Selections from the Tarikh-i-Rashidi by Mirza Muhammad Haidar, Dughlat
[Taken from A History of the Moghuls of Central Asia Being the Tarikh-i-Rashidi of Mirza Muhammad Haidar, Dughlat. Ed. N. Elias; tr. E. Denison Ross. 2nd ed. (London: Curzon, 1898)]
[The selections here are in the first instance those which provide descriptive material for the lands and cultures of the regions with which the author was intimately familiar. Although he is not always accurate, he offers some excellent eye-witness description of matters pertaining to geography, the regional economy, cities, and religion. His comments on the spread of Islam and in particular the role in it of the various Sufi orders are very valuable. His narrative is an extraordinary source for the clan politics of the region, but since sorting out such material is difficult at best and likely meaningless to most readers, I have deliberately excluded most of his discussion of wars and alliances. To the extent that such material remains, it seems necessary to provide the skeleton of a historical narrative within which to place his other remarks. For more on him and his work, see my separate introductory comments which also discuss the somewhat overlapping narrative written by his cousin and contemporary Babur.
To facilitate locating material in this text, I provide here a brief table of contents for some of the more important segments. Clicking on the table will take you to that segment; at the end of each there is a "button" that will bring you back to the "Contents."]
I. Author's rationale
for writing his history.
II. Tughluk Timur and his conversion to Islam.
III. The death of Tamerlane's son Jahangir.
IV. Muhammad Khan and the building of Tash Rabat.
V. The medicinal properties of kumys.
VI. The reign of Vais Khan.
VII. Amir Khudaidad and his pilgrimage to Mecca.
VIII. The struggles for control of Kashgar after the death of Vais Khan.
IX. Encomium to Said Khan.
X. Concerning Babur's early life.
XI. The evil ways of Mirza Aba Bakr; including the use of slave labor to excavate the treasures of the ancient cities of the Tarim Basin.
XII. An anecdote about the traditional hospitality of the Kazaks.
XIII. Ubaid Ullah, pious ruler of Bukhara.
XIV. Said Khan's decision to take back Kashgar from Aba Bakr.
XV. Description of Kashgar.
XVI. Said Khan's victory; the riches left by Aba Bakr.
XVII. Sufis and the "conversion" of Said Khan.
XVIII. The life of a revered Sufi teacher, Hazrat Makhdumi Nura.
XIX. Invasion of Tibet and its description.
XX. Tibetan Buddhism.
XXI. Description of Kashmir.
XXII. Religion in Kashmir: Conversion to Islam; pernicious Sufi sects.
XXIII. The difficult journey from Tibet to Badakhshan.
I. [The author's explanation as to why he wrote his history. I have combined here portions of his introduction and the concluding justification to Part I.]
...Let it not be concealed from the minds of the wise that the Koran, which is the greatest of the miracles of Muhammad, is divided into three sections. The first contains the declaration of the Unity of God; the second the statutes of the Holy Law of Muhammad, and the third historical matter, such as the lives of the Prophets. thus, we see, one third of this book...is intended to teach the history of past generations; and therein lies the clearest proof of the excellence of the science of history...most nations, nay, all the peoples of the world have studied it, and have collected and handed down traditions of their forefathers, of which they give ample proofs and upon which they rely.
For instance, the Turks, in their literary compositions and in their transaction of business, as well as in their ordinary intercourse, employ a speech based upon the traditions and chronicles of their ancestors...
What right have I, with my poor learning and my want of capacity, to attempt to make my style less reed flow upon the white [sheet] of literature?
My justification lies in the fact that I have, during my life, collected many authentic facts concerning those Moghul Khakans who were Musulmans, and have also myself played a part in their history. At the present time there is no one but myself who knows these traditions. Thus, if I did not make the attempt, it is probable that the memory of the Moghuls and their Khakans would be altogether lost.
The history of the Moghuls and their Khans can be of little interest to any but the Moghuls themselves, for they have now become the most remote and insignificant of tribes, whereas formerly they were, through the power and resolution of Chingiz Khan, the lords of the world. Chingiz Khan had four sons to whom he left the world, dividing the cultivated countries and deserts into four parts, and giving one quarter of the earth to each of these sons. Every mention in histories of the Ulus Arbaa, or "the four hordes," refers to these four divisions. The learned Mirza Ulugh Beg has written a history which he has called Ulus Arbaa. One of the "four hordes" is that of the Moghul, who are divided into two branches, the Moghul and the Chaghatai. But these two branches, on account of their mutual enmity, used to call each other by a special name, by way of depreciation. Thus the Chaghatai called the Moghul Jatah [=ne'er-do-wells], while the Moghul called the Chaghatai Karawanas [=?]. At the present date there are no Chaghatai left excepting the kings, who are the sons of Babur Padishah; and the place of the Chaghati is now occupied by some [other] civilised people. But of the Moghuls there are still about 30,000 in the neighbourhood of Turfan and Kashghar. Moghulistan has been seized by the Uzbeg and the Kirghiz. Although the Kirghiz belong to the tribe of Moghul they have, on account of their repeated rebellions against the Khakans, become separated from them. All the Moghuls have become Musulmans, but the Kirghiz are still infidels, and hence their hostility to the Moghuls. The Moghuls have become a most isolated and paltry people. No one but a Moghul could be interested in this history; but though fully recognising my lack of literary capacity, I have not shrunk from doing the best in my power.
...For three chief reasons, out of many, I have called this book the Tarikh-i-Rashidi:
1. It was Maulana Arshad-ud-Din who converted Tughluk Timur to Islam...2. although before the time of Tughluk Timur, Barak Khan and...Kabak Khan had become Musulmans, neither these Khakans nor the Mogul people had had a knowledge of the Rushd, or "True Road to Salvation,"...but a full knowledge of the Rushd fell to the lot of the enlightened Tughluk Timur and his happy people. And inasmuch as the beginning of this history will deal with this matter, the suitability of the title Rashidi is evident. 3. Since at the present date, Abdur Rashid, the last of the Moghul Khakans, is reigning, and since this book has been dedicated to, and written for, him, the reason for the title...is still more apparent....
It is the practice of authors to excuse themselves, and beg for pardon if they have made any mistakes or blunders in their work. But I will not make such apology as those who say:--"If there be any mistakes or blunders"--for I know that my book is full of mistakes from beginning to end. My object is not to extol my own merit, but simply to write a memoir, that the history of the Moghuls may not be entirely forgotten; and that if by chance, any of the Mogul Khakans should wish to know his genealogy, he shall be able to find it in this book.
Of those Moghuls who were not Musulmans, I have not mentioned more than the names; for an infidel, though he attain to the splendour of Janishid and Zobbak, is not worthy of having his life commemorated. This Ta'rikh-i-Rashidi was completed at the end of the month Zulhijja of the year 953 [February 1547] in the town of Kashmir (may God defend her from ruin and destruction) five years after I, Haidar Mirza son of Muhammad Kurkan, had ascended the throne. [‹ ]
II. [The author begins his detailed account of the Chagataids with Tughluk Timur (ca. 1330-1363), who was seven generations removed from Chingis Khan. At the point where his apparent father Isan bugha Khan died, there was a problem in identifying a Chingizid successor, given unusual circumstances of Tughluk Timur's birth. The young Tughluk Timur had to be brought back across the mountains to East Turkestan, where the "Moghulistan" he was to rule was had its capital at Aksu, not far from Kashgar.]
...As they neared Aksu, they fell in with a party of merchants, and while they were crossing a pass, the Khan [Tughluk Timur] fell down a fissure in the ice. Tash timur, at this, raised a loud cry for help, but he could make no one hear him, for the caravan had crossed the pass and had arrived at a halting ground. Tash timur went to one of the merchants, whose name was Begjik, and told him what had befallen the Khan; the merchant communicated this to some of his companions, and several of them set out with Tash Timur to the place where the Khan had disappeared. Begjik descended into the chasm and found the Khan uninjured, and then and there formed a friendly agreement with him. After that, by way of precaution, he said apologetically to the Khan: "If you go up first they will not pull me up at all; let me go first and they must perforce pull you up after.: Again, proferring many apologies, he called out to them to throw down the rope, which they did, and he went up first, and afterwards they pulled up the Khan. All then went on to Aksu. Amir bulaji raised Tughluk Timur to the rank of Khakan, and in course of time he ruled not only the whole of Moghulistan, but also much of the country of Chaghatai....
[Conversion narratives are among the most interesting sections of the Tarikh-i Rashidi. An account such as this one illustrates the fact that conversion to Islam in areas north and east of Transoxiana was still not universal. We might remember that it was only in the previous generation that Islam appears to have become widespread in the Golden Horde, under Khan ÷zbeg. We see here also the importance of local religious leaders, who most likely are Sufis. Among the interesting aspects of this story is the vivid, if undoubtedly somewhat embroidered, account it provides of how some of the towns in the Tarim basin came to be abandoned and buried by the sand.]
The Conversion of Tughluk Timur Khan to Islam
Maulana Khwaja Ahmad (may God sanctify his soul) was descended from Maulana Arshad-ud-Din. He was exceedingly pious and much esteemed and revered. He belonged to the sect of Khwajas (may God sanctify their spirits). For twenty years I was in his service, and worshipped at no other mosque than his. He led a retired life, devoting his time to religious contemplation, and he used to recite the traditions of his sect in a beautiful manner; so much so, that any stranger hearing him was sure to be much impressed.
From him I heard that it was written in the annals of his forefathers concerning Maulana Shuja-ud-Din Mahmud, the brother of Hafiz-ud-din, an elder of Bokhara (who was the last of the Mujtahids, for after the death of Hafiz-ud-Din there was never another Mujtahid), that during his interregnum, Chingiz Khan assembled the Imams of Bokhara, according to his custom, put Hafiz-ud-Din to death, and banished Maulana Shuja'ud-Din Mahmud to Karakorum. [The ancestors] of Maulana Khwaja Ahmad also were sent there. At the time of a disaster in Karakorum, their sons went to Lob Katak, which is one of the most important towns between Turfan and Khotan, and there they were held in much honour and esteem. I was told many particulars concerning all of them, but I have forgotten them for the most part. The last of the sons was called Shaikh Jama1-ud-Din, an austere man who dwelt in Katak.
On a certain Friday, after the prayers, he preached to the people and said: "I have already, on many occasions, preached to you and given you good counsel, but no one of you has listened to me. It has now been revealed to me that God has sent down a great calamity on this town. A divine ordinance permits me to escape and save myself from this disaster. This is the last sermon I shall preach to you. I take my leave of you, and remind you that our next meeting will be on the day of resurrection."
Having said this, the Shaikh came down from the pulpit. The Muazzin [crier to prayer] followed him and begged that he might be allowed to accompany him. The Shaikh said he might do so. When they had journeyed three farsa'khs they halted, and the Muazzin asked permission to return to the town to attend to some business, saying he would come back again immediately. As he was passing the mosque, he said to himself "For a last time, I will just go and call out the evening prayer." So he ascended the minaret and called the evening prayer. As he was doing so, he noticed that something was raining down from the sky; it was like snow, but dry. He finished his "call," and then stood praying for a while. Then he descended, but found that the door of the minaret was blocked, and he could not get out. So he again ascended and, looking round, discovered that it was raining sand, and to such a degree that the whole town was covered; after a little while he noticed that the ground was rising, and at last only a part of the minaret was left free. So, with fear and trembling, he threw himself from the tower on to the sand; and at midnight he rejoined the Shaikh, and told him his story. The Shaikh immediately set out on his road, saying: "It is better to keep at a distance from the wrath of God." They fled in great haste; and that city is, to this day, buried in sand. Sometimes a wind comes, and lays bare the minaret or the top of the dome. It often happens also, that a strong wind uncovers a house, and when any one enters it he finds everything in perfect order, though the master has become white bones. But no harm has come to the inanimate things.
In short, the Shaikh finally came to Bai Gu1 which is in the vicinity of Aksu. At that time Tughluk Timur Khan was in Aksu. When he had first been brought there he was sixteen years of age. He was eighteen when he first met the Shaikh, and he met him in the following way. The Khan had organised a hunting-party, and had promulgated an order that no one should absent himself from the hunt. It was, however, remarked that some persons were seated in a retired spot. The Khan sent to fetch these people, and they were seized, bound and brought before him, inasmuch as they had transgressed the commands of the Khan, and had not presented themselves at the hunt. The Khan asked them: "Why have you disobeyed my commands?" The Shaikh replied: "We are strangers, who have fled from the ruined town of Katak. We know nothing about the hunt nor the ordinances of the hunt, and therefore we have not transgressed your orders." So the Khan ordered his men to set the Tajik [here not necessarily an ethnic designation; perhaps meaning simply a sedentary Muslim] free. He was, at that time, feeding some dogs with swine's flesh, and he asked the Shaikh angrily: "Are you better than this dog, or is the dog better than you?" The Shaikh replied: "If I have faith I am better than this dog; but if I have no faith, this dog is better than I am." On hearing these words, the Khan retired and sent one of his men, saying: "Go and place that Tajik upon your own horse, with all due respect, and bring him here to me."
The Moghul went and led his horse before the Shaikh. The Shaikh noticing that the saddle was stained with blood (of pig) said: "I will go on foot." But the Moghul insisted that the order was that he should mount the horse. The Shaikh then spread a clean handkerchief over the saddle and mounted. When he arrived before the Khan, he noticed that this latter was standing alone in a retired spot, and there were traces of sorrow on his countenance. The Khan asked the Shaikh: "What is this thing that renders man, if he possess it, better than a dog?" The Shaikh replied: "Faith," and he explained to him what Faith was, and the duties of a Musulman. The Khan wept thereat, and said: "If I ever become Khan, and obtain absolute authority, you must, without fail, come to me, and I promise you I will become a Musulman." He then sent the Shaikh away with the utmost respect and reverence. Soon after this the Shaikh died. He left a son of the name of Arshad-ud-Din, who was exceedingly pious. His father once dreamed that he carried a lamp up to the top of a hill, and that its light illumined the whole of the east. After that, he met Tughluk Timur Khan in Aksu, and said what has been mentioned above. Having related this to his son, he charged him, saying: "Since I may die at any moment, let it be your care, when the young man becomes Khan, to remind him of his promise to become a Musulman; thus this blessing may come about through your mediation and, through you, the world may be illumined."
Having completed his injunctions to his son, the Shaikh died. Soon afterwards Tughluk Timur became Khan. When news of this reached Maulana Arshad-ud-Din, he left Aksu and proceeded to Moghulistan, where the Khan was ruling in great pomp and splendour. But all his efforts to obtain an interview with him, that he might execute his charge, were in vain. Every morning, however, he used to call out the prayers near to the Khan's tent. One morning the Khan said to one of his followers: "Somebody has been calling out like this for several mornings now; go and bring him here." The Maulana was in the middle of his call to prayer when the Moghul arrived, who, seizing him by the neck, dragged him before the Khan. The latter said to him : "Who are you that thus disturb my sleep every morning at an early hour ?" He replied: "I am the son of the man to whom, on a certain occasion, you made the promise to become a Musulman." And he proceeded to recount the above related story. The Khan then said: "You are welcome, and where is your father?" He replied: "My father is dead, but he entrusted this mission to me." The Khan rejoined: "Ever since I ascended the throne I have had it on my mind that I made that promise, but the person to whom I gave the pledge never came. Now you are welcome. What must I do?" On that morn the sun of bounty rose out of the east of divine favour, and effaced the dark night of Unbelief. Khidmat Maulana ordained ablution for the Khan, who, having declared his faith, became a Musulman. They then decided that for the propagation of Islam, they should interview the princes one by one, and it should be well for those who accepted the faith, but those who refused should he slain as heathens and idolaters.
On the following morning, the first to come up to be examined alone was Amir Tulik, who was my [i.e., the author's] great grand-uncle. When he entered the Khan's presence, he found him sitting with the Tajik, and he advanced and sat down with them also. Then the Khan began by asking, "Will you embrace Islam?" Amir Tulik burst into tears and said: "Three years ago I was converted by some holy men at Kashghar, and became a Musulman, but, from fear of you, I did not openly declare it." Thereupon the Khan rose up and embraced him; then the three sat down again together. In this manner they examined the princes one by one. All accepted Islam, till it came to the turn of Jaras, who refused, but suggested two conditions, one of which was: "I have a man named Sataghni Buka, if this Tajik can overthrow him I will become a Believer." The Khan and the Amirs cried out, "What absurd condition is this!" Khidmat Maulana, however, said: "It is well, let it be so. If I do not throw him, I will not require you to become a Musulmn." Jars then said to the Maulana: "I have seen this man lift up a two year old camel. He is an Infidel, and above the ordinary stature of men." Khidmat Maulana replied, "If it is God's wish that the Moghuls become honoured with the blessed state of Islam, He will doubtless give me sufficient power to overcome this man." The Khan and those who had become Musulmans were not pleased with these plans. However, a large crowd assembled, the Kafir was brought in, and he and Khidmat Maulana advanced towards one another. The Infidel, proud of his own strength, advanced with a conceited air. The Maulana looked very small and weak beside him. When they came to blows, the Maulana struck the Infidel full in the chest, and he fell senseless. After a little, he came to again, and having raised himself, fell again at the feet of the Maulana, crying out and uttering words of Belief. The people raised loud shouts of applause, and on that day 160,000 persons cut off the hair of their heads and became Musulmans. The Khan was circumcised, and the lights of Islam dispelled the shades of Unbelief. Islam was disseminated all through the country of Chaghatai Khan, and (thanks be to God) has continued fixed in it to the present time.
[The account then turns to the expeditions Tughluk Timur mounted into Transoxiana in the 1360s. It is possible that for a time he controlled territory as far as Samarkand, which soon would come under the control of Tamerlane. A war between Tamerlane and the usurper who succeeded Tughluk Timur in "Moghulistan" followed. During one of his campaigns, Timur's son Jahangir died; he was then buried in the family home of Kesh (Shahr-i Sabs).] [‹ ]
III. The Death of Prince Jahangir
Amir Timur having left Atakum, crossed the Sihun and arrived at his capital, Samarkand, where he found
[Verses]: The people wearing clothes of black and grey
And tears of sorrow streaming from their eyes.
And all had sprinkled dust upon their heads
And as a sign of mourning beat their breasts.
They came in haste to greet their lord the king,
Their heads they bared, and on their necks they hung
Black felt and sackcloth, thus they left the town
Filling the air with moans and lamentations.
What pity that Jahangir, just and good,
Should thus be carried off in early youth,
As is a flower by the cruel wind.
When Amir Timur heard these wailings he could no longer doubt but that his forebodings had been correct. The death of his son, which he now learned, caused the whole world for him to become black; his cheeks were continually wet with tears, and life became almost unbearable to him. The kingdom, which should have been overjoyed at the return of its mighty monarch, was become, instead, a place of desolation and mourning. The whole army, clothed in black and grey, sat down in mourning. The generals put dust upon their heads, and their eyes were filled with the blood of their hearts.
Though the Emperor was greatly overcome by grief at the loss of his son, his noble intelligence fully realised that this world is but transitory, and that every being must inevitably perish at some time--that we must "Verily all return unto God." These considerations brought healing to the wounds of his sorrow. He, moreover, instituted many pious works, and ordered alms to he distributed in the form of food to the poor and indigent. His son's body was carried to Kesh, where it was buried, and over the grave a beautiful building was raised. The prince was twenty years of age when he died. He left behind him two sons, one called Mirza Muhammad Sultan, by his wife Khanzadah, and the other, Mirza Pir Muhammad, by his wife Bakhtimulk Agha, daughter of Ilyis Yasuri. This second son was born forty days after his father's death, which happened in the year 777 of the Hajra [A.D. 1375-6], the year of the Crocodile (Lui) of the Tartar cycle.
When Prince Saifuddin [Timur's uncle] heard of this sad event, he became weary of life, and begged Amir Timur to allow him to retire to the Hijaz. [‹ ]
IV. [The usurper, Kamar-ud-din, was finally defeated and vanished; Tughluk Timur's only surviving son Khizir Khwaja Khan (d. 1399) succeeded to the throne in Moghulistan. Eventually the succession came to his third son, Muhammad.]
Muhammad Khan was a wealthy prince and a good Musulman. He persisted in following the road of justice and equity, and was so unremitting in his exertions, that during his blessed reign most of the tribes of the Moghuls became Musulmans.
It is well known what severe measures he had recourse to, in bringing the Moghuls to be believers in Islam. If, for instance, a Moghul did not wear a turban, a horseshoe nail was driven into his head: and treatment of this kind was common. (May God recompense him with good.)...
[Most people would identify the building described here with Tash Rabat, which indeed can be seen today in a valley that leads to Lake Chatyr Kol in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan not far from the Torugart Pass.]
