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Title: Arabia: The Cradle of Islam
Author: Zwemer, Samuel Marinus
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Arabia: The Cradle of Islam" ***

                          Transcriber’s Notes

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected. Variations
in hyphenation and accents have been standardised but all other
spelling and punctuation remains unchanged.

The structure of some tables has been modified to improve legibility
within page width.

Footnotes are located at the end of the book.

Italics are represented thus _italic_, and bold thus =bold=.

                      Arabia: The Cradle of Islam


                          Arabia: The Cradle
                               of Islam

                 Studies in the Geography, People and
                   Politics of the Peninsula with an
                  account of Islam and Mission-work.

                      REV. S. M. ZWEMER, F.R.G.S.

                            INTRODUCTION BY
                      REV. JAMES S. DENNIS, D.D.

                         EDINBURGH AND LONDON
                     Oliphant Anderson and Ferrier

                              Printed by
                           THE CAXTON PRESS
                         171-173 Macdougal St.
                           New York, U.S.A.



                 _The “Student Volunteers” of America_

                             IN MEMORY OF


                            PETER J. ZWEMER


                            GEORGE E. STONE

 And Jesus said unto him: This day is salvation come to this house,
 forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man is come
 to seek and to save that which was lost.—LUKE xix. 9, 10.

                           Introductory Note

The author of this instructive volume is in the direct line of
missionary pioneers to the Moslem world. He follows Raymond Lull, Henry
Martyn, Ion Keith-Falconer, and Bishop French, and, with his friend
and comrade the Rev. James Cantine, now stands in the shining line of
succession at the close of a decade of patient and brave service at
that lonely outpost on the shores of the Persian Gulf. Others have
followed in their footsteps, until the Arabian Mission, the adopted
child of the Reformed Church in America, is at present a compact and
resolute group of men and women at the gates of Arabia, waiting on
God’s will, and intent first of all upon fulfilling in the spirit of
obedience to the Master the duty assigned them.

These ten years of quiet, unflinching service have been full of prayer,
observation, study, and wistful survey of the great task, while at the
same time every opportunity has been improved to gain a foothold, to
plant a standard, to overcome a prejudice, to sow a seed, and to win a
soul. The fruits of this intelligent and conscientious effort to grasp
the situation and plan the campaign are given to us in this valuable
study of “Arabia, the Cradle of Islam.” It is a missionary contribution
to our knowledge of the world. The author is entirely familiar with
the literature of his subject. English, German, French, and Dutch
authorities are at his command. The less accessible Arabic authors are
easily within his reach, and he brings from those mysterious gardens of
spices into his clear, straightforward narrative, the local coloring
and fragrance, as well as the indisputable witness of original medieval
sources. The ethnological, geographical, archaeological, commercial,
and political information of the descriptive chapters brings to our
hands a valuable and readable summary of facts, in a form which is
highly useful, and will be sure to quicken an intelligent interest in
one of the great religious and international problems of our times.

His study of Islam is from the missionary standpoint, but this does
not necessarily mean that it is unfair, or unhistorical, or lacking in
scholarly acumen. Purely scientific and academic study of an ethnic
religion is one method of approaching it. It can thus be classified,
labelled, and put upon the shelf in the historical museum of the
world’s religions, and the result has a value which none will dispute.
This, however, is not the only, or indeed the most serviceable, way of
examining, estimating and passing a final judgment upon a religious
system. Such study must be comparative, it must have some standard of
value; it must not discard acknowledged tests of excellence; it must
make use of certain measurements of capacity and power; it must be
pursued in the light of practical ethics, and be in harmony with the
great fundamental laws of religious experience and spiritual progress
which have controlled thus far the regenerative processes of human

The missionary in forming his final judgment inevitably compares the
religion he studies with the religion he teaches. He need not do this
in any unkind, or bitter, or abusive spirit. On the contrary, he
may do it with a supreme desire to uncover delusion, and make clear
the truth as it has been given to him by the Great Teacher. He may
make a generous and sympathetic allowance for the influence of local
environment, he may trace in an historic spirit the natural evolution
of a religious system, he may give all due credit to every worthy
element and every pleasing characteristic therein, he may regard its
symbols with respect, and also with all charity and consideration the
leaders and guides whom the people reverence; yet his own judgment
may still be inflexible, his own allegiance unfaltering, and he may
feel it to be his duty to put into plain, direct, and vigorous prose
his irreversible verdict that Christianity being true, Islam is not,
Buddhism is not, Hinduism is not.

There he stands; he is not afraid of the issue. His Master is the one
supreme and infallible judge, who can pronounce an unerring verdict
concerning the truth of any religion. He has ventured to bear witness
to the truth which his Master has taught him. Let no one lightly
question the value of the contribution he makes to the comparative
study of religion.

The spirit in which our author has written of Islam is marked by
fairness, sobriety, and discrimination, and yet there is no mistaking
the verdict of one who speaks with an authority which is based upon
exceptional opportunities of observation, close study of literary
sources and moral results, and undoubted honesty of purpose.

It may not be out of place to note the hearty, outspoken satisfaction
with which the author regards the extension of British authority
over the long sweep of the Arabian coast line. His admiration and
delight can only be fully understood by one who has been a resident
in the East, and has felt the blight of Moslem rule, and its utter
hopelessness as an instrument of progress.

Let this book have its hour of quiet opportunity, and it will broaden
our vision, enlarge our knowledge, and deepen our interest in themes
which will never lose their hold upon the attention of thoughtful men.

                                                       JAMES S. DENNIS.


There are indications that Arabia will not always remain in its long
patriarchal sleep and that there is a future in store for the Arab.
Politics, civilization and missions have all begun to touch the hem of
the peninsula and it seems that soon there will be one more land—or
at least portions of it—to add to “the white man’s burden.” History
is making in the Persian Gulf, and Yemen will not forever remain,
a tempting prize,—untouched. The spiritual burden of Arabia is the
Mohammedan religion and it is in its cradle we can best see the fruits
of Islam. We have sought to trace the spiritual as well as the physical
geography of Arabia by showing how Islam grew out of the earlier
Judaism, Sabeanism and Christianity.

The purpose of this book is especially to call attention to Arabia
and the need of missionary work for the Arabs. There is no dearth of
literature on Arabia, the Arabs and Islam, but most of the books on
Arabia are antiquated or inaccessible to the ordinary reader; some
of the best are out of print. The only modern work in English, which
gives a general idea of the whole peninsula is Bayard Taylor’s somewhat
juvenile “_Travels in Arabia_.” In German there is the scholarly
compilation of Albrecht Zehm, “_Arabie und die Araber, seit hundert
jahren_,” which is generally accurate, but is rather dull reading and
has neither illustrations nor maps. From the missionary standpoint
there are no books on Arabia save the biographies of Keith-Falconer,
Bishop French and Kamil Abdul-Messiah.

This fact together with the friends of the author urged their united
plea for a book on this “Neglected Peninsula,” its people, religion
and missions. We have written from a missionary viewpoint, so that
the book has certain features which are intended specially for those
who are interested in the missionary enterprise. But that enterprise
has now so large a place in modern thought that no student of secular
history can afford to remain in ignorance of its movements.

Some of the chapters are necessarily based largely on the books by
other travellers, but if any object to quotation marks, we would remind
them that Emerson’s writings are said to contain three thousand three
hundred and ninety three quotations from eight hundred and sixty-eight
individuals! The material for the book was collected during nine years
of residence in Arabia. It was for the most part put into its present
form at Bahrein during the summer of 1899, in the midst of many outside
duties and distractions.

I wish especially to acknowledge my indebtedness to W. A. Buchanan,
Esq., of London, who gave the initiative for the preparation of this
volume and to my friend Mr. D. L. Pierson who has generously undertaken
the entire oversight of its publication.

The system for the spelling of Arabic names in the text follows in
general that of the Royal Geographical Society. This system consists,
in brief, in three rules: (1) words made familiar by long usage remain
unchanged; (2) vowels are pronounced as in Italian and consonants as in
English; (3) no redundant letters are written and all those written are

We send these chapters on their errand, and hope that especially the
later ones may reach the hearts of the Student Volunteers for foreign
missions to whom they are dedicated; we pray also that the number
of those who love the Arabs and labor for their enlightenment and
redemption may increase.

                                                          S. M. ZWEMER.

  _Bahrein, Arabia._

                           Table of Contents


  THE NEGLECTED PENINSULA                                             17

  Arabia the centre of Moslem world—Its boundaries—The coast—Physical


  THE GEOGRAPHICAL DIVISIONS OF ARABIA                                25

    Natural divisions—Provinces—Political geography—Important
  flora and fauna—Population.


  THE HOLY LAND OF ARABIA—MECCA                                       30

    Its boundaries—Sacredness—European travellers—Jiddah—Its
  bombardment—The pilgrimage—Mecca—Its location—Water-supply—Governor—The
  Kaaba—The Black Stone—Zemzem—Duty of pilgrimage—The pilgrims—The
  day of sacrifice—The certificate—Character of
  Meccans—Temporary marriages—Superstitions—Mishkash—Schools
  of Mecca—Course of study.


  THE HOLY LAND OF ARABIA—MEDINA                                      45

    Taif—Heathen idols—The road to Medina—Sanctity of Medina—The
  prophet’s mosque—Was Mohammed buried there?—The
  five tombs—Prayer for Fatima—Living on the pilgrims—Character
  of people—Yanbo—Importance of Mecca to Islam.


  ADEN AND AN INLAND JOURNEY                                          53

    The gateways to Arabia Felix—Aden—Its ancient
  inland—Wahat—The vegetation of Yemen—A Turkish custom-house—The
  storm in the wady—Taiz—The story of the books.


  YEMEN: THE SWITZERLAND OF ARABIA                                    62

    The Jews of Yemen—From Taiz to Ibb and Yerim—Beauty
  of scenery—Climate—Ali’s footprint—Damar—Sana—Commerce
  and manufactures—Roda—From Sana to the coast—The
  terraces of Yemen—Suk-el Khamis—Menakha—Bajil—Hodeidah.


  THE UNEXPLORED REGIONS OF HADRAMAUT                                 72

    Von Wrede’s travels—Halévy—Mr. and Mrs. Bent’s
  journeys—Makalla—Incense-trade—The castles and
  palaces—Shibam—Shehr and its ruler—Hadramaut
  and the Indian archipelago.


  MUSCAT AND THE COASTLANDS OF OMAN                                   78

  forts—The town—The gardens—Trade—The coast of Oman—The
  pirate-coast—The Batina—Sib, Barka, Sohar—From
  Muscat to Ras-el-Had—Sur—Carter’s exploration—The Mahrah
  and Gharah tribes—Frankincense.


  THE LAND OF THE CAMEL                                               88

    “The mother of the camel”—Importance of the camel to
  Arabia—Tradition as to creation—Species—The dromedary—An
  illustration of design—Products of the camel—Characteristics—The
  interior of Oman—Chief authorities—Fertility—Caravan-routes—Peter
  Zwemer’s journey—Jebel Achdar.


  THE PEARL ISLANDS OF THE GULF                                       97

    Ancient history of Bahrein—Origin of name—Population—Menamah—The
  fresh-water springs—The pearl-fisheries—Superstitions
  about pearls—Value and export—Method of diving—Boats—Apparatus—Dangers
  to the divers—Mother-of-pearl—Other
  manufactures—Ruins at Ali—The climate—Political
  history—English protection.


  THE EASTERN THRESHOLD OF ARABIA                                    110

    The province of Hassa—Katar—The Route inland—Ojeir—Journey
  to Hofhoof—The two curses of agriculture—The
  capital of Hassa—Plan of the town—Its manufactures—Curious
  coinage—The government of Hassa—Katif—Its unhealthfulness.


  THE RIVER-COUNTRY AND THE DATE-PALM                                119

    The cradle of the race—Boundaries of Mesopotamia—The
  Tigris-Euphrates—Meadow lands—The palms—Their
  beauty—Fruitfulness—Usefulness—Varieties of dates—Value—Other
  products—Population—Provinces and districts—The government.


  THE CITIES AND VILLAGES OF TURKISH-ARABIA                          128

    Kuweit—Fao—Aboo Hassib—Busrah—The river navigation—A
  journey—Kurna—Ezra’s tomb—Amara—The tomb of the
  barber—The arch of Ctesiphon—Bagdad, past and


  A JOURNEY DOWN THE EUPHRATES                                       136

    Journey to Hillah—-The route—Kerbela—Down the
  Euphrates—Diwaniyeh—The soldier-guard—Amphibious Arabs—Samawa—Ya
  Ali, Ya Hassan!—Nasariya—Ur—The end of our
  journey—The future of Mesopotamia.


  THE INTERIOR—KNOWN AND UNKNOWN                                     143

    What it includes—Its four divisions—(1) “The empty
  quarter”—Ignorance of this part of Arabia—(2) Nejran—The
  Dauasir-valley and other wadys—Halévy’s travels—Aflaj—The Roman
  expedition to Nejran—(3) Nejd—Its proper limits—The
  zephyrs of Nejd—Soil—Vegetation—Animals—The ostrich—The
  horse—The chief authorities on this part of Arabia—The
  population of Nejd—The character of government—Intercourse
  with Mesopotamia—Chief cities—Hail—Riad—(4)
  Jebel Shammar—The Bedouin-tribes—Division—Character
  and customs—Robbery—Universal poverty.


  “THE TIME OF IGNORANCE”                                            158

    Why so-called—The golden age of literature—The influence of
  Christianity and Judaism—Tribal constitution of
  society—Commerce—Incense—Foreign invasions—Political commotion—The
  condition of women—Female infanticide—The veil—Rights
  of women—Marriage choice—Polygamy and Polyandry—Two
  kinds of marriage—Did Islam elevate woman?—Writing
  in “the days of ignorance”—Poetry—Mohammed’s
  opinion of poets—The religions—Sabeanism—The Pantheon
  at Mecca—Jinn—Totemism—Tattooing—Names of idols—Allah—Decay
  of idolatry—The Hanifs.


  ISLAM IN ITS CRADLE—THE MOSLEM’S GOD                               169

    Different views—Carlyle—Hugh Broughton—Borrowed elements
  of Islam—The God of Islam—Palgrave’s portrait—Attributes
  of God—What God is not—Analysis of Islam—Borrowed
  elements of Islam.


  THE PROPHET AND HIS BOOK                                           179

    The prophet of Islam—Birth of Mohammed—His environment—Factors
  that helped to make the man—Political, religious and
  family factor—Khadijah—Mohammed’s appearance, mind and
  character—His transgression of law—His sensuality—His
  murders—Expeditions—Mohammed, as he became through
  tradition—His glories, favor and power as an intercessor—How
  Moslems regard the Koran—Its character according to
  Dr. Post, Goethe and Nöldeke—Its names—Contents—Origin—Recension—Its
  beauties—Its defects—Its omissions.


  THE WAHABI RULERS AND REFORMERS                                    191

    The story of past century—The Wahabis—Character of teaching—The
  preacher and the sword—Taking of Mecca and Medina—Kerbela—Mohammed
  Ali—The Hejaz campaign—Ghalye—Turkish
  cruelty—English expedition—Peace—The
  Wahabi dynasty—Abdullah bin Rashid—Rise of Nejd kingdom—Character
  of rule—Hail conquers Riad.


  THE RULERS OF OMAN                                                 202

    Oman rulers—Seyid Said—Feysul bin Turki—The rebels take
  Muscat—Arab warfare—European diplomacy.


  THE STORY OF THE TURKS IN ARABIA                                   206

    Hejaz—The Sherifs of Mecca—Othman Pasha—Threats to
  assassinate him—Turkish troops in Asir—Losses—The conquest
  of Yemen—Turkish rule—Rebellions—The rebellion of
  1892—Bagdad, Busrah and Hassa—Taxes—The Turks and
  Bedouins—The army—Character of rule.


  BRITISH INFLUENCE IN ARABIA                                        218

    British possessions—Aden—Socotra—Perim—Kuria Muria
  islands—Bahrein—Her naval supremacy—In the Gulf—German
  testimony—Survey of coasts—Telegraph and
  posts—Slave-trade—Commerce—British India S. N. Co.—Gulf trade—The
  rupee—Trade of Aden—Overland railway—Treaties with
  tribes—The Trucial League—England in Oman—Aden—Makalla—Method
  of “protection”—British consuls and


  PRESENT POLITICS IN ARABIA                                         233

    Hejaz—Future of Yemen—France in Oman—Russia in the Gulf—The
  Tigris-Euphrates Valley—The greater kingdom—God’s
  providence in history.


  THE ARABIC LANGUAGE                                                238

    Wide extent—Its character—Renan’s opinion—The Semitic
  family—Their original home—The two theories—Table of the
  group—The influence of the Koran on the Arabic language—Koran
  Arabic not pure—Origin of alphabet—Cufic—Caligraphy
  as an art—Difficulty and beauty of Arabic speech—Its
  purity—Literature—Difficulty of pronunciation—Of its grammar—Keith
  Falconer’s testimony.


  THE LITERATURE OF THE ARABS                                        251

    Division of its literature—The seven poems—The Koran—Al
  Hariri—Its beauty and variety—Arabic poetry in general—Influence
  of Arabic and other languages—English influence
  on the Arabic—The Arabic Bible and a Christian literature.


  THE ARAB                                                           258

    Origin of tribes—Two theories—Yemenite and Maädite—The
  caravan routes—Bedouins and townsmen—Clark’s
  classification—Genealogies—Tribal names—Character of Arabs—Influence
  of neighbors—Their physique—Their
  aristocracy—Intolerance—Speech—Oaths—Robbery—Privilege of
  sanctuary—Generosity—Blood-revenge—Childhood—Fireside talk—Marriage
  among Bedouins—Position of women—Four witnesses—Doughty—Burckhardt—Lady
  Ann Blunt—Hurgronje—Woman despised—The kinds of dwelling—Tents
  and houses—Dress—The staple foods—Coffee, tobacco and locusts.


  ARABIAN ARTS AND SCIENCES                                          274

    Music of the Arabs—War chants—Instruments of music—Songs—Kaseedahs
  in Yemen—Mecca chants—Science of _Athar_ and
  _Wasm_—Tracking camels—Tribal marks—Medical knowledge
  of the Arabs—Diseases—Remedies—A prescription—The
  Koran’s panacea—A Mecca M. D.—Amulets—Superstitions.


  THE STAR-WORSHIPPERS OF MESOPOTAMIA                                285

    Where they live—Their peculiar religion—Their language—Literature—A
  prayer-meeting of the Star Worshippers—Strange
  ceremonies—The dogmas—Gnostic ideas—Priesthood—Baptisms—Babylonian


  EARLY CHRISTIANITY IN ARABIA                                       300

    Pentecost—Paul’s journey—The Arabs and the Romans—Christian
  tribes of the North—Mavia—Naaman’s edict—Christianity
  in Yemen—Character of Oriental Christianity—The
  Collyridians—Theophilus—Nejran converts—Martyrs—Abraha,
  king of Yemen—Marching to Mecca—The defeat—End
  of early Christianity—The record of the rocks.


  THE DAWN OF MODERN ARABIAN MISSIONS                                314

    Raymond Lull—Henry Martyn—Why the Moslem world was
  neglected—Claudius Buchanan’s sermon—The Syrian missions—Doctor
  Van Dyck—His Bible translation—Henry
  Martyn, the pioneer—His Arabian assistant—Visit to Muscat—His
  Arabic version—Anthony N. Groves—Dr. John Wilson of
  Bombay—The Bible Society—Opening of doors—Major-General
  Haig’s journeys—Arabia open—Dr. and Mrs. Harpur and
  the C. M. S.—A call to prayer—Bagdad occupied—The present
  work—Missionary journeys to the Jews—William Lethaby
  at Kerak—The North Africa mission among the nomads—Samuel
  Van Tassel—The Christian Missionary Alliance—Mackay’s
  appeal from Uganda—The response.


  ION KEITH FALCONER AND THE ADEN MISSION                            331

    Keith Falconer’s character—Education—At Cambridge—Mission
  work—His “eccentricity”—Leipzig and Assiut—How he
  came to go to Arabia—His first visit—Plans for the interior—His
  second voyage to Aden—Dwelling—Illness—Death—The
  influence of his life—The mission at Sheikh Othman.



    “The most distinguished of all C. M. S. missionaries”—Responds
  to Mackay’s appeal—His character—His letters from
  Muscat—His plans for the interior—Death—The grave.


  THE AMERICAN ARABIAN MISSION                                       353

    Its origin—The student band—The first plan—Laid before the
  church—Organization—The Missionary
  Hymn—James Cantine—Syria—Cairo—Aden—Kamil—Journeys of exploration
  to the Gulf and Sana—Busrah—Dr. C. E. Riggs—Death of
  Kamil—Opposition from government—Home administration—Bahrein
  occupied—Lines of work—Muscat—Journey through
  Yemen—The mission transferred to the Reformed Church—Troubles
  at Muscat and Busrah—Dr. Worrall—Journeys in


  IN MEMORIAM                                                        367

    Peter John Zwemer—George E. Stone.


  PROBLEMS OF THE ARABIAN FIELD                                      374

    The general problem of missions to Moslems—The Arabian
  problem—What part of Arabia is accessible—Turkish Arabia—Its
  accessibility—Limitations—The accessibility of independent
  Arabia—Climate—Moslem fanaticism—English influence—Illiteracy—The
  Bedouins—The present missionary
  force—Its utter inadequacy—Methods of work—Medical
  missions—Schools—Work for women—Colportage—Preaching—Controversy—What
  should be its character—The attitude
  of the Moslem mind—Fate of converts—Thoughtless and
  thoughtful Moslems—The Bible as dynamite—The right men
  for the work.


  THE OUTLOOK FOR MISSIONS TO MOSLEMS                                391

    Two views of work for Moslems—Christian fatalism—Results in
  Moslem lands—India—Persia—Constantinople—Sumatra and
  Java—Other signs of progress—The significance of persecution—Character
  of converts—Promise of God for victory over
  Islam—Christ or Mohammed—Missionary promises of the
  Old Testament—The Rock of Jesus’ Sonship—Special promises
  for Arabia—Hagar and Ishmael—The prayer of Abraham—The
  sign of the covenant with Ishmael—The third revelation
  of God’s love—The sons of Ishmael—Kedar and Nebaioth—The
  promises—Seba and Sheba—The spiritual boundaries of
  Arabia—Da Costa’s poem—Faith like Abraham—O that Ishmael
  might live before thee.

  APPENDIX   I—CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE                                   409

      ”     II—TRIBES OF NORTH ARABIA                                413

      ”    III—AN ARABIAN BIBLIOGRAPHY                               414

  INDEX                                                              427

                         List of Illustrations


  A TYPICAL ARAB OF YEMEN                                 _Frontispiece_

  THE REPUTED TOMB OF EVE AT JIDDAH                       _Facing_    17

  THE SACRED WELL OF ZEMZEM AT MECCA                          ”       30

  AT MECCA                                                    ”       34

  THE MECCA CERTIFICATE—A PASSPORT TO HEAVEN                  ”       40


  A MECCAN WOMAN IN HER BRIDAL COSTUME                    _Facing_    44

  THE KEITH FALCONER MEMORIAL CHURCH IN ADEN                  ”       56

  AN ARABIAN COMPASS                                                  71

  A CASTLE IN HADRAMAUT                                               77

  READY FOR A CAMEL RIDE IN THE DESERT                    _Facing_    80

  A BRANCH OF THE INCENSE TREE                                        87

  TENOOF FROM THE EAST                                                95

  A BAHREIN HARBOR BOAT                                   _facing_   100

  DATES GROWING ON A DATE-PALM                                ”      122

  RUINS OF THE ARCH OF CTESIPHON NEAR BAGDAD                  ”      132

  ARAB PILGRIMS ON BOARD A RIVER STEAMER                      ”      140

  FOUR FLAGS THAT RULE ARABIA                                        217

  CUFIC CHARACTERS                                                   243

  ORDINARY UNVOWELLED ARABIC WRITING                                 244

  MOGREBI ARABIC OF NORTH ARABIA                                     245

  PERSIAN STYLE OF WRITING                                           246

  TITLE PAGE OF AN ARABIC CHRISTIAN PAPER                            257

  CHURNING BUTTER IN A BEDOUIN CAMP                           ”      266

  TRIBAL MARKS OF THE ARABS                                          279

  MANAITIC CURSIVE SCRIPT                                            287




  FOUR MISSIONARY MARTYRS OF ARABIA                             ”    368

  INTERIOR OF A NATIVE SHOP                                     ”    384

  THE ARABIAN MISSION HOUSE AT MUSCAT                           ”    400

         *       *       *       *       *

  Maps and Diagrams

  PTOLEMY’S ANCIENT MAP OF ARABIA                           _Facing_  25


  PLAN OF THE INTERIOR OF THE HUJRAH AT MEDINA                        49

  MAP OF THE ISLANDS OF BAHREIN                                       98

  NEIBUHR’S MAP OF THE PERSIAN GULF                         _Facing_ 110

  PALGRAVE’S PLAN OF HOFHOOF                                         113

  DIAGRAMS OF MISSIONARY WORK FOR ARABIA                        380, 381

  MODERN MAP OF ARABIA                                    _End of Book._




                        THE NEGLECTED PENINSULA

 “Intersected by sandy deserts and vast ranges of mountains it
 presents on one side nothing but desolation in its most frightful
 form, while the other is adorned with all the beauties of the most
 fertile regions. Such is its position that it enjoys at once all the
 advantages of hot and of temperate climates. The peculiar productions
 of regions the most distant from one another are produced here in
 equal perfection. What Greek and Latin authors mention concerning
 Arabia proves by its obscurity their ignorance of almost everything
 respecting the Arabs. Prejudices relative to the inconveniences and
 dangers of travelling in Arabia have hitherto kept the moderns in
 equal ignorance.”—_M. Niebuhr_ (1792).

What Jerusalem and Palestine are to Christendom this, and vastly more,
Mecca and Arabia are to the Mohammedan world. Not only is this land
the cradle of their religion and the birthplace of their prophet,
the shrine toward which, for centuries, prayers and pilgrimage
have gravitated; but Arabia is also, according to universal Moslem
tradition, the original home of Adam after the fall and the home of
all the older patriarchs. The story runs that when the primal pair
fell from their estate of bliss in the heavenly paradise, Adam landed
on a mountain in Ceylon and Eve fell at Jiddah, on the western coast
of Arabia. After a hundred years of wandering they met near Mecca,
and here Allah constructed for them a tabernacle, on the site of the
present Kaaba. He put in its foundation the famous stone once whiter
than snow, but since turned black by the sins of pilgrims! In proof of
these statements travellers are shown the Black stone at Mecca and the
tomb of Eve near Jiddah. Another accepted tradition says that Mecca
stands on a spot exactly beneath God’s throne in heaven.

Without reference to these wild traditions, which are soberly set down
as facts by Moslem historians, Arabia is a land of perpetual interest
to the geographer, and the historian.

Since Niebuhr’s day many intrepid travellers have surveyed the coasts
and penetrated into the interior, but his charge that we are ignorant
of the real character of the vast peninsula is still true as far as
it relates to the southern and southeastern districts. No traveller
has yet crossed the northern boundary of Hadramaut and explored the
Dahna desert, also called the Roba-el-Khali, or “empty abode.” The vast
territory between the peninsula of Katar and the mountains of Oman is
also practically a blank on the best maps. Indeed the only noteworthy
map of that portion of the peninsula is that of Ptolemy reproduced by
Sprenger in his “Alte Geographie Arabiens.”

Arabia has well-defined boundaries everywhere except on the north.
Eastward are the waters of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Ormuz and
the Gulf of Oman. The entire southern coast is washed by the Indian
Ocean which reaches to Bab-el-Mandeb “The Gate-of-tears,” from which
point the Red Sea and the Gulf of Akaba form the western boundary. The
undefined northern desert, in some places a sea of sand, completes the
isolation which has led the Arabs themselves to call the peninsula
their “Island” (Jezirat-el-Arab). In fact the northern boundary will
probably never be defined accurately. The so-called “Syrian desert,”
reaching to about the thirty-fifth parallel might better be regarded as
the Arabian desert, for in physical and ethnical features it bears much
greater resemblance to the southern peninsula than to the surrounding
regions of Syria and Mesopotamia. Bagdad is properly an Arabian city
and to the Arabs of the north is as much a part of the peninsula as is
Aden to those of the southwest. The true, though shifting, northern
boundary of Arabia would be the limit of Nomad encampments, but for
convenience and practical purposes a boundary line may be drawn from
the Mediterranean along the thirty-third parallel to Busrah.

Thus the shores of Arabia stretch from Suez to the Euphrates delta for
a total length of nearly 4,000 miles. This coast-line has comparatively
few islands or inlets, except in the Persian Gulf. The Red Sea coast
is fringed by extensive coral reefs, dangerous to navigation, but
from Aden to Muscat the coast is elevated and rocky, and contains
several good harbors. Eastern Arabia has a low, flat coast-line made
of coral-rock with here and there volcanic headlands. Farsan, off the
Tehamah coast, famous as the centre for Arab slave-dhows; Perim, where
English batteries command the gate of the Red Sea; the Kuria-Muria
group in the Indian Ocean; and the Bahrein archipelago in the Persian
Gulf, are the only important islands. Socotra, although occupied by an
Arab population and historically Arabian, is by geographers generally
attached to Africa. This island is however under the Indian government,
and, once Christian, is now wholly Mohammedan.

The greatest length of the peninsula is about 1,000 miles, its average
breadth 600, and its area somewhat over 1,000,000 square miles. It
is thus over four times the size of France or larger than the United
States east of the Mississippi River.

Arabia, until quite recently, has generally been regarded as a vast
expanse of sandy desert. Recent explorations have proved this idea
quite incorrect, and a large part of the region still considered
desert is as yet unexplored. Palgrave, in his “Central Arabia” gives
an excellent summary of the physical characteristics of the whole
peninsula as he saw it. Since his time Hadramaut has been partially
explored and the result confirms his statements: “The general type of
Arabia is that of a central table-land surrounded by a desert ring
sandy to the south, west and east, stony to the north. This outlying
circle is in its turn girt by a line of mountains low and sterile for
the most, but attaining in Yemen and Oman considerable height, breadth
and fertility; while beyond these a narrow rim of coast is bordered by
the sea. The surface of the midmost table-land equals somewhat less
than one-half of the entire peninsula; and its special demarkations
are much affected, nay often absolutely fixed, by the windings and
inrunnings of the Nefud (sandy desert). If to these central highlands
or _Nejd_, taking that word in its wider sense, we add whatever spots
of fertility belong to the outer circles, we shall find that Arabia
contains about two-thirds of cultivated or at least of cultivatable
land, with a remaining third of irreclaimable desert, chiefly on the

From this description it is evident that the least attractive part of
the country is the coast. This may be the reason that Arabia has been
so harshly judged, as to climate and soil and so much neglected by
those who only knew of it from the captains who had touched its coast
in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Nothing is more surprising, than
to pass through the barren cinder gateway of Aden up the mountain
passes into the marvellous fertility and delightful climate of Yemen.
Arabia like the Arab, has a rough, frowning exterior but a warm,
hospitable heart.

From the table-land of Nejd, which has an average elevation of about
3,000 feet above the sea, there is a gradual ascent southward to the
highlands of Yemen and Oman where there are mountain peaks as high
as 8,000 and 10,000 feet. This diversity of surface causes an equal
diversity of climate. The prevailing conditions are intense heat and
dryness, and the world-zone of maximum heat in July embraces nearly
the entire peninsula. On the coast the heat is more trying because of
the moisture from the enormous evaporation of the land-locked basins.
During part of the summer there is scarcely any difference in the
register of the wet and dry-bulb thermometer. In the months of June,
July and August, 1897, the averages of maximum temperature at Busrah
were 100°, 103-1/2° and 102° F.; and the minimum 84°, 86-1/2° and
84° F. Nejd has a salubrious climate, while in Yemen and Oman on the
highlands the mercury even in July seldom rises above 85°. In July,
1892, I passed in one day’s journey from a shade temperature of 110° F.
on the coast at Hodeidah to one of 55° at Menakha on the mountains. At
Sanaa there is frost for three months in the year, and Jebel Tobeyk in
northwest Arabia is covered with snow all winter. In fact, all northern
Arabia has a winter season with cold rains and occasional frosts.

The geology of the peninsula is of true Arabian simplicity. According
to Doughty it consists of a foundation stock of plutonic (igneous)
rock whereon lie sandstone, and above that limestone. Going from
Moab to Sinai we cross the strata in the reverse order, while in the
depression of the gulf of Akaba the three strata are in regular order
although again overtopped by the granite of the mountains. Fossils are
very rare, but coral formation is common all along the coast. Volcanic
formations and lava (called by the Arabs, harrat) crop out frequently,
as in the region of Medina and Khaibar. In going by direct route from
the Red Sea (Jiddah) to Busrah, we meet first granite and trap-rock,
overtopped in the Harrat el-Kisshub by lavas, and further on at Wady
Gerir and Jebel Shear by basalts; at the Nefud el Kasim (Boreyda)
sandstones begin until we reach the limestone region of Jebel Toweyk.
Thence all is gravel and sand to the Euphrates.

Arabia has no rivers and none of its mountain streams (some of which
are perennial) reach the seacoast. At least they do not arrive there
by the _overland_ route, for it is a well-established fact that the
many fresh water springs found in the Bahrein archipelago have their
origin in the uplands of Arabia. At Muscat, too, water is always
flowing toward the sea in abundance at the depth of ten to thirty feet
below the wady-bed; this supplies excellent well-water. In fact the
entire region of Hasa is full of underground watercourses and perennial
springs. Coast-streams are frequent in Yemen during the rain-season and
often become suddenly full to overflowing dashing everything before
them. They are called _sayl_, and well illustrate Christ’s parable of
the flood which demolished the house built upon the sand.

The great wadys of Arabia are its characteristic feature, celebrated
since the days of Job, the Arab. These wadys, often full to the brim
in winter and black by reason of frost but entirely dried up during
the heat of summer, would never be suspected of giving nourishment to
even a blade of grass. They are generally dry for nine and ten months
in the year, during which time water is obtained from wells sunk in
the wady-bed. Wady Sirhan runs in a southeasterly direction from the
Hauran highlands to the Jauf district on the edge of the great Nefud;
it is fed by the smaller Wady er-Rajel. Wady Dauasir which receives
the Nejran streams drains all of the Asir and southern Hejaz highlands
northward to Bahr Salumeh, a small lake, the only one known in the
whole peninsula. The Aftan is another important wady running from
the borders of Nejd into the Persian Gulf. This wady-bed is marked
on some maps as a river, flowing into the Persian Gulf apparently by
two mouths. It does not exist to-day. The most important water-bed
in Arabia is the celebrated Wady er-Ruma, only partly explored,
which flows from Hejaz across the peninsula for nearly 800 miles in
a northwesterly direction toward the Euphrates. Were there a more
abundant rainfall this wady would reach the Shat-el-Arab and give unity
to the now disjointed water-system of Mesopotamia and north Arabia.[1]
For obvious reasons the caravan routes of Arabia generally follow the
course of the wadys.

Arabia is also a land of mountains and highlands. The most clearly
developed system is the extensive range skirting the Red Sea at a
distance of from one to three days’ journey from the coast. South
of Mecca there are peaks of over 8,000 feet; and beyond, the range
broadens out to form the Yemen highlands, a corner of the peninsula
worthy of its old name “Arabia Felix.” The mountains along the south
coast are more irregular and disconnected until they broaden out a
second time between Ras el Had and Ras Mussendum to form the highlands
of Oman. Along the gulf coast there are no mountains except an
occasional volcanic hill like Jebel Dokhan in Bahrein and Jebel Sanam
near Zobeir.

The Nejd is crossed by several ridges of which the best known is Jebel
Shammar running nearly east and west at an altitude of about 6,000
feet. Jebel Menakib, Jebel Aared, Jebel Toweyk and Jebel Athal are
other ranges south of Jebel Shammar and also running in a similar
direction toward the southwest and northeast. The Sinai peninsula is a
rocky limestone plateau intersected by rugged gorges and highest toward
the south in the region of Sinai proper.

Next to its wadys and mountains Arabia is characterized chiefly by the
so-called _Harrat_ or volcanic tracks already mentioned. These black,
gloomy, barren regions occupy a much wider extent of north Arabia
than is generally supposed. The largest is _Harrat Khaibar_, north of
Medina, the old centre of the Jews in the days of Mohammed. It is over
100 miles in length and in some parts thirty miles wide. A wilderness
of lava and lava-stones with many extinct crater heads, craggy, and
strewn with rough blocks of basalt and other igneous rocks. In some
places the lava beds are 600 feet deep. Signs of volcanic action are
still seen at Khaibar, smoke issuing from crevices and steam from the
summit of Jebel Ethnan. A volcanic eruption was seen at Medina as late
as 1256 A.D.[2] and the hot and sulphur springs of Hasa and Hadramaut
seem to indicate present volcanic action.

The sandy-tracts of the so-called Arabian deserts are termed by the
Arabs themselves _nefud_ (drained, exhausted, spent), the name given
on most maps. The general physical features of this “desert” are those
of a plain clothed with stunted, aromatic shrubs of many varieties,
but their value as pasture is very unequal, some being excellent for
camels and sheep, others absolutely worthless. Some nefuds abound in
grasses and flowering plants after the early rains, and then the desert
“blossoms like the rose.” Others are without rain and barren all year;
they are covered with long stretches of drift-sand, carried about by
the wind and tossed in billows on the weather side of the rocks and
bushes.[3] Palgrave asserts that some of the nefud sands are 600 feet
deep. They prevail in the vast unexplored region south of Nejd and
north of Hadramaut including the so-called “Great Arabian Desert.”
Absolute sterility is the dominant feature here, whereas the northern
nefuds are the pasture lands for thousands of horses and sheep.




The division of Arabia into provinces has always been rather according
to physical geography than political boundaries. The earliest division
of the peninsula, and in some respects the most correct, was that
of the Greek and Roman writers into _Arabia Deserta_ and _Arabia
Felix_. The latter epithet was perhaps only a mistaken translation
of _El-Yemen_—the land on “the right hand,” that is south of Mecca,
for the Orientals face east. This is contrasted with Syria which in
Arabic is called “_Es-Sham_” or the land “to the left” of Mecca. The
third division, _Arabia Petræa_, or “Stony Arabia,” first appears in
Ptolemy and is applied to the Sinai district. He limits Arabia Deserta
to the extreme northern desert and so his map of the entire peninsula
bears the title of Arabia Felix. The great geographer anticipated all
modern maps of Arabia by naming the regions according to the tribes
that inhabit them; a much more intelligent method than the drawing of
artificial lines around natural features and dubbing them with a name
to suit the cartographer.

The Arab geographers know nothing of this threefold division into
sandy, stony, and happy-land. They divide the Island-of-the-Arabs
(Jezirat-el-Arab) into five provinces.[4] The first is called
_El-Yemen_ and includes Hadramaut, Mehrah, Oman, Shehr, and Nejran.
The second _El-Hejaz_, on the west coast, so called because it is the
barrier between Tehama and Nejd; it nearly corresponds to our Hejaz,
excluding its southern portion. The third is _Tehama_, along the
coast, between Yemen and Hejaz. The fourth is _Nejd_, a term loosely
applied to all the interior table-lands. The fifth is called _Yemama_
or _’Arudh_ because it extends all the “wide” way between Yemen (Oman)
and Nejd. It is important to distinguish between this Arabian division
and that now nearly everywhere adopted on the maps of the occident;
much confusion has arisen when this distinction was not made.

The modern division of the peninsula into seven provinces: Hejaz,
Yemen, Hadramaut, Oman, Hasa, Irak and Nejd, is according to political
geography and serves all practical purposes, although it is not
strictly accurate. Hejaz, the Holyland of Arabia, includes the sacred
cities of Mecca and Medina. Yemen is bounded by the line of fertility
on the north and east so as to include the important region of Asir.
Hadramaut has no clearly defined boundaries and stretches northward
to the unknown region of the Dahna. Oman is the peninsula between the
southern shore of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean, while Hasa covers
the entire coast district north of El-Katar peninsula (on some maps
called El-Bahrein). Irak-Arabi or Irak is the northern river-country
politically corresponding to what is called “Turkish-Arabia.”

As to the present division of political power in Arabia, it is
sufficient here to note that the Sinai peninsula and 200 miles of
coast south of the Gulf of Akaba is Egyptian; Hejaz, Yemen and Hasa
are nominally Turkish provinces, but their political boundaries are
shifting and uncertain. The present Shereef of Mecca at times dictates
to the Sublime Porte while the Bedouin tribes even in Hejaz acknowledge
neither Sultan nor Shereef and waylay the pilgrim caravans that come
to the holy cities unless they receive large blackmail. In Yemen the
Arabs have never ceased to fret under the galling yoke of the Turk
since it was put on their shoulders by the capture of Sana in 1873. The
insurrection in 1892 was nearly a revolution and again this year (1899)
all Yemen is in arms. It is very suggestive that in the present revolt
some of the Arabs made use of the English flag to secure sympathy.

In Hasa, the real sovereignty of Turkey only exists in three or four
towns while all the Bedouin and many of the villagers yield to the
Dowla, neither tribute, obedience nor love. Irak alone is actually
Turkish and yields large revenue. But even here Arab-uprisings are
frequent. Nominally, however, Turkey holds the fairest province on the
south, the religious centres on the west and the fertile northeast of
Arabia,—one-fifth of the total area of the peninsula.

The remainder of Arabia is independent of Turkey. Petty rulers calling
themselves Sultans, Ameers or Imams have for centuries divided the
land between them. The Sultanate of Oman and the great Nejd-kingdom
are the only important governments, but the former lost its glory when
its seat of power and influence was transferred to Zanzibar. Nejd in
its widest sense is governed to-day by Abd-el-Aziz bin Mitaab the
nephew of the late Mohammed bin Rashid, King Richard of Arabia, who
gained his throne by the massacre of seventeen possible pretenders.
The territory of this potentate is bordered southward by Riad and the
Wahabi country. Northward his influence extends beyond the Nefud, right
away to the Oases of Kaf and Ittery in the Wady Sirhan (38° E. Long.,
31° N. Lat.) east of the Dead Sea. The inhabitants of these oases
acknowledge Abd-el-Aziz as their suzerain paying him a yearly tribute
of four pounds ($20.00) for each village. The people of the intervening
district of Jauf also acknowledge his rule which reaches westward to
Teima. He also commands the new pilgrim-route from the northeast which
formerly passed through Riad but now touches Hail, the capital of Nejd.
The Wahabi movement has collapsed and their political power is broken,
although their influence has extended to the furthest confines of

The only foreign power dominant in Arabia, beside Turkey, is England.
Aden became a British possession in 1838 and since then British
influence has extended until it now embraces a district 200 miles
long by forty broad and a population of 130,000. The Island of Perim
in the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, the Kuria-Muria Islands on the south
coast, and Socotra are also English. All the independent tribes on
the coast from Aden to Muscat and from Muscat to Bahrein have made
exclusive treaties with Great Britain, are subsidized by annual
payments or presents and are “protected.” Muscat and Bahrein are in a
special sense protected states since England’s settled policy is to
have sole dominion in the Persian Gulf. She has agencies or consulates
everywhere; the postal system of the Persian Gulf is British; the rupee
has driven the piastre out of the market and as ninety-eight per cent.
of the commerce is in English hands the Persian Gulf may yet become an
English lake.

Arabia has no railroads, but regular caravan routes take their place
in every direction. Turkish telegraph service exists between Mecca and
Jiddah in Hejaz; between Sanaa, Hodeidah and Taiz in Yemen; and along
the Tigris-Euphrates between Bagdad and Busrah connecting at Fao (at
the delta) with the submarine cable to Bushire and India.

Of the fauna and flora of Arabia we will not here speak at length.
The most characteristic plants are the date-palm of which over 100
varieties are catalogued by the Arab peasantry, and which yields a
staple food. Coffee, aromatic and medicinal plants, gums and balsams,
have for ages supplied the markets of the world. Yemen is characterized
by tropical luxuriance, and in Nejd is the _ghatha_ tree which grows to
a height of fifteen feet, and yields the purest charcoal in the world.

Among the wild animals were formerly the lion and the panther, but
they are now exceedingly rare. The wolf, wild boar, jackal, gazelle,
fox, monkey, wild cow (or white antelope) ibex, horned viper, cobra,
bustard, buzzard and hawk are also found. The ostrich still exists in
southwest Arabia but is not common The chief domestic animals are the
ass, mule, sheep, goats, but above all and superior to all, the camel
and the horse.

The exact population of a land where there is no census, and where
women and girls are never counted is of course unknown. The Ottoman
government gives exaggerated estimates for its Arabian provinces, and
travellers have made various guesses. Some recent authorities, omitting
Irak, put the total population of Arabia as low as 5,000,000. A.H.
Keane, F.R.G.S., gives the following estimate:[5]

  _Turkish Arabia_
                                                 Hejaz, 3,500,000
                                                 Yemen, 2,500,000
  _Independent Arabia_
                                                  Oman, 1,500,000
                                Shammar, Bahrein, etc., 3,500,000

Albrecht Zehm in his book “Arabien seit hundert Jahren,” arrives at
nearly the same result:

  Yemen and Asir,                                     2,252,000
  Hadramaut,                                          1,550,000
  Oman and Muscat,                                    1,350,000
  Bahrein Katif, Nejd,                                2,350,000
  Hejaz, Anaeze, Kasim, and Jebel Shammar,            3,250,000

But undoubtedly both of these estimates, following Turkish authorities,
are too high, especially for Hejaz and Yemen. A conservative estimate
would be 8,000,000 for the entire peninsula in its widest extent.
The true number of inhabitants will remain unknown until further
explorations disclose the real character of southeastern Arabia,
and until northern Hadramaut yields up its secrets. In this, as in
other respects, the words of Livingstone are true: “The end of the
geographical feat is the beginning of the missionary enterprise.”


                     THE HOLY LAND OF ARABIA—MECCA

 “The Eastern world moves slowly—_eppur si muove_. Half a generation
 ago steamers were first started to Jiddah: now we hear of a projected
 railway from that port to Mecca, the shareholders being all Moslems.
 And the example of Jerusalem encourages us to hope that long before
 the end of the century a visit to Mecca will not be more difficult
 than a trip to Hebron.”—_Burton_ (1855).

 “Our train of camels drew slowly by them: but when the smooth Mecca
 merchant heard that the stranger riding with the camel men was a
 Nasrany, he cried ‘Akhs! A Nasrany in these parts!’ and with the
 horrid inurbanity of their jealous religion he added, ‘Ullah curse his
 father!’ and stared on me with a face worthy of the Koran.”—_Doughty_

It is a rule laid down in the Koran and confirmed by many traditions
that the sacred territory enclosing the birthplace and the tomb of the
prophet shall not be polluted by the visits of infidels. “O believers!
only those are unclean who join other gods with God! Let them not
therefore after this their year come near the Sacred Mosque.” (Surah
ix. 27.) Mohammed is reported to have said of Mecca, “What a splendid
city thou art, if I had not been driven out of thee by my tribe I would
dwell in no other place but in thee. It is not man but God who has made
Mecca sacred. My people will be always safe in this world and the next
as long as they respect Mecca.” (Mishkat book XL., ch. xv.)

The sacred boundaries of Mecca and Medina not only shut out all
unbelievers, but they make special demands of “purity and holiness”
(in the Moslem sense) on the part of the true believers. According to
tradition it is not lawful to carry weapons or to fight within the
limits of the _Haramein_. Its



grass and thorns must not be cut nor must its game be molested. Some
doctors of law hold that these regulations do not apply to Medina, but
others make the burial-place of the prophet equally sacred with the
place of his birth. The boundaries of this sacred territory are rather
uncertain. Abd ul Hak says that when, at the time of the rebuilding
of the Kaaba, Abraham, the friend of God, placed the black stone, its
east, west, north and south sides became luminous, and wherever the
light extended, became the boundaries of the sacred city! These limits
are now marked by pillars of masonry, except on the Jiddah and Jairanah
road where there is some dispute as to the exact boundary.

The sacred territory of Medina is ten or twelve miles in diameter,
from Jebel ’Air to Saoor. Outside of these two centres all of the
province of Hejaz is legally accessible to infidels, but the fanaticism
of centuries has practically made the whole region round Mecca and
Medina forbidden territory to any but Moslems. In Jiddah Christians are
tolerated because of necessity, but were the Mullahs of Mecca to have
their way not a Frankish merchant or consul would reside there for a
single day.

Despite these regulations to shut out “infidels” from witnessing
the annual pilgrimage and seeing the sacred shrines of the Moslem
world, more than a score of travellers have braved the dangers of the
transgression and escaped the pursuit of fanatics to tell the tale
of their adventures.[6] Others have lost their life in the attempt
even in recent years. Doughty[7] tells of a Christian who was foully
murdered by Turkish soldiers when found in the limits of Medina in
the summer of 1878. Burton at one time barely escaped being murdered
because they suspected him of being an unbeliever.

Jiddah, the harbor of Mecca, is distant from the sacred city about
sixty-five miles, and is in consequence the chief port of debarkation
and embarkation for pilgrims. It has a rather pretty and imposing
appearance from the sea, the houses being white and three or four
stories high, surrounded by a wall and flanked by a half dozen lazy
windmills of Dutch pattern! Its streets are narrow, however, and
indescribably dirty, so that the illusion of an Oriental picture is
dispelled as soon as you set foot on shore. The sanitary condition of
this port is the worst possible; evil odors abound, the water supply
is precarious and bad, and a shower of rain is always followed by an
outbreak of fever. The population is not over 20,000 of every Moslem
nation under heaven, Galilee of “the believers.” Its commercial
importance, which once was considerable, has altogether declined. The
opening of the Suez canal and the direct carrying of trade by ocean
steamers dealt the deathblow to the extensive coast-trade of both
Jiddah and the other Red Sea ports. The people of Jiddah, like those
of Mecca, live by fleecing pilgrims, and when the traffic is brisk
and pilgrims affluent they grow rich enough to go to Mecca and set
up a larger establishment of the same sort. There are hotel-keepers,
drummers, guides, money-changers, money-lenders, slave-dealers and
even worse characters connected with the annual transfer of the
caravans of _hajees_ (pilgrims) from the coast inland. The number
of pilgrims arriving at Jiddah by sea in 1893 was 92,625. In 1880
Mr. Blunt collected some interesting statistics of the total numbers
attending the pilgrimage at Mecca,[8] and his investigations prove that
the overland caravans are steadily becoming smaller.

Before any pilgrims are allowed to enter Jiddah harbor they are
compelled to undergo ten days’ quarantine at Kamaran, an island on the
west coast of Arabia; this is the first woe. At Jiddah they remain only
a few days and then having secured their _Mutawwaf_ or official guide
they proceed to Mecca. The road is barren and uninteresting in the
extreme. Halfway to Mecca is El Had where the road divides; one branch
leads to Taif, the only fertile spot in this wilderness province, and
the other proceeds to Mecca, the ancient name of which was Bakkah.

Were we to believe one half of what is said by Moslem writers in
praise of Mecca it would prove the Holy City to be a very paradise of
delights, a centre of learning and the paragon of earthly habitations.
But the facts show it to be far otherwise. The location of the city is
unfortunate. It lies in a hot sandy valley absolutely without verdure
and surrounded by rocky barren hills, destitute of trees or even
shrubs. The valley is about 300 feet wide and 4,000 feet long, and
slopes toward the south. The Kaaba or Beit Allah is located in the bed
of the valley and all the streets slope toward it, so that it is almost
closed in on every side by houses and walls, and stands as it were in
the pit of the theatre. The houses are built of dark stone and are
generally lofty in order to accommodate as many pilgrims as possible
in the limited space. The streets are nearly all unpaved and in summer
the sand and dust are as disagreeable as is the black mud in the rainy
season. Strangely enough, although the city itself and even the Kaaba
have more than once suffered from destructive floods that have poured
down the narrow valley, Mecca is poorly provided with water. There are
few cisterns to catch the rains and the well water is brackish. The
famous well of Zemzem has an abundance of water but it is not fit to
drink.[9] The best water is brought by an aqueduct from the vicinity
of Arafat six or seven miles distant and sold for a high price by a
water-trust which annually fills the coffers of the Shereef of


Mecca. This official is the nominal and often the real governor of the
city. He is chosen from the _Sayyids_ or descendants of Mohammed living
in Hejaz or secures the high office by force. His tenure of office is
subject to the approval and authority of the Turkish Sultan, whose
garrisons occupy the fort near the town.

The Sacred Mosque, (Mesjid el Haram) containing the Kaaba or Beit Allah
is the prayer-centre of the Mohammedan world and the objective point
of thousands of pilgrims every year. According to Moslem writers it
was first constructed in heaven, 2,000 years before the creation of
the world. Adam, the first man, built the Kaaba on earth exactly under
the spot occupied by its perfect model in heaven. The 10,000 angels
appointed to guard this house of God seem to have been very remiss in
their duty for it has often suffered at the hands of men and from the
elements. It was destroyed by the flood and rebuilt by Ishmael and
Abraham. The legends connected with its construction and history fill
many pages of the Moslem traditions and commentaries. The name Kaaba
means a _cube_; but the building is not built true to line and is in
fact an unequal trapezium.[10] Because of its location in a hollow and
its black-cloth covering these inequalities are not apparent to the eye.

The Kaaba proper stands in an oblong space 250 paces long by 200 broad.
This open space is surrounded by colonnades used for schools and as
the general rendezvous of pilgrims. It is in turn surrounded by the
outer temple wall with its nineteen gates and six minarets. The Mosque
is of much more recent date than the Kaaba which was well known as an
idolatrous Arabian shrine long before the time of Mohammed. The Sacred
Mosque and its Kaaba contain the following treasures: the Black-Stone,
the well of Zemzem, the great pulpit, the staircase, and the
_Kubattein_ or two small mosques of Saab and Abbas. The remainder of
the space is occupied by pavements and gravel arranged to accommodate
and distinguish the four orthodox sects in their devotions.

The Black-Stone is undoubtedly the oldest treasure of Mecca.
Stone-worship was an Arabian form of idolatry in very ancient times
and relics of it remain in many parts of the peninsula. Maximus Tyrius
wrote in the second century, “the Arabians pay homage to I know not
what god which they represent by a quadrangular stone.” The Guebars or
ancient Persians assert that the black stone was an emblem of Saturn
and was left in the Kaaba by Mahabad. We have the Moslem tradition that
it came down snow-white from heaven and was blackened by the touch of
sin—according to one tradition, that of an impure woman, and according
to another by the kisses of thousands of believers. It is probably
an aerolite and owes its reputation to its fall from the sky. Moslem
historians do not deny that it was an object of worship before Islam,
but they escape the moral difficulty and justify their prophet by idle
tales concerning the stone and its relation to all the patriarchs
beginning with Adam.

The stone is a fragment of what appears like black volcanic rock
sprinkled with irregular reddish crystals worn smooth by the touch
of centuries. It is held together by a broad band of metal, said to
be silver, and is imbedded in the southeast corner of the Kaaba five
feet from the ground. It is not generally known that there is a second
sacred stone at the corner facing the south. It is called Rakn el
Yemeni or Yemen pillar and is frequently kissed by pilgrims although
according to the correct ritual it should only be saluted by a touch of
the right hand.

The well of Zemzem is located near the Makam Hanbali, the place of
prayer of this sect. The building which encloses the well was erected
in A. H. 1072 (A. D. 1661) and its interior is of white marble. Mecca
perchance owes its origin as an old Arabian centre to this medicinal
spring with its abundant supply of purgative waters for the nomads
to-day go long distances


to visit sulphur and other springs in various parts of Arabia. The
well of Zemzem is one of the great sources of income to the Meccans.
The water is carried about for sale on the streets and in the mosques
in curious pitchers made of unglazed earthenware. They are slightly
porous so as to cool the water, which is naturally always of a lukewarm
temperature, and are all marked with certain mystical characters in
black wax. Crowds assemble around the well during the pilgrimage and
many coppers fall to the share of the lucky Meccans who have the
privilege of drawing the water for the faithful.

The pilgrimage to Mecca should be performed in the twelfth lunar month
of the calendar called _Dhu el Haj_. It is incumbent on every believer
except for lawful hindrance because of poverty or illness. Mohammed
made it the fifth pillar of religion and more than anything else it
has tended to unify the Moslem world. The Koran teaching regarding the
duties of pilgrims at the Sacred Mosque, is as follows: “Proclaim to
the peoples a Pilgrimage. Let them come to thee on foot and on every
fleet camel arriving by every deep defile.” (Surah xxii. 28.) “Verily
As Safa and Al Marwa are among the signs of God: whoever then maketh a
pilgrimage to the temple or visiteth it shall not be to blame if he go
round about them both.” (ii. 153.) “Let the pilgrimage be made in the
months already known and who so undertaketh the pilgrimage therein let
him not know a woman, nor transgress nor wrangle in the pilgrimage....
It shall be no crime in you if ye seek an increase from your Lord (by
trade); and when ye pass swiftly on from Arafat then remember God near
the holy Mosque.... Bear God in mind during the stated days; but if any
haste away in two days it shall be no fault to him, and if any tarry it
shall be no fault in him.” (Surah ii. passim.)

From the Koran alone no definite idea of the pilgrim’s duties can be
gleaned; but fortunately for all true believers the Prophet’s perfect
example handed down by tradition leaves nothing in doubt and prescribes
every detail of conduct with ridiculous minuteness. The orthodox way
is as follows: arrived within a short distance of Mecca the pilgrims,
male and female, put off their ordinary clothing and assume the garb
of a _hajee_. It consists of two pieces of white cloth one of which
is tied around the loins and the other thrown over the back; sandals
may be worn but not shoes and the head must be left uncovered. (In
idolatrous days the Arabs did not wear any clothing in making the
circuit of the Kaaba). On facing Mecca the pilgrim pronounces the
_niyah_ or “intention”:

    “Here I am, O Allah, here I am;
    No partner hast Thou, here I am;
    Verily praise and riches and the kingdom are to Thee;
    No partner hast Thou, here am I.”

After certain legal ablutions the pilgrim enters the Mosque by the
Bab-el-salam and kisses the Black-Stone making the circuit, running,
around the Kaaba seven times (In idolatrous days the Arabs did this
in imitation of the motions of the planets; a remnant of their Sabean
worship.) Another special prayer is said and then the pilgrim proceeds
to Makam Ibrahim, where Abraham is said to have stood when he rebuilt
the Kaaba. There the _hajee_ goes through the regular genuflections and
prayers. He drinks next from the holy well and once more kisses the
Black-Stone. Then follows the running between Mounts Safa and Merwa.
Proceeding outward from the Mosque by the gate of Safa he ascends the
hill reciting the 153d verse of the Surah of the Cow. “Verily Safa and
Merwa are the signs of God.” Having arrived at the summit of the mount
he turns to the Kaaba and three times recites the words:

    “There is no god but God!
    God is great!
    There is no god save God alone!
    He hath performed His promise
     and hath aided His servant and
     put to flight the hosts of
     infidels by Himself alone!”

He then runs from the top of Safa through the valley to the summit of
Merwa seven times repeating the aforesaid prayers each time on both
hills. This is the sixth day, on the evening of which the pilgrim again
encompasses the Kaaba. On the next day there is a sermon from the grand
pulpit. On the eighth day the pilgrim goes three miles distant to
Mina, where Adam longed for his lost paradise (!) and there spends the
night. The next morning he leaves for Arafat, another hill about eleven
miles from Mecca, hears a second sermon, returning before nightfall to
Muzdalifa, a place halfway between Mina and Arafat.

The following day is the great day of the pilgrimage. It is called the
day of Sacrifice and is simultaneously celebrated all over the Moslem
world.[11] Early in the morning the pilgrim proceeds to Mina where
there are three pillars called, the “Great Devil,” the “Middle Pillar”
and the “First One.” At these dumb idols the “monotheist” flings seven
pebbles and as he throws them says: “In the name of Allah and Allah
is mighty, in hatred of the devil and his shame, I do this.” He then
performs the sacrifice, a sheep, goat, cow or camel according to the
means of the pilgrim. The victim is placed facing the Kaaba and a knife
plunged into the animal’s throat with the cry, _Allahu Akbar_. This
ceremony concludes the pilgrimage proper; the hair and nails are then
cut and the _ihram_ or pilgrims’ garb is doffed for ordinary clothing.
Three days more are sometimes counted as belonging to the pilgrimage,
the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth days, called _Eyyam-u-tashrik_, or
days of drying flesh, because during them the flesh of the sacrifices
is cut into slices and dried in the sun to be eaten on the return

After the Meccan pilgrimage most Moslems go to Medina to visit the
tomb of Mohammed; the Wahabees however consider this “infidelity” and
honor of the creature more than of the Creator. Other Moslems base
their conduct on the saying of the prophet himself, _Man yuhajja wa
lam ye-zurni fakad jefani_, “who goes on Haj and does not visit me
has insulted me!” The Meccans call themselves “neighbors of God” and
the people of Medina “neighbors of the prophet.” For long ages a hot
rivalry has existed between the two cities, a rivalry which, beginning
in the taunt or jest, often ends in bloodshed.

The pilgrim, having completed all legal requirements, is sure to visit
the proper authorities and secure a _certificate_ to prove to his
countrymen that he is a real Hajee and to substantiate his religious
boasting in days to come. The certificate is also required when one
goes on pilgrimage for a deceased Moslem or a wealthy Moslem who is
bedridden. In such a case the substitute has all the pleasures (!)
of the journey at the expense of his principal but the merit goes to
the man who pays the bills and who naturally craves the receipt. The
certificate is of various forms and contains crude pictures of the holy
places and verses from Koran.

Needless to relate these certificates cost money, as does everything
at Mecca save the air you breathe. No honest Moslem ever spoke with
praise of the citizens of Mecca; many are their proverbs to prove why
wickedness flourishes in the courts of Allah. And European travellers
agree that of all Orientals the Meccans take the palm for thoroughgoing
rascality. Ali Bey dilates on the lewdness of the men and the looseness
of the women of Mecca. Hurgronje unblushingly lifts the veil that hides
the corruption of the sacred temple service with its army of eunuch
police, and pictures the slave-market in full swing within a stone’s
throw of the Kaaba. Burton thus characterizes the men who live on their
religion and grow fat (figuratively) by unveiling its mysteries to

[Illustration: PLATE IV.]

[Illustration: PLATE III.]

[Illustration: PLATE II.]

[Illustration: PLATE I.]

THE MECCA CERTIFICATE, which is given to pilgrims to the sacred city,
is looked upon by Moslems as practically a passport to heaven. It is
especially interesting because of the inside view which it gives of the
Mohammedan religion. At the top of each page are quotations from the

PLATE I. has, at the right-hand upper corner, the representation of
the Mosque of Muzdalifa and tents of the Pilgrims; to the left of
this, the Mosque of Nimr, near Mount Arafat, and below it, the Mahmals
of Syria and Egypt, _i.e._, palanquins carried on camels, surmounted
by flags. To the right is _Mount Arafat_, a sacred mountain about 12
miles northeast of Mecca, which, in Moslem tradition, is said to be the
place where Adam and Eve met after the fall. The three pillars of Miná
represented below, are ancient pagan shrines, at each of which every
pilgrim must hurl seven stones at the devil. Near this is pictured the
Mesjed, or Mosque of Taif, the altar of Ishmael, the Dome of Abd-el
Kader in Bagdad, and at the extreme right the Dome of “Our Lord”
Hassein al Kerbela, where thousands of corpses of deceased Persians are
brought yearly to be buried. It is northwest of Bagdad, and lies in
Turkish territory. There are also pictured the birthplaces of Mohammed,
Ali Ibu Abi Talib, Abu Bekr, and Fatimeh, and the Tomb of Amina and
Khadijah; also two bell-shaped hills, Jebel Thaur and Jebel Nur.

PLATE II. pictures the quadrangular court of the Mecca Haram, within
which is the circular colonnade, enclosing the _Kaaba_ or _Beit Allah_,
the House of God. Below the representation of the Kaaba is depicted
the famous station of Abraham, a stone 20 inches long by 15 inches
wide. It is in the shape of a basin, and is buried in the earth. The
name of Abraham is connected with it from the tradition that he first
built the Kaaba. Below this may be noticed the famous “Beer Zemzem,”
or Well of Zemzem, which is claimed to be the water which Hager saw,
when Ishmael was dying of thirst. Around the circle are the praying
places of the Malikis, the Hanafys, the Hanbalys and the Shafi-is,
the four great sects of Islam. Around the quadrangle are 20 gates,
such as Bab-su-Nebi, Gate of the Prophet, Gate of Abraham, of Peace,
of Abbas, of the Mare, the Mule, Safa, of Farewell, of Wisdom, etc.,
etc.,—besides various shrines.

PLATE III. shows representations of the Holy Places of _El Medina_,
the tomb of Mohammed. The large dome in the upper left-hand corner is
the tomb of Mohammed. Around the page are drawn the mosque of Fatimeh,
mosque of the Strength of Islam, the mosques of Hamzeh, Abu Bekr, Ali
and Silman, the tomb of Othman, and various other shrines.

PLATE IV. contains the Holy Shrines of Jerusalem. The Haram-es-Sherif,
or the quadrangular area once occupied by the temple of Solomon,
occupies the centre of the page. The Mosque commonly known as the
Mosque of Omar, is here styled “Beit el Mukdas” or the Holy House.
Under the dome in the black circle is the “Rock of God,” or the
“Suspended Stone,” which the prophet kicked back when it tried to
follow him to heaven. The two footprints of the prophet are pictured
below the rock. Below this are the Scales of “Mizan,” in which all
men’s deeds are to be weighed at the last day, together with the shears
which cut off the life of men. At the bottom is the great _Bridge of
Sirat_, of vast length, the width of a hair, and sharp as a razor, over
which every mortal must walk barefooted. At the right of it is the pit
of Jehennam or hell, and to the left Jenneh or Paradise. A hazardous
feat it is to make the journey, since on it depends one’s eternal
destiny. Around this area are pictured the tombs of David, Solomon,
Moses and Jacob, and in the right-hand upper corner is seen Jebel, Toor
Sina, or Mount Sinai.

“The Meccan is a covetous spendthrift. His wealth, lightly won, is
lightly prized. Pay, pensions, stipends, presents, and the ‘Ikram’
here, as at Medina, supply the citizen with the means of idleness.
With him everything is on the most expensive scale, his marriage,
his religious ceremonies, and his household expenses. His house is
luxuriously furnished, entertainments are frequent, and the junketings
of the women make up a heavy bill at the end of the year. It is a
common practice for the citizen to anticipate the pilgrimage season by
falling into the hands of the usurer. The most unpleasant peculiarities
of the Meccans are their pride and coarseness of language. They
look upon themselves as the cream of earth’s sons, and resent with
extreme asperity the least slighting word concerning the Holy City and
its denizens. They plume themselves upon their holy descent, their
exclusion of infidels, their strict fastings, their learned men, and
their purity of language. In fact, their pride shows itself at every
moment; but it is not the pride which makes a man too proud to do a
dirty action. The Meccans appeared to me distinguished, even in this
foul-mouthed East, by the superior licentiousness of their language.
Abuse was bad enough in the streets, but in the house it became

Temporary marriages which are a mere cloak for open prostitution are
common in Mecca and are indeed one of the chief means of livelihood to
the natives[13]. Concubinage and divorce are more universal than in any
other part of the Moslem world;[14] sodomy is practiced in the Sacred
Mosque itself[15] and the suburbs of the city are the scene of nightly
carnivals of iniquity, especially after the pilgrims have left and the
natives are rich with the fresh spoils of the traffic.[16] As might
be expected, superstition grows rife in such a soil and under such
circumstances. All sorts of holy-places, legends, sacred rocks, trees
and houses abound. Every Moslem saint who tarried in the city or died
there has left something to be remembered and honored.

Gross ignorance coupled with equal conceit seems to be the universal
characteristic of the people of Mecca. Modern science is laughed at
and everything turns, on the Ptolemaic system, around the little world
of the Koran. Jinn are exorcised; witches and the evil-eye are avoided
by amulets; in short all the superstitious practices of the Moslem
world are cultivated in this centre of world-wide pilgrimage. Astrology
still usurps the place of astronomy and it is considered blasphemy
to profess to know the hour of an eclipse or the day of the new moon
before it is revealed from heaven. Alchemy is the science that attracts
the Meccan physician more than the marvels of surgery; potions of
holy-writ or talismans are still in use for sprains and dislocations.
Their ignorance of geography and history beyond the confines of the
pilgrim-world is pathetic. One of the chief Mullahs asked Hurgronje
“how many days was the caravan journey from Moskop (Russia) to
Andalusia (Spain)?” A government printing-press has been opened at
Mecca in recent years and an official gazette is published; but even
Turkish civilization and learning are considered far from orthodox for
their ways partake too much of those of the “infidels” of the rest
of Europe. Photography is a forbidden art and money with “images” of
queens and emperors is only used with the prayer _istagfir allah_, “I
ask pardon of God.” On the other hand many old European coins no longer
current are looked upon as being doubly valuable as amulets and charms.
One of these, the _Mishkash_ is supposed to have special virtues for
newly-married women.

“The irony of history,” as Hurgronje remarks, “was not satisfied that
at Medina the grave of Mohammed who cursed saint-worship should become
a centre of pilgrimage, but added the circumstance that at Mecca,
Moslem women, who reject images and Christ-worship, should prize as an
amulet the image of Jesus and an Evangelist.” Of course, the women
themselves are in total ignorance of the inscription and character of
the coin.


There is a great abundance of schools at Mecca but no education.
Everything is on the old lines, beginning and ending with the Koran,
that Procrustean bed for the human intellect. “The letter killeth.”
And it is the _letter_ first, foremost and always that is the topic
of study. The youth learn to read the Koran not to understand its
meaning, but to drone it out professionally at funerals and feasts, so
many chapters for so many shekels. Modern science or history are not
even mentioned, much less taught, at even the high-schools of Mecca.
Grammar, prosody, caligraphy, Arabian history, and the first elements
of arithmetic, but chiefly the Koran commentaries and traditions,
traditions, traditions, form the curriculum of the Mohammedan college.
Those who desire a postgraduate course devote themselves to Mysticism
(_Tassawaf_) or join an order of the Derwishes who all have their
representative sheikhs at Mecca.

The method of teaching in the schools of Mecca, which can be taken as
an example of the best that Arabia affords, is as follows. The child
of intellectual promise is first taught his alphabet from a small
wooden board on which they are written by the teacher; slates are
unknown. Then he learns the _Abjad_ or numerical value of each letter—a
useless proceeding at present as the Arabic notation, originally
from India, is everywhere in use. After this he learns to write down
the ninety-nine names of Allah and to read the first chapter of the
Koran; then he attacks the last two chapters, because they are short.
The teacher next urges him through the book, making the pupil read
at the top of his voice. The greatest strictness is observed as to
pronunciation and pauses but nothing whatever is said to explain the
meaning of the words. Having thus _finished_ the Koran, that is,
read it through once, the pupil takes up the elements of grammar,
learning rules by rote both of _sarf_ (inflection) and _nahw_ (syntax).
Then follow the liberal sciences, _al-mantik_ (logic), _al-hisab_
(arithmetic), _al-jabr_ (algebra), _al-ma’ana wa’l beyan_ (rhetoric
and versification), _al-fikh_ (jurisprudence), _al-akäid_ (scholastic
theology), _at-tafsir_ (exegetics), _ilm ul-usul_ (science of sources
of interpretation) and lastly, the capstone of education, _al-ahadith_
(traditions). Instruction is given by lectures; text-books are seldom
used; lessons begin in the morning and continue for a few hours; in
the afternoon they are interrupted by prayer-time. Even at Mecca the
favorite place for teaching is in the Mosque-court where constant
interruptions and distractions must make it pleasant for a lazy pupil.

[Illustration: A WOMAN OF MECCA]



                    THE HOLY LAND OF ARABIA—MEDINA

 “Within the sanctuary or bounds of the city all sins are forbidden;
 but the several schools advocate different degrees of strictness. The
 Imam Malik, for instance, allows no latrinæ nearer to El Medina than
 Jebel Ayr, a distance of about three miles. He also forbids slaying
 wild animals, but at the same time he specifies no punishment for
 the offence. All authors strenuously forbid, within the boundaries,
 slaying man, (except invaders, infidels and the sacrilegious) drinking
 spirits and leading an immoral life. In regard to the dignity of the
 sanctuary there is but one opinion; a number of traditions testify to
 its honor, praise its people and threaten dreadful things to those who
 injure it or them.”—_Burton_.

About seventy miles southeast of Mecca is the small but pleasant town
of Taif, to which the pashas condemned for the murder of Abdul Aziz
Sultan were banished. It is one of the most interesting and attractive
towns of all Arabia, being surrounded by gardens and vineyards from
which Mecca has been supplied for ages. The tropical rains last
from four to six weeks at Taif, and good wells abound to water the
gardens when the rains cease, so that the place is famous for its
garden-produce. In close proximity to the barren Mecca district Taif
is a paradise for the pilgrim and a health resort for the jaundiced,
fever-emaciated Meccan. At Taif Doughty saw three old stone idols of
“the days of ignorance”; _El Uzza_, a block of granite some twenty feet
long; another called _Hubbal_, with a cleft in the middle, “by our Lord
Aly’s sword-stroke”; and _El Lat_, an unshapely crag of grey granite.
These were earlier stone-gods of the Arab, and now lie forsaken in the
dirt, while their brother-god, the famous Black-Stone, receives the
reverence of millions!

The road from Mecca to El Medina—“_the_ city”—so called because the
prophet chose it as his home in time of persecution—leads nearly due
north. It is an uninteresting, and for the most part, a forsaken
country that separates the rival cities. Burton writes that it reminded
him of the lines,

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

There are two caravan-routes, both of which are used by the pilgrims,
but the eastern road is used most frequently.[18]

The region between Mecca and Medina is the home of the ancient poets of
Arabia and is classic ground. The seven Moallakat or suspended poems
find their scene in this region. Lebid wrote:

    “Deserted is the village—waste the halting place and home,
    At Mina, o’er Rijam and Ghul wild beasts unheeded roam,
    On Rayyan hill the channel lines have left their naked trace,
    Time-worn as primal writ that dints the mountain face.”

El Medina, formerly called _Yathrib_, is now also called _El Munowera_,
the “illuminated,” and devout Moslems commonly claim to see, on
approaching the city, a luminous haze hanging over its mosques and
houses. The legends and superstitions that cluster around the last
resting-place of the Prophet are not less in number nor less credible
than those that glorify the place of his birth, although the town is
only about half the size and contains 16,000 inhabitants. It consists
of three principal divisions: the town proper, the fort and the
suburbs. It is surrounded by a wall forty feet high; the streets are
narrow and unpaved; the houses are flat-roofed and double-stoned.

The current dispute, however, for many centuries has been regarding
the relative sanctity and importance of the two cities, Mecca and
Medina. A visit to Medina is called _Ziyarat_, as that to Mecca is
called _Haj_; the latter is obligatory by order of the Koran, while
the former is meritorious on the authority of tradition. The orthodox
further stipulate, that circumambulation around the prophet’s tomb at
Medina is not allowed as around the Kaaba at Mecca nor should men wear
the _ihram_, nor kiss the tomb. On the other hand, to spit upon it or
treat it with contempt, as the Wahabees did, is held to be the act of
an infidel. To quote again from Burton: “The general consensus of Islam
admits the superiority of the Beit Allah at Mecca to the whole world;
and declares Medina to be more venerable than every part of Mecca, and
consequently all the earth, except only the Beit Allah. This last is a
_juste milieu_ view by no means in favor with the inhabitants of either

The one thing that gives Medina claim to sanctity is the prophet’s
tomb, and yet there is some doubt as to whether he is really buried
in the mosque raised to his honor; of course every Moslem, learned
or ignorant, believes it, but there are many arguments against the
supposition.[19] One of these arguments alone would have little value
against so old a tradition and practice, but their cumulative force
cannot be denied, and throws serious doubt on the question whether the
present mosque of the prophet contains any trace of his remains. On the
other hand pious Moslems affirm that the prophet is not really dead,
but “eats and drinks in the tomb until the day of resurrection,” and is
as much alive as he ever was.


The Mesjid-el-Nebi or prophet’s mosque at Medina is about 420 feet
long by 340 broad. It is built nearly north and south and has a large
interior courtyard, surrounded by porticoes. From the western side we
enter the _Rauzah_ or prophet’s garden. On the north and west it is
not divided from the rest of the portico; on the south side runs a
dwarf wall and on the east it is bounded by the lattice-work of the
_Hujrah_. This is an irregular square of about fifty feet separated
on all sides from the walls of the Mosque by a broad passage. Inside
there are said to be three tombs carefully concealed inside the iron
railing by a heavy curtain arranged like a four-post bed. The Hujrah
has four gates, all kept locked except the fourth which admits only the
officers in charge of the treasure, the eunuchs who sweep the floor,
light the lamps and carry away the presents thrown into the enclosure
by devotees. It is commonly asserted that many early Moslem saints
and warriors desired the remaining space for their grave, but that by
Mohammed’s wish it is reserved for ’Isa on his second coming and death.
The story of a coffin suspended by magnets has of course no foundation
in fact and may have arisen from the crude drawings of the tombs.

The _ziyarah_ at the Mosque consists in prayers and alms-giving with
silent contemplation on the sacred character of Mohammed. The following
sample “prayer” offered at the shrine of Fatima, gives some idea of
what is to Christian ears a blasphemous service: “Peace be upon thee,
O daughter of the apostle of Allah! Thou mother of the excellent seed.
Peace be upon thee thou Lady amongst women. Peace be upon thee, O Fifth
of the people of the Prophet’s garment! A pure one, O virgin! Peace be
on thee, O spouse of our Lord, Ali el Murtaza, O mother of Hasan and
Hussein, the two Moons, the two Lights, the two Pearls, the two princes
of the youth of Heaven, the Coolness of the eyes of true believers!
etc., etc.” The prayers offered at the prophet’s grave are more fulsome
in their praise and of much greater length. What would the camel-driver
of Mecca say if he heard them?

As at Mecca so at Medina the townspeople, one and all, live on the
pilgrims. The keeper of the Mosque is a Turkish Pasha with a large
salary and many perquisites; there are treasurers and professors and
clerks and sheikhs of these eunuchs kept on salary. Sweepers and
porters, all eunuchs, and guides as at Mecca who live by backsheesh or
extortion. Water-carriers here too peddle about the brackish fluid by
the cupful to thirsty pilgrims. Those who are not in the service of the
Mosque usually keep boarding-houses, or sell prayers which are to be
made once a year at the prophet’s tomb, for the absent pilgrim. Most of
the officials receive their salaries from Constantinople and Cairo.

The population of Medina is not less a mixed multitude than that of
Mecca; here also the observation of Zehm holds true, “every pilgrimage
brings new fathers.” Burton testifies, “It is not to be believed that
in a town garrisoned by Turkish troops, full of travelled traders,
and which supports itself by plundering _Hajis_ the primitive virtues
of the Arab could exist. The Meccans, a dark people, say of the
Madani, that their hearts are as black as their skins are white. This
is of course exaggerated; but it is not too much to assert that
pride, pugnacity, a peculiar point of honor, and a vindictiveness of
wonderful force and patience, are the only characteristic traits of
Arab character which the citizens of El Medina habitually display.”
Intoxicating liquors are made at Medina and sold, although not openly.

There are two colleges with “libraries” at Medina and many
mosque-schools. In Burckhardt’s day he charged the town with utter
ignorance and illiteracy, but now they devote themselves apparently to
literature, at least in a measure.

The climate of Medina is better than that of Mecca and the winters are
cold and rigorous. Mohammed is reputed to have said, “he who patiently
endures the cold of El Medina and the heat of Mecca, merits a reward in

Returning from the lesser pilgrimage to Medina the traveller can
retrace his steps to Mecca, and thence to Jiddah, or go to the
nearer port of Yanbo (Yembo) and thence return home by steamer or
sailing-vessel. The distance by camels’ route, between Medina and the
port is 132 miles, six stages, although a good dromedary can make it
in two days. At Yanbo the sultan’s dominions in Arabia begin, for
the coast northward pertains to Egypt. The town resembles Jiddah in
outward appearance, has 400 or 500 houses built of white coral rock,
dirty streets and a precarious water supply. Sadlier, (1820) after his
journey across the peninsula, visited Yanbo, and describes it as “a
miserable Arab seaport surrounded by a wall”; Yanbo has, however, a
good harbor, and was in earlier days, a large and important place; it
has been identified with Iambia village on Ptolemy’s map a harbor of
the old Nabateans.

Thus ends our pilgrimage through the Holy Land of Arabia. Let us in
conclusion ponder the words of Stanley Lane Poole as to the place which
Mecca and the pilgrimage holds in the Mohammedan religion. “It is asked
how the destroyer of idols could have reconciled his conscience to the
circuits of the Kaaba and the veneration of the Black-Stone covered
with adoring kisses. The rites of the pilgrimage cannot certainly be
defended against the charge of superstition; but it is easy to see
why Mohammed enjoined them.... He well knew the consolidating effect
of forming a centre to which his followers should gather, and hence
he reasserted the sanctity of the Black-Stone that ‘came down from
heaven’; he ordained that everywhere throughout the world the Moslem
should pray looking toward the Kaaba, and enjoined him to make the
pilgrimage thither. Mecca is to the Moslem what Jerusalem is to the
Jew. It bears with it all the influence of centuries of associations.
It carries the Moslem back to the cradle of his faith and the childhood
of his prophet.... And, most of all, it bids him remember that all his
brother Moslems are worshipping toward the same sacred spot; that he is
one of a great company of believers united by one faith, filled with
the same hopes, reverencing the same thing, worshipping the same God.”


                      ADEN AND AN INLAND JOURNEY

 “Aden is a valley surrounded by the sea; its climate is so bad that it
 turns wine into vinegar in the space of ten days. The water is derived
 from cisterns and is also brought in by an aqueduct two farsongs long.”
                                         —_Ibn-el-Mojawir._ (A.D. 1200)

Arabia is unfortunate because, like a chestnut-burr, its exterior is
rough and uninviting. In scenery and climate, Yemen fares worst of all
the provinces. The two gateways to Arabia Felix are very _infelix_.
What could be more dreary and dull and depressing than the “gloomy
hills of darkness” that form the background to Aden as seen from the
harbor? There is no verdure, no vegetation visible; everywhere there
is the same appearance of a cinder heap. And where can one find a more
filthy, hot, sweltering, odorous native town than Hodeidah? Yet these
two places are the gateways to the most beautiful, fertile, populous
and healthful region of all Arabia.

Yemen is best known of all the provinces, and has been quite thoroughly
explored by a score of intrepid travellers.[20] Most people, however,
travelling in a P. and O. Steamer, calling at Aden for coal, remain in
total ignorance of the fair highlands just beyond the dark hills that
hide the horizon Yemen extends from Aden to Asir on the north and
eastward into Hadramaut for an indefinite distance. On the earlier maps
Arabia Felix stretched as far as Oman—a great mountainous region with a
temperate climate. An Arabian author, describing Yemen as it was before
the time of Mohammed, wrote: “Its inhabitants are all hale and strong,
sickness is unknown, nor are there poisonous plants or animals; nor
fools, nor blind people, and the women are ever young; the climate is
like paradise and one wears the same garment summer and winter.”

The massive rock promontory of volcanic basalt called Aden, has from
time immemorial been the gateway and the stronghold for all Yemen. It
is generally agreed that Ezekiel, the prophet, referred to Aden when he
wrote. “Haran and Canneh and _Eden_, the merchants of Sheba, Asshur and
Chilmad, were thy merchants.” The place was fortified and its wonderful
rock cisterns were probably first constructed by the early Himyarites.
A Christian church was erected at Aden by the embassy of the Emperor
Constantius, A.D. 342, and Aden was for a long time in the hands of
the Christian kings of Yemen. Then it fell a prey to the Abyssinians
and next to the Persians, about the time when Mohammed was born.
Albuquerque in 1513 with his Portuguese warriors laid siege to Aden for
four days, but in spite of scaling-ladders and gunpowder could not take
the town. The Mameluke Sultans of Egypt also failed to capture this
fortress. In 1838 the English took it by storm and have held the place
ever since.

Aden is now a British settlement, a commercial-centre, a
coaling-station and a fortress; the last most emphatically. All the
latest improvements in engineering and artillery have been put to use
in fortifying the place. The ride from Steamer-Point to “the crater”
or from the telegraph-station to the “Crescent” gives one some idea of
the vast amount of money and labor expended to shape this Gibraltar
and make it impregnable from land and sea. The isthmus is guarded by
massive lines of defence, strengthened by a broad ditch cut out of the
solid rock; bastions, casements and tunnels all serve one purpose;
batteries, towers, arsenals, magazines, barracks; mole-batteries
toward the sea, mines in the harbor, obstruction piers and subservient
works;—everything tells of military strength, and the town has always a
warlike aspect in perfect accord with its forbidding physical geography.

The inhabited peninsula is an irregular oval about fifteen miles in
circumference; it is in reality a large extinct crater formed of lofty
precipitous hills the highest peak of which, Shem Shem, has an altitude
of nearly 1,800 feet. The varieties of rock are numerous, and vary
in color from light brown to dark green. Pumice and tufas are very
common, the former is an article of export. Water is very scarce, and
there is almost no rainfall during some years. When there is a shower,
the nature of the soil and the immense watershed for so small an area
cause heavy torrents to pour down the valleys. These rare occasions are
utilized to fill the huge tanks near Aden camp. The tanks were built
as early as 600 A.D. by the Yemenites who built besides the celebrated
dam at Marib, and the many similar structures in various parts of
Yemen. Water is also brought by an aqueduct from Sheikh Othman, seven
miles distant, but the majority of the population is supplied from
the government condensers. In spite of the desert character of the
soil and the aridity of the climate Aden is not entirely without
natural vegetation. Thomas Anderson of the Bengal Medical Service
enumerates ninety-four species of plants found on the Aden peninsula,
some of which are entirely unique. Most of the plants, however, are
desert-dwellers with sharp thorns, an aromatic odor, and yield gums and

The Aden settlement has four centres of population; Steamer-Point, the
Crescent, the town of Maala and the “Camp” or Aden proper. A road,
the only road in fact, extends from Steamer-Point on the west to Aden
proper on the east, and no one can boast of having seen Aden who has
not taken the ride in a _geri_ from the landing-pier to the tanks. The
Aden horses are of all creatures most miserable for the geri-drivers
whip their horses much, but feed them little. The Crescent is a
semi-circular range of houses and shops crowded against the mountain
side; with a Hotel de l’Univers and a Hotel de l’Europe (both equally
“Grand”); cafés, shops, banks, and offices. The post office, hospital,
churches and barracks are further west toward the telegraph-station. A
drive of about two miles brings us to the native town of Maala. Here
the road forks, the lower one leading to the barrier-gate and Sheikh
Othman, and the upper ascending the mountain through the gate of the
fortifications and by a sharp declivity leading down to the town of
Aden. It is not an Oriental town in its administration, but it has all
the motley character of Port Said on its streets. Europeans, Americans,
Africans, Asiatics and mixed races are all represented in the crowd
of the market or the loungers in the streets. The total population is
30,000, including Chinese, Persians, Turks, Egyptians, Somalis, Hindus,
Parsees, Jews and Arabs from every part of the peninsula. Aden is a
great centre for native shipping, and the dhows and buggalows that sail
every year from the Persian Gulf to Yemen and Jiddah alway call at Aden
_en route_. Also from Oman and Hadramaut the modern Sinbads run their
craft into Aden to exchange produce or to lay in supplies for their
voyages to the coast of Africa.

The distance from Aden to Yemen’s old capital, Sana is nearly 200
miles in a direct line, but on my second journey thither, in 1894, I
was obliged to take a roundabout journey to Taiz, because of an Arab
uprising. This and the mountainous character of the country made the
distance over 250 miles. This route passes through, or near, all the
important towns of Yemen south of Sana.

With my Bedouin companion, Nasir, I left Sheikh Othman early on the
second morning of July. We reached a small



village, Wahat, at noon, the thermometer registering 96° in the
shade. After a short rest we mounted the camels at seven o’clock in
the evening for an all-night journey. Our course was through a barren
region, and at daylight we entered Wady Mergia, with scanty vegetation,
resting at a village of the same name under a huge acacia tree. The
next day we entered the mountains, where rich vegetation showed a
cooler climate. We passed several villages, Dar El Kadim, Khoteibah,
Suk-el-Juma and others. As this was said to be a dangerous part of the
road all the caravan, which we joined at Wahat, was on the lookout,
with lighted rope-wicks for their flint-locks swinging from their
shoulders and looking in the dark like so many fireflies. At three
A.M. we had ascended to the head of the wady and rested for the day at
Mabek. All the houses here are of stone, the booths of date-mats and
twigs being only found on the maritime plain of Yemen. During the night
there had been talk among the wild Arabs of the village of holding
me as a hostage to obtain money from the English at Aden! But Nasir
quieted them with a threefold Bedouin oath that I was not a government
official nor an Englishman, but an American traveller.

The day after leaving Mabek brought us to the beginning of the happy
valleys of Yemen, very different from the torrid coast. A country where
the orange, lemon, quince, grape, mango, plum, apricot, peach, apple,
pomegranate, fig, date, plantain and mulberry, each yield their fruit
in season; where wheat, barley, maize, millet and coffee are staple
products and where there is a glorious profusion of wild flowers—called
“grass” by the unpoetic camel-drivers. A land whose mountains lift up
their heads over 9,000 feet, terraced from chilly top to warm valley
with agricultural amphitheatres, irrigated by a thousand rills and
rivulets, some of them perennial, flowing along artificial channels
or leaping down the rocks in miniature falls. A land where the oriole
hangs her nest on the dark acacia, the wild doves hide in clefts of the
rock and the chameleon sports his colors by the wayside under the tall
flowering cactus. Such is Yemen. The vegetation of Arabia Felix begins
just before reaching Mufallis, on this route, where a Turkish castle
and custom-house proclaim the boundary of Ottoman aggression.

Beautiful was the air and scenery on our march. Arab peasants were at
work in the fields, plowing[21] with oxen, repairing the walls of the
terraces and opening the watercourses. The women were all unveiled
and had the picturesque costume universal in southern Yemen; their
narrow trousers were fastened at the waist and ankles, while over their
shoulders hung long mantle-like garments, low in the neck, girded, and
fringed at the bottom with embroidered cloth of green or red. Here they
wear a kind of light turban, but on the Hodeidah coast broad-brimmed
straw hats cover the heads of the Yemen belles as they urge their
donkeys to market.

At sunrise we were in sight of the highest peaks to the left of the
wady-bed. One of them is crowned by a _walli_ or saint’s tomb of Saled
bin Taka. These tombs are common in Yemen and thousands of people
visit them annually to ask intercession, each saint having a special
day in the Moslem calendar. At Mocha the grave of the Arab sheikh
Abu-el-Hassan Shadeli, who first discovered the use of coffee, is
highly honored by distant pilgrims.

At eight o’clock on the morning of July fourth we reached the _burj_
called Mufallis and had our first experience of Turkish rule in Yemen.
Unexpectedly we here stumbled upon a Turkish custom-house, which I
had thought was located at Taiz, as the boundary of Turkish Yemen on
my maps did not extend further south. An unmannerly negro, calling
himself Mudeer of Customs, looked out of a port-hole and demanded my
ascent. Through dirt and up darkness I reached his little room and
stated my errand and purpose. No kind words or offered backsheesh
would avail; “_all_ the baggage must be opened and _all_ books were
forbidden entrance into Yemen by a recent order,” so he affirmed.
First, therefore, I unscrewed the covers of the two boxes with an old
bowie-knife. The books, after having been critically examined by eyes
that could not read, were seized; next my saddle-bags were searched,
and every book and map was also confiscated. I was refused even a
receipt for the books taken, and to every plea or question the only
reply was, to go on to Taiz and appeal to the Governor.

Despoiled of our goods, we left the “custom-house” at eleven A.M.,
taking an old man on a donkey armed with a spear, as guide and defence,
because Nasir heard that there was disturbance in this quarter. At two
o’clock we rested for half an hour under the shade of a huge rock in
the bed of the wady, and then warned by peals of thunder, we hastened
on, hoping to reach Hirwa before dark. In less than an hour, however,
the sky was black, rain fell in torrents, and we found it hopeless
to attempt to urge the slow camels on through the wady. There was no
shelter in sight, so we crouched under a small tree halfway up the mud
bank. The rain turned to hail—large stones that frightened the camels
so that they stampeded—and we became thoroughly chilled.

