Historical Tales and Anecdotes of the Time of the Early Khalifahs/The Reign of el-Walld-ibn-'Abd-el-Malik

The reign of el-walid-ibn-'abd-el- mAlik-ibn-marwAn.Edit

IT was his custom to read through the whole Kuran ^ every three days ; during Ramadh^n * he used to read it through seventeen times. Ibrahim-ibn-'Uliah relates, " He sent me bags of dinars to be dis-

  • Ramadhin. "The month of Ramadhin shall ye fast, in

which the Kurdn was sent down from Heaven. . . . Therefore let him among you who shall be present in this month fast the same month ; but he who shall be sick or on a journey shall fast the hke number of other days." — el-Kurdn^ S(ir. 2., V. 181. Muslims are extremely particular in their observance of this fast, which, as their year is reckoned by lunar months, varies in the season at which it takes place, being a few days earlier every year. When Ramadhin occurs during the heat of summer, when the days are longest, the trial to bodily health and strength is excessive ; for they neither eat, nor drink, nor even smoke, from early dawn till sunset, and the nights are spent in eating and drinking, visiting the mosques, and reading the Kuran or hearing it read. A true Muslim should not, however, betray weariness or languor on account of what he endures during Ramadhdn ; but at the same time it is a pious act on the part of those in authority to spare their servants and show them as much consideration as possible.

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tributed amongst the pious." And the Hdfiz, ibn- Asakir,* says, " The Syrians considered el-Walld as the best of their Khaltfahs. He built the mosque at Damascus ; and he set apart a sufficiency for lepers, and said to cripples and to the blind, " Do not beg from other people, and I will give to each a servant or a guide/ "

And it is recorded that the sum total of what el- Waltd laid out in building the mosque of elr-*Ummawy was four hundred chests, each chest containing eight- and-forty thousand dinars ; and six hundred chains of gold for the lamps. [But the building would not have been completed had not his brother Sulaimdn, when he reigned over the Khalifate, done many good deeds, and left behind him traces of excellence.] And yet, after all this, it is recorded by/Omar-ibn-'Abd-el- Aziz t that when el-Waltd was wrapt in his winding- sheet his hands were chained to his neck.J

  • Abu-'l-K^im-'Aly, commonly known by his surname of ibn-

Asikir, was the chief Hqfi^, or Traditionist, of the age in which he lived. He was born A.H. 499, and died A.H. 571 (A.D. 1176).

t First cousin to el-Walid and Sulaimin, and successor to the latter in the Khalifate, A.H. 99 (A.D. 718).

X That is, that in spite of all his good deeds he chose to appear as a criminal at the Day of Resurrection.

194 'ILAM'EN-NAs,


£1-Walid was proclaimed Khalifah the same day that his father died, A.H. 85. He died a.h. 96 (a.d. 715), and was buried at Damascus, having reigned nine years and eight months. Historians differ much in their accoimts of his character; those of Syria represent him as the greatest prince of the house of 'Omeyyah, whereas Persian and other Muslim writers describe him as naturally cruel and violent, and subject to intemperate fits of passion. He is said to have had some skill in architecture, and expended large sums upon public buildings. El-Maldn's estimate of the sum laid out upon the mosque at Damascus, is, however, considerably less than that of the historian quoted in the text. The former reckons it at four hundred chests, each containing fourteen thousand, instead of forty- eight thousand, dinirs.