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257.



This is a pair of lions with riders, Timna, 75 BC to 50 AD, from the Sabaean state of Qataban (present day Yemen) at the Sackler's recent show: "Unearthing Arabia: The Archaeological Adventures of Wendell Phillips."

I call this photo, taken in December 2014:

"Qataban Lion."


Qataban Lion




258.



This is the second of the pair of bronze lions.

The Smithsonian translates the inscriptions at the base of the lions as:

'Thuwayb and Aqrab dhu-Muhasni placed [these figures] at Yafash. Thuwayb and Aqrab of the Muhasni family decorated the house called Yafash."

I call this photo:

"Qataban Lion - 2."

***

According to the Koran: " ....The Sabaeans were mentioned in the Quran twice ...The Qur'an, mentions the kingdom of the Saba in the 34th Chapter. The Qur'anic narrative, from sura 27 (An-Naml) ... has Suleiman (Solomon) getting reports from the Hoopoe bird about the kingdom of Saba, ruled by a queen whose people worship the sun instead of God. Suleiman (Solomon) sends a letter inviting her to submit fully to the One God, Allah, Lord of the Worlds according to the Islamic text. The Queen of Saba is unsure how to respond and asks her advisors for counsel. They reply by reminding her that they are "of great toughness" in a reference to their willingness to go to war should she choose to. She replies that she fears if they were to lose, Suleiman may behave as any other king would: 'entering a country, despoiling it and making the most honorable of its people its lowest'. She decides to meet with Suleiman in order to find out more. Suleiman receives her response to meet him and asks if anyone can bring him her throne before she arrives. A jinn under the control of Suleiman proposed that he will bring it before Suleiman rises from his seat. One who had knowledge of the "Book" proposed to bring him the throne of Bilqis 'in the twinkling of an eye' and accomplished that immediately. ... The queen arrives at his court, is shown her throne and asked: does your throne look like this? She replied: (It is) as though it were it. When she enters his crystal palace she accepts Abrahamic monotheism and the worship of one God alone, Allah." Sabaeans, Wikipedia.

***

(December 12, 2014) Suleiman's Jinn, as described in the Wikipedia article, is the world of the unconscious psyche. For good or for evil.

" ... Jinn or djinn ... are unseen creatures in Islamic belief, Islamic mythology as well as pre-Islamic Arabian mythology. They are mentioned frequently in the Quran (the 72nd sura is titled Surat al-Jinn) and other Islamic texts and inhabit an unseen world called Djinnestan, another universe beyond the known universe. The Quran says that the jinn are made of a smokeless and "scorching fire", ... but are also physical in nature, being able to interfere physically with people and objects and likewise be acted upon. The jinn, humans and angels make up the three sapient creations of God. Like human beings, the jinn can be good, evil, or neutrally benevolent and hence have free will like humans and unlike angels. ...The shaytan jinn are the analogue of demons in Christian tradition, but the jinn are not angels and the Quran draws a clear distinction between the two creations. The Quran states in surat Al-Kahf (The Cave), Ayah 50, ... that Iblis (Azazel) is one of the jinn. ... " Jinn, Wikipedia.

Furthermore:

" ...In a hadith recorded by Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, the companion Abdullah, son of Masud reported: 'The Prophet Muhammad said: 'There is not one of you who does not have a jinn appointed to be his constant companion .... ' They said, 'And you too, O Messenger of Allah?' He said, 'Me too, but Allah has helped me and he has submitted, so that he only helps me to do good.' ..." Jinn, Wikipedia

***

(December 15, 2014) For an in depth discussion of Qataban and the other Sabaean states see: "Arabia and the Arabs: From the bronze age to the coming of Islam." by Robert G. Hoyland (2001).

***

A short documentary of Queen Elizabeth's visit to the colony of Aden (South Yemen) in the Sackler's Qataban show states that it was a mix of Somali's, Arabs, Indians and Pakistani's in the 1950's. My intuition is that during Roman times south Arabia was primarily what we call Somalia today.

Another video in the show of the King of Yemen in the 1950's suggests a close relation to emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia.

The South Arabians went on to a leadership role in Islam (overlords), and great wealth, while their Ethiopian cousins have languished in poverty. I say this as a dark intuition and not based on the current status of Yemen and Somalia.

