Tag Archives: Damascus

The Fake Caliphate ISIS, the Fake Christians of the West, and the true Islamic Caliphate

By Prof. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

early caliphates

The Islamic Caliphate as a historical institution

The historical Islamic Caliphate was the central institution that governed the societies and ruled the lives of the Muslims for ca. 1300 years; in doing so, it also determined the lives of non-Muslims who lived in its vast territories. Not all the religions were viewed uniformly by the Caliphatic authorities and by those exercising power in the name of the Caliph. The Christians, the Jews, the Sabians and the Mandaeans were considered as People of the Book, a Quranic – Islamic concept that describes the case of earlier revelations of the Divine Law by God through Holy Books sent to other peoples. Polytheistic and idolatrous systems were however reprimanded; Manichaism was opposed, although its founder, Mani, had composed 400 years before Muhammad books that were considered as divinely inspired by his followers from NW Africa to China.

The socioeconomic conditions differed per period, per province, and per dynasty. The Islamic Caliphate was not a uniform system of government; from Omayyad Damascus to Abbasid Baghdad to Omayyad Granada to Mameluk Cairo to Ottoman Istanbul the differences in the system and the style of government were great. Philosophical – ideological – theological differences impacted the Islamic Caliphate and its practices differently from time to time and from dynasty to dynasty. Not all the Muslims accepted the Caliphate as rightful power and decision-making system in the Islamic world, and this does not originate only from the Shia – Sunni clash which had in general little impact (although the early Shia opposition to Omayyad Damascus brought this dynasty to an end before completing 100 years in power).

Prophet Muhammad’s State was quite different from the Historical Caliphates

One must clarify one critical issue at this point. Although all the Caliphs and the slowly emerged within Sunni Islam Sheikhulislams (a counterweight to the Pope) ruled in the name of Islam, incessantly evoking the divine revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad and the Prophet’s preaching, teachings, discourses, speeches and explanations (known as the Hadith), there is no full evidence that the Islamic Caliphate as it has been known across the ages was an acceptable form of government for Prophet Muhammad himself.

As a matter of fact, Prophet Muhammad – from either Medina or Mecca – ruled the Islamic State in his quality of Prophet (nabi) and Messenger of God (rasul-Allah), and not as a caliph (as it happened in the Islamic State after his death), a military ruler (like Hannibal or Attila), a republican figure (like Caesar or Pericles), a divine emperor and ‘son of god’ (as it was practiced in Babylonia and many other ancient empires), let alone a god (as it happened in Ancient Egypt). Analytically observing the way the early Islamic State was ruled by Prophet Muhammad until his death (622 – 632 CE from Medina first, and only after 630 from Mecca) and comparing it to the practices of the different Caliphatic dynasties, one finds enormous differences.

Prophet Muhammad’s state was a very small institution limited to basics, because social interaction and deliberations prevailed, and in addition, the presence of the Prophet was a catalyst in the successive meetings that were constantly taking place. Directly addressing the average people, Prophet Muhammad did not find any value in sophisticated social and/or governmental hierarchy. His state was smaller and weaker than early Sumerian states that antedated him for 3600 years ( ! ), and this was a clear choice, not a condition of underdevelopment.

Prophet Muhammad’s state was bigger only than that envisioned by Karl Marx for the second stage after the termination of the capitalist state, namely the Communist society; but that stage, which was never attended in History, represented merely a stateless society with no class difference. Prophet Muhammad eliminated class difference within a minimal state.

And certainly Prophet Muhammad’s state was very different from the supposedly ‘ideal’ utopian states that many European Renaissance authors envisioned, notably the City of the Sun (La città del Sole) by Tommaso Campanella (1602), and the likes, because there was no secluded hierarchy atop of the society. However, those fake ideals (Utopia, New Atlantis) included indeed contradictory elements that could only tear down those unrealistic approaches or simply turn them to nightmares; as a matter of fact, ‘ideal society’ and ‘hierarchical administration’ are the most opposite concepts in the world – to the extent that they totally exclude one another.

What we can retain from the aforementioned is that the Islamic correctness of the historical Islamic Caliphate is a highly debatable subject.

