التخطي إلى المحتوى الرئيسي

رحلة وليام جيفورد بالكريف 1862 إلى البحرين


379

ويليام جيفورد بلغريف (William Gifford Palgrave) عاش في الفترة ما بين (1826م - 1888م) ويعدّ من أشهر الرحالة الذين زاروا جزيرة العرب، ولد في ويستمنستر بإنجلترا، والده هو المؤرخ الإنجليزي السير فرانسيس بلجريف.

حصل على الشهادة الجامعية من كلية الثالوث المقدس في جامعة أكسفورد عام 1846م. وألتحق بعد تخرجه بالجيش البريطاني في الهند عام 1847م، وفي الهند تحوّل من البروتستانتية إلى الكاثوليكية فاستقال من الجيش وقرر أن يكون راهبا وانضم إلى جماعة اليسوعيون (جماعة يسوع)، حيث خدم الجماعة في الهند وروما حيث ودرس علم اللاهوت في كلية رومانو في إيطاليا، ثم انتقل إلى لبنان لأغراض تبشيرية عام 1857م، وبعد وقت قليل أصبح مسؤولا عن المدارس الدينية والبعثات التبشيرية المسيحية في البلدان العربية ومنطقة الشرق الأوسط.، وحين اندلعت حرب أهلية في لبنان عام 1860 م، غادرها بلجريف إلى بريطانيا ومارس مهامه الدينية في محاضرات حول بعثاته في الشرق، اقنع رؤسائه بدعم رحلة إلى داخل الجزيرة العربية التي كانت حينها تمثل (أرضا مجهولة Terra incognita)، ثم غادر بريطانيا إلى فرنسا وألتحق بالكلية الجزويتية بـ نيس.

ومن فرنسا عاد بلجريف نحو مناطق شمال الجزيرة العربية في بعثة تبشيرية مدعومة من الأمبراطور الفرنسي نابليون الثالث الذي اقنعه بلجريف بان المعرفة الجيدة بأحوال الجزيرة العربية ستفيد الاطماع الامبريالية لفرنسا في أفريقيا والشرق الأوسط، وبدأ رحلته عن طريق القاهرة ثم نحو بيروت ثم نحو الجزيرة العربية، متنكرا فيها بشخصية طبيب سوري يرافقه خادم له، وزار فيها معان والجوف وحائل وبريدة والرياض والهفوف والقطيف والبحرين وقطر وعمان في رحلة استغرقت منه حوالي عام كامل.

[عدل] الكتابفي عام 1865م قام بلجريف بنشر كتابه عن هذه الرحلة في جزئين بعنوان: Narrative of a year's journey through central and eastern Arabia 1862-63 (قصة عام من الرحلات عبر وسط الجزيرة العربية وشرقها 1862م-1863م)[1][2][3] وقد اهدى الكتاب إلى ذكرى (كارستن نيبور) حيث قال عنه (في تكريم الذكاء والشجاعة التي فتحت أبواب الجزيرة العربية لأوروبا).

الجـدير بالذكر أن رحـلة بلجـريف هذه أحدثت صدىً واسـعاً بين المستشرقين، فممن أنكر رحـلة بلجريف منهم بادجر والسير هاري سانت جون فلبي المعروف بـ (عبد الله فيلبي) وجاكلين بيرين وغيرهم، وأكَّـدهـا آخـرون، والذي يظهر أنَّ أسلوب بلجريف النرجـسي ومبالغـاته الأدبيَّـة وعدم التزام الدقـة العِـلميَّة، كل هذا مع ما عُـرف عنه من تقَـلُّبات سـياسيَّة ومذهبية أجـلبت عليه أقلام بعـض زملائه اليسـوعيين، وانظر (مسائل من تاريخ الجزيرة العـربيَّة) لأبي عبد الرحمن بن عقيل الظاهري صـ 196، ومع ذلك يتميز كتاب بلجريف هذا عن غيره من كتب الرحالة الأوائل بالتوصيف الاجتماعي والفروقات النفسية والجسدية لسكان المناطق التي مر بها، فتجده يعقد المقارنات بين سكان الشمال وبين سكان نجد ومقارنات بين المناطق داخل نجد نفسها و و مقارنات باهل الاحساء والقطيف والصراعات المذهبية والحضارية بين السكان ومن يمر فوق اراضي الجزيرة العربية.



CHAPTER XII

Bahreyn, Katar, and 'O.mAn

When the night is left behind
In the dim West, dim and blind,
And the blue noon is over us,
And the multitudinous
Billows murmur at our feet,
Where the Earth and Ocean meet;
And all things seem only one
In the universal sun.

Shelley

Islands of Bahreyn — Moharrek and Mendmah — Their Appearance — Land-
ing at Matdmah — Our First Day there — We take Lodgings — A Bahreyn
Dwelling — Aboo-'' Eysa Arrives — Scheme for Visiting 'Oman — Yoosef-ebn-
Khaftiees — A Separation — Passage to Moharrek — We Einbark for Katar —
Coasts of Bahreyn and Katar — Bedad} — Description of Katar — Its Fisheries
— Mendseer Bedouins — Watch-towers — AIohammed-ebn-Thdnee — His
Residence and Character — Departure from Katar — A Ship and Crew of
Barr-fdris — Sea Hospitality — A Gale — Landittg at Charak—A Visit to the
Chief — Latest JVews from ' Oneyzah — Subsequent Fate of that Town and of
Zdmil — A Walk about Charak — We Embark for Li7ija — Landing at
Linja — The Tozvn — Ddeyj and his House — Departure for Sharjah — Two
Days on Aboo-Moosa.

