English Notes → The Jewel of the World
by Philip K. Hitti
1. Give an account of the early career of Abd-al-Rahman I, his dramatic escape and his adventures in Africa.
Abd-al-Rahman was a young man of twenty. He was a striking young man. He was tall, lean and had sharp aquiline features. He had red hair. He was a youth of matchless strength and ability. One day, he was chased by his enemies. He jumped into the river and swam to safety. His enemies could not catch him. He was friendless and helpless. After bearing many hardships, he reached North Africa. His maternal uncles were Berbers. They gave him refuge.
2. How did Abd-al-Rahman deal with the governor appointed by the Abbasid caliph to contest his rule?
Abd-al-Rahman proved himself a strong rival. He gave a befitting response to Abbasid caliph who was against his rule. He cut off the head of his governor. He preserved the head in salt and camphor and covered it in a black flag. He presented this head as a gift to the caliph.
3. What did the Abbasid caliph say on receiving the head of his governor?
The Abbasid caliph was quite terrified when he received the head of his governor. His fervent rejoinder was,”Thanks be to Allah for having placed the sea between us and such a foe!” This remark of the caliph showed that he was at heart very much afraid of Abd-al-Rahman.