« PreviousContinue »
on the walls to ask for a truce during a parley. Having agreed to this, they then said, What army is this which hath now arrived ? That is the army (we replied) of the Commander of the Faithful. Also, Omar sent unto us, to command us to cease fighting ; saying, The Apostle of God informed me that we should obtain possession of this place without violence. And the Patriarch demanded a safe conduct for a messenger to convey a letter unto Omar. This we permitted, and the envoy came without hinderance; who said, We will give unto thy excellency that which we will grant unto no one except thee. He proceeded to request Omar to make peace, to accept tribute, and to grant safety unto their lives, property, and wives ; to which Omar consented. The envoy, upon this, demanded a safe conduct for his master, the Patriarch, in order that he might preside over the preliminaries of peace, and the writing of the treaty. Upon Omar's assent, the Patriarch, with his attendants, came forth unto us. With him the Khalif made peace; of which we were wit
Al Walíd also said, A Shaikh of the
of the volunteers of Khorassán told me, that when the Moslems came unto the Holy City, the chiefs thereof said, We have here met to make peace with you; and since
and since you acknowledge the dignity of this Holy Habitation, and allow it to be that Masjidu-l-Aksá, whereunto your Prophet was brought by night, we prefer that your prince should (first) himself make his entry within it. Now, the Khalíf then was Omar-Ibn-Al-Khattáb. Unto him the Musalmáns sent an express; to the Grecians at the same time sending an envoy with the Moslems unto Medína. Arriving here, the Moslems began to inquire for the Commander of the Faithful. For whom are they asking ? said the Grecian envoy to his interpreter. For the Commander of the Faithful, he replied. The Grecians hereupon were much surprised, and said, Here is a man who hath conquered the Grecian and the Persian, and won the treasures of Cyrus and of Cæsar; yet hath this conqueror of nations no ensigns nor place of honour whereby he may
be distinguished and known ! After this, they found him asleep upon the spot where he had thrown himself down among his attendants, which increased their wonder. Having read the letter of Abú-Ubaidah, he ordered us to continue the truce until he should arrive at the Holy City.
Within this city there were 12,000 Greeks and 50,000 natives. Omar therefore made peace upon
these conditions :-viz., That the Grecians should depart; for which three days were assigned; the safe conduct and truce being null and void
with respect to any one who should remain after the expiration of that term. Unto the natives Omar granted quarter, enjoining upon them the payment of a tribute. Five dínárs were imposed upon the richest class; four upon the next; three upon the next. Very old men, or very young children, paid nothing. After this, Omar proceeded to the Tower of David (upon whom be peace!), and read a Súrat of the Korán.
And they relate further, that Abú-Ubaidah (with whom may God rest satisfied !) came to the Jordan, and closely besieged it, and sent a messenger to the people of Elia and her inhabitants, and wrote to them as follows:-"In the name of God, merciful and gracious! from Abú-Ubaidah son of Jirah, to the Christians of the people of Elia, health! to all who follow the way (i. e. the right way) and believe in God and in his Prophet! To come to the point-For my part I beg of bear witness that there is no God but God, and Muhammad is the Apostle of God, and that the moment of judgment will come, beyond all doubt, and that God will resuscitate men from the dead. And if
will persist in this, your blood is sacred unto us, as well as your property, and your children, and you shall be to us as a brotherhood ; but if you refuse, I will bring down upon you a people, who are more earnest in their love of
death than you are in the drinking of wine and eating of hogs'-flesh; nor will I ever pass away from you, please God! until I have killed your warriors and made captives of your children.” Further he said, Then Abú-Ubaidah waited for the people of Elia; but they declined coming, or entering into a capitulation with him ; so he proceeded to advance upon them, until he came down upon them with hostilities, and besieged them very closely, and reduced them to extremity. Therefore they made a sally upon him, and the Musalmáns fought. Then the Musalmáns prevailed against them on every side, and fought until they forced them to enter the citadel ; and the commander on that day's engagement was Khálid-Ibn-ul-Walid (with whom may God rest satisfied !), and Yazid-Ibn-Sufyán; each of these two on a side.
Moreover, they have said, These tidings came unto Said the son of Zaid, who was with the people of Damascus. So he wrote to Abú-Ubaidah, -“In the name of God, the merciful and compassionate! to Abú-Ubaidah-Ibn-Jirah, from Said son of Zaid, health to thee! With regard to myself, I praise God on thy account-He who is the only God ;--there is no God but the God. To come to the point:-I never in my life was more effeminate than thee or thy comrades in the sacred warfare, both as regards my person and those things which have become my portion by the mercy of my Lord. Now, when this my letter comes to thee, I will stir up, to the business which thou hast in hand, him, than whom few are more eager therein, you may be assured. Therefore I am coming to thee quickly, please God Almighty! So peace be on thee! and the mercy and blessing of God!” Then said Abú-Ubaidah, when the letter came, Let him support the cause by coming afterwards. Upon this he asked for Yazíd, and he said to him, Be my deputy at Damascus. So said Yazid, I will be thy deputy therein, please God! And he went there, and took the government thereof for him. Moreover, it is said, when Abú-Ubaidah had closely besieged the people of Elia, and they saw that he was unremitting against them, and found no strength in battle, then they said, We will capitulate to thee; but we refuse to treat with you. Send therefore thy Khalíf Omar, and it shall be he who shall give us this treaty, and write for us the truce. Abú-Ubaidah thought fit to agree with them (to write), and Abú-Ubaidah (with whom God rest satisfied !) had already sent Moaz to the Jordan ; who had not gone far, when Moaz said to AbúUbaidah (suppose), that thou dost write to the Commander of the Faithful, and dost inform him