Page images
PDF
EPUB

we permit them to seize her? We will force from them the price of blood, until they have paid, to the last farthing, that which they compel us to pay, and escape (just as often as we escape), and contrive (what we contrive), and make no resistance (which we do not make), nor offer any de .. fence in which we will not, in turn, strive to surpass them. And they erected machines for shooting stones, for their troops, on a level with the walls; and their Devils were burning, (i. e. their machines for casting the Greek fire were prepared,) and their harness-makers were preparing harness, and their insolent tyrants displayed their tyranny, and the dust (of busy preparation) flew up, and the waves (of bustle) rolled, and their heralds are summoning, and their spiteful vipers are running, and their priests are stirring the fire (of bravery), and their chieftains drawing out to the dregs all the milk (of courage); and their valour impels them; and their spies came to them, and reported to them what they had spied out respecting the approach of Christian armies--victorious soldiers, gracefully thin by vow for the purpose of attacking the enemy; engaged and bound down in the conceptions of their minds by the light of the way (i. e., their religion), (an army) wasting away in thinness, sprinkled with the dew of hypocrisy (of opinion), full of confi

dence and assumption, hoping from God the superiority in the execution of their will. Then dust rolled like a torrent over the hollow places, and (the warriors agile as) fawns called loudly their words of reproof; and the light edges of the pennons of their spears (glittered) with fire ; and the collars of their dresses flowed murmuring like a stream when moved by their breath, and their widestepping soldiers closed up the broad mountainroads, and the waves of rolling dust were extended far along, and their spears were in motion like mountains, and their onset was as the onset of lions; and their advance came on magnificently ; every one, bound by suit and service to his master, faithfully performed his obligation; and their arms were hidden by Indian white (sleeves), and the sounds of voices were confused by the thunder and lightning (of their swords and their arms). Moreover, my author says,

“The Sultan set out (accompanied) by the escort of Royalty, and a long train of brave warriors, and the escort of his sons and brothers, and the most promising of his Mamlúks and youths, and the most noble of his chiefs, and the most illustrious of his generals and aides-de-camp; and they came in the narrow passes in smaller parties, and the best cavalry in places where one could ride in larger bodies, and (there were) the yellow standard-poles for the

standards which were made of yellow, white, and brown, and the horsemen, and whosoever, from zeal in the faith, was ready to barter his life and soul. And there came, in the dawn of morning, to question him, the greatest from afar, and the noble ones who were near, and companies from on high; and he relates what splendid victories God had given him; and says, If God will prosper us and be our guardian in casting forth his enemies from the Holy City, by opening the way for us (then), God will render us happy, if he will guide us in the work of our hands; for, truly, that Holy City hath been in the hands of the Infidels the long space of one-and-ninety years. God Almighty hath not been approached therein by the. operators of his beauteous (will). With regard to this city, the minds of kings have slumbered, and for an age has she remained deserted, and for years suffered sorrow, and thus hath she been left desolate, and God hath made cheap her superexcellence. And how is it that we have not anxiously reflected upon the recovery of the Holy House, and the Mosque Al Aksá ? for this city has its foundation upon the two most mighty and well-pleasing objects, the Sakhra and the Kaaba. This is the abode of prophets, the shrine of chiefs, the place wherein the God-fearing adored, the place which they visited who barter things tem

poral for eternal--the holy Temple of the earth and of the angels in Heaven. Herein will the buried arise, and the dead revive, and herein, in that Sakhra, the illustrious fame of which makes it be regarded as the loveliest among the lovely : herein the lightnings lightly played, and the thunderbolts rent (the earth); and on the night of the Prophet's gradual ascent to Heaven, that magnificent light, illuminated herein from the regions above, shone brightly: and herein is that Gate of Mercy (among its gates) by which alone every one must enter into Paradise, to all eternity. Herein is the throne of Solomon, and the Tower of David. Beneath it is the Fountain of Siloam, which, to any one approaching thereto to drink, hath the appearance of the size of a large fishpond, full of water. This Temple,

This Temple, also, is the first of the two Kiblahs, and the second of the two houses, and the third of the two sacred places, and the only one of the three Mosques to which came the Prophetic Messenger. Truly, the burdens laid upon her have been excessive; and men have rendered useless her courts. Perhaps God will cause return to her, for our sakes, that beautiful state and form, according to the glory He ascribed to it among the most glorious of created beings, in his first Surát, saying, “Great is he who said, Praise to Him who brought his servant

by night from the place of retirement to the Mosque Al Aksá.”

In addition to this it is to be venerated) by reason of the wonders and surpassing events which took place therein ; which cannot be numbered or written. To this city, and in this city, was the night-journey; and to its soil was thrown open the Heavens. Herein prophets have succeeded to the footsteps of prophets, and chiefs to those of chieftains. Here is the place wherein were the Confessors of the (True) Way, and the grandeur of the great, and the most learned of the learned. Herein are the most blessed of all blessed places; and herein the place wherein God opened the minds of the dull. Herein is the long Sakhrá, and the first Kiblah, whereon the prophetic foot alighted. Within this place alighted our Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be the peace and blessing of God !) among the prophets, and in the company of the chief spirit (Gabriel), and ascended up the ladder therefrom to the height of heights. Thus he arrived at the appointed boundary of his felicity and grandeur, to the place wherein he was glorified, and reduced to silence, and exalted, and shot like an arrow to the summit of bliss, and brought into the Heaven, and lifted up, (wherein) his blessings were beatified, and his happiness blessed, and his adornments

« PreviousContinue »