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The Legal Situation of Tartarian Population in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania

52 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Musa’s tomb north of Srinagar which, they hold, enshrines the mortal remains of Prophet Moses. The one-room crypt is unique in structure and design. Built in the Jewish style, the windows and doors have elements of Israeli design. The plain grey grave is unusually large in dimension. The foot of the tomb is, significantly, directed towards Mecca, hardly suggesting a Muslim tomb. Little wonder then, that the non-descript monument attracts a large number of foreign visitors fascinated by the ancient grave of Hazrat Yuz ‘Asaf (the name inscribed on the crypt). Yuz is the short form of Yuzu, the Arabic name for Jesus and Asaf in Hebrew means “the gatherer”. Christ went out to gather the ten lost Israeli tribes. Hence the epithet, “Jesus, the Gatherer.” The first Muslim historian of Kashmir, Mulla Nadiri, states in his Tareekh-e-Kashmir In Raja Gopaladatta’s days (A.D. 49-109), Hazrat Yuz Asaf, having come from Bait-Muqddas (Palestine) to this holy valley, proclaimed his prophethood. He devoted himself, day and night, to prayers to God, and, having attained the heights of piety and virtue, declared himself to be a Messenger of God for the people of Kashmir… I have seen in a book of Hindus that this prophet was really Hazrat Isa (Jesus) Rooh-u-Uah (Spirit of God) on whom be peace and salutations and who had also assumed the name of Yuz Asaf.” According to the Holy Quran, Jesus was “a Messenger to the children of God”. It is possible that Jesus when he migrated from his native land might have assumed the name of Yuz Asaf to conceal his identity from his enemies who could pursue and persecute him. The Bible also reinforces this conjecture by ascertaining that “when afraid for his life, Jesus used to take shelter in mountains in unknown places”. The Holy Quran says: “And we made the son of Mary and his mother a sign, and we gave them shelter on lofty meadows and springs.” Incidentally, the word “Messiah” in Persian means “great traveller.” Max Mueller, in his Sacred Books of the East (Vol. XI) says that the sound’t’ in English is equivalent to the sound’s’ in Arabic. It is plausible that the name Mettayya in Buddhist literature refers to Messiah and stands for the same person. Of the five places mentioned in the Old Testament, the “Land of Promise” — Bethpeor, literally means the “place of opening.” As the Jhelum river is also called “Beth” in Persian and “Veth” in Kashmir, Bethpeor could be the name of a place situated on the banks of the Jhelum. According to Kalhan’s Rajatarangini, Bandipur, also known as Bethpur, which is the place of opening as the valley of Kashmir, opens out from this place and the Jhelum passes through a gap into the Wular lake. Thus it could be inferred that Bethpur of Kashmir was the promised land where Jesus preached to his ‘Children of Israel.’ DID JESUS DIE IN KASHMIR? . 53 In the Sanskrit epic Bhavishya Mahapurana written in 115 A.D. by Maharshi Vedvyas, it is mentioned that Raja Shalewahin (in the year 78 A.D.) visited the Himalayas where the king came across a dignified saintly looking person of fair complexion wearing white robes. Shalewahin asked him who he was. He replied: “Know me as the son of God (Ishputram) and born of a virgin. I am the preacher of the Mlechchh religion and a follower of the true principles.” On being asked what was his religion was, he said: “Rajan, on the disappearance of truth and the destruction of traditions, I appeared there and through my work the wicked and the guilty suffered, and in turn, I also suffered at their hands.” When again asked to further explain his religion, he said: “It is love, truth and purity of heart and for this I am called ‘Isa-Maseeh’ (Jesus Christ).” The king returned after making his obeisance to him. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in his Glimpses of World History: says “All over Central Asia, in Kashmir and Ladakh and Tibet and even further north, there is still a strong belief that Jesus or Issa travelled about there . . . there is nothing inherently improbable in his doing so.” Be that as it may, the raging controversy as to whether Christ was ever in Kashmir is bound to continue unless further research is conducted on the subject. And what is more, to establish the veracity and authenticity of the radical theory, the mortal remains of Yuz Asaf in the Rauzabal tomb will have to be exhumed and examined in a scientific way. The deductions from scholarly probes, however disturbing to the orthodox Christians, cannot be dismissed as an unfounded canard about their saviour. The matter must be investigated meticulously and scrupulously, for is not the essence of Christianity truth and godliness? But, the primary question now is: Will the so-called grave of Jesus Christ in Kashmir be permitted to be excavated for scientific examination? The Legal Situation of Tartarian Population in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (By Jacek Sobczak) Summary The settlement of Tartarian population in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the result of the action of the Lithuanian rulers who settled on their land the prisoners of war taken in the fights with the Golden Horde and the khanates. This type of settlement, as it seems dominated in the times before thr rule was taken over by Witold, and in the 17th and 18th centuries. By far more important was the voluntary emigration characteristic for the Jagiellonian times. It was the consequence of the disintegration of the Golden Horde