Libmonster ID: TR-1202
Author(s) of the publication: Haidar Shah

Chapter from the novel

After the defeat of the enemy troops, orderlies, healers and corpse carriers wandered around the battlefield. And I, in order to raise the spirits of my wounded soldiers, according to our old tradition, also went between them and congratulated all the victorious soldiers on their victory. And suddenly I saw one of my old soldiers, he was seriously wounded. When he saw me, he raised his head and shouted,"Glory to the conquering Sultan!" I sat down next to him and put his head in my lap. The soldier, bleeding profusely but with a faint smile on his parched lips, congratulated me: "Happy victory to you, my lord!" Tears welled up in my eyes. They were tears of joy and sorrow. I ordered the soldier to get drunk, but he refused. I wanted to support him, so I said:

"Soldier, you must know that you are a hero, and that our enemies are defeated. This victory belongs to you, and you will live forever in the hearts and memories of your people! Now tell your sultan what you wish, and I will grant you whatever you wish."

And the soldier, panting with pain, with tears in his eyes, said::

"I have served you since the liberation of Ghazni. I then killed my co-religionist. If my lord remembers, it happened right before your eyes.

"No, I don't remember, I've seen so many deaths in my life that it's impossible to remember them all," I said.

"Then, after the liberation of Ghazni from the rebels, a wounded soldier was lying on the road and crying out to you for help, and you ordered me to help him.

"Yes, I did, and you killed him," I said.

"So, my lord. No one wants a dying warrior. He knew that he was on his way to heaven, and when I approached him, he used the last of his strength before dying to say a prayer in the name of Allah: "I bear witness that Allah is one." I helped him get rid of the agony of death. With my help, with his sad eyes open, he went to Allah. As I drew my blood sword with my right hand and covered my mouth with my left, I said: "And I bear witness that Muhammad is his prophet."

Then I realized that I was already a murderer and had committed the greatest sin. I had no choice but to seek my own death to redeem him. I led the way, bravely and fearlessly, in the name of Allah and our faith, and those who refused to accept it, we either killed or demanded a ransom for them. It turns out that we sold religion. And this was called a victory... Now it's my turn to pay for my sins.

"In what way, soldier?" I asked him.

"My lord, I see my death standing behind you, waiting for me, it is so black that it hurts me to look at it.

"My brave soldier, we will all die at some time, God willing, but death on the battlefield for the faith is an eternal joy in the next world, it is bliss. Do not be afraid of it, for Allah has promised us Paradise and the pleasures of heaven, and you are worthy of them.

He looked at me with a sad sneer:

page 69

"My great Sultan, these beautiful words are good for starting a fight, not when you only see death from the sidelines, but when you meet it face to face... I do not see the promised paradise behind it, apparently, paradise cannot be won with a sword.

- And what do you see, my soldier, tell me more? "I was interested in his deathbed vision.

"I can see the darkness and hear the familiar screams, the screams of the innocent people I killed. I can feel their pain, and it hurts me to die.

"Can you see the light behind the darkness?" Go to him, where Allah is waiting for you, " I said.

"No, my sultan, I see nothing but darkness; the only thing I see is you as a black cloud. I see an army of spirits flying around you, all of them wanting something from you. My Sultan, it will not be easy for you to meet them, but this nightmare is ahead of you. The soldier was wheezing and panting, and barely found the strength to finish:

"My lord, it is too late for me to correct my mistakes, but you still have time. Believe me, what I see, you can't win with a sword. It's time to stop the violence and brutality. Someone else's pain is not ours, but like the darkness of the night, it envelops everyone: today-me, and tomorrow-you.

Then I couldn't stand it:

- No, my soldier, we are alive in the hearts of our people, we are the pride of Khorasan, people like you and me have created a new strong state. We have the most powerful and efficient army in the world, we have established a new order, we have made everyone respect us and pay tribute to us, and it is not a shame to die for this. We are the defenders of Islam. We forced the people of Kabul to convert to Islam. We have already won and earned the promised paradise. Our main achievement is our pride.

