The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, Volume 4: by John Payne


1. A very famous legist and wit of the eighth century and a prime favourite with Er Reshid. He was one of the chief pupils of the Imam Abou Henifeh (see note, Vol. II. p. 131{see Vol. 2 FN#91}) and was Cadi of Baghdad under the third. fourth and fifth Khalifs of the Abbaside dynasty.

2. Shown in choosing so learned a Cadi.

3. Governor of the two Iraks (i.e. Bassora and Cufa) in the reign of Hisham, tenth Khalif of the Ommiade dynasty (A.D. 723-741). He was celebrated for his beneficence and liberality.

4. Koran iii. 178, etc.

5. The hand of a thief shall not be cut off for stealing less than a quarter of a dinar."--Mischat ul Masabih.

6.  El Asmai the poet, author or compiler of the well-known romance of Antar.

7. Zanzibar (ant. Zengibar).

8. The word Sherif (lit. noble) signifies strictly a descendant of the martyr Hussein, son of the Khalif Ali; but it is here used in the sense of "chief [of the bazaar].

9. Quære Mensour en Nemri, a well-known poet of the time and (originally) a protege of Yehya's son, El Fezl.

10. Intendant of the palace to Haroun er Reshid and captain of his guards.

11. i.e. the Khalif.

12. i.e. As if he were an old Bedouin, with forehead disfigured by the friction of the rope of camel's hair, which is part of the Bedouin headdress.

13. Mohammed said, "Change the whiteness of your hair, but not with anything black." Henna is the approved hairdye for a true-believer; it changes the hair to a reddish-brown.

i.e. thou that art as dear to me as my sight and hearing.

A fountain of Paradise.

Syn. languishing (munkesir).

A river of Paradise.

i.e. Orthodox.

These words are a quotation from a well-known piece of verse.

Of the Prophet.

Usually made of palm-fibres.

The distinctive headdress of the Muslims.

The bridge that spans Hell, finer than a hair and sharper than a sword, and over which all must pass on the Day of Judgment.

Or leader of the people at prayer, who stands opposite the niche sunk into or painted on the wall of the mosque, to indicate the direction of Mecca.

All this is an audacious parody of the Muslim ritual of prayer.

Lit. "exclamations of 'Glory be to God!'" which are of frequent recurrence in the Mohammedan formulas of prayer. See last note.

27. i.e. governor.

The word ucwaneh, here used in the dual number, usually designates the teeth, in its common meaning of "camomile-flower": but the lips are here expressly mentioned, and this fact, together with that of the substitution, in the Breslau edition, of the word akikan (two cornelians or rubies) for ucwanetan (two camomiles), as in the Calcutta and Boulac editions, shows that the word is intended to be taken in its rarer meaning of "corn-marigold."

Syn. Fortune (ez zeman).

One of the tribes of the Arabs and that to which the renowned Maan ben Zaideh (see Vol. III. p. 17, {Vol. 3, FN#121}) belonged.

The Muslims accuse the Jews of having corrupted the Pentateuch and others of their sacred books, even as the Christians the Gospels (see Vol. II. page 149, note {Vol. 2, FN#97}), by expunging or altering the passages foretelling the coming of Mohammed.

See Vol. I. p. 135, note 2. {Vol. 1, FN#45}

i.e. as a martyr.

The force of this comparison will best appear from the actual figuration of the Arabic double-letter Lam-Alif (Anglice L.A.) which is made up of the two letters *<arabic character>, (initial form of Lam) and *<arabic character> (final of Alif,) and is written thus, *<arabic character>.

35. i.e. O thou, whose glance is as the light of the glowing embers.

36. Thus figured in Arabic *<arabic character>.

37. Thus *<arabic character>.

38.  Thus *<arabic character>.

39. Koran xxvil. 12.

40. Koran iii. 103.

41. Koran xcii. 1,2.

42. Sauda, feminine of aswed (black), syn. black bile (melancholia).

43. The distinctive colour of which is white.

44. Koran li. 26.

45. Mohammed.

46. Koran ii. 64, referring to an expiatory heifer which the Jews were commanded, through Moses, to sacrifice.

47. See note, Vol III. p. 104 {Vol. 3, FN#19}

48. Sulafeh.

49. Sewalif, plural of salifeh (equivalent of sulafeh). A play upon the double meaning of the word is, of course, intended.

