A Traveler's Narrative

page 51

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[Previous Page] and confederate of those Shaykhs in `Iráq, and girded up his loins stoutly to destroy and demolish. Such power of description and [strength] of fingers as he possessed he employed in making representations and statements. Each day he secretly wrote a dispatch to Tihrán, made vows and compacts with the Shaykhs, and sent diplomatic notes to His Excellency the Ambassador-in-chief [at Constantinople]. But since these statements and depositions had no basis or foundation, they were all postponed and adjourned; until at length these Shaykhs convened a meeting to consult with the [Consul-] General, assembled a number of learned doctors and great divines in the [mosque of the] `two Kázims' (upon them be peace), and, having come to an unanimous agreement, wrote to the divines of Kárbilá the exalted and Najaf the most noble, convoking them all. They came, some knowing, others not knowing. Amongst the latter the illustrious and expert doctor, the noble and celebrated scholar, the seal of seekers after truth, Shaykh Murtadá, now departed and assoiled, who was the admitted chief of all, arrived without knowledge [of the matter in hand]. But, so soon as he was informed of their actual designs, he said, "I am not properly acquainted with the essential character of this sect, nor with the secret tenets and hidden theological doctrines of this community; neither have I hitherto witnessed or perceived in their demeanor or conduct anything at variance with the Perspicuous Book which would lead me to pronounce them infidels. Therefore hold me excused in this matter, and let him who regards it as his duty take action." Now the design of the Shaykhs and the Consul was a sudden and general attack, but, by reason of the noncompliance of the departed Shaykh, this scheme proved abortive, resulting, indeed, only in shame and disappointment. So that concourse of Shaykhs, doctors, and common folk which had come from Kárbilá dispersed.

Just at this time mischievous persons--[including] even certain dismissed ministers--endeavored on all sides so to [Next Page]

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