The following is an excerpt from The
Travels of Ibn Jubayr: A Mediaeval Spanish Muslim visits Makkah, Madinah,
Egypt, cities of the Middle East and Sicily. Abu 'l-Husayn
Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Jubayr was born in 1145 in Valencia, Spain and descended
from the tribe of Kinanah near Mecca. "Abd al-Salam ibn Jubayr had
entered Spain in 740 AD with an army sent by the Caliph of Damascus to quell the
Berber insurrection. This excerpt picks up as Ibn Jubayr enters Mecca on
the 13th of Rabi', 579.
THE MONTH OF RABIC AL-AKHIR (579)
We passed on our way that night until we arrived at al-Qurayn, with the rising of the sun. This place is a staging post for pilgrims and a place of their encampment. There they put on the ihram and there they rest throughout the day of their arrival. If they remove in the evening and travel all night, they will come in the morning to the Haram al-Sharif - may God increase its
honor and sublimeness. The returning pilgrims rest there too, and from it they pass on by night to Jiddah. In this place is a well of sweet spring water, and by reason of it the pilgrims do not need to supply themselves with water save for the night on which they travel to it. Throughout the day- light hours of Wednesday we stayed resting at al-Qurayn, but when evening had come, we left it in the pilgrim garb to per- form the 'Umrah [Lesser
Pilgrimage], and marched through- out the night. With the dawn, we came near to the Haram, and descended as the light was about to spread.
We entered Mecca-God protect it-at the first hour of Thursday the 13th of Rabi', being the 4th of August, by the 'Umrah Gate. As we marched that night, the full moon had thrown its rays upon the earth, the night had lifted its veil, voices struck the ears with the Talbiyat ['Here am I, O God, here am I'], from all sides, and tongues were loud in invocation, humbly beseeching God to grant them their requests, sometimes redoubling their Talbiyat, and sometimes imploring with prayers. Oh night most happy, the bride of all the nights of life, the virgin of the maidens of time.
And so, at the time and on the day we have mentioned, we came to God's venerable Haram, the place of sojourn of Abraham the Friend (of God), and found the Ka'bah, the Sacred House, the unveiled
bride conducted (like a bride to her groom) to the supreme felicity of heaven, encompassed by the deputations [pilgrims] of the All-Merciful. We performed the tawaf of the new arrival, and then prayed at the revered
Maqam. We clung to the covering of the Ka'bah near the
Multazam, which is between the Black Stone and the door, and is a place where prayers are answered. We entered the dome of Zamzam and drank of its waters which is 'to the pur- pose for which it is
drunk', as said the Prophet - may God bless and preserve him - and then performed the
sai' between al-Safa and al-Marwah. After this we shaved and entered a state
halal. Praise be to God for generously including us in the pilgrimage to Him and for making us to be of those on whose behalf the prayers of Abraham reach. Sufficient He is for us and the best Manager. We took lodging in Mecca at a house called al-Halal near to the Haram and the Bab al-Suddah, one of its gates, in a room having many domestic conveniences and overlooking the Haram and the sacred Ka'bah.
The Month of jumada 'l-Ula (579)
[22nd of August-20th of September, 1183]
May God let us know His favor
The new moon rose on the night of Monday the 22nd of August, when we had been in Mecca-may God Most High exalt it - eighteen days. The new moon of this month was the most auspicious our eyes had seen in all that had passed of our life. It rose after we had already entered the seat of the venerable enclosure, the sacred Haram of God, the dome in which is the maqam of Abraham, the place from whence the Prophet's mission (was sent out), and the alighting place of the faithful spirit Gabriel with inspiration and revelation.
May God with His power and strength inspire us to thanks for His
favor and make us sensible of that amount of privilege He has made our portion, finally accepting us (into Paradise) and rewarding us with the accustomed generosity of His beneficent works, and giving us of His gracious help and support. There is no God but He.
A description of the Sacred Mosque and the Anfient House
May God bless and exalt it
The venerable House has four corners and is almost square. The chief of the Banu Shayba who are the custodians of the House, one Muhammad ibn Isma'il ibn 'Abd al-Rahman ibn
**** of the stock of 'Uthman ibn Talhah ibn Shaybah ibn Talhah ibn 'Abd al-Dar, the Companion of the Prophet - may God bless and preserve him- and the incumbent of the
chamberlain ship of the House, informed me that its height, on the side which faces the Bab [Gate] al-Safa and which extends from the Black Stone to the Rukn al-Yamani [Yemen
Corner], is twenty-nine cubits. The remaining sides are twenty- eight cubits because of the slope of the roof towards the water- spout.
