"The office of His Excellency Khaled Hassanein Bey was perfectly up to date and, save for a large framed Arabic text from the Quran, much like any office in Europe might be. His Excellency sat at a glass-topped table, was constantly using the telephone, and kept his papers in automatic roll-shuttered filing cabinets.

"Just before noon another visitor called, one of his own inspectors in fact, and a few minutes later His Excellency asked:

" 'You have no objection if I say my prayers now?' and of course I reassured him on the point.

"Rugs were unrolled, both men slipped off their shoes, and prostrated themselves in the usual manner. For fully a dozen minutes they were occupied with their prayers, while clerks went on working, messengers entered, left papers, and departed in an atmosphere of complete unconcern. The two prayed as men who were utterly alone, utterly in ignorance of my presence. When their devotions were ended they rose and resumed their seats at the glass-topped table, and continued to discuss their business.

"The thing impressed me intensely, as something which I had never seen in any Western office. Nowhere in Europe or America could one see the like. There, at midday, men would begin rushing out for lunch; here, in Egypt, these two men prayed first and then thought of lunch.

"If we in the West really believed, I thought, then this incident was both an example to be followed and a rebuke to be heeded. But could we carry our faith thus far? I doubted.

"It was this point which struck me so much in Egypt. God, Allah, to the Muslim was a very real Being, and no mere philosophical abstraction. Merchants, servants and workmen; nobles, pashas and officials, thought nothing of stopping in the midst of their activities and kneeling prostrate before Allah in office, shop, street or home; quite apart from the mosque. Men who never dreamt of arising in the morning or retiring at night without bending themselves in brief reverence before Allah, might have nothing more to teach us, but at least they had this one thing to teach the Western world, so busy and so preoccupied with other matters. I am not here raising the point of Islamic doctrines, which I shall explain in their proper place, but the point of what our faith in a Higher Power is worth; call that Power whatever we wish.

"Imagine a man in London or New York getting down on his knees in an open street or space, thus publicly worshipping God; because he felt the call to do so, to remember the existence of Him who permits our own existence to continue! The man would either be laughed at, ridiculed and perhaps pitied by our over-clever moderns, or else he would be arrested as a nuisance for obstructing the traffic of passengers or vehicles!"