Early in the evening Amzi and the priest withdrew to the roof for consultation.
“You believe that your God is all-powerful—why do you not beseech him for our poor lad’s safety?” cried Amzi passionately.
“I have not ceased to do so since his capture,” returned Yusuf. “But it must be as the Lord willeth. He sees what is best. Even our blessed Jesus said to the Father, ‘Not my will, but thine be done.’”
Amzi was not satisfied. “Can he then be the God of Love that you say, if he could look upon the death of that poor innocent nor exercise his power to save him?”
“Amzi, I do not wonder at you for speaking thus. Yet consider. We will hope the best for our poor singer. May God preserve him and enable us, as instruments in his hands, to deliver him. But God may see differently from us in this matter. Who can say that to die would not be gain to poor Dumah? All witless as he is, he shall have a perfect mind and a perfect body in the bright hereafter. We know not what is well. We can only pray and do all in our power to effect his deliverance; we must leave the issue to God.”
Amzi bowed his head on his hands and groaned. Yusuf raised his eyes towards heaven; the tears rolled down his cheeks, and his lips moved. Even he could not understand the mysteries of this strange time. Yet he was constantly comforted in knowing that “all things work together for good to them that love God.”
Saddest of all was the vision of the handsome, dark face that, contorted in the fury of combat, had glared upon him from the Moslem ranks in the Battle of Bedr, while Manasseh’s hand showered blows upon the head of his best friend—for the sake of the prophet of Islam.
“Manasseh! Manasseh!” he exclaimed in bitter sadness. “Why hast thou forsaken thy father’s God? O heavenly Father, do thou guide him and lead him again into thy paths!”
AMZI FINALLY REJECTS MOHAMMED.
“‘Do the duty
which lies nearest thee’ which thou knowest to
a duty! Thy second duty will already have become
clearer.”—Carlyle, “Sartor Resartus."
Upon the following morning Yusuf hastened to obtain an interview with Mohammed. The prophet lived in an ostentatiously humble abode—a low, broad building, roofed with date-sticks, and thatched with the broad leaves of the palm tree.
Mohammed absolutely refused to see him. Ayesha, the youngest and fairest of the prophet’s wives, sent to inform him that Mohammed had nothing to say to the Christian Yusuf. So with heavy heart he turned away and sought the house of Zeid, deeming that he, as the prophet’s adopted son and most devoted follower, might have some influence in obtaining Dumah’s release.
Zeid sat in a low, airy apartment, through whose many open windows a cool breeze entered. By him sat his newly-wedded wife, unveiled, for at that time the rules in regard to veiling were not so strictly insisted upon as at a later day, when the prophet’s decree against the unveiling of women was more rigorously enforced.