THIS rare work, immediately after the usual praises of the Creator and the Prophet, commences with an eulogium on History. It informs us that stories of ancient heroes operate as a warning to posterity, and those relating to the manners and customs of great men and powerful monarchs form a rule for the existing sovereigns of the world. For proud men and warriors, History is the surest means of knowing what acts every one has performed according to his power and understanding; what balls were struck by what bats, and how the games were won; how the swords of revenge were drawn against enemies, and how they were destroyed; how some by their arts, machina­tions and prudence, saved themselves from the hands of their adversaries, and how others, by the force of their arms and courage, conquered the countries of the world; what heroism warriors have displayed, and how with their swords, battle-axes, arrows, lances and daggers, they have cut off or broken the heads of foes, and darkened, as with night, the fields of battle with the dust of their feet. From History also may be known what learned man flourished at what time; when a certain poet com­posed his poems; at what time a certain prose work was compiled; what miracle was performed by such a saint at such a time; what physician flourished at such a period; what cali­grapher acquired fame in his profession, and at what time.

“As the advantages,” he continues, “of this branch of learning are clearly obvious, and the motives to study it have been fully shown, this mean and sinful person, this criminal, shameful, forlorn, and abashed, embarrassed and distressed; this drowned in the ocean of fault and sin; this bad character and blackfaced one; this hoper of forgiveness from God, the Protector of great and small, viz. Muhammad 'Alí, son of Muhammad Sádik-al Hasní-al Naishápúrí-al Hanafí, compiled this history, which is extracted from many other similar works, in an ex­ceedingly condensed form, and to the extent of his power took great care in adjusting the dates. Thus the periods of the births and deaths of the different kings, and the actions of different governors, may be found in the course of these narratives. He has produced a polished mirror, in which are reflected all the prophets, saints, learned men, poets, sovereigns, princes, philo­sophers, ministers, saiyids, and physicians. Having for many years dived into the depths of books, he brought out these pearls from those oceans.”

The works which he quotes as his authorities are the Rauzatu-s Safá, Habíbu-s Siyar, Firishta, Rauzatu-l Ahbáb, 'Álam-árá, Jahán-kushá, Tazkiratu-l Fukahá, Tazkiratu Shu'ará, Zafar-náma, Tabakát-i Akbarí, Futúh-i 'Ásam Kúfí, Guzídah of Hamdu-llah Mustaufí, Mas'údí, Afzalu-t Tawáríkh, Jahán-árá, Nizámiya, Wassáf, Mu'ajjam, Majálisu-l Múminín, Lubbu-t Tawáríkh, and 'Álamgírí.

The author dedicates his work to Nawáb Burhánu-l Múlk Saiyid Sa'ádat Khán, upon whom he bestows a long and laboured eulogy. In other parts of the work he takes every opportunity of lauding his patron, and at page 329 says that he alone is capable of competing with the Mahrattas, at the dread of whom all the other nobles of the Empire had at that time lost heart, and become alarmed. It is in compliment to his patron's title of Burhánu-l Múlk that his work takes its name of Burhánu-l Futúh—“the demonstration of victories.”

The work was composed in A.H. 1148 (A.D. 1735-6),—and, several years afterwards, we find the author dedicating it to another patron, and giving to it the better-known name of Mir-átu-s Safá, in which he most amusingly changes, omits, or adds sectarian passages to render his book acceptable to a Sunní, instead of a Shí'a.

The Burhánu-l Futúh has certainly great merit in its close attention to dates, which make it a very useful book of reference, though in other respects it is too short to be of any particular value. The matter is a little expanded towards the close of the Dehlí history, which is brought down to the very year in which it was written. It is divided into an Introduction, eighteen Books, and a Conclusion. The Books are divided into several Chapters, and they again are subdivided into Sec­tions. The following Table will show the miscellaneous nature of their contents.