Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah & Meccah
Sir Richard Francis Burton

Part 6 out of 9

ten feet [i]n diameter. Upon this the people stand who draw up the
water in leathern buckets, an iron railing being so placed as to
[p.310] prevent their falling in. In El Fasy’s time there were eight
marble basins in this room, for the purpose of ablution.”

“On the north-east (south-east) side of Zem Zem stand two small
buildings, one behind the other,[FN#42] called El Kobbateyn; they are
covered by domes painted in the same manner as the Mosque, and in them
are kept water-jars, lamps, carpets, mats, brooms, and other articles
used in the very Mosque.[FN#43] These two ugly buildings are injurious
to the interior appearance of the building, their heavy forms and
structure being very disadvantageously contrasted with the light and
airy shape of the Makams. I heard some Hadjys from Greece, men of
better taste than the Arabs, express their regret that the Kobbateyn
should be allowed to disfigure the Mosque. They were built by
Khoshgeldy, governor of Djidda A.H. 947; one is called Kobbet el Abbas,
from having been placed on the site of a small tank said to have been
formed by Abbas, the uncle of Mohammed.”

[p.311] “A few paces west (north-west) of Zem Zem, and directly opposite
to the door of the Kaabah, stands a ladder or staircase,[FN#44] which
is moved up to the wall of the Kaabah on days when that building is
opened, and by which the visitors ascend to the door. It is of wood,
with some carved ornaments, moves on low wheels, and is sufficiently
broad to admit of four persons ascending abreast. The first ladder was
sent hither from Cairo in A.H. 818 by Moyaed Abou el Naser, King of

“In the same line with the ladder and close by it stands a lightly built
insulated and circular arch, about fifteen feet wide, and eighteen feet
high, called Bab es’ Salam, which must not be confounded with the great
gate of the Mosque, bearing the same name. Those who enter the Bait
Ullah for the first time are enjoined to do so by the outer and inner
Bab-es-Salam; in passing under the latter they are to exclaim, ‘O God,
may it be a happy entrance.’ I do not know by whom this arch was built,
but it appears to be modern.[FN#45]”

“Nearly in front of the Bab-es-Salam and nearer the Kaabah than any of
the other surrounding buildings, stand[s] the Makam Ibrahim.[FN#46]
This is a small building supported by six pillars about eight feet
high, four of which are surrounded from top to bottom by a fine iron
railing, while they leave the space beyond the two hind pillars open;
within the railing is a frame about five feet square, terminating in a
pyramidal top, and said to contain the sacred stone upon which Ibrahim
stood when he built the Kaabah, and which with the help of his son
Ismayl he had removed from hence to the place

[p.312] called Maajen, already mentioned. The stone is said to have
yielded under the weight of the Patriarch, and to preserve the
impression of his foot still visible upon it; but no hadjy has ever
seen it,[FN#47] as the frame is always entirely covered with a brocade
of red silk richly embroidered. Persons are constantly seen before the
railing invoking the good offices of Ibrahim; and a short prayer must
be uttered by the side of the Makam after the walk round the Kaabah is
completed. It is said that many of the Sahaba, or first adherents of
Mohammed, were interred in the open space between this Makam and Zem
Zem[FN#48]; from which circumstance it is one of the most

[p.313] favourite places of prayers in the Mosque. In this part of the
area the Khalif Soleyman Ibn Abd el Melek, brother of Wolyd (Al-Walid),
built a fine reservoir in A.H. 97, which was filled from a spring east
of Arafat[FN#49]; but the Mekkawys destroyed it after his death, on the
pretence that the water of Zem Zem was preferable.”

“On the side of Makam Ibrahim, facing the middle part of the front of the
Kaabah, stands the Mambar, or pulpit of the Mosque; it is elegantly
formed of fine white marble, with many sculptured ornaments; and was
sent as a present to the Mosque in A.H. 969 by Sultan Soleyman Ibn
Selym.[FN#50] A straight, narrow staircase leads up to the post of the
Khatyb, or preacher, which is surmounted by a gilt polygonal pointed
steeple, resembling an obelisk. Here a sermon is preached on Fridays
and on certain festivals. These, like the Friday sermons of all Mosques
in the Mohammedan countries, are usually of the same turn, with some
slight alterations upon extraordinary occasions.[FN#51]”

“I have now described all the buildings within the inclosure of the

“The gates of the Mosque are nineteen in number, and are distributed
about it without any order or symmetry.[FN#52]”

Burckhardt’s description of the gates is short and

[p.314] imperfect. On the eastern side of the Mosque there are

[p.315] four principal entrances, seven on the southern side, three in
the western, and five in the northern wall.

The eastern gates are the Greater Bab al-Salam, through which the
pilgrim enters the Mosque; it is close to the north-east angle. Next to
it the Lesser Bab al-Salam, with two small arches; thirdly, the Bab
al-Nabi, where the Prophet used to pass through from Khadijah’s house;
and, lastly, near the south-east corner, the Bab Ali, or of the Benu
Hashim, opening upon the street between Safa and Marwah.

Beyond the north-eastern corner, in the northern wall, is the Bab
Duraybah, a small entrance with one arch. Next to it, almost fronting
the Ka’abah, is the grand adit, “Bab al-Ziyadah,” also known as Bab
al-Nadwah. Here the colonnade, projecting far beyond the normal line,
forms a small square or hall supported by pillars, and a false
colonnade of sixty-one columns leads to the true cloister of the
Mosque. This portion of the building being cool and shady, is crowded
by the poor, the diseased, and the dying, during Divine worship, and at
other times by idlers, schoolboys, and merchants. Passing through three
external arches, pilgrims descend by a flight of steps into the hall,
where they deposit their slippers, it not being considered decorous to
hold them when circumambulating the Ka’abah.[FN#53] A broad pavement, in
the shape of an irregular triangle, whose base is the cloister, leads
to the circuit of the house. Next to the Ziyadah Gate is a small,
single-arched entrance, “Bab Kutubi,” and beyond it one similar, the Bab
al-Ajlah ([Arabic]), also named Al-Basitiyah, from its proximity to the
college of Abd al Basitah. Close to the north-west angle of the
cloister is the Bab al-Nadwah, anciently called Bab al-Umrah, and now

[p.316] al-Atik, the Old Gate. Near this place and opening into the
Ka’abah, stood the “Town Hall” (Dar al-Nadwah), built by Kusay, for
containing the oriflamme “Al-Liwa,” and as a council-chamber for the
ancients of the city.[FN#54]

In the western wall are three entrances. The single-arched gate nearest
to the north angle is called Bab Benu Saham or Bab al-Umrah, because
pilgrims pass through it to the Tanim and to the ceremony Al-Umrah
(Little Pilgrimage). In the centre of the wall is the Bab Ibrahim, or
Bab al-Khayyatin (the Tailors’ Gate); a single arch leading into a large
projecting square, like that of the Ziyadah entrance, but somewhat
smaller. Near the south-west corner is a double arched adit, the Bab
al-Wida’a (“of farewell”): hence departing pilgrims issue forth from the

At the western end of the southern wall is the two-arched Bab Umm Hani,
so called after the lady’s residence, when included in the Mosque. Next
to it is a similar building, “Bab Ujlan” [Arabic] which derives its name
from the large college “Madrasat Ujlan”; some call it Bab al-Sharif,
because it is opposite one of the palaces. After which, and also
pierced with two arches, is the Bab al-Jiyad (some erroneously spell it
Al-Jihad, “of War”), the gate leading to Jabal Jiyad. The next is double
arched, and called the Bab al-Mujahid or Al-Rahmah (“of Mercy”). Nearly
opposite the Ka’abah, and connected with the pavement by a raised line of
stone, is the Bab al-Safa, through which pilgrims now issue to perform
the ceremony “Al-Sai”; it is a small and unconspicuous erection. Next to it
is the Bab al-Baghlah with two arches, and close to the south-east
angle of the Mosque the Bab Yunus, alias Bab Bazan, alias Bab al-Zayt,
alias Bab al-Asharah (“of the ten”), because a favourite with the first ten
Sahabah, or Companions
[p.317] of the Prophet. “Most of these gates,” says Burckhardt, “have high
pointed arches; but a few round arches are seen among them, which, like
all arches of this kind in the Heja[z], are nearly semi-circular. They
are without ornament, except the inscription on the exterior, which
commemorates the name of the builder, and they are all posterior in
date to the fourteenth century. As each gate consists of two or three
arches, or divisions, separated by narrow walls, these divisions are
counted in the enumeration of the gates leading into the Kaabah, and
they make up the number thirty-nine. There being no doors to the gates,
the Mosque is consequently open at all times. I have crossed at every
hour of the night, and always found people there, either at prayers or
walking about.[FN#55]”

“The outside walls of the Mosques are those of the houses which surround
it on all sides. These houses belonged originally to the Mosque; the
greater part are now the property of individuals. They are let out to
the richest Hadjys, at very high prices, as much as 500 piastres being
given during the pilgrimage for a good apartment with windows opening
into the Mosque.[FN#56] Windows have in consequence been opened in many
parts of the walls on a level with the street, and above that of the
floor of the colonnades. Hadjys living in these apartments are allowed
to perform the Friday’s prayers at home; because, having the Kaabah in
view from the windows, they are supposed to be in the Mosque itself,
and to join in prayer those assembled within the

[p.318] temple. Upon a level with the ground floor of the colonnades
and opening into them are small apartments formed in the walls, having
the appearance of dungeons; these have remained the property of the
Mosque while the houses above them belong to private individuals. They
are let out to water-men, who deposit in them the Zem Zem jars, or to
less opulent Hadjys who wish to live in the Mosque.[FN#57] Some of the
surrounding houses still belong to the Mosque, and were originally
intended for public schools, as their names of Medresa implies; they
are now all let out to Hadjys.”

“The exterior of the Mosque is adorned with seven minarets irregularly
distributed:—1. Minaret of Bab el Omra (Umrah); 2. Of Bab el Salam; 3. Of
Bab Aly; 4. Of Bab el Wodaa (Wida’a); 5. Of Medesa Kail (Kait) Bey; 6. Of
Bab el Zyadi; 7. Of Medreset Sultan Soleyman.[FN#58] They are
quadrangular or round steeples, in no way differing from other
minarets. The entrance to them is from the different buildings round
the Mosque, which they adjoin.[FN#59] A beautiful view of the busy
crowd below is attained by ascending the most northern one.[FN#60]”

Having described at length the establishment

[p.319] attached to the Mosque of Al-Madinah, I spare my readers a
detailed account of the crowd of idlers that hang about the Meccan
temple. The Naib al-Harim, or vice-intendant, is one Sayyid Ali, said
to be of Indian extraction; he is superior to all the attendants. There
are about eighty eunuchs, whose chief, Sarur Agha, was a slave of
Mohammed Ali Pasha. Their pay varies from 100 to 1,000 piastres per
mensem; it is, however, inferior to the Madinah salaries. The Imams,
Mu’ezzins, Khatibs, Zemzemis, &c., &c., are under their respective
Shaykhs who are of the Olema.[FN#61]

Briefly to relate the history of the Ka’abah.

The “House of Allah” is supposed to have been built and rebuilt ten times.

1. The first origin of the idea is manifestly a symbolical allusion to
the angels standing before the Almighty and praising his name. When
Allah, it is said, informed the celestial throng that he was about to
send a vice-regent on earth, they deprecated the design. Being reproved
with these words, “God knoweth what ye know not,” and dreading the eternal
anger, they compassed the Arsh, or throne, in adoration. Upon this
Allah created the Bayt al-Ma’amur, four jasper pillars with a ruby roof,

[p.320] and the angels circumambulated it, crying, “Praise to Allah, and
exalted be Allah, and there is no ilah but Allah, and Allah is
omnipotent!” The Creator then ordered them to build a similar house for
man on earth. This, according to Ali, took place 40, according to Abu
Hurayrah, 2,000 years before the creation; both authorities, however,
are agreed that the firmaments were spread above and the seven earths
beneath this Bayt al-Ma’amur.

2. There is considerable contradiction concerning the second house. Ka’ab
related that Allah sent down with Adam[FN#62] a Khaymah, or tabernacle
of hollow ruby, which the angels raised on stone pillars. This was also
called Bayt al-Ma’amur. Adam received an order to compass it about; after
which, he begged a reward for obedience, and was promised a pardon to
himself and to all his progeny who repent.

Others declare that Adam, expelled from Paradise, and lamenting that he
no longer heard the prayers of the angels, was ordered by Allah to take
the stones of five hills, Lebanon, Sinai, Tur Zayt (Olivet), Ararat,
and Hira, which afforded the first stone. Gabriel, smiting his wing
upon earth, opened a foundation to the seventh layer, and the position
of the building is exactly below the heavenly Bayt al-Ma’amur,—a Moslem
corruption of the legends concerning the heavenly and the earthly
Jerusalem. Our First Father circumambulated it as he had seen the
angels do, and was by them taught the formula of prayer and the number
of circuits.

According to others, again, this second house was not erected till
after the “Angelic Foundation” was destroyed by time.

3. The history of the third house is also somewhat

[p.321] confused. When the Bayt al-Ma’amur, or, as others say, the
tabernacle, was removed to heaven after Adam’s death, a stone-and-mud
building was placed in its stead by his son Shays (Seth). For this
reason it is respected by the Sabaeans, or Christians of St. John, as
well as by the Moslems. This Ka’abah, according to some, was destroyed by
the deluge, which materially altered its site. Others believe that it
was raised to heaven. Others, again, declare that only the pillars
supporting the heavenly tabernacle were allowed to remain. Most
authorities agree in asserting that the Black Stone was stored up in
Abu Kubays, whence that “first created of mountains” is called Al-Amin, “the

4. Abraham and his son were ordered to build the fourth house upon the
old foundations: its materials, according to some, were taken from the
five hills which supplied the second; others give the names Ohod, Kuds,
Warka, Sinai, Hira, and a sixth, Abu Kubays. It was of irregular shape;
32 cubits from the Eastern to the Northern corner; 32 from North to
West; 31 from West to South; 20 from South to East; and only 9 cubits
high. There was no roof; two doors, level with the ground, were pierced
in the Eastern and Western walls; and inside, on the right hand, near
the present entrance, a hole for treasure was dug. Gabriel restored the
Black Stone, which Abraham, by his direction, placed in its present
corner, as a sign where circumambulation is to begin; and the patriarch
then learned all the complicated rites of pilgrimage. When this house
was completed, Abraham, by Allah’s order, ascended Jabal Sabir, and
called the world to visit the sanctified spot; and all earth’s sons heard
him, even those “in their father’s loins or in their mother’s womb, from that
day unto the day of resurrection.”

