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Arabia: The Cradle 
of Islam 

Studies in the Geography, People and 
Politics of the Peninsula with an 
account of Islam and Mission-work 





New York Chicago Toronto 

Fleming H. Revell Company 

Publishers of Evangelical Literature 


Librt*/y of Conoress 

AUG 20 1900 

Copyright entry 

Sta*ND CO^Y. 

Ufriivtod to 


SEP 21 lyuu 


Copyright, 1900 





The ^'Student Volunteers'' of America 






And Jesus said unto him : This day is salvation come to this house, for- 
asmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man is come to 
seek and to save that which was lost. — Luke xix. 9, 10. 

Introductory Note 

THE author of this instructive volume is in the direct line 
of missionary pioneers to the Moslem world. He fol- 
lows Raymond Lull, Henry Martyn, Ion Keith-Falconer, and 
Bishop French, and, with his friend and comrade the Rev. 
James Cantine, now stands in the shining line of succession at 
the close of a decade of patient and brave service at that 
lonely outpost on the shores of the Persian Gulf, Others have 
followed in their footsteps, until the Arabian Mission, the 
adopted child of the Reformed Church in America, is at 
present a compact and resolute group of men and women at 
the gates of Arabia, waiting on God's will, and intent first of 
all upon fulfilling in the spirit of obedience to the Master the 
duty assigned them. 

These ten years of quiet, unflinching service have been full 
of prayer, observation, study, and wistful survey of the great 
task, while at the same time every opportunity has been im- 
proved to gain a foothold, to plant a standard, to overcome a 
prejudice, to sow a seed, and to win a soul. The fruits of this 
intelligent and conscientious effort to grasp the situation and 
plan the campaign are given to us in this valuable study of 
"Arabia, the Cradle of Islam." It is a missionary contribu- 
tion to our knowledge of the world. The author is entirely 
familiar with the literature of his subject. English, German, 
French, and Dutch authorities are at his command. The less 
accessible Arabic authors are easily within his reach, and he 
brings from those mysterious gardens of spices into his clear, 
straightforward narrative, the local coloring and fragrance, as 
well as the indisputable witness of original medieval sources. 
The ethnological, geographical, archeological, commercial, and 



political information of the descriptive chapters brings to our 
hands a valuable and readable summary of facts, in a form 
which is highly useful, and will be sure to quicken an intelligent 
interest in one of the great religious and international problems 
of our times. 

His study of Islam is from the missionary standpoint, but 
this does not necessarily mean that it is unfair, or unhistorica), 
or lacking in scholarly acumen. Purely scientific and aca- 
demic study of an ethnic religion is one method of approaching 
it. It can thus be classified, labelled, and put upon the shelf in 
the historical museum of the world's religions, and the result 
has a value which none will dispute. This, however, is not the 
only, or indeed the most serviceable, way of examining, esti- 
mating and passing a final judgment upon a religious system. 
Such study must be comparative ; it must have some standard 
of value ; it must not discard acknowledged tests of excellence ; 
it must make use of certain measurements of capacity and 
power ; it must be pursued in the light of practical ethics, and 
be in harmony with the great fundamental laws of religious ex- 
perience and spiritual progress which have controlled thus far 
the regenerative processes of human development. 

The missionary in forming his final judgment inevitably com- 
pares the religion he studies with the religion he teaches. He 
need not do this in any unkind, or bitter, or abusive spirit. 
On the contrary, he may do it with a supreme desire to un- 
cover delusion, and make clear the truth as it has been given 
to him by the Great Teacher. He may make a generous and 
sympathetic allowance for the influence of local environment, 
he may trace in an historic spirit the natural evolution of a 
religious system, he may give all due credit to every worthy 
element and every pleasing characteristic therein, he may re- 
gard its symbols with respect, and also with all charity and con- 
sideration the leaders and guides whom the people reverence ; 
yet his own judgment may still be inflexible, his own allegiance 
unfaltering, and he may feel it to be his duty to put into plain, 


direct, and vigorous prose his irreversible verdict that Chris- 
tianity being true, Islam is not, Buddhism is not, Hinduism is 

There he stands ; he is not afraid of the issue. His Master 
is the one supreme and infallible judge, who can pronounce an 
unerring verdict concerning the truth of any religion. He has 
ventured to bear witness to the truth which his Master has 
taught him. Let no one lightly question the value of the con- 
tribution he makes to the comparative study of religion. 

The spirit in which our author has written of Islam is marked 
by fairness, sobriety, and discrimination, and yet there is no 
mistaking the verdict of one who speaks with an authority 
which is based upon exceptional opportunities of observation, 
close study of literary sources and moral results, and undoubted 
honesty of purpose. 

It may not be out of place to note the hearty, outspoken 
satisfaction with which the author regards the extension of 
British authority over the long sweep of the Arabian coast line. 
His admiration and delight can only be fully understood by 
one who has been a resident in the East, and has felt the blight 
of Moslem rule, and its utter hopelessness as an instrument of 

Let this book have its hour of quiet opportunity, and it will 
broaden our vision, enlarge our knowledge, and deepen our in- 
terest in themes which will never lose their hold upon the at- 
tention of thoughtful men. 

James S. Dennis. 


THERE are indications that Arabia will not always remain 
in its long patriarchal sleep and that there is a future in 
store for the Arab. Politics, civilization and missions have all 
begun to touch the hem of the peninsula and it seems that soon 
there will be one more land — or at least portions of it — to add 
to "the white man's burden." History is making in the Per- 
sian Gulf, and Yemen will not forever remain, a tempting prize, 
— untouched. The spiritual burden of Arabia is the Moham- 
medan religion and it is in its cradle we can best see the fruits 
of Islam. We have sought to trace the spiritual as well as the 
physical geography of Arabia by showing how Islam grew out 
of the earlier Judaism, Sabeanism and Christianity. 

The purpose of this book is especially to call attention to 
Arabia and the need of missionary work for the Arabs. There 
is no dearth of literature on Arabia, the Arabs and Islam, but 
most of the books on Arabia are antiquated or inaccessible to 
the ordinary reader ; some of the best are out of print. The 
only modern work in English, which gives a general idea of 
the whole peninsula is Bayard Taylor's somewhat juvenile 
" Travels in Arabia.''^ In German there is the scholarly com- 
pilation of Albrecht Zehm, '^Arabic und die Araber, seit 
hundert jahren,'' which is generally accurate, but is rather dull 
reading and has neither illustrations nor maps. From the 
missionary standpoint there are no books on Arabia save the 
biographies of Keith-Falconer, Bishop French and Kamil Abd- 

This fact together with the friends of the author urged their 
united plea for a book on this " Neglected Peninsula," its peo- 
ple, religion and missions. We have written from a missionary 



viewpoint, so that the book has certain features which are in- 
tended specially for those who are interested in the missionary- 
enterprise. But that enterprise has now so large a place in 
modern thought that no student of secular history can afford 
to remain in ignorance of its movements. 

Some of the chapters are necessarily based largely on the 
books by other travellers, but if any object to quotation marks, 
we would remind them that Emerson's writings are said to 
contain three thousand three hundred and ninety three quota- 
tions from eight hundred and sixty-eight individuals ! The 
material for the book was collected during nine years of resi- 
dence in Arabia. It was for the most part put into its present 
form at Bahrein during the summer of 1899, in the midst of 
many outside duties and distractions. 

I wish especially to acknowledge my indebtedness to W. A. 
Buchanan, Esq., of London, who gave the initiative for the 
preparation of this volume and to my friend INIr. D. L. Pierson 
who has generously undertaken the entire oversight of its pub- 

The system for the spelling of Arabic names in the text fol- 
loAvs in general that of the Royal Geographical Society. This 
system consists, in brief, in three rules : (i) words made famil- 
iar by long usage remain unchanged ; («) vowels are pronounced 
as in Italian and consonants as in English ; (3) no redundant 
letters are written and all those written are pronounced. 

We send these chapters on their errand, and hope that espe- 
cially the later ones may reach the hearts of the Student Volun- 
teers for foreign missions to whom they are dedicated; we 
pray also that the number of those who love the Arabs and 
labor for their enlightenment and redemption may increase. 


Bahrein, Arabia, 

Table of Contents 


The Neglected Peninsula . ; . . . ij 

Arabia the centre of Moslem world — Its boundaries — The coast 
— Physical characteristics — Climate — Water-supply — Geology 
— The Wadys — Mountains — Deserts. 


The Geographical Divisions of Arabia . . -25 

Natural divisions — Provinces — Political geography — Important 
flora and fauna — Population. 


The Holy Land of Arabia — Mecca . . . .30 

Its boundaries — Sacredness — European travellers — Jiddah — Its 
bombardment — The pilgrimage — Mecca — Its location — Water- 
supply — Governor — The Kaaba — The Black Stone — Zemzem 
— Duty of pilgrimage — The pilgrims — The day of sacrifice — 
The certificate — Character of Meccans — Temporary marriages 
— Superstitions — Mishkash — Schools of Mecca — Course, .„of- 



The Holy Land of Arabia — Medina .... 

Taif — Heathen idols — The road to Medina — Sanctity of Medina 

— The prophet's mosque — Was Mohammed buried there ? — 

The five tombs — Prayer for Fatima — Living on the pilgrims 

— Character of people — Yanbo — Importance of Mecca to Islam. 

Aden and an Inland Journey . . . . .53 

The gatevirays to Arabia Felix — Aden — Its ancient history — For- 
tifications — Tanks — Divisions — Population — Journey inland — 
Wahat — The vegetation of Yemen — A Turkish customhouse 
— The storm in the wady — Taiz — The story of the books. 




Yemen : the Switzerland of Arabia . . . .62 

The Jews of Yemen — From Taiz to Ibb and Yerim — Beauty 
of scenery — Climate — All's footprint — Damar — Sana — Com- 
merce and manufactures — Roda — From Sana to the coast — 
The terraces of Yemen — Suk-el Khamis — Menakha — Bajil — 


The Unexplored Regions of Hadramaut . . .72 

Von Wrede's travels — Halevy — Mr. and Mrs. Bent's journeys — 
Makalla — Incense-trade — The castles and palaces — Shibam — 
Shehr and its ruler — Hadramaut and the Indian archipelago. 


Muscat and the Coastlands of Oman . . . • 78 

Boundaries — Population — Government — Muscat — Heat — The 
forts — The town — The gardens — Trade — The coast of Oman 
— The pirate-coast — The Batina — Sib, Barka, Sohar — From 
Muscat to Ras-el-Had — Sur — Carter's exploration — The Mah- 
rah and Gharah tribes — Frankincense. 


The Land of the Camel . . . . . .88 

" The mother of the camel " — Importance of the camel to Arabia 
— Tradition as to creation — Species — The dromedary — An il- 
lustration of design — Products of the camel — Characteristics — 
The interior of Oman — Chief authorities — Fertility — Caravan- 
routes — Peter Zwemer's journey — Jebel Achdar. 


The Pearl Islands of the Gulf . . , -97 

Ancient history of Bahrein — Origin of name — Population — 
Menamah — The fresh-water springs — The pearl-fisheries — 
Superstitions about pearls — Value and export — Method of div- 
ing — Boats — Apparatus — Dangers to the divers — Mother-of- 
pearl — Other manufactures — Ruins at Ali — The climate — Po- 
litical history — English protection. 



The Eastern Threshold of Arabia . . . .no 

The province of Hassa — Katar — The Route inland — Ojeir — 
Journey to Hofhoof — The two curses of agriculture — The 
capital of Hassa — Plan of the town — Its manufactures — Curi- 
ous coinage — The government of Hassa — Katif — Its un- 

The River-Country and the Date- Palm . . .119 

The cradle of the race — Boundaries of Mesopotamia — The 
Tigris-Euphrates — Meadow lands — The palms — Their beauty 
— Fruitf ulness — Usefulness — Varieties of dates — Value — 
Other products — Population — Provinces and districts — The 


The Cities and Villages of Turkish- Arabia . . .128 

Kuweit — Fao — Aboo Hassib — Busrah — The river navigation — 
A journey — Kurna — Ezra's tomb — Amara — The tomb of the 
barber — The arch of Ctesiphon — Bagdad, past and present — 
Population — Trade — Kelleks. 


A Journey Down the Euphrates . . . .136 

Journey to Hillah — The route — Kerbela — Down the Euphrates 
— Diwaniyeh — The soldier-guard — Amphibious Arabs — Sa- 
mawa — Ya Ali, Ya Hassan ! — Nasariya — Ur — The end of our 
journey — The future of Mesopotamia. 

The Interior — Known and Unknown .... 143 
What it includes — Its four divisions — ( x ) " The empty quarter " 
— Ignorance of this part of Arabia — (2)Nejran — The Dauasir- 
valley and other wadys — Halevy's travels — Aflaj — The Ro- 
man expedition to Nejran — (3) Nejd — Its proper limits — The 
zephyrs of Nejd — Soil — Vegetation — Animals — The ostrich — 
The horse — The chief authorities on this part of Arabia — 
The population of Nejd — The character of government — In- 
tercourse with Mesopotamia — Chief cities — Hail — Riad — (4) 
Jebel Shammar — The Bedouin-tribes — Division — Character 
and customs — Robbery — ^Universal poverty. 



"The Time of Ignorance" . . . . .158 

Why so-called — The golden age of literature — The influence of 
Christianity and Judaism — Tribal constitution of society — 
Commerce — Incense — Foreign invasions — Political commotion 
— The condition of women — Female infanticide — The veil — 
Rights of women — Marriage choice — Polygamy and Polyan- 
dry — Two kinds of marriage — Did Islam elevate woman ? — 
Writing in " the days of ignorance " — Poetry — Mohammed's 
opinion of poets — The religions — Sabeanism — The Pantheon 
at Mecca — Jinn — Totemism — Tattooing — Names of idols — 
Allah — Decay of idolatry — The Hanifs. 


Islam in its Cradle — The Moslem's God . . . 169 

Different views — Carlyle — Hugh Broughton — Borrowed ele- 
ments of Islam — The God of Islam — Palgrave's portrait — At- 
tributes of God — What God is not — Analysis of Islam — Bor- 
rowed elements of Islam. 


The Prophet and his Book . . . . .179 

The prophet of Islam — Birth of Mohammed — His environment — 
Factors that helped to make the man — Political, religious and 
family factor — Khadijah — Mohammed's appearance, mind and 
character — His transgression of law — His sensuality — His 
murders — Expeditions — Mohammed, as he became through 
tradition — His glories, favor and power as an intercessor — 
How Moslems regard the Koran — Its character according to 
Dr. Post, Goethe and Noldeke — Its names — Contents — Origin 
— Recension — Its beauties — Its defects — Its omissions. 


The Wahabi Rulers and Reformers . . . .191 

The story of past century — The Wahabis — Character of teaching 
—The preacher and the sword — Taking of Mecca and Me- 
dina — Kerbela — Mohammed Ali — The Hejaz campaign — 
Ghalye — Turkish cruelty — English expedition — Peace — The 
Wahabi dynasty — Abdullah bin Rashid — Rise of Nejd king- 
dom — Character of rule — Hail conquers Riad. 



The Rulers of Oman ...... 202 

Oman rulers — Seyid Said — Feysul bin Turki — The rebels take 
Muscat — Arab warfare — European diplomacy. 


The Story of the Turks in Arabia .... 206 
Hejaz — The Sherifs of Mecca — Othman Pasha — Threats to 
assassinate him — Turkish troops in Asir — Losses — The con- 
quest of Yemen — Turkish rule — Rebellions — The rebellion of 
1892 — Bagdad, Busrah and Hassa — Taxes — The Turks and 
Bedouins — The army — Character of rule. 


British Influence in Arabia . . . . .218 

British possessions — Aden — Socotra — Perim — Kuria Muria islands 
— Bahrein — Her naval supremacy — In the Gulf — German 
testimony — Survey of coasts — Telegraph and posts — Slave- 
trade — Commerce — British India S. N. Co. — Gulf trade — The 
rupee — Trade of Aden — Overland railway — Treaties with 
tribes — The Trucial League — England in Oman — Aden — 
Makalla — Method of " protection " — British consuls and 


Present Politics in Arabia . . . . . 233 

Hejaz — Future of Yemen — France in Oman — Russia in the Gulf 
— The Tigris-Euphrates Valley — The greater kingdom — God's 
providence in history. 


The Arabic Language ...... 238 

Wide extent — Its character — Renan's opinion — The Semitic 
family — Their original home — The two theories — Table of the 
group — The influence of the Koran on the Arabic language — 
Koran Arabic not pure — Origin of alphabet — Cufic — Ca- 
ligraphy as an art — Difficulty and beauty of Arabic speech — Its 
purity — Literature — Difficulty of pronunciation — Of its gram- 
mar — Keith Falconer's testimony. 



The Literature OF THE Arabs . . . . -251 

Division of its literature — The seven poems — The Koran — Al 
Hariri — Its beauty and variety — Arabic poetry in general — 
Influence of Arabic and other languages — English influence 
on the Arabic — The Arabic Bible and a Christian literature. 


The Arab ........ 258 

Origin of tribes — Two theories — Yemenite and Maadite — The 
caravan routes — Bedouinsand townsmen — Clark's classification 
— Genealogies — Tribal names — Character of Arabs — Influence 
of neighbors — Their physique — Their aristocracy — Intolerance 
— Speech — Oaths — Robbery — Privilege of sanctuary — Gener- 
osity — Blood-revenge — Childhood — Fireside talk — Marriage 
among Bedouins — Position of women — Four witnesses — 
I Doughty — Burckhardt — Lady Ann Blunt — Hurgronje — 

Woman despised — The kinds of dwelling — Tents and houses 
— Dress — The staple foods — Coffee, tobacco and locusts. 

Arabian Arts and Sciences ..... 274 

Music of the Arabs — War chants — Instruments of music — Songs 
— Kaseedahs in Yemen — Mecca chants — Science oiAikar and 
Wasm — Tracking camels — Tribal marks — Medical knowledge 
of the Arabs — Diseases — Remedies — A prescription — The 
Koran's panacea — A Mecca M. D. — Amulets — Superstitions. 


The Star- Worshippers of Mesopotamia .... 285 
Where they live — Their peculiar religion — Their language — 
Literature — A prayer-meeting of the Star Worshippers — 
Strange ceremonies — The dogmas —Gnostic ideas — Priest- 
hood — Baptisms — Babylonian origin. 


Early Christianity in Arabia ..... 300 
Pentecost — Paul's journey — The Arabs and the Romans — Chris- 
tian tribes of the North — Mavia — Naaman's edict — Chris- 
tianity in Yemen — Character of Oriental Christianity — The 


Collyridians — Theophilus — Nejian converts — Martyrs — 
Abraha, king of Yemen — Marching to Mecca — The defeat — 
End of early Christianity — The record of the rocks. 



The Dawn of Modern Arabian Missions 

Raymond Lull — Henry Martyn — Why the Moslem world was 
neglected — Claudius Buchanan's sermon — The Syrian mis- 
sions — Doctor Van Dyck — His Bible translation — Henry 
Martyn, the pioneer — His Arabian assistant — Visit to Muscat — 
His Arabic version — Anthony N. Groves — Dr. John Wilson of 
Bombay — The Bible Society — Opening of doors — Major-Gen- 
eral Haig's journeys — Arabia open — Dr. and Mrs. Harpur and 
the C. M. S. — A call to prayer — Bagdad occupied — The pres- 
ent work — Missionary journeys to the Jews — William Lethaby 
at Kerak — The North Africa mission among the nomads — 
Samuel Van Tassel — The Christian Missionary Alliance — 
Mackay's appeal from Uganda — The response. 


Ion Keith Falconer and the Aden Mission . . • 331 

Keith Falconer's character — Education — At Cambridge — Mission 
work— His " eccentricity " — Leipzig and Assiut — How he 

came to go to Arabia — His first visit — Plans for the interior 

His second voyage to Aden— Dwelling — Illness — Death 

The influence of his life— The mission at Sheikh Othman. 


Bishop French the Veteran Missionary to Muscat . . 344 

"The most distinguished of all C. M. S. missionaries" — Re- 
sponds to Mackay's appeal — His character — His letters from 
Muscat — His plans for the interior — Death — The grave. 


The American Arabian Mission . . ... . 353 

Its origin— The student band— The first plan— Laid before the 
church — Organization — The Missionary Hymn— James Can- 
tine — Syria — Cairo — Aden — Kamil — Journeys of exploration 
to the Gulf and Sana — Busrah— Dr. C. E. Riggs— Death of 
Kamil — Opposition from government — Home administration — 

14 r.-//i/.f OF CONTENTS 

Inihreiu oooupied-^-laues of work — Muscat — Journey through 
Yeiucn Tho ii\ission transferred to the Refornicil Church — 
Tumbles at Muscat and l>usrah — Pr. Worrall — lourneys in 
Oman — Scripture-sales — I'ii-st fruits — Reinforcements, 

In Mkmoriam . . . . • . .367 

Teter John Zwemer — George E, Stone. 


Probijrms of the Arabian Fiki n . . . . . 374 

The »::eneral ]Mvblein of misssions to Moslems — The Arabian 
pivblem — What jv^rt of Arabia is accessible — Turkish Arabia 
— Its accessibility — l.inutations — The accessibility of inde- 
pendent Arabia — Clinvatt^ — Moslem fanaticism — English in- 
fluence — Illiteracy — The Bedou ins — The present missionary 
force — Its utter inadevjuacy — Methods of work — Medical 
missions — Schools — Work for women — Col^xirtage — Preach- 
ing — Contiwei-sy — What should be its character — The atti- 
tude of the Moslem mind — Fate of converts — Thoughtless and 
thoughtful Mi^slems — The Bible as dynamite — The right men 
for the work. 


Thb Outlook FOR Missions TO M0S1.RMS . . . .391 

Two views of work for Moslems — Christian fatalism — Results in 
Mivslem lands — India — Pei-sia — Constantinople — Sumatra and 
JaNti — Other signs of progress — The significance of persecution 
— Character of converts- Vivmise of God for victory over 
Islam — Christ or Mohammed — Missionary promises of the 
Old Testament — The Rock of Jesus' Sonshij^ — Special promises 
for Arabia — Hag5\r and Ishmael — The prayer of Abraham — 
The sign of the covenant with Ishmael — The third i-evelation 
of God's love — The sca»s of Islimael — Kedar and Nebaioth — 
The promises — Seba and Sheba — The siMritual boundaries of 
Arabia — Da Costa's jx>em — Faith like Abraham — that Ish- 
mael might live before thee. 

AITENDIX I— Chronolooicai Tablk .... 4*-^ 

«« II — Tribes of North Arabia . . .413 

III-- An Akaiuan BuuioGKArHY . . . 414 

IXPKX 437 

List of Illustrations 


A 'ryfif;Ai, A I' A I) of Ykmkn Frontispiece 

ViKW OK MicccA ANij riiK Sackeij Mosque i . 



The Sackkij Wki.i. OF Zkmzkm AT Mecca j -^ 

I'lUiRiMs akouno thk Kaaua jn TiiE Sacred Mosque 

AT Mecca " 34 

TiiK Mecca Certificate— A Passport to Heaven . . " 40 

(■"iiRisTiAN Coins used as an Amulet kyMeccan Women 43 

A Woman of Mecca 1 . 

A Mkccan Woman in her Bkiime Costume J '^ 6 44 

Travei.i.ino in Southern Araiua -^ 

The Keith Falconer Memorial Church in Aden . . J ^ 

An Arabian Comi'Ass 71 

A Castle IN IIadramaut 77 

The Harbor AND Castle AT Muscat ' • • ' \ rr ■ 

Ready FOR A Camel Ride IN THE Desert / "^^ 

A Branch of the Incense Tree 87 

Tenoof FROM THE East 95 

The ViLLAOE OF Menamah, Bahrein Islands 1 

... II I. f facing- 100 

A Bahrein IIardor Ijoat j •=" 

A Date Orchard near I5usrah ■» 

> " 122 
Dates CRowiNf; on a Date-Palm / 

The Tomh of Ezra on the Tigris River •) 

Ruins of the Arch of Ctesiphon near Bagdad . . . j -^ 

A Public Khan in Turkish-Arabia | 

Arab Pilgrims on Board a River Steamer J 

Four Flags that Rule Arabia 217 

CuFic Characters 243 

Modern Copybook Arahic -» 

Ordinary Unvowelled Arabic Writing j 

Mogrebi Arabic of North Arabia 245 





Persian Style of Writing 246 

Title Page of an Arabic Christian Paper 257 

Churning Butter in a Bedouin Camp Facing 266 

Tribal Marks of the Arabs 279 

Manaitic Cursive Script 287 

Passage from the Sacred Book of the Mand^ans . . 299 

Facsimile Copy of the Arabian Missionary Hymn . . 358 

The Old Mission House at Busrah -> 

The Kitchen of the Old Mission House, Busrah . . j ^'^""S' 36° 

Four Missionary Martyrs of Arabia " 368 /- 

The Bible Shop at Busrah -1 

Interior of a Native Shop j " ^ "^ 

The Rescued Slave Boys at Muscat -> 

The Arabian Mission House at Muscat J * ^°° 


Ptolemy's Ancient Map of Arabia Facing 25 

Ali Bey's Plan of the Prophet's Mosque at Mecca . " 36 

Plan of the Interior of the Hujrah at Medina . . 49 

Map of the Islands of Bahrein 98 

Neibuhr's Map of the Persian Gulf Facing no 

Palgrave's Plan of Hofhoof 113 

Diagrams of Missionary Work for Arabia 380, 381 

Modern Map of Arabia End of book. 




•' Intersected by sandy deserts and vast ranges of mountains it presents 
on one side nothing but desolation in its most frightful form, while the 
other is adorned with all the beauties of the most fertile regions. Such is 
its position that it enjoys at once all the advantages of hot and of temperate 
climates. The peculiar productions of regions the most distant from one 
another are produced here in equal perfection. What Greek and Latin 
authors mention concerning Arabia proves by its obscurity their ignorance 
of almost everything respecting the Arabs. Prejudices relative to the in- 
conveniences and dangers of travelling in Arabia have hitherto kept the 
moderns in equal ignorance." — M. Niebuhr (1792). 

■^TTHAT Jerusalem and Palestine are to Christendom this, 
and vastly more, Mecca and Arabia are to the Moham- 
medan world. Not only is this land the cradle of their religion 
and the birthplace of their prophet, the shrine toward which, 
for centuries, prayers and pilgrimage have gravitated ; but 
Arabia is also, according to universal Moslem tradition, the 
original home of Adam after the fall and the home of all the 
older patriarchs. The story runs that when the primal pair 
fell from their estate of bliss in the heavenly paradise, Adam 
landed on a mountain in Ceylon and Eve fell at Jiddah, on the 
western coast of Arabia. After a hundred years of wandering 
they met near Mecca, and here Allah constructed for them a 
tabernacle, on the site of the present Kaaba. He put in its 
foundation the famous stone once whiter than snow, but since 
turned black by the sins of pilgrims ! In proof of these state- 
ments travellers are shown the Black stone at Mecca and the 
tomb of Eve near Jiddah. Another accepted tradition says that 
Mecca stands on a spot exactly beneath God's throne in heaven. 
Without reference to these wild traditions, which are soberly 



set down as facts by Moslem historians, Arabia is a land of 
perpetual interest to the geographer, and the historian. 

Since Niebuhr's day many intrepid travellers have surveyed 
the coasts and penetrated into the interior, but his charge that 
we are ignorant of the real character of the vast peninsula is 
still true as far as it relates to the southern and southeastern 
districts. No traveller has yet crossed the northern boundary 
of Hadramaut and explored the Dahna desert, also called the 
Roba-el-Khali, or "empty abode." The vast territory be- 
tween the peninsula of Katar and the mountains of Oman is also 
practically a blank on the best maps. Indeed the only note- 
worthy map of that portion of the peninsula is that of Ptolemy 
reproduced by Sprenger in his " Alte Geographie Arabiens." 

Arabia has well-defined boundaries everywhere except on the 
north. Eastward are the waters of the Persian Gulf, the Strait 
of Ormuz and the Gulf of Oman. The entire southern coast is 
washed by the Indian Ocean which reaches to Bab-el-Mandeb 
"The Gate-of-teaxs," from which point the Red Sea and the 
Gulf of Akaba form the western boundary. The undefined 
northern desert, in some places a sea of sand, completes the 
isolation which has led the Arabs themselves to call the 
peninsula their "Island " (Jezirat-el-Arab). In fact the north- 
ern boundary will probably never be defined accurately. The 
so-called "Syrian desert." reaching to about the thirty-fifth 
parallel might better be regarded as the Arabian desert, for in 
physical and ethnical features it bears much greater resemblance 
to the southern peninsula than to the surrounding regions of 
Syria and Mesopotamia. Bagdad is properly an Arabian city 
and to the Arabs of the north is as much a part of the peninsula 
as is Aden to those of the southwest. The true, though shift- 
ing, northern boundary of Arabia would be the limit of Nomad 
encampments, but for convenience and practical purposes a 
boundary line may be drawn from the Mediterranean along the 
thirty-third parallel to Busrah. 

Thus the shores of Arabia stretch from Suez to the Euphrates 


delta for a total length of nearly 4,000 miles. This coast- 
line has comparatively few islands or inlets, except in the 
Persian Gulf. The Red Sea coast is fringed by extensive coral 
reefs, dangerous to navigation, but from Aden to Muscat the 
coast is elevated and rocky, and contains several good harbors. 
Eastern Arabia has a low, flat coast-line made of coral-rock 
with here and there volcanic headlands. Farsan, off the 
Tehamah coast, famous as the centre for Arab slave-dhows ; 
Perim, where English batteries command the gate of the Red 
Sea; the Kuria-Muria group in the Indian Ocean; and the 
Bahrein archipelago in the Persian Gulf, are the only impor- 
tant islands. Socotra, although occupied by an Arab popula- 
tion and historically Arabian, is by geographers generally at- 
tached to Africa. This island is however under the Indian 
government, and, once Christian, is now wholly Mohammedan. 

The greatest length of the peninsula is about 1,000 miles, 
its average breadth 600, and its area somewhat over 1,000,000 
square miles. It is thus over four times the size of France or 
larger than the United States east of the Mississippi River. 

Arabia, until quite recently, has generally been regarded as 
a vast expanse of sandy desert. Recent explorations have 
proved this idea quite incorrect, and a large part of the region 
still considered desert is as yet unexplored. Palgrave, in his 
" Central Arabia " gives an excellent summary of the physical 
characteristics of the whole peninsula as he saw it. Since his 
time Hadramaut has been partially explored and the result con- 
firms his statements : "The general type of Arabia is that of 
a central table-land surrounded by a desert ring sandy to the 
south, west and east, stony to the north. This outlying circle 
is in its turn girt by a line of mountains low and sterile for the 
most, but attaining in Yemen and Oman considerable height, 
breadth and fertility; while beyond these a narrow rim of 
coast is bordered by the sea. The surface of the midmost 
table-land equals somewhat less than one-half of the entire 
peninsula; and its special demarkations are much affected, 


nay often absolutely fixed, by the windings and inrunnings of the 
Nefud (sandy desert). If to these central highlands or Nejd, 
taking that word in its wider sense, we add whatever spots of 
fertility belong to the outer circles, we shall find that Arabia 
contains about two-thirds of cultivated or at least of cultivata- 
ble land, with a remaining third of irreclaimable desert, chiefly 
on the south." 

From this description it is evident that the least attractive 
part of the country is the coast. This may be the reason that 
Arabia has been so harshly judged, as to climate and soil and 
so much neglected by those who only knew of it from the cap- 
tains who had touched its coast in the Red Sea and the Per- 
sian Gulf. Nothing is more surprising, than to pass through 
the barren cinder gateway of Aden up the mountain passes 
into the marvellous fertility and delightful climate of Yemen. 
Arabia like the Arab, has a rough, frowning exterior but a 
warm, hospitable heart. 

From the table-land of Nejd, which has an average elevation 
of about 3,000 feet above the sea, there is a gradual ascent 
southward to the highlands of Yemen and Oman where there 
are mountain peaks as high as 8,000 and 10,000 feet. This 
diversity of surface causes an equal diversity of climate. The 
prevailing conditions are intense heat and dryness, and the 
world-zone of maximum heat in July embraces nearly the en- 
tire peninsula. On the coast the heat is more trying because 
of the moisture from the enormous evaporation of the land- 
locked basins. During part of the summer there is scarcely 
any difference in the register of the wet-and dry-bulb ther- 
mometer. In the months of June, July and August, 1897, the 
averages of maximum temperature at Busrah were 100°, 1031^° 
and 102° F. ; and the minimum 84°, 86^° and 84° F. Nejd 
has a salubrious climate, while in Yemen and Oman on the 
highlands the mercury even in July seldom rises above 85°. 
In July, 1892, I passed in one day's journey from a shade tem- 
perature of 110° F. on the coast at Hodeidah to one of 55° at 


Menakha on the mountains. At Sanaa there is frost for three 
months in the year, and Jebel Tobeyk in northwest Arabia is 
covered with snow all winter. In fact, all northern Arabia 
has a winter season with cold rains and occasional frosts. 

The geology of the peninsula is of true Arabian simplicity. 
According to Doughty it consists of a foundation stock of plu- 
tonic (igneous) rock whereon lie sandstone, and above that 
limestone. Going from Moab to Sinai we cross the strata in 
the reverse order, while in the depression of the gulf of Akaba 
the three strata are in regular order although again overtopped 
by the granite of the mountains. Fossils are very rare, but 
coral formation is common all along the coast. Volcanic for- 
mations and lava (called by the Arabs, harrat) crop out fre- 
quently, as in the region of Medina and Khaibar. In going 
by direct route from the Red Sea (Jiddah) to Busrah, we meet 
first granite and trap-rock, overtopped in the Harrat el-Kisshub 
by lavas, and further on at Wady Gerir and Jebel Shear by 
basalts; at the Nefud el Kasim (Boreyda) sandstones begin 
until we reach the limestone region of Jebel Toweyk. Thence 
all is gravel and sand to the Euphrates. 

Arabia has no rivers and none of its mountain streams (some 
of which are perennial) reach the seacoast. At least they do 
not arrive there by the overland route, for it is a well-estab- 
lished fact that the many fresh water springs found in the 
Bahrein archipelago have their origin in the uplands of Arabia. 
At Muscat, too, water is always flowing toward the sea in 
abundance at the depth of ten to thirty feet below the wady- 
bed; this supplies excellent well-water. In fact the entire 
region of Hasa is full of underground water-courses and per- 
ennial springs. Coast-streams are frequent in Yemen during 
the rain-season and often become suddenly full to overflowing 
dashing everything before them. They are called sayl, and 
well illustrate Christ's parable of the flood which demolished 
the house built upon the sand. 

The great wadys of Arabia are its characteristic feature, 


celebrated since the days of Job, the Arab. These wadys, 
often full to the brim in winter and black by reason of frost 
but entirely dried up during the heat of summer, would never 
be suspected of giving nourishment to even a blade of grass. 
They are generally dry for nine and ten months in the year, 
during which time water is obtained from wells sunk in the 
wady-bed. Wady Sirhan runs in a southeasterly direction 
from the Hauran highlands to the Jauf district on the edge of 
the great Nefud ; it is fed by the smaller Wady er-Rajel. 
Wady Dauasir which receives the Nejran streams drains all 
of the Asir and southern Hejaz highlands northward to Bahr 
Salumeh, a small lake, the only one known in the whole pen- 
insula. The Aftan is another important wady running from 
the borders of Nejd into the Persian Gulf. This wady-bed is 
marked on some maps as a river, flowing into the Persian Gulf 
apparently by two mouths. It doe's not exist to-day. The 
most important water-bed in Arabia is the celebrated Wady er- 
Ruma, only partly explored, which flows from Hejaz across 
the peninsula for nearly 800 miles in a northwesterly direction 
toward the Euphrates. Were there a more abundant rainfall 
this wady would reach the Shat-el-Arab and give unity to the 
now disjointed water-system of Mesopotamia and north Ara- 
bia.^ For obvious reasons the caravan routes of Arabia 
generally follow the course of the wadys. 

Arabia is also a land of mountains and highlands. The 

• May not this wady have been once a noble stream perhaps, as Glaser 
conjectures, the fourth of the Paradise rivers? (Gen ii. 10-14.) Upon the 
question as to where the ancient Semites located Pai-adise Glaser says that 
it was in the neighborhood of the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris, 
on the Arabian side. There the sacred palm of the city of Eridu grew ; there 
according to the view of the ancient Arabs the two larger wadys of Cen- 
tral Arabia opened. The one is the Wady er-Ruma or the Gaihan ; and 
the other is the Wady ed- Dauasir, a side wady of which in the neighbor- 
hood of Hamdani still bears the name of Faishan (Pishon). — See " Re- 
cent Research in Bible Lands," by H. V. Hilprecht, (Philadelphia, 1897). 
See also The Sunday-School Times, Vol. XXXIII., No. 49, 


most clearly developed system is the extensive range skirting 
the Red Sea at a distance of from one to three days' journey 
from the coast. South of Mecca there are peaks of over 8,000 
feet ; and beyond, the range broadens out to form the Yemen 
highlands, a corner of the peninsula worthy of its old name 
"Arabia Felix." The mountains along the south coast are 
more irregular and disconnected until they broaden out a sec- 
ond time between Ras el Had and Ras Mussendum to form the 
highlands of Oman. Along the gulf coast there are no moun- 
tains except an occasional volcanic hill like Jebel Dokhan in 
Bahrein and Jebel San am near Zobeir. 

The Nejd is crossed by several ridges of which the best 
known is Jebel Shammar running nearly east and west at an 
altitude of about 6,000 feet. Jebel Menakib, Jebel Aared, 
Jebel Toweyk and Jebel Athal are other ranges south of Jebel 
Shammar and also running in a similar direction toward the 
southwest and northeast. The Sinai peninsula is a rocky lime- 
stone plateau intersected by rugged gorges and highest toward 
the south in the region of Sinai proper. 

Next to its wadys and mountains Arabia is characterized 
chiefly by the so-called Harrat or volcanic tracks already 
mentioned. These black, gloomy, barren regions occupy a 
much wider extent of north Arabia than is generally supposed. 
The largest is Harrat Khaibar, north of Medina, the old cen- 
tre of the Jews in the days of Mohammed. It is over 100 
miles in length and in some parts thirty miles wide. A wil- 
derness of lava and lava-stones with many extinct crater heads, 
craggy, and strewn with rough blocks of basalt and other igne- 
ous rocks. In some places the lava beds are 600 feet deep. 
Signs of volcanic action are still seen at Khaibar, smoke issuing 
from crevices and steam from the summit of Jebel Ethnan. 
A volcanic eruption was seen at Medina as late as 1256 a. d.^ ^ 
and the hot and sulphur springs of Hasa and Hadramaut seem 
to indicate present volcanic action. 

' Samhudi's History of Medina. (Arabic text p. 40, sqq.) 


The sandy-tracts of the so-called Arabian deserts are termed 
by the Arabs themselves nefud (drained, exhausted, spent), 
the name given on most maps. The general physical features 
of this "desert" are those of a plain clothed with stunted, 
aromatic shrubs of many varieties, but their value as pasture is 
very unequal, some being excellent for camels and sheep, others 
absolutely worthless. Some nefuds abound in grasses and 
flowering plants after the early rains, and then the desert 
"blossoms like the rose." Others are without rain and 
barren all year ; they are covered with long stretches of drift- 
sand, carried about by the wind and tossed in billows on the 
weather side of the rocks and bushes.^ Palgrave asserts that 
some of the nefud sands are 600 feet deep. They prevail in 
the vast unexplored region south of Nejd and north of Hadra- 
maut including the so-called "Great Arabian Desert." Abso- 
lute sterility is the dominant feature here, whereas the northern 
nefuds are the pasture lands for thousands of horses and sheep. 

1 These wastes are also termed Dakhna, Ahkaf, and Hamad according 
to the greater or less depth or shifting nature of the sands or the more 
or less compact character of the soil. 

CopurtahU'J, 1X0, bu Fleming U. RcivU CM'itana 




'"P'HE division of Arabia into provinces has always been 
-*■ rather according to physical geography than political 
boundaries. The earliest division of the peninsula, and in 
some respects the most correct, was that of the Greek and Ro- 
man writers into Arabia Deserta and Arabia Felix. The lat- 
ter epithet was perhaps only a mistaken translation of El- Ye- 
men — the land on "the right hand," that is south of Mecca, for 
the Orientals face east. This is contrasted with Syria which 
in Arabic is called ^^ Es-Sham " or the land "to the left" of 
Mecca. The third division, Arabia Petrcea, or " Stony Ara- 
bia," first appears in Ptolemy and is applied to the Sinai dis- 
trict. He limits Arabia Deserta to the extreme northern desert 
and so his map of the entire peninsula bears the title of Arabia 
Felix. The great geographer anticipated all modern maps of 
Arabia by naming the regions according to the tribes that in- 
habit them ; a much more intelligent method than the drawing 
of artificial lines around natural features and dubbing them 
with a name to suit the cartographer. 

The Arab geographers know nothing of this threefold divi- 
sion into sandy, stony, and happy-land. They divide the 
Island-of- the- Arabs (Jezirat-el-Arab) into five provinces.^ The 
first is called El-Yemen and includes Hadramaut, Mehrah, 
Oman, Shehr, and Nejran. The second El-Hejaz, on the 
west coast, so called because it is the barrier between Tehama 
and Nejd ; it nearly corresponds to our Hejaz, excluding its 

1 " Kitab Sinajet-el-Tarb " by Nofel Effendi (Beirut 1890). The author 
follows the older Arabic authorities. 



southern portion. The third is Tehama, along the coast, 
between Yemen and Hejaz. The fourth is Nejd, a term 
loosely applied to all the interior table-lands. The fifth is 
called Yemama or ' Arudh because it extends all the "wide" 
way between Yemen (Oman) and Nejd. It is important to 
distinguish between this Arabian division and that now nearly 
everywhere adopted on the maps of the Occident ; much con- 
fusion has arisen when this distinction was not made. 

The modern division of the peninsula into seven provinces : 
Hejaz, Yemen, Hadramaut, Oman, Hasa, Irak and Nejd, is 
according to political geography and serves all practical pur- 
poses, although it is not strictly accurate. Hejaz, the Holy- 
land of Arabia, includes the sacred cities of Mecca and Me- 
dina. Yemen is bounded by the line of fertility on the north 
and east so as to include the important region of Asir. Ha- 
dramaut has no clearly defined boundaries and stretches north- 
ward to the unknown region of the Dahna. Oman is the 
peninsula between the southern shore of the Gulf and the 
Indian Ocean, while Hasa covers the entire coast district 
north of El-Katar peninsula (on some maps called El-Bahrein), 
Irak-Arabi or Irak is the northern river-country politically cor- 
responding to what is called " Turkish- Arabia. " 

As to the present division of political power in Arabia, it is 
sufficient here to note that the Sinai peninsula and 200 miles 
of coast south of the Gulf of Akaba is Egyptian; Hejaz, 
Yemen and Hasa are nominally Turkish provinces, but their 
political boundaries are shifting and uncertain. The present 
Shereef of Mecca at times dictates to the Sublime Porte while 
the Bedouin tribes even in Hejaz acknowledge neither Sultan 
nor Shereef and waylay the pilgrim caravans that come to the 
holy cities unless they receive large blackmail. In Yemen the 
Arabs have never ceased to fret under the galling yoke of the 
Turk since it was put on their shoulders by the capture of 
Sana in 1873. The insurrection in 1892 was nearly a revolu- 
tion and again this year (1899) all Yemen is in arms. It is 


very suggestive that in the present revolt some of the Arabs 
made use of the EngUsh flag to secure sympathy. 

In Hasa, the real sovereignty of Turkey only exists in three 
or four towns while all the Bedouin and many of the villagers 
yield to the Dowla, neither tribute, obedience nor love. Irak 
alone is actually Turkish and yields large revenue. But even 
here Arab-uprisings are frequent. Nominally, however, Tur- 
key holds the fairest province on the south, the religious 
centres on the west and the fertile northeast of Arabia, — one- 
fifth of the total area of the peninsula. 

The remainder of Arabia is independent of Turkey. Petty 
rulers calling themselves Sultans, Ameers or Imams have for 
centuries divided the land between them. The Sultanate of 
Oman and the great Nejd-kingdom are the only important 
governments, but the former lost its glory when its seat of 
power and influence was transferred to Zanzibar. Nejd in its 
widest sense is governed to-day by Abd-el-Aziz bin Mitaab the 
nephew of the late Mohammed bin Rashid, King Richard of 
Arabia, who gained his throne by the massacre of seventeen 
possible pretenders. The territory of this potentate is bor- 
dered southward by Riad and the Wahabi country. North- 
ward his influence extends beyond the Nefud, right away to 
the Oases of Kaf and Ittery in the Wady Sirhan (38° E. 
Long., 31° N. Lat.) east of the Dead Sea. The inhabitants of 
these oases acknowledge Abd-el-Aziz as their suzerain paying 
him a yearly tribute of four pounds (^20.00) for each village. 
The people of the intervening district of Jauf also acknowl- 
edge his rule which reaches westward to Teima. He also 
commands the new pilgrim-route from the northeast which 
formerly passed through Riad but now touches Hail, the capi- 
tal of Nejd. The Wahabi movement has collapsed and their 
political power is broken, although their influence has extended 
to the furthest confines of Arabia. 

The only foreign power dominant in Arabia, beside Turkey, 
is England, Aden became a British possession in 1838 and 


since then British influence has extended until it now embraces 
a district 200 miles long by forty broad and a population of 
130,000. The Island of Perim in the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, 
the Kuria-Muria Islands on the south coast, and Socotra are 
also English. All the independent tribes on the coast from 
Aden to Muscat and from Muscat to Bahrein have made ex- 
clusive treaties with Great Britian, are subsidized by annual 
payments or presents and are "protected." Muscat and 
Bahrein are in a special sense protected states since England's 
settled policy is to have sole dominion in the Persian Gulf. 
She has agencies or consulates everywhere ; the postal system 
of the Persian Gulf is British ; the rupee has driven the piastre 
out of the market and as ninety-eight per cent, of the com- 
merce is in English hands the Persian Gulf may yet become an 
English lake. 

Arabia has no railroads, but regular caravan routes take their 
place in every direction. Turkish telegraph service exists be- 
tween Mecca and Jiddah in Hejaz ; between Sanaa, Hodeidah 
and Taiz in Yemen ; and along the Tigris-Euphrates between 
Bagdad and Busrah connecting at Fao (at the delta) with the 
submarine cable to Bushire and India. 

Of the fauna and flora of Arabia we will not here speak at 
length. The most characteristic plants are the date-palm of 
which over 100 varieties are catalogued by the Arab peas- 
antry, and which yields a staple food. Coffee, aromatic and 
medicinal plants, gums and balsams, have for ages supplied 
the markets of the world. Yemen is characterized by tropical 
luxuriance, and in Nejd is the ghatha tree which grows to a 
height of fifteen feet, and yields the purest charcoal in the 

Among the wild animals were formerly the lion and the 
panther, but they are now exceedingly rare. The wolf, wild 
boar, jackal, gazelle, fox, monkey, wild cow (or white ante- 
lope) ibex, horned viper, cobra, bustard, buzzard and hawk are 
also found. The ostrich still exists in southwest Arabia but is 


not common. The chief domestic animals are the ass, mule, 
sheep, goats, but above all and superior to all, the camel and 
the horse. 

The exact population of a land where there is no census, and 
where women and girls are never counted is of course unknown. 
The Ottoman government gives exaggerated estimates for its 
Arabian provinces, and travellers have made various guesses. 
Some recent authorities, omitting Irak, put the total popula- 
tion of Arabia as low as 5,000,000. A. H. Keane, F. R. G. 
S., gives the following estimate : ^ 

Turkish Arabia : 

Hejaz, 3,500,000 
Yemen, 2,500,000 
Independent Arabia • 

Oman, 1,500,000 
Shammar, Bahrein, etc., 3,500,000 


Albrecht Zehm in his book " Arabien seit hundert Jahren," 
arrives at nearly the same result : 

Yemen and Asir, 2,252,000 

Hadramaut, 1,550,000 

Oman and Muscat, 1,350,000 

Bahrein Katif, Nejd, 2,350,000 

Hejaz, Anaeze, Kasim, and Jebel Shammar, 3,250,000 


But undoubtedly both of these estimates, following Turkish 
authorities, are too high, especially for Hejaz and Yemen. A 
conservative estimate would be 8,000,000 for the entire penin- 
sula in its widest extent. The true number of inhabitants will 
remain unknown until further explorations disclose the real 
character of southeastern Arabia, and until northern Hadra- 
maut yields up its secrets. In this, as in other respects, the 
words of Livingstone are true : " The end of the geographical 
feat is the beginning of the missionary enterprise." 

'Geography of Asia (Vol II., p. 460), 1896. 



" The Eastern world moves slowly — eppnr si tmiove. Half a generation 
ago steamers were first started to Jiddah : now we hear of a projected rail- 
way from that port to Mecca, the shareholders being all Moslems. And 
the example of Jerusalem encourages us to hope that long before the end 
of the century a visit to Mecca will not be more difficult than a trip to 
Hebron." — Burton (1855). 

" Our train of camels drew slowly by them : but when the smooth 
Mecca merchant heard that the stranger riding with the camel men was a 
Nasrany, he cried ' Akhs ! A Nasrany in these parts ! ' and with the hor- 
rid inurbanity of their jealous religion he added, ' Ullah curse his father ! ' 
and stared on me with a face worthy of the Koran." — Doughty (1888). 

TT is a rule laid down in the Koran and confirmed by many 
-*• traditions that the sacred territory enclosing the birth- 
place and the tomb of the prophet shall not be polluted by the 
visits of infidels. " O believers ! only those are unclean who 
join other gods with God ! Let them not therefore after this 
their year come near the Sacred Mosque." (Surah ix. 27.) 
Mohammed is reported to have said of Mecca, "What a 
splendid city thou art, if I had not been driven out of thee by 
my tribe I would dwell in no other place but in thee. It is not 
man but God who has made Mecca sacred. My people will be 
always safe in this world and the next as long as they respect 
Mecca." (Mishkat book XL., ch. xv.) 

The sacred boundaries of Mecca and Medina not only shut 
out all unbelievers, but they make special demands of "purity 
and holiness ' ' (in the Moslem sense) on the part of the true 
believers. According to tradition it is not lawful to carry 
weapons or to fight within the limits of the Haramein, Its 





grass and thorns must not be cut nor must its game be molested. 
Some doctors of law hold that these regulations do not apply to 
Medina, but others make the burial-place of the prophet equally 
sacred with the place of his birth. The boundaries of this 
sacred territory are rather uncertain. Abd ul Hak says that 
when, at the time of the rebuilding of the Kaaba, Abraham, the 
friend of God, placed the black stone, its east, west, north and 
south sides became luminous, and wherever the light ex- 
tended, became the boundaries of the sacred city ! These 
limits are now marked by pillars of masonry, except on the 
Jiddah and Jairanah road where there is some dispute as to 
the exact boundary. 

The sacred territory of Medina is ten or twelve miles in 
diameter, from Jebel 'Air to Saoor. Outside of these two 
centres all of the province of Hejaz is legally accessible to in- 
fidels, but the fanaticism of centuries has practically made the 
whole region round Mecca and Medina forbidden territory to 
any but Moslems. In Jiddah Christians are tolerated because 
of necessity, but were the Mullahs of Mecca to have their way 
not a Prankish merchant or consul would reside there for a 
single day. 

Despite these regulations to shut out ''infidels" from wit- 
nessing the annual pilgrimage and seeing the sacred shrines of 
the Moslem world, more than a score of travellers have braved 
the dangers of the transgression and escaped the pursuit of 
fanatics to tell the tale of their adventures.^ Others have lost 

1 The first account of a European visiting Mecca is that of Ludovico 
Bartema, a gentleman of Rome, who visited the city in 1503; his narra- 
tive was published in 1555. The first Englishman was Joseph Pitts, the 
sailor from Exeter, in 1678; then followed the great Arabian traveller, 
John Lewis Burckhardt, 1814; Burton in 1853 visited both Mecca and 
Medina; H. Bicknell made the pilgrimage in 1862 and T. F. Keane in 
1880. The narratives of each of these pilgrims have been published, and 
from them, and the travels of Ali Bey, and others, we know something of 
the Holy Land of Arabia. Ali Bey was in reality a Spaniard, called 
Juan Badia y Seblich, who visited Mecca and Medina in 1807 and left a 


their life in the attempt even in recent years. Doughty * tells 
of a Christian who was foully murdered by Turkish soldiers 
when found in the limits of Medina in the summer of 1878. 
Burton at one time barely escaped being murdered because 
they suspected him of being an unbeliever. 

Jiddah, the harbor of Mecca, is distant from the sacred city 
about sixty-five miles, and is in consequence the chief port of 
debarkation and embarkation for pilgrims. It has a rather 
pretty and imposing appearance from the sea, the houses being 
white and three or four stories high, surrounded by a wall and 
flanked by a half dozen lazy windmills of Dutch pattern ! Its 
streets are narrow, however, and indescribably dirty, so that 
the illusion of an Oriental picture is dispelled as soon as you 
set foot on shore. The sanitary condition of this port is the 
worst possible; evil odors abound, the water supply is pre- 
carious and bad, and a shower of rain is always followed by 
an outbreak of fever. The population is not over 20,000 of 
every Moslem nation under heaven, Galilee of "the believers." 
Its commercial importance, which once was considerable, has 
altogether declined. The opening of the Suez canal and the 
direct carrying of trade by ocean steamers dealt the deathblow 
to the extensive coast-trade of both Jiddah and the other Red 
Sea ports. The people of Jiddah, like those of Mecca, live 
by fleecing pilgrims, and when the traffic is brisk and pilgrims 
affluent they grow rich enough to go to Mecca and set up a 
larger establishment of the same sort. There are hotel-keepers, 
drummers, guides, money-changers, money-lenders, slave-deal- 
long account of his travels in two volumes illustrated by many beautiful 
engravings. Burton's account of his pilgrimage is best known, but Burck- 
hardt's is more accurate and scholarly. Of modern books, that of the 
Dutch scholar, Snouck Hurgronje, who resided in Mecca for a long time, 
is by far the best. His Mekka, in two volumes, is accompanied by an 
atlas of photographs and gives a complete history of the city as well as a 
full account of its inhabitants and of the Java pilgrimage. 

iVol, II., p. 157. 



ers and even worse characters connected with the annual trans- 
fer of the caravans of hajees (pilgrims) from the coast inland. 
The number of pilgrims arriving at Jiddah by sea in 1893 was 
92,625. In 1880 Mr. Blunt collected some interesting statistics 
of the total numbers attending the pilgrimage at Mecca/ and 
his investigations prove that the overland caravans are steadily 
becoming smaller. 

Before any pilgrims are allowed to enter Jiddah harbor they 
are compelled to undergo ten days' quarantine at Kamaran, an 
island on the west coast of Arabia ; this is the first woe. At 
Jiddah they remain only a few days and then having secured 
their Mutawwaf or official guide they proceed to Mecca. The 

(From Blunt's " Future of Islam.") 

Nationality of Pilgrims. 

by Sea. 

by Land. 
















Total Moslem 
Pop. represented. 

Ottoman Subjects (excluding Ara- 
bia) .... 


From " Barbary States " . . . . 

Yemen Arabs 

Oman and Hadramaut 

Nejd, etc., Arabs 

Hejaz (including Mecca) .... 

Negroes from Sudan 

" " Zanzibar 

Malabari from Cape of G. Hope . 


Indians (British Subjects) .... 

Malays and Javanese 


Mongols "I 

Russians, Tartars, etc >■ 

Afghans and Baluchis .... J 
(included in Ottoman Haj.) 











Total pilgrims present at Arafat 



34 j4RABU, the cradle OF ISLAM 

road is barren and uninteresting in the extreme. Halfway to 
Mecca is El Had where the road divides ; one branch leads 
to Taif, the only fertile spot in this wilderness province, and 
the other proceeds to Mecca, the ancient name of which was 

Were we to believe one half of what is said by Moslem 
writers in praise of Mecca it would prove the Holy City to be 
a very paradise of delights, a centre of learning and the para- 
gon of earthly habitations. But the facts show it to be far 
otherwise. The location of the city is unfortunate. It lies in 
a hot sandy valley absolutely without verdure and surrounded 
by rocky barren hills, destitute of trees or even shrubs. The 
valley is about 300 feet wide and 4,000 feet long, and slopes 
toward the south. The Kaaba or Beit Allah is located in the 
bed of the valley and all the streets slope toward it, so that it 
is almost closed in on every side by houses and walls, and 
stands as it were in the pit of the theatre. The houses are 
built of dark stone and are generally lofty in order to accom- 
modate as many pilgrims as possible in the limited space. The 
streets are nearly all unpaved and in summer the sand and 
dust are as disagreeable as is the black mud in the rainy sea- 
son. Strangely enough, although the city itself and even the 
Kaaba have more than once suffered from destructive floods 
that have poured down the narrow valley, Mecca is poorly 
provided with water. There are few cisterns to catch the 
rains and the well water is brackish. The famous well of 
Zemzem has an abundance of water but it is not fit to drink. ^ 
The best water is brought by an aqueduct from the vicinity of 
Arafat six or seven miles distant and sold for a high price by a 
water-trust which annually fills the coffers of the Shereef of 

1 Professor Hankin in the British Medical jfournal for June, 1894, pub- 
lished the result of his analysis of Zemzem water as follows : " Total 
solid in a gallon, 259; Chlorine, 51.24; Free ammonia, parts per mil- 
lion, 0.93 ; Albuminoid ammonia, .45. It contains an amount of solids 
greater than that in any well water used for potable purposes." 


Mecca. This official is the nominal and often the real gover- 
nor of the city. He is chosen from the Sayyids or descendants 
of Mohammed living in Hejaz or secures the high office by- 
force. His tenure of office is subject to the approval and au- 
thority of the Turkish Sultan, whose garrisons occupy the fort 
near the town. 

The Sacred Mosque, (Mesjid el Haram) containing the 
Kaaba or Beit Allah is the prayer-centre of the Mohammedan 
world and the objective point of thousands of pilgrims every 
year. According to Moslem writers it was first constructed in 
heaven, 2,000 years before the creation of the world. Adam, 
the first man, built the Kaaba on earth exactly under the spot 
occupied by its perfect model in heaven. The 10,000 angels 
appointed to guard this house of God seem to have been very 
remiss in their duty for it has often suffered at the hands of 
men and from the elements. It was destroyed by the flood and 
rebuilt by Ishmael and Abraham. The legends connected with 
its construction and history fill many pages of the Moslem tra- 
ditions and commentaries. The name Kaaba means a cube ; 
but the building is not built true to line and is in fact an un- 
equal trapezium.^ Because of its location in a hollow and its 
black-cloth covering these inequalities are not apparent to the 

The Kaaba proper stands in an oblong space 250 paces long 
by 200 broad. This open space is surrounded by colonnades 
used for schools and as the general rendezvous of pilgrims. It 
is in turn surrounded by the outer temple wall with its nineteen 
gates and six minarets. The Mosque is of much more recent 
date than the Kaaba which was well known as an idolatrous 
Arabian shrine long before the time of Mohammed. The 
Sacred Mosque and its Kaaba contain the following treasures ; 
the Black-Stone, the well of Zemzem, the great pulpit, the 
staircase, and the Kuhattein or two small mosques of Saab and 

* Its measurements, according to AH Bey, are 37 ft. 2 in., 31 ft. 7 in., 
38 ft. 4 in., 29 ft. and its height is 34 ft. 4 in. 


Abbas. The remainder of the space is occupied by pavements 
and gravel arranged to accommodate and distinguish the four 
orthodox sects in their devotions. 

The Black-Stone is undoubtedly the oldest treasure of Mecca. 
Stone-worship was an Arabian form of idolatry in very ancient 
times and relics of it remain in many parts of the peninsula. 
Maximus Tyrius wrote in the second century, " the Arabians 
pay homage to I know not what god which they represent by a 
quadrangular stone." The Guebars or ancient Persians assert 
that the black stone was an emblem of Saturn and was left in 
the Kaaba by Mahabad. We have the Moslem tradition that 
it came down snow-white from heaven and was blackened by the 
touch of sin — according to one tradition, that of an impure 
woman, and according to another by the kisses of thousands of 
believers. It is probably an aerolite and owes its reputation to 
its fall from the sky. Moslem historians do not deny that it 
was an object of worship before Islam, but they escape the 
moral difficulty and justify their prophet by idle tales concern- 
ing the stone and its relation to all the patriarchs beginning 
with Adam. 

The stone is a fragment of what appears like black volcanic 
rock sprinkled with irregular reddish crystals worn smooth by 
the touch of centuries. It is held together by a broad band of 
metal, said to be silver, and is imbedded in the southeast corner 
of the Kaaba five feet from the ground. It is not generally 
known that there is a second sacred stone at the corner facing 
the south. It is called Rakn el Yemeni or Yemen pillar and is 
frequently kissed by pilgrims although according to the correct 
ritual it should only be saluted by a touch of the right hand. 

The well of Zemzem is located near the Makam Hanbali, the 
place of prayer of this sect. The building which encloses the 
well was erected in a. h. 1072 (a. d. 1661) and its interior is 
of white marble. Mecca perchance owes its origin as an old 
Arabian centre to this medicinal spring with its abundant supply 
of purgative waters for the nomads to-day go long distances 

All BEY'S 

B^jymSim^^^U^a^ pcaOKMCr CALLED BAIT ALUB. QB GQ&StBDUSfi ,• 




to visit sulphur and other springs in various parts of Arabia. 
The well of Zemzem is one of the great sources of income to 
the Meccans. The water is carried about for sale on the streets 
and in the mosques in curious pitchers made of unglazed earth- 
enware. They are slightly porous so as to cool the water, 
which is naturally always of a lukewarm temperature, and are 
all marked with certain mystical characters in black wax. 
Crowds assemble around the well during the pilgrimage and 
many coppers fall to the share of the lucky Meccans who have 
the privilege of drawing the water for the faithful. 

The pilgrimage to Mecca should be performed in the twelfth 
lunar month of the calendar called Dhi el Haj. It is incum- 
bent on every believer except for lawful hindrance because of 
poverty or illness. Mohammed made it the fifth pillar of re- 
ligion and more than anything else it has tended to unify the 
Moslem world. The Koran teaching regarding the duties of 
pilgrims at the Sacred Mosque, is as follows: "Proclaim to 
the peoples a Pilgrimage. Let them come to thee on foot and 
on every fleet camel arriving by every deep defile." (Surah 
xxii. 28.) "Verily As Safa and Al Marwa are among the signs 
of God : whoever then maketh a pilgrimage to the temple or 
visiteth it shall not be to blame if he go round about them 
both." (ii. 153.) " Let the pilgrimage be made in the months 
already known and who so undertaketh the pilgrimage therein 
let him not know a woman, nor transgress nor wrangle in the 
pilgrimage. ... It shall be no crime in you if ye seek an 
increase from your Lord (by trade) ; and when ye pass swiftly 
on from Arafat then remember God near the holy Mosque. 
. . . Bear God in mind during the stated days ; but if any 
haste away in two days it shall be no fault to him, and if any 
tarry it shall be no fault in him." (Surah ii. passim.) 

From the Koran alone no definite idea of the pilgrim's 
duties can be gleaned; but fortunately for all true believers 
the Prophet's perfect example handed down by tradition leaves 
nothing in doubt and prescribes every detail of conduct with 


ridiculous minuteness. The orthodox way is as follows : ar- 
rived within a short distance of Mecca the pilgrims, male and 
female, put off their ordinary clothing and assume the garb of a 
hajee. It consists of two pieces of white cloth one of which is 
tied around the loins and the other thrown over the back ; 
sandals may be worn but not shoes and the head must be left 
uncovered. (In idolatrous days the Arabs did not wear any 
clothing in making the circuit of the Kaaba.) On facing 
Mecca the pilgrim pronounces the niyah or " intention " : 

" Here I a«r, O Allah, here I am; 
No partner hast Thou, here I am; 
Verily praise and riches and the kingdom are to Thee; 
No partner hast Thou, here am I." 

After certain legal ablutions the pilgrim enters the Mosque by 
the Bab-el-salam and kisses the Black-Stone making the circuit, 
running, around the Kaaba seven times. (In idolatrous days 
the Arabs did this in imitation of the motions of the planets ; a 
remnant of their Sabean worship.) Another special prayer is 
said and then the pilgrim proceeds to Makam Ibrahim, where 
Abraham is said to have stood when he rebuilt the Kaaba. 
There the hajee goes through the regular genuflections and 
prayers. He drinks next from the holy well and once more 
kisses the Black-Stone. Then follows the running between 
Mounts Safa and Merwa. Proceeding outward from the 
Mosque by the gate of Safa he ascends the hill reciting the 
153d verse of the Surah of the Cow. "Verily Safa and Merwa 
are the signs of God." Having arrived at the summit of the 
mount he turns to the Kaaba and three times recites the words : 

" There is no god but God ! 

God is great ! 

There is no god save God alone ! 

He hath performed His promise 
and hath aided His servant and 
put to flight the hosts of in- 
fidels by Himself alone ! " 


He then runs from the top of Safa through the valley to the 
summit of Merwa seven times repeating the aforesaid prayers 
each time on both hills. This is the sixth day, on the evening 
of which the pilgrim again encompasses the Kaaba. On the 
next day there is a sermon from the grand pulpit. On the 
eighth day the pilgrim goes three miles distant to Mina, where 
Adam longed for his lost paradise (!) and there spends the 
night. The next morning he leaves for Arafat, another hill 
about eleven miles from Mecca, hears a second sermon, return- 
ing before nightfall to Muzdalifa, a place halfway between 
Mina and Arafat. 

The following day is the great day of the pilgrimage. It is 
called the day of Sacrifice and is simultaneously celebrated all 
over the Moslem world. ^ Early in the morning the pilgrim 
proceeds to Mina where there are three pillars called, the 
"Great Devil," the "Middle Pillar" and the "First One." 
At these dumb idols the "monotheist" flings seven pebbles 
and as he throws them says : "In the name of Allah and 
Allah is mighty, in hatred of the devil and his shame, I do 
this." He then performs the sacrifice, a sheep, goat, cow or 
camel according to the means of the pilgrim. The victim is 
placed facing the Kaaba and a knife plunged into the animal's 
throat with the cry, Allahu Akbar. This ceremony concludes 
the pilgrimage proper ; the hair and nails are then cut and the 
ihram or pilgrims' garb is doffed for ordinary clothing. Three 
days more are sometimes counted as belonging to the pilgrim- 
age, the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth days, called Eyyam-u- 
tashrik, or days of drying flesh, because during them the flesh 
of the sacrifices is cut into slices and dried in the sun to be 
eaten on the return journey. 

After the Meccan pilgrimage most Moslems go to Medina to 
visit the tomb of Mohammed ; the Wahabees however consider 

1 This religion which denies an atonement and teaches that Christ was 
not crucified yet has for its great festival a feast of sacrifice to commem- 
orate the obedience of Abraham and the substitute provided by God ! 


this 'Miifidelity" and honor of the creature more than of the 
Creator. Other Moslems base their conduct on the saying of 
the prophet himself, Man yithajja iva lam ye-zi/r/ii fakad 
jefani, "who goes on Haj and does not visit me has insulted 
me ! " The Meccans call themselyes " neighbors of God " and 
the people of INIedina "neighbors of the prophet." For long 
ages a hot rivalry has existed between the two cities, a rivalry 
which, beginning in the taunt or jest, often ends in bloodshed. 

The pilgrim, having completed all legal requirements, is 
sure to visit the proper authorities and secure a certificate to 
proA'e to his countr}Tiien that he is a real Hajee and to sub- 
stantiate his religious boasting in days to come. The certifi- 
cate is also required when one goes on pilgrimage for a 
deceased Moslem or a wealthy Moslem who is bedridden. In 
such a case the substitute has all the pleasures (!) of the jour- 
ney at the expense of his principal but the merit goes to the 
man who pa}*^ the bills and who naturally craves the receipt. 
The certificate is of vai'ious forms and contains crude pictures 
of the holy places and verses from Koran. 

Needless to relate these certificates cost money, as does 
everything at Mecca save the air you breathe. No honest 
Moslem ever spoke with praise of the citizens of IMecca ; many 
are their proverbs to prove why wickedness flourishes in the 
courts of Allah. And European travellers agree that of all 
Orientals the Meccans take the palm for thoroughgoing rascal- 
ity. Ali Bey dilates on the lewdness of the men and the loose- 
ness of the women of Mecca. Hurgronje unblushingly lifts the 
veil that hides the corruption of the sacred temple service with 
its army of eunuch police, and pictures the slave-market in full 
swing within a stone's throw of the Kaaba. Burton thus char- 
acterizes the men who live on their religion and grow fat 
(figuratively) by unveiling its m}-steries to others : 

"The Meccan is a covetous spendthrift. His wealth, lightly 
won, is lightly prized. Pay, pensions, stipends, presents, and 
the ' Ikram ' here, as at Medina, supply the citizen with the 

6 Ibid,, pp. 61-64. 

'J. ma., p. 102. 

^Ibid., p. II. 


PLATE in. 



i« pictured the Mcsjed, or Mosque of Taif, tlic altar of Ishmael, the P 
territory. There are also pictured the birthplaces of Mohauuuocl. Ali II 

PLATE n. pictures the quadraiiRular court of the Mecca 
of a basin, and is buried in the earth. The name of Abraham is connec 
are the praying places of the Malikls, the llanafys, the Hanbalys and th 

PLATE 111. shows representations of the Holy Places of £ 
Silman, the tomb of Oihman, and various other shrines. 

PLATE IV. contains the Holy Shrines of Jerusalem. Th 
in the black circle is the " Rock of God," or the "Suspended Stone," n 
shears which cut off the life of men. At the bottom is the great Brid^ 
since on it depends one's eternal destiny. Around this area are picture 

TJJE MECCA CliKTlFlCATE, which is given to pilgrims to the sacred city, is looked upon by Moslems as practically a passport to heaven. It is! especially interesting because of the inside view which it gives of the Mohammedan re ligion. At the top of each pa.Ke are quotations from the . _^ 

PLATE r. has, at the right-hand upper corner, the representiuion of the Mosque of Muzdalifa and tents of the Pilgrims; to the left of this, the Mosque of Nimr, near Mount Arafat, and below it, the Mahmals of Syria and Egypt, i.f , palanquins carried on camels, surmounted "^y "ags- o e g^ ^^^^ 

Mount Arafat, a sacred mountain about 12 miles northeast of Mecca, whic , ;„ Moslem tradition, is said to be the place where Adam and Eve met after the fall. The three pillars of Mini represented below, are ancient pagan shrines, at each of which every pilgrim must hurl seven stones at ine . .j. t- , 

- ' ' me of Abd-el Kader in Bagdad, and at the extreme right the Dome of ''Our Lord' Hassein al Kerbela. where thousands of corpses of deceased Persians are brought jlearly to be buried. It is northwest of Uagdad, and 

\ Abi Talib, Abu Bekr, and Fatimeh, and the Tomb of Amina and Khadijah; also two bell-shaped hills, Jebel Thaur and Jebel Nur. | ■ h ? h c • h s wide ft is in the shape 

aram, within which is the circular colonnade, enclosing the A'aaZ/a or ^,?jV ^//a/i, the I ouse of God. Below the representation of the Kaaba is depicted the famous station of Abraham, a stone 20 inc^es^oj^ Around the circle 

I with it from the tradition that he first built the Kaaba. Below this may be notice ,": the famous " Beer Zemzem," or Well of Zemzem, which is claimed to be the water 'J'n'cii t g Farewell of Wisdom etc etc.,— besides various shrines, 
iiafi-is, the four great sects of Islam. Around the quadrangle are 20 gates, such as Ball su-Nebi, Gate of the Prophet, Gate of Abraham, of Peace, of Abbas, of the Mare, the ^'"'c. f ' ,, „f la\am the mosques of Hamzch, Abu Bekr, Ali and 
./<«<i, the tomb of Mohammed. The large dome in the upper left-hand corner is the tc^rab of Mohammed. Around the page are drawn the mosque of Fatimeh, mosque o '« "'="8 o s am, 

. , t 1 ** R.*r -1 M kriaa " or the Holy House. Under the dome 

ram-es-Sherif. or the quadrangular area once occupied by the temple of Solomon, occupies the centre of the page. The Mosque commonly known as the Mosque of Omar '.'j^ ^f« ^^y_^.^ ^^^^j'-J ^)^ ^"^^^ weighed at the last day, together with the 
he prophet kicked back when it tried to follow him to heaven. The two footprints of the prophet are pictured below the rock. Below this are the Scales of Mizan, in wl^^^ ,^^^ Jenneh or Paradise. A hazardous feat it is to make the journey, 
n>t. of vast length, the width of a hair, and sharp as a razor, over which every morlial must walk barefooted. At the right of it is the pit of Jehennam or hell, and to t 
:)mbs of David, Solomon, Moses and Jacob, and in the right-hand upper corner is se«.n Jebel, Toor Sina, or Mount Sinai. 


means of idleness. With him everything is on the most expen- 
sive scale, his marriage, his religious ceremonies, and his house- 
hold expenses. His house is luxuriously furnished, entertain- 
ments are frequent, and the junketings of the women make up 
a heavy bill at the end of the year. It is a common practice 
for the citizen to anticipate the pilgrimage season by falling 
into the hands of the usurer. The most unpleasant peculiari- 
ties of the Meccans are their pride and coarseness of language. 
They look upon themselves as the cream of earth's sons, and 
resent with extreme asperity the least slighting word concern- 
ing the Holy City and its denizens. They plume themselves 
upon their holy descent, their exclusion of infidels, their strict 
fastings, their learned men, and their purity of language. In 
fact, their pride shows itself at every moment ; but it is not the 
pride which makes a man too proud to do a dirty action. The 
Meccans appeared to me distinguished, even in this foul- 
mouthed East, by the superior licentiousness of their language. 
Abuse was bad enough in the streets, but in the house it be- 
came intolerable. ' ' ^ 

Temporary marriages which are a mere cloak for open pros- 
titution are common in Mecca and are indeed one of the chief 
means of livelihood to the natives.^ Concubinage and divorce 
are more universal than in any other part of the Moslem 
world ; ^ sodomy is practiced in the Sacred Mosque itself* and 
the suburbs of the city are the scene of nightly carnivals of 
iniquity, especially after the pilgrims have left and the natives 
are rich with the fresh spoils of the trafdc.^ As might be 
expected, superstition grows rife in such a soil and under such 
circumstances. All sorts of holy-places, legends, sacred rocks, 

1 This is the testimony of Captain Burton, the man who translated an 
unexpurgated text of the Arabian nights and left behind a book in manu- 
script which his wife had the good sense to destroy and so prevent its 

2 Hurgronje, p. 5, Vol. II. ^Ibid,, p. 102. •» Ibid., p. il. 
5 Ibid., pp. 61-64. 


trees and houses abound. Every Moslem saint who tarried in 
the city or died there has left something to be remembered and 

Gross ignorance coupled with equal conceit seems to be the 
universal characteristic of the people of Mecca. Modern 
science is laughed at and everything turns, on the Ptolemaic 
system, around the little world of the Koran. Jinn are exor- 
cised ; witches and the evil-eye are avoided by amulets ; in 
short all the superstitious practices of the Moslem world are 
cultivated in this centre of world-wide pilgrimage. Astrology 
still usurps the place of astronomy and it is considered blas- 
phemy to profess to know the hour of an eclipse or the day of 
the new moon before it is revealed from heaven. Alchemy is 
the science that attracts the Meccan physician more than the 
marvels of surgery ; potions of holy -writ or talismans are still 
in use for sprains and dislocations. Their ignorance of geogra- 
phy and history beyond the confines of the pilgrim-world is 
pathetic. One of the chief Mullahs asked Hurgronje "how 
many days was the caravan journey from Moskop (Russia) to 
Andalusia (Spain)?" A government printing-press has been 
opened at Mecca in recent years and an official gazette is pub- 
lished ; but even Turkish civilization and learning are consid- 
ered far from orthodox for their ways partake too much of those 
of the "infidels" of the rest of Europe. Photography is a 
forbidden art and money with "images" of queens and em- 
perors is only used with the prayer is tag fir allah, " I ask par- 
don of God." On the other hand many old European coins 
no longer current are looked upon as being doubly valuable as 
amulets and charms. One of these, the Mishkash is supposed 
to have special virtues for newly-married women. 

"The irony of history," as Hurgronje remarks, "was not 
satisfied that at Medina the grave of Mohammed who cursed 
saint-worship should become a centre of pilgrimage, but added 
the circumstance that at Mecca, IMoslem women, who reject 
images and Christ-worship, should prize as an amulet the im- 


age of Jesus and an Evangelist." Of course, the women 
themselves are in total ignorance of the inscription and char- 
acter of the coin. 

There is a great abundance of schools at Mecca but no 
education. Everything is on the old lines, beginning and end- 


ing with the Koran, that Procrustean bed for the human intel- 
lect. " The letter killeth." And it is the /eUer first, foremost 
and always that is the topic of study. The youth learn to 
read the Koran not to understand its meaning, but to drone it 
out professionally at funerals and feasts, so many chapters for 
so many shekels. Modern science or history are not even 
mentioned, much less taught, at even the high-schools of 
Mecca. Grammar, prosody, calligraphy, Arabian history, and 
the first elements of arithmetic, but chiefly the Koran com- 
mentaries and traditions, traditions, traditions, form the curric- 
ulum of the Mohammedan college. Those who desire a post- 
graduate course devote themselves to Mysticism (Tassawqf) 
or join an order of the Derwishes who all have their represent- 
ative sheikhs at Mecca. 

The method of teaching in the schools of Mecca, which can 
be taken as an example of the best that Arabia affords, is as 
follows. The child of intellectual promise is first taught his 
alphabet from a small wooden board on which they are written 

' This coin is called Mishkash and is a Venetian coin of Duke Aloys 
Mocenigo I. (1570-77 A. D.). On one side the Duke is kneeling before 
St. Mark the patron saint of Venice and on the other is the image of 
Christ surrounded by stars. 


by the teacher ; slates are unknown. Then he learns the 
Abj'ad or numerical value of each letter — a useless proceeding 
at present as the Arabic notation, originally from India, is 
everywhere in use. After this he learns to write down the 
ninety-nine names of Allah and to read the tirst chapter of the 
Koran ; then he attacks the last two chapters, because they are 
short. The teacher next urges him through the book, making 
the pupil read at the top of his voice. The greatest strictness 
is observed as to pronunciation and pauses but nothing what- 
ever is said to explain the meaning of the words. Having 
thus yiVz/VAt"./ the Koran, that is, read it through once, the pupil 
takes up the elements of grammar, learning rules by rote both 
of sarf (inflection) and nahw (s}^ltax). Then follow the lib- 
eral sciences, al-mantik (logic\ al-hisiib (arithmetic), al-jabr 
(algebra), al-maana iva'l beyan (rhetoric and versification), 
al-fikh (jurisprudence), al-akaid (scholastic theology), at- 
tafsir (exegetics^, ////; ul-usul (science of sources of interpre- 
tation) and lastly, the capstone of etiucation, a!-ahadith (^tra- 
ditions). Instruction is given by lectures; text -books are 
seldom used ; lessons begin in the morning and continue for a 
few hours ; in the afternoon they are interrupted by prayer- 
time. Even at Mecca the favorite place for teaching is in the 
Mosque-court where constant interruptions and distractions 
must make it pleasant for a lazy pupil. 



" WJtliiii llic sanctuary or Ijounds of tlie city all sins are forbidden ; but 
the several schools advocate different degrees of strictness. The Imam 
Malik, for instance, allows no latrinu; nearer to El Medina than Jebel Ayr, 
a distance of about three miles. lie also forbids slaying wild animals, 
but at the same time he specifies no punishment for the offence. All 
authors strenuously forbid, within the boundaries, slaying man, (except 
invaders, infidels and the sacrilegious) drinking spirits and leading an 
immoral life. In regard to the dignity of the sanctuary there is but one 
opinion ; a number of traditions testify to its honor, praise its people and 
threaten dreadful things to those who injure it or them." — Burton. 

A BOUT seventy miles southeast of Mecca is the small but 
"^^^ pleasant town of Taif, to which the pashas condemned 
for the murder of Abdul Aziz Sultan were banished. It is one 
of the most interesting and attractive towns of all Arabia, being 
surrounrled by gardens and vineyards from which Mecca has 
been supplied for ages. The tropical rains last from four to 
six weeks at Taif, and good wells abound to water the gardens 
when the rains cease, so that the place is famous for its garden- 
produce. In close proximity to the barren Mecca district 
Taif is a paradise for the pilgrim and a health resort for the 
jaundiced, fever-emaciated Meccan. At Taif Doughty saw 
three old stone idols of "the days of ignorance" ; El Uzza, 
a block of granite some twenty feet long; another called 
Ilubbal, with a cleft in the middle, "by our Lord Aly's sword- 
stroke" ; and El Lat, an unshapely crag of grey granite. 
These were earlier stone-gods of the Arab, and now lie for- 
saken in the dirt, while their brother-god, the famous Black- 
Stone, receives the reverence of millions ! 



The road from Mecca to Kl Medina — " ///f- city" — so 
called because the prophet chose it as his home in time of per- 
secution — leads nearly due north. It is an uninteresting, and 
for the most part, a forsaken country that separates the rival 
cities. Burton -writes that it reminded him of the lines, 

" Full many a waste I've wandered o'er, 
Clouib many a crag, crossed, many a shore, 

But, by my halidome 
A scene so rude, so wild as this. 
Yet so sublime in barrenness, 
Ne'er did my wandering footsteps press, 
Where'er I chanced to roam." 

There are two caravan-routes, both of which are used by the 
pilgrims, but the eastern road is used most frequently.^ 

The region between Mecca and Medina is the home of the 
ancient poets of Arabia and is classic ground. The seven 
Moallakat or suspended poems thid their scene in this region. 
Lebid wrote : 

*' Deserted is the village — waste the halting place and home, 
At Mina, o'er Rijam and Chul wild beasts miheeded roam. 
On Rayyan hill the channel lines have left their naked trace. 
Time-worn as primal writ that dints the mountain face." 

El Medina, formerly called Yafhrib, is now also called Ei 
Murunvera, the "illuminated," and devout Moslems com- 
monly claim to see, on approaching the city, a luminous haze 
hanging over its mosques and houses. The legends and 
superstitions that cluster around the last resting-place of the 
Prophet are not less in number nor less credible than those that 
glorify the place of his birth, although the town is only about 

>The western or coast ixsute goes by Koleis, Rabek, Mastura, and near 
Jebel Eyub (Job's Mountain) over Jebel Siibh, then to Suk-es-Safra and 
Suk el Jedid to Medina. The eastern road was the one taken by Burton, 
and goes by way of El Zaribah, El Sufena, El Suerkish, etc., a distance 
34S miles. 


half the size and contains 16,000 inhabitants. It consists of 
three principal divisions : the town proper, the fort and the 
suburbs. It is surrounded by a wall forty feet high ; the streets 
are narrow and unpaved ; the houses are flat-roofed and double- 

The current dispute, however, for many centuries has been 
regarding the relative sanctity and importance of the two cities, 
Mecca and Medina. A visit to Medina is called Ziyarat, as 
that to Mecca is called Haj ; the latter is obligatory by order 
of the Koran, while the former is meritorious on the authority 
of tradition. The orthodox further stipulate, that circumambu- 
lation around the prophet's tomb at Medina is not allowed as 
around the Kaaba at Mecca nor should men wear the ihram, nor 
kiss the tomb. On the other hand, to spit upon it or treat it 
with contempt, as the Wahabees did, is held to be the act of 
an infidel. To quote again from Burton : " The general con- 
sensus of Islam admits the superiority of the Beit Allah at 
Mecca to the whole world ; and declares Medina to be more 
venerable than every part of Mecca, and consequently all the 
earth, except only the Beit Allah. This last is a juste milieu 
view by no means in favor with the inhabitants of either 

The one thing that gives Medina claim to sanctity is the 
prophet's tomb, and yet there is some doubt as to whether he 
is really buried in the mosque raised to his honor ; of course 
every Moslem, learned or ignorant, believes it, but there are 
many arguments against the supposition.^ One of these argu- 

' These arguments may be stated briefly as follows : 

1. A tumult followed the announcement of the prophet's death, and 
Omar threatened destruction to any one who asserted it. Is it probable 
that a quiet interment took place ? 

2. Immediately after Mohammed's death a dispute about the suc- 
cession arose, in the ardor of which, according to the Shiahs, the house 
of Ali and Fatima, near the present tomb, were threatened by fire. 

3. The early Moslems would not be apt to reverence the grave of the 


ments alone would have little value against so old a tradition 
and practice, but their cumulative force cannot be denied, and 
throws serious doubt on the question whether the present 
mosque of the prophet contains any trace of his remains. On 
the other hand pious IMoslems affirm that the prophet is not 

prophet, as do those of Liter date, when tradition has exalted him above 
the common humanity. The early Moslems were inditlerent as to the 
e.\act spot. 

4. The shape of the prophet's tomb was not known in early times, nor 
is it given in the traditions ; so that we tind convex graves in some lands 
and flat in others. 

5. The accounts of the learned among the Moslems are discrepant as 
to the burial of Mohammed. 

6. Shiah schismatics had charge of the sepulchre for centuries, and 
because of its proximity to the graves of Abubekr and Omar, it was in 
their interest to remove the body. 

7. Even the present position of the grave, with relation to other graves, 
is in dispute, because the tomb-chamber (^Hujrah) is closely guarded by 
eunuchs, who do not allow any one to enter. 

8. The tale of the blinding light which surrounds the prophet's tomb 
seems a plausible story to conceal a defect. 

9. Mohammed el Halebi, the Sheikh-el Ulema of Damascus, assured 
Burton that he was permitted to pass the door leading into the tomb- 
chamber, and that he saw no trace of a sepulchre. 

10. Moslem historians admit that an attempt was made in A. H. 412 
to steal the bodies of Mohammed and the two companions by the third 
Fatimite Caliph of Eg)'pt ; they relate marvels connected with the failure 
of the attempt, and assert that a trench was dug deep all around the 
graves and filled with molten lead to prevent the theft of the body. 

11. In A. H. 654 the mosque was destroyed by a volcanic eruption, 
according to the Moslem historians, but the tomb-chamber escaped all 
damage ! Again in A. H. SS7 it was struck by lightning. " On this 
occasion," says El Samanhudi (quoted by Burckhardt) " the interior of the 
liujrah (tomb-chamber) was cleared and three deep graves were found in 
the inside full of rubbish, but the author of this historj-, who himself 
entered it, saw no trace of tombs." The same author declared that the 
coffin containing the dust of Mohammed was cased with silver. 

12. Lastly the Shiah and Sunni accounts of the prophet's death and 
burial are contradictory as to the exact place of burial. 



really dead, but " eats and drinks in the tomb until the day of 
resurrection," and is as much alive as he ever was. 

The Mesjid-el-Nebi or prophet's mosque at Medina is about 
420 feet long by 340 broad. It is built nearly north and south 
and has a large interior courtyard, surrounded by porticoes. 
From the western side we enter the Rauzah or prophet's garden. 
On the north and west it is not divided from the rest of the por- 
tico ; on the south side runs a dwarf wall and on the east it is 
bounded by the lattice-work of the Hiijrah. This is an irregu- 
lar square of about fifty feet separated on all sides from the walls 
of the Mosque by a broad passage. Inside there are said to be 
three tombs carefully concealed inside the iron railing by a heavy 
curtain arranged like a four-post bed. The Hujrah has four 
gates, all kept locked except the fourth which admits only the 
officers in charge of the treasure, the eunuchs who sweep the 
floor, light the lamps and carry away the presents thrown into 
the enclosure by devotees. It is commonly asserted that many 


W — 

401 1 


5 v;;;:;.;;".. 

-\ N^ 

.^d 1 

ad 1 

ici 1 


1. Mohammed 

2. Abu beKr 

3. Omar 

5. (The dotted space left empty 
for JE5U5XJMebi'lsa.) 


early Moslem saints and warriors desired the remaining space 
for their grave, but that by Mohammed's wish it is reserved 
for 'Isa on his second coming and death. The story of a 
coffin suspended by magnets has of course no foundation in 
fact and may have arisen from the crude drawings of the 


The ziyarah at the Mosque consists in prayers and ahns-giv- 
ing with silent contemplation on the sacred character of Mo- 
hammed. The following sample "prayer" offered at the 
shrine of Fatima, gives some idea of what is to Christian ears 
a blasphemous service : ' ' Peace be upon thee, O daughter of 
the apostle of Allah ! Thou mother of the excellent seed. 
Peace be upon thee thou Lady amongst women. Peace be upon 
thee, O Fifth of the people of the Prophet's garment ! A pure 
one, O virgin ! Peace be on thee, O spouse of our Lord, Ali 
el Murtaza, O mother of Hasan and Hussein, the two Moons, 
the two Lights, the two Pearls, the two princes of the youth of 
Heaven, the Coolness of the eyes of true believers ! etc., etc." 
The prayers offered at the prophet's grave are more fulsome in 
their praise and of much greater length. What would the 
camel-driver of Mecca say if he heard them ? 

As at Mecca so at Medina the townspeople, one and all, 
live on the pilgrims. The keeper of the Mosque is a Turkish 
Pasha with a large salary and many perquisites ; there are 
treasurers and professors and clerks and sheikhs of these eunuchs 
kept on salary. Sweepers and porters, all eunuchs, and guides 
as at Mecca who live by backsheesh or extortion. Water-car- 
riers here too peddle about the brackish fluid by the cupful to 
thirsty pilgrims. Those who are not in the service of the 
Mosque usually keep boarding-houses, or sell prayers which 
are to be made once a year at the prophet's tomb, for the absent 
pilgrim. Most of the officials receive their salaries from Con- 
stantinople and Cairo. 

The population of Medina is not less a mixed multitude 
than that of Mecca ; here also the observation of Zehm holds 
true, "every pilgrimage brings new fathers." Burton testifies, 
"It is not to be believed that in a town garrisoned by Turkish 
troops, full of travelled traders, and which supports itself by 
plundering Hajis the primitive virtues of the Arab could exist. 
The Meccans, a dark people, say of the INIadani, that their 
hearts are as black as their skins are white. This is of course 


exaggerated ; but it is not too much to assert that pride, pug- 
nacity, a pecuhar point of honor, and a vindictiveness of won- 
derful force and patience, are the only characteristic traits of 
Arab character which the citizens of El Medina habitually dis- 
play." Intoxicating liquors are made at Medina and sold, al- 
though not openly. 

There are two colleges with " libraries " at Medina and many 
mosque-schools. In Burckhardt's day he charged the town 
with utter ignorance and illiteracy, but now they devote them- 
selves apparently to literature, at least in a measure. 

The climate of Medina is better than that of Mecca and the 
winters are cold and rigorous. Mohammed is reputed to have 
said, "he who patiently endures the cold of El Medina and 
the heat of Mecca, merits a reward in paradise." 

Returning from the lesser pilgrimage to Medina the traveller 
can retrace his steps to Mecca, and thence to Jiddah, or go to 
the nearer port of Yanbo (Yembo) and thence return home by 
steamer or sailing-vessel. The distance by camels' route, be- 
tween Medina and the port is 132 miles, six stages, although a 
good dromedary can make it in two days. At Yanbo the 
sultan's dominions in Arabia begin, for the coast northward 
pertains to Egypt. The town resembles Jiddah in outward 
appearance, has 400 or 500 houses built of white coral rock, 
dirty streets and a precarious water supply. Sadlier, (1820) 
after his journey across the peninsula, visited Yanbo, and de- 
scribes it as " a miserable Arab seaport surrounded by a wall " ] 
Yanbo has, however, a good harbor, and was in earlier days, a 
large and important place ; it has been identified with lambia 
village on Ptolemy's map a harbor of the old Nabateans. 

Thus ends our pilgrimage through the Holy Land of Arabia. 
Let us in conclusion ponder the words of Stanley Lane Poole 
as to the place which Mecca and the pilgrimage holds in the 
Mohammedan religion. "It is asked how the destroyer of 
idols could have reconciled his conscience to the circuits of the 
Kaaba and the veneration of the Black-Stone covered with 


adoring kisses. The rites of the pilgrimage cannot certainly 
be defended against the charge of superstition ; but it is easy 
to see why Mohammed enjoined them. . . . He well 
knew the consolidating effect of forming a centre to which his 
followers should gather, and hence he reasserted the sanctity 
of the Black-Stone that ' came down from heaven ' ; he or- 
dained that everywhere throughout the world the Moslem 
should pray looking toward the Kaaba, and enjoined him to 
make the pilgrimage thither. Mecca is to the Moslem what 
Jerusalem is to the Jew. It bears with it all the influence of 
centuries of associations. It carries the Moslem back to the 
cradle of his faith and the childhood of his prophet. . . . 
And, most of all, it bids him remember that all his brother 
Moslems are worshipping toward the same sacred spot ; that 
he is one of a great company of believers united by one faith, 
filled with the same hopes, reverencing the same thing, wor- 
shipping the same God." 



" Aden is a valley surrounded by the sea ; its climate is so bad that it 
turns wine into vinegar in the space of ten days. The water is derived 
from cisterns and is also brought in by an aqueduct two farsongs long." 

— Ibn-el-Mojawir. (A. D. I200.) 

A RABIA is unfortunate because, like a chestnut-burr, its 
"^^^ exterior is rough and uninviting. In scenery and climate, 
Yemen fares worst of all the provinces. The two gateways to 
Arabia Felix are very infelix. What could be more dreary 
and dull and depressing than the ' ' gloomy hills of darkness ' ' 
that form the background to Aden as seen from the harbor ? 
There is no verdure, no vegetation visible ; everywhere there 
is the same appearance of a cinder heap. And where can one 
find a more filthy, hot, sweltering, odorous native town than 
Hodeidah ? Yet these two places are the gateways to the most 
beautiful, fertile, populous and healthful region of all Arabia. 

Yemen is best known of all the provinces, and has been 
quite thoroughly explored by a score of intrepid travellers.^ 
Most people, however, travelling in a P. and O. Steamer, call- 
ing at Aden for coal, remain in total ignorance of the fair 
highlands just beyond the dark hills that hide the horizon. 

1 Niebuhr, 1763; Seetzen, 1810; Cruttenden, 1836; Dr. Wolff, 1836; 
Owen, 1857; Botta, 1837; Passama, 1842; Arnaud, 1843; Van Maltzan, 
1871; Halvey, 1870; Millingen, 1874; Renzo Manzoni, 1879; Glaser, 
1880; Defler, 1888; Haig, 1889; Harris, 1892; and later travellers. 
Defler is the authority on the flora, Glaser on the antiquities, Manzoni on 
the Turks and their government, Haig on the agricultural population, 
and Harris tells of the recent rebellions. Niebuhr's magnificent volumes 
are still good authority on the geography and natural history of Yemen. 



Yemen extends from Aden to Asir on the north and eastward 
into Hadramaut for an indefinite distance. On the earlier 
maps Arabia Felix stretched as far as Oman — a great moun- 
tainous region with a temperate climate. An Arabian author, 
describing Yemen as it was before the time of Mohammed, 
wrote: "Its inhabitants are all hale and strong, sickness is 
unknown, nor are there poisonous plants or animals ; nor fools, 
nor blind people, and the women are ever young ; the climate 
is like paradise and one wears the same garment summer and 

The massive rock promontory of volcanic basalt called Aden, 
has from time immemorial been the gateway and the strong- 
hold for all Yemen. It is generally agreed that Ezekiel, the 
prophet, referred to Aden when he wrote : " Haran and 
Canneh and Eden, the merchants of Sheba, Asshur and Chil- 
mad, Avere thy merchants." The place was fortified and its 
wonderful rock cisterns were probably first constructed by 
the early Himyarites. A Christian church was erected at 
Aden by the embassy of the Emperor Constantius, a. d. 342, 
and Aden was for a long time in the hands of the Christian 
kings of Yemen. Then it fell a prey to the Abyssinians and 
next to the Persians, about the time when Mohammed was born. 
Albuquerque in 15 13 with his Portuguese warriors laid siege to 
Aden for four days, but in spite of scaling-ladders and gun- 
powder could not take the town. The Mameluke Sultans of 
Egypt also failed to capture this fortress. In 1838 the English 
took it by storm and have held the place ever since. 