***

(December 18, 2014) This is a fresco of a nobleman from the central Arabian city of Qaryat al-Faw (Saudi Arabia) from c. 100 AD. According to "Arabs and Arabia: from the Bronze Age to the coming of Islam" by Robert G. Hoyland (2001), at p. 50, this was Himyar's client state of Kinda. He looks Ethiopian to me. Also See: "Lost Kingdoms Found" by Christine H. O'Toole (2013)

***

"Prester John" was probably a South Arabian of Ethiopian heritage.

***

(December 22, 2014) Note the tight resemblance between the coins of the Ethiopian King Armah c. 614 AD and the image given for Prester John.

Muslims credit King Armah, whom they call Ashama ibn-Abjar, with sheltering early Muslims from persecution in Mecca.

" ... According to Arabic sources, Ashama ibn Abjar was Emperor or al-Najashi ... of Aksum at the time of Muhammad, and gave refuge to several Muslims in the Kingdom of Aksum. The term "al-Najashi" has the variant al-Negashi; it corresponds to the ancient Aksumite title Negus, with the variant Negash. The name "Ashama" seems to correspond to the original Ge'ez name Ella-Seham, variant Sahama. This is an Aksumite king known from coinage. ... According to other authors, Ashama may have been the same person as king Armah, or his father or son ...

... Due to persecution from the current Arab leadership in Mecca, a number of Muslims emigrated to Axum. In response, the Arab leaders sent Amr ibn al-Aas to bring them back. Amr was a friend of Sahama, and at the same time also had good relations with Abu Sufyan, the then leader of Quraish.

Sahama did not act in a hurry but showed patience and demanded the holy scripture of Muslims to be read. At this, Ja'far ibn Abi Talib recited some verses from the Quran from the chapter of Maryam (Mary). According to Ibn Hisham, al-Najashi and the Ethiopian Orthodox priests in his court were {so} greatly affected by the touching verses that they began to shed tears. And so, Sahama firmly denied Amr's request to be handed the Muslim refugees. The very next day, Amr tried to play a trick, in order to sow dissension between Sahama and the Muslim refugees. Amr was greatly distressed, and promised Ja'far and other Muslims that he [was] going to cause a great schism between them and King Sahama. Amr arrived the next day at the court of Sahama, and demanded in his presence that the Muslims make known their creed about Jesus. This was a difficult situation because Jesus is not considered as the son of God in the Qur'an, which was expected to greatly enrage a devout Christian like Emperor Sahama. To this, he explained that Jesus is considered in Islam to be a messenger of God, the word of God, and the miraculously born son of the Virgin Mary. In reply to this statement, King Sahama made a line on the sand with his mace and said, "By God, Jesus is not more than what you have described him. By God, I will never give you up to anyone." He then declared that Muslims could live in Axum for as long as they wished for. According to Muslim tradition, it is during this situation that King Sahama converted to Islam.

Some accounts state that Ashama read the Nikah at one of Muhammad's marriages. ... The Sahabi Abu Huraira narrates that Muhammad announced the death of Sahama on the same day that he died, and even before any news became known about it for anyone in the city. ... "

Ashama ibn-Abjar, Wikipedia

***

Within 50 years, due to the Islamic conquest, Rome had lost control of Egypt and the Persians, who had just forced Ethiopia out of Himyar, lost everything - while Ethiopia remained unmolested.

***

Excerpt from: "Arabs and Arabia: from the Bronze Age to the coming of Islam" by Robert G. Hoyland (2001)

***

(January 21, 2015) Black Africans played an important role in the administration of the Islamic empire from its founding  in the 7th century AD until the fall of the Fatimid caliphate and the rise of Saladin in 1169 AD.

Perhaps the best way to trace this role is by examining the career of the Mamelukes, the Islamic version of the Roman Praetorian Guard.

See: "The Georgian Mameluks in Egypt," by Alexander Mikaberidze:

" ... Military chronicles reveal few organizations whose history is more extraordinary than that of the elite slave troops employed in the Middle East. These corps were not only the finest military organization of the time, but [for] nearly six hundred years constituted the backbone of the armed forces of the such great empires as those of Persia, Ottoman Turkey and Egypt.

