Travels In Arabia By  John Lewis Burckhardt

























































 -  In
these respects, the temple of Mekka resembles the other great mosques of
the East. But the holy Kaaba is - Page 210
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In These Respects, The Temple Of Mekka Resembles The Other Great Mosques Of The East.

But the holy Kaaba is rendered the scene of such indecencies and criminal acts, as cannot with propriety be more particularly noticed.

They are not only practised here with impunity, but, it may be said, almost publicly; and my indignation has often been excited, on witnessing abominations which called forth from other passing spectators nothing more than a laugh or a slight reprimand.

In several parts of the colonnade, public schools are held, where young children are taught to spell and read: they form most noisy

[p.151] groups, and the schoolmaster's stick is in constant action. Some learned men of Mekka deliver lectures on religious subjects every afternoon under the colonnade, but the auditors are seldom numerous. On Fridays, after prayer, some Turkish olemas explain to their countrymen assembled around them a few chapters of the Koran, after which each of the audience kisses the hand of the expositor, and drops money into his cap. I particularly admired the fluency of speech of one of these olemas, although I did not understand him, the lecture being delivered in the Turkish language. His gesticulations, and the inflexions of his voice, were most expressive; but like an actor on the stage, he would laugh and cry in the same minute, and adapt his features to his purpose in the most skilful manner. He was a native of Brusa, and amassed a considerable sum of money.

Near the gate of the mosque called Bab-es'-Salam, a few Arab Sheikhs daily take their seat, with their ink-stand and paper, ready to write, for any applicant, letters, accounts, contracts, or any similar document.

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