XIV. Our vicissitudes in Irak-Adjem.
Arrived in the Province of Irak, we skirted the Demavend range, traveling from Mazendran to Bestam, where we visited the graves of Mohammed Aftab, Sheikh Bayazid Bestami, and Sheikh Ebulhasan Harkani. The next day we reached Damgan.
That night one of our company called Ramazan the pious, and known as Boluk Bashi/1/, had a dream. Bayazid Bestami with forty Dervishes had appeared unto him and had spoken thus: "Let us pray for the safe return of Mir Sidi Ali." The Sheikh, moreover, had written a passport and sealed it, "that we might not be molested by the way." --This was his dream, and when I heard of it I rejoiced greatly and thanked God for his mercy vouchsafed; for this message (from the dead) virtually saved my life.
After visiting the grave of Imam Djafar in Damgan, we proceeded to Semnan, where we visited the grave of Sheikh Ala-ed-Dowleh Semnani. In this place they tried to draw us into sectarian controversies, but I restrained my comrades, and reminded them of the Hadis which says: "Ustur zafibak, zahabek in mazhabak," i.e., "Hide thy gold, thy opinions, and thy faith"; and I argued with them, saying, "Not one of you has traveled more than I have, and experience has made me wise. A wise man does not heed the words of the vulgar and the ignorant." They saw the wisdom of my words, and acted upon my advice.
Before long we came to Rei/2/, where I made pilgrimages to the graves of Imam Abdul Azim, and of Bibi Shehrbanu, the consort of Imam Husein. Here I also met Mohammed Khudabend, a son of the Shah's, and the Kurdji-bashi (chief armour-bearer) Sevindek Aga. Their presence was accounted for in this way: Some time ago the Shah had sent Ismail Mirza from Kazvin to Herat, and had now recalled him to Kazvin. The reason of this was that certain things which had happened during his rule had come to light, and by command of the Shah one of the nobles of Kazvin had been executed; and in like manner, also by order of the Shah, some followers of Ismail had been put to death. After this the Shah commanded Prince Mohammed Khudabend to appear before him, and the Kurdji-bashi was sent to fetch him. I was very pleased to meet the Prince, who assured me of the unwavering devotion of the Shah to our glorious Padishah.
Journeying from Rei it took us a month and a half (to the end of Safar) before we reached Kazvin, the capital of Irak./3/
Upon the Shah being told of our arrival, we were none of us allowed to enter the city, but had to take up our quarters in Sebzeghiran, one of the neighboring villages, under the protection of Mohammed Bey, the Divan Bey (first secretary) of the Great Vizier Maasum Bey. Presently the Ishik Agasi/4/ arrived, who took down our names, and the number of our horses, and gave his people private instructions to watch us strictly at night until further orders.
We were told that the Shah was very angry that we had been allowed to leave Meshhed without any further inquiry, and that in consequence of this Kokche Khalipha and Mir Munshi (first secretary) had been deprived of office. Following up this information, the Kapchadji/5/, Ali Bey, came to us by order of Yassaul Pir Ali, and said: "The people here have evil intentions; if you have any ready money about you, give it to me to keep, and if Providence deliver you out of this plight, I will return it; if on the other hand evil should befall you, it is better that your riches should fall in the hands of friends than of foes."
But I replied: "People who have wandered so long in foreign parts carry no cash about them, and they who fear death do not venture so far from home. I believe in the words of the Koran: 'He who is appointed to die cannot delay the hour, and without God's permission no man can slay.'"
It so happened that the Shah had by this time examined the letters which had been conveyed to him in a sealed bag, and the ladies who had traveled with us bore witness that we were poor and harmless folk. Moreover, I had sent the Shah a Quatrain which had found much favor, so he set us free. The Shah commanded his Vekil/6/, Maasum Bey, to offer me a banquet, after which he would himself entertain me. Maasum Bey was also commissioned to give me the glad news that I was free to go where I liked; and, as an envoy was shortly to be sent to the Sublime Porte, I might, if I liked, travel by the way of Azerbaidjan, i.e., by Tebriz and Van. Thereupon I requested that my desire might be made known to the Shah. I said, "We are not prepared to meet the hardships of the Van road in the winter time, and we beg to be allowed to travel by the way of Bagdad"; which request he graciously granted.
