Sunday, September 11, 2016

Roshenian: The Religion of Miyan Bayezid

Miyan Báyezíd Ansari was the son of Shaikh Abdullah, a descendant Shaikh Siráj-Uddin Ansari, was born in the town of Jalandher in the Panjab, in AH 931, a year before Badsha Zahír-Uddin Bábar obtained a victory over the Afghans. Bábar defeated Ibráhím Khán Afghán. 

The mother of Míyán Báyezíd was Bánin, and the father of Banín and the grandfather of Abdullah were brothers, and they lived in Jalendher where Míyán Báyezíd born. Abdullah resided at Kánaígram, which is situated in Kóhistan, the hilly part of the Afghans. When the conquests of the Moghúls began to extend, Banín came with his son Báyezid to Kánígaram. Later Abdullah divource Banin and married another; and Míyán Báyezíd experienced many sufferings from his step mother due to the carelessness of his father.

From his infancy Míyán Bayezíd felt a disposition towards the first cause, so as to investigate—“the heavens and the earth are here; but where is God?”

When Khája Ismâîl was blessed, Báyezíd wished to become his disciple; but Abdullah forbade it, say­ing: “It is a disgrace to me that thou shouldst be the disciple of the meanest of our relations; go to the sons of Shaikh Bahá-Uddín Zakaríá.”
Báye­zíd replied: “The character of a Shaikh is no inheritance.”

Báyezíd devoted himself so much more to secret practices of piety, about which the prophet has said: “The best remembrance of God is secret remembrance, and the best food is that which is sufficient.” And again: “Remember your God morning and evening; and be not one of the negligent.” With Báyezíd lineage obtained no respect, but only knowledge and virtue were valued, as-

“Paradise belongs to the servants of God,
Let them be Habshís, ‘Negroes,’
And hell is for the depraved,
Let them be sáids of Quraish extraction.”

One of his friends saw in a night dream, a voice told him that Báyezíd should be called Míyán Róshen, and he obtained eternal life, as God says: “Say not of him who is slain in the way of the Lord, that he is dead, but that he is alive; but you cannot distinguish the deaf, the dumb, and the blind; nor can they reply to you; for they are deaf in hearing the truth, dumb in speaking the truth, and blind in seeing the truth.”

He made himself free of the crowd; and frequently divine inspiration came upon him. Now, according to the prophetic saying:“Inspiration is a light which descends into the heart, and displays the real nature of the things according as they are.”

Míyan Báyezíd, was extremely righteous in his conduct, as it is said: “When God intends the good of one of his creatures, he gives him an admonisher in his spirit, and a restrainer in his heart; so that, of his own accord, he admonishes and restrains himself.”

Míyán Róshen, said to the learned: “What says the confession of the faith?”
They replied: “We bear testimony that there is no god but God;” that is: we testify that there is no god worthy to be worshiped but God Almighty.
He said: “If one is not acquainted with Lord Almighty, and says: ‘I am acquainted with him,’ he is a liar; as it is said: “He who sees not God, knows not God.”

Móuláná Zakaríá said to Míyán Báyazíd: “Thou sayest that thou art acquainted with the heart, and thou proclaimest thyself the master of open­ing the hearts; give me information of my heart, and if this proves to be true, I shall then place my confidence in thee.”
He replied: “I am the master of opening the hearts; but there is no heart in thee; if thou hadst possessed a heart, I should have given thee information about it.”

Then Zikaríá asked his company: “Kill me first; if a heart comes forth from my body, then put Báyazíd to death, and if none appear, then let him be safe.”
He said: “The heart which thou mentionest will come forth if a calf, a kid, or a dog be killed; but that lump of flesh is not the heart. The prophet says: “The heart of the faithful is more elevated than the ninth or empy­rean heaven; and more spacious than the extent of the ninth heaven (the throne of God).” “And again: “Hearts bear witness of hearts.”

Zakaríá said: “Thou takest thy­self for a master of opening the tombs; let us go together to a burying ground, that the dead may converse with thee.”
He replied: “If thou didst listen to the voice of the dead, I should not call thee an infidel.”
The learned men said: “By what word or deed of thine shall men believe in thee?”

He replied: “Let there be one of your number, the best and ablest, who applies to science and practises devotion; let him join me, and according to my direction per­form exercises of worship and piety; if he find a superior advantage, then believe in me.”

One of the person named Malik Mirzá said: “O Báyezíd, beware of arrogant speech, and call not men detest­able; whoever likes, may follow thy path, but if he does not like it, let him remain away from it.”

He answered: “I will propose a simile: if in a house which should have but one door, a great number of persons had fallen asleep, and in that house fire had broken out; if by acci­dent one person should be awake, ought he to awake the others, or not?”