Aden is now a British settlement, a commercial-centre, a 
coaling-station and a fortress ; the last most emphatically. All 
the latest improvements in engineering and artillery have been 
put to use in fortifying the place. The ride from Steamer- 
Point to "the crater" or from the telegraph-station to the 
" Crescent " gives one some idea of the vast amount of money 
and labor expended to shape this Gibraltar and make it im- 
pregnable from land and sea. The isthmus is guarded by 


massive lines of defence, strengthened by a broad ditch cut 
out of the solid rock ; bastions, casements and tunnels all serve 
one purpose ; batteries, towers, arsenals, magazines, barracks ; 
mole-batteries toward the sea, mines in the harbor, obstruction 
piers and subservient works ; — everything tells of military 
strength, and the town has always a warlike aspect in perfect 
accord with its forbidding physical geography. 

The inhabited peninsula is an irregular oval about fifteen 
miles in circumference ; it is in reality a large extinct crater 
formed of lofty precipitous hills the highest peak of which, 
Shem Shem, has an altitude of nearly i,8oo feet. The 
varieties of rock are numerous, and vary in color from 
light brown to dark green. Pumice and tufas are very com- 
mon ; the former is an article of export. Water is very scarce, 
and there is almost no rainfall during some years. When 
there is a shower, the nature of the soil and the immense water- 
shed for so small an area cause heavy torrents to pour down 
the valleys. These rare occasions are utilized to fill the huge 
tanks near Aden camp. The tanks were built as early as 600 
A. D. by the Yemenites who built besides the celebrated dam at 
Marib, and the many similar structures in various parts of 
Yemen. Water is also brought by an aqueduct from Sheikh 
Othman, seven miles distant, but the majority of the popula- 
tion is supplied from the government condensers. In spite of 
the desert character of the soil and the aridity of the climate 
Aden is not entirely without natural vegetation. Thomas 
Anderson of the Bengal Medical Service enumerates ninety- 
four species of plants found on the Aden peninsula, some of 
which are entirely unique. Most of the plants, however, are 
desert-dwellers with sharp thorns, an aromatic odor, and yield 
gums and resins. 

The Aden settlement has four centres of. population ; Steamer- 
Point, the Crescent, the town of Maala and the "Camp" or 
Aden proper. A road, the only road in fact, extends from 
Steamer-Point on the west to Aden proper on the east, and no 


one can boast of having seen Aden who has not taken the ride 
in a geri from the landing-pier to the tanks. The Aden horses 
are of all creatures most miserable for the geri-drivers whip their 
horses much, but feed them little. The Crescent is a semi- 
circular range of houses and shops crowded against the moun- 
tain side; with a Hotel de I'Univers and a Hotel de I'Europe 
(both equally " Grand ") ; cafes, shops, banks, and offices. The 
post office, hospital, churches and barracks are further wett 
toward the telegraph-station. A drive of about two miles 
brings us to the native town of Maala. Here the road forks, 
the lower one leading to the barrier-gate and Sheikh Othman, 
and the upper ascending the mountain through the gate of the 
fortifications and by a sharp declivity leading down to the town 
of Aden. It is not an Oriental town in its administration, but 
it has all the motley character of Port Said on its streets. 
Europeans, Americans, Africans, Asiatics and mixed races are 
all represented in the crowd of the market or the loungers in 
the streets. The total population is 30,000, including Chinese, 
Persians, Turks, Egyptians, Somalis, Hindus, Parsees, Jews 
and Arabs from every part of the peninsula. Aden is a great 
centre for native shipping, and the dhows and buggalows that 
sail every year from the Persian Gulf to Yemen and Jiddah 
alway call at Aden en route. Also from Oman and Hadramaut 
the modern Sinbads run their craft into Aden to exchange 
produce or to lay in supplies for their voyages to the coast of 

The distance from Aden to Yemen's old capital, Sana is 
nearly 200 miles in a direct line, but on my second journey 
thither, in 1894, I was obliged to take a roundabout journey 
to Taiz, because of an Arab uprising. This and the moun- 
tainous character of the country made the distance over 250 
miles. This route passes through, or near, all the important 
towns of Yemen south of Sana. 

With my Bedouin companion, Nasir, I left Sheikh Othman 
early on the second morning of July. We reached a small 




village, Wahat, at noon, the thermometer registering 96° in the 
shade. After a short rest we mounted the camels at seven 
o'clock in the evening for an all-night journey. Our course 
was through a barren region, and at daylight we entered Wady 
Mergia, with scanty vegetation, resting at a village of the same 
name under a huge acacia tree. The next day we entered the 
* mountains, where rich vegetation showed a cooler climate. We 
passed several villages, Dar El Kadim, Khoteibah, Suk-el-Juma 
and others. As this was said to be a dangerous part of the road 
all the caravan, which we joined at Wahat, was on the look- 
out, with lighted rope-wicks for their flint-locks swinging from 
their shoulders and looking in the dark like so many fireflies. At 
three a. m. we had ascended to the head of the wady and rested 
for the day at Mabek. All the houses here are of stone, the 
booths of date-mats and twigs being only found on the maritime 
plain of Yemen. During the night there had been talk among 
the wild Arabs of the village of holding me as a hostage to 
obtain money from the English at Aden ! But Nasir quieted 
them with a threefold Bedouin oath that I was not a govern- 
ment official nor an Englishman, but an American traveller. 

The day after leaving Mabek brought us to the beginning of 
the happy valleys of Yemen, very different from the torrid 
coast. A country where the orange, lemon, quince, grape, 
mango, plum, apricot, peach, apple, pomegranate, fig, date, 
plantain and mulberry, each yield their fruit in season ; where 
wheat, barley, maize, millet and coffee are staple products and 
where there is a glorious profusion of wild flowers — called 
"grass " by the unpoetic camel-drivers. A land whose moun- 
tains lift up their heads over 9,000 feet, terraced from 
chilly top to warm valley with agricultural amphitheatres, 
irrigated by a thousand rills and rivulets, some of them peren- 
nial, flowing along artificial channels or leaping down the rocks 
in miniature falls. A land where the oriole hangs her nest on 
the dark acacia, the wild doves hide in clefts of the rock and 
the chameleon sports his colors by the wayside under the tall 


flowering cactus. Such is Yemen. The vegetation of Arabia 
FeHx begins just before reaching Mufallis, on this route, where 
a Turkish castle and customhouse proclaim the boundary of 
Ottoman aggression. 

Beautiful was the air and scenery on our march. Arab 
peasants were at work in the fields, plowing ^ with oxen, repair- 
ing the walls of the terraces and opening the water-courses. 
The women were all unveiled and had the picturesque cos- 
tume universal in southern Yemen ; their narrow trousers were 
fastened at the waist and ankles, while over their shoulders 
hung long mantle-like garments, low in the neck, girded, and 
fringed at the bottom with embroidered cloth of green or red. 
Here they wear a kind of light turban, but on the Hodeidah 
coast broad-brimmed straw hats cover the heads of the Yemen 
belles as they urge their donkeys to market. 

At sunrise we were in sight of the highest peaks to the left of 
the wady-bed. One of them is crowned by a walli or saint's- 
tomb of Saled bin Taka. These tombs are common in Yemen 
and thousands of people visit them annually to ask intercession, 
each saint having a special day in the Moslem calendar. At 
Mocha the grave of the Arab sheikh Abu-el-Hassan Shadeli, 
who first discovered the use of coffee, is highly honored by dis- 
tant pilgrims. 

At eight o'clock on the morning of July fourth we reached 
the burj called Mufallis and had our first experience of Turkish 
rule in Yemen. Unexpectedly we here stumbled upon a 
Turkish customhouse, which I had thought was located at 
Taiz, as the boundary of Turkish Yemen on my maps did not 
extend further south. An unmannerly negro, calling himself 
Mudeer of Customs, looked out of a port-hole and demanded 
my ascent. Through dirt and up darkness I reached his little 
room and stated my errand and purpose. No kind words or 

• The Yemen plow is shaped like an English plow in many respects; 
although it has only one handle its coulter is broad and made of iron, a 
great improvement over the crooked stick of Mesopotamia, 


offered backsheesh would avail; ''all the baggage must be 
opened and all books were forbidden entrance into Yemen by 
a recent order," so he affirmed. First, therefore, I unscrewed 
the covers of the two boxes with an old bowie-knife. The 
books, after having been critically examined by eyes that could 
not read, were seized ; next my saddle-bags were searched, and 
every book and map was also confiscated. I was refused even 
a receipt for the books taken, and to every plea or question the 
only reply was, to go on to Taiz and appeal to the Governor. 

Despoiled of our goods, we left the "customhouse" at 
eleven a. m., taking an old man on a donkey armed with a 
spear, as guide and defence, because Nasir heard that there was 
disturbance in this quarter. At two o'clock we rested for half 
an hour under the shade of a huge rock in the bed of the 
wady, and then warned by peals of thunder, we hastened on, 
hoping to reach Hirwa before dark. In less than an hour, how- 
ever, the sky was black, rain fell in torrents, and we found it 
hopeless to attempt to urge the slow camels on through the 
wady. There was no shelter in sight, so we crouched under a 
small tree halfway up the mud bank. The rain turned to hail 
— large stones that frightened the camels so that they stam- 
peded — and we became thoroughly chilled. 

When the storm ceased, our donkey man came with looks of 
horror to tell us that his poor beast had fallen down the slope 
and was being swept away by the torrent ! What had been a 
dry river bed half an hour before, was now a rushing rapids. 
We decided to climb up the terraces to a house which we saw 
on the mountain side. The camels had preceded us, and after 
a vigorous climb over mud-fields and up the rocks we reached 
the house and hospitality of Sheikh Ali. Over the charcoal 
fire, after drinking plenty of kishr, (made from the shell of the 
coffee bean,) we had to listen to a long discussion concerning 
the lost donkey. Finally, matters were smoothed over by my 
offering to pay one-half the price of the animal on condition 
that our guide should proceed with us to Hirwa. 


The next day we were off early. Because of the steep ascents 
I was obliged to walk most of the way, and I sprained my ankle 
severely. It did not pain me until night, when it was swollen 
and kept me "on crutches" for several days. Hirwa is a 
small Arab village with a weekly market, and we found shelter 
in the usual coffee-shop characteristic of Yemen. The follow- 
ing day we reached Sept Ez zeilah, where we found cleaner 
quarters than the night before. At about midnight a war party 
of Bedouins came and frightened the peaceful villagers with de- 
mands for food, etc. They had just returned from setting fire 
to a small castle, and, numbering sixty hungry men, were not 
to be intimidated. They were about to force their way into 
our quarters when Nasir and the women promised to give them 
food. Within, I kept quiet and listened to the noise of grind- 
ing and baking and coffee-pounding. Without, some of the 
Arabs seized a cow belonging to a poor woman and butchered 
it for their feast. At this there was a crying of women and 
barking of dogs and swearing of oaths by the Great Allah, such 
as I hope never to hear again. Finally, the Arabs went away 
with full stomachs, and we slept a broken sleep for fear they 
might return. The next day we proceeded to Taiz, and ar- 
rived at noon, one week after leaving Aden. 

The Mutasarrif Pasha, or Governor, was satisfied with my 
passports, and expressed his regrets that the books had been 
seized at Mufallis, but such was the law. He would, however, 
allow me to send for them for inspection. What is written 
here in four lines was the work and patience of four weary 
days ! A soldier was sent to Mufallis ; I was obliged to entrust 
him with money to pay the custom dues ; to hire a camel to 
carry the books ; finally to pay for two sticks of sealing wax 
(price in Taiz one rupee) with which to seal the books and 
maps lest they be tampered with — all this at the order of the 
enlightened government of the Sublime Porte ! The first mes- 
senger never reached Mufallis ; on the road he was attacked by 
Arabs, stabbed in the neck, robbed of his rifle, and carried 


back to the military hospital at Taiz. Then there was more 
delay to find and send a second soldier with the same camel 
and money and sealing wax, but with a new rifle. He returned 
with the books safely after five days ! No Turk could set a 
value on a book, and so the law is that books are taxed by 
weight, boxes included. The customs receipt was attached for 
" 200 kilograms Jewish books (at twenty piastres a kilo.), 
value, 4,000 piastres, and custom dues amounting to 288 
piastres." In the same document I was spoken of as "the 
Jew, Ishmail, Dhaif Ullah," — a rather curious combination oi 
names. I was called a " Jew " because of the case of Hebrew 
New Testaments ; Ishmail was the equivalent for Samuel ; and 
Dhaif Ullah, my Arabic cognomen. 



" If the Turks would clear out of Yemen, a wonderful field for com- 
merce would be thrown open, for the Turkish government is vile and all 
cultivators are taxed to an iniquitous extent," — Ion Keith Falconer. 

^^T^HILE waiting at Taiz I had an opportunity to study 
^ Yemen town life and the system of government, as 
well as to learn a little about the cultivation of coffee and kaat, 
the two chief products of this part of Yemen. 

Taiz has not often been visited by travellers from the Occi- 
dent, and is a most interesting place. It is a large fortified 
village of perhaps 5,000 inhabitants, the residence of a Muta- 
sarrif whose authority extends from the province of Hodeidah 
to the Aden frontier including Mocha and Sheikh Seyyid on 
the coast, recently abandoned by France. The place has five 
gates, one of which has been walled up, and five large mosques 
in Byzantine style. The largest Mosque is called El Muzafer, 
and has two large minarets and twelve beautiful domes. Taiz 
was once a centre of learning and its libraries were celebrated 
all over Arabia. Firozabadi, the Noah Webster of the Arabic 
language, taught in Taiz and edited his "Ocean" dictionary 
^ there. He died at the neighboring town of Zebid, in 1414 a. d., 
and his grave is honored by the learned of Yemen. 

The bazaar is not large, but the four European shops kept by 
Greek merchants are well supplied with all ordinary articles of 
civilization. One public bath, in splendid condition, and a 
military hospital show Ottoman occupation. The fort holds 
perhaps 1,300 soldiers and the residence of the Mutasarrif is 
in a beautiful and comfortable little building outside of the town. 



The mosques were once grand but are now ruined and a home 
for bats ; the famous Hbraries have disappeared and the sub- 
terannean vaults of the largest Mosque formerly used as por- 
ticoes for pupils are now Turkish horse-stables. There is a post 
office and telegraph ; the post goes once a week to Hodeidah 
via Zebid and Beit el Fakih, and the telegraph in the same di- 
rection a little more rapidly when the wires are in order. 

Taiz is girt around by Jebel Sobr, the highest range of 
mountains in southern Yemen. Hisn Aroos peak, near the 
town, has an elevation of over 7,000 feet. According to 
Niebuhr and Defler, on a clear day one can look from the sum- 
mit of this peak across the lowlands and the Red Sea into 
Africa. I was unable to reach the summit as my Arab guide 
failed me and the days were misty and frequent rains fell. 

Taiz is the centre of kaat-culture for all Yemen, and coffee 
comes here on its way to Hodeidah or Aden. Amid all the 
wealth of vegetation and fruitage every plant seems familiar to 
the tourist save kaat. It is a shrub whose very name is un- 
known outside of Yemen, while there it is known and used by 
every mother's son, as well as by the mothers and daughters 
themselves. Driving from Aden to Sheikh Othman, one first 
learns the name. Why are those red flags hoisted near the 
police stations, at intervals on the road, and why are they 
hauled down as soon as those camels pass ? Oh, they are tak- 
ing loads of kaat for the Aden market, and the flags are to 
prevent cheating of the customs. Over 2,000 camel loads come 
into Aden every year, and each load passes through English 
territory by " block-signal " system, for it is highly taxed. As 
to its tise, step into a kahwah in any part of Yemen shortly be- 
fore sunset, and you will see Arabs each with a bundle of 
green twigs in his lap, chewing at the leaves of kaat. 

At Taiz I first had an opportunity to meet the Jews of the 
interior of Yemen. Altogether they number perhaps 60,000 in 
the whole province. They live mostly in the large towns and very 
few are agriculturists. They are a despised and down-trodden 


race, but they say at Sana, that their condition is not so bad 
under the Turks as it was under the Arab rulers before 187 1. 
The accounts of their origin are discrepant. Some say they 
are descended from the Jews of the Dispersion, but others 
hold that they were immigrants from the North over 900 
years ago. They are more cleanly, more intelhgent and more 
trustworthy than the Arabs ; and although they are out of all 
communication with the rest of the world and in ignorance of 
their European countrymen they are not ignorant of Hebrew 
and rabbinic learning. Their synagogue near Taiz is a low 
stone building, twenty-five by fifteen feet. For furniture it has 
only a few curtains of embroidered texts, a printed diagram of 
the ancient candlestick, with the names of the twelve tribes, 
and a high reading-desk. Such are all the synagogues of 

At Taiz the Jews seemed to have grown content under long 
centuries of oppression and taxation. Many of the old 
Moslem laws against infidels, such as those forbidding them to 
ride, to carry weapons or wear fine clothes in public, are still 
rigorously enforced by custom if not by the government. The 
Jew is universally despised, yet he cannot be spared, for nearly 
all artisan work is in Jewish hands. The Moslem Arab has 
learned nothing from the Jew outside of the Koran ; but, alas! 
the Jew has imbibed many foolish customs and superstitions 
foreign to his creed from Islam. 

When the Hebrew Scriptures reached Taiz I was again dis- 
appointed, for the Governor would not permit the boxes to be 
opened, but they were to be sent sealed and under guard to 
Sana. I afterward learned that the "guard" was for me as 
well as the books, and that the soldier carried a letter with this 
accusation written : " This is a converted Jew, who is corrupt- 
ing the religion of Islam, and sells books to Moslems and 
Jews." I had no alternative but to proceed to Sana; taking 
a Damar Arab as servant, having dismissed the Aden camels. 

I left Taiz on a mule July 26th, and arrived at Seyanee the 


same day. The following night we reached Ibb. Here I was 
forced to lodge outside of the town, as the guard had in- 
structions not to let me "see things." I endured this im- 
patiently, until I learned that our servant had been imprisoned 
on our arrival because he told me the names of the villages on 
the route ! I then appealed to the Mayor, and on virtue of my 
passports demanded the right of going about the town and the 
release of my servant. After some delay, both requests were 
granted. The incident is one of many to show the suspicion 
with which a stranger is regarded by the authorities in Yemen. 
On Saturday the soldier and I hastened on to reach the large 
town of Yerim before Sunday, and rest there, waiting for the 
baggage camel. It was a long ride of twelve hours, but 
through a delightful country everywhere fertile and terraced 
with coffee plantations and groves of kaat. 

Yerim, with perhaps 300 houses, lies in a hollow of the 
Sumara range of mountains. It has a fortress and some houses 
of imposing appearance, but the general aspect of the town is 
miserable. A neighboring marsh breeds malaria, and the place 
is proverbially unhealthy in this otherwise salubrious region. 
Niebuhr's botanist, Forskal, died here on their journey in 1763. 
The road from Ibb to Yerim has perhaps the finest scenery of 
any part of Yemen; never have I seen more picturesque 
mountains and valleys, green with verdure and bright with 
blossoms. Scabiosa, bluebells, forget-me-nots, golden-rod, 
four-o' clocks and large oleander-trees — 

" All earth was full of heaven 
And every bush afire with God." 

The cacti -plants were in full bloom, and measured twenty 
feet against the mountain passes. Two thousand feet below 
one could hear the sound of the water rushing along the wady- 
bed or disappearing under the bridges that span the valleys. 
While high above, the clouds were half concealing the summit 
of the " Gazelle Neck " (Unk el-Gazel). 


Sunday, July 29th, was a cold day at Yerim; early in the 
morning the temperature went down to 52°, and at night two 
blankets were needed. Not until nine o'clock was it warm 
enough for the Yerim merchants to open their shops. 

A Jewish family, en route for Taiz, were stopping with us at 
the caravansari, and at night I spoke for over two hours with 
them and the Arabs about Christ. There was no interruption, 
and I was impressed to see the interest of a Jew and Arab 
alike in what I told them from Isaiah liii., reading it in Arabic 
by the dim candle light, amidst all the baggage and beasts of 
an Oriental inn. At the little village of Khader, eight miles 
from Waalan, angry words arose from the "guard" be- 
cause I tried to speak to a Jew. When I spoke in protest 
they began to strike the Jew with the butt end of their rifles,^ 
and when the poor fellow fled, my best defence was silence. 
On my return journey, I inadvertently raised trouble again, by 
mentioning that Jesus Christ and Moses were Jews — which the 
Arabs considered an insult to the prophets of God. 

On the road beyond Yerim we passed a large boulder with 
an irregular impression on one side. This is called All's foot- 
print, and the Arabs who pass always anoint it with oil. The 
steep ascents and descents of the journey were now behind 
us. From Yerim on to Sana the plateau is more level. Wide 
fields of lentils, barley and wheat take the place of the groves 
of kaat and coffee; camels were used for ploughing, and 
with their long necks and curious harness, were an odd sight. 

The next halt we made was at Damar, 8,000 feet above sea- 
level. It is a large town, with three minaret-mosques and a 
arge bazaar; the houses are of native rock, three and four- 
stories high, remarkably clean and well-built. Inside they are 
whitewashed, and have the Yemen translucent slabs of gypsum 

1 It was not pleasant for an American to notice that nearly all the 
Turkish rifles in Yemen were " Springfield 1861." The same weapons 
that were employed to break the chains of slavery in the southern states, 
are now used to oppress the peaceful Yemenites. 


for window-panes. From Daraar the road leads northeast 
over Maaber and the Kariet en-Nekil pass to Waalan ; thence, 
nearly due north, to Sana. From Damar to Waalan is thirty- 
five miles, and thence to the capital, eighteen miles more. 
The roads near the city of Sana are kept in good repair, 
although there are no wheeled vehicles, for the sake of the 
Turkish artillery. 

On Thursday, August 2d, we entered Sana by the Yemen 
gate. Three years before I had entered the city from the other 
side, coming from Hodeidah ; then in the time of the Arab 
rebellion and now myself a prisoner, I was taken to the 
Dowla and handed over to the care of a policeman until the 
Wall heard my case. After finding an old Greek friend from 
Aden, who offered to go bail for me, I was allowed liberty, and 
for nineteen days was busy seeing the city and visiting the 

Sana, anciently called Uzal, and since many centuries the 
chief city of Yemen, contains some 50,000 inhabitants and lies 
stretched out in a wide, level valley between Jebel Nokoom 
and the neighboring ranges. It is 7,648 feet above sea-level. 
The town is in the form of a triangle, the eastern point consist- 
ing of a large fortress, dominating the town, and built upon the 
lowest spur of Nokoom, The town is divided into three walled 
quarters, the whole being surrounded by one continuous wall 
of stone and brick. They are respectively the city proper, in 
which are the government buildings, the huge bazaars, and the 
residences of the Arabs and Turks ; the Jews' quarter ; and 
Bir-el-azib, which lies between the two, and contains gardens 
and villas belonging to the richer Turks and Arabs. The city 
had once great wealth and prosperity, and to-day remains, 
next to Bagdad, the most flourishing city in all Arabia. The 
shops are well supplied with European goods, and a large 

1 Of the work among the latter, and my experiences in distributing the 
New Testament, a report was published by the Mildmay Mission; we 
therefore omit reference to it here. 



manufacture of silk, jewelry and arms is carried on. The gov- 
ernment quarter, with its cafes, billiard-rooms, large Greek shops, 
carriages, bootblacks, and brass-band reminds one of Cairo. 
Sana has forty-eight mosques, thirty-nine synagogues, twelve 
large public-baths, a military hospital with 200 beds, and is the 
centre of trade for all northern Yemen and northwestern 
Hadramaut, as well as for the distant villages of Nejran and 
fertile Wady Dauasir. Arabs from every district crowd the 
bazaars, and long strings of camels leave every day for the 
Hodeidah coast. 

On August 14th I took an early morning walk to Rhoda, a 
village about eight miles north of Sana, and in the midst of 
beautiful gardens. From Roda the direct caravan route leads 
to Nejran, and from the outskirts of the village, looking north, 
an inviting picture met the eye. A fertile plateau stretched out 
to the horizon, and only two days' journey would bring one into 
the free desert beyond Turkish rule. But this time the way 
across the peninsula was closed by my bankruptcy ; robbed at 
Yerim in the coffee-shop, and already in debt at Sana, it would 
have been impossible to proceed, except as a dishonest dervish. 

On the 2 1 St of August I left Sana for Hodeidah, receiving 
a loan of twenty dollars from the Ottoman government, to be 
paid back at the American consulate. We followed the regular 
postal route, the same which I had travelled on my first journey. 

The plateau or table-land between Sana' a and Banan is a 
pasture country. The Bedouins live in the stone-built villages 
and herd their immense flocks on the plain; camels, cows and 
sheep were grazing by the hundreds and thousands. After 
Banan begins the difficult descent to the coast down break- 
neck mountain stairways rather than roadways, over broken 
bridges, and through natural arches. Fertile, cultivated moun- 
tain slopes were on every side, reminding one of the valleys of 
Switzerland. In one district near Suk-el-Khamis the whole 
mountain-side for a height of 6,000 feet was terraced from top 
to bottom. General Haig wrote of these terraces : " One can 


hardly realize the enormous amount of labor, toil and perse- 
verance which these represent. The terraced walls are usually 
from five to eight feet in height, but toward the top of the 
mountain they are sometimes as much as fifteen or eighteen 
feet. They are built entirely of rough stone, laid without 
mortar. I reckon on an average that each wall retains a ter- 
race not more than twice its own height in width, and I do not 
think I saw a single breach in one of them unrepaired." ^ 

In Yemen there are two rainy seasons, in spring and in au- 
tumn, so that there is generally an abundance of water in the 
numerous reservoirs stoced for irrigation. Yet, despite the ex- 
traordinary fertility of the soil and the surprising industry of 
the inhabitants, the bulk of the people are miserably poor, ill- 
fed and rudely clothed, because they are crushed down by a 
heartless system of taxation. Every agricultural product, im- 
plement and process is under the heavy hand of an oppressive 
administration and a military occupation that knows no law. 
The peasantry are robbed by the soldiers on their way to 
market, by the custom-collector at the gate of each city, and 
by the tax-gatherer in addition. On the way to Sana my 
soldier-companion stopped a poor peasant who was urging on 
a little donkey loaded with two large baskets of grapes ; he 
emptied the best of the grapes into his saddle-bags, and then 
beat the man and cursed him because some of the grapes were 
unripe ! No wonder we read of rebellions in Yemen, and no 
wonder that intense hatred lives in every Arab against the very 
name of Turk. 

From Suk-el-Khamis, a dirty mountain village,^ with an ele- 
vation of over 9,500 feet, the road leads by Mefak and Wady 
Zaun to the peculiarly located village of Menakha. At an 
altitude of 7,600 feet above sea-level, it is perched on a narrow 
ridge between two mountain ranges. On either side of the one 

1 Geog. Soc. Proceedings, 1887, p. 482. 

2 Defler says in his diary that this place has " une odeur atroce et des 
legions de puces et de punaises." I also had an all-night's battle. 

70 ^R.-ffil.t, THE CR.-inU: OF 1SI..-1M 

street that forms the backbone of the summit ai'e precipices 
2,000 foot (loop. So narrow is tlio town that there are places 
\vhero ono can stand and ga.o down both sides of the abyss at 
the same tin\e, Vo roach it from the west there is only one 
path zigzagging up the mountain-side, and froni the east it can 
only be approached by a narrow track cut in the fiice of the 
precipice and winding up for an ascent of 2,500 feet, Mon- 
akha is the centre of the cofTco trade ; it has a population of 
10,000 or more, onc-thiril of which are Jews. Thcro are four 
(""irook merchants, the Turks had 2,000 troops garrisoned in the 
town, and the bazaars wore ocpial to those of Tai/. Its exact 
elevation is given by Dotlor. after eighteen observations, as 
7.616 feet above soa-lovol. 

From Monakha to the coast is only two long ilays' jour- 
ney; three by camel. The first stage is to Hejjeila, at the 
foot of the high ranges ; thence to Bajil. a village of 2,000 peo- 
ple, and along the barren, hot phi in to llodoidah. At Hajil 
the people are noiu^ly all shepherds, and the main industry is 
dyeing cloth and weaving straw. Here one sees the curious 
Yemen straw hats worn by tlic women, anil here also the peas- 
ant-maidens wear no veils. Vet they are of purer heart and 
life than the black-clouted and covered women of the Turkish 

Hodeidah by the sea is very like Jiddah in its general ap- 
pearance. The streets are narrow, crooked and indescribably 
filthy. The "Casino" is a sort of Greek hotel for strangers, 
and the tlnest house in the city is that of Sidi .Varon, near the 
sea, with its fmo front and marble courtyard. The population 
is of a \ery mixed character ; east of the city in a separate 
quarter live the Akhdam Arabs, whose origin is uncertain, but 
who are considered outcasts by all the other Arabs. They are 
not allowed to carry arms and no Arali tribe intermarries with 

From Hodeidah there is a regular lino of small steamers to 
Aden, and the b'gyptian Rod Soa coasting steamers also call 



here fortnightly. The trade of Ilodeidah was once flourishing, 
but here too I'urkish misrule has brought deadness and dull- 
ness into business, and taxation has crushed industrial enter- 





" As when to them who sail 
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past 
Mozambic, off at sea northeast winds blow 
Sabean odors from the spicy shore 
Of Araby the blest."— yl/z7/t7«, 

"1 X 7E must take at least a glimpse of the almost unknown 
~ region called Hadramaut.^ This is a strip of territory 
stretching between the great desert and the sea from Aden east- 
ward to Oman. Our knowledge of the interior of this region 
was almost a perfect blank until some light was thrown on it 
by the enterprising traveller A. Von Wrede in 1843. The 
coast is comparatively well known, at least as far as Makalla 
and Shehr. The land rises from the coast in a series of ter- 
races to Jebel Hamra (5,284 feet), which is connected on the 
northeast with Jebel Dahura, over 8,000 feet high. 

Adolph Von Wrede sailed from Aden to Makalla and 
thence penetrated inland as far as Wady Doan the most fertile 
spot of all South Arabia. This wady flows northward through 
the land of the Bni Yssa and the district is bordered on the 
west by Belad-el-Hasan and on the east by Belad-el-Hamum. 
But how far this region extends northward and whether the 
sandy desert of El Ahkaf (quicksands) really begins with the 
Wady Rakhia, a branch of the Doan are points on which Von 
Wrede throws no light and which are still uncertain. In 1870 

1 Hadramaut is a very ancient name for this region. Not only does 
Ptolemy place here the Adraniitce in his geography, but there seems little 
doubt that Hadramaut is identical with Hazarmaveth, mentioned in the 
tenth chapter of Genesis. 



the French Jew, Joseph Halevy, made a bold attempt to pene- 
trate mto Hadramaut from Yemen. Since then little was 
added to our knowledge of Hadramaut until 1893 when Shibam, 
the residence of the most powerful Sultan of Hadramaut was 
visited by Theodore Bent and his wife. In 1897 they made a 
second journey into the same region which cost Mr. Bent his 
health and afterward his life. From the account of these jour* 
neys we quote a few paragraphs which set forth clearly the in- 
teresting character of this almost unknown country.^ 

"Immediately behind Makalla rise grim arid mountains of a 
reddish hue, and the town is plastered against this rich-tinged 
background. By the shore, like a lighthouse, stands the white 
minaret of the Mosque, the walls and pinnacles of which are 
covered with dense masses of. seabirds and pigeons ; not far 
from this the huge palace where the Sultan dwells reminds one 
of a whitewashed mill with a lace-like parapet ; white, red and 
brown are the dominant colors of the town, and in the harbor 
the Arab dhows with fantastic sterns rock to and fro in the 
unsteady sea, forming altogether a picturesque and unusual 

"Nominally Makalla is ruled over by a Sultan of the Al 
Kaiti family, whose connection with India has made them very 
English in their sympathies, and his Majesty's general appear- 
ance, with his velvet coat and jewelled daggers, is far more 
Indian than Arabian. Really the most influential people in the 
town are the money-grubbing Parsees from Bombay, and it is 
essentially one of those commercial centres where Hindustani 
is spoken nearly as much as Arabian, We were lodged in a 
so-called palace hard by the bazaar, which reeked with mys- 
terious smells and was alive with flies ; so we worked hard to 
get our preparations made and to make our sojourn in this un- 
congenial burning spot as short as possible, . . . 

1 " The Hadramaut : a Journey " by Theodore Bent. Nineteenth 
Century, September, 1894. Also Mrs. Bent's "Yafei and Fadhli 
countries," Geographical Journal, '^vXy, 1898. 


" Leaving these villages behind us, we climbed rapidly higher 
and higher, until, at an elevation of over 5,000 feet, we found 
ourselves at last on a broad level plateau, stretching as far as 
the eye could reach in every direction, and shutting off the 
Hadramaut from the coast. This is the ' mons excelsus ' of 
Pliny ; here we have the vast area where once flourished the 
frankincense and the myrrh. Of the latter shrub there is 
plenty left, and it is still tapped for its odoriferous sap ; but of 
the former we only saw one specimen on the plateau, for in the 
lapse of ages the wealth of this country has steadily disap- 
peared ; further east, however, in the Mahra country, there is, 
I understand, a considerable quantity left. 

" Near Hajarein are many traces of the olden days when the 
frankincense trade flourished, and when the town of Doani, 
which name is still retained in the Wady Doan, was a great 
emporium for this trade. Acres and acres of ruins, dating 
from the centuries immediately before our era, lie stretched 
along the valley here, just showing their heads above the 
weight of superincumbent sand which has invaded and over- 
whelmed the past glories of this district. The ground lies 
strewn with fragments of Himyaritic inscriptions, pottery, and 
other indications of a rich harvest for the excavator, but the 
hostility of the Nahad tribe prevented us from paying these 
ruins more than a cursory visit, and even to secure this we had 
to pay the Sheikh of the place nineteen dollars ; and his greet- 
ing was ominous as he angrily muttered, ' Salaam to all who 
believe Mohammed is the true prophet.* 

" At Assab they would not allow us to dip our vessels in 
their well, nor take our repast under the shadow of their 
Mosque : even the women of this village ventured to insult us, 
peeping into our tent at night, and tumbling over the guys in a 
manner most aggravating to the weary occupants. 

"Our troubles on this score were happily terminated at 
Haura, where a huge castle belonging to the Al Kaiti family 
dominates a humble village surrounded by palm groves. With- 


out photographs to bear out my statement, I should hardly dare 
to describe the magnificence of these castles in the Hadramaut. 
That at Haura is seven stories high, and covers fully an acre 
of ground beneath the beetling cliff, with battlements, towers, 
and machicolations bearing a striking likeness to Holyrood. 
But Holyrood is built of stone, and Haura, save for the first 
story, is built of sun-dried bricks ; and if Haura stood where 
Holyrood does, or in any other country save dry, arid Arabia, 
it would long ago have melted away. . 

" One of the most striking features of these Arabian palaces 
is the wood-carving. The doors are exquisitely decorated with 
intricate patterns, and with a text out of the Koran carved on 
the lintel ; the locks and keys are all of wood, and form a study 
for the carver's art, as do the cupboards, the niches, the sup- 
porting beams and the windows, which are adorned with fret- 
work instead of glass. The dwelling-rooms are above, the 
ground floor being exclusively used for merchandise, and the 
first floor for the domestics." 

Concerning the chief town of the interior of Hadramaut Mr. 
Bent writes as follows : 

" Then he sent us to reside for five more days in his capital 
of Shibam, which is twelve miles distant from Al Katan, and 
is one of the principal towns in the Hadramaut valley. It is 
built on rising ground in the centre of the narrowest point of 
the valley, so that no one can pass between it and the cliffs of 
the valley out of gunshot of the walls. This rising ground has 
doubtless been produced by many generations of towns built of 
sun-dried bricks, for it is the best strategical point in the neigh- 
borhood. Early Arab writers tell us that the Himyarite popu- 
lation of this district came here when they abandoned their 
capital at Sabota, or Shabwa, further up the valley, early in our 
era, but we found evident traces of an earlier occupation than 
this — an inscription and a seal with the name ' Shibam ' en- 
graved on it, which cannot be later than the third century, 
B. c. And as a point for making up the caravans which started 


from the frankincense-growing district, Shibam must always 
have been very important. 

"The town of Shibam offers a curious appearance as you 
approach ; above its mud-brick walls with bastions and watch 
towers appear the tall whitewashed houses of the wealthy, 
which make it look like a large round cake with sugar on it. 
Outside the walls several industries are carried on, the chief of 
which is the manufacture of indigo dye. The small leaves are 
dried in the sun and powdered and then put into huge jars — 
which reminded us of the Forty Thieves — filled with water. 
Next morning these are stirred with long poles, producing a 
dark blue frothy mixture ; this is left to settle, and then the in- 
digo is taken from the bottom and spread out on cloths to 
drain ; the substance thus procured is taken home and mixed 
with dates and saltpetre. Four pounds of this indigo to a 
gallon of water makes the requisite and universally used dye 
for garments, the better class of which are calendered by beat- 
ing them with wooden hammers on stones." 
' Of the coast town of Shehr and its ruler Mr. Bent says : 

"Shehr is a detestable place by the sea, set in a wilderness 
of sand. Once it was the chief commercial port of the Hadra- 
maut valley, but now Makalla has quite superseded it, for 
Shehr is nothing but an open roadstead and its buildings are 
now falling into ruins. Ghalib, the eldest son and heir of the 
chief of the Al Kaiti family, rules here as the viceregent of his 
father, who is in India as jemadar or general of the Arab 
troops, chiefly all Hadrami, in the service of the Nizam of 
Hyderabad. Ghalib is quite an Oriental dandy, who lived a 
life of some rapidity when in India, so that his father thought 
it as well to send him to rule in Shehr, where the capabilities 
for mischief are not so many as at Bombay. He dresses very 
well in various damask silk coats and faultless trousers ; his 
swords and daggers sparkle with jewels ; in his hand he flour- 
ishes a golden-headed cane; and, as the water is hard at Shehr, 
he sends his dirty linen in dhows to Bombay to be washed." 



The Arabs of Hadramaut have been still more in contact 
with Java than with India. Large colonies of Hadramis em- 
igrated to the Dutch Archipelago more than a century ago ; 
intermarriage between the Javanese and the Arabs is very com- 
mon ; and the Mohammedanism of the Dutch East Indies is 
entirely of the Hadramaut type. These interesting facts were 
first brought to light by Van den Berg, a Dutch scholar in his 
elaborate work on this province of Arabia and the Arab col- 
onies in Java.^ His account of Hadramaut is a compilation 
from the lips of the Arab immigrants, but the description of 
the manners and customs of the people and their religious 
peculiarities is from personal observation. Altogether, in spite 
of minor geographical inaccuracies, the book is the best single 
volume on Southern Arabia and tells the story of Islam in the 
Dutch Archipelago as it is to-day. The Arabs have always 
been a strong race at colonizing but it is well to note that the 
influence of Hadramaut on Java and Sumatra to-day is not 
less than that of Oman on Zanzibar and East Africa in the last 
century. Even Hadramaut will not always remain undiscov- 
ered and unremembered. The incense-country of antiquity 
has a future before it even as it has had a glorious past. 


' Le Hadramont et les Colonies Arabes dans le Archipel Indien par L. 
W. C. Van den Berg. Batavia, 1886. By order of the Government. 



" Oman is separated from the rest of Arabia by a sandy desert. It is, 
in fact, as far as communication with the rest of the world is concerned, 
an island with the sea on one side and the desert on the other. Hence 
its people are even more primitive, simple and unchanged in their habits 
than the Arabs generally. Along the coast, however, especially at Muscat 
they are more in contact with the outer world." — General Haig. 

TN Arab nomenclature Oman applies only to a small district 
in the vicinity of Muscat, but the name is generally given 
to the entire southeastern section of the Arabian peninsula, in- 
cluding everything east of a line drawn from the Kuria-Muria 
islands to the peninsula of Katar, anciently called Bahrein. 
Thus defined it is the largest province of Arabia and in some 
respects the most interesting. Historically, politically and 
geographically Oman has always been isolated from the other 
provinces. Turkish rule never extended this far nor did the 
later caliphs long exercise their authority here. The whole 
country has for centuries been under independent rulers called 
Imams or Seyyids. The population, which is wholly Arab 
and Mohammedan, (save in the coast towns) was derived 
originally from two different stocks known to the Arabs as 
Kahtani and Adnani or the Yemeni and Muadi. These names 
have changed since the beginning of the eighteenth century to 
Hinani and Ghaffiri. The Yemen tribes came first and are 
most numerous. The two rival races have been in open and 
continuous feud and antagonism and have kept the country in 
perpetual turmoil. They even inhabit separate quarters in 
some of the towns, according to Colonel Miles. In Somail, 
about fifty miles inland from Muscat a broad road marks the 
division between the two clans. These two parent stocks are 



subdivided into some 200 different tribes and these again into 
sub-tribes or "houses." Each family-group has its own 
Sheikh, a hereditary position assumed by the eldest male in 
the family. 

Very few of the tribes of Oman are nomadic ; the greater 
part live in towns and villages along the wady-beds. With 
the exception of fruits of which there is a great variety and 
abundance, dates are the sole food product and the chief ex- 
port of the province. Rice is imported from India. The total 
population of Oman is estimated by Colonel Miles not to ex- 
ceed 1,500,000. There are numerous towns of 5,000 to 10,- 
000 inhabitants ; Muscat and Mattra are the chief towns on the 
coast, and are practically united as they are only two miles 
apart. The climate of Oman on the coast is excessively hot 
and moist during a large part of the year, although the rainfall 
here is only six to ten inches annually; in the interior the heat 
is greatly tempered by the elevation, the rainfall is much 
greater and the climate as pleasant as in the highlands of 

The Omanese state was at its greatest height of power at the 
beginning of the present century. Then the Sultans of Muscat 
exercised rule as far as Bahrein to the northwest, had posses- 
sion of Bunder Abbas and Linga in Persia, and called Socotra 
and Zanzibar their own. At this time the Oman Arabs began 
their extensive journeys in Africa and, urged by the enormous 
profits of the slave-trade, explored every corner of the great in- 
terior of the Dark Continent. At present the authority of the 
Sultan at Muscat, Seyyid Feysul bin Turki, does not extend 
far beyond the capital and its suburbs. 

In the early years of the Oman Sultanate, Nizwa was the 
capital, afterward Rastak became the seat of government, but 
since 1779, Muscat has been at once the capital and the key, 
the gateway and the citadel of the whole country. On ap- 
proaching Muscat in a British India steamer, the land is first 
sighted, looming up in one mass of dark mountain ranges; 


closer, one portion of this mass directly over the town of Mus- 
cat is seen to be of a dark brown color, crag on crag, serrated 
and torn in a fantastic manner and giving the harbor a most 
picturesque appearance. The town itself shows white against 
the dark massive rocks, on the summits of which are perched 
numerous castles and towers. But, though presenting a pleas- 
ing prospect from a distance, a nearer view reveals the usual 
features of large Oriental towns, — narrow, dirty streets, unat- 
tractive buildings, and masses of crumbling walls under the 
torrid heat of a burning sun and amid all the sweltering sur- 
roundings of a damp climate. 

The heat of Muscat is proverbial. John Struys, the Dutch- 
man, who visited this town in 1672, wrote that it was " so in- 
credibly hot and scorching that strangers are as if they were in 
boiling cauldrons or sweating tubs." A Persian, named Abd- 
er-Razak, being a Persian, was able to surpass all others in ex- 
aggerated description and wrote of Muscat in 1442, " The 
heat was so intense that it burned the marrow in the bones, the 
sword in its scabbard melted like wax, and the gems that 
adorned the handle of the dagger were reduced to coal. In 
the plains the chase became a matter of perfect ease, for the 
desert was filled with roasted gazelles ! " It is said that a 
black bulb thermometer has registered 189° F. in the sun at Mus- 
cat and 107° even at night, is not unusual during the hottest 
part of the year. The bare rocks form a parabolic mirror to 
the sun's rays from the south and west; add to this the facts 
that the hills shut off the breezes and that Muscat lies on the 
Tropic of Cancer in the zone of greatest heat. According to 
the witness of a resident, "the climate of Muscat is bad be- 
yond all description. For about three months in the year, 
from December to March, it is tolerably cool at night but after 
the latter month' the heat becomes intense and makes Muscat 
rank but little after the Infernal Regions. There is a short 
break in the hot weather about the middle of July which gen- 
erally lasts a month." 




The most conspicuous buildings of Muscat are the two forts, 
the reUcs of the Portuguese dominion, which stand out boldly 
on each side of the town about loo feet above the sea. They 
command not only the sea-approach, but the town itself and 
are only accessible by a fine stairway cut out of the natural 
rock. The guns that bristle from the forts are nearly all old 
and comparatively harmless. Several of them are of brass and' 
bear the royal arms of Spain; one is dated 1606. In the fort 
to the right of the harbor, one can still see the ruins of a 
Portuguese chapel. When Pelly visited it in 1865 the follow- 
ing inscription was legible : 

AVE MAR. GRASA P._EA Qs ~ECUM Etc. . . . 

Its translation given by him reads: "Hail Mary full of 
grace, the Lord is with thee. Don Phillip III., King of Spain, 
Don Juan de Acuna of his council of war and his captain- 
general of the artillery in the year 1605, in the eighth year of 
his reign in the crown of Portugal, ordered through Don 
Quarte Menezes, his commissioner of India, that this fortress 
should be built." 

The Sultan has also a town residence in half decay like all 
the other stone-built but mud-cemented houses of the natives. 
The only residences well-built and durable are those of the 
British resident and the American consul. The former occu- 
pies the choice location, in a rock cleft, where breezes blow 
from two directions. The bazaar of Muscat has little to boast 
of; one of the chief industries is the manufacture of Hilawi 
or Muscat candy-paste, which to the acquired taste is delicious, 
but to the stranger smells of rancid butter and tastes like sweet 

The town is cut off from the plain behind by a substantially 
built wall which stretches from hill to hill. This wall is 
pierced with two gates which are always guarded and closed a 
couple of hours after sunset. The moat outside the wall is 
dry. Beyond it are houses and hundreds of mat huts princi- 



pally inhabited by Beluchis and Negroes. The American mis- 
sion house is also outside of the wall, in this quarter. About 
a third of a mile beyond are the gardens of Muscat and the 
wells, protected by a tower and guard. "The gardens" are 
always visited at sunset by the strollers for exercise, but they 
are hardly large enough " to supply a week's food for loo self- 
respecting locusts of normal appetite." 

The population of Muscat is of very mixed character, Arabs, 
Beluchis, Banian- Traders, Negroes, Persians, and every other 
nation that frequents this port of transit. The Arabic spoken 
in all Oman is a dialect quite different from that of Nejd or 
Yemen but the Arabic of Muscat is full of pigeon-English and 
pigeon-Hindustani. The extensive and long intercourse with 
Zanzibar and East Africa has also had its influence on the 
speech and habits of the Muscat Arab trader. The present 
trade is still very considerable, although less than a century 
ago. It is mostly with India, there being little direct trade 
with England. The chief exports are dates, fruit, shark-fins, 
fish, and salt; the imports, rice, sugar, piece-goods, coffee, 
silk, petroleum and arms. The largest export is of dates 
which nearly all go to the American Market. Besides the 
large number of steamers which call at this port, the native 
merchants own several old British sailing vessels, some of them 
noted clippers in their day, which make one or two voyages a 
year and bring profit to their owners. Native boats also trans- 
port cargoes landed at Muscat, to the less frequented ports. 
This adds to the importance of Muscat as an entrepot for 
Oman. Mattra is the terminus of the caravan-routes from the 
interior and is in communication with Muscat by a narrow 
mountain path and by sea. 

The so-called Pirate coast stretches along the northern 
boundary of Oman on the Persian Gulf from El Katar to 
Ras Musendum and was, even as early as Ptolemy's day, in- 
habited by wild, lawless Arabs. On his map of Arabia they 
are named Ichthiophagoi, or fish-eaters. Niebuhr wrote of this 


part of Oman, "Fishes are so plentiful upon the coast and so 
easily caught, as to be used not only for feeding cows, asses, 
and other domestic animals, but even as manure for the fields." 
Sir John Malcolm, in his quaint sketches of Persia wrote forty 
years ago : "I asked who were the inhabitants of the barren 
shore of Arabia that we saw. He answered with apparent 
alarm, 'they are of the sect of Wahabees and are called 
Jowasimee. But God preserve us from them, for they are 
monsters. Their occupation is piracy, and their delight mur- 
der, and to make it worse they give you the most pious reasons 
for every villainy they commit. They abide by the letter of 
the sacred volume, rejecting all commentaries and traditions. 
If you are their captive and offer all to save your life they say, 
No ! It is written in the Koran that it is not lawful to plunder 
the living ; but we are not prohibited from stripping the dead 
— so saying they knock you on the head.' " 

Thanks to English commerce and gunboats these fanatic 
Wahabis have become more tame, and most of them have long 
given up piracy and turned to pearl-diving for a livelihood. 
Hindu traders have settled among them, foreign commerce 
reaches their bazaars, and the black tent is making room for 
the three or four important towns of Dabai, Sharka, Abu 
Thubi and Ras-el-Kheima, with growing population and in- 
creasing wealth. 

The cape of Musendum and the land back of it, called 
Ras-el-Jebel is very mountainous, but beyond Ras-el-Kheima, 
the coast is low and flat all the way up the gulf. The 
villages are all built near the entrance of salt-water creeks 
or marshes, which serve as harbors at high-tide. For the most 
part the coast is unfertile, but near Sharka there are palm- 
groves, and further inland are oases. The islands off this coast 
are most of them uninhabited. 

The Batina coast is the exception to all the maritime plains 
that surround so large a part of the peninsula ; in western and 
eastern Arabia these low sandy plains are nearly barren of all 


vegetation, but here extensive date plantations and gardens extend 
almost to the very ocean beach. Back of the rising plain are 
the lofty ranges of Jebel Akhdar. This fertile coast begins at 
Sib, about twenty-five miles from Muscat, and extends for 150 
miles to the neighborhood of Khor Kalba with an average 
width of about twelve miles. It has many towns and villages ; 
the principal ones are the following. Sib is a scattered town 
chiefly built of mat-huts with two small detached forts. It has 
a very small bazaar, but extensive date-groves and gardens. 
Back of Sib on the way up the coast one sees the great bluff of 
Jebel Akhdar, 9,900 feet high, and visible over 100 miles out 
at sea. Barka has a lofty Arab fortress, but for the rest mat- 
huts among date-plantations characterize its general appear- 
ance. Large quantities of shell fish are collected and sent 
inland; the bazaar is good and some Banian traders are 
settled here. Passing several islands the next town is Suaik. 
After it the larger town of Sohar, with perhaps 4,000 people. 
This town is walled with a high fort in the middle, the resi- 
dence of the Sheikh. A high conical peak, of light color, 
rises conspicuously about twelve miles west of the town, and 
with the surrounding date gardens and other trees makes a 
pretty picture, altogether more green than one would expect 
on Arabian coasts. Beyond Sohar the chief villages are, in 
order, Shinas, Al Fujaira, Dibba. The two latter are already 
beyond the Batina and are between the high cliffs and the deep 

Going from southeast Muscat down the coast toward Ras- 
el-Had we first pass the little village of Sudab and Bunder 
Jissa. The latter is of interest as the place the French were 
trying to acquire for a coaling-station from the Sultan of Mus- 
cat last year. It has a good anchorage, is only five miles from 
Muscat, and an island precipice, 140 feet high, guards the en- 
trance. After this, Karyat, Taiwa, Kalhat and smaller villages 
passed, we reach Sur. This large, double town is situated on a 
khor or backwater, with two forts to the westward. The in- 


habitants, numbering perhaps 8,000, consist of two clans of 
the Bni Bu Ali and the Bni Janaba, often at feud with each 
other. The country inland is partly cultivated and date 
groves abound. Sur has always been a place of trade and 
enterprise and its buggalows visit India, Zanzibar and the 
Persian Gulf. The people are all bold sailors since many 
generations. But Sur also has the unenviable reputation of 
being even now the centre of illicit slave-trading. Beyond 
Sur is the headland of Jebel Saffan and Ras-el-Had, the east- 
ernmost point of Arabia, almost reaching the sixtieth degree 
of longitude. 

For a knowledge of the coast beyond Ras-el-Had we are in- 
debted to the papers of Assistant Surgeon H. J. Carter in the 
journal of the Bombay branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.^ 
The two great Arab tribes that dwell on this coast are the 
Mahrah and the Gharah ; the former really belong to Hadra- 
maut, but the boundaries drawn on the maps are purely arti- 
ficial and have no significance. Neither tribe is dependent on 
the Oman Sultan or acknowledges any allegiance to him. The 
Mahrah are descended from the ancient Himyarites and occupy 
a coast-line of nearly 140 miles from Saihut to Ras Morbat; 
their chief town is Damkut (Dunkot) on Kamar bay. In 
stature the Mahrahs are smaller than most Arabs, and by no 
means handsome; in their peculiar mode of Bedouin saluta- 
tion they put their noses side by side and breathe softly ! 
They subsist by fishing and are miserably poor ; their plains, 
mountains and valleys, except close to Damkut, are sandy and 
barren. Religion they have scarcely any, and Carter says that 
they do not even know the Moslem prayers, and are utterly 
ignorant of the teachings of Mohammed. Their dialect is soft 
and sweet, and they themselves compare it to the language of 
the birds; it is evidently a corrupted form of the ancient 

' Notes on the Mahrali Tribe with vocabulary of their language ; notes 
on the Gharah tribe ; geography of the southeast coast of Arabia ; — July, 
1845, J^'y> 1847; ^"^d January, 1851, in the journal of the Society. 


Himyaric and therefore of great importance in the study of 

The Gharah tribe inhabit the coast between Moseirah island 
and the Kuria-Muria islands. Their country is mountainous 
and cavernous and consists of a white stratified limestone for- 
mation 4,000 or 5, 000 feet above the sea-level. The upper 
part of the mountains are covered with good pasturage and 
their slopes with a dense thicket of small trees among which 
frankincense and other gum trees are plentiful. The whole 
tribe are troglodytes, "cave-dwellers," since nature gives them 
better dwellings than the best mud-hut, and cooler than the 
largest tent of Kedar. They are largely nomadic, however, 
and shift from cave to cave in their wanderings. Their ward- 
robe is not an incumbrance as it consists of a single piece of 
coarse blue cotton wrapped around the loins like a short kilt. 
The women wear a loose frock of the same texture and color 
with wide sleeves, reaching a little below the knee in front and 
trailing on the ground behind ; the veil is unknown. Children 
go about entirely naked. Both men and women tattoo their 
cheeks. For weapons they have swords, spears, daggers, and 
matchlocks. Their food consists of milk, flesh and honey with 
the wild fruits of the mountains. 

This entire region has been justly celebrated for honey since 
the days of the Greek geographers who enumerate honey and 
frankincense as its chief products. The wild honey of South 
V Arabia collected from the rocks and packed in large dry gourds, 
is fit for an epicure. On Ptolemy's map of Arabia the region 
inland from this coast is called Libanotopheros Regie, the place 
of incense ; and by Pliny is termed regio thurifera, the region 
of frankincense. From the earliest times this has been the 
country that produces real frankincense in abundance. Once 
its export was a source of wealth to the inhabitants, for incense 
Avas used in the temples of Egypt and India as well as by the 

1 The most characteristic difference between Mahri and Arabic is the 
substitution of Shin (sh) for Kaf(V) in many words. 



Jews, and by all the nations of antiquity. So important was this 
commerce in the early history of the world that Sprenger de- 
votes several pages in his Ancient Geography of Arabia to de- 
scribing the origin, extent, and influence of frankincense on 
civilization. The Arabs were then the general transport agents 
between the east and the west, /. e., India and Egypt. The 
Queen of Sheba's empire grew rich in frankincense-trade ; she 
brought to Solomon "spices in abundance," nor was there 
"any such spice" or brought in "such abundance" as that 
which Queen Sheba gave to Solomon, (b. c. cir. 992.) 

The rise of Islam, the overthrow of the old Himyarite king- 
dom, the discovery of the passage round the Cape of Good 
Hope, all these cooperated to destroy the ancient importance 
and prosperity of Southern Arabia. At present, frankincense 
is still exported, but not in large quantities. The gum is pro- 
cured by making incisions in the bark of the shrub in May and 
December. On its first appearance it comes forth white as 
milk, but soon hardens and discolors. It is then collected by 
men and boys, employed to look after the trees by the different 
families who own the land on which they grow. 




"To see real live dromedaries my readers must, I fear, come to Arabia, 
for these animals are not often to be met with elsewhere, not even in 
Syria ; and whoever wishes to contemplate the species in all its beauty, 
must prolong his journey to Oman, which is for dromedaries, what Nejd 
is for horses. Cashmere for sheep, and Tibet for bulldogs." — Palgrave. 

A LL Oman, but especially the region just described, is called 
''■' "^^^ among the Arabs Uvi-el-ibl, "mother of the camel." 
Palgrave, Doughty and other Arabian travellers agree that the 
Oman dromedary is the prince of all camel-breeds, and 
Doughty says they are so highly esteemed at Mecca as to fetch 
three times the price of other camels. 

Unless one knows something about the camel one can neither 
understand the Arab nor his language ; without the camel, life 
in a large part of Arabia would at present be impossible ; with- 
out the camel the Arabic language would be vastly different. 
According to Hammer Purgstall, the Arabic dictionaries give 
this animal 5,744 different names; there is not a page in the 
lexicon but has some reference to the camel. 

The Arabs highly value the camel, but do not admire its 
form and shape. There is an Arab tradition, cited in Burton's 
" Gold Mines of Midian," to the effect that when Allah deter- 
mined to create the horse, He called the South Wind and said, 
" I desire to draw from thee a new being, condense thyself by 
parting with thy fluidity." The Creator then took a handful 
of this element, blew upon it the breath of life, and the noble 
quadruped appeared. But the horse complained against his 
Maker. His neck was too short to reach the distant grass 
blades on the march ; his back had no hump to steady a sad- 
dle ; his hoofs were sharp and sank deep into the sand ; and 


he added many similar grievances. Whereupon Allah created 
the camel to prove the foolishness of his complaint. The horse 
shuddered at the sight of what he wanted to become, and this 
is the reason every horse starts when meeting its caricature for 
the first time. The camel may not be beautiful, (although the 
Arabic lexicon shows that the words for ''pretty " and "came/^' 
are related) but he is surpassingly useful. 

This animal is found in Persia, Asia Minor, Afghanistan, 
Beluchistan, Mongolia, Western China, Northern India, Syria, 
Turkey, North Africa and parts of Spain, but nowhere so gen- 
erally or so finely developed as in Arabia. The two main 
species, not to speak of varieties, are the Southern, Arabian 
one-humped camel and the Northern, Bactrian two-humped 
camel. Each is specially adapted to its locality. The Bac- 
trian camel is long-haired, tolerant of the intense cold of the 
steppes and is said to eat snow when thirsty. The Arabian 
species is short-haired, intolerant of cold, but able to endure 
thirst and extreme heat. It is incredible to Arabs that any 
camel-kind should have a double hump. A camel differs from 
a dromedary in nothing save blood and breed. The camel is 
a pack-horse; the dromedary a race-horse. The camel is 
thick-built, heavy-footed, ungainly, jolting ; the dromedary 
has finer hair, lighter step, is easy of pace and more enduring 
of thirst. A caravan of camels is a freight-train ; a company 
of Oman the/zd-videvs is a limited express. The ordinary car- 
avan travels six hours a day and three miles an hour, but a 
good dromedary can run seventy miles a day on the stretch. 
A tradesman from Aneyza told Doughty that he had ridden 
from El Kasim to Taif and back, a distance of over 700 miles, 
in fifteen days ! Mehsan Allayda once mounted his dromedary 
after the Friday midday prayer at El-Aly and prayed the next 
Friday in the great Mosque at Damascus about 440 miles dis- 
tant. The Haj-road post-rider at Ma'an can deliver a message 
at Damascus, it is said, at the end of three days ; the distance 
is over 200 miles. 


The Arabs have a saying that " the camel is the greatest of 
all blessings given by Allah to mankind." One is not sur- 
prised that the meditative youth of Mecca who led the camels 
of Khadiyah, to Syria and back by the desert way, should 
appeal to the unbelievers in Allah and His prophet in the 
words, ''And do ye 7iot look then at the camel how she is 
created?'' (Surah Ixxxviii. 17 of the Koran.) 

To describe the camel is to describe God's goodness to the 
desert-dwellers. Everything about the animal shows evident 
design. His long neck, gives wide range of vision in desert 
marches and enables him to reach far to the meagre desert 
shrubs on either side of his pathway. The cartilaginous texture 
of his mouth, enables him to eat hard and thorny plants — the 
pasture of the desert. His ears are very small, and his nostrils 
large for breathing, but are specially capable of closure by 
valve-like folds against the fearful Simoon. His eyes are 
prominent, but protected by a heavy overhanging upper-lid, 
limiting vision upward thus guarding from the direct rays of 
the noon sun. His cushioned feet are peculiarly adapted for 
ease of the rider and the animal alike. Five horny pads are 
given him to rest on when kneeling to receive a burden or for 
repose on the hot sand. His hump is not a fictional but a real 
and acknowledged reserve store of nutriment as well as nature's 
packsaddle for the commerce of ages. His water reservoirs in 
connection with the stomach, enable him when in good condi- 
tion to travel for five days without Avater. Again, the camel 
alone of all ruminants has incisor-teeth in the upper jaw, which, 
with the peculiar structure of his other teeth, make his bite, 
the animal's first and main defence, most formidable. The 
skeleton of the camel is full of proofs of design. Notice, for 
example, the arched backbone constructed in such a way as 
to sustain the greatest weight in proportion to the span of 
the supports; a strong camel can bear 1,000 pounds' weight, 
although the usual load in Oman is not more than 600 pounds. 

The camel is a domestic animal in the full sense of the word, 


for the Arabian domicile is indebted to the camel for nearly all 
it holds. All that can be obtained from the animal is of value. 
Fuel, milk, excellent hair for tents, ropes, shawls and coarser 
fabrics are obtained from the living animal; and flesh-food, 
leather, bones and other useful substances from the dead. 
Even the footprints of the camel though soon obliterated, are 
of special value in the desert. A lighter or smaller foot would 
leave no tracks, but the camel's foot leaves data for the Bedouin 
science of Athar — the art of navigation for the ship of the 
desert. Camel tracks are gossip and science, history and 
philosophy to the Arab caravan. A camel-march is the standard 
measure of distance in all Arabia ; and the price of a milch- 
camel the standard of value in the interior. When they have 
little or no water the miserable nomads rinse their hands in 
camel's water and the nomad women wash their babes in it. 
Camel' s-milk is the staple diet of thousands in Arabia even 
though it be bitter because of wormwood pasturage. 

As to the character of the camel and its good or evil nature 
authorities differ. Lady Ann Blunt considers the camel the 
most abused and yet the most patient animal in existence. 
Palgrave, on the other hand, thus describes the stupidity and 
ugly temper of the beast : ''I have, while in England, heard 
and read more than once of the docile camel. If docile means 
stupid, well and good ; in such a case the camel is the very 
model of docility. But if the epithet is intended to designate 
an animal that takes an interest in its rider so far as a beast can, 
that obeys from a sort of submissive or half fellow-feeling with 
its master, like the horse and elephant, then I say that the 
camel is by no means docile, very much the contrary. He 
will never attempt to throw you off his back, such a trick be- 
ing far beyond his limited comprehension ; but if you fall off, 
he will never dream of stopping for you ; and if turned loose 
it is a thousand to one he will never find his way back to his 
accustomed home or pasture. One only symptom will he give 
that he is aware of his rider, and that is when the latter is 


about to mount him, for on such an occasion, instead of ad- 
dressing him in the style of Balaam's more intelligent beast, 
' Am not I thy camel upon which thou hast ridden ever since 
I was thine unto this day ? ' he will bend back his long snaky 
neck toward his master, open his enormous jaws to bite, if he 
dared, and roar out a tremendous sort of groan, as if to com- 
plain of some entirely new and unparalleled injustice about to be 
done him. In a word he is from first to last an undomesticated 
and savage animal rendered serviceable by stupidity alone. 
Neither attachment nor even habit can impress him ; never 
tame, though not wide-awake enough to be exactly wild." 
We can bear witness that the camels we have ridden in 
Hassa and Yemen were altogether more kindly than the ugly 
creature of Palgrave. 

The chief authorities on the interior of Oman were, until 
recent date, Niebuhr, Wellsted (1835), Whitelock (1838), 
Eloy (1843) and Palgrave, (1863). Palgrave, however, only 
visited the coast and his account of the interior and its history 
is pure romance. Later travellers have visited the chief cities 
of Jebel Achdar and corroborated the accuracy of Lieutenant 
Wellsted in his "Travels in Arabia." Unfortunately Well- 
sted' s acquaintance even with colloquial Arabic was very 
limited and he frankly avows that he encountered serious diffi- 
culties in understanding the people. " Wellsted's map," says 
Badger, "is the only one of the province which we possess 
drawn up from personal observation and ... it affords little 
or no certain indication of the numerous towns and villages 
beyond the restricted routes of the travellers. It is remarkable 
and by no means creditable to the British Government in India, 
that; notwithstanding our intimate political and commercial 
relations with Oman, for the last century, we know actually 
less of that country beyond the coast than we do of the Lake 
districts of Africa."^ Badger wrote in i860, but although 
Colonel Miles and others have visited the region of Jebel 
' " History of Oman." 


Achdar, all the country beyond is still largely terra incognita. 
No one has ever made the journey beyond the range of moun- 
tains or solved the mystery of Western Oman, which is still a 
blank on the best maps ; nor do we know anything of the land 
I GO miles southwest of Muscat, save by Arab hearsay. 

The highlands of Oman may be divided into three districts ; 
Ja'alan from Jebel Saffan to Jebel Fatlah on the east. Oman 
proper on the Jebel Achdar, and Ez-Zahirah on the eastern 
slopes of Jebel Okdat. The most populous and fertile district 
is that of Jebel Achdar which is also the best known. The fer- 
tility of the whole region is wonderful and in striking contrast 
with the barren rocks of so large a part of the coast. With a 
semi-tropical climate, an elevation of 3,000 to 5,000 feet and 
abundant springs the wadys and oases of Oman have awakened 
the delight and amazement of every traveller who has ventured 
to explore them. Water, the one priceless treasure in all 
Arabia, here issues in perennial streams from many rocky clefts 
and is most carefully husbanded by the ingenuity of the people, 
for wide irrigation, by means of canals or watercourses called 
faluj. Wellsted thus describes these underground aqueducts : 
"They are as far as I know peculiar to this country, and are 
made at an expense of labor and skill more Chinese than 
Arabian. The greater part of the surface of the land being 
destitute of running streams on the surface, the Arabs have 
sought in elevated places for sprmgs or fountains beneath it. 
A channel from this fountain-head is then, with a very slight 
descent, bored in the direction in which it is to be conveyed, 
leaving apertures at regular distances to afford light and air to 
those who are occasionally sent to keep it clean. In this 
way the water is frequently conducted for a distance of six 
or eight miles, and an unlimited supply is thus obtained. 
These channels are about four feet broad and two feet deep 
and contain a clear, rapid stream. Most of the large towns or 
oases have four or five of these rivulets or falj (plural faluj ) 
running into them. The isolated spots to which water is thus 


conveyed, possess a soil so fertile that nearly every grain, fruit 
or vegetable, common to India, Arab or Persia, is produced al- 
most spontaneously ; and the tales of the oases will be no longer 
regarded as an exaggeration, since a single step conveys the 
traveller from the glare and sand of the desert into a fertile 
tract, watered by a hundred rills, teeming with the most 
luxurious vegetation." 

The chief caravan routes inland start from the coast, at 
Sohar through Wady-el-Jazy, at Suaik through Wady Thala, 
at Barka or Sib through "Wady Mithaal and Wady Zailah 
(alternative routes) at INIatra, by the same, and at Sur through 
Wady Falj. On the eastern side of the mountain range the 
chief towns are Rastak, Nakhl and Someil. On the farther 
side we have Tenoof, Behilah and Nezwa, all large towns well- 
watered. "Between these fertile oases one travels^ sometimes 
an entire day through stony wady, or o^■er \-olcanic rock, 
climbing a dit^cult mountain pass, or crossing a wide sea-like 
desert, without seeing a habitation or meeting a fellow-creature 
except an occasional caravan. Their rifles are swung over the 
shoulders of the riders, and their wild song keeps time with the 
slow tread of the camels. 

''From Nakhl it is a long day's journey to Lihiga at the 
foot of Jebel Achdar. Two other beautifully situated moun- 
tain villages, Owkan and Koia are in close proximity. Here, 
as well as on the mountains, dwells a tribe of hardy moun- 
taineers, the Bni Ryam. In features and habits this tribe is 
quite distinct from the other Oman tribes. All over these 
mountains the people lead a peaceful life, and the absence of 
fire-arms was noticeable in comparison with the valley tribes, 
where each man carries his rifle, often of the best English or 
German pattern. 

"From Lihiga we began the ascent, and after a half-a-day 

1 The remainder of the chapter is quoted from the letters of my brother, 
Rev. P. J. Zwemer, and the sketch of Tenoof was drawn by him on one 
of his journeys. 



of most difficult climbing, reached the top of the pass at noon- 
day, my barometer registering 7,050 feet. Here on a level 
projecting rock, which afforded a splendid extended view of 
the Wady Mestel, where dwell the Bni Ruweihah, we had our 
lunch, and were glad to slake our thirst out of the goatskin 
the guide carried on his shoulder. From the top of the pass 
we descended to the level table-land at a height of 6,200 feet, 
and at sunset reached the ideally beautiful village of Sheraegah. 
It is in a circular ravine several hundred feet in depth, and like 


From a pencil sketch by Peter J. Zwemer. 

a huge amphitheatre where grow in terraces, apples, peaches, 
pomegranates, grapes and other temperate products in rich 
profusion. Ice and snow are frequently seen here during the 
winter, and in summer the temperature registers no higher than 
80° F. In March we had a temperature of 40°, and enjoyed 
a huge fire in the guest-room where a hundred Arabs came to 
visit us, and entertained us with the recitation of Arabic 
poetry. Such an opportunity was not to be neglected, and 
they, as an agricultural people, were interested in the parable of 
the Sower and the explanation. 


"We pressed on over the most difficult mountain roads to 
Tenoof, at the foot of the mountains on the further side. 
Nizwa, the old capital of Oman, is but three hours' journey 
from Tenoof. It has a large circular fort about 200 feet in 
diameter, built of rough hewn stone and cement. We intended 
to return to Muscat along the valley road via Someil, but the 
state of affairs at Nezwa made roads through hostile territory 
unsafe, and we decided to recross the mountains, enjoying 
again their cool climate and the friendliness of the people. By 
riding long camel-stages and taking short rests, we were able to 
reach Muscat from the top of the mountains in four days, hav- 
ing been absent on the journey twenty-one days." 



" ' We are all from the highest to the lowest slaves of one master — 
Pearl,' said Mohammed bin Thanee to me one evening ; nor was the ex- 
pression out of place. All thought, all conversation, all employment, 
turns on that one subject ; everything else is mere by-game, and below 
even secondary consideration." — Palgrave. 

TTALF way down the Persian Gulf, off the east Arabian 
"*■ "^ coast, between the peninsula of El Katar and the Turkish 
province of El Hassa, are the islands of Bahrein.^ This name 
was formerly applied to the entire triangular projection on the 
coast between the salt-sea of the gulf and the fresh water flood 
of the Euphrates; hence its name Bahr-ein <' the two seas." 
But since the days of Burckhardt's map the name is restricted 
to the archipelago. The larger island is itself often called 
Bahrein, while the next in size is named Moharrek — "place of 
burning." The Arabs say that this was so named because the 
Hindu traders used it for cremating their dead. 

The main island is about twenty-seven miles in length from 

1 These islands are identified by Sprenger and others with Dedan of the 
Scriptures, {Ezekiel xxvii. 15), and were known to the Romans by the 
name of Tylos. Pliny writes of the cotton-trees, " arbores vacant gossym- 
pinos fertiliore etiam Tylo minore." — (xii. 10). Strabo describes the 
Phoenician temples that existed on the islands, and Ptolemy speaks of the 
pearl-fisheries which from time immemorial flourished along these coasts. 
The geographer, Juba, also tells of a battle fought off the islands between 
the Romans and the Arabs. Ptolemy's ancient map shows how little was 
known as to the size or location of the group. Even Niebuhr's map, 
which is wonderfully correct in the main, makes a great error in the posi- 
tion of the islands ; in his day the two principal islands were called Owal ' 
and Arad, names which still linger. 








north to south, and ten miles in breadth. Toward the centre 
there is a shghtly elevated table-land, mostly barren. Twelve 
miles from the northern end is a clump of dark volcanic hills, 
400 feet high, called Jebel Dokhan, "Mountain of Smoke." 
The northern half of the island is well watered by abundant 
fresh-water springs, always luke-warm in temperature. This 
part of the island is covered with beautiful gardens of date- 


palms, pomegranate, and other trees. The coast is everywhere 
low, and the water shallow for a long distance. There is no 
pier or jetty anywhere, so that, except at high water, boats 
anchor nearly a quarter of a mile from the shore. 

The total population of the islands is estimated at nearly 
60,000, all of them Moslems with the exception of about 100 
Banian traders from Sindh, India. Menamah, the large town 
on the northeast point of the island, with perhaps 10,000 in- 
habitants, is built along the shore for about a mile ; the houses 
are mostly poor, many being mere mat-huts. This town is the 
market-place and commercial centre for the whole group. 
Here is the post office and custom-house and here the bulk of 
the trade is carried on for the whole island. A short distance 
from Menamah is the old town of Belad le Kadim, with ruins 
of better buildings and a fine mosque with two minarets. The 
mosque is of very early date, for the older Cufic character is on 
all its inscriptions, covered over in some places by more recent 
carving and inscriptions in later Arabic. 

The largest spring on the islands is called El Adhari, "the 
virgins." It issues from a reservoir thirty yards across, and at 
least thirty feet deep, flowing in a stream six or eight feet wide 
and two feet deep. This is remarkable for Arabia, and gives 
some idea of the abundant supply of water. Under the sea, 
near the island of Moharrek, are fresh-water springs always 
covered with a fathom of salt water. The natives lower a hol- 
low, weighted bamboo through which the fresh water gushes out 
a few inches above sea-level. The source of these fresh-water 
springs of Bahrein must be on the mainland of Arabia, as all 
the opposite coast shows a similar phenomena. Apparently 
the River Aftan marked on old maps of the peninsula as 
emptying into the Persian Gulf near Bahrein was an under- 
ground river, known to the older geographers. 

If Egypt is the gift of the Nile, Bahrein may well be called 
the gift of the pearl-oyster. Nothing else gave the islands 
their ancient history, and nothing so much gives them their 



present importance. The pearl-fisheries are the one great in- 
dustry of Bahrein. They are carried on every year from June 
until October, and even for a longer period, if hot weather sets 
in earlier. Nearly all the island population are engaged in the 
work in some way, and during the season there is only one 
topic of conversation in the cot^ee-shops and the evening- 
mejlis, — PEARLS. The pearl has this distinction above all 
other precious stones, that it requires no human hand to bring 
out its beauties. By modern scientists, pearls are believed to 
be the result of an abnormal secretion, caused by the irritation 
of the moUusk's shell by some foreign substance — in short, a 
disease of the peail-oyster. But it is not surprising that the 
Arabs have many curious superstitions as to the cause of pearl- 
formation. Their poets tell of how the monsoon rains falling 
on the banks of Ceylon and Bahrein find chance lodgment in 
the opened mouth of the pearl-oyster. Each drop distills a 
gem, and the size of the raindrop determines the luck of the 
future di\-er. Heaven-born and cradled in the deep blue sea, 
it is the purest of gems and, in their eyes, the most precious. 

Not only in its creation, but in its liberation from its prison- 
house under ten fathoms of water the pearl costs pain and sac- 
rifice. So far as this can be measured in pounds, shillings and 
pence, this cost is easy of computation. The total value of 
pearls exported from Bahrein in 1S96 was ;!l'303,94i sterling 
(^1,500,000). The number of boats from Bahrein engaged 
in the fisheries is about nine hundred and the cost of bringing 
one boat's share to the surface is 4,810 rupees (about $1,600).' 
Hundreds of craft also come to the oyster-banks from other 
ports on the gulf. It is scarcely necessary to say that the 
pearl divers do not receive the amount fairly due them for their 
toil. They are one and all victims of the "truck-system" in 
its worst form, being obliged to purchase all supplies, etc., 

' This cost is divided as follows : Fishing smack r. 400 ; wages of lO 
divers r. 2,000; wages of 12 rope-holders r. 2,400; apparatus r. 40. 
Total riipiis 4,810. 




from their masters. They are consequently so much in debt 
to him as often to make them practically his slaves. The boats 
are generally owned by the merchants, and the crew are paid 
at a low rate for a whole year's work, only receiving a small 
extra allowance when they bring up pearls of special size or 
brilliancy. In the winter season these divers are out of work, 
and consequently incur large debts which are charged to the 
next season's account. By force of circumstances and age- 
long practice the islanders are also much given to the vice of 
gambling on the market. Even the poorest fisherman will lay 
his wager — and lose it. It is not the thirty thousand fishermen 
of the gulf with their more than five thousand boats who grow 
rich in the pearl-fishing business ; the real profit falls to those 
who remain on shore — the Arab and Hindu brokers of Bombay 
who deal direct with Berlin, London and Paris. A pearl often 
trebles in value by changing hands, even before it reaches the 
Bombay market. 

The divers follow the most primitive method in their work. 
Their boats are such as their ancestors used before the Portu- 
guese were expelled from Bahrein in 1622. Even Sinbad the 
sailor might recognize every rope and the odd spoon-shaped 
oars. These boats are of three kinds, very similar in general 
appearance, but differing in size, called BaJzaret, Shua'ee and 
Bated} All of the boats have good lines and are well-built 
by the natives from Indian timber. For the rest, all is of 
Bahrein manufacture except their pulley-blocks, which come 
from Bombay. Sailcloth is woven at Menamah and ropes are 
twisted of date-fibre in rude rope-walks which have no ma- 
chinery worth mentioning. Even the long, soft iron nails that 
hold the boats together are hammered out on the anvil one by 
one by Bahrein blacksmiths. 

Each boat has a sort of figure-head, called the kubait, gen- 
erally covered with the skin of a sheep or goat which was 

' The MasJiooah is a much smaller boat, like the English jolly-boat, and 
is used in the harbor and for short journeys around the islands. 



sacrificed when the boat was first launched. This is one of the 
Semitic traits which appear in various forms all over Arabia — 
blood-sacrifice — and which has Islam never uprooted. All the 
fishermen prefer to go out in a boat which has cut a covenant 
of blood with Neptune. The larger boats used in diving hold 
from twenty to forty men, less than half of whom are divers, 
while the others are rope-holders and oarsmen. One man in 
each boat is called El Mu sully, i. e., the one-who-prays, be- 
cause his sole daily duty is to take charge of the rope of any 
one who stops to pray or eat. He has no regular work, and 
when not otherwise engaged vicariously mends ropes and sails 
or cooks the rice and fish over charcoal embers. He is there- 
fore also called El Gillas, "the sitter," very suggestive of his 
sinecure office. 

The divers wear no elaborate diving-suit, but descend 
clothed only in their fitaam and khabaat. The first is a true 
pince-nez or clothespin-like clasp for their nostrils. It is 
made of two thin slices of horn fastened together with a rivet 
or cut out whole in a quarter circle so as to fit the lower 
part of the nose and keep out the water. It has a perforated 
head through which a string passes and which suspends it from 
the divers neck when not in use. Khabaat are " finger-hats " 
made of leather and thrice the length of an ordinary thimble. 
They are worn to protect the fingers in gathering the pearl- 
shells from the sea-bottom ; at the height of the pearl season 
large baskets full of all sizes of these finger-caps are exposed 
for sale in the bazaar. Each diver uses two sets (tiventy) in a 
season. A basket, called dajeeu, and a stone-weight complete 
the diver's outfit. This stone, on which the diver stands when 
he plunges down feet -first, is fastened to a rope passing be- 
tween his toes and is immediately raised ; another rope is at- 
tached to the diver and his basket by which he gives the signal 
and is drawn up. The best divers remain below only two or 
three minutes at most, and when they come up are nine-tenths 
suffocated. Many of them are brought up unconscious and 


often cannot be brought to life. Deafness, and suppuration of 
the ear, due to carelessness or perforated ear-drums, caused by 
the enormous pressure of the water at such depths, are com- 
mon among divers. Rheumatism and neuralgia are universal 
and the pearl-fishers are the great exception among the Arabs 
in not possessing beautiful teeth. 

Sharks are plentiful and it is not a rare thing for them to at- 
tack divers. But the Bahrein divers are more fearful of a 
small species of devil-fish which lays hold of any part of the 
body and draws blood rapidly. Against this monster of the 
sea they guard themselves by wearing an "overall" of white 
cloth during the early part of the season when it frequents the 
banks. Their tales of horror regarding the devil-fish equal 
those of Victor Hugo in his " Toilers of the Sea." 

The divers remain out in their boats as long as their supply 
of fresh water lasts, often three weeks or even more. Sir 
Edwin Arnold's lines are thus not as correct as they are beau- 
tiful : 

" Dear as the wet diver to the eyes 
Of his pale wife who waits and weeps on shore 
By sands of Bahrein in the Persian Gulf; 
Plunging all day in the blue waves ; at night, 
Having made up his tale of precious pearls, 
Rejoins her in their hut upon the shore." 

When the pearl-oysters are brought up they are left on deck 
over night and the next morning are opened by means of a 
curved knife, six inches long, called miflaket. Before the days 
of English commerce the mother-of-pearl was thrown away as 
worthless. Now it has a good market-value and (after being 
scraped free of the small parasites that infest the outer shell) is 
packed in wooden crates and exported in large quantities. The 
total value of this export in 1897 was ^^5,694 ($28,000). 
The Arabs have asked me in amazement what in the world the 
" Franks ' ' do with empty sea-shells ; and some tell idle tales of 


how they are ground up into pearl dust and pressed into artifi- 
cial gems, or are used as a veneer to cover brick houses. 

On shore the pearls are classified by the merchants, accord- 
ing to weight, size, shape, color and brilliancy. There are 
button-pearls, pendants, roundish, oval, flat, and perfect 
pearls; pearls, white, yellow, golden, pink, blue, azure, green, 
grey, dull and black; seed-pearls the size of grains of sand 
and pearls as large as an Arab's report, emphasized with fre- 
quent wallahs, can make them. I have seen a pendant pearl 
the size of a hazelnut worth a few thousand rupees but there 
are Arabs who will swear by the prophet's beard (each hair of 
which is sacred ! ) that they have brought up pearls as large as 
a pigeon's tgg. The pearl brokers carry their wares about tied 
in bags of turkey-red calico ; they weigh them in tiny brass 
scales and learn their exact size by an ingenious device con- 
sisting of a nest of brass sieves, called taoos, six in number, 
with apertures slightly differing in size. The pearls are put 
into the largest sieve first ; those that do not fall through its 
pea-sized holes are called, Ras, "chief"; such are generally 
pearls of great price, although their value depends most on 
weight and perfection of form. The second size is called 
Batu " belly," and the third Dhail, " tail." Color has only a 
fashion-value ; Europe prefers white and the Orient the golden- 
yellow ; black pearls are not highly esteemed by Orientals. 

Before they are shipped the large pearls are cleaned in reeta 
a kind of native soap-powder, and the smaller ones in soft 
brown sugar ; then they are tied up in calico and sold in lots 
by weight, each bundle being supposed to contain pearls of 
average equal value. How it is possible to collect custom dues 
on pearls among a people whose consciences rival their wide 
breast-pockets in concealing capacity, surpasses comprehension. 
But the thing is done, for the farmer of the custom dues grows 
rich and the statistics of export are not pure guess-work. 

The Bahrein islands also produce quantities of dates, and there 
is an export trade in a remarkably fine breed of asses, celebrated 


all over the Persian Gulf, A good Bahrein donkey is easy to 
ride and almost as good a roadster as an average horse. The 
only manufactures, beside sail-sheeting, are coarse cloth for 
turbans, and reed-mats of very fine texture. The chief im- 
ports are rice, timber and piece-goods for which Bahrein is the 
depot for all eastern Arabia. Three sights are shown to the 
stranger-tourist to the islands of Bahrein : the pearl-fisheries, 
the fresh-water springs, and the ancient ruins of an early civi- 
lization at the village of Ali. These ruins are the " bayoot el 
owalin ' ' the dwellings of the first inhabitants, who are believed 
to have been destroyed by Allah because of their wickedness. 
An hour's ride through the date gardens and past the minarets 
brings us to the village of Ali. It can generally be seen from 
a good distance because of the smoke which rises from the 
huge ovens where pottery is baked. The potter turns his 
wheel to-day and fashions the native water-jars with deft hand 
utterly ignorant and careless of the curious sepulchral tumuli 
which cast their shade at his feet. South and west of the 
village the whole plain is studded with mounds, at least three 
hundred of them, the largest being about forty feet in height. 
Only two or three have ever been opened or explored. Theo- 
dore Bent in company with his wife explored these in 1889, 
with meagre results, but no further investigations have been 
made though it is a field that may yet yield large results. 
M. Jules Oppert, the French Assyriologist, and others regard the 
island as an extremely old centre of civilization and it is now 
well known that the first settlements from ancient Babylonia 
were in the Persian Gulf which then extended as far north as 
.Mugheir, near Suk-es Shiukh. But those first settlers probably 
went to the coasts of Africa and to the kingdoms of Southern 
Arabia, in which case Bahrein was on their line of travel. It 
must always have been a depot for shipping because of its 
abundant water-supply in a region where fresh -water is gen- 
erally scarce. The mounds at Ali probably date from this 
very early period ; although no corroboration in the shape of 


cylinders or bricks bearing inscriptions has yet been found, the 
character of the structures found in the mounds is undoubted 
proof of their great antiquity. 

The larger mound opened by Bent, now consists of two 
rock-built chambers of very large stones, square masonry, and 
no trace of an arch or a pillar. The lower chamber is twenty- 
eight feet in length, five feet in width, and eight feet high ; it 
has four niches or recesses about three feet deep, two at the end 
of the passage and two near its entrance. The upper cham- 
ber is of the same length as the lower, but its width is six 
inches less, and its height only four feet eight inches. The 
lower passage is hand plastered as an impression of the ma- 
son's hand on the side wall still proves. If diggings were 
made below the mounds • or other mounds were opened better 
results might follow, and perhaps inscriptions or cylinders 
would be discovered. A year or two ago a jar containing a 
large number of gold coins was found near Ali by some na- 
tive workmen ; these however were Cufic and of a much later 
period than the mounds. Near Yau and Zillag, on the other 
side of the island there are also ruins and very deep wells cut 
through solid rock with deep rope-marks on the curbing ; per- 
haps these also are of early date. On the island of Moharrek 
there is a place called Ed Dair, "the monastery" with ruins 
of what the Arabs call a church ; whether this is of Portu- 
guese date like the castle or goes back to a much earlier period 
before Mohammed, we cannot tell. 

The climate of Bahrein is not as bad as it is often described 
by casual visitors. No part of the Persian Gulf can be called 
a health resort, but neither is the climate unhealthful at all 
seasons of the year. In March and April, October, Novem- 
ber and December the weather is delightful, indoor tempera- 
tures seldom rising above 85° F., or falling below 60° F. When 
north winds blow in January and February it is often cold 
enough for a fire ; these are the rainy months of the year and 
least healthful, especially to the natives in their badly-built 


mat-huts. From May to September inclusive is the hot season, 
although the nights remain cool and the heat is tempered by 
sea-breezes (called, El BariK), until the middle of June. 
Heavy dews at night are common and make the atmosphere 
murky and oppressive when there is no sea-breeze. Land- 
breezes from the west and south continue irregularly through- 
out the entire summer. When they fail the thermometer leaps 
to over one hundred and remains there day and night until the 
fipples on the stagnant, placid sea proclaim a respite from the 
torture of sweltering heat. A record of temperature, kept at 
Menamah village in the summer of 1893, shows a minimum 
indoor temperature of 85° and a maximum of 107° F., in the 
shade. The prevailing wind at Bahrein, and in fact all over 
the Gulf, is the shemmal or Northwester changing its direction 
slightly with the trend of the coast. The air during a shem- 
mal is generally very dry and the sky cloudless, but in winter 
they are sometimes at first accompanied by rain-squalls. In 
winter they are very severe and endanger the shipping. The 
only other strong wind is called kaus ; it is a southeaster and 
blows irregularly from December to April. It is generally ac- 
companied by thick, gloomy weather, with severe squalls and 
falling barometer. The saying among sailors that " there is al- 
ways too much wind in the Gulf or none at all," is very true 
of Bahrein. 

This saying holds true also of the political history of the 
Gulf. Bahrein, because of its pearl-trade has ever been worth 
contending for and it has been a bone of contention among the 
neighboring rulers ever since the naval battle fought by the 
early inhabitants against the Romans. After Mohammed's 
day the Carmathians overran the islands. Portuguese, Arabs 
from Oman, Persians, Turks and lastly the English have each 
in turn claimed rule or protection over the archipelago. It is 
sufficient to note here that in 1867, Tsa bin Ali (called Esau in 
Curzon's "Persia," as if the name came from Jacob's brother 
instead of the Arab form of Jesus !) was appointed ruling 


Shoikh by the Britisli wlio deposed his father Mohammed bhi 
Khalifa for plotting piracy. 

The present Sheikh is a typical Arab and spends most of his 
time in hawking and the chase ; the religious rule, which in a 
Moslem land means the judicial and executive department, 
rests with the A'./j// or Judge. There is no legislature as the 
law was laid down once for all in the Koran and the traditions. 
The administration of jusfiW is rare. Oppression, black-mail 
and bribery are universal ; and, except in commerce and the 
slave-trade, English protection has brought about no reforms 
on the island. To be "protected" means here strict neu- 
trality as to the internal atfaii-s and absolute dictation as to af- 
fairs with other governments. To "protect" means to keep 
matters in sfiifus ^tto until the hour is ripe for annexation. 
Sometimes the process from the one to the other is so gradual 
as to resemble growth ; in such a case it would be correct to 
speak of the growth of the British Empire. 

Contact with Europeans and western civilization has. how- 
CN^r, done much for R\hrein in the matter of disarming prej- 
udice and a\^•akening the sluggish mind of the Arab to look 
be)'ond his own "Island of the Arabs." Even as early as 
1S67. Palgrave could write : " From the maritime and in a 
manner centnil position of Bahreyn my readers may of them- 
selves conjecture that the profound ignorance of Nejd regard- 
ing Euroi^^ans and their various classitications is here ex- 
changed for a partial acquaintance with those topics ; thus, 
English and French, disfigurei.1 into the local If:^:Ws and 
jFrafUYi's are fiimiliar words at Menamah. though Germans and 
Italians, whose vessels seldom or never visit these seas, have as 
)'et no place in the Bahreyn vocabulary; while Dutch and 
Portuguese seem to have fallen into total oblivion. But Rus- 
sians or MosJ^t*/, that is ]Muscovites, are alike known and 
feared, thanks to Persian intercourse and the instinct of na- 
tions. Beside the policy of Constantinople and Teheran are 
freely and at times sensibly discussed in these coftee-houses no 


less than the slorrny diplomacy of Nejd and her dangerous en- 

To the Bahrein Arabs Bombay is the centre of the world of 
civilization, and he who has seen that city is distinguished as 
knowing all about the ways of foreigners. So anxious are the 
boys for a trip on the British India steamer to this Eldorado of 
science and mystery that they sometimes run from home and 
go as stowaways or beg their passage. This close contact 
with India has had its effect on the Arabic spoken on the 
island which, although not a dialect, is full of Hindustani 
words. Of late years there has been a considerable Persian 
immigration into liahrein from the coast between Lingah and 
Bushire, and next to Arabic, Persian is the language most in 



"OEYOND Bahrein the mainland stretches westward for 
"^ eight hundred miles across the province of Hassa and 
lower Nejd and Hejaz to the Red Sea. As Jiddah is the western 
port, Bahrein is the eastern port for all Arabia. It is the gate- 
way to the interior, the threshold of which is Hassa. Draw a 
line from Menamah to Katif, then on to Hof hoof [ov El Hassa) 
and thence back to ^lenamah, and the triangle formed will in- 
clude every important town or village of Eastern Arabia. 
North of that triangle on the coast is the inhospitable barren, 
thinly populated, country of the Bni Hajar ; south of it is the 
peninsula of El Katar; westward stretches the sandy desert 
for five days' marches to Riad and the old Wahabi countryv 
The region thus bounded is really the whole of Hassa, although 
on maps that name is given to the whole coast as far as Busrah. 
But neither the authority of the Turkish government nor the 
significance of the word Ifassa (low, moist ground) can be 
said to extend outside of the triangle. 

The peninsula of El Katar, about loo miles long and fifty 
broad, is unattractive in every way and barren enough to be 
called a desert. Palgrave's pen-picture cannot be improved 
upon : " To have an idea of Katar my readers must figure to 
themselves miles on miles of low barren hills, bleak and sun- 
scorched, with hardly a single tree to vary the dry monoto- 
nous outline ; below these a muddy beach extends for a quarter 
of a mile seaward in slimy quicksands, bordered by a rim of 
sludge and seaweed. If we look landwards beyond the hills 
we see what by extreme courtesy may be called pasture land, 
dreary downs with twenty pebbles for every blade of grass ; 


riiii H/tsriiKN riiRiisiioi.i) oi- ahahia in 

and over this mclan(:li<;ly ground scene, but few aiid far be- 
tween, little clusters of wretched, most wretched earth cot- 
tages and palm-leaf huts, narrow, ugly and low; these arc tlie 
villages, or 'towns' (for so the inhabitants style them; of 
Katar. Yet jKjor and naked as is the land it has evidently 
something still [xjorer and nakeder behind it, sometliing in 
short even more i\(^\uu\ of resources than the coast itself, and 
the inhabitants of which seek here by violence what they can- 
not (ind at h(jine. lAjr the villages of Katar are each and all 
carefully walled in, while the downs beyond are lined with 
towers and here and there a castle, huge and square with its 
litde windows and narrow portals." 

The po]jiilation of Katar is not large; its principal town is 
]}edaa'. All the inliabilanls live from the sea by pearl-diving 
and fishing, and in the season send out two hundred boats. 
The whole peninsula with its wild Jiedouin population is 
claimed by Turkey and is the dread of the miserable soldiers 
who are sent there to preserve peace and draw precarious pay 
while they shake with malaria and grow homesick for Bagdad. 
The Arabs are always at feud with the government and it is 
very unsafe outside the walls after sunset. 

The usual route from iiahrein to the interior of Hassa is to 
cross over by boat to Ojeir on the mainland, and thence to 
travel by caravan to Hofhoof. \x\ October, 1893, I took this 
route, returning from the capital to Katif and thence back to 
Menamah. lunbarking at sunset we landed at Ojeir before 
dawn the next day and I found my way to a Turkish custom- 
house oKicer to whom I had a fri(.iidly letter from a Bahrein 
merchant. <'>jcir, although it has neither a bazaar nor any 
settled jjfjpulalion, has a mud-fort, a dwarf flagstaff and an im- 
posing cuslom house, 'i'he harbor although not deep is pro- 
tected against north and south winds anfl is therefore a good 
landing-place for the immense (juantiiy of rice and piece-goods 
shipped from Bahrein into the interior. A caravan of from 
tw(j l(j three hundred camels leaves Ojeir every week. For 


although the Jebel Shammar country is probably supplied over- 
land from Busrah and Bagdad, the whole of Southern Nejd re- 
ceives piece-goods, coffee, rice, sugar and Birmingham " wares 
by way of Bahrein and Ojeir. 

