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^ / r\ k <n . ^ 

/Y 71 ^^ 


In this book I have attempted for the sect of the An- 
saireeh what De Sacy has already effected for that of the 
Druses. My qualifications for the task have been — • 

First : Connexion with the Ansaireeh for many years, as 
the only European who has lived among them in their 
mountains, where alone they are unmixed with other 

Secondly : Acquaintance with Ansairee belief and cus- 
toms, acquired orally from Christian servants and others 
brought up in Ansairee districts ; and, especially, from an 
Ansairee lad, who has had many opportunities of gaining 

Thirdly : Possession of an Ansairee liturgical book, 
called the " Manual of Sheikhs," in which all the main 
points of the Ansairee system, theological and ceremonial, 
are developed. 

r#%^ r'kv>-r>ff]i 


I have, moreover, consulted such Arab and other his- 
torians and authors as promised to throw any light on 
the Ansaireeh, and all published Ansairee documents that 
I could hear of. I could have wished for greater opportu- 
nities of examining original Ansairee writings. Indeed, I 
might have been inclined to delay compiling the present 
work, in the expectation of rendering it some day more 
complete, had not the state of my health made it uncertain 
whether I should enjoy such opportunity. As it is, I 
trust that it will serve as a stepping-stone, to those who 
may follow in the same road. 

I have thus employed the leisure hours arising from 
illness, in the hope that my labours might tend to the 
furtherance of missionary work among a neglected people. 
The letting in of light on the hidden things of darkness 
is always favourable, with God's blessing, to the progress 

of Christianity in the world. 

S. L. 

Cairo, 1860. 


Note. — It is principally in Germany and France that Anaairee 
documents have been published. 

NiEBUHR (Travels, vol. ii. p. 357, &c.) gives an account of an 
Ansairee book which had come into his possession. 

De Sacy (Exposition of Druse Religion, vol. ii. p. 580, note) 
speaks of this book as having been lent to him by Niebuhr, and 
translated by him. 

Both Niebuhr and De Sacy speak of a Druse book against the 
Ansaireeh, from which De Sacy gives many extracts. 

BuRCKHARDT (Travels, p. 151) speaks of an Ansairee book 
which had come into the hands of M. Rousseau, " who has had it 
translated into French, and means to publish it ;" and M. Rous- 
seau himself (Annales des Voyages, cahier xlii.) has spoken of 
the Ansaireeh. 

In the Yearly Report of the German Oriental Society for 
1845-6, mention is made of an Ansairee Catechism, which had 
been sent, with a French translation, to the King of Prussia, A 
translation of copious extracts from this document is given by 
Dr. Wolff, in vol. iii. p. 302, &c., of the Journal of the same 

But the most complete information hitherto given with respect 
to the Ansaireeh is to be found in the papers of M. Catapago, in 
the Journals of the French, Asiatic, and German Oriental Societies. 

In the Journal Asiatique, Feb. 1848, he has given an account 
of a book of Ansairee Festivals and Prayers ; and also three 
Masses from the same in the Journal of the German Oriental 
Society, vol. ii. p. 388. 

In the Journal Asiatique, July, 1848, he has given the heads of 
the contents of an Ansairee book, which I conclude to be the one 
in my possession, and which, in that case, must have been once 
lent to him. The book itself was purchased by me from a 
Christian merchant in Ladikeeh for the sum of £10, having come 
into his hands during the troublesome times of Ibrahim Pasha, 
when the Ansaireeh were driven from their homes 

Finally, in the Revue d'Orient for June, 1856, there is a short 
paper on the Ansaireeh by M. Victor Langlois. He says that 
his account is taken from a MS. in the library of the Mufti of 
Tarsus, and it is in the main correct. 

The Rev. Samuel Lyde died at Alexandria, on the \st of 
j4pril, I860, shortly after he had finished the work which is no lo 
published by relatives to whom he was very dear. His intention was to 
enlarge on some points, after reference to authorities to which he had 
not access in the East ; but this he did not live to accomplish. His 
Mission is taken up by others ; and his brother, whose address can be 
obtained through the Publishers, will be happy to give information to 
any one interested in it. 





Geography and Description of the Ansairee Country . 1 


History op the secret Heretical Sects of Islam , . 25 

History op the Ansaireeh 49 


Religious System of the skcret Heretical Sects of Islam . 76 


Religious System of the Ansaireeh. — I. Faith or Theology . 1 10 


Rrligious System of the Ansaireeh. — II. Practice or Cere- 
monies 149 



Customs op thb Ansaireeh • . i . . « ,166 

Present State of the Ansaireeh . . • . • . 193 


Extracts from the " Manual for Sheikhs '* . . • , 233 

Extracts from published Ansairee Documents . . 270 




If the reader will take any map of Syria which has some 
pretensions to accuracy, and will look at the sea-coast, he 
will find in the parallel of latitude 35° 30' the town of 
Ladikeeh, the Laodicea of Seleucus Nicator, now known 
through the tobacco exported from it*; which tobacco is 
grown in the neighbouring mountains. 

These mountains, which are the special abode of the 
Ansaireeh*, he will find to the east of Ladikeeh, stretching 
from north to south, and called by names as various as 
the different maps which he may consult. 

The Ansairee mountains are separated on the south 
from the Lebanon range, by the entrance into Hamath, a 
valley through which run the roads from Tripoli to 
Hamah, and from Tartoos to Hums, and also flows the 
ancient Eleutherus, the Nahr-il-Chebeer of to-day. To the 
north they are separated from the mountains, of which 
Mount Cassius forms the conspicuous western termination, 

• By Arab writers they are called An-Nusaireeyah. I have written 
Ansaireeh as the nearest English imitation of the pronunciation of the 
people themselves, when they speak of themselves by that name. They 
usually style themselves Fellaheen, that ivS, peasantry. 



by a pass and valley, over and through which runs the 
road from Ladikeeh to Aleppo. 

But though these mountains are so almost exclusively 
inhabited by the Ansaireeh as to be called by their name, 
and in them is found the nucleus of the Ansairee nation, 
and though in them and the neighbouring plains alone are 
they governed by their own chiefs, and hold their lands 
directly from government, yet the Ansairee population of 
Syria is by no means confined to them. 

They are the chief cultivators of the plain, which 
stretches on the west of the mountains, from Wady Kan- 
deel, about four hours, or twelve miles, to the north of 
Ladikeeh (where the ground begins to swell into the range 
of Cassius), to the district of Safeetah and the Nahr-il- 
Chebeer, twenty-two hours, or sixty-six miles to the south. 
On the east the narrow strip of ground between the 
mountains and the Orontes, stretching to the south from 
Djisr-ish-Shogher on the Aleppo road to the distance of 
about thirty miles, belongs to them, and they possess vil- 
lages in the wide plain which stretches east to Hums and 
Hamah, in which last is a miserable quarter inhabited by 

To the south of the Eleutherus or Nahr-il-Chebeer, con- 
siderable numbers are to be found in the district of 
Kulaat-il-Husn, and in the more southerly district of 

To the north of Wady Kandeel they form part of the 
peasantry of the range of mountains which are bounded 
on the west by Mount Cassius, and by the Orontes on 
the east and north. Along the valley of the Orontes, in 
the plains of Antioch, they are to be found in grent 
numbers, from Suadeiah, on the sea-coast, near the ancient 
Seleucia, fifteen miles to the west of Antioch, to the Djisr- 
il-Hhadeed, twelve miles to the east, where the road Irom 
Antioch to Aleppo crosses the Orontes. Three hours, or 
nine miles further on, on the east of the Orontes, and on 
the right hand of the road to Aleppo, is to be seen the 


castle of Harim. In the mountains which stretch from it 
towards the south is found a group of Ansairee villages, 
as also in the district of II Roodj, hard by to the east. 

In Antioch itself they form a large element of the popu- 
lation, and are to be found along the sea-coast from it to 
Scanderoon, especially in the neighbourhood of Arsoos, 
the Rhosus of Ptolemy.* 

Leaving Syria for a moment, and crossing the ancient 
bay of Issus, they abound in the districts of Adana and 
Tarsoos, the ancient Tarsus. In Syria, far away to the 
south, in the lower extremity of the Wady-il-Taym, near 
Banias, the ancient Ca^sarea Philippi, are the three An- 
saireeh villages of Anfeet, Zaoorah, and El Ghudjr.f 

To conclude : in that east country which was the cra- 
dle of their religion, remnants of them still exist. An 
Ansairee sheikh from Bagdad, who spent two days in my 
house in the Ansairee mountains, assured me that there 
were some five hundred Ansaireehs in Bagdad, and declared 
that there was a town in Persia exclusively inhabited by 

Before proceeding to give the estimated number of this 
people, I will attempt to give some idea of the geography, 
physical and otherwise, of the Ansairee mountains and 
the country adjacent. 

Mount Cassius rises to the north of Ladikeeh and near 
the mouth of the Orontes, in a magnificent cone of some 

* The parts about Rhosus are described by Carl Ritter, Erdkunde, 
Theil xvii. Kap. 27. 

■j- I was once prevented from visiting these villages when on my way 
to them, I will, therefore, give here the information I have been able to 
procure from my friend, Rev. J. E. Ford, American missionary at 
Sidon, being obtained by him from various sources. Anfeet, population 
320 souls, mostly Kumreeh ; Zaoorah, 150 souls, mostly Kumreeh ; El- 
Ghudjr, 250 souls, mostly Shemseeh. The villages are within a half an 
hour of Banias, W. and N.W. It is to be doubted, adds Mr. Ford, 
whether their distinctions as Shemseeh and Kumreeh are correctly 
ascertained by the people who go among them. I myself was once in- 
formed that they were all Shemseeh, and in the latest maps the positions 
of the villages is given as south of Banias. 

B 2 


5,000 or 5,700 feet in height. It is joined to the Ansai- 
ree mountains by a far lower range, over which passes 
the road from Ladikeeh to Antioch, past the Mussulman 
village of Oordee, situated near half way. The distance is 
about twelve hours from Ladikeeh to Oordee, and ten more 
from Oordee to Antioch, in all about twenty-two hours or 
sixty-six miles. From Ladikeeh to the mouth of the 
Orontes is reckoned at twenty-hours, or sixty miles, and 
from Antioch to Scanderoon (or Alexandretta), eleven 
hours, or thirty-three miles. 

The Ansairee mountains commence, as I have said, to 
the south of the road from Ladikeeh to Aleppo, which, after 
crossing a pass in the mountains near Bahluleeh, an 
Ansairee village, about six hours distant, north-east of 
Ladikeeh, continues for eleven hours through a ^vinding 
valley, past the Turcoman village of Bedawa, to Djisr-ish- 
Shogher, a large Mussulman village, where it crosses the 
Orontes, and so on a journey of two days more, or six- 
teen hours, to Aleppo. The distance from Ladikeeh to 
Aleppo is thus about thirty-three hours, or ninety-nine 

But before proceeding with the Ansairee mountains, I 
will return for a little towards Mount Cassius, as now 
may be the best time to say something of the political 
divisions of the country, so as to fix them in the mind 
by means of the natural objects included in them, and the 

The province of Ladikeeh includes not only the greater 
part of the western slope of the Ansaireeh mountains, but 
also of the Mount Cassius range. From Wady Kandeel, 
along the sea-coast, and on towards Oordee, is the district 
of Boodjak. The chief inhabitants, as in the time of Ibn- 
Batoutah, the Moghrebbin traveller, some 500 years ago, 
are Turcomans. I once spent an evening with Hafiz Aga, 
the governor of the district, who is nephew of the chief 
man of Oordee. He was in considerable fear of the wild 
Ansaireeh of the south, and received me very graciously, 


giving rac credit for great influence among them, as Iwas 
residing in one of tlie most powerful districts. 

The district of the Baier, also chiefly Mussulman, lies 
to the north-east of the Boodjak, and is but of small 
extent. To the east, and on the north side of the road 
from Ladikeeh to Djisr-ish-Shogher and Aleppo, is the 
district of Djebel-il-Akrad, chiefly inhabited by a colony 
of Kurds. I once skirted these mountains to the south, 
on my way to the small town or village of Shogher, and 
I had before passed over part of them, and then round 
their base to Antioch, on my journey thither from the 
same place. The present governor is called Mohammed 
Aga Yumisu.* 

Facing these mountains to the south are the mountains 
of the Ansaireeh, to which we now come. Anciently 
styled Mons Bargyhis, they are called by the Arab geo- 
graphers Ibn-Haukal f and Abulfeda Djebel Lukkam, and 
in the southern part, where dwelt the Syrian Assassins, 
Djebel Summak and Djebel-il-Aamileh. They are con- 
siderably lower than the Lebanon range, their height 
being from 3000 to 4000 feet. On the west they sweep 
in circles round the large plains of Ladikeeh and Tartoos, 
throwing out spurs, which at the castle of Merkab reach 
the sea, and skirt it for some distance. J On the east they 
run in a straight line overlooking the Orontes, to the 
valley of which they descend, to the eye, almost precipi- 
tously, though there is room for deep valleys, gorges, and 
extensive woods, and several villages. The people on this 
side are relations of those who respectively adjoin them 

* The districts of Mount Cassius, such as Kusair, Urdeh, Djebel 
Akrad, &c., are described in the Erdkunde of Carl Ritter, Theil xvii. 
Kap. 16. 

t Ibn-Haukal, (Wonnely, London, 1808,) p. 38. 

J Keiirick (Phoenicia, p. 4), misled by the words of some traveller, 
says: "Between Ladikeeh and Djebileh the country is mountainous; but 
from Djebileh extends the plain bounded by the Ansarian or Nasairieh 
mountains." The plain commences beyond Ladikeeh to the north, and 
sweeps round Djebileh to the east as far as Castle Merkab. 

B 3 


on the other, of whom, as I shall show hereafter, many 
crossed the mountains from the east. Burckhardt gives 
the names of villages on the east of the mountains, and I 
repeat the names of some as verified by myself. Beginning 
from the north is Merdadj, the village of Mohammed ibn- 
Djaafar, chief man of the eastern Amamareh, of whom I 
saw the son, who Was studying under a sheikh Avith his 
relations at Diryoos. In the plain is the village of 
Khandok, belonging to Mohammed Ali Khadro, who lives 
at Ain Nab, farther to the south. He alone of the Ansaireeh 
remained unsubdued by Ibrahim Pasha, taking refuge in 
his valleys and woods, while on the east his country is 
defended by the marshes of the Orontes, which are only 
passable in certain places by boats, through lanes of deep 
water amid the sedge. He seems now to be the man of 
chief influence on that side of the mountains, and is by all 
accounts a wild fellow. I have never yet fulfilled an 
intention of visiting him, though once when the mountains 
were in a stir about a religious discussion which I had 
had with the chief sheikh, 1 was told that he asked per- 
mission of the people of the district in which I lived, on 
the other side of the mountains, to come with twenty- 
five men to make an end of the mission. 

Still farther to the south is Ain-il-Keroom, inhabited 
by relations of the wild Narvasireh of the western side. 
Burckhardt speaks of them as rebels in his time. 

On the west side of the mountains, at the extreme 
north, live the Diryoos people, of which the chief man, 
Mohammed Badoor, living in the village of Diryoos, has 
influence over all the Ansairee peasantry in the Cassius 
range, and about Antioch, as they are of the same sect 
with himself; the Ansaireeh being divided, as I shall 
afterwards show, into two principal sects, the Shemseeli, 
called also the Shemaleeh or Northerners, as living mostly 
to the north, and the Kumreeh, who living to the south 
give the Shemseeh the above name. Two hours westerly 
is 11 Kushbcc, an old tower, where lives Ali Aga Hassan, 


a relation of Ahmed Badoor, who has turned Mussulman. 
1 once spent a night with him, having reached him in 
about three hours from II Hhuffeh, a village of the 
Sahyoon district. I was on my- way to him from Bahlu- 
leeh, and reached Shereefah, a border village of the Bah- 
luleeh district, with fine plantations running down to the 
gorge leading to Djisr-ish-Shogher. After passing it a 
little way, and arriving at a village Ard-il- Ham ra, near 
Bahenna, I was stopped by the people of the latter village, 
and taken off to Sahyoon, from whence when released I 
prosecuted my journey to II Kushbee. From II Kushbee, 
I paid a visit to the tomb of the Nebbee Yunis, or Jonah, 
riding about two or three hours in an easterly or north- 
easterly direction. It seemed the highest point in all this 
part of the mountain, and near it more south is the 
mountain of the Nebbee Matta, which seemed to Burck- 
hardt, looking at it from the east, to be the highest point 
of the Ansairee range. In this part of the mountains are 
many towers, commanding the pass from Ladikeeh to 

The people of Diryoos, in the winter and spring, live in 
houses on the edge of the Orontes marshes, and with the 
other Ansaireeh of the eastern side of the mountains, 
descend into the valley of the Ghab, cross the Orontes, and 
carry off the flocks of the Turcomans, who, as Burckhardt 
says, have in consequence not too good an opinion of 
them. The Diryoos people are a wild and lawless set, 
who, under their present chief man, have obtained an 
independence from their former governors of Beyt Shilf. 

From Diryoos, I started in a south-west direction for 
Ain-il-Teeneh , a village situate under a spur of the mountains, 
which rises conspicuously on the verge of the plain east of 
Ladikeeh, in a line crowned by the tomb of the Nebbee 
Rubeel, or Reuben.* The road lay across a deep valley, 

* This may not be the patriarch Reuben, for Niebuhr speaks of a 
certain Rubeel, son of Saleh, an Arabian prophet. 

B 4 


and over high table -land, the distance being between one 
or two hours' ride. From hence I took about the same 
time to get to Djindjaneh, after passing a very deep valley 
and skirting a mountain running from the eastern ridge 
over the table-land towards the west. Djindjaneh is 
prettily situated between two mountains, and is the resi- 
dence of Ali Hhabeeb, an old man, Mekuddam, or chief of 
that section of the Amamarah, who live in the part I had 
passed through from Diryoos. They extend still farther 
to the south in the highest part of the mountains, behind 
the districts of the Muhailby and Kelbeeh, and also to the 
east of the mountains as before said. The Mekuddam of 
the southern section is Mohammed Saeed. They form a 
considerable body, and bear a good character, being earnest 
in matters of religion, and averse to robbery, presenting 
thus a great contrast to their neighbours. They are as 
the Diryoos people of the Shemseeh sect, but were origin- 
ally of the Kumreeh, a fact which I shall have to notice 

From Djindjaneh it took me less than an hour to arrive 
at Muzairiah, which is a village giving its name to the 
district, which includes not only the part of the mountains 
of which we have spoken, but also part of the plain. In 
this village is a colony of Greeks, that is Arabs of the Greek 
Church, who some 150 years ago emigrated here from 
the Hauran. There are few Christian villages in these 
mountains. Among them are Aramo, an Armenian vil- 
lage, near the residence of Ali Aga Hassan, and Dar Sofra, 
a Maronite village to the south of Castle Merkab. 

Still going south from Muzairiah, one soon reaches the 
Muhailby district, of which the inhabitants are again of 
the Shemseeh sect, while, farther south, in the mountains, 
all are Kumreeh. In their district is a castle, which the 
late Dr. Eli Smith, of Beyrout, told me was called by the 
people Blatanos ; and, therefore, this must be the castle 
referred to by Abulfeda*, who says, that after Saladin had 

* iv. 89. 


taken Ladikeeh and the castle of Sahyoor, he dispersed his 
troops over the mountains near, and " they made them- 
selves masters of the Castle of Beladnoos (which he calls 
elsewhere BelatnuS), for the Franks that were in it had 
already fled from it ; so they took it.'* 

At the south-east extremity of this district is the Djebel- 
il-Arbaeen, a very conspicuous conical hill, lower than the 
crest of the mountains behind it, but rising high above 
the plain, towards which a lofty hill runs down from it, 
nearly east and west, separating the district of Muhailby 
from that of the Kelbeeh. On this hill is a visiting-place 
(called Zeyareh), wath a double dome, and from it there 
is a magnificent view of the plain and surrounding moun- 
tains. Indeed it forms so distinguishable a landmark 
that it was lately visited by Lieutenant Brooker, of H.M. 
surveying ship Tartarus, to take observation?. 

From it one easily descends through a well watered 
valley to the large village of the Merdj, which forms the 
outskirt of the Kelbeeh district, and is but half an hour 
distant from B'hamra, the village in which my mission- 
house is situated. This district from the character of its 
people, and from their alliances and relatives, is the most 
powerful in the mountains ; and hence they were heard of 
by Niebuhr, Yolney, and Burckhardt, who make great, 
and, as to Volney, absurd mistakes with respect to them. 
To the east of the district lies the deep valley called Wady 
Beyt Nasir, of which the inhabitants are wilder and fiercer 
than perhaps any others in the mountains. Buried in 
their lonely gorges they only issue from them to rob, or 
help their friends the Kelbeeh in some fight with an 
adjoining district, or with the government. This valley 
runs up to a mountain called Giafar Tayyar, from a cele- 
brated visiting-place on the top. It lies about direct east 
from Djebileh, and as it took me about five hours and a 
half to reach its summit from ni}^ house, which is three 
hours north-east of Djebileh, I calculate it is about 20 
miles from the sea-coast. I am thus particular, because 


it lies at the inmost part of the curve of mountains which 
sweep round Ladikeeh, and can easily be distinguished by 
its bald head and its height, which, after many attempts 
to institute with the eye a comparison between it and the 
mountains of Nebbee Yunis and Nebbee Matta, I should 
take to be superior to that of the last-named, and, there- 
fore, the highest point of the Ansairee range. The chief 
village of the Kelbeeh is called Kurdahah, which gives its 
name to the district. Their lands run down to the sea, 
and are prettily diversified by hills trending westerly, 
between which are rich valleys, of which the most southern, 
Wady Beyt Ahmed, is well planted. Then rises a moun- 
tain also trending westerly which separates the district 
from that of Beni Ali, to the south of which most of the 
villages lie about this mountain ; Ali Sukkur being the 
chief village of the plain or western part, and El Boadeh 
of the eastern or mountain part of the district. 

To the south-east of El Boadeh is the village of Harf-il- 
Masatireh, where I once spent a night with Mohammed 
Satir, the Mehuddam of the northern section of the 
Keratileh, a wild race, relations of the people of my own 
district, the Kelbeeh. To the south of them is Matwar, 
the residence of the late Sheikh Hhabeeb, whose family 
hold the highest rank as sheikhs, or religious heads, of 
the Ansaireeh. This village I still call Matwar, notwith- 
standing the strictures of the learned professor, Carl 
Ritter, who (confounding it with the Nebbee Matta) will 
Jiave it that its name ought to be written differently.* 
But a name is a name notwithstanding all the efforts of 

To the south of Matwar, in a deep gorge, is the castle 
of Beni Israeel, which I was able to inspect on a second 
visit to Sheikh Hhabeeb. It probably belonged to the 
crusaders, and defended this gorge, which extends to the 
plain westward, and, with the castle of Platanos, kept 

* Erdkunde, Pliocjiicia, &c., passim. 



under the Ansairee population of all this part of the 
mountains. I found the people near of the wildest 
belonging to the Sararnitah. They, with the Beyt Ya- 
shoot, and the southern section of the Kerahileh (whose 
chiefs are of the house of Djadjah), form the inhabitants 
of the district of Simt Kublee, which is to the south of 
the Beni Ali, and the most southern of the mountain 
districts of Ladikeeh, which are inhabited exclusively by 
Ansaireeh, and governed by Ansairee chiefs. 

As we have now arrived at the district of Merkab, of 
which the western termination is the castle of the same 
name, situated on a hill, where the mountains touch the 
sea, and close the plain of Ladikeeh, we will return to 
that part of the plain situated under the northern part of 
the Ansairee range. Here is the district of Bahluleeh, 
governed by an Ansairee Mekuddam, Ahmed Selhab, who 
has been once burnt out of house and home by the 
Diryoos people since my first visit to him. He and his 
are of the Kumreeh sect, and the district is bounded by 
Wady Kandeel to the north, aud the district of Sahyoon to 
the south. This last is a Mussulman district, grouped 
round the castle of Sahyoon, which was taken by Saladin 
from the Templars in his march north after the disas- 
trous battle of Hattin, near Tiberias, in the year 1187, 
which for the time shattered the power of the Crusaders. 
The district has been governed by Mussulman chiefs, 
called Djindees, from that time, and their people are in 
constant feud with the Ansaireeh, and are as wild and 
fierce as they, though somewhat more advanced in wealth 
and knowledge. In the district are many Ansaireeh and 
some Christians. 

To the south are the Djenneeh people, of whom the 
chief man is Shemseen Sultan of Beyt Shilf. They are 
relations of the people of my district, the Kelbeeh, and 
are as great robbers and as rebellious as they. I found 
them two months ago in contest with the government, 
which was rendering the plain more desolate than ever, 


burning their lower villages. They have not much 
mountain country, but sufficient to retire to in case of 
need. They plunder the country from Wady Kandeel to 
Ladikeeh, as the Kelbeeh do from Ladikeeh to Djebileh, 
and the Beni Ali and Kerahileh from Djebileh to Castle 
Merkab. Not that by any means they confine their 
depredations to these parts. The Kelbeeh, especially in 
times past and when the govermnent is weak, have gone, 
and do go, as far as Kulaat-il-Husn to the south, and 
Mount Cassius, and even past Antioch, to the north. 

The villages of the phiin of Ladikeeh to the north are 
mostly Ansaireeh, of the Shemseeh sect. Their villages 
surround Ladikeeh on every side, but no Ansaireeh lives 
in Ladikeeh or Djebileh. The names of many of the 
villages end in "o" (such as Dinnserkho, Bakhtdermo, 
Selago), which is not an Arabic termination. Shotfateeh, 
the village which Maundrell amusingly speaks of as 
inhabited by a race who cursed Abu-Beer and Omar, is 
an Ansairee village on the Nahr-il-Chebeer, about two 
hours east of Ladikeeh. P/ofessor Carl Ritter* supposes 
this river to have been the boundary between the Phoeni- 
cian state of Aradus and that of Laodicea, as the other 
Nahr-il-Chebeer, or river Eleutherus, was the boundary 
between the states of Aradus and Sidon. Laodicea was 
probably only rebuilt about B.C. 290, by Seleucus Nicator, 
and named by him in honour of his mother, for its older 
Phoenician name was Ramantha. Herodotus makes 
Phoenicia to extend from the Bay of Issus to Carmel, and 
an inscription to a Phoenician merchant, in Delos, places 
Laodicea in Phoenicia. Probably it was first colonised by 
Phoenicians, who may have had jurisdiction to Mount 
Cassius to the north, along the coast towards which lay 
Heraclea and Poseidion. 

The plain of the south of Ladikeeh is well watered by 
the Nahr-il-Chebeer, in winter a deep though rather slug- 

* Erdkunde, ut supra. 


gish river ; the Nahr Senobar, a rapid and dangerous 
stream after a day or two of rain ; the Nahr-il-Mudeek ; 
and out of a spur of the mountain to the north of Mer- 
kab, the Nahr-es-Seen, a short but deep stream, near 
which the Kelbeeh and others have committed many a 
deed of blood, easily concealed in the old tombs and 
caverns there. Over the three former streams many a 
ride have I had, in dark and troublous times, through the 
desolate plain which spreads from Ladikeeh, for some 
eighteen miles south-east, to my house on the lower hills. 
The oppressions of the government, and the violence of 
the Ansaireeh, permit of the existence, in most rich and 
fertile land, only of a few miserable viHages, of which I 
will not now give the names. 

To return to the mountains, where we had reached the 
castle of Merkab. Since this castle was taken by Ke- 
laoon, Memlook sultan of Egypt, from the Knights of 
St. John in a.d. 1285, it has, like Sahyoon, formed the 
nucleus of a colony of Mussulmans, who have been able to 
maintain themselves in the midst of an Ansairee popula- 
tion, for the district is principally inhabited by Ansaireeh, 
with a few Christians. This castle seems to have been 
held for some time by the Ismaeleeh, but is now governed 
by a Mussulman, Mohammed Adra, whose forefather, a 
century or two ago, made himself master of the castle, 
after having murdered the former possessor, in whose ser- 
vice he was as Kahya. This I was told by the governor 
of Tartoos, who remarked that the sword had never de- 
parted from his house. At present he has enough to do 
to maintain himself against the Kerahileh to the north, 
with whom, in my time, he has had a bloody feud. 

We have now come to that part of the mountains which 
was the seat of the Syrian branch of the famous Ismae- 
leeh, or Assassins, as they are called by William of Tyre, 
and other writers on the crusades. Here dwelt the 
famous sheikh, or " old man " of the mountain, whose 
name was a terror to the nurseries of oklen time. The 


Arab geographers and historians, such as Edrisi, Abul- 
feda, Ibn-il-Wardee, Makrisi, &c., call them Israaeleeh 
and Fedaweeh, and give the names of their castles. 
William of Tyre speaks of their having ten castles in the 
part of the mountains near Antaradiis (Tartoos), in the 
names of which Yon Hammer * falls into error. Among 
them were Kadmoos, Masyad, Khawaby, Kahf, Ulleykah, 
Maynakah, Mounifeh, Rossafah, Koleyah. At Kadmoos 
at present there are about two hundred and fifty families 
of Ismaeleeh ; at Masyad the same number ; and at Ulley- 
kah some fifty. In all, the Ismaeleeh of Syria are not 
supposed to exceed some four thousand, or at most 6,500, 
and they are diminishing before the superior numbers 
of the Ansaireeh, who are the chief inhabitants even of 
the districts, such as Kadmoos and Masyad, which are 
governed by Ismaelee chiefs. 

The district to which Castle Kadmoos gives its name is 
to the east of Merkab. South-east from Merkab, where 
the mountains leave the sea and sweep round the plain of 
Tartoos, is the district of Khawabeh, which derives its 
name from the castle of that name, which is the seat of 
the governing family of the district, who are Mussulmans, 
relations of the chief men of Merkab and Tartoos. 
Edrisi f says that it is fifteen miles to the south-east of 
Tartoos, built on the mountain, and near the western side. 

We have now left the fourteen districts of the province 
of Ladikeeh, and find in the mountains to the north-east 
of the three last-mentioned districts the castle of Masyad, ij 
giving its name to its district, which is under the juris- 
diction of Hamah. This castle was visited, and is de- 
scribed by Burckhardt, and the Hon. F. Walpole, who 
speaks of the fear in which the Ismaelee emir was of his 
Ansairee neighbours. 

From Kadmoos, in my first journey in these moun- 

* History of Assassins, (Wood's trans.) p. 121. 
t Ed. Jaubert, Paris, 1836, p. 35. 


tains*, I travelled south to the district of Safeetah, which 
was the seat of the Ansairee chief, Fakr, in Burckhardt's 
time, who had jurisdiction over the whole of the southern 
part of the Ansairee mountains, on high ground project- 
ing from which the tower of Safeetah stands. This dis- 
trict has always been one of the most noted of the 
Ansairee districts, and was lately governed by a certain 
Ismaeel Khair Bey, who, as well as his tribe, the Meta- 
warah, in the mountains near, was originally a great 
robber, and was sent to Constantinople, from whence he 
came back, as is not unusual, in high honour, as governor 
of the district of Safeetah. He aspired, however, much 
higher, and I once met him with a great train at Ladi- 
keeh, whither he had come to make himself conspicuous, in 
endeavouring to intervene between my own district and 
the government. About a year ago, however, he rebelled 
against the government himself, and, being defeated, took 
refuge in an Ansairee village to the east of the mountains ; 
but the people of it had been so oppressed under his rule 
that they cut off his head, and those of two of his near 
relations. He was a young man of commanding stature, 
and of all the Ansairee chiefs the most powerful, or at 
least, noted, of his day. 

Having now arrived at the most southern point of the 
Ansairee mountains, we will return to the north of the 
plain of Tartoos, which is separated from that of Ladi- 
keeh, by the mountains which, for some distance, coast the 
sea shore from Merkab southwards. This plain which, as 
I once found to my cost, is well watered, swells out to a 
great width east of Tartoos. Having started, March 3rd, 
from my house, during a rainy time, I arrived the first 
night at Djelasa, a village on the spur of the mountain, 
under which is the fine fountain of Nahr-es-Seen. Before 
reaching it we were hailed by the chief man of the Kera- 
hileh, who, with some of his people, was in the thick 

♦ Ansaireeh and Ismaeleeli, p. 238. 


bushes at the base of the hill, waiting for some prey. At 
the mouth of the Seen is an encampirient of the wander- 
ing Arabs, called Arab-il-Mulk. After passing Banias, 
under Castle Merkab, we arrived in about six hours at 
Tartoos, having passed Dar Sofr, under which the plain 
beo^ins to widen. The third day we made about six hours, 
crossing with great difficulty the swollen river of Nahr-il- 
Abrash, at about that distance from Tartoos, and spent 
a miserable night in the tent of an Arab chief, which 
afforded insufficient protection against the rain and 
wind. The Arab-il-Djehaysb wander in this plain. The 
chief looked with no favourable eye on an Ansairee 
companion of mine, as he had often to suffer from the 
mountaineers. Though we toiled during the next day 
over the flat plain, almost continually through water, it 
took us the whole of it to pass the Nahr-il-Chebeer, and 
arrive at the Khan of the Nahr-il-Barid, though this last 
is but three hours from the Nahr-il-Abrash. Here the 
plain is closed by a mountain over which a road of three 
hours leads to Tripoli. All this fine plain formed part of 
the territory of the Phoenician state of Arvad (Ezekiel, ^ 
xxvii. 8 — 11), of which the metropolis was on the small I 
island of Arvad, now Ruad, situated opposite Tartous, ' 
anciently called Antaradus. The Arvadites are mentioned 
(Gen. X. 17, 18) in connexion with the Sinites (near the 
river Seen to the north); the Zemarites, of whom the 
name is preserved in Zimreh, a ruined town to the north of 
Tartoos ; and the Arkites of Tel Arka, to the south of jj 
Nahr-il-Chebeer, where was a castle taken by the cru- 
saders. Among the most northern possessions of the 
Arvadites may have been Gabala, the modern Djebileh, 
fifteen miles south of Ladikeeh. The road to the south 
of Tartoos, for three or four hours, is one of the most 
unsafe in Syria. It is called the Heeshat Tartoos, and 
consists of rocks and ruined sepulchres scattered among 
thick myrtle groves, which give shelter to the daring and 
too often pitiless Ansairceh of the mountains, which 


bound the plain. These mountains from the sea look 
but low, though one can see higher peaks rising behind. 

The Templars possessed many castles on the south of 
the Ansairce mountains, proving troublesome neighbours 
to the Assassins, whom they compelled to pay tribute. 
They held Safeetah, which was taken from them in a.d. 

1271, by the famous Sultan Beybars, of Egypt, who sub- 
dued the Assassins also, and took all their castles a.d. 

1272. Makrisi* speaks of the Franks in Djebel-il-Aamila 
being attacked by his troops on all sides. Among the 
castles belonging to the Franks in the mountains were 
Raphania, two hours south of Masyad, and Barin, or 
Mons Ferrandus, held by the Knights of Jerusalem. 

Among the castles taken by Beybars the same year that 
he took Safeetah, were Husn-il-Akrad and Akkar (Arka), 
to the respective districts of which we now come, as 
possessing a numerous Ansairee peasantry. 

The castle of Husn was held by the Knights of St. John, 
and is situated at the northern extremity of the Lebanon, 
between which and the Ansairee mountains, as I have 
said, is the entrance into Hamath, and the road from 
Hums, the ancient Emessa, to its seaport Tartoos, or 
Antaradus, lying nearly west of it, at a distance, accord- 
ing to Edrisi, of two days^ journey. There are many An- 
saireeh in this district, which is principally inhabited by 
Christians of the Greek religion, who are warlike, and 
could muster, I was told, 2,000 muskets. In the moun- 
tains south, called the Shaara, dwell the Denatchee Arabs, 
who, I was informed, came from Bagdad some 300 years 
ago, and number 500 horsemen. I only mention them to 
say that they are sometimes employed by the government 
to attack the Ansaireeh, and some time ago were suc- 
cessful in killing about seventy of them who had wandered 
down on foot too far into the plain on the east of the 
mountains, and were surprised as they were returning 

* History of the Memlook Sultans, (Quatremere,) vol. i. part ii. p. 27. 



from a marauding expedition, by the Denatchee horsemen. 
More south is Djebel Akkar, divided into three districts, 
in one of which, Duraib especially, there are many Ansai- 
ree peasantry, who till the ground for the Mussulman 
Beys of Akkar. 

I have not visited the Ansaireeh of the mountains of 
Castle Harim, though I skirted those mountains on my 
road to Aleppo, nor those of the marshy district of the 
Roodj, on which I looked down from the mountain of the 
Nebbee Yunis.* 

I have seen the Ansaireeh at Mersina, the seaport of 
Tarsus, who seemed to be well off, and 1 have always 
heard from those of them who had been there, that food 
was cheap and wages good, but both only to be obtained 
at the expense of the fever which prevails there on account 
of the marshy character of the plain country. Many from 
various causes go there from Syria; and according to a 
writer in the Revue d'Onentf, "it is more than half a 
century since the Ansaireeh commenced to emigrate to the 
pashalik of Adana, to withdraw from the vexations which 
they w^ere made to endure in Syria on account of their 
religion. Thus the district of Ladikeeh is depopulated 
more and more every day." 

To give some approximate idea of the number of the 
Ansairee population in Syria, which, as will have been 
already seen, is by no means small, I may state that the 
Arabic geography, published at Beyrout by Dr. Vandyke, 
of the American Board of Missions, which gives the number 
of the Druses at 100,000, gives that of the Ansaireeh and 
Ismaeleeh together at 200,000, and we have seen that the 
Ismaeleeh are few in number. 

In the district of Akkar there are supposed to be about 
2,550 or 3,500 Ansaireeh ; in that of Safeetah, 29,100 ; 
in the several districts of Ladikeeh, from 70,000 to 75,00(> ; 

♦ The Roodj is described in Carl Ritter's Erdkunde, Tlieil xvii. ^- 
1(:69. from a MS. of the late Dr. Eli Smith, 
t Juno, 1856. 


ill the mountains east of the Orontes, 3,750 ; and in the 
neighbouring district of Koodj, about 5,000. These num- 
bers do not inchide the Ansaireeh on the east of the 
mountains, those of Antioch and the neighbourhood, and 
those along the coast to Scanderoon, so that near 200,000 
may perhaps be considered without much exaggeration as 
the number of this people in Syria.* 

Dr. Thomson, American missionary, says : " Mr. Barker 
assures me that about one third of the inhabitants of 
Tartoos are Ansaireeh, and that they abound not only in 
Djebel Bailan, above Scanderoon, but in the mountains of 
Anatolia. This corresponds with the unvarying testimony 
of the people themselves, who also say that their sect 
extends to Djebel Sindjar, and even to Persia. They are 
several times more numerous than the Druses, but then 
they are more widely dispersed. Their number cannot be 
less than 200,000, and most intelligent natives place it 
much higher. The largest body of them occupy the plain 
and mountains of Ladikeeh, which are in consequence 
called Djebel-il- Ansaireeh. Their villages are also very 
numerous in the region called Safeetah, above Tartoos, 
and in Husn and Akkar. They also comprise one third of 
the inhabitants of Antioch, and abound in the mountains 
above it." f 

The tract of country of which we have been speaking 
is one of the most agreeable and fertile in the world. Dr. 
Thomson in travelling north, past Tripoli, could not help 
being struck with the difference between the country to 
the north and south of that place. In the lower moun- 

* Since writing the above, the Rev. H. H. Jessup, American mis- 
sionary at Tripoli, has kindly sent me the government census of adult 
males in the province of Tripoli. This gives 15,623 for the district of 
Safeetah, and 100 (!) and 500 (!) respectively for those of Akkar, and 
Ish-Shaarah. Mr. Jessup says : " I cannot but think their estimates in 
Akkar and Tortosa lacking in respect to the Nusaireeyeh. The table 
includes only adult males. This v»rould give perhaps a sum total of over 
40,000 Nusaireeyeh in the Safeetah district." 

t Missionary Herald, March, 1841. 

c 2 


tains I have not seen: the thermometer rise above 95° 
Fahrenheit in the shade, though the east wind, blowing 
from the deserts of Mesopotamia, is sometimes oppressive 
in the summer. The winter soon passes, and snow rarely 
ftdls in the plain, though once at Ladikeeh in a northerly 
wind, I saw ice on the morning of the 9th of March. 
Ague and ophthalmia are not uncommon during summer, 
arising from exposure to the heat in reaping the harvest 
in the plains, and from neglect of cleanliness. To the east 
of the mountains the climate is far more unhealthy, the 
marshes of the Orontes giving a pallid hue to all who live 
near, who are subject to a fever, under which the belly 
swells.* That part is also infested by enormous raos- 
quitos, of which 1 have spoken in my account of my former 
passage along that valley, which reaches half-way up the 
mountain ; and an Ansairee of the west of the mountains 
told me the other day, that they put him and his com- 
panions to flight, notwithstanding the thickness of their 
skins, when once they were spending the night in a village 
on the eastern side. 

To the north the country about Antioch is favourable 
to trees from nearly every quarter of the globe, and the 
village of Betyas especially, on the mountain facing 
Antioch, realises as far as can be, one's idea of an earthly 

The mountains near Cassius are clothed with beautiful 
woodlands of pine and oak, where a Robin Hood might 
wander, and these trees were largely used for the Egyp- 
tian navy in Ibrahim Pasha's time. Magnificent walnut 
trees are to be found in many places. 

The Ansairee mountains are far more fertile than the 
Lebanon, being lower and less rocky. The geographer 
Ibn-il-Mardee speaks of the southern part, or Djebel 

♦ The people principally live on millet, which they sow among tlio 
sedge which skirts the Orontes, and then when it commences to sprout, 
cut down and burn the sedge. They sow also some of the coarao 
curly leaf tobacco, and have large flocks of goats and herds of oxen. 


Summak, so called from the sumach which grows there, 
as a part abounding in good things, and I found it to be 
so in passing through the length of it from Kadmoos to 

The district where I live, in the northern part, is equally 
fertile, though the mulberry, fig, and olive trees have 
mostly been cut down in the lights with Berber and 
others. I have been astonished to see the progress made 
by fig and mulberry trees planted by me a few years ago.* 
In this part of the mountains grow the evergreen and 
other oaks, such as the uzr, which is used in smoking 
tobacco, and on the east of the mountains there are vast 
woods of the oak which produces the gall-nut. On my 
way to Djaafar Tagy^n, I passed through woods of beech 
and oak, though I saw no trees of great size. I also saw 
the yellow convolvulus or scammony. 

The ground is prepared for wheat and barley in October 
and November, and the seed then sown is reaped about 
the end of May. The ground then lies fallow till the 
next winter, when it is ploughed and prepared for the 
summer crops of the year following, which are sown in 
the spring and reaped in autumn. These consist of 
millet, cotton, sesame, and sometimes lentils, chickpeas, 
and castor oil ; portions of moist ground being chosen for 
the water and yellow melon and cucumbers, tomatas, 
lupines, the egg-plant, &c. &c. The wheat of Ladikeeh 
will not keep long, being liable to be attacked by the 
weevil. The principal exports from Ladikeeh, of the pro- 
duce of its neighbourhood, are millet, sesame seed, and its 
famous tobacco. 

Ladikeeh, lying as it does in about the 35th degree of 
north latitude, is therefore within the zone of from 15° to 

* The most troublesome weed on my farm was the myrtle, which 
springs up afresh unless every portion of the root is dug up. It abounds 
in the mountains and plains of this part of Syria. In spring, the scent 
of its blossoms, from a hill entirely covered with it to the south of my 
house, was very agreeable. 

c 3 


25°, which is most favourable to its production. The 
best grows in the more northern, higher, and rocky parts 
of the Ladikeeh mountains, and the people of Diryoos and 
the Amamarah depend mostly upon it for their support, 
cultivating with the greatest care the small plots before 
their houses, which raise a small but valuable quantity of 
the Aboo-Reehah. This, being afterwards smoked by the 
fires used during the winter, and consisting of the uzr, is 
then fit for the market, and shipped at Ladikeeh, mostly 
for Egypt and Constantinople. The tobacco which grows 
in the lower mountains is less valuable, and goes by the 
name of Skek-il-Bint. 

The plant is the species called Nicotiana rustica*, which 
is that raised in China and most of Asia, and of which the 
leaves are shorter and broader than the Nicotiana Tabacum 
or Virginian tobacco, and the flowers smaller, with rounded 
instead of pointed segments. It has a most pleasant 
perfume, and, like the Havannah cigars, possesses probably 
but 2 per cent of the poisonous volatile alkali called 
nicotin, whereas the Virginian tobacco contains nearly 
7 per cent. 

The tobacco is sown in ground of which the clods are 
broken fine, and which has been well manured with goats' 
dung, first in seed-beds, and then the plants are pricked 
out, being watered only once as they are put into the 
ground. The leaves are plucked when the wheat harvest 
is over, and strung on threads of goat's hair, and hung up 
in the shade till somewhat dried, when they are suspended 
under the roofs of the houses, to be smoked or otherwise, 
and left till tax-gathering comes, when they are sold in 
loads of 100 or 120 strings. 

Such is a slight picture of the country w^here dwell 
the wild Ansaireeh, once thickly peopled, now desolate 
to a degree ; in fact, one of the least cared for portions 
of the Turkish dominions, with a fierce and ignorant 

• See Chemistry of Common Life, (Johnston,) vol. ii. p. 1 1. 


population, who arc rarely visited by European travellers. 
As we read the successive accounts of those who have 
passed through the land in times past, we trace the 
gradual ruin of the towns and the increasing desola- 
tion and depopulation of the country, which in the 
neighbourhood of Ladikeeh are going on at the present 
moment, in the burning of villages, and the death, in per- 
petually recurring petty fights, of their inhabitants. I, 
myself, since the weakening of the government during and 
since the Russian war, have been, a witness and hearer of 
scenes of blood and desolation which must seemingly find 
their end in the utter ruin of the country, and extirpa- 
tion of the population, unless matters have come to that 
state when they begin to mend. 

I subjoin a lively picture of Northern Syria, past and 
present : — 

" Northern Syria, though not strictly sacred, is still 
classic ground. A line drawn from the river Eleu- 
therus, through the entrance of Hamath, and across the 
plain eastward by Hums, marks the southern boundary. 

" Although Ptolemy makes Phoenicia terminate at the 
Eleutherus, we are not to suppose that the Phoenicians 
had no possessions further north. Arvad was one of their 
earliest settlements, and we have reason to believe that 
Laodicea, Garbala, and Alexandria (Scanderoon) were 
founded by them. The Phoenician section of Northern 
Syria has sadly fallen ; the harbours are in ruins, most of 
the towns are deserted, and the adjoining coast is almost 
without an inhabitant. The soil is rich, but not a tenth 
part of it is under cultivation. 

" The territory of the ' Great Hamath' formed one of 
the most ancient divisions of Northern Syria. It embraced 
the plain on both banks of the Upper Orontes, — a tract of 
unrivalled fertility ; and probably the Nusairiyeh moun- 
tains, famed in Strabo's days for their vineyards. 

" Northern Syria was the nucleus of the kingdom of the 
Seleucidae; under that dynasty it attained its greatest 

c 4 


power. Antiocb, Seleucia, Apamea, Laodicea, and many 
other great cities sprang into existence as if by the wand 
of an enchanter. The country was regarded as an earthly 
paradise. The votaries of pleasure in every land longed 
for the delicious groves of Daphne (near Antioch). The 
pure sky and enchanting scenery remain ; and the ruins 
tliat dot the country bear silent testimony to the wealth 
and splendour of former days. 

" To the Seleucidae succeeded the Romans. When 
Hadrian divided Syria into three provinces, Antioch 
remained capital of the ' first/ which embraced the whole 
country under consideration. 

" The decline of Northern Syria may be dated from the 
Saracenic conquest. Some of its cities were still populous 
Avhen the Crusaders marched through the land.* The 
Mohammedan rule has since been fatal to almost all. 
Seleucia is deserted, Apamea is deserted, Arethusa is 
deserted, Larissa is deserted, and Antioch itself is dwindled 
down to a fourth-rate town of 6000 inhabitants. A great 
part of the country is desert." f 

♦ Bertrand, who passed through the country in 1432, after the in- 
vasions of the Tartars, speaks of seeing in some places nothing but 
ruined houses between Hamah and Antioch. Travels in Palestine ; ed. 
Wright : H. Bohn. 

j" Porter's Guide Book to Syria, (Murray,) vol. ii. p. 590. 



Before entering on the history of the Ansaireeh, it is 
necessary to give an account of some of the other hereti- 
cal secret sects which sprang out of the bosom of Islam, 
such as the Karmatians, the Druses, and the Ismaeleeh or 
Assassins. Not only is it necessary to do this, for the 
sake of those who have hot given much attention to the 
rise and progress of Mohammedanism, but as helping 
materially to the elucidation of the history of the Ansai- 
reeh. This sect has never been of much note, and, conse- 
quently, Mohammedan authors only mention them now 
and then, and that slightly; while the Ansaireeh them- 
selves are not only very ignorant, and possessed of few 
books, but also either entirely silent or designedly deceit- 
ful as to their origin ; and few of their books have yet fallen 
into the hands of Europeans. The consequence is, that it is 
easier to write their history negatively than positively ; to 
say what they are not, than to show what they are ; and 
for this we must know something of those sects which 
have any relation to them. 

It has been a common error to suppose, that, while 
Christianity has been split up into diverse sects, Moham- 
medanism has been comparatively free from heresy and 
schism. A saying imputed by tradition to Mohammed at 
once shows that this idea is without foundation. He is 
said to have declared, that whereas the Magians were 
divided into seventy sects, the Jews into seventy-one, the 
Christians into seventy-two, his own followers would be 
separated into seventy- three, of which, orthodox Mussul- 


man authors suppose only one tp be entitled to salvation. 
And, in fact, if all the several heresies which sprang into 
existence after the death of Mohammed were enumerated 
one by one, the number would be found to exceed even 
the liberal allowance imputed to the prophet.* 

As religion and civil government are intimately con- 
nected in the Mohammedan system, we find that these 
schisms had their first origin in political considerations, 
namely, the right of succession to the government of the 
Mohammedan state after the death of its founder. 

Mohammed died in the house of his wife Ayesha ; and 
she is said by the Schiites, or followers of Ali, to have 
suppressed his special designation, in favour of Ali, of the 
Caliphate or civil rule, and the Imamate or spiritual 
jurisdiction, of Islam or Mohammedanism. That is, they 
say that Mohammed intended that he should be both 
Emir-il-Moomeneen (prince of the true believers), and 
Imam-il-Muslemeen (high priest of the Mussulmans); and 
they maintain his indefeasible right to both offices, and 
that though he for a time, and his children afterwards, 
were by man's injustice deprived of the caliphate, no 
human power could take from them the imamate. And in 
truth, though the caliphate was voted to Abu-Beer, with 
the pretty general consent of the chief companions of 
Mohammed, Ali seems to have had a better claim. Abu- 
Beer, indeed, was an early convert, and a favoured com- 
panion, and also father of Ayesha, wife of the prophet ; 
but Ali was not only related by blood to Mohammed, who 
had been brought up and protected by Abu-Taleh, All's 
father and Mohammed's uncle, but had married his 
favourite daughter, Fatima, was one of his three earliest 
converts, and had contributed materially by his bravery 
to the success of his cousin. The subsequent conduct of 
Ali shows him too, to have been, according to the light 

• See Sale's Introduction to Koran, sect, viii., for an account of some 
of these. 


that was in liim, of a mild and praiseworthy character, 
and he bore the preference given to rivals with an equani- 
mity w^hich was not shared by his zealous partisans. 

When Abu-Beer died, the claims of Ali were postponed 
to those of tlie fierce Omar, and on his assassination, to 
those of the aged and feeble Othman, who had married 
two daughters of the prophet. It was only on the murder 
of Othman that the claims of Ali were recognised ; and the 
Schiites as a body make a religious duty to curse those 
who had stood in his way — Abu-Beer, Omar, and Othman, 
especially Omar, who had forced Ali to give way to the 

The opposition to Ali did not end with his succession 
to the caliphate. Telha and Zobeir, companions of 
Mohammed, and the determined enemy of Ali, Ayesha, 
took the field against him, but were defeated ; Telha and 
Zobeir being slain and Ayesha made prisoner. But 
Moawiyah, who had been appointed by Omar governor of 
Syria, and had been deposed by Ali, proved a more for- 
midable antagonist. He was the son of that Abu-Sofian, 
who, at the head of the Koreish, had so long resisted 
Mohammed, and at length only professed Islam under the 
sword. Moaw^iyah continued to make progress in his rebel- 
lion against Ali, till Ali was assassinated, a.d. 661 ; when 
having forced Hasan, the eldest son of Ali, to resign, he 
became caliph, to the exclusion of the family of Moham- 
med. Moawiyah was the founder of the dynasty of the 
Omeyades (so called from Omeyah, one of his ancestors), 
which ruled the Mohammedan world till the accession of 
the Abbasides, caliphs of Bagdad, who were descended from 
Abbas, an uncle of Mohammed, and obtained the caliphate 
in A.D. 750. This dynasty proved as zealous enemies 
of the descendants of Ali as the former. 

Ali married no one in the life of Fatima, By her he 
had three sons, Hasan, Hosein, and Mohsin, of whom the 
last-named died young. He afterwards had eight wives, 
and fifteen sons in all, of which one, Mohammed, son of 


Hanefeyd, was one of the most noted, as reverenced by 
one of the numerous sects, which were characterised by 
the inordinate honour paid by them to the memory of Ali. 
It was difficult to extinguish so numerous a progeny; but 
the most important scions of the race were the sons of 
Hosein, reckoned among the twelve celebrated imams, of 
whom I proceed succinctly to give the history. 

Hosein, led into rebellion and then deserted by the 
people of Cufa, near Bagdad, was surrounded with seventy 
brave followers at Kerbela, in the neighbourhood of those 
places, by the army of Yezid, son of Moawiyah. It is 
impossible to read without emotion the story of his bra- 
very and death, and every year in Persia and India his 
martyrdom is celebrated with all the outward marks of 
extreme grief; and the Ansaireeh speak of him as the 
third imam, the martyr of Kerbela. 

Ali, his son, the fourth imam, who was twelve years 
old at the death of his father, refused to take any share in 
public affairs, and died a.d. 712, leaving such a reputa- 
tion for piety, that he is styled Zeyu-il-Aabideen, the 
" ornament of pious men." 

Mohammed, the fifth imam, led as retired a life as his 
father. He devoted himself to study, and is called by the 
Schiites the " possessor of the secret,*' or II Bakir, " the 
investigator." The Omeyade caliph of his day, alarmed 
at the progress of opinions which tended to strengthen the 
house of Ali, caused him to be poisoned a.d. 734. 

His son Djaafar, the sixth imam, called Is-Sadik, or 
*' the just," is especially celebrated and reverenced by the 
followers of Ali and his family. They say that he wrote 
the lesser Djifi, a book of astrological predictions, as Ali 
liad been the author of the greater. Even at the present 
day, and especially since the Mohammedan community has 
been so rudely shaken in various parts of the world, this 
book is referred to as having foretold all that has and is to 
happen. He died a.d. 765, after the caliphate had passed 
to the Abbasides, an event which, as we have inti- 


mated, made no diiFerence in the treatment of the house 
of All. 

We now come to a part of the succession to the iinamate, 
to wliich I must bespeak the reader's special attention, 
for on a clear understanding of it will depend the com- 
prehension of the distinction between the various sects 
whose history we are giving. Djaafar designated his son 
Ismaeel as his successor, but on his death, a.d. 762-3, 
during his own lifetime, he declared his second son, 
Moosa, his heir. Now as Ismaeel had left children, those 
of the Schiites who regarded the imamate as hereditary, 
denied that Djaafar had a right to make a second nomi- 
nation. They formed a sect called the Ismaeleeh, from 
which sprang the Fatimite caliphs of Egypt, who pre- 
tended to be descended (and perhaps were so) from this 
Ismaeel, and the Ismaeleeh or Assassins of Persia and 
Syria. The Druses are the followers of one of these 
Fatimite caliphs, Hakem-biamr-ilah, whom they worship 
as the chief manifestation under a human form of the Deity. 

The Saffarean or Sooper monarchs of Persia, claiming to 
be descended from Moosa, declared him to be the seventh 
imam, and this is now the general opinion in Persia. 
The Ansaireeh, who are Imameeh, that is, acknowledgers 
of twelve imams, recognise the claims of Moosa, whom 
they call II Kazim, or '* the patient." In this they are 
distinguished from the Druses and Ismaeleeh, who break 
the line at Ismaeel, to the exclusion of Moosa and his 
descendants, and perhaps from the Karmatians, who appear 
to have done the same. Moosa was privately assassinated 
by order of Haroon-ir-Rasheed, the hero of the "Arabian 
Nights." Moosa's son, Ali, called by the Imamites and 
Ansaireeh, Ir-Reda, or "acceptation," was proclaimed by 
II Mamoon, successor of Haroon, as his own successor in 
the empire, which raised such a sedition among the 
30,000 descendants of Abbas that II Mamoon was obliged 
to cause Ali to be privately poisoned a.d. 816. 

Mohammed, the son of Ali, was the ninth imam. He 


lived in privacy at l^agdad, and died at an early age 
A.D. 885. On account of his generosity he is styled by 
the Ansaireeh, II Djawwad, " the generous." 

Ali, the tenth imam, was but a child when his father 
died. He was kept all his life a close prisoner in the 
town of Asker, by the Caliph Motawakkil, a mortal enemy 
of the Schiites. He pretended to devote himself to study 
and religious exercises, but could not thus disarm the 
jealousy of the caliph, who caused him to be poisoned 
A.D. 868. He is called by the Ansaireeh, Ali-il-Hadi, 
" the director." 

Hassan, the eleventh imam, his son, is styled by them 
n Askeree, from the place where, like his father, he lived 
and was poisoned. 

Mohammed, the twelfth and last imam, was but six 
months old when his father died. He was kept closely 
confined by the caliph, but after he had attained the age 
of twelve years he suddenly disappeared. The Sonnites, 
or orthodox Mohammedans, say that he was drowned 
in the Tigris, but the Ansaireeh, and the other Imameeh, 
deny the fact of his death, and assert that he entered into 
a cave, from whence he will issue at the end of all things, 
to cause the followers of Ali to triumph, and to punish 
his enemies. He is called by the Ansaireeh " the demonstra- 
tion, the chief, the director, the preacher of glad tidings 
and of threatenings, the hoped for, the expected master 
of the age and time." It is this " director," who, since 
the suppression of the rebellion in India, is said by the 
Mussulmans of Lahore and elsewhere to have already 
made his appearance and to be about to restore the 
dominion to them.* 

♦ For an account of the first four caliphs, and the twelve imams, the 
reader may consult the History of Mohammedanism, by W. C. Taylor, 
published by the Christian Knowledge Society, chaps, vi. and vii. It 
is a very useful little book, though in unimportant things not entirely 
free from error, as in the assertion, p. 166, that " The Nosairians stop 
at Ali, the first imam." 

Gibbon, with a few felicitous touches, sketches the rise of Mohamme- 


We return now to the time of Ali, to describe the 
gradual rise of the several sects of his extravagant ad- 

Makrisi, in his valuable description of Egypt, says* 
that " even in the time of Ali, and of the companions of 
the apostle, there arose those who promulgated extrava- 
gant opinions concerning Ali, and that he caused some of 
them to be burnt, saying in verse : — 

" V^hen T saw that the matter was abominable, 
I lighted my fire and called for Kanbar." 

Kanbar being his freedman. This did not, however, 
quench the zeal of his followers ; for, " in his time also 
arose Abdullah, son of Wahab, and grandson of Saba, 
who was the first to teach that the prophet of God 
delegated the right of the imamate to Ali, and explicitly 
assigned to him the succession, after himself, to the 
government of his people ; and he pretended that Ali was 
not dead but living and that in him was a particle of the 
divinity ; that he comes in the clouds, that the thunder 
is his voice, and the lightning his scourge, and that he 
would certainly one day return to earth and fill it with 
justice, as it was then filled with injustice. And from 
the son of Saba originated all the sects of the extravagant 
Rafedhis, who speak of the wakf, that is, that the imamate 
belonged to certain persons, as the Imameeh say that it 
does to the twelve imams, and the Ismaeleeh to Ismaeel, 
son of Djaafar-is-Sadik. And from him they took the 
saying about the absence of the imam, and that about his 
return after death into the world, as the Imameeh believe 

danism, and the history of the successors of Mohammed. It is a pity 
that he could not read the Arab historians in their own language, for he 
might have learnt from them a terseness in writing, which would have 
left on the mind a more distinct impression of historical facts than his 
own inflated periods. See also Von Hammer, History of Assassins, 
book i. ; and Ockley's History of Saracens. 

* Edition printed at Boulak, Cairo, vol. ii. p. 356. 


to this day of the "lord of the cave'' (Mohammed, the 
last imam). This is the dogma of the transmigration of 
souls. From him, too, they took the saying that a particle 
of the Divinity resides in the imams after Ali, son of Abu- 
Taleh, and that, therefore, they had a positive right to 
the imamate. And the dais (missionaries) of the Fatimite 
caliphs of Egypt took their belief from hence. Ibn-Saba 
stirred up the sedition against Othman, son of Uffam, 
which caused his death ; and he had everywhere many 
followers, and thus the Schiites increased greatly." 

Among the first of those who preached heresy and then 
stirred up rebellion was Hakim ibn-Hashem, a native of 
Khorassan, a province from whence, as from the country, 
Persia, in which it is situated, arose the greatest corrup- 
tions of Mohammedanism. Being very deformed and 
anxious to give himself out as more than human, he 
assumed a silver veil, and was hence called 11 Mokannaa, 
or " the veiled." He appeared in the reign of the caliph 
II Mohdee, a.d. 778, and by juggling persuaded many 
that he could work miracles. He thus was able m a few 
months to collect a large army and secure numerous 
strong fortresses, but being closely besieged in one of 
these, he first poisoned the entire garrison and his own 
family, and then plunged into a vessel containing a corro- 
sive liquid, so that men might think that he had been 
taken up to heaven. Some still believed so, notwithstand- 
ing tlie assertions of one of his concubines, Avho had hid 
herself, and seen all that he had done ; and they clothed 
themselves in white, to show their hostility to the Abbaside 
caliphs, whose distinctive colour was black. After him a 
still more formidable rebel, named Baber, appeared in Irak 
during the caliphate of Al Mamoon, a.d. 810. He is said 
by an Oriental exaggeration to have put to death 250,000 
Mohammedans in cold blood, besides those slain in battle. 
After twenty years he was defeated, seized, tortured, and 

In the time of Mohammed son of Ismaeel, that son of 



the imam Djaafar-is-Sadik to whom we have before 
specially alluded, arose Abdullah son of Maimoon Kaddah, 
who, seeing the failure of II Mokanijaa and Baber, deter- 
mined to proceed in a different way, by a secret gradual 
promulgation of his doctrine, rather than by open war. 
De Sacy supposes that before his time the sect of the 
Tsmaeleeh, who take Ismaeel as their chief object of 
reverence, may have existed, but that it was not till the 
time of Abdullah, about the year of the Hedjirah 250, 
A.D. 863, that the doctrines of the sect were reduced into 
a system. He thinks that till his time they were only an 
ordinary sect of Schiites, but that he introduced material- 
ism and general infidelity. 

I do not enter now into the doctrines which he dissemi- 
nated, leaving that for a future chapter, but will relate 
something of his history, as a preface to that of Karmat, 
founder of the Karmatians, with whom some suppose the 
Ansaireeh are identical, and to whom in truth they seem 
more or less allied. 

Nowairi * says that Abdullah son of Maimoon was 
obliged to fly successively from Ahwaz (in Khoozistan, a 
province of Persia bordering on the Arabian Irak, near 
the head of the Persian Gulf), and from Busrah, and took 
refuge at Salameeh in Syria (a town on the borders of the 
desert, but situated in a fertile territory, a few miles south- 
east of Hamah). He died there, and his. son Ahmed be- 
came supreme chief of the Tsmaeleeh. He sent Hosein 
Ahwazi, a dai (or missionary), into Irak. Hosein arrived 
in the cultivated territory of Cufa, called by Arabs, Sawad, 
and there found Hamdan son of Ashath. He initiated 

* De Sacy (see Expose of Religion of Druses, vol. i. introd. p. 73) 
places great reliance on Nowairi, who takes his facts from Aboul- 
Hasan, said to be separated by only five generations from Moham- 
med son of Ismaeel, from whom he claimed descent. He says that 
Makrisi and Nowairi derived from one source in all probability, for they 
employ nearly always the same expressions, and it is possible to correct 
the text of one from that of the other. 



him into his religion, and when dying named him his suc- 
cessor. According to Nowairi, Hamdan was called Kar- 
mat, from the name of his ox. Others say that the word 
means a man with short legs, who makes short steps. 
Others that it comes from the Nahatean language, in 
which it is Karamita, and hence Karmat. 

Another story is told by Aboulfaraj in his dynastic 
history, and also in Nowairi from Ibn-Atheer* ; also by 
Bibars Mansoori and Abulfeda, who are supposed by De 
Sacy to follow Ibn-Atheer. De Sacy gives this story from 
Bibars Mansoori : — 

A man of the province of Khuzistan came and esta- 
blished himself in the territory of Cufa, called Nahrein. 
He there led an austere life, and taught those that spoke 
with him about religion, and that they should make 'pray- 
ers fifty times a day. He lived with a gardener, and 
watched date palms. Being ill, he was taken care of by 
Hamdan Karamita, and taught him his religion, and chose 
twelve nakeebs. Haidsam, the governor of those parts, 
imprisoned him, but Haidsam's maid released him. A 
little after he showed himself to some of his disciples, who 
were labouring on lands far from the village, and told 
them that angels had delivered him. However, fearing 
for his life, he went into Syria. They called him Kara- 
mita, from the name of him who showed him hospitality. 

Thus it appears that the Karamitah or Karmatians took 
their rise from the Ismaeleeh, but broke out into open 
violence, instead of being content for a time with secret 

Taking the former story as the correct one and con- 
tinuing it, it is said that Hamdan Karmat sent a dai to 
Salameeh, and found that the house of Maimoon Kaddah 
were really set on aggrandising themselves, rather than 
honouring Mohammed son of Ismaeel ; who, by the Isma- 

* Ibn-Khallikin (p. 218, ed. Slane) speaks of the great chronicle of 
Ibn-Atheer, and says that he gives a full description of the Karmatians, 
from which he extracts. 


cleeh, is treated with the same honour as his father, and is 
often confounded with him. The dai, Abdan, reportec^ 
the state of the case to Karmat, who ceased to propagate 
the doctrine of Abdullah. Soon after Karmat disappeared, 
and the representative of the house of Kaddah went to 
see Abdan, who rejected him, and was therefore assassina- 
ted by a man called Zierwaih, at the instigation of the said 
descendant of the house of Kaddah, who was called Yahya, 
and by the Karmatians Ish-Sheikh. Zierwaih sent emis- 
saries into Syria, who spread his doctrine among the Arab 
tribes of the Benoo Kelb, among whom they made many 
disciples. The Benoo Kelb revolted a.d. 901, and were 
defeated, the descendant of Kaddah being killed near 
Damascus ; and soon after Zierwaih himself was killed, 
not before the Karmatians had taken Salameeh, Baalbec, 
&c., and slain vast numbers of the Mussulmans. 

