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1146 UNIVERSAL' HISTORY- THE MODERN WORLD,

and taken, and all the western parts of the

African coast restored to the condition in

which they had been before the conquest by

Acbah.

Just after the fiasco of Solyman in Syria,

the intelligence of the loss of Northern Africa

was carried to Damascus. It had the effect

of an electric spark upon the half-paralyzed

right arm of Islam. For the nonce, the bitter

feuds of faction were consigned to oblivion.

Though Zobeir recognized the Caliph of the

West, Merwan sent forward a large army,

under command of his son Abdalmalec to

assist the African governor in recovering his

province.

The forces of Zobeir and those of Syria

were united in the Barcan desert, and an

expedition was at once begun to regain the

lost territories. The old spirit of the Arabs

was fully aroused in the struggle with the unbelievers. The Christians and Moors were

driven back precipitately upon Caerwan. The

city was besieged and retaken, and the

whole region recovered from the enemy more

quickly than they had won it. Zobeir was

reinstated as governor of Africa, and Abdalmalec marched back to join his father at

Damascus.

In his last days, the aged Merwan attempted to undo the terms of settlement by

which he had been elected to the Caliphate.

It was evident that his oath to transmit the

crown to Khaled had been taken with mental

reservation. It transpired that when engaged

in the struggle for the recovery of Egypt,

Merwan had promised the succession to Amru

lbn Saad on condition that that prince would

aid Ilim in the establishment of his power. This promise also was made in bad faith; for

the monarch all the while entertained the

purpose to advance his own son, Abdalmalec,

to the throne. Circumstances favored the

scheme; for Abdalmalec returned in great

glory from Ilis African campaign, and was received with such favor by the Damascenes

that Merwan found little difficulty in having

him recognized as his successor. This act,

however, hastened the exit of the Caliph and

substituted violence for the order of nature.

The prince Khaled reproached his faith breaking stepfather for his conduct, and the latter

denounced the prince as a son of unchastity.

Thereupon the mother who was thus insulted

thrust a pillow into the face of the feeble old Caliph and sat upon it until he was smothered to death. Thus, in the year 684, the

Caliphate of Damascus was transferred to Abdalmalec.

The new potentate was acknowledged by

Syria, Egypt, and Africa. From the first he

exhibited the qualities of a powerful and ambitious ruler. He gave his attention to affairs

of state and laid extensive plans for the promotion of the interests of Islam. The chief

weaknesses of his character were superstition

and parsimony. He was a scrupulous observer of dreams and omens, and his con-

duct was so sordid that the Arabs gave

him the surname of Rafhol Hejer, or the

Sweat-Stone.

Abdallah, the son of Zobeir, still held the

Western Caliphate, having his capital at

Mecca. Not a little fame was added to his

government by the fact that the sacred city

of the Mohammedans was the seat of his authority. It was deemed desirable by Abdalmalec to establish in his own dominions a second sacred place to which the faithful might

direct their pilgrimages. To this end the

temple of Jerusalem was selected, and the

enterprise of enlarging and beautifying the

edifices on Mount Moriah and of filling them

with holy relics was undertaken by the

Caliph.

The stone upon which the patriarch Jacob

laid his head on the night of his heavenly

vision was placed in position to receive

the kisses of true believers, even as the Black

Stone of the Kaaba was saluted in the holy

place at Mecca. Thus did the Caliph endeavor to divert the Moslems from visiting

the scenes which were associated with the

memory of the Prophet in the capital of

Abdallah.

Among those chieftains who in the city

of Cufa had favored the cause of Hosein was

a certain Al Thaldfi, surnamed Al Moktar,

the Avenger. When the emir Obeidallah

suppressed that unfortunate insurrection, Al Moktar was persecuted and imprisoned. He

received from Obeidallah a blow which

put out one of his eyes. Being released by

Yezid, he swore eternal enmity against the

tribe of Obeidallah, and his vengeance neither

waited nor slept. Finally his time came to

be avenged. Before the accession of Abdalmalec, at whose court the family of Obeidallah was in high favor, Al Moktar had gone