Having now reached regions which, though I cannot hope they
will be familiar to most of my readers, yet have been described
by other travellers, my narrative will move with a more rapid
pace. Our captain, Moleyk, welcomed us on board his craft,
and made up a round of coffee without delay. We inhaled our
pipes in the delightful assurance of being at last out of Wahha-
bee territory, and beyond the reach of all "no smoking allowed"
regulations, and then, in nautical phrase, " turned in " under
the shelter of a large deck-cabin near the stern, where we soon
fell sound asleep; undisturbed, at least for my part, by all the



380 Bahrcyn and Katar [Chap xii

running, trampling, and shouting of the sailors getting our ship
under weigh.

Our voyage was delayed by twenty-four hours' detention off
the village of Soweyk, where we took in a young chief of the
El-Khaleefah family, on a visit to his uncle Mohammed, the pre-
sent governor of Bahreyn. But after some three days on board,
we came in sight of Bahreyn, and by evening were close under
the two islands which bear that name. The southern island
is much the larger, and is therefore often called Bahreyn to the
exclusion of its northern companion, which more commonly
bears the name of Moharrek, from the capital situated on its
southern side. This town lies like a long white strip on the shore
of the channel that separates it from the town of Menamah,
whose buildings occupy a corresponding position on the northerly
marge of the larger island. Thus these two seaports look each
other in the face, somewhat like Dover and Calais, though for-
tunately for them with friendlier feelings, since in case of war
no Boulogne fleet would be required to cross the Bahreyn
channel. Moharrek is far the prettier of the two to the eye,
with its white houses, set off by darker palm-huts (for the ex-
treme mildness of the climate renders this mode of habitation
very common, and almost desirable), the large low palaces of
the Khaleefah family, and two or three imposing forts close to
the sea-shore.

Menamah, though larger in extent than Moharrek, has a less
showy appearance ; it is a centre of commerce, as its vis-a-vis
is of government; and hence has fewer palaces to present, and
less display of defensive architecture. However, near its western
extremity, a large square mass of white building, with a few
cannon arranged battery-like in front, announces the residence
of 'Alee, brother of Mohammed, vice-governor of Menamah, and
wiser than his kinsman, if report be true. Little is to be seen
of the town itself on a sea approach ; the first range of dwell-
ings and warehouses shuts out the rest from view ; and, except
the palace of 'Alee, no other edifice of importance stands near
the water's edge.

Wearing slowly up with a side wind, we anchored before
Moharrek, a little after sunset. The arrival of strangers, many
or few, from north or south, is an every-hour occurrence here ;
and a passing look, or a chance " good-monow," was all the



Chap, xii] Bakrcyii and Katav 381

notice taken of us by the many wlio thronged the landing-
place. Having hopes that Aboo-'Eysa might have preceded
us hither, we made for the nearest and largest coffee-house,
where, as in barbers' shops of old, news and new comers are of
right to be sought and found. It was now eight good months
since we had last sat in a public coffee-house, and that in the
suburbs of Ghazzah (or Gaza), of Palestine; the rest of our
journey having been through lands too backward in civilization
or too fonvard in bigotry, or both one and the other, to admit
of such establishments. But Bahreyn is beyond the Wahhabee
circle, and breathes the atmosphere, so to speak, of Basrah and
Persia. We gladly took our seats on the high matted benches,
amid turbaned townsmen and gaily-dressed shopkeepers, to
enquire about the latest arrivals from the port of 'Ajeyr, whence
Aboo-'Eysa was to embark, according to our parting agreement.
Meanwhile the white-vested waiter prepared and presented our
coffee, after filling the huge Nargheelahs here in use with the
strong 'Oman tobacco, the bugbear of Ri'ad ; but here 7ious
avons change tout cela.

No news was however to be learnt touching our friend ; and
we had now to think how and where to find a berth for passing
the time of our sojourn, till he should arrive from IJasa. This
was not an easy quest. Bahreyn, like most eastern localities,
has no inns properly speaking ; and the Khans, which here as
elsewhere apologize for that deficiency, had too unpromising
and insecure a look to allow the fixing our residence in any
one of them. For many hours we sought in vain where to
establish ourselves. At last we entered a pretty coffee-house,
much Hke a "Sailors' Home" in situation near the beach,
in size and style of customers. Its owner, a very civil man,
took our cause in hand, ordered his head man to supply
his place awhile, and went in quest of quarters for us. taking
Barakat along with him, while I remained behind to chat with
sailors and gaze at the sea through a disorganized telescope
fixed in the look-out. About nightfall, we were conducted to
the desired spot. Here we entered by a narrow door, and
found ourselves in a large open enclosure of palm-branches
about eight feet high, set in the ground side by side and closely
interwoven; within the enclosure, and divided from each other
by a little space, stood two long palm-leaf huts ; one for us, the



382 Bahrcyii ajid Katar fchap. xii

other was the abode of our sailor and his family. Our dwelling
was about thirty feet in length by ten in breadth, with as much
to the top of the sloping thatch-roof; a hurdle-like screen
divided the interior into two unequal compartments; the lesser
served for a store-room, the greater for habitation. The floor
was strewn, the general custom here, with a thick layer of very
small shells; over this a large reed mat had been spread. We
made our preliminary arrangements for beautifying and fitting
up the apartment, and were soon honoured by the presence of
the proprietor himself, who from his pretty brick and plaster
house close by came to see us installed, while his servants
brought according to custom the introductory supper of rice,
fish, shrimps, and vegetables for the new guests. Of course we
invited our good-natured friends, to whose diligence we owed
this shelter, to partake of our meal; and we all passed together
a very pleasant evening, with a feeling of security and calm
such as Ave had hardly known since our first departure from
Jaffa.

