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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 394



A curious reason is given by the Arab historians for the strong feeling which the taking of Jerusalem excited throughout Europe. The Christians, say they, made an image of Christ and Mohammed, the latter holding an upraised stick and the former fleeing away, and carried it about with them in Christian countries to induce their co-religionists to revenge their quarrel by a new crusade. The first Friday after the taking of Jerusalem was a memorable one for Islam ; Saladin himself was present at the public service and prayed in the Cubbet es Sakhrah, where a most eloquent sermon (khotbah) was delivered by the poet Muhiy-ed-din (whose verse prophetic of the occasion has been already alluded to*) and the concourse of people was so great that there was scarcely standing room in the open court of the Haram Area. The Franks had built an oratory and altar over the Sakhrah itself, and " filled it with images and idols ;" these Saladin removed, and restored it to its original condition as a mosque. The Christians are also said to have cut off portions of the Sakhrah and sold them in Sicily and Constantinople for their weight in gold. A great cross, plated with gold and studded with jewels, was found on the holy rock when Saladin entered the Temple ; this the Muslims pulled down and dragged with great glee round the city, to the intense horror of the Christians, who expected some dreadful visitation to follow such profanity. Saladin's first care was to uncover the mihrab or " prayer niche," f in front of which the Templars had * Page 77. t The mihrab, that is, of the Jâmi' el Aksa, as being that of the congregational building, and therefore the principal one in the enclosure. It is necessary to bear in mind a few facts, which are perfectly clear from the statements of the Arab historians (in the original), but which are either neglected or misinterpreted by many European writers, and notably by Mr. Fergusson. These are : 1. That the Masjid el Aksa is the whole Haram Area, including th Jami' el A ksa and Cubbet es Sakhrah, as well as all the smaller


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