Mameluks in Egypt, Janissaries in Ottoman Turkey and Ghulams in Persia are real phenomena that had no parallel outside Islamic civilization. For several hundreds years they [upheld] their countries, defending them from foreign conquerors, expanding their own influence and creating unique cultures. Without them, the geographical boundaries of Islam would have been much narrower. As for the struggle between Islam and Christian Europe, with its ever-growing technological preponderance, it must be pointed out that Islamic dominance on land was maintained for a good number of centuries mainly owing to the military might of the elite slave troops system. It was these soldiers who finally defeated and expelled the Crusaders, halted the Mongol advance across the Middle East and conquered [the] south-eastern part of Europe.

The literal meaning of the word “Mameluk” is “one owned by another”, a “bondsman”. Noteworthy, there were two different definitions of slavery. The term “abd” was the ordinary word for “slave” in Arabic. For centuries the great majority of slaves in western Arabia were colored people of African origins and in time the word “abd” lost its exclusive meaning and came to mean a black person regardless whether he was slave or free. Meanwhile a number of white slaves from northern territories were eventually brought by Arab caravaneers or captured by raiding armies. To distinguish the black slaves from the white, the word “Mameluk” was gradually introduced and confined to a fair-skinned slave horseman. ...

The Mameluks who were brought by slave merchants belonged mainly to tribal societies, distinguished by their superb military qualities as cavalrymen. Only the best of them were chosen, after a strict selection. They were taken from their homelands at or near the age of puberty. When they reached their destination, usually the court of a ruler of an important military commander, they were converted to Islam. They were first taught the basics of Islam and later received the best training of the time. When the Mameluk completed the period of Islamic studies and military training, he was manumitted. Noteworthy, the act of  manumission was, in fact, the beginning of a real relationship between patron and slave. The patron and his Mameluk were united by feelings of loyalty and subordination. Mameluks could be relied upon because of their extreme dependence on the patron. Being kidnapped or sold in early childhood, they lived in a society to which they were strangers and where they had no family or relative to support them. Therefore, they were dependent solely upon their master and by uniting with the other Mameluks formed a type of ... families, clans. On other hand, the patron himself was also vulnerable since he depended on family for protection and political support. The Mameluks provided him with necessary security and support to establish himself in the society.

Another remarkable feature of the Mameluk is that they were an institution of one-generation nobility. The sons of the Mameluks were excluded from it for a number of reasons. The main reason was that in the environment of ease and comfort in which Mameluks lived, their children would be unable to preserve the military qualities of their parents. Also, it was possible that Mameluks would intervene on behalf of their children and facilitate their promotion. This meant that the Mameluk system had to be fed by a constant stream of fresh recruits from their countries of origin.

Before the rise of Mameluks, the majority of slave troops were recruited from the African states. The black slaves made [their] appearance in 8th Century, but [did] not represent a strong military factor, and served in an auxiliary capacity.  Egyptian rulers, particularly Ahmad Ibn Tulun, relied heavily on black slave soldiers. Ibn Tulun bought approximately 40,000 Nubians who were comparably inexpensive and well-known for being excellent archers. Meanwhile, most of white slaves were taken from Mongols and Turks. Noteworthy, the racial differences played [an] important role in [the] organization of the army, with black slaves serving in infantry,  and whites in cavalry, generally considered as elite troops. Though gradually tension developed between two groups and fierce clashes occurred. Black slave troops played [an] important role in the rise of Fatimid Dynasty. The first Fatimids moved from Ifriqiya (Tunis) and captured Egypt in 969 with the help of black and Berber troops. But once the Fatimid state was firmly established, an internal tension between black slave regiments and those of other races gradually rose.

With the fall of the Fatimids, the black troops paid the price for their loyalty. Among the most faithful supporters of the Fatimid Caliphate, they were also among the last to resist its overthrow by Salah-ad-Adin (known in Europe as Saladin), the new master of Egypt. By the time of the last Fatimid caliph, al-'Adid, the blacks had achieved a position of power. The black eunuchs wielded great influence in the palace and the black slaves formed a major element in the Fatimid army. It was natural that they should resist Saladin’s aggression. In 1169, Saladin learned of a plot by the caliph's chief black eunuch to remove him, allegedly in collusion with the Crusaders in Palestine. Saladin acted swiftly and dismissed or executed most of the black eunuchs of the palace. In August 1169,  Saladin finally defeated the black troops at the battle at Cairo, marking their end as a political factor in Egypt. Following this date, only white slaves were integrated into the military establishment of Ayyubids. This is an important period in the history of Mameluks as during this time, they were formed as a military organization, [a] warrior clan. This is [the] basement for their latter history of almost 600 years. ... "

Alexander Mikaberidze, "The Georgian Mameluks in Egypt."

