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Southern Arabia

Theodore Bent

Book Overview: 

Southern Arabia recounts a threatening four-month journey into North Eastern Ethiopia by the Bents. These brave travelers were the first to travel without disguise in a region where Westerners had formerly been fortunate to escape with their lives.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Fifty years ago the population must have been nearly three times greater than it is now. There is also wanting in the town the feature which makes most Moslem towns picturesque, namely[64] the minaret; the mosques of the Ibadhuyah sect being squalid and uninteresting. At first it is difficult to distinguish them from the courtyard of an ordinary house, but by degrees the eye gets trained to identify a mosque by the tiny substitute for a minaret attached to each, a sort of bell-shaped cone about four feet high, which is placed above the corner of the enclosing wall. I have already mentioned the Ibadhuyah's views with regard to the imams. I believe they hold also certain heterodox opinions with regard to predestination and free will, which detach them from other Moslem communities; at any rate they are far more tolerant than other Arabian followers of the Prophet, and permit strangers to enter their mosques at will. Tobacco is freely used by them, and amongst the upper . . . Read More