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at each corner, is a silver-gilt ball with a crescent. The framework is covered with black brocade, richly marked in gold, and ornamented with tassels ; there is nothing inside the Mahmil, but two copies of the Ķur'ân, one on a scroll and one in book form, are attached to the outside of it. When the Maḥmil reaches the Citadel it is saluted with twelve guns.
3. At the beginning of Rabi' al-awwal (the third month), the Mûlid an-Nebi, or Birthday of the Prophet, is commemorated. The rejoicings begin on the third day of the month, and for nine days and nine nights the people indulge in singing and dancing and festivities of every kind, the streets are illuminated by night, and processions of Dervishes go about through the streets by day and by night. Mr. Lane once heard the sweetmeat sellers crying out when this festival was being celebrated, “A grain of salt in the eye of him who doth not bless the Prophet," probably a warning to Jews and Christians to keep away. He was also forlunate enough to see the Shekh of the Sa'dîyeh Dervishes ride over the bodies of a large number of them. Some sixty of these lay down upon the ground side by side as closely as possible, their backs being upwards, their legs extended, and their arms placed beneath their foreheads. None of the men were hurt, a fact which they attributed to the prayers which they had said the day before. This ceremony is called Dósah, and during its performance those trodden upon continued to utter the name “ Allah," or God.
4. In the fourth month, Rabi’ at-tâni, fifteen days and fourteen nights are spent in celebrating the festival of the Mùlid al-Hasanên, in which is celebrated the birthday of Al-Husên, whose head is buried in the Mosque of the Hasanên.
5. On the fifth day of the seventh month, Ragab, the Mùlid Ar-Rifa'i, or Birthday of Ar-Rifa'î, the founder
of the Rifâ‘iya Dervishes, who died in A.D. 1165, is celebrated. In the middle of the seventh month, the Birthday of Zênab, the granddaughter of the Prophet, is celebrated; and on the 27th of the month the festival of the Lelat al-Miaràg, or Ascension of the Prophet is celebrated. He is said to have been carried from Mecca to Jerusalem, and from Jerusalem to heaven, and having held converse with God, to have returned to Mecca in one night!
6. On the first or second Wednesday of the eighth month, Sha'bân, Múlid Al-Imâm Ash-Shafi'i, or Birthday of Imâm Shafei, is celebrated, and the cemetery called the Karà fah becomes the scene of great festivities. Above the dome of the mosque of the Imâm a metal boat is placed, and it is said to turn about even in the absence of wind, and according to the direction in which it turns, good or evil is foretold. The eve of the fifteenth day of this month, Lelat al-Nusf min Sha'abân, is held in great reverence, because the fate of every man during the year ensuing is decided. The Sidr, or lote tree of Paradise contains as many leaves as there are human beings in the world, and on each leaf is written the name of a man or woman; shortly after sunset this tree is shaken, when numbers of its leaves fall, and those whose names are written on the fallen leaves will die in the ensuing year. Pious Muḥammadans pass this night in solemn prayer.
The ninth month, Ramadan, is observed as a month of fasting; when this month falls in the summer time the Muḥammadans suffer greatly from both hunger and thirst. Mr. Lane calculates that the time during which the daily fast is kept varies from 12 h. 5 m. to 16 h. 14 m. The effect of the fast upon the country is, practically, to turn night into day, for nearly all the shops are kept open at night, and the streets are thronged, and the stranger sometimes finds it difficult to believe that the fasting is as rigorous as it undoubtedly is. The 27th night of the month is called the Lélet al-Kadr, or “Night of Power," and is held to be “better than a thousand months,” for in it the Ķurân is said to have been sent down to Muḥammad. On this night the angels bring blessings to the faithful, and as the gates of heaven are then open, it is believed that prayer will certainly find admission. Salt water is said to become sweet during that night, and some people keep a vessel of salt water before them and taste it evening after evening, that when it becomes sweet they may be certain that they are observing the Night of Power.
On the first three days of the tenth month, Shawwal, the Lesser Festival, or Ramadan Bairam is kept with great rejoicing ; it marks the end of the fast of Ramadan. When friends meet in the street they embrace and kiss each other, and the women visit the graves of their relatives and lay broken palm branches and sweet basil upon them ; during this festival many put on new clothes, and presents of every kind are given and received by members of all classes.
