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Memoirs of Amir Temur – Part 2

Memoirs of Amir Temur – Part 2: The Heyday of a Conqueror and Statesman

In my youth I heard from my father Amir Taraghai the story of a dream he had; one day, my father told me, I saw in a dream how a handsome young man who looked like an Arab came to me and handed me a sword; I took it in my hand and waved it in the air; the whole world was illuminated by the glitter of the steel blade. I asked Amir Kulal to explain the dream to me. Amir Kulal told me that the dream had a prophetic meaning, that Allah would send me a son who would conquer the whole world, convert everyone to Islam and free the earth from the darkness of ignorance and delusion. This dream has come true:

Allah has given me you, my son. When you came into the world, I immediately took you to Sheikh Shamsuddin. When I came, the Sheikh was reading the Qur’an and paused at the following words: “Do you not already fear that He who is in the heavens may command the earth to swallow you up while it is already swaying?” Since the word Temur occurs in this verse of the Qur’an, we have given you the name Temur.

After hearing my father’s account of the circumstances under which I was given my name and learning that my name was borrowed from the Quran, I thanked Allah and read the chapter “Tabarak” in the Quran.

Once I dreamt that I was casting a net in a big river that covered the whole river, and I used it at the same time to pull out all the fish and animals that lived in the water. This dream was also explained to me by interpreters as an omen of a great and glorious empire, so glorious that all the peoples of the universe will be subject to me.

On the advice of the holy Sheikh Kamal, I went to the holy Sayyid of Kulyal; the Sayyid greeted me and congratulated me on my accession to the throne, which I am destined to inherit for my progeny. Hearing these words of the venerable Sayyid Kulyal, I was very happy and began to take measures to master the whole world. I have succeeded in everything I set out to do, and in every undertaking I have achieved my goal.

Ilyas, the son of Tughluq Timurkhan, crossed the stone bridge with thirty thousand horsemen and smashed the king’s tent. I have only six thousand horsemen at present, and seeing a considerable advantage of force on the enemy’s side, they are despondent. Fortunately for us, a detachment of Sayyids from Khorasan, who lived in Termez, arrived just at this time and rushed to join my army. The Khorasanis who arrived managed to encourage and strengthen my soldiers and they lost their fear of the stronger enemy. I fought against Ilias and managed to defeat him. Even before the battle, when we had positioned ourselves within sight of Ilyas’ army and prepared the cannons, it was time for prayer, and I too began to pray. As I bowed, I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Temur, victory is given to you.’ I looked around, but there was no one near me. I realised that I was hearing a voice from the world of mystery, so I offered a prayer of thanksgiving to Allah.

I undertook a march to Persia. Completely unexpectedly, I was attacked by Shah Mansur with five thousand horsemen. To fight the enemy, I ordered soldiers armed with pikes to be assembled as soon as possible, but to my great regret there were no such soldiers.

Quite unexpectedly, help came to me from the side I could not have expected: A horseman who looked like an Arab and was armed with a pike rode up from one side and shouted, “O Allah! Give victory to Temur.” When Shah Mansur heard this cry of the stranger, he was so frightened that he fell off his horse without feeling. Shah Rukh lifted him on his horse and took him away. The rider who had come to my rescue so quickly disappeared and I took possession of the capital of Persia. I demanded from Amir Husayn the surrender of the forts of Shadman, Balkh and Badakshan. At that time, Sheikh Zainuddin Abubekr sent me a letter informing me that the keys of Khorasan had been handed over to me. After receiving this joyful news, I no longer doubted the success of the undertaking before me. When Saint Hyzr appeared in Samarkand, I was destined to see his miracles; at the same time he said some unpleasant words to me which deeply saddened me.

When I left Samarkand, I was very embarrassed because I thought I had angered Saint Hyzr with my words. When this news came, I calmed down and realised that such a saint cannot be mourned by a mortal.

I then destroyed the shrines where the natives worshipped their idols and spread the Mohammedan faith in the land. The largest of the shrines belonged to Tugul-Bahadur. When I thought of destroying it, the priests (Brahmins) came to me, offered me much gold and begged me to spare the shrine. I did not listen to their plea and ordered them to be driven away. In the shrine was a statue of a man among other idols; when I was about to order its demolition, one of the priests asked me to preserve this statue of a holy miracle-worker who was highly revered in their faith. According to him, this miracle worker was so strong that he could have sexual intercourse with 1600 women in one night. I replied to the priest that the devil was even stronger than their miracle worker and that he could have sexual intercourse with as many women as he wanted in one night.

I began each undertaking trusting in Allah without asking if the time was right for the work I wanted to do. However, the diviners found that whatever I did, I did it at the exact time that corresponded to the event according to the disposition of the stars.

