Section 4

On the beginning of ʿAbd al-Karim Khan's career and certain events which occurred at that time

When Sultan ʿAbd al-Latif tasted martyrdom at the hands of the Kazakhs, ʿAbd al-Karim Khan was assigned to govern Aqsu. ʿAbd al-Karim Khan refused to make the journey, and (13) when they asked him the reason for turning down the position, ʿAbd al-Karim Khan said in reply that ‘I am the […] of my great father, I treasure his life’. Certain seditious ones conveyed to the Khan that ʿAbd al-Karim Khan had some other intention in mind, and this made the Khan suspicious. The Khan requested that ʿAbd al-Karim Khan write out this verse:

It is not appropriate for a patricide to be king,
If he is he won’t last more than six months.

Abd al-Karim Khan wrote it immediately, and he knelt before the Khan crying and wailing and explained the situation. What he said was that:

“His Majesty the Great Emperor speaks well, that even among well-born princes such sorts of low deed have indeed been comitted, just as Shirawayh killed Khusraw Parviz. (The genealogy of Shirawayh is told as follows: Shirawayh was the son of Khusraw son of Hormuz son of Anushirvan son of Qabad son of Firuz son of Yazdajird son of Bahram Gur. And Bahram also traces his lineage back through the generations to Afaridun, and Afaridun to Gayumars, and Gayumars, in the opinion of Iranian genealogists, is Adam.) And this well-born prince comitted a sinful act, and six months afterwards caught the plague and went to hell.

Similarly, among the house of the caliphs there was none more noble than Muntasir. That Muntasir, who was the son of Mutavakkil, son of Mu’tassim, son of Harun al-Rashid, son of Mahdi, son of Mansur, son of Muhammad, son of Ali, son of ʿAbdullah, son of ‘Abbas (May God be pleased with him!), came from a line of several caliphs, and he also killed his father.

And Abd al-Latif Mirza martyred that learned and wise king Mirza Ulugh Beg on the bank of the Sukh River, which is outside Samarkand. He was ʿAbd al-Latif, son of Mirza Ulugh Beg, son of Sultan Shahrukh, son of Amir Sahib-Qiran Timur Kürägän. Neither of these contemptible princes lasted longer than six months. It must be recognised that it is not sufficient to take pride in one’s high birth: virtue and piety are necessary.”

ʿAbd al-Rashid Khan recited a prayer of blessing for his own brave son ʿAbd al-Karim Khan. He rejoiced and enquired about ʿAbd al-Karim Khan’s situation. ʿAbd al-Karim Khan requested the government of Yanghissar. The Khan made Muhammad Mirza of the Bayrin his chief advisor (atalïq) and sent him to Yangihissar. At that time, Sufi Sultan was the governor of Kashgar. (14) Sufi Sultan was the fourth son of ʿAbd al-Rashid Khan. He was a good-looking and domineering prince; those who judged from external appearances regarded him as talented.

ʿAbd al-Karim was pious and virtuous, and close to the dervishes. He had become a disciple to the saintly Muhammad Vali Sufi (May God sanctify his secret!), who was one of the followers of Muhammad Sharif (May God sanctify his spirit!). In Kashgar there was a dervish by the name of Mirza Zirak (the Shrewd – DB), who was ecstatic and irresistable. It is related that ʿAbd al-Karim Khan went to visit the Mirza while he was in the khanqah. The Khan arrived and greeted him. Mirza Zirak said “Come in, I am not the sultan. I thought it would be the little son of the Qoshuqchi, and so it was. The greats of the religion (May God sanctify their spirits!) have elevated you to the position of khan. Someone will come asking for you and you will be know.” After that he gave him permission to leave. ʿAbd al-Karim Khan went to Yangihissar.

The word “Qoshuqchi” had become associated with ʿAbd al-Rashid Khan by accident. The Khan was a poet, and he also used to whittle arrows (?) for his food.[ref]The author is referring to two meanings of qoshuq here. The first is Turkic “poem, song”, giving qoshuqchi “poet, singer”. The other is a bit more obscure, but seems to derive from Mongolian qusuɣči/хусагч “someone/something that shaves, whittles.” Why exactly the khan was so fond of whittling arrows (jäbä-tarāšī) is beyond me.[/ref] On the morning three days after ʿAbd al-Karim Khan had come from his audience with the Mirza, Muhammad Vali Sufi gave him a sign. The Khan immediately summoned the men of Yanghissar and set out towards Yarkand. Muhammad Vali Sufi appeared before the Khan, but the amirs couldn’t see him. Muhammad Barlas had sent someone to Sufi Sultan, who ran into the Khan. The Khan asked him about the situation and found out the truth. The Khan took a favourable divination, and set off with speed. The amirs petitioned that it would be better to first summon more men and then set out. ʿAbd al-Karim Khan said “Behold Muhammad Vali Sufi (God’s mercy be upon him!) is encouraging us.” All the amirs were satisfied, and seeking aid from the triumphant spirit of Ali the Lion [of God], they reached Yarkand.

Khoja Ubaydullah, Mirza Firuz Barlas, Mirza Muhammad Yaʿqub Dughlat, Jan Muhammad Mirza Bayrin, and Mirza Satqin the ishikagha accompanied the Khan and came before Chüchük Khanim. The Khan fell at the feet of the Khanim in tears. The Khanim, the amirs, and the nobles nominated ʿAbd al-Karim Khan as khan according to the old tradition.