Báyezíd knew that: “A worldly wise man, before man, is living, but before God, dead; his form is like the form of a man, but his qualities like the qualities of beasts; whilst a man, knowing God, is living before God; his form is like the form of a man, and his qualities are like the qualities of the Merciful God.”

Báyezíd said: “The prophet has declared: “Sharíát, ‘the law,’ is like night; Taríkat, ‘Religious Rule,’ is like the stars; Hakikat, ‘The Truth,’ is like the moon; and Mârifat, ‘the True Knowledge,’ like the Sun; and nothing is superior to the Sun.”

“The matter of the law rests upon the five fundamental principles of the Muselmáns. Pronouncing the words of the faith, and joining to the words the belief in their truth; these are the actions of the law. The Tasbíh, “Rosary;” the Tahlíl, “Praise of God;” the being constantly employed in the verbal commemoration of the attributes of God; the guarding of the heart from temptation: this is the business of Taríkat, “Religious Rule.”

The terms Qurbat, Váśalat, Vahed, and Sakúnat are peculiar to the style of the lord Miyán Róshen Báye­zíd, who places them higher than Sharíât, Tarikat, and Mârifat.

To keep the fast of the month Ramzan, and to abstain from eating, drinking, and sexual inter­course; this is the business of Sharíât, “the law.” Fasting beyond the demands of duty; not filling the belly, but training it to a scanty diet; and restraining the body from what is bad: this is the business of Taríkat.

The Zakat, “Stated Alms,” and the giving of the tithe, is the business of Sharíât; but the distribution of food and raiment to the Fakírs and performers of fasts, and the taking by the hand the distressed, is the business of Taríkat.

To perform the circuit around the house of the friend of God, and to be free from wickedness, and crime, and warring, is the business of the Sharíât; but to perform the circuit of the house of the friend of God, to wit the heart, to combat bodily propen­sities, and to worship the angels, is the business of Taríkat.

To meditate constantly on the Almighty God, to place confidence in the instructions received, to dis­card from the heart the exterior veil, and to fix the view on the perfection of the celestial object of our affection: this is the business of Hakíkat, “Truth.”

To view the nature of God with the eye of the heart, and to see him face to face in every mansion and on every side, with the light of the intellect, and to cause no injury to the creatures of the All-Just: this is the business of Mârifat, “True Knowledge.”

To know the All-Just, and to perceive and com­prehend the sound of the Tasbíh, “rosary:” this is the business of Qurbat, “Proximity to God.”

To choose self-abnegation, to perform every thing in the essence of the All-Nourisher, to practise renunciation of all superfluities, and to carry in one's self the proof of the true sense of the divine union: this is Váśalat, “Union with God.”

To annihilate one's self before Deity absolute, and in God to be eternal and absolute; to become one with the unity, and to beware of evil: this is the business of Touhíd, “Coalescence with God.”

To become an inmate and resident, to assume the attributes of God absolute, to divorce from one's own attributes: this is the business of Sakúnat, “in-Dwell­ing in God,” and there is no superior station beyond Sakinat.

At that time it was the custom, when friends had been separated and met again, on meeting, their first inquiries were about the health, wealth, and children of each other. But the friends of Miyán Róshen Báyezid when they made inquiry about any other person, it was in the following manner: “How is he with respect to religion and faith? Does he keep the affection of the friends of God?” etc. and in these things they rejoiced. The words of the prophet are: “Verily, God does not regard your forms nor your wealth, But he regards your hearts and your actions.”

Miyán Báyezíd, in his early years, used to con­form to the five fundamental principles of the Muslim Faith, such as the confession of faith, to say prayers five times a-day, and to keep the fasts; but as he was not possessor of a sufficient estate, it was not necessary for him to give the stated alms. He was desirous to perform the pilgrimage, but he was then too young for it, so it was postponed until he attained the truth of his religion. The words of God Almighty are:

“Verily, I am near to mankind, nearer than their own necks; there is no separation between me and mankind; and I am one with mankind; but mankind know it not: nor can a man attain the knowledge of me, unless by the means of the assiduous perusal of the sacred volume, and not by much travel of the feet; but he may attain the knowledge of me by ardent meditation, and, by obedience, a man becomes perfect.”

He indicated people no determined quarter to which they ought to turn, as the sacred text says: “Wherever you turn, you turn towards God.”

He said, religious bathing in water is not neces­sary; for, as soon as the wind blows upon us, the body is purified; inasmuch as the four elements are equally pure. He said, whoever knows not himself and God, is not a man; and if he be hurtful, he may be accounted to have the nature of a wolf, tiger, ser­pent, or scorpion. The Prophet has said: “Kill a harmful creature before it causes harm.”

