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munificence to abide on him, and on all his relations who exist.”
Then the Khalif assembled the best artificers of all his workmen, and commanded them to labour diligently at the work of the Chapel, and made a vaulted crypt in it before he built the Chapel. Then he laid the foundation in the middle of the Mosque, and commanded that the Treasury should be built upon the East of the Sakhra : and this is that which is on the farther side of the Sakhra. Thus he built and loaded it with riches; and he nominated as commissioners for this purpose Rija-Ibn-Haywah and Yazid-Ibn-Salám, and committed to the care of these the expenses of the building, and the things necessary for the undertaking; and that they should expend the treasure upon it to the last dínár, so as just to lay it out in the payment of expenses. They therefore undertook the building and the fitting-up until the work was finished, and the building brought to a conclusion ; and there was not a word left to be spoken of it. Then they wrote (thus) to him-he being at Damascus—“God hath brought to an end that which the Commander of Believers hath commanded us respecting the erection of the Chapel of the Sakhrá-the Sakhrá of the Holy City, and the Mosque Al Aksá—and there remains not a word to be spoken about it.
Moreover, there remains some surplus above the money granted to us by the Commander of Believers to that end, after 100,000 dinars have been expended thereon. Let the Commander of Believers convert it to the object he likes best.” And the Khalíf wrote to them, “The Commander of Believers committed to your charge whatsoever should be fit and proper when he appointed you superintendents of the restoration of this glorious and blessed Temple.” Then they wrote to him, “We have thought that it well deserved of us that we should augment the amount by the ornaments
women, taking the superfluity of our wealth. Convert it, then, to the purpose you best like.” Then he wrote to them, sum hath been expended and paid by the public for the Chapel ; therefore I will spend and lay out
upon it (money for the purchase of) that which every one may look at-gold work, and ornament, a sort of common part, (which all may be permitted to behold) of mosaic, outside ; and there also a second, to be a covering against rain and wind and snow.” But Rija-Ibn-Haywah and Yazíd-Ibn-Salám had already surrounded it with a screen of lattice-work, with small interstices, and a curtain of silk hanging loosely between pillars.
Also there were, every day, two-and-fifty, to
whom were committed the saffron, which they were pulverizing and grinding. Some worked in the night, and perfumed it with the vapour of musk, and amber, and rose-water, for the purpose of making incense. Then the servants were ordered to come, before dawn, to the Baths of Solomon, which they entered and washed and purified. They afterwards went to the Treasury, which was behind, and threw aside their clothes. Then they took from the Treasury other clothes of meru, and of fine texture, and a stuff called - Al Asb (a sort of variegated cloth from Arabia Felix), and girdles of leather, wherewith they tightly bound their waists. Then they began the descent of the structure behind the Sakhrá, and every part, as far as their hands could reach, was considered polluted until they had poured a stream of water upon the whole of it; and that which their hands could not reach, they washed upon the surface, (throwing water up to the roof). Then they ascended upon the Sakhrá, washing whilst there remained any thing polluted therein, and concluded the purification of the vessels of the structure. Then they came with censers of gold and silver, and aloës-wood of Kimar, and incense perfumed with musk and amber. And the curtain was all hanging loosely around the pillars. Then they took the incense, and made
a circuit around the Chapel) until the space between them and the Chapel was filled with abundance of the smoke of incense. Then they lifted up a corner of the veil, and the incense escaped, and the grateful odour was diffused until it arrived at the head of the market. Therefore the passers-by smelt the odour and the incense, and put a stop to the business in which they were engaged. Then a crier cried out among the people, “The Sakhrá is now opened to all men. Whosoever desires to pray, let him come.” The people therefore, thus summoned, came up to the Sakhrá; and there were a great number of men who were enabled to compass (or continue to pray) two Rakás, and some of them four. Then the men went out; and whosoever smelt the smell of their incense said, This is from some one who has entered the Sakhrá; and they washed the soles of their feet, and slightly passed a moistened hand over their faces, at the threshhold of St. George, and napkins were wetted, and gates were split open, (i. e. although they only slightly wetted their faces, and then wiped them with a napkin; yet, from the number who did this, the napkins were entirely wet, and from the rush of their entrance the gates were split open.) Also, at every gate there were ten beadles. Also, the people never
entered, except on the second and fifth day (Monday and Friday). On other days no one entered, except the servants.
Again, we learn from Abú-Bekr-Ibn-Al-Háreth as follows:-We fitted up the Sakhrá in the Khiláfat of Abdul-Málik-Ibn-Marwán, with tamarisk-wood of Midiam. And the beadles said unto him, O beloved Abú-Bekr! order for us candelabra, wherewith, if we be smeared, we shall smell sweetly. And he agreed to this. This is what was done herein, in the Khilafat of Abdul-Málik. Ibn-Marwán. And Al-Walid said, AbdarrahmánIbn-Muhammad-Ibn-Marwán-Ibn-Khálit narrated to us : My father (he said) told us from his father, on the authority of his grandfather, There was in the chain which was in the midst of the Chapel, over the Sakhrá, an incomparable pearl, and the horn of Abraham's Ram, (on him be peace !) and the diadem of Cyrus, suspended therein, in the days of Abdul-Málik-Ibn-Marwán. When, however, the Khilafat passed, to the sons of Hisham, they removed them to the Kaaba (which may God Almighty preserve !).
We have moreover traditionary information from the historian Ibn-Asákir (may God compassionate him !). He hath given a narration of the buildings of Abdul-Málik-Ibn-Marwán-the buildings of