Account of the Affair of the Afgháns.

When the pimples of the disgrace and infamy of the puritans (lit., Tahirites, heretics so called) of Tabaristán had passed away the Sultán occupied himself in repelling the nation of the Afgháns, who made their homes in the acclivities of cliffs and the summits of mountains, and for a long time had been accustomed, with violent success, to stretch out their hand (to attack) the extreme border of his territories. He departed from Ghazna, with the wish to turn upon them, and, by giving their nest to the winds, cut off the germ of that annoyance. He therefore made as though he were marching towards another place and had a design against some other people, and suddenly fell upon them and, fastening the sword upon them, gave many people to destruction (Verse)

“Knocking down after knocking down, as if their skins were anointed with shame and bruises.”

He then returned to Ghazna, and was unde­cided whether he would remain still for the rest of the year, for the purpose of repose, and enjoying tranquillity for that winter, then determine upon his victorious design and cast out the residue of the infidel wretches, from the cities and dwellings of India, and annihilate those swords which were moving like a stream in the remoter provinces. His jealousy for Islám and regard for the faith, however, prevailed, and his progressing sword could not be content in its sheath, but, charmed with his power and courage, flew and escaped from its dwelling. And thus he marched towards India, with men as eager and excited as neighing colts, with the delight in battles felt by males in mea­suring swords and points, whose rose-bed was the battle-field and plain, whose violet-bed was daggers and spears, whose gardens were deeds of swords, whose fishponds were the streaming dead, whose scimitars were their stars, and to ford through dust their boats, whose companion and soothing mistress was victory, whose confidant was their dagger, and glory their echo. Thus they passed the desert, and left behind those fords and passages (of the river) and from the rest of those lands, from the plunder of encounters, and the injury of the army, a shout arose and a cry was raised to Heaven. And the Sultán gave quarter to whom­soever followed his religion, but if any one twisted his head from his decree he cast his head upon the ground. They ravaged the country, and collected so great an amount that water and fire could not consume it, and it could not be reduced to the compass of calculation or to the order of account-books, until he arrived at the river named Rahib, where the waters were great and where was a dif­ficult channel-passage, and whose whirlpool could carry away horsemen and footmen, and in whose fords great and small are drowned. Here, as in a fitting place, Jaibál had halted, trusting in the copious (streams) and stood to repulse the Muslim army; and he would not permit any one to pass the water. But, when night arrived, he took to flight, under the canopy of darkness. And when the Sultán knew his craftiness and his design he called his guards and prepared hides, and ordered them to inflate them, and tie them to their bellies, and thus pass the water. Eight of the guards, self-forgetful, ran and tied the inflated skins around them, and threw themselves into the water. And when Jaibal saw them on the surface, he sent five elephants with a body of men to resist them. But God, to verify His word and promise to the Apostle and Prophet, by the success and accomplishment of this saying, “The earth hath been referred to me, east and west, and wide regions have been brought near to me; my people have been offered to me there­from,” inspired those eight, so that they held on with firm hands and unmoveable resolution, and pierced those elephants through and through, on the sides and flanks, with arrows, and bore men to the ground. And so kind was the Sultán that he encouraged every one to swim powerfully (by saying) “We ought to endure the toil of a day for the sake of the rest of a whole life.” And the army, from the kind words of the Sultán and their eager devotion, pressed on, jostling one another. Some passed by the skins and others firmly held their horses’ manes, so that all came forth safely and stood on the shore, without loss or suffering, and pressed upon their rear, and thus put many of these accursed creatures to the sword, and made the greater number prisoners. They brought seventy elephants to the Sultán’s yoke, by the bridle of force and the noose of compulsion. And the infidels fled, leaving as booty their treasures and property. And the Sultán, before he engaged the Káfirs and conquered these false fugitives, had taken an omen from the glorious Kurán, “Your Lord hath contrived that you should destroy your enemies, and he will appoint you to succeed them in (their) land, so He sees how you act.” This true promise was fulfilled, and Heaven freely granted victory and accomplished (success) in order to respond to His covenant and confirm His surety. Thus he was raised on the effectual set­tlement of the seat of justice, and on the well-ordered carpet of equity, and, thanking the bounty of Heaven, felt assured of extended pros­perity and empire, and happy support, and help for the course of successive years. And what is numbered and prepared for him in the palace of eternity and the everlasting Paradise is more valuable and preponderating. In the other world is good, and in blessing is the abode of the assured ones.