Peaceful co-existence of different nations and religious systems within the Islamic Caliphate

Compared to other empires, the Islamic Caliphate was a very tolerant institution and form of government; modern Western historians, journalists, writers and ideologues, who are on the payroll of various agencies and lobbies, have repeatedly tried to tarnish the image of the Islamic Caliphate. Of course, it is clear that the main historical state of the Muslims and all its dependencies that paid allegiance to the Caliphate were not angelic institutions. However, one cannot even dare to compare the Islamic Caliphate, in any of its forms, to the cruelty of the Christian Western and Eastern Roman Empires, to the barbarism of the Frankish Merovingian and Carolingian kingdoms, and to the savageness of the kingdoms of France, England, Spain and Portugal that fought incessantly religious wars one upon the other for many long centuries.

The average Westerners have fallen victim of two systematic, very wide, very deep, and at least 2 centuries long efforts of their academics and sociopolitical elite:

1- the a) falsification and b) the embellishment of their own, really execrable Western European and American History of bloodshed, fornication, religious intolerance, criminal colonialism, serial genocides, and consummately anti-Christian identity

and

2- the blackening of the Islamic Caliphate History, which also involved a systematic concealment of every historical truth that would reveal the greatness of the Islamic Civilization, the tolerance of Islam as religion, the advancement of the Islamic Sciences, the height of the Islamic Philosophy, the beauty of the Islamic Art, the freedom of the Islamic mindset, and the strength of the Islamic Spirituality (notably Mohyieldin Ibn Arabi).

Islamic Times’ Christians preferred the Islamic Caliphate to Rome or Constantinople

At the times of the historical wars between the Islamic Caliphates and the Eastern Roman Empire (633 – 1099), the Islamic State was so more tolerant than Constantinople that the Christians, who lived in the Caliphate, preferred to be subjects of the Islamic State than to be placed under the authority of either Constantinople or Rome.

The filthy liars of today’s Fake Christianity that thrives in Protestant Anti-Christian territories such as the monstrous tyrannies of UK and USA have done their best to hide every historical evidence that testifies to the aforementioned claim.

This proves that they are not real but fake Christians, because truth is a value for Christianity as well. The New Testament is very precise on this point (1 John 3:19 / Greek text: Τεκνία, μὴ ἀγαπῶμεν λόγῳ μηδὲ τῇ γλώσσῃ ἀλλὰ ἐν ἔργῳ καὶ ἀληθείᾳ. 19 ἐν τούτῳ γνωσόμεθα ὅτι ἐκ τῆς ἀληθείας ἐσμέν / English translation: My little sons, love we not in word, neither in tongue, but in work and truth. 19 In this thing we know, that we be of truth – advice in this regard: DO NOT USE THE SATANIC KING JAMES VERSION – IT IS A DELIBERATELY FALSE TRANSLATION, A FREEMASONIC TRASH).

In striking opposition to, and full rejection of, the Satanic lies of the Anti-Christians of the West, I will make herewith known authentic historical sources that testify to what I claim, i.e. that the Islamic Caliphate was a far more tolerant and acceptable state for Christians than the evil pseudo-Christian Roman and European empires, states and realms.

1. The monstrosity of the pseudo-Christian Emperor Heraclius

This is what Severus of Al Ashmunein (Hermupolis) writes in his venerated ‘History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Church of Alexandria’ about the cruelty of the evil, Satanic, pseudo-Christian Emperor Heraclius of the Eastern Roman Empire. Here you will read what a supposedly Christian Emperor did – not to Muslims but surprisingly enough – to Christians in Egypt just few years before the Islamic armies liberated the Nile Valley and turned it from an Eastern Roman to an Islamic Caliphatic province – to the greatest benefit of the indigenous Christians, the Copts who are the descendents of the Ancient Egyptians.

