Notes on the Historic Context of Saracen Chivalry: Counsels on Valor, Generosity, and the Mystical Quest by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
Notes on the Historic Context of Saracen Chivalry: Counsels on Valor, Generosity, and the Mystical Quest by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan .
I. The Fourth Europe
A. Europe’s Crescent
A veritable crescent, the fourth Europe in true lunar style has followed the stages of fullness, waning and eclipse, always to arise anew in the serenity of its brilliance. Many are rather familiar with our three Europes, each marked by a triad of particular characteristics, beyond enriching intertwining exceptions and variations. Generalizing, we may thus speak of a Germanic-language, Protestant Northern Europe, of Latin Catholic Southern Europe, of Slavic Orthodox Eastern Europe.
Incontestably however, in disparate times and places, yet with striking, ever-re-emergent consistency, the crescent of Europe’s Islam has contributed its particular illumination to the fullness of European experience in civilization, culture and humane values. A crescent at various periods shining from Portuguese Algarve (Andalusia’s extreme west), to Kazan on the northern Wolga, taking in the Mediterranean and the Balkans with Hungary and on to the khanate of the Crimea, long a familiar European state, southern counterpart of the now newly independent Baltic States, and thence south to Caucasia and north up the Wolga to the earlier Muslim Bolghary then become Kazan, Islam’s northernmost reach in Europe.
There being abundant scholarly research literature on each of the regions and periods mentioned, there is no need for further elaboration of data and details here. It may only be said that a complete, integrated study or specialist survey of this entire ‘Fourth-Europe’ phenomenon, admittedly a massive, almost inexhaustible theme, as yet is painfully lacking even in outline.
B. Residual Populations and Values
Within the framework of this overview, only two questions need to be briefly entered into: who were those European Muslims and what might as yet remain of them? And, how do they relate to the shared tradition of knighthood and chivalric values? Yet here again, the indications given here cannot but remain agonizingly inadequate—rather than a meal, it is hoped they will at least serve as appetizers!
II. Islam’s Ethnic Europeization
A. Habitual Perceptions
With omission of all more limited or occasional incursions and occupations, as recalled above, Islam entered Europe most decisively through the later Spain (and Sicily), the Byzantine Balkans and Bolghary on the Wolga, later overtaken by the Golden Horde and its successor khanates of Kazan, Astrakan (“Hajji Tarkhan”) and the Ghiray Crimea. Earlier authors used to refer to “the Arabs” or, with inclusion of the Berbers, of “the Moors” of Spain (“Moor” in popular parlance referring to a “Westerner” much as in more literary usage, “Saracen” has been glossed as “Easterner”). That was correct enough in 711, when their forces disembarked in Spain and rapidly took possession of most of the Iberian peninsula, encouraged and supported by Count Julian, the Byzantine exarch of Ceuta (whose descendants later flourished in Andalusia as the “Banu ‘Ulyan”). However, it had become irrelevant (apart from the Berber element implied in “Moors”) practically since the collapse of the Cordoba caliphate and its replacement by a swarm of reyes de taifa (“party kings”) in the 11th century. And despite persistent use in history textbooks, the “Arabs” or the “Moors of Spain” had become totally inapplicable by the time that the last practical expression of Spanish Islam, a secret but very real mosque, was uncovered by the Inquisition in 1769!
Osmanli Turks entered Europe into Byzantine territory from the early 14th century onwards. When the Turkish Republic was proclaimed and its capital shifted from imperial Constantinople to the Anatolian heartland in the early 1920’s, it elicited the observation that at last the Turks, too, now had liberated themselves—i.e., from the Ottoman Rumelians (the “Balkan Turks”)!
Turanism or Panturkism, with heady Romanticism propagated in the later 19th and early 20th century in reaction to Panslavism by the Crimean Ismai’il bey Gasprinsky and the French-educated brilliant Wolga Tatar, Yusuf Akchourine, failed inevitably; but one socio-cultural reason was as well that the Turkestani Central Asians, knowing themselves really to be the genuine Turkic article, looked upon those European modernists from west of the Urals, despite all shared religious and linguistic affinity, as slightly suspicious outsiders if not aliens. In other words, in each of those three instances, a shift of identity and attunement.
With remarkable rapidity, populations in the Hispanic regions conquered by the Arabs and Berbers adopted Islam, as was happening in the Persian Empire as well. There was no question, in either case, of forced conversion, as has been confirmed by more recent scholarship. The Qur’an lays down explicitly there can be no compulsion in religion. Islam appeared to many Iberians as a freer, more personal, less oppressive, newer religious dispensation than the Catholic and Arian churches. And very soon, a higher level of civilization, culture, social order and human sophistication than anywhere else in the Europe of those ages added to the attractions of the new faith.
Modern Spanish scholarship has established that the vast majority of Andalusians were born and bred Spaniards, their language in time becoming the lingua franca alongside official and literary Arabic. It is they who became the actual “Andalusiyun,” originally (i.e., as long as there still remained a contrasting Arab element, which they would in time absorb) known as muwallads, i.e. “Arabs” or “Muslims by birth” rather than by the all-important tribal descent and so of outside or mixed origins. Many Spanish converts, for purposes of social distinction or artistic/scholarly credibility, through clientage or fiction, sought to adopt an Arabic appearance.
In early Umayyad times the Arabs regarded the Muslim Revelation as a particular privilege for themselves, despite the more universalizing sympathies of the Qur’an itself. And being a ruling elite in a steadily expanding empire, they were not in the least inclined to spread wealth and power thinner by the diluting presence of convert outsiders. When personal contacts, civil or military interests, or real religious enthusiasms impelled any of them to admit outsiders to Islam, their first act was to adopt them in their own tribe, thus sharing their ideology with them (after three generations of wala’, clientship and, presumably, intermarriage, such protected persons would have become full-fledged members of the tribe).
Large numbers of Persian Muslims had maintained their Iranian identity, as a matter of course, even when becoming great Arabic scholars or powerful bureaucrats. By categorizing convert Spaniards as some sort of Arabs, if not by descent then at least by birth (muwallad), and opening clientage to them (mawali), Spanish native speakers cannot but increasingly have Hispanized the Arab presence and the Muslim community of Spain as a whole. But from the very first, there was an even more potent fashion at work: intermarriage. Cultivation of good-neighborly relations and the stimulus of attraction to another ethnic type induced mixed Arab-Spanish marriage in every generation anew. Bilingualism soon became the norm. The general position has been well summed up by the remark that “the more Arabic names a man bore, the less Arab blood flowed in his veins”!1
The particular identity of Andalusia as a Muslim land with a character and culture entirely its own was celebrated famously by ash-Shakundi and Ibn Garcia. Such arabized Spanish patronymics or surnames can still be documented for many Hispano-Islamic families. For example: Ibn Mardanish, Ibn Bashkuwal (Martinus, Pascual), Banu’l Longo, Banu Karloman, B. Savarico, B. Kabturno, B. Angelino, etc.2
All in all, to assert that the Andalusians really were Arabs and Moors rather than, in massive majority, Spanish Muslims (amongst whom there were those who could claim a faraway Arabic descent), is like pretending that all Americans really are Britons!
