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The [Hejaz] Railway has many obvious advantages for populat­ ing the country, restoring life to the servants [of Allah], serving the Two Shrines [Mecca and Medina], assisting those desirous to visit both of them, promoting the scope of profitable commerce, bolster­ ing the planning of superior agriculture, and maintaining the political balance in the wide, extensive Arab lands. The sultan (may Allah make his reign eternal) donated 50,000 gold pieces [Turkish pounds] from his private purse for the initial stage. He then repeated this, contributing another 100,000 from the fund for public works (sunduq al-mandfi'). Also, bonds for 1,000,000 [pounds] were issued. Now it was too late to retract. An imperial irade ordered the work on the railway to start. Voluntary societies were founded to handle the matter. Muslims everywhere competed in assisting it, personally and financially. Evil-minded rumormongers saw that the construc­ tion of the railway was to come about anyway, God willing. For their personal purposes they spread rumors that constructing a railway is forbidden by the Koran and that the pilgrimage is permitted solely on foot, or riding on the backs of grazing livestock or beasts of burden. This they did, fabricating lies of their own, calumniating the most righteous Book [the Koran].