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154. The Rosheniah Sect and its Founder.—Another sect which grew
out of that of the Ishmaelites was that of the Rosheniah. It was founded by Bayezid Ansari, the son of Abdullah, an Ulema of the tribe of Vurmud in Afghanistan. This Bayezid, though his father wished to bring him up to the priesthood, preferred traffic to learning, and took to the business of a travelling dealer in horses. Once, when staying on business in the district of Calinjir, he fell in with a malhed, which is a common epithet by which Moslem writers denominate the Ishmaelites. From him Bayezid imbibed a new religious creed, and began to profess and inculcate it on his return home. But neither his father nor his neighbours favouring it, he left his native country, and found for a while a refuge with Ahmed, Sultan of Ningashar in Afghanistan. But meeting with much opposition on the part of the people, he left Ningashar, and took up his residence among the Afghans of Gharihel, in the vicinity of Peshawur, where he had little difficulty in gaining proselytes, whom he initiated into his doctrines. They were graduated into eight degrees of knowledge, each of which are termed zeker, and his disciples were in the same manner arranged into eight classes, which he denominated Khilwat. He composed for his followers formularies of instruction; to the Afghans he delivered his instructions in the Afghan, to the Hindoos in Hindi, and to the Persians in the Persian language; and such was the versatility of his genius, that even his enemies admit his writings to be composed in the most attractive style. When his disciples had reached the eighth mystic degree, he informed them that they had now attained perfection, and had nothing more to do with the ordinances or prohibitions of the law. He then collected his most trusty followers into a body, took up his residence in the steep mountains of Afghanistan, plundered merchants, levied contributions, and propagated his doctrines by force of arms.
It was said that the female sex were his most ardent votaries, and he employed them to seduce the young men of the Afghan tribes. In the first stages of their initiation the young men and young women were classed separately, but as they advanced in illumination these restrictions were removed, and they were allowed to mix in promiscuous assemblies. As his power increased the expression of his doctrines became more bold; he totally denied the doctrine of a future state, and directed his most perfect disciples to follow their pleasures without reserve, and gratify their inclinations without scruple. He also inculcated on his followers an absolute right to dispose of the lives and properties of all who did not adhere to his sect. He eventually removed to the district of Hashtnagar, which the Afghans consider the region of their original settlement in Afghanistan, where he founded a city, and assumed the title of Pir Roshan, which may be translated the Father of Light,' whence his followers took the name of Rosheniah, or the Enlightened.
155. Death of Bayezid.—The Moghul Government became alarmed at the spread of Bayezid's doctrines. Mabsan Khan Ghazi, an officer of great merit, who was then governor of Cabul, made a sudden irruption into the district of Hashtnagar, and having seized Bayezid, conducted him to Cabul, where he exhibited him as a spectacle to the populace, with his hair shaven on one side of the head, and left untouched on the other. But Bayezid is said to have bribed Mahsan Khan's religious instructor, whereby he regained his liberty. Bayezid then retreated with his followers to the almost inaccessible hill country of Tirah, where he set about retrieving his late disgrace, and prosecuted his plans with such vigour and policy, that his sect began to assume a national character, and his doctrines to be considered as the peculiar religion of the Afghans. Bayezid announced his design of conquering Khorasan and Hindustan, but on descending with that view into the plains of Ningashar, he was again met by Mahsan Khan Ghazi, who routed his irregular forces, and the leader himself with difficulty made his escape; but the fatigues he underwent and the distress he suffered within a few days put an end to his life.
156. Extinction of Sect.—But his followers were numerous and enthusiastic; on his death his eldest son addressed them thus: “Come on, my friends; your Pir is not dead, but has resigned his place to his son, Sheik Omar, and conferred on him and his followers the empire of the whole world.” But
Omar was soon after slain in a battle with the Yusefzei, the bravest and most powerful of all the Afghan tribes. Of his four brothers, Jalal-eddin, the youngest alone remained alive, and he also, after various changes of good and ill fortune, perished by the sword of a soldier of the Hazarah tribe. He was succeeded by Ahdad, his son; he perished by a musket-shot when besieged in his fortress of Meaghae by the Moghuls (about 1650). The Afghans, after his death, carried away Abdal Kader, his son, and betook themselves to the mountains. When the
When the emperor's army entered the fortress, the daughter of Ahdad, who had found no opportunity of escape, was roaming about the walls, when one of the soldiers attempted to seize her. She threw her robe over her face, and flung herself down from the battlements and perished. The descendants of Abdad continued to rule till about 1700, when Cerimdad was put to death by Saïd Khan of Iarakhan, after having surrendered up the government. His brother, Allah-da-Khani, was appointed a command of four thousand in the Dakhin. He died about 1730.
