L I S T   O F   C H A R A C T E R S

This list identifies important characters from the translated adventures (not every one in the whole dastan).  The entries are described from the point of view of the dastan itself, disregarding problems of historicity, etc.  Each name is marked with an asterisk (*) on its first appearance in the translation.

Abraham.  [ibraahiim].  An early Prophet who upheld monotheism and built the Ka‘bah; he appears to people in dreams and converts them to Islam.

‘Abdul Muttalib.  [((abd ul-mu:t:talib].  Hamzah’s father, ruler of Mecca and head of the tribe of Hashim.

‘Abdur Rahman the Jinn.  [((abd ur-ra;hmaan jinnii].  Shahpal’s vazir, virtuous and skilled in divination.

Adam.  [aadam].  A Prophet, and the father of the human race.

‘Adi Ma‘dikarab.  (((aadii ma((diikarab].  The son of Hamzah’s wet-nurse, ‘Adiyah Bano; he becomes one of Hamzah’s close companions.  ‘Adi was a highway robber until Hamzah conquered and converted him, and is known for his insatiable gluttony and immense strength.

‘Adiyah Bano.  [((aadiyah baano].  The wet-nurse of Hamzah, ‘Amar, and Muqbil, and mother of ‘Adi Ma‘dikarab.

Ahriman.  [ahriman].  A Dev, the father of Ifrit.  His name is that of the Zoroastrian principle of evil.

‘Aishah.  [((aa))ishah].  The Prophet’s youngest and favorite wife.

Alexander.  [sikandar].  Alexander the Great, the exemplary world-conqueror, a name to conjure with in Islamic story tradition.  He is once referred to as “the Two-horned” [;zuu))l-qarnain], a title of uncertain significance.

‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.  [((alii ibn abii :taalib]  The cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet; he is especially revered by Shiites.

‘Amar bin Umayyah Zamiri .  [((amar bin umayyah .zamiirii].  Hamzah’s adopted brother and loyal comrade, the son of a Meccan camel driver.  ‘Amar is the supreme *‘ayyar of his age; his special talents include music and fast running.  His name would normally be read as “Amr,”  but the text itself instructs us differently in his case.

Amir.  [amiir].  “Chief, lord.”  An honorific title given to Hamzah.

Amir’s son.  [amiirzaadah].  A title used for ‘Amr bin Hamzah.

‘Amr bin Hamzah.  [((amr bin ;hamzah].  Hamzah’s eldest son, by Nahid Maryam.

Angel of Death.  [malak ul-maut].  The angel sent by God to claim the souls of those whose time has come to die.

Arnais.  [arnaa))iis].  From [arnaa], a male buffalo.  A Dev, father of Ashqar.

Ashqar Devzad.  [ashqar devzaad].  A beautiful winged colt, son of Arnais and Lanisah; he bears Hamzah home from Qaf and stays with him to the death.

Asif Barkhiya.  [aa.sif bar;xiyaa].  Solomon’s vazir.

Asifa Basafa, Bibi.  [biibii aa.sifaa baa.safaa].  “Lady Asifa the Pure.”  The mother of Khizr and Elias; she lives on the Mountain of Light.

Asman Pari. [aasmaan parii].  “Sky Pari.”  Daughter of Shahpal, and later herself Queen of Qaf.  She falls in love with Hamzah, marries him, and holds him captive by love and violence for eighteen years.  She bears him one daughter, Quraishah.

‘ayyar. [((ayyaar].  A practitioner of the profession of #‘ayyari.

‘Ayyar and King of ‘Ayyars.  [shaah-e ((ayaaraan ((ayyaar].  A title of Amar’s.

Badi uz-Zaman.  [badii(( uz-zamaa;N].  “Wonder of the Age.”  Hamzah’s son by Geli Savar.

Bahram Gurd, Emperor of China.  [bahraam gurd ;xaaqaan-e chiin].  One of Hamzah’s close companions, ruler of the land of #China.

Bakhtak.  [ba;xtak].  “Small Fortune.”  Naushervan’s evil counselor, hostile to Hamzah, always ready for major or minor mischief.

Bakhtyarak. [ba;xtyaarak].  “Small Master of Fortune.”  Bakhtak’s son.

