Adventures from Dastan of Ameer Hamza – Chapter 1
ONE — Khvajah Buzurchmihr goes to Mecca and makes inquiries everywhere about Amir Hamzah’s birth.
The great king Qubad Kamran, whose realm extended from his capital city of Ctesiphon throughout Iran and far beyond, had only one son, a boy whom he named Naushervan. When the boy grew up, Qubad decided to seat him on the throne, since he himself wanted to retire from worldly life. He gave his son one important piece of advice: never to do anything without consulting the virtuous vazir Buzurchmihr, and never to heed the words of the unscrupulous courtier Bakhtak. Soon afterwards, Qubad died.
Naushervan had married the beautiful Mihr Angez, daughter of the Emperor of China. In time they had two sons, Hurmuz and Faramurz, and a lovely daughter, Mihr Nigar. Respecting his father’s advice, Naushervan always treated his vazir Buzurchmihr with deference, and consulted him on all important questions. But he was also much under the influence of the clever Bakhtak.
One night Naushervan had an ominous dream: a crow came flying from the east and made off with his crown, but a hawk came from the west, killed the crow, and returned the crown to him. Buzurchmihr, skilled in divination, was able to interpret the dream. From the eastern city of Khaibar a prince, Hisham bin Alqamah, would rise against him and steal his throne; but from the western city of Mecca a boy named Hamzah would come to overpower the usurper and restore the throne.
Naushervan at once sent Buzurchmihr off to find this boy, honor his family with gifts, and see to his proper upbringing.
The arrangers of colorful reports tell this agreeable story in this way: When the Khvajah, after traveling a long way and traversing many stages, arrived near Mecca the Great, from his halting place he wrote to Khvajah Abdul Muttalib, who was chief of the tribe of Bani Hashim, a letter like this: “This lowly servant has come to worship at Mecca the Great, and also longs to wait on you. I hope that you will gladden me with a meeting, and show hospitality to a traveler.” Khvajah Abdul Muttalib read the letter and was very pleased. Taking the nobles of Mecca with him, he went to welcome Buzurchmihr; he escorted him with the greatest honor and respect, and had many fine houses vacated for him to stay in.
First Buzurchmihr made his pious visit to the Kabah with Khvajah Abdul Muttalib. Afterwards, he met the nobles of the city with great magnificence. Giving rupees and gold pieces to every one, he said, “The King of Iran says, ‘I am most happy with you all, and know you all as my well-wishers, and want you always to pray for me.'” With these words, Buzurchmihr sent for the drummer and had the proclamation made: “From today on, all the baby boys who are born will become servants of the King of Iran. At their birth let each guardian come to me, and show the newborn to me, so that I may determine an allowance for his upbringing on behalf of the king, and may give him a name.” Since Buzurchmihr was accompanied by a numerous army, a camp was made outside the city; because of their numbers the army stayed outside the city. But Khvajah Buzurchmihr always used to come into the city to visit Khvajah Abdul Muttalib, and sometimes Khvajah Abdul Muttalib too came to visit Khvajah Buzurchmihr.
One day, after fifteen or twenty days, when Khvajah Buzurchmihr came at the appointed time to visit Khvajah Abdul Muttalib, Khvajah Abdul Muttalib, after greeting him, said, “Yesterday a son was born to this servant, the Eternal God bestowed a male child.” Buzurchmihr instantly sent for the boy and looked at his face, and threw the divining-dice and cast his horoscope, and realized, “This is the very boy who will take tribute from the kings of the Seven Realms, and make the whole world obey him! All the high-handed ones in the Realm of the World and Mount Qaf will fall beneath his hand, and the great lords on the face of the earth will be brought low when face-to-face with this star of the heights of accomplishment. Unbelief will decline and Islam will grow, justice will increase and tyranny will diminish.”
Buzurchmihr kissed the boy on the forehead and named him Hamzah; pleased, he congratulated Khvajah Abdul Muttalib, and they all began to exchange greetings and felicitations with each other. All those who were present turned with Khvajah Buzurchmihr toward the Great Kabah; with hands uplifted, they recited the prayer of thanksgiving, prayed for Amir Hamzah’s safe and long life, and gave thanks to the True Creator. Buzurchmihr gave a number of boxes of gold pieces to Khvajah Abdul Muttalib for the upbringing of Amir Hamzah, and presented him with many valuable jewels and silken shawls and items of clothing.
Khvajah Abdul Muttalib prepared sherbet, according to Arab custom, and wanted to serve it to those present, and to send it to neighbors and relatives. Buzurchmihr said, “Please be patient for a little while, and let two more people come, for their sons will become your noble son’s companions and well-wishers, quick to support him, loyal, and ready to lay down their lives.” Even as Buzurchmihr was saying this, a slave of Khvajah Abdul Muttalib’s named Bashir brought his son and said, “In this slave’s home too a servant has been born.” Buzurchmihr named that boy Muqbil the Faithful, and gave Bashir a bag of gold pieces for his upbringing, and said, “This boy will be clever in the art of archery, skilled in marksmanship and arrow-shooting.”.