The whole plain in and about the custom-house was piled 
with bales and boxes and the air filled with the noise of load- 
ing seven hundred camels. I struck a bargain with Salih, a 
Nejdi, to travel in his party and before noon-prayers we were 
off. The country for many hours was bare desert, here and 
there a picturesque ridge of sand, and in one place a vein of 
greenish limestone. When night came we all stretched a 
blanket on the clean sand and slept in the open air ; those who 
had neglected their water-skins on starting now satisfied thirst 
by scooping a well with their hands three or four feet deep and 
found a supply of water. During the day the sun was hot and 
the breeze died away; but at night, under the sparkling stars 
and with a north wind it seemed, by contrast, bitterly cold. 
On the second day at noon we sighted the palm-forests that 
surround Hof hoof and give it, Palgrave says, " the general 
aspect of a white and yellow onyx chased in an emerald rim." 
As we did not reach the "emerald rim" until afternoon I 
concluded to remain at Jifr, one of the many suburb villages. 
Here Salih had friends, and a delicious dinner of bread, but- 
ter, milk and dates, all fresh, was one of many tokens of hospi- 
tality. At sunset we went on to the next village, Menazeleh, 
a distance of about three miles through gardens and rushing 
streams of tepid water. The next morning early we again rode 
through gardens and date-orchards half visible in the morning 
mist. At seven o'clock the mosques and walls of Hof hoof ap- 
peared right before us as the sun lifted the veil ; it was a beau- 
tiful sight. 

El Hof hoof can claim a considerable age. Under the 
name of Hajar, it was next to Mobarrez, the citadel town of the 
celebrated Bni Kindi and Abd El Kais (570 a. d.). Both of 
these towns, and in fact every village of Hassa, owe their 



existence to the underground watercourses, which are the 
chief characteristic of the province; everywhere there is the 
same abundance of this great blessing. A land of streams and 
fountains, — welling up in the midst of the salt sea, as at 
Bahrein ; flowing unknown and unsought under the dry desert 
at Ojeir; bubbling up in perennial fountains as at Katif ; or 
bursting out in seven hot springs that flow, cooling, to bless 
wide fields of rice and wheat at Mobarrez. The entire region 

palgrave's plan of hofhoof. 

is capable of rich cultivation, and yet now more than half of it 
is desert. There is not a man to till the ground, and paradise 
lies waste except near the villages. Elsewhere Bedouin robbers 
and Turkish taxes prevent cultivation. These two are the 
curse of agriculture all over the Ottoman provinces of Arabia. 
Hofhoof itself is surrounded by gardens, and its plan gives 
a good idea of the general character of the towns of Arabia. 
A castle or ruler's house; a bazaar with surrounding dwellings 
and a mud-wall built around to protect the whole. The moat 


is now dry and half filled in with the debris of the walls, which 
are not in good repair. The town is nearly a mile and a-half 
across at its greater diameter, but the houses are not built as 
close together as is the custom in most Oriental towns ; here is 
the pleasant feature of gardens inside the walls. The date- 
palm predominates, and indeed comes to wonderful perfection, 
but the nabak, the papay, the fig and the pomegranate are also 
in evidence. Indigo is cultivated, and also cotton, while all the 
region round about is green with fields of rice and sugar-cane 
and vegetables, — onions, radishes, beans, vetches, and maize. 

The population of the city is entirely Moslem, except one 
Roman Catholic Christian, who is the Turkish doctor, and 
a half dozen Jews. The three Europeans who have previously 
visited and described Hofhoof are, Captain Sadlier (1819), 
Palgrave (1S63), and Colonel Felly (1S65). The first gives the 
population at 15,000 and Palgrave speaks of 20,000 to 30,000. 
In 1 87 1 when the Turkish expedition against Nejd took the 
city, they reported it to have 15,000 houses and 200 suburb 
villages (!) This shows the absolute uncertainty of most statis- 
tics in regard to Arabia. 

El Hassa (Hofhoof) is the first stage on the direct caravan 
route from east Arabia to Mecca and Jiddah. Abd Er Rah- 
man bin Salama, the Arab Sheikh, under the Turkish governor 
of the Rifa'a quarter of the town gave me the following infor- 
mation regarding this route. From Hassa to Riad is six days 
by camel ; from Riad to J<?bel Shammar nine days ; to Wady 
Dauasir seven ; and from Riad to Mecca eighteen days. 
That would be twenty-eight days to cross the peninsula, not 
including stops on the road and travelling at the rate of an 
ordinary caravan, /'. e., three miles an hour. 

The Kaisariyeh or bazaar of Hofhoof is well supplied with 
all the usual requirements and luxuries of the Le^•ant ; weapons, 
cloth, gold embroidery, dates, \-egetables, dried fish, wood, 
salted locusts, fruit, sandals, tobacco, copper-ware and piece- 
goods — in irregxilar confusion as enumerated. Public auctions 


are held frequently in the square or on the plain outside the 
walls. Here, too, the barbers ply their trade, and blacksmiths 
beat at their anvils under the shade of a date-hut. The Rifa'a 
quarter has the best houses, while the Na'athal has the largest 
number; the "East-end" in Hofhoof being for the rich and 
the "West-end " for the poor, as is proper in a land of para- 

Hassa is celebrated for two sorts of manufacture ; cloaks or 
abbas, with rich embroidery in gold and colored thread, 
delicately wrought and of elegant pattern, the gayest and 
costliest garments of Arabia ; and brass coffee-pots of curious 
shape and pretty form, which, with the cloaks, are exported all 
over Eastern Arabia, even as far as Busrah and Muscat. Once 
trade flourished and the merchants grew rich in this land of 
easy agriculture and fertile soil. But intestine wars, Wahabi 
fanaticism and Turkish indolence, extortion and taxation have 
taken' away prosperity, and Hassa's capital is not what it was in 
the days of old, when the Carmathians held the town. 

One remnant of its former glory remains; a unique and 
entirely local coinage called the Toweelah ox "long-bit." It 
consists of a small copper-bar, mixed with a small proportion of 
silver, about an inch in length, split at one end and with a 
fissure slightly opened. Along one or both of its flattened sides 
run a few Cufic characters, nearly illegible in most specimens, 
but said to read : Mohammed-al-Saood, i.e., "Mohammed 
of the Saood family." The coin has neither date nor motto, 
but was undoubtedly made by one of the Carmathian Princes 
about the year 920 A. d. This Moslem sect owed its origin to 
a fanatic and enthusiast born at Cufa, called Carmath, who 
first had a following about the year 277 of the Hejira. He 
assumed the lofty titles. Guide, Director, the Word, the Holy 
Ghost, the Herald of the Messiah, etc. His interpretation of 
the Koran was very lax in the matters of ablution, fasting, and 
pilgrimage, but he increased the number of prayers to fifty 
daily. He had twelve apostles among the Bedouins, and his 


sect grew so rapidly that they couUI muster in the field 107,000 
fanatical warriors. Ciifi.i and Busrah were pillagetl and 
Fiagdad taken. In 929 Abu Taher stormed the Holy City of 
]\[ecca antl the Carmathians took away the black stone in 
triumph to Katif. The centre of their power remained at 
Hassa for some years. Here the coin was struck, which is the 
only remnant of their power and f,\naticism. And while the 
Carmathian doctrines are held in abhorrence, their little bars 
of copper still buy rice and dates and stick to the hands of the 
money-changer in the bazaar. 

In former da}'s there were gold and silver coins of similar 
shape. Some in silver can yet be found occasionally inscribed 
with the noble motto in Arabic : ' ' Jlonor to the sober man, 
liishonor to the ambitious.'^ When I was in Hofhoof that 
strange, two-tailed copper-bar was worth half an anna and dis- 
puted its birthright in the market with rupees and Indian paper 
and JNIaria Theresa dollars and Turkish coppers. But how 
changed the bazaar itself would appear to the ghost of some 
Carmathian warrior of the ninth century who first handled a 
"long-bit." Even the Wahabis have disappeared and 
tobacco, silk, music and wine are no longer deadly sins. Of 
these Moslem Puritans many ha\-e left for Riad, and the few 
that remain stroke their long white beards in horror at Turkish 
Eflendis in infidel breeches smoking cigarettes, while they sigh 
for the golden days of the Arabian Reformer. 

There is a military hospital at Hofhoof with a surgeon and 
doctor, but at the time of my visit there was a dearth of medi- 
cines and an abominable lack of sanitation. Few soldiers sub- 
mit to hospital treatment, preferring to desert or seek furlough 
elsewhere, and nothing is done for the Arab population. 
Before my coming cholera raged here as well as on the coast, 
and during my short visit smallpox was epidemic and carried 
ot^' many, many children. Thrice awful are such diseases in 
a land where a practical fanaticism, under the pious cloak of 
religion, scorns medicine or pre^■entive measures. 


The government of the province of Hassa is as follows. 
The Sandjak (Turkish for administrative division) is divided 
into three cazas, Nejd, Katar and Katif and a small garrison 
holds each of these cazas; 600 men at Hofhoof, and 300 at 
Katar and Katif. The governor, called Mutaserrif Pasha, 
resides at the capital and kaunakams or sub-governors at the 
other two centres. There are the usual Turkish tribunals and 
each Arab tribe has a representative or go-between to arrange 
its affairs with the governor. The principal tribes which at 
present acknowledge Turkish occupation and submit to their 
rule are : El Ajeman, El Morah, Bni Hajar, Bni Khaled, Bni 
Hassam, El Motter, El Harb, and El Ja'afer. The Turkish 
government has opened three schools in the province ; the 
total number of pupils according to the Turkish official report 
is 3,540. The same report puis the entire population of the 
province at 250,000 ; this gives a fair idea of the backwardness 
of education even in this province which has always been re- 
markable for book-learning. The large mosque with its 
twenty-four arches and porticoes, smooth-plastered and with a 
mat-spread floor is always full of mischievous youth learning 
the mysteries of grammar and the commonplaces of Moslem 
theology; but the days of poetry and writing of commentaries 
on the Koran are in the past; even the Wahabi merchants 
talk of Bombay and are glad to get hold of an English primer 
or an atlas of the new world which is knocking at their door 
for admittance. 

After four days spent in the city I accepted an opportunity 
to return northward with a caravan ; I was not allowed to go, 
however, until after I had signed a paper, which, because of the 
unsafely of the road disclaimed all responsibility on the part of the 
Government should I come to lose life, limb or luggage. A copy 
of this document is in my possession, but the only foe I met in 
the desert was — fever. On Tuesday noon our small party set 
out, not going through the large town of Mobarrez as I had 
hoped, but turning east and reaching Kilabeejeh at two o'clock. 


We passed fountains and streams and fields of rice and 
swamps, — everything very unlike Arabia of the school -geogra- 
phy. In four hours, however, we were again in the midst of 
desert where the sun proved too hot for me and I was taken 
with a fever which did not leave me until I returned to Bahrein. 
The road continued desert all the way to Katif. On Wednes- 
day we rode all night under the stars (because of a false alarm 
of robbers) until nine o'clock next morning. Then we rested 
at a place called, with bitter irony, Um El Hammam ; there 
are no baths, no trees, no grass, only a shallow pit of dirty 
water and small shrubbery of dates. Here we spent a hot day. 
On Friday morning we came to the borders of Katif, — palm- 
groves, wells, and ancient aqueducts with curious towers and 
air-holes at intervals. Through gardens and around by the 
large square fort we came to the sea. At the custom-house, 
again, I found rest and refreshment. 

Katif has no good name among Hassa Arabs ; its location 
is low and marshy; " its inhabitants are mostly weak in frame, 
sallow in complexion, and suffer continually from malaria. 
The town itself is badly built, woefully filthy, damp and ill- 
favored in climate. Yet it has a good population and brisk 
trade. The inhabitants are mostly Shiahs of Persian origin 
and are held in abhorrence by the Wahabis and the Turks 
alike as little better than infidels. The present location of 
Katif corresponds to the very ancient settlement of the Gerrha 
of the Greek geographers but no exploration for ruins has ever 
been made. A Portuguese castle marks their occupation of 
this coast also during their supremacy in the gulf. Katif was 
taken by the Turks in 1871 and has been occupied by them 
ever since. 

The Arabian coast north of Katif, all the way to Kuweit 
is without a single large settlement. Mostly barren and in the 
hands of the predatory and warlike tribe of Bni Hajar, it is 
very uninteresting and entirely unproductive. 



" The rich plains of Mesopotamia and Assyria which were once culti- 
vated by a populous nation and watered by surprising efforts of human 
industry, are now inhabited, or rather ravaged by wandering Arabs. So 
long as these fertile provinces shall remain under the government, or 
rather anarchy of the Turks they must continue deserts in which nature 
dies for want of the fostering care of man." — Niebuhr (1792). 

"1X7 HAT changes of history have left their records in ruins 
and names and legends on the great alluvial plains 
of Northeastern Arabia ! The two rivers still bear their 
Bible names, the Euphrates and Dijleh, or Hiddekel, but 
nothing else is left which could be called paradise. What 
impresses the traveller first and most is that so large an extent 
of this fertile region lies waste and unproductive under an 
effete rule. The splendor of the past can scarcely be believed 
because of the ruin of the present. Everywhere are traces of 
ancient empires and yet it seems incredible as we watch the 
half-naked Arabs ploughing through the mud-banks with their 
wild cattle and primitive implements. 

Was this the cradle of the human race ? Babylon and Nin- 
eveh are here for the archaeologist -, Ctesiphon, Kufa and Zobeir 
for the historian ; Bagdad and Busrah (or Bassorah) for old 
Arabian romance ; and Ur of the Chaldees for the Bible stu- 
dent. Since Haroun Rashid went about in disguise how many 
yet stranger Arabian nights has Bagdad seen ! How surprised 
Sinbad the sailor would be to see the decay of Busrah, yet 
with a dozen " smoke-ships " in its harbor ! 

Mesopotamia, called by the Arabs El Jezira, was formerly 
limited to the land lying between the two rivers and south of 



the old wall by -which they were connected above Bagdad. 
From this point to the Persian Gulf the district was and is 
still known as Irak-Arabi, to distinguish it from the Irak of 
Persia. Commonly, however, the name of Mesopotamia 
(Mid-River-Country) is given to the whole northeastern part 
of Arabia. It has a total area of 180,000 square miles and 
presents great uniformity in its physical as well as its ethnical 
characteristics. Arabs li\'e and Arabic is spoken for three 
hundred miles beyond Bagdad as far as Diarbekr and Mardin ; 
but we limit our description to the region between Busrah and 
Bagdad including the delta at the mouth of the rivers. 

Near Bagdad the two giant rivers, after draining Eastern 
Asia Minor, Armenia and Kurdistan, approach quite near 
together; from thence the main streams are connected by 
several channels and intermittent watercourses, the chief of 
which is the Shatt-el Hai. At Kurna the two rivers unite to 
form the Shatt-el-Arab which traverses a flat, fertile plain 
dotted with villages and covered Avith artificially irrigated 
meadow-lands and extensive date groves. As far up as Bagdad 
the river is navigable throughout the year for steamers of con- 
siderable size. It is entirely owing to the enterprise of English 
commerce and the Bagdad-Busrah steamship line that the 
country, so gloomily described by Niebuhr, in 1792, and even 
by Chesney in 1840, has been developed into new life and 
prosperity. Even Turkish misrule and oppression cannot do 
away utterly with natural fertility and productiveness ; and if 
ever a good government should hold this region it would regain 
its ancient importance and double its present population. 

Two features are prominent in the physical geography of this 
region. First the flat almost level stretches of meadow with- 
out any rise or fall except the artificial ancient mounds.^ The 

' The only remarkable exception is the Jebel Sinam — a rough hill of 
basaltic rock. that crops out in the midst of the alluvial delta near Zobeir; 
a peculiar phenomenon, but proving Doughty's general scheme for the 
Arabian geology correct even here. 


second is the date-palm. The whole length of the country 
from Fao and Mohammerah to the country of the Montefik 
Arabs above Kurna is one large date plantation, on both sides 
of the wide river. Everywhere the tall shapely trees line the 
horizon and near the lower estuary of the Shatt-el-Arab they 
are especially luxuriant and plentiful. Formerly every palm- 
tree on the Nile, was registered and taxed ; but to count every 
such tree on the Shatt-el-Arab would be an unending task. 

The proper coat-of-arms for all lower Mesopotamia would be 
a date-palm. It is the " banner of the climate " and the wealth 
of the country. There may be monotony in these long groves 
and rows of well-proportioned columns with their tops hidden 
in foliage, but there certainly is nothing wearisome. A date 
garden is a scene of exceeding beauty, varying greatly accord- 
ing to the time of the day and the state of the weather. At 
sunrise or sunset the gorgeous colors fall on the gracefully pend- 
ant fronds or steal gently through the lighter foliage and re- 
flect a vivid green so beautiful that once seen, it can never be 
forgotten. At high-noon the dark shadows and deep colors of 
the date-forests refresh and rest the eye aching from the brazen 
glare of sand and sky. But the forest is at its best, when' on 
a dewy night the full moon rises and makes a pearl glisten on 
every spiked leaf and the shadows show black as night in con- 
trast with the sheen of the upper foliage. 

It was an Arab poet who first sang the song of the date-palm 
so beautifully interpreted by Bayard Taylor : 

«< Next to thee, O fair Gazelle ! 
O Bedowee girl, beloved so well, — 
Next to the fearless Nejidee 
Whose fleetness shall bear me again to thee— 
Next to ye both I love the palm 
With his leaves of beauty and fruit of balm. 
Next to ye both, I love the tree 
Whose fluttering shadows wrap us three 
In love and silence and mystery. 


Our tribe is many, our poets vie 

With any under the Arab sky 

Yet none can sing of the palm but I. 

The noble minarets that begem 

Cairo's citadel diadem 

Are not so light as his slender stem. 

He lifts his leaves in the sunbeam glance 

As the Almehs lift their arms in dance ; 

A slumberous motion, a passionate sigh 

That works in the cells of the blood like wine. 

O tree of love, by that love of thine 

Teach me how I shall soften mine." 

Mark Twain compared the palm-tree to "a liberty-pole with 
a haycock " on top of it. The truth lies between the poet 
and the " Innocent " traveller, for the date-tree is both a poem 
and a commercial product ; to the Arab mind it is the perfec- 
tion of beauty and utility. 

The date palm-tree is found in Syria, Asia Minor, nearly all 
parts of Arabia and the southern islands of the Mediterranean, 
but it attains to its greatest perfection in upper Egypt and 
Mesopotamia.^ Some idea of the immense importance of this 
one crop in the wealth of Mesopotamia may be gained from 
the statement of an old English merchant at Busrah, that "the 
entire annual date-harvest of the River-country might conserva- 
tively be put at 150,000 tons." 

The date-tree consists of a single stem or trunk about fifty to 
eighty feet high, without a branch, and crowned at the summit 
by a cluster of leaves or " palms " that drop somewhat in the 
shape of a huge umbrella. Each of these palms has long lan- 
ceolate leaves spreading out like a fan from the centre stem 
which often attains a length of ten or even twelve feet. In a 
wild state the successive rows of palms, which mark the annual 
growth of the tree, wither and contract but remain upon the 
trunk, producing with every breath of wind the creaking sound 

1 The dates of Hassa and Oman may equal those of Busrah but the gar- 
dens are inferior and the quantity produced is not so large. 


so often heard in the silence of the desert-night. But where 
the palms are cultivated the old stems are cut away as fast as 
they dry and are put to many different uses. The trunk of 
the palm-tree therefore presents the appearance of scales which 
enable a man, whose body is held to the tree by a rope noose, 
to climb to the top with ease and gather the fruit. At a dis- 
tance, these annual rmgs of the date-palm appear as a series of 
diagonal lines dividing the trunk. Palm-trees often reach the 
age of a hundred years. The date-palm is dioecious ; but in 
Mesopotamia the pistilate-palms far exceed in number the 
staminate. Marriage of the palms takes place every spring and 
is a busy time for the husbandman as it is no small task to 
climb all the trees and sprinkle the pollen. 

Arabs have written books and Europeans have composed 
fables on the thousand different uses of the palm-tree. Every 
part of this wonderful tree is useful to the Arabs in unexpected 
ways. To begin at the top : — The pistils of the date-blossom 
contain a fine curly fibre which is beaten out and used in all 
Eastern baths as a sponge for soaping the body. At the ex- 
tremity of the trunk is a terminal bud containing a whitish sub- 
stance resembling an almond in consistency and taste, but a 
hundred times as large. This is a great table delicacy. There 
are said to be over one hundred varieties of date-palm all dis- 
tinguished by their fruit and the Arabs say that " a good 
housewife may furnish her husband every day for a month with 
a dish of dates differently prepared." Dates form the staple 
food of the Arabs in a large part of Arabia and are always 
served in some form at every meal. Syrup and vinegar is made 
from old dates ; and by those who disregard the Koran, even 
a kind of brandy. The date-pit is ground up and fed to cows 
and sheep so that nothing of the precious fruit may be lost. 
Whole pits are used as beads and counters for the Arab chil- 
dren in their games on the desert-sand. The branches or 
palms are stripped of their leaves and used like rattan, to make 
beds, tables, chairs, cradles, bird-cages, reading-stands, boats, 


crates, etc., etc. The leaves are made into baskets, fans and 
string and the l>ast of the outer trunk forms excellent fibre for 
rope of many sizes and qualities. The wood of the trunk, 
though light and porous, is much used in bridge-building and 
architecture and is quite durable. In short, when a date- 
palm is cut down there is not a particle of it that is wasted. 
This tree is the "poor-house" and asylum for all Arabia; 
without it millions would have neither food nor shelter. 
For one half of the population of Mesopotamia lives in date- 
mat dwellings. 

Although everywhere the date-culture is an important in- 
dustry, Busrah is the centre of the trade, for here is the princi- 
pal depot for export. The three best varieties of dates known 
at Busrah are the Hallawi, Khadrawi and Sayer. These are 
the only kinds that will stand shipping to the European markets. 
They are packed in layers in wooden boxes, or in smaller car- 
ton boxes. The average export to London and New York 
from Busrah for the past five years has been about 20,000 tons, 
nearly one half of which was for the American market. Other 
important varieties are Zehdi, Berem, Dery and Shiikri. These 
are packed more roughly in matting or baskets, and are sent 
along the whole Arabian coast, to India, the Red Sea littoral 
and Zanzibar. There are over thirty other varieties cultivated 
near Busrah for local consumption. Some of them have curi- 
ous names such as: "Mother of Perfume," "Sealed-up," 
"Red Sugar," "Daughter of Seven," " Bride's-finger," 
"Little Star," "Pure Daughter"; others have names which 
it is better not to translate. 

Palgrave and others, with whose verdict I agree, pronounced 
the Khalasi date of El Hassa superior to all other kinds. It 
has recently been introduced into Mesopotamia. Palgrave 
says, "the literal and not inappropriate translation of the name 
is ' quintessence ' — a species peculiar to Hassa and easily the 
first of its kind." The fruit itself is rather smaller than 
the usual Hallawi date, but it is not so dry and far more 


luscious. It is of a rich dark amber color, almost ruddy, and 
translucent ; the kernel is small and easily detached ; the date 
tastes sweet as sugar and is as far superior to the date bought 
in the American market as a ripe Pippin is to dried apple-rings. 

At Busrah the date season opens in September and keeps 
every one busy until the vast harvest is gathered and shipped. 
The dates for export to Europe and America are of prime 
quality ; a box of half a hundred-weight on board the steamer 
is worth about three or four shillings wholesale. All poor, 
wet, and small dates are packed separately in mats or bags, 
and are sent to India as second-quality. The poorest lot are 
sent in mass to the distilleries in England. Thus nothing is 
lost. Date-packers, who put the fruit in layers, receive three 
or four kameris for packing a box. The best packers can only 
pack four boxes a day, so that their wages are about a kran 
(about ten cents) per day. They live cheaply on the fruit, 
and bring all their family, babes and greybeards with them to 
lodge for the season in the date-gardens. The date season in 
Busrah begins in the early or middle part of September and 
lasts for six or eight weeks. The price of the date-crop varies. 
It is usually fixed at a meeting held in some date-garden where 
the growers and buyers play the bull and the bear until an 
agreement is reached. The prices in 1897 were, in the lan- 
guage of the trade: "340 Shamis for Hallawis, 280 Shamis for 
Khadrawis, and 180 Shamis for Sayer." Seventeen Shamis 
are equal to about one pound sterling, and the prices quoted 
are for a kara, about fifty hundred-weights. 

The culture of the date has steadily increased for the past 
fifteen years. In 1896 the greater part of the country was in- 
undated by heavy floods and over a million date-trees are said 
to have been destroyed ; new gardens are being planted con- 
tinually. The Arabs of Mesopotamia display great skill and 
unusual care in manuring, irrigating and improving their date- 
plantations, for they realize more and more that this is no 
mean source of wealth. One recent use to which export dates 


are put is in the manufacture of vinegar ; it would seem, since 
the beet-sugar industry has proved so profitable, that there 
must be some method by which good sugar could be manufac- 
tured from date-syrup. 

Mesopotamia is rich not only in date-groves but in cereals, 
wool, gums, licorice root and other products. The export 
of wool alone in 1897 was valued at ^^288, 700. And the 
total exports the same year, for the two provinces of Bag- 
dad and Busrah, were put at ;z^5 22,960. Busrah is the ship- 
ping place for all the region round about, and ocean steamers 
of considerable size are always in Busrah harbor; during 1897 
four hundred and twenty-one sailing vessels and ninety-five 
steamships cleared the port, with a total tonnage of 131,846; 
ninety-one of the steamships were British. 

The population of the two vilayets is given by Cuinet, who 
follows Turkish authorities, as follows : 





Bagdad Vilayet, 





Busrah Vilayet, 





In Bagdad vilayet nearly four-fifths of the Moslem popu- 
lation belongs to the Sunnite sect, while in Busrah vilayet 
three-fourths of them are Shiahs. The Sabeans are generally 
reckoned among the Christians, although these are already 
sufficiently divided into Latin, Greek Orthodox, Greek, Syrian, 
Chaldean Catholic, Armenian Gregorian, Armenian Catholic 
and Protestants — the last in the smallest minority possible and 
the others chiefly distinguished by mutual distrust and united 
hatred of Protestantism. 

The vilayet of Bagdad is divided again into three Sandjaks 
or districts of Bagdad, Hillah and Kerbela, and that of Busrah 
likewise into those of Busrah, Amara Muntefik and Nejd.^ Of 
these six districts that of Bagdad is the largest in area and im- 
portance and is the centre of military power for both vilayets, 

' The last named is outside of our present subject and is a misnomer 
given by Turkish audacity to the region of Hassai 


The boundaries of Bagdad Sandjak go as far as Anah on the 
Euphrates toward the north and include Kut-el-Amara on the 
south with both banks of the Tigris. Hillah and Kerbela are 
along the Euphrates with irregular boundaries while the Mun- 
tefik Sandjak with its provincial town of Nasariya separates 
them from that of Busrah. The Sandjak of Amara begins a 
few miles north of the junction of the two rivers, and the whole 
frontier toward Persia is entirely undefined or at least "/« liii- 
gation,^'' as the Turkish official maps have it. 

The two Turkish provinces have all the involved machinery 
of Turkish civil and military administration. There are plenty 
of offices and office-holders and constant changes in both. 
Each province has a governor-general or Wall and (outside 
of the governor's sandjak) each district has its mutaserrif -pasha 
either of the first or second class — those one has to deal with 
generally prove to be of the latter. Then there are Kahnakams 
for smaller districts or cities, and finally miidirs for villages. 
At the seat of government, called the Serai, there is an ad- 
ministrative council, including the Ndib or kadi, correspond- 
ing to chief-justice ; the defterdar or secretary of finance ; the 
mufti or public interpreter of Moslem law ; the nakib, etc., etc., 
etc. There are several courts of justice of different rank ; the 
custom-house administration is on the e phcribiis unum plan 
and ne plus ultra system. Besides these there are the " Regie 
des tabacs " or the tobacco-monopoly, the post and telegraph 
administration, the sanitary offices, the salt-inspectors, and, at 
Kerbela, the Tarif of corpses levied on imported pilgrims. To 
describe all these satisfactorily would require a volume. 



T^UWEIT/ on the gulf a little south of the river delta, will 
■*-^ in all probability — before long, rise in importance and be 
as well known as Suez or Port Said. It has the finest harbor in 
all Eastern Arabia, and is an important town of from 10,000 
to 12,000 inhabitants. Here will probably be the terminus 
of the proposed railroads to bind India and the gulf to Europe 
by the shortest route. The whole country round about being 
practically desert, the place is entirely dependent on its trade 
for support. It possesses more bagalows (sailing-vessels) than 
any port in the gulf; is remarkably cleanly; has some very 
well-built houses and an extensive dockyard for boat building. 
The town and tribe are nominally under Turkish subjection, 
although protection is the better word, and it is rumored that 
Kuweit will soon be as much in the hands of the English as is 

The Bedouin tribes of Northern Hassa, and even from Nejd, 
bring horses, cattle and sheep to this place to barter for dates, 
clothing and fire-arms. There is nearly always a large encamp- 
ment of Bedouins near the town. The route overland from 
Kuweit to Busrah is across the desert until we come to an old 
artificial canal; leaving Jebel Sinam to the left the second 
march brings us to Zobeir, a small village on the site of ancient 
Busrah, and only a few hours to the present site. At Zobeir is 

' Kuweit is the Arabic diminutive of Kut a walled-village ; the place is 
called Grane on some maps — evidently a corruption of Kurein or " little 
horn," a name given to an island in the harbor. 



the tomb of the Moslem leader for whom the town is named. 
The village contains about 400 houses ; and the population is 
rich and fanatical. In the vicinity are gardens where a kind 
of melon is raised, which is celebrated in all the region round 
about for sweetness and delicacy of flavor. The journey from 
Kuweit to Busrah is generally made, even by natives, in buga- 
lows ; while the Persian Gulf steamers, not calling at Kuweit, 
proceed direct from Bushire to Fao, at the mouth of the Shatt- 
el-Arab. A great hindrance to commerce is the bar formed by 
the alluvial deposit of the immense river as it reaches the gulf. 
At low tide there is only ten feet of water in the deepest part 
of the channel, and even at flood tide large steamers must plow 
their way through the mud to reach Busrah. 

Fao is of no importance except as the terminus of the cable 
from Bushire. A British telegraph station was established here 
in 1864. The Turkish telegraph system from up the rivers 
terminates at Fao, and here too they have a representative to 
govern the place and enforce stringent quarantine. The 
Shatt-el-Arab winds motononously between the vast date- 
orchards or desert banks for about forty miles, until we reach 
the Karun river and the Persian town of Mohammerah. 
Busrah is sixty-seven miles from the bar and between it and 
Fao there are many important villages on each bank of the 
river. Aboo Hassib is perhaps the most important and is a 
great centre for date-culture and packing. 

Busrah consists of the native city — containing the principal 
bazaars, the government house, and the bulk of the population — 
and the new town on the river. The native town is about two 
miles from the river on a narrow creek, called Ashar ; a good 
road runs along the bank, and this road really unites the two 
parts of the city into one as it is lined with dwelling-houses for 
a large part of the way. Busrah has seen better days, but also 
worse. In the middle of the eighteenth century it numbered 
upward of 150,000 inhabitants. In 1825, it had diminished 
to 60,000; the plague of 1831 reduced it further by nearly 


one-half, and after the plague of 1838, scarcely 12,000 in- 
habitants remained. In 1854, it is said to have had only 
5,000 inhabitants. At present the place is growing yearly in 
population and importance in spite of misgovernment and 
ruinous taxation. It has every natural advantage over Bag- 
dad, except climate, and will yet outstrip the city of the old 
caliphs, if Turkey's rule mends or ends. The present population 
of the city proper is given by Ottoman authorities at 18,000. 
Many ruins all over the plains and in the surrounding gardens tell 
of its former extent and splendor. At present the native town 
looks sadly dilapidated, and tells the story of neglect and de- 
cay. The unexampled filthiness of the streets and the un- 
drained marshes in the environs make the place proverbially 
unhealthy. This unhygienic condition is not improved by the 
Ashar Creek being at the same time the common sewer and the 
common water supply for over one-half of the population. The 
wealthy classes send out boats to bring water from the river, 
but all the poorer people use the creek. Such are the results of 
an imbecile government which could easily drain the marshes 
and supply every one with great abundance of pure water. 

Ancient Busrah, near the present site of Zobeir, was founded 
in 636 A. D., by the second Caliph Omar as a key to the 
Euphrates and Tigris. It reached great prosperity, and was 
the home of poetry and grammatical learning, as Bagdad was 
the centre of science and philosophy. After the twelfth cen- 
tury the city began to decay, and at the conquest of Bagdad 
by Murad IV., in 1638, this entire stretch of country fell into 
the hands of the Turks, Then the present city took the name 
of Busrah. Later it was in the hands of the Arabs and Per- 
sians, and from 1832 to 1840, Mohammed Ali was in possession. 
Under the rule of Midhat Pasha, governor-general of Bagdad, 
the city of Busrah arose in importance partly because of the 
Turkish Steam Navigation Company which he promoted. But 
it was a dream-life. English commerce and enterprise aroused 
the place thoroughly, and the whistle of steamships has kept it 


awake ever since the Suez canal opened trade with Europe by 
way of the gulf. ^ 

In making the journey from Busrah to Bagdad the traveller 
has choice of two lines of river-steamers : the Ottoman service 
has six steamers and the English company three, but the latter 
are only allowed to use two by the Turkish government. For 
romance, discomfort and tediousness, choose the former ; for 
all other reasons select the latter. I have tried both. The 
English steamers carry the mails to Bagdad and make weekly 
trips ; four or five days being required for the journey up 
stream, and three days down, although when the water is low 
the journey may be long delayed. In bad or shallow places 
the steamers often discharge a part of their cargo, heave over 
the shallow part and load up again. Of course trade suffers 
and vast quantities of merchandise often lie for weeks at Bus- 
rah awaiting shipment. No steps are ever taken by the Otto- 
man government to counteract the great waste of water which 
flows into the marshes. In course of time, unless prevented, 
this waste will lead to the closing up of the main channel of the 
Tigris even as the Euphrates below Suk-es-Shiukh has become 
a marsh for lack of use. 

The good Steamship Mejidieh with its kindly Captain Cowley, 
or the sister ship Khalifah lies at anchor just off the English 
Consulate, the blue-peter flies overhead and the decks are over- 
crowded with all sorts and conditions of men — Persians, Turks, 
Indians, Arabs, Armenians, Greeks; — baggage, bales, boxes, 
water-bottles — chickens, geese, sheep, horses, not to speak of 
the insect-population on which it is impossible to collect freight- 
charges. The steamers are somewhat after the type of the 
American river-steamers on the Mississippi ; but no Mark 
Twain has yet arisen to immortalize them, although they afford 
an even more fertile theme. With a double deck and broad 

I For the interesting history of the cities that occupied the site of Bus- 
rah before the days of Islam, and as far back as Nebuchadnezzar, see 
Ainsworth's " Personal narrative of the Euphrates expedition," 


of beam they carry hundreds of passengers and an astonish- 
ing amount of cargo for their size. The accommodation dur- 
ing cool weather is excellent, and during the hot days no one 
travels for the sake of luxury. 

The first place at which the steamer calls is Kurna at the 
junction of the rivers, and from whence the course is up the 
Tigris to Bagdad. The Tomb of Ezra, about nine hours from 
Busrah, is a great place for pilgrimages by the Jews. It is a 
pretty spot on the river bank and picturesque with its crowd of 
embarking and disembarking Jews and Jewesses. The tomb 
is a domed cloister enclosing a square mausoleum, and paved 
with blue tiles. Over the doorway are two tablets of black 
marble with Hebrew inscriptions attesting to the authenticity 
of the tomb. It is not improbable that Ezra is buried here, 
for the Talmud states that he died at Zamzuma, a town on the 
Tigris. He is said to have died here on his way from Jerusalem 
to Susa to plead the cause of the captive Jews. Josephus says 
that he was buried at Jerusalem, but no Jew of Bagdad doubts 
that Ezra's remains rest on the Tigris. 

Ten hours beyond, we pass also on the west bank, Abu 
Sadra, a tomb of an Arab saint marked only by a reed-hut and 
a grove of poplars. Next is Amara, a large and growing 
village with a coaling-depot and an enterprising population. 
This place was founded in 1861, and promises to become a 
centre of trade. After passing Ali Shergi, Ali Gherbi, and 
Sheikh Saad, small villages, without stopping, the steamer calls 
at Kut-el- Amara, a larger place even than Amara, on the east 
bank, with over 4,000 inhabitants. 

All the way from Busrah to Bagdad, but especially along this 
part of the river, we pass Bedouin tribes, encamped in the 
black tents of Kedar, engaged in the most primitive agricul- 
ture or irrigation of their land, or rushing along the banks to 
hail the passing steamer. A hungry, impudent, noisy, cheer- 
ful lot they are ; filling the merciful with pity and moving the 
thoughtless to laughter, as they scramble up and down the 






banks into the water to catch a piece of bread or a few dates 
thrown to them. 

Meanwhile we steam along passing Bughela, Azizieh, Bag- 
dadieh and reach Bustani Kesra, or the arch of Ctesiphon. 
The little village of Soleiman-Pak is named for the pious man 
who was the private barber of Mohammed the prophet. After 
various wanderings, poor pious Pak was buried here, only a 
short distance from the great arch. A village sprang up near 
the tomb, pilgrims come from everywhere and miracles are 
claimed to be wrought by him who when alive only handled 
the razor. The whole region of Mesopotamia is more rich in 
saints, tombs and pilgrim-shrines than any other part of Arabia. 

The arch of Ctesiphon is not a shrine but it is well worth a 
visit. It is the only prominent object that remains of the vast 
ruins of Ctesiphon on the east bank of the Tigris, and Seleucia 
on the west. The arch is now almost in ruins but must once 
have been the fagade of a magnificent building. Its length is 
275 feet, and its height is given variously as eighty-six or one 
hundred feet; the walls are over twelve feet thick and the 
span of the magnificent arch is nearly eighty feet. What 
Ctesiphon was in the days of the Sassanian kings we read in 
Gibbon. Now its glory has departed and the tomb of the 
Barber has more visitors than the ancient throne of the Chos- 
roes. Eight hours after leaving Ctesiphon's ruins, our steamer 
is in full sight of the city of Haroun Rashid. 

Bagdad is a familiar name even to the boy who reads the 
Arabian tales rather than his geography. It is one of the chief 
cities of the Turkish empire and has a history much older than 
the empire itself. Founded by the Caliph Mansur about the 
year 765 a. d., it was the capital of the Mohammedan world 
for five hundred years, until it was destroyed by Halakn, 
grandson of Jengiz Khan. Situated in the midst of what was 
once the richest and most productive region of the old world 
it is now no longer queen of the land but rather reminds us of 
decay and dissolution. Its present beauties are only the ruins 


of ibruior glory. The untidy soldiers slouching about the 
streets, the evil-smelling bazaars and ruined mosques, the rot- 
ten bridge of boats that spans the river, the flices of the poor 
and the miserable Avho go begging through the streets, indi- 
cate the cui-se of Turkish inanition and oppression. 

On the west bank of the rivei^ is the old town enclosed by 
extensive orange and date-groves. On the east bank is New- 
Bagdad, which also looks old enough. Here are the govern- 
ment offices, consulates, and the chief commercial buildings as 
well as the cvistom-oftices. Rigdad is still an important city 
on many accounts. No other city of tlie Turkish empire is 
intluencet-i so much by the desert and Arabia as is Bagdad ; 
and no other stands in such direct contact with the towns in 
the interior of the peninsula. The Arabic spoken is compara- 
tively pure, and Bedouin mannei's still prevail in many ways in 
the social life of the people. The city has a very motley 
population, because of conunerce on the one hand and the 
number of pilgrim-shrines on the other. The tonU>s of Abd-ul- 
Kadir, and Abu Hanifah and the gilded domes and miniuets 
which mark the resting-places of two of the Shiah Imams — all 
draw their annual concoui-se of visitors from man)- lands and 
peoples. All the languages of the Levant are spoken on its 
streets although Arabic prevails over all. Dr. H. M. Sutton 
remarks, ** I have been at the betiside of a patient where in a 
company of half-a-dozen people avc had occasion to use five 
languages, and on another occasion we were in a company of 
about forty people in a room where no less than fomteen lan- 
guages were represented. The land of Shinar is thus still the 
place of the confusion of tongues." Bagdad like Busrah has 
suffered greatly by ravages of the plague at various times, but 
especially in 1S30 when the plague was followed by a fearful 
inundation. In one night, when the river bui-st its banks 
7,000 houses fell and 15,000 people perished. 

The population of Bagdad is at present variously estimated 
at from 120,000 to iSo,ooo. Nearly one-third are Jews while 


the Oriental Christians number about 5,000. The trade of 
Bagdad is large not only with the region southwards and to- 
ward Busrah but with Nejd and Northern Mesopotannia. The 
import trade from India and Europe to I'agdad is over ^i,- 
000,000 every year, and the export trade to Europe alone is 
placed at ^{^522, 960 for 1897. The river north of Bagdad is 
not navigable for steamers but an immense number of /&«?/Z?/c:x 
daily arrive from the north loaded with lumber from Kurdis- 
tan and with other products. These kelleks are a craft made of 
inflated goatskins boarded over with reeds and matting. The 
boatmen return with the empty skins overland with the cara- 
van companies. Still more characteristic of Bagdad is the 
small river-boat called a kuffe or coracle. It consists of a per- 
fectly circular hull, six to eight feet in diameter, with sides 
curving inward like a huge basket, and covered with pitch. 
This type of boat is as old as Nineveh and they are pictured 
quite accurately on the old monuments. 

Bagdad has more than sixty-eight mosques, six churches and 
twenty-two synagogues. Of the mosques some, like that of 
Daood Pasha, are in fine condition ; others are almost in ruins, 
and remind one of the remark of Lady Ann Blunt : " A city 
long past its prime, its hose a world too wide for its shrunk 
shanks." The feature of Bagdad is of course the river Tigris, 
with its swift-flowing tide ever washing the mud banks and 
watering the gardens for miles around. The houses come 
down close to the water's edge and some of them have pretty 
gardens almost overhanging the stream and terraces and ve- 
randas — oriental and picturesque. The British Residency is 
perhaps most beautiful in its location and its frontage on the 
river; but the other consulates vie with it in displaying to the 
traveller the strength and hospitality of European States. The 
European community is larger than at Busrah. 



'"P^HROUGH the kind assistance of Colonel Mockler, at 
-*- that time the Bagdad Consul General and Resident, in 
the autumn of 1892, I was able to make the journey from Bag- 
dad across to Hillah and down the Euphrates — a route not 
often taken by the traveller. After making necessary prepa- 
rations and iinding a suitable servant we hired two mules and 
left the city of the old Caliphs with a caravan for Kerbela. It 
was in July and we made our first halt four hours from Bag- 
dad, sleeping on a blanket under the stars. An hour after 
midnight the pack-saddles were lifted in place and we were off 
again. It was a mixed company ; Arabs, Persians, and Turks ; 
merchants for Hillah and pilgrims to the sacred shrines; 
women in those curtained, cage-like structures called taht-i- 
vans, — two portable zenanas hanging from each beast; der- 
vishes on foot with green turbans, heavy canes and awful vis- 
ages : and to complete the picture a number of rude coffins 
strapped cross-wise on pack-mules and holding the remains of 
some "true behevers," long since ready for the holy ground at 
Nejf (Nedjef). 

The caravan travelled along the desert road mostly at night 
to escape the fearful heat of midday when we sought shelter in 
public khan. Nothing could be more uninteresting than the 
country between Bagdad and Babylon at this season of the 
year. The maps mark six khans on the route, but three of 
these are in ruins and the others are merely stages of a caravan 
rather than villages or centres of cultivation. The soil appears 
excellent, but there are no irrigation canals, and everything 
has a deserted appearance. A few l.Qw shrubs between the 



mounds and moles of an ancient civilization ; mud-houses 
near the khans and some Arab encampments ; camel skeletons 
shining white by the wayside, under a burning sun ; and a 
troop or two of gazelle making for the river-banks — that is all 
you see until you reach the palm-banked Euphrates at Hillah. 

The khans consist of a large enclosure with heavy walls of 
sun-dried or Babylonian brick. In the interior are numerous 
alcoves or niches, ten by six feet and four feet above ground ; 
you seek out an empty niche and find a resting-place until the 
caravan starts at midnight. In the centre of the enclosure is a 
well and a large platform for prayer — utilized for sleeping and 
cooking by late arrivals who find no niche reserved as in our 
case. The rest of the court is for animals and baggage. Usual 
Arab supplies were obtainable at these resting-places, but every 
comfort is scarce and the innkeepers are too busy to be hos- 

Khan el Haswa where we arrived the second day is the 
centre of a small village of perhaps 300 people. At three in 
the morning we left Haswa but it was nearly noon when we 
reached the river, because of a delay on the road. The bazaar 
and business of Hillah were formerly on the Babylonian side 
of the stream, but are now principally on the further side of 
the rickety bridge of boats four miles below the ruins of Baby- 
lon. After paying toll we crossed over and found a room in 
the Khan Pasha — a close, dirty place, but in the midst of the 
town and near the river. Hillah is the largest town on the 
Euphrates north of Busrah. Splendid groves of date-trees sur- 
round it and stretch along the river as far as the eye can reach. 
The principal merchandise of the town is wheat, barley and 
dates. Of the Moslem population two-thirds are Shiah, and 
the remaining Sunni are mostly Turks, There are one or two 
native Christians and many Jews, but it is difficult to estimate 
correctly the population of Hillah or of any of the towns on 
the Euphrates. At Hillah the river is less than 200 yards 
wide and has a much more gentle flow than the Tigris at 


Bagdad. A short distance northwest of the town is Kerbela, 
It is only a village but the spot is visited by thousands of faith- 
ful Moslems every year who venerate the twelve Imams of the 
Shiah sect. Here is the tomb of Hosein the grandson of the 
prophet and the son of All whom they believe the true suc- 
cessor in the Caliphate. By living or dying here the Shiah dev- 
otee has nought to fear for the next world. So strong is this 
belief that many leave directions in their wills to be buried in 
this hallowed spot. Thousands of corpses are imported some 
even from India — after proper drying and salting — and are 
laid to rest in the sacred ground. Nejf, south of Hillah, is the 
place of All's martyrdom and is no less sacred for the living 
and the dead. 

At Kerbela the manufacture of tortus is about the only 
industry. A torbat is a small piece of baked clay about two 
inches in length, generally round or oblong, with the names of 
Ali and Fatima rudely engraved on it. Made out of holy- 
ground, these are carried home by all pilgrims and are used by 
nearly every Shiah as a resting-place for the forehead in their 
prayer prostrations. According to all reports Kerbela is similar 
to Mecca in its loose morals and the character of its permanent 

On July 31st we left Hillah and sailed down the river in a 
native boat similar to the "bellum" of Busrah, but Avithout 
awning. The Euphrates is more muddy than the Tigris, and 
its course, though less sinuous, is broken here and there by 
shallow rapids.^ We sailed all night and did not stop until we 
arrived at Diwaniyeh the following afternoon. Many of the 
villages on the way appeared to have a considerable population ; 
date-groves were plentiful, and we passed two or three Mathhab 
or tombs of Arab Sheikhs, including that reputed to be Job's, 
" the greatest of all the sons of the East." 

1 The following are the villages and encampments between Hillah and 
Diwaniyeh : El Ataj, Doulab, Dobleh, Kwaha, Saadeh, Tenhara, Bir 
Amaneh, Allaj, Anameh, Hosein, Khegaan Sageer and Khegaan Kebir. 


At Diwaniyeh I was directed to the Serai, or government- 
house, where the Muttaserif Pasha of Hillah was forcing taxes 
from the unwilling Arabs. I was kindly received, and, prob- 
ably because of my passport, was entertained at the Pasha's 
table. Diwaniyeh has only a small population, and its 
importance is due to its wealth of palms and the wheat trade, 
which gives another opportunity for the government to establish 
a toll-bridge and custom-house. 

The Arabs of this region are notorious for their piracy on 
native craft, and in 1836 they even attacked the English sur- 
veying expedition. So I left the place with a guard of two 
soldiers — Saadeh and Salim, who were as happy as their names. 
Patching their uniforms, asleep in the bottom of the boat, eat- 
ing of our bread and dates, or polishing their rifles marked 
^' U. S. Springfield, Snider 's Pat. 1863," we reached Samawa 
safely. During the day we passed the hamlets Um Nejis, 
Abu Juwareeb, Rumeitha, and Sheweit. But the general 
scene was that of narrow morass channels branching out from 
the river, where forests of reeds half hid mat-huts and naked 
Arabs. These river tribes are not true nomads,' but live in 
one place, on fish and the products of the river buffalo. It is 
a strange sight to see a herd of large black cattle swimming 
across stream, pursued by shouting, swimming and swearing 
herdsmen. And this was once the home of Abraham, the 
friend of God. 

Near Rumeitha there was a large menzil of the Lamlum 
tribe. Here we fastened the boat for the night, as our com- 
pany was afraid to cross certain rapids by starlight. Some of 
the Arabs came to our boat, armed with flint-locks and the 
Mikwar — a heavy stick knobbed with sandstone or hard bitu- 
men — in Arab hands a formidable weapon. Most of the people 

1 The distinction between true Arabs of the nomad tribes and the 
Me' dan was made as early as 1792 by Niebuhr in his travels, and the 
river boatmen still answer your question with contemptuous accent : 
" Those are not Arabs, they are Me'dan." 


were asleep, and we could get no supplies of any kind except 
two roast fowl from the Turkish garrison in a mud brick fort 
opposite. Even one of these fell to the share of a hungry- 
jackal during the night. We left early in the morning, and 
after some difficulty in crossing the shallow rapids, reached 
Samawa in four hours. Dismissing the zaptiehs, we found a 
room in the Khan of Haj Nasir on the second floor and over- 
looking the bazaar. 

It was the day before Ashera, the great day of Moharram, 
and the whole town was in funereal excitement. All shops 
were closed. Shiah were preparing for the great mourning, 
and Sunni sought a safe place away from the street. As soon 
as I came the local governor sent word that I must not leave 
the khan under any circumstances, nor venture in the street, 
as he would not be responsible for Shiah violence. I remained 
indoors, therefore, until the following day, and saw from the 
window the confusion of the night of Ashera, the tramp of a 
mob, the beating of breasts, the wailing of women, the bloody 
banners, and mock-martyr scenes, the rhythmic howling and 
cries of " Ya Ali ! ya Hassan! ya Hussein!" until throats 
were hoarse and hands hung heavy for a moment, only to go at 
it again. A pandemonium, as of BaaUs prophets on Carmel, 
before the deaf and dumb God of Islam, — monotheistic only in 
its book. "There is no god but God," and yet to the Shiah 
devotees of Moharram, "He is not in all their thoughts." 
The martyr caliphs of Nejf are their salvation and their hope, 
the Houris' lap. 

Between Samawa and Nasariya, the next important town 
we passed the villages : Zahara, El Kidr, Derj Kalat, (where 
there is a Turkish Mudir and a telegraph station on the Hillah- 
Busrah wire) Luptika El Ain Abu Tabr and El Assaniyeh. 
The river begins to broaden below Samawa, and its banks are 
beautiful with palms and willows. We were again delayed at 
a toll-bridge ; there must be taxes everywhere in Turkey, on 
ships and on fishermen, on boats and on bridges, on tobacco 




and on salt ; but this taxing of the same cargo at every river 
port is peculiar. 

Nasariya is a comparatively modern town and better built 
than any on the Euphrates river. Its bazaar is large and wide, 
and the government-houses are imposing for Arabdom. A 
small gunboat lies near the landing, and this floating tub, with 
its soldier guard and bugle-call, represents the only civilization 
that has yet come to the Euphrates valley, and is a thing of 
wonder to the Arabs. Opposite Nasariya are two large 
walled enclosures, wheat granaries protected from Arab rob- 
bers. Three hours west are the ruins of Mugheir — Ur of the 

Our meheleh sailed down the river before daylight and five 
hours later came to Suk el Shiukh, " the bazaar of old men." 
Abd el Fattah, in whose Persian kahwah we found a place, is 
a cosmopolitan. He had seen " Franjees " before, had been to 
Bombay, Aden and Jiddah, knew something of books, a little 
less of the gospel, and spoke two English words, of which he 
was very proud, '' Stop her" and ''Send a geri," He was a 
model innkeeper, and had it not been for his tea and talk, the 
three days of stifling heat under a mat-roof would have been 
less tolerable; 

South of Suk el Shiukh the river widens into marshes, where 
the channel is so shallow that part of the cargo of all river boats 
is transferred to smaller craft. On account of this delay, we 
ran short of provisions before reaching Kurna, and our boat- 
men were such prejudiced sectarians that it required argument 
and much backsheesh to bargain for some rice and the use of 
their cooking-pot. We were "nejis," "kafir," and what not, 
and the captain vowed he would have to wash the whole boat 
clean at Busrah from the footprints of the unbelievers. Between 
Suk and the junction of the two rivers to form the Shatt-el- 
Arab at Kurna, there are many wide, waste marshes, growing 
reeds and pasture for the buffalo — a breeding place for insect 
life and the terror of the boatmen because of the Me' dan 


pirates. We were three days on this part of the river, and 
often all of us were in the water to lift and tug the boat over 
some mud-bank. El Kheit is the only village of any size the 
whole distance, but the Bedouin of the swamp, who live half 
the time in the water and have not arrived at even the loin- 
cloth stage of civilization, are a great multitude. At length 
we reached Kurna and thence, by the broad, lordly, Shatt-el- 
Arab to the mission-house at Busrah. 

What is to be the future of this great and wealthy valley, 
which once supported myriads and was the centre of culture 
and ancient civilization? Will it evermore rest under the 
blight of the fez and the crescent ? The one curse of the land 
is the inane government and its ruthless taxation. The goose 
with the golden egg is killed every day in Turkey — at least 
robbed to its last nest-egg. The shepherd -tribes, the villagers, 
the nomads, the agricultural communities, all suffer alike from 
the same cause. When and whence will deliverance come ? 
Perhaps a partial reply to these two questions will be found if 
we read between the lines in our chapter on the recent politics 
of Arabia. A Turkish railroad in the Euphrates valley would 
rust ; but a railroad under any other government would develop 
a region capable of magnificent improvement. 



" The central provinces of Nejd, the genuine Wahabi country, is to the 
rest of Arabia a sort of a lion's den on which few venture and yet fewer 
return." — Palgrave. 

" A desert world of new and dreadful aspect ! black camels, and un- 
couth hostile mountains ; and a vast sand wilderness shelving toward the 
dire impostor's city," — Doughty. 

'TT^HE region which, for want of a more definite name, we 
-*- may call the Interior includes four large districts. 
Three of these have been comparatively well explored and 
mapped, but the fourthi is utterly unknown. These districts 
are : Roba' -el-Khali, Nejran with Wady Dauasir, Nejd proper, 
and Jebel Shammar. 

It is surprising that at the close of the nineteenth century 
there should remain so many portions of our globe still unex- 
plored. We have better maps of the north pole and of the [ v 
moon than we have of Southeastern Arabia and parts of Central • 
Asia. A triangle formed by lines drawn from Harrara in Oman 
to El Harik in Southern Nejd, thence to Marib in Yemen and 
back to Harrara will measure very nearly 500 miles on each 
of its upper sides and 800 on the base. This triangle, with an 
area of 120,000 square miles is as utterly unknown to the 
world at large as if it were an undiscovered continent in some 
polar sea. Never has it been crossed by any European traveller 
or entered by an explorer. It includes all the hinterland of 
the Mahrah and Gharah tribes, all western Oman and the so- 
called Roba' -el-Khali (literally, " empty abode ") of the Dahna 
desert, as well as that mysterious region of El Ahkaf to which 



the Koran refers and which is said by the Arabs to be a sea 
of quicksands, able to swallow whole caravans. 

On most maps the region in question is left blank ; others 
designate it as an uninterrupted desert from Mecca to Oman ; 
while Ptolemy's map describes the region as producing myrrh 
and abounding in Arab tribes and caravan-routes. Whatever 
we know of the country at present must be the result of Arab 
hearsay booked by travellers in the coast-provinces. The few 
names of places given in the Roba' -el-Khali would ?iot lead 
one to suppose that "uninterrupted desert" was its only char- 
acteristic feature. In the north are Jebel Athal (the Tamarisk 
Mountains), and Wady Yebrin. Wady Shibwan and Wady 
Habuna seem to extend at least some distance into the triangle 
from the west, while, in the very centre we have the very un- 
usual names for a desert region Belad-ez-Zohur (Flower- 
country) and El-Joz (the nut-trees). There is no doubt that a 
large part of the region is now desert and uninhabited ; but it 
may not always have been so and may hold its own secrets, 
archaeological and geographical. 

An Arab of Wady Fatima told Doughty, what the divine 
partition of the world was in the following words: "Two 
quarters Allah divided to the children of Adam, the third part 
He gave to Gog and Magog, a manikin people, parted from us 
by a wall, which they shall overskip in the latter days ; and 
then will they overrun the world. Of their kindred be the 
gross Turks and the misbelieving Persians ; but you, the Eng- 
leys are of the good kind with us. The fourth part of the 
world is called Roba' -el-Khali, the empty quarter." Doughty 
adds, "I never found any Arabian who had aught to tell, 
even by hearsay, of that dreadful country. Haply it is Nefud, 
with quicksands, which might be entered into and even passed 
with milch dromedaries in the spring weeks. Now my health 
failed me; otherwise I had sought to unriddle that enigma." 
It still awaits solution. In Oman they say it is only twenty- 
seven days' caravan march overland to Mecca right through 


the desert ; perhaps from the Oman highlands one could more 
easily penetrate into the unknown and get safely to Riad if not 
to Yemen. 

Nejran, celebrated as an ancient Christian province of Arabia 
and sacred by the blood of martyrs, lies north of Yemen and 
east of the Asir country. Together with the Dauasir-Wady 
region it forms a strip of territory about 300 miles long and 
100 broad, well-watered and even more fertile than the best 
parts of Yemen.^ The intrepid traveller, Halevy (1870) first 
visited this region from Yemen and found a large Jewish popu- 
lation in the southern part. He visited the towns Mahlaf, 
Rijlah and Karyet-el-Kabil, penetrated Wady Habuna but 
could not succeed in reaching Wady Dauasir. He describes 
the fertility of the Wadys and the extensive date-plantations 
of this part of Arabia in terms of greatest admiration. Ruins 
and inscriptions are plentiful. In Wady Dauasir the Arabs say 
that the palm-groves extend three dromedary-journeys. The 
people are all agricultural Arabs but, as in Oman, they live in 
continual feud and turmoil because of tribal jealousies and old 

The region east of Wady Dauasir is called Aflaj or Felej- 
el-Aflaj, two days' journey distant ; here there are also palm- 
oases. It is six days' journey thence to Riad, but the way is 
rugged, without villages.* It was along Wady Dauasir that I 

1 It contains the following Wadys : Nejran, Habuna, Wanan, Moyazet, 
Bedr and the extensive Wady Dauasir. 

^Aflaj has six villages : Siah, Leyta, Khurfa, Er-Rautha, El-Bedia. Wady 
Dauasir has these towns : El-Hammam, Es-Shotibba, Es-Soleil, Tamera, 
Ed-Dam, El-Loghf, El-Ferra, Es-Showeik, and El-Ayathat. (Doughty.) 
Most of these towns are not given on the maps ; but as some of them are, 
it is interesting to mention the route from Hassa to this Wady, given by 
Capt. Miles in a letter to S'prenger (dated Muscat, March, 1873) and 
quoted in his "Alte Geog. Arabiens," page 240. "Route from El Hasa 
to Solail : Hassa, Kharaj, Howta, Hilwa, Leilah, Kharfa, Rondha, El 
Sih, Bidia, Shitba, Solail. From Solail to Runniya it is three days' 
journey. It is a town larger than Solail. The Dosiri tribes are as fol' 


had hoped to make the overland journey from Sana to Bahrein 
in 1894 ; once beyond Turkish espionage the way would have 
been open. According to the testimony of Halevy the in- 
habitants of Nejran and Wady Dauasir are not fanatical. No- 
where in Yemen are the Jews treated so kindly as by the Arabs 
of Nejran. This entire region must also be classed with the 
fertile districts of Arabia. Water is everywhere abundant 
coming down from the Jebel Rian, fifteen days' journey from 
Toweyk and from the southern ranges of Jebel Ban and Jebel 
Tumra. The inhabitants of Nejran and of Southern Dauasir 
are heretical Moslems. They belong to the Bayadhi sect like 
the people of Oman/ and are supposed to be followers of Abd- 
AUah-bin-Abad (746 a. d.). 

Historically, Nejran is of special interest because here it was 
that the Roman army of 11,000 men sent by Augustus Caesar 
under ^lius Gallus to make a prey of the chimerical riches of 
Arabia Felix came to grief. The warriors did not fall in battle 
but, purposely misled by the Nabateans, their allies, they 
marched painfully over the waterless wastes in Central Arabia 
six months ; the most perished in misery and only a remnant 
returned. Strabo, writing from the mouth of Gallus himself, 
who was his friend and prefect of Egypt, gives a description of 
the Arabian desert that cannot be improved : " It is a sandy 
waste Avith only a few palms and pits of water : the acacia 
thorn and the tamarisk grow there ; the wandering Arabs lodge 
in tents and are camel graziers. ' ' 

Nejd— the heart of Arabia, the genuine Arabia, the Arabia 
of the poets — is properly bounded, — on the east, by the Turkish 
province of Hasa; on the south by the border of the desert 

lows: El-Woodaieen at Solail; El Misahireh possess most camels, etc.; 
Al Hassan at Wasit ; Beni Goweit ; EI-Khutran in Shitba ; El Sheiafa ; 
El-'Umoor, east end of Wady ; Al Saad, west of Wady ; El-Showaiej ; 
El-Khamaseen; El Kahtan; Hamid ; Al Amar; El Faijan in Kharfa." 

^A full account of their peculiar beliefs and their disputed origin is 
given in the Appendix to Badger's " History of Oman." 


near Yemama ; on the west by Hejaz in its widest extent to 
Khaibar ; and on the north by Jebel Shammar. Thus defined 
it includes the regions of El-Kasim, El-Woshem, El-Aared, 
and Yemama. The "Zephyrs of Nejd " are the pregnant 
theme of many an Arab poet and in these highlands that the 
air is crisp and dry and invigorating, especially to the visitors 
from the hot and moist coast provinces. It was such a poet 
who wrote in raptures of the Nejd climate : 

" Then said I to my companion while the camels were hastening 
To bear us down the pass between Menifah and Demar : 
' Enjoy while thou canst the sweets of the meadows of Nejd ; 
With no such meadows and sweets shalt thou meet after this evening.' 
Ah! heaven's blessing on the scented gales of Nejd, 
And its greensward and groves ghttering from the spring showers; 
And thy dear friends when thy lot was cast in Nejd — 
Months flew past, they passed and we knew not. 
Nor when their moons were new nor when they waned." 

As to the real and prosaic features of the country, Nejd is a 
plateau of which Jebel Toweyk is the centre and backbone. 
Its general height above the sea is about 4,000 feet, but there 
are more lofty ledges and peaks, some as high as 5,500 feet. 
These highlands are for the most clothed with fine pasture ; 
trees are common, solitary or in little groups ; and the entire 
plateau is intersected by a maze of valleys cut out of the sand- 
stone and limestone. In these countless hollows is concen- 
trated the fertility and the population of Nejd. The soil of the 
valleys is light, mixed with marl sand and pebbles washed 
down from the cliffs. Water is found everywhere in wells at a 
depth of not much over fifteen feet and often less ; in Kasim it 
has a brackish taste, and the soil is salty, but in other parts of 
Nejd there are traces of iron in it. The climate of all Nejd, 
according to Palgrave, is perhaps one of the healthiest in the 
world. The air is dry, clear and free from all the malarial 
poison of the coast ; the summers are warm but not sultry, and 
the winter air is biting cold. The usual monotony of an 


Arabian landscape is not only enlivened by the presence of the 
date-palm near the villages, but by groups of Talh, Nebaa' and 
Sidr, the Ithl and Ghada Euphorbia — all of them good-sized 
shrubs or trees. ^ 

Nejd is pasture land, so that its breed of sheep are known all 
over Arabia ; their wool is remarkably fine, almost equal to 
Cashmire in softness and delicacy. Camels abound ; accord- 
ing to Palgrave, Nejd is " a wilderness of camels." The color 
is generally brownish white or grey ; black camels are found 
westward and southward in the inhospitable Harra-country to- 
ward Mecca. Oxen and cows are not uncommon. Game is 
plenty, both feathered and quadruped. Partridges, quail, a 
kind of bustard; gazelle, hares, jerboa, wild-goat, wild-boars, 
porcupine, antelope, and a kind of wild-ox (wathyhi) with 
beautiful horns. Snakes are not common, but lizards, centi- 
pedes and scorpions abound. The ostrich is also found in 
western Nejd as well as in Wady Dauasir. The Bedouin hunt 
them to sell the skins to the Damascus feather merchants who 
come down with the Haj every year to Mecca ; forty reals 
(dollars) was the price paid in Doughty' s time for a single skin 
— a small fortune to the poor nomad. Mounted on their 
dromedaries they watch for the bird and then waylay it, match- 
lock ready to hand. The Arabs esteem the breast of the ostrich 
good food ; the fat is a sovereign remedy with them and half a 
finjan (the measure of an Arab coffee-cup), is worth half a 
Turkish mejidie. The ostrich is no longer as common in 
Arabia as formerly, and in many parts of the peninsula the bird 
is unknown even by name. 

Nejd is a land of camels and horses. But although a fine 
breed of the latter exist it is a common mistake to suppose that 
horses are plentiful in Central Arabia and that every Arab owns 

^The Talh is a large tree of roundish, scanty, leafage, with a little dry 
berry for fruit, its branches are wide-spreading and thorny. The Nebaa' 
is much smaller though of considerable height ; it has very small ovate 
bright green leaves. The Sidr is a little acacia tree. 


his steed. Doughty says "there is no breeding or sale of 
horses at Boreyda or Aneyza nor any town in Nejd." Most of 
the horses shipped from Busrah or Kuweit to Bombay are not 
from Nejd, although originally of Nejd-breed, but come from 
Jebel Shammar and the Mesopotaraian valley. He who would 
know all about the beauty of the Nejd horse must visit the 
Hail stables with Palgrave who "goes raving mad" about the 
animals; or he can read Lady Ann Blunt's "Pilgrimage to 
Nejd" in search of horses; better still let him buy that re- 
markable book by Colonel Tweedie : The Arabian Horse, 
His country and His people. In this volume the horse is the 
hero and Arabs are grooms and stable-boys. The Arab is more 
kind to his horse than to any other animal. No Arab dreams 
of tying up a horse by the neck ; a tether replaces the halter, 
one of the animal's hind-legs being encircled about the pastern 
by a light iron ring or leather strap, and connected with a chain 
or rope to an iron peg. Nejdi horses are specially valuable for 
great speed and endurance. They are all built for riding and 
not for draught ; to the unprofessional eye they do not seem at 
all superior to the best horses seen in London or New York 
City, but I leave the matter to the authorities mentioned.^ 

1 For our present knowledge of the government, population, cities and 
villages of Nejd we are chiefly indebted to the following travellers : Cap- 
tain G. Y. Sadlier, of the English army, who was the first European to 
cross the Arabian Peninsula. (1819.) George Wallin, a learned young 
Swedish Arabist, travelling in 1845 ^""^ 1^4^ ^^ a Mohammedan doctor of 
law, passed through the northern desert from Jauf to Hail and visited 
Medina. "William Gifford Palgrave, a Jesuit Roman Catholic, of English 
birth and scholarly tastes made his celebrated journey across Arabia from 
west to east in 1862-63. In 1864 the bold Italian traveller Guarmani 
went from Jerusalem straight to Jebel Shammar and Aneyza. In 1865 
Colonel Pelly, the British Resident at Bushire made an important journey, 
in company with Dr. Colville and Lieutenant Dawes, from Kuweit through 
southeastern Nejd to Riadh, returning by Hassa to Ojeir and Bahrein. Then 
Charles M. Doughty {facile priiiceps among all authorities and travellers 
Arabian) made his long, arduous, zigzag journeys through northwestern 


The government of Nejd indicates what the independent 
rulers of Arabia are like. Doughty testifies that the sum of 
all he could learn from the mouth of the Arabs themselves of 
Ibn Rashid's government (now in the hands of Abd-el-Aziz 
bin Mitaab, his nephew) was this : ''He makes sure of them 
that may be won by gifts, he draws the sword against his ad- 
versaries, he treads down them that fear him and he were no 
right ruler, hewed he no heads off ! " Some of the nomads 
consider the prince of Nejd a tyrant, but the villagers gener- 
ally are well content. Forsooth it is better for them to have 
one tyrant than many, as in the days before the political up- 
heaval that unified central Arabia. Other of the more reli- 
gious folk of Nejd cannot forget the bloody path by which Ibn 
Rashid gained his seat of power and call him ^^ Nejis, (pol- 
luted), a cutter-off of his kinsfolk with the sword." 

Lavish sums in the eyes of the starved Bedouin are spent on 
hospitality but all guests are pleased and depart from the pile 
of rice to praise God and the Amir of Nejd. Daily, in the 
guest-room, according to Doughty, one hundred and eighty 
messes of barley-bread with rice and butter are served to the 
men freely \ a camel or smaller animal is killed for the first- 
class guests and the total expense of his famous hospitality is 
not over ;^i,5oo annually. The revenues are immense and 
Ibn Rashid's private fortune had grown large even when 
Doughty visited him in 1877. He has cattle innumerable and 
" 40,000 camels " ; some 300 blooded mares and 100 horses; 
over 100 negro slaves; besides private riches laid up in 
silver metal, land at Hail and plantations in Jauf. 

Contrasted with the Turkish provinces of Arabia the subjects 
of the Amir of Nejd enjoy light taxation and even the Bedouin 
warriors who are in the service of the Nejd ruler receive better 
wages than the regular troops of the Sultan. From the descrip- 

and northern Arabia from November, 1876, to August, 1878. Our other 
authority for Nejd is Lady Ann Blunt who with her husband visited the 
capital of Ibn Rashid's country from Bagdad in 1883, 


tion of Mr. and Mrs. Blunt and Doughty at Hail, one cannot but 
feel that the government of Nejd is much more liberal and less 
fanatical than it was in the old days of the Wahabis as de- 
scribed by Palgrave. The old Wahabi power is now broken 
forever and Nejd is getting into touch with the world through 
commerce. Kasim already resembles the border-lands and the 
inhabitants are worldly-wise with the wisdom of the Bombay 
horse-dealers. Many of the youth of Nejd visit Bagdad, Bus- 
rah and Bahrein in their commercial ventures. Says Doughty, 
"all Nejd Arabia, east of Teyma, appertains to the Persian 
Gulf traffic and not to Syria [as does western Nejd] : and 
therefore the foreign color of Nejd is Mesopotamian." He 
marvelled at the erudition of the Nejd Arabs in spite of their 
isolation until he found that even here newspapers had found 
their way in recent years. English patent medicines are sold 
in the bazaar of Aneyza and the Arabs are somewhat ac- 
quainted with the wonders of Bombay and Calcutta. Pal- 
grave found the inhabitants of Kasim and southern Nejd far 
more intelligent than those of the north. Except for the four 
large towns of Hail, Riad, Boreyda and Aneyza, Nejd has 
no large centres of population. Bedouin tribes are found 
everywhere and villagers cultivate the fertile oases even in the 
desert ; but the population is not as dense as in Oman or 
Yemen nor even as in Nejran and Wady Dauasir. 

Hail, the present capital of Nejd, may have a population of 
ten thousand within its walls. It lies east of Jebel Aja, a 
granite range 6,000 feet high ending abruptly at this point. 
The city is on a table-land 3,500 feet above the sea. The 
Amir's castle is a formidable stronghold occupying a position 
of immense natural strength in the Jebel Aja. Blunt visited 
this place in 1878, but does not give its exact site, "lest the 
information might be utilized by the Turks under possible fu- 
ture contingencies." We have three pen-pictures of Hail: 
that of Palgrave who drew a plan of the city ; the descrip- 
tion of Doughty with his plan of the Amir's residence and 


guest-house ; and the sketches of Lady Ann Blunt on her pil- 
grimage. It is a walled town with several gates, a large mar- 
ket-place, the palaces overtopping all and mosques sufficient 
for the worshippers. It is a clean, well-built town, according 
to Doughty and pleasant to live in save for the awe of the 
tyrant-ruler. Its circuit may be nearly an hour ; in the centre 
of the walled enclosure stands the palace ; near it the great 
mosque and directly opposite the principal bazaar. The great 
coffee-hall where the Amir gives his audiences is eighty feet 
long with lofty Avails and of noble proportions. It has long 
rows of pillars " upholding the flat roof of ethel timbers and 
palm-stalk mat-work, goodly stained and varnished with the 
smoke of the daily hospitality. Under the walls are benches 
of clay overspread with Bagdad carpets. By the entry stands 
a mighty copper-tinned basin or ' sea ' of fresh water with a 
chained cup ; from thence the coffee-server draws and he may 
drink who thirsts. In the upper end of this princely kahwa 
(coffee-house) are two fire-pits, like shallow graves, where 
desert bushes are burned in colder weather ; they lack good 
fuel, and fire is blown commonly under the giant coffee-pots in 
a clay hearth like a smith's furnace." 

The palace castles are built in Nejd with battled towers of clay- 
brick and whitened on the outside with jiss or plaster; this in 
contrast with the palm-gardens in the walled-enclosure give the 
town a bright, fresh aspect. Outside the walls, the contrast of 
the Bedouin squalor and the rusty black basalt rocks lying in 
rough confusion is intense. Hail lies in the midst of a barren 
country and is an oasis not by nature but by the pluck and per- 
severance of its founders. The Shammar Arabs settled here from 
antiquity and the place is mentioned in the ancient poem of Antar. 

Er-Riadh or Riad (the " gardens-in-the-desert ") was the 
Wahabi metropolis of Eastern Nejd and of all the "VVahabi 
empire. The city lies in the heart of the Aared country, en- 
closed north and south by Jebel Toweyk and about 280 miles 
southeast of Hail. It is a large place (according to Palgrave of 


30,000 population !), but nothing is known of its present state, 
as no European traveller has visited it since Palgrave. The gen- 
eral appearance of Riad, according to our guide is like that of 
Damascus. "Before us stretched a wide open valley, and in 
its foreground, immediately below the pebbly slope on whose 
summit we stood, lay the capital, large and square, crowned 
by high towers and strong walls of defence, a mass of roofs 
and terraces, where, overtopping all, frowned the huge but 
irregular pile of Feysul's royal castle, and hard by it rose the 
scarce less conspicuous palace, built and inhabited by his 
eldest son, Abdallah. All around for full three miles over the 
surrounding plain, but more especially to the west and south, 
waved a sea of palm-trees above green fields and well-watered 
gardens ; while the singing, droning sound of the water-wheels 
reached us even where we had halted at a quarter of a mile or 
more from the nearest town- walls. On the opposite side south- 
ward, the valley opened out into the great and even more fertile 
plains of Yemama, thickly dotted with groves and villages, 
among which the large town Manhufah, hardly inferior in size 
to Riad itself, might be clearly distinguished. ... In all 
the countries which I have visited, and they are many, seldom 
has it been mine to survey a landscape equal to this in beauty, 
and in historical meaning, rich and full alike to the eye and 
the mind. The mixture of tropical aridity and luxuriant ver- 
dure, of crowded population and desert tracts, is one that 
Arabia alone can present, and in comparison with which Syria 
seems tame and Italy monotonous." ^ 

Undoubtedly the population of Riad has diminished since 
the seat of government was transferred to Hail ; at present it 
has even less trade and importance than Hof hoof (Hassa) since 
the Turkish occupation. 

' If we remember that Palgrave compares Feysul's mud-brick palace to 
the Tuileries of Paris, states that the great mosque of Riad can accommodate 
2,000 worshippers, and gives the Wahabi ruler a standing army of 50,000, 
we deduct a little from the poetical description to have fi balance of pet facts. 


Jebel Shai\i;mar and the northwestern desert, remain to be 
considered. The chief characteristics of this region are the 
extensive Nefitds or sandy-deserts and the nomad population. 
Jebel Shammar more than any part of Arabia is the tenting 
ground for the sons of Kedar. Everywhere are the black- 
worsted booths — the houses of goat-hair, so celebrated in 
Arabic poetry and song. Place-names on the map of this 
country are not villages or cities but watering-places for cattle 
and encampments of the tribes from year to year. From the 
Gulf of Akaba to the Euphrates, and as far north as their 
flocks can find pasture, the nomads call the land their own. 
Many of them are subject to the government of Nejd and pay 
a small annual tribute ; some are nominally under Turkish rule 
and others know no ruler save their Sheikh and have no law 
save that of immemorial Bedouin custom. 

Burckhardt discourses of these people like one who has dwelt 
among them, tasting the sweet and bitter of their hungry, 
homely life. He describes their tents and their simple furni- 
ture, arms, utensils, diet, arts, industry, sciences, diseases, re- 
ligion, matrimony, government, and warfare. He tells of their 
hospitality to the stranger ; their robbery of the traveller ; their 
blood-revenge and blood -covenants ; their slaves and servants ; 
their feasts and rejoicings ; their domestic relations and public 
functions; their salutations and language; and how at last 
they bury their dead in a single garment, scraping out a shal- 
low grave in hard-burned soil and heaping on a few rough 
stones to keep away the foul hyenas. 

Burckhardt devotes a considerable portion of his book to an 
enumeration of the Bedouin-tribes and their numerous sub- 
divisions. These will prove of great service to those who visit 
or cross the northern part of the Peninsula. The most impor- 
tant tribe is that of the Anaeze. They are nomads in the 
strictest acceptation of the word, for they continue during the 
whole year in almost constant motion. Their summer quarters 
are near the Syrian frontiers and in winter they retire into the 


heart of the desert or toward the Euphrates. When the tents 
are few they are pitched in a circle and called dowar, in 
greater numbers, they encamp in rows, one behind the other, 
especially along a rivulet or wady-bed ; such encampments are 
called Nezel. The Sheikh's or chief's tent has the principal 
place generally toward the direction whence guests or foes may 
be expected. The Anaeze tents are always of black goat's- 
hair; some other tribes have stuff striped white and black. 
Even the richest among them never have more than one tent 
unless he happen to have a second wife who cannot live on 
good terms with the first ; he then pitches a smaller tent near 
his own. But polygamy is very unusual among the Bedouin 
Arabs, although divorce is common. The tent furniture is 
simplicity itself; camel-saddles and cooking utensils with 
carpets and provision skins, are all the Arab housewife has to 
look after. 

Since the days of Job the Bedouin have been a nation of 
robbers. " The oxen were plowing and the asses feeding beside 
them ; and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them away, 
yea they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword." 
(Job i. 14.) The Bedouin's hand is against every man in all 
Jebel Shammar to this day. The tribes are in a state of almost 
perpetual war against each other ; it seldom happens, accord- 
ing to Burckhardt, that a tribe enjoys a moment of general 
peace with all its neighbors, yet the war between two tribes is 
not of long duration. Peace is easily made and easily broken. 
In Bedouin parlance a salt covenant is only binding while the 
salt is in their stomachs. General battles are rarely fought, 
and few lives are lost ; to surprise an enemy by sudden attack, 
or to plunder a camp, are the chief objects of both parties. 
The dreadful effects of "blood-revenge" (by which law the 
kindred of the slain are in duty bound to slay the murderer or 
his kin) prevent many sanguinary conflicts. Whatever the 
Arabs take in their predatory excursions is shared according to 
previous agreement. Sometimes the whole spoil is equally 

ir>o jR.ini.i, 'nil- iuitnii- of 

(li\i(lf(l liy ihi' Shrikh ;imoni; his lollowiTS ; at dIIkt limes each 
owe iihiiuliTs lor hiioscir. A InHKuiin laiil is tailed a^i,7/(j's//, 
and it is worthy o{ ii'inark that the earliest biographer of 
JMohaiuiiKHl, 11m IshaU, st) designates the wars of the i>rophet 
of (lod with (he Koreish. 'I'he Anae/.e IVdoiiin ne\ t'r atlaik 
by night, (ov dnring the <onl'nsion ot" a noetnrnal assault the 
women's apartments might be entereil, and this they regard as 
treaehery. The lemale sex is res[)eiteil e\en among tlu- most 
in\c'teiale iMii'n\ies whenever a camp is plundereil, and neither 
www, won\en nor slaves are e\i'r taken prisoners. It is war 
only lor booty. The Arabs are robbers, seldom murderers ; to 
ask prolcelion or ({akJici/ is smv ijuaiter, e\en when the spear 
is lit'tcil. JVaee is eont'Uuled generally b)' arbitratioi\ in the 
tent of the Sheikh o( a Ihinl tribe IrimuUy to both combating 
tribes. The i\u>st tVciiueut cause ol war is ipiarrels over wells 
or watering-places and pasture grounds, just as in the ilays of 
the patriarihs. 

"'I'he Hedouins have retluced robbery," says liurckhardt, 
" in all its branches to a complete and regular system, which 
oilers many interesting iletails." Those ilelails are very ninuer- 
ous, anil the stories of robbery and escape given by the Arabian 
chroniiders. or told at the camp lues, wouKl till a V(.>hnne. 
t)nc example will snflice us. Three robbers plan an attack on 
an encampment. One of them stations lun\self behind the 
tent that is to be robbed, and endeavors to excite the attention 
of the nearest watch dogs. These in\niediately attack him ; 
he Hies, and thc\ pursue him to a great tlistance i\ow\ the 
camp, whiih is thus cleared o( those ilangerous guardians. 
The second robber goes to the camels, cuts the strings that con- 
line their legs and makes as n\anv rise as he wishes, lie theiv 
leads one of the she-camels out of the camp, the others follow- 
ing as usual, while the thirtl robber has all this time been 
sl.iuding with litted t'lub before the tent doo\ to strike dowi\ 
any one who might awake and \i-uture forth. If the robbers 
sueceetl they then join their e*.)mpauion. each sei/es the tail of 


a strong Icadiiig-camcl nnd [xills il willi all liis might; the 
camels set up a gallop into the desert and the men are dragged 
along by their booty until safe distance separates theta from the 
scene of robbery. They then mount their prey and make haste 
to their own encampment. 

Before we lightly condemn the robber we must realize his 
sore need. According to Doughty and other travellers three- 
fourths of the Bedouin of Northwestern Aral)ia suffer continual 
famine and seldom have enough to eat. In the long sinnmer 
drought when pastures fail and the gaunt camel-herds give no 
milk they are in a sorry plight; then it is that the housewife 
cooks her slender mess of rice secretly, lest some would-be 
guest should smell the pot. The hungry gnawing of the 
Arab's stomach is lessened by the coffee-cup and the ceaseless 
"tobacco-drinking" from the nomad's precious pipe. The 
women suffer most and children languish away. When one of 
these sons-of-desert heard from Doughty's lips of a land where 
"we had an abundance of the blessings of Allah, bread and 
clothing and i)eace, and, how, if any wanted, the law succored 
him — he began to be full of melancholy, and to lament the 
everlasting infelicity of the Arabs, whose lack of clothing is a 
cause to them of many diseases, who have not daily food nor 
water enough, and wandering in the empty wilderness, are 
never at any stay — and these miseries to last as long as their 
lives. And when his heart was full, he cried up to heaven, 
'Have mercy, ah Lord God, upon I'hy creature which Thou 
createdst — pity the sighing of the poor, the hungry, the naked 
— have mercy — have mercy upon them, O Allah ! ' " 

As we bid farewell to the tents of Kedar and the deserts of 
North Arabia let us say amen to the nomad's prayer and judge 
them not harshly in their misery lest we be judged. 



"The religious decay in Arabia shortly before Islam may well be taken 
in a negative sense, in the sense of the tribes losing the feeling of kinship 
with the tribal gods. We may express this more concretely by saying 
that the gods had become gradually more and more nebulous through the 
destructive influence exercised, for about two hundred years, by Jewish 
and Christian ideas, upon Arabian heathenism." — H. Hirschfeld, in 
the " Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society." 

TN order to understand the genesis of Islam we must know 
-^ something of the condition of Arabia before the advent of 
Mohammed. We shall then be able to discover the factors 
that influenced the hero-prophet and made it possible for him 
so powerfully to sway the destinies of his own generation and 
those that were to follow. 

Mohammedan Avr iters call the centuries before the birth of 
their Prophet wakt-el-jahiliyeh — "the time of ignorance" — 
since the Arabs were then ignorant of the true religion. These 
writers naturally chose to paint the picture of heathen Arabia 
as dark as possible, in order that the "Light of God," as the 
prophet is called, might appear more bright in contrast. 
Following these authorities Sale and others have left an alto- 
gether wrong impression of the state of Arabia when Mohammed 
first appeared. The commonly accepted idea that he preached 
entirely new truth and uplifted the Arabs to a higher plane of 
civilization is only half true.^ 

No part of Arabia has ever reached the high stage of civili- 
zation under the rule of Islam which Yemen enjoyed under its 
Christian or even its Jewish dynasties of the Himyarites. 

1 In our chapter on the Arabic language we shall see that the golden 
age of Arabic literature was just before the birth of Mohammed. 



Early Christianity in Arabia, with all its weakness, had been a 
power for good. The Jews had penetrated to nearly every 
portion of the peninsula long before Mohammed came on the 
scene. ^ 

In the " Time of Ignorance " the Arabs throughout the penin- 
sula were divided into numerous local tribes or clans which were 
bound together by no political organization but only by a tradi- 
tional sentiment of unity which they believed, or feigned to be- 
lieve, a unity of blood. Each group was a unit and opposed to 
all the other clans. Some were pastoral and some nomadic ; 
others like those at Mecca and Taif were traders. For many 
centuries Yemen had been enriched by the incense-trade and 
by its position as the emporium of Eastern commerce. Sprenger 
in his ancient geography of the peninsula says that : '* The history 
of the earliest commerce is the history of incense and the land 
of incense was Arabia." The immense caravan trade which 
brought all the wealth of Ormuz and Ind to the West, must 
have been a means of civilization to the desert. The tanks of 
Marib spread fertility around and the region north of Sana was 
intersected by busy caravan-routes. W. Robertson Smith goes 
so far as to say that "In this period the name of Arab was 
associated to Western writers with ideas of effeminate indolence 
and peaceful opulence . . . the golden age of Yemen." 

• " Mohammedanism had owed much to the Jewish kingdom of Siba. 
The rule of the Sabean kings had extended over Mecca, and Jewish ideas 
and beliefs had thus made their way into the future birthplace of 
Mohammed. The fact is full of interest for students of the history of 
Islam. The epigraphic evidence which Dr. Glaser has presented to us 
shows that the rise of Mohammedanism was not the strange and unique 
phenomenon it has hitherto been thought to be. It had been prepared 
for centuries previously. Arabia had for ages been the home of culture 
and the art of writing, and for about two hundred years before the birth 
of Mohammed his countrymen had been brought into close contact with 
the Jewish faith. Future research will doubtless explain fully how great 
was his debt to the Jewish masters of Mecca and the Sabean kingdom of 
Southern Arabia." — Prof. A. H. Sayce in the Independent. 


The Arabs had enjoyed for several thousand }'ears, an al- 
most absolute freedom from foreign dominion or occupation. 
Neither the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the 
ancient Persians nor the Macedonians in their march of con- 
quest ever subjugated or held any part of Arabia. But before 
the coming of the Prophet the proud freemen of the desert were 
compelled to bend their necks repeatedly to the yoke of Roman, 
Abyssinian and Persian rulers. In a. d. 105, Trajan sent his 
general, Cornelius Palma, and subdued the Nabathean kingdom 
of North Arabia. Mesopotamia was conquered and the eastern 
coast of the peninsula was completely devastated by the Ro- 
mans in A. D. 116. Hira yielded to the monarchs of Persia 
as Ghassan did to the generals of Rome. Sir ^^'illiam Muir 
writes, "It is remarked even by a Mohammedan writer that the 
decadence of the race of Ghassan was preparing the way for the 
glories of the Arabian prophet." In other words Arabia was 
being invaded by foreign powers and the Arabs were ready for 
a political leader to break these yokes and restore the old-time 
independence. Roman domination invaded even INIecca itself 
not long before the Hegira. " For shortly after his accession to 
the throne, a. d. 610, the Emperor Heraclius nominated 0th- 
man, then a convert to Christianity, ... as governor of 
Mecca, recommending him to the Koreishites in an authorita- 
tive letter."^ The Abyssinian Avars and invasions of Arabia 
during the century preceding INIohammed are better known. 
Their dominion in Yemen, says Ibn Ishak, lasted seventy-two 
years, and they were finally driven out by the Persians, at the 
request of the Arabs. 

Arabia was thus the centre of political schemes and plots 
just at the time when INIohammed came to manhood ; the 
whole peninsula was awake to the touch of the Romans, 
Abyssinians and Persians, and ready to rally around any 
banner that led to a national deliverance. 

As to the position of women in this "Time of Ignorance." 
» Koelle's Mohanamed, p. 5. 


the cruel custom of female infanticide prevailed in many parts 
of heathen Arabia. This was probably due, in the first in- 
stance, to poverty or famine, and afterward became a social 
custom to limit population. Professor Wilken suggests as a 
further reason that wars had tended to an excess of females over 
males. An Arab poet tells of a niece who refused to leave the 
husband to whom she had been assigned after capture. Her 
uncle was so enraged that he buried all his daughters alive and 
never allowed another one to live. Even one beautiful girl 
who had been saved alive by her mother was ruthlessly placed 
in a grave by the father and her cries stifled with earth. This 
horrible custom however was not usual. We are told of one 
distinguished Arab, named Saa-Saa, who tried to put down 
the practice of "digging a grave by the side of the bed on 
which daughters were born." 

Mohammed improved on the barbaric method and dis- 
covered a way by which not some but all females could be 
buried alive without being murdered — namely, the veil. Its 
origin was one of the marriage affairs of the prophet with its 
appropriate revelation from Allah. The veil was unhiown in 
Arabia before that time. It was Islam that forever withdrew 
from Oriental society the bright, refining, elevating influence 
of women. Keene says that the veil "lies at the root of all 
the most important features that differentiate progress from 
stagnation." The harem-system did not prevail in the days 
of idolatry. Women had rights and were respected. In two 
instances, beside that of Zenobia, we read of Arabian queens 
ruling over their tribes. Freytag in his Arabian Proverbs gives 
a list of female judges who exercised their office in the " time 
of ignorance." According to Noldeke, the Nabathean inscrip- 
tions and coins prove that women held an independent and 
honorable position in North Arabia long before Islam; they 
constructed expensive family graves, owned large estates, and 
were independent traders. The heathen Arabs jealously 
watched over their women as their most valued possession and 

hi-: .-iR.-lPl.-f, THE CR.4DLE OF JSUM 

defended theiu Nvith their lives. A woman was ne\er given 
away by her father in an unequal match nor against her con- 
sent. ''If you cannot find an eviiuU match," s;ud Ibn Zohair 
to the Naniir, "the best marriage for them is the grave." 
Professor G. A. \Vilk.en ^ adduces many proofs to show that 
women had a right in every case to choose their own huskuids 
and cites the case of Khadijah who olferevl her hand to Mo- 
hammevi. E\en captive women were not kept in slaver)-, as is 
evident from the verses of Hatim : 

" They did not give vis Taites, their daughters in marriage ; 
But we wooed them against their will with our swords. 
And with us captivity bivught no alwsement. 
They neither toiled making bread nor made the pot boil; 
But we mingled them with our women, the noblest, 
And Uu-e us tair sons, white of face." 

Polpndry and pol)gamy were both practiced : the right of 
di\x>rce belonged to the wife as well as to the husband ; tem- 
porary marriages were also common. As was natural among a 
nomad race, the marriage Ixi^nd was quickly made and easily 
dissolved. But this \^*as not the case among the Jews and 
Christians of Yemen and Nejran. Two kinds of marriage 
were in vogue. The mofa'a was a purely personal contract 
between a man and woman ; no witnesses were necessary and 
the woman did not leave her home or come under the authority 
of her huskuid ; even the children belonged to the wife. This 
marriage, so frevpiently described in Arabic poetry, was not 
considered illicit but was openly celebrated in verse and 
brought no disgrace on the woman. In the other kind of 
marriage, called fu'/:a^y the woman became subject to her 
husband by capture or purchase. In the latter case the pur- 
chase-money was paid to the bride's kin. 

The position of Avomen before Islam is thus described in 

'Het Matriaivhaat bij de onde Arabieren (1S&4), and 5«//.Vw<'«/ to 
the same, in answer to critics, (18^5^ The Hague. 


Smith's " Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia " : " It is very 
remarkable that in spite of Mohammed's humane ordinances 
the place of woman in the family and in sfjciety has steadily 
declined under his law. In ancient Arabia we find . . . 
many proofs that women moved more freely and asserted 
themselves more strongly than in the modern East. . . . 
The Arabs themselves recognized that the position of woman 
had fallen . . . and it continued still to fall under Islam, 
because the effect of Mohammed's legislation in favor of women 
was more than outweighed by the establishment of marriages 
of dominion as the one legitimate type, and by the gradual 
loosening of the principle that married women could count on 
their own kin to stand by them against their husbands." ' 

In "the time of ignorance" writing was well known and 
poetry flourished. Three accomplishments were coveted — elo- 
quence, horsemanship and liberal hospitality. Orators were in 
demand, and to maintain the standard and reward excellence 
there were large assemblies as at Okatz. These lasted a whole 
month and the tribes came long journeys to hear the orators 
and poets as well as to engage in trade. The learning of the 
Arabs was chiefly confined to tribal history, astrology and the 
interpretation of dreams ; in these they made considerable 

According to Moslem tradition the science of writing was 
not known in Mecca until introduced by Harb, Father of Abu 
Scofian, the great opponent of Mohammed, about a. d, 560. 
But this is evidently an error, for close intercourse existed long 
before this between Mecca and Sana the capital of Yemen 
where writing was well known ; and in another tradition Abd el 
Muttalib is said to have written to Medina for help in his younger 
days, /. e., about 520 a. d. Both Jews and Christians also 
dwelt in the vicinity of Mecca for two hundred years before 
the Hegira and used some form of writing. For writing mate- 
rials they had abundance of reeds and palm-leaves as well as 
' Smith's " Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia," pp. 100, 104. 


the flat, smooth shoulder-bones of sheep. The seven poems 
are said to have been written in gold on Egyptian silk and 
suspended in the Kaaba. 

In the earlier part of his mission INIohammed despised the 
poets for the good reason that some, among them a poetess, 
wrote satirical verses about him. Tlie Koran says " those who 
go astray follow the poets." (Surah 26 : 224) and a more 
vigorous though less elegant denouncement is recorded in the 
traditions (Mishkat Bk. 22, eh. 10): "A belly full of puru- 
lent matter is better than a belly full of poetry." When two 
of the heathen poets, Labid and Hassan embraced Islam, the 
prophet became more lenient, and is reported to have said 
"poetry is a kind of composition which if it is good, it is good, 
and if it is bad, it is bad ! " 

Concerning the religion of the heathen Arabs the Moham- 
medan writer Ash-Shahristani says : " The Arabs of pre-islamic 
times may, with reference to religion be divided into various 
classes. Some of them denied the Creator, the resurrection 
and men's return to God, and asserted that Nature possesses in 
itself the power of bestowing life, but that Time destroys. 
Others believed in a Creator and a creation produced by Him 
out of nothing but yet denied the resurrection. Others be- 
lieved in a Creator and a creation but denied God's prophets 
and worshipped false gods concerning whom they believed that 
in the next world they would become mediators between them- 
selves and God. For these deities they undertook pilgrimages, 
they brought offerings to them, offered them sacrifices and ap- 
proached them with rites and ceremonies. Some things they 
held to be Divinely permitted, others to be prohibited. This 
was the religion of the majority of the Arabs." This is re- 
markable evidence for a Mohammedan who would naturally be 
inclined to take an unfavorable view. But his absolute silence 
regarding the Jews and Christians of Arabia is suggestive. 