I knew in advance the outcome of every difficult undertaking I undertook; I knew what was coming to me in my dreams. When Tughluq Timur first came to Mawara’unnahr, I saw in my dream a shaggy bird (hawk) fly up to me and perch on my arm. At that time many cows came and I milked them. This dream, I was told, meant my good fortune; the bird on my hand meant power, and many cows meant many benefits for me. And indeed, my dream came true: I joined Tughluq Timur, and it brought me great benefits.

Amir Husayn, the grandson of Amir Kazagan from Kabul, came to take back his father’s land. I helped him a lot, but he decided to kill me even though I was married to his sister. To reconcile him with himself, I appointed him governor of Balkh, but not only did this not affect him as I had expected, but on the contrary, he felt strengthened, remained my enemy and intended to wage war against me. I too made the necessary preparations for war with Amir Husayn.

While I was preparing for war, I dreamt that Amir Husayn offered me a sword on a silver platter, the blade of which was completely covered with flies. This dream was interpreted as promising me the help of Imam Husayn, a descendant of the Prophet, in my endeavour. According to the meaning of the dream, Imam Husayn’s power was to pass to me and I was to kill him myself. All this came true and I thanked the Prophet’s descendant who had helped me by travelling to Imam Ruzi’s tomb.

One day I fled from Samarkand and saw myself crying in a dream; a black raven appeared on my shoulder and a swarm of flies on all sides. I drove away the flies and woke up in a bad mood. At that time Tugul-Bahadur attacked me with a thousand horsemen. I realised that my crying in the dream and the black raven stood for the suffering that awaited me, and that the many flies stood for Tugul-Bahadur, whom I was to defeat. And indeed I soon fought Tugul-Bahadur and defeated him completely.

When I went to Balkh, I dreamt that some wine bottles had been brought to me, which I broke by striking one of the bottles on the others. I saw my sword defaced and thought it was a bad omen. Shah Mansur attacked me with 5,000 horsemen. I defeated him, his army scattered and disappeared into the land of Kipchak.

One day Tokhtamysh Khan, who had forgotten all the kind services I had rendered him at various times, came with an uncounted army and intended to go to war with me. Hoping to persuade him, I wrote him a letter advising him not to pay me anything bad for the good I had done him, otherwise he would be severely punished for ingratitude. At that time I dreamt that a ray of sunlight from the east fell on my head, but it was as if it had gone out and disappeared. The dreamers explained to me that my dream meant the arrival of Tokhtamysh Khan and his complete defeat in the battle against me.

When I went towards Iraq, I saw in my dream that there was a group of lions and scorpions there. After a day, the emirs came to me with a declaration of submission and I took possession of the land.

As I was about to march to Hindustan, I saw myself in a dream in a magnificent garden full of trees laden with fruits. Birds built many nests in the branches of the trees. I took a slingshot and ravaged these nests. According to the interpreters, the dream predicted that my march to Hindustan would be quite successful, which came true in reality: I conquered Hindustan and devastated many towns there.

When I went in search of Syria, the forces of Syria, Egypt and Turkey joined forces against me. Resisting the triple alliance seemed difficult. I read the Salawat and went to bed. It was then that I saw myself climbing a high mountain. Leaden clouds hung over my head and a veil of mist enveloped me. Soon, however, the clouds broke in a heavy downpour and the mist dissipated after the rain. This dream, according to the interpreters, foretold complete victory over my enemies who had gathered against me. “The mountain, I was told, is the capital of Syria, the goal of your campaign; the clouds and mists are the troops of your enemies, and the rain is your army. As the rain you saw scattered the clouds and the mists, so will your army fall upon the enemy hordes and scatter them, I was told. This dream was fulfilled.

One day, when I had only one hundred thousand men, I was attacked by the king of Rum – Kaysar with an army of four hundred thousand men. I made the intercession of the Prophet’s family, read the Salawat and went to bed. I dreamt that I was in the desert with many people around me and a light in the distance. I rushed in the direction of the bright spot I could see. I noticed three piles of ash on the road and drove on. On the way, I caught up with five people who were walking away from us. Suddenly a violent storm arose and one of the men walking along the road explained that the storm indicated that the Prophet was ascending to heaven at that time with great difficulty. I went up and had the privilege of greeting the Prophet. One of the men we met had a batik in his hand. The Prophet ordered me with a hand signal to take the batik and I took it from the hands of the man I had seen. I woke up and rejoiced that I had seen the Prophet in a dream and was honoured by him with such attention. That same day I fought Kaisar early in the morning, seized the white banner, defeated him by a hair’s breadth and drove off his army. During the battle I was very tired and felt unwell. When I thought of death, I was very worried about what would become of my kingdom after my death and which of my descendants I should appoint as my successor in the event of my death. The Prophet was pleased to reassure me: He revealed to me that 70 generations of my descendants would rule.

