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Richard Francis Burton.

The book of the thousand nights and a night; a plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights' entertainments, with introd., explanatory notes on the manners and customs of Moslem men and a terminal essay upon the history of the nights (Volume 5) online

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Online LibraryRichard Francis BurtonThe book of the thousand nights and a night; a plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights' entertainments, with introd., explanatory notes on the manners and customs of Moslem men and a terminal essay upon the history of the nights (Volume 5) → online text (page 20 of 41)
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? She unveiled being a slave-girl and for sale. If a free woman show her face to a
Moslem, he breaks out into violent abuse, because the act is intended to let him know
that he is looked upon as a -small boy or an eunuch or a Christiab in fact not a man.



Abu al-Husn and his Slave-Girl Tawaddud. 195

saluted, and speaking with an eloquent tongue, said, " Com-
mander of the Faithful, bid the Olema and the doctors of law and
leaches and astrologers and scientists and mathematicians and all
here present contend with me in argument." So he said to them,
; ' I desire of you that ye dispute with this damsel on the things of
her faith, and stultify her argument in all she advanceth ;" and
they answered, saying, " We hear and we obey Allah and thee, O
Commander of the Faithful." Upon this Tawaddud bowed her
head and said, " Which of you is the doctor of the law, the scholar,
versed in the readings of the Koran and in the Traditions ? "
Quoth one of them, " I am the man thou seekest." Quoth she,
" Then ask me of what thou wilt." Said the doctor, " Hast thou
read the precious book of Allah and dost thou know its cancelling
and cancelled parts and hast thou meditated its versets and
its letters ? " " Yes," answered she. " Then," said he, " I will
proceed to question thee of the obligations and the immutable
ordinances : so tell me of these, O damsel, and who is thy Lord,
who thy prophet, who thy Guide, what is thy point of fronting in
prayer, and who be thy brethren ? Also what thy spiritual path
and what thy highway ? " Whereto she replied, " Allah is my
Lord, and Mohammed (whom Allah save and assain !) my prophet,
and the Koran is my guide and the Ka'abah my fronting ; and
the True-believers are my brethren. The practice of good is my
path and the Sunnah my highway." The Caliph again marvelled
at her words so eloquently spoken by one so young ; and the
doctor pursued, " O damsel, with what do we know Almighty
Allah ? " Said she, " With the understanding." Said he, " And
what is the understanding ? " Quoth she, " It is of two kinds,

natural and acquired." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of

day and ceased saying her permitted say.



Kofo fo|jen it tons tfje jpour ^tm&refc antr TOitg - n{ntf)

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the damsel
continued, " The understanding is of two kinds, natural and
acquired. The natural is that which Allah (to whom be honour
and glory !) created for the right direction of His servants after
His will ; and the acquired is that which men accomplish by dint
of study and fair knowledge." He rejoined, " Thou hast answered
well. (<) Where is the seat of the understanding?" Allah



196 A If Laylah iva Lay I ah.

casteth it in the heart whence its lustrous beams ascend to the
brain and there become fixed. (<) " How knowest thou the
Prophet of Allah ? "By the reading of Allah's Holy Book and
by signs and proofs and portents and miracles ! (<;) " What are
the obligations and the immutable ordinances ? " The obligations
are five, (i) Testification that there is no ilah l but Allah, no god
but the God alone and One, which for partner hath none, and
that Mohammed is His servant and His apostle. (2) The
standing in prayers. 2 (3) The payment of the poor-rate. (4)
Fasting Ramazan. (5) The Pilgrimage to Allah's Holy House
for all to whom the journey is possible. The immutable ordi-
nances are four ; to wit, night and day and sun and moon, the
which build up life and hope ; nor any son of Adam wotteth if
they will be destroyed on the Day of Judgment. (<|) " What are
the obligatory observances of the Faith ? " They are five, prayer, '
almsgiving, fasting, pilgrimage, fighting for the Faith and absti-
nence from the forbidden. (^') " Why dost thou stand up to
pray ? " To express the devout intent of the slave acknowledging
the Deity. (<;) "What are the obligatory conditions which pre-
cede standing in prayer ? " Purification, covering the shame,
avoidance of soiled clothes, standing on a clean place, fronting the
Ka'abah, an upright posture, the intent 3 and the pronouncing
4( Allaho Akbar " of prohibition. 4 (<) " With what shouldest thou
go forth from thy house to pray ? " With the intent of worship
mentally pronounced. (<<) " With what intent shouldest thou
enter the mosque ? " With an intent of service. (<;) " Why do we
front the Kiblah 5 ?" In obedience to three Divine orders and one