The principal corner is the one containing the Black Stone. There the circumambulation begins, the circumambulator drawing back (a little) from it so that all of his body might pass by it, the blessed House being on his left. The first thing that is met after that is the 'Iraq corner, which faces the north, then the Syrian corner which faces west, then the Yemen corner which faces south, and then back to the Black corner which faces east.
That completes one shaut [single course]. The door of the blessed House is on the side between the 'Iraq corner and the Black Stone corner, and is close to the Stone at a distance of barely ten spans. That part of the side of the House which is between them is called the Multazam: a place where prayers are answered.
The venerable door is raised above the ground eleven and a half spans. It is of silver gilt and of exquisite workmanship and beautiful design, holding the eyes for its excellence and in emotion for the awe God has clothed His House in. After the same fashion are the two posts, and the upper lintel over which is a slab of pure gold about two spans long. The door has two large silver staples on which is hung the lock. It faces to the east, and is eight spans wide and thirteen high. The thickness of the wall in which it turns is five spans. The inside of the blessed House is overlaid with variegated marbles, and the walls are all variegated marbles. (The ceiling) is sustained by three teak pillars of great height, four paces apart, and punctuating the length of the House, and down its middle. One of these columns, the first, faces the centre of the side enclosed by the two Yemen corners, and is three paces distant from it. The third column, the last, faces the side enclosed by the 'Iraq and Syrian corners.
The whole circuit of the upper half of the House is plated with silver, thickly gilt, which the beholder would imagine, from its thickness, to be a sheet of gold. It encompasses the
four sides and covers the upper half of the walls. The ceiling of the House is covered by a veil of
colored silk. The outside of the Ka'bah, on all its four sides, is clothed in coverings of green silk with cotton warps; and on their upper parts is a band of red silk on which is written the verse, 'Verily the first House founded for mankind was that at Bakkah [Mecca]' [Koran III, 96]. The name of the Imam al-Nasir li Din Hah, in depth three cubits, encircles it all. On these
coverings there has been shaped remarkable designs resembling hand- some pulpits, and inscriptions entertaining the name of God Most High and calling blessings on Nasir, the aforementioned 'Abbaside (Caliph) who had ordered its
installment. With all this, there was no clash of color. The number of covers on all four sides is thirty-four, there being eighteen on the two long sides, and sixteen on the two short sides.
The Ka'bah has five windows of 'Iraq glass, richly stained. One of them is in the middle of the ceiling, and at each corner is a window, one of which is not seen because it is beneath the vaulted passage described later. Between the pillars (hang) thirteen vessels, of silver save one that is gold.
The first thing which he who enters at the door will find to his left is the corner outside which is the Black Stone. Here are two chests containing Korans. Above them in the corner are two small silver doors like windows set in the angle of the corner, and more than a man's stature from the ground. In the angle which follows, the Yemen, it is the same, but the doors have been torn out and only the wood to which they were attached remains. In the Syrian corner it is- the same and the small doors remain. It is the same in the 'Iraq corner, which is to the right of him who enters. In the 'Iraq corner is a door called the Bab al-Rahmah [Door of Mercy, usually called the Door of Repentance, Bab al-Taubah] from which ascent is made to the roof of the blessed House. It leads to a vaulted passage connecting with the roof of the House and having in it a stairway and, at its beginning, the vault contain- ing the venerable maqam [the standing-stone of Abraham; see.
Because of this passage the Ancient House has five corners. The height of both its sides is two statures and it encloses the 'Iraq corner with the halves of each of those two sides. Two-thirds of the circuit of this passage is dressed with pieces of
Colored silk, as if it had been previously wrapped in them and then set in place.
This venerable maqam that is inside the passage is the maqam of Abraham - God's blessings on our Prophet and on him - and is a stone covered with silver. Its height is three spans, its width two and its upper part is larger than the lower. If it is not frivolous to draw the comparison it is like a large potter's oven, its middle being narrower than its top or bottom. "We gazed upon it and were blessed by touching and kissing it. The water of Zamzam was poured for us into the imprints of the two blessed feet [of Abraham who stood on this stone when he built the Ka'bah], and we drank it - may God profit us by it. The traces of both feet are visible, as are the traces of the
honored and blessed big toes. Glory to God who softened the stone beneath the tread so that it left its trace as no trace of foot is left in the soft sand. Glory to God who made it a manifest sign. The contemplation of this maqam and the venerable House is an awful sight which distracts the senses in amazement, and ravishes the heart and mind. You will see only reverent gazes, flowing tears, eyes dissolved in
weeping, and tongues in humble entreaty to Great and Glorious God.