Muhammad Khan built a Rabat on the northern side of the defile of Chadir Kul. In the construction of this building he employed stones of great size, the like of which are only to be seen in the temples of Kashmir. The Rabat contains an entrance hall 20 gaz [one gaz is about 30 inches]in height. When you enter by the main door, you turn to the right hand along a passage which measures 30 gaz. You then come to a dome which is about 20 gaz, and beautifully proportioned. There is a passage round the dome, and in the sides of it; and in the passage itself are beautiful cells. On the western side there is also a mosque 15 gaz in height, which has more than twenty doors. The whole building is of stone, and over the doors there are huge solid blocks of stone, which I thought very wonderful, before I had seen the temples in Kashmir.
In the time of Muhammad Khan, the learned Mirza Ulugh Beg was reigning [beginning in 1409] in Mavara-un-Nahr [Transoxiana] by the appointment of his father, Mirza Shah Rukh; he was the founder of the famous observatory and the author of the astronomical tables called Zij Kurkan. Mirza Shah Rukh was king of Khorasan and Irak...
[The throne in Moghulistan passed from Muhammad Khan to his son and then to the latter's nephew, Vais Khan (d. 1428 or 1429), the author's maternal grandfather. One of those who served Vais Khan was the author's paternal grandfather, Mir Sayyid Ali, who was one in a line of faithful servants of the rulers of Moghulistan.] [‹ ]
V. [On the medicinal powers of kumys (fermented mare's milk).]
At this time a certain Ahmad Mirza, one of the Timuri Mirzas of the line of Mirza Shah Rukh, having fled [from his own country] had come [to Moghuhstan]. He had [with him] a sister, for whom Amir Sayyid Ali conceived a great affection; so much so that Amir Khudaidad and others begged her to become Amir Sayyid Ali's wife. She, however, refused, saying: "I cannot stay in Moghulistan, but if he will accompany me to my own country, it can be arranged." She then immediately set out for her own country, accompanied by Amir Sayyid Ali. When she arrived at Andijan) Mirza Ulugh Beg dispatched a man to kill Ahmad Mirza, and himself married his sister, at the same time throwing Amir Sayyid Ali into prison at Samarkand, where he remained one year. Here he fell sick of dysentery, and when on the point of dying, Amir Ulugh Beg sent for the doctors, whose remedies, however, were all without effect. One day somebody brought some kumiz. The Mirza implored the doctors, saying: "As the medicines have done me no good, I should much like to try a little kumiz, for which I have a great craving." They at last agreed [to grant his request] as a desperate experiment, saying: "It will very likely give him strength." They then gave him as much kumiz as he wanted, and from that moment he began to show signs of recovery. On the following day they gave him some more, and he became perfectly well.
[Sayyid Ali eventually made his way back home, where he became involved in the ultimately successful rebellion by which Vais Khan, with Timurid support, seized the throne.] [‹ ]
VI. The Khanship of Vais Khan
When his turn came, Vais Khan showed himself to be religiously inclined ; he was moreover distinguished among his race for his bravery. Since he had forbidden the Moghuls to attack Musulmans, he made war against the infidel Kalmaks; and though he was frequently defeated by them, he persisted in hostilities against them, not wishing to relinquish the holy war [jahad]. He was twice taken prisoner by them. The first occasion was in a battle at a place called Ming Lak, where the Khan, having been seized, was led before Isan Taishi. This latter thought to himself: 'If he is really a descendant of Chingiz Khan, he will not do me obeisance, but will look upon me as an inferior." When the Khan was brought in, he dismounted (for he was on horseback) and [Isan Tishi advanced towards him with great respect. But the Khan turned away his face and did not raise his hands. Isan Taishi was then convinced, and treating the Khan with much honour, set him at liberty. The Khan, on being asked afterwards why he had not done obeisance [to Isan Taishi] replied: "If Isan Taishi had treated me in a lordly manner, I should, out of fear for my life, have approached him with reverence. But since he came towards me with bowed head, it occurred to me that the hour of my martyrdom had arrived; and it is not fitting for a Musulman to do homage to an infidel, or to countenauce his actions, therefore I did not salute him." It was the Khan's faithful observance of his religion that saved him from the abyss...
It is commonly reported that the Khan had sixty-one engagements with the Kalmaks: once only was he victorious; on every other occasion he was put to rout. (But God alone knows the truth.) I have frequently heard from Maulana Khwaja Ahmad that the Khan was a very powerful man, and that he used, every year, to go hunting wild camels in the country round Turfan, Tarim, Lob and Katak.... When he killed a camel he would skin it with his own hands, and take the wool to his mother Sultan Khatun; the Khatun would spin it and make it into shirts and breeches for him, which he wore with sumptuous robes outside. In Turfan water is very scarce, and it was the Khan himself who irrigated the land. He did not get his water from any stream, but having dug a deep well, drew from it a supply of water for irrigation. Khidmat Maulana told me the following story of his uncles, who used to say: "We have often seen the Khan, during the hot season, with the help of his slaves, drawing water from the well in pitchers, and pouring it himself over the land." His agriculture was carried out on such a small scale, that the produce of it never attained the value of an ass's load; but this served him for a yearly supply of food.
He was a disciple of Maulana Muhammad Kashani, who was a disciple of Hazrat Khwaja Hasan (may God perfume his tomb), and Khwaja Hasan was a disciple of Hazrat Kutb-i-Masnad Arshad Khwaja Bahauddin Nakhshband (may God bless his spirit). [The latter was the founder of one of the most important Sufi orders, the Nakhsbandis, who played a major role in the religion and politics of East Turkestan.] Being a king did not prevent Vais Khan from passing his time in such studies [as theology]. During the reign of this prosperous Khan, Amir Khudaidad went on a pilgrimage to Mekka. Moghul records state that Amir Khudaidad raised six Khans to the Khanship, "with his own hand.'' They were as follows --Khizir Khwaja Khan (whom we have mentioned), Sham-i-Jahan Khan, Nakhsh-i-Jahan Khan, Muhammad Khan, Shir Muhammad Khan, and lastly Vais Khan. [‹ ]
VII. Amir Khudaidad and His Journey to Mekka.
I have already told the history of Amir Khudaidad in part; but in this chapter I have to relate the rest of his deeds and his death. All the Moghul traditions are agreed as to the country over which he was Amir. I remember hearing from my father (upon whom be the grace of God) and from my uncles (may the pardon of God be on them) that their father had 24,000 families under him. He was Amir before the year 765 of the Hajra [A.D. 1363-4] and he made his journey to Mekka before the year 850 of the Hajra [A.D. 1446-7]. He was Amir for ninety years. He exercised absolute power over the whole of Kashghar, Yarkand, Khotan, Aksu, Bai, and Kuchar. In spite, however, of all this, he was never a wealthy man, and during most of his life had not even a horse to ride. When travelling from place to place, the people of the country used to furnish him with a horse. And in the army it was just the same. He spent much of the revenue of his State in releasing and ransoming Musulman prisoners. In those days the Moghuls were constantly attacking Turkistan, Shash and Andijan, and carrying off Musulmans as prisoners. The Amir would buy these prisoners from the Moghuls, and supply them with provisions and transport to enable them to return home. He used also to provide them with tents, in which they had room to kneel down and say their prayers. In the performance of good actions such as these, and pious works, did the Amir pass his life.
There are also many miracles attributed to him. One of them, that was related to me by Khidmat Maulana Khwaja Ahmad, I will quote here. Khwaja Zahid of Kashghar was a great and pious man. Amir Khudaidad sent a person from Moghulistan to beg for one of Khwaja Zahid's handkerchiefs. The Khwaja's wife, however, thought that it was not fitting to send the Khwaja's handkerchief to a Moghul in Moghulistan, and that it would be a sin to do so. Therefore she sent one that was not the Khwaja's. When it was brought to the Amir, he, with much praise-giving, wiped his face therewith. But the next moment he returned it to the messenger, saying: "If this is, in truth, the handkerchief of the Khwaja, I have no need of it." So the messenger returned and gave it back to the wife of the Khwaja. At this she "was much astounded and told the Khwaja what had passed. Khwaja Zahid reproved his wife, saying: "The Amir is one of this sect; why did you act thus?" Thereupon the Khwaja sent his own handkerchief. When the messenger delivered it over to the Amir, he, having wiped his face with it, said: "Verily this is the kerchief of the Khwaja--and I have faith in the the Khwaja." Many miracles, such as this, are recorded of the Amir.
At last when the Amir reached the age of ninety-seven, he was possessed of a very strong desire to make the pilgrimage to Mekka. But in spite of much entreaty, Vais Khan refused his consent to this step. The Amir secretly sent to Mirza Ulugh Beg, saying: "If you will come, I will disable the Moghuls and deliver them into your hands." Now, as Mirza Ulugh Beg had suffered much annoyance from the Moghuls, and was continually engaged iii repressing them, he immediately mounted his horse and set out [for Moghulistan]. When he reached a famous town in Moghulistan called Chu, the Amir having deserted his own troops, joined Mirza Ulugh Beg; and, in consequence, the Moghuls were scattered in every direction. When the Amir met Mirza Ulugh Beg, he said to him: "I committed this act because I could not obtain leave to go to Mekka: this was my excuse for coming over to you, but now I don't see fit to go." They then left that place, the Mirza treating the Amir with all possible honour and respect.
When they reached Samarkand, Mirza Ulugh Beg said to Amir Khudaidad: "There is no one who knows so much about the Turah [Law Code] of Chingiz Khan as you do; I beg you to tell me all its regulations, as I have a great desire to know all about it." The Amir replied: "We have completely discarded the infamous Turah of Chingiz Khan, and have adopted the Shariet [or Muhammadan Law]. It, however, Mirza Ulugh Beg, in spite of his common sense and good judgment, approves the Turah of Chingiz Khan, I will teach it him, that he may adopt it and forsake the Shariat." The Mirza was much perturbed at these words, and did not learn the Turah.
In short, the Amir went to Mekka. When my father (God have mercy on him) went to Khorasan...he found there one of the generals of Sultan Husain Mirza, named Sultan Ali Barlas, who was a very old man, being nearly one hundred years of age. He had been held in great honour by the Mirza. My father questioned him concerning his ancestors and their times. He replied: "My father's name was Shah Husain Barlas. He was one of the Moghul Barlas, and a distinguished Mir. Amir Khudaidad traveled with him from Moghulisttin." When my father heard this story, he became greatly interested and begged [the Barlas] to narrate the whole history. The latter began: "I was quite a boy when Mir Khudaidad undertook his pilgrimage to Mekka, and my father accompanied him, for he was in the service of the Amir. We fled from Moghulistan and wandered from town to town, till we set out upon the journey to visit the holy town of Mekka; when we had been a few days on our return journey, the Amir asked where Medina was; they told him that Medina lay in a different direction. At this the Amir was much distressed, and said: 'I have come a great distance and suffered many privations; yet I have not made the tawaf [circuit] of the garden of the Prophet (may the peace and prayers of God be upon him); and it is a long journey home again.'
"He then gave all his servants and porters leave to return home with the caravan, sending with them many letters and messages for his children in Moghulistan. One of these letters has passed down from father to son into my possession, for it had always been carefully preserved in our family. In short, the Amir with his wife started for Medina, unencumbered, making an Arab go in front to guide them. My father sent me with him too, so I was of the Amir's party. After a long journey we arrived at Medina. The Amir made the tawaf of the garden of the Prophet (upon whom he the most excellent of prayers), and we passed the night in the house of a darvish. As night came on a great change manifested itself in the Amir. He called my father (i.e., Shah Husain Balas) and said to him: 'Read me the chapter called Ye-sin; when my father came to the verse 'Mislahum Bala," the Amir expired. We were all astounded at this occurrence. With the break of day, many of the nobles and people of Medina came to the house, asking: 'Did not some one die here last night?' and when we told them, they began to condole with us, and said: 'We have this night seen the Prophet in our sleep, and he said to us: a guest has come to me to-night; he had made a very bug journey to visit me, and he has died here during the night: bury him at the foot of the tomb of the Commander of the Faithful, Osman.' Then the Prophet drew a line with the end of his stick. As soon as we awoke, we went and found that a line had been drawn there. Happy the man who has been honoured with such a favour! The nobles of Medina buried the Amir at the feet of Osman, with great honour. On the following night the wife of the Amir died also, and she was buried near where her husband had been laid."
When Sultan Ali Barlas reached this point in his narrative, my father showed signs of great happiness; whereupon they questioned him as to the cause of his delight. My father replied: "This Amir Khudaidad was my grandfather." Sultan Ali Barlas immediately got up and having embraced my father, said: "What I have told you is true. But no news of the death of the Amir ever reached Moghulistan, for on our return journey we settled down for some time in Irak, and then in Khorasan, and no one brought the news into Moghulistan. Thanks be to God that I have been able to give this news to you, and tell you what a noble death Amir Khudaidad died."
Moghul tradition says that when Amir Khudaidad went to Mekka, his rank and titles were given, by Vais Khan, to the Amir's eldest son Mir Muhammad Shah. [‹ ]
VIII. [The narrative goes on to relate the "martyrdom" of Vais Khan who was shot in a case of mistaken identity during an attempt to defend his territory against an attack from Samarkand. The attacker from Samarkand was forced to hole up in Kashgar, from which he was ousted by a grandson of Amir Khudaidad. In response, an army sent by Ulugh Beg captured the latter, and took him back to Samarkand, "where they cut him in half." Although Ulugh Beg's governors now ruled in Andijan and Kashgar, eventually the family of the author, the Dughlat clan, managed to expel them from the latter.]
When the Amir [Sayyid Ali] advanced against Kashghar for the third year in succession, the people of that country addressed a complaint to Khwaja Sharif, saying: "We have lost the crops of two successive years; if we lose this year's crop too, there will be a famine in our country."
On the Amir's arrival in Kashghar, the people of that town, having bound Pir Muhammad Barlas [Ulugh Beg's governor], gave him up to the Amir. The Amir thereupon divested Pir Muhammad Barlas of his mantle of life, and entered the town of Kashghar, where he administered justice to the people. He governed the country during twenty~four years; and under him the State was so prosperous and happy, that be is talked of to this day. During all this time, the Amir paid so much attention to agriculture and the breeding of cattle and sheep, that when he died leaving three sons and two daughters, one of his sons, Muhammad Haidar Mirza, my grandfather, received as his share 180,000 sheep.
I once heard from Khwaja Fakhruddin, a merchant of. noble birth and pleasant of speech, that the Amir occupied himself with hunting during three mouths every winter. No one but soldiers were allowed to take part in the royal hunt. But as many soldiers as the Amir was able to provide for, used to join in the party, and during those three months, each one was supplied with meat and flour, which was distributed to them at the different halting-places. On some days as many as 5000 sheep were given out, together with a proportionate amount of flour and barley and hay. Some years, 3000 persons were in attendance on the Amir, and each one was given his provisions. The inhabitants of the different villages were always anxious for the Amir to come to stay in their village, and the hunting party, on its arrival, would make them participate in their own store of good things. Fakhruddin used to relate that on one occasion, when they had alighted in our village, which is Artuch [=Artush, just north of Kashgar in the foothills] the Amir's master of the hunt having brought some flour, gave it to a poor woman to bake, promising her, as a wage for her work, one of the six loaves, which were to be made from the flour he had supplied her with; but when the woman brought the loaves, he refused to give her one of them, saying: "I supplied the flour and the wood and the salt; what have you deserved of me?" At that moment the Amir happened to be passing by on horseback. He stopped and asked the woman what her trouble was: the woman laid her complaint before the Amir, who then questioned the master of the hunt. As this latter acknowledged the truth of the poor woman's story, the Amir said to him: "Why did you not bake your own bread, instead of troubling this woman?" The Amir then sent to a blacksmith's-shop for some pincers, and caused all the wretched man's teeth to be drawn from his head. I have repeated this tale as a proof of the Amir's justice. There are still existing in Kashghar, many sacred edifices and charitable institutions, which were founded by the Amir. During the twenty-four years of his government, many important events occurred, which shall hereafter be related in detail.
[Following here are details of the civil strife in the region, in which various local chiefs (amirs) attempted to take power or put their own khan on the throne. Some of the players were forced to flee from East Turkestan across into the Ferghana region, others to the region around Lake Issyk Kul. Yet others "wandered, in confusion and disorder, over the desert plains of Moghulistan." Battles occurred between the forces from Moghulistan and the Timurid ruler of Transoxiana, forcing the latter to postpone attacking Iraq. It was during this period that the Uzbeks coalesced into a power that would move south and eventually take Ferghana. The territories of Moghulistan settled into an east/west division, with the former controlled by the descendents of the younger son of Vais Khan and the latter the descendents of his eldest son Yunus Khan. Ultimately both branches of the family were defeated by the Uzbek ruler Shaibani Khan in 1502-1503. Unsuccessful efforts on the part of Babur to restore Mongol (Moghul) control ultimately forced him to abandon Ferghana for Afghanistan and then India.
For a time, one of Vais Khan's great grandsons, a son of Yunus Khan's, Said, had some success in developing a rather extensive state based in East Turkestan. His career connected with that of Babur's, with whom he had gone to Kabul to recoup his fortunes. Said Khan then scored a major victory near Andijan but was forced to flee east in the face of an Uzbek advance. There he managed to secure Kashgar in 1514. By 1522, he "subdued the whole of Moghulistan and the Kirghiz," he then moved south into Badakhshan (the eastern part of today's Tajikistan), and in 1532 invaded Tibet. The author was one of his military commanders in some of these campaigns, which took him down into Kashmir. It is of some interest to see the qualities he admired in his master Said Khan.] [‹ ]
IX. Concerning the Laudable Virtues and Rate Attainments of Sultan Said Khan
Sultan Said Khan was a noble, happy, and prosperous prince, and was adorned with acquirements and good qualities. He was nearly forty-eight years of age when he went to take up his abode in the dwellings of God's mercy. His conduct of life was irreproachable. His conversation was both graceful and eloquent, whether in Turki or in Persian, and when he showed favour to any one, he used to blush before speaking. He was always gay, open-hearted, generous and affectionate. For example, a certain Maksud Ali had struck the Khan in the left shoulder with an arrow, in some battle; [so severe was the wound] that the Khan suffered from it for two years and nearly died of it. During the time of his suffering, some men captured Maksud Ali, so that the Khan might wreak his vengeance upon him. But when he was brought before the Khan, he treated him kindly, and though he had only one garment by him, gave it him. He also took him into his own society, and made him his companion, saying: "I was vexed, but thou art welcome," and they continued good friends the rest of their lives. He performed many similar acts of generosity... His liberality reached a high degree of perfection. I was twenty-four years in his service. Such was his munificence that his household supplies were sometimes quite exhausted, and the royal larder was some days so empty, that he would go and take his meals in the haram. For the same reason his expenditure exceeded the revenue of the State.
He was also greatly distinguished for his bravery.... I never saw his equal as an archer, among all the Moghul, Uzbeg, or Chaghatai Ulus, either before or since. I have myself seen him shoot seven or eight arrows in succession, without missing his mark. When hunting deer, hares, or game birds, he would never fail to hit them with his arrow. And in the battles he fought against the Kirghiz and others in Moghulistan, he became celebrated for the way lie discharged his shafts into their midst. Generosity such as his I have seldom seen. On one occasion, an assassin came and sought to take his life, but not finding an opportunity, stole a horse from the Khan's stable and rode off. He was captured on the road, with the horse, and brought back. The prisoner said to the Khan: "I came on a mission, but could find no opportunity of carrying it out, so I said: I will take a horse from the Khan's stables, then I shall at any rate have done something." The Khan's men all wished to kill him, but the Khan said to me: "Hand him over to your servants that they may take care of him, and do with him whatever you tell them." When the people had dispersed the Khan said to me: "As a thank offering to God for having preserved me from that man, give him the horse he stole from me. Then tell your men to let him secretly out of the camp, so that when he returns to his fellows they may not look upon him with contempt. Thus the poor man will, in a measure, have executed his mission."
Further, I never saw a more accurate reader than the Khan. however faulty the orthography might be, he would read off verse or prose without hesitating, in such a way that listeners might suppose he knew it by heart. He wrote Naskh Talik [an elegant calligraphic hand] excellently, and his spelling in Turki and Persian was faultless. He also composed letters well in Turki: other people could only have composed them with great difficulty and application. I have rarely met with such power and capability in writing verse. He never said poems by heart, but in assemblies and social gatherings, if any collection of odes [divan] that was at hand was opened, and he was given any metre and rhyme, he would extemporise a poem. If he repeated a poem once or twice, everybody could remember it; but he was not pleased if any one made a copy of it.
I have remembered, and here reproduce, some of the extempore poems which the Khan recited in the assemblies. [Turki verses...]
I only once knew him make verses in Persian.