1 Ilah = Heb. El, a most difficult root, meaning strength, interposition, God (Numen)
" the " (article) " don't" (do not), etc. etc.

2 As far as I know Christians are the only worshippers who kneel as if their lower
legs were cut off and who "join hands " like the captive offering his wrists to be bound
(dare manus). The posture, however, is not so ignoble as that of the Moslem " Sijdah "
(prostration) which made certain North African tribes reject Al-Islam, saying, " These
men show their hind parts to heaven."

3 i.e. saying " I intend (purpose) to pray (for instance) the two-bow prayer (ruka'tayn)
of the day-break," etc.

4 So called because it prohibits speaking with others till the prayer is ended.

5 Lit. " any thing opposite ; " here used for the Ka'abah towards which men turn in
prayer ; as Guebres face the sun or fire and idolators their images. " Al-Kiblatayn "
(= the two Kiblahs) means Meccah and Jerusalem, which was faced by Moslems as well
as Jews and Christians till Mohammed changed the direction. For the occasion of tb
change see my Pilgrimage, ii. 320.



Abu al-Husn and his Slave-Girl Tawaddud. 197

Traditional ordinance. (<) " What are the beginning, the consecra-
tion and the end of prayer ? " Purification beginneth prayer,
saying the Allaho Akbar of prohibition consecrateth, and the
salutation endeth prayer, (i) " What deserveth he who neglecteth
prayer ? " It is reported, among the authentic Traditions of the
Prophet, that he said, "Whoso neglecteth prayer wilfully and

purposely hath no part in Al-Islam." And Shahrazad perceived

the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.



fojjm it foas tfje jpour

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that after the
damsel had repeated the words of that Holy Tradition the doctor
cried, " Thou hast replied aright : now say me, what is prayer ? "
Prayer is communion between the slave and his lord, and in it
are ten virtues; (i) it illumineth the heart ; (2) it maketh the face
shine ; (3) it pleaseth the Compassionate One ; (4) it angereth
Satan ; (5) it conjureth calamity ; (6) it wardeth off the mischief
of enemies ; (7) it multiplieth mercy ; (8) it forfendeth vengeance
and punishment ; (9) it bringeth the slave nigh unto his lord ; and
(10) it restrained! from lewdness and frowardness. Hence it is
one of the absolute requisites and obligatory ordinances and the
pillar of the Faith. (<) " What is the key of prayer ? " -Wuzu or
the lesser ablution. j(<) " What is the key to the lesser ablution ? "
Intention and naming the Almighty. (;) " What is the key of
naming the Almighty?" Assured faith. (<) "What is the key
of faith ? "Trust in the Lord. (<) " What is the key of trust in
the Lord ? "Hope. (<) " What is the key of hope ? "Obedience.
(<) " What is the key^)f obedience ? " The confession of the Unity
and the acknowledgment of the divinity of Allah, (<) " What are
the Divine ordinances of Wuzu, the minor ablution ?" They are
six, according to the canon of the Imam al-Shafi'i Mohammed bin
Idris (of whom Allah accept!) ; (i) intent while washing the face ;
(2) washing the face ; (3) washing the hands and forearms ; (4)
wiping part of the head; (5) washing the feet and heels; and



1 Which includes Tayammum or washing with sand. This is a very cleanly practice in
a hot dryland and was adopted long before Mohammed. Cedrenus tells of baptism
with sand being administered to a dying traveller in the African desert.