When the Arabian tribes lost their earliest monotheism (the 
religion of Job and their patriarchs) they first of all adopted 


Sabeanism or the worship of the hosts of heaven. A proof of 
this is their ancient practice of making circuits around the 
shrines of their gods as well as their skill in astrology. Very- 
soon however the star-worship became greatly corrupted and 
other deities, superstitions and practices were introduced. An- 
cient Arabia was a refuge for all sorts of religious-fugitives ; and 
each band added something to the national stock of religious 
ideas. The Zoroastrians came to East Arabia ; the Jews set- 
tled at Kheibar, Medina, and in Yemen ; Christians of many 
sects lived in the north and in the highlands of Yemen. For 
all pagan Arabia Mecca was the centre many centuries before 
Mohammed. Here stood the Kaaba, the Arabian Pantheon, 
with its three hundred and sixty idols, one for each day in the 
year. Here the tribes of Hejaz met in annual pilgrimage to 
rub themselves on the Black Stone, to circumambulate the Beit 
Allah or Bethel of their creed and to hang portions of their 
garments on the sacred trees. At Nejran a sacred date-palm 
was the centre of pilgrimage. Everywhere in Arabia there 
were sacred stones or stone-heaps where the Arab devotees 
congregated to obtain special blessings. The belief in jinn or 
genii was well-nigh universal, but there was a distinction be- 
tween them and gods. The gods have individuality while the 
jinn have not ; the gods are worshipped, the jinn are only 
feared ; the god has one form ; the jinn appear in many. All 
that the Moslem world believes in regard to jinn is wholly bor- 
rowed from Arabian heathenism and those who have read the 
Arabian Nights know what a large place they hold in the every- 
day life of Moslems. 

The Arabs were always superstitious, and legends of all sorts 
cluster around every weird desert rock, gnarled tree or inter- 
mittent fountain in Arabia. The early Arabs therefore marked 
off such sacred territory by pillars or cairns and considered 
many things such as shedding of blood, cutting of trees, killing 
game, etc., forbidden within the enclosure. This is the origin 
of the Haramairi or sacred territory around Mecca and Medina. 


Sacrifices were common, but not by fire. The blood of the 
offering was smeared over the rude stone altars and the flesh 
was eaten by the worshipper. First fruits were given to the 
gods and libations were poured out ; a hair-oftering formed a 
part of the ancient pilgrimage ; this also is imitated to-day. 

W. Robertson Smith tries to prove that tottmism was the 
earliest form of Arabian idolatry and that each tribe had its 
sacred animal. The strongest argument for this is the un- 
doubted fact that many of the tribal names were taken from 
animals and that certain animals were regarded as sacred in 
parts of Arabia. The theory is too far-reaching to be adopted 
at haphazard and the author's ideas of the significance of 
animal sacrifice are not in accord with the teaching of Scrip- 
ture. It is however interesting to know that the same author- 
ity thinks the Arabian tribal marks or wasms were originally 
totem-marks and must have been tattooed on the body even as 
they are now used to mark property. The washm of the idol- 
atrous Arabs seems related to their wasms and was a kind of 
tattooing of the hands, arms and gums. It was forbidden by 
Mohammed but is still widely prevalent in North Arabia among 
the Bedouin women. 

Covenants of blood and of salt are also very ancient Semitic 
institutions and prevailed all over Arabia. The form of the 
oath was various. At Mecca the parties dipped their hands in 
a pan of blood and tasted the contents ; in other places they 
opened a vein and mixed their fresh blood ; again they would 
each draw the others' blood and smear it on seven stones set up 
in the midst. The later Arabs substituted the blood of a sheep 
or of a camel for human blood. 

The principal idols of Arabia were the following ; ten of 
them are mentioned by name in the Koran. 

Hubal was in the form ot a man and came from Syria ; lie was the god 
of rain and had a high place of honor. 
WaJd was the god of the firmament. 
Strwah, in the form of a woman, was said to be from antediluvian times. 



Yaghuth had the shape of a lion. 

Ya'ook was in the form of a horse, and was worshipped in Yemen. 
Bronze images of this idol are found in ancient tombs. 

Nasr was the eagle-god. ■ . 1^,^ 

El Uzza, identified by some scholars with Venus, was worshipped at 
times under the form of an acacia tree. 

Allot was the chief idol of the tribe of Thakif at Taif who tried to 
compromise with Mohammed to accept Islam if he would not destroy 
their god for three years. The name appears to be the feminine of Allah. 

Manat was a huge stone worshipped as an altar by several tribes. 

Duwar was the virgin's idol and young women used to go around it in 
procession ; hence its name. 

Isaf and Naila stood near Mecca on the hills of Safa and Mirwa; the 
visitation of these popular shrines is now a part of the Moslem pilgrimage. 

Habhab was a large stone on which camels were slaughtered. 

Beside these there were numerous other gods whose names 
have been utterly lost and yet who each had a place in the 
Pantheon at Mecca. Above all these was the supreme deity 
whom they called 6' Ozb<iy the God, or Allah. This name 
occurs several times in the ancient pre-islamic poems and proves 
that the Arabs knew the one true God by name even in the 
"time of ignorance." To Him they also made offerings 
though not of the first and best ; in His name covenants were 
sealed and the holiest oaths were sworn. Enemy of Allah was 
the strongest term of opprobrium among the Arabs then as it is 
to-day. Wellhausen says, " In worship Allah had the last place, 
those gods being preferred who represented the interests of a 
particular circle and fulfilled the private desires of their wor- 
shippers. Neither the fear of Allah nor their reverence for the 
gods had much influence. The chief practical consequence of 
the great feasts was the observance of a truce in the holy 
months ; and this in time had become mainly an affair of pure 
practical convenience. In general the disposition of the heathen 
Arabs, if it is at all truly reflected in their poetry, was profane 
in an unusual degree. The ancient inhabitants of Mecca prac- 
ticed piety essentially as a trade, just as they do now ; their 


trade depended on the feast and its foir on the inviolability of 
the Haram and on the truce of the holy months." 

There is no doubt that at the time of Mohammed's appear- 
ance the old national idolatry had degenerated. Islany of the 
idols had no believers or ■worshippers, Sabeanism had also 
disappeared except in the north of Arabia ; although it always 
left its influence which is evident not only in the Koran but in 
the superstitious practices of the modern Betlouins. Gross 
fetishism was the creed of many. One of JNIohammed's con- 
temporaries said, "When they found a fine stone they adored 
it, or, failing that, milked a camel over a heap of sand and 
worshipped that." The better classes at Mecca and Medina 
had ceased to believe anything at all. The forms of religion 
*' were kept up rather for political and commercial reasons than 
as a matter of faith or conviction." * 

Add to all this the silent but strong influence of the Jews 
and Christians who were in constant contact with these idolaters 
and we have the explanation of the Hanifs. These Hanifs 
were a small number of Arabs who worshipped only Allah, re- 
jected polytheism, sought freedom from sin and resignation to 
God's will. There were Hanifs at Taif, Mecca and Medina. 
They were in fi.\ct seekers of truth, weary of the old idolatry 
and the prevalent hollow hypocrisy of the Arabs. The earliest 
Hanifs of whom AAe hear, were Waraka, the cousin of the 
prophet Mohammed, and Zeid bin Amr, surnamed the Inquirer. 
jNIohammed at tirst also adopted this title of Hanif to express 
tlie faith of Abraham but soon after changed it to Moslem. 

It is only a step from Hanifism to Islam. Primary mono- 
theism, Sabeanism, idolatr}-, fetishism, Hanifism, and then the 
prophet with the sword to bring everything back to monotheism 
— monotheism, as modified by his own needs and character and 
compromises. The time of ignorance was a time of chaos. 
Everything was ready for one wlio could take in the whole sit- 
uation, social, political and religious and form a cosmos. That 
man was JNIohammed. 

1 ralmer's Introduction to the Koran, p. xv. 



" Islam was born in the desert, with Arab Sabeanism for its mother and 
Judaism for its father; its foster-nurse was Eastern Christianity." — Edwin 

" A Prophet without miracles ; a faith without mysteries ; and a moral- 
ity without love ; which has encouraged a thirst for blood, and which be- 
gan and ended in the most unbounded sensuality." — SchlegeVs Philosophy 
of History. 

" As we conceive God, we conceive the universe ; a being incapable of 
loving is incapable of being loved." — Principal Fairbairn. 

T IBRARIES have been written, not only in Arabic and 
-*-^ Persian, but in all the languages of Europe, on the ori- 
gin, character and history of Islam, the Koran and Mohammed. 
Views differ ''as far as the east is from the west" and as far 
as Bosworth Smith is from Prideaux. The earlier European 
writers did not hesitate to call Mohammed a false prophet and 
his system a clever imposture ; some went further and attrib- 
uted even satanic agency to the success of Islam and to the 
words of the prophet. Carlyle, in his "Heroes and Hero- 
worship," set the pendulum swinging to the other side so far 
that his chapter on the Hero-prophet is published as a leaflet 
by the Mohammedan Missionary Society of Lahore. So little 
did Carlyle understand the true nature of Islam that he calls it 
"a kind of Christianity." What Carlyle said was only the 
beginning of a series of apologies and panegyrics which ap- 
peared soon after and placed Mohammed not only on the ped- 

' In the order of time, and to fully grasp the extent of Christian ideas 
prevalent in AraVjia the chapter on Early Christianity in AraVjia should 
precede this chapter on Islam; but logically that chapter belongs with tlie 
other chapters on mission-work. The same is true, in a measure, of the 
chapter on the Sabeans. 



estal of a great reformer but " a very prophet of God," making 
Islam almost the ideal religion. Syeed Ameer Ali succeeds in 
his biography in eliminating every sensual, harsh and ignorant 
trait from the character of the noted Meccan ; and the recent 
valuable book of T. W. Arnold, professor in Aligarh College, 
India, attempts to prove most elaborately that Mohammedanism 
was propagated without the sword. 

In contrast to this read what Hugh Broughton quaintly wrote 
in 1662 : "Now consider this Moamed or Machumed, whom 
God gave up to a blind mind, an Ishmaelite, being a poor man 
till he married a widow; wealthy then and of high counte- 
nance, having the falling sickness and being tormented by the 
devil, whereby the widow was sorry that she matched with 
him. He persuaded her by himself and others that his fits 
were but a trance wherein he talked with the angel Gabriel. So 
in time the impostor was reputed a prophet of God and from 
Judaism, Arius, Nestorius and his own brain he frameth a 
doctrine." In our day, the critical labors of scholars like 
Sprenger, Weil, Muir, Koelle and others have given us a 
more correct idea of Mohammed's life and character. The 
pendulum is still swinging but will come to rest between the 
two extremes. 

We have not space to give the story of Mohammed's life or 
of the religion which he founded. An analysis of the religion 
has been attempted by means of two diagrams ; one showing 
its development from its creed and the other the philosophy of 
its origin from outside sources.^ The result of a century of 
critical study by European and American scholars of every 
school of thought has certainly established the fact that Islam 
is a composite religion. It is not an invention but a concoc- 
tion ; there is nothing novel about it except the genius of Mo- 
hammed in mixing old ingredients into a new panacea for 
human ills and forcing it down by means of the sword. These 

1 See pp. 177, 178 for tables showing the Elements in Islam and the 
source from which they were derived. 


heterogeneous elements of Islam were gathered in Arabia at a 
time when many religions had penetrated the peninsula, and 
the Kaaba was a Pantheon. Unless one has a knowledge of these 
elements of "the time of ignorance," Islam is a problem. 
Knowing, however, these heathen. Christian and Jewish factors, 
Islam is seen to be a perfectly natural and understandable de- 
velopment. Its heathen elements remain, to this day, perfectly 
recognizable in spite of thirteen centuries of explanation by the 
Moslem authorities. It is to the Jewish Rabbi Geiger that we 
owe our first knowledge of the extent to which Islam is indebted 
to the Jews and the Talmud. Rev. W. St. Clair Tisdall has 
recently shown how Mohammed borrowed even from the 
Zoroastrians and Sabeans, while as ' to the amount of Christian 
teaching in Islam, the Koran and its commentators are evidence. 

There is a remarkable verse in the twenty-second chapter of 
the Koran, in which Mohammed seems to enumerate all the 
sources that were accessible to him in forming his new religion ; 
and at that time he seems to have been in doubt as to which 
was the most trustworthy source. The verse reads as follows : 
" They who believe and the Jews and the Sabeans and the 
Christians and the Magiatis (Zoroastrians) and those who Join 
other gods to God, verily God shall decide betweeti them on the 
day of Resurrection.^' 

The God of Islam. Gibbon characterizes the first part of 
the Moslem's creed as "an eternal truth " — ("there is no god 
but God"); but very much depends on the character of the 
God, who is affirmed to displace all other gods. If Allah's at- 
tributes are unworthy of deity then even the first clause of the 
briefest of all creeds, is false. There has been a strange neglect 
to study the Moslem idea of God and nearly all writers take for 
granted that the God of the Koran is the same being and has 
like attributes as Jehovah or the Godhead of the New Testament. 
Nothing could be further from the truth. 

First of all the Mohammedan conception of Allah is purely 
negative, God is unique and has no relations to any creature 


that partake of resemblance. He cannot be defmed in terms 
other than negative. As the popular song has it, 

" Kulhi ma yukhtani ti biilik 
Fa rabbuna mukhalifun 'an thalik — " • 

Absolute sovereignty and ruthless omnipotence are his chief 
attributes while his character is impersonal — that of a monad. 
Among the ninety-nine beautiful names of God, which Edwin 
Arnold has used in his poem " Pearls of the Faith," the ideas 
of fatherhood, love, impartial justice and unselfishness are ab- 
sent. The Christian truth "God is love" is to the learned, 
blasphemy and to the ignorant an enigma. Palgrave, who cer- 
tainly was not biased against the religion of Arabia and who 
lived with the Arabs for long months, calls the theology of Islam 
'* the pantheism of force." No one has ever given a better ac- 
count of Allah, a more faithful portrait of Mohammed's con- 
ception of deity than Palgrave. Every word of his description 
tallies with statements which one can hear daily from pious 
Moslems. Yet no one who reads what we quote in all its full- 
ness will recognize here the God whom David addresses in the 
Psalms or who became incarnate at Bethlehem and suffered on 
Calvary. This is Palgrave' s statement : 

" There is no god but God — are words simply tantamount in 
English to the negation of any deity save one alone ; and thus 
much they certainly mean in Arabic, but they imply much 
more also. Their full sense is, not only to deny absolutely and 
unreservedly all plurality, whether of nature or of person, in 
the Supreme Being, not only to establish the unity of the Un- 
begetting and Unbegot, in all its simple and uncommunicable 
Oneness, but besides this the words, in Arabic and among 
Arabs, imply that this one Supreme Being is also the only 
Agent, the only Force, the only Act existing throughout the 
universe, and leave to all beings else, matter or spirit, instinct 
or intelligence, physical or moral, nothing but pure, uncon- 

• Whatever idea your mind can conceive, God is the reverse of it. 


ditional passiveness, alike in movement or in quiescence, in ac- 
tion or in capacity. The sole power, the sole motor, move- 
ment, energy, and deed is God ; the rest is downright inertia 
and mere instrumentality, from the highest archangel down to 
the simplest atom of creation. Hence, in this one sentence, 
'La Ilah ilia Allah,' is summed up a system which, for want 
of a better name, I may be permitted to call the Pantheism of 
Force, or of Act, thus exclusively assigned to God, who absorbs 
it all, exercises it all, and to whom alone it can be ascribed, 
whether for preserving or for destroying, for relative evil or for 
equally relative good. I say 'relative,' because it is clear that 
in such a theology no place is left for absolute good or evil, 
reason or extravagance ; all is abridged in the autocratic will 
of the one great Agent: 'sic volo, sic jubeo, stet pro ratione 
voluntas ' ; or, more significantly still, in Arabic, ' Kema 
yesha'o,' 'as he wills it,' to quote the constantly recurring ex- 
pression of the Koran. 

" Thus immeasurably and eternally exalted above, and dis- 
similar from, all creatures, which lie levelled before him on one 
common plane of instrumentality and inertness, God is one in 
the totality of omnipotent and omnipresent action, which 
acknowledges no rule, standard, or limit save his own sole and 
absolute will. He communicates nothing to his creatures, for 
their seeming power and act ever remain his alone, and in return 
he receives nothing from them ; for whatever they may be, that 
they are in him, by him, and from him only. And secondly, 
no superiority, no distinction, no preeminence, can be lawfully 
claimed by one creature over its fellow, in the utter equalization 
of their unexceptional servitude and abasement ; all are alike 
tools of the one solitary Force which employs them to crush or to 
benefit, to truth or to error, to honor or shame, to happiness, or 
misery, quite independently of their individual fitness, deserts, or 
advantage, and simply because he wills it, and as he wills it. 

" One might at first think that this tremendous autocrat, this 
uncontrolled and unsympathizing power, would be far above 


anything like passions, desires or inclinations. Yet such is not 
the case, for he has with respect to his creatures one main feel- 
ing and source of action, namely, jealousy of them lest they 
should perchance attribute to themselves something of what is 
his alone, and thus encroach on his all-engrossing kingdom. 
Hence he is ever more prone to punish than to reward, to in- 
flict than to bestow pleasure, to ruin than to build. 

"It is his singular satisfaction to let created beings contin- 
ually feel that they are nothing else than his slaves, his tools, 
and contemptible tools also, that thus they may the better ac- 
knowledge his superiority, and know his power to be above 
their power, his cunning above their cunning, his will above 
their will, his pride above their pride ; or rather, that there is 
no power, cunning, will, or pride save his own. 

' ' But he himself, sterile in his inaccessible height, neither 
loving nor enjoying aught save his own and self-measured decree, 
without son, companion, or counsellor, is no less barren for 
himself than for his creatures, and his own barrenness and 
lone egoism in himself as the cause and rule of his indifferent 
and unregarding despotism around. The first note is the key 
of the whole tune, and the primal idea of God runs through 
and modifies the whole system and creed that centres in him. 

"That the notion here given of the Deity, monstrous and 
blasphemous as it may appear, is exactly and literally that 
which the Koran conveys, or intends to convey, I at present 
take for granted. But that it indeed is so, no one who has 
attentively perused and thought over the Arabic text (for mere 
cursory reading, especially in a translation, will not suffice) can 
hesitate to allow. In fact, every phrase of the preceding sen- 
tences, every touch in this odious portrait has been taken, to 
the best of my ability, word for word, or at least meaning for 
meaning from the "Book" the truest mirror of the mind and 
scope of its writer. And that such was in reality Mahomet's 
mind and idea is fully confirmed by the witness-tongue of con- 
temporary tradition." 


The Koran shows that Mohammed had in a measure a cor- 
rect knowledge of the physical attributes of God but an ab- 
solutely false conception of his moral attributes. This was 
perfectly natural because Mohammed had no idea of the nature 
of sin — moral evil — or of holiness — moral perfection. 

The Imam El Ghazzali a famous scholastic divine of the 
Moslems says of God : " He is not a body endued with form 
nor a substance circumscribed with limits or determined by 
measure. Neither does He resemble bodies, as they are capa- 
ble of being measured or divided. Neither is He a substance 
nor do substances exist in Him ; neither is He an accident nor 
do accidents exist in Him. Neither is He like to anything 
that exists ; neither is anything like to Him ; nor is He deter- 
minate in quantity nor comprehended by bounds nor circum- 
scribed by the differences of situation nor contained in the 
heavens. . . . His nearness is not like the nearness of 
bodies nor is His essence like the essence of bodies. Neither 
doth He exist in anything ; neither does anything exist in Him." 
God's will is absolute and alone ; the predestination of every- 
thing and everybody to good or ill according to the caprice of 
sovereignty. For there is no Fatherhood and no purpose of 
redemption to soften the doctrine of the decrees. Hell must 
be filled and so Allah creates infidels. The statements of the 
Koran on this doctrine are coarse and of tradition, blasphe- 
mous. Islam reduces God to the category of the will ; He is 
a despot, an Oriental despot, and as the inoral-\3.w is not em- 
phasized He is not bound by any standard of justice. Wor- 
ship of the creature is heinous to the Moslem mind, and yet 
Allah punished Satan for not being willing to worship Adam, 
(Koran ii. 28-31.) Allah is merciful in winking at the sins of 
the prophet but is the avenger of all unbelievers in him. 

"A God-machine, a unit-cause 
Vast, inaccessible 
Who doles out mercy, breaks His laws 
And compromises ill. 


" A God whose law is changeless fate, — 
Who grants each prophet-wish — 
For prayer and fasting opes heaven's gate. 
And pardons for backsheesh." 

This is not " the only True God " whom we know through 
Jesus Christ and so knowing have life-eternal. "No man 
knoweth the Father but the Son and he to whom the Son 
revealeth Him. He who denies the incarnation remains 
ignorant of God's true character. As Fairbairn says, "the 
love which the Godhead makes immanent and essential to 
God, gives God an altogether new meaning and actuality for 
religion ; while thought is not forced to conceive Monotheism 
as the apotheosis of an Almighty will or an impersonal id6al of 
the pure reason." Islam knows no Godhead, and Allah is not 

"There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his apostle." 

The Doctrine of Revelation : 

" Mohammed is the apostle of God." 
[The sole channel of revelation and abrogates 
former revelations.] 

The Doctrine of God 

" There is no god but God." 
[Pantheism of Force] 

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3 a 





N 570 A. D. Abdullah the son of Abd el Muttalib a Mecca 
merchant went on a trading trip from Mecca to Medina 
and died there ; the same year his wife, Amina, gave birth to a 
boy, named Mohammed, at Mecca. One hundred years later 
the name of this Arab lad, joined to that of the Almighty, was 
called out from ten thousand mosques five times daily, from 
Muscat to Morocco, and his new religion was sweeping every- 
thing before it in three continents. 

What is the explanation of this marvel of history ? Many 
theories have been laid down and the true explanation is prob- 
ably the sum of all of them. The weakness of Oriental Chris- 
tianity and the corrupt state of the church ; the condition of 
the Roman and Persian empires ; the character of the new re- 
ligion ; the power of the sword and fanaticism ; the genius of 
Mohammed ; the partial truth of his teaching ; the genius of 
Mohammed's successors ; the hope of plunder and love of con- 
quest ; — such are some of the causes given for the early and 
rapid success of Islam. 

Mohammed was a prophet without miracles but not without 
genius. Whatever we may deny him we can never deny that 
he was a great man with great talents. But he was not a self- 
made man. His environment accounts in a large measure for 
his might and for his method in becoming a religious leader. 
There was first of all the political factor. "The year of the 
elephant " had seen the defeat of the Christian hosts of Yemen 
who came to attack the Kaaba. This victory was to the young 
and ardent mind of Mohammed prophetic of the political 
future of Mecca and no doubt his ambition assigned himself 



the chief place in the coming conflict of Arabia against the 
Roman and Persian oppressors. 

Next came the religious factor. The times were ripe for re- 
ligious leadership and Mecca was already the centre of a new 
movement. The Hanifs had rejected the old idolatry and en- 
tertained the hope that a prophet would arise from among 
them.^ There was material of all sorts at hand to furnish the 
platform of a new faith; it only required the builder's eye to 
call cosmos out of chaos. To succeed in doing this it would be 
necessary to reject material also ; a comprehensive religion and 
a compromising religion, so as to suit Jew and Christian and 
idolater alike. 

Then there was the family factor, or, in other words, the 
aristocratic standing of Mohammed. He was not a mere 
" camel-driver." The Koreish were the ruling clan of Mecca ; 
Mecca was even then the centre for all Arabia ; and Moham- 
med's grandfather, Abd el Muttalib, was the most influential 
and powerful man of that aristocratic city. The pet-child of 
Abd el Muttalib was the orphan boy Mohammed. Until his 
eighth year he was under the shelter and favor of this chief 
man of the Koreish. He learned what it was to be lordly and 
to exercise power, and never forgot it. The man, his wife and 
his training were the determinative factors in the character of 
Mohammed. The ruling factor was the mind and genius of 
the man himself. Of attractive personal qualities, beautiful 
countenance, and accomplished in business, he first won the 
attention and then the heart of a very wealthy widow, Khadi- 
jah. Koelle tells us that she was " evidently an Arab lady of 
a strong mind and mature experience who maintained a de- 
cided ascendency over her husband, and managed him with 
great wisdom and firmness. This appears from nothing more 
strikingly, than from the very remarkable fact that she suc- 
ceeded in keeping him from marrying any other wife as long 
as she lived, though at her death, when he had long ceased to 
1 Koelle 's Mohammed, p. 27. 


be a young man he indulged without restraint in the muhipli- 
cation of wives. But as Khadijah herself was favorably dis- 
posed toward Hanifism, it is highly probable that she exercised 
her commanding influence over her husband in such a manner 
as to promote and strengthen his own attachment to the re- 
formatory sect of monotheists." 

Mohammed married this woman when he had reached his 
twenty-fifth year. At the age of forty he began to have his 
revelations and to preach his new religion. His first convert, 
naturally perhaps, was his wife ; then Ali and Zeid his two 
adopted children; then his friend, the prosperous merchant, 
Abu-Bekr. Such was the nucleus for the new faith. 

Mohammed is described in tradition as a man above middle 
height, of spare figure, commanding presence, massive head, 
noble brow, and jet-black hair. His eyes were piercing. He 
had a long bushy beard. Decision marked his every move- 
ment and he always walked rapidly. Writers seem to agree 
that he had the genius to command and expected obedience 
from equals as well as inferiors. James Freeman Clarke says 
that to him more than to any other of whom history makes 
mention was given 

" The monarch mind, the mystery of commanding, 
The birth-hour gift, the art Napoleon 
Of wielding, moulding, gathering, welding, banding 
The hearts of thousands till they moved as one." 

As to the moral character of Mohammed there is great di- 
versity of opinion and the conclusions of different scholars can- 
not be easily reconciled. Muir, Dods, Badger, and others 
claim that he was at first sincere and upright, himself believing 
in his so-called revelations, but that afterward, intoxicated by 
success, he used the dignity of his prophetship for personal 
ends and was conscious of deceiving the people in some of his 
later revelations. Bosworth Smith and his like, maintain that 
he was " a very Prophet of God " all through his life and that 


the sins and faults of his later years are only specks on the sun 
of his glory. Older writers, with whom I agree, saw in Mo- 
hammed only the skill of a clever impostor from the day of his 
first message to the day of his death. Koelle, whose book is a 
mine of accurate scholarship and whose experience of many 
years mission-work in Moslem lands qualifies him for a sober 
judgment, sees no striking contrast between the earlier and 
later part of Mohammed's life that cannot be easily explained 
by the influence of Khadijah. He was semper idem, an am- 
bitious enthusiast choosing different means for the same end 
and never very particular as to the character of the means used. 
Aside from the question of Mohammed's sincerity no one 
can apologize for his moral character if judged according to 
the law of his time, the law he himself professed to reveal or 
the law of the New Testament. By the New Testament law 
of Jesus Christ, who was the last prophet before Mohammed 
and whom Mohammed acknowledged as the Word of God, the 
Arabian prophet stands self-condemned. The most cursory 
examination of his biography proves that he broke repeatedly 
every sacred precept of the Sermon on the Mount. And the 
Koran itself proves that the Spirit of Jesus was entirely absent 
from the mind of Mohammed. The Arabs among whom Mo- 
hammed was born and grew to manhood also had a law, 
although they were idolaters, slave-holders and polygamists. 
Even the robbers of the desert who, like Mohammed, laid in 
wait for caravans, had a code of honor. Three flagrant 
breaches of this code stain the character of Mohammed.' It 
was quite lawful to marry a captive woman whose relatives had 
been slain in battle, but not until three months after their death. 
Mohammed only waited three days in the case of the Jewess 
Safia. It was lawful to rob merchants but not pilgrims on their 
way to Mecca. Mohammed broke this old law and "revealed 
a verse" to justify his conduct. Even in the "Time of Ig- 

1 See an article on " Mohammedanism and Christianity." — Dr. Robert 
Bruce, The Christian Intelligencer (New York) April, 1894, 


norance " it was incest to marry the wife of an adopted son 
even after his decease. The prophet Mohammed fell in love 
with the lawful wife of his adopted son Zeid, prevailed on him 
to divorce her and then married her immediately ; for this also 
he had a "special revelation." But Mohammed was not only 
guilty of breaking the old Arab laws and coming infinitely 
short of the law of Christ, he never even kept the laws of 
which he claimed to be the divinely appointed medium and 
custodian. When Khadijah died he found his own law, lax as 
it was, insufficient to restrain his lusts. His followers were to 
be content with four lawful wives ; he indulged in ten and en- 
tered into negotiations for matrimony with thirty others. 

It is impossible to form a just estimate of the character of 
Mohammed unless we know somewhat of his relations with 
women. This subject however is of necessity shrouded from 
decent contemplation by the superabounding brutality and 
filthiness of its character. A recent writer in a missionary 
magazine touching on this subject says, " We must pass the 
matter over, simply noting that there are depths of filth in the 
Prophet's character which may assort well enough with the de- 
praved sensuality of the bulk of his followers , . . but 
which are simply loathsome in the eyes of all over whom 
Christianity in any measure or degree has influence." We 
have no inclination to lift the veil that in most English biog- 
raphies covers the family-life of the prophet of Arabia. But it 
is only fair to remark that these love-adventures and the dis- 
gusting details of his married life form a large part of the 
" lives of the prophet of God " which are the fireside literature 
of educated Moslems. 

Concerning the career of Mohammed after the Hegira, or 
flight from Mecca (622 a. d.), a brief summary suffices to show 
of what spirit he was. Under his orders and direction the 
Moslems lay in wait for caravans and plundered them; the 
first victories of Islam were the victories of highwaymen and 
robbers, Asma, the poetess who assailed the character of Mo- 


hammed, was foully murdered in her sleep by Omeir, and Mo- 
hammed praised him for the deed. Similarly Abu Afik, the 
Jew, was killed at the request of Mohammed. The story of 
the massacre of the Jewish captives is a dark stain also on the 
character of the prophet whose mouth ever spoke of " the 
Merciful and Compassionate." After the victory, trenches were 
dug across the market-place and one by one the male-captives 
were beheaded on the brink of the trench and cast in it. The 
butchery lasted all day and it needed torch-light to finish it. 
After dark Mohammed solaced himself with Rihana a Jewish 
captive girl, who refused marriage and Islam, but became his 
bond-slave. It is no wonder that shortly after, Zeinab, who 
had lost her father and brother in battle, tried to avenge her 
race by attempting to poison Mohammed. 

In the seventh year of the Hegira Mohammed went to 
Mecca and instituted for all time the Moslem pilgrimage. The 
following year he again set out for Mecca at the head of an 
army of 10,000 men and took the city without a battle. 
Other expeditions followed and up to the day, almost the hour, 
of his death the prophet was planning conquests by the sword. 
It is a bloody story from the year of the Hegira until the close 
of the Caliphates. He who reads it in Muir's volumes cannot 
but feel the sad contrast between the early days of Islam and 
the early days of Christianity. The germ of all sword-con- 
quest must be sought in the life and book of Mohammed. 
Both consecrate butchery in the service of Allah. The suc- 
cessors of Mohammed were not less unmerciful than was the 
prophet himself. 

Thus far we have considered Mohammed from a critical 
standpoint and have written facts. But the Mohammed of his- 
tory and the Mohammed of the present day Moslem biogra- 
phers are two different persons. Even in the Koran, Mohammed 
is human and liable to error. Tradition has changed all that. 
He is now sinless and almost divine. The two hundred and 
one names given him by pious believers proclaim his apotheosis. 


He is called Light of God, Peace of the World, Glory of the 
Ages, First of all Creatures and names yet more lofty and 
blasphemous. He is at once the sealer and concealor of all 
former prophets and revelations. They have not only been 
succeeded but also supplanted by Mohammed. No Moslem 
prays to him, but every Moslem daily prays for him in endless 
repetition. He is the only powerful intercessor on the day of 
judgment. Every detail of his early life is surrounded with 
fantastical miracles and marvels to prove his divine commission. 
Even the evil in his life is attributed to divine permission or 
command and so the very faults of his character are his end- 
less glory and his sign of superiority. God favored him 
above all creatures. He dwells in the highest heaven and is 
several degrees above Jesus in honor and station. His name 
is never uttered or written without the addition of a prayer. 
*' Ya Mohammed" is the open sesame to every door of diffi- 
culty, temporal or spiritual. One hears that name in the bazaar 
and in the street, in the mosque and from the minaret. Sailors 
sing it while raising their sails ; hammals groan it to raise a 
burden ; the beggar howls it to obtain alms ; it is the Bedouin's 
cry in attacking a caravan ; it hushes babies to sleep as a cra- 
dle song ; it is the pillow of the sick and the last word of the 
dying ; it is written on the door-posts and in their hearts as 
well as since eternity on the throne of God ; it is to the de- 
vout Moslem the name above every name ; grammarians can 
tell you how its four letters are representative of all the sciences 
and mysteries by their wonderful combination. The name of 
Mohammed is the best to give a child and the best to swear by 
for an end of all dispute in a close bargain. The exceeding 
honor given to Mohammed's name by his followers is only one 
indication of the place their prophet occupies in their system 
and holds in their hearts. From the fullness of the heart the 
mouth speaketh. Mohammed holds the keys of heaven and 
hell. No Moslem, however bad his character, will perish 
finally ; no unbeliever, however good his life, can be saved ex- 


cept through Mohammed. One .has only to question the 
Moslem masses or read a single volume of the traditions to 
prove these statements. 

Islam denies a mediator and an incarnation but the " Story 
of the Jew" and similar tales put Mohammed in the place of 
a mediator without an incarnation, without an atonement, 
without holiness. Our Analysis of the Moslem creed shows 
how all the later teaching which so exalted Mohammed was 
present in the germ. "La ilaha ilia Allah " is the theology, 
"Mohammed er rasool Allah,'''' the complete Soteriology of 
Islam. The logical necessity of a perfect mediator was at the 
basis of the doctrine of Tradition. Islam has, it claims, a 
perfect revelation in the letter of the Koran ; and a perfect ex- 
ample in the life of Mohammed. The stream has not risen 
higher than its sources. 

The Book of Islam. When Mohammed Webb the lat- 
est American champion of Islam spoke at the Chicago Par- 
liament of religions in praise of the Koran and its teaching, 
Rev. George E. Post, M. D., of Beirut deemed it a sufficient re- 
ply to let the book speak for itself. He said : "I hold in my 
hand a book which is never touched by 200,000,000 of the 
human race with unwashen hands, a book which is never car- 
ried below the waist, a book which is never laid upon the floor, 
a book every word of which to these 200,000,000 of the hu- 
man race is considered the direct word of God which came 
down from heaven. I propose without note or comment to 
read to you a few words from the sacred book and you may 
make your own comments upon them afterward." After 
quoting several verses to show that Mohammed preached a re- 
ligion of the sword and of polygamy, he added : "There is 
one chapter which I dare not stand before you, my sisters, 
mothers and daughters, and read to you. I have not the face 
to read it ; nor would I like to read it even in a congregation 
of men. It is the sixty-fourth chapter of the Koran." 

What sort of a book is this revelation of Mohammed of which 


parts are unfit to read before a Christian audience and which 
yet is too holy to be touched by other than Moslem hands ? 
A book which the orthodox Moslem believes to be uncreated 
and eternal, all-embracing and all-surpassing, miraculous in its 
origin and contents. A book concerning which Mohammed 
himself has said, "If the Koran were wrapped in a skin and 
thrown into the fire it would not burn." Goethe described it 
thus : " However often we turn to it, at first disgusting us each 
time afresh it soon attracts, astounds, and in the end enforces 
our reverence. Its style in accordance with its contents and 
aim is stern, grand, terrible — and ever and anon truly sublime. 
Thus this book will go on exercising through all ages a most 
potent influence." And Noldeke writes, "if it were not for 
the exquisite flexibility and vigor of the Arabic language it- 
self, which, however is to be attributed more to the age in 
which the author lived than to his individuality, it would 
scarcely be bearable to read the later portions of the Koran a 
second time." Goethe read only the translation ; and Noldeke 
was master of the original. It is as hopeless to arrive at a unan- 
imous verdict regarding the Koran as it is to reach an agree- 
ment regarding Mohammed, 

The book has fifty-five noble titles on the lips of its people 
but is generally called the Koran or "The Reading." It has 
one hundred and fourteen chapters, some of which are as long 
as the book of Genesis and others consisting of two or three 
sentences only. The whole book is smaller than the New Tes- 
tament, has no chronological order whatever and is without 
logical sequence or climax. What strikes the reader first of all 
is its jumbled character; every sort of fact and fancy, law and 
legend is thrown together piecemeal. The four proposed 
chronological arrangements, by Jorlal-ud-Din, Muir, Rodwell 
and Noldeke are in utter disagreement. Only two of Moham- 
med's contemporaries are mentioned in the entire book and his 
own name occurs only five times. The book is unintelligible 
to the average Moslem without a commentary, and I defy any 


one else to read it througli, without the aid of notes, and 
understand a single chapter or even section. 

We will not stop to consider the fabulous account which 
Moslems give of the origin of the Koran and how the various 
chapters were revealed. Although Moslems claim that the 
book was eternally perfect in form and preserved in heaven, 
they are compelled to admit that it was revealed piece-meal 
and at various times and places by Mohammed to his followers. 
It was recorded in writing, after the rude Arab fashion, ''on 
palm-leaves and sheep-bones and white stones ' ' to some extent ; 
but for the most part was preserved orally by constant repeti- 
tion. Omar suggested to Abu-Bekr after the battle of Yemama 
that since many of the Koran reciters were slain, it would be 
the part of wisdom to put the book of God in permanent form. 
The task was committed to Zaid, the chief amanuensis of Mo- 
hammed and the resulting volume was entrusted to the care of 
Hafsa, one of the widows of the prophet. Ten years later a 
recension of the Koran was ordered by the Caliph Othman and 
all previous copies were called in and burned. This recension 
of Othman, sent to all the chief cities of the Moslem world, 
has been faithfully handed down to the present. " No other 
book in the world has remained twelve centuries with so pure a 
text." (Hughes.) The present variations in editions of the 
Arabic Koran are numerous but none of them are, in any sense 
important. The present Koran is the same book that Moham- 
med professed to have received from God. Out of its own 
mouth will we judge the book ; and we cannot judge the book 
without judging the prophet. 

We will speak later of the poetical beauties of the Koran 
and of its literary character. We do not deny also that 
there are in the Koran certain moral beauties, such as its 
deep and fervent trust in the one God, its lofty descriptions 
of His Almighty power and omnipresence, and its sententious 
wisdom. The first chapter and the verse of the throne are 


" In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. 

Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds ! 

The Compassionate, the Merciful! 

King on the Day of Judgment ! 

Thee do we worship, and to Thee do we cry for help ! 

Guide Thou us on the right path ! 

The path of those to whom Thou art gracious ! 

Not of those with whom Thou art angered, nor of those who go astray." 

" God ! there is no God but He ; the living, the Eternal 
Slumber doth not overtake Him, neither sleep. 
To Him belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on the earth. 
The preservation of both is no weariness unto Him. 
He is the high, the mighty." 

The great bulk of the Koran is either legislative or legend- 
ary; the book consists of laws and stories. The former 
relate entirely to subjects which engrossed the Arabs of Mo- 
hammed's day — the laws of inheritance, the relation of the 
sexes, the law of retaliation, etc. — and this part of the book 
has a local character. The stories on the other hand go back 
to Adam and the patriarchs, take in several unknown Arabian 
prophets or leaders, centre around Jesus Christ, Moses and 
Solomon and do not venture beyond Jewish territory except to 
mention Alexander the Great and Lukman (^sop.). 

From the analytical tables it is not very difficult to see 
whence the material for the Koran was selected. Rabbi 
Geiger's book, recently translated into English, will satisfy any 
reader that Hughes is nearly right when he says, "Moham- 
medanism is simply Talmudic Judaism adapted to Arabia plus 
the apostleship of Jesus and Mohammed." But it is Talmudic 
Judaism and not the Judaism of the Old Testament. For the 
Koran is remarkable most of all not because of its contents but 
because of its omissions. Not because of what it reveals but 
for what it conceals of "former revelations." The defects of 
its teaching are many. It is full of historical errors and 
blunders. It has monstrous fables. It teaches a false cos- 


mogony. It is full of superstitions. It perpetuates slavery, 
polygamy, religious intolerance, the seclusion and degradation 
of woman and petrities social life. But all this is of minor 
importance compared with the fact that the Koran professing 
to be a ra'dlijtion from God does not teach the way to recon- 
ciliation with God and seems to ignore the first and great barrier 
to such reconciliation, viz : sin. Of this the Old and New 
Testaments are always speaking. Sin and sahation are the 
subject of which the Torah and the Zaboin- and the Injil (Law 
Prophets and Psalms) are full. The Koran is silent or if not 
absolutely silent, keeps this great question ever in the back- 

It is a commonplace of theology that " to form erroneous 
conceptions of sin is to fall into still gra\er errors regarding the 
way of salvation." Mohammed, as is evident from his whole 
life, had no deep conviction of sin in himself; he was full of 
self-righteousness. His ideas, too, of Gotl, wtxo. physical, not 
moral ; he saw God's power, but never had a glimpse of His 
holiness. And so we find that there is an inward unity binding 
together the prophet and his book as to their real character in 
the light of the gospel. With such ideas of God, such a 
prophet and such a book, it is easy to understand why the ]\Io- 
hammedan world became what it is to-day. These bare out- 
lines of the system of Islam are all that are necessary to indi- 
cate its nature and genus. Allah's character as the revealer, 
Mohammed's character as the cliannel of the revelation, and 
the revelation itself, show us Islam in its cradle. 

1 Even the sacred books of India and China and Ancient Egypt com- 
pare more favorabl)- with the Bible in this respect than does the Koran. 
They teach the heinous character of sin, as sin, and do not deny the need 
of a mediator or of propitiatory sacritice but are full of botli ideas. 



" Nothing is so easy to appreciate as true Christian commerce. It is a 
speaking argument, even to the lowest savage, for a gospel of truth and 
love, and yet more to the races sophisticated by a false civilization." — 
Principal Cairns. 

THE history of the Arabian Peninsula has never yet been 
written. Many books descriVje certain periods of its 
history from the time of the earher Arabian rulers, but there 
is no volume that tells the story from the beginning in a way 
worthy of the subject. It would be interesting to search out 
the earliest records and trace the Himyarite dynasties to their 
origin ; to learn the story of the Jewish immigrants who settled 
in Medina, Mecca and Yemen even before the Christian Era ; 
to follow the Arabs in their conquests under the banner of the 
prophet; to watch the sudden rise of the Carmathians and fol- 
low them in their career of destruction ; to search the old li- 
braries and rediscover the romantic story of the Portuguese, 
the Dutch and the English in Arabian waters; — but our space 
limits us to the story of the past century.* 

To understand the present political conditions and recent 
history of Arabia, we must go back to the year 1765, which 
marks the rise of the remarkable Wahabi movement, which was 
at the bottom of all the political changes that the Peninsula has 
seen since -that time. This movement was the renaissance of 
Islam, even though it ended in apparent disaster, and was polit- 
ically a splendid fiasco. The Wahabi reform attracted the at- 
tention of Turkey to Arabia ; its influence was felt in India to 

' For a Chronological table of Arabian history, from the earliest times 
to the present, see Appendix, 


h)'i .^, THF. CRADl.F OF ISLAM 

the extent of declaring aji/uu/ or religious war against the gov- 
ernment, and compelled England to study the situation and 
send representatives to the very heart of Arabia. 

Beginning with the \\'ahabi dynasty, the history of the past 
century in Arabia centres in the rulers of Nejd and Oman, the 
Turkish conquests and the English influence and occupation. 
The strong independent government of Nejd under Ibn Rashid 
and his successor, Abd-ul-Aziz, would have been an impossi- 
bility except for the result of the Wahabi movement, in demon- 
strating the weakness of Turkish rule. And it was for fear of 
the ^^'ahabi aggressions that Turkey strengthened her Arabian 
possessions aiid invaded Hassa. 

Mohammed bin Abd-ul-Wahab was born at Ayinah in Nejd, 
in 1 69 1. Carefully instructed by his father in the tenets of Is- 
lam according to the school of llambali, the strictest of the 
four great sects.' Abd-ul-^^'ahab visited the schools of INIecca, 
Busrah and Bagdad, to increase his learning. At ^Medina, 
too, he absorbed the deepest learning of the Moslem divines 
and soaked himself in the " six correct books " of traditions. 
In his travels he had observed the laxity of faith and practice 
which had crept in, especially among the Turks and the Arabs 
of the large cities. He tried to distinguish between the essen- 
tial elements of Islam and its later additions, some of which 
seemed to him to savor of gross idolatry and worldliness. 
AVhat most offended the rigid monotheism of his philosophy 
was the almost universal visitation of shrines, invocation of 
saints and honor paid to the tomb of INIohammed. The use of 
the rosary, of jewels, silk, gold, silver, wine and tobacco, were 
all abominations to be eschewed. These were indications of 
the great need for reform. The earlier teaching of the com- 
panions of the prophet had been set aside or overlaid by later 
teaching. Even the four orthodox schools had departed from 

1 The four orthoilo.\ sects are called: llanafis, Shafis. Malakis, and 
Hambalis. The last was founded by Ibn Ilambal at Bagdad, 7S0 A. D. 
it is the least popular sect. 


the pure faith l>y allowing pilgrimage to Medina, by multiply- 
ing festivals and philosophizing aljout the nature of Allah. 
Therefore it was that Abd-ul-Wahab preached reform not only, 
but proclaimed himself the leader of a new sect. His teach- 
ing was based on the Koran and the early traditions. 

This movement is chiefly distinguished from the orthodox 
system in the following particulars : 

1. The Wahabis reject /jma or the agreement of later interpreters, 

2. They offer no prayers to i;rophet, wali, or saint, nor visit tlicir 
tombs for that purjxjsc. 

3. They say Mohammed is not yet an intercessor; althouj^h at tlie last 
day he will be. 

4. They forbid women to visit the graves of the dead. 

5. They allow only four festivals; Fitr, Azha,'Ashura z-nd Lailat El 

6. They do not celebrate Mohammed's birth. 

7. They use their knuckles for prayer-counting, and not rosaries. 

8. They strictly forbid the use of silk, gold, silver ornaments, tobacco, 
music, opium, and every luxury of the Orient, except perfume and 

9. They have anthropomorphic ideas of God by strictly literal inter- 
pretation of the Koran texts about " His hand," "sitting," etc. 

10. They believe jihad or religious war, is not out of date, but in- 
umbent on the believer. 

11. They condemn minarets, tombstones, and everything that was not 
in use during the first years of Islam. 

There is no doubt that Abd-ul-Wahab honestly tried to bring 
about a reform and that in many of the points enumerated his 
reform was strictly a return to primitive Islam. But it was too 
radical to last. It took no count of modern civilization and 
the ten centuries that had modified the very character of the 
Arabs of the towns not to speak of those outside of Arabia. 
Yet the preaching of the Reformer found willing ears in the 
isolation of the desert. As in the days of Omar, the promise 
of reform in religion was made attractive by the promise of 
rich booty to those who fought in the path of God and de- 


stroyed creature-worsliippers. Mohammed Abd-ul-^Vahab was 
the preacher, but to propagate his doctrine he needed a sword. 
Mohammed bin Saud, of Deraiyah, suppUed the latter factor 
and the two Mohammeds, allied by marriage and a common 
ambition, began to make converts and conquests. The son 
of Bin Saud, Abd-ul-Aziz, was the Omar of the new movement, 
and his son Saud even surpassed the father in military prowess 
and successful conquest. Abd-ul-Aziz was murdered by a 
Persian fanatic while prostrate in prayer in the mosque at 
Deraiyah, in 1S03. Saud at this very time was pushing the 
^^'ahabi conquest to the very gates of Mecca. On tlie 27th 
of April, 1S03, lie carried his banner into the court of the 
Kaaba and began to cleanse the holy place. Piles of pipes, 
tobacco, silks, rosaries and amulets were collected into one 
great heap and set on fire by the infuriated enthusiasts. No 
excesses were committed against the people except that re- 
ligion was forced upon them. The mosques were filled by 
public "whips" who used their leather thongs without mercy 
on all the lazy or negligent. Everybody, for a marvel, prayed 
five times a day. The result of his victory at Mecca was 
communicated by the dauntless Saud in the following naive 
letter addressed to the Sultan of Turkey : 

" Saud to Salim. — I entered Mecca on the fourth day of Moharram 
in the 1218th year of the Hegira. I kept peace toward the inhabitants. 
I destroyed all things that were idolatrously worsliipped. I abolished all 
taxes except those that were required by tlie law. I confirmed the Kadlii 
whom you had appointed agreeably to the commands of the prophet of 
God. I desire that you will give orders to the rulers of Damascus and 
Cairo not to come up to the sacred city with the Ma/imal'^ and with 
trumpets and drums. Religion is not profited by these things. May the 
peace and blessing of God be with you." 

The absence of long salutations and the usual phrases of 
honor is characteristic of all Wahabi correspondence. In this 

* The Mahmal is a covered litter, an emblem of royalty and of super- 
stitious honor sent from Cairo and Damascus to Mecca, to this day. 


respect it is a great improvement on the excessive lavishment 
of titles and honors so usual among Moslems, especially among 
the Persians and the Turks. 

Before the close of the year Saud avenged his father's death 
by attacking Medina and destroying the gilded dome that 
covered the prophet's tomb. As early as 1801 parties of 
plundering Wahabis had sacked the tomb of Hussein and 
carried off rich booty from the sacred city of Kerbela. Ac- 
cording to the official inventory this booty consisted of vases, 
carpets, jewels, weapons innumerable; also, 500 gilded copper- 
plates from the dome, 4,000 cashmire shawls, 6,000 Spanish 
doubloons, 350,000 Venetian coins of silver, 400,000 Dutch 
ducats, 250,000 Spanish dollars and a large number of Abys- 
sinian slaves belonging to the mosque.^ Their raids and con- 
quests extended in every direction so that in a few years the 
Wahabi power was supreme in the greater part of Arabia. 

A single illustration will show the great Saud's ^ prudence 
and celerity in action. When he invaded the Hauran plains, 
in 1 8 10, although it was thirty-five days' journey from his 
capital, yet the news of his approach only preceded his arrival 
by two days, nor was it known what part of Syria he planned 
to attack, and thirty-five villages of Hauran were sacked before 
the Pasha of Damascus could make any demonstrations for 
defence ! 

Meanwhile the Sublime Porte remained inactive and nothing 
was done to regain the sacred territories. It was deemed im- 
possible to reach Mecca from Damascus with any large body 
of soldiers through hostile territory where supplies were scarce. 
Salvation was expected from Egypt; and it was hoped that an 

' Zehm's Arabic, p. 332. 

^ Saud died at the age of forty-five, in April, 18 14, from fever, at 
Deraiyah. He was a strong-willed ruler but administered justice with 
rigor; he was wise in council and skillful in settling disputes and healing 
factions. Of his eight children, Abdullah, the eldest, succeeded him 
as ruler, 


expedition by sea might succeed in taking Jiddah and thence 
advance upon Mecca. Mohammed Ali began preparations in 
1810, and in the summer of 181 1 an expedition under his son 
Touson Pasha was sent out from Suez. In October the fleet 
arrived at Yenbo and the troops took the town. Ghaleb the 
Sherif of Mecca proved false to the Wahabis and made negoti- 
ations with the Turkish commander to hand over the town. 
In January the army occupied INIedina but at Bedr the troops 
were attacked by Wahabis and utterly routed. 

All through this first campaign the cruelty and treachery of 
the Turks was shocking even to the mind of their Bedouin 
allies. None of their promises were kept ; the skulls of the 
enemy slain were constructed into a sort of tower near Medina; 
Ghalib, the Sherif, was betrayed and in violation of the most 
sacred promises he was taken prisoner and deported ; whole- 
sale butchery of the wounded and mutilation of the slain were 

A second army under Mustafa Bey advanced toward Mecca 
and also took possession of Taif. Although the five cities of the 
Hejaz were now in the hands of the Turks the Wahabi power 
was not )'et broken. Mohammed Ali Pasha himself proceeded 
from Egypt with another army; he had great difiiculty in 
securing transportation and provisions. Finally he landed his 
troops at Jiddah and went on to Mecca, planning to attack 
Taraba the great Wahabi centre of the south, as Deraiyah was 
the capital of the north. Here the enemy had gathered in 
great numbers under an Amazon leader, a widow named 
Ghalye who ruled the Begoum Arabs. She was reported to be 
a sorceress among the Turks and stories of her skill and cour- 
age inspired them with fear. When the attack was made the 
Wahabis came off victorious and so harassed the army of oc- 
cupation that during 1813 and the beginning of 18 14 they re- 
mained perfectly inactive. Later the Turks made a sea at- 
tack on Gunfida, the port south of Jiddah, and captured it. 
The Wahabis however captured the wells that supplied the 


town, made a sortie and the Turkish troops fled panic-stricken, 
to their ships. Discontentment arose among the Turkish 
troops. Supplies failed and wages were in arrears. Mo- 
hammed Ali changed now his tactics and tried to bribe the 
Bedouin chiefs to desert the Wahabi leaders. At this time the 
Turkish army consisted of nearly 20,000 men and yet the 
campaign dragged on without a definite victory.^ 

The greatest battle was fought at Bissel near Taif where Mo- 
hammed Ali defeated the Wahabis with great slaughter. Six 
dollars were offered for every Wahabi head and before the day 
ended 5,000 bloody heads were piled up before the Pasha. 
About 300 prisoners were taken and offered quarter. But on 
reaching Mecca the cruel commander impaled fifty of them 
before the gates of the city; twelve suffered a like horrible 
death at every one of the ten coffee-houses, halting places be- 
tween Mecca and Jiddah ; the remainder were killed at Jiddah 
and their carcasses left to dogs and vultures. 

But the battle went against the Turks when they met the 
desert and its terrors. Hunger, thirst, fevers and the Bedouin 
robbers attacked the camp. In one day a hundred horses 
died ; the soldiers were dissatisfied and deserted. At length 
Mohammed Ali made proposals of peace to Abdullah bin Saud 
the Wahabi chief; and when Saud entered Kasim with an army 
the negotiations were concluded and peace was declared. But 
peace was not kept, and Ibrahim Pasha, the son of Mohammed 
Pasha was despatched with a large expedition against the 
Wahabis in August, 1816. 

While Egypt was attacking the Wahabi strongholds from the 
west, with infinite trouble and dubious results, the greatest loss 
the Wahabi government had yet suffered, was from a blow 
dealt by the British. In 1809 an English expedition went 
from Bombay against the piratical inhabitants of their chief 

' The history of its tedious prosecution and all its cruelty on the side of 
the Turks is told by Burckhardt, the traveller, who was himself living in 
Mecca at this time. 


castle and harbor, Ras-el-Kheimah. The place Avas bom- 
barded and laid in ashes. 

Ibrahim Pasha accomplished by intrigue and bribery what 
his father tailed to do by force of arms. After a scries of ad- 
vances one tribe after another was detached from the ^^'ahabi 
government. At last without a battle the capital Deraiyah 
was taken. Abdullah captm-ed, sent to Constantinople and 
there publicly executed on December iSth, iSiS. 

The Turks were naturally jubilant o\cr their success and 
thought they had made an end of the hated \\'ahabis. They 
soon learned their mistake. No sooner was the army of 
Ibrahim Pasha withdrawn than the old spirit rehabilitated the 
fallen empire with the old time strength of fanaticism. The 
army of the Pashas could not govern or even occupy the 
vast territories they had overrun, ^^'ithin a few years Turki 
the son of the late Amir was proclaimed Sultan of Nejd, 
recovered all and more than his father's territories, and 
by the judicious payment of a small tribute and yet smaller 
honor to the Egyptian Khedive retained the throne until 
he was murdered in 1831. His son and successor, 
Feysul, took the reins of gOA'crnment and was rash enough to 
repudiate the Egyptian Suzerainty. Nejd was again invaded. 
Hofhoof and Katif were temporarily occupied by Egyptian 
and Turkish troops and Feysul was banished to Egypt. ^ 

Feysul died in 1S65, having returned from his banishment 
in 1843 and ruling alone and supreme for all those years. His 
son Abdullah, who had acted as regent during the later years 

1 Palgrave visited the Wahabi capital during the reign of Feysul and 
gives his usual picturesque descriptions of the court and family life of the 
genial tyrant. But it is necessary to take his accounts of Riad aim 
g^rano salis ; a Jesuit Roman Catholic would not describe the strict 
Puritanism of the Wahabis with any degree of admiration. Palgrave's 
statistics of the strength of Feysul's army and of the population of his 
dominions are utterly unreliable and greatly exaggerated. However one 
must read Palgrave to know what was the condition of the Wahabi em- 
pire in 1S60-63, for he is our only authority for that period. 


of Feysul, succeeded to the throne. But there was a rival in 
his brother Saud. Intrigues, treasons anfl violence were hatch- 
ing in the palace courts even before the death of Feysul. 
The dagger and the coffee-cup of poisoned beverage have al- 
ways been favorite weapons in seating and unseating the rulers 
of Arabia. A prolonged fight ensued between the two brothers. 
Saud was at first successful but Abdullah flying to Turkey in- 
vited the aid of that power with the result that an expedition 
from Bagdad ended in formally and permanently occuping El 
Hassa as a Turkish province. 

At the time of Saud's death, in 1874, the conflict was re- 
newed, but Abdullah ultimately regained the supremacy and 
was ruler at Riad until 1886, when events occurred that heralded 
the rise of another power in Nejd, based on political intrigue 
and the sword rather than on religion and fanaticism. 

When Turki the Amir was murdered by his own cousin, 
Meshari, and Feysul succeeded to the throne, there was pres- 
ent at Riad in the army an obscure youth from Hail, Abdullah 
bin Rashid. He it was who entered the palace by stealth, 
stabbed Meshari, and helped to restore Feysul to his father's 
seat as ruler. His valor and loyalty were rewarded by bestow- 
ing upon him the governorship of his ov/n native province 
Shammar ; he was also granted a small army to strengthen the 
Wahabi rule in that region. He soon became almost as strong 
as his master and showed himself an expert in all the intrigue 
and skill possible to the Arabs. He extended his personal in- 
fluence on all sides, built a massive palace at Hail and defeated 
all who plotted his destruction. Hired assassins dogged him on 
the streets, but Abdullah escaped every danger and his star re- 
mained in the ascendant. In 1844 he died suddenly, leaving 
unaccomplished ambitions and three sons, Telal, Mitaab, and 
Mohammed. Telal, the eldest son, was proclaimed ruler and 
was ever more popular than his father had been, and no less 
successful as a ruler. He strengthened his capital, invited 
merchants from Busrah and Bagdad to reside there, and gradu- 


ally but surely established his entire independence of the Wa- 
habi ruler at Riad. Tormented, however, by an internal 
malady he shot himself in 1867. His younger brother, Mitaab, 
who succeeded, ruled very briefly and was murdered by his 
nephews, the sons of Telal, within a year. Meanwhile, the 
third son of Abdullah bin Rashid, Mohammed, had been a 
refugee at the Riad capital. But his ambitions now found 
their opportunity and his true character was revealed. By per- 
mission of the Amir Abdullah bin Feysul he went back to Hail. 
He commenced by stabbing his nephew Bander who had 
usurped the throne ; he then killed the five remaining children 
of his brother Telal and became undisputed Amir at Hail in 
1868. During the next eighteen years he consolidated his 
authority. His rule was after the Arab heart — with a rod of 
iron and lavish hospitality ; continual executions and continual 

The Arabs at Bahrein tell many almost incredible tales of 
Mohammed bin Rashid' s stern justice and speedy method of 
executing it, as well of his cruelty to those who resisted his 
will. In those days the public executioner's sword was always 
wet with blood ; men were tied to camels and torn asunder ; 
but the desert-roads were everywhere safe and robbers 
met with no mercy. As an indication of his wealth and 
hospitality it is related that he constructed in the court- 
yard of his palace a stone-cistern of great size always kept filled 
with that best of Bedouin dainties, clarified butter (dihn). A 
bucket and rope were at hand and oil was dealt out as freely as 
water to the honored guests of the great ruler. 

In the year 1886 the long-looked for opportunity came for 
Mohammed bin Rashid to complete the work of Telal. He 
not only aspired to be independent of the Riad rulers but to 
make Riad, the Saud dynasty and all the Wahabi state a de- 
pendency of his Nejd kingdom. In that year Amir Abdullah 
bin Feysul was seized and imprisoned by two of his nephews, 
one of whom usurped the throne. Mohammed, as a loyal sub- 


ject, marched to the rescue, deposed the pretender, but carried 
the Amir himself to Hail, leaving a younger brother as his 
deputy governor. The great empire of the Sauds was virtu- 
ally ended ; henceforth it was the green and purple banner of 
Rashid and not the red and white standard of the Wahabis 
that ruled all central Arabia. 

Mohammed bin Rashid had shown supreme diplomatic abil- 
ity in all his dealings with the Turks from the day of his 
power until his death. He humored their vanity by professing 
himself an ally of the Porte ; he paid a small annual tribute to 
the Sherif of Mecca in recognition of the Sultan. But for the 
rest he never loved the Turk except at a good distance. None 
of the Arabs of the interior have forgotten the perfidy, treach- 
ery and more than Arab cruelty of the Egyptian Pashas in 
their campaigns. 

"In 1890 a final attempt was made by the partisans of the old 
dynasty to rebel against the Amir and secure the independence 
of Riad. It was fruitless ; and the severe defeat of the rebels 
proved it final. In the year 1897 Mohammed bin Rashid died 
and his successor Abd-el-Aziz bin Mitaab now rules his vast 
dominions. He is less stern but not less able than his illustri- 
ous predecessor. 



"D EFORE we turn to the history of the Turks in Arabia a word 
is necessary regarding the rulers of Oman — that province 
unique in Arabia for its isolation from all the other provinces in 
the matter of politics. Prior to the appearance of the Portu- 
guese in the Persian Gulf (1506) Oman had been governed for 
nine hundred successive years by independent rulers called 
Imams ; elected by popular choice and not according to family 
descent. From that time until 1650 the Portuguese remained in 
power at Muscat. In 1 741 Ahmed bin Said, a man of humble 
origin, a camel-driver, rose by his bravery to be governor of 
Sohar, drove the Persians who had succeeded the Portuguese, 
out of Muscat and founded the dynasty that has ever since 
ruled Oman. As early as 1 798 the East India Company made 
a treaty with the Sultan of Muscat to exclude the French from 
Oman. This fact is important to show the character of the 
recent incident at Muscat. 

Seyid Said, who ruled from 1804 to 1856, had constant strug- 
gles against the Wahabi power who threatened his territory. 
With England he joined the war against the Wahabi pirates ; 
and made treaties in 1822, 1840 and 1845 to suppress the 
slave-trade. On the death of Said the Sultanate of Oman and 
Zanzibar was divided. Seyid Thowani reigned at Muscat 
while a younger brother reigned at Zanzibar. Thowani was 
assassinated at Sohar in 1866. Salim, his son, succeeded him, 
although he was suspected of patricide. Then there was an 
interregnum under a usurper until Seyid Turki another son of 
Said took the throne in 1871. Continual rebellion marked his 
period of rule. But he was friendly to the English and in re- 



turn for the abolition of free traffic of slaves between Africa and 
Zanzibar the English government allowed him an annual sub- 
sidy of a little over ^,6,000 a year. In 1888 the Sultan died 
and his son, Feysul bin Turki, succeeded him. His rule was 
mild ; from the palace at Muscat his influence was not far- 
reaching ; rebellions, inter-tribal wars and plots of one moun- 
tain-chief against another mark all the years of his reign up to 
date. In February, 1895, there was a serious Bedouin uprising 
in which the Arabs took the town and looted it. The Sultan 
himself barely escaped and was for a time a prisoner in his fort 
while the town was in the hands of the enemy. The cause of 
the trouble was a difference as to the amount of yearly tribute 
a certain Sheikh Saleh of Samed should pay the Muscat ruler. 
From November, 1894, the rebels collected arms and strength- 
ened their numbers until on February 12th of the following 
year they were ready to strike the desired blow. As this 
episode was characteristic of all Arab warfare we quote a brief 
account of it sent at the time by a resident at Muscat to the 
Bombay press : 

"On February 12th Abdullah, the leader of his father's 
(Sheikh Saleh's) troops, with a retinue of perhaps 200 armed 
Bedouins arrived at Muscat in a scattered and peaceable man- 
ner, and obtained an audience with the Sultan. A musket 
salute was fired, and no attack was thought of. The Sultan 
presented the leader with a purse of ^400 and a liberal allow- 
ance of rice, dates, coffee, and the famous Muscat " halwa " 
for the men. The Bedouins although armed were allowed to 
go and come as they choose and no attack was feared. Sheikh 
Abdullah himself sat for a time in the bazaar and received the 
salaams of the people who kissed his hand in respect. When 
evening came the Sultan requested the men to encamp outside 
of the gates, the only means of entrance and exit through the 
old Portuguese walls. Although failing to comply with the re- 
quest the Bedouins claimed none but peaceful intentions. At 
8 p. M. when according to custom the gates were closed, per- 


haps one-half of the Bedouins were within the walls. This was 
their Trojan horse. Shortly after midnight the gates were at- 
tacked, the few customary guards being easily overcome, and 
thrown open to the large numbers of Bedouins who up to this 
time had been hiding in a neighboring mosque. Both the 
small gate leading to the bazaar and the larger one to the west 
of the town were easily taken, and the Bedouins then ad- 
vanced to the Sultan's palace, effected an entrance and rudely 
awoke the Sultan and his family from their sleep. Seyyidi 
Esel after a courageous struggle of a few minutes, (in which he 
shot two of the attacking party,) escaped by a small door open- 
ing to the sea and fled to one of the two forts which command 
the city as well as the harbor. His brother escaped to the 
other. Each of these forts is manned by a force of perhaps 
fifty men and has several old twelve pounder Portuguese guns. 

' ' The forts opened fire at once upon the palace which the 
Bedouins now occupied. The Bedouins took possession of the 
town closing the gates and stationing armed men through the 
bazaar and streets in the early hours of the 1 3th of February. 

"A few shops containing muskets and ammunition were 
opened, and the contents robbed. The Sultan's palace was 
completely looted and all his personal property either destroyed 
or sold at any price. On account of the suddenness of the 
attack there was but a small number of the Sultan's soldiers in 
readiness. These repaired to the forts and opened fire upon 
the Bedouin invaders with both the guns of the foils and mus- 
kets. For three days we were the witnesses of the extraordi- 
nary spectacle of a Sultan bombarding his own palace ; no at- 
tempt was made to meet the rebels on the streets. By order 
of the invading captain the portion of the town inhabited by 
British subjects was not entered. Until Sunday evening things 
remained about the same. The attack from the forts was con- 
tinued day and night. The Bedouins did not answer the fire 
but remained in the palace and streets holding possessions but 
making no attack on the forts. Within the town, although it is 


in possession of the enemy, all was orderly and quiet. Un- 
armed people were allowed to pass to and fro and guards were 
stationed in the bazaar to prevent plunder. Reinforcements 
were expected by both parties. On Monday morning a body 
of about i,ooo arrived from the coast towns in aid of the Sul- 
tan. They encamped beneath the fort in command of the Sul- 
tan, and at about 8 a. m. made an attack on the invaders, 
which became so serious a danger to the British subjects that 
the Political Agent Major J. H. Sadler ordered a cessation of 
hostilities at i p. M. until 8 p. M. giving the British subjects an 
opportunity to sojourn to the sheltered village of Makalla. 
More reinforcements to the Sultan's troops arrived at 6 p. m. 
and encamped beneath the fort throwing temporary barricades 
across the streets at several advantageous points. The main 
body of the Bedouins were waiting to reinforce just outside 
Matral which village was however still in the hands of the Sul- 
tan. At 8 A. M. on Monday H. M. S. Sphina arrived from 
Bushire and at 2 p. m. the R. I. M. S. Lawrence." 

The British gunboats, contrary to the expectations and fond 
hopes of the population of Muscat, did not interfere in the 
matter. For reasons of diplomacy they left the Sultan to fight 
his own battles and when the rebels were finally persuaded to 
leave saddled the poor Sultan with a large bill for the damage 
incurred by British subjects during the attack. 

In 1894 a French consulate was established at Muscat ; as 
the French have no commerce to speak of in this part of the 
world the object of the consulate was evidently political. Of 
the intrigues that resulted, the alleged sale of a coaling-station 
to France and the British attitude toward the matter we will 
speak later. 



" No one travels in Turkey with his eyes open without seeing that her 
government is a curse on mankind. Fears, feuds and fightings make 
miserable the councils of her rulers. They are bloodsuckers fastened on 
the people throughout her dominions drawing from each and all the last 
drop of blood that can be extracted. Turkey skillfully and systematically 
represses what Christian nations make it their business to nurture in all 
mankind as manhood. In her cities there are magnificent palaces for her 
sultans and her favorites. But one looks in vain through her realm for 
statues of public benefactors. There are no halls where her citizens could 
gather to discuss policies of government or mutual obligations. Their 
few newspapers are emasculated by government censors. Not a book in 
any language can cross her borders without permission of public officers, 
most of whom are incapable of any intelligent judgment of its contents. 
Art is scorned. Education is bound. Freedom is a crime. The tax 
gatherer is omnipotent. Law is a farce. Turkey has prisons instead of 
public halls for the education of her people. Instruments of torture are 
the stimulus to their industries." — The Coiigregationalist, April 8, 1897. 

TN reviewing the story of the Turks in Arabia, we will 
■*■ begin with Hejaz, the most important province of Turkey 
in Arabia, continue with Yemen, the most populous, and end 
with the Mesopotamian vilayets which were her richest pos- 

It is not generally understood how highly the Sultan values 
his Arabian provinces. It is on them and on them alone that 
he can base his claim to the title of caliph. The possession of 
the Holy Cities in the hands of the Sultan makes him the 
chief Mohammedan ruler ; there his name is blessed daily in 
the great mosques ; in the eyes of all the pilgrims from every 



part of the Moslem world Turkey is the guardian of the Kaaba. 
How many thousands of Mohammedans daily in the mosques 
of India and Java call for blessings on the head of Abd-ul- 
Hamid the Caliph who would never pray for Abd-ul-Hamid 
the Sultan. 

Mecca, and Hejaz generally, was governed by the early Caliphs 
until 980 A. D., when it passed under the rule of the first Sherif, 
Jaafar.' Under Suleiman the magnificent (15 20-1566) the Otto- 
man Empire reached the zenith of its power and greatness ; at 
that time Arabia too was reckoned a Turkish possession, and the 
entire peninsula was included on the maps of Turkish Asia. 
But, as we have seen, at the beginning of the present century 
the Wahabis and not the Turks were the real rulers of Arabia. 
The Arabs have never taken kindly to the rule of the Turk, 
but the province of Hejaz, once snatched from the hand of the 
Wahabis, has ever since been held by the Sublime Porte. Plots 
of rebellion have been thick and Sherifs have succeeded Sherifs 
but the fort that frowns over Mecca has always a strong Turk- 
ish garrison and the Pashas eat the fat of the land at the ex- 
pense of the people. 

Actual Turkish rule was declared over the whole of Hejaz 
in 1840. At that time Abd-el-Mutalib was made Great Sherif 
of Mecca, but there was continual trouble between the Sherif 
and the Pasha. The religious head of the holy city would not 
bow to the political head ; the anti-slave trade regulations al- 
though only very slightly enforced caused riots. The Sherif 
was deposed and Mohammed bin 'Aun declared ruler in his 
place. On June 15th, 1858, the murder of certain Christians 
at Jiddah brought England into collision with the rulers of 
Hejaz. Jiddah was bombarded and the gate to the holy 
city was held by the Christian powers until the required 
indemnity was paid and the murderers punished. The 
next Sherif appointed was Abdullah. During his time the 

' The history of Mecca under these Sherifs is given by Snouck Hur- 
gronje at length in his " Mekka." 


opening of the Suez Canal brought Turkey much nearer to 
Mecca and inspired the religious zealots with the fear that 
now the Christian fleets would attack the whole coast of 
Hejaz ! For had not the vizier of Haroun el Rashid dis- 
suaded that monarch from his plan to dig the canal lest the 
gateway to the Holy Cities would then be too accessible to the 
infidels ? 

The Ottoman government introduced other horrors into the 
quiet seclusion of the ancient city of JNIecca ; Jiddah was con- 
nected with the Red Sea cable ; a wire carried the world to 
Mecca and put the Pasha in daily touch with the Sublime 
Porte ; afterward it was extended to Taif, and the Turks were 
masters of their own army corps, so that the Sherifs could not 
act in secret. It was even attempted to raise a Meccan regi- 
ment for the Russian A\ar. 

In 1S69 the whole complicated bureaucratic system was 
introduced at IMedina, Jiddah, Mecca and Taif. Abdullah was a 
great fovorite as Sherif, both to the Arabs and the Turks ; he was 
mild and given to all sorts of compromise so that he managed 
to please both parties which are always at war in Mecca, His 
brother Husein succeeded as Sherif but was murdered in 1880. 
In the same year the aged Abd-el-Mutalib for the third time 
became Sherif and although at first very popular he soon won 
the hatred of the conservative Meccans by his cruelty and of 
the Turks by his double-dealing. On request of the people 
of Mecca for his deposition, Othman Pasha came to Hejaz and 
although he did not depose the aged Sherif, managed to outwit 
him in governing the city. In 18S2 Aun-er-Rafik, a brother 
of Husein, became Sherif. Troubles between the dual powers 
of government became thick and the Bedouin tribes took the 
occasion for a general uprising. Rafik fled to Medina and 
could not return until Othman Pasha was deposed. Since 
then the old struggle continues. 

The Arabs in Hejaz have no love for the Turks or for any 
Turkish ruler ; the Bedouin tribes hate the very sight of a red 


fez and the town-dweller is ground down with taxation. Aside 
from militarism there have been no public improvements in 
either of the Holy Cities since the Star and Crescent waved 
from their forts. The "pantaloon-wearing" TurLs are con- 
sidered little better than "Christian dogs" by the pious folk 
of Mecca. Have they not introduced the abomination of 
quarantine instead of the old time simple trust in Allah? 
Have they not acquiesced to the residence of Christian consuls 
at Jiddah ? And what is worse, have they not interfered with 
the free importation of slaves and the manufacture of eunuchs 
for the residents of Mecca? 

The following literal translation of a placard posted every- 
where in Mecca, at the end of the year 1885, may give the 
best insight into the relations that exist between the Turk and 
the Arab in the cradle of Islam : 

" ' And who does not rule according to the revelation of Allah he is an 
infidel.' — Koran v. 48. 

" Be it known to you, ye people of Mecca, that this accursed Wali in- 
tends to introduce Turkish laws into the holy city of Allah, therefore 
beware of sloth and awake from sleep. Do not suffer the laws to be exe- 
cuted for they are only tlie opening of the door to further legislation. 
Our proof is that the Wali Othrnan Pasha proposed his plan to divide 
Mecca into four quarters and to appoint three officers for each quarter. 
This plan he laid before the city council and when they declared it was 
impossible to do this in Mecca the accursed replied, Is Mecca better 
than Constantinople ? We will carry the plan through by force. For 
this reason, O Meccans, an association has been formed called the Mos- 
lem Club and whoever desires to enter it let him make inquiries. The 
object of the association is to assassinate this cursed Wali and his chief of 
police. He who cannot join us let him utter his complaint before Allah 
in the holy house that the public safety is endangered while the present 
ruler lives. And this cursed Wali also attempts to secure the adminis- 
tration of the annual corn-shipment from Egypt. And remember also 
how the accursed butchered the sons of the Sherif and his slaves and ex- 
posed their heads at Mecca. What sort of deeds are these ? More 
atrocious than those at Zeer. So that whoever kills this man will 
entsir paradise without rendering an account. The purpose of dividing 


the city appointing Sheikhs (ov eaeli quarter is nothing else than a pretext 
for new taxations as the Cursed himself let out before the council. 
" In the name of the 

" jEMIAT-liL-lSl.AMlYEH." 

The same people who proiiiised paradise to the murdeier of 
Othman Pasha rebelled against his successor Safwet Pasha and 
will rebel as long as the character of the Meccan remains what 
it is. Those who dream that the Tink will make Mecca tlie 
centre of their power when Constantinople falls, know not the 
condition of affairs among the proud fanatics of Hejaz who 
will never allow Mecca to become anything but the city of the 
Sherifs. And as for the Bedouin tribes, they blackmail every 
pilgrim caravan and draw heavy subsidies from Constantinople 
to keep the peace. Jiddah is in decay and the pilgrim-traffic 
is not as flourishing as it was a decade ago. Even in Hejaz 
the days of Ottoman rule are numbered. 

Between Hejaz and Yemen is the region of Asir. Its popu- 
lation has been celebrated from the earliest times for personal 
bravery and courage. Mountain-dwellers they love freedom ; 
belonging to the Zaidee sect they hate the Sunnites. And these 
two reasons united made them abominate the Turks. In order 
to extend Ottoman power southward and reconquer Yemen for 
the Sublime Porte it was necessary to pass through the territory 
of the Asir Arabs. From 1824 to 1S27 the Turkish troops 
carried six successive campaigns against the brave highlanders 
but were in every case repulsed with great loss. In 1S33 and 
1834 the attempt was again made; a desperate battle was 
fought on August 21st of the latter year, the Turkish troops 
were victorious. But the Arabs rallied, made sorties on the 
garrisons, famine reigned, fever killed off many and in September 
the Turks again withdrew, defeated. In 1836 a final attempt 
was made to conquer Asir ; this was with greater loss than ever 
before. To this day the entire region between Taiz and Roda 
(a few miles north of Sana) is really independent, although 
marked as Turkish on the maps. The Ottoman troops are bold 


to fight the Yemen Arabs to the very gate of Sana but they grow 
pale when they hear of an expedition against the dare-devil 
Bedouins of Asir who fight with the ferocity of the American 
Indian and the boldness of a Scotch Highlander. 

The story of the Turks in Yemen is very modern. In 1630 
they were compelled to evacuate Yemen by the Arabs and they 
did not set foot in the capital again until 1873. In 187 1 the 
Imam of Yemen lived his life in peace, secluded and sensual 
like an oriental despot in the palace at Sana. Looked upon by 
the Arabs as a spiritual Sultan he was great, but also powerless 
to hold in check the depredations and robberies of the many 
tribes under his nominal sway. Things went from bad to worse. 
Trade almost ceased on account of the attacks on the caravans 
that left for the coast. The Sana merchants, quiet and respect- 
able Arabs, saw nothing but ruin before them, and considering 
solely the benefits that would accrue to themselves by such a 
step invited the Turks to take the place. They did not consult 
the large agricultural population or the effect of Turkish rule on 
the peasantry, otherwise there would have been an equally cor- 
dial invitation to the Turks to stay out of Yemen. 

The Turks needed no urging at this time, when they were 
strengthening their hold on Mesopotamia, extending their con- 
quests in Hassa and trying to obtain the mastery of the Hejaz 
Bedouins. It fell in most admirably with their plans, and an 
expedition set out at once. In March, 1872, an army under 
command of Ahmed Mukhtar Pasha reached Hodeidah. On 
April 25th the army entered Sana twenty thousand strong and 
the city opened its gates without a battle. The conquest of the 
country now proceeded; a force was sent to the region of 
Kaukeban, north of Sana, another to the southern district of 
Anes and still another to Taiz and Mocha. The conquest to- 
ward the south was limited by the presence of England at Aden. 
For when the Turkish army advanced to the domain of the 
independent Sultan of Lahaj who had a treaty with England, 
the British Resident at Aden sent a small force of artillery and 


cavalry to occupy tlie Lahaj territory. In consequence of rep- 
resentations made at the same time by the Enghsh govern- 
ment to the Sublime Porte, the Turkish army withdrew in De- 
cember, 1873. .In 1875 the tribes bordering the southern bound- 
ary of Yemen rebelled against Turkey but the rebellion was 

When the army took Sana the Imam was deposed, but on ac- 
count of his religious influence over the Arabs was permitted to 
reside in the city, receiving a pension on condition that he 
would exert himself in behalfof Ottoman rule. This he fulfilled 
imtil his death when the birthright as Imam passed to his 
relative Ahmed-ed-Din who also was nothing loth to receive the 
honor of the Arabs and the money of the Turks. 

Sana received a certain amount of civilization, more prestige 
and still more commercial prosperity than in the older days. 
As for the country in general it was divided and subdivided into 
provincial districts and sub-districts ; the peasantry were taxed 
and taxed again ; military roads were constructed by forced 
labor. The hill-tribes, who in the times of the Imam had been 
left undisturbed in their agriculture and who boasted an inde- 
pendence of centuries, were now little better than slaves. Ex- 
tortion ruined them ; they hated the personality of the Turks 
whose religion was not as their own ; discontent smouldered 
everywhere and was ready to burst into a flame. And this dis- 
content was increased from year to year as the caravan-drivers 
returned from their long journeys to Aden and told of the greatest 
marvel ever heard of — a righteous government and a place 
where justice could not be bought, but belonged to every one — 
even the black skinned ignorant Somali. When we remember 
that over 300,000 camels with their drivers enter Aden from the 
north every year we can realize how widespread was this news. 
I can testify to the worldwide difference between the municipal 
government of Aden cantonment and that of the capital of 
Yemen under the Turks as I saw it in 1891. When the Turks 
accused Ensrland of fomentins: the recent rebellions in Yemen 


they were right to the extent that if the Yemen peasantry had 
not seen the blessed union of liberty and law at Aden they would 
not seek to rise against the Turks. 

In the summer of 1892 a body of 400 Turkish troops were 
sent to collect by force the taxes due from the Bni Meruan who 
inhabit the coast north of Hodeidah. The Turks were sur- 
prised by a large body of Arabs and nearly annihilated. 
Wherever the news travelled the people rose in arms. Tribal 
banners long laid away were unfurled and the cry "long live 
the Imam" rang through mountain and valley. A new Jehad 
was proclaimed and Ahmed-ed-Din was unwillingly forced to 
take the leadership against the Turks. When the rebellion 
broke out the Turks had only about 15,000 men in the whole 
of Yemen ; and cholera had wrought havoc among these. Ill- 
fed, ill-clothed, and unpaid ; badly housed in the rainy and 
cold mountain villages, they could nevertheless fight like devils 
when led by their commanders. The Imam escaped from Sana, 
and a few days later the capital was besieged by an enormous 
force of Arabs. All the unwalled cities fell an easy prey to 
the rebels ; Menakha was taken after a short struggle ; Ibb, 
Jibleh, Taiz, and Yerim all declared themselves for the Imam. 
The Arabs treated their foes with respect after their victory ; ^ 
they were feeding Turkish prisoners at the Imam's expense and 
in many cases money was given the soldiers to enable them to 
escape to Aden. 

Meanwhile telegrams were sent to Constantinople from Sana 
and Hodeidah beseeching assistance. The whole of Yemen, 
with the exception of the capital and two smaller towns in the 
north with Hodeidah on the coast, was in the hands of the 
rebels. An expedition reached Hodeidah, under command of 
Ahmed Feizi Pasha, formerly governor of Mecca, which after 
bombarding the villages on the coast north of Hodeidah, 
marched to the relief of Sana. Without opposition the army 

' This is according to the testimony of Walter B. Harris who was in 
Yemen shortly after the rebellion. 

914 ^R.^aU, THE CR^^DLH OF tSUM 

reached Menakh« and tvx-jk the town by storm 5 tnatohdocks 
and fuse-guns oould not hold tnU jvgainst tield-guns and traintnl 
ti\x>i^s. AlHHit thirty miles beyond a desperate attempt was 
made to sK>p the arn^y of ix^lief ; in a »u\n\nv detile the rebels 
wnder Seyitl es-Shevai to<^k up their position and for twelve 
dax-s withstvXHl eavah-y, infantry and aitillery ass;mlts ; thou 
they wejf driven back and i-etired into the n\oui\taii\s. Uy 
hurried u\arches the ti\K^i« irachal Sana and took the city. 
MiUtary law was \vi\xlai»ne<.l and a wniversiU massacre of 
prisoners took place. A ixnvanl was otYeifd fvM' the head of 
every rebel. Camel lo;\ds of heads weix- brought into Sana 
ewry day. The troops >\"«re turned loose to plunder the \ il 
lagfs. There is no natioi\ ii\ the wv>rUl that can ]Hit down a 
rebt'llion as rapidly as the Turks when they have a gvnxl si;cd 
anny. but they have great objection to ai\y one seeiiis; the 

by the envl <^t" January. iSo^;. all the cities ot" Veiwen were 
xxvonquerevl and the n^ait\ iwids were again open. lUit the 
spirit of r^^bellion livevl oi\ and the brave mountaineers with- 
drew to the inaccessible defiles and peaks only to plot further 
mischief. Telegraph-wires were cut ; soldier's were shot on the 
it»{\d : and once and again K>U1 attempts were n\ade to blow 
up the Vasha's house in Sana with gunjunvder. in iSo,; iliere 
was rebellion in the north. li\ lv'^07 "*J^ >*h Ven\en .ii;.\in 
in arms ami the \n\certain and contUcting reports that reach 
the coi\st only emphasise the serious character of the up- 

On the map and in 'l^nkish othcial reports the boundaries 
of Veiuen join those ot" lleja/ and extend n\any miles ^tfjf/ of 
Sana, This has ue\er been and is tiot i\ow correv^t. IVenty- 
fj\*e miles north and east of Sana there is no one who cares for 
a 'l\irkish \^\ssport or daix^s to coUeit Turkish taxes. 

As to the future of 'l\u'key in Yemen it is ditVtcult to sur- 
mise. Rather than risk further rebellions the Sultan may 
adopt a conciliatory jxilicy. r>ut \'euien is too far fiXMu Con- 

77//; '//O/V O/ 77//: il]l'K\ III AI'AhIA 215 

stantinople to be governed from there. Extortion i« the only 
way oi>en to a Pahha to enrich hirftjiclf and for )>oldier» to get 
daily brea^l where wages are not paid on tirne. When the 
Pa»ha has filled hj» i>ocket hiii Hua:eft«or will try it a second 
time and come to grief. Rebellion will l>e the chronic »tate 
of Yemen a» long a» Turkey rules at Sana.. Ihe leopard can- 
not change his Sfx;t«. 

We now turn to notice the rule of the Turks in Northeastern 
Arabia, and in their newly-afx^uired province of Hassa, 
Bagdad was taken by the Turks in 1638 and that city 
has ever since been the capital of a Turkish Province. It 
is unnecessary to enter here into the succession of Pashas 
and rulers and the attempts to subjugate the li&lou'm Arabs. 
In 1830 the great plagiic visited all Meso{X)tamia and when 
epidemic was at its height the river burst its banks and in one 
night 15,000 people perished. In 1884 the vilayet of Busrah 
was separate^] from that of Bagdad and has since remained 
under its own governor. The two provinces have all the 
maf;hinery of Ottoman rule in working order. Except for an 
occasional outbreak among the Montefik Arabs, Turkey has 
no trouble to hold Mesopotamia in her grasp. Nor is she at 
all willing that this rich province should even dream of pass- 
ing under other rulers. In the year 1891 the Turkish Official 
Bulletin gave the total revenue from taxation in the Bagdad 
vilayet alone at 246,304 Turkish pounds. 

It may be intcre;^ting to note in passing the various sources 
of taxation -money. They are in brief: tax on Arab tents, ex- 
emption from military service, tax on sheep, buffaloes, camels, 
tax on mines Tsalt), tax on special privileges, tax on forests and 
timber, tax on fishing, custom dues, tax on shipping, on irriga- 
tion, on farming improvements; ''receipts from tribunals" 
C;iC3>°°° tax on justice ! ) and beside all this "taxes diverses " 
and "revenues divcrsc-s" to make up the budget. All this is 
legal, ordinary taxation. But the actual conditions of Turkish 
misrule mwU: it imjxwisible to exercise the inalienable rights of 


"life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness " without continual 
backsheesh to every otificial. 

The population of Mesopotamia, Moslem and Jew and 
Christian are thoroughly weary of Turkish misrule, but no one 
dares to lift up a voice in protest. They have become ac- 
customed to it ; and there is nothing else but to bear it pa- 
tiently. As for the nomads they have either, like the Montefik, 
settled down along the rivers to cultivate the soil and eke out 
a miserable existence ; or, like the Aneyza and Shammar 
tribes, they are as thoroughly independent of the Sultan as 
when they first appeared in his borders. 

Turkish Arabia on the north is represented on most maps by 
a regular curved line starting from the Persian Gulf and end- 
ing at the Gulf of Akaba ; but the line is purely imaginary. 
Turkish rule does not extend far south of the banks of the 
Euphrates, and the whole desert region from Kerbela to the 
Dead Sea and the Hauran is practically independent.^ Out- 
side of Bagdad and Busrah even the river towns are frequently 
threatened by the nomads, and Turkish soldiers have often to 
guard the river steamers against pirates. Military rule is in 
vogue two hundred years after the occupation of the country, 
and the nomads are nomads still. The commander-in-chief of 
the Sixth Ottoman army corps resides at Bagdad, and a good 
number of soldiers occupy the barracks in the city of the old 

In Turkey all Moslems over twenty years of age are liable to 
military conscription, and this liability continues for over 
twenty years. Non-Moslems pay an annual exemption tax of 
about six shillings per head. The army consists of JVizam or 
regulars, Redif or reserves, and Miistahfiiz or national guard. 
The infantry are supposed to be all armed with Martini-Pea- 
body rifles, but in Mesopotamia older patterns are still in use. 
The life of a Turkish soldier is not enviable ; and none of them 
would be volunteers for government service. The Turkish 
' See Lady Ami Blunt's " Bedouins of the Euphrates." 



navy is representerl in the Persian C^ulf and on the rivers by 
one or two thiird-rate cruisers and a small river gunboat. 

The result of the calling of Turkey into the Wahabi quarrel 
between the two sons of Feysul, was the occupation of Katif 
and Hassa by the Ottoman government. Since that time (1872) 
Hassa hastbeen a part of the Busrah vilayet, and the Pasha, 
who resides at Hof hoof, has the title Mutaserif Pasha of Nejd. 
Continual troubles with the Arabs mark the history of the oc- 
cupation of Hassa ; the caravan routes are not as safe as in the 
dominions of the Amir of Nejd; the whole country shows de- 
cay and lack of government ; taxation of the pearl fishers has 
driven many of them to Bahrein ; the peninsula of Katar is 
occupied by a garrison, but that does not prevent continual 
blood feuds and battles between the Arab tribes. The Otto- 
man government has established an overland post-service be- 
tween Hof hoof and Busrah has between Bagdad and Damascus, 
but both routes are unsafe and slow. Most of the Hofhoof 
merchants use the British Post Office at Bahrein ; and so do the 
government officials. 





M'inscriplicjn signifies^ 
Thcrp is no God but Allaho 

nsrriplion si.gnifles 

Victory 13 of God and 

success is near" 





"The English, said the old Arab Sheikh in reply, .ire like ants; if one 
finds a bit of meat, a hundred follow." — Ainszcwf/t. 

" Oman may, indeed, be justifiably regarded as a British depoiulcncy. 
We subsidize its ruler; we dictate its policy; we should tolerate no alien 
interference. 1 have little doubt myself that tlie time will come . . . 
when the Union Jack will be seen Hying from the castles of Muscat." 

" I should regard the concession of a port upon the Persian Gulf to Rus- 
sia by any power as a deliberate insult to Great Britain, as a wanton rup- 
ture of the sfiifus i/i/o and as an international provocation to war; and I 
should impeach the British minister, wlio was guiUy of acquiescing in 
such surrender, as a traitor to his country." 

— Lo/J Ctt/sott, \iceroy of India. 

TN sketching the relations of England to the peninsula, we 
-*• will consider : Her Arabian jiossessions and protectorates ; 
her supremac)- in Arabian waters ; lier coiiiiiierce with Arabia ; 
her treaties with Arab tribes ; and Iter consulates and agencies 
in Arabia. 

Of all British possessions in Arabia, Aden is by fivr tlie most 
iiiiportant, on account of its strategic position as the key not 
only of all Yenien, but of the Re*,! Sea and all Western Arabia. 
Aden was visited as early as 1609 by Captain Sharkey of the 
East India Company's ship "Ascension." He was at first well 
received, but afterward imprisoned tmtil the inliabitants had 
secured a large ransom. Two of the Englishmen on board re- 
fusing to pay were sent to the Pasha at Sana. In 16 10 an 
I'aiglish ship again visited Aden and the crew were treacher- 
ously treated. In iSjo, Captain Haines of the Indian navy 


visited Aflcn, and in 1829 tlic Court of Directors entertained 
the idea (;f making Aden a eoaling-station, but the idea was 
abandoned. Jn consequence of an outrage committed on the 
passengers and crew of a buggalow wrecked near Aden, an ex- 
pedition was despatched against the place by the Bombay gov- 
ernment in 1838. It was arranged that the peninsula of Aden 
should be ceded to the British, But the negotiations were any- 
thing but friendly, and in January, 1839, a force of 300 Euro- 
peans and 400 native troops in the " Volage " and '* Cruizer " 
bombarded and took the place by storm. 

This was the first new accession of territory in the reign of 
Queen Victoria. Immense sums of money have been spent in 
fortifying this natural Gibraltar and in improving its harbor. 
Four times the Arabs have attempted to take Aden by land, 
each time with fearful loss and without success. By sea Aden 
is impregnable ; only the initiated know the strength of its mole- 
batteries, mines, forts and other def.:nces ; and every year new 
defences are constructed and old ones strengthened. Aden has 
become a great centre fur trade, and is one of the chief coaling 
depots in the world. It bars the further advance of Turkey 
into South Arabia, guarantees independence and good govern- 
ment to all the neighboring petty states, and is an example of 
good government to all Arabia and the African coast. The set- 
tlement is politically subject to the Bombay Presidency and is 
administered by a Resident with two assistants. Since the 
opening of the Suez canal, trade has steadily increased and 
Turkish custom extortions at Hodeidah direct the caravan trade 
more and more to Aden from every part of Yemen. 

The island of Socotra and the Kuria Muria islands are also 
attached to Aden, together with the Somali Coast in Africa. 
Socotra has an area of 1,382 square miles and about 10,000 
inhabitants. It came under British protection in 1886 by treaty 
with its Sultan. The Kuria Muria group was ceded to the 
British by the Sultan of Muscat, for the purpose of landiijg the 
Red Sea cable ; the islands are five in number and have rich 


guano deposits. The island of Kamaran is also classed as be- 
longing to the British Empire.' It is a small island in the Red 
Sea, some miles north of Hodeidah ; it is only fifteen miles 
long and five wide, and has seven small fishing-villages. But 
it has a good sheltered anchorage and is the quarantine Station 
for all Moslem pilgrims from the south to Mecca. 

The Bahrein Islands are also included in the British Empire, 
although Turkey still claims them as her own and the native 
ruler imagines that he is independent. "The present chief 
Sheikh Isa owes the possession of his throne entirely to British 
protection which was instituted in 1867. Sheikh Isa was again 
formerly placed under British protection in 1870 when his rivals 
were deported to India." The Political Resident at Bushire 
superintends the government of the islands to as great an ex- 
tent as is deemed diplomatic. 

Perim at the southern end of the Red Sea was taken pos- 
session of in 1799 by the East India Company and a force was 
sent from Bombay to garrison the island. But it was found 
untenable at that time as a military position and the troops 
were withdrawn. Perim was reoccupied in the beginning of 
1857. The lighthouse was completed in 1861, and quarters 
were built for a permanent garrison. ^ 

We may also consider the possessions of Egypt in Arabia as 
practically under English protection. Since the British occu- 
pation, the peninsula of Sinai and the Red Sea litoral on the 
Arabian side, nearly as far as Yembo is under the Governor- 
General of the Suez canal. 