50. Syn. yellowness (isfirar).

51. A title of the Prophet.

52. His wife Zubeideh.

53. i.e. his beautiful slave-girls.

54. i.e. his beautiful slave-girls.

55.  Title of Saladin (Selaheddin) and several other Eyoubite Sultans of Egypt and Syria. It is equivalent to our "Defender of the Faith."

56. Koran xli. 46.

57. A town of Upper Egypt.

58. Meaning the merchant, whose name, Abou Jaafer or the like, he had learnt from the tailor.

59. Muslim Jews.

60. A well-known jurist at Baghdad in the reign of the Khalif Mamoun.

61. Medina.

62. One of the gates of the great mosque there, wherein is the tomb of the Prophet.

63. Tenth Khalif of the Abbaside dynasty, A.D. 849-861.

64. Muwelledat, women born in Muslim countries of slave-parents; syn. mulatto-women.

65. Lieutenant of the Prefect of Baghdad.

66. Muwelledat, women born in Muslim countries of slave-parents; syn. mulatto-women.

67.  El Hakim bi Amrillah, sixth Fatimite Khalif of Egypt (A.D. 995-1021), "cruel and fantastic tyrant, who claimed to be an incarnation of the Deity. He was the founder of the religion of the Druses, who look to him to reappear and be their Messiah.

68. Bastard or Spanish pellitory.

69. Or dyed.

Or interlocking.

Or torn.

 Sufreh, a round piece of leather used (mostly by travellers) as a table-cloth and having a running string inserted round its edge, by means of which it can be converted into a bag or budget for holding provisions, as in this instance.

Lower India.

i.e. as master of the house in which I have sought shelter.

75. Uns el Wujoud.

76. A pun upon his name, Uns wa joud, pleasance and bounty.

77. See supra, p. 95, note 3. {Vol. 4, FN#38}

78. The fourteenth letter of the Arabic alphabet, in its medial form (<arabic>) closely resembling an eye underlined with kohl.

79. See Note, Vol. III. p. 274. {Vol. 3, FN#102}

80. i.e. in dreams.

81. One of the months in which war was forbidden to the pagan Arabs and a sort of Trève de Dieu prevailed.

82. The Arabic word fakir means literally, "a poor man;" but it would appear, from what follows, that Uns el Wujoud had disguised himself as a religious mendicant and was taken for such by the people of the castle.

83. i.e. one absorbed in the contemplation of supra- terrestrial things.

84. Uns el Wujoud.

85. To salute them and wish them joy, according to Oriental custom.

86. Mosul is called the land of purity, in a religious sense, it having never been polluted with idolatrous worship.

87. The people of Aleppo seem to have been noted for debauchery.

88. i.e. Do not express admiration openly, lest it attract the evil eye, but vent your wonder by saying, "God bless and preserve the Prophet!" according to general Muslim wont.

89. A gorge near Mecca, the scene of one of Mohammed's battles.

90. i.e. as made out of a crooked rib, according to the tradition.

91. i.e. the land of the virgin.

92. The word Jamiaïn means "two congregational mosques," which would only be found in a large town like Baghdad. It is possible, therefore, that the expression, "land of Jamiaïn," may mean Baghdad or some other great city, noted for its debauched manners.

