Page images
PDF
EPUB

subject. Also, he ordered a residence to be constructed for the upright sect of the Sufís, because he possessed for this purpose some beautiful buildings. Therefore, for the college he set apart the church called Sindahnah ; and for the residence of the Sufís he set apart the house of the Patriarch, near the church called the Church of the Resurrection; and endowed them with great possessions, and granted them, as a free gift, to these two sects : for the highest of his dignitaries had won him over to this. Also, he enlarged the colleges of these sects, in order that he might assemble them together (to dwell) in those habitations thus granted to the most skilful, the most excellent, the most faithful, the most upright of learned men. In addition to this, the Sultán gave orders that bolts should be fastened upon the gates of the Church of the Resurrection, and that all pilgrimage thereto should be forbidden the Christians until the Imam of that church assented thereto, and that the people had agreed to give him a compensation for that privilege.

There were some who advised that the building should be utterly destroyed, and its very traces obliterated; that the road of pilgrimage to it should be concealed; that its images should exist no more ; that its vanities should be banished far away ; that its expounders should be sent off,

and its chatterers have the lie given to them: for
they said, If thou wilt destroy the building, bring
down the lofty spire to the dust, unroof the se-
pulchre, utterly sweep away and quench the
lights, extinguish and wipe off all the marks of
their observances, reduce to oblivion, and plough
up, and sow the earth, and destroy the length
and the breadth ;-then all means of continuing
the pilgrimage will be cut off ; then will these
seekers of flesh, these longers for Hell, be wearied
of setting off to visit this place. As long, however,
as it stands entire, so long will the pilgrimage
continue. However, the greater number of men
said, There will be no advantage in destroying it,
nor in demolishing it; nor will there be any reason
to induce the Infidels to cease the pilgrimage,
even if we stop up the ways to it: for that which
they adore is, the site of the Cross and of the
Tomb, not the buildings visible to outward sight;
nor will Christendom ever be cut off from this
journey, even if you disperse the soil into the sky.
Also, when Omar-Ibn-Al-Khattab, the Commander
of the Faithful, obtained an entrance into this
consecrated house, at the commencement of Islám,
he gave them the right of remaining unmolested
in this place, and gave no commandment respect-
ing the destruction of the building. This reason-
ing prevailed upon the rest ; and they who were in-

3

1

clined to demolish the church, gave up. Then the (proposal) of the Sultán was ratified, and the publishers of glad tidings wrote word respecting this distinguished victory; and the aiders of the faith of God, and the Khalíf of the faith of God, the Commander of Believers, came in public to

the gates.

[ocr errors]

Omad (upon whom may God's compassion dwell!) says besides, (and the report of a certain learned man corroborates his statement,) I saw, in several military arrays, that the Sultan SaláhUddin-Yusuf-Ibn-Aiyoub, (may God be merciful unto him !) inasmuch as the possessions of the Infidel people upon the coasts were very many, and their archery and force in charging were capable of causing great loss and suffering, made no strenuous effort to obtain an entrance into Jerusalem ;-on account also of the great multitude of warriors who were therein, and the great number of men and slingers, and because it was the principal seat of the Christian faith, and of the good things which the Franks had seized, where their force was concentrated. Now, at that time, there was in the Baitu-l-Mukaddas an old man, sprung from the people of Damascus. He wrote a stanza in the sacred language, and sent it to the Sultán Saláh-Uddin'; viz. “O Prince! who, with regard to the place wherein crosses are engraved, art

S

slothful and supine, surely the obscurity (of forgetfulness or shame) hath come over thee. All Mosques derive their purity from the Baitu-l-Mukaddas; but here, upon its glorious spots, rests pollution.” Then (zeal) seized upon Islám, and this stanza was the urging inducement to Saladin to undertake the capture of the Baitu-l-Mukaddas. It is said also, that Salah-Uddín found among the old men the author of this noble stanza, and

appointed him Chief Preacher; in which office he still continues. Now the Sultan Salah-Uddin died in the month Saffar, the year 589. May his reward for this distinguished victory be delineated in the Beautiful Volume ! and I hope that God will give him an abode in the most splendid of the highest tabernacles of Paradise.

This Temple, from the time of the great victory, hath remained in the hands of the Musalmáns, to be sought by pilgrims, and to be magnified in all successive ages ; and still to remain in the power of Islám, with glory, perpetuated (if it please God Almighty) until the day of judgment (account) shall arrive. May, then, the lover of symmetry enjoy much good in this clear collection of accounts respecting this victory! May God Almighty grant much profit therein! May he, in his just clemency, afford to him true blessings, with the most perfect of favours! May he support

by his aid this cessation (this resting-place, as after a journey) from the composition of this Book ! May those who are addicted to pluck the pleasant fruits of literature from those who arrange reasons, remember that which is said in the first chapter ! May he confirm by the signet (of his approbation) this chapter; for this is one of those favourable expressions, by which a design undertaken may probably be brought to a close—by which we may repose from useful performances. These are the words by which a period may be most fitly put to a work, and useful deeds be consummated.

To proceed—When God Almighty had transferred the consecrated Temple (to the Moslems) from the hands of the Christians, and had purified it from their dirt and their filth; when the victory was consummated, and affairs reduced to order, and matters brought to the state just described ;—the Sultán Saláh-Uddin (upon whom may the mercy of God remain !) began to consider the means of perfecting that which God Almighty had established; namely, to exalt the rallying word of the Faith ; to exhilarate the quivering hearts of the Unitarians; and to join together the wounds of the subterraneous places (i. e.to heal the wounds of Islámism).—[The author alludes to the pieces cut from the Sakhrá.]—Therefore, for the rest of the year

« PreviousContinue »