C. The Moriscos
For ages, under first Muslim then Christian rulers, Spain had been the only European country (outside Poland, the Golden Horde khanates, and Arab, then Norman, Sicily up to 1189) where religious pluralism came natural to all. Alfonso VI of Leon-Castile, occupying Muslim Toledo in 1085, styled himself: “imperador de dos cultos,” “commander of the two faiths,” amplifying the Muslim sovereign sobriquet of “commander of the faithful.”
It has sometimes been suggested that religious intolerance and persecution began simultaneously, portent of a new age and mood, on the Christian side as well as in the North African Berber empires that took over rule of Andalusia from mid-1086 to 1212. And more recently, the fashion has become to blame the Maghrib Berbers and overlook the Christian share in that fatal course altogether. The historical reality is virtually the reverse. Doctrinal and applied intolerance did not start with either Muslim Andalusians or Christian Castilians and Aragonese (some isolated madmen excepted). It did commence by outside forces, but not with the late-11th century Berbers, regarded by civilized Andalusians as uncouth aliens but necessary to save them from the menaces by then looming large from north of the Pyrenees.
Rather, the initiative of reversing Spanish acceptance of religious diversity was taken by the increasingly absolutist papacy, taking their cue from Charlemagne’s mercilessly violent Christianization of Germany’s Saxons in the 8th century,3 for example, Alexander II and Urban II (2nd half, 11th cent.) and Innocent III (early 13th cent.). Already from the late tenth century and henceforth ever-increasingly, fanatical Cluniac and Cistercian monks emerging from France, and indoctrinated ecclesiastics of all hierarchical levels, raved against Iberian religious equanimity in ever-fiercer campaigns against Jews and Muslims. The “papal crusade” against Muslim Barbastro of 1064 constituted the first large-scale pernicious expression of that ideology of religious ferocity. Upon the flourishing town’s capitulation and in violation of all assurances, 6000 men were butchered and many more women enslaved at the insistence of the Christian force’s commanders from beyond the Pyrenees, an unmatched curse in the hitherto comparatively chivalric tradition of Iberian inter-state warfare, in which land and resources, not religion, were at issue. The ever-increasing demonstrations of implacable Christian prejudice and greed evoked a corresponding sense of fury and revenge in Andalusians and rescuing Maghrib Berbers alike. The final defeat of the Berbers in 1212, in the words of the most recent authority, “was the first war fought by Christians and Muslims as Christians and Muslims—a war between civilizations. [It] changed Spanish history”.4 Much for the worse, one might justifiably add.
Matters changed for the worse even further in the mid fifteenth-century when the Inquisition, fresh from murdering southern France’s Albigensians and Cathars, imported anti-Judaism from the Rhineland into Spain, encouraged Portugal to drive out its Muslims and, after the fall of Granada in 1492, with primitive chicanery and cruelty, began the forced conversions of Muslims, (to them still “Moors” to dissimulate their Spanish roots), into Moriscos. The fate of the Moriscos is one of the epic dramas of Islamic history, for it highlights a tenacious courage and conviction, not vis-à-vis one, or some successive, sudden waves of horrible cruelty, like with the Mongols, the Timurlenk campaigns or the Crusaders; but instead a generations-long inner resistance against unbearable outer threats, pressures, condemnations, kept up by in majority quite simple, ordinary believers. The Moriscos had Christian baptismal names forced upon them; but in fact they were never more Spanish than in their deep, implacably determined, dramatically committed religious sense and moral convictions—Moriscos they had had to become, crypto-Muslims they would forever stay, come what may. In 1609-1615 they were expelled; those evading exile, continued as crypto-Muslims even after 1769. Arabs may be deep and easy-going, Berbers religious yet agile, but nothing is more Spanish than the sense of spiritual persistence, courage in despair, and unbending loyalty displayed by the Andalusians, become first Muslims, then Moriscos. In the Maghrib states of North Africa, where many refugees and expellees had settled, they were for some time still Spanish-speaking and writing in Aljamiado, their Spanish in Arabic script. For long they remained a useful and well-regarded minority. The recent rise of Arab political and ideological nationalism appears to threaten Andalus and Morisqui descendants’ identity once again. Further studies of their historical and current sociological position are by now of obvious urgency.
By way of parting shot: During the 19th century a culturally and humanly remorseful current impelled France to encourage and facilitate Huguenots to return to their land of origin. And similarly, Spain reopened its frontiers to the Sephardic Jews who in bygone ages had suffered as horribly shameful persecution and humiliation as the Muslims. Apparently, sheer proof of Hispanic descent secures settlement and nationality to Sephardians, including, of course, freedom of synagogue worship. Similar accommodations were not been extended to the Andalusian and Morisqui descendants. That seems absurd at this time when Spain and Portugal, like all Western countries, swarms with Moroccan and other Maghribin, Arab and Berber migrants and settlers. The Iberian powers might well have been more conscientious in their admission policy, by giving those of Andalusian origins priority. It is true, however, that any such steps presuppose a conscious cultural policy in that regard. Rather more commitment to their original country beyond narrow self-interest might well be expected of such migrants,returning after long ages to their largely unforgotten roots.
D. Balkan Muslims
The Rumelian, in the extended sense of the Balkan Muslim, case is as straightforward as the Andalusian one is complex. During the early 1920s, the new Turkish Republic, in a mood of extreme nationalism, partly forced, partly induced those of Turkish origin to migrate to the novel mother country. Rumanian Tatars followed suit, repopulating Eastern Thrace; many members of non-Turkish Muslim minorities, under threat and prejudice in the newly independent Balkan nations, had left already and continued to emigrate to Turkey as well, though these at first had been neglected and left suffering from homesickness and physical discomforts. Ruthless Turkish nationalism forced those valuable Balkan, as also Caucasian, minorities into total Turkic assimilation. The sophisticated Austrians, having lost their vast Habsburg empire, still continued carefully to cultivate the friendliest relations with the new nations arisen out of its ruin as well as with their own minorities in them, whilst accommodating citizens of any of their ethnic groups into Austria itself in full freedom to develop their own linguistic and cultural interests on its soil. This process even continued throughout the communist period. Today, both public relations and private tastes have created an expansion of Austrian interests welcomed on all sides, an opening that vehement Turkish nationalism, turned inwards onto its Anatolian home base, missed out on completely!