England not only possesses the key positions on the coasts of 
Arabia, but has for many years held the naval supremacy in all 
Arabian waters. As the Dutch succeeded the Portuguese and 
established trading-stations in the Persian Gulf and in the Red 
Sea, so England followed the Dutch. The East India Com- 

1 Statesman's Year Book. 

^ For a complete account of Perim, see " The Description and History 
of Perim," by J. S. King, Bombay, 1877. 


pany was at Aden and Mocha in the beginning of the seven- 
teenth century, and in 1754 the English East India Company 
established itself at Bunder Rig, north of Bushire, and later at 
Bushire itself, supplanting the Dutch. The island of Karak 
in the north of the Gulf was twice occupied by the British, in 
1838 and in 1853. After the bombardment of Bushire in 1857 
and of Mohammerah in the same year, hostilities ceased and 
Karak was again evacuated. The island of Kishm, in the 
southern part of the Gulf, was during the greater part of the 
present century, a British military or naval station. The Indian 
naval squadron had its headquarters first at El Kishm, then at 
Deristan and finally for many years at Bassadore. In 1879 
because of the insalubrity of the climate the last company of 
Sepoys was withdrawn to India. But the island is still in a 
sense considered British. As early as 1622 the Persians and 
the British expelled the Portuguese from Ormuz and shortly 
after, in common with the Dutch and French set up trading 
factories at Gombrun, (now Bunder Abbas). In 1738 the Eng- 
lish Company established an agency at Busrah and much of 
their Gulf business was shifted to that port. Since 1869 there 
has been a telegraph station at Jask with a staff of six English 
officials ; here the land and marine wires of the Indo-European 
telegrapli meet and join India to the Gulf. 

The Sultanate of Oman, since 1822, has been in the closest 
relations possible with British naval power. At several critical 
periods in Oman history, it was Great Britain that helped to 
settle the affairs of state. In 1861 a British commissioner ar- 
bitrated between two claimants for the rule of Muscat and 
Zanzibar, then one kingdom, and divided the Sultanate. Since 
1873 the Sultan of Muscat has received an annual subsidy 
from the British government. Near Cape Musendum, on the 
Arabian side of the Gulf, the British once occupied a place 
called Malcolm's Inlet when they were laying the telegraph 
cable from Kerachi to the Gulf in 1864. Five years later it 
was transferred to Jask. From 1805 to 1821 there were British 


naval encounters with the pirates of the Gulf, and since that date 
all piracy in these waters has ceased.^ British naval supremacy 
established peace at Bahrein and has protected its native govern- 
ment since 1847. When in 1S67 the native ruler, " a crafty old 
fox" as Curzon calls him, broke the treaty, the bombardment 
of Menamah brought further proof of British naval supremacy. 
Kuweit was for a time (1821-22) the headquarters of the 
British Resident at Busrah ; and, semi-independent of Turkey, 
is now becoming wholly dependent on England — another indi- 
cation of British naval supremacy. Even at Fao, Busrah 
and Bagdad British gunboats often keep the peace or at least 
emphasize authority. In a word Great Britain holds the scales 
of justice for all the Persian Gulf litoral. She guarantees 
a pax Brittanica for commerce ; she taught the Arab tribes 
that rapine and robbery are not a safe religion ; where they 
once swept the sea with slave-dhows and pirate-craft they have 
now settled down to drying fish and diving for pearls. For the 
accomplishment of this subject England has spent much both 
in treasure and in lifeblood. Witness the graves of British 
soldiers and marines in so many Gulf ports. The testimony of 
an outsider, is given in a recent article in the Cologne Gazette, 
which thus describes the political and naval supremacy of 
England in Eastern Arabia and the Persian Gulf : 

"A disguised protectorate over Oman and control over the 
actions of the Sultan of Muscat ; actual protectorate over Bah- 
rein ; coaling station on the island of Kishm, in the Straits of 
Ormuz ; presence of a political Resident at Bushire who, with 
the help of an association called the Trucial League, decides 
all disputes between Turkish, Arab, and Persian chiefs in the 
Persian Gulf. . . . This league gives the English a con- 
stant pretext for intervention ; the object of keeping peace and 
policing the gulf is only a pretence. . . . All events on 
the Persian Gulf, however disconnected apparently, are really 

'Treaties were made with the Arabs of the pirate coast in 1835, '^S^* 
1839, 1847, '^53> ^i'^ 1856; of these we shall speak later. 


dependent on each other through the Trucial League. It is a 
confused tangle of hatreds and jealousies whose threads are 
united in the hands of the Resident at Bushire. . . . Rus- 
sia shows an indifference which is quite incomprehensible con- 
sidering the interest she has and must have in these affairs. 
One could recount numerous instances where English agents 
have injured Russian interests without meeting with any oppo- 
sition. The Russian Consul in Bagdad is thrust into the 
background by the activity of his British colleague. Southern 
Persia, the gulf, Eastern Arabia, and the Land of Oman have 
fallen completely within the English sphere of influence. This 
state of affairs has not been officially ratified, but exists as a 
fact. That will last till some movement comes about to restore 
the proper balance. Meanwhile, the English are the masters. 
They are so accustomed to manage the whole Persian Gulf that 
if the least thing occurs that they have not foreseen or them- 
selves arranged they completely lose all self-control." 

But the supremacy of England in the Gulf and on the other 
coasts of Arabia is hers not only because of gunboats and gun- 
powder. It is most of all by the arts of peace that she has 
established and glorified her power on the Arabian litoral. It 
must never be forgotten, for example, that the magnificent 
surveys of the entire 4,000 miles of Arabian coast were the 
work of British and Indian naval officers ; by means of this 
survey, completed at great cost, commerce has been aided and 
navigation of the dangerous waters east and west of Arabia has 
been made safe. England too is the only power that has 
established hghthouses; e. g., at Aden, Perim, in the Red Sea 
and lately on Socotra. England laid the cables that circle 
Arabia; from India to Bushire and Fao connecting with the 
Turkish overland telegraph system ; from Aden to Bombay 
and from Aden to Suez through the Red Sea. These cables 
were not the work of a day but were laid with great expense 
and opposed by the very governments they were intended to 


Again, Arabia has two postal systems and two only. In the 
Turkish province of Yemen there is a weekly post between the 
capital and the chief towns to the coast ; in Hejaz there is a 
post to Mecca ; and in Mesopotamia and Hasa there is another 
Turkish postal system notorious for its slowness and insecurity. 
For the rest all of Eastern and Southern Arabia are dependent 
on the Indian Postal system ; the whole interior is ignorant 
of a post office or of a postman. The government of India 
has post offices at Muscat, Bahrein, Fao, Busrah and Bagdad 
with regular mail service, and the best administration in the 
world. The English post carries the bulk of the mail between 
Busrah and Bagdad while Bahrein is really the post office for 
all Eastern Arabia ; pearl-merchants at Katar and in Hasa 
mail their letters at Bahrein and even the Turkish government 
needs the English post to communicate with Busrah from 

England has also earned her supremacy in Arabian waters 
by honest attempts to put a stop to the slave-trade, in accord 
with the Anti-slave Trade treaties between the powers. She is 
the only power whose navy has acted in seizing slave-dhows, 
liberating slaves and patrolling the coast. The work has not 
always been done thoroughly or vigorously, but that it has 
been done at all, places England first among the powers that 
sail in Arabian waters. 

Where the Union Jack proclaims naval supremacy, there the 
red mercantile flag of England follows the blue and carries 
commerce; the two go together, and although of different 
color are the same flag to Englishmen. The world-wide com- 
mercial activity of Great Britain has touched every part of the 
Arabian coast and British wares from Manchester and Birming- 
ham have penetrated to every secluded village of Nejd, and are 
found in every valley of Yemen. 

The mercantile navigation of the Gulf as it now exists is 
the creation of the last thirty years, and is largely to be attrib- 
uted to the statesmanship of Sir BarLle Frere. It was he who, 


when at Calcutta as a member of Lord Canning's Supreme 
Council, befriended the young Scotchman, William Mackin- 
non, who was planning a new shipping business beyond his 
slender means; and a subsidy was granted to Mackinnon's 
new line of Steamers. Thus it was that the British India Steam 
Navigation Company was launched which first opened trade 
not only with Zanzibar but in the Persian Gulf. In 1862 not 
a single mercantile steamer ploughed the Persian Gulf. A 
six-weekly service was then started, followed by a monthly, a 
fortnightly and finally by a weekly steamer. From Busrah 
there are two lines of English steamers direct for London. The 
British India was the pioneer line and still holds the first posi- 
tion, although there are other lines that do coasting trade with 

Thus English commerce controls not only the markets of both 
sides of the Gulf, but of all Northwestern Arabia and as far be- 
yond Bagdad as piece-goods and iron-ware can be carried on 
camels. There is not a spool of thread in Nejd or a jack-knife 
in Jebel-Shammar that did not come up the Persian Gulf in an 
English ship. All of Hassa eats rice from Rangoon and thou- 
sands of bags are carried in British ships to Bahrein to be trans- 
ported inland by caravan. Not only is the steamshipping mostly 
in English hands, but many of the native buggalows fly the 
British flag and the chief merchants are Englishmen or British 
subjects from India. The Rupee is the standard of value along 
the whole Arabian coast from Aden to Busrah. In the interior 
the Maria Theresa dollar has long held sway, but even that is 
becoming scarce among the Bedouins and they have little pref- 
erence between the " abu hi?it'' (the Rupee with a girl's head) 
and the " abu fair" ("the father of a bird" — the eagle on 
the Austrian dollar). For a time a French fine of steamers ran 
in the Gulf but the project was abandoned, though there is now 
a rumour of its revival.^ 

1 The British India steamer, carry the mails and leave Bombay and 
Busrah once a week, touching at the intermediate ports in the Gulf, after 


Aden is the commercial centre for all Southern Arabia and 
the enormous increase of its trade since 1839 is proof of what 
English commerce has done for Yemen. Mocha is dead, and 
Hodeidah is long since bed-ridden, but Aden is alive and only 
requires a railroad to Sana to become the commercial capital of 
all Western and Southern Arabia. That railroad will be built 
as soon as the Turk leaves Yemen's capital ; God hasten the 
day. After the occupation of Aden in 1839 until the year 
1S50 customs dues were levied as in India but at that time 
it was declared a free port. During the first seven years the 
total value of imports and exports averaged per year about 
1,900,000 Rupees; in the next seven years the annual 
average rose to 6,000,000 Rupees, and it has been on the 
increase ever since, until it now is over 30,000,000 Rupees ; 
nor did this annual average include the trade by land which is 
also large. 

The Suez canal is another indication of the prestige which 
English commerce has in the Red Sea and along the routes of 
traffic that circle Arabia. In 1893 the gross tonnage that passed 
through the canal was 10,753,798 ; of this 7,977,728 tons passed 
under the English flag which means that nearly four-fifths of 
the trade is English. In the same year the number of vessels 
passing through the canal was 3,341 of which 2,405 belonged 
to Great Britain. 

The proposed Anglo-Egyptian railway across the north of 
Arabia will join the Persian Gulf to the Mediterannean. To 
shorten the time of communication between England and her 
Eastern Empire is evidently a matter of the highest importance, 
notonl}- for commerce and post, but in the event of war, mutiny 
or other great energency. The first surveys for this overland 
railway were made as early as 1850, by the Euphrates Expedition 
under General Chesney. The scheme was warmly advocated 

Kerachi, as follows : Gwadur, Muscat, Jask, Bunder Abbas, Lingah, Bah- 
rein, Bushire, Fao and Mohammerali ; the journey lasts a fortnight and the 
distance, zigzag, is about one thousand nine hundred miles. 


in England by Sir W. P. Andrew, tlie Duke of Sutherland and 
others, but although it still awaits execution the plan comes up 
again every few years with new advocates and new improve- 
ments. Once it was to be the Euphrates Valley railway coming 
down to Bagdad and Busrah or to Kuweit (Grane) by way of 
Mosul. Now the plan proposed is to open a railway from Port 
Said due eastward across the Peninsula along the thirtieth paral- 
lel of latitude to Busrah. A branch would deviate a little to the 
south to the port of Kuweit which was also the proposed ter- 
minus of the Euphrates Valley line on which a select committee 
of the House of Commons sat twenty-five years ago. From 
Busrah the main line would cross the Shatt-el-Arab and the 
Karun by swing-bridges and follow the coast-line of the Persian 
Gulf and Makran to Kerachi. Such a line would reduce the 
time occupied in transit between London and Kerachi to 
eight days.' Whether this route or any other is followed is 
a matter of minor importance. The fact that since 1874 
England has been to the front in the matter of the overland 
railroad puts it beyond a doubt, that when the railway is 
built its terminus at least will be under English control and 
most probably the whole road will represent English capital 
and enterprise. 

Meanwhile there is intelligence that Turkey has made a con- 
cession to German capitalists for the extension of the Anatolian 
railways to Bagdad. The line which runs from the Asiatic 
shores of the Bosphorus to Angora is in the hands of a German 
syndicate and the terms of the concession contain compulsory 
clauses under which, in certain eventualities, the Turkish 
government can compel the syndicate to extend the road to 
Sivas and ultimately to Bagdad.^ But politically Great Britain 

' In a recent paper read before the Society of Arts in London Mr. C. E. 
D. Black of the Geographical Department of the India office urges other 
reasons for the practicability of this route. — (London Titnes, May 7th, 

2 Times of India, June 17, 1899. 


has little to fear from the spread of German influence in the 
Levant and Mesopotamia. The editor of an influential Eng- 
lish paper says, " Every mark expended by the Germans upon 
public works in the Asiatic dominions of the Sultan helps to 
build up the bulwark against the menace of Russia. And 
the creation of a German railway in Asia Minor will, in a 
limited degree tend to identify the interests of Germany and 
Great Britain." Nevertheless England would never grant a 
terminus or harbor to a German railroad syndicate on the 
Persian Gulf. 

Great Britain has treaties or agreements of some sort with 
every tribe and settlement of Arabs from Aden to Muscat and 
thence to Bahrein. England has two kings for Arabia; the 
first lives at Bushire and is called the British Resident and 
Consul General, the other with a similar title lives at Aden. 
Of the Bushire Resident Lord Curzon wrote, " One or more 
gunboats are at the disposal of the British Resident at Bushire 
Avho has also a despatch boat for his own immediate use in the 
event of any emergency. Not a week passes but, by Persians 
and Arabs alike, disputes are referred to his arbitration, and 
he may with greater truth than the phrase sometimes conveys 
be entitled the Uncrowned King of the Persian Gulf." To 
the energy and political capacity of Colonel Ross and his 
capable predecessor, Sir Lewis Pelly, this royal throne owes its 
foundation. All the treaties made by England with the Arab 
tribes on the Eastern coast of Arabia are here interpreted and 

The treaties made with the chiefs of Bahrein and with the 
tribes on the so-called Pirate coast embraces clauses to enforce 
the maratime peace of the Gulf, to exclude foreign powers 
from the possession of territory, to regulate or abolish the slave- 
traffic and to put down piracy. Since 1820 various treaties 
of truce have been concluded with the warlike Arabs on the 
coast south of Katar and have been frequently renewed or 
strengthened. In 1853 a Treaty of Perpetual Peace was made 


with other tribes ' which provided that there should be a com- 
plete cessation of hostilities at sea and that all disputes should 
be referred to the British Resident. The contracting parties 
were called Trucial Chiefs and the treaty is known as the 
Trucial Arrangement or League. Beside these treaties the 
English have an exclusive treaty with the Sheikh of Bahrein to 
such a degree, that the islands are practically a British pro- 

Although there are no formal treaties with the tribes along 
the Hassa coast and Katar, these being under Turkish rule, that 
region is not disregarded by Great Britain, nay Nejd itself finds 
a place in the administration reports of the Persian Gulf. Po- 
litical agency whenever the horizon in that part of the penin- 
sula shows a storm cloud though it be no bigger than a man's 
hand. The claims of the Porte to sovereignty over El Katar 
are not admitted by the British government^ and are the cause 
not only of diplomatic controversy but of actual interference on 
the part of the British when necessary. 

The great benefits that have followed the treaties of peace 
with the Arab tribes are manifest most of all by a comparison 
of that part of the Arabian coast under English supervision 
and the long stretch from Katif to Busrah which is Turkish. 
The former enjoys peace and the tribes have settled down to 
commerce and fishing, there is safety for the traveller and the 
stranger everywhere ; the latter is in continual state of warfare, 
there is neither commerce nor agriculture and the entire coast 
is utterly unsafe because of the laissez /aire policy of Turkey. 

1 I. Ras el Kheima — Jowasim tribe. 

2. Um-el-Kawain — Al-bu-Ali tribe. 

3. Ajnian — Al-bu-Ali tribe. 

4. Sharka — Jowasim tribe. 

5. Debai — Al-bu-falasal tribe. 

6. Abn Dhabi — Bni Yas tribe. 

All of these tribes reside between Katar and Ras el Had on the 
Arabian coast. (See Aitchison, Vol. VII., No. xxvi.) 
"^ Curzon's " Persia," Vol. II., p. 453. 

9:w .-fK.-fni.-i, Tin- CR.iniF or isi.-lm 

Tuinuig to Oinaii wo tuul. in tho words ot" Loul Cur,:on. 
thai, treaty succeeding treatv. •• it may bo justitiably regardeil 
as a l^ritish dopoiuloncy." The recent history of INlusiat has 
only liastened the day when "ihe I'nion Jack will bo seen (ly- 
ing tVon\ the castles ol' Muscat." The Hodouin icvoll and 
their occupation ol" tho town resulted in saddling (lie unhajipy 
Sultan with a large bill for damages sustained by l^ritish sub- 
jects. The episode of the Krench coaling station cost the 
Sultan his annual subsidy. Thus from the side of tinance he 
is doubly dependent on VaigUsh clemency. 

The second Puitish king of Arabia resides at Aden. There 
lu^ is at once Tolitical Resident and eonnnandor of the troops. 
His authority extends not only to the settlement of Aden 
proper but includes supervision o( ,\ teniiory -vv miles long by 
forty broad with a population of i^^ Many of the 
neighboring tribes are subsidized and all of them are bound by 
treaty to Great Britain, ^\■h at the lUishire Resident is for the 
Gulf that the Aden Resident is tor the Southern litoral of the 
Peninsula. Moreover the Island o\ Socotra is also under the 
Resident at Aden and the Island of IVrim. The ruler of 
!Makalla in lladramaut is under special treaty with Faigiand ; 
although the newspaper report, that Civeal I'Mitain had declared 
a protectorate over all Southern Arabia, has no toui\d.ition. * 

' The following tribes in tho vicinity of Aden receive (_or received) 
annual subsidies from the British t.uivernn\ent : 

<ri--it JisfimaM/ t^l^ Estimated 

^^'^' Ih/u/atim. ^*^'^'' J\>/Mlati0n. 

Abdali I5,cxx3 Hausliabi 6,000 

FadUH 25,000 Alawi 1,500 

Akrabi Soo Amir 30,000 

Sulxiihi 20,000 YatVai 3S.OOO 

Tims the total estimated poinilalion of these tribes is I3^_;ch.^ and tho 
total amount of t1\c anmuU stipend paid them in 1S77, was 13,000 
German crowns. (^Hunter's *' Aden," p. 1^5-) 

fiRii i:;ii iNi'i.iJi:Nf:ii in auaiua 2:'A 

In the tribes whicli are bound by treaty with lirilain a patri- 
archal system of supervision secrns to prevail. Good children 
are rewarded and bad ones are punished. Nothing escapes the 
eye of the pohtical parent; one has only to read the yearly 
Administration reports to finrl many striking and sometimes 
amusing examples. We quote from the Residency Report of 
Muscat for / 893-94 verbatim: "One case of breax;h of the 
maritime peace of the Cjujf occurred in which the Sultan was 
advised to inflict a fine of Rs. 50 Tabout sixteen dollars) on Meh- 
dibin-AIi, the Sheikh of the Karnazarah tribe of Khassab, for 
proceeding with a party of armed rnen by sea to Shaara with 
the object of prosecuting a certain claim his wife had against 
the estate of her deceased father. After some months' delay 
the attendance of the Sheikh was enforced at Muscat and the 
fine was recovered." The same report tells how the govern- 
ment of India acknowledged the kindness shown to the ship- 
wrecked crew of the S. S. Khiva in April, 1893, by the Sultan 
of Muscat, "by presentation to His Highness of a handsome 
telescope and watch." Every year all the tribal chiefs who 
have proved "good boys " receive some yards of bright flan- 
nel, a new rifle or a pair of arrny pistols. But the patriarchal 
system works well ; and there are few Arabs who would like 
English power in the Gulf or near Aden to grow less ; all ex- 
press admiration for English ru/e, if not for English politics. 
In Arabia too the old promise of Noah is finding its fulfillment 
to-day. "God shall enlarge Japhet and he shall dwell in the 
tents of Shem." Shem never took a better guest into his tent 
than when he signed a treaty of perpetual peace with England 
on his coasts. 

England has consulates and consular agents at more places 
in Arabia than has any other power and her consuls exercise 
more authority and have greater prestige. In nearly every 
case they were first appointed and have therefore had longer 
time to extend their influence. At Jiddah, Hodeidah, and on 
the island of ICarnaran there are British consulates or vice-con- 

•i;W .■(K.tni.l, THH C/C. ■//)/./;■ or ISI.IM 

suUiles ; aiul there are reports of a eonsulale al Sana. At 
Makalla there is a r>iiiisli agent. Muscat. Hagdad, IJusrah, 
lUishire an^l Mohamnierah .ill have eonsulates, with dilTcrent 
degrees of .uuhoiilv and position, all exereising power of 
some sort in .\i.\bi.i. li.ihrein, l.ingah, Shaika, lUnider 
Abbas, ai\d otlier points in the Gulf have lUitish agents. 
.\t Jiddah. Uodeidah and Aden there arc several riMisulates 
beside the English. Mnseal has for some years had an 
AnKM'iean consul and in 1894 the French established a consu- 
late there. Russia has no representative in the Gulf save at 
Bagdaii ; nor has (.u-rnuiny. None of the European powere, 
save lu^gland. have agents at any of the Arabian ports in the 
Gulf nor do the ships of their navies often visit this jiart of the 
world. In tact so liltlc i,\o the Arabs kuvnv oi other consuls 
than Mnglish. that their words tor agent. :<\r/::/, and for consul, 
dti//os, always signify to theni iUiiish otiicers or appointees. 


PRESKN'I l-OU'll'.:, /.■.' AJ'AliJA 

"The »ign» of the time* nhow plainly cwinyh whut i» j^oing to haj4>cn. 
All the xavagc Ia,ri'l» in the world arc if,"'>^% ^> ^-"' '""ou^^it under »ubjec- 
lion to the Christian Government* of Europe. The sooner the seizure i» 
consummated, the better for the »avage»," — i^<j!^/^ Twain. 

\A/""''' ' '""^'-y '■'■'f''-'''"'''' "'' P''jw<.t liif; western r/^ast of 
''^ Arabia will see no change and everything will Ix; fjuiet 
in Ifcjaz. If however the trouble between the Sherifs of 
Mecca and the Sublime i'orte should reach a crisis or Moslem 
fanaticism at Jirldah shouhl endanger the lives of Christians, we 
may expect England, and pcrhai^s France and Holland to inter- 
fere as did England in 1858,' Regarding Yemen there is 

' f n a remarkable article, the Ntwoc Vr^mya makes known the Russian 
discovery of " a new I5riti«h intri^juc." It aiipcan that Great Britain, 
not content with the virtual annexation of V4',y\it and the Sudan, is even, 
while carryinfj out her j/lans for the aWjrption of the 'I'runnv'da.] and the 
advancement of her interests in Persia, busily cnjja^^cd in setting up a 
Mohammedan J'ower which is to rival that of the Sultan, and is ultimately 
to be used as a means of menacing, if not destroying, Russian authority 
in Central Asia, The puppet Prince selected for this purfK»s€ is the Sherif 
of Mecca, According to the JVavoa Vremya, the Sherif has recently re- 
ceived from England a letter stating that the British government, having 
decided to invest a certain worthy hut impecunious Mohammedan Sheikh 
with the Galij^hatc of Zcila, on the borders of Sornaliland.and recognizing 
the Sherif as a descendant of the Projihct and great protector of Islam, 
considers it desirable for the Sherif on the day of the appointment of the 
new Galijih to issue a manifesto expressing his approval. In return for 
this service. Great Britain will proclaim Mecca and Medina the private 
property of the Sherif, will assure to him the greater part of the revenues 
of the new Cali[)hate, and will defend liim by diplomatic means, or even 



more probability of a great political change in the near future. 
Aden is a cinder-heap, but Sana has a fine, cold climate and is 
the capital of a rich mountain region capable of extraordinary 
development. There are those who desire to see England as- 
sume a protectorate over all Yemen, and if ever the Arabs 
should turn out the Turks, England would be almost compelled 
to step in and preserve peace for her allied tribes near Aden. 
Long since the army at Aden has felt the need of a hill-station 
and only the Crescent keeps the English troops penned up in 
an extinct crater where life at best is misery. 

The southern part of Arabia is of such a character geograph- 
ically and the coast so barren that it offers no attractions to the 
most ambitious land-grabber. Oman, like Yemen, is fertile 
and has in addition certain mining possibilities. Until recent 
years England was the only foreign power that claimed an in- 
terest in the heritage of the Sultan of Muscat, Now France is 
on the scene and is apparently unwilling that British power 
should increase in Oman or the Gulf. The alleged lease of a 
coaling-station to France by the Sultan of Muscat in February, 
1899, was only the beginning of French opposition made mani- 
fest. Her establishment of a consulate at Muscat, her relations 
to the slave-trade, her attempt to subsidize a line of French 
steamers in the Gulf, her secret agents recently travelling in the 
Gulf — all these were only ripples that show which way the cur- 
rent flows. So far England has had free play in Oman ; now 
another power has appeared. The coaling-station incident 
was soon settled to the satisfaction of all Englishmen, and in a 
thoroughly English way. Under threat of bombardment the 
Sultan repudiated his agreement with the French and by way 
by force of arms, against the interference of the Sultan or any other P'or- 
eign Power. It is perhaps needless to say that the author of this intrigue 
is said to be Mr. Chamberlain, who is described as a man "without faith, 
without truth, capable of trampling under foot every commandment, 
whether of God or man, in order to accomplish his purpose of placing 
Great Britain at the head of the Powers of the world." — Ti7nes of India, 


of punishment for his misconduct his annual stipend was 
stopped. Whether France will continue to seek to increase her 
influence in the Gulf remains to be seen. It is certain that 
English policy is strenuously opposed to allowing one square 
foot of Oman territory to pass into the hands of France or any 
other foreign power. 

In April, 1899, it was announced that Russia had entered the 
Persian Gulf as a political power and acquired the harbor of 
Bunder Abbas in Persia as a terminus for her proposed rail- 
way. Since that time this has been officially denied both at 
Teheran and St. Petersburg and also stoutly reasserted with 
new proofs by the English press and the press of India. It is 
undoubtedly news of a sensational character if it be true. 
The presence of Russia in the Persian Gulf would probably 
change the future history of all its litoral and help to decide 
the future partition of Arabia and Mesopotamia. All things 
seem to be moving toward a crisis in this region of the east. 
And if the battle for empire and for possession of the keys to 
the gateway of India should be fought in the Persian Gulf 
the possible consequences are too vast to be surmised. What 
England's policy would be in case there is truth in the alleged 
Russian aggression, is summarized in a recent article in the 
Times of India : 

" It remains to consider what steps should be taken by Great 
Britain in view of the new development in Gulf politics. It 
may be taken for granted that Russia will not attempt to take 
possession of Bunder Abbas for a considerable time to come. 
She will make every effort to deny the existence of the ad- 
vantage she has gained until a convenient opportunity arises 
for putting her plan into execution. In the meantime, Great 
Britain can be well content to remain quiet, and to imitate 
her adversary by playing a waiting game. It will possibly be 
suggested that by again occupying Kishm, and by seizing 
Ormuz, the value of Bunder Abbas to Russia could at once be 
neutralized to a large extent. That is doubtless true ; but it is 


material to point out that little is to be gained by precipitate 
action, that these points of vantage can be occupied with 
facility at any time, and that the true policy of Great Britain is 
to endeavor to preserve the status quo for as long a period as 

" Meanwhile, there are many methods by which British 
power and influence in the Gulf can be safeguarded. We un- 
derstand that the Admiralty has already decided to strengthen 
the naval force maintained in Persian waters, and that the Ad- 
miral commanding the East Indies squadron will in future give 
the Gulf a larger share of his personal supervision. But this is 
not enough. I'he staff of political officers in the Gulf needs 
to be enlarged. . . , Then, too, more telegraph cables 
are needed. Muscat is now shut off from communication 
with the rest of the world, although the port was once linked 
up with Aden by cable. A line should be laid from Muscat to 
Jask forthwith, and another branch should connect Jask with 
Bunder Abbas and Lingah. More political agents should be 
stationed in the hinterland between Bunder Abbas and Seistan, 
with roving commissions, if necessary. One other matter 
needs urgent attention. Russia now possesses the sole right to 
construct railways in Persia, under an agreement which, after 
being in existence ten years, expires this year. Is anything 
being done to prevent the renewal of this objectionable conces- 
sion, which is deeply opposed to British interests in the Shah's 
dominions ? It is in the highest degree important that Great 
Britain should secure a share in the concessions for roads and 
railways which will certainly be granted by the Persian gov- 
ernment in the near future. Unfortunately, the gaze of the 
British public is so steadily concentrated upon China that it is 
unable to perceive dangers which threaten the empire in a far 
more vital place. There must soon be a rude awakening. It 
is not in China, but in Persia and the Persian Gulf, that the 
centre of political strife and international rivalry in Asia will 
soon be fixed." 


With the event of Russia in the Gulf and her Persian poHcy, 
with France envious of England's growing prestige in this 
Orient, with Germany at work building railways and Turkey's 
days numbered, what is to be the future of the fertile provinces 
of Busrah and Bagdad ? Will England continue to hold the 
upper hand in every part of Arabia and will some future Lord 
Cromer develop the Euphrates-Tigris valley into a second 
Egypt ? The battle of diplomacy is on. European cabinets, 
backed by immense armies and navies are playing a game in- 
volving tremendous issues — issues not only tremendous to 
themselves and to the populations of Arabia and Persia, but 
involving the interest of another King and the greatest King- 
dom. The event toward which history and recent politics in 
Arabia have so far been moving is "the one far off Divine 
event" of the Son of God. Not only to the missionary but 
to every Christian the study of the politics of Arabia makes 
evident the great Providential hand of God in the history of 
the Peninsula during the past century. Jesus Christ holds the 
key to the situation. All the kings of the earth are in His 
hand and to whomsoever He gives power or privilege, the end 
will be the glory of His own name and the coming of His own 
kingdom ; also in Arabia. 



"Ai'abic grammars should be strongly bound, because learners are so 
often found to dash them frantically on the ground." — Keith Falconer. 

" It is a language more extended over the face of the earth and which 
has had more to do with the destiny of mankind than any other, except 
English."— A'rt'. Geo. E. Post, M. D., Beirut. 

«' Wisdom hath alighted upon three things — the brain of the Franks, 
the hands of the Chinese and the tongue of the Arabs." — Jllo/uimnicd eJ- 

^"T^WO religions contend for the mastery of the world ; 
-*- Christianity and Islam. Two races strive for the pos- 
session of the dark continent ; the Anglo-Saxon and the Arab. 
Two languages have for ages past contested for world-wide ex- 
tension on the basis of colonization and propagandisiri — the 
Englisli and the Arabic. To-day about seventy millions of 
people speak some form of the Arabic language, as their 
vernacular ; and nearly as many more know something of its 
literature in the Koran because they are Mohammedans. In 
the Philippine islands the first chapter of the Koran is repeated 
before dawn paints the sky red. The refrain is taken up in 
Moslem prayers at Pekin and is repeated across the whole of 
China. It is heard in the valleys of the Himalayas and on 
" the roof of the world," A few hours later the Persians pro- 
nounce these Arabic words and then across the Peninsula the 
muezzins call the " foithful " to prayer. At the waters of the 
Nile, the cry " Allahu akbar^^ is again sounded forth ever 
carrying the Arab speech westward across the Sudan, the 
Sahara and the Barbary States until it is last heard in the 
mosques of IMorocco. 



The Arabic Koran is a text-book in the day-schools of 
Turkey, Afghanistan, Java, Sumatra, New Guinea, and 
Southern Russia. Arabic is the spoken language not only of 
Arabia proper but forces the linguistic boundary of that penin- 
sula 300 miles north of Bagdad to Diarbekr and Mardin, and 
is used all over Syria and Palestine and the whole of northern 
Africa. Even at Cape Colony there are daily readers of the 
language of Mohammed. As early as 1315 Arabic began to 
be taught at the universities of Europe through the mission- 
ary influence of Raymund Lull and to-day the language is 
more accurately known and its literature more critically in- 
vestigated at Leiden than at Cairo and at Cambridge than in 

A missionary in Syria who is a master of the Arab tongue 
thus characterizes it, "A pure and original speech of the great- 
est flexibility, with an enormous vocabulary, with great gram- 
matical possibility, fitted to convey theological and philosoph- 
ical and scientific thought in a manner not to be excelled by 
any language except the English, and the little group of lan- 
guages which have been cultivated so happily by Christianity 
in Central Europe." Ernest Renan, the French Semitic 
scholar, after expressing his surprise that such a language as 
Arabic should spring from the desert-regions of Arabia and 
reach perfection in nomadic camps, says that the Arabic sur- 
passes all its sister Semitic languages in its rich vocabulary, 
delicacy of expression, and the logic of its grammatical con- 

• He speaks of it as follows in his Histoire des Langues Semitques, p. 
342 : " Cette langue, auparavant inconnue, se montre k nous soudainement 
dans toute sa perfection, avec sa flexibilite, sa richesse infinie, tellemen- 
complete, en un mot, que depnis ce temps jusqu'a nos jours elle n'a subi 
ancune modification importante. II n'y a pour elle ni enfance, ni 
vieillesse ; une fois qu'on a signale son apparition et ses prodijieuses cont 
quetes, tout est dit sur son compte. Je ne sals si Ton trouverait un autre 
exemple d'un idiome entrant dans le monde comme celui-ci, sans etat 
archa'ique, sans degres intcrmediaires ni tatonnements." 

.940 M.-ini.f, 77//- CR.ini.F or is!.i.\( 

Vhc Si-miiir i'.inul\ ol" l;inL;u.ii;x-s is lar^o and aiuicnl. al- 
thoui;h not as cxtonsivo gcographiiMlly nor so divcrso as those 
of liulo I'aiiojH'an fatwily. Sonio inaintaiu ' that tl\o Sciwitcs 
wiM'c aiu-iont iimwigrants from \\\c \Vi\\o\\ northeast ot" Arahia. 
'VUcv hold thai botoro the lomiation o\ the diUVient Sen\i(ic 
dialorts the Semites evervwliere nsed a name lor the eamel 
{jnftr/) vhieh still appears in all oi the dialeets. They have 
however no naines in eon\n\on lor the date palm, the luiit of the 
the i^alm nor lor the iistrieh, theret'ore, in iheii lii;>t home, (he 
Semites knew the eamel Init divl not know the p.ilm. Now the 
region where there is neither il.ue palm nor oslrieh aiul yet 
where the e.imel has lived from the remotest antiqnily is the 
eentral table- land ol" Asia near the (.Xxns. ^'on Kremer holds 
that from this region the Semites migrated to I'abylon even 
bet'oie the Aryan en\igration ; the Mesopot.uniau valley is the 
oldest seat of Semitie eultnre. 

C">thers''' hold that the original hon\e of the Semites was in 
the south oi' Arabia whenee they gradually overspiead the 
peiiinsula. so that, as Sprenger exjuesses ii, " All Semite are 
sneeessive layers of Arabs." The arguments for this theory 
are brietly given by Sayee: •' " The Semitie traditions all point 
[o Arabia as the original home of the raee. It is the only \\\vt 
oi the world whieh has remained exelusively Semites. The 
raeial eharaeteristies — intensity of faith, feroeity, exelusiveness, 
imagination — ean best be explaineil by a desert origin." De 
Goeje la}'s stress on the tine elim.Ue of I'entral Arabia and the 
splendid physii-al development of the Arab as additional proof 
together with the indisputable fact that " of all Semitie lan- 
guages the .Vrabie approaches nearest to the original mother- 
tongue as was eonelusively demonstrateil bv Professor Sehrader 
of IVrlin." 

The tollowing t.d^le will show at a glance the position of 

1 Vou Rromcr, (.uiidi, llommol. 

* Sayce, Spvonj:;ov. Schr;ulor, Do Hocjo, Wiii^ht. 

'Assyrian (.Siaiuiwar, \\ ij. 

Tlin /IR/lliir l./lNOJACn 


Arabic in the Semitic family group, dead languages being puf 
in italics. Arabic, ancient and modern belongs to the South 
Semitic group and at an early jjcriod supplanted the Hirn- 
yaritic in Yemen, although the Mahri and Ehkeli dialects are 
still used in the mountains of Hadramaut.^ It was practically 
the only confjuering language on the list and is the only one 
that is growing in use. 



J Jjubylonian, 
y Assyrian. 

WESTERN (Aramaic)- 

r Syriac. 
Eastern -| Man dean. 
(_ Nabathean. 


' Samaritan, 
yevjisk Aramaic 
(as Targums and 
Egyptian Aramaic, 


Moabite and Ci 

Canaattitis/i dialects. 



(Ishriiaclitcj I 



One written language 


Modern Dialects 

in sijeech. 

( Mahri. 

i lihkeli. 

Old Geez. 





Maltese [?]. 
Algerian, etc. 
. Ornanese, etc. 

There are to-day over one hundred Arabic newspapers and 
magazines regularly published and which together have an im- 
mense circulation in all parts of the Arabic-speaking world. 

'An account of this language or dialect was given by Surgeon II. J. 
Carter in Journal Roy. Asiat. Soc, July, J847. 


While the Arabic language has now acknowledged suprem- 
acy above all its sisters, in its historical and literary development 
it was last of them all. Not until the seventh century of our era 
did Arabic become, in any sense, important. The language re- 
ceived its literary birthright and its inspiration through the 
illiterate prophet who could not read but who set all the East- 
ern world to studying his book. The Arabic literature of the 
days before Mohammed has a high literary character, but with 
all its beauty it was only the morning star that ushered in the 
sunrise. When once the Koran was promulgated, literature 
and grammar and the sciences all spoke Arabic. It was the 
renaissance of the dead and dying East. Whatever effect 
the Koran may have had on the social life and morals of a peo- 
ple, no one denies that it was the Koran and that alone which 
rescued Arabic from becoming a local idiom. Again this 
Koran was the unifying factor of the new religion, sweeping 
everything down before it ; not only did it unify the hostile 
tribes of Arabia but melted all their dialects into one and 
established an ever-abiding classical standard for the remotest 
student of the language of revelation. We do not of course 
hold, as do the Arabs, that the Arabic of the Koran is abso- 
lutely without a parallel in grammatical purity and diction. 
The contrary has been proved by Noldeke and Dozy. The 
latter states that the Koran is "full of bastard-Arabic and has 
many grammatical blunders, which are at present unnoticed, 
since the grammarians have kindly constructed rules or excep- 
tions to include even these in the list of unapproachable style 
and perfection." 

The origin and history of the Arabic alphabet is exceedingly 
interesting. All writing was originally pictorial, the next stage 
being that of the ideogram. Perhaps a trace of this earliest 
writing still remains in the wasms or tribal marks of the Bed- 
ouin. Scholars maintain that the earliest Semitic writing we 
possess of certain date is that on the Moabite Stone, discovered 
by the missionary Klein in 1868. Almost of equal age is the 


Cyprus and Sidon alphabet, and that of the Phoenicians, found 
on ancient coins and monuments. The date of this writing is 
put at 890 B. c. On these monuments and coins the system of 
orthography is already so carefully developed as to prove that 
the Semites understood the art centuries before that date. The 
oldest forms of these Semitic alphabets are in turn derive 1 
(Halevy, Noldeke) from the Egyptian hieratic characters. 
The oldest inscriptions found in North Arabia by Doughty and 
Enting, in the Nabatean character, and in South Arabia by 
Halevy and others in Himyaritic character, are both written, 
like modern Arabic, from right to left. Although the charac- 
ters do not resemble each other, this would seem to indicate a 
common origin. The intimate connection of the present Arabic 
alphabet with the Hebrew or Phoenician, is shown not only by 
the forms of the letters, but by their more ancient numerical 
arrangement called by the Arabs Abjad, and which corresponds 
with the Hebrew order. 


Accounts differ even among the Arabs as to who adapted or 
invented the present Arabic alphabet from the older Cufic 
forms. Some even hold that they both developed simultaneously 
out of the Himyaritic. The Cufic, it is true, is found on old 
monuments and coins from the Persian Gulf to Spain, and is a 
square, apparently more crude kind of writing. But the cur- 
sive script (now called Naskhi) seems to have been in use also 
long before Mohammed's time, the Arab historians to the con- 
trary notwithstanding, for the exigencies of daily life. That 
writing was known at Mecca before the era of Mohammed is 
acknowledged by Moslem tradition and the close intercourse 


with Yemen long before that time would certainly indicate 
some knowledge of Himyaritic. Syriac and Hebrew were also 
known in Mecca and Medina because of the Jewish popula- 
tion, and it is not improbable that this may have had influence 
on the present form of the Arabic alphabet. 


It is not without reason that Mohammed's cognomen for Jew 
and Christian alike was, ''the people of the Book^ At first, 
like the Hebrew, Arabic had no vowel-points or diacritical 
marks. In the earliest Cufic Koran manuscripts these have the 
form of accents, horizontal lines or even triangles. The Arabs 
tell many interesting stories about the cause and occasion of 
their invention by Abu Aswad ad Duili or by Nasr bin 'Asim. 
In each case the awful sin of mispronouncing a word in the 
Koran leads to the device of vowel-points as a future preventa- 
tive. According to another tradition it was Hasan-el-Basri 
(who died a. h. iio) that first pointed the Koran text with the 
assistance of Yahya bin Yamar. The vowel-points, so called, 
were in reality the abbreviated weak-consonants and were 
placed, in accordance with the sound of these letters, when so 
pronounced. The vowel-points and diacritical marks are al- 


ways found in copies of the Koran, but seldom in other books 
and never in epistolary writing. They are considered by the 
Arabs themselves as at best a necessary evil, except for gram- 
marians and purists. The story is told that an elaborate piece 
of Arabic penmanship was once presented to the governor of 
Khorasan under the Caliph al Mamun, and that he exclaimed, 
" How beautiful this would be if there were not so much cori- 
ander seed scattered over it ! " 


The demand for perfect accuracy in copying the Koran in 
every detail of point and accent, led the Arabs to glorify the 
art of caligraphy, and, as they followed neither painting nor 
sculpture because of their creed, they naturally put all their 
artistic taste into their manuscripts. Brilliantly colored and 
adorned with gold on delicately tinted parchment, or paper, the 
fanciful chapter-headings and the elegant tracery of each letter 
in the book make such an old manuscript Koran a real work 
of art. Three names are recorded of those who in the early 
days of Islam were the Raphaels and Michael Angelos of the 
reed -pen ; AVazir Muhammed bin Ali, Ali bin Hilal al Bauwab, 
and Abu-'d-Dur bin Yakut al Musta'sami. As time went by 
there arose various schools of this art ; chiefly distinguished as 


the Magrib-Berber or Western, and the Turko-Arab or Eastern 
style. In the decorations of the Alhambra the western school 
shows some of its most finished art, while Damascus and Cairo 
mosques show the dehcate "Arabesque" traceries of the 
lighter oriental school. It is in manuscripts, however, that the 
best work is found ; some of these are of priceless value and 
exceeding beauty. Even to-day there are Arab penmen whose 
work commands a good price as art and gives them a position 
in society as it did the monkey, described in the Arabian 
Nights, who improvised poetry in five styles of caligraphy for 
the astonished king. 



The Arabic language is distinguished among those that know 
it for its beauty, and among those who are learning it for its 
difficulty. To the Arabs their language is not only the lan- 
guage of revelation, but of the Revealer himself. Allah speaks 
Arabic in heaven, and on the day of judgment will judge the 
world in this "language of the angels." All other tongues are 
vastly inferior in grammatical construction, and what else could 
they be since the Koran with its classical perfection has existed 
before all words, uncreated, written on the preserved tablet in 
heaven, the daily delight of the innumerable company of angels ! 
As Renan says, " among a people so preoccupied with language 
as the Arabs, the language of the Koran became as it were a 


second religion, a sort of dogma inseparable from Islam." But 
the innate beauty of the language is acknowledged by all who 
have made it a study, whether born on the soil of Arabia or 
educated in the universities of Europe. From the days of the 
Dutch scholars, De Dieu, Schultens, Schroeder and Scheid, 
and the Swiss Hottinger to the times of Noldeke, Gesenius and 
Renan, the praises of Arabic have been proclaimed in Europe, 
and its study pursued with a devotion that almost amounted to 
a passion. 

The elements of beauty in this language are many. There 
is first its logical structure, which, we are told, surpasses that of 
any other language. Even the order of the alphabet is more 
logical as regards form than the Hebrew ; its grammar is alto- 
gether logical ; the exceptions to its rules can be formed, so to 
say, into a syllogism. Palmer's and Lansing's grammars show 
how this logical structure can be discovered in the minutest de- 
tail, so that, e. g., the three short vowels control the forms not 
only, but the significance of roots, and are the key to the in- 
terpretation of all grammatical mysteries. 

A second element of beauty is found in the lexical richness 
of the Arabic. Its boundless vocabulary and wealth of syno- 
nyms are universally acknowledged and admired. A diction- 
ary is called a Kanioos or "Deep Ocean " where "full many 
a gem of purest ray serene, the dark unfathomed caves ' ' con- 
ceal for the diligent student. Renan tells of an Arab linguist 
who wrote a book on the 500 names given to the lion in litera- 
ture; another gives 200 words for serpent. Firozabadi, the 
Arabian Webster, is said to have written a sort of supplement 
on the words for honey and to have left it incomplete at the 
eightieth word ; the same authority asserts that there are over 
1,000 different terms in Arabic for sword and, judging from 
its use by the Arabs, this appears credible. De Hammer 
Purgstall, a German scholar, wrote a book on the words re- 
lating to the camel and finds them, in Arabic literature, to the 
number of 5,744. But this remarkable exhibition loses some 


of its grandeur when truth compells us to state that many of 
the so-called synonyms are epithets changed into substantives 
or tropes accidentally employed by some poet to conform to 
his rhyme. It is also true that the wealth of synonym is 
limited in Arabic to a certain class of words ; in other depart- 
ments of thought, ethics for example, the language is wofully 
poor, not even having a distinctive word for conscience. 

A third point of beauty in the x\rabic language is its purity 
as compared with other Semitic languages or even all other 
languages. This was partly due to the geographical location 
of the Arabs and is still due to their early literature together 
with the Koran which has put a classical standard into the 
hands of every schoolboy and has prevented, by the law of 
religion, both development and deterioration. "While other 
languages of the same family became dead and while many of 
their forms and meanings changed or disappeared, the Arabic 
remained comparatively pure and intact excepting perhaps the 
temporary corruption which necessarily occurred during the 
Moslem conquests and foreign applications of the first four 

The Arabic race occupied at first a circumscribed territory 
and came little into contact with the surrounding nations so 
that the forces which produce linguistic decay were absent. 
The only thing that will preserve a language pure next to iso- 
lation is a classical literature. English has changed less since 
Shakespeare's time than it did in the interval between him and 
Chaucer. So too with Arabic. Had it not been for the 
Koran and its cognate literature, by this time the people of 
Syria, Egypt, Morocco and Oman would perhaps scarcely 
understand each other, and their written language would differ 
vastly ; but the existence of this literature has kept the written 
language a unit and put a constant check on the vagaries of 

The last, and chief element of beauty in tlie Arabic tongue 
' Lansing. 


is undoubtedly its wonderful literature. In poetry alone, the 
Arabians can challenge the world ; in grammar, logic and 
rhetoric the number of their works is legion ; while both at 
Bagdad and Cordova Arab historians^ and biographers filled 
whole libraries with their learning ; in Cordova the royal li- 
brary contained 400,000 volumes. Algebra and Astronomy 
are specially indebted to the Arabs ; all the sciences received 
attention and some of them addition from the Arabian mind. 

The Arabic tongue is not only beautiful but it is difficult, 
exceedingly difficult, to every one who attempts to really 
master it. One of the veteran missionaries of Egypt wrote, in 
1864, "I would rather traverse Africa from Alexandria to the 
Cape of Good Hope, than undertake a second time to master 
the Arabic language." The first difficulty is its correct pro- 
nunciation. Some Arabic letters cannot be transliterated into 
English, although certain grammars take infinite pains to ac- 
complish the impossible. The gutturals belong to the desert 
and were doubtless borrowed from the camel when she com- 
plained of overloading. There are also one or two other 
letters which sorely try the patience of the beginner and in 
some cases remain obstinate to the end. Then the student soon 
learns, and the sooner the better, that Arabic is totally different 
in construction from European tongues and that "as far as the 
East is from the West" so far he must modify his ideas as to 
the correct way of expressing thought ; and this means to dis- 
regard all notions of Indo-European grammar when in touch 
with the sons of Shem. Every word in the Arabic language is 
referred to a root of three letters. These roots are modified by 
prefixes, infixes and suffixes, according to definite models, so 
that from one root a host of words can be constructed and 
vice versa, from a compounded word all the servile letters and 
syllables must be eliminated to find the original root. This 
digging for roots and building up of roots is not a pastime at 
the outset because of the extent of the root-garden. Dozy's 
supplement to Lane's Monumental Arabic Lexicon has 1,714 


pages. So large in fact is the vocabulary of Arabic writers 
that the classics require copious explanatory notes for the 
Arabs themselves and some of them have written notes on the 
notes, to explain the difficult words used in explaining others 
more difficult. INIoreover Arabic literature is so vast in its 
extent that acquaintance with the vocabulary of a dozen 
authors in one line of literature does not yet enable the student 
to appreciate the language of other works. You may be able 
to read the Koran tolerably well and understand its diction 
and yet when you turn to the Arabian Shakespeare or Milton 
find yourself literally at sea, in the Kamoos, and unable to 
understand a single hne. 

The regular verb in Arabic has fifteen conjugations, two 
voices, two tenses, and several moods ; the irregular verbs are 
many and mysterious to the beginner although grammarians 
try to make them appear easier by demonstrating that all their 
irregularities are strictly logical, not the result of linguistic per- 
versity but foreseen calculation and providential wisdom. Is it 
not " the language of the angels" ? — even the broken-plurals? 

As a final testimony to the difficulties of the Arabic language 
listen to Ion Keith Falconer. After passing the Semitic 
Languages Tripos at Cambridge under Dr. Wright, and taking 
a special course in Arabic at Leipzig, he writes from Assiut 
in Egypt : "I am getting on in Arabic, but it is most appall- 
ingly hard. ... I have learned a good deal and can 
make myself intelligible to servants and porters. I have a 
teacher every day for two hours and translate from a child's 
reading book." After fve years of further study he writes 
once more from Aden (Jan. 17, 1886), "I am learning to 
speak Arabic quite nicely but it will be long before I can de- 
liver real discourses." And this man was an all-around 
scholar with a passion for languages. Without any doubt 
Arabic is one of the most difficult languages in the world to 
acquire with any degree of fluency, and progress in its attain- 
ment means ceaseless plodding and endless diligence. 



'~r*HE literature of the Arabs is either pre-Islamic or post- 
-■■ Islamic ; the former has as its chief classics the Muallakat 
or seven suspended poems, the latter finds its centre and apex as 
well as its origin and inspiration in the Koran. The seven an- 
cient poems, still extant, are also called Miithahabat or the 
"golden poems, " and it is generally admitted by Arabic schol- 
ars that this was indeed the golden age of Arab literature. Zu- 
hair, Zarafah, Imru-1-Kais, Amru-ibn-Kulsum, AlHarith, 'Antar 
and Labid were the authors of these poems and all but the last 
were idolaters, and belong to what the conceit of Islam calls 
"the Time of Ignorance." These poems furnished the model 
ever afterward for later writers and, according to Baron de 
Slane, are remarkable for their perfection of form and exhibit a 
high degree of linguistic culture. 

But the Koran has eclipsed all that ever went before it or came 
after it in the eyes of the Arabs. It is the paragon of literary 
perfection as well as of moral beauty. Its style is inimitable 
because it is Divine in the highest sense of the word. To criticise 
its diction is to be guilty of blasphemy and to compare it with 
other literature is to commit sacrilege. There is no doubt that 
the chief charm of the Koran from a literary standpoint is its 
musical jingle and cadence. It is such as the Arabs, the earliest 
masters of rhyme, love, and servilely imitate in all their later 
prose works. Our English translations of the Koran, although 
accurate, (and even idiomatic, as Palmer's) cannot reproduce 
this ; in consequence the book appears vapid, monotonous and 
to the last degree wearisome and uninteresting. Attempts have 
been made by Burton and others to acquaint English readers 



with this element of beauty in Mohanuued's revelation. The 
following ^ is almost equal to the Arabic itself, and, to say the 
least, sounds more interesting than Sale's prose version of the 
same passage : 

" I swcav by the splendor of light 
And by the silence of night 
That the Lord sliall never forsake thee 
Nor in His hatred take thee; 
Truly for thee shall be winning 
Better than all beginning. 

Soon shall the Lord console thee, grief no longer control thee, 
And fear no longer cajole thee. 

Thou wertan orphan-boy, yet the Lord found roon\ for ihy head. 
When thy feet went astray, were they not to the right jwth led ? 
Did He not find thee poor, yet riches around thee spread ? 
Then on the orphan-boy, let thy proud foot never tread, 
And never turn away the beggar who asks for bread. 
But of the Lord's bounty ever let jnaise be sung and said." 

It is not to be expected that all the transcendant excellencies 
and miraculous beauties which Moslem commentators find in 
, the Koran should unveil themselves to cold, uns)inpatlii/ing 
western gaze, but that the book has a certain literary beauty no 
one can deny who has read it in the original. As Penrice says 
in his preface to his Dictionary of the Koran, " Beauties there 
are many and great ; ideas highly poetical are clothed in rich 
and appropriate language, which not unfrequently rises to a 
sublimity far beyond the reach of any translation ; but it is un- 
fortunately the case that many of those graces which present 
themselves to the admiration of the finished scholar are but so 
many stumbling-blocks in the way of the beginner ; the mar- 
vellous conciseness which adds so greatly to the force and energy 
of its expressions cannot fail to perplex him \Ahilc tlie frequent 
use of the ellipse leaves in his mind a feeling of \agueness not 
altogether out of character in a work of its oracular and soi- 
disant prophetic nature." 
' Found in the Edi)il>iir^/i AV:'/c"i' for July, i;>66, article " Mohammed," 

THE LlTllRATURP. 01' THE ylRAH^; 253 

The greatest literary treasure of the Arabs next to the Koran 
is the Makamat of Al Hariri. No one of polite scholarship 
would dare profess ignorance of this great classic, anrl the reader 
of these " Assemblies " is introduced to every Tjranf;h of Moham- 
medan learning — poetry, history, antiquities, theology and law. 
Recently Hariri has been translated into English by Chenery 
and an earlier translation by Preston has also been printed. 
Stanley Lane-Poole reviewing these translations thus character- 
izes this Shakespeare of the Arabic world : 

" It is difificult, no doubt, for most Westerns to appreciate the 
beauties of this celebrated classic. There is no cohesion, no 
connecting idea, between the fifty separate ' Assemblies, ' beyond 
the regular reappearance of an egregious Tartufe, called Abu- 
Zeyd, a Bohemian of brilliant parts and absolutely no con- 
science, who consistently extracts alms from assemblies of people 
in various cities, by preaching eloquent discourses of the highest 
piety and morality, and then goes off with his spoils to indulge 
secretly in triumphant and unhallowed revels. P>en in this 
framework, there is no attempt at originality; it is borrowed 
from Hamadani, the ' Wonder of the Age.' The excellence 
lies in the perfect finish: the matter is nothing; the charm 
consists in the form alone. Yet this form is, to English read- 
ers, exotic and artifif;ial. Among its special merits, in the eyes 
of Easterns, is the perpetual employment of rimed prose. To 
us this is apt to seem at once monotonous and strained, with 
its antithetic balance in sense, and jingle of sound ; but to the 
Arabs, as to many primitive peoples, either riming or assonant 
prose was from early times a natural mode of impassioned and 
impressive speech. It is the mode adopted constantly and with- 
out strain in the Koran, and it is the mode into which an histor- 
ian, such as Ibn-el-Athir, falls naturally when he waxes eloquent 
over a great victory or a famous deed. 

" But if we do not care for rimed prose, there is plenty be- 
sides in Hariri to minister to varied tastes. In these wonderful 
'Assemblies,' we shall find every kind of literary form, except 

254 JR.-iliL-i, THE CR.-1D1.E OF ISUM 

the shambling- and the vulgar. Pagan rhetorie, Moslem ex- 
hortation, simple verse, elaborate ode, everything that the im- 
measurable flexibility of the Arabic tongue and the curious ait 
of a fastidious scholar couUl achieve — all is here, and Ave may 
take our choice." 

What is said by this scholarly critic of Hariri holds true of 
most Arabic poetry, it lacks unity of idea and sobriety of expres- 
sion. All is intense. Every beautiful eye is a narcissus ; tears 
are pearls ; teeth are pearls or hail-stones ; lips are rubies ; the 
gums, pomegranate blossoms; piercing eyes are swords, and 
the eyelids, scabbanls ; a mole is an ant creeping to suck the 
honey from the li['>s ; a handson\e lace is a full-moon ; an erect 
form is the letter alif as penned by "Wazir Muhammed ; black 
hair is night ; the waist is a willow-branch or a l.mce, and love 
is always passion. Far-fetched allusions abound and the sf/isa 
at every turn must do homage to thejv////(/. In the judgment 
of Baron de Slane the two notable exceptions to the rule are Al 
Mutanabbi and Ibn El Farid who exhibit a daring and surpris- 
ing originalitv often approaching the sublime antl, in the case 
of the latter, mystic reveries and spiritual beauties of no mean 

The intluence of the Ar.d>ic language on other tongues and 
peoples has also been great, ever since the rise of Islam. The 
Persian language adopted the Arabic alphabet and a large 
number of Arabic words and plu-ases ; so that, as Renan re- 
marks, in some Persian books all the words are Arabic and 
only the grammar remains in the A-ernacular. As for Hindu- 
stani, three- fourths of its vocabulary consists of Arabic words 
or Arabic words derived through the Persian. The Turkish 
language also is indebted for many words taken from the 
Arabic and uses the Arabic alphabet. The Malay language, 
with the Moslem conquest, was also touched by Arabic influ- 
ence and likewise adopted its alphabet. In Africa its intluence 
was yet more strongly felt. The language extended over all 
the northern half of the continent and is still growing in use 

Tim LniiRATURP. or run arahs 2r,r, 

to-day, 'I'he geographical nomenclature of the interior is 
Arabic and Arabs preceded Livingstone, Stanley and Speke in 
all their joiirncys. 'i he languages of the southern Sudan, the 
Hausa, and even those of Guinea borrowed largely from the 
Arabic. Europe itself did not escape the influence of the 
conquering Semitic tongue. Spanish and Portuguese betray a 
vast number of Arabic words and idioms, French and Eng- 
lish are also indebted to Arabic in no small degree for many 
scientific and technical words introduced at the time of the 
crusades and even earlier. Here is a partial list of those which 
we received directly or indirectly from the Arab tongue, as 
given in Skeat's Etymological Dictionary and arranged into 
sentences ; every word in italics is of Arabic origin. 

"'I'he Nabob Mohammedan Magazine relates, that years after 
the He^^ira, a saracen caliph or Mameluke sultan, sat with 
his mussulman emir, admiral, vizier, moslem mufti and 
Koran-munshee, (who knew alchemy and algebra and could 
cipher the azimuth and nadir to zero), sheikh of the hareem, 
muezzin and tariff -dra-^oman of the arsenal, under a caroh- 
tree, on sofa"; (A mohair -mat tress covered v/itij jerboa- and 
gaze lie -skim, drinking coffee, saffron-elixer, arrack, alcohoi 
and syrup of senna carraway and sumach. For tonic 
they also had rose-attar, artichokes, alkaline-nitre in myrrh, 
taraxacum, otto-sherbet, and naphtha in amber cups. The 
Sultan' s infant daughter wore a carmine cotton-3.rn\-muslin 
chemise or diaper with a civet talisman and jasper amulet ; 
she played a Tartar lute. Suddenly a giaour Bedouin 
assassin with an assagai and hookah-masque came down on 
them from behind an alcove of the neighboring arabesque 
mosque minaret like a sirocco-simoon or monsoon and killed 
them all," 

Most of these words came from the Arabic through other lan- 
guages such as French and Spanish ; others were directly 
transferred from the Arabic to English ; and still others have 
passed the long journey from Arabic to Greek, to Latin, to 


Italian, to French and thence to Enghsh. The word magaziyie 
is perhaps the best example of how an Arabic-root found 
shelter in the soil of all the European languages and grew into 
manifold significations from its original meaning with the 
Arabs, ghazana^io collect or store. 

In modern days, especially since the opening of the Suez 
canal, the English language is beginning to exert its influence 
on Arabic. In Egypt, Syria and the Persian Gulf many Eng- 
lish commercial terms are being adopted into the language and 
the newspapers spread their use everywhere. 

Last, but not least, there is the immense, incalculable influ- 
ence on the Arabic-tongue for all time exerted by the toil and 
sacrifice of the early missionaries to Syria through their col- 
lege and press in giving to the world a modern Christian and 
scientific literature and that crowning work of Drs. Eli Smith 
and C. V. A. Van Dyck — the Arabic Bible. The mission 
press at Beirut has four hundred and eighty three volumes on 
its catalogue and prints about twenty-five million pages an- 
nually.^ The Arabic Bible "one of the noblest literally monu- 
ments of the age " will yet prove a mighty influence in purify- 
ing and ennobling the language and preserving its classical dic- 

' " It would take a long list to exhaust the religious, literary and 
scentific contributions to the Arabic language from the missionaries in 
Syria. They include the translation of the Scriptures and the stereotyping 
of the same in numerous styles ; the preparation of a Scripture guide, 
commentaries, a concordance, and a complete hymn and tune book ; 
text-books in history, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, logarithms, as- 
tronomy, meteorology, botany, zoology, physics, chemistry, anatomy, 
physiology, hygiene, materia medica, practice of physic, surgery, and a 
periodical literature which has proved the stimulus to a very extensive 
native journalism. The Protestant converts of the mission, educated by 
the missionaries, have written elaborate works on history, poetry, gram- 
mar, arithmetic, natural science, and the standard dictionary of the lan- 
guage, and a cyclopsedia which will make a library by itself, consisting of 
about twenty volumes of from six hundred to eight hundred pages each." 
— Dr. G. E. Post, in New York Evangelist. 



tion to the utmost bounds of the Arab-world. There was only 
one Koran and there will be only one Arabic Bible — the 
finished product of American scholarship and her best gift to 
the Mohammedan world. 

'x^y ^vj, i.j^ ^ y| 




" Children of Shem ! Firstborn of Noah's race 

And still forever children ; at the door 
Of Eden found, unconscious of disgrace, 

And loitering on while all are gone before; 
Too proud to dig, too careless to be poor 

Taking the gifts of God in thanklessness, 
Not rendering aught, nor supplicating more, 

Nor arguing with Him if He hide His face. 
Yours is the rain and sunshine, and the way 

Of an old wisdom, by our world forgot, 
The courage of a day which knew not death ; 

Well may we sons of Japhet, in dismay. 
Pause in our vain mad fight for life and breath, 

Beholding you. — I bow and reason not." — Anon. 

/CONCERNING the origin of the tribes and people that 
^^ now inhabit the Arabian peninsula there is disagreement 
among the learned. It is generally held that the original 
tribes of Northern Arabia are descendants of Ishmael. This 
is also the tradition of all Arab historians. As to the South 
Arabians, who occupied their highlands with the Hadramaut 
coast for centuries before the Ishmaelites appeared on the scene 
there are two opinions. Some believe them to be descendants 
of Joktan (Arabic Kahfan) the son of Heber and therefore, 
like the Northern Arabs, true Semites. Others think that the 
earliest inhabitants of South Arabia were Cushites or Hamitic ; 
while some German scholars hold that in the earlier Arabs the 
children of Joktan and of Gush were blended into one race. 

Among the Ishmaelites are included not only Ishmael's direct 
descendants through the twelve princes,' but the Edomites, Moa- 
J Gen. XXV. i5, 


bites, Ammonites, Midianites and probably other cognate tribes. 
The names of the sons of Ishmael in relation to their settlements 
and the traces of these names in modern Arabia is a subject 
which has been taken up by Bible dictionaries but which 
still offers an interesting field for further study. The Arabs 
themselves have always claimed Abrahamic descent for the 
tribes of the north. The age-long, racial animosity between 
the Yemenites and Maadites seems to confirm the theory of two 
distinct races inhabiting the peninsula from very early times ; 
and they remain distinct until to-day in spite of a common 
language and a common religion. " The animosity of these 
two races to each other is unaccountable but invincible. Like 
two chemical products which instantly explode when placed 
in contact, so has it always been found impossible for Yemenite 
and Maadite to live quietly together. At the present day the 
Yemenite in the vicinity of Jerusalem detests the Maadite of 
Hebron, and when questioned as to the reason of their eternal 
enmity has no other reply but that it has been so from time im- 
memorial. In the time of the Caliphs the territory of Damas- 
cus was desolated by a murderous war for two years, because a 
Maadite had taken alemon from the garden of a Yemenite. 
The province of Murcia in Spain was deluged with blood for 
seven years because a Maadite inadvertently plucked a Yemen- 
ite vine-leaf. It was a passion which surmounted every tie of 
affection or interest. ' You have prayed for your father : why 
do you not pray for your mother ? ' a Yemenite was asked near 
the Kaaba. ' For my mother ! ' said the Yemenite, ' How could 
I ? She was of the race of Maad. ' " ' 

The Yemenites at a very early period founded the strong 
and opulent Himyarite Kingdom. The Himyarites were the 
navigators of the East and they were celebrated for their skill 
in manufacture as well as for enterprise in commerce ; they had 
a written language, inscriptions in which were discovered all 
over south Arabia during the present century. The Maadite or 
1 In the Edinburgh Review, July, 1 866. 


Ishmaelite Arabs on the contrary were more nomad in their 
habits and were masters of the caravans which carried the 
enormous overland trade by the two great trunk-lines of antiq- 
uity, from the East to the West. One of these lines extended 
from Aden, (Arabia Emporium of Ptolemy) along the western 
part of the peninsula and through Yemen to Egypt ; the other 
extended from Babylon to Tadmor and Damascus. A third 
route, nearly as important, was also in the hands of the Ish- 
maelite Arabs, by Wady Rumma and Nejd to the old capital 
of the Himyarites, Mareb.^ These caravans unified the Arab- 
ian peninsula and fused into one its two peoples ; the northern 
Arabs receiving somewhat of the southern civilization and the 
southern Arabs adopting the language of the north. But the 
decline in the caravan trade brought disaster to Arabia ; the 
ship of the desert found a competitor in the ships of the sea. 
Old settlements were broken up, great cities, which flourished 
because of overland trade, were abandoned and whole tribes 
■were reduced from opulence to poverty. In this time of transi- 
tion, long before the birth of Mohammed, the Arabic nation 
as it is known to modern history seems to have been formed. 

The modern Arabs classify themselves into Bedouins and 
town-dwellers ; or, in their own poetic way, aJil el belt and ahl 
el h'eit, " the people of the tent," and " the people of the wall." 
But this classification is hardly sufficient, although it has been 
generally adopted by writers on Arabia. Edson L. Clark, in 
his book, The Arabs and the Turks, gives five classes : "Be- 
ginning at the lowest round of the ladder we have first the sed- 
entary or settled Arabs . . . who though still many of 
them dwelling in tents have become cultivators of the soil. By 
their nomadic brethren these settled Arabs are thoroughly de- 
spised as degraded and denationalized by the change in their 
mode of life. Secondly, the wandering tribes in the neigh- 
borhood of the settled districts, and in constant intercourse with 

1 International Routes of Asia, by Elisee Rectus, in New York Iiide^etid- 
ent, May 4, 1S99. 


their inhabitants. Both these classes, but more especially the lat- 
ter, are thoroughly demoralized. . . . The third class consists 
of the Arabs of the Turkish towns and villages; but they too 
are a degenerate class both in language and character. 
The fourth class consists of the inhabitants of the towns and 
villages of Arabia proper, who by their peculiar situation have 
remained more secluded from the rest of the world than even 
the wandering tribes. . . . Finally the great nomadic 
tribes of the interior, still preserving unchanged the primitive 
character, habits and customs of their race." This last class 
and this alone are the real Bedouins. 

In addition to this classification according to civilization 
there is the universal genealogical classification ; and no people 
in the world are fonder of genealogies than the Arabs. The 
names of tribes and families go back, in many cases to pre- 
islamic days. The earliest tribal-names, therefore, are either 
taken from animals or totem-names, like Panthers, Dogs, Liz- 
ards, e. g., Anmar Kilab, Dibab, etc; place-names trans- 
formed afterward by the genealogists into ancestors, <?. g., 
Hadramaut, Hauab ; or from idols and idol-worship, e. g., 
Abd el Kais, Abd al Lat, etc. But the later system of geneal- 
ogies as given by the Arabs are utterly unreliable because they 
are so evidently artificial. The backbone of the system was 
the pedigree of Mohammed and this is notoriously untrust- 
worthy. " Dummy ancestors " were inserted in order to con- 
nect a particular but unimportant tribe with a distinguished one, 
and Haradani himself tells us that he found it a common prac- 
tice of obscure desert groups to call themselves by the name of 
some more famous tribe. ^ 

Character is difficult to define. To depict the moral phys- 
iognomy of a nation and their physical traits in such a way 
that nothing important is omitted and no single characteristic 
exaggerated at the cost of others. This difficulty is increased 
in the case of the Arabs, by their twofold origin and their 

' Smith's Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, pp. 9, 17, 131. 


present twofold civilization. That which is true of the town- 
dweller, is not always true of the Bedouin and vice versa. 
Moreover the influence of the neighboring countries must be 
taken into account. Eastern Arabia has taken color by long con- 
tact with Persia ; this is seen in speech, architecture, food and 
dress. Southern Arabia, especially Hadramaut, has absorbed 
East Indian ideas. While Western Arabia^ especially Hejaz, 
shows in many ways its proximity to Egypt. Not losing sight 
of these distinctions, which will account for many exceptions 
to the general statements made, what is the character of the 
Arabs ? 

Physically, they are undoubtedly one of the strongest and 
noblest races of the world. Baron de Larrey, surgeon-general 
of the first Napoleon, in his expeditions to Egypt and Syria, 
says: "Their physical structure is in all respects more perfect 
than that of Europeans ; their organs of sense exquisitely acute, 
their size above the average of men in general, their figure ro- 
bust and elegant, the color brown ; their intelligence propor- 
tionate to their physical perfection, and without doubt superior, 
other things being equal, to that of other nations." 

The typical Arab face is round-oval, but the general leanness 
of the features detracts from its regularity; the bones are 
prominent ; the eyebrows long and bushy ; the eye small, deep- 
set, fiery black or a dark, deep brown. The face expresses 
half dignity, half cunning, and is not unkindly, although never 
smiling or benignant. The teeth are white, even, short and 
broad. The Arabs have very scanty beards as a rule, but those 
of the towns often cultivate a patriarchal beard like the tradi- 
tional beard of the prophet. The figure is well-knit, muscu- 
lar, long-limbed, never fat. The arms and legs are thin, al- 
most shrunken, but with muscles like whip-cords. As young 
men the Bedouins are often good-looking, with bright eyes and 
dark hair, but the constant habit of frowning to protect the eyes 
from the glare of the sun, soon gives the face a fierce aspect ; at 
forty their beards turn grey and at fifty they appear old men. 

Aruhla: 'l}\r. (Jrurllc of ]:-,]:ni\ 


It is a common mistake to consider the Arabs democratic in 
their ideas of society. The genuine Arab was and is always 
an aristocrat. Feuds originate about the precedence of one 
family or tribe over another ; marriage is only allowed between 
tribes or clans of equal standing ; the whole system of sheikh- 
government is an aristocratic idea ; and as final proof there 
still exists a species of caste in South Arabia, while in North 
Arabia the Ma'adan Arabs of Mesopotamia and the Suleyb of 
the desert are little better than Pariahs as regards their neigh- 
bors. It is with a heavy heart that any Arab sees set over him 
a man of less noble extraction than himself. The religion of 
Arabia has made its people fanatics, although according to 
Noldeke, "fanaticism is characteristic of all Semitic religions." 
But he forgets the real distinction between intolerance of another 
religion on ethical grounds as in the case of Judaism, and the 
infinitely hard, one-sided, crude exclusiveness of Islam. 

The Arabs rarely have the power of taking in complex unities 
at a glance ; the talent for arrangement is absent. An Arab car- 
penter cannot draw a right angle, nor can an Arab servant lay 
a tablecloth square on the table. The old Arab temple called 
a cube (Kaaba) has 7ione of its sides or angles equal ; their 
houses show the same lack of the " carpenter's eye " to-day. 
Streets are seldom parallel ; even the street, so-called, was not 
straight in Damascus. The Arab mind loves units, not unity ; 
they are good soldiers, but poor generals ; there is no partner- 
ship in business ; and no public spirit ; each man lives for 
himself. That is the reason why Yemen cannot shake off the 
yoke of the Turk, and this explains why the smallest towns in 
Arabia have a great many little mosques. The Arab has a 
keen eye for particulars, great subjectivity, nervous restlessness, 
deep passion and inward feeling, and yet joined with strong 
conservatism and love of the past. In everything he follows 
old models and traditions ; witness their poetry and their tent- 
life — in Arab phrase, termed their "houses of hair" and their 
"houses of poetry." As a result of their language-structure, 


the Arabs have naturally a strong tendency to a pointed, sharp 
speech of epigrammatic brevity, but also go to the other ex- 
treme of ornate tautology. The former is characteristic of the 
desert; the latter of the towns. Eloquence and poetry are 
still worshipped. The only fine art which Arabs admire is that 
of caligraphy ; and those who have seen finished specimens of 
an Arab master-penman, must acknowledge that in them are all 
the elements of painting and sculpture. 

The Arabs are polite, good-natured, lively, manly, patient, 
courageous anci hospitable to a fault. They are also conten- 
tious, untruthful, sensuous, distrustful, covetous, proud and 
superstitious. One must always keep in mind this paradox in 
dealing with an Arab. As Clark expresses it, "an Arab will 
lie and cheat, and swear any number of false oaths, in a 
pecuniary transaction ; but when once his faith is pledged he 
can be implicitly trusted, even to the last extremity." There 
are Arab oaths such as wallah, which are intended to confirm 
falsehoods and signify nothing. There are others, such as the 
threefold oath, with laa, In and // as particles of swearing, 
which not even the vilest robber among them dare break. 
Grammatically, the two oaths are nearly the same. 

Robbery is a fine art among the nomads ; but the high- 
minded Arab robs lawfully, honestly and honorably. He will 
not attack his victims in the night ; he tries to avoid all blood- 
shed by coming with overwhelming force ; and if his enterprise 
miscarries, he boldly enters the first tent possible, proclaims his 
true character and asks protection. The Dakheil, or privilege 
of sanctuary, the salt covenant, the blood covenant and the 
sacredness of the guest, all prove that the Arabs are trust- 
worthy. And yet, in the ordinary affairs of life, lying and de- 
ception are the rule and seldom the exception. The true Arab 
is niggardly when he buys, and will haggle for hours to reduce 
a price ; and yet he is prodigal and lavish in giving away his 
goods to prove his hospitality. 

According to Burckhardt, the Arab is the only real lover of 

THE AR/IB 265 

the Orient ; if he limits this to the Bedouin-Arab he is correct. 
In matters of love and marriage the Arab of the towns is what 
Mohammed, the Meccan merchant was, after the death of the 
old lady Khadijah. But Arabic poetry of the times of igno- 
rance does occasionally breathe the true tale of love and chiv- 
alry ; and the desert Arabs as a rule are not polygamists nor 
given to divorce. 

It was a law among the ancient Arabs that whoever sheds the 
blood of a man owes blood on that account to the family of the 
slain. This law of blood-revenge was confirmed by the Koran 
and is a sacred right everywhere in Arabia. An Arab is con- 
sidered degenerate who accepts a fine or any consideration save 
blood for blood. This law is both the cause of continual 
feuds, and tends to terminate them without much bloodshed. 
Arabs of the town and of the desert will quarrel for hours 
without coming to blows ; it is not cowardice that prevents an 
open encounter, but the fear of shedding blood and blood-re- 

Family life among the Arabs is best studied by looking at 
child-life in the desert and at the position of women among the 
Bedouin and the town-dwellers. In no part of the world does 
the newborn child meet less preparation for its reception than 
among the Bedouin. A land bare of many blessings, general 
poverty and the law of the survival of the fittest, has made the 
Arab mother stern of heart. In the open desert under the 
shade of an acacia bush or behind a camel, the Arab baby first 
sees the daylight. As soon as it is born the mother herself rubs 
and cleans the child with sand, places it in her handkerchief 
and carries it home. She suckles the child for a short period, 
and at the age of four months it already drinks profusely of 
camels' milk. A name is given to the infant immediately; 
generally from some trifling incident connected with its birth, 
or from some object which attracts the mother's fancy. Mos- 
lem names such as Hassan All or Fatimah, are extremely un- 
common among the true Bedouins ; although Mohammed is 


sometimes given. Beside his own peculiar name every Bedouin 
boy is called by the name of his father and tribe. And what 
is more remarkable, boys are often called after their sisters, 
e. g., Akhoo Noorah, the brother of Noorah. Girls' names 
are taken from the constellations, birds, or desert animals like 

In education the Arab is a true child of nature. His parents 
leave him to his own sweet will: they seldom chastise and 
seldom praise. Trained from birth in the hard school of 
nomad life, fatigue and danger do contribute much to his edu- 
cation. Burckhardt says, " I have seen parties of naked boys 
playing at noonday upon the burning sand in the middle of 
summer, running until they had fatigued themselves, and when 
they returned to their fathers' tents they were scolded for not 
continuing the exercise. Instead of teaching the boy civil 
manners, the father desires him to beat and pelt the strangers 
who come to the tent ; to steal or secrete some trifling article 
belonging to them. The more saucy and impudent children 
are the more they are praised since this is tdken as an indica- 
tion of future enterprise and warlike disposition. Bedouin 
children, male and female, go unclad and play together until 
their sixth year. The first child's festival is that of circum- 
cision. At the age of seven years the day is fixed, sheep are 
killed and a large dish of food is cooked. Women accompany 
the operation with a loud song and afterward there is dancing 
and horseback riding and encounters with lances. The girls 
adorn themselves with cheap jewelry and tent-poles are deco- 
rated with ostrich feathers. Altogether it is a gala-day. 

The Bedouin children have few toys but they manage to 
amuse themselves with many games. I have seen a group of 
happy children, each with a pet locust on a bit of string, 
watching whose steed should win the race. The boys make 
music out of desert-grass winding it in curious fashion to re- 
semble a horn, and calling it Masoor. In Yemen and Nejd a 
sling, like David's, with pebbles from the brook is a lad's first 


weapon. Afterward he acquires a lance and perhaps an old 
discarded bowie-knife. The children of the desert have no 
books. 1 But, of paper, they have the Book of Nature. This 
magnificent picture book is never more diligently studied than 
by those little dark eyes which watch the sheep at pasture or 
count the stars in the blue abyss from their perch on a lofty 
camel's saddle in the midnight journeyings. 

When the Bedouin lad grows up, and begins to swear by the 
few straggling hair's on his chin, he cannot read a letter, but 
he knows men and he knows the desert. The talk heard at 
night around the Sheikh's tent or the acacia-brush fireside is 
much like the wisdom of the book of Job. A philosophy of 
submission to the world as it is ; a deification of stoicism or 
patience ; a profound trust that all will end well at last. Sad 
to say even the little nomads, with their ignorance of all re- 
ligion, share in the fanatical antagonism of their elders toward 
the Christian religion and Christians. One of their games, in 
Nejd, is to draw a cross on the desert sand and then defile it ; 
they learn that all outside the pale of Mohammed's creed are 
kajirs and to please Allah are glad to throw stones at any way- 
faring Nasrani. Little do the Bedouins and still less do their 
children, however, know of the religion of Islam, The Koran 
is not a book for children's minds and of such is not the king- 
dom of Mohammed. 

The Bedouin child early puts away childish things. To 
western eyes the children of Arabia appear like little old men 
and women ; and the grown-up people have minds like chil- 
dren. This is another paradox of the Arab-character. At ten 
years the boy is sent to drive camels and the girl to herd 
sheep ; at fifteen they are both on the way to matrimony. He 
wears the garb of a man and boasts a matchlock ; she takes to 
spinning camel hair and sings the songs of the past. Their 
brief childhood is over. In the towns marriage takes place 
' What the boys and girls of the towns can study we have described in 
our chapter on Mecca. 


even earlier ; and there are boys of eighteen who have already 
divorced two wives. 

Among the Bedouins polygamy is not common nor is it 
among the poorer Arabs of the towns. The marriage cere- 
mony among the Bedouins is as simple as it is long and com- 
plex among the townsmen. After the negotiations which pre- 
cede the marriage contract, the bridegroom comes with a lamb 
in his arms to the tent of the girl's father and there cuts the 
lamb's throat before witnesses. As soon as the blood falls on 
the ground the contract is sealed ; feasting and dancing follow, 
and at night the bride is conducted to the bridegroom's tent 
where he is awaiting her arrival. Dowrys are paid more gen- 
erally and more largely in the towns than in the desert. 
Among certain Arab tribes a demand of money for the hand 
of a bride would be deemed scandalous. From a western 
standpoint the women of the Bedouin stand on a higher plat- 
form of liberty and justice than those of the towns where the 
Koran has done its work on one half of society to repress in- 
tellect and degrade affection, and sensualize the sexual relation 
to the last degree. On the other hand divorce is perhaps more 
common among the Bedouins,^ than among the city Arabs. 
Burckhardt met Arabs not yet forty-five years of age who were 
known to have had above fifty wives. Concerning the mar- 
riage-contract in the towns, the ceremony, the divorce proceed- 
ings, and the methods by which that is made legal which even 
the lax law of Islam condemns, the less said the better. 

On the position of women in Arabia we quote four unim- 
peachable witnesses who have nothing in common save their 
knowledge of the subject ; there is truth on both sides where 
they differ ; where they agree there is no question of certainty 
as to the fact. 

DouGHTV, the Christian explorer, whose volumes are a mine 
of information says : ^ " The female is of all animals the better, 

' This is the testimony of Burckhardt and Doughty. 
2 Arabia Deserta, Vol. I., p. 238. 


say the Arabians, save only in mankind. Upon the human 
female the Semites cast all their blame. Hers is, they think, a 
maleficent nature, and the Arabs complain that ' she has seven 
lives.' The Arabs are contrary to womankind, upon whom 
they would have God's curse; some, they say, are poisoners 
of husbands and there are many adulteresses. . . . The 
horma \i. e., woman] they would have under subjection ; ad- 
mitted to an equality, the ineptitude of her evil nature will 
break forth. They check her all day at home and let her 
never be enfranchised from servitude. The veil and the jeal- 
ous lattice are rather of the obscene Mohammedan austerity in 
the towns ; among the mild tent-dwellers in the open wilder- 
ness the housewives have a liberty as where all are kindred ; 
yet their hareem are now seen in the most Arabian tribes half- 

BuRCKHARDT, the time-houored authority on things Arabian, 
writes : " The Bedouins are jealous of their women, but do not 
prevent them from laughing and talking with strangers. It 
seldom happens that a Bedouin strikes his wife ; if he does so 
she calls loudly on her wasy or protector who pacifies the hus- 
band and makes him listen to reason. . . . The wife and 
daughters perform all the domestic business. They grind the 
wheat in the handmill or pound it in the mortar ; they prepare 
the breakfast and dinner ; knead and bake the bread ; make 
butter, fetch water, work at the loom, mend the tent-covering 
and are, it must be owned, indefatigable. While the husband 
or brother sits before the tent smoking his pipe." 

Lady Ann Blunt, who travelled among the tribes of the 
Euphrates valley with her husband, speaks thus from a 
woman's standpoint: "Of the Bedouin women a shorter de- 
scription will be enough. As girls they are pretty in a wild 
picturesque way and almost always have cheerful, good-natured 
faces. They are hard-working and hard-worked, doing all the 
labor of the camp. . . . They live apart from the men 
but are in no way shut up or put under restraint. In the 


morning they all go out to gather wood for the day, and 
wlienever we have met them so employed they have seemed 
in the highest possible spirits. ... In mental qualities 
the women of the desert arc tar below the men, their range 
of ideas being extremely limited. Some few of them, how- 
ever, get real influence over their husbamls and even, through 
them, over their tribes. In more than one Sheikh's tent it 
is in the woman's half of it that the politics of the tribe axe 

Snouck HuRGRON.iE, the Dutch traveller wlio spent an en- 
tire year (18S4-85) in Mecca thus characterizes the position 
of women in Arabian towns : * 

"AVhat avail to the young maiden the songs of eulogy which 
once in her life resound for her from the mouth of the sing- 
ing-woman, but which introduce her into a companionship by 
which she, with her whole sex, is despised ? Moslem literature, 
it is true, exhibits isolated glimpses of a worthier estimation of 
■woman, but the later view, which comes more and more into 
prevalence, is the only one wliich finds its expression in the 
sacred traditions, which represent hell as full of women, and 
refuse to acknowledge in tlie woman, apart from rare excep- 
tions, either reason or religion, in poems, which refer all the 
evil in the world to the woman as its root ; in proverbs, whicli 
represent a careful education of girls as mere wastefulness. 
Ultimately, therefore, there is only conceded to the woman the 
fliscinating charm with which Allah has endowed her, in order 
to afford the man, now and then in his earthly existence, the 
prelibation of the pleasures of Paradise, and to bear him chil- 

The poems whicli revile womankind, and of which the 
Dutch traveller speaks, are legion. Here are two examples in 
English translation from Burton : 

1 Translation from Mokka, Vol. II., p. 1S7. 


"They said, marry!— I replied, — 
Far be it from rnc 

To take to my bosom a sackful of snakes. 
I am free why then become a slave ? 
May Allah never bless womankind." 

" They declare woman to be heaven to man ; 
I say, Allah, give me Jehannum, not this heaven," 

Three kinds of dwellings are found in Arabia. There is the 
^en/. the date-palm hut, and the house built with mortar of 
stone or rnud-brick. The tent is distinctive, in a general sense, 
of the interior and of Northern Arabia ; the palm-hut of the 
coast and of South Arabia; while houses of brick and mortar 
exist in all the towns and cities. The evolution of the house 
is from goats'-hair to matting, and from matting to rnud-roof. 
Each of these dwellings is called /^ei/, " the place where one 
spends the night." 

The Bedouin tent' consists of nine poles, arranged in sets 
of three and a wide, black goats'-hair covering so as to form 
two parts ; the men's apartment being to the left of the en- 
trance and the women's to the right, separated by a white 
woollen carpet hanging from the ridge-pole. The posts are 
about five to seven feet in height; the length of the tent is be- 
tween twenty and thirty feet, its depth at the most is ten feet. 
The only furniture consists of cooking utensils, pack-saddles, 
carpets, water-skins, wlicat-bags and millstones. 

The date-palm hut is of rlifferent shapes. In Hejaz and 
Yemen it is built like a huge beehive, circular and with a 
pointed roof. In Eastern Arabia it consists of a square en- 
closure with hip-roof generally steep and covered with matting 
or thatch-work. At Bahrein the Arabs are very skillful in so 
weaving the date-fronds together and tightening every crevice 
that the huts keep out wind and rain-storms most successfully. 
The average size date-hut can be built for twenty or thirty 
Rupees (seven to ten dollars) and will last for several years. 
' Sec Ijurckhardt'.s book for further particulars. 


The stone-dwfllings of Arabia are as different in architecture 
and material as circumstance and taste can make them. In 
Yemen large castle-like dwellings crown every mountain and 
frown on every valley; stone is plentiful and the plan of archi- 
tecture inherits grace and strength from the older civilization 
of the Himyarites. In Bagdad, Bnsrah and East Arabia Per- 
sian architecture prevails, with arches, wind-towers, tracery 
and the veranda-windows. While the architecture of Mecca 
and Medina takes on its own peculiar type from the needs of 
the pilgrimage. Generally speaking the Arabs build their 
houses without windows to the street, and with an open court ; 
the harem-system dictates to the builder, even putting a high 
parapet on the flat-roof against jealous eyes. Bleak walls with- 
out ornament or pictures are also demanded by their surly re- 
ligion. All furniture is simple and commonplace ; except 
where the touch of western civilization has awakened a taste 
for mirrors, marble-top tables and music-boxes. ~^ 

In dress there is also much variety in Arabia. Turkish in- 
fluence is seen in the Ottoman provinces and Indian-Persian in 
Oman, Hassa and Bahrein. The Turkish fez and the turban 
(which are not Arabian) are examples. The common dress of 
the Bedouin is the tvpe that underlies all varieties. It consists 
of a coarse cotton shirt over which is worn the abba or M-ide 
square mantle. The headdress is made with a square cloth, 
folded across and fastened on the crown of the head by a 
circlet of woollen-rope called an 'akal. The color of the gar- 
ment and its ornamentation depends on the locality ; likewise 
the belt and the weapons of the wearer. Sandals of all shapes 
are used ; shoes and boots on the coast indicate foreign influ- 
ence. The dress of the Bedouin woman is a wide cotton gown, 
with open sides, generally of a dark blue color, and a cloth for 
the head. The veil is of various shapes ; in Oman it has the 
typical Eg}'ptian nose-piece with only the middle part of the 
face concealed ; in the Turkish provinces of East Arabia, thin 
black cloth conceals all the features. Nose and earrings are 


common. All Arab women also tattoo their hands and faces 
as well as other parts of their bodies, dye with henna and use 
antimony on their eyelashes for ornament. 

The stajjle foods of Arabia are bread, rice, ghee (or clarified 
butter, which the Arabs call semu) milk, mutton and dates. 
These are found everywhere and coffee is the universal bever- 
age. Other foods and fruits we have considered in our study 
of the provinces. Tea is now widely used but was known 
scarcely anywhere less than twenty years ago. Tobacco is 
smoked in every village and the Bedouins also are passionately 
fond of the weed; even the Wahabi religious prohibition did 
not drive out desire for the universal narcotic. There is one 
article of food we have left unmentioned, locusts. These are 
quite a staple in the grocers' shops of all the interior towns of 
Arabia. They are prepared for eating by boiling in salt and 
water, after which they are dried in the sun. They taste like 
stale shrimps or dried herring. The coast-dwellers still live 
largely on fish and in the days of Ptolemy they were called 



T7VEN Islam could not suppress the Arab's love for music 
^~^ nor diminish his regard for the great poets of "the days 
of ignorance." For be it known that, although one can buy- 
Austrian mouth-organs in the bazaar at Jiddah, and harmonicas 
from Germany in the toy-shop at Hof hoof, music is generally 
held by Moslems, even to-day, to be contrary to the teaching 
of the prophet. Mafia relates that when he was walking with 
Ibn Omar, and they heard the music of a pipe the latter put 
his fingers into his ears and went another road. Asked why, 
he said: "I was with the prophet, and when he heard the 
noise of a musical pipe, he put his fingers into his ears ; and 
this happened when I was a child." Thus it comes to pass 
that by the iron law of tradition, more binding to the pious 
Moslem ofttimes than the Koran itself, the Mohammedan world 
considers music at least among the doubtful amusements for 
true believers. And yet both before and after the advent of 
the morose legislator, Arabia has had its music and song. But 
music in Mohammedan lands is ever in spite of their religion, 
and is never, as is the case with Christianity, fostered by it. 

Among the ancient Arabs poetry and song were closely re- 
lated. The poet recited or chanted his own compositions in 
the evening mejlis, or more frequently at the public fairs and 
festivals, especially the national one held annually at Okatz. 
Here it was that the seven noble fragments still extant of their 
earliest literature were first read and applauded, and accounted 
worthy (if this part of the story be not fabulous) to be sus- 
pended, written in gold, in the Kaaba. 

It is unfortunate that the Arabs, with all their wealth of lan- 



guage and literature, have no musical notation, so that we can 
only surmise what their ancient tunes may have been. Were 
the early war songs of Omar and Khalid sung in the same key 
as this modern war chant of the Gomussa tribe, as interpreted 
by Lady Ann Blunt ? 

., . „ _ 






And did Sinbad the sailor sing the same tune on his voyages 
down the Persian Gulf to India which now the Lingah boat- 
men lustily chant as they land the cargo from a British India 
steamer ? Or was it like this sailors' song on the Red Sea ? 

• tw is: 



-J— *- 


To both of these questions the only answer is the unchange- 
ableness of the Orient ; and this puts the probability, at least, 
so far that the sailors of to-day could easily join in Sinbad's 

The people of Jauf, in Northern Arabia, are most famous 
for music at the present day, according to Burckhardt. They 
are especially adept at playing the Rebaia. This may well be 
considered the national instrument of music. It is all but 
universal in every part of the peninsula, and as well-known to 
all Arabs as the bag pipe is to the Scotch. I have heard the 
highland shepherd boys of Yemen play on a set of reed-pipes 
rudely fastened together with bits of leather thong. The drum 
tabl, is common among the town Arabs, and is used at their 
marriage and circumcision feasts ; but all over the desert one 
only hears the rebaba. It is simplicity itself in its construc- 
tion, when made by the Bedouins ; the finer ornamental ones 
are from the cities. A box frame is made ready, a stick is 


thrust through, aud iu tliis thoy pierce au eyehole for a siugle 
peg ; a kidskin is then stretched upon the hollow box ; the 
string is plucked from a mare's tail, and setting under it a bent 
twig for the bridge, their music is ready. 

Time and measure are often very peculiar and hard to catch, 
but they are kept most accurately, and AH Bey gives an ex- 
ample which he says, "exhibits the singularity of a bar di- 
vided into five equal portions, a thing which J. J. Rousseau 
conceived to be practicable, but was never able to accomplish." 
Here it is as he gives it ; it strikingly resembles the boatmen's 
song at Bahrein : 

h ^ ls__^ ^_ K 


The singing one commonly hears, however, is much more 
monotonous than this, and the tune nearly always depends on 
the whim of the performer or singer, sometimes, alas, on his 
inability to give more than a certain number ot variations ! 

Antar, one of their own poets, has said that the song of the 
Arabs is like the hum of flies. A not inapt comparison to 
those who have seen the " fly bazaar " in Hodeidah or Mena- 
mah during the date season, and heard their myriad-mouthed 
buzzing. Antar, however, lived in the "times of ignorance," 
and most probably referred to the chanting of the camel 
drivers, which is bad enough. Imagine the following sung in 
a high monotonous key Avith endless repetition : 

" Ya Rub sallimhum min el tahdeed 
\Va ija'ad kawaihum 'amd hadeed." 

That is to say, being freely interpreted : 

" Oh Lord, keep them from all dangers that pass 
And make their long legs pillars of brass. 


To a stranger that which seems most peculiar in Arab song 
is their long drawn-out tones at the close of a bar or refrain, 
sometimes equivalent to three whole notes or any number of 
beats. Doughty did not appreciate it, apparently, for he 
writes: "Some, to make the stranger cheer, chanted to the 
hoarse chord of the Arab viol, making to themselves music 
like David, and drawing out the voice in the nose to a de- 
mensurate length, which must move our yawning or laughter." 
There are, however, singers and singers. I remember a ruddy 
Yemen lad who sang us kasidahs during a heavy rain-storm 
in an old Arab caf6 near Ibb. The singer was master of his 
well-worn rebaba, and its music seemed to overmaster him. 
Now his hand touched the strings gently, and then again swept 
over them with a strong nervous motion, awakening music 
indeed. His voice, too, was clear and sweet, although I was 
not enough versed in Arabic poetry to catch the full meaning 
of his words. It may have been the surroundings or the 
jovial companionship of friendly Arabs after my Taiz seclusion 
and a weary journey up the mountain passes, but I have never 
heard sweeter music in Arabia, and have often heard worse 
elsewhere. God bless that travelling troubadour of Yemen ! 