***

(Feb. 26, 2015) It seems that in 1164 AD, the Fatimids departed Islam altogether. See: "The Nizârî ismâ'îlîtes' Abolishment of the sharî'a during the "Great Resurrection" of 1164 A.D./559 A.H." by Jorunn J. Buckley, Studia Islamica No. 60 (1984), pp. 137-165.

"... In 1164 AD (559 AH) the Nizari Ismailites at the mountain castle Alamut in the Daylaman province of northern Iran proclaimed the "Great Resurrection" (Qiyama). This unprecedented event, brought about by the Nizari leader Hasan II, testifies to a remarkable reinterpretation of traditional Shiite notions of truth and religious duties. Declaring that Reality (Haqiqa) was now accessible to the person of the eternal Imam, the supreme religious head and cosmic principle, the ruling Hasan II claimed his own, direct communication with the Imam. Although the Imam remained hidden to the mortal eye, his very presence meant nothing less than the end of religious law and duties, the sharia. Accordingly, Hasan II declared the sharia void, since adherence to the law under the new circumstances would imply a cover-up of the Haqiqa, ie the present Imam ..." Jorunn J. Buckley, Studia Islamica No. 60 (1984)

(Technically, 47 years later Hasan III reintroduced the sharia)

***

 

Egypt (and Islam) had an exclusively white ruling class from 1169 AD until the time of Napoleon. Mainly Georgians, Circassians and Armenians: literally "Caucasians".

***

Napoleon integrated the Mamelukes into his conquering armies. His personal bodyguard was a Mameluke: Roustam Raza, an Armenian.

***

(January 22, 2015) There were 3 centers of Sabaean power at the end of the Roman empire. East Africa, South Arabia and the Caucasus. The first 2 are well known and easily documented.

The third can be conjectured mainly from things like the text of Armenian and Georgian bibles in the 4th century A.D. 4th century Armenian text, in particular, looks very similar to the Sabaean text used in Ethiopia at that time.

Books like the 13th century AD Ethiopian "Kebra Negast" also mention alliances between the Christian Kings of Ethiopia and Armenia against the Jews (probably Jewish Himyar) and others.

It appears that over the centuries only the Caucasian Sabaeans have remained in a position of real power. This is probably where the tales of  "Aryan" power emanate from.

***

(December 10, 2015) According to Wikipedia the 4th most important Muslim site is in Harar, Ethiopia. Harar was once the capital of the Adal Sultanate (900 to 1599 AD - located in present day Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea) which lost a power struggle in the middle ages to the Christian Abyssinians. This explains why modern day Ethiopia is almost 1/2 muslim:

" ... For centuries, Harar has been a major commercial centre, linked by the trade routes with the rest of Ethiopia, the entire Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and, through its ports, the outside world. Harar Jugol, the old walled city, was included in the World Heritage List in 2006 by UNESCO in recognition of its cultural heritage. It is sometimes known in Arabic as "the City of Saints" ("Madinat al-Awilya"). According to UNESCO, it is "considered 'the fourth holy city' of Islam" with 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century and 102 shrines.

The Fath Madinat Harar records that the cleric Abadir Umar Ar-Rida and several other religious leaders settled in Harar circa 612H (1216 AD). Harar was later made the new capital of the Adal Sultanate in 1520 by the Sultan Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad. The city saw a political decline during the ensuing Emirate of Harar, only regaining some significance in the Khedivate of Egypt period. During Abyssinian rule, the city decayed while maintaining a certain cultural prestige. Today, it is the seat of the Harari ethno-political division. ..." Harar, Wikipedia.

