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V. Țanța, the capital of the province of Gharbiyah, situated between the Rosetta and Damietta arms of the Nile. This town is celebrated for three Fairs, which are held here in January, April, and August, in honour of the Muḥammadan saint Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawî, who lived and died at Țantâ. Each fair lasts eight days, and the greatest day in each fair is the Friday ; the most important fair is that held in August.
The following facts about the life of Aḥmad al-Badawî, or Aḥmad the veiled,” I owe to the kindness of Mr. Elias G. Aggane and Dr. Murâd of Țanțâ :
The Miaster, Abû Al-'Abbâs Ahmad un 'Alî AlBadawi, the saint, the abstemious one, whose fame hath spread over all the world, who is renowned for his miracles and for his moral and religious teachings, was descended from the Prophet both through his father and his mother. He was born at Fez in Morocco, to which place his parents departed at the time when Al-Haggâg was persecuting and slaying the noble families (Ashraf) in Mecca, towards the close of the XIIth century. He and his brothers were taken back to Mecca by their father in the year of the Hijra 603 (A.D. 1206), and the family was well received by the people, and lived there happily, until their father died in the year of the Hijra 627 (A.D. 1229). Ahmad, the future saint, was his father's youngest son, and because he was of a bold and impetuous disposition, he frequently withdrew himself from intercourse with men, and led the life of a dweller in the desert: he also veiled himself, and for this reason he was called “Al-Badawi.” He studied the Ķur'an at school with diligence and fervour, but his natural boldness asserted itself to such a degree that he was called the “ Destroyer.” Soon afterwards he determined to adopt a life of asceticism, and he changed his mode of life, avoided intercourse with men, withheld himself from speech and talked by signs.
In the year
of the Hijra 633 (A.D. 1235), he saw a vision during his sleep wherein a being appeared to him three times, and said on each occasion, “Young man, arise, and follow the
sunrise, and having reached it follow the sunset, and thou “shalt go to Țanţâ and dwell there.” Having told his relations about the vision and the commands of the being who appeared to him, he set out on a pilgrimage and visited the shrines of all the Muḥammadan saints, where he was well received by all the shêkhs. He then departed to Umm Ubeda where there dwelt a certain courtesan called Fâțma bint Barrî, who was renowned for her great beauty, and her skill in subjecting men to her will and then extorting money from them. Aḥmad visited her, and exhorted her to lead a better life, whereupon she repented, and the saints rejoiced. He next made his way to Țanţâ, and there he took up his abode in the house of a shekh called Ibn Shaḥêt; he lived on the roof and spent his whole time in gazing into the sky. He did this so long that the colour of his eyes changed from black to a fiery red. According to Ash-Shaarani he would abstain from meat, drink, and sleep for forty days at a time. After a time he went to the village of Fishâ,* where many of the inhabitants became followers of his; among these was al-Âal, who afterwards became his disciple. It is said that Aḥmad wore two veils. On one occasion a man wished to see his face, but the saint replied, “Each glance hath cost a man his life.”
The man said, “I will see thy face, even though it cost me my life”; and having seen it, he sickened and died. The saint had thick legs, long arms, a large face, with three smallpox marks on it, and an aquiline nose ; he was tall of stature and of a brown complexion. He wore his turban and clothes until they fell off him, and never
* i.e., Fishâ Salim pha band, one hour's journey from Tanța.
removed them when washing His austere life gained him a great reputation, and men flocked from all parts of the Muḥammadan world, even from India, to do him honour on his birthday. The trust which men placed in his power was marvellous. He died in the year of the Hijra 675 (A.D. 1276), and was succeeded by his disciple 'Abd al-Aal.
The American Mission Hospital.-Within spacious grounds, in a fine location to the north of the city, are the new and commodious buildings of the Țanțâ Hospital. The hospital wards are located in two roomy buildings, along the entire length of which extend wide verandahs shaded from the hot sun by tiled roofs. In another building near these are the kitchens, etc., and the nurses' quarters. At the front is the administration building, which also contains the residence of the physicians; and on the ground ficor are the rooms where a clinic is daily held, when hundreds receive treatment, a great many of them coming especially for eye diseases. Here also the patients receive religious instruction while waiting for treatment. This institution was opened in 1904, and is unique among the hospitals of Egypt in that it is intended solely for the treatment of women and children. Some hundreds are received annually as in-patients, and thousands are treated at the daily clinics. The physicians are women, assisted by a corps of American and English-trained nurses, the Director being Dr. Lawrence, an American lady. The hospital was built with money contributed entirely by women and children in the United States, and from these it receives its support.