Next morning we renewed our search after Aboo-'Eysa, but
to no purpose. Not a single arrival from 'Ajeyr for many days
past, and the north wind still prevailed, and precluded all chance
so long as it should last. It was now the 28th December,
1862, and we were destined to wait in daily hope and daily dis-
appointment till the 8th January following.

During the twelve days that we awaited the arrival of Aboo-
'Eysa, we passed most of our time in the various coffee-houses,
and especially in that called a few pages back the " Sailors'
Home," whose owner had so obligingly aided us at our first
arrival, where our hours Avent by less tediously than they often
do with strangers in a foreign land. From the maritime and in
a manner central position of Bahreyn, my readers may of them-
selves conjecture that the profound ignorance of Nejed regarding
Europeans and their various classifications is here exchanged
for a partial acquaintance with those topics ; thus, " English " and
" French," disfigured into the local " Ingleez" and " PYansees,"
are familiar words in Menamah, though Germans and Italians,
whose vessels seldom or never visit these seas, have as yet no
place in the Bahreyn vocabulary ; while Dutch and Portuguese
seem to have fallen into total oblivion. But Russians, or
" Moscop" (that is, Muscovites), are alike know-n and feared,



Chap. XII] Baknyu and Katar 383

thanks to Persian intercourse and the instinct of nations. Be-
side, the pohcy of Constantinople and Teheran are freely and
at times sensibly discussed in these coffee-houses, no less
than the stormy diplomacy of Nejed and her dangerous en-
croachments ; ship news, commerce, business, tales of foreign
lands, and occasionally literature, supply the rest of the con-
versation.

Of the local governor and the men of state we saw little; in-
deed we avoided them as much as possible, and even declineil
a chance invitation from 'Alee to his palace ; thinking it enough
knowledge of the Bahreyn El-Khaleefahs to hear " their evil
report;" nor do I imagine that a nearer acquaintance with them
would have brought us to a more favourable opinion.

At last, on the 6th of January, 1863, the wind veered to the
south, and on the 9th of the month our long-expected Aboo-
'Eysa arrived, with a squadron of retainers. Schemes were
formed and discussed, rejected or revised, till at last we agreed
on adopting a plan sketched out by our friend while with us in
his Hofhoof retirement, and in furtherance of which a large
part of the wares he now brought with him had been purchased.
This plan was not a bad one, though circumstances beyond the
reach of ordinary calculation concurred to render its success
less complete than it might otherwise have been.

Aboo-'Eysa had procured above twenty loads of the best
Hasa dates, the genuine Khalas, well packed in oblong rush-
cases, and at the same time he had given order for four hand-
some mantles of Hofhoof manufacture, woven and embroidered
by the most skilful hands : three for presentation to an equal
number of chiefs whose domains lay between Bahreyn and
Mascat; the fourth and costliest garment for the Sultan of
'Oman himself, in acknowledgment of patronage afforded our
friend on a former occasion. Meantime I was to accompany
the gifts and their bearer under the scientific character of a
deep-read physician, on the look-out for I know not what herbs
and drugs, which I was to suppose discoverable in the south-
eastern regions ; and when, under covert of the introduction
thus obtained, and the good will likely to ensue, I had succeeded
in sufficiently examining the land and the people, I was to
return to Aboo-Shahr, where I should find Ixirakat arrived long
before with Aboo-'Eysa. For diis latter had about three months



3 84 Bahrcyn and Katar [Chap. xii

to pass at the above-mentioned town, while getting his pilgrims
together, and preparing for their journey across Arabia to
Mecca. Barakat, so said Aboo-'Eysa, could not safely accom-
pany me ; much less could he take my place.

Yoosef-ebn-Khaniees, for that was the name of my destined
associate, was a ver)'- curious individual, and not unlike some of
Shakespeare's supplementary characters. He was a native of
Hasa, half a jester and half a knave ; witty, reckless, hare-
brained to the last degree, full of jocose or pathetic stories, of
poetry, traditions, and fun of every description, whether coarse
or delicate. But he had one sterling quality, which in an affair
like the present more than counterbalanced whatever weighed
in the opposite scale, namely a boundless attachment, a real de-
votion to Aboo-'Eysa, not inferior to that of Evan Maccombich
to Fergus, or of Caleb to Ravenswood. The origin of this
feeling was not however in kith and kin ; it was due simply to
Aboo-'Eysa's singular kindheartedness and liberality, which had
rescued Yoosef from utter poverty, and had maintained him
for a considerable time past in a decent and even honourable
position. He was now about thirty-six years of age, tall, and
(notwithstanding a slightly comical turn of features) handsome,
with a little black beard where some prematurely grey hairs, the
result of horror on seeing an unlucky comrade killed by his side
in the Bahreyn battle, contrasted oddly with his youthful appear-
ance, and gave occasion to many a jest of others against him,
and of him against himself For Yoosef, like Falstaff of old,
was " not only witty in himself, but the cause that wit was in
other men ; " although in physical conformation he was the
very reverse of our own jovial knight, being remarkably slim
and slender in form.