A few days later the Kiswah, or Covering of the Ka'aba, followed by the Maḥmil, is conveyed from the manufactory of Al-Khurunfish in Cairo, where it is made at the Sultan's expense, to the Mosque of the Hasanên, and the occasion is looked upon by everyone as a festival. The Kiswah is of black brocade covered with inscriptions, and having a broad band at the edge of each side ornamented with inscriptions worked in gold ; the covering and its band are each woven in four pieces, which are afterwards sewn together. The Veil which covers the door of the Ka'aba is made of richly worked black brocade and is lined with green silk, while the Kiswah is only lined with cotton. A Covering and a Veil are taken to the Kaʻaba yearly by the great Mecca Caravan, and the old ones, which have become spoiled by rain and dust, are cut up in pieces and sold to
the pilgrims. On the 23rd of the month Shawwâl the procession of the officers and the escort of the Mecca Caravan pass from the Citadel through the streets of the metropolis to a plain to the north of the city called Haşwa (i.e., pebbly); on the 25th it proceeds to the Birket al-Hagg, or Pilgrim Lake, about eleven miles from the city, and on the 27th the caravan starts for Mecca. The journey to Mecca occupies usually about 37 days, but those who like to travel leisurely take longer ; this city is about 45 miles, and is almost due east, from Jiddah on the Red Sea.
On the tenth of the month Dhul-higgah, i.e., the month of the Pilgrimage and the last of the Muḥammadan year, the Great Festival begins; it is observed in much the same way as the Little Festival, and lasts three or four days.
Muḥammadan sects. The Muḥammadans of Egypt, and of many other parts of the Turkish Empire may be described as orthodox, for they base their public and private life upon the teaching of Muḥammad, and upon the traditions handed down by his early disciples, and upon the decisions which they promulgated. Among these, however, there are four chief sects, the Hanafites, the Shảfe'ites, the Malekites, and the Hambalites, which, though agreeing as regards fundamentals of faith, differ in matters of detail. Speaking generally, the Hanafites may be said to follow their own opinions in many matters of faith instead of those of the Prophet, while the other three sects follow the traditions of Muhammad. The founders of the sects were Abu Hanîfa, born at Kûfa, A.H. 80; Shâfe'i, born at Gaza or Askelon, A.H. 150 ; Malek, born at Medina about A. H. 94; and Hambal, born either at Mery or Baghdad. The heterodox among the Arabs are called Shi'ites,* and are regarded with detestation by the Sunnites or traditionalists, who declare that they may just as well not be Muḥammadans at all, because they are doomed to
* Most Persians are Shi'ites.
eternal punishment. Among the heterodox some rejected all eternal attributes of God; others disputed about the essence of God; others declared that God could not have made unbelievers ; others held that there were two Gods, the one, the most high God, being eternal, and the other, Christ, being non-eternal; others denied everlasting punishment ; others said that God could be a liar ; others denied the absoluteness of predestination, and endowed men with free-will ; others distinguished the attributes of God from His essence; others taught anthropomorphism pure and simple, and ascribed to God a material body ; and within a comparatively short time after the death of the Prophet, Şûfism, or the doctrine of Divine love, with which were mingled mysticism and asceticism, attained great influence over the minds of the Persian Muhammadans, and its fol. lowers became a very large sect.
The Mahdî. From what has been said above it will be evident to the reader that the Arabs were always divided into sects which disputed among themselves about questions of religion, especially about those which savoured of mysticism and dogma. When the Arabs embraced the doctrines of Muḥammad the Prophet, they carried into their new religion many ideas, and beliefs, and customs, which even that masterful man was unable to set aside. Muhammad the “illiterate," as his followers love to call him, permitted them to believe whatever did not interfere with the supremacy of his own views, and he himself borrowed inost of his doctrines and mythology from the Jews and Christians and Persians. In Judaism and Zoroastrianism there was a common idea that the world had fallen into an evil condition, that religion had been corrupted, that all men were exceedingly wicked, and that only a supernatural being, who was to come at the end of time, could put all things right; this being the Jews called the Messiah, and the Persians