He performed on the 'ud [lute], and the sihtara[a three-stringed instrument], and the chartara [a four-stringed one], and the ghachcak [another stringed instrument], but best of all on the chartara. He had a sound knowledge of bone-cutting, and was skilled in making arrows.
At this date of 953 [i.e., 1546] Abdur Rashid, the most excellent son of Sultan Said Khan, is on the throne of the Khans, and I (your most despicable slave), Muhammad Haidar, have inscribed and adorned my history with his glorious name. This book, beginning with an account of Tughluk Timur Khan (who was the first among the Moghul Khakans to be converted to Islam), down to Sultan Yunus Khan, is compiled from oral tradition and contemporary accounts, when they have not been found contradictory. Conflicting traditions have been omitted, on account of their probable inaccuracy.
[In Part II, the author elaborates on the history of some of the important individuals involved in the events related in Part I, beginning with the early history of Babur.] [‹ ]
X. Birth and Parentage of Babar (Babur) Padishah: His Connection with the Moghuls; and His Early History
THERE existed anciently, between the Chaghatai and the Moghuls, a bitter enmity. Moreover, from the time of Amir Timur till that of Sultan Abu Said Mirza, some one of the race of Chaghatai Khan, son of Chingiz Khan, had always been placed on the royal throne, and was honoured with the title of King, in spite of the fact that he was [in reality] a prisoner, as one may gather from the royal mandates. When it came to the turn of Sultan Abu Said Mirza to reign, this king discarded the old custom; Yunus Khan was summoned from Shiraz, and was sent into Moghulistan to oppose his brother Isan Bugha Khan...
When Yunus Khan came to Moghulistan, he, after thirty years of hardship and suffering, got the upper hand of Isan Bugha Khan...
The noble mind of Yunus Khan was thus set at rest; Sultan Abu Said Mirza changed an old enemy into a new friend. Yunus Khan was desirous of making a return for his kindness, and [said to himself]: "Perhaps in the same way that he has changed an old enemy into a new friend, I will change a friend into a relation." To this end, he gave to the three sons of Mirza Sultan Abu Said (namely, Sultan Ahmad Mirza, Sultan Mahmud Mirza, and Omar Shaikli Mirza) three of his daughters in marriage...[the youngest, Kutluk Nigar Khanim, being Babur's mother].
As Farghana, the country of Omar Shaikh, was situated on the borders of Moghulistan, [Yunus Khan] became more intimate and friendly with him than with either of his brothers: indeed, the Khan made no distinction between him and his own children, and whenever they pleased they used to come and go between each other's countries and residences, demanding no ceremony, but being satisfied with whatever was at hand.
On the occasion of the birth of Babar Padishah [the son of Omar Shaikh], a messenger was sent to bear the good tidings to Yunus Khan, who came from Moghulistan and spent some time with [Omar Shaikh]. When the child's head was shaved, everyone gave feasts and entertainments. Never were two kings known to be on such terms of intimacy as were Yunus Khan and Omar Shaikh Mirza. In short, the Padishah was born on the 6th of Moharram of the year 888 [=1483]. Maulana Munir Marghinani, one of the Ulamas of Ulugh Beg Mirza, discovered the date in the [numerical value of the letters] of Shash Moharram. They begged his Holiness to choose a name for the child, and he blessed him with the name of Zahir-ud-Din Muhammad.
At that time the Chaghatai were very rude and uncultured, and not refined as they are now; thus they found Zahir-ud-Din Muhammad difficult to pronounce, and for this reason gave him the name of Babar. In the public prayers [khutba] and in royal mandates he is always styled 'Zahir-ud-Din Babar Muhammad,' but he is best known by the name of Babar Padishah. His genealogy [is as follows]....[great-great-great grand-]son of Amir Timur Kurkan. And on the mother's side... [a lineage going back to Tughluk Timur Khan]. This prince was adorned with various virtues, and clad with numberless good qualities, above all of which bravery and humanity had the ascendant. In the composition of Turki poetry he was second only to Amir Ali Shir [Nawa'i]. He has written a Divan, in the purest and most lucid Turki. He invented a style of verse called "Mubaiyan," and was the author of a most useful treatise on Jurisprudence, which has been adopted generally. He also wrote a tract on Turki Prosody, superior in elegance to any other, and put into verse the Rasala-i-Validiyyah of his Holiness. Then there is his Vakai [i.e., his "Memoirs"] or Turki History, which is written in a simple, unaffected, and yet very pure style. (Some of the stories from that work will be reproduced here.) He excelled in music and other arts. In fact, no one in his family before him ever possessed such talents as his. Nor did any of his race ever perform such wonderful exploits, or experience such strange adventures, as did he. He was twelve years of age when his father, Omar Shaikh Mirza, died. In his Vakai, which, though in Turki, is written in very elegant and florid style, he says: "On Monday, the 4th of Ramazan, Omar Shaikh Mirza, having flown from the top of the precipice with his pigeon and his pigeon-house, became a falcon, at the age of thirty-nine." This occurred in the year 899, and after his father's death Babar Padishah was raised to the throne, being, at that time, twelve years of age. There was so much dissension between Baisanghar Mirza and Sultan Ali Mirza (the sons of Sultan Mahmud, son of Sultan Abu Said), that neither of them had strength enough to protect Samarkand. When information of this [state of affairs] reached Andijan, the Emperor set out to attack Samarkand. Although the Mirzas had become very weak, they offered him stout resistance; but finally, Baisanghar having no power left, abandoned the town and fled towards Hisar, where he was put to death by Khusrau Shah.... The Emperor took Samarkand, and quartered in it as many of the troops of Andijan as was possible, while the rest returned to Andijan, some with his permission, some without.
On the arrival of Tanibal..., he, in conjunction with some other Amirs, set Jahangir Mirza, younger brother of the Emperor, upon the throne.
The Chief Judge [Kazi] of Andijan, a very pious and religious man, who had done everything in his power to forward the Emperor's interests, was wantonly put to death. A short time before the murder of the Kazi, the adherents of the Emperor had strengthened and defended the fort of Andijan, and bad sent letters of entreaty [to the Emperor], representing that if he did not come quickly, Andijan would fall, and that after it Samarkand would also succumb. On receiving these letters, the Emperor left Samarkand, and set out for Andijan. On reaching Khojand, however, news was brought him that the enemy had won the day. The Emperor, having left one place, and lost the other, was greatly perplexed, and betook himself to his uncle, Sultan Mahmud Khan.
The Emperor's mother, and her mother, Isan Daulat Begum, went to their son and sister. This sister was my mother. On this account the Emperor, also, stayed in our country. His hosts exerted themselves to the utmost on his behalf, and after many severe hardships, after many victories and defeats, the Emperor once more became ruler of Samarkand. He fought many battles with rival claimants for Samarkand, and experienced both victory and defeat. At length he was besieged, and when all his power of resistance had gone, he gave his sister, Khanzada Begum, to Shahi Beg Khan, and making some kind of treaty, left Samarkand, which thus fell again into the hands of Shahi Beg Khan. It would be very tedious were I to relate all the details; however, to be brief, the Emperor [again] repaired to his uncle. Having given up all idea of [regaining] Samarkand, he determined to secure Andijan. The Khans also, having bound the girdle of endeavour round the waist of fatherly love, exerted themselves to the utmost to take Andijan, that they might give it to the Emperor, with the result which has been mentioned above. After the last battle, in which the Khans fell into the hands of Shahi Beg Khan, the Emperor fled to the hills on the south of the country of Farghana, where he underwent many hardships and innumerable misfortunes. Moreover, his mother was with him, as were also most of his servants, together with the family and children. In that journey (and verily, as the Prophet himself said, "Travelling is a foretaste of Hell") they all suffered great hardships....
The Emperor, in one night, became master of 20,000 men, together with great Amirs, such as Baki Chaghaniani, Sultan Ahmad Karaul, Baki Nila Furush and others, who took office under him. Having made the necessary preparations] they set out against Kabul ...[and took it] From that date, 909, to the present date, 948, Kabul has remained in the hands of the Emperor and his descendants....
[The narrative moves on to a discussion of the history of Said Khan's rule in Andijan, before he was forced to flee to Babur in Kabul (see above). The account relates how he fell into the hands of the local governor Khwaja Ali Bahadur, who wished to execute him but was told by his suzerain, Jani Beg sultan, that he should not. When instead he expelled Said Khan, accompanying the latter were selected local notables, whose identities give us an interesting cross section of the Andijan elite. As the account proceeds to describe Babur's triumphant return to Samarkand, it is very revealing about local attitudes concerning the impact of the Sunni/Shi'ite division in the Muslim world.]
He [Khwaja Ali Bahadur] kept the Khan with him some days, while he selected for him some distinguished and trusty persons. The first among them was Maulana Khaliki, a talented, good, and studious man; he wrote the Naskh-Taalik perfectly, and composed good poetry; he was also a proficient musician. Another of them was Khwaja Salih, who was the leading merchant in the province of Andijin, and was known by every one he met on the road, while people often appealed to him for advice in their affairs. A third was Maulana Yusuf Kashghari, who was an accountant, much esteemed in Andijan for his judgment. Another was Gadai Pin, a professional courtier and a skilled musician. Another was Mir Ahmad, one of the Andijn Turks; he had travelled much and knew all the best routes. Another was Jalal, a very serviceable man. Having given him these few men as an escort, he started the Khan off a second time.
Khwaja Salih and Maulana Yusuf were dressed like merchants, Maulana Khaliki, Darvish Pin and the Khan were in the guise of students, and looked very like kalandars. Mir Ahmad and Jalal passed as servants of the merchants. Thus attired, they set forth and reached Kala-i-Zafar in perfect peace and safety. Here they found Mirza Khan, who received and entertained them as well as his straitened circumstances would allow. They remained there eighteen days....
On reaching Kabul, the Khan was welcomed with the utmost respect and honour by the Emperor...[and] remained in Kabul as the companion and confidant of the Emperor. There existed between these two great princes perfect accord and love and trust. The Khan's visit lasted from Shaban 914 to Ramazan 916 [i.e., November 1508 to December 1510].
After the Khan had been dispatched to [return to] Andijan, Mirza Khan arrived with the auxiliary force which had been sent by [Safavi] Shah Ismail, and thus the power of the Emperor became complete. Then, without delay, his Majesty marched for the country of Hisar...[where he gained a major victory over the Shaibanid Uzbek army].
When the Uzbeg Sultans who were assembled in Samarkand heard this news, they were suddenly filled with terror and fled, scattered and dismayed, to different parts of Turkistan.
Now when the Emperor arrived in Bokhara, he sent back the auxiliaries of Shah Ismail, after praising them for their services and bestowing upon them adequate rewards, while he himself' victorious and covered with glory, proceeded to Samarkand. All the inhabitants of the towns of Mavara-un-Nahr, high and low, nobles and poor men, grandees and artizans, princes and peasants--alike testified their joy at the advent of the Emperor. He was received by the nobles, while the other classes were busy with the decoration of the town. The streets and the bazaars were draped with cloth and gold brocades, and drawings and pictures were hung up on every side. The Emperor entered the city in the middle of the month of Rajab in the year 917, in the midst of such pomp and splendour as no one has ever seen or heard of, before or since. The angels cried aloud: "Enter with peace," and the people exclaimed: "Praise be to God, Lord of the Universe." The people of Mavara-un-Nahr, especially the inhabitants of Samarkand, had for years been longing for him to come, that the shadow of his protection might be cast upon them. Although, in the hour of necessity, the Emperor had clothed himself in the garments of the Kizilbash (which was pure heresy, nay almost unbelief [his allies, the Safavis, were Shi'ites]), they sincerely hoped, when he mounted the throne of Samarkand (the throne of the Law of the Prophet) and placed on his head the diadem of the holy Sunna of Muhammad, that he would remove from it the crown of royalty [Shahi], whose nature was heresy and whose form was as the tail of an ass.
But the hopes of the people of Samarkand were not realised. For, as yet, the Emperor did not feel able to dispense with the aid and support of Shah Ismail; nor did he consider himself sufficiently strong to cope single-handed with the Uzbeg; hence he appeared to overlook the gross errors of the Kizilbash. On this account, the people of Mavara-un-Nahr ceased to feel that intense longing for the Emperor which they had entertained while he was absent--their regard for him was at an end. It was thus that the Emperor began [already] to flatter the Turkomans, and associate himself with them. [‹ ]
XI. [This section introduces one of the author's least favorite individuals, Mirza Aba Bakr, who was a grandson of Amir Sayyid Ali, the author's great-grandfather, and the cousin of the author's father. By Mongol tradition, when Mirza Aba Bakr's father died, the widow, his mother, married her brother-in-law--that is, Muhammad Haidar Mirza, the author's father, who simultaneously succeeded to the throne in Kashgar. Mirza Aba Bakr then turned on his new father-in-law and drove him out of Kashgar, where he managed to rule "exercising always absolute authority" for nearly half a century. He extended his territories into Tibet and Kashmir, conquered much of Badakhshan and attacked the Uzbeks in Ferghana.]
...My object in relating the prowess and valour of Mirza Aba Bakr, and the extent of his conquests, is to show what a great warrior Sultan Said Khan was, to have defeated such a man, as he did, at the battle of Tutluk.
The Evil Deeds and Wicked Ways of Mirza Aba Bakr
One of the obligations I have imposed on myself in writing this Epitome is, that what I have heard from other people and on good authority, I would briefly rehearse, when it was of importance; but what I have not witnessed myself, I would not dwell on too long, for fear of exaggeration, which I desire to avoid. But what I have witnessed or taken part in, that I have written as personal experience. I have divided the strange life, the evil deeds, and the depraved conduct of Mirza Aba Bakr into three sections. Firstly, what I have heard from others and from trust worthy reports: this I have stated briefly; secondly, what I have myself seen or heard [directly], but which I could not bring myself to relate; and thirdly, what I have myself witnessed, and have written down in this Epitome. But this is only as one in a thousand incidents--a little out of many--a long story cut short.
Heaven forbid that any reader of these pages should accuse me of exaggeration or of slander. If I had deemed it permissible to depass the limits [of truth] in any way, I should not have said anything about Mirza Aba Bakr, for he was my uncle. But if I were to omit his history, all other facts connected with him would be obscure and incomprehensible. It is my duty both to shun exaggeration and to avoid omissions. The truth is that for more than forty years Mirza Aba Bakr ruled supreme. Towards the end of his life, the spirit of tyranny so mastered his nature, that if an offence was committed against him, though the offender might not be liable to any sentence according to the law, yet his evil heart was not satisfied with killing him once, but desired the death of the sinless sinner, a thousand times over.
If any one had, in the slightest degree, opposed him, and he only heard of it ten years after, he was sure to punish, not only the offender, but likewise his children, relations, connections, and dependants. On this account, his subjects grew so submissive to his government, that nobody dared dream of acting contrary to his orders. When he had brought his authority to the point of complete supremacy in all things, he made such a collection of wealth, in treasure, property, mules and cattle, as surpasses all reckoning.
[It is clear from the following that Aurel Stein and other Europeans were far from the first to excavate in the ruins of the ancient cities around the Tarim Basin.]
He used to set culprits to work, involving difficulty which was proportionate to the gravity of their offence; he arranged for the separate employment of men and women, but he got some work out of everybody. [For instance] he ordered the old cities [known as] Kazik to be excavated by these [prisoners], and the earth dug from them to be washed. If there were anything big, they would come upon it in digging, while anything small [such as gems] they would find when they washed [the earth]. In this way, innumerable treasures in precious stones, gold and silver, were discovered. I have heard some of his confidants say that a treasure was found in the citadel of Khotan. There were twenty-seven jars of such a size that a man, with a quiver on, could get inside them, without stooping or bending [and without touching it on any side]. Inside each of these jars was a copper ewer. One of these ewers fell into my possession. It is a sort of flask with a long narrow neck, to which is fixed a rough iron handle. In the centre of the ewer is a copper spout, the nose of which is on a level with the mouth of the ewer. The height of it is, at a guess, over one and a half gaz. When filled with water, two persons had great difficulty in lifting it, and they could not carry it from one place to another. Inside each of the jars was placed one of these ewers, filled with gold dust, and outside [the ewers] the space was filled with balish of silver. In historical works, such as the Jahan-Kushai, the Jami-ut-Tavirikh, and others, a balish is thus described: "A balish is 500 mithkal [of silver], made into a long brick with a depression in the middle." I had [at that time] only heard the name [and had never seen one myself, but had read the description in these books]. These balish had been placed outside the ewers, but inside the jars. Many of them were brought, just as they were, to the treasury, which fell into tbe hands of the Khan's army [when Sultan Said Khan conquered Yarkand]. I myself possessed some of them. Thus [subsequently] I saw the balish [and found them correspond to the description I had seen in books].
One of the most singular things that I heard from those who had worked at the Kazik was this : In every one of the ewers was a letter written in Turki, which read : ["This treasure was prepared for the expenses of the ceremony of circumcision of the son of the Khatun called Khamar."] But no one could discover who this Khamar Khatun was, nor when she had lived, nor how. How strange that in spite of witnessing such examples, man is not restrained in his lusts, desires, and vain fancies!
After the discovery of this treasure, Mirza Aba Bakr urged forward the men employed at the Kazik, to work with greater diligence and care than before, and several other treasures were brought to light in the old cities of Kashghar, Yarkand, and Khotan. The mode of operations at the Kazik was as follows: eighteen or twenty prisoners, more or less, were secured together by a chain running from one to the other, at their backs, through a collar fastened round the neck of each. In their hands they carried spades. They laboured both summer and winter. [During the day they worked] and at night they were put into a prison. If the prisoner's offence was very grave, neither friends, relations, nor strangers were allowed to speak to him or give him anything. So that not even one of the same gang [chain] as himself was able to tell him a story. There was an overseer to every gang, and over every eighteen of the overseers was another person, and there was one man at the head of the whole of the Kazik. If any one of these overseers, whether superior or inferior, in the slightest degree neglected his duty with regard to the convicts, as in flogging, commanding, urging them on, or throwing them into prison, and the like, he was himself consigned to a gang of convicts. Moreover, such was the strictness of discipline, that the overseers never dared to show any leniency. In fact, they could never speak a word, except officially. Those who were confined for lesser offences, were allowed to see a relation or friend once a week; and in like manner, there were many different gradations for individual cases, from which [favours], however, not the slightest deviation, in the way of enhancement, could be made, without authorisation. [Separate] work was found for the men and the women. ... [‹ ]
XII. [The author returns to campaigns in which he participated under Sultan Said Khan. the following passage is of interest regarding traditional culture of the Turkic peoples.]
...[The Khan] proceeded to Akhsi, and having put the various forts of the province of Farghana into a state of defence, he turned towards the Kazak, his object being to make them attack Tashkand a second time. I did not accompany that expedition; being indisposed, I stayed behind. The Khan advanced [in the direction of the Kazak] till he came to a well-known town in Moghulistan called Jud. At that date Kasim Khan was nearer seventy than sixty years of age; while the Khan [Said], being still under thirty, was in the full vigour of youth. Kasim Khan begged, on the plea of old age, to be excused from coming out [in istikbal] to receive the Khan. He commanded all his Sultans to go and kneel before the Khan, and receive him. Some of these Sultans were fifty and sixty years old; such as Janish Khan, Sabash Khan, Mumash Khan, Jan Haidar Sultan, Karish Khan, and others to the number of thirty or forty--all Sultans of the race of Juji. When Sabash Khan and Janish Khan (who were very old) bowed, the Khan rose up, but when the others bowed he remained seated. Then Kasim Khan advanced with a courtesy which the Khan, to the end of his life, never forgot. Whenever he was spoken of, the Khan used to say that Kasim Khan was a most upright and worthy man, and would then relate the circumstances of their friendship.
