Page images
PDF
EPUB

tain Jewish learned man, who had become a Moslem, Whom was our father Abraham commanded to sacrifice ? He replied, Ishmaël; remarking that the Jews knew this very well, but were envious on that account; it being a notorious assertion of the Arabs, that their father Ismaël built the Temple, together with his father Abraham. Al Moáwiyah also asserted as follows :-) was once with Muhammad when a man came in, saying, O son of the Two Sacrificed! Then the Prophet laughed, and said, Who are the Two Sacrificed ? He replied, When Abraham was digging Zemzem, he vowed, that if God would make his work easy unto him, he would sacrifice one of his sons. The lot fell upon Isaac; but his uncle's family protected him, and said, Redeem thy son for one hundred camels. These, then, he offered at dinner-time; and offered, secondly, Ismaël.

Isaac is said to have lived 190 years. Abraham was thrown into the fire at the age of sixteen years. When his wife, Sarah, gave birth to Isaac, he was aged ninety years.

When he was commanded to sacrifice him, Isaac was seven years old. Others say that, when Isaac was born, Abraham was 112 years old; and when commanded to sacrifice him, 117 years old. Sarah, daughter of Abraham's uncle, was ninety years

old. Isaac also was blind, and married Laika, daughter of Bítawíl, and had Esau and Jacob when he had passed his sixtieth year. Sarah died, aged 117 years.

Again it is said, that three women have been prophetesses; viz. Sarah, and the mother of Moses, and Maria, daughter of Imram ; for Sarah received by revelation the joyful news of the birth of Isaac; Moses's birth was divinely communicated to his mother; and Maria received from an angel the happy tidings of the birth of Jesus. It is notorious also, that all these were faithful and true. *

* See note.

CHAPTER XIII.

Account of the Cave wherein Abraham and his glorious sons

were buried. Account of his purchase of this place from a king who was a crafty, powerful giant. Also, who was first interred there. Also, account of the Tombs discovered there, &c. &c.

Now whilst Abraham was dwelling in Midian, Gabriel and Michael came down unto him. They were seeking the family of Lot. Abraham then came forth to sacrifice a calf, when it fled from him, and did not stop until it arrived at the cave of Hebron. Then it cried out aloud, O Abraham! peace be upon the bones of thy father Adam! These words sank in his mind. He killed the calf, and offered it to them. And then took place that which is related in the Korán. Abraham went with the two angels until they came near

unto the houses of the family of Lot, when they said, Sit down here! which he did, and then heard the voice of the cock in the sky, crying, “ This is the truth, the convincing evidence, which surely knoweth the overthrow of the people.” So said Abraham, This is the site of the Mosque of the Convincing Evidence. It is about one parasang from Abraham's land. Then Abraham returned, and asked Hafrún to grant him the cave, and purchased it of him for four hundred dirhems; the weight of each dirhem was five dirhems. So the bargain was struck, and the property transferred, and the cave became a burying-place for himself and those of his family who should die after him. Sarah was the first who died, and was buried within these walls. It is said also that Hafrún, insisting upon the above price and coin, Abraham received the amount from Gabriel.

Abraham was buried over against Sarah. Isaac was buried there over against Rebecca. Jacob was buried at the gate of the Tomb-Cavern 1; Leah over against Jacob. Then the sons of Jacob and Esau, with his brethren, met together, saying, Let us keep the door of the cave open, and bury therein whosoever dieth amongst us.

Some dissension ensuing, one of the brethren of Esau was enraged, and killed one of the sons of Jacob.

Then the others struck Esau, and knocked off his head, in the cave. They carried away his trunk, and buried it without the head, leaving the head in the cave. This they then closely blocked up, and put tombstones, inscribed, This is the tomb of Abraham," &c. Then they closed up the entrance. All, then, who came thereunto, went round the spot, and missed it; so that no one could find it until the Greeks came. They opened the gate, and, entering, built a church. Afterwards, God giving victory to Islám, the Moslems seized all the sacred buildings, and destroyed the church.

There is a tradition that Wahab-Ibn-Mauhab said, I met with the tomb of Abraham, and found an inscription thereon, as follows :-“Foolishly do we change our dwelling. He dies who meets with his appointed season. No craftiness shall avail him herein. Many learned and brave men have been on pilgrimage ; but nought will accompany them to the tomb, except their deeds.” He said also, I met with Muhammad Ibn-Al-Khattáb, preacher of the Mosque of Abraham, who relates, that certain holy men went unto the tomb of Abraham, and remained there three days. On the fourth day they fell in with an inscription, cut into the stone, opposite the tomb of Rebecca. This they ordered to be washed, so that the

« PreviousContinue »