“These were the years during which Heraclius and the Colchian ruled over the land of Egypt. And on account of the greatness of the trials and the straits and the affliction which the Colchian brought down upon the orthodox, in order that they might enter into the Chalcedonian faith, a countless number of them went astray, some of them through persecution, and some by bribes and honours, and some by persuasion and deceit. So that even Cyrus, bishop of Niciu, and Victor, bishop of the Faiyum, and many others denied the orthodox faith, because they had not obeyed the injunctions of the blessed Father Benjamin, and had not hidden themselves as the others did; for the Colchian caught them with the fishing-line of his error, and so they went astray after the impure Chalcedonian council. And Heraclius seized the blessed Mennas, brother of the Father Benjamin, the patriarch, and brought great trials upon him, and caused lighted torches to be held to his sides until the fat of his body oozed forth and flowed upon the ground, and knocked out his teeth because he confessed the faith; and finally commanded that a sack should be filled with sand, and the holy Mennas placed within it, and drowned in the sea. For Heraclius the misbeliever had charged them, saying : «If any one of them says that the council of Chalcedon is true, let him go; but drown in the sea those that say it is erroneous and false.» Therefore they did as the prince bade them, and cast Mennas into the sea. For they took the sack, and conveyed him to a distance of seven bowshots from the land, and said to him : «Say that the council of Chalcedon is good and not otherwise, and we will release thee.» But Mennas would not do so. And they did this with him three times; and when he refused they drowned him. Thus they were unable to vanquish this champion, Mennas, but he conquered them by his Christian patience.”

Excerpt from: Severus of Al Ashmunein (Hermopolis), History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic church of Alexandria  (1904) Part 2  Peter I – Benjamin I (661 AD). Patrologia Orientalis 1 pp. 383-518 (pp.119-256 of text)

I am sure that you will agree with me that never ever a Muslim carried out this abominable torture to any enemy, irrespective of the enemy’s identity and belief, anytime anywhere and under any circumstances whatsoever.

Not even today’s fake Muslims and CIA-Mossad agents of the Fake Caliphate ISIS have carried out similar atrocities. (About them: Senior Commander of ISIS is a ‘retired’ US General Paul Vallely in: https://hwaairfan.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/senior-commander-of-isis-is-a-retired-us-general-paul-vallely/). Perhaps, the villainous, uncultured and barbaric beasts who are employed by the aforementioned Satanic institutions failed to come across the Coptic Chronicle of Severus (Sawiris) of Al Ashmunein, which would – unfortunately for their cases – enrich their perverse minds and evil souls with similar evildoing that they, due to their evilness, would consider adopting as method.

But as you see, the Ancient Romans were wise enough to understand that ….. Quos vult Iupiter perdere dementat prius (whom Roman god Jupiter would destroy, he first makes mad). Never mind! Today’s Evangelicals and Zionist bogus-Christians are worse – that’s why they are all cursed and they will soon perish in eternal damnation.

2. The generosity and respect expressed by Amr Ibn al Aas, General of the Islamic army and “trusty companion” of “the prince of the Muslims”, toward the Coptic Church and the previously persecuted Patriarch (who was forced to hide in order to survive under the Eastern Roman occupation of Egypt)

“When Amr took full possession of the city of Alexandria, and settled its affairs, that infidel, the governor of Alexandria, feared, he being both prefect and patriarch of the city under the Romans, that Amr would kill him; therefore he sucked a poisoned signet-ring, and died on the spot. But Sanutius, the believing duke, made known to Amr the circumstances of that militant father, the patriarch Benjamin, and how he was a fugitive from the Romans, through fear of them. Then Amr, son of Al-Asi, wrote to the provinces of Egypt a letter, in which he said : «There is protection and security for the place where Benjamin, the patriarch of the Coptic Christians is, and peace from God; therefore let him come forth secure and tranquil, and administer the affairs of his Church, and the government of his nation». Therefore when the holy Benjamin heard this, he returned to Alexandria with great joy, wearing the crown of patience and sore conflict which had befallen the orthodox people through their persecution by the heretics, after having been absent during thirteen years, ten of which were years of Heraclius, the misbelieving Roman, with the three years before the Muslims conquered Alexandria. When Benjamin appeared, the people and the whole city rejoiced, and made his arrival known to Sanutius, the duke who believed in Christ, who had settled with the commander Amr that the patriarch should return, and had received a safe-conduct from Amr for him. Thereupon Sanutius went to the commander and announced that the patriarch had arrived, and Amr gave orders that Benjamin should be brought before him with honour and veneration and love. And Amr, when he saw the patriarch, received him with respect, and said to his companions and private friends : «Verily in all the lands of which we have taken possession hitherto I have never seen a man of God like this man». For the Father Benjamin was beautiful of countenance, excellent in speech, discoursing with calmness and dignity.