In addition to the medical and surgical treatment given, an effort is made to instruct the wives and mothers in the principles of cleanliness and hygiene, and in the care and feeding of children.
VI. Benha el-'Asal, ‘Benha of the Honey,'the capital of
the province of Kalyabiyah. It obtained this name because a Copt surnamed the Muķawķîs * sent, among other gifts, a jar of honey to Muḥammad the Prophet. The Arabic geographers state that the best honey in Egypt came from Benha. Quite close to this town are the ruins of the ancient city of Athribis.
About forty miles to the east of Alexandria lies the town of Rosetta, not far from the ancient Bolbitine.
It was founded towards the end of the ninth century, and was once a flourishing seaport; it has become famous in modern times on account of the trilingual inscription, called the 'Rosetta Stone,' which was found here in 1799 by a French officer called Boussard. This inscription is inscribed on a block of basalt, and contains a decree by the Egyptian priests in honour of Ptolemy V., Epiphanes, dated in the ninth year of his reign (B.C. 196). The hieroglyphic, demotic, and Greek texts enabled Young and Champollion to work out the phonetic values of a number of the hieroglyphic characters employed to write the names of the Greek rulers. The stone is preserved in the British Museum (No. 32).
The Muḥawķîs was • Prince of the Copts,' and “Governor of Alexandria and Egypt”; he was a Jacobite, and a strong hater of the Melkites or ^ Royalists.' Ile was invited to become a follower of Muhammad the Prophet, but he declined. When Egypt was captured by “Amr ibn el- Âşi he betrayed the Copts, but by means of paying tribute he secured to himself the liberty of prosessing the Christian religion, and he asked that, after his death, his bo«ly might be buriert in the church of St. John at Alexandria. He sent, as gifts to the Prophet, two Coptic young women, sisters, called Maryam and Shirin; two girls, one eunuch, a horse, a mule, an ass, a jar of honey, an alabaster jar, a jar of oil, an ingot of gold, and some Egyptian linen. (Gagnier, La vie de Mahomet, . 38, 73.) Maķawķas, caigües appears to be the Arabic transcription of the Grech mejari famous,' a title which was bestowed upon Cyrus, the Patriard and Governor of Alexandria.
PORT SA'ÎD AND THE SUEZ CANAL.
Port Sa'id, which in 1897 had a population of 42,972, is a town of recent growth, and it owes its present important position to the Suez Canal. The Port is formed by two breakwaters, the western being 2,726 yards long, and the eastern 1,962 yards; the area enclosed is 550 acres. The average depth of water in the harbour is about 30 feet. Port Sa'id is now connected with Cairo by railway, which runs along the west bank of the Canal to Isma'ilîyah, where it joins the Suez-Cairo line. On the western mole is a fine statue of Ferdinand de Lesseps (born at Versailles, November 19th, 1805, died near Paris, December 7th, 1894), the creator of the Suez Canal. In recent years Port Sa'id has been greatly improved, and it no longer merits the tvil reputation which it once bore.
The town of Suez practically sprang into existence during the building of the Suez Canal, which was opened on November 16th, 1869; before that time it was an insignificant village with about 4,000 inhabitants. Ancient history is almost sileni about it, even if it be identified with Clysma* Praesidium. It is situated at the north end of the Gulf of Suez, and is now important from its position at the south end of the Suez Canal. A fresh-water canal from Cairo to Suez was built in 1863. Before the cutting of this canal the inhabitants obtained their water either from the Wells of Moses (about eight miles from Suez)
Clysma, in Arabic ķulzum, is said by the Arab geographers to have been situated on the coast of the sea of l'aman, on the Egyptian side, at the far end, three days from Cairo and four days from Pelusium. Quynboll, Lex. Geog. Arab., t. ii., p. 9.)