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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 395



built a wall, leaving an empty space between ;" * they had also built a spacious house and a chapel on'the west of the kiblah. He pulled down the wall, covered the mihrab with marble, thoroughly cleansed the place, and supplied it with lamps, costly carpets, and other furniture. The Sultan Nûr-ed-din had himself resolved upon the conquest of Jerusalem, but the expedition was prevented by his sudden death. Ho had ordered a magnificent pulpit (minibar) to be executed by a celebrated artist at Aleppo, intending to present it to the mosque ; this Saladin sent for and placed in the Jami' el Aksa, where it remains to the present day, and forms one of the principal objects of attraction to the visitor, being one of the most exquisite pieces of carved wood-work in the world. Both the Cubbet es Sakhrah and El Aksa were furnished by the Sultan with copies of the Coran, doubtless from the celebrated library at Damascus, the remains of which are preserved in the little dome (called Cubbet el Kutub) in the Jâmi' el Omawiyeh of that city. The princes of Saladin's family personally assisted in the work of restoration and purification, and it is related that El Melik el Muzaffar himself headed the attendants oratories, mosques, minarets, &c. 2. That all these were built by 'Abel el Melik (see p. 77), and that the Cubbet es Sakhrah is only mentioned more specially than the other buildings erected by that prince because of its magnificent proportions and the peculiar sanctity of the spot it covers. 3. That the Cubbet es Sakhrah is only a supplementary building (see p. 83). 4. That when the pulpit, the " kiblah," &c, of the Masjid el Aksa is spoken of it must always be referred to that of the Jâmi' el Aksa ; just as when speak ing of the chancel of an English cathedral we should mean that of the main building, and not that of the lady chapel,, and still less of any oratory, however large, that might exist in another part of the close. The account in the text is taken from Mejir-ed-di'n. The inscription recording Saladin's restorations may still be seen in letters of gold over the mihrab of the Jâmi' el Aksa. , * Some say it had been even turned into a latrina.


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