Then Amr turned to him, and said to him : «Resume the government of all thy churches and of thy people, and administer their affairs. And if thou wilt pray for me, that I may go to the West and to Pentapolis, and take possession of them, as I have of Egypt, and return to thee in safety and speedily, I will do for thee all that thou shalt ask of me.» Then the holy Benjamin prayed for Amr, and pronounced an eloquent discourse, which made Amr and those present with him marvel, and which contained words of exhortation and much profit for those that heard him; and he revealed certain matters to Amr, and departed from his presence honoured and revered. And all that the blessed father said to the commander Amr, son of Al-Asi, he found true, and not a letter of it was unfulfilled.”

The above two paragraphs are able to automatically delete thousands of tons of books and articles written by pro-Israeli, Evangelical and other bogus-Christian authors who promote hatred against Islam in order to trigger the trouble that will send them first to the Eternal Hell.

3. Description of Prophet Muhammad by the genuine Christian Severus of Al Ashmunein

“And in those days Heraclius saw a dream in which it was said to him : «Verily there shall come against thee a circumcised nation, and they shall vanquish thee and take possession of the land». So Heraclius thought that they would be the Jews, and accordingly gave orders that all the Jews and Samaritans should be baptized in all the provinces which were under his dominion. But after a few days there appeared a man of the Arabs, from the southern districts, that is to say, from Mecca or its neighbourhood, whose name was Muhammad; and he brought back the worshippers of idols to the knowledge of the One God, and bade them declare that Muhammad was his apostle; and his nation were circumcised in the flesh, not by the law, and prayed towards the South, turning towards a place which they called the Kaabah. And he took possession of Damascus and Syria, and crossed the Jordan, and dammed it up. And the Lord abandoned the army of the Romans before him, as a punishment for their corrupt faith, and because of the anathemas uttered against them, on account of the council of Chalcedon, by the ancient fathers.”

This is the historical truth written by a true and faithful Christian – not today’s pro-Israeli bogus-Christian, European and American idiots who give their silly children Ancient Hebrew names to … hypothetically please Jesus in his second coming ( ! ) but what they will achieve instead will be to best guarantee their eternal damnation.

It is noteworthy that the true Christians of Egypt first appreciated Prophet Muhammad’s role in eliminating idolatry and polytheism from Arabia, and second rejoiced for the subsequent removal of the pseudo-Christian Eastern Roman tyranny from all the Oriental provinces of Constantinople.

4. Presentation of Caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik (724-743) as a real friend of Christianity and as lover of Christian hymns

“And after him reigned Hishâm his brother, who was a God-fearing man according to the method of Islam, and loved all men; and he became the deliverer of the orthodox. For when he learnt that we Christians had had no patriarch in the East since Julian, the late patriarch of Antioch, in whose stead the bishop Elias had taken his seat, and that Elias also had died, he took a man named Athanasius, full of every spiritual grace, who also was a bishop, and gave him the patriarchate of Antioch. So the bishops laid their hands upon him in turn, and made him patriarch. This Athanasius wrote a synodical letter with learning and great humility to the blessed Father Patriarch Alexander, saying : «Verily I am unworthy of this degree on account of my sins; yet I have not been promoted by my own will, but by that of the prince». For he had known him before this time. So Alexander received the letter with joy, and then wrote an answer to it, asserting the unity of the faith, and containing good wishes and salutations. At the end he wrote thus : «We bless the prince Hishâm, and pray that he may enjoy a reign of many years, and overcome his enemies, so that he may do that which is right before the Lord». And he dismissed the envoys in peace.

After this, Hishâm wrote to Egypt, commanding that a receipt in his name should be given to everyone who paid the taxes, so that none might be unfairly treated, and that there might be no injustice in his dominions. So God gave him a prosperous reign, and he continued to rule for twenty-two years; and no war continued against him, but everyone that rose up against him was delivered by God into his hands, through the prayers of the two glorious patriarchs, Alexander at Alexandria and Athanasius at Antioch. Now the orthodox church at Damascus was adjoining the palace in which Hishâm resided. Then he commanded that the patriarch should build his house next to the prince’s reception-hall, because of his great love for him, so that he might hear him pray and read. For he often used to say to him : «When thou beginnest to pray at night I receive great comfort, and I cease to trouble about the affairs of the empire, and then sleep comes to me restfully». And Hishâm loved Athanasius greatly for that reason; and he gave great gifts to the churches and the Christians. And there was at his court a Muslim who greatly loved the orthodox churches, and he was named Ubaid Allah. And when the prince Hishâm saw him act so, he rejoiced greatly, and made him governor of Egypt, and commanded him to act with kindness towards all baptised Christians.”