and the wars connected with it, as well as fights within the Tartar khanates. They caused emigrations to Lithuania of the pretenders to the rule and their supporters after their defeats, and the settlement in those areas of the Tartarian population, who were tired of the wars and looking for peace. The process of Tartarian colonization in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania lasted till the partition of Poland; the greatest wave occuring in the 15th and 16th centuries. The number of Tartars was not great and certainly it did not exceed eleven thousand people; it was concentrated mainly in areas which, after the division into provinces and districts, were found in the province of Trock, Vilno and Nowogrodek. Within the course of centuries the geography of Tartarian colonization underwent a change. The causes cannot be determined with certainty. It was the consequence of the Tartars getting rid of the land burdened with the obligation of military service, and buying land in other areas. As it seems, the same reason caused the movement of Tartars to the Kingdom of Poland. The Tartarian population in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the beginning of the colonization, was differentiated in the class, social and economical status, and the consequence, in the field of legal situation. Considering the criterion of the relation to the land, four groups of Tartar population can be distinguished: The hospodar Tartars, the Cossack Tartars, the Tartars living in towns and Tartars submitted to the Lithuanian magnates. LEGAL SITUATION OF TARTARIAN POPULATION IN LITHUANIA 55 The organizational units of the Tartarian settlements were the companies and squads. The differentiation in the ranges of their activity is very difficult and permits many interpretations. Incontestable is the tribal origin of the companies. Soon, however, they lost this character and they were attached to the administrative division of the country. Whereas the name of a ‘squad’ served to indicate a Tartar tribal group. The companies compromised the Tartarian population obliged to serve in military war service: the hospodar and Cossack Tartars. Due to the developed categorization of the Tartar population, the company constituted a unit of territorial organization, and administrative and taxation district. The superiors of Tartars living in Lithuania were nominated and dismissed by the king. Practically they were life-long officials: the cornets and marshals. A division of competences between those two groups is rather difficult. Both officials were responsible for warfare and taxation duties, as well as representational functions. The cornets had additionally the competence of judicial power in cases of any violations, robberies or damaged caused by the Tartars from their subordinated companies. They also judged some civil issues, particularly referring to legacies. Both the cornets and the marshals enjoyed a great confidence and that was why they were able to issue certificates about the noble origin of the subordinated Tartars, they warranted for their tribesman taken prisoner, they certified documents. The commanders or the Tartar forces were Cossack hetmans. It seems that: the offices of cornets and marshals were according to patterns of the corresponding land officials. The religious organization of the settlement played an essential role in the life of Tartarian population. The religious functions were held by mullahs, Islamic priests who also performed some functions of administration and representational nature. The endowment of mosques consisted of estates bequested by the worshippers. About the religious activity of Islamic communities which were called ‘djamr’ little is known. Meetings of the worshippers were held sporadically. Most frequently they were presided by the cornets. Next to the courts of cornets and courts judging in civil cases, about which only scarse information has been preserved, in the second half of the 16th century, a religious court existed in which the Cadi of all Tartars of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the judge. In the later times, in spite of the prohibition of the king, the Tartars turned with their religious and often civil affairs to the Turkish mufties. Among the Tartars settled in Lithuania there was a closely observed hierarchy in the importance of particulars families (the hierarchy of positions) which reflected the relations prevailing in the Mongolian state. Any trials to violate it, created severe contests and conflicts. None of the Tartar population 56 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS groups can be counted to the nobility, although in the historiography of many authors such name was attributed to hospodar Tartars. However, such a point of view is the result of a misunderstanding of the specificity of the system of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The hospodar Tartars did not have full political rights, they did not participate in the regional councils, they did not hold and could not hold any offices. These prohibitions were not the expenssion of national or religious discrimination but they followed from the position of Tartars among other population classes. This position was determined by the relation to the land which the hospodar Tartars possessed as their own, but it was burdened with the obligation of military war service. Hence the trials to sell the land and to buy another land, and the movements of Tartarts to the area of the Kingdom of Poland aiming at the improvement of their legal situation. On the other hand, numerous resolutions of the regional councils, sometimes interpreted as