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The Mohammedan Bible. Some critics call the Koran a book without a beginning and without an end. It is an unorganized mass of one hundred and fourteen chapters, some long like those of the book of Genesis, some short like a few of the psalms. The entire book is shorter than the New Testament

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Copyright by Underwood & Underwood.

GENERAL VIEW OF MECCA SHOWING THE KAABA

and contains laws, precepts, and stories. It tells of Adam, the patriarchs, Moses, Solomon, and Jesus Christ. It mentions Alexander the Great and the fable writer, Lokman (the Arabian Æsop). Its stories are founded on the Jewish Talmud rather than on the Old Testament.

The ideas of God presented in the Koran are not of his righteousness, but his power. The Koran sanctions slavery and polygamy, secludes and degrades women, and commands religious intolerance.

El Medinah (the city).-Medina, which some followers of Mohammed consider as sacred as Mecca, his birthplace, contains the tomb of the prophet. Pilgrimage here is not required, but is considered very desirable by devout Moslems.

This walled city of 30,000 people is surrounded by high gardens and miles of palm trees. The armies of the Allies captured it some months after the Turks had surrendered to General Allenby, and Medina is now under the dominion of King Hussein of Hejaz. 1. Name four sacred cities of the Mohammedans. What two are

located outside of Arabia? 2. Locate them on your outline map of southwest Asia. 3. Why will Mecca and Medina never become great commercial

centers?

LESSON XXIV

TRANSPORTATION IN ARABIA

“CRUDE transportation means isolation.” Arabia has no inland waterways, no broad highways, and but two railroads. It is practically cut off from the great land traffic of three continents by its barrier of highland and desert.

Arabia's longer railroad, which was built to carry pilgrims to Mecca, traverses barren and lonely places instead of passing through thriving towns. The other railroad, which crosses the barren Peninsula of Sinai, was built by the British to bring army supplies from Cairo to Palestine. Thus the people in this great region of isolated country must depend chiefly on animals for transportation, horses, mules, donkeys, asses, and camels being used.

THE SHIPS OF THE DESERT Camels are very ancient beasts of burden, for we read that Abraham had them when he sojourned in Egypt nearly two thousand years before Christ (Gen. 12. 16).

Arabian camels. The camel is best developed in Arabia. The short-haired, one-humped variety found in the southern part of the country is able to endure much thirst and heat. The two-humped, long-haired Bactrian camel, which lives farther north, is more tolerant of cold, and will even eat snow when thirsty. By common usage in the East a camel is a “packhorse," and a dromedary is a "race-horse.” The former usually

” travels six hours a day at the rate of three miles an hour, the latter can go six miles an hour for fifteen hours each day for a week. The dromedary stores in its stomach at one drinking enough water to last it for a journey of a week or ten days. The Arabs have a saying that “The camel is the greatest of all blessings given by Allah to mankind.” Its long neck gives it a wide range of vision in a country where dangers are many. The cartilage in its mouth is a protection so it can eat thorny plants. Valves protect its nostrils, and its small ears do not fill easily with sand during a desert storm. The calloused breast and knees give the camel pads on which to kneel. Its large, cushioned feet enable it to travel in the sand, and they leave a trail which is easily followed. The hump is

а. reserve food supply. The arched backbone is

constructed to sustain the greatest weight in proportion to its length. The usual load for camels is from four hundred and fifty to five hundred pounds weight.

The hair of the camel is used for making coarse and fine cloth, tents, ropes, exquisitely woven camels-hair shawls, and for brushes. The dung comprises the only supply of fuel for many dwellers in the desert. From the milk the women churn butter. The Arabs eat the flesh of the camel, and use the hide and bones

On trips through the desert when there is no fodder for the horse, the Arab takes a milch camel with him and gives the milk to his favorite steed for food. 1. Write a short sketch of the camel, dwelling on his usefulness

to man. 2. Contrast the horse and the camel. 3. Bring all the pictures of camels and caravans that you can

find to class.

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AT HOME IN THE DESERT

in various ways.

CARAVANS

on

Traveling in the arid regions of southwest Asia and Africa is so difficult that people have banded together into caravans for centuries. They have followed well-known trails from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean Sea and to Egypt, passing through towns many of which we have visited in previous chapters. Banded together for protection.—Caravans vary from a

score to several hundred camels. The animals are led by a guide mounted

a mule or horse, rarely by a man or boy on foot.

In trading caravans, like the one in which Joseph traveled to Egypt (Gen. 37. 28), are many richly laden camels. The owners pay

the sheik or chief through whose territory they are passing for protection from attack. Travelers often join these large caravans as they start out from trade centers.

Caravansaries, where

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man and animals may SARY, SHOWING LOADED CARAVAN

have shelter for a few cents, are found in all large cities and many towns in the East. A caravansary is sometimes built by a rich man and given to the public as a hospital or a library is in the United States,

Cut by Keystone View Co.

COURTYARD OF AN OLD KAHN OR CARAVAN

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