When not forced out by interstate contract, many members of Muslim minorities nevertheless still hung on in the countries that had always been or long become their own. But Greek-speaking Cretan Muslims were forced out altogether, and long if precariously attempted not entirely to lose their hold on Europe’s oldest language of culture in southern Anatolia. In Ottoman times, the Sultan’s decrees for their benefit had been rendered into Greek—a far cry from the Republic’s improvident linguistic repressiveness.
In Bulgaria, the composite Turkish minority was reduced from one-third to one-tenth of its population. However, there had long been a Bulgar-language Muslim community, the Pomaks. Their identity repressed in communist,fiercely atheist Bulgaria , as still in present-day Greece and Turkey, they may find some relief in present-day Euro-Union-Bulgaria.
The principal Muslim Balkan nations, for some five centuries at least, have been Albania and Bosnia. Their areas contracted by voracious Greek and Slav expansion, they figure today as very minor European neighbors. Yet, for ages they were rulers of empire. Islam spread amongst Balkan peoples sometimes quite independent of Ottoman occupation. Such was the case in Montenegro, where its prince-bishop ordered the slaughter of its expanding Muslim community, then turned the atrocity into an epic poem that became something of a national anthem. In its heyday, however, the Ottoman Porte sought to prevent rather than encourage further Islamization on economic grounds: it needed peasants for agriculture and livestock, town traders and artisans for taxes and deliveries, whilst Islamization opened up the way to an army career, then and long after everywhere deemed the most honorable of human exertions: taking chances to survive as an honored hero, however local.
Converts to Islam like the Andalusians, the Albanians and the Bosnians, too, were among its most enthusiastic, profound and tenacious adherents. In their Balkan regions, the Byzantine form of feudalism was preserved whereas in other Balkan areas Slav tribal traditions predominated. Many of the Albanian and Bosnian feudal class welcomed Islam from the first, then turned into Ottoman beys, an almost exact counterpart of the Russian empire’s German-speaking Baltic Barons. In both cases, those bilingual minorities came to play dominant roles. In addition, many spahis, cavalry men, who settled on land throughout the Ottoman Balkans, could participate in the feudal order as well as Christians. Notably, both vis-à-vis the Ottoman authorities and their own populations, the beys maintained a strong, corporate identity of their own; indeed, they have come to be referred to in Bosnia as the begovi nacije, the nation of the beys, reputed as both the most chivalric and the most mystical of all Balkan societies: shared chivalric values later (1878-1918) turned the begovi nacije into one of the Habsburg empire’s “historic peoples” or (19th century parlance) “master races.”
How strongly other Ottoman populations felt their empire was being dominated by those faraway European interest groups, has been characteristically expressed by a 17th century Ottoman poet, Uweys Veysi, writing plaintively:
Ajabtir izz u dewlette jami’an Arnawut u Boshnaq
Ceker devrinde zilletler Shaha, al-e Rasul Allah
Strange that in honor and fortune, it’s altogether the Albanians and the Bosnians
O God, in the shadows today are enveloped the family of the Prophet of God
(i.e., the Turkish Ottomans, Iranians and Arabs5).
Had there not been those European Muslims already, Veysi and his likes might have invented them! The stream of outside Europeans Ottomanizing and Islamizing themselves throughout the ages, still found a mid-20th century representative in the famous scholar Baron Umar von Ehrenfels, of whom his Austrian compatriots said: “Der Ehrenfels ist Tuerke geworden.” Even then, “Turk” and “Muslim” still remained synonymous, as it had been for ages everywhere!
Looked at from whatever direction, the Muslims now named Tatars have inhabited lands west of the Urals from well before the 13th century Mongol invasion that left them their name, until then having been known as the Wolga Bulghars, whose recorded settlement there goes back to before 900 AD. Today, their name applies to Muslims outside the Caucasus or Central Asia, who settled in Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, with a few allowed to resettle in today’s Ukrainian Crimea after their gruesome wartime exile to Central Asia.
Given their long history, it is no surprise that in time, through settlement and intermarriage with Finnic, Slav and other peoples (in the Crimea, a last East Gothic language group long survived), those Tatars developed into an ethnic type of their own, differing from all other Turkic people of Turanian (or Iranian) type. Here again, we find independent development of a Muslim people, in an entirely (Slav-) European framework. Although with no residual independent state of their own like the Bosnians and Albanians, they are vastly better off than today’s Andalous and Morisqui in North Africa, in that they do have their own autonomous states or regions within the Russian Federation. Among these, Tatarstan, the state around Kazan, and the neighboring Bashkiristan (capital Ufa) have become spectacular. The impression one gains is that the Moscow authorities are willing to let the reality of autonomy be accompanied by an illusion of independence. At least, Tatarstan, with famous Kazan, figures prominently, projecting an Euro-Tatar identity with discreet emphasis, whenever opportunity offers. The Bashkirs are understood to be a Turkicised Finnic people. However, from an historical point of view maybe the most striking group is the small one of “Lithuanian Tatars” in that country and Belorus, with its most minute but most significant group in Poland. It may be said that this land of Pope John Paul, for ages the Republic of the Nobles, has been the one intensely Roman Catholic country in Europe largely to have been tolerant of other denominations and religions. Lutherans and Orthodox had their churches; large numbers of Jews only began suffering pogroms there in the 19th century after the Russian (and Ukrainian) occupation.
F. Tatar Knighthood and Nobility
From the 14th century onwards, groups of Tatars, famed horsemen, came to support the Lithuanian-Polish armies with their expert skills. They were given lands for settlement, and not only built mosques in complete freedom of worship, but were authorized to marry Christian or other local wives and bring up their children as Muslims. Over time, of course, that promoted their identification with the surrounding population. Equally significantly, this could lead to the adoption of wives’ or mothers’ surnames, or formation of patronymics on the Polish model (e.g., Bohdanowicz, Buttlar, Chalecki, Ahmatowicz, etc.). The mounted Tatar migrants constituted groups of armigerous knights with their own standards and values that were recognized by the Poles as such; as matchless cavalry the Tatar rycerz (“Ritter”) moved to the forefront.
It is true that first only a number of them, “the king’s Tatars,” were admitted to the Polish nobility, until in the 19th century the ruling Czarist Russians admitted all of them to their nobility, so that being a Polish, Lithuanian, Belorussian or Ukrainian Tatar of itself involved both knighthood and nobility. Even a cursory look at their heraldic and genealogical handbooks impresses by their formal and substantive quality.
Leisured but still martial Tatar gentry lived side by side with their Polish counterparts, a cultural togetherness reflected in Polish literature and historical writing. A leading voice of that Tatar group today is the Jengizkhanid Selim Chazbijewicz, a Polonist and celebrated poet.
Throughout time, conversely, Poles have joined Islam either locally or in support of the Ottoman Empire, producing some outstanding commanders. To this day, the Polish village Polonezköy remains a reminder of their (19th century) settlement. One prominent example of a Polish Muslim today is the wholly remarkable Warsaw historian, Stanislav Zagorski. The Sufi diplomat, scholar and poet, Marek Morón, is of notable prominence as well.