Between the venerable door and the 'Iraq corner is a basin twelve spans long, five and a half spans wide, and about one in depth. It runs from opposite the door post, on the side of the 'Iraq corner, towards that corner, and is the mark of the place of the maqam at the time of Abraham - on whom be (eternal) happiness - until the Prophet-may God bless and preserve him - moved it to the place where now it is a musalla [place of worship]. The basin remained as a conduit for the water of the House when it is washed. It is a blessed spot [called al-Ma jan] and is said to be one of the pools of Paradise,
with men crowding to pray at it. Its bottom is spread with sort white sand.
The place of the venerated Maqam, behind which prayers are said, faces the space between the blessed door and the 'Iraq corner, well towards the side of the door. Over it is a wooden dome, a man's stature or more high, angulated and sharp-edged [i.e. pyramidal], of excellent
modeling, and having four spans from one angle to another. It was erected on the place where once was the maqam [standing-stone], and around it is a stone projection built on the edge like an oblong basin about a span deep, five paces long, and three paces wide. The maqam was put into the place we have described in the blessed House as a measure of safety. Between the maqam and the side of the House opposite it lie seventeen paces, a pace being three spans. The place of the Maqam also has a dome made of steel and placed beside the dome of Zamzam. During the months of the pilgrimage, when many men have assembled and those from 'Iraq and Khurasan have arrived, the wooden dome is removed and the steel dome put in its place that it might better support the press of men.
Old Maqam Ibrahim
From the corner containing the Black Stone to the 'Iraq corner is scarcely fifty-four spans. From the Black Stone to the ground is six spans, so that the tall man must bend to it and the short man raise himself (to kiss it). From the 'Iraq corner to the Syrian corner is scarcely forty-eight spans, and that is through the inside of the Hijr [an adjacent enclosure]; but around it from the one corner to the other is forty paces or almost one hundred and twenty spans. The tawaf
[circumambulator] moves outside. (The distance from) the Syrian corner to the Yemen corner is the same as that from the Black corner to the 'Iraq corner for they are opposite sides. From the Yemen to the Black is the same, inside the Hijr, as from the 'Iraq to the Syrian for they are opposite sides.
The place of circumambulation is paved with wide stones like marble [they are in fact of fine polished granite] and very beautiful, some black, some brown and some white. They are joined to each other, and reach nine paces from the House save in the part facing the Maqam where they reach out to embrace it. The remainder of the Haram, including the colonnades, is wholly spread with white
sand. The place of circumambulation for the women is at the edge of the paved stones.
Water Spout also known as Mizab-e-Rehmat
Between the 'Iraq corner and the beginning of the wall of the Hijr is the entrance to the Hijr; it is four paces wide, that is six cubits exactly, for we measured it by hand. This place is not enclosed in the Hijr, and is that part of the House which the Quraysh
left, and is, as true tradition has it, six cubits. Opposite this entrance, at
the Syrian corner, is another of the same size. Between that part of the wall of the House which is under the Mizab [waterspout] and the wall of die Hijr
opposite, following the straight line which cuts through the middle of the aforementioned Hijr, he forty spans. The distance from entrance to entrance is sixteen paces, which is forty-eight spans. This place, I mean the surroundings of the wall (of the Ka'bah, under the Mizab), is all tessellated marble, wonderfully joined
with bands of gilded copper worked into its surface like a chess-board, being interlaced with each other and with shapes of mihrabs. When the sun strikes them, such light and brightness shine from them that the beholder conceives them to be gold, dazzling the eyes with their rays. The height of the marble wall of this. Hijr is five and a half spans and its width four and a half. Inside the Hijr is a wide paving, round which the Hijr bends as it were in two-thirds of a circle. It is laid with tessellated marble, cut in discs the size of the palm of the hand, of a dinar and more minute than that, and joined with remarkable precision. It is composed with
wonderful art, is of singular perfection, beautifully inlaid and checkered, and is superbly set and laid. The beholder will see bendings, inlays, mosaics of tiles, chess-board forms and the like, of various forms and attributes, such as will fix his gaze for their beauty. Or let his looks roam from the carpet of flowers of many
colors to the mihrabs over which bend arches of marble, and in which are these forms we have described and the arts we have mentioned.
