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the standard of Abdallah with twelve companions. Having learned the difficulties in which Abdallah was placed, they had cut their way through the enemy. "Where is the general?" asked Zobeir, as he glanced round the battle-field. "In his tent," was the reply. "Is the tent a fitting place for a Moslem general?" retorted Zobeir, and immediately sought Abdallah. The latter in some confusion excused his absence by urging the importance of his life, especially endangered by the great rewards offered for his head by his adversary. Zobeir would hear of no excuse. "You must," he said, "offer a reward for the head of Gregory, and the recompense shall be one hundred thousand pieces of gold and his beautiful captive daughter as a slave." Zobeir proposed to the general a mode of attack which'he thought might be successful, and Abdallah intrusted the execution of the plan to the author. Both sides advanced next morning to battle. The Saracens were the fewer in number, but they endeavoured to supply their numerical deficiency by artifice and skill. The battle raged till, exhausted by the heat of the noon-day sun, both parties seemed willing to suspend hostilities for at least some hours. The opposing hosts retired; the soldiers doffed their armour, and undid the bridles from the horses' heads. At this moment troops of Saracens, who had remained concealed in their tents during the morning, rushed upon their unarmed foes, and destroyed, captured, or put them to flight. The prefect Gregory fell by the sword of Zobeir, and his lovely daughter was surrounded and made prisoner. The triumph of the Saracens was complete. The neighbouring towns surrendered, and consented to pay tribute. But the conquest had been dearly purchased. An epidemic disease was raging in the Saracen camp, which, with the numbers that had fallen in battle, left the Moslem army much reduced in numbers. Under these circumstances, Abdallah thought it prudent to retire to Egypt with his captives and the spoils of war. The modesty and self-denial of Zobeir after the battle were still more praiseworthy than the skill with which he had planned the attack, or the valour he had displayed during the action. The prize that had been offered to the slayer of the prefect Gregory remained unclaimed. It was supposed that the conqueror had himself fallen in battle. But the illusion was dissolved when the daughter of Gregory, being brought into the presence of the conqueror, accidentally cast her eyes upon Zobeir. Bursting into a passion of tears, she called him the murderer of her father. All were surprised that he had not himself announced what would have redounded so much to his glory. The captive lady was presented to him as his slave, but he refused the gift, declaring that he looked for a reward superior to earthly pleasures. It was thought that a recompense more suited to a man of this temper would be the mission of announcing to the caliph the victory gained by his soldiers. Zobeir was accordingly despatched for this purpose to Medina; where, in the great mosque, were assembled the chiefs and people to hear the narrative of the envoy. Here, in the glowing colours of Oriental oratory, did Zobeir paint the actions of his brother soldiers, and expatiate on their claims, to the admiration of their countrymen; on the part which he had in the recent victories he was silent.
Of the termination of this remarkable man's career, we shall say a few words. Upon the death of Mahomet, disputes arose amongst his
followers as to the choice of a successor to the prophet. In the eyes of many, Ali, the husband of his daughter Fatima, had the best claim. Besides being son-in-law to the prophet, Ali was his chosen friend and faithful disciple. But Ayesha, the young widow of Mahomet, had organized a strong party who declared in favour of her father, Abubeker. The piety of Ali made him abstain from a conquest in which the blood of many Moslems might be shed; he gave an example of obedience, by recognizing the claim of Abubeker. After the death of the latter, Omar, and, after him Othman, took possession of the Caliphate, to the exclusion of the prophet's son-in-law, whose supporters are known as Fatimites. But Othman was murdered, and Ali clamorously called to the vacant throne. But Zobeir was not friendly to the election of Ali, and he, with another chief named Telha, retired to Assyria, where they raised an army to oppose the new caliph. Ayesha, who, with a stepmother's hatred, detested the Fatimites, joined Zobeir and Telha. Ayesha was considered the mother of the faithful, and, as such, possessed great influence. But Ali had been declared caliph; and Zobeir and Telha, who had first recognized and then denounced him, were looked upon as prevaricators. Ali made condescending advances to his opponents, and many, who at first hesitated, ultimately joined his standard. Zobeir, Telha, and Ali had many personal conferences, and it was often thought that an accommodation might have been effected. That the business had not so favourable an issue, is attributed by some to the implacable spirit of Ayesha, who could never lay aside her aversion to the husband and children of Fatima. Reconciliation appearing impossible, both armies advanced to battle. Ayesha, to give confidence to her adherents, appeared herself in the field, in a litter, shaped like a cage, and mounted on the back of her great camel. From this circumstance, the day on which the battle was fought is known as "the day of the camel." Telha was struck by an arrow, and perceiving the wound to be mortal, he declared that he recognised the vengeance of God for the death of Othman, and with his last breath acknowledged the justice of Ali's claims.