93. Oriental substitute for slate.

94. A pre-Mohammedan poet.

95. King of Hireh in Chaldæa, a fantastic and bloodthirsty tyrant, whom he had lampooned.

96. Aboulabbas er Recashi, a well-known poet of the time.

97. Koran xxvi. 224, 5, 6.

98. Half-brother of Abdallah ben ez Zubeir, the celebrated pretender to the Khalifate, see Vol. III. p. 194, note 3. {Vol. 3, FN#62}

99. Grand-daughter of the Khalif Aboubekr and the most beautiful woman of her day.

100. A famous Medinan Traditionist of the eighth century.

101. Er Zubeir ibn el Awwam, cousin-german to Mohammed and one of his Companions.

102. Abou Mohammed el Aamesh, a Cufan Traditionist of the eighth century.

103. A Traditionist of the seventh century

104. One of the Companions.

105. Traditionists of the seventh and eighth centuries.

106. Traditionists of the seventh and eighth centuries.

107. Traditionists of the seventh and eighth centuries.

108. Companions of the Prophet.

109. Traditionists of the seventh and eighth centuries.

110. Traditionists of the seventh and eighth centuries.

111. Traditionists of the seventh and eighth centuries.

112. Companions of the Prophet.

113.  A.D. 530-579. The founder of the great Persian dynasty of the Kisras (Chosroës). Mohammed was born in the reign of this monarch, whose name is a synonym with Eastern writers for all that is just and noble in a King.

114. Wife of Mohammed.

115. Daughter of Mohammed.

116. Lit. "of the ancestors," i.e. those pious and blessed persons who have gone before. The word es selef (the ancestors) is specially applied to Mohammed, his wife Aaisheh, the first three Khalifs and certain other early Muslims.

117. Khusrau Perviz, grandson of Kisra Anoushirwan (see supra, p. 228). {Here, FN#113}

118. The famous beauty, daughter of Maurice, Emperor of the East, and heroine of Nizami's well-known poem.

119. First cousin of Haroun er Reshid.

120. Son and successor of Er Reshid.

121. A well-known grammarian and traditionist of the time, afterwards governor of part of Khorassan, under the Khalif El Mamoun.

122. Intendant of the palace under Er Reshid.

123. i.e. lover.

124. Muslim version of Susannah and the Elders.

125. Lit. O frosty-beard (fool), how frosty was thy beard!

126. Descendant of the Prophet.

127. Name of a tribe.

128. A descendant of Ishmael, from whom the Arab genealogists trace Mohammed's lineage.

129. Koran xxxiii. 38.

130. Koran xxxviii. 2.

131. One of the Companions of the Prophet.

132. Of the Prophet i.e. those who had personally known Mohammed.

133. i.e. the builders, who, in the East, use mud or clay for mortar.

134. About a penny.

135. Mohammed.

136. A woman's name.

137. For putting out the fire in a brasier or cooking-stove.

138. The last Kings of Hireh were Christians.

139. A prae-Islamitic poet.

140. King of Persia and En Numan's suzerain.

141. A celebrated poet of the eighth and ninth centuries at the court d the Abbaside Khalifs.

142. A quarter of Baghdad.

143. Another well-known poet of the time, Dibil's teacher and friend.

144. Underground rooms are much used in Baghdad and Central Asia, for coolness' sake, in the season of the great heats.

145. Dibil's surname.

146. An idol of the pagan Arabs, before the coming of Mohammed.

147. In the attitude or a pupil before his master.

148. i.e. heart's blood.

149. A well-known poet, who flourished at Baghdad in the ninth century.

150. Aboulabbas Mohammed ben Yezid eth Thumali, surnamed El Muberred, a famous Baghdad grammarian of the ninth century.

151. A monastery in the town of Hemah in Syria, so called from the Emperor Heraclius, who retired thither, to end his. days.

152. These verses are addressed to the Prophet Mohammed.

153. The most learned grammarian of his day. He flourished at Baghdad in the first half of the tenth century.

154. Anatolia.

155. The Lights.

156. Servant of the Messiah.

157. The monk.

158. The desireful servant of God. Abdallah is the name commonly given to a Christian convert to Islam. This question and answer are a good example of the jingle of rhymes so much affected by the Arabs.

159. i.e. of gods (shirk).

160. Koran vii. 195.

161. i.e. saints.

162. Koran x. 36.

163. A well-known man of letters and one of El Mamoun's viziers.

164. Prefect of Baghdad under El Mamoun.

165. i.e. the persons in authority under them.