But another portion of the Karmatians in Bahreya (the 
north-east portion of Arabia, on the Persian Gulf, south of 
Bagdad and Cufa, and the country where all these events 
took their rise) were far more successful. According to 
Ibn-Schohnah it was in a.d. 888, that the Karmatians 
commenced their movement in the villages near Cufa. 
In A.D. 899, Abu-Said, the chief of the Bahreyn branch, 
began his victorious course, and was succeded by his son, 
Abu-il-Tahir, who was a still greater scourge of the 
followers of the Abbaside caliphs, the orthodox Moham- 
medans. There was a continual war in Chaldea, Meso- 
potamia, and Syria, and the towns of Busra and Cufa were 
taken, with the massacre of the greater part of their in- 
habitants. At length Mecca was taken by storm, and 
30,000 Mussulmans put to the sword. The well Zemzem 
w^as filled with corpses, the temple defiled by the burial of 
3,000 dead, and the famous aerolite, or black stone, taken 
away and used for an unclean use. For a time pilgrimages 
were intercepted, and then allowed to pass on the pay- 
ment of a large sum, and at length at the instance of a 
Fatimite caliph of Egypt, the stone was restored. The 

D 2 


Karinatian power gradually declined, but even in a.d. 971, 
Hassan Alacem, grandson of Abu- Said, defeated in Syria 
the forces of the Egyptian Fatimite caliphs, and went to 
Egypt, where he was himself defeated by the Caliph 
Moezz-lideen-ilah, the grandfather of Hakem, the god-man 
of the Druses. After about a.d. 989, one does not hear 
much of the Karmatians of Irak and Syria, but they were 
found in Bahreyn till a.d. 1037-8, and at Mooltan in 
India still later. During the time of the struggle between 
the Karmatians and the Abbaside caliphs of Bagdad, Abu- 
Abdullah, an Ismaelee dai from Salameeh, went into the 
Moghreb, in the west country, that is the north coast of 
Africa, which was then governed by the Aglabites, who 
had rendered themselves independent of the Bagdad 
caliphs. Having made himself master of the country, he 
sent for Obeid-allah, who is supposed by De Sacy to have 
been, as he asserted, a descendant of the imam Ismaeel, 
though his enemies the Abbasides endeavoured to prove 
that he was of the race of Maimoon Kaddah. He had been 
called Said, when at Salameeh, but changed his name to 
Obeid-allah, when he became master of the west. He 
made Kairwan, the ancient Cyrene, the capital of his do- 
minions, and so in a.d. 910 was founded the dynasty of 
the Fatimite caliphs, so called on account of their descent 
from Fatima, wife of Ali. Al Moezz, the third in succes- 
sion from Obeid-allah, removed the seat of government to 
Egypt, and founded Musr-il-Kahirah, or Cairo, arriving in 
Egypt A.D. 970. It is his grandson, Maimoon, who is so 
especially revered by the Druses. On his accession to the 
throne a.d. 996, he took the title of Hakem-biamr-ilah, 
and after a little began to manifest his whimsical and 
wicked character. He was a miserable fanatic, and a 
wretched madman, who persecuted and murdered, now the 
Jews, now the Christians, now the Mussulmans, of the 
countries, Egypt and Syria, under his rule. At length he 
suddenly disappeared, a.d. 1021, having been assassinated 
when on one of his nightly rounds. Shortly before, a cer- 


tain Meshtekin, son of Ismacel-id-Damzi, asserted that the 
caliph was a manifestation of the invisible imam, and 
should therefore be worshipped as God. Hakem adopted 
an opinion so flattering, but Id-Darazi, being imprudently 
zealous, was obliged to fly from Egypt, and went to the 
Wadi-il-Teym, near Damascus, where there were many 
who, being afix3cted with Ismaelee doctrines, were ready 
to receive his teaching. A Persian, Hamza ibn-Ali, had 
before been teaching these doctrines, and Id-Darazi had 
learnt from him, but Hamza acted with greater caution, 
and his writings are among the chief books of the Druses, 
who look on him as second only to Hakem. 

I have said that in Wadi-il-Teym there were many ready 
to receive the doctrines of Id-Darazi, and thus form a new 
sect called Druses. In fact the whole of Syria was filled 
at that time with heretical sects, who all had much in 
common. Macrisi * says : *' The Schiites increased more 
and more, till there arose the sect of the Karmatians, 
attributed to Hamdan-il-Ashath, styled Karmat. And 
there arose in Syria of the Karmatians such and such, and 
in Bahreyn, Abu -Said, whose government increased greatly, 
and great numbers entered their sect, for their dais were 
spread through all countries. They call their doctrine 
the knowledge of II Batin (the * inward,' that is the inner 
meaning of the Koran opposed to Iz-Zahir, its outward 
letter), which was the Taweil (interpretation or allegori- 
sation), of the laws of Islam, and the turning them from 
their literal meaning to their own fancies. The Fatimite 
caliphs, having become strong in Western Africa, openly 
embraced the doctrines of the Ismaeleeh, and sent their 
dais to Egypt ; and when they became masters of it they 
sent their armies into Syria. And the difi^erent sects of 
the Karmatians, Batenis, &c. &c., spread through Egypt, 
Syria, and the surrounding countries, so that the earth 
was full of them.'' t 

P. 357, continuation of words before cited. f P. 358. 

D 3 


Another author* says, " Obeid-allah manifested the 
most hateful Schiitism." In fact the Fatimite caliphs 
were Ismaeleeh, and they gave every possible encourage- 
ment to the extension of the Ismaelee association, and 
conferred office only on those who had been initiated into 
its mysteries. An Ismaelee lodge was established at 
Kairwan, and afterwards removed with the court to Cairo. 
Assemblies were convened twice a week, on Mondays and 
Wednesdays, by the Dai-al-Doater, chief dai, and were 
frequented both by men and women. They had a lodge 
called the Dar-il-Likmeh, which was well furnished with 
professors, books, &c., and at the lectures and disputations 
the caliphs frequently attended. The professors wore 
khalaas, or robes, and Yon Hammer asserts that the 
gowns of the English universities have still the original 
form of the Arabic khalaa or kaftan. 

The dais of the Fatimite caliphs prepared the way for 
the teachers of Hakem's divinity, and these last found 
Ansaireeh already existing in the parts to which they 
proceeded. We have already spoken of the three Ansaireeh 
villages near Wadi-il-Teym, and, as we shall see presently, 
there were Ansaireeh existing in the valley when Id 
Darazi arrived there. Also we have mentioned the 
Ansaireeh living in the mountains to the east of the 
Orontes. Adjoining these to the east is the Djebel-il- 
Aala, where the Tenoukhee family of Bateneeh, who 
became Druses, took refuge. There are still Druses 
there, and they were formerly very numerous, but have 
been, many of them, driven out by the Mussulmans, and 
forced to fly for refuge to their brethren in the Lebanon 
and the Hauran, the chief seats of the Druse sect. 

When the Western, or Egyptian, Ismaeleeh were be- 
ginning to decline, with the decline of the power of the 
Fatimite caliphs (who had wrested Egypt and Syria from 
the Abbaside caliphs of Bagdad), a new branch of the 

* El Masoodi, Establishment of Fatimite Dynasty in Africa, 
(Nicholson, Tubingen, 1840,) p. 112. 


Ismaelee sect appeared in Persia, and afterwards in Syria, 
called by Arab writers the Eastern Ismaeleeh, and by 
Frank writers the Assassins. 

A certain Hassan ibn-Mohammed-is-Sab^h was founder 
of this famous sect, which, though it gained great power 
and dominion, was rather an order like the Templars, 
than a kinordom. His father Ali was a distino^uished 
Schiite of Khorassan, Hassan was originally a believer 
in the twelve imams, but asserted that during an illness 
he had been converted to the Ismaelee doctrines, of which 
the caliphs of Egypt were the head. Having set out for 
Egypt, he was at first received with great honour ; but, 
having had a difference with the general of the forces as to 
the right of succession to the throne, he was imprisoned 
by him at Damietta, from which he managed to escape 
into Syria, in such a way as to give hinj an appearance of 
having miraculous power. Having returned to Persia he 
gained possession by force and stratagem of the strong 
castle of Alamoot, in the district of Rudbar, in the north 
of Persia. This happened in a.d. 1090. Pretending 
that he was the Huddjah, or demonstration, of the invisible 
imam*, he procured followers among the pre-existing 
Ismaelee sect, and others of the like heretical and corrupt 
opinions, and succeeded in persuading his followers that 
to die for the imam or order was to procure certain 
felicity. He gained castle after castle in Persia, and soon 
obtained great power, inspiring terror in the hearts of all 
by the sudden assassination of caliphs and viziers. 

The Assassins appeared in Syria about the same time 
as the crusaders, for these took Jerusalem a.d. 1099, and 
the Assassins converted to their interests Red wan, governor 
of Aleppo, a.d. 1100. Their first murder was that of the 
prince of Aleppo, as he was going, a.d. 1102, to raise the 
siege of the castle of Husn, which was being attacked by 
the crusaders under the Count de St. Gilies. 

* Safeenet-ir-Raghib, (printed at Boulak, Cairo,) p. 216. 

p 4 


Hassan Sabah, the founder of the order of Assassins, 
reigned thirty-five years, and was succeeded by his general, 
Kia Busurgomid, for Hassan had slain his own sons. The 
succession of the children of Busurgomid, till the extinction 
of the order, is one awful tale of suspicion and murder on 
the part of the father, or parricide on the part of the son. 
While they caused the blood of others to flow like water, 
they did not spare that of their nearest relations. At 
last Hoolakoo, grandson of the famous Jenghiz Khan, 
brought to a close the rule of the Ismaeleeh, or Assassins 
of Persia, by besieging and taking all their castles, and 
putting to death their last grand-master, Rokneddeen. 
Their fall, a.d. 1257, inlmmediately preceded that of the 
Abbaside caliphs of Bagdad. 

During this time the Ismaeleeh, or Assassins, existed 
almost independently in the mountains of Sumra^k, the 
southern part of the Ansairee range. According to 
Dheh^by*, *^ The Ismaeleeh of Alamoot sent into Syria 
in the year 1107, or after, one of their missionaries. 
Many adventures happened to him, until he made himself 
master of several fortresses in the mountain of Sanak, and 
which belonged to the Ansaueeh^ 

A man called Behram came into Syria, and took service 
with Togtekin, lord of Damascus, who gave him the castle 
of Banyas, on the site of Caesarea Philippi, and the 
Ismaeleeh acquired great power in Syria. " At that time 
the valley of Teym, in the province of Baalbek, contained 
various sects, such as the Ansaireeh^ Druses, &c. ; and, when 
Behram attacked them, they, under the prince of the 
valley, defeated and killed him, a.d. 1128."f Six thousand 
of them were killed, a.d. 1129, by the Mussulmans of 
Damascus, on their failing in their attempt to deliver up 

• Arabic MS. quoted by M. C. Defremeny in Recherches sur les 
Ismaeliens et Bathiniens de Syrie, Journal Asiatique for May, June, 
1854, and January, 1855. 

f M. Defremeny, from Ibn-il-Attliier, page 412 of Journal Asiat. 
May, June, 1854. See also Von Hammer, p. 78. 


that city to the Franks. They were obliged to give up 
the castle of Banyas to the Franks, and replaced the loss 
of it by acquiring the castle of Kadmoos by purchase from 
its Mussulman owner. There they established themselves, 
A.D. 1132 — 33, and from thence harassed the Franks 
and Mussulmans of their neighbourhood. In 1130 they 
assassinated the Caliph Amin of Egypt, because he had 
taken the place of his uncle Nesar, who had been sup- 
ported by Hassan Sabah. The Ismaeleeh looked on the 
previous caliphs of Egypt as, in a measure, the repre- 
sentatives of the hidden imam. In a.d. 1140 they took 
the castle of Masyad from its Mussulman governor by 
stratagem, and several other castles which we have 
already enumerated in Chap. I. They were probably 
assisted in this by the Bateneeh, or secret sects, who 
abounded in those parts, and in all the north of Syria. 
In Sermeen, a day's journey from Aleppo, there were many 
Bateneeh, when taken by the Franks*; and in a.d. 1110 
the castle of Kefr Lata, also a day from Aleppo, was taken 
by Tancred from Bateneeh.f There is among the Druse 
writings mentioned by De Sacy, an epistle addressed, about 
A.D. 11 37, to the inhabitants of the mountains of Summ^k, 
and another to the " Unitarians " of the same part.| 

* Apud Wilkin. 

f Paul Petav. and Will. Camden speak of the Franks finding Turks, 
Saracens, Arabs, and other pagans in Moarra, and of certain Publicani 
in Area, which Baldrinus, archbishop, also mentions. 

J Ibn Batootah (who travelled in Syria, 1325 — 50) mentions inciden- 
tally the great number of heretics in the north of Syria. In one place he 
speaks of the tomb of Omar ibn-Abd-il-Azeez, as having no Zawiyel or 
garden, and gives as the reason, *' that there were in the country a kind 
of impure heretics (Rawafid, followers of Ali), who hate the ten com- 
panions, and every one whose name is Omar." lie then went to 
Sermeen, " a great city, where the people were ' cursers,* who hated the 
ten, and would not mention the name of the ten, and therefore had a 
great mosque with only nine domes." He also speaks of a certain man 
of heretical opinions in Ladikeeh, who was convicted of heresy and put 
to death. Ladikeeh was the residence of members of the heretical noble 
family of the Tenookhees. 


The Ismaeleeh, or Assassins, thus became neighbours 
of the Franks, who, as we have intimated in Chap. I., had 
many castles in the Ansairee mountains, and in the 
southern part, called Djebel-il-Aamilah or Summak. 
Thus they were in continual feud with the crusaders, 
and, A.D. 1152, killed Raymond I., prince of Tripoli, in 
the church of Tartoos. They were for that so successfully 
attacked by their neighbours, the Templars, who entered 
and ravaged their territory, that they were forced to pay 
a yearly tribute of 2000 pieces of gold. 

At this time appeared Rasheed-ed-deen Sinar, son of 
Suleyman of Basra, as the grand-master of the Assassins 
of Syria. He acquired a great celebrity, and left many 
books, Avhich are of chief authority among the Ismaeleeh 
of to-day. Many travellers and others, both Franks and 
Arabs, mention the state of the mountains of Summak, 
and of the Ismaelee power during his time. 

Edrisi, who finished his Arabic geography a.d. 1154, 
says of the mountains above Tartoos, where the Ismaeleeh 
dwelt : — " Its people are Hasheesheeh (eaters of the in- 
toxicating Indian hemp), heretics from Islam, who do not 
believe in the mission of Mohammed, nor in the resur- 
rection from the dead : may their sect be accursed ! " * 
Benjamin of Tudela, the Jewish traveller, who passed 
through the north of Syria a.d. 1163, speaking of 
Djebileh, to the south of Ladikeeh, says : " In this 
vicinity live the people called Assassins, who do not 
believe in the tenets of Mohammedanism, but in those of 
one whom they consider like unto the prophet Karmath. 
They fulfil whatever he commands them, whether it be a 
matter of life or death. He goes by the name of the 
Sheikh-il-Hasheesheen, or the Old Man, by whose command 
all the cities of these mountains are regulated. His 
residence is in the city of Kadmoos. They are at war 
with the Christians, called Franks, and with the Count of 

• Ed. Jaubert, Paris, 1836, p. 35. 


Tripoli."* William of Tyre, the famous historian of the 
crusades, who died a.d. 1183, mentions, under a.d, 
1169 — 1173, that the " Assassins" had ten castles, ** around 
the bishopric of Antaradus," and that their number was 
60,000 or more. He speaks also of the " Fratres militias 
Teinpli," who had castles bordering on their territory, and 
of the tribute of 2000 pieces of gold which they exacted 
yearly from the Assassins. All this in giving an account 
of an embassy sent by the Assassins to the king of 
Jerusalem, Amaury, promising to become Christians if the 
tribute annually paid to the .Templars were remitted to 
them. On his return the ambassador was slain by a 
Templar, who was protected by the grand- master and the 
order ; for they had heard of the request of the Assassins.f 

Jacob de Vitriaco, who was bishop of Acre under 
William, and who died a.d. 1213, writing of the same 
event, speaks of the Assassins as living near Tartosa, and 
exceeding in number 40,000. He says that they paid 
2000 pieces of gold annually as tribute to the Templars, 
that they might dwell in security ; since the Templars, by 
their proximity, were able to do them much harm. He 
continues: They are for the most part Mohammedans, 
" but say that they have a certain hidden law, which it is 
not lawful for any one to reveal, except to their children, 
when they are come to adult age." He adds that the women 
and children say that they believe in the religion of their 
relations without knowing it ; and that if any son were to 
reveal the law to his mother he would be killed without 
mercy. J 

Ibn-Djubair, an Arab of Andalusia in Spain, in travel- 
ling through Syria a.d. 1183, speaks of the Ismaeleeh 
on his way to Hamah. He says that behind Muarra, 
'* in the mountains of Lebanon, are castles of the impious 
Ismaeleeh, a sect who have gone out of Islam, and claimed 

* P. 59, ed. Asher. t Lib. xv. pp. 31, 32. 

i Gesta Dei per Francos, p. 1143. 


divinity for a certain man-devil, Sinan by name, who has 
deceived them by vanities and false appearances, so that 
they have taken him as a god, and worship him, and give 
their lives for him, and they have arrived at such a pitch 
of obedience as to throw themselves down from a precipice 
at his command."* 

Brocardus Monachusf says: "On the eastern side of 
Antaradus are certain low mountains, and this district is 
called that of the Asisini.'* 

Ibn-il-AVardee, who quotes from Ibn-Atheer and Medj- 
ith-Dthahab of Massoodee, speaking of Djebel Summak, 
says that " It contains cities and villages and forts and 
castles, and most of its people are Ismaeleeh and Druses, 
and on it grows the sumach." J 

Abulfeda, who was prince of Hamah, a.d. 1310 — 30, 
speaks of the town of Masyaf (Masyad) as having a strong 
fort, and being the centre of the Ismaelee order. § 

Marco Polo, who in 1271 travelled through Asia, 
mentions the Assassins of Persia and Syria. || 

Sinan resided in Castle Kahf. It is said that in a.d. 1176 
the inhabitants of Summak took occasion of some words of 
his, to the effect that no one should deny anything to his 
brother, to break out into licentiousness and incest, and 
he caused some of them to be put to death. Ibn-Jubair 
mentions that eight years before his arrival in Syria, 
a.d. 1183, some of the people called Ismaeleeh (whom 
he describes as so numerous that none but God could 
number them) became so corrupt in a village called 
Bab, near Aleppo, that they were attacked and exter- 
minated by the Mussulmans.^ 

The Assassins endeavoured to assassinate the great 
Saladin more than once when he was before Aleppo, and 

♦ Ibn-Jubair, (Wright, Leyden, 1852,) p. 256. 

t Novis orbia, (Basil, 1532,) fol. 301. % Arab. MS. 

§ Geography, (ed. Keinaud and Slane,) p. 229. 

II Lib. i. c. 21. 4 As above, p. 251. 


therefore he went to attack Masyad a.d. 1176, but was 
persuaded to give up the siege at the intercession of his 
uncle, prince of Hamah, being the more ready to do so as 
he had been in real fear of the Assassins, having had a 
very narrow escape from death. In 1192 Conrad of 
Montferrat was killed by two Assassins, at the instigation, 
there is little reason for doubt, of Richard Coeur de Lion. 
Sinan died a.d. 1192—93. In a.d. 1250 the Old Man 
of the Mountain sent to demand a present from Louis IX. 
at Acre ; but the Templars and Hospitalers sent back 
demanding a present for the king, and obtained it. 

But now the power of the crusaders. Templars, and 
Hospitalers, and of the Assassins, was drawing to a close, 
being about to fall before the celebrated Beybars or Malik- 
id- Dhabir, sultan of Egypt, of the Memlook dynasty. 
The Hospitalers, or Knights of St. John, being hard 
pressed, sent an embassy begging him to maintain peace 
in that part of the country which borders on the Ismaeleeh, 
and he would only consent on their remitting the tribute 
which they received from the Ismaeleeh, namely, 200 pieces 
of gold and 100 measures of corn. In 1269 Beybars took 
the chief castles of the Knights Templars, and of St. John, 
in those parts, namely, Safeetah and Husn, and the Ismae- 
leeh paid to him the tribute before paid to the knights ; 
but after a short respite their castles, too, were taken one 
by one ; and last of all Muneika, Kahf, and Kadmoos in 
1272, in which year the Friday prayers were celebrated in 

After the end of the thirteenth century we hear little of 
the Ismaeleeh of Syria. Ibn-Batoutah, the Arab Moghrebbin 
traveller, who was in Syria between 1325-50, speaks of 
the castle of Sahyom, and then says : " And I journeyed 
from it, and passed by the castle of Kadmoos, then by 
the castle of Maynakah, then by the castle of Ulleyhah, 

* Makrisi, History of the Memlook Sultans, vol. i. part ii. p. 3 : 
Quatremere, Paris, 1840. 


then by the castle of Masyad, and these castles belong to 
a people called the Ismaeleeh, and also the Fedaweeh ; 
and no one enters among them besides themselves, and 
they are the arrows of II Malik-id -Nasir, by whom he 
reaches his enemies in Irak and elsewhere." He adds, 
" that they were paid by him for this, and used poisoned 
knives." * Thus from time to time we read of assassina- 
tions attributed to them. An Arab author, who died at 
Damascus a.d. 1349, speaks of the Ismaeleeh as having in 
his time Masyad, &c. There were nawabs or viceroys 
placed in the Ismaelee castles by Beybars.f Perhaps 
from them are descended the present emirs of the castles ; 
for they told Burckhardt, who visited Castle Masyad, that 
they had been possessors of it since the time of the Malik- 
id-Dhabir, Beybars, as acknowledged by the firmans of 
the Porte J ; though the Ismaeleeh of to-day told Dr. Eli 
Smith and Mr. Walpole, who visited them in 1848, and 
1850 — 51, that they had come from Damascus a.d. 1010 ; 
and they declared to the latter that they had chased 
Ansaireeh out of the castles. 

Abd-il-Ghanidj in-Nabulusi visited Kadmoos in a.d. 
1693, and found the emir of Kadmoos, and his brother 
of Masyad, to be of the Tenookhee family, which settled 
in the time of the Greeks in Djebel-il-Aala, and were 
Batenians, some of them being Druses at the present 

Niebuhr, in his description of his journey in Syria ad. 
1764, speaks of the Ismaeleeh, but says little about them, 
and that little is incorrect. He says : " The number of the 
Ismaeleeh is not great. They live principally at Kellis, a 
town between Shogher and Hamah ; as also in Gebel 
Kalbie, a mountain not far from Latachia, between Aleppo 

* Travels of Ibn-Batoutah, published by the Societe Asiatique, 
Paris, 1843. 

f M. Defremeny, Jour. Asiat. January, 1855. 

X Burckhardt's Travels in Syria, (London, 1822,) p. 152. 


and Antioch. They are called Keptun, from the name of 
a village in this country." * 

Von Hammerf says : " Remains of the Ismaelites still 
exist both in Persia and Syria, but merely as one of the 
many sects and heresies of Islamism, without any claims 
to power, and without the means of obtaining their former 
importance, of which they seem, in fact, to have lost all 
remembrance. The policy of the secret state-subverting 
doctrine of the first lodge of the Ismaelites, and the mur- 
derous tactics of the Assassins, are equally foreign to 
them. Their places of abode are both in Persia and Syria, 
those of their forefathers, in the mountains of Irak, and 
at the foot of Anti-Lebanon. 

" The Persian Ismaelites recognise as their chief, an 
imam, whose descent they deduced from Ismael, the son 
of Djaafur-is-Sadik, and who resides at Khekh, a village 
in the district of Koom, under the protection of the Shah. 
As, according to their doctrine, the imam is an incarnate 
emanation of the Deity, the imam of Khekh enjoys to this 
day the reputation of miraculous powers; and the Isma- 
elites, some of whom are dispersed as far as India, go in 
pilgrimage, from the banks of the Ganges and Indus, in 
order to share his benediction. The castles in the district 
of Rudbar, in the mountains of Alamoot, are still in- 
habited to this day by Ismaelites, who, according to a 
late traveller, go by the general name of Hosseinis." 

We have thus related briefly the history of the secret 
heretical sects of Mohammedanism, in that of the original 
Ismaeleeh, the Karmatians, the Western Ismaeleeh, from 
whence sprang the Druses, and the Eastern Ismaeleeh, 
or Assassins, and this, as a necessary preparation to 
all that we know of the history of the Ansaireeh, 

* Page 361. The reader may remember that the Kelbeeh are 
Ansaireeh, and Kefteen is the chief village of the Druses in Djebel-il- 

t Page 211. 


whose sect came into existence in the time of the 
Karmatians. We have omitted to relate that history in 
its proper place, that we may treat of it in a separate 

* For further information about the Karmatians the reader may con- 
sult D'Herbelot, Bib. Orient., article Carasmita. The history of Hakem, 
the deity of the Druses, is given by De Sacy in his exposition of their 
religion. Von Hammer has given a history of the Assassins, which 
has been translated by Wood. As a most useful abridgment of these 
authors, see Taylor's History of Mohammedanism and its Sects ; also 
Sale's Introd. to Koran, sect. viii. Gibbon, chap. 52, gives a pithy 
account of the Karmatians. 




Syria consisted originally of two districts. The first, 
Aram Damesk (2 Sam. viii. 6), was colonised by Aram son 
of Shem, and included Aram Zobah (2 Sam. viii. 3, 5), a 
district most probably extending from the right bank of 
the Orontes to Aleppo and the Euphrates. The second 
division of the country, including Gilead, all Palestine 
west of the Jordan, and the mountain range northward to 
the mouth of the Orontes, was colonised by the descend- 
ants of Canaan the son of Ham.* We have already 
spoken of the Phoenician state of Arvad, or Aradus, 
and of the Phoenician town of Ramantha, afterwards 
Laodicea ; as having possessed the plains under the 
Ansairee mountains. It is probable that the inhabitants 
of the west of the mountains were under their sway, 
while those of the east may have been under that of 
Hamath the Great. These mountains would naturally be 
the refuge of the neighbouring states in the plains, on the 
invasion of Syria by the Assyrians, Egyptians, and Greeks. 
Now a part of the present Ansaireeh are probably, and 
almost certainly, the descendants of the ancient moun- 
taineers and those who took refuge among them. This is 
the opinion of the late Dr. Eli Smith, Dr. Vandyke, Dr. 
Thomson, and others of the American missionaries in 
Syria, as I have at different times learnt from themselves. 
They think that these people became impregnated with 
the Gnostic heresies, and hence that corrupted form of 

* Porter's Syria, Introd. p. xxii. xxiii. : Murray. 


Christianity which is part of their religion. Yolney 
says* that it is probable that the Ansaireeh have some of 
the old Gnostic rites, " for that, notwithstanding the vici- 
nity of Antioch, Christianity penetrated only with the 
greatest difficulty into those districts ; it reckoned but 
few proselytes there, even after the reign of Julian ; from 
that period till the invasion of the Arabs it had little time 
to establish itself ; for it is not always with revolutions of 
opinions in the country as in towns. The progress which 
that religion was able to make among these rude moun- 
taineers only served to smooth the way for Mohamme- 
danism, more analogous to their tastes ; and there resulted 
from the dogmas, ancient and modern, a shapeless mix- 
ture, to which the Old Man of Nasar owed his success." 
But though I have no doubt that a part of the present 
inhabitants of the mountains are the descendants of the 
ancient Canaanites, whose graves and sites of tombs on 
every high hill still remain, and are visited by the Ansai- 
reeh of to-day, the Gnostic ideas may well have been 
introduced into their religion in its cradle in the East, 
for that religion certainly came thence, and doubtless 
found in Syria, as is asserted, an ignorant population 
ready to receive it, and, perhaps, in some things, to add 
to its former superstition. 

But well-established tradition, and difference of phy- 
siognomy, prove conclusively that not all the present inha- 
bitants of the mountains of the Ansaireeh are the original 
inhabitants of that region. Part, at least, have come from 
those regions whence came the religion of the sect. 

That sect is divided into two principal parts : Shemseeh, 
so named from Shem, the sun, and also called Mawakisch, 
Gaibeeh, and Shemaleeh ; and Kumreeh, also called Kela- 
zeeh. Now I will show that the Shemseeh are the originiil 
people of the mountains, and the Kumreeh a people who 
came from the east, from Djebel Sindjar in Mesopotamia, ; 
and elsewhere. [ 

* Volney's Travels in Syria, vol. ii. p. 6. ; 


It has been already seen that there are many Ansaircch 
living in Bagdad, and the road from there would naturally 
lead by Djebel Sindjar, and the town of Salameeh, 4^ 
hours S.E. of Hamah, to the territory of that place, which 
is bounded on the west by the Ansairee mountains. The 
missionaries of the sect, in passing into Syria, might 
naturally propagate their doctrines among the Arab tribes 
of Mesopotamia. The Bagdad sheikh, Hadj Mohammed, 
who visited me in the mountains, accordingly asserted 
that Sheikh Hhabeeb's family, the religious chief of the 
Kumreeh sect, were from Sindjar, as well as the Kelbeeh, 
and gave as proof that there is still there a mountain 
called Sin-al-Kuloob (so he called it), or dog's tooth. He 
himself was one of the Kumreeh sect, having just come 
from Bagdad with the present of a valuable mare for 
Sheikh Hhabeeb ; and he spoke against the sheikhs of the 
Shemseeh, one of the chief of whom. Sheikh Maroof of 
Antioch, had incited the government against him, and 
rendered necessary his visit to Syria. 

Sheikh Hhabeeb also himself once told me that his 
relations and people were older than the Osmanlees in 
Syria (who took it under Sultan Selim, a.d. 1518) ; and 
that, having been driven out from Djebel Sindjar (now 
chiefly inhabited by the Yezidees, or devil-worshippers), 
they had come by leave of the government to the plains 
of Hamah, in the year of the Hedjrah 603 (a.d. 1205), 
at the invitation of some of their sect, who, being weak, 
had invited them to come and help them to possess the 
country. On the people of the mountains coming down 
upon them, they were allowed by the government to 
attack them ; and this they did, driving out the inhabi- 
tants, who were Kurds, as he said the names of the 
villages ending in o, as before alluded to, attested. He 
also asserted that their ancestors possessed the castles of 
Kadmoos, Naasyad, &c. 

The Ansairee lad of whom I have spoken in the Pre- 
face tells me that his people swear by a certain sheikh, 

E 2 


Is-Sindjaree. Mr. Walpole* found the same tradition 
among them. They told him that " during the time of 
the Caliphs of Damascus, their people lived in the moun- 
tains of Sindjar, and that the Caliphs waged war against 
the inhabitants of the Ansairee mountains, and extermi- 
nated them," when they got possession. 

Now it is certain that the Kelbeeh, within the last few 
hundred years, have come over from the east of the 
mountains, and opened a road for themselves to the sea ; 
conquering the Beni Ali to the south, — who are asserted, 
by the Kelbeeh and by others, to have been originally 
Kurds converted to the Ansairee religion, — and the 
Muhailby people to the north, who are uniformly declared 
to be the oldest inhabitants of the mountains, and of the 
Shemseen sect. The Diryoos people are of the same sect, 
and I was told by a Diryoos man that the Muhailby and 
Diryoos people, and two other families in the plain, were 
descended from two brothers. Just below my own vil- 
lage is a deserted one, once inhabited by the Kerataleh, 
part of the original inhabitants of the present Kelbeeh 
territory, who are said to have been of the sect of the 
Muhailby, and have descendants in the villages of Ain-it- 
Zeeneh ; a man of the Keratileh being now resident as a 
peasant in the village where my house is. 

The tradition that the Kelbeeh came from the other 
side of the mountains is told circumstantially, and there is 
no reason to doubt it. Ahmed the son of Makloof was 
the first to come to the west of the mountains, with his 
son Muhanna. He built most of the visiting places in the 
mountains. Muhanna had eight sons, one of whom was 
the ancestor of the house of Hasoon, and another brother 
that of Beyt Ali, Beyt Djirkis, and Beyt Ahmed ; the 
four ruling houses of the Kelbeeh. Beyt Aloosh are 
said to have descended from a brother of Muhanna, and 
another branch of less influence from a servant of the 

* Ansayree and Assassins, vol. iii. p. 343. 


same, though it is confessed that there is less certainty 
about this. 

The passage, from the east, of the Kelbeeh and others 
of the Kumreeh sects, such as the Kerabileh and Beyt 
Ammon, seems to have been pretty simultaneous. As I 
have said. Chap. I., the Amamarah, who as well as other 
western tribes have relations on the east of the mountains, 
were originally Kumreeh. 

Ahmed Selbah, Mekuddam of Bahluleeh, told me that the 
ruling families of the Beni Ali had come originally from 
the east of the mountains. He also told me that the 
house of Shemseen Sultan, of the powerful tribe of the 
Djenneeh, who are also of the Kumreeh sect, was descended 
from men who had come from the other side of the moun- 
tains. This was also asserted to me by an intelligent 
young sheikh of the Djenneeh, residing at Kumeen. He 
said that the Shemseen people were descendants of men of 
good family, who came about 400 years ago from Djebel 
Sindjar, and first settled in the district of Kadmoos ; and 
then, 1 20 years since, removed to their present district ; 
where, having killed the former rulers at a feast, they 
became chief. The brother of Shemseen Sultan also 
told me that the family had come from Kadmoos. 

Thus we see that the Kumreeh are comparatively recent 
in the country, and probably from the parts of Bagdad 
and Djebel Sindjar. 

The young sheikh of Kumeen also said that the Muhail- 
by people were the oldest inhabitants of the part of the 
mountains where they live, which originally belonged, in 
part at least, to the Kurds ; and he declared that the 
Beni Ali were Kurds. He spoke also of many of the 
present Ansaireeh having become so from living among 
that sect where predominant. He also said that the 
castles in the mountains had once been in their hands. 

I have been informed by M. Wortabert of Hasheya, that 
the inhabitants of the three Ansairee villages near there, 
Avho are without doubt of the earliest converts to the sect 

E 3 


in Syria, are Sheraseeh. The Muhailby and Diryoos 
people, who are certainly also the earliest of the sect in 
Syria, are Sheinseeh, as are also the people to the north, 
and about Antioch, for the most part, who seem to have 
been driven out of the mountains by the more powerful 
sect of the Kumreeh. The sheikhs of the two sects are 
very hostile to one another, no man of one sect learning 
from a sheikh of the other ; and there is sufficient dif- 
fence in the tenets and customs of the two. The sheikhs 
not unfrequently succeed in fomenting war, to give vent 
to their sectarian hate. The Shemseeh hold to their 
religion far more firmly, or rather obediently, than the 
Kumreeh ; and the two sects seem originally to have 
been separated by distance of territory. There is a dif- 
ference of physiognomy among the various tribes. I 
should say that the Beni Ali had a harsh Kurdish appear- 
ance ; while many of the people of the plains and the 
Shemseeh have a lustrous eye, more cunning, but other- 
wise not unlike that of the Maronites, who are of the 
original soft Syrian inhabitants of Lebanon. 

The Kelbeeh and other Kumreeh have a more Persian 
or Arab physiognomy. This distinction may be partly 
fanciful, but I think not entirely so. Every one ac- 
quainted with Syria knows how the tribes vary in cast of 
countenance. I myself noticed such distinctly marked 
features among the Metawalee of the mountains just 
south of the Ansairee range, who hold a religion near 
akin to that of the present Persians, that I was able 
afterwards often at once to distinguish a Metawalee when 
I met him. These considerations, as well as others, may 
be followed out and verified, or the reverse, by future 

Having said so much for the origin of the Ansaireeh as n 
race, I proceed now to consider the origin of their name. 

They are called by Arab authors, In-Nusaireeyeh, that 
name being given as early at least as about the year A.n. 
1021, by Hamerand Baha-cd-deen, the great Druse teacher. 


" The Formulary of the Druses/' says De Sacy*, 
" speaks of a sectary whom it calls Nosairi [so written 
in French], and who is certainly the chief of the sect 
in question," the Ansaireeh. "The 44th question is 
this: — How have the Nosairis become separated from 
the Unitarians, and abandoned the Unitarian religion ? 
Answer: They have become separated in following the 
doctrine of Nosairi." Hamza also mentions the sect 
under the same name in his refutation of one of their 
books. Hence evidently this name of the sect existed as 
early as a.d. 1021, or a few years later, and was ascribed by 
the author of the Druse Formulary, who shows great know- 
ledge of the doctrines of the Ansaireeh, to a certain Nasair. 

Now there has been much uncertainty and great con- 
troversy as to whether this was the real origin of the 
name thus given to them, and I was myself in doubt 
about it till the very time of writing this ; after having 
anxiously perused the Arab MS. in my possession, and 
all other extracts given of their books by various authors. 
But I have just stumbled on a passage in the said MS., 
which, compared with the extracts of an Ansairee book 
given by Niebuhr, and with what is said of the sect in 
Dr. Vandyke's Arabic Geography, leaves no doubt that 
the derivation given by so good and early an authority 
as the Druse apostle Hamza is the right one. 

To mention first some other derivations given of the 
name. Richard Pococke saysf , that the Ansaireeh " may 
be the descendants of the people called Nazerini, men- 
tioned by Pliny (Hist. v. 23) as divided from the country 
of Apamea by the river Marsyas," where he says, " Coele 

* De Sacy's Expose de la Religion des Druses, (Paris, 1838,) vol. ii. 
p. 260. 

t Travels in Syria in 1738, vol. ii. p. 208. 

In my MS. p. 86, Ali is called the father of the Sibtain, that is two 
tribes of the children of Israel. A Christian scribe once told me that 
he had seen in a private letter of Sheikh Hhabeeb, the expression, 
Is-Sibteyn il Keram, " the two honourable tribes," as applied to the 

E 4 


habet Apamiam, Marsya amne divisam a Nazerinorum 

De Sacy, after giving an extract from the Syriac 
Chronicle of Bar-Hebraeus, to which we shall refer 
presently, in which the latter ascribes the origin of the 
sect to a certain old man who lived in a village called 
Nasaria (in his Arabic history of dynasties, Nasrana), 
says, " it appears from this text that the sect of the 
Nosairis derives its name from that of the village of 
Nasaria, where dwelt the founder of that sect." * HoW'^ 
ever, in another place, he says, " I cannot well say (Je ne 
saurais dire) whether the name, Nosairis, is derived from 
that of the village Nasraya or Nasrana." f 

Since, in the present day at least, the Ansaireeh rarely 
call themselves such before others, giving themselves 
usually the name of Fellaheen, or peasantry, which is 
really a suitable one for their position, some have 
looked on this as a mere term of reproach among their- 
enemies which the Ansaireeh would not acknowledge, as - 
the Druses do not call themselves by that name, but 
" Muwahhedeen," or " Unitarians." But it is not unusual 
for the members of a sect to dislike to be called after the 
name of its author, which sometimes brings all the 
prejudice felt by their enemies against the failings of that 
author on the tenets taught by him and held by his follow- 
ers ; and though the Ansaireeh do not usually style them- 
selves such openly, or in their books, or when alone (for 
then, as I shall presently show, they employ a different 
TiQ,me, derived from that of another very celebrated 
apostle of their sect), yet they do frequently call them- 
selves Ansaireeh, using the name as one properly belong- 
ing to them. So unhesitatingly asserts the Ansairee lad :' 
and I have myself often heard them, either in joke, or 
when serious and in a great rage, use the expression, 
*' May God have no mercy on any one who has died an 

♦ Exp. Rel. Druses, vol. ii. p. 565. f ^* ^67. 


Ansaireeh ! " when they mean to speak of those imme- 
diately about them, or even of themselves and their sect 
in general. So that Dr. Wolff is certainly at fault when 
he derives the term from the diminutive of Nuss^ra, 
Christians, supposing that their adversaries reproach them 
for the mixture of Christianity introduced into their 
religion by calling them " little Christians." * 

To return to the true derivation of the name. Dr. Van- 

-dyke, in his Arabic Geography, derives it from a certain 
Nusair in-Namareef, but on asking him for his authority 
he could not remember it, having derived what he says pf 

^he Ansaireeh from various sources, without giving in all 
cases his authority, as the object of his book did not 

'require the doing so. He also gives an extract from 

-Abulfeda, who, on the authority of Ibn-Saeed says, " The 
J Nusaireeh are so called from Nusair, a liberated slave of 

^Ali the son of Abu-Taleb." Now I find in my Arabic 
MS., among the names of the " Bab " or " Door," in the 
. "eleven appearances which God has granted us to know, 
and brought us to remember " (in the first of which the 
celebrated Salman-il-Farisee is the "door"), this name 
given as the "door" of the eleventh, " Abu-Shuaib 
Mohammed ibn-Nusair il Becree in-Numairee il Abdee, 
May the favour of God be upon him ! And he is called 
Abu-il-Kasim (for with Arabs a father, when his eldest son is 
born, receives a title from him, the father of such and such 
a one, as Abu-Shuaib, the father of Shuaib, for instance), 
and among his Arabic titles are Abu-il-Talib and Abu-il- 
Hasan." In the above name, Abu-Shuaib is the title from 
the son ; Mohammed is the name ; Ibn, or son, of Nusair, 

* Journal of German Oriental Society, vol. iii. p. 302, &c., note. 
So the Jesuit Missionaries. See Jowett's Christian Researches. 

f Arabic Geography, published at Beyrout, 1852, p. 106. Dr. Van- 
dyke writes Namaree. My Ansairee MS. gives Numairee, which 
is confirmed by another Ansairee book. Namir son of Kasit, and 
Numair son of Aamir, each gave his name to an Arab tribe, as Namaree 
and Numairee. 


is the patronymic ; and In-Numairee, &c., are the titles 
from some place or quality in the person or his father. 
Now the word Namairce is used in an Ansairee book of 
festivals noticed by M. Catafago, in the Journal Asiatique.* 
And on comparing the first part of the name here given 
to the " door " with that of one of the apostles of the 
Ansaireeh given by Niebuhr f in his extracts from an 
Ansairee book, we shall find them identical. Among 
the seven apostles of the Ansaireeh, among which are 
reckoned Mohammed, Salman, Hamrudan Abdullah (pro- 
bably a mistake for Abu- Abdullah ibn-Hamdan), ajid 
Mufdil (whose name is given in my Arabic MS. as the 
" door " of the eighth appearance), is found Abuschaiib, as 
Niehbuhr writes the Arabic name. This then is the same 
person as that mentioned above, and Niebuhr goes on to 
say that the Ansairee author names a certain Ishak as 
the greatest enemy of the Ansaireeh, " because he had 
wished to kill our lord Abu-Schaiib." This Ishak was 
the founder of the sect of the Ishakians, who are joined 
by Ish-Sharestanee with that of the Ansaireeh or 
Nasaireeh J, who, as I think it will now seem pretty certain, 
derived their name of Nusaireeh, by which they are 
distinguished in Arabic authors, and by which they are 
commonly called to-day in Syria, from Nusair. 

Since writing the above, I have, by again consulting 
the Ansairee MS. in my possession, made a discovery 
which sets this matter at rest, combined as it is with the 
assertion of the Ansairee lad, who has just informed me 
that his people call themselves Beni Nusair, saying that 
their ancestor was Nusair, and has told me also that his 
people curse Ishak. 

This discovery I made with the clue given to me in 
Niebuhr's book, which led me to search more carefully 

• Feb. 1848, page 153. 

f Niebuhr's Travels in Syria, vol. ii. p. 357, &c. 
j Sharestance, Milal oo Nahal, quoted by Pococke, Spec. Hist. 
Arab. (Ox. 1806, ed. White,) p. 261. 


after the name of Abu-Shiiaib ibn-Nusair. I find now 
that Nusair, and Abu-Shuaib, his son, lived in the time of 
Hassan il Askeree, the eleventh imam, from whom the 
Ansaireeh derive, as we shall hereafter see, most of their 
doctrines and rites, or at least ascribe them to him. 

In o'ivinc: a list of the names bestowed on Ali in various 
languages, the repeating of which forms an important part 
of their religious services, as I see from their book and 
hear from the Ansairee lad, the authority alleged is the 
'^ Egyptian epistle." Now the contents of this epistle are 
said to be derived from the Emeer Moezz-id-dawleh * ; by 
him from Mohammed ibn-Haidarah ibn-Mukatil il Kat'ell ; 
by him from Ibraheem ir-Kaka'ee; by him from the Sayid 
AbU' Abdullah il Hosein ibn-Hamdan il Kkaseebee (May 
God sanctify his spirit ! ) ; by him from Abu-Mohammed 
Abd- Allah idj-Djannan idj-Djenbalanee ; by him from 
Muhammed ibn-Djundubf ; by him from Abu-Shuaib Mu- 
hammed ibn-Nusair ; and lastly by him from the last 
Hassan the Askeree.J 

We thus see the position held by Nusair and his son, 
with reference to the foundation of the sect, and that he 
was a generation or two previous to Hosein ibn-Hamdan, 
who, as we shall presently show, was the great apostle 
who spread the Ansairee religion " in all countries." 

But I will first refer to another passage in the MS., 
which confirms what I have said about Nusair and Abu- 
Shuaib. It occurs in one of the most solemn parts of 

* This Moezz-id-dawleli must be that one of the three sons of Buiah 
who became vizier of Bagdad, when that family gained power in Persia, 
and were the real rulers of the Abasside Caliphs. Moezz-id-dowleh 
deposed the Caliph Mustakfee. He was a most bigoted adherent to the 
sect of Ali, and, when his power was fully established, commanded the 
first ten days of Moharram to be set aside for a general mourning over 
the death of Hosein. He entered Bagdad a.d. 945, and died a.d. 965-6. 
See Malcolm's Persia, vol. i. p. 169. 

•j- He is mentioned as the orphan or disciple of Abu-Shuaib, in the 
"eleventh appearance." 

X MS. p. 77. 


their service, the " first Kuddas," or mass. After referring 
to the titles of Ali as a species of invocation, it goes 
on : " We mean, and seek, and refer to him to whom the 
first believer referred, and the priority of whose essence the 
Unitarians have indicated. We refer to him, as did refer 
our sheikh and lord and crown of our heads and learned 
of our age, the sheikh of the period, and exemplar of the 
season, Abu- Ahd- Allah il Hosein ihn-Hamdan ; we refer to 
him to whom did refer his sheikh and his lord (Seyyid, 
master, i. e. teacher), Abu-Mohammed Abd- Allah iz-Zahid 
il Djannan (the ascetic, the intellectual) ; we refer to him 
to whom did refer the * orphan ' of the time, Mohammed 
Ibn-Djunduh.^^ * 

We here see the same names, in same order, as in the 
other passage; the last-named being, as I have said in a 
previous note, the " orphan," or disciple of the " door," 
Abu-Shuaib son of Nusair. He is called the " orphan " 
of the time, because he was taught by Abu-Shuaib, who 
himself learned from Hassan il Askeree, and would, there- 
fore, be himself in the time of Mohammed, the last imam, 
the son of Hassan il Askeree, who is called the lord of the 
age and time, as being the last manifestation of the Deity 
in human shape, and still existing, though concealed, on 
the earth. 

We will now proceed to speak of the other name, which 
is only given to the Ansaireeh by themselves. It is taken 
from a certain Abu-Abdullah il Hosein ibn-Hamdan il 
Khaseebee, who is held in the greatest honour by the sect, 
and is spoken of as he who spread their religion in all 

He is referred to in the Ansairee manuscript in my 
possession in several places, and that always with great 
respect, and as an authority for the principal parts of doc- 
trine and ceremonies. On page 73, he is given as the 
authority for the fifty-one prostrations to be used during 

* MS. p. 130, 131. 


the daily prayers ; on page 77, he is mentioned as above, 
as forming one of the chain of those who had handed 
down the name of Ali ; on page 130, he is spoken of in 
the "first mass," as above ; on page 133, he is given as 
the authority for the " second mass ; " and on page 144, 
he is spoken of as he " who made manifest to us the reli- 
gion in all lands."* 

In the third of the three masses of the Ansaireeh given 
by Joseph Catafago, in the first volume of the Journal 
of the German Oriental Societyf , he is spoken of by the 
high title of Rubb (Lord) : " There is no Lord but our Lord, 
our Sheikh and Master, Hosein ibn-Hamdan il Khaseebee, 
the ark of security, and eye of life." In the 98th question 
of the Ansairee Catechism, given in the third volume of 
the same journal J, it is asked; "Which of our sheikhs 
spread our faith in all lands ?" Answer: "Abu- Abdullah 
il Hosein ibn-Hamdan." In the prayer of the day of 
Noorooz, given by M. Catafago in the Journal Asiatique§, 
" Our master, II Khaseebee," is referred to as having ex- 
plained a certain point " in one of his epistles," and having 
" rendered it clear in his treatise Siyakat ; " and again, 
as having spoken of the merits of the Persians. In the 
book, from which extracts are given by Niebuhr, Hosein 
is mentioned in the fifth place, as having appeared in difi'e- 
rent forms, at the seven different periods of the manifes- 
tation of the Deity; the seventh and last time being 
called Hamdan.jl 

From this man, the Ansaireeh among themselves call 
themselves the " Khaseebeeh," from II Khaseebee, his 
title, his name being Hosein, his father^s name Hamd^n, 
and his son's name Abdullah. The Ansairee lad has in- 

* P. 84. He is also mentioned as authority for other names of Ah', 
and as having derived liis information by tradition from Hassan il 

t P. 353. I P. 302. 

§ For February, 1848. Notice on Ansaireeh by Joseph Catafago. 

II Niebuhr, vol. ii. p. 315, &c. 


formed me that it is a common thing to swear " by the 
truth of all that the law of the Khaseebee said ;" but they 
have never so sworn before me, though I have heard a 
legion of other oaths. They also say, " Takul Shayat dirbat 
il Khaseebee ;" in their vulgar language literally, " Thou 
wilt eat the things of the blow of the Khaseebee," that is, 
thou wilt be punished by him. In my MS.*, reference 
is made to the T^yfeh il Khaseebeyah, the " Khaseebee 
people," and in the Catechism given by J. Catafagof , the 
99th question is: "Why do we bear the name of the 
Khaseebeeh ? " Answer : " Because we follow the teaching 
of our sheikh, Abu-Abdullah il Hosein ibn-Hamdan il 
Khaseebee." And in the summary of the contents of an 
Ansairee book given by J. Catafago J, it is said of the 
middle of the month of Shaban, that it is the last of the 
" Khaseebee year." 

We have thus shown, first that the name of An-Nusai- 
reeyeh (commonly called in Syria 11-Ansaireeh), given to 
the Ansairee sect by their enemies and by the authors 
who treat of them, is acknowledged by themselves and 
referred to a certain Nusair, whose son Abu-Shuaib, it 
appears, was the first apostle of the sect, and derived his 
teaching immediately from the chief authority of the sect, 
Hassan il Askeree, the father of the last imam. We have 
also seen, secondly, that the apostle who spread their reli- 
gion was a certain Hosein ibn-Hamdan, who lived after the 
time of Nusair, and is he from whom the sect derive that 
designation which they generally adopt among them- 

We have next to consider when and how this sect took 
its rise; and here I fear, notwithstanding all that can be 
done, the same amount of uncertainty will remain as to 
the exact relation in history and doctrine of this sect 
with the Kararaitah or Karmatians, as in that of the 
Karmatians with the original Ismaeleeh. 

♦ P. 49. t Ubi supra. 

I Juurnal Asiatique, ubi supra. 


Gregory, surnamed Bar-Hebraeus, and called in Arabic 
Abulfaradj, in his Syrian Chronicle* gives the following 
account of the origin of the Ansairee sect : — 

" Since many desire to know the origin of the Nazarasi, 
accept from us the following. In the year of the Greeks 
1202 (a.h. 270, A.D. 891), there appeared a certain old 
man in the region of Akab [the same, says Asseman, is 
Cupha, a city of Arabia, as Bar-Hebra3us notes in his 
Chronicle], in a village which the inhabitants call Nazaria." 
In his Arabic dynastic history, Gregory Abulfaradj calls 
it Nasraneh. The story then goes on to say that this old 
man made a great appearance of religion, and was constant 
in fasting and prayer, and in spreading his doctrines, till on 
meeting with success he chose twelve apostles to preach 
his religion. The governor of those parts hearing of this 
imprisoned him, swearing that he would kill him. His 
maid, or that of the gaoler, having made his keeper 
drunk, stole the key of the prison from under his pillow 
and released the sheikh ; and the keeper, to avoid the wrath 
of the governor, gave out that an angel had released him. 
This story got abroad, and, says Gregory, he made two of 
his disciples, whom he met at a great distance from the 
place where he had been imprisoned, to believe that he 
had been delivered out of prison by angels. He con- 
tinues, that he wrote a book, of which he gives an extract. f 
He is said afterwards to have gone to Syria and dis- 
appeared there, having converted the ignorant people of 
those parts. 

Now this story, which Gregory Abulfaradj tells of the 

* Quoted by Asseman, Bib. Orient, vol. ii. pp. 319, 320. I should 
say that I have not followed the translation of Asseman word for 
word, but generally *the versions of the same story given in various 
authors, as by Gregory himself in his dynastic history, written in 
Arabic. Gregory was Metropolitan of the Jacobites, was born a. d. 
1226, and died A.D. 1286. 

t See Ansyreeh and Ismaeleeh (p. 284) for translation of story given 
by Dr. Vandyke (Arabic Geography), who takes Asseman as his chief 


founder of the sect of the Ansaireeh in his Syriac Chro- 
nicle, and the extract which he gives, are ahnost identical 
with the same story and extract given by him in his 
Arabic history*, but referred by him there to a certain 
poor man who had come from Khoozistan to Sowad-il-Cufa. 
This man, he says, was called by the name of the man 
with whom he used to lodge, which was Carmateyeh, 
which, when rendered more easy of pronunciation, became 
Karmatah ; and Gregory makes him the founder of the 
Karamitah or Karmatians. 

The same story is told of the founder of the Karmatians 
by Abulfeda, by Elmakeen (Elmacinus)f, and by Bibars 
Mansoori. De Sacy says that the stories told by 
Gregory are evidently the same, in one case related 
of the founder of the Ansaireeh, and in the other of that 
of the Karmatians, and both stories are identical with 
those of Abulfeda and other historians with regard to 
Karmat, founder of the Karmatians ; and the reader will 
recollect that this is the same story as is told with regard 
to a man who seems to have been the founder of the 
Ismaelee sect. On this whole question, De Sacy says : — 
" We might think that there results from the comparison 
of the texts of these divers historians, and above all the 
two texts, Syrian and Arabic, of Abulfaradj, that the 
Nosairis and the Karmatians are one and the same sect, 
but I think that this conclusion would be little exact. 
The Karmatians were divided into various sects ; among 
them are reckoned the Batineeh, who gave rise to the 
Druses. It is probable that the Nosairis, whose teaching 
has so many relations with that of the Bateins, were a 
branch of the Karmatians, who had spread into the states 
of the Fatimite caliphs." J 

In another passage he says : — " I ought not to omit an 
important observation ; it is, that there results from this 

♦ Hitt. Dynast, p. 274, 275, ed. Pococke. 

t Hist. Saracen, p. 174. J Vol. ii. p. 567. 


history [that given above from various authors], that the 
Karmatians and the Nosairis are the same sect, or rather 
that the Ismaeleeh, the stock of the Karmatians, are not 
different from the Nosairis. What the Druse books teach 
us on the dogmas of the Nosairis, prove that in fact they 
held a great part of the dogmas of the Ismaeleeh."* 

Dr. Vandyke, in his geography, calls the Ansaireeh a 
branch of the Karmatians, who, he says, took their name 
from Hamdan son of Karmat ; and tells the above story 
of Nusair in-Nainaree, whom he makes to have gone into 
Syria and preached their doctrines there. Now we have 
seen that Abu-Shuaib his son was an apostle of this sect, 
but that he who spread the religion in all lands was Hosein 
ibn-Hamdan il Khaseebee. 
I Now this Hamdan, of whom Hosein was the son, can 
hardly be Hamdan son of Karmat ; for when the Ansairee 
lad read the passage about the Ansairee in Dr. Vandyke's 
geography alone before an Ansairee sheikh, the sheikh 
said, " May God curse the son of Karmat and all his sect !" 
which he would not have dared to say if he had thought 
Hosein ibn-Hamdan il Khaseebee one of them. For 
though the Druses curse Id-Darazee, who has given them 
the name by which they are commonly known, and who 
was indeed one of their first teachers, yet Hamza, whom 
they consider next to God, as being the " universal in- 
telligence," speaks in the harshest terms of Id-Darazee, as 
having been taught by him, and then having, in order to 
acquire preeminence, been precipitate in openly declar- 
ing the deity of Hakem, so as to have brought great 
danger on the extravagant admirers of Hakem, through a 
sedition which arose at Cairo in consequence. Hence Id- 
Darazee finds no place in the hierarchy of the Druses, but 
is even said to be reviled under the form of a calf. 

However, it seems pretty clear that the Ansaireeh were 
nearly allied to the Karmatians, as these last were to the 

* Vol. i. p. 183. 


original Ismaeleeh. When, in a.d. 971, Hassan Ala'cem, 
the grandson of the celebrated Karmatian chief Abu- 
Said, attacked the Fatimite caliph Moezz, the latter wrote 
to Hassan saying that, since he made profession of the 
same doctrines as the Karmatians, they ought to leave him 
in peace.* Now the Fatimite caliphs were Ismaeleeh, and, 
even when those Ismaeleeh prepared by their dais had 
become the sect of Druses, De Sacy says of them, " that 
they may be but a branch of the sect of the Karmatians ; " f 
and among the Druse writings there is a letter to the 
people of Abu-Turab, that is Ali, for so he is called by the 

In like manner the Ansaireeh are allied to the Kar- 
matians. For instance, Karmat is said to have taught 
his disciples in their prayers fifty prostrations a day, and 
this is the number, wanting one, which II Khaseebee 
ordained, or rather declared to have been ordained, to the 
Ansaireeh. § Moreover the Ansaireeh, like the Karmatians, 
are required to hold a fifth part of their property, every 
year, at the disposal of their brethren, and to keep the 
feasts of the Mihrdjan and Niarooz. But while the An- 
saireeh are related to the Karmatians and the Ismaeleeh, 
it appears, from what has been said of the Ansairee sheikh 
cursing the sect of Ibn-Karmat, that they are not entirely 
identical with the first named ; and, since the Ansaireeh 
are Imaraeeh, or followers of the twelve imams, they thus 
diverge from the Ismaeleeh, who do not continue the 
line so far, but break it at Ismaeel son of Djaafar-is- 

Let us now sum up all that has been said about the 

♦ M. C. Defr^jmeny on Ismaeleeh, Journal Asiatique, ubi supra. 

t Vol. i. Introd. p. 34. Moreover, a Druse book speaks of the name 
of Karmatians being given to the Ismaeleeh. Vol. i. p. 125. Ilamza 
recognises the identity of the Ismaeleeli with the Druses, and calls the 
Karmatians Unitarians, and their leaders, Abu-Saeed and Abu-Tahir, 
servants of the true God. Vol. i. p. 240. 

t MS. p. 117. § MS. p. 69. 


origin of the sect, and endeavour to fix the approximate 
time of its commencement. 

Gregory Abulfaradj gives it, as we have seen, as a.d. 
891, and this is the time mentioned by D'Herbelot as the 
time of the appearance of Karmat. Since Mohammed the 
last imam disappeared about a.d. 879, and Hassan il 
Askeree died some few years before, this is probably 
sufficiently correct. And as the two sects thus appeared 
about the same time, and that shortly after the disappear- 
ance of the last imam, I suspect that in the outset they 
preached pretty nearly the same doctrines ; but that the 
Ansaireeh were that part which was for trusting to secret 
propagandism rather than to open violence, or that Syrian 
branch which being defeated in a.d. 901 with the loss of 
its leaders may have subsequently sunk into repose ; while 
the eastern branch, whose seat was in Bahreyn, and whose 
exploits made famous, or rather infamous, the name of 
Karmatians, may have gradually diverged from the 
original tenets of the sect. 

Before proceeding with the history of the Ansaireeh, 
which is henceforward pretty clear, it will be well just to 
give in a note a table, showing the many changes of 
government through which Syria has passed since the 
Mohammedan conquest, the dates of which will serve 
to ^x one's ideas, when following the history of the 

* A.D. 633, Mohammedan conquest of Syria. 
661, Moawiyah, founder of Omeyades. 
750, Abbaside, Caliphs of Bagdad. 
969, Fatimite Caliphs of Egypt. 
1075, Seljuke Turks. 
1099, Crusaders take Jerusalem. 
1187, Saladin takes Jerusalem. 
1258, Hulakoo, grandson of Gengis Khan, invades Syria. 

Soon after Sultan Beybars of Egypt drives Tartars 
beyond the Euphrates. 
1291, Acre, last possession of Christians, taken by Egyptians. 
1401, Tamerlane invades Egypt. 
1518, Sultan Selim, the Osmanlee, takes Syria. 
F 2 


On referring back to the chain of tradition, from Hassan 
il Askeree who became imam in a.d. 868, to Moezz-id- 
dawlah who entered Bagdad a.d. 945, and remembering 
that II Khaseebee is removed equally by two links from 
Abu-Shuaib ibn-Nusair who learned from the Askeree 
and Moezz-id-dawlah, we shall find a.d. 900 — 920, to be 
about the time when II Khaseebee, the great apostle who 
spread the doctrines of the Ansaireeh, disseminated them 
in Syria ; and it is certain from the Druse books to which 
we have referred, that about a.d. 1020 the Ansaireeh, or 
Nusaireeh, existed as a sect under that name, and probably, 
from those same writings and other considerations, in 
those mountains which are their chief seat to-day, while 
probably also others of the sect were found in the plains of 
Mesopotamia. At all events, when the Franks were 
marching down, in a.d. 1099, to Jerusalem, they found 
Ansaireeh living in the mountains called by their name. 
For Gregory Abulfaradj *, who lived only about a century 
later, says in his Syrian chronicle, speaking of this march : 
— " The Franks, setting out from the city of Moarra (east 
of the Ansairee Mountains) into Mount Lebanon, there 
killed a vast multitude of people of those who are called 

Assemanf, after having mentioned that William of 
Tyre and Jacobus de Vitriaco speak of the Assassins, 
adds : — " And that these are the Nazaraei, i. e. Ansaireeh, 
both the time and the place where they lived, and finally 
the fact that they affected the name of Christians, seem to 
convince me." But Asseman, a Maronite Christian of the 
Lebanon, little removed from our own time, is worthless 
as an authority on such a point, and it is certain that the 
Ansaireeh were always quite distinct in name and doctrine 
from the Ismaeleeh or Assassins. M. Defr^meny, on the 
authority of Dheh6by, as we have seen, speaks of the 

* Apud Asseman, Bib. Orient., vol. ii. p. 320. 
t Ubi supra. 


taking of Ansairee castles by the Ismaeleeh in a.d. 1107, or 
subsequently ; and I have already mentioned the general 
tradition among the Ansaireeh to that effect.* In an 
Ismaelee book of miracles, ascribed to the famous Ismaelee 
grand-master Easheed-ed-deenf, who was such during 
the latter half of the twelfth century, the title of one of 
the sections is — " Easheed-ed-deen confounds two Ansaris 
who had dared to speak of him with little respect." In 
fact, the historians Abulfaradj and Abulfeda clearly dis- 
tinguish between the two sects, who have, as Burckhardt J 
says, always been at enmity, as they were in old time in 
Wadi Teym, as we have had occasion to mention. 

We have seen that the Crusaders had castles in the 
heart of their country, as Platanos in the district of 
Muhailby, Merkab, and probably Beni Israeel. The 
Crusaders and Mussulmans also alternately were in pos- 
session of those of Sahyoon, Ish-Shogher, Apamea (Kulat- 
il-Mudeek), and others east and west of the mountains 
and on their verge ; so that the Ansairee population of 
the north of the mountains must have been held in entire 
subjection, while those of the south were equally under 
the absolute rule of the Assassins in their strong castles 
of Kadmoos, Masyad, &c., and these last they may have 
sometimes helped against their common enemies, having 
more conformity with them than with the Franks or 
Mussulmans. The fact that the Ansaireeh were a sub- 
ject people explains why they are so little mentioned in 
Mussulman and other authors compared with the more 
powerful Ismaeleeh, or Assassins, with whom it is easy to 
see that they would be frequently confounded, considering 
their common origin and place of residence. 

Thus they remained subject to the Mussulmans, 
Crusaders, and Assassins of their neighbourhood, till 
both the one and the other of these last had surrendered 

* So Ismaeleeh to Mr. "Walpole. 

f Journ. Asiat. Nov.— Dec. 1848. | Travels, p. 152. 

T 3 


all their castles to Beybars, Memlook sultan of Egypt, 
and his successors, a.d. 1270 — 85. Then, like their 
neighbours the Israaeleeh, they fell under Mussulman 
rule, under which they have continued to this day. 

Ibn-Batoutah the Moghrebbiri traveller*, who was in 
Syria a.d. 1325-50, relates amusingly the way in which 
the Ansaireeh bore the regulations of their new ruler. 
Having spoken of Djebileh, he says : — " And the majority 
of the people of these plains are of the sect of the Nusai- 
reeh, who believe that Ali the son of Abu-Taleb is God, 
and they do not pray, nor practise circumcision, nor fast. 
Now the Malik iz-Zahir (Beybars) forced them to build 
mosques in their villages, and they built in each village a 
mosque at a distance from the houses, but they do not 
enter them, nor repair them, and perhaps their flocks and 
cattle repair to them, and should, by chance, a stranger 
come to them, and enter the mosque, and call to prayer, 
they will say to him, ' Don't bray, your fodder will come 
to you' ; and their number is great." He then goes on to 
write : '' A story. I have been told that an unknown man 
arose in the country of this sect, and pretended to be the 
director, and gained many followers. He promised them 
rule, and divided between them the land of Syria, and 
used to appoint to them particular parts of the country, 
commanding them to go forth, and giving to them the 
leaves of the olive, saying to them, ' By these conquer, 
for they are to you as authorisations.' When, accordingly, 
one of them went forth into a country, and the emir of 
the country summoned him before him, he would say, 
* The Imam, the Mohdee (director), has given me this 
country;' and when the emir would ask, ' Where is your 
authorisation ? ' he would take out the olive leaves and be 
beaten and imprisoned. Then he commanded them to 
prepare to attack the Mussulmans, and that they should il 
begin with the town of Djebileh, and ordered them to 

♦ Published by the Soci6t6 Asiatique, Paris, 1853. 


take instead of swords sticks of myrtle, promising that 
they should become swords in their hands at the moment 
of attack. So they surprised the town of Djebileh while 
its inhabitants were at the Friday prayers, and entered 
the houses and ravished the women. Then the Mussul- 
mans rushed out of their mosque, and seizing their swords, 
slew them as they pleased. When the news reached 
Ladikeeh, its prince, Behadir Abdullah, came with his 
troops, and carrier pigeons were sent oif to Tripoli, and 
the emir II Umara came with his troops, who pursued 
them till they had killed of them nearly 20,000, and the 
rest had fortified themselves in the mountains. Then 
they sent to the emir, and bound themselves to give him 
a dinar for every poll, if he would spare them. Now the 
news had already been sent by carrier pigeons to II Malik 
in-Nasir (sultan of Egypt, 1310-41), and he replied that 
they should be put to the sword. But the emir II Umara 
laid before him that they were employed by the Mussul- 
mans in tilling the land, and that if they were slain the 
Mussulmans would be weakened, so he commanded that 
they should be spared." 

Abulfeda likewise speaks of this descent of the Ansai- 
reeh on Djebileh in nearly the same terms, and says that 
it took place a.h. 717, or a.d. 1317, that is, shortly before 
Ibn-Batoutah's arrival in the country. He gives the 
additional information that the man was from the moun- 
tains of Belatnus* (which he calls Beladnoos, when he 
speaks of the taking of the castle from the Franks by 
Saladinf), that is, from the mountains of Muhailby, 
just north of the Kelbeeh district, where I reside ; Djebileh 
being on the sea under my house. He says : — " There 
appeared in the mountains of Belatnus a man of the 
Nusaireeh, who gave out that he was Mohammed son of 
Hassan il Askeree, the twelfth of the imams with the 
Imameeh, who entered the Sirdthah, or cave, of which 

* Hist. Musi. vol. V. p. 320. f Vol. iv. p. 89. 

p 4 


mention has been made." He adds that they think that 
he, Mohammed, still lives, and will return at the end of 
all things. Abulfeda was prince of Hamah from a.d. 
1310 — 32, and therefore lived at the time of the occur- 
rence which he describes. 