On the second day we were invited by the Shah to a banquet, and I presented my humble offerings. During the feast we conversed upon poetical and other subjects, and the Shah remarked to his courtiers: "These men do not look like intriguers; they are only pilgrims and religious fanatics," --and on the strength of this verdict Kokche Khalipha and Mir Munshi were reinstated in their office. I received a horse and two changes of robes, a bale of silk, and several other things; the two Serdars received each two robes of honor, and my five travelling companions, each one. Altogether the Shah behaved handsomely to us, and showed a marked respect for the person of his Majesty the Padishah.
One day I was invited to a banquet in the large Music hall, all the Beys of the royal family being present. To give some idea of the magnificence here displayed, I will only mention that from five hundred to one thousand Tumens had been spent on the decoration of the hall. There were some hundreds of velvet and silken brocaded carpets, painted and embroidered in figurative designs, quantities of luxurious cushions and exquisitely artistic tents, canopies, and sun-shades.
Yuzbashi Hasan Bey, one of the Shah's confidants, turned to me and said: "Is not this indeed a treasure-house?" "It is," I replied, "yet the wealth of kings is not measured by their gold and silver, but by their military power." This remark silenced him; he did not return to the subject.
As the envoy had already started for Tebriz, I was detained for another month, during which time the Shah showed me much attention, and I spent a good deal of my time in his presence. One day he ventured the remark: "Why were those 300 Janissaries sent from Turkey to assist Borak Khan?" I answered that these had not been sent to strengthen Borak Khan's forces, but merely as an escort to the late Sheikh Abdullatif, because it was a well-known fact that the Circassians/7/ had killed Baba Sheikh, a son of the holy Ahmed Jesewi, on the road from Astrakhan, and that that route was therefore made unsafe. If the Padishah had intended to send military help, not three hundred, but some thousands of Janissaries, would have gone to Bokhara.
Another time I was drawn into a religious dispute with Mir Ibrahim Sefevi, one of the Shah's relatives and a sage. The conversation ran as follows:
Ibrahim: "Why do the learned men of Turkey call us unbelievers?"
I: "It is said that the followers of the Prophet have been insulted by your countrymen, and according to the statutes of our religion, he who insults his superiors is an unbeliever."
Ibrahim: "That is what Imam Aazam (Ebn Hanifa) says, but according to Imam Shafi this belongs to the pardonable offenses."
I: "I understand that it is customary with you to accuse Ayesha, the wife of the Prophet (may God have mercy upon her), of immorality, and as this throws a stigma on the Prophet's name, it is synonymous to blasphemy. The people who can do this are in a state of apostasy, and their life is forfeited. Their goods can be confiscated, and their men put in prison. Any one persisting in this unbelief is subject to imprisonment, but if they renounce they may, without their wives, with or without marriage ...."
Ibrahim: "I must contradict this. In our eyes also, any one who accuses Ayesha of immorality is an unbeliever and a blasphemer and contradicts the Koran; because in the Sacred Book God Almighty testifies to the virtue of Ayesha. But all the same we cannot love her, because she set herself against Ali."
I: "How do you explain it that although the Hadis declares that the Ulemas are on a level with the prophets of the people of Israel, it nevertheless frequently happens that offensive language is used against the former?"
Ibrahim: "Does the name Ulema not include our Ulemas also?"
I: "In a facetious way it includes all Ulemas, but beyond this it is a well-known fact that it is said of them: "The flesh of the Ulema is poisonous, their odor is sickening, and to eat them is death'; and if in spite of this men will insult them, they must pay the penalty both in this world and in the next."