166. Surname of Ali ben Hisham.

167. A renowned chieftain and poet of the time of Mohammed.

168. A famous singer and composer of the first century of the Hegira.

169. One of the greatest of Arab poets; he flourished in the first century of the Hegira.

170. i.e. as to the sound of music.

171. Sixth of the Abbaside Khalifs, A.D. 809-813.

172. See note, Vol. III. p. 324. {See Vol. 3, FN#130}.

173. Tenth Abbaside Khalif, A.D. 849-861.

174.  Vizier and favourite of El Mutawekkil, killed A.D. 861 whilst endeavouring to defend the Khalif against the parricide El Muntestr.

175. Virginitatem tollere.

176. Johannes, a Greek physician in high favour with El Mutawekkil and others of the Abbaside Khalifs.

177. i.e. Princess of the Doctors or men of learning.

178. A.D. 1166.

179. Or heads of the various sects or schools of religion.

180. Koran iv. 38.

181. As witness to a debt, Koran ii. 282.

182. Koran iv. 175.

183. Or "eye-glance."

184. Abou Temmam et Tai (of the tribe of Tai), a famous poet of the first half of the ninth century and postmaster at Mosul under the Khalif Wathic Billah (commonly known as Vathek), A.D. 842-849. He was the compiler of the famous anthology of ancient Arabian poetry, known as the Hemaseh (Hamasa).

185. Aboulcasim el Heriri, the famous poet and grammarian, author of the Mecamat, the most celebrated single work in Arabic literature. He holds much the same rank in Arabic letters as Pope and Boileau in the literature of England and France and may, with much better reason, be styled "le legislateur du Parnasse (Arabe)." He was a native of Bassora and died early in the twelfth century.

186. i.e. the languishing glance of his eye.

187. i.e. his whiskers.

188. Koran xii. 51.

189. Or quare palm-spathes.

190. Or quare "an exposition of women."

191. Koran xxvi. 165, 166.

192. i.e. the whiteness of his face.

193. Or "freeborn," the Arabic word used here having this double meaning. The Arabs hold that the child of freeborn parents (Lat. ingenuus) must of necessity be noble and those born of slave parents or a slave mother the contrary.

194. Or "freeborn," the Arabic word used here having this double meaning. The Arabs hold that the child of freeborn parents (Lat. ingenuus) must of necessity be noble and those born of slave parents or a slave mother the contrary.

195. A famous statesman, soldier, poet and musician, governor of Khorassan, Egypt and other provinces under the Khalif El Mamoun.

196. Abou Abdallah ibn el Casim el Hashimi, surnamed Abou el Ainaa, a blind traditionist and man of letters of Bassora, in the ninth century, and one of the most celebrated wits of his day.

197. An island near Cairo, on which is situate the Nilometer. It is a favourite pleasure-resort of the Cairenes.

The port of Cairo.

i.e. the report of its being haunted.

i.e. by the Sortes Coranicæ or other similar process.

The word shabb (young man) is applied by the Arabs to men of all ages from early adolescence to forty or even (according to some authorities) fifty.

i.e. recited the first chapter of the Koran seven times.

i.e. affixed the tughraa, the royal seal or rather countermark.

204. i.e. health and security.

205. See Vol. III. p. 225, note 1. {Vol. 3 FN#78}

206. A pile of stones or other land-mark, set up to show the way to travellers in the desert.

207. The eyebrows of a beautiful woman are usually compared to the new moon of Ramazan (see note, Vol. I. p. 71{see Vol. 1 FN#26}). The meaning here is the same, the allusion being apparently to the eagerness with which the pagan Arabs may be supposed to have watched for the appearance of the new moon of Shaaban, as giving the signal for the renewal of predatory excursions, after the enforced close-time or Trêve de Dieu of the holy month Rejeb.

208. Quære fourteen [years old].

209. i.e. the abrogated passages and those by which they are abrogated.

210. Koran iv. 160.

211. Traditions of the Prophet.

212. i.e. saying, "I purpose to pray such and such prayers."

