The 'Anazah[1] had an idol called Su'ayr.' Ja'far ibn-abi- Khallis al-Kalbi[2] set out one day on his camel and happened upon Su'ayr. As he passed by the idol, the camel shied, because the 'Anazah had recently offered a sacrifice before it [and the blood was still fresh upon the altar]. Thereupon he said:

"My young camels were startled by the blood of sacrifice
Offered around Su'ayr whither Yaqdum[3] and
Yadhkur[4] go on pilgrimage, and stand before it in fear and awe,
Motionless and silent, awaiting its oracular voice."

Abu-al-Mundhir said that Yaqdum and Yadhkur were




the two sons of 'Anazah. Ja'far saw some of their descendants circumambulating Su'ayr.

The Arabs also had relic stones [which they obtained from ancient ruins] and erected. They were wont to circumambulate them and offer sacrifices before them. These stones were called baetyls (ansab), and the circumambulation thereof was called circumrotation (dawar).

In this connection, 'Amir ibn-a Tufayl (who had, one day, come upon the Ghani ihn-A'sur[5] circumambulating some of their baetyls, and seeing their maidens in the procession, was impressed by their beauty) said;

"O that my mother's kin, the Ghani,
Would circumrotate their baetyls every evening[6]!"

In this connection, too, 'Amr ibn-Jabir al-Harithi[7], later al-Ka'bi, said:

"The Ghutayf vowed nor to frighten their flock,
And I vowed by the baetyls not to scare them."

Al-Muthaqqib al-'Abdi[8] refers to such baetyls in an ode which he addressed to 'Amr ibn-Hind. He said:

"Young lads circumambulate their baetyls,
Until their hair[9] becomes almost grey."

Al-Fazari,[10], having done something which incurred the wrath of the Quraysh, who consequently forbad him to enter Mecca, said:

"I lead my she-camels and carry my baetyls behind me;
Would that I have my people's god beside me!"



Referring to the same practice, one of the banu-Damrah[10] said, while discussing a war 'which his tribe had fought:

"And I swore by the baetyls and the curtains."

Referring to the same thing, al-Mutalammis al-Duba'i, addressing 'Amr ibn-Hind and reminding him of what he had done to him and to Tarafah ibn-al-'Ahd[11], says:

"Thou hast banished me for fear of lampoon arid satire.
No! By Allat and all the sacred baetyls, thou shalt not escape[12]!"

Recalling a war in which he had fought, 'Amir ibn-Withilah abu-al-Tufayl[13] said [during the early days of Islam]:

"Thou hast not heard of a raid which,
like a flock of grouse, went on and on;
While I and my horse, Ward, were like baetyls
smeared with the blood of sacrifice."




1. Ishtiqaq, p.194.

2. cf. Ryckman's., vol I, p. 153, Lisan al-Arab has Sa'ir, while Taj al-Aras has Su'ayr, Wellhausen, p 61.

3. In Buldan, vol.III, p.94, the name is given as Ja'far ibn-Khallas al-Kalbi; in the "Jamharah" (Escurial MS), folio 210r-v, it is given as Ja'far ibn-abi-al-Jallas.

4. Ishtiqaq, p.194.

5. Sifah, p.172.

6. Ishtiqaq, p. 164.

7. See Charles Lyall, The Diwans of 'Abid ibn al-Abra, or Asad and of 'Amir ibn at-Tufail, or 'Amir ibn Sa'sa'ah, Leyden, 1913, text, p. 155, tr., p 122.

8. Unidentified.

9. Al-Shi'r w-al Shu'ara', pp.233-235.

10. Lit. "eyebrows".

11. Perhaps Nuhaykah; see above, p. 18.

12. Ishtiqaq, p. 105.

13. Al-Shi'r w-al Shu'ara', pp.88-96.