5. The Amalikah (descended from Imlik, great grandson of Sam, son of
Noah), who first settled near Meccah, founded the fifth house.
Al-Tabari and the Moslem

[p.322] historians generally made the erection of the Amalikah to
precede that of the Jurham; these, according to others, repaired the
house which Abraham built.

6. The sixth Ka’abah was built about the beginning of the Christian era
by the Benu Jurham, the children of Kahtan, fifth descendant from Noah.
Ismail married, according to the Moslems, a daughter of this tribe,
Da’alah bint Muzaz ([Arabic]) bin Omar, and abandoning Hebrew, he began
to speak Arabic (Ta arraba). Hence his descendants are called
Arabicized Arabs. After Ismail’s death, which happened when he was 130
years old, Sabit, the eldest of his twelve sons, became “lord of the
house.” He was succeeded by his maternal grandfather Muzaz, and
afterwards by his children. The Jurham inhabited the higher parts of
Meccah, especially Jabal Ka’aka’an, so called from their clashing arms;
whereas the Amalikah dwelt in the lower grounds, which obtained the
name of Jiyad, from their generous horses.

7. Kusay bin Kilab, governor of Meccah and fifth forefather of the
Prophet, built the seventh house, according to Abraham’s plan. He roofed
it over with palm leaves, stocked it with idols, and persuaded his
tribe to settle near the Harim.

8. Kusay’s house was burnt down by a woman’s censer, which accidentally set
fire to the Kiswah, or covering, and the walls were destroyed by a
torrent. A merchant-ship belonging to a Greek trader, called “Bakum”
([Arabic]), being wrecked at Jeddah, afforded material for the roof,
and the crew were employed as masons. The Kuraysh tribe, who rebuilt
the house, failing in funds of pure money, curtailed its proportions by
nearly seven cubits and called the omitted portion Al-Hatim. In digging
the foundation they came to a green stone, like a camel’s hunch, which,
struck with a pickaxe, sent forth blinding lightning, and prevented
further excavation. The Kuraysh, amongst other alterations, raised the

[p.323] from nine to eighteen cubits, built a staircase in the northern
breadth, closed the western door and placed the eastern entrance above
the ground, to prevent men entering without their leave.

When the eighth house was being built Mohammed was in his twenty-fifth
year. His surname of Al-Amin, the Honest, probably induced the tribes
to make him their umpire for the decision of a dispute about the
position of the Black Stone, and who should have the honour of raising
it to its place.[FN#63] He decided for the corner chosen by Abraham,
and distributed the privilege amongst the clans. The Benu Zahrah and
Benu Abd Manaf took the front wall and the door; to the Benu Jama and
the Benu Sahm was allotted the back wall; the Benu Makhzum and their
Kuraysh relations stood at the southern wall; and at the “Stone” corner
were posted the Benu Abd al-Dar, the Benu As’ad, and the Benu Ada.

9. Abdullah bin Zubayr, nephew of Ayishah, rebuilt the Ka’abah in A.H.
64. It had been weakened by fire, which burnt the covering, besides
splitting the Black Stone into three pieces, and by the Manjanik
(catapults) of Hosayn ([Arabic]) bin Numayr, general of Yazid, who
obstinately besieged Meccah till he heard of his sovereign’s death.
Abdullah, hoping to fulfil a prophecy,[FN#64] and seeing that the
people of Meccah fled in alarm, pulled down the building by means of
“thin-calved Abyssinian slaves.” When they came to Abraham’s foundation he
saw that it included Al-Hijr, which part the Kuraysh had been unable to
build. The building was made of cut stone and fine lime brought from
Al-Yaman. Abdullah, taking in the Hatim, lengthened the building by
seven cubits, and added to its former height nine cubits,

[p.324] thus making a total of twenty-seven. He roofed over the whole,
or a part; re-opened the western door, to serve as an exit; and,
following the advice of his aunt, who quoted the Prophet’s words, he
supported the interior with a single row of three columns, instead of
the double row of six placed there by the Kuraysh. Finally, he paved
the Mataf, or circuit, ten cubits round with the remaining slabs, and
increased the Harim by taking in the nearer houses. During the
building, a curtain was stretched round the walls, and pilgrims
compassed them externally. When finished, it was perfumed inside and
outside, and invested with brocade. Then Abdullah and all the citizens
went forth in a procession to the Tanim, a reverend place near Meccah,
returned to perform Umrah, the Lesser Pilgrimage, slew 100 victims, and
rejoiced with great festivities.

The Caliph Abd al-Malik bin Marwan besieged Abdullah bin Zubayr, who,
after a brave defence, was slain. In A.H. 74, Hajjaj bin Yusuf, general
of Abd al-Malik’s troops, wrote to the prince, informing him that
Abdullah had made unauthorised additions to and changes in the Harim:
the reply brought an order to rebuild the house. Hajjaj again excluded
the Hatim and retired the northern wall six cubits and a span, making
it twenty-five cubits long by twenty-four broad; the other three sides
were allowed to remain as built by the son of Zubayr. He gave the house
a double roof, closed the western door, and raised the eastern four
cubits and a span above the Mataf, or circuit, which he paved over. The
Harim was enlarged and beautified by the Abbasides, especially by
Al-Mahdi, Al-Mutamid, and Al-Mutazid. Some authors reckon, as an
eleventh house, the repairs made by Sultan Murad Khan. On the night of
Tuesday, 20th Sha’aban, A.H. 1030, a violent torrent swept the Harim; it
rose one cubit above the threshold of the Ka’abah, carried away the
lamp-posts and the

[p.325] Makam Ibrahim, all the northern wall of the house, half of the
eastern, and one-third of the western side. It subsided on Wednesday
night. The repairs were not finished till A.H. 1040. The greater part,
however, of the building dates from the time of Al Hajjaj; and Moslems,
who never mention his name without a curse, knowingly circumambulate
his work. The Olema indeed have insisted upon its remaining untouched,
lest kings in wantonness should change its form: Harun al-Rashid
desired to rebuild it, but was forbidden by the Imam Malik.

The present proofs of the Ka’abah’s sanctity, as adduced by the learned,
are puerile enough, but curious. The Olema have made much of the
verselet: “Verily the first house built for mankind (to worship in) is
that in Bakkah[FN#65] (Meccah), blessed and a salvation to the three
worlds. Therein (fihi) are manifest signs, the standing-place of
Abraham, which whoso entereth shall be safe” (Kor. ch. 3). The word “therein”
is interpreted to mean Meccah; and the “manifest signs” the Ka’abah, which
contains such marvels as the foot-prints on Abraham’s platform and the
spiritual safeguard of all who enter the Sanctuary.[FN#66] The other
“signs,” historical, psychical, and physical, are briefly these: The
preservation of the Hajar al-Aswad and the Makam Ibrahim from many
foes, and the miracles put forth (as in the War of the Elephant), to
defend the house; the violent and terrible deaths of the sacrilegious;
and the fact that, in the Deluge, the large fish did not eat the little
fish in the Harim. A wonderful desire and love impel men from distant
regions to visit the holy spot, and the first sight of the Ka’abah causes
awe and fear, horripilation and tears. Furthermore, ravenous beasts
will not destroy their prey in the Sanctuary land, and the pigeons and
other birds never perch upon the house, except to be
[p.326] cured of sickness, for fear of defiling the roof. The Ka’abah,
though small, can contain any number of devotees; no one is ever hurt
in it,[FN#67] and invalids recover their health by rubbing themselves
against the Kiswah and the Black Stone. Finally, it is observed that
every day 100,000 mercies descend upon the house, and especially that
if rain come up from the northern corner there is plenty in Irak; if
from the south, there is plenty in Yaman; if from the east, plenty in
India; if from the western, there is plenty in Syria; and if from all
four angles, general plenty is presignified.

[FN#1] “Bayt Ullah” (House of Allah) and “Ka’abah,” i.e. cube (house), “la maison
carree,” are synonymous.
[FN#2] Ali Bey gives 536 feet 9 inches by 356 feet: my measurement is
257 paces by 210. Most Moslem authors, reckoning by cubits, make the
parallelogram 404 by 310.
[FN#3] On each short side I counted 24 domes; on the long, 35. This
would give a total of 118 along the cloisters. The Arabs reckon in all
152; viz., 24 on the East side, on the North 36, on the South 36, one
on the Mosque corner, near the Zarurah minaret; 16 at the porch of the
Bab al-Ziyadah; and 15 at the Bab Ibrahim. The shape of these domes is
the usual “Media-Naranja,” and the superstition of the Meccans informs the
pilgrim that they cannot be counted. Books reckon 1352 pinnacles or
battlements on the temple wall.
[FN#4] The “common stone of the Meccah mountains” is a fine grey granite,
quarried principally from a hill near the Bab al-Shabayki, which
furnished material for the Ka’abah. Eastern authors describe the pillars
as consisting of three different substances, viz.: Rukham, white
marble, not “alabaster,” its general sense; Suwan, or granite (syenite?);
and Hajar Shumaysi,” a kind of yellow sandstone, so called from “Bir
Shumays,” a place on the Jeddah road near Haddah, the half-way station.
[FN#5] I counted in the temple 554 pillars. It is, however, difficult
to be accurate, as the four colonnades and the porticos about the two
great gates are irregular; topographical observations, moreover, must
here be made under difficulties. Ali Bey numbers them roughly at “plus de
500 colonnes et pilastres.”
[FN#6] The author afterwards informs us, that “the temple has been so
often ruined and repaired, that no traces of remote antiquity are to be
found about it.” He mentions some modern and unimportant inscriptions
upon the walls and over the gates. Knowing that many of the pillars
were sent in ships from Syria and Egypt by the Caliph Al-Mahdi, a
traveller would have expected better things.
[FN#7] The reason being, that “those shafts formed of the Meccan stone
are mostly in three pieces; but the marble shafts are in one piece.”
[FN#8] To this may be added, that the façades of the cloisters are
twenty-four along the short walls, and thirty-six along the others;
they have stone ornaments, not inaptly compared to the French “fleur de
lis.” The capital and bases of the outer pillars are grander and more
regular than the inner; they support pointed arches, and the Arab
secures his beloved variety by placing at every fourth arch a square
pilaster. Of these there are on the long sides ten, on the short seven.
[FN#9] I counted eight, not including the broad pavement which leads
from the Bab al-Ziyadah to the Ka’abah, or the four cross branches which
connect the main lines. These “Firash al-Hajar,” as they are called, also
serve to partition off the area. One space for instance is called “Haswat
al-Harim,” or the “Women’s sanded place,” because appropriated to female
[FN#10] The jars are little amphoræ, each inscribed with the name of the
donor and a peculiar cypher.
[FN#11] My measurements give 22 paces or 55 feet in length by 18 (45)
of breadth, and the height appeared greater than the length. Ali Bey
makes the Eastern side 37 French feet, 2 inches and 6 lines, the
Western 38° 4' 6", the Northern 29 feet, the Southern 31° 6', and the
height 34° 4'. He therefore calls it a “veritable trapezium.” In Al-Idrisi’s
time it was 25 cubits by 24, and 27 cubits high.
[FN#12] I would alter this sentence thus:—“It is built of fine grey granite
in horizontal courses of masonry of irregular depth; the stones are
tolerably fitted together, and are held by excellent mortar like Roman
cement.” The lines are also straight.
[FN#13] This base is called Al-Shazarwan, from the Persian Shadarwan, a
cornice, eaves, or canopy. It is in pent-house shape, projecting about
a foot beyond the wall, and composed of fine white marble slabs,
polished like glass; there are two breaks in it, one opposite and under
the doorway, and another in front of Ishmael’s tomb. Pilgrims are
directed, during circumambulation, to keep their bodies outside of the
Shazarwan ; this would imply it to be part of the building, but its
only use appears in the large brass rings welded into it, for the
purpose of holding down the Ka’abah covering.
[FN#14] Ali Bey also errs in describing the roof as “plat endessus.” Were
such the case, rain would not pour off with violence through the spout.
Most Oriental authors allow a cubit of depression from South-West to
North-West. In Al-Idrisi’s day the Ka’abah had a double roof. Some say this
is the case in the present building, which has not been materially
altered in shape since its restoration by Al-Hajjaj, A.H. 83. The roof
was then eighteen cubits long by fifteen broad.
[FN#15] In Ibn Jubayr’s time the Ka’abah was opened every day in Rajah, and
in other months on every Monday and Friday. The house may now be
entered ten or twelve times a year gratis; and by pilgrims as often as
they can collect, amongst parties, a sum sufficient to tempt the
guardians’ cupidity.
[FN#16] This mistake, in which Burckhardt is followed by all our
popular authors, is the more extraordinary, as all Arabic authors call
the door-wall Janib al-Mashrik—the Eastern side—or Wajh al-Bayt, the front
of the house, opposed to Zahr al-Bayt, the back. Niebuhr is equally in
error when he asserts that the door fronts to the South. Arabs always
hold the “Rukn al-Iraki,” or Irak angle, to face the polar star, and so it
appears in Ali Bey’s plan. The Ka’abah, therefore, has no Northern side.
And it must be observed that Moslem writers dispose the length of the
Ka’abah from East to West, whereas our travellers make it from North to
South. Ali Bey places the door only six feet from the pavement, but he
calculates distances by the old French measure. It is about seven feet
from the ground, and six from the corner of the Black Stone. Between
the two the space of wall is called Al-Multazem (in Burckhardt, by a
clerical error, “Al-Metzem,” vol. i. p. 173). It derives its name, the
“attached-to,” because here the circumambulator should apply his bosom, and
beg pardon for his sins. Al-Multazem, according to M. de Perceval,
following d’Ohsson, was formerly “le lieu des engagements,” whence, according
to him, its name[.] “Le Moltezem,” says M. Galland (Rits et Ceremonies du
Pelerinage de la Mecque), “qui est entre la pierre noire et la porte, est
l’endroit ou Mahomet se reconcilia avec ses dix compagnons, qui disaient
qu’il n’etait pas veritablement Prophete.”
[FN#17] From the Bab al-Ziyadah, or gate in the northern colonnade, you
descend by two flights of steps, in all about twenty-five. This
depression manifestly arises from the level of the town having been
raised, like Rome, by successive layers of ruins; the most populous and
substantial quarters (as the Shamiyah to the north) would, we might
expect, be the highest, and this is actually the case. But I am unable
to account satisfactorily for the second hollow within the temple, and
immediately around the house of Allah, where the door, according to all
historians, formerly on a level with the pavement, and now about seven
feet above it, shows the exact amount of depression, which cannot be
accounted for simply by calcation. Some chroniclers assert, that when
the Kuraysh rebuilt the house they raised the door to prevent devotees
entering without their permission. But seven feet would scarcely oppose
an entrance, and how will this account for the floor of the building
being also raised to that height above the pavement? It is curious to
observe the similarity between this inner hollow of the Meccan fane and
the artificial depression of the Hindu pagoda where it is intended to
be flooded. The Hindus would also revere the form of the Meccan fane,
exactly resembling their square temples, at whose corners are placed
Brahma, Vishnu, Shiwa and Ganesha, who adore the great Universal
Generator in the centre. The second door anciently stood on the side of
the temple opposite the present entrance; inside, its place can still
be traced. Ali Bey suspects its having existed in the modern building,
and declares that the exterior surface of the wall shows the tracery of
a blocked-up door, similar to that still open. Some historians declare
that it was closed by the Kuraysh when they rebuilt the house in
Mohammed’s day, and that subsequent erections have had only one. The
general opinion is, that Al-Hajjaj finally closed up the western
entrance. Doctors also differ as to its size; the popular measurement
is three cubits broad and a little more than five in length.
[FN#18] Pilgrims and ignorant devotees collect the drippings of wax,
the ashes of the aloe-wood, and the dust from the “Atabah,” or threshold of
the Ka’abah, either to rub upon their foreheads or to preserve as relics.
These superstitious practices are sternly rebuked by the Olema.
[FN#19] For North-East read South-East.
[FN#20] I will not enter into the fabulous origin of the Hajar
al-Aswad. Some of the traditions connected with it are truly absurd.
“When Allah,” says Ali, “made covenant with the Sons of Adam on the Day of
Fealty, he placed the paper inside the stone”; it will, therefore, appear
at the judgment, and bear witness to all who have touched it. Moslems
agree that it was originally white, and became black by reason of men’s
sins. It appeared to me a common aerolite covered with a thick slaggy
coating, glossy and pitch-like, worn and polished. Dr. Wilson, of
Bombay, showed me a specimen in his possession, which externally
appeared to be a black slag, with the inside of a bright and sparkling
greyish-white, the result of admixture of nickel [p.301] with the iron.
This might possibly, as the learned Orientalist then suggested, account
for the mythic change of colour, its appearance on earth after a
thunderstorm, and its being originally a material part of the heavens.
Kutb al-Din expressly declares that, when the Karamitah restored it
after twenty-two years to the Meccans, men kissed it and rubbed it upon
their brows; and remarked that the blackness was only superficial, the
inside being white. Some Greek philosophers, it will be remembered,
believed the heavens to be composed of stones (Cosmos, “Shooting Stars”):
and Sanconiathon, ascribing the aerolite-worship to the god Cœlus,
declares them to be living or animated stones. “The Arabians,” says Maximus
of Tyre (Dissert. 38, p. 455), “pay homage to I know not what god, which
they represent by a quadrangular stone.” The gross fetichism of the
Hindus, it is well known, introduced them to litholatry. At Jagannath
they worship a pyramidal black stone, fabled to have fallen from
heaven, or miraculously to have presented itself on the place where the
temple now stands. Moreover, they revere the Salagram, as the emblem of
Vishnu, the second person in their triad. The rudest emblem of the “Bonus
Deus” was a round stone. It was succeeded in India by the cone and
triangle; in Egypt by the pyramid; in Greece it was represented by
cones of terra-cotta about three inches and a half long. Without going
deep into theory, it may be said that the Ka’abah and the Hajar are the
only two idols which have survived the 360 composing the heavenly host
of the Arab pantheon. Thus the Hindu poet exclaims:—

