« PreviousContinue »
he made frequent visits to Aleppo, which was then under the rule of Tàj al- 512 Mulûk Mahmûd Ibn Sâlih Ibn Mirdàs. An occurrence which excited his
apprehensions obliged him to leave that city and proceed to Tripolis (in Syria), where the governor, Jalål al-Mulk Ibn Ammar (4), lodged him in his palace. Mahmud Ibn Sâlih then directed his secretary Abû Nasr Muhammad Ibn al-Husain Ibn Ali an-Nabhâs, a native of Aleppo, to write to Sadid al-Mulk a kind and flattering letter, inviting him to return. The secretary, who was a friend to Sadid al-Mulk, perceived that his master had some ill design ; so, on writing out the letter as he was ordered, and finishing it with the usual formula, in (ul) shå Allah (if God so pleaseth), he traced over the letter n of in the sign of duplication with the mark indicating the vowel a (thus, inna). On receiving the letter, Sadid al-Mulk presented it to Ibn Ammar, who was then sitting with some particular friends, and they all admired the elegance of its style and remarked the extreme desire which Mahmûd manifested of enjoying his society. Sadid al-Mulk here observed that he saw more in the letter than they did, and then wrote an appropriate answer to the secretary. In this reply one of the phrases was: I (bil and), your humble servant, who am grateful for your kindness ; but under the first letter he put the mark indicating the vowel i, and over the second the sign of duplication (thus, U! innd). When Mahmûd received it, the secretary remarked with pleasure this peculiarity, and said to those with whom he was intimate : “I knew that what I wrote would “not escape Sadid al-Mulk's attention, and he has answered in a way that quiets
my uneasiness.” By the word inna the secretary intended to remind his friend of this passage of the Koran : Inna 'l-Mald Yåtamirána, etc. (verily, the great men are deliberating concerning thee, to put thee to death) (5); and by the word innå, Sadid al-Mulk meant to answer : Innâ lan nadkhulaha abadan, etc. (we will never enter therein whilst they stay in it) (6). This was ever afterwards considered as a striking example of his sharpness and sagacity, and the anecdote is told in these very terms by Osåma (vol. I. p. 177), in the collection of notes addressed by him to ar-Rashid Ibn az-Zubair (vol. I. p. 143), and inserted in the life of Ibn an-Nahhås (the secretary above mentioned). Sadid al-Mulk Ibn Munkid died A.H. 475 (A. D. 1082-3). We have already spoken of his grandson Osama, and shall notice his father in the letter M.— The kâtib Imâd ad-din al-Ispahảni mentions them all with high commendation in his Kharida, and in his Kitab as-Sail wa’z
Zail, he speaks of a person who was crushed to death under the ruins of the castle of Shaizar, when it was overturned by an earthquake on Monday, the third of Rajab, A. H. 552 (August, A. D. 1157.) (This confirms the date previously given.)
(1) See Schulten’s Vita et res gestæ Saladini, p. 36. His edition of Bahâ ad-din's text does not give the day of the month.
(2) See vol. II. pages 178, 179, note (7).
Abû ’l-Hasan Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ali as-Sulaihi, the chief of the revolt in Yemen, was the son of a kâdi in that province, who professed the Sunnite doctrine and exercised the greatest influence over his own family and all the persons under his jurisdiction. This kâdi's favour was assiduously courted by the (Fatimite) missionary Aamir Ibn Abd Allah az-Zawwahi (1), who frequently rode to visit him on account of his power, virtue, and learning, and at length succeeded in gaining the confidence of the son, who had not as yet reached the age of puberty, but whose looks announced him to possess a spirit of a supeperior order.
It is even said that the missionary had found the description of Abd 'l-Hasan Ali) as-Sulaihi's person in a book called Kitâb as-Suar, which was one of the treasures transmitted down from ancient times (2). He showed to the boy that passage of it wherein were indicated the events of his future life and the illustrious rank which he was destined to obtain; but this communication was a secret, of which the father and the family had no suspicion. Aamir died soon after, leaving as-Sulaihi the depository of his books and of his knowledge. Ali (as-Sulaihi’s) mind received a deep impression from the words of the missionary, and having devoted himself to study, he mastered, by the acuteness of his intellect (3), and even before the age of puberty, those sciences which, joined to the propitious aid of fortune, raised him to the summit of his utmost hopes. It was thus that he became a learned doctor in the system of jurisprudence which regulated the Imamite (Fatimite) empire, and that he obtained a deep insight into the science of allegorical interpretation as applied to the Koran (tâwil). He then passed fifteen years as a guide to the pilgrims on the road which passes through as-Sarât (4) and Tâif; during this period, he often heard persons say to him: “We have been told that thou art to possess all “Yemen and become a man of note;" but these observations he received with 1513 dislike, and although a prediction to this effect had spread abroad and was continually repeated by men of all ranks, he always contradicted those who spoke to him on the subject. ' At length, in the year 429 (A. D. 1037-8), he commenced his revolt by occupying the summit of Mashậr (5), one of the highest mountains in Yemen; having then with him sixty men, all of powerful families and possessing numerous connexions, whom he had bound by oath, at the fair of Mecca, in A.H. 428, to die in defence of his cause. This mountain was crowned by a lofty pinnacle of difficult access, on which no edifice had ever been erected; he took possession of it by night, and before noon, the next day, he found himself surrounded and blockaded by twenty thousand swordsmen, all reviling him in the grossest terms and railing at his folly. They then offered him the alternative of coming down or being starved to death with his companions; but he replied that, in acting as he had done, bis only motive was to protect his own