« AnteriorContinuar »
lah Levi Ben Meshiakh, a Mohammedan at Meshed, and a Jew whenever he goes to Sarakhs; his wife and children still professing the Jewish religion. He came to me and asked me, whether I would not go to his house to bathe; as he keeps a bath for Jews and travellers who come here; for the Mussulmans here do not admit a Christian or a Jew to their bath. I promised to go the next day. This same Mullah Levi Ben Meshiakh, was at Hash- meer; he told me the story, (which I after this heard confirmed at Kashmeer,) that there is a mountain there, called Solomon's throne,* and that Asaph is buried there. A great many traditions prevail among the Mohammedans respecting Asaph.
Aga Levi, and the rest of the Jews of Meshed, believe the Affghauns to be descendants from the Jews. Though I shall treat more in detail about that nation, in my journals about Affghanistaun, yet I will say here, what I previously heard about them. Aga Levi tells me, that the tribes of Benjamin, Simeon and Joseph, were carried to Candahar, where they lost their books, and then turned Mohammedans.
Kamran Shah, King of Heraut, of the royal tribe of Soodo, or as they are called in ArTghanistaun, Soodo-Szeye, asserts himself to be of the noble tribe of Benjamin.
Dec. 17.—I despatched Mullah Mohammed Ali, the Sooffee, as a messenger to Mr. Shee at Nishapoor, stating to him my distressed condition.
Dec. 19 Mr. A. B...., who is in the service of Abbas Mirza,
entered my room at Mullah Meshiakh's, and brought me the very necessary assistance of money, advanced on my bills by Mr. Shee, and European clothes, which some of the five Serjeants in the service of the King of Persia sold to me.
Dec. 22.—I was introduced to His Royal Highness Abbas Mirza. His Royal Highness was seated upon a Persian Divan, in a small room; Mirza Abool Kasem, his Kayem Makaam, or Chief Minister, and Mirza Baba, the Hakeem Bashee, i. e. Chief Physician, who introduced me to his Royal Highness, were standing opposite to him, leaning on the wall, according to the Persian custom, with their hands upon their breasts. H. R. H. asked me to sit down at a little distance from him, and after having enquired the state of my health, and the time I had left England, he said, that he sincerely regretted the misfortune I had met with in Khorossaun, and sympathized with me; but this amiable Prince added, "Such adventures belong to the life of a wandering Dervish, who goes about as a man of God." He said to me, "As you now intend to go to Bokhara, speak to the King of Bokhara, and try to convince him, that it is sinful to make slaves of one's fellow crea
* There is another mountain of the same name near Kokan.
tures, and you may tell him, that I have no intention of conquering Bokhara, but I mean to put a stop to slavery!" His Royal Highness reminded me after this of his having given me a written permission, when in Persia five years before, to establish a school at Tabreez, and said, that his desire of seeing his nation civilized, remained unaltered. H. R. H. promised me every assistance in his power, in forwarding me safely to Bokhara. He then began to speak with me about the exertions of Sultan Mahmood, and expressed a wish, that I should converse one day with Jews and Mussulmans, in his room, and in his presence.
MIRZA MOHAMMED ALI
I went to the house of Mirza Mohammed Ali, the Vice Governor of Meshed, with whom I had a long conversation about our Lord Jesus Christ, and wrote to him after this a letter on the glorious advent of our Lord Jesus Christ.
PRINCIPAL MULLAHS OF THE MOHAMMEDANS AT MESHED.
Mirza Hadayat Ullah, Mujtehed, i. e. one who fights for the faith of Islam; Mirza Hashem, Mujtehed; Mirza Askeree, Mujtehed; Hale Seyd Mohammed, Mujtehed; Haje Mullah Mohammed, Mujtehed; Mullah Abd-Alwehab, Munajam, i. e. Astrologer; Haje Mullah Ali, Astrologer; Mirza Mohammed, Peysh Nemaz, i. e. Leader of the prayer; Mullah Shamsa; Mirza Abd-Ullah.
MOSQUE OF IMAM RESA.
Imam Resa was poisoned in the city of Toos, by the son of Haroon Rasheed. The poison was said to have been given him in a grape. From that time, the city of Toos, or rather the city, which formed itself near Toos, received the name of Meshed, which means "place of martyrdom." Gowher Shahd, a woman of the descendants of Tamerlane, erected the splendid Mosque, now called the Mosque of Imam Resa. I refer my readers to the description of that Mosque given by Mr. Fraser.
