Khitab of Lithuanian-Polish Tartars

Khitab of Lithuanian-Polish Tartars (Czes-taw -Lapicz) This work is a monography of an eighteenth century religious writing relic of Lithuanian-Polish Tartars, the so called Milkamanovitch’s Khitab. It consists of three basic parts. The first part presents the history of Tartar ethnic group inhabiting the territory of the former Great Lithuanian Duchy. This group is referred to in this work as Lithuanian Tartars in the sense “pertaining to historic; pre-partitional Lithuania”. Other terms, such as Bielorussian Tartars, Lipeks etc. were considered inadequate, the view being also substantiated in the work. Critical approach is taken in reference to the traditional explanation of rapid and total linguistic assimilation of Lithuanian Tartars; mixed marriages and army conscription, though auspicious to the assimilation process, were not the decisive factors. The factor which in the author’s view is more important was that the language of the Tartars from Kipch Step had not been based in religion and had not been a national value that would have united various trib al groups: the migrants shared no common linguistic tradition, nor awareness of national community. While choosing a new homeland they accepted unreservedly also the new language. This part includes also a discussion of Lithuanian Tartars’ religious literature emphasising its cause- effect link to the loss of their ethnic language. Part II comprises paleography and graphy of the relic, with special focus on establishing the date of the manuscript. Both direct and indirect dating methods rendered credible the year 1197 of Mjra or A.D. 1781 as the date Khitab had been written. Complete theoretical assumptions concerning the transliteration of the Arabic alphabet, in which Khitab had been written, into Latin alphabet are presented in the part devoted to graphy and ortography. An original transliteration system used in the work throughout is presented in Tables. The earlier studies by A. Antonowicz were taken into consideration for purposes of comparison in the analysis of manuscript graphy. It was possible to find that the graphy in Milkamanovitch’s Khitab differs greatly from other manuscripts so far examined. The differences include both frequency of some 48 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS graphems and their function in the text. These differences are explained by the strong relation between the relic’s graphy and the graphic tradition of Turcolingual writings. The impact of this writing is also found in phonetics, which is given a marginal concern in the present work. Part III of the current work offers an analysis of relic language inflexion which permitted to substantiate its mixed Bielorussian-Polish character. However, the morphology of Khitab language is not the result of interference between Bielorussian and Polish linguistic structures; it is rather a result of transference understood as mechanical and random transfer of habits and features from one language into the other. In terms of quantity and volume, Bielorussian features prevail in this system. Therefore, Milkamanovitch’s Khitab should be defined as Bielorussian—Polish, the term meaning not only an average linguistic system with prevalence of Bielorussian features but also a quantitative dominance of Bielorussian texts. While discussing the linguistic complexity of the relic, it was emphasized that the Bielorussian language plane had no such features that would preclude the relationship between Khitab and Bielorussian South-western dialects, or, more precisely, Bielorussian dialect area contained in the fork of the rivers Niemen and Szczary. The Polish language plane had also offered no such features that would preclude manuscript’s relation with seventeenth and eighteenth century Polish northern dialect. Other features, not contained in the indicated areas may be the evidence of different dialect boundaries, in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries or may be a proof of Khitab’s linguistic complexity due to accumulation of features of other copies based on different dialects. The current work comprises also illustrative materials such as copies of relic’s pages and transliteration of the text. ARTICLES WELCOME READERS ARE INVITED TO SUBMIT ARTICLES WHICH WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR PUBLICATION IN THE REVIEW OF 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. 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