“Behold the marvels of my idol-temple, O Moslem!
That when its idols are destroy’d, it becomes Allah’s House.”

Wilford (As. Soc. vols. iii. and iv.) makes the Hindus declare that the
Black Stone at Mokshesha, or Moksha-sthana (Meccah) was an incarnation
of Moksheshwara, an incarnation of Shiwa, who with his consort visited
Al-Hijaz. When the Ka’abah was rebuilt, this emblem was placed in the
outer wall for contempt, but the people still respected it. In the
Dabistan the Black Stone is said to be an image of Kaywan or Saturn;
and Al-Shahristani also declares the temple to have been dedicated to
the same planet Zuhal, whose genius is represented in the Puranas as
fierce, hideous, four-armed, and habited in a black cloak, with a dark
turband. Moslem historians are unanimous in asserting that Sasan, son
of Babegan, and other Persian monarchs, gave rich presents to the
Ka’abah; they especially mention two golden crescent moons, a significant
offering. The Guebers assert that, among the images and relics left by
Mahabad and his successors in the Ka’abah, was the Black Stone, an emblem
of Saturn. They also call the city Mahgah— moon’s place—from an exceedingly
beautiful image of the moon; whence they say the Arabs derived “Meccah.”
And the Sabaeans equally respect the Ka’abah and the pyramids, which they
assert to be the tombs of Seth, Enoch (or Hermes), and Sabi the son of
Enoch. Meccah, then, is claimed as a sacred place, and the Hajar
al-Aswad, as well as the Ka’abah, are revered as holy emblems by four
different faiths—the Hindu, Sabæan, Gueber, and Moslem. I have little
doubt, and hope to prove at another time, that the Jews connected it
with traditions about Abraham. This would be the fifth religion that
looked towards the Ka’abah—a rare meeting-place of devotion.
[FN#21] Presenting this appearance in profile. The Hajar has suffered
from the iconoclastic principle of Islam, having once narrowly escaped
destruction by order of Al-Hakim of Egypt. In these days the metal rim
serves as a protection as well as an ornament.
[FN#22] The height of the Hajar from the ground, according to my
measurement, is four feet nine inches; Ali Bey places it forty-two
inches above the pavement.
[FN#23] The colour was black and metallic, and the centre of the stone
was sunk about two inches below the metal circle. Round the sides was a
reddish-brown cement, almost level with the metal, and sloping down to
the middle of the stone. Ibn Jubayr declares the depth of the stone
unknown, but that most people believe it to extend two cubits into the
wall. In his day it was three “Shibr” (the large span from the thumb to the
little finger-tip) broad, and one span long, with knobs, and a joining
of four pieces, which the Karamitah had broken. The stone was set in a
silver band. “Its softness and moisture were such,” says Ibn Jubayr, “that
the sinner would never remove his mouth from it, which phenomenon made
the Prophet declare it to be the covenant of Allah on earth.”
[FN#24] The band is now a massive circle of gold or silver gilt. I
found the aperture in which the stone is, one span and three fingers
[FN#25] The “Rukn al-Yamani” is the corner facing the South. The part
alluded to in the text is the wall of the Ka’abah, between the Shami and
Yamani angles, distant about three feet from the latter, and near the
site of the old western door, long since closed. The stone is darker
and redder than the rest of the wall. It is called Al-Mustajab (or
Mustajab min al-Zunub or Mustajab al-Dua, “where prayer is granted”).
Pilgrims here extend their arms, press their bodies against the
building, and beg pardon for their sins.
[FN#26] I have frequently seen it kissed by men and women.
[FN#27] Al-Ma’ajan, the place of mixing or kneading, because the
patriarchs here kneaded the mud used as cement in the holy building.
Some call it Al-Hufrah (the digging), and it is generally known as
Makam Jibrail (the place of Gabriel), because here descended the
inspired order for the five daily prayers, and at this spot the
Archangel and the Prophet performed their devotions, making it a most
auspicious spot. It is on the north of the door, from which it is
distant about two feet; its length is seven spans and seven fingers;
breadth five spans three fingers; and depth one span four fingers. The
following sentence from Herklet’s “Qanoon e Islam” (ch. xii. sec. 5) may
serve to show the extent of error still popular. The author, after
separating the Bayt Ullah from the Ka’abah, erroneously making the former
the name of the whole temple, proceeds to say, “the rain-water which
falls on its (the Ka’abah’s) terrace runs off through a golden spout on a
stone near it, called Rookn-e-Yemeni, or alabaster-stone), and stands
over the grave of Ismaeel.”—!
[FN#28] Generally called Mizab al-Rahmah (of Mercy). It carries rain
from the roof, and discharges it upon Ishmael’s grave, where pilgrims
stand fighting to catch it. In Al-Idrisi’s time it was of wood; now it is
said to be gold, but it looks very dingy.
[FN#29] Usually called the Hajar al-Akhzar, or green stone. Al-Idrisi
speaks of a white stone covering Ishmael’s remains; Ibn Jubayr of “green
marble, longish, in form of a Mihrab arch, and near it a white round
slab, in both of which are spots that make them appear yellow.” Near
them, we are told, and towards the Iraki corner, is the tomb of Hagar,
under a green slab one span and a half broad, and pilgrims used to pray
at both places. Ali Bey erroneously applies the words Al-Hajar Ismail
to the parapet about the slab.
[FN#30] My measurements give five feet six inches. In Al-Idrisi’s day the
wall was fifty cubits long.
[FN#31] Al-Hatim ([Arabic] lit. the “broken”). Burckhardt asserts that the
Mekkawi no longer apply the word, as some historians do, to the space
bounded by the Ka’abah, the Partition, the Zemzem, and the Makam of
Ibrahim. I heard it, however, so used by learned Meccans, and they gave
as the meaning of the name the break in this part of the oval pavement
which surrounds the Ka’abah. Historians relate that all who rebuilt the
“House of Allah” followed Abraham’s plan till the Kuraysh, and after them
Al-Hajjaj curtailed it in the direction of Al-Hatim, which part was
then first broken off, and ever since remained so.
[FN#32] Al-Hijr ([Arabic]) is the space separated, as the name denotes,
from the Ka’abah. Some suppose that Abraham here penned his sheep.
Possibly Ali Bey means this part of the Temple when he speaks of
Al-Hajar ([Arabic]) Ismail—les pierres d’Ismail.
[FN#33] “Al-Hajjaj”; this, as will afterwards be seen, is a mistake. He
excluded the Hatim.
[FN#34] As well as memory serves me, for I have preserved no note, the
inscriptions are in the marble casing, and indeed no other stone meets
the eye.
[FN#35] It is a fine, close, grey polished granite: the walk is called
Al-Mataf, or the place of circumambulation.
[FN#36] These are now iron posts, very numerous, supporting cross rods,
and of tolerably elegant shape. In Ali Bey’s time there were “trente-une
colonnes minces en piliers en bronze.” Some native works say
thirty-three, including two marble columns. Between each two hang
several white or green glass globe-lamps, with wicks and oil floating
on water; their light is faint and dismal. The whole of the lamps in
the Harim is said to be more than 1000, yet they serve but to “make
darkness visible.”
[FN#37] There are only four “Makams,” the Hanafi, Maliki, Hanbali, and the
Makam Ibrahim; and there is some error of diction below, for in these
it is that the Imams stand before their congregations, and nearest the
Ka’abah. In Ibn Jubayr’s time the Zaydi sect was allowed an Imam, though
known to be schismatics and abusers of the caliphs. Now, not being
permitted to have a separate station for prayer, they suppose theirs to
be suspended from heaven above the Ka’abah roof.
[FN#38] The Makam al-Maliki is on the west of, and thirty-seven cubits
from, the Ka’abah; that of the Hanbali forty-seven paces distant.
[FN#39] Only the Mu’ezzin takes his stand here, and the Shafe’is pray
behind their Imam on the pavement round the Ka’abah, between the corner
of the well Zemzem, and the Makam Ibrahim. This place is forty cubits
from the Ka’abah, that is say, eight cubits nearer than the Northern and
Southern “Makams.” Thus the pavement forms an irregular oval ring round the
[FN#40] In Burckhardt’s time the schools prayed according to the
seniority of their founders, and they uttered the Azan of Al-Maghrib
together, because that is a peculiarly delicate hour, which easily
passes by unnoticed. In the twelfth century, at all times but the
evening, the Shafe’i began, then came the Maliki and Hanbali
simultaneously, and, lastly, the Hanafi. Now the Shaykh al-Mu’ezzin
begins the call, which is taken up by the others. He is a Hanafi; as
indeed are all the principal people at Meccah, only a few wild Sharifs
of the hills being Shafe’i.
[FN#41] The door of the Zemzem building fronts to the south-east.
[FN#42] This is not exactly correct. As the plan will show, the angle
of one building touches the angle of its neighbour.
[FN#43] Their names and offices are now changed. One is called the
Kubbat al-Sa’at, and contains the clocks and chronometers (two of them
English) sent as presents to the Mosque by the Sultan. The other, known
as the Kubbat al-Kutub, is used as a store-room for manuscripts
bequeathed to the Mosque. They still are open to Burckhardt’s just
criticism, being nothing but the common dome springing from four walls,
and vulgarly painted with bands of red, yellow, and green. In Ibn
Jubayr’s time the two domes contained bequests of books and candles. The
Kubbat Abbas, or that further from the Ka’abah than its neighbour, was
also called Kubbat al-Sharab (the Dome of Drink), because Zemzem water
was here kept cooling for the use of pilgrims in Daurak, or earthen
jars. The nearer was termed Kubbat al-Yahudi; and the tradition they
told me was, that a Jew having refused to sell his house upon the spot,
it was allowed to remain in loco by the Prophet, as a lasting testimony
to his regard for justice. A similar tale is told of an old woman’s hut,
which was allowed to stand in the corner of the Great Nushirawan’s royal
[FN#44] Called “Al-Daraj.” A correct drawing of it may be found in Ali Bey’s
[FN#45] The Bab al-Salam, or Bab al-Nabi, or Bab benu Shaybah,
resembles in its isolation a triumphal arch, and is built of cut stone.
[FN#46] “The (praying) place of Abraham.” Readers will remember that the
Meccan Mosque is peculiarly connected with Ibrahim, whom Moslems prefer
to all prophets except Mohammed.
[FN#47] This I believe to be incorrect. I was asked five dollars for
permission to enter; but the sum was too high for my finances. Learned
men told me that the stone shows the impress of two feet, especially
the big toes, and devout pilgrims fill the cavities with water, which
they rub over their eyes and faces. When the Caliph al-Mahdi visited
Meccah, one Abdullah bin Osman presented himself at the unusual hour of
noon, and informing the prince that he had brought him a relic which no
man but himself had yet seen, produced this celebrated stone. Al-Mahdi,
rejoicing greatly, kissed it, rubbed his face against it, and pouring
water upon it, drank the draught. Kutb al-Din, one of the Meccan
historians, says that it was visited in his day. In Ali Bey’s time it was
covered with “un magnifique drap noir brode en or et en argent avec de
gros glands en or;” he does not say, however, that he saw the stone. Its
veils, called Sitr Ibrahim al-Khalil, are a green “Ibrisham,” or silk mixed
with cotton and embroidered with gold. They are made at Cairo of three
different colours, black, red, and green; and one is devoted to each
year. The gold embroidery is in the Sulsi character, and expresses the
Throne-verse, the Chapter of the Cave, and the name of the reigning
Sultan; on the top is “Allah,” below it “Mohammed”; beneath this is “Ibrahim
al-Khalil”; and at each corner is the name of one of the four caliphs. In
a note to the “Dabistan” (vol. ii. p. 410), we find two learned
Orientalists confounding the Black Stone with Abraham’s Station or
Platform. “The Prophet honoured the Black Stone, upon which Abraham
conversed with Hagar, to which he tied his camels, and upon which the
traces of his feet are still seen.”
[FN#48] Not only here, I was told by learned Meccans, but under all the
oval pavements surrounding the Ka’abah.
[FN#49] The spring gushes from the southern base of Mount Arafat, as
will afterwards be noticed. It is exceedingly pure.
[FN#50] The author informs us that “the first pulpit was sent from Cairo
in A.H. 818, together with the staircase, both being the gifts of
Moayed, caliph of Egypt.” Ali Bey accurately describes the present Mambar.
[FN#51] The curious will find a specimen of a Moslem sermon in Lane’s
Mod. Egypt. Vol. i. ch. iii.
[FN#52] Burckhardt “subjoins their names as they are usually written upon
small cards by the Metowefs; in another column are the names by which
they were known in more ancient times, principally taken from Azraky
and Kotoby.” I have added a few remarks in brackets[.]