Matters having been arranged on this footing, we awaited
a favourable occasion for putting to sea. But the wind was
adverse, and day by day dragged on till the 23rd of January, when
a southerly breeze and a good ship combined to carry off Aboo-
'Eysa and his retainers, with Barakat, to Aboo-Shahr, while
Yoosef and I were to cross the channel next day for Moharrek,
and there embark for the port of Bedaa' on the coast of Katar,
where resided Mohammed-ebn-Thanee, the first and nearest of
the chiefs to whom our visit and our presents were addressed.

One of those presentiments which are not so uniformly ex-



Chap. XII] Bohrcyn aud K atar 385

plicable as frequently experienced by human creatures, regard-
ing the sliipwreck which in fact lay before me, led me to entrust
Barakat with the keeping of all my papers, notes, and Avhatever
I had of any value, except a small stock of money to meet the
emergencies of the journey.

It was a fair and sunshiny afternoon when, after many good
wishes for a speedy meeting, and mutual recommendations, as
wont among parting friends, we separated — Aboo-'P^ysa, accom-
panied by his retainers and Barakat, going on board their
schooner for Aboo-Shahr, while Yoosef-ebnKhamees and my-
self remained to keep house, and passed the evening in compa-
rative silence. I felt uncommonly lonely ; but the hope of an
interesting and well-occupied journey, followed by a prompt
and successful return, went far to console me. Yoosef too,
though as melancholy as " a gib-cat or a lugged bear " at the
departure of his patron, beguiled his fancy by prognosticating
a prosperous voyage for Aboo-'Eysa, without sea sickness or
danger. But hope deceived us both.

Next morning we took a small boat, and crossed over to Mo-
liarrek. Just off the Casde-point lay our bark, ill-built, ill-rigged,
and ill-manned; but these defects mattered little, as we did not
intend to take her farther than Katar, a short sail; besides, any •
ship, however slight, if but guided by a knowing pilot, may ven-
ture almost fearlessly on the quiet waters of this bay, to which
the Arabs have given the name of " Bahr-ul-Benat," or "the
Girls' Sea ; " whether from visions of mermaids — here, no less
than the "Cacquets" of Brest, the object of popular credulity;
or perhaps from the gentle, peaceful, and smiling character of
the bay itself We put our goods and chattels on board, recom-
mended them to the care of the captain, an " old old man, with
beard," which should have been "as white as snow" had it but
been better washed and combed; and after receiving his assur-
ance that all would be ready for sailing next morning at sunrise,
we returned to the town. Here a storm (from which Aboo-
'Eysa, as we learnt near three months later, suffered greatly)
delayed us. On the morning of the 26th we went on board.
Our ship, in size equal to a small brig, was full of live stock ;
jiassengers of all ages and sexes, but of low condition, bound
ior Katar, six or eight sailors, and some scores of sheep to keep
us company. (N.B. No cabin.) Yoosef and I took possession

c c



386 BaJircyn and Katar [CuAr. xii

of the highest and most dignilied post, that on deck near the
stem, and a little before noon we got under weigh. The sea
was still roughish, and my companion sea-sick — Nelson was so
occasionally, I believe ; for myself, I enjoyed an immunity from
that annoyance, purchased by many voyages and much rough
weather on the ocean.

On the 29th we entered Bedaa', the principal town of Katar
at the present day, and the miserable capital of a miserable
province. To have an idea of Katar, my readers must figure
to themselves miles on miles of low barren hills, bleak and
sun-scorched, with hardly a single tree to vary their dry mono-
tonous outline : below these a muddy beach extends for a
quarter of a mile seaward in slimy quicksands, bordered by a
rim of .sludge and seaweed. If we look landwards beyond the
hills, we see what by extreme courtesy may be called pasture
land, dreary downs with twenty pebbles for every blade of
grass ; and over this melancholy ground scene, but few and far
between, little clusters of wretched, most wretched, earth cot-
tages and palm-leaf huts, narrow, ugly, and low ; these are the
villages, or rather the "towns" (for so the inhabitants style
them), of Katar. Yet poor and naked as is the land, it has
evidently something still poorer and nakeder behind it, some-
thing in short even more devoid of resources than the coast
itself, and the inhabitants of which seek here by violence what
they cannot find at home. For the villages of Katar are each
and all carefully walled in, while the downs be)'ond are lined
with towers, and here and there a castle " huge and square "
makes with its little windows and narrow portals a display of
strength hardly less, so it might seem, superfluous than the
Tower of London in the nineteenth century. But these castles
are in reality by no means superfluous, for Katar has wealth in
plenty, and there are robbers against whom that wealth must
be guarded.

