A Disputation concerning a Verse of the Koran, on which occasion NADIR SHAH gives orders for the Pentateuch and Gospel to be translated into the Per­sian Language.

WHILE Nadir Shah was engaged in the expedition against Turan, there hap­pened a conversation concerning the diversity of religious sects, in which the following verse of the Koran was intro­duced. “Mohammed is the Apostle of God; and those who are with him are fierce against the unbelievers, but compassionate towards one another. Thou mayest see them bowing down, prostrate, seeking a recompense from God, and his good will. Their signs are in their faces, being marks of fre­quent prostration. This is their description in the Pentateuch*, and in the Gospel*.” Nadir Shah required the exposition thereof from the head Moulla*, who answered, that the sect of the Schiias*, apply it solely to Aly; whilst the Sunnies* maintain that it is meant to describe all the four first Kha­lifs, there being a distinct character for each. Nadir Shah then asked, whether the Pentateuch and Gospel were now in existence? and being answered in the affirmitive, he was resolved to decide the question by the heavenly books*; and accordingly ordered Mirza Mehdy Isfa­hany to repair to the Jews and Chris­tians, and obtain by their means Persian translations of both those books. Mirza Mehdy immediately undertook a sea voyage; and from the dread of Nadir Shah’s displeasure, laboured day and night to accomplish his errand. Whilst Nadir Shah was at Cazvin, I was present when Mirza Mehdy arrived, attended by seven men learned in both books; and presented to him a Persian version of each. His mind being then totally engaged with the preparations for the war in Daghistan, he deferred the disputation till his return from that expedition. He then called an assembly of the Moullas of both sects, at which the learned in the Pentateuch and Gospel were ordered to be present, to give testi­mony to the truth. After a long dispu­tation, the Schiias were vanquished, and the doctrine of the Sunnies was pro­nounced to be orthodox. A declaration to that effect was drawn up, and all who were present affixed their seals to it, and eopies thereof were sent to all quarters. In Hindostan it was circulated by Zakaria Khan, the Soobahdar of Lahoor, who was in the favour of both monarchs. This decision, was evidently a stroke of policy, and not matter of conviction; being principally designed to gain the good will of the Sunnies of the Turkish empire, who are so tenacious of their religious tenets that their ecclesiastics are able to expelany Prince who offends against the divine law, and to raise another to the throne who will be obedient thereto. However they were not deceived by this artifice, and so far from becoming his friends,, were unanimous in declaring war against him.

Nadir Shah, during his expedition in Hindostan, laboured under a dropsical complaint, and having heard great enco­miums bestowed upon the skill of Hakeem Allavee Khan, he prevailed upon him to leave Dehly, under an engage­ment, that after effecting the cure, he should have permission to make the pil­grimage of Mecca.

Nadir Shah always carressed him beyond any other of his court, insomuch that sometimes the Princes, his sons, would be standing withoutside of the tent in the snow, whilst he alone was in com­pany with their father. In order that he might travel with the greater ease, Nadir Shah sent him his own Tukh­trewan*. He always partook of what­ever the Shah ate or drank, and in every other respect all possible attention was shewn him. With the assistance of God, he performed a radical cure, with­out having laid Nadir Shah under any restraint of regimen; and he now asked permission to take his leave, accord­ing to promise. Nadir Shah being very unwilling to part with him, endeavoured to detain him by professions of friend­ship, and new acts of kindness; but the Hakeem Bashy being of an irritable dis­position, could not bear the delay, and at last broke out in the following exclamation. “To retain a physician contrary to his inclination, can tend to no good, and may be productive of evil.” Nadir Shah convinced that it would be impossible to prevail upon him to stay any longer, at last consented to his departure.

The sinful author of these pages, who from his great desire to make the pil­grimage of Mecca, and to visit the holy shrines, had entered into the service of Nadir Shah, obtained permission to accompany the Hakeem Bashy to Hijaz. Nadir Shah was then on his march from Cazvin, on an expedition against the tribe of Lezekee of Dagistan, who some time before in an engagement had killed his brother Ibrahim Khan. Being a brave and gallant nation, they fortified their passes, and made other preparations to repel the attack.

By the divine favour I now took my leave of Nadir Shah, and carrying all my property along with me, set out for Mecca.