198 A If Laylak wa Laylah.

(6) observing due order. 1 And the traditional statutes are t?n,
(i) nomination ; (2) and washing the hands before putting thorn
into the water-pot; (3) and mouth-rinsing; (4) and snuffing; 8
(5) and wiping the whole head ; (6) and wetting the ears within
and without with fresh water ; (7) and separating a thick beard ;
(8) and separating the fingers and toes ; 3 (9) and washing the right
foot before the left and (10) doing each of these thrice and all in
unbroken order. When the minor ablution is ended, the worshipper
should say, I testify that there is no god but the God, the One, which
for partner hath none, and I testify that Mohammed is His servant
and His apostle. O my Allah, make me of those who repent and
in purity are permanent ! Glory to Thee, O my God, and in Thy
praise I bear witness, that there is no god save Thou ! I crave
pardon of Thee and I repent to Thee ! For it is reported, in the
Holy Traditions, that the Prophet (whom Allah bless and pre-
serve !) said of this prayer : Whoso endeth every ablution with
this prayer, the eight gates of Paradise are open to him ; he shall
enter at which he pleaseth. (<) " When a man purposeth ablution,
what betideth him from the angels and the devils ?" When a man
prepareth for ablution, the angels come and stand on his right and
the devils on his left hand. 4 If he name Almighty Allah at the
beginning of the ablution, the devils flee from him and the angels
hover over him with a pavilion of light, having four ropes, to each



1 The Koranic order for Wuzu is concise and as usual obscure, giving rise to a host of
disputes and casuistical questions. Its text runs (chapt. v.), "O true believers, when
you prepare to pray, wash (Ghusl) your faces, and your hands unto the elbows ; and rub
(Mas-h) your hands and your feet unto the ankles ; and if ye be unclean by having lain
with a woman, wash (Ghusl) yourselves all over." The purifications and ceremonious
ablutions of the Jews originated this command ; and the early Christians did very
unwisely in not making the bath obligatory. St. Paul (Heb. xi. 22) says, " Let us
draw near with a true heart . . . having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience
and our bodies washed with clean (or pure) water." But this did not suffice. Hence the
Eastern Christian, in hot climates where cleanliness should rank before godliness, is
distinguished by his dirt which as a holy or reverend man he makes still dirtier, and he
offers an ugly comparison with the Moslem and especially the Hindu. The neglect of
commands to wash and prohibitions to drink strong waters are the two grand physical
objections of the Christian code of morality.

2 Arab. " Istinshak " =: snuffing up water from the palm of the right hand so as to
clean thoroughly the nostrils. This " function " is unreasonably neglected in Europe, to
the detriment of the mucous membrane and the olfactory nerves.

3 So as to wash between them. The thick beard is combed out with the fingers.

4 Poor human nature ! How sad to compare its pretensions with its actualities.



Abu al'Husn and his Slave-Girl Tawaddud. 199

an angel glorifying Allah and craving pardon for him, so long as
he remained! silent or calleth upon the name of Allah. But if he
omit to begin washing with naming Allah (to whom belong might
and majesty !), neither remain silent, the devils take command of
him ; and the angels depart from him and Satan whispereth evil
thoughts unto him, till he fall into doubt and come short in his
ablution. For (quoth he on whom be blessing and peace !) : A
perfect ablution driveth away Satan and assureth against the
tyranny of the Sultan ; and again quoth he : If calamity befal
one who is not pure by ablution ; verily and assuredly let him
blame none but himself, (<) " What should a man do when he
awaketh from sleep ?" He should wash his hands thrice, before
putting them into the water vessel. (<;) " What are the Koranic
and traditional orders anent Ghusl, the complete ablution 1 ? "
The divine ordinances are intent and ' crowning ' 2 the whole body
with water, that is, the liquid shall come at every part of the hair
and skin. Now the traditional ordinances are the minor ablution
as preliminary ; rubbing the body ; separating the hair and de-
ferring in words 3 the washing of the feet till the end of the

ablution. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and

ceased saying her permitted say.



