is an anthology of writings on the geography and architecture of Syria
and. Palestine a Guide Bleu, but by medieval hands. The text, brilliantly
selected and elegantly translated, is based on the original Arabic and
Persian, dating to the period 650 A. D - 1500 A. D. Biblical scholars
will he fascinated by glimpses of familiar sites seen through the eves
of Moslem geographers and pilgrims. The general reader interested in the
contemporary Near East will be initiated into the reverence in which the
Holy Land is held by the World of Islam. The editor translator, Guy Le
Strange, a British Orientalist, (d. 1933) was perhaps the most distinguished
historical geographer of medieval Islam to write in English.
is a 1965 reprint of the 1890 original.
Over 600 pages
8.5" X 6.0"
From the Forward
by WALID KHALIDY
is universally known as the Holy Land of Judaism and Christianity. Less
known, however, is its sacred character to Islam, the third great monotheistic
religion of the world. And yet, in addition to its own intimate religious
associations with the country, Islam incorporates the religious associations
which both Judaism and Christianity have with Palestine. Moreover, Palestine
has been longer under Moslem than under any other control since the beginning
of the Christian era.
stone of Islamic attitude to Palestine is the fact that Islam derives
from the same fountain of revelation as Judaism and Christianity. Muhammad,
the Prophet of Islam, is considered the final link, the "seal"
(khatima) in a long chain of spiritual ancestry which stretches back to
primordial times through Jesus and Moses, Jacob, and Abraham, and countless
notables of the Old Testament. Thus the Koran and the Traditions, the
two great sources of Islamic doctrine, are suffused with allusions to
the Gospel and Torah and with influences from post-biblical literature.
links with Palestine were also forged by Islam. Jerusalem was at first
the direction to which Moslems turned in prayer (qibla). And it was to
Jerusalem that Mohammad was borne on his nocturnal flight (isra), whence
he ascended to the presence of God (mi'raj), an occasion which is still
annually celebrated on the eve of the 27th of the Moslem month of Rajub.
The Umayyad Dynasty (A. D. 657-750) sought to reorient towards Jerusalem
the pilgrimage to Mecca enjoined on all Moslems, and it was partly in
pursuit of this policy that the Umayyad Caliph Abd el-Malik (685-705)
built there the magnificent Dome of the Rock. Umayyad patronage also inspired
a rich body of devotional literature centred on Palestine. Later the Crusades
and the Moslem counter-crusades powerfully stirred Moslem sentiment giving
rise to a literary synthesis of all pre-Islamic and Islamic Palestinian
themes. Books on the yirtues (fada'il) of the towns of Palestine extolled
the powers of prayer in them and located not only the burial places of
prophets and martyrs, but also the sites where these had appeared in visions
to travelers. The nocturnal flight of Mohammad to Jerusalem assumed personal
significance in mystical literature and became a leit-motif in the litanies
of many religious brotherhoods (tariqa). Like a magnet, Jerusalem attracted
every romantic legend and tradition and became the pivot of popular religious
consciousness. Well into the eighteenth century Moslem travelers to Palestine,
sensitive to the religious aura of the land, seemed aware of countless
saintly denizens inhabiting their routes and give the impression of moving
in a state of sustained spiritual euphoria while on Palestinian soil.
book is divided into two parts. Part I is mostly an anthology of geographical,
historical, architectural, and devotional Islamic writings on Palestine
and neighbouring portions of Syria, translated from the original Arabic
and Persian which date back to the period A. D. 650 - 1500. In addition
to giving us elegant and meticulous translations, Le Strange often interpolates
observations on points arising from the texts as well as his appraisals
of earlier interpretations by Western scholars. Part II is a geographical
dictionary, alphabetically arranged, of places in Palestine and Syria.
Each item is followed by short references to the relevant Moslem authorities.
The list of Islamic sources used by Le Strange attests to the scholarship
with which he addressed himself to his task.
Strange was born at Hunstanton, Norfolk, England, in 1854, the youngest
son of Henry L'Estrange Styleman, an "amateur decorative painter".
The sur-name L'Estrange is derived from his grandmother Armine, elder
daughter of Sir Nicholas L'Estrange, fourth baronet of Hunstanton. He
studied Arabic and Persian under Julius Mohl at the College de France,
Paris, in spite of the serious disadvantage of defective vision.
For long periods he lived abroad in Persia, Palestine and Florence. In
1907, he settled in Cambridge, where he died in 1933. Other famous works
of his are: Baghdad under the Abbasid Galiphate (1900) and The Lands of
the Eastern Caliph ate (1905), which together with the present work firmly
establish him as the greatest Islamic mediaeval geographer to write in
I: INTRODUCTION. THE ARAB GEOGRAPHERS. LIST OF AUTHORITIES
I: SYRIA AND PALESTINE.
The name Ash Shâm-Physical features-Climate-Products-Manners and
customs-Festivals-The Watch-stations of the coast.
Territorial Divisions: The Junds or Military Districts-Jund Filastin-The
Tih, or Desert of the Wanderings-The Jifâr-Jund al Urdunn-The Ghaur-Jund
Dimashk-The Ghutah of Damascus, the Haurân, and Bathaniyyah, Jaulân,
Jaidur, and Hulah-The Balka -Ash Sharâh-Al Jibâl-Jund Hirns-Jund
Kinnasrin-Jund al Awasim-The Thughür-The Nine "Kingdoms"
Tribute and Taxes- Weights and Measures
CHAPTER II: SYRIA AND PALESTINE (continued)
Rivers: The Jordan and its tributaries-The rivers of the coast-The
rivers of Damascus-The Orontes-Rivers of the northern provinces.