Furthermore: " ... " ...Islam was introduced to the Horn of Africa early on from the Arabian peninsula, shortly after the hijra. In the late 9th century, Al-Yaqubi wrote that Muslims were living along the northern Somali seaboard. He also mentioned that the Adal kingdom had its capital in the city, suggesting that the Adal Sultanate with Zeila as its headquarters dates back to at least the 9th or 10th centuries. According to I.M. Lewis, the polity was governed by local dynasties consisting of Somalized Arabs or Arabized Somalis, who also ruled over the similarly-established Sultanate of Mogadishu in the Benadir region to the south. Adal's history from this founding period forth would be characterized by a succession of battles with neighbouring Abyssinia.

Between 1529 and 1543, the Somali military leader Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi defeated several Ethiopian emperors and embarked on a conquest referred to as the Futuh Al-Habash ("Conquest of Abyssinia"), which brought three-quarters of Christian Abyssinia under the power of the Muslim Sultanate of Adal. With an army mainly composed of Somalis, Al-Ghazi's forces and their Ottoman allies came close to extinguishing the ancient Ethiopian kingdom. However, the Abyssinians managed to secure the assistance of Cristóvão da Gama's Portuguese troops and maintain their domain's autonomy. Both polities in the process exhausted their resources and manpower, which resulted in the contraction of both powers and changed regional dynamics for centuries to come. Many historians trace the origins of hostility between Somalia and Ethiopia to this war. Some scholars also argue that this conflict proved, through their use on both sides, the value of firearms such as the matchlock musket, cannons and the arquebus over traditional weapons. ..." Abyssinian - Adal war, Wikipedia.

There were two other Somali sultanates in the middle ages: the Sultanate of Mogadishu (southern Somalia) 10th to 16th century AD, and the Arujan Sultanate (Somalia) 13th to 17th century AD. They both minted coins and had a titled aristocracy.

The Sultan of Adal (right) and his troops battling King Yagbea-Sion of Ethiopia and his men (AD 1529-1543) from "Le Livre des Merveilles", reproduction in "Le Livre des Merveilles", Marie-Therese Gousset.

***

(December 11, 2015) Sabaean wealth from the production of incense - the "Frankincense and Myrrh" of the 3 Magi that visited the christ child in Bethlehem goes back to at least 18th dynasty days: what the Egyptians call the lands of "Punt." According to Wikipedia:

" ...In the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, Hatshepsut built a Red Sea fleet to facilitate trade between the head of the Gulf of Aqaba and points south as far as Punt to bring mortuary goods to Karnak in exchange for Nubian gold. Hatshepsut personally made the most famous ancient Egyptian expedition that sailed to Punt. During the reign of Queen Hatshepsut in the 15th century BC, ships regularly crossed the Red Sea in order to obtain bitumen, copper, carved amulets, naptha and other goods transported overland and down the Dead Sea to Elat at the head of the gulf of Aqaba where they were joined with frankincense and myrrh coming north both by sea and overland along trade routes through the mountains running north along the east coast of the Red Sea.

A report of that five-ship voyage survives on reliefs in Hatshepsut's mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri. Throughout the temple texts, Hatshepsut "maintains the fiction that her envoy" Chancellor Nehsi, who is mentioned as the head of the expedition, had travelled to Punt "in order to extract tribute from the natives" who admit their allegiance to the Egyptian pharaoh. In reality, Nehsi's expedition was a simple trading mission to a land, Punt, which was by this time a well-established trading post. Moreover, Nehsi's visit to Punt was not inordinately brave since he was "accompanied by at least five shiploads of [Egyptian] marines" and greeted warmly by the chief of Punt and his immediate family. The Puntites "traded not only in their own produce of incense, ebony and short-horned cattle, but [also] in goods from other African states including gold, ivory and animal skins." According to the temple reliefs, the Land of Punt was ruled at that time by King Parahu and Queen Ati. This well illustrated expedition of Hatshepsut occurred in Year 9 of the female pharaoh's reign with the blessing of the god Amun:

Said by Amen, the Lord of the Thrones of the Two Lands: 'Come, come in peace my daughter, the graceful, who art in my heart, King Maatkare [ie. Hatshepsut]...I will give thee Punt, the whole of it...I will lead your soldiers by land and by water, on mysterious shores, which join the harbours of incense...They will take incense as much as they like. They will load their ships to the satisfaction of their hearts with trees of green [ie. fresh] incense, and all the good things of the land.' ..." Punt, Wikipedia

***

It's still unclear to me why incense was the "black gold" of the ancient world. Compare with the "Spice" mined exclusively on the desert planet of Arakis in Frank Herbert's science fiction novel "Dune". According to Wikipedia: " ...