"O mighty Sultan! Verily I say unto you, a proud man is far from God. I wish I'd realized that too late. I'm sorry for what I did, and now I'm going to face the Last Judgment... If Allah had given me a little more life, I would have devoted it to mercy, kindness and love. My Sultan, you are a happy person, because you still have the opportunity to atone for your sins and get closer to God. So try to atone for your bloodshed with mercy. Give up your conquests. It is better to win the hearts of your own people, not foreign lands - and your glory will be eternal. No one can take it away. Here is a battlefield where you can win without bloodshed, and just as I lived without joy in my sins, so I will burn in hell after life.

At the words of the wounded soldier, my guard, who was standing nearby, raised his dagger to stab him, but I stopped him. And the wounded soldier said to him:"It's too late to kill me, I'm already dead; besides, I don't want you to repeat my mistake." He paused and began to breathe even harder.

Suddenly, stretching out his hands and pointing at something in the distance, he excitedly said:

"My sultan, where are you?

"I'm here," I said, leaning toward him.

"Where are you, my lord, I can't hear you."

"Here I am, right next to you.

"Why did you all leave me, I'm afraid of the dark. Where is the sun? Where is the light? Where did everyone go? Why was I left alone with death? O Allah! Forgive me as a sinner.

I realized that he couldn't hear or see me anymore, and I thought to myself:

- To give up war means to give up victory and return with nothing!

Then, with his last breath, the soldier raised his eyes to the sky and whispered::

"Lord, I place my soul in your hands... Allah, forgive me and save me from the darkness. Oh, my God, where are you? I'm looking for you? Where is your light?

Then he said a prayer for the glory of Allah, closed his eyes, and passed away.

The death of this warrior, who dared to tell me the truth, opened my eyes as if I had woken up from a deep sleep. I realized that I have a great responsibility to my people, history and, most importantly, to the Almighty. I must live for the good of my subjects. The desire to win military victories has faded in me, and my soldiers are already tired of the continuous battles. After ending the war and regretting the evil I had done, I returned to Ghazni.

When I returned to the capital, the first thing I did was issue edicts forbidding the killing of prisoners of war, the taking of their property, and the forcible imposition of Islam. After swearing that they would never take up arms against us, all the prisoners were released for a small ransom. So I took the first steps to correct my mistakes.

Then I called together a Council of Elders, to which I called representatives of all the tribes and peoples who inhabited my country, and all its greatest philosophers and scientists. At the Council, I suggested discussing the state's foreign policy. It turned out that the vast territories stretching from India to Khorezm and from China to Baghdad can only be managed with the help of close, trusted representatives of the sultan, so as not to create new threats to his power.

I have appointed my princes and sons-in-law as district governors. The people called our system of governance "The Great Family", so we jointly managed our huge, multi-ethnic, multicultural state as a single home. Under such management, internal and external enemies disappeared. Our family management has shown that the family is an easily managed and reliable organization that is based on respect for the elder. It gave us unconditional trust in each other, openness and transparency in politics, impossible under other forms of government.

My son Joseph grew up as a well-educated, cultured man who understood the sultanate's economic and financial policies. I appointed him chief of supply for my royal guard. And Ismail was a man of his word and a brave warrior-a true copy of me. That is why I appointed him head of my guard, which includes three thousand warriors from among the strongest, bravest and most proven in battle.

After the administrative division of our state, I personally began to engage in domestic politics. He developed agriculture, trade, horticulture, cattle breeding, built new roads and supervised the old ones, especially the Silk Road. Our capital has become the center of culture and trade throughout Asia-both Indian, Iraqi, and Khorasan. Dozens of new cities, hundreds of mosques, family-friendly gardens, madrassas*, as well as palaces, bridges, canals, etc. were built.

For seven years my family ruled the country, and Khorasan lived without wars, prospering. At the cost of the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, I became a great conqueror of Central Asia, and our country took a special place in the world. There are new young scientists, art historians, poets, writers, healers, historians, philosophers. And one of the most famous poets was my daughter-Princess Camila, the first and unique girl-poet in the entire space of my sultanate. Princess Camila was not only revered by our entire family, but all the people greeted her with joyful cheers, and I was greeted with silence and fear, with my head bowed. I even envied her sometimes, but she was my daughter, and I was proud of her.


* Religious educational institutions.


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Haidar Shah, SOLDIER AND SULTAN // Istanbul: Republic of Türkiye (ELIBRARY.COM.TR). Updated: 18.07.2023. URL: https://elibrary.com.tr/m/articles/view/SOLDIER-AND-SULTAN (date of access: 17.06.2024).

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