At that time I dreamt that I was under a tree that spread its branches over me and protected me from the sun’s rays. Birds and insects were buzzing around among the branches, all eating the fruit of the shady tree in whose shade I was resting. I tasted the fruits myself: some were sweet, others sour. In the dream I heard a voice saying that the tree I saw represented my descendants. When I woke up, the dreamers explained my dream like this: The tree, they said, is you; the branches and leaves are your descendants; the fruits are your power and wealth; and the animals that eat of the fruits of the tree are the peoples who are subject to you and who enjoy your bountiful gifts.

While I was busy with my affairs, one day I saw in a dream that I was surrounded by various horrible ghosts, pigs, ugly men and women, wild animals and birds. I woke up horrified and hurried to write a letter to my cleric, mentor and patron, Sheikh Zainuddin, about the dream. I soon received a reply from him.

“The scarecrows you saw in the dream are bad deeds you have committed, so you must repent,” he wrote. I sincerely repented of my misdeeds and had a dream that was very different from the terrible dream I had before. This time I saw myself resting in a magnificent garden, adorned with all kinds of flowers and planted with fruit trees. Great rivers flowed in the middle of the garden and the soft sounds of music caressed my ears. I wrote a letter to the Sheikh again about the dream I had had, and he replied that I had had a good dream, which meant that my repentance was accepted by Allah and I was forgiven for all the wrong I had done. “The Prophet said, wrote the Shaykh, that every person has an evil genius attached to him that watches over his deeds. Through your repentance you have defeated your evil genius, and it is incumbent on every Muslim to reduce the influence of his evil genius through repentance and good deeds with Allah’s help.”

When I was on a campaign from Samarkand to China, I saw in a dream how I fell from the branches of a big tree to the ground; I had a cup of water on my head which had fallen and spilled at the same time. It was then that my father, Amir Taragai, took the horse from my hands and led me into the garden. My father left me in the garden and disappeared. The dreamers gave me an explanation for the dream, but I did not believe them, instead relying on Providence.

At the same time I had another dream: as if I was lost in the wilderness where there were wild animals. After crossing the steppe, I came to a garden where I found many fruits and musical instruments. In the garden was a huge throne. Near the throne was a tall tower on which some people were sitting. In front of each of them was a book and they were writing something in the book with quills. I asked them what they were writing down and was told that it was their duty to record what must happen to everyone in life. Curious, I began to ask who had written down the circumstances of my future life, but at that moment I woke up because I was troubled by a dream I had seen.

At the time when I had taken possession of Persia, the inhabitants of the province of Shiraz, with the help of Shah Mansur, had murdered the viceroy I had appointed. For this I ordered that all the villagers of Shiraz be beaten. Sayyid Jamil-ul-Qadir came to me and asked me to pardon the people of Shiraz, but I did not listen to Sayyid’s intercession. The next night I saw the Prophet in a dream who spoke sternly to me, “Temur, you have not respected the request of my progeny and have not pardoned the people of Shiraz; do you not need my intercession yourself?” I awoke full of fear. I immediately went to Sayyid Jamil-ul-Qadir and asked his forgiveness for not honouring his request. I not only pardoned Shiraz but also rewarded the people and gave Hodja Mahmud the land of Meghriyan. I realised that one should unconditionally follow what the Sayyids say, one should pay all possible homage to the Prophet’s descendants. Love for the Prophet’s descendants intensified in my heart. About what had happened to me and the dream I had seen, I wrote to Sheikh Zainuddin, who soon sent me the following reply: “Allah grant you whatever you ask of him. Convey to your descendants that the Prophet’s forgiveness is important for all people. Love and reverence for the Prophet’s descendants are the guarantee of salvation in this world and the next. Every time you stand in prayer five times, give them a blessing so that the Namaz may please Allah. If you do all this, you can hope to be rewarded in the life to come. Pay as much attention as you can to the Prophet’s progeny.”

One day my father said to me, “Listen and remember the instructions I am about to give you.

1. Honour and remember your ancestors, remember that you, Temur, are the son of Taragai, Taragai the son of Amir Bargul, Bargul the son of Amir Ilingyz, Ilingyz the son of Bahadur, Bahadur the son of Anjal-nuyan, Anjal-nuyan the son of Suyuichi, Suyunchi the son of Irdamchi-Barlas, Irdamchi-Barlas the son of Kachuli-Bahadur, Kachuli-Bahadur the son of Tumen-khan, who was related to the son of Yafi. Of our grandfathers, Karajar Nouyan was the first to recognise Allah by reflecting on the world, along with his subjects whom reason had convinced of the truth of Islam. After recognising the One Allah as King, he recognised the Prophet of Allah as Vizier and then the righteous Caliphs.

(2) I bequeath to you, Temur, that you should always and in all things follow the example of your fathers and grandfathers, according to the Shari’ah, and honour and respect the descendants of the Prophet and be merciful and kind to people.