Melange ... often referred to as simply "the spice", is the name of the fictional drug central to the Dune series of science fiction novels by Frank Herbert, and derivative works.

In the series, the most essential and valuable commodity in the universe is melange, a drug that gives the user a longer life span, greater vitality, and heightened awareness; it can also unlock prescience in some humans, depending upon the dosage and the consumer's physiology. This prescience-enhancing property makes safe and accurate interstellar travel possible. Melange comes with a steep price, however: it is addictive, and withdrawal is fatal. ..." Melange, Wikipedia

Photo of 18th dynasty relief of incense and myrrh trees obtained by Hatshepsut's expedition to Punt

Somalis still chew a green leaf called "Chat" all the time. I've never tried it, but they say is gives energy and helps you stay awake.

***

(Feb, 19, 2016) The title of Caliph of Islam was forcibly transferred from the Mameluke Sultan of Egypt to the Ottoman Sultan of Turkey in 1517. The title of Caliph of Islam remained with the Ottoman Sultans until the Turkish legislature dissolved it in 1924. According to Wikipedia:

" ... Due to the First Fitna which led to the sectarian division of Sunni vs. Shia Islam, the succession of Muhammad is disputed within Islam.

The only two caliphs recognized in both Sunni and main stream Shia Islam are Ali ibn Abi Talib and Hasan ibn Ali, considered the fourth and fifth or the first two, respectively. However the oldest sect of Shia Islam, the Zaidiyyah sect, does recognise the caliphate of the first two caliphs of Islam Abu bakr and Umar ibn al Khattab.

The Hadith of the Twelve Successors states that Muhammad [said] that there will only be twelve caliphs, all of them from the Quraysh tribe, and that there would be impostor caliphs to guard against, and that after the last of the twelve caliphs, the earth will be swallowed.

Within Sunni Islam, there were universally recognized or "ecumenical" caliphs from the 7th century until the 13th-century Mongol invasions, a period comprising the so-called Islamic Golden Age. After the death of Al-Musta'sim, last Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad, in 1258, there were no universally recognized caliphs until 1517, when Ottoman sultan Selim I induced Al-Mutawakkil III to formally surrender the title of caliph after defeating the Mamluk Sultanate.

Afterwards, the Ottoman sultans also carried the title of caliph, until the declaration of Abdülmecid II as "ceremonial caliph" (1922–1924). Since 1924, there have again been no caliphs with universal recognition within Sunni Islam. ..." Wikipedia

***

However, it seems that the last Caliph Abdülmecid II nominated the grandson of an Indian Maharajah, the Nizam of Hyderabad, as the next Caliph of Islam.

The last Nizam of Hyderabad, Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII was reputed to be the richest man in the world at the birth of modern India:

" ... During his days as Nizam, he was reputed to be the richest man in the world, having a fortune estimated at US$2 billion in the early 1940s ($33.8 billion today) or 2 per cent of the US economy then. At that time the treasury of the newly independent Union government of India reported annual revenue of US$1 billion only. He was portrayed on the cover of TIME magazine on 22 February 1937, described as the world's richest man. The Nizam is widely believed to have remained as the richest man in South Asia until his death in 1967, though his fortunes fell to US$1 billion by then and became a subject of multiple legal disputes between bitterly fighting rival descendants...." Wikipedia