Europeans speaking their Indo-Germanic tongues have long shown a sympathetic interest in the linguistically enigmatic Basque and the Maltese Arabic-language peoples, as in the Uralic Hungarian, Finns, and Estonians in their midst. That same sense of natural geographic and cultural participation by now may well be extended to the Tatars, today a specifically European people speaking a Balto-Slav language or (along the Wolga) a Northwest-Turkic one of their own.
III. Saracen Chivalry
A. Focal Fields
Against the backdrop of Queen Belacane’s utterly charming, visionary evocation of the soul and sights of chivalric idealism—where did it all start historically, chivalry as we know it today? Through what processes did the cavalier become a chevalier; the rider, a ridder, then a Ritter; the horseman, a knight; the faris, sawar (asbwar), spahi following similar semantic shades? That association with the horse points the way.
Today we may accept that Andalusia and Syria have been the fertile soil of chivalry’s efflorescence; its widespread expansion and preservation throughout the ages in Europe generally owes much to the late’Carolingian mould in which it continued to be cultivated and enhanced.
B. Raw Materials
The use of potentially overwhelming quantities of horsemen in battle rude Merovingian and Carolinian Franks cannot but have learnt from Atilla the Hun and his fellows’ example, but their behavior does not display any knightly standards.
The long Arab tradition of breeding the world’s noblest horses, inimitable beasts of beauty, can more readily be connected with concern for the steed alongside its rider, and their joint social standing. The old desert Bedouin ghazwa, the razzia (from which the ghazis, one later category of knightly Muslims, took their name) was aimed at maximum booty with minimal bloodshed by avoidance of vendettas—though not invariably avoidable when unruly tempers ran high. The Bedouin, however hard their life and confined their mentality, feeling superior to sedentarized folk, nonetheless and inevitably observed certain patterns of attitude and behavior. Desert codes were stark, but effective. Thus, for example, an innocuously roaming member of an enemy tribe, still must be fed and sheltered. And whatever their life’s pressures and limitations, the Bedouin, and all Arabs, with fullest justification were proud of their magnificent language and its cultivation. Even fondness of their endless genealogies involved literary skills. Above all, however, there was their universally celebrated poetry, transmitted orally and recited from fabulous memories retaining thousands of lines. Poems forever of war heroism and love, of the pining lover in search or memory of his ladylove, an ideal out of reach, but also including sensitive perceptions of nature and fulfillments of human yearning. That was the omniprevalent, and in its kind, matchless Arabic art. And that Arabic talent and taste for poetic excellence they carried with them throughout their expanding empire, it then reaching beyond imperial and linguistic boundaries to be shared and enjoyed by Muslims everywhere in their own tongues. The Umayyads during their caliphal century at Damascus, then their subsequent scions at Cordova, provided rich courtly centers for this Arab art maîtresse, as for all other arts and sciences. Courtly cultures then perpetuated and renewed by the Abbasids’ five-century rule at Baghdad, as by countless lesser centers often outstanding in their own way, like the Fatimids radiating from Egypt and some of Andalusia’s ‘party kings.’
Here we have, then, the joy and satisfaction of the horse and horsemanship; the keen awareness of being part of a certain cultural group of shared social levels; poetry giving immortality to the martial hero and exaltation of spirit to the yearning lover, its composition, retention, and recitation opening the way to fame with the particular kind of recognition rendered to the indispensable. Such currents prospered further in Syria then in Andalusia. Spain, however, made a decisive contribution of its own: an advanced level of music to support the verse ,for which it had become known in Roman times already, a tradition continued for centuries. To this day, the truly classical Arab music continues to be Andalusian.
In addition to the technicalities of scholarly research, the general historical course of culture already points the way along which the ideals and values of chivalry travelled and were bred to fruition.
C. Multiple Impulses
It would be convenient but doubtless too generalizing to say that the Andalusian poetic and musical culture of chivalry through intermediacy of Mozarabs (musta‘rib, “would-be Arabs,” the Arabized Christians of Andalous) shaped the troubadours, trouvères, and Minnesänger beyond the Pyrenees, whereas Syrian models and practice, the notions of honor in battle and morality in war, determined the formation of knightly Orders in the Crusader settlements in Palestine. For one thing, musical science and execution developed in the Middle East in the first place. For another, the three great Christian Spanish military orders, the Santiago, the Alcántara, the Calatrava, would have found their acknowledged Muslim models close at hand.7 The reality remains that the ideal of chivalry, for all its religious associations, produced the first supra-religious, temporal, or secular ideology and culture throughout the West, preceding the Renaissance, the 18th century’s “crise de la conscience” europeene” ,and Enlightenment and the Romanticism in the 19th – 20th century that so eagerly looked back to it. Indeed, for as long as it remained genuine, the notion of being an “officer and gentleman” perpetuated that perennially idealized knightly standard. At all times, of course, the abstract idealism of chivalry has had to make up for the gruesome realities of war and many such primitive enmities.
Still, doubtless above all in individual cases, an element of human consideration was introduced beyond battlefield barbarism with its cowardly plunder and cruelties. In the painful, forever halting process of credible humanization, with its themes of selfless honor, unselfish self-respect, and regard for an adversary, with its sense of unconditional devotion and commitment, and with its taste for the beauty and colorful style of temporal life, the Christian-Muslim world in the knights of chivalry found its first very own Rajputs. Corresponding cultures emerged with the begovi nacije and the “Lithuanian” Tatar minorities further north.
The multilingual Causasians, geographically European Muslims as well, used to have very strong patriarchal, clan, and feudal institutions. Indeed, those are said to have amounted to the only caste-like system outside India, including a graded nobility structure. Although such conditions imply strict observances, it is not clear whether among them a genuine chivalric culture emerged as well. However, one instance of fully chivalrous feudal loyalty is found in a report that the last military unit in or about 1917 still upholding the lost cause of the Czar was that of the Azarbaijani khan or Karabagh—the motive of honor before all else!