anti-Tartarian did not have such a character at all, since they only expressed the justified concern of not decreasing the warfare service obligation of the Tartars. On the other hand, some Statute resolutions had discriminative character. However they soon were cancelled by the king’s priviledges and by Seym constitutions. In spite of the small number, the Tartar population must have presented some kind of rivalry which can be concluded from the resolutions preventing acceptance of Tartars to the guilds. That the fears of rivalry were not without reason was the fact of a complete monopolization of the transportation services by the Tartars proving the vitality and economic ability of this population. On account of their religious belief, the Tartars were subject to some insignificant limitations and restrictions reduced in practice to the prohibition of marriages with Christians and the employment of Christian servants. In practice these restrictions were evaded. Aside of an incident of the destruction of a mosque in Treks, and the pronouncement of Piotr Czyzowski, the Tartars were not persecuted because of professing the Islamic religion. What is Islam? Islam literally means Peace, surrender of one’s Will; and to be in amity and concord. The significance of the name Islam is the attainment of a life’ of perfect peace and eternal happiness through complete surrender to the Will of God. The Quran — the Holy Book of the Muslims — interprets it to be the religion whose teachings are in consonance with human nature. Islam, as the Quran has stated (5:4), is the completion of the religion inaugurated by God in the beginning of the world, on His sending the Quran through the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be on him). As a child is taught his alphabet, so God taught the religion to the world gradually and little by little, by sending His prophets at different times and to different peoples. When the world reached that stage of understanding when it was ready for the final lesson, He sent the last and complete Book through the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be on him). This Book not only corrects the errors which had found their way into various religions, but preaches the truths which have not been preached before, on account of special circumstances of the society or the early stage of its development. At the same time it gathers together in itself the truths which were contained in any Divine revelation granted to any people for the guidance of men (The Quran 98:4). Lastly, it meets all the spiritual and moral requirements of an ever advancing humanity. This is Islam which is wrongly called Muhammadanism. According to Islam, the object of man’s life is its complete unfoldment. Islam does not support the idea that man is born in sin. It teaches that everyone has within him the seed of perfect development and its rests solely with a person himself to make or mar his fortune. We created man in the best make says the Holy Quran (95:5). The cardinal doctrine of Islam is the Unity of Godhead. There is none worthy of worship but the one and only God, and Muhammad is His Prophet. He is free from all defects, Holy and Transcendent. He is All Good, All Mercy and. All Power. He has no partner. He neither begets nor is He begotten, because these are the traits of frail and weak humanity. Furthermore, Islam helps us to establish a permanent relationship with God and to realise Him during our earthly life as our Helper in all our affairs and undertakings. This Unity of God is the first and foremost pillar of Islam and every other belief hangs upon it. Islam requires belief in all the prophets, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Confucious and Zoroaster. We regard them all (and many more not mentioned here) as heavenly teachers born to reform and regenerate man and lead him to God. Adherents of some other religions may consider it an act of piety to use disrespectful words and heap abuse on the prophets of other religions, but if a Muslim were to show the slightest disrespect towards the founder of any other faith, he does so at the cost of his own faith. .He has to utter the respectful benediction Alaihis-Salam (peace be on him) after mentioning the name of every prophet. Thus Islam establishes peace between all religions. The REVIEW of RELIGIONS The Review of Religions is the oldest magazine of its kind published in the English language in the Indo-Pakistan Sub-Continent. Its first issue was published in 1902 and it has been continuously published since. It bears the distinction that it was initiated under the direction of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah himself. During more than eighty-one years the message of Islam has been conveyed through this magazine to hundreds of readers and many fortunate persons have recognised the truth of Islam and accepted it through studying it. The articles published in it deal not only with the doctrines and teachings of Islam but also set forth a comparative appreciation of the teachings of other faiths. One of its outstanding features is the refutations of the criticism of Islamic teachings by orientalists and non-muslim scholars. It also presents solutions in the light of Islamic teachings of the problems with which the Islamic world is from time to time confronted. A study of this magazine is indispensable for the appreciation of the doctrines of the Ahmadiyya Movement and the teachings of its holy Founder. Printed by The Eastern Press Ltd, London and Reading Published by The Review of Religions, The London Mosque, 16Gressenhalf Road, London, SW18 SQL

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