Black Constellation.  [siyaah qii:taas].  Hamzah’s horse, whom Gabriel brings for him from the stables of the Prophet Isaac.

Buraq. [buraaq].  The horse-like creature ridden by the Prophet during his night journey to Jerusalem and his ascent into Heaven.

Buzurchmihr.  [buzurchmihr].  “Great Sun.”  Naushervan’s virtuous vazir, skilled in divination and esoteric knowledge; he is secretly a Muslim.

Buzurg Ummid. [buzurg ummiid].  “Great Hope.”  Buzurchmihr’s son.

 David. [daa))uud].  A Prophet, and a notable musician; his gifts include Amar’s two-stringed Lute of David, and his singing ability.

Dev.  [dev].  A species of immensely huge, powerful, strong demons, mostly violent and brutal; they are invisible to ordinary human eyes, and can fly.  They live in Qaf, and are kept in subjugation by Shahpal.  Some are cannibalistic.  Their females seem usually to be magicians.

Earthquake of Qaf.  [zalaazil-e qaaf].  A title of Hamzah’s, which he earns through his subjugation of the rebellious Devs of Qaf.

Elias.  [ilyaas].  A Prophet, described as Khizr’s brother.

faqir.  [faqiir].  A Muslim ascetic, usually a solitary wanderer living on the voluntary gifts of the pious.

Faramarz.  [faraamarz].  Naushervan’s younger son.

Farhad bin Landhaur.  [farhaad bin landhaur].  Landhaur’s older son.

Father of Greatness.  [abuu))l-ulaa].  One of Hamzah’s titles, often used in intimate, affectionate situations.

Father of the Runners of the World.  [baabaa-e davindagaan-e ((aalam].  An epithet of Amar’s.

Final Prophet of the Age.  [pai;Gambar-e aa;xir uz-zamaa;N].  The Prophet Muhammad, God’s own special and final Messenger, on the basis of whose revelation Islam was founded.

Fitnah Bano.  [fitnah baano].  “Lady Mischief.”  Mihr Nigar’s chief confidante, the daughter of her old nurse.  She is half-comically engaged to ’Amar.

Friends of God.  [auliyaa)) allaah].  In the dastan, a group of holy persons highly honored by God’s special favor and often charged by Him with special commissions.  Among them are Gabriel, Khizr, and ’Ali.

Gabriel.  [jibra))iil].  An angel of God who is sent on errands to men.

Gaolangi.  [gaa))olangii].  Known for his gigantic stature, he is the ruler of Alabaster, in the Dark Regions; he becomes a Muslim and Hamzah’s ally.

Geli Savar.  [gelii savaar].  A warrior princess, daughter of King Ganjal; Hamzah marries her, and she gives birth to Badi uz-Zaman.

ghost.  [bhuut].  In Indic folk tradition, a mischievous spirit bent on harrassment; it often appears dirty and disheveled.

Gurshasp.  [gurshaasp].  One of Rustam bin Zal’s ancestors.

Hamzah.  [;hamzah].  The hero of the dastan; he is the son of ’Abdul Muttalib, and the paternal uncle of the Prophet.

Hazrat.  [;ha.zrat].  “The Presence.”  An extremely respectful title of honor, normally reserved for kings and Prophets and other dignitaries of the highest rank.

Hell-cave Bano.  [saqar ;Gaar baano].  Bakhtak’s mother.

Hindah.  [hindah].  The mother of Pur-e Hindi; she ambushes and murders Hamzah to avenge her son’s death, then accepts Islam to protect herself.

Houri.  [;huur].  A female companion of the righteous in Paradise.

Hud.  [;huud].  One of the earlier Prophets mentioned in the Quran.

Hurmuz.  [Hurmuz].  Naushervan’s eldest son, the Crown Prince.

’Ifrit.  [((ifriit].  “Demon.”  The most powerful and terrifying of the Devs who rebel against Shahpal.  “’Ifrit” is normally a species name, but here it is the name of a single individual.

Jam.  [Jam].  See *Jamshed.

Jamshed.  [jamshed].  An ancient Persian king, known as a magician.