When the storm ceased, our donkey man came with looks of horror to tell
us that his poor beast had fallen down the slope and was being swept
away by the torrent! What had been a dry river bed half an hour before,
was now a rushing rapids. We decided to climb up the terraces to a
house which we saw on the mountain side. The camels had preceded us,
and after a vigorous climb over mud-fields and up the rocks we reached
the house and hospitality of Sheikh Ali. Over the charcoal fire, after
drinking plenty of _kishr_, (made from the _shell_ of the coffee bean,)
we had to listen to a long discussion concerning the lost donkey.
Finally, matters were smoothed over by my offering to pay one-half the
price of the animal on condition that our guide should proceed with us
to _Hirwa_.

The next day we were off early. Because of the steep ascents I was
obliged to walk most of the way, and I sprained my ankle severely.
It did not pain me until night, when it was swollen and kept me
“on crutches” for several days. _Hirwa_ is a small Arab village
with a weekly market, and we found shelter in the usual coffee-shop
characteristic of Yemen. The following day we reached _Sept Ez zeilah_,
where we found cleaner quarters than the night before. At about
midnight a war party of Bedouins came and frightened the peaceful
villagers with demands for food, etc. They had just returned from
setting fire to a small castle, and, numbering sixty hungry men, were
not to be intimidated. They were about to force their way into our
quarters when Nasir and the women promised to give them food. Within,
I kept quiet and listened to the noise of grinding and baking and
coffee-pounding. Without, some of the Arabs seized a cow belonging to a
poor woman and butchered it for their feast. At this there was a crying
of women and barking of dogs and swearing of oaths by the Great Allah,
such as I hope never to hear again. Finally, the Arabs went away with
full stomachs, and we slept a broken sleep for fear they might return.
The next day we proceeded to Taiz, and arrived at noon, one week after
leaving Aden.

The Mutasarrif Pasha, or Governor, was satisfied with my passports,
and expressed his regrets that the books had been seized at Mufallis,
but such was the law. He would, however, allow me to send for them
for inspection. What is written here in four lines was the work and
patience of four weary days! A soldier was sent to Mufallis; I was
obliged to entrust him with money to pay the custom dues; to hire a
camel to carry the books; finally to pay for two sticks of sealing
wax (price in Taiz one rupee) with which to seal the books and maps
lest they be tampered with—all this at the order of the enlightened
government of the Sublime Porte! The first messenger never reached
Mufallis; on the road he was attacked by Arabs, stabbed in the neck,
robbed of his rifle, and carried back to the military hospital at
Taiz. Then there was more delay to find and send a second soldier
with the same camel and money and sealing wax, but with a new rifle.
He returned with the books safely after five days! No Turk could set
a value on a book, and so the law is that books are taxed by weight,
boxes included. The customs receipt was attached for “200 kilograms
Jewish books (at twenty piastres a kilo), value, 4,000 piastres,
and custom dues amounting to 288 piastres.” In the same document I
was spoken of as “the Jew, Ishmail, Dhaif Ullah,”—a rather curious
combination of names. I was called a “Jew” because of the case of
Hebrew New Testaments; Ishmail was the equivalent for Samuel; and Dhaif
Ullah, my Arabic cognomen.



 “If the Turks would clear out of Yemen, a wonderful field for commerce
 would be thrown open, for the Turkish government is vile and all
 cultivators are taxed to an iniquitous extent.”—_Ion Keith Falconer._

While waiting at Taiz I had an opportunity to study Yemen town life
and the system of government, as well as to learn a little about the
cultivation of coffee and kaat, the two chief products of this part of

Taiz has not often been visited by travellers from the occident, and is
a most interesting place. It is a large fortified village of perhaps
5,000 inhabitants, the residence of a Mutasarrif whose authority
extends from the province of Hodeidah to the Aden frontier including
Mocha and Sheikh Seyyid on the coast, recently abandoned by France. The
place has five gates, one of which has been walled up, and five large
mosques in Byzantine style. The largest Mosque is called El Muzafer,
and has two large minarets and twelve beautiful domes. Taiz was once a
centre of learning and its libraries were celebrated all over Arabia.
Firozabadi, the Noah Webster of the Arabic language, taught in Taiz and
edited his “Ocean” dictionary there. He died at the neighboring town of
Zebid, in 1414 A.D., and his grave is honored by the learned of Yemen.

The bazaar is not large, but the four European shops kept by Greek
merchants are well supplied with all ordinary articles of civilization.
One public bath, in splendid condition, and a military hospital show
Ottoman occupation. The fort holds perhaps 1,300 soldiers and the
residence of the Mutasarrif is in a beautiful and comfortable little
building outside of the town. The mosques were once grand but are
now ruined and a home for bats; the famous libraries have disappeared
and the subterannean vaults of the largest Mosque formerly used as
porticoes for pupils are now Turkish horse-stables. There is a post
office and telegraph; the post goes once a week to Hodeidah via Zebid
and Beit el Fakih, and the telegraph in the same direction a little
more rapidly when the wires are in order.

Taiz is girt around by Jebel Sobr, the highest range of mountains in
southern Yemen. Hisn Aroos peak, near the town, has an elevation of
over 7,000 feet. According to Niebuhr and Defler, on a clear day one
can look from the summit of this peak across the lowlands and the Red
Sea into Africa. I was unable to reach the summit as my Arab guide
failed me and the days were misty and frequent rains fell.

Taiz is the centre of kaat-culture for all Yemen, and coffee comes here
on its way to Hodeidah or Aden. Amid all the wealth of vegetation and
fruitage every plant seems familiar to the tourist save kaat. It is a
shrub whose very name is unknown outside of Yemen, while there it is
known and used by every mother’s son, as well as by the mothers and
daughters themselves. Driving from Aden to Sheikh Othman, one first
learns the _name_. Why are those red flags hoisted near the police
stations, at intervals on the road, and why are they hauled down as
soon as those camels pass? Oh, they are taking loads of kaat for the
Aden market, and the flags are to prevent cheating of the customs.
Over 2,000 camel loads come into Aden every year, and each load passes
through English territory by “block-signal” system, for it is highly
taxed. As to its _use_, step into a kahwah in any part of Yemen shortly
before sunset, and you will see Arabs each with a bundle of green twigs
in his lap, chewing at the leaves of kaat.

At Taiz I first had an opportunity to meet the Jews of the interior of
Yemen. Altogether they number perhaps 60,000 in the whole province.
They live mostly in the large towns and very few are agriculturists.
They are a despised and down-trodden race, but they say at Sana, that
their condition is not so bad under the Turks as it was under the Arab
rulers before 1871. The accounts of their origin are discrepant. Some
say they are descended from the Jews of the Dispersion, but others
hold that they were immigrants from the North over 900 years ago.
They are more cleanly, more intelligent and more trustworthy than the
Arabs; and although they are out of all communication with the rest of
the world and in ignorance of their European countrymen they are not
ignorant of Hebrew and rabbinic learning. Their synagogue near Taiz is
a low stone building, twenty-five by fifteen feet. For furniture it
has only a few curtains of embroidered texts, a printed diagram of the
ancient candlestick, with the names of the twelve tribes, and a high
reading-desk. Such are all the synagogues of Yemen.

At Taiz the Jews seemed to have grown content under long centuries of
oppression and taxation. Many of the old Moslem laws against infidels,
such as those forbidding them to _ride_, to carry weapons or wear fine
clothes in public, are still rigorously enforced by custom if not by
the government. The Jew is universally despised, yet he cannot be
spared, for nearly all artisan work is in Jewish hands. The Moslem Arab
has learned nothing from the Jew outside of the Koran; but, alas! the
Jew has imbibed many foolish customs and superstitions foreign to his
creed from Islam.

When the Hebrew Scriptures reached Taiz I was again disappointed, for
the Governor would not permit the boxes to be opened, but they were to
be sent sealed and under guard to Sana. I afterward learned that the
“guard” was for me as well as the books, and that the soldier carried a
letter with this accusation written: “This is a converted Jew, who is
corrupting the religion of Islam, and sells books to Moslems and Jews.”
I had no alternative but to proceed to Sana; taking a Damar Arab as
servant, having dismissed the Aden camels.

I left Taiz on a mule July 26th, and arrived at Seyanee the same day.
The following night we reached Ibb. Here I was forced to lodge outside
of the town, as the guard had instructions not to let me “see things.”
I endured this impatiently, until I learned that our servant had been
imprisoned on our arrival because he told me the names of the villages
on the route! I then appealed to the Mayor, and on virtue of my
passports demanded the right of going about the town and the release of
my servant. After some delay, both requests were granted. The incident
is one of many to show the suspicion with which a stranger is regarded
by the authorities in Yemen. On Saturday the soldier and I hastened on
to reach the large town of Yerim before Sunday, and rest there, waiting
for the baggage camel. It was a long ride of twelve hours, but through
a delightful country everywhere fertile and terraced with coffee
plantations and groves of kaat.

Yerim, with perhaps 300 houses, lies in a hollow of the Sumara range of
mountains. It has a fortress and some houses of imposing appearance,
but the general aspect of the town is miserable. A neighboring marsh
breeds malaria, and the place is proverbially unhealthy in this
otherwise salubrious region. Niebuhr’s botanist, Forskal, died here
on their journey in 1763. The road from Ibb to Yerim has perhaps the
finest scenery of any part of Yemen; never have I seen more picturesque
mountains and valleys, green with verdure and bright with blossoms.
Scabiosa, bluebells, forget-me-nots, golden-rod, four-o’clocks and
large oleander-trees—

    “All earth was full of heaven
     And every bush afire with God.”

The cacti-plants were in full bloom, and measured twenty feet against
the mountain passes. Two thousand feet below one could hear the sound
of the water rushing along the wady-bed or disappearing under the
bridges that span the valleys. While high above, the clouds were half
concealing the summit of the “Gazelle Neck” (Unk el-Gazel).

Sunday, July 29th, was a cold day at Yerim; early in the morning the
temperature went down to 52°, and at night two blankets were needed.
Not until nine o’clock was it warm enough for the Yerim merchants to
open their shops.

A Jewish family, en route for Taiz, were stopping with us at the
caravansari, and at night I spoke for over two hours with them and the
Arabs about Christ. There was no interruption, and I was impressed
to see the interest of a Jew and Arab alike in what I told them from
Isaiah liii., reading it in Arabic by the dim candle light, amidst all
the baggage and beasts of an Oriental inn. At the little village of
Khader, eight miles from Waalan, angry words arose from the “guard”
because I tried to speak to a Jew. When I spoke in protest they began
to strike the Jew with the butt end of their rifles,[22] and when the
poor fellow fled, my best defence was silence. On my return journey, I
inadvertently raised trouble again, by mentioning that Jesus Christ and
Moses were _Jews_—which the Arabs considered an insult to the prophets
of God.

On the road beyond Yerim we passed a large boulder with an irregular
impression on one side. This is called Ali’s footprint, and the Arabs
who pass always anoint it with oil. The steep ascents and descents of
the journey were now behind us. From Yerim on to Sana the plateau is
more level. Wide fields of lentils, barley and wheat take the place of
the groves of kaat and coffee; camels were used for ploughing, and with
their long necks and curious harness, were an odd sight.

The next halt we made was at Damar, 8,000 feet above sea-level. It is a
large town, with three minaret-mosques and a large bazaar; the houses
are of native rock, three and four-stories high, remarkably clean and
well-built. Inside they are whitewashed, and have the Yemen translucent
slabs of gypsum for window-panes. From Damar the road leads northeast
over Maaber and the Kariet en-Nekil pass to Waalan; thence, nearly due
north, to Sana. From Damar to Waalan is thirty-five miles, and thence
to the capital, eighteen miles more. The roads near the city of Sana
are kept in good repair, although there are no wheeled vehicles, for
the sake of the Turkish artillery.

On Thursday, August 2d, we entered Sana by the Yemen gate. Three
years before I had entered the city from the other side, coming from
Hodeidah; then in the time of the Arab rebellion and now myself a
prisoner. I was taken to the Dowla and handed over to the care of a
policeman until the Wali heard my case. After finding an old Greek
friend from Aden, who offered to go bail for me, I was allowed liberty,
and for nineteen days was busy seeing the city and visiting the

Sana, anciently called Uzal, and since many centuries the chief city
of Yemen, contains some 50,000 inhabitants and lies stretched out in a
wide, level valley between Jebel Nokoom and the neighboring ranges. It
is 7,648 feet above sea-level. The town is in the form of a triangle,
the eastern point consisting of a large fortress, dominating the town,
and built upon the lowest spur of Nokoom. The town is divided into
three walled quarters, the whole being surrounded by one continuous
wall of stone and brick. They are respectively the city proper,
in which are the government buildings, the huge bazaars, and the
residences of the Arabs and Turks; the Jews’ quarter; and Bir-el-azib,
which lies between the two, and contains gardens and villas belonging
to the richer Turks and Arabs. The city had once great wealth and
prosperity, and to-day remains, next to Bagdad, the most flourishing
city in all Arabia. The shops are well supplied with European goods,
and a large manufacture of silk, jewelry and arms is carried on. The
government quarter, with its cafés, billiard-rooms, large Greek shops,
carriages, bootblacks, and brass-band reminds one of Cairo. Sana has
forty-eight mosques, thirty-nine synagogues, twelve large public-baths,
a military hospital with 200 beds, and is the centre of trade for all
northern Yemen and northwestern Hadramaut, as well as for the distant
villages of Nejran and fertile Wady Dauasir. Arabs from every district
crowd the bazaars, and long strings of camels leave every day for the
Hodeidah coast.

On August 14th I took an early morning walk to Rhoda, a village about
eight miles north of Sana, and in the midst of beautiful gardens. From
Roda the direct caravan route leads to Nejran, and from the outskirts
of the village, looking north, an inviting picture met the eye. A
fertile plateau stretched out to the horizon, and only two days’
journey would bring one into the free desert beyond Turkish rule. But
this time the way across the peninsula was closed by my bankruptcy;
robbed at Yerim in the coffee-shop, and already in debt at Sana, it
would have been impossible to proceed, except as a dishonest dervish.

On the 21st of August I left Sana for Hodeidah, receiving a loan of
twenty dollars from the Ottoman government, to be paid back at the
American consulate. We followed the regular postal route, the same
which I had travelled on my first journey.

The plateau or table-land between Sana’a and Banàn is a pasture
country. The Bedouins live in the stone-built villages and herd their
immense flocks on the plain; camels, cows and sheep were grazing by
the hundreds and thousands. After Banàn begins the difficult descent
to the coast down breakneck mountain _stairways_ rather than roadways,
over broken bridges, and through natural arches. Fertile, cultivated
mountain slopes were on every side, reminding one of the valleys of
Switzerland. In one district near Suk-el-Khamis the whole mountain-side
for a height of 6,000 feet was terraced from top to bottom. General
Haig wrote of these terraces: “One can hardly realize the enormous
amount of labor, toil and perseverance which these represent. The
terraced walls are usually from five to eight feet in height, but
toward the top of the mountain they are sometimes as much as fifteen
or eighteen feet. They are built entirely of rough stone, laid without
mortar. I reckon on an average that each wall retains a terrace not
more than twice its own height in width, and I do not think I saw a
single breach in one of them unrepaired.”[24]

In Yemen there are two rainy seasons, in spring and in autumn, so that
there is generally an abundance of water in the numerous reservoirs
stored for irrigation. Yet, despite the extraordinary fertility of the
soil and the surprising industry of the inhabitants, the bulk of the
people are miserably poor, ill-fed and rudely clothed, because they
are crushed down by a heartless system of taxation. Every agricultural
product, implement and process is under the heavy hand of an oppressive
administration and a military occupation that knows no law. The
peasantry are robbed by the soldiers on their way to market, by the
custom-collector at the gate of each city, and by the tax-gatherer
in addition. On the way to Sana my soldier-companion stopped a poor
peasant who was urging on a little donkey loaded with two large baskets
of grapes; he emptied the best of the grapes into his saddle-bags,
and then beat the man and cursed him because some of the grapes were
unripe! No wonder we read of rebellions in Yemen, and no wonder that
intense hatred lives in every Arab against the very name of Turk.

From Suk-el-Khamis, a dirty mountain village,[25] with an elevation
of over 9,500 feet, the road leads by Mefak and Wady Zaun to the
peculiarly located village of Menakha. At an altitude of 7,600 feet
above sea-level, it is perched on a narrow ridge between two mountain
ranges. On either side of the one street that forms the backbone of
the summit are precipices 2,000 feet deep. So narrow is the town that
there are places where one can stand and gaze down both sides of the
abyss at the same time. To reach it from the west there is only one
path zigzagging up the mountain-side, and from the east it can only
be approached by a narrow track cut in the face of the precipice and
winding up for an ascent of 2,500 feet. Menakha is the centre of the
coffee trade; it has a population of 10,000 or more, one-third of which
are Jews. There are four Greek merchants, the Turks had 2,000 troops
garrisoned in the town, and the bazaars were equal to those of Taiz.
Its exact elevation is given by Defler, after eighteen observations, as
7,616 feet above sea-level.

From Menakha to the coast is only two long days’ journey; three by
camel. The first stage is to Hejjeila, at the foot of the high ranges,
thence to Bajil, a village of 2,000 people, and along the barren, hot
plain to Hodeidah. At Bajil the people are nearly all shepherds, and
the main industry is dyeing cloth and weaving straw. Here one sees
the curious Yemen straw hats worn by the women, and here also the
peasant-maidens wear no veils. Yet they are of purer heart and life
than the black-clouted and covered women of the Turkish towns.

Hodeidah by the sea is very like Jiddah in its general appearance. The
streets are narrow, crooked and indescribably filthy. The “Casino” is
a sort of Greek hotel for strangers, and the finest house in the city
is that of Sidi Aaron, near the sea, with its fine front and marble
courtyard. The population is of a very mixed character; east of the
city in a separate quarter live the _Akhdam_ Arabs, whose origin is
uncertain, but who are considered outcasts by all the other Arabs. They
are not allowed to carry arms and no Arab tribe intermarries with them.

From Hodeidah there is a regular line of small steamers to Aden, and
the Egyptian Red Sea coasting steamers also call here fortnightly. The
trade of Hodeidah was once flourishing, but here too Turkish misrule
has brought deadness and dullness into business, and taxation has
crushed industrial enterprise.

[Illustration: AN ARABIAN COMPASS.]



           “As when to them who sail
    Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
    Mozambic, off at sea northeast winds blow
    Sabean odors from the spicy shore
    Of Araby the blest.”—_Milton._

We must take at least a glimpse of the almost unknown region called
Hadramaut.[26] This is a strip of territory stretching between the
great desert and the sea from Aden eastward to Oman. Our knowledge of
the interior of this region was almost a perfect blank until some light
was thrown on it by the enterprising traveller A. Von Wrede in 1843.
The coast is comparatively well known, at least as far as Makalla and
Shehr. The land rises from the coast in a series of terraces to Jebel
Hamra (5,284 feet), which is connected on the northeast with Jebel
Dahura, over 8,000 feet high.

Adolph Von Wrede sailed from Aden to Makalla and thence penetrated
inland as far as Wady Doan the most fertile spot of all South Arabia.
This wady flows northward through the land of the Bni Yssa and the
district is bordered on the west by Belad-el-Hasan and on the east by
Belad-el-Hamum. But how far this region extends northward and whether
the sandy desert of El Ahkaf (quicksands) really begins with the Wady
Rakhia, a branch of the Doan are points on which Von Wrede throws no
light and which are still uncertain. In 1870 the French Jew, Joseph
Halévy, made a bold attempt to penetrate into Hadramaut from Yemen.
Since then little was added to our knowledge of Hadramaut until 1893
when Shibam, the residence of the most powerful Sultan of Hadramaut
was visited by Theodore Bent and his wife. In 1897 they made a second
journey into the same region which cost Mr. Bent his health and
afterward his life. From the account of these journeys we quote a few
paragraphs which set forth clearly the interesting character of this
almost unknown country.[27]

“Immediately behind Makalla rise grim arid mountains of a reddish hue,
and the town is plastered against this rich-tinged background. By the
shore, like a lighthouse, stands the white minaret of the Mosque, the
walls and pinnacles of which are covered with dense masses of seabirds
and pigeons; not far from this the huge palace where the Sultan dwells
reminds one of a whitewashed mill with a lace-like parapet; white, red
and brown are the dominant colors of the town, and in the harbor the
Arab dhows with fantastic sterns rock to and fro in the unsteady sea,
forming altogether a picturesque and unusual scene.

“Nominally Makalla is ruled over by a Sultan of the Al Kaiti family,
whose connection with India has made them very English in their
sympathies, and his Majesty’s general appearance, with his velvet coat
and jewelled daggers, is far more Indian than Arabian. Really the most
influential people in the town are the money-grubbing Parsees from
Bombay, and it is essentially one of those commercial centres where
Hindustani is spoken nearly as much as Arabian. We were lodged in a
so-called palace hard by the bazaar, which reeked with mysterious
smells and was alive with flies; so we worked hard to get our
preparations made and to make our sojourn in this uncongenial burning
spot as short as possible....

“Leaving these villages behind us, we climbed rapidly higher and
higher, until, at an elevation of over 5,000 feet, we found ourselves
at last on a broad level plateau, stretching as far as the eye could
reach in every direction, and shutting off the Hadramaut from the
coast. This is the ‘mons excelsus’ of Pliny; here we have the vast area
where once flourished the frankincense and the myrrh. Of the latter
shrub there is plenty left, and it is still tapped for its odoriferous
sap; but of the former we only saw one specimen on the plateau, for in
the lapse of ages the wealth of this country has steadily disappeared;
further east, however, in the Mahra country, there is, I understand, a
considerable quantity left.

“Near Hajarein are many traces of the olden days when the frankincense
trade flourished, and when the town of Doani, which name is still
retained in the Wady Doan, was a great emporium for this trade. Acres
and acres of ruins, dating from the centuries immediately before
our era, lie stretched along the valley here, just showing their
heads above the weight of superincumbent sand which has invaded
and overwhelmed the past glories of this district. The ground lies
strewn with fragments of Himyaritic inscriptions, pottery, and other
indications of a rich harvest for the excavator, but the hostility
of the Nahad tribe prevented us from paying these ruins more than a
cursory visit, and even to secure this we had to pay the Sheikh of the
place nineteen dollars; and his greeting was ominous as he angrily
muttered, ‘Salaam to all who believe Mohammed is the true prophet.’

“At Assab they would not allow us to dip our vessels in their well,
nor take our repast under the shadow of their Mosque: even the women
of this village ventured to insult us, peeping into our tent at night,
and tumbling over the guys in a manner most aggravating to the weary

“Our troubles on this score were happily terminated at Haura, where
a huge castle belonging to the Al Kaiti family dominates a humble
village surrounded by palm groves. Without photographs to bear out
my statement, I should hardly dare to describe the magnificence of
these castles in the Hadramaut. That at Haura is seven stories high,
and covers fully an acre of ground beneath the beetling cliff, with
battlements, towers, and machicolations bearing a striking likeness to
Holyrood. But Holyrood is built of stone, and Haura, save for the first
story, is built of sun-dried bricks; and if Haura stood where Holyrood
does, or in any other country save dry, arid Arabia, it would long ago
have melted away....

“One of the most striking features of these Arabian palaces is the
wood-carving. The doors are exquisitely decorated with intricate
patterns, and with a text out of the Koran carved on the lintel; the
locks and keys are all of wood, and form a study for the carver’s art,
as do the cupboards, the niches, the supporting beams and the windows,
which are adorned with fretwork instead of glass. The dwelling-rooms
are above, the ground floor being exclusively used for merchandise, and
the first floor for the domestics.”

Concerning the chief town of the interior of Hadramaut Mr. Bent writes
as follows:

“Then he sent us to reside for five more days in his capital of
Shibam, which is twelve miles distant from Al Katan, and is one of
the principal towns in the Hadramaut valley. It is built on rising
ground in the centre of the narrowest point of the valley, so that no
one can pass between it and the cliffs of the valley out of gunshot
of the walls. This rising ground has doubtless been produced by many
generations of towns built of sun-dried bricks, for it is the best
strategical point in the neighborhood. Early Arab writers tell us that
the Himyarite population of this district came here when they abandoned
their capital at Sabota, or Shabwa, further up the valley, early in our
era, but we found evident traces of an earlier occupation than this—an
inscription and a seal with the name ‘Shibam’ engraved on it, which
cannot be later than the third century, B.C. And as a point for making
up the caravans which started from the frankincense-growing district,
Shibam must always have been very important.

“The town of Shibam offers a curious appearance as you approach; above
its mud-brick walls with bastions and watch towers appear the tall
whitewashed houses of the wealthy, which make it look like a large
round cake with sugar on it. Outside the walls several industries are
carried on, the chief of which is the manufacture of indigo dye. The
small leaves are dried in the sun and powdered and then put into huge
jars—which reminded us of the Forty Thieves—filled with water. Next
morning these are stirred with long poles, producing a dark blue frothy
mixture; this is left to settle, and then the indigo is taken from the
bottom and spread out on cloths to drain; the substance thus procured
is taken home and mixed with dates and saltpetre. Four pounds of this
indigo to a gallon of water makes the requisite and universally used
dye for garments, the better class of which are calendered by beating
them with wooden hammers on stones.”

Of the coast town of Shehr and its ruler Mr. Bent says:

“Shehr is a detestable place by the sea, set in a wilderness of sand.
Once it was the chief commercial port of the Hadramaut valley, but
now Makalla has quite superseded it, for Shehr is nothing but an open
roadstead and its buildings are now falling into ruins. Ghalib, the
eldest son and heir of the chief of the Al Kaiti family, rules here as
the viceregent of his father, who is in India as jemadar or general of
the Arab troops, chiefly all Hadrami, in the service of the Nizam of
Hyderabad. Ghalib is quite an Oriental dandy, who lived a life of some
rapidity when in India, so that his father thought it as well to send
him to rule in Shehr, where the capabilities for mischief are not so
many as at Bombay. He dresses very well in various damask silk coats
and faultless trousers; his swords and daggers sparkle with jewels; in
his hand he flourishes a golden-headed cane; and, as the water is hard
at Shehr, he sends his dirty linen in dhows to Bombay to be washed.”

The Arabs of Hadramaut have been still more in contact with Java
than with India. Large colonies of Hadramis emigrated to the Dutch
Archipelago more than a century ago; intermarriage between the Javanese
and the Arabs is very common; and the Mohammedanism of the Dutch East
Indies is entirely of the Hadramaut type. These interesting facts were
first bought to light by Van den Berg, a Dutch scholar in his elaborate
work on this province of Arabia and the Arab colonies in Java.[28]
His account of Hadramaut is a compilation from the lips of the Arab
immigrants, but the description of the manners and customs of the
people and their religious peculiarities is from personal observation.
Altogether, in spite of minor geographical inaccuracies, the book is
the best single volume on Southern Arabia and tells the story of Islam
in the Dutch Archipelago as it is to-day. The Arabs have always been a
strong race at colonizing but it is well to note that the influence of
Hadramaut on Java and Sumatra to-day is not less than that of Oman on
Zanzibar and East Africa in the last century. Even Hadramaut will not
always remain undiscovered and unremembered. The incense-country of
antiquity has a future before it even as it has had a glorious past.




 “Oman is separated from the rest of Arabia by a sandy desert. It
 is, in fact, as far as communication with the rest of the world is
 concerned, an island with the sea on one side and the desert on
 the other. Hence its people are even more primitive, simple and
 unchanged in their habits than the Arabs generally. Along the coast,
 however, especially at Muscat they are more in contact with the outer
 world.”—_General Haig._

In Arab nomenclature Oman applies only to a small district in the
vicinity of Muscat, but the name is generally given to the entire
southeastern section of the Arabian peninsula, including everything
east of a line drawn from the Kuria-Muria islands to the peninsula
of Katar, anciently called Bahrein. Thus defined it is the largest
province of Arabia and in some respects the most interesting.
Historically, politically and geographically Oman has always been
isolated from the other provinces. Turkish rule never extended this far
nor did the later caliphs long exercise their authority here. The whole
country has for centuries been under independent rulers called Imams or
Seyyids. The population, which is wholly Arab and Mohammedan, (save in
the coast towns) was derived originally from two different stocks known
to the Arabs as Kahtani and Adnani or the Yemeni and Muadi. These names
have changed since the beginning of the eighteenth century to Hinani
and Ghaffiri. The Yemen tribes came first and are most numerous. The
two rival races have been in open and continuous feud and antagonism
and have kept the country in perpetual turmoil. They even inhabit
separate quarters in some of the towns, according to Colonel Miles. In
Somail, about fifty miles inland from Muscat a broad road marks the
division between the two clans. These two parent stocks are subdivided
into some 200 different tribes and these again into sub-tribes or
“houses.” Each family-group has its own Sheikh, a hereditary position
assumed by the eldest male in the family.

Very few of the tribes of Oman are nomadic; the greater part live in
towns and villages along the wady-beds. With the exception of fruits
of which there is a great variety and abundance, dates are the sole
food product and the chief export of the province. Rice is imported
from India. The total population of Oman is estimated by Colonel
Miles not to exceed 1,500,000. There are numerous towns of 5,000 to
10,000 inhabitants; Muscat and Mattra are the chief towns on the
coast, and are practically united as they are only two miles apart.
The climate of Oman on the coast is excessively hot and moist during a
large part of the year, although the rainfall here is only six to ten
inches annually; in the interior the heat is greatly tempered by the
elevation, the rainfall is much greater and the climate as pleasant as
in the highlands of Yemen.

The Omanese state was at its greatest height of power at the beginning
of the present century. Then the Sultans of Muscat exercised rule as
far as Bahrein to the northwest, had possession of Bunder Abbas and
Linga in Persia, and called Socotra and Zanzibar their own. At this
time the Oman Arabs began their extensive journeys in Africa and, urged
by the enormous profits of the slave-trade, explored every corner of
the great interior of the Dark Continent. At present the authority of
the Sultan at Muscat, Seyyid Feysul bin Turki, does not extend far
beyond the capital and its suburbs.

In the early years of the Oman Sultanate, Nizwa was the capital,
afterward Rastak became the seat of government, but since 1779,
Muscat has been at once the capital and the key, the gateway and the
citadel of the whole country. On approaching Muscat in a British India
steamer, the land is first sighted, looming up in one mass of dark
mountain ranges; closer, one portion of this mass directly over the
town of Muscat is seen to be of a dark brown color, crag on crag,
serrated and torn in a fantastic manner and giving the harbor a most
picturesque appearance. The town itself shows white against the dark
massive rocks, on the summits of which are perched numerous castles and
towers. But, though presenting a pleasing prospect from a distance, a
nearer view reveals the usual features of large Oriental towns,—narrow,
dirty streets, unattractive buildings, and masses of crumbling walls
under the torrid heat of a burning sun and amid all the sweltering
surroundings of a damp climate.

The heat of Muscat is proverbial. John Struys, the Dutchman, who
visited this town in 1672, wrote that it was “so incredibly hot and
scorching that strangers are as if they were in boiling cauldrons or
sweating tubs.” A Persian, named Abder-Razak, being a Persian, was able
to surpass all others in exaggerated description and wrote of Muscat in
1442, “The heat was so intense that it burned the marrow in the bones,
the sword in its scabbard melted like wax, and the gems that adorned
the handle of the dagger were reduced to coal. In the plains the chase
became a matter of perfect ease, for the desert was filled with roasted
gazelles!” It is said that a black bulb thermometer has registered 189°
F. in the sun at Muscat and 107° even at night, is not unusual during
the hottest part of the year. The bare rocks form a parabolic mirror to
the sun’s rays from the south and west; add to this the facts that the
hills shut off the breezes and that Muscat lies on the Tropic of Cancer
in the zone of greatest heat. According to the witness of a resident,
“the climate of Muscat is bad beyond all description. For about three
months in the year, from December to March, it is tolerably cool at
night but after the latter month the heat becomes intense and makes
Muscat rank but little after the Infernal Regions. There is a short
break in the hot weather about the middle of July which generally lasts
a month.”



The most conspicuous buildings of Muscat are the two forts, the relics
of the Portuguese dominion, which stand out boldly on each side of
the town about 100 feet above the sea. They command not only the
sea-approach, but the town itself and are only accessible by a fine
stairway cut out of the natural rock. The guns that bristle from the
forts are nearly all old and comparatively harmless. Several of them
are of brass and bear the royal arms of Spain; one is dated 1606.
In the fort to the right of the harbor, one can still see the ruins
of a Portuguese chapel. When Pelly visited it in 1865 the following
inscription was legible.


Its translation given by him reads: “Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord
is with thee. Don Phillip III., King of Spain, Don Juan de Acuna of his
council of war and his captain-general of the artillery in the year
1605, in the eighth year of his reign in the crown of Portugal, ordered
through Don Quarte Menezes, his commissioner of India, that this
fortress should be built.”

The Sultan has also a town residence in half decay like all the other
stone-built but mud-cemented houses of the natives. The only residences
well-built and durable are those of the British resident and the
American consul. The former occupies the choice location, in a rock
cleft, where breezes blow from two directions. The bazaar of Muscat
has little to boast of; one of the chief industries is the manufacture
of _Hilawi_ or Muscat candy-paste, which to the acquired taste is
delicious, but to the stranger smells of rancid butter and tastes like
sweet wagon-grease.

The town is cut off from the plain behind by a substantially built wall
which stretches from hill to hill. This wall is pierced with two gates
which are always guarded and closed a couple of hours after sunset.
The moat outside the wall is dry. Beyond it are houses and hundreds of
mat huts principally inhabited by Beluchis and Negroes. The American
mission house is also outside of the wall, in this quarter. About
a third of a mile beyond are the gardens of Muscat and the wells,
protected by a tower and guard. “The gardens” are always visited at
sunset by the strollers for exercise, but they are hardly large enough
“to supply a week’s food for 100 self-respecting locusts of normal

The population of Muscat is of very mixed character, Arabs, Beluchis,
Banian-Traders, Negroes, Persians, and every other nation that
frequents this port of transit. The Arabic spoken in all Oman is a
dialect quite different from that of Nejd or Yemen but the Arabic of
Muscat is full of pigeon-English and pigeon-Hindustani. The extensive
and long intercourse with Zanzibar and East Africa has also had its
influence on the speech and habits of the Muscat Arab trader. The
present trade is still very considerable, although less than a century
ago. It is mostly with India, there being little direct trade with
England. The chief exports are dates, fruit, shark-fins, fish, and
salt; the imports, rice, sugar, piece-goods, coffee, silk, petroleum
and arms. The largest export is of dates which nearly all go to the
American Market. Besides the large number of steamers which call
at this port, the native merchants own several old British sailing
vessels, some of them noted clippers in their day, which make one or
two voyages a year and bring profit to their owners. Native boats also
transport cargoes landed at Muscat, to the less frequented ports. This
adds to the importance of Muscat as an _entrepôt_ for Oman. Mattra
is the terminus of the caravan-routes from the interior and is in
communication with Muscat by a narrow mountain path and by sea.

The so-called Pirate coast stretches along the northern boundary of
Oman on the Persian Gulf from El Katar to Ras Musendum and was, even
as early as Ptolemy’s day, inhabited by wild, lawless Arabs. On his
map of Arabia they are named _Ichthiophagoi_, or fish-eaters. Niebuhr
wrote of this part of Oman, “Fishes are so plentiful upon the coast
and so easily caught, as to be used not only for feeding cows, asses,
and other domestic animals, but even as manure for the fields.” Sir
John Malcolm, in his quaint sketches of Persia wrote forty years ago:
“I asked who were the inhabitants of the barren shore of Arabia that we
saw. He answered with apparent alarm, ‘they are of the sect of Wahabees
and are called Jowasimee. But God preserve us from them, for they are
monsters. Their occupation is piracy, and their delight murder, and to
make it worse they give you the most pious reasons for every villainy
they commit. They abide by the letter of the sacred volume, rejecting
all commentaries and traditions. If you are their captive and offer
all to save your life they say, No! It is written in the Koran that it
is not lawful to plunder the living; but we are not prohibited from
stripping the dead—so saying they knock you on the head.’”

Thanks to English commerce and gunboats these fanatic Wahabis have
become more tame, and most of them have long given up piracy and turned
to pearl-diving for a livelihood. Hindu traders have settled among
them, foreign commerce reaches their bazaars, and the black tent is
making room for the three or four important towns of Dabai, Sharka, Abu
Thubi and Ras-el-Kheima, with growing population and increasing wealth.

The cape of Musendum and the land back of it, called Ras-el-Jebel is
very mountainous, but beyond Ras-el-Kheima, the coast is low and flat
all the way up the gulf. The villages are all built near the entrance
of salt-water creeks or marshes, which serve as harbors at high-tide.
For the most part the coast is unfertile, but near Sharka there are
palm-groves, and further inland are oases. The islands off this coast
are most of them uninhabited.

The Batina coast is the exception to all the maritime plains that
surround so large a part of the peninsula; in western and eastern
Arabia these low sandy plains are nearly barren of all vegetation, but
here extensive date plantations and gardens extend almost to the very
ocean beach. Back of the rising plain are the lofty ranges of Jebel
Akhdar. This fertile coast begins at Sib, about twenty-five miles from
Muscat, and extends for 150 miles to the neighborhood of Khor Kalba
with an average width of about twelve miles. It has many towns and
villages; the principal ones are the following. Sib is a scattered town
chiefly built of mat-huts with two small detached forts. It has a very
small bazaar, but extensive date-groves and gardens. Back of Sib on the
way up the coast one sees the great bluff of Jebel Akhdar, 9,900 feet
high, and visible over 100 miles out at sea. Barka has a lofty Arab
fortress, but for the rest mat-huts among date-plantations characterize
its general appearance. Large quantities of shell fish are collected
and sent inland; the bazaar is good and some Banian traders are settled
here. Passing several islands the next town is Suaik. After it the
larger town of Sohar, with perhaps 4,000 people. This town is walled
with a high fort in the middle, the residence of the Sheikh. A high
conical peak, of light color, rises conspicuously about twelve miles
west of the town, and with the surrounding date gardens and other trees
makes a pretty picture, altogether more green than one would expect on
Arabian coasts. Beyond Sohar the chief villages are, in order, Shinas,
Al Fujaira, Dibba. The two latter are already beyond the Batina and are
between the high cliffs and the deep sea.

Going from southeast Muscat down the coast toward Ras-el-Had we
first pass the little village of Sudab and Bunder Jissa. The latter
is of interest as the place the French were trying to acquire for a
coaling-station from the Sultan of Muscat last year. It has a good
anchorage, is only five miles from Muscat, and an island precipice,
140 feet high, guards the entrance. After this, Karyat, Taiwa, Kalhat
and smaller villages passed, we reach Sur. This large, double town is
situated on a khor or backwater, with two forts to the westward. The
inhabitants, numbering perhaps 8,000, consist of two clans of the Bni
Bu Ali and the Bni Janaba, often at feud with each other. The country
inland is partly cultivated and date groves abound. Sur has always been
a place of trade and enterprise and its buggalows visit India, Zanzibar
and the Persian Gulf. The people are all bold sailors since many
generations. But Sur also has the unenviable reputation of being even
now the centre of illicit slave-trading. Beyond Sur is the headland of
Jebel Saffan and Ras-el-Had, the easternmost point of Arabia, almost
reaching the sixtieth degree of longitude.

For a knowledge of the coast beyond Ras-el-Had we are indebted to the
papers of Assistant Surgeon H.J. Carter in the journal of the Bombay
branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.[29] The two great Arab tribes
that dwell on this coast are the Mahrah and the Gharah; the former
really belong to Hadramaut, but the boundaries drawn on the maps are
purely artificial and have no significance. Neither tribe is dependent
on the Oman Sultan or acknowledges any allegiance to him. The Mahrah
are descended from the ancient Himyarites and occupy a coast-line of
nearly 140 miles from Saihut to Ras Morbat; their chief town is Damkut
(Dunkot) on Kamar bay. In stature the Mahrahs are smaller than most
Arabs, and by no means handsome; in their peculiar mode of Bedouin
salutation they put their noses side by side and breathe softly! They
subsist by fishing and are miserably poor; their plains, mountains
and valleys, except close to Damkut, are sandy and barren. Religion
they have scarcely any, and Carter says that they do not even know the
Moslem prayers, and are utterly ignorant of the teachings of Mohammed.
Their dialect is soft and sweet, and they themselves compare it to
the language of the birds; it is evidently a corrupted form of the
ancient Himyaric and therefore of great importance in the study of

The Gharah tribe inhabit the coast between Moseirah island and the
Kuria-Muria islands. Their country is mountainous and cavernous and
consists of a white stratified limestone formation 4,000 or 5,000 feet
above the sea-level. The upper part of the mountains are covered with
good pasturage and their slopes with a dense thicket of small trees
among which frankincense and other gum trees are plentiful. The whole
tribe are _troglodytes_, “cave-dwellers,” since nature gives them
better dwellings than the best mud-hut, and cooler than the largest
tent of Kedar. They are largely nomadic, however, and shift from cave
to cave in their wanderings. Their wardrobe is not an incumbrance as
it consists of a single piece of coarse blue cotton wrapped around
the loins like a short kilt. The women wear a loose frock of the same
texture and color with wide sleeves, reaching a little below the knee
in front and trailing on the ground behind; the veil is unknown.
Children go about entirely naked. Both men and women tattoo their
cheeks. For weapons they have swords, spears, daggers, and matchlocks.
Their food consists of milk, flesh and honey with the wild fruits of
the mountains.

This entire region has been justly celebrated for honey since the days
of the Greek geographers who enumerate honey and frankincense as its
chief products. The wild honey of South Arabia collected from the rocks
and packed in large dry gourds, is fit for an epicure. On Ptolemy’s map
of Arabia the region inland from this coast is called _Libanotopheros
Regio_, the place of incense; and by Pliny is termed _regio thurifera_,
the region of frankincense. From the earliest times this has been the
country that produces real frankincense in abundance. Once its export
was a source of wealth to the inhabitants, for incense was used in
the temples of Egypt and India as well as by the Jews, and by all
the nations of antiquity. So important was this commerce in the early
history of the world that Sprenger devotes several pages in his Ancient
Geography of Arabia to describing the origin, extent, and influence of
frankincense on civilization. The Arabs were then the general transport
agents between the east and the west, _i.e._, India and Egypt. The
Queen of Sheba’s empire grew rich in frankincense-trade; she brought
to Solomon “spices in abundance,” nor was there “any such spice” or
brought in “such abundance” as that which Queen Sheba gave to Solomon.
(B.C. cir. 992.)

The rise of Islam, the overthrow of the old Himyarite kingdom, the
discovery of the passage round the Cape of Good Hope, all these
coöperated to destroy the ancient importance and prosperity of Southern
Arabia. At present, frankincense is still exported, but not in large
quantities. The gum is procured by making incisions in the bark of the
shrub in May and December. On its first appearance it comes forth white
as milk, but soon hardens and discolors. It is then collected by men
and boys, employed to look after the trees by the different families
who own the land on which they grow.



                         THE LAND OF THE CAMEL

 “To see real live dromedaries my readers must, I fear, come to
 Arabia, for these animals are not often to be met with elsewhere,
 not even in Syria; and whoever wishes to contemplate the species
 in all its beauty, must prolong his journey to Oman, which is for
 dromedaries, what Nejd is for horses, Cashmere for sheep, and Tibet
 for bulldogs.”—_Palgrave._

All Oman, but especially the region just described, is called among the
Arabs _Um-el-ibl_, “mother of the camel.” Palgrave, Doughty and other
Arabian travellers agree that the Oman dromedary is the prince of all
camel-breeds, and Doughty says they are so highly esteemed at Mecca as
to fetch three times the price of other camels.

Unless one knows something about the camel one can neither understand
the Arab nor his language; without the camel, life in a large part of
Arabia would at present be impossible; without the camel the Arabic
language would be vastly different. According to Hammer Purgstall, the
Arabic dictionaries give this animal 5,744 different names; there is
not a page in the lexicon but has some reference to the camel.

The Arabs highly value the camel, but do not admire its form and shape.
There is an Arab tradition, cited in Burton’s “Gold Mines of Midian,”
to the effect that when Allah determined to create the horse, He called
the South Wind and said, “I desire to draw from thee a new being,
condense thyself by parting with thy fluidity.” The Creator then took
a handful of this element, blew upon it the breath of life, and the
noble quadruped appeared. But the horse complained against his Maker.
His neck was too short to reach the distant grass blades on the march;
his back had no hump to steady a saddle; his hoofs were sharp and sank
deep into the sand; and he added many similar grievances. Whereupon
Allah created the camel to prove the foolishness of his complaint. The
horse shuddered at the sight of what he wanted to become, and this is
the reason every horse starts when meeting its caricature for the first
time. The camel may not be beautiful, (although the Arabic lexicon
shows that the words for “_pretty_” and “_camel_” are related) but he
is surpassingly useful.

This animal is found in Persia, Asia Minor, Afghanistan, Beluchistan,
Mongolia, Western China, Northern India, Syria, Turkey, North Africa
and parts of Spain, but nowhere so generally or so finely developed
as in Arabia. The two main species, not to speak of varieties, are
the Southern, Arabian one-humped camel and the Northern, Bactrian
two-humped camel. Each is specially adapted to its locality. The
Bactrian camel is long-haired, tolerant of the intense cold of the
steppes and is said to eat snow when thirsty. The Arabian species is
short-haired, intolerant of cold, but able to endure thirst and extreme
heat. It is incredible to Arabs that any camel-kind should have a
double hump. A camel differs from a dromedary in nothing save blood
and breed. The camel is a pack-horse; the dromedary a race-horse. The
camel is thick-built, heavy-footed, ungainly, jolting; the dromedary
has finer hair, lighter step, is easy of pace and more enduring of
thirst. A caravan of camels is a freight-train; a company of Oman
_thelul_-riders is a limited express. The ordinary caravan travels
six hours a day and three miles an hour, but a good dromedary can
run seventy miles a day on the stretch. A tradesman from Aneyza told
Doughty that he had ridden from El Kasim to Taif and back, a distance
of over 700 miles, in fifteen days! Mehsan Allayda once mounted his
dromedary after the Friday midday prayer at El-Aly and prayed the next
Friday in the great Mosque at Damascus about 440 miles distant. The
Haj-road post-rider at Ma’an can deliver a message at Damascus, it is
said, at the end of three days; the distance is over 200 miles.

The Arabs have a saying that “the camel is the greatest of all
blessings given by Allah to mankind.” One is not surprised that the
meditative youth of Mecca who led the camels of Khadiyah, to Syria and
back by the desert way, should appeal to the unbelievers in Allah and
His prophet in the words, “_And do ye not look then at the camel how
she is created?_” (Surah lxxxviii. 17 of the Koran.)

To describe the camel is to describe God’s goodness to the
desert-dwellers. Everything about the animal shows evident design. His
long neck, gives wide range of vision in desert marches and enables him
to reach far to the meagre desert shrubs on either side of his pathway.
The cartilaginous texture of his mouth, enables him to eat hard and
thorny plants—the pasture of the desert. His ears are very small, and
his nostrils large for breathing, but are specially capable of closure
by valve-like folds against the fearful Simoon. His eyes are prominent,
but protected by a heavy overhanging upper-lid, limiting vision upward
thus guarding from the direct rays of the noon sun. His cushioned feet
are peculiarly adapted for ease of the rider and the animal alike.
Five horny pads are given him to rest on when kneeling to receive a
burden or for repose on the hot sand. His hump is not a fictional but a
_real_ and acknowledged reserve store of nutriment as well as nature’s
packsaddle for the commerce of ages. His water reservoirs in connection
with the stomach, enable him when in good condition to travel for
five days without water. Again, the camel alone of all ruminants has
incisor-teeth in the upper jaw, which, with the peculiar structure of
his other teeth, make his bite, the animal’s first and main defence,
most formidable. The skeleton of the camel is full of proofs of design.
Notice, for example, the arched backbone constructed in such a way
as to sustain the greatest weight in proportion to the span of the
supports; a strong camel can bear 1,000 pounds’ weight, although the
usual load in Oman is not more than 600 pounds.

The camel is a _domestic_ animal in the full sense of the word,
for the Arabian domicile is indebted to the camel for nearly all it
holds. All that can be obtained from the animal is of value. Fuel,
milk, excellent hair for tents, ropes, shawls and coarser fabrics are
obtained from the living animal; and flesh-food, leather, bones and
other useful substances from the dead. Even the footprints of the camel
though soon obliterated, are of special value in the desert. A lighter
or smaller foot would leave no tracks, but the camel’s foot leaves
data for the Bedouin science of _Athar_—the art of navigation for the
ship of the desert. Camel tracks are gossip and science, history and
philosophy to the Arab caravan. A camel-march is the standard measure
of distance in all Arabia; and the price of a milch-camel the standard
of value in the interior. When they have little or no water the
miserable nomads rinse their hands in camel’s water and the nomad women
wash their babes in it. Camel’s-milk is the staple diet of thousands in
Arabia even though it be bitter because of wormwood pasturage.

As to the character of the camel and its good or evil nature
authorities differ. Lady Ann Blunt considers the camel the most abused
and yet the most patient animal in existence. Palgrave, on the other
hand, thus describes the stupidity and ugly temper of the beast: “I
have, while in England, heard and read more than once of the docile
camel. If docile means stupid, well and good; in such a case the camel
is the very model of docility. But if the epithet is intended to
designate an animal that takes an interest in its rider so far as a
beast can, that obeys from a sort of submissive or half fellow-feeling
with its master, like the horse and elephant, then I say that the camel
is by no means docile, very much the contrary. He will never attempt
to throw you off his back, such a trick being far beyond his limited
comprehension; but if you fall off, he will never dream of stopping for
you; and if turned loose it is a thousand to one he will never find
his way back to his accustomed home or pasture. One only symptom will
he give that he is aware of his rider, and that is when the latter is
about to mount him, for on such an occasion, instead of addressing him
in the style of Balaam’s more intelligent beast, ‘Am not I thy camel
upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day?’ he
will bend back his long snaky neck toward his master, open his enormous
jaws to bite, if he dared, and roar out a tremendous sort of groan, as
if to complain of some entirely new and unparalleled injustice about
to be done him. In a word he is from first to last an undomesticated
and savage animal rendered serviceable by stupidity alone. Neither
attachment nor even habit can impress him; never tame, though not
wide-awake enough to be exactly wild.” We can bear witness that the
camels we have ridden in Hassa and Yemen were altogether more kindly
than the ugly creature of Palgrave.

The chief authorities on the interior of Oman were, until recent date,
Niebuhr, Wellsted (1835), Whitelock (1838), Eloy (1843) and Palgrave,
(1863). Palgrave, however, only visited the coast and his account of
the interior and its history is pure romance. Later travellers have
visited the chief cities of Jebel Achdar and corroborated the accuracy
of Lieutenant Wellsted in his “Travels in Arabia.” Unfortunately
Wellsted’s acquaintance even with colloquial Arabic was very limited
and he frankly avows that he encountered serious difficulties in
understanding the people. “Wellsted’s map,” says Badger, “is the only
one of the province which we possess drawn up from personal observation
and ... it affords little or no certain indication of the numerous
towns and villages beyond the restricted routes of the travellers. It
is remarkable and by no means creditable to the British Government in
India, that, notwithstanding our intimate political and commercial
relations with Oman, for the last century, we know actually less of
that country beyond the coast than we do of the Lake districts of
Africa.”[31] Badger wrote in 1860, but although Colonel Miles and
others have visited the region of Jebel Achdar, all the country beyond
is still largely _terra incognita_. No one has ever made the journey
beyond the range of mountains or solved the mystery of Western Oman,
which is still a blank on the best maps; nor do we know anything of the
land 100 miles southwest of Muscat, save by Arab hearsay.

The highlands of Oman may be divided into three districts; _Ja’alan_
from Jebel Saffan to Jebel Fatlah on the east. _Oman_ proper on the
Jebel Achdar, and _Ez-Zahirah_ on the eastern slopes of Jebel Okdat.
The most populous and fertile district is that of Jebel Achdar which
is also the best known. The fertility of the whole region is wonderful
and in striking contrast with the barren rocks of so large a part of
the coast. With a semi-tropical climate, an elevation of 3,000 to 5,000
feet and abundant springs the wadys and oases of Oman have awakened the
delight and amazement of every traveller who has ventured to explore
them. Water, the one priceless treasure in all Arabia, here issues
in perennial streams from many rocky clefts and is most carefully
husbanded by the ingenuity of the people, for wide irrigation, by means
of canals or watercourses called _faluj_. Wellsted thus describes
these underground aqueducts: “They are as far as I know peculiar to
this country, and are made at an expense of labor and skill more
Chinese than Arabian. The greater part of the surface of the land being
destitute of running streams on the surface, the Arabs have sought in
elevated places for springs or fountains beneath it. A channel from
this fountain-head is then, with a very slight descent, bored in the
direction in which it is to be conveyed, leaving apertures at regular
distances to afford light and air to those who are occasionally sent
to keep it clean. In this way the water is frequently conducted for
a distance of six or eight miles, and an unlimited supply is thus
obtained. These channels are about four feet broad and two feet deep
and contain a clear, rapid stream. Most of the large towns or oases
have four or five of these rivulets or _falj_ (plural _faluj_) running
into them. The isolated spots to which water is thus conveyed, possess
a soil so fertile that nearly every grain, fruit or vegetable, common
to India, Arab or Persia, is produced almost spontaneously; and the
tales of the oases will be no longer regarded as an exaggeration, since
a single step conveys the traveller from the glare and sand of the
desert into a fertile tract, watered by a hundred rills, teeming with
the most luxurious vegetation.”

The chief caravan routes inland start from the coast, at Sohar through
Wady-el-Jazy, at Suaik through Wady Thala, at Barka or Sib through Wady
Mithaal and Wady Zailah (alternative routes) at Matra, by the same, and
at Sur through Wady Falj. On the eastern side of the mountain range the
chief towns are Rastak, Nakhl and Someil. On the farther side we have
Tenoof, Behilah and Nezwa, all large towns well-watered. “Between these
fertile oases one travels[32] sometimes an entire day through stony
wady, or over volcanic rock, climbing a difficult mountain pass, or
crossing a wide sea-like desert, without seeing a habitation or meeting
a fellow-creature except an occasional caravan. Their rifles are swung
over the shoulders of the riders, and their wild song keeps time with
the slow tread of the camels....

“From Nakhl it is a long day’s journey to Lihiga at the foot of Jebel
Achdar. Two other beautifully situated mountain villages, Owkan and
Koia are in close proximity. Here, as well as on the mountains, dwells
a tribe of hardy mountaineers, the Bni Ryam. In features and habits
this tribe is quite distinct from the other Oman tribes. All over these
mountains the people lead a peaceful life, and the absence of fire-arms
was noticeable in comparison with the valley tribes, where each man
carries his rifle, often of the best English or German pattern.

“From Lihiga we began the ascent, and after a half-a-day of most
difficult climbing, reached the top of the pass at noonday, my
barometer registering 7,050 feet. Here on a level projecting rock,
which afforded a splendid extended view of the Wady Mestel, where
dwell the Bni Ruweihah, we had our lunch, and were glad to slake our
thirst out of the goatskin the guide carried on his shoulder. From
the top of the pass we descended to the level table-land at a height
of 6,200 feet, and at sunset reached the ideally beautiful village of
Sheraegah. It is in a circular ravine several hundred feet in depth,
and like a huge amphitheatre where grow in terraces, apples, peaches,
pomegranates, grapes and other temperate products in rich profusion.
Ice and snow are frequently seen here during the winter, and in summer
the temperature registers no higher than 80°F. In March we had a
temperature of 40°, and enjoyed a huge fire in the guest-room where a
hundred Arabs came to visit us, and entertained us with the recitation
of Arabic poetry. Such an opportunity was not to be neglected, and
they, as an agricultural people, were interested in the parable of the
Sower and the explanation....

[Illustration: TENOOF FROM THE EAST.

From a pencil sketch by Peter J. Zwemer.]

“We pressed on over the most difficult mountain roads to Tenoof, at
the foot of the mountains on the further side. Nizwa, the old capital
of Oman, is but three hours’ journey from Tenoof. It has a large
circular fort about 200 feet in diameter, built of rough hewn stone
and cement. We intended to return to Muscat along the valley road via
Someil, but the state of affairs at Nezwa made roads through hostile
territory unsafe, and we decided to recross the mountains, enjoying
again their cool climate and the friendliness of the people. By riding
long camel-stages and taking short rests, we were able to reach Muscat
from the top of the mountains in four days, having been absent on the
journey twenty-one days.”


                     THE PEARL ISLANDS OF THE GULF

 “‘We are all from the highest to the lowest slaves of one
 master—Pearl,’ said Mohammed bin Thanee to me one evening; nor was
 the expression out of place. All thought, all conversation, all
 employment, turns on that one subject, everything else is mere
 by-game, and below even secondary consideration.”—_Palgrave._

Half way down the Persian Gulf, off the east Arabian coast, between the
peninsula of El Katar and the Turkish province of El Hassa, are the
islands of Bahrein.[33] This name was formerly applied to the entire
triangular projection on the coast between the salt-sea of the gulf
and the fresh water flood of the Euphrates; hence its name _Bahr-ein_
“the two seas.” But since the days of Burckhardt’s map the name is
restricted to the archipelago. The larger island is itself often called
Bahrein, while the next in size is named Moharrek—“place of burning.”
The Arabs say that this was so named because the Hindu traders used it
for cremating their dead.


The main island is about twenty-seven miles in length from north to
south, and ten miles in breadth. Toward the centre there is a slightly
elevated table-land, mostly barren. Twelve miles from the northern end
is a clump of dark volcanic hills, 400 feet high, called Jebel Dokhan,
“Mountain of Smoke.” The northern half of the island is well watered
by abundant fresh-water springs, always lukewarm in temperature. This
part of the island is covered with beautiful gardens of date-palms,
pomegranate, and other trees. The coast is everywhere low, and the
water shallow for a long distance. There is no pier or jetty anywhere,
so that, except at high water, boats anchor nearly a quarter of a mile
from the shore.

The total population of the islands is estimated at nearly 60,000,
all of them Moslems with the exception of about 100 Banian traders
from Sindh, India. Menamah, the large town on the northeast point
of the island, with perhaps 10,000 inhabitants, is built along the
shore for about a mile; the houses are mostly poor, many being mere
mat-huts. This town is the market-place and commercial centre for the
whole group. Here is the post office and custom-house and here the
bulk of the trade is carried on for the whole island. A short distance
from Menamah is the old town of Belad le Kadim, with ruins of better
buildings and a fine mosque with two minarets. The mosque is of very
early date, for the older Cufic character is on all its inscriptions,
covered over in some places by more recent carving and inscriptions in
later Arabic.

The largest spring on the islands is called El Adhari, “the virgins.”
It issues from a reservoir thirty yards across, and at least thirty
feet deep, flowing in a stream six or eight feet wide and two feet
deep. This is remarkable for Arabia, and gives some idea of the
abundant supply of water. Under the sea, near the island of Moharrek,
are fresh-water springs always covered with a fathom of salt water.
The natives lower a hollow, weighted bamboo through which the fresh
water gushes out a few inches above sea-level. The source of these
fresh-water springs of Bahrein must be on the mainland of Arabia, as
all the opposite coast shows a similar phenomena. Apparently the _River
Aftan_ marked on old maps of the peninsula as emptying into the Persian
Gulf near Bahrein was an _underground river_, known to the older

If Egypt is the gift of the Nile, Bahrein may well be called the gift
of the pearl-oyster. Nothing else gave the islands their ancient
history, and nothing so much gives them their present importance.
The pearl-fisheries are the one great industry of Bahrein. They
are carried on every year from June until October, and even for a
longer period, if hot weather sets in earlier. Nearly all the island
population are engaged in the work in some way, and during the season
there is only one topic of conversation in the coffee-shops and the
evening-mejlis,—PEARLS. The pearl has this distinction above all other
precious stones, that it requires no human hand to bring out its
beauties. By modern scientists, pearls are believed to be the result of
an abnormal secretion, caused by the irritation of the mollusk’s shell
by some foreign substance—in short, a disease of the pearl-oyster. But
it is not surprising that the Arabs have many curious superstitions as
to the cause of pearl-formation. Their poets tell of how the monsoon
rains falling on the banks of Ceylon and Bahrein find chance lodgment
in the opened mouth of the pearl-oyster. Each drop distills a gem,
and the size of the raindrop determines the luck of the future diver.
Heaven-born and cradled in the deep blue sea, it is the purest of gems
and, in their eyes, the most precious.


Not only in its creation, but in its liberation from its prison-house
under ten fathoms of water the pearl costs pain and sacrifice. So far
as this can be measured in pounds, shillings and pence, this cost is
easy of computation. The total value of pearls exported from Bahrein
in 1896 was £303,941 sterling ($1,500,000). The number of boats from
Bahrein engaged in the fisheries is about nine hundred and the cost
of bringing one boat’s share to the surface is 4,810 rupees (about
$1,600).[34] Hundreds of craft also come to the oyster-banks from other
ports on the gulf. It is scarcely necessary to say that the pearl
divers do not receive the amount fairly due them for their toil. They
are one and all victims of the “truck-system” in its worst form, being
obliged to purchase all supplies, etc., from their masters. They are
consequently so much in debt to him as often to make them practically
his slaves. The boats are generally owned by the merchants, and the
crew are paid at a low rate for a whole year’s work, only receiving
a small extra allowance when they bring up pearls of special size or
brilliancy. In the winter season these divers are out of work, and
consequently incur large debts which are charged to the next season’s
account. By force of circumstances and age-long practice the islanders
are also much given to the vice of gambling on the market. Even the
poorest fisherman will lay his wager—and lose it. It is not the thirty
thousand fishermen of the gulf with their more than five thousand boats
who grow rich in the pearl-fishing business; the real profit falls to
those who remain on shore—the Arab and Hindu brokers of Bombay who deal
direct with Berlin, London and Paris. A pearl often trebles in value by
changing hands, even before it reaches the Bombay market.


The divers follow the most primitive method in their work. Their boats
are such as their ancestors used before the Portuguese were expelled
from Bahrein in 1622. Even Sinbad the sailor might recognize every rope
and the odd spoon-shaped oars. These boats are of three kinds, very
similar in general appearance, but differing in size, called _Bakāre_t,
_Shua´ee_ and _Bateel_.[35] All of the boats have good lines and are
well-built by the natives from Indian timber. For the rest, all is of
Bahrein manufacture except their pulley-blocks, which come from Bombay.
Sailcloth is woven at Menamah and ropes are twisted of date-fibre in
rude rope-walks which have no machinery worth mentioning. Even the
long, soft iron nails that hold the boats together are hammered out on
the anvil one by one by Bahrein blacksmiths.

Each boat has a sort of figure-head, called the _kubait_, generally
covered with the skin of a sheep or goat which was sacrificed when the
boat was first launched. This is one of the Semitic traits which appear
in various forms all over Arabia—blood-sacrifice—and which has Islam
never uprooted. All the fishermen prefer to go out in a boat which has
cut a covenant of blood with Neptune. The larger boats used in diving
hold from twenty to forty men, less than half of whom are divers, while
the others are rope-holders and oarsmen. One man in each boat is called
_El Mŭsŭlly_, _i.e._, the one-who-prays, because his sole daily duty
is to take charge of the rope of any one who stops to pray or eat. He
has no regular work, and when not otherwise engaged vicariously mends
ropes and sails or cooks the rice and fish over charcoal embers. He is
therefore also called _El Gillās_, “the sitter,” very suggestive of his
sinecure office.

The divers wear no elaborate diving-suit, but descend clothed only
in their _fitaam_ and _khabaat_. The first is a true _pince-nez_ or
clothespin-like clasp for their nostrils. It is made of two thin
slices of horn fastened together with a rivet or cut out whole in a
quarter circle so as to fit the lower part of the nose and keep out
the water. It has a perforated head through which a string passes and
which suspends it from the divers neck when not in use. _Khabaat_ are
“finger-hats” made of leather and thrice the length of an ordinary
thimble. They are worn to protect the fingers in gathering the
pearl-shells from the sea-bottom; at the height of the pearl season
large baskets full of all sizes of these finger-caps are exposed for
sale in the bazaar. Each diver uses two sets (_twenty_) in a season.
A basket, called _dajeen_, and a stone-weight complete the diver’s
outfit. This stone, on which the diver stands when he plunges down
feet-first, is fastened to a rope passing between his toes and is
immediately raised; another rope is attached to the diver and his
basket by which he gives the signal and is drawn up. The best divers
remain below only two or three minutes at most, and when they come up
are nine-tenths suffocated. Many of them are brought up unconscious
and often cannot be brought to life. Deafness, and suppuration of
the ear, due to carelessness or perforated ear-drums, caused by the
enormous pressure of the water at such depths, are common among divers.
Rheumatism and neuralgia are universal and the pearl-fishers are the
great exception among the Arabs in not possessing beautiful teeth.

Sharks are plentiful and it is not a rare thing for them to attack
divers. But the Bahrein divers are more fearful of a small species of
devil-fish which lays hold of any part of the body and draws blood
rapidly. Against this monster of the sea they guard themselves by
wearing an “overall” of white cloth during the early part of the season
when it frequents the banks. Their tales of horror regarding the
devil-fish equal those of Victor Hugo in his “Toilers of the Sea.”

The divers remain out in their boats as long as their supply of fresh
water lasts, often three weeks or even more. Sir Edwin Arnold’s lines
are thus not as correct as they are beautiful:

    “Dear as the wet diver to the eyes
    Of his pale wife who waits and weeps on shore
    By sands of Bahrein in the Persian Gulf;
    Plunging all day in the blue waves; at night,
    Having made up his tale of precious pearls,
    Rejoins her in their hut upon the shore.”

When the pearl-oysters are brought up they are left on deck over
night and the next morning are opened by means of a curved knife, six
inches long, called _miflaket_. Before the days of English commerce
the mother-of-pearl was thrown away as worthless. Now it has a good
market-value and (after being scraped free of the small parasites that
infest the outer shell) is packed in wooden crates and exported in
large quantities. The total value of this export in 1897 was £5,694
($28,000). The Arabs have asked me in amazement what in the world the
“Franks” do with empty sea-shells; and some tell idle tales of how
they are ground up into pearl dust and pressed into artificial gems, or
are used as a veneer to cover brick houses.

On shore the pearls are classified by the merchants, according to
weight, size, shape, color and brilliancy. There are button-pearls,
pendants, roundish, oval, flat, and perfect pearls; pearls, white,
yellow, golden, pink, blue, azure, green, grey, dull and black;
seed-pearls the size of grains of sand and pearls as large as an Arab’s
report, emphasized with frequent _wallahs_, can make them. I have seen
a pendant pearl the size of a hazelnut worth a few thousand rupees
but there are Arabs who will swear by the prophet’s beard (each hair
of which is sacred!) that they have brought up pearls as large as a
pigeon’s egg. The pearl brokers carry their wares about tied in bags of
turkey-red calico; they weigh them in tiny brass scales and learn their
exact size by an ingenious device consisting of a nest of brass sieves,
called _taoos_, six in number, with apertures slightly differing in
size. The pearls are put into the largest sieve first; those that do
not fall through its pea-sized holes are called, _Ras_, “chief”; such
are generally pearls of great price, although their value depends most
on weight and perfection of form. The second size is called _Batu_,
“belly,” and the third _Dhail_, “tail.” Color has only a fashion-value;
Europe prefers white and the Orient the golden-yellow; black pearls are
not highly esteemed by Orientals.

Before they are shipped the large pearls are cleaned in _reeta_ a kind
of native soap-powder, and the smaller ones in soft brown sugar; then
they are tied up in calico and sold in lots by weight, each bundle
being supposed to contain pearls of average equal value. How it is
possible to collect custom dues on _pearls_ among a people whose
consciences rival their wide breast-pockets in concealing capacity,
surpasses comprehension. But the thing is done, for the farmer of
the custom dues grows rich and the statistics of export are not pure

The Bahrein islands also produce quantities of dates, and there is
an export trade in a remarkably fine breed of asses, celebrated all
over the Persian Gulf. A good Bahrein donkey is easy to ride and
almost as good a roadster as an average horse. The only manufactures,
beside sail-sheeting, are coarse cloth for turbans, and reed-mats of
very fine texture. The chief imports are rice, timber and piece-goods
for which Bahrein is the depot for all eastern Arabia. Three sights
are shown to the stranger-tourist to the islands of Bahrein: the
pearl-fisheries, the fresh-water springs, and the ancient ruins of an
early civilization at the village of Ali. These ruins are the “_bayoot
el owalin_” the dwellings of the first inhabitants, who are believed
to have been destroyed by Allah because of their wickedness. An hour’s
ride through the date gardens and past the minarets brings us to the
village of Ali. It can generally be seen from a good distance because
of the smoke which rises from the huge ovens where pottery is baked.
The potter turns his wheel to-day and fashions the native water-jars
with deft hand utterly ignorant and careless of the curious sepulchral
tumuli which cast their shade at his feet. South and west of the
village the whole plain is studded with mounds, at least three hundred
of them, the largest being about forty feet in height. Only two or
three have ever been opened or explored. Theodore Bent in company with
his wife explored these in 1889, with meagre results, but no further
investigations have been made though it is a field that may yet yield
large results. M. Jules Oppert, the French Assyriologist, and others
regard the island as an extremely old centre of civilization and it
is now well known that the first settlements from ancient Babylonia
were in the Persian Gulf which then extended as far north as Mugheir,
near Suk-es Shiukh. But those first settlers probably went to the
coasts of Africa and to the kingdoms of Southern Arabia, in which
case Bahrein was on their line of travel. It must always have been a
depot for shipping because of its abundant water-supply in a region
where fresh-water is generally scarce. The mounds at Ali probably date
from this very early period; although no corroboration in the shape
of cylinders or bricks bearing inscriptions has yet been found, the
character of the structures found in the mounds is undoubted proof of
their great antiquity.

The larger mound opened by Bent, now consists of two rock-built
chambers of very large stones, square masonry, and no trace of an arch
or a pillar. The lower chamber is twenty-eight feet in length, five
feet in width, and eight feet high; it has four niches or recesses
about three feet deep, two at the end of the passage and two near its
entrance. The upper chamber is of the same length as the lower, but its
width is six inches less, and its height only four feet eight inches.
The lower passage is hand plastered as an impression of the mason’s
hand on the side wall still proves. If diggings were made _below_ the
mounds or other mounds were opened better results might follow, and
perhaps inscriptions or cylinders would be discovered. A year or two
ago a jar containing a large number of gold coins was found near Ali
by some native workmen; these however were Cufic and of a much later
period than the mounds. Near Yau and Zillag, on the other side of the
island there are also ruins and very deep wells cut through solid rock
with _deep_ rope-marks on the curbing; perhaps these also are of early
date. On the island of Moharrek there is a place called _Ed Dair_, “the
monastery” with ruins of what the Arabs call a church; whether this
is of Portuguese date like the castle or goes back to a much earlier
period before Mohammed, we cannot tell.

The climate of Bahrein is not as bad as it is often described by
casual visitors. No part of the Persian Gulf can be called a health
resort, but neither is the climate unhealthful at all seasons of the
year. In March and April, October, November and December the weather
is delightful, indoor temperatures seldom rising above 85° F., or
falling below 60° F. When north winds blow in January and February it
is often cold enough for a fire; these are the rainy months of the year
and least healthful, especially to the natives in their badly-built
mat-huts. From May to September inclusive is the hot season, although
the nights remain cool and the heat is tempered by sea-breezes (called,
_El Barih_), until the middle of June. Heavy dews at night are
common and make the atmosphere murky and oppressive when there is no
sea-breeze. Land-breezes from the west and south continue irregularly
throughout the entire summer. When they fail the thermometer leaps to
over one hundred and remains there day and night until the ripples
on the stagnant, placid sea proclaim a respite from the torture of
sweltering heat. A record of temperature, kept at Menamah village in
the summer of 1893, shows a minimum indoor temperature of 85° and a
maximum of 107°F., in the shade. The prevailing wind at Bahrein, and
in fact all over the Gulf, is the _shemmāl_ or Northwester changing
its direction slightly with the trend of the coast. The air during a
shemmāl is generally very dry and the sky cloudless, but in winter they
are sometimes at first accompanied by rain-squalls. In winter they are
very severe and endanger the shipping. The only other strong wind is
called _kaus_; it is a southeaster and blows irregularly from December
to April. It is generally accompanied by thick, gloomy weather, with
severe squalls and falling barometer. The saying among sailors that
“there is always too much wind in the Gulf or none at all,” is very
true of Bahrein.

This saying holds true also of the political history of the Gulf.
Bahrein, because of its pearl-trade has ever been worth contending
for and it has been a bone of contention among the neighboring rulers
ever since the naval battle fought by the early inhabitants against
the Romans. After Mohammed’s day the Carmathians overran the islands.
Portuguese, Arabs from Oman, Persians, Turks and lastly the English
have each in turn claimed rule or protection over the archipelago. It
is sufficient to note here that in 1867, ’Isa bin Ali (called _Esau_ in
Curzon’s “Persia,” as if the name came from Jacob’s brother instead of
the Arab form of Jesus!) was appointed ruling Sheikh by the British
who deposed his father Mohammed bin Khalifa for plotting piracy.

The present Sheikh is a typical Arab and spends most of his time in
hawking and the chase; the religious rule, which in a Moslem land
means the judicial and executive department, rests with the _Kadi_ or
Judge. There is no legislature as the law was laid down once for all
in the Koran and the traditions. The administration of _justice_ is
rare. Oppression, blackmail and bribery are universal; and, except in
commerce and the slave-trade, English protection has brought about no
reforms on the island. To be “protected” means here strict neutrality
as to the internal affairs and absolute dictation as to affairs with
other governments. To “protect” means to keep matters in _status quo_
until the hour is ripe for annexation. Sometimes the process from the
one to the other is so gradual as to resemble growth; in such a case it
would be correct to speak of the growth of the British Empire.

Contact with Europeans and western civilization has, however, done much
for Bahrein in the matter of disarming prejudice and awakening the
sluggish mind of the Arab to look beyond his own “Island of the Arabs.”
Even as early as 1867, Palgrave could write: “From the maritime and
in a manner central position of Bahreyn my readers may of themselves
conjecture that the profound ignorance of Nejd regarding Europeans
and their various classifications is here exchanged for a partial
acquaintance with those topics; thus, English and French, disfigured
into the local _Ingleez_ and _Francees_ are familiar words at Menamah,
though Germans and Italians, whose vessels seldom or never visit these
seas, have as yet no place in the Bahreyn vocabulary; while Dutch and
Portuguese seem to have fallen into total oblivion. But Russians or
_Moskop_, that is Muscovites, are alike known and feared, thanks to
Persian intercourse and the instinct of nations. Beside the policy of
Constantinople and Teheran are freely and at times sensibly discussed
in these coffee-houses no less than the stormy diplomacy of Nejd and
her dangerous encroachments.”

To the Bahrein Arabs Bombay is the centre of the world of civilization,
and he who has seen that city is distinguished as knowing all about
the ways of foreigners. So anxious are the boys for a trip on the
British India steamer to this Eldorado of science and mystery that they
sometimes run from home and go as stowaways or beg their passage. This
close contact with India has had its effect on the Arabic spoken on
the island which, although not a dialect, is full of Hindustani words.
Of late years there has been a considerable Persian immigration into
Bahrein from the coast between Lingah and Bushire, and next to Arabic,
Persian is the language most in use.



Beyond Bahrein the mainland stretches westward for eight hundred miles
across the province of Hassa and lower Nejd and Hejaz to the Red Sea.
As Jiddah is the western port, Bahrein is the eastern port for all
Arabia. It is the gateway to the interior, the threshold of which is
Hassa. Draw a line from Menamah to Katif, then on to Hofhoof (or El
Hassa) and thence back to Menamah, and the triangle formed will include
every important town or village of Eastern Arabia. North of that
triangle on the coast is the inhospitable barren, thinly populated,
country of the Bni Hajar; south of it is the peninsula of El Katar;
westward stretches the sandy desert for five days’ marches to Riad and
the old Wahabi country. The region thus bounded is really the whole of
Hassa, although on maps that name is given to the whole coast as far
as Busrah. But neither the authority of the Turkish government nor the
significance of the word _Hassa_ (low, moist ground) can be said to
extend outside of the triangle.

The peninsula of El Katar, about 100 miles long and fifty broad, is
unattractive in every way and barren enough to be called a desert.
Palgrave’s pen-picture cannot be improved upon: “To have an idea of
Katar my readers must figure to themselves miles on miles of low barren
hills, bleak and sun-scorched, with hardly a single tree to vary the
dry monotonous outline; below these a muddy beach extends for a quarter
of a mile seaward in slimy quicksands, bordered by a rim of sludge and
seaweed. If we look landwards beyond the hills we see what by extreme
courtesy may be called pasture land, dreary downs with twenty pebbles
for every blade of grass; and over this melancholy ground scene,
but few and far between, little clusters of wretched, most wretched
earth cottages and palm-leaf huts, narrow, ugly and low; these are the
villages, or ‘towns’ (for so the inhabitants style them) of Katar. Yet
poor and naked as is the land it has evidently something still poorer
and nakeder behind it, something in short even more devoid of resources
than the coast itself, and the inhabitants of which seek here by
violence what they cannot find at home. For the villages of Katar are
each and all carefully walled in, while the downs beyond are lined with
towers and here and there a castle, huge and square with its little
windows and narrow portals.”


The population of Katar is not large; its principal town is Bedaa’.
All the inhabitants live from the sea by pearl-diving and fishing, and
in the season send out two hundred boats. The whole peninsula with
its wild Bedouin population is claimed by Turkey and is the dread of
the miserable soldiers who are sent there to preserve peace and draw
precarious pay while they shake with malaria and grow homesick for
Bagdad. The Arabs are always at feud with the government and it is very
unsafe outside the walls after sunset.

The usual route from Bahrein to the interior of Hassa is to cross over
by boat to Ojeir on the mainland, and thence to travel by caravan
to Hofhoof. In October, 1893, I took this route, returning from the
capital to Katif and thence back to Menamah. Embarking at sunset we
landed at Ojeir before dawn the next day and I found my way to a
Turkish custom-house officer to whom I had a friendly letter from a
Bahrein merchant. Ojeir, although it has neither a bazaar nor any
settled population, has a mud-fort, a dwarf flagstaff and an imposing
custom-house. The harbor although not deep is protected against
north and south winds and is therefore a good landing-place for the
immense quantity of rice and piece-goods shipped from Bahrein into
the interior. A caravan of from two to three hundred camels leaves
Ojeir every week. For although the Jebel Shammar country is probably
supplied overland from Busrah and Bagdad, the whole of Southern Nejd
receives piece-goods, coffee, rice, sugar and Birmingham wares by way
of Bahrein and Ojeir.

The whole plain in and about the custom-house was piled with bales
and boxes and the air filled with the noise of loading seven hundred
camels. I struck a bargain with Salih, a Nejdi, to travel in his party
and before noon-prayers we were off. The country for many hours was
bare desert, here and there a picturesque ridge of sand, and in one
place a vein of greenish limestone. When night came we all stretched
a blanket on the clean sand and slept in the open air; those who
had neglected their water-skins on starting now satisfied thirst by
scooping a well with their hands three or four feet deep and found a
supply of water. During the day the sun was hot and the breeze died
away; but at night, under the sparkling stars and with a north wind
it seemed, by contrast, bitterly cold. On the second day at noon we
sighted the palm-forests that surround Hofhoof and give it, Palgrave
says, “the general aspect of a white and yellow onyx chased in an
emerald rim” As we did not reach the “emerald rim” until afternoon I
concluded to remain at Jifr, one of the many suburb villages. Here
Salih had friends, and a delicious dinner of bread, butter, milk and
dates, all fresh, was one of many tokens of hospitality. At sunset we
went on to the next village, Menazeleh, a distance of about three miles
through gardens and rushing streams of tepid water. The next morning
early we again rode through gardens and date-orchards half visible in
the morning mist. At seven o’clock the mosques and walls of Hofhoof
appeared right before us as the sun lifted the veil; it was a beautiful

El Hofhoof can claim a considerable age. Under the name of Hajar, it
was next to Mobarrez, the citadel town of the celebrated Bni Kindi
and Abd El Kais (570 A.D.) Both of these towns, and in fact every
village of Hassa, owe their existence to the underground watercourses,
which are the chief characteristic of the province; everywhere there
is the same abundance of this great blessing. A land of streams and
fountains,—welling up in the midst of the salt sea, as at Bahrein;
flowing unknown and unsought under the dry desert at Ojeir; bubbling
up in perennial fountains as at Katif; or bursting out in seven hot
springs that flow, cooling, to bless wide fields of rice and wheat at
Mobarrez. The entire region is capable of rich cultivation, and yet now
more than half of it is desert. There is not a man to till the ground,
and paradise lies waste except near the villages. Elsewhere Bedouin
robbers and Turkish taxes prevent cultivation. _These two are the curse
of agriculture all over the Ottoman provinces of Arabia._


Hofhoof itself is surrounded by gardens, and its plan gives a good idea
of the general character of the towns of Arabia. A castle or ruler’s
house; a bazaar with surrounding dwellings and a mud-wall built around
to protect the whole. The moat is now dry and half filled in with the
débris of the walls, which are not in good repair. The town is nearly a
mile and a-half across at its greater diameter, but the houses are not
built as close together as is the custom in most Oriental towns; here
is the pleasant feature of gardens _inside_ the walls. The date-palm
predominates, and indeed comes to wonderful perfection, but the nabak,
the papay, the fig and the pomegranate are also in evidence. Indigo is
cultivated, and also cotton, while all the region round about is green
with fields of rice and sugar-cane and vegetables,—onions, radishes,
beans, vetches, and maize.

The population of the city is entirely Moslem, except one Roman
Catholic Christian, who is the Turkish doctor, and a half dozen Jews.
The three Europeans who have previously visited and described Hofhoof
are, Captain Sadlier (1819), Palgrave (1863), and Colonel Pelly (1865).
The first gives the population at 15,000 and Palgrave speaks of 20,000
to 30,000. In 1871 when the Turkish expedition against Nejd took the
city, they reported it to have 15,000 houses and 200 suburb villages(!)
This shows the absolute uncertainty of most statistics in regard to

El Hassa (Hofhoof) is the first stage on the direct caravan route from
east Arabia to Mecca and Jiddah. Abd Er Rahman bin Salama, the Arab
Sheikh, under the Turkish governor of the Rifa’a quarter of the town
gave me the following information regarding this route. From Hassa to
Riad is six days by camel, from Riad to Jebel Shammar nine days; to
Wady Dauasir seven; and from Riad to Mecca eighteen days. That would be
_twenty-eight days_ to cross the peninsula, not including stops on the
road and travelling at the rate of an ordinary caravan, _i. e._, three
miles an hour

The Kaisariyeh or bazaar of Hofhoof is well supplied with all the
usual requirements and luxuries of the Levant; weapons, cloth, gold
embroidery, dates, vegetables, dried fish, wood, salted locusts, fruit,
sandals, tobacco, copper-ware and piece-goods—in irregular confusion as
enumerated. Public auctions are held frequently in the square or on
the plain outside the walls. Here, too, the barbers ply their trade,
and blacksmiths beat at their anvils under the shade of a date-hut.
The Rifa’a quarter has the _best_ houses, while the Na’athal has the
largest number; the “East-end” in Hofhoof being for the rich and the
“West-end” for the poor, as is proper in a land of paradoxes.

Hassa is celebrated for two sorts of manufacture; cloaks or _abbas_,
with rich embroidery in gold and colored thread, delicately wrought and
of elegant pattern, the gayest and costliest garments of Arabia; and
brass coffee-pots of curious shape and pretty form, which, with the
cloaks, are exported all over Eastern Arabia, even as far as Busrah
and Muscat. Once trade flourished and the merchants grew rich in this
land of easy agriculture and fertile soil. But intestine wars, Wahabi
fanaticism and Turkish indolence, extortion and taxation have taken
away prosperity, and Hassa’s capital is not what it was in the days of
old, when the Carmathians held the town.

One remnant of its former glory remains; a unique and entirely local
coinage called the _Toweelah_ or “long-bit.” It consists of a small
copper-bar, mixed with a small proportion of silver, about an inch in
length, split at one end and with a fissure slightly opened. Along
one or both of its flattened sides run a few Cufic characters, nearly
illegible in most specimens, but said to read: _Mohammed-al-Saood_,
_i.e._, “Mohammed of the Saood family.” The coin has neither date nor
motto, but was undoubtedly made by one of the Carmathian Princes about
the year 920 A. D. This Moslem sect owed its origin to a fanatic and
enthusiast born at Cufa, called Carmath, who first had a following
about the year 277 of the Hejira. He assumed the lofty titles, Guide,
Director, the Word, the Holy Ghost, the Herald of the Messiah, etc. His
interpretation of the Koran was very lax in the matters of ablution,
fasting, and pilgrimage, but he increased the number of prayers to
fifty daily. He had twelve apostles among the Bedouins, and his sect
grew so rapidly that they could muster in the field 107,000 fanatical
warriors. Cufa and Busrah were pillaged and Bagdad taken. In 929 Abu
Taher stormed the Holy City of Mecca and the Carmathians took away the
black stone in triumph to Katif. The centre of their power remained
at Hassa for some years. Here the coin was struck, which is the only
remnant of their power and fanaticism. And while the Carmathian
doctrines are held in abhorrence, their little bars of copper still
buy rice and dates and stick to the hands of the money-changer in the

In former days there were gold and silver coins of similar shape. Some
in silver can yet be found occasionally inscribed with the noble motto
in Arabic: “_Honor to the sober man, dishonor to the ambitious._” When
I was in Hofhoof that strange, two-tailed copper-bar was worth half an
anna and disputed its birthright in the market with rupees and Indian
paper and Maria Theresa dollars and Turkish coppers. But how changed
the bazaar itself would appear to the ghost of some Carmathian warrior
of the ninth century who first handled a “long-bit.” Even the Wahabis
have disappeared and tobacco, silk, music and wine are no longer
deadly sins. Of these Moslem Puritans many have left for Riad, and the
few that remain stroke their long white beards in horror at Turkish
Effendis in infidel breeches smoking cigarettes, while they sigh for
the golden days of the Arabian Reformer.

There is a military hospital at Hofhoof with a surgeon and doctor,
but at the time of my visit there was a dearth of medicines and
an abominable lack of sanitation. Few soldiers submit to hospital
treatment, preferring to desert or seek furlough elsewhere, and nothing
is done for the Arab population. Before my coming cholera raged here as
well as on the coast, and during my short visit smallpox was epidemic
and carried off many, many children. Thrice awful are such diseases in
a land where a practical fanaticism, under the pious cloak of religion,
scorns medicine or preventive measures.

The government of the province of Hassa is as follows. The _Sandjak_
(Turkish for administrative division) is divided into three _cazas_,
Nejd, Katar and Katif and a small garrison holds each of these
cazas; 600 men at Hofhoof, and 300 at Katar and Katif. The governor,
called Mutaserrif Pasha, resides at the capital and _kaimakams_ or
sub-governors at the other two centres. There are the usual Turkish
tribunals and each Arab tribe has a representative or go-between to
arrange its affairs with the governor. The principal tribes which at
present acknowledge Turkish occupation and submit to their rule are:
El Ajeman, El Morah, Bni Hajar, Bni Khaled, Bni Hassam, El Motter, El
Harb, and El Ja’afer. The Turkish government has opened three schools
in the province; the total number of pupils according to the Turkish
official report is 3,540. The same report puts the entire population
of the province at 250,000; this gives a fair idea of the backwardness
of education even in this province which has always been remarkable
for book-learning. The large mosque with its twenty-four arches and
porticoes, smooth-plastered and with a mat-spread floor is always
full of mischievous youth learning the mysteries of grammar and the
commonplaces of Moslem theology; but the days of poetry and writing of
commentaries on the Koran are in the past; even the Wahabi merchants
talk of Bombay and are glad to get hold of an English primer or an
atlas of the new world which is knocking at their door for admittance.

After four days spent in the city I accepted an opportunity to return
northward with a caravan; I was not allowed to go, however, until
after I had signed a paper, which, because of the unsafety of the road
disclaimed all responsibility on the part of the Government should I
come to lose life, limb or luggage. A copy of this document is in my
possession, but the only foe I met in the desert was—fever. On Tuesday
noon our small party set out, not going through the large town of
Mobarrez as I had hoped, but turning east and reaching Kilabeejeh at
two o’clock. We passed fountains and streams and fields of rice and
swamps,—everything very unlike Arabia of the school-geography. In four
hours, however, we were again in the midst of desert where the sun
proved too hot for me and I was taken with a fever which did not leave
me until I returned to Bahrein. The road continued desert all the way
to Katif. On Wednesday we rode all night under the stars (because of
a false alarm of robbers) until nine o’clock next morning. Then we
rested at a place called, with bitter irony, Um El Hammam; there are
no _baths_, no trees, no grass, only a shallow pit of dirty water and
small shrubbery of dates. Here we spent a hot day. On Friday morning
we came to the borders of Katif,—palm-groves, wells, and ancient
aqueducts with curious towers and air-holes at intervals. Through
gardens and around by the large square fort we came to the sea. At the
custom-house, again, I found rest and refreshment.

Katif has no good name among Hassa Arabs; its location is low
and marshy; “its inhabitants are mostly weak in frame, sallow in
complexion, and suffer continually from malaria. The town itself is
badly built, woefully filthy, damp and ill-favored in climate. Yet
it has a good population and brisk trade. The inhabitants are mostly
Shiahs of Persian origin and are held in abhorrence by the Wahabis and
the Turks alike as little better than infidels. The present location
of Katif corresponds to the very ancient settlement of the _Gerrha_ of
the Greek geographers but no exploration for ruins has ever been made.
A Portuguese castle marks _their_ occupation of this coast also during
their supremacy in the gulf. Katif was taken by the Turks in 1871 and
has been occupied by them ever since.

The Arabian coast north of Katif, all the way to Kuweit is without
a single large settlement. Mostly barren and in the hands of the
predatory and warlike tribe of Bni Hajar, it is very uninteresting and
entirely unproductive.



 “The rich plains of Mesopotamia and Assyria which were once cultivated
 by a populous nation and watered by surprising efforts of human
 industry, are now inhabited, or rather ravaged by wandering Arabs. So
 long as these fertile provinces shall remain under the government, or
 rather anarchy of the Turks they must continue deserts in which nature
 dies for want of the fostering care of man”—_Niebuhr_ (1792).

What changes of history have left their records in ruins and names and
legends on the great alluvial plains of Northeastern Arabia! The two
rivers still bear their Bible names, the Euphrates and _Dijleh_, or
Hiddekel, but nothing else is left which could be called paradise. What
impresses the traveller first and most is that so large an extent of
this fertile region lies waste and unproductive under an effete rule.
The splendor of the past can scarcely be believed because of the ruin
of the present. Everywhere are traces of ancient empires and yet it
seems incredible as we watch the half-naked Arabs ploughing through the
mud-banks with their wild cattle and primitive implements.

Was this the cradle of the human race? Babylon and Nineveh are here
for the archaeologist; Ctesiphon, Kufa and Zobeir for the historian;
Bagdad and Busrah (or Bassorah) for old Arabian romance; and Ur of
the Chaldees for the Bible student. Since Haroun Rashid went about in
disguise how many yet stranger Arabian nights has Bagdad seen! How
surprised Sinbad the sailor would be to see the decay of Busrah, yet
with a dozen “smoke-ships” in its harbor!

Mesopotamia, called by the Arabs _El Jezira_, was formerly limited to
the land lying between the two rivers and south of the old wall by
which they were connected above Bagdad. From this point to the Persian
Gulf the district was and is still known as Irak-Arabi, to distinguish
it from the Irak of Persia. Commonly, however, the name of Mesopotamia
(Mid-River-Country) is given to the whole northeastern part of Arabia.
It has a total area of 180,000 square miles and presents great
uniformity in its physical as well as its ethnical characteristics.
Arabs live and Arabic is spoken for three hundred miles beyond Bagdad
as far as Diarbekr and Mardin; but we limit our description to the
region between Busrah and Bagdad including the delta at the mouth of
the rivers.

Near Bagdad the two giant rivers, after draining Eastern Asia Minor,
Armenia and Kurdistan, approach quite near together; from thence
the main streams are connected by several channels and intermittent
watercourses, the chief of which is the Shatt-el Hai. At Kurna the two
rivers unite to form the Shatt-el-Arab which traverses a flat, fertile
plain dotted with villages and covered with artificially irrigated
meadow-lands and extensive date groves. As far up as Bagdad the river
is navigable throughout the year for steamers of considerable size.
It is entirely owing to the enterprise of English commerce and the
Bagdad-Busrah steamship line that the country, so gloomily described by
Niebuhr, in 1792, and even by Chesney in 1840, has been developed into
new life and prosperity. Even Turkish misrule and oppression cannot do
away utterly with natural fertility and productiveness; and if ever a
good government should hold this region it would regain its ancient
importance and double its present population.

