Eothen By A. W. Kingslake


There is not much in the way of public buildings to admire at
Cairo, but I saw one handsome mosque - Page 220
Eothen By A. W. Kingslake - Page 220 of 325 - First - Home

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There Is Not Much In The Way Of Public Buildings To Admire At Cairo, But I Saw One Handsome Mosque, To Which An Instructive History Is Attached.

A Hindustanee merchant having amassed an immense fortune settled in Cairo, and soon found that his riches in the then state of the political world gave him vast power in the city - power, however, the exercise of which was much restrained by the counteracting influence of other wealthy men.

With a view to extinguish every attempt at rivalry the Hindustanee merchant built this magnificent mosque at his own expense. When the work was complete, he invited all the leading men of the city to join him in prayer within the walls of the newly built temple, and he then caused to be massacred all those who were sufficiently influential to cause him any jealousy or uneasiness - in short, all "the respectable men" of the place; after this he possessed undisputed power in the city and was greatly revered - he is revered to this day. It seemed to me that there was a touching simplicity in the mode which this man so successfully adopted for gaining the confidence and goodwill of his fellow-citizens. There seems to be some improbability in the story (though not nearly so gross as it might appear to an European ignorant of the East, for witness Mehemet Ali's destruction of the Mamelukes, a closely similar act, and attended with the like brilliant success {34}), but even if the story be false as a mere fact, it is perfectly true as an illustration - it is a true exposition of the means by which the respect and affection of Orientals may be conciliated.

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