Travels In Arabia By  John Lewis Burckhardt

 -  The lower classes of the
Arabs have discovered a fanciful confirmation of their charge against
the Turks in one of - Page 22
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The Lower Classes Of The Arabs Have Discovered A Fanciful Confirmation Of Their Charge Against The Turks In One Of

The Grand Signor's titles, Khan, an ancient Tatar word, which in Arabic signifies "he betrayed," being the preterite of the

Verb ykhoun, "to betray." They pretend that an ancestor of the Sultan having betrayed a fugitive, received the opprobrious appellation of "el Sultan Khan," ("the Sultan has been treacherous;") and that the title is merely retained by his successors from their ignorance of the Arabic language.

Whenever the power of the Turks in the Hedjaz declines, which it will when the resources of Egypt are no longer directed to that point by so able and so undisturbed a possessor of Egypt as Mohammed Ali, the Arabs will avenge themselves for the submission, light as it is, which they now reluctantly yield to their conquerors; and the reign of the Osmanlis in the Hedjaz will probably terminate in many a scene of bloodshed.

[p.53] ROUTE FROM DJIDDA TO TAYF. [I was unable to take any bearings during this excursion, as the only compass which I possessed, and which had served me throughout my Nubian journey, had become useless, and no opportunity offered of replacing it till December in this year, when I obtained one from a Bombay ship which arrived at Djidda.]

ON the 24th of August, 1814, (11th of Ramadhan, A.H. 1230.) I set out from Djidda, late in the evening, with my guide and twenty camel-drivers of the tribe of Harb, who were carrying money to Mekka for the Pasha's treasury. After having left the skirts of the town, where the road passes by mounds of sand, among which is the cemetery of the inhabitants, we travelled across a very barren, sandy plain, ascending slightly towards the east; there are no trees in it, and it is strongly impregnated with salt to about two miles from the town. After three hours' march, we entered a hilly country, where a coffee-hut stands near a well named Raghame. We continued in a broad and winding valley amongst these hills, some sandy and some rocky, and, at the end of five hours and a half, stopped for a short time at the coffee-hut and well called El Beyadhye. Of these wells the water is not good. From thence, in one hour and a half, (seven hours in all,) we reached a similar station called El Ferayne, where we overtook a caravan of pilgrims, who were accompanying goods and provisions destilled for the army: they had quitted Djidda before us in the evening. The coffee-huts are miserable structures, with half-ruined

[p.54] walls, and coverings of brushwood; they afford nothing more than water and coffee. Formerly, it is said, there were twelve coffee-houses on this road, which afforded refreshments of every kind to the passengers between Djidda and the holy city; but as the journey is now made chiefly during the night, and as the Turkish soldiers will pay for nothing unless by compulsion, most of these houses have been abandoned. The few that still remain are kept by some of the Arabs of the Lahyan tribe, (a branch of the Hodheyl Arabs,) and Metarefe, whose families are Bedouins, and live among the hills with their flocks. From Ferayne the valley opens, and the hills, diverging on both sides, increase considerably in height. At the end of eight hours, about sun-rise we reached Bahhra, a cluster of about twenty huts, situated upon a plain nearly four hours in length and two in breadth, extending eastward. At Bahhra there is plenty of water in wells, some sweet and some brackish. In a row of eight or ten shops are sold rice, onions, butter, dates, and coffee-beans, at thirty per cent. in advance of the Djidda market-price. This is what the Arabs call a souk, or market, and similar places occur at every station in this chain of mountains as far as Yemen. Some Turkish cavalry was stationed at Bahhra to guard the road. After travelling for two hours farther over the plain, we halted, at ten hours from Djidda, at Hadda, a souk, similar to the above. Between Bahhra and Hadda, upon an insulated hillock in the plain, are the ruins of an ancient fortification.

August 25th. - The caravan from Djidda to Mekka rests during the day at Bahhra or at Hadda, thus following the common practice of the Hedjaz Arabs, who travel only by night. This is done in winter as well as in summer, not so much for the purpose of avoiding the heat as to afford the camels time for feeding, these animals never eating by night. Such nocturnal marches are most unfavourable to the researches of a traveller, who thus crosses the country at a time when no objects can be observed;

[p.55] and during the day, fatigue and the desire of sleep render every exertion irksome.

We alighted at Hadda, under the shed of a spacious coffee-hut, where I found a motley crew of Turks and Arabs, in their way to or from Mekka, each extended upon his small carpet. Some merchants from Tayf had just brought in a load of grapes; and, although I felt myself still weak from the fever, I could not withstand this temptation, and seized a few of them; for the baskets were no sooner opened than the whole company fell upon them, and soon devoured the entire load; the owner, however, was afterwards paid. It is at Hadda that the inhabitants of Djidda, when making a pilgrimage to Mekka, put on the ihram, or pilgrim's cloak. By the Muselman law, every one is obliged to assume it, whatever may be his rank, who enters the sacred territory of Mekka, whether on pilgrimage or for other purposes; and he is enjoined not to lay it aside till after he has visited the temple. Many persons, however, transgress this law; but an o[r]thodox Mekkan never goes to Djidda without carrying his ihram with him, and on his return home, he puts it on at this place.

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