Two features are prominent in the physical geography of this region.
First the flat almost level stretches of meadow without any rise or
fall except the artificial ancient mounds[36]. The second is the
date-palm. The whole length of the country from Fao and Mohammerah
to the country of the Montefik Arabs above Kurna is one large date
plantation, on both sides of the wide river. Everywhere the tall
shapely trees line the horizon and near the lower estuary of the
Shatt-el-Arab they are especially luxuriant and plentiful. Formerly
every palm-tree on the Nile, was registered and taxed; but to count
every such tree on the Shatt-el-Arab would be an unending task.

The proper coat-of-arms for all lower Mesopotamia would be a date-palm.
It is the “banner of the climate” and the wealth of the country. There
may be monotony in these long groves and rows of well-proportioned
columns with their tops hidden in foliage, but there certainly is
nothing wearisome. A date garden is a scene of exceeding beauty,
varying greatly according to the time of the day and the state of
the weather. At sunrise or sunset the gorgeous colors fall on the
gracefully pendant fronds or steal gently through the lighter foliage
and reflect a vivid green so beautiful that once seen, it can never
be forgotten. At high-noon the dark shadows and deep colors of the
date-forests refresh and rest the eye aching from the brazen glare of
sand and sky. But the forest is at its best, when on a dewy night the
full moon rises and makes a pearl glisten on every spiked leaf and the
shadows show black as night in contrast with the sheen of the upper

It was an Arab poet who first sang the song of the date-palm so
beautifully interpreted by Bayard Taylor:

    “Next to thee, O fair Gazelle!
    O Bedowee girl, beloved so well,—
    Next to the fearless Nejidee
    Whose fleetness shall bear me again to thee—
    Next to ye both I love the palm
    With his leaves of beauty and fruit of balm.
    Next to ye both, I love the tree
    Whose fluttering shadows wrap us three
    In love and silence and mystery.

    Our tribe is many, our poets vie
    With any under the Arab sky
    Yet none can sing of the palm but I.
    The noble minarets that begem
    Cairo’s citadel diadem
    Are not so light as his slender stem.
    He lifts his leaves in the sunbeam glance
    As the Almehs lift their arms in dance;
    A slumberous motion, a passionate sigh
    That works in the cells of the blood like wine.
    O tree of love, by that love of thine
    Teach me how I shall soften mine.”

Mark Twain compared the palm-tree to “a liberty-pole with a haycock”
on top of it. The truth lies between the poet and the “Innocent”
traveller, for the date-tree is both a poem and a commercial product;
to the Arab mind it is the perfection of beauty and utility.

The date palm-tree is found in Syria, Asia Minor, nearly all parts of
Arabia and the southern islands of the Mediterranean, but it attains to
its greatest perfection in upper Egypt and Mesopotamia.[37] Some idea
of the immense importance of this one crop in the wealth of Mesopotamia
may be gained from the statement of an old English merchant at Busrah,
that “the entire annual date-harvest of the River-country might
conservatively be put at 150,000 tons.”

The date-tree consists of a single stem or trunk about fifty to eighty
feet high, without a branch, and crowned at the summit by a cluster of
leaves or “palms” that drop somewhat in the shape of a huge umbrella.
Each of these palms has long lanceolate leaves spreading out like a
fan from the centre stem which often attains a length of ten or even
twelve feet. In a wild state the successive rows of palms, which mark
the annual growth of the tree, wither and contract but remain upon the
trunk, producing with every breath of wind the creaking sound so
often heard in the silence of the desert-night. But where the palms are
cultivated the old stems are cut away as fast as they dry and are put
to many different uses. The trunk of the palm-tree therefore presents
the appearance of scales which enable a man, whose body is held to the
tree by a rope noose, to climb to the top with ease and gather the
fruit. At a distance, these annual _rings_ of the date-palm appear as a
series of diagonal lines dividing the trunk. Palm-trees often reach the
age of a hundred years. The date-palm is diœcious; but in Mesopotamia
the pistilate-palms far exceed in number the staminate. Marriage of the
palms takes place every spring and is a busy time for the husbandman as
it is no small task to climb all the trees and sprinkle the pollen.



Arabs have written books and Europeans have composed fables on the
thousand different uses of the palm-tree. Every part of this wonderful
tree is useful to the Arabs in unexpected ways. To begin at the
top:—The pistils of the date-blossom contain a fine curly fibre which
is beaten out and used in all Eastern baths as a sponge for soaping
the body. At the extremity of the trunk is a terminal bud containing a
whitish substance resembling an almond in consistency and taste, but
a hundred times as large. This is a great table delicacy. There are
said to be over one hundred varieties of date-palm all distinguished
by their fruit and the Arabs say that “a good housewife may furnish
her husband every day for a month with a dish of dates differently
prepared.” Dates form the staple food of the Arabs in a large part of
Arabia and are always served in some form at every meal. Syrup and
vinegar is made from old dates, and by those who disregard the Koran,
even a kind of brandy. The date-pit is ground up and fed to cows and
sheep so that nothing of the precious fruit may be lost. Whole pits are
used as beads and counters for the Arab children in their games on the
desert-sand. The branches or palms are stripped of their leaves and
used like rattan, to make beds, tables, chairs, cradles, bird-cages,
reading-stands, boats, crates, etc., etc. The leaves are made into
baskets, fans and string and the _bast_ of the outer trunk forms
excellent fibre for rope of many sizes and qualities. The wood of the
trunk, though light and porous, is much used in bridge-building and
architecture and is quite durable. In short, when a date-palm is cut
down there is not a particle of it that is wasted. This tree is the
“poor-house” and asylum for all Arabia; without it millions would have
neither food nor shelter. For one half of the population of Mesopotamia
lives in date-mat dwellings.

Although everywhere the date-culture is an important industry, Busrah
is the centre of the trade, for here is the principal depot for
export. The three best varieties of dates known at Busrah are the
_Hallawi_, _Khadrawi_ and _Sayer_. These are the only kinds that will
stand shipping to the European markets. They are packed in layers
in wooden boxes, or in smaller carton boxes. The average export to
London and New York from Busrah for the past five years has been
about _20,000 tons_, nearly one half of which was for the American
market. Other important varieties are _Zehdi_, _Bérem_, _Dery_ and
_Shukri_. These are packed more roughly in matting or baskets, and are
sent along the whole Arabian coast, to India, the Red Sea littoral
and Zanzibar. There are over thirty other varieties cultivated near
Busrah for local consumption. Some of them have curious names such as:
“Mother of Perfume,” “Sealed-up,” “Red Sugar,” “Daughter of Seven,”
“Bride’s-finger,” “Little Star,” “Pure Daughter”; others have names
which it is better not to translate.

Palgrave and others, with whose verdict I agree, pronounced the
_Khalasi_ date of El Hassa superior to all other kinds. It has recently
been introduced into Mesopotamia. Palgrave says, “the literal and not
inappropriate translation of the name is ‘quintessence’—a species
peculiar to Hassa and easily the first of its kind.” The fruit itself
is rather smaller than the usual _Hallawi_ date, but it is not so dry
and far more luscious. It is of a rich dark amber color, almost ruddy,
and translucent; the kernel is small and easily detached, the date
tastes sweet as sugar and is as far superior to the date bought in the
American market as a ripe Pippin is to dried apple-rings.

At Busrah the date season opens in September and keeps every one busy
until the vast harvest is gathered and shipped. The dates for export to
Europe and America are of prime quality, a box of half a hundred-weight
on board the steamer is worth about three or four shillings wholesale.
All poor, wet, and small dates are packed separately in mats or
bags, and are sent to India as second-quality. The poorest lot are
sent in mass to the distilleries in England. Thus nothing is lost.
Date-packers, who put the fruit in layers, receive three or four
_kameris_ for packing a box. The best packers can only pack four boxes
a day, so that their wages are about a _kran_ (about ten cents) per
day. They live cheaply on the fruit, and bring all their family, babes
and greybeards with them to lodge for the season in the date-gardens.
The date season in Busrah begins in the early or middle part of
September and lasts for six or eight weeks. The price of the date-crop
varies. It is usually fixed at a meeting held in some date-garden where
the growers and buyers play the bull and the bear until an agreement
is reached. The prices in 1897 were, in the language of the trade:
“340 Shamis for Hallawis, 280 Shamis for Khadrawis, and 180 Shamis for
Sayer.” Seventeen _Shamis_ are equal to about one pound sterling, and
the prices quoted are for a _kara_, about fifty hundred-weights.

The culture of the date has steadily increased for the past fifteen
years. In 1896 the greater part of the country was inundated by heavy
floods and over a million date-trees are said to have been destroyed;
new gardens are being planted continually. The Arabs of Mesopotamia
display great skill and unusual care in manuring, irrigating and
improving their date-plantations, for they realize more and more that
this is no mean source of wealth. One recent use to which export dates
are put is in the manufacture of vinegar, it would seem, since the
beet-sugar industry has proved so profitable, that there must be some
method by which good sugar could be manufactured from date-syrup.

Mesopotamia is rich not only in date-groves but in cereals, wool, gums,
licorice root and other products. The export of wool alone in 1897 was
valued at £288,700. And the total exports the same year, for the two
provinces of Bagdad and Busrah, were put at £522,960. Busrah is the
shipping place for all the region round about, and ocean steamers of
considerable size are always in Busrah harbor, during 1897 four hundred
and twenty-one sailing vessels and ninety-five steamships cleared the
port, with a total tonnage of 131,846; ninety-one of the steamships
were British.

The population of the two vilayets is given by Cuinet, who follows
Turkish authorities, as follows:

                   _Moslems._  _Christians._  _Jews._      _Total._
  Bagdad Vilayet,    789,500       7,000      53,500       850,000
  Busrah Vilayet,    939,650       5,850       4,500       950,000

In Bagdad vilayet nearly four-fifths of the Moslem population belongs
to the Sunnite sect, while in Busrah vilayet three-fourths of them
are Shiahs. The Sabeans are generally reckoned among the Christians,
although these are already sufficiently divided into Latin, Greek
Orthodox, Greek, Syrian, Chaldean Catholic, Armenian Gregorian,
Armenian Catholic and Protestants—the last in the smallest minority
possible and the others chiefly distinguished by mutual distrust and
united hatred of Protestantism.

The vilayet of Bagdad is divided again into three _Sandjaks_ or
districts of Bagdad, Hillah and Kerbela, and that of Busrah likewise
into those of Busrah, Amara Muntefik and Nejd[38]. Of these six
districts that of Bagdad is the largest in area and importance and is
the centre of military power for both vilayets. The boundaries of
Bagdad Sandjak go as far as Anah on the Euphrates toward the north and
include Kut-el-Amara on the south with both banks of the Tigris. Hillah
and Kerbela are along the Euphrates with irregular boundaries while the
Muntefik Sandjak with its provincial town of Nasariya separates them
from that of Busrah. The Sandjak of Amara begins a few miles north of
the junction of the two rivers, and the whole frontier toward Persia
is entirely undefined or at least “_in litigation_,” as the Turkish
official maps have it.

The two Turkish provinces have all the involved machinery of Turkish
civil and military administration. There are plenty of offices and
office-holders and constant changes in both. Each province has a
governor-general or _Wali_ and (outside of the governor’s sandjak)
each district has its _mutaserrif-pasha_ either of the first or second
class—those one has to deal with generally prove to be of the latter.
Then there are _Kaimakams_ for smaller districts or cities, and
finally _mudirs_ for villages. At the seat of government, called the
_Serai_, there is an administrative council, including the _Näib_ or
_kadi_, corresponding to chief-justice; the _defterdar_ or secretary of
finance; the _mufti_ or public interpreter of Moslem law; the _nakib_,
etc., etc., etc. There are several courts of justice of different
rank; the custom-house administration is on the _e pluribus unum_ plan
and _ne plus ultra_ system. Besides these there are the “Regie des
tabacs” or the tobacco-monopoly, the post and telegraph administration,
the sanitary offices, the salt-inspectors, and, at Kerbela, the
Tarif of corpses levied on imported pilgrims. To describe all these
satisfactorily would require a volume.



Kuweit,[39] on the gulf a little south of the river delta, will in all
probability—before long, rise in importance and be as well known as
Suez or Port Said. It has the finest harbor in all Eastern Arabia, and
is an important town of from 10,000 to 12,000 inhabitants. Here will
probably be the terminus of the proposed railroads to bind India and
the gulf to Europe by the shortest route. The whole country round about
being practically desert, the place is entirely dependent on its trade
for support. It possesses more bagalows (sailing-vessels) than any port
in the gulf; is remarkably cleanly; has some very well-built houses
and an extensive dockyard for boat building. The town and tribe are
nominally under Turkish subjection, although protection is the better
word, and it is rumored that Kuweit will soon be as much in the hands
of the English as is Bahrein.

The Bedouin tribes of Northern Hassa, and even from Nejd, bring
horses, cattle and sheep to this place to barter for dates, clothing
and fire-arms. There is nearly always a large encampment of Bedouins
near the town. The route overland from Kuweit to Busrah is across the
desert until we come to an old artificial canal; leaving Jebel Sinam to
the left the second march brings us to Zobeir, a small village on the
site of ancient Busrah, and only a few hours to the present site. At
Zobeir is the tomb of the Moslem leader for whom the town is named.
The village contains about 400 houses, and the population is rich and
fanatical. In the vicinity are gardens where a kind of melon is raised,
which is celebrated in all the region round about for sweetness and
delicacy of flavor. The journey from Kuweit to Busrah is generally
made, even by natives, in bugalows; while the Persian Gulf steamers,
not calling at Kuweit, proceed direct from Bushire to Fao, at the mouth
of the Shatt-el-Arab. A great hindrance to commerce is the bar formed
by the alluvial deposit of the immense river as it reaches the gulf.
At low tide there is only ten feet of water in the deepest part of the
channel, and even at flood tide large steamers must plow their way
through the mud to reach Busrah.

Fao is of no importance except as the terminus of the cable from
Bushire. A British telegraph station was established here in 1864. The
Turkish telegraph system from up the rivers terminates at Fao, and
here too they have a representative to govern the place and enforce
stringent quarantine. The Shatt-el-Arab winds motononously between the
vast date-orchards or desert banks for about forty miles, until we
reach the Karun river and the Persian town of Mohammerah. Busrah is
sixty-seven miles from the bar and between it and Fao there are many
important villages on each bank of the river. Aboo Hassib is perhaps
the most important and is a great centre for date-culture and packing.

Busrah consists of the native city—containing the principal bazaars,
the government house, and the bulk of the population—and the new town
on the river. The native town is about two miles from the river on a
narrow creek, called _Ashar_; a good road runs along the bank, and
this road really unites the two parts of the city into one as it is
lined with dwelling-houses for a large part of the way. Busrah has seen
better days, but also worse. In the middle of the eighteenth century
it numbered upward of 150,000 inhabitants. In 1825, it had diminished
to 60,000; the plague of 1831 reduced it further by nearly one-half,
and after the plague of 1838, scarcely 12,000 inhabitants remained.
In 1854, it is said to have had only 5,000 inhabitants. At present
the place is growing yearly in population and importance in spite of
misgovernment and ruinous taxation. It has every natural advantage
over Bagdad, except climate, and will yet outstrip the city of the
old caliphs, if Turkey’s rule mends or ends. The present population
of the city proper is given by Ottoman authorities at 18,000. Many
ruins all over the plains and in the surrounding gardens tell of its
former extent and splendor. At present the native town looks sadly
dilapidated, and tells the story of neglect and decay. The unexampled
filthiness of the streets and the undrained marshes in the environs
make the place proverbially unhealthy. This unhygienic condition is not
improved by the Ashar Creek being at the same time the common sewer
and the common water supply for over one-half of the population. The
wealthy classes send out boats to bring water from the river, but all
the poorer people use the creek. Such are the results of an imbecile
government which could easily drain the marshes and supply every one
with great abundance of pure water.

Ancient Busrah, near the present site of Zobeir, was founded in 636 A.
D., by the second Caliph Omar as a key to the Euphrates and Tigris. It
reached great prosperity, and was the home of poetry and grammatical
learning, as Bagdad was the centre of science and philosophy. After
the twelfth century the city began to decay, and at the conquest of
Bagdad by Murad IV., in 1638, this entire stretch of country fell
into the hands of the Turks. Then the present city took the name of
Busrah. Later it was in the hands of the Arabs and Persians, and
from 1832 to 1840, Mohammed Ali was in possession. Under the rule of
Midhat Pasha, governor-general of Bagdad, the city of Busrah arose in
importance partly because of the Turkish Steam Navigation Company which
he promoted. But it was a dream-life. English commerce and enterprise
aroused the place thoroughly, and the whistle of steamships has kept
it awake ever since the Suez canal opened trade with Europe by way of
the gulf.[40]

In making the journey from Busrah to Bagdad the traveller has choice
of two lines of river-steamers: the Ottoman service has six steamers
and the English company three, but the latter are only allowed to use
two by the Turkish government. For romance, discomfort and tediousness,
choose the former; for all other reasons select the latter. I have
tried both. The English steamers carry the mails to Bagdad and make
weekly trips; four or five days being required for the journey up
stream, and three days down, although when the water is low the journey
may be long delayed. In bad or shallow places the steamers often
discharge a part of their cargo, heave over the shallow part and load
up again. Of course trade suffers and vast quantities of merchandise
often lie for weeks at Busrah awaiting shipment. No steps are ever
taken by the Ottoman government to counteract the great waste of water
which flows into the marshes. In course of time, unless prevented, this
waste will lead to the closing up of the main channel of the Tigris
even as the Euphrates below Suk-es-Shiukh has become a marsh for lack
of use.

The good Steamship _Mejidieh_ with its kindly Captain Cowley, or the
sister ship _Khalifah_ lies at anchor just off the English Consulate,
the blue-peter flies overhead and the decks are overcrowded with all
sorts and conditions of men—Persians, Turks, Indians, Arabs, Armenians,
Greeks;—baggage, bales, boxes, water-bottles—chickens, geese, sheep,
horses, not to speak of the insect-population on which it is impossible
to collect freight-charges. The steamers are somewhat after the type
of the American river-steamers on the Mississippi; but no Mark Twain
has yet arisen to immortalize them, although they afford an even
more fertile theme. With a double deck and broad of beam they carry
hundreds of passengers and an astonishing amount of cargo for their
size. The accommodation during cool weather is excellent, and during
the hot days no one travels for the sake of luxury.

The first place at which the steamer calls is Kurna at the junction
of the rivers, and from whence the course is up the Tigris to Bagdad.
The Tomb of Ezra, about nine hours from Busrah, is a great place for
pilgrimages by the Jews. It is a pretty spot on the river bank and
picturesque with its crowd of embarking and disembarking Jews and
Jewesses. The tomb is a domed cloister enclosing a square mausoleum,
and paved with blue tiles. Over the doorway are two tablets of black
marble with Hebrew inscriptions attesting to the authenticity of the
tomb. It is not improbable that Ezra is buried here, for the Talmud
states that he died at Zamzuma, a town on the Tigris. He is said to
have died here on his way from Jerusalem to Susa to plead the cause of
the captive Jews. Josephus says that he was buried at Jerusalem, but no
Jew of Bagdad doubts that Ezra’s remains rest on the Tigris.

Ten hours beyond, we pass also on the west bank, Abu Sadra, a tomb of
an Arab saint marked only by a reed-hut and a grove of poplars. Next
is Amara, a large and growing village with a coaling-depot and an
enterprising population. This place was founded in 1861, and promises
to become a centre of trade. After passing Ali Shergi, Ali Gherbi, and
Sheikh Saad, small villages, without stopping, the steamer calls at
Kut-el-Amara, a larger place even than Amara, on the east bank, with
over 4,000 inhabitants.


All the way from Busrah to Bagdad, but especially along this part of
the river, we pass Bedouin tribes, encamped in the black tents of
Kedar, engaged in the most primitive agriculture or irrigation of their
land, or rushing along the banks to hail the passing steamer. A hungry,
impudent, noisy, cheerful lot they are; filling the merciful with pity
and moving the thoughtless to laughter, as they scramble up and down
the banks into the water to catch a piece of bread or a few dates
thrown to them.


Meanwhile we steam along passing Bughela, Azizieh, Bagdadieh and
reach Bustani Kesra, or the arch of Ctesiphon. The little village of
Soleiman-Pak is named for the pious man who was the private barber of
Mohammed the prophet. After various wanderings, poor pious Pak was
buried here, only a short distance from the great arch. A village
sprang up near the tomb, pilgrims come from everywhere and miracles are
claimed to be wrought by him who when alive only handled the razor.
The whole region of Mesopotamia is more rich in saints, tombs and
pilgrim-shrines than any other part of Arabia.

The arch of Ctesiphon is not a shrine but it is well worth a visit.
It is the only prominent object that remains of the vast ruins of
Ctesiphon on the east bank of the Tigris, and Seleucia on the west.
The arch is now almost in ruins but must once have been the façade
of a magnificent building. Its length is 275 feet, and its height is
given variously as eighty-six or one hundred feet; the walls are over
twelve feet thick and the span of the magnificent arch is nearly eighty
feet. What Ctesiphon was in the days of the Sassanian kings we read in
Gibbon. Now its glory has departed and the tomb of the Barber has more
visitors than the ancient throne of the Chosroes. Eight hours after
leaving Ctesiphon’s ruins, our steamer is in full sight of the city of
Haroun Rashid.

Bagdad is a familiar name even to the boy who reads the Arabian tales
rather than his geography. It is one of the chief cities of the Turkish
empire and has a history much older than the empire itself. Founded
by the Caliph Mansur about the year 765 A. D., it was the capital of
the Mohammedan world for five hundred years, until it was destroyed
by Halakn, grandson of Jengiz Khan. Situated in the midst of what was
once the richest and most productive region of the old world it is
now no longer queen of the land but rather reminds us of decay and
dissolution. Its present beauties are only the ruins of former glory.
The untidy soldiers slouching about the streets, the evil-smelling
bazaars and ruined mosques, the rotten bridge of boats that spans the
river, the faces of the poor and the miserable who go begging through
the streets, indicate the curse of Turkish inanition and oppression.

On the west bank of the river is the old town enclosed by extensive
orange and date-groves. On the east bank is New-Bagdad, which also
looks old enough. Here are the government offices, consulates, and
the chief commercial buildings as well as the custom-offices. Bagdad
is still an important city on many accounts. No other city of the
Turkish empire is influenced so much by the desert and Arabia as is
Bagdad; and no other stands in such direct contact with the towns in
the interior of the peninsula. The Arabic spoken is comparatively pure,
and Bedouin manners still prevail in many ways in the social life of
the people. The city has a very motley population, because of commerce
on the one hand and the number of pilgrim-shrines on the other. The
tombs of Abd-ul-Kadir, and Abu Hanifah and the gilded domes and
minarets which mark the resting-places of two of the Shiah Imams—all
draw their annual concourse of visitors from many lands and peoples.
All the languages of the Levant are spoken on its streets although
Arabic prevails over all. Dr. H.M. Sutton remarks, “I have been at the
bedside of a patient where in a company of half-a-dozen people we had
occasion to use five languages, and on another occasion we were in a
company of about forty people in a room where no less than fourteen
languages were represented. The land of Shinar is thus still the place
of the confusion of tongues.” Bagdad like Busrah has suffered greatly
by ravages of the plague at various times, but especially in 1830 when
the plague was followed by a fearful inundation. In one night, when the
river burst its banks 7,000 houses fell and 15,000 people perished.

The population of Bagdad is at present variously estimated at from
120,000 to 180,000. Nearly one-third are Jews while the Oriental
Christians number about 5,000. The trade of Bagdad is large not only
with the region southwards and toward Busrah but with Nejd and Northern
Mesopotamia. The import trade from India and Europe to Bagdad is over
£1,000,000 every year, and the export trade to Europe alone is placed
at £522,960 for 1897. The river north of Bagdad is not navigable for
steamers but an immense number of _kelleks_ daily arrive from the
north loaded with lumber from Kurdistan and with other products. These
_kelleks_ are a craft made of inflated goatskins boarded over with
reeds and matting. The boatmen return with the empty skins overland
with the caravan companies. Still more characteristic of Bagdad is
the small river-boat called a _kuffe_ or coracle. It consists of a
perfectly circular hull, six to eight feet in diameter, with sides
curving inward like a huge basket, and covered with pitch. This type of
boat is as old as Nineveh and they are pictured quite accurately on the
old monuments.

Bagdad has more than sixty-eight mosques, six churches and twenty-two
synagogues. Of the mosques some, like that of Daood Pasha, are in
fine condition; others are almost in ruins, and remind one of the
remark of Lady Ann Blunt: “A city long past its prime, its hose a
world too wide for its shrunk shanks.” The feature of Bagdad is of
course the river Tigris, with its swift-flowing tide ever washing the
mud banks and watering the gardens for miles around. The houses come
down close to the water’s edge and some of them have pretty gardens
almost overhanging the stream and terraces and verandas—oriental and
picturesque. The British Residency is perhaps most beautiful in its
location and its frontage on the river; but the other consulates vie
with it in displaying to the traveller the strength and hospitality of
European States. The European community is larger than at Busrah.


                     A JOURNEY DOWN THE EUPHRATES

Through the kind assistance of Colonel Mockler, at that time the Bagdad
Consul General and Resident, in the autumn of 1892, I was able to make
the journey from Bagdad across to Hillah and down the Euphrates—a route
not often taken by the traveller. After making necessary preparations
and finding a suitable servant we hired two mules and left the city of
the old Caliphs with a caravan for Kerbela. It was in July and we made
our first halt four hours from Bagdad, sleeping on a blanket under the
stars. An hour after midnight the pack-saddles were lifted in place and
we were off again. It was a mixed company; Arabs, Persians, and Turks;
merchants for Hillah and pilgrims to the sacred shrines; women in those
curtained, cage-like structures called _taht-i-vans_,—two portable
zenanas hanging from each beast; dervishes on foot with green turbans,
heavy canes and awful visages: and to complete the picture a number of
rude coffins strapped cross-wise on pack-mules and holding the remains
of some “true believers,” long since ready for the holy ground at Nejf

The caravan travelled along the desert road mostly at night to escape
the fearful heat of midday when we sought shelter in public khan.
Nothing could be more uninteresting than the country between Bagdad
and Babylon at this season of the year. The maps mark six khans on
the route, but three of these are in ruins and the others are merely
stages of a caravan rather than villages or centres of cultivation.
The soil appears excellent, but there are no irrigation canals, and
everything has a deserted appearance. A few low shrubs between the
mounds and moles of an ancient civilization; mud-houses near the
khans and some Arab encampments; camel skeletons shining white by the
wayside, under a burning sun; and a troop or two of gazelle making for
the river-banks—that is all you see until you reach the palm-banked
Euphrates at Hillah.

The khans consist of a large enclosure with heavy walls of sun-dried
or Babylonian brick. In the interior are numerous alcoves or niches,
ten by six feet and four feet above ground; you seek out an empty
niche and find a resting-place until the caravan starts at midnight.
In the centre of the enclosure is a well and a large platform for
prayer—utilized for sleeping and cooking by late arrivals who find no
niche reserved as in our case. The rest of the court is for animals and
baggage. Usual Arab supplies were obtainable at these resting-places,
but every comfort is scarce and the innkeepers are too busy to be

Khan el Haswa where we arrived the second day is the centre of a small
village of perhaps 300 people. At three in the morning we left Haswa
but it was nearly noon when we reached the river, because of a delay
on the road. The bazaar and business of Hillah were formerly on the
Babylonian side of the stream, but are now principally on the further
side of the rickety bridge of boats four miles below the ruins of
Babylon. After paying toll we crossed over and found a room in the Khan
Pasha—a close, dirty place, but in the midst of the town and near the
river. Hillah is the largest town on the Euphrates north of Busrah.
Splendid groves of date-trees surround it and stretch along the river
as far as the eye can reach. The principal merchandise of the town is
wheat, barley and dates. Of the Moslem population two-thirds are Shiah,
and the remaining Sunni are mostly Turks. There are one or two native
Christians and many Jews, but it is difficult to estimate correctly the
population of Hillah or of any of the towns on the Euphrates. At Hillah
the river is less than 200 yards wide and has a much more gentle flow
than the Tigris at Bagdad. A short distance northwest of the town is
Kerbela. It is only a village but the spot is visited by thousands of
faithful Moslems every year who venerate the twelve Imams of the Shiah
sect. Here is the tomb of Hosein the grandson of the prophet and the
son of Ali whom they believe the true successor in the Caliphate. By
living or dying here the Shiah devotee has nought to fear for the next
world. So strong is this belief that many leave directions in their
wills to be buried in this hallowed spot. Thousands of corpses are
imported some even from India—after proper drying and salting—and are
laid to rest in the sacred ground. Nejf, south of Hillah, is the place
of Ali’s martyrdom and is no less sacred for the living and the dead.

At Kerbela the manufacture of _torbat_ is about the only industry. A
_torbat_ is a small piece of baked clay about two inches in length,
generally round or oblong, with the names of Ali and Fatima rudely
engraved on it. Made out of holy-ground, these are carried home by all
pilgrims and are used by nearly every Shiah as a resting-place for
the forehead in their prayer prostrations. According to all reports
Kerbela is similar to Mecca in its loose morals and the character of
its permanent population.

On July 31st we left Hillah and sailed down the river in a native boat
similar to the “bellum” of Busrah, but without awning. The Euphrates
is more muddy than the Tigris, and its course, though less sinuous, is
broken here and there by shallow rapids.[41] We sailed all night and
did not stop until we arrived at Diwaniyeh the following afternoon.
Many of the villages on the way appeared to have a considerable
population; date-groves were plentiful, and we passed two or three
Mathhab or tombs of Arab Sheikhs, including that reputed to be Job’s,
“the greatest of all the sons of the East.”

At Diwaniyeh I was directed to the Serai, or government-house, where
the Muttaserif Pasha of Hillah was forcing taxes from the unwilling
Arabs. I was kindly received, and, probably because of my passport,
was entertained at the Pasha’s table. Diwaniyeh has only a small
population, and its importance is due to its wealth of palms and the
wheat trade, which gives another opportunity for the government to
establish a toll-bridge and custom-house.

The Arabs of this region are notorious for their piracy on native
craft, and in 1836 they even attacked the English surveying expedition.
So I left the place with a guard of two soldiers—Saadeh and Salim,
who were as happy as their names. Patching their uniforms, asleep in
the bottom of the boat, eating of our bread and dates, or polishing
their rifles marked “_U. S. Springfield_, Snider’s Pat. 1863,” we
reached Samawa safely. During the day we passed the hamlets Um Nejis,
Abu Juwareeb, Rumeitha, and Sheweit. But the general scene was that
of narrow morass channels branching out from the river, where forests
of reeds half hid mat-huts and naked Arabs. These river tribes are
not true nomads,[42] but live in one place, on fish and the products
of the river buffalo. It is a strange sight to see a herd of large
black cattle swimming across stream, pursued by shouting, swimming and
swearing herdsmen. And this was once the home of Abraham, the friend of

Near Rumeitha there was a large menzil of the Lamlum tribe. Here we
fastened the boat for the night, as our company was afraid to cross
certain rapids by starlight. Some of the Arabs came to our boat, armed
with flint-locks and the Mikwar—a heavy stick knobbed with sandstone
or hard bitumen—in Arab hands a formidable weapon. Most of the people
were asleep, and we could get no supplies of any kind except two roast
fowl from the Turkish garrison in a mud brick fort opposite. Even one
of these fell to the share of a hungry jackal during the night. We left
early in the morning, and after some difficulty in crossing the shallow
rapids, reached Samawa in four hours. Dismissing the zaptiehs, we found
a room in the Khan of Haj Nasir on the second floor and overlooking the

It was the day before Ashera, the great day of Moharram, and the whole
town was in funereal excitement. All shops were closed. Shiah were
preparing for the great mourning, and Sunni sought a safe place away
from the street. As soon as I came the local governor sent word that
I must not leave the khan under any circumstances, nor venture in the
street, as he would not be responsible for Shiah violence. I remained
indoors, therefore, until the following day, and saw from the window
the confusion of the night of Ashera, the tramp of a mob, the beating
of breasts, the wailing of women, the bloody banners, and mock-martyr
scenes, the rhythmic howling and cries of “Ya Ali! ya Hassan! ya
Hussein!” until throats were hoarse and hands hung heavy for a moment,
only to go at it again. A pandemonium, as of Baal’s prophets on Carmel,
before the deaf and dumb God of Islam,—monotheistic only in its book.
“There is no god but God,” and yet to the Shiah devotees of Moharram,
“He is not in all their thoughts.” The martyr caliphs of Nejf are their
salvation and their hope, the Houris’ lap.


Between Samawa and Nasariya, the next important town, we passed the
villages: Zahara, El Kidr, Derj Kalat, (where there is a Turkish Mudir
and a telegraph station on the Hillah-Busrah wire) Luptika, El Ain, Abu
Tabr and El Assaniyeh. The river begins to broaden below Samawa, and
its banks are beautiful with palms and willows. We were again delayed
at a toll-bridge; there must be taxes everywhere in Turkey, on ships
and on fishermen, on boats and on bridges, on tobacco and on salt;
but this taxing of the same cargo at every river port is peculiar.


Nasariya is a comparatively modern town and better built than any
on the Euphrates river. Its bazaar is large and wide, and the
government-houses are imposing for Arabdom. A small gunboat lies
near the landing, and this floating tub, with its soldier guard and
bugle-call, represents the only civilization that has yet come to the
Euphrates valley, and is a thing of wonder to the Arabs. Opposite
Nasariya are two large walled enclosures, wheat granaries protected
from Arab robbers. Three hours west are the ruins of Mugheir—Ur of the

Our meheleh sailed down the river before daylight and five hours later
came to Suk el Shiukh, “the bazaar of old men.” Abd el Fattah, in
whose Persian kahwah we found a place, is a cosmopolitan. He had seen
“Franjees” before, had been to Bombay, Aden and Jiddah, knew something
of books, a little less of the gospel, and spoke two English words, of
which he was very proud, “Stop her” and “Send a geri.” He was a model
innkeeper, and had it not been for his tea and talk, the three days of
stifling heat under a mat-roof would have been less tolerable.

South of Suk el Shiukh the river widens into marshes, where the channel
is so shallow that part of the cargo of all river boats is transferred
to smaller craft. On account of this delay, we ran short of provisions
before reaching Kurna, and our boatmen were such prejudiced sectarians
that it required argument and much backsheesh to bargain for some
rice and the use of their cooking-pot. We were “nejis,” “kafir,” and
what not, and the captain vowed he would have to wash the whole boat
clean at Busrah from the footprints of the unbelievers. Between Suk
and the junction of the two rivers to form the Shatt-el-Arab at Kurna,
there are many wide, waste marshes, growing reeds and pasture for the
buffalo—a breeding place for insect life and the terror of the boatmen
because of the Me’dan pirates. We were three days on this part of the
river, and often all of us were in the water to lift and tug the boat
over some mud-bank. El Kheit is the only village of any size the whole
distance, but the Bedouin of the swamp, who live half the time in the
water and have not arrived at even the loincloth stage of civilization,
are a great multitude. At length we reached Kurna and thence, by the
broad, lordly, Shatt-el-Arab to the mission-house at Busrah.

What is to be the future of this great and wealthy valley, which
once supported myriads and was the centre of culture and ancient
civilization? Will it evermore rest under the blight of the fez and the
crescent? The one curse of the land is the inane government and its
ruthless taxation. The goose with the golden egg is killed every day in
Turkey—at least robbed to its last _nest-egg_. The shepherd-tribes, the
villagers, the nomads, the agricultural communities, all suffer alike
from the same cause. When and whence will deliverance come? Perhaps a
partial reply to these two questions will be found if we read between
the lines in our chapter on the recent politics of Arabia. A _Turkish_
railroad in the Euphrates valley would rust; but a railroad under
any other government would develop a region capable of magnificent



 “The central provinces of Nejd, the genuine Wahabi country, is to the
 rest of Arabia a sort of a lion’s den on which few venture and yet
 fewer return.”—_Palgrave._

 “A desert world of new and dreadful aspect! black camels, and uncouth
 hostile mountains; and a vast sand wilderness shelving toward the dire
 impostor’s city.”—_Doughty._

The region which, for want of a more definite name, we may call the
Interior includes four large districts. Three of these have been
comparatively well explored and mapped, but the fourth is utterly
unknown. These districts are: Roba’-el-Khali, Nejran with Wady Dauasir,
Nejd proper, and Jebel Shammar.

It is surprising that at the close of the nineteenth century there
should remain so many portions of our globe still unexplored. We
have better maps of the north pole and of the moon than we have of
Southeastern Arabia and parts of Central Asia. A triangle formed by
lines drawn from Harrara in Oman to El Harik in Southern Nejd, thence
to Marib in Yemen and back to Harrara will measure very nearly 500
miles on each of its upper sides and 800 on the base. This triangle,
with an area of 120,000 square miles is as utterly unknown to the world
at large as if it were an undiscovered continent in some polar sea.
Never has it been crossed by any European traveller or entered by an
explorer. It includes all the _hinterland_ of the Mahrah and Gharah
tribes, all western Oman and the so-called Roba’-el-Khali (literally,
“empty abode”) of the Dahna desert, as well as that mysterious region
of El Ahkaf to which the Koran refers and which is said by the Arabs
to be a sea of quicksands, able to swallow whole caravans.

On most maps the region in question is left blank; others designate
it as an uninterrupted desert from Mecca to Oman; while Ptolemy’s map
describes the region as producing myrrh and abounding in Arab tribes
and caravan-routes. Whatever we know of the country at present must be
the result of Arab hearsay booked by travellers in the coast-provinces.
The few names of places given in the Roba’-el-Khali would _not_ lead
one to suppose that “uninterrupted desert” was its only characteristic
feature. In the north are Jebel Athal (the Tamarisk Mountains), and
Wady Yebrin. Wady Shibwan and Wady Habuna seem to extend at least some
distance into the triangle from the west, while, in the very centre
we have the very unusual names for a desert region Belad-ez-Zohur
(Flower-country) and El-Joz (the nut-trees). There is no doubt that a
large part of the region is now desert and uninhabited; but it may not
always have been so and may hold its own secrets, archæological and

An Arab of Wady Fatima told Doughty, what the divine partition of the
world was in the following words: “Two quarters Allah divided to the
children of Adam, the third part He gave to Gog and Magog, a manikin
people, parted from us by a wall, which they shall overskip in the
latter days; and then will they overrun the world. Of their kindred be
the gross Turks and the misbelieving Persians; but you, the Engleys
are of the good kind with us. The fourth part of the world is called
Roba’-el-Khali, the empty quarter.” Doughty adds, “I never found any
Arabian who had aught to tell, even by hearsay, of that dreadful
country. Haply it is Nefud, with quicksands, which might be entered
into and even passed with milch dromedaries in the spring weeks. Now my
health failed me; otherwise I had sought to unriddle that enigma.” It
still awaits solution. In Oman they say it is only twenty-seven days’
caravan march overland to Mecca right through the desert; perhaps from
the Oman highlands one could more easily penetrate into the unknown and
get safely to Riad if not to Yemen.

Nejran, celebrated as an ancient Christian province of Arabia and
sacred by the blood of martyrs, lies north of Yemen and east of the
Asir country. Together with the Dauasir-Wady region it forms a strip
of territory about 300 miles long and 100 broad, well-watered and even
more fertile than the best parts of Yemen[43]. The intrepid traveller,
Halévy (1870) first visited this region from Yemen and found a large
Jewish population in the southern part. He visited the towns Mahlaf,
Rijlah and Karyet-el-Kabil, penetrated Wady Habuna but could not
succeed in reaching Wady Dauasir. He describes the fertility of the
Wadys and the extensive date-plantations of this part of Arabia in
terms of greatest admiration. Ruins and inscriptions are plentiful.
In Wady Dauasir the Arabs say that the palm-groves extend three
dromedary-journeys. The people are all agricultural Arabs but, as
in Oman, they live in continual feud and turmoil because of tribal
jealousies and old quarrels.

The region east of Wady Dauasir is called Aflaj or Felej-el-Aflaj, two
days’ journey distant, here there are also palm-oases. It is six days’
journey thence to Riad, but the way is rugged, without villages.[44]
It was along Wady Dauasir that I had hoped to make the overland
journey from Sana to Bahrein in 1894, once beyond Turkish espionage
the way would have been open. According to the testimony of Halévy
the inhabitants of Nejran and Wady Dauasir are not fanatical. Nowhere
in Yemen are the Jews treated so kindly as by the Arabs of Nejran.
This entire region must also be classed with the fertile districts of
Arabia. Water is everywhere abundant coming down from the Jebel Rian,
fifteen days’ journey from Toweyk and from the southern ranges of Jebel
Ban and Jebel Tumra. The inhabitants of Nejran and of Southern Dauasir
are heretical Moslems. They belong to the Bayadhi sect like the people
of Oman,[45] and are supposed to be followers of Abd-Allah-bin-Abad
(746 A. D.).

Historically, Nejran is of special interest because here it was that
the Roman army of 11,000 men sent by Augustus Cæsar under Ælius Gallus
to make a prey of the chimerical riches of Arabia Felix came to grief.
The warriors did not fall in battle but, purposely misled by the
Nabateans, their allies, they marched painfully over the waterless
wastes in Central Arabia six months; the most perished in misery and
only a remnant returned. Strabo, writing from the mouth of Gallus
himself, who was his friend and prefect of Egypt, gives a description
of the Arabian desert that cannot be improved: “It is a sandy waste
with only a few palms and pits of water; the acacia thorn and the
tamarisk grow there; the wandering Arabs lodge in tents and are camel

Nejd—the heart of Arabia, the genuine Arabia, the Arabia of the
poets—is properly bounded,—on the east, by the Turkish province of
Hasa; on the south by the border of the desert near Yemama; on the
west by Hejaz in its widest extent to Khaibar; and on the north by
Jebel Shammar. Thus defined it includes the regions of El-Kasim,
El-Woshem, El-Aared, and Yemama. The “Zephyrs of Nejd” are the pregnant
theme of many an Arab poet and in these highlands, the air is crisp and
dry and invigorating, especially to the visitors from the hot and moist
coast provinces. It was such a poet who wrote in raptures of the Nejd

    “Then said I to my companion while the camels were hastening
    To bear us down the pass between Menifah and Demar.
    ‘Enjoy while thou canst the sweets of the meadows of Nejd;
    With no such meadows and sweets shalt thou meet after this evening.’
    Ah! heaven’s blessing on the scented gales of Nejd,
    And its greensward and groves glittering from the spring showers;
    And thy dear friends when thy lot was cast in Nejd—
    Months flew past, they passed and we knew not,
    Nor when their moons were new nor when they waned.”

As to the real and prosaic features of the country, Nejd is a plateau
of which Jebel Toweyk is the centre and backbone. Its general height
above the sea is about 4,000 feet, but there are more lofty ledges and
peaks, some as high as 5,500 feet. These highlands are for the most
clothed with fine pasture; trees are common, solitary or in little
groups; and the entire plateau is intersected by a maze of valleys
cut out of the sandstone and limestone. In these countless hollows is
concentrated the fertility and the population of Nejd. The soil of the
valleys is light, mixed with marl sand and pebbles washed down from the
cliffs. Water is found everywhere in wells at a depth of not much over
fifteen feet and often less; in Kasim it has a brackish taste, and the
soil is salty, but in other parts of Nejd there are traces of iron in
it. The climate of all Nejd, according to Palgrave, is perhaps one of
the healthiest in the world. The air is dry, clear and free from all
the malarial poison of the coast; the summers are warm but not sultry,
and the winter air is biting cold. The usual monotony of an Arabian
landscape is not only enlivened by the presence of the date-palm near
the villages, but by groups of Talh, Nebaa’ and Sidr, the Ithl and
Ghada Euphorbia—all of them good-sized shrubs or trees.[46]

Nejd is pasture land, so that its breed of sheep are known all over
Arabia; their wool is remarkably fine, almost equal to Cashmire in
softness and delicacy. Camels abound; according to Palgrave, Nejd is
“a wilderness of camels.” The color is generally brownish white or
grey; black camels are found westward and southward in the inhospitable
Harra-country toward Mecca. Oxen and cows are not uncommon. Game is
plenty, both feathered and quadruped. Partridges, quail, a kind of
bustard; gazelle, hares, jerboa, wild-goat, wild-boars, porcupine,
antelope, and a kind of wild-ox (wathyhi) with beautiful horns. Snakes
are not common, but lizards, centipedes and scorpions abound. The
ostrich is also found in western Nejd as well as in Wady Dauasir. The
Bedouin hunt them to sell the skins to the Damascus feather merchants
who come down with the Haj every year to Mecca; forty reals (dollars)
was the price paid in Doughty’s time for a single skin—a small fortune
to the poor nomad. Mounted on their dromedaries they watch for the
bird and then waylay it, matchlock ready to hand. The Arabs esteem the
breast of the ostrich good food; the fat is a sovereign remedy with
them and half a _finjan_ (the measure of an Arab coffee-cup), is worth
half a Turkish mejidie. The ostrich is no longer as common in Arabia as
formerly, and in many parts of the peninsula the bird is unknown even
by name.

Nejd is a land of camels and horses. But although a fine breed of
the latter exist it is a common mistake to suppose that horses are
plentiful in Central Arabia and that every Arab owns his steed.
Doughty says “there is no breeding or sale of horses at Boreyda or
Aneyza nor any town in Nejd.” Most of the horses shipped from Busrah or
Kuweit to Bombay are not from Nejd, although originally of Nejd-breed,
but come from Jebel Shammar and the Mesopotamian valley. He who would
know all about the beauty of the Nejd horse must visit the Hail stables
with Palgrave who “goes raving mad” about the animals; or he can read
Lady Ann Blunt’s “Pilgrimage to Nejd” in search of horses; better still
let him buy that remarkable book by Colonel Tweedie: THE ARABIAN HORSE,
_His country and His people_. In this volume the horse is the hero and
Arabs are grooms and stable-boys. The Arab is more kind to his horse
than to any other animal. No Arab dreams of tying up a horse by the
neck, a tether replaces the halter, one of the animal’s hind-legs being
encircled about the pastern by a light iron ring or leather strap,
and connected with a chain or rope to an iron peg. Nejdi horses are
specially valuable for great speed and endurance. They are all built
for riding and not for draught, to the unprofessional eye they do not
seem at all superior to the best horses seen in London or New York
City, but I leave the matter to the authorities mentioned.[47]

The government of Nejd indicates what the independent rulers of Arabia
are like. Doughty testifies that the sum of all he could learn from
the mouth of the Arabs themselves of Ibn Rashid’s government (now in
the hands of Abd-el-Aziz bin Mitaab, his nephew) was this: “He makes
sure of them that may be won by gifts, he draws the sword against
his adversaries, he treads down them that fear him and he were no
right ruler, hewed he no heads off!” Some of the nomads consider the
prince of Nejd a tyrant, but the villagers generally are well content.
Forsooth it is better for them to have _one_ tyrant than _many_, as in
the days before the political upheaval that unified central Arabia.
Other of the more religious folk of Nejd cannot forget the bloody path
by which Ibn Rashid gained his seat of power and call him “_Nejis_,
(polluted), a cutter-off of his kinsfolk with the sword.”

Lavish sums in the eyes of the starved Bedouin are spent on hospitality
but all guests are pleased and depart from the pile of rice to praise
God and the Amir of Nejd. Daily, in the guest-room, according to
Doughty, one hundred and eighty messes of barley-bread with rice and
butter are served to the men freely; a camel or smaller animal is
killed for the first-class guests and the total expense of his famous
hospitality is not over £1,500 annually. The revenues are immense and
Ibn Rashid’s private fortune had grown large even when Doughty visited
him in 1877. He has cattle innumerable and “40,000 camels”; some 300
blooded mares and 100 horses; over 100 negro slaves; besides private
riches laid up in silver metal, land at Hail and plantations in Jauf.

Contrasted with the Turkish provinces of Arabia the subjects of the
Amir of Nejd enjoy light taxation and even the Bedouin warriors who are
in the service of the Nejd ruler receive better wages than the regular
troops of the Sultan. From the descrip-

tion of Mr. and Mrs. Blunt and Doughty at Hail, one cannot but feel
that the government of Nejd is much more liberal and less fanatical
than it was in the old days of the Wahabis as described by Palgrave.
The old Wahabi power is now broken forever and Nejd is getting into
touch with the world through commerce. Kasim already resembles the
border-lands and the inhabitants are worldly-wise with the wisdom of
the Bombay horse-dealers. Many of the youth of Nejd visit Bagdad,
Busrah and Bahrein in their commercial ventures. Says Doughty, “all
Nejd Arabia, east of Teyma, appertains to the Persian Gulf traffic and
not to Syria [as does western Nejd]: and therefore the foreign color of
Nejd is Mesopotamian.” He marvelled at the erudition of the Nejd Arabs
in spite of their isolation until he found that even here newspapers
had found their way in recent years. English patent medicines are sold
in the bazaar of Aneyza and the Arabs are somewhat acquainted with the
wonders of Bombay and Calcutta. Palgrave found the inhabitants of Kasim
and southern Nejd far more intelligent than those of the north. Except
for the four large towns of Hail, Riad, Boreyda and Aneyza, Nejd has
no large centres of population. Bedouin tribes are found everywhere
and villagers cultivate the fertile oases even in the desert; but the
population is not as dense as in Oman or Yemen nor even as in Nejran
and Wady Dauasir.

Hail, the present capital of Nejd, may have a population of ten
thousand within its walls. It lies east of Jebel Aja, a granite range
6,000 feet high ending abruptly at this point. The city is on a
table-land 3,500 feet above the sea. The Amir’s castle is a formidable
stronghold occupying a position of immense natural strength in the
Jebel Aja. Blunt visited this place in 1878, but does not give its
exact site, “lest the information might be utilized by the Turks under
possible future contingencies.” We have three pen-pictures of Hail:
that of Palgrave who drew a plan of the city; the description of
Doughty with his plan of the Amir’s residence and

guest-house; and the sketches of Lady Ann Blunt on her pilgrimage. It
is a walled town with several gates, a large market-place, the palaces
overtopping all and mosques sufficient for the worshippers. It is a
clean, well-built town, according to Doughty and pleasant to live in
save for the awe of the tyrant-ruler. Its circuit may be nearly an
hour, in the centre of the walled enclosure stands the palace; near it
the great mosque and directly opposite the principal bazaar. The great
coffee-hall where the Amir gives his audiences is eighty feet long
with lofty walls and of noble proportions. It has long rows of pillars
“upholding the flat roof of ethel timbers and palm-stalk mat-work,
goodly stained and varnished with the smoke of the daily hospitality.
Under the walls are benches of clay overspread with Bagdad carpets.
By the entry stands a mighty copper-tinned basin or ‘sea’ of fresh
water with a chained cup, from thence the coffee-server draws and
he may drink who thirsts. In the upper end of this princely _kahwa_
(coffee-house) are two fire-pits, like shallow graves, where desert
bushes are burned in colder weather; they lack good fuel, and fire is
blown commonly under the giant coffee-pots in a clay hearth like a
smith’s furnace.”

The palace castles are built in Nejd with battled towers of clay-brick
and whitened on the outside with _jiss_ or plaster; this in contrast
with the palm-gardens in the walled-enclosure give the town a bright,
fresh aspect. Outside the walls, the contrast of the Bedouin squalor
and the rusty black basalt rocks lying in rough confusion is intense.
Hail lies in the midst of a barren country and is an oasis not by
nature but by the pluck and perseverance of its founders. The Shammar
Arabs settled here from antiquity and the place is mentioned in the
ancient poem of Antar.

_Er-Riadh_ or Riad (the “gardens-in-the-desert”) was the Wahabi
metropolis of Eastern Nejd and of all the Wahabi empire. The city lies
in the heart of the Aared country, enclosed north and south by Jebel
Toweyk and about 280 miles southeast of Hail. It is a large place
(according to Palgrave of 30,000 population!), but nothing is known
of its present state, as no European traveller has visited it since
Palgrave. The general appearance of Riad, according to our guide is
like that of Damascus. “Before us stretched a wide open valley, and
in its foreground, immediately below the pebbly slope on whose summit
we stood, lay the capital, large and square, crowned by high towers
and strong walls of defence, a mass of roofs and terraces, where,
overtopping all, frowned the huge but irregular pile of Feysul’s royal
castle, and hard by it rose the scarce less conspicuous palace, built
and inhabited by his eldest son, Abdallah. All around for full three
miles over the surrounding plain, but more especially to the west and
south, waved a sea of palm-trees above green fields and well-watered
gardens; while the singing, droning sound of the water-wheels reached
us even where we had halted at a quarter of a mile or more from
the nearest town-walls. On the opposite side southward, the valley
opened out into the great and even more fertile plains of Yemama,
thickly dotted with groves and villages, among which the large town
Manhufah, hardly inferior in size to Riad itself, might be clearly
distinguished.... In all the countries which I have visited, and they
are many, seldom has it been mine to survey a landscape equal to this
in beauty, and in historical meaning, rich and full alike to the eye
and the mind. The mixture of tropical aridity and luxuriant verdure,
of crowded population and desert tracts, is one that Arabia alone
can present, and in comparison with which Syria seems tame and Italy

Undoubtedly the population of Riad has diminished since the seat of
government was transferred to Hail; at present it has even less trade
and importance than Hofhoof (Hassa) since the Turkish occupation.

JEBEL SHAMMAR and the northwestern desert, remain to be considered.
The chief characteristics of this region are the extensive _Nefuds_ or
sandy-deserts and the nomad population. Jebel Shammar more than any
part of Arabia is the tenting ground for the sons of Kedar. Everywhere
are the black-worsted booths—the houses of goat-hair, so celebrated in
Arabic poetry and song. Place-names on the map of this country are not
villages or cities but watering-places for cattle and encampments of
the tribes from year to year. From the Gulf of Akaba to the Euphrates,
and as far north as their flocks can find pasture, the nomads call the
land their own. Many of them are subject to the government of Nejd and
pay a small annual tribute; some are nominally under Turkish rule and
others know no ruler save their Sheikh and have no law save that of
immemorial Bedouin custom.

Burckhardt discourses of these people like one who has dwelt among
them, tasting the sweet and bitter of their hungry, homely life. He
describes their tents and their simple furniture, arms, utensils, diet,
arts, industry, sciences, diseases, religion, matrimony, government,
and warfare. He tells of their hospitality to the stranger; their
robbery of the traveller; their blood-revenge and blood-covenants;
their slaves and servants; their feasts and rejoicings; their domestic
relations and public functions; their salutations and language; and
how at last they bury their dead in a single garment, scraping out a
shallow grave in hard-burned soil and heaping on a few rough stones to
keep away the foul hyenas.

Burckhardt devotes a considerable portion of his book to an enumeration
of the Bedouin-tribes and their numerous subdivisions. These will prove
of great service to those who visit or cross the northern part of the
Peninsula. The most important tribe is that of the _Anaeze_. They are
nomads in the strictest acceptation of the word, for they continue
during the whole year in almost constant motion. Their summer quarters
are near the Syrian frontiers and in winter they retire into the heart
of the desert or toward the Euphrates. When the tents are few they are
pitched in a circle and called _dowar_, in greater numbers, they encamp
in rows, one behind the other, especially along a rivulet or wady-bed;
such encampments are called _Nezel_. The Sheikh’s or chief’s tent has
the principal place generally toward the direction whence guests or
foes may be expected. The Anaeze tents are always of black goat’s-hair;
some other tribes have stuff striped white and black. Even the richest
among them never have more than one tent unless he happen to have a
second wife who cannot live on good terms with the first; he then
pitches a smaller tent near his own. But polygamy is very unusual among
the Bedouin Arabs, although divorce is common. The tent furniture is
simplicity itself; camel-saddles and cooking utensils with carpets and
provision skins, are all the Arab housewife has to look after.

Since the days of Job the Bedouin have been a nation of robbers. “The
oxen were plowing and the asses feeding beside them; and the Sabeans
fell upon them and took them away, yea they have slain the servants
with the edge of the sword.” (Job i. 14.) The Bedouin’s hand is
against every man in all Jebel Shammar to this day. The tribes are in
a state of almost perpetual war against each other; it seldom happens,
according to Burckhardt, that a tribe enjoys a moment of general peace
with all its neighbors, yet the war between two tribes is not of long
duration. Peace is easily made and easily broken. In Bedouin parlance
a salt covenant is only binding while the salt is in their stomachs.
General battles are rarely fought, and few lives are lost; to surprise
an enemy by sudden attack, or to plunder a camp, are the chief objects
of both parties. The dreadful effects of “blood-revenge” (by which
law the kindred of the slain are in duty bound to slay the murderer
or his kin) prevent many sanguinary conflicts. Whatever the Arabs
take in their predatory excursions is shared according to previous
agreement. Sometimes the whole spoil is equally divided by the Sheikh
among his followers; at other times each one plunders for himself. A
Bedouin raid is called a _ghazu_, and it is worthy of remark that the
earliest biographer of Mohammed, Ibn Ishak, so designates the wars of
the prophet of God with the Koreish. The Anaeze Bedouin never attack
by night, for during the confusion of a nocturnal assault the women’s
apartments might be entered, and this they regard as treachery. The
female sex is respected even among the most inveterate enemies whenever
a camp is plundered, and neither men, women nor slaves are ever taken
prisoners. It is war only for booty. The Arabs are robbers, seldom
murderers; to ask protection or _dakheil_ is sure quarter, even when
the spear is lifted. Peace is concluded generally by arbitration in
the tent of the Sheikh of a third tribe friendly to both combating
tribes. The most frequent cause of war is quarrels over wells or
watering-places and pasture grounds, just as in the days of the

“The Bedouins have reduced robbery,” says Burckhardt, “in all
its branches to a complete and regular system, which offers many
interesting details.” These details are very numerous, and the stories
of robbery and escape given by the Arabian chroniclers, or told at the
camp-fires, would fill a volume. One example will suffice us. Three
robbers plan an attack on an encampment. One of them stations himself
behind the tent that is to be robbed, and endeavors to excite the
attention of the nearest watch-dogs. These immediately attack him; he
flies, and they pursue him to a great distance from the camp, which is
thus cleared of those dangerous guardians. The second robber goes to
the camels, cuts the strings that confine their legs and makes as many
rise as he wishes. He then leads one of the she-camels out of the camp,
the others following as usual, while the third robber has all this time
been standing with lifted club before the tent-door to strike down any
one who might awake and venture forth. If the robbers succeed they then
join their companion, each seizes the tail of a strong leading-camel
and pulls it with all his might; the camels set up a gallop into the
desert and the men are dragged along by their booty until safe distance
separates them from the scene of robbery. They then mount their prey
and make haste to their own encampment.

Before we lightly condemn the robber we must realize his sore need.
According to Doughty and other travellers three-fourths of the
Bedouin of Northwestern Arabia suffer continual famine and seldom
have enough to eat. In the long summer drought when pastures fail and
the gaunt camel-herds give no milk they are in a sorry plight; then
it is that the housewife cooks her slender mess of rice secretly,
lest some would-be guest should smell the pot. The hungry gnawing of
the Arab’s stomach is lessened by the coffee-cup and the ceaseless
“tobacco-drinking” from the nomad’s precious pipe. The women suffer
most and children languish away. When one of these sons-of-desert
heard from Doughty’s lips of a land where “we had an abundance of the
blessings of Allah, bread and clothing and peace, and, how, if any
wanted, the law succored him—he began to be full of melancholy, and to
lament the everlasting infelicity of the Arabs, whose lack of clothing
is a cause to them of many diseases, who have not daily food nor
water enough, and wandering in the empty wilderness, are never at any
stay—and these miseries to last as long as their lives. And when his
heart was full, he cried up to heaven, ‘Have mercy, ah Lord God, upon
Thy creature which Thou createdst—pity the sighing of the poor, the
hungry, the naked—have mercy—have mercy upon them, O Allah!’”

As we bid farewell to the tents of Kedar and the deserts of North
Arabia let us say amen to the nomad’s prayer and judge them not harshly
in their misery lest we be judged.


                        “THE TIME OF IGNORANCE”

 “The religious decay in Arabia shortly before Islam may well be taken
 in a negative sense, in the sense of the tribes losing the feeling
 of kinship with the tribal gods. We may express this more concretely
 by saying that the gods had become gradually more and more nebulous
 through the destructive influence exercised, for about two hundred
 years, by Jewish and Christian ideas, upon Arabian heathenism “—_H.
 Hirschfeld_, in the “Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.”

In order to understand the genesis of Islam we must know something of
the condition of Arabia before the advent of Mohammed. We shall then
be able to discover the factors that influenced the hero-prophet and
made it possible for him so powerfully to sway the destinies of his own
generation and those that were to follow.

Mohammedan writers call the centuries before the birth of their Prophet
_wakt-el-jahiliyeh_—“the time of ignorance”—since the Arabs were then
ignorant of the true religion. These writers naturally chose to paint
the picture of heathen Arabia as dark as possible, in order that the
“Light of God,” as the prophet is called, might appear more bright in
contrast. Following these authorities Sale and others have left an
altogether wrong impression of the state of Arabia when Mohammed first
appeared. The commonly accepted idea that he preached entirely new
truth and uplifted the Arabs to a higher plane of civilization is only
half true.[49]

No part of Arabia has ever reached the high stage of civilization under
the rule of Islam which Yemen enjoyed under its Christian or even its
Jewish dynasties of the Himyarites. Early Christianity in Arabia, with
all its weakness, had been a power for good. The Jews had penetrated to
nearly every portion of the peninsula long before Mohammed came on the

In the “Time of Ignorance” the Arabs throughout the peninsula were
divided into numerous local tribes or clans which were bound together
by no political organization but only by a traditional sentiment
of unity which they believed, or feigned to believe, a unity of
blood. Each group was a unit and opposed to all the other clans.
Some were pastoral and some nomadic; others like those at Mecca and
Taif were traders. For many centuries Yemen had been enriched by the
incense-trade and by its position as the emporium of Eastern commerce.
Sprenger in his ancient geography of the peninsula says that: “The
history of the earliest commerce is the history of incense and the
land of incense was Arabia.” The immense caravan trade which brought
all the wealth of Ormuz and Ind to the West, must have been a means of
civilization to the desert. The tanks of Marib spread fertility around
and the region north of Sana was intersected by busy caravan-routes.
W. Robertson Smith goes so far as to say that “In this period the name
of Arab was associated to Western writers with ideas of effeminate
indolence and peaceful opulence ... the golden age of Yemen.”

The Arabs had enjoyed for several thousand years, an almost absolute
freedom from foreign dominion or occupation. Neither the Egyptians, the
Assyrians, the Babylonians, the ancient Persians nor the Macedonians
in their march of conquest ever subjugated or held any part of Arabia.
But before the coming of the Prophet the proud freemen of the desert
were compelled to bend their necks repeatedly to the yoke of Roman,
Abyssinian and Persian rulers. In A. D. 105, Trajan sent his general,
Cornelius Palma, and subdued the Nabathean kingdom of North Arabia.
Mesopotamia was conquered and the eastern coast of the peninsula was
completely devastated by the Romans in A. D. 116. Hira yielded to the
monarchs of Persia as Ghassan did to the generals of Rome. Sir William
Muir writes, “It is remarked even by a Mohammedan writer that the
decadence of the race of Ghassan was preparing the way for the glories
of the Arabian prophet.” In other words Arabia was being invaded by
foreign powers and the Arabs were ready for a political leader to break
these yokes and restore the old-time independence. Roman domination
invaded even Mecca itself not long before the Hegira. “For shortly
after his accession to the throne, A. D. 610, the Emperor Heraclius
nominated Othman, then a convert to Christianity, ... as governor
of Mecca, recommending him to the Koreishites in an authoritative
letter.”[51] The Abyssinian wars and invasions of Arabia during the
century preceding Mohammed are better known. Their dominion in Yemen,
says Ibn Ishak, lasted seventy-two years, and they were finally driven
out by the Persians, at the request of the Arabs.

Arabia was thus the centre of political schemes and plots just at the
time when Mohammed came to manhood, the whole peninsula was awake to
the touch of the Romans, Abyssinians and Persians, and ready to rally
around any banner that led to a national deliverance.

As to the position of women in this “Time of Ignorance” the cruel
custom of female infanticide prevailed in many parts of heathen Arabia.
This was probably due, in the first instance, to poverty or famine, and
afterward became a social custom to limit population. Professor Wilken
suggests as a further reason that wars had tended to an excess of
females over males. An Arab poet tells of a niece who refused to leave
the husband to whom she had been assigned after capture. Her uncle was
so enraged that he buried all his daughters alive and never allowed
another one to live. Even one beautiful girl who had been saved alive
by her mother was ruthlessly placed in a grave by the father and her
cries stifled with earth. This horrible custom however was not usual.
We are told of one distinguished Arab, named _Saa-Saa_, who tried to
put down the practice of “digging a grave by the side of the bed on
which daughters were born.”

Mohammed improved on the barbaric method and discovered a way by
which not some but _all_ females could be buried alive without
being murdered—namely, the veil. Its origin was one of the marriage
affairs of the prophet with its appropriate revelation from Allah.
_The veil was unknown in Arabia before that time._ It was Islam
that forever withdrew from Oriental society the bright, refining,
elevating influence of women. Keene says that the veil “lies at the
root of all the most important features that differentiate progress
from stagnation.” The harem-system did not prevail in the days of
idolatry. Women had rights and were respected. In two instances,
beside that of Zenobia, we read of Arabian _queens_ ruling over their
tribes. Freytag in his Arabian Proverbs gives a list of female judges
who exercised their office in the “time of ignorance.” According to
Nöldeke, the Nabathean inscriptions and coins prove that women held an
independent and honorable position in North Arabia long before Islam;
they constructed expensive family graves, owned large estates, and were
independent traders. The heathen Arabs jealously watched over their
women as their most valued possession and defended them with their
lives. A woman was never given away by her father in an unequal match
nor against her consent. “If you cannot find an equal match,” said
Ibn Zohair to the Namir, “the best marriage for them is the grave.”
Professor G. A. Wilken[52] adduces many proofs to show that women had a
right in every case to choose their own husbands and cites the case of
Khadijah who offered her hand to Mohammed. Even captive women were not
kept in slavery, as is evident from the verses of Hatim:

    “They did not give us Taites, their daughters in marriage;
    But we wooed them against their will with our swords.
    And with us captivity brought no abasement.
    They neither toiled making bread nor made the pot boil;
    But we mingled them with our women, the noblest,
    And bare us fair sons, white of face.”

Polyandry and polygamy were both practiced; the right of divorce
belonged to the wife as well as to the husband; temporary marriages
were also common. As was natural among a nomad race, the marriage bond
was quickly made and easily dissolved. But this was not the case among
the Jews and Christians of Yemen and Nejran. Two kinds of marriage
were in vogue. The _mota’a_ was a purely personal contract between a
man and woman; no witnesses were necessary and the woman did not leave
her home or come under the authority of her husband; even the children
belonged to the wife. This marriage, so frequently described in Arabic
poetry, was not considered illicit but was openly celebrated in verse
and brought no disgrace on the woman. In the other kind of marriage,
called _nikah_, the woman became subject to her husband by capture or
purchase. In the latter case the purchase-money was paid to the bride’s

The position of women before Islam is thus described in Smith’s
“Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia.” “It is very remarkable that
in spite of Mohammed’s humane ordinances the place of woman in the
family and in society has steadily declined under his law. In ancient
Arabia we find ... many proofs that women moved more freely and
asserted themselves more strongly than in the modern East.... The
Arabs themselves recognized that the position of woman had fallen ...
and it continued still to fall under Islam, because the effect of
Mohammed’s legislation in favor of women was more than outweighed by
the establishment of marriages of dominion as the one legitimate type,
and by the gradual loosening of the principle that married women could
count on their own kin to stand by them against their husbands.”[53]

In “the time of ignorance” writing was well known and poetry
flourished. Three accomplishments were coveted—eloquence, horsemanship
and liberal hospitality. Orators were in demand, and to maintain the
standard and reward excellence there were large assemblies as at Okatz.
These lasted a whole month and the tribes came long journeys to hear
the orators and poets as well as to engage in trade. The learning of
the Arabs was chiefly confined to tribal history, astrology and the
interpretation of dreams; in these they made considerable progress.

According to Moslem tradition the science of writing was not known
in Mecca until introduced by Harb, Father of Abu Scofian, the great
opponent of Mohammed, about A.D. 560. But this is evidently an error,
for close intercourse existed long before this between Mecca and Sana
the capital of Yemen where writing was well known; and in another
tradition Abd el Muttalib is said to have _written_ to Medina for help
in his younger days, _i.e._, about 520 A. D. Both Jews and Christians
also dwelt in the vicinity of Mecca for two hundred years before the
Hegira and used some form of writing. For writing materials they
had abundance of reeds and palm-leaves as well as the flat, smooth
shoulder-bones of sheep. The seven poems are said to have been written
in gold on Egyptian silk and suspended in the Kaaba.

In the earlier part of his mission Mohammed despised the poets for the
good reason that some, among them a poetess, wrote satirical verses
about him. The Koran says “those who go astray follow the poets” (Surah
26: 224) and a more vigorous though less elegant denouncement is
recorded in the traditions (Mishkat Bk. 22, ch. 10): “A belly full of
purulent matter is better than a belly full of poetry.” When two of the
heathen poets, Labid and Hassan embraced Islam, the prophet became more
lenient, and is reported to have said “poetry is a kind of composition
which if it is good, it is good, and if it is bad, it is bad!”

Concerning the religion of the heathen Arabs the Mohammedan writer
Ash-Shahristani says: “The Arabs of pre-islamic times may, with
reference to religion be divided into various classes. Some of them
denied the Creator, the resurrection and men’s return to God, and
asserted that Nature possesses in itself the power of bestowing life,
but that Time destroys. Others believed in a Creator and a creation
produced by Him out of nothing but yet denied the resurrection. Others
believed in a Creator and a creation but denied God’s prophets and
worshipped false gods concerning whom they believed that in the next
world they would become _mediators_ between themselves and God. For
these deities they undertook pilgrimages, they brought offerings to
them, offered them sacrifices and approached them with rites and
ceremonies. Some things they held to be Divinely permitted, others to
be prohibited. This was the religion of the majority of the Arabs.”
This is remarkable evidence for a Mohammedan who would naturally
be inclined to take an unfavorable view. But his absolute silence
regarding the Jews and Christians of Arabia is suggestive.

When the Arabian tribes lost their earliest monotheism (the religion
of Job and their patriarchs) they first of all adopted Sabeanism or
the worship of the hosts of heaven. A proof of this is their ancient
practice of making circuits around the shrines of their gods as well
as their skill in astrology. Very soon however the star-worship became
greatly corrupted and other deities, superstitions and practices
were introduced. Ancient Arabia was a refuge for all sorts of
religious-fugitives, and each band added something to the national
stock of religious ideas. The Zoroastrians came to East Arabia; the
Jews settled at Kheibar, Medina, and in Yemen; Christians of many sects
lived in the north and in the highlands of Yemen. For all pagan Arabia
Mecca was the centre many centuries before Mohammed. Here stood the
Kaaba, the Arabian Pantheon, with its three hundred and sixty idols,
one for each day in the year. Here the tribes of Hejaz met in annual
pilgrimage to rub themselves on the Black Stone, to circumambulate
the Beit Allah or Bethel of their creed and to hang portions of their
garments on the sacred trees. At Nejran a sacred date-palm was the
centre of pilgrimage. Everywhere in Arabia there were sacred stones
or stone-heaps where the Arab devotees congregated to obtain special
blessings. The belief in jinn or genii was well-nigh universal,
but there was a distinction between them and gods. The gods have
individuality while the jinn have not; the gods are worshipped, the
jinn are only feared; the god has one form; the jinn appear in many.
All that the Moslem world believes in regard to jinn is wholly borrowed
from Arabian heathenism and those who have read the Arabian Nights know
what a large place they hold in the everyday life of Moslems.

The Arabs were always superstitious, and legends of all sorts cluster
around every weird desert rock, gnarled tree or intermittent fountain
in Arabia. The early Arabs therefore marked off such sacred territory
by pillars or cairns and considered many things such as shedding of
blood, cutting of trees, killing game, etc, forbidden within the
enclosure. This is the origin of the _Haramain_ or sacred territory
around Mecca and Medina. Sacrifices were common, but not by fire. The
blood of the offering was smeared over the rude stone altars and the
flesh was eaten by the worshipper. First fruits were given to the gods
and libations were poured out; a hair-offering formed a part of the
ancient pilgrimage; this also is imitated to-day.

W. Robertson Smith tries to prove that _totemism_ was the earliest
form of Arabian idolatry and that each tribe had its sacred animal.
The strongest argument for this is the undoubted fact that many of the
tribal names were taken from animals and that certain animals were
regarded as sacred in parts of Arabia. The theory is too far-reaching
to be adopted at haphazard and the author’s ideas of the significance
of animal sacrifice are not in accord with the teaching of Scripture.
It is however interesting to know that the same authority thinks the
Arabian tribal marks or _wasms_ were originally totem-marks and must
have been tattooed on the body even as they are now used to mark
property. The _washm_ of the idolatrous Arabs seems related to their
_wasms_ and was a kind of tattooing of the hands, arms and gums. It was
forbidden by Mohammed but is still widely prevalent in North Arabia
among the Bedouin women.

Covenants of blood and of salt are also very ancient Semitic
institutions and prevailed all over Arabia. The form of the oath was
various. At Mecca the parties dipped their hands in a pan of blood and
tasted the contents; in other places they opened a vein and mixed their
fresh blood; again they would each draw the others’ blood and smear it
on seven stones set up in the midst. The later Arabs substituted the
blood of a sheep or of a camel for human blood.

The principal idols of Arabia were the following; ten of them are
mentioned by name in the Koran.

 _Hubal_ was in the form of a man and came from Syria; he was the god
 of rain and had a high place of honor.

 _Wadd_ was the god of the firmament.

 _Suwah_, in the form of a woman, was said to be from antediluvian

 _Yaghuth_ had the shape of a lion.

 _Ya’ook_ was in the form of a horse, and was worshipped in Yemen.
 Bronze images of this idol are found in ancient tombs.

 _Nasr_ was the eagle-god.

 _El Uzza_, identified by some scholars with Venus, was worshipped at
 times under the form of an acacia tree.

 _Allat_ was the chief idol of the tribe of Thakif at Taif who tried to
 compromise with Mohammed to accept Islam if he would not destroy their
 god for three years. The name appears to be the feminine of Allah.

 _Manat_ was a huge stone worshipped as an altar by several tribes.

 _Duwar_ was the virgin’s idol and young women used to go around it in
 procession; hence its name.

 _Isaf_ and _Naila_ stood near Mecca on the hills of Safa and Mirwa;
 the visitation of these popular shrines is now a part of the Moslem

 _Habhab_ was a large stone on which camels were slaughtered.

Beside these there were numerous other gods whose names have been
utterly lost and yet who each had a place in the Pantheon at Mecca.
Above all these was the supreme deity whom they called ὁ θεὸς, the God,
or _Allah_. This name occurs several times in the ancient pre-islamic
poems and proves that the Arabs knew the one true God by name even in
the “time of ignorance.” To Him they also made offerings though not of
the first and best; in His name covenants were sealed and the holiest
oaths were sworn. Enemy of _Allah_ was the strongest term of opprobrium
among the Arabs then as it is to-day. Wellhausen says, “In worship
_Allah_ had the last place, those gods being preferred who represented
the interests of a particular circle and fulfilled the private desires
of their worshippers. Neither the fear of _Allah_ nor their reverence
for the gods had much influence. The chief practical consequence of
the great feasts was the observance of a truce in the holy months; and
this in time had become mainly an affair of pure practical convenience.
In general the disposition of the heathen Arabs, if it is at all truly
reflected in their poetry, was profane in an unusual degree. The
ancient inhabitants of Mecca practiced piety essentially as a trade,
just as they do now; their trade depended on the feast and its fair on
the inviolability of the Haram and on the truce of the holy months.”

There is no doubt that at the time of Mohammed’s appearance the old
national idolatry had degenerated. Many of the idols had no believers
or worshippers. Sabeanism had also disappeared except in the north of
Arabia; although it always left its influence which is evident not only
in the Koran but in the superstitious practices of the modern Bedouins.
Gross fetishism was the creed of many. One of Mohammed’s contemporaries
said, “When they found a fine stone they adored it, or, failing that,
milked a camel over a heap of sand and worshipped that.” The better
classes at Mecca and Medina had ceased to believe anything at all. The
forms of religion “were kept up rather for political and commercial
reasons than as a matter of faith or conviction.”[54]

Add to all this the silent but strong influence of the Jews and
Christians who were in constant contact with these idolaters and we
have the explanation of the _Hanifs_. These Hanifs were a small number
of Arabs who worshipped only _Allah_, rejected polytheism, sought
freedom from sin and resignation to God’s will. There were Hanifs at
Taif, Mecca and Medina. They were in fact seekers of truth, weary of
the old idolatry and the prevalent hollow hypocrisy of the Arabs. The
earliest Hanifs of whom we hear, were Waraka, the cousin of the prophet
Mohammed, and Zeid bin Amr, surnamed the Inquirer. Mohammed at first
also adopted this title of Hanif to express the faith of Abraham but
soon after changed it to Moslem.

It is only a step from Hanifism to Islam. Primary monotheism,
Sabeanism, idolatry, fetishism, Hanifism, and then the prophet with the
sword to bring everything back to monotheism—monotheism, as modified
by his own needs and character and compromises. The time of ignorance
was a time of chaos. Everything was ready for one who could take in the
whole situation, social, political and religious and form a cosmos.
That man was Mohammed.



 “Islam was born in the desert, with Arab Sabeanism for its
 mother and Judaism for its father; its foster-nurse was Eastern
 Christianity.”—_Edwin Arnold._

 “A Prophet without miracles; a faith without mysteries; and a morality
 without love; which has encouraged a thirst for blood, and which began
 and ended in the most unbounded sensuality.”—_Schlegel’s Philosophy of

 “As we conceive God, we conceive the universe; a being incapable of
 loving is incapable of being loved.”—_Principal Fairbairn._

Libraries have been written, not only in Arabic and Persian, but in
all the languages of Europe, on the origin, character and history of
Islam, the Koran and Mohammed. Views differ “as far as the east is from
the west” and as far as Bosworth Smith is from Prideaux. The earlier
European writers did not hesitate to call Mohammed a false prophet and
his system a clever imposture; some went further and attributed even
satanic agency to the success of Islam and to the words of the prophet.
Carlyle, in his “Heroes and Hero-worship,” set the pendulum swinging to
the other side so far that his chapter on the Hero-prophet is published
as a leaflet by the Mohammedan Missionary Society of Lahore. So little
did Carlyle understand the true nature of Islam that he calls it “a
kind of Christianity.” What Carlyle said was only the beginning of a
series of apologies and panegyrics which appeared soon after and placed
Mohammed not only on the pedestal of a great reformer but “a very
prophet of God,” making Islam almost the ideal religion. Syeed Ameer
Ali succeeds in his biography in eliminating every sensual, harsh and
ignorant trait from the character of the noted Meccan; and the recent
valuable book of T. W. Arnold, professor in Aligarh College, India,
attempts to prove most elaborately that Mohammedanism was propagated
without the sword.

In contrast to this read what Hugh Broughton quaintly wrote in 1662:
“Now consider this Moamed or Machumed, whom God gave up to a blind
mind, an Ishmaelite, being a poor man till he married a widow; wealthy
then and of high countenance, having the falling sickness and being
tormented by the devil, whereby the widow was sorry that she matched
with him. He persuaded her by himself and others that his fits were
but a trance wherein he talked with the angel Gabriel. So in time
the impostor was reputed a prophet of God and from Judaism, Arius,
Nestorius and his own brain he frameth a doctrine.” In our day, the
critical labors of scholars like Sprenger, Weil, Muir, Koelle and
others have given us a more correct idea of Mohammed’s life and
character. The pendulum is still swinging but will come to rest between
the two extremes.

We have not space to give the story of Mohammed’s life or of the
religion which he founded. An analysis of the religion has been
attempted by means of two tables, one showing its development from
its creed and the other the philosophy of its origin from outside
sources.[56] The result of a century of critical study by European and
American scholars of every school of thought has certainly established
the fact that Islam is a composite religion. It is not an invention
but a concoction; there is nothing novel about it except the genius
of Mohammed in mixing old ingredients into a new panacea for human
ills and forcing it down by means of the sword. These heterogeneous
elements of Islam were gathered in Arabia at a time when many religions
had penetrated the peninsula, and the Kaaba was a Pantheon. Unless one
has a knowledge of these elements of “the time of ignorance,” Islam
is a problem. Knowing, however, these heathen, Christian and Jewish
factors, Islam is seen to be a perfectly natural and understandable
development. Its heathen elements remain, to this day, perfectly
recognizable in spite of thirteen centuries of explanation by the
Moslem authorities. It is to the Jewish Rabbi Geiger that we owe
our first knowledge of the extent to which Islam is indebted to the
Jews and the Talmud. Rev. W. St. Clair Tisdall has recently shown
how Mohammed borrowed even from the Zoroastrians and Sabeans, while
as to the amount of Christian teaching in Islam, the Koran and its
commentators are evidence.

There is a remarkable verse in the twenty-second chapter of the
Koran, in which Mohammed seems to enumerate all the sources that
were accessible to him in forming his new religion; and at that time
he seems to have been in doubt as to which was the most trustworthy
source. The verse reads as follows: “_They who believe and the Jews and
the Sabeans and the Christians and the Magians_ (Zoroastrians) _and
those who join other gods to God, verily God shall decide between them
on the day of Resurrection._”

creed as “an eternal truth “—(“there is no god but God”); but very much
depends on the character of the God, who is affirmed to displace all
other gods. If _Allah’s_ attributes are unworthy of deity then even the
first clause of the briefest of all creeds, is false. There has been a
strange neglect to study the Moslem idea of God and nearly all writers
take for granted that the God of the Koran is the same being and has
like attributes as Jehovah or the Godhead of the New Testament. Nothing
could be further from the truth.

First of all the Mohammedan conception of Allah is purely negative.
God is unique and has no relations to any creature that partake of
resemblance. He cannot be defined in terms other than negative. As the
popular song has it,

    “Kullu ma yukhtaru fi balik
    Fa rabbuna mukhalifun ’an thalik—”[57]

Absolute sovereignty and ruthless omnipotence are his chief attributes
while his character is impersonal—that of a monad. Among the
ninety-nine beautiful names of God, which Edwin Arnold has used in his
poem “Pearls of the Faith,” the ideas of fatherhood, love, impartial
justice and unselfishness are absent. The Christian truth “God is love”
is to the learned, blasphemy and to the ignorant an enigma. Palgrave,
who certainly was not biased against the religion of Arabia and who
lived with the Arabs for long months, calls the theology of Islam
“the pantheism of force.” No one has ever given a better account of
_Allah_, a more faithful portrait of Mohammed’s conception of deity
than Palgrave. Every word of his description tallies with statements
which one can hear daily from pious Moslems. Yet no one who reads
what we quote in all its fullness will recognize here the God whom
David addresses in the Psalms or who became incarnate at Bethlehem and
suffered on Calvary. This is Palgrave’s statement:

“There is no god but God—are words simply tantamount in English to the
negation of any deity save one alone; and thus much they certainly mean
in Arabic, but they imply much more also. Their full sense is, not only
to deny absolutely and unreservedly all plurality, whether of nature
or of person, in the Supreme Being, not only to establish the unity
of the Unbegetting and Unbegot, in all its simple and uncommunicable
Oneness, but besides this the words, in Arabic and among Arabs, imply
that this one Supreme Being is also the only Agent, the only Force,
the only Act existing throughout the universe, and leave to all beings
else, matter or spirit, instinct or intelligence, physical or moral,
nothing but pure, unconditional passiveness, alike in movement or in
quiescence, in action or in capacity. The sole power, the sole motor,
movement, energy, and deed is God; the rest is downright inertia and
mere instrumentality, from the highest archangel down to the simplest
atom of creation. Hence, in this one sentence, ‘La Ilāh illa Allāh,’ is
summed up a system which, for want of a better name, I may be permitted
to call the Pantheism of Force, or of Act, thus exclusively assigned to
God, who absorbs it all, exercises it all, and to whom alone it can be
ascribed, whether for preserving or for destroying, for relative evil
or for equally relative good. I say ‘relative,’ because it is clear
that in such a theology no place is left for absolute good or evil,
reason or extravagance; all is abridged in the autocratic will of the
one great Agent: ‘sic volo, sic jubeo, stet pro ratione voluntas’; or,
more significantly still, in Arabic, ‘Kemā yesha’o,’ ‘as he wills it,’
to quote the constantly recurring expression of the Koran.

“Thus immeasurably and eternally exalted above, and dissimilar from,
all creatures, which lie levelled before him on one common plane of
instrumentality and inertness, God is one in the totality of omnipotent
and omnipresent action, which acknowledges no rule, standard, or limit
save his own sole and absolute will. He communicates nothing to his
creatures, for their seeming power and act ever remain his alone, and
in return he receives nothing from them; for whatever they may be,
that they are in him, by him, and from him only. And secondly, no
superiority, no distinction, no preëminence, can be lawfully claimed
by one creature over its fellow, in the utter equalization of their
unexceptional servitude and abasement; all are alike tools of the
one solitary Force which employs them to crush or to benefit, to
truth or to error, to honor or shame, to happiness, or misery, quite
independently of their individual fitness, deserts, or advantage, and
simply because he wills it, and as he wills it.

“One might at first think that this tremendous autocrat, this
uncontrolled and unsympathizing power, would be far above anything
like passions, desires or inclinations. Yet such is not the case, for
he has with respect to his creatures one main feeling and source of
action, namely, jealousy of them lest they should perchance attribute
to themselves something of what is his alone, and thus encroach on his
all-engrossing kingdom. Hence he is ever more prone to punish than to
reward, to inflict than to bestow pleasure, to ruin than to build.

“It is his singular satisfaction to let created beings continually feel
that they are nothing else than his slaves, his tools, and contemptible
tools also, that thus they may the better acknowledge his superiority,
and know his power to be above their power, his cunning above their
cunning, his will above their will, his pride above their pride; or
rather, that there is no power, cunning, will, or pride save his own.

“But he himself, sterile in his inaccessible height, neither loving
nor enjoying aught save his own and self-measured decree, without son,
companion, or counsellor, is no less barren for himself than for his
creatures, and his own barrenness and lone egoism in himself as the
cause and rule of his indifferent and unregarding despotism around. The
first note is the key of the whole tune, and the primal idea of God
runs through and modifies the whole system and creed that centres in

“That the notion here given of the Deity, monstrous and blasphemous as
it may appear, is exactly and literally that which the Koran conveys,
or intends to convey, I at present take for granted. But that it indeed
is so, no one who has attentively perused and thought over the Arabic
text (for mere cursory reading, especially in a translation, will not
suffice) can hesitate to allow. In fact, every phrase of the preceding
sentences, every touch in this odious portrait has been taken, to the
best of my ability, word for word, or at least meaning for meaning from
the “Book” the truest mirror of the mind and scope of its writer. And
that such was in reality Mahomet’s mind and idea is fully confirmed by
the witness-tongue of contemporary tradition.”

The Koran shows that Mohammed had in a measure a correct knowledge of
the _physical_ attributes of God but an absolutely false conception of
his _moral_ attributes. This was perfectly natural because Mohammed had
no idea of the nature of sin—moral evil—or of holiness—moral perfection.

The Imam El Ghazzali a famous scholastic divine of the Moslems says of
God: “He is not a body endued with form nor a substance circumscribed
with limits or determined by measure. Neither does He resemble bodies,
as they are capable of being measured or divided. Neither is He a
substance nor do substances exist in Him; neither is He an accident nor
do accidents exist in Him. Neither is He like to anything that exists;
neither is anything like to Him; nor is He determinate in quantity
nor comprehended by bounds nor circumscribed by the differences of
situation nor contained in the heavens.... His nearness is not like
the nearness of bodies nor is His essence like the essence of bodies.
Neither doth He exist in anything; neither does anything exist in Him.”
God’s will is absolute and alone; the predestination of everything
and everybody to good or ill according to the caprice of sovereignty.
For there is no Fatherhood and no purpose of redemption to soften the
doctrine of the decrees. Hell must be filled and so Allah creates
infidels. The statements of the Koran on this doctrine are coarse and
of tradition, blasphemous. Islam reduces God to the category of the
will; He is a despot, an Oriental despot, and as the _moral_-law is not
emphasized He is not bound by any standard of justice. Worship of the
creature is heinous to the Moslem mind, and yet Allah punished Satan
for not being willing to worship Adam. (Koran ii. 28-31.) Allah is
merciful in winking at the sins of the prophet but is the avenger of
all unbelievers in him.

    A God-machine, a unit-cause
      Vast, inaccessible
    Who doles out mercy, breaks His laws
      And compromises ill.

    A God whose law is changeless fate,—
      Who grants each prophet-wish—
    For prayer and fasting opes heaven’s gate,
      And pardons for backsheesh.

This is _not_ “the only True God” whom we know through Jesus Christ and
so knowing have life-eternal. “No man knoweth the Father but the _Son_
and he to whom the Son revealeth Him. He who denies the incarnation
remains ignorant of God’s true character. As Fairbairn says, “the love
which the _Godhead_ makes immanent and essential to God, gives God an
altogether new meaning and actuality for religion; while thought is not
forced to conceive Monotheism as the apotheosis of an Almighty will or
an impersonal ideal of the pure reason.” Islam knows no Godhead, and
Allah is not love.

 Transcribers Note: To fit within page and layout constraints this
 Chart the linked tabular format. The
 section beginning with A; Faith and B:Practice Appears to derrive
 equally from "The Doctrine of God" and "The Doctrine of Revelation"
 so has been abstracted and linked from the position the author seems
 to have intended. General notes have been abstracted and displayed as

        “There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his apostle.”

    The Doctrine of God
    “There is no god but God.”
    [Pantheism of Force]
        1. His names
            of the _essence_, _Allah_ (_the absolute unit_)
            of the attributes,—_Ninety-nine names_
        2. His attributes
            The physical emphasized above the _moral_.
            Deification of _absolute force_.
        3. His nature
            Expressed by a series of _negations_
            “He is _not_.”
                                                 To second section
    The Doctrine of Revelation: (Positive.)
    “Mohammed is the apostle of God.”
    [The sole channel of revelation and abrogates former revelations.]
        I. By the KORAN
        (Wahi El Matlu)
        Revelation, verbal, and which teaches the twofold demands of
        [The Book]
        II. By TRADITION
        (Wahi gheir Matlu)
        Revelation by example of
        the perfect prophet
        [The Man]
            1. Records of what Mohammed _did_ (Sunnat-el-fa’il) (example)
            2. Records of what Mohammed _enjoined_ (Sunnat-el-kaul) (precept)
            3. Records of what Mohammed _allowed_ (Sunnat-el-takrir)
            A. The Sunnite Traditions: (collected and recorded by the
               following six authorities)
                1. Buchari A. H. 256[B]]
                2. Muslim ” 261[B]
                3. Tirmizi ” 279[B]
                4. Abu Daood ” 275[B]
                5. An-Nasaee ” 303[B]
                6. Ibn Majah ” 273[B]
            B. The Shiah Traditions: (five authorities)
                1. Kafi A. H. 329
                2. Sheikh Ali ” 381
                3. “Tahzib” ” 466[C]
                4. “Istibsar” ” 466[C]
                5. Ar-Razi ” 406
        III. Other Authority
            a. Among the _Sunnites_:
                IJMA’A or unanimous consent of the leading companions of
                  Mohammed concerning I.
                KIYAS or the deductions of orthodox teachers from sources
                  I. and II.
            b. Among the _Shiahs_:
                The doctrine of the twelve IMAMS—beginning with _Ali_ who
                  interpret I. and II.