From this story it appears clearly that more than 500 
years ago the Ansaireeh were in that condition in which 
they have been found by all subsequent travellers, and in 
which they are now. In fact the Ansaireeh have a say- 
ing among them that whereas God gave to the ancestor 
of the Mohammedans one thing, and to the Christians 
another, he gave to their ancestor, Nusair, the ox- 

As we have seen that the condition of the Ansaireeh 
has not altered since the time of Ibn-Batoutah, we need 
not regret that we cannot fill up the break between his 
description of them and those of subsequent Frank tra- 

The accurate Maundrell speaks of them in describing his 
journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem in 1697. He tells an 
amusing story of his reception at Sholfatia, an Ansairee 
village in the plain of Ladikeeh, which seems to have 
been in much the same state as at present. Further on 
in his narrative he says : — " In that part of the mountains 
above Jebilee there dwelt a people called by the Turks 
Neceres^ of a very strange and singular character, for it is 
their principle to adhere to no certain religion, but, 
chamelion like, to put on the colour of religion, whatever 
it be, which is reflected upon them from the persons with 
whom they happen to converse. With Christians they 
profess themselves Christians; with Turks they are good 
Mussulmans, with Jews they pass for Jews, being such 
Proteuses in religion that nobody was ever able to dis- 
cover what shape or standard their consciences are 
surely of; all that is certain concerning them is, that 
they make very much and good wine, and are great 


His description of their duplicity in religion would do 
for the present day, but the vineyards have been destroyed 
since his time, and no wine or next to none is now made. 

The Jesuit missionaries mention the Ansaireeh. They 
write* : — " At the present day we are not acquainted here 
with any people bearing the name of Assassins ; yet it is 
possible that the Kesbins [they mean the Kelbeeh], a 
nation which inhabits the mountain two days distant 
from Tripoli, and the Nassariens, another nation which is 
established in the plain toward the sea, may be the suc- 
cessors of the Assassins. These two nations inhabit the 
same country, and, what is more, there is much resem- 
blance between the religion which the Assassins professed 
and that professed in the present day by the Kesbins and 

" These two nations, the Kesbins and the Nassariens, 
ought to be considered as making one and the same nation. 
They have different names from the different countries 
which they inhabit. Those among them who inhabit the 
mountains are called Kesbins, because their country is 
called Kesbie : the others who occupy the plains are called 
Nassariens, that is to say bad Christians ; a character 
which belongs to them, for they have made themselves a 
religion which is a monstrous compound of Moham- 
medanism and Christianity, and which gives them an ex- 
travagant idea of our holy mysteries." 

They then go on to describe their religion, but we will 
leave what they say on this point to a future chapter. 

They conclude : " They are strongly attached to their 
customs, persuaded as they are that their religion is no 
less good than that of the Maronites [the Christians of 
the Lebanon, who are members of the church of Le- 
banon, which is connected with the Church of Kome], 
because they have some practices in common. 

* Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses. See Jowett's Christian Researches, 
p. 52, &c. 


" Several of our missionaries have used their utmost 
efforts to gain some of them ; but as they obstinately hear 
only their own wicked doctors, and will follow no other 
opinions than those in which they were brought up, our 
missionaries, despairing of their conversion, have been 
obliged often to shake off the dust of their feet against 

Richard Pococke, who travelled in Syria in 1738, says: 
" The Noceres who live north-east of I^atichea are spoken 
of by many : their religion seems to be some remains of 
Paganism ; they are much despised by the Turks, and they 
seem rather fond of Christians."* 

Niebuhr, who travelled in Syria in 1764, and obtained 
an Ansairee book, says of them: — " One of their Mekud- 
dams lives at Bahlulie, not far from Ladakia, and he is 
the most powerful of the Nassairiens. There are likewise 
Mekuddams at Sumrin, in the country of Khawaby 
[Chouabe, as he writes it], and in the district of Safeta, 
and another of their sheikhs leases a part of Djebel Kelbie. 
They all pay tribute to the Pacha of Tripoli ; " for Ladi- 
keeh was formerly governed from Tripoli. " Their dis- 
tricts are lucrative enough, for they furnish the chief part 
of that excellent tobacco which is exported from Ladakia. 
But this nation is not nearly so numerous as that of the 
Druses. It does not inhabit such high mountains, and 
therefore is more under subjection to the Turks." He is 
right in this last remark, but wrong in the previous one, 
for the Ansaireeh are twice as numerous as the Druses. 

Volney gives an account of the same people in his book 
of travelsf (he was in Syria 1783-5) : — " The Ansaria," 
he says, **are divided into several tribes or sects; among 
-which are distinguished the Shamsia, or adorers of the 
sun ; the Kelbia, or worshippers of the dog " (a ridicu- 
lous statement, which by the by does not say much for 

* Travels in Egypt and Syria, vol. ii. p. 208. 
t Vol. ii. p. 6. 


his accuracy), "and the Kadmousia," which last are not 
Ansaireeh but Ismaeleeh. 

Burckhardt, in describing his journey from Aleppo 
to Damascus in 1812 *, speaks of passing the Ansairee 
village of Busseen, in the plains of Hamah, on his way 
from tliat place to Masyad. He afterwards spent a night 
at the Ansairee village of Shennyn, on his way south, along 
the east of the Ansairee mountains. He takes occasion 
to speak of the Ansaireeh, and makes a little confusion in 
names. He says: — " They (the Ansari) are divided into 
different sects of which nothing is known but the names, 
viz. Kelbye, Shemsye, and Mokladye." 

Thus we have come down to our own times, when, 
before myself, the late Dr. Eli Smith and the Hon. F. 
Walpole penetrated into the Ansairee mountains, the former 
passing quickly through, the latter making a rather longer 
stay. Recently the American Presbyterian missionary, 
the Rev. Mr. Dodds (who, with his colleague, the Rev. Mr. 
Beattie, has just established himself in Ladikeeh), has 
visited part of the mountains. 

* Travels in Syria, p. 156. 


CHAP. lY. 



Before entering on the description of the religion of the 
Ansaireeh, we will give a sketch of that of those secret 
heretical sects of Mohammedanism, which are allied to 
them. By doing so, w^e shall more fully redeem the 
promise of our titlepage, the illustration of what has 
been called the "great Asian mystery," which has its 
counterpart and representative in the childish mystery of 
our day, Freemasonry. 

We have already said that these sects had their origin 
in political as well as in religious considerations. The 
endeavour to secure the Caliphate for Ali and his descend- 
ants was based on his asserted right to the Imamate, and 
the weaker the hope of obtaining the former, the more 
determined the maintenance of the latter. 

But these considerations were not the only ones which 
led to the corruption of Islam, by the extravagant honour 
paid to Ali and his house ; the Mohammedan faith received 
equal injury from its contact with the Magians of Persia; 
" who," says an Arab author professing to draw his 
materials from books not readily to be found, " as they 
could not conquer the Arabs, corrupted Mohammed- 
anism." * 

" Scarcely," says De Sacy, " had Islamism thrown out 
some roots in the places formerly subject to the empire of 
the Sassanides and the religion of the Magians, than a 

* Safecnet-ir-Raghib, (Boulak, Cairo,) p. 216. 


schism political and religious lit up there the torch of 
fanaticism." * 

" When the faith of Islam was forced upon the Persian 
nation by the sanguinary Omar, it was declared by the 
conqueror, that all who did not receive it with implicit 
obedience should be put to the sword. Such a summary 
process of conversion left the real tenets of the great 
majority of the nation unaltered ; from old associations, 
they began to regard the Imams, or chiefs of the faith, as 
Bodhisatwas ; and, as we shall have occasion to notice 
hereafter, his principle pervades all the Schiite sects ; the 
chief difference between them being as to the number of 
incarnations. The Schiite notion of an Imam is pre- 
cisely the same as that which the Tibetians form of their 
Grand Lama, and the Burmese of their Bodhisatwas. "f 

So De Sacy : — " The dogma of the union of the divinity 
to Ali and the Imams of his race owed, if I am not mis- 
taken, its origin to the ancient system of the Parsees. It 
is also to the ancient theology of the people of Eastern 
Asia that we must refer the origin of the transmigration 
of souls, and perhaps the study of the books of the 
Grecian philosophers contributed to strengthen and ex- 
tend this opinion among the Mussulmans."^ 
■ It is necessary to observe that not only was contact 
with the Magians easy, especially in the frontier provinces 
of Persia, but they as well as the Sabians (who also con- 
tributed to form the heterogeneous system of the heretical 
sects) had been driven into the Arab province of Bahreyn 
by Alexander the Great. And in explanation of the closing 
words of De Sacy, in the above quotation, I will give those 
of Makrisi § : — 'Mamoon, son of Haroon-ir-Easheed, being 
very fond of the sciences of the ancients, sent men into 
the country of the Greeks, who translated for him into 

* De Sacy, Religion of Druses, Introd. p. 27. 

t Taylor, p. 152. J De Sacy, Introd. p. 31. 

§ Description of Egypt, vol. ii. p. 258 : cd. Cairo. 


Arabic the books of the philosophers, and brought them 
to him about A. h. 210 (a. d. 825); so that the sects of 
philosophers and their books were spread everywhere. 
The Karmatians and others studied them eagerly, and 
thus came on the Mussulmans, from the teaching of the 
philosophers, innumerable ills. All the sects of the Ra- 
fedhis, which were spread everywhere, studied philosophy 
and took that part of it which they chose." 

I have before said that, even in the time of Ali, 
Abdullah ibn-Saba and others taught that a particle of 
the Divinity resided in him. So also II Mokannaa, in the 
time of the Abbaside caliph Al Mohdi, " spoke of the 
transmigration of souls,"* and "joined to it the incar- 
nation of the divine nature, a dogma originating in India, 
and afterwards adopted by the Ghullat [extravagant 
followers of Ali] as one of their principal tenets."f 

It is well just to pause and explain this doctrine of 
Hhulool, i. e. descent of the Divinity into a human form, 
rather than its incarnation or taking of human flesh, for 
the former seems to be the doctrine of the Ansaireeh ; and 
we ask for the attention of the reader, as we shall have 
again to refer to what is now said, 

" The Sabians," says Shahrestani J, " say of God, that 
he is one in his essence, but multiple, because he mul- 
tiplies himself in persons before the eyes of men. These 
bodies or persons are the seven planets which govern the 
world, and those good terrestrial objects in which God 
descends without ceasing to be one. There is, also, a 
descent of His essence^ or a descent of the whole deity ^ and 
a 'partial descent^ or a descent of a 'portion of His essence^ 
which takes place according to the degree of preparedness 
of the person." 

The only possible way in which the heretical sects 
could maintain , any connexion with Mohammedanism, 

* Abulfaradj, Hist. Dynast, (ed. Pocockii,) p. 225. 
t Von Hammer, Assassins, p. 27. 
X Quoted by Do Sacy, Introd. p. 36. 


was by allegorising the Koran, and teaching an inner 
or esoteric meaning, Il-Batm, in opposition to, and to 
the entire subversion of, the outer or apparent meaning, 
Iz'Zahir, Mohammed son of Ismaeel, and grandson of 
the imam Djaafar-is-Sadik, is sometimes said to have 
been the author of this allegorisation, which he may have 
learned from his grandfather. This allegorisation, or inter- 
pretation, is called Taweel, in contradistinction to Tanzeel, 
descent, which is used for the literal interpretation of 
the words of the Koran, as they were sent down to 
Mohammed. The Taweel opened a wide door to all 
kinds of heresy, and led, as Mussulman authors complain, 
to an entire explaining away of the positive precepts of 
Islam. Those that pretended to this Ulm ul Batin, or 
knowledge of the inner meaning of the Koran, were called 
Batineel, which name embraced a wide circle of sects ; 
and they are said to have based their system on the 
" words of the Most High, where he says, ' A wall 
was thrown between them, which had a door, on its 
inner side (Batin) mercy, and on its outer (Zahir) 
torment.' " * 

On the failure of the rebellion of II Mokannaa and 
Baber, Abdullah son of Maimoon Kaddah founded, as we 
have seen, a sect called the Ismaeleeh, from Ismaeel 
the son of Djaafar-is-Sadik, whose name he made use of to 
give authority to his system. His object was to gain 
political power, and to effect that by secret propagandism 
which had not succeeded by open violence. " Similar 
attempts have been made in different ages of the world : 
the colleges of the Indian and Egyptian priests, the asso- 
ciation of the Magi, which more than once shook the 
throne of Persia, the secret societies of the Pythagoreans 
in Southern Italy and Sicily, the Bacchanalians of which 
Livy gives such a singular description, the Templars in the 
middle ages, and the Jesuits in our own, are all examples 

* Safeenet-ir-Raghib, p. 216. 


of secret societies formed under the pretext of religion, 
but really aiming at the establishment of their order in 
the plenitude of political power." * 

Abdullah son of Maimoon divided his system " into 
seven degrees, after the fashion of the Pythagorean and 
Indian philosophers," into which his disciples were ini- 
tiated gradually. *' The last degree inculcated the vanity 
of all religion, — the indifference of actions, which, accord- 
ing to him, are neither visited with recompense nor chas- 
tisement, either now or hereafter. This alone was the 
path of truth and right, all the rest imposture and error. 
He appointed emissaries, whom he dispatched to enlist 
disciples, and to initiate them, according to their capacity 
for libertinism and turbulence, in some or all of the de- 
grees. The pretensions of the descendants of Mohammed 
the son of Ismail served him as a political mask : these his 
missionaries asserted as partisans, while they were se- 
cretly but the apostles of crime and impiety." f 

These degrees were afterwards increased to nine, by the 
western Ismaeleeh, in the time of the Fatimite caliphs of 
Egypt, and as they became then more known, and are 
described by Makrisi the great historian, I will give them as 
they were taught in their lodge at Cairo : — " This account 
which Makrisi has preserved, concerning the promulgation 
of these degrees of initiation, forms a very precious and 
the most ancient document on the history of the secret 
societies of the East, in whose steps those of the West 
afterwards trod."l 

" The iirst degree § was the longest and most difficult 
of all, as it was necessary to inspire the pupil with the 
most implicit confidence in the knowledge of his teacher, 
and to incline him to take that most solemn oath, by 
which he bound himself to the secret doctrine with blind 

* Taylor, p. 172. f ^o" Hammer, p. 29. i Ibid. p. 33. 

§ I have followed Von Hammer, p. 34, Wood's translation, in this 
account of the degrees of initiation. 

Abdullah's system. 81 

faith and unconditional obedience. For this purpose every 
possible expedient was adopted to perplex the mind by 
the many contradictions of positive religion and reason, to 
render the absurdities of the Koran still more involved by 
the most insidious questions * and most subtle doubts, and 
to point from the apparent literal signification to a deeper 
sense, which was properly the kernel, as the former was 
but the husk. The more ardent the curiosity of the 
novice, the more resolute was the refusal of the master 
to afford the least solution to these difficulties, until he 
had taken the most unrestricted oath; on this he was 
admitted to the second degree. This inculcated the re- 
cognition of divinely appointed imams, who were the 
source of all knowledge. As soon as the faith in them 
was well established, the third degree taught their number, 
which could not exceed the holy seven ; for, as God had 
created seven heavens, seven earths, seven seas, seven 
planets, seven colours, seven musical sounds, and seven 
metals, so had he appointed seven of the most excellent of 
his creatures as revealed imams : these were Ali, Hassan, 
Hosein, Ali Zeyn-il-Aabideen, Mohammed-ul-Bahir,Djaafar- 
is-Sadik, and Ismaeel his son, as the last and seventh. The 
fourth grade was, that since the beginning of the world 
there had been seven divine lawgivers, or speaking apostles 
of God, of whom each had always, by the command of 
heaven, altered the doctrine of his predecessor ; that each 
of these had seven coadjutors, who succeeded each other 
in the epoch from one speaking lawgiver to another, but 
who, as they did not appear manifestly, were called the 
mutes (Samit). The first of these mutes was named 
Sas, Asas, or foundation, ' the seat as it were of the 
ministers of the speaking prophet,' Natik. ' These seven 
speaking prophets, with their seven ' Asas, * were Adam, 
Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, and Ismaeel 
the son of Djaafar, who, as the last, was called Sahib-ez- 

* See De Sacy's Introd. 


Zeman, the lord of the time, and Kaim-iz-Zeman, or chief 
of the age. Their seven assistants were Seth, Shem, 
Ishmael son of Abraham, Aaron and afterwards Joshua, 
' Simeon ^ or Simon Peter, Ali, and Mohammed son of 
Ismaeel. It is evident from this dexterous arrangement, 
which gained the Ismaeleeh the name of Seveners, that as 
they named only the first of the mute divine envoys in 
each prophetic period, and since Mohammed the son of 
Ismaeel had been dead only a hundred years, the teachers 
were at full liberty to present to those whose progress 
stopped at this degree whomsoever they pleased as one of 
the mute prophets of the current age. The fifth degree 
must necessarily render the credibility of the doctrine 
more manifest to the minds of the hearers. For this reason 
it taught that each of the seven mute prophets had twelve 
apostles for the extension of the true faith ; for the 
number twelve is the most excellent after seven : hence 
the twelve signs of the zodiac, the twelve months, the 
twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve bones of the fingers of 
each hand, the thumb excepted, and so on. 

" After these five degrees, the precepts of Islamism were 
examined ; and in the sixth it was shown that all positive 
legislation must be subordinate to the general and philo- 
sophical. The dogmas of Plato, Aristotle, and Pythagoras 
were adduced as proofs, and laid down as axioms. This 
degree was very tedious, and only when the acolyte was 
fully penetrated with the wisdom of the philosophers 
was admission granted him to the seventh, where he 
passed from philosophy to mysticism. This was the 
Oriental mystic theology, and the doctrine of unity 
which the Soopees have exhibited in their works. In 
the eighth, the positive precepts of religion were again 
brought forward to fall to dust by all that preceded ; then \\ 
was the pupil fully enlightened as to the superfluity of all 
apostles and prophets, the non-existence of heaven and 
hell, the indifference of all actions, for which there is 
neither reward nor punishment, either in this world or 

karmat's system. 83 

the next ; and thus was he matured for the ninth and 
last degree, to become the blind instrument of all the 
passions of unbridled thirst of power. To believe no- 
thing, and to dare all, formed, in two words, the sum of this 
system, which annihilated every principle of religion and 
morality, and had no other object than to execute am- 
bitious designs with suitable ministers, who, daring all and 
honouring nothing, since they consider everything a cheat 
and nothing forbidden, are the best tools of an infernal 

The Keramitah, or Karmatians, were, as we have seen, 
a branch of the early Ismaeleeh. D'Herbelot * says of 
the founder, that he taught his disciples to make fifty 
prayers a day, and allowed them to eat things forbidden 
by Mussulmans. He allegorised the precepts of the 
Koran, giving out prayer to be the symbol of obedience 
to the imam ; fasting to be merely the symbol of silence 
and secrecy with respect to strangers who were not of 
their sect ; and that fidelity to the imam was figured 
by the precept which forbids fornication, so that those 
who reveal the precepts of their religion, and who do 
not obey their Sheikh blindly, fell into the crime called 
"zinah." Instead of the tenth part of their property 
which Mussulmans gave to the poor, they were to set apart 
the fifth part for the Imam, 

Yon Hammer f speaks in a similar way of Karmat. 
" His doctrine, in addition to the circumstance of its 
forbidding nothing, and declaring every thing allowable 
and indifferent, meriting neither reward nor punishment, 
undermined more particularly the basis of Mohammedan- 
ism, by declaring that all its commands were allegorical, 
and merely a disguise of political precepts and maxims. 
Moreover, all was to be referred to the blameless and 
irreproachable Imam Maasoom (preserved from error), 
as the model of a prince, whom, although he had occupied 

* Article on Carmatians, Bib. Orient. * f P. 29, 30. 

G 2 


no existing throne, they pretended to seek, and declared 
war^against bad and good princes, without distinction, in j 
order that, under the pretext of contending for a better, 
they might be able to unravel at once the thickly inter- 
woven web of religion and government. The injunction 
of prayer meant nothing but obedience to the Imam 
Maasoom ; alms, the tithes to be given to him ; fast- 
ing, the preservation of the political secret regarding 
the imam of the family of Ismaeel. Every thing de- 
pended on the interpretation, Taweel, without which the 
whole word of the Koran, Tanzeel, had neither meaning 
nor value. Religion did not consist in external observ- 
ances, Iz-zahir, but in the internal feeling, Il-Batin." 
Ibn-Atheer, who lived between about a.d. 1159 — 1231 
according to Nowairi, gives an account of a book of the 
Karmatians. So do Bibars Mansoori and Abulfeda, who 
take their narration, for certain, thinks De Sacy, from Ibn- 
Atheer. Gregory Abulfaradj also speaks of this book in 
his Arabic history, ascribing it to Karmat, though in his 
Syriac Chronicle he ascribes it to the founder of the sect 
of the Nusaireeh. 

The extract which these historians give from the book 
is as follows : — "In the name of God, the compassionate, 
the merciful. Says Il-Faradj, son of Othman, of the vil- 
lage of Nusrana, that there appeared to him in human 
form the Messiah, who is the Word of God, who is the 
Guide, and he is Ahmed, son of Moliammed, son of 
Hanafeyah, of the sons of Ali, and he is also Gabriel the 
angel, and he said to him, thou art the leader ; thou art 
the true one ; thou are the camel that keepest wrath 
against the infidels ; thou art the ox that bearest the sins 
of the true believers ; thou art the spirit; thou art John, 
son of Zachariah." 

This, with variations, is the extract given by the various 
historians, but De Sacy with justice questions its having 
been taken, at least in the form given above, from any 
book of the Karmatians, for they certainly did not re- 


cognise the imamate of Mohammed, son of that wife of All 
called Hanafeyah, but that of the descendants of his wife 
Fatima. Moreover, says De Sacy, the name of 11-Faradj, 
son of Othman, does not appear in any book of the Is- 
maeleeh.* It is said also that Karmat taught his disciples 
to make four inclinations ; two before sunrise, and two 
before sunset, or, according to Bibars Mansoori, two after 
sunset. The following words are also ascribed to him. 
First quoting a passage from the Koran (Soorah ii. verse 
185), "They will ask you of the new moons; say that 
they are the epochs fixed for men," he thus allegorises it : 
" In the exterior sense it refers to years, chronology, 
months, and days ; but in the inner sense it refers to my 
faithful friends who have made known my ways to my 
servants." Among other things he commanded a fast two 
days in the year, at the feasts of Mihrdjan and of Nurooz ; 
he forbade the wine of the palm tree, and permitted the 
use of that made from the grape ; he prescribed the abs- 
taining from the complete ablution according to the rite 
called Gosl, for a pollution ; and directed the being con- 
tented with the ablution called Wudoof, as it is practised 
before prayer. He allowed the killing all that should take 
arms against him ; but forbade the eating any animal -with 
tusks or claws.J 

About the time that the sect of the Ansaireeh arose, 
arose also that of the Ishakeeh, who are spoken of in con- 
junction with them by Shahrestani and Niaracci.§ We 
have seen that Ishak, the founder of this sect, is considered 
the great enemy of the Ansaireeh, for having " wished to 
kill" Abu-Shuaib ibn-Nusair, their first apostle. Niaracci 
makes them hold pretty well the same tenets as the Nu- 
saireeh ; and probably they hated one another with that 

* Vol. i. p. 177, note. t Taylor, p. 121. 

X De Sacy, p. 178, and Gregory Abulfaradj, Hist. Dynast, p. 275, 

§ Prodroraus to Koran, part iii. p. 84. 

G 3 


odiuin theologicum which is always the fiercer in propor- 
tion to the nearness in opinion of those who indulge in it. 
He says, under the eleventh head of sects : " The Ishakeeh 
and Nusaireeh. These assert that the appearance of a 
spirit with a material body cannot be denied, since Gabriel 
appeared in the figure of a man, and Satan in the figure 
of an animal ; and so, say they, God appeared in the form 
of Ali, and of his children, and spoke by their tongue, and 
handled with their hands." 

Macrisi alludes to the Ishakeeh, " who say that prayer 
is not lawful except after the imam." * 

We now come to that offshoot of the Western Ismaeleeh, 
the Druses. 

Hakem, the Deity in human form of the Druse sect, was 
sultan of Egypt towards the end of the tenth century. It 
was towards the close of his life, which had been charac- 
terised by every absurdity, that some of the sect of the 
Ismaeleeh began to ascribe to him divine honours. He 
himself during his life had shown himself a partisan of the 
sect, and among other ordinances forbade the selling of 
fish without scales^ raisins^ cjrc. II Darazi, who was a con- 
vert of Hamza, published a book in which he styled him- 
self " the sword of the age," and ascribed divine power to 
Hakem, teaching that the soul of Adam had passed through 
Ali and then to Hakem. On reading this book in a mosque 
at Cairo, a sedition was raised, from which he escaped to 
Syria ; where, after preaching his doctrine for a few years, 
he is said to have been killed in a fight with the Tartars. 

Hamza, the great founder of the Druse religion, is said 
by De Sacy to call him more than once in his works, 
" calf," " pig," &c. As Abdullah, son of Maimoon the 
founder of the Ismaeleeh, came from the Klazistan, the 
frontier province of Persia, and Hassan^ son of Sabab, 
founder of the Assassins, from another Persian province, 
Khorassan, so also II Darazi, and Hamza the son of Ali, 
the founders of the Druse sect, were Persians. 
* Description of Egypt, vol. ii. p. 354. 


The following is the system of the Druses. Hakem 
appeared ten times, in all, under human form ; the first 
time under the name of Al-b^r, and in the last and most 
perfect manifestation under that of Hakem. 

The human figures under which the Deity appeared are 
called " Appearance," " Statim,'' " Envelope," or Kamees, 
a word which is now used for a shirt. 

The Druses call Mohammed son of Ismaeel the seventh 
Natih, or speaking prophet and legislator, and make him 
the author of the Taweel and Batin, or the system of alle- 
gorisation and of the inner meaning of the Koran. From 
Ismaeel to Abdullah, the father of Said or Obeidallah, the 
founder of the Fatimite caliphs of the West, they reckon 
seven concealed imams. 

In the formulary of the Druses it is said that Hamza 
had before appeared seven times in the world, though De 
Sacy doubts whether this was the original teaching of the 
Druses, since he does not find the number of appearances 
given in the ancient writings. 

These appearances were — 

as Shatnil, or Adam-is- Safa. 
„ Pythagoras. 
„ David. 

„ Schoaib (Jethro). 
„ Eleazar (the true Messiah). 
., Sahrian-il-FaresL 
l, ,', Said (Obeidallah) „ Saleh. 

De Sacy gives* the following clear summary of the 
statements in the Druse writings with respect to the person 
of Hakem ; and I must again bespeak the reader's special 
attention, as what he says, mutatis mutandis, is pretty 
well applicable to the opinion of the Ansaireeh with respect 
to Ali. 

*' There results, it seems to me, from these statements, 
that the divine humanity of the Deity was one and always 
the same in his difi^erent manifestations, although he ap- 

♦ Vol. i. p. 66. 
G 4 

In the time of Adam 

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peared under different forms ; that the Deity and the 
human form, which serves him as a veil, are so united, 
that the actions and words of this form are truly the 
actions and words of the Deity ; that the merit of faith 
consists in believing that the Deity, in rendering himself 
accessible to sense by the form which serves him as a veil, 
does not cease to be infinite, incomprehensible, inaccessible 
to the senses. First, that notwithstanding the diversity and 
the succession of his manifestations, there is nevertheless, 
in respect of him, neither succession of time nor any num- 
bers ; that the divine humanity of the Deity is antecedent 
to all created things, and is the prototype of the human 
form ; that the manner in which men see him in the figure 
with which he clothes himself is proportioned to the 
degree of purity in each ; that it was necessaiy that 
divinity should thus manifest itself under a human form, 
that men might be able to acquire a full conviction of his 
existence, and that the divine justice might recompense 
those who should have believed, and punish those w^ho 
should have been incredulous ; and lastly, that the last 
manifestation under the name of Hakem is the most per- 
fect, that of which all the preceding manifestations were 
in some sort but the daybreak and sketch." 

Hamza established a carefully devised hierarchy, as the 
beings intervening between Hakem and the common herd 
of believers, and as the teachers of his new sect. The 
ministers are divided into two classes of five superior and 
others inferior. 

The superior are the following : — 

I. Hamza, styled •' the universal intelligence '^ ( Akl) ; 
the " will " (iradel, volonte) ; ** the cause of causes ; " " the 
chief of the age ; " " the imam ; " " the door ;" " the 

Hamza was next to Hakem, and not far removed from 
him in honour and respect> for he existed from the begin- 
ning, and by him were all things created. He is far 
superior to those who came next. 


II. Ismaeel. "The universal soul" (Nafr) ; "the 
wish" (Maslieyah, vouloir); "the demonstration of the 
time;" " the missionary of the imam;" " Dthoo Massa," 
one that sucks, as it were, instruction from another. He 
is nearest to Hamza, and bears the same relation to him 
that woman does to man. 

III. Mohammed, son of Wahab. " The word." 

IV. Abu-ii-Khair Sclama. " The great door." " The 
right wing." 

V. Baha-ed-deen. " The successor." " The left wing." 
Then come the inferior ministers, " the application," 

" the opening," " the appearance," the Dais (missionaries), 
Madhoons (permitted), and Mocassers (breakers). 

Many of these names are traditional ones in the 
Ismaeleeh sects, and the Ansaireeh, for instance, make use 
of several of them. 

The Druses believe that all souls were created from the 
light of the " universal intelligence," and that having been 
created all at one time, their number remains always the 

They believe in transmigration, but it appears from the 
Druse book against the Ansaireeh, that they did not, in 
Hamza's time, believe in transmigration into animals, as 
the Ansaireeh do. 

They call the body " kamees," or envelope, as do the 

The punishment of a man is to fall from a higher to a 
lower rank as regards religion, 

De Sacy thinks they believe that when souls arrive at 
perfection they cease to transmigrate, and are united 
with the imam. In this last age, the epoch of Hakem 
and Hamza, perfect souls remain concealed in Hamza 
till he shall return in glory, when they will appear in 
his train. 

The Druses look on the last judgment only as the time 
when the " Unitarian" doctrine will be publicly mani- 
fested, and when the fate of the faithful and of infidels 


will be finally fixed. The name they give to themselves 
is that of Muwahhedeen, or Unitarians. 

With respect to the positive precepts of Islam, Hamza 
says of prayer : — "You have heard in the Madjlisses 
(sittings of the lodge of the Ismaeleeh in Cairo), that the 
' interior ' of this precept is the accustomed engagement, 
and that it is called Salat, because it is the Silat which 
joins the faithful to the imam, that is, Ali son of Abu- 
Taleb. But our Lord (Hakem) has himself abrogated this 
inner meaning, and we learn that prayer is to attach our 
hearts to the dogma of the unity of our Lord by the 
ministry of the five ministers. 

" Then comes the tithe from which our Lord has entirely 
discharged you. You have heard say in the Madjlisses of 
the doctrine of the Batineeh, that the payment of tithes 
consists in recognising the sovereign power of Ali son of 
Abu-Taleb, and of the imam of his race, and of renouncing 
all connexion with his enemies, Abu-Beer, Omar, and 
Othman. AVe see clearly that our Lord has abolished the 
interior of the precept of tithes, which has for object Ali 
son of Abu-Taleb, just as he has abrogated the exterior. 

"With respect to the inner sense of the precept of fasting, 
the sheikhs say that it is silence (on the dogmas of their 
sect). We see that our Lord has delivered men from the 
inner and outer precept of fasting. The precept signifies, 
in truth, the keeping your hearts in the faith of the unity 
of our Lord. 

" As to the inner part of the precept of pilgrimage, the 
sheikhs who profess the inner doctrine have said that the 
Haram (Caabah or temple of Mecca) is the sect of the 
Bateneeh. But our Lord has abrogated both the outer 
and the inner meanings," &c. 

The Druses enjoin in their writings veracity, mutual 
assistance and protection, that is to their " brethren " and 
"sisters" (for the Druses admit women among the ini- 
tiated), and alms to the Okhal, or initiated. Let it be 
remembered that it is only to " brethren," the members of 


their Freemasonry, that these good qualities are recom- 
mended, and not to outsiders. 

The Druses do not initiate even all those of their own 
sect. Very many are left without any religious teaching, 
who are distinguished from the Oklial, by the title of 
Djuhluil, or ignorant ; in fact these last form the majority. 
The Druses have watchwords, by which they recognise 
one another. 

I have been thus particular with respect to the con- 
stitution of the Druse sect, because I shall have to institute 
some comparison between them and the Ansaireeh, and I 
liave followed De Sacy in nearly all that I have said. 

We now pass on to the system of the Eastern Ismaeleeh, 
or Assassins, founded by Hassan son of Sab^h, a Persian 
of Khorassan. Yon Hammer, in his history of the order, 
has given an account of the changes by which Hassan 
adapted the doctrines and system of the Ismaeleeh to his 

"Hitherto," says he*, "the Ismaeleeh had only Masters 
and Fellows ; namely, the Dais or emissaries, who, being 
initiated into all the grades of the secret doctrine, enlisted 
proselytes ; and the Rafeeks (companions), who, being 
gradually intrusted with its principles, formed the great 
majority. It was manifest to the practical and enter- 
prising spirit of Hassan, that in order to execute great 
undertakings with security and energy a third class would 
also be requisite, who, never being admitted to the mystery 
of atheism and immorality, which snaps the bond of all 
subordination, were but blind and fanatical tools in the 
hands of their superiors; that a well organised political 
body needs not merely heads but also arms ; and that the 
Master required not only intelligent and skilful Fellows, 
but also faithful and active agents; these agents were 
called Fedaweeh (i. e. the self-offering or devoted J, and 
the name itself declares their destination. They were 

* P. 55 et seq. Wood's translation. 


clothed in white, with red turbans, boots, or girdles. 
Habited in the hues of innocence and blood, armed v/ith 
daggers which they continually drew in the service of the 
Grand-Master, they formed his guard, the executioners of 
his deadly orders, the sanguinary tools of the ambition and 
revenge of this order of Assassins. 

" The Grand-Master was called Seyyidna, our Lord, 
and commonly Sheikh-ul-Djehd, the old man or supreme 
master of the mountain, because the order always pos- 
sessed themselves of the castles in mountainous regions. 
He was neither king nor prince in the usual sense of the 
word, and never assumed the title either of Sultan, Malik, 
or Emeer, but merely that of Sheikh, which to this day 
the heads of the Arab tribes and the superiors of the 
religious orders of the Srofees and dervishes bear. His 
authority could be over no kingdom nor principality, but 
over a brotherhood or order ; European writers, therefore, 
fall into a great mistake in confounding the empire of the 
Assassins with hereditary dynasties, since in the form of 
its institution it was only an order like that of the Knights 
of St. John, the Teutonic Knights, or the Templars. The 
latter of these, besides having a grand-master, grand-priors 
and religious nuncios, had also some resemblance to the 
Assassins in their spirit of political interference and secret 
doctrine. Dressed in white with the distinctive mark of 
the red cross on their mantles, as were the Assassins in 
red girdles and caps, the Templars had also secret tenets, 
which denied and abjured the sanctity of the cross, as the 
others did the commandments of Islamism. The funda- 
mental maxim of the policy of both was to obtain pos- 
session of the castles and strong places of the adjacent 
country ; and thus, without pecuniary or military means, 
to maintain an imperium in imperio^ keeping the nations 
in subjection, as dangerous rivals to princes. 

" The flat part of a country is always commanded by the 
more mountainous, and the latter by the fortresses scat- 
tered through it. To become masters of these by strata- 


gem or force, to awe princes either by fraud or fear, and 
to use the murderer's arm against the enemies of the 
order, were the political maxims of the Assassins. Their 
internal safety was secured by the strict observance of 
religious ordinances ; their external, by fortresses and the 
poniard. From the proper subjects of the order, or the 
profane, was only expected the fulfilment of the duties of 
Islamism, even of the most austere, such as refraining 
from wine and music ; from the devoted satellites was de- 
manded blind subjection, and the faithful use of their 
daggers. The emissaries or initiated worked with their 
heads, and led the "arms" in execution of the orders of 
the Sheikh, who, in the centre of his sovereignty, directed, 
like an animating soul, their hearts and poniards to the 
accomplishment of his ambitious projects. 

" Immediately under the Grand-Master stood the Dai-il- 
Kebeer, grand-recruiters, or grand-priors, his lieutenants 
in the three provinces to which the power of the order 
extended, namely, Gebal, Kuhistan, and Syria. Beneath 
these were the Dais, or religious nuncios and political 
emissaries in ordinary, as initiated masters. The Fellows 
(Rafeek) were those who were advancing to the master- 
ship, through the several grades of initiation into the 
secret doctrine. The guards of the order, the warriors, 
were the devoted murderers, Fedaweeh ; and the as- 
pirants (Lasik) seem to have been the novices or lay 
brethren. Besides this sevenfold gradation from Sheikh, 
grand-master ; Dai-il-Kebeer, grand-prior ; Dai, master ; 
Rafeeks, fellows ; Fedaweeh, agents ; Lasiks, lay brothers ; 
down to the profane or the people ; there was also 
another sevenfold gradation of the spiritual hierarchy, 
who applied themselves exclusively to the before-men- 
tioned doctrine of the Ismaeleeh concerning the seven 
speaking and seven mute imams, and belonged more pro- 
perly to the theoretical framework of the schism, than to 
the destruction of political powers. According to this 
arrangement, there live, in every generation, seven persons 


distinguished from each other by their different grades of 
rank : 1st, the divinely appointed Imam ; 2nd, the proof, 
Hudjjah, designated by him, which the Ismaeleeh call 
As^s, or foundation ; 3rd, the Dthoo Massah, who received 
instruction from the Hudjjah, as he did from the Imam ; 
4th, the Missionaries, or Dais ; 5th, the Madthomeem, or 
permitted, who were admitted to the solemn promise or 
oath (Ahd) ; 6th, the Umhellabeeh, or dog-like, who 
sought out subjects fit for conversion for the missiona- 
ries, as hounds run down the game for the huntsman ; 
7th, the Moomeneen the believers, the people. On com- 
paring these two divisions we find that in the first the in- 
visible Imam, in whose name the Sheikh claimed the 
obedience of the people, and in the second the guards, of 
which he made use against the foes of the order, are 
wanting ; but that, in other respects, the difierent grades 
coincide. The proof was the Grand-Master; the Dthoo 
Massah, the grand-prior ; the Fellows were the Mad- 
thomeem ; and the dog-like, the lay brethren. The fourth 
and seventh, that is the preachers of the faith and the be- 
lievers, the cheating missionaries and the duped people, 
are the same in both. 

" We have seen above that the first founder of secret 
societies in the heart of Islam, Abdullah the son of 
Maimoon Haddal, established seven degrees of his doc- 
trine, for which reason, as well as for their opinions con- 
cerning the seven imams, his disciples obtained the by- 
name of Seveners. This appellation, which had been 
assigned hitherto to the Western Ismaeleeh, although they 
had increased the number of grades from seven to nine, 
was with greater justice transferred to this new branch, 
the Eastern Ismaeleeh or Assassins, whose founder, Hassan, 
not only restored the grades to their original number, 
seven, but also sketched out for the dais, or missionaries, 
a particular rule of conduct, consisting of seven points, 
which had reference, not so much to the gradual enlight- 
enment of those who were to be taught, as to the necessary 


qualifications of the teachers ; and was the proper rubric 
of the order. 

" The introductory rule was called Ashinai, risk (know- 
ledge of the calling), and comprised the maxims of the 
knowledge of mankind, necessary to the selection of sub- 
jects suited to the initiated. Several proverbs much in 
vogue among the Dais had relation to this. They con- 
tained a sense different from their literal meaning : * Sow 
not in barren soil;' 'Speak not in a house where there 
is a lamp;' implied, MVaste not your words on the in- 
capable ;' ' Venture- not to speak them in the presence of 
a lawyer : ' for it is equally dangerous to engage with 
blockheads as with men of tried knowledge and probity, 
because the former misunderstand, and the latter unmask, 
the doctrine, and neither would be available either as 
teachers or instruments. These allegorical sentences, and 
the prudential rules so necessary to avoid all chance of 
discovery, remind us of a secret society of high antiquity, 
and a celebrated order of modern times ; in short, of Py- 
thagoras and the Jesuits. The mysterious adages of the 
former which have come down to us, and whose peculiar 
sense is now unintelligible, were probably nothing more 
than similar maxims to the initiated in his doctrine ; and 
political prudence in the selection of subjects fit for 
the dififerent designs of a society reached the highest per- 
fection in that of Jesus. Thus the Pythagoreans and the 
Jesuits have a resemblance to the Assassins. 

" The second rule of conduct was called Tanees (gaining 
confidence) ; and taught them to gain over candidates by 
flattering their inclinations and passions. As soon as they 
were won, it was requisite, in the third place, to involve 
them, by a thousand doubts and questions concerning the 
positive religious commands and absurdities of the Koran, 
in a maze of scruples which were not to be resolved, and 
of uncertainty which was not to be disentangled. 

" In the fourth place followed the oath (Ahd), by which 
the acolyte bound himself, in the most solemn manner, to 


inviolable silence and submission ; that he would impart 
his doubts to none but his superior ; that he would blindly 
obey him and none but him. In the fifth rule, Tadlees, 
the candidates were taught how their doctrine and opinions 
agreed with those of the greatest men in Church and State. 
This was done the more to attract and fire them by the 
examples of the great and powerful. The sixth, Tasees 
(confirmation), merely recapitulated all that had preceded, 
in order to confirm and strengthen the learner's faith. 
After this followed, in the seventh place, the Taweel, or 
allegorical interpretation, which was the conclusion of the 
course of atheistical instruction. In Taweel the allegori- 
cal interpretation, in opposition to Tanzeel or the literal 
sense of the divine word, was the principal essence of the 
secret doctrines, from which they were named Batineel, 
Esoterics, to distinguish them from the Zahireel, or fol- 
lowers of the outward worship. By means of this crafty 
system of exposition and interpretation, which in our 
own days has often been applied to the Bible, articles 
of faith and duty became mere allegories, the external 
form merely contingent, the inner sense alone essential ; 
the observance or non-observance of religious ordinances 
and moral laws equally indifferent; consequently all was 
doubtful and nothing prohibited. 

" This was the acme of the philosoph}^ of the Assassins, 
which was not imparted by the founder to the majority, 
but reserved only for a few of the initiated and principal 
leaders, while the people were held under the yoke of the 
strictest exercise of the precepts of Islamism. His 
greatest policy consisted in designing his doctrine of infi- 
delity and immorality, not for the ruled, but only for the 
rulers ; in subjecting the tensely reined blind obedience of 
the former to the equally blind but unbridled despotic 
commands of the second ; and thus he made both serve 
the aim of his ambition, the former by the renunciation, 
the latter by the full gratification, of their passions. Study 
and the sciences were therefore the lot of only a few who 


were initiated. For the immediate attainment of their 
objects the order was less in need of heads than arms ; and 
did not employ pens but daggers, whose points were every- 
where, while their hilts were in the hands of the grand- 

The author of the Masalic-al-Absar *, who speaks as 
having had a conversation with the son of the chief of the 
Ismaeleeh, says that they called themselves the " possessors 
of the rightly directed government," and that their religion 
was founded on transmigration ; that they looked on their 
chiefs as their purifiers, and on Ali as the great purifier ; 
and that they were descended from the imams and their 
successors. He says also that he was told that they con- 
sidered the soul that died in obedience to them went to 
the " lights above," and all others to the " darkness below." 

The miserable remnant of the Assassins or Ismaeleeh of 
to-day, especially those of Syria, have sunk very low 
indeed in belief, and if one can credit what is said of them 
by report, in practice also. What Burckhardt f says of their 
doctrine seems to be most certainly true, for it is confirmed 
by the testimony of men of such information and judg- 
ment as the late Dr. Eli Smith of Beyrout, and by the 
general assertion of all classes in Syria, as well as by, it 
is said, signs used openly by them about their houses. 
Dr. Smith says that there are at present two sects: 
the Hedjaweeh, whose sheikh resides in Khawaby, and 
who adhere to Mussulman customs ; and the Suwayda- 

* Defremenj, article on Ismaeleeh in Journ. Asiat. 

f Burckhardt (Travels in Syria, p. 152) says, " The Ismaylys are 
generally reported to adore the pudendum muliebre, and to mix on cer- 
tain days of the year in promiscuous debauchery." Mr. Walpole, in his 
book (Ansairii and Assassins), gives at the end of vol. iii. a Latin trans- 
lation of what he calls a prayer of the Ansaireeh, but which really is an 
Ismaelee prayer, which proves beyond doubt Burckbardt's assertion. 
Dr. Smith (as quoted in Carl Hitter's Erdkunde) says, " The Ansy- 
reeh are not guilty as the Ismaeleeh of the worship of the goddess 
of nature." They seem to use what they worship as a symbol of mother 
earth, and are reported to say, " From it we came, and to it we return." 



neeh, who live in Kadrnoos and the neighbourhood, are 
only Mussulmans in appearance, and have no regular 

The Ismaeleeh at present revere principally the grand- 
master of the order Rasheed-ed-deen, in whose date 
M. Rousseau, who has given an account of the modern 
Ismaeleeh, makes a strange mistake, assigning it to three 
hundred years ago, whereas we have seen that he flourished 
during the existence of the power of the order in the latter 
half of the twelfth century. His books form the chief part 
of their writings, which *' are a shapeless mass of Ismaelee 
and Christian traditions, glossed over with the ravings of 
the mystic theology." f 

M. Rousseau says of the modern Ismaeleeh J : — '* The 
Ismaeleeh of Syria are divided into two classes, tlie Swey- 
danis and the Khedrewis, who differ from each other only 
in certain external ceremonies. Beth recognise the divinity 
of Ali son of Abu-Taleb, and declare that light is the 
universal principle of all things created. These sectaries 
call it ^ the light of the eye,' an equivocal expression, the 
source of many superstitions; but the greater part of 
their sheikhs declared that it is a virtue, a charm or super- 
natural force, which produces and preserves the different 
parts of the universe. 

" As a consequence of their dissimulation in regard to 
religion, they have no public temple ; they, however, go 
on pilgrimage to the tomb of Ali, which is erected in the 
desert four or five days' journey from the ruins of 
Bagdad. They have also another place of devotion near 
Mecca, whither they make a secret pilgrimage whenever 
an opportunity offers, but I have not been able to discover 
the name of the saint or prophet to whom they have 
dedicated this shrine." 

* Ritter's Erdkunde, vol. above quoted, 
t Von Hammer, p. 211. 

% Memoires sur les Ismaelis et Nossairis de Syrie, adresse h. M. Silv. 
de Sacy, par M. Rousseau; Annales des Voyages, cahier, xlii. 


I shall conclude this enumeration of secret sects by 
mentioning the Metawalees and the Soofces, not so much 
because the former are a secret sect in tlie same sense 
as the others, as because they are silent concerning 
themselves, so that little is known about them. Their 
belief and practice, too, are allied to those of the Persian 
Mussulmans, whose country was the prolific mother of the 
above-named heretical sects ; and Yon Hammer supposes 
that the Metawalees probably originated in a sect of 
Ismaeleeh. They live now principally about and in Tyre, 
and near the source of the Orontes ; and their physiognomy 
indicates that of a race foreign to the other inhabitants of 
Syria, and probably from farther east. 

They are called Metawalees, because they follow the 
Taweel, or allegorical interpretation, of the Koran. I 
have been told that they reverence Ali, as is probably 
certain, more than Mohammed ; and, as a consequence, 
curse Abu-Beer, Omar, and Othman, who supplanted him. 
They are more unsociable than any other sect in Syria. 
Though they will eat with others, they will break a plate 
or vessel from which a stranger may have eaten or drunk, 
and even his shadow passing by may suffice to defile their 

The Soofees are a secret society of Persian mystic 
philosophers and ascetics. Before giving a short sketch 
of their tenets as stated by Sir John Malcolm, I will say 
a few words of the general religion of the Persian nation, 
ancient and modern. Their original religion may have 
been that of the Chaldeans, or Sabians, who believed in 
the unity of God, but adored the host of heaven (Tsaba), 
especially the seven planets, as representing Him. Zoro- 
aster, the introducer of the Magian religion, or a section 
of it, taught the existence of two principles, Hormuzd 
and Ahriman. As light was with him a symbol of the 
good spirit, he directed them to turn to the fire lighted 
on the altar, if worshipping in a temple, and to the sun, if 
worshipping in the open air. These remarks on the 


Sabian and Magian religions may be useful when we come 
to that of the Ansaireeh. 

The modern Persians are Schiites, that is those Mussul- 
mans who reject the Sunnah or the code received by the 
Mussulmans of Turkey and the West, as founded in 
the traditions of Mohammed, collected and commented 
upon by the four orthodox doctors. They also look on 
the first three caliphs as usurpers, and consider Ali at 
least equal to Mohammed. But many look on him as far 
superior to him. It is quite a common saying in Persia, 
" Though I do not believe Ali to be God, I believe that he 
is not far from being so." In all portraits of him he is 
represented with his face covered, because, as they allege, 
the glory of his countenance is too bright for mortal eye 
to behold. 

But the following version of a popular Persian hymn to 
Ali will show the reader, better than any dissertation, 
the absurd and blasphemous lengths to which the Schiites 
carry their reverence for the first imam : — 

" Beside thy glories, O most great ! 
Dim are the stars and weak is fate. 
Compared with thy celestial light 
The very sun is dark as night. 
Thine edicts destiny obeys, 
The sun shows but thy mental rays. 

" Thy merits form a boundless sea 
That rolls on to eternity : 
To heaven its mighty waves ascend, 
0*er it the skies admiring bend ; 
And when they view its waters clear, 
The wells of Eden dark appear. 

** The treasures that the earth conceals, 
The wealth that human toil reveals. 
The jewels of the gloomy mine, 
Those that on regal circlets shine, 
Are idle toys and worthless shows. 
Compared with what thy grace bestows. 


" Mysterious being ! None can tell 
The attributes in thee that dwell ; 
None can thine essence comprehend ; 
To thee should every mortal bend ; 
For 'tis by thee that man is given 
To know the high behests of heaven. 

** The ocean-floods round earth that roll, 
And lave the shores from pole to pole, 
Beside the eternal fountain's stream, 
A single drop, a bubble seem; 
That fount's a drop beside the sea 
Of grace and love we find in thee." * 

The Soofees form a separate body in Persia, bound 
together by secret mysteries. Their books are a strange 
and beautiful, but blasphemous mysticism, like the poems 
of Ibn-il-Farid, which are well known and often quoted, 
but little understood in Syria by the majority of its pre- 
sent ignorant inhabitants. They speak of love to the Deity 
under that of attachment to a beautiful woman, and their 
system is really identical with Pantheism. 

"The Soofees," says Sir John Malcolm f, "represent 
themselves as devoted to the search of truth, and inces- 
santly occupied in adoring the Almighty, a union with 
whom they desire with all the fervour of divine love. 
The Creator, according to their belief, is diffused over all 
creation. He exists everywhere and in everything. They 
compare the emanations of his essence or spirit to the rays 
of the sun ; which they conceive are continually darted 
forth and reabsorbed. It is for this reabsorption into the 
divine essence, to which their immortal part belongs, that 
they continually sigh. They believe that the soul of 
man, and the principle of life which exists through nature, 
are not from God, but of God. 

" The Soofee doctrines are as old as Mohammed, and are 
common in India. They became more general in Persia 
under the Saffavean dynasty (from a.d. 1499), which took 

* Taylor's History of Mohammedanism, pp. 152^-154. 
f Malcolm's Persia, vol. ii. p. 269, 

H 3 


its rise from a Sooffee sheik. From that time Schiite 
doctrines have been the recognised ones in Persia. 

" The Soofee tenets allow a man to retain outward cere* 
monies in the first stage. They have four gradations, 
and secrets and mysteries for every gradation, which are 
never revealed to the profane. There are from two 
hundred to three hundred thousand tainted with Soofee 
doctrines in Persia." 

I now come to a point which I omitted while giving 
a sketch of the several secret heretical sects of Islam 
in detail — the common charge which is made against them 
individually, of licentiousness, obscenity, and incest. And 
here I will include the Ansaireeh, so that I may state the 
charges made against them at the same time, of which 
charges I shall show the utter groundlessness, at least in 
our day, when speaking of their religion under the heads 
of Faith and Practice. 

" The orthodox Mussulmans," then, " accuse the rem- 
nants of the secret sects of secret indulgence in gross 
immoralities, and call them Zendics, a name nearly 
corresponding with our sceptics or freethinkers. But 
it would be as unfair to judge of these sectaries by 
the writings of their enemies, as to take our account of 
the early Christians from the libels of their Christian 

"Similar charges, " says Von Hammer f, " have been 
at all times raised against secret societies, whenever they 
concealed their mysteries under the veil of night ; some- 
times groundlessly, as against the assemblies of the early 
Christians, of whose innocence Pliny affords a testimony ; 
sometimes but too well founded, as against the mysteries 
of Isis, and, still earlier, against the Bacchanalians of 

• With respect to the early history of these sects, it would 
be certainly difficult or impossible to clear them from the 

• Taylor, p. 202. f !"• 214. 


charges of utter infidelity and muterialism (as forming 
the tenets of the fully initiated), made against them by 
such writers as De Sacy and Von Hammer, who base 
their assertions on a careful study of respectable Mussul- 
man, Arabic, and Persian historians, such as Makrisi; 
especially since these last profess to have drawn their 
details from the most authentic sources. For instance, 
Atamelik Jowaini, who gives an account of the doctrine 
of the Assassins, from which more modern writers, such 
as Mirkhond and Wassaf, followed by Yon Hammer, 
take theirs, was present at the fall of Alamoot, and ob- 
tained from Hoolagoo, its captor, leave to consult the 
Ismaelee library existing there, which he professes to 
have done, and then destroyed the heretical books, having 
first embodied their contents in his own history.* More- 
over one of the grand-masters of the Assassins, Hassan II., 
wishing to stem the torrent of infidelity, and bring back 
his sect to orthodox Mohammedanism, "lifted the veil, 
and published to the profane the mysteries of atheism and 
immorality, hitherto the inheritance of the initiated. " f 
And therefore Von Hammer, though he vindicates the 
Jesuits and Templars from the charges of regicide and 
profligacy made against them, declares that what he says 
of the " secret doctrine, the systematic infidelity, and 
the sedition of the Assassins is by no means founded on 
untenable conjectures, historical accusations, or forced con- 
fessions, but on the free acknowledgment of their teachers 
and masters. " J In the same way De Sacy accuses the 
Karmatians of carrying the abuse of philosophy and the 
system of theology to the greatest extent, with the view 
of leading men to atheism, materialism the most absolute, 
and immorality ; and says that what he advances is not 
founded on conjecture nor induction, but on history. § 

* Von Hammer, p. 178. t I^id, p. 106. 

t Ubi supra. § Exposition of Druzes' Religion, Introd. p. 34. 

H 4 


It is impossible to ascribe all that the orthodox Mussul- 
man authors say of the infidelity of their adversaries to 
mere religious hate, but it is difficult to believe any charge 
of gross immorality and incest brought against a large 
body of men who have existed for any lengthened space 
of time. And in this I agree rather with M. Niebuhr 
than M. Volney, who alludes to his opinions.* " The 
Kadmousia ," says Volney, who mistakes the Ismaeleeh of 
Kadmoos for Ansaireeh, " as I am assured, hold nocturnal 
assemblies in which, after certain discourses, they extin- 
guish the lights, and indulge promiscuous lust, as has been 
reported of the ancient Gnostics. M. Niebuhr, to whom 
the same circumstances were related as to me, could not 
believe them, because, says he, it is not probable that 
mankind should so far degrade themselves (which idea 
he ridicules). The whimsical superstitions I have men- 
tioned may the rather be believed still to exist among the 
Ansaria, as they seem to have been preserved there by 
a regular transmission from those ancient times in which 
they are known to have prevailed.'* 

But whatever may be the case with M. Volney 's general- 
isations as a philosopher, his details as a traveller are not 
always trustworthy. We have already noticed an absurd 
mistake of his, and he makes a most ridiculous statement 
with respect to the Metawalees, which is quoted by Von 
Hammer, f It is to the effect that there was in his time 
a village on the road from Ladikeeh to Aleppo, called 
Martaban, whose Metawalee inhabitants invited travellers 
to have intercourse with their wives and daughters, and 
what is more, considered their refusal as an affront. 
Unfortunately for this story, there are no Metawalees to 
be found in the parts named. 

The more charitable view of human nature is in this 
case probably the true one. Men do not remain long in 
such unbridled licentiousness without bringing on them- 

♦ Volney's Travels, vol. ii. p. 6. f P- 213. 


selves the direct vengeance of God, as did the cities of the 
plain; or his vengeance none the less because exerted 
through the agency of their fellow-men, as in the case of 
the inhabitants of the village to which Ibn-Batoutah 
alludes, and the Bacchanalians of old or, lastly, through 
the inevitable causes of dissolution attending immorality 
and crime. The mass of mankind are opposed to the 
existence of the worst forms of open vice; if they were 
not, civil government would come to an end in communi- 
ties where reason or instinct, rather than religion, is the 
guide. It is not to be denied that communities did exist 
of old, in which, as among the votaries of Isis and Cybele, 
licentiousness prevailed, but then these were but festering 
sores existing in a large body, and these communities 
formed the receptacle for those impurities which exist 
in every large society. And in fact, with respect to the 
early history of the secret sects which we have considered, 
it is only asserted that the minority, the governing body, 
attained to an emancipation from all the rules of morality. 
The great body of the sectaries were only tools made use 
of by them towards the gratification of their own evil 

Makrisi, indeed, mentions a sect of Magians, followers 
of Masdeli, " who declared war against all religion and 
morality, and preached universal liberty and equality, the 
indifference of human actions, and community of goods 
and women, " but '^ this scandalous brood was exter- 
minated by fire and sword," after but a short period of 

Makrisi, also f , describes a sect of Rafedeeh as allowing 
the drinking wine and fornication, and denying a paradise 
or the contrary, except in this world, but it does not seem 
that they formed an important or noted part of the general 
body of the Rafedeeh, which included the many branches 
of those who ascribed divine honour to Ali. 

* Von Hammer, p. 25. 

t Description of Egypt, vol. ii. p. 352 : ed. Boulak. 


It is possible that part of the accusations brought 
against the secret sects has arisen from a misinterpre- 
tation of their allegorical language. They certainly have 
themselves to thank for this, if innocent, because their 
founders used language which might easily lead to the 
worst excesses. 

We have seen that some of the inhabitants of the 
mountain, where resided Kasheed-ed-deen Sinan, made 
some language which he had used a pretext for breaking 
out into licentiousness, but that they were severely 
punished by him for this. Hamza, the Druse apostle, 
charges similar and even more objectionable language 
against the Nusairee whose book he refutes, of which 
I will translate as much from De Sacy as will bear 
quotation : — 

" There has fallen into my hands," says Hamza, in 
the preamble, " a book composed by a man among the 
Nasaireeh. He has styled his book ' the book of truths, 
and the manifestation of that which was veiled.' Who- 
ever receives this book is a servant of the devil. He 
believes in metempsychosis, he permits all kinds of illicit 
unions, he approves lying and falsehood. This writer 
attributes this doctrine to the Unitarians, but God forbid 
that the religion of our Lord should authorise criminal 
actions ! " * 

Hamza passes next to the direct refutation of the 
Nusairee dogmas. "The first thing," says he, "which 
this wicked Nusairee advances, is that all things which 
have been forbidden to men, murder, theft, lying, calumny, 
fornication, sodomy, are permitted to him, or to her, who 
knows our Lord. With respect to what he says, ' the 
believer ought not to prevent his brother from taking 
away his property and his honour ; he ought to let his 
believing brother have full liberty to see the people of his 
house (that is, his wives and daughters), and ought not to 

♦ De Sacy, vol. ii. p. 568. 


oppose anything which may pass between them, else his 
faith will be imperfect;' he lies, the accursed one. He 
has stolen the first part of this phrase — I mean the words 
* he ought not to prevent his brother from taking away 
his property and his honour,' — from the Medjlis of wis- 
dom, and he has abused them to conceal his own impiety 
and falsehood As to what he says, * the pro- 
hibition of illicit intercourse is only for those who speak 
things contrary to the truth : that is, fornication. But 
those who know the inner doctrine are not subject to the 
yoke of the outer ; ' he lies," &c.* 

De Sacy seems to endorse the accusation of the Druse 
writer, for he says, " What the Druse books teach us with 
respect to the Nasaireeh prove that in fact they permitted 
fornication, incest, and adultery, without any reserve f ; " 
but, as he himself shows, the Druses themselves use an 
allegorical language likely to be misunderstood, and in 
fact Hamza himself, in the above extract, accuses the 
Nusairee writer of having stolen the words, which, accord- 
ing to him, he abuses, from the Druse or Ismaelee 
writings. His statements, however, are to be received 
with caution as those of an enemy, and at least one 
thing is certain, that, as to theoretical opinions, no appear- 
ance, even the slightest, of immorality or obscenity is 
to be traced in the Ansairee books which have become 
known in our day ; w^hile, as to practice, the charges made 
against the Ansaireeh of the present time, of unclean 
practices, are utterly without foundation. 

Similar charges are and have been made against the 
other sects. Benjamin of Tudela accuses the Druses of 
his day of " living incestuously, and indulging in pro- 
miscuous intercourse ; " and De Sacy, though he speaks of 
the immorality which appears in the Druse writings J, says 

* P. 570. t Vol. i. p. 183. 

J Vol. ii. p. 692, note. Mr. Cyril Graham, who has seen so much of 
the Druses of to-day, has told me that he thinks immoral charges against 


that he would not take upon himself to deny that the 
Druses of to-day are innocent of the '* libertinage " and 
the infamous actions which report imputes to them. He 
says, moreover, that the early Druse writer Moktana 
alludes to impostors who, in his day, endeavoured to cor- 
rupt the morals of the sect, in order to gain partisans ; 
such as Sakkeen, who was admitted to the hierarchy of 
the Druses soon after the commencement of the sect, and 
was intrusted with the " diocese " of Northern Syria. 
He introduced changes into the Druse religion, and is 
condemned in a letter found among existing Druse writ- 
ings. " It even seems to me," says De Sacy, '' that this 
immoral doctrine was taught in Syria by Neshtekern-id- 

Von Hammer too, speaking of the Ansaireeh and 
Druses, says : " The former believe, like the Ismaelites, 
in the incarnation of Ali ; the latter consider that maddest 
of tyrants, Hakem-biaun-illah, as a God in the flesh. 
Both abjure all the rules of Islamism, or only observe 
them in appearance ; both hold secret and nocturnal 
assemblies, stigmatised by the Moslems, where they give 
themselves up to the enjoyment of wine and promiscuous 

The chief origin of these stories with respect to the 
Ansaireeh is, beside their profession of a secret religion, 
the fact that their neighbours, the Ismaeleeh, do hold tenets 
of an obscene character, though even they, I believe, are 
not guilty of all that is imputed to them. These stories 
are passed from mouth to mouth, and told to those who 
skirt the mountains in journeying by land, or who view 
them from the sea, on passing along the coast. I have 
often heard them repeated, sometimes with that zest 
■with which such stories are circulated, by the officers of 
the French steamers which ply past Ladikeeh. But 

them utterly groundless, and considers them more moral than the people 
of the towns. 
• P. 212. 


this is more excusable in them than in a traveller like 
M. Poujoulat, who, if I remember right, connects his 
travels with M. Michaud's flowery history of the crusades. 
The source of his mistake is, as usual, the confounding 
them with the Isinaeleeh, as appears from what he says 
in another place, where he speaks of certain men as 
*' paying to women the same worship as the ' Ansariens ' 
of Lebanon." His words are : — " These nocturnal and 
monstrous reunions call to mind those of the like nature 
which are held in the mountains of the Ansariens of Syria, 
and which are called Bokhech " (fete de I'empoignement, 

This story he has taken from a vulgar report which 
ascribes to the Ansaireeh such doings on a reputed feast 
of theirs called Bukbeyshee. The story is familiar to the 
Ansaireeh, and as they neither know of the feast, nor are 
acquainted with such a mode of celebration of it, it is to 
them a subject of much merriment ; for they are aware that 
their character is looked on as the blackest, and they are 
not a little amused at the false conjectures of their neigh- 
bours, without being much concerned about a few handfuls 
of mud, more or less, being thrown at them. As I shall 
have in a future chapter to consider that character, which is 
indeed none of the brightest, it will be as well to leave till 
then the relieving it from one of its darkest shades. 

To the next chapter too, having so far lifted the veil of the 
" Great Asian Mystery," with the aid of other writers, we 
will leave the further illustration of that mystery, and 
allusions to its connexion with the modern mystery of 

We shall thus endeavour to carry out the special object 
of our book, with the assistance to be obtained from others, 
and the information we have been able to acquire from 
the Ansairee MS., careful observation, and trustworthy in- 




I. Faith or Theology. 

The Ansaireeh believe in one God, self-existent and 
eternal. This God manifested himself in the world seven 
times in human /orm, from Abel to Ali son of Abu-Taleb, 
which last manifestation was the most perfect ; that to 
which the others pointed, and in which the mystery of the 
divine appearances found their chief end and comple- 

At each of these manifestations the Deity made use of 
two other Persons ; the first created out of the light of his 
essence, and by himself, and the second created by the 
first. These, with the Deity, form an inseparable Trinity, 
called Maana, Ism, Bab. 

The first, the Maana, meaning^ is the designation of the 
Deity as the meaning, sense, or reality of all things. 

The second, the Ism, name^ is also called the Hedjah or 
veil, because under it the Maana conceals its glory, while 
by it it reveals itself to men. 

The third, the Bab, door^ is so called because through it 
is the entrance to the knowledge of the two former. 

In the time of Adam, when Abel was the Maana, Adam 
was the Ism, and Gabriel the Bab. In the time of 
Mohammed, when Ali was the Maana, Mohammed the 
prophet was the Ism, and Salmfin-il-Farisee, or the 
Persian, a companion of Mohammed, was the Bab. 


The following are the seven appearances of the Maana, 
the Ism, and the Bab : — 














Yayeel ibn-Fatin. 




Ham ibn-Koosh. 




Dan ibn-Usbaoot. 




Abdullah ibn-Simaan. 



-Safa (Cephas) Jesus 

Rozabah ibn-il-Merzaban. 






After Ally the Deity manifested himself in the Imams, 
his posterity, he himself being the first Imam, the Imam of 
the Imams, as he is styled. 

And here we h^ve to recal to mind Sharestani's de- 
scription of the descent of the Deity into human forms, 
that it is either total or partial, a descent of the whole 
Deity, or of only a portion of his essence. The descent 
in the eleven Imams after Ali is of this latter description. 
Ali is still the grand manifestation of the Deity to man, 
so that he occupies in person and name, with respect to 
man, the position of the Deity himself; all divine attri- 
butes being ascribed to him as Ali, and all prayers made 
to him in the name of Ali. And we find that the Imams 
are looked upon only as his representatives in the world, 
and in some sense as his prophets and apostles. 

The secret of the above Trinity is represented by a 
sign, token, or mark to the true believers, namely, the 
three letters Ain, Meem, Seen, which are the three initial 
letters of Ali, Mohammed, and Salman (sometimes styled 

Among the many worlds known only to God, are two, 
the Great Luminous World, which is the heaven, " the 
light of light," and the little earthly world, the residence 
of men. 

An Ansairee has to believe in the existence in the Lu- 
minous, Spiritual World, of seven Hierarchies (each with 
seven degrees), which hierarchies have their representa- 


tives in the earthly world. They are, (1.) Abwah, or 
doors, 400 in number; (2.) Aytam, orphans or dis- 
ciples, 500 in number; (3.) JSTukaha, princes, or chiefs 
(the companions of Moses and properly so called), 600 in 
number; (4.) Nudjaba, excellent, 700 in number ; (5.) 
Mokhtasseen, peculiars, 800 in number; (6.) Mukhliseen, 
pure in faith, 900 in number; (7.) Mumtahaneen, tried, 
1100 in number. In all, 5000. 

In this world they have their representatives in twelve 
Nukaba, and also twenty-eight Nudjaba, who, besides 
their earthly names, have names in the world of light, 
namely, those of the twenty-eight mansions, or stations 
of the moon. They have also their counterparts in 
apostles and prophets ; who are, moreover, representatives 
of the Deity, as being inhabited by a partial emanation 
from Him. 

This earthly world in like manner contains seven de- 
grees of believers; (1.) Mukarrabeen, near ones, 14,000 
in number; (2.) Cherubims, 15,000; (3.) Rooheyeen, spi- 
ritual, 16,000; (4.) Mukaddaseen, sanctified, 17,000; (5.) 
Saieyeen, ascetics, 18,000; (6.) Mustamaeen, listeners, 
19,000 ; (7.) Lahiheen, followers, 20,000. In all, 119,000. 