[Mention is made of Modern names; Arches; and Ancient names.]

1. Bab el Salam, composed of gates or arches; 3; Bab Beni Shaybah (this is properly applied to the inner, not the outer
Salam Gate.)
2. Bab el Neby; 2; Bab el Jenaiz, Gate of Biers, the dead being carried through it to the
3. Bab el Abbas, opposite to this the house of Abbas once stood; 3; Bab Sertakat (some Moslem authors confound this Bab al-Abbas with the
Gate of Biers.)

4. Bab Aly; 3; Bab Beni Hashem

5. Bab el Zayt
Bab el Ashra; 2; Bab Bazan (so called from a neighbouring hill).

6. Bab el Baghlah; 2;

7. Bab el Szafa (Safa); 5; Bab Beni Makhzoum.

8. Bab Sherif; 2; Bab el Djiyad (so called because leading to the hill Jiyad)

9. Bab Medjahed; 2; Bab el Dokhmah.

10. Bab Zoleykha; 2; Bab Sherif Adjelan, who built it.

11. Bab Om Hany, so called from the daughter of Aby Taleb; 2; Bab el Hazoura (some write this Bab el Zarurah).

12. Bab el Wodaa (Al-Wida’a), through which the pilgrim passes when
taking his final leave of the temple; 2; Bab el Kheyatyn, or Bab Djomah.

13. Bab Ibrahim, so called from a tailor who had a shop near it; 1;

14. Bab el Omra, through which pilgrims issue to visit the Omra. Also
called Beni Saham; 1; Bab Amer Ibn el Aas, or Bab el Sedra.

15. Bab Atech (Al-Atik?); 1; Bab el Adjale.

16. Bab el Bastye; 1; Bab Zyade Dar el Nedoua.

17. Bab el Kotoby, so called from an historian of Mekka who lived in an
adjoining lane and opened this small gate into the Mosque; 1;

18. Bab Zyade; 3; (It is called Bab Ziyadah—Gate of Excess—because it is a new structure
thrown out into the Shamiyah, or Syrian quarter.)

19. Bab Dereybe; 1; Bab Medrese.

Total [number of arches] 39[FN#53] An old pair of slippers is here what the “shocking bad hat” is at a
crowded house in Europe, a self-preserver. Burckhardt lost three pairs.
I, more fortunately, only one.
[FN#54] Many authorities place this building upon the site of the
modern Makam Hanafi.
[FN#55] The Meccans love to boast that at no hour of the day or night
is the Ka’abah ever seen without a devotee to perform “Tawaf.”
[FN#56] This would be about 50 dollars, whereas 25 is a fair sum for a
single apartment. Like English lodging-house-keepers, the Meccans make
the season pay for the year. In Burckhardt’s time the colonnato was worth
from 9 to 12 piastres; the value of the latter coin is now greatly
decreased, for 28 go to the Spanish dollar all over Al-Hijaz.
[FN#57] I entered one of these caves, and never experienced such a
sense of suffocation even in that favourite spot for Britons to
asphixiate themselves—the Baths of Nero.
[FN#58] The Magnificent (son of Salim I.), who built at Al-Madinah the
minaret bearing his name. The minarets at Meccah are far inferior to
those of her rival, and their bands of gaudy colours give them an
appearance of tawdry vulgarity.
[FN#59] Two minarets, namely, those of the Bab al-Salam and the Bab
al-Safa, are separated from the Mosque by private dwelling-houses, a
plan neither common nor regular.
[FN#60] A stranger must be careful how he appears at a minaret window,
unless he would have a bullet whizzing past his head. Arabs are
especially jealous of being overlooked, and have no fellow-feeling for
votaries of “beautiful views.” For this reason here, as in Egypt, a blind
Mu’ezzin is preferred, and many ridiculous stories are told about men who
for years have counterfeited cecity to live in idleness[.]
[FN#61] I have illustrated this chapter, which otherwise might be
unintelligible to many, by a plan of the Ka’abah (taken from Ali Bey
al-Abbasi), which Burckhardt pronounced to be “perfectly correct.” This
author has not been duly appreciated. In the first place, his disguise
was against him; and, secondly, he was a spy of the French Government.
According to Mr. Bankes, who had access to the original papers at
Constantinople, Ali Bey was a Catalonian named Badia, and was suspected
to have been of Jewish extraction. He claimed from Napoleon a reward
for his services, returned to the East, and died, it is supposed, of
poison in the Hauran, near Damascus. In the edition which I have
consulted (Paris, 1814) the author labours to persuade the world by
marking the days with their planetary signs, &c., &c., that he is a
real Oriental, but he perpetually betrays himself. Some years ago,
accurate plans of the two Harims were made by order of the present
Sultan. They are doubtless to be found amongst the archives at
[FN#62] It must be remembered that the Moslems, like many of the Jews,
hold that Paradise was not on earth, but in the lowest firmament, which
is, as it were, a reflection of earth.
[FN#63] Others derive the surname from this decision.
[FN#64] As will afterwards be mentioned, almost every Meccan knows the
prophecy of Mohammed, that the birthplace of his faith will be
destroyed by an army from Abyssinia. Such things bring their own
[FN#65] Abu Hanifah made it a temporal sanctuary, and would not allow
even a murderer to be dragged from the walls.
[FN#66] Makkah (our Meccah) is the common word; Bakkah is a synonym
never used but in books. The former means “a concourse of people.” But why
derive it from the Hebrew, and translate it “a slaughter”? Is this a likely
name for a holy place? Dr. Colenso actually turns the Makaraba of
Ptolemy into “Makkah-rabbah,” plentiful slaughter. But if Makaraba be
Meccah, it is evidently a corruption of “Makkah” and “Arabah,” the Arab race.
Again, supposing the Meccan temple to be originally dedicated to the
sun, why should the pure Arab word “Ba’al” become the Hebræized Hobal, and the
deity be only one in the three hundred and sixty that formed the
[FN#67] This is an audacious falsehood; the Ka’abah is scarcely ever
opened without some accident happening.

[p.327] APPENDIX III.[FN#1]


[ TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: Footnote 1 gives a description of the original
manuscript. In Burton’s book, the text is presented as follows:
- Firstly, the section of text beginning “This is the tree…” and ending with
the lines “Amen.”, “A.”, presented as a triangle, with each line centred on the
- Below this, the section of text “There is no god but Allah…a thing to
Allah.”, centred, and enclosed in a circle.
- Below that, the section of text “Sayyid A…of C.”, centred, and enclosed in
a horizontal oval.
- The line “And of him…we beg aid.”, in smaller type.
- All the following lines are enclosed in a box filling most of each
page, with a horizontal rule separating the lines of text. Each line
fills the width of the box neatly, except for the last four lines
(beginning “It is finished.”), which are centred.
- Footnotes are presented, in smaller type than usual, at the outside
edge of the page in which the reference occurs, and (as much as
possible) level with the reference.
- The placement of line breaks in the main body of this Appendix has
been preserved from the original (book) text. ]

THIS is the tree whose root is firm, and whose
branches are spreading, and whose shade is
perpetual: and the bearer is a good man—
we beg of Allah to grant him purity of
intention by the power of him upon
whom Revelation descended and In-
spiration! I have passed it on, and
I, the poorest of men, and the ser-
vant of the poor, am Sayyid
A,[FN#2] son of Sayyid B the
Kadiri, the servant of the
prayer-rug of his grand-
sire, of the Shaykh
Abd al-Kadir
Jilani, Allah
sanctify his

is no god but
Abd al-Kadir
—a thing to

Sayyid A
Son of Sayyid B
of C.[FN#4]

And of him—In the name of Allah the Merciful, the Compassionate—we beg aid.

Praise be to Allah, opener of the locks of hearts with his name, and withdrawer of the veils of hidden

[p.328] things with his beneficence, and raiser of the flags of
increase to those who persevere in thanking him. I praise him because that he hath made us of the people of Unity. And I thank him, being desirous of his benefits. And I bless and salute our Lord Mohammed, the best of his Prophets and of his Servants, and (I bless and salute) his (Mohammed's) family and companions, the excelling indignity, for the increase of their dignity and its augmentation. But afterwards thus saith the needy slave, who confesseth his sins and his weakness and his faults, and hopeth for the pardon of his Lord the Almighty—Sayyid A the Kadiri,son of Sayyid B the Kadiri, son of Sayyid Abu Bakr the Kadiri, son of Sayyid Ismail the Kadiri, son of Sayyid Abd al-Wahhab the Kadiri, son of Sayyid Nur al-Din the Kadiri, son of Sayyid Darwaysh the Kadiri, son of Sayyid Husam al-Din the Kadiri, son of Sayyid Nur al-Din the Kadiri, son of Sayyid Waly al-Din the Kadiri, son of Sayyid Zayn al-Din the Kadiri, son of Sayyid Sharaf al-Din the Kadiri, son of Sayyid Shams al-Din the Kadiri, son of Sayyid Mohammeda I-Hattak, son of Sayyid Abd al-Aziz, son of the

[p.329] Sayyid of Sayyids, Polar-Star of Existence, the White Pearl, the Lord of the Reins of (worldy) possession, the Chief of (Allah's) friends, the incomparable Imam, the Essence negativing accidents, the Polar Star of Polar Stars,[FN#5] the Greatest Assistance,[FN#6] the Uniter of the Lover and the Beloved,[FN#7]the Sayyid (Prince), the Shaykh (Teacher), Muhiyal-Din, Abd al-Kadir of Jilan,[FN#8] Allah sanctify his honoured Sepulchre, and Allah enlighten his place of rest!—Son of Abu Salih Muse Jangi-dost, son of Sayyid Abdullah al-Jayli, son of Sayyid Yahya al-Zahid, son of Sayyid Mohammed, son of Sayyid Da'ud,son of Sayyid Musa, son of Sayyid Abdullah, son of Sayyid Musa al-Juni, son of Sayyid Abdullah al-Mahz, son of Sayyid Hasan al-Musanna,[FN#9] son of theImam Hasan, Son of the Imam and the Amir ofTrue Believers, Ali the son of Abu Talib—may Allah be satisfied with him!—Son of Abd al-Mut-Talib,[FN#10] son of Hashim, son of Abd al-Manaf, son of Kusay, son of Kilab, son of Murrat, son of Ka’ab, Son of Luwiyy, son of Ghalib, son of Fihr (Kuraysh), Son of Malik, son of Nazr, son of Kananah, son of Khuzaymah, son of Mudrikah, son of Iliyas, son of

[p.330] Muzarr, son of Nizar, son of Adnan,[FN#11] son of Ada, son of Udad, son of Mahmisah, son of Hamal, son of Nayyit, son of Kuzar, son of Ismail, son of Ibrahim, son of Karikh, son of Kasir, son of Arghwa, son of Phaligh, son of Shalikh, son of Kaynan, son of Arfakhshad, son of Sam, son of Noah, son of Shays, son of Adam the Father of Mankind[FN#12]—with whom be Peace, and upon our Prophet the best of blessings and salutation!—and Adam was of dust, and dust is of the earth, and earth is of foam, and foam is of the wave, and the wave is of water,[FN#13] and water is of the rainy firmament, and the rainy firmament is of Power, and Power is of Will, and Will is of the Omniscience of the glorious God. But afterwards that good man, the approaching to his Lord, the averse to all besides him, the desirous of the abodes of futurity, the hoper for mercy, the Darwayah Abd-ullah[FN#14] son of
the Pilgrim Joseph the Afghan,—henceforward let him be known by the name of "Darwaysh King-in-the-name-of-Allah!"—hath ccome to us and visited us and begged of us instruction in the Saying of Unity. I therefore taught him the saying which I learned by ordinance from my Shaykh and my instructor and

[p.331] my paternal uncle Sayyid the Shaykh Abd al-Kadir[FN#15] the Kadiri, son of the Sayyid the Shaykh Abu Bakr the Kadiri, son of the Sayyid the Shaykh Ismail the Kadiri, son of the Sayyid the Shaykh Abd al-Wahhab the Kadiri, son of the Sayyid the Shaykh Nur al-Din the Kadiri, son of the Sayyid the Shaykh Shahdarwaysh the Kadiri, son of the Sayyid the Shaykh Husam al-Din the Kadiri, son of the Sayyid the Shaykh Nur al-Din the Kadiri, from his sire and Shaykh Waly al-Din the Kadiri, from his sire and Shaykh Zayn al-Din the Kadiri, from his sire and Shaykh Sharafil al-Din the Kadiri, from his sire and Shaykh Mohammed al-Hattak the Kadiri, from his sire and Shaykh Abd al-Aziz—Allah sanctify his honoured Sepulchre and Allah enlighten his Place of rest!—from his sire and Shaykh Sayyid the Polar Star of Existence, the White Pearl, the Polar Star of Holy Men, the Director of those that tread the Path, the Sayyid the Shaykh Muhiyy al-Din Abd al-Kadir of Jilan—Allah sanctify his honoured Sepulchre and Allah
enlighten his place of rest! Amen!—from his Shaykh the Shaykh Abu-Sa'id al-Mubarak al-Makhzumi, from his Shaykh the Shaykh Abu 'I Hasan, al-Hankari,

[p.332] from his Shaykh the Shaykh Abu Faras al-Tarsusi, from his Shaykh the Shaykh Abd al-Wahidal-Tamimi, from his Shaykh the Shaykh Abu 'l Kasim al-Junayd of Baghdad, from his Shaykh the Shaykh al-Sirri al-Sakati, from his Shaykh the Shaykh al-Ma'aruf al-Karkhi, from his Shaykh the Shaykh Da'ud al-Tai, from his Shaykh the Shaykh Habib al-'Ajami, from his Shaykh the Shaykh al-Hasan of Bussorah, from his Shaykh the Prince of True Believers, Ali Son of Abu Talib—Allah be satisfied with him! and
Allah honour his countenance!—from the Prophet of Allah, upon whom may Allah have mercy, from Jibrail, from the Omnipotent, the Glorious.
And afterwards we taught him (i.e. that good man Abdullah) the Saying of Unity, and ordered its recital 165 times after each
Farizah,[FN#16] and on all occasions according to his capability. And Allah have mercy upon our Lord Mohammed and upon His Family and upon His Companions one and all! And praise be to Allah, Lord of the (three) worlds!It is finished.There is no god but Allah! Number[FN#17] 165.