On meeting, Kasim Khan approached and said: "We are men of the desert, and here there is nothing in the way of riches or formalities. Our most costly possessions are our horses, our favourite food their flesh, our most enjoyable drink their milk and the products of it. In our country are no gardens or buildings. Our chief recreation is inspecting our herds. Therefore let us go and amuse ourselves with looking at the droves of horses, and thus spend a short time together." When they came to where these were, he examined them all, and said: "I have two horses which are worth the whole herd." These two were then brought forward; (and the Khan used to say that never in his life had he seen such beautiful animals as these two). Then Kasim Khan resumed: "We men of the desert depend for our lives upon our horses; and [personally] I put my trust in no others than these two. [I could not bear to part with either of them.] But you are my esteemed guest, so I beg you to accept whichever of them appears to you the better, and to leave the other for me." Having examined the points of each, the Khan chose one which was called Ughan Turuk; and truly such another horse was never seen. Kasim Khan then selected several others from his droves, and gave them to the Khan. He next offered the Khan a cup of the spirit kimiz, saying: "This is one of our forms of hospitality, and I shall esteem it a great favour if you will drink it." Now the Khan, a short time before this, had renounced all intoxicating liquors; so he excused himself, saying: "I have foresworn such things as this: how can I break my vow?" To which Kasim Khan replied: "I have already told you that our favourite beverage is mare's milk and its products, and of these this [kimiz] is the pleasantest. If you do not accept what I now offer you, I am totally at a loss to know what to give you in its place, in performance of the duties of hospitality. Years must elapse before such an honourable guest as yourself again enters the house of your humble host; and now I am incapable of entertaining you. How can I make reparation for this?" So saying he hung down his head with shame, and marks of sorrow appeared upon his face. Thereupon, for his host's sake, the Khan drank the spirit to the dregs, to the great joy of Kasim Khan. Festivities then began, and during twenty days they continued to indulge together in quaffing cups of the spirit kimiz. The summer was just drawing to a close, and the Kazak set out, by Kazim Khan's orders, for winter quarters. Kasim Khan said: "To go and attack the Shaibani, at this time, would involve great difficulties. Men of the desert do not think of winter at this season [without orders]. It is impossible. An expedition is not to be thought of at this time." He then dismissed his army; and with the utmost courtesy and regard, he bade the Khan farewell. He himself returned to his capital, while the Khan, much pleased with Kasim Khan, returned to Andijan. It was then autumn. A learned man, to commemorate these events, discovered the chronogram : Ashti-i-Kazak, or "Peace with the Kazk" [919 A.H.] [‹ ]
XIII. [The good relations with the Kazaks apparently led to no concrete help even in the next year. Said Khan in fact found himself increasingly isolated in Andijan, in the face of an impending Uzbek attack, what with Babur having fled back to Kabul and the Safavi Shah having gone off to Iraq. The result was that Said Khan had to abandon Ferghana and return to Kashgar. The Uzbeks then installed their own local Khan, one Ubaid Ullah (d. 1539). The author paints a flattering portrait of him.]
I have neither seen nor heard speak of such an excellent ruler as he, during the past hundred years. In the first place, he was a true Musulman, religiously inclined, pious and abstinent; he also regulated all the affairs of religion, of the state, of the army, and of his subjects, in conformity with the ordinances of the Holy Law; never deviating from it one hair's-breadth. He was pre-eminent for his valour and for his generosity. He wrote seven different styles of handwriting, but best of all he wrote the Naskhi. He made several copies of the Koran and sent them to the two holy cities [Mekka and Medina]. He also wrote Naskh Taalik well. He possessed the divans of the various Turki, Arabic and Persian poets. He was versed in the science of music, and several of his compositions are still sung by musicians. In short, he was a king endowed with every excellence, and during his lifetime, his capital Bokhara, became such a centre of the arts and sciences, that one was reminded of Herat in the days of Mirza Sultan Husaim. Although both the Emperor and the Khan died before Ubaid Ullah Khan, and the account of the end of his days should have been given after their deaths had been recorded, yet since the stories of the Emperor and the Kha'n occupy much space, and since Ubaid Ullah Khan has no further connection with my story, I have summarily completed my account of him here. I shall have no further occasion to refer to the Uzbeg in this history. [‹ ]
XIV. [The decision by Said Khan to abandon Andijan in the face of the Uzbek advance in 1514 was reached only after a meeting with his council of advisers, at which Sayyid Muhammad Mirza, the younger brother of Mirza Aba Bakr and the uncle of the author, offered the rationale for returning to Kashgar.]
In the summer of the year 920, the Uzbeg Shaiban who were in Tashkand, advanced under the command of Suyunjuk Khan, against Andijan. When the Khan learnt this, he convened a meeting of all his Amirs and councillors, and they discussed what were the wisest steps to take in the matter. They tried to foresee the final issues of things, and were plunged in the ocean of meditation. [At last] my uncle said: "The neighbouring Sultans are not inclined to sacrifice their reputation, and have gone to look after their own affairs. Our numbers are not sufficient to compete with the Shaibani, nor are our armaments equal to theirs....
"The province of Farghna is the territory and ancient dwelling-place of the Chaghatai. The Shaibani have deprived them of it by force and violence. We have become the guardians of the Chaghatai country. Now that all the Sultans, in general, and the Chaghatai Sultans in particular, have given up the contest, it would be absurd for us to engage in this dangerous affair on their account. If you wish to be on the safe side and consider the wisest plan, then block up the path of war and follow the road of flight, before the borders of this kingdom have been darkened by the dust of the enemy's army. Let our reins be drawn towards Moghulistan, which is the old home of the Moghuls; this will tend to the consolidation of the State. And yet another fact must be taken into consideration : namely, that Mirza Aba Bakr, in the face of [the Khan's] victorious host, is like a wounded quarry, for has he not once before fought a pitched battle, at Tutluk, and been defeated? If we enter his province, and if he keeps a brave heart, he will probably again offer battle, and fighting with him will be an easy matter in comparison with fighting the Uzbeg. In fact, there will be little to fear and much to gain. Another point that ought to count in favour of this plan is that the Mirza is over sixty years of age, and he has reigned close on fifty years. The Almighty has, during forty years, suffered him to exercise tyranny. The time has probably now come for his day of oppression to be changed to the night of annihilation. Moreover, he has cast aside all his own Amirs, and has neglected the leaders of his army, setting up in their places a number of mean people of low birth, who, by reason of their lack of judgment and small intelligence, stand in great fear of him. Therefore, we ought to direct all our energies, devote all our strength, to the conquest of Kashghar. Haply the opener of all gates will open to us the gate of victory. Finally, Mirza Aba Bakr's men, who were my companions in the service of my brother, when they see me in your train, will probably return to me. And they will be a substantial assistance to us in conquering Kashghar.
"Although Mirza Aba Bakr is my own brother, (Verse).... my loyalty and devotion are to the Khan alone: and any head that will not bow to him, verily will I bring it down, though it be that of my own brother. In my devotion to the Khan, no such consideration as a tie of brotherhood shall stand in the way. In the Mirza's downfall, I now recognise the establishment of the Khan's prosperity. If my plan is approved let it be at once proceeded with."
When my uncle had finished his speech, the Khan, who had been listening with evident satisfaction, began to praise and commend him, saying: "My thoughts have for a long time been occupied with such considerations; but in our discussions, all the suggestions made have been either impossible or inexpedient. I find your plan most reasonable, and preferable to any other. My opinion is the opinion of Sayyid Muhammad Mirza. If any one has anything further to say on the matter, let him speak." All the Amirs were unanimous in their agreement, and began to approve my uncle's suggestion.
Being all of one mind, the Khan, in the month of Rabi-ul-avval, of the aforesaid year, left Farghana before Suynujuk Khan had entered it, and marched towards Kashghar by way of Moghulistan. At this time Mirza Aba Bakr executed a very surprising work, the truth of which is attested by all who were in Kashghar at the time, and I myself have seen and measured the building.... Now, he had destroyed the ancient citadel of Kashghar a long time before, as well as its suburbs, and had carried the inhabitants off to Yarkand, while he had turned several inhabited places into cultivated fields. When he heard of the Khan's approach, he commanded a fort to be built on the banks of the River Tuman. I have taken the dimensions of that fort several times. It may include about fifty jarib, more or less, and its height in some places is twenty mata gaz. The circumference of the towers at each angle is more than thirty gaz. On the ramparts, in most places, four horsemen can ride abreast. This huge fort was constructed in seven days, which is, of course, a most extraordinary feat, and confirms what has been said above, of Mirza Aba Bakr's power and activity. It is now necessary to give some account of Kashghar. [‹ ]
XV. Description of Kashgar
Kashgar is an old and famous town. In former times the Sultns of Kashghar were of the family of Afrasiab the Turk, whom the Moghuls call Bugha Khan...Among the Sultans of Kashghar [here the author is talking about the Karakhanids] was a certain Satuk Bughra Khan, who was converted to Islam in his early years. During his occupation of the throne, he brought over the whole country of Kashghar to the true faith. After his death, several of his descendants ruled in Kashghar, and even in Mavara-un-Nahr, until the conquest of Chingiz Khan.
[Tai Yang Khan fled from Chingiz Khan. Kushluk, son of Tai Yang Khan] took Kashghar from the vassals of the Gur Khan of Kara Khitai, who had himself taken it from the vassals of the descendants of Afrasiab....[The details of Kushluk's actions follow here, where he is alleged to have forced the population in the cities of the western Tarim Basin to become Christians or Buddhists.]
After Chingiz Khan had subjugated the whole of Kashghar, he went and set his mind at rest with regard to the affairs of Iran and Turan--nay, rather of the whole world. He then returned to his capital and divided all his kingdoms among his four sons.... Moghulistan, Kara Khitai, Turkistan and Mavara-un-Nahr [were given] to Chaghatai Khan... In the same manner he distributed his army and his Amirs; and in that division, the Doghlat [the author's family] fell to the lot of Chaghatai, who entrusted to them Mangalai Sunak, which means "facing the sun". This country is bounded by Shash, Chalish, Issigh Kul and Sarigh Uighur; and on the confines of these four limiting provinces are situated Kashghar and Khotan. The particular Dughlat who was established in this kingdom, was Amir Babdaghan, in whose family it remained, from father to son, until the time of Mirza Aba Bakr. The Jam-i-Giti Numai says that Kashghar is the most important town of the Turks, and goes on to describe several objects in it, of which now no trace remains. Among other things it says is, that people used to carry clothing of ermine and squirrel from Kashghar to all parts. But nowadays there are no such [animals] to be found there.
Kashghar is bounded on the north by the mountains of Moghulistan, which stretch from west to the east, and from them rivers flow towards the south. Those hills extend from Shash, on one side, to beyond Turfan [on the other], their extremities reaching into the land of the Kalmak, which quarter none but the Kalmak themselves have seen, or know anything about. I have questioned some of those who have seen something of that country, but I can recall nothing of what they told me, which would be worthy of mention in this book. Moghulistan will [afterwards] he described shortly. From Shash to Turfan is three months' journey. On the west side of Kashghar is another long mountain range, of which the mountains of Moghulistan are an off-shoot. This range runs from north to south. I travelled on those mountains for six months without coming to their extremity. They also shall be presently described, in the account of Tibet. From these mountains, rivers run from west to east, and to these rivers Kashghar owes its fertility. The whole of the confines of Khotan, Yarkand and Kashghar lie at the base of these mountains. To the east and south of Kashghar and Khotan are deserts, which consist of nothing but heaps of shifting sands, impenetrable jungles, waste lands and salt-deserts. In ancient times there were large towns in these [wastes], and the names of two of them have been preserved, namely Lob and Katak; but of the rest no name or trace remains: all are buried under the sand. Hunters, who go there after wild camels, relate that sometimes the foundations of cities are visible, and that they have recognised noble buildings such as castles, minarets, mosques and colleges, but that when they returned a short time afterwards, no trace of these was to be found; for the sand had again overwhelmed them. On such a scale were these cities of which, nowadays, neither name nor vestige remains! In a word, the habitable districts of Kashghar and Khotan lie along the western skirts of these mountains. On the frontier of Kashghar is the district of Artuj; from there to the confines of Khotan, at Kariya and Jariya, is one month's journey. But as for the breadth of fertility of the cultivated region (from the foot of the western range to the eastward) by travelling quickly one can leave all cultivation behind in a day or two. On the banks of every stream that comes down from that range, grain is sown and the land is cultivated.
The first of these is the River Timan [Tuman], which comes from a mountain standing between Kashghar and Farghana. This river flows between the ancient citadel of Kashghar, which Mirza Aba Bakr destroyed, and the new one which he built, on the banks of this river, as has been related. Part of Kashghar is fertilised by this same river. The second river is the Kara Tazghun. In the dialect of Kashghar, Tazghun means a river. It flows about three farsakhs to the south of the above mentioned fort. The greater part of the province of Kashghar is watered by it. At a distance of three farsakhs from it, is a third river called Kusan Tazghun, on the banks of which is the town of Yangi-Hisar, and its dependent districts. The town is supplied with water by this river. The distance from Kashghar to Yangi-Hisar is six statute farsakhs. At about six farsakhs from Yangi-Kisar is an insignificant hamlet called Kara Chanak, in front of which flows another stream called Shahnaz, which waters several [other] places. The valley of the Shahnaz lies in the western range, and the [high] road from Kashghar to Badakhshan runs through this valley. On the road from Kara Chanak to Kilpin Rabat, is a resting place for those coming and going [on the road]; the distance between Kilpin Rabat and Kara Chanak is five statute farsakhs. Further on is another halting place--a monastery [langar]--which is called Kush Gumbaz, an excellent stage watered by the Shahnaz. It has both cultivated grounds and gardens [baghat] which all form a part of the foundation [vakf] of this "langar." Travellers enjoy the advantages which the "langar" offers. The next stage is a village called Kizil. The water there is brackish, and nobody stops there who is not obliged to. It is considered the halfway stage between Yangi-Hisar and Yarkand. It is about ten farsakhs from Kizil to Kuk Rabat, and from Dik Rabat to the edge of the district of Yarkand, which is called Rabatchi, is by measurement seven statute farsakhs. Between Rabatchi and Kara Chanak there is but little inhabited country, except for the stages that have been mentioned.
Yarkand was formerly a very important city. The old town was dug out by Mirza Aba Bakr; it was among the excavations which we have spoken about, and much treasure was found [in it]. It is not known whether the old town was called Yarkand, or whether it had another name. In the days of my ancestors, Yarkand was a companion city to Yangi-Hisar. Mirza Aba Bakr made Yarkand his capital. He introduced streams [into the town] and laid out gardens; and it is generally reported that these numbered 12,000, most of which were in the city and its environs. But I cannot imagine that this figure is correct. Mirza Aba Bakr built a citadel which, in most places, is thirty statute gaz in height. The inside of the citadel is roughly about a hundred chub, and in it has been built a very high fort [ark]. The citadel has six gateways, which are devised for great strength. The gates themselves are placed about a hundred gaz within [the walls] and on either side are two towers near together, so that should any one wish to enter either of the gates, he must [first] pass between these two towers. If an enemy attack the interior, he is assailed with arrows and stones from front and rear, as well as from right and left. This system is to be met with in very few forts. In the fort [ark] of this citadel, magnificent buildings have been constructed; but to describe them would be tedious. In the suburbs are about ten gardens, in which are erected lofty edifices, containing about a hundred rooms each. All these rooms are fitted with shelves and recesses in the wall, they have ceilings of plaster work, and dados of glazed tiles and frescoes. Along the public roads are avenues of white poplar, so that one may walk for a statutory farsakh and a half on every side of the city, under the shade of these trees. Streams run by most of the avenues.
The water of Yarkand is the best in the world. Every praise which doctors have bestowed upon any water is true of this. It comes down from the mountains of Tibet (a month's journey distant), which are covered with snow and ice; it flows swiftly over a stony and sandy soil from south to north, and when it reaches Sarigh-Kul, which forms the extremity of the hilly country of Kasbghar, it rushes on, with like rapidity, from rock to rock, leaping and tossing, for seven days [journey] in an easterly direction, until it arrives at the level ground. Here it continues its rapid course over a stony bed for two days more, and when it reaches the bed of the river of Yarkand, in which there are few stones, the current in some degree abates its speed. A curious fact concerning this stream is, that in the early part of the spring it becomes so small that one might almost cross it, in some places, by stepping from stone to stone. In the season of Leo, it swells so much that it becomes, in places, nearly a statutory mile [mil] in breadth, [while its depth is then nowhere less than four gaz], and for a distance of one karuh [about 1.5 mi.] it is no less than ten gaz in depth. Jade [Yashb]is found in this stream. Most of the country and districts of Yarkand are irrigated by it. At a distance of about seven farsakhs, flows another stream called Tiz-Ab [Tiznaf], which waters the rest of the country. For about three days' journey, at a medium pace, from Yarkand [in the direction of Khotan] are well populated towns and villages; the farthest of these is called Lahuk. From this place to Khotan is ten days' slow marching, during which time, excepting at the halting places, one meets with no habitations.
In Khotan there are two rivers, called Kara Kash and Urung Kash, in both of which jade is met with, and it is found nowhere else in the world. The waters of these two rivers are preferred [by some] to that of Yarkand, but personally, I could never find the superiority in them. Khotan is amongst the most famous towns in the world, but at the present time its jade is the only thing that remains worth writing about. One curious circumstance concerning Khotan, is that magpies. are never seen there; or if, at any time, one happens to appear, it is taken as a bad omen, and the people band together and drive it away.
The Imam Ala-ud-Din Muhammad of Khotan is mentioned in all histories, but no one in Khotan knows which is his tomb, nor even recalls his name. There are many other tombs there, about which nothing is known. According to tradition (the truth of which is contradicted by books on history) there lie buried there, among others, many martyrs, such as Imam Zabiha [or Zabija], Jafar Tayyar, and Imam Jafar Sadik, and several others of the Companions [of the Prophet]. But the falsehood of these traditions is evident. It is possible that some of the followers of these companions bearing their names, came here and suffered martyrdom, for before the conversion of Kashghar to Islam, some of the followers of the companions came to Kashghar and conducted a holy war [ghazat] there [and at Khotan]. But the strange thing there is that the martyrs, whom they have deposited in the tombs, are sometimes exposed to view, from the sand being blown away by the wind, and no change is noticeable in them; they are recognisable, and their wounds--nay more, the very blood which has issued from the wounds, all dried up, is still visible. Every one who makes the circuit of these graves, witnesses these things.
The tombs of Yarkand, however, belong to no one who is mentioned in histories or other books. But the people of Yarkand believe that there lie [buried there] the Seven Muhammadans. Their story, as related by the mujavir [tomb guardians] is not worth recording here, but Maulana Khwaja Ahmad, who was a disciple of Hazrat Ishan, and a good and industrious old man...., has told me that the Seven Muhammadans were grandees; but I do not remember having read of them in any history. Another tomb is that of Dava Khan Padishah; but concerning him I could learn nothing from the mujavir. Suddenly Hazrat Shahab-ud-Din Khwaja Khavand Mahmud passed in front of the tomb, and turning to me said: 'This man possesses a wonderfully strong power of attraction, and I never pass by here without being strongly drawn towards [his tomb]." The edifice is a lofty one and is covered outside with plaster, upon which are paintings and inscriptions. In spite of having examined them carefully, my efforts did not enable me to read them, for most of them were in Kufic character, but not in the Kufic which is employed nowadays. A few are in Suls [a large Naskhi hand] writing, but it is not inscribed in such a manner as to be easily read. Near this, is a dome, upon the archway of which is some Turki writing which is mostly destroyed. It is there written: "In the year 656.. . . ," but the rest is obliterated and cannot be read. This date corresponds very nearly with the date of Dava Khan, better known as Dava Sahan, and I am convinced that this is his tomb. [Note: the author's identification here seems to be erroneous, in part because his chronology is wrong.] I hold the proof to be conclusive for several reasons. Firstly, at that date there was no other Dava Khan reigning; and this name of Dava Khan does not indicate, in the least, that he was a Shaikh or an Imam; nor does the fact of such a magnificent tomb having been raised over him. Again the father of Dava Khan, Barak Khan, became a Musulman in Bokhara, received the title of Ghayyas-ud-Din, and was succeeded on the throne by his son Dava Khan. From this it is quite evident that Dava Khan was Musulman. He is very much lauded in histories, and it is not surprising that God should have raised him to such high rank, considering his "Islam," and his noble qualities. After his death, any man who believed this to be his tomb, did it reverence, and as time went on [its identity] became an established fact; but God alone knows the truth.
If, as is indeed the case, this is the tomb of the famous Dava Khan, his story is told in histories....
Within the citadel of Yarkand and near to the fort [ark] is a tomb called Abjaji Ata, in which is the bone of a man's thigh, in two pieces. I have always noticed this with great wonder. I once pointed it out to Khidmat Maulana Shah Sayyid Ashik, one of the most profoundly learned and pious Ulama in Mavara-un-Nahr, who expressed great astonishment, and said: "Let us take the measurement." He ordered to be brought the corresponding thigh-bone of a man of the present time; be broke off clods of earth of the weight of that bone and tied them up in handkerchiefs, till they were exactly the weight of the bone which was in two pieces. He afterwards counted the clods and found there were sixty. Then the Maulana said: "The owner of this bone must have been sixty times the size of men of our time." This is indeed a most wonderful thing!
As for the tombs of Kashghar, the first is that of Satuk Bughra Khan, of the race of Afrasiab, and ancestor of Yusuf Kadr Khan and Sultan Ilak Mazi. He was the first Turk to become a Musulman, and he is related to have said: "Satuk was the first of the Turks to become a Musulmdan." I have heard from darvishes that to visit his tomb is a source of great spiritual advantage. There are many other tombs, excellent accounts of which are to be found in books. Among them are those of Husain Fasl Khwaja, Kutb-i-Alam, Shaikh Habib, Fakih ibn Bakr and others. The strangest is the enclosure of Husain Fasl Khwaja, which they call the "Enclosure of the Muftis," for a hole has been made in his grave opposite to where his face is. No change has taken place: his beard is [still] perfectly straight, and he is recognisable. I have heard the Ulama of Kashghar say that whenever they had a difficult question to decide, they would write a copy of it and place it in the tomb; on the morrow, when they came, they found the answer written down. And this has been tried and tested. (The responsibility be upon their shoulders.)
