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A Turkish Effendi on Christendom and Islam

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Blavatsky Pamphlets A Turkish Effendi on Christendom and Islam No. 8 A Turkish Effendi on Christendom and Islam by H.P. Blavatsky Reprinted from “Bla k!ood s Edin#ur$h %a$a&ine'( No. )CC*++I ,anuary -88. /ol C++/II 0ith a 1ore!ord Pu#lished #y The 2.P.B. *i#rary' Toronto'3n. Canada FORE OR! 4in e the *etter herein reprodu ed !as !ritten' nearly fifty years a$o' the onfli t #et!een the t!o ontendin$ reli$ious for es' Christianity and Islam' has #e ome not only more a ute' #ut more !orld5 !id
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  Blavatsky Pamphlets A Turkish Effendi on Christendom and IslamNo. 8 A Turkish Effendi on Christendom and Islam by H.P. Blavatsky Reprinted from “Blak!ood s Edin#ur$h %a$a&ine'(No. )CC*++I ,anuary -88 /ol C++/II0ith a 1ore!ordPu#lished #y The 2.P.B. *i#rary' Toronto'3n. Canada FOREOR! 4ine the *etter herein reprodued !as !ritten' nearly fifty years a$o' the onflit #et!een the t!o ontendin$ reli$ious fores' Christianity and Islam' has #eome not only more aute' #ut more !orld5!ide. Christianity' re$arded as a moral and ethial influene' is on its trial no! as never #efore in its lon$ and' it must #e admitted' #lood5stained history.The letter is an e6at reprint from the ,anuary num#er of Blackwood's Edinburgh   Magazine  for -88. It puts #efore the pu#li so admira#le a summin$5up of the attitude and vie!s of a ultured and intelli$ent %oslem' that it has seemed #oth timely and useful to inlude it in the Blavatsky Pamphlet series' to the end that the 0estern peoples may have the opportunity to study the real issue of the onflit' from the point of vie! of Islam. As the !riter speaks of his onnetion !ith the Theosophial movement founded #y 2. P. Blavatsky' it is pro#a#le that he is one of the Initiates !ho !ere kno!n to #e !orkin$ in the Near East at that time.The inditment !hih the !riter of the *etter #rin$s a$ainst Christianity is a heavy one. It has #een stated time and a$ain in one form or another 7 cf  . Blavatsky Pamphlet No. -. #y many !ho' !hile admirin$ profoundly the Christian ethial teachings ' fail to disover muh evidene of their atual  practice  #y those nations !hih nominally profess to hold and to follo! the reli$ion of its founder.The British 9overnment representative' to !hom the *etter !as $iven' e6plains in an introdutory note the irumstanes under !hih he met the mysterious !riter. I TRO!#CTOR$ OTE In the su#ur# of one of the most romantially situated to!ns in Asia %inor there lives the most remarka#le oriental !hom it has ever #een my fortune to meet. Travelin$ throu$h that interestin$ ountry a fe! months a$o' !ith the vie! of assistin$ the British 9overnment to introdue some muh needed Pa$e 1  Blavatsky Pamphlets A Turkish Effendi on Christendom and IslamNo. 8 reforms' I arrived at 5555555555555555. I purposely a#stain from mentionin$ the name of the plae' as my Eastern friend' to !hom I am inde#ted for the follo!in$ paper' desires his incognito  to #e o#served' for reasons !hih the reader !ill easily understand on its perusal. I remained there some !eeks e6aminin$ the state of the surroundin$ ountry' at that time a $ood deal distur#ed' and $ivin$ the loal authorities the #enefit of a little !holesome ounsel and advie' !hih' I need sarely say' they !holly disre$arded.:%y offiious interferene in their affairs not unnaturally proured me some notoriety; and I reeived' in onse<uene' numerous visits from mem#ers of all lasses of the ommunity detailin$ their $rievanes' and an6ious to kno! !hat hane there mi$ht #e of a fori#le intervention on the part of En$land #y !hih these should #e redressed. In my interourse !ith them' I !as struk #y their onstant allusion to an apparently mysterious individual' !ho evidently en=oyed a reputation for an almost supernatural sa$aity' and !hose name they never mentioned e6ept in terms of the $reatest reverene' and indeed' I mi$ht almost say' of a!e.:%y uriosity at last #eame e6ited' and I made speial in<uiries in re$ard to this unkno!n sa$e. I found that he lived a#out a mile and a half out of the to!n' on a farm !hih he had purhased a#out five years a$o; that no one kne! from !hene he had ome; that he spoke #oth Turkish and Ara#i as his native ton$ues; #ut that some supposed him to #e a 1rank' o!in$ to his entire ne$let of all the eremonial o#servanes of a $ood %oslem' and to a ertain forei$n mode of thou$ht; !hile others maintained that no man !ho had not #een #orn an oriental ould adapt himself so naturally to the domesti life of the East' and a<uire its soial ha#its !ith suh ease and perfetion. 