Account of the Táhirite Envoy.

The Sultán, on account of his genius and capacity, his upright conversation, and his zeal in subduing the towns of infidels, became a followed guide in expounding the law and in defining works of merit, and a great investigator and explicator of questions stirred up respecting settling views and assiduous disputes, and upon the knots of divines, and the sects of the followers of novelties. He was gloriously perspicacious in grounding religion and in goading heretics; he was solidly confident in interpretation and hermeneutics, and the due measurement of doctrines, and the proofs of repealing and repeated (verses)* and in verifying or reprehending traditions and hints, and, by reason of his clear-sightedness, a perfect refuter of all kind of false allegations and heretical sectaries, for he watched that the ordained statutes should be pure from the dust of innovation. It came to his ears that a sect had recently appeared amongst his people, who professed to adhere to the Lord of Egypt, and, although their outward profession was but heresy, their words within were pure infidelity, and they interpreted the standard of the revealed book according to their own heart, which was the cause of the destruction of the foundations of reli­gion, and a removal of the bulwarks of proof. They, moreover, were zealously engaged in making void the science of the law and the rules of the faith, and showed the way of going aside from the determination of the Divine statutes and decrees. The Sultán commissioned spies, to investigate and spy out their places of meeting, and they brought to his hand a man who com­manded amongst them, and who knew all their names and appellations. He, by dint of punish­ment and torture, surrendered them all to his power. They brought them all from different places and from successive cities, to the Court. They were impaled on the tree or stoned. He followed after the whole company, until he had seized them all and annihilated them, and thus obtained the mastery. And Abú-Bakr-Mamshád, a venerable divine, a virtuous and religious noble­man, in this matter coincided in opinion with the Sultán. And as to every one who was connected with this assuming body or people of sinful novelty, and who had turned aside from the highway of the established religion and settled strait path, he made them all an example. By reason of this his reckoning (with these heretics) and his zeal herein his reputation increased, and he became the object of men’s eager wishes, and that which their hopes craved, and all his decisions upon religious points, from his piety, knowledge, and safe acuteness, arrived at the highest estima­tion, and were placed at the summit of Arcturus and on the pinnacle of Heaven’s vault, as is noted and commemorated in the announcement of God to the world: “He who serves me I will serve him, and he who serves thee I will follow him and make him serve” (Kúrán). And, during these events, there rose up a man, in the province of Irák, who professed to be derived from the tree (family) of Alí, who showed as if he were proceed­ing from the Lord of Egypt unto the Sultán, and were about to present unto him a written letter and well-filled packages. He went as far as to Nisapúr, and made great vauntings, on account of his family and of his proud nobility, and exhibited boastings and pretensions. But at Nisápúr they made him stop, and intimated the matter to the Sultán. But he, in his falsehood and self-suffici­ency, moved on, and came to Herát, with the intention of going to Ghazna. The Sultán, how­ever, sent a royal order to convey him to Nisha­púr, whilst his letter could be decided upon by the chief examiners, so that all might be cleared and evident to the Sultan’s privy council, as to receiv­ing his embassy, and that the dust of suspicion should not be placed on the edge of the purity of his introduction. And, when they brought him to Nishápúr, and began to unfold his words and acts, they found on him some writing, taken from the volumes of the people of the interior, full of deceit and errors, such that the words of the licentious and the diabolical suggestions (of fire-worshippers, followers of Manis?) were better founded than they, which proceeded not from any intellectual perception, or from the information or deductions of intellect, and which were not referable to proof. The Master, Abú-Bakr, investigated his iniquity, and found that his weights were unable to bear the standard of examination, and that his words did not tally with fact and truth. At the begin­ning of this altercation he himself comprehended his own position, and knew that in this journey he had cast himself into the noose of destruction, and had aimed at himself the arrow of ruin. They sent him to the Sultán, and made him appear before the select assembly of chief Imáms and Kadhis, eminent divines and faith-champions. And Hasan-’bn-Tahir-’bn-Musallim-Alawwi (one of the family of Alí) was a witness of that trial and present at that Court. He says: “The story of that digni­fied Sayyid* was this, that amongst the lordly race of Tálib and the sons of Husain the younger, no one was more noble and eminent than his grand­father, who surpassed all in rank and wealth; that Muiz (Addín) Khalif of Egypt, sent one to him to demand his daughter for his son Aziz, in marriage. That the cause which induced him to seek this alliance was as follows: he had found in his palace a piece of paper, on which was written the following quatrain (Verse)

“If thou be of the family of Abú-Tálib seek in marriage one of the children of Tahir,
“Even if people look at thee with aversion to them
“At the beginning of the matter or at the end.
“Truly his mother is one who is railed at as a native of Susa, a woman from whom, in fine, they bite carbuncles.”*

(For this poet had called his mother a native of Susa, because the mother of his grandfather Mu­hammad-’bn-Abdullah-’bn-Maimún was of that place.) “That he had declined this alliance and affinity with Muiz on account of scorbutic (maladies) and that he considered him not equal to himself, and gave answer, ‘Both my daughters are engaged in the marriage knot.’ Nuriz on this account im­prisoned him, and seized whatever of his worldly goods he could discover, and at length he suffered death under his hand. But the exact nature of that which happened to him was not known to any one; some said that they killed him and buried him secretly, several said that he fled from prison, and was cut off from the regions of the Hijáz. And Táhir the father of Hasan went to Medina, and be­came lord of that city. And Táhir his uncle’s son, and (his) son-in-law, was in great intimacy with him, and upon the demise of Táhir, Abú Ali was heir presumptive to the lordship, and after his de­cease, Hani and Muhanni his sons obtained the lordship. But Hasan on account of his decayed circumstances as regards wealth and dignity, be­came of no account, therefore he came to Khurasán, and sought an asylum at the Sultan’s Court.” And when Tahirti in this explanation began to mention his mission, Sharif Hasan drew out the tongue of opposition, and denied that he had any connexion with the matter as Envoy, or with the genealogy of the prophet, and gave sentence, authorizing the shedding of his blood. And the Sultán cast the judgment against Tahirti upon the responsibility of Hasan, and Hasan killed him. And the Com­mander of Believers Al-Kadir-Billah sent a Royal letter upon the subject of Tahirti, and signified his pleasure that he should be seized as a troubler of the devotion, and he made an example of, and punished. And when the news of his execution reached Bagdád, and the firmness of the Sultán’s religion became known, and the tongues of objectors and reprovers were tied, the Commander of the faithful regarded him as singularly paired with him, i. e. in religious authority, and he stood in a position of acceptance. And the punishment of Tahirti accords with the saying (Verse)

“He who gives to drink a poison that kills suddenly it is just that he suffer a death that streams with blood” (i. e., a violent death, but of a kind different from that by poison).