A photo of the current claimant of the title Nizam as an infant in 1934 in "The Last Nizam: The Rise and Fall of India's Greatest Princely State" by John Zubrzycki (2006) states: " ... Muharram Jah , with his Indian father Prince Azam Jah and Turkish mother Princess Durrushehvar. The marriage of Azam and Durrushehvar in 1931 brought together the two most important dynasties of the time - the Nizams of Hyderabad and the Ottomans of Turkey. Jah was not only the natural heir of this great alliance, but was also nominated to be the next Caliph of Islam." The last Nizam (2006) at 223 .- Prince Azam Jah, the father of the present Nizam was passed over by his father for the throne in favor of his son the current Nizam - Regarding the current Nizam's mother, another photo in the same book states: " ... Durrushevar, the Princess of Berar, was the only daughter of Abdul Mejid, the last Caliph of Islam. Despite her disastrous marriage to Azam Jah, she adapted well to life in Hyderabad. She died in London in 2006." [Wikipedia lists 3 other Princesses and a Prince from the Caliphs first marriage. Princess Durrushevar was the only daughter of the Caliphs 3rd wife]

***

The Mahrajah system was dissolved by the post-colonial government of India, with all titles extingushed and princely property nationalized. However a few exceptions survive. For example, the 7 Emirs of the United Arab Emirates have been able to sustain the system of government that existed during the British Raj. The Raj extended beyond the borders of the present day Indian state:

" .. The British Raj extended over almost all present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, except for small holdings by other European nations such as Goa and Pondicherry. In addition, at various times, it included Aden (from 1858 to 1937), Lower Burma (from 1858 to 1937), Upper Burma (from 1886 to 1937), British Somaliland (briefly from 1884 to 1898), and Singapore (briefly from 1858 to 1867). Burma was separated from India and directly administered by the British Crown from 1937 until its independence in 1948. The Trucial States of the Persian Gulf were theoretically princely states as well as Presidencies and provinces of British India until 1946 and used the rupee as their unit of currency. ..." Wikipedia.

***

(March 14, 2016) There is probably a connection between the last Caliph of Islam before the Mongols took over in 1517, Al-Mutawakkil III, the Sultan of Egypt, and the last King of Yemen, the Zaydi Shi'a Muhammad Al-Badr (1926 – 1996), Imam and Commander of the Faithful and King of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of the Yemen.

According to Wikipedia: " ... In the context of the Shi'a Muslim belief in spiritual leadership or Imamate, Zaydis believe that the leader of the Ummah or Muslim community must be Fatimids: descendants of Muhammad through his only surviving daughter Fatimah, whose sons were Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali. ... " Zaidiyyah, Wikipedia

Also according to Wikipedia: " ...

Al-Mutawakkil III (died 1543) was caliph from 1508 to 1516, and again in 1517. He was the last caliph of the later, Egyptian-based period of the Abbasid dynasty. Since the Mongol sack of Baghdad and the execution of Caliph Al-Musta'sim in 1258, the Abbasid caliphs had resided in Cairo, nominal rulers used to legitimize the actual rule of the Mamluk sultans. [Probably not Abbasid. The Zaydi Shi'a Mutawakkilite are probably the original Sabaean dynasty.]

Al-Mutawakkil III was deposed briefly in 1516 by his predecessor Al-Mustamsik, but was restored to the caliphate the following year. In 1517, Ottoman sultan Selim I had managed to defeat the Mamluk Sultanate, and made Egypt part of the Ottoman Empire. Al-Mutawakkil III was captured together with his family and transported to Constantinople. He formally surrendered the title of caliph as well as its outward emblems—the sword and mantle of Muhammad—to Ottoman sultan Selim I. ..." Al-Mutawakkil III, Wikipedia

***

(March 15, 2016) Regarding the mantle of Muhammad, according to Sacred Relics (Topkapi Palace), Wikipedia: " ...

The Blessed Mantle, also known as the Holy Mantle, according to tradition was given by Muhammad to the poet Kâab bin Züheyr. The poets poem Kasida-i Burda, praising Muhammad, decorates the Room of the Blessed Mantle. The mantle is almost two yards long and made of black wool lined with a cream-colored fabric.

Traditionally the mantle was visited by the sultan, his family, and the court during a traditional ceremony on the fifteenth day of Ramadan each year. During the ceremony the mantle was kissed. This was not done directly, but a piece of muslin was placed over the vestment. This decorated kerchief, called the Noble Kerchief (destimal-i serif), was provided to each person by the Agha of the Muslin (Tülbent Agasi).

The mantle was kept in a golden box, to which only the sultan had the keys. The box was opened while he intoned the besmele. The mantle was actually wrapped in a number of square pieces of cloth called bohças. In it was another small golden box in which forty bohças were wrapped around the mantle itself. The number forty was considered especially auspicious.

