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prayer; and all the others, in ranks, prayed in the space beneath the dome. And the people prayed that Victory might for ever abide with the Sultán Málik-Al-Nasir. (Whilst praying) they remained humbly upon their knees, with their hands raised over him, and their supplications audibly expressed. After this (our author proceeds to say) I saw the Sultán preaching in the Mosque Al Aksá. However, I waived his discourse, and reposed myself upon the steps (of the Mosque).
Omad (on whom may God show mercy !) proceeds to say, To return to the Sakhra—the Franks had built a church upon it, and had never ceased to lift up their hands in blessing it, and raising their eyes to salute and extol it. Therefore, they had adorned it with images and candlesticks, and had dedicated therein a place for monks, and a repository for the Gospel : also they framed an excuse for all this exultation and veneration, and erected, separately from the other buildings, just by the place of Muhammad's foot, a little chapel, raised upon marble pillars, and said, This was the place whereon Christ set his foot. This place, therefore, was regarded as consecrated and fit for prayer; and therein were images delicately carved in marble. Omad said also, I saw, among all this imagery, carvings of swine; and the Sakhrá
was hidden from the passenger, being covered over by the buildings upon it. Therefore the Sultán commanded this veil to be raised; this intervening curtain to be drawn up; this coat of marble to be stripped off; this building to be taken to pieces; this disguise to be torn away. Thus he brought it out openly in sight for pilgrims, and purified it from Christians. He removed the clothing which covered it, he brought home this bride with pomp: he caused this pearl to come forth from the shell; this full-moon arise from the obscuring mist: he destroyed the place wherein she was incarcerated ; he hastened the redemption of this detained pledge ; he displayed her beautiful face, and clearly revealed her unsullied splendour; he restored her to her jewel-arrayed condition, to her exceeding preciousness, to her highlyraised permanency. Thus the Sakhra was restored, as it was in old time. But the Christians had thought to adorn its beauty by a slight tattooing. Before the capture (of the Sakhrá by the Christians), no cutting nor severed portion had been externally visible; but the Infidel people have left somewhat of this sort behind it. Now, at this time it is most beautiful externally; all passengers sweep it; candles are glittering above it; there is light upon light. There hath been made upon it a splendid covering of new net-work, and
it is an object of care to this moment and at this time, praise be to God! who shall augment (this attention) every day.
Also, the Sultán founded in the Chapel of the Sakhrá, in front, a most beautiful place of residence for religious men, and enriched them with fame, and gave them a famous name among religious sects, surnaming them the Seven Readers, although there were ten, and agreed with them to collect and promulgate traditions and histories. This convent he enriched and endowed, and presented it with his patronage, and settled upon them houses, and lands, and gardens, and gave them, in free endowment, a most beautiful house, and provided herein, and in the Tower of the Mosque Al Aksá, libraries of books, and tents, and large squares, in order that pilgrims might alight upon the couches raised up before them, and placed upon the pavement. And he decreed that this Chapel should be set apart as private, but the Mosque be open to the public, in order that the old women should manage their affairs properly veiled, and the old men perform their devotional service in regular order. Many therefore presented themselves. The listeners to preaching were again arranged (as flowers in a parterre). Humble devotees again honoured the place; the soft whisper of humility was again heard ; tears flowed
in a full stream from the eyes of the self-devisers ; the ranks of the learned (theologians) were again established there: nor, throughout this consecrated assembly, could one be seen who was not adoring his Lord, nor one who did not hope for piety. Every one, with dusty and dishevelled hair, used his best endeavours to obtain from God the gift of piety to him : every one was quite alive, and stood firm, and penetrated deeply into truth, and greatly valued it. All were reading the Korán, and singing chants, and driving off the devils, and obtaining a clear insight into their knavish contrivances, and frustrating them : all became as well acquainted with them as were the most knowing of the conjuring priests; and all put them to flight, by making their necks touch the ground, through the quotation of texts and traditions. Truly, the blessedness of this place was as when angels came forward to visit it. Truly, hearts full of joy now supplied their place. The Sakhra was accompanied with a tent, which was fastened by a clasp (or button). On the morning of every day, those who were occupied about it, and who cleansed the nearest part of the externally visible surface, led the way to it. Moreover, the Franks had cut off a piece from the Sakhrá, and had carried it to Constantinople. A piece of it was transported to the country of the Slevi
(Russians), who, it is said, bought it for its weight in gold : thus did they make a gain of it. When, therefore, the place of the fracture was seen, hearts were cut when the place of cutting appeared. Nevertheless, it is now guarded and concealed from their eyes, and shall be so for the rest of time, as a sacred treasury for Islám. Moslems shall watch and guard it with due reverence.
The Sultán, moreover, took order to issue an injunction respecting the repair of the Tower of the Mosque Al Aksá, and the encasing it with marble; and commanded that the work should be dispatched. Therefore the princes, sons of Jobthose of them upon whom the marks of excellent virtues were deeply imprinted, and who united to virtue the love of diligent endeavour-earnestly laboured and panted in the work. Truly the tongues of men praised them for the illustrious and beautiful piety they displayed, for the action they performed—an action which takes the place of honour beyond all other deeds, and for that gift which they gave (the gift of personal exertion) the most noble of offerings.
The Sultán also enjoined the most pious of the learned men, and the most virtuous of the holy men, of those who sat (in his audience-ball) to build a college for religious of the sect of Sháfí. These, therefore, consulted upon this