tofjen it tons tljc jFour f^untrrefc an& jportg-first Nifl&t,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
damsel had recounted to the doctor what were the divine and tra-
ditional orders anent Ghusl or total ablution, quoth he, " Thou
hast replied aright : now tell me what are the occasions for Tayam-
mum,or making the ablution with sand and dust; and what are the
ordinances thereof, divine and human ? " The reasons are seven,
viz., want of water; fear lest water lack ; need thereto ; going astray
on a march ; sickness ; having broken bones in splints and having



1 Complete ablution is rendered necessary chiefly by the emission of semen either in
copulation or in nocturnal pollution. The water must be pure and not less than a
certain quantity, and it must touch every part of the skin beginning with the right half
of the person and ending with the left. Hence a plunge-bath is generally preferred.

2 Arab. Ta'mfm, lit. crowning with turband, or tiara, here = covering, i.e. wetting.

' This practice (saying "I purpose to defer the washing of the feet," etc.) is now
somewhat obsolete.



20O Alf Laylah wa Laylah.

open wounds. 1 As for its ordinances, the divine number four, viz.,
intent, dust, clapping it to the face and clapping it upon the hands;
and the human number two, nomination and preferring the right
before the left hand. (<>) " What are the conditions, the pillars or
essentials, and the traditional statutes of prayer?" The conditions
are five, (i) purification of the members; (2) covering of the privy
parts; (3) observing the proper hours, either of certainty or to the
best of one's belief; (4) fronting the Kiblah ; and (5) standing on
a clean place. The pillars or essentials number twelve, (i) intent ;
(2) the Takbi'r or magnification of prohibition ; (3) standing when
able to stand 2 ; (4) repeating the Fatihah or opening chapter of
the Koran and saying, In the name of Allah, the Compassionating
the Compassionate f with a verse thereof according to the canon
of the Imam Al-Shafi'i ; (5) bowing the body and keeping it
bowed ; (6) returning to the upright posture and so remaining
for the time requisite ; (7) prostration and permanence therein ;
(8) sitting between two prostrations and permanence therein ; (9)
repeating the latter profession of the Faith and sitting up there-
for ; (10) invoking benediction on the Prophet (whom Allah bless
and preserve!) ; (11) the first Salutation, 3 and (12) the intent of
making an end of prayer expressed in words. But the traditional
statutes are the call to prayer ; the standing posture ; raising the
hands (to either side of the face) whilst pronouncing the prohi-
bition ; uttering the magnification before reciting the Fatihah ;
seeking refuge with Allah 4 ; saying, 'Amen'; repeating the chapter
of the Koran after the Fatihah, repeating the magnifications
during change of posture ; saying, May Allah hear him who
praiseth Him ! and O our Lord, to Thee be the praise ! ; pray-
ing aloud in the proper place 5 and praying under the breath
prayers so prescribed ; the first profession of unity and sitting
up thereto ; blessing the Prophet therein ; blessing his family in



1 Arabs have a prejudice against the hydropathic treatment of wounds, holding that
water poisons them : and, as the native produce usually contains salt, soda and mag-
nesia, they are justified by many cases. 1 once tried water-bandages in Arabia and
failed dismally.

2 The sick man says his prayers lying in bed, etc., and as he best can.

9 i.e. saying, "And peace be on us and on the worshippers of Allah which be
pious."

4 i.e. saying " I seek refuge with Allah from Satan the Stoned."

' Certain parts should be recited aloud (jahr) arid others sotto voce (with mussitatioo
^. Khafi). No mistake must be made in this matter where a Moslem cannot err.