PRINCIPAL COLLEGES AT MESHED.
1. Goombaz Bareka-Imam Resa, which contains two divisions: the College of Mirza Jaafr, and that of Mullah Mohammed Baker. 2. College of Fasl-Khan. 3. College of Haje Hassan, and several smaller ones.
Beemar Khane, Gadamgah Hazrat; and Madbakh Hazrat.
Dec. 28.—His Royal Highness Abbas Mirza desired the Jews of Meshed, to discuss the subject of religion with me in his presence.
The Jews here are now in great trouble, being obliged to lodge a few officers in their houses: but I think it is foolish of them; for if the officers were not with them, the common soldiers would commit mischief among them; but it is the case with the Jews all over the world, they consider the least inconvenience as a Gesera,
'(n'iu) severe dispensation, or Galooth (m5.1) i. e. punishment in captivity. I sometimes go with them to their synagogue, wearing the talis, i. e. veil, and teiilin, i. e. frontlets, and read aloud in the Law of Moses, and then preach to them. They asked me to-day, whether the King of England was subject to the King of Persia,
January 13, 1832.-I called on Mirza Hadayat Ullah, Mujtehed of Meshed; Mirza Ahmed Naser, Mirza Abd Ullah, and other principal Mullahs of Meshed were there. Mirza Hadayat Ullah, a gentleman, 65 years of age, received me in the kindest manner, ordered the galyoon and tea to be brought, and said to me, that he wished one of these days to enter into a religious discussion with me about Islamism; but as to day was Friday, he wished to make only a few observations, and have a quiet conversation with me. He shewed me a complete Arabic translation of the Bible, of which he had been in possession for several years. He told me that he wished me to become a Mohammedan, not in words merely, but in principle, for only such a one is a true Mohammedan. I told him that the sentiment he expressed was somewhat like that expressed by Christ, “Not he that saith Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he, that doth the will of my Father.” I said I was rejoiced to observe, that he insisted upon religion being embraced upon principle, and in case he could convince me from the Bible that Mohammed was a Prophet, I should acknowledge him. However this was too difficult a task for him; he therefore, as most of the Mussulman Mullahs do, appealed to different commentators of the Coran. I saw him again in the palace with Abbas Mirza, in whosepresence I discussed the subject again. Jan. 18.-Mirza Hadayat Ullah invited me again to his house; the room was crowded, even Jews were present, and I had the great privilege of being allowed to proclaim the tidings of salvation to him and all the Mullahs of Meshed. I then asked why they worshipped Imam Resa, as they are commanded by the Coran to worship God alone; they gave me just the same answer as the Roman Catholic, Greek, and Armenian Christians would do: that they make a distinction between prayer to God, and honour due to a saint. At this interview with Mirza Hadayat Ullah, I had the honour to see among my dis utants the Mujtehed of Kerbelay (the famous place of pilgrimage fiir the Sheah near Bagdad, where Imam Hussein was killed by Yazid, the son of Moawea,) and other learned Mullahs from Kasemein and Najaf in Arabia.
CONVERSATION WITH JEWS AND MUSSULMANS, IN THE HOUSE OF
Jan. 22.-Several Jewish Mullahs, and Mussulman Sayd,* and * Sayd is the title of a Mussulman, who is of the family of Mo
Mullahs assembled in the house of Mullah Mohammed S Mul- • lah Pinehas, the Dayan, or assistant to the chief Rabbi, who is a -^ Sooffee, was present; here I saw him, to my great surprise, eating * with Mullah Mohammed Ali.
I read Matthew chap. v. 8. I desired Mullah Pinehas to trans- I late every verse (for I read it in Hebrew) into Persian, which he * j was able to do better than I could have done.
