16 October 1916

“The Sherif’s rebellion had been unsatisfactory for the last few months … and my suspicion was that its lack was leadership: not intellect, nor judgement, nor political wisdom, but the flame of enthusiasm, that would set the desert on fire. My visit was mainly to find the yet unknown master-spirit of the affair, and measure his capacity to carry the revolt to the goal I had conceived for it. As our conversation continued, I became more and more sure that Abdulla was too balanced, too cool, too humorous to be a prophet: especially the armed prophet who, if history be true, succeeded in revolutions. His value would come perhaps in the peace after success. During the physical struggle, when singleness of eye and magnetism, devotion and self-sacrifice were needed, Abdulla would be a tool too complex for a simple purpose, though he could not be ignored, even now.”

Events of 16 October 1916 as recounted by T. E. Lawrence in Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1926).

Newly arrived in Jidda, Lawrence began to meet and assemble the cast of characters who would fight alongside him over the next two years as part of the Arab Revolt. First was Abdullah, Sherif Hussein’s second son.