D. Personalizing Public Life
Among the Arabs and Arabized Andalusians, we have noted the practice of wala’, clientship. That was not merely an archaic means of Islamization to accommodate aspiring outsiders. Association of promising or useful individuals with one’s own person, function, or interest in public capacities could make real sense. Thus, for example, Tariq b. Ziyad, commander of the force of 7000 Berbers and 300 Arab horsemen that invaded and occupied much of Spain in 711, was a Berber client of Musa b. Nusair, Arab governor of Ifriqiya at Tunis.8
Personalization of public service thus was a useful tool, with individual human loyalties and obligations expressed in the conduct of official functions and affairs. Still, such loyalties and public interest opportunities were in service of a person, at most to a shared interest group. That is well illustrated by the disintegration of the Cordova caliphate in the mid-eleventh century into a multitude of shifting holdings of reyes de taifas, (muluk at-tawa’if), “party kings.” The supporters and adherents of those petty kings were not necessarily his clients, but we see here an extension of the principle of personalized public action to what can only be termed national interest groups such as a variety of competing Berber, Andalusian (Spanish Muslim), and Saqaliba (“Slave,” outside European) groups. (As has been subtly pointed out, among them, there was no Arabian taifa!).9 Ultimately, as with wala’, there was a mutual dependence of the malik and the taifa, the group of followers, like with the Italian condottiere and lo suo stato, not the state or estate, but the crowd of his adherents. In either case there was no real, permanent, territorial base except that occupied for the time it could be held against more powerful, or lucky, rivals.
And thus, in time, muluk and condottieri would have to give way or adapt to the territorial system developed in the north. The time for roving bands passed as beyond the Pyrenees and Alps comparable modes of personalization were evolved, but precisely on the foundation of a territorial base.10
E. The Moral Trust of Personal Vassalage
That remarkable system, despite assorted catches and failings, became first an effective tool of government, then for many more ages a hitherto unmatched instrument of culture and civilization, and notably, above all it became a receptacle for knighthood and chivalric values. Today we can conclude more clearly than ever that this has been Europe’s greatest contribution to a balanced and creditable public life—well beyond democracy so fast corrupted by its insatiable priority of re-election, or the socialism of envy. It was the feudal system that introduced, as a moral trust, like wala’ clientship and its taifa outgrowth south of the Pyrenees, the personalization of public order through vassalage. And unlike wala’, which after all had its conceptual roots in the desert sands of Arabia, the very point of vassalage was the land, the area entrusted to the vassal. The strength of the feudal system, beyond its political uses and abuses, was an unintended sequel: hereditary transmission. This, through enduring continuity throughout generations and ages, created Europe’s civilization and culture. Here again that apparently universal three-generation rule created the gentleman as one of an established lineage and its presupposed standards. A landed nobleman, a leisured gentleman, or an urban rentier patrician, embodied an aristocracy that in time focused anew on their monarchs’ courts. So profitable did feudalism appear that even allodial landowners tried to participate in it—the barons, the ‘free lords’ (“Freiherren”). Feudal society (and other social layers influenced by its example) adopted much of its values from chivalry, yet significant distinctions remained. Inheritance of feudal charges at first through renewed conferment then became mere confirmation, then a purely automatic routine. Knighthood, however, had to be granted singly to each aspiring candidate anew—and the test of chivalric values, of personal merit and integrity, was applied in every case. Then the noble class of feudalism tended increasingly to evolve into a table of ranks, although maybe not articulated very consistently, and more real to outsiders than to its members: untitled nobles or gentlemen, or those who held a title from times immemorial, were only too happy to avoid royal letters patent, or even diplomas of recognition; and nobilities created by monarchical favor, even when carrying higher titles, were less regarded than those produced by history. Even royalty itself was aware that new creations had to be dealt with gently: Louis XV in 18th century France decreed, for example, that officers of twenty years’ or more military service, if still commoners, were to acquire nobility automatically by that service record alone, in order as discreetly as possible to compensate for “une défaillance de naissance”!
By contrast, all knights at all times were regarded as equal, in principle at least. To begin with, every knight could give the accolade of knighthood to his squire or other qualified candidates. As a full-amour cavalry, their units of course needed Banierherren, bannerets, baronets, commanders, and with the formation of the Orders of Chivalry, grandmaster and chapters acquired some variable seniority. But these were functions; and only British baronetcy survived as a distinct rank of its own. On the Continent, knighthoods could become hereditary if part of the feudal system. At an early stage already, admission to such knighthoods became confined to those of noble birth, which at the time meant those with a modicum of civilized education, and entry still remained fairly fluid—class was a category, not yet a caste.
Knighthood in that feudal mould produced the great Orders still continuing today, with membership a noble prerogative, i.e., the Hospitallers or the St. John’s, the Teutonic Order and the Order of Malta, this latter still recognized as sovereign (despite the island’s loss to its knights), with embassies in several countries,issuing its own passports, and like the other two dating back to the Crusades, all now devoted to charitable and humanitarian activities. Another category is the German Reichsritter, imperial knights now generally advanced to higher titles, as was the knighthood sometimes included with Austrian or German ennoblement. Again in this aristocracizing sense, France had and Belgian has its noble chevaliers and écuyers ([e]squires), whilst Russian untitled nobles were officially authorized when traveling abroad to have their passports made out to Ritter von -or chevalier de-.
In the course of time, virtually every European country set up its own Orders of Knighthood. Those are open to all citizens of merit. The far fewer of them granting ennoblement, either personal or hereditary, do not function any longer, in the absence or relegation of their sovereigns. However, those Orders of merit show two distinct features uncharacteristic of early chivalry. First, their membership is subdivided in various classes: all too often the quality given is beyond “knight,” “knight-officer,” or “knight-commander” in any Order. And also, the status of the various Orders in any country may be rather different: bureaucratic ratings of merit are unlikely to have much in common with chivalry’s initial moral concerns and standards of attitude and style. Today even the gentleman’s code and standards have come under threat and stress by the breaching of the borders between liberty and libertarianism, between democracy as a form of representative government and as an abrasive ideology in the social and cultural sphere, well beyond its due scope; and by the humanitarian tenet of equality, beyond the religious and juridical spheres, all too often degenerating into mere vulgarity. If we are to review the chances of a modern society surviving at a certain level of responsible civilization, beyond ideological partisanship; of a balanced moral awareness and socio-cultural evenhandedness, i.e., of a personal sense of style, of the appropriate, and of good taste—it may be meaningful to consider anew the first principles of knighthood and chivalry. If in other fields and directions, nevertheless, life forever represents a continual battle, we all need an ethical armor, with the clarity of selfless vision. And a treasury of values shared for long by the ancestry of today’s Firangis and Saracens, Iberians and Andalusiyun, Poles and Tatars, Habsburg scions and Begovi, in short by Europe’s Trinity and Crescent, could enhance anew the mutual comprehension and esteem that are the basis for all sense of meaningful togetherness “in a commonwealth of courtesy and conscience” as is so strikingly expressed in the Introduction to Queen Belacane’s counsels.
IV. Queen Belacane’s Counsels
A. Introducing the Book
It is a privilege and surprise to encounter in the chapters of this book, even today already, a classic of future Western, and equally of Islamic and Indian literature. For this evocative record of Queen Belacane’s loving wisdom, in its very timelessness is bound to find its place in the kingdom of abiding letters (not to insult our dear Queen’s fascinating Counsels with the mere but proverbial “republic of letters”—unworthy of the aristocratic tone and content of her lines!).