Second Section

        A. Faith:
        (what to believe)
            1. In God
            2. Angels
            (angels, jinn, devils)
            3. Books
                Modern Moslems believe that 104 “books” were
                sent from heaven in the following order:
                To Adam—ten books
                ” Seth—fifty
                ” Enoch—thirty
                ” Abraham—ten
                    These are utterly lost.
                ” Moses—the TORAH
                ” David—the ZABOOR
                ” Jesus—the INJIL
                    These are highly spoken of in the Koran but are now
                    in corrupted condition and have been abrogated by
                    the final book.
                ” _Mohammed_—the KORAN (eternal in origin; complete and
                    miraculous in character; supreme in beauty and
            4. Last Day (Judgement)
            5. Predestination
            6. Prophets
                A. _The Greater_:
                    Adam—“Chosen of God”
                    Noah—“Preacher of God”
                    Abraham—“Friend of God”
                    Moses—“Spokesman of God”
                    Jesus—called “Word of God and “Spirit of God.”
                    MOHAMMED, (_who has 201 names and titles_)
                        Enoch, Hud, Salih,
                        Ishmael, Issac,
                        Jacob, Joseph, Lot,
                        Aaron, Shuaib,
                        Zakariah, John,
                        David, Solomon,
                        Elias, Job, Jonah,
                        Ezra, Lukman,
                        Zu-el-kifl and
                        Alexander the Great,
                B. _The Less_: Of these there have been thousands.
                                Twenty-two are mentioned in the Koran:
            7. Resurrection
        B. Practice
        (what to do)
        “Din” [_the five pillars_]
            1. Repetition of Creed
            2. _Prayer_ (five times daily) including:
                1. Purification
                    washing various parts of the body three times ac’d’g
                      to fourteen rules
                2. Posture (prostrations)
                    facing the kiblah (Mecca)
                3. Petition
                    the Fatihah or first Surah.
                    Praise and confession—the Salaam.
                3. Fasting (month of Ramadhan)
                4. Alms giving (about 1-40 of income.)
                5. Pilgrimage
                    _Mecca_ (incumbent)
                    Medina (meritorious but voluntary)
                    Kerbela, Meshed Ali, etc., (Shiahs)

 [A] Verbally handed down from mouth to mouth and finally _sifted_ and
 recorded by both sects:

 [B] Not one of them flourished until _three cenruries_ after Mohammed.

 [C] By Abu Jaafar.



  (As existing in Mecca or prevalent
  in other parts of Arabia.)

        a. Sabeanism:

              Astrological superstitions, _e. g._, that meteorites are
                cast at the devil.

              Oaths by the stars and planets. (Surahs 56, 53, etc.)

              Circumambulation of Kaaba—and, perhaps, the _lunar_ calendar.

        b. Arabian Idolatry:

              Allah (as _name_ of supreme deity), used in old poets and
                worshipped by Hanifs.

              Mecca—centre of religious pilgrimage—The black-stone, etc.

              Pilgrimage—_in every detail_: dress, hair offerings,
                casting stones, sacrifice, running.

              Polygamy, slavery, easy divorce, and social laws generally.

              Ceremonial cleanliness, forbidden foods, _circumcision_.

        c. Zoroastrianism:

              Cosmogony—The different stories of the earth. Bridge over

              Paradise—Its character—the _houris_=pairikas of Avesta.

              Doctrine of _Jinn_ and their various kinds. Exorcism of jinn
                (Surah 113, 114).

        d. Buddhism:

           The use of the rosary.

           (See Hughes’ Dict. of Islam.)


  (The Old Testament but more especially
  the _Talmud_ as the source of Jewish
  ideas prevalent in Arabia just
  before Mohammed.)

        A. Ideas and Doctrines:

           (According to the divisions
           of Rabbi Geiger.)

              1. Words that represent Jewish ideas
                 (and are _not_ Arabic but Hebrew.) _Taboot_ (ark); _Torah_
                 (law); _Eden_; _Gehinnom_; _Rabbi_, _Abbar_=teacher;
                 _Sakinat_=Shekinah; _Taghoot_ (used hundreds of times
                 in Koran)=error; _Furkan_, etc., etc., etc.

              2. Doctrinal views.

                    _Unity of God._


                    Seven hells and seven heavens.

                    Final judgment. Signs of last day.

                    Gog and Magog.

              3. Moral and Ceremonial laws.

                    Prayer.  Its time, posture, direction, etc.

                    Laws regarding impurity of body. Washing
                       with water or with sand.

                    Laws regarding purification of women, etc.

              4. Views of life

                    Use of “inshallah”; age of discretion corresponds to

        B. Stories and Legends:

           (According to Rabbi Geiger.)

              Adam, Cain, Enoch; the fabulous things in Koran are
               _identical_ with Talmud.

              Noah—the flood—Eber (Hud)—Isaac,—Ishmael—_Joseph_.
                Cf. Koran with Talmud.

              Abraham—His idolatry—Nimrod’s oven—Pharao—the calf—(taken
                from Talmud.)

              Moses—The fables related of him and Aaron are old Jewish

              Jethro (Shuaib); Saul (Taloot); Goliath (Jiloot), and
               _Solomon_ especially. Cf. Talmud.


       (Corrupt form, as found in the
       apocryphal gospels.)

       “_Gospel of Barnabas._”

        1. Reverence for New Testament—Injil—(Zacharias, John, Gabriel).

        2. Respect for religious teachers; the Koran references to
             priests and monks.

        3. Jesus Christ—His names—Word of God, Spirit of God, etc.—Puerile
             miracles—_Denial of crucifixion_. (Basilidians, etc.)

        4. The Virgin—Her sinlessness—and the apostles—“hawari” an
            _Abyssinian_ word meaning “pure ones.”

        5. Wrong ideas of the Trinity. As held by Arabian heretical sects.

        6. Christian legends as of “Seven Sleepers,” “Alexander of the
             horns,” “Lokman” (=Æsop.)

        7. A fast month. Ramadhan to imitate lent.

        8. Alms-giving as an essential part of true worship.

              “The Koran could not
        have been composed by
        any except God....
        Will they say he forged
        it? Answer bring therefore
        a chapter like unto
        it.”—THE KORAN.      (Surah Yunas.)


                       THE PROPHET AND HIS BOOK

In 570 A. D. Abdullah the son of Abd el Muttalib a Mecca merchant went
on a trading trip from Mecca to Medina and died there; the same year
his wife, Amina, gave birth to a boy, named _Mohammed_, at Mecca. One
hundred years later the name of this Arab lad, joined to that of the
Almighty, was called out from ten thousand mosques five times daily,
from Muscat to Morocco, and his new religion was sweeping everything
before it in three continents.

What is the explanation of this marvel of history? Many theories have
been laid down and the true explanation is probably the sum of all
of them. The weakness of Oriental Christianity and the corrupt state
of the church; the condition of the Roman and Persian empires; the
character of the new religion; the power of the sword and fanaticism;
the genius of Mohammed; the partial truth of his teaching; the
genius of Mohammed’s successors; the hope of plunder and love of
conquest;—such are some of the causes given for the early and rapid
success of Islam.

Mohammed was a prophet without miracles but not without genius.
Whatever we may deny him we can never deny that he was a great man with
great talents. But he was not a self-made man. His environment accounts
in a large measure for his might and for his method in becoming a
religious leader. There was first of all the political factor. “The
year of the elephant” had seen the defeat of the Christian hosts of
Yemen who came to attack the Kaaba. This victory was to the young and
ardent mind of Mohammed prophetic of the political future of Mecca and
no doubt his ambition assigned himself the chief place in the coming
conflict of Arabia against the Roman and Persian oppressors.

Next came the religious factor. The times were ripe for religious
leadership and Mecca was already the centre of a new movement. The
Hanifs had rejected the old idolatry and entertained the hope that a
prophet would arise from among them.[60] There was material of all
sorts at hand to furnish the platform of a new faith; it only required
the builder’s eye to call cosmos out of chaos. To succeed in doing
this it would be necessary to reject material also; a comprehensive
religion and a compromising religion, so as to suit Jew and Christian
and idolater alike.

Then there was the family factor, or, in other words, the aristocratic
standing of Mohammed. He was not a mere “camel-driver.” The Koreish
were the ruling clan of Mecca; Mecca was even then the centre for all
Arabia; and Mohammed’s grandfather, Abd el Muttalib, was the most
influential and powerful man of that aristocratic city. The pet-child
of Abd el Muttalib was the orphan boy Mohammed. Until his eighth year
he was under the shelter and favor of this chief man of the Koreish.
He learned what it was to be lordly and to exercise power, and never
forgot it. The man, his wife and his training were the determinative
factors in the character of Mohammed. The ruling factor was the mind
and genius of the man himself. Of attractive personal qualities,
beautiful countenance, and accomplished in business, he first won the
attention and then the heart of a very wealthy widow, Khadijah. Koelle
tells us that she was “evidently an Arab lady of a strong mind and
mature experience who maintained a decided ascendency over her husband,
and managed him with great wisdom and firmness. This appears from
nothing more strikingly, than from the very remarkable fact that she
succeeded in keeping him from marrying any other wife as long as she
lived, though at her death, when he had long ceased to be a young man
he indulged without restraint in the multiplication of wives. But as
Khadijah herself was favorably disposed toward Hanifism, it is highly
probable that she exercised her commanding influence over her husband
in such a manner as to promote and strengthen his own attachment to the
reformatory sect of monotheists.”

Mohammed married this woman when he had reached his twenty-fifth year.
At the age of forty he began to have his revelations and to preach his
new religion. His first convert, naturally perhaps, was his wife, then
Ali and Zeid his two adopted children; then his friend, the prosperous
merchant, Abu-Bekr. Such was the nucleus for the new faith.

Mohammed is described in tradition as a man above middle height, of
spare figure, commanding presence, massive head, noble brow, and
jet-black hair. His eyes were piercing. He had a long bushy beard.
Decision marked his every movement and he always walked rapidly.
Writers seem to agree that he had the genius to command and expected
obedience from equals as well as inferiors. James Freeman Clarke says
that to him more than to any other of whom history makes mention was

    “The monarch mind, the mystery of commanding,
    The birth-hour gift, the art Napoleon
    Of wielding, moulding, gathering, welding, banding
    The hearts of thousands till they moved as one.”

As to the moral character of Mohammed there is great diversity of
opinion and the conclusions of different scholars cannot be easily
reconciled. Muir, Dods, Badger, and others claim that he was at first
sincere and upright, himself believing in his so-called revelations,
but that afterward, intoxicated by success, he used the dignity of his
prophetship for personal ends and was conscious of deceiving the people
in some of his later revelations. Bosworth Smith and his like, maintain
that he was “a very Prophet of God” all through his life and that the
sins and faults of his later years are only specks on the sun of his
glory. Older writers, with whom I agree, saw in Mohammed only the skill
of a clever impostor from the day of his first message to the day of
his death. Koelle, whose book is a mine of accurate scholarship and
whose experience of many years mission-work in Moslem lands qualifies
him for a sober judgment, sees no striking contrast between the earlier
and later part of Mohammed’s life that cannot be easily explained
by the influence of Khadijah. He was _semper idem_, an ambitious
enthusiast choosing different means for the same end and never very
particular as to the character of the means used.

Aside from the question of Mohammed’s sincerity no one can apologize
for his moral character if judged according to the law of his time,
the law himself professed to reveal or the law of the New Testament.
By the New Testament law of Jesus Christ, who was the last prophet
before Mohammed and whom Mohammed acknowledged as the Word of God, the
Arabian prophet stands self-condemned. The most cursory examination of
his biography proves that he broke repeatedly every sacred precept of
the Sermon on the Mount. And the Koran itself proves that the Spirit of
Jesus was entirely absent from the mind of Mohammed. The Arabs among
whom Mohammed was born and grew to manhood also had a law, although
they were idolaters, slave-holders and polygamists. Even the robbers of
the desert who, like Mohammed, laid in wait for caravans, had a code
of honor. Three flagrant breaches of this code stain the character
of Mohammed.[61] It was quite lawful to marry a captive woman whose
relatives had been slain in battle, but not until _three months after
their death_. Mohammed only waited three days in the case of the Jewess
Safia. It was lawful to rob merchants but not pilgrims on their way to
Mecca. Mohammed broke this old law and “revealed a verse” to justify
his conduct. Even in the “Time of Ignorance” it was incest to marry
the wife of an adopted son even after his decease. The prophet Mohammed
fell in love with the lawful wife of his adopted son Zeid, prevailed
on him to divorce her and then married her immediately; for this also
he had a “special revelation.” But Mohammed was not only guilty of
breaking the old Arab laws and coming infinitely short of the law of
Christ, he never even kept the laws of which he claimed to be the
divinely appointed medium and custodian. When Khadijah died he found
his own law, lax as it was, insufficient to restrain his lusts. His
followers were to be content with four lawful wives; he indulged in ten
and entered into negotiations for matrimony with thirty others.

It is impossible to form a just estimate of the character of Mohammed
unless we know somewhat of his relations with women. This subject
however is of necessity shrouded from a decent contemplation by the
superabounding brutality and filthiness of its character. A recent
writer in a missionary magazine touching on this subject says, “We must
pass the matter over, simply noting that there are depths of filth in
the Prophet’s character which may assort well enough with the depraved
sensuality of the bulk of his followers ... but which are simply
loathsome in the eyes of all over whom Christianity in any measure or
degree has influence.” We have no inclination to lift the veil that
in most English biographies covers the family-life of the prophet of
Arabia. But it is only fair to remark that these love-adventures and
the disgusting details of his married life form a large part of the
“lives of the prophet of God” which are the fireside literature of
educated Moslems.

Concerning the career of Mohammed after the Hegira, or flight from
Mecca (622 A. D.) a brief summary suffices to show of what spirit
he was. Under his orders and direction the Moslems lay in wait for
caravans and plundered them, the first victories of Islam were the
victories of highwaymen and robbers. Asma, the poetess who assailed the
character of Mohammed, was foully murdered in her sleep by Omeir, and
Mohammed praised him for the deed. Similarly Abu Afik, the Jew, was
killed at the request of Mohammed. The story of the massacre of the
Jewish captives is a dark stain also on the character of the prophet
whose mouth ever spoke of “the Merciful and Compassionate.” After the
victory, trenches were dug across the market-place and one by one the
male-captives were beheaded on the brink of the trench and cast in it.
The butchery lasted all day and it needed torch-light to finish it.
After dark Mohammed solaced himself with Rihana a Jewish captive girl,
who refused marriage and Islam, but became his bond-slave. It is no
wonder that shortly after, Zeinab, who had lost her father and brother
in battle, tried to avenge her race by attempting to poison Mohammed.

In the seventh year of the Hegira Mohammed went to Mecca and instituted
for all time the Moslem pilgrimage. The following year he again set
out for Mecca at the head of an army of 10,000 men and took the city
without a battle. Other expeditions followed and up to the day, almost
the hour, of his death the prophet was planning conquests by the sword.
It is a bloody story from the year of the Hegira until the close of
the Caliphates. He who reads it in Muir’s volumes cannot but feel the
sad contrast between the early days of Islam and the early days of
Christianity. The germ of all _sword-conquest_ must be sought in the
life and book of Mohammed. Both consecrate butchery in the service of
Allah. The successors of Mohammed were not less unmerciful than was the
prophet himself.

Thus far we have considered Mohammed from a critical standpoint and
have written facts. But the Mohammed of history and the Mohammed of the
present day Moslem biographers are two different persons. Even in the
Koran, Mohammed is human and liable to error. Tradition has changed
all that. He is now sinless and almost divine. The two hundred and
one names given him by pious believers proclaim his apotheosis. He
is called Light of God, Peace of the World, Glory of the Ages, First
of all Creatures and names yet more lofty and blasphemous. He is at
once the sealer and concealor of all former prophets and revelations.
They have not only been succeeded but also supplanted by Mohammed. No
Moslem prays _to_ him, but every Moslem daily prays for him in endless
repetition. He is the only powerful intercessor on the day of judgment.
Every detail of his early life is surrounded with fantastical miracles
and marvels to prove his divine commission. Even the evil in his life
is attributed to divine permission or command and so the very signs of
his character are his endless glory and his sign of superiority. God
favored him above all creatures. He dwells in the highest heaven and
is several degrees above Jesus in honor and station. His name is never
uttered or written without the addition of a prayer. “Ya Mohammed” is
the open sesame to every door of difficulty, temporal or spiritual.
One hears that name in the bazaar and in the street, in the mosque
and from the minaret. Sailors sing it while raising their sails;
_hammals_ groan it to raise a burden; the beggar howls it to obtain
alms; it is the Bedouin’s cry in attacking a caravan; it hushes babies
to sleep as a cradle song; it is the pillow of the sick and the last
word of the dying, it is written on the door-posts and in their hearts
as well as since eternity on the throne of God, it is to the devout
Moslem the name above every name; grammarians can tell you how its
four letters are representative of all the sciences and mysteries by
their wonderful combination. The name of Mohammed is the best to give
a child and the best to swear by for an end of all dispute in a close
bargain. The exceeding honor given to Mohammed’s name by his followers
is only _one_ indication of the place their prophet occupies in their
system and holds in their hearts. From the fullness of the heart the
mouth speaketh. Mohammed holds the keys of heaven and hell. No Moslem,
however bad his character, will perish finally; no unbeliever, however
good his life, can be saved except through Mohammed. One has only to
question the Moslem masses or read a single volume of the traditions to
prove these statements.

Islam denies a mediator and an incarnation but the “Story of the Jew”
and similar tales put Mohammed in the place of a mediator without an
incarnation, without an atonement, without holiness. Our Analysis of
the Moslem creed shows how all the later teaching which so exalted
Mohammed was present in the germ. “_La ilaha illa Allah_” is the
theology, “_Mohammed er rasool Allah_,” the complete Soteriology of
Islam. The logical necessity of a perfect mediator was at the basis of
the _doctrine of Tradition_. Islam has, it claims, a perfect revelation
in the letter of the Koran; and a perfect example in the life of
Mohammed. The stream has not risen higher than its sources.

THE BOOK OF ISLAM. When Mohammed Webb the latest American champion of
Islam spoke at the Chicago Parliament of religions in praise of the
Koran and its teaching, Rev. George E. Post, M. D., of Beirut deemed
it a sufficient reply to let the book speak for itself. He said: “I
hold in my hand a book which is never touched by 200,000,000 of the
human race with unwashen hands, a book which is never carried below
the waist, a book which is never laid upon the floor, a book every
word of which to these 200,000,000 of the human race is considered the
direct word of God which came down from heaven. I propose without note
or comment to read to you a few words from the sacred book and you may
make your own comments upon them afterward.” After quoting several
verses to show that Mohammed preached a religion of the sword and of
polygamy, he added: “There is one chapter which I dare not stand before
you, my sisters, mothers and daughters, and read to you. I have not the
face to read it; nor would I like to read it even in a congregation of
men. It is the sixty-fourth chapter of the Koran.”

What sort of a book is this revelation of Mohammed of which parts are
unfit to read before a Christian audience and which yet is too holy to
be touched by other than Moslem hands? A book which the orthodox Moslem
believes to be uncreated and eternal, all-embracing and all-surpassing,
miraculous in its origin and contents. A book concerning which Mohammed
himself has said, “If the Koran were wrapped in a skin and thrown
into the fire it would not burn.” Goethe described it thus: “However
often we turn to it, at first disgusting us each time afresh it soon
attracts, astounds, and in the end enforces our reverence. Its style in
accordance with its contents and aim is stern, grand, terrible—and ever
and anon truly sublime. Thus this book will go on exercising through
all ages a most potent influence.” And Nöldeke writes, “if it were not
for the exquisite flexibility and vigor of the Arabic language itself,
which, however is to be attributed more to the age in which the author
lived than to his individuality, it would scarcely be bearable to read
the later portions of the Koran a second time.” Goethe read only the
translation; and Nöldeke was master of the original. It is as hopeless
to arrive at a unanimous verdict regarding the Koran as it is to reach
an agreement regarding Mohammed.

The book has fifty-five noble titles on the lips of its people but is
generally called _the Koran_ or “The Reading.” It has one hundred and
fourteen chapters, some of which are as long as the book of Genesis and
others consisting of two or three sentences only. The whole book is
smaller than the New Testament, has no chronological order whatever and
is without logical sequence or climax. What strikes the reader first
of all is its jumbled character; every sort of fact and fancy, law and
legend is thrown together piecemeal. The four proposed chronological
arrangements, by Jorlal-ud-Din, Muir, Rodwell and Nöldeke are in utter
disagreement. Only two of Mohammed’s contemporaries are mentioned in
the entire book and his own name occurs only five times. The book
is unintelligible to the average Moslem without a commentary, and I
defy any one else to lead it through, without the aid of notes, and
understand a single chapter or even section.

We will not stop to consider the fabulous account which Moslems give
of the origin of the Koran and how the various chapters were revealed.
Although Moslems claim that the book was eternally perfect in form
and preserved in heaven, they are compelled to admit that it was
revealed piecemeal and at various times and places by Mohammed to his
followers. It was recorded in writing, after the rude Arab fashion,
“on palm-leaves and sheep-bones and white stones” to some extent; but
for the most part was preserved orally by constant repetition. Omar
suggested to Abu-Bekr after the battle of Yemama that since many of
the Koran reciters were slain, it would be the part of wisdom to put
the book of God in permanent form. The task was committed to Zaid, the
chief amanuensis of Mohammed and the resulting volume was entrusted to
the care of Hafsa, one of the widows of the prophet. Ten years later
a recension of the Koran was ordered by the Caliph Othman and all
previous copies were called in and burned. This recension of Othman,
sent to all the chief cities of the Moslem world, has been faithfully
handed down to the present. “No other book in the world has remained
twelve centuries with so pure a text.” (Hughes.) The present variations
in editions of the Arabic Koran are numerous but none of them are, in
any sense important. The present Koran is the same book that Mohammed
professed to have received from God. Out of its own mouth will we judge
the book; and we cannot judge the book without judging the prophet.

We will speak later of the poetical beauties of the Koran and of its
literary character. We do not deny also that there are in the Koran
certain moral beauties, such as its deep and fervent trust in the one
God, its lofty descriptions of His Almighty power and omnipresence, and
its sententious wisdom. The first chapter and the verse of the throne
are examples.

  “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
  Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds!
  The Compassionate, the Merciful!
  King on the Day of Judgment!
  Thee do we worship, and to Thee do we cry for help!
  Guide Thou us on the right path!
  The path of those to whom Thou art gracious!
  Not of those with whom Thou art angered, nor of those who go astray.”

    “God! there is no God but He; the living, the Eternal
    Slumber doth not overtake Him, neither sleep.
    To Him belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on the earth.
    The preservation of both is no weariness unto Him.
    He is the high, the mighty.”

The great bulk of the Koran is either legislative or legendary; the
book consists of laws and stories. The former relate entirely to
subjects which engrossed the Arabs of Mohammed’s day—the laws of
inheritance, the relation of the sexes, the law of retaliation, etc—and
this part of the book has a local character. The stories on the other
hand go back to Adam and the patriarchs, take in several unknown
Arabian prophets or leaders, centre around Jesus Christ, Moses and
Solomon and do not venture beyond Jewish territory except to mention
Alexander the Great and Lukman (Æsop).

From the analytical tables it is not very difficult to see whence the
material for the Koran was selected. Rabbi Geiger’s book, recently
translated into English, will satisfy any reader that Hughes is
nearly right when he says, “Mohammedanism is simply Talmudic Judaism
adapted to Arabia plus the apostleship of Jesus and Mohammed.” But it
is _Talmudic_ Judaism and not the Judaism of the Old Testament. For
the Koran is remarkable most of all not because of its contents but
because of its omissions. Not because of what it reveals but for what
it _conceals_ of “former revelations.” The defects of its teaching are
many. It is full of historical errors and blunders. It has monstrous
fables. It teaches a false cosmogony. It is full of superstitions. It
perpetuates slavery, polygamy, religious intolerance, the seclusion
and degradation of woman and petrifies social life. But all this is of
minor importance compared with the fact that the Koran professing to
be a _revelation_ from God does not teach the way to reconciliation
with God and seems to ignore the first and great barrier to such
reconciliation, viz: SIN. Of this the Old and New Testaments are always
speaking. Sin and salvation are the subject of which the _Torah_ and
the _Zaboor_ and the _Injil_ (Law Prophets and Psalms) are full. The
Koran is silent or if not absolutely silent, keeps this great question
ever in the background.[62]

It is a commonplace of theology that “to form erroneous conceptions
of sin is to fall into still graver errors regarding the way of
salvation.” Mohammed, as is evident from his whole life, had no deep
conviction of sin in himself; he was full of self-righteousness. His
ideas, too, of God, were _physical_, not _moral_; he saw God’s power,
but never had a glimpse of His holiness. And so we find that there is
an inward unity binding together the prophet and his book as to their
real character in the light of the gospel. With _such_ ideas of God,
_such_ a prophet and _such_ a book, it is easy to understand why the
Mohammedan world became what it is to-day. These bare outlines of the
system of Islam are all that are necessary to indicate its nature and
genus. Allah’s character as the revealer, Mohammed’s character as the
channel of the revelation, and the revelation itself, show us Islam in
its cradle.



 “Nothing is so easy to appreciate as true Christian commerce. It
 is a speaking argument, even to the lowest savage, for a gospel of
 truth and love, and yet more to the races sophisticated by a false
 civilization.”—_Principal Cairns._

The history of the Arabian Peninsula has never yet been written.
Many books describe certain periods of its history from the time of
the earlier Arabian rulers, but there is no volume that tells the
story from the beginning in a way worthy of the subject. It would be
interesting to search out the earliest records and trace the Himyarite
dynasties to their origin; to learn the story of the Jewish immigrants
who settled in Medina, Mecca and Yemen even before the Christian Era;
to follow the Arabs in their conquests under the banner of the prophet;
to watch the sudden rise of the Carmathians and follow them in their
career of destruction; to search the old libraries and rediscover the
romantic story of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English in Arabian
waters;—but our space limits us to the story of the past century.[63]

To understand the present political conditions and recent history of
Arabia, we must go back to the year 1765, which marks the rise of
the remarkable Wahabi movement, which was at the bottom of all the
political changes that the Peninsula has seen since that time. This
movement was the renaissance of Islam, even though it ended in apparent
disaster, and was politically a splendid fiasco. The Wahabi reform
attracted the attention of Turkey to Arabia; its influence was felt in
India to the extent of declaring a _jihad_ or religious war against
the government, and compelled England to study the situation and send
representatives to the very heart of Arabia.

Beginning with the Wahabi dynasty, the history of the past century in
Arabia centres in the rulers of Nejd and Oman, the Turkish conquests
and the English influence and occupation. The strong independent
government of Nejd under Ibn Rashid and his successor, Abd-ul-Aziz,
would have been an impossibility except for the result of the Wahabi
movement, in demonstrating the weakness of Turkish rule. And it was for
fear of the Wahabi aggressions that Turkey strengthened her Arabian
possessions and invaded Hassa.

Mohammed bin Abd-ul-Wahab was born at Ayinah in Nejd, in 1691.
Carefully instructed by his father in the tenets of Islam according
to the school of Hambali, the strictest of the four great sects.[64]
Abd-ul-Wahab visited the schools of Mecca, Busrah and Bagdad, to
increase his learning. At Medina, too, he absorbed the deepest
learning of the Moslem divines and soaked himself in the “six correct
books” of traditions. In his travels he had observed the laxity of
faith and practice which had crept in, especially among the Turks
and the Arabs of the large cities. He tried to distinguish between
the essential elements of Islam and its later additions, some of
which seemed to him to savor of gross idolatry and worldliness. What
most offended the rigid monotheism of his philosophy was the almost
universal visitation of shrines, invocation of saints and honor paid
to the tomb of Mohammed. The use of the rosary, of jewels, silk, gold,
silver, wine and tobacco, were all abominations to be eschewed. These
were indications of the great need for reform. The earlier teaching
of the companions of the prophet had been set aside or overlaid by
later teaching. Even the four orthodox schools had departed from the
pure faith by allowing pilgrimage to Medina, by multiplying festivals
and philosophizing about the nature of Allah. Therefore it was that
Abd-ul-Wahab preached reform not only, but proclaimed himself the
leader of a new sect. His teaching was based on the Koran and the early

This movement is chiefly distinguished from the orthodox system in the
following particulars:

 1. The Wahabis reject _Ijma_ or the agreement of later interpreters.

 2. They offer no prayers to prophet, wali, or saint, nor visit their
 tombs for that purpose.

 3. They say Mohammed is _not yet_ an intercessor; although at the last
 day he will be.

 4. They forbid women to visit the graves of the dead.

 5. They allow only four festivals, _Fitr_, _Azha_, _’Ashura_ and
 _Lailat El Mobarek_.

 6. They do not celebrate Mohammed’s birth.

 7. They use their knuckles for prayer-counting, and not rosaries.

 8. They strictly forbid the use of silk, gold, silver ornaments,
 tobacco, music, opium, and every luxury of the Orient, except perfume
 and women.

 9. They have anthropomorphic ideas of God by strictly literal
 interpretation of the Koran texts about “His hand,” “sitting,” etc.

 10. They believe _jihad_ or religious war, is not out of date, but
 incumbent on the believer.

 11. They condemn minarets, tombstones, and everything that was not in
 use during the first years of Islam.

There is no doubt that Abd-ul-Wahab honestly tried to bring about
a reform and that in many of the points enumerated his reform was
strictly a return to primitive Islam. But it was too radical to last.
It took no count of modern civilization and the ten centuries that had
modified the very character of the Arabs of the towns not to speak
of those outside of Arabia. Yet the preaching of the Reformer found
willing ears in the isolation of the desert. As in the days of Omar,
the promise of reform in religion was made attractive by the promise
of rich booty to those who fought in the path of God and destroyed
creature-worshippers. Mohammed Abd-ul-Wahab was the preacher, but
to propagate his doctrine he needed a sword. Mohammed bin Saud, of
Deraiyah, supplied the latter factor and the two Mohammeds, allied by
marriage and a common ambition, began to make converts and conquests.
The son of Bin Saud, Abd-ul-Aziz, was the Omar of the new movement,
and his son Saud even surpassed the father in military prowess and
successful conquest. Abd-ul-Aziz was murdered by a Persian fanatic
while prostrate in prayer in the mosque at Deraiyah, in 1803. Saud
at this very time was pushing the Wahabi conquest to the very gates
of Mecca. On the 27th of April, 1803, he carried his banner into the
court of the Kaaba and began to cleanse the holy place. Piles of pipes,
tobacco, silks, rosaries and amulets were collected into one great
heap and set on fire by the infuriated enthusiasts. No excesses were
committed against the people except that religion was forced upon
them. The mosques were filled by public “whips” who used their leather
thongs without mercy on all the lazy or negligent. Everybody, for a
marvel, prayed five times a day. The result of his victory at Mecca
was communicated by the dauntless Saud in the following naïve letter
addressed to the Sultan of Turkey:

 “SAUD TO SALIM—I entered Mecca on the fourth day of Moharram in the
 1218th year of the Hegira. I kept peace toward the inhabitants. I
 destroyed all things that were idolatrously worshipped. I abolished
 all taxes except those that were required by the law. I confirmed the
 Kadhi whom you had appointed agreeably to the commands of the prophet
 of God. I desire that you will give orders to the rulers of Damascus
 and Cairo not to come up to the sacred city with the _Mahmal_[65] and
 with trumpets and drums. Religion is not profited by these things. May
 the peace and blessing of God be with you.”

The absence of long salutations and the usual phrases of honor is
characteristic of all Wahabi correspondence. In this respect it is a
great improvement on the excessive lavishment of titles and honors so
usual among Moslems, especially among the Persians and the Turks.

Before the close of the year Saud avenged his father’s death by
attacking Medina and destroying the gilded dome that covered the
prophet’s tomb. As early as 1801 parties of plundering Wahabis had
sacked the tomb of Hussein and carried off rich booty from the sacred
city of Kerbela. According to the official inventory this booty
consisted of vases, carpets, jewels, weapons innumerable; also, 500
gilded copper-plates from the dome, 4,000 cashmire shawls, 6,000
Spanish doubloons, 350,000 Venetian coins of silver, 400,000 Dutch
ducats, 250,000 Spanish dollars and a large number of Abyssinian slaves
belonging to the mosque.[66] Their raids and conquests extended in
every direction so that in a few years the Wahabi power was supreme in
the greater part of Arabia.

A single illustration will show the great Saud’s[67] prudence and
celerity in action. When he invaded the Hauran plains, in 1810,
although it was thirty-five days’ journey from his capital, yet the
news of his approach only preceded his arrival by two days, nor was it
known what part of Syria he planned to attack, and thirty-five villages
of Hauran were sacked before the Pasha of Damascus could make any
demonstrations for defence!

Meanwhile the Sublime Porte remained inactive and nothing was done to
regain the sacred territories. It was deemed impossible to reach Mecca
from Damascus with any large body of soldiers through hostile territory
where supplies were scarce. Salvation was expected from Egypt; and it
was hoped that an expedition by sea might succeed in taking Jiddah and
thence advance upon Mecca. Mohammed Ali began preparations in 1810, and
in the summer of 1811 an expedition under his son Touson Pasha was sent
out from Suez. In October the fleet arrived at Yenbo and the troops
took the town. Ghaleb the Sherif of Mecca proved false to the Wahabis
and made negotiations with the Turkish commander to hand over the
town. In January the army occupied Medina but at Bedr the troops were
attacked by Wahabis and utterly routed.

All through this first campaign the cruelty and treachery of the Turks
was shocking even to the mind of their Bedouin allies. None of their
promises were kept; the skulls of the enemy slain were constructed
into a sort of tower near Medina; Ghalib, the Sherif, was betrayed and
in violation of the most sacred promises he was taken prisoner and
deported; wholesale butchery of the wounded and mutilation of the slain
were common.

A second army under Mustafa Bey advanced toward Mecca and also took
possession of Taif. Although the five cities of the Hejaz were now in
the hands of the Turks the Wahabi power was not yet broken. Mohammed
Ali Pasha himself proceeded from Egypt with another army; he had great
difficulty in securing transportation and provisions. Finally he landed
his troops at Jiddah and went on to Mecca, planning to attack Taraba
the great Wahabi centre of the south, as Deraiyah was the capital
of the north. Here the enemy had gathered in great numbers under an
Amazon leader, a widow named Ghalye who ruled the Begoum Arabs. She was
reported to be a sorceress among the Turks and stories of her skill and
courage inspired them with fear. When the attack was made the Wahabis
came off victorious and so harassed the army of occupation that during
1813 and the beginning of 1814 they remained perfectly inactive. Later
the Turks made a sea attack on Gunfida, the port south of Jiddah, and
captured it. The Wahabis however captured the wells that supplied the
town, made a sortie and the Turkish troops fled panic-stricken, to
their ships. Discontentment arose among the Turkish troops. Supplies
failed and wages were in arrears. Mohammed Ali changed now his tactics
and tried to bribe the Bedouin chiefs to desert the Wahabi leaders. At
this time the Turkish army consisted of nearly 20,000 men and yet the
campaign dragged on without a definite victory.[68]

The greatest battle was fought at Bissel near Taif where Mohammed Ali
defeated the Wahabis with great slaughter. Six dollars were offered
for every Wahabi head and before the day ended 5,000 bloody heads
were piled up before the Pasha. About 300 prisoners were taken and
offered quarter. But on reaching Mecca the cruel commander impaled
fifty of them before the gates of the city; twelve suffered a like
horrible death at every one of the ten coffee-houses, halting places
between Mecca and Jiddah; the remainder were killed at Jiddah and their
carcasses left to dogs and vultures.

But the battle went against the Turks when they met the desert and its
terrors. Hunger, thirst, fevers and the Bedouin robbers attacked the
camp. In one day a hundred horses died; the soldiers were dissatisfied
and deserted. At length Mohammed Ali made proposals of peace to
Abdullah bin Saud the Wahabi chief, and when Saud entered Kasim with
an army the negotiations were concluded and peace was declared. But
peace was not kept, and Ibrahim Pasha, the son of Mohammed Pasha was
despatched with a large expedition against the Wahabis in August, 1816.

While Egypt was attacking the Wahabi strongholds from the west, with
infinite trouble and dubious results, the greatest loss the Wahabi
government had yet suffered, was from a blow dealt by the British.
In 1809 an English expedition went from Bombay against the piratical
inhabitants of their chief castle and harbor, Ras-el-Kheimah. The
place was bombarded and laid in ashes.

Ibrahim Pasha accomplished by intrigue and bribery what his father
failed to do by force of arms. After a series of advances one tribe
after another was detached from the Wahabi government. At last without
a battle the capital Deraiyah was taken, Abdullah captured, sent to
Constantinople and there publicly executed on December 18th, 1818.

The Turks were naturally jubilant over their success and thought
they had made an end of the hated Wahabis. They soon learned their
mistake. No sooner was the army of Ibrahim Pasha withdrawn than the
old spirit rehabilitated the fallen empire with the old time strength
of fanaticism. The army of the Pashas could not govern or even occupy
the vast territories they had overrun. Within a few years Turki the
son of the late Amir was proclaimed Sultan of Nejd, recovered all and
more than his father’s territories, and by the judicious payment of a
small tribute and yet smaller honor to the Egyptian Khedive retained
the throne until he was murdered in 1831. His son and successor,
Feysul, took the reins of government and was rash enough to repudiate
the Egyptian Suzerainty. Nejd was again invaded. Hofhoof and Katif were
temporarily occupied by Egyptian and Turkish troops and Feysul was
banished to Egypt.[69]

Feysul died in 1865, having returned from his banishment in 1843 and
ruling alone and supreme for all those years. His son Abdullah, who had
acted as regent during the later years of Feysul, succeeded to the
throne. But there was a rival in his brother Saud. Intrigues, treasons
and violence were hatching in the palace courts even before the death
of Feysul. The dagger and the coffee-cup of poisoned beverage have
always been favorite weapons in seating and unseating the rulers of
Arabia. A prolonged fight ensued between the two brothers. Saud was at
first successful but Abdullah flying to Turkey invited the aid of that
power with the result that an expedition from Bagdad ended in formally
and permanently occupying El Hassa as a Turkish province.

At the time of Saud’s death, in 1874, the conflict was renewed, but
Abdullah ultimately regained the supremacy and was ruler at Riad until
1886, when events occurred that heralded the rise of another power in
Nejd, based on political intrigue and the sword rather than on religion
and fanaticism.

When Turki the Amir was murdered by his own cousin, Meshari, and Feysul
succeeded to the throne, there was present at Riad in the army an
obscure youth from Hail, Abdullah bin Rashid. He it was who entered
the palace by stealth, stabbed Meshari, and helped to restore Feysul
to his father’s seat as ruler. His valor and loyalty were rewarded
by bestowing upon him the governorship of his own native province
Shammar; he was also granted a small army to strengthen the Wahabi
rule in that region. He soon became almost as strong as his master and
showed himself an expert in all the intrigue and skill possible to the
Arabs. He extended his personal influence on all sides, built a massive
palace at Hail and defeated all who plotted his destruction. Hired
assassins dogged him on the streets, but Abdullah escaped every danger
and his star remained in the ascendant. In 1844 he died suddenly,
leaving unaccomplished ambitions and three sons, Telal, Mitaab, and
Mohammed. Telal, the eldest son, was proclaimed ruler and was ever more
popular than his father had been, and no less successful as a ruler.
He strengthened his capital, invited merchants from Busrah and Bagdad
to reside there, and gradually but surely established his entire
independence of the Wahabi ruler at Riad. Tormented, however, by an
internal malady he shot himself in 1867. His younger brother, Mitaab,
who succeeded, ruled very briefly and was murdered by his nephews, the
sons of Telal, within a year. Meanwhile, the third son of Abdullah
bin Rashid, Mohammed, had been a refugee at the Riad capital. But
his ambitions now found their opportunity and his true character was
revealed. By permission of the Amir Abdullah bin Feysul he went back to
Hail. He commenced by stabbing his nephew Bander who had usurped the
throne; he then killed the five remaining children of his brother Telal
and became undisputed Amir at Hail in 1868. During the next eighteen
years he consolidated his authority. His rule was after the Arab
heart—with a rod of iron and lavish hospitality; continual executions
and continual feasting.

The Arabs at Bahrein tell many almost incredible tales of Mohammed bin
Rashid’s stern justice and speedy method of executing it, as well of
his cruelty to those who resisted his will. In those days the public
executioner’s sword was always wet with blood; men were tied to camels
and torn asunder; but the desert-roads were everywhere safe and robbers
met with no mercy. As an indication of his wealth and hospitality
it is related that he constructed in the courtyard of his palace a
stone-cistern of great size always kept filled with that best of
Bedouin dainties, clarified butter (_dihn_). A bucket and rope were at
hand and oil was dealt out as freely as water to the honored guests of
the great ruler.

In the year 1886 the long-looked for opportunity came for Mohammed
bin Rashid to complete the work of Telal. He not only aspired to be
independent of the Riad rulers but to make Riad, the Saud dynasty
and all the Wahabi state a dependency of his Nejd kingdom. In that
year Amir Abdullah bin Feysul was seized and imprisoned by two of his
nephews, one of whom usurped the throne. Mohammed, as a loyal subject,
marched to the rescue, deposed the pretender, but carried the Amir
himself to Hail, leaving a younger brother as his deputy governor. The
great empire of the Sauds was virtually ended; henceforth it was the
green and purple banner of Rashid and not the red and white standard of
the Wahabis that ruled all central Arabia.

Mohammed bin Rashid had shown supreme diplomatic ability in all his
dealings with the Turks from the day of his power until his death. He
humored their vanity by professing himself an ally of the Porte; he
paid a small annual tribute to the Sherif of Mecca in recognition of
the Sultan. But for the rest he never loved the Turk except at a good
distance. None of the Arabs of the interior have forgotten the perfidy,
treachery and more than Arab cruelty of the Egyptian Pashas in their

In 1890 a final attempt was made by the partisans of the old dynasty
to rebel against the Amir and secure the independence of Riad. It was
fruitless; and the severe defeat of the rebels proved it final. In the
year 1897 Mohammed bin Rashid died and his successor Abd-el-Aziz bin
Mitaab now rules his vast dominions. He is less stern but not less able
than his illustrious predecessor.


                          THE RULERS OF OMAN

Before we turn to the history of the Turks in Arabia a word is
necessary regarding the rulers of Oman—that province unique in Arabia
for its isolation from all the other provinces in the matter of
politics. Prior to the appearance of the Portuguese in the Persian
Gulf (1506) Oman had been governed for nine hundred successive years
by independent rulers called Imams; elected by popular choice and not
according to family descent. From that time until 1650 the Portuguese
remained in power at Muscat. In 1741 Ahmed bin Said, a man of humble
origin, a camel-driver, rose by his bravery to be governor of Sohar,
drove the Persians who had succeeded the Portuguese, out of Muscat
and founded the dynasty that has ever since ruled Oman. As early as
1798 the East India Company made a treaty with the Sultan of Muscat
to exclude the French from Oman. This fact is important to show the
character of the recent incident at Muscat.

Seyid Said, who ruled from 1804 to 1856, had constant struggles against
the Wahabi power who threatened his territory. With England he joined
the war against the Wahabi pirates; and made treaties in 1822, 1840 and
1845 to suppress the slave-trade. On the death of Said the Sultanate of
Oman and Zanzibar was divided. Seyid Thowani reigned at Muscat while a
younger brother reigned at Zanzibar. Thowani was assassinated at Sohar
in 1866. Salim, his son, succeeded him, although he was suspected of
patricide. Then there was an interregnum under a usurper until Seyid
Turki another son of Said took the throne in 1871. Continual rebellion
marked his period of rule. But he was friendly to the English and in
return for the abolition of free traffic of slaves between Africa and
Zanzibar the English government allowed him an annual subsidy of a
little over £6,000 a year. In 1888 the Sultan died and his son, Feysul
bin Turki, succeeded him. His rule was mild, from the palace at Muscat
his influence was not far-reaching; rebellions, inter-tribal wars and
plots of one mountain-chief against another mark all the years of
his reign up to date. In February, 1895, there was a serious Bedouin
uprising in which the Arabs took the town and looted it. The Sultan
himself barely escaped and was for a time a prisoner in his fort while
the town was in the hands of the enemy. The cause of the trouble was a
difference as to the amount of yearly tribute a certain Sheikh Saleh
of Samed should pay the Muscat ruler. From November, 1894, the rebels
collected arms and strengthened their numbers until on February 12th of
the following year they were ready to strike the desired blow. As this
episode was characteristic of all Arab warfare we quote a brief account
of it sent at the time by a resident at Muscat to the Bombay press:

 “On February 12th Abdullah, the leader of his father’s (Sheikh
 Saleh’s) troops, with a retinue of perhaps 200 armed Bedouins arrived
 at Muscat in a scattered and peaceable manner, and obtained an
 audience with the Sultan. A musket salute was fired, and no attack
 was thought of. The Sultan presented the leader with a purse of $400
 and a liberal allowance of rice, dates, coffee, and the famous Muscat
 “halwa” for the men. The Bedouins although armed were allowed to go
 and come as they choose and no attack was feared. Sheikh Abdullah
 himself sat for a time in the bazaar and received the salaams of the
 people who kissed his hand in respect. When evening came the Sultan
 requested the men to encamp outside of the gates, the only means of
 entrance and exit through the old Portuguese walls. Although failing
 to comply with the request the Bedouins claimed none but peaceful
 intentions. At 8 P. M. when according to custom the gates were closed,
 perhaps one-half of the Bedouins were within the walls. This was
 their Trojan horse. Shortly after midnight the gates were attacked,
 the few customary guards being easily overcome, and thrown open to the
 large numbers of Bedouins who up to this time had been hiding in a
 neighboring mosque. Both the small gate leading to the bazaar and the
 larger one to the west of the town were easily taken, and the Bedouins
 then advanced to the Sultan’s palace, effected an entrance and rudely
 awoke the Sultan and his family from their sleep. Seyyidi Esel after
 a courageous struggle of a few minutes, (in which he shot two of the
 attacking party,) escaped by a small door opening to the sea and fled
 to one of the two forts which command the city as well as the harbor.
 His brother escaped to the other. Each of these forts is manned by
 a force of perhaps fifty men and has several old twelve pounder
 Portuguese guns.

 “The forts opened fire at once upon the palace which the Bedouins now
 occupied. The Bedouins took possession of the town closing the gates
 and stationing armed men through the bazaar and streets in the early
 hours of the 13th of February.

 “A few shops containing muskets and ammunition were opened, and the
 contents robbed. The Sultan’s palace was completely looted and all his
 personal property either destroyed or sold at any price. On account
 of the suddenness of the attack there was but a small number of the
 Sultan’s soldiers in readiness. These repaired to the forts and opened
 fire upon the Bedouin invaders with both the guns of the foils and
 muskets. For three days we were the witnesses of the extraordinary
 spectacle of a Sultan bombarding his own palace; no attempt was made
 to meet the rebels on the streets. By order of the invading captain
 the portion of the town inhabited by British subjects was not entered.
 Until Sunday evening things remained about the same. The attack from
 the forts was continued day and night. The Bedouins did not answer
 the fire but remained in the palace and streets holding possessions
 but making no attack on the forts. Within the town, although it
 is in possession of the enemy, all was orderly and quiet. Unarmed
 people were allowed to pass to and fro and guards were stationed in
 the bazaar to prevent plunder. Reinforcements were expected by both
 parties. On Monday morning a body of about 1,000 arrived from the
 coast towns in aid of the Sultan. They encamped beneath the fort in
 command of the Sultan, and at about 8 A. M. made an attack on the
 invaders, which became so serious a danger to the British subjects
 that the Political Agent Major J. H. Sadler ordered a cessation of
 hostilities at 1 P. M. until 8 P. M. giving the British subjects an
 opportunity to sojourn to the sheltered village of Makalla. More
 reinforcements to the Sultan’s troops arrived at 6 P. M. and encamped
 beneath the fort throwing temporary barricades across the streets
 at several advantageous points. The main body of the Bedouins were
 waiting to reinforce just outside Matral which village was however
 still in the hands of the Sultan. At 8 A. M. on Monday H. M. S. Sphina
 arrived from Bushire and at 2 P. M. the R. I. M. S. Lawrence.”

The British gunboats, contrary to the expectations and fond hopes of the
population of Muscat, did not interfere in the matter. For reasons of
diplomacy they left the Sultan to fight his own battles and when the
rebels were finally persuaded to leave saddled the poor Sultan with
a large bill for the damage incurred by British subjects during the

In 1894 a French consulate was established at Muscat; as the French
have no commerce to speak of in this part of the world the object of
the consulate was evidently political. Of the intrigues that resulted,
the alleged sale of a coaling-station to France and the British
attitude toward the matter we will speak later.



 “No one travels in Turkey with his eyes open without seeing that her
 government is a curse on mankind. Fears, feuds and fightings make
 miserable the councils of her rulers. They are bloodsuckers fastened
 on the people throughout her dominions drawing from each and all
 the last drop of blood that can be extracted. Turkey skillfully
 and systematically represses what Christian nations make it their
 business to nurture in all mankind as manhood. In her cities there
 are magnificent palaces for her sultans and her favorites. But one
 looks in vain through her realm for statues of public benefactors.
 There are no halls where her citizens could gather to discuss
 policies of government or mutual obligations. Their few newspapers
 are emasculated by government censors. Not a book in any language
 can cross her borders without permission of public officers, most of
 whom are incapable of any intelligent judgment of its contents. Art
 is scorned. Education is bound. Freedom is a crime. The tax gatherer
 is omnipotent. Law is a farce. Turkey has prisons instead of public
 halls for the education of her people. Instruments of torture are the
 stimulus to their industries.”—_The Congregationalist_, April 8, 1897.

In reviewing the story of the Turks in Arabia, we will begin with
Hejaz, the most important province of Turkey in Arabia, continue with
Yemen, the most populous, and end with the Mesopotamian vilayets which
were her richest possessions.

It is not generally understood how highly the Sultan values his Arabian
provinces. It is on them and on them alone that he can base his claim
to the title of caliph. The possession of the Holy Cities in the hands
of the Sultan makes him the chief Mohammedan ruler; there his name is
blessed daily in the great mosques; in the eyes of all the pilgrims
from every part of the Moslem world Turkey is the guardian of the
Kaaba. How many thousands of Mohammedans daily in the mosques of India
and Java call for blessings on the head of Abd-ul-Hamid the Caliph who
would never pray for Abd-ul-Hamid the Sultan.

Mecca, and Hejaz generally, was governed by the early Caliphs until 980
A. D., when it passed under the rule of the first Sherif, Jaafar.[70]
Under Suleiman the magnificent (1520-1566) the Ottoman Empire reached
the zenith of its power and greatness; at that time Arabia too was
reckoned a Turkish possession, and the entire peninsula was included on
the maps of Turkish Asia. But, as we have seen, at the beginning of the
present century the Wahabis and not the Turks were the real rulers of
Arabia. The Arabs have never taken kindly to the rule of the Turk, but
the province of Hejaz, once snatched from the hand of the Wahabis, has
ever since been held by the Sublime Porte. Plots of rebellion have been
thick and Sherifs have succeeded Sherifs but the fort that frowns over
Mecca has always a strong Turkish garrison and the Pashas eat the fat
of the land at the expense of the people.

Actual Turkish rule was declared over the whole of Hejaz in 1840. At
that time Abd-el-Mutalib was made Great Sherif of Mecca, but there was
continual trouble between the Sherif and the Pasha. The religious head
of the holy city would not bow to the political head; the anti-slave
trade regulations although only very slightly enforced caused riots.
The Sherif was deposed and Mohammed bin ’Aun declared ruler in his
place. On June 15th, 1858, the murder of certain Christians at Jiddah
brought England into collision with the rulers of Hejaz. Jiddah was
bombarded and the gate to the holy city was held by the Christian
powers until the required indemnity was paid and the murderers
punished. The next Sherif appointed was Abdullah. During his time the
opening of the Suez Canal brought Turkey much nearer to Mecca and
inspired the religious zealots with the fear that now the Christian
fleets would attack the whole coast of Hejaz! For had not the vizier of
Haroun el Rashid dissuaded that monarch from his plan to dig the canal
lest the gateway to the Holy Cities would then be too accessible to the

The Ottoman government introduced other horrors into the quiet
seclusion of the ancient city of Mecca; Jiddah was connected with the
Red Sea cable; a wire carried the world to Mecca and put the Pasha in
daily touch with the Sublime Porte; afterward it was extended to Taif,
and the Turks were masters of their own army corps, so that the Sherifs
could not act in secret. It was even attempted to raise a Meccan
regiment for the Russian war.

In 1869 the whole complicated bureaucratic system was introduced at
Medina, Jiddah, Mecca and Taif. Abdullah was a great favorite as
Sherif, both to the Arabs and the Turks; he was mild and given to all
sorts of compromise so that he managed to please both parties which
are always at war in Mecca. His brother Husein succeeded as Sherif but
was murdered in 1880. In the same year the aged Abd-el-Mutalib for the
third time became Sherif and although at first very popular he soon
won the hatred of the conservative Meccans by his cruelty and of the
Turks by his double-dealing. On request of the people of Mecca for his
deposition, Othman Pasha came to Hejaz and although he did not depose
the aged Sherif, managed to outwit him in governing the city. In 1882
Aun-er-Rafik, a brother of Husein, became Sherif. Troubles between the
dual powers of government became thick and the Bedouin tribes took the
occasion for a general uprising. Rafik fled to Medina and could not
return until Othman Pasha was deposed. Since then the old struggle

The Arabs in Hejaz have no love for the Turks or for any Turkish
ruler; the Bedouin tribes hate the very sight of a red fez and the
town-dweller is ground down with taxation. Aside from militarism there
have been no public improvements in either of the Holy Cities since the
Star and Crescent waved from their forts. The “pantaloon-wearing” Turks
are considered little better than “Christian dogs” by the pious folk of
Mecca. Have they not introduced the abomination of quarantine instead
of the old time simple trust in Allah? Have they not acquiesced to the
residence of Christian consuls at Jiddah? And what is worse, have they
not interfered with the free importation of slaves and the manufacture
of eunuchs for the residents of Mecca?

The following literal translation of a placard posted everywhere in
Mecca, at the end of the year 1885, may give the best insight into the
relations that exist between the Turk and the Arab in the cradle of

 “‘And who does not rule according to the revelation of Allah he is an
 infidel.’—_Koran_ v. 48.

 “Be it known to you, ye people of Mecca, that this accursed Wali
 intends to introduce Turkish laws into the holy city of Allah,
 therefore beware of sloth and awake from sleep. Do not suffer the laws
 to be executed for they are only the opening of the door to further
 legislation. Our proof is that the Wali Othman Pasha proposed his plan
 to divide Mecca into four quarters and to appoint three officers for
 each quarter. This plan he laid before the city council and when they
 declared it was impossible to do this in Mecca the accursed replied,
 Is Mecca better than Constantinople? We will carry the plan through
 by force. For this reason, O Meccans, an association has been formed
 called the Moslem Club and whoever desires to enter it let him make
 inquiries. The object of the association is to assassinate this cursed
 Wali and his chief of police. He who cannot join us let him utter his
 complaint before Allah in the holy house that the public safety is
 endangered while the present ruler lives. And this cursed Wali also
 attempts to secure the administration of the annual corn-shipment from
 Egypt. And remember also how the accursed butchered the sons of the
 Sherif and his slaves and exposed their heads at Mecca. What sort of
 deeds are these? More atrocious than those at Zeer. So that whoever
 kills this man will enter paradise without rendering an account. The
 purpose of dividing the city appointing Sheikhs for each quarter is
 nothing else than a pretext for new taxations as the Cursed himself
 let out before the council.
                “In the name of the

The same people who promised paradise to the murderer of Othman Pasha
rebelled against his successor Safwet Pasha and will rebel as long as
the character of the Meccan remains what it is. Those who dream that
the Turk will make Mecca the centre of their power when Constantinople
falls, know not the condition of affairs among the proud fanatics of
Hejaz who will never allow Mecca to become anything but the city of the
Sherifs. And as for the Bedouin tribes, they blackmail every pilgrim
caravan and draw heavy subsidies from Constantinople to keep the peace.
Jiddah is in decay and the pilgrim-traffic is not as flourishing as it
was a decade ago. Even in Hejaz the days of Ottoman rule are numbered.

Between Hejaz and Yemen is the region of Asir. Its population has been
celebrated from the earliest times for personal bravery and courage.
Mountain-dwellers they love freedom; belonging to the Zaidee sect they
hate the Sunnites. And these two reasons united made them abominate the
Turks. In order to extend Ottoman power southward and reconquer Yemen
for the Sublime Porte it was necessary to pass through the territory
of the Asir Arabs. From 1824 to 1827 the Turkish troops carried six
successive campaigns against the brave highlanders but were in every
case repulsed with great loss. In 1833 and 1834 the attempt was again
made; a desperate battle was fought on August 21st of the latter
year, the Turkish troops were victorious. But the Arabs rallied, made
sorties on the garrisons, famine reigned, fever killed off many and in
September the Turks again withdrew, defeated. In 1836 a final attempt
was made to conquer Asir; this was with greater loss than ever before.
To this day the entire region between Taiz and Roda (a few miles north
of Sana) is really independent, although marked as Turkish on the maps.
The Ottoman troops are bold to fight the Yemen Arabs to the very gate
of Sana but they grow pale when they hear of an expedition against the
dare-devil Bedouins of Asir who fight with the ferocity of the American
Indian and the boldness of a Scotch Highlander.

The story of the Turks in Yemen is very modern. In 1630 they were
compelled to evacuate Yemen by the Arabs and they did not set foot in
the capital again until 1873. In 1871 the Imam of Yemen lived his life
in peace, secluded and sensual like an oriental despot in the palace
at Sana. Looked upon by the Arabs as a spiritual Sultan he was great,
but also powerless to hold in check the depredations and robberies of
the many tribes under his nominal sway. Things went from bad to worse.
Trade almost ceased on account of the attacks on the caravans that left
for the coast. The Sana merchants, quiet and respectable Arabs, saw
nothing but ruin before them, and considering solely the benefits that
would accrue to themselves by such a step invited the Turks to take the
place. They did not consult the large agricultural population or the
effect of Turkish rule on the peasantry, otherwise there would have
been an equally cordial invitation to the Turks to stay out of Yemen.

The Turks needed no urging at this time, when they were strengthening
their hold on Mesopotamia, extending their conquests in Hassa and
trying to obtain the mastery of the Hejaz Bedouins. It fell in most
admirably with their plans, and an expedition set out at once. In
March, 1872, an army under command of Ahmed Mukhtar Pasha reached
Hodeidah. On April 25th the army entered Sana twenty thousand strong
and the city opened its gates without a battle. The conquest of the
country now proceeded; a force was sent to the region of Kaukeban,
north of Sana, another to the southern district of Anes and still
another to Taiz and Mocha. The conquest toward the south was limited
by the presence of England at Aden. For when the Turkish army advanced
to the domain of the independent Sultan of Lahaj who had a treaty
with England, the British Resident at Aden sent a small force of
artillery and cavalry to occupy the Lahaj territory. In consequence of
representations made at the same time by the English government to the
Sublime Porte, the Turkish army withdrew in December, 1873. In 1875 the
tribes bordering the southern boundary of Yemen rebelled against Turkey
but the rebellion was crushed.

When the army took Sana the Imam was deposed, but on account of his
religious influence over the Arabs was permitted to reside in the city,
receiving a pension on condition that he would exert himself in behalf
of Ottoman rule. This he fulfilled until his death when the birthright
as Imam passed to his relative Ahmed-ed-Din who also was nothing loth
to receive the honor of the Arabs and the money of the Turks.

Sana received a certain amount of civilization, more prestige and still
more commercial prosperity than in the older days. As for the country
in general it was divided and subdivided into provincial districts
and sub-districts; the peasantry were taxed and taxed again; military
roads were constructed by forced labor. The hill-tribes, who in the
times of the Imam had been left undisturbed in their agriculture and
who boasted an independence of centuries, were now little better than
slaves. Extortion ruined them, they hated the personality of the Turks
whose religion was not as their own; discontent smouldered everywhere
and was ready to burst into a flame. And this discontent was increased
from year to year as the caravan-drivers returned from their long
journeys to Aden and told of the greatest marvel ever heard of—a
righteous government and a place where justice could not be _bought_,
but belonged to every one—even the black skinned ignorant Somali. When
we remember that over 300,000 camels with their drivers enter Aden from
the north every year we can realize how widespread was this news. I can
testify to the world-wide difference between the municipal government
of Aden cantonment and that of the capital of Yemen under the Turks
as I saw it in 1891. When the Turks accused England of fomenting the
recent rebellions in Yemen they were right to the extent that if the
Yemen peasantry had not seen the blessed union of liberty and law at
Aden they would not seek to rise against the Turks.

In the summer of 1892 a body of 400 Turkish troops were sent to
collect by force the taxes due from the Bni Meruan who inhabit the
coast north of Hodeidah. The Turks were surprised by a large body of
Arabs and nearly annihilated. Wherever the news travelled the people
rose in arms. Tribal banners long laid away were unfurled and the cry
“long live the Imam” rang through mountain and valley. A new Jehad
was proclaimed and Ahmed-ed-Din was unwillingly forced to take the
leadership against the Turks. When the rebellion broke out the Turks
had only about 15,000 men in the whole of Yemen; and cholera had
wrought havoc among these. Ill-fed, ill-clothed, and unpaid; badly
housed in the rainy and cold mountain villages, they could nevertheless
fight like devils when led by their commanders. The Imam escaped from
Sana, and a few days later the capital was besieged by an enormous
force of Arabs. All the unwalled cities fell an easy prey to the
rebels, Menakha was taken after a short struggle; Ibb, Jibleh, Taiz,
and Yerim all declared themselves for the Imam. The Arabs treated their
foes with respect after their victory;[71] they were feeding Turkish
prisoners at the Imam’s expense and in many cases money was given the
soldiers to enable them to escape to Aden.

Meanwhile telegrams were sent to Constantinople from Sana and Hodeidah
beseeching assistance. The whole of Yemen, with the exception of the
capital and two smaller towns in the north with Hodeidah on the coast,
was in the hands of the rebels. An expedition reached Hodeidah, under
command of Ahmed Feizi Pasha, formerly governor of Mecca, which after
bombarding the villages on the coast north of Hodeidah, marched to the
relief of Sana. Without opposition the army reached Menakha and took
the town by storm; matchlocks and fuse-guns could not hold out against
field-guns and trained troops. About thirty miles beyond a desperate
attempt was made to stop the army of relief; in a narrow defile the
rebels under Seyid es-Sherai took up their position and for twelve days
withstood cavalry, infantry and artillery assaults; then they were
driven back and retired into the mountains. By hurried marches the
troops reached Sana and took the city. Military law was proclaimed and
a universal massacre of prisoners took place. A reward was offered for
the head of every rebel. Camel-loads of heads were brought into Sana
every day. The troops were turned loose to plunder the villages. There
is no nation in the world that can put down a rebellion as rapidly
as the Turks when they have a good-sized army, but they have great
objection to any one seeing the process.

By the end of January, 1893, all the cities of Yemen were reconquered
and the main roads were again open. But the spirit of rebellion lived
on and the brave mountaineers withdrew to the inaccessible defiles and
peaks only to plot further mischief. Telegraph-wires were cut; soldiers
were shot on the road; and once and again bold attempts were made to
blow up the Pasha’s house in Sana with gunpowder. In 1895 there was
rebellion in the north. In 1897-98 all Yemen was again in arms and the
uncertain and conflicting reports that reach the coast only emphasize
the serious character of the uprising.

On the map and in Turkish official reports the boundaries of Yemen join
those of Hejaz and extend many miles _east_ of Sana. This has never
been and is not now correct. Twenty-five miles north and east of Sana
there is no one who cares for a Turkish passport or dares to collect
Turkish taxes.

As to the future of Turkey in Yemen it is difficult to surmise. Rather
than risk further rebellions the Sultan may adopt a conciliatory
policy. But Yemen is too far from Constantinople to be governed from
there. Extortion is the only way open to a Pasha to enrich himself and
for soldiers to get daily bread where wages are not paid on time. When
the Pasha has filled his pocket his successor will try it a second time
and come to grief. Rebellion will be the chronic state of Yemen as long
as Turkey rules at Sana. The leopard cannot change his spots.

We now turn to notice the rule of the Turks in Northeastern Arabia,
and in their newly-acquired province of Hassa. Bagdad was taken by
the Turks in 1638 and that city has ever since been the capital of a
Turkish Province. It is unnecessary to enter here into the succession
of Pashas and rulers and the attempts to subjugate the Bedouin Arabs.
In 1830 the great plague visited all Mesopotamia and when epidemic was
at its height the river burst its banks and in one night 15,000 people
perished. In 1884 the vilayet of Busrah was separated from that of
Bagdad and has since remained under its own governor. The two provinces
have all the machinery of Ottoman rule in working order. Except for an
occasional outbreak among the Montefik Arabs, Turkey has no trouble to
hold Mesopotamia in her grasp. Nor is she at all willing that this rich
province should even dream of passing under other rulers. In the year
1891 the Turkish Official Bulletin gave the total revenue from taxation
in the Bagdad vilayet alone at 246,304 Turkish pounds.

It may be interesting to note in passing the various sources of
taxation-money. They are in brief: tax on Arab tents, exemption from
military service, tax on sheep, buffaloes, camels, tax on mines (salt),
tax on special privileges, tax on forests and timber, tax on fishing,
custom dues, tax on shipping, on irrigation, on farming improvements;
“receipts from tribunals” (£3,000 tax on justice!) and beside all
this “taxes diverses” and “revenues diverses” to make up the budget.
All this is legal, ordinary taxation. But the actual conditions of
Turkish misrule made it impossible to exercise the inalienable rights
of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” without continual
backsheesh to every official.

The population of Mesopotamia, Moslem and Jew and Christian are
thoroughly weary of Turkish misrule, but no one dares to lift up a
voice in protest. They have become accustomed to it; and there is
nothing else but to bear it patiently. As for the nomads they have
either, like the Montefik, settled down along the rivers to cultivate
the soil and eke out a miserable existence, or, like the Aneyza and
Shammar tribes, they are as thoroughly independent of the Sultan as
when they first appeared in his borders.

Turkish Arabia on the north is represented on most maps by a regular
curved line starting from the Persian Gulf and ending at the Gulf
of Akaba; but the line is purely imaginary. Turkish rule does not
extend far south of the banks of the Euphrates, and the whole desert
region from Kerbela to the Dead Sea and the Hauran is practically
independent.[72] Outside of Bagdad and Busrah even the river towns are
frequently threatened by the nomads, and Turkish soldiers have often to
guard the river steamers against pirates. Military rule is in vogue two
hundred years after the occupation of the country, and the nomads are
nomads still. The commander-in-chief of the Sixth Ottoman army corps
resides at Bagdad, and a good number of soldiers occupy the barracks in
the city of the old caliphs.

In Turkey all Moslems over twenty years of age are liable to military
conscription, and this liability continues for over twenty years.
Non-Moslems pay an annual exemption tax of about six shillings per
head. The army consists of _Nizam_ or regulars, _Redif_ or reserves,
and _Mustahfuz_ or national guard. The infantry are supposed to be all
armed with Martini-Peabody rifles, but in Mesopotamia older patterns
are still in use. The life of a Turkish soldier is not enviable; and
none of them would be volunteers for government service. The Turkish
navy is represented in the Persian Gulf and on the rivers by one or two
third-rate cruisers and a small river gunboat.

The result of the calling of Turkey into the Wahabi quarrel between
the two sons of Feysul, was the occupation of Katif and Hassa by the
Ottoman government. Since that time (1872) Hassa has been a part of the
Busrah vilayet, and the Pasha, who resides at Hofhoof, has the title
Mutaserif Pasha of Nejd. Continual troubles with the Arabs mark the
history of the occupation of Hassa; the caravan routes are not as safe
as in the dominions of the Amir of Nejd; the whole country shows decay
and lack of government; taxation of the pearl fishers has driven many
of them to Bahrein; the peninsula of Katar is occupied by a garrison,
but that does not prevent continual blood feuds and battles between
the Arab tribes. The Ottoman government has established an overland
post-service between Hofhoof and Busrah as between Bagdad and Damascus,
but both routes are unsafe and slow. Most of the Hofhoof merchants use
the British Post Office at Bahrein; and so do the government officials.

[Illustration: Flags that rule Arabia.]


                      BRITISH INFLUENCE IN ARABIA

 “The English, said the old Arab Sheikh in reply, are like ants; if one
 finds a bit of meat, a hundred follow.”—_Ainsworth._

 “Oman may, indeed, be justifiably regarded as a British dependency.
 We subsidize its ruler; we dictate its policy; we should tolerate no
 alien interference. I have little doubt myself that the time will
 come ... when the Union Jack will be seen flying from the castles of

 “I should regard the concession of a port upon the Persian Gulf to
 Russia by any power as a deliberate insult to Great Britain, as a
 wanton rupture of the _status quo_ and as an international provocation
 to war; and I should impeach the British minister, who was guilty of
 acquiescing in such surrender, as a traitor to his country.”
                                      —_Lord Curzon_, Viceroy of India.

In sketching the relations of England to the peninsula, we will
consider: Her Arabian possessions and protectorates; her supremacy
in Arabian waters, her commerce with Arabia; her treaties with Arab
tribes; and her consulates and agencies in Arabia.

Of all British possessions in Arabia, Aden is by far the most
important, on account of its strategic position as the key not only of
all Yemen, but of the Red Sea and all Western Arabia. Aden was visited
as early as 1609 by Captain Sharkey of the East India Company’s ship
“Ascension.” He was at first well received, but afterward imprisoned
until the inhabitants had secured a large ransom. Two of the Englishmen
on board refusing to pay were sent to the Pasha at Sana. In 1610
an English ship again visited Aden and the crew were treacherously
treated. In 1820, Captain Haines of the Indian navy visited Aden, and
in 1829 the Court of Directors entertained the idea of making Aden
a coaling-station, but the idea was abandoned. In consequence of an
outrage committed on the passengers and crew of a buggalow wrecked
near Aden, an expedition was despatched against the place by the
Bombay government in 1838. It was arranged that the peninsula of Aden
should be ceded to the British. But the negotiations were anything but
friendly, and in January, 1839, a force of 300 Europeans and 400 native
troops in the “Volage” and “Cruizer” bombarded and took the place by

This was the first new accession of territory in the reign of Queen
Victoria. Immense sums of money have been spent in fortifying this
natural Gibraltar and in improving its harbor. Four times the Arabs
have attempted to take Aden by land, each time with fearful loss and
without success. By sea Aden is impregnable; only the initiated know
the strength of its mole-batteries, mines, forts and other defences;
and every year new defences are constructed and old ones strengthened.
Aden has become a great centre for trade, and is one of the chief
coaling depots in the world. It bars the further advance of Turkey into
South Arabia, guarantees independence and good government to all the
neighboring petty states, and is an example of good government to all
Arabia and the African coast. The settlement is politically subject
to the Bombay Presidency and is administered by a Resident with two
assistants. Since the opening of the Suez canal, trade has steadily
increased and Turkish custom extortions at Hodeidah direct the caravan
trade more and more to Aden from every part of Yemen.

The island of Socotra and the Kuria Muria islands are also attached
to Aden, together with the Somali Coast in Africa. Socotra has an
area of 1,382 square miles and about 10,000 inhabitants. It came
under British protection in 1886 by treaty with its Sultan. The Kuria
Muria group was ceded to the British by the Sultan of Muscat, for the
purpose of landing the Red Sea cable; the islands are five in number
and have rich guano deposits. The island of Kamaran is also classed
as belonging to the British Empire.[73] It is a small island in the
Red Sea, some miles north of Hodeidah; it is only fifteen miles long
and five wide, and has seven small fishing-villages. But it has a
good sheltered anchorage and is the quarantine Station for all Moslem
pilgrims from the south to Mecca.

The Bahrein Islands are also included in the British Empire, although
Turkey still claims them as her own and the native ruler imagines that
he is independent. “The present chief Sheikh Isa owes the possession
of his throne entirely to British protection which was instituted in
1867. Sheikh Isa was again formerly placed under British protection in
1870 when his rivals were deported to India.” The Political Resident
at Bushire superintends the government of the islands to as great an
extent as is deemed diplomatic.

Perim at the southern end of the Red Sea was taken possession of in
1799 by the East India Company and a force was sent from Bombay to
garrison the island. But it was found untenable at that time as a
military position and the troops were withdrawn. Perim was reoccupied
in the beginning of 1857. The lighthouse was completed in 1861, and
quarters were built for a permanent garrison.[74]

We may also consider the possessions of Egypt in Arabia as practically
under English protection. Since the British occupation, the peninsula
of Sinai and the Red Sea litoral on the Arabian side, nearly as far as
Yembo is under the Governor-General of the Suez canal.

England not only possesses the key positions on the coasts of Arabia,
but has for many years held the naval supremacy in all Arabian waters.
As the Dutch succeeded the Portuguese and established trading-stations
in the Persian Gulf and in the Red Sea, so England followed the Dutch.
The East India Company was at Aden and Mocha in the beginning of
the seventeenth century, and in 1754 the English East India Company
established itself at Bunder Rig, north of Bushire, and later at
Bushire itself, supplanting the Dutch. The island of Karak in the north
of the Gulf was twice occupied by the British, in 1838 and in 1853.
After the bombardment of Bushire in 1857 and of Mohammerah in the same
year, hostilities ceased and Karak was again evacuated. The island
of Kishm, in the southern part of the Gulf, was during the greater
part of the present century, a British military or naval station. The
Indian naval squadron had its headquarters first at El Kishm, then at
Deristan and finally for many years at Bassadore. In 1879 because of
the insalubrity of the climate the last company of Sepoys was withdrawn
to India. But the island is still in a sense considered British. As
early as 1622 the Persians and the British expelled the Portuguese from
Ormuz and shortly after, in common with the Dutch and French set up
trading factories at Gombrun, (now Bunder Abbas). In 1738 the English
Company established an agency at Busrah and much of their Gulf business
was shifted to that port. Since 1869 there has been a telegraph station
at Jask with a staff of six English officials; here the land and marine
wires of the Indo-European telegraph meet and join India to the Gulf.

The Sultanate of Oman, since 1822, has been in the closest relations
possible with British naval power. At several critical periods in Oman
history, it was Great Britain that helped to settle the affairs of
state. In 1861 a British commissioner arbitrated between two claimants
for the rule of Muscat and Zanzibar, then one kingdom, and divided
the Sultanate. Since 1873 the Sultan of Muscat has received an annual
subsidy from the British government. Near Cape Musendum, on the Arabian
side of the Gulf, the British once occupied a place called Malcolm’s
Inlet when they were laying the telegraph cable from Kerachi to the
Gulf in 1864. Five years later it was transferred to Jask. From 1805
to 1821 there were British naval encounters with the pirates of the
Gulf, and since that date all piracy in these waters has ceased.[75]
British naval supremacy established peace at Bahrein and has protected
its native government since 1847. When in 1867 the native ruler, “a
crafty old fox” as Curzon calls him, broke the treaty, the bombardment
of Menamah brought further proof of British naval supremacy. Kuweit
was for a time (1821-22) the headquarters of the British Resident
at Busrah; and, semi-independent of Turkey, is now becoming wholly
dependent on England—another indication of British naval supremacy.
Even at Fao, Busrah and Bagdad British gunboats often keep the peace
or at least emphasize authority. In a word Great Britain holds the
scales of justice for all the Persian Gulf litoral. She guarantees a
_pax Brittanica_ for commerce, she taught the Arab tribes that rapine
and robbery are not a safe religion; where they once swept the sea with
slave-dhows and pirate-craft they have now settled down to drying fish
and diving for pearls. For the accomplishment of this subject England
has spent much both in treasure and in lifeblood. Witness the graves of
British soldiers and marines in so many Gulf ports. The testimony of an
outsider, is given in a recent article in the _Cologne Gazette_, which
thus describes the political and naval supremacy of England in Eastern
Arabia and the Persian Gulf:

“A disguised protectorate over Oman and control over the actions of the
Sultan of Muscat; actual protectorate over Bahrein; coaling station on
the island of Kishm, in the Straits of Ormuz; presence of a political
Resident at Bushire who, with the help of an association called the
Trucial League, decides all disputes between Turkish, Arab, and Persian
chiefs in the Persian Gulf.... This league gives the English a constant
pretext for intervention; the object of keeping peace and policing the
gulf is only a pretence.... All events on the Persian Gulf, however
disconnected apparently, are really dependent on each other through
the Trucial League. It is a confused tangle of hatreds and jealousies
whose threads are united in the hands of the Resident at Bushire....
Russia shows an indifference which is quite incomprehensible
considering the interest she has and must have in these affairs. One
could recount numerous instances where English agents have injured
Russian interests without meeting with any opposition. The Russian
Consul in Bagdad is thrust into the background by the activity of his
British colleague. Southern Persia, the gulf, Eastern Arabia, and
the Land of Oman have fallen completely within the English sphere of
influence. This state of affairs has not been officially ratified, but
exists as a fact. That will last till some movement comes about to
restore the proper balance. Meanwhile, the English are the masters.
They are so accustomed to manage the whole Persian Gulf that if the
least thing occurs that they have not foreseen or themselves arranged
they completely lose all self-control.”

But the supremacy of England in the Gulf and on the other coasts of
Arabia is hers not only because of gunboats and gunpowder. It is most
of all by the arts of peace that she has established and glorified her
power on the Arabian litoral. It must never be forgotten, for example,
that the magnificent surveys of the entire 4,000 miles of Arabian coast
were the work of British and Indian naval officers; by means of this
survey, completed at great cost, commerce has been aided and navigation
of the dangerous waters east and west of Arabia has been made safe.
England too is the only power that has established lighthouses; _e.
g._, at Aden, Perim, in the Red Sea and lately on Socotra. England laid
the cables that circle Arabia; from India to Bushire and Fao connecting
with the Turkish overland telegraph system; from Aden to Bombay and
from Aden to Suez through the Red Sea. These cables were not the work
of a day but were laid with great expense and opposed by the very
governments they were intended to benefit.

Again, Arabia has two postal systems and two only. In the Turkish
province of Yemen there is a weekly post between the capital and the
chief towns to the coast; in Hejaz there is a post to Mecca; and in
Mesopotamia and Hasa there is another Turkish postal system notorious
for its slowness and insecurity. For the rest all of Eastern and
Southern Arabia are dependent on the Indian Postal system; the whole
interior is ignorant of a post office or of a postman. The government
of India has post offices at Muscat, Bahrein, Fao, Busrah and Bagdad
with regular mail service, and the best administration in the world.
The English post carries the bulk of the mail between Busrah and
Bagdad while Bahrein is really the post office for all Eastern Arabia;
pearl-merchants at Katar and in Hasa mail their letters at Bahrein and
even the Turkish government needs the English post to communicate with
Busrah from Hasa.

England has also earned her supremacy in Arabian waters by honest
attempts to put a stop to the slave-trade, in accord with the
Anti-slave Trade treaties between the powers. She is the only power
whose navy has acted in seizing slave-dhows, liberating slaves and
patrolling the coast. The work has not always been done thoroughly or
vigorously, but that it has been done at all, places England first
among the powers that sail in Arabian waters.

Where the Union Jack proclaims naval supremacy, there the red
mercantile flag of England follows the blue and carries commerce; the
two go together, and although of different color are the same flag
to Englishmen. The world-wide commercial activity of Great Britain
has touched every part of the Arabian coast and British wares from
Manchester and Birmingham have penetrated to every secluded village of
Nejd, and are found in every valley of Yemen.

The mercantile navigation of the Gulf as it now exists is the creation
of the last thirty years, and is largely to be attributed to the
statesmanship of Sir Bartle Frere. It was he who, when at Calcutta
as a member of Lord Canning’s Supreme Council, befriended the young
Scotchman, William Mackinnon, who was planning a new shipping business
beyond his slender means; and a subsidy was granted to Mackinnon’s new
line of Steamers. Thus it was that the British India Steam Navigation
Company was launched which first opened trade not only with Zanzibar
but in the Persian Gulf. In 1862 not a single mercantile steamer
ploughed the Persian Gulf. A six-weekly service was then started,
followed by a monthly, a fortnightly and finally by a weekly steamer.
From Busrah there are two lines of English steamers direct for London.
The British India was the pioneer line and still holds the first
position, although there are other lines that do coasting trade with

Thus English commerce controls not only the markets of both sides of
the Gulf, but of all Northwestern Arabia and as far beyond Bagdad
as piece-goods and iron-ware can be carried on camels. There is not
a spool of thread in Nejd or a jack-knife in Jebel-Shammar that did
not come up the Persian Gulf in an English ship. All of Hassa eats
rice from Rangoon and thousands of bags are carried in British ships
to Bahrein to be transported inland by caravan. Not only is the
steamshipping mostly in English hands, but many of the native buggalows
fly the British flag and the chief merchants are Englishmen or British
subjects from India. The Rupee is the standard of value along the whole
Arabian coast from Aden to Busrah. In the interior the Maria Theresa
dollar has long held sway, but even that is becoming scarce among the
Bedouins and they have little preference between the “_abu bint_”
(the Rupee with a girl’s head) and the “_abu tair_” (“the father of a
bird”—the eagle on the Austrian dollar). For a time a French line of
steamers ran in the Gulf but the project was abandoned, though there is
now a rumour of its revival.[76]

Aden is the commercial centre for all Southern Arabia and the enormous
increase of its trade since 1839 is proof of what English commerce has
done for Yemen. Mocha is dead, and Hodeidah is long since bedridden,
but Aden is alive and only requires a railroad to Sana to become the
commercial capital of all Western and Southern Arabia. That railroad
will be built as soon as the Turk leaves Yemen’s capital; God hasten
the day. After the occupation of Aden in 1839 until the year 1850
customs dues were levied as in India but at that time it was declared
a free port. During the first seven years the total value of imports
and exports averaged per year about 1,900,000 Rupees, in the next seven
years the annual average rose to 6,000,000 Rupees, and it has been on
the increase ever since, until it now is over 30,000,000 Rupees; nor
did this annual average include the trade by land which is also large.

The Suez canal is another indication of the prestige which English
commerce has in the Red Sea and along the routes of traffic that circle
Arabia. In 1893 the gross tonnage that passed through the canal was
10,753,798; of this 7,977,728 tons passed under the English flag which
means that nearly four-fifths of the trade is English. In the same year
the number of vessels passing through the canal was 3,341 of which
2,405 belonged to Great Britain.

The proposed Anglo-Egyptian railway across the north of Arabia will
join the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. To shorten the time of
communication between England and her Eastern Empire is evidently a
matter of the highest importance, not only for commerce and post, but
in the event of war, mutiny or other great emergency. The first surveys
for this overland railway were made as early as 1850, by the Euphrates
Expedition under General Chesney. The scheme was warmly advocated in
England by Sir W. P. Andrew, the Duke of Sutherland and others, but
although it still awaits execution the plan comes up again every few
years with new advocates and new improvements. Once it was to be the
Euphrates Valley railway coming down to Bagdad and Busrah or to Kuweit
(Grane) by way of Mosul. Now the plan proposed is to open a railway
from Port Said due eastward across the Peninsula along the thirtieth
parallel of latitude to Busrah. A branch would deviate a little to
the south to the port of Kuweit which was also the proposed terminus
of the Euphrates Valley line on which a select committee of the House
of Commons sat twenty-five years ago. From Busrah the main line would
cross the Shatt-el-Arab and the Karun by swing-bridges and follow the
coast-line of the Persian Gulf and Makran to Kerachi. Such a line would
reduce the time occupied in transit between London and Kerachi to eight
days.[77] Whether this route or any other is followed is a matter of
minor importance. The fact that since 1874 England has been to the
front in the matter of the overland railroad puts it beyond a doubt,
that when the railway is built its terminus at least will be under
English control and most probably the whole road will represent English
capital and enterprise.

Meanwhile there is intelligence that Turkey has made a concession to
German capitalists for the extension of the Anatolian railways to
Bagdad. The line which runs from the Asiatic shores of the Bosphorus
to Angora is in the hands of a German syndicate and the terms of
the concession contain compulsory clauses under which, in certain
eventualities, the Turkish government can compel the syndicate to
extend the road to Sivas and ultimately to Bagdad.[78] But politically
Great Britain has little to fear from the spread of German influence
in the Levant and Mesopotamia. The editor of an influential English
paper says, “Every mark expended by the Germans upon public works in
the Asiatic dominions of the Sultan helps to build up the bulwark
against the menace of Russia. And the creation of a German railway in
Asia Minor will, in a limited degree tend to identify the interests of
Germany and Great Britain.” Nevertheless England would never grant a
terminus or harbor to a German railroad syndicate on the Persian Gulf.

Great Britain has treaties or agreements of some sort with every tribe
and settlement of Arabs from Aden to Muscat and thence to Bahrein.
England has two kings for Arabia; the first lives at Bushire and is
called the British Resident and Consul General, the other with a
similar title lives at Aden. Of the Bushire Resident Lord Curzon wrote,
“One or more gunboats are at the disposal of the British Resident
at Bushire who has also a despatch boat for his own immediate use
in the event of any emergency. Not a week passes but, by Persians
and Arabs alike, disputes are referred to his arbitration, and he
may with greater truth than the phrase sometimes conveys be entitled
the Uncrowned King of the Persian Gulf.” To the energy and political
capacity of Colonel Ross and his capable predecessor, Sir Lewis Pelly,
this royal throne owes its foundation. All the treaties made by
England with the Arab tribes on the Eastern coast of Arabia are here
interpreted and enforced.

The treaties made with the chiefs of Bahrein and with the tribes on
the so-called Pirate coast embraces clauses to enforce the maritime
peace of the Gulf, to exclude foreign powers from the possession of
territory, to regulate or abolish the slave-traffic and to put down
piracy. Since 1820 various treaties of truce have been concluded with
the warlike Arabs on the coast south of Katar and have been frequently
renewed or strengthened. In 1853 a Treaty of Perpetual Peace was made
with other tribes[79] which provided that there should be a complete
cessation of hostilities at sea and that all disputes should be
referred to the British Resident. The contracting parties were called
Trucial Chiefs and the treaty is known as the Trucial Arrangement or
League. Beside these treaties the English have an exclusive treaty
with the Sheikh of Bahrein to such a degree, that the islands are
practically a British protectorate.

Although there are no formal treaties with the tribes along the Hassa
coast and Katar, these being under Turkish rule, that region is not
disregarded by Great Britain, nay Nejd itself finds a place in the
administration reports of the Persian Gulf, Political agency whenever
the horizon in that part of the peninsula shows a storm cloud though it
be no bigger than a man’s hand. The claims of the Porte to sovereignty
over El Katar are not admitted by the British government[80] and are
the cause not only of diplomatic controversy but of actual interference
on the part of the British when necessary.

The great benefits that have followed the treaties of peace with the
Arab tribes are manifest most of all by a comparison of that part of
the Arabian coast under English supervision and the long stretch from
Katif to Busrah which is Turkish. The former enjoys peace and the
tribes have settled down to commerce and fishing, there is safety for
the traveller and the stranger everywhere; the latter is in continual
state of warfare, there is neither commerce nor agriculture and the
entire coast is utterly unsafe because of the _laissez faire_ policy of

Turning to Oman we find, in the words of Lord Curzon, that, treaty
succeeding treaty, “it may be justifiably regarded as a British
dependency.” The recent history of Muscat has only hastened the day
when “the Union Jack will be seen flying from the castles of Muscat.”
The Bedouin revolt and their occupation of the town resulted in
saddling the unhappy Sultan with a large bill for damages sustained by
British subjects. The episode of the French coaling-station cost the
Sultan his annual subsidy. Thus from the side of finance he is doubly
dependent on English clemency.

The second British king of Arabia resides at Aden. There he is at once
Political Resident and commander of the troops. His authority extends
not only to the settlement of Aden proper but includes supervision of a
territory 200 miles long by forty broad with a population of 130,000.
Many of the neighboring tribes are subsidized and all of them are bound
by treaty to Great Britain. What the Bushire Resident is for the Gulf
that the Aden Resident is for the Southern litoral of the Peninsula.
Moreover the Island of Socotra is also under the Resident at Aden
and the Island of Perim. The ruler of Makalla in Hadramaut is under
special treaty with England; although the newspaper report, that Great
Britain had declared a protectorate over all Southern Arabia, has no

In the tribes which are bound by treaty with Britain a patriarchal
system of supervision seems to prevail. Good children are rewarded and
bad ones are punished. Nothing escapes the eye of the political parent;
one has only to read the yearly Administration reports to find many
striking and sometimes amusing examples. We quote from the Residency
Report of Muscat for 1893-94 verbatim: “One case of breach of the
maritime peace of the Gulf occurred in which the Sultan was advised to
inflict a fine of Rs. 50 (about sixteen dollars) on Mehdibin-Ali, the
Sheikh of the Kamazarah tribe of Khassab, for proceeding with a party
of armed men by sea to Shaam with the object of prosecuting a certain
claim his wife had against the estate of her deceased father. After
some months’ delay the attendance of the Sheikh was enforced at Muscat
and the fine was recovered.” The same report tells how the government
of India acknowledged the kindness shown to the shipwrecked crew of the
S. S. Khiva in April, 1893, by the Sultan of Muscat, “by presentation
to His Highness of a handsome telescope and watch.” Every year all the
tribal chiefs who have proved “good boys” receive some yards of bright
flannel, a new rifle or a pair of army pistols. But the patriarchal
system works well; and there are few Arabs who would like English
power in the Gulf or near Aden to grow less; all express admiration
for English _rule_, if not for English politics. In Arabia too the old
promise of Noah is finding its fulfillment to-day. “God shall enlarge
Japhet and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem.” Shem never took a
better guest into his tent than when he signed a treaty of perpetual
peace with England on his coasts.

England has consulates and consular agents at more places in Arabia
than has any other power and her consuls exercise more authority and
have greater prestige. In nearly every case they were first appointed
and have therefore had longer time to extend their influence. At
Jiddah, Hodeidah, and on the island of Kamaran there are British
consulates or vice-consulates; and there are reports of a consulate
at Sana. At Makalla there is a British agent. Muscat, Bagdad, Busrah,
Bushire and Mohammerah all have consulates, with different degrees
of authority and position, all exercising power of some sort in
Arabia. Bahrein, Lingah, Sharka, Bunder Abbas, and other points in
the Gulf have British agents. At Jiddah, Hodeidah and Aden there are
several consulates beside the English. Muscat has for some years had
an American consul and in 1894 the French established a consulate
there. Russia has no representative in the Gulf save at Bagdad; nor
has Germany. None of the European powers, save England, have agents at
any of the Arabian ports in the Gulf nor do the ships of their navies
often visit this part of the world. In fact so little do the Arabs know
of other consuls than English, that their words for agent, _wakil_,
and for consul, _baljoz_, always signify to them British officers or


                      PRESENT POLITICS IN ARABIA

 “The signs of the times show plainly enough what is going to happen.
 All the savage lands in the world are going to be brought under
 subjection to the Christian Governments of Europe. The sooner the
 seizure is consummated, the better for the savages.”—_Mark Twain._

While Turkey continues in power the western coast of Arabia will see no
change and everything will be quiet in Hejaz. If however the trouble
between the Sherifs of Mecca and the Sublime Porte should reach a
crisis or Moslem fanaticism at Jiddah should endanger the lives of
Christians, we may expect England, and perhaps France and Holland to
interfere as did England in 1858.[82] Regarding Yemen there is more
probability of a great political change in the near future. Aden is
a cinder-heap, but Sana has a fine, cold climate and is the capital
of a rich mountain region capable of extraordinary development. There
are those who desire to see England assume a protectorate over all
Yemen, and if ever the Arabs should turn out the Turks, England would
be almost compelled to step in and preserve peace for her allied
tribes near Aden. Long since the army at Aden has felt the need of a
hill-station and only the Crescent keeps the English troops penned up
in an extinct crater where life at best is misery.

The southern part of Arabia is of such a character geographically
and the coast so barren that it offers no attractions to the most
ambitious land-grabber. Oman, like Yemen, is fertile and has in
addition certain mining possibilities. Until recent years England was
the only foreign power that claimed an interest in the heritage of
the Sultan of Muscat. Now France is on the scene and is apparently
unwilling that British power should increase in Oman or the Gulf. The
alleged lease of a coaling-station to France by the Sultan of Muscat
in February, 1899, was only the beginning of French opposition made
manifest. Her establishment of a consulate at Muscat, her relations to
the slave-trade, her attempt to subsidize a line of French steamers
in the Gulf, her secret agents recently travelling in the Gulf—all
these were only ripples that show which way the current flows. So far
England has had free play in Oman; now another power has appeared.
The coaling-station incident was soon settled to the satisfaction
of all Englishmen, and in a thoroughly English way. Under threat of
bombardment the Sultan repudiated his agreement with the French and by
way of punishment for his misconduct his annual stipend was stopped.
Whether France will continue to seek to increase her influence in
the Gulf remains to be seen. It is certain that English policy is
strenuously opposed to allowing one square foot of Oman territory to
pass into the hands of France or any other foreign power.