Beside it are two slabs of marble adjacent to the wall of the Hijr opposite the Mizab, on which art has worked such
delicate leaves, branches, and trees as could not be done by skilled hands cutting with scissors from paper. It is a remarkable sight.
The one who decreed that they should be worked in this fashion is the Imam of the East,
Abu 'l-Abbas Ahmad al-Nasir ibn al-Mustadi' billah Abu Muhammad al-Hasan ibn al- Mustanjid billah Abu '1-Muzaffar Yusif al-'Abbasi - may God hold him in His
favor. Facing the waterspout, in the middle of the Hijr and the centre of the marble wall, is a marble slab of most excellent
chiseling with a cornice round it bearing an inscription in striking black in which is written, '(This is) among die things ordered to be done by the servant and Caliph of God
Abu 'l-Abbas Ahmad al-Nasir li djni Ilah, Prince of the Faithful, in the year 576.
The Mizab is on the top of the wall which overlooks the Hijr. It is of gilded copper and projects four cubits over the Hijr, its breadth being a span. This place under the waterspout is also considered as being a place where, by the
favor of God Most High, prayers are answered. The Yemen corner is the same. The wall connecting this place with the Syrian corner is called al-Mustajar [The Place of Refuge]. Underneath the water- spout, and in the court of the Hijr near to the wall of the blessed House, is the tomb of Isma'il [Ishmael] - may God bless
and preserve him. Its mark is a slab of green marble, almost oblong and in the form of a mihrab. Beside it is a round green slab of marble; and both [they are verde antico] are remarkable to look upon. There are spots on them both which
turns them from their color to something of yellow so that they are like a mosaic of
colors, and I compare them to the spots that are left in the crucible after the gold has been
melted in it. Beside this tomb, and on the side towards the 'Iraq corner, is the
tomb of his mother Hajar [Hagar] - may God hold her His favor - its mark being a green stone a span and a half
wide.- Men are blessed by praying in these two places in the Hijr, and men are right to do so, for they are part of the Ancient House and shelter the two holy and venerated bodies. May God cast His light upon them and advantage with their blessings all who pray over them. Seven spans lie between the two holy tombs.
The dome of the Well of Zamzam is opposite the Black Corner, and lies twenty-four paces from it. The Maqam, which we have already mentioned and behind which prayers are said, is to the right of this dome, from the corner of which to the other is ten paces. The inside of the dome is paved with pure white marble. The orifice of die blessed well is in the centre of the dome deviating towards the wall which faces the venerated House. Its depth is eleven statures of a man as we measured it, and the depth of the water is seven statures, as it is said. The door of this dome faces east, and the door of the dome
of' Abbas and that of the Jewish dome face north. The angle of that side of the dome named after the Jews,6* which faces the Ancient House, reaches the left corner of the back wall of the 'Abbaside corner which faces east. Between them lies that amount of deviation. Beside the dome of the Well of Zamzam and behind it stands the qabbat al-Sharab [the dome of drinking], which was erected by 'Abbas - may God hold him in His
favor. Beside this 'Abbaside dome, obliquely to it, is the dome named after the Jews. These two domes are used as storerooms for pious endowments made to the blessed House, such as Korans, books, candlesticks, and the like. The 'Abbaside dome is still called al-Sharabiyyah because it was a place of drinking for the pilgrims; and there, until to-day, the water of Zamzam is put therein to cool in earthenware jars and brought forth at eventide for the pilgrims to drink. These jars are called dawraq and have one handle only. The orifice of the Well of Zamzam is of marble stones so well joined, with lead poured into the interstices, that time will not ravage them. The inside of the orifice is similar, and round it are lead props attached to it to reinforce the strength of the binding and the lead overlay. These props number thirty-two, and their tops protrude to hold the brim of the well round the whole of the orifice. The circumference of the orifice is forty spans, its depth four spans and a half, and its thickness a span and a half. Round the inside of the dome runs a trough of width one span, and depth about two spans and raised five spans from the ground, and it is filled with water for the ritual ablutions. Around it runs a stone
block on which men mount to perform the ablutions.