Abu al-Husn and his Slave-Girl Tawaddud. 2O1

the latter profession and the second Salutation. (<) " On what
is the Zakat or obligatory poor-rate taxable ? "On gold and
silver' and camels and oxen and sheep and wheat and barley
and holcus and millet and beans and vetches and rice and raisins
and -dates. (<) " What is the Zakat or poor-rate on gold ? "
Below twenty miskals or dinars, nothing ; but on that amount
half a dinar for every score and so on proportionally. 1 (<) " On
silver ? " Under two hundred dirhams nothing, then five dirhams
on every two hundred and so forth. (<) " On camels? " -For every
five, an ewe, or for every twenty-five a pregnant camel, (i) " On
sheep ?" An ewe for every forty head, (<) " What are the ordi-
nances of the Ramazan Fast ? " The Koranic are intent ; absti-
nence from eating, drinking and carnal copulation, and the stop-
page of vomiting. It is incumbent on all who submit to the Law,
save women in their courses and forty days after childbirth ; and
it becomes obligatory on sight of the new moon or on news of its
appearance, brought by a trustworthy person and commending
itself as truth to the hearer's heart ; and among its requisites is
that the intent be pronounced at nightfall. The traditional ordi-
nances of fasting are, hastening to break the fast at sundown ;
deferring the fore dawn meal, 2 and abstaining from speech, save
for good works and for calling on the name of Allah and reciting
the Koran. (<) " What things vitiate not the fast ? " The use of
unguents and eye-powders and the dust of the road and the unde-
signed swallowing of saliva and the emission of seed in nocturnal
pollution or at the sight of a strange woman and blooding and
cupping ; none of these things vitiates the fast. (<|) " What are
the prayers of the two great annual Festivals ? " Two one-bow
prayers, which be a traditional ordinance, without call to prayer or
standing up to pronounce the call; 3 but let the Moslem say, Prayer
is a collector of all folk! 4 and pronounce 'Allaho/^kbar' seven times



1 Hence an interest of two-and-a-half per cent, is not held to be " Riba " or unlawful
gain of money by money, usury.

2 The meal must be finished before the faster can plainly distinguish the white thread
from the black thread (Koran ii. 183) ; some understand this literally, others apply it
to the dark and silvery streak of zodiacal light which appears over the Eastern horizon
an hour or so before sunrise. The fast then begins and ends with the disappearance
of the sun. I have noticed its pains and penalties ir my Pilgrimage, i, no, etc.

3 For the " Azan " or call to prayer see Lane, M. E-, chapl. *viii. The chant,
however, differs in every country, and a practical ear will know the land by its call.

* Arab. " Hadis" or saying of the Apostle-



2O2 Alf Laylah wa Laylah.

in the first prayer, besides the Takbir of prohibition ; and, in the
second, five times, besides the magnification of rising up (accord-
ing to the doctrine of the Imam Al-Shafi'i, on whom Allah have

mercy !) and make the profession of the Faith. And Shahrazad

perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

JBlofo fofjen it foas tfje Jour pjuntrvetr nnti jpovtn-scconlr JEU'fl&t,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
the damsel had answered the doctor anent the Festival-prayers,
quoth he, " Thou hast replied aright : now tell me what are the
prayers prescribed on the occasion of an eclipse of the sun or
moon ? " Two one-bow prayers without call to prayer or stand-
ing thereto by the worshipper, who shall make in each two-bow
prayer double standing up and double inclinations and two-fold
prostrations, then sit and testify and salute. (<;) " What is the
ritual of prayer for rain ? " Two one-bow prayers without call to
prayer or standing thereto ; then shall the Moslem make the pro-
fession and salute. Moreover the Imam shall deliver an exhorta-
tion and ask pardon of Allah, in place of the magnification, as
in the two sermons of the Festivals and turn his mantle upper
edge downwards and pray and supplicate. (<>) " What are the
Witr, the additional or occasional prayers ? " The least is a
one-bow prayer and the most eleven. (,;) " What is the forenoon
prayer?" At least, two one-bow prayers and at most, twelve.
(<i) "What hast thou to say of the I'itikdf or retreat 1 ? " It is a
matter of traditional ordinance. (<;) "What are its conditions ?"
(i) intent; (2) not leaving the mosque save of necessity; (3)
not having to do with a woman ; (4) fasting; and (5) abstaining
from speech. Q) " Under what conditions is the Hajj or Pilgrim-
age 2 obligatory?" Manhood, and understanding and being a
Moslem and practicability ; in which case it is obligatory on



1 " Al-I'itikaf " resembles the Christian "retreat;" but the worshipper generally
retires to a mosque especially in Meccah. The Apostle practised it on Jabal Hira and
other places.