In April, 1899, it was announced that Russia had entered the Persian
Gulf as a political power and acquired the harbor of Bunder Abbas in
Persia as a terminus for her proposed railway. Since that time this
has been officially denied both at Teheran and St. Petersburg and also
stoutly reasserted with new proofs by the English press and the press
of India. It is undoubtedly news of a sensational character if it be
true. The presence of Russia in the Persian Gulf would probably change
the future history of all its litoral and help to decide the future
partition of Arabia and Mesopotamia. All things seem to be moving
toward a crisis in this region of the east. And if the battle for
empire and for possession of the keys to the gateway of India should be
fought in the Persian Gulf the possible consequences are too vast to be
surmised. What England’s policy would be in case there is truth in the
alleged Russian aggression, is summarized in a recent article in the
_Times_ of India:

“It remains to consider what steps should be taken by Great Britain
in view of the new development in Gulf politics. It may be taken for
granted that Russia will not attempt to take possession of Bunder
Abbas for a considerable time to come. She will make every effort to
deny the existence of the advantage she has gained until a convenient
opportunity arises for putting her plan into execution. In the
meantime, Great Britain can be well content to remain quiet, and to
imitate her adversary by playing a waiting game. It will possibly be
suggested that by again occupying Kishm, and by seizing Ormuz, the
value of Bunder Abbas to Russia could at once be neutralized to a large
extent. That is doubtless true; but it is material to point out that
little is to be gained by precipitate action, that these points of
vantage can be occupied with facility at any time, and that the true
policy of Great Britain is to endeavor to preserve the _status quo_ for
as long a period as possible.

“Meanwhile, there are many methods by which British power and influence
in the Gulf can be safeguarded. We understand that the Admiralty has
already decided to strengthen the naval force maintained in Persian
waters, and that the Admiral commanding the East Indies squadron will
in future give the Gulf a larger share of his personal supervision. But
this is not enough. The staff of political officers in the Gulf needs
to be enlarged.... Then, too, more telegraph cables are needed. Muscat
is now shut off from communication with the rest of the world, although
the port was once linked up with Aden by cable. A line should be laid
from Muscat to Jask forthwith, and another branch should connect Jask
with Bunder Abbas and Lingah. More political agents should be stationed
in the hinterland between Bunder Abbas and Seistan, with roving
commissions, if necessary. One other matter needs urgent attention.
Russia now possesses the sole right to construct railways in Persia,
under an agreement which, after being in existence ten years, expires
this year. Is anything being done to prevent the renewal of this
objectionable concession, which is deeply opposed to British interests
in the Shah’s dominions? It is in the highest degree important that
Great Britain should secure a share in the concessions for roads and
railways which will certainly be granted by the Persian government in
the near future. Unfortunately, the gaze of the British public is so
steadily concentrated upon China that it is unable to perceive dangers
which threaten the empire in a far more vital place. There must soon
be a rude awakening. It is not in China, but in Persia and the Persian
Gulf, that the centre of political strife and international rivalry in
Asia will soon be fixed.”

With the event of Russia in the Gulf and her Persian policy, with
France envious of England’s growing prestige in this Orient, with
Germany at work building railways and Turkey’s days numbered, what is
to be the future of the fertile provinces of Busrah and Bagdad? Will
England continue to hold the upper hand in every part of Arabia and
will some future Lord Cromer develop the Euphrates-Tigris valley into
a second Egypt? The battle of diplomacy is on. European cabinets,
backed by immense armies and navies are playing a game involving
tremendous issues—issues not only tremendous to themselves and to
the populations of Arabia and Persia, but involving the interest of
another King and the greatest Kingdom. The event toward which history
and recent politics in Arabia have so far been moving is “the one far
off Divine event” of the Son of God. Not only to the missionary but to
every Christian the study of the politics of Arabia makes evident the
great Providential hand of God in the history of the Peninsula during
the past century. Jesus Christ holds the key to the situation. All the
kings of the earth are in His hand and to whomsoever He gives power or
privilege, the end will be the glory of His own name and the coming of
His own kingdom; also in Arabia.


                          THE ARABIC LANGUAGE

 “Arabic grammars should be strongly bound, because learners are so
 often found to dash them frantically on the ground.”—_Keith Falconer._

 “It is a language more extended over the face of the earth and which
 has had more to do with the destiny of mankind than any other, except
 English.”—_Rev. Geo. E. Post, M. D._, Beirut.

 “Wisdom hath alighted upon three things—the brain of the Franks,
 the hands of the Chinese and the tongue of the Arabs.”—_Mohammed

Two religions contend for the mastery of the world; Christianity and
Islam. Two races strive for the possession of the dark continent,
the Anglo-Saxon and the Arab. Two languages have for ages past
contested for world-wide extension on the basis of colonization and
propagandism—the English and the Arabic. To-day about seventy millions
of people speak some form of the Arabic language, as their vernacular;
and nearly as many more know something of its literature in the Koran
because they are Mohammedans. In the Philippine islands the first
chapter of the Koran is repeated before dawn paints the sky red. The
refrain is taken up in Moslem prayers at Pekin and is repeated across
the whole of China. It is heard in the valleys of the Himalayas and
on “the roof of the world.” A few hours later the Persians pronounce
these Arabic words and then across the Peninsula the muezzins call
the “faithful” to prayer. At the waters of the Nile, the cry “_Allahu
akbar_” is again sounded forth ever carrying the Arab speech westward
across the Sudan, the Sahara and the Barbary States until it is last
heard in the mosques of Morocco.

The Arabic Koran is a text-book in the day-schools of Turkey,
Afghanistan, Java, Sumatra, New Guinea, and Southern Russia. Arabic is
the spoken language not only of Arabia proper but forces the linguistic
boundary of that peninsula 300 miles north of Bagdad to Diarbekr and
Mardin, and is used all over Syria and Palestine and the whole of
northern Africa. Even at Cape Colony there are daily readers of the
language of Mohammed. As early as 1315 Arabic began to be taught at the
universities of Europe through the missionary influence of Raymund Lull
and to-day the language is more accurately known and its literature
more critically investigated at Leiden than at Cairo and at Cambridge
than in Damascus.

A missionary in Syria who is a master of the Arab tongue thus
characterizes it, “A pure and original speech of the greatest
flexibility, with an enormous vocabulary, with great grammatical
possibility, fitted to convey theological and philosophical and
scientific thought in a manner not to be excelled by any language
except the English, and the little group of languages which have been
cultivated so happily by Christianity in Central Europe.” Ernest Renan,
the French Semitic scholar, after expressing his surprise that such
a language as Arabic should spring from the desert-regions of Arabia
and reach perfection in nomadic camps, says that the Arabic surpasses
all its sister Semitic languages in its rich vocabulary, delicacy of
expression, and the logic of its grammatical construction.[83]

The Semitic family of languages is large and ancient, although not
as extensive geographically nor so diverse as those of Indo-European
family. Some maintain[84] that the Semites were ancient immigrants from
the region northeast of Arabia. They hold that before the formation of
the different Semitic dialects the Semites everywhere used a name for
the camel (_jemel_) which still appears in all of the dialects. They
have however no names in common for the date-palm, the fruit of the the
palm nor for the ostrich, therefore, in their first home, the Semites
knew the camel but did not know the palm. Now the region where there is
neither date-palm nor ostrich and yet where the camel has lived from
the remotest antiquity is the central table-land of Asia near the Oxus.
Von Kremer holds that from this region the Semites migrated to Babylon
even before the Aryan emigration; the Mesopotamian valley is the oldest
seat of Semitic culture.

Others[85] hold that the original home of the Semites was in the south
of Arabia whence they gradually overspread the peninsula, so that, as
Sprenger expresses it, “All Semite are successive layers of Arabs.” The
arguments for this theory are briefly given by Sayce:[86] “The Semitic
traditions all point to Arabia as the original home of the race. It is
the only part of the world which has remained exclusively Semites. The
racial characteristics—intensity of faith, ferocity, exclusiveness,
imagination—can best be explained by a desert origin.” De Goeje
lays stress on the fine climate of Central Arabia and the splendid
physical development of the Arab as additional proof together with the
indisputable fact that “of all Semitic languages the Arabic approaches
nearest to the original mother-tongue as was conclusively demonstrated
by Professor Schrader of Berlin.”

The following table will show at a glance the position of Arabic
in the Semitic family group, _dead languages being put in italics_.
Arabic, ancient and modern belongs to the South Semitic group and at
an early period supplanted the Himyaritic in Yemen, although the Mahri
and Ehkeli dialects are still used in the mountains of Hadramaut.[87]
It was practically the only conquering language on the list and is the
only one that is growing in use.

                      TABLE OF SEMITIC LANGUAGES.

      WESTERN (Aramaic)
              _Jewish Aramaic_ (as Targums and Talmud).
              _Egyptian Aramaic._

      _Moabite_ and _Canaanitish dialects_.

      ARABIC (Ishmaelite)
          One written language but Modern Dialects in speech.
              Maltese [?].
              Algerian, etc.
              Omanese, etc.
      Ethiopic (Joktanite)
          _Old Geez._

There are to-day over one hundred Arabic newspapers and magazines
regularly published and which together have an immense circulation in
all parts of the Arabic-speaking world.

While the Arabic language has now acknowledged supremacy above all its
sisters, in its historical and literary development it was last of
them all. Not until the seventh century of our era did Arabic become,
in any sense, important. The language received its literary birthright
and its inspiration through the illiterate prophet who could not read
but who set all the Eastern world to studying his book. The Arabic
literature of the days before Mohammed has a high literary character,
but with all its beauty it was only the morning star that ushered
in the sunrise. When once the Koran was promulgated, literature and
grammar and the sciences all spoke Arabic. It was the renaissance of
the dead and dying East. Whatever effect the Koran may have had on
the social life and morals of a people, no one denies that it was
the Koran and that alone which rescued Arabic from becoming a local
idiom. Again this Koran was the unifying factor of the new religion,
sweeping everything down before it; not only did it unify the hostile
tribes of Arabia but melted all their dialects into one and established
an ever-abiding classical standard for the remotest student of the
language of revelation. We do not of course hold, as do the Arabs, that
the Arabic of the Koran is absolutely without a parallel in grammatical
purity and diction. The contrary has been proved by Nöldeke and Dozy.
The latter states that the Koran is “full of bastard-Arabic and has
many grammatical blunders, which are at present unnoticed, since the
grammarians have kindly constructed rules or exceptions to include even
these in the list of unapproachable style and perfection.”

The origin and history of the Arabic alphabet is exceedingly
interesting. All writing was originally pictorial, the next stage
being that of the ideogram. Perhaps a trace of this earliest writing
still remains in the _wasms_ or tribal marks of the Bedouin. Scholars
maintain that the earliest Semitic writing we possess of certain date
is that on the Moabite Stone, discovered by the missionary Klein in
1868. Almost of equal age is the Cyprus and Sidon alphabet, and that
of the Phœnicians, found on ancient coins and monuments. The date of
this writing is put at 890 B. C. On these monuments and coins the
system of orthography is already so carefully developed as to prove
that the Semites understood the art centuries before that date. The
oldest forms of these Semitic alphabets are in turn derived (Halévy,
Nöldeke) from the Egyptian hieratic characters. The oldest inscriptions
found in North Arabia by Doughty and Enting, in the Nabatean character,
and in South Arabia by Halévy and others in Himyaritic character, are
both written, like modern Arabic, from right to left. Although the
characters do not resemble each other, this would seem to indicate a
common origin. The intimate connection of the present Arabic alphabet
with the Hebrew or Phœnician, is shown not only by the forms of the
letters, but by their more ancient numerical arrangement called by the
Arabs _Abjad_, and which corresponds with the Hebrew order.

[Illustration: CUFIC CHARACTERS.]

Accounts differ even among the Arabs as to who adapted or invented
the present Arabic alphabet from the older Cufic forms. Some even
hold that they both developed simultaneously out of the Himyaritic.
The Cufic, it is true, is found on old monuments and coins from the
Persian Gulf to Spain, and is a square, apparently more crude kind of
writing. But the cursive script (now called _Naskhi_) seems to have
been in use also long before Mohammed’s time, the Arab historians to
the contrary notwithstanding, for the exigencies of daily life. That
writing was known at Mecca before the era of Mohammed is acknowledged
by Moslem tradition and the close intercourse with Yemen long before
that time would certainly indicate some knowledge of Himyaritic. Syriac
and Hebrew were also known in Mecca and Medina because of the Jewish
population, and it is not improbable that this may have had influence
on the present form of the Arabic alphabet.



It is not without reason that Mohammed’s cognomen for Jew and Christian
alike was, “the people of the _Book_.” At first, like the Hebrew,
Arabic had no vowel-points or diacritical marks. In the earliest Cufic
Koran manuscripts these have the form of accents, horizontal lines
or even triangles. The Arabs tell many interesting stories about the
cause and occasion of their invention by Abu Aswad ad Duili or by Nasr
bin ’Asim. In each case the awful sin of mispronouncing a word in the
Koran leads to the device of vowel-points as a future preventative.
According to another tradition it was Hasan-el-Basri (who died A. H.
110) that first pointed the Koran text with the assistance of Yahya bin
Yámar. The vowel-points, so called, were in reality the abbreviated
weak-consonants and were placed, in accordance with the sound of these
letters, when so pronounced. The vowel-points and diacritical marks
are always found in copies of the Koran, but seldom in other books
and never in epistolary writing. They are considered by the Arabs
themselves as at best a necessary evil, except for grammarians and
purists. The story is told that an elaborate piece of Arabic penmanship
was once presented to the governor of Khorasan under the Caliph al
Mamun, and that he exclaimed, “How beautiful this would be if there
were not so much coriander seed scattered over it!”


The demand for perfect accuracy in copying the Koran in every detail of
point and accent, led the Arabs to glorify the art of caligraphy, and,
as they followed neither painting nor sculpture because of their creed,
they naturally put all their artistic taste into their manuscripts.
Brilliantly colored and adorned with gold on delicately tinted
parchment, or paper, the fanciful chapter-headings and the elegant
tracery of each letter in the book make such an old manuscript Koran a
real work of art. Three names are recorded of those who in the early
days of Islam were the Raphaels and Michael Angelos of the reed-pen;
Wazir Muhammed bin Ali, Ali bin Hilal al Bauwab, and Abu-’d-Dur bin
Yakut al Musta’sami. As time went by there arose various schools of
this art; chiefly distinguished as the Magrib-Berber or Western, and
the Turko-Arab or Eastern style. In the decorations of the Alhambra the
western school shows some of its most finished art, while Damascus and
Cairo mosques show the delicate “Arabesque” traceries of the lighter
oriental school. It is in manuscripts, however, that the best work is
found; some of these are of priceless value and exceeding beauty. Even
to-day there are Arab penmen whose work commands a good price as _art_
and gives them a position in society as it did the monkey, described in
the Arabian Nights, who improvised poetry in five styles of caligraphy
for the astonished king.


The Arabic language is distinguished among those that know it for its
_beauty_, and among those who are learning it for its _difficulty_. To
the Arabs their language is not only the language of revelation, but
of the Revealer himself. Allah speaks Arabic in heaven, and on the day
of judgment will judge the world in this “language of the angels.” All
other tongues are vastly inferior in grammatical construction, and what
else could they be since the Koran with its classical perfection has
existed before all words, uncreated, written on the preserved tablet
in heaven, the daily delight of the innumerable company of angels! As
Renan says, “among a people so preoccupied with language as the Arabs,
the _language_ of the Koran became as it were a second religion, a
sort of dogma inseparable from Islam.” But the innate beauty of the
language is acknowledged by all who have made it a study, whether born
on the soil of Arabia or educated in the universities of Europe. From
the days of the Dutch scholars, De Dieu, Schultens, Schroeder and
Scheid, and the Swiss Hottinger to the times of Nöldeke, Gesenius and
Renan, the praises of Arabic have been proclaimed in Europe, and its
study pursued with a devotion that almost amounted to a passion.

The elements of beauty in this language are many. There is first its
logical structure, which, we are told, surpasses that of any other
language. Even the order of the alphabet is more logical as regards
form than the Hebrew; its grammar is altogether logical; the exceptions
to its rules can be formed, so to say, into a syllogism. Palmer’s and
Lansing’s grammars show how this logical structure can be discovered in
the minutest detail, so that, _e. g._, the three short vowels control
the forms not only, but the significance of roots, and are the key to
the interpretation of all grammatical mysteries.

A second element of beauty is found in the lexical richness of the
Arabic. Its boundless vocabulary and wealth of synonyms are universally
acknowledged and admired. A dictionary is called a _Kamoos_ or
“Deep Ocean” where “full many a gem of purest ray serene, the dark
unfathomed caves” conceal for the diligent student. Renan tells of
an Arab linguist who wrote a book on the 500 names given to the lion
in literature; another gives 200 words for serpent. Firozabadi, the
Arabian Webster, is said to have written a sort of supplement on the
words for honey and to have left it incomplete at the _eightieth_ word;
the same authority asserts that there are over 1,000 different terms in
Arabic for sword and, judging from its use by the Arabs, this appears
credible. De Hammer Purgstall, a German scholar, wrote a book on the
words relating to the _camel_ and finds them, in Arabic literature,
to the number of 5,744. But this remarkable exhibition loses some of
its grandeur when truth compels us to state that many of the so-called
synonyms are epithets changed into substantives or tropes accidentally
employed by some poet to conform to his rhyme. It is also true that the
wealth of synonym is limited in Arabic to a certain class of words;
in other departments of thought, ethics for example, the language is
wofully poor, not even having a distinctive word for conscience.

A third point of beauty in the Arabic language is its purity as
compared with other Semitic languages or even all other languages.
This was partly due to the geographical location of the Arabs and is
still due to their early literature together with the Koran which has
put a classical standard into the hands of every schoolboy and has
prevented, by the law of religion, both development and deterioration.
“While other languages of the same family became dead and while
many of their forms and meanings changed or disappeared, the Arabic
remained comparatively pure and intact excepting perhaps the temporary
corruption which necessarily occurred during the Moslem conquests and
foreign applications of the first four Caliphs.”[88]

The Arabic race occupied at first a circumscribed territory and came
little into contact with the surrounding nations so that the forces
which produce linguistic decay were absent. The only thing that will
preserve a language pure next to isolation is a classical literature.
English has changed less since Shakespeare’s time than it did in the
interval between him and Chaucer. So too with Arabic. Had it not been
for the Koran and its cognate literature, by this time the people
of Syria, Egypt, Morocco and Oman would perhaps scarcely understand
each other, and their written language would differ vastly; but the
existence of this literature has kept the written language a unit and
put a constant check on the vagaries of dialect.

The last, and chief element of beauty in the Arabic tongue is
undoubtedly its wonderful literature. In poetry alone, the Arabians
can challenge the world; in grammar, logic and rhetoric the number of
their works is legion; while both at Bagdad and Cordova Arab historians
and biographers filled whole libraries with their learning; in Cordova
the royal library contained 400,000 volumes. Algebra and Astronomy are
specially indebted to the Arabs; all the sciences received attention
and some of them addition from the Arabian mind.

The Arabic tongue is not only beautiful but it is difficult,
exceedingly difficult, to every one who attempts to really master it.
One of the veteran missionaries of Egypt wrote, in 1864, “I would
rather traverse Africa from Alexandria to the Cape of Good Hope, than
undertake a second time to master the Arabic language.” The first
difficulty is its correct pronunciation. Some Arabic letters cannot be
transliterated into English, although certain grammars take infinite
pains to accomplish the impossible. The gutturals belong to the desert
and were doubtless borrowed from the camel when she complained of
overloading. There are also one or two other letters which sorely try
the patience of the beginner and in some cases remain obstinate to the
end. Then the student soon learns, and the sooner the better, that
Arabic is totally different in construction from European tongues and
that “as far as the East is from the West” so far he must modify his
ideas as to the correct way of expressing thought; and this means to
disregard all notions of Indo-European grammar when in touch with the
sons of Shem. Every word in the Arabic language is referred to a root
of three letters. These roots are modified by prefixes, infixes and
suffixes, according to definite models, so that from one root a host
of words can be constructed and vice versa, from a compounded word
all the servile letters and syllables must be eliminated to find the
original root. This digging for roots and building up of roots is not a
pastime at the outset because of the extent of the root-garden. Dozy’s
_supplement_ to Lane’s Monumental Arabic Lexicon has 1,714 pages. So
large in fact is the vocabulary of Arabic writers that the classics
require copious explanatory notes for the Arabs themselves and some of
them have written notes on the notes, to explain the difficult words
used in explaining others more difficult. Moreover Arabic literature is
so vast in its extent that acquaintance with the vocabulary of a dozen
authors in one line of literature does not yet enable the student to
appreciate the language of other works. You may be able to read the
Koran tolerably well and understand its diction and yet when you turn
to the Arabian Shakespeare or Milton find yourself literally at sea, in
the _Kamoos_, and unable to understand a single line.

The regular verb in Arabic has fifteen conjugations, two voices, two
tenses, and several moods; the irregular verbs are many and mysterious
to the beginner although grammarians try to make them appear easier
by demonstrating that all their irregularities are strictly logical,
not the result of linguistic perversity but foreseen calculation and
providential wisdom. Is it not “the language of the angels”?—even the

As a final testimony to the difficulties of the Arabic language listen
to Ion Keith Falconer. After passing the Semitic Languages Tripos at
Cambridge under Dr. Wright, and taking a special course in Arabic at
Leipzig, he writes from Assiut in Egypt: “I am getting on in Arabic,
but it is most appallingly hard.... I have learned a good deal and can
make myself intelligible to servants and porters. I have a teacher
every day for two hours and translate from a child’s reading book.”
After _five years_ of further study he writes once more from Aden
(Jan. 17, 1886), “I am learning to speak Arabic quite nicely but it
will be long before I can deliver real discourses.” And this man was
an all-around scholar with a passion for languages. Without any doubt
Arabic _is_ one of the most difficult languages in the world to acquire
with any degree of fluency, and progress in its attainment means
ceaseless plodding and endless diligence.


                      THE LITERATURE OF THE ARABS

The literature of the Arabs is either pre-Islamic or post-Islamic;
the former has as its chief classics the Muallakāt or seven suspended
poems, the latter finds its centre and apex as well as its origin and
inspiration in the Koran. The seven ancient poems, still extant, are
also called _Muthahabat_ or the “golden poems,” and it is generally
admitted by Arabic scholars that this was indeed the golden age of Arab
literature. Zuhair, Zarafah, Imru-l-Kais, Amru-ibn-Kulsum, Al Harith,
’Antar and Labid were the authors of these poems and all but the last
were idolaters, and belong to what the conceit of Islam calls “the Time
of Ignorance.” These poems furnished the model ever afterward for later
writers and, according to Baron de Slane, are remarkable for their
perfection of form and exhibit a high degree of linguistic culture.

But the Koran has eclipsed all that ever went before it or came after
it in the eyes of the Arabs. It is the paragon of literary perfection
as well as of moral beauty. Its style is inimitable because it is
Divine in the highest sense of the word. To criticise its diction is to
be guilty of blasphemy and to compare it with other literature is to
commit sacrilege. There is no doubt that the chief charm of the Koran
from a literary standpoint is its musical jingle and cadence. It is
such as the Arabs, the earliest masters of rhyme, love, and servilely
imitate in all their later prose works. Our English translations of
the Koran, although accurate, (and even idiomatic, as Palmer’s) cannot
reproduce this; in consequence the book appears vapid, monotonous and
to the last degree wearisome and uninteresting. Attempts have been made
by Burton and others to acquaint English readers with this element of
beauty in Mohammed’s revelation. The following[89] is almost equal to
the Arabic itself, and, to say the least, sounds more interesting than
Sale’s prose version of the same passage:

    “I swear by the splendor of light
    And by the silence of night
    That the Lord shall never forsake thee
    Nor in His hatred take thee;
    Truly for thee shall be winning
    Better than all beginning
    Soon shall the Lord console thee, grief no longer control thee,
    And fear no longer cajole thee.
    Thou wert an orphan-boy, yet the Lord found room for thy head.
    When thy feet went astray, were they not to the right path led?
    Did He not find thee poor, yet riches around thee spread?
    Then on the orphan-boy, let thy proud foot never tread,
    And never turn away the beggar who asks for bread,
    But of the Lord’s bounty ever let praise be sung and said.”

It is not to be expected that all the transcendant excellencies and
miraculous beauties which Moslem commentators find in the Koran should
unveil themselves to cold, unsympathizing western gaze, but that the
book has a certain literary beauty no one can deny who has read it
in the original. As Penrice says in his preface to his Dictionary of
the Koran, “Beauties there are many and great; ideas highly poetical
are clothed in rich and appropriate language, which not unfrequently
rises to a sublimity far beyond the reach of any translation; but it
is unfortunately the case that many of those graces which present
themselves to the admiration of the finished scholar are but so many
stumbling-blocks in the way of the beginner; the marvellous conciseness
which adds so greatly to the force and energy of its expressions cannot
fail to perplex him while the frequent use of the ellipse leaves in his
mind a feeling of vagueness not altogether out of character in a work
of its oracular and _soi-disant_ prophetic nature.”

The greatest literary treasure of the Arabs next to the Koran is the
_Makāmat_ of Al Hariri. No one of polite scholarship would dare profess
ignorance of this great classic, and the reader of these “Assemblies”
is introduced to every branch of Mohammedan learning—poetry, history,
antiquities, theology and law. Recently Hariri has been translated
into English by Chenery and an earlier translation by Preston has also
been printed. Stanley Lane-Poole reviewing these translations thus
characterizes this Shakespeare of the Arabic world:

“It is difficult, no doubt, for most Westerns to appreciate the
beauties of this celebrated classic. There is no cohesion, no
connecting idea, between the fifty separate ‘Assemblies,’ beyond
the regular reappearance of an egregious Tartufe, called Abu-Zeyd,
a Bohemian of brilliant parts and absolutely no conscience, who
consistently extracts alms from assemblies of people in various cities,
by preaching eloquent discourses of the highest piety and morality,
and then goes off with his spoils to indulge secretly in triumphant
and unhallowed revels. Even in this framework there is no attempt at
originality; it is borrowed from Hamadâni, the ‘Wonder of the Age.’
The excellence lies in the perfect finish: the matter is nothing;
the charm consists in the form alone. Yet this form is, to English
readers, exotic and artificial. Among its special merits, in the eyes
of Easterns, is the perpetual employment of rimed prose. To us this
is apt to seem at once monotonous and strained, with its antithetic
balance in sense, and jingle of sound; but to the Arabs, as to many
primitive peoples, either riming or assonant prose was from early times
a natural mode of impassioned and impressive speech. It is the mode
adopted constantly and without strain in the Koran, and it is the mode
into which an historian, such as Ibn-el-Athîr, falls naturally when he
waxes eloquent over a great victory or a famous deed....

“But if we do not care for rimed prose, there is plenty besides in
Hariri to minister to varied tastes. In these wonderful ‘Assemblies,’
we shall find every kind of literary form, except the shambling and
the vulgar. Pagan rhetoric, Moslem exhortation, simple verse, elaborate
ode, everything that the immeasurable flexibility of the Arabic tongue
and the curious art of a fastidious scholar could achieve—all is here,
and we may take our choice.”

What is said by this scholarly critic of Hariri holds true of most
Arabic poetry, it lacks unity of idea and sobriety of expression. All
is intense. Every beautiful eye is a narcissus; tears are pearls; teeth
are pearls or hail-stones; lips are rubies; the gums, pomegranate
blossoms; piercing eyes are swords, and the eyelids, scabbards; a
mole is an ant creeping to suck the honey from the lips; a handsome
face is a full-moon; an erect form is the letter alif as penned by
Wazir Muhammed; black hair is night; the waist is a willow-branch or a
lance, and love is always passion. Far-fetched allusions abound and the
_sense_ at every turn must do homage to the _sound_. In the judgment of
Baron de Slane the two notable exceptions to the rule are Al Mutanabbi
and Ibn El Farid who exhibit a daring and surprising originality often
approaching the sublime and, in the case of the latter, mystic reveries
and spiritual beauties of no mean order.

The influence of the Arabic language on other tongues and peoples has
also been great, ever since the rise of Islam. The Persian language
adopted the Arabic alphabet and a large number of Arabic words and
phrases; so that, as Renan remarks, in some Persian books all the
words are Arabic and only the grammar remains in the vernacular. As
for Hindustani, three-fourths of its vocabulary consists of Arabic
words or Arabic words derived through the Persian. The Turkish language
also is indebted for many words taken from the Arabic and uses the
Arabic alphabet. The Malay language, with the Moslem conquest, was
also touched by Arabic influence and likewise adopted its alphabet.
In Africa its influence was yet more strongly felt. The language
extended over all the northern half of the continent and is still
growing in use to-day. The geographical nomenclature of the interior
is Arabic and Arabs preceded Livingstone, Stanley and Speke in all
their journeys. The languages of the southern Sudan, the Hausa, and
even those of Guinea borrowed largely from the Arabic. Europe itself
did not escape the influence of the conquering Semitic tongue. Spanish
and Portuguese betray a vast number of Arabic words and idioms. French
and English are also indebted to Arabic in no small degree for many
scientific and technical words introduced at the time of the crusades
and even earlier. Here is a partial list of those which we received
directly or indirectly from the Arab tongue, as given in Skeat’s
Etymological Dictionary and arranged into sentences; every word in
italics is of Arabic origin.

 “The _Nabob Mohammedan Magazine_ relates, that years after the
 _Hegira_, a _saracen caliph_ or _Mameluke sultan_, sat with
 his _mussulman emir_, _admiral_, _vizier_, _moslem mufti_ and
 _Koran-munshee_, (who knew _alchemy_ and _algebra_ and could
 _cipher_ the _azimuth_ and _nadir_ to _zero_), _sheikh_ of the
 _hareem_, _muezzin_ and _tariff-dragoman_ of the _arsenal_, under a
 _carob_-tree, on _sofas_ of _mohair-mattress_ covered with _jerboa-_
 and _gazelle-skins_, drinking _coffee_, _saffron-elixer_, _arrack_,
 _alcohol_ and _syrup_ of _senna, carraway_ and _sumach_. For tonic
 they also had _rose-attar_, _artichokes_, _alkaline-nitre_ in
 _myrrh_, _taraxacum_, _otto-sherbet_, and _naphtha_ in _amber_ cups.
 The _Sultan’s_ infant daughter wore a _carmine cotton_ and-_muslin
 chemise_ or _diaper_ with a _civet talisman_ and _jasper amulet_;
 she played a _Tartar lute_. Suddenly a _giaour Bedouin assassin_
 with an _assagai_ and _hookah-masque_ came down on them from behind
 an _alcove_ of the neighboring _arabesque mosque minaret_ like a
 _sirocco-simoon_ or _monsoon_ and killed them all.”

Most of these words came from the Arabic through other languages such
as French and Spanish; others were directly transferred from the Arabic
to English; and still others have passed the long journey from Arabic
to Greek, to Latin, to Italian, to French and thence to English. The
word _magazine_ is perhaps the best example of how an Arabic-root
found shelter in the soil of all the European languages and grew into
manifold significations from its original meaning with the Arabs,
_ghazana_ = to collect or store.

In modern days, especially since the opening of the Suez canal, the
English language is beginning to exert its influence on Arabic. In
Egypt, Syria and the Persian Gulf many English commercial terms are
being adopted into the language and the newspapers spread their use

Last, but not least, there is the immense, incalculable influence
on the Arabic-tongue for all time exerted by the toil and sacrifice
of the early missionaries to Syria through their college and press
in giving to the world a modern Christian and scientific literature
and that crowning work of Drs. Eli Smith and C. V. A. Van Dyck—the
Arabic Bible. The mission press at Beirut has four hundred and eighty
three volumes on its catalogue and prints about twenty-five million
pages annually.[90] The Arabic Bible “one of the noblest literally
monuments of the age” will yet prove a mighty influence in purifying
and ennobling the language and preserving its classical diction to
the utmost bounds of the Arab-world. There was only one Koran and
there will be only one Arabic Bible—the finished product of American
scholarship and her best gift to the Mohammedan world.



                               THE ARAB

    “Children of Shem! Firstborn of Noah’s race
      And still forever children; at the door
    Of Eden found, unconscious of disgrace,
      And loitering on while all are gone before;
    Too proud to dig, too careless to be poor
      Taking the gifts of God in thanklessness,
    Not rendering aught, nor supplicating more,
      Nor arguing with Him if He hide His face.
    Yours is the rain and sunshine, and the way
      Of an old wisdom, by our world forgot,
    The courage of a day which knew not death;
      Well may we sons of Japhet, in dismay,
    Pause in our vain mad fight for life and breath,
      Beholding you—I bow and reason not”—_Anon._

Concerning the origin of the tribes and people that now inhabit
the Arabian peninsula there is disagreement among the learned. It
is generally held that the original tribes of Northern Arabia are
descendants of Ishmael. This is also the tradition of all Arab
historians. As to the South Arabians, who occupied their highlands with
the Hadramaut coast for centuries before the Ishmaelites appeared on
the scene there are two opinions. Some believe them to be descendants
of Joktan (Arabic _Kahtan_) the son of Heber and therefore, like
the Northern Arabs, true Semites. Others think that the earliest
inhabitants of South Arabia were Cushites or Hamitic; while some German
scholars hold that in the earlier Arabs the children of Joktan and of
Cush were blended into one race.

Among the Ishmaelites are included not only Ishmael’s direct
descendants through the twelve princes,[91] but the Edomites,
Moabites, Ammonites, Midianites and probably other cognate tribes.
The names of the sons of Ishmael in relation to their settlements and
the traces of these names in modern Arabia is a subject which has been
taken up by Bible dictionaries but which still offers an interesting
field for further study. The Arabs themselves have always claimed
Abrahamic descent for the tribes of the north. The age-long, racial
animosity between the Yemenites and Māadites seems to confirm the
theory of two distinct races inhabiting the peninsula from very early
times; and they remain distinct until to-day in spite of a common
language and a common religion. “The animosity of these two races to
each other is unaccountable but invincible. Like two chemical products
which instantly explode when placed in contact, so has it always been
found impossible for Yemenite and Māadite to live quietly together.
At the present day the Yemenite in the vicinity of Jerusalem detests
the Māadite of Hebron, and when questioned as to the reason of their
eternal enmity has no other reply but that it has been so from time
immemorial. In the time of the Caliphs the territory of Damascus was
desolated by a murderous war for two years, because a Māadite had taken
a lemon from the garden of a Yemenite. The province of Murcia in Spain
was deluged with blood for seven years because a Māadite inadvertently
plucked a Yemenite vine-leaf. It was a passion which surmounted every
tie of affection or interest. ‘You have prayed for your father: why do
you not pray for your mother?’ a Yemenite was asked near the Kaaba.
‘For my mother!’ said the Yemenite, ‘How could I? She was of the race
of Māad.’”[92]

The Yemenites at a very early period founded the strong and opulent
Himyarite Kingdom. The Himyarites were the navigators of the East and
they were celebrated for their skill in manufacture as well as for
enterprise in commerce; they had a written language, inscriptions
in which were discovered all over south Arabia during the present
century. The Māadite or Ishmaelite Arabs on the contrary were more
nomad in their habits and were masters of the caravans which carried
the enormous overland trade by the two great trunk-lines of antiquity,
from the East to the West. One of these lines extended from Aden,
(Arabia Emporium of Ptolemy) along the western part of the peninsula
and through Yemen to Egypt; the other extended from Babylon to Tadmor
and Damascus. A third route, nearly as important, was also in the hands
of the Ishmaelite Arabs, by Wady Rumma and Nejd to the old capital of
the Himyarites, Mareb.[93] These caravans unified the Arabian peninsula
and fused into one its two peoples; the northern Arabs receiving
somewhat of the southern civilization and the southern Arabs adopting
the language of the north. But the decline in the caravan trade brought
disaster to Arabia; the ship of the desert found a competitor in the
ships of the sea. Old settlements were broken up, great cities, which
flourished because of overland trade, were abandoned and whole tribes
were reduced from opulence to poverty. In this time of transition,
long before the birth of Mohammed, the Arabic nation as it is known to
modern history seems to have been formed.

The modern Arabs classify themselves into Bedouins and town-dwellers;
or, in their own poetic way, _ahl el beit_ and _ahl el h’eit_,
“the people of the tent,” and “the people of the wall.” But this
classification is hardly sufficient, although it has been generally
adopted by writers on Arabia. Edson L. Clark, in his book, The Arabs
and the Turks, gives five classes: “Beginning at the lowest round of
the ladder we have first the sedentary or settled Arabs. .. who though
still many of them dwelling in tents have become cultivators of the
soil. By their nomadic brethren these settled Arabs are thoroughly
despised as degraded and denationalized by the change in their mode
of life. Secondly, the wandering tribes in the neighborhood of the
settled districts, and in constant intercourse with their inhabitants.
Both these classes, but more especially the latter, are thoroughly
demoralized.... The third class consists of the Arabs of the Turkish
towns and villages; but they too are a degenerate class both in
language and character.... The fourth class consists of the inhabitants
of the towns and villages of Arabia proper, who by their peculiar
situation have remained more secluded from the rest of the world than
even the wandering tribes.... Finally the great nomadic tribes of the
interior, still preserving unchanged the primitive character, habits
and customs of their race.” This last class and this alone are the real

In addition to this classification according to civilization there
is the universal genealogical classification; and no people in the
world are fonder of genealogies than the Arabs. The names of tribes
and families go back, in many cases to pre-islamic days. The earliest
tribal-names, therefore, are either taken from animals or totem-names,
like Panthers, Dogs, Lizards, _e. g._, _Anmar Kilab_, _Dibab_, etc.;
place-names transformed afterward by the genealogists into ancestors,
_e. g._, _Hadramaut_, _Hauāb_; or from idols and idol-worship, _e. g._,
_Abd el Kais_, _Abd al Lat_, etc. But the later system of genealogies
as given by the Arabs are utterly unreliable because they are so
evidently artificial. The backbone of the system was the pedigree of
Mohammed and this is notoriously untrustworthy. “Dummy ancestors” were
inserted in order to connect a particular but unimportant tribe with
a distinguished one, and Hamdani himself tells us that he found it a
common practice of obscure desert groups to call themselves by the name
of some more famous tribe.[94]

Character is difficult to define. To depict the moral physiognomy of a
nation and their physical traits in such a way that nothing important
is omitted and no single characteristic exaggerated at the cost of
others. This difficulty is increased in the case of the Arabs, by their
twofold origin and their present twofold civilization. That which is
true of the town-dweller, is not always true of the Bedouin and vice
versa. Moreover the influence of the neighboring countries must be
taken into account. Eastern Arabia has taken color by long contact with
Persia; this is seen in speech, architecture, food and dress. Southern
Arabia, especially Hadramaut, has absorbed East Indian ideas. While
Western Arabia, especially Hejaz, shows in many ways its proximity to
Egypt. Not losing sight of these distinctions, which will account for
many exceptions to the general statements made, what is the character
of the Arabs?

Physically, they are undoubtedly one of the strongest and noblest races
of the world. Baron de Larrey, surgeon-general of the first Napoleon,
in his expeditions to Egypt and Syria, says: “Their physical structure
is in all respects more perfect than that of Europeans; their organs
of sense exquisitely acute, their size above the average of men in
general, their figure robust and elegant, the color brown; their
intelligence proportionate to their physical perfection, and without
doubt superior, other things being equal, to that of other nations.”

The typical Arab face is round-oval, but the general leanness of the
features detracts from its regularity; the bones are prominent; the
eyebrows long and bushy; the eye small, deep-set, fiery black or a
dark, deep brown. The face expresses half dignity, half cunning, and is
not unkindly, although never smiling or benignant. The teeth are white,
even, short and broad. The Arabs have very scanty beards as a rule,
but those of the towns often cultivate a patriarchal beard like the
traditional beard of the prophet. The figure is well-knit, muscular,
long-limbed, never fat. The arms and legs are thin, almost shrunken,
but with muscles like whip-cords. As young men the Bedouins are often
good-looking, with bright eyes and dark hair, but the constant habit of
frowning to protect the eyes from the glare of the sun, soon gives the
face a fierce aspect; at forty their beards turn grey and at fifty they
appear old men.

It is a common mistake to consider the Arabs democratic in their ideas
of society. The genuine Arab was and is always an aristocrat. Feuds
originate about the precedence of one family or tribe over another;
marriage is only allowed between tribes or clans of equal standing; the
whole system of sheikh-government is an aristocratic idea; and as final
proof there still exists a species of caste in South Arabia, while in
North Arabia the Ma’adan Arabs of Mesopotamia and the _Suleyb_ of the
desert are little better than Pariahs as regards their neighbors. It is
with a heavy heart that any Arab sees set over him a man of less noble
extraction than himself. The religion of Arabia has made its people
fanatics, although according to Nöldeke, “fanaticism is characteristic
of all Semitic religions.” But he forgets the real distinction between
intolerance of another religion on ethical grounds as in the case of
Judaism, and the infinitely hard, one-sided, crude exclusiveness of

The Arabs rarely have the power of taking in complex unities at a
glance; the talent for arrangement is absent. An Arab carpenter cannot
draw a right angle, nor can an Arab servant lay a tablecloth square
on the table. The old Arab temple called a cube (Kaaba) has _none_
of its sides or angles equal; their houses show the same lack of
the “carpenter’s eye” to-day. Streets are seldom parallel, even the
street, so-called, was not _straight_ in Damascus. The Arab mind loves
units, not unity; they are good soldiers, but poor generals; there is
no partnership in business; and no public spirit; each man lives for
himself. That is the reason why Yemen cannot shake off the yoke of the
Turk, and this explains why the smallest towns in Arabia have a great
many little mosques. The Arab has a keen eye for particulars, great
subjectivity, nervous restlessness, deep passion and inward feeling,
and yet joined with strong conservatism and love of the past. In
everything he follows old models and traditions; witness their poetry
and their tent-life—in Arab phrase, termed their “houses of hair” and
their “houses of poetry.” As a result of their language-structure,
the Arabs have naturally a strong tendency to a pointed, sharp speech
of epigrammatic brevity, but also go to the other extreme of ornate
tautology. The former is characteristic of the desert; the latter of
the towns. Eloquence and poetry are still worshipped. The only fine
art which Arabs admire is that of caligraphy; and those who have seen
finished specimens of an Arab master-penman, must acknowledge that in
them are all the elements of painting and sculpture.

The Arabs are polite, good-natured, lively, manly, patient, courageous
and hospitable to a fault. They are also contentious, untruthful,
sensuous, distrustful, covetous, proud and superstitious. One must
always keep in mind this paradox in dealing with an Arab. As Clark
expresses it, “an Arab will lie and cheat, and swear any number of
false oaths, in a pecuniary transaction; but when once his faith is
pledged he can be implicitly trusted, even to the last extremity.”
There are Arab oaths such as _wallah_, which are intended to confirm
falsehoods and signify nothing. There are others, such as the threefold
oath, with _wa_, _bi_ and _ti_ as particles of swearing, which not even
the vilest robber among them dare break. Grammatically, the two oaths
are nearly the same.

Robbery is a fine art among the nomads; but the high-minded Arab robs
lawfully, honestly and honorably. He will not attack his victims in
the night; he tries to avoid all bloodshed by coming with overwhelming
force; and if his enterprise miscarries, he boldly enters the first
tent possible, proclaims his true character and asks protection. The
_Dakheil_, or privilege of sanctuary, the salt covenant, the blood
covenant and the sacredness of the guest, all prove that the Arabs
are trustworthy. And yet, in the ordinary affairs of life, lying and
deception are the rule and seldom the exception. The true Arab is
niggardly when he buys, and will haggle for hours to reduce a price;
and yet he is prodigal and lavish in giving away his goods to prove his

According to Burckhardt, the Arab is the only real lover of the
Orient; if he limits this to the Bedouin-Arab he is correct. In matters
of love and marriage the Arab of the towns is what Mohammed, the Meccan
merchant was, after the death of the old lady Khadijah. But Arabic
poetry of the times of ignorance does occasionally breathe the true
tale of love and chivalry; and the desert Arabs as a rule are not
polygamists nor given to divorce.

It was a law among the ancient Arabs that whoever sheds the blood of
a man owes blood on that account to the family of the slain. This law
of blood-revenge was confirmed by the Koran and is a sacred right
everywhere in Arabia. An Arab is considered degenerate who accepts a
fine or any consideration save blood for blood. This law is both the
cause of continual feuds, and tends to terminate them without much
bloodshed. Arabs of the town and of the desert will quarrel for hours
without coming to blows; it is not cowardice that prevents an open
encounter, but the fear of shedding blood and blood-revenge.

Family life among the Arabs is best studied by looking at child-life
in the desert and at the position of women among the Bedouin and the
town-dwellers. In no part of the world does the newborn child meet
less preparation for its reception than among the Bedouin. A land
bare of many blessings, general poverty and the law of the survival
of the fittest, has made the Arab mother stern of heart. In the open
desert under the shade of an acacia bush or behind a camel, the Arab
baby first sees the daylight. As soon as it is born the mother herself
rubs and cleans the child with sand, places it in her handkerchief
and carries it home. She suckles the child for a short period, and
at the age of four months it already drinks profusely of camels’
milk. A name is given to the infant immediately; generally from some
trifling incident connected with its birth, or from some object
which attracts the mother’s fancy. Moslem names such as Hassan Ali
or Fatimah, are extremely uncommon among the true Bedouins; although
Mohammed is sometimes given. Beside his own peculiar name every
Bedouin boy is called by the name of his father and tribe. And what is
more remarkable, boys are often called after their sisters, _e. g._,
_Akhoo Noorah_, the brother of Noorah. Girls’ names are taken from the
constellations, birds, or desert animals like _Gazelle_.

In education the Arab is a true child of nature. His parents leave him
to his own sweet will; they seldom chastise and seldom praise. Trained
from birth in the hard school of nomad life, fatigue and danger do
contribute much to his education. Burckhardt says, “I have seen parties
of naked boys playing at noonday upon the burning sand in the middle
of summer, running until they had fatigued themselves, and when they
returned to their fathers’ tents they were scolded for not continuing
the exercise. Instead of teaching the boy civil manners, the father
desires him to beat and pelt the strangers who come to the tent; to
steal or secrete some trifling article belonging to them. The more
saucy and impudent children are the more they are praised since this is
taken as an indication of future enterprise and warlike disposition.
Bedouin children, male and female, go unclad and play together until
their sixth year. The first child’s festival is that of circumcision.
At the age of seven years the day is fixed, sheep are killed and a
large dish of food is cooked. Women accompany the operation with a
loud song and afterward there is dancing and horseback riding and
encounters with lances. The girls adorn themselves with cheap jewelry
and tent-poles are decorated with ostrich feathers. Altogether it is a


The Bedouin children have few toys but they manage to amuse themselves
with many games. I have seen a group of happy children, each with a pet
locust on a bit of string, watching whose steed should win the race.
The boys make music out of desert-grass winding it in curious fashion
to resemble a horn, and calling it _Masoor_. In Yemen and Nejd a sling,
like David’s, with pebbles from the brook is a lad’s first weapon.
Afterward he acquires a lance and perhaps an old discarded bowie-knife.
The children of the desert have no books.[95] But, of paper, they
have the Book of Nature. This magnificent picture book is never more
diligently studied than by those little dark eyes which watch the sheep
at pasture or count the stars in the blue abyss from their perch on a
lofty camel’s saddle in the midnight journeyings.

When the Bedouin lad grows up, and begins to swear by the few
straggling hairs on his chin, he cannot read a letter, but he knows men
and he knows the desert. The talk heard at night around the Sheikh’s
tent or the acacia-brush fireside is much like the wisdom of the book
of Job. A philosophy of submission to the world as it is; a deification
of stoicism or patience; a profound trust that all will end well at
last. Sad to say even the little nomads, with their ignorance of all
religion, share in the fanatical antagonism of their elders toward the
Christian religion and Christians. One of their games, in Nejd, is to
draw a cross on the desert sand and then defile it; they learn that
all outside the pale of Mohammed’s creed are _kafirs_ and to please
Allah are glad to throw stones at any wayfaring Nasrani. Little do
the Bedouins and still less do their children, however, know of the
religion of Islam. The Koran is not a book for children’s minds and of
such is not the kingdom of Mohammed.

The Bedouin child early puts away childish things. To western eyes
the children of Arabia appear like little old men and women; and the
grown-up people have minds like children. This is another paradox
of the Arab-character. At ten years the boy is sent to drive camels
and the girl to herd sheep; at fifteen they are both on the way to
matrimony. He wears the garb of a man and boasts a matchlock; she takes
to spinning camel hair and sings the songs of the past. Their brief
childhood is over. In the towns marriage takes place even earlier; and
there are boys of eighteen who have already divorced two wives.

Among the Bedouins polygamy is not common nor is it among the poorer
Arabs of the towns. The marriage ceremony among the Bedouins is
as simple as it is long and complex among the townsmen. After the
negotiations which precede the marriage contract, the bridegroom comes
with a lamb in his arms to the tent of the girl’s father and there
cuts the lamb’s throat before witnesses. As soon as the blood falls on
the ground the contract is sealed; feasting and dancing follow, and
at night the bride is conducted to the bridegroom’s tent where he is
awaiting her arrival. Dowrys are paid more generally and more largely
in the towns than in the desert. Among certain Arab tribes a demand
of money for the hand of a bride would be deemed scandalous. From a
western standpoint the women of the Bedouin stand on a higher platform
of liberty and justice than those of the towns where the Koran has
done its work on one half of society to repress intellect and degrade
affection, and sensualize the sexual relation to the last degree. On
the other hand divorce is perhaps more common among the Bedouins,[96]
than among the city Arabs. Burckhardt met Arabs not yet forty-five
years of age who were known to have had above fifty wives. Concerning
the marriage-contract in the towns, the ceremony, the divorce
proceedings, and the methods by which that is made legal which even the
lax law of Islam condemns, the less said the better.

On the position of women in Arabia we quote four unimpeachable
witnesses who have nothing in common save their knowledge of the
subject; there is truth on both sides where they differ; where they
agree there is no question of certainty as to the fact.

DOUGHTY, the Christian explorer, whose volumes are a mine of
information says:[97] “The female is of all animals the better, say
the Arabians, save only in mankind. Upon the human female the Semites
cast all their blame. Hers is, they think, a maleficent nature, and
the Arabs complain that ‘she has seven lives.’ The Arabs are contrary
to womankind, upon whom they would have God’s curse; some, they say,
are poisoners of husbands and there are many adulteresses.... The
_horma_ [_i. e._, woman] they would have under subjection; admitted
to an equality, the ineptitude of her evil nature will break forth.
They check her all day at home and let her never be enfranchised from
servitude. The veil and the jealous lattice are rather of the obscene
Mohammedan austerity in the towns; among the mild tent-dwellers in the
open wilderness the housewives have a liberty as where all are kindred;
yet their hareem are now seen in the most Arabian tribes half-veiled.”

BURCKHARDT, the time-honored authority on things Arabian, writes: “The
Bedouins are jealous of their women, but do not prevent them from
laughing and talking with strangers. It seldom happens that a Bedouin
strikes his wife; if he does so she calls loudly on her _wasy_ or
protector who pacifies the husband and makes him listen to reason....
The wife and daughters perform all the domestic business. They grind
the wheat in the handmill or pound it in the mortar; they prepare the
breakfast and dinner; knead and bake the bread; make butter, fetch
water, work at the loom, mend the tent-covering and are, it must be
owned, indefatigable. While the husband or brother sits before the tent
smoking his pipe.”

LADY ANN BLUNT, who travelled among the tribes of the Euphrates
valley with her husband, speaks thus from a woman’s standpoint. “Of
the Bedouin women a shorter description will be enough. As girls they
are pretty in a wild picturesque way and almost always have cheerful,
good-natured faces. They are hard-working and hard-worked, doing all
the labor of the camp.... They live apart from the men but are in no
way shut up or put under restraint. In the morning they all go out to
gather wood for the day, and whenever we have met them so employed they
have seemed in the highest possible spirits.... In mental qualities the
women of the desert are far below the men, their range of ideas being
extremely limited. Some few of them, however, get real influence over
their husbands and even, through them, over their tribes. In more than
one Sheikh’s tent it is in the woman’s half of it that the politics of
the tribe are settled.”

SNOUCK HURGRONJE, the Dutch traveller who spent an entire year
(1884-85) in Mecca thus characterizes the position of women in Arabian

 “What avail to the young maiden the songs of eulogy which once in
 her life resound for her from the mouth of the singing-woman, but
 which introduce her into a companionship by which she, with her whole
 sex, is despised? Moslem literature, it is true, exhibits isolated
 glimpses of a worthier estimation of woman, but the later view, which
 comes more and more into prevalence, is the only one which finds
 its expression in the sacred traditions, which represent hell as
 full of women, and refuse to acknowledge in the woman, apart from
 rare exceptions, either reason or religion, in poems, which refer
 all the evil in the world to the woman as its root; in proverbs,
 which represent a careful education of girls as mere wastefulness.
 Ultimately, therefore, there is only conceded to the woman the
 fascinating charm with which Allah has endowed her, in order to afford
 the man, now and then in his earthly existence, the prelibation of the
 pleasures of Paradise, and to bear him children.”

The poems which revile womankind, and of which the Dutch traveller
speaks, are legion. Here are two examples in English translation from

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

    “They declare woman to be heaven to man;
    I say, Allah, give me Jehannum, not this heaven.”

Three kinds of dwellings are found in Arabia. There is the _tent_, the
date-palm hut, and the house built with mortar of stone or mud-brick.
The tent is distinctive, in a general sense, of the interior and of
Northern Arabia; the palm-hut of the coast and of South Arabia; while
houses of brick and mortar exist in all the towns and cities. The
evolution of the house is from goats’-hair to matting, and from matting
to mud-roof. Each of these dwellings is called _beit_, “the place where
one spends the night.”

The Bedouin tent[99] consists of nine poles, arranged in sets of three
and a wide, black goats’-hair covering so as to form two parts; the
men’s apartment being to the left of the entrance and the women’s
to the right, separated by a white woollen carpet hanging from the
ridge-pole. The posts are about five to seven feet in height; the
length of the tent is between twenty and thirty feet, its depth at the
most is ten feet. The only furniture consists of cooking utensils,
pack-saddles, carpets, water-skins, wheat-bags and millstones.

The date-palm hut is of different shapes. In Hejaz and Yemen it is
built like a huge beehive, circular and with a pointed roof. In Eastern
Arabia it consists of a square enclosure with hip-roof generally steep
and covered with matting or thatch-work. At Bahrein the Arabs are very
skillful in so weaving the date-fronds together and tightening every
crevice that the huts keep out wind and rain-storms most successfully.
The average size date-hut can be built for twenty or thirty Rupees
(seven to ten dollars) and will last for several years.

The stone-dwellings of Arabia are as different in architecture and
material as circumstance and taste can make them. In Yemen large
castle-like dwellings crown every mountain and frown on every valley;
stone is plentiful and the plan of architecture inherits grace and
strength from the older civilization of the Himyarites. In Bagdad,
Busrah and East Arabia Persian architecture prevails, with arches,
wind-towers, tracery and the veranda-windows. While the architecture
of Mecca and Medina takes on its own peculiar type from the needs
of the pilgrimage. Generally speaking the Arabs build their houses
without windows to the street, and with an open court; the harem-system
dictates to the builder, even putting a high parapet on the flat-roof
against jealous eyes. Bleak walls without ornament or pictures are
also demanded by their surly religion. All furniture is simple and
commonplace; except where the touch of western civilization has
awakened a taste for mirrors, marble-top tables and music-boxes.

In dress there is also much variety in Arabia. Turkish influence is
seen in the Ottoman provinces and Indian-Persian in Oman, Hassa and
Bahrein. The Turkish _fez_ and the _turban_ (which are not Arabian) are
examples. The common dress of the Bedouin is the type that underlies
all varieties. It consists of a coarse cotton shirt over which is worn
the abba or wide square mantle. The headdress is made with a square
cloth, folded across and fastened on the crown of the head by a circlet
of woollen-rope called an _‘akal_. The color of the garment and its
ornamentation depends on the locality; likewise the belt and the
weapons of the wearer. Sandals of all shapes are used; shoes and boots
on the coast indicate foreign influence. The dress of the Bedouin woman
is a wide cotton gown, with open sides, generally of a dark blue color,
and a cloth for the head. The veil is of various shapes; in Oman it has
the typical Egyptian nose-piece with only the middle part of the face
concealed; in the Turkish provinces of East Arabia, thin black cloth
conceals all the features. Nose and earrings are common. All Arab
women also tattoo their hands and faces as well as other parts of their
bodies, dye with henna and use antimony on their eyelashes for ornament.

The staple foods of Arabia are bread, rice, ghee (or clarified butter,
which the Arabs call _semu_) milk, mutton and dates. These are found
everywhere and coffee is the universal beverage. Other foods and
fruits we have considered in our study of the provinces. Tea is now
widely used but was known scarcely anywhere less than twenty years
ago. Tobacco is smoked in every village and the Bedouins also are
passionately fond of the weed; even the Wahabi religious prohibition
did not drive out desire for the universal narcotic. There is one
article of food we have left unmentioned, _locusts_. These are quite a
staple in the grocers’ shops of all the interior towns of Arabia. They
are prepared for eating by boiling in salt and water, after which they
are dried in the sun. They taste like stale shrimps or dried herring.
The coast-dwellers still live largely on fish and in the days of
Ptolemy they were called _Ichthiophagoi_.


                       ARABIAN ARTS AND SCIENCES

Even Islam could not suppress the Arab’s love for music nor diminish
his regard for the great poets of “the days of ignorance.” For be it
known that, although one can buy Austrian mouth-organs in the bazaar
at Jiddah, and harmonicas from Germany in the toy-shop at Hofhoof,
music is generally held by Moslems, even to-day, to be contrary to
the teaching of the prophet. Mafia relates that when he was walking
with Ibn Omar, and they heard the music of a pipe the latter put his
fingers into his ears and went another road. Asked why, he said: “I was
with the prophet, and when he heard the noise of a musical pipe, he
put his fingers into his ears; and this happened when I was a child.”
Thus it comes to pass that by the iron law of tradition, more binding
to the pious Moslem ofttimes than the Koran itself, the Mohammedan
world considers music at least among the doubtful amusements for true
believers. And yet both before and after the advent of the morose
legislator, Arabia has had its music and song. But music in Mohammedan
lands is ever in spite of their religion, and is never, as is the case
with Christianity, fostered by it.

Among the ancient Arabs poetry and song were closely related. The
poet recited or chanted his own compositions in the evening mejlis,
or more frequently at the public fairs and festivals, especially the
national one held annually at Okatz. Here it was that the seven noble
fragments still extant of their earliest literature were first read
and applauded, and accounted worthy (if this part of the story be not
fabulous) to be suspended, written in gold, in the Kaaba.

It is unfortunate that the Arabs, with all their wealth of language
and literature, have no musical notation, so that we can only surmise
what their ancient tunes may have been. Were the early war songs of
Omar and Khalid sung in the same key as this modern war chant of the
Gomussa tribe, as interpreted by Lady Ann Blunt?

[Illustration: Music score]

[Illustration: Music score]

And did Sinbad the sailor sing the same tune on his voyages down the
Persian Gulf to India which now the Lingah boatmen lustily chant as
they land the cargo from a British India steamer? Or was it like
this sailors’ song on the Red Sea? To both of these questions the
only answer is the unchangeableness of the Orient; and this puts the
probability, at least, so far that the sailors of to-day could easily
join in Sinbad’s chorus.

The people of Jauf, in Northern Arabia, are most famous for music at
the present day, according to Burckhardt. They are especially adept
at playing the _Rebaba_. This may well be considered the national
instrument of music. It is all but universal in every part of the
peninsula, and as well-known to all Arabs as the bag pipe is to the
Scotch. I have heard the highland shepherd boys of Yemen play on a set
of reed-pipes rudely fastened together with bits of leather thong.
The drum _tabl_, is common among the town Arabs, and is used at their
marriage and circumcision feasts; but all over the desert one only
hears the rebaba. It is simplicity itself in its construction, when
made by the Bedouins; the finer ornamental ones are from the cities. A
box frame is made ready, a stick is thrust through, and in this they
pierce an eye-hole for a single peg; a kidskin is then stretched upon
the hollow box; the string is plucked from a mare’s tail, and setting
under it a bent twig for the bridge, their music is ready.

Time and measure are often very peculiar and hard to catch, but they
are kept most accurately, and Ali Bey gives an example which he says,
“exhibits the singularity of a bar divided into five equal portions, a
thing which J.J. Rousseau conceived to be practicable, but was never
able to accomplish.” Here it is as he gives it; it strikingly resembles
the boatmen’s song at Bahrein:

[Illustration: Music score]

The singing one commonly hears, however, is much more monotonous than
this, and the tune nearly always depends on the whim of the performer
or singer, sometimes, alas, on his inability to give more than a
certain number of variations!

Antar, one of their own poets, has said that the song of the Arabs is
like the hum of flies. A not inapt comparison to those who have seen
the “fly bazaar” in Hodeidah or Menamah during the date season, and
heard their myriad-mouthed buzzing. Antar, however, lived in the “times
of ignorance,” and most probably referred to the chanting of the camel
drivers, which is bad enough. Imagine the following sung in a high
monotonous key with endless repetition.

    “Ya Rub sallimhum min el tahdeed
    Wa ija’ad kawaihum ’amd hadeed.”

That is to say, being freely interpreted:

    “Oh Lord, keep them from all dangers that pass
    And make their long legs pillars of brass.”

To a stranger that which seems most peculiar in Arab song is their
long drawn-out tones at the close of a bar or refrain, sometimes
equivalent to three whole notes or any number of beats. Doughty did
not appreciate it, apparently, for he writes “Some, to make the
stranger cheer, chanted to the hoarse chord of the Arab viol, making
to themselves music like David, and drawing out the voice in the nose
to a demensurate length, which must move our yawning or laughter.”
There are, however, singers and singers. I remember a ruddy Yemen lad
who sang us _kasidahs_ during a heavy rain-storm in an old Arab café
near Ibb. The singer was master of his well-worn rebaba, and its music
seemed to overmaster him. Now his hand touched the strings gently, and
then again swept over them with a strong nervous motion, awakening
music indeed. His voice, too, was clear and sweet, although I was
not enough versed in Arabic poetry to catch the full meaning of his
words. It may have been the surroundings or the jovial companionship
of friendly Arabs after my Taiz seclusion and a weary journey up the
mountain passes, but I have never heard sweeter music in Arabia, and
have often heard worse elsewhere. God bless that travelling troubadour
of Yemen!

Here is a Mecca song for female voices, as given by Ali Bey in his
travels (1815), and a second sung by the women of Hejaz in a more
monotonous strain:

[Illustration: Music Score]

Such songs are called _asamer_; love-songs are called _hodjeiny_,
and the war song is known as _hadou_. Arabic prosody and the science
of metres is exceedingly extensive and seemingly difficult. What we
call rhyme is scarcely known, and yet every verse ends with the same
syllable in a stanza of poetry.

In Mecca as well as in other “religious” centres there is a sort of
sacred-music of which Hurgronje gives several specimens. They are
chants in honor of the prophet or prayers for him which are sung at the
_Moleeds_ or festivals in memory of Mohammed. Here are two of them.

[Illustration: Music score. Interspersed with text.

    {Sal la ’llah a la Mu-hammad
    {Pray for mo-ham-med, O God,

    Sal-la ’llah ’a-laih-wa-sal-lam
    Pray, O God, for him and peace.

[Illustration: ditto

    Mar-ha-ba-ya, nur-el ain-ni mar-ha-ba
    mar-ha-ba jid el Hu-sain-i mar-ha-ba
    mar-ha-ba ya mar-ha-ba-ya, mar-ha-ba-a-a-a-a.

Most generally, however, music is looked upon as decidedly secular,
especially all instrumental music. The desert Arabs know no religious
song and only sing of love and war in their old wild way. It is only
at a distance from the mosque and away with the caravan, that Ghanim
clears his throat and sings in a voice that can be heard for a mile as
we leave him behind:

[Illustration: Music score]

The Arabs of the desert have a reading-book all their own called
_Athar_; and a writing all their own called _wasm_. No Bedouin so
ignorant but he can read _Athar_ and none so dull but he can write his

[Illustration: TRIBAL MARKS or WASMs of the ARABS.]

_Athr_ or _ilm el athar_ is the science of footsteps; and like the free
Indians of America, the Arab is keen to study and quick to judge from
sand tracks of both men and animals. The genuine Arab who has made
_athar_ a study can tell the track of a friend from that of a foe, and
can distinguish the tribe or even the clan; he knows from the depth of
the footprint whether the camel was loaded or lame; whether the man
passed yesterday or a week before; from the regularity or irregularity
he judges of fatigue or of pursuit. If the camel’s forefeet dig deeper
than the hind he concludes the animal had a weak breast; from the offal
he knows whence the camels came and the character of their pasture.
Burckhardt writes of instances where camels were traced six days’
journeys after being stolen, and identified.

To identify property it must be marked, therefore, the kindred science
of _wasm_ has its place. A _wasm_ is a Bedouin trade-mark or ideograph
to label his property, real and personal. Their origin is unknown,
although Doughty says that they ofttimes resemble Himyaritic letters
and may therefore come from Yemen. Each family or tribe has its own
cattle-brand or token. Not only is personal property such as cattle
marked with the _wasm_ but the Bedouin put their mark on rocks near
favorite wells or pastures. These signs are the only certain records
of former occupation of tribes. Many of the tribes have two or three
different _wasms_; these belong to family groups.

The medical knowledge and medical treatment of the Arabs deserve some
notice. The Arabs think themselves always ailing and never fail to
consult a _hakim_ or doctor when there is opportunity. The hakeem is
supposed to know both their malady and its cure by simple observation;
to tell the physician for what cause they seek him would be an insult
to his wisdom and for him to ask them settles the matter that he is
not a true hakeem. The common diseases of Arabia are the following,
according to Arab nomenclature:—_El Kibd_, _i. e._, the liver, or all
visceral infirmities; _er rihh_, literally, “the wind,” or rheumatics
and neuralgia; _humma_, fevers; _tahāl_ or ague-cake; _el-hasa_ or
stone; ophthalmia; “fascination” or hysterics, (as when they say a man
has a jinn or a child has been looked at by the evil-eye); leprosy,
phthisis, dropsy, stranguria, ulcers and senile itch. For any and all
of these ailments, beside others not so common, yet sometimes epidemic
like smallpox and cholera, the Arabs seek a hakeem. All medicine, save
amulets, charms and exorcisms, is called _dawa_. Their pharmacopia is
not large but quite remarkable; in addition to such simple herbs of the
desert as their hareem collect and dry they use in grave emergencies
that which is harām (forbidden) and unclean. Patients have come to me
for a small piece of swine’s flesh (which they suppose all Christians
eat) to cure one in desperate straits. Doughty tells how among the
Bedouins they give the sick to eat of the carrion-eagle and even seethe
asses’ dung for a potion.

_Kei_ or actual cautery is a favorite cure for all sorts of diseases;
so also is _khelal_ or perforating the skin surface with a red-hot iron
and then passing a thread through the hole to facilitate suppuration.
Scarcely one Arab in a hundred who has not some _kei_-marks on his
body; even infants are burned most cruelly in this way to relieve
diseases of childhood. Where _kei_ fails they have resource to words
written on paper either from the Koran, or, by law of contraries,
words of evil, sinister import. These the patient “takes” either by
swallowing them, paper and all, or by drinking the ink-water in which
the writing is washed off. Blood-letting is also a sovereign remedy for
many troubles. The Arab barber is at once a phlebotomist, cauterizer,
and dentist. His implements—one can hardly call them instruments—are
very crude and he uses them with some skill but without any mercy.
Going to the proper place in any large Arab town you may always see
a row of men squatting down with bent back to be bled; cupping and
scarifying are the two methods most in vogue, although some are quite
clever in opening a vein. The science of medicine in the towns is
not much in advance of that of the desert—more book-talk but even
less natural intelligence. A disease to be at all respectable must be
connected with one of the four temperaments or “humors of Hippocrates.”

Medicines are hot and cold, wet and dry; and the same fourfold
classification distinguishes all ailments. There are four elements
only, and the stars must be favorable to induce a rapid cure. Whatever
is prescribed must be solid and material; if it is bitter and painful
so much the better. Rough measures act more strongly on the imagination
and faith-cure is a reality in such cases. Burton gives this sample of
a correct prescription:


 “In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful, and blessings
 and peace be upon our Lord the apostle and his family and his
 companions one and all. But afterward let him take bees-honey and
 cinnamon and album græcum of each half a part and of ginger a whole
 part, which let him pound and mix with the honey and form boluses,
 each bolus the weight of a Mithkal, and of it let him use every day a
 Mithkal, on the saliva, (that is to say, fasting, the first thing in
 the morning). Verily its effects are wonderful. And let him abstain
 from flesh, fish, vegetables, sweetmeats, flatulent food, acids of all
 descriptions, as well as the major ablution and live in perfect quiet.
 So shall he be cured by the help of the King the healer, _i. e._, the
 Almighty. And the peace.”

Honey has always been a panacea in Arabia on authority of the Koran and
tradition. The only reference to medicine in the revelation of Mohammed
is this ignorant statement: “From the bee’s belly comes forth a fluid
of variant hue which yieldeth medicine to man.” (Surah xvi. 71.)
This being the only remedy prescribed by Allah, it is no wonder that
tradition affirms its efficacy as follows: “A man once came to Mohammed
and told him that his brother was afflicted with a violent pain in his
belly; upon which the prophet bade him give him some honey. The fellow
took his advice but soon came again and said that the medicine had done
no good. Mohammed answered: ‘Go and give him more honey, for God speaks
truth and thy brother’s belly lies,’ and the dose being repeated the
man was cured.”[101] Coriander-seeds, peppermint, cinnamon, senna,
iris-root, saffron, aloes, nitrates, arsenious-earth, pomegranate-rind,
date-syrup and vinegar—such are some of the common household remedies
of Arabia. All Arab women profess a knowledge of herbs and the art of
healing so that the “hakeem” can scarcely make a living if he clings
solely to his profession. A Mecca “M.D.,” says Hurgronje, was also
watch-maker, gun-smith and distiller of perfume; to fill up his idle
hours he did a little silver-plating and dealt in old coins! Yet this
man was at the head of the profession in Mecca and was able, so they
said, to transmute the base metals and write very powerful charms.

The following are used as amulets in Arabia: a small Koran suspended
from the shoulder; a chapter written on paper and folded in a leather
case; some names of God or their numerical values; the names of the
prophet and his companions; greenstones without inscriptions; beads,
old coins, teeth, holy earth in small bags. Amulets are not only worn
by the Arabs themselves and to protect their children from the evil-eye
but are put on camels, donkeys, horses, fishing-boats and sometimes
over the doors of their dwellings. The Arabs are very superstitious
in every way. In Hejaz if a child is very ill the mother takes seven
flat loaves of bread and puts them under its pillow; in the morning
the loaves are given to the dogs—and the child is not always cured.
Rings are worn against the influence of evil-spirits; incense or
even-smelling compounds are burned in the sick-room to drive away
the devil; mystic symbols are written on the walls for a similar
purpose. Love-philtres are everywhere used and in demand; and nameless
absurdities are committed to insure successful child-birth. The
child-witch, called _Um-el subyan_, is feared by all mothers; narcotics
are used freely to quiet unruly infants and, naturally, mortality is
very large. Of surgery and midwifery the Arabs as a rule are totally
ignorant and if their medical-treatment is purely ridiculous their
surgery is piteously cruel, although never intentionally so. In all
eastern Arabia _blind_ women are preferred as midwives, and rock-salt
is used by them against puerpural hemmorrhage. Gunshot-wounds are
treated in Bahrein by a poultice of dates, onions and tamarind; and the
accident is guarded against in the future by wearing a “lead-amulet.”

There are many other superstitions in no way connected with the
treatment of the sick. Tree-worship and stone-worship still exist in
many parts of Arabia in spite of the so-called “pure monotheism” of
Islam. Both of these forms of worship date back to the time of idolatry
and remain as they were partly by the sanction of Mohammed himself, for
did he not make a black-pebble in the Kaaba, the centre of his system
of prayer? Sacred trees are called _Manahil_, places where angels or
jinn descend; no leaf of such trees may be plucked and they are honored
with sacrifices of shreds of flesh, while they look gay with bits of
calico and beads which every worshipper hangs on the shrine. Just
outside of the Mecca gate at Jiddah stands one of these rag-trees with
its crowd of pilgrims; in Yemen they are found by every wayside.[102]



 “In a remote period of antiquity Sabeanism was diffused over Asia
 by the science of the Chaldeans and the arms of the Assyrians. They
 adored the seven gods or angels who directed the course of the seven
 planets and shed their irresistible influence on the earth.... They
 prayed thrice each day, and the temple of the moon at Haran was the
 term of their pilgrimage.”—_Gibbon._

In the towns along the lower Euphrates and Tigris, especially at Amara,
Suk es Shiukh, Busrah and Mohammerah, there dwell an interesting
people, variously known as Sabeans, Nasorians, or St. John Christians.
They call themselves Mandæans, and though numbering only four or five
thousand, they are and have always been entirely distinct from the
Jews, Moslems and Christians among whom they have dwelt for centuries.
Their origin is lost in obscurity although the few scholars who have
studied the subject trace their history through the maze of their
religion to ancient Babylonia and Chaldea. In this remnant of a race
and religion we seem to have an example of the oldest form of idolatry,
Star-worship, and many of their mysterious customs may throw a
side-light upon the cult of ancient Babylonia. Mandæism is not only of
deep interest as “the only existing religion compounded of Christian,
heathen and Jewish elements,”[104] but it affords another proof of
the early spread of religious ideas in the East, and the Babylonian
origin of much that is supposed to be Alexandrian Gnosticism in a
semi-Christian, semi-pagan garb.

In the English Bible the name _Sabeans_ is perplexing, and although
used of three different tribes or peoples, none of these are any way
related to the present Mandæans unless those mentioned in Job. Sabean
is also the term used in the Koran, where it undoubtedly applies to the
people and proves that when Islam arose their numbers and settlements
were far from unimportant. The Koran recognizes them as distinct from
idolaters, and places them with Jews and Christians as people of the
book.[105] From this it is evident that the Sabeans could not have
been, as some allege, a minor Christian sect or identical with the
Hemero-Baptists. Although giving special honor to John the Baptist,
_they can in no sense be called Christians_.

Isolated by a creed, cult and language of their own, the Sabeans[106]
love their isolation and do not intermarry with strangers nor accept
a proselyte to their faith. Nearly all of them follow one of three
trades. They raise the finest dairy produce of Mesopotamia; they build
a peculiar kind of light canoe, called _Mashhoof_, and all others
are silver-smiths. No traveller should visit their villages without
carrying away specimens of their beautiful inlaid-work, black metal on
silver and gold. A peaceful people they are, industrious, though mostly
poor and seldom affording trouble to their Turkish rulers. Both men
and women have a remarkably fine physique; tall, of dark complexion,
good features, and with long black beards, some of the men are typical
patriarchs, even as we imagine Abraham who left their present country
for Haran. On ordinary days their dress does not distinguish them from
Moslems or Jews, but on feast days they wear only white. Their women go
about unveiled; they are rather taller and have a more masculine cast
of features than Moslem women.

_Specimens of_ MANDÂITIC CURSIVE-SCRIPT _with transliteration and

  [Mandâitic:] = Àssooda hāvilak = peace be to you.

  [Mandâitic:] = kethkŭm skawee  = how much is it?

  [Mandâitic:] = ana libba kabeelak = I love you much.

  [Mandâitic:] = kasbah we dahwah   = silver and gold.

  [Mandâitic:] = hofshaba rabba     = great day (Sunday)

  [Mandâitic:] = atran hofshaba     = Monday.

  [Mandâitic:] = aklatha            = Tuesday.

  [Mandâitic:] = arba               = Wednesday

  [Mandâitic:] = hamsha             = Thursday.

  [Mandâitic:] = shitta             = Friday.

  [Mandâitic:] = shuvah             = Saturday.

The two great things that distinguish the Sabeans are their language
and their religion. Both are remarkable. The former because of its
long preservation among a dying people, and the latter as the most
remarkable example of religious syncretism.

Naturally the bazaar-talk of all the river-country is Arabic; all
Sabeans speak it and a goodly proportion read and write it; but beside
this they have a household language of their own, the language of their
sacred books, which is called Mandâitic. It is so closely related to
Syriac that it might almost be called a dialect, yet it has an alphabet
and grammar of its own, and their writing and speech is not fully
intelligible to the Syriac-speaking Christians from Mosul. Wright says
that their alphabet characters most resemble the Nabathean and their
language that of the Babylonian Talmud.[107] One peculiarity is the
naming of the letters with the ā vowel and not as in other Semitic
languages by special names. The oldest manuscripts of the Mandâitic
date from the sixteenth century, and are in European Libraries (Paris
and Oxford). But according to Nöldeke the golden period of their
literature, when their religious books received their final and
present form, was 650-900 A. D. At present few can read or write their
language, although all can speak it, and from religious motives they
refuse to teach those outside of their faith even the first lesson,
except secretly.

Although meeting Sabeans for years and being their guest on frequent
journeys up and down the rivers, I could find no satisfactory answer
to the question what their real faith and cult were. The popular story
that they turn to the North Star when they pray and “baptise” every
Sunday was all that Moslems or Christians could tell. Books of travel
gave fragmentary, conflicting and often grossly erroneous statements.
According to some accounts they were idolaters, others classed them
with Christians. An anonymous article in the London _Standard_, Oct.
19, 1894, entitled, “A prayer meeting of the Star-worshippers,”
curiously gave me the key to open the lock of their silence. Whoever
wrote it must have been perfectly acquainted with their religious
ceremonies, for when I translated it to a company of Sabeans at Amara
they were dumbfounded. Knowing that I knew _something_ made it easy for
them to tell me more. The article referred to was in part as follows:

 “It happens to be the festival of the Star-worshippers celebrated on
 the last day of the year and known as the _Kanshio Zahlo_, or day of
 renunciation. This is the eve of the new year, the great watch-night
 of the sect, when the annual prayer-meeting is held and a solemn
 sacrifice made to Avather Ramo, the Judge of the under world, and
 Ptahiel, his colleague; and the white-robed figures we observe down
 by the riverside are those of members of the sect making the needful
 preparations for the prayer-meeting and its attendant ceremonies.

 “First, they have to erect their _Mishkna_, their tabernacle or
 outdoor temple; for the sect has, strange to say, no permanent house
 of worship or meeting-place, but raise one previous to their festival
 and only just in time for the celebration. And this is what they are
 now busy doing within a few yards of the water, as we ride into the
 place. The elders, in charge of a _shkando_, or deacon, who directs
 them, are gathering bundles of long reeds and wattles, which they
 weave quickly and deftly into a sort of basket work. An oblong space
 is marked out about sixteen feet long and twelve broad by stouter
 reeds, which are driven firmly into the ground close together, and
 then tied with strong cord. To these the squares of woven reeds and
 wattles are securely attached, forming the outer containing walls
 of the tabernacle. The side walls run from north to south, and are
 not more than seven feet high. Two windows, or rather openings for
 windows, are left east and west, and space for a door is made on the
 southern side, so that the priest when entering the edifice has
 the North Star, the great object of their adoration, immediately
 facing him. An altar of beaten earth is raised in the centre of the
 reed-encircled enclosure, and the interstices of the walls well daubed
 with clay and soft earth, which speedily hardens. On one side of the
 altar is placed a little furnace of dark earthenware, and on the
 other a little handmill, such as is generally used in the East for
 grinding meal, together with a small quantity of charcoal. Close to
 the southern wall, a circular basin is now excavated in the ground,
 about eight feet across, and from the river a short canal or channel
 is dug leading to it. Into this the water flows from the stream, and
 soon fills the little reservoir to the brim. Two tiny cabins or huts,
 made also of reeds and wickerwork, each just large enough to hold a
 single person, are then roughly put together, one by the side of the
 basin of water, the other at the further extremity of the southern
 wall, beyond the entrance. The second of these cabins or huts is
 sacred to the _Ganzivro_ or high priest of the Star-worshippers, and
 no layman is ever allowed to even so much as touch the walls with his
 hands after it is built and placed in position. The doorway and window
 openings of the edifice are now hung with white curtains; and long
 before midnight, the hour at which the prayer-meeting commences, the
 little _Mishkna_, or tabernacle open to the sky, is finished and ready
 for the solemnity.

 “Toward midnight the Star-worshippers, men and women, come slowly down
 to the _Mishkna_ by the riverside. Each, as he or she arrives, enters
 the tiny wattled hut by the southern wall, disrobes, and bathes in the
 little circular reservoir, the _tarmido_, or priest, standing by and
 pronouncing over each the formula, ‘_Eshmo d’haï, Eshmo d’manda haï
 madhkar elakh_’ (‘The name of the living one, the name of the living
 word, be remembered upon thee’). On emerging from the water, each one
 robes him or herself in the _rasta_, the ceremonial white garments
 peculiar to the Star-worshippers, consisting of a _sadro_, a long
 white shirt reaching to the ground; a _nassifo_, or stole round the
 neck falling to the knees; a _hiniamo_, or girdle of woollen material;
 a _gabooa_, square headpiece, reaching to the eyebrows; a _shalooal_,
 or white over-mantle; and a _kanzolo_, or turban, wound round the
 _gabooa_ headpiece, of which one end is left hanging down over the
 shoulder. Peculiar sanctity attaches to the _rasta_, for the garments
 composing it are those in which every Star-worshipper is buried, and
 in which he believes he will appear for judgment before Avather in the
 nether world _Materotho_. Each one, as soon as he is thus attired,
 crosses to the open space in front of the door of the tabernacle, and
 seats himself upon the ground there, saluting those present with the
 customary _Sood Havilakh_, ‘Blessing be with thee,’ and receiving in
 return the usual reply, _Assootah d’haï havilakh_, ‘Blessing of the
 living one be with thee.’

 “The numbers increase as the hour of the ceremonial comes nearer, and
 by midnight there are some twenty rows of these white-robed figures,
 men and women, ranked in orderly array facing the _Mishkna_, and
 awaiting in silent expectation the coming of the priests. A couple
 of _tarmidos_, lamp in hand, guard the entry to the tabernacle, and
 keep their eyes fixed upon the pointers of the Great Bear in the sky
 above. As soon as these attain the position indicating midnight, the
 priests give a signal by waving the lamps they hold, and in a few
 moments the clergy of the sect march down in procession. In front are
 four of the _shkandos_, young deacons, attired in the _rasta_, with
 the addition of a silk cap, or _tagha_, under the turban, to indicate
 their rank. Following these come four _tarmidos_, ordained priests
 who have undergone the baptism of the dead. Each wears a gold ring on
 the little finger of the right hand, and carries a tau-shaped cross
 of olive wood to show his standing. Behind the _tarmidos_ comes the
 spiritual head of the sect, the _Ganzivro_, a priest elected by his
 colleagues who has made complete renunciation of the world and is
 regarded as one dead and in the realms of the blessed. He is escorted
 by four other deacons. One holds aloft the large wooden tau-cross,
 known as _derashvod zivo_, that symbolizes his religious office; a
 second bears the sacred scriptures of the Star-worshippers, the _Sidra
 Rabba_, “the great Order,” two-thirds of which form the liturgy of the
 living and one-third the ritual of the dead. The third of the deacons
 carries two live pigeons in a cage, and the last a measure of barley
 and of sesame seeds.

 “The procession marches through the ranks of the seated worshippers,
 who bend and kiss the garments of the _Ganzivro_ as he passes near
 them. The _tarmidos_ guarding the entrance to the tabernacle draw back
 the hanging over the doorway and the priests file in, the deacons and
 _tarmidos_ to right and left, leaving the _Ganzivro_ standing alone
 in the centre, in front of the earthen altar facing the North Star,
 Polaris. The sacred book _Sidra Rabba_ is laid upon the altar folded
 back where the liturgy of the living is divided from the ritual of
 the dead. The high priest takes one of the live pigeons handed to him
 by a _shkando_, extends his hands toward the Polar Star upon which he
 fixes his eyes, and lets the bird fly, calling aloud, ‘_Bshmo d’haï
 rabba mshabbah zivo kadmaya Elaha Edmen Nafshi Eprah_,’ ‘In the name
 of the living one, blessed be the primitive light, the ancient light,
 the Divinity self-created.’ The words, clearly enunciated within, are
 distinctly heard by the worshippers without, and with one accord the
 white-robed figures rise from their places and prostrate themselves
 upon the ground toward the North Star, on which they have silently
 been gazing.

 “Noiselessly the worshippers resume their seated position on the
 ground outside. Within the _Mishkna_, or tabernacle, the _Ganzivro_
 steps on one side, and his place is immediately taken by the senior
 priest, a _tarmido_, who opens the _Sidra Rabba_ before him on the
 altar and begins to read the _Shomhotto_, ‘confession’ of the sect, in
 a modulated chant, his voice rising and falling as he reads, and ever
 and anon terminating in a loud and swelling _Mshobbo havi eshmakhyo
 Manda d’haï_, ‘Blessed be thy name, O source of life,’ which the
 congregants without take up and repeat with bowed heads, their hands
 covering their eyes.

 “While the reading is in progress two other priests turn, and prepare
 the _Peto elayat_, or high mystery, as they term their Communion. One
 kindles a charcoal fire in the earthenware stove by the side of the
 altar, and the other grinds small some of the barley brought by the
 deacon. He then expresses some oil from the sesame seed, and, mixing
 the barley meal and oil, prepares a mass of dough which he kneads and
 separates into small cakes the size of a two-shilling piece. These
 are quickly thrust into or on the oven and baked, the chanting of the
 liturgy of the _Shomhotto_ still proceeding with its steady sing-song
 and response, _Mshobbo havi eshmakhyo_, from outside. The fourth
 of the _tarmidos_ now takes the pigeon left in the cage from the
 _shkando_, or deacon, standing near him, and cuts its throat quickly
 with a very sharp knife, taking care that no blood is lost. The little
 cakes are then brought to him by his colleague, and, still holding
 the dying pigeon, he strains its neck over them in such a way that
 four drops fall on each one so as to form the sacred _tau_, or cross.
 Amid the continued reading of the liturgy, the cakes are carried round
 to the worshippers outside by the two principal priests who prepared
 them, who themselves pop them direct into the mouths of the members,
 with the words ‘_Rshimot bereshm d’haï_,’ ‘Marked be thou with the
 mark of the living one.’ The four deacons inside the _Mishkna_ walk
 round to the rear of the altar and dig a little hole, in which the
 body of the dead pigeon is then buried.

 “The chanting of the confession is now closed by the officiating
 _tarmido_, and the high priest, the _Ganzivro_, resuming his former
 place in front of the Sacred Book, begins the recitation of the
 _Massakhto_, or ‘renunciation’ of the dead, ever directing his prayers
 toward the North Star, on which the gaze of the worshippers outside
 continues fixed throughout the whole of the ceremonial observances
 and prayers. This star is the _Olma d’noora_, literally ‘the world
 of light,’ the primitive sun of the Star-worshippers’ theogony, the
 paradise of the elect, and the abode of the pious hereafter. For
 three hours the reading of the ‘renunciation’ by the high priest
 continues, interrupted only, ever and anon, by the _Mshobbo havi
 eshmakhyo_, ‘Blessed be thy name,’ of the participants seated outside,
 until, toward dawn, a loud and ringing _Ano asborlakh ano asborli ya
 Avather_, ‘I mind me of thee, mind thou of me O Avather,’ comes from
 the mouth of the priest, and signalizes the termination of the prayers.

 “Before the North Star fades in the pale ashen grey of approaching
 dawn, a sheep, penned over night near the river, is led into the
 tabernacle by one of the four _shkandos_ for sacrifice to Avather and
 his companion deity, Ptahiel. It is a wether, for the Star-worshippers
 never kill ewes, or eat their flesh when killed. The animal is laid
 upon some reeds, its head west and its tail east, the _Ganzivro_
 behind it facing the Star. He first pours water over his hands, then
 over his feet, the water being brought to him by a deacon. One of the
 _tarmidos_ takes up a position at his elbow and places his hand on
 the _Ganzivro’s_ shoulder, saying _Ana shaddakh_, ‘I bear witness.’
 The high priest bends toward the North Star, draws a sharp knife from
 his left side, and, reciting the formula, ‘In the name of Alaha,
 Ptahiel created thee, Hibel Sivo permitted thee, and it is I who slay
 thee,’ cuts the sheep’s throat from ear to ear, and allows the blood
 to escape on to the matted reeds upon which the animal is stretched
 out. The four deacons go outside, wash their hands and feet, then flay
 the sheep, and cut it into as many portions as there are communicants
 outside. The pieces are now distributed among the worshippers, the
 priests leave the tabernacle in the same order as they came, and with
 a parting benediction from the _Ganzivro_, _Assootad d’hai havilakh_,
 ‘The benison of the living one attend thee,’ the prayer-meeting
 terminates, and the Star-worshippers quietly return to their homes
 before the crimson sun has time to peep above the horizon.”

What a mosaic of ceremonies and what a mixed cult in this river-bank
prayer-meeting! The Sabeans of Amara tell me that every minute
particular is correctly described, and yet themselves do not furnish
the clew to the maze. Here one sees Judaism, Islam and Christianity, as
it were engrafted on one old Chaldean trunk. Gnosticism, star-worship,
baptisms, love-feast, sacrifice, ornithomancy and what not in one
confusion. The pigeon sacrifice closely corresponds outwardly to
that of the Mosaic law concerning the cleansing of a leper and his
belongings and is perhaps borrowed from that source.[108] But how
Anti-Jewish is the partaking of blood and the star-worship.[109] The
cross of blood seems a Christian element, as does also the communion of
bread, but from a New Testament standpoint this is in discord with all
that precedes.

Nevertheless a complete system of dogma lies behind this curious cult
and one can never understand the latter without the former. Sabeanism
is _a book religion_; and it has such a mass of sacred literature
that few have ever had the patience to examine even a part of it.
The _Sidra Rabba_, or Great Book, holds the first place. The copy I
examined contains over five hundred large quarto pages of text divided
into two parts, a “right” and a “left hand” testament; they begin at
different ends of the book and they are bound together so that when
one reads the “_right_,” the “_left_” testament is upside-down. The
other name for the Great Book is _Ginza_, Treasure. It is from this
treasure-house that we chiefly gather the elements of their cosmogony
and mythology.[110]

First of all things was Pera Rabba the great Abyss. With him “Shining
ether” and the Spirit of Glory (_Mana Rabba_) form a primal triad,
similar to the Gnostic and ancient Accadian triads. Kessler goes so far
as to say that it is the same. From Mana Raba who is the king of light,
emanates _Yardana Rabba_, the great Jordan. (This is an element of
Gnosticism) Mana Rabba called into being the first of the æons, Primal
Life, or _Hayye kadema_. This is really the chief deity of the Sabeans,
and all their prayers begin by invoking him. From him again proceed
secondary emanations, _Yushamim_ (_i.e._, Jah of heaven) and _Manda
Hayye_, messenger of life. This latter is the mediator of their system,
and from him all those that accept his mediation are called _Mandäee_.
Yushamim was punished for attempting to raise himself above Primal
Light, and now rules the world of inferior light. Manda still “rests
in the bosom of Primal light” (_cf._ John i. 18), and had a series
of incarnations beginning with Abel (Hibil) and ending with John the
Baptist! Besides all these there is yet a third life called ’_Ateeka_,
who created the bodies of Adam and Eve, but could not give them spirit
or make them stand upright. If the Babylonian trinity or triad has its
counterpart in the Mandäen _Pera_, _Ayar_ and _Mana Rabba_, then _Manda
Hayye_ is clearly nothing but the old Babylonian Marduk (Merodach),
firstborn, mediator and redeemer. _Hibil_, the first incarnation of
Manda, also has a contest with darkness in the underworld even as
Marduk with the dragon Tiamat.

The Sabean underworld has its score of rulers, among others these rank
first: _Zartay_, _Zartanay_, _Hag_, _Mag_, _Gaf_, _Gafan_, _Anatan_
and _Kin_, with hells and vestibules in plenteous confusion. Hibil
descends here, and from the fourth vestibule carries away the female
devil _Ruha_ the daughter of Kin. This Ruha, Kessler affirms, is really
an anti-Christian parody of the Holy Spirit, but from conversation
with the Sabeans I cannot believe this to be true. By her own son _Ur_
Ruha becomes the mother of all the planets and signs of the zodiac.
These are the source and controllers of all evil in the world and
must therefore be propitiated. But the sky and fixed stars are pure
and clear, the abode of Light. The central sun is the Polar Star,
with jewelled crown standing before the door of Abathūr, or “father
of the splendors.” These “splendors,” æons, or primary manifestations
of deity, are said to number three hundred and sixty, (a Semitic way
of expressing many), with names borrowed from the Parsee angelology
(Zoroastrianism). The Mandæans consider all the Old Testament saints
except Abel and Seth false prophets (Gnosticism).[111] True religion
was professed by the ancient Egyptians, who, they say, were their
ancestors. Another false prophet was _Yishu Mashiha_ (Jesus Christ),
who was in fact an incarnation of the planet Mercury. John the Baptist,
_Yahya_, appeared forty-two years before Christ and was really an
incarnation of Manda as was Hibil. He baptized at Jordan, and, by
mistake also administered the rite to Jesus.

