Hoshruba: The Land and the Tilism

Hoshruba: The Land and the Tilism: Book 1, Episode 1

When Tilism-e Hoshruba was first published in Lucknow, India in 1883, it was already a beloved oral history that had been performed for years in public and private. What Hoshruba’s fans did not know, however, was that professional storyteller Mir Ahmed Ali and his disciples had engineered a massive literary hoax, writing Hoshruba themselves and falsely attributing it to the epic poem cycle The Adventures of Amir Hamza. But less important than Hoshruba’s provenance was its impact: The story of the tilism (an inanimate object transformed into its own world) of Hoshruba, defended by Emperor Afrasiyab against rival tilism as well as the trickster Amar Ayyar, has become one of the foremost fantasy tales in Urdu. For a more in-depth look at the epic’s sorcerers, formidable women, and grimdark (long before the genre existed) battles, read Mahvesh Murad’s Under the Radar review.

Hoshruba (which translates to “ravishing the senses”) is part of the dastan tradition of oral storytelling and is being translated into English for the first time as Hoshruba: The Land and the Tilism. In its original form, Hoshruba was published in Urdu, in eight volumes totaling over eight thousand pages. In translating the epic into English, Pakistani-Canadian writer Musharraf Ali Farooqi has split each volume into three, for a total of 24 volumes. Over the next few months, you will be able to read all 50 episodes—the entire first volume of Hoshruba—on Tor.com, with one new episode going up every day. You can also purchase the entire novel through Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

The Beginning of the History: Of Amir Hamza the Lord of the Auspicious Planetary Conjunction and the False God Laqa

The deft fingers of narrators weave this splendid legend with the golden thread of sorcery and spread it out thus, before marvelling eyes.

Emperor Naushervan of Persia dreamt one night that a crow coming from the East flew off with his crown, then a hawk flew in from the West, killed the crow and restored him his crown. In the morning he asked the interpretation of this dream from his minister, Buzurjmehr, who was singularly adept in all occult arts. Buzurjmehr made his calculations and replied that in the future a raider named Hashsham from the eastern city of Khaibar would defeat the emperor’s army and capture his crown and throne. A warrior named Hamza from the western city of Mecca would then appear on the scene and would kill the raider and restore the regalia to the emperor.

Hearing the auspicious news, Naushervan sent Buzurjmehr to Mecca in anticipation of Hamza’s birth to declare the boy the emperor’s protégé.

On the day Hamza was born to the chieftain of a tribe, two other boys, named Amar and Muqbil, were also born in Mecca. Buzurjmehr predicted from occult foreknowledge that they would be Hamza’s trusted companions. He foretold that Amar would become a devious trickster and Muqbil a matchless archer.

Meanwhile, in the far-away, enchanted land of Mount Qaf, a daughter was born to Emperor Shahpal, the lord of the jinns, fairies and demons. She was named Aasman Peri. Shahpal’s minister and diviner made her horoscope and revealed that after eighteen years, the demons of Mount Qaf would rebel and overthrow Emperor Shahpal. Then a human being named Hamza would come from the world of men to defeat the demons and restore Shahpal to the throne. The horoscope also disclosed that Hamza would marry Aasman Peri. Upon learning of this, Emperor Shahpal sent for Hamza’s cradle from Mecca and kept him in Mount Qaf for seven days. Before he was sent back, Hamza was nursed on the milk of jinns, demons, fairies, ghouls and other beasts to expel the fear of those creatures from his heart.

As Hamza, Amar and Muqbil grew up they met with many adventures and received holy gifts and talents with whose help they triumphed over powerful enemies. Their fame and exploits won them friends and followers. Hamza was chosen as their amir or leader, and became renowned as Amir Hamza. Because he was born under a lucky astrological conjunction of Jupiter and Venus, he was titled the Lord of the Auspicious Planetary Conjunction.

As foretold by Buzurjmehr, Amir Hamza defeated the raider Hashsham who captured Naushervan’s crown and throne and restored them to the emperor. While at Naushervan’s court, Amir Hamza fell in love with the emperor’s daughter, Princess Mehr-Nigar. Their love attracted the notice of Naushervan’s evil minister, Bakhtak. He was no idle hand at mischief and, suspecting Hamza of carrying on secret trysts with Mehr-Nigar, Bakhtak began to stir trouble at court. Buzurjmehr did his best to protect Amir Hamza but Amir Hamza’s amorous passion and reckless trysts with the princess made Buzurjmehr fear for his own reputation.