Whence comes this wealth amid so much apparent poverty,
and in what does it consist % What I have just described is, so
to speak, nothing but the heaps of rubbish and the rubbishy
miners' huts about the shaft's mouth ; close by is the mine
itself, a rich and never-failing store. This mine is no other than
the sea, no less kindly a neighbour to the inhabitants of Katar
than their dry land is a niggard host. In this bay are the



Chap xii] Bakrcyii and Katar 387

best, the most copious pearl-fisheries of the Persian Gulf, and
in addition an abundance almost beyond belief of whatever
other gifts the sea can offer or bring. It is from the sea ac-
cordingly, not from the land, that the natives of Katar subsist,
and it is also mainly on the sea that they dwell, passing amid
its v\'aters the one half of the year in search of pearls, the other
half in fishery or trade. Hence their real homes are the count-
less boats which stud the placid pool, or stand drawn up in long
black lines on the shore; while little care is taken to ornament
their land houses, the abodes of their wives and children at
most, and the unsightly strong-boxes of their gathered treasures.
" We are all from the highest to the lowest slaves of one master.
Pearl," said to me one evening Mohammed-ebn-Thanee, chief
of Bedaa' ; nor was the expression out of place. All thought,
all conversation, all employment, turns on that one subject ;
everything else is mere by-game, and below even secondary
consideration.

But if the people of Katar have peace Avithin, they are
exposed on the land side to continual marauding inroads from
their Bedouin neighbours, the Menaseer and Aal-Morrah.
Hence the necessity for the towers of refuge w^hich line the
uplands : they are small circular buildings from twenty-five to
thirty feet in height, each with a door about half-way uj) the
side and a rope hanging out; by this compendious ladder the
Katar shepherds, when scared by a sudden attack, clamber up
for safety into the interior of the tower, and once there draw in
the rope after them, thus securing their own lives and persons
at any rate, whatever may become of their cattle. For to scale
a wall fifteen feet high is an exploit beyond the ingenuity of
the most skilful Bedouin.

On landing at Bedaa' we went right to the castle, a donjon-
keep, with outhouses at its foot, offering more accommodation
for goods than for men. Under a mat-spread and mat-hung
shed within the court sat the chief, Mohammed-ebn-Thanee, a
shrewd wary old man, slightly corpulent, and renowned for
prudence and good-humoured easiness of demeanour, but close-
fisted and a hard customer at a bargain ; altogether, he had
much more the air of a business-like avaricious pearl-merchant
(and such he really is), than of an Arab ruler. Round him
v.ere placed many sallow-featured individuals, their skins sod-



S8 Bahrcyn and Katar fchap. xii



dened by frequent sea-diving, and their faces wrinkled into
computations and accounts. However, Ebn-Tlianee, though
eminently a " practical " man, had thus far put his sedentary
habits to intellectual profit, that by dint of study he had ren-
dered himself a tolerable proficient in literary and poetical
knowledge, and took great pleasure in discussing topics of this
nature. Nay, he even pretended to have some medical skill,
and did I think really possess about the same amount of it that
many an old woman may boast of in a country village of Lan-
cashire or Essex. Besides, he liked a joke, and could give and
take one with a good grace.

He enquired about my journey. I replied that I had no spe-
cial business on hand for Katar, and that I was merely on my
way to Mascat in search of herbs and drugs. He apologized
for want of room to lodge us suitably in the palace itself I cast
a look round its narrow precincts and loop-holed stone walls,
and fully accepted the excuse. Ebn-Thanee had by anticipa-
tion caused a warehouse close by to be emptied of the dates it
held, and fitted up in Katar style for our reception ; that is, mats
were spread, and nothing more. We of course expressed due
thanks for hospitality here regarded as munificent, drank coffee,
talked awhile, and retired.

It was ten days before we could arrange to quit Bedaa'. Some
excursions to neighbouring places helped me to fill up the time,
and enlarge my acquaintance with the district. Having decided
to go by sea, and thus make direct for Sharjah, the first consi-
derable town situated within the territory of 'Oman Proper, a
worthy young sea-captain, native of Charak, on the opposite
Persian coast, offered us his ship and services. We made our
parting arrangements, and on February 6, while a lovely evening
promised a fair morrow, and a light west wind seemed to ensure
IS a good and speedy passage to Sharjah, we took our leave of
Mohammed-ebn-Thanee, who had now become very intimate
in his way, said adieu to three or four other friends acquired at
Bedaa', and entrusted ourselves to a little boat, wherein Faris,
to give our captain his proper name, with his younger brother
Ahmed and two of the crew, had come to fetch us off to the
schooner. She was large and well built, provided with an ele-
gant captain's cabin, a fore-cabin, and other nautical arrange-
ments; in fine, she was infinitely superior to the miserable craft



Chap. XII] Bahvcyn mid Katar 389

in which we had left Bahreyn. She was built for quick sailing,
with two masts, large lateen sails, and a jib; her stern and prow
were prettily carved; indeed the latter surmounted the waves
with a sea-nymph figure-head ; a token of non-compliance witli
the Islamitic prohibition, which excludes the representation of
whatever has life from the sphere of ornamental art.