The historical evidence is inexorable; one can produce thousands of examples. However, the aforementioned is quite sufficient for the scope of the present introductory article and fully indicative of the falsehood into which the Western nations have been entrapped.

In fact, there is only one way to achieve peace, concord, morality, and cultural integrity in the vast part of the earth that is inhabited by the Muslims; this is the re-establishment of the Islamic Caliphate and the elimination of all the current illegal, loathsome, treacherous administrations that have – all – been imposed by forces alien to the Islamic World and hateful of the Muslims and with the task to viciously destroy all the existing religions, eliminate all moral principles, ideals, values and concepts, turn the inhabitants to faithless materialistic beasts and thus prepare the way for the global ruler who will be none else than the Antichrist – whom Israel, America, Europe, NATO, all pro-Israeli pseudo-Christians, and the local rulers of all Muslim countries will accept as Jesus Christ in his fake second coming.

But of course, when I speak of an Islamic Caliphate, I mean a real, authentic Islamic Caliphate – not a fake trash invented by the filthy Satanic slaves of the CIA and the Mossad, who will all perish in eternal damnation along with their fabricated bogus-Jesus who is awaiting in the wings, being however known to those who can see him very clearly

without him seeing them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My very best wishes for a Happy Eid al Adha!

My very best wishes for a Happy Eid al Adha!
عيد سعيد!THE TRAVELS OF IBN BATTUTA 1 2 3 4 5
Bayramınız kutlu olsun!
عید مبارک!

May the people of beleaguered Damascus live next Eid in full peace, concord, and prosperity, without the diverse enemies of their country being able to harm them in any sense!

 
Muhammad Shamsaddin
– Enjoy the Islamic music in audio file!
– Hope you love Ibn Batuuta’s reading which reveals how evil were considered in his time the heretic teachings of Ibn Taimiyah who so much disaster brought to Islam!

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Medieval Sourcebook:
Ibn Battuta: Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1354-ibnbattuta.asp

Ibn Battuta arrives at Damascus pp. 65-73

I entered Damascus on Thursday 9th Ramadan 726 [9th August, 1326], and lodged at the Malikite college called ash-Sharabishiya. Damascus surpasses all other cities in beauty, and no description, however full, can do justice to its charms.

The Ummayad Mosque

The Cathedral Mosque, known as the Umayyad Mosque, is the most magnificent mosque in the world, the finest in construction and noblest in beauty, grace and perfection; it is matchless and unequalled. The person who undertook its construction was the Caliph Walid I [AD 705-715]. He applied to the Roman Emperor at Constantinople, ordering him to send craftsmen to him, and the Emperor sent him twelve thousand of them. The site of the mosque was a church, and when the Muslims captured Damascus, one of their commanders entered from one side by the sword and reached as far as the middle of the church, while the other entered peaceably from the eastern side and reached the middle also. So the Muslims made the half of the church which they had entered by force into a mosque and the half which they had entered by peaceful agreement remained as a church. When Walid decided to extend the mosque over the entire church he asked the Greeks to sell him their church for whatsoever equivalent they desired, but they refused, so he seized it. The Christians used to say that whoever destroyed the church would be stricken with madness and they told that to Walid. But he replied “I shall be the first to be stricken by madness in the service of God,” and seizing an axe, he set to work to knock it down with his own hands. The Muslims on seeing that followed his example, and God proved false the assertion of the Christians.

This mosque has four doors. The southern door, called the “Door of Increase,” is approached by a spacious passage where the dealers in second-hand goods and other commodities have their shops. Through it lies the way to the [former] Cavalry House, and on the left as one emerges from it is the coppersmiths’ gallery, a large bazaar, one of the finest in Damascus, extending along the south wall of the mosque. This bazaar occupies the site of the palace of the Caliph Mu’awiya I, which was called al Khadri [The Green Palace]; the Abbasids pulled it down and a bazaar took its place.