Jinn.  [jinn].  A species of Qaf-dwellers, invisible to ordinary human eyes; they can fly.  They seem to be intermarried with the Paris:  Shahpal’s brother Sabz-qaba is described as a Jinn.

Khizr.  [;xi.zr].  “Green.”  A well-established figure in Islamic story tradition, here called a Prophet.  Khizr is associated with water (often with Alexander and the Water of Life), fertility, and right guidance; he bears messages and help from the Unseen to Hamzah and his companions.  His mother is named Asifa Basafa, and Elias is his brother.

Khvajah. [;xvaajah].  “Lord, master.”  Often used as an honorific title for a man of high rank.

Khvajah Ashob and Khvajah Bahlol.  [aashob], “Devastation”; [bahlol], “Jester”.  Two mischievous boys, held captive by a Dev, whom Hamzah rescues and takes with him out of Qaf.

King of Egypt. [((aziiz-e mi.sr].  An ally of Naushervan’s, who betrays Hamzah and is later captured and killed under humiliating circumstances.

King of Kings.  [shaahanshaah].  The official title of an emperor.

Laila.  [lailaa].  “Night.”  The faithful beloved of the legendary Majnun.

Landhaur bin Sadan, Emperor of Hindustan.  [landhaur bin sa((daan ;xusrav-e hinduustaan].  One of Hamzah’s closest companions, famous for his prowess in mace-fighting and for his elephant, Maimunah.

Lanisah.  [laaniisah].  A Pari, the mother of Ashqar.

Lat and Manat.  [laat o manaat].  Two goddesses worshiped by the pre-Islamic Meccans and denounced in the Quran [53:19-20].  They are sometimes invoked by Naushervan and members of his court.

Maimunah.  [maimuunah].  “Fortunate.”  Landhaur’s elephant, whom he rides into battle.

Majnun.  [majnuun].  “Jinn-possessed.”  The most famous mad lover in Islamic story tradition; he sacrificed everything for his love of Laila.

Mal’unah Jadu.  [mal((uunah jaaduu].  “Cursed woman the Magician.”  ’Ifrit’s mother, a formidable magician.

Manzar Shah of Yemen.  [man:zar shaah yamaanii].  King of Yemen, and one of Hamzah’s close companions.

Mihr Angez. [mihr angez].  “Affection-evoking.”  Naushervan’s wife, daughter of the Emperor of #China; she is the mother of Hurmuz, Faramarz, and Mihr Nigar.

Mihr Nigar.  [mihr nigaar].  “Affection-adorning.”  Naushervan’s daughter, Hamzah’s true love; she waits eighteen years to marry Hamzah, and bears him one son, Qubad.

Muqbil the Faithful.  [muqbil vafaadaar].  The son of a slave of ’Abdul Muttalib’s, he is Hamzah’s adopted “brother” from birth, and a peerless archer.

Nahid Maryam.  [naahiid maryam].  [naahiid], a name for the planet Venus; [maryam], “Mary.”  Hamzah’s first wife, the daughter of King Faredun of Greece; she is the mother of ’Amr bin Hamzah.

Naranj Pari.  [naaranj parii].  “Orange Pari.”  The real identity of the *Veiled One Dressed in Orange.  She eventually marries Hamzah.

Nariman.  [nariimaan].  Rustam bin Zal’s great-grandfather.

Naushervan.  [naushervaan].  The King of Kings of the Seven Realms, who rules with his Sasanians at Ctesiphon in Iran; Hamzah becomes his son-in-law through marriage to Mihr Nigar.

Nimrod.  [namruud].  Traditionally, the idolatrous king who threw Abraham into the fire [Quran 21:70]; here treated as a a Zoroastrian figure.

Pari.  [parii].  “Fairy.”  The dominant race of Qaf-dwellers.  Creatures of fire, invisible to ordinary human eyes, they have the power of flight, and many other powers as well.  They seem to be about the size of humans, and are often extremely beautiful; they can visit the World at will.

Parizad.  [pariizaad].  “Pari-born.”  The name commonly used for the males of the *Pari race; sometimes female Paris too are referred as Parizads.

Prophet.  [nabii.  A human being appointed by God as a messenger to his own people, and charged with a message specifically addressed to them.