2is erudition !as said to #e e6traordinary' and his life seemed passed in studyin$ the literature of many lan$ua$es > his a$ent' for the purhase and for!ardin$ of suh #ooks and papers as he needed' #ein$ a forei$n merhant at the nearest sea5port. 2e seemed possessed of onsidera#le !ealth' #ut his mode of life !as simple in the e6treme; and he employed lar$e sums in relievin$ the distress #y !hih he !as surrounded' and in protetin$ #y the neessary #ri#es those !ho !ere una#le to protet themselves from oppression. The result !as' that he !as adored #y the ountry people for miles round' !hile he !as rather respeted and feared than disliked #y the Turkish offiials > for he !as e6tremely tolerant of their finanial neessities' and <uite understood that they !ere ompelled to s<uee&e money out of the peasantry' #eause' as they reeived no pay' they !ould starve themselves unless they did.To this $entleman I sent my ard' !ith a note in 1renh' statin$ that I !as a travelin$ En$lishman' !ith a seat in the 2ouse of Commons in immediate prospet at the omin$ eletion' onsumed !ith a desire to reform Asia %inor' or at all events' to enli$hten my ountrymen as to ho! it should #e done. Perhaps I am !ron$ in sayin$ that I atually put all this in my note' #ut it !as ouhed in the usual tone of mem#ers of Parliament' !ho are rammin$ politial <uestions a#road !hih are likely to ome up ne6t session. I kno! the style' #eause I have #een in the 2ouse myself. The note I reeived in reply !as in En$lish' and ran as follo!s?)EAR 4IR >If you are not other!ise en$a$ed' it !ill $ive me $reat pleasure if you !ill do me the honour of dinin$ !ith me to5morro! evenin$ at seven. I trust you !ill e6use the preliminary formality of a visit' #ut I have an appointment at some distane in the ountry' !hih !ill detain me until too late an hour to all. Pa$e 2  Blavatsky Pamphlets A Turkish Effendi on Christendom and IslamNo. 8 Believe me' yours very truly'.....................Effendi.:P.4. > As you may have some diffiulty in findin$ your !ay' my servant !ill #e !ith you at half5past si6 to serve as a $uide:.:)ear me:' I thou$ht' as I read this ivili&ed epistle !ith ama&ement' :I !onder !hether he e6pets me to dress:; for I need sarely say I had ome utterly unprovided for any suh ontin$eny' my !earin$ apparel' out of re$ard for my #a$$a$e5mule' havin$ #een limited to the smallest allo!ane onsistent !ith leanliness. Puntually at the hour named' my dra$oman informed me that ................... Effendi@s servant !as in attendane; and' arrayed in the shootin$5oat' knee5#reehes' and ridin$5#oots' !hih formed my only ostume' I follo!ed him on foot throu$h the narro! !indin$ streets of the to!n' until !e emer$ed into its $ardens' and follo!in$ a harmin$ path #et!een orhards of fruit5trees' $radually reahed its e6treme outskirts' !hen it turned into a narro! $len' do!n !hih foamed a #ra!lin$ torrent.:A steep asent for a#out ten minutes #rou$ht us to a lar$e $ate in a !all. This !as immediately opened #y a porter !ho lived in a lod$e outside' and I found myself in $rounds that !ere half park' half flo!er5$arden' in the enter of !hih' on a terrae ommandin$ a ma$nifient vie!' stood the house of my host .......a Turkish mansion !ith pro=etin$ lattied !indo!s' and a ourtyard !ith a olonnade round it and a fountain in the middle. A #road fli$ht of steps led to the prinipal entrane' and at the top of it stood a tall fi$ure in the flo!in$ Turkish ostume of fifty years a$o' no!' alas #eomin$ very rare amon$ the upper lasses. I !ondered !hether this ould #e the !riter of the invitation to dinner; #ut my dou#ts !ere speedily solved #y the empressement   !ith !hih this tur#aned individual' !ho seemed a man of a#out fifty years of a$e' desended the steps' and !ith the most onsummate ease and $rae of manner' advaned to shake hands and $ive me a !elome of unaffeted ordiality.:2e spoke En$lish !ith the $reatest flueny' thou$h !ith a sli$ht aent' and in appearane !as of the fair type not ommonly seen in Turkey; the eyes dark5#lue' mild in repose' #ut' !hen animated' e6pandin$ and flashin$ !ith the #rilliany of the intelli$ene !hih lay #ehind them. The #eard !as silky and sli$htly au#urn. The !hole e6pression of the fae !as ine6pressi#ly !innin$ and attrative' and I instintively felt that if it only depended upon me' !e should soon #eome fast friends. 