Mention of the Sabians.— The Author goes from Shôshter into Loristân.— Arrival of the Pasha in Loristân, and his subdual of that country.— Departure of the Author with the Turkish army from Loristân to Kermanshah.— Prevalence of the Turks over the confines of Irâk, and the strife of the peasantry with them.— Battles of Sobhân Verdi Khân with the Turks.

IN Hoveizah, and Shôshter, and Dezfôl is a con­gregation of Sabians; and at the present day, except in these three towns, there is no sign or appearance of them in any other place throughout the whole universe. As far as my most diligent enquiries went, there was not a learned man remaining among them; and they were generally mean and low-lived people. The Sabian religion is the sect of Sâb, son of Enoch on whom be peace! Sâb, according to the relation of some biogra­phers, was a prophet:* but a portion of them have reckoned him among the philosophers. The Sabians say, the first of prophets was Adam, and the last Sâb. They have a book consisting of one hundred and twenty chapters, which they call The First Zebôr, or Scripture. Their faith is, that the Creator of the world made the stars and heavens, and left the government of the world to them. It is to the stars that they address their prayers; and for every star they have a determined shape according to which they make its figure and say, this is the image of such and such a star. For their humble submissions and supplications to each they have set forms of worship and ceremo­nies. The most intelligent among them say, We do not pay our worship and say our prayers to the stars: they are only our kiblah, or object at which we look. All this tribe believes in the influences of the bodies above and their images below, that is their likenesses and idols. In former times there were wise and learned men of high degree in this order, who were masters of occult sciences.

From Shôshter I again entered the province of Loristan Feili, and arrived in ill health at Khorram Abâd. So ill was I, that when the approach of Ahmed Pasha, the commander of the Turkish army, to that city was publicly known, and the small number of inhabitants there, taking to flight, retired to the difficult passes of the mountains, I alone with a few servants remained in the city, until the General with an innumerable army of Turks being come up pitched his camp without the walls: whereupon not thinking it advisable to remain alone in the city, I went into the midst of the Turkish troops and stationed myself there. After a little time the General got some of the inhabitants into his hands and gave them promise of favour and good treatment. A small body of them in consequence came together, and the General, having appointed one of the Turks as governor of the place, retired on his march back. I kept company with this same body of troops, and arrived with them at Kerman Shah. On the route I suffered great distress from the weak and painful state of my health, and from the severity of the cold. The General conceived great affec­tion for me, and treated me with the utmost respect: and a number of the Turks became my friends and associates. With them was Abd Allah Efendi, a Cadzi Asker of Constantinople, who enjoyed the highest celebrity in the Turkish empire for wisdom and learning. He became friendly with me and sought and gained my intimacy. Most of the discourses on science passed between us; and withdrawing my view from his dignity of chief, from his high station, and from the reverence in which he was held, I found him to the last degree mean and worthless, and a stranger to knowledge. His whole stock of erudition was limited to the retaining by heart some ordinary questions of the Hanifean system of Law: nothing more. Such I have found all that I have seen of the men celebrated for learning among that people. True indeed, one among them was Abd Allatif Chelebi of Bagdad. He in polite learning and in Arabic poetry was truly a master.

I passed some time in Kerman Shah, and there wrote a Treatise called Mofarrih Alcolôb on Medi­cal Experiments and Corollaries, and a Treatise called Tajarrod Nafas. In that town was the excellent Seyyid Amir Sadr Eddin Mohammed Comi of Isphahan, who was the lecturer in the city of Hamadân, and having escaped from the mishap there had come to Kerman Shah. He was indeed one of the most profound scholars, and towards me displayed a perfect friendship. He is still living, and is now become an inhabitant of Najaf Ashraf.

At that time the Turks had made the con­quest of the whole of Calamraw Ali Shakar, with its dependencies; of Kordistan, and Loristan, and the surrounding countries; and had brought them all into their possession by strife and slaughter. But the peasantry were insubor­dinate, and refused to mingle with the Turks; and thorough confusion had spread itself over those provinces. Having taking possession of the small town of Berojird, the Turks had sta­tioned a governor to rule over it. One day the rabble and people of the market raised a general tumult, and making an assault upon the Turks killed four thousand of them. Afterwards, paying a fine of five thousand tomans to the Commander, Ahmed Pasha, they submitted to obedience.

A Kizil Bâsh Amir, Sobhân Verdi Khan, son of Abo El Câsim Khan, formerly governor of Hamadân, who at that period had neither office nor army, having brought together a various set of men, for a length of time hovered over the Turks in those parts, and had more than three hundred engagements with them. Each time he killed a multitude of their soldiers; and whenever the General went to face him with an immense army, he would make a sudden retreat. Indeed, during the whole of that period, destitute as he was of force and power, he continually performed feats of courage and manhood, and kept that innumerable army in perpetual disquietude. At last, satiated with the multitude of his repeated con­flicts, and fatigued with the hardships of constant activity, he wearied and grew cool; and the Turks, having engaged him to join them by promises and conventions, at first treated him with great respect; afterwards, they put him to death. I heard it said by Ibrahim Aga, Defterdâr, or Intendent of the Finances, of Bagdad, who was one of the chief officers of that army, that Sobhân Verdi Khan, in his combats with the Turks, had slain two and twenty thousand of their men. In truth, were it possible in this haste distinctly to describe his affairs and manœuvres, his bravery and resolution, his boldness and intrepidity, the detail would fully excite the astonishment of every reader, and cancel in the book of fortune the Story of Rostam and Esfendiâr.

In sum, the province of Irâk was so withered and depopulated amidst this hurricane of calami­ties, as it exceeds my power to express.