3. remember that we are all slaves of Allah, caught in life by the hand of fate under this blue vault; therefore be content with whatever Allah gives you, be grateful to Him for all His mercy towards you. Speak the name of Allah, acknowledge His Oneness, be obedient to Allah’s commands, and do not do what is forbidden.

4. Do not break ties of kinship and do not harm anyone. Reward those who serve you generously with gifts, and develop impartiality in your character. Treat every living being with condescension. After hearing my father’s wise advice, I was determined to implement it in my life.

When I was 17 years old, my father retired to a private life. I rounded up all his cattle and property, stalled the hundred rams separately, and separated the males from the females to put them in the litter. For every dozen slaves that belonged to my father, I appointed one as an elder.

I went to the holy Amir Kulal. When I came to him, I sat down with the honourable people I found there. Amir Kulal immediately paid attention to me and told those present that although I appeared to be a poor man of low rank, I was in fact an important man. Amir bowed his head and was silent for a while. Tortillas and halva were in front of him. When the Amir raised his head, he handed me seven tortillas and a piece of halva and said, “Eat these seven loaves and you will be the ruler of seven parts of the world, you will rule the whole world.) I was amazed, and all those present were amazed. I sent the seven loaves I had received to my father, but my father returned them to me, saying at the same time that Amir Kulal was a saint and that what he had predicted to me should come true. I hid the loaves. And that was the beginning of Allah’s blessings on me.

One day my father, Amir Taragai, went to Amir Kulal and he said to him: “I congratulate you that Allah has sent you a son like your Temur. He handed his father some wheat and sultanas and told him to count the grains and berries. In the end, there were only 370 of them. “From this number you can tell the number of your descendants,” Amir Kulal said to his father. I hid the grains that Amir Kulal gave to my father. My wealth grew and grew. I told my mother what had happened to me. After my mother prayed, she went to Amir Kulyal in turn. He said to her, “Woman! Your son will be the king of the world, and his 370 descendants will be powerful, and his 70 descendants will rule. There may be more kings in his progeny, but only if he follows the Shari’ah of the Prophet and does not violate his pure spirit.” My mother told me everything I had heard about Amir Kulal and I made a firm resolution to follow the Shariah in all my actions.

I was 18 years old, grew up, became strong and became enthusiastic about hunting. One day I was hunting a goat on horseback. On my way, I came across a ravine that was 5 arches wide and 4 arches deep. I was unable to rein in my horse and my horse jumped the gorge with all its might, but it reached the opposite bank only with its forelegs, its hind legs hanging over the precipice. I quickly climbed up the embankment and the horse plunged into the ravine. My companions thanked Allah for saving my life, and none of my companions could cross the ravine that separated us, so I had to walk to the shore where I had left my entourage, and there I mounted my horse. We continued on, but soon it rained heavily, which turned into snowflakes, and a storm with a blizzard arose.

We lost all hope of reaching our destination safely and prepared to die. But soon we noticed some black objects in the distance. My companions thought they were hills, but I galloped quickly over the eight versts that separated us from the objects on the horizon. As I got closer, I saw light and, in the darkness, a yurt woven from reeds, into which I hurried to find shelter from the snow. Later, when I became a master, I thanked him for the hospitality he had shown me by exempting the master of the yurt and his family from paying taxes, and rewarded him for the service he had given me at a critical moment. When I turned 19, I became ill. I was treated with all kinds of remedies, but no medicine helped; for seven days I neither ate nor drank, and I lay in the heat. At that time, I was made aware by others of the wound that had opened up on my hand between my fingers. The court wept, fearing for the unhappy outcome of the illness, and I myself wept, but I soon ate and recovered.

One day, while I was busy reading a chapter of the Qur’an in my father’s room, Tabarak, a long-haired Sayyid, appeared before me and prophesied that I would be a great king. I did not hesitate to tell my father what I had seen. My father went to the fortune tellers to find out what fate awaited me and they predicted that I would be a powerful king like no other in the world. I rejoiced that I had a great future ahead of me and generously distributed alms to the sick.

When I was 20 years old, I loved horse riding, and I divided my classmates into two groups and often had exemplary fights between them.

I turned 21, became an adult and felt a mature man. In that year, which was a multiple of seven, my father Amir Taragai and his subjects brought in a rich harvest of all crops, and much livestock was also born. For every dozen slaves I appointed an elder, for every 20 horses I bundled them into their own stable, and for every 10 stables I appointed a slave of my own to look after each dozen camels, for every thousand rams I also appointed a slave of my own. I entrusted the management of all my property to a trustworthy slave. After doing all this, I myself became very ill. A doctor in Samarkand advised me to drink the juice of a pomegranate. After drinking this juice, I lost my mind. My relatives were very saddened by my dangerous illness and wept. The Turkestan doctor cured me by making me bleed. I gave many horses and rams as alms and promised to sacrifice 100 camels to the Prophet’s soul, besides many camels for the souls of the righteous caliphs; thanks to the prayer and mercy of Allah, I recovered completely.

