Upon his return to Medina, he preached again from the mosque, enjoining upon the faithful strict compliance with the form of worship set forth in the Koran and by the example of the prophet—the giving of alms; prayer towards the kebla; the performance of Tawaf, and ablutions at Zem-Zem; prostration prayers at the Caaba, and all the rites of pilgrimage. Thus did Mohammed formulate the rules for the future guidance of the Moslem world.
KEDAR AT THE CAABA.
Once more the shades of night hung over the Eastern world. And there, while the hush of slumber fell upon the hills of the North, the cities of the South awoke to life and bustle, for during the earlier half of the hours of darkness the Oriental awakes from the lethargy of the day, and really begins to live. The moon, almost at full, and glowing like a silver orb on a purple sea, rose slowly over the black top of Abu Kubays, tipping its crest with a shimmering line of light, and throwing its radiance across the vale below, where all lay shapeless in shade save the top of the huge temple, which, with its pall-like kiswah (curtain), arose like a bier above the low houses about it. Upon it the moonbeams fell with solemn, white light, and the young man standing alone by one of the pillars of the portico felt a thrill of awe as he looked upon the mysterious structure, and thought of the great antiquity of the institution.
For the moment, lost in contemplation, he was oblivious to the swarming of the dusky multitudes now pouring into the court-yard on all sides. Then, as the increasing hum fell upon his ears, he gave them his attention. It was the scene of which he had so often heard, and upon which he now looked for the first time. There were the people at Tawaf, walking, running, or standing with upturned eyes, sanctimoniously repeating passages of the Koran; there were the frantic few clinging to the great folds of the kiswah, as though its contact procured for them eternal salvation; there were the crowds gulping down copious draughts of the brackish water of Zem-Zem, or pouring it upon their heads.
There, too, within a stone’s throw of the temple, were the busy stalls of the venders, whence issued cries of:
“Cucumbers! Cucumbers O!”
“Grapes! Grapes!—luscious and juicy with the crystal dews of Tayf! Grapes, O faithful!”
“Who will buy cloth of Damascus, rich and fit for a king? Come, buy thy lady a veil! Buy a veil to screen her charms blooming as the rosy light of morn, to screen her hair black as midnight shades on the hills of Nejd, and her eyes sparkling like diamonds of Oman!”
“O water! Precious water from Zem-Zem! Water to wash away thy sin, and help thee into Paradise! O believer, buy water of Zem-Zem!”
And there, beneath the twinkling lights of the portico, sat a group of Abyssinian girls, waiting to be sold as slaves.