friends and themselves from danger, as he apprehended that some other person would occupy a position so advantageous. “Therefore,” said he, “ if you allow me, I shall guard it; but if not, I shall go down to you.” These words induced them to retire, and before a month was elapsed, he had built a strong hold upon the mountain and strengthened it with fortifications. From that time his power gradually increased, and his efforts were employed in gaining partisans for al-Mustansir, the sovereign of Egypt. He was obliged, however, to keep these proceedings a secret, through dread of Najâh, the lord of the province of ) Tihama, whose favour he was obliged to cultivate, and whose power he appeared to acknowledge, though secretly plotting his death. In this project he at length succeeded, having made him a present of a handsome female slave, by whom he was poisoned at al-Kadra (6), in A. H. 452 (A. D. 1060-1). The following year, he wrote to al-Mustansir for permission to assert openly the (Fa
timite) claims, and, having obtained that prince's consent, he crossed and recrossed the province, taking castles and subduing the open country. Before the expiration of A. H. 455, he was master of all Yemen, hill and dale, land and sea, An occurrence of this nature had never been witnessed before, either in the times which preceded Islamism or in those which followed; and (as an example of his good fortune, it may be related) that, one day, when preaching from the pulpit at al-Janad (7), he said that, on the same day (of the next year), he should preach from the pulpit in Aden; a city of which he had not yet obtained possession. A person who was present at the sermon and heard these words, exclaimed in derision : “O most adorable! most holy (8)!” As-Sulaihi ordered the man to be taken into custody, and on that day of the next year), he preached at Aden. The same man was again present; and now, after most extravagant professions of admiration, he took the covenant and joined the sect. From the year 455 (A. D. 1063) his head-quarters were established at Sanaa, where he caused a number of palaces to be erected. (In his next expeditions) he took with him the princes whom he had dethroned and lodged them near his own person, after having confided the command of their fortresses to other hands. Having sworn that no person should receive from him the government of Tihama without previously weighing out one hundred thousand pieces of gold, that sum was paid down to him by his own wife Asmâ, in the name of her brother Asaad Ibn Shihåb. “Where didst thou get this, mistress ?" said he. “ From God," she replied ; “ he bestoweth on him whom he chooseth, and without taking reckoning (9).” Perceiving that the sum came from his own treasury, he smiled, and took it, saying : “Here is our money restored unto us ; and we will provide food for our
family and take care of our brother (10).” In the year 473 (A. D. 1080-1) as-Sulaihi resolved to make the pilgrimage, and taking with him his wife Asmà, the daughter of Shihåb, and those princes who, he apprehended, might revolt against him, he appointed al-Malik al-Mukarram (the most honorable prince) Ahmad, the son whom he had by her, to rule as his lieutenant. He then set out with two thousand horsemen, of whom one hundred and sixty were members of the Sulaih family; and, on arriving at al-Mahjam (11), he halted outside the town, at a farm called Omm ad-Duhaim, or Bir Omm Mâbad, and encamped with his troops around him and the captive) princes near him. Suddenly the alarm was given that as-Sulaihi was murdered, and the people of his escort hurried in trepidation to verify the fact. He had fallen by the hand of Said al-Ahwal (the squinter), son to the Najah who had been poisoned by the slave-girl. Said had remained in concealment at Zabid, but then went to his brother Jaiyâsh at Dahlak, and informed him 614 of as-Sulaihi's departure for Mekka : “Come,” said he, “and let us stop him “on the way and slay him.” Jaiyâsh immediately proceeded to Zabid and set out from that city with his brother and seventy followers on foot and without arms, having no other weapons than palm-sticks, each of which was headed with an iron spike (12). They avoided the main road and took that which follows the sea-shore; their distance from al-Majham being then as much as an active man could accomplish in three days. Information of their departure was brought to as-Sulaihi, and he immediately sent against them five thousand Abyssinian spearmen who accompanied him on foot. This troop, however, mistook the way, and Said with his companions came up to the bounds of the camp. As they had suffered from fatigue and want of provisions (so as to be hardly recognised), they were supposed to be some of the slaves who accompanied the army, but Abd Allah, the brother of as-Sulaihi, perceived who they were, and cried out to him : “ To horse, my lord! by Allah! here comes that squinting rascal, “ Said the son of Najâh !” Saying this, he mounted his own horse, but asSulaihi merely observed that he was not to die till he arrived at ad-Duhaim and the Well (Bir) of Omm Mabad; thinking that Omm Mâbad to be the female at whose tent the blessed Prophet had stopped when retiring from Mecca to Medina. On hearing his words, one of those who accompanied bim said: “De“fend then thy life! for, by Allah! this is ad-Duhaim and here is the Well of “Omm Mabad." When as-Sulaihi heard these words, he remained thunderstruck, and losing all hopes of escape, he urined with affright. His head was cut off on the spot with his own sword, and his brother was slain also, with all the other persons of his family. This occurred on the 12th of Zû 'l-Kaada, A. H. 473 (April, A. D. 1081). Said then sent to the five thousand men who had been dispatched against him by as-Sulaihi, and informed them that their master was dead, but that he was one of themselves, and had only avenged his father's death. They immediately came up and placed themselves under his orders; with their assistance he attacked the troops of as-Sulaihi, and having slain some and made others prisoners, he put them to rout and