In that year, Sultan Kran, the son of Saur, caused much suffering and cruelty in Chagatai ulus. The poor and the rich prayed that he should die as soon as possible. I wanted to punish Cran and began to assemble an army for that purpose. Though I did good to many, I found so few helpers in the cause of war that I had to wait for the right opportunity. Amnr Kazgan, the chief of the Chagatai Amirs, fought against Cran in the valley of Zenga. To everyone’s astonishment, the righteous man was defeated by the cruel one, and Cran did more damage as a result. The hardships endured by the people were soon joined by another disaster: there was a severe cold spell and all the necessities of life became too expensive. Finally, Amir Kazgan gathered a large army, overthrew the cruel Cran, captured him and rewarded those who had wronged him.

I wanted to become the sole ruler of Mawara’unnahr, but since Amr Kazgan was a merciful and just ruler of his people, I resisted.

When I turned 22, I decided to ally myself with Barlas. I gathered a council of 40 young men who went to school with me and presented to them my intention to raise an army on Mount Arafat. At that time, my mother passed away and I held a memorial service. My father soon engaged me to the daughter of Amir Chaguy-Barlas.

One day, on a business trip, I came to the place where Amir Kazgan was sitting in the council. My father was also there. When I got to the Council, I spoke to Amir Kazgan himself and he not only received me kindly and listened to me, but even gave me his granddaughter as a wife. I was very happy to receive this award. I received many possessions and livestock from Amir Kazgan. He was not a particularly powerful ruler and it would have been easy for me to take over his kingdom, but I did not want to pay for the good done to me with evil. That year I turned twenty-three. One day, while hunting, I got caught in a terrible downpour and lost my way. A mountain could be seen in the distance and I hurriedly rode through the space that separated me from it. There were reed yurts on the slopes of the great mountain, and in one of them I sought shelter from the cold. The owners of the yurt were very hospitable to me. I told them the circumstances of my previous life and they asked me to repeat the blessings of the Prophet as they were sufficient for any purpose. With Allah’s help, I was able to arrange the meeting a second time. They said to me, “Behind the curtain of the future, help is prepared for you, Amir; the Prophet’s family is for you; his deputy will become your helper and companion, but who that deputy is, you will only know before you die.” These words destroyed in me all excitement and worry; I was encouraged and gave up my secret intention to go to Khorasan and set out for Herat. While I was leaving, I received a letter from Amir Husayn saying: “The chiefs of my army have agreed to kill me and enthrone Amir Bakir; I hope you will come soon; perhaps I can join you and go to Amir Kazgan to be honoured by him.

Without further ado, I set out with an army and left for Herat that very evening. Amir Husayn left the city, made a sort of intention to enter into battle with me, I feared his craftiness and, relying on the Allah, I prepared myself for the battle; then he came to me with the great crowd of every fortune, and between us the meeting on horseback took place. Then we went together to Amir Kazgan, who, when he heard of our departure, sent his son Abdullah to us. I sent Amir Husayn ahead to Amir Kazgan with great gifts. Amir Kazgan gently embraced Husayn and said to him, “May your face turn white,” and invited Husayn to stay in his tent. A few moments later, Amir Husayn’s subjects became indignant and wanted to plunder his treasury. Ḥusayn did not have enough wealth to gift the rebels and thus calm the uproar. When the rebels saw that there was no hope of getting money from Husayn, they planned to kill him. Fortunately, Husayn learned in time of the criminal intentions of his subjects and came to me for help. I took all measures to avert the danger and save Amir Husayn from death.

One day Amir Husayn and I went hunting. During the hunt, Amir Qazgan and ten horsemen from his retinue joined us. Qazgan was very attentive, he charmed us with his treatment and we became friends. Amir Husayn stopped on the bank of the river, but Amir Kazgan asked him to go to a place called Armugan, and here he arranged it perfectly.

