.=


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    =Miss Cadogna.=
    =Sebastian Strome.=
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    =Love--or a Name.=


    =Ivan de Biron.=


    =The Lover's Creed.=

    _BY TOM HOOD._

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    ='Twixt Love and Duty.=


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    =That other Person.=


    =Fated to be Free.=


    =The Dark Colleen.=
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    =Colonial Facts and Fictions.=

    _BY R. ASHE KING._

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    ="The Wearing of the Green."=


    =Oakshott Castle.=


    =Patricia Kemball.=
    =The Atonement of Learn Dundas.=
    =The World Well Lost.=
    =Under which Lord?=
    =With a Silken Thread.=
    =The Rebel of the Family.=
    ="My Love."=


    =Gideon Fleyce.=


    =Dear Lady Disdain=
    =The Waterdale Neighbours.=
    =My Enemy's Daughter.=
    =A Fair Saxon.=
    =Linley Rochford.=
    =Miss Misanthrope.=
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    _BY W. H. MALLOCK._

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    _BY OUIDA._

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    =In Maremma.=


    =Gentle and Simple.=


    =Lost Sir Massingberd.=
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    =Mirk Abbey.=
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    =Less Black than We're Painted.=
    =By Proxy.=
    =Under One Roof.=
    =High Spirits.=
    =Carlyon's Year.=
    =A Confidential Agent.=
    =Some Private Views.=
    =From Exile.=
    =A Grape from a Thorn.=
    =For Cash Only.=
    =Kit: A Memory.=
    =The Canon's Ward.=
    =Talk of the Town.=
    =Holiday Tasks.=

    _BY C. L. PIRKIS._

    =Lady Lovelace.=

    _BY EDGAR A. POE._

    =The Mystery of Marie Roget.=

    _BY E. C. PRICE._

    =Mrs. Lancaster's Rival.=
    =The Foreigners.=


    =It is Never Too Late to Mend.=
    =Hard Cash.=
    =Christie Johnstone.=
    =Griffith Gaunt.=
    =Put Yourself in His Place.=
    =The Double Marriage.=
    =Love Me Little, Love Me Long.=
    =Foul Play.=
    =The Cloister and the Hearth.=
    =The Course of True Love.=
    =Autobiography of a Thief.=
    =A Terrible Temptation.=
    =The Wandering Heir.=
    =A Simpleton.=
    =Singleheart and Doubleface.=
    =Good Stories of Men and other Animals.=
    =Peg Woffington.=
    =A Woman-Hater.=
    =The Jilt.=

    _BY MRS. J. H. RIDDELL._

    =Her Mother's Darling.=
    =Prince of Wales's Garden Party.=
    =Weird Stories.=
    =The Uninhabited House.=
    =The Mystery in Palace Gardens.=
    =Fairy Water.=

    _BY F. W. ROBINSON._

    =Women are Strange.=
    =The Hands of Justice.=


    =Skippers and Shellbacks.=
    =Grace Balmaign's Sweetheart.=
    =Schools and Scholars.=


    =Round the Galley Fire.=
    =On the Fo'k'sle Head.=
    =In the Middle Watch.=
    =A Voyage to the Cape.=


    =A Levantine Family.=


    =Gaslight and Daylight.=


    =Bound to the Wheel.=
    =One Against the World.=
    =Guy Waterman.=
    =The Lion In the Path.=
    =Two Dreamers.=


    =Joan Merryweather.=
    =Margaret and Elizabeth.=
    =The High Mills.=
    =Heart Salvage.=


    =Rogues and Vagabonds.=
    =The Ring o' Bells.=
    =Mary Jane's Memoirs.=
    =Mary Jane Married.=


    =A Match in the Dark.=

    _BY T. W. SPEIGHT._

    =The Mysteries of Heron Dyke.=
    =The Golden Hoop.=


    =The Afghan Knife.=


    =New Arabian Nights.=
    =Prince Otto.=


    =The Violin-Player.=
    =Proud Maisle.=


    =A Fight for Life.=


    =Tales for the Marines.=


    =Diamond Cut Diamond.=


    =The Way We Live Now.=
    =The American Senator.=
    =Frau Frohmann.=
    =Marlon Fay.=
    =Kept in the Dark.=
    =Mr. Scarborough's Family.=
    =The Land-Leaguers.=
    =The Golden Lion of Granpere.=
    =John Caldigate.=


