Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

the song of his beloved object, and strives to become absorbed in the contemplation of this universe, which is, as they say, God.

The Jewish Sooffees, have a poem in Persian, written with Jewish-Persian characters,* called Youssuf Usoleikha, i. e. Joseph and Soleikha, describing the love of Soleikha, the wife of Potiphar, to Joseph. They are in possession of Hafiz, written in Jewish-Persian characters. The wine, Mullah Meshiakh observed, of which Hafiz sang, is the mystical wine of truth. Mullah Pinehas, Mullah Eliahu, Mullah Nissin, Abraham Moshe, and Meshiakh Ajoon, belong to the Jewish Sooffees.

I met here in the house of Mullah Meshiakh with an Hebrew translation of the Koran, with the following title, "The Law of the Ishmaelites, called Koran, translated from the Arabic into French, by Durier, and from the French into Dutch, by Glosenmacher, and I, Immanuel Jacob Medart, have now translated it into the holy language, written here at Kogen, by David, the son of Isaac Cohen of Berlin."

They read with their Moorsheed the Koran, and other religious books, to find a confirmation of the truth of their systems; for like infidels in Germany, France and England, they inconsistently try to prove the truth of their tenets, from books, the authority of which they are studying to undermine. This mistake, however, is often committed by those, who try to convince Jews of the truth of the Christian religion, by producing arguments from the Talmud I frequently heard the Jewish Sooffees at Meshed say, that they had two religions: the Exterior, and the Interior; or the religion of the people, and the religion observed in their lodges. I tried to make them aware of the danger of their system, and of the reasonableness of a divine revelation, as contained in the Bible and the New Testament. I told them, that I believed their system to be a sensual, flagitious science, destructive of every law of society; and that they try to deceive themselves. That they knew they were in the wrong, and that they stood in need of belief in Jesus Christ, in order to be saved. They observed, that I was the second Englishman they had seen, who was attached to the Book; the first was Lieutenant Arthur Conolly4 They tell me, that they never saw with their natural eye, Mirza Abool Kasem of Sheeras; but they had seen him with their spiritual eye. They believe the Prophet Obadiah to have been a Sooffee, and they relate of him, that he had been an Edomite, and turned externally to the Jewish

* The Jews every where adapt in some sort the ancient Hebrew character to that of the country.

t Arguments drawn from the Talmud, may be used for the purpose of shewing, that there are contradictions in the Talmud; also that the ancient differed from the modern Jews.

t Lieutenant Arthur Conolly came to Meshed in the year 1829. He is an excellent, intrepid, and well principled traveller; the misfortune of this gentleman is, that he had no interest with great men; on which account his late journey to Meshed, Heraut, Candahar, &c, was not remunerated.

religion. In spite of their own philosophy, if it may be so called, they believe the legends of the Jews, whilst they decline belief in the revelations.

Mullah Meshiakh, or, as the Mussulmans call him, Mullah Mohde, told me the following legend about Moses. When Moses was a child, Pharaoh one day played with him; Moses took hold of Pharaoh's beard, and drew out the jewels, with which it was covered. Pharaoh said to Jethro, Balaam, and Job, who were viziers at the time, "I am afraid that this Jew boy will one day overturn my empire, what is to be done with him?" Balaam advised Pharaoh to kill Moses; Jethro said, "No, but try whether he has understanding, by putting before him gold and fire: if he takes hold of the gold, then kill him; but if he touches the fire, then it will be a proof, that he will not become a clever boy." Job was silent, but Jethro's advice was followed. Moses wanted to take hold of the gold; but the Angel of the Lord turned his hand towards the fire, and he put the coals to his tongue, on which account he had a difficulty of speech: "I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." Exodus iv. 10. Job, on account of having followed the system of expediency, by not having spoken out his mind, was punished as described in the book of Job. Balaam, who advised his being put to death, was killed.

Mullah BENJAMIN.

Mullah Meshiakh is in possession of a defence of the Coran, written by Hajee Ameen, a Jewish renegado, whose former name was Mullah Benjamin.. He has translated the whole Bible into Persian, with Persian-Jewish characters and notes, in order to convince the Jews, that Moses and the prophets have predicted, that both Jesus and Mohammed should be sent by God with prophetic power. This same Mullah Benjamin, a native of Yazd, had performed a pilgrimage to Mecca.