Here is a Mecca song for female voices, as given by Ali 
Bey in his travels (1815), and a second sung by the women of 
Hejaz in a more monotonous strain : 

Such songs are called asamer ; love-songs are called 
hodjeiny, and the war song is known as hadoit. Arabic pros- 
ody and the science of metres is exceedingly extensive and 
seemingly difficult. What we call rhyme is scarcely known, 
and yet every verse ends with the same syllable in a stanza of 


In JNIecca as well as in other "religious," centres there is a 
sort of sacred-music of which Hurgronje gives several speci- 
mens. They are chants in honor of the prophet or prayers for 
him which are sung at the J/o/c'Ci/s or festi\als in memory of 
INIohammed. Here are two of them : 

mar - ha- ba ya mar - ha- ba - ya, mar - ha- ba - a-a-a-a. 

INIost generally, however, music is looked upon as decidedly 
secular, especially all instrumental music. The desert Arabs 
know no religious song and only sing of love and war in their 
old wild way. It is only at a distance from the mosque and 
away with the caravan, that Ghanim clears his throat and sings 
in a voice that can be heard for a mile as we leave liim behind : 

The Arabs of the desert have a reading-book all their own 
called A//ii7r ; and a writing all their own called 7C'(7s///. No 
Bedouin so ignorant but he can read Afhar and none so dull 
but he can write his tvasm. 



Athr OX ilm el alJuir x":^ tlie science of footsteps; and like 
the 'ixi.M Indians of America, the Arab is keen to study and 
quif;k to judge from sand tracks of l;oth men and animals. 
The genuine Arab who has made athar a study can tell the 

TPTRAJ. MAPfCf? or m3M3 of t)l9 AR/1B3. 


o o 







IX ^ 
















































1 ) 


(Chrl.tUn Bedouins) | 

track of a friend from that of a foe, and can distinguish the 
tribe or even the clan \ he knows from the depth of the foot- 
print whether the camel was loaded or lame ; whether the man 
passed yesterday or a week before ; from the regularity or irreg- 

•280 ^R.^PIJ, THF CR.IIVE OF ISl..-L\! 

ularitv he judges oi' fntigue or oi pursuit. If the e.unel's fore- 
feet dig deeper than the liind lie concludes the animal liad a 
Aveak breast ; from the olTal l\e knows wlience tlie camels came 
and the character of their ])asture. Burckhardt wiites of in- 
stances where camels were traced six ilays' jiuuneys after being 
stolen, and identified. 

To identify property it must be markcil. therefore, the kin- 
dreil science of ^i'asw has its place. A 7c>asm is a Bedouin 
traile-mark or ideograj^h to label hib' property, real and personal. 
Their origin is unknown, although Doughty says that they 
ofttimes resemble Himyaritic letters antl may therefore come 
from Yemen. Each family or tribe has its own cattle-brand or 
token. Not only is personal property such as cattle marked 
^vith the 7c'(js//i but the Bedouin put their mark on rocks near 
favorite wells or pastures. These signs are the only certain 
records of former occupation of tribes. Many oi' the tribes 
haye two or three ditTerent 7i:'as//is ; these belong to family 

The medical knowledge and nunlical treatment of the .Arabs 
deserve some notice. The Arabs think themselves always ailing 
and never fail to consult a hakim or doctor when there is opjior- 
tunitv. The hakeem is supposed to know both their malady 
and its cure by simple observation ; to tell the physician for 
what cause they seek him would be an insult to his wisdom and 
for him to ask them settles the matter that he is not a true 
hakeem. The conu\ion diseases of Arabia are the following, 
according to Arab nomenclature, EI Kihd, i. e., the liver, or 
all visceral infirmities; er rihh, literally, "the wind," or 
rheumatics and neuralgia ; hi/mnia, fevers ; tahal or ague-cake ; 
el-hasa or stone; ophthalmia; "fascination" or hysterics, (as 
when they say a man has a jinn or a child has been looked at 
by the evil-eye^ ; leprosy, phthisis, dropsy, stranguria, iilcers 
and senile itch. For anv and all of these ailments, beside 
others not so common, yet sometimes epidemic like smallpox 
and cholera, the Arabs seek a hakeem. All medicine, save 


amulets, cliarms and exorcisms, is called ihnva. Their j^harrna- 
copia is not larp^c but quite remarl<abie ; in addition to sii'h 
simple herbs of the desert as their hareern collect and dry they 
use in grave emergencies that which is haram Tforbiddenj and 
unclean, i'atients have come to me for a small piece of swine's 
flesh (which they suppose all Christians eat) to cure one in 
des|jerate straits. Doughty tells how among the Bedouins they 
give the sick to eat of the carrion-eagle and even seethe asses' 
dung for a potion. 

Kei or actual cautery is a favorite cure for all sorts of dis- 
eases ; so also is khelal or perforating the skin surface with a 
red-hot iron and then passing a thread through the hole to 
facilitate suppuration. Scarcely one Arab in a hundred who 
has not some ^<?/-marks on his body ; even infants are burned 
most cruelly in this way to relieve diseases of childhood. 
Where kei fails they have resource to words written on paper 
either from the Koran or, by law of contraries, words of evil, 
sinister import. These the patient "takes" either by swal- 
lowing them, paper and all, or by drinking the ink-water in 
which the writing is washed off. Blood-letting is also a sov- 
ereign remedy for many troubles. I'he Arab barber is at once 
a phlebotomist, cauterizer, and dentist. His implements — 
one can hardly call them instruments — are very crude and 
he uses them with some skill but without any mercy. Going 
to the proper place in any large Arab town you may always see 
a row of men squatting down with bent back to be bled ; 
cupping and scarifying are the two methods most in vogue, 
although some are quite clever in opening a vein. The science 
of medicine in the towns is not much in advance of that of the 
desert — more book-talk but even less natural intelligence. A 
disease to be at all respectable must be connected with one of 
the four temperaments or " humors of Hippocrates." 

Medicines are hot and cold, wet and dry; and the same 
fourfold classification distinguishes all ailments. There are 
four elements only, and the stars must be favorable to induce 


a rapid cure. Whatever is prescribed must be solid and ma- 
terial ; if it is bitter and painful so much the better. Rough 
measures act more strongly on the imagination and faith-cure is 
a reality in such cases. Burton gives this sample of a correct 
prescription : 

" In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful, and 
blessings and peace be upon our Lord the apostle and his 
family and his companions one and all. But afterward let 
him take bees-honey and cinnamon and album groecum of 
each half a part and of ginger a whole part, which let him 
pound and mix with the honey and form boluses, each bolus 
the weight of a Mithkal, and of it let him use every day a 
Mithkal, on the saliva, (that is to say, fasting, the first thing 
in the morning). Verily its effects are wonderful. And let 
him abstain from flesh, fish, vegetables, sweetmeats, flatulent 
food, acids of all descriptions, as well as the major ablution and 
live in perfect quiet. So shall he be cured by the help of the 
King the healer, /. e., the Almighty. And the peace," 

Honey has always been a panacea in Arabia on authority of 
the Koran and tradition. The only reference to medicine in 
the revelation of Mohammed is this ignorant statement : 
" From the bee's belly comes forth a fluid of variant hue 
which yieldeth medicine to man." (Surah xvi. 71.) This be- 
ing the only remedy prescribed by Allah, it is no wonder that 
tradition affirms its efficacy as follows : "A man once came 
to Mohammed and told him that his brother was afflicted with 
a violent pain in his belly ; upon which the prophet bade him 
give him some honey. The fellow took his advice but soon 
came again and said that the medicine had done no good. 
Mohammed answered : ' Go and give him more honey, for 
God speaks truth and thy brother's belly lies,' and the dose be- 
ing repeated the man was cured." '•^ Coriander-seeds, pepper- 

1 Signifying "Allah," 2 ^aidhawi's Commentary itt loco. 


mint, cinnamon, senna, iris-root, saffron, aloes, nitrates, ar- 
senious- earth, pomegranate-rind, date-syrup and vinegar — such 
are some of the common household remedies of Arabia. All 
Arab women profess a knowledge of herbs and the art of heal- 
ing so that the "hakeem" can scarcely make a living if he 
clings solely to his profession. A Mecca " M. D.," says Hur- 
gronje, was also watch-maker, gun-smith and distiller of per- 
fume ; to fill up his idle hours he did a little silver-plating and 
dealt in old coins ! Yet this man was at the head of the pro- 
fession in Mecca and was able, so they said, to transmute the 
base metals and write very powerful charms. 

The following are used as amulets in Arabia : a small Koran 
suspended from the shoulder ; a chapter written on paper and 
folded in a leather case ; some names of God or their numerical 
values ; the names of the prophet and his companions ; green- 
stones without inscriptions ; beads, old coins, teeth, holy earth 
in small bags. Amulets are not only worn by the Arabs them- 
selves and to protect their children from the evil-eye but are 
put on camels, donkeys, horses, fishing-boats and sometimes 
over the doors of their dwellings. The Arabs are very super- 
stitious in every way. In Hejaz if a child is very ill the mother 
takes seven flat loaves of bread and puts them under its pillow ; 
in the morning the loaves are given to the dogs — and the child 
is not always cured. Rings are worn against the influence of 
evil-spirits ; incense or even-smelling compounds are burned in 
the sick-room to drive away the devil ; mystic symbols are 
written on the walls for a similar purpose. Love-philtres are 
everywhere used and in demand ; and nameless absurdities are 
committed to insure successful child-birth. The child-witch, 
called Uffi-el subyan, is feared by all mothers ; narcotics are 
used freely to quiet unruly infants and, naturally, mortality is 
very large. Of surgery and midwifery the Arabs as a rule are 
totally ignorant and if their medical-treatment is purely ridicu- 
lous their surgery is piteously cruel, although never intentionally 
so. In all eastern Arabia blind women are preferred as mid- 

284 ^RABI.-I, THE CR.-iDl.E OF ISUM 

wives, and rock-salt is used by theni against puerpuial hem- 
morrhage. Gunshot-wounds are treated in Bahrein by a pouhice 
of dates, onions and tamarind ; and the accident is guarded 
against in the future by wearing a ** lead-amulet." 

There are many other superstitions in no way connected with 
the treatment of the sick. Tree-worship and stone-worship still 
exist in many parts of Arabia in spite of the so-called "pure 
monotheism " of Islam. Both of these forms of worship date 
back to the time of idolalr)- and remain as they were partly by 
the sanction of Mohammed himself, for did he not make a 
black-pebble in the Kaaba, the centre of his system of prayer? 
Sacred trees are called Mii/iaJn7, places where angels or jinn 
descend ; no leaf of such trees may be plucked and they are 
honored with sacrifices of shreds of tlesh. while they look gay 
with bits of calico and beads which every worshipper hangs on 
the shrine. Just outside of the Mecca gate at Jiddah stands 
one of these rag-trees with its crowd of pilgrims ; in Yemen they 
are found by every wayside.' 

' For on account of these ancient superstitions and idolatries still prac- 
ticed, see W. Robertson Smith's " Religion of the Semites " and his " Kin- 
ship and marriage in Early Arabia." The mass of purely Mohammedan 
superstition can be studied in books like the Arabian Nights and Lane's 
" Modern Egyptians." 



" In a remote period of antiquity Sabeanism was diffused over Asia fjy 
the science of the Chaldeans and the arms of the Assyrians. They adored 
the seven gods or angels who directed the course of the seven planets and 
shed their irresistible influence on the earth. . . . They prayed thrice 
each day, and the temple of the moon at Haran was the term of their 
pilgrimage." — Gibbon. 

TN the towns along the lower Euphrates and Tigris, especially 
-*- at Arnara, Siik es Shiukh, Busrah and Mohammerah, there 
dwell an interesting people, variously known as Sabeans, Nas- 
orians, or St. John Christians. They call thennselves Mandse- 
ans, and although numbering four or five thousand, they are 
and have always been entirely distinct from the Jews, Moslems 
and Christians among whom they have dwelt for centuries. 
Their origin is lost in obscurity although the few scholars who 
have studied the subject trace their history through the maze of 
their religion to ancient Babylonia and Chaldea. In this rem- 
nant of a race and religion we seem to have an example of the 
oldest form of idolatry, Star-worship, and many of their mys- 
terious customs may throw a side-light upon the cult of ancient 
Babylonia. Mand^eism is not only of deep interest as "the 
only existing religion compounded of Christian, heathen and 
Jewish elements,''' but it affords another proof of the early 
spread of religious ideas in the East, and the Babylonian origin 
of much that is supposed to be Alexandrian Gnosticism in a 
semi-Christian, semi-pagan garb. 

'This chapter is an enlargement of a paper on "The Star-Worshippers 
of Mesopotamia" read before the Victoria Institute, Adelphi Terrace, 
London, 1897. 

'>■ Kessler, 



In the English Bible the name Sabeans is perplexing, and 
although used of three different tribes or peoples, none of these 
are any way related to the present Mandaeans unless those 
mentioned in Job. Sabean is also the term used in the Koran, 
where it undoubtedly applies to the people and proves that 
when Islam arose their numbers and settlements were far from 
unimportant. The Koran recognizes them as distinct from 
idolaters, and places them with Jews and Christians as people 
of the book.^ From this it is evident that the Sabeans '^ could 
not have been, as some allege, a minor Christian sect or iden- 
tical with the Hemero-Baptists. Although giving special 
honor to John the Baptist, they ca?i in no sense be called Chris- 

Isolated by a creed, cult and language of their own, the 
Sabeans * love their isolation and do not intermarry with stran- 
gers nor accept a proselyte to their faith. Nearly all of them 
follow one of three trades. They raise the finest dairy produce 
of Mesopotamia ; they build a peculiar kind of light canoe, 
called Mashhoof, and all others are silver-smiths. No traveller 
should visit their villages without carrying away specimens of 

' Surah ii. 59; v. 73 ; xxii. 17. 

* According to Gesenius, Sabeans should be Tsabians from tsabaoth, the 
" host of heaven." Noldeke and others say it comes from a root subba to 
wash, baptise, and refers to the manner of their worship. Gibbon is per- 
haps correct when, on the authority of Pocock, Hettinger, and D'Herbelot, 
he states the origin of their other name thus : " A slight infusion of the 
gospel had transformed the last remnant of the Chaldean polytheists into 
the Christians of St. John at Bussora." 

3 In regard to their name Sabeans, Lane's Arabic dictionary says that 
it comes from a root meaning " one who has departed from one religion to 
another religion." The Arabs used to call the prophet as-Sabi, because 
he departed from the religion of the Koreish to El-Islam. Nasoreans 
is the name given them by some authors. According to Petermann they 
themselves give this title only to those of their number who are distin- 
guished for character or knowledge. It doubtless comes from NaZwoaiui. 
the early half-Christian sect of Syria. 


their beautiful inlaid-work, black metal on silver and gold. A 
peaceful people they are, industrious, though mostly poor and 
seldom affording trouble to their Turkish rulers. Both men 
and women have a remarkably fine physique ; tall, of dark 
complexion, good features, and with long black beards, some 
of the men are typical patriarchs, even as we imagine Abraham 
who left their present country for -Haran. On ordinary days 
their dress does not distinguish them from Moslems or Jews, 
but on feast days they wear only white. Their women go about 
unveiled ; they are rather taller and have a more masculine cast 
of features than Moslem women. 

Specimens of Mandaitic Cursive-Script with transliteration 
and translation. 

\^lXc^&,*»i AJTXW3 O = Assooda havilak = peace be 

to you. 
O Cio e^ ~V^"'L^ ~ kethkum skawee = how much 
I /^ is it ? 

\<a^*SL ^Je^ o CJcd ^ Q = ana libba kabeelakrr= I love you 

Ifc j ^ A3 ObZ^<^ = kasbah we dahwah^ silver and 

^^'^ £j^c><Y^iLL^ = hofshaba rabba = great day 

yX'v tiOgO^i^ \l ^''^ >"1 « =atran hofshaba := Monday. 

<i , A>f -fiJc. Q =aklatha = Tuesday. 

«« S±L^(i =arba =Wednesday 

^« *yxJSrtA^ =hamsha = Thursday. 

•* aOH ^^i/^ =:shitta = Friday. 

^ >vO^- qyo =shuvah = Saturday. 

The two great things that distinguish the Sabeans are their 
language and their religion. Both are remarkable. The for- 


mer because of its long preservation among a dying people, and 
the latter as the most remarkable example of religious syn- 

Naturally the bazaar-talk of all the river-country is Arabic ; 
all Sabeans speak it and a goodly proportion read and write it ; 
but beside this they have a household language of their own, 
the language of their sacred books, which is called Mandaitic. 
li is so closely related to Syriac that it might almost be called a 
dialect, yet it has an alphabet and grammar of its own, and 
their writing and speech is not fully intelligible to the Syriac- 
speaking Christians from Mosul. A\'right says that their alpha- 
bet characters most resemble the Nabathean and llicir language 
that of the liabylonian Talnuid.* One jicculiarity is the 
naming of the letters with the a vowel and not as in other 
Semitic languages by special names. The oldest manuscripts 
of the Mandaitic date from the sixteenth century, and are in 
European Libraries (Paris and (Oxford). But according to 
Noldeke the golden period of their literature, when their re- 
ligious books received their final and present form, was 650- 
900 A. 11. At present few can read or write their language, 
although all can speak it, and from religious motives they refuse 
to teach those outside of their faith even the first lesson, except 

Although meeting Sabeans for years and being their guest on 
frequent journeys up and down the rivers, I could find no sat- 
isfiictory answer to the question what their real faith and cult 
were. The popular story that they turn to the North Star when 
they pray and "baptise" every Sunday was all that Moslems 
or Christians could tell. Books of travel gave fragmentary, 
conilicting and often grossly erroneous statements. According 

' The only gicunniars of the language are the Skc'tc/i of a Sabfaii Gram- 
mar by Captain Prideaux and the accurate and elaborate Mandiiische 
Grainviatik of the indefatigable scholar Nokleke. One great drawback 
of the hitter however is that the Jlebreio character is used throughout and 
not the Mandaitic. 


to some accounts they were idolaters, others classed them with 
Christians. An anonymous article in the London Standard, 
Oct. 19, 1894, entitled, "A prayer meeting of the Star-wor- 
shippers," curiously gave me the key to open the lock of their 
silence. Whoever wrote it must have been perfectly acquainted 
with their religious ceremonies, for when I translated it to a 
company of Sabeans at Amara they were dumbfounded. 
Knowing that I knew sotnethifig made it easy for them to tell 
me more. The article referred to was in part as follows : 

"It happens to be the festival of the Star-worshippers cele- 
brated on the last day of the year and known as the Kanshio 
Zahlo, or day of renunciation. This is the eve of the new 
year, the great watch-night of the sect, when the annual prayer- 
meeting is held and a solemn sacrifice made to Avather Ramo, 
the Judge of the under world, and Ptahiel, his colleague ; and 
the white-robed figures we observe down by the riverside are 
those of members of the sect making the needful preparations 
for the prayer-meeting and its attendant ceremonies. 

"First, they have to erect their Mishkna, their tabernacle or 
outdoor temple ; for the sect has, strange to say, no permanent 
house of worship or meeting-place, but raise one previous to 
their festival and only just in time for the celebration. And 
this is what they are now busy doing within a few yards of the 
water, as we ride into the place. The elders, in charge of a 
shkando, or deacon, who directs them, are gathering bundles 
of long reeds and wattles, which they weave quickly and deftly 
into a sort of basket work. An oblong space is marked out 
about sixteen feet long and twelve broad by stouter reeds, which 
are driven firmly into the ground close together, and then tied 
with strong cord. To these the squares of woven reeds and 
wattles are securely attached, forming the outer containing 
walls of the tabernacle. The side walls run from north to 
south, and are not more than seven feet high. Two windows, 
or rather openings for windows, are left east and west, and 
space for a door is made on the southern side, so that the priest 


when entering the edifice has the North Star, the great object 
of their adoration, immediately facing him. An altar of beaten 
earth is raised in the centre of the reed-encircled enclosure, 
and the interstices of the walls well daubed with clay and soft 
earth, which speedily hardens. On one side of the altar is 
placed a little furnace of dark earthenware, and on the other a 
little handmill, such as is generally used in the East for grind- 
ing meal, together with a small quantity of charcoal. Close 
to the southern wall, a circular basin is now excavated in the 
ground, about eight feet across, and from the river a short 
canal or channel is dug leading to it. Into this the water flows 
from the stream, and soon fills the little reservoir to the brim. 
Two tiny cabins or huts, made also of reeds and wickervvork, 
each just large enough to hold a single person, are then roughly 
put together, one by the side of the basin of water, the other 
at the further extremity of the southern wall, beyond the en- 
trance. The second of these cabins or huts is sacred to the 
Ganzivro or high priest of the Star-worshippers, and no lay- 
man is ever allowed to even so much as touch the walls with 
his hands after it is built and placed in position. The door- 
way and window openings of the edifice are now hung with 
white curtains ; and long before midnight, the hour at which 
the prayer-meeting commences, the little Mishkua, or taber- 
nacle open to the sky, is finished and ready for the solemnity. 
" Toward midnight the Star-worshippers, men and women, 
come slowly down to the Mishkna by the riverside. Each, 
as he or she arrives, enters the tiny wattled hut by the southern 
wall, disrobes, and bathes in the little circular reservoir, the 
tarmido, or priest, standing by and pronouncing over each the 
formula, 'Eshmo iVhat, Eshmo d'manda ha'i madhkar elakh^ 
(* The name of the living one, the name of the living word, 
be remembered upon thee '). On emerging from the water, 
each one robes him or herself in the rasta, the ceremonial 
white garments peculiar to the Star-worshippers, consisting of 
a sadro, a long white shirt reaching to the ground ; a nassifo. 


or stole round the neck falling to the knees ; a hiniamo, or 
girdle of woollen material ; a gabooa, square headpiece, reach- 
ing to the eyebrows ; a shalooal, or white over-mantle ; and 
a kanzolo, or turban, wound round the gabooa headpiece, of 
which one end is left hanging down over the shoulder. Pe- 
culiar sanctity attaches to the rasta, for the garments com- 
posing it are those in which every Star-worshipper is buried, 
and in which he believes he will appear for judgment before 
Avather in the nether world Materotho. Each one, as soon 
as he is thus attired, crosses to the open space in front of 
the door of the tabernacle, and seats himself upon the ground 
there, saluting those present with the customary Sood Havilakh, 
'Blessing be with thee,' and receiving in return the usual 
reply, Assootah d'' hai havilakh, * Blessing of the living one 
be with thee.' 

" The numbers increase as the hour of the ceremonial comes 
nearer, and by midnight there are some twenty rows of these 
white-robed figures, men and women, ranked in orderly array 
facing the Mishkna, and awaiting in silent expectation the 
coming of the priests. A couple of lartnidos, lamp in hand, 
guard the entry to the tabernacle, and keep their eyes fixed 
upon the pointers of the Great Bear in the sky above. As 
soon as these attain the position indicating midnight, the priests 
give a signal by waving the lamps they hold, and in a few mo- 
ments the clergy of the sect march down in procession. In 
front are four of the shkandos, young deacons, attired in the 
rasta, with the addition of a silk cap, or tagha, under the 
turban, to indicate their rank. Following these come four 
tar?nidos, ordained priests who have undergone the baptism of 
the dead. Each wears a gold ring on the little finger of the 
right hand, and carries a tau-shaped cross of olive wood to 
show his standing. Behind the tarmidos comes the spiritual 
head of the sect, the Ganzivro, a priest elected by his col- 
leagues who has made complete renunciation of the world and 
is regarded as one dead and in the realms of the blessed, He 


is escorted by four other deacons. One holds aloft the large 
wooden tau-cross, known as derashvod zivo, that symbolizes his 
religious office ; a second bears the sacred scriptures of the 
Star-worshippers, the Sidra Rabba, "the great Order," two- 
thirds of which form the liturgy of the living and one-third the 
ritual of the dead. The third of the deacons carries two live 
pigeons in a cage, and the last a measure of barley and of 
sesame seeds. 

"The procession marches through the ranks of the seated 
worshippers, who bend and kiss the garments of the Ganzivro as 
he passes near them. The tarmidos guarding the entrance to 
the tabernacle draw back the hanging over the doorway and 
the priests file in, the deacons and tarmidos to right and left, 
leaving the Ganzivro standing alone in the centre, in front of 
the earthen altar facing the North Star, Polaris. The sacred 
book Sidra Rabba is laid upon the altar folded back where the 
liturgy of the living is divided from the ritual of the dead. 
The high priest takes one of the live pigeons handed to him 
by a shkando, extends his hands toward the Polar Star upon 
which he fixes his eyes, and lets the bird fly, calling aloud, 
'BsJvno d' hai rabba vishabbah zivo kadmaya Elaha Rdmefi 
Nafshi Eprah, ' ' In the name of the living one, blessed be 
the primitive light, the ancient light, the Divinity self-created.' 
The words, clearly enunciated within, are distinctly heard by 
the worshippers without, and with one accord the white-robed 
figures rise from their places and prostrate themselves upon the 
ground toward the North Star, on which they have silently 
been gazing. 

" Noiselessly the worshippers resume their seated position on 
the ground outside. Within the Mishkna, or tabernacle, the 
Ganzivro steps on one side, and his place is immediately taken 
by the senior priest, a tarmido, who opens the Sidra Rabba 
before him on the altar and begins to read the Shovihotto, 
' confession ' of the sect, in a modulated chant, his voice 
rising and falling as he reads, and ever and anon terminating 


in a loud and swelling Mshobbo havi eshmakhyo Manda d'hai, 
'Blessed be thy name, O source of life,' which the congre- 
gants without take up and repeat with bowed heads, their 
hands covering their eyes. 

" While the reading is in progress two other priests turn, and 
prepare the Fefo elayat, or high mystery, as they term their 
Communion. One kindles a charcoal fire in the earthenware 
stove by the side of the altar, and the other grinds small some of 
the barley brought by the deacon. He then expresses some oil 
from the sesame seed, and, mixing the barley meal and oil, 
prepares a mass of dough which he kneads and separates into 
small cakes the size of a two-shilling piece. These are quickly 
thrust into or on the oven and baked, the chanting of the 
liturgy of the Shomhotto still proceeding with its steady sing- 
song and response, Mshobbo havi eshmakhyo, from outside. 
The fourth of the tarmidos now takes the pigeon left in the 
cage from the shkando, or deacon, standing near him, and cuts 
its throat quickly with a very sharp knife, taking care that no 
blood is lost. The little cakes are then brought to him by his 
colleague, and, still holding the dying pigeon, he strains its 
neck over them in such a way that four drops fall on each one 
so as to form the sacred tau, or cross. Amid the continued 
reading of the liturgy, the cakes are carried round to the wor- 
shippers outside by the two principal priests who prepared 
them, who themselves pop them direct into the mouths of the 
members, with the words 'Rshimot bereshm d^hat,^ 'Marked 
be thou with the mark of the living one.' The four deacons 
inside the Mishkna walk round to the rear of the altar and 
dig a little hole, in which the body of the dead pigeon is then 

" The chanting of the confession is now closed by the offici- 
ating tarmido, and the high priest, the Ganzivro, resuming his 
former place in front of the Sacred Book, begins the recitation 
of the Massakhto, or ' renunciation ' of the dead, ever direct- 
ing his prayers toward the North Star, on which the gaze of 


the worshippers outside continues fixed throughout the whole 
of the ceremonial observances and prayers. This star is the 
Olma d'nhoora, literally 'the world of light,' the primitive 
sun of the Star-worshippers' theogony, the paradise of the elect, 
and the abode of the pious hereafter. For three hours the 
reading of the * renunciation ' by the high priest continues, 
interrupted only, ever and anon, by the Mshobho havi eshmakhyo, 
'Blessed be thy name,' of the participants seated outside, 
until, toward dawn, a loud and ringing Aiio ashorlakh ano 
asborli ya Avather, ' I mind me of thee, mind thou of me O 
Avather,' comes from the mouth of the priest, and signalizes 
the termination of the prayers. 

" Before the North Star fades in the pale ashen grey of ap- 
proaching dawn, a sheep, penned over night near the river, is 
led into the tabernacle by one of the four shkandos for sacri- 
fice to Avather and his companion deity, Ptahiel. It is a 
wether, for the Star-worshippers never kill ewes, or eat their 
flesh when killed. The animal is laid upon some reeds, its 
head west and its tail east, the Ganzivro behind it facing the 
Star. He first pours water over his hands, then over his feet, 
the water being brought to him by a deacon. One of the tar- 
midos takes up a position at his elbow and places his hand on 
the Ganzivro' s shoulder, saying Ana sliaddakh, 'I bear wit- 
ness.' The high priest bends toward the North Star, draws a 
sharp knife from his left side, and, reciting the formula, ' In 
the name of Alaha, Ptahiel created thee, Hibel Sivo permitted 
thee, and it is I who slay thee,' cuts the sheep's throat from 
ear to ear, and allows the blood to escape on to the matted 
reeds upon which the animal is stretched out. The four dea- 
cons go outside, wash their hands and feet, then flay the sheep, 
and cut it into as many portions as there are communicants 
outside. The pieces are now distributed among the worship- 
pers, the priests leave the tabernacle in the same order as they 
came, and with a parting benediction from the Gaiizivro, As- 
sQQtad d'hai havilakh, 'The benison of the living one attend 


thee,' the prayer-meeting terminates, and the Star- worshippers 
quietly return to their homes before the crimson sun has time 
to peep above the horizon." 

What a mosaic of ceremonies and what a mixed cult in this 
river-bank prayer-meeting ! The Sabeans of Amara tell me that 
every minute particular is correctly described, and yet them- 
selves do not furnish the clew to the maze. Here one sees 
Judaism, Islam and Christianity, as it were engrafted on one 
old Chaldean trunk. Gnosticism, star-worship, baptisms, love- 
feast, sacrifice, ornithomancy and what not in one confusion. 
The pigeon sacrifice closely corresponds outwardly to that of 
the Mosaic law concerning the cleansing of a leper and his 
belongings and is perhaps borrowed from that source.' But 
how Anti- Jewish is the partaking of blood and the star- worship.* 
The cross of blood seems a Christian element, as does also the 
communion of bread, but from a New Testament standpoint 
this is in discord with all that precedes. 

Nevertheless a complete system of dogma lies behind this 
curious cult and one can never understand the latter without 
the former. Sabeanisrn is a Jmok^^dii^wn ; and it has such a 
mass of sacred literature that few have ever had the patience to 
examine even a part of it. The Sidra Rabba, or Great Book, 
holds the first place. The copy I examined contains over five 
hundred large quarto pages of text divided into two parts, a 
"right " and a "left hand " testament; they begin at differ- 
ent ends of the book and they are bound together so that when 
one reads the "right,'' the "left" testament Ls upside-down. 
The other name for the Great Book is Ginza, Treasure. It is 
from this treasure-house that we chiefly gaxhtr the elements of 
•their casmogony and mythology.^ 

' Leviticus xiv. 4-7, 49-53. * Cf. Job xxxi. 26-28. 

3 The first printed and translated edition of the Su/ra Rabba was by 
Math. Norberg CCopenhagen, 1815-16^, but it is said to be so defective 
that it is quite useless critically ; Petermann reproduced the Paris M.SS. in 
two volumes at Leipsic, 1867. Besides the Hidra Rabba there are* 


First of all things was Pera Rabba the great Abyss. With 
him "Shilling ether "anei the Spirit of Glory {Alana Rabbd) 
form a primal triad, similar to the Gnostic and ancient Acca- 
dian triads. Kessler goes so far as to say that it is the same. 
From Mana Raba who is the king of light, emanates Yardana 
Rabba, the great Jordan. (This is an element of Gnosticism) 
Mana Rabba called into being the first of the aeons. Primal Life, 
or Hayye kadema. This is really the chief deity of the Sabeans, 
and all their prayers begin by invoking him. From him again 
proceed secondary emanations, Yiishamim (/. <?., Jah of heaven) 
and Manda Hayye, messenger of life. This latter is the media- 
tor of their system, and from him all those that accept his medi- 
ation are called Manddee. Yushamim was punished for attempt- 
ing to raise himself above Primal Light, and now rules the world 
of inferior light. Manda still " rests in the bosom of Primal 
light" (cf. John i. i8), and had a series of incarnations begin- 
ning with Abel (Hibil) and ending with John the Baptist ! 
Besides all these there is yet a third life called 'Ateeka, who 
created the bodies of Adam and Eve, but could not give them 
spirit or make them stand upright. If the Babylonian trinity 
or triad has its counterpart in the Mandaen Fera, Ayar and 
Mana Rabba, then Manda Hayye is clearly nothing but the 
old Babylonian Marduk (Merodach), firstborn, mediator and 
redeemer. Hibil, the first incarnation of Manda, also has a 
contest with darkness in the underworld even as Marduk with 
the dragon Tiamat. 

The Sabean underworld has its score of rulers, among others 
these rank first : Zai-tay, Zartanay, Hag, Mag, Gaf, Gafan, 
Anatan and Kin, with hells and vestibules in plenteous con- 

Sidra d' Yaheya or Book of St. John, also called Drasche d'3Ialek (dis- 
course of the King) ; The Diivan ; The Sidra Neshmata, or book of souls ; 
and last, but not least, the books of the zodiac called Asfar Mahvashee. 
Except for the S7nall portion of the Sidra Rabba found in Brandt's re- 
cently published Alanddische Schrifleu (1895) ^^^ of the above still await 
critical study and editing. 


fusion. Hibil descends here, and from the fourth vestibule 
carries away the female devil Ruha the daughter of Kin. This 
Ruha, Kessler aflirrns, is really an anti-Christian parody of 
the Holy Spirit, but from conversation with the Sabeans 
I cannot believe this to be true. By her own son Ur 
Ruha becomes the mother of all the planets and signs of the 
zodiac. These are the source and controllers of all evil in the 
world and must therefore be propitiated. But the sky and 
fixed stars are pure and clear, the abode of Light. The 
central sun is the Polar Star, with jewelled crown standing be- 
fore the door of Abathur, or "father of the splendors." 
These " splendors," aeons, or primary manifestations of deity, 
are said to number three hundred and sixty, (a Semitic way of 
expressing many), with names borrowed from the Parsee 
angelology (Zoroastrianismj. The Mandaeans consider all the 
Old Testament saints except Abel and Seth false prophets 
(Gnosticism).' True religion was professed by the ancient 
Egyptians, who, they say, were their ancestors. Another false 
prophet was Yishii Mashiha TJesus Christ), who was in fact 
an incarnation of the planet Mercury. John the Baptist, 
Yahya, appeared forty-two years before Christ and was 
really an incarnation of Manda as was Hibil. He bap- 
tized at Jordan, and, by mistake also administered the rite to 

About 200 A. D., they say, there came into the world 60,000 
saints from Pharaoh's host and took the place of the Man- 
daeans who had been extirpated. Is not this a possible al- 
lusion to the spread of the Gnostic heresy and the coalescence 
of certain Gnostics with the then Sabean community? They 
say that their high priest then had his residence at Damascus ; 

' See the history of Gnostic teaching, especially that of the Ophites and 
Setliians. All the evil characters in the Old Testament, with Cain at 
their head, were set forth as spiritual heroes. Judas Iscariot was repre- 
sented as alone knowing the truth. I find no large account of the serpent 
in the Sabean system ; this may be otherwise accounted for. 


that is, their centre of religion was between Alexandria and 
Antioch, the two schools of Gnosticism. 

Mohammed, according to their system, was the last false 
prophet, but he was divinely kept from harming them, and 
they flourished to such an extent that at the time of the Abba- 
sides they had four hundred centres of worship in Babylonia. 

The Mandsean priesthood has three grades; tarmida or 
td'amida ("disciple" or "baptism"), shkanda ("deacons"), 
and the Ganzivra ("high priest," literally the keeper of the 
Ginza or Great Book). The late Ganzivra was Sheikh Yahya, 
a man of parts and well-versed in their literature, who long 
lived at Suk-es-Shiukh. Their present high priest is called 
Sheikh Sahn and was at one time imprisoned at Busrah on 
charge of fomenting a rebellion of the Arab tribes near Kurna 
at the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates. 

The Sabeans observe six great feasts beside their weekly 
sabbath (Sunday). One of the feasts celebrates the victory of 
Abel in the world of darkness, another the drowning of 
Pharaoh's army, but the chief feast, Pantsha, is one of Bap- 
tism. It is observed in summer, and all Sabeans are obliged 
to be baptized by sprinkling three times a day for five days. 
The regular Sunday baptisms by immersion in running water 
are largely voluntary and meritorious : these latter correspond 
to the Moslem laws of purifications and take place after touch- 
ing a dead body, the birth of a child, marriage, etc. 

The moral code of the Sabeans is that of the Old Testament 
in nearly every particular. Polygamy is allowed to the extent 
of five wives, and is even recommended in the Sidra Rabba 
but is seldom indulged in. They do not circumcise ; this is 
important, proving that they are not of Arab origin. They 
have no holy places or churches except those we have described 
which are built for a single night on the riverside. 

The story that they go on pilgrimage to Haran ^ and visit 
the Pyramids as the tomb of Sethy is apparently a myth. They 
1 Gibbon. 2 Sale's Koran. 


?.re friendly to Christians of all sects and love to give the im- 
pression that because they honor the Baptist they are more 
closely related to us than are the Jews and Moslems. Of 
course they deny that they do not accept Jesus as a true 
Prophet, as they do all those other articles of their belief, 
which they deem wisest or safest to keep concealed. 

All our investigations end as we began, by finding that the 
Sabeans "worship that which they know not," and profess a 
creed whose origin is hidden from them and whose elements, 
gathered from the four corners of the earth, are as diverse as 
they are incongruous. Who is able to classify these elements 
or among so much heterogeneous debris dig down to the origi- 
nal foundations of the structure ? If we could, would we not, 
as in so many other cases, come back to Babylonia and the 
monuments ? 

<^a4 ^<^^ <i3^^^ 


"And some fell among thorns." — Matthew xiii. 7. 

" But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the 
wheat and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up and brought 
forth fruit then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the house- 
Jiolder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy 
field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy 
hath done this." — Matthew xiii. 25-28. 

TT is recorded in the Acts of the apostles that Arabians, 
•^ or Arabian proselytes, were present at the Jewish feast of 
Pentecost. We must therefore go back to Apostolic times to 
find the beginnings of Christianity in Arabia. Whether these 
Arabians were from the northern part of the peninsula border- 
ing on Syria, from the dominions of the Arabian king Hareth 
(Aretas), or came as Jewish proselytes from distant Jewish col- 
onies of Yemen, must ever remain uncertain. In any case 
they doubtless carried back to their homes something of the 
Pentecostal message or blessing. The New Testament refer- 
ences to Arabia are not disconnected and unique, but stand in 
closest relation to the whole Old Testament revelation of God's 
dealings with Ishmael and his descendants. 

In Paul's letter to the Galatians,^ he writes, " Neither went 
I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me ; but 
I went to Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus." What 
did the great apostle to the Gentiles do in Arabia? A con- 
sideration of this question will give us a better standpoint to 
review the later rise of Christianity not only in North Arabia, 

• Galatians i. 17. 


but in Nejran and Yemen. "A veil of thick darkness," says 
Lightfoot, "hangs over St. Paul's visit to Arabia." The par- 
ticular part of Arabia visited, the length of his stay, the motive 
of his going, the route taken and what he did there, — all is left 
untold. We can draw the map and tell the story of all but the 
first great journey of the apostle. Certainly the first journey 
of the new Saul of Tarsus cannot have been without some great 
purpose. The probable length of his stay, which is by some 
put at only six months, but which may have been two years, ^ 
Avould also indicate some importance in the event. 

Visions and revelations to this Elijah and Moses of the new 
dispensation there may have been while he tarried in the des- 
ert, but it is scarcely probable to suppose that at this critical 
juncture in early church history so long a time should have 
been occupied with these only. Therefore, we find the earliest 
commentators of the opinion that Paul's visit to Arabia was his 
first missionary journey, and that he "conferred not with flesh 
and blood," but went into Arabia to preach the gospel.^ " See 
how fervent was his soul," says Chrysostom, " he was eager to 
occupy lands yet untilled, he forthwith attacked a barbarous 
and savage people, choosing a life of conflict and much toil." 
The idea that Paul went to preach immediately after his con- 
version is natural ; and that he should, as the Gentile apostle, 
seek first that race which was also a son of Abraham and heir 
of many Old Testament promises and whose representatives 
were present at Pentecost, is not improbable. 

But if Paul went to Arabia and preached the gospel, where 
and to whom did he go ? A certain reply to these questions is 

' Gal. i. i8 ; Acts ix. 9, 25. 

■■' Many others, including Hilary, Jerome, Theodoret and the Occumen- 
ian commentators are stated by Rawlinson (St. Paul in Damascus and 
Arabia, p. 128), to hold the same opinion. Porter, not alone of modern 
writers, puts forth the same view in his " Five Years in Damascus," and 
supposes that Paul's success was great enough to provoke the hostility of 
Aretas and make him join the later persecution. 


unattainable since revelation is silent, but (i) The place was 
most probably the Sinaitic peninsula, or the region east of Sinai 
(Rawlinson). (2) There is more than one reason to hold 
with Jerome and later writers that he went to a tribe where his 
mission was unsuccessful as regards visible results, (3) The 
only people of the desert then, as now, were Arab Bedouin, 
and of the probability that Paul also knew their life and cus- 
toms, Robertson Smith gives a curious illustration in an allusion 
to Galations vi. 17, when speaking of tattoo marks in religion.^ 

Now was there an Arab tribe in the days of Paul, in the re- 
gion southwest of Damascus, to Avhom a missionary came with 
a new and strange message which was not favorably received, 
and yet whom and whose message those Arabs could not forget ? 

We find a curious legend taken up with other nomad debris 
into the maelstrom of Mohammed's mutterings that may help 
to answer the question. It is about the Nebi Salih or "good 
prophet," who came to the people of Thamud,^ and whose 
person and mission is as much a mystery to Moslem commen- 
tators as Paul's visit to Arabia is to us. European critics sug- 
gest his identity with Shelah of Genesis xi. 13 ! but etymology 
and chronology both afford the most meagre basis. Palmer offers 
a theory that Nebi Salih is none other than the "righteous 
prophet" Moses ;^ but the difficulty is that this puts the 
legend too far back in history. It is not probable that the 
people of Thamud " hewed out mountains into houses," such 
as are found to-day as early as in the days of Moses. Nor does 
Old Testament indicate a time when Moses went to Arabs with 
a Divine message. Moreover, the legend is evidently a local 
one that came to the knowledge of Mohammed, or it would 
have been better known to him who borrowed so largely from 
the former prophets ; and if it is a local legend, it is not a 
legend of Moses, for he is mentioned more than seventy-seven 

1" Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia," p. 214. 

2 Koran, Surah vii. 71. 

3 Desert of the Exodus, p. 50. 


times in the Koran, and his story was well known in Arabia, 
at least as far as Yemen. 

The pith of the legend underlies the bark ; what says the 
Koran? Nebi SaUh came as a " brother," ^ and said, " O, 
my people, worship God. Ye have no God but Him.^ There 
has come to you an evident sign from your Lord.^ . 
And remember how He made you vice-regents after 'Ad, and 
stablished you in the earth . . . and remember the bene- 
fits of God.* Said the chiefs of those who were big with pride 
from amongst his people (Pharisees or Jews from Damascus ?) 
to those who believed amongst them : Do ye know that Salih 
is sent from his Lord? (/. e., his Lord is not your true God). 
They said, We do believe in that with which He is sent, 
(gospel?) "Said those who were big with pride. Verily, in 
what ye do believe we disbelieve." The passage is again 
significant : " And he turned away from them (back to Damas- 
cus ?) and said, O, my people, I did preach unto you the mes- 
sage of my Lord,^ and I gave you good advice, but ye love not 
sincere advisers." Does not this story have points of contact 
with what might have been the experiences of a man like Paul 
among such a people ? 

The fact that there is a so-called tomb of Nebi Salih at El 
Watiyeh (Palmer) does not weigh much for or against any 
theory as to the identity of the prophet. Arabia has tombs of 
Job on the Upper Euphrates, of Eve at Jiddah, of Cain at 
Aden, and of other "prophets" where there is a demand for 
it. But it is interesting to learn from the learned author of 
The Desert of the Exodus : " The origin and history of Nebi 
Salih is quite unknown to the present Bedouin inhabitants, but 
they nevertheless regard him with more national veneration 
than even Moses himself." If revered more than Moses, 
why not was he later than Moses — greater than Moses — even 
Saul of Tarsus ? Whether this theory be only far-fetched or 

> Acts xvii. 26. 2 Acts xvii. 29. 3 Acts xvii. 31, 

4 Acts xvii. 25. 5 Acts xx. 20, 27. 

:U) I .■liuni.l. Tin- CR.-IDLl- OF JSUM 

wholhor it (.ontirnuUion in iho caily spread of Chi-istianil)' 
in North Arabia the sequel may show. 

I lislorical Christianity in Arabia hail two ecnlrcs, so that llie 
study of its early rise and progress takes \is first to the tribes 
furthest north, in the kingdoms of llirahand (ihassan and then 
to fertile Yemen and Nejran. 

l>es[nle the growth of the Roman iMupire eastward in the 
tlays of Tompey, the Arabs of Syria and Talmyra retained their 
inilependence and resisted all eneroaehment. Under Odenathus 
the Falmyrene kingilom flourished, and reaeheil the /.enith of 
its power under his wife and suceessor, the telebrated Zenobia. 
She was defeated by Aurelian, and Palmyra and its dependencies 
became a province of the Roman Empire. It is natural there- 
fore to expect that Christianity was introduced into this region 
at an eiuly period. Such ^\■as the t-ase. Agbarus, so cele- 
brated in the annals of the early church, was a prince of the 
territory of lulessa and Christianity had made some progress in 
the desert in the time of Arnobius.' l>islui[)s of Bostra, in 
Northwest Arabia (not to be confoundeil with Busrah), are 
mentioned as having been present at the Nicene council (325 
A. p. ) with five other Arabian bishoiis." The Arabian historians 
speak of the tribe of Cihassan as atlachetl to the Christian faith 
centuries before the Hegira. It was of this tribe that the 
proverb became current : •' They were lords in the days of ig- 
norance and stars of Islam." They held sway over the desert 
east of Palestine and of Southern S)'ria. The name of Mavia 
or Muaviah is mentioned by ecclesiastical writers as an Arab 
queen who was converted to the faith and in conscipience 
formed an alliance with the emperor and acicpletl a Christian 
Bishop, named Moses, ordained by the primate of Alexandria. 
Her conversion took place about a. v. 372. Thus we find 
that the progress of Christianity increased in jiroportion as the 
Arabs became more intimately connected with the Romans. 

1 Wright's " Early Christianity in Arabia," 1S55. 
' Buchanan's Christian Rescarclics. 


An uiiforturjule circumstance for tlie progress of Christianity 
in North Arabia was its location between the rival powers of 
Rome and Persia, It was a sort of buffer-state and suffered 
from both sides. 'J'he I'ersian rnonurchs persecuted the 
Christian Arabs and one of their Arab allies, a pagan, called 
Naaman, forbade all intercourses with Christians, on the part 
of his subjects. This edict we are told ' was occasioned by 
the success of the example and preaching of Simeon Stylites, 
the pillar saint, celebrated in Tennyson's picture-poem. This 
desert-friar who was himself an Arab by birth, was a preacher 
after the heart of the stern, austere, half-starved liedouin. His 
fame spread even into far-off Arabia Felix.'-' The stern edict 
of Naaman was withdrawn, however, and he himself was only 
prevented from embracing the faith by his fear of the Persian 

Among the first monks to preach to the nomad tribes was 
Euthymius who seems to have been a medical missionary work- 
ing miracles of healing among the ignorant Pedouins. One of 
the converted Arabs, Aspebetus, took the name of Peter, was 
"consecrated" by Juvenal, patriarch of Jerusalem, and be- 
came the first bishojj of the tribes in the neighborhood of 
Southern Palestine. 

'['he progress or even the existence of Christianity in the 
kingdom of Hirah seems to have been always uncertain as it 
was dependent on the favor of the Khosroes of Persia, Some 
of the Arabs at Hirah and Kufa were Christian as early as 380 
A. D. One of the early converts, Nornan abu Kamus, proved 
the sincerity of his faith by melting down a golden statue of 
the Arabian Venus, worshipped by his tribe, and by distribut- 
ing the proceeds among the poor. Many of the tribe followed 
his example and were baptized.' To understand the im- 

' Wright, p. 77. 

*The latest version of his life is by Noldeke in his " Sketches from 
Eastern History." (London, 1892.) 
3 Wright, I). 144. 


portance of this spread of Christianity in North Arabia we 
must remeaiber that this was the age of cara\ans and not of 
navigation. Pahiiyra, the centre of the trade from the Persian 
GuU". owed its importance and po\\er to the trans-Arabian traffic 
with Persia and the East. Irak and ^Mesopotamia were then 
a part of Arabia and were ruled by Arabian d)nasties. 

It was in Southwestern Arabia, however, that Christianity e.x- 
erted even greater power and made still larger conquests. A\'e 
cannot but wish that thestory of its success, trials and extinction 
had been given iis in some purer form with more of the gospel 
and less of ecclesiasticism. Had that early Christianity been 
gold instead of glitter it would not have perished so easily in the 
furnace of persecution or disappeared so utterly before the 
tornado-blast of Islam. 

The picture of the Christian church of this period (323-692 
A. D.) as drawn by faithful historians is dark indeed. "More 
and more the church became assimilated and conformed to the 
world, church discipline grew lax. and moral decay made rapid 
progress. Passionate contentions, quarrels and schisms among 
bishops and clergy filled also public life with party-strife, ani- 
mosity and bitterness. The immorality of the court poisoned 
the capital and the provinces. Savagery and licentiousness 
grew rampant. , . . . Hypocrisy and bigotry took the place 
of piety among those who strove after something higher, while 
the masses consoled themselves with the reflection that every 
man could not be a monk. . . . The shady side of this 
period is dark enough but a bright side and noble personages 
of deep piety, moral earnestness, resolute denial of self and the 
world are certainly not wanting." ^ Not only was religious life 
at a low level in all parts of Christendom but heresies were 
continually springing up to disturb the peace or to introduce 
gigantic errors. Arabia was at one time called "the mother 
of heresies." The most flagrant example was that of the Col- 
lyridians, in the fourth century, Avhich consisted in a heathen- 
' Kurtz' " Church History, " Vol. I., p. 3S6. 


ish distortion of mariolatry. Cakes were offered to the Holy 
Virgin, as in heathen times to Ceres. 

At what time Christianity was first introduced into Arabia 
Felix is uncertain. This part of Arabia was in a measure shut 
off from the world of the Romans until the expedition of yElius 
Gallus. Before the coming of Christianity the Yemenites were 
either idolaters or Sabeans. I'he large numbers of Jews in 
Yemen was an additional obstacle to the early spread of the 
faith as they were always bitterly hostile to the missionaries. 
The legend that St. Bartholomew preached in Yemen on his 
way to India need not be considered ; nor the more probable 
one of Frumentius and his success as first bishop to Himyar. 
In the reign of Constantius, Theophilus, the deacon of Nico- 
media, a zealous Arian, was sent by the emperor to attend a 
magnificent embassy to the court of Himyar and is said to have 
prevailed on the Arabian king to embrace Christianity. He 
built three churches in different parts of Yemen, at Zaphar, 
Aden and Sana, as well as at Hornmz in the Persian Gulf. No 
less than four bishoprics were established and the tribes of Rabia 
Ghassan, and Kodaa were won to the faith. Ibn Khalikan, the 
Arabian historian, enumerates as Christian tribes, the Bahrah, 
Tanouch and Taglab. In Nejran, north of Sana, and Yathrib 
there were also Christians. 

Arabian idolatry was very tolerant and afforded throughout 
the third and fourth centuries an equally safe asylum to the 
persecuted Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians who settled in 
various parts of the Peninsula. The kings of Himyar were 
themselves idolaters but allowed every other sect great freedom, 
including the Christians. But no sooner did the followers of 
Judaism gain power than persecution began. About the year 
560, Dzu Nowass, ruler of Himyar, revolted against his lord 
the Abyssinian king, Elesbaan, and, instigated by the Jews, 
began to persecute the Christians. All who refused to renounce 
their faith were put to death without respect of age or sex, and 
the villages of Nejran were given over to plunder. Large pits 


were dug, filled wilh fuel, and many thousands of monks and 
virgins were committed to the flames. 

Speedy punishment, however, overtook Dzu Nowass when 
the Abyssinian Iiosts invaded Yemen. The Christian con- 
querors avenged the massacre on its perpetrators, the Jews, 
with heathen fury. The whole fertile tract was once more a 
scene of bloodshed and devastation. The churches built before 
the days of Dzu Nowass were again rebuilt on the site of their 
riiins and new bishops were appointed in place of the martyrs. 
A short, though desperate, civil war, resulting in the proclama- 
tion of Abraha as king of Yemen, did not disturb the steady 
growth of Christianity. Paying tribute only to the Abyssinian 
crown, and at peace with all the Arab tribes, Abraha was loved 
for his justice and moderation by all his subjects and idolized 
by the Christians for his burning zeal in their religion. Large 
numbers of Jews, convinced by a public dispute and a miracle 
at Dhafar, were baptized. Many idolaters were added to the 
church ; new schemes of benevolence were inaugurated ; the 
foundations were being laid for a magnificent cathedral at 
Sana ; in short Christian Yemen seemed on the eve of its Golden 
Age in the year 567 A. D. 

What delayed its coming and how did the power of Abraha 
loose its prestige? The story is gleaned from Moslem and 
Christian writers ; it is the last sad chapter in the short history 
of early Christianity in Arabia and the preface to the chronicles 
of Islam. So important is it considered that the synopsis of 
it is embodied in the Koran for the perpetual delight of Mos- 

In the early fall of the year 568, the caravans of Arabs, which 
came along the level road leading from Rhoda, bordered with 
rich vineyards and fig-orchards, stopped, on entering Sana, be- 
cause of a crowd that stood gazing at a large piece of parchment 
nailed on the side wall of the entrance to the city. It was a royal 
proclamation written in large Himyaritic letters. A townsman 
in the long dress of a public teacher stood before it and read 


aloud to the motley crowd that paused as they came to morning 
market from the neighboring villages. Stately camels, bearing 
huge loads of dates, were urged by their drivers, who good- 
humoredly exchanged greetings with their Christian brethren ; 
donkeys, nearly hidden between baskets of luscious grapes, 
jostled a group of Jewish money-changers sitting in the gate ; 
a score of women, dark-eyed and in picturesque peasant dress, 
were carrying their empty gerbies to the wells — but one and all 
moved with curiosity, stood for a moment to listen. 
The presbyter, for such he was, read as follows : 
** I, Ibraha, by the grace of God and Jesus Christ our Sav- 
iour, king of Yemen, taking counsel and advice of the good 
Gregentius, bishop of Dhafar, and having completed the build- 
ing of the cathedral to the glory of God and in memory of our 
victory over the idolaters, do now and hereby proclaim that all 
the Arab tribes who annually visit the heathen shrine at 
Mecca, are expected to cease going thither and to come with 
their caravans of merchandise to worship the true God, on a 
shorter and more convenient journey to our magnificent church 
at Sana, the capital, on penalty of a levy to be put by me on 
all caravans of tribes that refuse to obey this proclamation. 
And be it furthermore known to all the tribes of Koreish. 
." The reader was rudely interrupted by a party of 
Bedouin who drove their dromedaries right through the gate 
and up the street with such fury that some of the crowd barely 
escaped being run over. 

"It is a troop of those accursed Kenanehs," said Ibn Choza 
to his companion. " They were born without manners — wild 
asses of the desert." " Yes," answered the other; " and who 
insult our good king with their nickname of El Ashram, — the 
split nosed, — because of the scar that remains since his en- 
counter with the heathen Aryat." "If such as these, Abood, 
do not obey this latest order from our Christian king, we'll try 
the spears of my Modarites, and then woe betide their caravans 
of semn and their fertile palms. Not all the three hundred 


gods of the Kaabeh could save tliem from the righteous wrath 
of Abraha." 

The new cathedral, whose ruined foundations yet testify as 
to its size and sohdity, had been completed for some months, 
and on the morrow the good bishop was expected from Dhafar 
to preach to the crowds that thronged Yemen's capital at the 
feast. This year more strangers than ever before crowded the 
markets ; many were come, in obedience to the proclamation, 
even from distant Yathrib and from beyond Nejran, to engage 
in commerce and religion at once, — the universal custom of 
the Arabs. The autumn rains were over and a fresh breeze 
from Jebel Nokum increased the cold, felt by such strangers 
especially, as came for the first time from the hot coast to an 
elevation of 9,000 feet. 

Night fell on the towers and palaces of Sana, and there was 
no light in the streets except that of stars shining with northern 
brilliancy from between drifting clouds. Just before midnight, 
a solitary Arab hurried along one of the narrow paths, too nar- 
row to be called a street, which led from the caravanseri to the 
church. His face and form were wrapped in a long sheep- 
skin cloak, but his erect bearing, vigorous step, and the carved 
silver handle of the curved dagger, half hidden in his belt, be- 
trayed one of the Kenaneh tribe. Stealthily looking around, 
he stopped before one of the windows of the cathedral ; lifted 
himself to the granite ledge, dextrously used his dagger to re- 
move one of the large panes of talc-stone (still used in all Sana), 
and jumped inside. He lingered only a few moments, came out 
as he went in, and hurried off toward the way of the North gate. 

On the morrow a cry arose from the early worshippers, car- 
ried on the lips of every Christian in Sana, till it echoed 
through market and street : " Abrahams church has been defiled ! 
Dung is on the altar, and the holy cross is smeared with ordure ! 
'Tis the work of the accursed Kenaneh — the signal of revolt 
for the idolaters of the North ! " There was tumult in Sana. 
In vain Gregentius endeavored to quiet the populace by his 


eloquence. Adding fuel to the flame, came the news on the 
same day of the defeat of the Modarites and the death of Ibn 
Choza, whom the king had sent on an expedition to a rebel- 
lious tribe in Wady Dauasir. Abraha's wrath was doubly in- 
flamed by the profanation of his church and the death of his 
captain. He publicly vowed to annihilate the idolatrous 
Koreish, as well as the Kenaneh, and to demolish their temple 
at Mecca. Before nightfall that vow was the rallying-cry in the 
soldiers' quarter and the toast in every Jewish wine shop of Sana. 

The expedition was soon on its way. Abraha rode foremost, 
seated on his milk-white elephant, caparisoned with plates of 
gold. On his head was a linen cap covered with gold em- 
broidery, and from which descended four chains. He wore a 
loose tunic covered with pearls and Yemen akeek stone, over 
his usual dress ; while his muscular arms and short neck were 
almost hidden with bracelets and chains of gold in the Abys- 
sinian pattern ; for arms he had a shield and spears. After him 
came a band of musicians, and then the nobles and warriors, 
under command of the valiant Kais. Than him no better 
leader could have been chosen. Mourning the untimely death 
of his brother, Ibn Choza, slain by the treacherous arrow of 
Orwa, he sought a personal revenge even more than the honor 
of his religion and his king, and was prepared to risk all in 
fulfillment of the expedition. The army, increased by volun- 
teers at every village on their route, by forced marches over 
two hundred miles of mountain road, reached Jebel Orra, weary 
and footsore. What is only a usual journey to the Bedouin of 
the North, was a succession of hardships to the Yemen troops, 
accustomed as they were to mountain air, plenty of water and 
the rich fertility of their native valleys. No less did the herd 
of elephants suffer from the fatigue of distance and the scarcity 
of pasturage and water. Every day the advance was made 
with increasing difficulty. 

Meanwhile the Koreish had not been idle. Rumor never 
runs faster than in the desert. All those who loved Mecca, 


that oldest historic centre of all Western Arabia, rallied to the 
standard of the Koreish. It was the Kaaba, with its three 
hundred and sixty idols, against the Cross. No sooner was 
Abraha's approach known, than Dzu Neffer, Ibn Habib and 
other chiefs at the head of the tribes of Hamedan and Che- 
thamah gathered to oppose the advance. A desperate conflict 
followed, but the camels were frightened at the sight of the 
elephants, nor could the desert Arabs withstand an assault of 
such large numbers. 

The news of defeat struck the Koreish with the greatest con- 
sternation, and Abdulmuttalib, grandfather of the future 
prophet, Avho was guardian of the Kaaba, took counsel with all 
the chiefs of the allies. A swift messenger was sent to Abraha 
offering a third part of the wealth of all Hejaz as a ransom for 
the sacred Beit Ullah. The king, however, was inflexible, and 
his followers cried: "Vengeance for the desecrated Cross in 
our sanctuary ! No ransom from the idolaters ! Down with 
the Kaaba! " Finally Abdulmuttalib himself came to seek 
audience. He was admitted to Abraha's presence and honored 
with a seat by his side ; but Arab tradition says he came only 
to ask about the loss of some camels, and told Abraha that the 
Lord of the Kaaba would defend it himself ! (Such sublime 
faith does Moslem tradition put into the mouth of the prophet's 
ancestors, even though the anachronism proves its falsehood.) 

On the following day Kais led the advance through the nar- 
row valley that leads into the city. Here a grievous surprise 
awaited the host of The Elephant. To supplement the faith 
of Abdulmuttalib, the Arabs laid in ambush, and before day- 
dawn every one of the Koreish had occupied his place on the 
heights on either side of the pass, hidden behind the rough 
masses of boulder and trap that to this day make the whole 
hillside a natural battery. No sooner had the elephants and 
their riders entered the defile, than a shower of rocks and 
stones was incessantly poured upon them by their assailants. 
The unwieldly animals, mad with fright and pain, trampled 


the wounded to death, and confusion was followed by headlong 
flight, although the unequal contest lasted until sunset. It was 
the Thermopylae of Arabian idolatry, forever after celebrated 
in the Koran chapter of The Elephant. The batde affords a 
miracle, however, to the Moslem commentator by the easy 
change of a vowel, which makes "miraculous birds" with 
hell-stones in their beaks God's avengers, instead of the 
" camel-troops " of the Koreish. Two months after the victory 
that prophet was born whose character and career sealed the 
fate of early Christianity in Arabia, already decided on the 
fatal day when Abraha mounted his elephant and left Sana for 

The division of the Northern tribes between the Persians 
and Romans, followed by the defeat of the Yemen hosts, 
brought anarchy to all central Arabia. The idolaters of Hirah 
and Ghassan overran the south, and the weak reign of Yek- 
soum, son of Abraha, could not stay the decay of the Chris- 
tian state. Even the Persian protectorate only delayed its 
final fall. The sudden rise of Islam, with its political and so- 
cial preponderance, consummated the blow. " With the death 
of Mohammed," says Wright, "the last sparks of Christianity 
in Arabia were extinguished, and it may be reasonably doubted 
whether any Christians were then left in the^hole peninsula." 

In 1888, Edward Glaser, the explorer, visited nearly every 
part of Yemen and among his discoveries were many ancient 
inscriptions. From Mareb, the old Sabean capital, he brought 
back over three hundred, one of which dates from 542 a. d., 
and is considered by Professor Fritz Hommel the latest Sabean 
inscription. It consists of one hundred and thirty-six lines 
telling of the suppressed revolt against the Ethiopic rule then 
established in Yemen. The inscription opens with the words : 
"In the power of the All-merciful, and His Messiah 
AND THE Holy Ghost." This and the scarcely recognizable 
ruins of the cathedral at Sana are the only remnants of Chris- 
tianity that remain in Arabia Felix, 



" It surely is not without a purpose that this widespread and powerful 
race [the Arabs] has been kept these four thousand years, unsubdued and 
undegenerate, preserving still the vigor and simplicity of its character. It 
is certainly capable of a great future ; and as certainly a great future lies 
before it. In may be among the last peoples of Southwestern Asia to 
yield to the transforming influences of Christianity and a Christian civili- 
zation. But to those influences it will assuredly yield in the fullness of 
time." — Edso7i L. Clark. 

" Every nation has its appointed time, and when their appointed time 
comes they cannot keep it back an hour nor can they bring it on." — T^a 

TSLAM dates from 622 a. d., but the first Christian mis- 
sionary to Mohammedans was Raymund Lull, who was 
stoned to death outside the town of Bugia, North Africa, on 
June 30, 131 5. He was also the first and only Christian of 
his day who felt the extent and urgency of the call to evangel- 
ize the Mohammedan world. His constant argument with 
Moslem teachers was : Islam is false and must die. His devo- 
tion and his pure character coupled with such intense moral 
earnestness won some converts, but his great central purpose 
was to overthrow the power of Islam as a system by logical 
demonstration of its error ; in this he failed. His two spiritual 
treatises are interesting, but his Ars Major would not convince 
a Moslem to-day any more than it did in the fourteenth cen- 
tury. His life is of romantic interest and his indefatigable 
zeal will always be a model and an inspiration to missionaries 



among Moslems, i But he lived before his time and his age 
was unworthy of him. 

Nothing was done to give the gospel to Arabia or the Mo- 
hammedans from the time of Raymund Lull to that of Henry 
Martyn, the first modern missionary to the Mohammedans. 
The histories of these two men contain all that there is to be 
written about missionary work for the Mohammedan world 
from 622 until 18 12, so little did the Church of God feel its 
responsibility toward the millions walking in darkness after the 
false prophet. 

To the Protestant Church of the eighteenth century Arabia 
and the Levant presented no attractions or appeal. The Turks, 
as representing the Mohammedan world, were remembered as 
early as 1549, it is true, by the English Book of Common 
Prayer, in the collect for Good Friday,^ (which dates from the 
Sarum Missal). No effort was made, however, to carry the 
gospel to them or to any part of their empire, until long after 
other far more distant regions had been reached. Even Carey 
did not have the Moslem world on his large program. It was 
Claudius Buchanan who first aroused an interest in the needs 
of the Moslem world. On his return from India he told, on 
February 25, 1809, in his sermon at Bristol, the story of two 
Moslem converts, one of whom had died a martyr to Christ. 

1 See Smith's " Short History of Missions." Peroquet, Vie de Raymund 
Lull (1667). Low de Vita Ray. Lull (Halle, 1830). Helfferich Ray- 
mund Lull (Berlin, 1858). Dublin L/mv. Mag., Vol. LXXVIIL, p. 43, 
" His Life and Work." 

2 merciful God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that Thou 
hast made, nor wouldest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should 
be converted and live : have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and 
Heretics, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and con- 
tempt of Thy Word, and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to Thy flock, 
that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be 
made one fold under one Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and 
reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. 


In his Chris fi\fn JvcS(\i/\'/tc's he propounds a oouiprohonsive 
scheme for the evangelizalion of the Levant. The Church 
Missionary Society sent out missionaries, and in 18 lo the 
American Board began work for Moslems by sending riiny 
Fisk and Levi Parsons to Syria. 

This modern beginning of the gospel in Asia Minor had an 
indirect bearing on the future evangeUzation of Arabia and 
was a part of the Di\ine preparation. The journeys of Eli 
Smith and H. G. O. Dwight brought the An\erican churches 
face to face with the whole problem of missions in that icgion. 
The Syrian Mission through its press at Malta (^iSjj) began 
the assault on the citadel of Islam's learning. In 1833 the 
press was removed to Beirut ; and from that day until now it 
has been scattering leaves of healing throughout all the Arabic- 
speaking world. When in 1805 Dr. A'an Dyck wrote the last 
sheet of '*copy" of the Arabic Bible translation and hantled 
it to the compositor, he marked an era of importance not only 
to Syria and Asia Minor, but to the whole of Arabia, greater 
than any accession or deposition of sultans. That Bible made 
modern missions to Arabia possible ; it was the lesult of seventeen 
years of labor; "and herein is that saying true. Chie sowcth, 
and another reapeth . . . other men labored and ye are 
entered into their labors." Whatever special difhculties and 
obstacles missionaries to Arabia have met or will meet, the 
great work of preparing the Word of God in the language of 
the people and a complete Christian literature for every depart- 
ment of work, has already been accomplished by others ; and 
accomplished in such a way that the Arabic Bible of Beirut 
will always be the Bible for Oman and Nejd and the most in- 
land villages of Yemen and Hadramaut. 

The history of direct effort to reach the great Arabian penin- 
sula begins with Henry Martyn. It is deeply interesting to 
follow the gradual untbldings of the Divine ProA-idence in the 
reintroduction of the gospel into Arabia thirteen centuries after 
Christianity had been blotted out in that land by the sword of 


Mohaiiiincd and his successors. In more tliaa one sense Henry 
Marlyn was the pioneer missionary lo Arabia. He firsl came 
into contact with the Arabs through his study of tlicir language 
and his employment of that remarkable character, Sabat, as 
his munshee and co-worker. Sabat and his friend Abdullah 
were two Arabs of notaljle pedigree, who, after visiting Mecca, 
resolved to see the world. 'I'hey first went to Cabul, where 
Abdullah entered the service of the famous Ameer Zernan Shah. 
Through the efforts of an Armenian Christian he abjured Islam 
and had to flee for his life to Bokhara. " Sabat had preceded 
him there and at once recognized him on the street. ' I had 
no pity,' said Sabat afterward, ' I delivered him up to Morad 
Shah, the king.' He was offered his life if he would abjure 
Christ. He refused. Then one of his hands was cut off and 
again he was pressed to recant. ' He made no answer, but looked 
up steadfastly toward heaven, like Stephen, the first martyr, 
his eyes streaming with tears. He looked at me, but it was 
with the countenance of forgiveness. His other hand was then 
cut off. But he never changed, and when he bowed his head 
to receive the blow of death all Bokhara seemed to say, What 
new thing is this? ' Remorse drove Sabat to long wanderings, 
in which he came to Madras, where the government gave him 
the office of mufti or expounder of the law of Islam in the civil 
courts. At Vizugapatam he fell in with a copy of the Arabic 
New Testament as revised by Solomon Negri and sent out to 
India in the middle of last century by the Society for Promot- 
ing Christian Knowledge. He compared it with the Koran 
and the truth fell on him like a flood of light. He 
sought baptism in Madras at the hands of the Rev. Dr. Kerr 
and was named Nathaniel. He was then twenty-seven years 
of age. When the news reached his family in Arabia, his 
brother set out to destroy him, and, disguised as an Asiatic, 
wounded him with a dagger as he sat in his house at Vizaga- 
patam. He sent him home with letters and gifts to his mother, 
and then gave himself up to [jropagate the truth he had once 

318 ARABi.4, rm: CK.-tni.b: of islam 

in lus fficml Abilullah's person, perseculcil to tl\o death."' 
Those two wore iloubtloss the first fruits of uKHlcrn Arabia to 

It was iloubtless in a groat degree Sabal who directed 
[Martyn's tlioughts and plans towanl Arabia and the Arabs. 
On tl\c last tlay of the year 1810 ho w lolo in his diary : "I 
now pass tVom Inilia to Arabia, not knowing what things shall 
befall n\o ihoro." His purpose in leaving India was partly his 
broken health but more his intense longing to give the Molunn- 
medans of Arabia and Persia the woril of Goil in their own 
tongues. On his voyage from Calcutta to Bombay he eom- 
poseil tracts in Arabic, spoke with the Arab sailors and studied 
the Koran and JSIiebuhr's travels in Arabia. From Hombay he 
sailed for Arabia and Versia in one of the shii)s of the oUl 
Indian navy going on a cruise in the Persian Gulf. He reached 
Muscat on April 20, 1811, anil writes his first imjiressions in a 
letter to Lydia Grenfell : "1 am now in Arabia I'elix ; to judge 
from the aspect of the country it has little pretensions to the 
name, unless burning, barren rocks con\ey an idea of felicity ; 
but as there is a promise in reserve for the sons of Joktan, their 
land may one day be blessed indeed." \\c attempted to go 
inland for a short distance, but was forbidden by the soldiers of 
the Sultan o'( Muscat. 

Every word of Henry Martyn's journal regartling Arabia is 
precious, but we can cjuote only one more passage : " April 24. 
Went with one luiglish party and two .\rmouiaus and an 
Arab who served as guard antl guide to see a remarkable pass 
about a mile from the town and a garden jtlanted by a Hindu 
in a little village beyond. There was nothing to see, only the 
little bit of green in this wilderness seemed to the Arab a great 
curiosity. I conversed a good deal with him, but particularly 
with his African slave, who was very intelligent about religion. 
The latter knew as much about his religion as most mountaineers, 

> " Life of Henry Martyn," by George Smith, C. I. E., LL. D., (1S92) 
p. 226. 

rilli DAIVU Ol M()!>l:mi AI^AJUAU MI'iSIONS ZV.i 

and withal was so interested that he woiiJd not cease from his 
argument till I left the shore," 

Martyn did not tarry long at Muscat but his visit was "a 
little bit of green in this wilderness " and the prayers he there 
offered found answer in God's Providence long afterward. On 
all his voyage U) iiushire he was continually busy with his 
Arabic translation ; the people of Arabia were still first in his 
heart for he expresses himself as desirous finally "to go to 
Arabia r;irr;uitously by way of Persia," His longing to give 
the Arabs the Scripture began in India and intensified his de- 
votion to tlic stiidy of Heljrew. Had Martyn's chief assistant 
in the Aral^ic translating, Sabat, been a better scholar their 
New 'rcslanicnt version would have proved abidingly useful. 
As Sabat's knowledge of the language proved very faulty their 
Arabic Testament did not remain in use. It was first printed 
at Calcutta in /8t6, and although it accomplished a good work 
in common with other old translations, all have been superseded 
])y ttie wonderfully perfect version of Eli Smith and Van Jjyck. 
It was not due to Martyn, however, that the Arabic language 
had no worthy version of the iJii^le until i860. In his diaries 
for September 8 and 9, 1 810, we read these remarkable entries : 
" If my life is spared, there is no reason why the AralMc should 
not be done in Arabia, and the Persian in Persia as well as the 
Indian in India." . . . " Arabia shall hide me till I come 
forth with an approved New Testament in Arabic." . . . 
"Will government let me go away for three years before the 
time of my furlough arrives? If not I must quit the service, 
and I cannot devote my life to a more important work than that 
of preparing the Arabic Bible." 

These facts about Martyn's life show at how many points it 
touched Araljia; his purposes, his prayers, his studies, his 
translations, his fellow- worker, and his visit to Muscat. But 
more than all these was the result for Arabia of Martyn's in- 
fluence and the power of his spirit to inspire others. 


" O Eastern lover from the West ! 

Thou hast outsoared these prisoning bars; 
Thy memory, on thy Master's breast, 

Uplifts us like the beckoning stars. 
We follow now as thou hast led 
Baptize us, Saviour, for the dead." 

In 1829 Anthony N. Groves, a dentist of Exeter, taking the 
commands of Christ literally, sold all he had and, in the spirit 
of Martyn, began his remarkable attempt at mission work in 
Bagdad. His work was stopped twice, by the plague and by 
persecution, and the story of his life reveals how great were the 
obstacles which he vainly tried to surmount.^ From that day 
until long years after Northern and Eastern Arabia were wait- 
ing once more for the light. The only effort made in the Gulf 
was by Dr. John Wilson of Bombay who, before 1843, sent 
Bible colporteurs once and again by Aden and up the Persian 
Gulf; "he summoned the Church of Scotland to despatch a 
mission to the Jews of Arabia, Busrah and Bombay. A mis- 
sionary was ready in the person of William Burns who after- 
ward went to China, the support of a missionary at Aden was 
guaranteed by a friend and Wilson had found a volunteer ' for 
the purpose of exploring Arabia ' when the disruption of the 
Church of Scotland arrested the movement."^ It was Henry 
Martyn's life that inspired John Wilson in 1824. It was the 
Free Church of Scotland that afterward took up the work of 
Ion Keith Falconer the pioneer of Yemen. So God's plans 
find fulfillment. Even Muscat was not left without a witness 
in those years of waiting. It appears that the captain of an 
American ship which called at Muscat every year for a cargo 
of dates was a godly man and used to distribute Arabic Bibles 
and Testaments, even before the Bible Society extended its 
work to this place. 

1 Journal of Mr. Anthony N. Groves, Missionary to and at Bagdad. 
(London, 1831.) 

* George Smith's Life of Martyn, p. 563. 


As early as 1878 the British and Foreign Bible Society sent 
Anton Gibrail from Bombay to Bagdad on a colporteur-journey. 
And about the same time the South Russia agent of the So- 
ciety, Mr. James Watt, visited Persia and Bagdad and pressed 
the needs of this field on the committee of the Bible Society. 
He was seconded in his efforts by Rev. Robert (now Canon) 
Bruce, a Church Missionary Society Missionary in India. Ar- 
rangements were made between the two societies by which Bible 
work was opened in Bagdad under the supervision of Mr. Bruce. 
In December, 1880, a Bible depot was opened. Since then the 
work has gone on continuously and extended, through the 
Arabian Mission, to the entire east coast of Arabia. 

The first reference to the needs and opportunities for work 
in Western Arabia appears in the Annual Report of the British 
Bible Society for 1886, where the opening of a Bible depot at 
Aden is announced with the hope that it would lead to "the 
circulation of the Holy Bible on a larger scale and in a variety 
of languages." Ibrahim Abd el Masih was the first in charge 
of this depot, and his name was attached to the call for prayer 
from South Arabia issued after the death of Keith Falconer. 
Colporteurs from Egypt and from Aden of the British and 
Foreign Bible Society have once and again visited the Arabian 
Red Sea ports and penetrated to Sana, the capital of Yemen. 

Between the years 1880 and 1890 more than one appeal went 
forth for Arabia's need. Old Doctor Lansing of the American 
U. P. Mission in Egypt who for over thirty years had labored 
there waiting for the dawn of a brighter day, when he heard of 
one of these appeals, was all on fire, to start for Yemen. " For 
some years," wrote an American minister in the far West, "I 
and my people have been praying for Arabia." 

The Wahabi reformation in its time attracted the interest 
of those who studied the political horizon. The bombardment 
of Jiddah in 1858 compelled attention to Mecca and the pil- 
grimage, while from 1838, when England became mistress of 
Aden, until 1880 commerce and exploration was specially ac- 


tive on all the Arabian coast. It was during tliis period that 
the Anglo-Indian naval officers Moresby, Haines, Elwon, 
Saunders, Carless, Wellsted and Cruttenden carefully sur- 
veyed the entire Arabian coast. What they did for commerce, 
Major-General F. T. Haig did for missions in Arabia. He it 
was who first made the extensive journey all around the coast 
of Arabia and into the interior of Yemen. His articles plead- 
ing for the occupation of the Peninsula reached Keith Falconer 
and finally decided his choice of a particular field, in the wide 
Mohammedan world, to which his thoughts were already turned. 
It was also the experience and counsel of this man of God that 
helped to determine the final location as well as the preliminary 
explorations of the American missionaries of the Arabian mis- 
sion in 1890-92. The reports of General Haig are even to-day 
the best condensed statement of the needs and opportunities in 
the long neglected Peninsula while his account of the problems 
to be met and the right sort of men to meet them will always 
remain invaluable until the evangelization of Arabia is an ac- 
complished fact. 

In 1886 General Haig was asked by the committee of the 
Church Missionary Society to undertake an exploration of the 
Red Sea coast of Arabia and Somaliland with a view to ascer- 
taining the openings for missionary effort. He set out from 
London on October 12th, 1886, reaching Alexandria on the 
19th, and proceeded by way of the Red Sea coast in an Egypt- 
ian steamer to Aden, calling at Tor, Yanbo, Jiddah, Suakin, 
Massawa and Hodeidah. Dr. and Mrs. Harpur of the Church 
Missionary Society were already at Aden seeking an opening 
for mission work ; the former accompanied General Haig back 
to Hodeidah and occupied that place for a time as the first 
medical missionary in Arabia. General Haig then took the 
journey inland by the direct route to Sana with Ibrahim, the 
British and Foreign Bible Society colporteur and from Sana 
they went straight across Yemen to Aden. Shortly afterward 
General Haig proceeded to Muscat and up the Persian Gulf 


calling at all the ports. From Busrah he journeyed along the 
river to Bagdad and thence across the Syrian desert by the over- 
land post route to Danfiascus. It was this long and difificult 
journey which formed the basis of two papers^ entitled : "On 
both sides of the Red Sea," and "Arabia as a Mission Field." * 
A few brief extracts from a paper contributed to the Geo- 
graphical JourjiaP show the character of this first appeal to 
evangelize the land of the Arabs. Writing of Yemen he says : 
"We have in this southwestern part of Arabia a great moun- 
tainous country with a temperate climate, and a hardy labor- 
ious race. This hill-country and its races extend northward 
into Asir eastward into Hadramaut for an indefinite distance, 
while to the northeast they extend inland as far as the borders 
of the great desert. The finest and most war-like races are 
those to be found to the north and northeast of Sana. These 
have never yet submitted to the Turkish yokes; in fact the 
limits of the Turkish territory to the east of Sana are only a 
few miles distant from that place. Is it not of extreme impor- 
tance in connection with the evangelization of all Southern 
Arabia that the gospel should be preached and the Word of 
God brought to these hardy mountaineers ? They are mostly 
Zeidiyeh, a sect akin to the Shiahs in doctrine, but I saw no 
trace of fanaticism among them, rather they seemed every- 
where willing to listen to the truth. For the most part I sus- 
pect they are but poor observers of the prescribed religious 
practices of Islam. During the whole of my travels in Yemen 
I never once saw a man at prayer, and in only a few of the 
larger villages is there a mosque. The women are particularly 
accessible ; in the villages they wear no covering to the face, 
and those that we met at the khans, or inns, were always ready 
to come forward and talk. The little girls used frequendy to 

' Church Missionary Intelligencer for May and June, 1887. 
''General also published an account of his journey in Yemen from a 
geographical standpoint in the Geographical Journal, Vol. IX., p. 479. 
3 See also The Missionary Review of the World, October, 1895. 


run into our room, and, if invited, would come and sit down by 
our side. Ignorance is, I should say, the predominant char- 
acteristic of the whole population — ignorance of their own reli- 
gion, ignorance of the simplest elements of truth. I believe that 
an evangelist, thoroughly master of the language, Arabic, 
might go from village to village all over Yemen preaching, or 
quietly speaking the gospel." 

This testimony is true. But the challenge has never yet 
been accepted and all the highlands are still Avaithig for the 
first news of the gospel. Speaking of the capital of Yemen the 
report goes on : " Sana is a most important point. // is im- 
possible to exaggerate its importance from a missionary point 
of view. It is in the centre of the finest races of Southern 
Arabia, and if a mission could be established there, its in- 
fluence would extend on all sides to a multitude of tribes other- 
wise shut out from the gospel." 

After reviewing in detail the open doors in every part of 
Arabia, and speaking of the special obstacles at each point to- 
gether with the best methods of inaugurating work, he writes 
toward the end of his report : " /// one degree or another then, 
all Arabia is, I consider, open to the gospel. It is as much 
open to it as the world generally was in apostolic times, that is 
to say, it is accessible to the evangelist at many diflerent points, 
at all of which he would find men and women needing salva- 
tion, some of whom would receive his message, while others 
would reject it and persecute him. In some parts of the coun- 
try he would not be molested or interfered with by the ruling 
powers ; in others, as in Turkish Arabia, he might be arrested 
and even deported. Dangerous fanatics are, I believe, seldom 
met with but occasionally the missionary might come across 
such, and then the consequences might be more serious. But 
what if his lot were even worse than this, if he were hunted 
from village to village, and persecuted from city to city? Our 
Lord contemplated no other reception for His disciples when 
He sent them forth. This was in fact His ideal of the mission- 


ary life. . . . 'When they persecute you in this city 
(abandon the country? No.) flee ye into another.' The 
evangehst in Arabia need expect nothing worse than this and 
even this would probably be of rare occurrence. 
There is no difficulty then about preaching the gospel in 
Arabia if men can be found to face the consequences. The 
real difficulty would be the protection of the converts. Most 
probably they would be exposed to violence and death. The 
infant church might be a martyr church at first like that of 
Uganda, but that would not prevent the spread of the truth or 
its ultimate triumph." I'he most remarkable thing about this 
report, which occupies only forty pages, is its prophetic charac- 
ter, its permanent value and the fact that it touches every 
phase of the problem still before us. 

The immediate result of General Haig's report was the de- 
termination of the Church Missionary Society to leave Aden 
and Sheikh Othman to Keith Falconer and the Free Church 
of Scotland, while Dr. and Mrs. Harpur went to Hodeidah to 
try the possibilities of work in that city. There the skill of a 
Christian physician would have more of strategic power than 
in Aden itself which had two hospitals under government 
service. Everything was hopeful at the outset and the people 
flocked in large numbers to the dispensary. Evangelistic 
work was carried on, and Dr. Harpur wrote : " I try to read of 
the birth, death and resurrection of Christ including Isaiah liii., 
and the simplest parables." One or two of the Arabs became 
specially interested and read the Bible very eagerly. But the 
Turkish governor found objection and required a Turkish 
diploma from the missionary, or to have his diploma acknowl- 
edged at Constantinople. Work was at a standstill. Dr. 
Harpur was compelled to return to England on account of 
severe illness and Hodeidah was not again entered. In his 
letter to the Church Missionary Intelligencer , dated April 12th, 
1887, we read : 

"Should the way be closed notv, we trust that God will 


open it in His own time, and whenever that time may be, I 
want now to say that since I came here my great desire has 
been, and will continue to be, that I might be allowed to live 
and work among the people of Yemen. God knows best, 
wherever our Avork may be. Owing to the uncertainty that 
exists about my diplomas being ratified, and being in the 
meantime effectually stopped from any work, it seems advisable 
for us to go back to Aden, there to wait until we get directions 
from the Committee, using the time there for the study of the lan- 
guage. There is a door here, as fiir as the people themselves 
are concerned, and I trust we may not have to leave these poor 
people who have not rejected the gospel. '\\'hat a cause there 
is for prayer for them to Him who is King of Kings and Lord 
of Lords." 

About the same time, a remarkable call to prayer was sent 
out by the little band of workers in South Arabia, who were 
left to mourn the sudden death of their spiritual leader, Ion 
Keith Falconer. It was the first call to prayer issued for 
Arabia and it did not remain unheeded : 

Prayer for the Spread of the Gosfel in South Arabia. 

" We earnestly invite united intercession to Almighty God for 
the people of this land, that He Avill open doors for the preach- 
ing of the gospel, and prepare the hearts of all to receive it. 

We trust that many will respond to this request, and unite 
with us in setting apart a special time every Tuesday for prayer 
for the above object. We are, yours faithfully, 
(Signed.) F. I. Harpur, M. B., 

Church Missionary Society. 
Alex. Paterson, M. B. C. M., 

Free Church Mission. 
Matthew Lochhead, 

Free Church Mission. 
Ibrahim Abd El Messiah, 
Yemen, S. Arabia, B. and F. Bible Society." 


While the Church Missionary Society did not continue worlc 
at Hodeidah, they were already occupying the extreme north- 
east corner of Arabia and had begun work in Bagdad, the old 
city of the caliphs, with its conrimanding situation on the Tigris, 
and its large, Arab population. In 1882 Bagdad was occu- 
pied as an outpost of their Persia Mission on recommendation 
of Dr. Bruce. Rev. T. R. Hodgson was the first missionary 
there, but he afterward went into the service of the British and 
Foreign Bible Society and greatly extended its work in the Per- 
sian Gulf. He was succeeded by Dr. Henry Martyn Sutton 
and others. The mission has had hard struggles with the 
Turkish officials and its converts were compelled to flee. The 
medical work has had a vast and extensive influence in all the 
region round about, and at present the mission-staff is larger 
than ever before and the school recently opened is flourishing. 
Mosul has been taken over from the American Presbyterian 
Board by the Church Missionary Society, and in the words of 
one of their missionaries, "we are watching for an oppor- 
tunity of carrying the gospel into the very heart of Central 
Arabia, where the independent Prince of Nejd holds rule, 
across whose territory runs one of the principal routes for 
pilgrims to Mecca." 

As early as 1856 Rev. A. Stern made missionary journeys to 
Sana, Bagdad and other parts of Arabia to visit the Jews with 
the gospel. That remarkable missionary to the Jews, Joseph 
Wolff, the son of a Bavarian Rabbi and who was baptized by 
a Benedictine monk in 1812, also visited the Jews of Yemen 
and Bagdad in his wanderings,^ 

In 1884, Mr. William Lethaby, a Methodist lay-preacher 
from England, with his faithful wife, began a mission among 
the wild Arabs at Kerak in the mountains of Moab; so popu- 
lous and important is this mountain fortress in the eyes of the 
nomads that they call it El Medina, " the city." This pioneer 

'"The Missionary Expansion since the Reformation." — Graham, p. 19. 
" Life and Letters of Rev. A. Stern." / 


effort, after some years of struggle, was taken up by the Church 
IMissionary Society in connection with their Palestine mission. 
Mr. Lethaby, after journeying in East Arabia, and attempting 
in vain to cross the Peninsula from Bahrein westward (1892), 
is now in charge of the Bible Society's depot at Aden. 

As early as 1S86 the North Africa Mission attempted to reach 
the Bedouin tribes of Northern Arabia in the vicinity of Horns. 
Mr. Samuel Van Tassel, a young Hollander, of New York, 
trained at Grattan Guinnes's Institute, went out under their 
direction and accompanied a Bedouin chief on his annual mi- 
gration into the desert in 1890. He fonnd good opportunities 
among the nomatis for gospel-work, so that the door to him 
seemed "wide-open," but Turkish otificial jealousy of all for- 
eigners who have dealings with the Bedouin tribes, put an end 
to his work and compelled its abandonment. His experiences, 
however, as the first one who \\\eA and worked for Christ 
among the nomads in the black tents of Kedar is valuable for 
the future. The door of access was not closed by the Bedouins 
themselves, but by the Turks. Mr. Van Tassel found the 
Arabs very friendly, and willing to hear the Bible read, espe- 
cially the Old Testament. He found none of the fanaticism of 
the towns, and even persuaded the sheikhs to rest their cara- 
vans on the Sabbath day. It is interesting to note that the 
North Africa Mission was led to enter North Arabia through 
the representations of General Haig, then one of their council. 
At present they have no workers in Arabia, although that name 
still finds a place in their reports every month with the pathetic 
rehearsal:* "Northern Arabia is peopled by the Bedouin de- 
scendants of Ishmael ; they are not bigoted Moslems, like the 
Syrians, but willing to be enlightened. This portion of the 
field is sadly in need of laborers. ' ' 

In 1898 the Christian and Missionary Alliance of New York 

'On Van Tassel's work and experiences see "North Africa" (21 Lin- 
ton Road, Barking, London), Vol. for 1890, pp. 4, 21, 43, 59, 78; Vol. 
for 1891, pp. 2, 14, 27, 31 and 50. 


again called attention to the needs of Northern Arabia through 
Mr. Forder, formerly of the Kerak mission. He attempted to 
enter into the interior, by way of Damascus, but met with an 
accident, which prevented the undertaking. 

Before sketching the lives of the two great pioneer mission- 
aries to Arabia, we must chronicle the appeal for the dark 
peninsula that came from the heart of the Dark Continent. 
Not only because this appeal belongs to the early dawn of 
Arabian missions, but because of its remarkable character and 
its author. Henry Martyn in 1811 wrote at Muscat, "there 
is a promise in reserve for the sons of Joktan ' ' ; Alexander 
Mackay, from Uganda in 1888, took up the strain, and, in 
closing his long plea for a mission to the Arabs of Muscat, 
wrote : " May it soon be said, ' This- day is salvation come to 
this house forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham.' " 

This plea, written only two years before Mackay's death, and 
dated, August, 1888, Usambiro, Central Africa, is a great mis- 
sionary document for two reasons ; it breathes the spirit of 
Christianity in showing love to one's enemies and it points out 
the real remedy against the slave-trade. And yet Mackay ac- 
companied his carefully written article with this modest letter : 
" I enclose a few lines on a subject which has been weighing 
on my mind for some time. I shall not be disappointed if you 
consign them to the waste-paper basket, and shall only be too 
glad if, on a better representation on the part of others, the 
subject be taken up and something definite be done for these 
poor Arabs, whom I respect, but who have given me much 
trouble in years past. The best way by which we can turn the 
edge of their opposition and convert their blasphemy into bless- 
ing is to do our utmost for their salvation." ' 

In this article Mackay pleads for Arabia for Africa's sake and 
asks that " Muscat, which is in more senses than one the key 
to Central Africa," be occupjied by a strong mission. " I do 

I Mackay of Uganda, by his sister, (New York, 1897) PP« 4*7-430 
gives the article in full. 


not deny," he writes, "that the task is difficult; and the men 
selected for work in Muscat must be endowed with no small 
measure of the Spirit of Jesus, besides possessing such lin- 
guistic ability as to be able to reach not only the ears, but the 
very hearts of men." He pleads for half a dozen men, the 
pick of the English universities, to make the venture in faith. 
His continual reason for the crying need of such a mission is 
the strong influence it would exert in Africa because of the 
Arab traders. "It is almost needless to say that the outlook 
in Africa will be considerably brightened by the establishment 
of a mission to the Arabs in Muscat." "The Arabs have 
helped us often and have hindered us likewise, ^^'e owe them 
therefore a double debt, which, I can see no more alTcctive 
way of paying than by at once establishing a strong mission at 
their very headquarters — Muscat itself." 

^lackay was not unaware of the great difficulties of work 
among Mohammedans and in Arabia; he calls it "a gigantic 
project" and terms Arabia "the cradle of Islam." 15ut his 
faith is so strong, that at the very beginning of his article he 
quotes the remarkable resolution of the Church ^Missionary 
Society passed on INIay ist. i8SS, regarding work for Moham- 

The effect of Mackay's pleading was that the veteran Bishop 
French took up the challenge and laid down his life at Muscat. 
That life has "such linguistic capacitv as to be able," ever- 
more " to reach not only the ears but the very hearts of men " 
in a way even far above the thought of Alexander INIackay of 

' The text of this resolution is quoted at tlie head of chapter thirty-nine. 



«• My sword I give to him tliat shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and 
my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry 
with me to be a witness for mc, that I have fouglit His battles, who now 
will be my rewardcr. . . . So he passed over and all the trumpets 
sounded for him on the other side." — JJtmyan's Pilgrini's Progress. 
(Death of Valiant for Truth.) 

TON KEITH FALCONER and Thomas Valpy French, both 
"*■ laid down their lives for Christ after a brief period of 
labor in the land they so dearly loved. Keith Falconer died 
at the age of thirty after having spent only ien months, all-told, 
on Arabian soil ; Bishop French was sixty-six years old when 
he came to Muscat and lived only ninety-five days after his 
arrival. liut both gave 

" One crowded hour of glorious life," 

to the cause of Christ in Arabia and left behind them an in- 
fluence, power and inspiration which 

" Is worth an age without a name." 

Ion Grant Neville Keith Falconer,' the third son of the late 
Earl of Kintore, was born at Edinburgh, Scodand, on the 5th 
of July, 1856. At thirteen years of age he went to Harrow to 
compete for an entrance scholarship and was successful. He 
was not a commonplace boy either in his ways of study or 
thoughts on religion. With a healthy ambition to excel and 

' See " Memorials of the Hon. Ion Keith Falconer." — Robert Sinker 
(6th Edition Cambridge 1890) and Ion Keith Falconer, Pioneer in Arabia 
by Rev. A, T, Pierson, D. D. (Oct. 1897, Missionary Review of ihe World ). 



yet with a kindly modesty he made friends of those whom he 
surpassed and loved those who were his inferiors. INIanliness, 
magnanimity, piety and unseliishness, rare traits in a lad, were 
in him conspicuous. He loved outdoor sports and excelled in 
athletics as well as in his studies. At twenty he was President 
of the London Bicycle Club and at twenty-two the champion 
racer in Great Britain. 

One paragraph taken from the close of one of his letters 
gives us a glimpse of the boy at school and throws light on liis 
future choice of a profession. It is dated July i6th, 1S73 • 
"... Charrington sent me a book )esterday which I 
have read. It is called Following Fully . . . about a 
man who works among the cholera people in London so hard 
that he at last succumbs and dies. But every page is full of 
Jesus Christ, so that I liked it. And 1 like Charrington because 
he is quite devoted to Him, and has really given up all for His 
glory. I must go and do the same soon : howl don't know." 
This same year he left Harrow, and, after spending a year with 
a tutor exclusively in mathematics, entered Cambridge. His 
intentions were at first to compete for honors in mathematics 
but after careful thought he changed his plans and began to 
read for honors in the Theological Tripos. 