All the people of Khotan and Kashghar are divided up into four classes. One is called Tuman, which means peasantry: they are dependent upon the Khan, and pay their taxes to him yearly. Another class is called Kuchin, which means soldiery, who are all dependent upon my relations [presumably the Dughlat]. A third is called Imak [or Aimak], all of whom receive a fixed revenue [mukataa]of grain, cloth and the like. These people are also dependent upon my relations. The fourth class are the controllers of legal jurisdiction, and the custodians of religious houses and pious foundations; most of these are of my family. They need not, however, be specified in this place.
There are in that country one or two things quite peculiar to it. Firstly, the Jade-stone, which is found in the rivers of Yarkand and Khotan, and of which not a trace is to be found in any other part of the world. Secondly, the wild camel, which if taken in such a way that it receives no injury, can be placed in a line [of camels], and will follow exactly like a domestic camel. This animal is found in the deserts to the south and east of Khotan. Thirdly, in the hills of that country are wild oxen [kutas] of extreme size and nobility; they are the most ferocious of savage beasts When one of them attacks a human being, its butting with the horns, its kick, and its lick are all equally fatal. When on my journey from Tibet to Badakhshan (which journey I will speak of presently) we were a party of twenty-one persons, and on the road a kutas was killed. It was only with the utmost trouble and difficulty that four men were able to extract the beast's stomach. One man could not lift one of its shoulder blades. After the twenty-one persons had each carried away as much as he was able for food, two-thirds were still left.
Again, most of the fruits of that country are very plentiful. Among others the pears are especially good, and I never saw their equal anywhere else; they are, in fact, quite incomparable. Its roses and rose-water are also excellent, and almost as good as those of Herat. Moreover, its fruits have an advantage over the fruits of other countries, in that they are less unwholesome. The cold in winter is very severe, and the heat in summer is moderate; but the climate is very healthy. The fruits, which generally are injurious when taken at breakfast or after any food, are there, on account of the excellence of the climate, followed by no evil consequences and do no harm. During the autumn it is not the custom to sell fruit in the provinces of Kashghar and Khotan, nor is it usual to hinder any one from plucking it. Nay more, it is planted along the roadsides, so that any one who wishes to do so, may take of it.
But [Kashghar] has also many defects. For example, although the climate is very healthy, there are continual storms of dust and sand, and violent winds charged with black dust. Although Hindustan is notorious for this phenomenon, yet in Kashghar it is still more prevalent. The cultivation of the ground is very laborious and yields but little profit. In Kashghar it is impossible to support an army upon the produce of the country. Compared with the Dasht-i-Kipchak, the Kalmak country and Moghulistan, it has the semblance of a town, but with regard to productiveness and its capacity to support an army, it cannot be compared to those steppes. The inhabitants of towns who go there regard Kashghar as a wild country, while the people of the steppes consider it a refined city. It is a sort of Purgatory between the Paradise of Towns and the Hell of Deserts. "Ask those from Hell of Purgatory, and they will call it Paradise" [A quotation from a famous poem "Gulistan" by the Persian Saadi]. In a word, it is free from the discord of men and the trampling of hoofs, and it is a safe retreat for the contented and the rich. Great blessings accrue to the pious, now, from the blessed saints who lived there in time past. From two pious persons, out of many I have seen, I have heard that when people migrate from that country to some other, they cannot find the same peace of mind, and they remember Kashghar [with regret]. This is the highest praise.
Return to the General Narrative
I had brought the Khan's history down to the point where he, having left the province of Farghana, set out for Kashghar by way of Moghulistan. As soon as Mirza Aba Bakr heard of this, he built the citadel of Kashghar in seven days, and placed in it one thousand horse and foot, with provisions for several years, giving his own son Yusfan command over them. Then, having settled whatever business he had there as best he could, he started for Yangi-Hisar, which he also supplied with provisions, arms and siege implements, and finally went on to Yarkand.
In the meanwhile the Khan reached Atu Bum Bashi, which is one of the frontiers of Moghulistan on the side of Kashghar. Leaving his family and baggage there, to follow slowly after, he marched forward with an unencumbered army. On the first night he encamped at a place called Mirza turki; on the second day he halted at Tushku, arriving at Artuj on the third day, and there he performed the circuit [tawaf] of the shrine of Shaikh Habib, an eminent Shaikh. The miracle is recorded of him that in building the monastery, one of the beams was found too short, and that he pulled it, and extended it [to the required length]. This beam [the Khan] saw, and having repeated verses from the Koran and uttered prayers, he begged that he might profit by the spirit of the Shaikh...
XVI. [After thus invoking the aid of the local saint, Said Khan resumed his march, coming up to the outlying defenses of Kashgar. The author then provides a detailed description of the composition of his forces, in which his own Dughlat family, led by his uncle Sayyid Muhammad Mirza, figures prominently. He notes that at age fifteen, he also had a minor command in the army. This material, not reproduced here, would be valuable for reconstructing the history of the "politics" and local clan affiliations in the region. After defeating Aba Bakr's forces outside of Kashgar, the Khan chose to march on Yanghi Hisar and Yarkand. Sappers managed to blow up parts of the fort at the first of these towns; its fall then led to the capitulation of Kashgar. The author's description of the disarray in Aba Bakr's forces contains some intentional humor and apparent word play. With little hope of defending his territory, Aba Bakr fled in haste from Yarkand. The description of the treasures he attempted to take with him is of some interest as an indicator of the wealth that could be amassed in Turkestan.]
When Mirza Aba Bakr had pitched his camp...he wished to pass his forces in review, but his efforts to do so were in vain. For those Amirs, who had been used all their lives to handling the yoke [yugh], when they now raised the standard [tugh] and formed in line, thought they were thrashing corn, and got in each other's way; nor could they distinguish between right and left and centre. When their spirited steeds reared and shied, they held on anyhow to the withers, and when, in fear of their lives, they pulled at the bridle, and the horse would rear, the rider would lose his control, and slip back on the horse's haunches. If the animal started off, they would throw up the bridle and fall, like a drop of sweat, to the ground. Their bows got broken, and their arrows fell out [of the quivers]. When Mirza Aba Bakr saw this kind of horsemanship--such soldiering and such archery--he said: "With such a troop as this, it would be dangerous to try and rob a kitchen-garden"; and he returned, dispirited and anxious, to his tent, seriously meditating flight.
Following this, came news that the citadel of Yangi-Hisar had fallen; and when the people of Kashghar heard of that, they too abandoned their citadel and dispersed. On this intelligence reaching the Mirza, he felt that further delay was useless [and that the hour for flight had come] [Couplet] . . . . Therefore, having packed up the richest of his clothes and his valuables, having divorced his kingdom, and handed Yarkand over to his eldest son, Jahangir Mirza, he fled. [Verses] .
Jahangir Mirza, who had passed all his life in seclusion, was of a timorous disposition. Finding himself suddenly placed upon the throne of a disordered State, he did what he was able in the way of government, and then, at the end of five days (hearing that his father was at a distance, and that the enemy were near at hand), set out in flight. He collected all the treasure he could carry off, and issued a general order that every one might take what he wished. Those who were afraid of the Moghuls, accompanied him in his flight. The rest fell upon whatever treasure remained, plundering the granaries and burning, or destroying, property of all kinds.
Four days after the departure of Mirza Jahangir, Khwaja Ah Bahadur arrived with two or three thousand men, and two days later the Khan followed, all of which shall be related presently. Mirza Jahangir retired to Sanju, which is the frontier on the highroad to Tibet, while Mirza Aba Bakr went to Khotan. But, seeing no possibility of making a stand in the citadel there, he marched on to Karanghutagh, whither he was followed, in hot pursuit, by a party of Moghuls. As the roads were difficult, it would have been hard--nay, impossible, for him to carry off all the property he had with him; he therefore collected it all together, and set it on fire. I have heard from those who had charge of it, that there were nine hundred mule-loads of embroidered and brocaded garments. Many of them were embroidered in gold in the European, Ottoman [Rumi], and Chinese fashions; while some of the robes were studded with jewels and all kinds of precious stones. All these were consumed in the fire; while his gold and silver vases, cups, and various kinds of ornaments set with jewels, and his saddle-bags filled with gold-dust, he threw from the bridge into the River Ak-Tash, which flows through the middle of [the valley of] Karanghutagh. He killed his riding horses and mules; then, taking what it was possible to carry on such a road, set out for Tibet.
On reaching Tibet [Ladak], he found that all the forts which he had garrisoned had been abandoned by his men, who had fled in different directions; so that his forts and treasures had again fallen into the hands of the infidels of Tibet. Hence he could do nothing in that country. He could discern no shore of safety from amid the furious waves of hardship and trial, which tossed around him. Mirza Aba Bakr had now for a space of forty-eight years so filled the book [of life] with black records, that there was no space left to write anything more. He had devoted all his energies to accumulating earthly goods, and the pen is unable to describe his worldly magnificence. But, although he used ostentatiously to speak of the next world, and to express hopes of attaining it, yet he never performed an action that did not, as it were, open to him a door of hell or shut upon him a gate of paradise. Between himself and paradise was a long road.
In short, in the fulness of time, he reaped the fruits of his past misdeeds; so that, finding it impossible to remain in Tibet, he preferred death to life. Leaving his family and children there, he departed, saying: "I am going [to give myself up to the Khan]. It is evident that I shall be killed with the poison of oppression. If this happens, bury my body in the sepulchre of my ancestors. Although I have not discharged the duties of kinship towards Sayyid Muhammad Mirza and Mirza Haidar, I beg you to show them kindness. And if, contrary to my expectations, they should not kill me, I have still a plan [which may be executed]." With such intentions he set out, towards the middle of winter, to visit the Khan. On his way, he met with a party of his own servants, whom my uncle had sent into Tibet to fetch him, threatening them with this and that [penalty] if they did not succeed. When Mirza Aba Bakr met them, he asked their news; they replied: "We have been sent to find you:" and then they strung together a few lies to try and reassure him. But he did not believe them, and said: "All I want you to do is to take me, living, before the Khan and Sayyid Muhammad; after that, you can do what you please." They launched out into professions of readiness to comply with his wish. Then, as it was late, having said his night prayers, he went to sleep: and the saying, "Sleep is the brother of Death," was verified in his case. When he retired to rest, the men of the party consulted together, resolved to cut off his head and carry it to the Khan, [as this would appear an important service] and cause the Khan to place confidence in them.
Bad as he was, these people [should not have] betrayed their charge, and used perfidy in place of good faith. However, they cut off his head while he slept and then returned, as shall be narrated shortly. Thus were all his subjects--prince and pauper, high and low--delivered from his wickedness. [Verses, etc.] ...
At the end of Rajab of the year 920, the Khan made his triumphant entry into the town of Yarkand, and with the splendour of his glittering sword, he allayed the dust of tyranny and enmity [etc.] . . . The victorious Kha'n mounted the throne of the town. He then went up to the citadel [ark], within which were many lofty buildings, containing, each of them, rooms and upper-apartments and battlements, so numerous as to astound the beholder. And these buildings were filled with cloths, chintzes, carpets, porcelain, cuirasses, horse-trappings, saddles, bows and other things useful to man. All these things had been seized by Mirza Aba Bakr, or procured by whatever means he chose to employ, and had been hidden away by him, so that no one might know of their existence. Of such as remained over, Mirza Jahangir had destroyed and wasted as much as he was able; and on his departure had sanctioned a general pillage, which, until the arrival of Khwaja Ali Bahadur, was carried on by the whole population--each taking what he could. When Khwaja Ali Bahadur entered the town, he, likewise, devoted himself to pillage. Seven days later the Khan arrived, and he too gave his men permission to plunder right and left. Everything in the way of money, as well as the valuable cloths and stuffs, had been carried off, but the houses were still full [of other things]. Two months after the flight of Mirza Aba Bakr, there were still great quantities of cuirasses and the like, lying about the houses and passages, that no one had cared to carry away. [Five couplets]...
Thus, all that Mirza Aba Bakr had, in the course of forty-eight years, amassed with infinite toil, and guarded with savage miserliness, he was finally obliged, with a thousand heart-rendings, to abandon; while the Khan, with one stroke of his pen, gave it all over to a general sack, and during two months the dust thereof rose to the sky. [Verses]...
At the end of two months, every man returned safely--laden with plunder from different directions--and presented the Khan with tribute [pishkash], according to the quantity of booty he had taken. But the Khan, in order to win the hearts of his people, divided the property up into shares in accordance with the old Moghul custom, and distributed it among his soldiers. I remember distinctly that some of the Amirs who had come from Karaughutagh, presented, besides arms and vases, an Andijan man of gold-dust. Now an Andijan man is... [the equivalent of nearly 320 lbs. troy]. From this the extent of the rest of the booty may be conceived....
[When those sent to catch Aba Bakr] came to the bridge over which Mirza Aba Bakr had thrown his effects, they found the roads blocked with the carcasses of the...horses which he had killed, and of the mules, on which had been loaded the saddle-bags full of money and stuffs. I do not quite recall whether there were 900 mules or 900 strings of mules. They next came to the spot where he had burnt his brocades, etc., and saw that these valuables were become an ash-heap from which smoke was still rising. The gold and precious stones with which these clothes had been adorned were still remaining. These they gathered from among the ashes, and found that the jewels and rubies had not been affected [by the fire]. But the turquoises had turned black, and become brittle. No trace of their original colour was left. The rubies too, were broken into little pieces, and had changed to an ugly colour. The pearls were reduced to ashes, so that they could no longer be distinguished; also the amber--which bad lost all its charm.
The Amirs and their men, having gathered what they could from the ashes, again set out upon their road, when they suddenly noticed the boxes of gold-dust shining at the bottom of the river. Indeed the jewelry and vessels of silver and gold, shone forth the rays of the sun, as it were, from the depths of the stream. They thereupon proceeded to attempt the recovery of these valuables, from the water. The river was rushing over the rocks in such a torrent that no one could, by any device, have entered it. So each man prepared a long pole, at the end of which a hook was attached. To reach the bottom, it was necessary to join several of these poles together. Now when Mirza' Aba' Bakr had thrown these treasures into the river, he had ordered his men to cut the leather cases into pieces, so that the gold-dust might be scattered in the water. But since the cutting up of the cases took a long time, and the Mirza was impatient to go forward, he [finally] ordered them to be thrown in just as they were, and thus they had remained from that time.
When they struck the cases, their hooks broke most of them in pieces, and [the contents] were washed away by the current. Sometimes, however, if a man took great care, it did not break, and was lifted out of the water. They were found to contain a mule's-load each. Such of the vases and vessels as had handles, or something to lay hold of, were hooked up, but nothing was recovered upon which a firm hold with the hooks could not be obtained. They only secured a very small quantity of the gold-dust; about a hundred-thousandth part of the whole. However, they were enriched by what they did secure, and got more than enough to enable them to realise all their desires. At present, as compared with those times, all this wealth and all these Moghuls are as a mere drop in the ocean....
[The denouement of the conquest included the murder of Aba Bakr's son by unknown assassins and the marriage of Aba Bakr's widow to the victorious Said Khan, according to the custom mentioned above.]
History of the Khan after the Conquest of Kashgar
As soon as the Khan had reduced the State to order, he bestowed liberal gifts and rewards upon his followers, especially upon those who had distinguished themselves in battle, by their courage and daring; these have been enumerated above. [Verses] He poured down favours, more plentiful than drops of rain, upon his soldiers; and by the splendour of his justice, he dispelled the darkness of tyranny which had settled on the inhabitants of the country. [Verses] . . . . The roads which had before been too dangerous to traverse, were now made so safe and tranquil as to become proverbial, that if an old woman were to travel along them, bearing a jar of gold on her head, she would not be molested. At that time there was a popular song which ran: "A solitary person may carry a jar of gold from east to west, for the respect he [the Khan] inspires, causes all corners of the earth to be safe." But what is yet more remarkable, and more creditable, is that if, for example, a woman should leave a vessel full of gold and proceed on her road, she would, on returning at any time, find it untouched. [Verses] .
Into such a complete state of order did the Khan bring the kingdom, that the doors of pleasure and the gates of security were opened to high and low alike. And now all the people gave themselves up to wine and song and dancing. [Verses and rhetoric] ...
The entire population of the country, and the Khan and his courtiers in particular, turned night into day and day into night in draining the wine cups; nor did they care to learn of events that were passing [around them]. [Verse] . . . . "I came intoxicated to thy street and I left mad: 1 know not how I came nor how I departed." Revelling became so much the fashion that sobriety was held as a disgrace, and drunkenness as a cardinal virtue. These illicit indulgences lasted from Rajab of the year 920, to the end of the year 928, after which time the Khan was, by the favour of Heaven, defended from exposing himself to further censure, as shall, God willing, be related in its proper place....
[After narrating at some length various political events, the author returns to the person of the Khan. What follows is of some interest for what it tells about the Sufi presence in Central Asia. The influence of Sufi orders was growing; the text devotes substantial attention to various Sufi leaders, pointing out their "genealogies" connecting them to famous teachers. It is clear from the notes provided by the translator of the text, that he has omitted some material--e.g., "names of unimportant saints"-- which would provide additional insights into this aspect of the history of Islam in the region.] [‹ ]
XVII. The Khan's Repentance
It has been already explained to how great an extent the Khan was addicted to wine-drinking. If, for example, he dreamt of sobriety, he interpreted it to mean that he ought to get drunk; this is [the system of] interpretation by contraries. [Turki couplet].
No one would ever have imagined that the Khan could give up this habit, but by the intervention of Providence he repented him of his intemperance...
In short, at the end of the winter following that spring which saw Rashid Sultan set out for Moghulistan, the Khan happened to be in Yangi-Hisar. My uncle was in attendance on him, while I was in Yarkand. I have frequently heard the Khan relate that, one night when a drinking bout was coming to an end, the following verse came into his head: "'At night he is drunk, at dawn he is drunk, and all day he is crop-sick; see how he passes his noble life! It is time that thou should'st return to thy God [and abandon these unseemly practices].' When this purpose had become fixed in my heart, I again became irresolute [and said to myself]: 'these ideas are merely the outcome of excessive inebriety. For otherwise, who could endure life without this form of enjoyment?' Thinking thus I fell asleep; when I awoke I writhed like a snake with crop-sickness, and to dispel this I called for a draught. When it was brought, the intentions of the night before again took possession of my brain, and I sent for Sayyid Muhammad Mirza, and said to him: 'I am tired of this wine-drinking, and wish to reform.'" Now my uncle had for a long while been a disciple of the order of Yasavvi Shaikhs [one of the most important Sufi orders in Central Asia], and practised austerity and abstinence; thus he had been greatly distressed at the Khan's shortcomings; but when the Khan now announced to him his desire to mend his ways, my uncle burst into tears and urged him strongly to carry out his intention. Having repented, the Khan went into the assembly; [verses] . . . . the wine-bibbers and profligates were dejected and distressed, but all the pious and the learned rejoiced, while the zealots and devotees began to thank God, and the townsfolk and peasantry stretched their hands in praise to heaven. Thus the Khan repented of his past deeds, and night and day begged the forgiveness of God for his offences. . .
How the Khan, Wishing to Become a Darvish, Intended to Abdicate the Throne, and How He Was Dissuaded
After the Khan had been distinguished with the honour of repentance, and had entered the circle of those of whom it is said, "God loves the penitent," he passed into Moghulistan, and joined Rashid Sultan at Kuchkar [SW of L. Issyk-kul]. Remaining himself in Kuchkar, he sent forward Rashid Sultan, with his Amirs and Muhammad Kirghiz, to the farthest limits of Moghulistan. They collected and brought back the scattered Kirghiz, thus setting [the Khan's] mind at rest with regard to this affair. In the spring the Khan went back to Kashghar. After this, he used to return every year to Moghulistan with his family, to see that the country was in order, and to confirm the authority of Rashid Sultan. In the second spring that he took his family there, most of the Moghul Ulus, who were able to do so, went with him of their own accord and desire. That winter the Khan and Rashid Sultan took up their quarters in Kuchkar, and at the end of the winter the Khan, leaving his family there, went back to Yarkand.