The eastern door, called the Jayrun door, is the largest of the doors of the mosque. It also has a large passage, leading out to a large and extensive colonnade which is entered through a quintuple gateway between six tall columns. Along both sides of this passage are pillars, supporting circular galleries, where the cloth merchants amongst others have their shops; above these again are long galleries in which are the shops of the jewellers and booksellers and makers of admirable glass-ware. In the square adjoining the first door are the stalls of the principal notaries, in each of which there may be five or six witnesses in attendance and a person authorized by the qadi to perform marriage-ceremonies. The other notaries are scattered throughout the city. Near these stalls is the bazaar of the stationers who sell paper, pens, and ink. In the middle of the passage there is a large round marble basin, surrounded by a pavilion supported on marble columns but lacking a roof. In the centre of the basin is a copper pipe which forces out water under pressure so that it rises into the air more than a man’s height. They call it “The Waterspout” and it is a fine sight. To the right as one comes out of the Jayrun door, which is called also the “Door of the Hours,” is an upper gallery shaped like a large arch, within which there are small open arches furnished with doors, to the number of the hours of the day. These doors are painted green on the inside and yellow on the outside, and as each hour of the day passes the green inner side of the door is turned to the outside, and vice versa. They say that inside the gallery there is a person in the room who is responsible for turning them by hand as the hours pass.

The western door is called the “Door of the Post”; the passage outside it contains the shops of the candlemakers and a gallery for the sale of fruit.

The northern door is called the “Door of the Confectioners “; it too has a large passageway, and on the right as one leaves it is a khanqah, which has a large basin of water in the centre and lavatories supplied with running water. At each of the four doors of the mosque is a building for ritual ablutions, containing about a hundred rooms abundantly supplied with running water.

A controversial theologian

One of the principal Hanbalite doctors at Damascus was Taqi ad-Din Ibn Taymiya, a man of great ability and wide learning, but with some kink in his brain. The people of Damascus idolized him. He used to preach to them from the pulpit, and one day he made some statement that the other theologians disapproved; they carried the case to the sultan and in consequence Ibn Taymiya was imprisoned for some years. While he was in prison he wrote a commentary on the Koran, which he called ” The Ocean,” in about forty volumes. Later on his mother presented herself before the sultan and interceded for him, so he was set at liberty, until he did the same thing again. I was in Damascus at the time and attended the service which he was conducting one Friday, as he was addressing and admonishing the people from the pulpit. In the midst of his discourse he said “Verily God descends to the sky over our world [from Heaven] in the same bodily fashion that I make this descent,” and stepped down one step of the pulpit. A Malikite doctor present contradicted him and objected to his statement, but the common people rose up against this doctor and beat him with their hands and their shoes so severely that his turban fell off and disclosed a silken skull-cap on his head. Inveighing against him for wearing this, they haled him before the qadi of the Hanbalites, who ordered him to be imprisoned and afterwards had him beaten. The other doctors objected to this treatment and carried the matter before the principal amir, who wrote to the sultan about the matter and at the same time drew up a legal attestation against Ibn Taymiya for various heretical pronouncements. This deed was sent on to the sultan, who gave orders that Ibn Taymiya should be imprisoned in the citadel, and there he remained until his death.

The Plague of 1348

One of the celebrated sanctuaries at Damascus is the Mosque of the Footprints (al-Aqdam), which lies two miles south of the city, alongside the main highway which leads to the Hijaz, Jerusalem, and Egypt. It is a large mosque, very blessed, richly endowed, and very highly venerated by the Damascenes. The footprints from which it derives its name are certain footprints impressed upon a rock there, which are said to be the mark of Moses’ foot. In this mosque there is a small chamber containing a stone with the following inscription “A certain pious man saw in his sleep the Chosen One [Muhammad], who said to him ‘Here is the grave of my brother Moses.'”

I saw a remarkable instance of the veneration in which the Damascenes hold this mosque during the great pestilence on my return journey through Damascus, in the latter part of July 1348. The viceroy Arghun Shah ordered a crier to proclaim through Damascus that all the people should fast for three days and that no one should cook anything eatable in the market during the daytime. For most of the people there eat no food but what has been prepared in the market. So the people fasted for three successive days, the last of which was a Thursday, then they assembled in the Great Mosque, amirs, sharifs, qadis, theologians, and all the other classes of the people, until the place was filled to overflowing, and there they spent the Thursday night in prayers and litanies. After the dawn prayer next morning they all went out together on foot, holding Korans in their hands, and the amirs barefooted. The procession was joined by the entire population of the town, men and women, small and large; the Jews came with their Book of the Law and the Christians with their Gospel, all of them with their women and children. The whole concourse, weeping and supplicating and seeking the favour of God through His Books and His Prophets, made their way to the Mosque of the Footprints, and there they remained in supplication and invocation until near midday. They then returned to the city and held the Friday service, and God lightened their affliction; for the number of deaths in a single day at Damascus did not attain two thousand, while in Cairo and Old Cairo it reached the figure of twenty-four thousand a day.

