Bernier, François, Travels in the Mogul Empire A.D. 1656-1668

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



Jump to page:

Table of Contents

  Page 8  

8                      HISTORY OF THE STATES

and nights in dancing, singing, and driiiliing wine. He
presented his favourites with rich robes, and increased or
diminished their allowances as the passing fancy of the
moment prompted. No courtier, who consulted his own
interest, would atteinpt to detach him from this mode
of life: the business of government therefore often
languished, and the affections of his subjects were in a
great measure alienated.

Sultan Sujah declared himself of the religion of the
Persians, although his father and brothers professed that
of the Turks. Mahometanism is divided into various sects,
which occasioned the following distich from the pen of
the famous Cheik-Sady, author of the Goulistan.

I am a drinking Derviche ; I am apparently without religion ;
1 am known by the seventy-two sects. ^

Among all these sects there are two leading ones whose
respective partisans are mortal enemies to each other.
The one is that of the Turks, called by the Persians
Osmanlous, or Followers of Osman, whom the Turks believe
to have been the true and legitimate successor of Mahomet,
the Great Caliph, or Sovereign Pontiff, to whom alone it
belonged to interpret the Koran, and to decide the contro¬
versies that occur in the law. The other is that of the
Persians, called by the Turks, Chias, Rafezys and Aly-
Merdans; that is. Sectaries, Heretics, and Partisans of
Aly; because the Persians believe that this succession and
pontifical authority, of which I have just spoken, belonged
only to Aly the son-in-law ot Mahomet.

When he avowed himself one of the latter sect. Sultan
Sujah was evidently actuated by motives of policy; for as

By this he meant that he was to be numbered among the lost,
alluding to the saying of the Prophet Muhammad, ' It shall come to
pass that my people shall be divided into three-and-seventy sects, all
of which, save only one, shall have their portion in the fire.' 'Tis said
that the reason why the Prophet pitched on the number seventy-three
was, that the Magians were divided into seventy sects, the Jews into
seventy-one, and the Christians into seventy-two.
  Page 8