Lakes: The Dead Sea-The Lake of Tiberias-The Hülah-Damascus Lakes-Lakes
of Hims and of Afâmiyyah-Lakes of Antioch.
Mountains: Sinai-Mount Hor-The Mount of Olives-Mountain chains of Palestine:
Ebal and Gerizim, Jabal 'Amil.ah-The Jaulân hills-Lebanon mountains-Mountains
round Damascus-Hermon-Jabal al Lukkâm
Names of the Holy City-Advantages of Jerusalem-Fertility-Position-Territory
of the Holy City.
The Mosque cu Aksa: The Prophet's Night Journey-The origin of the Mosque
at Aksa-Omar's early building and that of 'Abd al malik-Earthquake of
the year 130 (746), and restoration of the mosque by AL Mansür and
Al Mahdi-The technical meaning of the term Masjid, or Mosque-Mukaddasi's
description of the Aksa in 985
-The Talisman and the Maksuirahs-Earthquakes of 1016 and 1034 -Inscriptions
relating to repairs-Description of the Aksâ by Nasiri-Khusrau in
1047-Dimensions of the mosque-The Crusades-The mosque given over to the
Templars-Description by ldrisi and 'Ali of Herat-Saladin's reconquest
of Jerusalem and restoration of the Aksâ in 1187-Description by
Mujir ad Din in 1496-Modern mosque.
of the Rock: The Rock-The dome built over it by 'Abd al Malik in 691-Mr.
Fergusson's theory disproved-'Abd al Malik's great inscription-Al Mâmun's
inscription on the doors-Description of the dome by Ibn aI Fakih in 903--Arrangement
of the piers and pillars-Istakhri and Ibn Haukal's description-That of
Mukaddasi, 985-The earthquake of 1016 and the inscriptions recording repairs-Nâsir-i-Khusrau's
visit in 1047-The fall of the great lantern in 1060-The Crusaders and
the Templum Domini-Temple-churches and Rafael's picture of the Sposalizio
- Idrisi's account in 1954-'Ali of Herat in 1173 ; the iron railing round
the Rock, and other details-Pieces of the rock taken by the Crusaders
as relics-Saladin's restoration-His great inscription in the Dome-
Ibn Battutah's visit in 1355-Destruction of the Cupola by fire in 1448-Suyuti's
description of the Footprint of the Prophet, the Cave, and other marvels-Mujir
ad Din's measurements
CHAPTER IV: JERUSALEM (continued)
Traditional Accounts: 'Omar's finding of the Rock-The Service instituted
by the Khalif 'Abd al Malik. The Dome of tile Chain: Minor domes-The platform
and stairways-The Court and the Haram Area-The Cradle of Jesus and Stables
of Solomon-Minor buildings-Minarets
V: JERUSALEM (continued).
The Gates of the Haram Area-The Colonnades-Size of the Haram Area-The
Tanks and Pools.
The Church of the Resurrection: The Miracle of the Holy Fire-The Garden
of Gethsemane-The Tomb of the Virgin-Pater Noster Church and Bethany -
The Church of the Ascension and of the Jacobites-The Church of Sion and
City Gates: The Castle- Wadi Jahannum and the Tomb of Absalom.
The Plain, As Sahiras: The Pool of Siloam-The Well of Job-Cavern of Koran
Description by Mukaddasi in 985 A.D.-The Great Mosque-Mosaics- City Gates
- Other accounts - The rivers of Damascus- Villages the round the City-The
Ghautah, or Plain of Damascus-The various water-courses-The Hill of Jesus-Ibn
Jubair's description of the city and mosque in 1184-The ascent of the
Great Dome-The two descriptions of the Clepsydra - Ibn Batütah's
description in 1355- Shrines - Suburbs - Traditions - Burning of the Mosque
CHAPTER VII: LEGENDS AND MARVELS.
Ar Rakim and the Cave of the Sleepers-Zughar (Zoar, Segor), the Cities
of Lot, and the Legend of Lot's daughters-Al Kalt and the Well of the
Leaf- Urim and the Ancient Temple-'Ain at Jarah and the Menhir-Ba'albakk
and the Great Stones-Bait Lahm (Bethlehem) and the Basilica of Constantine-An
Nasirah (Nazareth) and the Wonderful Tree
VIII: PROVINCIAL CAPITALS AND CHIEF
Ar Ramlah, founded by the Khalif Sulaiman-The White Mosque-Hebron: The
Tombs of the Patriarchs-Visits to the Cave of Mach-pelah-Invention or
the Tomb of Joseph. Acre ('Akkah): Construction of the Port by Ibn Tulun.
Tiberias (Tabariyyah) The Thermal Springs and Baths-The Tomb of David
IX: PROVINCIAL CAPITALS AND CHIEF TOWNS (continued).
Tyre (Sur). Sidon (Saidâ). Tripoli (Tarâbulus, or Atrâbulus):
The Old and the New Town-The Castles of the Assassins. Hzrns (Emessa)
The Talisma against Scorpions. Hamah (Hamath) The Ancient Castle. Aleppo
(Halab): Ibn Butlân's Description-The Castle.
Antiock (Antâkiyyah) Christian Churches and Convents-Description
by Ibn Butlân-The Great Storm of the Year 1050 A.D.-Tradition of
Habib an Najar. Z'arsus. The Frontier Fortress, and the Garrison
II: ALPHABETICAL LIST OF PLACES IN PALESTINE AND SYRIA
Note on the builder of the great Aksâ Mosque
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