When we got on board, the crew, all of them cousins to each
other seventh remove, and relations of the captain himself, re-
ceived us very heartily. It is the custom on most Gulf ships
that passengers, of high or low degree, no matter, are looked
upon as the captain's own guests for the voyage, and as such
have a right to his table and fare, free of extra charge. My
readers will have remarked long before this, that in the East
the relative position of travellers, whether by land or sea, and
of those who conduct them, has a very intimate, nay almost a
family character ; all are considered as forming one moving
household during the journey or voyage. Nor are the links
thus united wholly broken by separation at the journey's end ;
the title of a special friendship and fellowship remains for years,
and may be claimed afresh by either party whenever need or
good will suggests, nor can such claim be decently rejected.
The reasons of this are too obvious for explanation; railways
and other wholesale means of communication do away with
these feelings, by removing the causes which produce them in
uncivilized countries,

A violent south-easter soon seized us ; we drove before it, and
when morning dawned over the tossing waves we were far away
from the direction of Sharjah, and had entered on the deep
waters known by the name of "Ghubbat-Faris," or the "Persian
depth," beyond die prospect of returning to Katar, or of reach-
ing 'Oman, and on the contrary rapidly approaching the northern
coast. Our captain attempted many nautical manoeuvres to
bring the ship about, but in vain, and he was at last obliged to
give up the trial, and to make straight for Barr-Faris. After
some hours the huge rounded outline of Djebel Atranjah, or
" the Citron mountain," which overtops the bay of Charak
itself, rose before us, and soon we had the whole line of the
Persian coast in view.

It contrasts strongly with the Arabian. Its mountains are
lofty, often two thousand feet in height, rough in outline, }et



390 Bahrcyn and Katar [CuAr. xii

less barren tlian the Arab coast-range. In some places the crags
come right down to the sea ; in others a shore strip, ploughed
up by violent winter torrents, but with no perennial stream to
water it, extends two or three miles back towards the inte-
rior, till it is lost within the mountain gorges. One wide and .
romantic-looking pass, a little to the east, behind Charak, leads
to Shiraz; and by this road the invading armies of Persia have
often descended on Barr-Faris. The mountain sides are thinly
sprinkled with fig-trees, orange-trees, and other wood vegeta-
tion ; here and there is a streak of scanty tillage ; in the plain
below are palm-groves, but meagre and unproductive, with
just enough of otlier cultivation to keep the inhabitants from
famine.

Next morning the wind proved still unfavourable, and pre-
cluded saiHng. To pass the time, Faris took us in his company
to pay a visit of politeness to the local chief, 'Abd-el-'Azeez-el-
Meteyree. We found him highly excited by good news fresh
come from 'Oneyzah. For the first time since our departure
from Ri'ad, we now got hold of important tidings respecting
that fated town. I will here relate what 'Abd-el-'Azeez told us,
and then take occasion to add a brief recital of the events
which followed soon after ; events melancholy in themselves,
and precursors of much mischief

Having at last gathered together his forces, about the middle
of December, Feysul gave the signal, and 'Abd-Allah set out,
leading with him the entire force of Hasa, besides the troops
of 'Aared, and whatever else remained behind from the central
and southern provinces ; thus mustering a body of fifteen
thousand men or near it ; a force which, when added to the
besieging army already in the field, must have amounted to
twenty-three or twenty-four thousand regular troops at least,
besides four or five thousand Bedouins, who after long wavering
which side to take, now prudently determined to join the certain
winner. 'Oneyzah was thus left to her own unaided resources,
which might come up to four thousand fighting men at the
utmost.

After much skirmishing, a decisive batde was fought in
January. Zamil and Iآ«7i-Khey'yat are said to have performed
prodigies of valour, and 'Abd-Allah was near being surrounded
and killed, as it is much to be regretted that he was not in good



Cii.\r. XII] Bahrcy)i and Katar 391

earnest. But where the combatants are in the respective pro-
portions of five to one, a drawn battle is for the less numerous
party hardly better than a defeat ; and the men of 'Oneyzali,
now fully aware of the overwhelming superiority of the enemy,
and that they themselves could in consequence but ill affoui
the loss of a single man, shut themselves up within their walls,
and were blockaded in form.

So stood affairs when 'Abd-el-'Azeez gave us what was then
the latest information. The rest I learnt in April, when on the
point of leaving the confines of Arabia for Bagdad. After more
than a month of close siege, the outer walls first, and then the
inner, gave way before the Wahhabee artillery, and the town
was taken by assault. The inhabitants fought to the last; when
all hope was over, Zamil and Khey'yat cut their way through
the assailants, and escaped to a southern refuge in Wadi Nejran,
where they are believed to be yet concealed from the vengeance
of the conqueror. But seven hundred from among the princij^al
citizens of 'Oneyzah were slaughtered on the spot, besides a
promiscuous massacre of the common people : and the fated
town was plundered and utterly ruined, not to rise again so
long as the Wahhabee should be master of the land.

We drank coff'ee and left the audience. Faris, with much
politeness and a certain feeling of good taste not common in
the East, proposed to take me a walk about the town, and to
show me whatever in it was worth the seeing. This was not
much ; however, my cicerone pointed out to me the broken
traces of the old outer walls, and indicated their course amid
fields and trees, with all the interest of the Antiquary at the
Pr^etorium of Kaimprunes. Hence he led me to the foot of
the small marly cone on whose summit frowns a dismantled
round tower, a rival of our own Norfolk Caistor Castle in form
and size.