213. i.e. saying, "God is most Great!" So called, because its pronunciation after that of the niyeh or intent, prohibits the speaking of any words previous to prayer.

214. i.e. saying, "I purpose, etc."

215. i.e. saying, "I purpose, etc."

216. i.e. saying, "In the name of God, etc.''

217. i.e. saying, "I purpose, etc."

218. It may be noted that these answers of Taweddud form an excellent compendium of devotional practice, according to the tenets of the Shafy school.

219. Obligatory as a preparation for the Friday prayer and on other occasions when legal purification is necessary.

220. i.e. saying, "I purpose to defer, etc."

221. i.e. with sand, earth or dust.

222. i.e. saying, "Peace be on us and [all] the righteous worshippers of God!''

223. i.e. saying, "I seek refuge with God from Satan the accursed."

224. i.e. saying, "I purpose, etc."

225. Lit. that the intent shall be by night.

226. At sundown.

227. Eaten a little before the break of day, the fast commencing as soon as there is light enough to distinguish a black thread from a white and lasting till sunset.

228. A saying of Mohammed.

229. i.e. retirement to a mosque for pious exercises, equivalent to the Roman Catholic retraite.

230. Two hills near Mecca.

231. On first catching sight of Mecca.

232. Places near Mecca.

233. At a pillar supposed to represent the Devil.

234. Or chief of the faith.

235. Koran vii. 66.

236. One of the followers of Mohammed, i.e. those who had known some of the Companions [of the Prophet] though they had never seen himself. The freedman [and adopted son] of Abdallah, son of Omar ben El Khettab, the most authoritative of all the Companions and reporters of the sayings and doings of the Prophet.

237. i.e. at a profit. The exchange must be equal and profitless.

238. Ablution.

239. Complete ablution.

240. Poor-rate.

241. Warring for the Faith.

242. i.e. saying, "I testify that there is no God, etc."

243. i.e. fundamentals.

244. i.e. derivatives.

245. i.e. the true believers.

246. i.e. death.

247. i.e. that which does not require to be cut with a knife. "Cut not meat with a knife, because it is of the manners and customs of the barbarians; but eat it with your teeth."--Mishcat ul Masabih.

248. Or "being a Muslim."

249. Apparently referring to the verse, "The earth all [shall be] His handful [on the] Day of Resurrection and the heavens rolled up in His right [hand]."--Koran xxxix. 67.

250. See Vol. II. p. 126, note. {Vol. 2, FN#76}

251. Koran lxxviii. 19.

252. Of the unity of God.

253. i.e. professor of Koranic exegesis.

254. i.e. portions so called.

255. Heber.

256. Jethro.

257. Joshua.

258. Enoch.

259. John the Baptist.

260. i.e. the bird of clay fabled by the Koran (following the Apocryphal Gospel of the childhood of Christ) to have been animated by him.

261. Koran ii.

262. Koran ii. 256, "God, there is no god but He, the Living, the Eternal. Slumber taketh him not, neither sleep, and His is what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him but by His leave? He knoweth what is before them and what is behind them, nor do they comprehend aught of the knowledge of Him but of what He willeth. His throne embraceth the heavens and the earth and the guarding of them oppresseth Him not, for He is the Most High, the Supreme."

263. Koran ii. 159.

264. Koran xvi. 92.

265. Paradise, Koran lxx. 38.

266. Koran xxxix. 54.

267. See note, p. 338 supra. {Vol. 4, Here FN#236}

268. Koran xii. 18.

269. Koran ii. 107.

270. Koran li. 57.

271. Koran ii. 28.

272. Koran xvi. 100. The Muslims fable the devil to have tempted Abraham to disobey God's commandment to sacrifice Ishmael (Isaac) and to have been driven off by the Patriarch with stones. Hence he is called "The Stoned."

273. Abdallah ibn Abbas, first cousin of Mohammed and the most learned theologian among the Companions.

274. Koran xcvi. 1 and 2.

275. Koran xxvii. 30.

276. Koran ix.

277. i.e. the day of the sacrifice at Mina, which completes the ceremonies of the pilgrimage.