If such a person is well-behaved, and says prayers, he has the disposition of an ox, or sheep, and to kill him is lawful. On that account he ordered his self-conceited adversaries to be killed, as they were to be regarded as brute beasts; thus it is stated in the Koran: “They are like brute beasts, nay worse.”

He said: whoever does not know himself, and has no notion of Eternal Life, and everlasting existence, is dead, and the property of a dead man, whose heirs are also as the dead, reverts to the living. On that account he ordered also the killing of the ignorant. When he found a Hindu knowing himself, he valued him higher than a Muslim. He and his sons practiced for some time highway robbery. Of the wealth which he took from the Muslims and others, he deposited the fifth part in a store-house, and when it was wanted, he distributed it among the most deserving people. He and his sons kept themselves all remote from adultery, lewdness, and unbecoming actions, as well as from despoiling the Unitarians of their property, and refrained from using violence towards those who saw but one God.

He composed a great number of works in the Arabic, Persian, Hindi, and Afgháni languages. The Makśúd al-Múmenín, “the Desire of the Right Believers,” is in Arabic. He composed also a book entitled Kháir al-Bíán, “The Good News, or The Gospel,” in Arabic, Persian, Hindi, and in Pashtú. He is also the author of The Hálnámeh, in which he has given an account of himself.

Bayezid, after having obtained the adherence of several tribes of the Afghans, established himself in Hashtanagar, "eight townships," in the middle of Pokhtanga, or Afghanistan, perhaps the country of the ancient Aspagam, mentioned by Pliny, and took his residence at Kaladar, in the district of Omazei, where he founded a city. From thence, under the title of Pir Roshan, "Master of Light," he issued proclamations to increase the number of his followers.

It was in the year of the AH 949 (AD. 1542-3), that Miyàn Róshen gained strength and established his sect. Having become formidable to the government of the Moghuls, Mahsin khan Ghazi, a chief of great merit, by a sudden irruption into Hashtanagar, seized the person of Bayezid, and carried him to Kabul, where, although at first subject to insult, he owed his release to the intercession of some influential persons, favorably disposed towards him.

The court of Mirzá Muhammed Hakím, let him take his departure on equitable terms. He then retired to the mountains of Totee, and further to those of Tirah, perhaps the district of the ancient Thwm mentioned by Arrian. Such as soon the increase of his forces, that he proclaim his project to over-through the power of the emperor Akbar. He descended into the plains of Ningarhar, sacked and burnt the country, but was overtaken by Mahsin Khan, and his army routed; he himself escaped with great difficulty, and died soon after, from the fatigues of his flight: he was buried at Hashtanagar.

Miyàn Róshen Báyezid died in the beginning of AH 994 (AD. 1585-6) His sepulcher is at Bha­takpùr in the hilly country of the Afghans.

NB: We find in the Asiatic Researches (vol. XI from p. 363 to 418), a Memoir on the Roshenia sect by the late Doctor John Leyden. In his researches relative to the language and literature of the Afghans, he met with a work m the Afghan or Pashtu language, entitled Mahan Afganj, a miscellaneous compilation on the ritual and moral practice of Islam, composed by Akhun (Mulla) Derwezeh, a character celebrated in Afghanistan chiefly for his sanctity, and belonging to the tribe of Tajek. This word in general signifies " peasant, or cultivator of ground ;" but is in particular applied to those who are not Arabs, and by the Moghuls to the natives of Iran, who are neither of Arab nor Moghul extraction, probably of a mixed origin. They extend from the mountains of Chetar, in Kashgar, as far as Balkh and Kandahar, and live either under their own chiefs, or subject and tributary to the Afghans, Turkmans, or Uzbek Tartars, among whom they reside.

The Tajiks always showed themselves adverse to the Roshenians, and Akhun Derwezeh in the said work contradicts and blames the tenets and opinions of Bayazid, whom he calls the "Master of Darkness." In the extract given by Leyden, of Darwezeh's account, we see that the doctrine of the Roshenians coincided in several points with that of the Ismailias: Bayazid, in like manner as the latter, established eight degrees of perfection, through which his sectaries were to pass, and which led to an entire dereliction of all positive religion, and an unrestrained licentiousness in manners and practices.

As to the history of Bayezid's life and that of his sons highway robbery, devastation, and bloodshed are evidently practiced by them, in the recital of both authors. The Memoir of the learned Leyden abounds with curious and important information respecting the Afghan tribes, to which the present events in Western India can but tend a higher interest. Some reputed followers of Bayazid are still to be found both in Paishavir and Kabul, most numerous among the wild tribes of the Yusufzai.

The End.
Not Yet Verified.

Muhsin Fani, The Dabistan-i Mazahib ["School of Religions"] tr. by David Shea and Anthony Troyer, 1843.
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