An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians Written in Egypt during the Years 1833-1835

By Edwsard William Lane | Go to book overview

Muslims to be heretics for the extravagant respect which they pay to the Prophet. They forbid the wearing of silk and gold ornaments and all costly apparel, and also the practice of smoking tobacco. For the want of this last luxury, they console themselves in some degree by an immoderate use of coffee. There are many learned men among them, and they have collected many valuable books (chiefly historical) from various parts of Arabia and from Egypt.


CHAPTER IV.
GOVERNMENT.

EGYPT has, of late years, experienced great political changes, and nearly ceased to be a province of the Turkish Empire. Its present Básha ( Mohammad 'Alee), having exterminated the Ghuzz, or Memlooks, who shared the government with his predecessors, has rendered himself almost an independent prince. He, however, professes allegiance to the Sultán, and remits the tribute, according to former custom, to Constantinople; he is, moreover, under an obligation to respect the fundamental laws of the Kur-án and the Traditions; but he exercises a dominion otherwise unlimited. He may cause any one of his subjects to be put to death without the formality of a trial, or without assigning any cause: a simple horizontal motion of his hand is sufficient to imply the sentence of decapitation. But I must not be understood to insinuate that he is prone to shed blood without any reason. Severity is a characteristic of this prince rather than wanton cruelty, and boundless ambition has prompted him to almost every act by which he has attracted either praise or censure. 10

In the Citadel of the metropolis is a court of judicature, called "ed-Deewán el-Khideewee," where, in the Básha's absence, presides his "Kikhya," or deputy, Habeeb Efendee. In cases which do not fall within the province of the Kádee, or which are sufficiently clear to be decided without referring them to the court of that officer or to another council, the president of the Deewán el-Khideewee passes judgment. Numerous guard-houses have

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