278. The better opinion seems to be that this omission (unique in the Koran) arose from the ninth chapter having originally formed part of the eighth, from which it was separated after Mohammed's death.

279. Koran xvii. 110.

280. Koran ii. 158.

281. i.e. him who seals or closes the list of the prophets.

282. C. xcvi.

283. A native of Medina and one of the first of Mohammed's disciples.

284. Koran lxxiv.

285. There are several verses on this subject.

286. Koran cx. 1.

287. The third Khalif.

288. Companions of the Prophet.

289. One of the Followers.

290. Koran v. 4.

291. Koran v. 116.

292. In the same verse.

293. Koran v. 89.

294. Ez Zuhak ben Sufyan, one of the Companions.

295. One of the Followers.

296. Koran iv. 124.

297. i.e. without hesitation or interruption.

298. Kaf, the 21st letter of the Arabic alphabet.

299. Mim, the 24th letter of the Arabic alphabet.

300. Ain, the 18th letter of the Arabic alphabet.

301. The Koran is divided into sixty set portions, answering or equivalent to our Lessons, for convenience of use in public worship.

302. Koran xi. 50.

303. Name of the partition-wall between heaven and hell.

304. Koran vii. 154.

305. A play on the word ain, which means "eye."

306. Chapters liv. lv. and lvi.

307. i e. ankle.

308. Koran xvii. 39.

309. Two stars in Aquarius and Capricorn.

310. Or chief part, lit. head.

311. Or remedial treatment.

312. Quare hot springs.

313. A dish of crumpled bread and broth.

314. Or savoury supplement to bread, rice and so forth.

315. Koran v. 92.

316. Koran ii. 216.

317. Played with headless arrows.

318. The fourth Khalif.

319. The Korah of Numbers xvi. fabled by the Muslims (following a Talmudic tradition) to have been a man of immense wealth. "Now Caroun was of the tribe of Moses [and Aaron], but he transgressed against them and we gave him treasures, the keys whereof would bear down a company of men of strength."--Koran xxviii. 76.

320. Syn. bearing a load (hamil).

321. Koran lxx. 40.

322. Koran x. 5.

323. Koran xxxvi. 40.

324. Koran xxii. 60.

325. Koran xxxi. 34.

326. Fifth and seventh months of the Coptic year, answering (roughly) to our January and March.

327. Fifth and seventh months of the Coptic year, answering (roughly) to our January and March.

328. Fourth month of the Coptic year.

329. Eighth and twelfth months of the Coptic year (April and August).

330. Third month (November) of the Coptic year.

331. Sixth month (February) of the Coptic year.

332. The lowest of the seven stages into which Mohammedan tradition divides the heavens.

333. Koran lxxvii. 5.

334. Koran xxxvi. 36, 37, 38.

335. Koran xxii. 7.

336. Koran xx. 57.

337. A she-camel, big with young, miraculously produced, according to Muslim legend, from a rock by the Prophet Salih, for the purpose of converting the Themoudites.

338. Where he was hiding with Mohammed from the pursuit of the Benou Curaish.

339. Koran lxxxi. 18.

340. In Paradise.

341. Sperma hominis.

342. The Muslims attribute this miracle to Moses, instead of Aaron. See Koran vii. 110 et seq.

343. [Quoth God] "What is that in thy right hand, O Moses?" Quoth he, "It is my staff, on which I lean and wherewith I beat down leaves for my flock, and I have other uses for it."--Koran xx. 18, 19.

344. Then He turned to the heaven (now it was smoke) and said to it and to the earth, ''Come ye twain, obedient or loathing."And they said both, "We come, obedient."--Koran xli. 10.

345. Koran xxxvi. 82.

346. Ali ibn Abi Taleb, first cousin of Mohammed and fourth Khalif.

347. Uncle of Mohammed and ancestor of the Abbaside Khalifs.

348. Lit. gave him to eat of it.

349. Assuming him to be dead.