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of his life. Others were for transporting him to Jerusalem, and erecting a monument for him there amongst the sepulchres of the prophets. But his successor, Abu-Beker, decided the whole affair at once, by declaring that a prophet ought to be interred in the place where he died ; and that he had heard Mahomet, in his lifetime, own himself to be of this opinion. Whereupon the body was buried in a grave dug under the bed on which he died, in the apartment of Ayesha, his best-beloved wife, at Medina, where it remains to this day, in a magnificent building, covered with a cupola, and adjoining to the east side of the great temple, which is built in the midst of the city.

The sorrow and doleful complaints of the Mussulmans on this occasion were no doubt very great ; but we shall omit the enthusiastic description of them given by Arabian historians, to give the true character of this prophet. As to his person and outward appearance, he was of a middle stature, neither endowed with extraordinary beauty, nor in any way deformed. The Arabians, indeed, assert that the prophetic light, which descended lineally from Adam to him, made his face as bright as the sun. Nor must we omit what they say of his spittle, viz., that it was so sweet, and of so good a taste, that children might have been fed with it. A wen which he had between his shoulders, and which disappeared at his death, was, they say, the seal of prophecy ; to which they add, that flies and other insects were never troublesome to him, and that, consequently, his skin was always soft and shining.

Those authors are likewise as extravagant in their description of his mind. We may easily believe, however, that he was far more ingenious than others of his countrymen, upon whom he prevailed by his subtle devices, natural eloquence, and remarkable affability : the latter quality was, however, sometimes assumed, not without a mixture of severity. He affected likewise to be thought a great lover of justice and truth. He was 80 liberal to the poor as to be called their father, never refused to givo alms to them, and maintained constantly forty at his own charge. It is said, too, that though he was master of an immense estate, yet he often had nothing left but what was absolutely necessary for the support of his family. He was very sparing in his diet, and ate only some dates, and drank nothing but water for several months of the year. The Arabians likewise say of him, that he took his meals standing, or in an uneasy situation, with his servant; made his own shoes, his clothes ; swept the house, and even prepared the victuals for his men ! So far the austerity of his life seemed to imitate the severity of the anchorites and solitaries of Egypt and the neighbourhood of Arabia. This mortification was no doubt practised in order to dazzle the common people, and inspire them with the highest opinion of, and veneration for, his sanctity.

But with all these hardships, he indulged himself in a seraglio of twenty-one, and even twenty-five wives : women, it seems, to use his own expression, rejoiced his sight and raised his fervour at his prayers. Five of his wives died before him ; from six he was divorced, and ten remained in a state of widowhood after the Prophet's death.

Mahomet had four sons and four daughters by his first wife, and none by any of his other wives or concubines, except Mary the Copt. All his sons died in their infancy. Such was the life, such the death, and

such the character of Mahomet. That the desire of satisfying his sensuality was one of the principal motives of his undertaking, seems indisputably clear, from the great number of wives and concubines he maintained, as well as from the wicked and unjustifiable methods he was obliged to make use of, in order to obtain possession of some of them.

Before the death of Mahomet, he had become master of all Arabia ; had extended his conquest to the borders of the Greek and Persian

empires ; had rendered his name formidable to those once Mahometan

mighty kingdoms; had tried his arms against the disciconquests.

plined troops of the former, and defeated them in a desperate encounter at Muta. His throne was now firmly established; and an impulse given to the Arabian nations, which induced them to invade, and enabled them to conquer, a large portion of the globe. India, Persia, the Greek empire, the whole of Asia Minor, Egypt, Barbary, and Spain, were eventually reduced by their victorious arms. Mahomet himself did not indeed live to see such mighty conquests achieved, but he commenced the train which resulted in this wide-spread dominion; and before his death, had established over the whole of Arabia, and some parts of Asia, the religion which he had devised.

CHAPTER II.

RELIGIOUS TENETS, CEREMONIES, AND CUSTOMS OF THE MAHOMETANS.