    =Like Ships upon the Sea.=
    =Anne Furness.=
    =Mabel's Progress.=


    =Farnell's Folly.=


    =Stories from Foreign Novelists.=


    =Tom Sawyer.=
    =A Pleasure Trip on the Continent of Europe.=
    =The Stolen White Elephant.=
    =Huckleberry Finn.=
    =Life on the Mississippi.=
    =The Prince and the Pauper.=
    =A Tramp Abroad.=


    =Mistress Judith.=


    =What She Came Through.=
    =The Bride's Pass.=
    =Saint Mungo's City.=
    =Beauty and the Beast.=
    =Lady Bell.=
    =Citoyenne Jacquiline.=
    =Noblesse Oblige.=

    _BY J. S. WINTER._

    =Cavalry Life.=
    =Regimental Legends.=




    =Land at Last.=
    =The Forlorn Hope.=


    =Paul Ferroll.=
    =Why Paul Ferroll Killed his Wife.=


    =Jeff Briggs's Love Story.= By BRET HARTE.

    =The Twins of Table Mountain.= By BRET HARTE.

    =A Day's Tour.= By PERCY FITZGERALD.

    =Mrs. Gainsborough's Diamonds.= By JULIAN HAWTHORNE.

    =A Romance of the Queen's Hounds.= By CHARLES JAMES.

    =Kathleen Mavourneen.= By the Author of "That Lass o' Lowrie's."

    =Lindsay's Luck.= By the Author of "That Lass o' Lowrie's."

    =Pretty Polly Pemberton.= By the Author of "That Lass o'

    =Trooping with Crows.= By C. L. PIRKIS.

    =The Professor's Wife.= By LEONARD GRAHAM.

    =A Double Bond.= By LINDA VILLARI.

    =Esther's Glove.= By R. E. FRANCILLON.

    =The Garden that Paid the Rent.= By TOM JERROLD.

    =Curly.= By JOHN COLEMAN. Illustrated by J. C. DOLLMAN.

    =Beyond the Gates.= By E. S. PHELPS.

    =Old Maid's Paradise.= By E. S. PHELPS.

    =Burglars In Paradise.= By E. S. PHELPS.

    =Jack the Fisherman.= By E. S. PHELPS.

    =Doom=: An Atlantic Episode. By JUSTIN H. MCCARTHY, M.P.

    =Our Sensation Novel.= Edited by JUSTIN H. MCCARTHY, M.P.

    =A Barren Title.= By T. W. SPEIGHT.

    =Wife or No Wife?= By T. W. SPEIGHT.

    =The Silverado Squatters.= By R. LOUIS STEVENSON.


Transcriber's Notes

Obvious errors of punctuation and diacritics repaired.

Hyphen removed: "free[-]thinkers" (p. 275), "MERRY[-]MAKING" (p. 135),
"merry[-]making" (p. 271), "sugar[-]loaf" (p. 169).

Hyphen added: "Mir[-]át" (pp. 53, 54).

The following words appear both with and without hyphens and have not
been changed: "alms[-]giving", "needle[-]work", "sugar[-]loaf",
"Table[-]talk", "water[-]spout", "white[-]wash".

P. 23: "flower" changed to "flour" (composed of flour and butter).

P. 85: added "to" (the region next to the earth).

P. 99: "en" changed to "el" (Jennet el-Khuld).

P. 123: "Mir-át er-Zemán" changed to "Mir-át ez-Zemán".

P. 137: "do" added (if he did not do so).

P. 255: "similiar" changed to "similar" (Many similar anecdotes).

P. 268: "sacrified" changed to "sacrificed" (Buffalo sacrificed at

P. 271: "Gillyflower" changed to "Gilliflower".

P. 276: "i.g." change to "i.q." (Nákir (_i.q._ Munkir)).

Index: Page numbers added or corrected: Barmekees (Barmecides), 115;
Divine magic, 81, 82. Entry for Weleeyeh moved to correct alphabetical

P. 283: The erratum on page 44 has been corrected in the text.

Annex, P. 21: "Originall" changed to "Original" (true Original Copies).

Annex, P. 32: added "the" (By the Author of "That Lass o' Lowrie's.").

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