Meanwhile, Zobeir, having learned that Ammar Jaasser had joined Ali, was much moved, for Ammar Jaasser was a man of whom the prophet himself had said that he was always on the side of justice and right. Reflecting on these things, Zobeir withdrew from the battle. As he journeyed on he saw at a distance the chief, Hanaf, who waited the issue of the battle that he might join the conqueror. Hanaf recognised him and said to his followers: "Is there no one to bring me news of Zobeir?" One of his attendants, named Amron, set off to meet Zobeir, and having come up, addressed him. Zobeir warned him not to approach, but after a little time the other so won on his confidence that Zobeir, perceiving that the time of prayer was come, called out "Salat"—to prayer. "Salat," responded Amron, and, as Zobeir bent in prayer, his treacherous companion suddenly severed his head from his body. The murderer, thinking to earn a high reward, carried the head to Ali. The highest eulogium upon the memory of Zobeir were the tears which Ali shed when Amron presented the mournful trophy. "Villain!" he exclaimed, "begone; carry this newstoEbn Safiah in hell." n, thunderstruck by such a reception, forgot the respect due to
the caliph, and exclaimed : "You are the evil destiny of the Moslems: if one delivers you from your enemies, you instantly consign him to hell; and if any one kills one of your friends, you immediately declare him a companion for the devils" Having uttered these violent expressions, he destroyed himself with his own sword.
We have already said that the day of this conflict, when Zobeir lost his life, was called " theday of the camel," because that Ayesha appeared on the field mounted on her great camel. This remarkable animal was a gift from a certain Moslem, by whom it was purchased for one hundred pieces. This camel was called Alascar—that is to say, "the army." When she joined Telha and Zobeir, and advanced towards Bassorah to oppose Ali, she was mounted on this camel. It was whilst on this journey that the dogs of a certain village rushed out in a body and commenced to bark at Ayesha, who, astonished at the circumstance, asked the name of the place. Being told that the stream running through the village was called Jowab, she quoted a verse from the Koran, saying, "We are resigned to God, and to him we have recourse." She then refused to advance further on her route, because she remembered to have heard the prophet say, when he journeyed with his wives: "I wish I had known it, and they should have lodged within the barking of the dogs of Jowab." She said, moreover, that the prophet had told her that one of his wives should be barked at by the dogs of this place, on which occasion she ought to lodge there, for if she proceeded on her journey she should find herself in great danger. Influenced by these motives, Ayesha refused to advance, and prepared to remain where she was for the night. Telha and Zobeir were much annoyed at this whim, as it was of the utmost importance to them to reach Bassorah quickly. They sacrificed their integrity to their alarm, and declared and procured fifty witnesses to swear that the guides had made a mistake, and that they were not near Jowab. But all entreaties were vain, Ayesha would not be persuaded, and obstinately refused to move. In this dilemma, one of the train called: "Fly, fly! Ali is close at hand." Fear overcame every other consideration, and Ayesha, as well as the others, fled with the utmost rapidity to Bassorah. Some declare that this was the first public lie that had been told since the establishment of Mohammedanism.
We have made this digression to speak of the death of Zobeir, but we cannot help saying a few words more about" the day of the camel." On that day, Ayesha appeared on the field of battle mounted on Alascar. The presence "of the mother of the faithful" inflamed the minds of her followers, each striving to outdo the other in acts of valour, and all rallying round her camel. Ali perceived this, and gave orders that the camel should be brought down. Now, the thickest of the combat raged round Ayesha. Her litter bristled so with arrows and javelins that the lookers-on compared it in appearance to an angry porcupine. Every effort was made to disable the camel. It is said that seventy men, who in succession held his bridle on that day, lost their hands. At length one of Ali's friends succeeded in forcing his way through the crowd that defended the camel; he cut off one of the legs, but Alascar still remained erect; the assailant struck again, another leg came off, but still the animal did not move. Astonished at the prodigy, the soldier would have 'withdrawn, but Ali called aloud to him to strike again and fear nothing. Another stroke deprived the animal of a third leg, when it sunk to the earth. Ali was not unmindful of the respect due to the favourite wife of the prophet. He desired her brother, Mohammed, who fought with him, to take charge of his sister and protect her from the shafts that were still directed against the litter. Mohammed approached, and having introduced his hand within the curtains of the litter, accidentally touched that of Ayesha. She immediately uttered the most dreadful imprecations against the reprobate who had presumed to lay his profane hand on hers. Mohammed quieted her alarm by saying that it was the hand of her nearest relative, and also that of her bitterest foe. Some say that Ali himself sought the presence of Ayesha, and inquired kindly after her welfare; but "the mother of the faithful," who was somewhat of a shrew, and endowed with a loud shrill voice, received him, it is said, with a volley of abuse. But Ali was now caliph, and could afford to listen with patience. He treated her with great consideration, and sent her with a handsome equipage and numerous escort to her house at Medina, where she was commanded to remain, and never again, at her peril, to interfere in public affairs. Amongst other marks of respect, Ali ordered his two sons, Hasen and Hosein, to attend her a day's journey on her march. A still greater proof of his reverence for the prophet's wife was shown in the constitution of the guard of honour that attended her to Medina. Ali secretly ordered that a number of women should be equipped as soldiers, and sent to attend Ayesha, thus securing to her that seclusion from male eyes which became her position, at the same time affording her a sufficiently imposing protection. Ayesha, who, during her journey, was not aware of the delicate stratagem devised by the caliph, was frequently indignant at the unceremonious approach of her guards, and poured abuse on them and their master. But when, on arriving at Medina, she discovered that she had been escorted by women in disguise, she expressed herself deeply touched by this mark of the caliph's reverence for her person, and became as profuse in her thanks as she had been before in her reproaches.