There really is no need seeking to explain analytically what, to any perceptive reader, is the attraction of this brilliant booklet. As will be clear from the outset, it combines the width and depth of spiritual vision sustained throughout, with rare poetic sensitivity along with subtly penetrating intelligence and an all-embracing conceptual grasp.
Its magic, one might well say, lies in its fusion of revelation and recognition, of the fresh light of genuine insight, with the cultural and moral values at the heart of each of those three civilizations. Which however, in the rapid pace of our modern times, are all too often discarded by the individual conscience artlessly melting into the collective ideologies of our overpopulated societies.
Present in every human being, at whatever level of sophistication, are both the democratic or social egalitarian impulse and the aristocratic sense of singular but selfless distinction. Excellence in either pre-supposes objectivity, self-discipline, a clear ethical standard without loss of personal warmth and empathy—a true challenge to everyone, but that is what civilization is about: noblesse in its dual moral and cultural sense.
It is that challenge that has been taken up by the realities of knighthood and the ideals of chivalry, giving Western Europe its first credible and coherent civilization (outside the privileged confinement of churchly, all too often bigoted, hierarchies).
Byzantium, Damascus, Cordova had been such civilization’s centers of radiance, then finding creative receptacles in the West. And today, it is worth remembering that Europe’s very name derives from the mythological origins of its oldest culture, composed already of a fusion of the most ancient Greek and Near Eastern elements, i.e. of Crete, and that Byzantium for a thousand years was European civilization, becoming an East-European one after the Ottoman takeover for another half millennium, that itself to a significant extent run by officials whose ancestry had been present in Byzantine times already.
For all its frequent setbacks and utterly scandalous exceptions, there never, hitherto at least, has been an entire return to the pre-chivalric era. Present-day humanitarianism, however circumscribed itself, ultimately is an outcome of secularized Christian charity, but as much (at least particularly at its more cultivated level), of knightly attitude and chivalric consciousness persisting throughout the ages in a variety of forms and formulations. A caring reflection on the perennial human values given shape in chivalry needs to be at the order of the day anew, when a chaos of strident ideological slogans all too often takes the place of real consideration of human standards. This inspiring book will prove of absorbing interest to all readers valuing an appeal to head and heart, to intellect and intuition, jointly. Admittedly, it will inspire even more joyously those able simultaneously to enter into the forever-inherent noble potential of their being.
B. Introducing the Author
Ancestral heritage and biographical linkages:
Among our younger writers of today, few could be better qualified, or, indeed, entitled to give voice to the Counsels of Queen Belacane than the author of this splendid book. Pir Zia Inayat-Khan is qualified, that is, both in a personal sense and in an ancestral one, and connecting him to his origins is both entirely functional and illuminating.
Let us start with the most ancient element of the author’s name. Khan in his case by no means is the suffix qualification that Afghan Pakhtuns, upon crossing into India, and so no longer fearing their head to be chopped off for their impudence, usurped from their tribal chiefs or village chieftains. As Indian Pathans, they aimed thereby to turn themselves into a Muslim military caste in counterpart to the prestigious second Hindu caste of the warriors, the Kshatryas or Khattris. Nor was our author’s khanlical capacity one of Indian derivation or creation, like that of the family’s matrilineal branch. Since many more details will be found in the biographical chapters of the composite volume A Pearl in Wine edited by the then Pirzade Zia Inayat-Khan (Omega 2001),11 here a few outlines may suffice.
An agreeable coincidence happens to be that Pir Zia’s own oldest known paternal ancestors themselves were mounted nomads roaming the endless steppes of Turkistan, being yuzkhans—khans of a Horde. That doubtless deriving from the far greater tribal confederacies grouped under this comprehensive term for horsemen on the move. Their own ancestral horde and its khanlical chieftaincy would have been a very much smaller affair; but the terms were emphatically employed so as to insist on the sovereign khanlical independence of even a limited but widely roving kinship unit and its leaders. At some early but undatable stage, their horde became sedentarised and then it was their land that continued to be defined as yuz, with still its khans in charge, now as some kind of settled squires. That naturally did not mean that their horsemanship thereby was abandoned, maybe it was even upgraded: land and horse would have jointly cultivated and strengthened each other there too. They still were, and remained remembered, as yuzkhans, not as dehkhans, dihqans, village khans, landed gentlemen, even if later in India, Islamic terms like kheyl, jam‘a(t), khassat came to be employed alongside. Today, we cannot of course reliably know to what extent any such concerns as we would regard as some sort of knightly or chivalric ones already were cultivated by the yuzkhans and whatever following they still were in charge of; but a discreet, if not diffident, mention of some pointers may be in order. With the outbreak of Timur Lenk’s destructive campaigns, the yuzkhans might still have followed numerous examples in joining his forces, always open to adventitious participants. Instead, along with a wave of refugees, they made for India, and, having given up their land left behind, secured their settlement on new lands, it is said, in the northern Punjab. That suggests in any case that their horsemanship observed standards held to be lacking amongst Timur’s masses; and that, whether at the stage of mounted trekking or of settlement, they had, or developed, some such values as appropriate to their position. Both oral transmission and titular description served to emphasize the point.
In India, one of their epithets became ashraf-i atrak, Central Asian immigrants, but with a nuance of some kind of superior style. Further, some significance may well be attached to their other very ancient capacity in addition to yuzkhan, i.e., that of bakhshi, indicating the clan shamans, the wise old men, whilst the younger set took action as yuzkhans. Elementarily, those bakhshis, in addition to considered opinions and kinship traditions, were in charge of incantation for religio-magical or healing purposes, highly functional in martial mounted days and apt for further elaboration upon sedentarization. Bakhshi is Turki, of supposedly Chinese derivation (and it is tantalizing but fanciful speculation whether a Buddhist element might have entered the thoroughly Turkestani yuz prior to or alongside its Islamization). However that be, the bakhshis’ shamanic wisdom grew into mysticism, and incantation into music, both developing even further after their implantation in India’s fertile soil, bakhshi itself becoming a family designation alongside khan and leading to occasional reference to bakhshiyan-i yuz, “horde of the bakhshis.” Still during the first quarter of the 20th century, Pir Zia’s granduncle, a real repository of family lore, was called Maher Bakhshi, ‘the able bakhshi.’ Music and mysticism, become practically a family “dharma” throughout their sixteen generations in India, still had its roots in the sarangi-sounding horsemanship and qira’at-intoning squirarchy in the wide wastelands of Turkistan. It is said that only in the 19th century loss of land led to a more world-renouncing practice of mysticism, as well as to still ascetic, carefully controlled professionalization of classical Indian music and, on the other hand, to a rather unlucky return to the martial arts. All that may have strengthened further a traditional, hugely emphatic kinship ethos cultivated throughout the generations. Reflection on and transmission of both ethical and aesthetic values, personal standards, spiritual attunements, in all ages and circumstances remained vivid and cannot but have originated with the yuzkhans and bakhshis of old, and in evolving and adapting lost nothing of their admonitory emphasis. In time, bakhshis additionally Indo-Iranianized into mashaikhan/mahashaikhan, (become fully indian in its singular : mahasheik)and yuzkhans into jam‘ashahan; so that jam‘ashah mashaikh khandan and yuzkhan khassat became more or less synonymous. Both, however, receded into the background when the last three survivors of that lineage through intermarriage became part of the maternal line’s Maulabakhshi ‘alakhandan, on which literature is too abundant to call for elaboration here.11 Looking for the elements, or maybe the raw materials, of knighthood and chivalry with these yuzkhans and bakhshis of ancient Central Asia, one might find both too little and too much of details and circumstantial data. But it makes sense to recall Pir Zia’s great-grandfather, remembered as Mashaik Rahmatullah Khan (1843-1910). His life’s motto and standard slogan was long ago approximated in the English rendering: ‘Simple and dignified’—knightly enough! But his fully chivalric, deeper intent remained poured in to the younger generations’ hearts with appropriate, spontaneously joyous solemnity: sadagi khandaniyyat, nouns again to be rendered adjectively, but now in words that might sum up the true chivalry of all foregoing generations: “unpretentiously aristocratic.”