The mystery of the faith of the Unitarians, the mystery 
of mysteries, and chief article of the faith of the true 
believers, is the veiling of the Deity in light, that is, in 
the eye of the sun, and his manifestation in his servant 
Abd-in-Noor. Light is described as the eternal Maana, 
or meaning, which is concealed in light. The Deity thus 
concealed in light manifests himself in Abd-in-Noor, the 
" servant of light," which is wine ; this wine being con- 
secrated and drunk by the true believers, the initiated, 
in the Kuddas, or Sacrament. 

This Kuddas or Sacrament is the great mystery of the 

The Ansaireeh believe that all souls were created from 
the essence which inhabits all beings, and that, after a 
certain number of transmigrations, those of true believers 
become stars in the great world of light. 



They believe that the last Imam, Mohammed, is still 
dwelling concealed on the earth, and that he will return 
to make the true religion prevail in the destruction of its 

When an Ansairee attains the age of manhood he is 
initiated into the mysteries of religion, and becomes a 
participator in its rites, and acquainted with its secret 
prayers, signs, and watchwords, by all which the initiated 
are bound up into a freemasonic body of Ukhwan, or 
" brethren." 

Such is a sketch of the religion of the Ansaireeh, I now 
proceed to consider its several parts in detail. 

Like the Druses, the Ansaireeh believe in God, without 
in either a philosophical or theological manner defining 
distinctly the mode of his existence, his essence, and 
his attributes. Ali with the Ansaireeh is God, and takes 
the place of the Allah of the Mussulmans. All the attri- 
butes that the latter ascribe to Allah, these and others the 
Ansaireeh ascribe to Ali ; some to him in his human form, 
others in his Godhead. They come very near confusing 
his essence with that of light. He is spoken of in their 
catechism as veiling himself in light, that is in the eye of 
the sun*, and in my Ansairee manuscript f he is de- 
scribed as " appearing from the eye of the sun." Mo- 
hammed is also said to be created from the " light of his 
essence "J, and the " light of his unity." § While, in 
answer to the question in the catechism ||, "What is 
light ? " the answer is : " The eternal Maana, or mean- 
ing (the Deity), which is concealed in light." Perhaps 
they go no farther than Zoroaster and the Magians, in 
taking light as a symbol of the good spirit. | 

* Q. 82. t ^^^- P- 110- t P- 94. § P. 110. II Q. 93. 

4 In the Ansairee book of festivals (M. Catafago, Journ. Asiat. Feb. 
1848) the Divinity is styled the " essence of beings;" and a certain rain 
which came on the luminous bodies of men, and of which the drops be- 
came their souls, is said to be nothing else but " the essence which in- 
habits all beings." 



Among the appellations given to Ali are those of " the 
meaning of meanings," "the element of elements," the 
" end of ends," a name by which my Ansairee lad has 
often heard him addressed. 

The proof that he is God, is his own testimony to him- 
self from the words of the Koran, which in its inner 
meaning is made to allude exclusively to him. Thus the 
commencement of my Ansairee manuscript, after the usual 
opening, "In the name of God the compassionate, the 
merciful," goes on : — " The words of the Most High. Our 
Lord, Emeer il Moomeneen (prince of the true believers, a 
name which must be given to Ali alone*), has said, ' God 
(may he be praised!) has described me in his precious 
Book, and said, He is the God, beside whom there is no 
God, the compassionate, the merciful, the holy king, the 
Creator ; Him all things praise in heaven and earth.* Now 
these attributes belong to Him (God), and are in' Him; 
for it is necessary for him to describe himself (because no 
other being could do so), but they are in me, and referred 
to me, and part of my descriptive marks, for when he 
says, ' He is God,* it refers to me, for I am," &c. &c. 

Another testimony is that of Ali to himself in his 
several discourses from the pulpit, of which many are 
mentioned by name f ; for instance : " With me is the 
knowledge of the hour, and me did the apostles indi- 
cate ; of my unity did they speak, an^ to the knowledge 
of me did they call." 

Another chief testimony is that of Mohammed on a 
special occasion, a detailed account of which is given in 
my Ansairee manuscript J, and of it I shall give a trans- 
lation in a subsequent chapter.§ 

Ali is said to be mentioned in every tongue, and praised 
in every period || ; and so excessive is the laudation bestowed 
upon him in the manuscript in my possession, that on 

♦ MS. p. 86. t MS. pp. 6, 10, 11, 12, 15. Catechism, q. 2. 

t MS. p. 91. So Catech. q. 3. § Chap. IX. || MS. p. 4. 


showing it to a learned Moslem sheikh, he could not help 
exclaiming, " excess of praise is blame." 

Among the " names given to him in the various 
languages *," the following are mentioned : " The Arabs 
called him Ali ; his mother called him Haiderah, lion ; the 
monk called him the most great Law, and Simon-is-Safa 
(the Ansaireeh, like the Ismaeleeh and Druses, seeming to 
look on Safa as allied to an Arabic word meaning pure, 
instead of being the Arabic form for Cephas). He called 
himself in the pulpit Aristotle ; and he is called in the 
Old Testament Bareea (from the word for * create*). His 
name in the New Testament is Elias, of which the in- 
terpretation is Ali (the two words as written in the 
Arabic MS. are nearly alike). With the priests he is called 
Baweea; by the Hindoos, Kankara; and in the Psalms, 
Areea ; with the Greeks, Butrus, Peter. His name with 
the Ethiopians is Habeena (a mistake for Aboona, the 
name of the Abyssinian metropolitan) ; with the Abys- 
sinians, Batreek, patriarch ; and the Armenians called 
him Afreeka. Finally he is called by the beings who 
inhabited the world before men, the Righteous, the Com- 

Amonor other names of his is that of Emeer-in-Nahal, 
prince of bees, that is true believers, who are styled bees 
because they choose out the best flowers, that is follow the 
best instruction, f This name is given to him constantly. 

He is also called the Crown of the Kicras, as the 
Sassanide kings of Persia are called by the Arabs, from 
Khosroo or Chosroes ; and in a description of the feast of 
Nurooz, given in an Ansairee book J, Ali is said to have 
manifested himself in the Trinity of Maana, Ism, Bab, in 
the persons of many of the kings of the Sassanide line; 
though in that partial way in which the Divinity resides 
in worthy men, rather than by a complete descent. In this, 
as in many other ways, the connexion of the Ansairee 

* MS. p. 77. Catech. q. 43. j ^S. p. 86. Catech. q. 50. 

J Described by M. Catafago, Journ. Asiat. Feb. 1848. 

I 2 


religion with Persia becomes evident. Ali is spoken of as 
having exercised all that power, and performed all those 
actions, attributed by Mussulmans to the Deity. He is 
said to have created us * ; to have formed Jesus within 
the womb of his mother f ; to have sent and taught 
Mohammed J ; to be omnipresent, omniscient, &c. &c.§ 

But the Ansaireeh do not suppose Ali to have been 
flesh and blood, but rather a luminous appearance. They 
speak of his acts as zahh\ apparent only. For instance, 
says the Ansairee lad, they say that he was not really 
married ; for how, say they, could he, being God ? 

Thus, in one passage,, the appearances of the Creator 
are spoken of, and his goodness in Tanees, the holding 
intercourse with men ; and in the same place he is called 
" the best of sheaths, within a sheath." || 

Also it is asserted, according to the well-known words 
of the 112th chapter of the Koran, that "He neither 
begat, nor was begotten ; neither had he any equal :" and 
then is added, " and he was not incarnate in anybody^ nor 
took a female companion, nor a child." | 

In the catechism, in answer to the question *'*, " If Ali 
be God, how did he become of the same nature with 
men?" the reply is, *' He did not so become, but took 
Mohammed as his veil, in the period of his transmutation, 
and assumed the name of Ali." And in answer to the 
question ff, "What is the divine appearance?" the reply 
is, " It is the appearance of the Creator in humanity by 
means of the veil ; " and in answer to the demand to ex- 
plain the matter more exactly JJ, the reply is, " As the 
Maana is entered into the Bab, so it has concealed itself 
under the Ism, and has taken it for itself, as our lord 
Djaafar-is-Sadik has said." 

* Catech. q. 1, and MS. passim. • f MS. p. 7. 

X MS. p. 21. § MS. passim. 

II MS. p. 32. That is Ali was a Gilaf (sheath as of a sword, or pod 
as of a pea) of the Deity ; and this Gilaf was concealed in another Gildf, 
namely Mohammed, the Hedjah or veil. 

i MS. p. 101. ** Q. 4. ft Q. 8. XX Q. 9. 

THE "inseparable TRINITY." 117 

Withal, he is often spoken of in his human connexions, 
and he is said to have been the only Hashimee in his 
time (that is, a descendant of Hashim, the great-grand- 
father of Mohammed), who was so both by his father's 
and mother's side.* His apparent mother's name is given 
as Fatima, and his brothers as Hamza and Djaafar, Talib 
and Akeel ; his sons, as Hassan and Hosein ; and his 
daughters, as Zeynab and Umur Kulthom ; and, finally, 
his Mashid (or mosque erected over his tomb) is said to 
be in Dakwat-il-Beyd, to the west of Cufo. f 

The Druses seem, in like manner, to think that Hamza's 
humanity was only in appearance; and their belief with 
respect to Hakem is so like that of the Ansaireeh with 
respect to Ali, that I refer the reader to those few and 
concise, but clear and accurate, words of De Sacy, re- 
garding the manifestation of the Deity in human form, 
to which I drew his attention in p. 78. 

Before proceeding further, I would allude to something 
found in Niebuhr's Ansairee book. He says : — "In 
another place the author states that an Ansairee must be- 
lieve that Mohammed, Fatir (Fatima), Hassan, Hosein, 
and Mochsin (the three sons of Ali by Fatima), form but 
one, a Unity, and mean Ali." J Now Makrisi § alludes to 
certain men who " asserted the divinity of five, Moham- 
med, Ali, Fatima, Hassan, and Hosein, and declared that 
these five were one ; " and, not liking to say Fatima, with 
a feminine termination, they called her Fatim. Thus we 
see whence the Ansairee author, or his authority, took 
his statement. And I would say, once for all, that if 
it seems incongruous with the outline of Ansairee theo- 
logy which I have given, it is to be remembered that in- 
congruities must be expected in a religion compiled by 
ignorant men, from everything that came to hand ; with 

* MS. p. 87. t ^^S. pp. 87, 88. Catech. q. 45—48. 

X Travels, vol. ii. p. 360. 

§ Descr. of Cairo and Egypt, vol ii. p. 253. 

1 3 


a desire, which the Ansaireeh above all others seem to 
have, of claiming every belief as their own. 

The seven appearances of the Divinity, from Abel to 
Ali, are said to have taken place in seven kubbehs, literally 
Domes, that is, Periods, such as the period or dome of 
Abraham, the Persian dome, the Arab dome, or dome of 
Mohammed.* These appearances are referred to four 
times f in my Ansairee manuscript, and the names given 
to those persons in whom Ali appeared are the same in 
each place, as also are the names in the seven appearances 
given by Niebuhr, and in the Nusairee catechism. % In 
fact, this is one of the many instances of entire con- 
formity in the Ansairee MSS., which have been ob- 
tained at various times, and in such various ways; a 
conformity the more remarkable, when we consider the 
heterogeneous nature of the Ansairee tenets, and the wild 
and seemingly aimless haphazard character of some of 
their elements. 

We will now speak of that " inseparable Trinity," under 
which the Deity reveals itself in each of its manifestations, 
of which the three persons are designated by the names of 
Maana, Ism, and Bab. 

And I would say at the outset that we must not suppose 
this Trinity to resemble that of Christianity, though the 
name and idea have been taken by the Ansaireeh from it, 
like many other things. The second and third persons, 
the Ism and the Bab, have far more affinity with the two 
chief Druse ministers, the " universal intelligence," and 
the " universal soul," as we shall see when we come to 
treat of them separately ; indeed, the third person is 
called by the name, the " universal soul," given to the 
second great minister of the Druse hierarchy. 

The word Maana, meaning or sense, is used by the 
Druse writers. Baha-ed-deen, one of their earliest and chief 

* MS. pp. 41, 42, 131. t MS. pp. 8, 41, 90, 130. 

t Q. 5. See also Victor Langlois, Revue d'Orient. 


authors, says : — " Praise to the Lord, to God, who is dis- 
tinguished from all other beings, in that He alone is the 
Maana (sense) of all the divine manifestations." * But, 
as says De Sacy f , " this expression is especially sacred in 
the religion of the Ansaireeh, with whom, even at the 
present time, it signifies the Divinity concealed under 
human form ;" and he gives an extract from M. Niebuhr's 
Ansairee book, which had been lent to him by that 
traveller. " The Ansairee author," says De Sacy, " after 
having cited divers texts from the discourses pronounced 
by Ali, adds : ' All these testimonies and these luminous 
discourses show the existence of the Maana of the Creator 
of creatures, under a human form.' " % 

In another place the same author says : " The word 
Allah (God) is derived from Alaha (to adore), and the 
word God supposes necessarily a being adored, and a 
name is different from the thing named by it. He, then, 
who worships the Name (Ism) in the place of the Mean- 
ing (Maana) is an infidel, and does not worship any- 
thing ; and he who worships the Name and the Meaning- 
is a polytheist ; but to worship the Meaning to the exclu- 
sion of the Name, that is true Unitarianism." § 

From this passage we see that of the Trinity only the 
first person is to be worshipped, and not even the second 
person or Name, for he is a different being from Him 
whom he represents, who alone is the great God. 

In the Ansairee catechism are the following ques- 
tions : II " What are the Maana, the Ism, and the Bab ? " 
Answer : " They are an inseparable Trinity, as men say, 
' in the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful ' 
(a formula prefixed to all the chapters of the Koran 
except one). The word God signifies the Maana, the 
words Compassionate and Merciful denote the Ism and 
the Bab." — " Are the Maana and the Bab separable from 

* De Sacy, vol i. p. 60. t 'V'ol. ii. p. 580. 

% Ubi supra. § De Sacy, vol. ii. p. 581. 

II Q. 10, 12, 13. 

I 4 


the Ism ? " Answer : " No ; they are one with it, they 
cannot be separated." — " What names have the Maana, the 
Ism, and the Bab, and how are they distinguished ?" 
Answer: "These names are threefold. 1. Figurative; 
2. Essential ; 3. Attributive. The Figurative belong to 
the Maana ; the Essential belong to the Ism ; the Attribu- 
tive are those of which the Ism has made use, but which 
belong peculiarly to the Maana. As when we say, the 
Gracious one, the Compassionate one, the Creator." 

So in another question : * " What do the outer and 
inner word, Iz-Zahir and Il-Batin, denote ? " Answer : 
" The inner, the Godhead of our Lord ; the outer, his 
Manhood. Outwardly we say that he is spoken of as our 
Lord Ali, son of Abu-Taleb ; and this denotes inwardly 
the Maana, the Ism, and the Bab, one Gracious and Com- 
passionate God." 

Maana is a name specially belonging to theDeity.f Some 
other names, though attributive names of the Maana, are 
sometimes assumed by the Ism, such as God, the Creator, 
&c. &c. ; or, as the manuscript expresses it : '' The attri- 
butive names, by which the Ism (Name) has named itself, 
though they belong peculiarly to the Maana." J 

In my Ansairee manuscript the Maana and Essence 
are coupled together in one passage § ; and in another || 
the Ism and Bab are spoken of as referring to, and indi- 
cating, the Maana of Ali, in the seven Domes or Periods ; 
and this indication is the office of these two persons, with 
reference to the first divine person. In my manuscript also 
the words Maana, Ism, and Bab are frequently mentioned 
together, as forming an essential part of the Ansairee 
religion. Thus 4, referring to some quotations from the 
Koran with respect to the divinity of Ali, it is said: 
"And many other similar passages indicate the know- 
ledge of the Maana, the Ism, and the Bab." Again, a 
certain wife of Mohammed, Umur Salmah, is spoken of 

♦ Q. 97. t MS. p. 89. t MS. p. 75. 

§ MS. p. 66. II P. 131. i P. 17. 

THE ISM. 121 

as, " by her * nearness * to the apostle indicating the 
appearances of the Maana, the Ism, and the Bab." * In 
another place Ali is invoked ** by the truth of the 
Maana, the Ism, and the Bab." f In other passages refer- 
ence is made to the Maana-il-Kadeem (ancient Meaning), 
the Isra-il-Azeem (great Name), and the Bab-il-Kareem 
and Makeem (honourable and durable Door). J 

These words also are found in all the known books of 
the Ansaireeh. Thus Niebuhr speaks of them ; but as 
these appearances, in the book in his possession, were 
coupled with those of five orphans and of a certain 
Hosein, the famous apostle of the Ansaireeh who spread 
their religion, he terms the manifestations of the Deity a 
Quintite, which he professes himself unable to explain. 

M. y. Langlois § refers to the same words, and says : 
" The dogmas of the Ansaireeh are : The divinity of Ali, 
son-in-law of Mohammed, who was incarnate seven times ; 
and a Trinity, renewed at seven different epochs, and under 
diverse names. This Trinity is called Maana, Ism, Bab. 
They denote this Trinity by the letters Ain, Meem, 
Seen, which are the initial letters of the names of Ali, 
Mohammed, and Salm^n-el-Farsi." 

M. Catafago also, in describing an Ansairee book ||, after 
giving the title, says " that the author distinguishes three 
principles in Ali. 1. The divinity properly so called, or the 
essence of beings. 2. The light or veil (Hedjab). 3. The 
door, which is the faithful soul." 

We see again the entire agreement of the several 
MSS. consulted, with reference at least to all the main 
Ansairee dogmas, and we shall find that they no less agree 
in minor points. 

Mohammed is the Ism, Name, or second person of that 
triune manifestation of the Deity which took place at the 

* MS. p. 40. , t P. 41. t MS. pp. 44 and 158. 

§ Revue d'Orient, Juin, 1856. 

II Notice on Ansaireeh, Journ. Asiat. Feb. 1848. 


most perfect period, that of Ali. Thus the form of 
Mohammed is the most perfect of the seven manifestations 
of the Ism, of which the six previous were in the persons 
of Adam (who is looked on by the Mussulmans also as a 
prophet), Noah, Jacob, Moses, Solomon, and Jesus. On 
comparing these with the corresponding manifestations of 
the Maana, we shall find that the seven personages of this 
last are less noted than the seven of the Ism. Such per- 
sonages as Abel, Seth, Joseph, Joshua, Asaph, and Peter, 
seem chosen for the manifestations of the Deity, because of 
their comparative seclusion when in the world, possessing 
only such notoriety as was necessary to give them suffi- 
cient importance for the use made of them in the Ansairee 
system. The Deity, even in Ali's time, is supposed to 
reveal itself to men by means of the Ism, called- also the 
Hedjab, because the Ism veils as it were the insupportable 
brightness of the Deity from the eyes of mortals. This 
expression or idea seems to have been taken from the 
Hedjabs or veils used before the doors of the halls of 
audience of great men. Thus the caliphs of Bagdad 
had, as their special prerogative, seven veils before their 
audience chamber, to raise and lower which was the duty 
of the Hadjib, or chamberlain, whose denomination was 
taken from his office.* Tha term is often applied to 
Mohammed in my Ansairee MS.f In the 3rd mass pub- 
lished in the Journal of the German Oriental Society, it is 
said : " There is no Pledjab but our Lord Mohammed-il- 
Mahmood, " the praised ; for this, and another denomina- 
tion, Mohammed-il-Hamd, or " the Praise," is given to him, 
on account of the likeness of the adjective to the noun 
proper; just as Salman is called Is-Salaam, the Peace, 
and Salsal, pure wine, or pure water. 

As Hamza appeared several times, so did Mohammed, 
for the same person who was the Ism during one period 
was identical with the one who appeared at another, 

♦ Von Hammer, p. 93. t Tp- 8, 10, 40, 61, 144. 


though under a different form. Thus the most perfect 
appearance of the Ism as Mohammed, had before ap- 
peared as Jesus*, so that in the prayer for the eve of 
Christmas, given by M. Catafagof , appear these words : — 
" Thou (Ali) didst manifest in that night thy Name, 
which is thy Soul, thy Veil, thy Throne, to all creatures, as 
a child, and under human form ; while with Thee that 
Name is the greatest and most sacred being of all that is 
found in thy kingdom. Thou didst manifest thyself to 
men, to prove thine eternity and thy divinity. Thou 
dost manifest thyself to them in the person of thy Hudjjilh 
(* demonstration'), to recompense those who shall have 
recognised thy divinity at the epoch when thou didst call 
men to thy religion in sacrificing thyself for their re- 

However, though the Ansaireeh use this language, they 
do not believe in the reality of the crucifixion, but hold 
the Mussulman view based on the words of Mohammed 
in the Koran J, which he took from the early Christian 
heretics, and probably from a spurious gospel : — " The 
Jews have spoken against Mary a grievous calumny ; 
and have said, Verily we have slain Christ Jesus, the son 
of Mary, the apostle of God. Yet they slew him not, 
neither crucified him, but he was represented (to them) 
by one in his likeness; and verily they who disagreed 
concerning him were in a doubt as to this matter, and 
had no sure knowledge thereof, but followed only an 
uncertain opinion. They did not really kill him; but 
God took him up unto himself." This passage is cited in 
my MS.§ ; and once when I was speaking to an Ansairee 
sheikh about the death of our blessed Saviour, he used the 
blasphemous expression, " May God have no mercy on any 
one who died for me ! " 

Mohammed holds much the same position with respect 

* Victor Langlois, ubi supra. f Journ. Asiat. Feb. 1848. 

t Soorah, iy. v. 156. § P. 2. See also Catech. q, 75. 


to Ali in the Ansairee belief, that Hamza places himself 
in with respect to Hakem. He is made to say of himself: 
" For I was created out of the light of His (All's) es- 
sence/'* and farther to show his inferiority immediately 
after he says : " Is not Ali my Lord and your Lord ? " 
So that, as we have said, the Ansairee Trinity is not a 
Trinity of Persons in the Godhead. 

Further, in the same passage, Mohammed asks the ques- 
tion : " Is not Ali my creator and yours ? " f And in 
the Ansairee catechism, in answer to the question J : 
" How did the Maana create the Ism, and how did the 
Ism create the Bab ?" it is said : " The substance of 
substances created the Name out of the light of his 

In another passage of my MS.§, Ali is addressed as 
having " created the Lord Mohammed from the light 
of his unity and from the power of his eternity." " And 
He made him a light extracted from the essence of His 
Meaning, and called him Mohammed at the time when 
he conversed with him, and caused him to move out of 
his state of rest, and chose him, and called him by his 
name, and elected him. And he had no Lord but him, 
and He made him His flashing light and His sharp edge 
and His speaking tongue, arid set him over the great 
matter and the ancient cause, and made him the circle 
of existence and the centre of prayer" (Mihr^b, the point 
in mosques towards which prayer is made, as marking out 
the Kublah or direction of Mecca), " by the command of 
the Lofty one, the worshipped. And He said to him : 
Be the Cause of causes, and the framer of the Doors^ and 
at them (the doors) the Hedjab, veil " (so as to be 
intermediate between the glory of the Deity and men). 
'* Pie (Mohammed) created the Door (SalmA<n) by the 

♦ MS. pp. 94, 95. 

t In my MS., at page 178, Mohammed is called the "best of created 

% Q. 11. § Pp. 110, 111. 


command of his Lord, and His End (Gaiyah), and His 
Meaning ; and he removed hurt and calamity from the 
Door. He commanded him to create the higher and 
lower worlds. So he guided them (the inhabitants of 
the lower worlds) to all the pure worlds." Thus we see 
that Ali created all things through the instrumentality of 

There is some difficulty in accounting for the way in 
which the Ism or Name is sometimes spoken of, that is, 
the names which are sometimes given to it in the An- 
sairee book. Perhaps the best explanation is, that some 
of these discrepancies have crept in gradually in the 
course of time, and escape the observation, or at least 
explanation, of the present teachers of religion. For 
these, or their predecessors, have certainly sometimes 
mystified themselves, as appears from some of the answers 
in the Ansairee catechism. Thus, after a number of 
most silly names given to the degrees of the seven spiritual 
hierarchies of the world of light, — which names are seem- 
ingly collected with much difficulty from various objects, 
such as lights, suns, &c. ; moons, lightnings, &c. ; prayer, 
alms, &c. ; mountains, seas, &c. ; night, day, &c. ; camels, 
bees, &c. ; houses, mosques, &c. — the question is put : * 
" How were these seven hierarchies called in the world 
of light, before their appearance in the earthly world ? " 
And the answer is : " They had other names in heaven ; " 
as if the framer of these mystic hierarchies was either 
wearied with his work, or in despair of finding suitable 
names in his exhausted imagination. Otherwise, the 
iiio:hts he sometimes takes show that he would not 
have shrunk from the wildest conceptions. Again, to 
the question, " How is it that the Nadjeebs have 
two names, one in the earthly world, and the other in 
the world of light ? " the answer is simply, that " they 
have just two names." So, if we cannot reconcile every 

♦ Q. 64. 


imaginative statement of the Ansairee theology, we need 
neither wonder nor be deeply grieved. 

In my Ansairee MS., then, there are these consecutive 
invocations of Ali, in some of which the Name is spoken 
of in rather an inexplicable way.* " I invoke thee, my 
Lord, by the names of the Name according to the rules 
of language, which names are, Ahmed Mohammed the 
chosen, Y.S. (and other similar cabalistic letters prefixed 
to some chapters of the Koran), and in the Old Tes- 
tament Mad al Mad, and in the New Testament Para- 
kleet, and in the Psalms Muhaimin (a title of God, the 
* observer of actions'), in the Koran Mohammed ; good 
is the Veil ! " Again : " I invoke thee by the names of 
the Name in the essential nine f , which are Adam, Jacob, 
Moses, Aaron, Solomon, Jesus, Abdullah (father of Mo- 
hammed), Mohammed the apostle of God, and Mohammed 
son of Hassan, the Demonstration ; God, my Lord, that 
thou wilt raise us by them to the highest rank, and save 
us from all calamity and distress, by the truth of Mo- 
hammed the son of Hassan, the Demonstration (the last 

We see here that Noah is omitted and Aaron intro- 
duced in the seven appearances of the Name ; Aaron 
being admitted into the number of the seven mute " foun- 
dations" (Asas) of the seven speaking prophets, in the 
original Ismaelee system before described. Abdullah 
and the Imam Mohammed are also added, for what reason 
we confess we cannot at present see. 

Another invocation is " by the names of the Name 
in the Abrahamic Dome, which are Abraham, Ishmael, 
Elias, Kusai (an ancestor of Mohammed), and Isaac:" 
the next is by the same in the Mosaic Dome, " which arc 
Moses, Aaron, Shabbar, Shabeer, and Mushabbir (three 
sons of Aaron, according to the Mussulmans) : " and 
lastly, by the same in the Dome of Mohammed, " which 

* MS. pp. 60, &c. Catech. q. 16, 17. 

t Meaning, perhaps, special manifestations of the Name. 


are Mohammed, Fatir (Fatima), Hassan, Hosein, and 
Mohsin." Probably, as these last are reckoned only as 
one (see above), so the other five, in the previous 
period of Moses, and also of Abraham, are so reckoned. 
The next invocation is exceedingly obscure in its word- 
ing. It is, " by the sixty-three names, consecutive names 
of the Name, through which the Name executed prophecy 
and consecutive apostleship for the Maana and Essence.'^ 
Or, as the fourteenth question of the catechism has it, 
" What are the sixty-three names of the Name, which, 
spiritually taken, denote the Maana (sense), and personally 
the Name — those of which the Godhead has made use 
to manifest himself in the persons of the prophets and 
apostles ? " These form such a curious mixture, that 
I will add them here, broken into groups. " Adam, Enos, 
Cainan, Mahalaleel, Yarid (written Gazid), Edrees (Mus- 
sulman name for Enoch), Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, 
Shem, Arphaxad ; Yareb (descendant of Ishmael) ; Hood, 
Saleb, Lokman (prophets, &c., mentioned in the Koran) ; 
Lot, Abraham, Ishmael ; Alyas (an ancestor of Mo- 
hammed) ; Kusai ; Isaac, Jacob, Shuaib (Mussulman 
name for Jethro), Moses, Aaron, Kawlab (Caleb ?), Eze- 
kiel, Samuel, Taloot (Mussulman name for Saul), David, 
Solomon, Job, Jonah, Isaiah ; Heysa (a descendant of 
Ishmael) ; the Khudy (a Mussulman or Christian person- 
age according to circumstances; when Christian, Elijah 
or St. George), Zechariah, John, Jesus, Daniel, Alex- 
ander ; Ardesheer, Sapon (the first two Persian kings 
of the Sassanian dynasty) ; Luai, Murrah, Kilab, Kusai, 
Abd-Manaf, Hashim, Abd-il-Muttalab, Abdullah (ances- 
tors of Mohammed) ; Mohammed the chosen ; Hossum 
the elected, Hosein the martyr in Kerbela, Ali the orna- 
ment of true believers, Mohammed the investigator ; 
Djaafar the just, Moses the patient, Ali the accepted, 
Mohammed the generous, Ali the director, Hassan the 
Askeree, and the Imam Mohammed son of Hassan the 
demonstration, the chief, the director,, the preacher, the 


Warner, the hoped for, the expected, lord of the age and 
time " (the last eleven being the eleven Irnarns after Ali). 
On looking among these persons, we see the names of the 
seven in which the Name is said especially to manifest 
itself. Its manifestation in the others can hardly be 
of the like nature, but by influence rather than by actual 
descent in them. 

Another explanation, which would remove the difii- 
culties we have alluded to, and may after all be right, 
is that besides the seven noted manifestations of the Name 
at the time of the seven special manifestations of the 
Deity, there were a consecutive series of manifestations of 
the same, from the commencement of the world ; the Name 
dwelling in the person of the son, or the next divine 
prophet or apostle on the death or disappearance of the 
father ; the only remark we make in this case being, 
that some names, such as Ezekiel and Daniel, are sadly 
out of their chronological order. It will be seen also 
from the description of the merits of the feast of Nurooz*, 
that in the Ansairee system there is an indistinct indica- 
tion of other appearances of the Deity, or Maana, besides 
the seven noted ones from Abel to Ali. 

In that symbolical way through which the Ansairee 
system represents things in heaven and earth, by human 
personifications and the converse, Mohammed is con- 
sidered the personification of Salat or Prayer ; some of 
his family and companions, such as his sons, being used 
for the same purpose, especially Fatima, Hassan, and 
Hosein.f There are some doggerel lines ascribed to that 
great authority Hosein il Khaseebee, to this effect : — 

" As Prayer is (represented by) men whose persons are an interpreta- 
tion (Tameel), 

Fifty and one persons sanctified with new moons, 

Mohammed, then Fatir (Fatima), and the Shibrayn (Hassan and 
Hosein) the foundations (literally roots), 

Given in Chap. X. f ^P- 69, &c. ; and Catech. q. 100. 

THE BAB. 129 

IS from them, and with them, they are the true direction and the 
As likewise Zecat, alms, is the Door Gabriel, his name 
Salman, beside him there is no guide to the Apostle." * 

Thus we see that the Ansaireeh acknowledge Mo- 
hammed, saying that as to his apostleship he was taught 
and sent by All. They also receive the Koran, but alle- 
gorise it. In the catechism f the question is asked, 
" What is the Koran ? " And the answer is : " The fore- 
runner of the appearance of our Lord in human form." 
And again : " Who taught Mohammed the Koran ? " 
Answer : " Our Lord, who is the Maana (meaning), by 
the mouth of Gabriel." Here again is one of the incon- 
sistencies into which the Ansairee writers could scarcely 
fail of falling ; Gabriel being the first manifestation of 
Salman the Bab. and identical with him as we see in the 
above lines, and also inferior to Mohammed as a di- 
rector of men to him, is here, in order to accord with 
the uniform statements of the Koran, made a teacher of 
Mohammed, or at least a go-between of the Deity and 

The Ansaireeh commonly declare that the Mussulmans 
do not follow Mohammed the apostle, but Mohammed ibn- 
Haneefa. Now, they either mean by this Mohammed ibn- 
Hanafeyeh, or more probably allude to Abu-Haneefa (the 
father, not the son, of Haneefa, who, moreover was not called 
Mohammed), who was the doctor of the most celebrated 
of the four orthodox sects of the Soonnah, and that one 
which is followed by the Mussulmans of Syria. In the 
same way they say that the Christians do not believe in the 
true Jesus, but in Jesus-il-Djida, the new, or the young. 

The third person in the Trinity is the Bab, or door, who 
in the time of Adam was Gabriel, and in the time of All, 
Salman-il-Farisee, the Persian. J Another name given to 

* MS. p. 73. t Catech. q. 72, 73. 

X MS. p. 144 ; and 8d mass of J. Catafago, Germ. Orient. Soc. Jour, 
vol. ii. " And there is no door, but the lord Salman-il-Farisee." 



him is that of Salsal, which means either a chain (refer- 
ring, as a name of Salmon, to his being one of a chain of 
witnesses or apostles), or good wine, or pure water. It is 
mentioned in connexion with Salsabeel in one passage of 
my MS., this last being a name of wine, and especially of 
a fountain in Paradise*, and probably Salsal is used only 
because of its likeness to Salman and Salsabeel. In the 
third mass given by M. Catafago, referred to in the last 
note, is the expression, " my religion is Salsal." 

That Salsal is only another expression for Salmon is 
evident from the connexion in which it is always used. 
Thus in one passagef is the expression, " God, be favour- 
able to our Lord Mohammed and the family of our Lord 
Mohammed, and to Salsal and the family of Salsal, the 
lamps of darkness and keys of language." In another 
passage^ it is said, "May God cause us and you, brethren, 
to drink a draught from the palm of Salsal ! " 

D'Herbelot says of Salman § : " Abu-Abdallah Selman- 
il-Farsi (called also Salman-al-Khair) is the name of a 
freedman of Mohammed, who was a Persian by nation. 
It is said that he was a Christian, and that he had read 
the Scriptures, and travelled much; however, he was of 
the first and most considerable of the Mussulmans, so that 
some say of him that he founded Islamism. Abu-Horairah, 
and Anas ibn-Malek, two persons of great authority in 
the traditions of Mohammed, received them from Salman, 
and Salman immediately from Mohammed." 

Salman was in great honour with the followers of Ali ; 
thus Obeidallah, the first of the Fatimite caliphs, is ac- 
cused of having calumniated the companions and wives of 
the Prophet, except Ali, son of Abu-Talib, Ammar ibn- 
Yasir, Salman-il-Farsi, Al Mikdad ibn-il-Aswad, and Abu- 
Durr-il-Gifari||; the two last being, as we shall hereafter 

♦ MS. p. 45. t P- 138. t MS. p. 134. 

§ Bibliot. Orient, article Selman. 

II Establishment of Fatimite Dynasty in Africa ; El Masudi, (Nichol- 
son, Tubingen, 1840,) p. 112. 


see, persons conspicuous in the Ansairee system. We 
have seen, too, that Sahnan-il-Farsi, is so highly respected 
among the Druses that he is made the person in whom 
Hamza appeared at the time of Mohammed. Probably 
this position of Salman with the secret sects is due to 
some traditional account of his friendship with Ali. 

We have seen that the Bab Salman holds an inferior 
place to Mohammed the Ism, and that Mohammed is 
said to have "created the Bab by the command of his 
Lord, the End and Meaning (Maana)* ; and Salmon calls 
Mohammed, " My most great Lord."f 

Ali is spoken of as the " reminder of Salsal " or Sahnan, 
that he may be the teacher of others. Salman^s position 
is that of the immediate teacher of men, being a guide to 
the apostlej, or ^lohammed, who again communicates be- 
tween Salman and Ali. 

We have already given the names of the Bab § at the 
seven great manifestations of the Deity. As in the case of 
the Ism there are other designations given to it, such as 
the " universal soul," the Holy Ghost, Gabriel, &c.|| One 
invocation of Ali is by the names of the personifications of 
the Bab in the Bahman (Persian word for king), Domes, 
or Periods. Among them are the names Fairooz, Anu- 
shirwan, Bahram, Afridoon, and others known in Persian 
history. 4 

Other names arc given of the Bab, such as the titles of 
chapters of the Koran, as in the case of the Ism; " the 
faithful soul," names of constellations, Salsal, Salsabeela, 
&c.** But of these and other names of the Name (such 
as will, knowledge, power, &c. &c.), and of the Bab, we 
have had already more than enough. 

* MS. p. 111. See also Catecli. q. 11, MS. p. 91. f ^S- P- 21. 

J MS. p. 38. Catech. q. 24—29. 
§ MS. p. 73. See the lines quoted above. 
II MS. p. 50. Catech. q. 31. 
\. MS. p. 50. ** MS. p. 45. 


In theAnsairee system, Salmon personifies Zac^t or alms, 
as we have seen in the lines we have already quoted. As 
Mohammed was the same person with Jesus, &c., so Sal- 
man with Rozaba* and the other preceding Doors. 

The twelve imams, of whom Ali is the first and chief, 
form another part of the Ansairee system.f We have before 
seen that they are spoken of as the termination of the 
sixty-three personifications of the Name, and in another 
passage of my Ansairee book J, it is said : " Stablish us in 
obedience to Thee, and to Thy apostle Mohammed, and to 
Thy Walee§ Salsal, and to Thy Names the Imams, who are 
Thine ; Thou hast named Thyself by them, ; they are not 
empty of Thee, but Thou art of themT 

It is thus evident that they are inferior to the Maana, 
and, when mentioned, they are represented as referring to 
Ali and teaching obedience to him, and as authorities for 
parts of the Ansairee religion, of which Ali is the great 
centre. Thus in one passage of my MS. Djaafar-is-Sadik 
(one of the most celebrated of the imams, and one who 
may have had really something to do with the formation 
and doctrines of the secret sects,) is made to say, " On the 
naming of me the silence of the speaker is required ; and 
on the mention of God silence and attention. "|| 

At the same time the imams are spoken of with great 
respect as divine persons. Thus, on a certain man entering 
the presence of Hassan il Askeree, the eleventh imam, 
and chief authority for the Ansairee faith, he is represented 
as saying that he found him " sitting on a throne of light, 
before him rays of light, and with a light between his 
eyes, which filled the east and west. And when I saw 
him I fell on my face in adoration ; then I raised my head 
and stood praising and thanking my Lord ; and I said : — 

• MS. p. 51. t MS. p. 142. % MS. p. 22. 

§ That is either one of whom God takes care, or who is obedient to 

11 MS. p. 179. 


my Lord is to be praised and is holy; our Lord is the Lord 
of the angels and of the spirit."* 

Djaafar-is-Sadik is often spoken off as an authority in 
matters of faith and practice. So Bakir-il-UlmJ, or Mo- 
liammed the father of Djaafar, who also, as a great 
student, may have had to do with the system of allego- 

Mohammed "the Hudjjah§," or "Thy Hudjjah||," or 
demonstration, occupies a conspicuous place among the 
twelve imams as the Mohdec, who is to come " to make of 
all religions one sole one|/' before the appearance of Ali; 
who, according to the catechism, is to appear once more, 
" without any transformation, asheis,in pomp and glory."** 
This man is said by the Mussulmans to have been drowned 
in the Tigris when twelve years old, and his tomb is shown ; 
but the Imameeh believe that he entered a cave (Sirdthab) 
and only disappeared from the eyes of men, to appear at 
the appointed time."ff 

To each of these imams, or Isms, there was a Bab, and 
their names are given in the " eleven appearances," from 
Ali to Hassan il Askeree, the Bab of whom, as Ave have 
seen, was Abu-Schuaib ibn-Nusair, the Ansairee apostle. 

Another conspicuous part of the Ansairee system are 
the Aytam. These are the second of seven spiritual 
hierarchies, of which the Doors are the first, and they are 
generally connected with the Doors ; though the series 
sometimes commences with the Names, thus J J, " His 
Name, His Door, His Aytam, and the people of His holy 

The word Aytdm^ singular Yateem, properly signifies 
orphans, and hence those disciples who have lost their 
master. But the word is used in another meaning, as in 

* MS. p. 119. t MS. pp. 20, 163, 169. Catecli. 9. 

t MS. p. 166. § MS. p. 62. || MS. p. 64. 

4 Journ. Asiat. Feb. 1848. Notice on Ansaireeh. ** Q. 7. 
It Abulfeda, vol. v. p. 320 of General History. JJ MS. p. 60. 

& 3 


the expression " id-dura il yateeraa," the priceless pearl ; 
priceless on account of its rarity ; and hence the word is 
probably used in the Ansairee system, in the meaning, 
that the orphans or disciples were the choice spirits of their 

As an Ansairee is required to believe in the chain of 
divine appearances from Abel to Ali, and in the chain of 
imams, from the first Hassan to the last, so is he to believe 
that there always have existed five Aytam* ; five being the 
consecrated number in this case. Niebuhr gives their 
names at the seven appearances from Abel to Ali, and they 
agree most remarkably with those in my Ansairee MS. ; 
there being only such discrepancies as may be accounted 
for by mistakes made in expressing the Arabic words in 
French, or by errors of the Ansairee copyists. It is thus 
clear that the Ansaireeh of to-day have a certain definite 

The five orphans in the time of Adam, when Gabriel was 
the Door, were the five angels, Michael, Israfeel, Azraeel, 
Malik, and Rudwan f , and these are the types of the suc- 
cessive appearances of the Aytam. Thus it is said, " There 
are no angels but the five angels, the orphans." | 

The Ayt^ra are often mentioned in the different books 
of the Ansaireeh §, generally as those who had been the 
disciples of the Doors; but the invocation in my MS.||. is 
by the twenty-five names of the orphans, five of whom 
belonged to each of the five persons, Salman, Mohammed, 
our Lord Fatir (Fatima), and our lady Umur Salamah (a 
wife of Mohammed), and our lord the Ark (which is the 
name of the second of the Doors, in the time of the eleven 
imams). The above is curious because it introduces women, 
namely, Fatima and Umur Salamah, and their orphans, 

* Niebuhr, vol. ii. p. 360. f Niebuhr and MS. p. 47. 

X Third Mass, J. Catafago. 

§ MS. pp. 20, 25, 27, 121. Catech. q. 56—63. Journ. Asiat. Feb. 
II P. 42. See also Catech. q. 70. 


who are all women, and, as we shall see, women have no 
part nor lot in general in the Ansairee system, so that tliey 
make a man of Fatima by clipping her name and calling 
her "lord." 

In one passage *, the five orphans seem referred to as 
the "five luminous bodies;" and, as we have seen, they 
form part of seven hierarchies in the world of light, whose 
names we have already mentioned, and of which we will 
again speak shortly. 

It is reported of Mohammed f, that he declared that 
" when a congregation of true believers assembled in the 
east, west, north, or south of the earth, and made mention 
of God most high. His Name, His Door, His Orphans, His 
Nakeebs, Nadjeebs, Mukhtassen, Mukhliseen, Mumtaha- 
neen, and all the people of His hierarchies, there was a 
crier from above, who proclaimed, * Rise, with your sins 
forgiven you, and your ill deeds changed into good ones.' " 

We have already spoken of these hierarchies and their 
numbers, and of the earthly degrees of the " honourable 
species," — the choice believers. The Ansairee writer not 
only makes addition sums of the numbers of these spi- 
ritual and earthly degrees — 119,000 and 5000 respectively, 
— but takes the trouble also to add together the respective 
sums, and gives the sum total as 124,000. To such a 
height of grave absurdity may false teaching come ! The 
most absurd names are given for the forty-nine degrees of 
the spiritual hierarchies, for which I will refer the curious 
reader to my note on questions 56 — 65 of the catechism. 

Besides all these hierarchies, an Ansaireeh is required to 
honour certain apostles, prophets, and great men. 

For instance, seventeen prophesiers who appeared in 
this (last) Dome, under the covenant of Lord Mohammed, 
the greatest of whom is TeidJ, Mohammed's freedman. 
Also twenty-eight Nadjeebs, excellent ones, of whom the 

* P. 68. 

f MS. p. 121. Part of these words are from a Mussulman tradition. 

% MS., p. 33. Catech. q. 69. 

K 4 


greatest is Abdallah ibn-Saba, he who maintained the 
divinity of Ali during his lifetime* ; his name being con- 
sequently mentioned in my MS. (p. 152) alone and con- 

There are many other illustrious characters, such as 
Djaafar Tayyar, called Bab or Doorf , and Malik or kingj, 
a brother of Ali, whose tomb or visiting-place is at the 
top of the highest part of the Ansairee range, and is held 
in special reverence by the people of my own district. 

The famous Khadi-il-Akhdar§, or the " green " green, 
because of his sempiternal youth, and his having made a 
rod to bud, is also in great favour with the Ansaireeh. 

The four brothers of Ali, that they may not be without 
designation, are called the four supports of the house (the 
temple at Mecca, spiritually taken), and even Matthew, 
Paul, Peter (called Butmus, in mistake for Butrus, his 
usual Arabic name), and St. John Chrysostom (!) have a 
place in the system as orphans of Rozaba||, the Door in the 
time of Jesus, when Peter, under his other name of 
Shamoon Safa (Simon Cephas) was the Maana, or human 
form of the Deity. 

We have spoken already of the Ansairee sign A. M. S., 
by which they represent their Trinity, and which is styled 
their " Uddal " or " arms." It often occurs in their 
writings |, and on page 68 of my MS. Ali is invoked "by 
the truth of the A of Ali, the M of Mohammed, and the S 
of Salsal." 

The Ansaireeh suppose that there were five "worlds," 
that is ages, before that of man, and that during them the 
world was successively inhabited by five kinds of beings, 
worshippers of Ali, called the Djann, the Bann, the Turam, 
the Ramm, and the Djan (!).** 

* MS. p. 37. Catecli. q. 66. t MS. p. 41. 

t MS. p. 107. § MS. p. 107. 

II MS. p. 48. Catech. q. 29. Victor Langlois, Revue d'Orient. 

I MS. pp. 25, 68, 137, 161. Victor Langlois. Catccli. q. 74. 
♦* MS. p. 80. Catecli. q. 52. 


Another main fact of the Ansairee system is taken from 
that of the Hindoos, the Sabians, and the Magians. It is 
the respect paid to light, and the belief in spiritual, higher, 
luminous worlds. 

The Ansaireeh seem to suppose that the divine essence 
is identical with light, or, if not so, that it is symbolised 
by it. The letters K. N. represent the word " be " in 
Arabic, and since this word was used in the creation of 
light, light is called the secret of God which is concealed 
between the K and the N.* 

In the description of the merits of the feast of Nurooz, 
given by M. Catafagof , there are these remarkable words. 
In speaking of the manifestations of the Deity among the 
Arabs and Persians, it is said : " The Lord, on leaving the 
Persians, deposited his wisdom with them. He left them 
well contented with them, and promised to return to 
them. It is He himself who says : * The most High had 
deposited his mystery with you Arabs, and it was among 
you that He manifested a great work. He destined you 
for its reception, but you have lost it, while the Persians 
have preserved it, even after His disappearance by the 
means of fire and light, in which He manifested Himself.' '^ 
Allusion is then made to Moses seeing the burning bush, 
and not being allowed to approach, to show the sacredness 
of fire. And then, it is added, " We read in the treatise 
of Fukh : ' The Persians have consecrated fire, from which 
they await the manifestation of the Deity. And, in fact, 
the manifestation will take place among them, for they 
cease not to keep lighted the fire, from which they look 
for this same manifestation, and the accomplishment of the 
promises of the Deity in that event.' " 

The wild conceits to be found in the passage from which 
I have taken the above are probably due to some Persian, 
and, in fact, one of the divisions of the book where it is to 

* MS. p. 35, and Catech. q. 92. 
t Journ. Asiat. Feb. 1848. 


be found is styled " The traditionary sayings of Abu-Ali 
of Busra, in his dwelling in Shiraz, in the year of the 
Hijra327 (a. d. 938). 

From this reverence for light, since the sun is the light 
of lights*, Ali is supposed to reside in the sun f and in the 
eyes of the sun J, from which he is said to appear § ; and 
when they pray, according to the Ansairee catechism||, 
they turn their faces towards the sun. 

Tlie Jesuit missionaries observe : " AVhen the Ansaireeh 
are at their prayers, they turn themselves towards the 
sun ; which has led some to say that they adore the sun ; 
but on this point they are not agreed." .j. 

And this leads me to refer again to what I have alluded 
to in the opening chapter of this book, that the Ansaireeh 
are divided into two sects, called respectively Shemseeh and 
Kumreeh, from " shems," the sun, and *^ kumr," the moon. 
One of the great distinctions between them, as one might 
infer from their name, is the different degrees of respect 
which they pay to these luminaries. But they have other 
distinctions, and the people of one sect do not learn of the 
.sheikhs of the other. However, the Bagdad sheikh and 
others have before me smoothed over these differences, 
saying that their belief was the same, and that they were 
only two sects ^ not of two religions. The book which I 
have is of the Shemseeh sect, as also those Ansairee books 
appear to be which have been hitherto published. The 
Shemseeh seem to be the oldest and are the strictest 

With respect to the sun and moon, I have often heard 
the Kumreeh say of the Shemseeh, in contempt, " they do 

♦ Catech. q. 95. 

t Niebulir's Ansairee book. Druse book against Nusaireeh. De 
X Catech. q. 82. 

§ MS. p. 110, and Niebuhr. || Q. 95. 

I Lcttres Edifiantes et Curieuses, vol i. pp. 361 — 364. 


not love the moon." Once my Christian ploughman was 
working with some of the Kumreeh, when some men of 
the Shemseeh came up and began arguing with the 
Kumreeh on the points of difference between them, and 
let in light on them by the dispute ; for in the heat of 
argument the Shemseeh champions appealed to my servant 
and said, " Is it right to worship the creature? Should not 
one worship the Creator only?" basing their argument 
on the words of the Koran (c. 41, v. 37): "Worship not 
the moon nor the sun, but worship God who created them; " 
which passage the Kumreeh allegorise and explain away. 
It is evident from their books that the Shemseeh reverence 
the sun, though they do not worship it ; while it is certain 
that the Kumreeh go very far in their respect for both 
sun and moon, especially the latter. In fact, the Ansairee 
lad tells me that his people, who are of the Kumreeh sect, 
are extremely " afraid " of the sun and moon, and pray to 
them. He says, also, that it is a common thing for the 
women and children to speak of the moon (which probably 
looks the greatest to them), as the face of Ali, and the 
sun, as that of Mohammed. 

It is from this reverence for light that spiritual person- 
ages are symbolised by such things as the twenty-eight 
mansions of the moon.* 

Among many worlds which are said to be known to 
God alone, and which form the higher and lower worlds f, 
are two others, the great and the little world J ; the 
luminous world or great world of light, and the earthly 
wo rid. § For this notion they are ultimately indebted to 
the Hindoo philosophy. 

We now come to a more practical part of the religion of 
the Ansaireeh — their belief in metempsychosis, or the 
transmigration of souls. This doctrine was adopted from 
the early religions of the East, by all the secret sects, 

* MS. p. 37. t MS. p.II2. 

X MS. p. 64. § Catech. q. 53—55. 


Al Mokannaa being one of the earliest who is said to have 
taught it. The Ansaireeh held it from the first, and 
Hamza, the Druse author, directs his anathemas against 
them, because they carry the doctrine to such an extent as 
to say " that the souls of the enemies of Ali will pass into 
dogs, and other unclean brute animals, till they enter fire, 
to be burnt and beaten under the hammer." After 
refuting this doctrine of transmigration into animals, he 
concludes, " and whoever believes in metempsychosis, like 
the Ansaireeh, the followers of the Maana, in the person 
of Ali son of Abu-Taleb, and who stands up for it, 
suffers the loss both of this world and the next." * 

Metempsychosis, which is called by Mussulman authors, 
Tanasukh, is termed by the Ansaireeh Taknees, or 
Tadjaiyul, that is the coming in successive *'djeels" or 
generations. The Jesuit missionaries say on this point: 
" The Ansaireeh further admit the metempsychosis, and 
say that the same soul passes from one body into another, 
as many as seventy times ; but with this difference, that 
the soul of a good man enters into a body more perfect 
than his own, and the soul of a vicious man passes into the 
body of an unclean animal." f 

Niebuhr says : " The soul of a devout Ansairee can 
enter into Paradise, after it has been in only a small 
number of Hembden (?) (bodies), but the soul of another 
must have dwelt in eighty Hembden (which is what they 
term hell). The souls of infidels must pass through five 
frightful degrees, Fesgh, Nesgh, Mesgh, Wesgh, and Resgh, 
and after that they must remain in the world as sheep, 
till the return of Soolra (Zahrah) or Fatima." J 

With respect to the number of transmigrations, I have 
heard from the people themselves the same number men- 
tioned as by Niebuhr, while sheikhs have to pass through 
but few bodies. I have often heard them, when the jackals 

* Dc Sacy, vol. ii. p. 579. 

t Lettres Edif. et Cur. vol. i. pp. 361—364. 

j Travels, vol. ii. p. 360. 



began to cry towards dusk, laugh and say : " Those are the 
Mussuhnans calling to afternoon prayer ; for the souls of 
Mussulmans pass into jackals." 

Ish-Sharestanee * mentions the names of four degrees 
of transmigration, called respectively Faskh, Naskh, Maskh, 
and Raskb, which are like the names quoted by Niebuhr 
from his Ansairee book. 

When the disciple is initiated, one .of the threats, if he 
shall reveal the Ansairee secrets, is, that he will thereby 
" merit il Musookheyal (the being turned into dreadful 
forms), and the walking in low envelopes (kamees)." f 
And if " he shall doubt of the truth of his religion, he will 
be turned into horrid forms, and be caused to transmigrate 
again and again, and be tortured in various revolutions." J 
The terms used here are " kaur " and "daur," which are also 
used by the Druses. Thus, the title of Hamza's book 
against the Ansaireeh is : " The epistle destroying the 
wicked one ; the reply to the Nusairee ; may the Lord 
curse him in every kaur and daur!" Which De Sacy§ 
translates, *' En tons les tems et dans tons les ages ;" kaur 
and daur referring to returns into the world, and the re- 
volutions of time, and being used with respect to the 
appearances of Ali in human form, as in Adam, in his 
kaurs and daurs. || 

The word kamees (shirt or envelope) we have already 
referred to as used by the Druses and Ansaireeh, to signify 
the body, as the envelope of the spirit, the only worthy part 
of man. Thus, in one passage of my MS4 it is said: 
*' Remember God with a due remembrance, and remember 
His name, and His door, and His orphans, and all the 
people of his hierarchies, that they may release you from 
your graves, and the envelopes of flesh and blood in which 
you now are." 

The invocations in my MS. are, consequently, prayers 

* Milah wa Nahal. . f ^^S. p. 165. J MS. p. 166. 

§ Vol. i. p. 471. II MS. p. 8. ; P. 21. 


for the souls of the "brethren," that they may be de- 
livered from Radd and Takrar *, i.e. from frequent trans- 
migrations, over which Ali is said to have the power: 
and the sheikh who was the transcriber of my MS. re- 
presents himself as hoping for deliverance from these. In 
fact the great fear of the Ansaireeh is of coming again 
into the world in a state of misery. Though they speak 
of Wukoof f , or standing before Ali, and pray that it may 
be happy, and'also sometimes speak of a certain last judg- 
ment, yet it presents to their minds a different and far less 
influential idea than to those who, as Christians and Mus- 
sulmans, believe that it will finally settle the state of all, 
according to their actions in this world. 

With respect to the state of perfect souls, we must first 
remark that the Ansaireeh believe that souls are but parts 
of the divine essence J, or at least of the essence of light, 
and hence they think that the stars are perfected souls, 
and that " every' Nusairee, after he has become purified, in 
passing through different revolutions, by returning into 
the world and reassuming the dress of humanity, becomes 
after this purification a star in heaven, which was its 
first centre." § Hence the prayer that Ali would clothe 
the brethren in envelopes of light. || 

There are two questions in the catechism bearing on 
this subject.^ " Where do the souls of your brethren, the 
true believers, go when they leave their graves ? " Answer : 
" To the great world of light." — " What will happen to 
the godless and polytheists ? " Answer : " They will have 
all torments to suffer in all ages." 

The Ansaireeh often support their belief in transmi- 
gration by a quotation from the Koran ** : " There is no 
kind of beast on earth, nor fowl which flieth with its 
wings, but the same is a people like unto you ; we have 

♦ MS. p. 76. t P- 114. 

i Journ. Asiat. Feb. 1848. 

§ Sec Druse writing quoted by Dc Sacy,-vol. ii. p. 260. 

II MS. p. 107. 4 Q. 80, 81. *♦ Chap. vi. v. 38. 


not omitted anytliinf]: in the book of our decrees : tlien 
unto their Lord shall they return." 

I have said that the Ansaireeh do speak of a Day of 
Judgment.* They also use the term Resurrection. This 
word is coupled with the former in my Ansairee MS. ; and 
in the book of festivals f Iblees is said to have asked for 
the putting off of his punishment till the " day of resur- 
rection," but that a ** shorter period had been granted 
him, only to the day of the arrival of the Mohdi, who 
is to punish the infidels, and make all religions merge in 

It seems from the above that the Ansaireeh expect first 
a kind of millennium in the world, and then the final set- 
tlement of all things, which they speak of under the terms 
"Day of Judgment " and "Resurrection," which terms 
with them have only an allegorical meaning. 

Burckhardt says that the Ansaireeh " have the curious 
belief that the soul ought to quit the dying person's bod}* 
by the mouth ; and they are extremely cautious against any 
accident which they imagine may prevent it taking that 
road : for this reason, whenever the government of La- 
dikeeh or Tripoli condemns an Ansairee to death, his rela- 
tions offer considerable sums that he may be impaled 
instead of hanged. I can vouch for the truth of this be- 
lief." % At all events, it is certain that not long ago An- 
saireeh were frequently impaled. 

I have often seen in the houses of the Ansaireeh two 
holes over the door, in order that the departed spirit on 
leaving the body may not have to meet an evil spirit who 
might by chance be moving in through a single orifice. 

There are things which tend to confirm the Ansaireeh 
in this belief in transmigration. I suppose most people 
have at several periods of their life been surrounded by 
circumstances which have partially recalled former events, 

* MS. p. 178. t Journ. Asiat. Feb. 1848, p. 166. 

X Burckhardt, Travels in Syria, p. 156. 


SO that for a moment they seem doing precisely the sam.e 
thing, or talking with the same person, as at a certain time 
past. Now, it is a usual thing for some of the Ansaireeh 
to fancy this, and that therefore they have already existed 
in a former generation. And lying comes in to help fancy. 
It is often reported that at such and such a day and hour 
a person died in one village, and another was born at 
another place, and that this latter on growing up could 
remember distinctly what he did before he died, when in 
the form of the man who deceased on the day of his birth. 
I have heard of one Christian woman who pretends that 
she was an Ansairee in a former age, and professes to 
describe what she then did ; and of another woman who 
pretends that she has already been in seven forms. It is 
further asserted that she went to a village where she had 
lived in a previous state, and showed the people where they 
could find water by digging; and that on digging the 
water was found. One man, who is a curer of serpent 
bites, gravely sp'eaks of having been so in all former 
generations.* It is by these lies that argument is stopped ; 
for, as I have often assured the people, though great liars 
they will believe any lie, but disbelieve any one when he 
tells the truth. It is a common thing to suppose that a 
Frank traveller is looking after treasures hidden when he 
and his ancestors were in the country. 

The Ansaireeh not ordy acknowledge the Tawrah (Old 
Testament or Law), Andjeel (Gospel), Zuboor (Psalms), 
and Koran, but speak in all of 114 books f, among which 
they include those of " Seth, Idrees (Enoch), Noah, and 
Abraham, in the Syriac." J In this they exceed the Mus- 
sulman calculation, who reckon only 104, of which ten 
were sent down to Adam, fifty to Seth, thirty to Idrees, and 

* When it is asked why all souls do not remember what happened to 
them in a former state, the answer is, because some arc plunged in 
Jordan up to their necks, and consequently forget their previous condi- 

t MS. p. 40. Catech. q. 71. J MS. p. 85. 


ten to Abraham.* These books were appealed to by the 
Sabiansf ; and a book attributed to Enoch is still to be 
found, and has been translated in England. The Mussul- 
mans have an apocryphal gospel of St. Barnabas J ; and I 
have seen portions of an apocryphal gospel among the 

Before I conclude this chapter I will refer to a few 
accounts of the Ansairee religion, given by various authors 
of very early dates, to show that the Ansairee religion is 
pretty well now what it always was. But first I would 
account for this by mentioning that the Ansairech have 
some books in their possession ; though the late Dr. Eli 
Smith did not think they had many, as an early Druse 
author asserts that they had in his time. Several are 
alluded to in my Ansairee MS., some of which at least 
have not yet fallen into the hands of Europeans. A cer- 
tain AboO'Saeed was one of their chief authors, and two 
books of his, " Ir-Radd Ala-il-Murtadd || " and "II Kitab- 
il-Hawi Ala Ulm-il-Fetawi|," are mentioned in the body of 
my MS., and their names entered on a fly-leaf, as if the 
owner had made a note of them, that he might remember to 
obtain copies. These same books have their titles given 
by Dr. Wolff in the Journal of the German Oriental 
Society**, apparently as referred to in the Ansairee cate- 
chism ; as also another of the same author, which is 
described by M. Catafago in the Journal Asiatique.ff 

Another author is the apostle II Khaseebee, one of whose 
treatises bears a Persian name, Rastabasheyeh, of which, 
as far as I can make out, the meaning is, " Cliiefs of a 
Series;" and it is in such honour as to be mentioned more 
than once in my MS., Ali being invoked by the truth of 

* Taylor, p. 105. Sale's Introd. to Koran, p. 52. 
■f Gibbon, ch. iv. J Sale, p. 53. 

§ Ansaireeh and Ismaeleeh, p. 138. || Answer to the Backslider 

4 Book containing the knowledge of the Fetwas, or decisions of 
doctors of religion. 

** Vol. iii. p. 302, &c. at end. ft Feb. 1848. 



it.* Many Khutbehs of Ali are referred to, but apparently 
all are not in writing ; for, in one instance, a saying is 
quoted from " Khubbat-il-Cashf, and some say Khubbat-il- 
Bayan," as if the tradition were merely oral. Another 
book, 11 Hadayah, the title of which is given by Dr. Wolff, 
is also mentioned in my MS.f as written by 11 Khaseebee. 

The various MSS. that have fallen into the hands of 
Europeans show that there are books among the An- 
saireeh, and that these, moreover, agree in all main 
points. There is, as might be expected from the present 
state of the people, an utter want among them of gram- 
matical knowledge, and accordingly their books are full 
of mistakes, some of which have probably crept in as 
each successive copy was made ; but they are in general 
capable of explanation, and after a little practice, and 
knowledge of the present language of the people, easily 

We proceedto give some statements with respect to the 
Ansaireeh of old. 

Abulfaradj (a.d. 1226— -1286) says of them {:—" Among 
the extravagant sects of the Schiites are the Nusaireeh, 
who saj that God Most High appeared in the form of Ali, 
and spoke by his tongue with reference to the inner mean- 
ing of mysteries ! " 

D'Herbelot, who drew his materials from various Oriental 
sources, says of the Nossairnoun § : — " This also is the name 
of a particular sect of the Schiites, or followers of Ali 
among the Mussulmans, who believe that the divinity 
joined and united itself to certain of their prophets, 
and particularly to Ali, and to Mohammed son of Hanifieh, 
one of his children. For the people of this sect believe 
that the divinity can unite itself bodily with men and 
human nature, equally as with the Deity. This doc- 
trine is reprobated by Mussulman authors, who reproach 
the Ansaireeh with having drawn it from the books 

* r. 17. t P- 84. I Hist. Dynast, p. 169. § Bibl. Orient. 


of the Christians." As to what he says of Mohammed 
son of Hanafeyeh, he was probably led astray by the 
supposed quotation from a Karmatian book ascribed by 
Abulfaraj to the founder of the Ansaireeh. 

Sharestani (quoted by Pococke) * says of the Ansaireeh, 
that they hold " a spiritual appearance in a material 
body ; " and assert that '* God Most High appeared in the 
form of persons ; and since, after the apostle of God, there 
is no person more illustrious than Ali, and after him his 
sons, the chief of mortals, therefore the Truth appeared in 
their form, and spake by their tongue, and handled with 
their hands, and for this they ascribed divinity to them." 
They also narrated many miracles of Ali ; among others, 
that he removed the gates of Khaibar (as the Ansaireeh 
often mention in the present day), and that " to prove 
that a particle of Deity and almighty power resided in 

They also said that not only did God appear as above in 
the form of Ali, " but that he (Ali) existed before the 
creation of heaven and earth," which is similar to the 
belief of the Druses with respect to the preexistence of 
the humanity of Hakem. 

I will close my list of citations, in proof of my asser- 
tion that the Ansairee religion of to-day is what it always 
was, with the following passage from an early Druse 
writer. In the Druse catechism is this question f : " How 
have the Nusaireeh separated themselves from the Uni- 
tarians, and abandoned the Unitarian religion ? " Answer: 
'' They have separated themselves in following the teach- 
ing of Nusair, who said that he was the servant of our 
Lord, the prince of true believers ; who denied the divinity 
of our Lord Hakem, and made profession of believing in 
the divinity of Ali, son of Abu-Taleb. He said also that 
the Deity had manifested himself successively in the 

* Spec. Hist. Arab. p. 261 : ed. White, Oxf. 1806. 
t Question 44. See De Lacy, vol. ii. p. 260. 
L 2 


twelve imams of the family of the prophet ; that he had 
disappeared, after having manifested himself in Mohammed 
the Mohdi, the Kaim (the twelfth and last imam) ; that 
he had concealed himself in heaven ; and that, being en- 
veloped in a blue mantle, he had fixed his abode in the 
sun. He said, also, that every Ansaireeh, when he had 
been sufficiently purified in passing through difi'erent 
revolutions, by returning into the world and reassuming 
the garment of humanity, became after that purification a 
star in heaven, which was his first centre. If, on the 
contrary, he had rendered himself guilty of sin by trans- 
gressing the commandments of AH, son of Abu-Taleb, 
the supreme lord, he returned into the world as Jew, 
Mussulman Sunnee, or Christian, which return would be 
reiterated till he had become purified like silver purified 
by lead, and that then he would become a star in heaven. 
As to infidels, who do not adore Ali, son of Abu-Taleb, 
they will become camels, mules, donkeys, dogs, sheep 
destined for slaughter, and other similar things. They 
have many other dogmas, and a great- number of impious 
books, which treat of like matters." 




II. Practice or Ceremonies. 

The prayers of the Ansaireeh are rather invocations than 
petitions. An instance here taken at random from my 
MS. is a type of all the others : * — "In the name 
of God, the compassionate, the merciful. The words of 
the Most High. He has said : Never do my friends sit 
together, and make mention of me, but my mercy covers 
them, and I make mention of them to those with me; 
therefore frequently make mention of me, for the mention 
of me obliterates faults, and it is a remembrance to those 
who make mention. God, I ask thee, my Lord, by the 
truth of this section of making mention, and by the truth 
of thy shining grace, and by the truth of thy soul that 
gives commands, and by the truth of thy overcoming 
power, and by the truth of thy seeing eye, and by the 
truth of thy noted demonstration, and by the truth of 
thy overflowing seas, and by the truth of thy sounding 
thunders, and by the truth of thy rainy clouds, and by 
the truth of the preeminence of thy strength and the 
strength of thy strength, prince of bees [true believers], 
Ali, Haiderah [lion], crown of the Chosroes line, 
chief of this world and the next ! May God cause to 
descend [oftener, * cause to abound as with milk ^ J in your 
habitations blessing and mercy and happiness, pos- 

* P. 22. 


sessors of this wealth and this favour, and this generosity 
and this subject for boasting, and this goodness and this 
present table; and turn from us and from you the ills of 
the violent men, the sons of Omeyah [the Orneyade 
caliphs of Syria, enemies of the house of Ali], the over- 
bearing, the unjust, the infidels ; and sanctify and have 
mercy on the spirits of our brethren, the true believers, 
in their good, pure soul, prince of bees, lofty one 
[Ali], great one ! " 

This is, in the main, the termination of every Ansairee 
invocation. My Ansairee lad has often heard the sheikhs 
make use of this and similar invocations after having 
partaken of a feast at one of the people's houses. He has 
also heard his people repeat very quickly the names of 
Ali, the visiting-places, &c., saying after every ten or so, 
" May the mercy of God be upon them ! " Afterwards 
they will sing what they call Mawali, of which the 
following is a specimen : — 

** By the truth of Him who without hands created the Virgin Mary, 
Mohammed is my intercessor, and Ali is the End of Ends." 