4uh in fat proved to #e the ase. 0e had a perfet little dinner' ooked in Turkish style' #ut served in European fashion; and after!ards talked so far into the ni$ht' that my host !ould not hear of my returnin$' and put me in a #ed5room as niely furnished as if it had #een in a ountry5house in En$land.Ne6t mornin$ I found that my dra$oman and #a$$a$e had all #een transferred from the house of the family !ith !hom I had #een lod$in$ in to!n' and I !as politely $iven to understand that I !as fori#ly taken possession of durin$ the remainder of my stay at ............ > . At the e6piration of a !eek I !as so muh struk #y the entirely novel vie!' as it seemed to me' !hih my host took of the onflit #et!een Christendom and Islam' and #y the philosophi aspet under !hih he presented the Eastern uestion $enerally' that I asked him !hether he !ould o#=et to puttin$ his ideas in !ritin$' and allo!in$ me to pu#lish them > prefain$ his remarks #y any e6planation in re$ard to his o!n personality' !hih he mi$ht feel disposed to $ive. 2e !as e6tremely relutant to omply !ith this re<uest' his native modesty and shrinkin$ from notoriety of any sort presentin$ an almost insurmounta#le o#stale to his rushin$ into print' even in the stritest incognito . 2o!ever' #y dint of persistent importunity' I at last sueeded in #reakin$ throu$h his reserve' and he onsented to thro! into the form of a personal ommuniation Pa$e 3  Blavatsky Pamphlets A Turkish Effendi on Christendom and IslamNo. 8 addressed to me !hatever he had to say' and to allo! me to make any use of it I liked.I onfess that !hen I ame to read his letter' I !as some!hat taken a#ak #y the unompromisin$ manner in !hih the Effendi had stated his ase; and I should have asked him to modify the lan$ua$e in !hih he had ouhed his vie!s' #ut I felt onvined that' had I done so' he !ould have !ithdra!n it alto$ether. I !as' moreover' ashamed to admit that I dou#ted !hether I should find a ma$a&ine in En$land !ith suffiient oura$e to pu#lish it. As althou$h my friend !rote En$lish !ith e6traordinary faility for an oriental' the style !as some!hat defetive' I ventured to propose that I should re!rite it' retainin$ not merely the ideas' #ut the e6pressions as far as possi#le. To this he readily onsented; and as I read it over to him after!ards' and he approved of' it in its present form' I an $uarantee that his theory as to the ori$in and nature of the ollision #et!een the East and the 0est is aurately represented. I need not say that I differ from it' entirely' and in our numerous onversations $ave my reasons for doin$ so.:I !ill not enter into them here' ho!ever' as they !ill at one our to the intelli$ent reader; #ut not!ithstandin$ the many fallaies ontained in the Effendi@s line of ar$ument' I have thou$ht it !ell that it should' if possi#le' #e made pu#li in En$land' for many reasons.In the first plae' the <uestion of reform' espeially in Asiati Turkey' oupies a dominant position in En$lish politis; and it is of $reat importane that !e should kno!' not only that many intelli$ent Turks onsider a reform of the 9overnment hopeless' #ut to !hat auses they attri#ute the present derepit and orrupt ondition of the empire. 0e an $ather from the vie!s here e6pressed' thou$h stated in a most unomplimentary manner' !hy many of the most enli$htened %oslems' !hile lamentin$ the vies !hih have #rou$ht their ountry to ruin' refuse to o5operate in an attempt' on the part of the 0estern Po!ers' !hih' in their opinion' !ould only #e $oin$ from #ad to !orse. 2o!ever muh !e may differ from those !hom !e !ish to #enefit' it !ould #e folly to shut our ears to their opinions in re$ard to ourselves or our reli$ion' simply #eause they are distasteful to us. 0e an #est ahieve our end #y andidly listenin$ to !hat they may have to say.  And this must #e my apolo$y' as !ell as that of the ma$a&ine in !hih it appears' for the pu#liation of a letter so hostile in tone to our herished onvitions and #eliefs. At the same time' I annot dis$uise from myself that' !hile many of its statements are pre=udied and hi$hly oloured' others are not alto$ether devoid of some foundation in truth? it never an do us any harm to see ourselves sometimes as others see us. The tendeny of mankind' and perhaps espeially of En$lishmen' is so very muh that of the ostrih' !hih is satisfied to keep its head in the sand and see nothin$ that is distur#in$ to its self5omplaeny' that a little rou$h handlin$ oasionally does no harm.These onsiderations have indued me to do my #est to make :the #ark of the distant Effendi: #e heard' to use the fine ima$ery of Bon 9aultier; 4ay' is it the $lane of the hau$hty vi&ier' 3r the #ark of the distant Effendi' you fear(  — Eastern 4erenade?(Bon 9aultier s “Book of Ballads.(Pa$e 4
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