« PreviousContinue »
mission obtained, they entered the cave, and, digging hard by the door, exposed to view a large portion of pavement. Removing this, they went down, and found a cave, about five ells square, or
On the northern side was a cloister; lying in which were seven individuals, very tall, and placed transversely in their coffins, after the manner of the Arabs. They felt two much awe to approach them; therefore they returned and replaced the pavement.
In Damascus very many holy and devoted persons took refuge; adoring and worshipping here, many also died and were buried here, whose tombs are still here. Among these was Umm Habib, wife of the Prophet, according to some accounts. But the historian Al Akshabree asserts that she died and was buried at Medína, on the faith of the following tradition :-Ayesha asserted as follows : Umm Habib, daughter of Abú Sufián, said to her, whilst at the point of death, Since we have lived as became the cowives of one man, pray to God to pardon me! To this Ayesha replied, God hath already pardoned thee; and thou shalt be sent to Umm Solmat (Jerusalem). She died in the Khilafat of Moáwiyah, A.H. 44. That she did not die in Syria, is confirmed by the author of "The Mothers of Believers' and many others. But these appear
to refer only to Khadijah Maimuna. But God knows.
To conclude the whole, I will mention certain places in Syria, of most especial pre-eminence and peculiar privileges. Thus, Palestine. Whatever is taken (they say) from the 'rest of the earth, is added to Syria. Whatsoever is lessened from Syria, is added to Palestine, (or, what is little in the rest of the earth is much in Syria; what is little in Syria is much in Palestine.) Abú Kaab the scribe met with a certain man, whom he asked, Whence art thou? I am, replied the man, one of a certain people of Syria. Art thou, then, said Kaab, one of that host, of whom seventy thousand shall enter Paradise without being brought to a reckoning? Who are they? said the man.
The people of Emessa, replied Kaab. No, said he then, I am not of Emessa. Art thou, then, said Kaab, one of that host who shall be distinguished in Paradise by green garments ? Who are they? said the man. The people of Damascus, replied Kaab. No, then, I am not of Damascus. Perhaps, then, of that host who shall be within the shadow of the All-Merciful's throne? Who are they? said the man. The people of Jordan, said Kaab. No, then, said the man, I pertain not to them. Perhaps, then, of that host upon whom God looketh down twice
a-day? Who are they? said the. man. The people of Palestine, said Kaab. Then the man replied, True, I am one of them. The name of this man is asserted to have been Al Hanífa.
Again, in another Collection of Traditions, from Kaab:-In Tarsus, of prophets' tombs are ten : Al Masísa (Mamista in Cilicia) five : in Al Thugúr, the frontier fortresses of the coasts of Syria, are one thousand tombs of prophets. In Antioch is the tomb of Habib Al-Najjar. In Emessa are thirty tombs; in Damascus, five hundred; in the cities of Jordan, the same; in Palestine, the same; in the Baitu-l-Mukaddas, one thousand tombs; in Al Arish, ten tombs. Also in Damascus is the tomb of Moses (but this others deny, as mentioned in a former chapter).
When (said Kaab) all the world shall be full of distress and scarcity, Palestine shall enjoy opulence and abundance. Syria is the Blessed : the Holy Land is the Sanctified: the Holy City is the Holy of Holies. The holiest part of the world is Syria; the holiest part of Syria is Palestine ; the holiest part of Palestine is the Holy City; the holiest part of the Holy City is the Mount; the holiest part of the Mount is the Mosque; the holiest part of the Mosque is the Chapel. Damascus is the most privileged and glorious of all the plains of Syria; nor shall the Holy City ever fail of full sufficiency of support.
Also Lydda. At the gate of Lydda, said the Prophet, shall Jesus son of Maria (the peace and blessing of God be upon him!) engage in battle with Antichrist, who shall tarry in that country a short time. Jesus (it is said by others) shall take three stones from the Holy City. Over one he shall say, In the name of the God of Abraham ; over the second, In the name of the God of Isaac; over the third, In the name of the God of Jacob. Jesus, and the Moslems with him, shall then march forth against Antichrist. When Antichrist sees him, he will be put to the rout, and fly from him. Jesus will overtake him at the gate of Lydda, and throw one stone at him, which will hit him between the eyes; then a second; then the third, which will fell him to the ground. Then Jesus will kill him, and will slay the Jews, until the stones and trees cry out, 0 Believing Ones ! this will be sufficient to convince the Jews that Antichrist hath perished and is slain. Then will Jesus quickly descend as a just judge among you, and will break the crosses and kill the pigs.
Also Ramlah (the palm). This is said to be the place called, in the Korán, The Hill of Con-' firmation and Division : but this is upon weak proof. Muhammad (it is said) asserted that Dajjal would be posted on the east of Jordan, and the Moslems on the left; and that they will not cease fighting until Dajjal be slain by the sword. But (says Abú Idris) By God! I do not know, at this day, where a Jordan can be found among God's cities. And in this Muhammad-Abán-Kúfi is blind and weak. God revealed unto Moses that he had thus revealed unto Abraham, “I will cause thy son to dwell in a land overflowing with milk and honey.” So that the believers shall be weak as regards riches, but assuredly never weak as regards an ample sufficiency of bread. This is said to apply to the Jordan.
Also Gaza. Of this it is said, Happy is he who takes up his dwelling-place with one of the Two Brides, Ascalon and Gaza. This tradition is of the second-hand (quoted) and abrupt (unconnected) kind. Several commentators look upon it as weak.
Also Ascalon. Here a tradition is quoted as emanating from the Prophet himself; viz. that he said, Ascalon is one of the Two Brides, whom God will raise up, sanctify, and glorify, on the day of judgment. Here will be seventy thousand martyrs, who will come forward together as ambassadors unto God. Of these a certain number