MULLAH MOHAMMED ALI YSHKAPATE.

Dec. 11.—The teacher of the Jewish Sooffees, called on me; there was nothing in him, which could engage me to like him; he sometimes expressed devotion, which he spoiled again by evident lies. He made me acquainted with the following principles of his. 1. That there is no evil in the world. 2. That to a man, whose mind is absorbed in God, adultery can do no harm, nor any other vice. 3. The world stands from eternity. 4. The world and God is one and the same thing. There are several other Mussulmans whereabouts of this opinion; as Hajee Abd Raheem at Damghan; Mullah Yahya at Meshed; Aga Mohammed HusseinYoos Bashee, with the surname of Amboranee; Mullah Mohammed Ali Waled Baaker of Meshed. It may be useful to a traveller to know the names of these Sooffees; for there is a kind of liberality (though somewhat interested) about them, which may facilitate the progress of a Christian or European traveller. With a glass of wine, or a piece of ham, one may acquire the good graces of a mystical, absorbed and contemplating Isooffee.

It was amusing to hear this evening those Jewish and Mohammedan Sooffees discussing with great gravity, and with eyes lifted up with devotion, the propriety of eating pork, drinking wine, and eating without first washing their hands. I then spoke to them in the following manner: "It is of small moment to eat pork or to drink wine. 'The kingdom of God does not consist in meat and drink, but in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost;' but righteousness cannot consist with this system of silencing the conscience, by considering as right, what is bad in itself, and has been considered bad by all men, possessing the least feeling of conscience; men easily can deceive themselves, and believe that to be devotion, which is really nothing else but a sensual, brutish desire, and excitement of the blood."

Mullah Meshiakh. What do you think is necessary to believe, in order to obtain the kingdom of God?

I. Believe that Jesus of Nazareth, the son of God, died for our sins, rose again, and went to heaven, and you shall be saved.

Dec. 12.—Dervish Mushtak-Fars, another Sooffee, came to the house of Mullah Meshiakh, where I was lodging; though a Mohammedan, he is connected with the Jewish Sooffees. He was silent for a long while.

Myself. Why dost thou not speak?

Dervish. After the religion of Jesus shall be manifested, then I shall speak.

M. When shall this be?

D. After that Jesus shall have been upon earth, as you now are.

M. When shall he appear?

D. Five years hence.

M. What shall then happen?

D. (In a melodious voice)

Thousand hearts shall then be one,

The lamb and the wolf shall together lie down,

And Jesus shall then lay down his life.

MOORSHEED.

I spoke with Mullah Meshiakh about the duties of a Moorsheed. He tells me, that a Moorsheed does not give lectures, but speaks the language of the heart. Mullah Meshiakh became very thoughtful and gloomy; I asked him the reason of it; he replied, thatsomething had happened to his Jewish friend, a Sooffee, which he could not reveal to me; that friend was endowed with prophetic power, and therefore he must console himself by singing in a mournful tone, the sorrows of the Loving, and his sympathy with the Beloved; which is more sweet than the voice of the nightingale: and therewith, as the Dervishes had done before, he began to sing.

Mullah Mohammed Ali said to me, "All your writing is of no use, if you have not God in your heart."

The Sooffees know each other like freemasons. They speak with high respect of the following Sooffees at Lucknow in India: Aga Mohammed Hussein; Mullah Mohammed Takee; Hassan Aga Mohammed; Ibraheem Turk.

As soon as a Persian speaks with high respect of the book, called Masnawee, one may depend upon it, that he is a Sooffee; as soon as a Persian speaks about becoming perfect, he shews he is a Sooffee; as soon as a Persian speaks about never dying, he shews that he is a Sooffee.

Dec. 14.—Abbas Koole Mirza, a brother Sooffee of Mullah Meshiakh, entered the room; he is a descendant of Nadir Shah, but now in misery.

A young Jew of Yazd, Israel the son of Benjamin, is now my servant here, in the house of Mullah Meshiakh; his aged father called on me, desiring me not to persuade his son to follow me to Bokhara; pointing to his grey beard, he expressed himself in the following manner: "My son is the only support of his aged father, and the light of the eyes of his mother, who has lost her sight; and the joy of his own wife and child."