[FN#1] This document is written upon slips of paper pasted together, 4
feet 5 inches long, by about 6 1/2 inches broad, and contains
altogether 71 lines below the triangle. The divisions are in red ink.
It rolls up and fits into a cylinder of tin, to which are attached
small silk cords, to sling it over the shoulder when travelling or on
[FN#2] The names are here omitted for obvious reasons.
[FN#3] Facsimile of the seal of the Great Abd al-Kadir. This upon the
document is a sign that the owner has become a master in the craft.
[FN#4] This is the living Shaykh's seal, and is the only one applied to
the apprentice's diploma.
[FN#5] Or Prince of Princes, a particular degree in Tasawwuf.
[FN#6] Ghaus (Assistance) also means a person who, in Tasawwuf, has
arrived at the highest point to which fervour of devotion leads.
[FN#7] The human soul, and its supreme source.
[FN#8] For a short notice of this celebrated mystic, see d'Herbelot,
[FN#9] "Hasan the Second," from whom sprung the Sharifs of Al-Hijaz.
[FN#10] Father to Abdullah, Father of Mohammed.
[FN#11] Dated by M.C. de Perceval about 130 years B.C.
[FN#12] Thus, between Adnan and Adam we have eighteen generations!
Al-Wakidi and Al-Tabiri give forty between Adnan and Ishmael, which Ibn
Khaldun, confirmed by M.C. de Perceval, thinks is too small a number.
The text, however, expresses the popular estimate. But it must be
remembered that the Prophet used to say, "beyond Adnan none but Allah
knoweth, and the genealogists lie."
[FN#13] Moslems cleaving to the Neptunian theory of earthy origin.
[FN#14] Your humble servant, gentle reader.
[FN#15] The former genealogy proved my master to be what is technically
called "Khalifah Jaddi," or hereditary in his dignity. The following
table shows that he is also "Khulfai" (adopted to succeed), and gives
the name and the descendants of the holy man who adopted him.
[FN#16] Each obligatory prayer is called a Farizah. The Shaykh
therefore directs the Saying of Unity, i.e. La ilaha illa llah, to be
repeated 825 times per diem.
[FN#17] i.e. number of repetitions after each obligatory prayer.


A.D. 1503.

THE first of the pilgrims to Meccah and Al-Madinah who has left an
authentic account of the Holy Cities is “Lewes Wertomannus (Lodovico
Bartema), gentelman of the citie of Rome.[FN#1]” If any man,” says this
aucthor, “shall demand of me the cause of this my voyage, certeynely I
can shewe no better reason than is the ardent desire of knowledge,
which hath moved many other to see the world and the miracles of God
therein.” In the year of our Lord 1503 he departed from Venice “with
prosperous wynds,” arrived at Alexandria and visited Babylon of Egypt,
Berynto, Tripoli, Antioch, and Damascus. He started from the latter
place on the 8th of April, 1503, “in familiaritie and friendshyppe with a
certayne Captayne Mameluke” (which term he applies to “al such Christians
as have forsaken theyr fayth, to serve the Mahumetans and Turks”), and in
the garb of a

[p.334] “Mamaluchi renegado.” He estimates the Damascus Caravan to consist
of 40,000 men and 35,000 camels, nearly six times its present
number.[FN#2] On the way they were “enforced to conflict with a great
multitude of the Arabians:” but the three score mamluks composing their
escort were more than a match for 50,000 Badawin. On one occasion the
Caravan, attacked by 24,000 Arabians, slew 1500 of the enemies, losing
in the conflict only a man and a woman.[FN#3] This “marveyle”—which is
probably not without some exaggeration—he explains by the “strength and
valiantness of the Mamalukes,” by the practice (still popular) of using
the “camells in the steede of a bulwarke, and placing the merchaunts in
the myddest of the army (that is), in the myddest of the camelles,
whyle the pilgrims fought manfully on every side;” and, finally, by the
circumstance that the Arabs were unarmed, and “weare only a thynne loose
vesture, and are besyde almost naked: theyr horses also beyng euyll
furnished, and without saddles or other furniture.” The Hijazi Badawi of
this day is a much more dangerous enemy; the matchlock and musket have
made him so; and the only means of crippling him is to prevent the
importation of firearms and lead, and by slow degrees to disarm the
population. After performing the ceremonies of pilgrimage at Al-Madinah
and Meccah, he escaped to Zida or Gida (Jeddah), “despite the trumpetter
of the caravana giving warning to all the Mamalukes to make readie
their horses, to direct their journey toward Syria, with proclamation
of death to all that should refuse so to

[p.335] doe,” and embarked for Persia upon the Red Sea. He touched at
certain ports of Al-Yaman, and got into trouble at Aden, “where the
Mahumetans took him,” and “put shackles on his legges, which came by
occasion of a certayne idolatour, who cryed after him, saying, O,
Christian Dogge, borne of Dogges.[FN#4]” The lieutenant of the Sultan
“assembled his council,” consulted them about putting the traveller to
death as a “spye of Portugales,” and threw him ironed into a dungeon. On
being carried shackled into the presence of the Sultan, Bartema said
that he was a “Roman, professed a Mamaluke in Babylon of Alcayr;” but when
told to utter the formula of the Moslem faith, he held his tongue,
“eyther that it pleased not God, or that for feare and scruple of
conscience he durst not.” For which offence he was again “deprived of ye
fruition of heaven.”

But, happily for Bartema, in those days the women of Arabia were “greatly
in love with whyte men.” Before escaping from Meccah, he lay hid in the
house of a Mohammedan, and could not express his gratitude for the good
wife’s care; “also,” he says, “this furthered my good enterteynement, that
there was in the house a fayre young mayde, the niese of the Mahumetan,
who was greatly in loue with me.” At Aden he was equally fortunate. One
of the Sultan’s three wives, on the departure of her lord and master,
bestowed her heart upon the traveller. She was “very faire and comely,
after theyr maner, and of colour inclynyng to blacke:” she

[p.336] would spend the whole day in beholding Bartema, who wandered
about simulating madness,[FN#5] and “in the meane season, divers tymes,
sent him secretly muche good meate by her maydens.” He seems to have
played his part to some purpose, under the colour of madness,
converting a “great fatt shepe” to Mohammedanism, killing an ass because he
refused to be a proselyte, and, finally, he “handeled a Jewe so euyll
that he had almost killed hym.” After sundry adventures and a trip to
Sanaa, he started for Persia with the Indian fleet, in which, by means
of fair promises, he had made friendship with a certain captain. He
visited Zayla and Berberah in the Somali country, and at last reached
Hormuz. The 3rd book “entreateth of Persia,” the 4th of “India, and of the
cities and other notable thynges seene there.” The 8th book contains the
“voyage of India,” in which he includes Pegu, Sumatra, Borneo, and Java,
where, “abhorryng the beastly maners” of a cannibal population, he made but
a short stay. Returning to Calicut, he used “great subtiltie,” escaped to
the “Portugales,” and was well received by the viceroy. After describing in
his 7th book the “viage or navigation of Ethiopia, Melinda, Mombaza,
Mozambrich (Mozambique), and Zaphala (Sofala),” he passed the Cape called
“Caput Bonæ Spei, and repaired to the goodly citie of Luxburne (Lisbon),”
where he had the honour of kissing hands. The king confirmed with his
great seal the “letters patentes,” whereby his lieutenant the viceroy of
India had given the pilgrim the order of knighthood. “And thus,” says
Bartema by way of conclusion, “departing from thence with the kyngs
pasporte and safe conducte, at the length after these my long and great
trauayles and

[p.337] dangers, I came to my long desyred native countrey, the citie
of Rome, by the grace of God, to whom be all honour and glory.”

This old traveller’s pages abound with the information to be collected in
a fresh field by an unscrupulous and hard-headed observer. They are of
course disfigured with a little romancing. His Jews at Khaybor, near
Al-Madinah, were five or six spans long. At Meccah he saw two unicorns,
the younger “at the age of one yeare, and lyke a young coolte; the horne
of this is of the length of four handfuls.[FN#6]” And so credulous is he
about anthropophagi, that he relates of Mahumet (son to the Sultan of
Sanaa) how he “by a certayne naturall tyrannye and madnesse delyteth to
eate man’s fleeshe, and therefore secretly kylleth many to eate
them.[FN#7]” But all things well considered, Lodovico Bartema, for
correctness of observation and readiness of wit, stands in the foremost
rank of the old Oriental travellers.

I proceed to quote, and to illustrate with notes, the few chapters
devoted in the 1st volume of this little-known work to Meccah and

CHAPTER XI.—Of a Mountayne inhabited with Jewes, and of the Citie of
Medinathalnabi, where Mahumet was buried.

In the space of eyght dayes we came to a mountayne which conteyneth in
circuite ten or twelve myles. This is inhabited with Jewes, to the
number of fyue thousande

[p.338] or thereabout. They are very little stature, as of the heyght
of fyue or sixe spannes, and some muche lesse. They have small voyces
lyke women, and of blacke colour, yet some blacker then other. They
feede of none other meate than goates fleshes.[FN#8] They are
circumcised, and deny not themselues to be Jewes. If by chaunce, any
Mahumetan come into their handes, they flay him alyue. At the foot of
the mountayne we founde a certayne hole, out of whiche flowed
aboundance of water. By fyndyng this opportunitie, we laded sixtiene
thousand camels; which thyng greatly offended the Jewes. They wandred
in that mountayne, scattered lyke wylde goates or prickettes, yet durst
they not come downe, partly for feare, and partly for hatred agaynst
the Mahumetans. Beneath the mountaine are seene seuen or eyght thorne
trees, very fayre, and in them we found a payre of turtle doues, which
seemed to vs in maner a miracle, hauying before made so long journeyes,
and sawe neyther beast nor foule. Then proceedyng two dayes journey, we
came to a certayne citie name Medinathalnabi: four myles from the said
citie, we founde a well. Heere the carauana (that is, the whole hearde
of camelles) rested. And remayning here one day, we washed ourselves,
and changed our shertes, the more freshely to enter into the citie; it
is well peopled, and conteyneth about three hundred houses; the walles
are lyke bulwarkes of earth, and the houses both of stone and bricke.
The soile about the citie is vtterly barren, except that about two
myles from the citie are seene about fyftie palme trees that beare
dates.[FN#9] There, by a certayne garden, runneth a course of water
fallyng into a lower playne, where also passingers are accustomed to
water theyr camelles.[FN#10] And here opportunitie now serueth to
[p.339] confute the opinion of them whiche thynke that the arke or
toombe of wicked Mahumet to hang in the ayre, not borne vp with any
thing. As touching which thyng, I am vtterly of an other opinion, and
affirme this neyther to be true, nor to haue any lykenesse of trueth,
as I presently behelde these thynges, and sawe the place where Mahumet
is buried, in the said citie of Medinathalnabi: for we taryed there
three dayes, to come to the true knowledge of all these thynges. When
wee were desirous to enter into theyr Temple (which they call
Meschita,[FN#11] and all other churches by the same name), we coulde
not be suffered to enter without a companion little or great. They
taking vs by the hande, brought vs to the place where they saye Mahumet
is buried.

CHAPTER XII.—Of the Temple or Chapell, and Sepulchre of Mahumet, and of
his Felowes.

His temple is vaulted, and is a hundred pases in length, fourscore in
breadth; the entry into it is by two gates; from the sydes it is
couered with three vaultes; it is borne vp with four hundred columnes
or pillers of white brick; there are seene, hanging lampes, about the
number of three thousande. From the other part of the temple in the
first place of the Meschita, is seene a tower of the circuite of fyue
pases vaulted on euery syde, and couered with a cloth or silk, and is
borne vp with a grate of copper, curiously wrought and distant from it
two pases; and of them that goe thyther, is seene as it were through a
lateese.[FN#12] Towarde the lefte hande, is the way to the tower, and
when you come thyther, you must enter by a narower gate. On euery syde
of those gates or doores, are seene many bookes in manner of a
librarie, on the one syde 20, and on the other syde 25. These contayne
the filthie traditions and lyfe of Mahumet and his fellowes:

[p.340] within the sayde gate is seene a sepulchre, (that is) a digged
place, where they say Mahumet is buried and his felowes, which are
these, Nabi, Bubacar, Othomar, Aumar, and Fatoma[FN#13]; but Mahumet
was theyr chiefe captayne, and an Arabian borne. Hali was sonne in lawe
to Mahumet, for he tooke to wyfe his daughter Fatoma. Bubacar is he who
they say was exalted to the dignitie of a chiefe counseller and great
gouernour, although he came not to the high degree of an apostle, or
prophet, as dyd Mahumet. Othomar and Aumar were chief captaynes of the
army of Mahumet. Euery of these haue their proper bookes of factes and
traditions. And hereof proceedeth the great dissention and discorde of
religion and maners among this kynde of filthie men, whyle some confirm
one doctrine, and some another, by reason of theyr dyuers sectes of
Patrons, Doctours, and Saintes, as they call them. By this meanes are
they marueylously diuided among themselues, and lyke beastes kyll
themselues for such quarelles of dyuers opinions, and all false. This
also is the chiefe cause of warre between the sophie of Persia and the
great Turke, being neuerthelesse both Mahumetans, and lyue in mortall
hatred one agaynst the other for the mayntenaunce of theyr sectes,
saintes and apostles, whyle euery of them thynketh theyr owne to bee

CHAPTER XIII.—Of the Secte of Mahumet.