About 200 A. D., they say, there came into the world 60,000 saints
from Pharaoh’s host and took the place of the Mandæans who had been
extirpated. Is not this a possible allusion to the spread of the
Gnostic heresy and the coalescence of certain Gnostics with the
then Sabean community? They say that their high priest then had his
residence at Damascus; that is, their centre of religion was between
Alexandria and Antioch, the two schools of Gnosticism.

Mohammed, according to their system, was the last false prophet, but
he was divinely kept from harming them, and they flourished to such an
extent that at the time of the Abbasides they had four hundred centres
of worship in Babylonia.

The Mandæan priesthood has three grades; _tarmida_ or _ta’amida_
(“disciple” or “baptism”), _shkanda_ (“deacons”), and the _Ganzivra_
(“high priest,” literally the keeper of the Ginza or Great Book). The
late Ganzivra was Sheikh Yahya, a man of parts and well-versed in
their literature, who long lived at Suk-es-Shiukh. Their present high
priest is called Sheikh Sahn and was at one time imprisoned at Busrah
on charge of fomenting a rebellion of the Arab tribes near Kurna at the
junction of the Tigris and Euphrates.

The Sabeans observe six great feasts beside their weekly sabbath
(Sunday). One of the feasts celebrates the victory of Abel in the world
of darkness, another the drowning of Pharaoh’s army, but the chief
feast, _Pantsha_, is one of Baptism. It is observed in summer, and all
Sabeans are obliged to be baptized by sprinkling three times a day for
five days. The regular Sunday baptisms by immersion in running water
are largely voluntary and meritorious: these latter correspond to the
Moslem laws of purifications and take place after touching a dead body,
the birth of a child, marriage, etc.

The moral code of the Sabeans is that of the Old Testament in nearly
every particular. Polygamy is allowed to the extent of five wives, and
is even recommended in the Sidra Rabba but is seldom indulged in. They
do not circumcise; this is important, proving that they are not of
Arab origin. They have no holy places or churches except those we have
described which are built for a single night on the riverside.

The story that they go on pilgrimage to Haran[112] and visit the
Pyramids as the tomb of Seth[113] is apparently a myth. They are
friendly to Christians of all sects and love to give the impression
that because they honor the Baptist they are more closely related to
us than are the Jews and Moslems. Of course they deny that they do not
accept Jesus as a true Prophet, as they do all those other articles of
their belief, which they deem wisest or safest to keep concealed.

All our investigations end as we began, by finding that the Sabeans
“worship that which they know not,” and profess a creed whose origin
is hidden from them and whose elements, gathered from the four corners
of the earth, are as diverse as they are incongruous. Who is able to
classify these elements or among so much heterogeneous _débris_ dig
down to the original foundations of the structure? If we could, would
we not, as in so many other cases, come back to Babylonia and the

[Illustration: Page of script]



 “And some fell among thorns.”—_Matthew_ xiii. 7.

 “But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat
 and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up and brought
 forth fruit then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the
 house-holder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good
 seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them,
 An enemy hath done this.”—_Matthew_ xiii. 25-28.

It is recorded in the Acts of the apostles that Arabians, or Arabian
proselytes, were present at the Jewish feast of Pentecost. We must
therefore go back to Apostolic times to find the beginnings of
Christianity in Arabia. Whether these Arabians were from the northern
part of the peninsula bordering on Syria, from the dominions of the
Arabian king Hareth (Aretas), or came as Jewish proselytes from distant
Jewish colonies of Yemen, must ever remain uncertain. In any case they
doubtless carried back to their homes something of the Pentecostal
message or blessing. The New Testament references to Arabia are not
disconnected and unique, but stand in closest relation to the whole Old
Testament revelation of God’s dealings with Ishmael and his descendants.

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians,[114] he writes, “Neither went I
up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went to
Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.” What did the great apostle
to the Gentiles do in Arabia? A consideration of this question will
give us a better standpoint to review the later rise of Christianity
not only in North Arabia, but in Nejran and Yemen. “A veil of thick
darkness,” says Lightfoot, “hangs over St. Paul’s visit to Arabia.”
The particular part of Arabia visited, the length of his stay, the
motive of his going, the route taken and what he did there,—all is
left untold. We can draw the map and tell the story of all but the
first great journey of the apostle. Certainly the first journey of the
new Saul of Tarsus cannot have been without some great purpose. The
probable length of his stay, which is by some put at only six months,
but which may have been two years,[115] would also indicate some
importance in the event.

Visions and revelations to this Elijah and Moses of the new
dispensation there may have been while he tarried in the desert, but
it is scarcely probable to suppose that at this critical juncture in
early church history so long a time should have been occupied with
these only. Therefore, we find the earliest commentators of the opinion
that Paul’s visit to Arabia was his first missionary journey, and
that he “conferred not with flesh and blood,” but went into Arabia
to preach the gospel.[116] “See how fervent was his soul,” says
Chrysostom, “he was eager to occupy lands yet untilled, he forthwith
attacked a barbarous and savage people, choosing a life of conflict and
much toil.” The idea that Paul went to preach immediately after his
conversion is natural; and that he should, as the Gentile apostle, seek
first that race which was also a son of Abraham and heir of many Old
Testament promises and whose representatives were present at Pentecost,
is not improbable.

But if Paul went to Arabia and preached the gospel, where and to
whom did he go? A certain reply to these questions is unattainable
since revelation is silent, but (1) The place was most probably the
Sinaitic peninsula, or the region east of Sinai (Rawlinson). (2) There
is more than one reason to hold with Jerome and later writers that he
went to a tribe where his mission was unsuccessful as regards visible
results. (3) The only people of the desert then, as now, were Arab
Bedouin, and of the probability that Paul also knew their life and
customs, Robertson Smith gives a curious illustration in an allusion to
Galations vi. 17, when speaking of tattoo marks in religion.[117]

Now was there an Arab tribe in the days of Paul, in the region
southwest of Damascus, to whom a missionary came with a new and strange
message which was not favorably received, and yet whom and whose
message those Arabs could not forget?

We find a curious legend taken up with other nomad débris into the
maelstrom of Mohammed’s mutterings that may help to answer the
question. It is about the Nebi Salih or “good prophet,” who came to
the people of Thamud,[118] and whose person and mission is as much a
mystery to Moslem commentators as Paul’s visit to Arabia is to us.
European critics suggest his identity with Shelah of Genesis xi. 13!
but etymology and chronology both afford the most meagre basis. Palmer
offers a theory that Nebi Salih is none other than the “righteous
prophet” Moses;[119] but the difficulty is that this puts the legend
too far back in history. It is not probable that the people of Thamud
“hewed out mountains into houses,” such as are found to-day as early as
in the days of Moses. Nor does Old Testament indicate a time when Moses
went to Arabs with a Divine message. Moreover, the legend is evidently
a _local_ one that came to the knowledge of Mohammed, or it would
have been better known to him who borrowed so largely from the former
prophets; and if it is a _local_ legend, it is not a legend of Moses,
for he is mentioned more than seventy-seven times in the Koran, and
his story was well known in Arabia, at least as far as Yemen.

The pith of the legend underlies the bark; what says the Koran? Nebi
Salih came as a “brother,”[120] and said, “O, my people, worship God.
Ye have no God but Him.[121] There has come to you an evident sign
from your Lord.[122] ... And remember how He made you vice-regents
after ’Ad, and stablished you in the earth ... and remember the
benefits of God.[123] Said the chiefs of those who were big with
pride _from amongst his people_ (Pharisees or Jews from Damascus?) to
those who believed amongst them: Do ye know that Salih is sent from
his Lord? (_i. e._, his Lord is not your true God). They said, We do
believe in that with which He is sent, (gospel?) “Said those who were
big with pride, Verily, in what ye do believe we disbelieve.” The
passage is again significant: “And he turned away from them (back to
Damascus?) and said, O, my people, I did preach unto you the message
of my Lord,[124] and I gave you good advice, but ye love not sincere
advisers.” Does not this story have points of contact with what might
have been the experiences of a man like Paul among such a people?

The fact that there is a so-called tomb of Nebi Salih at El Watiyeh
(Palmer) does not weigh much for or against any theory as to the
identity of the prophet. Arabia has tombs of Job on the Upper
Euphrates, of Eve at Jiddah, of Cain at Aden, and of other “prophets”
where there is a demand for it. But it is interesting to learn from the
learned author of _The Desert of the Exodus_: “The origin and history
of Nebi Salih is quite unknown to the present Bedouin inhabitants, but
they nevertheless regard him with more national veneration than even
Moses himself.” If revered more than Moses, why not was he later than
Moses—greater than Moses—even _Saul of Tarsus_? Whether this theory be
only far-fetched or whether it has confirmation in the early spread of
Christianity in North Arabia the sequel may show.

Historical Christianity in Arabia had two centres, so that the study
of its early rise and progress takes us first to the tribes furthest
north, in the kingdoms of Hirah and Ghassan and then to fertile Yemen
and Nejran.

Despite the growth of the Roman Empire eastward in the days of Pompey,
the Arabs of Syria and Palmyra retained their independence and resisted
all encroachment. Under Odenathus the Palmyrene kingdom flourished,
and reached the zenith of its power under his wife and successor, the
celebrated Zenobia. She was defeated by Aurelian, and Palmyra and its
dependencies became a province of the Roman Empire. It is natural
therefore to expect that Christianity was introduced into this region
at an early period. Such was the case. Agbarus, so celebrated in the
annals of the early church, was a prince of the territory of Edessa
and Christianity had made some progress in the desert in the time
of Arnobius.[125] Bishops of Bostra, in Northwest Arabia (not to be
confounded with Busrah), are mentioned as having been present at the
Nicene council (325 A. D.) with five other Arabian bishops.[126] The
Arabian historians speak of the tribe of Ghassan as attached to the
Christian faith centuries before the Hegira. It was of this tribe that
the proverb became current: “They were lords in the days of ignorance
and stars of Islam.” They held sway over the desert east of Palestine
and of Southern Syria. The name of Mavia or Muaviah is mentioned by
ecclesiastical writers as an Arab queen who was converted to the faith
and in consequence formed an alliance with the emperor and accepted a
Christian Bishop, named Moses, ordained by the primate of Alexandria.
Her conversion took place about A. D. 372. Thus we find that the
progress of Christianity increased in proportion as the Arabs became
more intimately connected with the Romans.

An unfortunate circumstance for the progress of Christianity in North
Arabia was its location between the rival powers of Rome and Persia. It
was a sort of buffer-state and suffered from both sides. The Persian
monarchs persecuted the Christian Arabs and one of their Arab allies, a
pagan, called Naaman, forbade all intercourse with Christians, on the
part of his subjects. This edict we are told[127] was occasioned by the
success of the example and preaching of Simeon Stylites, the pillar
saint, celebrated in Tennyson’s picture-poem. This desert-friar who was
himself an Arab by birth, was a preacher after the heart of the stern,
austere, half-starved Bedouin. His fame spread even into far-off Arabia
Felix.[128] The stern edict of Naaman was withdrawn, however, and he
himself was only prevented from embracing the faith by his fear of the
Persian king.

Among the first monks to preach to the nomad tribes was Euthymius who
seems to have been a medical missionary working miracles of healing
among the ignorant Bedouins. One of the converted Arabs, Aspebetus,
took the name of Peter, was “consecrated” by Juvenal, patriarch
of Jerusalem, and became the first bishop of the tribes in the
neighborhood of Southern Palestine.

The progress or even the existence of Christianity in the kingdom
of Hirah seems to have been always uncertain as it was dependent on
the favor of the Khosroes of Persia. Some of the Arabs at Hirah and
Kufa were Christian as early as 380 A. D. One of the early converts,
Noman abu Kamus, proved the sincerity of his faith by melting down a
golden statue of the Arabian Venus, worshipped by his tribe, and by
distributing the proceeds among the poor. Many of the tribe followed
his example and were baptized.[129] To understand the importance of
this spread of Christianity in North Arabia we must remember that this
was the age of caravans and not of navigation. Palmyra, the centre of
the trade from the Persian Gulf, owed its importance and power to the
trans-Arabian traffic with Persia and the East. Irak and Mesopotamia
were then a part of Arabia and were ruled by Arabian dynasties.

It was in Southwestern Arabia, however, that Christianity exerted even
greater power and made still larger conquests. We cannot but wish that
the story of its success, trials and extinction had been given us in
some purer form with more of the gospel and less of ecclesiasticism.
Had that early Christianity been gold instead of glitter it would not
have perished so easily in the furnace of persecution or disappeared so
utterly before the tornado-blast of Islam.

The picture of the Christian church of this period (323-692 A. D.) as
drawn by faithful historians is dark indeed. “More and more the church
became assimilated and conformed to the world, church discipline grew
lax, and moral decay made rapid progress. Passionate contentions,
quarrels and schisms among bishops and clergy filled also public
life with party-strife, animosity and bitterness. The immorality
of the court poisoned the capital and the provinces. Savagery and
licentiousness grew rampant.... Hypocrisy and bigotry took the place
of piety among those who strove after something higher, while the
masses consoled themselves with the reflection that every man could
not be a monk.... The shady side of this period is dark enough but a
bright side and noble personages of deep piety, moral earnestness,
resolute denial of self and the world are certainly not wanting.”[130]
Not only was religious life at a low level in all parts of christendom
but heresies were continually springing up to disturb the peace or to
introduce gigantic errors. Arabia was at one time called “the mother
of heresies.” The most flagrant example was that of the Collyridians,
in the fourth century, which consisted in a heathenish distortion of
mariolatry. Cakes were offered to the Holy Virgin, as in heathen times
to Ceres.

At what time Christianity was first introduced into Arabia Felix is
uncertain. This part of Arabia was in a measure shut off from the
world of the Romans until the expedition of Ælius Gallus. Before the
coming of Christianity the Yemenites were either idolaters or Sabeans.
The large numbers of Jews in Yemen was an additional obstacle to the
early spread of the faith as they were always bitterly hostile to
the missionaries. The legend that St. Bartholomew preached in Yemen
on his way to India need not be considered; nor the more probable
one of Frumentius and his success as first bishop to Himyar. In the
reign of Constantius, Theophilus, the deacon of Nicomedia, a zealous
Arian, was sent by the emperor to attend a magnificent embassy to the
court of Himyar and is said to have prevailed on the Arabian king to
embrace Christianity. He built three churches in different parts of
Yemen, at Zaphar, Aden and Sana, as well as at Hormuz in the Persian
Gulf. No less than four bishoprics were established and the tribes
of Rabia Ghassan, and Kodaa were won to the faith. Ibn Khalikan, the
Arabian historian, enumerates as Christian tribes, the Bahrah, Tanoukh
and Taglab. In Nejran, north of Sana, and Yathrib there were also

Arabian idolatry was very tolerant and afforded throughout the
third and fourth centuries an equally safe asylum to the persecuted
Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians who settled in various parts of the
Peninsula. The kings of Himyar were themselves idolaters but allowed
every other sect great freedom, including the Christians. But no sooner
did the followers of Judaism gain power than persecution began. About
the year 560, Dzu Nowass, ruler of Himyar, revolted against his lord
the Abyssinian king, Elesbaan, and, instigated by the Jews, began to
persecute the Christians. All who refused to renounce their faith were
put to death without respect of age or sex, and the villages of Nejran
were given over to plunder. Large pits were dug, filled with fuel, and
many thousands of monks and virgins were committed to the flames.

Speedy punishment, however, overtook Dzu Nowass when the Abyssinian
hosts invaded Yemen. The Christian conquerors avenged the massacre on
its perpetrators, the Jews, with heathen fury. The whole fertile tract
was once more a scene of bloodshed and devastation. The churches built
before the days of Dzu Nowass were again rebuilt on the site of their
ruins and new bishops were appointed in place of the martyrs. A short,
though desperate, civil war, resulting in the proclamation of Abraha
as king of Yemen, did not disturb the steady growth of Christianity.
Paying tribute only to the Abyssinian crown, and at peace with all the
Arab tribes, Abraha was loved for his justice and moderation by all his
subjects and idolized by the Christians for his burning zeal in their
religion. Large numbers of Jews, convinced by a public dispute and a
miracle at Dhafar, were baptized. Many idolaters were added to the
church; new schemes of benevolence were inaugurated; the foundations
were being laid for a magnificent cathedral at Sana; in short Christian
Yemen seemed at the dawn of its Golden Age in the year 567 A. D.

What delayed its coming and how did the power of Abraha lose its
prestige? The story is gleaned from Moslem and Christian writers; it
is the last sad chapter in the short history of early Christianity in
Arabia and the preface to the chronicles of Islam. So important is it
considered that the synopsis of it is embodied in the Koran for the
perpetual delight of Moslems. (Surah of the Elephant.)

In the early fall of the year 568, the caravans of Arabs, which came
along the level road leading from Rhoda, bordered with rich vineyards
and fig-orchards, stopped, on entering Sana, because of a crowd that
stood gazing at a large piece of parchment nailed on the side wall of
the entrance to the city. It was a royal proclamation written in large
Himyaritic letters. A townsman in the long dress of a public teacher
stood before it and read aloud to the motley crowd that paused as
they came to morning market from the neighboring villages. Stately
camels, bearing huge loads of dates, were urged by their drivers, who
good-humoredly exchanged greetings with their Christian brethren;
donkeys, nearly hidden between baskets of luscious grapes, jostled a
group of Jewish money-changers sitting in the gate; a score of women,
dark-eyed and in picturesque peasant dress, were carrying their empty
gerbies to the wells—but one and all moved with curiosity, stood for a
moment to listen.

The presbyter, for such he was, read as follows:

“I, Ibraha, by the grace of God and Jesus Christ our Saviour, king of
Yemen, taking counsel and advice of the good Gregentius, bishop of
Dhafar, and having completed the building of the cathedral to the glory
of God and in memory of our victory over the idolaters, do now and
hereby proclaim that all the Arab tribes who annually visit the heathen
shrine at Mecca, are expected to cease going thither and to come with
their caravans of merchandise to worship the true God, on a shorter and
more convenient journey to our magnificent church at Sana, the capital,
on penalty of a levy to be put by me on all caravans of tribes that
refuse to obey this proclamation. And be it furthermore known to all
the tribes of Koreish....” The reader was rudely interrupted by a party
of Bedouin who drove their dromedaries right through the gate and up
the street with such fury that some of the crowd barely escaped being
run over.

“It is a troop of those accursed Kenanehs,” said Ibn Choza to his
companion. “They were born without manners—wild asses of the desert.”
“Yes,” answered the other; “and who insult our good king with their
nickname of El Ashram,—the split nosed,—because of the scar that
remains since his encounter with the heathen Aryat.” “If such as these,
Abood, do not obey this latest order from our Christian king, we’ll try
the spears of my Modarites, and then woe betide their caravans of semn
and their fertile palms. Not all the three hundred gods of the Kaabeh
could save them from the righteous wrath of Abraha.”

The new cathedral, whose ruined foundations yet testify as to its size
and solidity, had been completed for some months, and on the morrow
the good bishop was expected from Dhafar to preach to the crowds that
thronged Yemen’s capital at the feast. This year more strangers than
ever before crowded the markets; many were come, in obedience to the
proclamation, even from distant Yathrib and from beyond Nejran, to
engage in commerce and religion at once,—the universal custom of the
Arabs. The autumn rains were over and a fresh breeze from Jebel Nokum
increased the cold, felt by such strangers especially, as came for the
first time from the hot coast to an elevation of 9,000 feet.

Night fell on the towers and palaces of Sana, and there was no light in
the streets except that of stars shining with northern brilliancy from
between drifting clouds. Just before midnight, a solitary Arab hurried
along one of the narrow paths, too narrow to be called a street, which
led from the caravanseri to the church. His face and form were wrapped
in a long sheepskin cloak, but his erect bearing, vigorous step, and
the carved silver handle of the curved dagger, half hidden in his
belt, betrayed one of the Kenaneh tribe. Stealthily looking around,
he stopped before one of the windows of the cathedral; lifted himself
to the granite ledge, dextrously used his dagger to remove one of the
large panes of talc-stone (still used in all Sana), and jumped inside.
He lingered only a few moments, came out as he went in, and hurried off
toward the way of the North gate.

On the morrow a cry arose from the early worshippers, carried on the
lips of every Christian in Sana, till it echoed through market and
street: “_Abraha’s church has been defiled!_ Dung is on the altar, and
the holy cross is smeared with ordure! ’Tis the work of the accursed
Kenaneh—the signal of revolt for the idolaters of the North!” There was
tumult in Sana. In vain Gregentius endeavored to quiet the populace
by his eloquence. Adding fuel to the flame, came the news on the
same day of the defeat of the Modarites and the death of Ibn Choza,
whom the king had sent on an expedition to a rebellious tribe in Wady
Dauasir. Abraha’s wrath was doubly inflamed by the profanation of his
church and the death of his captain. He publicly vowed to annihilate
the idolatrous Koreish, as well as the Kenaneh, and to demolish their
temple at Mecca. Before nightfall that vow was the rallying-cry in the
soldiers’ quarter and the toast in every Jewish wine shop of Sana.

The expedition was soon on its way. Abraha rode foremost, seated on
his milk-white elephant, caparisoned with plates of gold. On his head
was a linen cap covered with gold embroidery, and from which descended
four chains. He wore a loose tunic covered with pearls and Yemen akeek
stone, over his usual dress; while his muscular arms and short neck
were almost hidden with bracelets and chains of gold in the Abyssinian
pattern; for arms he had a shield and spears. After him came a band
of musicians, and then the nobles and warriors, under command of
the valiant Kais. Than him no better leader could have been chosen.
Mourning the untimely death of his brother, Ibn Choza, slain by the
treacherous arrow of Orwa, he sought a personal revenge even more than
the honor of his religion and his king, and was prepared to risk all
in fulfillment of the expedition. The army, increased by volunteers
at every village on their route, by forced marches over two hundred
miles of mountain road, reached Jebel Orra, weary and footsore. What is
only a usual journey to the Bedouin of the North, was a succession of
hardships to the Yemen troops, accustomed as they were to mountain air,
plenty of water and the rich fertility of their native valleys. No less
did the herd of elephants suffer from the fatigue of distance and the
scarcity of pasturage and water. Every day the advance was made with
increasing difficulty.

Meanwhile the Koreish had not been idle. Rumor never runs faster than
in the desert. All those who loved Mecca, that oldest historic centre
of all Western Arabia, rallied to the standard of the Koreish. It was
the Kaaba, with its three hundred and sixty idols, against the Cross.
No sooner was Abraha’s approach known, than Dzu Neffer, Ibn Habib
and other chiefs at the head of the tribes of Hamedan and Chethamah
gathered to oppose the advance. A desperate conflict followed, but the
camels were frightened at the sight of the elephants, nor could the
desert Arabs withstand an assault of such large numbers.

The news of defeat struck the Koreish with the greatest consternation,
and Abd-ul-Mutalib, grandfather of the future prophet, who was guardian
of the Kaaba, took council with all the chiefs of the allies. A swift
messenger was sent to Abraha offering a third part of the wealth of
all Hejaz as a ransom for the sacred Beit Ullah. The king, however,
was inflexible, and his followers cried: “Vengeance for the desecrated
Cross in our sanctuary! No ransom from the idolaters! Down with the
Kaaba!” Finally Abd-ul-Mutalib himself came to seek audience. He was
admitted to Abraha’s presence and honored with a seat by his side; but
Arab tradition says he came only to ask about the loss of some camels,
and told Abraha that the Lord of the Kaaba would defend it himself!
(Such sublime faith does Moslem tradition put into the mouth of the
prophet’s ancestors, even though the anachronism proves its falsehood.)

On the following day Kais led the advance through the narrow valley
that leads into the city. Here a grievous surprise awaited the host
of The Elephant. To supplement the faith of Abd-ul-Mutalib, the Arabs
laid in ambush, and before day-dawn every one of the Koreish had
occupied his place on the heights on either side of the pass, hidden
behind the rough masses of boulder and trap that to this day make the
whole hillside a natural battery. No sooner had the elephants and
their riders entered the defile, than a shower of rocks and stones
was incessantly poured upon them by their assailants. The unwieldly
animals, mad with fright and pain, trampled the wounded to death,
and confusion was followed by headlong flight, although the unequal
contest lasted until sunset. It was the Thermopylæ of Arabian idolatry,
forever after celebrated in the Koran chapter of _The Elephant_. The
battle affords a miracle, however, to the Moslem commentator by the
easy change of a vowel, which makes “miraculous birds” with hell-stones
in their beaks God’s avengers, instead of the “camel-troops” of the
Koreish. Two months after the victory that prophet was born whose
character and career sealed the fate of early Christianity in Arabia,
already decided on the fatal day when Abraha mounted his elephant and
left Sana for revenge.

The division of the Northern tribes between the Persians and Romans,
followed by the defeat of the Yemen hosts, brought anarchy to all
central Arabia. The idolaters of Hirah and Ghassan overran the south,
and the weak reign of Yeksoum, son of Abraha, could not stay the decay
of the Christian state. Even the Persian protectorate only delayed its
final fall. The sudden rise of Islam, with its political and social
preponderance, consummated the blow. “With the death of Mohammed,” says
Wright, “the last sparks of Christianity in Arabia were extinguished,
and it may be reasonably doubted whether any Christians were then left
in the whole peninsula.”[131]

In 1888, Edward Glaser, the explorer, visited nearly every part of
Yemen and among his discoveries were many ancient inscriptions. From
Mareb, the old Sabean capital, he brought back over three hundred, one
of which dates from 542 A. D., and is considered by Professor Fritz
Hommel the latest Sabean inscription. It consists of one hundred and
thirty-six lines telling of the suppressed revolt against the Ethiopic
rule then established in Yemen. The inscription opens with the words:
This and the scarcely recognizable ruins of the cathedral at Sana are
the only remnants of Christianity that remain in Arabia Felix.



 “It surely is not without a purpose that this widespread and powerful
 race [the Arabs] has been kept these four thousand years, unsubdued
 and undegenerate, preserving still the vigor and simplicity of its
 character. It is certainly capable of a great future; and as certainly
 a great future lies before it. In may be among the last peoples
 of Southwestern Asia to yield to the transforming influences of
 Christianity and a Christian civilization. But to those influences it
 will assuredly yield in the fullness of time.”—_Edson L. Clark._

 “Every nation has its appointed time, and when their appointed time
 comes they cannot keep it back an hour nor can they bring it on.”—_The

Islam dates from 622 A. D., but the first Christian missionary to
Mohammedans was Raymund Lull, who was stoned to death outside the
town of Bugia, North Africa, on June 30, 1315. He was also the first
and only Christian of his day who felt the extent and urgency of the
call to evangelize the Mohammedan world. His constant argument with
Moslem teachers was: Islam is false and must die. His devotion and
his pure character coupled with such intense moral earnestness won
some converts, but his great central purpose was to overthrow the
power of Islam as a system by logical demonstration of its error;
in this he failed. His two spiritual treatises are interesting, but
his _Ars Major_ would not convince a Moslem to-day any more than it
did in the fourteenth century. His life is of romantic interest and
his indefatigable zeal will always be a model and an inspiration to
missionaries among Moslems.[132] But he lived before his time and his
age was unworthy of him.

Nothing was done to give the gospel to Arabia or the Mohammedans
from the time of Raymund Lull to that of Henry Martyn, the first
modern missionary to the Mohammedans. The histories of these two men
contain all that there is to be written about missionary work for the
Mohammedan world from 622 until 1812, so little did the Church of God
feel its responsibility toward the millions walking in darkness after
the false prophet.

To the Protestant Church of the eighteenth century Arabia and the
Levant presented no attractions or appeal. The Turks, as representing
the Mohammedan world, were remembered as early as 1549, it is true, by
the English Book of Common Prayer, in the collect for Good Friday,[133]
(which dates from the Sarum Missal). No effort was made, however, to
carry the gospel to them or to any part of their empire, until long
after other far more distant regions had been reached. Even Carey
did not have the Moslem world on his large program. It was Claudius
Buchanan who first aroused an interest in the needs of the Moslem
world. On his return from India he told, on February 25, 1809, in his
sermon at Bristol, the story of two Moslem converts, one of whom had
died a martyr to Christ. In his _Christian Researches_ he propounds a
comprehensive scheme for the evangelization of the Levant. The Church
Missionary Society sent out missionaries, and in 1819 the American
Board began work for Moslems by sending Pliny Fisk and Levi Parsons to

This modern beginning of the gospel in Asia Minor had an indirect
bearing on the future evangelization of Arabia and was a part of the
Divine preparation. The journeys of Eli Smith and H. G. O. Dwight
brought the American churches face to face with the whole problem of
missions in that region. The Syrian Mission through its press at Malta
(1822) began the assault on the citadel of Islam’s learning. In 1833
the press was removed to Beirut; and from that day until now it has
been scattering leaves of healing throughout all the Arabic-speaking
world. When in 1865 Dr. Van Dyck wrote the last sheet of “copy” of the
Arabic Bible translation and handed it to the compositor, he marked an
era of importance not only to Syria and Asia Minor, but to the whole
of Arabia, greater than any accession or deposition of sultans. That
Bible made modern missions to Arabia possible; it was the result of
seventeen years of labor; “and herein is that saying true, One soweth,
and another reapeth ... other men labored and ye are entered into their
labors.” Whatever special difficulties and obstacles missionaries to
Arabia have met or will meet, the great work of preparing the Word of
God in the language of the people and a complete Christian literature
for every department of work, has already been accomplished by others;
and accomplished in such a way that the Arabic Bible of Beirut will
always be the Bible for Oman and Nejd and the most inland villages of
Yemen and Hadramaut.

The history of direct effort to reach the great Arabian peninsula
begins with Henry Martyn. It is deeply interesting to follow the
gradual unfoldings of the Divine Providence in the reintroduction of
the gospel into Arabia thirteen centuries after Christianity had been
blotted out in that land by the sword of Mohammed and his successors.
In more than one sense Henry Martyn was the pioneer missionary to
Arabia. He first came into contact with the Arabs through his study of
their language and his employment of that remarkable character, Sabat,
as his munshee and co-worker. Sabat and his friend Abdullah were two
Arabs of notable pedigree, who, after visiting Mecca, resolved to see
the world. They first went to Cabul, where Abdullah entered the service
of the famous Ameer Zeman Shah. Through the efforts of an Armenian
Christian he abjured Islam and had to flee for his life to Bokhara.
“Sabat had preceded him there and at once recognized him on the street.
‘I had no pity,’ said Sabat afterward, ‘I delivered him up to Morad
Shah, the king.’ He was offered his life if he would abjure Christ. He
refused. Then one of his hands was cut off and again he was pressed to
recant. ‘He made no answer, but looked up steadfastly toward heaven,
like Stephen, the first martyr, his eyes streaming with tears. He
looked at me, but it was with the countenance of forgiveness. His other
hand was then cut off. But he never changed, and when he bowed his head
to receive the blow of death all Bokhara seemed to say, What new thing
is this?’ Remorse drove Sabat to long wanderings, in which he came to
Madras, where the government gave him the office of mufti or expounder
of the law of Islam in the civil courts. At Vizagapatam he fell in with
a copy of the Arabic New Testament as revised by Solomon Negri and sent
out to India in the middle of last century by the Society for Promoting
Christian Knowledge. He compared it with the Koran and the truth fell
on him like a flood of light. He sought baptism in Madras at the hands
of the Rev. Dr. Kerr and was named Nathaniel. He was then twenty-seven
years of age. When the news reached his family in Arabia, his brother
set out to destroy him, and, disguised as an Asiatic, wounded him with
a dagger as he sat in his house at Vizagapatam. He sent him home with
letters and gifts to his mother, and then gave himself up to propagate
the truth he had once in his friend Abdullah’s person, persecuted to
the death.”[134] These two were doubtless the first fruits of modern
Arabia to Christ.

It was doubtless in a great degree Sabat who directed Martyn’s thoughts
and plans toward Arabia and the Arabs. On the last day of the year 1810
he wrote in his diary: “I now pass from India to Arabia, not knowing
what things shall befall me there.” His purpose in leaving India was
partly his broken health but more his intense longing to give the
Mohammedans of Arabia and Persia the word of God in their own tongues.
On his voyage from Calcutta to Bombay he composed tracts in Arabic,
spoke with the Arab sailors and studied the Koran and Niebuhr’s travels
in Arabia. From Bombay he sailed for Arabia and Persia in one of the
ships of the old Indian navy going on a cruise in the Persian Gulf. He
reached Muscat on April 20, 1811, and writes his first impressions in
a letter to Lydia Grenfell: “I am now in Arabia Felix; to judge from
the aspect of the country it has little pretensions to the name, unless
burning, barren rocks convey an idea of felicity; but as there is a
promise in reserve for the sons of Joktan, their land may one day be
blessed indeed.” He attempted to go inland for a short distance, but
was forbidden by the soldiers of the Sultan of Muscat.

Every word of Henry Martyn’s journal regarding Arabia is precious, but
we can quote only one more passage: “April 24. Went with one English
party and two Armenians and an Arab who served as guard and guide to
see a remarkable pass about a mile from the town and a garden planted
by a Hindu in a little village beyond. There was nothing to see, only
the little bit of green in this wilderness seemed to the Arab a great
curiosity. I conversed a good deal with him, but particularly with his
African slave, who was very intelligent about religion. The latter knew
as much about his religion as most mountaineers, and withal was so
interested that he would not cease from his argument till I left the

Martyn did not tarry long at Muscat but his visit was “a little bit of
green in this wilderness” and the prayers he there offered found answer
in God’s Providence long afterward. On all his voyage to Bushire he
was continually busy with his Arabic translation; the people of Arabia
were still first in his heart for he expresses himself as desirous
finally “to go to Arabia circuitously by way of Persia.” His longing
to give the Arabs the Scripture began in India and intensified his
devotion to the study of Hebrew. Had Martyn’s chief assistant in the
Arabic translating, Sabat, been a better scholar their New Testament
version would have proved abidingly useful. As Sabat’s knowledge of
the language proved very faulty their Arabic Testament did not remain
in use. It was first printed at Calcutta in 1816, and although it
accomplished a good work in common with other old translations, all
have been superseded by the wonderfully perfect version of Eli Smith
and Van Dyck. It was not due to Martyn, however, that the Arabic
language had no worthy version of the Bible until 1860. In his diaries
for September 8 and 9, 1810, we read these remarkable entries: “If my
life is spared, there is no reason why the Arabic should not be done in
Arabia, and the Persian in Persia as well as the Indian in India.” ...
“Arabia shall hide me till I come forth with an approved New Testament
in Arabic.” ... “Will government let me go away for three years before
the time of my furlough arrives? If not I must quit the service, and I
cannot devote my life to a more important work than that of preparing
the Arabic Bible.”

These facts about Martyn’s life show at how many points it touched
Arabia; his purposes, his prayers, his studies, his translations, his
fellow-worker, and his visit to Muscat. But more than all these was the
result for Arabia of Martyn’s influence and the power of his spirit to
inspire others.

In 1829 Anthony N. Groves, a dentist of Exeter, taking the commands
of Christ literally, sold all he had and, in the spirit of Martyn,
began his remarkable attempt at mission work in Bagdad. His work was
stopped twice, by the plague and by persecution, and the story of
his life reveals how great were the obstacles which he vainly tried
to surmount.[135] From that day until long years after Northern and
Eastern Arabia were waiting once more for the light. The only effort
made in the Gulf was by Dr. John Wilson of Bombay who, before 1843,
sent Bible colporteurs once and again by Aden and up the Persian Gulf;
“he summoned the Church of Scotland to despatch a mission to the Jews
of Arabia, Busrah and Bombay. A missionary was ready in the person of
William Burns who afterward went to China, the support of a missionary
at Aden was guaranteed by a friend and Wilson had found a volunteer
‘for the purpose of exploring Arabia’ when the disruption of the Church
of Scotland arrested the movement.”[136] It was Henry Martyn’s life
that inspired John Wilson in 1824. It was the Free Church of Scotland
that afterward took up the work of Ion Keith Falconer the pioneer
of Yemen. So God’s plans find fulfillment.[137] Even Muscat was not
left without a witness in those years of waiting. It appears that the
captain of an American ship which called at Muscat every year for a
cargo of dates was a godly man and used to distribute Arabic Bibles and
Testaments, even before the Bible Society extended its work to this

As early as 1878 the British and Foreign Bible Society sent Anton
Gibrail from Bombay to Bagdad on a colporteur-journey. And about the
same time the South Russia agent of the Society, Mr. James Watt,
visited Persia and Bagdad and pressed the needs of this field on the
committee of the Bible Society. He was seconded in his efforts by
Rev. Robert (now Canon) Bruce, a Church Missionary Society Missionary
in India. Arrangements were made between the two societies by which
Bible work was opened in Bagdad under the supervision of Mr. Bruce.
In December, 1880, a Bible depot was opened. Since then the work has
gone on continuously and extended, through the Arabian Mission, to the
entire east coast of Arabia.

The first reference to the needs and opportunities for work in Western
Arabia appears in the Annual Report of the British Bible Society for
1886, where the opening of a Bible depot at Aden is announced with
the hope that it would lead to “the circulation of the Holy Bible on
a larger scale and in a variety of languages.” Ibrahim Abd el Masih
was the first in charge of this depot, and his name was attached to
the call for prayer from South Arabia issued after the death of Keith
Falconer. Colporteurs from Egypt and from Aden of the British and
Foreign Bible Society have once and again visited the Arabian Red Sea
ports and penetrated to Sana, the capital of Yemen.

Between the years 1880 and 1890 more than one appeal went forth for
Arabia’s need. Old Doctor Lansing of the American U. P. Mission in
Egypt who for over thirty years had labored there waiting for the dawn
of a brighter day, when he heard of one of these appeals, was all on
fire, to start for Yemen. “For some years,” wrote an American minister
in the far West, “I and my people have been praying for Arabia.”

The Wahabi reformation in its time attracted the interest of those
who studied the political horizon. The bombardment of Jiddah in 1858
compelled attention to Mecca and the pilgrimage, while from 1838, when
England became mistress of Aden, until 1880 commerce and exploration
was specially active on all the Arabian coast. It was during this
period that the Anglo-Indian naval officers Morêsby, Haines, Elwon,
Saunders, Carless, Wellsted and Cruttenden carefully surveyed the
entire Arabian coast. What they did for commerce, Major-General F. T.
Haig did for missions in Arabia. He it was who first made the extensive
journey all around the coast of Arabia and into the interior of Yemen.
His articles pleading for the occupation of the Peninsula reached Keith
Falconer and finally decided his choice of a particular field, in the
wide Mohammedan world, to which his thoughts were already turned. It
was also the experience and counsel of this man of God that helped to
determine the final location as well as the preliminary explorations
of the American missionaries of the Arabian mission in 1890-92. The
reports of General Haig are even to-day the best condensed statement
of the needs and opportunities in the long neglected Peninsula while
his account of the problems to be met and the right sort of men to meet
them will always remain invaluable until the evangelization of Arabia
is an accomplished fact.

In 1886 General Haig was asked by the committee of the Church
Missionary Society to undertake an exploration of the Red Sea coast
of Arabia and Somaliland with a view to ascertaining the openings
for missionary effort. He set out from London on October 12th, 1886,
reaching Alexandria on the 19th, and proceeded by way of the Red Sea
coast in an Egyptian steamer to Aden, calling at Tor, Yanbo, Jiddah,
Suakin, Massawa and Hodeidah. Dr. and Mrs. Harpur of the Church
Missionary Society were already at Aden seeking an opening for mission
work; the former accompanied General Haig back to Hodeidah and occupied
that place for a time as the first _medical_ missionary in Arabia.
General Haig then took the journey inland by the direct route to Sana
with Ibrahim, the British and Foreign Bible Society colporteur and
from Sana they went straight across Yemen to Aden. Shortly afterward
General Haig proceeded to Muscat and up the Persian Gulf calling at
all the ports. From Busrah he journeyed along the river to Bagdad and
thence across the Syrian desert by the overland post route to Damascus.
It was this long and difficult journey which formed the basis of two
papers[138] entitled: “On both sides of the Red Sea,” and “Arabia as a
Mission Field.”[139]

A few brief extracts from these papers will interest the reader and
show the character of this first appeal to evangelize the land of the
Arabs. Writing of Yemen he says; “We have in this southwestern part
of Arabia a great mountainous country with a temperate climate, and a
hardy laborious race. This hill-country and its races extend northward
into Asir, eastward into Hadramaut for an indefinite distance, while
to the northeast they extend inland as far as the borders of the great
desert. The finest and most warlike races are those to be found to
the north and northeast of Sana. These have never yet submitted to
the Turkish yoke; in fact the limits of the Turkish territory to the
east of Sana are only a few miles distant from that place. Is it not
of extreme importance in connection with the evangelization of all
Southern Arabia that the gospel should be preached and the Word of God
brought to these hardy mountaineers? They are mostly Zeidiyeh, a sect
akin to the Shiahs in doctrine, but I saw no trace of fanaticism among
them, rather they seemed everywhere willing to listen to the truth. For
the most part I suspect they are but poor observers of the prescribed
religious practices of Islam. During the whole of my travels in Yemen
I never once saw a man at prayer, and in only a few of the larger
villages is there a mosque. The women are particularly accessible; in
the villages they wear no covering to the face, and those that we met
at the khans, or inns, were always ready to come forward and talk. The
little girls used frequently to run into our room, and, if invited,
would come and sit down by our side. Ignorance is, I should say, the
predominant characteristic of the whole population—ignorance of their
own religion, ignorance of the simplest elements of truth. I believe
that an evangelist, thoroughly master of the language, Arabic, might go
from village to village all over Yemen preaching, or quietly _speaking_
the gospel.”

This testimony is true. But the challenge has never yet been accepted
and all the highlands are still waiting for the first news of the
gospel. Speaking of the capital of Yemen the report goes on: “Sana is
a most important point. _It is impossible to exaggerate its importance
from a missionary point of view._ It is in the centre of the finest
races of Southern Arabia, and if a mission could be established there,
its influence would extend on all sides to a multitude of tribes
otherwise shut out from the gospel.”

After reviewing in detail the open doors in every part of Arabia, and
speaking of the special obstacles at each point together with the best
methods of inaugurating work, he writes toward the end of his report:
“_In one degree or another then, all Arabia is, I consider, open to
the gospel._ It is as much open to it as the world generally was in
apostolic times, that is to say, it is accessible to the evangelist
at many different points, at all of which he would find men and women
needing salvation, some of whom would receive his message, while
others would reject it and persecute him. In some parts of the country
he would not be molested or interfered with by the ruling powers; in
others, as in Turkish Arabia, he might be arrested and even deported.
Dangerous fanatics are, I believe, seldom met with but occasionally
the missionary might come across such, and then the consequences might
be more serious. But what if his lot were even worse than this, if he
were hunted from village to village, and persecuted from city to city?
Our Lord contemplated no other reception for His disciples when He sent
them forth. This was in fact His ideal of the missionary life....
‘When they persecute you in this city, (abandon the country? No.) flee
ye into another.’ The evangelist in Arabia need expect nothing worse
than this and even this would probably be of rare occurrence.... There
is no difficulty then about preaching the gospel in Arabia if men can
be found to face the consequences. The real difficulty would be the
protection of the converts. Most probably they would be exposed to
violence and death. The infant church might be a martyr church at first
like that of Uganda, but that would not prevent the spread of the truth
or its ultimate triumph.” The most remarkable thing about this report,
which occupies only forty pages, is its prophetic character, its
permanent value and the fact that it touches every phase of the problem
still before us.

The immediate result of General Haig’s report was the determination
of the Church Missionary Society to leave Aden and Sheikh Othman to
Keith Falconer and the Free Church of Scotland, while Dr. and Mrs.
Harpur went to Hodeidah to try the possibilities of work in that
city. There the skill of a Christian physician would have more of
strategic power than in Aden itself which had two hospitals under
government service. Everything was hopeful at the outset and the people
flocked in large numbers to the dispensary. Evangelistic work was
carried on, and Dr. Harpur wrote: “I try to read of the birth, death
and resurrection of Christ including Isaiah liii., and the simplest
parables.” One or two of the Arabs became specially interested and read
the Bible very eagerly. But the Turkish governor found objection and
required a Turkish diploma from the missionary, or to have his diploma
acknowledged at Constantinople. Work was at a standstill. Dr. Harpur
was compelled to return to England on account of severe illness and
Hodeidah was not again entered. In his letter to the _Church Missionary
Intelligencer_, dated April 12th, 1887, we read:

 “Should the way be closed _now_, we trust that God will open it in
 His own time, and whenever that time may be, I want now to say that
 since I came here my great desire has been, and will continue to be,
 that I might be allowed to live and work among the people of Yemen.
 God knows best, wherever our work may be. Owing to the uncertainty
 that exists about my diplomas being ratified, and being in the
 meantime effectually stopped from any work, it seems advisable for us
 to go back to Aden, there to wait until we get directions from the
 Committee, using the time there for the study of the language. There
 is a door here, as far as the people themselves are concerned, and I
 trust we may not have to leave these poor people who have not rejected
 the gospel. What a cause there is for prayer for them to Him who is
 King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

About the same time, a remarkable call to prayer was sent out by the
little band of workers in South Arabia, who were left to mourn the
sudden death of their spiritual leader, Ion Keith Falconer. It was the
first call to prayer issued for Arabia and it did not remain unheeded:


“We earnestly invite united intercession to Almighty God for the people
of this land, that He will open doors for the preaching of the gospel,
and prepare the hearts of all to receive it.

We trust that many will respond to this request, and unite with us in
setting apart a special time every Tuesday for prayer for the above
object. We are, yours faithfully,

                             (Signed.)            F. I. HARPUR, M. B.,
                                             Church Missionary Society.
                                           ALEX. PATERSON, M. B. C. M.,
                                                   Free Church Mission.
                                                      MATTHEW LOCHHEAD,
                                                   Free Church Mission.
                                                IBRAHIM ABD EL MESSIAH,
             _Yemen, S. Arabia._              B. and F. Bible Society.”

While the Church Missionary Society did not continue work at Hodeidah,
they were already occupying the extreme northeast corner of Arabia
and had begun work in Bagdad, the old city of the caliphs, with its
commanding situation on the Tigris, and its large, Arab population.
In 1882 Bagdad was occupied as an outpost of their Persia Mission
on recommendation of Dr. Bruce. Rev. T. R. Hodgson was the first
missionary there, but he afterward went into the service of the British
and Foreign Bible Society and greatly extended its work in the Persian
Gulf. He was succeeded by Dr. Henry Martyn Sutton and others. The
mission has had hard struggles with the Turkish officials and its
converts were compelled to flee. The medical work has had a vast and
extensive influence in all the region round about, and at present
the mission-staff is larger than ever before and the school recently
opened is flourishing. Mosul has been taken over from the American
Presbyterian Board by the Church Missionary Society, and in the words
of one of their missionaries, “we are watching for an opportunity of
carrying the gospel into the very heart of Central Arabia, where the
independent Prince of Nejd holds rule, across whose territory runs one
of the principal routes for pilgrims to Mecca.”

As early as 1856 Rev. A. Stern made missionary journeys to Sana, Bagdad
and other parts of Arabia to visit the Jews with the gospel. That
remarkable missionary to the Jews, Joseph Wolff, the son of a Bavarian
Rabbi and who was baptized by a Benedictine monk in 1812, also visited
the Jews of Yemen and Bagdad in his wanderings.[140]

In 1884, Mr. William Lethaby, a Methodist lay-preacher from England,
with his faithful wife, began a mission among the wild Arabs at Kerak
in the mountains of Moab; so populous and important is this mountain
fortress in the eyes of the nomads that they call it El Medina, “the
city.” This pioneer effort, after some years of struggle, was taken
up by the Church Missionary Society in connection with their Palestine
mission. Mr. Lethaby, after journeying in East Arabia, and attempting
in vain to cross the Peninsula from Bahrein westward (1892), is now in
charge of the Bible Society’s depot at Aden.

As early as 1886 the North Africa Mission attempted to reach the
Bedouin tribes of Northern Arabia in the vicinity of Homs. Mr. Samuel
Van Tassel, a young Hollander, of New York, trained at Grattan
Guinness’ Institute, went out under their direction and accompanied
a Bedouin chief on his annual migration into the desert in 1890. He
found good opportunities among the nomads for gospel-work, so that the
door to him seemed “wide-open,” but Turkish official jealousy of all
foreigners who have dealings with the Bedouin tribes, put an end to
his work and compelled its abandonment. His experiences, however, as
the first one who lived and worked for Christ among the nomads in the
black tents of Kedar is valuable for the future. The door of access
was not closed by the Bedouins themselves, but by the Turks. Mr. Van
Tassel found the Arabs very friendly, and willing to hear the Bible
read, especially the Old Testament. He found none of the fanaticism of
the towns, and even persuaded the sheikhs to rest their caravans on the
Sabbath day. It is interesting to note that the North Africa Mission
was led to enter North Arabia through the representations of General
Haig, then one of their council. At present they have no workers in
Arabia, although that name still finds a place in their reports every
month with the pathetic rehearsal:[141] “Northern Arabia is peopled by
the Bedouin descendants of Ishmael; they are not bigoted Moslems, like
the Syrians, but willing to be enlightened. This portion of the field
is sadly in need of laborers.”

In 1898 the Christian and Missionary Alliance of New York again called
attention to the needs of Northern Arabia through Mr. Forder, formerly
of the Kerak mission. He attempted to enter into the interior, by way
of Damascus, but met with an accident, which prevented the undertaking.

Before sketching the lives of the two great pioneer missionaries to
Arabia, we must chronicle the appeal for the dark peninsula that
came from the heart of the Dark Continent. Not only because this
appeal belongs to the early dawn of Arabian missions, but because of
its remarkable character and its author. Henry Martyn in 1811 wrote
at Muscat, “there is a promise in reserve for the sons of Joktan”;
Alexander Mackay, from Uganda in 1888, took up the strain, and, in
closing his long plea for a mission to the Arabs of Muscat, wrote: “May
it soon be said, ‘This day is salvation come to this house forasmuch as
he also is a son of Abraham.’”

This plea, written only two years before Mackay’s death, and dated,
August, 1888, Usambiro, Central Africa, is a great missionary document
for two reasons; it breathes the spirit of Christianity in showing
love to one’s enemies and it points out the real remedy against the
slave-trade. And yet Mackay accompanied his carefully written article
with this modest letter: “I enclose a few lines on a subject which has
been weighing on my mind for some time. I shall not be disappointed
if you consign them to the waste-paper basket, and shall only be too
glad if, on a better representation on the part of others, the subject
be taken up and something definite be done for these poor Arabs, whom
I respect, but who have given me much trouble in years past. The best
way by which we can turn the edge of their opposition and convert their
blasphemy into blessing is to do our utmost for their salvation.”[142]

In this article Mackay pleads for Arabia for Africa’s sake and asks
that “Muscat, which is in more senses than one the key to Central
Africa,” be occupied by a _strong_ mission. “I do not deny,” he
writes, “that the task is difficult; and the men selected for work in
Muscat must be endowed with no small measure of the Spirit of Jesus,
besides possessing such linguistic ability as to be able to reach not
only the ears, but the very _hearts_ of men.” He pleads for half a
dozen men, the pick of the English universities, to make the venture
in faith. His continual reason for the crying need of such a mission
is the strong influence it would exert in Africa because of the Arab
traders. “It is almost needless to say that the outlook in Africa will
be considerably brightened by the establishment of a mission to the
Arabs in Muscat.” “The Arabs have helped us often and have hindered us
likewise. We owe them therefore a double debt, which, I can see no more
affective way of paying than by at once establishing a strong mission
at their very headquarters—Muscat itself.”

Mackay was not unaware of the great difficulties of work among
Mohammedans and in Arabia; he calls it “a gigantic project” and terms
Arabia “the cradle of Islam.” But his faith is so strong, that at the
very beginning of his article he quotes the remarkable resolution of
the Church Missionary Society passed on May 1st, 1888, regarding work
for Mohammedans.[143]

The effect of Mackay’s pleading was that the veteran Bishop French took
up the challenge and laid down his life at Muscat. That life has “such
linguistic capacity as to be able,” evermore “to reach not only the
ears but the very _hearts_ of men” in a way even far above the thought
of Alexander Mackay of Uganda.



 “My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my
 courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry
 with me to be a witness for me, that I have fought His battles, who
 now will be my rewarder.... So he passed over and all the trumpets
 sounded for him on the other side.”—_Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress._
 (Death of Valiant for Truth.)

Ion Keith Falconer and Thomas Valpy French, both laid down their lives
for Christ after a brief period of labor in the land they so dearly
loved. Keith Falconer died at the age of thirty after having spent only
_ten months_, all-told, on Arabian soil; Bishop French was sixty-six
years old when he came to Muscat and lived only ninety-five days after
his arrival. But both gave

  “One crowded hour of glorious life,”

to the cause of Christ in Arabia and left behind them an influence,
power and inspiration which

  “Is worth an age without a name.”

Ion Grant Neville Keith Falconer,[144] the third son of the late Earl
of Kintore, was born at Edinburgh, Scotland, on the 5th of July, 1856.
At thirteen years of age he went to Harrow to compete for an entrance
scholarship and was successful. He was not a commonplace boy either
in his ways of study or thoughts on religion. With a healthy ambition
to excel and yet with a kindly modesty he made friends of those
whom he surpassed and loved those who were his inferiors. Manliness,
magnanimity, piety and unselfishness, rare traits in a lad, were in him
conspicuous. He loved outdoor sports and excelled in athletics as well
as in his studies. At twenty he was President of the London Bicycle
Club and at twenty-two the champion racer in Great Britain.

One paragraph taken from the close of one of his letters gives us a
glimpse of the boy at school and throws light on his future choice of
a profession. It is dated July 16th, 1873: “ ... Charrington sent me a
book yesterday which I have read. It is called _Following Fully_ ...
about a man who works among the cholera people in London so hard that
he at last succumbs and dies. But every page is full of Jesus Christ,
so that I liked it. And I like Charrington because he is quite devoted
to Him, and has really given up all for His glory. I must go and do
the same soon: how I don’t know.” This same year he left Harrow, and,
after spending a year with a tutor exclusively in mathematics, entered
Cambridge. His intentions were at first to compete for honors in
mathematics but after careful thought he changed his plans and began to
read for honors in the Theological Tripos.

During his college days he also distinguished himself as a master
in his two favorite pursuits, bicycling and shorthand. On the later
subject he wrote the article in the Encyclopedia Britannica. He
had a fine intellect, tremendous power of application and a genius
for plodding. His knowledge of Hebrew was extraordinary; he wrote
post-cards in that language to his professor on every conceivable
subject, and translated the hymn, “Lead Kindly Light” as a pastime.
No wonder that he received the highest honor in that language that
Cambridge can give and passed with ease the Semitic languages
examination at the close of his course.

But in all his studies and pastimes he did not cease to show that
he was first of all a Christian and had the missionary spirit.
By evangelistic work at Barnwell and Mile-End, alone and with his
friend, Mr. F. N. Charrington, he labored to reach the poor and
down-trodden. For the work in London he became at once treasurer and
contributor of $10,000 and his work at Mile-End Road is held in loving
remembrance by the present workers. Here doubtless it was that his
thoughts first turned to the regions beyond. For in a letter dated
June 12th, 1881, from Stepney Green, he writes: “It is overwhelming
to think of the vastness of the harvest-field when compared with the
indolence, indifference and unwillingness on the part of most so-called
Christians, to become, even in a moderate degree, laborers in the same.
I take the rebuke to myself. ... To enjoy the blessings and happiness
God gives, and never to stretch out a helping hand to the poor and the
wicked, is a most horrible thing. When we come to die, it will be awful
for us, if we have to look back on a life spent purely on self, but,
believe me, if we are to spend our life otherwise, we must make up our
minds to be thought ‘odd’ and ‘eccentric’ and ‘unsocial,’ and to be
sneered at and avoided.... The usual centre is SELF, the proper centre
is GOD. If, therefore, one lives for God, one is _out of centre_ or
_eccentric,_ with regard to the people who do not.”

After his final examination at Cambridge, he turned his whole attention
to Arabic; why, he himself knew not, except that he loved the language;
it was God’s plan in his life. To secure special advantages he went
first to Leipzig in October, 1880, and afterward to Assiut, Egypt. The
Semitic scholar was becoming an Arab and fell in love with the desert
even then. He wrote from Assiut, after some months of study: “I am
meditating a camel-ride in the desert. I mean to go from here to Luxor
on a donkey, camping out every night, and from Luxor to Kossair, on the
Red Sea, on a dromedary. ... I shall learn two things by doing this
journey, Arabic and cooking.” An attack of fever prevented the journey,
and Falconer returned to England. Even there his engrossing study
was Arabic, in which he was now reading such difficult books as the
Mo’allakat and Al Hariri; as he expressed it, “I expect to peg away at
the Arabic dictionary till my last day.”

In March, 1884, he married Miss Gwendolen Bevan; they took a journey
to Italy, and then settled at Cambridge, where Keith Falconer lectured
and studied. In the spring of 1885 he published his Kalilah and Dimnah,
translated from the Syriac, with notes; a lasting monument to his
Semitic scholarship and an example of his wide general learning.[145]

Toward the end of the year 1884 his thoughts first began to be
definitely drawn to the foreign mission field, but as yet without any
special choice of field. A summary of the papers written on Arabia, by
General Haig, for the _Church Missionary Intelligencer_ was published
in _The Christian_, in February, 1885, and fell under the eyes of
Keith Falconer. The idea of evangelizing Arabia took hold of him with
Divine power. His whole soul answered, “Here am I, send me.” The
immediate outcome was a request for an interview with General Haig,
whom he accordingly met in London on February 21st, 1885, “to talk
about Aden and Arabia.” He determined to go to Aden and see the field
for himself. Only two questions did he stop to consider: First, as to
the healthfulness of the place, and then whether he should go out as a
free lance or should associate himself more or less closely with some
existing society. Warmly attached to the Free Church of Scotland from
his childhood, he met the Foreign Mission Committee of that church and
his project was recognized by them. On October 7th he left, with his
young wife, for Aden, and arrived there on October 28th. They remained
until March 6th of the following spring.

The first missionary report of this pioneer in South Arabia indicates
what he thought of the field; and why he decided to make Sheikh
Othman, and not Aden, the centre of future work; it also sets forth the
methods which Keith Falconer proposed to adopt for the evangelization
of Arabia. The following extracts are of especial interest:

 “The population of Aden is made up of (1) Arabs, all Moslems, mostly
 Sunnis of the Shafii sect; (2) Africans, mostly Somalis who are all
 Shafii Moslems; (3) Jews; (4) Natives of India, mostly Moslems, the
 rest being Hindus, a few Parsis, and a few Portuguese from Goa. In
 1872, for every five Arabs there were less than three Somalis; but I
 am told that now they are numerically equal. The Arabs and Somalis
 together make up the great bulk—about four-fifths—of the whole. In
 1872 the Jews numbered 1,435; they are now reckoned at more than
 2,000. The Europeans, the garrison, and camp-followers number about
 3,500. The climate of Aden is, for the tropics, unusually healthy.
 The port-surgeon, who has been here five years, assures me that a
 missionary need have no fear on the score of health. This is due to
 the scarcity of rain and vegetation, and to the constant sea-breezes.
 The summer heat is severe and depressing, but not unhealthy. There
 can be little doubt that Aden, from the fact of its being a British
 possession, from its geographical position, its political relations
 with the interior, its commerce with Yemen, its healthy climate, and
 its mixed Arab-Somali population, is, humanly speaking a good centre
 for Christian work among the Moslems of Arabia and Africa.

 “The next question is, how and where precisely to begin? My own notion
 is to establish a school, industrial orphanage, and medical mission
 at Sheikh Othman. The children are far more hopeful than the adults,
 and the power to give medical aid would be not only very useful in
 Sheikh Othman, but invaluable in pushing into the interior. There are
 numbers of castaway Somali children in Aden whose parents are only
 too willing that they should be fed and cared for by others. These,
 as well as orphans, might be gathered and brought up in the faith
 of Christ, _nemine contradicente_. It would be necessary to teach
 the children to work with their hands, and I think that a carpenter
 or craftsman of some kind from home or from India should be on the
 mission staff. But the chief object of the institution would be to
 train native evangelists and teachers; and a part of their training
 should be _medical_. With a slight, rough-and-ready knowledge of
 medicine and surgery, they would find many doors open to them. In
 the school, reading by means of the Arabic Bible and Christian
 books, writing, and arithmetic would be taught to all; and English,
 historical geography, Euclid, algebra, and natural science to the
 cleverer children. A native teacher, procurable from Syria or Egypt,
 would be very valuable, and I think a necessity at first. If it
 were known in the interior that a competent medical man and surgeon
 resided in Sheikh Othman, the Arabs who now come to Aden for advice
 would stop short at our mission-house; and the surgeon would have
 considerable scope both in Sheikh Othman, El-Hautah, and the little
 country villages, not to speak of the opposite African country. Of
 course the treatment of surgical cases would involve the keeping of a
 few beds. The medical missionary should be a thoroughly qualified man,
 as natives often delay to come for advice until disease has become
 serious and complicated. The port-surgeon has impressed this upon me
 several times. It should be mentioned that the native assistant at the
 Sheikh Othman dispensary often finds that Arabs come to Sheikh Othman
 to be treated, and, deriving no benefit, refuse to go on to Aden, and
 return home. The institution should stand in a cultivated plot or
 garden. This would render it far more attractive, and would greatly
 benefit the children. It would be possible to arrange for this in
 Sheikh Othman, where there is plenty of water, and the soil is good;
 but not in Aden, where almost utter barrenness is everywhere found.

 “My reasons, then, for perferring Sheikh Othman are:

 “1. We should not be seriously competing with government
 institutions. In fact, I am told that the government would be glad
 to be relieved of the necessity of keeping up a dispensary at Sheikh

 “2. The climate is fresher and less enervating than that of Aden. From
 its position it has the benefit of any sea-breeze which may blow, and
 the soil absorbs heat without giving it out again. On the other hand,
 in Aden, the high, black, cinder-like rocks often obstruct the breeze,
 store heat in the day, and give it out at night. Thus the nights in
 Sheikh Othman are markedly cooler than in Aden.

 “3. There is abundance of water, and the soil is capable of
 cultivation—a fact proved by the two fine private gardens there, not
 to speak of the government garden. But at Aden the soil is utterly
 barren, and all water must be paid for. It is either condensed, or
 procured by an aqueduct, or from a well sunk 120 feet in the solid
 rock. The water from the latter is quite sweet, and sometimes handed
 round after dinner in wineglasses!

 “4. I am told on the best authority that it would be very difficult
 to get a suitable site in Aden, whereas there are plenty in Sheikh
 Othman. Besides any number of building sites, two very large garden
 sites are vacant. The latter I have inspected, and the one I am
 recommended to take as having the best soil is admirably situated
 between the old village and the new settlement. It occupies the space
 between them. I can have the whole or the half of it _granted_ to me
 at a nominal quit-rent.

 “5. Sheikh Othman is eight miles on the road to the interior, and so
 in closer contact with the tribes, and removed from the influence of
 the bad and unchristian example set by so many Europeans.

 “On the other hand, it must be borne in mind that the population of
 Sheikh Othman—about 6,500—is comparatively small, though likely to
 increase somewhat; and that it is very shifting, not more than some
 1,500 being permanently resident. The last objection, however, applies
 to Aden as well.”

In another portion of the same report, after telling of the importance
of Aden as a missionary centre, he emphasizes the fact that “More
than a quarter of a million camels, with their drivers, enter and
leave Aden yearly with produce from all parts of Yemen. The great
majority of these pass through Sheikh Othman, where they make a halt
of several hours on the journey to Aden.” No one acquainted with Aden
and its vicinity and reading Keith Falconer’s letters can fail to
be struck with the fact that from the outset he had his plans made
_for the interior_, and that Sheikh Othman was only the first stage
which he intended to use as a base of operations. He wrote to General
Haig about the same time as the date of his report: “I have made up
my mind that the right place for me to settle at is Sheikh Othman,
not Aden. This will leave Aden and Steamer Point open to the Church
Missionary Society. Though I do not think that a medical missionary
would have much scope in Aden, I think that a Bible and tract-room
and preaching-hall might be started there.... I hope to visit Lahej
soon, but fear I shall be unable to go to Sana. I should not know
where to leave my wife. When I have a colleague at Sheikh Othman with
a wife, the two ladies can be together while the husbands go to Sana
and elsewhere. If the Church Missionary Society missionaries come here
I trust we shall find ways and means of coöperating and helping one

In February, 1886, Keith Falconer went with a Scotch military doctor
to Lahej, the first large village beyond Sheikh Othman, in the middle
of an oasis, and then governed by an independent “Sultan.” In March,
having completed his preliminary survey of the field and decided on
choice of a location, he sailed for England, not to tarry there, but
to prepare for the final exodus to Arabia. “For,” says his biographer,
“the soldier of the Cross had counted the cost, had weighed with the
utmost care every risk and had taken his final resolve. The manner in
which he told his friends this was very characteristic of the man ...
who goes forth to the fight ready to spend and be spent in the cause
of Christ.” In May he met the General Assembly of the Free Church and
made his famous address on Mohammedanism and missions to Mohammedans.
In order to begin the work at Aden, a second missionary, a medical man,
was desired. Although the man was not yet found, Keith Falconer made
the generous proposal to pay the sum of £300 ($1,500) annually to the
Free Church for the new missionary’s salary. He had already offered to
pay the expenses of himself and his wife, and had agreed to take upon
himself the whole cost of the building of the mission-house. He laid on
the missionary altar not only his talent of learning but that of money,
and was in truth “an honorary missionary.”

The time between Keith Falconer’s arrival in England and his return
to Arabia was crowded full of life and activity, but only the most
important events can be narrated. He received the gratifying but
altogether unexpected offer of the post of Lord Almoner’s professor
of Arabic at Cambridge, which he accepted, becoming the successor
of Edward H. Palmer and Robertson Smith. He prepared the lectures
required, choosing for his subject “The Pilgrimage to Mecca.” He read
all the books on the subject in many languages, even learning the Dutch
grammar in order to understand a work in that language. He visited
hospitals in search of an associate for Arabia. He selected his library
and furniture to take to Aden and disposed of his house-lease. He
acted as judge at the Young Men’s Christian Association Cycling Club
races in Cambridge. He went to Glasgow to meet Dr. Stewart Cowen who
was appointed his co-worker to Arabia. He tried to insure his life in
favor of the mission-work at Mile-End; but while the insurance office
declared him “First-Class,” they refused to grant the policy when they
heard of his proposed place of residence. He gave several farewell
addresses in Scotland and delivered his Cambridge lectures just on the
eve of leaving for Arabia. All this work was crowded into six months’
time by the man who, like Napoleon, did not have the word _impossible_
in his vocabulary. How well the work was done is proved by his
lectures, the article in the Encyclopedia and his farewell addresses.
What could be finer and stronger than these last sentences from his
farewell address at Glasgow which still ring with power:

 “We have a great and imposing war-office, but a very small army ...
 while vast continents are shrouded in almost utter darkness, and
 hundreds of millions suffer the horrors of heathenism or of Islam,
 the burden of proof lies upon you to show that the circumstances in
 which God has placed you were meant by Him to keep out of the foreign
 mission field.”

Dr. Cowen arrived at Aden on December 7th, 1886, and Keith Falconer a
day later, by the Austrian steamship “Berenice.” He wrote, “We stopped
at Jiddah, but to my great disappointment quarantine prevented me from
going on shore. I gazed long at the hills which hid Mecca from us.”

Mrs. Keith Falconer arrived a fortnight later. But the new missionaries
were unfortunate at the outset in obtaining a suitable dwelling. The
stone bungalow, which they expected to occupy at Sheikh Othman until
a mission-house was built, could not be rented; after considerable
difficulty they managed to secure a large native hut, about forty
feet square, which, with certain changes, appeared suitable for
the emergency. A shed, erected by Keith Falconer, served them as a
dispensary, and on January 11th, he wrote, “Our temporary quarters
are very comfortable and the books look very nice.” Everything went
well for a time and arrangements were made to begin building the
mission-house. A tour was taken to Bir Achmed and the gospel was
preached every day by word and work, although some of the party were
down with fever nearly all the time.

Early in February, 1887, they were cheered by the visit of General
Haig, returning from his Yemen journey; but very soon after things
began for the first time to be clouded over. On February 10th,
returning from a tour inland, Keith Falconer was seized with a high
fever which continued for three days and then began to abate, but did
not leave him entirely. Mrs. Keith Falconer also had a severe attack
of fever, and both went for a change to Steamer Point for three weeks,
after which they returned to their “hut” at Sheikh Othman. On May 1st,
Keith Falconer wrote to his mother, “You will be sorry to hear that
I have been down with yet another attack ... this makes my seventh
attack. This rather miserable shanty, in which we are compelled to
live, is largely the cause of our fevers ... we expect to begin living
in the new house about June 1st, though it will not be finished then.”
But this letter did not reach her until after the telegram had told
the news that God had called His servant to Himself. On Tuesday, May
10th, after continued fevers and two restless nights, he went to sleep,
and in the morning ... “one glance told all. He was lying on his back
with eyes half open. The whole attitude and expression indicated a
sudden and painless end, as if it had taken place during sleep, there
being no indication whatever of his having tried to move or speak.” On
the evening of the next day he was laid to rest, “In the cemetery at
Aden by British officers and soldiers—fitting burial for a soldier of
Christ, who, with armor on and courage undaunted, fell with face to the
foe. The martyr of Aden had entered God’s Eden. And so Great Britain
made her first offering—a costly sacrifice—to Arabia’s evangelization.”

Keith Falconer did not live long, but he lived long enough to do
what he had purposed, (and to do it after God’s plan not his own)
“_to call attention to Arabia_.” The workman fell but the work did
not cease. The Free Church asked for one volunteer to step into his
place, and thirteen of the graduating class of New College responded.
By the story of Keith Falconer’s life ten thousand lives have been
spiritually quickened to think of the foreign field and its claims.
He, “being dead, yet speaketh,” and will continue to speak until Arabia
is evangelized. Every future missionary to Arabia and every friend of
missions who reads Falconer’s life will approve the appropriateness of
the simple inscription on his grave at Aden:


 “If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and, where I am, there shall
 also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honor.”

The influence of Keith Falconer’s consecration was widely felt at the
time of his death and has been felt ever since. His biography has
become a missionary classic, and has passed through six editions. The
Presbytery of the Scotch Church in Kafraria, South Africa, resolved
in October, 1887, that “steps be taken to prepare a memoir of the
late Hon. Ion Keith Falconer, to be printed in _Kafir_ as a tract for
circulation among the native congregations with a view to impress them
with an example of self-sacrifice.”

The mission at Sheikh Othman was continued. Through the generosity of
Keith Falconer’s mother and widow stipends for two missionaries were
guaranteed. Dr. Cowen returned to England, but Rev. W. R. W. Gardner
and Dr. Alexander Patterson came to the field. For a time Mr. Matthew
Lochhead, from the mission among the Kabyles in Morocco, also joined
them. A school for rescued slaves was started, but the children’s
health failing they were transferred to Lovedale in Africa. In 1893,
Rev. J. C. Young, M. D., was sent out as a medical missionary to
enforce the Rev. Mr. Gardner who with Mrs. Gardner was then alone; Dr.
Paterson and Mr. Lochhead having left for reasons of health. Rev. and
Mrs. Gardner went to Cairo in 1895, and the following year Dr. Young
was joined by Dr. and Mrs. W. D. Miller. In 1898 Mrs. Miller died, and
Dr. Miller returned home. At present the mission staff consists of Rev.
Dr. Young and Dr. Morris, who joined the mission in 1898.

Despite these frequent changes and short periods of service, the Keith
Falconer mission has not been at a standstill. Each of the faithful
band used their special talent and individuality in removing somewhat
from the vast mountain of Moslem prejudice and opposition “to make
straight in the desert a highway for our God.” The immediate interior
around Aden has been frequently visited; the mission dispensary is
known for hundreds of miles beyond Sheikh Othman. We record with
regret that Keith Falconer’s wish to go to Sana remains unfulfilled on
the part of the mission. A school for boys has been started, and the
small “shanty” for the sick has grown into a fully equipped mission
dispensary, which treated over 17,800 out-patients in 1898. A much
needed and most hopeful work among the soldiers is carried on in
Steamer Point (Aden) and the Keith Falconer Memorial Church is filled
every Sabbath with those who love to hear the old gospel.



If it was Keith Falconer’s life and death that sealed the missionary
love of the church to Aden, it was the death of Thomas Valpy
French[146] that turned many eyes to Muscat. Bishop French it was who
signalized the completion of his fortieth year of missionary service by
attacking, single handed, the seemingly impregnable fortress of Islam
in Oman. He is called by Eugene Stock, “the most distinguished of all
Church Missionary Society missionaries.”

We are tempted to describe this man’s early mission work in founding
the Agra college and protecting the native Christians in the mutiny;
his pioneer work in Derajat; his founding of the St. John Divinity
School at Lahore; his controversies with the Mohammedans; and his
manifold labors as the first Bishop of Lahore, but we can only
chronicle here the closing years of his useful life. After forty
years of “labors abundant” and “journeyings oft” he resigned his
bishopric to travel among Arabic-speaking people and learn more of
their language. He visited the Holy Land, Armenia, Bagdad and Tunis,
everywhere diligently seeking to learn Arabic, and persuade the Moslems
of the truth of Christianity. He became, as some one expressed it, a
“Christian fakir” for the sake of the gospel and desired to end his
life as he began it, in pioneer missionary-work.

As we have said it was Mackay of Uganda who riveted the bishop’s
attention to Muscat. Such a plea from such lips could not but touch
the heart of such a veteran. No one else came forward, so how could
he refuse? He knew that age and infirmities were coming upon him, but
he wanted to die a missionary to Mohammedans. He had, to use his own
words, “an inexpressible desire” to preach to the Arabs. He was willing
to begin the work on his own account with the hope that the Church
Missionary Society would take it up.

What was the character of this lion-heart who dared to lift his grey
head high and respond _alone_, to Mackay’s call for “half a dozen men,
the pick of the English Universities to make the venture in faith”?
One who was his friend and fellow-missionary for many years wrote:
“To live with him was to drink in an atmosphere that was spiritually
bracing. As the air of the Engadine is to the body, so was his intimacy
to the soul. It was an education to be with him. To acquire anything
approaching his sense of duty was alone worth a visit to India. He
demanded implicit obedience from those whom he directed, and often
the cost was considerable. If any were unwilling to face a risk, he
fell grievously in the bishop’s estimation. There was nothing that he
thought a man should not yield—home, or wife, or health—if God’s call
was apparent. But then every one knew that he only asked of them what
he himself had done, and was always doing. How shall I speak of his
unworldliness? India is full of tales of this; of acts that often led
to somewhat humorous results. There was no in season or out of season
with him. He was always on his Master’s business. No biography, it is
said, will be complete that does not show this side of his character.
To outsiders frequently it seemed to lead him into inconsistencies.
It did not seem incongruous for him to turn to the lady next to him,
at a large luncheon party, and begin to discuss the heavenly Bride of
Christ; neither was it strange when hymn-books were distributed at
a large reception he held at Government House (kindly lent for the
bishop’s sojourn there), and the evening party was closed with hymns
and prayer.”

Rev. Robert Clark of the Punjab, Church Missionary Society, testifies:
“When he first began his work in Agra, he studied about sixteen hours a
day. He taught in his school, he preached in the bazaars, he instructed
inquirers for baptism, he prepared catechists for ordination, he was
engaged in writing books, at the same time that he was learning Arabic,
Persian, Urdu, Sanscrit, and Hindi with munshis. Such excellence few
can attain to, because few can safely follow in his steps in this
respect. But all can copy his example of prayerful labor. When he spent
his holidays in travels and in preaching excursions far and near, he
showed us how to spend every hour of relaxation in the most profitable
way. When he refused to possess even a very ordinary conveyance,
because he thought that a missionary should go on foot, and declined to
use anything but the most common furniture for his house, he set us an
example of self-abnegation, and showed us what, in his opinion, should
be the attitude of the missionary before the world. When he spent his
earliest mornings with God, with his Hebrew Bible and Greek Testament
before him, he often invited some friend to sit by him to share with
him the rich thoughts which the Word of God suggested to his mind.”

This was the man who in solitary loneliness, without one friend to
stand at his side, planted and upheld till death the banner of the
cross where it had never been planted before. In the hottest season of
the year, with a little tent and two servants he was preparing to push
inland when death interposed and gave rest to the veteran of sixty-six
years. “We fools accounted his life madness, but he is numbered among
the children of God and his lot is among the saints.” (Wisdom of
Solomon v. 4, 5.) Only Judas can “have indignation saying to what
purpose is this waste?” This broken box of exceeding precious ointment
has given fragrance to the whole world.

We will let Bishop French tell his own brief story of the work at
Muscat, beginning with the time when we travelled together down the
Red Sea both in quest of God’s plan for us in Arabia.[147]

                                           _Near Aden, Jan. 22d, 1891._

 “Boisterous winds and turbulent seas have racked my brain sorely, and
 I have seldom had such torture in this line. But we are close to the
 Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, and hope to reach Aden some twelve hours
 hence. I should have been sorry to miss Hodeidah, where I had a long
 day (spite of difficulty of reaching it by _sambuca_ or small boat
 of broad and heavy build), returning to ship in the evening. I left
 my friends, Maitland and a young American missionary, and made my
 way straight out through a gate of one of the stout city walls, into
 the country beyond, where are palm-groves and some fairly imposing
 stuccoed country-houses of merchants and men of rank. Under an arcade
 (as the sun was to be feared) I got a little congregation together,
 some learned, others unlearned, and addressed them for over an hour,
 eliciting the opposition of one or two of the _ulumā_, or educated
 men. For the first time in this part of my journey, my mouth seemed
 a little opened and heart enlarged to witness for Christ, and a few
 seemed really struck and interested. I tried to get entrance into a
 mosque or two, as of old time into Afghan mosques with Gordon and
 others, but failed to find the proper Imams within. I secured the
 lower steps of a flight of steps leading up to the private residence
 of a high Turkish officer, in rich uniform, a general of army here,
 not knowing whose steps I was occupying. However, the old gentleman
 came down (as a Roman centurion in old time might have done) and
 took his seat, with a few others, on his own doorstep, and listened
 with singular docility and thankfulness, and begged my blessing
 on his office, and his fulfillment of its arduous duties. After
 first leave-taking, he sent down to me a beautiful walking-stick of
 lemon-wood, so I had to mount the steps to express my gratitude and
 acknowledgment of his singular courtesy and friendship. Then came
 a still more enthusiastic and affectionate leave-taking still, and
 warm kissing of hands, to Maitland’s astonishment. I certainly never
 experienced such kindness and friendship from any Turkish official
 before in any quarter. I trust the message may have struck his heart.
 Anyhow, he gladly accepted a copy of the whole Bible—this is one of
 the most bigoted of Arab cities.

 “There was an excellent colporteur here this week, of the Bible
 Society, Stephanos, a Jewish convert, I believe, and excellent Arabic
 scholar. The Wali, or viceroy of the city, has forbidden his carrying
 Arabic Bibles into the interior, though the Hebrew ones for the Jews
 at Sennaa are passed, some six days, into the mountains. In Jidda
 itself, I had some small measure of encouragement, but not nearly so
 much as in Hodeidah, which has now outstripped Mocha as a thriving
 trade centre in those parts.”

                                                 _Muscat, Gulf of Oman,
                                                  February 13th, 1891._

 “I arrived here on Sunday last with Mr. Maitland, of the Cambridge
 Delhi Mission, whom I met in Egypt, and who spends a few weeks for his
 health’s sake with me, perhaps until Easter. We did not like throwing
 ourselves on the British Consul here, as we thought it might embarrass
 him to entertain Christian missionaries on their first arrival here;
 and we had very great difficulty in finding even the meanest quarters
 for the first day or two, but are now in quarters in an adjoining
 village, more tolerable as regards necessary comforts, belonging to
 the American Consul, who is agent for a New York house of business. I
 have written to India for a Swiss-cottage tent, as a resource in case
 of no possible residence being available here, or anything approaching
 even the English village public-house, or Persian caravanserai. In the
 adjoining hills such a tent might give shelter during the hot weather,
 if the Arabs will tolerate the presence of a Christian missionary.
 “Of possibilities of entrance of a mission, I feel it would be
 premature to speak yet. We are pushing on our Arabic studies, and I
 am glad to find how much more intelligible my Arab teaching is than
 in Tunis and Egypt. I hope soon to find a Sheikh of some learning,
 to carry on translations in Arabic under his guidance, if life and
 health be spared. I feel most thankful to feel myself again in a
 definite temporary centre, at least of missionary effort. ‘Patience
 and long-suffering with joyfulness’ I would humbly and heartily
 desire to cultivate, as most appropriate to my present condition and
 circumstances. The British Consul, a very polite and courteous and
 high principled man, is hopeless as to any effect being produced on
 the Oman Arabs, and feels his position precludes him from making
 common cause with any effort for making proselytes among them. So when
 Maitland goes I shall be pretty lonely here, not for the first time,
 however, and I only pray that the loneliness may help me to realize
 more fully the blessed Presence which fills, strengthens, animates,
 and supports.”

His last letter written from Muscat to the Church Missionary Society is
dated April 24th, 1891. A portion of it is as follows:

 “Patience here, as elsewhere (and more than in most scenes I have
 visited), is a great prerequisite. I still live alone in a borrowed
 house, a spare one belonging to the American Consul here, and, rough
 as it is, it is amply sufficient for a missionary, and is in the heart
 of the town. I cannot get many—very few, indeed—to come to my house
 and read, which is naturally one of my great objects. They ask me into
 their shops and houses sometimes, to sit and discuss on the great
 question at issue between us and them, some Beluchees, mostly Arabs;
 and the latter I vastly prefer, and consider more hopeful. There are
 some Hindus in the crowded bazaars, but I see little of them—partly
 because of the noise of narrow streets and traffic, and partly because
 I do not wish to be tempted away from the Arabic. Most of the few
 Hindu traffickers living here understand Arabic.

 “There is much outward observance of religious forms; there are crowds
 of mosques; rather a large proportion of educated men and women too;
 the latter take special interest in religious questions, and sometimes
 lead the opposition to the gospel. They have large girls’ schools and
 female teachers. There is a lepers’ village nigh at hand to the town.
 I occupied for the second time this morning a shed they have allotted
 me, well roofed over; and those poor lepers, men and women, gathered
 in fair numbers to listen. Chiefly, however, I reach the educated men
 by the roadside or in a house-portico, sometimes even in a mosque,
 which is to me a new experience. Still there is considerable shyness,
 occasionally bitter opposition; yet bright faces of welcome sometimes
 cheer me and help me on, and I am only surprised that so much is
 borne with. I have made special efforts to get into the mosques, but
 most often this is refused. The Moolahs and Muallims seem afraid of
 coming to help me on in my translations, or in encountering with me
 more difficult passages in the best classics. This has surprised
 and disconcerted me rather; but I have been saved in the main from
 anything like depression, and have had happy and comfortable proofs of
 the Saviour’s gracious Presence with me. The Psalms, as usual, seem
 most appropriate and answerable to the needs of such a pioneer and
 lonely work....

 “If I can get no faithful servant and guide for the journey into
 the interior, well versed in dealing with Arabs and getting needful
 common supplies (I want but little), I may try Bahrein, or Hodeidah
 and Sennaa, and if that fails, the North of Africa again, in some
 highland; for without a house of our own the climate would be
 insufferable for me—at least, during the very hot months—and one’s
 work would be at a standstill. But I shall not give up, please God,
 even temporarily, my plans for the interior, unless, all avenues being
 closed, it would be sheer madness to attempt to carry them out.”

He never reached the interior, for he received a sunstroke on his way
from Muscat to the neighboring village, Mattra, in an open boat. He was
removed to the Consulate but scarcely regained consciousness except to
utter a “God bless you” to the Consul, Colonel Mockler. He died on May
14th, 1891. The very manner of his death fulfilled, more than he ever
thought, his own words in one of his letters from Muscat: “In memory
of Henry Martyn’s pleadings for Arabia, Arabs and the Arabic, I seem
almost trying at least to follow more directly in his footsteps and
under his guidance, than even in Persia or India, however incalculable
the distance at which the guided one follows the leader!”

The grave of Bishop French is in the bottom of a narrow ravine circled
by black rocks and reached by boat, by rounding the rocky point to the
south of Muscat. Here are many graves of sailors of the Royal marine
and others who died on this burning and inhospitable coast. Here also
rests the body of Rev. George E. Stone, the American Missionary, who
was called home in the summer of 1899, after a short period of service.


    Where Muscat fronts the Orient sun
      ’Twixt heaving sea and rocky steep,
    His work of mercy scarce begun,
      A saintly soul has fallen asleep:
    Who comes to lift the Cross instead?
    Who takes the standard from the dead?

    Where, under India’s glowing sky,
      Agra the proud, and strong Lahore,
    Lift roof and gleaming dome on high,
      His “seven-toned tongue” is heard no more:
    Who comes to sound alarm instead?
    Who takes the clarion from the dead?

    Where white camps mark the Afghan’s bound,
      From Indus to Suleiman’s range,
    Through many a gorge and upland—sound
      Tidings of joy divinely strange:
    But there they miss his eager tread;
    Who comes to toil then for the dead?

    Where smile Cheltonian hills and dales,
      Where stretches Erith down the shore
    Of Thames, wood-fringed and fleck’d with sails,
      His holy voice is heard no more
    Is it for nothing he is dead?
    Send forth your children in his stead!

    Far from fair Oxford’s groves and towers,
      Her scholar Bishop dies apart;
    He blames the ease of cultured hours
      In death’s still voice that shakes the heart.
    Brave saint! for dark Arabia dead!
    I go to fight the fight instead!

    O Eastern-lover from the West!
      Thou hast out-soared these prisoning bars;
    Thy memory, on thy Master’s breast,
      Uplifts us like the beckoning stars.
    We follow now as thou hast led;
    Baptize us, Saviour, for the dead!
                            —_Archdeacon A. E. Moule._



 “Our ultimate object is to occupy the interior of Arabia.”—_Plan of
 the Arabian Mission._

 “To such an appeal there can be but one reply. The Dutch Reformed
 Church when it took up the mission originally commenced on an
 independent basis as the Arabian Mission, did so with full knowledge
 of the plans and purposes of its founders, which, as the very title
 of the mission shows, embraced nothing less than such a comprehensive
 scheme of evangelization as that above described.”—_Major-General F.
 T. Haig._

 “It is not keeping expenses down, but keeping faith and enthusiasm
 up, that gives a clear balance sheet. Give the Church heroic
 leadership, place before it high ideals, keep it on the march for
 larger conquests, and the financial problem will take care of itself.
 If the Church sees that we are not going to trust God enough to
 venture upon any work for Him till we have the money in sight, it will
 probably adopt the same prudence in making contributions, and our
 good financiering will be with heavy loss of income.”—_The Christian

“The Arabian Mission was organized August 1st, 1889, and its first
missionary, Rev. James Cantine, sailed for the field October 16th of
the same year. In order to trace the steps that led to the organization
of this first American Mission to Arabia, we must go back a year

In the Theological Seminary of the Reformed (Dutch) Church at New
Brunswick, New Jersey, the missionary spirit was especially active
during the year 1888. This was fostered by members of the faculty who
had a warm love for that work, by a missionary lectureship recently
inaugurated, by the missionary alumni of the seminary, and by some
of the students themselves who brought missions to the front. Among
these students were James Cantine and Philip T. Phelps of the senior
class, and Samuel M. Zwemer of the middle class, who had individually
decided to work abroad, God willing, and who used to meet for prayer
and consultation regarding the choice of a field of labor. The first
meeting of this band was held on October 31st, 1888, and the topic
discussed was, “what constitutes a call to the Foreign field?” After
that they met almost every week, and gradually the idea took shape of
banding themselves together to begin pioneer work in some one of the
unoccupied fields. Tibet and Central Africa were mentioned; but their
thoughts generally seemed to unite on some Arabic-speaking country
especially Nubia or the upper Nile. The Seminary library was ransacked
for information on these fields, without definite results. At the
end of November the band decided to consult with their Hebrew and
Arabic professor, Rev. J. G. Lansing, D. D., who, being of missionary
parentage and full of the missionary passion, warmly welcomed their
confidence and from that time became associated with them in their
plans. After some time it was mutually agreed that God called them to
pioneer work in some portion of the Mohammedan world in or adjacent to

Over against this Divine call there appeared a great human difficulty:
the fact that the church to which they belonged and owed allegiance
conducted no missions in the Mohammedan world. The Mission Board of
that church was already burdened with a debt of $35,000, and therefore
it was improbable that they would establish such a work in addition to
their other mission work. In spite of these obstacles, however, it was
decided, February 11, 1899, to make formal application to the Board,
and on May 23d the following plan was drawn up, and presented to the
Board of Foreign Missions:

 “We the undersigned desiring to engage in pioneer mission work in
 some Arabic-speaking country, and especially in behalf of Moslems and
 slaves, do at the outset recognize the following facts:

 1. The great need and encouragement for this work at the present time.

 2. The non-existence of such mission work under the supervision of our
 Board of Foreign Missions at the present time.

 3. The fact that hitherto little has been done in the channels

 4. The inability of our Board to inaugurate this work under its
 present status.

 Therefore, that the object desired may be realized, we respectfully
 submit to the Board, and with their endorsement to the church at
 large, the following propositions:

 1. The inauguration of this work at as early a time as possible.

 2. The field to be Arabia, the upper Nile or any other field,
 subject to the statement of the preamble, that shall be deemed most
 advantageous, after due consideration.

 3. The expenses of said mission to be met (_a_) by yearly
 subscriptions in amounts of from five to two hundred dollars; the
 subscribers of like amounts to constitute a syndicate with such
 organization as shall be deemed desirable; (_b_) by syndicates of such
 individuals, churches and organizations as shall undertake the support
 of individual missionaries, or contribute to such specific objects as
 shall be required by the mission.

 4. These syndicates shall be formed and the financial pledges made
 payable for a term of five years.

 5. At the expiration of this period of five years the mission shall
 pass under the direct supervision of our Board as in the case of
 our other missions. Should the Board still be financially unable,
 syndicates shall be re-formed and pledges re-taken.

 6. In the meantime the mission shall be generally under the care of
 the Board ... through whose hands its funds shall pass.

 7. The undersigned request the approval of the Board to this
 undertaking in general, and particularly in the matter of soliciting

  (Signed.)    J. G. LANSING,
               JAS. CANTINE,
               P. T. PHELPS,
               S. M. ZWEMER.”

This plan was first presented to the Board on June 3d, when it was
provisionally accepted to be referred to the General Synod. On June
11th, the Synod, after a long and ardent discussion, referred the
whole matter back to the Board, asking them “carefully to consider the
whole question and, should the Board see their way clear, that they be
authorized to inaugurate the mission proposed.” On June 26th the Board
met and passed the following resolution:

 “_Resolved_, That, while the Board is greatly interested in the
 proposition to engage in mission work among the Arabic speaking
 peoples, the work in which the Board is already engaged is so great
 and so constantly growing, and the financial condition of the Board
 is such (its debt at that time being $35,000), that the Board feels
 constrained to decline to assume any responsibility in the matter.

 “If, however, during the next four months, such a degree of interest
 in Foreign Missions should be developed in the churches as to reduce
 the amount to which the treasury is now overdrawn to a small fraction,
 then the Board would feel inclined to favor that important enterprise.”

Meanwhile the plan had been fully discussed in the church papers,
and although there were warm friends of the enterprise who earnestly
plead by pen and purse for its inauguration, the current generally
ran dead against the proposal, and much cold water was thrown on the

How those felt who were most concerned in the decision was expressed
by Professor Lansing, on their behalf, in the following words: “The
writer and the individuals named are deeply grateful to General Synod
for its hearty reception and advocacy of the proposed mission. And,
on the other hand, they not only have no word of complaint to utter
in regard to the action of the Board, but are grateful to the Board
for the careful consideration they have given the matter, and deeply
sympathize with them in the sorrow which they and all must feel in
connection with the adverse action taken. But this does not discharge
the responsibility. A responsibility Divinely imposed is not discharged
by any admission of existing human difficulty.... When God calls we
must obey, not object. And also when God calls to some specific work,
then He must have some way by which that work can be done.”