During his college days he also distinguished himself as a 
master in his two favorite pursuits, bicycling and shorthand. 
On the later subject he wrote the article in the Encyclopedia 
Britannica. He had a fine intellect, tremendous power of ap- 
plication and a genius for plodding. His knowledge of 
Hebrew was extraordinary ; he wrote post-cards in that lan- 
guage to his professor on every concei\able subject, and trans- 
lated the hymn, "Lead Kindly Light" as a pastime. No 
wonder that he received the highest honor in that language that 
Cambridge can give and passed with ease the Semitic lan- 
guages examination at the close of his course. 

But in all his studies and pastimes he did not cease to show 
that he was first of all a Christian and had the missionary 


spirit. By evangelistic work at Barnwell and Mile-End, alone 
and with his friend, Mr. F. N. Charrington, he labored to 
reach the poor and down-trodden. For the work in London 
he became at once treasurer and contributor of $10,000 and his 
work at Mile-End Road is held in loving remembrance by the 
present workers. Here doubtless it was that his thoughts first 
turned to the regions beyond. For in a letter dated June 12th, 
1 88 1, from Stepney Green, he writes : " It is overwhelming to 
think of the vastness of the harvest-field when compared with 
the indolence, indifference and unwillingness on the part of 
most so-called Christians, to become, even in a moderate 
degree, laborers in the same. I take the rebuke to myself. 
. . . To enjoy the blessings and happiness God gives, 
and never to stretch out a helping hand to the poor and the 
wicked, is a most horrible thing. When we come to die, it 
will be awful for us, if we have to look back on a life spent 
purely on self, but, believe me, if we are to spend our life 
otherwise, we must make up our minds to be thought * odd ' 
and 'eccentric' and 'unsocial,' and to be sneered at and 
avoided. . . . The usual centre is Self, the proper centre 
is God. If, therefore, one lives for God, one is out of centre 
or eccentric, with regard to the people who do not." 

After his final examination at Cambridge, he turned his 
whole attention to Arabic ; why, he himself knew not, except 
that he loved the language; it was God's plan in his life. To 
secure special advantages he went first to Leipzig in October, 
1880, and afterward to Assiut, Egypt. The Semitic scholar 
was becoming an Arab and fell in love with the desert even 
then. He wrote from Assiut, after some months of study : 
" I am meditating a camel-ride in the desert. I mean to go 
from here to Luxor on a donkey, camping out every night, and 
from Luxor to Kossair, on the Red Sea, on a dromedary. 
. . . I shall learn two things by doing this journey, 
Arabic and cooking." An attack of fever prevented the 
journey, and Falconer returned to England. Even there his 


engrossing study was Arabic, in which he was now reading 
such difficult books as the Mo'allakat and Al Hariri; as he 
expressed it, "I expect to peg away at the Arabic dictionary 
till my last day." 

In March, 1884, he married Miss Gwendolen Bevan ; they 
took a journey to Italy, and then settled at Cambridge, where 
Keith Falconer lectured and studied. In the spring of 1885 
he published his Kalilah and Dimnah, translated from the 
Syriac, with notes ; a lasting monument to his Semitic scholar- 
ship and an example of his wide general learning.' 

Toward the end of the year 1884 his thoughts first began to be 
definitely drawn to the foreign mission field, but as yet without 
any special choice of field. A summary of the papers written 
on Arabia, by General Haig, for the Church Missionary 
Intelligencer was published in The Christian, in February, 
1885, and fell under the eyes of Keith Falconer. The idea of 
evangelizing Arabia took hold of him with Divine power. His 
whole soul answered, "Here am I, send me." The imme- 
diate outcome was a request for an interview with General 
Haig, whom he accordingly met in London on February 21st, 
1885, "to talk about Aden and Arabia." He determined to 
go to Aden and see the field for himself. Only two questions 
did he stop to consider : First, as to the healthfulness of the 
place, and then whether he should go out as a free lance or 
should associate himself more or less closely with some existing 
society. Warmly attached to the Free Church of Scotland 
from his childhood, he met the Foreign Mission Committee of 
that church and his project was recognized by them. On 
October 7th he left, with his young wife, for Aden, and arrived 
there on October 28th. They remained until March 6th of the 
following spring. 

The first missionary report of this pioneer in South Arabia 
indicates what he thought of the field ; and why he decided to 

1 Kalilah and Dimnah, or The Fables of Bidpai, by I. G. N. Keith 
Falconer, Cambridge, 1885. 


make Sheikh Othinan, and not Aden, the centre of future 
work ; it also sets forth the methods which Keith Falconer pro- 
posed to adopt for the evangelization of Arabia. The follow- 
ing extracts are of especial interest : 

"The population of Aden is made up of (i) Arabs, all 
Moslems, mostly Sunnis of the Shafii sect; (2) Africans, 
mostly Somalis who are all Shafii Moslems ; (3) Jews ; (4) 
Natives of India, mostly Moslems, the rest being Hindus, a few 
Parsis, and a few Portuguese from Goa. In 1872, for every 
five Arabs there were less than three Somalis ; but I am told 
that now they are numerically equal. The Arabs and Somalis 
together make up the great bulk — about four-fifths — of the 
whole. In 1872 the Jews numbered 1,435 i they are now 
reckoned at more than 2,000. The Europeans, the garrison, 
and camp-followers number about 3,500. The climate of Aden 
is, for the tropics, unusually healthy. The port-surgeon, who 
has been here five years, assures me that a missionary need 
have no fear on the score of health. This is due to the scarcity 
of rain and vegetation, and to the constant sea-breezes. The 
summer heat is severe and depressing, but not unhealthy. 
There can be little doubt that Aden, from the fact of its being 
a British possession, from its geographical position, its political 
relations with the interior, its commerce with Yemen, its 
healthy climate, and its mixed Arab-Somali population, is, 
humanly speaking a good centre for Christian work among the 
Moslems of Arabia and Africa. 

"The next question is, how and where precisely to begin? 
My own notion is to establish a school, industrial orphanage, and 
medical mission at Sheikh Othman. The children are far 
more hopeful than the adults, and the power to give medical 
aid would be not only very useful in Sheikh Othman, but 
invaluable in pushing into the interior. There are numbers of 
castaway Somali children in Aden whose parents are only too 
willing that they should be fed and cared for by others. These, 
as well as orphans, might be gathered and brought up in the 

336 .-IR.-ini.f, TUn CR.-1DLE Oh ISUM 

faith of Christ, nemine contradicente. It would be necessary to 
teach the children to work with their hands, and I think that a 
carpenter or craftsman of some kind from home or from India 
should be on the mission staif. But the chief object of the 
institution would be to train native evangelists and teachei-s ; 
and a part of their training should be medicaL A\'ith a slight, 
rough-and-ready knowledge of medicine and surgery, they 
would tind many doors open to them. In the school, reading 
by mciuis of the Arabic Bible and Christian books, writing, and 
arithmetic would be taught to all ; and English, historical 
geography, Euclid, algebra, and natural science to the cleverer 
children. A native teacher, procurable from Syria or Egypt, 
would be very valuable, and I think a necessity at fust. If it 
were known in the interior that a competent medical man and 
surgeon resided in Sheikh Othman, the Arabs who now come 
to Aden for advice would stop short at our mission-house ; and 
the surgeon would have considerable scope both in Sheikh 
Othman, El-Hautah, and the little country villages, not to 
speak of the opposite African country. Of course the treat- 
ment of surgical cases would involve the keeping of a few 
beds. The medical missionary should be a thoroughly qualified 
man, as natives often delay to come for advice until disease has 
become serious and complicated. The port-surgeon has im- 
pressed this upon me several times. It should be mentioned 
that the native assistant at the Sheikh Othman dispensary often 
finds that Arabs come to Sheikh Othman to be treated, and, 
deriving no benefit, refuse to go on to Aden, and return home. 
The institution should stand in a cultivated plot or garden. 
This would render it tar niore attractive, and would greatly 
benefit the children. It would be possible to arrange for this 
in Sheikh Othman, where there is plenty of water, and the soil 
is good ; but not in Aden, where almost utter barrenness is 
everywhere found. 

" ISIy reasons, then, for perfening Sheikh Othman are: 

" I. We should not be seriously competing with govern- 


raent institutions. In fact, I am told that the government 
would be glad to be relieved of the necessity of keeping up a 
dispensary at Sheikh Othman. 

"2. The climate is fresher and less enervating than that of 
Aden. From its position it has the benefit of any sea-breeze 
which may blow, and the soil absorbs heat without giving it 
out again. On the other hand, in Aden, the high, black, 
cinder-like rocks often obstruct the breeze, store heat in the 
day, and give it out at night. Thus the nights in Sheikh 
Othman are markedly cooler than in Aden. 

"3. There is abundance of water, and the soil is capable 
of cultivation — a fact proved by the two fine private gardens 
there, not to speak of the government garden. But at Aden 
the soil is utterly barren, and all water must be paid for. It is 
either condensed, or procured by an aqueduct, or from a well 
sunk 120 feet in the solid rock. The water from the latter is 
quite sweet, and sometimes handed round after dinner in wine- 
glasses ! 

"4. I am told on the best authority that it would be very 
difficult to get a suitable site in Aden, whereas there are plenty 
in Sheikh Othman. Besides any number of building sites, two 
very large garden sites are vacant. The latter I have inspected, 
and the one I am recommended to take as having the best soil 
is admirably situated between the old village and the new set- 
tlement. It occupies the space between them. I can have the 
whole or the half of it granted to me at a nominal quit-rent. 

"5. Sheikh Othman is eight miles on the road to the in- 
terior, and so in closer contact with the tribes, and removed 
from the influence of the bad and unchristian example set by 
so many Europeans. 

"On the other hand, it must be borne in mind that the 
population of Sheikh Othman — about 6,500 — is comparatively 
small, though likely to increase somewhat ; and that it is very 
shifting, not more than some 1,500 being permanently resident. 
The last objection, however, applies to Aden as well." 


In another portion of the same report, after telling of the im- 
portance of Aden as a missionary centre, he emphasizes the 
fact that "More than a quarter of a million camels, with their 
drivers, enter and leave Aden yearly with produce from all 
parts of Yemen. The great majority of these pass through 
Sheikh Othman, where they make a halt of several hours on 
the journey to Aden." No one acquainted with Aden and its 
vicinity and reading Keith Falconer's letters can fail to be 
struck with the fact that from the outset he had his plans made 
for the interior, and that Sheikh Othman was only the first 
stage which he intended to use as a base of operations. He 
wrote to General Haig about the same time as the date of his 
report: "I have made up my mind that the right place for 
me to settle at is Sheikh Othman, not Aden. This will leave 
Aden and Steamer Point open to the Church Missionary So- 
ciety. Though I do not think that a medical missionary would 
have much scope in Aden, I think that a Bible and tract-room 
and preaching-hall might be started there. ... I hope to 
visit Lahej soon, but fear I shall be unable to go to Sana. I 
should not know where to leave my wife. When I have a col- 
league at Sheikh Othman with a wife, the two ladies can be 
together while the husbands go to Sana and elsewhere. If the 
Church Missionary Society missionaries come here I trust we 
shall find ways and means of cooperating and helping one an- 

In February, 1886, Keith Falconer went with a Scotch mili- 
tary doctor to Lahej, the first large village beyond Sheikh 
Othman, in the middle of an oasis, and then governed by an 
independent "Sultan." In March, having completed his pre- 
liminary survey of the field and decided on choice of a loca- 
tion, he sailed for England, not to tarry there, but to prepare 
for the final exodus to Arabia. "For," says his biographer, 
"the soldier of the Cross had counted the cost, had weighed 
with the utmost care every risk and had taken his final resolve. 
The manner in which he told his friends this was very charac- 


teristic of the man . . . who goes forth to the fight ready 
to spend and be spent in the cause of Christ." In May he met 
the General Assembly of the Free Church and made his 
famous address on Mohammedanism and missions to Moham- 
medans. In order to begin the work at Aden, a second mis- 
sionary, a medical man, was desired. Although the man was 
not yet found, Keith Falconer made the generous proposal to 
pay the sum of ^300 (^1,500) annually to the Free Church 
for the new missionary's salary. He had already offered to 
pay the expenses of himself and his wife, and had agreed to 
take upon himself the whole cost of the building of the mission- 
house. He laid on the missionary altar not only his talent of 
learning but that of money, and was in truth "an honorary 

The time between Keith Falconer's arrival in England and 
his return to Arabia was crowded full of life and activity, but 
only the most important events can be narrated. He received 
the gratifying but altogether unexpected offer of the post of 
Lord Almoner's professor of Arabic at Cambridge, which he 
accepted, becoming the successor of Edward H. Palmer and 
Robertson Smith. He prepared the lectures required, choosing 
for his subject "The Pilgrimage to Mecca." He read all the 
books on the subject in many languages, even learning the 
Dutch grammar in order to understand a work in that language. 
He visited hospitals in search of an associate for Arabia. He 
selected his library and furniture to take to Aden and disposed 
of his house-lease. He acted as judge at the Young Men's 
Christian Association Cycling Club races in Cambridge. He 
went to Glasgow to meet Dr. Stewart Cowen who was appointed 
his co-worker to Arabia. He tried to insure his life in favor 
of the mission-work at Mile-End ; but while the insurance 
office declared him "First-Class," they refused to grant the 
policy when they heard of his proposed p»lace of residence. 
He gave several farewell addresses in Scotland and delivered 
his Cambridge lectures just on the eve of leaving for Arabia. 


All this work was crowiled into six months' time by the man 
who, like Napoleon, did not have the M'ord impossible in his 
vocabulary. How well the work was done is proved by his lec- 
tures, the article in the Encyclopedia and his farewell addresses. 
What could be finer and stronger than these last sentences 
from his farewell address at Glasgow which still ring with 
power : 

" We have a great and imposing war-office, but a very small 
army . . . while vast continents are shrouded in almost 
utter darkness, and hundreds of millions suffer the horrors of 
heathenism or of Islam, the burden of proof lies upon you to 
show that the circumstances in Avhich God has placed you 
were meant by Him to keep out of the foreign mission field." 

Dr. Cowen arrived at Aden on December 7th, 1886, and Keith 
Falconer a day later, by the Austrian steamship "Berenice." 
He wrote, "We stopped at Jiddah, but to my great disap- 
pointment quarantine prevented me from going on shore. I 
gazed long at the hills Avhich hid Mecca from us." 

Mrs. Keith Falconer arrived a fortnight later. But the new 
missionaries were unfortunate at the outset in obtaining a suit- 
able dwelling. The stone bungalow, Avhich they expected to 
occupy at Sheikh Othman until a mission-house was built, 
could not be rented ; after considerable difficulty they man- 
aged to secure a large native hut, about forty feet square, 
which, with certain changes, appeared suitable for the emer- 
gency. A shed, erected by Keith Falconer, served them as a 
dispensary, and on January nth, he wrote, "Our temporary 
quarters are very comfortable and the books look very nice. ' ' 
Everything went well for a time and arrangements were made 
to begin building the mission-house. A tour was taken to Bir 
Achmed and the gospel was preached every day by word and 
Avork, although some of the party were down with fever nearly 
all the time. 

Early in February, 1887, they were cheered by the visit of 
General Haig, returning from his Yemen journey ; but very 


soon after things began for the first time to be clouded over. 
On February loth, returning from a tour inland, Keith Fal- 
coner was seized with a high fever which continued for three 
days and then began to abate, but did not leave him entirely. 
Mrs. Keith Falconer also had a severe attack of fever, and 
both went for a change to Steamer Point for three weeks, after 
which they returned to their "hut" at Sheikh Othman. On 
May ist, Keith Falconer wrote to his mother, " You will be 
sorry to hear that I have been down with yet another attack 
. . . this makes my seventh attack. This rather miserable 
shanty, in which we are compelled to live, is largely the cause 
of our fevers ... we expect to begin living in the new 
house about June ist, though it will not be finished then." 
But this letter did not reach her until after the telegram had 
told the news that God had called His servant to Himself. 
On Tuesday, May loth, after continued fevers and two rest- 
less nights, he went to sleep, and in the morning . . . 
" one glance told all. He was lying on his back with eyes 
half open. The whole attitude and expression indicated a 
sudden and painless end, as if it had taken place during sleep, 
there being no indication whatever of his having tried to move 
or speak." On the evening of the next day he was laid to 
rest, " In the cemetery at Aden by British officers and soldiers 
— fitting burial for a soldier of Chirist, who, with armor on 
and courage undaunted, fell with face to the foe. The martyr 
of Aden had entered God's Eden. And so Great Britain made 
her first offering — a costly sacrifice — to Arabia's evangeli- 

Keith Falconer did not live long, but he lived long enough 
to do what he had purposed, (and to do it after God's plan not 
his own) " io call attention to Arabia^ The workman fell but 
the work did not cease. The Free Church asked for one vol- 
unteer to step into his place, and thirteen of the graduating 
class of New College responded. By the story of Keith Fal- 
coner's life ten thousand lives have been spiritually quickened 


to think of the foreign field and its claims. He, " being dead, 
yet speaketh," and will continue to speak until Arabia is evan- 
gelized. Every future missionary to Arabia and every friend 
of missions who reads Falconer's life will approve the appro- 
priateness of the simple inscription on his grave at Aden : 









" If any man serve Me, let him follow Me ; and, where I am, there 
shall also My servant be : if any man serve Me, him will My Father 

The influence of Keith Falconer's consecration was widely 
felt at the time of his death and has been felt ever since. His 
biography has become a missionary classic, and has passed 
through six editions. The Presbytery of the Scotch Church in 
Kafraria, South Africa, resolved in October, 1887, that " steps 
be taken to prepare a memoir of the late Hon. Ion Keith Fal- 
coner, to be printed in Kafir as a tract for circulation among 
the native congregations with a view to impress them with an 
example of self-sacrifice." 

The mission at Sheikh Othman was continued. Through 
the generosity of Keith Falconer's mother and widow stipends 
for two missionaries were guaranteed. Dr. Cowen returned to 
England, but Rev. W, R. W. Gardner and Dr. Alexander 
Patterson came to the field. For a time Mr. Matthew Loch- 
head, from the mission among the Kabyles in Morocco, also 
joined them. A school for rescued slaves was started, but the 
children's health failing they were transferred to Lovedale in 


Africa. In 1893, Rev. J. C. Young, M. D., was sent out as a 
medical missionary to enforce the Rev. Mr. Gardner who with 
Mrs. Gardner were then alone ; Dr. Paterson and Mr. Loch- 
head having left for reasons of health. Rev. and Mrs. Gard- 
ner went to Cairo in 1895, and the following year Dr. Young 
was joined by Dr. and Mrs. W. D. Miller. In 1898 Mrs. 
Miller died, and Dr. Miller returned home. At present the 
mission staff consists of Rev. Dr. Young and Dr. Morris, who 
joined the mission in 1898. 

Despite these frequent changes and short periods of service, 
the Keith Falconer mission has not been at a standstill. Each 
of the faithful band used their special talent and individuality 
in removing somewhat from the vast mountain of Moslem 
prejudice and opposition " to make straight in the desert a 
highway for our God." The immediate interior around Aden 
has been frequently visited ; the mission dispensary is known 
for hundreds of miles beyond Sheikh Othman. We record 
with regret that Keith Falconer's wish to go to Sana remains 
unfulfilled on the part of the mission. A school for boys has 
been started, and the small "shanty" dispensary has grown 
into a fully equipped mission hospital, which treated over 
17,800 out-patients in 1898. A much needed and most hope- 
ful work among the soldiers is carried on in Steamer Point 
(Aden) and the Keith Falconer Memorial Church is filled 
every Sabbath with those who love to hear the old gospel. 



TF it was Keith Falconer's life and death that sealed the mis- 
sionary love of the church to Aden, it was the death of 
Thomas Valpy French ' that turned many eyes to Muscat, 
Bishop French it was who signalized the completion of his 
fortieth year of missionary service by attacking, single handed, 
the seemingly impregnable fortress of Islam in Oman. He is 
called by Eugene Stock, " the most distinguished of all Church 
Missionary Society missionaries." 

We are tempted to describe this man's early mission work in 
founding the Agra college and protecting the native Christians 
in the mutiny ; his pioneer work in Derajat ; his founding of 
the St. John Divinity School at Lahore ; his controversies with 
the Mohammedans ; and his manifold labors as the first 
Bishop of Lahore, but we can only chronicle here the closing 
years of his useful life. After forty years of "labors abun- 
dant" and "journeyings oft" he resigned his bishopric to 
travel among Arabic-speaking people and learn more of their 
language. He visited the Holy Land, Armenia, Bagdad and 
Tunis, everywhere diligently seeking to learn Arabic, and per- 
suade the Moslems of the truth of Christianity. He became, 
as some one expressed it, a " Christian fakir" for the sake of ' 
the gospel and desired to end his life as he began it, in pioneer 

As we have said it was Mackay of Uganda who riveted the 
bishop's attention to Muscat. Such a plea from such lips 

1 Life and Correspoiuloncc of T. V. French, First Bishop of Lahore, by 
Rev. Robert Birks, (Murray, London, 1S95). 



could not but touch the heart of such a veteran. No one else 
came forward, so how could he refuse? He knew that age 
and infirmities were coming upon him, but he wanted to die a 
missionary to Mohammedans. He had, to use his own words, 
"an inexpressible desire " to preach to the Arabs. He was 
willing to begin the work on his own account with the hope 
that the Church Missionary Society would take it up. 

What was the character of this lion-heart who dared to lift 
his grey head high and respond a/one, to Mackay's call for 
"half a dozen men, the pick of the English Universities to 
make the venture in faith " ? One who was his friend and 
fellow-missionary for many years wrote : "To live with him 
was to drink in an atmosphere that was spiritually bracing. As 
the air of the Engadine is to the body, so was his intimacy to 
the soul. It was an education to be with him. To acquire 
anything approaching his sense of duty was alone worth a visit 
to India. He demanded implicit obedience from those whom 
he directed, and often the cost was considerable. If any were 
unwilling to face a risk, he fell grievously in the bishop's esti- 
mation. There was nothing that he thought a man should not 
yield — home, or wife, or health — if God's call was apparent. 
But then every one knew that he only asked of them what he 
himself had done, and was always doing. How shall I speak 
of his unworldliness ? India is full of tales of this ; of acts 
that often led to somewhat humorous results. There was no in 
season or out of season with him. He was always on his Mas- 
ter's business. No biography, it is said, will be complete that 
does not show this side of his character. To outsiders fre- 
quently it seemed to lead him into inconsistencies. It did not 
seem incongruous for him to turn to the lady next to him, at a 
large luncheon party, and begin to discuss the heavenly Bride 
of Christ ; neither was it strange when hymn-books were dis- 
tributed at a large reception he held at Government House 
(kindly lent for the bishop's sojourn there), and the evening 
party was closed with hymns and prayer." 


Rev. Robert Clark of the Punjab Church Missionary So- 
ciety, testifies : "When he first began his work in Agra, he 
studied about sixteen hours a day. He taught in his school, 
he preached in the bazaars, he instructed inquirers for baptism, 
he prepared catechists for ordination, he was engaged in writ- 
ing books, at the same time that he was learning Arabic, Per- 
sian, Urdu, Sanscrit, and Hindi with munshis. Such excel- 
lence few can attain to, because few can safely follow in his 
steps in this respect. But all can copy his example of prayer- 
ful labor. When he spent his holidays in travels and in preach- 
ing excursions far and near, he showed us how to spend every 
hour of relaxation in the most profitable way. When he re- 
fused to possess even a very ordinary conveyance, because he 
thought that a missionary should go on foot, and declined to use 
anything but the most common furniture for his house, he set 
us an example of self-abnegation, and showed us what, in his 
opinion, should be the attitude of the missionary before the 
world. When he spent his earliest mornings with God, with 
his Hebrew Bible and Greek Testament before him, he often 
invited some friend to sit by him to share with him the rich 
thoughts which the Word of God suggested to his mind." 

This was the man who in solitary loneliness, without one 
friend to stand at his side, planted and upheld till death the 
banner of the cross where it had never been planted before. 
In the hotest season of the year, with a little tent and two 
servants he was preparing to push inland when death interposed 
and gave rest to this veteran of sixty-six years. " We fools 
accounted his life madness, but he is numbered among the 
children of God and his lot is among the saints." (Wisdom 
of Solomon v. 4, 5.) Only Judas can "have indignation 
saying to what purpose is this waste?" This broken box of 
exceeding precious ointment has given fragrance to the whole 

We will let Bishop French tell his own brief story of the 
work at Muscat, beginning with the time when we travelled to- 


gether down the Red Sea both in quest of God's plan for us in 

Near Aden, Jan. 22d, i8gi. 

"Boisterous winds and turbulent seas have racked my brain 
sorely, and I have seldom had such torture in this line. But 
we are close to the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, and hope to reach 
Aden some twelve hours hence. I should have been sorry to 
miss Hodeidah, where I had a long day (spite of difficulty of 
reaching it by sambuca or small boat of broad and heavy 
build), returning to ship in the evening. I left ray friends, 
Maitland and a young American missionary, and made my 
way straight out through a gate of one of the stout city walls, 
into the country beyond, where are palm-groves and some fairly 
imposing stuccoed country-houses of merchants and men of 
rank. Under an arcade (as the sun was to be feared) I got a 
little congregation together, some learned, others unlearned, 
and addressed them for over an hour, eliciting the opposition 
of one or two of the uluma, or educated men. For the first 
time in this part of my journey, my mouth seemed a little 
opened and heart enlarged to witness for Christ, and a few 
seemed really struck and interested. I tried to get entrance 
into a mosque or two, as of old time into Afghan mosques with 
Gordon and others, but failed to find the proper Imams 
within. I secured the lower steps of a flight of steps leading 
up to the private residence of a high Turkish officer, in rich 
uniform, a general of army here, not knowing whose steps I 
was occupying. However, the old gentleman came down (as 
a Roman centurion in old time might have done) and took his 
seat, with a few others, on his own doorstep, and listened 
with singular docility and thankfulness, and begged my bless- 
ing on his office, and his fulfillment of its arduous duties. 
After first leave-taking, he sent down to me a beautiful walking- 
stick of lemon-wood, so I had to mount the steps to express 

' The letters appeared in the Church Missionary Intelligencer, for May 
and July, 1891, 


my gratitude and acknowledgment of his singular courtesy 
and friendship. Then came a still more enthusiastic and 
affectionate leave-taking still, and warm kissing of hands, to 
Maitland's astonishment. I certainly never experienced such 
kindness and friendship from any Turkish official before in any 
quarter. I trust the message may have struck his heart. 
Anyhow, he gladly accepted a copy of the whole Bible — this 
is one of the most bigoted of Arab cities. 

"There was an excellent colporteur here this week, of the 
Bible Society, Stephanos, a Jewish convert, I believe, and ex- 
cellent Arabic scholar. The Wall, or viceroy of the city, has 
forbidden his carrying Arabic Bibles into the interior, though 
the Hebrew ones for the Jews at Sennaa are passed, some six 
days, into the mountains. In Jidda itself, I had some small 
measure of encouragement, but not nearly so much as in 
Hodeidah, which has now outstripped Mocha as a thri\-ing 
trade centre in those parts." 

Muscat, Gulf of Oman, 

February ijlh,i8gi. 

"I arrived here on Sunday last with Mr. Maitland, of the 
Cambridge Delhi Mission, whom I met in Egypt, and who 
spends a few weeks for his health's sake with me, perhaps until 
Easter. We did not like throwing ourselves on the British 
Consul here, as we thought it might embarrass him to entertain 
Christian missionaries on their first arrival here ; and we had 
very great difficulty in finding even the meanest quarters for 
the first day or two, but are now in quarters in an adjoining 
village, more tolerable as regards necessary comforts, belong- 
ing to the American Consul, who is agent for a new York 
house of business. I have written to India for a Swiss-cottage 
tent, as a resource in case of no possible residence being 
available here, or anything approaching even the English vil- 
lage public-house, or Persian caravanserai. In the adjoining 
hills such a tent might give shelter during the hot weather, if 
the Arabs will tolerate the presence of a Christian missionary. 


"Of possibilities of entrance of a mission, 1 feel it would be 
premature to speak yet. We are pushing on our Arabic 
studies, and I am glad to find how much more intelligible my 
Arab teaching is than in Tunis and Egypt. I hope soon to 
find a Sheikh of some learning, to carry on translations in 
Arabic under his guidance, if life and health be spared. I feel 
most thankful to feel myself again in a definite temporary 
centre, at least of missionary effort. ' Patience and long-suf- 
fering with joyfulness ' I would humbly and heartily desire to 
cultivate, as most appropriate to my present condition and cir- 
cumstances. The British Consul, a very polite and courteous 
and high principled man, is hopeless as to any effect being 
produced on the Oman Arabs, and feels his position precludes 
him from making common cause with any effort for making 
proselytes among them. So when Maitland goes I shall be 
pretty lonely here, not for the first time, however, and I only 
pray that the loneliness may help me to realize more fully the 
blessed Presence which fills, strengthens, animates, and sup- 

His last letter written from Muscat to the Church Missionary 
Society is dated April 24th, 1891, A portion of it is as fol- 
lows : 

*< Patience here, as elsewhere (and more than in most scenes 
I have visitedj, is a great prerequisite. I still live alone in a 
borrowed house, a spare one belonging to the American Consul 
here, and, rough as it is, it is amply sufficient for a missionary, 
and is in the heart of the town. I cannot get many — very 
few, indeed — to come to my house and read, which is naturally 
one of my great objects. They ask me into their shops and 
houses sometimes, to sit and discuss on the great question at 
issue between us and them, some Beluchees, mostly Arabs ; and 
the latter I vastly prefer, and consider more hopeful. There 
are some Hindus in the crowded bazaars, but I see little of 
them — partly because of the noise of narrow streets and traffic, 
and partly because 1 do not wish to be tempted away from the 


Arabic, Most of the few Hindu traffickers living here under- 
stand Arabic. 

'' There is much outward observance of religious forms ; there 
are crowds of mosques ; rather a large proportion of educated 
men and women too ; the latter take special interest in religious 
questions, and sometimes lead the opposition to the gospel. 
They have large girls' schools and female teachers. There is a 
lepers' village nigh at hand to the town. I occupied for the 
second time this morning a shed they have allotted me, well 
roofed over ; and those poor lepers, men and women, gathered 
in fair numbers to listen. Chiefly, however, I reach the edu- 
cated men by the roadside or in a house-portico, sometimes 
even in a mosque, which is to me a new experience. Still 
there is considerable shyness, occasionally bitter opposition ; 
yet bright faces of welcome sometimes cheer me and help me 
on, and I am only surprised that so much is borne with. I 
have made special efforts to get into the mosques, but most 
often this is refused. The Moolahs and Muallims seem afraid 
of coming to help me on in my translations, or in encountering 
with me more difficult passages in the best classics. This has 
surprised and disconcerted me rather ; but I have been saved 
in the main from anything like depression, and have had happy 
and comfortable proofs of the Saviour's gracious Presence with 
me. The Psalms, as usual, seem most appropriate and an- 
swerable to the needs of such a pioneer and lonely work. . . . 

" If I can get no faithful servant and guide for the journey 
into the interior, well versed in dealing with Arabs and getting 
needful common supplies (I want but little), I may try Bahrein, 
or Hodeidah and Sennaa, and if that fails, the North of Africa 
again, in some highland ; for without a house of our own the 
climate would be insufferable for me — at least, during the very 
hot months — and one's work would be at a standstill. But I 
shall not give up, please God, even temporarily, my plans for 
the interior, unless, all avenues being closed, it would be sheer 
madness to attempt to carry them out." 


He never reached the interior, for he received a sunstroke on 
his way from Muscat to the neighboring village, Mattra, in an 
open boat. He was removed to the Consulate but scarcely re- 
gained consciousness except to utter a " God bless you " to the 
Consul, Colonel Mockler. He died on May 14th, 1891. The 
very manner of his death fulfilled, more than he ever thought, 
his own words in one of his letters from Muscat : "In memory 
of Henry Martyn's pleadings for Arabia, Arabs and the Arabic, 
I seem almost trying at least to follow more directly in his foot- 
steps and under his guidance, than even in Persia or India, 
however incalculable the distance at which the guided one fol- 
lows the leader ! " 

The grave of Bishop French is in the bottom of a narrow 
ravine circled by black rocks and reached by boat, by round- 
ing the rocky point to the south of Muscat. Here are many 
graves of sailors of the Royal marine and others who died on 
this burning and inhospitable coast. Here also rests the body 
of Rev. George E. Stone, the American Missionary, who was 
called home in the summer of 1899, after a short period of 

In Memory of Thomas Valpy French, Bishop Missionary. 

Where Muscat fronts the Orient sun 

'Twixt heaving sea and rocky steep, 
His work of mercy scarce begun, 

A saintly soul has fallen asleep : 
Who comes to lift the Cross instead ? 
Who takes the standard from the dead ? 

Where, under India's glowing sky, 
Agra the proud, and strong Lahore, 

Lift roof and gleaming dome on high, 

His " seven-toned tongue " is heard no more ; 

Who comes to sound alarm instead ? 

Who takes the clarion from the dead ? 


Where white camps mark tlie Afghan's bound, 

From Indus to Suleiman's range, 
Through many a gorge and upland — sound 

Tidings of joy divinely strange : 
But there they miss his eager tread ; 
Who comes to toil then for the dead ? 

Where smile Cheltonian hills and dales, 
Where stretches Erilh down the shore 

Of Tliames, wood-fringed and ileck'd with sails, 
His holy voice is heard no more 

Is it for nothing he is dead ? 

Send forth your children in his stead ! 

Far from fair Oxford's grooves and towers, 

Her scholar Bishop dies apart ; 
He blames the ease of cultured hours 

In death's still voice that shakes the heart. 
Brave saint ! for dark Arabia dead ! 
I go to fight the fight instead ! 

O Eastern-lover from the West ! 

Thou hast out-soared these prisoning bars ; 
Thy memory, on thy Master's breast. 

Uplifts us like the beckoning stars. 
We follow now as thou hast led ; 
Baptii:e us, Saviour, for the dead ! 

— Archdeacon A. E. Moult. 



" Our ultimate object is to occupy the interior of Arabia." — Plan of the 
Arabian Mission. 

"To such an appeal there can be but one reply. The Dutch Reformed 
Church when it took up the mission originally commenced on an inde- 
pendent basis as the Arabian Mission, did so with full knowledge of the 
plans and purposes of its founders, which, as the very title of the xnission 
shows, embraced nothing less than such a comprehensive scheme of evan- 
gelization as that above described." — Major-General F. T. Ilaig. 

" It is not keeping expenses down, but keeping faith and enthusiasm 
up, that gives a clear balance sheet. Give the Church heroic leadership, 
place before it high ideals, keep it on the march for larger conquests, and 
the financial proljlcm will take care of itself. If the Church sees that we 
are not going to trust God enough to venture upon any work f<jr Him till 
we have the money in siglit, it will probably adopt the same prudence in 
making contributions, and our good financiering will be with heavy loss 
of income." — V'/ie Ckrislian Advocate. 

' I "*HE Arabian Mission was organized August ist, 1889, and 
"*■ its first nfiissionary, Rev. James Cantine, sailed for the 
field October i6th of the same year. In order to trace the 
steps that led this organization of this first American Mission to 
Arabia, we must go back a year earlier. 

In the Theological Seminary of the Reformed (Dutch) 
Ciiurch at New Brunswick, New Jersey, the missionary spirit 
was especially active during the year 1888. This was fostered 
by members of the faculty who had a warm love for that work, 
by a missionary lectureship recently inaugurated, by the mission- 
ary alumni of the seminary, and by some of the students them- 
selves who brought missions to the front. Among these stu- 
dents were James Cantine and Philip T. Phelps of the senior 



class, and Sauuicl M. Zwemer of the midille class, who had 
individually decided to work abroad, God willing, and who 
used to meet for pra)er anil consultation regai'ding the choice 
of a field of labor. The first meeting of this band was lield 
on October 31st, 1SS8, and the topic discussed was, *'what 
constitutes a call to the Foreign field?" After that they met 
almost every week, and gradually the idea took shape of band- 
ing themselves together to begin pioneer work in some one of 
the unoccupied fields. Tibet and Central Africa were men- 
tioned ; but their thoughts generally seemed to unite on some 
Arabic-speaking country especially Nubia or the upper Nile. 
The Seminary library was ransacked for information on these 
fields, without definite results. At the end of November the 
band decided to consult with their Hebrew and Arabic pro- 
fessor, Rev. T- (^- Lansing, D.D., who, being of missionary 
parentage and full of the missionary passion, warmly welcomed 
their confidence and from that time became associated with 
them in their plans. After some time it was mutually agreed 
that God called them to pioneer work in some portion of the 
Mohammedan world in or adjacent to Arabia. 

Over against this Divine call there appeared a great human 
difficulty : the fact that the church to which they belonged 
and owed allegiance conducted no missions in the Mohamme- 
dan world. The Mission Board of that church was already 
burdened with a debt of $35,000, and therefore it was im- 
probable that they would establish such a work in addition 
to their other mission work. In spite of these obstacles, how- 
ever, it was decided, February 11, 1899, to make formal appli- 
cation to the Board, and on May 23d the following i>lan was 
drawn up, and presented to the Board of Foreign Missions : 

" We the undersigned desiring to engage in pioneer mission work in 
some Arabic-speaking country, and especially in behalf of Moslems and 
slaves, do at the outset recognize the following facts : 

I. The great need and encouragement for this work at the present 


2. The non-existence of such mission work under the supervision of 
our Board of Foreign Missions at the present time. 

3. The fact that hitherto little has been done in the channels indicated. 

4. The inability of our Board to inaugurate this work under its present 

Therefore, that the object desired may be realized, we respectfully 
submit to the Board, and with their endorsement to the church at large, 
the following propositions : 

1. The inauguration of this work at as early a time as possible, 

2. The field to be Arabia, the upper Nile or any other field, subject to 
the statement of the preamble, that. shall be deemed most advantageous, 
after due consideration. 

3. The expenses of said mission to be met (a) by yearly subscriptions 
in amounts of from five to two hundred dollars ; the subscribers of like 
amounts to constitute a syndicate with such organization as shall be 
deemed desirable; (d) by syndicates of such individuals, churches and 
organizations as shall undertake the support of individual missionaries, or 
contribute to such specific objects as shall be required by the mission. 

4. These syndicates shall be formed and the financial pledges made 
payable for a term of five years. 

5. At the expiration of this period of five years the mission shall pass 
under the direct supervision of our Board as in the case of our other mis- 
sions. Should the Board still be financially unable, syndicates shall be 
re-formed and pledges re-taken. 

6. In the meantime the mission shall be generally under the care of 
the Board . . . through whose hands its funds shall pass. 

7. The undersigned request the approval of the Board to this under- 
taking in general, and particularly in the matter of soliciting subscriptions. 

(Signed.) J. G. Lansing, 

Jas, Cantine, 
P. T. Phelps, 


This plan was first presented to the Board on June 3d, when 
it was provisionally accepted to be referred to the General 
Synod. On June nth, the Synod, after a long and ardent 
discussion, referred the whole matter back to the Board, asking 
them "carefully to consider the whole question and, should 
the Board see their way clear, that they be authorized to 


inaugurate the mission proposed." On June 26th the Board 
met and passed the following resolution : 

" Resolved, That, while the Board is greatly interested in the propo- 
sition to engage in mission work among the Arabic speaking peoples, the 
work in which the Board is already engaged is so great and so constantly 
growing, and the financial condition of the Board is such (its debt at that 
time being ;^35,ooo), that the Board feels constrained to decline to assume 
any responsibility in the matter. 

" If, however, during the next four months, such a degree of interest in 
Foreign Missions should be developed in the churches as to reduce the 
amount to which the treasury is now overdrawn to a small fraction, then 
the Board would feel inclined to favor that important enterprise." 

Meanwhile the plan had been fully discussed in the church 
papers, and although there were warm friends of the enterprise 
who earnestly plead by pen and purse for its inauguration, the 
current generally ran dead against the proposal, and much cold 
water was thrown on the enterprise.^ 

How those felt who were most concerned in the decision was 
expressed by Professor Lansing, on their behalf, in the follow- 
ing words: "The writer and the individuals named are 
deeply grateful to General Synod for its hearty reception and 
advocacy of the proposed mission. And, on the other hand, 
they not only have no word of complaint to utter in regard to 
the action of the Board, but are grateful to the Board for the 
careful consideration they have given the matter, and deeply 
sympathize with them in the sorrow which they and all must 
feel in connection with the adverse action taken. But this does 
not discharge the responsibility. A responsibility Divinely 
imposed is not discharged by any admission of existing human 
difficulty. . . . When God calls we must obey, not object. 
And also when God calls to some specific work, then He must 
have some way by which that work can be done." 

^ An able plea for the acceptance of the Missions by the Church was 
made by Rev. J. A. Davis, in the Christian Intelligencer, N. Y., Sep- 
tember 18, 1889. 


After much thought and prayer a plan was adopted for con- 
ducting this work. The motto of the new mission appeared at 
the head : "Oh that Ishraael might hve before Thee." After 
the preamble, similar to the original plan, there are the follow- 
ing sections : 

" I. This missionary movement shall be known as The Arabian Mission. 

2. The field, so far as at present it is possible to be determined, shall 
be Arabia and the adjacent coast of Africa. 

3. Selected by and associated with the undersigned shall be a Com- 
mittee of Advice, composed of four contributors, to assist in, advancing the 
interests of this mission. 

4. In view of the fact that this mission is of necessity undenomina- 
tional in its personnel and working, contributions are solicited from any 
and all to whom this may come, without reference to denominational ad- 

5. The amount required to carry on the virork of this mission will be 
the sum necessary to meet the equipment and working expenses of the 
individuals approved of and sent to engage in the work of this mission. 
No debt shall be incurred and no salaries be paid to other than mis- 

6. It is desired that the amount subscribed sAall not i7tterfere with 
the individual's regular denominational contributions to foreign mis- 
sions. . . . 

7. Of the undersigned the first party shall be Treasurer, and have gen- 
eral oversight of the interests of the mission at home and as such shall 
render an annual statement, while the missionaries in the field shall have 
the direction of those interests abroad. . . ." 

The rough draft of this plan was drawn up at Pine Hill Cot- 
tage, in the Catskills, on August ist. A few days later, while 
the band was at the old Cantine homestead, Stone Ridge, 
New York, Dr. Lansing composed the Arabian Mission hymn, 
which will always be an inspiration to those who love Arabia ; 
but it will never be sung with deeper feeling than it was for the 
first time, in an upper room, by three voices. 

When the plan was published, the Rubicon was crossed, 
although not without the loss of one name from among the 
signers. Contributions began to come in, the Committee of 


I <U.^4vty / nOti. \hxtv ^o^ UtcJZZla 
<5>ll^iKv(>VV \\aS^ {^Ly ^CU^ p/}^<stl^cu 

aid JncU^ea^ (?c<JlSi^ <:>nU£t<^ 


Facsimile of the original copy composed by Prof. J. G. Lansing in iJ 
?it Stone Ridge, N. Y, 


Advice was selected, and the mission was incorporated. Among 
other tokens of favor the mission received at this juncture from 
Catherine Crane Halstead, a legacy, of nearly five thousand 
dollars — the largest gift, and the only legacy received by the 
Arabian Mission in the past decade. This unexpected and 
providential donation was encouraging and enabled the mission 
to begin work immediately. 

On October ist James Cantine was ordained by the Classis 
of Kingston in the Fair Street Reformed Church and he sailed 
for Syria on October i6th, stopping at Edinburgh to consult 
with the Free Church of Scotland Committee regarding co- 
operation with their mission at Aden. The proposition was 
cordially welcomed but was not acted upon since at Sheikh 
Othman, it was afterwards mutually agreed that more would 
probably be accomplished if the missions worked separately. 
The second member of the band to leave for the field was 
ordained by the Classis of Iowa, at Orange City, and sailed 
on June 28th, 1890. 

The two pioneers left Syria for Cairo at the end of November 
to meet Professor Lansing who was in Egypt for his health. 
On December i8th Mr. Cantine left by direct steamer for Aden, 
and on January 8th, 1891, the writer followed in an Egyptian 
coasting steamer, desiring to call at Jiddah and Hodeidah, and 
to meet General Haig, who was then at Suakin in charge of 
rescue work for orphans after the war.'' My journey down the 
Red Sea was made in company with the aged Bishop French, 
though neither of us ever heard of the other before we met on 
the train to take the same ship at Suez. We then learned for 
the first time that both were bound for the same point with the 
same object, to preach Christ to the Arabs. 

From Aden the two American missionaries made it their 
first task to explore the points suggested by General Haig for 
missionary occupation. One, Mr. Cantine, journeyed north- 

' This meeting with General Haig was described by him in an account 
in the London Christian (June, 1891). 


ward to the country of the Sultan of Lahaj, while the other 
sailed along the southern coast in company with Kamil, the 
Syrian convert from Islam. This earnest young disciple had 
become acquainted with Mr._Cantine_ in Syria, and early ex- 
pressed a desire to join in the work for Arabia. He loved the 
Scriptures and never shrank from obstacles which stood in the 
way of faith or service. His biography, by Dr. Henry Jessup, ^'' 
/y/ shows what he surrendered for Christ ; only the day of days 
;-• will show how much he accomplished for Arabia. On May 
26th, 1 89 1, Mr. Cantine sailed to visit Muscat and the Persian 
Gulf, with the understanding that his co-laborer should mean- 
while attempt the journey to Sana and study the possible open- 
ings for work in Yemen. The news of Bishop French's death 
had already reached Aden. Mr. Cantine tarried at Muscat a 
fortnight, after which he visited Bahrein and other ports of the 
Gulf, going on finally to Busrah and Bagdad. The importance 
of Busrah as a mission centre was evident. In population, 
accessibility and strategic location it was superior to other 
places in Eastern Arabia. Here seemed to be the place to 
drive the opening wedge. 

Meanwhile a twenty-days' journey to Sana and the villages 
of Yemen on the Hodeidah route, had shown the importance 
of Sana as a centre of operations, as is shown from the follow- 
ing written at that time : "It has advantages of large popula- 
tion, central location, importance of position and healthfulness 
of climate. Mail comes weekly and a telegraph connects with 
the outside world. Its disadvantages are, a Turkish govern- 
ment and the consequent difficulties of open and aggressive 
work. Like the road from Hodeidah to Sana, it will be uphill 
work, through mountains and strong places, but in both cases 
you reach Arabia Felix." On meeting Mr. Cantine at Busrah, 
however, the arguments for Yemen were set aside, and it was 
agreed that it was best to make Busrah the first headquarters. 
It was never thought at the time that Yemen's highlands would, 
after ten years, still be without a missionary. 




Dr. M. Eustace was then at Busrah, doing dispensary-work 
for the poor and acting as physician to the European com- 
munity. He welcomed the missionaries and worked with them 
heartily until he was transferred to the Church Missionary Soci- 
ety hospital at Quetta. His departure emphasized the power 
of a medical missionary among Moslems, and the missionaries 
made a strong plea for a physician to -join them. In January, 
1892, the Board of Trustees sent out Dr. C. E. Riggs, a man 
with testimonials of his standing as a physician and a member 
of an Evangelical church, but who, shortly after reaching the 
field, avowed his disbelief in the divinity of Christ, His 
commission was revoked and he soon returned to America, 
After several strange adventures this singular yet lovable man 
reached Chicago, was converted under the preaching of D. L, 
Moody at the World's Fair, and died at his home in New 
Orleans about a year later. It was a long way to the Father's 
house but proves the power of prayer, and that God never 
forgets His own. 

On June 24th of the same year faithful Kamil, rightly named 
Abd El Messiah (servant of Christ), was called to his reward. 
His illness was so sudden and the circumstances that attended 
his death so suspicious that we cannot but believe that he died 
a martyr by poison. He was the strongest man of the mission 
in controversy with Moslems, and a most lovable character, 
so that the report of that year truthfully states, "our loss in 
his death is unmeasured." 

These two successive blows were very serious and now two 
other losses followed. Yakoob, another Moslem convert, who 
had been in mission employ, and whose wife received baptism 
at Busrah, was arrested and prevented from returning to our 
field. Also one of the two efficient colporteurs employed by 
the mission, left to seek his fortune in America. The con- 
tinued illness of Dr. Lansing in the home land and a decrease 
in contributions likewise cast a shadow on the work. But faith 
grew stronger by trial. In the quarterly letter, near the close 


of this year, we read: "The experience of the missionaries 
ever since arriving at Aden, their tours along the coast and in- 
land, the opportunities foT work along the Euphrates, the Tigris 
and the Gulf, and the deep consciousness that our mission is 
called of God to carry the gospel into the interior of Arabia — • 
all prompt us to make a special plea at this time for additional 
workers. There are several points near Busrah where perma- 
nent work should be inaugurated without delay, and places 
like Bahrein, Muscat or Sana are equally, perhaps more, open 
to the gospel than Busrah itself. . . . If the Arabian 
mission is to be true to its name and purpose, it must occupy 
Arabia y This was followed by an appeal for five new men 
and the request tliat, should means be lacking to send them 
out, salaries be reduced, ' ' confident that the best way to in- 
crease contributions is by extending our work and trusting that 
God will provide for the future." 

The mission was at this time passing through a period of de- 
termined opposition and open hostility on the part of the Turk- 
ish local government. Colporteurs were arrested ; the Bible 
shop sealed up ; books confiscated ; and a guard placed at the 
door of the house occupied by the missionaries. A petition 
was sent to the Sublime Porte to expel the mission. But the 
opposition was short-lived and the petition never accomplished 
its purpose. In December Rev. Peter J. Zwemer joined the 
mission in Busrah. The difficulties in the way of securing 
a residence were at first very great and frequent change of 
abode was detrimental to the work. Arrangements were like- 
wise made during this year to carry on all the Bible work for 
the British and Foreign Bible Society in the region occupied 
by the mission. 

The chief event of the next year was the occupation of 
Bahrein as a second station. Although the first attempt to open 
a Bible shop and to secure a residence on the islands was 
fraught with exceeding difficulty and much opposition, the at- 
tempt was successful, and at the close of the first year over two 


hundred portions of vScripture had been sold. A journey was 
made into the province of Hassa and the eastern threshold of 
Arabia was thus crossed for the first time by a missionary. At 
Busrah the evangelistic work and Bible circulation made prog- 
ress, but medical work was at a .standstill. Cholera visited 
both stations and greatly interfered with the work ; many peo- 
ple fled from Busrah, and at Bahrein the total number of 
deaths was over five thousand. Peter Zwemer kept lonely 
watch on the islands at that time ; his only servant died of 
cholera and he himself could not get away as no ship would 
take passengers. 

Early in 1894 the good news came that Dr. James T. 
Wyckoff had been appointed to join the mission. Sailing on 
January 6th, and going via Constantinople to secure his Turk- 
ish diploma he arrived at Busrah in March. But the joy of 
welcoming a medical missionary was short-lived, for after a 
brief stay at Busrah he went to Bahrein where a severe attack 
of chronic dysentery soon compelled him to return to Busrah 
and subsequently to Kerachi and America. Thus the mission 
lost its third medical missionary, and his successor did not 
come out until the following year. / 

Muscat was visited by Peter Zwemer as early as December, \ / 
1893, and his reports of this port as a prospective centre for 
work in Oman were so encouraging after several exploration 
journeys, that it was decided to allow him to occupy the 

During the summer of 1894, the writer, at the request and 
expense of the Mildmay Mission to the Jews, made a journey 
to Sana, to distribute Hebrew New Testaments. It was also 
hoped that it would be possible for him to cross from Sana to 
Bahrein, by way of Wady Dauasir. But the theft of all his 
money even before reaching Sana and his arrest by the Turks, 
prevented the attempt. 

After many trials and tribulations in the administration of 
the mission at home, negotiations were concluded in June, 


1S94, by which it was transferred to the management and care 
of the Board of Foreign INIissions of the Reformed Church. 
The distinct existence of the corporation is still preserved, but 
the trustees are chosen from among the members of the Foreign 
Mission Board. No other departures from former methods 
were made, save that the administration was now in experi- 
enced hands and at less expense than formerly. The change 
was cordially accepted by nearly all the missionaries and the 
contributors; now no one questions its wisdom and, benefit. 

The year 1S95 was another trying year to the mission, but 
there were also blessings. The departure of Rev. James Can- 
tine to America on furlough, after nearly seven years in Arabia, 
necessitated the transferral of the writer to Busrah and so left 
Bahrein practically uncared for. The missionaries and native 
helpers suffered more than usual from the enervating climate, 
and touring from both Muscat and Bahrein was made impos- 
sible for a large part of the year by tribal wars and troubles. 
In February the Bedouins attacked Muscat and captured the 
town ; the place was given over to pillage and over two hun- 
dred lives were lost ; the mission-house and shop were looted and 
Peter Zwemer took refuge at the British consulate. At Bah- ' 
rein a similar trouble threatened for months and terror reigned, 
but the disturbance never reached the islands and the unruly 
Arabs were punished by English gunboats. At Busrah the 
Bible work was stopped by the Turkish authorities ; the shop 
closed and colporteurs arrested. The arrival of Dr. H. R. 
Lankford ^^^orrall at Busrah, on April 21st, with a Turkish 
diploma, once more gave the mission the golden key to the 
hearts of the people. Dr. ^Vorrall has used it faithfully, al- 
though his severe illness the first summer almost made the mis- 
sion despair of the health of doctors. 

Mr. Cantine visited the churches in America and greatly 
stimulated interest, prayer and offerings, although no new mis- 
sionaries were found willing and suitable for the field. 

At the end of the year Amara was opened as an out-station 


in the midst of much opposition but greater blessing. Even 
during this year earnest inquirers in this fanatical river village 
gladdened the hearts of the workers. 

Work for the women of Eastern Arabia was begun in 1896 
by Amy Elizabeth Wilkes Zwemer, who left the Church Mission 
Society mission at Bagdad to be married to Rev. S. M. 
Zwemer. First at Busrah, then at Bahrein and Kateef she in- 
augurated the work which only a woman can do in Moslem 
lands. Extensive tours were made by the colporteurs and by 
Peter Zwemer. The entire region north of Muscat as far as 
Someil and Rastak, even to Jebel Achdar, was penetrated by 
the missionary and colporteurs. One of the latter visited the 
so-called "pirate coast" south of Katar and sold over a hun- 
dred portions of Scripture. The following table shows the in- 
crease of Scripture sales by the mission at all of its stations. 
More than five-sixths of these copies were sold to Moslems : 

1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 
620 825 1,760 2,313 2,805 Jfj779 2,010 2,464 

At Busrah first fruits were gathered after these years of sow- 
ing in two remarkable cases. A soldier at Amara accepted 
Christ and came to Busrah for instruction ; this man has since 
"suffered the loss of all things" and "witnessed a good con- 
fession " wherever he has been dragged as an exile or driven 
as an apostate. Another convert was a middle-aged Persian 
who was deeply convicted of sin by reading a copy of Luke's 
gospel in the dispensary at Busrah. He was a consumptive, 
and after finding peace in Christ, left Busrah for Shiraz. 

In the autumn Mr. Cantine returned to the field, but the 
following February Mr. and Mrs. S. M. Zwemer departed on 
furlough, so that, with no reinforcements, the mission-staff re- 
mained insufficient. The work at Bahrein not only stood still, 
but, because of the unfaithfulness of a native helper, retro- 
graded. Muscat was, on the contrary, increasing in irnpor- 


tance. A school was begun by Mr. P. J. Zwemer, when 
eighteen helpless African boys, rescued from a slave-dhow, 
were handed over to his care. The little hand press in the 
mission-house sent forth its first message; a tract comparing 
Christ and Mohammed, which stirred thought as well as oppo- 
sition. It was the first Christian writing ever prtnted in Ara- 
bia and its simple message is prophetic : " Mohammed or 
Christ, on whom do you rely ? " 

At Busrah the medical work drew many within hearing of 
the gospel and Dr. Worrall was able to open work at Nasa- 
riyeh. At Amara the seed once more fell on good soil, and a 
small band of inquirers came together for prayer, but the har- 
vest is not yet. 

At the close of 1897, Rev. F. J. Barny, supported by the 
young people of the Marble Collegiate Church, New York 
City, came to the field, and began language study. 

The year 1898 is fresh in the memory of all those who are 
interested in the Arabian Mission. During it Peter Zwemer, 
after having gone to America, was called to his. reward and 
four new missionaries sent out into the harvest field to sow the 
seed of the kingdom. Two of them. Miss Margaret Rice (now 
Mrs. Barny) and Rev. George E. Stone, sailed with Mr. and 
Mrs. S. M. Zwemer on their return in August. The other two, 
Dr. Sharon J. Thorns and Dr. Marion Wells Thorns, of the 
University of Michigan, came to the field in December, 1898. 
Mr. Stone has now also gone to his reward — the third of the 
Arabian Mission to lay down his life for Arabia. 



A SKILLFUL and loving hand has laid a wreath of im- 
mortelles on the unknown grave of Kamil ; his biog- 
raphy will live. We can only briefly record our love and ad- 
miration for those other two of the Arabian Mission, who " loved 
not their lives unto the death," but "hazarded their lives for 
the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." 

Peter John Zwemer was born at South Holland, lUinois, 
near Chicago, on September 2d, 1868. His childhood was 
spent in a loving Christian home surrounded by gracious in- 
fluences and the prayers of godly parents. In 1880 he entered 
the preparatory department of Hope College, Holland, Michigan, 
and was finally graduated from the college in 1888. He was 
the only one of his class to choose the foreign field, and for it 
he sought special preparation after graduation, by work as 
Bible colporteur in Western Pennsylvania and New York, and 
a year of teaching in Iowa. In 1892 he was graduated from 
the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and on September 
14th, of the same year, was ordained at Grand Rapids, Michi- 
gan, and sailed for Arabia on October 19th. From the day 
of his arrival on the field to the day of his death his first 
thought was gospel work for the Arabs. He was of a practical 
turn of mind, and had no visionary ideas nor desire for martyr- 
dom, but a sturdy, steady purpose to make his life tell. He 
was eager to meet men, keen to grasp opportunities, a cosmo- 
politan in spirit always and everywhere. A student of charac- 
ter rather than of books, he preferred to make two difficult 
journeys than report on one. He loved to teach and knew 
how to do it. Sympathy for the weak and suffering and a 



hatred for all shams were prominent traits. He endeared him- 
self even to those from whom he differed in opinion or con- 
duct by his whole-hearted sincerity and earnest advocacy of 
his views. Arabia was to him a school of faith ; his Christian 
character ripened into full fruitage through much suffering. 
Mr. Cantine wrote of him : 

" Our personal relations were perhaps more intimate than 
those usually known by the missionaries of our scattered sta- 
tions. I was at Busrah to welcome him when in 1892 he re- 
sponded to our first call for volunteers, and was also the one 
to say good-bye a few months ago as he left behind him the 
rocks and hills of Muscat and Oman, among which the pre- 
cious cruse of his strength had been broken for the Master's 
service. His course was more trying than that of the others 
of our company, as he came among us when the impulse and 
enthusiasm which attach to the opening of a new work Avere 
beginning to fail, and before our experience had enabled us to 
lessen some of the trials and discomforts of a pioneer effort. 
A thorough American, appreciating and treasuring the memory 
of the civilization left behind, he yet readily adapted himself 
to the conditions here found. Of a sensitive nature, he keenly 
felt any roughness from friend or foe, but I never kncAV him on 
that account to show any bitterness or to shirk the performance 
of any recognized duty. 

" Of those qualities which make for success in our field he 
had not a few. His social instincts led him at once to make 
friends among the Arabs, and while his vocabulary was still 
very limited, he would spend hours in the coffee-shops and in 
the gathering-places of the town. His exceptional musical 
talents also attracted and made for him many acquaintances 
among those he was seeking to reach, besides proving a con- 
stant pleasure to his associates and a most important aid in all 
our public services. And many a difficulty was surmounted 
by his hopefulness and buoyancy of disposition, which even 
pain and sickness could not destroy." 



His short period of service in Arabia was longer than that 
of either Keith Falconer or Bishop French and although their 
lives have perhaps exerted a much wider influence, his has left 
larger fruitage on Arabian soil. Of his sickness and death the 
Rev. H. N. Cobb, D, D., Secretary of the mission wrote : 

" When the station at Muscat was opened in 1893 it was as- 
signed to him. From that time until May of the present year 
Muscat was his home. There he remained alone most of the 
time. Frequent attacks of fever prostrated him, unsanitary 
and unpleasant conditions surrounded him, the heat, con- 
stant and intense, often overwhelmed him ; still he clung 
heroically to his post, uttering no word of complaint, and 
quitting it only when mission business made it necessary, or 
tours were to be undertaken along the coast or in the interior, 
or when prolonged attacks of fever and the preservation of life 
made a limited absence imperative. When one considers all 
that he endured, the wonder is not that he died, but that he 
lived as long as he did. No higher heroism fought, suffered 
and at last succumbed at Santiago. He had become so much 
reduced by repeated attacks of fever and rheumatism that it 
was thought wise last year that he should leave Arabia and 
come home. His desire was to remain until next year, 1899, 
but in the early part of this year it became evident that he 
must not remain. When in the latter part of May he left 
Arabia, his weakness was so great that he was carried on board 
the steamer. On the homeward way, though writing back 
cheerfully concerning his improvement to those whom he had 
left behind, he grew gradually worse, and when he arrived in 
this country on the evening of July 12, was taken immediately 
to the Presbyterian Hospital through the kind assistance of a 
student for orders in the Roman Catholic Church. Those who 
have visited him there, and they have been many, have been 
struck by his cheerfulness, his hopeful courage, his anxious de- 
sire to recover, that he might return to his field and work, and 
yet his willing submission to his Father's will." 


He clung to life with a grip of steel and laughed at the idea 
the doctors had of his approaching death because he could not 
believe that his work was done. "I have done nothing yet 
and when I go back this time I will be ready to begin work," 
were his words. Yet he had no fear of death. His eye never 
turned away from Arabia ; he longed to plant the plough once 
more in the stony soil of Oman and to teach the most ignorant 
the way of life. From his dying bed he sent to the committee 
a report regarding changes necessary in the house at Muscat. 
His hand, almost too weak to hold a pen, wrote on October 
7th: "Dear father — I am slowly but surely improving and 
may be home soon. Now the board has authorized me to 
complete the building-fund. I have just secured ;^ioo for a 
Muscat touring boat. Dr. and Mrs. Thoms sailed this morn- 
for Arabia, /aus Deo / I felt sorry I could not divide myself 
and go with them . . . patiently longing I wait His 

Even later than this, when he could no longer write, he 
dictated letters regarding the work at home and in the iield. 
On the evening of Tuesday, October i8th, 1898, six weeks 
after his thirtieth birthday he quietly fell asleep. " His time " 
had come. After a brief service, the body was taken by lov- 
ing hands to Holland, Michigan, and laid to rest in the sure 
and certain hope of a glorious resurrection. But his heart 
rests in Arabia and his memory will remain longest where he 
suffered most and where his fellowship was so blessed. 

" O blest communion ! fellowship divine ! 
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine 
Yet all are one in Thee for all are Thine. 
Hallelujah ! 

" And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long, — 
Steals on the ear the distant triumph-song 
And hearts are brave again and arms are strong. 


George E. Stone. 

On the twenty-sixth of June, 1899, George E. Stone died of 
heat apoplexy at the coast town of Birka a few miles east of 
Muscat. On Thursday the twenty-second of that month, in 
company with a colporteur, he left Muscat, for a few days 
change. He was in fairly good health, although suffering from 
boils. Monday morning he had a little fever ; in the after- 
noon it came again and in a few hours he had departed. His 
body was taken to Muscat by the colporteur and there buried 
near the grave of Bishop French whose death was from the 
same cause. 

Rev. George E. Stone was born on September 2d, 1870, at 
Mexico, Oswego County, New York. He was graduated from 
Hamilton College in 1895, and from the Auburn Theological 
Seminary in 1898. Toward the close of his studies his thoughts 
were drawn to the foreign field and he became a ' ' student vol- 
unteer." The reason for his decision was characteristic of the 
man. As he himself expressed it in his inimitable five-minute 
speech at the General Synod : "I tried in every possible way 
to avoid going to the foreign field but I had no peace. I go 
from a sense of obedience." He first heard of the special 
needs of Arabia through a former classmate who represented 
Union Seminary at the New Brunswick Inter-Seminary Confer- 
ence in November, 1897. Shortly after he wrote for informa- 
tion about the field, and without further hesitancy he applied 
and was accepted. Ordained by the Presbytery of Cayuga at 
Syracuse, he sailed with the mission party in August, 1898. 

George Stone was a man of much promise; altogether a 
character of one piece without seam or rent. Sturdy, manly, 
straightforward, humble and honest to the core. He was 
entirely unconventional and did not know what it was to try 
to make a good impression. He was simply natural. With 
native tact and Yankee wit was joined a keen sense of duty 
and a willingness to plod. Confessing that he was never in- 


tended for a linguist he yet, by sheer appUcation, made remark- 
ably rapid progress in Arabic. He made friends readily and 
was faithful to sow beside all waters. No one could travel 
with him and not know that he was a fisher of men ; yet he 
was never obtrusive in his method. He had a splendid con- 
stitution, and looked forward to a long life in Arabia, but God 
willed otherwise. 

He was at Bahrein from October 9th until February 14th, 
when he left for Muscat to take the place of Rev. F. J. Barny, 
who had been ill with typhoid and was going on sick-leave to 
India. He was the only person available at the time, although 
it was not a pleasant task for a novice to be suddenly called to 
take care of a station of which he knew little more than the 
name. Without a word of demur he left Bahrein at three 
V hours' notice and sailed for Muscat. There he remained alone, 
but faithful unto death, until June, when Rev. James Cantine 
arrived to take charge of the work. His letters were always 
cheerful ; he seemed to grasp the situation, and with all its 
difficulties to see light above the clouds. The following .sen- 
tences from a few of his letters show what sort of man he was. 
They were written in ordinary correspondence and with no idea 
that the words would ever be treasured : 

" I was pretty certain that I should be sent to Muscat later 
on, but had no idea of going so soon. However, it is all right. 
Anything that has been prayed over as much as your decisions 
at Busrah, must have been directed of God, and I have been 
under His orders for some time. ... I have had two or 
three fevers, but they are small affairs, sick one day and well 
the next. No further news. I can only add my thankfulness 
to God for the way He has led me through the last two months 
and for giving me a share from the beginning in actual mission- 
work. . . . Many thanks for the report. I can learn a 
great deal from it to help out my ignorance. I do feel like a 
baby before this great work but, as the darkies used to sing, 
the Lord is 'inching me along.' 


"Pray for me that I may have wisdom and grace to carry 
this business through. I want it settled right." 

To his Auburn friends he wrote this in a characteristic letter : 

" You ask what I think of it now that I am on the spot. 
First : that the need has not been exaggerated, and that Mo- 
hammedanism is as bad as it is painted. Second : that we 
have a splendid fighting chance here in Arabia, and the land 
is open enough so that we can enter if we will. If a man 
never got beyond the Bahrein Islands he would have a parish 
of 50,000 souls. Third : that on account of the ignorance of 
the people they must be taught by word of mouth and there- 
fore if we are to reach them all, we must have many helpers. 
Fourth : that I am glad I came to Arabia, and that to me has 
been given a part in this struggle. I do firmly believe that the 
strength of Islam has been overestimated, and that if ever the 
Church can be induced to throw her full weight against it, it 
will be found an easier conquest than we imagine — not but 
what it will cost lives, it has always been so, but I do believe 
that Islam is doomed." 

Little did he think, perhaps, whose life it would first cost. 
Will his call be heeded and will the Church, will you, help to 
throw the whole weight of your prayers against Islam? "Ex- 
cept a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abideth 
alone, but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit." 

" The seed must die before the corn appears 
Out of the ground in blade and fruitful ears. 
Low have those ears before the sickle lain, 
Ere thou canst treasure up the golden grain. 
The grain is crushed before the bread is made ; 
And the bread broke ere life to man conveyed. 
Oh, be content to die, to be laid low, 
And to be crushed, and to be broken so, 
If thou upon God's table may be bread, 
Life-giving food for souls an hungered," 



" A word as to the task your mission attempts. It is to me the hardest 
in the whole mission-field. To conquer Mohammedanism is to capture 
Satan's throne and I think it involves the greatest conflict Christianity has 
ever known. In attacking Arabia you aim at the citadel of supreme error 
occupied by the last enemy that shall bow to the kingship of Christ." — 
Rev. W. A. Essery, Hon. Secretary of the Turkish Mission Aid Society. 

" While the difficulties in the way of missionary work in lands under 
Mohammedan rule may well appear to the eye of sense most formidable, 
this meeting is firmly persuaded, that, so long as the door of access to in- 
dividual Mohammedans is open, so long it is the clear and bounden 
duty of the Church of Christ to make use of its opportunities for delivering 
the gospel message to them, in full expectation that the power of the 
Holy Spirit will, in God's good time, have a signal manifestation in the 
triumph of Christianity in those lands." — Resolution of the Church Mis- 
sionary Society^ May 1st, 1888. 

THE problem of missionary work in Arabia is twofold : (i) 
the general problem of Mohammedanism as a political 
religious system which Arabia has in common with all Moslem 
lands ; and (2) the special problems or difficulties which per- 
tain to Arabia in particular. 

The general problem of missions to Moslems is too vast and 
important to be treated here. Dr. George Smith says that "the 
great work to which the providence of God summons the church 
in the second century of modern missions is that of evangeliz- 
ing the Mohammedans." It is the missionary problem of the 
future. Dr. H. H. Jessup, who speaks of it as " a work of sur- 
passing difficulty, which will require a new baptism of apostolic 
wisdom and energy, faith and love" gives the elements of the 
problem in his book.^ As unfavorable features he enumerates, 

'The Mohammedan Missionary Problem. — H. H. Jessup, D. P., 1879, 



(i) the union of the temporal and spiritual power, (2) the 
divorce between morality and religion, (3) Ishmaelitic intoler- 
ance, (4) destruction of true family life, (5) the degradation 
of woman, (6) gross immorality, (7) untruthfulness, (8) mis- 
representation of Christian doctrine, and (9) the aggressive 
spirit of Islam. Among the favorable features he names: (i) 
belief in the unity of God, (2) reverence for the Old and New 
Testament, (3) and for Christ, (4) hatred of idolatry, (5) 
abstinence from intoxicating drink, (6) the growing influence 
of Christian nations, (7) the universal belief of the Moslems 
that in the latter days there will be a universal apostasy from 
Islam. In some respects the problem has changed since Dr. 
Jessup's book was written but in its main, outlines it remains the 

The problem of Arabia as a mission-field can best be studied 
by considering in order : the land itself as regards its accessi- 
bility; the climate and other special difficulties; the present 
missionary force ; the methods suited to the field ; and the 
right men for the work. The chapters on the geography of 
the peninsula show how different are the various provinces and 
what are the strategic centres in each. It is generally con- 
sidered both a good missionary policy and a true apostolic 
principle to work out from the cities as centres of population 
and influence. This is especially necessary in Arabia where 
the population is scattered and largely nomadic. All nomads 
come to some city or village for their supplies at frequent inter- 
vals or, if they are independent of a foreign market, they bring 
their produce to the cities. This by way of preface. 

First, what parts of Arabia are really accessible to missionary 
operations? (i) The Sinaitic peninsula with the adjoining 
coast of Hejaz nearly as far as Yanbo ; the population is mostly 
Bedouin but a good centre for work would be the Egyptian 
quarantine station of Tor in the Gulf of Suez. (2) Aden and 
the surrounding region under British protection, with a popu- 
lation of perhaps 200,000 souls. (3) The entire south coast 

370 .^R.-iPl.-t, THF CR.-tniF OF ISi.-tM 

from Aden to IMakalla ami Shehr \vitl\ its hlnUriamf ; this 
region has been tVeel\' visited by explorers and travellers, men 
and women ; the people are qnite friendly and the natnral base 
of operations wonld be the town of Makalla. (^4) Oman with 
its coast-towns and hill-conntry, everywhere aieessible ; wherever 
missionaries have tried to enter they haA-e met with a welcome 
above all expectations. (^5) The so-called "pirate-coast" in 
East Arabia between Ras el Kheinui and Aim Thnbi ; many 
villages, all under r>iitish subsiily and with resident native 
agents. (6) The islands of Bahrein. 

All of these regions are ontside i>f Dtrkish Arabia and are 
more or less uniler the intluence of Great Britain so that every 
kind of missionary work is possible. No passports are reipiired 
for travelling; no special diplomas for the right to practice 
medicine ; no censorslnp ot' books ; no otTu-ial espionage or 
prohibition of residence. 

In Turkish Arabia the case is different, but it would be very 
incorrect to say that Turkish Arabia is inaccessible. "The 
Turks are no doubt," as General Haig remarks, "a great ob- 
stacle, but we must give them their due, and admit that they 
are not nearly so intolerant as some European States, including 
Russia." Only one portion of Turkish Arabia seems, at pres- 
ent, to be aho/i/te/y inaccessible, namely, the two sacred cities 
Mecca and Medina. At present, we say, for it does not seem 
possible that these twin-cities would long remain closed if the 
church had faith to apinoach their doors and were ready to enter. 

Other portions of Turkish Arabia are accessible, at least to 
some extent. (O The entire coast of Hejaz is accessible; two 
cities, Jiddah, and Hodeidah, are specially suited for medical 
mission work; while it is not at all improbable that with proper 
faith and kindly tact, the lovely town of Taif, that garden of 
Mecca, would harbor a medical missionary. IXiughty's ex- 
l>eriences seem to indicate that Taif is not considered holy 
ground.' (^j^ \en\i'n, the .Arabia Felix indeed; with a 
' \ol. 11., pi>. 5035:19. 


splendid climate, a superior Arab population, numerous villages 
and cities, and with marvellous fertility of soil. Surely these 
highlands will not remain forever under the rod of oppression ; 
when the hour of deliverance comes, every village should have 
a mission-school and every city a mission-station. Even now 
under the Turk work is possible for the large Jewish popula- 
tion. (3) Hassa with its capital Hofhoof and Katif on the 
coast. (4) The vilayets of Busrah and Bagdad. These four 
regions in Turkish Arabia are accessible with three limitations 
to missionary-work : — Every missionary must have proper pass- 
ports ; no medical missionary can practice without a Constan- 
tinople diploma ; and no books or Bibles can be sold unless 
they have been examined by a censor of the press and bear the 
seal of the government. The passport matter is awkward at 
times but is not an insurmountable barrier ; where the govern- 
ment considers travelling safe, passports are always given. The 
medical diploma requirement is not different from the law of 
France and other countries ; once in possession of such a di- 
ploma, the leverage power of the Christian physician is in- 
creased rather than limited. The third restriction prevents the 
distribution of all controversial literature but admits the Bible 
and many other Christian books ; it is rather burdensome and 
irritating to one's patience but does not shut the door to real 
missionary work. Every copy of the Arabic Scriptures printed 
at Beirut bears the imprimatur of the Ottoman Government — 
the sign and seal of the " Caliph " that the Word of God shall 
have free course in his tottering empire. 

Finally there is the vast interior — Asir, Nejran, Yemama, 
Nejd, Jebel Shammar — is that too accessible ? The whole 
region is free from Ottoman rule and, for the greater part, un- 
der one independent prince, Abd-ul-Aziz, the successor of Ibn 
Rashid. But for the rest the question must remain unanswered 
until a missionary has attempted to enter these regions and 
has brought back a report. For travellers the whole of the in- 
terior has proved accessible since the days of Palgrave ; and 


the presumptive evidence is that a missionary could also pene- 
trate everywhere even if he were not at first allowed to settle in 
any of the towns. I have not the least doubt that a properly 
qualified medical missionary with a thorough knowledge of the 
language would find not only an open door but a warm wel- 
come in the capital of Nejd or even at Riad. 

Regarding the general accessibility of Arabia, General Haig 
wrote in his report as follows : " There is no difficulty then 
about preaching the gospel in Arabia if men can be found to 
face the consequences. The real difficulty would be the pro- 
tection of the converts. Most probably they would be exposed 
to violence and death. The infant church might be a martyr 
church at first, like that of Uganda, but that would not prevent 
the spread of the truth or its ultimate triumph." 

The climate of Arabia is, at present, an obstacle to mission- 
ary work, but in the mountain ranges of Oman and Yemen as 
well as in all the interior plateau of Nejd a healthful, bracing 
climate prevails. Now, alas, while all work is still confined to 
the coast, we have perhaps one of the most trying climates in 
the world. The intense heat of summer (often i io° Fahrenheit 
in the shade) is aggravated by the humidity of the atmosphere, 
and the dust raised by every wind. In the winter, from De- 
cember to March, the winds in the northern part of the gulf 
and the Red Sea, are often cold and cutting and although the 
temperature is more suited at that time to Europeans and 
Americans, it appears to be less healthy for natives. The so- 
called gulf-fever of the remittent type is very dangerous and 
convalescence is at times only possible by leaving the gulf. 
Cholera and smallpox are not uncommon. Ophthalmia is rife. 
Prickly heat in aggravated form, boils, and all the insect 
plagues of Egypt are a cause of suffering in their season. 

Moslem fanaticism is not peculiar to Arabia nor is it more 
intense or universal here than in any other purely Mohammedan 
land. The fanaticism of the Arabs has been grossly exagger- 
ated. The Wahabis represent the extreme of e^clusiveness 


and prejudice, but even among them it is possible for a mis- 
sionary to preach Christ and read the Bible. Personal violence 
to the messenger of the gospel has proved in ten years experi- 
ence, almost unknown in any part of Arabia visited by mis- 
sionaries. Sometimes Bibles and books are collected by a 
fanatical Mullah and consigned to the flames or the oblivion of 
an upper shelf in his house. The fellows of the baser sort 
perpetrate insults and annoyances at times in village-work or 
refuse hospitality. But we, in Arabia, have never met with 
the strong anti-foreign feeling such as seems to be prevalent, 
for example, in China. The prejudice is seldom against the 
dress or manner or speech of the foreigner ; even his food is 
considered clean and no Arab would refuse to share his meal 
with a Christian traveller. But there is often a strong preju- 
dice against certain aspects of Christian doctrine, especially if 
crudely or unwisely put. In an Arab coffee-shop it would be 
unsafe as well as unwise to use the words "Son of God," 
"death of Christ," "Trinity" etc., without a previous expla- 
nation. Yet on the whole the Arabs are friendly to any stran- 
ger or guest and this friendliness is especially strong toward 
Englishmen and on the coast, because of the clear contrast be- 
tween English and Ottoman or Arab rule. Commerce too with 
its general integrity and "the word of an Englishman " has in 
a sense been the handmaid of missions by disarming prejudice 
and opening Arab eyes to the superiority of western civilization. 

From a missionary standpoint the population of Arabia can 
best be divided into the illiterate and those who can read. 
The former class are in the vast majority and include all the 
Bedouins with exceedingly few exceptions. Taking the popu- 
lation at eight million, to say that one half a million could read 
would be a large estimate. On this account work for those 
who are able to read, by means of colportage and book- 
shops, may be too highly rated as to its extensive result ; its 
intensive value no one will question. 

The problem of reaching the nomad population is a very serious 



one. The data for a correct theory of work among them are 
yet to be collected. Experience of work among them has been 
very limited ; indeed the only work of importance was that of 
Samuel Van Tassel in North Arabia. As a class they are less 
religious than the town or agricultural Arabs. One who has 
studied the subject writes : '* The Arabs [Bedouins] remain Mo- 
hammedans simply because they know of nothing better ; the 
Bedouins are Moslems only in name observing the prescribed 
forms in the neighborhooci of the towns, but speedily casting 

Population Touched by Mission Effort. 
Adan, etc., . 100,000. Muscat .... 20,000 
Bahrein . . 60,000. Busrah and Bagdad, 520,000 

them aside on regaining the desert. Yet there are men among 
them not without reverent thoughts of the Creator, derived 
from the contemplation of His works, thoughts which, accord- 
ing to Palmer, take sometimes the form of solemn but simple 
prayer." The character of missionary work among this nomad 
population (perhaps one-fourth or fifth of the population of the 
peninsula) will be very similar to that of James Q ilm our among 
the Mongols ; and it will require men of his stamp to carry it 
on successfully. 



The presetit missionary force i7i Arabia is utterly inadequate 
to supply the needs even of that portion of the field which they 
have occupied. There are oi\\y four points on a coast of four 
thousand miles where there are missionaries. There is not a single 
missionary over ten miles inland from this coast. No mission- 
ary has ever crossed the peninsula in either direction. The 
total number of foreign missionaries in Arabia, is less than a 
dozen — twelve workers, men and women, let us say, for a pop- 
ulation of 8,000,000 souls. 

Area Occupied by Missionaries. 

Adan, etc., 8,000 square miles. Muscat 600 square miles. 

Bahrein. 400 " " Busrah and Bagdad, 71,000 " '< 

The Keith Falconer Mission is not as strong in its numbers 
as when Keith Falconer died. The Arabian Mission has only 
recently received enough reinforcement to man its three stations 
permanently. There has been too much of the spirit of — - 
periment instead of the spirit of enterprise ; a corporal's guard 
went out to attack the chief citadel of the enemy. Bishop 
French was alone when he died at Muscat. The Arabian 
Mission waited years before they received reinforcements. 
What is the spiritual need of Arabia to-day ? Of the total area 


of the peninsula only about one-twelfth is in any way reached 
by missionary eifort. This does not mean that one-twelfth of the 
area is covered by mission-stations and touring, but that in 
some way or other about one-twelfth of the peninsula is "oc- 
cupied ' ' by organized mission-work in its plan and purpose, 
day by day. As to the proportion of missionaries to the popu- 
lation te7i men out of eleven have no opportunity in this neglected 
country to hear the gospel even if they would. 

The only part of Arabia that is fairly well occupied is the 
River-country — that is the two vilayets of Bagdad and Busrah. 
Here there are two stations and two out-stations on the rivers ; 
colporteurs and missionaries regularly visit the larger villages ; 
several native workers are in regular employ and the Bible 
Society is active. Yet in these two vilayets nothing has ever 
yet been done for the large Bedouin population, and there are 
only six foreign missionaries, men and women, to a population 
(Turkish census) of 1,050,000 souls. 

Looking at Arabia by provinces : Hejaz has no missionary ; 
Yemen (with the exception of Sheikh Othman and Aden) has 
no missionary ; Hadramaut has no missionary ; Nejd has no 
missionary ; Hassa has no missionary ; Jebel Shammar and all 
the northern desert has no missionary ; Oman has one mission- 
ary. Again, the following towns and cities are accessible, but 
have not one witness for Christ : Sana, Hodeidah, Menakha, 
Zebid, Damar, Taiz, Ibb, with forty smaller towns in Yemen ; 
Makallah, Shehr, and Shibam in Hadramaut ; Rastak, Someil, 
Sohar, Sur, Abu Thubi, Dabai, Sharka and other important 
towns in Oman ; not to speak of the important towns of Nejd 
and in Mesopotamia, still without any missionaries and never 
.'- Iby ^-^ evangelist. 

Arabia is in truth a neglected field, even now. Thus far the 
work has been really preliminary ; the evangelization of Arabia 
must yet begin ; not until every province is entered and every 
one of the strategic points specified is occupied can we truly 
speak of Arabia as a mission-field. Nor is the project vision- 


ary. Given the men and the means there is not the slightest 
reason why the next decade should not see the entire peninsula 
the field for some sort of missionary effort. The doors are 
open, or they will open to the knock of faith. God still lives 
and works. 

Regarding the best methods of mission-work in Arabia the 
experience of missionaries in other Moslem lands is of the 
greatest value. The story of the Church Missionary Society 
in the Punjab, that of the North Africa Mission, and above all 
the work of the Rhenish Society in Sumatra should be thor- 
oughly familiar to every Arabian missionary. Medical missions 
have their special place and power, but also their special diffi- 
culties in pioneer work like that in Arabia. Surgery is worth 
infinitely more than medicine among a people like the Arabs, 
where fatalism and neglect of the sick make the science of 
medicine of doubtful result in so many cases. " Kill or cure" 
rather than prolonged treatment, suits the Moslem palate. But 
a skillful surgeon with a Turkish diploma holds the key to 
every door in the entire peninsula. There is not one mission- 
hospital in Arabia ! Surely such centres as Bagdad, Busrah, 
Bahrein, Sana, Jiddah, Hodeidah and Hofhoof should have 
these acknowledged powerful methods of evangelization. At 
Aden and Muscat there are Indian Government hospitals. 

Educational work is still absent or in its infancy as regards 
the Moslem population, so that there are no data from which to 
formulate theories as to their success. In some parts of Arabia 
schools might not be permitted by the government ; every- 
where they would necessarily at the outset be very elementary. 

Christian women, as experience has proved both in Yemen 
and East Arabia, are welcomed everywhere. With or without 
medical qualifications, but with hearts of love and sympathy 
for the poor, the suffering and the miserable, they can enter 
every house or hut. Even in the black tents of Kedar there 
are aching hearts and wretched homes to which the gospel of 
peace and love can alone bring relief. Lady Ann Blunt and 


Mrs. Theodore Bent have proved what women can do in Arabia 
for the sake of science ; will there be no Christian women who 
will penetrate as far inland for the sake of their Saviour ? 

Colportage is an approved mission-method especially in 
Arabia, since the Bible and a full line of educational and re- 
ligious literature is ready to our hand from the Syrian and 
Egyptian missions. In Yemen this work would be especially 
useful and practicable, but there it has scarcely been attempted 
systematically. The problem is to find men of the right stamp 
for the work. Men who are <' willing to endure hardness as 
good soldiers of Jesus Christ," with tact and good temper and 
the ability to talk with the simple-minded. Love is worth 
more than learning in a colporteur. Good health and a clean 
Turkish passport are two other requisites. Even this method 
of work is in its infancy ; there are many open doors for the 
Word of God that have never yet been entered. 

Under evangelistic work come the problems of street-preach- 
ing, touring, and the use or abuse of controversy. The best 
place for preaching at stations is the mission-house itself, after 
the example of Paul (Acts xxviii. 30, 31). On tours or in 
village-work the mej'lis of the sheikh or the public coffee-shop 
makes a capital pulpit. In a small hand-book for missionaries 
to Moslems by Rev. Arthur Brinckman, now out of print,^ I 
find the following admirable hints on public preaching to Mos- 
lems which apply to Arabia also : 

" If possible always address your audience from above. Sit- 
ting down is sometimes better than standing ; you are not so 
likely to get excited, the attitude is less war -like in appearance. 
Be with your back to a wall if possible ; there are many rea- 
sons for this. 

" When drawn into argument, keep on praying that you may 
speak slowly, and with effect. When asked a question do not 
answer quickly — if you do, you will be looked on as a sharp 

1 Notes on Islam : A Hand-book for Missionaries. — Rev. Arthur Brinck- 
man, London, 1868. — — 




controversialist only ; think over your answer first, and give it 
most kindly and slowly. If possible always quote a passage 
near the beginning or end of a Koran chapter and there will 
be less delay in finding it." 

The question of the right place of controversy or whether it 
should have a place at all in mission-work among Moslems is of 
the highest importance. Opinions differ decidedly among those 
who are pillars of the truth. The best and briefest argument 
against the use of controversy is that given by Spurgeon in one 
of his early sermons at New Park Street Chapel.* He argues in 
brief that a missionary is a witness, not a debater, and is only 
responsible for proclaiming the gospel by his lips and by his life. 

There is truth in this, but on the other hand even the apos- 
tles "disputed" in the synagogues with the Jews, and from 
the days of saintly Martyn (not to say Raymond Lull), until 
now, the Christian missionary has been compelled by the very 
force of circumstances to vindicate the honor of Christ and 
establish the evidences of Christianity by means of controversy. 
When, in July, 1864, the Turkish government persuaded Sir 
Henry Bulwer to sign the death-warrant to all missionary work 
among Moslems in the Turkish empire by the memorandum 
that made controversy a crime, the fact was immediately rec- 
ognized. Rev. J. Ridgeway, then the editorial secretary of the 
Church Missionary Society, wrote an able paper in the Church 
Missionary Intelligencer on the theme : " Missionary work as 
regards Mohammedans impossible if controversy be interdicted.''^ 
"By controversy," he wrote, "we understand not acrimonious 
and irritating recriminations, which, well aware how unbecom- 
ing and injurious they are, the missionaries have always 
eschewed, but that calm investigation of conflicting religious 
systems that is indispensable to the decision of the important 
question — which is true and which is false? " * 

' Reprinted in " North Africa " (April, 1892), under the title : Preach- 
iitg, not Controversy. 
2 History of the Church Missionary Society, Vol. II., p. 155. 


It is only in this sense that controversy is justifiable ; and 
this kind of controversy, whether by the printed page or word 
of mouth, has not proved unfruitful of good results. Sir 
AVilliam Muir gives a complete synopsis of all Mohammedan 
attacks on the Christian faith and the replies made in defence 
of Christianity ; his criticisms of the books in question are also 
of great interest. Since that date there have been new attacks 
and new apologies both from the Moslem side and from that of 
the missionary. As a plough breaks up the soil before the 
seed is sown so this kind of literature and argument will often 
break up the fallow ground of Moslem hearts for the seed of 
God's Word. Even awakened fanaticism or active opposition 
is more hopeful than absolute stagnation of thought and i)etri- 
faction of feeling. How to awaken the Moslem conscience is 
the real problem. 

It is less important to consider the attitude of the Turkish 
empire toward Christians than tlie attitude of the Moslem mind 
toward Christianity, as regards Arabia's evangelization.' The 
prevailing attitude of the Moslem mind, in any particular part 
of Arabia, toward Christianity practically decides the fate of a 
convert. Were Moslems all strictly adherent to their traditions 
and the law regarding renegades from Islam, every convert 
would be a martyr and every inquirer would disappear. The 
Ottoman code of Moslem law gives specific directions for the 
trial and execution of the renegade from the faith. " He is to 
have three distinct offers of life if he will return to the faith 
and time for reflection, after each offer, is to be given him. 
If he remains obdurate he is to be executed by strangulation 
and then his head is to be cut off and placed under his arm. 
His body is thus to be exposed three days in the most public 
place."'* But, thank God, Moslems do not strictly adhere to 
this law. In this, as in other respects, many are belter than 

'The Mohammedan Controversy and oilier articles. — Sir Wm. Muir, 
Edinburgh, 1897. 

^Missionary Review, October, 1893, p. 727, in article by "C. 11." 

PRO HI. f I MS or run Arabian rini.n 3B7 

their religion and superior to their pro[>het. Converts in that 
part of Aruljia which is under English rule or protection are as 
safe as they are in India; which does not mean that they are 
entirely free from persecution. In Turkish Arabia the law is 
carried out by secret murder, or by banishment ; yet not in 
every case, for even there inquirers and converts, if not active 
or prominent, have remained for a time unmolested. What 
the result would be in the independent Moslem states of Arabia 
we do not know. 

The Berlin Treaty was intended to be the Magna Charta of 
Christian liberty in the Turkish empire, but the Turk has not 
kept the compact. Its provisions were too galling to Moslem 
pride and prestige ; reforms never got beyond the paper stage. 
The massacres of 1894 to 1896 proved that the Sultan is still 
the Pope of a religious fraternity and king of a political empire 
based on the forty-seventh chapter of the Koran : " When ye 
encounter the unbelievers strike off their heads until you have 
made a great slaughter of them." And the inaction of all the 
Christian powers at that time proved that it is vain to put con- 
fidence in princes. But in spite of all possible government op- 
position or even the martyrdom of every individual convert 
**so long as the door of access to individual Mohammedans is 
open, so long it is the clear and bounden duty of the church 
of Christ to make use of its opportunilirrs for delivering the 
gospel me.ssage to them." 

The attitude of the Arab rnind is not universally hostile to 
Christianity. The vast majority are indifferent to religion in 
any form. " What shall we eat and what shall we drink and 
wherewithal shall we be clothed," — is the sum of all their 
thoughts. The Arab merchant serves Mammon with all his 
heart seven days a week. Religion is an ornament and a con- 
ventionality ; he wears it like his flowing overgarment and it 
fits him just as loosely. He thinks it scarcely worth while to 
discuss questions of belief. Every one has their own religion, 
is a remark one often hears in Arabia. It is a faint echo of the 



all-embracing tolerance of the days of ignorance when three 
hundred and sixty idols, including an image of Christ and the 
virgin, filled the Kaaba ! 

Then there are some thoughtful men who know better, — 
seekers after truth, — and who feel that there are strong points 
in Christianity and weak points in Islam which have not been 
duly considered. One meets examples of this class every- 
where in all stations of life and in most unexpected quarters. 
In the heart of Yemen I met a Mullah who had a wonderful 
knowledge of the Arabic Bible ; and the copy he showed me 
was an imperfect translation by Richard Watson dated 1825 ! 
Another prominent Mohammedan in Eastern Arabia recently 
expressed his opinion that the Christ of the New Testament 
never intended to found a new religion, but to introduce 
everywhere spiritual worship of the God of Abraham ; he said 
that a long and independent study of the Bible had led him 
to this opinion. 

The steady increase of the circulation of Scriptures in Arabia 
is also an indication which way the current is drifting. Rev. 
George E. Stone, a few weeks before his death, writing of the 
Bible circulation at Muscat said, " I don't know when the ex- 
J plosion is coming but we are getting the dynamite under this 
rock of Islam and some day God will touch it off." The 
Bible in Arabia will indeed prove its power in changing the en- 
tire attitude of the Moslem mind. " Is not my word like as 
a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the 
rock in pieces ? " 

Finally there is the problem of securing the right men for 
the work. So hard is the field in many ways and so hard are 
Moslem hearts that the description of Aaron Matthews' ideal 
missionary for the Jews would apply to the Arabs as well, (the 
last clause omitted). He wrote : "A Jewish missionary re- 
quires Abraham's faith. Job's patience, the meekness of Moses, 
the strength of Samson, the wisdom of Solomon, the love of 
John, the zeal of Paul, the knowledge of the Scripture of Timo- 


thy, and a little bit of Baron Rothschild's pocket." The finan- 
cial part of the equipment is not essential on the part of the 
missionary ; he should be content with food and raiment. The 
less display of Baron Rothschild's pocket the better, in a land 
where people go to bed hungry and where all live in the great- 
est simplicity. 

The candidate for missionary work in Arabia should have a 
strong and sound constitution. He should know how to 
" rough it " when necessary ; the more of the Bohemian there 
is in his nature the better. He should have both ability and 
dogged determination enough to acquire the Arabic lan- 
guage. Other scholarship is useful but not necessary. To get 
along well with the Arabs he should have patience. And 
to avoid wearing himself out, a good temper ; a man with a 
very hot temper could never stand three seasons in the Persian 
Gulf. Regarding spiritual qualifications I cannot do better than 
quote the solemn words at the close of General Haig's paper on 
"Arabia as a mission-field." I believe they deserve to be re- 
peated not only for the sake of those who send missionaries to 
Arabia, but for the sake of those who are missionaries to 
Arabia. It is a high ideal. 