Now will we speake of the maners and sect of Mahumet. Vnderstande,
therefore, that in the highest part of the tower aforesayde, is an open
round place. Now shall you vnderstande what crafte they vsed to deceyue
our carauans. The first euening that we came thyther to see the
sepulchre of Mahumet, our captayne

[p.341] sent for the chiefe priest of the temple to come to him, and
when he came, declared vnto him that the only cause of his commyng
thyther was to visite the sepulchre and bodie of Nabi, by which woord
is signified the prophet Mahumet; and that he vnderstoode that the
price to be admitted to the syght of these mysteries should be foure
thousande seraphes of golde. Also that he had no parents, neyther
brothers, sisters, kinsefolkes, chyldren, or wyues; neyther that he
came thyther to buy merchaundies, as spices, or bacca, or nardus, or
any maner of precious jewelles; but only for very zeale of religion and
saluation of his soule, and was therefore greatly desirous to see the
bodie of the prophet. To whom the priest of the temple (they call them
Side), with countenance lyke one that were distraught[FN#14], made
aunswere in this maner: “Darest thou with those eyes, with the which thou
hast committed so many horrible sinnes, desyre to see him by whose
sight God hath created heauen and earth?” To whom agayne our captayne
aunswered thus: “My Lord, you have sayde truly; neuertheless I pray you
that I may fynd so much fauour with you, that I may see the Prophet;
whom when I haue seene, I will immediately thrust out myne eyes.” The
Side aunswered, “O Prince, I will open all thynges unto thee. So it is
that no man can denye but that our Prophet dyed heere, who, if he
woulde, might haue died at Mecha. But to shewe in himself a token of
humilitie, and thereby to giue vs example to folowe him, was wyllyng
rather heere than elsewhere to departe out of this worlde, and was
incontinent of angelles borne into heauen, and there receyued as equall
with them.” Then our captayne sayde to him, “Where is Jesus Christus, the
sonne of Marie?” To whom the Side answered, “At

[p.342] the feete of Mahumet.[FN#15]” Then sayde our captayne agayne: “It
suffyceth, it suffyceth; I will knowe no more.” After this our captayne
commyng out of the temple, and turnyng to vs, sayd, “See (I pray you) for
what goodly stuffe I would haue paide three thousande seraphes of golde.”
The same daye at euenyng, at almost three a clock of the nyght, ten or
twelue of the elders of the secte of Mahumet entered into our carauana,
which remayned not paste a stone caste from the gate of the
citie.[FN#16] These ranne hyther and thyther, crying lyke madde men,
with these wordes, “Mahumet, the messenger and Apostle of God, shall ryse
agayne! O Prophet, O God, Mahumet shall ryse agayne! Have mercy on vs
God!” Our captayne and we, all raysed with this crye, tooke weapon with
all expedition, suspectyng that the Arabians were come to rob our
carauana; we asked what was the cause of that exclamation, and what
they cryed? For they cryed as doe the Christians, when sodeynly any
marueylous thyng chaunceth. The Elders answered, “Sawe you not the
lyghtning whiche shone out of the sepulchre of the Prophet
Mahumet[FN#17]?” Our captayne answered that he sawe nothing; and we also
beyng demaunded, answered in lyke maner. Then sayde one of the old men,
“Are you slaues?” that is to say, bought men; meanyng thereby Mamalukes.
Then sayde our captayne, “We are in deede Mamalukes.” Then agayne the old
man sayde, “You, my Lordes, cannot see heauenly thinges, as being
Neophiti, (that is) newly come to the fayth, and not yet confirmed in
our religion.” To this our captayne answered
[p.343] agayne, “O you madde and insensate beastes, I had thought to haue
giuen you three thousande peeces of gold; but now, O you dogges and
progenie of dogges, I will gyue you nothing.” It is therefore to bee
vnderstoode, that none other shynyng came out of the sepulchre, then a
certayne flame which the priests caused to come out of the open place
of the towre[FN#18] spoken of here before, whereby they would have
deceyved vs. And therefore our captayne commaunded that thereafter none
of vs should enter into the temple. Of this also we haue most true
experience, and most certaynely assure you that there is neyther iron
or steele or the magnes stone that should so make the toombe of Mahumet
to hange in the ayre, as some haue falsely imagined; neyther is there
any mountayne nearer than foure myles: we remayned here three dayes to
refreshe our company. To this citie victualles and all kynde of corne
is brought from Arabia Fælix, and Babylon or Alcayr, and also from
Ethiope, by the Redde Sea, which is from this citie but four dayes

CHAPTER XIV.—The Journey to Mecha.[FN#20]

After we were satisfied, or rather wearyed, with the filthinesse and
lothesomenesse of the trumperyes, deceites, trifles, and hypocrisis of
the religion of Mahumet, we determined to goe forward on our journey;
and that by guyding of a pylot who might directe our course with the
mariners boxe or compasse, with also the carde of the sea, euen as is
vsed in sayling on the sea. And thus bendyng our journey to the west we
founde a very fayre

[p.344] well or fountayne, from the which flowed great aboundance of
water. The inhabitantes affyrme that Sainct Marke the Euangelist was
the aucthour of this fountayne, by a miracle of God, when that region
was in maner burned with incredible drynesse.[FN#21] Here we and our
beastes were satisfied with drynke. I may not here omit to speake of
the sea of sande, and of the daungers thereof. This was founde of vs
before we came to the mountayne of the Jewes. In this sea of sande we
traueiled the journey of three days and nightes: this is a great brode
plaine, all couered with white sande, in maner as small as floure. If
by euil fortune it so chaunce that any trauaile that way southward, if
in the mean time the wind come to the north, they are ouerwhelmed with
sande, that they scatter out of the way, and can scarsely see the one
the other ten pases of. And therefore the inhabitants trauayling this
way, are inclosed in cages of woodde, borne with camels, and lyue in
them,[FN#22] so passing the jorney, guided by pilots with maryner’s
compasse and card, euen as on the sea, as we haue sayde. In this
jorney, also many peryshe for thirst, and many for drynkyng to muche,
when they finde suche good waters. In these sandes is founde Momia,
which is the fleshe of such men as are drowned in these sandes, and
there dryed by the heate of the sunne: so that those bodyes are
preserued from putrifaction by the drynesse of the sand; and therefore
that drye fleshe is esteemed medicinable.[FN#23] Albeit there is
[p.345] another kynde of more pretious Momia, which is the dryed and
embalmed bodies of kynges and princes, whiche of long tyme haue been
preserued drye without corruption. When the wynde bloweth from the
northeast, then the sand riseth and is driuen against a certayne
mountayne, which is an arme of the mount Sinai.[FN#24] There we found
certayne pyllers artificially wrought, whiche they call Ianuan. On the
lefte hande of the sayde mountayne, in the toppe or rydge thereof, is a
denne, and the entrie into it is by an iron gate. Some fayne that in
that place Mahumet lyued in contemplation. Here we heard a certayne
horrible noyse and crye; for passyng the sayde mountayne, we were in so
great daunger, that we thought neuer to have escaped. Departyng,
therefore, from the fountayne, we continued our journey for the space
of ten dayes, and twyse in the way fought with fyftie thousande
Arabians, and so at the length came to the citie of Mecha, where al
things were troubled by reason of the warres betweene two brethren,
contendyng whiche of them shoulde possesse the kyngedome of Mecha.

CHAPTER XV.—Of the Fourme and Situation of the Citie of Mecha; and why
the Mohumetans resort thyther.

Nowe the tyme requireth to speake somewhat of the famous citie of
Mecha, or Mecca, what it is, howe it is situate, and by whom it is
gouerned. The citie is very fayre and well inhabited, and conteyneth in
rounde fourme syxe thousande houses, as well buylded as ours, and some
that cost three or foure thousande peeces of golde: it hath no walles.
About two furlongs from the citie is a mount, where the way is cutte
out,[FN#25] whiche leadeth to a playne

[p.346] beneath. It is on euery syde fortified with mountains, in the
stead of walles or bulwarkes, and hath foure entries. The Gouernour is
a Soltan, and one of the foure brethern of the progenie of Mahumet, and
is subject to the Soltan of Babylon of whom we haue spoken before. His
other three brethren be at continuall warre with hym. The eighteen daye
of Maye we entered into the citie by the north syde; then, by a
declynyng way, we came into a playne. On the south syde are two
mountaynes, the one very neere the other, distant onely by a little
valley, which is the way that leadeth to the gate of Mecha. On the east
syde is an open place betweene two mountaynes, lyke vnto a
valley,[FN#26] and is the waye to the mountayne where they sacrifice to
the Patriarkes Abraham and Isaac.[FN#27] This mountayne is from the
citie about ten or twelve myles, and of the heyght of three stones
cast: it is of stone as harde as marble, yet no marble.[FN#28] In the
toppe of the mountaine is a temple or Meschita, made after their
fashion, and hath three wayes to enter into it.[FN#29] At the foote of
the mountayne are two cesterns, which conserue waters without
corruption: of these, the one is reserued to minister water to the
camels of the carauana of Babylon or Alcayr; and the other, for them of
Damasco. It is rayne water, and is deriued far of.[FN#30]

But to returne to speake of the citie; for as touchyng the maner of
sacrifice which they vse at the foote of the mountayne wee wyll speake
hereafter. Entryng, therefore, into the citie, wee founde there the
carauana of Memphis, or Babylon, which prevented vs eyght dayes, and
came not the waye that wee came. This carauana

[p.347] conteyned threescore and foure thousande camelles, and a
hundred Mamalukes to guyde them. And here ought you to consyder that,
by the opinion of all men, this citie is greatly cursed of God, as
appereth by the great barrennesse thereof, for it is destitute of all
maner of fruites and corne.[FN#31] It is scorched with drynesse for
lacke of water, and therefore the water is there growen to suche pryce,
that you cannot for twelve pence buye as much water as wyll satysfie
your thyrst for one day. Nowe, therefore, I wyll declare what prouision
they have for victuales. The most part is brought them from the citie
of Babylon, otherwyse named Memphis, Cayrus, or Alcayr, a citie of the
ryuer of Nilus in Egypt as we have sayde before, and is brought by the
Red Sea (called Mare Erythreum) from a certayne port named Gida,
distaunt from Mecha fourtie myles.[FN#32] The rest of theyr prouisions
is brought from Arabia Faelix, (that is) the happye or blessed Arabia:
so named for the fruitfulnesse thereof, in respect of the other two
Arabiaes, called Petrea and Diserta, that is, stonye and desart. They
haue also muche corne from Ethyopia. Here we found a marueylous number
of straungers and peregrynes, or pylgryms; of the whiche some came from
Syria, some from Persia, and other from both the East Indiaes, (that is
to say) both India within the ryuer of Ganges, and also the other India
without the same ryuer. I neuer sawe in anye place greater abundaunce
and frequentation of people, forasmuche as I could perceyue by tarrying
there the space of 20 dayes. These people resort thyther for diuers
causes, as some for merchandies, some to obserue theyr vowe of
pylgrymage, and other to haue pardon for theyr sinnes: as touchyng the
whiche we wyll speake more hereafter.

[p.348]CHAPTER XVII.—Of the Pardons or Indulgences of Mecha.

Let vs now returne to speake of the pardons of pilgryms, for the which
so many strange nations resort thither. In the myddest of the citie is
a temple, in fashyon lyke vnto the colossus of Rome, the amphitheatrum,
I meane, lyke vnto a stage, yet not of marbled or hewed stones, but of
burnt bryckes; for this temple, like vnto an amphitheatre, hath
fourscore and ten, or an hundred gates,[FN#33] and is vaulted. The
entrance is by a discent of twelve stayers or degrees on euery
part[FN#34]: in the church porche, are sold only jewels and precious
stones. In the entry the gylted walles shyne on euery syde with
incomparable splendour. In the lower part of the temple (that is vnder
the vaulted places) is seene a maruelous multitude of men; for there
are fyue or sixe thousande men that sell none other thyng then sweete
oyntmentes, and especially a certayne odoriferous and most sweete
pouder wherewith dead bodyes are embalmed.[FN#35] And hence, all maner
of sweete sauours are carried in maner into the countreys of all the
Mahumetans. It passeth all beleefe to thynke of the exceedyng
sweetnesse of these sauours, farre surmounting the shoppes of the
apothecaries. The 23 daye of Maye the pardones began to be graunted in
the temple, and in what maner we wyll nowe declare. The temple in the
myddest is open without any inclosyng, and in the myddest also thereof
is a turrett of the largnesse of sixe passes in cercuitie,[FN#36] and
inuolued or hanged with cloth or

[p.349] tapestry of sylke[,][FN#37]and passeth not the heyght of a man.
They enter into the turret by a gate of syluer, and is on euery syde
besette with vesselles full of balme. On the day of Pentecost licence
is graunted to al men to se these thynges. The inhabitantes affyrm that
balme or balsame to be part of the treasure of the Soltan that is Lorde
of Mecha. At euery vaulte of the turret is fastened a rounde circle of
iron, lyke to the ryng of a doore.[FN#38] The 22 day of Maye, a great
multitude of people beganne, early in the mornyng before day, seuen
tymes to walke about the turret, kyssing euery corner thereof, often
tymes feelyng and handelyng them. From this turret about tenne or
twelue pases is an other turret, like a chappell buylded after our
maner. This hath three or foure entryes: in the myddest thereof is a
well of threescore and tenne cubites deepe; the water of this well is
infected with salt peter or saltniter.[FN#39] Egypt men are therevnto
appoynted to drawe water for all the people: and when a multitude of
people haue seuen tymes gone rounde about the first turret, they come
to this well, and touchyng the mouth or brym thereof, they saye thus, “Be
it in the honour of God; God pardon me, and forgeue me my synnes.” When
these woordes are sayde, they that drawe the water powre three
buckettes of water on the headdes of euery one of them, and stand neere
about the well, and washe them all wette from the headde to the foote,
although they be apparelled with sylk. Then the dotyng fooles dreame
that they are cleane from all theyr synnes, and that theyr synnes are
forgeuen them. They saye, furthermore, that

[p.350] the fyrst turret, whereof we haue spoken, was the fyrst house
that euer Abraham buylded, and, therefore, whyle they are yet all wette
of the sayd washyng, they go to the mountayne, where (as we have sayde
before) they are accustomed to sacrifice to Abraham.[FN#40] And
remayning there two daies, they make the said sacrifice to Abraham at
the foote of the mountayne.

CHAPTER XVIII.—The Maner of sacrificing at Mecha.