After much thought and prayer a plan was adopted for conducting this
work. The motto of the new mission appeared at the head: “Oh that
Ishmael might live before Thee.” After the preamble, similar to the
original plan, there are the following sections:

 “1. This missionary movement shall be known as The Arabian Mission.

 2. The field, so far as at present it is possible to be determined,
 shall be Arabia and the adjacent coast of Africa.

 3. Selected by and associated with the undersigned shall be a
 Committee of Advice, composed of four contributors, to assist in
 advancing the interests of this mission.

 4. In view of the fact that this mission is of necessity
 undenominational in its personnel and working, contributions are
 solicited from any and all to whom this may come, without reference to
 denominational adherence.

 5. The amount required to carry on the work of this mission will
 be the sum necessary to meet the equipment and working expenses of
 the individuals approved of and sent to engage in the work of this
 mission. No debt shall be incurred and no salaries be paid to other
 than missionaries.

 6. It is desired that the amount subscribed _shall not interfere with
 the individual’s regular denominational contributions to foreign

 7. Of the undersigned the first party shall be Treasurer, and have
 general oversight of the interests of the mission at home and as such
 shall render an annual statement, while the missionaries in the field
 shall have the direction of those interests abroad....”

The rough draft of this plan was drawn up at Pine Hill Cottage, in the
Catskills, on August 1st. A few days later, while the band was at the
old Cantine homestead, Stone Ridge, New York, Dr. Lansing composed the
Arabian Mission hymn, which will always be an inspiration to those who
love Arabia; but it will never be sung with deeper feeling than it was
for the first time, in an upper room, by three voices.

Facsimile of the original copy composed by Prof. J. G. Lansing in 1889,
at Stone Ridge, N. Y.]

When the plan was published, the Rubicon was crossed, although not
without the loss of one name from among the signers. Contributions
began to come in, the Committee of Advice was selected, and the
mission was incorporated. Among other tokens of favor the mission
received at this juncture from Catherine Crane Halstead, a legacy, of
nearly five thousand dollars—the largest gift, and the only legacy
received by the Arabian Mission in the past decade. This unexpected and
providential donation was encouraging and enabled the mission to begin
work immediately.

On October 1st James Cantine was ordained by the Classis of Kingston
in the Fair Street Reformed Church and he sailed for Syria on October
16th, stopping at Edinburgh to consult with the Free Church of
Scotland Committee regarding cooperation with their mission at Aden.
The proposition was cordially welcomed but was not acted upon since
at Sheikh Othman, it was afterwards mutually agreed that more would
probably be accomplished if the missions worked separately. The second
member of the band to leave for the field was ordained by the Classis
of Iowa, at Orange City, and sailed on June 28th, 1890.

The two pioneers left Syria for Cairo at the end of November to meet
Professor Lansing who was in Egypt for his health. On December 18th Mr.
Cantine left by direct steamer for Aden, and on January 8th, 1891, the
writer followed in an Egyptian coasting steamer, desiring to call at
Jiddah and Hodeidah, and to meet General Haig, who was then at Suakin
in charge of rescue work for orphans after the war.[149] My journey
down the Red Sea was made in company with the aged Bishop French,
though neither of us ever heard of the other before we met on the train
to take the same ship at Suez. We then learned for the first time that
both were bound for the same point with the same object, to preach
Christ to the Arabs.

From Aden the two American missionaries made it their first task to
explore the points suggested by General Haig for missionary occupation.
One, Mr. Cantine, journeyed northward to the country of the Sultan
of Lahaj, while the other sailed along the southern coast in company
with Kamil, the Syrian convert from Islam. This earnest young disciple
had become acquainted with Mr. Cantine in Syria, and early expressed
a desire to join in the work for Arabia. He loved the Scriptures
and never shrank from obstacles which stood in the way of faith or
service. His biography, by Dr. Henry Jessup, shows what he surrendered
for Christ; only the day of days will show how much he accomplished
for Arabia. On May 26th, 1891, Mr. Cantine sailed to visit Muscat and
the Persian Gulf, with the understanding that his co-laborer should
meanwhile attempt the journey to Sana and study the possible openings
for work in Yemen. The news of Bishop French’s death had already
reached Aden. Mr. Cantine tarried at Muscat a fortnight, after which he
visited Bahrein and other ports of the Gulf, going on finally to Busrah
and Bagdad. The importance of Busrah as a mission centre was evident.
In population, accessibility and strategic location it was superior to
other places in Eastern Arabia. Here seemed to be the place to drive
the opening wedge.

Meanwhile a twenty-days’ journey to Sana and the villages of Yemen
on the Hodeidah route, had shown the importance of Sana as a centre
of operations, as is shown from the following written at that time:
“It has advantages of large population, central location, importance
of position and healthfulness of climate. Mail comes weekly and a
telegraph connects with the outside world. Its disadvantages are,
a Turkish government and the consequent difficulties of open and
aggressive work. Like the road from Hodeidah to Sana, it will be
uphill work, through mountains and strong places, but in both cases
you reach Arabia Felix.” On meeting Mr. Cantine at Busrah, however,
the arguments for Yemen were set aside, and it was agreed that it was
best to make Busrah the first headquarters. It was never thought at the
time that Yemen’s highlands would, after ten years, still be without a



Dr. M. Eustace was then at Busrah, doing dispensary-work for the poor
and acting as physician to the European community. He welcomed the
missionaries and worked with them heartily until he was transferred
to the Church Missionary Society hospital at Quetta. His departure
emphasized the power of a medical missionary among Moslems, and the
missionaries made a strong plea for a physician to join them. In
January, 1892, the Board of Trustees sent out Dr. C. E. Riggs, a man
with testimonials of his standing as a physician and a member of an
Evangelical church, but who, shortly after reaching the field, avowed
his disbelief in the divinity of Christ. His commission was revoked
and he soon returned to America. After several strange adventures this
singular yet lovable man reached Chicago, was converted under the
preaching of D. L. Moody at the World’s Fair, and died at his home in
New Orleans about a year later. It was a long way to the Father’s house
but proves the power of prayer, and that God never forgets His own.

On June 24th of the same year faithful Kamil, rightly named Abd El
Messiah (servant of Christ), was called to his reward. His illness was
so sudden and the circumstances that attended his death so suspicious
that we cannot but believe that he died a martyr by poison. He was the
strongest man of the mission in controversy with Moslems, and a most
lovable character, so that the report of that year truthfully states,
“our loss in his death is unmeasured.”

These two successive blows were very serious and now two other losses
followed. Yakoob, another Moslem convert, who had been in mission
employ, and whose wife received baptism at Busrah, was arrested and
prevented from returning to our field. Also one of the two efficient
colporteurs employed by the mission, left to seek his fortune in
America. The continued illness of Dr. Lansing in the home land and
a decrease in contributions likewise cast a shadow on the work. But
faith grew stronger by trial. In the quarterly letter, near the close
of this year, we read: “The experience of the missionaries ever
since arriving at Aden, their tours along the coast and inland, the
opportunities for work along the Euphrates, the Tigris and the Gulf,
and the deep consciousness that our mission is called of God to carry
the gospel into the interior of Arabia—all prompt us to make a special
plea at this time for additional workers. There are several points near
Busrah where permanent work should be inaugurated without delay, and
places like Bahrein, Muscat or Sana are equally, perhaps more, open to
the gospel than Busrah itself.... _If the Arabian mission is to be true
to its name and purpose, it must occupy Arabia._” This was followed
by an appeal for five new men and the request that, should means be
lacking to send them out, salaries be reduced, “confident that the best
way to increase contributions is by extending our work and trusting
that God will provide for the future.”

The mission was at this time passing through a period of determined
opposition and open hostility on the part of the Turkish local
government. Colporteurs were arrested; the Bible shop sealed up; books
confiscated; and a guard placed at the door of the house occupied by
the missionaries. A petition was sent to the Sublime Porte to expel
the mission. But the opposition was short-lived and the petition never
accomplished its purpose. In December Rev. Peter J. Zwemer joined the
mission in Busrah. The difficulties in the way of securing a residence
were at first very great and frequent change of abode was detrimental
to the work. Arrangements were likewise made during this year to carry
on all the Bible work for the British and Foreign Bible Society in the
region occupied by the mission.

The chief event of the next year was the occupation of Bahrein as a
second station. Although the first attempt to open a Bible shop and to
secure a residence on the islands was fraught with exceeding difficulty
and much opposition, the attempt was successful, and at the close of
the first year over two hundred portions of Scripture had been sold. A
journey was made into the province of Hassa and the eastern threshold
of Arabia was thus crossed for the first time by a missionary. At
Busrah the evangelistic work and Bible circulation made progress, but
medical work was at a standstill. Cholera visited both stations and
greatly interfered with the work; many people fled from Busrah, and
at Bahrein the total number of deaths was over five thousand. Peter
Zwemer kept lonely watch on the islands at that time; his only servant
died of cholera and he himself could not get away as no ship would take

Early in 1894 the good news came that Dr. James T. Wyckoff had been
appointed to join the mission. Sailing on January 6th, and going via
Constantinople to secure his Turkish diploma he arrived at Busrah in
March. But the joy of welcoming a medical missionary was short-lived,
for after a brief stay at Busrah he went to Bahrein where a severe
attack of chronic dysentery soon compelled him to return to Busrah
and subsequently to Kerachi and America. Thus the mission lost its
third medical missionary, and his successor did not come out until the
following year.

Muscat was visited by Peter Zwemer as early as December, 1893, and his
reports of this port as a prospective centre for work in Oman were so
encouraging after several exploration journeys, that it was decided to
allow him to occupy the station.

During the summer of 1894, the writer, at the request and expense of
the Mildmay Mission to the Jews, made a journey to Sana, to distribute
Hebrew New Testaments. It was also hoped that it would be possible for
him to cross from Sana to Bahrein, by way of Wady Dauasir. But the
theft of all his money even before reaching Sana and his arrest by the
Turks, prevented the attempt.

After many trials incident to the economical administration of the
mission at home, negotiations were concluded in June, 1894, by
which it was transferred to the management and care of the Board of
Foreign Missions of the Reformed Church. The distinct existence of
the corporation is still preserved, but the trustees are chosen from
among the members of the Foreign Mission Board. No other departures
from former methods were made, save that the administration was now in
experienced hands and at less expense than formerly. The change was
cordially accepted by nearly all the missionaries and the contributors;
now no one questions its wisdom and benefit.

The year 1895 was another trying year to the mission, but there
were also blessings. The departure of Rev. James Cantine to America
on furlough, after nearly seven years in Arabia, necessitated the
transferral of the writer to Busrah and so left Bahrein practically
uncared for. The missionaries and native helpers suffered more than
usual from the enervating climate, and touring from both Muscat and
Bahrein was made impossible for a large part of the year by tribal wars
and troubles. In February the Bedouins attacked Muscat and captured
the town; the place was given over to pillage and over two hundred
lives were lost; the mission-house and shop were looted and Peter
Zwemer took refuge at the British consulate. At Bahrein a similar
trouble threatened for months and terror reigned, but the disturbance
never reached the islands and the unruly Arabs were punished by
English gunboats. At Busrah the Bible work was stopped by the Turkish
authorities; the shop closed and colporteurs arrested. The arrival of
Dr. H. R. Lankford Worrall at Busrah, on April 21st, with a Turkish
diploma, once more gave the mission the golden key to the hearts of
the people. Dr. Worrall has used it faithfully, although his severe
illness the first summer almost made the mission despair of the health
of doctors.

Mr. Cantine visited the churches in America and greatly stimulated
interest, prayer and offerings, although no new missionaries were found
willing and suitable for the field.

At the end of the year Amara was opened as an out-station in the midst
of much opposition but greater blessing. Even during this year earnest
inquirers in this fanatical river village gladdened the hearts of the

Work for the women of Eastern Arabia was begun in 1896 by Amy Elizabeth
Wilkes Zwemer, who left the Church Mission Society mission at Bagdad
to be married to Rev. S. M. Zwemer. First at Busrah, then at Bahrein
and Kateef she inaugurated the work which only a woman can do in Moslem
lands. Extensive tours were made by the colporteurs and by Peter
Zwemer. The entire region north of Muscat as far as Someil and Rastak,
even to Jebel Achdar, was penetrated by the missionary and colporteurs.
One of the latter visited the so-called “pirate coast” south of Katar
and sold over a hundred portions of Scripture. The following table
shows the increase of Scripture sales by the mission at all of its
stations. More than five-sixths of these copies were sold to Moslems:

  1892  1893   1894   1895    1896   1897   1898   1899        1900
   620   825  1,760  2,313   2,805  1,779  2,010  2,464   over 3,700

At Busrah first fruits were gathered after these years of sowing in
two remarkable cases. A soldier at Amara accepted Christ and came to
Busrah for instruction; this man has since “suffered the loss of all
things” and “witnessed a good confession” wherever he has been dragged
as an exile or driven as an apostate. Another convert was a middle-aged
Persian who was deeply convicted of sin by reading a copy of Luke’s
gospel in the dispensary at Busrah. He was a consumptive, and after
finding peace in Christ, left Busrah for Shiraz.

In the autumn Mr. Cantine returned to the field, but the following
February Mr. and Mrs. S. M. Zwemer departed on furlough, so that, with
no reinforcements, the mission-staff remained insufficient. The work
at Bahrein not only stood still, but, because of the unfaithfulness of
a native helper, retrograded. Muscat was, on the contrary, increasing
in importance. A school was begun by Mr. P. J. Zwemer, when eighteen
helpless African boys, rescued from a slave-dhow, were handed over to
his care. The little hand press in the mission-house sent forth its
first message; a tract comparing Christ and Mohammed, which stirred
thought as well as opposition. It was the first Christian writing ever
printed in Arabia and its simple message is prophetic: “Mohammed or
Christ, on whom do you rely?”

About this time the American Bible Society took over the work of Bible
distribution at Bahrein and Muscat by an annual appropriation to the
mission which enabled it to extend this department of work.

At Busrah the medical work drew many within hearing of the gospel and
Dr. Worrall was able to open work at Nasariyeh. At Amara the seed once
more fell on good soil, and a small band of inquirers came together for
prayer, but the harvest is not yet.

At the close of 1897, Rev. F. J. Barny, supported by the young people
of the Marble Collegiate Church, New York City, came to the field, and
began language study.

The year 1898 is fresh in the memory of all those who are interested
in the Arabian Mission. During it Peter Zwemer, after having gone to
America, was called to his reward and four new missionaries sent out
into the harvest field to sow the seed of the kingdom. Two of them,
Miss Margaret Rice (now Mrs. Barny) and Rev. George E. Stone, sailed
with Mr. and Mrs. S. M. Zwemer on their return in August. The other
two, Dr. Sharon J. Thoms and Dr. Marion Wells Thoms, of the University
of Michigan, came to the field in December, 1898. Mr. Stone has now
also gone to his reward—the third of the Arabian Mission to lay down
his life for Arabia.



A skillful and loving hand has laid a wreath of immortelles on the
unknown grave of Kamil; his biography will live. We can only briefly
record our love and admiration for those other two of the Arabian
Mission, who “loved not their lives unto the death,” but “hazarded
their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

PETER JOHN ZWEMER was born at South Holland, Illinois, near Chicago, on
September 2d, 1868. His childhood was spent in a loving Christian home
surrounded by gracious influences and the prayers of godly parents. In
1880 he entered the preparatory department of Hope College, Holland,
Michigan, and was finally graduated from the college in 1888. He
was the only one of his class to choose the foreign field, and for
it he sought special preparation after graduation, by work as Bible
colporteur in Western Pennsylvania and New York, and a year of teaching
in Iowa. In 1892 he was graduated from the New Brunswick Theological
Seminary, and on September 14th, of the same year, was ordained at
Grand Rapids, Michigan, and sailed for Arabia on October 19th. From
the day of his arrival on the field to the day of his death his first
thought was gospel work for the Arabs. He was of a practical turn
of mind, and had no visionary ideas nor desire for martyrdom, but a
sturdy, steady purpose to make his life tell. He was eager to meet
men, keen to grasp opportunities, a cosmopolitan in spirit always and
everywhere. A student of character rather than of books, he preferred
to make two difficult journeys rather than report one. He loved to
teach and knew how to do it. Sympathy for the weak and suffering and a
hatred for all shams were prominent traits. He endeared himself even to
those from whom he differed in opinion or conduct by his whole-hearted
sincerity and earnest advocacy of his views. Arabia was to him a school
of faith; his Christian character ripened into full fruitage through
much suffering. Mr. Cantine wrote of him:

“Our personal relations were perhaps more intimate than those usually
known by the missionaries of our scattered stations. I was at Busrah to
welcome him when in 1892 he responded to our first call for volunteers,
and was also the one to say good-bye a few months ago as he left behind
him the rocks and hills of Muscat and Oman, among which the precious
cruse of his strength had been broken for the Master’s service. His
course was more trying than that of the others of our company, as he
came among us when the impulse and enthusiasm which attach to the
opening of a new work were beginning to fail, and before our experience
had enabled us to lessen some of the trials and discomforts of a
pioneer effort. A thorough American, appreciating and treasuring the
memory of the civilization left behind, he yet readily adapted himself
to the conditions here found. Of a sensitive nature, he keenly felt any
roughness from friend or foe, but I never knew him on that account to
show any bitterness or to shirk the performance of any recognized duty.

“Of those qualities which make for success in our field he had not a
few. His social instincts led him at once to make friends among the
Arabs, and while his vocabulary was still very limited, he would spend
hours in the coffee-shops and in the gathering-places of the town.
His exceptional musical talents also attracted and made for him many
acquaintances among those he was seeking to reach, besides proving
a constant pleasure to his associates and a most important aid in
all our public services. And many a difficulty was surmounted by his
hopefulness and buoyancy of disposition, which even pain and sickness
could not destroy.”

[Illustration: Hon. Ion Keith Falconer
Rev. Peter J. Zwemer
Bishop Valpy French
Kamil Abdel Messiah

His short period of service in Arabia was longer than that of either
Keith Falconer or Bishop French and although their lives have perhaps
exerted a much wider influence, his has left larger fruitage on Arabian
soil. Of his sickness and death the Rev. H. N. Cobb, D. D., Secretary
of the mission wrote:

“When the station at Muscat was opened in 1893 it was assigned to him.
From that time until May of the present year Muscat was his home.
There he remained alone most of the time. Frequent attacks of fever
prostrated him, unsanitary and unpleasant conditions surrounded him,
the heat, constant and intense, often overwhelmed him; still he clung
heroically to his post, uttering no word of complaint, and quitting
it only when mission business made it necessary, or tours were to
be undertaken along the coast or in the interior, or when prolonged
attacks of fever and the preservation of life made a limited absence
imperative. When one considers all that he endured, the wonder is not
that he died, but that he lived as long as he did. No higher heroism
fought, suffered and at last succumbed at Santiago. He had become so
much reduced by repeated attacks of fever and rheumatism that it was
thought wise last year that he should leave Arabia and come home. His
desire was to remain until next year, 1899, but in the early part
of this year it became evident that he must not remain. When in the
latter part of May he left Arabia, his weakness was so great that he
was carried on board the steamer. On the homeward way, though writing
back cheerfully concerning his improvement to those whom he had left
behind, he grew gradually worse, and when he arrived in this country
on the evening of July 12, was taken immediately to the Presbyterian
Hospital through the kind assistance of a student for orders in the
Roman Catholic Church. Those who have visited him there, and they have
been many, have been struck by his cheerfulness, his hopeful courage,
his anxious desire to recover, that he might return to his field and
work, and yet his willing submission to his Father’s will.”

He clung to life with a grip of steel and laughed at the idea the
doctors had of his approaching death because he could not believe that
his work was done. “I have done nothing yet and when I go back this
time I will be ready to begin work,” were his words. Yet he had no fear
of death. His eye never turned away from Arabia; he longed to plant
the plough once more in the stony soil of Oman and to teach the most
ignorant the way of life. From his dying bed he sent to the committee
a report regarding changes necessary in the house at Muscat. His hand,
almost too weak to hold a pen, wrote on October 7th: “Dear father—I am
slowly but surely improving and may be home soon. Now the board has
authorized me to complete the building-fund. I have just secured $100
for a Muscat touring boat. Dr. and Mrs. Thoms sailed this morning for
Arabia, _laus Deo!_ I felt sorry I could not divide myself and go with
them ... patiently longing I wait His time.”

Even later than this, when he could no longer write, he dictated
letters regarding the work at home and in the field. On the evening of
Tuesday, October 18th, 1898, six weeks after his thirtieth birthday he
quietly fell asleep. “His time” had come. After a brief service, the
body was taken by loving hands to Holland, Michigan, and laid to rest
in the sure and certain hope of a glorious resurrection. But his heart
rests in Arabia and his memory will remain longest where he suffered
most and where his fellowship was so blessed.

    “O blest communion! fellowship divine!
    We feebly struggle, they in glory shine
    Yet all are one in Thee for all are Thine.

    “And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,—
    Steals on the ear the distant triumph-song
    And hearts are brave again and arms are strong.

                           GEORGE E. STONE.

On the twenty-sixth of June, 1899, George E. Stone died of heat
apoplexy at the coast town of Birka a few miles east of Muscat. On
Thursday the twenty-second of that month, in company with a colporteur,
he left Muscat, for a few days change. He was in fairly good health,
although suffering from boils. Monday morning he had a little fever;
in the afternoon it came again and in a few hours he had departed. His
body was taken to Muscat by the colporteur and there buried near the
grave of Bishop French.

Rev. George E. Stone was born on September 1st, 1873, at Mexico, Oswego
County, New York. He was graduated from Hamilton College in 1895, and
from the Auburn Theological Seminary in 1898. Toward the close of his
studies his thoughts were drawn to the foreign field and he became a
“student volunteer.” The reason for his decision was characteristic
of the man. As he himself expressed it in his inimitable five-minute
speech at the General Synod: “I tried in every possible way to avoid
going to the foreign field but I had no peace. I go from a sense of
obedience.” He first heard of the special needs of Arabia through a
former classmate who represented Union Seminary at the New Brunswick
Inter-Seminary Conference in November, 1897. Shortly after he wrote for
information about the field, and without further hesitancy he applied
and was accepted. Ordained by the Presbytery of Cayuga at Syracuse, he
sailed with the mission party in August, 1898.

George Stone was a man of much promise; altogether a character of one
piece without seam or rent. Sturdy, manly, straightforward, humble and
honest to the core. He was entirely unconventional and did not know
what it was to try to make a good impression. He was simply natural.
With native tact and Yankee wit was joined a keen sense of duty and
a willingness to plod. Confessing that he was never intended for a
linguist he yet, by sheer application, made remarkably rapid progress
in Arabic. He made friends readily and was faithful to sow beside all
waters. No one could travel with him and not know that he was a fisher
of men; yet he was never obtrusive in his method. He had a splendid
constitution, and looked forward to a long life in Arabia, but God
willed otherwise.

He was at Bahrein from October 9th until February 14th, when he left
for Muscat to take the place of Rev. F. J. Barny, who had been ill
with typhoid and was going on sick-leave to India. He was the only
person available at the time, although it was not a pleasant task for
a novice to be suddenly called to take care of a station of which he
knew little more than the name. Without a word of demur he left Bahrein
at three hours’ notice and sailed for Muscat. There he remained alone,
but faithful unto death, until June, when Rev. James Cantine arrived to
take charge of the work. His letters were always cheerful; he seemed to
grasp the situation, and with all its difficulties to see light above
the clouds. The following sentences from a few of his letters show what
sort of man he was. They were written in ordinary correspondence and
with no idea that the words would ever be treasured:

“I was pretty certain that I should be sent to Muscat later on, but had
no idea of going so soon. However, it is all right. Anything that has
been prayed over as much as your decisions at Busrah, must have been
directed of God, and I have been under His orders for some time....
I have had two or three fevers, but they are small affairs, sick one
day and well the next. No further news. I can only add my thankfulness
to God for the way He has led me through the last two months and for
giving me a share from the beginning in actual mission-work.... Many
thanks for the report. I can learn a great deal from it to help out my
ignorance. I do feel like a baby before this great work but, as the
darkies used to sing the Lord is ‘inching me along.’ ...

“Pray for me that I may have wisdom and grace to carry this business
through. I want it settled right.”

To his Auburn friends he wrote this in a characteristic letter:

“You ask what I think of it now that I am on the spot. First: that the
need has not been exaggerated, and that Mohammedanism is as bad as it
is painted. Second: that we have a splendid fighting chance here in
Arabia, and the land is open enough so that we can enter if we will.
If a man never got beyond the Bahrein Islands he would have a parish
of 50,000 souls. Third: that on account of the ignorance of the people
they must be taught by word of mouth and therefore if we are to reach
them all, we must have many helpers. Fourth: that I am glad I came to
Arabia, and that to me has been given a part in this struggle. I do
firmly believe that the strength of Islam has been overestimated, and
that if ever the Church can be induced to throw her full weight against
it, it will be found an easier conquest than we imagine—_not but what
it will cost lives_, it has always been so, but I do believe that Islam
is doomed.”

Little did he think, perhaps, _whose_ life it would first cost. Will
his call be heeded and will the Church, will you, help to throw the
whole weight of your prayers against Islam? “Except a corn of wheat
fall into the ground and die it abideth alone, but if it die it
bringeth forth much fruit.”

    “The seed must die before the corn appears
    Out of the ground in blade and fruitful ears.
    Low have those ears before the sickle lain,
    Ere thou canst treasure up the golden grain.
    The grain is crushed before the bread is made;
    And the bread broke ere life to man conveyed.
    Oh, be content to die, to be laid low,
    And to be crushed, and to be broken so,
    If thou upon God’s table may be bread,
    Life-giving food for souls an hungered.”


                     PROBLEMS OF THE ARABIAN FIELD

 “A word as to the task your mission attempts. It is to me the
 hardest in the whole mission-field. To conquer Mohammedanism is to
 capture Satan’s throne and I think it involves the greatest conflict
 Christianity has ever known. In attacking Arabia you aim at the
 citadel of supreme error occupied by the last enemy that shall bow to
 the kingship of Christ.”—_Rev. W. A. Essery_, Hon. Secretary of the
 Turkish Mission Aid Society.

 “While the difficulties in the way of missionary work in lands under
 Mohammedan rule may well appear to the eye of sense most formidable,
 this meeting is firmly persuaded, that, so long as the door of access
 to individual Mohammedans is open, so long it is the clear and
 bounden duty of the Church of Christ to make use of its opportunities
 for delivering the gospel message to them, in full expectation
 that the power of the Holy Spirit will, in God’s good time, have
 a signal manifestation in the triumph of Christianity in those
 lands.”—_Resolution of the Church Missionary Society_, May 1st, 1888.

The problem of missionary work in Arabia is twofold: (1) the general
problem of Mohammedanism as a political-religious system which Arabia
has in common with all Moslem lands; and (2) the special problems or
difficulties which pertain to Arabia in particular.

The general problem of missions to Moslems is too vast and important to
be treated here. Dr. George Smith says that “the great work to which
the providence of God summons the church in the second century of
modern missions is that of evangelizing the Mohammedans.” It is _the_
missionary problem of the future. Dr. H. H. Jessup, who speaks of it as
“a work of surpassing difficulty, which will require a new baptism of
apostolic wisdom and energy, faith and love” gives the elements of the
problem in his book.[150] As unfavorable features he enumerates, (1)
the union of the temporal and spiritual power, (2) the divorce between
morality and religion, (3) Ishmaelitic intolerance, (4) destruction of
true family life, (5) the degradation of woman, (6) gross immorality,
(7) untruthfulness, (8) misrepresentation of Christian doctrine, and
(9) the aggressive spirit of Islam. Among the favorable features he
names: (1) belief in the unity of God, (2) reverence for the Old
and New Testament, (3) and for Christ, (4) hatred of idolatry, (5)
abstinence from intoxicating drink, (6) the growing influence of
Christian nations, (7) the universal belief of the Moslems that in the
latter days there will be a universal apostasy from Islam. In some
respects the problem has changed since Dr. Jessup’s book was written
but in its main outlines it remains the same.

The problem of Arabia as a mission-field can best be studied by
considering in order: the land itself as regards its accessibility; the
climate and other special difficulties; the present missionary force;
the methods suited to the field; and the right men for the work. The
chapters on the geography of the peninsula show how different are the
various provinces and what are the strategic centres in each. It is
generally considered both a good missionary policy and a true apostolic
principle to work out from the _cities_ as centres of population
and influence. This is especially necessary in Arabia where the
population is scattered and largely nomadic. All nomads come to some
city or village for their supplies at frequent intervals or, if they
are independent of a foreign market, they bring their produce to the
cities. This by way of preface.

First, what parts of Arabia are really _accessible_ to missionary
operations? (1) The Sinaitic peninsula with the adjoining coast of
Hejaz nearly as far as Yanbo; the population is mostly Bedouin but a
good centre for work would be the Egyptian quarantine station of Tor
in the Gulf of Suez. (2) Aden and the surrounding region under British
protection, with a population of perhaps 200,000 souls. (3) The entire
south coast from Aden to Makalla and Shehr with its _hinterland_;
this region has been freely visited by explorers and travellers, men
and women; the people are quite friendly and the natural base of
operations would be the town of Makalla. (4) Oman with its coast-towns
and hill-country, everywhere accessible; wherever missionaries have
tried to enter they have met with a welcome above all expectations. (5)
The so-called “pirate-coast” in East Arabia between Ras el Kheima and
Abu Thubi; many villages, all under British subsidy and with resident
native agents. (6) The islands of Bahrein.

All of these regions are outside of _Turkish_ Arabia and are more
or less under the influence of Great Britain so that every kind of
missionary work is possible. No passports are required for travelling;
no special diplomas for the right to practice medicine; no censorship
of books; no official espionage or prohibition of residence.

In Turkish Arabia the case is different, but it would be very incorrect
to say that Turkish Arabia is inaccessible. “The Turks are no doubt,”
as General Haig remarks, “a great obstacle, but we must give them their
due, and admit that they are not nearly so intolerant as some European
States, including Russia.” Only one portion of Turkish Arabia seems, at
present, to be wholly inaccessible, namely, the two sacred cities Mecca
and Medina. At present, we say, for it does not seem possible that
these twin-cities would long remain closed if the church had faith to
approach their doors and were ready to enter.

Other portions of Turkish Arabia are accessible, at least to some
extent. (1) The entire coast of Hejaz is accessible; two cities,
Jiddah, and Hodeidah, are specially suited for medical mission work;
while it is not at all improbable that with proper faith and kindly
tact, the lovely town of Taif, that garden of Mecca, would harbor a
medical missionary. Doughty’s experiences seem to indicate that Taif is
not considered holy ground.[151] (2) Yemen, the Arabia Felix indeed;
with a splendid climate, a superior Arab population, numerous villages
and cities, and with marvellous fertility of soil. Surely these
highlands will not remain forever under the rod of oppression; when the
hour of deliverance comes, every village should have a mission-school
and every city a mission-station. Even now under the Turks work is
possible for the large _Jewish_ population. (3) Hassa with its capital
Hofhoof and Katif on the coast. (4) The vilayets of Busrah and Bagdad.
These four regions in Turkish Arabia are accessible, with three
limitations to missionary-work:—Every missionary must have proper
passports; no medical missionary can practice without a Constantinople
diploma; and no books or Bibles can be sold unless they have been
examined by a censor of the press and bear the seal of the government.
The passport matter is awkward at times but is not an insurmountable
barrier; where the government considers travelling safe, passports are
always given. The medical diploma requirement is not different from
the law of France and other countries; once in possession of such a
diploma, the leverage power of the Christian physician is increased
rather than limited. The third restriction prevents the distribution
of all controversial literature but admits the Bible and many other
Christian books; it is rather burdensome and irritating to one’s
patience but does not shut the door to real missionary work. Every copy
of the Arabic Scriptures printed at Beirut bears the _imprimatur_ of
the Ottoman Government—the sign and seal of the “Caliph” that the Word
of God shall have free course in his tottering empire.

Finally there is the vast interior—Asir, Nejran, Yemama, Nejd,
Jebel Shammar—is that too accessible? The whole region is free from
Ottoman rule and, for the greater part, under one independent prince,
Abd-ul-Aziz, the successor of Ibn Rashid. But for the rest the question
must remain unanswered until a missionary has attempted to enter these
regions and has brought back a report. For travellers the whole of
the interior has proved accessible since the days of Palgrave; and
the presumptive evidence is that a missionary could also penetrate
everywhere even if he were not at first allowed to settle in any of the
towns. I have not the least doubt that a properly qualified medical
missionary with a thorough knowledge of the language would find not
only an open door but a warm welcome in the capital of Nejd or even at

Regarding the general accessibility of Arabia, General Haig wrote in
his report as follows: “There is no difficulty then about preaching the
gospel in Arabia if men can be found to face the consequences. The real
difficulty would be the protection of the converts. Most probably they
would be exposed to violence and death. The infant church might be a
martyr church at first, like that of Uganda, but that would not prevent
the spread of the truth or its ultimate triumph.”

The climate of Arabia is, at present, an obstacle to missionary work,
but in the mountain ranges of Oman and Yemen as well as in all the
interior plateau of Nejd a healthful, bracing climate prevails. Now,
alas, while all work is still confined to the coast, we have perhaps
one of the most trying climates in the world. The intense heat of
summer (often 110° Fahrenheit in the shade) is aggravated by the
humidity of the atmosphere, and the dust raised by every wind. In the
winter, from December to March, the winds in the northern part of the
gulf and the Red Sea, are often cold and cutting and although the
temperature is more suited at that time to Europeans and Americans, it
appears to be less healthy for natives. The so-called gulf-fever of the
remittent type is very dangerous and convalescence is at times only
possible by leaving the gulf. Cholera and smallpox are not uncommon.
Ophthalmia is rife. Prickly heat in aggravated form, boils, and all the
insect plagues of Egypt are a cause of suffering in their season.

Moslem fanaticism is not peculiar to Arabia nor is it more intense
or universal here than in any other purely Mohammedan land. The
fanaticism of the Arabs has been grossly exaggerated. The Wahabis
represent the extreme of exclusiveness and prejudice, but even among
them it is possible for a missionary to preach Christ and read the
Bible. Personal violence to the messenger of the gospel has proved in
ten years experience, almost unknown in any part of Arabia visited by
missionaries. Sometimes Bibles and books are collected by a fanatical
Mullah and consigned to the flames or the oblivion of an upper shelf
in his house. The fellows of the baser sort perpetrate insults and
annoyances at times in village-work or refuse hospitality. But we, in
Arabia, have never met with the strong anti-foreign feeling such as
seems to be prevalent, for example, in China. The prejudice is seldom
against the dress or manner or speech of the foreigner; even his
food is considered clean and no Arab would refuse to share his meal
with a Christian traveller. But there _is_ often a strong prejudice
against certain aspects of Christian doctrine, especially if crudely
or unwisely put. In an Arab coffee-shop it would be unsafe as well as
unwise to use the words “Son of God,” “death of Christ,” “Trinity”
etc., without a previous explanation. Yet on the whole the Arabs are
friendly to any stranger or guest and this friendliness is especially
strong toward Englishmen and on the coast, because of the clear
contrast between English and Ottoman or Arab rule. Commerce too with
its general integrity and “the word of an Englishman” has in a sense
been the handmaid of missions by disarming prejudice and opening Arab
eyes to the superiority of western civilization.

From a missionary standpoint the population of Arabia can best be
divided into the illiterate and those who can read. The former class
are in the vast majority and include all the Bedouins with exceedingly
few exceptions. Taking the population at eight million, to say that
one half a million could read would be a large estimate. On this
account work for those who are able to read, by means of colportage and
bookshops, may be too highly rated as to its _extensive_ result; its
_intensive_ value no one will question.

The problem of reaching the nomad population is a very serious
one. The data for a correct theory of work among them are yet to
be collected. Experience of work among them has been very limited;
indeed the only work of importance was that of Samuel Van Tassel in
North Arabia. As a class they are less religious than the town or
agricultural Arabs. One who has studied the subject writes: “The Arabs
[Bedouins] remain Mohammedans simply because they know of nothing
better; the Bedouins are Moslems only in name observing the prescribed
forms in the neighborhood of the towns, but speedily casting them aside
on regaining the desert. Yet there are men among them not without
reverent thoughts of the Creator, derived from the contemplation of His
works, thoughts which, according to Palmer, take sometimes the form
of solemn but simple prayer.” The character of missionary work among
this nomad population (perhaps one-fourth or fifth of the population
of the peninsula) will be very similar to that of James Gilmour among
the Mongols; and it will require men of his stamp to carry it on


  Aden, etc.,         100,000.
  Bahrein,             60,000.
  Muscat,              20,000
  Busrah and Bagdad,  520,000

_The present missionary force in Arabia is utterly inadequate to supply
the needs even of that small portion of the field they have occupied._
There are only _four_ points on a coast of four thousand miles where
there are missionaries. There is not a single missionary over ten miles
inland from this coast. No missionary has ever crossed the peninsula in
either direction. The total number of foreign missionaries in Arabia,
is less than a dozen—twelve workers, men and women, let us say, for a
population of 8,000,000 souls.


  Aden, etc.,               8,000 square miles.
  Bahrein,                    400    “     “
  Muscat,                     600 square miles.
  Busrah and Bagdad,       71,000    “     “   ]

The Keith Falconer Mission is not as strong in its numbers as when
Keith Falconer died. The Arabian Mission has only recently received
enough reinforcement to man its three stations permanently. There has
been too much of the spirit of experiment instead of the spirit of
enterprise; a corporal’s guard went out to attack the chief citadel
of the enemy. Bishop French was _alone_ when he died at Muscat. The
Arabian Mission waited years before they received reinforcements. What
is the spiritual need of Arabia to-day? Of the total area of the
peninsula only about _one-twelfth_ is in any way touched by missionary
effort. This does not mean that one-twelfth of the area is covered
by mission-stations and touring, but that in some way or other about
one-twelfth of the peninsula is “occupied” by organized mission-work in
its plan and purpose, day by day. As to the proportion of missionaries
to the population _ten men out of eleven have no opportunity in this
neglected country to hear the gospel even if they would_.

The only part of Arabia that is fairly well occupied is the
River-country—that is the two vilayets of Bagdad and Busrah. Here
there are two stations and two out-stations on the rivers; colporteurs
and missionaries regularly visit the larger villages; several native
workers are in regular employ and the Bible Society is active. Yet in
these two vilayets nothing has ever yet been done for the large Bedouin
population, and there are only six foreign missionaries, men and women,
to a population (Turkish census) of 1,050,000 souls.

Looking at Arabia by provinces: Hejaz has no missionary; Yemen (with
the exception of Sheikh Othman and Aden) has no missionary; Hadramaut
has no missionary; Nejd has no missionary; Hassa has no missionary;
Jebel Shammar and all the northern desert have no missionary; Oman has
_one_ missionary. Again, the following towns and cities are accessible,
but have not one witness for Christ: Sana, Hodeidah, Menakha, Zebid,
Damar, Taiz, Ibb, with forty smaller towns in Yemen; Makallah, Shehr,
and Shibam in Hadramaut; Rastak, Someil, Sohar, Sur, Abu Thubi, Dabai,
Sharka and other important towns in Oman; not to speak of the important
towns of Nejd and in Mesopotamia, still without any missionaries and
never visited by an evangelist.

Arabia is in truth a neglected field, even now. Thus far the work has
been only preliminary; the evangelization of Arabia must yet begin; not
until every province is entered and every one of the strategic points
specified is occupied can we truly speak of Arabia as a mission-field.
Nor is the project visionary. Given the men and the means there is
not the slightest reason why the next decade should not see the entire
peninsula the field for some sort of missionary effort. The doors are
open, or they will open to the knock of faith. God still lives and

Regarding the best methods of mission-work in Arabia the experience
of missionaries in other Moslem lands is of the greatest value. The
story of the Church Missionary Society in the Punjab, that of the
North Africa Mission, and above all the work of the Rhenish Society
in Sumatra should be thoroughly familiar to every Arabian missionary.
Medical missions have their special place and power, but also their
special difficulties in pioneer work like that in Arabia. Surgery is
worth infinitely more than medicine among a people like the Arabs,
where fatalism and neglect of the sick make the science of medicine of
doubtful result in so many cases. “Kill or cure” rather than prolonged
treatment, suits the Moslem palate. But a skillful surgeon with a
Turkish diploma holds the key to every door in the entire peninsula.
There is not one mission-hospital in Arabia! Surely such centres as
Bagdad, Busrah, Bahrein, Sana, Jiddah, Hodeidah and Hofhoof should have
these acknowledged powerful methods of evangelization. At Aden and
Muscat there are Indian Government hospitals.

Educational work is still absent or in its infancy as regards the
Moslem population, so that there are no data from which to formulate
theories as to its success. In some parts of Arabia schools might not
be permitted by the government; everywhere they would necessarily at
the outset be very elementary.

Christian women, as experience has proved both in Yemen and
East Arabia, are welcomed everywhere. With or without medical
qualifications, but with hearts of love and sympathy for the poor, the
suffering and the miserable, they can enter every house or hut. Even
in the black tents of Kedar there are aching hearts and wretched homes
to which the gospel of peace and love can alone bring relief. Lady Ann
Blunt and Mrs. Theodore Bent have proved what women can do in Arabia
for the sake of science; will there be no Christian women who will
penetrate as far inland for the sake of their Saviour?

Colportage is an approved mission-method especially in Arabia, since
the Bible and a full line of educational and religious literature is
ready to our hand from the Syrian and Egyptian missions. In Yemen
this work would be especially useful and practicable, but there it
has scarcely been attempted systematically. The problem is to find
men of the right stamp for the work. Men who are “willing to endure
hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ,” with tact and good temper
and the ability to talk with the simple-minded. Love is worth more than
learning in a colporteur. Good health and a clean Turkish passport
are two other requisites. Even this method of work is in its infancy;
there are many open doors for the Word of God that have never yet been

Under evangelistic work come the problems of street-preaching, touring,
and the use or abuse of controversy. The best place for preaching at
stations is the mission-house itself, after the example of Paul (Acts
xxviii. 30, 31). On tours or in village-work the _mejlis_ of the sheikh
or the public coffee-shop makes a capital pulpit. In a small hand-book
for missionaries to Moslems by Rev. Arthur Brinckman, now out of
print,[152] I find the following admirable hints on public preaching to
Moslems which apply to Arabia also:

“If possible always address your audience from above. Sitting down is
sometimes better than standing; you are not so likely to get excited,
the attitude is less war-like in appearance. Be with your back to a
wall if possible; there are many reasons for this.

“When drawn into argument, keep on praying that you may speak slowly,
and with effect. When asked a question do not answer quickly—if you
do, you will be looked on as a sharp controversialist only; think
over your answer first, and give it most kindly and slowly. If possible
always quote a passage near the beginning or end of a Koran chapter and
there will be less delay in finding it.”



The question of the right place of _controversy_ or whether it should
have a place at all in mission-work among Moslems is of the highest
importance. Opinions differ decidedly among those who are pillars
of the truth. The best and briefest argument _against_ the use of
controversy is that given by Spurgeon in one of his early sermons at
New Park Street Chapel.[153] He argues in brief that a missionary is
a witness, not a debater, and is only responsible for proclaiming the
gospel by his lips and by his life.

There is truth in this, but on the other hand even the apostles
“disputed” in the synagogues with the Jews, and from the days of
saintly Martyn (not to say Raymond Lull), until now, the Christian
missionary has been compelled by the very force of circumstances
to vindicate the honor of Christ and establish the evidences of
Christianity by means of controversy. When, in July, 1864, the Turkish
government persuaded Sir Henry Bulwer to sign the death-warrant to all
missionary work among Moslems in the Turkish empire by the memorandum
that made controversy a crime, the fact was immediately recognized.
Rev. J. Ridgeway, then the editorial secretary of the Church Missionary
Society, wrote an able paper in the _Church Missionary Intelligencer_
on the theme: “_Missionary work as regards Mohammedans impossible
if controversy be interdicted._” “By controversy,” he wrote, “we
understand not acrimonious and irritating recriminations, which, well
aware how unbecoming and injurious they are, the missionaries have
always eschewed, but that calm investigation of conflicting religious
systems that is indispensable to the decision of the important
question—which is true and which is false?”[154]

It is only in this sense that controversy is justifiable; and this kind
of controversy, whether by the printed page or word of mouth, has not
proved unfruitful of good results. Sir William Muir gives a complete
synopsis of all Mohammedan attacks on the Christian faith and the
replies made in defence of Christianity; his criticisms of the books
in question are also of great interest.[155] Since that date there
have been new attacks and new apologies both from the Moslem side and
from that of the missionary. As a plough breaks up the soil before the
seed is sown so this kind of literature and argument will often break
up the fallow ground of Moslem hearts for the seed of God’s Word. Even
awakened fanaticism or active opposition is more hopeful than absolute
stagnation of thought and petrifaction of feeling. How to awaken the
Moslem conscience is the real problem.

It is less important to consider the attitude of the Turkish rulers
toward Christians than the attitude of the Moslem mind toward
Christianity, as regards Arabia’s evangelization. The prevailing
attitude of the Moslem mind, in any particular part of Arabia, toward
Christianity practically decides the fate of a convert. Were Moslems
all strictly adherent to their traditions and the law regarding
renegades from Islam, every convert would be a martyr and every
inquirer would disappear. The Ottoman code of Moslem law gives specific
directions for the trial and execution of the renegade from the faith.
“He is to have three distinct offers of life if he will return to the
faith and time for reflection, after each offer, is to be given him.
If he remains obdurate he is to be executed by strangulation and then
his head is to be cut off and placed under his arm. His body is thus
to be exposed three days in the most public place.”[156] But, thank
God, Moslems do not strictly adhere to this law. In this, as in other
respects, many are better than their religion and superior to their
prophet. Converts in that part of Arabia which is under English rule or
protection are as safe as they are in India; which does not mean that
they are entirely free from persecution. In Turkish Arabia the law is
carried out by secret murder, or by banishment; yet not in every case,
for even there inquirers and converts, if not active or prominent,
have remained for a time unmolested. What the result would be in the
independent Moslem states of Arabia we do not know yet.

The Berlin Treaty was intended to be the Magna Charta of Christian
liberty in the Turkish empire, but the Turk has not kept the compact.
Its provisions were too galling for Moslem pride and prestige; reforms
never got beyond the paper stage. The massacres of 1894 to 1896 proved
that the Sultan is still the Pope of a religious fraternity and king
of a political empire based on the forty-seventh chapter of the Koran:
“When ye encounter the unbelievers strike off their heads until you
have made a great slaughter of them.” And the inaction of all the
Christian powers at that time proved that it is vain to put confidence
in princes. But in spite of all possible government opposition or even
the martyrdom of every individual convert “so long as the door of
access to individual Mohammedans is open, so long it is the clear and
bounden duty of the church of Christ to make use of its opportunities
for delivering the gospel message to them.”

The attitude of the Arab mind is not universally hostile to
Christianity. The vast majority are indifferent to religion in any
form. “What shall we eat and what shall we drink and wherewithal
shall we be clothed,”—is the sum of all their thoughts. The Arab
merchant serves Mammon with all his heart seven days a week. Religion
is an ornament and a conventionality; he wears it like his flowing
overgarment and it fits him just as loosely. He thinks it scarcely
worth while to discuss questions of belief. Every one has their own
religion, is a remark one often hears in Arabia. It is a faint echo
of the all-embracing tolerance of the days of ignorance when three
hundred and sixty idols, including an image of Christ and the virgin,
filled the Kaaba!

Then there are some thoughtful men who know better,—seekers after
truth,—and who feel that there are strong points in Christianity and
weak points in Islam which have not been duly considered. One meets
examples of this class everywhere in all stations of life and in most
unexpected quarters. In the heart of Yemen I met a Mullah who had a
wonderful knowledge of the Arabic Bible; and the copy he showed me
was an imperfect translation by Richard Watson dated 1825! Another
prominent Mohammedan in Eastern Arabia recently expressed his opinion
that the Christ of the New Testament never intended to found a new
religion, but to introduce everywhere _spiritual_ worship of the God of
Abraham; he said that a long and independent study of the Bible had led
him to this opinion.

The steady increase of the circulation of Scriptures in Arabia is
also an indication which way the current is drifting. Rev. George E.
Stone, a few weeks before his death, writing of the Bible circulation
at Muscat said, “I don’t know when the explosion is coming but we are
getting the dynamite under this rock of Islam and some day God will
touch it off.” The Bible in Arabia will indeed prove its power in
changing the entire attitude of the Moslem mind. “Is not my word like
as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in

Finally there is the problem of securing the right men for the work.
So hard is the field in many ways and so hard are Moslem hearts that
the description of Aaron Matthews’ ideal missionary for the Jews would
apply to the Arabs as well, (the last clause omitted). He wrote:
“A Jewish missionary requires Abraham’s faith, Job’s patience, the
meekness of Moses, the strength of Samson, the wisdom of Solomon, the
love of John, the zeal of Paul, the knowledge of the Scripture of
Timothy, and a little bit of Baron Rothschild’s pocket.” The financial
part of the equipment is not essential on the part of the missionary;
he should be content with food and raiment. The less display of Baron
Rothschild’s pocket the better, in a land where people go to bed hungry
and where all live in the greatest simplicity.

The candidate for missionary work in Arabia should have a strong and
sound constitution. He should know how to “rough it” when necessary;
the more of the Bohemian there is in his nature the better. He should
have both ability and dogged determination enough to acquire the
Arabic language. Other scholarship is useful but not necessary. To
get along well with the Arabs he should have patience. And to avoid
wearing himself out, a good temper; a man with a very hot temper could
never stand three seasons in the Persian Gulf. Regarding spiritual
qualifications I cannot do better than quote the solemn words at
the close of General Haig’s paper on “Arabia as a mission-field.” I
believe they deserve to be repeated not only for the sake of those who
_send_ missionaries to Arabia, but for the sake of those who _are_
missionaries to Arabia. It is a high ideal.

“Given the right men, and Arabia may be won for Christ; start with the
wrong men, and little will be accomplished. But what qualifications are
needed! what enthusiasm, what fire of love, what dogged resolution,
what uttermost self-sacrificing zeal for the salvation of men and the
glory of Christ! But upon this point I prefer to quote here the words
of a man who is preëminently qualified to speak upon the subject. Three
years ago he wrote to me:

 “‘Unless you have missionaries so full of the spirit of Christ that
 they count not their own lives dear to them, you will probably look
 in vain for converts who will be prepared to lose their lives in the
 Master’s service. In a relaxing tropical climate, like that of Aden,
 circumstances are very unfavorable for the development of self-denying
 character, or of energetic service. No small amount of grace would
 be needed to sustain it; for we are compound beings, and there is a
 wonderful reaction of the body upon the soul, as well as of the soul
 upon the body. It is supremely important, then, in an enterprise
 like yours, to have the _right stamp_ of men—men who have made some
 sacrifices, and who do not count sacrifice to be sacrifice, but
 privilege and honor—men who do not know what _discouragement_ means,
 and men who expect great things from God. Such alone will prove really
 successful workers in a field so replete with difficulty. Unless
 Eternity bulks very largely in the estimation of a man, how can he
 encourage a native convert to take a step that will at once destroy
 all his hopes and prospects of an earthly character, and possibly
 result in imprisonment, and torture, and death itself? and unless you
 have men who are prepared, should God seem to call for it, to lead
 their converts into circumstances of such danger and trial, it is not
 very likely that they will find converts who will go very much in
 advance of themselves. Men of this stamp are not to be _manufactured_;
 they are God-made. They are not to be _found_; they must be God-sought
 and God-given. But the Master who has need of them is able to provide
 them. Nothing is too hard for the Lord.’”

”_Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He would thrust forth
laborers into His harvest._”



 “Take it at its very worst. They are dead lands and dead souls, blind
 and cold and stiff in death as no heathen are; but we who love them
 see the possibilities of sacrifice, of endurance of enthusiasm of
 _life_, not yet effaced. Does not the Son of God who died for them
 see these possibilities too? Do you think He says of the Mohammedan,
 ‘There is no help for him in his God’? Has He not a challenge too
 for your faith, the challenge that rolled away the stone from the
 grave where Lazarus lay? ‘Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldst
 believe thou shouldst see the glory of God? Then they took away the
 stone from the place where the dead was laid.’”—_I. Lilias Trotter_,
 (missionary to Algiers).

Two views are widely prevalent regarding the hopelessness of
missionary work among Moslems generally, and although these views are
diametrically opposite they are agreed that it is waste of time and
effort to go to Mohammedan lands, that it is a forlorn hope at best.
The first view is that of those who are themselves outside of the
kingdom, and who shut its doors against the Moslem, saying: Experience
has proved it to be not only useless but dangerous to meddle with the
Moslem and his religion. Their faith is good enough for them; it is
suited to their ways. They do not worship idols and have a code of
morality suitable to the Orient. Mohammed was a prophet of God and
did all that could be done for these kind of people. Every attempt to
convert them ends in failure. Let them alone. Islam will work out its
own reformation. Some, like Canon Taylor and Doctor Blyden, who profess
to be Christians, even consider Islam the handmaid of Christianity and
specially fitted for the whole Negro race.[157]

The opposite view is that Mohammedanism is not too hopeful to be
meddled with but too hopeless! They who hold it profess to believe in
the Holy Ghost as the Lord and Life-Giver for the _heathen_ world, but
hesitate when it comes to Islam. The Moslem is, they say, wrapped up in
self-righteousness and conceit; even those whose fanaticism is overcome
dare not accept Christ. It is better to go to the heathen who will
hear. Missions to the Moslem world are hopeless, fruitless, useless.
It is impossible to Christianize them and there have been few, if any,

That both of these views cannot be correct is evident, since they are
contradictory. That the first is false the whole history of Islam
demonstrates. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” But what of the
other view, held by so many, that we need not expect large results
where there is so little promise?

Professor J. G. Lansing, one of the founders of the Arabian mission,
wrote in 1890: “If the smallness of the number of converts from
Islam to Christianity be pointed out, this argues not so much the
unapproachability of Moslems as the indifference and inactivity of
Christians. The doctrine of fatalism commonly accredited to Islam, is
not one-half so fatalistic in its spirit and operation as that which
for thirteen centuries has been practically held by the Christian
Church as to the hope of bringing the hosts of Islam into the following
of Jesus Christ.” Is it possible that the lack of results complained
of has been really a _lack of faith_? Hudson Taylor remarked a few
years ago, “I expect to see some of the most marvellous results within
a few years in the missions to Islam, because of this work especially
the enemy has said: It is without result. God is not mocked.” Has the
apostle to China read the signs of the times aright?

Neither God’s Providence nor His Word are silent in answer to that
question. First we have the exceeding hopefulness of results of recent
missionary work in many Moslem lands; then the sure promises of God
to give His Church the victory over Islam; and lastly the many
exceeding great and precious promises for Arabia the cradle of Islam in

1. It is not true that there have been no conversions among Moslems.
In India alone there are hundreds who have publicly abjured Islam
and been received into the Christian Church. The very first native
clergyman of the Northwest Provinces was a converted Mohammedan.
Sayad Wilayat Ali of Agra suffered martyrdom at Delhi for Christ.
Mirza Ghulam Masih of the royal house of Delhi became a Christian and
Abdullah Athim, the valiant-hearted of Amballa embraced the faith. At
the Chicago Parliament of Religions Dr. Imad-ud-Din, himself a convert
from Islam and a voluminous controversial writer, read a paper on
Christian efforts among Indian Mohammedans; this paper gives the names
of one hundred and seventeen prominent converts from Islam, mostly from
the Punjab. Beside these, the author says, “there are all sorts and
conditions of men, rich and poor, high and low men and women, children,
learned and unlearned, tradesmen, servants, all kinds and classes of
Mohammedans whom the Lord our God hath called into His Church.” It is
officially stated that quite one-half of the converts from among the
higher classes in the Punjab are from amongst Moslems.

In Persia there have been martyrs for the faith in recent years and
several have been baptized. In the Turkish empire there have been
scores of converts who have been obliged to flee for their lives
or remain believers in secret. At Constantinople a congregation of
converted Moslems was gathered by Dr. Koelle, but man after man
disappeared—no doubt murdered for his faith. In Egypt there have been
scores of baptisms and among others a student of Al Azhar University
and a Bey’s son confessed Christ. One has only to turn over the leaves
of the Church Missionary Society annual reports to read of Mohammedans
being baptized in Kerachi, and Bombay, Peshawar, Delhi, Agra, and on
the borders of Afghanistan. In North Africa where the work is very
recent there have been conversions and in one locality a remarkable
spiritual movement is in progress among the Moslems.

In Java and Sumatra the Dutch and Rhenish missionary societies have
labored with remarkable success among the Mohammedan population. At
four stations of the Rhenish Mission is Sumatra where the work is
practically altogether among Moslems, (namely, Sipirok-Simangumban,
Bungabonder, Sipiongot, and Simanasor) the total number of church
members according to the _Bombay Guardian_, is three thousand five
hundred and ten. The total number of baptisms from Islam in these
stations was during 1897 sixty-nine, and during the first half of 1898
already ninety-seven baptisms were reported. In some of the villages
where formerly Islam was predominant it has been expelled altogether.
The total number of Battak Christians amount to thirty-one thousand,
the largest part of whom were formerly Moslems.[158] In some parts of
Java still larger results are claimed.

In most Moslem fields it is absolutely impossible to obtain accurate
statistics of the number of conversions for obvious reasons. The
threatened death-penalty demands great caution in exposing a convert
by freely publishing the fact of his conversion. Everywhere there are
multitudes of secret believers whose names are sometimes not known even
to the missionaries. Any one who has read the lives of Moslem converts
such as that of Kamil or Imad-ud-Din or who knows from books like
“Sweet First Fruits” what it means for a Moslem to forsake the faith
of his fathers, knows that work in Moslem lands must not be judged by
baptismal statistics.

There are other indications of spiritual life entering the Moslem
world. There are thousands of Mohammedan youth receiving instruction
in Christian mission schools; in Egypt, one mission has twenty-four
hundred and sixty-four Moslem pupils enrolled. The permeating power
of spiritual Christianity is again at work in the Levant as when Paul
and Silas made their missionary journeys. The old churches of the
East by their unfaithfulness were the occasion of the great apostasy
of Islam; _their revival is the pledge of its downfall_. There is now
an Evangelical Church in Persia, Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Asia
Minor. Bodies of living Christians in the midst of Islam; no wonder
that their power is beginning to be felt. The devil takes no antiseptic
precautions against a non-contagious Christianity. But Evangelical
Christianity is contagious, and the whole lurid horizon proclaims in
persecutions and massacres and raging oppositions everywhere that Islam
feels the power of Christian missions, even although they have only
begun to attack in a miserly and puny way this stronghold of Satan.

Regarding the character of Moslem converts Bishop Thoburn says: “I
believe that when truly converted the Mohammedan makes not only a
devoted Christian but in some respects will make a superior leader.
Leadership is a great want in every mission-field and the Mohammedans
of India have the material, if it can only be won for Christ and
sanctified to His service, out of which splendid workers can be made
in the Master’s vineyard.” Doctor Jessup voices the same opinion, “It
is not easy for a Mohammedan to embrace Christianity but history shows
that when he is converted the Moslem becomes a strong and vigorous

2. In the work of missions among Mohammedans as well as in that among
the heathen we have the assurance of final victory in the abundant
testimony of God’s Word. God’s promises never fail of fulfillment;
and those world-wide promises never are put in such a form as to
exclude the Mohammedans. The Bible tells us that many false prophets
shall arise and deceive many; but it does not for a moment allow that
the empire of Christ shall divide rule with any of them. “It pleased
the Father that in Him [Jesus not Mohammed] should all fullness
dwell.” “The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His
hands”—not into the hands of Mohammed. “God hath exalted Him and given
Him a name which is above every name ... far above all principality
and power and might and dominion and every name that is named not
only in this world but also in that which is to come.” “That at the
name of Jesus every” Mohammedan “knee should bow and every” Moslem
“tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the
Father.” The present may see Islam triumphant, but the future belongs
to Christ. Over against the lying truth “there is no God but God and
Mohammed is His prophet,” Christianity lifts the standard, “Who is he
that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus Christ is
the Son of God?” The Divinity of Christ, which Moslems deny, decides
the destiny of all world-kingdoms. Witness the present governments of
the Moslem world. “Be wise now therefore O ye kings, be instructed ye
judges of the earth ... kiss the Son lest He be angry and ye perish
from the way when His wrath is kindled but a little.”

There is a failure among Christians to realize the number and
importance of the missionary promises in the Old Testament.[159] The
Great Commission was based on these exceeding great promises. The
nations were in God’s plan before they were on Christ’s program. And
is it not remarkable that nearly all of these Old Testament promises
are grouped around the names of countries which now are the centre
and strength of the Moslem world? “Known unto God are all His works
from the beginning of the world.” Or will these promises of world-wide
import only stretch beyond Egypt, Mesopotamia, Syria and Arabia,
not including those lands in God’s plan of redemption and dominion?
Is there not a special blessing in store for the lands that border
Palestine, when the Lord shall comfort Zion and restore all her waste
places? “In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with
Assyria even a blessing in the midst of the earth. Whom the Lord of
hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt My people and Assyria the
work of My hands and Israel My inheritance.”

The Moslem world is in no _better_ condition and in no _worse_
condition than the heathen world as portrayed in the New Testament. The
need of both is the same; and the same duty to evangelize them; and the
same promise of God’s blessing on our work of witness. The Mohammedan
world is also without excuse (Rom. i. 20, 32), without hope (John iii.
36; Eph. ii. 12), without peace (Isaiah xlviii. 22), without feeling
(Eph. iv. 19), without Christ (Rom. xiii. 13, 14) as is the heathen
world. But no less is our responsibility toward them nor the power of
God’s love to win them.

It is the rock of Christ’s _Sonship_ which is the stone of stumbling
and the rock of offence to the Moslem mind. But it is this very rock
on which Christ builds His church; and the foundation of God standeth
sure. Writing on this subject Mr. Edward Glenny, the Secretary of the
North Africa Mission, well says:

“Blessed be God, we are not left to carry on this warfare at our own
charges! ‘He that sent Me is with Me,’ said the Master; and He who
sends His servants now is surely with them also, for the promise
stands, ‘Lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age.’ In all
our efforts for the salvation of men, we are dependent upon the power
of the Spirit of God; for no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but
by the Holy Ghost. But if those of us who work at home are conscious
of this, those who labor in Mohammedan countries realize it most
intensely. Amongst the masses at home, what we have to contend against
mostly is indifference; but there it is deeply-rooted prejudice, aye,
even in many cases, hatred to Jesus as the Son of God. But the battle
is the Lord’s, not ours; we are but instruments to carry out His
purposes. The Spirit has been sent forth from the Father to ‘convict
THE WORLD of sin,’ and we are not justified in making any reservation
in the case of Mohammedans—yea, may we not expect that if there be a
nation or race on the earth more inaccessible than another, more averse
to the gospel, more hardened against its teachings, that there the Lord
will show ‘the exceeding greatness of His power’ by calling out some
from their midst whom He may make ‘chosen vessels’ to bear His name to
others? Has not that been His mode of working in time past?”

3. There is no land in the world and no people (with the exception
of Palestine and the Jews) which bear such close relation to the
Theocratic covenants and Old Testament promises as Arabia and the
Arabs. The promises for the final victory of the Kingdom of God in
Arabia are many, definite and glorious. These promises group themselves
around seven names which have from time immemorial been identified
with the peninsula of Arabia: _Ishmael_, _Kedar_, _Nebaioth_, _Sheba_,
_Seba_, _Midian_ and _Ephah_. We select these names only, omitting
others which have an indirect reference to Arabia or the Arabs, as well
as those promises, so numerous and glorious, concerning the wilderness
and desert-lands. The latter would surely, for the dwellers of
Palestine, have primary reference to Northern Arabia; but our argument
is strong enough without these general promises.[160]

In order to understand the promises given to the sons of Ishmael, Kedar
and Nebaioth, we need first to know the relation which Ishmael bears to
the Abrahamic covenant and the place he occupies in God’s plan for the
nations as outlined in the book of Genesis.

Hagar, the mother of the Arabian patriarch, seems to have occupied a
prominent place in Abraham’s household and appears to have brought to
that position not only mental gifts but also an inward participation
in the faith of the God of Abraham. She was probably added to the
family of faith during Abraham’s sojourn in Egypt and occupied the same
position toward the female servants that Eliezer of Damascus did to the
male servants. It is when she was driven forth into the wilderness by
the jealous harshness of Sarah that we have the first revelation of God
regarding her seed. “The angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of
water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.”[161] And
He said, Whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I
flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the Lord said
unto her, Return to thy mistress and submit thyself under her hands.
And the angel of the Lord said unto her, ... “I will multiply thy seed
exceedingly that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel
of the Lord said unto her, Behold thou art with child, and shall bear a
son and shalt call his name Ishmael [God will hear]; because the Lord
hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man, his hand will be
against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell
in the presence of all his brethren. And she called the name of the
Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also
here looked after Him that seeth me.”

It is plain from the context that the angel of the Lord and the Lord
Himself are here identified; it was the angel of Jehovah, the angel
of the covenant or the Christ of the Old Testament. Why should this
“angel” first appear to the Egyptian bondwoman? Is it according to
the law that the Lord always reveals Himself first to the poorest,
most distressed and receptive hearts or was it the special office of
the covenant angel to seek “that which was lost” from the patriarchal
church at its very beginning? Lange suggests in his commentary that
the “Angel of Jehovah, as the Christ who was to come through Isaac
had a peculiar reason for assisting Hagar, since she for the sake of
the future Christ is involved in this sorrow.” In any case the special
revelation and the special promise was given to Hagar not only but
to her seed. Christ, if we may so express it, outlines the future
history and character of the Ishmaelites as well as their strength and
glory; but He also gives them a spiritual promise in the God-given
name, _Ishmael_, Elohim will hear. Without this the theophany loses
it true character. Ishmael as the child of Abraham could not be left
undistinguishable among the heathen. It was for Abraham’s sake that the
revelation included the unborn child in its promises.

The fulfillment of the promise that Ishmael’s seed should multiply
exceedingly has never been more clearly stated than by the geographer
Ritter: “Arabia, whose population consists to a large extent of
Ishmaelites, is a living fountain of men whose streams for thousands
of years have poured themselves far and wide to the east and west.
Before Mohammed its tribes were found in all border-Asia, in the East
Indies as early as the middle ages; and in all North Africa it is the
cradle of all the wandering hordes. Along the whole Indian ocean down
to Molucca they had their settlements in the middle ages; they spread
along the coast to Mozambique; their caravans crossed India to China,
and in Europe they peopled Southern Spain and ruled it for seven
hundred years.” Where there has been such clear fulfillment of the
promise of natural increase, is there no ground that _God will hear_
and give spiritual blessing also and that Ishmael “shall dwell in the
presence of all his brethren” in the new covenant of grace?


Thirteen years after the first promise to Ishmael we hear the promise
renewed just after the institution of circumcision, the sign of the
covenant of faith. “And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might
[even yet] live before Thee. And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear
thee a son indeed; and thou shall call his name Isaac: and I will
establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with
his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee....” What
is the significance of Abraham’s prayer for Ishmael? Is it probable
that he merely asks for temporal prosperity and for length of life?
This is the idea of some commentators but none of them explain why the
prayer asks that Ishmael may live “_before God_.” Keil and others, more
correctly we think, regard the prayer of Abraham as arising out of his
anxiety lest Ishmael should not have _any_ part in the blessings of the
covenant. The fact that the answer of God contains no denial of the
prayer of Abraham is in favor of this interpretation.


In the prayer Abraham expresses his anticipation of an indefinite
neglect of Ishmael which was painful to his parental heart. He asks
for him, therefore, a life from God in the highest sense. Else what
does the circumcision of Ishmael mean? The sealing or ratifying of
the covenant of God with Abraham _through Isaac’s seed_, embraces not
only the seed of Isaac, but all those who in a wider sense are sharers
of the covenant, Ishmael and his descendants. And however much the
Arabs may have departed from the _faith_ of Abraham they have for all
these centuries remained faithful to the _sign_ of the old covenant
by the rite of circumcision. This is one of the most remarkable facts
of history. _Circumcision is not once alluded to in the Koran_, and
Moslem writers offer no explanation for the omission. Yet the custom is
universal in Arabia, and from them it passed over with other traditions
to all the Moslem world. The Moslems date circumcision from Abraham and
circumcise at a late period. The Arabs in “the time of ignorance” also
practiced the rite; an uncircumcised person is unknown even among those
Bedouins who know nothing of Islam save the name of the prophet.[162]

“As for Ishmael I have heard thee.” For the third time we read of a
special revelation to prove God’s love for the son of the bondmaid.
In the pathetic story of Hagar’s expulsion, Ishmael is the centre
figure.[163] His mocking was its cause; for _his_ sake it was grievous
in Abraham’s sight to expel them. To Ishmael again is there a special
promise, “because he is thy seed.” When the water is spent in the
bottle and Hagar turns away from seeing the death of the child, it was
not her weeping but the lad’s prayer that brought deliverance from
heaven. “And the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven and said
unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the
voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad and hold him by
thine hand; for I will make of him a great nation. And God opened her
eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the bottle
with water and gave the lad drink. And God was with the lad.”

No less does this history show the moral beauty of Hagar’s character,
her tender mother love and all the beautiful traits of a maternal
solicitude than the repentance of Ishmael. God heard his voice; God
forgave his sinful mocking; God confirmed his promise; God saved his
life; God was with the lad. The Providence of God watched over Ishmael.
Long years after he seems to have visited his father Abraham, for we
read that when the patriarch died in a good old age “his sons Isaac
and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah.” No mention is made
here of the sons of Keturah. And twice in the Bible the generations
of Ishmael are recorded in full[164] in order to bind together the
prophecies of Genesis with the Messianic promises of Isaiah for the
seed of Ishmael.

The twelve princes, sons of Ishmael, whose names are recorded “by their
towns and their castles” were undoubtedly the patriarchs of so many
Arab tribes. Some of the names can be distinctly traced through history
and others are easily identified with modern clans in Arabia. Mibsam,
_e. g._, seems to correspond with the Nejd clan of _Bessam_ some of
whom are merchants at Busrah; Mishma is surely the same as the Arabic
_Bni Misma_; while nearly all commentators agree that Duma is _Dumat
el Jendal_ in North Arabia, one of the oldest Arabic settlements.
Aside from conjecture two names stand prominent and well-known in
profane history; _Nebajoth_ and _Kedar_. Pliny in his natural history
mentions them together as the Nabatœi et Cedrei and the Arab historians
are familiar with the names. Undoubtedly the Nabatans are related to
Nebajoth; although this is denied by Quartremere it is affirmed by M.
Chwolson and is the universal opinion of the Arabs themselves.

Now it is these very two names, whose identity no one questions, that
are the centre of glorious promises. It is generally known that the
sixtieth chapter of Isaiah is the gem of missionary prophecy in the
Old Testament; but it does not occur to every one that a large portion
of it consists of special promises for Arabia. “The multitude of
camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah, (Sons
of Keturah, Gen. xxv. 1-5); all they from Sheba (South Arabia or
Yemen) shall come; they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall
show forth the praises of the Lord. All the flocks of Kedar shall be
gathered together unto thee; the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto
thee: they shall come up with acceptance upon mine altar and I will
glorify the house of my glory. Who are these that fly as a cloud and as
doves to their windows?”

These verses read in connection with the grand array of promises that
precede them leave no room for doubt that the sons of Ishmael have a
large place in this coming glory of the Lord and the brightness of His
rising. It has only been delayed by our neglect to evangelize Northern
Arabia but God will keep His promise yet and Christ shall see of the
travail of His soul, among the camel-drivers and shepherds of Arabia.
And then shall be fulfilled that other promise significantly put in
Isaiah xlii. for this part of the peninsula: “Sing unto the Lord a new
song and His praise from the end of the earth ... let the wilderness
and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar
doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from
the top of the mountains.” It is all there, with geographical accuracy
and up-to-date; “_cities in the wilderness_” that is Nejd under its
present government; Kedar forsaking the nomad tent and becoming
villagers; and the rock-dwellers of Medain Salih! “And I will bring the
blind by a way they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have
not known: I will make darkness light before them and crooked things
straight.” The only proper name, the only geographical centre of the
entire chapter is _Kedar_. In two other prophecies,[165] which have no
Messianic character, Kedar is referred to _as synonymous with Arabia_.

Another group of missionary promises for Arabia cluster round the names
_Seba_ and _Sheba_. “All they from Sheba shall come; they shall bring
gold and incense and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord.”
(Is. lx. 6.) “The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea all
kings shall fall down before Him, all nations shall serve Him.... He
shall live and to Him shall be given of the gold of Sheba; prayer also
shall be made for Him continually and daily shall He be praised.” The
Messianic character of this psalm is generally acknowledged.

Where are Seba and Sheba? Who are they? Three Shebas are referred to in
genealogy and prophecy. 1. A son of Raamah, son of Cush; 2. A son of
Joktan; 3. A son of Jokshan son of Keturah. But all of these find their
dwelling-place in what is now Southern Arabia. The Joktanite Sheba
is the kingdom of the Himyarites in Yemen.[166] The kingdom of Sheba
embraced the greater part of Yemen; its chief cities and probably its
successive capitals were Seba, Sana (Uzal), and Zaphar (Sephar). Seba,
the oldest capital, is identical with the present _Marib_, northeast
of Sana; for EzZejjaj in the Taj El Aroos dictionary says, “Seba was
the city of Marib or the country in the Yemen of which the city was
Marib.” Ptolemy’s map makes plain what the Romans and Greeks understood
by Seba and Sheba. The Cushite Sheba settled somewhere on the shores
of the Persian Gulf. In the _Marasid_ Stanley-Poole says he found “an
identification which appears to be satisfactory—that on the island
of Awāl, one of the Bahrein islands are the ruins of an ancient city
called Seba.”

The same authority holds that the Keturahite Sheba formed one tribe
with the Cushite Sheba and also dwelt in Eastern Arabia. Sheba has
always been a land of gold and incense and we are only beginning to
know a little of the opulence and glory of the ancient Himyarite
kingdom in Yemen from the lately discovered inscriptions and ruins.

In the same psalm that gives these promises to Southern and Eastern
Arabia we have this remarkable verse: “He shall have dominion also from
sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that
dwell in the wilderness shall bow before Him and His enemies shall lick
the dust.” _The_ river referred to is undoubtedly the Euphrates[167]
and the boundaries given are intended to include the ideal extent
of the promised land. Now it is, to say the least, remarkable that
modern Jewish commentators interpret this passage together with the
forty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel so as to include _the whole peninsula
of Arabia_ in the land of promise. I have seen a curious map, printed
by Jews in London, on which the twelve restored tribes had each their
strip of territory right across Arabia from the Red Sea to the Gulf and
including Palestine and Syria.

Isaac Da Costa, the great Dutch poet, who was of Jewish descent gathers
together in his epic, “Hagar,” some of these Bible promises for the
sons of Ishmael.[168]

    “Mother of Ishmael! The word that God hath spoken
    Never hath failed the least, nor was His promise broken.
    Whether in judgment threatened or as blessing given;
    Whether for time and earth or for eternal heaven,
    To Esau or to Jacob....
    The patriarch prayed to God, while bowing in the dust:
    ’Oh that before thee Ishmael might live!’—His prayer, his trust.
    Nor was that prayer despised, _that_ promise left alone
    Without fulfillment. For the days shall come
    When Ishmael shall bow his haughty chieftain head
    Before that Greatest Chief of Isaac’s royal seed.
    Thou, favored Solomon, hast first fulfillment seen
    Of Hagar’s promise, when came suppliant Sheba’s queen.
    Next Araby the blest brought Bethlehem’s newborn King,
    Her myrrh and spices, gold and offering.
    Again at Pentecost they came, first-fruits of harvest vast;
    When, to adore the name of Jesus, at the last
    To Zion’s glorious hill the nation’s joy to share
    The scattered flocks of Kedar all are gathered there,
    Nebajoth, Hefa, Midian....
    Then Israel shall know Whose heart their hardness broke,
    Whose side they pierced, Whose curse they dared invoke.
    And then, while at His feet they mourn His bitter death,
    Receive His pardon....
    Before Whose same white throne Gentile and Jew shall meet
    With Parthian, Roman, Greek, the far North and the South,
    From Mississippi’s source to Ganges’ giant mouth,
    And every tongue and tribe shall join in one new song,
    Redemption! Peace on earth and good-will unto men;
    The purpose of all ages unto all ages sure. Amen.
    Glory unto the Father! Glory the Lamb, once slain,
    Spotless for human guilt, exalted now to reign!
    And to the Holy Ghost, life-giver, whose refreshing
    Makes all earth’s deserts bloom with living showers of blessing!”

       *       *       *       *       *

 “Mother of Ishmael! I see thee yet once more, Thee, under burning
skies and on a waveless shore! Thou comfortless, soul storm tossed,
tempest shaken, Heart full of anguish and of hope forsaken, Thou, too,
didst find at last God’s glory all thy stay! He came. He spake to thee.
He made thy night His day. As then, so now. Return to Sarah’s tent And
Abraham’s God, and better covenant, And sing with Mary, through her
Saviour free, ‘God of my life, Thou hast looked down on me.’”

But Arabia, although it has all this wealth of promise, is not a
field for _feeble_ faith. Yet we can learn to look at this barren
land because of these promises with the same reckless, uncalculating,
_defiant_ confidence in which Abraham “without being weakened in faith,
considered his own body now as good as dead” (R. V.) “but waxed strong
through faith giving glory to God.” The promises are great because the
obstacles are great; that the glory of the plan as well as the glory
of the work may be to God alone. Arabia needs men who will believe as
seeing the Invisible. Six hundred years ago Raymond Lull wrote: “It
seems to me that the Holy Land cannot be won in any other way than that
whereby Thou, O Lord Jesus Christ, and Thy Holy Apostles won it, by
love and prayer, and the shedding of tears and blood.”

A lonely worker among Moslems in North Africa recently wrote: “Yes
it is lives poured out that these people need—a sowing in tears—in a
measure that perhaps no heathen land requires; they need a Calvary
before they get their Pentecost. Thanks be unto God for a field like
this: in the light of eternity we could ask no higher blessedness than
the chance it gives of fellowship with His Son.”

The dumb spirit of Islam has possessed Arabia from its childhood for
thirteen hundred years; “he teareth and he foameth and gnasheth with
his teeth and pineth away.” “And He said unto them this kind can come
forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting.” “_If thou canst believe,
all things are possible to him that believeth._” (Mark ix. 14-29.)

Life for Arabia must come from the Life-Giver. “I believe in the Holy
Ghost,” therefore mission-work in Arabia will prove the promise of God
true in every particular and to its fullest extent. “O that Ishmael
might live ... as for Ishmael I have heard thee.”

    “Speed on, ye heralds, bringing
      Life to the desert slain;
    Till in its mighty winging,
      God’s spirit comes to reign
    From death to new-begetting,
      God shall the power give,
    Shall choose them for crown-setting
      And Ishmael shall live.

    “So speaks the promise, bringing
      The age of Jubilee
    To every home and tenting,
      From Tadmor to the sea.
    The dead to life are risen,
      The glory spreads abroad,
    The desert answers heaven,
      Hosannas to the Lord!”

                              Appendix I

                         A CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE

  Circa 1892 B. C.—Birth of Ishmael.
    ”   1773  ”   —Death of Ishmael.
    ”    992  ”   —Bilkis, queen of Yemen (Sheba) visits Solomon.
    ”    700  ”   —Amalgamation of Cushite and Sabean clans in Yemen.
    ”    754  ”   —All Yemen and Oman under rule of Yaarŭb.
    ”    588  ”   —First Jewish settlements in Arabia.
  A. D.     33—Arabians present at Pentecost.
    ”     37—The Apostle Paul goes to Arabia.
    ”     60—Second Jewish immigration into Arabia.
    ”    105—Roman Emperor Trajan under his general Palma subdues
               Northwestern Arabia.
    ”    120—Destruction of great dam at Marib and the beginning of Arab
               migrations northward.
    ”    297—Famine in Western Arabia. Migrations eastward.
    ”    326—Nearchus, admiral of Alexander, surveys the Persian Gulf.
    ”    325—Nicene Council—Arabians present.
    ”    342—Christianity already extending in Northern Arabia. Churches
               built in Yemen.
    ”    372—Mavia, queen of North Arabia, converted to Christianity.
    ”    525—Abyssinian invasion of Yemen.
    ”    561—Mohammed born at Mecca.
    ”    575—Persians under Anosharwan expel the Abyssinians from Yemen.
    ”    595—Mohammed marries Khadijah.
    ”    595—Yemen passes under Persian Rule.
    ”    610—Mohammed begins his prophetic career.
    ”    622—(A.H. 1)—Mohammed flees from Mecca to Medina. The era of
               the _Hegira_. (See end of Table.)
    ”    623—Battle of Bedr.
    ”    624—Battle of Ohod.
    ”    630—Mecca overcome. Embassy to Oman, etc.
    ”    632—Death of Mohammed. Abubekr caliph. All Arabia subjugated by
               force of arms.
    ”    634—Omar caliph. Expulsion of Jews and Christians from Arabia.
    ”    638—Kufa and Busrah founded.
    ”    644—Othman caliph.
    ”    655—Dissensions regarding caliphate. Medina attacked. Ali
               chosen caliph.
    ”    656—Battle of the Camel. Capital transferred to Kufa.
    ”    661—Ali assassinated. Hassan becomes caliph.
    ”    750—Beginning of Abbaside Caliphate (Bagdad).
    ”    754—Mansur.
    ”    786—Haroun el Rashid.
    ”    809—Amin.
    ”    813—Mamun.
    ”    833—Motasim.
    ”    847—Motawakkel.
    ”    889—Arise of Carmathian sect.
    ”    905—Yemen comes under Karamite caliphs.
    ”    932—Rebellion in Yemen. It becomes independent under _Imams_ of
               Sana as rulers.
    ”    930—Carmathians take Mecca and carry away the black-stone to
    ”   1055—Togrul Beg at Bagdad.
    ”   1096-1272—The Crusades. Arabia in touch with European
                    civilization through its bands of warriors.
    ”   1173—Yemen subdued by sultans of Egypt.
    ”   1240—Rise of Ottoman Turks.
    ”   1258—Fall of Bagdad.
    ”   1325—Yemen again independent.
    ”   1454—Imams of Yemen take Aden and fortify it.
    ”   1503—Portuguese under Ludovico Barthema, make voyages on Arabian
               coast and visit Aden and Muscat.
    ”   1507—Portuguese take Muscat.
    ”   1513—Portuguese under Abulquerque are repulsed at Aden. Visit
               Mokha and the Persian Gulf.
    ”   1516—Suleiman by order of Mameluke Sultan attacks Aden and is
    ”   1538—Suleiman the Magnificent sends a fleet and takes Aden by
               treachery. Arab garrison butchered.
    ”   1540—Beginning of Turkish rule in Yemen.
    ”   1550—Arabs hand over Aden to the Portuguese.
    ”   1551—Aden recaptured by Peri Pasha.
    ”   1624-1741—Imams established rule over all Oman with capital at
                    Rastak; then at Muscat.
    ”   1609—First visit to Aden by English captains.
    ”   1618—English establish factories at Mokha.
    ”   1622—Portuguese expelled from Bahrein and Arab coast by the
    ”   1630—Arabs drive out Turks from Yemen and _Imams_ take the
               throne at Sana.
    ”   1740-65—Dutch East India Company in Persian Gulf and Red Sea
    ”   1765—English East India Company in Persian Gulf and Red Sea
    ”   1735—Abdali Sultan of Lahaj takes Aden.
    ”   1741—Ahmed bin Said drives out Portuguese from Muscat and founds
              Dynasty of Imams, anew.
    ”   1765—Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab dies and his political associate
               Mohammed bin Saud propagates Wahabiism in Arabia.
    ”   1780—Spread of Wahabi doctrine over all of Central Arabia.
    ”   1801—Wahabis conquer Bahrein and hold it for nine years.
    ”   1803—Abd-ul-Aziz the Wahabi chief assassinated by a Persian
    ”   1803—Wahabis take Mecca and lay seige to Jiddah.
    ”   1804—Wahabis take Medina.
    ”   1804—Said bin Sultan ruler of Oman and Zanzibar.
    ”   1809—Aden visited by Captain Haines of British Navy.
    ”   1818—Ibrahim Pasha captures Wahabi capital and sends Amir in
               chains to Constantinople where he is beheaded.
    ”   1805-1820—British suppress piracy in Persian Gulf.
    ”   1820—Son of Amir, Turki, proclaimed Sultan of Nejd and Oman
    ”   1821—British make treaty with tribes on Oman coast called the
               “Trucial League.”
    ”   1820-1847—British treaties with Bahrein chiefs to suppress
                    slave-trade and piracy.
    ”   1831—Turki, ruler of Nejd, murdered.
    ”   1832—Feysul bin Turki, succeeds him.
    ”   l835—Abdullah bin Rashid becomes a powerful chief in Jebel
    ”   1835—Aden again visited by British to avenge cruelty to sailors
               shipwrecked off its coast.
    ”   1839—Aden bombarded by British fleet and taken. Treaties made
               with surrounding tribes.
    ”   1840-1847—Aden attacked by Arabs.
    ”   1846—Tilal bin Abdullah bin Rashid succeeds to rulership of
              Jebel Shammar and becomes independent of Wahabi power.
    ”   1851-1856—Abdullah bin Mutalib Sherif of Mecca.
    ”   1854—Sultan of Oman makes treaty with England and cedes Kuria
               Muria Islands.
    ”   1856—Thuwani bin Said ruler of Oman.
    ”   1857—Perim occupied by British.
    ”   1858-1877—Abdullah bin Mohammed Sherif of Mecca.
    ”   1858—Cable laid in Red Sea from Suez to Aden, but proved
               defective (cost £800,000).
    ”   1858—Bombardment of Jiddah by British.
    ”   1865-1886—Abdullah bin Feysul ruler of Nejd with capital at Riad.
    ”   1867—Mitaab bin Abdullah succeeds Tilal.
    ”   1867—Menamah (Bahrein) bombarded by British because of broken
               treaty. Isa bin Ali made ruler.
    ”   1866—Sultan bin Thuwani ruler of Oman.
    ”   1868—Mohammed bin Rashid assumes power and rule at Hail as Amir
               of Nejd.
    ”   1869—Cable laid from Bombay to Aden and Suez.
    ”   1870—Turkish invasion of Yemen.
    ”   1871—Turkish invasion of Hassa and occupation of Katif.
    ”   1871—Seyyid Turki ruler of Oman (Muscat).
    ”   1875—Busrah made a separate vilayet.
    ”   1877—Beginning of Turkish bureaucracy at Mecca.
    ”   1878—Treaty of Berlin. Reforms promised in Turkish Provinces.
    ”   1880—Hasein, Sherif of Mecca, is murdered.
    ”   1881-82—Abd el Mutalib again Sherif of Mecca.
    ”   1882—Aun er Rafik made Sherif of Mecca.
    ”   1886—Mohammed Ibn Rashid takes Riad overturning Saud government
               and becomes ruler of all Central Arabia.

[NOTE.—To find the equivalent date A. H. of any year A. D.:—From the
year A. D. deduct 621.54 and to the remainder add 3 per cent. A. H.
1 = July 16th, 622 A. D., and the Moslem year consists of 12 lunar
months. To find the equivalent date A. D. of a year A. H. multiply it
by .970225 and to the remainder add 621.54. The sum gives the date A.
D. of the _end_ of the year A. H.]

                              Appendix II


                                           {El Meshadaka.
                                           {El Meshatta.
                      {_Walid Ali_         {El Hammamede.
                      {                    {El Jedaleme.
                      {                    {El Toluh.
                      {_El-Hessene_        {El Hessene (proper).
                      {                    {Messalih.
  I. The Anaeze:      {_Er-Ruwalla_        {El Ruwalla (proper).
                      {   (or Jilas)       {Um Halif.
                      {                                  {Fedan.
                      {                    {Tana Majid   {Sebaa.
                      {                    {
                      {_El-Beshr_          {             {Medeyan.
                      {                    {Selga        {Metarafe.
                      {                    {             {Aulad Sulei

                      {El Mowaly.
                      {El Howeytat.
  II. AHL ES-SHEMMAL: {El Hadedin.
    (Northern tribes) {Es-Soleyb.
                      {  (also)            {El Feheily.
                      {Arabs of the Hauran {Es-Serdye.
                                           {Bni Sokhr.
                                           {Bni Heteym.

                      {Arabs of Kerak.
                      {                    {El Temeyat.
                      {                    {El Menjat.
                      {Bni-Shammar         {Ibn Ghazy.
  III. AHL EL-KIBLY:  {                    {Bayr.
      (Southernly     {                    {El-Fesyani.
          tribes)     {El-Jerba.
                      {El Jofeir.
                      {El Akeydat
                      {Bni Sayd.

    _Walid Ali_
      El Meshadaka.
      El Meshatta.
      El Hammamede.
      El Jedaleme.
      El Toluh.
      El Hessene (proper).
    _Er-Ruwalla_ (or Jilas)
      El Ruwalla (proper).
      Um Halif.
      Tana Majid
        Aulad Suleiman.

  II. AHL ES-SHEMMAL: (Northern tribes)
    El Mowaly.
    El Howeytat.
    El Hadedin.
    Arabs of the Hauran
      El Feheily.
    Bni Sokhr.
    Bni Heteym.

  III. AHL EL-KIBLY: (Southernly tribes)
    Arabs of Kerak.
      El Temeyat.
      El Menjat.
      Ibn Ghazy.
    El Jofeir.
    El Akeydat
    Bni Sayd.

                             Appendix III


Kaat (_Celastrus eatha edulis_) is a shrub or small tree which grows
at an altitude of about five thousand feet in the lower mountains
of Yemen, especially on the slopes of Jebel Sohr near Taiz. It is
uncertain whether the plant is indigenous, but if introduced into Yemen
from Africa, it came very early, with coffee, when the Abyssinian
conquest caused the fall of the Himyarite empire.

Kaat is planted from shoots which are left to grow for three years,
then all the leaves and buds are pulled off except on a few twigs;
these develop the following year into juicy shoots which are cut off,
tied in bundles, wrapped in grass to preserve their moisture, and sold
under the name of _moubarreh_. The second crop is of better quality,
and is called _mouthanee_. A small bundle, _kilwet_, sells at Taiz
for about five cents, and a larger quantity, yet scarcely a handful,
called _zirbet_, for ten cents. Only the leaves and young twigs are
masticated, but I have seen the poor glad to pick up even the castaway
dry leaves and branches to get what comfort they could out of them.

The taste of the leaves is slightly bitter and astringent, very like
that of the peach leaf. It has stimulative properties, produces
wakefulness, and in large quantities hallucination; it is said to
preserve the teeth, and some use it as an aphrodisac. All Arabs claim
that it gives wonderful power of endurance, and that with their kaat
and tobacco they can do without food on long journeys. Every one, young
and old, Arab, Jew or Turk, uses it, and many use it in incredible
quantities. One soldier told me that he spent a rupee (33 cents) a day
for his kaat, and the Cadi of Taiz pays twenty dollars a day for this
luxury,—his household, however, is as large as the koran and divorce
can make it.

The Ottoman government receives twenty-five per cent customs on the
market price of the plant in addition to the land tax on kaat culture.
The total revenue from this source is considerable as can be judged
from the fact that at Taiz, a town of perhaps five thousand population,
all the other taxes are farmed for ten thousand dollars per annum,
while the daily sale of kaat amounts to over three hundred dollars!

The kaat market is open from early morning, when the fresh bundles
came on donkeys and camels, but the busiest time is in the afternoon;
for the proper thing is to eat kaat just before sunset, and to invite
guests to chew leaves an hour or two before dinner. The sellers sit
in the open air, and are mostly women. In their rather picturesque
costumes, unveiled, they sit the long day, with a basket of the green
luxury before them; sprinkling their ware from time to time to keep it
moist; untying a score of bundles to satisfy some proud epicure who
tastes before he takes; haggling over the price of a damaged bundle
with some soldier; and again swearing, as only Arabs can, to the
genuineness of the kind in question—for kaat has six distinct flavors
and varieties, each with a special name, and alas for the slave who
was sent for one and returns with another. Sometimes there is close
dealing, or on a rainy day “a corner” in the market, or some wicked
urchin runs off with a stolen bundle, and at such times all the women
talk at once, and their uproar is only rivalled in Yemen by the Jews’
synagogue service. The kaat market at 4 P. M. is indeed a picture, full
of color and pose and motion worthy the brush of an artist; its like
can only be seen in the villages of lower Yemen, and among the many
surprises to the traveller in this Switzerland of Arabia nothing is at
first sight stranger and more ludicrous than to see sober Arabs sit
down in groups at the close of day and, as Nebuchadnezzar of old, “eat
grass like oxen.”

