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143
IN ARABIA.

and at Kufa. Christianity is said to have been first carried into this part of Arabia by a monk, about the year 363.[1] A king of Hirah is mentioned as having been converted in the beginning of the sixth century, and as having built several churches in various parts of his dominions.[2] Noman abu Kabus is said to have been led to embrace the religion of Jesus by his admiration of the constancy and punctuality of a Syrian Christian, whom he had designed to put to death. In a fit of drunkenness he had wantonly killed two of his friends, and when sober, in repentance for his cruelty, and in remembrance of their friendship, he erected tombs over their graves, and vowed to moisten them once every year with the blood of an enemy. One of the first victims intended for the fulfilment of his vow was this Christian of Syria, who entreated the mondar to allow him a short space of time to return home, for the purpose of acquitting himself of some duty with which he had been entrusted; and the boon was granted on his solemn promise to return at an appointed time. The time came and he was punctual to his word, and thus saved his life.[3] Noman abu Kabus proved the sincerity of his conversion by melting down a statue of Venus, of solid gold, which had been worshipped by his tribe, and by distributing

  1. Fundgruben des Orients, band ii. p. 360.
  2. Abulfeda, ap. Pococke, p. 75.
  3. Pococke, ibid. Fundgruben des Orients, band iii. p. 38.