" Given the right men, and Arabia may be won for Christ ; 
start with the wrong men, and little will be accomplished. 
But what qualifications are needed ! what enthusiasm, what 
fire of love, what dogged resolution, what uttermost self-sacri- 
ficing zeal for the salvation of men and the glory of Christ ! 
But upon this point I prefer to quote here the words of a man 
who is preeminently qualified to speak upon the subject. 
Three years ago he wrote to me : 

" ' Unless you have missionaries so full of the spirit of Christ 
that they count not their own lives dear to them, you will prob- 
ably look in vain for converts who will be prepared to lose 
their lives in the Master's service. In a relaxing tropical cli- 
mate, like that of Aden, circumstances are very unfavorable 
for the development of self-denying character, or of energetic 


service. No small amount of grace would be needed to sustain 
it ; for we are compound beings, and there is a wonderful re- 
action of the body upon the soul, as well as of the soul upon 
the body. It is supremely important, then, in an enterprise 
like yours, to have the right stamp of men — men who have 
made some sacrifices, and who do not count sacrifice to be 
sacrifice, but privilege and honor — men who do not know 
what discouragement means, and men who expect great things 
from God. Such alone will prove really successful workers in 
a field so replete with difficulty. Unless Eternity bulks very 
largely in the estimation of a man, how can he encourage a 
native convert to take a step that will at once destroy all his 
hopes and prospects of an earthly character, and possibly re- 
sult in imprisonment, and torture, and death itself? and unless 
you have men who are prepared, should God seem to call for it, to 
lead their converts into circumstances of such danger and trial, 
it is not very likely that they will find converts who will go 
very much in advance of themselves. Men of this stamp are 
not to be manufactured ; they are God-made. They are not 
to be found; they must be God-sought and God-given. But 
the Master who has need of them is able to provide them. 
Nothing is too hard for the Lord.' " 

" Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He would 
thrust forth laborers into His harvest.''^ 



" Take it at its very worst. They are dead lands and dead souls, 
blind and cold and stiff in death as no heathen are ; but we who love 
them see the possibilities of sacrifice, of endurance of enthusiasm of life, 
not yet effaced. Does not the Son of God who died for them see these 
possibilities too ? Do you think He says of the Mohammedan, 'There is 
no help for him in his God ' ? Has He not a challenge too for your faith, the 
challenge that rolled away the stone from the grave where Lazarus lay ? 
' Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldst believe thou shouldst see the 
glory of God ? Then they took away the stone from the place where the 
dead was laid.' " — /, Lilias Trotter, (missionary to Algiers). 

^T^WO views are widely prevalent regarding the hopelessness 
-*■ of missionary work among Moslems generally, and al- 
though these views are diametrically opposite they are agreed 
that it is waste of time and effort to go to Mohammedan lands, 
that it is a forlorn hope at best. The first view is that of those 
who are themselves outside of the kingdom, and who shut its 
doors against the Moslem, saying : Experience has proved 
it to be not only useless but dangerous to meddle with the 
Moslem and his religion. Their faith is good enough for 
them ; it is suited to their ways. They do not worship idols 
and have a code of morality suitable to the Orient. Moham- 
med was a prophet of God and did all that could be done for 
these kind of people. Every attempt to convert them ends in 
failure. Let them alone. Islam will work out its own refor- 
mation. Some, like Canon Taylor and Doctor Blyden, who 
profess to be Christians, even consider Islam the handmaid of 
Christianity and specially fitted for the whole Negro race.^ 

' Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race, by E. W. Blyden, London, 



The opposite view is that Mohammedanism is not too hope- 
ful to be meddled with but too hopeless ! They who hold it 
profess to believe in the Holy Ghost as the Lord and Life-Giver 
for the heatheti world, but hesitate when it comes to Islam, 
The Moslem is, they say, wrapped up in self-righteousness and 
conceit ; even those whose fanaticism is overcome dare not ac- 
cept Christ. It is better to go to the heathen who will hear. 
Missions to the Moslem world are hopeless, fruitless, useless. 
It is impossible to Christianize them and there have been few, 
if any, converts. 

That both of these views cannot be correct is evident, since they 
are contradictory. That the first is false the whole history of 
Islam demonstrates. "By their fruits ye shall know them." 
But what of the other view, held by so many, that we need not 
expect large results where there is so little promise ? 

Professor J. G. Lansing, one of the founders of the Arabian 
mission, wrote in 1890 : "If the smallness of the number of 
converts from Islam to Christianity be pointed out, this argues 
not so much the unapproachability of Moslems as the indiffer- 
ence and inactivity of Christians. The doctrine of fatalism 
commonly accredited to Islam, is not one-half so fatalistic in 
its spirit and operation as that which for thirteen centuries has 
been practically held by the Christian Church as to the hope 
of bringing the hosts of Islam into the following of Jesus Christ." 
Is it possible that the lack of results complained of has been 
really a lack of faith ? Hudson Taylor remarked a few years 
ago, "I expect to see some of the most marvellous results 
within a few years in the missions to Islam, because of this 
work especially the enemy has said : It is without result. God 
is not mocked." Has the apostle to China read the signs of 
the times aright ? 

Neither God's Providence nor His Word are silent in an- 
swer to that question. First we have the exceeding hopefulness 
of results of recent missionary work in many Moslem lands ; then 
the sure promises of God to give His Church the victory over 


Islam ; and lastly the many exceeding great and precious 
promises for Arabia the cradle of Islam in particular. 

I. It is not true that there have been no conversions among 
Moslems. In India alone there are hundreds who have publicly 
abjured Islam and been received into the Christian Church. 
The very first native clergyman of the Northwest Provinces 
was a converted Mohammedan. Sayad Wilayat Ali of Agra 
suffered martyrdom at Delhi for Christ. Mirza Ghulam Masih 
of the royal house of Delhi became a Christian and Abdullah 
Athim, the valiant-hearted of Amballa embraced the faith. 
At the Chicago Parliament of Religions Dr. Imad-ud-Din, him- 
self a convert from Islam and a voluminous controversial 
writer, read a paper on Christian efforts among Indian Mo- 
hammedans ; this paper gives the names of one hundred and 
seventeen prominent converts from Islam, mostly from the 
Punjab. Beside these, the author says, "there are all sorts 
and conditions of men, rich and poor, high and low men and 
women, children, learned and unlearned, tradesmen, servants, 
all kinds and classes of Mohammedans whom the Lord our 
God hath called into His Church." It is officially stated that 
quite one-half of the converts from among the higher classes 
in the Punjab are from amongst Moslems. 

In Persia there have been martyrs for the faith in recent 
years and several have been baptized. In the Turkish empire 
there have been scores of converts who have been obliged to 
flee for their lives or remain believers in secret. At Constanti- 
nople a congregation of converted Moslems was gathered by 
Dr. Koelle, but man after man disappeared — no doubt mur- 
dered for his faith. In Egypt there have been scores of bap- 
tisms and among others a student of Al Azhar University and 
a Bey's son confessed Christ. One has only to turn over the 
leaves of the Church Missionary Society annual reports to read 
of Mohammedans being baptized in Kerachi, and Bombay, 
Peshawar, Delhi, Agra, and on the borders of Afghanistan. 
In North Africa where the work is very recent there have been 


conversions and in one locality a remarkable spiritual move- 
ment is in progress among the Moslems. 

In Java and Sumatra the Dutch and Rhenish missionary 
societies have labored with remarkable success among the 
Mohammedan population. At four stations of the Rhenish 
Mission is Sumatra where the work is practically altogether 
among Moslems, (namely, Sipirok-Simangumban, Bungabonder, 
Sipiongot, and Simanasor) the total number of church members 
according to the Bombay Guardian, is three thousand five 
hundred and ten. The total number of baptisms from Islam 
in these stations was during 1897 sixty-nine, and during the 
first half of 1898 already ninety-seven baptisms were reported. 
In some of the villages where formerly Islam was predominant 
it has been expelled altogether. The total number of Battak 
Christians amount to thirty-one thousand, the largest part of 
whom were formerly Moslems.^ In some parts of Java still 
larger results are claimed. 

In most Moslem fields it is absolutely impossible to obtain 
accurate statistics of the number of conversions for obvious 
reasons. The threatened death-penalty demands great caution 
in exposing a convert by freely publishing the fact of his con- 
version. Everywhere there are multitudes of secret believers 
whose names are sometimes not known even to the mission- 
aries. Any one who has read the lives of Moslem converts 
such as that of Kamil or Imad-ud-Din or who knows from 
books like " Sweet First Fruits " what it means for a Moslem to 
forsake the faith of his fathers, knows that work in Moslem 
lands must not be judged by baptismal statistics. 

There are other indications of spiritual life entering the 
Moslem world. There are thousands of Mohammedan youth 
receiving instruction in Christian mission schools ; in Egypt, 
one mission has twenty-four hundred and sixty-four Moslem 
pupils enrolled. The permeating power of spiritual Christianity 
is again at work in the Levant as when Paul and Silas made 

1 Missions in Sumatra, Dr. A. Schreiber, " North Africa," May, 1896. 


their missionary journeys. The old churches of the East by 
their unfaithfulness were the occasion of the great apostasy of 
Islam ; f/ieir revival is the pledge of its downfall. There is 
now an Evangelical Church in Persia, Egypt, Palestine, Syria 
and Asia Minor. Bodies of hving Christians in the midst of 
Islam ; no wonder that their power is beginning to be felt. 
The devil takes no antiseptic precautions against a non-con- 
tagious Christianity. But Evangelical Christianity is con- 
tagious, and the whole lurid horizon proclaims in persecutions 
and massacres and raging oppositions everywhere that Islam 
feels the power of Christian missions, even although they have 
only begun to attack in a miserly and puny way this strong- 
hold of Satan. 

Regarding the character of Moslem converts Bishop Tho- 
burn says : "I believe that when truly converted the Moham- 
medan makes not only a devoted Christian but in some re- 
spects will make a superior leader. Leadership is a great want 
in every mission-field and the Mohammedans of India have the 
material, if it can only be won for Christ and sanctified to His 
service, out of which splendid workers can be made in the 
Master's vineyard." Doctor Jessup voices the same opinion, 
" It is not easy for a Mohammedan to embrace Christianity but 
history shows that when he is converted the Moslem becomes a 
strong and vigorous Christian." 

2. In the work of missions among Mohammedans as well 
as in that among the heathen we have the assurance of final 
victory in the abundant testimony of God's Word. God's 
promises never fail of fulfillment ; and those world-wide prom- 
ises never are put in such a form as to exclude the Moham- 
medans. The Bible tells us that many false prophets shall 
arise and deceive many j but it does not for a moment allow 
that the empire of Christ shall divide rule with any of them. 
" It pleased the Father that in Him [Jesus not Mohammed] 
should all fullness dwell." "The Father loveth the Son and 
hath given all things into His hands " — not into the hands of 


Mohammed. "God hath exalted Him and given Him a 
name which is above every name ... far above all 
principality and power and might and dominion and every 
name that is named not only in this world but also in that 
which is to come." "That at the name of Jesus every " Mo- 
hammedan "knee should bow and every" Moslem "tongue 
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the 
Father." The present may see Islam triumphant, but the 
future belongs to Christ. Over against the lying truth "there 
is no God but God and Mohammed is His prophet," Chris- 
tianity lifts the standard, "Who is he that overcometh the 
world but he that believeth that Jesus Christ is the Son of 
God?" The Divinity of Christ, which Moslems deny, de- 
cides the destiny of all world-kingdoms. 

Witness the present governments of the Moslem world. "Be 
wise now therefore O ye kings, be instructed ye judges of the 
earth . . . kiss the Son lest He be angry and ye perish 
from the way when His wrath is kindled but a little." There 
is a general failure among Christians to realize the number and 
importance of the missionary promises in the Old Testament.^ 
The Great Commission was based on these exceeding great 
promises. The nations were God's plan before they were on 
Christ's program. And is it not remarkable that nearly all of 
these Old Testament promises are grouped around the names 
of countries which now are the centre and strength of the Mos- 
lem world ? " Known unto God are all His works from the be- 
ginning of the world." Or will these promises of world-wide 
import only stretch beyond Egypt, Mesopotamia, Syria and 
Arabia, not including those lands in God's plan of redemption 
and dominion ? Is there not a special blessing in store for the 
lands that border Palestine, when the Lord shall comfort Zion 

1 Gen. xii. 3, xviii. 8, xxii. 18, xxvi. 4, xxviii. 14; Num. xiv. 21; 
Forty-three of the Psalms; Isaiah ii. 2, 18, etc., etc.; Jeremiah iii. 17; 
Dan. vii. 13, 14; Joel ii. 28; Jonah, iii., iv. ; Micah v. 4; Hab. ii. 14; 
Zeph. ii. II ; Hag. ii. 6, 7 ; Zech. ix. 10, xiv. 9; Mai. i. II. 


and restore all her waste places ? "In that day shall Israel be 
the third with Egypt and with Assyria even a blessing in the 
midst of the earth. Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, say- 
ing, Blessed be Egypt My people and Assyria the work of My 
hands and Israel My inheritance." 

The Moslem world is in no deUer condition and in no worse 
condition than the heathen world as portrayed in the New 
Testament. The need of both is the same; and the same 
duty to evangelize them; and the same promise of God's 
blessing on our work of witness. The Mohammedan world is 
also without excuse (Rom. i. 20, 32), without hope (John 
iii. 36; Eph. ii. 12), without peace (Isaiah xlviii. 22), with- 
out feeling (Eph. iv. 19), without Christ (Rom. xiii. 13, 14) 
as is the heathen world. But no less is our responsibility to- 
ward them nor the power of God's love to win them. 

It is the rock of Christ's Sonship which is the stone of 
stumbling and the rock of offence to the Moslem mind. But 
it is this very rock on which Christ builds His church ; and 
the foundation of God standeth sure. Writing on this subject 
Mr. Edward Glenny, the Secretary of the North Africa Mis- 
sion, well says : 

"Blessed be God, we are not left to carry on this warfare at 
our own charges! 'He that sent Me is with Me,' said the 
Master ; and He who sends His servants now is surely with 
them also, for the promise stands, ' Lo ! I am with you alway, 
even unto the end of the age.' In all our efforts for the salva- 
tion of men, we are dependent upon the power of the Spirit of 
God ; for no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the 
Holy Ghost. But if those of us who work at home are con- 
scious of this, those who labor in Mohammedan countries 
realize it most intensely. Amongst the masses at home, what 
we have to contend against mostly is indifference ; but there it 
is deeply-rooted prejudice, aye, even in many cases, hatred to 
Jesus as the Son of God. But the battle is the Lord's, not 
ours ; we are but instruments to carry out His purposes. The 


Spirit has been sent fuith from the Father to 'convict TiiR 
WOULD of sin,' and we are not justified in making any reser- 
vation in the case of Mohammedans — yea, may we not expect 
that if there be a nation or race on the earth more inaccessible 
than another, more averse to the gospel, more hardened 
against its teachings, that there the Lord will show ' the ex- 
ceeding greatness of His power ' by calling out some from 
their midst whom He may make ' chosen vessels ' to bear His 
name to others ? Has not that been His mode of working in 
time past? " 

3. There is no land in the world and no people (with the 
exception of Palestine and the Jews) which bear such close 
relation to tlie Theocratic covenants and Old '^i'estament 
promises as Arabia and the Arabs. The promises for the 
final victory of the Kingdom of God in Arabia are many, 
definite and glorious. These promises group themselves 
around seven names which have from time immemorial been 
identified with the peninsula of Arabia : Ishmael, Kedar, 
Nebaioth, Sheba, Seba, Midian and Ephah. We select these 
names only, omitting others which have an indirect reference 
to Arabia or the Arabs, as well as those promises, so numerous 
and glorious, concerning the wilderness and desert-lands. 
The latter would surely, for the dwellers of Palestine, have 
primary reference to Northern Arabia; but our argument is 
strong enough without these special promises.^ 

In order to understand the promises given to the sons of 
Ishmael, Kedar and Nebaioth, we need first to know the re- 
lation which Ishmael bears to the Abrahamic covenant and the 
place he occupies in God's plan for the nations as outlined in 
the book of Genesis. 

Hagar, the mother of the Arabian patriarch, seems to have 
occupied a prominent place in Abraham's household and ap- 
pears to have brought to that position not only mental gifts but 

' See Isaiah xxxv. I-3, xl. 3, xli. 19, xliii. 19, li. 3; Ezekiel xxxiv. 25, 
xlvii. 8; Ps. Ixxii. 9, etc. 


also an inward participation in the faith of the God of Abra- 
ham, She was probaljly added to the family of faith during 
Abraham's sojourn in Egypt and occupied the same position 
toward the female servants that Eliezer of Damascus did to the 
male servants. It is when she was driven forth into the wilder- 
ness by the jealous harshness of Sarah that we have the first 
revelation of God regarding her seed. " The angel of the 
Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, 
by the fountain in the way to Shur."* And He said, 
Whence earnest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she 
said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the 
angel of the Lord said unto her. Return to thy mistress and 
submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the Lord 
said unto her, . . . "I will multiply thy seed exceedingly 
that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel 
of the Lord said unto her. Behold thou art with child, and 
shalt bear a son and shalt call his name Ishmael [God will 
hear]; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. And he 
will be a wild man, his hand will be against every man, and 
every man's hand against him ; and he shall dwell in the 
presence of all his brethren. And she called the name of the 
Lord that spake unto her. Thou God seest me : for she said, 
Have I also here looked after Him that seeth me." 

It is plain from the context that the angel of the Lord and 
the Lord Himself are here identified ; it was the angel of 
Jehovah, the angel of the covenant of the Christ of the Old 
i:estament. Why should this "angel" first appear to the 
Egyptian bondwoman? Ls it a/;cording to the law that the 
Lord always reveals Himself first to the [XKjrest, most distressed 
and receptive hearts or was it the special office of the covenant 
angel to seek "that which was lost" from the patriarchal 
church at its very beginning? I^nge suggests in his com- 
mentary that the " Angel of Jehovah, as the Christ who was 

'According to Gesenius this is Suez, while Keil identifies it with Jifar, 
a site in the northwestern part of Arabia near Egypt. 


to come through Isaac had a peculiar reason for assisting 
Hagar, since she for the sake of the future Christ is involved 
in this sorrow." In any case the special revelation and the 
special promise was given to Hagar not only but to her seed. 
Christ, if we may so express it, outlines the future history and 
character of the Ishmaelites as well as their strength and glory ; 
but He also gives them a spiritual promise in the God-given 
name, Jshmael, Elohim will hear. Without this the theophany 
loses it true character. Ishmael as the child of Abraham 
could not be left undistinguishable among the heathen. It 
was for Abraham's sake that the revelation included the un- 
born child in its promises. 

The fulfillment of the promise that Ishmael' s seed should 
multiply exceedingly has never been more clearly stated than 
by the geographer Ritter : " Arabia, whose population consists 
to a large extent of Ishmaelites, is a living fountain of men 
whose streams for thousands of years have poured themselves 
far and wide to the east and west. Before Mohammed its 
tribes were found in all border- Asia, in the East Indies as early 
as the middle ages ; and in all North Africa it is the cradle of 
all the wandering hordes. Along the whole Indian ocean down 
to Molucca they had their settlements in the middle ages ; they 
spread along the coast to Mozambique ; their caravans crossed 
India to China, and in Europe they peopled Southern Spain 
and ruled it for seven hundred years." Where there has been 
such clear fulfillment of the promise of natural increase, is 
there no ground that God will hear and give spiritual blessing 
also and that Ishmael "shall dwell in the presence of all his 
brethren" in the new covenant of grace? 

Thirteen years after the first promise to Ishmael we hear the 
promise renewed just after the institution of circumcision, the 
sign of the covenant of faith. " And Abraham said unto God, 
O that Ishmael might [even yet] live before Thee. And God 
said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed ; and thou 
shalt call his name Isaac : and I will establish my covenant 

REscvy.ij s[,AVi': liovs at .ml/scat 



with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after 
him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee. ..." 
What is the significance of Abraham's prayer for Ishmael? 
Is it probable that he merely asks for temporal prosperity and 
for length of life ? This is the idea of some commentators but 
none of them explain why the prayer asks that Ishmael may 
live " before God.'' Keil and others, more correctly we think, 
regard the prayer of Abraham as arising out of his anxiety lest 
Ishmael should not have any part in the blessings of the cove- 
nant. The fact that the answer of God contains no denial of 
the prayer of Abraham is in favor of this interpretation. 

In the prayer Abraham expresses his anticipation of an in- 
definite neglect of Ishmael which was painful to his parental 
heart. He asks for him, therefore, a life from God in the 
highest sense. Else what does the circumcision of Ishmael 
mean ? The sealing or ratifying of the covenant of God with 
Abraham through Isaac' s seed, embraces not only the seed of 
Isaac, but all those who in a wider sense are sharers of the cove- 
nant, Ishmael and his descendants. And however much the 
Arabs may have departed from ih^ faith of Abraham they have 
for all these centuries remained faithful to the sign of the old 
covenant by the rite of circumcision. This is one of the most 
remarkable facts of history. Circumcision is not once alluded 
to in the Koran, and Moslem writers offer no explanation for 
the omission. Yet the custom is universal in Arabia, and from 
them it passed over with other traditions to all the Moslem 
world. The Moslems date circumcision from Abraham and 
circumcise at a late period. The Arabs in "the time of ig- 
norance" also practiced the rite; an uncircumcised person is 
unknown even among those Bedouins who know nothing of 
Islam save the name of the prophet.^ 

" As for Ishmael I have heard thee." For the third time we 
read of a special revelation to prove God's love for the son of 
the bondmaid. In the pathetic story of Hagar's expulsion, 
1 Compare Rom. iv. 1 1, and Gal. iii, 17. 


Ibhmael is the centre figure.' His mocking was its cause; for 
his sake it was grievous in Abraham's sight to expel them. To 
Ishmael again is there a special promise, " because he is thy 
seed." When the water is spent in the bottle and Hagar turns 
away from seeing the death of the child, it was not her weep- 
ing but the lad's prayer that brought deliverance from heaven. 
" And the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven and said 
unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath 
heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad 
and hold him by thine hand ; for I will make of him a great 
nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of 
water; and she went and filled the bottle with water and gave 
the lad drink. And God was with the lad." 

No less does this history show the moral beauty of Hagar' s 
character, her tender mother love and all the beautiful traits of 
a maternal solicitude than the repentance of Ishmael. God 
heard his voice ; God forgave his sinful mocking ; God con- 
firmed his promise; God saved his life; God was with the lad. 
The Providence of God watched over Ishmael. Long years 
after he seems to haye visited his father Abraham, for we read 
that when the patriarch died in a good old age " his sons Isaac 
and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah." No men- 
tion is made here of the sons of Keturah. And twice in the 
Bible the generations of Ishmael are recorded in full ^ in order 
to bind together the prophecies of Genesis with the Messianic 
promises of Isaiah for the seed of Ishmael. 

The twelve princes, sons of Ishmael, whose names are re- 
corded "by their towns and their castles" were undoubtedly 
the patriarchs of so many Arab tribes. Some of the names 
can be distinctly traced through history and others are easily 
identified with modern clans in Arabia. Mibsam, e. g., seems 
to correspond with the Nejd clan of Bessam some of whom 
are merchants at Busrah ; Mishma is surely the same as the 

' Gen. xxi. 9-22. 

2 Gen. XXV. II-18, and I Chron. i. 28. 


Arabic Bui Misma ; while nearly all commentators agree that 
Duma is Duviat el Jendal in North Arabia, one of the oldest 
Arabic settlements. Aside from conjecture two names stand 
prominent and well-known in profane history ; Nebajoth and 
Kedar. Pliny in his natural history mentions them together 
as the Nabatoei et Cedrei and the Arab historians are familiar 
with the names. Undoubtedly the Nabatans related to 
Nebajoth ; although this is denied by Quartermere it is affirmed 
by M. Chwolson and is the universal opinion of the Arabs 

Now it is these very two names, whose identity no one 
questions, that are the centre of glorious promises. It is gen- 
erally known that the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah is the gem of 
missionary prophecy in the Old Testament ; but it does not 
occur to every one that a large portion of it consists of special 
promises for Arabia. "The multitude of camels shall cover 
thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah, (Sons of Keturah, 
Gen. XXV. i-s); all they from Sheba (South Arabia or 
Yemen) shall come ; they shall bring gold and incense ; and 
they shall show forth the praises of the Lord. All the flocks 
of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee ; the rams of 
Nebaioth shall minister unto thee : they shall come up with 
acceptance upon mine altar and I will glorify the house of my 
glory. Who are these that fly as a cloud and as doves to their 
windows? " 

These verses read in connection with the grand array of 
promises that precede them leave no room for doubt that the 
sons of Ishmael have a large place in this coming glory of the 
Lord and the brightness of His rising. It has only been de- 
layed by our neglect to evangelize Northern Arabia but God 
will keep His promise yet and Christ shall see of the travail 
of His soul, among the camel-drivers and shepherds of Arabia. 
And then shall be fulfilled that other promise significantly put 
in Isaiah xlii. for this part of the peninsula: "Sing unto the 
Lord a new song and His praise from the end of the earth 


. let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their 
voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit : let the inhabitants 
of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the moun- 
tains." It is all there, with geographical accuracy and up-to- 
date ; " cities in the wilderness " that is Nejd under its present 
government; Kedar forsaking the nomad tent and becoming 
villagers; and the rock-dwellers of Medain Salih ! "And I 
will bring the blind by a way they knew not ; I will lead them 
in paths that they have not known : I will make darkness light 
before them and crooked things straight." The only proper 
name, the only geographical centre of the entire chapter is 
Kedar. In two other prophecies,^ which have no Messianic 
character, Kedar is referred to as synony?nous with Arabia. 

Another group of missionary promises for Arabia cluster 
round the names Seba and Sheba. " All they from Sheba shall 
come ; they shall bring gold and incense and they shall show 
forth the praises of the Lord." (Is. Ix. 6.) "The kings of 
Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea all kings shall fall down 
before Him, all nations shall serve Him. . . . He shall 
live and to Him shall be given of the gold of Sheba ; prayer also 
shall be made for Him continually and daily shall He be 
praised." The Messianic character of this psalm is generally 

Where are Seba and Sheba? Who are they? Three 
Shebas are referred to in genealogy and prophecy, i. A son 
of Raamah, son of Cush ; 2. A son of Joktan ; 3. A son 
of Jokshan son of Keturah. But all of these find their dwell- 
ing-place in what is now Southern Arabia. The Joktanite 
Sheba is the kingdom of the Himyarites in Yemen. ^ The 
kingdom of Sheba embraced the greater part of Yemen; its 
chief cities and probably its successive capitals were Seba, 
Sana (Uzal), and Zaphar (Sephar). Seba, the oldest capital, is 
identical with the present Afarib, northeast of Sana ; for Ez- 

1 Isaiah xxi. 13-17 and Jer. xlix. 2S-33. 
. ' See Smith's Bible Dictionary. 


Zejjaj in the Taj El Aroos dictionary says, " Seba was the city 
of Marib or the country in the Yemen of which the city was 
Marib." Ptolemy's map makes plain what the Romans and 
Greeks understood by Seba and Sheba. The Cushite Sheba 
settled somewhere on the shores of the Persian Gulf. In the 
Marasid Stanley-Poole says he found "an identification 
which appears to be satisfactory — that on the island of Awal, 
one of the Bahrein islands are the ruins of an ancient city 
called Seba." 

The same authority holds that the Keturahite Sheba formed 
one tribe with the Cushite Sheba and also dwelt in Eastern 
Arabia. Sheba has always been a land of gold and incense 
and we are only beginning to know a little of the opulence and 
glory of the ancient Himyarite kingdom in Yemen from the 
lately discovered inscriptions and ruins. 

In the same psalm that gives these promises to Southern and 
Eastern Arabia we have this remarkable verse : " He shall have 
dominion also from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends 
of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow be- " 
fore Him and His enemies shall lick the dust." The river re- 
ferred to is undoubtedly the Euphrates ^ and the boundaries 
given are intended to include the ideal extent of the promised 
land. Now it is, to say the least, remarkable that modern 
Jewish commentators interpret this passage together with the 
forty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel so as to include the whole 
peninsula of Arabia in the land of promise. I have seen a 
curious map, printed by Jews in London, on which the twelve 
restored tribes had each their strip of territory right across 
Arabia from the Red Sea to the Gulf and including Palestine 
and Syria. 

Isaac Da Costa, the great Dutch poet, who was of Jewish de- 
scent gathers together in his epic, "Hagar," some of these 
Bible promises for the sons of Ishmael.^ 

' Cf. Exodus xxiii. 31 and Deut. xi. 24. 

2 The Christian Intelligencer (N. Y.), March 15, 1899. 


" Mother of Ishmael ! The word that God hath spoken 
Never hath failed the least, nor was His promise broken. 
"Whether in judgment threatened or as blessing given ; 
Whether for time and earth or for eternal heaven, 
To Esau or to Jacob. 

The patriarch prayed to God, while bowing in the dust: 
• Oh that before thee Ishmael might live ! ' — His prayer, his trust. 
Nor was that prayer despised, that promise left alone 
Without fulfillment. For the days shall come 
When Ishmael shall bow his haughty chieftain head 
Before that Greatest Chief of Isaac's royal seed. 
Thou, favored Solomon, hast first fulfillment seen 
Of Hagar's promise, when came suppliant Sheba's queen. 
Next Araby the blest brought Bethlehem's newborn King, 
Her myrrh and spices, gold and offering. 
Again at Pentecost they came, first-fruits of harvest vast ; 
When, to adore the name of Jesus, at the last 
To Zion's glorious hill the nation's joy to share 
The scattered flocks of Kedar all are gathered there, 
Nebajoth, Hefa, Midian. 

Then Israel shall know Whose heart their hardness broke, 
Whose side they pierced, Whose curse they dared invoke. 
And then, while at His feet they mourn His bitter death, 
Receive His pardon. 

Before Whose same white throne Gentile and Jew shall meet 
With Parthian, Roman, Greek, the far North and the South, 
From Mississippi's source to Ganges' giant mouth. 
And every tongue and tribe shall join in one new song. 
Redemption ! Peace on earth and good-will unto men ; 
The purpose of all ages unto all ages sure. Amen. 
Glory unto the Father ! Glory the Lamb, once slain, 
Spotless for human guilt, exalted now to reign ! 
And to the Holy Ghost, life-giver, whose refreshing 
Makes all earth's deserts bloom with living showers of blessing ! " 

'< Mother of Ishmael ! I see thee yet once more, 
Thee, under burning skies and on a waveless shore ! 
Thou comfortless, soul storm tossed, tempest shaken, 
Heart full of anguish and of hope forsaken. 


Thou, too, didst find at last God's glory all tliy stay ! 

He came. He spake to thee. He made thy night His day. 

As then, so now. Return to Sarah's tent 

And Abraham's God, and better covenant, 

And sing with Mary, through her Saviour free, 

• God of my life, Thou hast looked down on me.' " 

But Arabia, although it has all this wealth of promise, is not 
a field for feeble faith. Yet we can learn to look at this 
barren land because of these promises with the same reckless, 
nncalculating, defiant confidence in which Abraham " without 
being weakened in faith, he considered his own body now as 
good as dead" (r. v.) " but waxed strong through faith giving 
glory to God." The promises are great because the obstacles 
are great ; that the glory of the pUn as well as the glory of 
the work may be to God alone. Arabia needs men who will 
believe as seeing the Invisible. Six hundred years ago Ray- 
mond Lull wrote : ''It seems to me that the Holy Land can- 
not be won in any other way than that whereby Thou, O Lord 
Jesus Christ, and Thy Holy Apostles won it, by love and 
prayer, and the shedding of tears and blood." 

A lonely worker among Moslems in North Africa recently 
wrote : " Yes it is lives poured out that these people need — 
a sowing in tears — in a measure that perhaps no heathen land 
requires ; they need a Calvary before they get their Pentecost. 
Thanks be unto God for a field like this : in the light of eternity 
we could ask no higher blessedness than the chance it gives of 
fellowship with His Son." 

The dumb spirit of Islam has possessed Arabia from its 
childhood for thirteen hundred years; "he teareth and he 
foameth and gnasheth with his teeth and pineth away." "And 
He said unto them this kind can come forth by nothing but by 
prayer and fasting." '■^ If thou canst believe, all things are pos- 
sible to him that believeth.^' (Mark ix. 14-29.) 

Life for Arabia must come from the Life-Giver. " I believe 
in the Holy Ghost," therefore mission-work in Arabia will 


prove the promise of God true in every particular and to its 
fullest extent. "O that Ishmael might live . . . as for 
Ishmael I have heard thee." 

" Speed on, ye licialds, bringing 

Life to llie desert slain ; 
Till in its mighty winging, 

God's spirit conies to reign 
From death to new-begetting, 

God shall the power give, 
Shall choose them for crown-setting 

And Ishmael shall live. 

" So speaks the promise, bringing 

The age of Jubilee 
To every home and tenting, 

From Tadmor to the sea. 
The dead to life are risen, 

The glory spreads abroad, 
The desert answers heaven, 

Hosannas to the Lord ! " 

Appendix I 


Circa 1892 B. C. — Birlh of Ishmael. 
« iTJi " — Death of Ishmael. 

" 992 " — Bilkis, queen of Yemen (Sheba) visits Solomon. 
" 700 " — y\malganiatioii of Cushite and Sabean clans in 

« 754 " —All Yemen and Oman under rule of YaarGb. 
«' 588 " — First Jewish settlements in Arabia. 
A. D 33 — Arabians present at Pentecost. 
" 37 — The Apostle Paul goes to Arabia. 

" 60 — Second Jewish immigration into Arabia. 

•< 105 — Roman Emperor Trajan under his general Palma subdues 

Northwestern Arabia. 
" 120 — Destruction of great dam at Marib and the beginning of 

Arab migrations northward. 
<< 297 — Famine in Western Arabia. Migrations eastward. 
" 326 — Nearchus, admiral of Alexander, surveys the Persian Gulf. 
" 325 — Nicene Council — Arabians present. 

«< 342 — Christianity already extending in Northern Arabia. 

Churches built in Yemen. 
" 372 — Mavia, queen of North Arabia, converted to Christianity. 
" 525 — Abyssinian invasion of Yemen. 

" 561 — Mohammed born at Mecca. 
" 575 — Persians under Anosharwan expel the Abyssinians from 

" 595 — Moliammed marries Khadijah. 
" 595 — Yemen passes under Persian Rule. 
" 610 — Mohammed begins his prophetic career. 
" 622 — (A. H. I) — Mohammed flees from Mecca to Medina. The 

era of tiie Hegira. 
" 623— Battle of Bedr. 
'< 624— Battle of Ohod. 

" 630 — Mecca overcome. Embassy to Oman, etc. 
*< 632 — Death of Mohammed. Abubekr caliph. All Arabia sub- 
jugated by force of arms. 
" 634 — Omar caliph. Expulsion of Jews and Christians from 

" 638 — Kufa and Busrah founded. 


410 y4PPENDJX I 

A. D. 644 — Othman caliph. 

<< 655 — Dissensions regarding caliphate. Medina attacked. All 

chosen caliph. 
« 656 — Battle of the Camel. Capital transferred to Kufa. 
« 661 — Ali assassinated. Hassan becomes caliph. 
«« ye^o — Beginning of Abbaside Caliphate (Bagdad). 
" 754 — Mansur. 
" 786 — Haroun el Rashid. 
" 809 — Amin. 
" 813 — Mamun. 
" 833 — Motasim. 
" 847 — Motawakkel. 
« 889 — Arise of Carmathian sect. 
« 905 — Yemen comes under Karamite caliphs. 
« 932 — Rebellion in Yemen. It becomes independent under 

Imams of Sana as rulers. 
" 930 — Carmathians take Mecca and carry away the black-stone to 

" 1055 — Togrul Beg at Bagdad. 

" 1096-127 2 — The Crusades. Arabia in touch with European civil- 
ization through its bands of warriors. 
" 1 1 73 — Yemen subdued by sultans of Egypt. 
" 1240 — Rise of Ottoman Turks. 
" 1258 — Fall of Bagdad. 
" ^325 — Yemen again independent. 
" 1454 — Imams of Yemen take Aden and fortify it. 
" 1503 — Portuguese under Ludovico Barthema, make voyages on 

Arabian coast and visit Aden and Muscat. 
« 1507 — Portuguese take Muscat. 
«« 1513 — Portuguese under Abulquerque are repulsed at Aden. Visit 

Mokha and the Persian Gulf. 
" 15 16 — Suleiman by order of Mameluke Sultan attacks Aden and is 

« 1538 — Suleiman the Magnificent sends a fleet and takes Aden by 

treachery. Arab garrison butchered. 
" 1540 — Beginning of Turkish rule in Yemen. 
«i 1550 — Arabs hand over Aden to the Portuguese. 
" 1551 — Aden recaptured by Peri Pasha. 
" 1624-1741 — Imams established rule over all Oman with capital 

at Rastak; then at Muscat. 
" 1609 — First visit to Aden by English captains. 
" 16 18 — English establish factories at Mokha. 
" 1622 — Portuguese expelled from Bahrein and Arab coast by the 

a 1630 — Arabs drive out Turks from Yemen and Imams take the 

throne at Sana. 
" 1740-65 — Dutch East India Company in Persian Gulf and Red 

Sea ports. 
" 1765 — English East India Company in Persian Gulf and Red Sea 

" '735 — Abdali Sultan of Lahaj takes Aden, 


A. D. 1 74 1 — Ahmed bin Said drives out Portuguese from Muscat and 

founds Dynasty of Imams, anew. 
« 1765 — Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab dies and his political asso- 
ciate Mohammed bin Saud propagates Wahabiism in 

n 1780 — Spread of Wahabi doctrine over all of Central Arabia. 
" 1801 — Wahabis conquer Bahrein and hold it for nine years. 
" 1803 — Abd-ul-Aziz the Wahabi chief assassinated by a Persian 

«< 1803 — Wahabis take Mecca and lay seige to Jiddah. 
" 1804 — Wahabis take Medina. 

" 1804 — Said bin Sultan ruler of Oman and Zanzibar. 
" 1809 — Aden visited by Captain Haines of British Navy. 
" 1818 — Ibrahim Pasha captures Wahabi capital and sends Amir in 

chains to Constantinople where he is beheaded. 
" 1 805- 1 820 — British suppress piracy in Persian Gulf. 
" 1820 — Son of Amir, Turki, proclaimed Sultan of Nejd and Oman 

" 1 82 1 — British make treaty with tribes on Oman coast called the 

" Trucial League." 
" 1820-1847 — British treaties with Bahrein chiefs to suppress slave- 
trade and piracy. 
" 1 83 1 — Turki, ruler of Nejd, murdered. 
" 1832 — Feysul bin Turki, succeeds him. 
" 1835 — Abdullah bin Rashid becomes a powerful chief in Jebel 

" 1835 — Aden again visited by British to avenge cruelty to sailors 

shipwrecked off its coast. 
•' 1839 — Aden bombarded by British fleet and taken. Treaties 

made with surrounding tribes. 
" 1 840-1847 — Aden attacked by Arabs. 
" 1846 — Tilal bin Abdullah bin Rashid succeeds to rulership of 

Jebel Shammar and becomes independent of Wahabi 

" 1851-1856 — Abdullah bin Mutalib Sherif of Mecca, 
" 1854 — Sultan of Oman makes treaty with England and cedes 

Kuria Muria Islands. 
" 1856 — Thuwani bin Said ruler of Oman. 
" 1857 — Perim occupied by British. 

" 1858-1877 — Abdullah bin Mohammed Sherif of Mecca. 
" 1858 — Cable laid in Red Sea from Suez to Aden, but proved de- 
fective (cost ;^8oo,ooo). 
" 1858 — Bombardment of Jiddah by British. 
" 1865-1886 — Abdullah bin Feysul ruler of Nejd with capital at 

" 1867 — Mitaabbin Abdullah succeeds Tilal. 
" 1867 — Menamah (Bahrein) bombarded by British because of 

broken treaty. Isa bin Ali made ruler. 
" 1866 — Sultan bin Thuwani ruler of Oman. 
" 1868 — Mohammed bin Rashid assumes power and rule at Hail as 

Amir of Nejd. 


A. D. 1869 — Cable laid from Bombay to Aden and Suez. 
1870 — Turkish invasion of Yemen. 

1 87 1 — Turkish invasion of Hassa and occupation of Katif, 
187 1 — Seyyid Turki ruler of Oman (Muscat). 
1875 — Busrah made a separate vilayet. 
1877 — Beginning of Turkish bureauocracy at Mecca, 
1878 — Treaty of Berlin. Reforms promised in Turkish Provinces. 
1880 — Hasein, Sherif of Mecca, is murdered. 
1881-82 — Abd el Mutalib again Sherif of Mecca. 
1882 — Aun er Rafik made Sherif of Mecca. 

1886 — Mohammed Ibn Rashid takes Riad overturning Saud gov- 
ernment and becomes ruler of all Central Arabia. 

Appendix II 



I. The Anaeze: 

fValid AH \ 

El Meshadaka. 
El Meshatta. 
El Hammamede. 
El Jedaleme. 
El Toluh. 

„, ... f El Hessene (proper). 

El-Hessene | Messalih. 

lla \ 
) I 

(or Jilas 


El Ruwalla (proper). 
Um Halif. 

„ n. .. , ( Fedan. 
TanaMajid | g^^^^^ 

Aulad Suleiman. 

II. Ahl Es-Shemmal : 
(Northern tribes) 

El Mowaly. 
El Howeytat. 
El Hadedin. 

. u ^/If^u jElFeheily. 

Arabs of the Hauranj Eg.Serdye. 
Bni Sokhr. ' •' 

Bni Heteym. 

III. Ahl el-Kibly : 
(Southernly tribes) 

Arabs of Kerak. 


El Jofeir. 
El Akeydat. 
Bni Sayd. 


' El Temeyat. 

El Menjat. 

Ibn Ghazy. 

_ El-Fesyani. 

Appendix III 

A. The Geography of Arabia 

Andrew, (Sir W. P.)— The Euphrates Valley Route (London, 1882). 

Barthema, (Ludovico.) — Travels in Arabia translated by Richard Eden 

Begum of Bhopal — Pilgrimage to Mecca (London, 1870). 
Blunt, (Lady Ann.) — A pilgrimage to Nedj, 2 vols. (Lontlon, 1883). 

" " " — The Bedouins of the Euphrates (London, 1879). 

Buist, (Dr.) — Physical Geograjihy of the Red Sea (no (hite). 
Burckhardt, (John Lewis.) — Notes on the Bedouins and Wahabis, 2 vols. 

(London, 1830; in German, Weimar, 1831). 
Burckhardt, (John Lewis.) — Travels in Arabia, 2 vols. (London, 1830). 
Burton, (Richard.) — Personal Narrative of a pilgrimage to El Medina 

and Mecca (London, 1857). 

Chesney — Survey of the Euphrates and Tigris, 4 vols. (London, 1850). 
Cloupet — Nonveau Voyage dans I'Arabic lieureuse en 1788 (Paris, 1810). 
Constable, (Capt. C. G., and Lieut. A. W. Stille.) — The Persian Gulf 

Pilot (London, 1870, 1893). 
Cruttenden, (C. J.) — Journal of an excursion to Sana'a the capital of 

Yemen (Bombay, 1838). 

Doughty, (C. M.) — Arabia Deserta, 2 vols, (Cambridge, 1888). 

Fogg. (W. P.)— Arabistan (London, 1875). 

Forster — Geography of Arabia, 2 vols. (London). 

Frede, (P.) — La Peche aux Perles en Perse et a Ceylan (Paris, 1890). 

Fresnel — Lettres in Journal Asiatique iii. Series v. 521. 

Galland — Recueil des Rites et Ceremonies du Pelerinage de la Mecque 
(Amsterdam, 1754). 

Haig, (F. T., Maj. Gen.) — A Journey through Yemen. Proceedings of 

the Roy. Geog. Soc. of London, vol. ix.. No. 8. 
Harris, (W. B.) — A Journey through Yemen (London, 1893). 
Hunter, (F. M.) — Statistical Account of the British Settlement of Aden 

(London, 1877). 
Hurgronje, (Snouck.) — Mekka, niit bilder atlas, 2 vols. (Hague, iJ 



Irwin, CEylc.) — Adventures in a voyaj^c up Uie Red Sea on the coasts of 
Arabia, etc., in 1777 (London, 1780^. 

JauLcrt — Ccof^rajjliie d'Kdrcsi (in Arabic and. Frcncl), Paris, 1836). 
Jomard — ttudcs Ceo{(. et I list, sur I'Arabie (in vol. iii. iVIenj^in's History 
of Egypt. 

King, (J. S.) — Description of the island of Pcrim (liombay Government 
Records No. 49;. 

La Roque — A voyage to Arabia the Happy, etc, (London, 1726). 

Malcrainali, CAboo Aljd Allah ibn Aclirned.) — A Manuscript History of 

Aden Csee Hunter's account). 
Manzoni — Kl Yemen; Tre anni nell'Araljia felicii (Rome, 1884). 
Michaelis — Receuil de C^uestiones proposeCs a une Society de Savants 

qui par ordre <\ft Sa Majestic iJanoise font le voyage de I'Arabie 

(Amsterdam, 1774). 

Nicljulir, (Carsten.) — Original edition in German (CojjCMhagcn, 1772). 

" " — In I'rencli edition (Amsterdam, 1774J. 

Niebuhr, (Carsten.) — Tiavels tlirough Arabia trans, into English by Rob- 
ert Heron, 2 vols. (Edinbur;di, 1792). 

Ouseley, (Sir W.)— Oriental Geography of Ibn Haukal. 

" " " — Travels in Persia and Arabia, 3 vols. (London, 1800). 

Palgrave — Travels in Eastern Arabia (London, 1863). 

Parsons, (Abraham.)— Travels in Asia . . . including Mocha and 

Suez (London, 1808). 
Phillips — Map of Arabia and Egyj;t with index (London, 1888). 
Pridcaux— Some recent discoveries in Southwest Arabia (Proceedings 
Soc. Bib. Archaclogy, London). 

Schapira — Travels in Yemen (1877), 

Seetzen — Travels in Yemen (1810). 

Sprenger, (A.)— Die altc Gcograjjhie Arabiens als Grundlage der Ent- 

wicklungsgeschichte des Semitismus (Berne, 1875). 
Sprenger, (A.)— Die Post- und Reiscrouten des Orients (1864), 
Stanley, (Dean.) — Sinai and Palestine. 
Stern, (Rev. A.)— A journey to Sana'a in 1856 (Jewish Intelligencer, 

vol. xxiii., pp. loi seq. 
Stevens — Yemen (1873). 

Taylor, (Bayard.) — Travels in Arabia (New York). 

Tuck — Essay on Siniatic Inscriptions in the Journal of German Oriental 
.Society, vol. xiv., pp. 129 seq. 

Van den Berg, (L. W. C.) — Hadramaut and the Arabian colonies in 
the Indian Archipelago. Translated from the Dutch by Major See- 
ley (Bombay Govt. Records No. 212 new scries). 


Van Maltzen, (II. I.) — Reisen in Arabien (Braunschweig 1873). 
Vincent's — Periplus of the Erythrean Sea. 
Von Wrede, (Adolph.) — Reise in Hadramaut. 

Wellstead, (Lieutenant.) — Travels in Arabia (London, 1838). 

" " — Narrative of a journey to the ruins of Nakeb 

el Hajar (Journal Roy. Geo. Soc. vii. 20). 
Whish — Memoir on Bahrein (1859). 
Wiistenfeld (F.) — Baherein und Jemameh. 

B. Manners and Customs^ 

Arabian Nights — (Various editions). 

Baillie, (N. B. E.) — The Mohammedan law of sale (London, 1850). 

" " — Mohammedan Law Hanifi code (London, 1865). 

" " — Mohammedan Law Imamia code (London, 1869), 

Boyle, (J. B. S.) — Manual of Mohammedan Laws (Lahore, 1873). 
Burckhardt's — Arabic Proverbs (London). 

" — Notes on the Bedouins and Wahabis, (London, 1831). 

Grady, (S. G.) — The Mohammedan Law of inheritance (London, 1869). 

Hamilton, (Charles.) — Hedaya or Guide; a commentary on the Mussul- 
man Laws (London, 1886), 

Jessup, (H. H.)— Women of the Arabs (New York, 1874). 

Kremer, (Alfred Von.) — Kultur Geschichte des Orients, 2 vols. (Wien, 

Lane's — Manners and Customs of Modern Egyptians, 2 vols. (London). 
" — Arabian Nights, with Notes, 4 vols. (London). 

Meer, (Mrs. Hassan Ali.) — Observations on the Mussulmans (London, 

Rumsey, (Almaric.) — Mohammedan law of Inheritance (London, 1886). 

Smith, (Robertson.) — Kinship and Marriage in early Arabia (Cambridge). 
Syeed, (Ameer Ali.) — Personal law of Mohammedans (London, 1880). 

Tornauw — Das Moslemische Recht (1885). 

Trumbull's, H. C.)— The Blood Covenant (Philadelphia, 1891). 

Von Hammer, (Purgstall.) — Die Geisterlehre der Moslimen (Wien, 1852). 
'Consult Bibliographies of Palestine and Syria with reference to Nomad life. 


C. History of Arabia* 

Abu Jaafer Muhammed et Tabbari — Tareek el mulook ; Arabic and 

Latin. Edit. Kosegarten (Leipsic, 1754). 
Abulfida — Annales Muslemici. Arab, et Latin. Various editions. 

Badger, (George Percy.) — History of the Imams and Seyyids of Oman 
by Salil Ibn Razik from A. D., 661-1856. Trans, with intro. and 
notes (London, 187 1). 

Blau, Otto — Arabien im Zechsten jaarhundert. Zeitschift des Deutsch, 
Morgenland. Gezel. xviii. B. 

Clark, E. L. — The Arabs and the Turks (Boston), 
Crichton — History of Arabia and its people (London, 1844). 

D'Herbelot — Bibliotheque Orientale (Maestricht, 1776). 

Doughty, (C.) — Documents epigraphiques recueillis dans le nord de 
I'Arabie (avec preface et traduction des inscriptions nabat6ennes de 
Medain-Salih par E. Kenan). With 57 plates 4to. (Paris, 1884.) 

Dozy, R. — De Isracliten te Mekka (Leyden, 1864). 
" " — Essai sur I'Histoire del' Islamisme (Paris, 1879). 

Eichhorn — Monumenta Antiquissima Hist. Arabum (Gotha, 1775). 

Faria y Souza — Manuel de Asia Portuguesa (Lisbon, 1666). 

Flugel, Guslav — Geschichte der Araber bis auf den sturtz des Chalifats 

von Bagdad, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1864). 
Foster, Rev. C. — The historical geography of Arabia (London, 1844). 
Freeman — History of the Saracens. 
Fresnel — Lettres sur hist, des Arabes avant I'lslamisme. Journal Asi- 

atique (1838-1853). 

Gibbon's — Decline and fall of the Roman Empire (Chaps. 1., li., lii.). 
Gilman, A. — The Saracens (Story of Nations) (London, 1891). 

Haji Khalifah — Hist, of the Maritime vi'ars of the Turks. Translated 
from the Turkish by James Mitchell (London, 1831). 

Hallam's — History of the Middle Ages (Chapter vi.). 

Hammer-Purgstall — Gemaldesaal der Lebensbeschreibungen grosser Mos- 
limischer Herscher (Leipzig, 1837). 

Hamza Ispahaneusis — Tarikh Saniy Mulook el Ardh, Arab. Lat. ed. 
Gottwaldt (St. Petersburg, 1844). 

Jergis El Mekin — Hist. Saracenica Arab, et Lat. (Leyden, 1625). 

Khuzraji, Ali bin Hoosain El — History of Yemen {MSS. in Records of 
Residency at Aden). 

Milman's — Latin Christianity Bk. iv. chaps, i., ii. 

Muir — Annals of Early Caliphate (I^ondon, 1883). (See under Religion). 
" — The Caliphate, its Rise, Decline and Fall (London, 1891). 

' Consult also list in Oilman's Saracens. 


Ockley, S. — History of the Saracens (London, 1708). 

Perceval, A. P. Caussin de — Essaisur I'Histoire des Arabes avant 

Islamisme (Paris, 1836). 
Playfair, R. L. — History of Arabia Felix (Bombay, 1859). 
Pocock, Eduardo — Specimen Hist. Arab, ex Abul Feda (Oxford 1650), 

Quartermere — Memoire sur les Nabatheen. 

Rasmussen — Addimenta ad Hist. Arab, ante Islam. 

Redhouse, J. W. — A Tentative Chronological Synopsis of the history of 

Arabia and its neighbors from B, C. 500000 [ ! ] to A. D. 679 

(London, 1890). 
Roesch, A. — Die Koningen von Saba als Konigin Bilqis (Leipzig, 1880). 
Rycant — The present state of the Ottoman Empire (London, 1675). 

Sachan, C. Edward — The Chronology of Ancient Nations ; an English 
version of Arabic " Vestiges of the past," A. H. 390-1000 
(London, 1S85). 

Schmolder — Sur les Ecoles Philosophique chezles Arabes (Paris, 1842). 

Schulten — Hist. Imperii vetus Joctanidarum (Hard. Gelderland, 1786). 
" — Monumenta Vetustiora Arab (Leyden, 1740). 

Sedillot — Hist. gen. des Arabes (Paris, 1877). 

Souza — Documentos Arabicos para a hist. Portuguesa (Lisbon, 1790). 

Weil, Gustav — Geschichte der Chalifen, 3 vols. (Mannheim, 1846-51). 
" " — Geschichte der Islamisher Volker von Mohammed bis zur 

zeit des Sultan Selim (Stuttgart, 1866). 

Wiistenfeld, F. — -Die Geschichtschreiber der Araber und ihrer Werke 
(Gottingen, 1882). 

Wiistenfeld, F. — Vergleichungs Tabellen der Muh. und Christ. Zeitrech- 
nung (Leipzig, 1854). 

Wiistenfeld, F. — Die Chroniken der stadt Mekka gesammelt, und her- 
ausgegeben, Arab. Deutsch, 4 vols. (Leipzig, 1857). 

Wiistenfeld, F. — Genealogische Tabellen der Arabische Stamme (Got- 
tingen, 1852). 

D. Islam 

Addison, Lancelot — State of Mahumedism (London, 1679). 

Akehurst, Rev. G. — Impostures instanced in the life of Mohammed 

(London, 1859). 
Alcock, N. — The rise of Mohammedanism accounted for (London, 

Anonymous — Life of Mohammed (London, 1799). 

" — Reflections on Mohammedanism ! (London, 1735). 
" — The morality of the East as extracted from the Koran 
(London, 1766). 
Arnold, Matthew — Essay on Persian Miracle Play (London, 187 1). 
" Edwin — Pearls of the Faith (Boston, 1883). 
" J. M. — Ishmael, or the natural aspect of Islam (London, 1 859). 


Arnold, J. M. — Islam and Christianity (London, 1874). 

« T, W. — The Preaching of Islam : A history of the Propagation of 
the Muslim faith (London, 1896). 

Bate, J. D. — Claims of Ishmael (Benares, 1884). 
Bedwell, W. — Mahomet's Imposture (London, 1615). 

u it — ^^Mahomet unmasked (London, 1642). 
Beveriy, R. M.— A reply to Higgins [See Higgins,] 1829. 
Blochman, H.— 'Ain i Akbari of Abdul Fazl, (Eng. trans.) (Calcutta, 

Blunt, W. S.— The Future of Islam (London, 1881). 
Blyden — Islam, Christianity and the Negro Race. 
Bonlainvilliers, Count — Life of Mohammed. Translation. (London, 

Brinckman, A. — Notes on Islam (London, 1868). 
Brydges, H. J. — History of the Wahabis (London, 1 834). 
Burton, R. F. — The Jew, the Gipsey and El Islam (London, 1898). 
Bush, Rev. George— Life of Mohammed (New York, 1844;. 

Carlyle, Thos. — Heroes and Hero- Worship (London, 1840). 
Cazenhove, Dr. — Mahometanism (Christian Remembrancer, Jan., 1855). 

Daumer, G. F. — Mahomed und sein Werk (Hamburg, 1848). 

Davenport, John — Apology for Mohammed (London, 1869). 

De Goeje — Memoire sur les Carmathes de Baherein (Leyden, 1863). 

Deutsch, Emanuel — Essay on Islam (London, 1874). 

De Worde— A Lytell Treatyse of the Turkes Law called Alcoran 

Dods, Marcus — Mohammed Buddha and Christ (London, 1878). 
Dollinger — Mohammed's Religion nach ihrer Inneren Entwicklung und 

ihrem Einfliisse (Ratisbon, 1838). 
Dozy — L'Histoire d Islamisme (Leyden, 1879). 

" — Het Islamisme (Leyden, 1879). 
Dugat, Gustave — Histoire des philos. et des theol. Musulmans de 632- 

1258 J. C. (Paris, 1878). 
Duveyrier, H. — La conferie Musulmane de Sidi Moh. bin All Es- 

Senonsi (Paris, 1886). 

Falke R. — Budda, Mohammed, Christus ; ein vergleich u. z. w. (GUter- 

sloh, 1897). 
Forster, Rev. C. — Mahometanism unveiled, 2 vols. (London, 1829). 

Gagnier, J. — Ismael Abulfeda, De Vita et Rebus gestis Mohammedis 

(Oxford, 1723). 
Galland — Recueil des Rites et Ceremonies du pelerinage de la Mecque 

(Amst., 1754). 
Garnett, L. M. J. — The Women of Turkey and their folk-lore (London, 

Geiger Rabbi — Judaism and Islam [translation of the above] (Madras, 

Geiger Rabbi — Was hat Mohammed aus das Judenthume aufgenommen ? 

(Wiesbaden, 1833). 


Georgens, E. P. — Der Islam und die moderne Kultur (Berlin, 1879). 
Gerock — Versuch einer Darstellung der Christologie des Korans (Ham- 
burg, 1839). , 
Gibbon — Decline and Fall of Roman Empire (in loco). 
Gmelin, M. F. — Christenschlaverei und de Islam (Berlin, 1873). 
Guyard, S. — La civilization Musulmane (Paris, if" 

Haines, C. R. — Islam as a Missionary Religion (London, 1888). 
Hamilton, C. — The Hedayah, a commentary on Moslem law Trans, 

(London, 1791.) (Edition by Grady, 1890). 
Hauri, Johannes — Der Islam in seinem Einfluss auf das leben seiner be- 

kenner (Leyden, 1880). 
Herclots, Dr. — Qanoon-el-Islam (London, 1832). 

Higgins, G. — An Apology for the life of Mohammed (London, 1829). 
Hughes, F. P. — Notes on Mohammedanism (London, 1875). 

« >( « — Dictionary of Islam (New York and London, 1885). 
Hm-gronje, C. Snouck_Het Mekkaansche Feest (Leyden, 1880). 

" " " — Mekka: mit bilder atlas, (The Hague, 1880). 

Inchbald, Rev. P. — Animadversions on Higgins, (Doncaster, 1830). 
Irving, Washington — Life of Mahomet (London, 1850). 

" " — Successors of Mahomet (London, 1852), 

Jansen, H. — Verbreitung des Islams, u. z, w., in den verschiedeuen, 

Landern der Erde, 1890-1897 (Berlin, 1898). 
Jessup, H. H. — The Mohammedan Missionary Problem (Phila., 1889). 

Keller, A. — Der Geisteskampf des Christentums gegen den Islam bis 

zur Zeit der Kreuzziige (Leipzig, 1897). 
Koelle, S. W. — Mohammed and Mohammedanism critically considered 

(London, 1888). 
Koelle, S. W. — Food for Reflection (London, 1865). 
Koran : (Editions and translations). 

— English versions: Alexander Ross (from French, 1649-1688), 

Sale (1734), Rodwell (1861), Palmer (1880). 
— First Ar2.h\c, printed text, at Rome, 1530 (Brixiensis). 
Arabic text, Hinkelmann (Hamburg, 1649). 
" and Latin text, — Maracci (Padua, 1698). 
" text — Empress Catherine II. (St. Petersburg, 1787). 

" ( « " 1790, 1793, 

1796, 1798). 

" " Empress Catherine, II. (Kasan, 1803, 1809, 1839). 

<• (critical edition) G. Fliigel, (Leipzig, 1834, 1842, 1869). 

— French, Savary (1783) and Kasimirski (Paris, 1840, 1841, 1857). 

— French version, Du Ryer (Paris, 1647). 

— German versions : Boysen (1773), Wahl (1828), Ullmann (1840, 

— German version, Schweigger (Nurnberg, 1616). 
— Latin version, Robert and Hermann (Basle, 1543). 
— Russian version (St. Petersburg, 1776). 
Translations exist also in the other European languages; and in 

APPENDIX in 421 

Persian, Urdu, Pushto, Turkish, Javan, and Malayan made by 

Koran Commentaries: — (" There are no less than 20,000 in the library 
at Tripolis alone" — Arnold's Islam and Christianity, p. 81). 
The most important are, — (Sunni) — 
Al Baghavvi, A. H. 515. At-Tafsir '1 Kebir, A. H. 606. 

Al Baidhawi, A. H. 685. Azizi, A. H. 1239, (and Shiah). — 

Al Jalalan, A. H. 864 and 91 1. Az-Zamakhshari, A. H. 604. 

Al Mazhari, A. H. 1225. Hussain, A. H. 900. 

Al Mudarik, A. H. 701. Ibn u'l Arabi, A. H. 628. 

ArRazi (30 vols.), A. H. 606. Mir Bakir, A. H. 1041. 

As-Safi, A. H. 668. Saiyid Hasham, A. H. 1160. 

As-sirru'l wajiz, A. H. 715. Sheikh Saduk, A. H. 381. 

Krehl, C. L. E. — Das leben des Moham. (Leipzig, 1884). 
Kremer, Von Alfred — Geschichte der Heerschende Ideen des Islams: 
Der Gottsbegriff, die Prophetic und Staatsidee (Leipzig, 1868). 

La Chatelier, A.— LTslam an XIX^ siecle (Paris, 1888). 

Lake, J. J. — Islam, its origin, genius and mission (London, 1878). 

Lamairesse, E., (et G. Dujarric.) — Vie de Mahomet d'apres la tradition, 

vol. i. (Paris, 1898). 
Lane-Poole, Stanley — Studies in a Mosque (London, 1883). 

" " " — Table-talk of Mohammed (London, 1882). 

Lane — Selections from the Koran (London, 1879). 

MacBride, J. D.^ — The Mohammedan Religion Explained (London, 1859). 

Maitland, E. — England and Islam (London, 1877). 

Marracio, L. — Refutatio Al Coran (Batavii, 1698). 

Marten, Henry — Controversial Tracts on Christianity and Islam, by the 
Rev. S. Lee (edited Cambridge, 1824). 

Matthews^The Mishkat (traditions) translation (Calcutta, 1809). 

Merrick, J. L. — The life and religion of Mohammed from Sheeah tra- 
ditions (translated from Persian) (Boston, 1850). 

Mills, C. — The Plistory of Muhammedanism (London, 1817). 

Mills, W. H.— The Muhammedan System ( — 1828). 

Mochler, J. A. — The relation of Islam to the Gospel (translation) (Cal- 
cutta, 1847). 

Mohler, J. A. — Ueber das Verhaltniss des Islams zum Evangelium 

Morgan, Joseph — Mohammedanism Explained (London, 1723). 

Muir, Sir William — Life of Mahomet, 4 vols. (London, 1858 and 1897). 
" " " — Rise and Decline of Islam (in Present Day Tracts, 
London, 1887). 

Muir, Sir William — Mahomet and Islam (London, 1890). 

" " " — Sweet First Fruits. Translated from Arabic. (London, 

" " " — The apology of Al Kindy, translated from Arabic 
(London, 1887). 

Muir, Sir William — The Coran : Its composition and teaching and the 
testimony it bears to the Holy Scriptures (London, 1878). 

Muir, Sir William — The Beacon of Truth (from Arabic) (London, 1897.) 


Miiir, Sir William — The Caliphate (I-ondon, 1897). 

" " " — The Mohammeelan Controversy (Edinbiuf^h, 1S97). 
Miiller, F. A. — Der Islam im Morgeii unci Abendlantlen (I5crlin, 18S5). 
Murray, Rev. W. — Life of Mohammed, according to Abu El Fida (Elgin, 
no date). 

Neale, F. A. — Islamism, its Rise and Progress (London, 1854). 
Niemann, G. K. — Inleiding tot de keunisvanden Islam (Rotterdam, 

Noldccke, T.— Geschichte des Qurans (Gottingen, i860). 

" " — Das Leben Muhammeds (Hanover, 1863). 

Oelsner, C. E. — Des effets de la religion de Mohammed (Paris, 18 10), 
Osborn, Major — Islam under the Arabs, (London, 1876). 
" " — Islam under the Caliphs (London, 1 878). 

Pfander, Doctor — The Mizan El llak (translated from Persian) (London, 

Pfander, Doctor — Miftah ul Asrar (Persian) (Calcutta, 1839). 

" " — Tarik ul Hyiit, Persian (Calcutta, 1S40). 

Palgrave, W. G. — Essays on Eastern Question (London, 1872). 

" " " — Travels in Central and Eastern Arabia. 

Palmer, E. H. — The Koran translated, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1880). 
Pelly, Lewis — The Miracle Play of Hasan and Hussain (London, 1879). 
Perron — L'Islamisme, Son Institutions, etc. (Paris, 1877). 

" — Femmcs Arabes avant et depuis ITslamisme (Paris, 1858). 
Pitts, Joseph — Religion and manners of Mahometans (Oxford, 1704). 
Prideaux, H. — The True Nature of the Imposture fully explained 
(London, 17 18). 

Rabadan — Mahometanism (Spanish and Arabic) 1603. 

Reland (and others) — Four Treatises (on Islam) (London, 17 12). 

Rodwell, J. M. — The Koran, Translated (London, 187 1). 

Roebuck, J. A. — Life of Mahomet (London, 1833). 

Ross, Alexander — The Koran (London, 1642). 

Rumsey, A. — Al Sirajiych. Translated (London, 1869). 

Ryer, Andre du — Life of Mahomet (London, 17 18). 

Sale — Translation of the Koran with preliminary discourse (London, 1734). 
Scholl, Jules Charles — LTslam et son fondateur : ttude morale (Neu- 

chatel, 1874). 
Sell, Rev. E. — The Faith of Islam (Madras, 1880 and London, 1897). 

" " " — The Historical Development of the Quran (Madras, 1898). 
Smith, Bosworth — Mohammed and Mohammedanism (London, 1876). 
Smith, II. P.— The Bible and Islam (New York and London, 1897). 
Sprcnger, Aloys — Das leben und die Lchre des Mohammed, 3 vols, 

(Berlin, 1865). 
Sprcnger, A. — Life of Mohammed from original sources (Allahabad, 185 1). 
Steinschneider, Moritz — Polemische Literatur in Arabischer Sprache 

(Leipzig, 1877). 
Stevens, W. R, W, — Christianity and Islam (London, 1877). 

/iPPENDIX 111 423 

St. Hilaire, T. Bartholomew de — Mahomet et le Coran (Paris, 1865). 
Stobart, J. W. H. — Islam and its Founder (London, 1876). 
Syecd, Ahmed Khan — Essays on the life of Mohammed (London, 1870)' 
Syeed, Ameer Ali — A critical examination of the life and teachings of 
Mohammed (London, 1873). 

Tassy, Garcin de — L'Islamisme d'apres le Coran (Paris, 1874). 
Taylor, W. C. — The Hist, of Mohammedanism (London, 1834). 
Thiersant, P. Dabry de — Le Mahometisme en Chine (Paris, 1878). 
Tisdall, W. St. Clair— The Religion of the Crescent (London, 1896). 
Turpin, F, H. — Hist, de la vie de Mahomet, 3 vols. (Paris, 1773). 

Wallich, J.— Religio Turcia et Mahometis Vita (1659). 

Weil, Gustav — Das leben Mohammed ; nach Ibn Ishak bearbeit von Ibn 
Hisham, 2 vols. ^Stuttgart, 1864). 

Weil, Gustav — Historische-Kritische Einleitung in den Koran (Biele- 
feld, 1844). 

Wherry, E. M. — Commentary on the Quran, 5 vols. (London, 1882). 

White, J. — Bampton Lectures (on Islam) (Oxford, 1784). 

Wollaston, Arthur N. — Half Hours with Mohammed (London, 1890). 

Wortabet, John — Researches into Religions of Syria, (London, i860). 

Wustenfeld, H. F. — Das leben Muhammeds, 3 vols. (Gottingcn, 1857.) 
" " " — Geschichte der Stadt Mekka, 4 vols. (Leipzig, 


Zotenberg — Tareek-i-Tabari. Translated. 

E. Christianity and Missions * 

Birks, Herbert — Life and Correspondence of Bishop T. V. French (Lon. 
(don, 1895). 

Jessup, H. H. — The Setting of the Crescent and the Rising of the Cross or 
Kamil Abdul Messiah (Philadelphia, 1898). 

Jessup, H. H. — The Mohammedan Missionary Problem (Phila., 1879). 

Sinker, Robert — Memoir of Ion Keith Falconer (Cambridge, 1886). 

The Arabian Mission. Quarterly Letters and Annual Reports, special 
papers on missionary journeys from 1890-1899 (New York.) 

Wright, Thomas — Early Christianity in Arabia; a historical essay (Lon- 
don, 1855). This book gives a complete account of the early spread 
of Christianity and cites authorities, which being mostly in Latin, are 
omitted here, 

F. Language and Literature 

Abcarius — English-Arabic Dictionary (Beirut, 1882). 
Ahlwardt, W. — The Divans of the six ancient Arabic Poets (London, 

'Consult British and Foreign Bible Society Reports for account of Scripture circu- 
lation ; tije Free Church of Scotland Monthly for reports of Keith Falconer Mission; 
the Church Missionary Intelligencer, 1887, vol. xii., pp. 215, 273, 346, 408; Mission- 
ary Review 0/ the World, 1893-1899, October numbers. 


Ahlwardt, W. — tJber die Poesie und Poetiek der Araber (Gotha, 1856). 

" " — Beraerkungen iiber die achtheid der Alten Arab. Gedich- 

ten (Griefswald, 1872). 
Arnold, F. A. — Arabic Chrestomathy, 2 parts (Halis, 1853). 
Arnold, F. A. — Septem M'oallakat (Leipzic, 1850). 

Badger, G. P. — English-Arabic Lexicon (London, 1881). 
Birdwood/ Allan B. — An Arabic Reading Book (London, 1891). 

Cadri, Moh. — Guide to Arab. Conversation (Alexandria, 1879). 

Caspari, C. P. — Arab. Grammatik (Halle, 1876). 

Caussin de Perceval — Grammaire Arabe. (Paris, 1880). 

Cheikho, P. L. — Chrestomathia Arabica cumlexico variisque notis (Beirut, 

Clodius, J. C. — Gram. Arabica (Leipzig, 1729). 
Clouston — Arabic Poetry for English Readers (Glasgow, l{ 

De Goeje, Prof. — A complete account of the authorship, etc., of the 
Arabian Nights (" De Gids," Amsterdam, Sept., 1886). 

Derenbourg, H. and Spiro J. — Chrestomathy (Paris, 1885). 

Dieterici, Fr. — Thier und Mensch vor dem koning der Genien u. z. w. 
(Leipzig, 1881). 

Dieterici, Fr. — Arabisches-Deutsch Wortenbuch zum Koran und Thier 
und Mensch (Leipzig, 1881). 

Dieterici, Fr. — Die Arabische Dicht-Kunst (Berlin, 1850). 

Dombay, Fr. de — Gram. Mauro-Arab. (Vindob., 1800). 

Dozy, R. P. A. — Supplement aux dictionnaires Arabes., 2 vols. (Leyden, 

Dozy, R. P. A. — [And many other monographs on the language.] 

Erpenius, Th. — Grammatica, etc. (Leyden, 1767). 

Erpenius, Th. — Rudimenta Linguae Arabicae, Ed. A. Schultens (Leyden, 

Euting — Katalog der Arabische Literatur (Strassburg, 1877). 
Ewald, G. H. A. — Grain. Criticalinq. Arab., 2 vols. (Lips., 1831). 

Farhat, G. — Diet. Arabe-Fran(;aise (Marseilles, 1849). 

Faris Es Shidiac — Arab. Gram. (London, 1856). 

Fleischer, H. L. — Tausend und eine Nacht (text and notes, 12 vols.) 

(Breslau, 1825-43). 
Fleisher, M. H. L. — Arabische Spriiche u. z. w. (Leipzig, 1837). 
Fliigel, G. — Die Grammatische Schulen der Araber nach den Quellen 

bearbeidt (Leipzig, 1862). 
Flugel — Kitab El Fihrist, with German notes (Leipzig, 1871-72). 
Fliigel, Gustav — Lexicon Bibliographicum Arab., 7 vols. 4to. (Leipzig, 

Forbes, Duncan — Arabic Grammar. 
Freytag — Einleitung in das studium der Arabische Sprache (Bonn, 1861). 

" — Lexicon, Arab. Lat, 4 vols. (Halis, 1830). 

" — " " (abridged Halis, 1837). 

" — Arabum Proverbia (3 vols.) (Bonn, 1838). 


Giggejus, A. — Thesaurus linq. Arabicae, 4 vols. (Medioland, 1632). 
Gies, H. — Zur kentniss sieben Arabischer Versarten (Leipzig, 1879). 
Girgass and De Rosen — Chrestomathy (German ed. 1875. Russian, 

St. Petersburg, 1S76). 
Goeje, De M. J. — Debelangryhheid van de bevefening d. Arab, taal en 

letterkunde (Hague, 1866). 
Golius, J.^ — Lexicon Arab. Lat. (Leyden, 1653). 
Green, A. O. — A Practical Arabic Grammar (Oxford, 1887). 

Hammer Van Purgstall — Literaturgeschichte der Araber: Von ihren be- 
giune bis zum ende des Zwolfte Jaluhunderts der Hidschret, 7 vols. 
(Wein, 1850-56). 

Heury, J. — Vocab. French-Arab. (Beyrout, 188 1). 

Hirth, J. Fr. — Anthologia Arab. (Jenae, 1774). 

Hoefer's Zeitschrift — Ueber die Himyarische Sprache (vol. i., 225 sq). 

Jahn, J. — Arabische Chrestomathie (Wien, 1802), 

Jayaker, A. S. G. — The Omanese Dialect of Arabic, 2 parts (In Journal 
R. A. S., of Gt. Britain). 

Kosengarten, J. — Arab. Chrestomathy (Leipzig, 1828). 
Kremer, A. von — Lexikographie Arab. (Vienna, 1883). 

Lane, E. W. — An Arabic English Dictionary (i.-viii.) (London, 1863-89). 
" W. — The Thousand and One Nights, with notes, edited, 3 vols. 
(London, 1841). 
Lansing, J. G. — Arabic Grammar (New York, 1890). 

Mac Naghten, W. H. — Thousand and One Nights literally transl,, 4 
vols. (Calcutta, 1839). 

Newman, F. W. — Dictionary, 2 vols. (London, 1890). 

" " " — Handbook of Modern Arabic (London, 1890). 
Noldeke, Th. — Beitrage zur Kentniss d. Poesie d. alten Araber, (Hanover, 


Oberleitner, A. — Chrestomathia Arab. (Vienna, 1824). 

Palmer, E. H. — Arabic Grammar (London, 1890). 

« <i <i — Arabic Manual (London, 1890). 
Perowne, J. J. S. — Adjrumiah, translated with Arabic voweled text 
(Cambridge, 1852). 

Richardson — Arab. Persian English Dictionary (London, 1852). 
Richardson, J. A. — Gram, of Arabic Language (London, 181 1). 
Rosenmiiller, E. F. C. — Grammar (Leipzig, 1818). 

Sacy, A. J. Sylvestre de — An Arabic Grammar. 

" " " " " — Arabic Chrestomathy, 4 vols. (Paris, 1829). 

Socin, A. — Arabische Grammatik (Berhn, 1889). 
Steingass, F. — Arab.-Eng. and Eng.-Arab. Diet. (London, 1890). 


Tien, A. — Handbook of Arabic (London, 1890). 

" " — Manual of Colloquial Arab. (London, 1890). 
Trumpp, E. — Einleitung in das Studium der Arabischen Gratnmatiker 

(Munich, 1876). 
Tychsen, O. G. — Elementale Arabicum (1792). 

Van Dyck, C. C. A. — Suggestions to beginners in the study of Arabic 

(Beirut, 1892). 
Vollers — jEgypto-Arab. Sprache (Cairo, 1890). 
Vriemoet, E. L. — Grammar (Franeker, 1733). 

Wahrmund, A. — Arab. Deutsch Handworter buch, 2 vols. (Giessen, 1887). 

„ " — Handbuch der Arab. Sprache (Giessen, 1866). 

Winckler, J. L. W.— Arab. Sprachlehre nebst Worterbuch (Leipzig, 

Wright, W. — Arabic Reading Book (London, 1870). 


Abd-ul-Wahab, 192, 

Abdulla bin Rashid, 200. 

Abraha, 311. 

Abraham, God's promises to, 401. 

Abyssinian invasion of Arabia, 308. 

Accessibility of Arabia (see Open 

doors), 375. 
Adam, Tradition of the fall of, 17. 
Aden, 53, 218, 335, 376. 

" as a mission centre, 338. 

" Tribes around, 230. 
Aflaj, 145. 

Aftan, Wady, 22, 99. 
Allah (see God), 171. 
Alphabet, Arabic, 242. 
Ali, Ruins at, 105. 
All's footprint, 66. 
Amara, 132, 289, 364, 
American Arabian mission, 353. 

" Riflesin Arabia, 66«, 139. 
Amulets (see charms), 283. 
Anaeze tribe, 154. 
Animals of Arabia, 28. 
Arab architecture, 272. 

" characteristics, 261, 264. 

" genealogies, 261. 

" geographers, 25. 

" The, 258. 
Arabia, 240, 

" Area of, 18. 

" Boundaries of, 18. 

'• Felix (Yemen), 53, 307. 

Arabia in Moslem tradition, 17. 
Arabian field, Problems of the, 374. 

" history, 158. 

" idolatry (see Idolatry), 36. 

" mission, 354. 

" " hymn, 358. 

Arabic language, 238, 254. 
Arabs, Classes of, 260. 
" Origin of, 258. 
Architecture, Arab, 272. 
Arts, Arabian, 274. 
Ashera, 140. 
Asir, The Turks in, 210. 
Athar, Science of, 278. 

Bagdad, 133, 321. 

" mission, 327. 

" Turkish rule in, 215. 

" Vilayet, 126. 
Bahrein, 97, no, 220, 363, 373. 

" huts, 271. 
Barka, 84. 
Barny, F. J., 366. 
Bartholomew, St,, Tradition as to, 

Batina Coast, 83. 
Bayard Taylor (quoted), 121. 
Bedaa, in. 
Bedouin, Attacked by, 60. 

" dress, 272. 

" life, 265. """ ~^\^ 

tribes, 68, 132, 154. 




Bedouin tribes, Mission to, 328. 

" warfare, 203, 364. 
Beit Allah, 34, 35. 
Bent, Theodore, 73. 
Bible, Arabic, 256, 316. 

" depot in Bagdad, 321. 

" distribution in Arabia, 320, 

365. 377. 384. 388. 
Black stone of Mecca, 31, 36, 
Blood covenants, 166. 

" revenge, 155, 265. 
Blunt, Lady Ann, 269. 
British and Foreign Bible Society, 

British influence in Arabia, 218. 
Bruce, Robert, 321. 
Buchanan, Claudius, 314. 
Bunder, Abbas, 235. 

" Jissa, 84. 
Burckhardt (quoted), 269. 
Burial place of Mohammed, 47. 
Burns, William, 320. 
Burton (quoted), 282. 
Busrah, 124, 129, 361. 
" mission, 365. 

Camel, Land of the, 88. 

" Use and character, 90. 
Cantine, James, 353, 359, 360. 
Caravan journey from Bagdad, 136. 

" routes of Oman, 94, 
Carmathian princes, 115. 
Castles in Hadramaut, 75. 
Cave-dwellers, Gharah, 86. 
Certificate, The Mecca, 40. 
Charms used by women of Mecca, 

Child life among Arabs, 265. 
Christian Church in Aden, 54. 
" " " Arabia, 306. 

" coins used as amulets, 43. 

Christian and Missionary Alliance, 

Christianity in Arabia, 159, 300. 
Christians, Hatred of, 30, 267. 

" St. John, 285. 

Christ's Sonship, The Rock of, 397. 
Church Missionary Society, 322, 

327. 344- 
Circumcision, 399. 
Climate of Arabia, 20, 378. 

" " Bahrein, 106. 

« " Nejd, 147. 

" " Oman, 79, 80, 93. 
Cobb, H. N. (quoted), 369. 
Coffee trade in Yemen, 70. 
Coins, Carmathian, 115. 
Colportage work (see Bible Distri- 
bution), 384. 
Commerce, English, in Arabia, 225. 
" in the Nejd, 151. 

" of Busrah, 126. 

Consulates, British, 231, 
Converts from Islam, 391. 
Cosmogony, Sabean, 296. 
Covenants, 166. 

Cradle of the Human Race, 119. 
Ctesiphon, Arch of, 133. 
Cufic characters, 243. 
Customhouse, Turkish, 58. 
Customs, Arab, 166, 

Da Costa, Isaac, 405. 
Damar, 66. 
Date culture, 124. 

" palm, 121. 
Dauasir, Wady, 22, 145. 
Dedan, 97. 

Desert dwellers and the camel, 90. 
Deserts of Arabia, 24, 144. 
Difficulties of Arabian missions, 




Diseases in Arabia, 280, 378. 
Diwaniyeh, 139. 
Doughty (quoted), 144, 268. 
Dress of the Arabs, 58, 70, 272. 
Dromedary, 89. 
Dutch Missionary Society, 394. 
" Reformed Church, 353. 
Dwellings of Arabs, 271. 

East India. Company, 221. 
Education in Mecca, 43. 

" of Arab Children, 266. 
Educational missions, 383. 
Elephants in warfare, 312. 
English possessions (see British), 

English supremacy in the Gulf, 

Euphrates, Journey down the, 136. 
Europeans who visited Mecca, ^m. 
Eustace, M., 361. 
Evangelisiic work in Arabia, 384. 
Eve, Tomb of, 17. 
Ezekiel, 54, 405. 
Ezra, Tomb of, 132, 

Family life in Arabia, 265. 

Fanaticism, Moslem, 379. 

Fao, 129. 

Fatima, Shrine of, 50, 

Fauna of Arabia, 28. 

Feasts, Sabean, 298. 

Fetishism, 168. 

Feysul, 198, 

Fish on the Oman Coast, 82. 

Flora of Arabia, 28. 

Foods of Arabia, 273. 

Forder, Mr., 329. 

Frankincense, 86. 

Free Church of Scotland, 320, 


French, Bishop Thomas Valpy, 

330. 331. 344- 
French coaling station, 234. 

Geology of Arabia, 21. 
Geographers, Arab, 25. 
Gharah tribe, 85. 
Glenny, Edward (quoted), 397. 
God, The Moslem's idea of, 171. 
God's promises for Arabia, 395. 
Government of Bahrein, 108. 

" " Hassa, 117. 

" " Nejd, 150. 

Governments in Arabia, 26. 
Graves, Anthony N., 320. 

Hadramaut, 18, 72. 

Hagar, 397, 405- 

Haig, F. T„ 322, 334, 359, 378. 

Hail, 151. 

Haj Nasir, Khan of, 140, 

Hajarein, Hadramaut, 74. 

Halevy, Joseph, 73. 

Hanifs, 168. 

Harem system, 161. 

Harpur, Dr. and Mrs., 322, 325. 

Harrat (volcanic tracts), 23. 

Hassa, 115, 117. 

" The Turks in, 217. 
Haswa, Khan El, 137. 
Haura, 75. 
Hegira, 183. 

Hejaz, Turkish rule in, 207. 
Hillah, 137. 

Himyarite dynasty, 158, 307. 
Himyarites, 259. 
Himyaritic inscriptions, 74, 244. 
History of Arabia, 158. 
Hodeidah, 53, 70. 

" Bishop French at, 347. 
Hodgson, 327. 



Hofhoof, 113. 
Honey, 282. 
Horses, Arabian, 149. 
Hospital at Hofhoof, II6. 
Hospitality of Rashid, 200. 

" " the Amir of Nejd, 

Hostility to Christianity, 386. 

Hurgronje Snouck (quoted), 270. 

Ibb, Experience at, 65. 

Ichthiophagoi, 82. 

Idolatry in Arabia, 36, 52, 166, 

284, 307, 
Idols of Arabia, 166. 
Ignorance of Arabia, 145. 
" " Meccans, 42. 
Ignorance, Time of, 158. 
Illiteracy, 42, 379. 
Immorality in Arabia, 40, 41. 
" of the Koran, 186. 

India's influence on Arabia, 109. 
Infanticide, 161. 
"Infidels," 30, 31. 
Inscriptions in Yemen, 313. 
" Himyaritic, 74. 

Interior of Arabia, 143, 377. 
Irak-Arabi, I20. 
Irrigation in Oman, 93. 
Ishmael, 35. 

" Promises to, 398. 
Ishmaelite Arabs, 260. 
Islam, 169. 

" Analysis of, 177. 

" Borrowed elements of, 178. 

" God of, 171. 

JAUF, 275. 

Jiddah, 17, 31, 32. 

Jebel Shammar, 154. 

Jesus Christ, 49, 297. 

Jews in Arabia, 63, 66, 159, 308. 

" John the Baptist Christians," 297. 
Joktan, 404. 
Journey in Oman, 94, 

" to Hofhoof, III. 

" " Sana, 56. 

" up the Tigris, 131. 

Kaaba, 34, 35. 

" Tradition of the, 1 7. 
Kaat-Culture, 63. 
Kamaran Island, 33, 220. 
Kamil, 360, 361. 
Katar Peninsula, no. ' 
Katif, 118. 

Kedar, Promises concerning, 398. 
Keith Falconer, Ion, 250, 331. 

" " Mission, 343, 381. 

Kenaneh, 310. 
Kerak, 327. 
Kerbela, 138, 195. 
Khadijah, 181. 
Khans, 137. 

Koran, 186, 239, 242, 251. 
Koreish, 311, 312. 
Kuria-Muria Islands, 86, 219, 
Kurna, 142. 
Kuweit, 128, 222. 

Lahaj, 338. 

Lane-Poole, Stanley (quoted), 253, 

Language of the Arabs, 238, 249. 

" Sabean, 288. 

Lansing, Dr., 321. 

J. G., 354. 
Law among Arabs (see Govern- 
ment), 265. 
Legend as to creation of camel, 88. 
" of Nebi Salih, 302. 
" " St. Bartholomew, 307. 
Legends, 165. 
Lethaby, William, 327. 
Literature of the Arabs, 242, 25 1. 



Love among Arabs, 265. 
Lull, Raymond, 239, 314. 

MAadites, 259. 

Mackay's, Alexander, Appeal, 329. 

Makalla, 73, 376. 

Mandaeans, 285. 

Manufactures of Hassa, 115. 

Marriages in Arabia, 162, 268. 

" of Mohammed, l8l, 182. 
" Temporary, 41. 
Martyn, Henry, 314, 316. 
Martyn's, Henry, Journal, 3 1 8. 
Mattra, 82. 
Mecca, 17, 30, 34. 

" Capture of, 194. 

" Certificate, 40. 

" Turkish Government of, 208. 
Meccan songs, 278. 
Medical knowledge of Arabs, 280. 

" mission in Aden, Need of a, 

Medical mission in Yemen, 325. 

" missions, 361, 377. 
Medicine, Arab, 281. 
Medina, 31, 45. 
Menakha, 69. 
Menamah, 99. 
Mesopotamia, 119, 216. 

" Star-worshippers of, 

Methods of mission work for 

Arabia, 383. 
Mildmay Mission to the Jews, 363. 
Mina, 39. 

Miracles, Moslem, 313. 
Mishkash, 42. 
Mission at Aden, 342. 

" " Muscat, 82, 349. 
Missionaries needed. The kind of, 


Missionary force in Arabia, 380. 

" problems of Arabia, 374. 
Missions in Arabia, 314. 
Mahrah tribe, 85. 
Makamat, 253. 

Mohammed, 169, 170, 179, 298. 
" Ali, 196. 

" Arabia, before, 158. 

Mohammed's burial place, 47. 
Mohammedan intolerance, 30. 

" problem, 374. 

Moharram, 140. 
Moses, 302. 

Moslem attitude toward Christi- 
anity, 386. 
Moslem world. Condition of the, 

Moule, A. E. (quoted), 351. 
Mounds at Ali, 106. 

" in the River Country, 121. 
Mountains and table-lands, 19, 20, 

Mufallis, 58. 
Muscat, 78, 363. 

" Attack on, 364. 

" Bishop French at, 348. 

" Capture of, 203. 

" Henry Martyn at, 319. 

" Importance of, 329. 
Music, Arab, 274. 

Nasariya, 141. 

Nebaioth, Promises regarding, 398. 
Needs of Arabia, 381. 
Nefud (Sandy Desert), 20. 
Neibuhr, M., 17. 
Nejd, 20, 27, 146. 
Nejf, 138. 
Nejran, 145. 

New Brunswick Seminary Band, 



Newspapers, Arabic, 241. 
Nomad population, 380, 
Nomads, Arab, 264. 
North Africa Mission, 328. 


Oman, 78, 221, 234. 

" Interior of, 92. 

" Rulers of, 202. 
Open doors in Arabia, 324, 375. 
Opposition to missions, 362. 
Ottoman (see Turkish), 127. 
Outlook for missions, 391. 

Palgrave (quoted), 19, no, 153, 

Palmyrene Kingdom, 304. 
Paradise, Rivers of, 22n. 
Paul in Arabia, 300, 
Pearl fishing, 1 00. 
Pearl Islands of the Gulf, 97. 
Pearl oyster, 100. 
Penmanship, Arabic, 245. 
Pentecost, Arabs at, 300. 
Perim, Island of, 220. 
Persecution of Christians, 311, 379. 
Persia, 318. 
Persian converts, 392. 

" persecution of Christian 
Arabs, 305. 
Physicians, Arab, 42, 280. 
Pilgrimages, Early, 165. 

" to Mecca, 37, 184. 

Pilgrims, Duties of, 38. 

" Nationality of, 33. 
Pillars, The three, 39, 
Pirate coast of Oman, 82, 
Poem, " Hagar," 405. 
Poems on women, 270. 
Poetry, Arab, 163, 1 64, 254, 274. 
Poets, Arabian, 46. 

Political divisions of Arabia, 26. 

" history of Bahrein, 107. 
Politics in Arabia, Present, 233. 
Polyandry, 162. 
Polygamy, 162, 268, 298. 
Population of Arabia, 29. 

" " Bagdad, 134. 

" " Irak-Arabi, 126. 

Portuguese at Muscat, 81, 202. 

" castle, Katif, 118. 

Postal systems of Arabia, 224. 
Post, Geo. E. (quoted), 186. 
Poverty of the Arabs, 157. 
Prayer, Call to, 326. 

" for Moslems, 315. 
Prayer-meeting of Star-worshippers, 

Prayers of pilgrims, 38. 

" offered at Medina, 50. 
Preaching in Yerim, 66, 324. 

" to Moslems, 384. 
Priesthood, Mandsean, 298. 
Problems of the Arabian field, 374. 
Prophet's tomb at Medina, 47. 
Provinces of Arabia, 25. 
Ptolemy's map of Arabia, 18. 

Railway, Anglo-Egyptian, 226. 
Rashid, Mohammed bin, 200. 
Rastak, 79. 
Red Sea coast, 19. 
Reformation, Wahabi, 192. 
Reformed Church in America, 353. 
Religion of heathen Arabs, 164. 

" " the Mahrah tribe, 85. 

" " " Sabeans, 288. 
Renan, Ernest (quoted), 239. 
Report of Keith Falconer, 335. 
Results of missions to Moslems, 392. 
Rhenish missionary society, 394. 
Riad, 152, 201. 



Riggs, C. E., 361. 

River country, 119, 382. 

Rivers of Arabia, 21. 

Roba'-el-Khali, 143. 

Robbers, Bedouin, 155. 

Robbery among Arabs, 264. 

Robbery, Turkish, 69. 

Roda, 68. 

Roman empire and the Arabs, 304. 

Ruins at Ali, 105. 

" in Hadramaut, 74. 
Ruma, Wady, 22. 
Russian influence, 235. 

" interests in Arabia, 223. 

Sabeans, 285. 

Sabat, 317. 

Sacred mosque of Mecca, 35. 

Sacrifice, Sabean, 294. 

Sacrifices in Arabia, 39, 166. 

Said, Seyid, 202, 

Sana, 56, 67, 212. 

" Early Christianity in, 310. 

" Importance of, 324, 360. 

" inscription, 313. 
Saud, 194. 

School for African slave-boys, 366. 
Schools at Medina, 51. 
" in Hassa, 117. 
" of Mecca, 43. 
Sciences, Arabian, 274. 
Seba, 404. 

Semitic languages, 240, 241. 
Semites, 240. 
Shatt-el-Arab, 120. 
Sheba, 403, 404. 
Shehr and its ruler, 76. 
Sheikh Othman, 56, 335, 336. 

" " mission, 342. 

Shibam, 75. 
Shiran, Wady, 22. 

Shrines of Arabia, 165. 

Sib, 84, 

Sidra Rabba, 294. 

Sin, Koran doctrine of, 190, 

Sinaitic Peninsula, 302, 375. 

Slave school at Muscat, 366. 

" trade, 85, 224. 
Smith, Eli, 256, 316. 
Social character of Arabs, 263. 
Socotra, 19, 219. 
Sohar, 84. 

Soldiers, Turkish, 21 6. 
Songs, Arabian, 275. 
Springs of fresh water in the Gulf, 


Star-worshippers of Mesopotamia, 

Steamship service to Bagdad, 131. 
Stern, Rev. A., 327. 
Stone, Geo. E., 351, 366, 371. 
Suk-el-Shiukh, 141. 
Sultan of Turkey, 206. 
Sultans of Muscat, 79. 
Sumatra missions, 393. 
Superstitions, Arab, 165, 187, 283. 
Sur, 84. 

Sutton, Henry M., 327. 
Sword conquest of Islam, 184. 

Taif, 45. 
Taiz, 60, 62. 

Taxation, Turkish, 69, 142, 215. 
Tenoof, 96. 

Tents, Bedouin, 155, 271, 
Telegraph system, 28, 223. 
Thoms, S. J., 366. 
Theophilus, 307. 
Tigris-Euphrates basin, 120. 
Torbat manufacture, 138. 
Totemism in Arabia, 166. 
Toweelah coin, 1 15, 



Trade (see Commerce), of Bagdad, 


" " Bahrein, 105. 
" " Muscat, 82. 
Tradition of fall of Adam and Eve, 


Traditions, Henry Marty n's, 319. 
Treaties, British, with Arabs, 

Tribal marks, 166, 279, 281. 
Travellers in Yemen, 53. 
Turkish Arabia, 376. 

" misrule, 26, 27, 58, 71, 

Turkish taxation, 113, 142. 
Turks in Arabia, 206. 

Unexplored Arabia, 18. 
Unoccupied territory, 382. 

Van Dyck, C, V. A., 256, 316. 
Van Tassel, Samuel, 328. 
Veil, Use of the, l6l. 

Women in the "Time of Igno- 
rance "160. 
Women, Mohammed and, 183, 

" of Mecca, 40. 

" " Yemen, 58, 70, 

" Sabean, 287. 
Wood carving in Hadramaut, 75. 
Worrall, H. R. L., 364. 
Wrede, Adolph von, 72. 
Writing as a fine art, 246. 

" Early Semitic, 242. 

" " use of, 163. 

" Mandaitic, 287. 
Wyckoff, James T,, 363. 

Yakoob, 361. 
Yanbo, 51, 196. 
Yemen, 53, 57, 62, 234. 

" as a mission field, 323. 

" Turks in, 211. 
Yemenites, 259. 
Yerim, 65. 
Young, J. C, 343. 

Wadys, 21. 

Wahabis, 83, 191. 

Wahat, 57. 

Warfare, Arab, 203. 

Wasms, 166, 281. 

Water courses of Oman, 93. 

Weapons, Arab, 267. 

Wellhausen (quoted), 167. 

Wellsted's travels in Arabia, 92, 

Wilson, John, 320. 
Woman's dress in Arabia, 272. 

" work for " 365, 383. 
Women, Arab, 268. 
" Bedouin, 156. 

Zemzem, Well of, 34, 36. 

Zenobia, 304. 

Zobeir, 128. 

Zwemer, Peter J., 362, 367. 

Zwemer's, P. J., journey in Oman, 

Zwemer, S. M., 354, 359, 
Zwemer's, S. M., journey down the 

Euphrates, 136. 
Zwemer's, S. M., journey to Hof- 

hoof. III. 
Zwemer's, S. M., journey to Sana, 

Zwemer's, S. M., journey up the 
Tigris, 131. 


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