When the King of India rebelled against Emperor Naushervan, Buzurjmehr saw an opportunity to send Amir Hamza on a far-away campaign. He advised the emperor to promise Princess Mehr-Nigar’s hand in marriage to the one who would subdue the rebel king. As Buzurjmehr expected, Amir Hamza accepted the challenge, was engaged to Mehr-Nigar, and sent off on the campaign to India.

In Amir Hamza’s absence, Bakhtak hatched countless treacherous plots against him with the sanction of the fickle-minded emperor. But Amir Hamza foiled them with the help of his holy gifts, Amar Ayyar’s cunning stratagems, and Buzurjmehr’s assistance. When Amir Hamza returned victorious from his adventures, the palace intrigues continued against him. However, to the shame and chagrin of Naushervan and his court, Mehr-Nigar left to join Hamza.

Meanwhile, the foretold rebellion of demons was underway in the enchanted land of Mount Qaf. Emperor Shahpal sent for Hamza to subdue the rebellious demons. While Amir Hamza was away, Amar Ayyar countered the intrigues and plots hatched by Bakhtak and his son, Bakhtiarak. He defended his camp against Naushervan’s armies and kept them from carrying away Mehr-Nigar. During his destined eighteen-year stay in Mount Qaf, Amir Hamza quelled the rebellion of the demons, married Aasman Peri and had a daughter with her.

After spending eighteen years in Mount Qaf Amir, Hamza finally returned and married Mehr-Nigar. He married several other women and fairies besides and had many sons and grandsons.

Amir Hamza appointed his grandson, Saad, King of the True Believers but retained command of the armies himself. Many sons were also born to the trickster Amar Ayyar and were appointed tricksters to Amir Hamza’s sons.

Amir Hamza and his armies continued to battle tyrants, giants and sorcerers for the glory of the True Faith and encountered and destroyed many tilisms. Amir Hamza’s knowledge of the Most Great Name1 protected him against magic and sorcery. Many of these events are recounted in The Adventures of Amir Hamza.

For some time, Amir Hamza was engaged in warfare with the false God Laqa, an eighty-five-foot-tall, pitch-black giant. His head was full of vanity and resembled the ruins of a palace dome; his limbs were the size of giant tree branches. He proclaimed himself God and declared Bakhtiarak, son of Bakhtak, the devil-designate of his court. A great many infidels and sorcerers became Laqa’s believers. However, the fates and fortunes decided by Laqa always turned out to be false. Calamity and misfortune marked his followers but Laqa had not yet run out of luck.

 

Of the Tilism Called Hoshruba and the Master of the Tilism, Emperor Afrasiyab

We are told that at the bottom of the untold past, a group of sorcerers met to create a tilism or magical world by using occult sciences2 to infuse inanimate matter with the spirits of planetary and cosmic forces.

In the tilism, the sorcerers exercised powers that defied the laws of God and the physical world. They created illusions, transferred spirits between bodies, transmuted matter, made talismans, and configured and exploited Earth’s inherent physical forces to create extraordinary marvels.

Once the tilism was created, the sorcerers named it Hoshruba. A sorcerer named Lachin ruled Hoshruba in its early years. Then one of his deputies, the cunning sorcerer Afrasiyab, deposed his master and usurped the throne. Afrasiyab became the Emperor of Hoshruba and Master of the Tilism.

Afrasiyab and his sorceress wife, Empress Heyrat, ruled over Hoshruba’s three regions: Zahir the Manifest, Batin the Hidden, and Zulmat the Dark. These regions were also tilisms and contained countless dominions and smaller tilisms filled with thousands of buildings, enclosures, gardens and palaces governed by sorcerer princes and sorceress princesses. Ordinary citizens of Hoshruba lived in the region of Zahir the Manifest. Empress Heyrat and the emperor’s ministers, peers and confidants made their abode in Batin the Hidden. Zulmat the Dark was a secluded region of Hoshruba to which few had access. It was inhabited by two of Hoshruba’s most powerful sorceresses.

An enchanted river called the River of Flowing Blood divided the regions of Zahir and Batin. A bridge that was made of smoke and guarded by two smoke lions stretched over it. It was called the Bridge of the Magic Fairies and from it a three-tiered tower rose to the skies. On the lowest tier of this tower, magic fairies stood alert, holding trumpets and clarions to their lips. From the second tier, another group of magic fairies constantly tossed pearls into the river to the fish that swam, carrying them in their mouths. On the topmost tier, gigantic Abyssinians arrayed in double rows skirmished together with swords. The blood that flowed from their wounds poured into the water below and gave the River of Flowing Blood its name.