M. Langlois says : " With respect to external worship, 
the Ansaireeh have prayers which they recite three times 
a day, and in the open air, the most important is made at 
the rising of the sun. They turn towards the east like 
the Mussulmans, from whom they have borrowed ablutions 
and circumcision. '' * 

My lad tells me that before sunrise the people get up 
and wash ; and then, either rising or sitting, inside the 
house or walking to and fro outside, they repeat in a low 
voice, rapidly and unintelligibly, their prayers, which some 
of them omit for a month together, and sometimes con- 
tinue for an hour at a time, ending with a chant. Not 
long ago some sheikhs were in his house, they got up long 
before light, and after washing and walking about a little 

♦ Revue d'Orient, Juin, 1856. 


outside, reciting their prayers, entered the house, and for 
more than an hour continued them, till near the rising 
of the sun. They prayed also at noon, and again for an 
hour or so before sunset. When sheikhs are in a 
quarter of a village, they will sometimes assemble the 
people to prayer. We have seen that the whole number 
of their daily prostrations is to be fifty-one, but these 
Rakaah they do not employ, except at their secret 
meetings; and the morning, or that and the evening, are 
the only usual times of prayer. Morning prayer is con- 
sidered especially good. The presence of a Mussulman 
does not make their prayers void, but the appearance of 
a Christian within forty feet, unless running water be 
between, does. My Christian ploughman once, after 
finishing his day's work in the plain, went to place his 
plough in a house in a neighbouring village. When seen, 
the master was in a great rage, for in a neighbouring 
house were some sheikhs at prayer, whom my man could 
see through the chinks of the door. In fact there was a 
feast there that day, and the above man said that he would 
have given ever so much for the ploughman not to have 
made his appearance. My Christian servants have often 
seen them, in the early morning, praying in the open air, 
and moving their heads or lips, but their appearance was 
always sufficient to stop the worshipper. A part of their 
worship is a curse against "Abu-Beer, Omar, Othman ibn- 
Uffan, and Sheikh it-Tarkoman. " 

In my MS. a form is given for the morning and 
evening prayer of every Ansairee. A certain Yahya is 
said to have entered the presence of Hassan il Askeree, the 
eleventh imam, and to have asked him : " My Lord, what 
ought your servant, a true believer, one well instructed, 
who looks into the truth of things, who is particular in 
matters of religion, to do, every day and night, and 
morning and evening?" So he said: "0 Yahya! Such 
a servant of mine, every day and night, and morning and 
evening, ought to turn to the right and left [as my 

L 4 


servants have seen them do], and if he finds a brother of 
his brethren, or a friend of his friends, he ought to shake 
hands with him." "And, " says Yahya, " I said : My Lord, 
and if he does not find a brother of his brethren, nor friend 
of his friends?" He said: " Let him shake hands with him- 
self, and meditate on himself, by himself; and let him 
take the Lord Mikdad on the right, by the love of Ain, 
Meem, Seen, and the Lord Abu-id-Durr on the left, by 
the love of the perfect one, and rise and say : 'He is 
successful and fortunate who begins morning and evening 
with, and indicates and enters into, the knowledge of my 
Lord, the prince of bees, Ali, Haiderah [the lion] il- 
Anzaa [without hair on temples, a mark of beauty], the 
preponderating, the beautiful; and he is successful and 
exalted who has laid hold of the firm cord which shall 
not be broken, for God is the hearing and the seeing 
One.* "* This last sentence is from the Koran (ii. 257). 

It is necessary to explain two or three things in this 
prayer, if such it can be called. The Ain, Meem, Seen, we 
have observed, stand for Ali, Mohammed, and Salmon ; and 
the perfect one, which is feminine and relates to a woman, 
is 1 suppose, Fatima, or rather Umur Salamah, a wife 
of the Prophet, noted for her bounty, and said in another 
passage to " indicate by her nearness (to the Prophet) the 
appearances of the Maana, the Ism, and the Bab." f 

Mikdad and Abu-Durr were two noted companions of 
Mohammed. My boy has heard the name of the former 
often mentioned, and they were in honour with the secret 
sects, and especially so with the Ansaireeh, who, in their 
system of symbolisation, make them the " right" and " left" 
of prayer ; as we learn also from tlie third mass of M. J. 
Catafago, where is the passage: "The prayer" (called 
that of calling to prayer) " is now completed according to 
its lords, God, my Lord ! Ali ! I pray thee to support 
it, and cause it to endure while heaven and earth endure, 

♦ MS. p. 119. t MS. p. 40. 


and make the lord Mohammed its Seal (or conclusion), 
and the lord Salman its Alms, and MikdM its right, and 
Abu-id-Durr its left." In the prayers of consecration, 
&c., those standing on the right and left of the imam 
having a special office. I would say, by the way, that in 
this prayer is the expression, " Haiyoo Ala Khair41-Amal," 
" Come to the best of works," which was substituted by 
the Ismaeleeh and Fatimite caliphs for the usual passage in 
the call to prayer, "Haiyoo Ala-id-SaMh," "Come to 

The Mikdad referred to above was a certain Ibn-Omar 
ibn-Othman ibn-il-Aswad il Kindee, one of the chief 
" orphans" of Salmon. He was present with the Prophet 
in all the engagements subsequent to the battle of Bedr, 
and died A.n. 34. 

Abu-id-Durr Djundub ibn-Djenada il Yhifaree is an- 
other of the chief orphans of Salman. " He protested so 
warmly against Moawiya's avaricious conduct in the 
government of Syria, that the latter wrote to Othman 
complaining of it, upon which the caliph removed him to 
Mabda, where he died."* Taylor says of him: " Abu- 
Durr, an old companion of the Prophet, misrepresenting 
some passages of the Koran, declared that the riches of 
this Avorld were the source of every crime, and that the 
wealthy should be compelled by force to give their super- 
fluities to the poor."f 

It is evident that the Ansaireeh hold these men in such 
honour as being conspicuous friends of Ah, just as they 
do also another companion of Mohammed, a certain Ammar 
ibn-Yasir, who died fighting for Ali at SuiFayn, a.h. 37. 

We have seen that the Ansairee books speak of fifty- 
one Rakaah, or prostrations, during the day, these Rakaah 
including all the prayers, bowings, and genuflexions are 
contained in one complete prayer. Two such Rakaah are 

* Abulfeda, Annales Muslm, i. 272 and 260, cited by Nicholson on 
El Masudi, p. 112. 
t P. 137. 


necessary at every act of worship, except that of an hour 
and a half after sunset. On reading the Rakaah men- 
tioned in my MS. with a Mussulman sheikh, I find that 
they agree pretty well with those of the Mussulmans ; which 
are nominally fifty, at five difi^erent times ; daybreak, 
noon, afternoon, evening, and an hour and a half after 
sunset, the very devout using also prayers in the night.* 
The difference is that the Ansaireeh personify these times 
of prayer by the names of persons, and thus allegorise 
them away, for they do not pray at all these times, nor 
usually prostrate themselves at any. 

We have now, at length, to consider the most important 
part of the Ansairee religion, or at least of the ceremonial 
part of it, — the great mystery, the secret of secrets, the 
consecration of wine in a mass or sacrament. And we 
cannot introduce what we have to say better than by 
quoting the passages in the Ansairee catechism f referring 
toit: — 

Question. '^ What is the mass?" (Kuddas.) 

Answer. " The consecration of the wine which is drunk 
to the health of the Naheeb or Nadjeeb." 

Q. *' What is the offering ?" (Kurb^n.)— .4. " The con- 
secration of the bread which the true believers receive for 
the souls of their brethren ; and on that account the mass 
is read." 

Q, ** Who reads the mass and brings the offering ?" — 
A, " Your great imams and preachers." 

Q. "What is the great mystery of God ?"— A *' The 
riesh and the Blood, of Avhich Jesus has said, * This is my 
flesh and ray blood ; eat and drink thereof, for it is eternal 
life.' " 

Q, " What is the mystery of the faith of the Unitarians ; 
what is the secret of secrets, and chief article of the true 

* My sheikh informed me that they might become about fifty ; but 
Lane, who is so accurate in all he says, makes the usual number to be 
but thirty-eight. Modern Egyptians, vol. i. p. 107, note. 

t Q. 76, 77, 78, 79, 82, 87, 88, 90, 91, 94. 


believers ?" — A. " It is the veiling of our Lord in light, 
that is in the eye of the sun, and his manifestation in his 
servant Abd in Noor." 

Q. " What is the first mass V'—A. " It is that which is 
spoken before the prayer of Nurooz." 

Q, "What is the prayer of Nurooz V'—A, "It is the 
consecration of the wine in the chalice." 

Q. " What is the consecrated wine called which the be- 
lievers drink?"— ^. " Abd in Noor." (Servant of light.) 

Q, " Wherefore so ?" — A. " Because God has manifested 
himself in the same." 

Q. " If our Lord has concealed himself in light, where 
does he manifest himself?" — A. "In the wine, as is said 
in the Nurooz." 

From the above it is clear that the Ansaireeh have 
taken their sacrament from Christianity. It is also clear, 
and certain, that the wine is the chief ingredient in it, 
though mention is also made of an " offering," and the 
Jesuit missionaries, whose account cannot be implicitly 
relied upon, speak of a piece of meat as forming part of 
the sacrament. They say : " The Ansaireeh have borrowed 
from Christianity the communion, but the mode in which 
they practise it is perfectly fanatical ; for they celebrate it 
with wine and a morsel of meat." I have not, however, 
found bread or meat in any Ansairee MS., though the 
prayers of consecration are given in full, and I find allu- 
sions to the wine scattered about in other parts of the 
book.* Thus the brethren are called " possessors of this 
sarf," or " pure wine," f and " this naheed, or wine." J 
It is the wine, too, which is especially referred to in the 
catechism as the Abd in Noor, or servant of light, be- 
cause the light, or Deity, manifests himself peculiarly in it, 

* The word Kurban, or offering, is once used at the close of one of 
the prayers. MS. p. 18. M. Catafago, apparently on the authority of 
Ansairee books, speaks of " eating and drinking" and the consecration of 
the same. 

t MS. p. 32. I MS. p. 47. 


and in it is partaken of by the brethren.* Under this name, 
too, it is mentioned in my MS. as being the only thing 
which the officiating sheikh consecrates f, and in another 
passage J, in these terms : " God, this thy servant, Abd 
in Noor, is a person whom thou hast rendered lawful, and 
honoured, and favoured, for those who have the true know- 
ledge, by a determinate command, and hast rendered unlaw- 
ful to thy gainsaying infidel enemies, by a manifest denial." 
The Ansaireeh, therefore, generally do not like to speak of 
wine, and are annoyed if it is spoken of, for they look on 
it as sacred, and belonging only to themselves. Wine is 
also mentioned under the same name Abd in Noor, in the 
second mass given by M. J. Catafago, where allusion is 
made to its being ^^ incensed," the mass being called that 
of " incense." 

A certain sheikh, Hassan il Cananee, the best-informed 
of all the Ansairee sheikhs that I have met with, and 
also the most reprobate and deceitful, who had then 
his son in my school, spoke to me of the time when 
the boy was to become a Christian, and said, " Will not 
wine be necessary for his initiation ?" and intimated that 
he had the power of consecrating wine. 

I have given in another chapter an entire translation of 
the service of the mass, and will only make here one im- 
portant remark, that, as far as I can judge from the 
references made to the mass in that partial translation 
which I have seen of the Ansairee catechism, in which 
some of the chief expressions are quoted, the service given 
in the catechism and in my book are identical in words 
and arrangement. 

This great secret of the mass is only administered in 
the presence of the initiated of the male part of the An- 
sairee sect. Great precautions are taken against the possi- 
bility of this their religious service being seen ; and it is 
probable that if a stranger were known to have been a 

* See opening of Catechism, Chap. X. f MS. 133. i 134. 


"witness to it, accidentally or otherwise, he would be made 
away with, if possible. But such are the precautions 
taken, by placing watchmen, and choosing times and 
places where there is little chance of interruption, that 
scarcely ever has any one been an absolute witness of 
their rites. Two of m}^ Christian servants were brought 
up in the district of Merkab, in villages partly Christian 
and partly Ansairee. The father of one of them was 
well acquainted with the customs of the Ansairceh. Five 
times during the year, at the time of their chief feasts, 
the father and son were obliged to leave the Ansairee 
quarter of the village in which they were living, while 
the Ansaireeh entered a house belonging to the visiting 
place in winter, or went into the open country in summer. 
My other servant has told me that once, when present in 
a district of the Shemseen sect, he was made to go up 
into a room raised above the earth on poles, and con- 
structed of myrtle boughs, the women being put into 
a house, while the men went into a valley, where he 
could see them from the tent, and where a sheikh read 
to them. 

I was once told by the Spanish consular agent at Ladi- 
keeh, that an old man, who had died about five years 
before the time of our conversation, had once been witness, 
at a village in the plains, of one of these secret religious 
meetings. He was an overseer of the village, and, coming 
there unexpectedly, concealed himself in a room full of 
chopped straw. From this he could look into the sheikhas 
house, in which a number of men were assembled round a 
large bowl of wine, with candles affixed to its circumfe- 
rence, or, perhaps, placed about it. The sheikh read some 
prayers. They then cursed Abu-Beer, Omar, Othman ibn- 
Uffan, and Sheikh it-Turcom4n, and others (he said 
Christians among them), and that then he gave a spoonful 
of wine, first to the sheikhs present, and afterwards to all 
the rest. Oranges were then eaten, other prayers said, 
and the assembly broken up. 


These assemblies take place at the chief feasts, espe- 
cially at that of Nurooz, the Persian name for the 
vernal equinox. Women and children are strictly ex- 
cluded. M. Langlois says : " On the days of the principal 
feasts, the Ansaireeh assemble, and the sheikhs bless wine, 
which they distribute to the company. These feasts are 
called Eed Kuddas, feasts of the mass." The Jesuit mis- 
sionaries say : ** They admit only men to the communion, 
excluding women and children. It is in their secret 
assemblies that the men observe this practice among them- 

My lad informs me that when a feast is made on the 
occasion of a Nidr (that is, a vow to kill such and such 
beasts for a religious feast, to be partaken of by the sheikhs 
or others), the men make what is called a Djamaa, or as- 
sembly, in some house or lonely place surrounded by 
watchers.* It is absurd to suppose that on such occasions, 
and these are the only ones which have given and can 
give, as I shall show, rise to suspicion and foolish stories ; 
it is absurd, I say, to suppose that anything takes place, 
but what we have described from their books and other 

One thing to be remarked is that the wine in the sacra- 
ment is mixed with water, after the manner of the Eastern 

When the men go to a solemn meeting, they wear their 
shirts over their drawers, turn down the heels of their 
shoes, and leave their weapons at home. My lad has often 
seen them thus going and returning. There are some 
other regulations and prohibitions connected with the 
dress and bearing of those who attend a meeting, for which 
I refer to the sermon they pronounce, of which I have 
given a translation in Chapter IX. 

Such are the theoretical and ceremonial parts of the 
religion of the Ansairee brotherhood. Before I proceed 

* He has seen them also go to a quiet valley or other lonely place. 


to speak of the other parts of their freemasonic constitu- 
tion, the coininands and prohibitions to which they are 
subject, and their conventional signs of recognition, I 
will, from the information I have received from my An- 
sairee lad and others, and from the formulas in their 
books, give an account of the process of initiation into 
the knowledge of, and participation in, the mysteries of 
the sect. 

With the Ansaireeh, unlike the Druses, all the males 
are initiated. This is usually done when a lad is about 
eighteen or twenty, before marriage; and, in the case of the 
sons of sheikhs, about sixteen. It is known when a boy 
is to be initiated, and the women and children make it a 
subject of conversation, and laugh at the boy, frightening 
him with the idea of the beatings he will have, before he 
can learn the requisite prayers. When young, my lad did 
all he could to make his future initiation easy to himself, 
by spying as far as possible into what was done on such 
occasions, from fear of what he might otherwise have 
to undergo. 

When a lad is to be initiated, he buys a kid or some 
other animal, as a dabeehah or sacrifice ; and in the 
evening of some day, especially at a time of one of the 
great feasts or when another *' vow " is celebrated, the 
sheikhs come, and, with the boy's anna, uncle or private 
instructor, who may be one of the laity (who are called 
Aamees, in contradistinction to the Ukkal, sheikhs or re- 
ligious teachers), partake of the sacrifice or slain beast. 
My lad, when young, looked through the chinks of a door 
where this was going on, and saw the men standing round 
a vessel in which was incense. He has been told that the 
boy passes behind his uncle into the middle of this circle. 
Those composing it teach him words, and, if he makes a 
mistake, cuff him. A contract is written between the 
uncle and his walad, or " son," of which I shall give a 
translation in Chapter IX. After that they " dish " him 
(that is, let him loose like a lamb after his mother) *' be- 


hind " his uncle. For thirty days or more the boy learns 
from his " uncle," until he knows a sufficiency of the 
prayers, when, on the occurrence of another Nidr, or feast 
in consequence of a vow, the opportunity is taken of com- 
pleting the initiation of the boy according to a set formula, 
of which I shall give a translation in the chapter devoted 
to that purpose. I will say again, in passing, that this 
formula, taken from my MS., seems to be identical with 
that contained in the catechism. 

The instruction takes place in the open air. The first 
process is called Mudakhileh, " initiation," and also " the 
carpet of (or entrance to) the prayer," *' besat is-salah ;" 
and the second, " Ulm," " knowledge," and the " prayer." 
Those who learn of the same uncle are called of the same 
Nebaa, or fountain, and are bound together by special ties. 
Thus the freemasonry spreads like leaven through the 
whole body of adult males. 

My lad used to be told, when disciples were learning the 
prayers, that he would be smitten with deafness if he 
listened, and was thus deterred by fear from doing so. 
Some of the poorer sort, who have no friends to think 
much about them, sometimes marry before initiation. In 
that case they remain separate from their wives while 
learning the prayers. They make use of raisins at one of 
these ceremonies, either for extracting wine or other pur- 
pose. Lately, when a Nidr took place on the occasion of 
the initiation of a lad (who was, in fact, almost a man in 
appearance), the people bought of my lad some raisins. 
Raisins were among the things the sale of which was in- 
terdicted by Hakem, the Ismaelee caliph of Egypt. These 
raisins are called nakfeh, or rather the juice pressed out of 
them in water is so called. Myrtle is put round the bowl 
in which it is contained, and my boy thinks the juice may 
be used when wine cannot be got. M. Victor Langlois 
says ; * " The religion of the Nusaireeh is all a mystery ; 

* Revue d'Orient, Juin, 1856. 


only men are initiated. Children are only initiated after 
they have attained the age of puberty, and after having 
been prepared by the sheikh, so as to preserve silence on 
the mysteries which are revealed to them. The ceremony 
of initiation (Tazneer) [putting on a girdle, the boy being 
said to Tazunnar, or have a girdle put on, when initia- 
ted], takes place in the presence of two godfathers. The 
secret which forms the basis of their religion, and which 
is not written in any of their books, is revealed orally to 
the initiated, and is called the mystery of the two (Sirr 

There are some mistakes in this statement. The secret 
which forms the basis of their religion is, theoretically, 
without any doubt, the manifestation of the Deity in Ali, 
with the accompanying dogmas ; and, ceremonially, the 
sacrament, or manifestation of the Deity in the conse- 
crated wine. All other secrets, such as conventional 
signs, are only accessories in the Ansairee system. 

Moreover with respect to the two godfathers, and the 
" mystery of the two," the formula of initiation given in 
my MS. terminates thus : — " Then he, the sheikh, shall sur- 
render to his ten brethren and the Kufaleh [sureties], who 
shall swear him, and then to the Nakeeb [chief, a name 
used in the Ansairee system], his lord [that is, the boy's 
uncle or instructor], who shall make him drink the secret 
or mystery of the two [Sirr it-Tinateyn], after he, the 
sheikh, has read them [the two masses probably], and 
after the Imam [officiating sheikh, leader of the prayers] 
has read a verse from the Koran, and they have bent in 
adoration and prayed while adoring, and that is all. And 
he shall read the Fatihah [opening chapter of the Koran] 
to the people of the Way, and to the people of the Truth, 
as shall be convenient, and then the blessed entrance [into 
all the privileges and duties of the brotherhood]." 

We see that this secret is accomplished or revealed in 
the presence of many, among others, ten not two sureties 
or godfathers, and the disciple is caused to drink the 



mystery before all present, and therefore doubtless this 
mystery is none other than the consecrated wine. 

By looking at the translation of the formula of initia- 
tion, it will be seen that the endeavour is made to terrify 
the lad by a number of words and threats strung together, 
and by the fear of being turned into horrid shapes, and 
of passing through mean bodies, &c. He is then bound 
by solemn oaths, and, whatever may be the reason, cer- 
tainly no Ansairee has ever revealed his religion. 

We come now to a part of the Ansairee system which 
is interesting on account of its connexion with the modern 
mystery of freemasonry. I call it " modern," not be- 
cause I pretend to say when it arose, but because it is 
still in existence. I leave it to freemasons to say whe- 
ther their brotherhood contains anything of importance 
which is not found in that of the Ansaireeh. 

" The Ansaireeh," says M. Victor Langlois*, " have 
conventional signs, of which they make use to recognise 
one another." Mr. Walpole is acquainted with many, if 
not most, of these, and once taught me some of them, but 
as I do not know whether he intends some day to give 
his information on this and other points to the public, 
I forbear speaking of them, and content myself with 
quoting what he himself has already published : — " The 
Ansayrii have signs and questions. By the one they 
salute each other, by the other they commence an exa- 
mination as to whether a man, whom they do not knoAV 
personally, is one of them or not. But these signs are 
little used, and are known only to a few ; as the dress 
clearly indicates them to each other, and almost each 
one knows all the chiefs, at least by sight." | In their 
books they use the double interlacing triangle or seal 
of Solomon. 

The members of the Ansairee society are called Ukhwan- 

* RcTue d'Orient. Juin, 1856. 

•f Ansayrii, or Assassins, vol. iii. p. 354. 


or brethren. All that is said about doing good or refrain- 
ins^ from doini? harm refers to these favoured individuals. 
So little have those without the pale of the society, the 
doubting and polytheists, any part or lot in the matter, 
that there is even a prayer in my MS.* that " God may 
take out of their hearts " what little " light of knowledge 
and certainty '* they may possess. And the conduct of 
the Ansaireeh, in robbing and murdering without com- 
punction Mussulmans and Christians, shows the effect of 
a system which, however benevolent to the initiated, at 
the same time excludes all others from its benefits. Can 
the system of freemasonry be right which acts on this 
exclusive principle, when Christianity already exists which 
teaches that " all ye are brethren," and therefore supplies 
all that freemasonry can properly bestow ? If it be said 
that freemasonry is more expansive as linking together 
members of different religions, the answer is, that this is 
a defect rather than a thing deserving of praise. A 
Christian is charitable to all, and in this sense considers 
all men as brethren, while he can admit none to the full 
dignity of brotherhood who does not recognise and love 
the elder Brother. 

Freemasonry has been made use of for political and bad 
purposes, as all secret societies are liable to be. " The 
Royal Arch degree in that institution was originally de- 
vised by some Scotch Jacobites, as a means of holding 
together the partisans of the Pretender. From the place 
where they resided, the new degree was called, ' The 
Royal Arras,' and meetings of its members * Royal Arras 
Chapters ; ' when the cause of the Pretender became hope- 
less, the new degree merged in the general system, and by 
an easy corruption its name was changed into that of the 
'Royal Arch.' "t 

Allusions are, even now, sometimes made to certain 
dark degrees of freemasonry ; but, supposing there is in 

* P. 138. t Taylor, p. 176. 

M 2 


it nothing hurtful, is not the institution with all its parade 
childish, for does it enjoin anything better than the prac- 
tical duties of Christianity or even than those of the 
Ansairee system, which duties are limited, as we have seen, 
to a freemasonic brotherhood ? 

The duties are contained in two principal precepts. At 
the time of initiation a lad is informed that two things are 
required of him, obedience to a command and observance 
of a prohibition. The command is, that he should " guard, 
and be attentive to, and take care of his brethren, and be 
constant in visiting them and defending their character, 
and in intercourse with them ; and that everything that he 
should desire for himself, he shoidd desire for them ; " and it 
is added, " that one fifth of his property every year becomes 
their due.^^ * The prohibition is " against being unjust to, 
or injuring his brethren, and against proclaiming their 
failings, or doing anything to displease or hurt them. 
Because every calamity would befall him should he injure 
them in their honour, or listen to backbiting and scandal 
about them, or make light of them, or be covetous with 
regard to them." The lad is also to avoid lying and 
every kind of wickedness and reprobate conduct, secret or 

Nothing can be better, moreover, than some of the pre- 
cepts and ideas to be found in the sermon already alluded 
to. It would be well if the Ansaireeh attended to them 
with respect to their brethren, and extended the observ- 
ance of them to all men ; but unfortunately they do neither 
the one nor the other. True, some of the sheikhs and 
people, of the Shemseen sect especially, living on the higher 
mountains, seem to be simple-minded men, who take some 
of these rules as their guide, but they complain with reason 
that the majority of their fraternity treat them as a dead 

Von Hammer alludes to the connexion between the 

* Mussulmans have to give a fourth of the tenth part of their property 
every year in obligatory alms. Lane, i. 130. 


Assassins or Ismaeleeli and Templars. He says that 
there is an analogy between the constitution of the Assas- 
sins and those of some modern orders ; and that " many 
points of similarity are found, which can neither be acci- 
dental, nor yet spring from the same cause.'* He mentions 
one instance of accordance, that between the white dresses 
and red fillets of the Assassins, and the white mantle and 
red cross of the Templars ; and the Ansaireeh of the pre- 
sent day mostly dress in white, while they are also fond of 
red jackets and red handkerchiefs, or of red and white 
mixed. We have already alluded to the fact that the 
Templars dwelt in the immediate neighbourhood of and 
among these secret sects, while, as is known, a degree of 
freemasonry is called that of the Templars. With these 
remarks we will leave the subject to those who are, or 
consider themselves to be, acquainted with the history of 
the freemasonic body. 

M 3 




We have thus described the theoretical and ceremonial 
parts of the Ansairee religion. But it is with the An- 
saireeh as with people of all other religions, especially with 
those who are in a semi-barbarous state, religious theory 
has little to do with the direction of their lives ; and a 
description of their theological system gives but an im- 
perfect idea of their state as affected by religion. Some- 
thing more palpable and visible is found to be the moving 
principle, the active influence, in the case of the great 
mass of the people ; and among the Ansaireeh, but for 
this popular belief and the customs which in most coun- 
tries have a semi-religious character, such as those con- 
nected with marriage, death, &c., the women and children 
would be absolutely without religion. 

With respect to their opinion about women, there is a 
great difi*erence between the Druses and the Ansaireeh. 
With the former some women are initiated into the highest 
secrets, while the majority of men are excluded ; but, with 
the latter, women are entirely excluded from any partici- 
pation in religious ceremonies and prayers, and from all 
religious teaching; and that, not only because females 
are considered, as elsewhere, inclined to reveal a secret, 
but because they are considered by the Ansaireeh as some- 
thing unclean. Many stories are told of their original 
wickedness, and of the faithlessness of those of the present 
day, by men who do not reflect that it is their own 
treatment and contempt of women which leave them such 
as they are. However, as the Ansaireeh believe that 


the soul of a brute may have in a former state animated 
a wicked man, so they suppose that a man may be 
punished for his sins in a previous generation by being 
born in a woman's form in the succeeding one ; so that, 
commonly, if a woman fulfils all the duties of which she is 
capable, well and virtuously, there is hope of her again 
coming into the world as a man, and becoming one of the 
illuminati and possessors of the secret. And as no one 
can remain without some form of religion, and women are 
naturally more religiously inclined than men, the Ansairee 
women are more fearful perhaps even than the men of 
bringing on themselves the ill-will of those whom they 
most fear, — the holy men of former times, who have tombs 
and visiting-places in every part of the mountains. 

This brings me to speak of the zeyarehs or visiting-places; 
and it is proper to do so at the commencement of this 
chapter on the customs of the Ansaireeh ; for of all things 
which exercise a practical, religious, or rather superstitious, 
influence on them, the zeyarehs are, without comparison, 
the most powerful. Nearly all good is looked for from 
them, and all ill dreaded from their displeasure. 

The word " zey^reh" properly means " a visiting," and 
hence is used for the place visited, being the appellation 
given to the reputed sepulchres of men who have enjoyed 
distinction in the Ansairee sect. These tombs are gene- 
rally situated on conspicuous spots, such as the tops of the 
highest hills, or amid groves of evergreen oak. They 
recal to mind in a very striking manner the worship of the 
ancient Canaanites, on every high hill and under every 
green tree. Many of these groves are doubtless very old, 
perhaps as old as the Canaanites. The tombs found 
under them are often very apocryphal ; for instance, about 
a quarter of a mile to the west of my village is a fine grove 
of trees, in which are sixteen small tombs enclosed by a 
rude wall, in which I have before now seen snakes, a fit 
emblem of that old serpent who still deceives the dark 
Ansairee mountains, where he has so long established his 

M 4 


rule in ignorance, bloodshed, and the commission of every 
diabolical act. Near at hand is a ruined village, once 
belonging to the Keratileh, the former possessors of the 
district. These tombs are doubtless those of the ancient 
inhabitants of the village, but now they are supposed to be 
those of some sheikhs who had come from Banyas, and hence 
the tombs are called the Banwaseyeh. These tombs may 
be considered the Penates of the people of my village; for 
they are visited by them on all great occasions, and solemn 
oaths are taken by them. " By the Banwaseyeh and the 
sixteen tombs " is a common, but rather long, form of 
asseveration. To the east of my village, about a mile dis- 
tant, under a magnificent deciduous oak, is another famous 
tomb, reputed to belong to a certain Sheikh Bedr (full 
moon) il Halabee (from Aleppo), and to have the power 
of curing bad eyes, and of restoring sight to the blind. 
Often have people come to me for the cure of ophthalmia, 
who have borne marks of having previously visited the 
tomb, — a forehead smeared with earth from it, and leaves 
of the oak stuck in their head-dress. When I say that the 
tomb has the power of cure, I mean the spirit of him 
buried within it, which is commonly supposed to be there 
or within hearing distance. However, sometimes the good 
man is supposed to be '' on a journey ;" and hence Friday 
is considered an especially favourable day for a visit, as then 
all the " prophets" are said to be in their respective places. 
I once had to prescribe for a man who, from some inflam- 
mation, had his muscles in a state of rigidity, and seemed 
at the point of death. I placed a blister on his abdomen, 
having previously asked the people to wash the part, but 
on applying it found that there was earth there, which 
interfered much with the action of the blister. However 
the man recovered, but I fear the earth, which was from a 
zeyareh, had more of the credit of the cure than the 

When riding home one evening, towards dusk, I saw a 
large, bright, blue ball of fire descend slowly, apparently 


on the trees of the Banwaseyeh. Seeing my Ansairee 
servant ahead, I rode up to hiin and asked him if he had 
observed anything. He said no ; and, after remaining 
silent for some time, added: — '^ Those trees are honoured, 
and therefore a light descends on them; but it is only 
sheikhs and such men as you are who are favoured with 
seeing it." It is commonly said that holy places are indi- 
cated and honoured by the descent of fire on them. There 
have been accidents to confirm the people in their belief 
in the sanctity of the Banwaseyeh grove. A few years ago 
a camp was pitched near, and a soldier, having been sa- 
crilegious enough to ascend into one of the trees, fell, and 
was killed. His tomb is shown near. I myself know of 
a poor little fellow who got up into one of the trees to 
gather carobs, and, in doing so, lacerated his thigh so 
much that he died of lock-jaw a fortnight after. 

These visiting-places, when of any consequence, consist 
of one square room with door, and with a small dome 
above. They are plastered, and frequently whitewashed, 
so that they are conspicuous objects, and remind one 
vividly of our Saviour's allusion to whited sepulchres. 
Still, men build the sepulchres of prophets whom their 
fathers killed. In the village of Kurdahah is a tomb of 
a Christian priest who was murdered and cast into a well 
a generation or two ago. It is said that his body was 
found miraculously suspended in the middle of the well. 
A light is also said every evening to be miraculously 
lighted at the tomb. 

In the district of Muhailby, some years ago, the people 
took considerable pains in building a zey^reh of four 
domes, to a certain Nebbee il-Wakh^b, "Bountiful prophet;" 
but, as the Muhailby have of late years been very un- 
fortunate, they have got out of sorts with their holy man, 
and say that he must have been a Christian, though they 
add, at the commencement his " sirr," or secret, appeared, 
and he had power to work miracles. Now they make a 
mock of him. The sirr, I should add, is the appearance 


of a light or other token, pointing out a holy place or 

Connected with the tomb is often a house where the 
servant of the zeyareh lives, and perhaps a room, where 
sick people seeking cure pass a few days. Inside the 
sepulchre, over the grave, is a kind of ark of wood, and 
on it a piece of green calico. Strips of this are given to 
visitors, and worn round their necks as amulets. One day, 
on arriving at home from a visit to the town, I heard that 
there had been some commotion in the school. One of the 
boys had come with a piece of this stuff round his neck, 
whereupon another, who had got to see the folly of such 
things, tore it off, and, to show his contempt for it, put it 
round my dog's neck. Of course I should not have sanc- 
tioned this, but my Christian " friends " and others scat- 
tered through the mountains still relate how I had ordered 
the thing to be done. 

Having built some chimneys with round tops, a little 
resembling the domes of a zeyareh, a woman from 
the higher mountains, struck with their appearance and 
that of my house altogether, took it for a visiting-place, 
and began to make salaams to it, saying, " Help me, 
zeyareh !" The people of the village were much amused 
at such an instance of ignorance, though they are not 
much wiser. 

The chief zey^rehs in the Ansairee mountains are, 
going from north to south, the Nebbee Yunis, Nebbee 
Matta, Nebbee Rubeel, II Arbaeen, Djaafar Tayyar, and 
Ahmed Kirf^s. 

The Nebbee Yunis, or prophet Jonah, has many tombs 
in the East, one of them at Nineveh. The Ansairee repre- 
sentative is found at the northern extremity of the moun- 
tains, on one of the highest points. The sheikh or servant 
lives in a house at the bottom of the steep on which the 
tomb is built, and is really a remarkable man in his man- 
ner ; wild, but intelligent, though living a most secluded 
life. When I visited him, he received me very hospitably. 


and gave me a repast of honey, butter, &c. Visible to the 
south is the Nebbee Matta, or prophet Matthew, who it 
seems is averse to any tomb being built over him, for an 
attempt has been made to do so once or twice, but the 
building has been destroyed by the prophet himself, as 
people say ; rather perhaps by the strong east wind from 
the plains of Mesopotamia. 

Farther to the south is the tomb of the Nebbee Rubeel, 
or prophet Reuben, situated on a conspicuous conical hill 
near the village of Ain it-Teeneh. The sheikh was a 
venerable old man, with a manner as if he had been accus- 
tomed to receive the great ones of the earth, probably 
acquired from his central position, and his intercourse with 
men. I have found some others of the Ansairee sheikhs 
possessing an air of simple dignity ; in fact, a feeling of 
preeminence and authority communicates this even among 
barbarous nations. His son was intelligent, and anxious 
to learn ciphering, that he might be able to read dates. 

To the south again is another conspicuous hill, that of 
II Arbaeen, or the forty, just north of and at the back of 
my own district. When I first began to speak openly on 
religious subjects in the mountains, there was a great 
commotion among the lords of the visiting-places, and a 
certain veracious sheikh affirmed that they assembled in 
consultation on this hill, which trembled at their pre- 

Next in order, and chief in importance, especially with 
my own district, is Djaafar Tayyar, called II Malik, or 
king, and the Sultan. Its lord was a brother of Ali, who, 
with two other generals, was killed at Muta, in the first 
battle between the Mussulmans and Greeks. His name is 
scarcely ever out of the mouths of the Kelbeeh people, who 
swear by him a hundred times a day, on the slightest as 
well as the most important occasions. No word has be- 
come more a household one with me. In every calamity 
he is appealed to, as he is considered the great friend and 
helper of our district. When a fight has been going on, I 


have seen the women come out of their houses, and look 
towards his zeyareh, saying, " Help, Sultan ! Take such 
and such a thing from me, if you will help us." A vow 
which is paid at some future time. The late Sheikh 
Hhabeeb, the chief sheikh of the Ansaireeh, was Nazir il- 
Awkaf to Djaafar Tayyar, that is, superintendent of the 
property belonging to his zeyareh ; for it is common for 
people to vow part of their property to a visiting-place, 
and especially to the ^* Sultan ; " the proceeds of which 
" Wakf," or entailed sacred land or houses, go to the 
servants of the zeyareh for their support, and for the 
providing of feasts and the exercise of hospitality. Sheikh 
Hhabeeb was consequently well off. Since his death, 
a year or two ago, his young son has taken his place. 
Already wonderful stories are told of him ; how, on the 
occasion of his father's funeral feast, water was wanting, 
and was supplied by him miraculously. The father was a 
heavy, and rather dull man, whose end, says my lad, was 
hastened by drinking arrack, or spirits. 

When I visited this zeyareh I started from my home be- 
fore dusk. A man from a village farther up the mountains 
joined us as we passed, and on catching sight of the 
building, as we rose a hill, towards sunrise, saluted it from 
afar. Before reaching it are stones marking its boun- 
daries. Here also he saluted it. There are two villages 
of sheikhs, Merhee and Semukhtee, the inhabitants of 
which live on the alms given to the zeyareh, and call them- 
selves the " dogs of the Sultan," giving that as an excuse 
for their importunity. They are of the Shemseen sect ; 
and in the division of the offerings two thirds are given 
to the Semukhtee, and one third to the Merhee people. 
Sheikh Ahmed of Merhee I found independent, but civil 
and hospitable. The sheikhs at the zeyareh had all the 
same appearance ; dirty, with heavy faces, aquiline noses, 
and dirty white turbans. 

The zeyareh itself is not at all striking. It consists of 
three separate rooms, with a low wall round it to the 


east. In the most northerly room, which is a little square 
one with a low arched roof, there is a small tomb, near 
the head of which, as well as of those in the other rooms, is 
a hole for the reception of earth, which may be taken away 
for the sick. There are two holes in the wall to the north 
and to the west, and a niche in the wall to the south. This 
tomb is said to be that of the slave of the Sultdn. The 
central room is similar, having a wooden covering over the 
tomb, concealed by a green cloth, on which the double 
triangle is worked in one or two places. The room to the 
south is larger, resting on a pillar in the centre, and the 
floor is damp and dirty. This one belongs to the family 
of Abd-il-Multalab, the grandfather of Mohammed ; and 
it is common among the Ansaireeh to swear by the house 
or family of Abd-il-Multalab. The two side chambers 
were built by Sheikh Hhabeeb, who, while engaged on the 
work, lived on the mountain, and exercised profuse hospi- 
tality. The central chamber, according to Sheikh Ahmed, 
was built in the time of II Moazz ibn-Saleh. The man 
who went with me moved a heap of stones, forming the 
boundary of the sacred precincts, and was most earnest in 
taking away from the zeyareh, earth, incense, and a piece 
of the green cloth for his little son who was ill. He had 
previously on the same account vowed a calf should the 
boy recover. 

The last of the chief zeyarehs of the fellaheen, and the 
best built of all, is that of Ahmed Kirf^s. He is also 
called AboO'Ali, and with this addition forms a favourite 
oath of the wife of our chief Mekuddam. His name of 
Kirfas is interpreted of his power to " kirfas," render 
frosty and slippery the roads. His zeyareh is on a spur 
of the mountains, north of that on which Castle Merkab 
is situated, and is said to have been built by the ancestor 
of the Kelbeeh, who was their chief when they first 
passed the mountains from the east. It resembles a small 
Cairo mosque, being painted in red lines, like some of 
those in that city. 


There is another place worth describing, situated be- 
tween our district and the Boodee, at the back of the hill 
which forms our southern boundary. It is a cave, called 
that of the Seyyadeh, or blessed Virgin Mary. On visit- 
ing it I found some trees and brackish water near, and in 
it two capitals of columns, apparently Ionic, belonging 
probably to some former temple. One of these is supposed 
to be the tomb. There was oil placed there ; and there, also, 
a miraculous light is sometimes seen. Some say it is 
lighted every day, others only at the feast of the invention 
of the Cross. This place is reverenced by the Christians, as 
also indeed are the Nebbee Yunis, Djaafar Tayyar, and 
Ahmed Kirf^s, the latter being supposed to be the tomb 
of a certain John. It is not uncommon in Syria for dif- 
ferent sects to reverence what is in great honour with 
others, as is the case in Egypt, where the peasantry of 
the country, as mentioned by Lane*, *^ observe certain cus- 
toms of a religious or superstitious character," belonging 
to the Coptic Christians. The Ansaireeh in like manner 
reverence greatly the Khudr, who, with the Christians, is 
Mar Elias or St. George. Consequently they often vow in 
times of distress a sum of money, or rather article of pro- 
perty, to the convent of Mar Djurdjis, situated near the 
Kulaat-il-Husn, and visited by me in my first journey in 
the north of Syria.f At a certain period of the year the 
agent of the convent comes round and collects the pro- 
ceeds of these vows, which, in the shape of millet or 
wheat, he sometimes sold to me on passing ; on one occa- 
sion saying afterwards that he had had conversations 
with me on religion, and found that the English had no 
creed, nor churches, and moreover were everything that 
was bad. My lad a few days ago informed me that a 
piastre a year had been vowed upon him to the said 
convent, and asked me whether he should pay it as he 
advanced in years. 

♦ Modern Egyptians, vol. ii. p. 254. 
t Ansaireeh and Ismaeleeh, p. 252. 


It is these visiting-places, as I have said, the fear of 
which is the principal motive of a religious character 
influencing the Ansaireeh. They will fearlessly swear 
falsely by God, but are often very fearful of breaking 
their oath by a zeyareh, especially a " powerful " one ; 
and will tell tales of the calamities which befel such and 
such a one on ofi^ending against the dues of a place of the 
kind. On remonstrating with them on this point, witli 
a similar one to which Mohammed reproaches the Arabs 
of his time, they answer that God is forgiving and will 
pardon an offence against Him, but not so the zey^rehs. 
When pressed hard they say that they do not believe that 
the lords of the zey^rehs have power in themselves, but 
that they are accepted with God, and he punishes offences 
against them, and hears their prayers of intercession. In 
fact they occupy much the same place with the Ansaireeh 
that saints and the blessed Virgin do with the Christians 
of Syria. Property placed in the precincts of one of these 
zeyarehs is safe, and it is not unusual to see loads of 
wood, or ploughsliares and threshing implements depo- 
sited there. Potsherds filled with incense are also gene- 
rally placed upon them. 

The zeyarehs are especially visited by the Ansaireeh 
on the occasion of their feasts, of which I now come to 

The feast of the Ansaireeh of which one hears and sees 
most is the Kuzelleh, and, therefore, I will first speak 
of it and its attendant feasts, though it is not their chief 
religious feast, which is the Nurooz. The Kuzelleh and its 
accompanying feasts, which I shall first describe, are taken 
from the Christians ; others, such as* the Nurooz are taken 
from the Persians ; and some belong to the Mussulmans. 

The Kuzelleh is held on New Year's day, old style, which 
is that still observed in the East by those Christians who are 
unconnected with the Church of Eome. It is the reckoning 
which the Ansaireeh generally follow in their civil transac- 
tions. In the month before the Kuzelleh is the feast of St. 


Barbara, on the eve of which, at sunset, the people light fires 
on the tops of their houses. With respect to the expression, 
eve, I must remind the reader that in the East the day 
begins at sunset. 

Before sunset they prepare wheat by beating it in a 
mortar to remove the husk. They then kill a fowl, which 
they strike on the door, and the wall on each side of it, and 
sometimes on the lintel and side-posts ; in this, doubtless, 
imitating the Jewish Passover. It is then put in the pot, and 
boiled with the wheat, and eaten at sunset. Some of the feast 
will remain over till next day, when it is again partaken 
of. This mess is called the Hareeseh. After seven or 
eight days comes the Helaweeh il-Keheereh, the greater 
sweet feast, so called because it consists of wheat flour 
mixed in cakes with figs, or the sweet juice of carobs 
resembling treacle, or that of grapes. After another 
seven days is the lesser Helaweeh, or Helaweeh it-Tanee, 
the second, which is not kept by all. 

Then comes theKuzelleh; for the festival of the Meelad, 
or the 25th of December, though mentioned as of great 
merit and sanctity in their books, as the meelad or birth- 
day of Eesa or Jesus, is not kept as a popular festival. 

A day before the eve of the Kuzelleh they kill and eat 
the " dabeehat il-haram ; " that is, any one who may have 
stolen an ox, sheep, buffalo, or goat, from the plains or else- 
where, kills it, and partakes of it with his intimate friends, 
the name signifying the " unlawful slain animal.*' On the 
eve of the Kuzelleh they kill the *' dabeehat il-halfil," 
lawful sacrifice, and eat a little of it. Even in the poorest 
house some animal is killed, such as a kid ; and sometimes 
several persons are partners in a more expensive one, 
such as an ox. Before the eve every one will have 
had his clothes washed. In the middle of the night they 
set off for some zeyareh. For instance, the people of my 
own village on one occasion went to the Arbaeen. My 
lad was with them. They arrive there about daybreak. 
Men, women and children go, and enter the zeyareh 


together ; and when they liave each taken some earth and 
incense they go outside, and there they talk and chat, 
and kiss their friends, saying, " Eeduk Mubarah Aleyk," 
"May your festival be blessed to you, and to your 
relations ; every year, Djaafar Tayyar, may they be in 
liealth and wealth ! " The men when they enter the 
zey^reh mutter a number of prayers very quickly and 
indistinctly. On returning to the village they visit one 
another, first paying their respects to the chief man. I 
have received visits on such occasions, when the people 
came in their best clothes. They make cakes of wheat or 
burghool and onions, and also bread anointed with oil, 
which they call Fateer. 

If there are men among the visitors fond of good 
living, the master of the house will kill fowls to feast 
them. Also, if any great man have died a year or 
so before, the people go to his grave on the day of 
the Kuzelleh. On the six or seven succeeding days they 
visit one another, going by turns to each chief house, 
eating meat and drinking arrack. They also call in parties 
on their friends in other villages. 

This series of popular festivals closes with the Yetas, 
or Epiphany. The word means an immersion, alluding 
to the custom of the Greek Christians of immersing 
themselves in water, in memorial of the baptism of our 
Lord. The Ansaireeh turn the word into Kuddas or 
*' Mass." Some celebrate three days, which they call the 
first, second, and third Kuddas, but the whole of these are 
kept by the more devout only. The sixth day after New 
Year's Day, or the Epiphany, is the one which they chiefly 
observe. They call the third Kuddas that of the Chris- 
tians, and very few observe it. On the morning of this festi- 
val, men, women, and children go to the fountain or river, 
and wash all over; the men and women, of course, at separate 
places. The Christians, and from them the Ansaireeh, 
say that on the night of the Epiphany all the trees bend 
in adoration, and that any one who sees them do so will 



have anything he prays for. They bring stones from 
the fountain and place them on the fruit trees that they 
may bear, and on their way to immersion they take 
branches of olive or myrtle, and dip them in the water, 
and on their return they put them in the vessels con- 
taining corn, &c., or in the four corners of the house. 
This also is done by the Christians. 

Makrisi* mentions that the Fatimite caliphs of Egypt 
used to keep the Meelad, or birthday of Christ, and the 
Get^s, or Epiphany ; and says that the Egyptians of their 
day believed that the water of the Nile, on the night of 
the latter, had the power of healing diseases. 

The feasts I have just mentioned are popular feasts, in 
which men, women, and children participate, and are rather 
times of rejoicing than religious festivals. They are taken 
from the Christians. The feasts of which we now shall 
treat are not spoken of commonly, but found in their 
books, and are those on which the secret assemblies for 
the participation in the sacrament take place. I shall not 
mention all of them, but refer the reader to the transla- 
tion of M. Catafago's notice of an Ansairee Book of 
Festivals, given at the end of the volume. 

The most important one is that of Nurooz, which is a 
Persian word for the vernal equinox. f In the book just 
mentioned one section is on " the Nurooz, or the 4th of 
April, and the first day of the Persian year." J Accord- 
ingly the Ansaireeh celebrate it on the 4th of April, old 
style, and my lad knows of the feast by that name, namely, 
'' fourth of April." 

Makrisi mentions it § as kept by the Fatimite caliphs, 
and calls it the Nurooz il Kubtee, or Coptee. But if it be 
the same as the Nurooz kept by the Copts of to-day, which 

* Description of Cairo, vol. i. p. 490. 

f The word Nurooz is derived from the two words naw, nu, or no, 
•* new,** and roz, " day." That is, New Year's Day, being the first day 
of the Persian year. I have written the word as if an Arabic one. 

t Journ. Asiat. Feb. 1848, p. 154. § Ubi supra. 


occurs, says Lane*, on the Copts' New Year's Day (or the 
10th or 11th of September), it was not held at the same 
time as the Ansairee feast of the same name. Makrisi 
says that the Nurooz was first kept by Djamsheed, one of 
the early Persian kings. He says that the word means in 
Arabic, Djadeed, or new. It was reputed to be the day 
on which Solomon's ring was restored to him, and the 
birds brought water in their beaks and sprinkled it before 
him; hence the Persian kings used to keep it as a festival, 
with sprinkling of water. The Ansairee book alludes to 
the "ceremony of sprinkling with water " thus practised. f . 
It is mentioned in my Ansairee MS. (p. 132), where are 
some lines of poetry called " the Nurooz," which are read 
over the cup of wine in the Mass. This day is also 
specially mentioned in the catechism. On it, and on 
other great festivals, there is a Nidr or vow, which is a 
feast at the house of some sheikh. Different sheikhs have 
acquired the habit or right of celebrating particular feasts. 
Thus the Nurooz is held at the house of a certain sheikh 
Mahmood, in the village of Kurdahah. Any one present, 
even Christians, may partake of the feast, that is, of the 
eatables of it, with the Kumreeh sect ; but I have heard 
men of the Shemseen or stricter sect blame them for 
allowing this, saying that with them women would not be 
allowed to eat of the slain animal. 

It is at this and similar feasts that the sheikhs take the 
initiated adults to some private place, in a house or 
the open air, and perform their sacramental prayers. 
Now is the time to contradict, once and for all, the com- 
monly received stories of the promiscuous meetings of 
the Ansaireeh. We have seen that on their popular 
feasts, when men, women, and children assemble by 
night to visit their ze}arehs, there is no approach to 
anything wrong ; and it is this custom which has chiefly 
given rise to the false stories alluded to. On other occa- 

* Modern Egyptians, ii. 268. 
f See translation of " Day of Nurooz," Chap. X. 
M 2 


sions, men meet together for a short time, and then only 
to partake of the sacramental wine. It is thus so clear 
that there is neither time nor opportunity for any such 
guilty doings as are ascribed to the Ansaireeh, that I con- 
sider the matter set at rest for ever ; and I will only add, 
that they are as moral as the majority of Christians who 
are not seriously influenced by their faith. That most 
fearful of all vices, which is so awfully prevalent among the 
Mussulmans of Syria that they have come to look on it 
and to talk of it without shame, and which can only be 
just alluded to, is scarcely known among the Ansaireeh ; 
and only among those who have been corrupted by inter- 
course with the Mussulmans. Hence one of the curses 
which they direct against the Mussulmans is, as guilty of 
this abominable crime. 

Another great festival, which my boy has heard spoken 
of, and which is mentioned in the Ansairee books, is that 
of the Gadeer ; a name which is applied to a pool of water, 
such as those left by the Nile on its retreat. This feast 
is kept in our neighbourhood by the sheikhs of a village 
called Beyt Reehan. A common expression is, " Thou 
shalt sufl^er the punishment of all that has been said on 
the festival of Gadeer." My lad has known it as kept in 
the spring, and perhaps the time is regulated by that of 
the Nurooz. This feast is mentioned in my MS.* with 
great respect, connected with that of Nurooz, and a certain 
convention, or covenant, to serve Ali is called the Bey at il 
Gadeer.f It is also specially mentioned in the Book of 
Feasts, and also by Makrisi. 

The Mihrdj^n is another Persian feast, that of the 
autumnal equinox. About that time a family of sheikhs, 
says my lad, are in the habit of celebrating a feast. This 
feast is held the 16th day of October. 

The 17th day of March, shortly before the festival of 
Nurooz. is also held in great respect, Ali is invoked more 

* P. 132. t !*• 105. 


than once in my book* " by the truth of the 17th of March," 
and it is spoken of, and a prayer for it given, in the Book 
of Festivals.f My lad has often heard them speak of it in 
the expression, " Thou shalt eat the stroke of the treasure 
and the wall, and the 17th of March;" which words in 
Arabic are a kind of rhythm, and are found in my MS. J 
The wall here alluded to is the one mentioned in the 
Koran (chap, xviii.). 

Other feasts follow the Mohammedan reckoning ; being 
kept also by the Mussulmans, and taken from them. One 
of them, Ashoora, the tenth of Moharram, is especially 
kept by the Persian Mussulmans, in commemoration of 
the death of Hosein, which took place on that day. There 
is a prayer also in the Book of Feasts for the eve of the 
middle of Shab^n, the eighth month of the Mohammedan 
year. " This night is held in great reverence by the 
Mooslims as the period when the fate of every living man 
is confirmed for the ensuing year."§ This day is styled 
the last of the Khuseebee, that is, of the Ansairee, year. 
Mention is also made in the Book of Feasts of the festival 
of Fitr, the breaking of the fast, the first of the three 
days of the " Lesser feast " which the Mussulmans keep 
after Ramadan ; as also of the feast of Adha, which is the 
feast of the sacrifice, kept by the Mussulmans on the first 
day of the three of the " Greater feast," held by them on 
the tenth day of the last month of their year. My lad 
has heard it spoken of under its other name of Dahee. 

It is customary to give to the poor on the occasion of 
feasts, as might be expected. Once I knew the sheikhs 
to be considerably out about the time of the feast of Bar- 
bara, and consequently of the subsequent feasts. In the 
mountains to the south of us the fires were lit a day before 
the time. 

I have often spoken to the people with respect to the 
fast of Ramadan. Sometimes they say, what is the truth, 

* Pp. 106, 147. t «^ourn. Asiat. Feb. 1848, p. 168. 

t P. 106. § Lane, vol. ii. p. 229. 

N 3 


that they think nothing of fasting. At other times they 
say that their sheikhs fast ; and some of them, who affect 
Mussulman manners, do fast sometimes. But we have seen 
that it has ever been a part of the system of these secret 
sects to explain away all the positive commands of Moham- 
medanism, and the Ansaireeh allegorise and personify the 
month of Ramad^tn, as in the case of prayer and alms. 
Thus there is the expression in my MS., " by the truth 
of the month of fasting, and of its persons ; " so that the 
prayer for Ramadan, given in the Book of Feasts, must be 
one suited to such a view of the fast. The sheikhs have 
sometimes made attempts to get the people to fast for a 
short time; but, as my Ansairee servant said of such a 
fast only for seven days, a few years ago, " the Ansaireeh 
cannot endure fasting, and were unable to keep the fast 

I proceed now to describe the Ansairee customs on the 
occasion of circumcision, marriage, and death. 

The boy is circumcised at the age of five or six years, 
or, as among the peasants of Egypt, not unfrequently 
much later, at the age of twelve, thirteen, or fourteen 
years.* There is nothing peculiar in their mode of cele- 
brating this festival, in which they follow the Mussulmans. 
I was once present on an occasion of the kindf , which 
lasted for a day or two ; and as the rejoicings are much 
the same as those on the occasion of a marriage, I shall 
leave what I have to say concerning them till I describe 
the ceremonies of the latter. I must, however, mention 
that by the Ansaireeh circumcision is called Tatheer, 

With the Ansaireeh especially, even perhaps more than 
other Easterns, marriage is considered almost indispens- 
able ; though I have heard of one sheikh, the brother of 
Sheikh Hhabeeb, who seemed to be spoken of with re- 
spect although unmarried, as being one who despised the 

* Lane, i. 82. j Ansaireeh and Ismaeleeh, p. 176. 


world. Nevertheless, in most cases, it would be consi- 
dered disgraceful to remain single, and marriage is entered 
into at a very early age. Frequently a girl of eleven or 
twelve becomes a bride, while beardless boys are urged to 
wed. ]\ry lad, who is about seventeen or eighteen, would 
ere this have taken a wife had he not come to my school, 
and ^that though he is still a mere boy in appearance. 
Women among the Ansaireeh do not veil, and therefore 
a young man has every opportunity of seeing and choosing 
his intended. 

When he has seen a girl who pleases him, he speaks 
with her relatives, and agrees upon the sum to be paid to her 
father, which ranges from 500 to 5000 piastres, or from 
4 to 30, 40, or 50 pounds, according to the dignity of the 
girl's family. 100 piastres of this are given to the girl as 
" Dum ir-Rakabel,'^ " the blood of the neck," or head, as 
it is termed: and her father also gives her something, 
according to his pleasure ; sometimes, if rich, bedding 
and a box, which are carried in procession with her 
when she is taken to the bridegroom's house. But the 
small sum returned from the dowry to the girl herself, 
and the way in which the whole transaction is con- 
ducted and spoken of, lay the Ansaireeh open to the 
accusation of selling their daughters. The price thus 
given for the girl is called her " burteel," or bribe. Some- 
times she has been vowed when young to some zeyareh, and 
then the vower makes a feast, and her price is agreed upon 
before the sheikh, who receives it, giving some part of it 
to the father. The sheikh retains a part in money, as 
alms, and the rest is spent in eating. When only half the 
girl has been vowed, the father settles the price, and gives 
half to the sheikh of the zeyareh in question. No contract 
is given, nor surety money necessarily paid. When the 
kutbeh, or betrothal, has been thus entered upon, the 
bridegroom can claim the girl when he pleases. When 
the ceremony is to come off, he makes a feast in his house 
for two or four nights before the occasion, so that she may 

N 4 


be taken home on an *^ odd " day. On the first evening his 
friends assemble only to dance. They light a fire, which 
is kept up by boys and others, while the men and women, 
mostly the younger ones, join hands in a ring, and jump 
round the fire in a kind of dance, from left to right. 
After stamping the foot in two places, they give a slight 
bound to the right, and so on again, singing a suitable tune. 
A piper is engaged on such occasions. In our neighbour- 
hood lives a blind one, whose pipe is formed of two tubes 
of bone bound together, and he is considered no bad player. 
He has often also to instruct those who are to be initiated. 
He receives presents from the people at the feast, and 
shouts out their names as they fee him. Gipsies likewise 
called Kurbat, come with drums and fifes to help on such 

On the next morning after the rejoicings have been com- 
pleted at the bridegroom's house, his friends go to the house 
of the bride, and sometimes he himself, with a present of 
burghool and other eatables, or of other articles. In the 
evening a feast is made, attended with dancing as before. 
Next morning, which is the last of the series, a feast is 
again made at the bride's house, and she is brought out 
covered with- a veil, and in high boots, such as those worn 
by the sheikhs. The friends of the father of the girl then 
give presents, which are called Nuktah, of which the girl 
takes a half. It is looked on as a loan, for the father gives 
to his friends on similar occasions. A brother or cousin 
places himself at the door, and will not let tjie girl come 
out till he has received some such present as a gun. The 
bridegroom also gives something to her mother. All this 
only takes place when the bride is of some consideration. 
She is then placed on a horse, and taken in procession to 
the bridegroom's house, visiting two . or three zeyarehs 
on the way. Her mother and other women accompany 
her on the road, uttering their shrill zalagheets. 

Before she goes into the house the bridegroom puts 
some millet and figs in his pocket, and goes up to the roof 


with liis friends, he and they having each a long stick in 
their hands. One of her relatives, who has carried a 
flag in procession, stands below with other of her friends, 
provided also with sticks. An amicable contest takes place, 
during which the standard-bearer endeavours to enter the 
house, and shots are fired. I should have said that the 
firing of guns forms an invariable part of every rejoicing. 
Tliey are crammed as full of powder as they will bear, so 
as to make as much noise as possible, but, having flint 
locks, they often miss fire. It is not pleasant to have them 
going off in all directions, at one's very ear. When the 
standard-bearer has got in, the mother, or other female 
relative of the girl, gives her a piece of leaven, which she 
sticks over the door, when the bridegroom gives her a blow 
with his stick, and then throws the millet and figs upon 
her and the by-standers. The bride then goes in, and a 
little after is brought out, still veiled, when the friends of 
the bridegroom make him presents of money. They then 
have a feast, and towards evening every one goes home. 
I should mention that before the girl gets off the horse 
the bridegroom gives her thirty or sixty piastres, that 
is, five or ten shillings, which is called the tanzeeleh, or 
" causing to dismount." 

It is said that an Ansaireeh who marries a Christian 
woman can only be purified after washing in forty foun- 
tains which have their openings turned towards the south 
(the direction of Mecca). 

Sometimes a man will run off with a girl, but he will 
afterwards agree with her family on the price to be paid 
for her. 

Divorce only needs the will of the man, but it is hot 
common. It is more usual for a man merely to send off 
his wife to take care of herself, and she cannot marry 
unless he '* takes his hand oft' her," except in another part 
where she is unknown. It is, however, unusual to dismiss 
a woman who has children. One man of my acquaintance 
lias had no less than three wives, giving them up as they 


get old and plain. It is usual for those who are well off 
to take two or three wives, who sometimes live together in 
one room. When they have children, each has a house of 
her own. But of this I will speak in the chapter on the 
present state of the Ansaireeh. 

When a man or woman dies a sheikh is brought. Water 
is warmed and the dead person taken out of the house, 
when, in the case of a man, the sheikh washes the body, 
first pouring water on it three times from head to foot. 
This is called mushahidel, or " testifying." A woman is 
of course washed by a woman. A piece of linen, unsewn, 
is wound round the body as grave-clothes, and then the 
clothes even to the turban are put on, and the body buried 
in them. In the case of a woman much beloved by her 
relatives, her jewels and rings are buried with her, and 
in all cases needle and thread. A bier is then made of 
two poles connected by rope ; an outer garment being 
placed on it, and the corpse above, covered with a quilt. 
The poles are not brought back from the tomb till after 
seven days. The sheikh heads the procession to the grave, 
uttering prayers till it arrives at the sepulchre. Two 
men go down into the grave, which is four to five feet 
deep. One side is hollowed out, so as partly to receive the 
corpse, which is then covered by large stones, supported, 
that is leaning, against the hollowed side. The nose, ears, 
and mouth of the corpse are stopped with cotton. As in 
the case of the Mohammedans, nothing blue is placed in 
the grave. They then fire their guns and return home. 
They sit in the house of the deceased, condoling with the 
friends, and partake of a repast, some of which may have 
been brought by the guests. These also give the deceased's 
friends alms for the sheikh, who perform the same duty in 
return on similar occasions. When the earth has been 
thrown into the grave, a man or woman with a good voice 
sings something in praise of the deceased, and from time to 
time stops, when the by-standers weep. I was once present 
at a most melancholy funeral. Two of the men of my 


village (one of whom was the only one who could read, and 
the most sensible of the people of it) were killed in a fight. 
In the morning they were engaged in building my house, 
and on an alarm being given went off to a fight, from 
which they were brought home dead towards evening. 
Their bodies were laid side by side at the burial-place, and 
the men of the village who had come back tired, begrimed 
with powder, and excited, helped alternately to dig their 
graves. There was much unseemly altercation as to who 
should perform this act of charity, all professing themselves 
to be too tired. The old mother of one of those killed 
"was informed of the death of her eldest son, and came 
beating her breast, till at length she swooned away. The 
brothers of the other also came, and a man, sitting at the 
head of the corpse, sang some verses in a melancholy voice. 
Altogether the scene was most distressing, and painful in 
its desolation. 

On returning to the house there is more singing ; and 
for three successive days the people go out in the 
morning to the grave, and sing and Aveep ; ending always 
with firing off their guns. 

During the next six days the friends of the family in 
other villages collect and send money and articles of food, 
and on the seventh day they assemble at the house of the 
deceased and partake of a feast, and afterwards go out to 
the tomb and act as before. This occasion is called the 
usbooa, or " week." Incense is burnt in the house on the 
day of the burial, in the evening ; and when they pay a 
visit to the tomb, on the day of the usbooa, the mistress of 
the house takes Avith her incense in a sherd, which is burnt 
on the tomb. The whole village think it disgraceful for 
any one to wash before the usbooa has passed, and the 
friends appear sorrowful for a month or two, but wear no 
mourning, except their unwashed clothes, which are con- 
sidered as such. 

I have often alluded to the sheikhs. This name, among 
the Fellaheen, is applied to the religious teachers, and 


when they employ the term in the more usual sense of the 
head man of a village, they add iz-zulm, that is, of 
"injustice;" calling their teachers, in contradistinction, 
" sheikh il-ulm," that is, of " knowledge." All the chief 
sheikhs are such by descent, the office being hereditary in 
their families ; but, as M. Langlois saj^s, " any one who 
knows how to read and write may become a sheikh." Some- 
times men are laughed at on assuming a white turban, one 
mark of a sheikh, but they can only pass themselves off as 
such where they are unknown ; for to do so in their own 
district must depend on the countenance of the acknow- 
ledged sheikhs. My lad, when at school, went to visit a 
sheikh in a neighbouring village. He reckoned (hasab) for 
him, and then said, " You were a sheikh in your time, and 
in a former generation I knew you, for you were of my 
relations, and I often partook of your hospitality." He 
hereupon kissed the boy's hand and gave him ten piastres, 
as alms paid to a sheikh, and said, " If there is a nidr, or 
feast, and you take alms at it, you will not sin." 

When a sheikh's son is about fifteen or sixteen years old, 
he is consecrated as sheikh. 

This ceremony is called Rasm or Taknees. My An- 
sairee liturgical book was written by the uncle of such a 
boy, to be given him as his " direction for sheikhs" at his 
consecration ; as is stated by the said uncle and copyist. 

The dress of a sheikh consists of a white turban, which 
even their children wear (having from their earliest youth 
the title of sheikh), and a white shirt, waistcoat, and wide 
trousers, with red high boots, and often a red girdle. They 
do not carry arms, and their dress is usually pretty clean. 
The people treat the chief sheikhs with great respect, and 
kiss the hands of all on occasion. Matters of controversy 
are referred to them, and they have to do with the whole 
public and private life of the people, and are constantly to 
be seen going about with their donkeys receiving alms in 
tlie shape of wheat, &c. 

They will not eat of any food which they suspect may 


have been bought with money fraudulently obtained ; and 
consequently will not partake of the hospitality of any 
who are given to robbing ; neither will they eat the food 
of Christians, though they eat that of the Mussulmans. 
Sheikh Hhabeeb once, when he partook of coffee at my 
house, paid my servant first for it, though he was reported 
at the time to have said that he only did this that people 
might not talk, for that he himself considered my pro- 
perty Halal, or lawful. The Bagdad sheikh ate without 
any scruple, and laughed at other sheikhs for theirs. 
Sheikh Hassan il Kinanee also ate frequently at my house, 
though privately. 

They pretend to a knowledge of future events, by means 
of astrology, divination, and ruml, and also to the power 
of exorcism, writing amulets, &c. They have some ac- 
quaintance with the names of the stars, and tell a man, 
" Your sign of the zodiac is such and such, and therefore 
such and such a line of life would suit you." My lad's 
name was such and such, but as he was always ill it was 
by the advice of a sheikh changed to another. 

They pretend to reckon or divine by means of a string 
of beads and looking into a book. 

Ruml consists in making a number of fine dots, like 
sand, on a piece of a paper, from which the sheikh divines 
what will happen to any one. When at Hamah, on one 
occasion, an Ansairee sheikh " reckoned" for me in this 
way, and presented me with the paper of which he had 
made use. 

A family of sheikhs in our neighbourhood profess to 
have the power of exorcising evil spirits. A poor man 
in a village immediately below my own became mad, 
and yet was still allowed to go at large. After a little 
time he severely wounded his wife, who was brought to 
us on a Sunday morning covered with blood. Soon 
afterwards he set fire to his house and took refuge 
in a cave near, whence he took to flight, and has 
never since been heard of. During his illness a sheikh 


was brought to cure him. He addressed the evil spirit, 
and was supposed to receive answers through the man 
himself. The sheikh ordered the spirit to enter into me, 
but he refused, as he considered me too good, and was 
then told to go to Hamah. The spirit asked whence he 
was to come out, from the man's toe or mouth, and re- 
ceived directions ; but the issue of all was that the man 
remained uncured. 