When Bashir took his leave and went toward his home, on the way he chanced to meet a camel-driver named Umayyah Zamiri. Umayyah asked Bashir, “Where are you coming from, and how does it happen that you are bringing this bag of gold pieces along with you?” Bashir told him the whole story. Umayyah Zamiri very joyously went home and told the whole story, and went in and said to his wife, “You constantly say, ‘I’m pregnant’! Have a boy quick, so we can get money and gold pieces, and live happily in luxury and enjoyment.” She said, “You know better, show a tiny trace of sense! It’s the start of my seventh month, God forbid that I should give birth now! Let my enemies have labor pains so prematurely!”
Umayyah said, “You just start groaning and forcing yourself–a boy will surely come! If a son is born now, that’s exactly what’s wanted, but if it comes two months from now, then what will I get out of it?” In irritation she said, “The wretched man has lost his mind, the bully is trying to make me give birth without labor! It’s not force or tyranny, just lack of sense, the way he glares at me!” Umayyah grew annoyed. He struck such a blow to her stomach that the poor woman fell to the floor writhing in pain; the child burst out of her stomach and she breathed her last.
Umayyah instantly wrapped the boy up in the sleeve of his cloak, and bringing him before Buzurchmihr, said, “Excellency, this eater of your salt too has had a son, my good fortune has begun; I’ve brought him here so you can have a look, I’ve come to have his name recorded in the royal book.” Khvajah Buzurchmihr laughed at the sight of him, and said to Khvajah Abdul Muttalib, “This boy will be king of the ayyars of the age, sharp and fleet, and full of deceit. Many grand and glorious kings and mighty champions, the envy of Rustam and Nariman, will tremble when they hear his name: when it’s mentioned in their ear they will wet their pants in fear. He’ll seize hundreds–no, thousands of forts all alone, and defeat mighty armies on his own. He’ll be very greedy and treacherous, full of conniving art; he’ll be cruel, bloodthirsty, without fear of God, without a heart. But he’ll be Amir Hamzah’s companion and friend, he’ll be true to his salt and keep faith till the end.”
When Buzurchmihr, after saying this, took the baby in his lap, it began to scream and cry. Khvajah Buzurchmihr put his finger in its mouth. The baby slipped the ring off Buzurchmihr’s finger with its mouth, then grew quiet and didn’t shed a tear. When the Khvajah didn’t see the ring on his finger, he looked for it in the pockets of his robe; when he didn’t find it, he deliberately kept silent. When everyone drank sherbet, the Khvajah put a drop of sherbet in the baby’s mouth too, and when its mouth opened, the ring fell out of its mouth. Buzurchmihr picked the ring up, laughing, and said to Khvajah Abdul Muttalib, “This is his first theft–he has inaugurated his career on me!”
After saying this, he said, “I name him Amar.” Giving two boxes of gold pieces to Umayyah, he said, “Raise him with great care, do not spare any pains; devote yourself fully to bringing him up.” Umayyah took the boxes of gold pieces, but said, “His mother died as soon as he was born! How can I raise him?” Buzurchmihr said to Khvajah Abdul Muttalib, “Hamzah’s mother has died, and these two boys’ mothers have also died, so it’s proper for you to keep these two boys in your house as well. Adiyah Bano, Adi Madikarab’s mother, to whom Hazrat Abraham has come in a dream, and whom he has ennobled by conversion to Islam, and whom he has commanded to be Hamzah’s wet-nurse, is just arriving. Please welcome her and escort her in, and have her give the milk of her right breast to Hamzah and the milk of her left breast to Muqbil the Faithful and Amar Ayyar.” Khvajah Abdul Muttalib, following Khvajah Buzurchmihr’s order, welcomed Adiyah Bano and escorted her in and showed her due hospitality. He gave her sherbet to drink and had her hands and feet washed, and put all three boys in her lap, and gave them into her charge for breast-feeding.
When six days had passed after the Amir’s birth, and the sixth-day ceremony had taken place, Buzurchmihr said to Khvajah Abdul Muttalib, “In the morning, please have the Amir’s cradle put on the upper story. If the cradle should disappear, then don’t be disturbed, for the Creator of the World has made the most extraordinary kinds of creatures with His supreme power, and has ordained for every kind its own separate place of residence and means of earning a livelihood. Thus the inhabited quarter of the world is surrounded by a great and glorious river. In it are very spacious and populous islands and harbors. Among these one is the dwelling-place of various creatures and the sons of the Jinns, and they call it Mount Qaf; around it are many cities in which Jinns, Paris, Devs, Ghouls, Camel-feet, Cow-feet and Cow-heads, Elephant-ears, Half-bodies, Leather-strap-legs, Horse-faces, etc., live. And the king of that place is Shahpal son of Shahrukh, very stately and comely and beautiful, like the sun. Abdur Rahman is his vazir, who in the present age has no peer or equal: he is wise, resourceful, and ingenious; night and day he remains absorbed in the worship of God. He will order Hamzah’s cradle brought before his king, and after seven days will send it back again to you. That visit will bring numerous benefits; various kinds of advantages and objects will be achieved in that realm.” Having said this, he took leave of Khvajah Abdul Muttalib and went to his own camp. Khvajah Abdul Muttalib waited for that time, he constantly waited for that appointed moment.