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File 756/1917 Pt 2-3 ‘ARAB BULLETIN Nos 66-114’ [‎11r] (30/834)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (411 folios). It was created in 1917-1920. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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— 424
prisoner. However, he set to work mending rifles and
manufacturing ammunition, and he received no actual illtreat-
ment until he failed to carry out some of the impossibilities
demanded of him. For example, his protests, that he could
neither manufacture guns without material and plant, nor mend
maxim-guns without component parts, were met with buffeting
and abuse, while his request to be allowed to return to Abyssinia
on the conclusion of his contract was received not only with
threats, but with actual manifestations of the most revolting-
atrocities. His last months at Tale were well nigh intolerable,
and he frequently contemplated suicide. Finally, he escaped, by
letting himself down the wall with a long rope and a grappling-
iron, only to perish on the road. Eight Bagheri who had formed
the guard oyer his quarters were executed forthwith. It is
significant of the Mullah’s distrust, that .never once did he admit
Kirsch to audience during his stay at Tale.”
The House of Sheibi (Beni Shaybali).
The Kiblah (No. 116) announces the death of the aged
Sheikh Mohammed Salih, head of the Sheibi Shaybah family, and
hereditary Keeper of the Key (or, rather, the gilt padlock) of the
Kaabah. A year ago he was appointed first Vice-President of
the King's Legislative Council, though not credited with
enthusiastic loyalty to the regime. The Keepership of the Key
now passes, by King Husein’s order, to the next brother, Abd el-
Qadir, also a member of the Legislative Council. This family—
tiie sangre azul of Mecca, as Burton called it—is of so ancient and
authentic a nobility that it puts “ Bourbon and Nassau ” into the
shade. If we smile at the popular legend which traces the family
and its privilege to an old woman (Shaybah), whom Abraham
and Isaac found in possession of the site of the new Kaabah they
had been commanded to build, and bought out with a promise of
the key to herself and her sons for ever—at the same time we
know that the Sheibi have enjoyed their privilege since Moawiya’s
day, if not the Prophet’s—generation after generation for at least
1,200 years. Perhaps, indeed, much more, for the Kaabah is
pre-Islamic, and it was the long established Meccan aristocracy
(e.g. the Umayyads) that the Prophet compromised in the matter
of the local sanctuaries. History relates that, during the anarchy
of the eleventh century, when Abbasid prestige was dying and
the Alids had not yet rivetted their grip on Mecca, the Sheibis
enriched themselves, like any Barons of mediaeval Europe, by
transferring all the gold and silver gifts from the Beit Allah to
their own private possession.

About this item


The volume consists of individual copies of the Arab Bulletin produced by the Arab Bureau at the Savoy Hotel, Cairo numbers 66-114. These publications contain wartime, and post-war intelligence obtained by British sources. They deal with economic, military, and political matters in Turkey, the Middle East, Arabia, and elsewhere, which – in the opinion of British officials – affect the ‘Arab movement’; the bulletins cover a wide range of topics and key personalities.

The volume contains the following maps:

  • A map of Central Arabia showing St John Philby's route from Uqair to Jidda 17 November to 31 December 1917: folio 103.
  • Sketch map prepared from RNAS photographs and reconnaissance by HMS City of Oxford of Wadi Mur February to March 1918 : folio 170.
  • Sketch map of Hejaz (1919): folio 317.
  • Tribal sketch map of the Hadhramaut ‘showing only tribes of fighting value’: folios 333v.

Towards the back of the volume is a small amount of correspondence respecting the distribution of Notes on the Middle East ; the Arab Bulletin was superseded by this publication. Copies of numbers 3-4 of this publication can also be found at the back of the volume.

Tables of content can be found at the front of each issue. A small amount of content is in French.

Extent and format
1 volume (411 folios)

The Arab Bulletins are arranged in numerical order from the front to the back of the file. The Notes on the Middle East follow on from the bulletins at the back of the file in reverse numerical order.

The subject 759 (Arab Bulletins) consists of two volumes. IOR/L/PS/10/657-658.

Physical characteristics

Condition: the edges of some of the folios towards the back of the volume have suffered damage to their edges due to general wear and tear. The affected folios are 389-390, 407-409, and 412.

Foliation: the foliation sequence for this description commences at the first folio with 1, and terminates at the inside back cover with 413; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. The front cover and the leading flyleaf have not been foliated. A previous foliation sequence, which is present between ff 357-363 and ff 374-412 and is also circled, has been superseded and therefore crossed out.

Written in
English in Latin script
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File 756/1917 Pt 2-3 ‘ARAB BULLETIN Nos 66-114’ [‎11r] (30/834), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/658, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 11 November 2019]

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