It was not until after the death of Ali that the Saracens were able to resume their conquests in North-Western Africa. The natives, oppressed by the lieutenants of the Byzantine emperors, began to think one master preferable to many, and, disregarding the difference in creed, invited the Saracens to re-enter their country. The floridness of Oriental fancy has thrown over the history of these times a veil that obscures the truth. They enumerate cities that fell before the arms of their generals, which, if they existed, would imply an amount of civilization of which no traces were ever discovered. It is highly probable that the towns along the coast were, many of them at least, possessed of strength and riches, and Tingi, or Tangier, has boen described, both by Greek and Arabian writers, in terms which, though not literally true, involve the presumption that the description of walls of brass and roofs of gold and silver, was only a figurative mode of expressing the strength of the defences and the riches of the inhabitants. The Mauritania Tingitana of the Romans was comparatively limited in extent, the southern parts being seldom traversed by any but adventurers in search of ivory and precious woods. But the Saracen generals, accustomed to the deserts of Arabia, dashed fearlessly over the sandy plains of Africa, and there, in aftertimes, arose the cities of Fez and Morocco. Akbah was the name of the Saracen chief who gained the most renown in these regions. He extended his conquests even to the shores of the Atlantic. Finding his course arrested by the mighty ocean, he is said to have uttered an exclamation, declaring that but for that impediment he would have gone on, even to the unknown West, preaching the religion of Mahomet. The last remnant of the Moors whom Akbah found in these remote places, possessed neither gold nor silver to attract the cupidity of a conqueror, but the female captives were esteemed so handsome that many were purchased at the rate of a thousand pieces of gold each. But Akbah was not able to preserve the conquests he had made. Many Moorish tribes who had joined his standard and professed the Moslem faith upon his first appearance deserted and returned to their native wilds, when they had participated in the plunder of the conquerors, or when the latter had experienced some reverse. But the Saracen power finally prevailed, and the caliphs governed Morocco and the adjoining countries, where they appointed lieutenants. But as succeeding caliphs moved the seat of government from Medina to Damascus, afterwards to Cufa, and again to Bagdad, their power in the distant provinces became more and more feeble. In process of time, the dissensions caused by the pretensions of the different aspirants to the caliphat tended to disturb the integrity of the empire ruled by the descendants of Mahomet. When a general slaughter of the kinsmen of Ali was attempted at Medina, Edris, one of the intended victims, escaped to Mauritania. Here he so won upon the affections of the people, that he not only became their chief but saw his son acknowledged successor to the crown. About sixty years before this period the Moors had obtained a footing in Spain through the treason of Count Julian, who, to revenge a private injury, abjured his faith and betrayed his country. Many struggles ensued between the Christians and the Moors in Spain, and Edris, now King of Morocco, established a lasting claim to the gratitude of his co-religionists by the succours he sent to aid them against the Spaniards. It was the son of Edris who, in 793, laid the foundations of the city of Fez. This was the capital of the first monarchy established in Africa after the death of Mahomet. The foundation of this city was an epoch in the history of Northern Africa. Akbah had seen the importance of founding a city in these regions, which might be a place of strength to the Moslems and a kind of focus to which the Moors, willing to join the conquerors, might flock, whilst it would, at the same time, awe those disposed to resistance. Akbah's death, and the fluctuating successes of those that came after him, prevented the accomplishment of this design.
The younger Edris was not so absorbed in the establishing his new kingdom as to forget his brethren in Spain. Like his father, he sent them many reinforcements. The descendants of Edris continued to rule Morocco until the tenth century, when El-Mohadi, a descendant of Ali and Fatima, decried the house of Edris as heretics. The insurrection caused was so sudden that the sons of Edris were expelled from their governments before the aid which they expected from the King of