The blessed Black Stone is enchased in the corner facing east. The depth to which it penetrates it is not known, but it is said to extend two cubits into the wall. Its breadth is two- thirds of a span, its length one span and a finger joint. It has four pieces, joined together, and it is said that it was the Qar- mata [Carmathians] - may God curse them-who broke it. Its edges have been braced with a sheet of silver whose white shines brightly against the black sheen and polished brilliance of the Stone, presenting the observer a striking spectacle which will hold his looks. The Stone, when kissed, has a softness and moistness which so enchants the mouth that he who puts his lips to it would wish them never to be removed. This is one of the special
favors of Divine Providence, and it is enough that the Prophet - may God bless and preserve him - declare to be a covenant of God on earth. May God profit us by the kissing and touching of it. By His
favor may all who yearn fervently for it be brought to it. In the sound piece of the stone, to the right of him who presents himself to kiss it, is a small white spot that shines and appears like a mole on the blessed surface. Concerning this white mole, there is a tradition that he who looks upon it clears his vision, and when kissing it one should direct one's lips as closely as one can to the place of the mole.
The sacred Mosque is encompassed by colonnades in three (horizontal) ranges on three rows of marble columns so arranged as to make it like a single colonnade. Its
measurement in length is four hundred cubits, its width three hundred, and its area is exactly forty-eight tnaraja [sing. maraj\ a measure of area amongst the western Arabs equalling fifty square cubits]. The area between the colonnades is great, but at the time of the Prophet - may God bless and preserve him - it was small and the dome of Zamzam was outside it. Facing the Syrian corner, wedged in the ground, is the capital of a column which at first was the limit of the Haram. Between this capital and the Syrian corner are twenty-two paces. The Ka'bah is in the centre (of the Haram) and its four sides run directly to the east, south, north and west. The number of the marble columns, which myself I counted, is four hundred and seventy-one, excluding the stuccoed column that is in the Dar al-Nadwah (House of Counsel), which was added to the Haram. This is within the colonnade which runs from the west to the north and is faced by the Maqam and the 'Iraq corner. It has a large court and is entered from the colonnade. Against the whole length of this colonnade are benches under vaulted arches where sit the copyists, the readers of the Koran, and some who ply the tailor's trade.
The Haram enfolds rings of students sitting around their teachers, and learned men. Along the wall of the colonnade facing it are also benches under arches in the same fashion. This is the colonnade which runs from the south to the east. In the other colonnades, the benches against the walls have no arches over them. The buildings now in the Haram are at the height of perfection. At the Bab Ibrahim [Abraham's Gate] is another entrance from the colonnade which runs from the west to the south and has also stuccoed columns. I found in the writing of Abu Ja'far ibn ['Alii al-Fanaki al-Qurtubi, the jurisprudent and traditionalist, that die number of columns was four hundred and eighty; for I had not counted those outside the Safa Gate.
Of the enlarging of the Sacred Haram and the adornment of its buildings by the Mahdi Muhammad ibn Abi Ja'far al-Mansur al-'Abbasi there is noble evidence. On the side running from west to north high on the wall of the cloister I found written, 'The servant of God Muhammad al-Mahdi, Prince of the Faith- ful - may God have him in His care - ordered the
enlargement of the Sacred Mosque for the pilgrims to God's House and for those upon the 'umrah. In the year 167 [A.D. 783]/ The Haram has seven minarets. Four are at each corner, another is at the Dar al-Nadwah, and another at the Safa Gate indicates the Gate and is the smallest of them, no one being able to climb up to it for its narrowness. The seventh stands at the Abraham Gate which we shall mention later.
The Safa Gate faces the Black corner in the colonnade which runs from the south to the east. In the middle of the colonnade which is opposite the door are two columns facing the
aformentioned corner and bearing this engraved inscription: 'The Servant of God Muhammad al-Mahdi, Prince of the Faithful - may God have him in His
favor - ordered the erection of these two columns to indicate the path of the Messenger of God [Muhammad] - may God bless and preserve him - to al- Safa, that the pilgrims to the House of God and those that dwell therein might follow him. (Done) by the hand of Yaqtin ibn Musa and Ibrahim ibn Salih in the year 167 [A.D. 783].
On the door of the holy Ka'bah is engraved in gold, with graceful characters long and thick, that hold the eyes for their form and beauty, this writing: 'This is amongst those things erected by order of the servant and Caliph of God, the Imam Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad al-Muqtafi li Amri Ilah, Prince of the Faithful. May God bless him and the Imams his righteous ancestors, perpetuating for him the prophetic inheritance and making it an enduring word for his prosperity until the Day of Resurrection. In the year 550 [A.D. 1155].' In this wise (was it written) on the faces of the two door-leaves. These two noble door-leaves are enclosed by a thick band of silver gilt,
excellently carved, which rises to the blessed lintel, passes over it and then goes round the sides of the two door-leaves. Between them, when they are closed together, is a sort of broad strip of silver gilt which runs the length of the doors and is attached to the door-leaf which is to the left of him who enters the House.