2 The word is the Hcb. 3H Hagg whose primary meaning is circularity of form or
movement. Hence it applied to religious festivals in which dancing round the idol
played a prime part ; and Lucian of " saltation " says, dancing was from the beginning
and coeval with the ancient god, Love. But man danced with joy before he worshipped,
and, when he invented a systematic saltation, he made it represent two things, and
only two things, love and war, in most primitive form, courtship and fighting.



Abu al-Husn and his Slave-Girl Tawaddud. 203

all, once before death. (<;) " What are the Koranic statutes of
the Pilgrimage?" (i) The Ihram or pilgrim's habit; (2) the
standing at Arafat ; (3) circumambulating the Ka'abah ; (4)
running between Safa and Marwah '; and (5) shaving or clipping
the hair, () " What are the Koranic statutes of the 'Umrah 2
or lesser pilgrimage?" Assuming the pilgrim's habit and
compassing and running. (<;) " What are the Koranic ordi-
nances of the assumption of the pilgrim's habit?" 3 Doffing
sewn garments, forswearing perfume and ceasing to shave
the head or pare the nails, and avoiding the killing of game,
and eschewing carnal copulation, (<j) "What are the traditional
statutes of the pilgrimage?" (i) The crying out " Labbay'ka,
Adsum, Here am I, O our Lord, here am I!"; 4 (2) the
Ka'abah-circuitings 5 of arrival and departure ; (3) the passing
the night at the Mosque of Muzdalifah and in the valley of
Mina, and (4) the lapidation. 6 (<) " What is the Jihad or Holy
War and its essentials?" Its essentials are (i) the descent of the
Infidels upon us ; (2) the presence of the Imam ; (3) a state of
preparation and (4) firmness in meeting the foe. Its traditional
ordinance is incital to battle, in that the Most High hath said,
"O thou my Prophet, incite the faithful to fight!" 7 (<)"What
are the ordinances of buying and selling ? " The Koranic are
(i) offer and acceptance and (2) if the thing sold be a white
slave, by whom one profiteth, all possible endeavour to convert
him to Al-Islam ; and (3) to abstain from usury : the traditional



1 Two adjoining ground-waves in Meccah. For these and for the places subsequently
mentioned the curious will consult my Pilgrimage, iii. 226, etc.

2 The ' Umrah or lesser Pilgrimage, I have noted, is the ceremony performed in
Meccah at any time out of the pilgrim-season proper, i.e. between the eighth and tenth
days of the twelfth lunar month Zu '1-Hijjah. It does not entitle the Moslem to be
called Hajj (pilgrim) or Haji as Persians and Indians corrupt the word.

3 I need hardly note that Mohammed borrowed his pilgrimage-practices from the
pagan Arabs who, centuries before his day, danced around the Meccan Ka'abah. Nor
can he be blamed for having perpetuated a Gentile rite, if indeed it be true that the
Ka'abah contained relics of Abraham and Ishmael.

* On first sighting Meccah. See Night xci.

6 Arab. Tawaf : the place is called Mataf and the guide Mutawwif (Pilgrimage, iii.
193, 205). The seven courses are termed Ashwat.

6 Stoning the Devil at Mina. Pilgrimage, iii. 282. Hence Satan's title " the Stoned "
(hpidated not castrated).

1 Koran viii. 66 ; in the chapter entitled "Spoil," and relating mainly to the "day
of Al-Bedr."



2O4 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

are making void 1 and option before not after separating, according
to his saying (whom Allah bless and preserve!), "The parties
to a sale shall have the option of cancelling or altering terms



Online LibraryRichard Francis BurtonThe book of the thousand nights and a night; a plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights' entertainments, with introd., explanatory notes on the manners and customs of Moslem men and a terminal essay upon the history of the nights (Volume 5) → online text (page 20 of 41)