The reason for this was that, since his repentance, he had devoted himself much to the study of Sufi books; and having pondered deeply on their sayings, was greatly influenced by them.... The Khan entered fully into the tenets of the sect, and was profoundly impressed by them. From their books and pamphlets, he learnt that the blessing [of Sufistic knowledge] was only to be attained by devoting himself to the service of a perfect [Sufi]; on this account he withdrew his mind from his earthly kingdom, while his heart became entirely detached from the world. He spent most of his time in seclusion; engaged in discussions on Sufism. Not every one was allowed to intrude on his privacy. One of his companions was my uncle, who had been a disciple of the Yasavvi Shaikh's, and who, under the guidance of that sect, practised abstinence. Most of the conferences took place in his presence. Another was Shah Muhammad Sultan, who was a cousin of the Khan and a son-in-law of his sister, and who has been mentioned briefly above; at times I was also admitted. No one else was allowed to enter, and the people used to wonder what kind of discussions those could be, to which only these four persons were admitted. [Couplet].
It was finally decided that the Khan should go to Yarkand, and that his brother, Amin Khwaja Sultan, should be brought from Aksu and set up as king in his stead. To him should be confided the whole Ulus, while the Khan, divesting himself of everything, should set out on his journey; haply he might thus render the Most High God perfect service. My uncle then suggested that before taking this step, preparations should be made for the journey to Mekka, and all necessaries got ready; that he would accompany [the Khan]; that wherever he was he would spend his whole life in attendance on him, and that Shah Muhammad Sultan and myself should also be in waiting.
No sooner had these plans been determined on, than Khwaja Muhammad Yusuf, son of Khwaja Muhammad Abdullah, son of Khwaja Nasir-ud-Din Ubaid Ullah, arrived in Kashghar from Samarkand, and the news [of his arrival] reached Moghulistan. The Khwaja was an exceedingly pious and austere man, and the Khan longed to wait upon him, in the hope that [in his service] his desire might be realised. So he journeyed from Kuchkar to Yarkand, where he arrived at the end of the winter and waited on the Khwaja. [But] when he explained to him his resolve, the Khwaja remarked: "Much has been said by wise men on this subject; such as: Remain on the throne of your kingdom, and be like an austere darvish in your ways! And again: set the crown on your head, and science on your back! Use effort in your work, and wear what you will! In reality sovereignty is one of the closest walks [with God], but kings have abused its rights. A king is able, with one word, to give a higher reward than can a darvish (however intent upon his purpose) during the whole of a long life. In this respect sovereignty is a real and practical state... But I will show you one line that my father, Khwaja Muhammad Abdullab, wrote for me." And he gave the writing to the Khan. It was written "The most important conditions, for a seeker of union with God, are little food, few words, and few associates." This brief [sermon] sufficed to compose the Khan, and he resolved to pursue the road of justice and good deeds. He began to occupy himself, at once, with what he was able, until the words of Shaikh Najm-ud-Din should be realised. A short time after this, Khwa'ja Nura came, and the Khan's desire was fulfilled. In the meanwhile Khwaja Taj-ud-Din arrived from Turfan.
[Khwaja Taj-ud-Din was obviously another of the respected religious leaders. Note the reference to the mujtahids, who were Muslim jurists regarded as sufficiently erudite and authoritative so as to develop independent interpretations of the sharia.]
Khwaja Taj-ud-Din was of the race of Maulana Arshad-ud-Din, who was of the race of Khwaja Shuja-ud-Din Mahmud, brother of Khwaja Hafiz-ud-Din of Bokhara, the last of the Mujtahids. During the interregnum of Chingiz Khan, this Shuja-ud-Din was brought [into this country], and of his race is Maulana Arshad-ud-Din, who brought about the conversion of the Moghuls to Islam.... This Khwaja Taj-ud-Din is of the race of Maulana Arshad-ud-Din. His father's name was Khwaja Ubaid Ullah. He was a disciple of Mir Abdullah of Busbirabad... Having remained for some time in the service of Hazrat Ishan, the latter gave the Khwaja leave to go to Turfan, where he was cordially received by Sultan Ahmad Khan ....
[Details of important political events in the mid-1520s follow here, including Said Khan's ultimately unsuccessful efforts to re-establish a foothold in Ferghana at a moment of Uzbek weakness, and a military expedition to the south as far as the valleys in the north of what is now Pakistan. The important role of the religious leaders attached to the court can be seen from the following account regarding the fatal illness of the author's uncle. ]
The Khan [returning from Badakhshan] reached Yarkand at the beginning of spring. On the road my uncle fell ill, and when he arrived at Kashghar, his complaint took the forms of intermittent fever, dropsy, asthma and ague, so that. all the doctors who were attending him, such as Khwaja Nur-ud-Din, Abdul Vahid Tuhuri, Kazi Shams-ud-Din Ali and others, were at a loss; the symptoms at last became so grave that his life was despaired of. In the meanwhile Khwaja Nura arrived from Turfan, whither he had gone on the invitation of Mansur Khan, who had said that if [the Hazrat] would honour him with a visit, he and his friends would esteem it a great blessing. [Couplet] . . . Accepting this invitation, Khwaja Nura went to Turfan, and having quenched the thirst of those parched wanderers in the desert of longing, with the wine of his presence, he returned to Kashghar. [Two couplets]
My uncle's state was now such that he fainted every few minutes, and became unconscious. Soon after his Holiness began to attend to my uncle, the gravity of the disease showed signs of abatement. All his remedies had a beneficial effect, yet as a fact, this was not medical treatment, but miraculous power and holy influence: for the patient had become so weak and emaciated that he could not take medicines, and in such circumstances what can a doctor do? Therefore this was a miracle.
During this time a difference arose between Khwaja Nura and his younger brother, Khwaja Muhammad Yusuf, on account of the neglect of a point of etiquette. The breach widened [from day to day]. One day I went to wait upon Khwaja Nura, and found Khwaja Muhammad Yusuf sitting in his presence. Khwaja Nura had worked himself into a passion, and as soon as I had taken my seat, said: "Muhammad Yusuf, why do you act thus? If you are the disciple of our father, I am the disciple of his Holiness--that is, of Khwaja Ahrar Khwaja Ubaidullah; and besides this I have many points of superiority over you. You are foster-brother to my eldest son. Apart from all this, I am supported by God and His Prophet; what strength have you to oppose me?" Khwaja Muhammad Yusuf replied: "I also am hopeful of the help of the Prophet." Then, asked Khwaja Nura: "Are you willing that the Prophet should he mediator between us?" Khwaja Muhammad Yusnf answered: "I am quite willing," and Khwaja Nura having intimated that he also was willing, not another word was said. Thus the meeting terminated.
Shortly after this, Khwaja Nura set out for Badakhshan. One day somebody came and told him that Khwaja Muhammad Yusuf had fallen ill, and was asking for him. I went to visit him and found he had a fever. The Khwaja said to me: "I know well that Khwaja Khavand Mahmud has taken an interest in me for some time past, he is kindly disposed towards me and gives me comfort from the Prophet. But now I do not know what has become of this comfort; for not a trace of it is apparent, and I am quite convinced that I shall not recover from my present illness. Khwaja Khavand, who is my brother--nay more, stands in the place of a father to me, ought not to have treated me thus; he has put aside all his brotherly love and fatherly affection." These and a thousand such lamentations did he pour into my ears. He also told me a few anecdotes, and entrusted some of his household to my care. He gave me a garment of camel's-hair and an apron, as souvenirs. In vain did I attempt to dispel his ideas [of impending death]; he only replied: "I am convinced; there is not a shadow of doubt." He died on the sixth night of his illness, on the 14th of the month Safar of the year 937. I discovered this date in Tair-i-Bihishti" [a bird of paradise].
After this, the Khan sent me to Khwaja Nura to entreat him to return, which he did, and the Khan came out to receive him; he placed his head at the Khwaja's feet and offered him profuse apologies. The funeral rites of Khwaja Muhammad Yusuf were then performed, [including] the giving of alms, distribution of food the reading the Koran through. But Khwaja Nura chose to dwell in Yangi-Hisar, and the Khan, in order to wait on him, left Yarkand and went thither likewise. There, they and the friends and disciples of the Khwaja spent that winter. The Khwaja performed wondrous things in their sight. The Khan was continually in his service....
[Details of family conflicts.]
.... Soon after this the Khan had a return of his old chronic illness, which took the form of flatulence, or wind in the belly and stomach, fits of shivering, and partial paralysis. Often, after hunting, he got a chill on the stomach, and his malady returned. But on this occasion the symptoms were worse than they had ever been before. My uncle was immediately sent for from Kashghar; but by the time he arrived the doctors of the royal camp had succeeded in curing the disease, by means of effective remedies.
Still, this time the Khan was much concerned about his illness. He sent for my uncle and Rashid Sultan, and said to them: "This illness has made me very anxious. I have frequently had such attacks before; for several years they have happened annually, but this year I have been seized twice, and the second time more severely than the first. My wish now is that there should be a covenant between you (meaning my uncle) and Rashid Sultan. In Mirza Haidar's case there is no need of renewal, for not only did I establish them on a friendly footing in Moghulistan, but they have lately again, in Aksu, concluded a satisfactory agreement." Then, addressing them both in the Turki language, the Khan continued: "Oh, Sayyid Muhammad Mirza, if anything should happen to me, look upon Rashid Sultan as standing in my place. And you, Rashid, look upon the Mirza as in my place also." He said many kind things besides, all of which it would be tedious to repeat here.
The Khan took up his winter quarters in Yangi-Hisar, while I went to Yarkand. Previously, when I had come from Aksu I had found the Khan busily engaged in reading with, and learning under Hazrat Makhdumi Nura.
The Khan Becomes a Disciple of Khwaja Khavand Mahmud
After the Khwaja Muhammad Yusuf incident, I tried constantly to induce the Khan to place himself under the guidance of Hazrat Makhdumi Nura. The Khan would reply: "I desire this with all my Soul. Without seeking [what you suggest], I wished to resign the government in order that I might follow that most perfect guide, Khwaja Nura; but the more I examined myself the less capable did I feel of making an open request to his Holiness. I then resolved to change my mode of living and to mend my ways, so as to render myself more fitting for his service. If I should acquire proficiency and capacity in the right path, then would Khwaja Nura show me favour, without any request on my part; but if I should fail, my petition would be fruitless. I trust that, by God's grace, I may attain my end without addressing an open request to his Holiness. If such a happy consummation should be reached I shall feel reassured." However much I insisted, the Khan always gave the same reply. A few months after my departure for Aksu, a letter arrived, directed in my name, containing certain [instructions] with regard to the affairs of Aksu; and on the margin there was some of the Khan's blessed handwriting. I have it intact before me at this moment. [‹ ]
XVIII. [The following account of the education and career of one of the Sufi teachers in some ways might remind us of the travels of Xuanzang, in his efforts to perfect his learning and visit the holy sites of his faith. However, of equal interest is the insight this gives into the way that revered Sufi teachers spread the faith by virtue of establishing personal contacts. ]
Genealogy and Life of Hazrat Khwaja Khavand Mahmud Shahab-ud-Din
(He is always spoken of in this book as Hazrat Makhdumi Nura.) He received the name of Mahmud from his father, arid that of Shahab-ud-Din from his grandfather. Out of veneration they gave him the name of Khwaja Khavand Mahmud... I have heard Hazrat Makhdumi Nura relate that when his father died he was twenty-seven years of age. He had heard his father say: "In Shahr-i-Sabz of Samarkand there is a garden, and in the garden a mulberry tree; and Khwaja Baha-ul-Hakk wa ud-Din Nakhshband used to sit leaning against that tree. Hazrat Ishan, on account of this blessing, bought the garden. In front of the tree is a tank. One night, on the edge of the tank, Hazrat Ishan related to Khwaja Ubaid-ul-Hadi and myself as follows: "During the lifetime of Hazrat Ishan I suffered from a weakness of the stomach, which the doctors of Mavara-un-Nahr were unable to cure. I then went into Khorasan, where the Shaikh ul Islam, Maulana Abdur Rahman Jami, brought me to his own house, and in his service I remained [for some little time]. I studied some of his tracts under him." I learnt that he had received his education at the hands of Bandagi Maulavi [Jami], and from the pamphlet which I have copied into this book, it appears that Khwaja Nura read standard books under him. After the death of Jami, he went into Irak, where he enjoyed the society of Mir Hasan Yazdi and Mir Sadr-ud-Din. He next went and studied, for a period of six years, under Maulana Jalal-ud-Din Davani, and he also studied medicine under Maulana Imad-ud Din, who was the most eminent physician, not merely in Irak, but in the whole world...
Having completed his medical studies in Shiraz, he passed into Rum, where also he devoted himself to study. Thence he journeyed into Egypt. Having performed the pilgrimage [to Mekka], he embarked at Jadda, and went to India by way of Gujrat. Thence he repaired to Kabul, where Babar Padishah was at that time; and I, as already mentioned, was there also. These travels had occiipied Khwja Nura twenty-three years. When the Emperor took Samarkand, the Khwaja went thither, and on the Emperor's returning to Kabul, the Khwaja remained in Samarkand until the year 931, when he returned to Kashghar, as was mentioned. In those days he related: "In Samarkand I saw, in a vision, Maulana Haji Kasim (one of Hazrat Ishan's servants) come with two horses, saying that Hazrat Ishan had ordered him to tell Khwaja Nura to take these two horses and go to Kashghar." Before the Khwaja reached Kashghar my uncle was attacked by paralysis, but on his arrival the Khwaja, by means of his remedies, completely restored him to health. He stayed two years in Kashghar, where his associates were enriched by his blessings.
Mansur Khan sent some persons to him, saying that no Makhdumadda had ever come to those corners [of the earth], Turfan and Chalish, which were the residence of the disciples of his [spiritual] fathers; these people and this country had never been blessed by a visit from the Khwaja. As it would be difficult for his friends in those quarters to go to him, all their blessings would be upon him if he would come and honour them. The Khwaja accepted this invitation of Mausur Khan, and set out for Turfan, where he remained nearly three years, and brought blessings to those who associated with him.
On the Khan's return from the Badakhshan campaign, Khwaja Nura left Turfan and stayed in Kashghar to attend my uncle, who, as mentioned above, had become subject to fits of vomiting. Having again restored my uncle to perfect health, he proceeded to Yarkand. Here Khwaja Muhammad Yusuf, as has been related above, did not come out to greet him in the prescribed manner, from which circumstance a dispute arose, which terminated as already described. After this affair he went to Yangi-Hisar, in which place the Khan also spent the winter, in order to wait upon his Holiness .... The Khwaja told me that after the death of Abdur Rahman Jami, he found under his pillow some rough copies, one of which he gave, written out, to me; and I have copied it here. He gave me these passages in Yangi-Hisar in the year 937 [1530-31]...
At the end of the winter I went to Aksu, and there [found] the Khan and some of his adherents, high officials, nobles, and others. At their request the Khwaja wrote several pamphlets. One of these is the following, which I have copied out in full....
Journey of Hazrat Makhdumi into India, and Certain Matters Connected Therewith
That spring, Hazrat Makhdumi Nura set out for India by way of Badakhshan. The Khan escorted him as far as the pass of Shahnaz, [representing] seven or eight days' journey. I, being in Aksu at the time, was denied participation in this happiness. On my return from Aksu the Khan said to me: "On bidding farewell to Khwaja Nura, I begged him to recite the Fatiha, and just as he was about to commence I asked him, as a favour, to first of all repeat it for Mirza Haidar and afterwards for me. He granted my request, and having first recited it for you, he then did so for me." [Two couplets]. . . . Those who were present relate that the Khan, during the few stages he made with the Khwaja, was overcome with grief, and whenever the Khwaja spoke, he was so overpowered with emotion, that he could not restrain his tears--a circumstance that greatly impressed those who were present. [Verses]. . . . As this was the last time the Khan would see the Khwaja, he naturally felt severely the pangs of separation.
In short, Khwaja Nura arrived in HindustAn. The frontier towns of Hindustan, namely, Kabul and Lahur, were then held by Kamran Mirad, who humbly begged the Khwaja to stay in Lahur, but the Khwaja replied: "From the first, it had been my intention to wait upon the Emperor [Babar]; therefore I must now go and console with Humayun [Babur's son, who had succeeded him after the recent death of his father]. Having performed this duty, should I return, I will accept your invitation." He then went to Agra, the capital of India, where he was received with great honour by the Emperor [Humayun].
At that period there had arisen in Hindustan a man named Shaikh Pul. Humayun was anxious to become his disciple, for he had a great passion for the occult sciences--for magic and conjuration. Shaikh Pul having assumed the garb of a Shaikh, came to the Emperor and taught him that incantations and sorcery were the surest means to the true attainment of an object. Since doctrines such as these suited his disposition, he became at once the Shaikh's disciple. Besides this person, there was Maulana Muhammad Parghari who, though a Mulla, was a very [irreligious] and unprincipled man, and who always worked hard to gain his ends, even when they were of an evil nature. The Shaikh asked the aid of Mulla Muhammad and, in common, by means of flattery, they wrought upon the Emperor for their own purposes, and gained his favour.
Not long after this I went to visit the Emperor... but I could never gather that he had learned anything from his Pir, Shaikh Pul [a well-known "sorcerer" who was executed in 1537], except magic and incantations. But God knows best. The influence of Shaikh Pul being thus confirmed, Maulana Muhammad, or rather the Emperor and all his following, neglected and slighted Khwaja Nura, who had an hereditary claim to their veneration. This naturally caused the Khwaja great inward vexation. It was mentioned above that when passing through Lahur, he had been invited by Kamran Mirza to take up his abode in that place, and he had promised to do so on his return. In pursuance of his promise, he now set out from Agra to Lahur. Humayun and his companions begged him [to stay], but be would not listen to their entreaties. He reached Lahnr in the year 943 [1536-7]. I had arrived in Lahur just before, and I now had the honour of kissing his feet.
In those days I used frequently to hear him say: "I have seen in a vision, a great sea which overwhelmed all who remained behind us in Agra and Hindustan; while we only escaped after a hundred risks:" and thus did it come about three years later--just as he had said--as shall be presently related [this is apparently a reference to a major battle which the Moghuls lost at Kanauj in 1540]. After the devastation of Hindustan he escaped, in safety, to Mavara-un-Nahr, by way of Kashghar.
Miracles of Khwaja Nura
I was present in the assembly when Maulana Muhammad Parghari arrived from Agra, with a letter from Humayun Padishah; he also was present when the Khwaja gave the answer before-mentioned. Maulana Muhammad began to weep and begged that his sins might be forgiven him; he beseeched [the Khwaja] with great earnestness to write a letter to Humayun. The Khwaja wrote: "Oh! Huma, do not throw thy noble shadow, in a land where the parrot is less common than the kite [zaghan]." Now, in this miracle there is a curious pun, for Huma Padishah did not throw his shadow in the country where the parrot is rarer than the kite. [The reference here is to a mythical bird, Huma, which watches over kings.] [Maulana Muhammad] returned stupefied.....
While I was in Lahur, Tahmasp Shah [ruler of Safavid Iran], son of Shah Ismail, came from Irak, took Kandahar from the deputies of Kamran Mirza, and having given it over to some of his trusted officers, he returned. This caused Kamran Mirza intense grief, and he asked me to tell the Khwaja of his misfortune. The next day, when I went to wait on the Khwaja, he said to me: "I have seen his Holiness in a vision, and he asked me, 'Why are you sad?' I replied: 'On account of Kamran Mirza, for the Turkomans have taken Kandahar. What will come of it?' Then his Holiness advanced towards me and taking me by the hand said: 'Do not grieve; he will soon recover it.''' And thus, indeed, it came to pass, for Kamran Mirza marched against Kandahar, and the troops of Tahmasp Shah gave up the city to him in peace. This is an especially strange thing to have occurred, since the Turkoman rulers are very severe with their subordinates. Be this as it may, the matter was terminated quite simply.
Khanadda Begum, the Emperor's sister, who has been frequently mentioned in this book, fell ill in Kabul. She wrote a letter to the Khwaja, and sent it by me, to ask him for a cure for her malady. Now as that letter was badly composed, I rewrote it correctly, and then took it to the Khwaja. He, on my arrival, said to me: "I wish to make you partner in a secret," whereupon I stood up humbly. He continued: "Give me the letter that the Begum herself wrote." Now, as a fact I had written my letter in secret, and no one knew anything about my having done so.
I witnessed many other wonders performed by him....
The End of Khwaja Nura's Biography
Though I am not suited to the task, the context demauds that I should give Khwaja Nura's line of descent in discipleship... He was the disciple of his grandfather Khwaja Nasir-ud-Din Ubaidullah, the disciple of MaulanA Yakub Charkhi, the disciple of Khwaja Baha-ud-Din Nakshband, the disciple of Mir Kalal, the disciple of Khwaja Muhammad Baba-i-Samasi, the disciple of Khwaja Ali Ramatini, the disciple of Khwaja Mahmud Anjir Faghravi, the disciple of Khwaja Arif Rivgarvi, the disciple of Khwaja Abdul Khalik Ghajdavani. It were fitting that, in this place, I should speak of each of these holy men individually, but on consideration I do not think myself equal to the task. [Couplet].