NAMES OF THE ORTHODOX JEWS OF RESPECTABILITY.

Mullah Daud, who is the Rabbi of Meshed; Mullah Jonathan; Aga Benjamin Hakeem, Gebeer, i. e. Principal man; Mullah Pinehas, Dayan, i. e. Assistant Rabbi, (a Sooffee in secret;) Mullah Eliahu Dayan; Aga Abraham Serkar; Aga Rahmoon; Mullah Youssuf, &c.

HISTORY OF THE JEWS AT MESHED.

Knowing, as I now do, the history of the Jews at Meshed, and having known before the history of the Jews at Yemen, I may be allowed to give a short retrospect of the general transmigration of the Jews, during their captivity at Babylon; and I shall recapitulate it more at large, when I shall have opportunity to speak about the Jews of Bombay and its vicinity, and those of Cochin. When Nebuchadnezar drove my nation, on account of the abundance of their sins, to Babylon, they emigrated from thence partly to Yemen, whence they declined returning to Jerusalem in the time of Ezra; and partly they went to Casween, Yazd, Sabzuwar, Samarcand, Bokhara and Balkh.*

When Nadir Shah arrived at Casween, he took the Jews from thence, together with the Armenians from old Joolfa, and brought them to Meshed, where he gave to all of them the privilege of erecting synagogues: several of the Jews from Sabzuwar joined them. Nadir Shah, anxious to know the religion of the Jews and Christians, and having had the design of establishing one religion, accommodated to all religions, ordered both the Jews and Christians, to translate their books of Moses and the Psalms of David

* This is the tradition current among? the Jews of Persia; however, some of them certainly fled from Palestine to Yemen and India, as we shall see afterwards.

into the Persian tongue;* first written in characters of their own, and then copied in Persian characters by one of the Persian KhoshNewees, or fine-writers. The Armenians translated the New Testament into the Persian tongue.

Nadir Shah encouraged also among the Jews, the study of science and poetry. The Jew Shakem Mowlane, composed the poem, "Youssuf and Soleika." The Jews of Meshed protest against the name of Jew; they want to be called ^Nity* y3 i. e. Children of Israel.

JEWS OF YAZD AT meshed.

Sixty years ago, famine prevailed at Yazd, and the Governor of Yazd troubled the Jews; and as their skill in sorcery and witchcraft did not avail them, they emigrated to Meshed. They are unclean, dishonest, and despised by the rest of the Children of Israel at Meshed, and are considered by them as 3i a-y l. e. Mixed Multitude, mentioned in Exodus xii. 38.

COMMERCE OF THE JEWS AT MESHED.

The Jews of Meshed carry on trade to Toorkestaun; they have therefore the following stations, at which many of them either remain all their lives, whilst their wives continue at Meshed, or come back on every day of atonement, and at the time of the Passover, to Meshed, and then return: viz. Sabzuwar; Nishapoor; Torbad; Shahr-Now, or Bagharz; Cochran; Nadir Kelaat; Dargass. All these are in Khorossaun.

Their settlements in Toorkestaun are: Sarakhs; Mowr; Talkhtoon; Tekka; Tajan; Maimona; Ankhoy. To the two latter places, they have taken their wives with them.

Nadir Shah took several of them with him to Cabool; and since that time, many from Meshed have gone to Cabool; and just now, the Jews from Cabool begin to return to Meshed. So great is the hatred between the Sunnee and the Sheah, that Jews, who have turned Mohammedans at Meshed, among the Sheah, again openly profess Judaism among the Sunnee, as soon as they are going to Sarakhs, or to any other part of Toorkestaun.

• SABZUWAR.

During the captivity of Babylon, Jews came to Sabzuwar, who afterwards, in the time of Tshingis Khan, were taken to Bokhara, Balkh and Sharh-Sabz.

I continued every evening to preach to my nation, often for whole nights, sitting with them in a very small room, and at times gathering information from them. As I had not yet proper clothes to put on, Mullah Meshiakh gave me some of his.

One day, an odd and singular character entered my room: Mul

* On my arrival at Bokhara, I bought one of these copies of the Pentateuch, and sent it to the British and Foreign Bible Society, by means of the Right Reverend Bishop of Calcutta.

« AnteriorContinuar »