The rest of the day passed in enquiries how to continue our
journey. Little traffic exists between Barr-Faris and Sharjah,
whither we now desired to direct our course, and we were in
consequence advised to take passage on board a ship of Chiro,
then lying in the Charak harbour. Putting to sea next day,
February loth, about midnight we were in the bay of Linja or
Linya, where countless lights gleaming from the shore cheered
the darkness, and made me long for the discoveries of dawn.



392 BaJirryn and Katar [Chap. xii

Day came at last, and showed us anchored at some two
hundred yards from land ; between it and us lay a mass of
shipping, large and small ; a theatre of white houses amid trees
and gardens lined the coast far away on either side of the
harbour.

On the morning of February i ith we came ashore. Since the
epoch when Sultan Sa'eed made this place his own, and rendered
it a free port, exempt from all custom-house exactions, a slight
harbour-duty alone excepted, Linja has rapidly risen in impor-
tance, and has of late years attained five times the size of its
former self under Persian misgovepiment and extortion. Another
source of its actual prosperity is the wise toleration which, in
accordance with the principles of 'Omanee administration, has
replaced Shiya'ee narrow-mindedness, and attracted numerous
residents. In consequence, new houses, indicating by their
lighter construction recent well-being, run far east and west
along the bay, or reach back towards the mainland, till it requires
an hour or more to walk at an even pace from one end of their
range to the other. Opposite the dock rises a jutting rock,
almost the only one hereabouts ; it is crowned by an old castle
and tower of mediaeval look, now ungarrisoned, for Thoweynee
sensibly trusts rather to wooden than to stone walls for the de-
fence of his sea-ports. The palace of the 'Omanee governor, a
lad of twenty or thereabouts, by name Seyf, and native of the
"Batinah, stands farther east; it forms a large square, four storeys
high, with ogive windows and much Persian ornament; its
general effect reminded me of some old town-halls on the Con-
tinent, particularly in Belgium and Flanders. Faither on are
several shipwright yards, where many vessels are in active pro-
gress of construction ; some of them were of large size, and, so
far as I could reduce the computations of this country to En-
glish measure, of about a hundred and fifty to two hundred tons
burden. The shipwrights themselves are often Indians from
the Bombay side.

Yoosef went to look out for a lodging for both of us, and I
remained awhile seated at the foot of the old ruined tower
already mentioned, to contemplate the first scene of unmixed
I^rosperity that I had beheld since my first entrance on Central
Arabia and to long for the return of my companion, with tidings



Chap. XII] Bakrcyii and Katar 393

of a lodging and a breakfast. These he brought at last; and witii
him came apug-noscd, thickset, good-natured young fellow, whose
grimed hands and soot-stained dress announce him for a black-
smith. Do'eyj, for such is his name (identical by the way with
the Doeg of David's time, so little does the East change), is a
native of Hasa, but long since established here in his honest and
profitable calling. He purposes to have us both to board and
lodging, and now comes to present his compliments in person,
and invite me to accompany him to his Vulcanian abode. Here
we passed three days, waiting for a change of wind to bear us
to Sharjah. There was neither necessity nor thought of calling
on the governor Seyf ; Linja is a commercial town, a sea-port,
part and parcel of the great world where everyone comes and
goes for himself, and no one seeks acquaintance with others,
except for some special reason and purport. In the enchanted
circle of Arabia, where all dance on since four thousand years
at least in the same magic ring, never overstepping its limits,
nor enlarging it to admit a foreign measure, chiefs, sultans,
governors, and the other " dons " of the land, are not to be
passed by without receiving the honour of a salutation, and
without conferring in return the ostentatious tokens of their
greatness in the form of hospitality; a very "patriarchal" but
nowise business-like proceeding. Once without that magic
circle, we, like the rest, followed the world's tide, which carries
everyone forward on his own line, straight be it or crooked, but
unblended with the track of those around, except where the
eddy of pleasure or profit whirls them for the hour together.

On the 1 6th of the month we made sail a little after noon,
in a ship bound for Sharjah. At dawn we were off the rocky
island of Aboo-Moosa (mutilated into Bomosa in many maps —
a fair example of what Arab words become in the mouths of
English sea-captains), and here our skipj)er resolved to anchor,
for the waves ran high, and to continue our voyage would have
compromised the lives of the fleecy survivors. We sought out
a little creek, and there anchored to await calmer weather.

A high conical peak five or six hundred feet in elevation and
of volcanic appearance, some ridges of basaltic rock, and the
rest of the island composed of ups and downs covered with
grass and brushwood — such is Aboo-Moosa; its total length



394 Eahrcyii and Katar [Chah. xii

being about five miles, and its breadth between two and three.
At its south-western corner are found a itw brackish wells;
thus provided, Aboo-Moosa is not an unfrequent shelter and
temporary abode for crews in sea-chances like our own, though
the only regular inhabitants of the island are wild-fowl and
conies. The eastern side of the island, on which we had cast
anclior, presents many points of retreat; the western is iron-
bound, and the waves now broke on it in white foam. Far
off over the sea to the south-west we could just distinguish
a dim dream of rocks belonging to Seer, an island in the
Pearl Bay.

