Page images

and light in my eyes, light in my hair, light in my skin, light in my fiesh, light in my blood, light in my bones, light before me, light behind me, light on my right hand, light on my left, light above me, and light beneath me. O God ! give me light, and augment my light, and make me all light!

Now, it is very desirable that a pilgrim should advance right up to Muhammad's Chapel, behind the Chapel of the Sacred Ladder, and pray there, and be earnest in supplication ; using, if he will, the supplication which God taught to Muhammad, when he said unto him, that the highest angels would contend and quarrel for it; and afterwards any supplication he will, provided it be one of the authorized traditionary ones. I would, moreover, observe that, at present, there are only two chapels in the Mosque of Aksá behind the Chapel of the Ladder; one a small one, at the farthest extremity of the Sakhrá, on the western side, to the right of the northern staircase, just by the western portion of the exposed part of the Rock.

I am of opinion that several servants of the Mosque, from whom much useful information could be obtained, are now dead ; nor is there now any tradition in Jerusalem that this was a chapel of the Prophet. The other chapel is by the other gate of the Mosque, on the north, near the Gate of David : this chapel is now called

Solomon's Chapel; not Solomon the prophet, but possibly Solomon-Ibn-Abdul-Málik-Ibn-Marwán. The Chapel of the Ladder is outside, in the roof or outward exposed part of the Rock. It is celebrated for being approached by pilgrims, and perhaps it is the curiosity chiefly valued in noble sayings and by eminent authors. The author of the Social Converse,' and the author of the Resurrection of Souls,' speaking of Muhammad's Chapel, and the Chapel of the Chain, built by Marwán, and now still existing, and the chapel on the spot where Muhammad prayed amidst the prophets and apostles, say, That upon the side of the Chapel of the Ladder, on the exposed part of the Rock, was a delicately-carved chapel, and when the area of the Temple was paved, the position of this chapel was distinctly marked out, and upon it was constructed an exquisitely wrought tower, upon the ground, beautifully engraved and sculptured in red marble, rising up in a spiral form, perpendicular to the pavement. This place was called the Tower of the spot where Muhammad prayed. If you go behind this, you will find the spot where there was placed before Muhammad stairs of gold and silver. This is the place of the Sacred Ascent.

With respect to the advantages of praying in this chapel, various well-confirmed traditions as

sert as follows :-Let the suppliant, having sat down, not rise from his seat until he has prayed the Sessional Supplication, in the words attributed to the Prophet, and said to have been offered by him whilst sitting. These are the words of the prayer :-"O God! grant us such a portion of thy fear as may cause our trials to depart.

Give us such a measure of thy salvation, and obedience to thee, as may cause us to meet at last with Paradise. Grant us that sure confidence of opinion, which may make us indifferent to all the accidents that may happen in this world and the next. O God! grant us to enjoy our hearing, our sight, our vigour for ever. Grant this unto us whilst we live, and to our heirs after us. Grant us boldness against those who oppress us, and give us victory over our foes. Let no ills afflict us in this world; nor let the world be too much in our thoughts, nor the fulfilment of our engagements occupy us too much. Let not our path be the path that leads to hell, and let not those sins tyrannize over us, which fear not thee, and have no compassion

upon us.”

Various authors of traditions confirm this: one of whom says, Two men disputed with us ; one of whom was, I think, a native of Jerusalem. One said that no prophet ever made that his Kiblah or praying point, except Muhammad : the

other was of' opinion that all the prophets did so; but Muhammad only made his Kiblah towards the Kaaba. The matter was referred to certain eloquent and orthodox arguers; and the whole argument being clearly stated, they said (God be merciful unto them !)-There can be no doubt but that both disputants entertain a corrupt opinion.

The following was the argument:- The first said, The Kaaba is the Kiblah of all the prophets : I quote from Abu-Al-Alíat. Said the other, I quote from Zabarí. From the time that God sent Adam, he hath sent down no prophet into the world, but he hath appointed the Rock of the Baitu-l-Mukaddas to be the Kiblah of that prophet. Now it is notorious that these two assertions are at issue with each other. Learned men, therefore, have especially directed their attention to this path, this theological argument. They have determined to walk along the path of explication, whereby the public may be profited, and that the reins of these coursers, who were running the road of schismatical variableness of discordant opinions, might be pulled in by the final sentence and decree of a judge who held the ends. Moreover, besides these, two several other learned men came forward to embrace their argument. I, therefore, please God! will lay down before thee their arguments, according to the verity of evidence, and will produce to thee (the quotations of authors) in

chronological order, according to the series of years.

First, for the reconcilement of the first opinion. The first whom God set apart, to adorn with the glory of prophecy and the marrow of constancy, was the Elect One, our father Adam (peace be with him !). Now it is not known, whether, during his life, there existed any foundation of the Baitu-lMukaddas, except in the foreknowledge of God. The proof of this is to be found in the · Derived Traditions of the historian Abu-Muhammad-AlKasíni-Ibn-Isákir, in his choice book upon the marvels of the Mosque Al Aksá. He refers to Kaab, who says, The ancient foundation of the Baitu-l-Mukaddas was that laid by Shem, the son of Noah: upon this foundation David and Solomon built. It is also established, as a certain truth, that, between Adam and Noah, ten ages elapsed.

This, then, is the most ancient of all quoted testimony respecting the foundation of the Baitu-lMukaddas. Now, with regard to the narrative of Al Kartubay, he says, that it is a matter of indifference, whether we believe that some of Adam's sons laid the foundation, or whether the angels again did so subsequently to the building of the Kaaba. It is a sine qua non, however, that this opinion must not be considered as absolutely rejecting all that is opposed to itself. With rešpect to the fact of its foundation, nothing can

« PreviousContinue »