Emperor Afrasiyab moved freely between the three regions of Hoshruba. Whenever anyone called out his name in the tilism, Afrasiyab’s magic alerted him to the call. The emperor’s fortune revealed itself in the palms of his hands. His left hand warned him of inauspicious moments and the right hand revealed auspicious ones. He also possessed the Book of Sameri, which contained an account of every event inside and outside the tilism. And he had a magic mirror that projected his body into his court during his absence, and many magic doubles who replaced him when he was in imminent danger.

Besides sorcerers and sorceresses, Afrasiyab also commanded magic slaves and magic slave girls, who fought at his command and performed any and all tasks assigned them.

Emperor Afrasiyab was among the seven immortal sorcerers of Hoshruba who could not be killed while their doppelgangers lived.

But every tilism had a fixed lifespan and a tilism key that contained directions for its unravelling. The conqueror of a tilism was one who would use that key to unravel the tilism at the appointed time. Over the years, the whereabouts of Hoshruba’s tilism key was forgotten. As Hoshruba’s life neared its end, Emperor Afrasiyab resolved to defend his empire and tilism and foil the tilism’s conqueror when he appeared.

Unbeknown to Emperor Afrasiyab the Master of the Tilism events were already unfolding outside Hoshruba that would soon test his resolve.

The false god Laqa was in flight after suffering fresh defeats at the hands of Amir Hamza the Lord of the Auspicious Planetary Conjunction, whose armies and spies hotly pursued him. Each day brought Laqa and Amir Hamza a little nearer to Hoshruba.

 

HOSHRUBA: Book One
The Land and the Tilism

Of the False God Laqa Seeking Refuge With King Suleiman Amber-Hair of Mount Agate, and of Amir Hamza’s Armies Arriving There in Pursuit of Him

Sing O minstrel for my cup of life brims over
Under the nine vaults of heaven
From the revolutions of cosmos I intone like the pipe
At the fate of Jamshed and the fortunes of Kaikhusru

The master of discourse intricate and obscure
Has masterly adorned the lovely bride of the narrative

The cupbearers of nocturnal revelries and bibbers from the cup of inspiration pour the vermilion wine of inscription into the paper’s goblet thus:

When Amir Hamza’s armies drove away the false god Laqa from his previous abode, Bakhtiarak, the devil-designate of Laqa’s court and the man of ill council, advised Laqa to head to the dominions of King Suleiman Amber-Hair of Mount Agate who was the master of innumerable armies and mighty warriors. The lands of Mount Agate were linked to Hoshruba, the tilism ruled by its master Emperor Afrasiyab.

He is the lord of throne, insignia and crown
Lord of the fish in the sea and moon in the heavens
His grandeur is complete without the aid of coronet
At his name the heavens tremble and present tribute

Laqa followed the iniquitous Bakhtiarak’s advice and headed for the fortress city of Mount Agate. At the end of his long trek, when he arrived near its borders, the spies of King Suleiman Amber-Hair alerted him. The monarch decorated the city with lights, readied trays of gold and jewels for offerings, and marched out with his retinue to greet Laqa.

Suleiman Amber-Hair brought Laqa into the fortress city and conducted him into the royal palace with great fanfare. Nobles, ministers of state and privy councillors paid their respects to Laqa. The false god was seated on the royal throne encrusted with precious and rare jewels and gave audience within the cluster of dancers, silver-thighed cupbearers, and honey-tongued and jovial singers, whose sweet strains caused every eye and ear to become transfixed with wonder. Before long, the rounds of red wine made everyone forgetful of the fickle ways of time.

Next, the three commanders of King Suleiman Amber-Hair’s armies presented themselves. They were:

Manzur Crow-Eye – Nephew to King Suleiman and master of several hundred thousand warriors
Nazir Crow-Eye – Nephew to King Suleiman and master of several hundred thousand warriors
Lalan Red-Robe – Supreme Commander of King Suleiman’s armies and unparalleled in the arts of war

These commanders prostrated themselves before Laqa and expressed their readiness to wager their heads and scatter their lives in his service. They reassured him that he could reside in Mount Agate without the least anxiety. Laqa took great comfort from their pledges and decided to make his home in Mount Agate. King Suleiman Amber-Hair threw a feast of celebration in Laqa’s honor, and bowed his head in submission to his service.