The comparative solitude of the place produced a great effect
on the imaginative mind of my companion Yoosef, unaccustomed
to such loneliness ; and he observed, -wath a melancholy laugh,
" Were all our friends ashore to guess where we are at this
moment, would any one of them hit on Aboo-Moosa 1" This
he said while standing on the shore ; for, finding that our stay
might be a long one, we had after consultation agreed to swim
to land ; inasmuch as our craft was moored at some distance
from the beach, and had not the advantage of a jolly-boat, or
" Djaliboot," as Arabs call it, with a slight modification of the
English name. So a jib-sail is here a " Djeeb," a main-mast
" Meyanah," a brig " Breek," &c. We carried each on his
head, one a carpet, one the coffee-pots, another the cooking
utensils, and so forth, till we had enough to establish a complete
land encampment high up on the beach opposite the ship.

Two days we made Aboo-Moosa our abode, awaiting a lull
in the gale, now favourable, but too strong. To kill the time,
we clnmbered up crags, made friends with the herdsmen and
the fishermen, who were no less desirous than ourselves to find
some one to talk to, and explored the island from one end to
another; while Yoosef, unaware that all that glitters is not
gold, collected large bits of spar, here in great plenty, con-
ceiving them to be something very precious. Nay, though it
was now mid-February, the mildness of the atmosphere encou-
raged us to repeated feats of swimming, though we little ex-
pected that within a few weeks we should have occasion to
Ijring it to a more serious trial.

'• How happily the days of Thalaba went by" in such amicable



Chap. XII] BaJircyv and Katar 395

society, and amid such varied amusements ! I at any rate had
here no business on hand, m.edical or otlier, and felt lazily glad
when I heard the roar of the breakers announcing from hour
to hour the impossibility of leaving our Arab Patmos. How-
ever, all things on earth or sea must have an end, and on the
evening of the i6th, the sea had calmed into a ripple, under
the drooping westerly breeze ; we swam on board again, and
before sunset Aboo-Moosa was fadine. perhaps for ever, from
our retrospective view.



396

تعليقات

المشاركات الشائعة من هذه المدونة

شويخ من أرض مكناس .. قصيدة شعبية عمرها أكثر من 735 عاما

مدينة مكناس قديما

قصيدة في الزجل الأندلسي ألفها الشاعر أبو الحسن الششتري أثناء اقامته بمدينة مكناس المغربية.

الشاعر مولود في إقليم غرناطة لاسرة ذات جاه وثراء . وقصة القصيدة انه التقى بأحد شيوخ المتصوفة وهو ابن سبعين، وكان الششتري قد اعتنق طريقة شعيب أبو مدين وكان متوجها إلى أصحاب ابي مدين فقال له ابن سبعين :
اذا كنت تريد الجنة فسر اليهم وان كنت تريد رب الجنة فهلم ألي.
ثم قال له : لن تدخل طريقة الصوفية الا إذا تجردت من متاعك وثيابك ولبست ملابس قشبانية صوفية (يعني ملابس مرقعة وبالية لينزع الكبر والغرور من قلبه) وحملت في يدك بنديرا (أي الدف بلغة أهل المغرب) ودخلت بهذه الصورة وبدأت بذكر الحبيب ، فصنع كما رسم له ابن سبعين وظل في السوق ثلاثة ايام يغني منشدا هذه الخواطر الصوفية :
شويخ من أرض مكناس وسط الأسواق يغني

أش عليا من الناس وأش على الناس مني

أش عليا يا صاحب من جميع الخلايق

إفعل الخير تنجو واتبع أهل الحقائق

لا تقل يا بني كلمه إلا أن كنت صادق

خذ كلامي في قرطاس واكتبوا حرز عني

أش عليا من الناس وأش على الناس مني

ثم قول مبين ولا يحتاج عبارة

أش على حد من حد إفهموا ذي الإشاره

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هذه قائمة بأسماء النواخذة التي عثرنا عليها من خلال وثائق البلدية إضافة إلى مجموعة من المصادر والدفاتر الحكومية والخاصة، والتي استطعنا من خلالها إحصاء عدد كبير من نواخذة الغوص في البحرين ربما يتجاوز الأربعمائة اسم وهذه أسماؤهم مرتبة على حروف المعجم. حرف الألف النوخذة إبراهيم بوحزوم. النوخذة إبراهيم بن حمد الحادي. النوخذة إبراهيم بن خلف الدوسري. النوخذة السيد إبراهيم بن خليفة بن عبدالغفور السادة. النوخذة إبراهيم بن خليل الأصمخ. النوخذة إبراهيم بن خميس بن إبراهيم. النوخذة إبراهيم بن ربيعة. النوخذة إبراهيم بن صالح الجميري. النوخذة إبراهيم بن عبدالعزيز الجودر. النوخذة إبراهيم بن عبداللطيف الدوسري. النوخذة إبراهيم بن عبدالله بوهندي. النوخذة إبراهيم بن عبدالله بورشيد. النوخذة إبراهيم بن عبدالله بن سيف النعيمي. النوخذة إبراهيم بن علي. النوخذة إبراهيم بن علي المهيزع. النوخذة إبراهيم بن علي الجودر. النوخذة إبراهيم بن عيسى البن سعد الدوسري. النوخذة إبراهيم محمد منديه. النوخذة إبراهيم بن يوسف بودهيش النوخذة أحمد المطاوعة. النوخذة أحمد بن جاسم سيادي. النوخذ…

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