I am fully aware that what I have already written is beyond my powers, but the requirements of the context have been the cause of my boldness, and I ask forgiveness for anything that be not pleasing to God or His Prophet, or the friends of God. [Verses].
After Khwaja Nura went to Hindustan, the Khan gave Amin Khwaja Sultan (who had been brought from Aksu to Badakhshan) leave to go to India also. Although this step was necessitated by the affairs of the State, yet it did not cut the Khan off from his kin. However, Amin Khwaja Sultan went to India, where he died a natural death. His eldest son, Masud Sultan, followed him into India. Khizir Khwaja Sultan, Mahdi Sultan, and Isan Daulat Sultan, after this dispersion towards India, settled themselves in different places, but there is no object in entering into further details. Whatever God wills that should be said of them, will appear....
[After some concluding remarks on Babur, the author turns to what became a major focus of his activity, the effort of Said Khan to expand south into "Tibet" [Ladakh]. His account of Tibet mixes a lot of fact with obvious mistakes.] [‹ ]
XIX. The Invasion of Tibet by the Khan
When Khwaaja Nura passed into Hindustan, and I withdrew from Aksu, Rashid Sultan also returned, as has been already mentioned. During the same winter Rashid Sultan went back, with his family, to Aksu. In the spring of that year, the Khan resolved to conduct a holy war against Tibet. Previous to this, [his] Amirs had frequently invaded and plundered that country, but on account of their ignorance and folly, Islam had made no progress, and there were still numberless infidels in Tibet, besides those whom the Amirs had subdued.
The Khan had always been animated by a desire to carry on holy wars in the path of God, and especially so now that he had just assumed the saintly ways of the Khwajas. He was always ready to devote himself to the cause of the faith, and felt that the holy war was one of the surest roads to salvation and union with God. Prompted by such pious feelings as these, at the end of the year 938  he set out to invade Tibet.
Having reached this point in my narrative, it is necessary for me to give some account of the land of Tibet, for this country is so situated that only a few travellers have been able to visit it. On account of the difficulties of the route, which from every point of view is most dangerous--whether by reason of its hills and passes, or the coldness of the air, or the scarcity of water and fuel, or the shameless and lawless highwaymen, who know every inch of the roads and allow no travellers to pass--no one has ever brought back any information concerning this country. In such standard works as the Muajjam ul Buldan, the Jam-i-Giti Numai, and the Supplement to the Surah, Tibet is not described as other countries are; they merely mention that there is such a region, and some few facts regarding it are given. I am therefore emboldened to furnish some details about the kingdom of Tibet which are to be found in no book.
Description of the Position, Mountains, and Plains of Tibet, and an Account of the Customs and Religion of the Inhabitants
Tibet is a long [and narrow] country. From Rikan Bain, which means "between the north and the west," towards Bakani, which is "between the south and the east," is eight months' journey. Its breadth is [nowhere] more than one month's journey, nor less than ten days. Its frontier on the side of Rikan Bain, adjoins Baluristan (as was stated above, in the description of Balur); that on the Bakani side, touches Huchu Salar, which is a dependency of [what is called] Kajanfu of Khitai. In the description of the mountains of Moghulistan and Kashghar, it was stated that the principle range in Moghulistan, from which all the other hills branch out, passes the north of Kashghar, runs towards the west, and continues to the south of Kashghar. It was also mentioned that the province of Farghana lies to the west of Kashghar, this range running between. [This part of the range] which lies between Kashghar and Farghana is called Alai.
Badakhshan is on the west of Yarkand. These countries are also divided by [a part of] this same range, which here takes the name of Pamir. The width of the Pamir, in some places, is eight days' journey. Passing onwards, one comes to some of the Yarkand mountains which adjoin Balur, such as Raskam and Tagh Dam Bash; proceeding yet further, one arrives in the land of Tibet. Badakhshan is in the direction of summer sunset from Yarkand, as stated above, and Kashmir is in the direction of winter sunset from Yarkand. That same range runs between Yarkand and Kashmir, and is here called Balti; this [district] belongs to the province of Tibet. There is, in these parts, a mountain wider than the Alai or the Pamir. The width in Balti is twenty days' journey.
The pass ascending from Yarkand is the pass of Sanju, and the pass descending on the side of Kashmir is the pass of Askardu [Skardu]. [From the Sanju pass to the Askardu pass] is twenty days' journey. In the direction of winter sunset from Khotan, are some of the cities of Hind, such as Lahur, Sultanpur, and Bajwara, and the afore-mentioned mountain range lies between. Between Khotan and the towns of Hind above-named, are situated Arduk, Guga, and Aspati, which belong to Tibet; and it must be supposed that those mountains extend into Khitai. On the west and south of the range lies Hindustan; while Bhira, Lahur and Bangala are all on the skirts of it. All the rivers of Hind flow down from these hills, and their sources are in the country of Tibet.
On the north and east of Tibet lie Yarkand, Khotan, Charchan, Lob, Katak and Sarigh Uighur. The rest is a sandy waste, whose frontier adjoins Kanju and Sakju [i.e., Ganzhou and Suchou] of Khitai. All the streams which flow down from the mountains of Tibet, in a westerly and southerly direction, become rivers of Hind, such as the Nilab, the river of Bhira, the Chinab, the river of Lahur, the river of Sultanpur and the river of Bajwira, which are all rivers of Sind. The Jun and the Gang and others flow through Banghla into the ocean; all the streams which flow in an easterly and northerly direction from the mountains of Tibet, such as the river of Yarkand, the Ak Kash and the Kara Kash, the Kirya, the Charchan, and the rest, all empty themselves into the Kuk Naur [Koko Nor, although the author presumably meant Lob Nor], which is a lake in the aforesaid sand waste. I have heard some Moghuls say that one may travel round [the lake] in three months. From one end of it, issues a large river, which is called the Kara Muran of Khitai.
From these details it will be clear that Tibet is a very high-lying country, since its waters run in all directions. Any one wishing to enter Tibet, must first ascend lofty passes, which do not slope downward on the other side, for on the top the land is level; in a few cases only, the passes have slight declivities [on the far side]. On account [of the height] Tibet is excessively cold--so much so, that in most places nothing but turnips can be cultivated. The barley is generally of a kind that ripens in two months. In some parts of Tibet, the summer only lasts forty days, and even then the rivers are often frozen over after midnight. In all Tibet, in consequence of the severity of the cold, trees never reach any height; nor does the grain, for, being low on the ground, it is trodden down by the cattle.
Now the inhabitants of Tibet are divided into two sections. One is called the Yulpa--that is to say, 'dwellers in villages,' and the other the Champa, meaning 'dwellers in the desert.' These last are always subject to one of the provinces of Tibet. The inhabitants of the desert [nomads] of Tibet have certain strange practices, which are to be met with among no other people. Firstly, they eat their meat and all other foods in an absolutely raw state, having no knowledge of cooking. Again, they feed their horses on flesh instead of grain. They also use sheep exclusively, as beasts of burden. Their sheep carry, perhaps, twelve statute man. They harness them with pack-saddles, halters, and girths; they place the load upon the sheep, and except when necessary, never take it off, so that summer and winter it remains on the animal's back.
The Champa, or nomads, live in the following manner. In the winter they descend towards the western and southern slopes of the aforesaid mountains--that is to say, to Hindustan--taking with them wares of Khitai, salt, cloth of goats' hair, zedoary [an aromatic root] kutas [yaks], gold, and shawls, which are Tibetan goods. They trade in Hindustan and in the mountains of Hindustan, and in the spring they return from that country, bringing many of its products, such as cloths, sweets, rice, and grain, loaded upon their sheep. After feeding their flocks, they advance slowly but continuously into Khitai, which they reach in the winter. Having laid in a stock, during spring, of such Tibetan products as are in demand in Khitai, they dispose of the Indian and Tibetan goods there in the winter, and return to Tibet in the [following] spring, carrying with them Khitai wares. The next winter they again go on to India. The burdens which they load en the sheep in Hindustan are renioved in Khitai, and those put on in Khitai are taken off in Hindustan. Thus they spend their winters alternately in Hindustan and Khitai. This is the mode of life of all the Champa. A Champa will sometimes carry as many as 10,000 sheep-loads, and every sheep-load may be reekoned at twelve man. What an enormous quantity is this ! That amount is loaded in one year, either in Hindustan or in Khitai. On every occasion, wherever they go, they take all these loads with them, and are never caused fatigue or trouble by them. I have never heard of a similar practice among any other people. In fact, some do not even credit this story.
These Champa are a numerous race, inasmnch as one of their tribes, called Dulpa, numbers more than 50,000 families. And there are many more tribes like this one. From some of the chiefs I have asked their numbers, but they have been unable to inform me. God knows best; and the responsibility be upon [those who have failed to inform me].
The dwellers in villages are called Yulpa; they inhabit many districts--such as Balti, which is a province of Tibet; Balti, in turn comprises several [smaller] districts, such as Purik, Khapula, Ashigar, Askardu, [Runk], and Ladaks, and each of these contains fortresses and villages. Wherever I went in Tibet, I either took the country by force or made peace, on the inhabitants paying tribute. among these [places may be mentioned] Balti, Zanskar, Maryul, Rudok, Guga, Lu, Buras, Zunka, Minkab [or Hinkab], Zir-Sud-Kankar, Nisan, Ham, Alalai-Lutak, Tuk, labug [or Lanuk], Astakbark [or Askabrak], which is the limit of my journey. From Askabrak to Bangala is twenty-four days' journey, and Ursang [presumably Lhasa] is on the east, and Bangala on the sonth, of Askabrak. Ursang is the Kibla and Kaba of all Khitai and Tibet, and has a vast idol-temple. As what I heard concerning this temple is incredible I have not written it. There are many false stories told of it. In short, it is the seat of learning and the city of the pious of Tibet and Khitai.
Account of the Curiosities of Tibet
The nature of those portions of Tibet that I have visited, and of its inhabitants, is such that in spite of my strong wish to describe it I find it impossible. I will, however, on account of their strangeness, mention a few of the particulars which I have either seen myself or heard spoken of.
One of these is the gold-mines. In most of the Champa districts gold-mines are found. Among them are two strange mines; one is called by the Moghuls the Altunji [or Goldsmith] of Tibet, and it is worked by a branch of the above-mentioned tribe of Dulpa. On account of the extreme coldness of the atmosphere, they are not able to work more than forty days in the year. In the level ground are pits [or cave] large enough for a man to enter. There are numbers of these holes, and most of them terminate by running into one another. It is said that three hundred heads of families live permanently in those caves. They watch the Moghuls from afar, and when these come near, they all creep into their caves, where no one can find them. In the caves no oil burns except the oil made from sheep's milk that has no fat in it. Out of these caves they bring soil, which they wash, and (the responsibility be upon those who tell this story) it is said that in one sieve of soil from those mines, ten mithkals of gold are sometimes found. One man digs the earth, carries it out and washes it by himself. Some days he sorts twenty sieves full. Although this may appear incredible, I have heard it confirmed all over Tibet, and for this reason I have written it down.
Again, Guga has two hundred forts and villages. It is three days' journey in length, and in it gold is everywhere to be found. Wherever they dig up the earth and spread it on a cloth, they find gold. The smallest pieces are about the size of a lentil or a pea, and they say that sometimes [lumps] are found as large as a sheep's liver. At the time when I was settling the tribute upon Guga, the head men related to me that a man was lately digging a piece of ground, when his spade stuck fast in something, so that he could not, with all his efforts, draw it out. Having removed the earth, he saw that it was a stone, in the middle of which was gold; in this his spade had become fixed. Leaving the spade where it was, he went and informed the governor. A body of men went to the spot and extracted it, and having broken the stone, found in it 1,500 Tibetan mithkals of pure gold (a Tibetan mithkal is worth one-and-a-half ordinary mithkals), and God has so created this soil that when the gold is taken from the ground it does not diminish [in bulk] however much they beat it out, bake it and stamp it; it is only fire that has any effect on it. This is all very wonderful, and is looked upon by assayers as very strange and curious. Nor is this peculiarity to be met with anywhere else in the world. In the greater part of Tibet the merchandise of Khitai and India is to be found in about equal quantities.
Another peculiarity of Tibet is the dam-giri, which the Moghuls call Yas, and which is common to the whole country, though less prevalent in the vicinity of forts and villages. The symptoms are a feeling of severe sickness, and in every case one's breath so seizes him that he becomes exhausted, just as if he had run up a steep hill with a heavy burden on his back. On account of the oppression [it causes] it is difficult to sleep. Should, however, sleep overtake one, the eyes are hardly closed befor one is awoke with a start caused by oppression on the lungs and chest. And this is always the case with everybody. When overcome by this malady the patient becomes senseless, begins to talk nonsense, and sometimes the power of speech is lost, while the palms of the hands and soles of the feet become swollen . Often when this last symptom occurs, the patient dies between dawn and breakfast time; at other times he lingers on for several days. If, in the interval, his fate has not been sealed, and he reach a village or a fort, it is probable that he may survive, otherwise he is sure to die. This malady only attacks strangers; the people of Tibet know nothing of it, nor do their doctors know why it attacks strangers. Nobody has ever been able to cure it. The colder the air, the more severe is the form of the malady. [Couplet]... It is not peculiar to men, but attacks every animal that breathes, such as the horse, as will be presently instanced. One day, owing to the necessity of a foray, we had ridden faster than usual. On waking [next morning] I saw that there were very few horses in our camp, and [on inquiring] ascertained that more than 2000 had died in the night. Of my own stable there were twenty-four special [riding] horses, all of which were missing. Twenty-one of them had died during that night. Horses are very subject to dam-giri. I have never heard of this disease outside Tibet. No remedy is known for it. [‹ ]
XX. Tibet and the Customs of Its People
Teir men of learning [Ulama] are, as a body, called Lamas. But they have different names, in proportion to the extent of their learning. Just as we say "Imam and Mujtahid," they say "Tunkana and Kahjavar." I had much conversation with them with the help of an interpreter. But when it came to nice distinctions, the interpreter was at a loss both to understand and to explain, so that the conversation was incomplete. Of their tenets and rites, however, I was able to discover the following particulars. They say that the Most High God is from all eternity. At the beginning of creation, when He called the souls into being, He taught each one separately how to attain to the regions of the blessed (which was the path that leads to Paradise), and how to escape from hell. [This He taught them] without palate, or tongue, or any other [corporeal] medium. These souls He sent down at various tisnes, as seemed fitting to Him, and mixed them with earth. And this is the origin of the power of vegetation of plants in the earth. When the soul has descended from the highest to the lowest degree, it is no longer pure, but unconsciousness and oblivion dominate it. In the process of time, it migrates to some vile body; and this migration, although it be into a base degree, is yet an advance upon the state of being mixed with earth. In every body [the soul] makes progress according to its conduct. If its conduct is perfect in that body, it enters into a better body; if, on the other hand, it errs, it enters a yet viler body; and if in this [last] body it still does evil, it again becomes mixed with the earth, and again remains inanimate for some time.
In this manner [the soul] migrates from one body to another, and progresses until it attains the human body. In the human body it first of all reaches the lowest degree, such as that of a peasant or a slave. It gradually rises in the scale of humanity, until it enters the body of a lama, in which state, if [the entity] conducts itself in a becoming manner, it attains a knowledge and insight into former states, and knows what it has done in each separate body, what has been the cause of its progress, and what the reason of its degradation. This knowledge and consciousness is the degree of saintliness. And in like manner, by means of much contemplation, people attain to the stage in which they recall what was taught them at the beginning of eternity; they remember everything that the Most High God communicated to them, without palate, tongue, or any other [physical] medium. This is the degree of prophecy. In it men learn what they have heard from God Almighty, and [on these revelations] are their religion and faith based. The soul which has attained to the degree of prophecy is no longer subject to death, but has eternal life. The being continues until his physical strength is quite broken, when his body perishes, and nothing remains but his spirituality. All who have spiritual force of this kind may see [the soul]; but otherwise it cannot be seen with the eye of the head, which is bodily vision.
Such are the tenets of the religion of Shaka Muni. All Khitai is of this faith, and they call it the religion of " Shakia Muni" while in Tibet it is called "Shaka Tu Ba," and "Shaka Muni." In histories it is written "Shaka Muni." In some histories, Shaka Muni is reckoned among the prophets of India, and some hold that he was a teacher [hakim]. Also, it is maintained that no one goes to Heaven by the mere acceptance of the faith and religion, but only in consequence of his works. If a Musulman performs good acts, he goes to Heaven; if he do evil, he goes to Hell. This also applies to [these] infidels. They hold the Prophet in high esteem, but they do not consider it the incumbent duty of the whole of mankind to be of his religion. They say: "Your religion is true, and so is ours. In every religion one must conduct oneself well. Shaka Muni has said: After me there will arise 124,000 prophets, the last of whom will be called Jana Kasapa, an orphan, without father or mother. All the world will comprehend his religion. When he is sent, it will be necessary for the whole world to submit to him, and blessed will he be who hastens to adopt his faith. I bequeath my own religion in order that it may be handed down from generation to generation until the blessed time of his appearance. The semblance of this prophet will be in this wise"--and therewith he gave an image which the people were to remember, for in this form the prophet would appear. People should believe in him before all other men.
At the present time, the chief idol (which they place in the entrance of all the Idol Temples) besides all their fables, have reference to him. This idol is the figure of Jana Kasapa. And they attribute most of those qualities to Jana Kasapa, which apply to our Prophet. I observed to them: "What Shaka Muni said refers to our Prophet." They replied: "Shaka Muni said he would come after 124,000 prophets, and after him would come no other prophet. Now of those 124,000, but few have appeared as yet." I insisted earnestly that they had all appeared, but they would not admit it, and so remained in their error.
At Zunka, which is the most famous [place] in Tibet, and one which produces zedoary, I saw another [interesting object], viz., an inscription of the Padishah of Khitai. It was written in the Khitai character, but in one corner it was in Tibetan writing, while in another corner was a clear Persian translation in the Naskhi hand. It ran as follows: "His Highness the king sends greeting to all his people, saying: It is more than 3,000 years ago now, that Shaka Muni introduced idol-worship and spoke words which are not intelligible to all. . . ." This much I have retained; the rest related to some orders for the repairing of the temple. I have quoted this to show that Shaka' Muni lived 3,000 years previous to the date of the inscription, which, however, not being [dated] in the Hajra, I could not understand. But judging from the extent to which the inscription was worn, not more than a hundred years could have elapsed siuce it was written. But God knows best. I was in Zunka in the month of Rabi ul Awal, 940 [October 1533].
Another [curiosity] is the wild kutas [yak]. This is a very wild and ferocious beast. In whatever manner it attacks one it proves fatal: whether it strike with its horns, or kick, or overthrow its victim. If it has no opportunity of doing any of these things, it tosses its enemy with its tongue, twenty gaz into the air, and he is dead before reaching the ground. One male kutas is a load for twelve horses. One man cannot possibly raise a shoulder of the animal. In the days of my forays I killed a kutas, and divided it among seventy persons, when each had sufficient flesh for four days. This animal is not to be met with outside the country of Tibet. The remaining particulars concerning Tibet will be given in the account of the campaign....
[Here the narrative relates the campaigns of Said Khan in Baltistan and Kashmir, followd by a description of the latter. His description of the architecture and religious sites there is one of the earliest that has been preserved.] [‹ ]
XXI. Description of Kashmir
Kashmir is among the most famous countries of the world, and is celebrated both for its attractions and its wonders. In spite of its renown, no one knows anything about its present state, nor can any of its features or its history be learned from the books of former writers. At this present date of Moharram 950 [1543-4], now that I have subdued this beautiful country and seen all that is notable in it, whatever I shall write will be what I have witnessed.
The second time that I entered Kashmir, and when I had not reduced the whole of the country, I drew an omen from the Koran, with reference to its conquest and to my becoming established there. The verse that turned up was: "Eat of the daily bread from your Lord, and return your thanks to him in the shape of a fair city. The Lord is forgiving."
The plain of Kashmir extends from the Bakani quarter, which means "between the south and the east," towards the Rikan Bain [or north-west]; it is a level expanse about a hundred kruk (equivalent to thirty farrsakhs) in length [a kruk is about 1.3 miles]. Its width is, at some parts, about twenty kruh, and in a few places ten kruh. In this region all the land is divided into four kinds. The cultivation is: (1)by irrigation, (2) on land not needing artificial irrigation, (3) gardens, and (4) level ground, where the river banks abound in violets and many-coloured flowers. On the [level] ground, on account of the excessive moisture, the crops do not thrive, and for this reason the soil is not laboured, which constitutes one of its charms. The heat in summer is so agreeable, that there is at no time any need of a fan. A soft and refreshing breeze is constantly blowing.