Amir Hamza had dispatched four fleet-footed and zephyr-paced spies after Laqa the damned when he fled before his victorious armies:

Namian Khaibari
Tomian Khaibari
Sarhang Makki
Abu Tahir the Blood-Spiller

These spies were given instructions to discover where that bird of ill fortune had found a roost, and to gather particulars of the kingdom whose sovereign had offered him refuge. Amir Hamza’s spies had disguised themselves and accompanied Laqa, and were present in the court of Suleiman Amber-Hair at that very moment. They listened to the presentations of Suleiman Amber-Hair’s commanders and, after collecting all the particulars about the fortress city of Mount Agate and its military strength, hastened out of the fortress as quick as lightning and swift as wind to make their report.

Amir Hamza was seated with King Saad in the Pavilion of Suleiman. Its panels had been raised to allow them a view of the plains and their pleasant scenery. The spies arrived in great haste before King Saad, with their lips chapped and temples pulsating. They bowed their heads at the designated station, kissed the ground at his feet with lips of servitude and, raising their hands in visiting benedictions and prayers on the king, began:

“O Majestic and Just King,
May your excellence last as long as the sun in the heavens
May you keep goblets company as long as there’s another morn
For as long as the crown of life remains on Khizr’s head
May your fortunes remain as lofty as those of Alexander.”

The messengers narrated with accuracy and detail all that they had witnessed: “The ill-fated foe Laqa that turned tail before your triumphant armies, that star-crossed, death-bound bear adrift in the desert of darkness, has arrived in Mount Agate and sought residence there. The king of that land has offered him refuge and words of support.”

King Saad turned his gaze toward his commander-in-chief, Amir Hamza, who ordered the trickster, Amar Ayyar, to send for the camp commander, Aadi, and have the advance camp dispatched toward Mount Agate.

Upon the venerable commander’s orders, the signal of departure was sounded in the triumph-bearing army. The braves decked themselves with arms and armor and prepared to march.

The cities of Greece and Syria shook to their foundations
With such preparations the advance camp was provisioned

Platoons, troopers mounted on Arabian horses and countless foot-soldiers began marching toward Mount Agate with majestic mien. The army’s bazaars were also folded up and sent to the destination. Tents, pavilions and other court furniture were loaded up for transportation on camels and mules. The king, with his illustrious commanders, and Amir Hamza, with his peerless tricksters, headed out to lead the armies.

In the manner the spring gale issues out
To the desert the majestic entourage departed

After marching for one day and bivouacking for one night, Amir Hamza’s illustrious army arrived in the vicinity of Mount Agate with splendor and set up camp. The king’s pavilion was raised and the camp’s bazaars opened up. Platoons began arriving and occupied the clear plains at strategic locations.

The foes’ wits took flight like birds when they heard the timbals and kettledrums of Amir Hamza’s army. King Suleiman Amber-Hair gave orders for his soldiers to assemble and shut the city gates. He deployed canons of brass and steel and fortified all the crenelations, ramparts, bulwarks and battlements.

 

The Disappearance of Prince Badiuz Zaman on a Hunting Expedition, and of Amar Ayyar Going in Search of Him

While the preparations for war were being made, and Amir Hamza was camped opposite the City of Mount Agate, the pleasant air and green plains enticed Amir Hamza’s son,

Badiuz Zaman the brave, the router of armies
The moon of the constellation of excellence,

and filled him with a longing to go hunting. He sought Amir Hamza’s permission but when he made no reply, Badiuz Zaman went to his mother, Gardiya Bano, and asked her to intercede for him. Gardiya Bano acquiesced and when Amir Hamza entered her chamber, she pleaded on the prince’s behalf.

Amir Hamza reluctantly granted his permission, saying, “These plains are the abode of sorcerers. That was the reason why I had not granted my permission earlier, lest the prince should meet some calamity. At your interceding, I am granting him leave on condition that he return the next day and does not stay longer.”

Badiuz Zaman accepted the condition. The whole night was spent making preparations for the hunt.

Before long, the Heavens’ Hunter3 emerged from his eastern abode carrying the net of rays on his shoulders and started hunting the planetary fixtures on the sky’s fields. The world-illuminating sun of the high noon of the auspicious planetary conjunction, the star that lights up the six dimensions of the skies of triumph, to wit, Prince Badiuz Zaman the Magnificent, headed for the plains for hunting.