Now as to our author’s remaining identity markers: the first one, pir, for all its sound of seniority, is the most recent one, he having come into it in 2004 by inheritance from his father, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, who nominated him to that highly demanding charge as a ten-year old in a moving celebration at their French family residence.
Pir Vilayat himself for over half a century had been a prominent holder of the ism-laqab (name-title) Inayat Khan, which through him became widespread wherever his lecture tours in America, Europe and India led him. This in his strikingly successful aim of making his own father’s life’s work, the modernizing renewal of Sufi mysticism and Weltanschauung, far better known beyond what largely had been originally a select, leisured-class, audience. But as carriers of that already famous titled name, undoubtedly Pir Vilayat would himself give pride of place to his elder sister, Pirzadi Noorunisa Inayat Khan (deriving from her Moscow birth the nicknames of “Rusa” and, duly Tatar, “Babuli”; her wartime codename, the famous “Madeleine”). Her own exceptional talents cut short so tragically by her murder in concentration camp Dachau in 1944, during the Second World War in which she had volunteered to apply her bilingual fluency to the British secret service in France. With two full-length biographies, countless memorial articles and entries and reprints of her own book of Buddhist Jataka tales, she too requires no further introduction here.12
And most of all, of course, that “ism-laqab “(name -title) applies to the veritable waliullah (saint) Hazrat Inayat Khan, the poet-philosopher and musician-mystic, of the then Indian state of Baroda (1882-1927). His life’s search in time became to evolve a renewal of the traditionally all-embracing Indian spiritual awareness, in his case in its Mughal Indian-Sufi articulation, into a comprehensive philosophy, meditative practice and Weltanschauung for modern men and women in a secular age, confronted with one-sided but domineering materialism. His achievements may be said to be threefold. First, he spoke for Indian contemplative philosophy and meditative mysticism as a whole, not confined to one or the other of the religious traditions out of which the shared dimension of mystical realization forever again arose (e.g., the Hindus: the Brahmin figure appears in his didactic imagery at least as often as the Sufis and the dervish; he cross–references Sufi and Yoga “esoteric” terminology; Vedantic references occur with equal frequency as Islamic ones, etc.). Secondly, as an Indian Muslim he embodied as well a modernizing evolution of the classical Sufi tradition arising out of the mystical currents and concepts within, and evolved out of, the Qur’anic revelation itself.
He thus renewed, updated Sufism as such, as well. One might detect a lifeline running from early Qur’anic and Arab beginnings, through personalities like Ibn al-‘Arabi, Maulana Rumi, Jami, and ‘Abdullah ‘Abdi Bosnavi, on to Hazrat Inayat Khan. Thirdly, of course, and most fascinatingly, as in the case of any true scientist, scholar, or artist, in addition to his rejuvenation of his Indian background and Sufi basis, his work is a record of everything that his brilliantly creative genius added to all those riches through his own perception, contemplation and vision. It is in this above all else that lies Hazrat Inayat Khan’s immortality in the universe of the human spirit.
Here, the obvious question remains how Hazrat Inayat Khan himself related to the concepts of chivalry and knighthood and to their connection with aristocracy as a normative, cultural and psychological set of values and standards potentially open to every civilized individual. A complete study would require a volume. The view that his biographical point of departure was precisely to secure and enhance such values through spiritualization may have some validity, but might seem “”a rather too confined one given the overwhelming riches of his teachings and their essential mystical core and intent. As pointed out above (egalitarian) chivalry and (graded) noble values have been inherent in his family tradition throughout the generations, so came natural to his assumptions and actions. Two concrete examples must suffice. In a poem of his late London years (1917-1920) Hazrat Inayat Khan indicates that before any man can become a wise man, then a holy man, ultimately a superior personality, he first is to become a gentleman—breeding standards for each grade indicated. Following those, the Vadan booklet of poems and sayings contains Iron, Copper, Silver and Golden Rules, ten each, addressed to “My conscientious self,” combining spiritual, ethical and chivalrous prescriptions. Then there are two extraordinary poems in which he seeks fully to spiritualize (and in adapting, modernize) chivalry altogether, identifying the aspiring Knight Errant with the ascetic adept’s mystical quest of his ever-veiled Love. The first poem: “Riding on the horse of hope,” the second ending, in Love’s voice: “No, still further am I.” The absolute requirement of self-exertion is to culminate in self-effacing ,contemplative union beyond the dualism of the search.
Having conceded, not without reluctance, the establishment of a “Sufi Order” in the West, he was well aware that an Order is supposed to imply a close spiritual company and/or an outwardly active, temporal representation. And so, in addition to his deputy initiators and leaders, Hazrat Inayat Khan then appointed “Knights of Purity” (his Sufi Order initially having been defined as “the Order of Purity”) and “Heralds” (possibly implying “squires,” since these both are involved with the knightly symbols of which the shield has survived as a main marker). As mentioned earlier, knighthood implies equality, that however at a truly demanding level of obligations, style, humanitarianism, and aesthetic sensitivity, thus calling for training, education and breeding: equality is to be earned and deserved!
Is that not a considerable step beyond current democratic practice of equality without conditional human qualification, typical of so much social life? Justice may be blind—civilization demands vision!