To this he could make no reply, and I turned the conversation into another channel.
The Shah once said to me, "Tell me, since thou hast traveled so much, which of the cities thou hast visited pleaseth thee best." And I replied: "I have indeed seen most of the cities of this world, but I have found none to compare with Stambul and Galata."
The Shah allowed this to pass, and continued: "At how many Tumens dost thou estimate the combined income of the Beys and Beylerbeys of Turkey?" to which I replied: "The Beys and Beylerbeys of Turkey receive payment according to their rank, but they enjoy besides this generally a private income. Other princes remunerate their officers in proportion to the pay of the regiment which they command, but if the pay of the Beys and other officers in the service of the Emperor of Turkey were to be based upon this foundation, it would run not into Tumens, nor yet Lakhs/8/, but into Kulurs/9/. To give you an example: The payments made to the Beylerbeys of Rumelia, Anatolia, Egypt, Hungary (Budin; i.e., Ofen), Diarbekir, Bagdad, Yemen, and Algiers, are, each in themselves, as much as any other prince would lay out on the whole of his army. This proportion holds good for all the other Beylerbeys also, and is in strict accordance with the superior standing of our government. Quite a different system is adopted for the troops under Khans and Sultans, for there is always an element of uncertainty there; but in Turkey the army belongs to the Padishah. All Beylerbeys and officers are his servants, and an Imperial command is law and cannot be trifled with/10/."
On this same occasion some of the officers asked whether the documents which had been taken from me by Ibrahim Mirza in Meshhed had ever been placed before the Shah. This question was answered in the affirmative; but I did not like to pursue the subject, mindful of the saying: "When evil slumbers, cursed be he who arouses it" --and I turned the conversation into another channel.
I preferred to plead my cause with another Ghazel, which the Shah graciously accepted, and which finally led to the desired result. We received permission to leave. He wrote a letter expressive of his unalterable respect and devotion to his Majesty the Padishah, gave me more presents, and commanded Nazr Bey, a brother of Yuzbashi Hasan Bey, to accompany me on the journey.
While in Kazvin I made a pilgrimage to the grave of Imam Shahzade Husein, and in the beginning of Rebiul-Evvel I started on my journey to Bagdad.
Near to Sultani, we passed Abhar, and I stopped to visit the grave of Pir Hasan, the son of Akhi Avran; then on to Kirkan (?), where I visited the grave of Mohammed Demtiz/11/, a son of Khodja Ahmed Jesewi, and from there to Derghezin and Hamadan, in which latter place the graves of Ain-ul-Kuzat and Pir Ebulalay, the armor-bearers of the Prophet, were visited. At Saadabad, our next station, I was met by the governor, who treated me with marked attention.
Then we took our way by Mount Elvend and Nihavend (in Suristan) to Bisutun, where I visited the grave of Kiazim, and in the village Weis-ul-karn, the grave of the Saint of that name. We then proceeded to Kasr-i-Shirin, and through Kurdistan to the fortress Zendjir. While there we were much interested in watching a Huma-bird/12/ high up in the sky. This is supposed to be a good omen, and we were therefore well pleased. Some enlarged upon the good fortune presaged by his appearance, others spoke of the curious properties of the bird, of whom Sa'di sings:
"The Huma is distinguished from all other birds,It is a known fact that this bird feeds exclusively on bones. The legend says that the Huma, before demolishing a bone, carries it up high in the air, and then drops it, with the result that it breaks into many pieces. He then swoops down upon these, divides them into equal portions, and devours them.
In that he lives on bones, yet is not a bird of prey."
This is the origin of the saying, when Persian officials, through extortion, obtain more than they can well digest: "They should follow the example of the Huma bird and divide their spoils into smaller, equal portions."
Here, at Zendjir, I dismissed Nazr Bey, whom the Shah had given me as an escort, and after crossing the great river Tokuz Olum/13/ we came to Ban (or Sheri Ban). Toward the end of the same month of Rebi-ul-Sani we reached Bagdad, where we were most hospitably received by Khizr Pasha. We did not delay, however, but hurried on to Turkey.