The climate in winter is also very temperate, notwithstanding the heavy snowfalls, so that no fur cloak is necessary. In fact its coldness only serves to render the heat yet more agreeable. When the sun does not shine, the warmth of a fire is far from unpleasant. [Couplet]... In short I have neither seen nor heard of any country equal to Kashmir, for charm of climate during all the four seasons.
In the town there are many lofty buildings constructed of fresh cut pine. Most of these are at least five stories high and each story contains apartments, halls, galleries and towers. The beauty of their exterior defies description, and all who behold them for the first time, bite the finger of astonishment with the teeth of admiration. But the interiors are not equal to the exteriors.
The passages in the markets, and the streets of the city, are all paved with hewn stone. But the bazaars are not laid out as they are in other towns. In the streets of the markets, only drapers and retail dealers are to be found. Tradesmen do all their business in the seclusion of their own houses. Grocers, druggists, beer-sellers, and that class of provision vendors who usually frequent markets, do not do so here. The population of this city is equal to that of [other] large towns.
As for the fruits--pears, mulberries, [sweet] cherries and sour cherries are met with, but the apples are particularly good. There are other fruits in plenty, sufficient to make one break one's resolutions. Among the wonders of Kashmir are the quantities of mulberry trees, [cultivated] for their leaves, [from which] silk is obtained. The people make a practice of eating the fruit, but rather regard it as wrong. In the season, fruit is so plentiful that it is rarely bought and sold. The holder of a garden and the man that has no garden are alike; for the gardens have no walls and it is not usual to hinder anyone from taking the fruit.
First and foremost among the wonders of Kashmir stand her idol temples. In and around Kashmir, there are more than one hundred and fifty temples which are built of blocks of hewn stone, fitted so accurately one upon the other, that there is absolutely no cement used. These stones have been so carefully placed in position, without plaster or mortar, that a sheet of paper could not be passed between the joints. The blocks are from three to twenty gaz in length, one gaz in depth, and one to five gaz in breadth. The marvel is how those stones were transported and erected. The temples are nearly all built on the same plan. There is a square enclosure which in some places reaches the height of thirty gaz, while each side is about three hundred gaz long. Inside this enclosure there are pfllars, and on the top of the pillars there are square capitals; on the top of these again, are placed supports, and most of these separate parts are made out of one block of stone. On the pillars are fixed the supports of the arches, and each arch is three or four gaz in width. Under the arch are a hall and a doorway. On the outside and inside of the arch are pillars of forty or fifty gaz in height, having supports and capitals of one block of stone. On the top of this are placed four pillars of one or two pieces of stone.
The inside and the outside of the halls have the appearance of two porticos, and these are covered with one or two stones. The capitals, the ornamentation in relief, the cornices, the "dog tooth" work, the inside covering and the outside, are all crowded with pictures and paitings, which I am incapable of describing. Some represent laughing and weeping figures, which astound the beholder. In the middle is a lofty throne of hewn stone, and over that, a dome made entirely of stone, which I cannot describe. In the rest of the world there is not to be seen, or heard of, one building like this. How wonderful that there should [here] be a hundred and fifty of them!
Again, to the east of Kashmir there is a district caled Barnag [Virnag]. Here there is a hill on the top of which is a ditch like a tank, and at the bottom of the tank is a hole. It remains dry throughout the year, except during the season of Taurus, when water issues from it. Two or three times a day it gushes out [with such force] that the tank is filled, and enough water flows down the side of the hill to drive one or even two mills. After this it subsides, so that no water remains except in the hole. When the season of Taurus is passed, it again becomes dry for a whole year. Though endeavours have been made to stop it up with lime and mortar, yet when the season has come, all this has been washed away, and it has never been found possible to stop its flow.
Further, in Nagam, a notable town of Kashmir, there is a tree which is so high that if an arrow be shot at the top, it will probably not reach it. If anyone takes hold of one of the twigs and shakes it, the whole of this enormous tree is put in motion.
Again, Div Sar, which is one of the most important districts of Kashmir, contains a spring twenty gaz square. On the sides of it are pleasant shady trees and soft herbage. One boils some rice, puts it in a bottle, closes up the mouth [of the bottle] tightly, and having written a name on it, throws it into the spring and then sits down [to wait]. Sometimes the bottle remains there five years; on other occasions it comes up again the same day: the time is uncertain. If, when it reappears, the rice is found to be warm, the circumstance is regarded as a good omen. Sometimes the rice has undergone a change, or earth and sand may have got inside it. The more [substances] that find their way into it, the more unfavourable is the omen considered.
Moreover, there is in Kashmir a lake called Ulur, the circumference of which is seven farsakhs. In the middle of this lake Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin, one of the Sultans of Kashmir, erected a palace. First of all he emptied a quantity of stones into the lake, [at this spot] and on these constructed a foundation [or floor] of closely-fitting stones, measuring two hundred square gaz in extent, and ten gaz in height. Hereupon he built a charming palace and planted pleasant groves of trees, so that there can be but few more agree able places in the world. Finally, this same Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin built himself a palace in the town, which in the dialect of Kashmir is called Rajdan. It has twelve stories, some of which contain fifty rooms, halls, and corridoos. The whole of this lofty structure is built of wood.
[Among] the vast kiosks of the world are: --in Tabriz, the Hasht Bihisht Kiosk of Sultan Yakub; in Herat the Bagh-i-Khan, the Bagh-i-Safid, and the Bagh-i-Shahr; and in Samarkand the Kuk Sarai, the Ak Sarai, the Bagh-i-Dilkushai, and the Bagh-i-Buldi. Though [the Rajdan] is more lofty and contains more rooms than all these, yet it has not their elegance and style. It is, nevertheless, a more wonderful structure.
In the Zafar-Nama, Sharaf-ud-Din Ali Yazdi has stated a few facts with regard to Kashmir, but he is not quite consistent with reality. He had never been there himself, but derived his information from travellers, who had not a proper regard for accuracy; hence his statements are not always exact....[‹ ]
XXII. [The conversion account which follows highlights the activity of Sayyid Ali Hamadani, who was exiled by Tamerlane from Hamadan in Persia. He came to be regarded as the "patron saint" of muslims in Kashmir. His account of the rulers of Kashmir is apparently not terribly accurate.]
The Conversion of Kashmir to Islam, and a Short Account of the Muslim Sultans of Kashmir
The conversion of Kashmir is a comparatively recent event. The people were all Hindus and professed the faith of Brahma. A certain Sultan Shams-ud-Din came thither disguised as a kalandar. At that time there was a governor in every district of Kashmir. There was also a queen, into whose service Sultan Shams-ud-Din entered. After a short time the queen desired to marry Sultan Shams-ud-Din; and not long after this event, his power became absolute throughout Kashmir. He was succeeded by his son Ala-ud-Din, who was in turn succeeded by his son Kutb-ud-Din, during whose reign Amir Kabir Ali the Second, called Sayyid Ali Hamadani, appeared there. Kutb-ud-Din died in less than forty days, and was succeeded by his son Sultan Iskandar, who established the Musulman faith and destroyed all the idol-temples. His son Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin succeeded him, and reigned for fifty years. He devoted himself to embellishing Kashniir with buildings, and in order to humour all the nations of the world, he paid attention neither to Infidelity nor Islam. It was in his reign that Kashmir [i.e., Srinagar] became a city, which it has remained to this day.
In Kashmir one meets with all those arts and crafts which are, in most cities, uncommon, such as stone-polishing, stone-cutting, bottle-making, window-cutting, gold-beating, etc. In the whole of Mavara-un-Nahr, except in Samarkand and Bokhara, these are nowhere to be met with, while in Kashmir they are even abundant. This is all due to Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin. After him, the power of the Sultans of Kashmir began to decline, and the Amirs became so strong that the Sultans ruled in name only; insomuch that outward respect was no longer paid them. Those helpless Sultans, therefore, in order to secure their own safety, had to flee the comitry and endure much adversity.
To Sultan Nazak, who is today my companion, I have shown far more respect than the former administrators of the kingdom ever showed [their contemporary Sultans]. Since [the reign of] Zain-ul-Abidin a few of his offspring have borne the title of 'king,' but of authority they have had none.
Account of the Religious Sects of Kashmir
The people were [formerly] all Hanifi, but in the reign of Fath Shah, the father of this Sultan Nadir, a man of the name of Shams came from Talish in Irak, who gave himself out as a Nurbakhshi. He introduced a corrupt form of religion, giving it the name of Nurbakhshi and practised many heresies. He wrote a book for these cowardly people called Fikh-i-Ahwat, which does not conform to the teachings of any of the sects, whether Sunni or Shia. [These sectaries] revile the companions of the Prophet and Aisha, as do the Shias, but contrary to the teaching of these latter, they look upon Amir Sayyid Muhammad Nur Bakhshi as the Lord of the Age and the promised Mahdi.
They do not believe in the saints and holy persons in whom the Shias believe, but regard all these as [appertaining to] Sunnis. [Shams] introduced many impious practices and infidel beliefs, and gave his heretical sect the name of' Nurbakhshi. I have seen many of the Nurbakhshi elders in Badakhshan and elsewhere. I discovered that outwardly they follow the precepts of the Prophet and hold with the Sunnis. One of the sons of this Amir Sayyid Muhammad Nurbakhshi showed me his tract. In it was written: "Sultans, Amirs and fools [or the ignorant] maintain that worldly power cannot be combined with purity and piety. But this is absolutely false, for the great prophets and apostles, in spite of their missions, have exercised sovereignty, and have likewise striven diligently after those other matters [i.e., purity and piety], as for example Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon and our Prophet."
Now this is opposed to the belief of the Nurbakhshi of Kashmir, and is in accordance with that of the Sunnis. That book, the Fikhr-i-Ahwat, which is celebrated in Kashmir, I sent, complete, to the Ulama of Hindustan, who repudiated it and wrote on the back of it a decree [fatwa] of remonstrance as follows: "In the name of God the Merciful. Oh! God, show unto us the truth in its reality, and the false, wherein it is void ; also show us things as they are. After perusing this book and weighing its contents, it seemed clear [to us] that the author of it was of a false sect, who had gone against the Book and the Sunna, and did not belong to any denomination of the people of Truth. His pretension is that God bath commanded him to do away with all differences among the people; (Firstly) in the developments and ordinances of the Holy Law, and to make them as they were in his time, with neither increase nor diminution; and (Secondly) in the fundamental principles among all the peoples of the earth. [In this] he is certainly lying, and inclined to heresy and schism. It is the duty of such as have the power, to obliterate such a book, and a religious necessity for them to stamp out and extirpate this sect; to prohibit persons from following it and acting according to its dogmas. If they persist in their belief and abandon not their false creed, it is necessary for the security of Musulmans, from their evil example, to repulse them with chastisement and [even] death. If they repent and abandon the sect, they must be cornmanded to follow the teaching of Abu Hanifa."
At the present time in Kashmir, the Sufis have legitimatised so many heresies, that they know nothing of what is lawful or unlawful. They consider that piety and purity consist in night-watching and abstinence in food; yet they take and eat whatever they find, without ever considering what is forbidden or what is lawful. They give way to their lusts and desires in a manner not consistent with the law. They are for ever interpreting dreams, displaying miracles, and obtaining from the unseen, information regarding either the future or the past. They prostrate themselves before one another and, together with such disgraceful acts, observe the forty [days of retirement]. They blame and detest science and men of learning; consider the Holy Law second in importance to the True 'Way,' and that in consequence the people of the 'Way' have nothing to do with the Holy Law. In short, nowhere else is such a band of heretics to be found. May the Most High God defend all the people of Islam from such misfortunes and calamities as this, and turn them all into the true path of righteousness.
Thanks be to God that, at the present time, no one in Kashmir dares openly profess this faith; but all deny it, and give themselves out as good Sunnis. They are aware of my severity towards them, and know that if any one of the sect appears, he will not escape the punishment of death. I hope and trust that through the intervention of God and by my own efforts, the land will gradually be entirely delivered of this misfortune, and that all will become, as they now profess to be, Musulmans from the bottom of their hearts. Amen! Oh Lord of the two worlds!
There was also a sect of infidels who were Sun-worshippers, called Shammasi. Their creed is as follows: "The phenomenon of luminosity of the sun is due to the purity of our faith: and our being is derived from the sun's luminosity. If we defile the purity of our creed the sun would no longer have any existence, and if the sun withdraw its bounty from us, we should no longer have any being. We are dependent on it for our existence, and it on us. Without us it has no existence, without it we have none. As long as the sun is visible, our actions are visible to it, and nothing but uprightness is lawful. When night falls, it does not see us or know us." Since the sun is not aware of what passes in the night, they cannot be called to account for what they do in the night season. This sect used to be called Shammasi...
When this Mir Shams appeared in Kashmir and corrupted its people, he bore the title of Shams-ud-Din [Sun of the Faith]. All titles descend from heaven, and the real one must have been Shamms-ud-Din. It has been misunderstood by the Kashmiris, or else they called him Shams-ud-Din by way of reproach. For this reason they called him Mir Shams. [‹ ]
XXIII. [The author then returns to his main narrative regarding his conquest and administration of Kashmir and further campaigns in Tibet. The final section included here is his account of his journey west through the difficult conditions of the mountains to Badakhshan.]
...It was at the commencement of the cold season of Tibet, that we went to Maryul. That winter, until spring came round, we passed in such a manner that, were I to describe our sufferings, I should be suspected of exaggeration.
On the return of spring, seventy persons were sent with the horses, to a place called Utluk--a ravine famous in all Tibet for the richness of its crops. I spent the interim in hunting the wild ass and the wild kutas, and then returned. On my departure, I had left Iskandar Sultan in Maryul with a body of men. When we had once again reassembled, the horses had grown fat and strong, but our men, unable to support the pressure of misfortune and trial, all at once dispersed and went off to Yarkand; only fifty of them stayed behind, the rest all fled. At this juncture Jan Ahmad Ataka, whom, two years previously (on my return from the Ursang expedition) I had sent to Rashid Sultan (as was mentioned), came back from Yarkand, bringing the orders that we were to stay no longer in Tibet. Hitherto my reason for lingering in Tibet had been, that if of my own choice I moved to some other place, I should be accused of breaking my engagement. He [Rashid Sultan], however, while outwardly pretending to be upright, had broken this engagement, which he had sworn to with the most solemn oaths, and now, disregarding every [hononrable] consideration, ordered me to take flight. [Verses]. . . No sooner had Jan Ahmad Ataka ddivered his message, than I set out for Badakhshan.
I mentioned above that out of my force of 700 men, only fifty remained with me. The rest all got away to Yarkand, as best they could. It has also been already observed, that the difficulties of travelling in Tibet are due to the scarcity of provender and the terrible severity of the cold, while the roughness of the paths is almost beyond conception. We were without a proper supply of clothing and food, and more particularly of horse-shoes, which are above all things indispensable on those roads; our horses were few, and were in a broken condition. To remain in Tibet, therefore, became impossible; while to leave it was difficult. However, if to stay and to go were both attended by obstacles, there was at least hope in the latter course; to it we might look for a termination of our troubles, but we could foresee none if we determined to stay. [Verse]. . . . [The routes] to Kashmir, Kashghar, Turfan, and Hindustan were all equally impossible. The road to Badakhshan was the only one that offered any hope of safety.
No one of us had ever travelled from Tibet to Badakhshan, excepting by way of Kashghar. But among those who aad deserted and fled to Yarkand, was a certain man named Jahan Shah. He once related that he had heard froni the people of the mountain districts of Yarkand, that from a place called Tagh Nak [on the Yarkand River], there was a bye-path leading to the Pamirs of Badakhshan. I had inquired the particulars of him. By that unknown road we now advanced. "Can one travel by a road one has never seen and knows not?" Of the fifty persons who had remained with me many, from want of strength, stayed behind in Tibet.
I moved off finally, with twenty-seven men. [We suffered much] from want of supplies for the journey--from the weakness of the beasts of burden, from the difficulties of the road and from the cold. For although it was now the season of Virgo, the cold was so severe, that at a place we came to called Kara Kuram, as the sun sank, the river (which is a large one) froze over so completely, that wherever one might break the ice, not a drop of water was forthcoming. We continued our efforts [to obtain water] until bedtime prayers. The horses that had travelled all day over dam-giri ground, arriving at a stage where there was neither water nor grass, refused to eat the little barley that was left (and which we now gave them) because they had not drunk. Jan Ahmad Ataka said: "I remember once noticing a spring at about half a farsakh's distance from here." He indicated a spot in the middle of the ice, where we had to cut a hole; this time there was water, and we gave the horses to drink. There was one mare among them, the strongest of all the beasts, whose teeth, from want of water, became so tightly locked together, that in spite of every exertion she could not drink, and therefore died. The baggage which she had carried was thus left behind. This will give some idea of the intensity of the cold. [Verse.]
When, after much hardship, we reached the spot where the untried road to Badakshan branched off, Iskandar Sultan came to ask my permission to make his way to Rashid Sultan, saying: "Perhaps his brotherly affection will induce him to take pity on me, and cause him to heal the woulds which have hitherto cut him off from his relations." I replied: "Your brother is certainly not a man of his word, as his actions testify. Good faith is the first duty of a musulman; but he is so entirely under the evil influence of Muhammadi, that you need never expect mercy at his hands." [Quatrain]... With such words did I attempt to dissuade him, but he, being worn out with the sufferings of the journey and the misfortunes in Tibet, shut his eyes to the path of reason, and was so persistent in his demands, that at last I gave him leave to go, sending four men to accompany him.
My party of twenty-seven, by the loss of these five, was thus reduced to twenty-two, and with these I went forward upon this [strange] road. A few of our horses had become useless from want of shoes. On the same day that we parted from Iskandar Sultan, towards midday prayer-time, we killed a wild kutas. With its skin we made coverings for the feet of our disabled horses: of its flesh we carried away as much as we were able, and even then there remained what would have been sufficient for a day or two. This was a favour bestowed upon us by the Giver of daily bread. We carried away as much as our beasts could bear, which amounted to about five days' provisions for the party. I suppose about a quarter of the kutas was lost: that is to say about that quantity remained behind. The crows and ravens, by their screams, gave a general invitation to the beasts of prey of the neighbourhood, and they celebrated a feast in company.
We proceeded in this manner, guessing [our way]. On the next day we killed another kutas, of a very large breed. [Couplet.]...
From the information I had gathered from Jahan Shh, I reckoned that it would be another six days, before we should come to a cultivated region; but on the third day after our separation from Iskandar Sultn, at about breakfast-time, we met with some men with their families, some of whom came out to receive us with great cordiality, and asked us whence we had come and whither we were going. They told us that this valley was called Ras Kam, and that from here to [the] Pamir was five days' journey. When we arrived at this place [Ras Kam], all of us took a rest, after the trials of so many years.
The people took over all our broken horses and gave us strong ones in their stead. They also supplied us, in the most hospitable manner, with such meat and drink as they had to give. When they saw me, they all began to weep and cried, in their own language: "Thanks be [to God] that there still remains a prince of the dynasty that has ruled over us for four hundred years: we are your faithful and devoted servants." They then attached themselves, with their wives and families, to me. I was powerless to hinder them. At every place we came to, I was joined by all the men, women and children of the district. For the space of seven days they lavished every attention and honour upon us, brought us to the Pamir, and induced us to proceed to Badakhshan. ...We then offered up a thousand thanks to God Almighty, who had delivered us from such great dangers, and had brought us into safety; [verse] ....and from a land of Infidels to one of true Believers. [Three couplets]...
When we reached Wakhan, which is the frontier of Badakhshan, there came to me one of Rashid Sultan's followers, who was there on some business. I gave him some Turki verses, which I had composed, to deliver over to his master.
...At this time my wife, who was Rashid Sultan's paternal aunt, was banished in a kindly way, with Iskandar Sultan to accompany her. Another act of kindness was that she was not robbed, or deprived of anything; all that she had at hand was sent with her. She reached Badakhshsu, however, in a pitiable and destitute condition. About ten persons were allowed, by Rashid's favour, to accompany her, and these took with them all their cattle.
That winter I passed in Badakhshsn in perfect comfort, and the spring I spent in the plains and hills of that country; in the summer I went to Kabul. Soon after my arrival, there came together, in Kabul, some of my connections who had been banished [by Rashid Sultan]: namely, the Khan's [i.e., Said Khan's] wife, Zainab Sultan Khanim, who was his cousin, with her children Ibrahim Sultan (the Khan's favourite child), Muhassan Sultan and Mahmud Yusuf.
[Afterwards] I passed on into Hindustan. When I reached Lahur I found Kamran Mirza, son of Babar Padishah, there. He came out to meet me with every mark of respect, and bestowed honours on me. From the depths of distress and hardship, I found myself raised to honour and dignity... [‹ ]
© 1999 Daniel C. Waugh