All Mussulmans look upon the pilgrimage to the tomb of Mahomet as one of the chief duties of their religion. The Arabian doctors say that Pilgrimage to

Mahomet enjoined it, and it is well known that superstithe tomb of Ma. tion lays a great stress on such ceremonies. Whoever unhomet.

dertakes to perform it must often, even upon the road, turn himself towards Medina to pray; as soon as he sees the tops of the trees about the town, he ought to renew his devotion, and repeat without intermission the appointed form of prayers, to beg of God that this visit to the holy sanctuary of the prophet may be acceptable, and may deliver him from hell. Before he enters the city, he is enjoined to wash himself, to use perfumes, put on his best apparel, and to give alms. Having entered, he says a prayer, and another when he comes into the mosque : this latter is for Mahomet and his family. The pilgrim then goes towards the tomb, stays some time at the place where the Prophet prayed, and also at some other places, accordingly as his devotion suggests to him. Being at last arrived near the holy place, he first prostrates himself on the ground, pays his adoration to God, gives him thanks for having conducted him safely thither; then standing up, with his face turned towards Mecca, he

prays for the Prophet and his two successors, Abu-Beker and Oniar : he does not, whilst praying, even lean against the wall which encloses the monument, as that would be considered indecent and a profanation. Gagnier says, that “the pilgrim looks on the ground, and there fixing his eyes, salutes the Prophet, with the utmost veneration and re

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spect ; at the same time withdrawing his thoughts and affections from all worldly concerns, as becomes one who is in the presence of God and his apostle," &c. On the Friday following, he goes to a burying-ground, called Al-Baki, where several of the companions of Mahomet lie interred, and visits the tombs of the chief ladies and others of his family, servants, and successors ; as well as of Fatima his daughter, Ibrahim his son, and the Mussulman martyrs, &c. Then he washes himself in and drinks some of the water of the well called Aris, into which the Prophet had spitten ; and performs several prostrations at other mosques, oratories, and wells in Medina, &c. Mahomet himself said, that one prayer in his own mosque is better than a thousand anywhere else; and that he would intercede for all those who die at Medina.

The Caaba is a stone edifice in the temple of Mecca, which has been revered with superior sanctity by the Arabians from the remotest anti

The Caaba, or quity, and to which every Mahometan is required by the Temple of Mecca. Koran to direct himself in prayer.

Among the variety of fabulous traditions which have been propagated by the followers of Mahomet concerning the origin of this building, we find it asserted, that its existence is coeval with our first parents, and that it was built by Adam, after his expulsion from Paradise, from a representation of the celestial temple, which the Almighty let down from heaven in curtains of light, and placed in Mecca, perpendicular under the original. To this the patriarch was commanded to turn his face when he prayed, and to compass it by way of devotion, as the angels did the heavenly one. After the destruction of this temple by the Deluge, it was rebuilt by Abraham and his son Ishmael on the same spot, and after the same model, according to directions which they received by revelation ; and since that time, it has continued to be the object of veneration to Ishmael's descendants. Whatever discredit we may give to these and other ravings of the Moslem impostor concerning the Caaba, its high antiquity cannot be disputed; and the most probable account is, that it was built and used for religious purposes by some of the early patriarchs, and after the introduction of idols, it came to be appropriated to the reception of the Pagan divinities. Diodorus Siculus, in his description of the coast of the Red Sea, mentions this temple as being, in his time, held in great veneration by all the Arabians; and Pococke informs us, that the linen or silken veil with which it is covered was first offered by a pious king of the Hamyarites, seven hundred years before the time of Mahomet. It had been frequently repaired, and was rebuilt a few years after the birth of this

prophet by the tribe of Koreish, who had acquired the possession of it either by fraud or violence from the Khozaites. The Caaba then contained three hundred and sixty images of men, lions, eagles, &c., the objects of idolatrous worship, which were all destroyed by Mahomet after the taking of Mecca, when it was purified and adorned, and consecrated to the service of Islam. It received several reparations after his death, and was rebuilt by one of his successors, with some alterations, in the form in which it now stands.

As no European is permitted to visit Mecca, the only knowledge we have of the present appearance of the Caaba is derived from the description and draughts of the Mahometans, who indeed speak of it in terms

.

