The Spell of Egypt by Robert Hichens













































 -  It signals its presence by this mute appeal to
Allah. And where there are no minarets - in the great wastes - Page 80
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It Signals Its Presence By This Mute Appeal To Allah.

And where there are no minarets - in the great wastes of the dunes, in the eternal silence, the lifelessness

That is not broken even by any lonely, wandering bird - the camels are stopped at the appointed hours, the poor, and often ragged, robes are laid down, the brown pilgrims prostrate themselves in prayer. And the rich man spreads his carpet, and prays. And the half-naked nomad spreads nothing; but he prays, too. The East is full of lust and full of money-getting, and full of bartering, and full of violence; but it is full of worship - of worship that disdains concealment, that recks not of ridicule or comment, that believes too utterly to care if others disbelieve. There are in the East many men who do not pray. They do not laugh at the man who does, like the unpraying Christian. There is nothing ludicrous to them in prayer. In Egypt your Nubian sailor prays in the stern of your dahabiyeh; and your Egyptian boatman prays by the rudder of your boat; and your black donkey-boy prays behind a red rock in the sand; and your camel-man prays when you are resting in the noontide, watching the far-off quivering mirage, lost in some wayward dream.

And must you not pray, too, when you enter certain temples where once strange gods were worshipped in whom no man now believes?

There is one temple on the Nile which seems to embrace in its arms all the worship of the past; to be full of prayers and solemn praises; to be the holder, the noble keeper, of the sacred longings, of the unearthly desires and aspirations, of the dead.

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