Qubad.  [qubaad].  Hamzah’s son by Mihr Nigar.

Quraishah.  [quraishah].  “Woman of the Quraish.”  The daughter of Hamzah and Asman Pari.

Rad the Deceitful.  [ra((d-e shaa:tir].  [ra((d], “Lightning.”  ’Ifrit’s nephew, a powerful Dev.

Raihan Pari.  [rai;haan parii].  “Sweet-basil Pari.”  Asman Pari’s cousin, who also marries Hamzah.

Rustam bin Zal.  [rustam bin zaal].  The mightiest and most famous hero from the Persian epic tradition.  His best-known combat was with his son Suhrab:  not recognizing each other, father and son fought to the death, and in the end Rustam killed Suhrab.

Rustam Pil-tan.  [rustam piil-tan].  “Rustam Elephant-body.”  Hamzah’s son by a princess of Khursanah called Rabi’ah the Sackcloth-dressed.

Sabz-qaba.  [sabz qabaa].  “Green-robe.”  Shahpal’s older brother; he marries his daughter Raihan Pari to Hamzah.

Sad bin ’Amr bin Hamzah.  [sa((d bin ((amr bin ;hamzah].  The Amir’s first grandson, born to the wife of his eldest son ’Amr bin Hamzah.

Sahib-qiran.  [.saa;hib-qiraan].  “Lord of the conjunction.”  A title of Hamzah’s, referring to his birth at an auspicious astrological moment.  The title is a sign of Hamzah’s special destiny:  he is sometimes referred to as the “Sahib-qiran of the Age.”

Salasil Parizad.  [salaasil pariizaad].  [salaasil], “Chains.”  A courtier of Qaf.

Salih.  [.saali;h].  One of the earlier Prophets mentioned in the Quran.

Sam bin Nariman.  [saam bin nariimaan].  Rustam bin Zal’s grandfather.

Samiri.  [saamirii].  In the Quran [20:85-97], the maker of the golden calf; in Persian story tradition, a powerful magician.

Sasanians.  [saasaanii].  The nobles of Naushervan’s court.

Shahpal bin Shahrukh.  [shahpaal bin shaahru;x].  King of Kings of Qaf, and father of Asman Pari.  It is he who summons Hamzah to Qaf.

Simurgh.  [siimur;G].  An immense, powerful bird, who can talk; he is an important and dignified figure in Persian story tradition.

Solomon.  [sulaimaan].  Solomon is described in the Quran as having authority over the Jinns [27:16-17], by God’s special grace.  He thus represents virtuous esoteric power, a kind of counter-magic sponsored by God.

Suhrab.  [suhraab].  Rustam bin Zal’s son.

Sultan Bakht of Maghrib.  [sul:taan ba;xt ma;Gribii].  The prince of Maghrib, one of Hamzah’s close companions.

Tauq bin Haran.  [:tauq bin ;haraan].  “Neck-ring son of Haran.”  One of Hamzah’s close companions, a former highwayman who intimidated travelers with a ferocious tiger until Hamzah conquered and converted him.

Veiled One Dressed in Orange.  [naqaabdaar naaranjii posh].  The mysterious rescuer who appears at the last moment to save Amar in times of disaster, during Hamzah’s absence in Qaf.

White Dev.  [safed dev].  A powerful Dev of Qaf who torments Hamzah.

witch.  [cu;Rail].  In Indic folk tradition, a female ghost or demon of horrifying aspect.

World-conqueror.  [getii sitaan].  An epithet of Hamzah’s.

Yazid.  [yaziid].  The ruler whose armies killed Husain at Karbala; to Muslims, the archetypal sinner.

Younger Solomon.  [sulaimaan-e ;saanii].  A title of Hamzah’s, referring to his power of subduing Devs.  Solomon is described as having predicted Hamzah’s adventures in Qaf in some detail.

Zhopin Kaus.  [zhopiin kaa))us].  [zhopiin], “Spear.”  One of Naushervan’s generals, a treacherous and dangerous enemy of Hamzah’s.

Zuhrah of Egypt.  [zuhrah mi.srii].  [zuhrah], a name for the planet Venus.  The daughter of the King of Egypt, who accepts Islam and is engaged to Muqbil the Faithful.


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