As the first crack of daylight appeared, the draughts of morning breeze stirred, the tapers flickered, the buds flowered, the love-struck nightingales made their outcries, the peacocks danced in the forests, the birds fluttered away from their nests in search of food and water. Every living being occupied itself with thoughts of the Creator, every heart was filled with the Progenitor’s name, and like a veritable preacher the ringdove sang a sermon from the pulpit of the cypress in the name of the True God.

The eminent prince began hunting in the plains with his equipage and retinue, occupying his gaze with the pleasant air of the land and the mountains. Suddenly a fawn appeared near the river bank, cavorting and gambolling like a frolicsome beloved well-versed in coquetry.

Sporting a brocade sheet on his back
How beautiful and fairy-faced the fawn
His feistiness even a mistress could not attain
A veritable hunter in the meadow where hearts abound

When Badiuz Zaman beheld that beautiful and comely fawn, he became infatuated and besotted at the very sight and gave orders to his commanders: “Take him alive! Beware, do not let him get away!”

The prince’s companions immediately encircled the animal and made a cordon. The fawn pricked his ears and bolted, breaking out of the cordon by leaping off the prince’s head. Badiuz Zaman chased him on his horse at a gallop and followed him for many miles until he left behind all his companions and found himself alone. Near to losing the fawn, and unable to take him alive, he drew an arrow from his quiver; notching the arrow and drawing to his ear, he let fly.

The arrow pierced the fawn and it fell. The prince jumped down from his horse and slaughtered him. The moment that fawn died a most dreadful voice was heard that made even the heart of Taurus in the heavens shudder and sent tremors in the seven heavens and the seven seas. It proclaimed,

“O SON OF HAMZA! YOU COMMITTED A TERRIBLE DEED BY KILLING SORCERER GHAZAAL THE FAWN. THIS IS THE LAND OF HOSHRUBA AND IT IS WELL NIGH IMPOSSIBLE TO ESCAPE ITS BOUNDS. ANYTHING THAT MAY HAPPEN NOW WOULD BE TOO LITTLE!”

The prince saw that the entire expanse had become dark with the billowing of sand and dust; a tempest of gales raged mightily. After a moment he lost consciousness and when he opened his eyes he found himself incarcerated in heavy chains. Resting his head on his knees, he became lost in reflection.

Be it known that the sons of Amar Ayyar are designated tricksters of the courts of Amir Hamza’s sons. When a son was born to Hamza from a princess, a son was also born to Amar from the minister’s daughter who attended to that princess. Thus Amar’s son was deputed as the trickster of Amir Hamza’s son.

A trickster named Umayya bin Amar, who was in the service of the prince of happy fortune, arrived on the scene where the fawn was killed and found the plains pitch dark and all the signs of doomsday’s horrors manifested there. Umayya saw Badiuz Zaman’s headless corpse on the ground, and the beauty that was the moon’s envy lying before him all gored.

The trickster held up the corpse in his arms and broke into tears of grief. He rent the collar of his tunic in anguish and, throwing dust on his head, carried the prince’s corpse on his horse to his camp. On the way he met the prince’s entourage and when they saw that woeful sight, transports of sorrow assailed their hearts too. Weeping and wailing and throwing dust over their heads, all of them presented themselves before Amir Hamza. Witnessing that tragic misfortune, Amir Hamza and his companions gave themselves over to crying and making lamentations. The entire camp and the women’s quarters rang alike with sounds of weeping and wailing. Badiuz Zaman’s mother, Gardiya Bano, was inconsolable and presented a living picture of grief. She would recite:

“O solace of my heart and soul
You departed leaving me alone.

“You left without giving me news that you leave
Caring not a whit for my loneliness.”

While the whole camp was occupied in mourning, Amir Hamza said to Amar Ayyar, “Harness my steed, Ashqar Demon-Born, and bring him to me so that I may depart in search of the murderer, kill him, and bring away his head.” Amar Ayyar replied, “O Prince and Pride of Heavens, I have heard that nobody saw the prince’s killer. The expanse had suddenly become pitch black, and when the darkness parted the prince’s headless body was found there.” Amir Hamza said, “By God there is some mystery in this matter, which the Heavens alone know. Send for the diviners!”