The Agha of the Muslin placed the first kerchief on the mantle and the sultan kissed it, followed by the imperial princes, viziers, officials, male attendants, and eunuchs. This was done while Koranic chants filled the chamber.

Then followed the women, who were led by the Queen Mother, followed by the chief consorts, concubines, and daughters of the sultan, as well as the wives of all officials present and female attendants. Princess Imperial Hamide Ayse Sultan, daughter of Sultan Abdul Hamid II [1842-1918], gave a rare eyewitness account in her book “Babam Abdülhamit” (My Father, Abdülhamit), Istanbul, 1960. This passage by Ayse Sultan provides an intimate glimpse of Abdülhamit II and her life as his daughter:

We began to prepare three days before the visit to the Blessed Mantle, on the fifteenth day of Ramazan. We got up early that day, wore our most beautiful long-skirted ceremonial dresses, put on our jewels, and went to Topkapi. My grandmother got into a carriage of the sultanate; the drivers wore the embroidered uniforms of the royal stable, like the drivers of the padishah. Halim Efendi, who was the officer in charge of harem outings, was in front with the guards. The harem agas, wearing embroidered uniforms, followed the carriage of my grandmother, which was in front. Thus we left Yildiz and went to Topkapi. There we were met by old female attendants who came from Dolmabahçe, and we went to the room assigned to each of us in Topkapi. All those outside the palace to whom the invitation had previously gone, the married sultans [the ruler’s daughters were called sultan] and the wives of the ministers also came. We invited the people we knew personally.

In the room called the Room of the Armchair my grandmother sat under a canopy in her royal costume, and all of us went and kissed her hand. All together we waited for the opening of the Pavilion of the Blessed Mantle. Sultan Abülmecit’s wives [he was a deceased sultan], Serfiraz and Sayeste, were there too and sat beside my grandmother. Usually the valide pasa [the mother of the khedive of Egypt] was at the ceremony.

The bas musahip [the head harem eunuch in attendance on the sultan] came to the harem when the Blessed Mantle was opened and, with an Oriental salute, gave the news to my grandmother, the valide sultan. The valide sultan rose, and after her walked the wives of Abdülmecit and then the sultans and the kadin efendis, all in order of precedence, and we all went to the Pavilion of the Blessed Mantle. Everyone wore a piece of white muslin on her head. We sensed odours, because incense was burning everywhere, and from behind a curtain came the Noble Koran read in an extremely beautiful voice by the muezzin. The hearts of all of us filled with deep and humble reverence, with slow steps, our skirts sweeping the ground, we walked in ranks until we came in front of the padishah who stood at the foot of the throne. [This is the only mention of a throne in connection with the visit to the Blessed Mantle.] With an Oriental salute from the ground . . . we took the noble kerchief which was given into our hands, kissed it, put it over our heads, withdrew backwards, and went and again stood in our ranks according to precedence. . . .

The young princes, the sons of the padishah, stood in rank in uniform at the foot of the throne.
After us the valide pasa and the wives of the grand vizier, the other ministers and the seyhülislâm entered. The lady treasurer and the other palace servants also participated in the ceremony. At the end of the ceremony the bas musahip appeared, gave an Oriental salute from the ground, and we left in ranks as we had entered, the valide sultan in front.
Our carriages drew up to the Harem Gate [Carriage Gate] of Topkapi in order of precedence, and we mounted them and returned to Yildiz Palace in the same formation as we had left it. These carriages, which proceeded slowly because of the horses, usually brought us to the palace at the time of the iftar cannon [the cannon that announced the end of the day’s fast during Ramazan].

A button of the mantle was dipped in rose water. Drops of the rose water were poured into pitchers which in turn were given to important people. This water was called the Water of the Blessed Mantle (Hirka-i Saadet Suyu) and was purported to have miraculous qualities. After the ceremony, the sultan had the mantle packed back into its forty bohças, the small golden box, the other bohças and then into the large golden box which itself was placed under the silver latticed canopy until next year. ... " Sacred Relics (Topkapi Palace), Wikipedia

 

 

 




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2015 by Waweru Njenga. All rights reserved.

First posted: 12/10/2014

 

 

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