/1/ Boluk-Bashi, a degree of rank amongst the Janissaries, literally captain of a division.
/2/ In the immediate vicinity of Teheran.
/3/ This surely must mean a month and a half after entering Persia, for the distance from Rei (Teheran) to Kazvin can easily be accomplished in two or three days. Kazvin was at that time the capital of Persia.
/4/ Ishik Agasi = chief porter, a sort of master of the ceremonies.
/5/ In the text kapchadji-bashi may mean chief keeper of the purse, from kapcha = purse, or chief armour-bearer, from kopcha = armour.
/6/ Literally: Representative; at the court of the Shah it is also the title of the overseer over the culinary department.
/7/ The Circassians were at that time not yet Mohammedans, for they were converted later on by Ferrukh Pasha. It appears from this passage that the Pilgrim's route from Central Asia to Mecca led in those days past Astrakhan, i.e. by Kharezm and the lower Volga, and from there across the Caucasus via Constantinople to Arabia, about the same as in modern times, when pilgrims travel by the Trans-Caspian line, via Batum Baku and Constantinople to Mecca.
/8/ Lak = 100,000 pounds, a sum only used in India.
/9/ Kurur = 10,000,000 pounds.
/10/ Our author refers here to the Feudal system still in use in Central Asia at the time that I was there, and he rightly criticises the limited power of the rulers, which is the necessary result of it. In Persia the relation between the Khans and the Shah was based upon this principle till quite within modern times. The Sultans of Turkey, when at the Zenith of their power, were absolute sovereigns of their land. But at the commencement of the decline, the same relationship was established there as we see from the conduct of the Derabeys.
/11/ Demtiz = someone possessing strong, i.e. active or powerful, dem or nefes = breath.
/12/ Huma, name of a mythical bird, a kind of Phoenix which, as the legend says, lives in the air and never touches the earth, and is held to be a good omen. Thus for instance anyone who has been overshadowed by this bird is destined to be a ruler. Hence the word "Humayun" = Imperial, an epithet applied to royal persons.
/13/ Tokuz Olum = nine fords (if Olum be taken for the Turkoman word of the same meaning), is not known as the name of a great river, because, besides the Tigris, there are no large rivers in the neighbourhood of Bagdad.
XV. The rest of our Adventures.
In the beginning of Djemazi-ul-Evvel we crossed the Tigris in ships, and after revisiting the sacred graves there we journeyed on. Past Kasri, Semke, and Harbi we came to Tekrit and Mossul, and by the old road of Mossul and Djizre to Nisibin. From there by Diarbekir and Mardin we reached Amed, where I saw Iskender Pasha, who received me most graciously. In the course of conversation I told him some of our adventures, to which he listened with much interest, and exclaimed: "You have gone through more than even Tamum Dari has done, and as for all the marvelous things which you have seen, they are beyond the dreams of even Balkiah and Djihan Shah."
Questioned upon the different sovereigns and armies of the countries I had visited, I said: "In all the world there is no country like Turkey, no sovereign like our Padishah, and no army like the Turkish. From East to West the fame of the Ottoman troops has spread. For victory follows their banner wherever they go. May God keep Turkey in wealth and prosperity until the last day shall dawn. May he preserve our Padishah in health and happiness, and our troops ever victorious. Amen!"
When asked whether our name was known in those remote parts, I answered. "Certainly, more than you would think."
In the further course of conversation I learned that a report of my death had reached the Porte, and that therefore the post of Egyptian Admiral had been given to Kurdzade, the Sandjak-bey of Rhodus. I thought to myself: "Long live my Padishah, I shall easily obtain another office"; and I comforted myself with poetic effusions. Of course I trusted in God Almighty; nevertheless I was always thinking about the conquest of Ormuz and Gujarat, and I argued thus to myself: "These fantastic dreams have so filled thy brain, that thou art being drawn down to the earth by them; the spirit of wandering is so strong in thee that thou canst not give thy body rest until it shall return to dust."