At Amir Hamza’s order, the diviners Buzurg Ummid, Siyavush and Daryadil were sent for. They were the sons of Buzurjmehr, the minister of Emperor Naushervan of Persia. Their father had attached his sons to his camp to wait upon him with devotion. The tale of Buzurjmehr and Amir Hamza is recounted in The Adventures of Amir Hamza, and this much would suffice at present to acquaint the reader with their particulars. The diviners were masters in the arts of geomancy and astrology, and able disciples of their father. Amir Hamza seated them with great honor and asked them to find out what had passed with the prince.

The diviners drew the lots of perception on the board of introspection and drawing the horoscope, studied the manifestations of the year, the signs of the zodiac, and the lines of geomancy. After intense study and much contemplation and reflection they raised their heads and said, “O illustrious lord, Prince Badiuz Zaman is alive and safe. However, he is caught in the power of evil sorcerers and lies powerless and helpless in severe internment. The corpse that was brought before you was an effigy made of lentil flour.4 If you recite the Most Great Name on water and sprinkle it on the corpse, the power of our Creator will be manifested.”

As it happened, Prince Badiuz Zaman had strayed into Hoshruba, the tilism linked to Mount Agate. When the prince entered its frontiers, the Master of the Tilism and Emperor of Hoshruba, Afrasiyab, learned about it. He ordered one of the tilism’s guardians, a sorceress named Sharara Flame-Spirit, to capture the prince. Sharara was ordered to leave the prince’s effigy where he was captured so that it would serve as an example to other transgressors and deter them from entering the tilism.

As Amir Hamza recited the Most Great Name over the water and sprinkled it on the corpse, it returned to its origins—a flour effigy. Amir Hamza bowed his head in gratitude before God and gave thanks to Him who sent the news that his son was alive. He bestowed robes of honor on the diviners and had the effigy thrown away. All the lamentations and weeping in the camp ceased and everyone celebrated the news. Amir Hamza sent for Amar Ayyar and, after conferring much gold and jewels upon him, deputed him to find the whereabouts of the illustrious prince.

Amar Ayyar decorated himself with his occult contraptions and the holy gifts he had been bestowed on Mount Ceylone.

The transcriber states that when the armies of Amir Hamza had arrived to conquer India, Amar had made a pilgrimage to the shrines of the prophets (Peace be upon them) and there Amar fell asleep. In the realm of dreams he had the beatific and marvellous audience of several prophets and they told him that certain devices of trickery had been kept for Amar in the chamber of their shrine. Among them was the zambil, which was a bag within which existed a world comparable to the world on Earth. Upon command, it produced anything that Amar wished at any time, and accommodated anything that Amar kept in it.

Also among them, the cape of invisibility had such properties that when Amar wore it he could see everyone but none could see him. The Net of Ilyas had the miracle that it could carry a thing even if it weighed millions of tons, and make it feel as light as a small stone. Wherever Amar raised Daniyal’s Tent and took shelter underneath, none was able to capture him, and anyone who entered it was caught and hung upside down. And when he wore the dev-jama, it changed seven colors from green to red to yellow et cetera.

Amar took possession of these items upon receiving the tidings. All this has been mentioned in The Adventures of Amir Hamza. Whenever the reader may hear about these objects, he may associate them with that legend. These were the same objects that Amar readied before setting out with great dispatch for the wilderness to search for Prince Badiuz Zaman.

Setting out in the expanse with such dispatch that birds of prey
Did not even catch the dust he stirred in his wake

 


1 Most Great Name: according to Muslim tradition God has ninety-nine known names. Besides these God has a name which is revealed only to prophets and saints. It is the Most Great Name of God. A holy guide named Khizr taught God’s Most Great Name to Amir Hamza. With its power Amir Hamza can counter and revoke magic but he cannot conquer a tilism with it, nor use it to free someone imprisoned within a tilism.

2 The combination of occult sciences used to create a tilism is called himia. Different sources offer different definitions of himia. It is generally described as the science of conquering planetary forces and enslaving jinns, and is a combination of at least four occult sciences simia, kimia, limia and rimia. The science of creating illusions and transferring spirits between bodies is simia. It manipulates the imagination and presents non-existent and imaginary things to the human eye; the science of the transmutation of physical properties of elements and bringing them to the highest pinnacle of their essence is called kimia; the science of runes—letters or words—that cause super-natural effects through interaction with the function of heavenly bodies is called limia; and rimia is the science of configuring and exploiting the inherent physical forces of the Earth to create extraordinary marvels.

3 Heavens’ Hunter: an allusion to the sun.

4 The species of lentil described here is maash which is used in Indian magic as a vehicle for producing spells and enchantments.

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