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obligatory sacredness; which is verified by the concordant assent of the Sacred Verses and Martyrs, which relate to the potency and acceptability of this site. Behind this Tower are the stones, in the hinder part of the Mosque, near the Gate of the Tribes. In it is the place called Solomon's Throne, where he prayed after the completion of the Temple. All these Towers and glorious spots are highly to be venerated by pilgrims, being noted for causing favourable answers to prayer, and for the liberal gifts of all desirable things to those who pray therein.
Now, for all that is publicly believed about the Gates.--The Gate of Mercy is by the Eastern Wall. It is mentioned in the Korán, “The gate within the wall is the Gate of Mercy; without, the Gate of Punishment.” This gate is within the precinct, very near the Mosque. The other gate mentioned in the Korán, near to the Valley of Hinnom, is closed, and will not be opened until God proclaims aloud that it shall be opened. The Gate of Mercy is an admirable point, towards which pilgrims should direct their prayers and supplications. All will be accomplished for those who, in addition to other observances, here pray to God to grant them Paradise, and beseech him to save them from Hell, and repeat a multitude of
prayers to this effect. For Muhammad himself said, O
God! whosoever shall beseech thee three times, to grant him Paradise, let him enter therein. Whoso shall three times have recourse to thy guardian succour to save him from Hell, deliver him thence. For the most becoming requests we can address to God are, to obtain Paradise, and to be protected from Hell. Which of the two sides of this gate is more efficient in obtaining these blessings is matter of opinion. Let us, however, hope, from the bounty, the goodness, the surpassing majesty, and faithful truth of God, that he will grant to us to be of the people of Paradise --of those who therein obtain salvation, and enter therein in peace, received under God's safeguard, please God!
This gate is on the hinder part near the wall and the Tower of David. As to the Gate of Repentance, it is joined in one with the Gate of Mercy. Neither of them in these times is opened. Hard by the Gate of Repentance, between the Gate of Mercy and the Gate of the Tribes, is the dwelling of Al Khidr and Elias, (peace be with them !) as chroniclers say. As to the Gate of Al Khidr, I do not find it mentioned in the Muthír Alfárám. His dwelling-place is mentioned in certain commentators and interpreters. From them we learn that Al Khidr prayed every Friday in five Mosques—Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, and the Mosque of Kissa (near Larissa), and the Mosque of Tyre, every Friday night; also, every Friday he ate nothing except two mouthfuls of turnips and garlic, and drank once from Zimzim, and once from the Well of Solomon, in Jerusalem, called the Well of the Leaves, and washed in the fountain of Siloam. Again, we learn that Elias and St. George kept the month of Rhamadán every year in Jerusalem, and fasted, and performed the feast-observances of Mecca. The historian Abul-Kásim relates, that Abú-Tálib said, whilst performing the procession around the Kaaba, I saw a man leaning close by the curtain of the Kaaba, and saying, “O Thou, whose ear is never pre-occupied, nor incapable of hearing! O Thou, whose thoughts never wander, and who never overlookest the suppliants ! 0 Thou, who art never wearied with the ceaseless urgency of suitors ! give to me my pressing, my indispensable need-thy forgiveness, the sweetness of thy compassion.” Tálib hereupon said, Repeat these words, O servant of God! Who said, Didst thou hear them? He said, Certainly. He then said, These words were breathed by St. George* into his hand, i. e. secretly; who also asserted, that there was no one who should adore, repeating the words thus written, but should be forgiven, although his sins were in number like the grains of sand, or
the froth of the sea, or the leaves of the trees. A tradition says also, that the Prophet asserted, that St. George received the name Al Khidr because that he sat down one day upon a seat covered with white skins, which were changed
Al Bukhari also is reported to have said, I one day entered the Holy House before the twilight had become full light, in order to pray therein, when, lo! I heard a voice, speaking in very low tone for a time, and for a time speaking clearly and distinctly. Thus it spake, “O Lord ! I am poor, and I am fearful. I flee to thee for
Lord! cease not to hear me; change not my hearing; alter not my body; enforce my trials.” Upon this I went out in confusion, and passing by some who were at the gate of the Mosque, they said unto me, What is the matter with thee, O servant of God? Then I told them. Upon which they said, It is no trifling adventure you have met with. This is the Green One, St. George ; and this is his hour of prayer. Another commentator says, that the stones called Al-Bakh-bakh point out where St. George prayed ; which is a very propitious spot for prayer. · Other commentators assert that St. George was a prophet, and a most eminent Imam of Cordova (in Spain); which opinion is the received one of the most truth-telling Shaikhs. The belief of some
is, that he is a Patron Saint; of others, that he is still alive : one asserts that a certain person asked St. George where he prayed; who said, The morning-prayer in a corner of Yaman ; the noontide prayer in Medina; the evening-prayer in the Holy House : after each prayer I perform that arduous duty which God hath imposed and enjoined upon me. Another commentator observes, that the cause of St. George's preservation in life is, that he drank of the Fountain of Life : for he observes, in addition to the concourse of the waters of the deep, there is a fountain, called the Fountain of Life. The water of this spring, if it comes in contact with any thing, causes it to live. Others, however, say that he is dead; which the most observant theologians declare definitively.
A certain historian also, Shemseddin-Muhammad-Ibn-Amín, who had travelled to the West, and, long dwelling there, had obtained from learned eyes of Spain and elsewhere much information, and who died in the glorious and prophetical Medina, in a most super-excellent condition of prayer and peace, in the year 739, declares in his book The Gardens of Supreme Consolation, as follows :I one day entered the Vault, and lost my way; when, behold! I met St. George, (peace be with him!) who said, Where I am now walking is the utmost limit and boundary. Then I walked with