of high admiration. It would appear, however, even from their designs, that it is an awkward and shapeless building. It consists of a sort of square tower, 24 cubits by 23, and 27 high, covered on the top with rich black damask, bordered with an embroidery of gold, which was formerly renewed every year by the Mahometan Caliphs, afterwards by the Sultans of Egypt, and which is now annually provided by the Ottoman Porte. The floor is raised six feet from the ground; and a door and window admit the light. Its double roof is supported by three octagonal pillars of aloes wood, between which are suspended several silver lamps; and the gutters on the top are made of pure gold. At a small distance from this tower, on the east side, is the station of Abraham, where is a stone upon which the patriarch is supposed to have stood when he built the Caaba, and which, they pretend, still bears the traces of his footsteps. It is inclosed in an iron chest ; and here the sect of Al Shafei meet for religious purposes. On the north of the Caaba is the white stone, within a semicircular enclosure, 50 cubits long, which is said to be the sepulchre of Ishmael, and which receives the rain-water that falls from the Caaba by a golden spout. This stone is of considerable antiquity, and was even held in great veneration by the Pagan Arabs. Towards the south-east is the well Zem-Zem, remarkable for the excellence and medicinal quality of its waters, as well as its miraculous origin. It is affirmed to be the same spring which, miraculously bursting out of the ground, supplied Ishmael and his mother Hagar when overcome with thirst in the wilderness of Beersheba ; and is celebrated by the Mahometans not only for curing many bodily diseases, but also, if taken copiously, for healing all spiritual disorders, and procuring an absolute remission of sins. The well is protected by a dome or cupola ; and its water is drunk with much devotion by the pilgrims, and conveyed in bottles to the most distant quarters of the Mahometan dominions. But the most singular relic, regarded with extreme veneration, is the famous black stone, which the Mahometans pretend was one of the precious stones of Paradise, brought down from heaven by the angel Gabriel. According to the received tradition, derived from Mahomet himself, it was originally of such a bright white colour as to dazzle the eyes at the distance of four days' journey ; but that it wept so long and so abundantly for the sins of mankind, that it became at length opaque, and at last absolutely black. When the Carmathians took Mecca, they pillaged the Caaba, and carried off the black stone in triumph to their capital. The Meccans made every effort to recover it, both by entreaties and the offer of 5000 pieces of gold, but without effect. The Carmathians, however, after having kept it 22 years, sent it back of their own accord. It is now set in silver, and fixed in the south-east corner of the Caaba, looking towards Basra, about three feet and a half from the ground. It is called by the Mahometans“ the right hand of God," and is kissed by the pilgrims with great devotion.

The Caaba is almost surrounded with a circular enclosure of pillars, connected at the top by bars of silver, and towards the bottom by a low balustrade. Without this enclosure, on the south, north, and west, are three oratories, where three of the Mahometan sects assemble to perform their devotion. The whole is enclosed at a considerable distance by a

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square colonnade, or great piazza, covered with small cupolas, and consisting of 448 pillars, from which hang numerous lamps, and 38 gates; and from each corner rises a minaret or steeple, adorned with a gilded spire and crescent. This enclosure was built by the Caliph Omar, to prevent the court of the Caaba from being encroached upon by private buildings. It was at first merely a low wall, but has since been raised by the liberality of succeeding princes to its present magnificent state. The whole structure of the Caaba is in a peculiar manner styled Al Masjad Al Haram," the sacred or inviolable place;" which appellation, however, is sometimes extended to the whole territory of Mecca.

According to the command of Mahomet, every Mussulman must, once in his life, visit the Caaba, and perform the customary acts of devotion in the sacred places. But could the Prophet have foreseen into what distant regions his religion was to be introduced by the arms of his followers, he would soon have perceived the absurdity of such an injunction. Few, in comparison with the immense numbers who have embraced the doctrines of Islam, can be supposed able to discharge this duty; and we may presume, that it is only such as are more than ordinarily devout that are ever induced to visit the Caaba from religious motives. Many pilgrims, however, resort to the city of Mecca ; but commercial ideas mingle with those of devotion, and the arcades of the temple are often filled with the richest merchandise from every quarter of the world. This duty may be discharged by proxy; but the pilgrim, in such a character, can act only for one person at a time; and to prevent all imposture, he must carry back with him a certificate from the Iman of Mecca, of his having actually performed all the devotional exercises or ceremonies appointed by the law, in the name of his principal *.

In connexion with the foregoing account of the temple of Mecca, we shall here give an account of the pilgrimage to Mecca, which, as stated

above, Mahomet enjoined upon all his faithful followers to Pilgrimage to

perform at least once in his life. As soon as the devotees

arrive at the consecrated district of Mecca, they perform a general ablution with water and sand; repeat a prayer, after stripping off their garments ; and put on the sacred habit of colourless woollen cloth, with sandals, which only defend the soles of their feet. They are now devoted to spiritual meditation, and must not even remove any vermin from their bodies. After reaching the city of Mecca, they encircle the Caaba seven times, like their pagan predecessors ; repeat certain prayers; drink copiously of the well Zem-Zem; and kiss with all their ardour the sacred black stone. On the first and second of the three days (the period for which the Caaba is open every six weeks), the men and women offer their devotions alternately; and on the last day, the sheriff of Mecca, the chiefs of the tribes, and the illustrious strangers present in the city, proceed to wash and sweep the temple. The foul water is caught and drunk by the multitude ; the besoms of palm-leaves are treasured up as precious relics; and the black cloth which surrounds the door and bottom of the building is cut off and divided among the pilgrims. The next part of the duty is to visit the mountain of Arafal, for the offering up of various

Mecca.

* New Edinburgh Encyclop., Art. Çaada.

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