According to an Arab history _kaat_ was used by the Arabs before the
coffee-plant became naturalized in the highlands of Yemen. At present
coffee and kaat grow together. Both are considered lawful to Moslems,
and Yemen’s chief source of wealth is its coffee export. The principal
districts for coffee-culture stretch north of Taiz to Lohaia and
Kankaban and Sana, and the variety of the product depends mostly on the
elevation of the plantation. There are three distinct stages in its
culture. First the seed is prepared by removing the shell or pericarp;
it is then mingled with wood ashes and dried in the shade. Then the
seed is planted in prepared beds of rich soil, mingled with manure; the
beds are covered with branches of trees to protect the young plants
from the heat of the sun and they are watered every six or seven days.
Lastly after six weeks the plants are carefully removed from the ground
and planted in rows at a distance of two or three feet from each other.
After two or three years the coffee-tree begins to yield.

The gardens in Yemen are all constructed in terraces along the
mountain-side and are exceedingly beautiful when the plant is in full
bloom. When the berries are ripe they are plucked from the tree and
dried in the sun; afterwards packed in gunnybags they are sent to the
coast. The Arabs of Yemen seldom use the bean in making coffee but
utilize the shell or husk; the beverage is less strong, more sweet and
of course cheaper. Coffee is sown in March, budding begins in May, and
the crop is gathered in September. A great deal of Yemen coffee finds
its way overland to the interior of Arabia in addition to the export
to Aden and Hodeida; Mokha was once the great emporium but has utterly
decayed and now consists of only a few houses in ruined condition and a
dilapidated Mosque.

                              Appendix IV

                        AN ARABIAN BIBLIOGRAPHY

A. The Geography of Arabia

  Andrew, (Sir W. P.)—The Euphrates Valley Route (London, 1882).

  Barthema, (Ludovico.)—Travels in Arabia translated by R. Eden (1576).

  Begum of Bhopal—Pilgrimage to Mecca (London, 1870).

  Bent, (Theodore and Mrs.)—South Arabia (London, 1899).

  Blunt, (Lady Ann.)—A pilgrimage to Nedj, 2 vols. (London, 1883).
    ”      ”    ”   —The Bedouins of the Euphrates (London, 1879).

  Buist, (Dr.)—Physical Geography of the Red Sea (no date).

  Burckhardt, (John Lewis.)—Notes on the Bedouins and Wahabis, 2 vols.
    (London, 1830; in German, Weimar, 1831).

  Burckhardt, (John Lewis.)—Travels in Arabia, 2 vols. (London, 1830).

  Burton, (Richard.)—Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El Medina
    and Mecca (London, 1857).

  Chesney—Survey of the Euphrates and Tigris, 4 vols. (London, 1850).

  Cloupet—Nouveau Voyage dans l’Arabie Heureuse en 1788 (Paris, 1810).

  Constable, (Capt. C. G., and Lieut. A. W. Stiffe.)—The Persian Gulf
    Pilot (London, 1870, 1893).

  Cruttenden, (C. J.)—Journal of an excursion to Sana’a the capital of
    Yemen (Bombay, 1838).

  Doughty, (C. M.)—Arabia Deserta, 2 vols. (Cambridge, 1888).

  Fogg, (W. P.)—Arabistan (London, 1875).

  Forster—The Historical Geography of Arabia, 2 vols. (London, 1844).

  Frede, (P.)—La Peche aux Perles en Perse et a Ceylan (Paris, 1890).

  Fresnel—Lettres in Journal Asiatique iii. Series v. 521.

  Galland—Recueil des Rites et Ceremonies du Pelerinage de la Mecque
   (Amsterdam, 1754).

  Haig, (F. T., Maj. Gen.)—A Journey through Yemen. Proceedings of the
    Roy. Geog. Soc. of London, vol. ix., No. 8.

  Harris, (W. B.)—A Journey through Yemen (London, 1893).

  Hunter, (F. M.)—Statistical Account of the British Settlement of Aden
    (London, 1877).

  Hurgronje, (Snouck.)—Mekka, mit bilder atlas, 2 vols. (Hague, 1888).

  Irwin, (Eyle.)—Adventures in a voyage up the Red Sea on the coasts of
     Arabia, etc., in 1777 (London, 1780).

  Jaubert—Geographie d’Edresi (in Arabic and French, Paris, 1836).

  Jomard—Études Geog. et Hist. sur l’Arabie (in vol. iii. Mengin’s
    History of Egypt).

  King, (J. S.)—Description of the island of Perim (Bombay Government
    Records No. 49).

  La Roque—A voyage to Arabia the Happy, etc. (London, 1726).

  Makramah, (Aboo Abd Allah ibn Achmed.)—A Manuscript History of Aden
    (see Hunter’s account).

  Manzoni—El Yemen; Tre anni nell’Arabia felicè (Rome, 1884).

  Michaelis—Receuil de Questiones proposeès a une Societê de Savants qui
    par ordre de Sa Majestie Danoise font le voyage de l’Arabic
    (Amsterdam, 1774).

  Niebuhr, (Carsten.)—Original edition in German (Copenhagen, 1772).
    ”           ”    —In French edition (Amsterdam, 1774).

  Niebuhr, (Carsten.)—Travels through Arabia trans. into English by
     Robert Heron, 2 vols. (Edinburgh, 1792).

  Ouseley, (Sir W.)—Oriental Geography of Ibn Haukal.
      ”      ”  ”  —Travels in Persia and Arabia, 3 vols. (London, 1800).

  Palgrave—Travels in Eastern Arabia (London, 1863).

  Parsons, (Abraham.)—Travels in Asia ... including Mocha and Suez
    (London, 1808).

  Phillips—Map of Arabia and Egypt with index (London, 1888).

  Prideaux—Some recent discoveries in Southwest Arabia (Proceedings Soc.
    Bib. Archaelogy, London).

  Sachau—Am Euphrat und Tigris. Reisenotizen, 1897-98 (Leipzig, 1900).

  Schapira—Travels in Yemen (1877).

  Seetzen—Travels in Yemen (1810).

  Sprenger, (A.)—Die alte Geographie Arabiens als Grundlage der
    Entwicklungsgeschichte des Semitismus (Berne, 1875).

  Sprenger, (A.)—Die Post und Reiserouten des Orients (1864).

  Stanley, (Dean.)—Sinai and Palestine.

  Stern, (Rev. A.)—A journey to Sana’a in 1856 (Jewish Intelligencer,
    vol. xxiii., pp. 101 seq.).

  Stevens—Yemen (1873).

  Taylor, (Bayard.)—Travels in Arabia (New York). Various editions.

  Tuck—Essay on Sinaitic Inscriptions in the Journal of German Oriental
    Society, vol. xiv., pp. 129 seq.

  Van den Berg, (L. W. C.)—Hadramaut and the Arabian colonies in the
    Indian Archipelago. Translated from the Dutch by Major Seeley
    (Bombay Govt. Records No. 212 new series).

  Van Maltzen, (H. I.)—Reisen in Arabien (Braunschweig, 1873).

  Vincent’s—Periplus of the Erythrean Sea.

  Von Wrede, (Adolph.)—Reise in Hadramaut.

  Wellstead, (Lieutenant.)—Travels in Arabia (London, 1838).
    ”            ”        —Narrative of a journey to the ruins of Nakeb
    el Hajar (Journal Roy. Geo. Soc. vii. 20).

  Whish—Memoir on Bahrein (1859).

  Wüstenfeld (F.)—Baherein und Jemameh.

  Zehm (Albrecht.)—Arabie seit Hundert Jahren (Halle, 1875).

B. Manners and Customs[169]

  Arabian Nights—(Various editions).

  Baillie, (N. B. E.)—The Mohammedan law of sale (London, 1850).
     ”         ”     —Mohammedan Law Hanifi code (London, 1865).
     ”         ”     —Mohammedan Law Imamia code (London, 1869).

  Boyle, (J. B. S.)—Manual of Mohammedan Laws (Lahore, 1873).

  Burckhardt’s—Arabic Proverbs (London).
      ”       —Notes on the Bedouins and Wahabis, (London, 1831).

  Grady, (S. G.)—The Mohammedan Law of inheritance (London, 1869).

  Hamilton, (Charles.)—Hedaya or Guide; a commentary on the Mussulman
    Laws (London, 1886).

  Jessup, (H. H.)—Women of the Arabs (New York, 1874).

  Kremer, (Alfred Von.)—Kultur Geschichte des Orients, 2 vols.
    (Wien, 1875-77).

  Lane’s—Manners and Customs of Modern Egyptians, 2 vols. (London).
    ”   —Arabian Nights, with Notes, 4 vols. (London).

  Meer, (Mrs. Hassan Ali.)—Observations on the Mussulmans (London, 1832).

  Rumsey, (Almaric.)—Mohammedan law of Inheritance (London, 1886).

  Smith, (Robertson.)—The Religion of the Semites (New York, 1889).
    ”         ”      —Kinship and Marriage in early Arabia (Cambridge).

  Syeed, (Ameer Ali.)—Personal law of Mohammedans (London, 1880).

  Tornauw—Das Moslemische Recht (1885).

  Trumbull, (H. C.)—The Blood Covenant (Philadelphia, 1891).

  Von Hammer, (Purgstall.)—Die Geisterlehre der Moslimen (Wien, 1852).

C. History of Arabia.[170]

  Abu Jaafer Muhammed et Tabbari—Tarikh el mulook; Arabic and Latin.
    Edit. Kosegarten (Leipsic, 1754).

  Abulfida—Annales Muslemici. Arab. et Latin. Various editions.

  Badger, (George Percy.)—History of the Imams and Seyyids of Oman by
    Salil Ibn Razik from A. D., 661-1856. Trans. with intro. and notes
    (London, 1871).

  Blau, Otto—Arabien im Sechsten Jahrhundert. Zeitschrift des Deutsch.
    Morgenland. Gesel. xviii. B.

  Clark, E. L.—The Arabs and the Turks (Boston).

  Crichton—History of Arabia and its people (London, 1844).

  D’Herbelot—Bibliotheque Orientale (Maestricht, 1776).

  Doughty, (C.)—Documents epigraphiques recueillis dans le nord de
    l’Arabie (avec préface et traduction des inscriptions nabatéennes
    de Medain-Salih par E. Renan). With 57 plates 4to. (Paris, 1884.)

  Dozy, R.—De Israeliten te Mekka (Leyden, 1864).
    ”   ” —Essai sur l’Histoire del’ Islamisme (Paris, 1879).

  Eichhorn—Monumenta Antiquissima Hist. Arabum (Gotha, 1775).

  Faria y Souza—Manuel de Asia Portuguesa (Lisbon, 1666).

  Flügel, Gustav—Geschichte der Araber bis auf den sturz des Chalifats
    von Bagdad, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1864).

  Forster, Rev. C—The historical geography of Arabia (London, 1844).

  Freeman—History of the Saracens.

  Fresnel—Lettres sur hist. des Arabes avant l’Islamisme. Journal
    Asiatique (1838-1853).

  Gibbon’s—Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Chaps. l., li., lii.).

  Gilman, A.—The Saracens (Story of Nations) (London, 1891).

  Haji Khalifah—Hist. of the Maritime wars of the Turks. Translated
    from the Turkish by James Mitchell (London, 1831).

  Hallam’s—History of the Middle Ages (Chapter vi.).

  Hammer-Purgstall—Gemäldesaal der Lebensbeschreibungen grosser
    Moslimischer Herrscher (Leipzig, 1837).

  Hamza Ispahanensis—Tarikh Saniy Mulook el Ardh, Arab. Lat. ed.
    Gottwaldt (St. Petersburg, 1844).

  Jergis El Mekin—Hist. Saracenica Arab. et Lat. (Leyden, 1625).

  Khuzraji, Ali bin Hoosain El—History of Yemen (_MSS._ in Records
    of Residency at Aden).

  Milman’s—Latin Christianity Bk. iv. chaps, i., ii.

  Muir—Annals of Early Caliphate (London, 1883). (See under D. Islam).
    ” —The Caliphate, its Rise, Decline and Fall (London, 1891).

  Ockley, S.—History of the Saracens (London, 1708).

  Perceval, A. P. Caussin de—Essai sur l’Histoire des Arabes avant
    Islamisme (Paris, 1836).

  Playfair, R. L.—History of Arabia Felix (Bombay, 1859.)

  Pocock, Eduardo—Specimen Hist. Arab. ex Abul Feda (Oxford, 1650).

  Quartremere—Memoire sur les Nabatheen.

  Rasmussen—Addimenta ad Hist. Arab. ante Islam.

  Redhouse, J. W.—A Tentative Chronological Synopsis of the history of
    Arabia and its neighbors from B. C. 500000 [!] to A. D. 679
    (London, 1890).

  Roesch, A.—Die Königin von Saba als Königin Bilquis (Leipzig, 1880).

  Rycant—The present state of the Ottoman Empire (London, 1675).

  Sachaŭ, C. Edward—The Chronology of Ancient Nations; an English
    version of Arabic “Vestiges of the past,” A. H. 390-1000
    (London, 1885).

  Schmölder—Sur les Ecoles Philosophique chez les Arabes (Paris, 1842).

  Schulten—Hist. Imperii vetus Joctanidarum (Hard. Gelderland, 1786).
      ”   —Monumenta Vetustiora Arab (Leyden, 1740).

  Sedillot—Hist. gen. des Arabes (Paris, 1877). (Best general history.)

  Souza—Documentos Arabicos para a hist. Portuguesa (Lisbon, 1790).

  Weil, Gustav—Geschichte der Chalifen, 3 vols. (Mannheim, 1846-51).
    ”     ”   —Geschichte der Islamisher Völker von Mohammed bis zur
    Zeit des Sultan Selim (Stuttgart, 1866).

  Wüstenfeld, F.—Die Geschichtschreiber der Araber und ihrer Werke
    (Göttingen, 1882).

  Wüstenfeld, F.—Vergleichungs Tabellen der Muh. und Christ.
    Zeitrechnung (Leipzig, 1854).

  Wüstenfeld, F.—Die Chroniken der Stadt Mekka gesammelt, und
    herausgegeben, Arab. Deutsch, 4 vols. (Leipzig, 1857).

  Wüstenfeld, F.—Genealogische Tabellen der Arabische Stämme
    (Göttingen, 1852).

D. Islam

  Addison, Lancelot—State of Mahumedism (London, 1679).

  Akehurst, Rev. G.—Impostures instanced in the life of Mohammed
   (London, 1859).

  Alcock, N.—The rise of Mohammedanism accounted for (London, 1796).

  Anonymous—Life of Mohammed (London, 1799).
      ”    —Reflections on Mohammedanism (London, 1735).
      ”    —The morality of the East as extracted from the Koran
    (London, 1766).

  Arnold, Matthew—Essay on Persian Miracle Play (London, 1871).
    ”     Edwin—Pearls of the Faith (Boston, 1883).
    ”     J. M.—Ishmael, or the natural aspect of Islam (London, 1859).

  Arnold, J. M.—Islam and Christianity (London, 1874).

    ”  T. W.—The Preaching of Islam: A history of the Propagation of the
    Muslim faith (London, 1896).

  Bate, J. D.—Claims of Ishmael (Benares, 1884).

  Bedwell, W.—Mahomet’s Imposture (London, 1615).
    —Mahomet unmasked (London, 1642).

  Beverly, R. M.—A reply to Higgins [See Higgins,] 1829.

  Blochman, H.—’Ain i Akbari of Abdul Fadhl, (Eng. trans.)
    (Calcutta, 1868).

  Blunt, W. S.—The Future of Islam (London, 1881).

  Blyden—Islam, Christianity and the Negro Race (London, 1888).

  Bonlainvilliers, Count—Life of Mohammed. Translation. (London, 1731).

  Brinckman, A.—Notes on Islam (London, 1868).

  Brydges, H. J.—History of the Wahabis (London, 1834).

  Burton, R. F.—The Jew, the Gipsey and El Islam (London, 1898).

  Bush, Rev. George—Life of Mohammed (New York, 1844).

  Carlyle, Thos.—Heroes and Hero-Worship (London, 1840).

  Cazenhove, Dr.—Mahometanism (Christian Remembrancer, Jan., 1855).

  Daumer, G. F.—Mahomed und sein Werk (Hamburg, 1848).

  Davenport, John—Apology for Mohammed (London, 1869).

  De Goeje—Memoire sur les Carmathes de Baherein (Leyden, 1863).

  Deutsch, Emanuel—Essay on Islam (London, 1874).

  De Worde—A Lytell Treatyse of the Turkes Law called Alcoran (London).

  Dods, Marcus—Mohammed Buddha and Christ (London, 1878).

  Döllinger—Mohammed’s Religion nach ihrer Inneren Entwicklung und ihrem
    Einflüsse (Ratisbon, 1838).

  Dozy—L’Histoire d Islamisme (Leyden, 1879).
    —Het Islamisme (Leyden, 1879).

  Dugat, Gustave—Histoire des philos. et des theol. Musulmans de 632-1358
    J. C. (Paris, 1878).

  Duveyrier, H.—La conferie Musulmane de Sidi Moh. bin Ali Es-Senonsi
    (Paris, 1886).

  Falke R.—Budda, Mohammed, Christus; ein Göttingen Vergleich u. z. w.
    (Gütersloh, 1897).

  Forster, Rev. C.—Mahometanism unveiled, 2 vols. (London, 1829).

  Gagnier, J.—Ismael Abulfeda, De Vita et Rebus gestis Mohammedis
    (Oxford, 1723).

  Galland—Recueil des Rites et Ceremonies du pelerinage de la Mecque
    (Amst., 1754).

  Garnett, L. M. J.—The Women of Turkey and their folk-lore
    (London, 1891).

  Geiger Rabbi—Was hat Mohammed aus das Judenthume aufgenommen?
    (Wiesbaden, 1833).
    —Judaism and Islam [translation of the above] (Madras, 1898).

  Georgens, E. P.—Der Islam und die moderne Kultur (Berlin, 1879).

  Gerock—Versuch einer Darstellung der Christologie des Korans
    (Hamburg, 1839).

  Gibbon—Decline and Fall of Roman Empire (in loco).

  Gmelin, M. F.—Christenschlaverei und der Islam (Berlin, 1873).

  Guyard, S.—La civilization Musulmane (Paris, 1884).

  Haines, C. R.—Islam as a Missionary Religion (London, 1888).

  Hamilton, C.—The Hedayah, a commentary on Moslem law. Trans.
    (London, 1791.) (Edition by Grady, 1890).

  Hauri, Johannes—Der Islam in seinem Einfluss auf das Leben seiner
    Bekenner(Leyden, 1880).

  Herclots, Dr.—Qanoon-el-Islam (London, 1832).

  Higgins, G.—An Apology for the life of Mohammed (London, 1829).

  Hughes, F. P.—Notes on Mohammedanism (London, 1875).
    —Dictionary of Islam (New York and London, 1885).

  Hurgronje, C. Snouck—Het Mekkaansche Feest (Leyden, 1880).
    —Mekka: mit bilder atlas, (The Hague, 1880).

  Inchbald, Rev. P.—Animadversions on Higgins, (Doncaster, 1830).

  Irving, Washington—Life of Mahomet (London, 1850).
    —Successors of Mahomet (London, 1852).

  Jansen, H.—Verbreitung des Islams, u. z. w., in den verschiedenen,
    Landern der Erde, 1890-1897 (Berlin, 1898).

  Jessup, H. H.—The Mohammedan Missionary Problem (Phila., 1889).

  Keller, A.—Der Geisteskampf des Christentums gegen den Islam bis
    zur Zeit der Kreuzzüge (Leipzig, 1897).

  Koelle, S. W.—Mohammed and Mohammedanism critically considered
    (London, 1888).

  Koelle, S. W.—Food for Reflection (London, 1865).

  KORAN: (Editions and translations).
    —English versions: Alexander Ross (from French, 1649-1688), Sale
     (1734), Rodwell (1861), Palmer (1880).
    —First Arabic, _printed text_, at Rome, 1530 (Brixiensis).
      Arabic text, Hinkelmann (Hamburg, 1649).
        and Latin text,—Maracci (Padua, 1698).
        text—Empress Catherine II. (St. Petersburg, 1787).
                                   (      ”    1790, 1793, 1796, 1798).
                                    (Kasan, 1803, 1809, 1839).
        (critical edition) G. Flügel, (Leipzig, 1834, 1842, 1869).
    —French, Savary (1783) and Kasimirski (Paris, 1840, 1841, 1857).
    —French version, Du Ryer (Paris, 1647).
    —German versions: Boysen (1773), Wahl (1828), Ullmann (1840, 1853).
    —German version, Schweigger (Nurnberg, 1616).
    —Latin version, Robert and Hermann (Basle, 1543).
    —Russian version (St. Petersburg, 1776).
    Translations exist also in the other European languages; and in
    Persian, Urdu, Pushto, Turkish, Javan, and Malayan made by Moslems.

  KORAN COMMENTARIES:—(“There are no less than 20,000 in the library at
                Tripolis alone”—Arnold’s Islam and Christianity, p. 81).
    The most important are,—(Sunni)—
      Al Baghawi, A. H. 515.
      Al Baidhawi, A. H. 685.
      Al Jalalain, A. H. 864 and 911.
      Al Mazhari, A. H. 1225.
      Al Mudarik, A. H. 701.
      Ar-Razi (30 vols.), A. H. 606.
      As-Safi, A. H. 668.
      As-sirru’l wajiz, A. H. 715.
      At-Tafsir ’l Kebir, A. H. 606.
      Azizi, A. H. 1239, (and Shiah).
      Az-Zamakhshari, A. H. 604.
      Hussain, A. H. 900.
      Ibn u’l Arabi, A. H. 628.
      Mir Bakir, A. H. 1041.
      Saiyid Hasham, A. H. 1160.
      Sheikh Saduk, A. H. 381.

  Krehl, C. L. E.—Das leben des Moham. (Leipzig, 1884).

  Kremer, Von Alfred—Geschichte der Herrschende Ideen des Islams: Der
    Gottsbegriff, die Prophetie und Staatsidee (Leipzig, 1868).

  La Chatelier, A.—L’Islam an XIX^_e_siècle (Paris, 1888).

  Lake, J. J.—Islam, its origin, genius and mission (London, 1878).

  Lamairesse, E., (et G. Dujarric.)—Vie de Mahomet d’apres la tradition,
    vol. i. (Paris, 1898).

  Lane-Poole, Stanley—Studies in a Mosque (London, 1883).
    —Table-talk of Mohammed (London, 1882).

  Lane—Selections from the Koran (London, 1879).

  MacBride, J. D.—The Mohammedan Religion Explained (London, 1859).

  Maitland, E.—England and Islam (London, 1877).

  Marracio, L.—Refutatio Al Coran (Batavii, 1698).

  Martyn, Henry—Controversial Tracts on Christianity and Islam, by the
    Rev. S. Lee (edited Cambridge, 1824).

  Matthews—The Mishkat (traditions) translation (Calcutta, 1809).

  Merrick, J. L.—The life and religion of Mohammed from Sheeah
    traditions (translated from Persian) (Boston, 1850).

  Mills, C.—The History of Muhammedanism (London, 1817).

  Mills, W. H.—The Muhammedan System (—1828).

  Mochler, J. A.—The relation of Islam to the Gospel (translation)
    (Calcutta, 1847).

  Mohler, J. A.—Ueber das Verhaltniss des Islams zum Evangelium (1830).

  Morgan, Joseph—Mohammedanism Explained (London, 1723).

  Muir, Sir William—Life of Mahomet, 4 vols. (London, 1858 and 1897).
    —Rise and Decline of Islam (in Present Day Tracts, London, 1887).
    —Mahomet and Islam (London, 1890).
    —Sweet First Fruits. Translated from Arabic. (London, 1896).
    —The apology of Al Kindy, translated from Arabic (London, 1887).

  Muir, Sir William—The Coran: Its composition and teaching and the
    testimony it bears to the Holy Scriptures (London, 1878).

  Muir, Sir William—The Beacon of Truth (from Arabic) (London, 1897.)
    —The Caliphate (London, 1897).
    —The Mohammedan Controversy (Edinburgh, 1897).

  Müller, F. A.—Der Islam im Morgen und Abendlanden (Berlin, 1885).

  Murray, Rev. W.—Life of Mohammed, according to Abu El Fida
    (Elgin, no date).

  Neale, F. A.—Islamism, its Rise and Progress (London, 1854).

  Niemann, G. K.—Inleiding tot de keunisvanden Islam (Rotterdam, 1861).

  Nöldecke, T.—Geschichte des Qurans (Göttingen, 1860).
    —Das Leben Muhammeds (Hanover, 1863).

  Oelsner, C. E.—Des effets de la religion de Mohammed (Paris, 1810).

  Osborn, Major—Islam under the Arabs (London, 1876).
    —Islam under the Caliphs (London, 1878).

  Pfander, Doctor—The Mizan El Hak (translated from Persian)
    (London, 1867).
    —Miftah ul Asrar (Persian) (Calcutta, 1839).
    —Tarik ul Hyat, Persian (Calcutta, 1840).

  Palgrave, W. G.—Essays on Eastern Question (London, 1872).
    —Travels in Central and Eastern Arabia.

  Palmer, E. H.—The Koran translated, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1880).

  Pelly, Lewis—The Miracle Play of Hasan and Hussain (London, 1879).

  Perron—L’Islamisme, Son Institutions, etc. (Paris, 1877).
    —Femmes Arabes avant et depuis l’Islamisme (Paris, 1858).

  Pitts, Joseph—Religion and manners of Mahometans (Oxford, 1704).

  Prideaux, H.—The True Nature of the Imposture fully explained
    (London, 1718).

  Rabadan—Mahometanism (Spanish and Arabic) 1603.

  Reland (and others)—Four Treatises (on Islam) (London, 1712).

  Rodwell, J. M.—The Koran, Translated (London, 1871).

  Roebuck, J. A.—Life of Mahomet (London, 1833).

  Ross, Alexander—The Koran (London, 1642).

  Rumsey, A.—Al Sirajiyeh. Translated (London, 1869).

  Ryer, Andre du—Life of Mahomet (London, 1718).

  Sale—Translation of the Koran with preliminary discourse
    (London, 1734).

  Scholl, Jules Charles—L’Islam et son fondateur: Étude morale
    (Neuchatel, 1874).

  Sell, Rev. E.—The Faith of Islam (Madras, 1880 and London, 1897).
    —The Historical Development of the Quran (Madras, 1898).

  Smith, Bosworth—Mohammed and Mohammedanism (London, 1876).

  Smith, H. P.—The Bible and Islam (New York and London, 1897).

  Sprenger, Aloys—Das Leben und die Lehre des Mohammed, 3 vols.
    (Berlin, 1865).

  Sprenger, A.—Life of Mohammed from original sources (Allahabad, 1851).

  Steinschneider, Moritz—Polemische Literatur in Arabischer Sprache
    (Leipzig, 1877).

  Stevens, W. R. W.—Christianity and Islam (London, 1877).

  St. Hilaire, T. Bartholomew de—Mahomet et le Coran (Paris, 1865).

  Stobart, J. W. H.—Islam and its Founder (London, 1876).

  Syeed, Ahmed Khan—Essays on the life of Mohammed (London, 1870).

  Syeed, Ameer Ali—A critical examination of the life and teachings of
    Mohammed (London, 1873).

  Tassy, Garcin de—L’Islamisme d’apres le Coran (Paris, 1874).

  Taylor, W. C.—The Hist. of Mohammedanism (London, 1834).

  Thiersant, P. Dabry de—Le Mahometisme en Chine (Paris, 1878).

  Tisdall, W. St. Clair—The Religion of the Crescent (London, 1896).

  Turpin, F. H.—Hist. de la vie de Mahomet, 3 vols. (Paris, 1773).

  Wallich, J.—Religio Turcia et Mahometis Vita (1659).

  Weil, Gustav—Das Leben Mohammeds; nach Ibn Ishak bearbeit von Ibn
    Hisham, 2 vols. (Stuttgart, 1864).

  Weil, Gustav—Historische-Kritische Einleitung in den Koran
    (Bielefeld, 1844).

  Wherry, E. M.—Commentary on the Quran, 5 vols. (London, 1882).

  White, J.—Bampton Lectures (on Islam) (Oxford, 1784).

  Wollaston, Arthur N.—Half Hours with Mohammed (London, 1890).

  Wortabet, John—Researches into Religions of Syria (London, 1860).

  Wüstenfeld, H. F.—Das Leben Muhammeds, 3 vols. (Göttingen, 1857.)
    —Geschichte der Stadt Mekka, 4 vols. (Leipzig, 1857-61).

  Zotenberg—Tareek-i-Tabari. Translated.

  Zwemer, S. M.—The Wahabis. Victoria Institute (London, 1900).

E. Christianity and Missions[171]

  Birks, Herbert—Life and Correspondence of Bishop T. V. French
    (London, 1895).

  Jessup, H. H.—The Setting of the Crescent and the Rising of the
    Cross or Kamil Abdul Messiah (Philadelphia, 1898).
    —The Mohammedan Missionary Problem (Phila., 1879).

  Sinker, Robert—Memoir of Ion Keith Falconer (Cambridge, 1886).

  _The Arabian Mission._ Quarterly Letters, Annual Reports, and special
     papers on missionary journeys from 1890-1899 (New York).

  Wright, Thomas—Early Christianity in Arabia; a historical essay
    (London, 1855). This book gives a complete account of the early
    spread of Christianity and cites authorities, which, being mostly
    in Latin, are omitted here.

F. Language and Literature

  Abcarius—English-Arabic Dictionary (Beirut, 1882).

  Ahlwardt, W.—The Divans of the six ancient Arabic Poets (London, 1890).

  Ahlwardt, W.—Über die Poesie und Poetiek der Araber (Gotha, 1856).
    —Bemerkungen über die ächtheit der Alten Arab. Gedichten
      (Griefswald, 1872).

  Arnold, F. A.—Arabic Chrestomathy, 2 parts (Halis, 1853).
    —Septem M’oallakat (Leipzig, 1850).

  Badger, G. P.—English-Arabic Lexicon (London, 1881).

  Birdwood, Allan B.—An Arabic Reading Book (London, 1891).

  Butrus al Bustani—An Encyclopædia in Arabic, vols. i.-ix. (1876-84).

  Cadri, Moh.—Guide to Arab. Conversation (Alexandria, 1879).

  Caspari, C. P.—Arab. Grammatik (Halle, 1876).

  Caussin de Perceval—Grammaire Arabe. (Paris, 1880).

  Cheikho, P. L.—Chrestomathia Arabica cum lexico variisque notis
    (Beirut, 1897).

  Clodius, J. C.—Gram. Arabica (Leipzig, 1729).

  Clouston—Arabic Poetry for English Readers (Glasgow, 1889).

  De Goeje, Prof.—A complete account of the authorship, etc., of the
    Arabian Nights (“De Gids,” Amsterdam, Sept., 1886).

  Derenbourg, H. and Spiro J.—Chrestomathy (Paris, 1885).

  Dieterici, Fr.—Thier und Mensch vor dem König der Genien u. z. w.
     (Leipzig, 1881).
    —Arabisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch zum Koran und Thier und Mensch
     (Leipzig, 1881).
    —Die Arabische Dicht-Kunst (Berlin, 1850).

  Dombay, Fr. de—Gram. Mauro-Arab. (Vindob., 1800).

  Dozy, R. P. A.—Supplément aux dictionnaires Arabes, 2 vols.
     (Leyden, 1877).
    —[And many other monographs on the language.]

  Erpenius, Th.—Grammatica, etc. (Leyden, 1767).
    —Rudimenta Linguae Arabicae, Ed. A. Schultens (Leyden, 1770).

  Euting—Katalog der Arabischen Literatur (Strassburg, 1877).

  Ewald, G. H. A.—Gram. Critica linq. Arab., 2 vols. (Lips., 1831).

  Farhat, G.—Dict. Arabe-Française (Marseilles, 1849).

  Faris Es Shidiac—Arab. Gram. (London, 1856).

  Fleischer, H. L.—Tausend und eine Nacht (text and notes, 12 vols.)
    (Breslau, 1825-43).

  Fleischer, M. H. L.—Arabische Sprüche u. z. w. (Leipzig, 1837).

  Flügel, G.—Die Grammatischen Schulen der Araber nach den Quellen
    bearbeitet (Leipzig, 1862).

  Flügel—Kitab El Fihrist; with German notes (Leipzig, 1871-72).

  Flügel, Gustav—Lexicon Bibliographicum Arab., 7 vols. 4to.
    (Leipzig, 1835-58).

  Forbes, Duncan—Arabic Grammar.

  Freytag—Einleitung in das Studium der Arabischen Sprache (Bonn, 1861).
    —Lexicon, Arab. Lat., 4 vols. (Halis, 1830).
                     (abridged Halis, 1837).
    —Arabum Proverbia (3 vols.) (Bonn, 1838).

  Giggejus, A.—Thesaurus linq. Arabicae, 4 vols. (Medioland, 1632).

  Gies, H.—Zur kentniss sieben Arabischer Versarten (Leipzig, 1879).

  Girgass and De Rosen—Chrestomathy (German ed. 1875. Russian, St.
    Petersburg, 1876).

  Goeje, De M. J.—Debelangrykheid van de beoefening d. Arab. taal en
    letterkunde (Hague, 1866).

  Golius, J.—Lexicon Arab. Lat. (Leyden, 1653).

  Green, A. O.—A Practical Arabic Grammar (Oxford, 1887).

  Hammer Van Purgstall—Literaturgeschichte der Araber: Von ihren beginne
    bis zum ende des Zwölfte Jahrhunderts der Hidschret, 7 vols.
    (Wein, 1850-56).

  Heury, J.—Vocab. French-Arab. (Beirut, 1881).

  Hirth, J. Fr.—Anthologia Arab. (Jenae, 1774).

  Hoefer’s Zeitschrift—Ueber die Himyarische Sprache (vol. i., 225 sq).

  Jahn, J.—Arabische Chrestomathie (Wien, 1802).

  Jayaker, A. S. G.—The Omanese Dialect of Arabic, 2 parts (In Journal
    R. A. S., of Gt. Britain).

  Kosengarten, J.—Arab. Chrestomathy (Leipzig, 1828).

  Kremer, A. von—Lexikographie Arab. (Vienna, 1883).

  Lane, E. W.—An Arabic English Dictionary (i.-viii.) (London, 1863-89).

    ”   W.—The Thousand and One Nights, with notes, edited, 3 vols.
    (London, 1841).

  Lansing, J. G.—Arabic Grammar (New York, 1890).

  Mac Naghten, W. H.—Thousand and One Nights literally transl., 4 vols.
    (Calcutta, 1839).

  Newman, F. W.—Dictionary, 2 vols. (London, 1890).
    —Handbook of Modern Arabic (London, 1890).

  Nöldeke, Th.—Beitrage zur Kentniss d. Poesie d. alten Araber,
    (Hanover, 1864).

  Nöldeke, T.—Funf Mo’allqāt, übersetzt und erklärt. II. Die Mo’allaqāt
    Antara’s und Labid’s, 8 vo. (Vienna, 1900).

  Oberleitner, A.—Chrestomathia Arab. (Vienna, 1824).

  Palmer, E. H.—Arabic Grammar (London, 1890).
    —Arabic Manual (London, 1890).

  Perowne, J. J. S.—Adjrumiah, translated with Arabic voweled text
    (Cambridge, 1852).

  Richardson—Arab. Persian English Dictionary (London, 1852).

       ”    J. A.—Gram. of Arabic Language (London, 1811).

  Rosenmüller, E. F. C.—Grammar (Leipzig, 1818).

  Sacy, A. J. Sylvestre de—An Arabic Grammar.
    —Arabic Chrestomathy, 4 vols. (Paris, 1829).

  Salmone, H. A.—Arabic-English Dictionary on a new system. Vol. I.
    contains the Arabic-English part, xviii. and 1254 pp. Vol. II.
    contains an English-Arabic key, referring every word to the Arabic
    equivalent in the first volume, 2 vols. (London, 1890).

  Socin, A.—Arabische Grammatik (Berlin, 1889).

  Steingass, F.—Arab.-Eng. and Eng.-Arab. Dict. (London, 1890).

  Tien, A.—Handbook of Arabic (London, 1890).
    —Manual of Colloquial Arab. (London, 1890).

  Trumpp, E.—Einleitung in das Studium der Arabischen Grammatiker
    (Münich, 1876).

  Tychsen, O. G.—Elementale Arabicum (1792).

  Van Dyck, C. C. A.—Suggestions to beginners in the study of Arabic
   (Beirut, 1892).

  Vollers—Ægypto-Arab. Sprache (Cairo, 1890).

  Vriemoet, E. L.—Grammar (Franeker, 1733).

  Wahrmund, A.—Arab. Deutsch Handworter buch, 2 vols. (Giessen, 1887).
    —Handbuch der Arab. Sprache (Giessen, 1866).

  Winckler, J. L. W.—Arab. Sprachlehre nebst Wörterbuch (Leipzig, 1862).

  Wright, W.—Arabic Reading Book (London, 1870).

[NOTE.—For other Arabic Lexicons, Grammars and Manuals consult Oriental
catalogues of: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., London; F. A.
Brockhaus, Leipzig; and E. J. Brill, Bibliothéque Orientale, Leyden.]


[_See also Table of Contents_]

  Abd-ul-Wahab, 192.

  Abdulla bin Rashid, 200.

  Abraha, 311.

  Abraham, God’s promises to, 401.

  Abyssinian invasion of Arabia, 308.

  Accessibility of Arabia (see Open doors), 375.

  Adam, Tradition of the fall of, 17.

  Aden, 53, 218, 335, 376.
    as a mission centre, 338.
    Tribes around, 230.

  Aflaj, 145.

  Aftan, Wady, 22, 99.

  Allah (see God), 171.

  Alphabet, Arabic, 242.

  Ali, Ruins at, 105.

  Ali’s footprint, 66.

  Amara, 132, 289, 364.

  American Arabian mission, 353.
    Rifles in Arabia, 66_n_, 139.

  Amulets (see charms), 283.

  Anaeze tribe, 154.

  Animals of Arabia, 28, 88, 149.

  Arab architecture, 124, 272.
    characteristics, 261, 264.
    genealogies, 261.
    geographers, 25.

  Arab, The, 258.

  Arabia, 240.
    Area of, 18.
    Boundaries of, 18.
    Felix (Yemen), 53, 307.

  Arabia in Moslem tradition, 17.

  Arabian field, Problems of the, 374.
    history, 158.
    idolatry (see Idolatry), 36.
    mission, 354.
      hymn, 358.

  Arabic language, 238, 254.
     newspapers, 257.

  Arabs, Classes of, 260.
     Origin of, 258.

  Architecture, Arab, 272.

  Arts, Arabian, 75, 274.

  Ashera, 140.

  Asir, The Turks in, 210.

  Athar, Science of, 91, 278.

  Bagdad, 133, 321.
    mission, 327.
    Turkish rule in, 215.
    Vilayet, 126.

  Bahrein, 97, 110, 220, 363, 373.
    huts, 271.

  Barka, 84.

  Barny, F. J., 366.

  Bartholomew, St., Tradition as to, 307.

  Batina Coast, 83.

  Bayard Taylor (quoted), 121.

  Bedaa, 111.

  Bedouin, Attacked by, 60.
    dress, 272.
    life, 265.
    tribes, 68, 132, 154.
    tribes, Mission to, 328.
    warfare, 203, 364.

  Beit Allah, 34, 35.

  Bent, Theodore, 73.

  Bible, Arabic, 256, 316.
    depot in Bagdad, 321.
    distribution in Arabia, 320, 365, 377, 384, 388.

  Black stone of Mecca, 31, 36.

  Blood covenants, 166.
    revenge, 155, 265.

  Blunt, Lady Ann, 269.

  British and Foreign Bible Society, 321.

  British influence in Arabia, 218.

  Bruce, Robert, 321.

  Buchanan, Claudius, 314.

  Bunder, Abbas, 235.
    Jissa, 84.

  Burckhardt (quoted), 269.

  Burial place of Mohammed, 47.

  Burns, William, 320.

  Burton (quoted), 282.

  Busrah, 124, 129, 361.
    mission, 365.

  Camel, Land of the, 88.
    Use and character, 90, 247.

  Cantine, James, 353, 359, 360.

  Caravan journey from Bagdad, 136.

  Caravan routes of Oman, 94.

  Carmathian princes, 115.

  Castles in Hadramaut, 75.

  Cave-dwellers, Gharah, 86.

  Certificate, The Mecca, 40.

  Charms used by women of Mecca, 42.

  Child life among Arabs, 265.

  Christian Church in Aden, 54.
    Arabia, 306.

  Christian coins used as amulets, 43.

  Christian and Missionary Alliance, 328.

  Christianity in Arabia, 159, 300.

  Christians, Hatred of, 30, 267.
    St. John, 285.

  Christ’s Sonship, The Rock of, 397.

  Church Missionary Society, 322, 327, 344.

  Circumcision, 399.

  Climate of Arabia, 20, 378.
    Bahrein, 106.
    Nejd, 147.
    Oman, 79, 80, 93.

  Cobb, H. N. (quoted), 369.

  Coffee trade in Yemen, 70.

  Coins (Carmathian), 115, 225.

  Colportage work (see Bible distribution), 384.

  Commerce, English, in Arabia, 225.
    in the Nejd, 151.
    of Busrah, 126.

  Consulates, British, 231.

  Controversy, 385.

  Converts from Islam, 391.

  Cosmogony, Sabean, 296.

  Covenants, 166.

  Cradle of the Human Race, 119.

  Ctesiphon, Arch of, 133.

  Cufic characters, 243.

  Customhouse, Turkish, 58.

  Customs, Arab, 166.

  Da Costa, Isaac, 405.

  Damar, 66.

  Date culture, 124.
    palm, 121.

  Dauasir, Wady, 22, 145.

  Dedan, 97.

  Desert dwellers and the camel, 90.

  Deserts of Arabia, 24, 144.

  Difficulties of Arabian missions, 374.

  Diseases in Arabia, 280, 378.

  Diwaniyeh, 139.

  Doughty (quoted), 144, 268.

  Dress of the Arabs, 58, 70, 272.

  Dromedary, 89.

  Dutch Missionary Society, 394.
    Reformed Church, 353.

  Dwellings of Arabs, 271.

  East India Company, 221.

  Education in Mecca, 43.
    of Arab Children, 266, 379.

  Educational missions, 383.

  Elephants in warfare, 312.

  English possessions (see British), 27.

  English supremacy in the Gulf, 222.

  Euphrates, Journey down the, 136.

  Europeans who visited Mecca, 31_n._

  Eustace, M., 361.

  Evangelistic work in Arabia, 384.

  Eve, Tomb of, 17.

  Ezekiel, 54, 405.

  Ezra, Tomb of, 132.

  Family life in Arabia, 265.

  Fanaticism, Moslem, 379.

  Fao, 129.

  Fatima, Shrine of, 50.

  Fauna of Arabia, 28.

  Feasts, Sabean, 298.

  Fetishism, 168.

  Feysul, 198.

  Fish on the Oman Coast, 82.

  Flora of Arabia, 28, 57, 65, 124.

  Foods of Arabia, 86, 123, 273.

  Forder, Mr., 329.

  Frankincense, 86.

  Free Church of Scotland, 320, 334.

  French, Bishop Thomas Valpy, 330, 331, 344.

  French coaling station, 234.

  Games, 267.

  Geology of Arabia, 21.

  Geographers, Arab, 25.

  Gharah tribe, 85.

  Glenny, Edward (quoted), 397.

  God, The Moslem’s idea of, 171.

  God’s promises for Arabia, 395.

  Government of Bahrein, 108.
    Hassa, 117.
    Nejd, 150.

  Governments in Arabia, 26.

  Graves, Anthony N., 320.

  Hadramaut, 18, 72.

  Hagar, 397, 405.

  Haig, F. T., 322, 334, 359, 378.

  Hail, 151.

  Haj Nasir, Khan of, 140.

  Hajarein, Hadramaut, 74.

  Halévy, Joseph, 73.

  Hanifs, 168.

  Harem system, 161.

  Harpur, Dr. and Mrs., 322, 325.

  Harrat (volcanic tracts), 23.

  Hassa, 115, 117.

  Hassa, The Turks in, 217.

  Haswa, Khan El, 137.

  Haura, 75.

  Hegira, 183.

  Hejaz, Turkish rule in, 207.

  Hillah, 137.

  Himyarite dynasty, 158, 307.

  Himyarites, 259.

  Himyaritic inscriptions, 74, 244.

  History of Arabia, 158, 409.

  Hodeidah, 53, 70, 347.
    Bishop French at, 347.

  Hodgson, 327.

  Hofhoof, 113.

  Honey, 86, 247, 282.

  Horses, Arabian, 88, 149.

  Hospital at Hofhoof, 116.

  Hospitality of Rashid, 200.
    the Amir of Nejd, 150.

  Hostility to Christianity, 386.

  Hurgronje Snouck (quoted), 270.

  Ibb, Experience at, 65.

  Ichthiophagoi, 82.

  Idolatry in Arabia, 36, 52, 166, 284, 307.

  Idols of Arabia, 166.

  Ignorance of Arabia, 145.
    Meccans, 42.

  Ignorance, Time of, 158.

  Illiteracy, 42, 379.

  Immorality in Arabia, 40, 41.
    of the Koran, 186.

  India’s influence on Arabia, 109.

  Infanticide, 161.

  “Infidels”,  30, 31.

  Inscriptions in Yemen, 313.
    Himyaritic, 74.

  Interior of Arabia, 143, 377.

  Irak-Arabi, 120.

  Irrigation in Oman, 93.

  Ishmael, 35, 401.
    Promises to, 398.

  Ishmaelite Arabs, 260.

  Islam, 169.
    Analysis of, 177.
    Borrowed elements of, 178.
    God of, 171.
    sects, 140,192.

  Jauf, 275.

  Jiddah, 17, 31, 32.

  Jebel Shammar, 154.

  Jesus Christ, 49, 297.

  Jews in Arabia, 63, 66, 159, 308.

  “John the Baptist Christians,” 297.

  Joktan, 404.

  Journey in Oman, 94.
    to Hofhoof, 111.
    Sana, 56.
    up the Tigris, 131.

  Kaaba, 34, 35, 263.
    Tradition of the, 17.

  Kaat-Culture, 63, 414.

  Kamaran Island, 33, 22O.

  Kamil, 360, 361, 423.

  Katar Peninsula, 110.

  Katif, 118.

  Kedar, Promises concerning, 398.

  Keith Falconer, Ion, 250, 331.
    Mission, 343, 381.

  Kenaneh, 310.

  Kerak, 327.

  Kerbela, 138, 195.

  Khadijah, 181.

  Khans, 137.

  Koran, 186, 239, 242, 251, 282.

  Koreish, 311, 312.

  Kuria-Muria Islands, 86, 219.

  Kurna, 142.

  Kuweit, 128, 222.

  Lahaj, 338.

  Lane-Poole, Stanley (quoted), 253.

  Language of the Arabs, 238, 249.
    Sabean, 288.

  Lansing, Dr., 321.
    J. G., 354.

  Law among Arabs (see Government), 265.

  Legend as to creation of camel, 88.
    of Nebi Salih, 302.
    St. Bartholomew, 307.

  Legends, 165.

  Lethaby, William, 327.

  Literature of the Arabs, 242, 251.

  Locust, 266, 273.

  Love among Arabs, 265.

  Lull, Raymond, 239, 314.

  Mahmal, 194.

  Māadites, 259.

  Mackay’s, Alexander, Appeal, 329.

  Makalla, 73, 376.

  Mandæans, 285.

  Manufactures of Hassa, 115.

  Marriages in Arabia, 162, 268, 270.
    of Mohammed, 181, 182.
    Temporary, 41.

  Martyn, Henry, 314, 316.

  Martyn’s, Henry, Journal, 318.

  Mattra, 82.

  Mecca, 17, 30, 34.
    Capture of, 194.
    Certificate, 40.
    Turkish Government of, 208.

  Meccan songs, 278.

  Medical knowledge of Arabs, 280.
    mission in Aden, Need of a, 336.

  Medical mission in Yemen, 325.
    missions, 361, 377.

  Medicine, Arab, 281.

  Medina, 31, 45.

  Menakha, 69.

  Menamah, 99.

  Mesopotamia, 119, 216.
    Star-worshippers of, 285.

  Methods of mission work for Arabia, 383.

  Mildmay Mission to the Jews, 363.

  Mina, 39.

  Miracles, Moslem, 313.

  Mishkash, 42.

  Mission at Aden, 342.
    Muscat, 82, 349.

  Missionaries needed, The kind of, 388.

  Missionary force in Arabia, 380.
    problems of Arabia, 374.

  Missions in Arabia, 314.

  Mahrah tribe, 85.

  Makāmat, 253.

  Mohammed, 169, 170, 179, 298.
    Ali, 196.
    Arabia, before, 158.

  Mohammed’s burial place, 47.

  Mohammedan intolerance, 30.
    problem, 374.

  Moharram, 140.

  Moses, 302.

  Moslem attitude toward Christianity, 386.

  Moslem world, Condition of the, 397.

  Moule, A. E. (quoted), 351.

  Mounds at Ali, 106.
    in the River Country, 121.

  Mountains and table-lands, 19, 20, 22.

  Mufallis, 58.

  Muscat, 78, 363.
    Attack on, 364.

  Muscat, Bishop French at, 348.
    Capture of, 203.
    Henry Martyn at, 319.
    Importance of, 329.

  Music, Arab, 274.

  Nasariya, 141.

  Nebaioth, Promises regarding, 398.

  Needs of Arabia, 381.

  Nefud (Sandy Desert), 20.

  Neibuhr, M., 17.

  Nejd, 20, 27, 146.

  Nejf, 138.

  Nejran, 145.

  New Brunswick Seminary Band, 353.

  Newspapers, Arabic, 241.

  Nomad population, 380.

  Nomads, Arab, 157, 264.

  North Africa Mission, 328.

  Oaths, 57, 252, 264.

  Ojeir, 111.

  Oman, 78, 221, 234.
    Interior of, 92.
    Rulers of, 202.

  Open doors in Arabia, 324, 375.

  Opposition to missions, 362.

  Ottoman (see Turkish), 127.

  Outlook for missions, 391.

  Palgrave (quoted), 19, 110, 153, 172, 198.

  Palmyrene Kingdom, 304.

  Paradise, Rivers of, 22_n_.

  Paul in Arabia, 300.

  Pearl fishing, 100.

  Pearl Islands of the Gulf, 97.

  Pearl oyster, 100.

  Penmanship, Arabic, 245.

  Pentecost, Arabs at, 300.

  Perim, Island of, 220.

  Persecution of Christians, 311, 379.

  Persia, 318.

  Persian converts, 392.
    persecution of Christian Arabs, 305.

  Physicians, Arab, 42, 280.

  Pilgrimages, Early, 165.
    to Mecca, 37, 184.

  Pilgrims, Duties of, 38.
    Nationality of, 33.

  Pillars, The three, 39.

  Pirate coast of Oman, 82.

  Poem, “Hagar,” 405.

  Poems on women, 270.

  Poetry, Arab, 163, 164, 254, 274.

  Poets, Arabian, 46.

  Political divisions of Arabia, 26.
    history of Bahrein, 107.

  Politics in Arabia, Present, 233.

  Polyandry, 162.

  Polygamy, 162, 268, 298.

  Population of Arabia, 29.
    Bagdad, 134.
    Irak-Arabi, 126.

  Portuguese at Muscat, 81, 202.
    castle, Katif, 118.

  Postal systems of Arabia, 224.

  Post, Geo. E. (quoted), 186.

  Poverty of the Arabs, 157.

  Prayer, Call to, 326.
    for Moslems, 315.

  Prayer-meeting of Star-worshippers, 289.

  Prayers of pilgrims, 38.
    offered at Medina, 50.

  Preaching in Yerim, 66, 324.
    to Moslems, 384.

  Priesthood, Mandæan, 298.

  Problems of the Arabian field, 374.

  Prophet’s tomb at Medina, 47.

  Provinces of Arabia, 25.

  Ptolemy’s map of Arabia, 18.

  Railway, Anglo-Egyptian, 226.

  Rashid, Mohammed bin, 200.

  Rastak, 79.

  Red Sea coast, 19.

  Reformation, Wahabi, 192.

  Reformed Church in America, 353.

  Religion of heathen Arabs, 164.
    the Mahrah tribe, 85.
    Sabeans, 288.

  Renan, Ernest (quoted), 239.

  Report of Keith Falconer, 335.

  Results of missions to Moslems, 392.

  Rhenish missionary society, 394.

  Riad, 152, 201.

  Riggs, C. E., 361.

  River country, 119, 382.

  Rivers of Arabia, 21.

  Roba’-el-Khali, 143.

  Robbers, Bedouin, 155.

  Robbery among Arabs, 264.

  Robbery, Turkish, 69.

  Roda, 68.

  Roman empire and the Arabs, 304.

  Ruins at Ali, 105.
    in Hadramaut, 74.

  Ruma, Wady, 22.

  Russian influence, 235.
    interests in Arabia, 223.

  Sabeans, 285.

  Sabat, 317.

  Sacred mosque of Mecca, 35.

  Sacrifice, Sabean, 294.

  Sacrifices in Arabia, 39, 166.

  Said, Seyid, 202.

  Sana, 56, 67, 212.
    Early Christianity in, 310.
    Importance of, 324, 360.

  Sana inscription, 313.

  Saud, 194.

  School for African slave-boys, 366.

  Schools at Medina, 51.
    in Hassa, 117.
    of Mecca, 43.

  Sciences, Arabian, 274.

  Seba, 404.

  Semitic languages, 240, 241.

  Semites, 240.

  Shatt-el-Arab, 120.

  Sheba, 403, 404.

  Shehr and its ruler, 76.

  Sheikh Othman, 56, 335, 336.
    mission, 342.

  Shibam, 75.

  Shiran, Wady, 22.

  Shrines of Arabia, 165.

  Sib, 84.

  Sidra Rabba, 294.

  Sin, Koran doctrine of, 190.

  Sinaitic Peninsula, 302, 375.

  Slave School at Muscat, 366.
    trade, 85, 224.

  Smith, Eli, 256, 316.

  Social character of Arabs, 263.

  Socotra, 19, 219.

  Sohar, 84.

  Soldiers, Turkish, 216.

  Songs, Arabian, 275.

  Springs of fresh water in the Gulf, 99.

  Star-worshippers of Mesopotamia, 285.

  Steamship service to Bagdad, 131.

  Stern, Rev. A., 327.

  Stone, Geo. E., 351, 366, 371, 388.

  Suk-el-Shiukh, 141.

  Sultan of Turkey, 206.

  Sultans of Muscat, 79.

  Sumatra missions, 393.

  Superstitions, Arab, 165, 187, 283.

  Sur, 84.

  Sutton, Henry M., 327.

  Sword conquest of Islam, 184.

  Taif, 45.

  Taiz, 60, 62.

  Taxation, Turkish, 69, 142, 215.

  Tenoof, 96.

  Tents, Bedouin, 155, 271.

  Telegraph system, 28, 223.

  Thoms, S. J., 366.

  Theophilus, 307.

  Tigris-Euphrates basin, 120.

  Torbat manufacture, 138.

  Totemism in Arabia, 166.

  Toweelah coin, 115.

  Trade (see Commerce), of Bagdad, 135.

  Trade of Bahrein, 105.
    Muscat, 82.

  Tradition of fall of Adam and Eve, 17.

  Traditions, Henry Martyn’s, 319.

  Treaties, British, with Arabs, 228.

  Tribal marks, 166, 279, 281.

  Travellers in Yemen, 53.

  Turkish Arabia, 376.
    rule, 26, 27, 58, 71, 127, 216.

  Turkish taxation, 113, 142.

  Turks in Arabia, 206.

  Unexplored Arabia, 18.

  Unoccupied territory, 382.

  Van Dyck, C. V. A., 256, 316.

  Van Tassel, Samuel, 328.

  Veil, Use of the, 161.

  Wadys, 21.

  Wahabis, 83, 191.

  Wahat, 57.

  Warfare, Arab, 203.

  Wasms, 166, 242, 281.

  Water courses of Oman, 93.

  Weapons, Arab, 267.

  Wellhausen (quoted), 167.

  Wellsted’s travels in Arabia, 92, 93.

  Wilson, John, 320.

  Woman’s dress in Arabia, 272.
    work for 365, 383.

  Women, Arab, 268.
    Bedouin, 156.

  Women in the  “Time of Ignorance”,  160.

  Women, Mohammed and, 183.
    of Mecca, 40.
    Yemen, 58, 70.
    Sabean, 287.

  Wood carving in Hadramaut, 75.

  Worrall, H. R. L., 364.

  Wrede, Adolph von, 72.

  Writing as a fine art, 246.
    Early Semitic, 242.
    use of, 163.
    Mandâitic, 287.

  Wyckoff, James T., 363.

  Yakoob, 361.

  Yambo, 51, 196.

  Yemen, 53, 57, 62, 234.
    as a mission field, 323.
    Turks in, 211.

  Yemenites, 259.

  Yerim, 65.

  Young, J. C., 343.

  Zemzem, Well of, 34, 36.

  Zenobia, 304.

  Zobeir, 128.

  Zwemer, Peter J., 94, 362, 367.

  Zwemer’s, P. J., journey in Oman, 94.

  Zwemer, S. M., 354, 359.

  Zwemer’s, S. M., journey down the Euphrates, 136.

  Zwemer’s, S. M., journey to Hofhoof, 111.

  Zwemer’s, S. M., journey to Sana, 56.

  Zwemer’s, S. M., journey up the Tigris, 131.

[Illustration: Arabia]


[1] May not this wady have been once a noble stream perhaps, as Glaser
conjectures, the fourth of the Paradise rivers? (Gen ii. 10-14) Upon
the question as to where the ancient Semites located Paradise Glaser
says that it was in the neighborhood of the confluence of the Euphrates
and Tigris, on the Arabian side. There the sacred palm of the city of
Eridu grew; there according to the view of the ancient Arabs the two
larger wadys of Central Arabia opened. The one is the Wady er-Ruma or
the Gaihan; and the other is the Wady ed-Dauasir, _a side wady_ of
which in the neighborhood of Hamdani still bears the name of Faishan
(Pishon).—See “Recent Research in Bible Lands,” by H.V. Hilprecht,
(Philadelphia, 1897). See also _The Sunday-School Times_, Vol. XXXIII,
No 49.

[2] Samhudi’s History of Medina. (Arabic text p. 40, sqq.)

[3] These wastes are also termed _Dakhna_, _Ahkaf_, and _Hamad_
according to the greater or less depth or shifting nature of the sands
or the more or less compact character of the soil.

[4] “Kitab Sinajet-el-Tarb” by Nofel Effendi (Beirut 1890). The author
follows the older Arabic authorities.

[5] Geography of Asia (Vol II., p. 460), 1896.

[6] The first account of a European visiting Mecca is that of Ludovico
Bartema, a gentleman of Rome, who visited the city in 1503; his
narrative was published in 1555. The first Englishman was Joseph Pitts,
the sailor from Exeter, in 1678; then followed the great Arabian
traveller, John Lewis Burckhardt, 1814; Burton in 1853 visited both
Mecca and Medina; H. Bicknell made the pilgrimage in 1862 and T.F.
Keane in 1880. The narratives of each of these pilgrims have been
published, and from them, and the travels of Ali Bey, and others, we
know something of the Holy Land of Arabia. Ali Bey was in reality a
Spaniard, called Juan Badia y Seblich, who visited Mecca and Medina in
1807 and left a long account of his travels in two volumes illustrated
by many beautiful engravings. Burton’s account of his pilgrimage is
best known, but Burckhardt’s is more accurate and scholarly. Of modern
books, that of the Dutch scholar, Snouck Hurgronje, who resided in
Mecca for a long time, is by far the best. His _Mekka_, in two volumes,
is accompanied by an atlas of photographs and gives a complete history
of the city as well as a full account of its inhabitants and of the
Java pilgrimage.

[7] Vol. II., p. 157.


(From Blunt’s “Future of Islam.”)

NATIONALITY OF PILGRIMS. │ Arriving │ Arriving │
Total Moslem │ by Sea. │ by Land. │ Pop. represented.
Ottoman Subjects │ │ │ (excluding Arabia) │ 8,500 │ 1,000 │ 22,000,000
Egyptians │ 5,000 │ 1,000 │ 5,000,000 From “Barbary States” │ 6,000 │
—— │ 18,000,000 Yemen Arabs │ 3,000 │ —— │ 2,500,000 Oman and Hadramaut
│ 3,000 │ —— │ 3,000,000 Nejd, etc., Arabs │ —— │ 5,000 │ 4,000,000
Hejaz (including Mecca) │ —— │ 22,000 │ 2,000,000 Negroes from Sudan │
2,000 │ —— │ 10,000,000 ” ” Zanzibar │ 1,000 │ —— │ 1,500,000 Malabari
from Cape │ │ │ of G. Hope │ 150 │ —— │ ———— Persians │ 6,000 │ 2,500
│ 8,000,000 Indians (British Subjects)│ 15,000 │ —— │ 40,000,000
Malays and Javanese │ 12,000 │ —— │ 30,000,000 Chinese │ 100 │ —— │
15,000,000 Mongols } │ —— │ —— │ 6,000,000 Russians, Tartars, etc.}
│ —— │ —— │ 5,000,000 Afghans and Baluchis } │ —— │ —— │ 3,000,000
(included in Ottoman Haj)├──────────┼──────────┤ │ 61,750 │ 31,500 │
Total pilgrims present │ 93,250 │ 175,000,000 at Arafat │ │

[9] Professor Hankin in the _British Medical Journal_ for June, 1894,
published the result of his analysis of Zemzem water as follows: “Total
solid in a gallon, 259; Chlorine, 51.24; Free ammonia, parts per
million, 0.93; Albuminoid ammonia, .45. It contains an amount of solids
greater than that in any well water used for potable purposes.”

[10] Its measurements, according to Ali Bey, are 37 ft. 2 in., 31 ft. 7
in., 38 ft 4 in., 29 ft. and its height is 34 ft. 4 in.

[11] This religion which denies an atonement and teaches that Christ
was not crucified yet has for its great festival a feast of sacrifice
to commemorate the obedience of Abraham and the substitute provided by

[12] This is the testimony of Captain Burton, the man who translated
an unexpurgated text of the Arabian nights and left behind a book in
manuscript which his wife had the good sense to destroy and so prevent
its publication.

[13] Hurgronje, p. 5, Vol. II.

[14] Ibid., p. 102.

[15] Ibid, p 11.

[16] Ibid., pp. 61-64.

[17] This coin is called _Mishkash_ and is a Venetian coin of Duke
Aloys Mocenigo I. (1570-77 A.D.). On one side the Duke is kneeling
before St. Mark the patron saint of Venice and on the other is the
image of Christ surrounded by stars.

[18] The western or coast route goes by Koleis, Rabek, Mastura, and
near Jebel Eyub (Job’s Mountain) over Jebel Subh, then to Suk-es-Safra
and Suk el Jedid to Medina. The eastern road was the one taken by
Burton, and goes by way of El Zaribah, El Sufena, El Suerkish, etc., a
distance 248 miles.

[19] These arguments may be stated briefly as follows:

1. A tumult followed the announcement of the prophet’s death, and Omar
threatened destruction to any one who asserted it. Is it probable that
a quiet interment took place?

2. Immediately after Mohammed’s death a dispute about the succession
arose, in the ardor of which, according to the Shiahs, the house of Ali
and Fatima, near the present tomb, were threatened by fire.

3. The early Moslems would not be apt to _reverence_ the grave of the
prophet, as do those of later date, when tradition has exalted him
above the common humanity. The early Moslems were indifferent as to the
exact spot.

4. The shape of the prophet’s tomb was not known in early times, nor is
it given in the traditions, so that we find convex graves in some lands
and flat in others.

5. The accounts of the learned among the Moslems are discrepant as to
the burial of Mohammed.

6. Shiah schismatics had charge of the sepulchre for centuries, and
because of its proximity to the graves of Abubekr and Omar, it was in
their interest to remove the body.

7. Even the present position of the grave, with relation to other
graves, is in dispute, because the tomb-chamber (_Hujrah_) is closely
guarded by eunuchs, who do not allow any one to enter.

8. The tale of the blinding light which surrounds the prophet’s tomb
seems a plausible story to conceal a defect.

9. Mohammed el Halebi, the Sheikh-el Ulema of Damascus, assured Burton
that he was permitted to pass the door leading into the tomb-chamber,
and that he saw no trace of a sepulchre.

10. Moslem historians admit that an attempt was made in A.H. 412 to
steal the bodies of Mohammed and the two companions by the third
Fatimite Caliph of Egypt; they relate marvels connected with the
failure of the attempt, and assert that a trench was dug deep all
around the graves and filled with molten lead to prevent the theft of
the body.

11. In A. H. 654 the mosque was destroyed by a volcanic eruption,
according to the Moslem historians, but the tomb-chamber escaped
all damage! Again in A. H. 887 it was struck by lightning. “On this
occasion,” says El Samanhudi (quoted by Burckhardt) “the interior of
the Hujrah (tomb-chamber) was cleared and three deep graves were found
in the inside full of rubbish, but the author of this history, who
himself entered it, saw no trace of tombs.” The same author declared
that the coffin containing the dust of Mohammed was cased with silver.

12. Lastly the Shiah and Sunni accounts of the prophet’s death and
burial are contradictory as to the exact place of burial.

[20] Niebuhr, 1763; Seetzen, 1810; Cruttenden, 1836; Dr. Wolff, 1836;
Owen, 1857; Botta, 1837; Passama, 1842; Arnaud, 1843; Van Maltzan,
1871; Halvéy, 1870; Millingen, 1874; Renzo Manzoni, 1879; Glaser, 1880;
Defler, 1888; Haig, 1889; Harris, 1892; and later travellers. Defler is
the authority on the flora, Glaser on the antiquities, Manzoni on the
Turks and their government, Haig on the agricultural population, and
Harris tells of the recent rebellions. Niebuhr’s magnificent volumes
are still good authority on the geography and natural history of Yemen.

[21] The Yemen plow is shaped like an English plow in many respects;
although it has only one handle its coulter is broad and made of iron,
a great improvement over the crooked stick of Mesopotamia.

[22] It was not pleasant for an American to notice that nearly all the
Turkish rifles in Yemen were “Springfield 1861.” The same weapons that
were employed to break the chains of slavery in the southern states,
are now used to oppress the peaceful Yemenites.

[23] Of the work among the latter, and my experiences in distributing
the New Testament, a report was published by the Mildmay Mission; we
therefore omit reference to it here.

[24] Geog. Soc. Proceedings, 1887, p. 482.

[25] Defler says in his diary that this place has “une odeur atroce et
des legions de puces et de punaises.” I also had an all-night’s battle.

[26] Hadramaut is a very ancient name for this region. Not only does
Ptolemy place here the _Adramitæ_ in his geography, but there seems
little doubt that Hadramaut is identical with Hazarmaveth, mentioned in
the tenth chapter of Genesis.

[27] “The Hadramaut: a Journey” by Theodore Bent. _Nineteenth Century_,
September, 1894. Also Mrs. Bent’s “Yafei and Fadhli countries.”
_Geographical Journal_, July, 1898.

[28] Le Hadramont et les Colonies Arabes dans le Archipel Indien par
L.W.C. Van den Berg. Batavia, 1886. By order of the Government.

[29] Notes on the Mahrah Tribe with vocabulary of their language; notes
on the Gharah tribe; geography of the southeast coast of Arabia;—July,
1845, July, 1847; and January, 1851, in the journal of the Society.

[30] The most characteristic difference between Mahri and Arabic is the
substitution of _Shin_ (sh) for _Kaf_ (k) in many words.

[31] “History of Oman.“

[32] The remainder of the chapter is quoted from the letters of my
brother, Rev. P. J. Zwemer, and the sketch of Tenoof was drawn by him
on one of his journeys.

[33] These islands are identified by Sprenger and others with Dedan of
the Scriptures, (_Ezekiel_ xxvii. 15), and were known to the Romans by
the name of Tylos. Pliny writes of the cotton-trees, “_arbores vocant
gossympinos fertiliore etiam Tylo minore_.”—(xii. 10). Strabo describes
the Phœnician temples that existed on the islands, and Ptolemy speaks
of the pearl-fisheries which from time immemorial flourished along
these coasts. The geographer, Juba, also tells of a battle fought off
the islands between the Romans and the Arabs. Ptolemy’s ancient map
shows how little was known as to the size or location of the group.
Even Niebuhr’s map, which is wonderfully correct in the main, makes
a great error in the position of the islands; in his day the two
principal islands were called Owal and Arad, names which still linger.

[34] This cost is divided as follows: Fishing smack _r._ 400, wages of
10 divers _r._ 2,000; wages of 12 rope-holders _r._ 2,400; apparatus
_r._ 40. Total _rupees_ 4,810.

[35] The _Mashooah_ is a much smaller boat, like the English
jolly-boat, and is used in the harbor and for short journeys around the

[36] The only remarkable exception is the Jebel Sinam—a rough hill of
basaltic rock that crops out in the midst of the alluvial delta near
Zobeir; a peculiar phenomenon, but proving Doughty’s general scheme for
the Arabian geology correct even here.

[37] The dates of Hassa and Oman may equal those of Busrah but the
gardens are inferior and the quantity produced is not so large.

[38] The last named is outside of our present subject and is a misnomer
given by Turkish audacity to the region of Hassa.

[39] Kuweit is the Arabic diminutive of _Kut_ a walled-village; the
place is called Grane on some maps—evidently a corruption of _Kurein_
or “little horn,” a name given to an island in the harbor.

[40] For the interesting history of the cities that occupied the site
of Busrah before the days of Islam, and as far back as Nebuchadnezzar,
see Ainsworth’s “Personal narrative of the Euphrates expedition.”

[41] The following are the villages and encampments between _Hillah_
and _Diwaniyeh_: El Ataj, Doulab, Dobleh, Kwaha, Saadeh, Tenhara, Bir
Amaneh, Allaj, Anameh, Hosein, Khegaan Sageer and Khegaan Kebir.

[42] The distinction between true Arabs of the nomad tribes and the
_Me’dan_ was made as early as 1792 by Niebuhr in his travels, and the
river boatmen still answer your question with contemptuous accent:
“Those are not Arabs, they are Me’dan.”

[43] It contains the following Wadys: Nejran, Habuna, Wanan, Moyazet,
Bedr and the extensive Wady Dauasir.

[44] Aflaj has six villages: Siah, Leyta, Khurfa, Ei-Rautha, El-Bedia.
Wady Dauasir has these towns: El-Hammam, Es-Shotibba, Es-Soleil,
Tamera, Ed-Dam, El-Loghf, El-Ferrà, Es Showeik, and El-Ayathat.
(Doughty.) Most of these towns are not given on the maps, but as some
of them are, it is interesting to mention the route from Hassa to this
Wady, given by Capt. Miles in a letter to Sprenger (dated Muscat,
March, 1873) and quoted in his “Alte Geog. Arabiens,” page 240. “Route
from El Hasa to Solail: Hassa, Khaiaj, Howta, Hilwa, Leilah, Kharfa,
Rondha, El Sih, Bidia, Shitba, Solail. From Solail to Runniya it is
three days’ journey. It is a town larger than Solail. The Dosiri
tribes are as follows El-Woodaieen at Solail; El Misahireh possess
most camels, etc.; Al Hassan at Wasit; Beni Goweit; El-Khutran in
Shitba; El Sherafa; El-’Umoor, east end of Wady; Al Saad, west of Wady;
El-Showaiej; El-Khamaseen; El Kahtan; Hamid; Al Amar; El Farjan in

[45] A full account of their peculiar beliefs and their disputed origin
is given in the Appendix to Badger’s “History of Oman.”

[46] The Talh is a large tree of roundish, scanty, leafage, with a
little dry berry for fruit, its branches are wide-spreading and thorny.
The Nebaa’ is much smaller though of considerable height; it has very
small ovate bright green leaves. The Sidi is a little acacia tree.

[47] For our present knowledge of the government, population, cities
and villages of Nejd we are chiefly indebted to the following
travellers: Captain G. F. Sadlier, of the English army, who was the
first European to cross the Arabian Peninsula. (1819) George Wallin,
a learned young Swedish Arabist, travelling in 1845 and 1848 as a
Mohammedan doctor of law, passed through the northern desert from Jauf
to Hail and visited Medina. William Gifford Palgrave, a Jesuit Roman
Catholic, of English birth and scholarly tastes made his celebrated
journey across Arabia from west to east in 1862-63. In 1864 the bold
Italian traveller Guarmani went from Jerusalem straight to Jebel
Shammar and Aneyza. In 1865 Colonel Pelly, the British Resident at
Bushire made an important journey, in company with Dr. Colville and
Lieutenant Dawes, from Kuweit through southeastern Nejd to Riadh,
returning by Hassa to Ojeir and Bahrein. Then Charles M. Doughty
(_facile princeps_ among all authorities and travellers Arabian) made
his long, arduous, zigzag journeys through northwestern and northern
Arabia from November, 1876, to August, 1878. Our other authority for
Nejd is Lady Ann Blunt who with her husband visited the capital of Ibn
Rashid’s country from Bagdad in 1883.

[48] If we remember that Palgrave compares Feysul’s mud brick palace
to the Tuileries of Paris, states that the great mosque of Riad can
accommodate 2,000 worshippers, and gives the Wahabi ruler a standing
army of 50,000, we deduct a little from the poetical description to
have a balance of net facts.

[49] In our chapter on the Arabic language we shall see that the golden
age of Arabic literature was just before the birth of Mohammed.

[50] “Mohammedanism had owed much to the Jewish kingdom of Sâba. The
rule of the Sabean kings had extended over Mecca, and Jewish ideas and
beliefs had thus made their way into the future birthplace of Mohammed.
The fact is full of interest for students of the history of Islam. The
epigraphic evidence which Dr. Glaser has presented to us shows that
the rise of Mohammedanism was not the strange and unique phenomenon it
has hitherto been thought to be. It had been prepared for centuries
previously. Arabia had for ages been the home of culture and the art of
writing, and for about two hundred years before the birth of Mohammed
his countrymen had been brought into close contact with the Jewish
faith. Future research will doubtless explain fully how great was his
debt to the Jewish masters of Mecca and the Sabean kingdom of Southern
Arabia.”—Prof. A. H. Sayce in the _Independent_.

[51] Koelle’s Mohammed, p. 5.

[52] Het Matriarchaat bij de onde Arabieren (1884), and _Supplement_ to
the same, in answer to critics, (1885). The Hague.

[53] Smith’s “Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia,” pp. 100, 104.

[54] Palmer’s Introduction to the Koran, p. xv.

[55] In the order of time, and to fully grasp the extent of Christian
ideas prevalent in Arabia the chapter on Early Christianity in Arabia
should precede this chapter on Islam; but logically that chapter
belongs with the other chapters on mission-work. The same is true, in a
measure, of the chapter on the Sabeans.

[56] See pp. 177, 178, for tables showing the Elements in Islam and the
sources from which they were derived.

[60] Koelle’s Mohammed, p. 27.

[61] See an article on “Mohammedanism and Christianity.”—Dr. Robert
Bruce, _The Christian Intelligencer_ (New York) April, 1894.

[62] Even the sacred books of India and China and Ancient Egypt compare
more favorably with the Bible in this respect than does the Koran. They
teach the heinous character of sin, as sin, and do not deny the need of
a mediator or of propitiatory sacrifice but are full of both ideas.

[63] For a Chronological table of Arabian history, from the earliest
times to the present, _see Appendix_.

[64] The four orthodox sects are called: Hanafis, Shafis, Malakis, and
Hambalis. The last was founded by Ibn Hambal at Bagdad, 780 A. D. it is
the least popular sect.

[65] The Mahmal is a covered litter, an emblem of royalty and of
superstitious honor sent from Cairo and Damascus to Mecca, to this day.

[66] Zehm’s Arabie, p. 332.

[67] Saud died at the age of forty-five, in April, 1814, from fever,
at Deraiyah. He was a strong-willed ruler but administered justice
with rigor; he was wise in council and skillful in settling disputes
and healing factions. Of his eight children, Abdullah, the eldest,
succeeded him as ruler.

[68] The history of its tedious prosecution and all its cruelty on the
side of the Turks is told by Burckhardt, the traveller, who was himself
living in Mecca at this time.

[69] Palgrave visited the Wahabi capital during the reign of Feysul
and gives his usual picturesque descriptions of the court and family
life of the genial tyrant. But it is necessary to take his accounts
of Riad _cum grano salis_; a Jesuit Roman Catholic would not describe
the strict Puritanism of the Wahabis with any degree of admiration.
Palgrave’s statistics of the strength of Feysul’s army and of the
population of his dominions are utterly unreliable and greatly
exaggerated. However one must read Palgrave to know what was the
condition of the Wahabi empire in 1860-63, for he is our only authority
for that period.

[70] The history of Mecca under these Sherifs is given by Snouck
Hurgronje at length in his “Mekka.”

[71] This is according to the testimony of Walter B. Harris who was in
Yemen shortly after the rebellion.

[72] See Lady Ann Blunt’s “Bedouins of the Euphrates.”

[73] Statesman’s Year Book.

[74] For a complete account of Perim, see “The Description and History
of Perim,” by J. S. King, Bombay, 1877.

[75] Treaties were made with the Arabs of the pirate coast in 1835,
1838, 1839, 1847, 1853, and 1856; of these we shall speak later.

[76] The British India steamer, carry the mails and leave Bombay and
Busrah once a week, touching at the intermediate ports in the Gulf,
after Kerachi, as follows: Gwadur, Muscat, Jask, Bunder Abbas, Lingah,
Bahrein, Bushire, Fao and Mohammerah; the journey lasts a fortnight and
the distance, zigzag, is about one thousand nine hundred miles.

[77] In a recent paper read before the Society of Arts in London Mr. C.
E. D. Black of the Geographical Department of the India office urges
other reasons for the practicability of this route.—(London _Times_,
May 7th, 1898.)

[78] _Times_ of India, June 17, 1899.


1. Ras el Kheima—Jowasim tribe. 2. Um-el-Kawain—Al-bu-Ali tribe. 3.
Ajman—Al-bu-Ali tribe. 4. Sharka—Jowasim tribe. 5. Debai—Al-bu-falasal
tribe. 6. Abu Dhabi—Bni Yas tribe.

All of these tribes reside between Katar and Ras el Had on the Arabian
coast. (See Aitchison, Vol. VII., No. xxvi.)

[80] Curzon’s “Persia,” Vol. II., p. 453.

[81] The following tribes in the vicinity of Aden receive (or received)
annual subsidies from the British Government:

_Tribe._ _Estimated Population._ Abdali 15,000 Fadhli 25,000 Akrabi 800
Subaihi 20,000 Haushabi 6,000 Alawi 1,500 Amir 30,000 Yaffai 35,000

Thus the total estimated population of these tribes is 133,300 and the
total amount of the annual stipend paid them in 1877, was 12,000 German
crowns. (Hunter’s “Aden,” p. 155.)

[82] In a remarkable article, the _Novoe Vremya_ makes known the
Russian discovery of “a new British intrigue.” It appears that Great
Britain, not content with the virtual annexation of Egypt and the
Sudan, is even, while carrying out her plans for the absorption of
the Transvaal and the advancement of her interests in Persia, busily
engaged in setting up a Mohammedan Power which is to rival that of
the Sultan, and is ultimately to be used as a means of menacing, if
not destroying, Russian authority in Central Asia. The puppet Prince
selected for this purpose is the Sherif of Mecca. According to the
_Novoe Vremya_, the Sherif has recently received from England a
letter stating that the British government, having decided to invest
a certain worthy but impecunious Mohammedan Sheikh with the Caliphate
of Zeila, on the borders of Somaliland, and recognizing the Sherif as
a descendant of the Prophet and great protector of Islam, considers
it desirable for the Sherif on the day of the appointment of the new
Caliph to issue a manifesto expressing his approval. In return for
this service, Great Britain will proclaim Mecca and Medina the private
property of the Sherif, will assure to him the greater part of the
revenues of the new Caliphate, and will defend him by diplomatic means,
or even by force of arms, against the interference of the Sultan or
any other Foreign Power. It is perhaps needless to say that the author
of this intrigue is said to be Mr. Chamberlain, who is described as
a man “without faith, without truth, capable of trampling under foot
every commandment, whether of God or man, in order to accomplish his
purpose of placing Great Britain at the head of the Powers of the
world.”—_Times_ of India, 1899.

[83] He speaks of it as follows in his Histoire des Langues Semitques,
p. 342 “Cette langue, auparavant inconnue, se montre à nous
soudainement dans toute sa perfection, avec sa flexibilite, sa richesse
infinie, tellemen-complete, en un mot, que depnis ce temps jusqu’a nos
jours elle n’a subi ancune modification importante. Il n’y a pour elle
ni enfance, ni vieillesse; une fois qu’on a signalé son apparition et
ses prodijieuses cont quêtes, tout est dit sur son compte. Je ne sais
si l’on trouverait un autre exemple d’un idiome entrant dans le monde
comme celui-ci, sans état archaïque, sans degrés intermediaires ni

[84] Von Kremer, Guidi, Hommel.

[85] Sayce, Sprenger, Schrader, De Goeje, Wright.

[86] Assyrian Grammar, p. 13.

[87] An account of this language or dialect was given by Surgeon H. J.
Carter in Journal Roy. Asiat. Soc., July, 1847.

[88] Lansing.

[89] Found in the _Edinburgh Review_ for July, 1866, article “Mohammed.”

[90] “It would take a long list to exhaust the religious, literary and
scientific contributions to the Arabic language from the missionaries
in Syria. They include the translation of the Scriptures and the
stereotyping of the same in numerous styles; the preparation of a
Scripture guide, commentaries, a concordance, and a complete hymn and
tune book; text-books in history, algebra, geometry, trigonometry,
logarithms, astronomy, meteorology, botany, zoölogy, physics,
chemistry, anatomy, physiology, hygiene, materia medica, practice of
physic, surgery, and a periodical literature which has proved the
stimulus to a very extensive native journalism. The Protestant converts
of the mission, educated by the missionaries, have written elaborate
works on history, poetry, grammar, arithmetic, natural science, and
the standard dictionary of the language, and a cyclopædia which will
make a library by itself, consisting of about twenty volumes of from
six hundred to eight hundred pages each.”—_Dr. G. E. Post, in New York

[91] Gen. xxv. 16.

[92] In the _Edinburgh Review_, July, 1866.

[93] International Routes of Asia, by Elisée Reclus, in New York
_Independent_, May 4, 1899.

[94] Smith’s Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, pp. 9, 17, 131.

[95] What the boys and girls of the towns can study we have described
in our chapter on Mecca.

[96] This is the testimony of Burckhardt and Doughty.

[97] Arabia Deserta, Vol. I., p. 238.

[98] Translation from Mekka, Vol. II., p. 187.

[99] See Burckhardt’s book for further particulars.

[100] Signifying “Allah.”

[101] Baidhawi’s Commentary _in loco_.

[102] For on account of these ancient superstitions and idolatries
still practiced, see W. Robertson Smith’s “Religion of the Semites”
and his “Kinship and marriage in Early Arabia.” The mass of purely
Mohammedan superstition can be studied in books like the Arabian Nights
and Lane’s “Modern Egyptians.”

[103] This chapter is an enlargement of a paper on “The
Star-Worshippers of Mesopotamia” read before the Victoria Institute,
Adelphi Terrace, London, 1897.

[104] Kessler.

[105] Surah ii. 59; v. 73; xxii. 17

[106] According to Gesenius, Sabeans should be _Tsabians_ from
_tsabaoth_, the “host of heaven.” Nöldeke and others say it comes from
a root _subba_ to wash, baptise, and refers to the manner of their
worship. Gibbon is perhaps correct when, on the authority of Pocock,
Hettinger, and D’Herbelot, he states the origin of their other name
thus: “A slight infusion of the gospel had transformed the last remnant
of the Chaldean polytheists into the Christians of St. John at Bussora.”

In regard to their name _Sabeans_, Lane’s Arabic dictionary says that
it comes from a root meaning “one who has departed from one religion
to another religion.” The Arabs used to call the prophet _as-Sabi_,
because he departed from the religion of the Koreish to El-Islam.
Nasoreans is the name given them by some authors. According to
Petermann they themselves give this title only to those of their number
who are distinguished for character or knowledge. It doubtless comes
from [Greek: Nazôrãioi], the early half-Christian sect of Syria.

[107] The only grammar of the language is the elaborate _Mandäische
Grammatik_ of the indefatigable scholar Nöldeke. One great drawback of
the book however is that the _Hebrew_ character is used throughout and
not the Mandâitic.

[108] Leviticus xiv. 4-7, 49-53.

[109] Cf. Job xxxi. 26-28.

[110] The first printed and translated edition of the _Sidra Rabba_
was by Math. Norberg (Copenhagen, 1815-16), but it is said to be so
defective that it is quite useless critically; Petermann reproduced the
Paris MSS. in two volumes at Leipsic, 1867. Besides the _Sidra Rabba_
there are: _Sidra d’Yaheya_ or Book of St. John, also called _Drasche
d’Malek_ (discourse of the King); The _Diwan_; The _Sidra Neshmata_, or
book of souls; and last, but not least, the books of the zodiac called
_Asfar Malwashee_. Except for the _small_ portion of the _Sidra Rabba_
found in Brandt’s recently published _Mandäische Schriften_ (1895) all
of the above still await critical study and editing.

[111] See the history of Gnostic teaching, especially that of the
Ophites and Sethians. All the evil characters in the Old Testament,
with Cain at their head, were set forth as spiritual heroes. Judas
Iscariot was represented as alone knowing the truth. I find no large
account of the serpent in the Sabean system; this may be otherwise
accounted for.

[112] Gibbon.

[113] Sale’s Koran.

[114] Galatians i. 17.

[115] Gal. i. 18; Acts ix. 9, 25.

[116] Many others, including Hilary, Jerome, Theodoret and the
Occumenian commentators are stated by Rawlinson (St. Paul in Damascus
and Arabia, p. 128), to hold the same opinion. Porter, not alone
of modern writers, puts forth the same view in his “Five Years in
Damascus,” and supposes that Paul’s success was great enough to provoke
the hostility of Aretas and make him join the later persecution.

[117] “Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia,” p. 214.

[118] Koran, Surah vii. 71.

[119] Desert of the Exodus, p. 50.

[120] Acts xvii. 26.

[121] Acts xvii. 29.

[122] Acts xvii. 31.

[123] Acts xvii. 25.

[124] Acts xx. 20, 27.

[125] Wright’s “Early Christianity in Arabia,” 1855.

[126] Buchanan’s Christian Researches.

[127] Wright, p. 77.

[128] The latest version of his life is by Nöldeke in his “Sketches
from Eastern History.” (London, 1892.)

[129] Wright, p. 144.

[130] Kurtz’ “Church History,” Vol. I., p. 386.

[131] See however, _Christianity in China, Tartary and Tibet_, by Abbe
Huc, Vol. I., p. 88 (New York, 1857). He speaks of Christians in Nejran
as late as the tenth century.

[132] See Smith’s “Short History of Missions.” Peroquet, Vie de Raymund
Lull (1667). Low de Vita Ray. Lull (Halle, 1830). Helfferich Raymund
Lull (Berlin, 1858). Dublin _Univ. Mag._, Vol. LXXVIII., p. 43, “His
Life and Work.”

[133] O merciful God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that
Thou hast made, nor wouldest the death of a sinner, but rather that
he should be converted and live: have mercy upon all Jews, _Turks_,
Infidels, and Heretics, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of
heart, and contempt of Thy Word, and so fetch them home, blessed Lord,
to Thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true
Israelites, and be made one fold under one Shepherd, Jesus Christ our
Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God,
world without end. Amen.

[134] “Life of Henry Martyn,” by George Smith, C. I. E., LL. D., (1892)
p. 226.

[135] Journal of Mr. Anthony N. Groves, Missionary to and at Bagdad.
(London, 1831.)

[136] George Smith’s Life of Martyn, p. 563.

[137] In 1876, after the death of Dr. Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Stothert of
the Free Church Mission arranged to take a trip up the Persian Gulf as
far as Bagdad. They were deeply impressed by the spiritual needs of the
whole of Eastern Arabia. On the way they sold Scriptures and on their
return called attention to the needs of Bagdad. For twenty-five years
special prayer was offered for Eastern Arabia every Monday by these two

[138] _Church Missionary Intelligencer_ for May and June, 1887.

[139] The General also published an account of his journey in Yemen
from a geographical standpoint in the _Geographical Journal_, Vol. IX.,
p. 479. See also _The Missionary Review of the World_, October, 1895.

[140] “The Missionary Expansion since the Reformation.”—Graham, p. 19.
“Life and Letters of Rev. A. Stern.”

[141] On Van Tassel’s work and experiences see “North Africa” (21
Linton Road, Barking, London), Vol. for 1890, pp. 4, 21, 43, 59, 78;
Vol for 1891, pp. 2, 14, 27, 31 and 50.

[142] Mackay of Uganda, by his sister, (New York, 1897) pp. 417-430
gives the article in full.

[143] The text of this resolution is quoted at the head of chapter

[144] See “Memorials of the Hon. Ion Keith Falconer.”—Robert Sinker
(6th Edition Cambridge 1890) and Ion Keith Falconer, Pioneer in Arabia
by Rev. A. T. Pierson, D. D. (Oct. 1897, _Missionary Review of the

[145] Kalilah and Dimnah, or The Fables of Bidpai, by I. G. N. Keith
Falconer, Cambridge, 1885.

[146] Life and Correspondence of T. V. French, First Bishop of Lahore,
by Rev. Robert Birks, (Murray, London, 1895). 2 vols.

[147] The letters appeared in the _Church Missionary Intelligencer_,
for May and July, 1891.

[148] An able plea for the acceptance of the Mission by the Church was
made by Rev. J. A. Davis, in the _Christian Intelligencer_, N. Y.,
September 18, 1889.

[149] This meeting with General Haig was described by him in an account
in the London _Christian_ (June, 1891).

[150] The Mohammedan Missionary Problem.—H. H. Jessup, D.D., 1879.

[151] Vol. II., pp. 503-529.

[152] Notes on Islam: A Hand-book for Missionaries.—Rev. Arthur
Brinckman. London, 1868.

[153] Reprinted in “North Africa” (April, 1892), under the title:
_Preaching, not Controversy_.

[154] History of the Church Missionary Society, Vol. II., p. 155.

[155] The Mohammedan Controversy and other articles—Sir Wm. Muir,
Edinburgh, 1897.

[156] _Missionary Review_, October, 1893, p. 727, in article by “C. H.”

[157] Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race, by E. W. Blyden, London,

[158] Missions in Sumatra, Dr. A. Schreiber, “North Africa,” May, 1896.

[159] Gen. xii. 3, xviii. 8, xxii. 18, xxvi. 4, xxviii. 14; Num. xiv.
21; Forty-three of the Psalms; Isaiah ii. 2, 18, etc., etc.; Jeremiah
iii. 17; Dan. vii. 13, 14; Joel ii. 28; Jonah, iii., iv.; Micah v. 4;
Hab. ii. 14; Zeph. ii. 11; Hag. ii. 6, 7; Zech. ix. 10, xiv. 9; Mal. i.

[160] See Isaiah xxxv. 1-3, xl. 3, xli. 19, xliii. 19, li. 3; Ezekiel
xxxiv. 25, xlvii. 8; Ps. lxxii. 9, etc.

[161] According to Gesenius this is Suez, while Keil identifies it with
Jifar, a site in the northwestern part of Arabia near Egypt.

[162] Compare Rom. iv. 11, and Gal. iii. 17.

[163] Gen. xxi. 9-22.

[164] Gen. xxv. 11-18, and 1 Chron. i. 28.

[165] Isaiah xxi. 13-17 and Jer. xlix. 28-33.

[166] See Smith’s Bible Dictionary.

[167] Cf. Exodus xxiii. 31 and Deut. xi. 24.

[168] _The Christian Intelligencer_ (N. Y.), March 15, 1899.

[169] Consult Bibliographies of Palestine and Syria with inference to
Nomad life; also D. Islam.

[170] Consult also list in Gilman’s Saracens.

[171] Consult British and Foreign Bible Society Reports for account
of Scripture circulation; the _Free Church of Scotland Monthly_
for reports of Keith Falconer Mission; the _Church Missionary
Intelligencer_, 1887, vol. xii., pp. 215, 273, 346, 408; _Missionary
Review of the World_, 1892-1899, October numbers, and _Record of the
American Bible Society_, 1898-1900.

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