Amir Kazgan stayed there, while Amir Husayn and I said goodbye to Kazgan and moved on through the steppe without a road. After a long journey, we reached the banks of the Murghab River. Here we received unpleasant news from Herat. From there we received the news that Amir Bakir, taking advantage of our absence, had succeeded in subduing the population of Herat and seizing power completely. Faced with this news, Amir Husayn sought my advice on what to do in these difficult circumstances. I informed him that I thought it would be good to attack Herat decisively; if we succeeded, we would achieve our cause, and if we failed, our courage would be praised in any case. Amir Husayn agreed to follow my advice. I began to guess; the divination only strengthened our resolve; our venture promised to succeed. Amir Husayn promised to share the possession of Khorasan with me if we succeeded. Then, with 300 of my brave horsemen, I set out with him for Khorasan. When we arrived in Herat, the city gate was not locked. This strange circumstance greatly worried Amir Husayn: He concluded from the fact that the gate was unlocked that the enemy must not be afraid of us if they did not think it necessary to lock the gates when our troops approached. I began to reassure Amir Husayn, then I struck the horse with the whip and rode towards the town, dragging the army behind me. Amir Husayn and his army rode into the centre of the city while I remained at the gates to defend those who entered the city in case of a sudden attack from outside. In the meantime, Husayn went to Bakir’s camp, captured him in his sleep and seized the throne. I too was invited by Amir Husayn through a messenger to enter the city. At that time, the troops of Bakir, after learning what fate had befallen their Amir, wanted to attack the army of Amir Husayn, but the arrival of my army forced them to abandon their intention and they expressed their unconditional submission to Amir Husayn.

Although Husayn achieved his goal with my help, he did not think of fulfilling his earlier promise. Outraged by this ingratitude of Amir Husayn, I decided to punish him and expel him by force so that I could ascend the throne myself. This intention did not meet with the approval of my troops, so I was forced to abandon the plan. Here I realised that a faithful companion is more valuable than a thousand infidels. I parted company with Amir Husayn and went to Amir Kazgan. When I arrived, Amir Kazgan was very pleased with me. At that time, Amir Kazgan’s subjects were upset against him. When I learned that the rebellion was led by a certain Danyshmancha-Uglan, I told Kazgan about it and advised him to send letters and gifts to all parties in the name of Danyshmancha-Uglan and then reward those who would submit and punish the rebels severely.

I was 24 years old, began to study the art of war and wanted to seize power.

At that time, the people who had conspired against Amir Kazgan befriended me; they wanted to kill Kazgan at an opportune time and invited me to join them, go to Urdu with Danyshmancha Uglan and seize the throne. I immediately agreed with them and in the meantime hurried to warn the Amir Kazgan of the danger he was in. When the insurgents learned of this, they also hastened to send Amir Kazgan a letter in which they sincerely repented of seeking his life. Amir Kazgan gratefully accepted the intruders’ explanation and put his trust in me.

One evening, Amir Kazgan invited me to his house. When I came to Amir’s, I found all the intruders with him; they were all wearing curls under their outer garments. I noticed this and immediately reported it to Amr. When I informed him that he had indeed gathered the conspirators, Amir Kazgan ordered all those present to leave on the pretext that they were ill, and asked me for advice on what they should do. I advised to distribute gifts to all the discontented people; Amir implemented my suggestion and distributed many gifts.

When the people began to divide the Amir’s gifts among themselves, a quarrel broke out and all agreements were dissolved. The Amir was so pleased with me that he gave me the city of Shirganat as a gift for the services I rendered him.

At that time I was 25 years old. Amir Kazgan, who wanted to take Choresm, considered the matter extremely difficult and therefore wanted to entrust it to me. I realised that it would be better for me to first send someone else to fight the enemy and then finally conquer Khorezm. The person closest to Amir Kazgan at that time was Amir Hisrau-Bayankuli. I spoke to him and impressed upon him that he must convince Amir Kazgan that the conquest of Khorezm was not a difficult task, and that it would therefore be good if Amir left it to his son Abdullah, who could lead the conquest to glory, which he would not do if I were in charge, for then the conquest of Khorezm would be mine.

Khisrau-Bayankuli reported to Amir Kazgan that I had impressed him, and Amir agreed to send Abdulla to Khorezm with an army. In the meantime, the people of Khorezm had entrenched themselves in the city, marched out of the city under the protection of the fortifications and gained the upper hand in the battle against Abdullah’s army, preventing him from entering the fortress. Abdullah informed his father of his defeat, and Amir Kazgan said that he had found it necessary for me to set out myself to capture Khoresm, and he ordered me to accomplish this task immediately. When I reached my destination, I marched with a large army to Khwarazm, and Abdullah was horrified at my misfortune. At my approach, the people of Khwarazm quickly retreated and disappeared behind the walls of the city. I immediately wrote to all the influential people of the city with gifts and secretly requested that the people voluntarily gave me the city. My wish was granted and I took Khorezm without a fight. When I returned to Amir Kazgan with Abdullah, I was rewarded with his gratitude, and as a reward for successfully completing the task entrusted to me, I was appointed governor of Khorezm. I was 26 years old. One day we went hunting with Amir Kazgan in the Kamar region. The hunt was very successful, so we stayed overnight in the area. Tughluq Timur, the son-in-law of Amir Kazgan, had a plan to kill his father-in-law and take the throne. He had conspired with some evil men, and on the night we stayed in Kamar, he came with seven men armed with sabres to kill Kazgan. At that time there were no other men near him except the trappers. I mounted my horse and charged at the intruders, while Amir took advantage of the darkness and hid behind a large rock. Hearing the noise, other hunters gathered and Tughluq Timur, fearing retribution for the assassination of Amir Kazgan, fled to the mountains of Mawara’unnahr.