Forasmuche as for the most parte noble spirites are delyted with
nouelties of great and straunge thyngs, therefore, to satisfie their
expectation, I wyll describe theyr maner of sacrifycyng. Therefore,
when they intend to sacrifice, some of them kyll three sheepe, some
foure, and tenne; so that the butcherie sometyme so floweth with blood
that in one sacrifice are slayne above three thousande sheepe. They are
slayne at the rysyng of the sunne, and shortly after are distributed to
the poore for God’s sake: for I sawe there a great and confounded
multitude of poor people as to the number of 20 thousande. These make
many and long dyches in the feeldes, where they keepe fyre with camels
doong, and rost or seeth the fleshe that is geuen them, and eate it
euen there. I beleue that these poore people came thither rather for
hunger than for deuotion, which I thinke by this coniectur,—that great
abundance of cucumbers are brought thyther from Arabia Fælix, whiche they
eate, castyng away the parynges without their houses or tabernacles,
where a multitude of the sayde poore people geather them euen out of
the myre and sande, and eate them, and are so greedie of these parynges
that they fyght who may geather most.[FN#41] The

[p.351] daye folowing,[FN#42] their Cadi (which are in place with them
as with vs the preachers of God’s worde) ascended into a hygh mountayne,
to preach to the people that remaineth beneath; and preached to them in
theyr language the space of an houre. The summe of the sermon was, that
with teares they should bewayle theyr sinnes, and beate their brestes
with sighes and lamentation. And the preacher hymselfe with loude voyce
spake these wordes, “O Abraham beloued of God, O Isaac chosen of God, and
his friend, praye to God for the people of Nabi.” When these woordes were
sayde, sodenly were heard lamenting voyces. When the sermon was done, a
rumor was spredde that a great armye of Arabians, to the number of
twentie thousande, were commyng. With which newes, they that kept the
caraunas beyng greatly feared, with all speede, lyke madde men, fledde
into the citie of Mecha, and we agayne bearyng newes of the Arabians
approche, fledde also into the citie. But whyle wee were in the mydwaye
between the mountayne and Mecha, we came by a despicable wall, of the
breadthe of foure cubites: the people passyng this wall, had couered
the waye with stones, the cause whereof, they saye to be this: when
Abraham was commaunded to sacrifice his sonne, he wylled his sonne
Isaac to folowe hym to the place where he should execute the
commaundement of God. As Isaac went to follow his father, there
appeared to him in the way a Deuyl, in lykenesse of a fayre and
freendly person, not farre from the sayde wall, and asked hym freendlye
whyther he went. Isaac answered that he went to his

[p.352] father who tarryed for him. To this the enemie of mankynde
answered, that it was best for hym to tarrye, and yf that he went anye
further, his father would sacrifice him. But Isaac nothyng feareyng
this aduertisement of the Deuyl, went forward, that his father on hym
myght execute the commaundement of God: and with this answere (as they
saye) they Deuyell departed. Yet as Isaac went forwarde, the Diuell
appeared to hym agayne in the lykenesse of an other frendlye person,
and forbade hym as before. Then Isaac taking vp a stone in that place,
hurlde it at the Deuyl and wounded him in the forehead: In witnesse and
remembraunce whereof, the people passyng that waye when they come neare
the wall, are accustomed to cast stones agaynst it, and from thence go
into the citie.[FN#43] As we went this way, the ayre was in maner
darkened with a multitude of stock doues. They saye that these doues,
are of the progenie of the doue that spake in the eare of Mahumet, in
lykenesse of the Holye Ghost.[FN#44] These are seene euery where, as in
the villages, houses, tauernes and graniers of corne and ryse, and are
so tame that one can scharsely dryue them away. To take them or kyll
them is esteemed a thyng worthy death,[FN#45]

[p.353] and therefore a certayne pensyon is geuen to nourysshe them in
the temple.

CHAPTER XX.—Of diuers thynges which chaunced to me in Mecha; and of Zida,
a port of Mecha.

It may seeme good here to make mention of certayne thynges, in the
which is seene sharpenesse of witte in case of vrgent necessitie, which
hath no lawe as sayeth the prouerbe, for I was dryuen to the point howe
I myght prieuly escape from Mecha. Therefore whereas my Captayne gaue
me charge to buy certayne thynges, as I was in the market place, a
certayne Mamaluke knewe me to be a christian, and therefore in his owne
language spake vnto me these woordes, “Inte mename,” that is, whence art
thou?[FN#46] To whom I answered that I was a Mahumetan. But he sayde,
Thou sayest not truely. I sayde agayne, by the head of Mahumet I am a
Mahumetan. Then he sayde agayne, Come home to my house, I folowed hym
willingly. When we were there, he began to speake to me in the Italian
tongue, and asked me agayne from whence I was, affyrming that he knewe
me, and that I was no Mahumetan: also that he had been sometyme in
Genua and Venice. And that his woordes myght be better beleeued, he
rehearsed many thinges which testified that he sayed trueth. When I
vnderstoode this, I confessed freely, that I was a Romane, but
professed to the fayth of Mahumet in the citie of Babylon, and there
made one of the Mamalukes; whereof he seemed greatly to reioyce and
therefore vsed me honourably. But because my desyre was yet to goe
further, I asked the Mahumetan whether that citie of Mecha was so
famous as all the world spake of it: and inquired of him where was the
great aboundaunce of pearles, precious stones, spices, and other rich
merchandies that the bruite went of to be in that citie. And all my
talke was to the ende

[p.354] to grope the mynde of the Mahumetan, that I might know the
cause why such thinges were not brought thyther as in tyme paste. But
to auoyde all suspition, I durst here make no mention of the dominion
which the Kyng of Portugale had in the most parte of that ocean, and of
the gulfes of the Redde Sea and Persia. Then he began with more
attentyue mynde, in order to declare vnto me the cause why that marte
was not so greatly frequented as it had been before, and layde the only
faulte thereof in the Kyng of Portugale. But when he had made mention
of the kyng, I began of purpose to detracte his fame, lest the
Mahumetan might thinke that I reioyced that the Christians came thyther
for merchandies. When he perceyued that I was of profession an enemy to
the Christians, he had me yet in greater estimation, and proceeded to
tell me many thynges more. When I was well instructed in all thynges, I
spake vnto him friendly these woordes in the Mahumet’s language Menaba
Menalhabi, that is to say, “I pray you assist mee.[FN#47]” He asked mee
wherein. “To help me (sayed I) howe I may secretly departe hence.”
Confyrmyng by great othes, that I would goe to those kinges that were
most enemies to the Christians: affyrmyng furthermore, that I knewe
certain secretes greatly to be esteemed, which if they were knowen to
the sayde kynges, I doubted not but that in shorte tyme I should bee
sent for from Mecha. Astonyshed at these woordes, he sayde vnto mee, I
pray you what arte or secrete doe you know? I answered, that I would
giue place to no man in makyng of all manner of gunnes and artillerie.
Then sayde hee, “praysed be Mahumet who sent thee hyther, to do hym and
his saintes good seruice:” and willed me to remayne secretly in his
[p.355] house with his wyfe, and requyred me earnestly to obtayne leaue
of our Captayne that under his name he myght leade from Mecha fifteine
camelles laden with spices, without paying any custome: for they
ordinarily paye to the Soltan thirtie seraphes[FN#48] of golde, for
transportyng of such merchandies for the charge of so many camelles. I
put him in good hope of his request, he greatly reioyced, although he
would ask for a hundred, affyrmyng that might easily be obteyned by the
priuileges of the Mamalukes, and therefore desyred hym that I might
safely remayne in his house. Then nothyng doubtyng to obtayn his
request, he greatly reioyced, and talkyng with me yet more freely, gaue
me further instructions and counsayled me to repayre to a certayne kyng
of the greater India, in the kyngdome and realme of Decham[FN#49]
whereof we will speake hereafter. Therefore the day before the carauana
departed from Mecha, he willed me to lye hydde in the most secrete
parte of his house. The day folowyng, early in the mornyng the
trumpetter of the carauana gaue warning to all the Mamalukes to make
ready their horses, to directe their journey toward Syria, with
proclamation of death to all that should refuse so to doe. When I
hearde the sounde of the trumpet, and was aduertised of the streight
commaundement, I was marueylously troubled in minde, and with heauy
countenaunce desired the Mahumetan’s wife not to bewraye me, and with
earnest prayer committed myselfe to the mercie of God. On the Tuesday
folowyng, our carauana departed from Mecha, and I remayned in the
Mahumetans house with his wyfe, but he folowed the carauana. Yet before
he departed, he gaue commaundement to his wyfe to bryng me to the
carauana, which shoulde departe from Zida[FN#50] the porte of Mecha to
goe into India. This porte is distant from Mecha 40 miles. Whilest I

[p.356] thus hyd in the Mahumetans house, I can not expresse how
friendly his wyfe vsed me. This also furthered my good enterteynement,
that there was in the house a fayre young mayde, the niese of the
Mahumetan, who was greatly in loue with me. But at that tyme, in the
myddest of those troubles and feare, the fyre of Venus was almost
extincte in mee: and therefore with daliaunce of fayre woordes and
promises, I styll kepte my selfe in her fauour. Therefore the Friday
folowyng, about noone tyde, I departed, folowyng the carauana of India.
And about myd nyght we came to a certayne village of the Arabians, and
there remayned the rest of that nyght, and the next day tyll noone.
From hence we went forwarde on our journey toward Zida, and
came thyther in the silence of the nyght. This citie hath no walles,
yet fayre houses, somewhat after the buyldyng of Italie. Here is great
aboundaunce of all kynd of merchandies, by reason of resorte in manner
of all nations thyther, except jewes and christians, to whom it is not
lawfull to come thyther. As soone as I entered into the citie, I went
to their temple or Meschita, where I sawe a great multitude of poore
people, as about the number of 25 thousande, attendyng a certayne pilot
who should bryng them into their countrey. Heere I suffered muche
trouble and affliction, beyng enforced to hyde myselfe among these
poore folkes, fayning myselfe very sicke, to the ende that none should
be inquisityue what I was, whence I came, or whyther I would. The lord
of this citie is the Soltan of Babylon, brother to the Soltan of Mecha,
who is his subiecte. The inhabitauntes are Mahumetans. The soyle is
vnfruitfull, and lacketh freshe water. The sea beateth agaynst the
towne. There is neuerthelesse aboundance of all thinges: but brought
thyther from other places, as from Babylon of Nilus, Arabia F[æ]lix, and
dyuers other places. The heate is here so great, that men are in maner
dryed up therewith.

[p.357] And therefore there is euer a great number of sicke folkes. The
citie conteyneth about fyue hundred houses.

After fyftiene dayes were past, I couenaunted with a pilot, who was
ready to departe from thence into Persia, and agreed of the price, to
goe with him. There lay at anker in the hauen almost a hundred
brigantines and foistes,[FN#51] with diuers boates and barkes of sundry
sortes, both with ores and without ores. Therefore after three days,
gyuyng wynde to our sayles, we entered into the Redde Sea, otherwise
named Mare Erythræum.

