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of the Syrian people; for therein are the martyr confessors. Again, pious men from Syria, generous men from Egypt, worthy men from Irák, martyrs are supplied to Syria in perpetual succession; just as when one man dies, being taken away by death, God places another in his room. They shall drink of abundant rain ; they shall conquer their enemies; and all their pain and punishment shall be transferred to their foes. Of confessors and martyrs, twenty-two are in Syria for nineteen in Irák.
Again, it is said, Abdarrahwán-Ibn-Jahír-IbnNaghirat-Yazíd-Ibn-Ali-Sufián, and those with him, wrote unto Abú Bekr, unto Khalid-Ibn-AlWalid, who was in Irák, or, as it is called, “ The Shore of the Fountains of Yemen," after God had given the Moslem possession of Ferganah and Jalúla; the commander of the army then being Said-Ibn-Abú-Wakkás. The letter requested that he should detach 13,000 cavalry to assist his brethren in Syria, with the very utmost dispatch ; for, said the writer, “ By God, some of the villages of Syria have been given by God to the Moslems, more beloved by me than the borough-towns of Irák.” Khalid did, therefore, as he was commanded ; and, after a difficult and toilsome march, accomplished his design, and, arriving with his men, found the Moslem army in Jabít (i. e. the
Great Tank, a village near Damascus). There he united with the other generals to prosecute the war. Again, the Prophet declared, That mosques and mufties should never, by God's decree, be removed from Syria. Among the other gifts wherein Syria surpasseth all other lands, there are therein 10,000 fountains, studded all over the land by the Prophet.
Thus said Kaab the scribe, “ This is he whom I most prefer-he who is not coarse and rude; not unkind and sour; not he who brawls in the market-places, or who recompenses evil with evil; but be who forgives and forgets. Such was Mu hammad. His birth-place was ‘at Mecca; his place of refuge in Medina ; his kingdom in Syria.” To this assertion of Kaab the scribe, regarding the might of the kingdom of Syria, the greatness of its frontier garrisons, by means of its bold warriors, and all the valour of the country, all eye-and-ear witnesses assent. Syria and her people were chosen by God to dwell and lodge within. God hath blessed all its contents and surface; nor shall one place be particularly set apart, or enclosed, more than another. Syria is to be common to all in its whole extent unto its frontiers. Such is the tutelary guardianship and care bestowed upon Syria. Also, all good men, and witnesses, both ancient and modern, prove by
their arguments that Damascus is the best province of Syria, and the king of Damascus the most choice of the kings of Islám.
One proof that Damascus is the most glorious city in the land of Syria, next unto the Holy Abode, is to be found in the fact, that herein are very many offerings presented, and a constant circulation of good deeds: also, because the mosque is so great, that, for the longest night or day, it never wants the sound of the reading of God's book and the recitation of traditions. Herein are ever to be found the instructors and the instructed.
It is related, that a certain woman sold a dish in the copper-market of Damascus: the purchaser discovered that the dish was of gold. Hereupon he said unto the woman, I bought it of thee, supposing it to be of yellow brass, and, lo! it is gold ; therefore it is thine: but she said, I received it by inheritance as yellow brass ; if, then, it be gold, it is thine. The dispute was referred to WalídIbn-Abdul-Málik, who deputed Abdar-Rijá-IbnHaiwút to examine the matter. This last decided against the man, (decreeing him to keep the dish,) who came near to present himself, and said, O Commander of Believers, I give her the price, and now cast it down into the treasury of the Moslems. I saw (says Zaid-Ibn-Jábir) a vessel, used for domestic purposes, hanging among the candlesticks
of the mosque of Damascus: it was of gold, and weighed thirty pounds. No one came for it; therefore (the mosque) took it. Damascus is gloriously alluded to in the verse, “ In the mountain Kásiyún will I build in thy stronghold, in thy midst, a temple wherein I may be adored.” Again, the verse wherein the word “Figs” is named, alludes to the fact that the gainful Damascene commerce is the supply of figs to Egypt.
As to the erection of the mosque of Damascus : ---first, A.H. 96, the whole company of workmen under the direction of Abdul-Malik-Ibn-Marwan finished the building of the mosque of Damascus. (May God recompense him this good deed towards the Moslems !) It had been commenced A.H. 86, and was ten years in building. The Great Mosque was founded upon the site of the spot wherein the Greeks had worshipped of old. They had there adored the seven stars ;—the Moon in the sky, Mercury next, Venus next, the Sun next, Mars next, Jupiter next, and Saturn next: they also made seven gates in Damascus according to the number of the stars they adored. Saturn's statue was placed over the gate of Kisán ; the Sun's over the eastern gate; Venus over the gate at Tum; Jupiter over the little gate; Mars over the gate Al Jábít; Mercury over the gate of Paradise (Firádis); and the Moon over the second
gate, now called the Gate of Islám. As to the Gate of Victory and the Gate of Gladness, they were places of worship, and a yearly feast - was held at each. These Grecians also appointed Astronomical Observers, who should note the motions of the stars, and observe when they were at the ascendant. Thus they built Damascus just as the lucky star was rising. But what they most preferred was a reservoir by the side of the water, which flowed from between two great mountainchannels. They changed the course of the streams, causing them to flow into high and low places. They built, then, this place of worship, and prayed towards the North Pole; their most holy spot facing the north. The gate of this temple was in front of the Kiblah, where the tower now is, as eye-witnesses plainly declared they saw when some of the walls were cast down, at the two extremities. This gate is very beautiful, built of stones, all slanting from right to left. There are two (other gates) small in proportion to this. The western side of the building is a lofty tower, whose walls are supported by pillars arranged in the gate: the eastern is the citadel of Jírún, who is said to have built Damascus, which is said to be “the Iram of the Pillars mentioned in the Korán. Others it was built by Al Ariz (i. e. Eliezer), the young