Travels In Arabia By  John Lewis Burckhardt

 -  The
first Mahmal from Yemen came in A.H. 960; and in A.H.1049, El Moayed
Billah, king, and - Page 380
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The First Mahmal From Yemen Came In A.H. 960; And In A.H.1049, El Moayed Billah, King, And Imam Of Yemen, Who Publicly Professed The Creed Of Zeyd, Came With One To Arafat; And The Caravans Of Baghdad, Damascus, And Cairo, Have Always Carried It With Them.

In A.H. 730, the Baghdad caravan brought it to Arafat upon an elephant (vide Asamy).

I believe the custom to have arisen in the battle-banner of the Bedouins, called Merkeb and Otfe, which I have mentioned in my remarks on the Bedouins, and which resemble the Mahmal, inasmuch as they are high wooden frames placed upon camels.]

The preacher, or Khatyb, who is usually the Kadhy of Mekka, was mounted upon a finely-caparisoned camel, which had been led up the steps; it being traditionally said that Mohammed was always seated when he here addressed his followers, a practice in which he was imitated by all the Khalifes who came to the Hadj, and who from

[p.272] hence addressed their subjects in person. The Turkish gentleman of Constantinople, however, unused to camel-riding, could not keep his seat so well as the hardy Bedouin prophet; and the camel becoming unruly, he was soon obliged to alight from it. He read his sermon from a book in Arabic, which he held in his hands. At intervals of every four or five minutes he paused, and stretched forth his arms to implore blessings from above; while the assembled multitudes around and before him, waved the skirts of their ihrams over their heads, and rent the air with shouts of "Lebeyk, Allahuma Lebeyk," (i.e. Here we are, at thy commands, O God!) During the wavings of the ihrams, the side of the mountain, thickly crowded as it was by the people in their white garments, had the appearance, of a cataract of water; while the green umbrellas, with which several thousand hadjys, sitting on their camels below, were provided, bore some resemblance to a verdant plain.

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