20 Haziran 2018 Çarşamba

TNT History Mini-Series: Accidental Turks in Brazil & Beyond (1866)/Part X

//Ed. Note: In Part X of this story, İmam Abdurrahman shares
some information about Brazil's fruits, parrots, forests,
natives and other aspects of the nation.  In particular, his 
observations about Brazil's natives and an Easter celebration 
are fascinating.//

Some Fruits 

brazilian fruits 1860 ile ilgili görsel sonucu

There is a tree in this country that is bigger than the biggest walnut tree, from the 
standpoint of bulk.  The cover of the fruit, which is bigger than a pumpkin, 
resembles the skin of an alligator and its inside is like a pomegranate.  Within the 
seed, which looks like a date seed, there is yet another seed.  The taste is like honey
helva.   Another fruit resembles quince and its inside looks like a sponge filled with 
water.  Since this water is bitter, one drinks it by adding sugar.  Although its taste is 
like that of peppermint, it is more nourishing and pleasant.  There is just one seed 
inside this fruit.

Bazil’s other interesting fruit resembles a bunch of grapes.  Every piece of this fruit,
which is similar in weight to half a Damascus batman (weight varying frm 5-30 lbs.),
is the size of a walnut.  Its color is white and it tastes like turnip.  There is another 
fruit here that resembles an everyday apple.  Its cover is green like the back of a 
hedgehog.  When dried and mixed with coffee it provides a very pleasant smell.
Another fruit resembles corn cob, with a red cover like the back of a snake. Its inside 
is yellow and its taste is pleasantly acid.  It is expensive, costing 2.5 francs for one.  
After being picked from the tree its lasts for only 10 days, before going bad. There 
are about 50 fruits in Brazil that are not found in eastern countries.  Coconuts are 
plentiful and cheap.  Most of the coconut trees live without being cared for.  Even 
though it is said here that the original coconut tree was raised from a seed planted in a
 person’s head, it is quite clear that this is a superstition. 

The Forest That Stretches from Brazil to South America

brazilian rain forest 1860 ile ilgili görsel sonucu

This forest, having plentiful water, is famous for harboring various wild animals. 
A horserider would not reach the end of the forest even by riding day and night for
a month.  From time to time large snakes in this forest emerge and swallow oxen 
whole, causing great damage to the populace.  With its stomach full, the snake 
cannot move and falls deep asleep.  When this happens the people climb trees and 
shoot or cut the snake to kill it.  The skin from the slaughtered snake is used to make
 hats, shoes and raincoats.  Since these items are quite enduring they are also quite

One time I saw a snake skin about 4 meters wide and 10 meters long that was for sale.
They say there are even bigger ones.  The size of the round spots that resemble fish 
scales on the snake’s back are about an arm’s length. Even in the depths of the forest
at night, a light can be seen from afar.  It is believed that this light eminates from the
sparkle of gold and jewels.

Natives of America

brazil indians 1860 ile ilgili görsel sonucu

A large population of uncivilized America natives live in the forest.  
No state has yet been able to change or tame their wild lifestyle and 
behavior, bring them under control or impose civilization on them.   
According to what I have been told, they are very big people.  In 
particular, their feet are so big in proportion to their bodies that when 
it rains they lie on their backs and use their feet  sort of as an umbrella 
to protect themselves from the rain. Some of them have been captured by
government  forces and brought to the city.  By chance, I saw one and,
really, the length of his feet was about 45 centimeters.

The native women are quite beautiful, with very long hair.  Because 
they handle men with magic and soothsaying, they don’t trust one another.
Some of the natives are masters at extracting iron and making bows. Their
primary foods are raw fish and various birds.  They don’t know anything 

Previously, when they captured blacks they would eat them.  Later, when 
they realized that the blacks were human like them, they stopped eating them.
Thinking that blacks’ skin color emerged over time, they would put blacks 
they captured in  water and try to erase the blackness by rubbing them with 
stones, subjecting these blacks to horrible torture.  As the poor souls  who 
met this fate screamed and cried,  the natives would enjoy themselves and 
laugh at them.