In gratitude for his services, Amir Kazgan gave me the fortress of Shadman. After I had taken possession of Choresm and Shadman, I levied many taxes and gave lavish gifts to my soldiers. Although I did much good for my people, my desire to be an independent ruler still did not meet with their sympathy. At that time, some wily women informed Amir Kazgan that the wife of Tughluq Timur, Amir Kazgan’s daughter, had lost her mind when her husband fled. The Lmir Kazgan, who had fallen for this elaborate ruse, forgave Tughluq Timur and sent him a letter inviting him to return. I informed Amir Kazgan that in my opinion women should not be trusted and should do what the Shariah commands. The Prophet said that one should only consult with a woman to do exactly the opposite of what the woman advises. Amir Kazgan agreed with me and I set off to see Tughluq Timur, determined to avenge him.

I was 27 years old. One day Amir called me and told me that he was not happy with his wife and therefore wanted to divorce her. But a few days later, Amir’s thinking changed completely: he changed his mind about divorcing his wife, started treating her well, called Tughluq Timur to him and forgave him his debt. At the same time, Amir handed over Muhammad-hoja Andijan, which was ruled by his son Abdullah, arousing the displeasure of Hysrau-Bayankuli against him, who befriended Tughluq Timur. Hisrau-Bayankuli was Abdullah’s father-in-law and hoped for great influence and respect from Abdullah’s accession to the throne. When he saw that his dreams were not being fulfilled, he and Tughluq Timur decided to get rid of Amir Kazgan by force. I informed Kazgan, to whom I was loyal like a son, and the Amir wrote a will in my favour, so that after his death I would be Sultan of Turan province.

One day Amir Kazgan went hunting across the river Jayhun with several men unarmed. Tughluq Timur and Bayan-Kuli found this opportunity very favourable for the realisation of their criminal plans and, forgetting the favour of the kind Amir, they killed him in spite of his kinship and stained with his innocent blood the land where they were hunting. Hearing of the atrocity, I was greatly grieved, went quickly to the place, took the body of the slain Amir Kazgan and buried him on the bank of the river Djaihun. After the death of Kazgan, Tughluq Timur and Bayan-Kuli enthroned Abdullah Valikhan, to whom Amir Kazgan had given the Khan’s letter during his life; they first acknowledged him, then insidiously killed him in the surroundings of Samarkand. Abdullah excelled in avarice, and Tughluq Timur and Bayan-Kuli were very greedy, so they remained dissatisfied with the Amir they had appointed. Soon they deposed Abdullah and put Timur Shah Uglan, the son of Yasur Timurkhan, on the throne in his place.

They gathered a large number of troops to destroy Abdullah. They succeeded in defeating Abdullah’s army and forced him to seek his salvation by fleeing across the river Jayhun, where he died. I was 28 years old at the time.

I was grateful to the late Amir Kazgan, whom I revered as my own father, and therefore considered it my sacred duty to honour Bayan-Kuli and Tughluq Timur for his death.

Having assembled an army, I marched to Samarkand. On the way, I met Bayan-Saldur, who joined me along with the lost property in his possession. We reached the border of Shash. I also managed to persuade Amir Barlas to join me as well. And Haji Barlas was the son of Barlu, grandson of Tamullah, great-grandson of Sulkan, great-grandson of Karajar-Nuyan. All three of us went towards Samarkand. At that time Tamur Shah was ruling Mawara’unnahr, who owed his rise to Tughluq Timur and Bayan-Kuli, who supported him. After a bloody battle, we succeeded in driving Timur Shah out of Samarkand and took Mawara’unnahr. The three of us – myself, Timur, Amir Hajji Barlas and Bayan-Saldur – allied ourselves and took Samarkand peacefully until Bayan-Saldur, drunk on wine, died. When Bayan-Saldur died, his rights to power in our Triple Alliance passed to his son by inheritance, but Amir Haji Barlas had the idea of secretly getting rid of this ally and began to take appropriate action. I repeatedly admonished him, but it had no effect on him and he continued his scheming. Such actions by Amir Haji Barlas led to unrest and discord among the people. I was 28 years old at the time. The year was expensive for all supplies; the army and the people found it unbearably difficult to live, and the people of Mawara’unnahr despaired; they all sent me a statement together that the entire population had decided to leave the Turan area and not to return until a just government took power in Turan. This decision of the people shook me deeply; I wanted to become a sovereign. However, it was very difficult to do anything in this direction. At that time, Ilchi-Lugay Saldur was the Khan of Balkh, Amir Bayaznd-Jalair ruled Khujand province, Muhammad Khoja was the ruler of Shibirgan. In the cities of Kogistan the Badakshan-Amirs ruled, in the province of Jilan up to the place of Khazret Imam the Khan Kai Hisrau, and the Amir Khyzr Yasauri ruled the province of Samarkand up to Sarshuly. All these governors were the full sovereigns like kings in their territories, therefore it was impossible to take away a kingdom from so many strong sultans except by bravery. Seeing that it was quite impossible to succeed by open force, I decided to use a ruse. To each of the governors separately and secretly from others I wrote the letters proposing to each of them to enter into union with me, that, joining forces, to expel all the other governors, and to himself, to take possession of the whole country. Quietly, each of them agreed to join hands with me and I succeeded in dividing them among themselves. At that time I was already 29 years old.