The Kiswah [lit. 'robe', covering] of the sacred Ka'bah is of green silk as we have said. There are thirty-four pieces: nine on the side between the Yemen and Syrian corners, nine also on the opposite side between the Black corner and the 'Iraq corner, and eight on both the side between the 'Iraq and Syrian corners and on that between the Yemen and the Black. Together they come to appear as one single cover comprehending the four sides. The lower part of the Ka'bah is surrounded by a projecting border built of. stucco, more than a span in depth and two spans or a little more in width, inside which is wood, not discernible. Into this are driven iron pegs which have at their ends iron rings that are visible. Through these is inserted a rope of hemp, thick and strongly made, which encircles the four sides, and which is sewn with strong, twisted, cotton, thread to a girdle, like that of the sirwal [the Arab cotton bloomers], fixed to the hems of the covers. At the juncture of the covers at the four corners, they are sewn together for more than a man's stature, and above that they are brought together by iron hooks engaged in each other. At the top, round the sides of the terrace, runs another projecting border to which the. upper parts of the covers are attached with iron rings, after the fashion described. Thus the blessed Kiswah is sewn top and bottom, and firmly buttoned, being never removed save at its renewal year by year. Glory to God who perpetuates its honour until the Day of Resurrection. There is no God but He. The door of the sacred Ka'bah is opened every Monday and Friday, except in the month of Rajab, when it is opened every day. It is opened at the first rising of the sun. The custodians of the House, the Shayba advance, seeking to forestall each other in moving a big stairway that resembles a large pulpit. It has nine long steps, and wooden supports that reach the ground and have attached to them four large wheels, plated with iron as against their contact with the ground, on which the ladder moves until it reaches the Sacred House. The highest step reaches the blessed threshold of the door. The chief of the Shayba, a mature man of handsome mien and aspect, then ascends it, carrying the key of the blessed lock. With him is a custodian holding up a black veil that is (hung) before the door and under which his arms
sag while the aforesaid chief of the Shayba opens the door. When he has opened the lock, he kisses the threshold, enters the House alone, closes the door behind him and stays there the time of two rak'ah. The other Shayba then enter and also close the door and perform the rak'ah. The door is then opened and men compete to enter. While the venerated door is being opened, the people stand before it with lowered looks and hands outstretched in humble supplication to God. When it is opened they cry, 'Attahu Akbar [God is Great], raising a
clamor and calling in a loud voice, 'Ah, my God, open to us the gates of Your mercy and pardon, Most Merciful of the Merciful.' They then 'enter in peace, secure' [Koran XV, 46].
In the wall facing the entrant, which is that running from the Yemen corner to the Syrian, are five marble panels set lengthways as if they were doors. They come down to a
distance of five spans from the ground, and each one of them is about a man's stature in height. Three of them are red, and two green, and all have white tessellations so that I have never seen a more beautiful sight. They are as if speckled. A red one adjoins the Yemen corner, and next to it at a distance of five spans is a green. At the place opposite this, falling back from it three cubits, is the musalli [praying place] of
the Prophet - may God bless and preserve him - and men crowd to pray at it and be blessed. They are all sited in this manner, there being between each panel and the other the distance we have stated. Between each pair is a marble slab of pure and unstained
whiteness on which Great and Glorious God had fashioned, at its first creation, remarkable designs, inclining to blue, of trees and branches, and another beside it with the same designs exactly, as if they were parts (of the same stone); and if one were placed over the other each design would correspond with its opposite. Beyond a peradventure each slab is the half of the other, and when the cut was made they divided to make these designs and each was placed beside its sister. The space between a green and a red panel is that of two slabs, their combined width being five spans, according to the number mentioned above. The designs on these slabs vary in shape, and each slab lies beside its sister. The sides of these marble slabs are braced by cornices, two fingers wide, of marble tessellated with spotted greens and reds, and speckled whites, that are like wands worked on a lathe, such as to stagger the imagination. In this wall there are six spaces with white marble. In the wall, which is to the left of him who enters, which is from the Black corner to the Yemen, there are four marble panels, two green and two red. Between them are five [two spaces must therefore be on the flanks] spaces with white marble, and all in the fashion described. In die wall to the right of the entrant, which is that from the Black corner to the 'Iraq, there are three panels, two red and one green, interspersed with three spaces of white marble. This is the wall that runs to the corner containing the Bab al-Rahmah [the Door of Mercy or to-day the Bab al-Taubah] which is three spans wide and seven spans
high. That side-piece of this door which is to your right as you face it is of green marble and two-thirds of a span wide. In the wall from the Syrian to the 'Iraq corner are three panels of marble, two red and one green, connected by three spaces of white marble in the manner described. These slabs of marble are crowned with two fasciae, one over the other, each being two spans wide, and of gold with an inscription in lapis-lazuli of fine hand. These fasciae reach the gold engraving on the upper half of the wall. The side on the right of the entrant has one fascia. In these double fasciae some parts (of the inscription) have been effaced.