The good and pious works of the Damascenes

The variety and expenditure of the religious endowments at Damascus are beyond computation. There are endowments in aid of persons who cannot undertake the pilgrimage to Mecca, out of which are paid the expenses of those who go in their stead. There are other endowments for supplying wedding outfits to girls whose families are unable to provide them, andothers for the freeing of prisoners. There are endowments for travellers, out of the revenues of which they are given food, clothing, and the expenses of conveyance to their countries. Then there are endowments for the improvement and paving of the streets, because all the lanes in Damascus have pavements on either side, on which the foot passengers walk, while those who ride use the roadway in the centre.

The story of a slave who broke a valuable dish

Besides these there are endowments for other charitable purposes. One day as I went along a lane in Damascus I saw a small slave who had dropped a Chinese porcelain dish, which was broken to bits. A number of people collected round him and one of them said to him, “Gather up the pieces and take them to the custodian of the endowments for utensils.” He did so, and the man went with him to the custodian, where the slave showed the broken pieces and received a sum sufficient to buy a similar dish. This is an excellent institution, for the master of the slave would undoubtedlv have beaten him, or at least scolded him, for breaking the dish, and the slave would have been heartbroken and upset at the accident. This benefaction is indeed a mender of hearts–may God richly reward him whose zeal for good works rose to such heights!

The hospitality and friendship received by Ibn Battuta

The people of Damascus vie with one another in building mosques, religious houses, colleges and mausoleums. They have a high opinion of the North Africans, and freely entrust them with the care of their moneys, wives, and children. All strangers amongst them [i.e., among North Africans like Ibn Battuta] are handsomely treated and care is taken that they are not forced to any action that might injure their self-respect.

When I came to Damascus a firm friendship sprang up between the Malikite professor Nur ad-Din Sakhawi and me, and he besought me to breakfast at his house during the nights of Ramadan. After I had visited him for four nights I had a stroke of fever and absented myself. He sent in search of me, and although I pleaded my illness in excuse he refused to accept it. I went back to his house and spent the night there, and when I desired to take my leave the next morning he would not hear of it, but said to me “Consider my house as your own or as your father’s or brother’s.” He then had a doctor sent for, and gave orders that all the medicines and dishes that the doctor prescribed were to be made for me in his house. I stayed thus with him until the Fast-breaking when I went to the festival prayers and God healed me of what had befallen me. Meanwhile, all the money I had for my expenses was exhausted. Nur ad-Din, learning this, hired camels for me and gave me travelling and other provisions, and money in addition, saying “It will come in for any serious matter that may land you in difficulties”–may God reward him !

Funeral customs

The Damascenes observe an admirable order in funeral processions. They walk in front of the bier while reciters intone the Koran in beautiful and affecting voices, and pray over it in the Cathedral mosque. When the reading is completed the muezzins rise and say “Reflect on your prayer for so-and-so, the pious and learned,” describing him with good epithets, and having prayed over him they take him to his grave.

Ibn Battuta leaves Damascus with the annual pilgrim caravan

When the new moon of the month Shawwal appeared in the same year [1st September 1326], the Hijaz caravan left Damascus and I set off along with it. At Bosra the caravans usually halt for four days so that any who have been detained at Damascus by business affairs may make up on them. Thence they go to the Pool of Ziza, where they stop for a day, and then through al-Lajjun to the Castle of Karak. Karak, which is also called “The Castle of the Raven,” is one of the most marvellous, impregnable, and celebrated of fortresses. It is surrounded on all sides by the river-bed, and has but one gate, the entrance to which is hewn in the living rock, as also is the approach to its vestibule. This fortress is used by kings as a place of refuge in times of calamity, as the sultan an-Nasir did when his mamluke Salar seized the supreme authority. The caravan stopped for four days at a place called ath-Thaniya outside Karak, where preparations were made for entering the desert.

Thence we Journeyed to Ma’an, which is the last town in Syria, and from ‘Aqabat as-Sawan entered the desert, of which the saying goes: ” He who enters it is lost, and he who leaves it is born.”

Crossing the desert from Syria to Medina