It is a very common thing for the sheikhs to write 
amulets ; and I have a book in which are described a 
variety of most potent charms, which if written and worn 
will be all-powerful against every variety of disease and 
calamity. Some of them are mere repetitions of particular 
letters. Most of the children have some in their head- 
dress, or suspended round their necks by a string, in little 
cases of leather. Sheikh Hassan il Kinanee is also accused 
of writing love charms, and of other improper practices. 

When a man is ill a sheikh comes and reads over him 
in a loud voice what is called Azai-im, for which he re- 
ceives five piastres or so. Sometimes he brings a lad with 
him, whom he puts under what is called the Sir-ah, and 
then gets him to say what is the cause of the man's dis- 
ease. If it be suspected to be a devil, he is exorcised ; and 
sometimes the sheikh tells the man that his illness is in 
consequence of breaking a vow, or some other sin of omis- 
sion or commission. I have been told that the eyes of one 
who has often been put under the Sir-ah become red. 

There are numerous pretenders to second-sight. A 
certain sheikh, called Ali Zahir, living near Ahmed Kirfas, 
tells a man all that he may have done on the road, and 
acquaints people with the locality of stolen property. This 
and similar stories are told in the most circumstantial 

The people fear the evil eye, which they call Nudrah, 
and believe in enchantment. Soon after I had esta- 
blished myself in the mountains there was a fight be- 
tween the inhabitants of my own district and those of the 


neighbouring one. These last were worsted, and ascribed 
their defeat to a whistle with which I had been accus- 
tomed to summon my servants. They said that I 
had been seen riding on my white mare at the time 
of the fight, and that I had blown my whistle, which 
brought small birds upon them, and in some way or other 
their balls were made to fall short, while their adversaries' 
balls reached them. They consequently threatened the 
destruction of my life and property, while the story was 
made a subject of merriment with my own people, who, 
however, warned me of danger. 

The Ansaireeh will not eat of some things which even 
the Mussulmans consider clean, as the hare and eels, 
which they wrongly call salloor. Neither will they eat 
any kind of fish without scales. In some of these things 
they follow the law of Moses. AVhen a man has killed a 
wild boar, he will sell it to a Christian, but spends the 
money obtained only in buying powder and shot. " I 
have found," says Niebuhr, "in ray Nusairee book, that 
Maana had forbidden them to eat of the camel, hare, and 
eel ; that Ism had not permitted them to partake of pork, 
blood, and, in general, the flesh of beasts not properly 
killed ; and that Bab had forbidden them the zellor (a certain 
black fish of the Orontes), and everything burnt."* 

The Ansaireeh have a great regard for myrtle. Like the 
Mussulmans, they place it about the tombs. Mention is 
made in my Ansairee MS. of " what is lawful, and the re- 
verse, above the myrtle ; " f and it is said that he who in a 
religious assembly '' chatters above the myrtle" will be- 
come dumb t ; and once, in a district near Mount Cassius, 
one of my Christian servants fell in with a man who was 
on his back, throwing up his legs, and performing most 
extraordinary antics round a myrtle bush. The myrtle 
is also mentioned in the second class given by M. Ca- 

* Vol. ii. p. 361. t^-1'79. ±P. 180. 


The Ansaireeh shave the hair of the armpits, and the 
Kumreeh sect that under the chin likewise. The Shemseeh 
do not ; so when, during one of the fights, an old man 
of this sect fell into the hands of the people of our 
district, they shaved him. The people of a bordering 
village having become Kumreeh have shaved the same 

In my Ansairee MS. * tobacco is spoken of as " for- 
bidden above the myrtle " ; but it is a Shemseen book, 
and by that sect tobacco is considered unlawful, so that 
their sheikhs do not smoke. 

* Page 186. 




I CANNOT better preface what I have to say on the pre- 
sent state of the Ansaireeh than by relating the events 
of the last few years in their neighbourhood. The reader 
will then be able, even before I descend into particulars, 
to guess pretty accurately what must be the social state 
of a people so circumstanced. I shall confine my remarks 
principally to my own district, and thus, by entering into 
a rather detailed account of particular occurrences, give 
a clearer picture of the general state of things. 

When on my way out from England, in 1853, to com- 
mence the mission which I had determined on after my 
first visit to the Ansaireeh, I passed the English and 
French fleets on their passage up the Dardanelles to 
commence the Russian war. I consequently found a 
very different state of things in Syria, and in the An- 
saireeh country, from that which I had seen the previous 
year. The town of Ladikeeh was in confusion from the 
irregular levies of the neighbourhood, who to the num- 
ber of three or four hundred were assembling to start 
for Erzeroom, Kars, and Lake Van, to defend that por- 
tion of the Sultan's dominions. Miserably armed and 
clothed, they were possessed with greater enthusiasm 
than I should have expected from Mohammedan shop- 
keepers and the refuse of town populations. They marched 
about the streets crying out : " The gate of Paradise is 
open !" " God give victory to the Sultan ! May Allah burn 
the infidels ! " They were at least as dangerous to their 


friends as to their enemies. AYhen well rid of them (poor 
fellows, few outlived the cold and the sword of the enemy), 
one morning a number of sailing vessels entered the port 
of Ladikeeh with a still more truculent band. These 
were of the worst character, black galley-slaves from 
Acre and professed robbers, who kept the town in terror 
for some days. They had been originally embarked in an 
Austrian steamer, but on bad weather coming on they had 
rushed to seize their arms and gain possession of the 
vessel, so that the captain had put them on shore at the 
next port; hence their unwelcome arrival in our harbour. 
Armed with great knobbed sticks, studded with nails, 
they assaulted and robbed people with impunity ; and I 
have reason to remember them, as part of my dinner was 
one day intercepted by them. 

When I first passed through the Ansairee country, I 
found a little army of 2000 regular troops engaged in 
taking conscripts, and hence the peasantry were humble 
and submissive. The case was now very different. On 
my first ride to the mountains to look for a piece of land 
as the site of- mission premises, I encountered on the plain 
an assembly consisting of men from the districts of Kelbeeh 
• and Muhailby, and irregular horsemen of the government. 
Long-established ill-feeling between the two districts had 
begun to break out, the country was denuded of regular 
troops, and each accused the other of having been guilty 
of a recent robbery in the plains. 

The Kelbeeh district, where I determined to establish 
myself, had always been notorious for wild lawlessness. 
Burckhardt * says : " During our stay at Tripoli, Berber 
[the then pasha, who had risen from a low rank, but who 
is described by Burckhardt as a " man of great spirit, 
firmness, and justice "] was in the neighbourhood of La- 
dakia making war against some rebel Anzeyrys." It was 
with the Kelbeeh district that Berber was at war, and for 

* Travels, p. 171 : London, 1822. 


the following reason. Captain Boutin, a Frenchinan, was 
travelling southward, past the Nahr-cs-Seen. When cros- 
sing: a bridofe some stones or shells which he had in a 
bag rattled in such a way as made some of the miserable 
Arabs, called Arab-il-Mulk, who encamp there, suppose 
that he had much money about him. He was therefore 
set upon and murdered, and his body chopped into small 
pieces to avoid detection. Lady Hester Stanhope, who 
was then in the Lebanon, urged Berber to take vengeance. 
The chief murderer escaped totheKelbeeh district, and the 
people of it, according to their notions of the duties of hospi- 
tality, refused to give him up on demand. The consequence 
was that Berber attacked the district, and raised all the 
surroundinor districts aofainst it. The war went on with 
varying success. Once the Kelbeeh were driven to the 
very highest part of their mountains, and took refuge in 
a deep valley near Djaafar Tayyar, from which issuing 
after a little, they drove their enemies completely out of 
their country. But in the end Berber got the better of 
them. The Arab refugee requited their kindness by 
stealing a mare and making off to Hamah, while they had 
to pay tribute. 

An old Sahyoon man, called Abu-Saleb, who was between 
seventy and eighty years old, once interested me much by 
giving me an account of these times. His had been an 
eventful life, and he had seen strange and fearful scenes. 
He remembered two earthquakes, and a plague which, 
he said, had destroyed half the population, besides fights 
innumerable. Once he had been seized by a pasha of 
Ladikeeh, by name Ibn-il-Maner, a suspected Ansairee, who 
had intended to kill him, after having nearly scourged him 
to death ; but he effected his escape, and with a com- 
panion afterwards killed the pasha. He was with Ber- 
ber in his combats with the Kelbeeh, and related with 
glee how Berber had struck off seven of their heads at a 
time. Those were the days, said he. The dragoman of 
the English Vice-Consulate at Ladikeeh, lately deceased, 

o 2 


well remembered those times, and assured me more than 
once that on Berber's visits to Ladikeeh, the Ansairee 
prisoners used to be taken to meet him on the road, when 
he would behead them and cause them to be impaled. I 
should say that the Ansaireeh are not considered, like Jews 
and.Christians, to be " people of a book;" and consequently, 
according to strict Mussulman law, not even their sub- 
mission and tribute should be accepted, but they ought to 
be put to the sword, and their wives and children sold as 
slaves. The Karmatians were condemned to this by the 
fetwas, or decisions, of the orthodox Mussulman doctors 
of their day ; and a certain vile and ignorant fanatic 
called Sheikh Ibraheem il Mograbee, who died about 
1827 *, gave a fetwa for which his memory is accursed 
among the Ansaireeh, that the lives and property of the 
Ansaireeh were at the free disposal of the Mussulmans. 
Berber, not content with slaying the people, cut down their 
fruit trees; and almost the only trees to be found in my 
own village, for instance, are fig trees which have sprung 
from the roots of those destroyed in his- time. Before 
then much silk was produced, and we have already seen 
that in Maundrell's time much and good wine was made. 

When on my first visit to the district in search of land, 
a man entered the house where I was, to persuade those 
there to go on an expedition with him, of which I heard 
the result on returning to town. Four men of the Kelbeeh 
had gone to rob in the district of Suirt Kublee. They 
were seen, and the arms of one of them were taken from 
him. A number of the Kelbeeh people in revenge went and 
seized a large flock and their shepherd. While returning 
they were attacked by the people of Suirt Kublee and the 
Beni Ali, when two of the Suirt Kublee men were killed, 

* He may be considered to be the patron saint of Ladikeeh. A hand- 
some mosque has been built to him behind the town. Lately a thun- 
derbolt struck the minaret, and the Mussulmans of the town thanked 
the saint who had thus stretched out his hand and seized it, preventing 
its descending on tiie town. 


«an(l several of the Kelbeeh people wounded. I noted at 
the time that the " woman who recounted the story 
laughed as if much pleased ; and, indeed, they intend to 
kill the booty at their great feast, which shortly takes 

Having agreed with a man for a piece of land, he was 
to have returned to me the same afternoon to draw out the 
contract ; but some Mussulmans of the town had mean- 
while heard of his intention, and informed the governor, 
who sent for the man and so frightened him that he 
refused to proceed any further in the business. I wrote 
to Beyrout to complain to the Consul-General. He men- 
tioned the affair to the pasha, who told the governor not 
to interfere with me in future as to buying land, but at the 
same time begged the Consul-General to inform me dis- 
tinctly that the government would not be responsible for 
my safety, for I was going to a rebellious district. This 
did not at all move me, as I had all along known the 
weakness of the Turkish government in such matters, and 
that I should have to depend on the people's own sense of 
hospitality, which, as far as life was concerned, was a pretty 
good security. 

Having taken up my goods on camels to the village 
where I proposed to build, I pitched my tents on the flat 
roofs of some inhabited houses, and placed my property in 
a room below. The next night I was awakened by a shot, 
and it turned out that four men, who had seen my boxes, 
had come to dig through the wall of the room where they 
were, but had been seen by my dog, who by his barking 
had awakened the people of the quarter. The robbers were 
afterwards discovered, and the chief men spoke of writing a 
bond, that if any one were killed in an attempt to plunder 
me, no price should be demanded for his blood. Whenever 
at this time I used to be rather late on my return from my 
rides, I was met by people of the village, who had come to 
look after me, professing fear for my safety. When I first 
went to the mountains I used to ride up over the plain by 

o 3 


moonlight, but the chief man of my district sent to beg 
me to discontinue doing so, lest anything should happen 
to me from the people of other districts, and he and his 
bear the blame. 

One morning I saw a little dirty bag in my tent, with 
earth and myrtle leaves in it. I took no notice of it at the 
time, but threw it outside. Two months after, my Arab 
school teacher asked me if I knew what the bag was. He 
said that he had not liked to speak of it at the time, but 
that it contained earth from the sepulchres, and, according 
to a prevalent superstition, had been thrown into the tent 
with the idea of causing sleep, so that a robbery might be 
quietly eifected. After this occurrence the chief man of 
the village, unknown to me, slept outside my tent. 

I had gone up to the mountains on June 2nd, 1854, and 
early on the morning of August 15th a man rode breath- 
lessly into the village, and told how an inhabitant of the 
district had been killed by the Muhailby people. " Indabb 
is-Sarot," as it is phrased, literally, " the voice crept on ;" 
that is, an alarm was given, by shouting and firing, to the 
different villages of the district, and in an incredibly short 
space of time the people of my own and other villages 
rushed off to the scene of conflict. Often have I since 
heard similar alarms, and at night they have a solemn 
effect in those wild mountains. Soon the increased firing 
showed me that the fight had commenced in earnest, and 
shortly afterwards one of the men of the village, who had 
received a fearful gun-shot wound in his mouth, came 
riding towards me on a donkey, with his head reclining on 
his breast, which was streaming with blood. Expecting 
many such cases, as another soon afterwards came with a 
ball lodged in his cheek, I rode off quickly to Djebileli, to 
endeavour to procure an Arab surgeon. A Mussulman 
there, however, who had credit for treating wounds, re- 
fused absolutely to come, saying that if the men died he 
should have the blame of it with the Ansaireeh ; and he 
was not far wrong, as I myself learned by experience after- 


wards. Others said, " Please God, five hundred will be 
killed on one side, and six hundred on the other!" The 
first-named man died in a fortnight, and in the whole 
four of the Kelbeeh people were killed, and six of the 
Muhailby. The fight had been brewing for some time, 
but the immediate cause was a quarrel about a cu- 

The Muhailby people, having lost most men, vowed 
revenge ; and there were several false alarms. But one 
morning, September 30th, as the people of the village were 
engaged on my house, it was found that the threatened at- 
tack was really being made. The Muhailby people came 
on our district in two places, east and west of the moun- 
tain, which, dividing the district, leaves openings at its 
extremities. To the west they were at first victorious, and 
I feared for the moment for myself, for a common threat 
of theirs was that they would come and destroy my 
serayel, or palace, as it was called. However, the people 
of my own district assembling in force poured in a volley, 
and soon drove them back far into their own district, 
burning the villages as they came to them. On the east 
they were equally victorious, and it was a painful sight to 
see villages burning at noonday. In- this fight about 
eleven of the Muhailby people were killed, and fifteen of 
the Kelbeeh, two of them being the men of my own 
village whose funeral I have described. 

The Kelbeeh had it now all to themselves, and made 
marauding expeditions into their enemies' country. The 
women and children were active on such occasions. 
When a fight takes place, the women seem like demons, 
encouraging the men, and supplying them with water. 
When the fights were ended, I used to see them returning 
laden with pots, pans, quilts, &c., in fact everything 
they could lay their hands on ; while the children would 
bring chickens, and such like things. The wife of my 
Ansairee servant, of whom I shall hereafter speak more 
particularly, was very active on such occasions ; and I 

o 4 


could see her on the hill near my house, stretching out 
her hands to the Sultan Djaafar Tayyar, praying for suc- 
cess and the safety of her husband. 

One day fifty horsemen came to our district, and their 
leader got our chief men, under promise of safe conduct, 
to accompany him to the governor, in order that matters 
might be settled between them and the Muhailby. But 
directly they arrived they were seized and put in prison 
at Ladikeeh. This piece of injustice exasperated the people 
of my district, and seventy of them went down to Ladikeeh 
by night, where they broke open the prison, released their 
chiefs, and carried them off in triumph to the mountains. 
The governor, Ali Bey, who for such a position was 
more clever and able than would have been expected, 
was now exasperated in his turn, and would not be satis- 
fied except with conditions which could not possibly be 
complied with. He assembled a mob of some two thou- 
sand men, from his own irregulars and the surrounding 
districts, at the small town of Djebileh, immediately under 
my own district. He required me more than once to 
come down, or rather to leave my house, and I always re- 
fused, on the plea that if I did so my property would be 

Meanwhile utter confusion reigned in the plains. The 
Kelbeeh robbed at pleasure, and I heard in one case that 
a man and woman had been burnt in a house which they 
had set fire to, and this, I fear, was only too true. My 
servant was one evening on his way up from Ladikeeh 
with letters and other articles, when he was seized by 
some Muhailby people, thrown down, and robbed, on the 
pretence that his master had become a Kelbanee, one of 
the Kelbeeh people, and I have never found out who were 
the robbers. 

At length, on Monday, November 27th, drums were 
heard in the plain, and soon after the governor's force 
came into sight, and filed past my house, the villagers 
having previously taken flight, after firing off their 


muskets in derision. The camp was pitched in the village 
of Kurdahah, al)out half an hour's ride to the east of my 
own. All was now desolation. The people had driven 
off their cattle to the higher mountains, and buried their 
wheat. Just under my house I witnessed a cow hunt, the 
animal being brought down after many shots had been 
fired at her. The people of the Muhailby and other dis- 
tricts flocked into the Kelbeeh villages, and opened and 
emptied the corn stores. One afternoon, I was sitting out- 
side my room door, which commanded a view of all the 
surrounding hills, when I saw three men enter a house in 
a village separated from me by a valley. Fortunately for 
them they did not remain long, for, on emerging, they 
were seen by some of our men who had been down 
into the plain, and were pursued. One of them perched 
himself on the mountain which divided the districts, and 
made an oration, as Jotham did to the men of Shechem 
from Mount Gerizim. I had hoisted a handkerchief, in 
default of a flag, hoping that it might tend to keep off 
marauders from the camp, for the Mussulmans of Sahyoon, 
as they passed my house, had threatened to return and 
destroy it. So the Muhailby men said: — "Ah! you 
Kelbeeh think much of yourselves, because you have a 
* consul ' and flag in your district. Just wait till to- 
morrow, and see if we don't, before the cock crows, enter 
his house and curse his father." That same night my 
friend Ahmed Selhab of Bahluleeh slept in my house, 
and some of the people of the neighbouring village of th6 
Merj, who had received permission from the governor to 
return, had come to make complaints to him, and after- 
wards slept in a house of the higher quarter. Some of the 
inhabitants, who used to return every evening to see how 
I was getting on, were also sleeping there, when, just at 
dawn, the house was surrounded by some thirty horsemen, 
and the inmates summoned to surrender. This they would 
not do, but rushed out firing on the horsemen. I made sure 
that the Muhailby people had kept their promise, and that 


they were come to attack my house ; but, on looking out, I 
saw the real state of things. Observing a tent of myrtle- 
boughs on fire, I thought the horsemen were about to burn 
the village, and went up among them. They were in a 
state of great excitement, two of them being wounded. I 
attempted to rescue a horse which they had seized, when 
a Kurdish horseman put his gun behind my back more 
than once, as I was afterwards told by a Sahyoon man 
who professed to have knocked it aside.. 

On Wednesday, the third day of these scenes, I de- 
termined to make one more effort to bring about peace, 
and rode over to the governor, to ask him to allow me 
to go up to the chief man, and try to get him to come 
down. He said : " No ; it is not well." I then asked him 
for two horsemen, for the protection of my house. He was 
for sending them, but the Cadi of Ladikeeh, his main ad- 
viser, said : " The evening will do." The evening never 
came to the poor governor. I had scarcely reached my 
house on my return when I heard firing, and, to my utter 
surprise, saw the hills crowned with the flying horsemen 
of Ladikeeh. I thought at first that they were only 
choosing better ground for the conflict, but few minutes 
elapsed before streams of fugitives passed my house on 
both sides, dropping their muskets in their flight. They 
seemed to be in absurd haste, but the cause was soon mani- 
fest. Wild fellows of my own and the Djenneeh people 
came rushing by, with loud cries of " Yallah, yallah !" and 
soon reached and shot the hindermost of the runaways. 
One man, who had been stripped of his things, and could 
apparently run no farther, was walking as if in despair in 
the grounds under my house. I sent my servant to bring 
him back, but, before he could reach him, I saw a man 
deliberately shoot at him, fortunately without touching 
him. The man who fired the shot, being a stranger, at 
first did not recognise my servant, and was for stripping 
him. I had the satisfaction to save in all some ten or 
twelve stripped and wounded men. The cook of the 


governor, an Armenian, came in crying quarter, having 
been robbed, and having had a very narrow escape for his 
life. I never saw a man more frightened. 

Some poor fellows in the valley below my house were 
overtaken, or rather shot, before they could reach the 
opposite ascent, and I was told that their bodies were 
piled together and burnt. 

In the evening I was shocked at hearing that the Bey 
had been killed. He had gallantly endeavoured to rally 
his men, and having delayed too long had been shot in 
the back when endeavouring to escape. On riding towards 
Kurdahah next morning to recover his corpse, I saw the 
bodies of men who had been killed stripped utterly naked 
and lying in the road. In one place three w^re thus lying 
on their faces. The people I met returning to their villages 
shouted to me, asking me where I was going ; and some 
who guessed my object told me scornfully that I was too late, 
as the Bey was buried. However, on hastening forward I 
found the chief man and others assembled round a hole 
they were digging to receive the body, which was lying 
near, stripped almost naked. On asking the chief man 
whether I could have it, he said : " Oh, yes ; where are 
your servants ? take it away as soon as possible." I had 
compelled four men of the fugitives to accompany me to 
Kurdahah ; and, a bier having been formed, the corpse was 
placed upon it, and they were forced to carry it, as no one 
else would do so. 

Hearing that the son of the chief man of Sahyoon was 
wounded and lying in a house near, I went and attempted 
to ransom him. But it was useless to endeavour to treat 
with the people, who seemed like wild beasts after the fight, 
and were particularly indignant with the Sahyoon men 
who had cut down some of their trees, and shown them- 
selves especially hostile. A young Mussulman lad also 
wished to follow me, but was prevented. Pie, however, 
afterwards told the governor of Sahyoon what I had 
tried to do for his brother, which, perhaps, proved the 


saving of my life. Soon afterwards I heard that the 
poor man, whose thigh was already shattered, had been 

Finding that his father, who had been killed, was lying 
unburied, I gave a sum of money to an Egyptian Mus- 
sulman living among the Kelbeeh to bury him. As 
he was proceeding to do so, they brought and cast down 
the body before me, where I sat conversing with the chief 
men, when a brutal fellow, who had been before engaged 
about pay house as a builder, took a stone and threw it at 
the skull of the dead man. One or two of the by-standers 
uttered a faint disapprobation. 

On remonstrating with a sheikh about the bodies re- 
maining unburied, and asking him whether it was not 
wrong, he said: " Yes ; men are of dust, and they ought to 
be restored to dust;" but had not the least wish that his 
words should be followed. So the bodies remained ex- 
posed, till after two or three days the jackals took courage 
and devoured them. 

As there was a prospect of utter confusion in the pro- 
vince of Ladikeeh (and indeed the people, if they had 
known their power, might have taken and plundered the 
town itself), I determined to go off to Beyrout with a 
public statement. While it was being written, intel- 
ligence came that the body of the Bey had been thrown 
aside by those who carried it, and was lying near a 
fountain. This had happened while my man was delayed 
on a message to my house. He chanced on his return to 
see in the hands of the people my outer garment, which I 
had placed on the bier, and had some difficulty in recovering 
it. It was now quite late, and I had the unpleasantness 
of going down over the desolate plain by night. The poor 
cook took every shadow for a marauder. I had not pro- 
ceeded far on my way when a man started up from among 
the myrtles, and begged for protection. He had hidden 
himself during the preceding night, having escaped, though 
with one ear nearly severed. I have forgotten to mention 


that when the horsemen attacked our village they wounded 
one poor fellow so severely that he was barely able to drag 
himself to some myrtles below, where his body was found 
a day after the fight. He was one of the most inofi^ensive 
and well to do men of our district. 

On my return from Beyrout I found that the people of 
my own district had kept pretty faithfully a promise to 
me that they would be quiet during my absence ; but 
their allies, the Djenneeh, had committed many robberies. 
At length about sixty of them went to rob a village in the 
district of the Baier. On their return the inhabitants of the 
plain, of the Shemseen sect, surrounded them, and after a 
hard fight killed twelve of them and took nine prisoners. 
The people of Ladikeeh on this occasion behaved in a brutal 
and cowardly way, just as I should have expected from 
them. Just outside the town a horseman slew one of the 
prisoners, who, he said, had killed his brother ; and the 
townspeople went out and insulted the dead body, finally 
casting it into a well. 

After many " parliaments'' among the inhabitants of my 
district, which were held in the open air, and in which all 
spoke at once, there being as many opinions as people pre- 
sent, I had the satisfaction of accompanying the chief men 
to Ladikeeh ; and for some time matters went on quietly. 
Soon afterwards I w^as stopped in the Sahyoon district ; and 
if I had but spoken the word, that district w^ould probably 
have been entirely destroyed. The Kelbeeh people were 
indignant at what had happened to me, which they looked 
on as an insult to themselves, and with their friends and 
others of the Ansaireeh would have been too glad to have 
had an excuse for attacking their hereditary enemies, and, 
as they said, " not leaving a mill nor a house standing." 
Once before the Sahyoon people had been ejected from their 
district; and it is only the support of their co-religionists 
of the government which maintains them in their position 
among a large Ansairee population. 

At the beginning of 1856 I heard of a dreadful crime. 


Some of the people of Harf, a village in the plains near 
Wady Kandeel, had been engaged in the fight against the 
Djenneeh people where so many of these were killed. To 
avenge themselves, the latter invited six of the chief men 
of Plarf to an entertainment, and then cut off their heads. 
The following extract from my journal, written at the 
time, will show how such an act was generally looked 
upon, and furnish an instance of the usual replies of the 
sheikhs : — 

" Ismaeel Dayoob, father of one of my boys, who came 
some five or six days ago, could not be brought to think 
badly of what the Djenneeh people had done ; saying that 
the others had previously killed some of the Djenneeh. 
When I told him that this had been done in open fight, 
and not by treachery, he said, * But those people do not 
love our Sharee-ah (or law), for they are Mawakhaseh (a 
name for the Shemseen sect). A sheikh from Cumeen 
came with him for medicine. He did not seem to think 
at all differently, smiling when I spoke to him. I told him 
it must be a defect in their religion, which did not prevent 
such things. But he turned off the conversation to steal- 
ing, saying that the people stole from even sheikh's houses. 
I asked him why they did not teach them better when 
young. He said, * We do ; but when they grow up they 
cast it all aside.' " 

Shortly after there was a fight in the Beni Ali district, 
in which several were killed on each side. Not long be- 
fore the Kerahileh to the south had attacked the district 
of the Merkab, and, being surrounded, many of them were 
slain. Thus scarcely a month passed in the mountains 
without a fight somewhere. 

After a time things began again to look dark. The 
governor of Ladikeeh, finding the people did not pay 
their taxes, sent for two of the chief men, and, thougli 
they went down to him under safe conduct, he put 
them in prison. He then gave orders to the irregular 
horse to attack the lower part of the district. These 


men were well armed and mounted, being levies from the 
neighbourhood of Mosul, wlio had been under training as 
Basha-Bazooks for the Crimea. When disbanded at the 
close of the Russian war, they had entered the service of 
the government. Some seventy of them made an attack 
on some of our people who were engaged in the plain. 
These did not deliver themselves up, but took refuge in a 
ruin, and, though but fifteen or twenty in number, de- 
fended themselves gallantly. Two or three of them 
— one a cripple or blind — were wounded, the horsemen 
having leaped the part of the ruin where they were and 
speared them. The cripple was killed. This fight hap- 
pened on June 22nd of this year (1856). 

The next day as I was riding to Ladakeeh I observed 
a number of our people among ruins situated on a hill 
by the wayside. I soon saw the reason. On the plains 
below were about two hundred horsemen, who were gra- 
dually approaching the hill-side. I rode up to our men 
and asked them what was going on. One of them replied 
that the government was attacking them without right. 
I said, " You will not pay your taxes." " Yes," he said, 
" we will." I asked if I might tell the commander of 
the horse as much. They said *' Yes;" so I rode down 
to him, and asked him to delay attacking the district for a 
day or two till I had seen what could be done in Ladikeeh. 
He replied that he would not fire on the people unless they 
fired on him. I rode back to tell them so, and they asked 
me to return and ask the Aga commanding the horsemen 
not to touch a village in the plain near which he was. 
He said he would pay for even a cup of cold water from 
it. I continued my ride; and had the gratification of 
learning afterwards that the horsemen had immediately 
returned to Djebileh. It was rather a pretty sight to one 
riding down from the mountains ; for the horsemen were 
clustered on the plain, and on the hills which run down to 
it were parties of the Kelbeeh people on the look-out, 
while at the base of those more distant were men engaged 


in the peaceful occupation of treading out wheat with 

To conclude the history of the relations of the district 
with the government. Towards the close of the year 
there was another collision between the horsemen of the 
town and the Kelbeeh, who pursued them towards 
Djebileh, and to their hurt killed the son of the chief 
Mussulman of Ladikeeh, who was a mere lad serving 
with his uncle in the horse. The uncle and father have 
vowed vengeance against the Kelbeeh ever since, and have 
had many opportunities of wreaking it. 

Next year the Nawasieh people fought with the Boodeh, 
the mountain part of the Beni Ali district ; and the Kel- 
beeh and Amamareh, taking sides with their respective 
friends, fought against each other, when as usual the Kel- 
beeh were the victors. But this was the close of their 
victorious course. The Boodeh chief became friendly with 
the government, who made use of him against the Kelbeeh. 
Towards the close of 1858 the government collected about 
200 men armed with Minie rifles and a small cannon, with 
some of the above-mentioned well-trained horsemen. The 
chief men as usual put the commoner sort forward, but, 
when they found the Mini^ bullets reach themselves where 
they stood, a panic seized them and they gave ground. 
Some of the people were in a valley, and being sur- 
rounded by the horsemen about forty were killed. So 
terrified were they by the results of this and the next 
day's fight, that they met by niglit and selected five of the 
children of the chief men, whom they surrendered to 
government on the morrow, and who have been detained 
till the present time, so that the people have been brought 
to a state of great submission. 

The government, instead of being content with a just 
and sufficient amount of punishment, has taken advantage 
of the opportunity to harass the people in every way, and 
by imposing new taxes, and making fresh demands, is in 
danger of driving them to despair. Such a thing as a 


just uniform system of government is a thing unknown 
in the outlying provinces of Turkey. As it was in the 
days of Maundrell, more than a hundred and fifty years 
ago, so is it now. The Ottomans only retain Syria by 
setting tribe against tribe, making use of one to weaken and 
subdue the other, thus fostering desolating feuds among 
neighbours, which the forces at the command of govern- 
ment are utterly unable to check, even when desirous 
of doing so. Every man in the country districts has 
to go armed, and to defend his life and property for 

Were I to allow myself to dwell on this subject I might 
say much of the fearful state, not only of the province of 
Ladikeeh but of other parts of Syria, and that not on 
doubtful testimony. I might speak of the utter want of 
security in some parts, and the systematic perversion of 
justice in others. For this our government is responsible, 
in so far as it has deemed it necessary to strengthen an 
empire which cannot protect its subjects from murder, 
robbery, and wrong ; and whose only proof of sovereignty 
lies in spasmodic efibrts to collect tribute and recruits. 
Doubtless our rulers hope for the inauguration of a better 
state of things, and are always ready to insist upon it ; but 
meanwhile they have ordered their consuls to look calmly 
on, while the people of the provinces are passing through 
a dreadful ordeal. When I was at Ladikeeh, at the close of 
last year (1859), the government was engaged in burning 
villages belonging to the Djenneeh ; and murders had been 
committed with the connivance of the government offi- 
cials, nay, traced to one of the chief of them ; while the 
poor sufferers. Christians and others, had nowhere to turn 
for redress. Thus desolation was daily becoming tenfold 
more desolate, till it seemed as if the land would be left 
without inhabitants. As it is the population must de- 
crease instead of increasing. 

It may be said that it appears clearly enough that the 
Ansaireeh themselves are much to blame. But are they 



SO much to blame as their rulers, who are unable and un- 
willing to restrain them from such excesses ? Would not 
the Ansaireeh quickly become another people under a just 
and firm system of government, supported by such a force 
as would render anything like rebellion hopeless ? If the 
Ansaireeh had anything to hope or fear from the Mus- 
sulman local officials of Ladikceh, soon would disorders 
vanish, and a most fertile province sustain a numerous 

I have hitherto spoken of the quarrels of my own district 
with the government and with other districts. One would 
suppose that such a multiplicity of foes without would lead 
to internal union ; but this is far from being the case. I 
have before mentioned the names of the five chief houses 
or families : Hasoon, Djirkis, Ali, Ahmed, and Aloosh. 
They have old standing feuds, some of which are kept 
purposely unsettled, that he who has a claim may keep his 
antagonist in a state of fear and uncertainty. When 
Ibrahim Pasha was driven out of Syria, Beyt Hasoon 
killed the then chief man, who belonged to Beyt Djirkis, 
and up to the present time the price of blood has not 
been paid nor accepted. Just after my first visit to the 
district in search of land, a quarrel took place in which a 
brother of Ismaeel Osman, the present chief man of the 
district, who is of Beyt Hasoon, was slain, and one or 
two others ; and though the late Sheikh Hhabeeb settled the 
price of blood of the supernumerary man of Beyt Hasoon, 
who was then killed over and above those killed of Beyt 
Aloosh, at 10,000 piastres, the money has not yet been 
accepted by Beyt Hasoon. When I was present one day 
at the taking up of stones for my house, 1 saw one of the 
men who was at work suddenly run ofi* to a tree near and 
seize his arms which were hanging on it, and on looking 
up I saw the reason in the appearance of Ismaeel Osman. 
This same man was one of those who fell afterwards in 
the fight. 

Not only in the district generally are there feuds. 

FEUDS. 211 

but in the village where my house is situated. The in- 
habitants are descended from two brothers, great-grand- 
fathers of the present generation, one of whom killed 
the other; so their descendants have ever since borne 
mutual ill-will. One day some of them were working 
on my premises, when a slight quarrel arose, and each 
party rushed off for their arms, which the women eagerly 
supplied. I was in the schoolroom at the time, and 
hearing the noise ran out and found them fighting in 
the courtyard. With the greatest difficulty I separated 
them, and made some sit on an elevated place in the 
yard, while others went to the upper part of the vil- 
lage. Hearing these last still shout and jeer, I went up 
to pacify them, when suddenly one of their relations, who 
had heard of the quarrel at a distance, came rushing by 
towards the houses of the lower quarter. Those who 
were sitting in ray yard ran out after him, and, before I 
could reach, four of them struck him with their swords, 
till he fell covered with blood into a ditch. His brothers 
came to defend him and wounded his opponents. When 
I got to the place I raised him and conducted him to 
my house. Wounded as he was, he vowed vengeance, 
and threatened them with his gun (which was fortunately 
unloaded), so that I had great difficulty in getting him 
along. His appearance was scarcely human. He could 
only be kept from swooning by pouring cold water on 
him ; yet in a month he recovered. His brother, how- 
ever, was badly wounded. His head was in some mea- 
sure saved by a dollar which happened to be in his red 
cap, but the small bone of his arm was quite divided. 
He bled so much that I apprehended the worst conse- 
quences ; but after a time his arm healed, though it 
remained a little crippled. It was not permitted to talk 
of compensation, till it was seen what the injury would 
be. The two quarters of the village remained openly 
hostile to one another; and my own Ansairee servant 
was in danger if he went out of his house by night. I 


insisted that each party should come to my house un- 
armed, and their friends in other villages assented to the 
reasonableness of this demand. Scarcely were their wounds 
skinned over, before there was a quarrel with another 
village arising from some trifling discussion while at work 
in the fields; and forgetting for the time their internal feud, 
they rushed off in a body to the fight. I was again in 
the schoolroom when told of this, and urged to go and 
endeavour to prevent bloodshed. I immediately rode 
off^, and was just in time. Shots were fired in bravado 
in my very presence ; and one obstinate fellow I had the 
greatest difficulty in restraining from rushing on his 
opponents, and that only by dismounting, running up 
to him, and pulling him back. He once told me his 
melancholy story, which removed any wonder I might have 
felt at his fierceness. In the time of Ibrahim Pasha his 
brothers were taken as recruits, and he was left with his 
old mother in a house robbed of nearly everything. About 
six months after the village fight, I and the friends of 
each party persuaded them to an accommodation, and the 
wounded man accepted the sum of 500 piastres from his 
opponents, as compensation for the injury he had received. 
I got them also to swear on the New Testament that they 
would be friends ; but as my lad, who is the wounded 
man's brother, told me the other day, the ill-will still 
remains, and will yet break out. 

That the reader may not suppose that my own district 
is singular in its savageness, I will make an extract 
from my journal to show that such is not the case. It 
is with reference to the Beni Ali district, which I have 
said consists of two parts : the mountain part, called the 
Boodeh, being under Sukkur Fadil ; and the plain country, 
under the family of Sukkur of the village of Ain Sukkur, 
and of their cousins of the house of Abu-Shalhah. 
" Ahmed Sukkur of Ain Sukkur was Mekuddam in the 
time of Ibrahim Pasha, and oppressed Sukkur Fadil and 
his family, who are but very distantly related to that of 

FEUDS. 213 

Sukkur, and sent them to the army. Some years ago Man- 
soor, of the family of Abu-Shalhah, cousins of the house 
of Sukkur, was Mekuddam (chief man), and Sukkur the 
son of the above Ahmed Sukkur hired a man in Ladikeeh 
to shoot him. I stayed with this Sukkur three years ago.* 
Since then he has been poisoned, and this winter his 
brother Rahman was shot by Khair Bey the brother of 
Mansoor. Khair Bey was afterwards murdered by Sukkur 
Fadil, and his effects plundered ; and his brother, Abu- 
Shalhah, having been to Beyrout to complain, has been 
made Mekuddam ; and I have heard that Sheikh Hhabeeb 
has made peace between the parties." But such a peace 
lasts for a very short tiuie. The Beni Ali people border 
on our district to the south, and the Kelbeeh have 
gained part of their possessions from them, so that, as a 
Beni Ali man told me, there is and has been unceasing 
hostility between the two. The politics of the districts 
and of the mountains are of a most complicated character. 
Men who are fighting against one another to-day, will to- 
morrow join against a third party ; not so as to forget 
their mutual feud, but with full intention to return to it 
on occasion. I sometimes have wondered how any one 
was left alive. A man grows up, has a young child or 
two, and then is cut off in one of the numerous internal 
quarrels or external fights, or else by secret assassination 
or poisoning. How many of those whom I knew in my 
first travels through the country have been cut off since ! 
I have mentioned Sukkur of Ain Sukkur. Another man 
I stayed with was a young Christian of Muzaiba-al, 
whom I described as then ill. f He has since been 
poisoned by the Ansairee inhabitants of Fidyo, a village 
in the plain, whose inhabitants are addicted to this 
horrible mode of assassination. Scarcely is there a vil- 
lage around me, where one or other of the inhabitants has 
not fallen victim to these dreadful quarrels in my time. 

* Ansaireeh and Ismaeleeh, p. 188. f Ibid. p. 166. 

r 3 


When I first went to the mountains I remonstrated with 
tlie people for not planting more. I now know the reason. 
The more property a man has, the more is he liable to the 
attacks of his enemies. When in the mountains a short 
time ago, a man openly threatened the chief man in my 
presence, that if he oppressed him he would cut down his 
trees by night. This is often done. 

It is not the government only that oppresses. The 
chief men themselves make use of the time of collecting 
taxes, for exacting it doubly from those unable to defend 
themselves. They eat part ; the Christian scribe who enters 
the sums paid eats part ; the irregular horsemen who are 
quartered to collect the taxes eat part ; and the remainder 
goes to support the miserable local officials at Ladikeeh, or 
if any remain over and above to the Pasha at Bey rout. 
Not a para goes to Constantinople ; and I believe that 
scarcely any revenue from Syria reaches that place (at 
least so the people who pay the taxes suppose), except the 
customs levied at the seaports, which are let to farmers 
ct Constantinople itself. 

Let it not be supposed that there are not many among 
the people who sigh for a better state of things. True, 
some young men delight in the frequent fights. A wild 
fellow of the village, who, like a wild beast, seems to have 
been born only to engage in such scenes and is always to 
be found at them, once said to me that he was looking out 
for the time when the harvest should be gathered 
in (the chief time of combat), which, said he, putting his 
tarboosh on one side, is the time for such men as I am. 
There are others who long for security, and an oppor- 
tunity of sitting quietly under their own vine and fig-tree ; 
but as it is, they see the uselessness of acquiring property. 

Every man goes armed. No man thinks of going any 
distance, even in his own district, without arms of some 
kind, except it be the protected peasantry ; for there are 
some in every village who plough for those Avho are nearly 
as poor, but who are too lazy, or think it a disgrace to 

FEUDS. 215 

plough for themselves, preferring to fight and rob; and, 
when not engaged in this, to boast and brag. 

Often have I been reminded of the condition of the 
children of Israel in the time of the Judges, when every 
man did what was right in his own eyes. The robbery of 
the house of Micah by the children of Dan is an exact 
counterpart of what happens at the present day in the 
mountains of the Ansaireeh. They had eifected a robbery 
in open day, and turned and departed, putting " the little 
ones and the cattle and the carriage before them. And when 
they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men 
that were in the houses near to Micah^s house were gathered 
together, and overtook the children of Dan. And they 
cried unto the children of Dan: and they turned their 
faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou 
comest with such a company ? And he said, Ye have taken 
away my gods which 1 made, and the priest, and ye are 
gone away ; and what have I more ? And what is this 
that ye say unto me. What aileth thee ? And the 
children of Dan said unto him. Let not thy voice be heard 
among us, lest angry fellows run upon thee, and thou lose 
thy life, with the lives of thy household. And the children 
of Dan went their way : and when Micah saw that they 
were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his 
house." * 

It is impossible for one who has not lived in a similar 
state of society to conceive the vivid reality of such a story. 
Often, too, have I been reminded of the condition of Eng- 
land in the middle ages, when the lord of one castle fought 
with the lord of another, quite independently of the central 
government, and a feud lasted nearly two centuries. 
Meanwhile the poor trader or peasant was trodden under 
foot by both parties. Yet these much lauded mediaeval 
times must have been still more intolerable than even the 
present lawless state of parts of Syria, since it was neces- 

* Judges, xviii. 21 — 26. 
p 4 


sary to make regulations for the protection of the hus- 
bandman, and the confining of war to certain days of 
the week. 

It is, indeed, melancholy to live under such an order of 
things, in which all the finer and more useful qualities of 
man are repressed, and the deserving and humane must 
go to the wall. It is melancholy to see desolation ad- 
vance ; and while hoping to see the ruins crowning some 
hillock once more filled with life, to behold on the contrary 
flourishing villages burnt, their inhabitants slain or scat- 
tered, and the once tilled land overgrown with thistles or 
brushwood. Yet such is the tendencynow in the province of- 
Ladikeeh. The population cannot increase. Never in the 
memory of man was the state of things worse than it has been 
since, the Eussian war. During that time justice was in a 
measure secured, and the country in the main kept quiet, 
by the exertions of the English and French consuls ; but 
now, since the former have been commanded to stay . 
their hands, and are rebuked if they exceed their func- 
tions in defence of men who are not English subjects, albeit 
to save their lives, where is justice to be obtained by the 
miserable peasant, Ansairee or Christian? Even his hopes 
from the growing weakness of a government which does not 
and cannot protect him are destroyed, because he finds it 
bolstered up by powerful friends, and therefore likely to 
linger long in all its impotence. 

And as man decreases, the wild beasts of tha field 
and creeping things increase. It is mournful to hear 
on winter nights the howling of the jackals who have fed 
on the carcasses of the slain; and in rides over waste 
tracts, through the myrtle bushes, to see one of these 
vile brutes a few feet distant looking at you unscared. 
An increase of population would soon bring about a 
decrease of noxious animals. As it is they abound in the 
fields and houses. In ridding my farm of myrtle bushes 
very many snakes were killed, and often have I had 
dangerous ones in and about my house. Entering the 


schoolroom one evening, I saw a deadly snake on the 
point of descending on the boys, who were asleep. I struck 
at it, but it escaped among the stones of the wall. 

Scorpions are very common ; scarcely one of those 
about me escaped being bitten. The pain does not remain 
ordinarily more than twenty-four hours, and is often imme- 
diately stopped by a few drops of liquor ammonia) taken in- 
ternally.' Once 1 heard a commotion in the fireplace, and 
found a centipede and scorpion in such close combat that 
it was easy to step in and settle the matter. At another 
time I found a young scorpion immediately under me on 
rising in the morning. It is possible to get indifferent to 
the existence of such things about one, though not to their 
bites or stings. 

When hostilities have ceased it is usual to raise a flag 
and fire guns. The Kelbeeh, as well as the people of other 
districts, have a distinguishing flag. Theirs, for instance, 
is white, while that of the Muhailby is red. 

One fruitful cause of quarrel is the division of property. 
My lad's . father, for example, has five children by two 
wives. When his elder brothers, by the first- wife came 
of age, each took a part of the property. The remaining 
three, as they come of age, will each claim a part, and the 
father in this case remain without anything, his younger 
sons providing for him. In other cases the father retains 
a part equal to that taken by each son. When a woman 
has a sou she is sure of support; for when the son comes 
of age he can claim his portion of the property. The 
people of a village, or of a family, do not always divide the 
land belonging to them definitively, but retain it in com- 
mon, and agree every year how much each quarter or family 
shall take, in proportion to its position and numbers. 
Hence frequent disputes. If both man and woman are 
willing, a man, as with the Jews, will take his deceased 
brother's -Nvife. 

The collection of the taxes is effected in a curious 
way. Besides the land-tax, called Meeree, there is the 


poll-tax or Furdee, and lately the poor people have been 
unjustly saddled with a third tax, called Ushr or tithes, 
which used only to be levied on those who paid no poll-tax. 
Moreover, when last in the mountains, the government 
demanded half the taxes of the succeeding year as a loan, 
and I had to pay my share on the portion of the lands of 
the village in my occupation. Many other demands 
were made, which, combined with a bad harvest, the 
raising of the export duty on tobacco, and a prohibition 
against sending corn from the town to the mountains, was 
near bringing the people to their wits' end, so that they 
told me they might as well fight it out at once, and en- 
deavour to live somewhere else, as die of starvation where 
they were. 

But to return to the mode of collection. The govern- 
ment sends a certain number of horsemen to the chief man 
of a district. He quarters them on particular villages, 
some in every house. The good man of the house has to 
provide food for his unwelcome guest, and fodder for his 
horse, till he receives a receipt as having paid his taxes. 
Taxes however sometimes remain unpaid, and I asked the 
head man of our village how that could be under such 
circumstances. " Oh," said he, " we feed our guest pretty 
well the first day, and gradually diminish his allowances 
till he has nothing to do but to take himself off." My 
Ansairee servant once made use of another plan. In 
the province of Ladikeeh much tares grow among the 
wheat. The effect of these, when made into bread, is 
to make a man giddy and intoxicated, and such bread, if 
partaken of in great quantities, may kill a man. He slily 
put a good deal of these tares in the bread of the man 
quartered on him, who consequently fell into a state of 
coma, and could only indistinctly ask for " quarter." Let 
me add that the " tares," called in Arabic Zu-an, a name 
nearly identical with the Zizania of Scripture, are a bastard 
kind of wheat, nearly resembling it, and quite different 
from what are called tares in England. 



As the Ansaireeh are oppressed by the government*, so, 
like most semi-barbarous mountain tribes, they take their 
revenge by descending and plundering on the plains ; and 
requite the hatred of the Mussulmans by robbing and 
murdering them without mercy, when pretty sure of 
escaping punishment. My own district, and especially 
my own village, have been noted for these crimes, and 
among the people of this last the ringleaders were the 
brothers of my lad and my own Ansairee servant. Of 
this man I had bought my land, and as he was my neigh- 
bour I took him into my service at the small monthly 
salary of five shillings and his food. It is true he and his 
household profited in many ways from his position. For 
instance, I would buy wheat for the school. A quarter 
of this would be wasted in sifting out the tares. I found 
that at the water-mill about a quarter was stolen. This 
I ascertained beyond doubt by weighing it. The remainder 
would be made into flat loaves, which were given to the An- 
sairee's wife to bake ; and once she was so audacious as to 
take a third of the number as payment. On being re- 
monstrated with she would strike work, and we, on look- 
ing out in the morning for bread, would find that none 
was yet forthcoming, on account of the sulkiness of this 

Well, this man has committed many murders in his 
time. His father was shot when engaged in robbery, and 
his wife thanks me for " causing him to repent," and thus 
probably saving his life. Once a man wounded him in 
the leg and was coming on him, when he knelt and fired, 
killing his adversary, whose body he threw into the exca- 
vations near the Nahr-es-Seen. One of my lad's brothers 
has thus also taken many lives in his time. Nothing is 
thought of thus killing a Mussulman as a natural enemy, 

* I mean always the local government ; for, though the defects of that 
of Constantinople on the spot and its powerlessness at a distance are well 
known, yet in principle, now, it is just to the different orders of its 


or a Christian as an unclean thing. For, as T have before 
shown by instances, the Christian is after all more despised 
than the Mussulman, who has at least this recommendation, 
that he acknowledges Mohammed ; though Christians may, 
after a fashion, be more liked as harmless and fellow- 
sufferers under oppression. 

I will give an extract from an entry made at the time, 
regarding an occurrence in Sheikh Hhabeeb's house. 
We were sitting round the fire in the evening, some men 
being present who had come to the sheikh to settle a 
dispute about land. " One man of the Beyt-il-Wahsh, 
of Wady Beyt Ahmed (in the Kelbeeh district), spoke 
of an expedition which he had made to near Kulat-il- 
Husn. He had, with his party, first seen two Mussul- 
mans, whom he bound and laid on the roadside. An- 
other man was about to give the alarm, and so, said 
he, I shot him and threw him among the myrtle. They 
asked him of what religion he was. He said, a Christian. 
Sheikh Hhabeeb expressed some dissatisfaction ; but they 
made it a matter of laughter when I told the man that 
the crime was still upon him, and that he would yet have to 
give an account for it. Sheikh Hhabeeb then said that 
the sitting in their presence was *Haram' (unlawful). 
The brother of the man made a kind of apology, saying 
" that when their father died they had been left poor." 

Lately five poor Mussulman hucksters were murdered 
in one spot. 

In a distant district I met a man who had formerly been 
accustomed to accompany my servant on marauding ex- 
peditions, the latter having gone a long way to him for 
that purpose. They will go a great distance over the 
plains by night, and return with incredible celerity ; or, 
if overtaken by dawn, will remain with their booty con- 
cealed in some cave till the succeeding evening. When 
a robbery is detected, and comes to the ears of govern- 
ment, they send to the chief man of the district claiming 
the property; but the robbers do not give it up till 


they have received a *^ Helwiln " (sweetener ) from the 
owners, which of course is a premium for stealing. 

When I have taken my servant to Djebileh or else- 
where, we have been met by people of whom he would 
say : "Oh, I know that man ; I robbed hira or his 

While I was with them, he and others of the village gave 
up robbing. At one time, I believe, entirely. I found 
him other things to do. I would send him to collect eggs 
or fowls, or to accompany my Christian servant charged 
with buying butter or wheat ; and often on messages 
in the mountains. Sometimes I would give him harder 
work, namely, to help the Christians in cutting and load- 
ing wood. He would return tired and angry, having 
done all he could to shift the task off himself. What 
annoyed him most was being called by the women " little 
woodcutter." " Ah," he would say, " that I should 
ever come to this 1 " He was a difficult subject to deal 
with ; as often sulking as smiling. 

The people not only rob others, but one another. 

" Let him take who has the power, 
And let him keep who can,'* 

is their motto. 

I come now to other bad features of the Ansairee 
character. The reader, after what has preceded, will be 
prepared for the development of the worst passions. How 
can people so situated, with a religion such has been 
described, be free from them ? That religion, indeed, in 
word inculcates the doing good to " brethren," and the 
abstaining from injuring them ; the keeping free from 
fornication, lying, and backbiting ; the remembering that 
the "cord of believers is united to the cord of their 
Lord," and that he who injures them injures Him ; the 
behaving becomingly in God's house, with humility and 
without a display of finery, and the abstaining from talking 
at the time of prayer, laughing, or anything which may 
interrupt the religious service ; during which " no one 


should have anything in his mind but thoughts of God." 
All this, and more, will be found in the sermon given in 
the next chapter. Even the great rule of duty towards 
one's neighbour, " to desire for him what one would 
desire for oneself, and to dislike in his case what one 
would dislike in one's own," is borrowed from the 
Gospel, and there given. But these precepts confess- 
edly do not extend to outsiders, and are almost a dead 
letter even among "brethren." The children are not 
initiated into these good counsels, and when they are, 
they are past profiting by them. The sheikhs can make 
use of no exhortations, except a few ordinary sayings, to 
inculcate them ; and are notoriously too busy in collecting 
alms, and too fearful of stemming the stream, to give 
themselves trouble in doing so. Hence the state of society 
is a perfect hell upon earth. 

1 think it impossible for any one to understand the 
full force of St. Paul's allusions to the wickedness of the 
unconverted heathen of his day, without having" lived 
amongst or had some intercourse with some long neg- 
lected barbarous tribe, such as the Ansaireeh, unre- 
strained by civil government or by religion. I never 
understood it before, but I felt it fully soon after my 
settlement in the mountains. I allude to such passages 
as that in the first of Komans.* "Being filled with all 
unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, 
maliciousness ; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malig- 
nity ; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, 
boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 
without understanding, covenant-breakers, without na- 
tural affection, implacable, unmerciful." Every one of 
these evil qualities was illustrated in those around me ; 
some, such as disobedience to parents, enty, debate, 
whisperers, &c., in the most shocking way. 

When I first went to the mountains to build, our tents 

* Verses 29—31. 


were pitched, as 1 have said, on the roofs of some houses 
in the village. Every morning and evening there was a 
perfect Babel of quarreling. Brother would draw sword 
against brother, and curse father or mother without fear 
or shame. It was comparatively paradise to enter our 
own house when just finished; but even then, as soon as 
the day dawned, the shouting both of men and women 
would commence, with the utterance of the most dreadful 
oaths and unclean sayings. 

At other times envy would be at work, and, though even 
a brother was receiving a favour, an attempt would be 
made by backbiting to displace him. To see a good office 
done to another, was quite sufficient to obliterate the sense 
of all good offices formerly received. I could scarcely be- 
lieve such ingratitude as I have experienced to exist else- 
where, did not I see from missionary reports that it is the 
rule, not the exception, with savages and semi-savage 

My house was at first built by contract. I had observed 
that the people, between thirty and forty in number, who 
were working on it, were only doing half a day's work, 
hiding themselves and the like to get rest. So the first 
day that I commenced operations on my own account I 
employed but three men, one of them of another village; 
for 1 had seen him to be a hardworking man. An old 
man of the village, indignant at this, rushed up to him 
and said, " You shall not raise another stone." I waited 
to see what the by-standers would say. They took my 
part, and I told the old fellow that as an Englishman I felt 
a pressure even on my little finger, and that if I was to 
build under compulsion I should not build at all. I also 
informed those who clamoured for work that I had none, 
except I should pull down what had been already built, 
or begin constructing a wall to Ladikeeh. By making a 
stand at once I was less troubled in this way afterwards. 
But I found my neighbours very troublesome. Continual 
subjects of dispute arose; for their ideas of their own im- 


portance and rights were of the highest. Sometimes, when 
in a rage, they would curse my religion in my own house, 
though not before my face, and soon after return to 
civility. One day my English schoolmaster saw that one 
of them had been stealing my water-melons, and had con- 
cealed the skins under a myrtle bush. When told of this 
he was furious, and went about the village denouncing 
the schoolmaster, calling him the *^ father of a pot," in 
allusion to his cap. A day or two afterwards I saw him 
quietly sitting in one of my rooms eating. I could not 
restrain myself at this, and told my Ansairee servant that 
it was a disgrace to him to allow such a man, after what 
he had done and said, to come into my house. At this the 
culprit was ready to burst with rage ; and yet a short time 
after, at their feast of Nuzelleh, he came with the rest to 
salute me. He had before asked the cook how he should 
approach me ; and, before I could restrain him, he kissed, 
the ground and then my foot. In fact their conduct used 
to remind me of that of spoiled children. One day I would 
be their "father" and "sultan;" another no name was 
bad enough for me and mine. 

Nothing would satisfy them. They would take the 
bread out of my servants' mouths, sitting with them at 
meals ; coming down like locusts after having finished 
their own dinners. They would consider it a matter of 
the greatest offence if it were hinted that their absence 
was desirable on such occasions ; and really I feared at 
times to be " eaten out of house and home," in its literal 
meaning. When a child was born anywhere near, even the 
women of chief men would come for oil to anoint it ; an- 
other for a little rice for a child who was ill, which rice 
might serve as a meal for themselves who had suddenly 
taken a fancy to some. Like most poor people, the way 
to the affections of the Ansaireeh is through their stomachs, 
which they love dearly. They go miles to the gardens of 
Djebileh to get a little unripe fruit. 

Hospitality with them is the one virtue. As they say 


themselves, a man may do anything he likes with us if he 
will feed us. One who " gives bread to eat " is with 
them almost synonymous with a perfect character. Their 
sheikhs accordingly are very bountiful in this respect, 
and their example was held up to me for my encourage- 
ment and imitation. It was in vain for me to say that 
I would readily imitate these gentry, if I were allowed 
to do as they did, — beg with one hand and distribute 
with the other ; but that I really could not undertake 
to feed the district, buying as I did all things at* full 

As Dr. Taylor well observes, " Hospitality and generosity 
were deemed by the Arabians virtues paramount to all 
others. This, indeed, is always the characteristic of a 
semi-barbarous people; 'an open hand' is regarded by 
the vulgar of every nation as an atonement for the worst 
vices, not only because its benefits are felt more peculiarly 
by themselves, but because men must have advanced to 
that point in civilisation when the notion of property is 
rightly conceived, before they can discover that improvi- 
dence is a crime and prudence a virtue." * 

Men would come to me for assistance who were thus 
making a great show in their houses. Every one who has 
come even from half an hour's distance expects to be asked 
to eat ; and among themselves it is considered a mark of 
churlishness and covetousness if the inviter does not press 
his guest even to the extent of swearing that he shall 
eat. Hospitality in such cases, with hungry and poverty- 
stricken neighbours, becomes a serious thing. 

AVith respect to the morality of the Ansaireeh, I have 
already anticipated what I was going to say here, and 
have cleared their character of the worst accusations 
made against them. They are probably not more immoral 
than Western nations. Early marriages on one hand favour 
morality, while on the other the facts that families are 

* History of Mohammedanism, p. 57. 


herded together in one room, and that females remain 
without education and religion, foster immorality ; and 
no nation can be considered a moral one, where polygamy 
is permitted with unlimited freedom of divorce. 

" The depraving effects of this freedom of divorce, upon 
both sexes," says Lane, speaking of Egypt *, " may be 
easily imagined. There are many men in this country 
who, in the course of ten years, have married as many as 
twenty,. thirty, or more wives ; and women, not far ad- 
vanced in age, who have been wives to a dozen or more 
men successively." The Ansaireeh do not go to such an 
excess of libertinism ; but divorce is by no means uncom- 
mon among them. No increase of evil seems to arise from 
the fact that their women go unveiled. 

While speaking of the women, I must admit that, with 
the exception of being hard-working, they have few redeem- 
ing qualities. In violence, the use of oaths, and unclean 
language, they unhappily imitate and sometimes go beyond 
the men. 

With such fathers and mothers it is needless to say what 
the children are in the use of bad language and in every 
other growing vice. Nothing shocked me more than to 
see the schoolboys, when the fight took place in the village, 
seem utterly unmoved by the sight of blood, and apparently 
pleased with the excitement of the scene, using joking 
expressions on what had happened. 

Swearing, with old and young, is not an occasional but 
constant thing. Few words come out of their mouths un- 
accompanied with an oath, and that when utterly uncalled 
for. A sentence will have more of the concomitants of the 
oath in it, than of information. When remonstrated with 
for this, they say that they are obliged to swear or they 
would not be believed. They consequently swear falsely 
with little fear. 

It was long before I could teach any of the boys to 

♦ Vol. i. p. 251. 


leave off this evil habit. Even when taught to say 
"Yes," they called it swearing by "yes;" so entirely 
did they conceive that every assertion must be accom- 
panied by an oath. They would say, " By the truth of 
yes," in answering a question affirmatively. Hence they 
were called the house of " Hukh N4am," or the " truth of 
yes." The other day I heard one young boy who had 
been in the school repeat continually before me, " With 
respect to that ;" and I did not understand at first that he 
was filling up the blank left by the absence of oaths. 

I have already said that with themselves the oath for 
confirmation is by one of their visiting- places ; and in 
matters between them and the government they will swear 
by the sword and Koran. 

It is well known that lying is a universal vice of 
Eastern nations. They will not answer directly a direct 
question, but ask another, not for information's sake, but 
because they intend to tell some lie, and only wish to gain 
time, that they may know of what shape and colour it 
should be, and because they fear to commit themselves by 
letting even the shadow of the truth appear. The An- 
saireeh, as possessing a secret religion which they are 
bound under the greatest penalties to conceal, have, over 
and above this general facility of lying, contracted an 
additional habit of deceit, which serves them as an impene- 
trable shield. None can lie with better grace. 

Drunkenness is a vice to which they would be more 
prone, had they more facilities for its indulgence. As it 
is, many of them drink deeply at their yearly feasts, 
partly of arrack brought from town, and partly of that 
distilled in the mountains from dried figs, a kind which 
seems to have almost a maddening effect on those who 
take much of it. 

Such are some of the vices and bad qualities of the An- 
saireeh ; and it is not by going to the towns, or among 
Mussulmans and native Christians, that they can learn 
anything better. The province of Ladikeeh seems utterly 



corrupt. As the Ansaireeh learn evil from the towns- 
people, so these last, who many of them in great measure 
gain their livelihood by traffic with the Ansaireeh, are 
debased by the contact, and fall below the level of their 
co-religionists in other parts. I, for certain reasons, draw 
a veil over the corruption of the Laodiceans ; but will give 
one instance of the ignorance of the Christians. My 
ploughman, who had during his stay with me become 
slightly acquainted with the Bible, heard one of the 
priests rebuke a child who was talking in the church, by 
using the common expression, *' Curse your father." ** My 
father," said my servant, "is it right to curse ? " " Oh," 
said he, " it was only from my lips." " But does not the 
psalmist say. Keep the door of my lips ? " " That," replied 
the priest, " is only in the English Bible." 

I cannot, however, omit to mention one occurrence to 
show the dreadful cheapness in which life is held even 
among Christians, and the ease with which murder itself is 
overlooked. During my stay at Ladikeeh two years ago, 
on my return from England, where I had been sent on 
account of illness, an awful crime was perpetrated. It hap- 
pened at the very time of my arrival, and was this. A 
respectable Christian merchant had a daughter who had 
a liaison with a servant. To facilitate her guilty inter- 
course, she had resort to poison, and gave the servant 
arsenic to put in the food of the family. About sixteen 
persons partook of it, but only one, the father, died. The 
police laid hold of the servant, and, taking him out to the 
sepulchres at night, so terrified him that he confessed to 
his participation in the crime. The Greek Christians in 
the town, however, got hold of him, and favoured his 
escape to the mountains. When I went up to my house, 
I found him in the courtyard, which I of course imme- 
diately made him quit. On going down to the town, I 
asked an influential Greek Christian whether it were not 
a shame that such a man should be allowed to escape. He 
said, " Ohj poor fellow, the Mussulmans were hard upon 


him, and treated him unjustly ; '^ so, rather than let a 
Christian be punished by the Mussulmans, he was to 
escape altogether. I asked what would be done to the 
daughter. *' Nothing," was the reply, that the family may 
not be disgraced. On returning lately a second time to 
my house, I found the man still there, and I saw a lame 
petition which he had drawn up to the governor, saying 
that the Christians accused him unjustly. He seemed to 
be frightened at my presence in the village, and I was 
told that he had made off for Tarsoos. That he was sus- 
pected of so fearful a crime seemed to make no difference 
in the conduct of the Ansaireeh towards him. 

They have the good quality that they will protect a 
guest, though they may at the same time metaphorically 
eat him up ; but this becomes a vice when exercised, 
as it usually is, in unworthy cases. 

They have another good quality, which however they 
share with brutes, love for their progeny, in which they 
are, after their blind fashion, behind no other people. 

An Ansaireeh has few friends away from his own race, 
therefore it is almost death to him to leave his mountains 
for long ; and even a short visit to town is distasteful to 

I shall now make a few remarks on the appearance of 
the people, their food, arms, and dwellings. 

As to their appearance, I cannot do better than quote 
some words of Mr. Walpole, on account of their accuracy. 
" They are a fine large race, with more bone and muscle 
than is generally found among Orientals ; browner than the 
Osmanlee, but lighter, fairer than the Arab ; brown hair 
is not by any means uncommon. The women, when 
young, are handsome, often fair, with light hair and jet- 
black eyes; or the rarer beauty of fair eyes and coal- 
black hair or eyebrows." * 

Their arms consist of a long gun, with flint lock and 

* Ansayrii, or Assassins, vol. iii. p. 345. The reader will there find 
other remarks on their dress, &c. 

Q 3 


coarse powder, generally made in the mountains. It is as 
common almost for their muskets to miss fire as to go ofi^, 
and this of course is very disadvantageous to them in 
a fight. They have besides a short bent sword, which 
is often blunt, and in every way little serviceable ; and they 
use their swords in the most unscientific manner. When 
in want of lead they will borrow for the time the roofing 
of Djaafar Tayyar, to be restored afterwards. They carry 
but a small supply of balls, of irregular sizes, so that 
their aim is qji uncertain one. I have seen no good shots 
among them ; and they look on a shot flying as a great 
performance. Though individually brave, their last en- 
counter with the government shows that they are unable 
to meet regular troops ; for these were in small numbers, 
and by their own accounts some 2000 to 3000 Ansaireeh 
were assembled. The war in Morocco has proved how 
little half-trained men can do against European troops 
armed as they now are. 

Their houses are in some cases not ill-constructed, 
though only with a door, and without window or chimney. 
The invariable type is, four walls formed of unhewn loose 
stones piled up in two rows with rubble between. The roof 
is supported on pillars of wood, which carry transverse 
beams. These in their turn support smaller branches, 
and these still slighter, till over all myrtle or gorse is 
placed, and then earth some inches thick, which is mudded 
over at the approach of every winter. A fire inside, for 
fuel is plentiful, gives an air of comfort to the dwelling. 
One or two mats and quilts, and mud receptacles for 
wheat, &c., complete the furniture of the house. 

I once spoke to one of the chief sheikhs on the supe- 
riority of Europe, and the miserable condition of the 
Ansaireeh. He said he did not see that, for every one 
had a felt mat and quilt, and enough to eat. 

As to food, though it is of the commonest quality, they 
are perhaps not so badly off; and, when their climate is 
considered, there is less misery on the whole among them 


DIET. 231 

than in large town populations, even in England. Se- 
curity for life and property is all they want. Had they 
but this they might for a century to come have all that 
heart could wish in matters of food. 

Their chief diet is burghool, which is nothing more 
than wheat, boiled, dried, stored, ground, and boiled again 
with a little melted butter. They seldom eat meat, but 
have in summer water-melons and fresh figs ; and in winter 
the same dried, with a little butter and some milk. Rice 
is a rare luxury. 

Such is the picture of the present state of the Ansai- 
reeh and of the province where they dwell, so far as I 
have dared to sketch that of the last. If the reader thinks 
it a melancholy one, I can assure him that, though it may 
be in a measure distorted from not being filled up in 
all its details, it is not exaggerated ; and was, with many 
attractions, a sad scene to live in. Often had I to console 
myself with such lines as these in the " Christian Year : " — 

** Bethink thee what thou art and where, — 
A sinner in a life of care." 

God seems still to have a controversy with the inha- 
bitants of Syria, " because there is no truth, nor mercy, 
nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and 
lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, 
they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Therefore 
shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein 
shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the 
fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken 
away. They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, 
and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks, and poplars, 
and elms, because the shadow thereof is good."* 

* Hosea, iv. 1—3, 13. 