I wrote a letter to Ilchi-Lugai Saldur suggesting that I should go there with an army and take possession of the land, as the people of Badakshan had sent me a complaint about the injustice and oppression by their Khan. I warned Ilchi-Lugai Saldur that if he did not want to take Badakshan himself, I would go and take possession of Badakshan myself. I ended my letter with this warning. Ilchi-Lugai Saldur soon moved towards Badakshan, and in the meantime I received news from the Sultans of Badakshan, who, hearing of the danger threatening them, asked me to protect them from the attack of Ilchi-Lugai Saldur, and promised to give me, as a reward for their help, the towns of Khatlan, Arhat and Hazret Imam, taking these possessions from Kay Hisrau, to whom they belonged. I also informed Muhammad Khoja that g. Balkh, the mother of all cities, was now empty and I sent my viceroy there. I suggested to Muhammad Khoja that we should also send a viceroy to Balkh so that we could rule that city together. Muhammad Hoxha, who wanted to warn me, travelled to Balkh personally. The news of Muhammad Hoxha’s movement to Balkh reached Ilchi Lugai Saldur quickly. Ilchi-Lugai Saldur no longer thought of extending his possession by annexing Badakshan, but moved quickly towards the fortress of Shadman and Balkh. But for this reason the rulers of Badakshan obeyed me.

When Ilchi-Lugai Saldur came to Balkh, he not only immediately expelled Muhammad Khoja from there, but went to war against him to punish him for his intention to take possession of Balkh. Then Muhammad Khoja turned to me for help. I rescued Shibirganath from the invasion of Ilchi Lugai Saldur, handed it over to Muhammad Khoja and through this service gained in him a faithful and loyal ally. At that time I was thirty years old.

Amir Husayn, the grandson of Amir Kazgan, had the idea of ascending his father’s throne and set out for Mawara’unnahr with an army and loyal men. He wrote me a letter asking me to help him realise his plan. Amir Husayn was a relative of mine, I was married to his sister, and because of his kinship I aroused in him the desire to take Mawara’unnahr. The reason for my mistake was that I thought the friendship of this wicked man was sincere; I did not know that he combined four evils in his character: 1) envy, 2) avarice, 3) greed and 4) arrogance.

To correct my mistake, I informed Amir Husayn that he should first master Badakshan, which is the key to victory.

In that year, which was an auspicious year (Mubarak), my eldest son was born. In honour of the Prophet, I named him Muhammad, and since my conquests began in that year, I added the name Jagangir to the name Muhammad. The birth of my son brought me good fortune: in that year I gained not only many cities but also many allies: with the exception of Amir Bayazid Jalair and Hadji Barlas, all the rulers were allied with me. With these two opponents, I thought of getting rid of them secretly. Hadji Barlas’ father-in-law thought of getting rid of him and putting his grandson in his place. When Hadji Barlas learned of his father-in-law’s intention, he hastened to have him executed and sought my advice as to whether he should also get rid of the descendants of his executed father-in-law. I dissuaded him from this evil intention. In the same year, Amir Husayn took possession of Badakshan and had three of the rulers there executed without any reason. For such an unprovoked atrocity, he would surely receive retribution on the Day of Dreadful Judgement. When I took Balkh, the mother of cities, the heirs of the rulers he had slain killed Amir Husayn himself to avenge the death of their fathers. I was 31 years old. Tughluq Timur, a grandson of Genghis Khan, was Khan of the Cheta region. He soon decided to take Mawara’unnahr, came to the area of Hak, on the banks of the Syr Darya, near Khojent, and gathered a large number of troops there. Tughluq sent letters to me, Hadji Barlas and Amir Bayazid Tughluq. The letter contained, among other things, the following unobjectionable order: “I, Tughluq Timur Hakan (King of Kings), son of Hakan, order you to come to me with all the people and the army. Hadji Barlas, who had received such a powerful order, was frightened and turned to me to find out what he should do.

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