[FN#1] I have consulted the “Navigation and Voyages of Lewes Wertomannus
to the Regions of Arabia, Egypt, Persia, Syria, Ethiopia, and East
India, both within and without the River of Ganges, &c., conteyning
many notable and straunge things both Historicall and Natural.
Translated out of Latine into Englyshe by Richarde Eden. In the year of
our Lord, 1576.”—(Hakluyt’s Voyages, vol. iv.) The curious reader will also
find the work in Purchas (Pilgrimmes and Pilgrimage, vol. ii.) and
Ramusio (Raccolta delle Navigasioni e Viaggi, tom. i.). The Travels of
Bartema were first published at Milan, A.D. 1511, and the first English
translation appeared in Willes and Eden’s Decades, 4to. A.D. 1555.
[FN#2] The number of pilgrims in this Caravan is still grossly
exaggerated. I cannot believe that it contains more than 7000 of both
sexes, and all ages.
[FN#3] This may confirm Strabo’s account of [Æ]lius Gallus’ loss, after a
conflict with a host of Arabs—two Roman soldiers. Mons. Jomard, noticing
the case, pleasantly remarks, that the two individuals in question are
to be pitied for their extreme ill-luck.
[FN#4] This venerable form of abuse still survives the lapse of time.
One of the first salutations reaching the ears of the “Overlands” at
Alexandria is some little boys—
Ya Nasrani
Kalb awani, &c., &c.—
O Nazarene,
O dog obscene, &c., &c.
In Percy’s Reliques we read of the Knight calling his Moslem opponent
“unchristen hounde,”—a retort courteous to the “Christen hounde,” previously
applied to him by the “Pagan.”
[FN#5] For a full account of the mania fit I must refer the curious
reader to the original (Book ii. chap. v.) The only mistake the
traveller seems to have committed, was that, by his ignorance of the
rules of ablution, he made men agree that he was “no sainct, but a madman.”
[FN#6] He proceeds, however, to say that “the head is lyke a hart’s,” the
“legges thynne and slender, lyke a fawne or hyde, the hoofs divided much
like the feet of a goat”; that they were sent from Ethiopia (the Somali
country), and were “shewed to the people for a myracle.” They might,
therefore, possibly have been African antelopes, which a lusus naturæ had
deprived of their second horn. But the suspicion of fable remains.
[FN#7] This is a tale not unfamiliar to the Western World. Louis XI. of
France was supposed to drink the blood of babes,—“pour rajeunir sa veine
epuisee.” The reasons in favour of such unnatural diet have been fully
explained by the infamous M. de Sade.
[FN#8] This is, to the present day, a food confined to the Badawin.
[FN#9] This alludes to the gardens of Kuba. The number of date-trees is
now greatly increased. (See chap. xix.)
[FN#10] The Ayn al-Zarka, flowing from the direction of Kuba. (Chap.
[FN#11] Masjid, a Mosque.
[FN#12] Nothing can to more correct than this part of Bartema’s
[FN#13] Nabi (the Prophet), Abu Bakr, Osman, Omar, and Fatimah. It was
never believed that Osman was buried in the Prophet’s Mosque. This part
of the description is utterly incorrect. The tombs are within the “tower”
above-mentioned; and Bartema, in his 13th chapter, quoted below, seems
to be aware of the fact.
[FN#14] The request was an unconscionable one; and the “chief priest” knew
that the body, being enclosed within four walls, could not be seen.
[FN#15] This is incorrect. “Hazrat Isa,” after his second coming, will be
buried in the Prophet’s “Hujrah.” But no Moslem ever believed that the
founder of Christianity left his corpse in this world. (See chap. xvi.)
[FN#16] Most probably, in the Barr al-Manakhah, where the Damascus
caravan still pitches tents.
[FN#17] This passage shows the antiquity of the still popular
superstition which makes a light to proceed from the Prophet’s tomb.
[FN#18] It is unnecessary to suppose any deception of the kind. If only
the “illuminati” could see this light, the sight would necessarily be
confined to a very small number.
[FN#19] This account is correct. Kusayr (Cosseir), Suez, and Jeddah
still supply Al-Madinah.
[FN#20] It is impossible to distinguish from this description the route
taken by the Damascus Caravan in A.D. 1503. Of one thing only we may be
certain, namely, that between Al-Madinah and Meccah there are no “Seas of
[FN#21] The name of St. Mark is utterly unknown in Al-Hijaz. Probably
the origin of the fountain described in the text was a theory that
sprang from the brains of the Christian Mamluks.
[FN#22] A fair description of the still favourite vehicles, the
Shugduf, Takht-rawan, and the Shibriyah. It is almost needless to say
that the use of the mariner’s compass is unknown to the guides in
[FN#23] Wonderful tales are still told about this same Momiya (mummy).
I was assured by an Arab physician, that he had broken a fowl’s leg, and
bound it tightly with a cloth containing man’s dried flesh, which caused
the bird to walk about, with a sound shank, on the second day.
[FN#24] This is probably Jabal Warkan, on the Darb al-Sultani, or Sea
road to Meccah. For the Moslem tradition about its Sinaitic origin, see
Chapter xx.
[FN#25] The Saniyah Kuda, a pass opening upon the Meccah plain. Here
two towers are now erected.
[FN#26] This is the open ground leading to the Muna Pass.
[FN#27] An error. The sacrifice is performed at Muna, not on Arafat,
the mountain here alluded to.
[FN#28] The material is a close grey granite.
[FN#29] The form of the building has now been changed.
[FN#30] The Meccans have a tradition concerning it, that it is derived
from Baghdad.
[FN#31] Moslems who are disposed to be facetious on serious subjects,
often remark that it is a mystery why Allah should have built his house
in a spot so barren and desolate.
[FN#32] This is still correct. Suez supplies Jeddah with corn and other
[FN#33] A prodigious exaggeration. Burckhardt enumerates twenty. The
principal gates are seventeen in number. In the old building they were
more numerous. Jos. Pitt says, “it hath about forty-two doors to enter
into it;—not so much, I think, for necessity, as figure; for in some
places they are close by one another.”
[FN#34] Bartema alludes, probably, to the Bab al-Ziyadah, in the
northern enceinte.
[FN#35] I saw nothing of the kind, though constantly in the Harim at
[FN#36] “The Ka’abah is an oblong massive structure, 18 paces in length, 14
in breadth, and from 35 to 40 feet in height.” (Burckhardt, vol. i. p.
248.) My measurements, concerning which more hereafter, gave 18 paces
in breadth, and 22 in length.
[FN#37] In ancient times possibly it was silk: now, it is of silk and
cotton mixed.
[FN#38] These are the brazen rings which serve to fasten the lower edge
of the Kiswah, or covering.
[FN#39] A true description of the water of the well Zemzem.
[FN#40] There is great confusion in this part of Bartema’s narrative. On
the 9th of Zu’l Hijjah, the pilgrims leave Mount Arafat. On the 10th,
many hasten into Meccah, and enter the Ka’abah. They then return to the
valley of Muna, where their tents are pitched and they sacrifice the
victims. On the 12th, the tents are struck, and the pilgrims re-enter
[FN#41] This well describes the wretched state of the poor “Takruri,” and
other Africans, but it attributes to them an unworthy motive. I once
asked a learned Arab what induced the wretches to rush upon
destruction, as they do, when the Faith renders pilgrimage obligatory
only upon those who can afford necessaries for the way. “By Allah,” he
replied, “there is fire within their hearts, which can be quenched only
at God’s House, and at His Prophet’s Tomb.”
[FN#42] Bartema alludes to the “Day of Arafat,” 9th of Zu’l Hijjah, which
precedes, not follows, the “Day of Sacrifice.”
[FN#43] Bartema alludes to the “Shaytan al-Kabir,” the “great devil,” as the
buttress at Al-Muna is called. His account of Satan’s appearance is not
strictly correct. Most Moslems believe that Abraham threw the stone at
the “Rajim,”—the lapidated one; but there are various traditions upon the
[FN#44] A Christian version of an obscure Moslem legend about a white
dove alighting on the Prophet’s shoulder, and appearing to whisper in his
ear whilst he was addressing a congregation. Butler alludes to it :—
“Th’ apostles of this fierce religion,
Like Mahomet’s, were ass and widgeon;”
the latter word being probably a clerical error for pigeon. When
describing the Ka’abah, I shall have occasion to allude to the “blue-rocks”
of Meccah.
[FN#45] No one would eat the pigeons of the Ka’abah; but in other places,
Al-Madinah, for instance, they are sometimes used as articles of food.
[FN#46] In the vulgar dialect, “Ant min ayn?”
[FN#47] I confess inability to explain these words: the printer has
probably done more than the author to make them unintelligible.
“Atamannik minalnabi,” in vulgar and rather corrupt Arabic, would mean “I beg
you (to aid me) for the sake of the Prophet.”
[FN#48] Ashrafi, ducats.
[FN#49] The Deccan.
[FN#50] Jeddah
[FN#51] A foist, foyst or buss, was a kind of felucca, partially decked.

[p.358]APPENDIX V.


OUR second pilgrim was Jos. Pitts, of Exon,[FN#1] a youth fifteen or
sixteen years old, when in A.D. 1678, his genius “leading him to be a
sailor and to see foreign countries,” caused him to be captured by an
Algerine pirate. After living in slavery for some years, he was taken
by his “patroon” to Meccah and Al-Madinah via Alexandria, Rosetta, Cairo,
and Suez. His description of these places is accurate in the main
points, and though tainted with prejudice and bigotry, he is free from
superstition and credulity. Conversant with Turkish and Arabic, he has
acquired more knowledge of the tenets and practice of Al-Islam than his
predecessor, and the term of his residence at Algier, fifteen years,
sufficed, despite the defects of his education, to give fulness and
finish to his observations. His chief patroon, captain of a troop of

[p.359] horse, was a profligate and debauched man in his time, and a
murderer, “who determined to proselyte a Christian slave as an atonement
for past impieties.” He began by large offers and failed; he succeeded by
dint of a great cudgel repeatedly applied to Joseph Pitts’ bare feet. “I
roared out,” says the relator, “to feel the pain of his cruel strokes, but
the more I cried, the more furiously he laid on, and to stop the noise
of my crying, would stamp with his feet on my mouth.” “At last,” through
terror, he “turned and spake the words (la ilaha, &c.), as usual holding
up the forefinger of the right hand”; he was then circumcised in due
form. Of course, such conversion was not a sincere one—“there was yet
swines-flesh in his teeth.” He boasts of saying his prayers in a state of
impurity, hates his fellow religionists, was truly pleased to hear
Mahomet called sabbatero, i.e., shoemaker, reads his bible, talks of
the horrid evil of apostacy, calls the Prophet a “bloody imposter,” eats
heartily in private of hog, and is very much concerned for one of his
countrymen who went home to his own country, but came again to Algier,
and voluntarily, without the least force used towards him, became a
Mahometan. His first letter from his father reached him some days after
he had been compelled by his patroon’s barbarity to abjure his faith. One
sentence appears particularly to have afflicted him: it was this, “to
have a care and keep close to God, and to be sure never, by any methods
of cruelty that could be used towards me, be prevailed to deny my
blessed Saviour, and that he (the father) would rather hear of my death
than of my being a Mahometan.” Indeed, throughout the work, it appears
that his repentance was sincere.

“God be merciful to me a

is the deprecation that precedes the account of his “turning Turk,” and the
book concludes with,

“To him, therefore, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Three

[p.360] Persons and one God, be all Honour, Glory, and Praise, world
without end. Amen.”

Having received from his patroon, whom he acknowledges to have been a
second parent to him, a letter of freedom at Meccah and having entered
into pay, still living with his master, Pitts began to think of escape.
The Grand Turk had sent to Algier for ships, and the renegade was
allowed to embark on board one of them provided with a diplomatic
letter[FN#2] from Mr. Baker, Consul of Algier, to Mr. Raye, Consul at
Smyrna. The devil, we are told, was very busy with him in the Levant,
tempting him to lay aside all thoughts of escaping, to return to
Algier, and to continue a Mussulman, and the loss of eight months’ pay
and certain other monies seems to have weighed heavily upon his soul.
Still he prepared for the desperate enterprise, in which failure would
have exposed him to be dragged about the streets on the stones till
half dead, and then be burned to ashes in the Jews’ burial-place. A
generous friend, Mr. Eliot, a Cornish merchant who had served some part
of his apprenticeship in Exon and had settled at Smyrna, paid £4 for his
passage in a French ship to Leghorn. Therefrom, in the evening before
sailing, he went on board “apparel’d as an Englishman with his beard
shaven, a campaign periwig, and a cane in his hand, accompanied with
three or four of his friends. At Leghorn he prostrated himself, and
kissed the earth, blessing Almighty God, for his mercy and goodness to
him, that he once more set footing on the

[p.361] European Christian[FN#3] part of the world.” He travelled through
Italy, Germany, and Holland, where he received many and great
kindnesses. But his patriotism was damped as he entered “England, his own
native country, and the civilised land must have made him for a time
regret having left Algier. The very first night he lay ashore, he was
“imprest into the kings service” (we having at that time war with France);
despite arguments and tears he spent some days in Colchester jail, and
finally he was put on board a smack to be carried to the Dreadnought
man-of-war. But happily for himself he had written to Sir William
Falkener, one of the Smyrna or Turkey company in London; that gentleman
used his interest to procure a protection from the Admiralty office,
upon the receipt of which good news, Joseph Pitts did “rejoice
exceedingly and could not forbear leaping upon the deck.” He went to
London, thanked Sir William, and hurried down to Exeter, where he ends
his fifteen years’ tale with a homely, heartful and affecting description
of his first meeting with his father. His mother died about a year
before his return.

The following passages are parts of the 7th and 8th chapters of Pitts’
little-known work.

“Next we came to Gidda, the nearest sea-port town to Mecca, not quite one
day’s journey from it,[FN#4] where the ships are unloaded. Here we are
met by Dilleels,[FN#5] i.e. certain persons who came from Mecca on
purpose to instruct the Hagges, or pilgrims, in the ceremonies (most
[p.362] of them being ignorant of them) which are to be used in their
worship at the temple there; in the middle of which is a place which
they call Beat Allah, i.e. the House of God. They say that Abraham
built it; to which I give no credit.

“As soon as we come to the town of Mecca, the Dilleel, or guide, carries
us into the great street, which is in the midst of the town, and to
which the temple joins.[FN#6] After the camels are laid down, he first
directs us to the Fountains, there to take Abdes[FN#7]; which being
done, he brings us to the temple, into which (having left our shoes
with one who constantly attends to receive them) we enter at the door
called Bab-al-salem, i.e. the Welcome Gate, or Gate of Peace. After a
few paces entrance, the Dilleel makes a stand, and holds up his hands
towards the Beat-Allah (it being in the middle of the Mosque), the
Hagges imitating him, and saying after him the same words which he
speaks. At the very first sight of the Beat-Allah, the Hagges melt into
tears, then we are led up to it, still speaking after the Dilleel; then
we are led round it seven times, and then make two Erkaets.[FN#8] This
being done, we are led into the street again, where we are sometimes to
run and sometimes to walk very quick with the Dilleel from one place of
the street to the other, about a bowshot.[FN#9] And I profess I could
not chuse but admire to see those poor creatures so extraordinary
devout, and affectionate, when they were about these superstitions, and
with what awe and trembling they

[p.363] were possessed; in so much that I could scarce forbear shedding
of tears, to see their zeal, though blind and idolatrous. After all
this is done, we returned to the place in the street where we left our
camels, with our provisions, and necessaries, and then look out for
lodgings; where when we come, we disrobe and take of our
Hirrawems,[FN#10] and put on our ordinary clothes again.

“All the pilgrims hold it to be their great duty well to improve their
time whilst they are at Mecca, not to do their accustomed duty and
devotion in the temple, but to spend all their leisure time there, and
as far as strength will permit to continue at Towoaf, i.e. to walk
round the Beat-Allah, which is about four and twenty paces square. At
one corner of the Beat, there is a black stone fastened and framed in
with silver plate,[FN#11] and every time they come to that corner, they
kiss the stone; and having gone round seven times they perform two
Erkaets-nomas, or prayers. This stone, they say, was formerly white,
and then it was called Haggar Essaed, i.e. the White Stone.[FN#12] But
by reason of the sins of the multitudes of people who kiss it, it is
become black, and is now called Haggar Esswaed, or the Black Stone.

“This place is so much frequented by people going round it, that the
place of the Towoaf, i.e. the circuit which they take in going round
it, is seldom void of people at any time of the day or night.[FN#13]
Many have waited several weeks, nay months, for the opportunity of
finding it so. For they say, that if any person is blessed with such an
opportunity, that for his or her zeal in keeping up the honour of
Towoaf, let they petition what they will at the Beat-Allah, they shall
be answered. Many will walk round

[p.364] till they are quite weary, then rest, and at it again;
carefully remembering at the end of every seventh time to perform two
Erkaets. This Beat is in effect the object of their devotion, the idol
which they adore: for, let them be never so far distant from it, East,
West, North, or South of it, they will be sure to bow down towards it;
but when they are at the Beat, they may go on which side they please
and pay their Sallah towards it.[FN#14] Sometimes there are several
hundreds at Towoaf at once, especially after Acshamnomas, or fourth
time of service, which is after candle-lighting (as you heard before),
and these both men and women, but the women walk on the outside the
men, and the men nearest to the Beat. In so great a resort as this, it
is not to be supposed that every individual person can come to kiss the
stone afore-mentioned; therefore, in such a case, the lifting up the
hands towards it, smoothing down their faces, and using a short
expression of devotion, as Allah-waick barick, i.e. Blessed God, or
Allah cabor, i.e. Great God, some such like; and so passing by it till
opportunity of kissing it offers, is thought sufficient.[FN#15] But
when there are but few men at Towoaf, then the women get opportunity to
kiss the said stone, and when they have gotten it, they close in with
it as they come round, and walk round as quick as they can to come to
it again, and keep possession of it for a considerable time. The men,
when they see that the women have got the place, will be so civil as to
pass by and give them leave to take their fill, as I may say in their
Towoaf or walking round, during which they are using some formal
expressions. When the women are at the stone, then it is esteemed a
very rude and abominable thing to go near them, respecting the time and

[p.365]“I shall now give you a more particular description of Mecca and
the temple there.

“First, as to Mecca. It is a town situated in a barren place (about one
day’s journey from the Red Sea) in a valley, or rather in the midst of
many little hills. It is a place of no force, wanting both walls and
gates. Its buildings are (as I said before) very ordinary, insomuch
that it would be a place of no tolerable entertainment, were it not for
the anniversary resort of so many thousand Hagges, or pilgrims, on
whose coming the whole dependance of the town (in a manner) is; for
many shops are scarcely open all the year besides.

The people here, I observed, are a poor sort of people, very thin,


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