The personal image:
Pir Zia is the eldest son of Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, born in 1971. He received his B.A. (Hons), in Persian, from the London School of Oriental and African Studies and his Ph.D., in Religion, from Duke University. Since 2004, he has served as succeeding President of the Sufi Order International and as his grandfather’s sajjada nashin (spiritual heir). The Order International is now active in four continents, with its central quarters in the USA and France. In between his lecture tours and teaching travels, Pir Zia resides with his four-member family, since having married back into the Indian Maulabakhsh family from which Hazrat Inayat Khan and his brothers themselves descended.
In India, initiatives used to be taken by a kinship unit jointly as consistently as in today’s world such are taken individually. Wholly in kind, the 1910 Sufi triumvirate by 2010, in the third generation has been centered on single successor. However inspiring a responsibility, a pretty daunting challenge, too!
If old eyes do not idealize too subjectively, in analyzing our author and his work hitherto, one might well discern a pattern of lineage continuity. In examining Pir Zia Inayat-Khan’s person and publications, one is certain to observe something of the lively poetic flair and incisive esoteric perception of Hazrat Inayat Khan, of the subtle and sophisticated wisdom and immense considerateness of Shaikh-ul-Mashaik Maheboob Khan, of the impressive capacity of turning intense spiritual realization into practical expression of Pir-o-Murshid Muhammad Ali Khan. Certain strands deriving from that authentic trinity long known as, respectively, the Insan al-Kamil (perfective being), the saint, and the master of Sufism, now duly and hopefully would seem to radiate promisingly in and from their young spokesman, our original Sufi trimurti’s grandson and grandnephew.
What better hope for Inayat Khan’s precious life’s work, Maheboob Khan’s resounding Sufi songs, Muhammad Ali Khan’s sense of practical application, to continue flourishing in our novel day and age? If today, for Pir Zia’s presence and the pages of his Saracen Chivalry, we may thankfully say masha’llah, for tomorrow’s future let us say, with our old Andalusians, ojala, or, in both more ancient and more modern style: insha’llah!
A Written Response
Shaikh al-Mashaik Mahmood Khan
1J.B. Trend, ‘Races and Languages in Muslim Spain,’ in T. Arnold and A. Guillaume, ed., The Legacy of Islam, first ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1931/49): pp 5-8. This outstanding composite volume has not been superseded by the title’s second edition of 1974.
2Evariste Lévi-Provençal, Histoire de L’Espagne musulmane (Paris: G.P. Maisonneuve; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1950-53), tome I, pp 73-77, and tome III, 167-188. Cf. p. 76: “Les Muwallads ne perdirent jamais leur personnalité propre d’Espagnols.” Cf. Henri Terrasse, Islam d’Espagne (Paris: Plon, 1958), pp 259-260—confirming the same of the Moriscos in Spain and the Maghrib, respectively: “devenus, par leur vie extérieure, des hommes de la Renaissance espagnole.” And: “Les Morisques qui durent apprendre l’arabe, gardèrent longtemps entre eux l’usage de l’espagnol : le castillan était encore parlé au XVIII siècle […] On redigea pour eux des ouvrages religieux en langue espagnole. Ces musulmans irréductibles etaient aussi, avec la même fierté, des Espagnols de la Renaissance.” On Spanish Muslims retaining Spanish names and emphasizing the specificity of al-Andalus, cf. E. Lévi-Provençal, La Civilisation Arabe en Espagne (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1961), pp. 36-7, 41, 46-7, 119-20.
3David L. Lewis, God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Modern Europe, 570 to 1215 (New York: W.W. Norton, 2008), pp 242, 262-67 (Saxony), 353-55 (Barbastro). This recent, wholly absorbing, matchlessly competent standard work ranges from the Byzantine-Iranian ‘superpowers’ to the confrontations and exchanges between Christians and Muslims up to the 13th century.
4Ibid, p. 378.
5Smail Balic, ‘Südslawen als Mitgestalter der Kultur des Orients,’ in Der Donauraum, Heft 1-2, 1975, p. 25.
6Thadée Gasztowtt, Pologne et l’Islam, (Paris: Société Française d’Imprimerie et de Librairie, 1907), pp 320-28. Selim M.J. Chazbijewicz, ‘Szlachta tatarska w Rzeczypospolitej,’ in Verbum Nobile, no. 2 1993, tr. P. de Nowina-Konopka: ‘Tatar Nobility in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’ (2000). Stanislav V. Dumin: Herbarz rodzin tatarskich Wielkiego Ksiestwa Litewskiego (Gdansk: Zwiazek Tatarów, 2006). Stanislaw Dziadulewicz: Herbarz rodzin tatarskich w Polsce (Warsaw: Wydawnictwa Artystyczne i Filmowe, 1986). Julian Hryncewicz Talko, Muslimowie (Krakow: Ksiegarni Geograficznej “Orbis”, 1924). Only during the 17th century of Catholic Counter-Reformation, the earlier privileges of the Tatar Muslims were curtailed or abolished. Subsequently, in the 18th century, Polish parliaments gradually restored all their civil rights to them, with the exception of intermarriage with Christian wives. That led to a number of them accepting church marriages and Christian education of their progeny, a process continued in communist times. As the names of the last two above-mentioned authors indicate, precisely such convert descendants could prove the most notable sympathizers with the Tatar Muslims’ interests. The above-mentioned Selim Chazbijewicz, today the most prominent Polish Tatar, since the fall of communism has been actively engaged in bringing together Muslim Tatars and non-religious or Christian Tatar descendants into a shared historical, and social, awareness and cultural context.
7Luce López Baralt, Islam in Spanish literature (Leiden and New York: Brill; San Juan: Editorial de la Universidad de Peurto Rico, 1992), p. 25. An eminently readable set of articles dealing with Andalusians and Spaniards’ cultural relationships. See also Francesco Gabrieli, ‘Islam in the Mediterranean World,’ in J. Schacht and C.E. Bosworth, ed., The Legacy of Islam, second edition, (Oxford: Clarendon Press,1974), p. 91.
8Lewis, God’s Crucible, p 119: “Tariq and twenty Arab officers […] as many as twelve thousand and as few as seven thousand Berbers and perhaps seven hundred black Africans.”
9Lévi-Provençal, Histoire de L’Espagne musulmane, tome III, p. 175.
10It may be worth recalling that in India’s Mughal Empire, officials’ and princes’ ranking was expressed in a combination of land grants and actual or theoretic horse commands that might number thousands. Again, that is, combination of estate and steed forming one basis for an impressive civilization inclusive of all religious cultures.
11Pir Zia Inayat-Khan et al., A Pearl in Wine (Omega Publications 2001) ,cf. foot notes p. 4-5.
12Biographies : Jean Overton Fuller’s consecutive additions: “Madeleine” (London: Gollancz,1952), Born for Sacrifice (London: Pan Books,1957), “Noor-un-nisa Inayat Khan” (Rotterdam and London, East-West Publications and Barrie & Jenkins, 1971)
Notes on the Historic Context of Saracen Chivalry