The Mohammedan Mullahs entered then into a conversation with ir me about the divine origin of the Coran. Several of the Mohammedans present had the candour to confess, that I had had the advantage in the argument. Whilst I was sitting with these people, Mirza Hadayat Ullah, the Mujtehed, sent to me four letters of introduction for Bokhara and Cabool; a proof, that my conversation with Mohammedans here, has not only not exasperated them, but even gained their good will. In the evening I called on Mirza Moosa Khan, the brother of Mirza Abool Kasem, the Kayem Makaam, (i. e. prime minister,) of Abbas Mirza. I found there the son of Mirza Hadayat Ullah, who attacked me immediately, and a conversation of several hours took place. It is curious to see the selfconceit of a son of a Mujtehed: he talked with an air of consequence about the learning of the Oriental Mullahs, and a contempt of European learning, which was quite ridiculous, whilst his whole learning consisted in the knowledge of some legends about Mohde and Imam Hussein, and some commentaries on the Coran.
MIRZA ABOOL KASEM, KAYEM MAKAAM OF ABBAS MIRZA.
This man is considered to be the greatest Persian scholar throughout Persia; he is capable of writing a letter beginning at the end, and ending at the beginning; and of writing a letter without once making use of any letter which has points.
LONG CONVERSATION WITH HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS ABBAS MIRZA.
I give now a conversation I had with His Royal Highness Abbas Mirza, and which I communicate with his permission. Hearing that I was outside the room waiting till he had performed his prayer, he called out: "Mullah Wolff, come in, for a Mullah may be present at prayer." Before he began his prayer, he asked me about the divinity of Jesus Christ. I replied, that we do not believe, that the body of Jesus was God, but the fulness of the Godhead lived in him bodily; that one God displayed a threefold agency, in creating, redeeming, and sanctifying us; and these threefold agencies we call Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God. After this, he performed his prayer, and then observed the difference of position in prayer between the Sheah and the Sunnee; that the sheath stands before God, like a soldier before his superior officer, with his hands bent towards the ground, and a Sunnee with his hands at his breast. I then asked His Royal Highness, why the British nation has no longer that influence in Persia, which they had in former times? H. R. H. answered, "To which of the English should I give my confidence? the British nation entirely neglects us Persians: they have never sent a full Ambassador since the time of Sir John Malcolm, and Sir Gore Ouseley, at which time the English nation was respected. After the departure of those Ambassadors, the British Government relaxed in their interest for the integrity of the Persian Empire. They sent Sir John Mac Donald, who of course had not that power of acting, which the British Ambassador at Constantinople exercised at the moment ■ the Russians intended to approach that capital, preventing the Russians from advancing one step farther towards the capital of the Ottoman Empire, ordering them to stop their proceedings in the name of George IV."
"Before the arrival of Sir John Mac Donald, Sir Henry Willock had been with us: I desired him to tell me candidly, whether the Russians or the Persians were in the right with regard to the declaration of war; if he thought that the Persians were in the wrong, they would desist from making war with the Russians; but he gave not the least answer either in favour of Russia or Persia, and Sir Henry Willock acted very consistently with his situation, for he was not a full Ambassador; had there been a full Ambassador, he would have told us in the first instance, that we were in the wrong: in the second instance, after the war had taken place, he might have acted as the British Ambassador at Constantinople did; besides this, the British Envoys in Persia, with whomsoever we might wish to talk on matters of higher importance, are frequently changed, and they justly object, that they are not 'Plenipotentiary Ministers.' I assure you, that I myself have every confidence in the British Government, and most cordially so; but I must confess, that since the English have treated the cause of Persia slightly, they are not so much respected by the generality of Persians, as they were in former times; what difference would it make with regard to the expense to send an Ambassador Extraordinary? the advantage derived from it would be, that every respect and regard would be paid to them, and they would inspire the Persians with a conviction, that the British Government heartily wishes to be on amicable terms with Persia, and it would be a proof to other Powers, that the British Government takes a cordial interest in the friendship of Persia. The Russians keep a full Ambassador in Persia, and therefore the people naturally infer from it, that the Russians and Persians are on better and more amicable terms, and in more strict alliance, than the English and Persians; and the people, believing that they will gain our favour by it, shew more respect to the Russians, than to the English: thus the English lose ground in spite of my endeavours to prevent it, and the political views of another foreign Power are gaining ground in Persia. Another circumstance has happened, which has turned out in favour of the views of Russia, viz. the taking away of the two articles from the treaty, i. e. the English nation was to assist, or give us a certain sum of money."
"Sir John Mac Donald proposed to give us 400,000 Tomauns, in order that the said articles might be taken out of the treaty; and