In each of the four corners, towards the ground, are two small tablets of green marble which enclose the corner (on both sides). Similarly, both of the two (small) silver doors which, in the form of windows, are found in each corner, are enclosed by small side-pieces of green marble the size of the openings. At the beginning of all die walls described comes a red marble panel and at the end also comes a red, while the green are
distributed between them after the manner related, save on the wall to the left of the entrant, for there the first marble you find, beside the Black comer, is green; then comes a red, and so on until the end of the arrangement we have explained.
Beside the noble Maqam is the preacher's pulpit [minbar] which also is on four wheels in the mode we have explained. When, on Fridays, the time of prayer approaches, it is brought to the side of the Ka'bah that faces the Maqam, which is that which runs between the Black and the 'Iraq corners, and is propped against it. The khatib [preacher] comes through the Gate of the Prophet - may God bless and preserve him - which is opposite the Maqam and in the colonnade which runs from east to north. He wears a black dress, worked with gold, a black turban similarly worked, and a taylasan of fine linen. All this is the livery of the Caliph, which he sends to the preachers of his land. With lofty gait, calm and stately, he slowly paces between two black banners held by two muezzins of Ins tribe. Before him goes another of his people bearing a red staff, turned on a lathe, and having tied to its top a cord of twisted skin, long and thin, with a small thong at its tip. He cracks it in the air with so loud a report that it is heard both within the Haram and without, like a warning of the arrival of the preacher. He does not cease to crack it until they are near the pulpit. They call (this whip)
Coming to the pulpit, the khatib turns aside to the Black Stone, kisses it, and prays before it. Then he goes to die pulpit, led by the Zamzam muezzin, who is the chief of the muezzins of the noble Haram and also dressed in black clothes. He bears on his shoulder a sword which he holds in his hand without girding it. The muezzin girds the khatib with the sword as he ascends the first step, which then, with the ferrule of his scab- bard, he strikes a blow which all present can hear. He strikes it again on the second step and on the third. When he reaches the top step, he strikes the fourth blow, and stands facing the Ka'bah praying in low tones. Then he turns to right and left and says, 'Peace upon you, and the mercy and blessings of God.' The congregation returns the salutation ['Upon you be peace'] and he then sits. The muezzins place themselves in front of him and call the adthan in one voice. When they have finished, the khatib delivers the address, reminding, exhorting, inspiring, and waxing eloquent. He then sits down in the conventional sitting of the preacher and strikes with the sword a fifth time. He then delivers the second (part of) the Khutbah multiplying prayers for Muhammad - may God bless and preserve him - and for his family, begging God's
favor for his Companions and naming in particular the four Caliphs-may God have them all in His
favor - praying for the two uncles of the Prophet-may God bless and preserve them-Hamzah and 'Abbas, and for al-Hasan and al-Husayn, uniting to all (the words): 'May God hold them in His
favor.' He then prayed for the Mothers of the Faithful wives of the Prophet - may God bless and preserve them - and begged God's
favor for Fatimah the Fair and for Khadijah the Great in this language. He then prayed for the' Abbaside Caliph Abu
'l-Abbas Ahmad al-Nasir, then for the Emir of Mecca, Mukthir ibn 'Isa ibn Fulay tah ibn Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Ja'far ibn Abi Hashim al-Hasani, then for Salah al-Din [Saladin] Abu
'l-Muzaffar Yusif ibn Ayyub and his heir and brother Abu Bakr ibn Ayyub. At the mention in the prayers of Saladin, from all sides tongues quivered (in emotion) as they cried 'Amen' to that.