As it was beside the purpose of this book to give a 
history of my mission, I have omitted to allude to the 
troubles which led to its premature close. But as some 
of the kind friends who supported the school may read 
it, I will add, that, though a sudden illness caused the 
entire suspension of my labours, yet I have lately had 
good reason to hope that blessed results may arise from 
the mission ; and 1 intend, if my life be spared, once again 
to live amongst the Ansaireeh, and by intercourse with 
them to do what I can for their welfare.* 

* As stated in a note appended to the preface, the Author did not live 
to see this work through the press. There is great prospect, however, 
of the good results he hoped for being realised. 





I PURPOSE devoting this chapter to a description of my 
Ansairee MS., and to a translation of its most interest- 
ing parts. I had thought of translating the whole, but 
as I have already given the most important passages 
from several of the sections, and as many of these are 
so similar that from one an idea may be formed of the 
rest, I shall content myself with presenting a summary of 
the contents of the book, and a translation of those por- 
tions alluded to in preceding chapters. I have made use 
of other parts in my notes on the catechism. 

The Manuscript contains 188 pages 12mo, and is called 

II Mashyakhah, or " Manual for Sheikhs." It is in the 
handwriting of a certain Sheikh Mohammed of the village 
of Bishrago, and is said by him to have been copied at 
the consecration of his nephew Ali, son of Sheikh Eed, 
in A.H. 1239 (a.d. 1824). The closing part is written 
in a very bad hand, and the sheikh excuses himself on 
account of the badness of the ink. The handwriting of 
the greater part of the book is good, but it is full of the 
most ridiculous and inexcusable grammatical and other 
errors. Thus, where the intention is to call Ali the refuge 
of those who seek him, by a wrong diacritical mark 
the meaning becomes the terrifier of the same. 

The book contains all the chief parts of the religion of 
the Ansaireeh. Being a manual, it contains the different 
prayers to be recited at the administration of the sacra- 
ment, and in other offices, and ends with the form of initia- 
tion, &c. The book is put together in some order. First, 


comes a proof of the divinity of Ali, and a reference to 
the Trinity, Maana, Ism, and Bab, and the hierarchies; 
and then a description of the names of each of these, be- 
ginning from the lowest, or the hierarchies, and so on 
through Aytam, or orphans, the Bab, and Ism, to the 
Maana, or the names of Ali. Then, after the testimony of 
Mohammed to Ali, come the different passages of the 
"Mass" and the "Mass" itself; and finally the initia- 
tion, and a sermon to be read at the Mass. 

I. The book opens with the proof of the divinity of 
Ali, from his testimony to himself, in his interpretation of 
the words of the Koran, which he makes to apply entirely 
to himself, and in various discourses pronounced by him 
from the pulpit. This section concludes, like all the others, 
with an invocation to Ali, by the truth and influence of 
all that has been alleged, that he would pardon and bless 
the souls of all the brethren present and absent, and give 
them all temporal benefits. 

II. This section begins with a tradition of Mohammed, 
to the effect that God draws nigh to those who draw nigh 
to Him. And " wherever my believing servant seeks me, 
he finds me ; for the heavens and the earth cannot con- 
tain me ; and nothing can contain me but the heart of my 
believing servant ; for the heart of my believing servant 
is my peculiar abode, and it is not right that anything 
should dwell there but myself." It concludes with an in- 
vocation that Ali may cause his people to recall to mind 
what they might have forgotten of their religion. 

III. The third section also opens with a tradition of 
Mohammed, of like meaning, and is called the ** section of 
mutual making mention ; " of Ali by his followers, and of 
his followers by Ali, according to his promise. 

lY. A prayer to Ali to favour the seven hierarchies of 
the two worlds, ending with the usual invocation " by the 
truth " of the same. 

V. An invocation by the seven hierarchies of the great 
world of light with their forty-nine degrees. 


VI. An invocation by seventeen names of prophets. 

VII. An invocation by the names of the twenty-eight 
Nudjaba, in the human world and that of light. 

VIII. An invocation by the names of the intercessors 
of the great and glorious Door (Bab) of God, which is 
surrounded by light. The names are those of the seven 
manifestations of the Bab from Gabriel to Salmon il 
Farisee, and of the succeeding ones from him to the time 
of the eleventh Imam. 

IX. Invocation by the names of twenty-five orphans. 

X. Invocation by the names of the fifty five personi- 
fications of the Door in the books of the Unitarians. 

XI. Invocation by the names of the personifications of 
the Door, and its orphans, in the six spiritual stations. 
The seventh station, that of Salman, is not given. 

XII. Invocation by the personifications of the Door in 
the Domes (periods), styled Bahmaneel (or of the kings 
of Persia). This section contains only Persian names. 

XIII. Invocation by the eleven appearances of the 
Door from Salman to Abu-Shuaib, son of Nusair, the Door 
in the time of Hassan il Askeree, the eleventh Imam. 

XIV. Invocation by the names of the Name (Ism), 
according to the rules of language. 

XV. Invocation by the nine essential names of the 

XVI. Invocation by the names of the Name in the 
Adillah. This word, if written right according to Ansairee 
fashion (as it seems to be, for it is used in another place, 
p. 109, where Ali is called " the framer of the Adillah "), 
can only have any meaning by supposing that the letter 
Dad is used for Za, as is frequently the case in the 
Ansairee mountains, and in the MS. itself. It may then 
mean " Shades " or " Shadows." 

XVII. Invocation by the five names of the Name in the 
Dome of Abraham. 

XVIII. Invocation by the five names of the Name in 
the Dome of Moses. 


XIX. Invocation by the five names of the Name in 
the Dome of Mohammed. 

XX. Invocation by the sixty-three names made use 
of by the Name, when by a consecutive prophesying and 
apostleship it testified to the Maana. 

XXL Invocation by the names of the personifica- 
tions of prayer. 

XXII. Invocation by the attributive names of the Ism, 
which belong peculiarly to the Maana. 

XXIII. The names of Ali extracted from the fifth 
section of the Egyptian epistle, and there inserted from a 
line of tradition passing up through II Khaseebee and 
Abu-Shuaib ibn-Nusair, to Hassan il Askeree. The sec- 
tion closes as usual with an invocation. 

XXIY. The names of Ali from the books of Seth, 
Enoch, Noah, and Abraham, given by Abu-Saeed, in his 
book " Ir-raddalair-muirtadd," "Reply to the Backslider,'^ 
on the authority of the Book of Direction (Hadayeh), 
written by II Khaseebee from traditions mounting to 
Hassan il Askeree. 

XXV. Rubric. " And he [the sheikh] must read 
the discourse of the Convention [acknowledgment of a 
sovereign by taking an oath to him] of the House, with 
our Lord the Prince of true believers, which is this, please 
God. To Him belongeth perfection ! " 

This section is a pretended testimony of Mohammed to 
the divinity of Ali, and I propose to give a translation of 
it, with its repetitions, so as to afi^ord a better idea of the 
kind of writings which please the ignorant Ansaireeh. 
It is of course impossible to imitate, in a literal transla- 
tion, the jingling rhythm of the Arabic, so delightful to 
Arab ears. 

" In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful. 
By tradition received from Abu-il-Hasan, Raik ibn-Khudr 
il Gessanee, known as the Mehmelee, may God most high 
have mercy on him ! He said : Abu-Abdullah Ishak ibn- 
Fihd (may God be pleased with him!) told me from in- 


formation immediately received from Salmon il Farisee 
(to him belongs salutation). Said Salman, my master the 
greatest lord, Mohammed (from him is peace) invited 
me on a certain day to the house of Umm Salamah (one 
of the chief wives of Mohammed), and caused to be present 
a number of the chief of his companions ; among them, 
Mikdad ibn-il-Aswad il Kindee, and Abu-id-Durr Djundub 
ibn-Djenadah il Ghifaree, and Ammar ibn-Yasir, and Abu- 
Ayyoob Khalid ibn-Zeijd the Ansaree, in all forty men. 
And Mohammed* the son of Abu-Beer was with us, being 
a youth at that time, and brought us food. So we ate 
and drank and washed our hands. Then the apostle of 
God (from him is peace) said to us : Be of good comfort ; 
you are well off; for I have not invited you except for 
your good : hear and mind what your prophet says to 

" Do you believe in God most high and in me? We all 
of us said, we believe in God most high and in you. Then 
he said : Am I not truthful to you, and no liar ? By 
Allah, we replied, apostle of God, we have never at all 
for a moment doubted you. Then said Lord Mohammed ; 
God is a witness against you, do not lie in what I tell you. 
We all said : We hear and obey thee in all things. He 
said : Hear now what I tell you, and beware of doubting 
what you hear from me. Know that I call you to Ali son 
of Abu-Taleb, as I call you to the great and glorious God. 
Is not Ali my Lord and your Lord, for you are the chief 
of my companions ? I say unto you, as Jesus son of 
Mary said to the apostles, * Who are helpers with God ? 
The apostles said, we are God's helpers. So part of the 
children of Israel believed, and part were unbelieving, and 
we strengthened those who believed against their enemies, 
and they became victorious.'! They are God's witnesses, 

* He was a great supporter of Ali. He was present at the assassina- 
tion of Othman. Being taken prisoner by Moawiyab, he was sewn up 
in an ass's skin and burnt alive. 

"f Koran, c. 61, v. 14. 


and his chosen ones. I call you to All with my eyes open, 
I and those who follow me. Exalted be God! I am not 
one of the polytheists [those who associate other gods 
with God]. I call you to Ali by his command; take care 
of doubt. Is not my office of prophet under the dominion 
of Ali, for he has sent me as a prophet to you, for I was 
created from the light of his essence ? Did not Ali teach 
me the Koran ? Did not Ali send me to you ? Has not 
Ali sent me as an apostle to you ? Is not Ali my Lord 
and your Lord ? Is not Ali my creator and your creator ? 
Therefore obey him. Is not Ali your framer ? Then 
know him. Is not Ali your God? Then respect him. 
Is not Ali your producer ? Then fear him. Is not Ali 
your healer ? Then be afraid of him. Is not Ali your 
witness, and leader, and driver ? Then mind him. Is 
not Ali your governor ? Then know him. Is not Ali 
your balance ? Then make your scales heavy, and weigh 
with a just steelyard, that is more advantageous for you, 
and of better interpretation.* Is not Ali your keeper ? 
Then seek him. Is not Ali your keeper, so that he sees 
you though absent from you ? Then mind him. Is not 
Ali your enricher ? Then ask him. Is not Ali the giver, 
and the withdrawer ? Then seek his bounty. Is not Ali 
near, hearing the prayer of the praying ? Then pray to 
him ; he will answer you, if ye be true. Is not Ali your 
Lord ? Then believe in him, and he will pardon you your 
faults, and spare you to an appointed time, and cause you 
to enter the gardens of Eden under which flow rivers, and 
good habitations, that is the great acquisition. f Is not 
Ali lord of the throne ? To him are all things committed, 
and it is said ; Him praise all that is in heaven and earth, 
and that which is between them, and that which is under 
ground. Does not Ali know what is secret and what is 
open in you, and your private conversations, and what 
you expose or conceal ?^ Is not Ali the subject of your 

* Koran. f Koran, c. 61. 


worship ? Then worship him, and associate nothing with 
him, and be kind to your parents.* Is not Ali the creator 
of the heavens and the earth and the Lord of the east and 
the west ? Is not Ali the Lord of the east and the west, 
there is no God but he? Then take him as your patron. 
Is not Ali the living One, there is no God but he? Then 
pray to him, keeping sincere in his religion ; praise be to 
God, Lord of the worlds ! Does not Ali (there is no God 
but he), quicken and kill ? He is your Lord, and the 
Lord of your first ancestors. Is not Ali he besides whom 
there is no God, if you are firm believers ? Is not Ali 
(there is no God but he) Lord of the great throne ? 
There is no God but he, the creator of all things, therefore 
worship him ; and he is patron of all things. Has not 
Ali the keys of heaven and earth, giving bountifully and 
sparingly to whom he pleases ; for *he is all powerful ? 
Ali, can eyes discern him ? Yet he discerns the eyes, 
and is the kind, the knowing one. Does not Ali seize all 
souls ? To him all things tend. Does not Ali render se- 
cure him who believes in him and accepts his sovereignty ? 
Does not Ali preserve him who commits himself to him 
with true knowledge and obedience ? Is not God witness 
to him who witnesses to his Lordship, and confesses his 
unity ? Does not he whom All's mercy embraces acquire 
a great acquisition ? Does not he receive mercy on 
whom Ali has mercy ? Does not he receive pardon whom 
Ali pardons ? Is not Ali he to whom you return ? There- 
fore fear him and obey him, and declare his unity, and 
praise him, and sanctify him, and glorify him, and say 
there is no God but he, and magnify him ; that is better 
for you, if you but know it ; for there is no escape from 
him except to him. To him is the going back and return. 
Therefore hasten to the knowledge of him, and advance 
to his obedience ; believe in him, and do not disobey him; 
know him, and be not rebellious against him in what he 

♦ Words used frequently in Koran. 


commands you, and die Moslems. And now avoid lying, 
and take not hold of it ; and let not your being spared 
deceive you. Do not forsake Ali, for know that he is 
before and behind you, and in your front, and at your 
back, and on your right and left, and above you. Does 
he not comprehend all things ? He knows your thoughts, 
and your secrets, and what your breasts conceal, and what 
your eyes wink at. Now I have made plain to you the 
verses (of the Koran), if you have understanding. Is not 
Ali your creator and your framer, and your enricher, and 
he who sends you life and death : then to him will you 
return? Is not Ali your witness, and producer, and 
sender, and he who will assemble you to judgment, and he 
who will ask you what you used to do ? Is not Ali he 
who cannot be comprehended, nor described, nor named ? 
He begot not, nor was begotten, neither has he any equal ; 
neither has he been incarnate in any body, nor taken to 
him a female companion, nor a child. Neither has he any 
partner in his dominion, nor any to protect him from 
contempt, therefore magnify him greatly.* He has no 
partner in his dominion, nor helper, nor aid, nor supporter, 
nor like, nor one similar, nor one of equal weight or 
sameness. He is the first without resemblance and without 
beginning, and he is the last without decay, passing away, 
or end. He appears (is iz-Zahir) in revelation (or through 
miracles), and is concealed (is il-Batin) in created things. 
Is not Ali he beside whom there is no God, the living, the 
self-existent? Neither slumber nor sleep seizeth him. 
His is all that is in heaven and earth ; who will intercede 
with him, except by his permission ? He knows what is 
before you, and behind you ; none comprehend anything 
of his knowledge, except what he pleases ; his throne fills 
heaven and earth, neither does the preservation of them 
tire him ; he is the lofty and great one.f Is not Ali he 
in whose hand are wealth and mercy ? He is all powerful. 

* Koran, xvii. 111. t Koran, ii. 256. 


Is not Ali the knowing one and the creator of the earth ? 
No one can bear the siglit of him, nor can any one stand 
in his sight. 

" Then he turned, and our Lord, the prince of true be- 
lievers (may his strength be exalted !), was sitting on 
his right hand. So he said to him : I ask thee by the 
strength of thy strength, and the might of thy glory, and 
thy greatness, and the dignity of thy Godhead, and the 
greatness of thy kingdom ; — and our Lord Mohammed 
(from him is peace), had not finished his words before 
our Lord, the prince of bees (may he be glorified and 
exalted!), absented his person, and there, shone upon us 
a great light, whose nature could not be comprehended, nor 
its vision and end be attained to ; and already a swoon had 
come on us from the intensity of its shining, and we saw 
it as it were in dream ; and, if it had been by the sight 
of the eyes, we should have lost our sight, and our reason ; 
but there fell on us as if slumber and a swoon. And we 
continued saying: 'Praise be to thee, how great is thy 
dignity ! We believe in thee, and believe thine apostle.' 
And there was not one of us who did not worship, and 
see a vision, from the awe and fear which had fallen upon 
us. And trembling and palpitation seized us ; and our 
spirits departed, and we became like dead men. We had 
no power of reasoning, but were in a dream ; and saw 
as a sleeper seeth, and our spirits left our bodies, until 
an hour of the day had passed over us. Then we awoke, 
being like one who sleeps when he is aroused from his 
sleep. And we saw the apostle of God (on him be 
peace !), who said to us, How long have you remained ? 
We said. An hour, or part of an hour. He said. No, you 
have remained seven nights and eight days. But two 
of the people who were infidels apostatised, and said : 
' This is evident sorcery, shall we believe in two men 
like us, whose^ people are our servants?'* The people 

* An expression taken from the Koran. 


of iz-Zahir [the Mussulmans] are acquainted with this 
day, and it is called the * Convention of the house.' 
This convention is before that of the Ghadeer [pool]. 
What manifestation is more evident, and what witness 
greater, and what proof more just than that which is 
given in this information received from the greatest 
Lord, Mohammed (may God favour and preserve him!), 
and which he has manifested to the people of truth 
and faith, and exposed to those endued with intellect 
and understanding, with respect to the evidencing and 
making known the unity of our Lord, and his indication 
of him, for the greatest of his end and Meaning [Maana] ? 
May God be exalted, and His names sanctified ! 

" God, I ask thee, my Lord, by the truth of this 
discourse of the Convention of the house, and by the 
truth of Mohammed the chosen, and by the truth of 
Salman the righteous, and by the truth of the pure 
Orphans, and by the truth of Yasir and Ammar*, 
and by the truth of all the lights, and by the cer- 
tainties of the mysteries, and by the truth of the treasure 
and the wall, and the 17th of March f, and by their truth 
with thee, and by thy dignity over them, great, 
powerful one, creator of the night and of the day ; (I 
ask thee) that thou, my Lord, wilt pardon us and all 
our brethren the true believers, all our faults and weighty 
sins, and deliver us from the world of confusion and 
sorrows, and transport us to the companionship of the 
pure, and keep from us the wickedness of the wicked, and 
the snares of the unholy, and the violence of the violent, 
and the heat of fire, and the injustice of neighbours ; 
and that thou wilt clothe us with the envelopes of light, 
and give posterity to, and bless, the possessors of this 
goodness and of this favour and of these impressions ; 

* Yasir, son of Ammar, was one of the companions of IVFohammed 
especially reverenced by the Ansaireeh. " He was appointed governor 
of Cufa by Omar and deposed by Othman. He died fighting for AH at 
Saffair (year 37)." El Masudi, Nicholson, p. 112. 

t See above, Ch. VII. 


and that thou wilt cause favour and peace to come on 
our Lord il Khudr-il-Akhdar [the evergreen Khudr] 
and king Djaafar Tayy^r * ; and that thou wilt sanctify 
and have mercy on the souls of our brethren the true 
believers, in all quarters and all capitals, prince of 
bees, lofty one [Ali], great one ! " 

XX VI. Rubric. " Then he shall read another discourse ; 
that is, the discourse of the Awham [fancies, doubt]." 
This discourse consists of an ascription of praise to Ali, 
under different designations, as he who created the spirits, 
seas, rivers, &c. ; the queen bee of religion ; the founda- 
tion of foundations ; causing to appear Jesus of the gospel ; 
the creator of the Veils ; the Lord of every lord ; the ele- 
ment of elements ; the first, the last ; the Batin, the Zahir. 

XXYIL Buhric. " Then he shall read the Tawdjeeh 
(turning the face, to commence prayer), which is this. 
In the name of God the compassionate and merciful! God 
is most great ! He is great ! Many thanks be to God ! 
Praise be to God, morning and evening ! I turn my face 
toward the manifest greatness," &c. The Mussulmans 
use a similar prayer, and one commencing with similar 
words, as a preparation to prayer. This prayer, with 
others, is to be read at the mass. 

XXIX. This section contains the morning and evening 
prayer to be said by an Ansairee. I have already trans- 
lated the chief part of the section, wjiich closes with a 
tradition of Mohammed. Then comes the service of the 
mass. This section is indicated by a side note, as the 
Khutbeh, or discourse jt^ar excellence^ which is mentioned 
in the " rubric " of the mass as among the things to be 
read at that service. 

XXX. Rubric, " Then he shall read the arrangement 
and order of the prayer (of the mass). And when you 
[the sheikh] have read in full the names of the prince of 
true believers [contained in a previous section], if the 

* See above, Ch. V. 
B 2 


prayer be a mass [Kuddas], you will omit the Klmtbeh 
[^see last section] and the Tawdjeeh [see last section but 
one] and the Khabr [a sermon given at the end of the 
book], and you will read the five bodies [probably the five 
luminous bodies, or the five orphans, alluding to the sec- 
tions concerning them], and you will read the first mass, 
and the indication [contained in it], and the second 
mass and the Ain of Alf. Now this is the prayer of the 
mass ; two prostrations from a sitting posture.* And if 
the prayers be longer, you will read to the * testimony * 
foccurring nearly at the end of the complete service]. 
But in the prayer, when complete, you will read the 
name of the prince of true believers, and the Khutbeh 
and the Tawdjeeh and the Khabr. Then you will read 
the first [probably of the above sections of the names of 
All, &c.], and mix the wine with water. Then you must 
read the passage, the words of the most high : ' And 
when the Koran is read, attend thereto and keep silence ; 
that ye may obtain mercy. And meditate on thy Lord in 
thine own mind, with humility and fear, and without loud 
speaking, evening and morning ; and be not one of the 
negligent. Moreover, the angels that are with thy Lord 
do not proudly disdain his service, but they celebrate his 
praise and worship him.' f Then you will say : Bow 
down to the ground. Then you will read the second [of 
the sections to be read], and kiss the right and left hand 
[or the first standing on your right and left], and will 
read the * worshipping,' the words of the Most High : 

* To understand this and other coming allusions to the posture of 
prayer such as ** to the ground," " like a bow," &c., I must refer the 
reader to the letter-press and illustrations of Lane's Modern Egyptians, 
vol. i. p. 107. 

t Koran, c. vii. v. 203. In this and subsequent passages I have fol- 
lowed Sale's translation, which is acknowledged by the greatest Arabic 
scholars to bo generally correct. It would have been pedantic in the 
present case to have acted otherwise. I have also followed the Koran 
and not the ungrammatical quotations of it in my MS., which exceed- 
ingly distressed my Mohammedan sheikh. 


' T. S. M. These are the signs of the perspicuous book. 
Peradveiiture thou afflictest thyself unto death, lest the 
Meccans become not true believers. If we pleased we 
could send unto them a convincing sign from heaven, 
unto which their necks would humbly submit.' * To the 
ground. The words of the most high : ' Kemember 
when thy Lord said unto the angels, Verily I am about to 
create man of dried clay, of black mud, wrought into 
shape ; when, therefore, I shall have completely formed 
him, and shall have breathed of my spirit into him ; da 
ye fall down and worship him.' f To the ground. And 
the words of the Most High ; * Verily they only believe 
in our signs, who, when they are warned thereby, fall 
down adoring, and celebrate the praise of their Lord, 
and are not elated with pride.' J To the ground. And 
the words of the Most High : * By the star, when it 
setteth ; your companion Mohammed erreth not ; nor ia 
he led astray ; neither doth he speak of his own wiH. It 
is no other than a revelation which hath been revealed to 
him. One mighty in power, endued with understanding, 
taught it him : and he appeared in the highest part of the 
horizon. Afterwards he approached unto the prophet, 
and near unto him, until he was at the distance of two- 
bows' length from him, or yet nearer.' § A how [that is, 
a bending in the shape of a bow, which forms part of the 
Mussulman's prayer]. Then you will command those on 
your right to pray, each one as he is able. Then you will 
read the passage, the words of the Most High : ' The 
approaching day of judgment draweth near; there is 
none who can reveal the exact time of the same, besides 
God. Do ye, therefore, wonder at this new revelation ; 
and do ye laugh, and not weep, spending your life in idle 
diversions ? But rather worship God, and serve him.' || 
To the ground. Then you will order him who is on your 

* Koran, xxvi. 1. f lb. xv. 28. { lb. xxxii. 15. 

§ lb. liii. 1. II lb. Hii. 58. 

R 3 


right to pray the prayer of ' worshipping/ and he who is 
on his right to pray the prayer of * the hierarchies ' [a pre- 
vious section], and you must kiss one another's hands, 
and you will say, at the kissing of the hand, ' On you be 
peace, my brother, and the best of salutations, by the 
truth of the Khudr and Abraham. Then you will take 
the cup, and read over it the first mass [Kudd^s, conse- 
cration] . Which is this : — 

" In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful ! 
Praise be to God for ever ! Ali is the light of mortals ! 
Ali is the Lord of might ! Ali is the cleaver of the grain 
[of wheat, &c.] ! * Ali is the Imam of imams ! Ali is the 
producer of the breath ! Ali is the Imam of the Mihr^b 
[place in mosque, towards which prayer is said, as being 
in the direction of Mecca] ! Ali is the remover of the 
the gate ! f Ali is the disperser of sorrows ! Ali is the 
possessor of miracles ! Ali raised the heaVens ! Ali 
caused the waters to flow ! Ali spread out the earth ! 
Ali is he by whose hands the soul is taken [from the body]. 
Ali is the beauty of grey hairs ! Ali knows what is absent ! 
Ali is the Lord of lords ! Ali is the possessor of necks 
[* neck ' being applied to captives, &c.] ! Ali is the secret 
of secrets ! Ali causes the vow to be completed ! Ali is 
acquainted with the mystery ! Ali is master of this world ! 
Ali is Lord of the next world, and the first ! Ali is the 
creator of things beautiful in our age ! Ali is lofty in 
station ! Ali is frequent in miracles ! Ali is the Lord of 
the east and of the west ! Ali is the horseman among 
horsemen ! Ali is the quickener of decaying bones! Ali 
is the light of vision ! Ali clave the moon ! J Ali is the 

* Used, in the Koran, of God, as causing grains of wheat to vegetate. 

f It is said that when besieging the Jewish town of Khaiban, which 
was taken mainly through his valour, he took the gate off its hinges as 
a shield. 

J Alluding to the passage in the Koran, ch. liv. ver. 1 : " The hour of 
judgment approacheth; and the moon hath been split in sunder ;" which 
some interpret of an actual occurrence, already taken place, and one of 
the four miracles of Mohammed mentioned in the Koran. 


charging [on the enemy] imam ! Ali is the striker with 
the sword [literally, ' that which has joints, like a back- 
bone,' a name given to Mohammed's sword] ! Ali is the 
lion frequent in attacks ! Ali is the creator of the night 
and of the day ! Ali is powerful ! Ali is victorious ! Ali 
is the first and the last ! Ali is Batin and Zahir ! Ali 
causes to find, and is present ! Ali is Samit and Natik 
[expressions used of the mute and speaking prophets by 
the original Ismaeleeh, see Chap. lY.] ! Ali tears open and 
repairs! Ali is the great building! Ali is the straight 
road ! Ali is the haiderah [lion] who has no hair on the 
temples [among the Arabs a mark of a generous and good 
character] ! Ali is brotherly to Joshua [one of his mani- 
festations] ! Ali is the master of him of the fish [Jonah] 1 
Ali is the eye of eyes ! Ali is the filler of the seas ! Ali is 
the frequented house [the Caabah of Mecca] ! Ali is the 
blower of the trumpet [that is, of the judgment day] ! 
Ali is the ancient of days ! Ali is the speaker of truth ! 
Ali is the true one in speaking ! Ali is the guide of the 
heavens ! Ali is the friend of those who praise [him] ! 
With Ali is the knowledge of the book ! Ali causes the 
clouds to move I Ali is the Imam of imams ! Ali is the key 
of mercy ! Ali is the breaker of idols ! Ali is the supporter of 
the demonstration of religion and Isl^m ! Ali is the de- 
stroyer of the violent one [or giant] ! Ali is the light of 
lights ! Ali is true of promise ! Ali is one ! Ali is single ! 
Ali is Abel, Ali is Seth, Ali is Joseph, Ali is Joshua, Ali is 
Asaph, Ali is Shamoon, is Safa [Simon Cephas], Ali is the 
Emeer-il-Moomeneen [prince of true believers, a name only 
to be given to Ali], the remembrance of him is glorious and 
to be magnified ! And it is such a one, brethren, that 
we mean and intend, and refer to as former ages referred 
to him, and as Unitarians have indicated the priority of his 
essence, from the beginning of creation until this time. 
We refer to him, as did refer our sheikh and lord, and 
crown of our heads, and learned one of our age, the sheikh 
of the season, and exemplar of his period, Abu- Abdullah 

R 4 


il Hosein ibn-Hamd^n. We refer to him as did refer his 
sheikh and lord, Abu-Mohammed Abd- Allah, the ascetic, 
the intellectual. We refer to him as did refer the Orphan 
of the time [or rare, i. e. noted. Orphan], Mohammed ibn- 
Djundub. We refer to him as the Door referred, and the 
Veil indicated his * meaning,' in the Seven Periods. My 
reference and yours is with all certainty to our Lord Ali, 
prince of true believers; without hair on temples; with 
great belly [one of Ali's characteristics] ; the undivided 
atom, which cannot be broken up into portions and parts, 
nor separated, nor distributed [an allusion to the atomic 
theory of philosophers] ; to whom, from the greatness of 
his dignity and awfuliiess, necks submit themselves and 
hard matters become easy. 

*' Then they shall rise up, and he shall take the chalice in 
his hand, and read the Nurooz, which is this [in doggerel 
verse] : — 

* By the Nurooz of truth, full of benefit, taking spoils, 
Made exact by the care of the most honourable of the house of 

On the day that God manifested his appearance 
Before the Arabs in the Persian periods, 
And was exalted by it towards heaven, and they saw 
In it the prevailing benefits by an exact opinion ; 
And on that day was the appearance of Salsal as an observer of men, 
Who was conformable to our Ajicient One [Ali] the predecessor. 
They drink of the pure wine, for it 
Is a day whose light has appeared from the clouds. 
Namely, the day of the pool [Ghadeer], and Mohammed has already 

In intention to God, the knowing Lord.' 

" Then thou shalt say the * reference * [or * indication'] to 
the end*, and then read the second mass [Kuddas]; which 
is this: — 

" In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful! 
The information is derived from our sheikh and lord, Abu- 
Abdullah-il-Hoseyn ibn-Hamdan il Khaseebee, possessor of 

• What this is does not appear. The word may signify the signs 
made by the hand, for it is used in this sense, as also of reference to a 
thing by words. 


the correct opinion (the good- will of God be on him at 
every sunrise and sunset !). He said that when Abd-in- 
Noor [the wine, called ' servant of light,' or of Ali] was 
present in his hands, he used to take the cup in his right hand 
and drink three draughts of it, and chant over it this blessed 
mass, and say*: Praise be to God, who alone is the lofty 
one, who has executed his promise, and given victory to 
his servant, and strengthened his armies, and destroyed 
liis opposers, and alone put to flight the conspirators ! f 
There was no God before him, neither shall there be any 
God after him ; the refuge of those who seek him ; the end 
of those who have knowledge ; God of the first ages, and 
God of the last ; to him belongeth the pur ereligion, and 
what you call on instead of him is vain. J God is the lofty 
and great one, the prince of true believers ; the true and 
manifest king. God, favour our Lord Mohammed and 
the family of our Lord Mohammed, and Salsal and the 
family of Salsal, the lamps of darkness and the keys of 
words, the guides of created things in ancient times, the 
testimony of deliverance until the time when* there shall 
be no escape. God, this thy servant, Abd-in-Noor, is a 
person whom thou hast rendered lawful and honoured 
and favoured, for those who know thee, by a determinate 
decree, and rendered unlawful to thiile enemies, who deny 
and disown thee, by a manifest prohibition ; as, God, my 
Lord, thou hast rendered it lawful unto us. Enrich us 
by it with safety and security, and health from sicknesses, 
and keep from us through it care and sorrows, and make 
our assembling together, and such like meetings, result in 
what is pleasing, and by similar meetings give us what is 
beneficial, and make our meeting pure in thine obedience, 
and fit us for doing what may please thee ; and begin (in 
the conferring of thy benefits) with our brethren, the true 

* All the first pari of this mass is used by Mussulmans on the occa- 
sion of a feast. 

f Used, in the Koran, of the hostile idolatrous Arabs. 
J From the Koran. 


believers, in the earth, its east and west, north and south ; 
and cause our word and theirs to unite in the ascription of 
unity to thee ; and after them adorn us, and do not separate 
between us and them ; for thou art lofty [Ali] and great, 
and able to do what thou pleasest. The words of the 
Most High * : ' When thou lookest, there shalt thou behold 
delights and a great kingdom. Upon them shall be 
garments of fine silk and of brocades, and they shall be 
adorned with bracelets of silver : and their Lord shall give 
them to drink of a most pure liquor ; and shall say unto 
them, Yerily this is your reward ; and your endeavour is 
gratefully accepted.' From the fountains of Tasneen [a 
fountain in Paradise] he shall be made to drink wine of 
Salsal, sealed with sweet odours. May God cause us and 
you, brethren, to drink a draught from the palm of 
Salsal ; there shall be no thirstiness after it on the day of 
the great thirst ! Remember the secret [of Ain the first 
letter of Ali], may God enrich you with its blessing and 
acceptance ! 

" And when you have finished you will mix the drink 
with water and give to drink to the one who is on your 
right and the one on your left, and you will say to him, 
' brother, drink of my cup, may God make it healing 
and health to thee !*^ Then you will say, * brother, 
give me to drink of thy cup, may God give thee to drink 
a draught from the palm of Salsal, after which there will 
be no thirstiness on the day of the great thirst ! ' 

" Then you will read the passage, the words of the Most 
High f ; ' And their Lord shall give them to drink of a 
most pure liquor ; and shall say unto them. Verily this is 
your reward, and your endeavour is gratefully accepted. 
Yerily we have sent down to thee the Koran by a gradual 
revelation. Wherefore wait patiently the judgment of 
thy Lord ; and obey not any wicked person or unbeliever 
among them. And commemorate the name of thy Lord, 

* Koran, Ixxvi. 20. t !!>• l^^vi. 22. 


in the morning and in the evening ; and during some 
part of the night worship him, and praise him a long part 
of the night.' A how. And the words of the Most 
High * : * To God belongeth the east and the west ; there- 
fore, whithersoever ye turn yourselves to pray, there is 
the face of God ; for God is omnipresent and omniscient. 
They say God hath begotten children : God forbid ! To 
him belongeth whatever is in heaven and on earth. All is 
possessed by him.' A how. Then you will order the 
perfume to be sprinkled (rose-water or the like), and will 
read : ' I testify that Ali is the God of created beings, the 
disposer of what is in the heart ' : — 

' And God has not veiled himself from his creation, 
But they have become veiled by their faults ; 
And, if they liad but believed and been pious, 
They would have become angels in the invisible world, 
Praising (God) in his ancient kingdom, 
Being purified from all their errors.* 

" Then you will read the passage, the words of the Most 
High * ; * Carefully observe the appointed prayers and 
the middle prayer, and be assiduous therein, with devo- 
tion towards God.' A how. Then thou wilt command 
those on the left to pray, every one as he conveniently 
can ; and wilt read the passage, the words of the Most 
High : J * The Merciful taught his servant the Koran. 
He created man ; he hath taught him distinct speech. The 
sun and the moon run their courses according to a certain 
rule ; and the vegetables which creep on the ground, and 
the trees worship.' To the ground. Then thou wilt com- 
mand him on the left to pray the prayer of * worship- 
ping,' and him who is on his left to pray the prayer 
of * peace.' Then the imam [the leader of the prayers] 
shall invoke the twelve Imams, and shall say, ' God, 
we remain steadfast in thine obedience with the utmost 
steadfastness.' Then you will read the Imamayeh [pro- 
bably the name of the Imams in some composition for 

* Koran, ii. 109. t ^^- ii- 239. % lb. Iv. 1. 


that purpose] ; and Avill read the passage, the words of 
the Most High * : ' When the angels said, Mary, verily 
God hath chosen thee, and hath purified thee, and hath 
chosen thee above all the women of the world : Mary, 
be devout towards thy Lord, and worship, and bow down 
Avith those that bow down.' To the ground, 

" Then thou shalt kiss the ground, and say, ^ This is for 
God and the Imam.' Then thou shalt take the chalice, 
and say : ' The secret of the Imam, the requiring, the 
cotiquering, who strikes the crowns with the edge of the 
cleaving swords, Ali son of Abu-Taleb, and this is his 
secret.' Then thou shalt mix the drink with water^ and shalt 
say : *• The secret of the Imam of every imam, my Lord 
Ali, master of every age and every time; the secret of 
his Veil, the Lord Mohammed ; the secret of his Door ; the 
Lord Salman ; the secret of his Orphans, and the hierarchies 
of peace; the secret of our sheikh and lord, Abu-Ab- 
dullah il Hosein-ibn Hamdan, who manifested to us the 
religions in all countries (on him and on his disciples may 
there be from God the greatest favour and peace!); the 
secret of II Djalee Abu-Saeedf, and of the sheikhs of 
knowledge, the Unitarians ; the secret of every true be- 
liever and religious man in all countries, and therefore 
thy secret {, illustrious sheikh, and favoured beloved 
one, and polished sword, and pure and original branch 
(may God guard thee and preserve thee, and not deprive 
thee of his benefits, and may he have mercy on thy mother 
and thy father; and may God cause to be frequented 
through thee the sittings of the Unitarians, by the truth 
of the book Tadjreeh ! § ; thy secret, aiid the secret of 

* Koran, iii. 37. 

f An authority or doctor of the Ansaireeh, mentioned Journ. Asiat. 
Feb. 1848, p. 157. 

% Besides the sheikh who reads^ the greater part of the service, it 
appears from what has preceded and follows that there is a chief sheikh 
present, who acts as imam, or president of the meeting. 

§ Tliere is a book among the Mussulmans so called, as compiled from 
various others ; perhaps there is a similar one among the Ausaireeh. 


the person near whom stands Ali, the Imam of imams 
[perhaps the reader of all this] ; from him [Ali] may- 
God enrich you and all your brethren, the true believers, 
with acceptance and mercy ; thy secret, and the secret of 
thy right and of thy left [those standing there], and of 
thy preeminence above all thy brethren ; your secret, 
Mohammedan assembly, and the secret of him who unites 
you in assembling in this place (may God not cut off 
your secret, nor your mysteries, in all times and ages, by 
the dignity of the pure Imams, and the 1 7th of March !); 
your secret (may God not harm you !).' Then you will 
mix the drink with water, and enter into convention (as 
by taking the hand in offering the oath to a sovereign) 
with him on your right, and him on your left, and you 
will say : * We have drunk the secret of the Imam, and 
thou hast drunk our secret, and we have drunk thy secret. 
May God make the knowledge of the Lord easy to thy 
heart ! May God cause to continue thy drink, and cause 
thee to obtain thy wish ! May God deliver thee from all 
thy sorrow and afflictions ! May God reckon with thee 
with an easy reckoning, and not a difficult one ! ' Then 
you will read the Khabr [the sermon to be given here- 
after], and will then read the passage, the words of the 
Most High * : * When we appointed the holy house of 
Mecca to be a place of resort for mankind, and a place of 
security; and said. Take the station of Abraham for a 
place of prayer; and we covenanted with Abraham and 
Ishmael, that they should cleanse my home for those who 
should compass it, and those who should be devoutly 
assiduous there, and those who should bow down and 
worship.' A.bow. Then you will read the chapter of 
the Mountain f, and will then read the passage, the words 
of the most high J : ' true believers, bow down, and 
prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord ; and work 
righteousness, that ye may be happy.' To the ground, 

* Koran, ii. 119. t ^^- ^^'i- t ^^- ^^ii. 79. 


" Then thou shalt drink the secret of the people of the 
house [of Mecca], and shalt say: * The secret of the 
habitation, and what the habitation contains ; the secret 
of my Lord Mohammed, master of every habitation ; the 
secrets of the four corners of the house, masters of the 
habitation ; Hamza and Talib and Djaafar and Akeel, 
the brothers of the prince of true believers (may these 
be on us from the remembrance of their favour and 
mercy!); your secret, brethren, all of you, may God 
not cut off your secret by the truth of the forty holy 
men ! ^ * Then you must enter into convention with him 
on your right, and on your left, and say : ' We have drunk 
the secret of the masters of the habitation, and thou hast 
drunk our secret, and we have drunk thy secret ; may God 
render the knowledge of thy Lord easy to thy heart ! May 
God continue thy drink ! May God cause thee to obtain thy 
wish ! May he deliver thee from all thy sorrow and afflic- 
tions ! May God reckon with thee with an easy reckoning, 
and not a difficult one ! ' Then you will read the Hedjabeeh 
[discourse on prayer of the Veil], and will then read the 
passage, the words of the Most High f : ' When Joseph 
said unto his father, my father, verily I saw in my 
dream eleven stars, and the sun and the moon ; I saw them 
make obeisance unto me.' A bow. Then thou shalt read 
the Nakeebah [discourse or prayer of Nakeebs], and then 
read the passage, the words of the Most High J : * Blessed 
be He who has placed the twelve signs in the heavens ; 
and has placed therein a lamp by day, and the moon which 
shineth by night ! It is He who hath ordained the night 
and the day to succeed each other, for the observation of 
him who will consider, or desireth to show his grati- 
tude. The servants of the merciful are those who walk 
meekly on the earth, and, when the ignorant speak unto 

* There is more than one mountain in Syria called Djebel-il-Arbaem, 
or mountain of the forty. I have spoken of the one among the An- 

t Koran, xii. 4. | lb. xxx. 62. 



them, answer, Peace : and who pass the night adoring the 
Lord, and standing up to pray unto him.* A boiv. 

" Then thou shalt drink the secret of the Nakeebs and 
Nadjeebs, and shalt say : ' The secret of my Lord, the 
Nakeeb of every Nakeeb, and the Najeeb of every Najeeb ; 
the secret of the twelve Nakeebs ; the secret of the 
twenty-eight Nadjeebs ; the secret of the forty Poles* ; the 
secret of Mohammed ibn-Sinan iz-Zahiree; the secret of 
Abdullah ibn-Sabaf ; thy secret, Nakeeb, and the secret 
of thy Nakeebship ; thy secret, Nadjeeb, and the 
secret of thy Nadjeebship [probably those on the right and 
left hand, or two others present].' Then thou shalt enter 
into convention with the one on thy right and on thy left, 
and say : ' We have drunk the secret of the Nakeebs and 
Nadjeebs, and thou hast drunk our secret, and we have 
drunk thy secret. May God make the knowledge of thy 
Lord easy to thy heart ; may God continue thy drink, and 
cause thee to obtain thy wish ; and may God deliver thee 
from thy sorrow and afflictions, and reckon with thee with 
an easy reckoning, and not a difficult one ! ' Then you will 
say : ' brethren, let him who has a prayer pray ; and he 
who has no prayer, let him say. Amen, for he prays who 
says Amen, and the acceptance and answer is with God ; 
and our Lord, the prince of true believers, has said, 
When one of you has finished his prayer, let him raise his 
hand in supplication towards heaven.' Then you will read 
the passage, the words of the Most High J : ' The apostle 
believeth in that which hath been sent down unto him 
from his Lord, and the faithful also. Every one of them 
believeth in God, and his angels, and his scriptures, and 
his apostles : we make no distinction at all between his 
apostles. And they say. We have heard, and do obey ; we 

* Section 35 of the Ansairee Book of Feasts, described by M. Catafago 
(Jour. Asiat. Feb. 1848), consists of the " Story of the Nakeeb Mo- 
hammed ibn-Sinan." 

f The first to teach the divinity of Ali. 

j Koran, ii. 285. 


implore thy mercy, O Lord, for unto Thee must we return. 
God will not force any soul above its capacity : it shall 
have the good which it giveth, and it shall suffer the evil 
which it gaineth. Lord, punish us not if we forget, or 
act sinfully. Lord, lay not on us a burden like that 
which thou hast laid on those who have been before us ; 
neither make us, Lord, to bear what we have no strength 
to bear, but be favourable unto us, and spare us, and be 
merciful unto us. Thou art our patron, help us there- 
fore against the unbelieving nations.* When Noah (and 
he is the manifest apostle) said : My Lord, make me to 
dwell in a blessed habitation, for thou art the best of those 
who cause to dwell ! To the ground. The Masheyakhah 
[Manual of Sheikhs] is completed, praise be to God alone, 
and after him to the Ism and the Bab ! " 

The copyist then proceeds to give the date, and his 
own lineage, and the occasion when the book was written, 
namely, the ordination of his nephew. 

The three following documents are afterwards added 
by and for the same sheikh, but in worse handwriting ; 
an excuse being added, that the writer had " no ink wortli 

XXXL " We will write the contract [entered into between 
the lad to be initiated and his Seyyid, lord, or Amm, * uncle,' 
-who teaches him the prayers, &c.] ; which is this: — 

" In the name of God the compassionate, the merciful ! 
In the name of the ancient Maana, and the great Ism, and 
the lasting Door, and the high road of those rightly di- 
rected, and the eye of certainty, and the foundation of 
religion, I make between you (with your mutual consent, 
and with freedom of determination, with respect to what 
you are mutually agreed upon before these present nota- 
bles) a free and not a constrained contract. And if he 
(the disciple) shall say : ' Make the contract,' say : You 
must keep rightly the ordinances of God, and tie by their 
halters the members created by him, that they may not 
act coptrary to them. 


" Now the rights due to the Seyyid from his son are, 
that he reveal not his secrets, nor disobey his commands, 
nor bear malice against him in his breast, nor uncover 
his veil [by publishing his doings], nor be friendly with 
his enemies, nor be hostile to his friends ; and that he 
assist him all his days with eye, hand, and tongue. And 
the rights due to a son from his Seyyid are, good bringing 
up and proper instruction ; and that he do not put hard- 
ships on him, nor teach him in a faulty way ; and that 
he shall communicate to him what trustworthy persons 
have communicated, and warn him against all trans- 
gression and lusts. Now the words of a Seyyid against 
his son may be received, but not the words of a son 
against his Seyyid. Do you accept freely the conditions 
I have placed on you ? And if they shall say, ' We 
accept,' say : God, I call thee and thine angels to 
witness what these two have become bound by, of thy 
statutes and the walking in thine ordinances, and that 
they have become obedient to the fulfilment of thy cove- 
nant. I have made a contract between you, the contract 
of Ain, Meem, Seen, the weapons of the pious. And 
thou art he who art gracious to the true believers, and 
he who causeth vengeance to descend on the infidels and 
deniers of the truth. As he has said in his book* which 
was sent down on his prophet, the apostle : ' They who 
enter into convention with thee, enter into convention with 
God. The hand of God is above their hands [the con- 
vention being made by giving the hand]. Now he who 
violates the convention violates it to his own hurt, but he 
who fulfils what he has covenanted with God, God shall 
give him a great reward.' " 

XXXII. This section contains the oath taken from a 
lad before he is initiated. Rubric, " Then he shall read 
the discourse to the disciple, after the question has been 
put to him. When the book is in his hand, thou shalt read 

* Koran, xlviii. 10. 


over him the Fatihah [opening chapter of the Koran], and 
shalt say : ' Now those who enter into convention with 
thee ['swear fealty :' aS^Z^], enter into convention with 
God ; the hand of God is over your hands. And he who 
violates the convention, violates it to his own hurt, but 
he who fulfils what he has covenanted with God, God 
will give him a great reward.'* Then thou shalt say: 
righteous boy, and chosen disciple, may God dispose you to 
his obedience and acceptance ; therefore tell me what your 
idea is, and what seems right to you after serious considera- 
tion, and what you require from your Seyyid ? Then he 
shall say : My wish is that he would free my neck from 
the yoke of bondage, and direct me to the right knowledge 
of God, and deliver me from the darkness of blindness f, 
and grant me life everlasting. Theii thou shalt say: 
Know (may God fit you to be rightly directed, and 
cause you to obtain the consummation of your wish !) 
that thou hast prepared thyself for the demand of a great 
matter, and an important discourse ; for it is the mystery 
of mysteries, and the article of faith of the righteous ; 
none but devout breasts and pure understandings can 
comprehend it, nor can any but sharp [as of sword] 
hearts, and first-rate [jewel-like] intellects receive it. 
For thy Lord Is-Sadik [Djaafar-is-Sadik] (from him is 
peace, and to him belongeth salutation) has said : If 
any one readily receives our instruction, it opens for him 
the door of his heart, so that he becomes an able man ; 
but he who receives it with doubt and uncertainty will 
only by it be removed to a greater distance [from us]. 
God most high has said, ' We will place on thee a heavy 
saying.' Then the lad [walad, or disciple] shall say : 
Thou shalt find me patient, please God. Then thou shalt 
say: Know (may God most high help thee!) that what 
thou seekest from me is an honourable secret, and a 

* Koran, xlviii. 10. 

t Another word, " Shanbaweyeh," is here added, which my Mussul- 
man teacher could not explain. It is not in the Kamoos, and is, he 
thinks, a mistake for " Shunbeh," or cold. 


serious discourse, and an illustrious doctrine, and a 
weighty danger, which the mountains cannot bear, nor 
the people of error receive ; and my mind will not let 
me reveal it, on account of the greatness of its dignity 
and honour : for it is cure and health to him who keeps 
it, and by it draws nigh to God, and reverences it, but a 
fatal poison to whoever reveals it, and discloses it to 
those who have no right to it ; and it is a most difficult 
and weighty thing. Know, too, that if you shall know 
it, and doubt or uncertainty about it enter your mind, 
or if you divulge it or reveal it to those who have no 
portion in it nor right to it, you will be one of those 
who misplace things, who are the brethren of devils, and 
you will have merited through doing so the being changed 
into horrid forms, and being made to walk in vile en- 
velopes. Have you not heard what has been reported 
from the mouth of our Lord, the prince of true believers, 
(may the remembrance of him be glorified and mag- 
nified !) that he said: Our doctrine is a difficult and 
weighty matter ; no one can bear it but an angel who 
is allowed to approach near to God, or a prophet sent 
as an apostle, or a believer whose heart God has tried in 
knowledge and faith. Now your position is a free one 
before knowing this secret, but know that if you shall 
have known it, and shall reject it, or there enter thee 
with respect to it doubt and uncertainty, you will be 
transported into horrid shapes, and will be made to trans- 
migrate continually, and will be tortured in every revo- 
lution of time ; therefore consider what thou wilt choose. 
Then the lad shall say : I am firm in the knowledge of God, 
please God. Then thou shalt say: May God make thee 
firm in his firm word, in this life and the next ; and 
may he make what thou shalt learn of the concealed secret 
of God most high to be kept secret by thee and not 
revealed ! Then he shall say : Favour me, my lord, with 
the knowledge of God most high. 

" Then thou shalt say : That which thou seekest from me 

s 2 


is a great matter, and a glorious doctrine, and an honour- 
able secret, and a high discourse ; and it is a weighty and 
difficult matter. Have you not heard what has been re- 
ported of Bahir-il-Ulm [Mohammed-il-Bakir, the fifth 
Imam] (from him is peace), how he said : Our secret is a 
concealed secret, a weighty and difficult matter ; none can 
bear it but an angel who is permitted to approach near to 
God, or a prophet who is an apostle, or a believer whose 
heart God has tried in knowledge and faith ; for there are 
many angels, and none of them can bear our doctrine but 
those who are permitted to approach near to God ; and the 
prophets are many, but none of them can bear our doc- 
trine but such of them as are apostles ; and believers 
xre many, but none of them can bear our doctrine but 
such as are tried. Now your position is a free one, 
before you hear it ; but know that if you shall have heard 
it, and shall divulge it or reveal it to those who have no 
right to it, God will make thee to taste the heat of iron 
and its cold. Therefore consider in yourself what you 
will choose. Then he shall say : I am firm in the know- 
ledge of God, please God most high. Then thou shalt 
say: May God most high make thee firm in the firm 
saying, in this life and the next, &c. &c.* Have you 
not heard what has been reported of the Aalim [Bahir- 
il-Ulm], (from him is peace), how that he said: Our 
saying is a weighty and difficult matter, a sense [such 
as the five senses] discerned : none can bear it but an 
angel, &c.* And in our saying is .a concealed secret 
veiled in mystery ; do not place it except in guarded 
breasts and secure hearts. He said, too ; The bosoms of 
the free are the fortresses of secrets. He said, also : He who 
places knowledge with those to whom it does not belong, 
is iniquitous in his saying, and will repent of his act. He 
said, moreover : He who places knowledge with those to 
whom it does not belong, is as one who hangs pearls on 

* The words following are precisely the same as those which have 
been given before in connexion with tiie preceding words. 


the necks of swine. He said, also : Take care of divulging 
the secret, for the doing so cuts off property, and shortens 
life. He said, also : Whoever divulges our secrets, we will 
cause him to taste the heat of iron and its cold. Attend 
thou to this saying with thine intellect, and meditate on 
it with thine understanding ; for thou art free in thy 
position before thou hearest this secret. Therefore con- 
sider what thou wilt choose ; for after warning [neg- 
lected] there is no being wary ; and the being trans- 
formed into horrid shapes only comes on a man after 
obedience, from doubt after certainty, and denial after 
confirmation. Then he shall say : I am firm in the know- 
ledge of God most high. Then thoushaltsay : May God make 
thee firm in the firm saying, in this life and the next, and 
cause what thou hearest of the concealed secret of God to 
be kept safe with thee, not divulged, and firm, not retracted ! 
Then he shall say : Favour me, my lord, with the know- 
ledge of God most high. 

" Then thou shalt say : If thou be truthful in thy saying, 
and firm in these covenants, there is one thing which I com- 
mand thee to do, and another which I prohibit thee from 
doing ; and if thou shak disobey one of these commands, it 
will be the cause of thy destruction, and you will leave the 
pale of faith, and return to the degrees of imperfection. 
Then he shall say : Make me know what that is, my 
lord. Then thou shalt say : Now the first command is to 
take care of your brethren, and to pay attention to them, 
and to mind them, and to continue to visit them, and 
do good to them, and keep up connexion with them ; and 
all that you desire for yourself you must desire for them. 
Know, too, that the fifth of your property absolutely 
belongs to them, every year. And you must observe 
prayer in its times, and give alms to those whose due 
it is, and be constant in performing the ordinances, and 
hasten to fulfil duties and requirements ; and you must be 
obedient to your Seyyid, praying for him gratefully, re- 
membering him ; doing him good in all that you can, and 

s 3 


he may accept ; abstaining from every wrong thing which 
he may abhor. Now the second command is to guard 
against injuring your brethren, or wronging any one of 
them ; to abstain from divulging their faults, and to not 
act contrary to their wishes, but take care of hurting 
them. For know that blindness follows the looking at 
their Hhareems with an improper eye ; and deafness fol- 
lows the listening to backbiting and scandal against them ; 
and leprosy and elephantiasis follow the making light of 
them, or lowering their position ; and poverty and want 
follow the being miserly and covetous towards them; and 
there is no calamity, open or concealed, which does not 
follow the injuring them, for the cord of believers is united 
with the cord of their Lord ; and his anger with their 
anger ; and his pleasure with their pleasure. Avoid also 
lying and all forbidden acts, and iniquities and abomi- 
nations open and secret. Now, if you have accepted 
what I have related to you, with a right acceptance, 
obediently, freely, without dislike, and without con- 
straint, I will order your Seyyid (the boy's Aram) to 
agree to your petition in that in which is your deliver- 
ance; and to favour you with the lasting favour, and 
eternal life ; and to bring you out of darkness and blind- 
ness, and cause you to enjoy the illumination of light; 
after he has taken from you God's promise and covenant, 
which was taken from his prophets and apostles. Do you 
then accept the conditions I have demanded of you ? 
Then the disciple simll say : I accept them freely. 

" Then you will make known to him the religion and faith 
[Deen and Im^n, practice and faithj, after you have de- 
manded sureties for him. And you loill say before you 
swear him : O God, I am guiltless of thy [the boy's] sin 
[or hurt, that is, injury to the lad if he sins] ; for thou 
hast so commanded in thy book sent down on thy prophet, 
the apostle *, and hast said : * When believing women come 

* Koran. Ix. 10. 


unto you as refugees, try them : God well knoweth their 
faith. And if ye know theui to be true believers, send 
them not back to the infidels/ Thou hast so commanded, 
and hast also said : Do not give knowledge to the people 
of knowledge, except after covenants and contracts. 

'' Then thou shalt say : Wallah, Billah, Tillah, and seven 
oaths by Allah; I have confidence in God, and in what you 
commit to me of the secret of God. I will not sell it 
nor divulge it, nor contend about it with the uninitiated, 
nor with respect to it make myself known to any one, 
except to a brother who makes himself known to me and 
1 to him [by signs, &c.] ; and if I do otherwise, be guilt- 
less before God and his books and his apostles : and may 
God be party and witness to what I say ! Then say : 
AYallah and Billah, and a second Wallah, and seven oaths 
by God, a great oath, and by what was taken from the 
prophets of covenant and contract, I have confidence in 
God, and in what you commit to me of the secret of God, 
and will conceal all that I hear and know from my Seyyid, 
and will follow what he directs me to, and will abstain 
from what he forbids me ; God is party and witness to 
what I say ! T%en say : Wallah and Billah, and three 
oaths by God, and seven oaths by God, and eighty oath& 
by God, forty standing and forty sitting; I have con- 
fidence in God, and what you commit to me of the secret 
of God. I will not sell it, nor divulge it, nor command its 
being written for those who have no right to it, neither in 
your lifetime nor after your death ; neither in a state of 
covetousness, nor in a state of acceptance, nor in a state 
of hardship ; I am also under these conditions, and will 
abstain from all that may hurt my brethren, from killing 
any one, from fornication, and from what is forbidden ; 
and from corruption, and lying, and aiding the unjust, 
and usury, and the like ; and I will not reveal what you 
have discovered to me of the secret of God to any of 
God's creation, except to a brother of my brethren, who 
shall make himself known to me and I to him ; and if 

s 4 


I act contrary to this, be guiltless before God and his 
books and his apostles ! God is party and witness to 
what 1 say ; he will violate the compact with him who 
violates it ! 

*' Then say to him : Arise ! God make thee of the number 
of true believers, who praise God in the earth, and are 
rightly directed through the light of their Lord. 

*' Then you will deliver him to his ten brethren^ and the 
sureties^ and they shall swear him, and deliver him to the 
Naheeb, to his Seyyid, who shall cause him to drink the 
secret of the two [the two masses'] ; after he shall have read 
them, and the imdm have read a passage, and they have 
bended in adoration and prayed while adoring ^ And to the 
end. . And he shall read the Fatihah to the people of the way 
and the people of the truth, as shall be convenient. Then the 
blessed entrance [that is, then the lad becomes in all things 
one of the initiated] ; and praise be to God alone, and may 
his favours be on the best of his creation, Mohammed, and 
on his good and pure family ! Invoke great peace on him 
till the day of resurrection and judgment. Praise be to 
God, Lord of the worlds ! 

'' Now, the foregoing is from the wor3s of the well- 
directed, aided, and rightly guided teacher, the Hippo- 
crates of his age and Aristotle of his time ; the illustrious 
lad, and favoured desired one, the copious rain, and greatly 
learned one ; the chief Seyyid, and precious hero ; the most 
beloved and rare sheikh, and glorious lion and well-bred 
falcon ; our dear cousin and cherished desired one ; the 
Sheikh Hassan, son of the Sheikh Ramadan ; may God grant 
him favour and the obtaining of his desire and wishes, and 
cause him to attain the world of those that attain ! Amen. 

'* We have written this at the ordination of our dear 
nephew, Sheikh Ali, son of Sheikh Eed." 

XXXIIL Sermon, called the Khabr, or information. It 
is full of mistakes and in wretched handwriting; with bad 
grammar and most imperfect construction. 

*' In the name of God the compassionate, the merciful. 


The information as to what is lawful and unlawful above the 
Tuyrtle tree is derived from authority. Hear, brethren. 
May God give you good-raorning, and give you an evening 
of acceptance and felicity ! [common morning and evening 
salutations among the Ansaireeh]. Our Lord Djaafar, 
son of Mohammed-is- Sadik, said that on the making 
mention of him the talker should be silent, and on the 
making mention of God should be silent and attentive ; 
and that a man should keep the ordinances of God most 
hifrh, and take the inner doctrine from those advanced in 
learning ; and that he should abstain from all that is 
Avrong and iniquitous, by night and by day. And it is 
said in the Khabr [information] derived from the possessor 
of miracles and power [Ali], that he said : He who en- 
ters my assembly [or house] and speaks in it of anything 
but the remembrance of me, I have no part in him, nor he 
in me ; and he who is profuse in talking above the myrtle 
shall remain mute of tongue ; and he who is full of vain 
talk and backbiting and scandal, God shall destroy his 
good works. And he who makes a display of finery to 
outshine his brethren, God most high shall bring him 
down and lower him; and he who unjustly accuses his 
brother is as he who takes a stick and beats me with it ; 
and he who assails the reputation of his brother's family 
is as if he broke down my house with his hand ; and he 
who is proud and violent to his brethren shall have in my 
sight sins as weighty as the lofty mountains ; and he who 
puts himself out of his place shall be oppressed with the 
weight of sin ; and he who causes the im^m to retract his 
^vords, contradicts God and his apostle ; and he who intends 
anything but prayer, his prayer is unlawful ; and he who 
enters with the intention of eating and drinking, and not 
Avith the intention of praying and worshipping, his work 
is as the scattered motes in the sunbeam ; and he who 
speaks contrary to obedience has with me no merchandise ; 
and he who speaks at the time of calling to prayer, his 
tongue shall be unable to articulate at the time of death. 


" Now it is incumbeDt on every well-instructed believer, 
when he enters the sittings of the people of the doctrine 
and Unitarian religion, that he should be truthful in his 
intention with respect to God, praising God at the time of 
praise, and saying * Amen ' to God at the time of saying 
Amen; and that he should not speak of worldly things; 
and that he should make himself the least of those at the 
sitting. And he should not doubt, nor associate any one 
with the Compassionate One, nor abhor any one of his 
brethren. And his attention should be fixed on prayer, 
repenting towards God, and desiring his favour. And he 
should be contented with the property that may accrue to 
him, be it much or little. Then, through the fairness of 
the truthfulness of his love, and the purity of his intention, 
his faults will fall from off him, though their number be 
as the sand. But the hypocritical man, when he enters 
into the sitting of the people of the doctrine and of the 
Unitarian religion, seeks to eat and drink, and distracts the 
attention of those on his right and left, and will doubt his 
Lord and his brethren, and will tell deceiving news, and 
keep apart from the preaching, and conceal the good 
tilings that he may see [in his brethren]. So in the contra- 
riety of his intention, and the smallness of his love, God 
most high shall load him with great and weighty sins. Know, 
too, brethren, (may God strengthen us and you !) that 
you must take care of having dirty shirts [at times of 
solemn meeting], which God has tried the people of sorrow 
with [unwashed clothes are the sign of mourning with the 
Ansaireeh], which they had not to put on except after 
knowing the truth and rejecting it, and hearing the word 
of the im^m and disobeying it, and engaging in what is 
wrong [that is, none suffer calamity except from having 
been guilty of some disobedience, as follows] : for there is 
no infirmity attacking the body, such as leprosy, and 
elephantiasis, and idiotcy, and pleurisy, and dumbness, 
and deafness, and poverty, and sickness, and accident, nor 
any pain, but what arises from a failure in fulfilling what 


is due to one's brethren, and from disobedience to the Com- 
passionate One. Know, moreover, brethren, that God has 
rendered unlawful to his servants, the true believers,* joking 
and intermixing [probably with outsiders], and taking and 
giving, and selling and buying, and partnership and renting, 
and doubt and backbiting and slander, and separation and 
disputing and harsh looks, and the avoiding one another, and 
hatred and malice and envy, and playing cards, and evil 
surmisings, and the detracting from the dignity of sheikhs 
[literally, children of the chimneys, or houses of liberal 
men] ; and the putting on shoes, and throwing the aba 
[outer cloak] over the shoulder, and carrying arms [all 
this at a solemn meeting]. Moreover, he who makes a 
mock of the poor and wretched, and him who is imperfectly 
instructed in religion, assails religion. All usury is un- 
lawful ; and the removing persons from their places [at the 
meeting] ; and the wearing dresses like those of outsiders, 
such as a black handkerchief f, or a blue turban, or thimble 
of bone, or two-edged knife ; and the wearing a long robe 
without slitsj ; and raising the eyes at the time of worship; 
and worshipping before the imam worships, and rising 
before the imam rises ; and raising the voice above the 
voice of the im^m ; according to the words of the Most 
High§ : * true believers, raise not your voices above the 

* A word occurs here which is evidently written wronglj. The next 
word is " opposers," and the passage ra ay mean that God forbids the 
following matters to be engaged in " with " outsiders. Or the obscure 
word may mean " except," and the sense be that God forbids entirely 
what follows, and that all will obey except the disobedient. If so the 
buying and selling unjustly is meant, one would think, or buying and 
selling in the case of sheikhs. 

f Such as is put round the head by Christians, black being the 
colour till lately used by them conipulsorily (with other like colours) ; 
and being originally the colour peculiar to the Abbasides of Bagdad, 
the enemies of the house of AH. The blue turban is also worn by 

if The Ansairee men wear long shirts, but open on the side up to 
the hips, having thus a disagreeable and indecent appearance. 

§ Koran, xlix. 2. 


voice of the prophet ; neither speak loud unto him in 
discourse, as ye speak loud unto one another, lest your 
works become vain, and ye perceive it not.' The aiding 
the unjust is also unlawful ; and the continually saying, 
* This was said,' and ' That was said ; ' also trafficking 
and shopkeeping [or acting as merchants]; and telling 
this story and alleging that tradition ; and an Osmanlee 
shirt* ; and long mustachios ; and the hair of the arm- 
pits; and the buttoning of buttonsf ; and trimming up 
the sleeves ; and cracking the fingers ; and combing the 
beard with the hand. J Tobacco also is forbidden, for it 
is blamed above the myrtle. § 

" Know, brethren, that God has ordained to his ser- 
vants, the true believers, in the times of prayer, purity of 
intention and right deeds, and the cleansing of the heart, 
and mutual friendship, and your forgiving one another ; 
and if there is any enmity or hatred between any one and 
his brother in respect of woi-ldly matters, he must forgive 
him. And you must make your love to one another pure, 
0. brethren, and seek pardon and forgiveness, according to 
the saying of our Lord II Aalim [Mohammed-il-Bahirj, 
(from him is peace) : A believer does not become such 
really till he desires for his brother what he desires for 
himself, and dislikes in his case what he would dislike for 
himself. Know too, my brethren, that your brother, the 
master of this sitting [some sheikh or chief person at 
whose house it is held], has assembled you only for 
prayers, and to ascribe unity to God (may he be exalted and 
glorified !) ; for God most high has said in his precious 

* Which has not the long sleeves of the Ansairee shirt ; for of this 
last the part under the wrist is lengthened out greatly, until it terminates 
in a point. 

t This, like many other things thrown loosely together in this 
" sermon," is not generally attended to by the Ansaireeh. 

t Some of these directions, like preceding ones, seem to refer only to 
the times of meeting. 

§ This shows that the MS. belongs to the Shemseen sect, whose slieiklis 
do not smoke. 


book*: * And meditate on thy Lord in thine own mind, 
with humility and fear, and without loud speaking, 
morning and evening ; and be not one of the negligent/ 
That is to say, at the times of prayer it is not permitted 
to any one to have in his breast any matter which has not 
reference to God ; but all the members must be employed 
only in the remembrance of God (may he be praised and 
exalted !). Make then your intentions pure, till the inten- 
tion shall be but as one intention. And know, brethren, 
that you have put me forward to pray for you, who am 
the meanest and most despicable, and poorest and least 
among you ; and I have no power to be your im^m, but, 
as a slave and the least of servants, I serve you in lowli- 
ness and meanness, without lordship or self-exaltation ; 
for our Lord Abu-Saeed, in the book called * That which 
comprises the knowledge of Fetwas f [or the decisions of 
religious doctors], has said: It is not permitted to any 
one to take precedence in an assembly, if he knows that at 
the sitting there is one better instructed than himself, ex- 
cept with his pleasure and permission ; and I testify with 
respect to myself, that I am the least of you as to know- 
ledge and good deeds, and the most full of faults and 
iniquity, and errors and mistakes. But I hope from God, 
and from the sea of your universal benevolence, that you 
will forgive me, and help me with your prayers. It may 
be God will accept our and your prayers. My head 
touches the dust on which your feet have trodden, and 
here, as before God, I kiss your feet ; may God forgive 
him who forgives ! Here ends the Khabr, May my Lord 
be exalted ! We all of us say, Amen ! " 

* Koran, vii. 204. f " Kitab-il-Hawi Ala Ulm-il-Fetawi." 




