CHAPTER VII THE king of China had sent valuable gifts to the sultan, including a hundred slaves of both sexes, five hundred pieces of velvet and silk cloth, musk, jewelled garments and weapons, with a request that the sultan would permit him to rebuild the idol-temple which is near the mountains called Qara.j£l [Himalaya]. It is in a place known as Samhal, to which the Chinese go on pilgrimage; the Muslim army in India had captured it, laid it in ruins and sacked it.l The sultan, on receiving this gift, wrote to the king saying that the request could not be granted by Islamic law, as permission to build a temple in the territories of the Muslims was granted only to those who paid a poll-tax; to which he added "If thou wilt pay the jizya we shall empower thee to build it. And peace be on those who follow the True Guidance." He requited his present with an even richer one-a hundred thoroughbred horses, a hundred white slaves, a hundred Hindu dancing-and singing-girls, twelve hundred pieces of various kinds of cloth, gold and silver candelabra and basins, brocade robes, caps, quivers, swords, gloves embroidered with pearls, and fifteen eunuchs. As my fellow-ambassadors the sultan appointed the amir Zahfr ad-Din of Zanjan, one of the most eminent men of learning, and the eunuch Kafur, the cup-bearer, into whose keeping the present was entrusted. He sent the amir Muhammad of Herat with a thousand horsemen to escort us to the port of embarkation, and we were accompanied by the Chinese ambassadors, fifteen in
number, along with their servants, about a hundred men in all.