'If God to His servant one day gives love} He gives it hint in love of all mankind.'
And right it is they should, for the goodly care and kind attention he has lavished on them, and for his raising of the customs tax from off them.
We learnt at this time that a letter had come from him to the Emir Mukthir, the most important chapter of which was the commendation regarding the care of the pilgrims, with the insistence on beneficence and kindness being shown towards them, and the raising of the hand which bore upon them, and the giving of orders to this effect to the servants, the men of the following, and the officers of the army. 'We and you,' said the Sultan, 'are charged with the well-being of the pilgrims.
Reflect upon this noble task and generous aim. The benefits of God are two-fold for him who benefits His servants, and His bounteous care reaches him who exerts his care for them/ Great and Glorious God is the guarantor for the reward of those who do good. For He directs all these things. There is no Lord but Him.
During the khutbah, the two black banners are planted on the first step of the minbar, and held by two muezzins. At the side of the entrance to the minbar are two rings in which the banners are placed. When the khatib has ended the prayers, he leaves with the banners on his right and left and before him the farqaah, after the manner in which he entered. This is at once the signal of the departure of the preacher and the end of the prayers, and the minbar is returned to its place beside the
On the night on which the new moon of this month of Jumada
l-Ula rose, the Emir of Mecca, the aforesaid Mukthir, came early in the morning, as the rising of the sun, to the noble Haram. Around him were his leading men, and Koran readers went before him. He entered by the Gate of the Prophet - may God bless and preserve him - with his Negroes, those that are known as harrabah [spearmen], who, spear in hand, whirled in front of him. His aspect was modest, calm, and dignified, and his mien that of his noble ancestors - may God bless and preserve them. He wore a white dress, was girded with a short sword, and for a turban had a kurziyyah of fine white wool. When he had come close to the noble Maqam, he stopped. A linen carpet was spread for him and he prayed two rak'ahs. He then advanced to the Black Stone and kissed it and then began the tawaf. On the dome of Zamzam had climbed a youth who was the brother of the Zamzam muezzin, he who is the first muezzin in making the calls and whom the others imitate and follow. When die Emir had completed one shaut [circuit] and was approaching the Stone, the youth, who was dressed in his finest cloths and wore a turban, raised his voice in prayer from the top of the dome, opening with these words: 'Grant this day, oh God, to our Lord the Emir everlasting happiness and all-embracing
favor.' This he followed with good wishes for the month, and a gifted discourse in rhymed prose full of invocations and eulogies, and then, con- cluding with three or four verses of poetry in praise of the Emir and his noble ancestors and the excellence of the Prophecy, came to silence.
When the Emir was under the shade of the Yemen corner on his way to the Stone, the youth began another prayer of the same kind, adding other verses of exactly the same pur- port, which seemed to have been taken from an ode of praise to him. So it continued for seven circuits and until it was over. The Koran readers were in front of the Emir throughout
his tawaf. The order and splendor of this scene, the beauty of the voice of that muezzin, notwithstanding his youth, for he was about eleven years old or thereabout, the eloquence of the discourse he made in prose and verse, the high voices of the readers of the Book of Great and Glorious God, all these things together move and affect the spirit, draw tears from the eyes, and bring to the memory the family of the Prophet from whom God has removed all impurity and whom He has cleansed. When the Emir had finished the tawaf, he prayed two rak'ahs at the Multazam, then prayed a
rakkah behind the Maqam and departed with his retinue around him; and it is his custom not to appear again in the Haram save at the time of the new moon.
The Ancient House is built of large blocks of dark granite, compactly set together and joined by a strongly binding cement, so that the days cannot change them nor time destroy. An odd feature of it is that a piece which split from the Yemen corner was nailed in its place with silver nails, which are to be seen, and it became better than it was.
One of the wondrous things about the Ancient House is that it rises in the middle of the Haram like, if it is not irreverent to make the comparison, a lofty tower. The pigeons in the Haram cannot be counted for their number, and their safety is a matter for proverbs. In no case will a pigeon come down to the roof of the Ancient House or alight upon it in any circumstance. You will see a pigeon flying over all the Haram, and when it approaches the House turning from it right or left. All other birds are the same. I read in The Notes on Mecca that no bird will alight upon the House save when struck by illness, in which case either will it die upon the instant or straightway be cured. Glory to Him who has made the House worthy of
honor and deference.
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