157. Origin of Sect of Druses.—The Ishmaelites of Egypt and Syria may be found even to this day in some of the sects of Islam. Their primitive physiognomy reveals itself but faintly; but their profile is seen in the lineaments of some of the heretical families wandering in the wilderness or on Mount Lebanon ; objects of inquietude to the Turkish Government, of wonder to travellers, and of study to science. Of these, the Druses, living in Northern Syria, and possessing about forty towns and villages, are perhaps the most remarkable. Their sect may be said to date its rise from the supposed incarnation of God in Hakem Biamr Allah, publicly announced at Cairo in 1020. This Hakem was the sixth caliph of Egypt; and Darazi, his confessor, took an active part in promoting the imposture, which, however, was at first so badly received that he was compelled to take refuge in the deserts of the Lebanon, where, receiving liberal pecuniary support from Hakem, he found hearers among the Arabs, and soon made converts. According to other accounts, Darazi was killed for preaching his doctrine, and thus became the first martyr to the new religion. A footing thus gained, corespondence was opened with Egypt, and Hamzé, a Persian mystic and vizier of Hakem, who had from the first been a zealous supporterof Hakem's divinity, hastened to avail himself of the favourable opening. Ten years did not elapse before the two clever rogues or fiery fanatics had converted nearly all the Arab tribes inhabiting the Lebanon, while one portion of them were set apart and initiated into the mysteries of the doctrines of Hamzé. But he did not give his name to the sect; by a natural etymology the disciples of Darazi, the first teacher, obtained the name of Druses, though they reject it, and call themselves Unitarians. We may thus look upon the Fatimite Caliph Hakem, the Persian Hamzé, and the Turk Darazi as the fonnders of the Druse system, Hakem being its poli
tical founder, Hamzé its intellectual framer, and Darazi its expositor and propagator.
158. Religious Books of the Druses.-Hamzé associated with himself four assistants, to whom, as well as to himself, he gave high-sounding names. He called himself, for instance: Universal Reason, the Centre, the Messiah of Nations, Jesus, the United, i.e., He who is ever united with the god Hakem. He had, moreover, 159 disciples, who went about preaching. The Druses call their religious books, “The Sittings of the Rulers and their Learned Men;" they are comprised in six volumes: the first has the title, “The Diploma ;" the second, " The Refutation;” the third, “The Awakening ; ' the fourth, “The First of the Seven Parts;" the fifth,
The Staircase ; ” and the sixth, “The Reproaches." In 1817, the Druses obtained a seventh volume from a Christian, who alleged to have found it in an Egyptian school, and which they call “The Book of the Greeks.'
159. Murder of Hakem.-Hakem was one of the most cruel monsters on record, a Saracenic Nero. Amidst carnage and the most revolting persecutions he spread his doctrine. But in Egypt, where he resided, his heresy outraged the true believers, and his savagery the whole people. Sitt El Mulk, his own sister, headed the malcontents, and one evening when, according to his custom, he took his ride on a white ass, she caused him to be assassinated by some trusty followers, who, after having despatched him with their daggers, undressed him and securely concealed the naked body. They then carefully fastened up his clothes again, by order of his sister, who did not wish the belief in his divinity to be destroyed. At last, when the caliph did not return, and those sent to look for him returned with the news that they had found his clothes but not his body, it was said that Hakem had simply rendered himself invisible, to test the faith of his followers, and to punish apostates on his return. And the Druses, to explain the miracle, say that Hakem possessed a body of a more subtile substance than the usual human body, and could go forth out of his clothes without opening or tearing them. The dagger cuts in them are explained away as mysterious indications of certain purposes of their deity.
160. Hakem’s Successor.—Hakem left two sons, but the sect did not acknowledge them as such. Ali Ess Ssahir, who succeeded his father as caliph, is reported to have said to Hamzé, “Worship me, as you worshipped my
father; but Hamzé replied, “Our Lord, who be praised, neither