I resumed my journey to Turkey, in the hope soon to set eyes again on Constantinople. Arrived in Arghini, I visited the grave of the prophet Zilkefl; from there by Kharput to Malatia and the grave of Seid Ghazi Sultan, a native of that place; and shortly after, I reached Siwas, the first station on Turkish territory. Ali Pasha received me there with marked distinction; I delayed a short time to visit the grave of Abdul Wahab Ghazi, and to call upon Ali Baba, who gave me his blessing.
After this I continued my journey to Stamboul, across the plain of Ken to Kara Hissar Behram Shah, and through Bozauk to Hadji Bektash, where I made pilgrimages to the graves of the Saints of that place, and of Balam Sultan; then on to Kirshehr and the graves of Hadji Avran and Aashik Pasha, past Ayas Varsak to Angora, crossing the Kizil Irmak (Halys) by the bridge of Chashneghir/14/. I visited the grave of Hadji Bairam Sultan and his children, and the Khidr, and had a friendly interview with Djenabi Pasha. From Beybazari we came to Boli, touched Modurn, and on to Kunik, where is the grave of Sheikh Shemseddin; next we came to Tarakli Yenidje and Keive, with the bridge over the Sakaria river, past Agadj-Deniz, on to Sabandja and Iznikmid/15/ and the grave of Nebi Khodja. From there our way led past Ghekivize and Skutari, where I crossed the Bosphorus, and reached Constantinople in safety.
God be praised, who led me safely through manifold dangers, and brought me back to this most beautiful country of all the earth. Four years have passed away; years of much sorrow and misery, of many privations and perplexities; but now in this year 964 (1556), in the beginning of Redjeb, I have once more returned to my own people, my relations, and my friends. Glory and praise be to God the Giver of all good things!
His Majesty the Padishah happened to be at Adrianople, and on the second day after my return I traveled thither, to pay him homage. I had the good fortune to be most graciously received by his Imperial Majesty. The high Viziers, and especially Vizier Rustem Pasha, loaded me with kindnesses. I was appointed to join the Corps of the Muteferrika (officers in attendance on the Sultan) with a daily income of sixty aktche. And the Ketkhuda (Intendant) who had accompanied me on my travels had his salary increased with eight aktche, and was appointed Muteferrika for Egypt. One of the Boluk-Bashi (Chef d'Escadron) received eight aktche, and my other traveling companions each six aktche above their ordinary pay. One of these latter was nominated to the post of Egyptian Tchaush, and the others joined the volunteers. They received their pay for the four years they had been away, payment being made out of the Egyptian treasury.
Toward the end of Rajab his Majesty the Sultan returned to Constantinople, and on the day that he entered the Konak of Tchataldja I was appointed Defterdar (Superintendent of the finances of the army) of Diarbekir. Thus in his gracious kindness his Majesty had pleased and satisfied us all.
He who wishes to profit by this narrative, let him remember that not in vain aspirations after greatness, but in a quiet and contented mind, lieth the secret of the true strength which perisheth not. But if in God's providence he should be driven from home, and forced to wander forth in the unknown, and perchance be caught in the turbulent waves of the sea of adversity, let him still always keep in mind that love for one's native land is next to one's faith. Let him never cease to long for the day that he shall see his native shores again, and always cling loyally to his Padishah. He who doeth this shall not perish abroad; God will grant him his desire both in this world and in the next, and he shall rejoice in the esteem and affection of his fellow-countrymen.
I completed this narrative in Galata in the month Shaaban of the year 964 (1556), and the transcript of it was accomplished in the month Safar of the year 965 (1557).
/14/ Chashneghir = Cup-bearer, probably the name of the builder.
/15/ Isnikmid, now Ismid, has better preserved the ancient Greek name.
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