Page 1120

1120 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

Thus, in the year 637-the event being coincident with the capture of Jerusalem by

Omar-the Empire of Persia passed under

the dominion of the Mohammedans. The

cloud, apparently no larger than the hand of

a man, rising from the shores of the Red Sea,

had spread out to the east until its shadow

fell beyond the valley of the Euphrates and

the lofty range of Zagros.

Remaining in the capital of Persia, Abu

Wakkas sent forward an army of twelve thousand men in pursuit of the fugitive king.

The latter had fled to Holwan, in the Median

hills. This place was besieged for six months,

and finally captured. From this place Yezdegird made good his retreat to Rhaga. The further pursuit of the monarch was forbidden

by the Caliph, who urged that the welfare of

the believers was of more importance than

booty taken from infidels.

Abu Wakkas soon discovered the poor situation at Medain. At the

suggestion of the Caliph it was determined to

seek a more salubrious position for the Arab

army. The village of Cufa, on the western

bank of the Euphrates, was accordingly chosen

and made the future headquarters of the

Moslems of the East. In building his new

city Abu Wakkas despoiled the old; for

many of the edifices of Madain were pulled

down to furnish material for the new structures on the hither side of the Euphrates.

It appears that Abu Wakkas was too susceptible to the influences of Persian luxury.

He began to assume the habit and splendid

manners of the East. He had built for himself at Cufa a magnificent Kiosk, or summer of ancient tiroes, was taken with the other booty

to Medina. What disposition should befall this beautiful and costly trophy? Should it

be spread out and used on state occasions by the

Caliph? or should it be cut up and distributed

with the other spoils? Oroar decided that justice

required the partition of all booty. The beautiful

carpet was accordingly divided without respect to

the design or workmanship, and parceled out in

scraps to those who had taken the palace.

The town of Cufa was deservedly famous in

the traditions of the Semitic nations. There

Noah, when the world was about to be drowned,

entered the ark of safety, and there the serpent

that tempted Eve was banished under the curse residence, where he assumed the state of

royalty like that of a Persian prince. Great

was the mortification of Caliph Omar when

the news of these proceedings was borne to

Medina. He immediately wrote a message to

Abu Wakkas, and despatched the same by

the hands of a faithful envoy named Mohammed. The latter repaired at once to Cufa,

where he signalized his advent by burning to

the ground the sumptuous Kiosk of Abu

Wakkas. When that distinguished personage

came forth indignantly and demanded to know

the reason of this incendiary work, the ambassador put into his hands the following

letter from Omar: "I am told thou hast built

a lofty palace, like to that of the Khosrus,

and decorated it with a door taken from the

latter; with a view to have guards and chamberlains stationed about it to keep off those

who may come in quest of justice or assistance,

as was the practice of the Khosrus before

thee. In so doing thou hast departed from

the ways of the Prophet on whom be benedictions, and hast fallen into the ways of the

Persian monarchs. Know that the Khosrus

have passed from their palace to the tomb;

while the Prophet, from his lowly habitation

on 'earth, has been elevated to the highest

heaven. I have sent Mohammed Ibn Muslemah to burn thy palace. In this world two

houses are sufficient for thee; one to dwell in,

the other to contain the treasure of the

Moslems."

Islam had now become an Empire. The

austere Omar found himself burdened with

the cares of state. His main dependence in

the transaction of public business was in the

advice of Othman and Ali. Between them

and himself he drew as closely as possible the

ties of relationship and interest. In the same

year with the founding of Cufa he married

the Arab princess, 0mm Kolsam, daughter of

Ali and Fatima, and granddaughter of the

Prophet. The relation of the reigning Caliph

with what may be called the royal family of

Islam was thus more closely drawn.

Meanwhile Hormuzan, satrap of Susiana,

looked with ill-concealed aversion upon the

Mohammedan power in Babylonia. To him

the founding of the city of Bassora on the