In this chapter I shall give translations of the most impor- 
tant of the published documents concerning the Ansairee 
religion; and first of the Ansairee catechism, as the 
most complete and interesting. This was sent, with a 
French version, to the King of Prussia, by M. Catafago, 
dragoman of the Prussian Consul- General at Beyrout.* 
As I have had no opportunity of seeing the original MS., 
my translation is made from copious extracts published in 
the Journal of the German Oriental Society. f These 
are in the German language, and made by Dr. Wolff 
from a copy of the catechism lent to him by M. Catafago 
during his stay at Beyrout. I have added some notes where 
I have thought them desirable. It will be seen, on com- 
paring this catechism with the sketch I have given of 
my MS., the " Manual of Sheikhs," that the arrangement 
and contents are in the main the same. Even single ex- 
pressions are nearly identical, and would probably be 
found to be exactly so could the two Arabic texts be 
compared. The catechism has the air of being genuine, 
and, iu any case, most certainly contains the Ansairee 
doctrines and formularies found in their various books. 
The title only, the " Book of Instruction in the Ansairee 
Religion," seems open to suspicion. Perhaps it does not 
belong to the MS. as it once stood. Dr. Wolff proceeds 
as follows : — 

* Jaliresbericht der Deutschen Morgenland. Gesell. 1845-6, p. 130. 
t Vul. iii. p. 302. 


The book is in thirty-eight heaves, large octavo, and is 
called the Book of Instruction in the Ansairee Religion. 

The introduction contains an invocation of the eternal 
God, and a thanksgiving " for the communication of his 
divine secret, and the truth of the holy religion ;" which 
consists in the perception of his great Name, and of his 
holy Door, through the person of the Abd-in-Noor, which 
he has assumed for the sake of his saints, who know liim ; 
also a thanksgiving for all the benefits received from 
God. Hereupon follows the two portions of the catechism; 
called, the one theoretical, which speaks of instruction, and 
the other practical, which speaks of customs and cere- 
monies. The first, or theoretical part, contains the fol- 
lowing questions and answers : — 

I. Who created us ? — Ans. Ali son of Abu-Taleb. 

II. Whence do we know that Ali is God ? — Ans. Through 
his own testimony, given in a public discourse held 
from the pulpit, 

(In the discourse which is now given, it is said 
among other things, " I am the Lord of lords, who com- 
mands life and death, who begat Jesus in the womb of his 
mother Mary, who sent the apostles/' &c.) 

III. Who has called us to the perception of our Lord ? 
— Ans* Mohammed, as he himself said in his discourse 
which ends thus, " He (Ali) is my Lord and yours." 

IV. If Ali is God, how did he take man's nature ? — 
Ans. He did not take it, but he concealed liimself in 
Mohammed in the period of his change of shapes, and took 
the name of Ali. 

y. How often has our Lord changed his form, and 
shown himself in the likeness of man ? Ans. Seven times. 

a. He took the name of Abel, and took Adam as his Veil. 

b. „ „ Seth „ Noah 

c/. , 
C. , 





> » 



e. , 

) J5 




» JJ 




' » 





VI. How could he so conceal and manifest himself ? 
— Ans, That is the mystery of the transformation, which 
God alone knows, as he himself says. 

(Then follow passages cited from the Koran and Bible.) 

VII. Will he yet once more manifest himself? — Ans. 
Yes, as he is, without any transformation, in pomp and 

YIII. What is the divine appearance ? — Ans. It is the 
appearance of the Creator by means of the veihng himself 
in human form, and the best of sheaths within a sheath. 

IX. Explain it more exactly. — Ans. As the Maana 
entered into the Door, it concealed itself under the name, 
and took it for itself, as our Lord Djaafar-is-Sadik has said. 

X. What are the Maana, the Ism, and the Bab ? — Ans. 
They are an inseparable Trinity, as one says, — " In the 
name of God, the compassionate, the merciful." The 
word God signifies the Maana ; the words compassionate 
and merciful denote the Name and the Door. 

XI. How did the Maana create the Ism ; and how did 
the latter create the Bab ? — Ans. The substance of sub- 
stances produced the Name out of the light of his unity. 

XII. Are the Maana and the Bab separable from the 
Ism? — Ans. No: they are with it — they cannot be 
separated from it. 

XIII. What names have the Maana, the Ism, and the 
Bab ; and how are they distinguished ? — Ans. These names 
are threefold. 1. Figurative ; 2. Essential ; 3. Attri- 
butive. The figurative belong to the Maana ; the attri- 
butive are those of which the Ism has made use, but 
which belong peculiarly to the Maana. As when we say, 
the Gracious One, the Compassionate One, the Creator. 

XIV. What are the sixty-three names of the Ism, 
which, spiritually taken, denote the Maana, and personally 
the Ism, — those of which the Godhead has made use to 
manifest himself in the persons of the prophets and 
apostles?— ^W5. Among the first of these sixty-three names 
are Adam, Enoch, Kenan ; then Edrees, Noah, Herd, 


Solomon, Lot, Abraham. The last of all is "the Imam 
Mohammed son of Hassan, the demonstration." 

XV. What are the attributive names of the Ism, which 
peculiarly belong to the Godhead ? — Ans, God, the 
Gracious One, Light, the Lofty One, &c. ; in all forty 

XVI. What are the mysterious names of the Ism ? 

1. (Here follow the enigmatical letters at the commence- 
ment of some chapters of the Koran ; as A. L. M. of the 
second, K. H. Y. A. S. of the nineteenth, &c.) 

2. In the Pentateuch, Mad al Mad (Gen. xvii. 2). 

3. In Gospels, Paraclet. 

4. In Psalms, Redeemer. 

5. In Koran, Mohammed. 

XVII. What are the personal names of theism? — 
Ans, Adam, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Solomon, Jesus, Mo- 
hammed Abdullah the apostle of God, and Mohammed 

XVIII. What are the abstract names of the Ism ? — 
Ajis, The will, the perception, the might, &c. 

XIX. What are the appellations of the Ism in the 
period of Abraham ? 

XX. What in the period of Moses ? 

XXL What in the period of Mohammed ? — Here 
pretty well the same names are given as in the Druse 

[Note. — They have been given above, Chap. V.] 

XXII. What are the names of the great and holy Door 
(Bab) of God ? (Again the same names as in the Druse 
books. ) 

XXIII. What are the names of the personifications of 
the Bab in the books of the Unitarians ? (By which the 
Ismaeleeh, or also the Druses, are to be understood.) 
(Here follow fifty-five names, such as throne, water, door, 
&c. &c.) 

XXIV. What are the names of the six spiritual sta- 



tions ? — Ans, In the first Gabriel, and his orphans, 
Michael, &c. 

XXV. What in the second ? — Ans, Yayeel ibn-Fatin 
and his orphans. 

XXYI. Whatinthe third?— ^w-s. Ham ibn-Koosh. 

XXYII. What in the fourth ? — Ans, Dan ibn-Sabaoot. 

XXYIII. What in the fifth? — ^^5. Abdullah ibn- 

XXIX. What in the sixth ? — Aiis, Rozabah ibn-il- 

XXX. What in the Persian periods ? (Here the names 
that follow are all Persian.) 

XXXI. What is the Bab also called ? — Ans, The 

perfect soul, the Holy Ghost, Gabriel, &c. 

[Note. — Dr. AVolflf has wrongly translated the expression In-nefs 
il-Kullee, which is, as I have rendered it, " the universal soul," the name 
by which the second Druse minister is called.] 

XXXII. What is the name of the Bab and its orphans 
in the eleven appearances which God has given us grace 
to perceive ? — Ans. In the first onr Lord Salman and his 

XXXIII. What in the second? — ^n5. Abu-Abd-ir- 

XXXIY. What in the third '?—Ans, Abu-al-Ula. 

XXX Y. What in the fourth ?— 4/25. Abu-Khalid. 

XXXVI. What in the fifth?— .4n5. Yahya ibn- 

XXX YII. What in the sixth? — Ans. Abu-Mohammed 

XXXYIIL What ill the seventh? — Ans, Abu-Ismaeel 

XXXIX. What in the eighth? — Ans, Abu-Abdallah 
al Mufdal. 

[Note.— Properly Mufudhal.] 

XL. What in the ninth ? — Ans, Abu-Djaafar Moham- 

XLI. What in the tenth ? — Ans, Abu-al-Kasim. 




XLII. What in the eleventh? — Ans. Khatib Mohammed. 

[Note. — Here Dr. Wolff has evidently made a mistake from glancing 
quickly at the manuscript. The Bab given in my MS. is Abu-Shuaib 
Mohammed ibn-Nusair in-Numeyree, the name of the last of whose 
orphans is given as Ahmed ihn- Mohammed ibn-il-Furat il Katib (or 
scribe); which name Dr. Wolff has taken by an oversight as that of the 

XLIII. What are the names of our Lord, Emeer il 
Moomeneen, in the various languages ? — Ans, The Arabs 
have given him the name of Ali ; he himself has taken the 
name of Aristotle. In the New Testament he is called 
Elias, which means Ali. The Indians call him Kankara. 

XLIY. What are the other names of our Lord, with 
their meaning and explanation ? — Ans, The elements, 
the law, the faith, the victory, &c. 

XLY. What is the apparent name of the mother of 
our Lord ? — Ans, Fatimeh. 

[Note. — Fatimeh was the name also of his wife, the daughter of Mo- 

XL VI. What are the names of his brothers ? — Ans, 
Haraza, Talib, &;c. 

XLVII. What are the human names of the children of 
our Lord ? — Ans, Hassan, Hosein ; his daughters, Teynah, 
Umm Kulthoom. 

XLVIII. Where is his grave ? — Ans. In Dakwat il 
Beyd, west of Cufa. 

XLIX. What are the peculiar names belonging to him 
in appearance (in iz-Zahir)? — Ans, The word, eternity 
&c. (twenty-nine names). 

L. Why do we call our Lord Emeer in-Nahl (Prince 
of Bees)? — Ans, The true believers are like bees, which 
seek the best flowers. Therefore is he so called. 

LI. What name did the beings give him who inha- 
bited the world before men ? — Ans. Al-Hoo. " He." 

LIL What are the spirits called who inhabited the 
world before men? — Ans. They are the Djann, and the 
Bann, and the Tumm, and the Ramm, and the Djan. 

T 2 


LIIl. How many worlds are there ? — Ans. Many ; God 
alone knows them ; among them are the great luminous 
world, and the little earthly world, the residence of men. 

LIV. Which is the great world? — Ans, The heaven, 
which is the light of lights. 

LV. Which is the little world ? — Ans. The earth. 

LYI. What does the great world include ? — Ans, The 
seven hierarchies. The Abwab, the Aytam, the Nadjeebs, 
the Naheebs, the Mukhtasseen, the Mukhliseen, and the 

LVII. What are the names of the degrees of the seven 
hierarchies ? — Ans, Of the first, which numbers 400 
doors, they are the names, the lights, the clouds, the 
suns, &c. 

[Note. — I give the names of the respective degrees from my MS. Of 
the Abwab they are : " the doors, the veils, the verse (of Koran), the 
lights, the suns, the firmaments, the clouds."] 

L VIII. What in the second hierarchy ? — Ans. The 
500 orphans, who have seven degrees ; namely, the stars, 
the comets, the thunder, &c. 

[Note. — The east, the west, the moons, the new moons, the stars, the 
thunders, the lightnings.] 

LIX. What of the third? — ^n5. That of Naheebs, 
who are 600, and have seven degrees ; namely, prayer, 
alms, fasts, pilgrimage, the Hadjrah, the holy war, the in- 
vocation (namely, of those who are considered the highest 

[Note. — These names are the same in my MS.] 

LX. What of the fourth ? — Ans. Of the Nadjeebs, 
700 in number, and in seven degrees ; the mountains, seas, 
clouds, &c. 

[Note. — The mountains, rainy clouds, seas, rivers, winds, clouds, 

LXI. What of the fifth? — ^n5. Of the Mukhtasseen, 
800 in number, in seven degrees ; as, night, day, morning, 

[Note. — Night, day, morning, Ushee (time an hour and a half after 
sunset), travelling in the morning, the afternoon, floods.] 


LXII. What of the sixth? — ^/25. Mukhliseen, 900 in 
number, in seven degrees ; as, camels, bees, birds, &c. 
[Note. — Cattle, beasts, camels, bees, birds, cloisters, conventicles.] 

LXIII. What in the seventh ? — ^n5. The Mumta- 
haneen, 1100 in number, in seven degrees; houses, 
temples, vines, &c. These seven hierarchies make to- 
gether forty-nine degrees. 

[Note. — Houses, places of worship, palm trees, grapes, pomegranates, 
olives, figs.] 

LXIV. How were these hierarchies called in the world 
of light, before their appearance in the earthly world ? — 
Ans. They had other names in heaven. 

[Note. — I will add what is said in my MS.*, because of its absurdity 
and curiosity : — 

" Now these names belonged to them (the degrees) previously, before 
these beneficial things, such as figs and olives and palm trees and 
grapes, and like names mentioned in the words of the Koran, were called 
so by us in the world. So that these names became the names of these 
beneficial things in the world over-against the names of the degrees of 
the hierarchies in the luminous world. Thus the words of the Koran 
in their outer meaning (iz-Zahir) denote the beneficial things of this 
world, and in their inner meaning (il-Batin) the names of the degrees 
and of the hierarchies of the luminous world."] 

LXY. What does the little earthly and human world con- 
tain ? — Ans. 14,000 near ones, 15,000 sacrifices, 15,000 
cherubim, 16,000 spirits, 17,000 saints, 18,000 hermits, 
19,000 listeners, 20,000 followers; in all, 119,000 beings. 

LXVI. What are the names of the Nadjeebs of the 
little or earthly world ? (Here follow twenty-five names, 
of which the first is Abu- Ayoob, and the last Abdullah ibn- 

LXVII. How are the Nadjeebs called in the world of 
light ? — Ans, The lion, virgin, balance, crab, bull, &c. 
(in all twenty- seven names). 

[Note. — Probably twenty-eight, as in my MS., being the names of 
the twenty-eight mansions of the moon.] 

LXVIII. How is it that the Nadjeebs have two names, 
• MS. p. 29. 

T 3 


one in the earthly world, and the other in the world 
of light ? (The answer is only that they have just two 

LXIX. What are the names of those who have been 
prophets, and how many of them are there ? — Ans. 
Seventeen. The first is called Ibn-il-Haratee (Zeid-ibn-il- 
Harithee), and the last Omar ibn-el-Hamak. 

LX-X. How are the twenty-five orphans called ? (These 
are utterly unimportant names.) 

LXXI. How many books have the Unitarians ? — Ans. 

LXXII. What is the Koran ? — Ans, The forerunner 
of the appearance of our Lord in human form. 

LXXIII. Who taught Mohammed the Koran ? — Ans. 
Our Lord, who is the Maana, by the mouth of Gabriel. 

LXXIV'. What is the token of our brethren the true 
believers? — Ans, A. M. S. A. means Ali ; M. Moham- 
med; S. Sals?/". 

LXXY. Is it true that the Messiah was crucified, as 
the Christians assert ? — Ans. No ; the Jews were de- 
ceived by a resemblance. (Kor. iii. 163.) 

LXXYI. What is the mass ? — Ans. The consecration 
of the wine, which is drunk to the health of the Nakeeb or 

(Die Weihung des Weines, den man trinkt auf die Ge- 
sundheit des Nakib's oder Nadschib's.) 

QNoTE. — This expression, " drink to the health of," is probablj due to 
a faulty translation of Dr. Wolff's.] 

LXXYIL What is the ofi'ering (Kurb^n) ? — Ans. 
The consecration of the bread, which the true believers 
take in hand for the souls of their brethren, and on that 
account the mass is read. 

LXXVin. Who reads the mass, and brings the offer- 
ing ? — Ans. Your great imams and preachers. 

LXXIX. What is the great secret (mystery) of God ? 
— Ans. The flesh and the blood, of which Jesus has said: 
" This is my flesh and my blood ; eat and drink thereof, 
for it is eternal life." 


LXXX. Where do the souls of your brethren, the true 
believers, go when they leave their graves ? — Ans. Into 
the great world of light. 

LXXXI. What will happen to the godless and poly- 
theists? — Ans. They will have all torments to suffer in all 

LXXXIL What is the mystery of the faith of the 
Unitarians ? What is the mystery c " mysteries and chief 
article of faith of the true believers ? — Ans. It is the 
veiling of our Lord in light, that is, in the eye of the 
sun, and his manifestation in his servant Abd-in-Noor. 

L XX XIII. What will happen to those who doubt this 
mystery, after they have once acknowledged it ? — Ans, 
They will be reprobated, &c. 

LXXXIY. What are the stipulations which the believer 
must enter on, if he will receive the secret of secrets ? — 
Ans. He must, before all things, assist his brethren with all 
his means ; he must give them the fifth parr, of his goods : 
he must pray at the appointed hours ; fulfil his obligations ; 
give to all their dues ; obey his Lord, invoke him, thank 
him, often pronounce his name, in all points submit him- 
self to his will, and keep himself from everything that 
may displease him. 

LXXXV. What is the second thing which the believer 
must keep himself from ? — Ans. From afi^ronting or injur- 
ing his brethren. 

LXXXYI. Is the believer allowed to make known to 
any one the secret of secrets ? — Ans. Only to those of his 
religion, else will he lose the favour of God. 

LXXXVII. What is the first mass?— ^W5. It is that 
which is spoken before the prayer of Nurooz. 

LXXXYIII. What is the prayer of Nurooz ?—Ans. 
The words of consecration of the wine in the chalice. 

LXXXIX. Say that prayer. Among other things, it 
is said : " Drink of this pure wine, for one day its lights 
will be covered with thick clouds." 

[Note. — This translation differs from the one given by me, Chap.IX.^ 

T 4 


which was made with the assistance of a competent Mussulman sheikh 
of Cairo, and is I believe the true one.] 

XC. What is the consecrated wine called which the be- 
lievers drink ? — Ans, Abd-in-Noor. 

XCI. Wherefore so? — Ans, Because God has manifested 
himself in the same. 

XCI I. What is the concealed secret of God, which 
stands between the K and N? — Ans. Light, according to 
his word : " Let there be light, and there was light." 

XCIIL What is light ?—Ans. The eternal Maana, which 
is concealed in light. 

XCIV. If our Lord is concealed in light, where does he 
manifest himself ? — Ans, In the wine, as is said in the 

XCY. Why does the believer direct his face, when he 
prays, towards the sun ? — Ans, Know that the sun is the 
light of lights. 

XCVI. Why do we say that our Lord makes turnings 
(transmigrations) and revolutions ? — The answer, which is 
no answer, is : He does so, and manifests himself periodi- 
cally in all revolutions and periods, from Adam to the son 
of Abu-Talib. 

XCVII. What do the outer and inner word denote? — 
Ans. The inner, the Godhead of our Lord ; the outer, his 
manhood. Outwardly we say that he is spoken of as 
" Our Lord, Ali son of Abu-Talib : " and this denotes in- 
wardly the Maana, the Ism, and the Bab ; one gracious 
and compassionate God. 

XCVIII. Which of our sheikhs spread our faith in all 
lands ? — Ans. Abu-Abdullah Al Husein ibn-Hamd4n. 

XCIX. Why do we hear the name of the Khasaibis ? — 
Ajis, Because we follow the teaching of our sheikh Abu- 
Abdullah Al Husein ibn-Hamd^n il Khasaibi. 

[Note. — 1 have always written this word Khaseebee (the absence of 
vowel points admitting of both readings), as my lad says that the word 
is so pronounced by his people.] 

C. Let me know the names of the persons of prayer and 
the obligatory and free-will times of the same? — Ans, 


The first obligatory time is midday ; the prayer at this 
time has eight prostrations: the second that of five 
hours after midday ; this prayer has four prostrations : 
the third is of sunset, with five prostrations : the fourth 
of midnight, with four prostrations : the fifth of the 
dawn, with two prostrations. Between every two of these 
obligatory times of prayer are those of free will. 

This is the theoretical part of the catechism. In the 
second, practical portion, there is first given a general for- 
mula of prayer ; then follows a formula for mass. Ac- 
cording to this, when the cup is given, these words are 
spoken : " Drink, my brother, of my cup ; may its contents 
be holiness and health to you ! Let me drink of your cup ; 
may God let you sometime drink of the hand of Salsal, to 
quench your thirst in the day of the great thirst ! " 

[Note. — Here again I suspect that the translation of Dr. Wolff is 


At this time also the healths are drunk of Ali, Mohammed, 
Abu- Abdullah, and the sheikh for the time being (i. e. the 
present head of the sect) ; during which Sooras from the 
Koran, as that of the Mountain, are read; also there are 
many prostrations. 

[Note. — The expression, " drink to the health of Ali," &c., is doubtless 
an erroneous translation. See above.] 

After the formula of mass follows the formula which must 
be said on reception into the community. According to this, 
among other things, to the question " What do you wish?" 
it must be answered : " I desire that my lord would make 
my head free from the yoke of slavery ; that he will direct 
me into the true perception of the Lord, that he will take 
me out of the darkness of delusion, and will give me to 
live in everlasting life.'' At the conclusion of this formula, 
the proselyte, who at each question must declare that he 
will learn to know the Highest Being, is admonished to 
avoid lies and all wicked actions. At the oath, which he 
takes after a set formula, all the assembly throw themselves 
upon their knees. The conclusion of the formulary is a 


formula for marriage settlements. A kind of calendar of 
festivals follows as an appendix. 

[Note. — Has Dr. Wolff mistaken, through haste, the Akad, or contract 
between the boy and his Seyyid, for a contract for marriage ?] 

I propose next to give a translation of the paper sent by 
M. Catafago to the " Journal Asiatique *, " because I have 
had frequently to refer to it, and it may not easily be 
procurable by English readers. 

Letter to M, Wildenhruch, Prussian Consul-General. 

Sir, — I have the honour to announce to you that I 
have just made the discovery and acquisition of an An- 
sairee MS. of the greatest interest. 

This manuscript, in 410 pages 4to, is entitled " Collec- 
tion of Feasts, Proofs, and Veritable Traditions, with their 
signs and significations, which ought not to be revealed 
either to father or mother, or brother or sister ; composed 
by the very illustrious and virtuous learned young sheikh, 
the source of goodness, and of the Unitarian religion, of 
virtue and devotion, Abu-Saeed Mayraoon, son of Kasim 
at-Tabaranee. May God sanctify his soul, and illuminate 
his tomb ! " 

After this title the author commences with a preface, 
which is a solemn profession of faith, in which he renders 
thanks to Ali as God, in whom he distinguishes three 
principles. 1. The divinity, properly so called, or the 
essence of beings. 2. Light, or the veil (Hedj^b), which 
manifests itself to men under their own form, in the person 
of the apostles and prophets. 3. The Door, Bab, which 
is the faithful spirit or water. 

After this preface the author passes to the subject of the 
work, and declares that he had received these facts, by 
tradition, from one of the twelve imams, called Al Aalim, 
at Tripoli of Syria, in fhe year 398 of the Hedjrah (a.d. 

* Feb. 1848. Notice sur les Ans^riens. 


1007). He divides the feasts of his co-religionists into 
two categories — Arab and Persian; and gives an enu- 
meration of them, reserving the treatment of each one in 
particular, and the exposition of the prayers, histories, 
discourses, &c., which belong to each of them, for the 
body of the work. 

Although the simple titles of the chapters contained in 
this volume are not sufficient to give an idea of the interest 
which this work oflfers, nevertheless I will transcribe the 
list according to the order established by the author 
himself : — 

I. History of the month of Ramadan, after the traditions 
of our lords. May peace be with them ! 

II. Prayer of the month of Ramadan. 

III. Of the feast called Fitr. 

TV, Discourse of the feast of Fitr. 

V. Prayer of the feast of Fitr. 

YI. Of the feast of the sacrifice (Adha). 

YII. Prayer of the same. 

YIII. Explanation of the seventy names, given in his 
dwelling, by Abu-Ali of Busra, at Shiraz, a. h. 327, 
(a.d. 938). 

IX. Discourse of the feast of Adha. 

X. History of the feast of Gadeer, and its virtues. 

XI. Poem of the Gadeer, by the Lord Abu- Abdullah al 

XII. Prayer. 

XIII. Discourse of the feast of Gadeer. 
XIY. Another discourse for the same feast. 

XY. Discourse of the Gadeer, pronounced by our Lord, 
the Prince of true believers. 
XYI. Idem. 

X YII. History of II Kahree. 
XYIIL OfthefeastofMubahileh. 
XIX. Of the transfigurations (of the Deity). 

* My lad says that his people pronounce the word Khaseebee as I 
have written it. 


XX. Of the letter Cam, which has a mystic significa- 
tion in the transfigurations (Tadjallee). 
XXL Prayer of the feast of Mubahileh. 

XXII. Another prayer. 

XXIII. Of the prayer of the bed. 
XXIY. Poem of the feast of the bed. 
XXY. Prayer of the feast of the bed. 

XXVI. Of the feast of Aashoor. 

XXVII. The day of Kerbela (followed by three poems). 

XX VIII. Absence and manifestation of the Divinity. 

XXIX. History of Tafoof. 

XXX. Visitation of day of Aashoor. 

XXXI. Another visitation. 

XXXII. Slaughter of Dalam. (May Allah curse him !) 

XXXIII. Prayer of the day of the slaughter of Dalam. 

XXXIV. Mid-Shaban, or the last day of the Khaseebee 

XXXV. History of the Naheeb Mohammed ibn-Sinan. 

XXXVI. Visitation called Numeyreyeh. 

XXXVII. A second visitation. 

XXXVIII. A third visitation. 

XXXIX. Prayer of Mid-Shaban. 

XL. History of ZalM and B^l. May Allah curse both 
of them ! 

XLI. History of Mid-Shaban. 

XLII. History of Christmas Eve *, which is the twenty- 
fourth day of December of the Greek calendar; or the 
birth-day of the Lord, the Messiah, of the holy, pure, and 
spotless Virgin, Mary, daughter of Amran. 

[Note. — In appearance, so the Arabic given by M. Catafago in this 

XLIV. Prayer of the feast of Christmas. 
XLV. The 1 7th of March, extracted from the book of 
the luminous transmigrations and revolutions. 
XLVL Prayer of the 17th of March. 

* That is, the commencement of Christmas-day in the East. 


m:. catafago's paper. 285 

XLVII. Of the Nurooz, which is the fourth of April, 
and the first of the Persian year. 

XLY III. History of the chaplet. 

XLIX. History of the inner meaning of the Nurooz. 

L. Idem. 

lil. History of the Nurooz, and of the good and alms- 
giving which one ought to perform on it. 

LII. Of the Mihrdjan and Nurooz. 

LI 11. Prayer to the sun. 

LIY. Prayer of the Nurooz. 

LV. Discourse of the Nurooz. 

LYI. Prayer of the Mihrdjan. 

LVII. Another prayer for the Mihrdjan. 

Such are the matters contained in this work. I have 
thought it right to give them according to the order fol- 
lowed by the author ; but it is only by reading the work 
itself that one can appreciate its importance. It leaves 
nothing to be desired in details, and makes fully known the 
religion of the Ansaireeh. 

I am led to believe that, with the aid of this manuscript 
and of the catechism which you already possess, one could 
do for the Ansairee religion what M. De Sacy has done 
for the religion of the Druses. Meanwhile, I will attempt 
to translate the most interesting passages, the manuscript 
being too voluminous to allow me to translate it entirely, 
as I should have desired. 

In the hope that you will deign to indicate to me the 
course I should take, &c. &c. 

I am, &c. 



Christmas-eve * is the twenty-fourth of December ; it is 
the last day of the Greek year, and is part of the last 
quarter of the month. 

* See previous note. 


The Lord, the Messiah (may peace be with him !) 
manifested * in that night his birth of the holy, pure, and 
spotless Virgin Mary, daughter of Amran (so Mohammed 
styles the father of the blessed Virgin), of which God has 
made mention in his holy book, where he praises it in 
these terms : " Mary, the daughter of Amran, preserved 
her virginity intact ; we breathed our spirit on her ; she 
believed in the word of her Lord, gave credence to his 
books, and was obedient/' 

However, she is none other, in the Mohammedan Dome 
(period), than Amina, daughter of Wahab, mother of 
our lord Mohammed. Many of our co-religionists say 
that she is the same as Fatima (may peace be with 
her !) ; they base their assertion on the words which our 
lord Mohammed addressed to her once when she entered 
his presence : " Come in, thou who art the mother of 
thine own father f or, as others say, " Welcome, thou 
who art the mother of thine own father." But the 
prophet only used this language to her to indicate that 
she was the mother of the three letters H, that is to say, 
Hasan, Hosein, and Mohsin. 

As to the mother of our lord Mohammed, she was no 
other than Amina, daughter of Wahab, who, under the 
name of Mary, gave birth under the Christian Dome to 
the lord the Messiah, in the same way that lord Mo- 
hammed manifested his birth in his mother Amina, 
daughter of Wahab. The proof of what I advance is the 
recital which my lord and sheikh made to me. He said 
to me : " Having betaken myself to my lord, the virtuous 
Sheikh Abu-il-Hosein Mohammed, son of Ali Al Djalee, 
and having questioned him, among other things, about 
Mary, daughter of Amran, he replied to me that she was 
the same who, in the Mohammedan period, was called 
Amina, daughter of Wahab, mother of lord Mohammed, 

* The word translated by M. Catafago " manifested," appears from a 
small portion of the Arabic text given by him to be the word Zahir, 
meaning that the manifestation and birth were merely in appearance. 


(may peace be with him !)*' Pie added that God Iiad spoken 
of her, in his revealed book, in these terms : " Celebrated 
is Mary, in the book par excellence ; celebrated is the day 
in which she separated herself from her family, on the side 
of the East : she took in secret a veil which belonged not 
to her parents, and we sent her our spirit under a human 
form. The compassionate one is my refuge, cried she, 
&c. &c."* 

Our lord El Khaseebee has spoken on the subject of 
the holy virgin in his poem, which commences with these 
words : — 

" The daughter of Amran, Mary, having presented her 
son to her family, God caused him to speak, although he 
was in his cradle. I am the servant of God, said the 
child to them ; he will save me. I am his spirit, whom 
he has sanctified. It is he who has created me ; if he 
will, he can make me live, or make me die." 

Besides, God has said, in another passage of his holy 
book : " We presented Jesus and his mother to the ad- 
miration of the universe; we took them to a place of 
sojourning, where dwells peace and flows pure water." 

Our lord El Khaseebee has spoken on the subject of the 
pure virgin in his poem which commences with these 
words : " In a dwelling where sojourns peace and flows 
pure water, Mary brought forth Jesus Christ, the Messiah, 
the Redeemer, whom I love sincerely." The celestial 
degrees of Ahmed (the name by which Mohammed says 
he was mentioned in the gospels), for which I give my 
soul, are between the letter h and the letter L The lord 
Christ (may peace be with him !) eflected his birth 
through the Virgin, and spake miraculously, as has said 
our lord in his book : " He will make his word be heard 
by men, from the cradle to old age, and will be of the 
number of the Just." 

Since, then, the lord Christ (may peace be with him !) 

* See Koran, ch. iii. 


spoke in this night, and manifested himself in it, it has 
been sanctified and honoured. 

It is, then, the duty of the faithful to sanctify and 
honour this same night as it deserves, and to bless it by 
prayers addressed to God. 

Prayer of the Eve of Christmcbs, 

Thou shalt say : " Lord my God, thou art the lofty 
and great One, the Sole, the only One, the eternal ; thou 
hast neither been born, nor hast begotten, nor hast thou 
any equal. Thou hast manifested in this night thy 
Name, which is thy Soul, thy Veil, thy Throne, to all 
creatures as a child and under human form ; whilst that, 
with thee, this same Name is the greatest and most 
sacred thing of all that is found in thy kingdom. Thou 
hast manifested it to men to prove thine eternity and thy 
divinity. Thou wilt manifest thyself to them in the 
person of thy demonstration, to recompense those who 
shall have recognised thy divinity at the epoch when 
thou calledst to thy religion, in sacrificing thyself for 
their redemption. Most blessed Lord, my God, who is 
so great as to be put in comparison with thee ? Who is 
so wise as to attain to thy wisdom ? Who is so merciful as 
to be so as much as thou art ? Who is so generous as to 
attain to the same degree of generosity as thyself ? Thou 
fillest all creatures with thy bounty. Thou callest to 
them by thy benevolence, thy periodic manifestations in 
the turnings (transmigrations) and revolutions. Thy 
mercy fills those who have been already the object of thine 
infinite goodness. 

" I adjure thee, Lord, my God, by thy most great 
Maana, by thy great Ism, and by thy honourable Bab, to 
increase in us thy favour; I adjure thee, Lord, by the 
merits of this night, not to deprive our hearts of thy 
knowledge. After having placed us in thy right way, grant 
to us, Lord, entire mercy, pardon, forgiveness, and in- 


(lulgence for our sins ; make us hope to meet thee ; grant us 
thy satisfaction, and give us what none other but thee can 

" Lord, our God, suffer us not to be deprived of thy 
favour, nor to be subjected to those who would lead us to 
adore another besides thee. Prince of bees, great Ali, 
be our aid and refuge ! " Here you will make a prostration, 
praying for thyself and thy brethren, that God will hear 
your wishes and prayers. 


The feast of Nurooz is celebrated every year, for ever, on 
the 4th day of April. It is the first day of the Persian 
year, of the month called Afzooz dermah.* It is a very 
holy and solemn day, and of very great merit with God 
and our lords. May you rely on them ! 

I proceed, then, with the aid of God, to recount to you 
the great wonders which have been effected this day; 
which I hold in part by tradition from our lords, and 
have in part drawn from our books. 

Know then (may God direct you in the path of his 
obedience !) that the kings of the line of Chosroes sancti- 
fied this day and recognised its excellence. They carried 
on this day crowns of myrtle and chrysanthemums, and 
celebrated the ceremony of sprinkling with water. For 
this reason the day has been called Nurooz. The kings of 
the line of Chosroes celebrated this festival in felicitations 
to one another, and in sending presents consisting of 
myrtle, chrysanthemums, and olive branches; they re- 
garded this day as fruitful in great blessings. 

The Lord (may he be glorified !) manifested himself in 
the person of the Persian kings, and it is in them that he 
eflfected the manifestations of his Names, his Doors, and 

* I find no such name in Richardson's Persian and Arabic dic- 



his sacred hierarchies, which compose the great world of 

Our lord Al Khaseebee (may God sanctify his soul !) has 
explained to us this point in one of his epistles, and has 
rendered it clear to us in his treatise in the Seyakah. 

[Note. — The Seyakah refers to Gabriel, Michael, &c., the bearers of 
the throne.] 

After having disappeared, Adam manifested himself 
in the person of Enos; the Maana, which was then Seth, 
caused him to disappear, and manifested itself under his 

Adam having manifested himself in Alexander of the 
two horns, the Maana, which was then Daniel, caused 
him to disappear, and manifested itself under his re- 

Adam then manifested himself in the Persian period, in 
the person of Ardesheer son of Babek, the Persian, the 
first of the kings of the line of Chosroes [i.e. the 
Sassanides] ; and the Maana, which was then under the 
form of " the two-horned,"* caused him to disappear, and 
manifested itself under his resemblance. 

Adam having manifested himself in the person of Sapor 
son of Ardesheer, the Maana, which was then Ardesheer, 
caused him to disappear, and manifested itself under his 

Adam manifested himself next in the Arab periods, and, 
in the first place, in the person of Lavva [properly Luai] 
son of Kaleb ; this last was called Lavva, he who turns 
aside, because he turned aside the lights from the Persians, 
to cause them to reign in Arabia, on account of the ma- 
nifestation in that country of the Maana, the Ism, and the 

On quitting the Persians to manifest himself with the 
Arabs, the Divinity delegated to the first, the stations 

* Alexander is called the two-horned, from his coins, in which he is 
represented with horns, as the son of Jupiter Ammon. 


(Makaras) of liis wisdom, to be transmitted successively 
to their kings, and designated, as personifications of the 
Maana, the Ism, and the Bab, those called Sherween, 
Karween, and Chosroes; then other trinities until Chos- 
roes, Abraarim, and Anoorshirwan : but a change having 
taken place in this last, who gave himself up to pride, and 
disobeyed our lord Mohammed*, the Persians lost their 
royalty through their disobedience. However, their Ma- 
kams continued to celebrate the Nurooz and the Mihrdjan ; 
they carried on them chaplets of chrysanthemums, myrtle, 
and olive branches ; they practised the ceremony of sprink- 
ling, as well as all the other usages of the festival of 

All the Persians observed these solemnities, since they 
had been instituted by the Makams ; as the Arab festivals 
are the institution of our lord Mohammed (may his peace 
be upon us!), who instituted in the Mohammedan period 
the three Arab festivals, namely, that of Fitr, that of II 
Adha, and that of Gadeer. Thus was established the duty 
of celebrating always and for ever all these festivals ; by 
the Persians as an annual solemnity consecrated by their 
kings in their periods, and by the Arabs as institutions 
prescribed in the Mohammedan period, in virtue of orders 
given to that effect by lord Mohammed. All these festivals, 
then, will be celebrated until the future manifestation of 
the Kaim [chief, i.e. the last imam], (may his peace be 
with you !). 

Our lord Al Khaseebee (may God honour his Mak^m !), 
in speaking of the merits of the Persians as personifications 
of the Bab, in another chapter of his treatise attributes to 
them wisdom, because the Maana and the Ism manifested 
themselves in them in the two Makams of their first kings, 

* It is curious to see the connexion and sympathy existing between 
all the secret heretical sects of the East. Anoorshirwan exterminated 
the socialist followers of Masdek, a Magian sect who had even gained 
over his father Kobad ; and we see that for this he has a bad name with 
this Ansairee author. 

u 2 


namely, Ardesheer son of Babek, and Sapor his son ; he 
adds, moreover, that the Persian kings have inherited 
wisdom, which was transmitted in them to the last trinity, 
namely, Sherween, Karween, and Chosroes. These three 
kings have the same degree of wisdom as the Maana, the 
Ism, and the Bab, of which they are the servants, since 
they recognise them.* 

The Lord on quitting the Persians deposited his wisdom 
with them. He left them well content with them, and 
promised them to return. It is he himself who said with 
respect to this : " The Most High had deposited his mystery 
with you (the Arabs), and it was among you that he 
manifested his great works. He had destined you for re- 
ceiving it, but you have lost it ; while the Persians have 
preserved it, even after its disappearance, by the means of 
the^r^ and light in which he manifested himself.'^ 

The Lord said, in the history of Moses, that when he 
saw the burning bush he said to his family : *' Stop, I per- 
ceive fire. Perhaps I shall bring you a piece of burning 
wood to warm you." When he had approached, a voice 
cried to him : '* Moses, I am thy God ; put off thy shoes, 
thou art in the holy valley of Torva." f 

We read in the treatise of Fikh (instruction), " The 
Persians have sanctified jire^ from which they await the 
manifestation of the Divinity;" and, in fact, the manifesta- 
tion will take place among them, for they await this same 
manifestation, and the accomplishment of the promises of 
the Divinity in that element. 

It is, then, for this reason that the Persians celebrate 
the Nurooz and the ceremony of chaplets. 

* These words tend to explain the incongruity of the preceding with 
the general system of tlie Ansairecli. These Persian kings are not true 
manifestations of tlie Maana, the Ism, and the Bab, but in some sense 
representations of tliem. I may add that I have had only the French 
translation by M. Catafago to follow; I should have much preferred to 
have had the original Arabic text. 

f Koran. 


Extract from the Chapter entitled " The Mystical Sense of the 
Nurooz, eocplained by the Imam Is-Sadik to Omar el Mouf- 

When God created Adam lie commanded the angels to 
adore him, and they did so. The same order being given 
to the devil (Iblees), he and his refused from pride to 
submit to it. The believers were then luminous bodies, 
inanimate. Iblees and his companions entered them, 
admiring their splendour, and were much astonished at 
their own obscurity, without however understanding the 
reason of the difference. 

Then, after God had formed Adam after the model of 
these bodies, after he had caused him to be adored by the 
angels, and Iblees had disobeyed, saying that he was of a 
superior nature to these bodies, since he could enter into 
them without their being able to enter into him, God 
ordered the clouds to rain to punish Iblees ; every drop 
which fell on one of the bodies animated it, since these 
drops were but souls ; this rain being nothing else than 
the essence which dwells in all beings. To punish Iblees 
the more, God changed the disobedience of that rebel into 
fire, which should devour him and his. Iblees, seeing 
himself on the point of perishing, demanded as the only 
favour that God would put off his punishment to the day 
of the resurrection ; but God granted him a less consider- 
able period, and it was put off only to the day of the 
arrival of the Mohdi, who is to punish the infidels and 
merge all religions into one. 

It is for this reason that this day has been called by 
God Noor (light). The Persians have called it Nurooz, a 
word derived from noor and zi^ which signifies a see-sawf , 
alluding to the transmigration of souls. 

* Properly Al Mufaddal ibn-Omar. M. Catafago makes the same 
mistake in this name as Dr. Wolff. El Mufaddal is mentioned as the 
eighth Door to the chain of imams. 

f I have already given the true derivation of Nurooz, from which 
will appear the utter ignorance and presumption of this Ansairee 
" doctor." 


As to water, which is sprinkled on this day, it is the 
symbol of the rain which animated the luminous bodies. 

As to the fire which is lighted, and in which figures like 
dolls are burned, allusion is made to that which one day 
will devour Iblees and his companions. 

Extract from the same Cliajpter, 

Abu-il-Katib says that he who acknowledges the excel- 
lence of the day of Nurooz will never be subject to the 
transmigration of souls. 

The Imam Djaafar-is-Sadik adds, after Al Moufdel [pro- 
perly Mufaddal], that the Maana manifested itself in the 
time of the Persians twice each year, namely, at the times 
of the change from cold to heat, and of heat to cold. 

The change from cold to heat was called Nurooz ; and 
that from heat to cold Mihrdjan. These two days have 
been held sacred by the Persians as days of great solemnity, 
the more because the Maana then manifested itself in trans- 
migrations among them. It was on these two days that 
he effected his manifestation by the chaplet and the fleece, 
and it was also for this reason that the Persians celebrated 
on these two days the ceremony of " eating and drink- 
ing/' * 

Let those who have understanding understand, adds Al 

The day of Nurooz is celebrated every year, on the 4th 
of April, and that of Mihrdjan on the 16th of October. 

I will now, for the sake of completeness, give what 
Niebuhr says of the Ansairee book which fell into his 
possession, because, though it may be easily procured, I 
wish to put together in this chapter all the most impor- 
tant documents that have been published with reference 

* II akl wa ish shirb. M. Catafago, Journ. Asiat. July 1848, gives 
*' takdees il akl wa ish sliirb," the consecration of the food and drink, as 
another expression for kuddas, the mass. 

NiEBUim. 295 

to the Ansaireeh. This extract with the two preceding 
includes nearly everything trustworthy that has been 
written on the subject of their religion. 

Niebuhr says* that the book had been probably found 
by Turkish officials in the room of an Ansairee, whom 
they had surprised in the night and taken to prison. 

" It is the original book, but incomplete, and moreover 
badly written, and so full of obscure expressions that the au- 
thor says himself in one place that the Ansaireehs had taken 
a wall from the country of Gog and Magog, i. e. that they 
made use in their books of obscure expressions to conceal 
their mysteries from the infidels. Thus no one that is not 
an Ansairee will ever understand what the author means 
when he speaks, for example, of Gabriel, the raven, ark, 
ring, helkiSy the rod of Moses, the dromedary of Saleh, the 
cow of the Israelites, the concealed apostles. Similar ex- 
pressions are met with in every page, without any ex- 
planation being found of them or of what they signify. 
However, I will here add the following remarks, which 
I have taken from the bookf : — 

" The Ansaireeh are called Mameveen (true believers). 
They speak of the unity of God, that is to say, of Ali, who 
is to come out of the eye of the sun and judge the world ; 
and of five persons who are united to him. They are 
called 1. Maana; 2. Ism, he who possesses always the 
true wisdom, and whom Maana always guides ; 3. Bab ; 
4. Itam (orphans) ; and 5. Hosein. I confess that, as I 
am not initiated in the mysteries of this religion, I under- 
stand nothing of this Quintite. I have not been able any 
the more to understand what follows ; however, I have 
been willing to give it here, because it appertains to the 

* Travels, vol. iii. p. 358. 

•f It is not strange that Niebuhr should have found it difficult to 
understand the expressions used. He has but badly represented many 
of the names, but I have thought it best to give them just as they are 
printed in his " Travels," reminding the reader that they are to be read 
with a French pronunciation. Many of the j's, however, are German, 
and are to be read as y, the book of travels having been translated from 
German into French. 


principal dogmas of the Ansaireeh. Whoever has no wish 
to read it can pass it over. 

" God has appeared seven tnnes in the world. The first 
time, i. Maana was Abel ; ii. Ism, Adam ; iii. Bab, Ga- 
briel ; iv. the Itam were also five persons, as 1. Michael 
(perhaps the archangel), 2. Israfil (perhaps the angel who, 
as say the Mohammedans, is to sound the trumpet at the 
last judgment), 3. Asrael (perhaps the angel of death), 
4. Maleh (perhaps the doorkeeper of hell, according to the 
Mohammedans ; 5. Riddnan (perhaps the doorkeeper of 
heaven) ; v. Hosein appeared the first time under the 
name Kaseh ibn-Mefluch. The enemies of the Divinity 
at the first incarnation were, 1. Kabib (Cain), 2. Anak 
(the sister of Cain), 3. Bahlu (vizier of Cain), 4. the 
Serpent, 5. the Peacock.* 

" The second time, i. Maana was Seth ; ii. Ism, Noah ; 
iii. Bab, Jael ibn-Fatim; iv. the Itam were, 1. Aukil, 
2. EfFrakun, 3. Kinan, 4. Efii-ikakil, 5. EfFrikan ; v. 
Hosein appeared in the person of Hanseh. This time the 
enemies of the Divinity were, 1. Ham ibn-Noah, 2. 
Sheikh Hasa, 3. Jauk, 4. Jafut, 5. Nisser. 

" The third time, i. Maana was Joseph ; ii. Ism, Jacob ; 
iii. Bab, Ham ibn-Kuseh ; iv. the Itam were, 1. Jahud, 
2. Haschur, 3. Malch, 4. Mamlek, 5. Aukil; v. Hosein 
appeared in the person of Mamhe ibn-Mansur. The 
enemies who opposed themselves this time to the Divinity 
were, 1. Chadsseldul, 2. Sima, 3. the King of India, 
4. Ilabt^r, and 5. Naatel. 

" The fourth time, i. Maana was Joshua ; ii. Ism, Moses, 
iii. Bab, Dan ibn-Sabacht; iv. the orphans were, 1. Jahn- 
dan, 2. Haruk, 3. Abdulla, 4. Israel, 5. Omr^n; v. Hosein 
Rubil ibn-Saleh. The adverse parties were, 1. Pharaoh, 
2. Haman ; 3. Karim. 

" The fifth time, i. Maana was Asaph ; ii. Ism, Solomon ; 
iii. Bab, Abdullah ibn-Schamaan ; iv. the orphans were, 

• Emblem of the Yezidees. 


1. Schaoira, 2. Schadla, 3. Harnaseh, 1. Maskul, 5. 
Astir; v. Iloseiii appeared under the name Jantores 
Dekne. Then the adversaries of the Divinity were, 1. 
Ninirod, 2. A ad, 3. Samud. 

*' The sixth time, i. Maana, Shemmaan (Peter) ; ii. Ism, 
.Fesus ; iii. Bab, Rizoba ibn-Merzaban ; iv. the Itam were 
then, 1. Jean fuin essahab, 2. Jean Delami, 3. Paul, 
4. Peter, 5. Matthew ; v. Hosein was Aywsch ibn-Man- 
kidsja. The adverse parties were, 1. Herod, 2. Jabs, 
3. Taus. 

" The seventh ti n3, Maana was Ali; ii. Ism, Moham- 
med el hambd; iii. Bab, Suleiman ibn-Buheire el Chiddre; 
iv. the Itam were, 1. Makdad ibn-el-Aswadel Kendi, 2. 
Abudur Jendab ibn-Junado el Gafari, 3. Abdulla ibn- 
Ruba el Masrari, 4. Othman ibn-Madun Madsejeschi, 5. 
Kambar ibn-Kaden Dusi ; v. Hosein was called this time 
Hamdan. The enemies of the Divinity were, 1. Abu- 
Samuel, 2. Segdu, 3. Sendsjkuk. 

" In another place the author says that an Ansairee must 
believe that Mohammed, Fatir (Fatimah), Hassan, Hosein, 
and Mohsin are but one Unity, and denote Ali. Besides 
that, a true believer must hold that there have always 
been 5 Itam; 12 Nukaba (chiefs of the family of Mo- 
hammed)*; 28 Nudjaba (or chosen ones); Machtassin 
(singular ones) ; Machlassin (devout ones) ; Muntachabin 
(elect ones). He must likewise equally recognise the four 
Sittars, namely, 1. Sittar el Imam, or the chain of imams 
from Abel to Ali ; 2. Sittar il imma, that is to say, the 
Patriarchs from the first Hassan to the last Hassan ; 3. 
Sittar Rassala, or the chain of Apostles, as Edris, Noah, 
Hud, &c. ; 4. Sittar Nibbna, the chain of poets, or respect- 
able men, Annseh, Ishak, Jacob, &c. 

" Our author calls Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and 
Mohammed, prophets; and Jael, Hammdan, Abdulla, Sal- 
man, Abulchatil, Mohammed, Mufdil, and Abu-Schaib, 

* Of Moses ? 


apostles. He calls a certain Ishak the greatest enemy of 
the Ansaireeh, because he had wished to kill Seiid Abu- 

I have before given what Niebuhr quotes about trans- 
migration and eating unclean things. He concludes : 

" The author requires of the Ansaireeh that they discover 
nothing of their religion to strangers ; to love their 
brethren ; to be charitable ; to abstain from theft ; not to 
swear nor use any oaths : to suffer poverty patiently, and 
to bear ill-treatment on the part of their women." 

I will add another document, being a translation from 
the first of the Masses given by M. Catafago in the Ger- 
man Oriental Society's Journal*, which is extracted from 
the Book of Festivals, of which portions have been given 
above. I give this piece because it is a type of Ansairee 
prayers, such as those found in my MS. ; because it is 
nearly identical (as are the other two) with those given 
by M. Victor Langloisf ; and lastly, because its opening 
gives an idea of the better parts of the Ansairee books. 
There is nothing useful or seilsible in them but such like 
passages, which are rare. 


In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. 
The Mass of the Ointment. For every dear brother. 
true believers! hear and obey! Consider this my Ma- 
kam (station, place of religious assembly, with Ansaireeh), 
in which you are met together. Remove hatred, and 
envy, and malice from your hearts ; so will your religion 
be perfect, and God will answer your prayer. For know 

♦ Vol. ii. p. 388. 

t Revue d' Orient, June, 1856 ; a notice which has been often re- 
ferred to. 

J Teeb, used by Ansaireeh of any good scent 


that God is present and found among you, hearing and 
seeing you, for he knows what is in the breast. Take care, 
believers, of laughing and boisterous mirth at the times 
of prayer with the Djahhal (initiated), for so will your 
good works be lowered, and your circumstances changed ; 
for that is of the way of Iblees the accursed (may God 
most high curse him !) Hear what the imam says to you, 
for he is standing among you in obedience to the Most 
High (or he supports among you obedience to the Most 
High), the All-Knowing. This, the Mass of Ointment, 
after the formation of a good intention, is a prayer of 
truth, in which the Messiah specially used the letter Seen 
(S), until the time when every soul shall be given what it 
desired. He said in the blessed mass, Praised (A^ubhan) 
be he who made water life to everything* ; praised {Sub- 
ban) be he who quickeneth the dead in Sarsarf by his 
power, the lofty one, the great ! God is most great ! I 
ask thee, God, my Lord, by the truth of this Mass of 
Ointment, and by the l^ruth of lord Mohammed, the be- 
loved, in whose hand the rod became green ; may he (God) 
cause blessing to descend in your dwellings, possessors 
of this favour and of this ointment ; and mayst thou 
sanctify the spirits of our brethren, the true believers, him 
who is far off, and him who is near of them, my Lord, 
Prince of bees, Ali, great one ! 

* Koran, ch. xxi. v. 31. 

■f A cold destructive wind mentioned in the Koran. 









' 39 Pateenostee Row, London. 


Agriculture and Rural 

Sayldon on Valuing Ilents, &c. - 4 

" Road Legislation - » 

Caird's Prairie Farming - - 6 

Cecil's Stud Farm " * ' ,„ 

Hoskyns's Talpa - * " " {^ 

London's Aijricultnre - - - " 

Low's Elements of AuricuUure - I-' 

Morion on Landed Property - 16 

Arts, Manufactures, and 

Bourne's Catechism of the Steam 

Engine - - - , ' ! 
Brande's Dictionary ofScience.&c. 4 
" Organic Chemistry- - 4 
Cresy'8 Civil Engineering ." " 5 
Fairbairn's Infofma. for Engineers ' 
Gwilt's Encyclo. of Architecture - 8 
! Harford's Plates from M. Angelo - 8 
I Humphreys's Pn»<i6JM Illuminated 11 
1 Jameson's Saints and Martyrs - 11 
" Monastic Orilers - * *| 
' " 1-egends of Madonna - 11 
" Commonplace-Bi'ok - 11 
Konig'sPictonal Life of Luther - 8 
Loudon's Rural Architecture - 13 
MacDomgall's Campaigns of Han- 
nibal i* 

M.icDougall's Theory of War ,- 1* 

Moseley's Engineering - - - 16 

Piesse's Art of Perfumery - - '? 

Richardson's Art of Horsemanship 18 

Scoffern on Projectiles, &c. - - 19 
Steam-Engine, by the Artisan Club 4 

Ure'8 Dictionary of Arts, &c. - 23 


Arago's Lives of Scientific Men - 3 
Baillic's Memoir of Bate ' ' ^ 
Brialmont's Wellington - - 4 

Bunsen's Hippolytus - - - 5 
Bunting's (Dr.) Life - - - 6 
Crosse's (Andrew) Memorials - 6 
Green's Princesses of Enuland - 8 
Harford's Life of Michael Angelo - 8 
Lardner's Cabinet Cycloptedia - 12 
Marshman's Life of Carey, Mawh- 
man, and Ward . - - 

Maunder's Biographical Treasury- 
Morris's Life of BecVet 
Mountain's (Col.) Memoirs - 
Parry's (Admiral) Memoirs - 
Russell's Memoirs of Moore - 
" (Dr.) Mezzofanti - 

SchiminelPenninck's (Mrs.) Life - 
Southey '8 Life of Wesley - - 
Stephen's Ecclesiastical Biography 
Strickland's Queens of England - 
Sydney Smith's Memoirs 
Symond's (Admiral) Memoirs 
Taylor's Loyola . - - - 
" Wesley - - - - 
Uwins's Memoirs -'• - 
Waterton's Autobiography* Essays 24 

looks of General Utility. 

Acton's Bread-Book ... 3 
" Cookery .... 3 
Black's Treatise on Brewing - - 4 
Cabinet Gazetteer .... 5 
" Lawyer .... 5 
Cust's Invalid's Own Book - - 7 
Hints on Etiquette ... 9 
Hudson's Executor's Guide - - 10 
" on Making Wills - - 10 
Kesteven's Domestic Medicine - 12 
Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopsedia - 12 
Loudon's Lady's Country Compa- 
nion .----- 13 

Maunder's Treasury of Knowledge 10 

" Biograpnical Treasury 1-5 

" Geographical Treasury 15 

" Scientific Treasury - 14 

" .Treasury of History - 15 

" Natural History - - 15 

Piesse's Art of Perfumery - - 18 

Pitfs How to Brew Good Beer - 18 

Pocket and the Stud ... 9 

Pvcrofl's English Reading - - 18 

Rich's Comp. to Latin Dictionary 18 

Richardson's Art of Horsemanship 18 

Riddle's Latin Dictionaries - - 18 

Roget'g English ThesauiuB - - 19 

Rowton'a Debater ... - 19 

Short Whist 20 

Simpson's Handbook of Dining - 20 

Thomson's Interest Tables - - 23 

Webster's Domestic Economy - 24 

Willich's Popular Tables - r 24 

Wilmofs Blackstone - - - 24 

Botany and Gardening. 

Hassall's British Freshwater Algte 9 

Hooker's British Flora - - - 9 

" Guide to Kew Gardens - 9 

Lindley's Introduction to Botany 13 

" Synopsis of the British 

'Flora - ... 13 

" Theory of Horticulture - 13 

Loudon's Hortus Britannicus - 13 

" Amateur Gardener . 13 

•• Trees and Shrubs - - 13 

" Gardening . - . 13 

" Plants - - - . 13 

Pereira'8 Materia Medica - - 17 

Rivera's Rose-Amateur's Guide - 19 

Watson's Cybele Britannica - 24 

WiUon's British Mosses - - 24 


Brewer's Historical Atlas 
Bunsen's Ancient Egypt 
Haydn's Beitson's Index 
Jaquemet's Chronology 

- 4 

- 6 

- 9 

- 11 
Abridged Chronology - 11 

Nicolas's Chronology of History - 12 

Commerce and Mercantile 

Gilbart's Logic of Banking - - 8 

•■' Treatise on Banking - 8 

I^orimer's Your.g Master Mariner - 13 
M'Culloch'8 Commerce & Navigation 14 

Thomson's Interest Tables - - 23 

Tooke's History of Pi ices - - 23 

Criticism, History, and 

Brewer's Historical Atlas - - - 4 
Bunsen's Ancient Egypt - - 6 
" Hippolytus - . - 6 
Chapman's Gustavus Adolphus - 6 
Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul 6 
Connolly's Sappers and Miners - 6 
Crowe's History of France - - 6 
Frazer's Letters during the Penin- 
sular and Waterloo Campaigns 8 
Gleig'8 Essays .... 8 
Gumey's Historical Sketches - 8 
Hayward's Essays ... - 9 
Herschel's Essays and Addresses - 9 
Jeffrey's (Lord )'E8says - - 11 
Kemble's Anglo-Saxons - - 11 
Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopsedia - 12 
Macaulay'8 Crit. uid Hist. Essays 13 
" History of England - 18 
" Speeches - - - 13 

Mackintosh's Miscellaneous Works 14 
" Historv of England - 14 

M'Culloch'sGeographicalDictionary 14 
Maunder's Treasury of History - 16 
Merivale'8 History of Rome - - 15 
" Roman Republic - - 16 

Milner's Church History - - 15 
Moore's (Thomas) Memoirs, &c. - 16 
Mure's Greek Literature - - 16 
Normanby's Year of Revolution - 17 
Perry's Franks ... - 17 
Porter's Knights of Malta - - 18 
Raikes's Journal - - - - 18 
Riddle's Latin Lexicon - - 18 

Rogers's Essays from Edinb. ReviewI9 
" (Sam.) Recollections - 19 
Roget's English Thesaurus - - 19 
SchimmelPennincV's Memoirs of 

Port Royal - - - 19 
SchimmelPenninck's Principles of 

Beauty, &c. - - - 19 

Schmitz's History of Greece - 19 

Southey's Doctor - - - - 21 

Stephen's Ecclesiastical Biography 21 

" Lectures on French History 21 

Sydney Smith's Works - - - 20 

" Lectures - - 21 

" Memoirs - - 20 

Taylor's Loyola - - - - 21 

" -Wesley - - - - 21 

Thirlwall'8 History of Greece - 23 

Turner's Anglo Saxons - - 23 

Uwins's Memoirs - ... 23 

Vehse '8 Austrian Court - - 23 

Wade's England's Greatness - 23 

Young's Christ of History - - 'Zi 

Geography and Atlases. 

Brewer's Historical Atlas - - 4 

Butler's Geography and Atlases - 5 

Cabinet Gazetteer - - - - 5 

Johnston's General Gazetteer - II 
M'Culloch's Geographical Dictionary 14 

Maunder's Treasury of Geography 15 

Murray's Encyclo. of Geography - 16 

Sharp's British Gazetteer - - 20 

Juvenile Books. 

Amy Herbert .... 20 

CleveHall 20 

Earl's Daughter (Tne) - - - 20 

Experience of Life - - - 20 

Gertrude ..... 20 

Hewitt's Soy's Country Book - 10 

" (Mary) Children's Year - 10 

Ivors --.... 20 

Katharine Ashton • - - - 20 

Laneton Paisonas^e - - - 20 

Margaret Percivil . - - - 20 
Piesse's Chymical, Natural, and 

Physical Magic . - - - 18 

Pycrofl's Collegian's Guide - - ' 18 

Medicine, Surgery, Sec. 

Brodie's Psychological Inquiries - 3 

Bull's Hints to Mothers - . . 5 

" Management of Children - 6 

" on Blmdness - . . 5 

Copland's Dictionary of Medicine - 6 

Cust's Invalid's Own Book - . 7 

Holland's Mental Physiology . 9 

" Medical Notes and Reflect. 9 

Kesteven's Domestic Medicine - 12 

Pereira's Materia Medica - - 17 

Richardson's Cold- Water Cure - 18 

Spencer's Psychology - - - 21 

Todd's Cyclopaedia of Anatomy 

and Physiology - - . - 21 


MiBceUaneons and General 

Bacon's (Lord) AVorks - - - 3 

Dtfenct of Sclipst of Faith - - 7 
De Fonblanque on Arm; A d n i i »ig ■ 

tiation - - - » - 7 
■Eclipse of Faith - - - - 7 
Fischer's Bacon and Realistic Phi- 
losophy . • - - - T 
Greathed's Letters from Delhi - 8 
Greyson's Select Correspondence - 8 
GurncT's Evening Recreations - 8 
HassalVs Adulterations Detected,&c. 8 
Haydn's Book of Dignities - - 9 
Holland's Mental Physiology - 9 
Hooker's Kew Quids - - - 9 
Hewitt's Raral Life of England - 10 
" Visitsto RemarkablePlaces 10 
Jameson's Commonplace-Book - 11 
Last of the Old Squires - - 17 
Letters of a Bttrothed - - - 13 
Macaulay's Speeches - " " J? 
Mackintosh's Miscellaneous Work 8 U 
Martinean's Miscellanies - - U 
Pvcroffs English Reading - - 18 
Rich's Comp. to Latin DictionaTT 18 
Riddle's Latin Dictionaries - - 18 
Rowton's Debater - - - 1» 
Sir Roger De Coverley • " * ?? 
Southey's Doctor, &c. - " " „J 

Spencer's Essays 
StoWs Training System - - 21 
Thomson's Laws of Thought - 23 
Trevelyanon the Natire Langaages 

of India 

WiUich's Popular Tables - - 24 

Yonge's English-Greek Lesicon - 24 

" Latin Gradus - - 24 

Zumpt's Latin Grammar - - 24 

Natural Histoxr in general. 

Agassiz on Classification 
CatloWs Popular Conchology 
Ephemera's Book of the Salmon - 
Garratfs Marvels of Instinct 
Gosse's Natural History of Jamaica 
Kirby and Spence's Entomology - 
Lee's Elements of Natural History 
Maunder's Natural History - 
Morris's Anecdotes in Natural 


Quatrefages' Naturalist's Rambles 
Stonehenge on the Dog 
Turton's Shells oftheBritishlslands 
Van der Hoeven's Zoology - 
Waterton's Essays on Natural Hist. 
Youatt's Work on the Dog - 
Youatt's "Work on the Horse 

1-VoInme Encyclopeedias 
and Dictionaries. 

Blaine's Rural Sports - - - 4 

Brande's Science, Literatnre^snd Art 4 

Copland's Dictionary of Medicine - 6 

Cresy's Civil Engineering - . 3 

Gwilt's Architecture - - - 8 

Johnston's Geographical Dictionary 11 

Loudon's Agriculture - - - 13 

" Rural Architecture - 13 

" Gardening - - - 13 

" Plant* - - - - 18 

" Trees and Shrubs - - 13 

M'CuIloch'sGeographicalDictiosary 14 

" DiclionaryofCommerce 14 

Murray's EncTclo. of Geography - 16 

Sharp's British Gazetteer - - 20 

Ure's Dictionary of Arts, &c. - - 23 

Webster's Domestic Economy - 24 

aellKiouB At Moral VTorks. 

Afternoon of Life - - - • 3 

Amy Herbert - ... 20 

Bloomfield'sGreekTestameat - 4 

Banyan'* Pilgrim's Progress - 5 

Calvert's Wife's Manual . - 6 

Cat/, and Farlic's Moral Emblems 6 

CleveHall ----." ^0 

Conybeare and Howson's 8t. Pan! • 
Cotton's Instructions in Christianity 8 

Dalt's Dnotestic Litnrjy . - 7 

Defence of Belipte of faith - - 7 

Earl's Daughter (The) - - - 20 

Eclipse of Faith - - - 7 

Enclishman's Greek Concordance 7 

« Heb.A<:h*Id.Coac«»itl. 7 

Experience (The) of Life - - 20 

Gortmde » 

Hairison'sLlnhtofUjeForc* - 8 

Home's Introduction to Scnptwnw 10 

" AhridgmCTit of ditto - 10 

Hue's ChrisUanity in China - - 10 

Haa4)hr«yt'a Parmblm Ulamin*Ud 11 

Ivors ; or, the Two Cousins - 20 
Jameson's Sacred Legends - - 11 
" Monastic Legends - - 11 
" Legendsof the Madonna 11 
" Lecture* on Female Em- 
ployment ... - - 11 
Jeremy Taylor's Works - - - 11 
Katharine Ashton - - - 20 
Ronig's Pictorial Life of Luther - 8 
Laneton Parsonage - - 20 
Letters to my Unknown Friends 13 
LyraGerroaaica - - - - 6 
Maguire's Rome - - - - 14 
Margaret Percival - - - - 20 
Marshman'sSerampore Mission - 14 
Martinean's Christian Life - - ^4 
" Hymns - - - 14 
' Studies of Christiaiiity 14 
Merivale's Christian Records - 15 
Milner's Church of Christ - - 15 
Moore on the Use of the Body - 16 
" " Soul and Body - 16 
" '8 Man and his Motives - 16 
Morning Clouds - - - - 16 
Neale's Closing Scene - - - 16 
Pattison's Earth and Word - - 17 
Powell's Christianity without Ju- 
daism - - - - 18 
" Order of Nature - - 18 
Readings for Lent - - . 20 
" Confirmation - - 20 
Robinson's Lexicon to the Greek 

Testament - - - - - 19 

Self-Examination for Confirmation 20 
Sewell's History of the Early 

Church - - . . 20 

Sinclair's Journey of Life - - 20 

Smith's (Sydney) Moral Philosophy 21 

" (G.) Wesleyan Methodism 20 

« (J.) St. Paul's Shipwreck - 20 

Southey's Life of Wesley - - 21 

Stephen's Ecclesiastical Biography 21 

Taylor's Loyola - . - - 21 

" Wesley - - - - 21 

Theologia Germanica - - - 5 

Thumb Bible (The) - - 23 

Ursula 20 

Young'sChrist of History - - 24 

" Mystery - - - - 24 

Poetry and the Drama. 

Aikin's(Dr.lBritUh Poets - - 3 

Arnold's Merope , - - - - 3 

" Poems - - . - 3 

Baillie's (Joanna) Poetical Works 3 

Goldsmith's Poems, illustrated - 8 

L. E. L.'s Poetical Works - 13 

Linwood's AnthologiaOxonien»l«- 13 

Lyra Germanica - - - - 6 

Macaulay's Lays of Ancient Rome 14 

Mac Donald's Within and "Without 14 

" Poems - - - 14 

Montgomery's Poetical Works - 15 

Moore's Poetical Works - - 16 

" Selections (niustiated) - 16 

" LallaEookh - - - 16 

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Containing all the Greek Words used by 
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Yonge's New Latin Gradus : Containing 
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Youatt's Work on the Horse, comprising 

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