Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah,
by Richard Burton Drawing of Mount Arafat with the pillar - 1853
- by Richard Birton (known as a British spy)
In his book, on the 8th Zu’l Hijjah, A.H. 1269 - Monday, 12th Sept., 1853, Richard Birton give information about the holy Mount:
"Arafat, anciently called Jabal Ilal
([Arabic]), “the Mount of Wrestling in Prayer,”
and now Jabal al-Rahmah, the “Mount of Mercy,”
is a mass of coarse granite split into large blocks, with a thin coat of withered thorns. About one mile in circumference, it rises abruptly to the height of a hundred and eighty or two hundred feet, from the low gravelly plain — a dwarf wall at the Southern base forming the line of demarcation. It is separated by Batn Arnah ([Arabic]), a sandy vale,22 from the spurs of the Taif hills. Nothing can be more picturesque than the view it affords of the azure peaks behind, and the vast encampment scattered over the barren yellow plain below.23
On the North lay the regularly pitched camp of the guards that defend the unarmed pilgrims. To the Eastward was the Sharif’s encampment, with the bright Mahmils and the gilt knobs of the grandees’ pavilions; whilst on the Southern and Western sides the tents of the vulgar crowded the ground, disposed in Dowar, or circles. After many calculations, I estimated the number to be not fewer than 50,000 of all ages and sexes; a sad falling off, it is true, but still considerable."
"The Holy Hill owes its name24 and honours to a well-known legend. When our first parents forfeited Heaven by eating wheat, which deprived them of their primeval purity, they were cast down upon earth. The serpent descended at Ispahan, the peacock at Kabul, Satan at Bilbays (others say Semnan and Seistan), Eve upon Arafat, and Adam at Ceylon. The latter, determining to seek his wife, began a journey, to which earth owes its present mottled appearance. Wherever our first father placed his foot — which was large — a town afterwards arose; between the strides will always be “country.” Wandering for many years, he came to the Mountain of Mercy, where our common mother was continually calling upon his name, and their recognition gave the place the name of Arafat. Upon its summit, Adam, instructed by the archangel Gabriel, erected a Mada’a, or place of prayer
: and between this spot and the Nimrah Mosque the couple abode till death. Others declare that after recognition, the first pair returned to India, whence for 44 years in succession they visited the Sacred City at pilgrimage-time."
Chapter XXVIII: https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/bur...chapter28.html