A black doctor I met in Rio de Janeiro told me about an experience he had.  
According to what he said, in the 1850s he was captured by the natives but he
was saved from torture by the love and friendship shown to him by one of the
native’s wives.  But the woman’s husband made the man serve him for 12 
years  before allowing him to return to his home.  The natives know the 
characteristics  of plants very well and so when the man was released they gave
him some plant  roots he could use for treatments as a sort of going-away 
present.  When the man  came home he began to work as a doctor and, thanks 
to the plant roots, he gained  fame and wealth.

The natives are not tied to any religion or canonical law. They believe in people 
who are wise in the ways of magic and sorcery and act according to what they 
tell them.   Bows, arrows and spears are the main weapons of the natives  
and their quality is quite praiseworthy.  Their speech sounds like bird calls.  
I wanted to minister to them religiously but the Moslems objected to this and 
prevented me from going. 

My Dream Comes True

easter in brazil ile ilgili görsel sonucu

Fifteen years ago, in a dream I saw myself in a church.  My head was uncovered
and I was wearing European clothes.  I was standing in front of a picture of the 
Prophet Jesus , may peace be upon him,  and  I was telling those with me to read 
the İhlâs Sura.  I awoke from this dream scared and quite disconcerted. When I 
told my friends about the dream, some of them said “that was a strange dream.” 
Some others considered the dream to have been a spiritual warning and urged me
to avoid forbidden behavior and sins.

The day that the Prophet Jesus was risen up to the heavens – Christians believe
that this day was the day he was crucified on the cross – is the day that the Brazilian
Emperor and the Patriarch went to church in their mourning clothes to exhibit there 
grief.  All the soldiers put down their weapons and flags and gathered with the 
populace at the church.  I, too, changed my clothes and went to the church together
 with a few Moslems.

The Emperor and the Patriarch were standing to the right of an idol made of gold 
and silver.  They gestured for the people to prostrate themselves before the idol  and 
everyone got down on their knees and raised their hands to their ears.   When I saw 
this, I told my friends to read the İhlâs Sura.  At this point I recalled the dream I had 
fifteen years before.  This dream had now come true. Then, the Patriarch went up to
 a very high spot and spoke at length.  But since I was far away I couldn’t understand
anything  he said.  At the conclusion of his talk, he said, while crying, “...now he 
has died.” and closed the book in his hand.

The idol I referred to above was then moved to another church. The next day, the 
Emperor, ministers, commanders and soldiers came to this church in a state of 
happiness.  With them were about 100 girls, who were from the families of leading
statesmen and commanders , and all the girls were prettier than each other.  If one 
were to say that these girls, who wore beautiful, colorful dresses, were heavenly 
fairies or Earthly ones, because of their peacock feathered wings, he would not be
far off. 

The Patriarch again went up to the high spot and spoke.  At the end of his remarks 
he said “...now he is living.” and closed the book.  After certain orders were given, 
cannons were fired from various locations.  At this point the Patriarch placed the 
statues of the Prophet Jesus and Mary – may peace be upon them both – on silver 
poles.  The Emperor, together with the girls I mentioned, took these statues on foot 
with great pomp and joy back to the first church. 

The City of Ebaiye (Salvador)

salvador brazil map ile ilgili görsel sonucu

Upon receiving an invitation, I left Rio de Janeiro and went to the city of Ebaiye 
(Salvador).   Although the  city is quite large, production is minimal.  It is situated 
at the 17th degree latitude, south, and approximately the 38th parallel longitude, west. 
There is plenty of water and the weather is extremely hot.  The main food of the 
populace here is the farine that I mentioned before.  In one garden in the city I saw
an enormous silver cage, which was filled with various sorts of birds.  The best 
kind of pedigree parrots are raised here.  One parrot that was brought to 
me memorized the call to prayer after hearing it a few times.  But whatever it
 memorizes only lasts in its memory a short while.  According to what some people
 say, there is a type of parrot that doesn’t forget what it has learned but I never saw
 one of these.

There is a great bay here between two mountains.  The width of the bay is 30 miles 
and its length is 200 miles.  A fish called whale is hunted in this bay and large ones 
are sold for up to 1,000 liras.  I went to see one of these whales being hunted.  It is
 quite a strange animal, with a head nearly half the size of its body.   The animal’s 
width was about 5 meters and its length 20 meters.   Since it is a very powerful animal,
when it is hunted it sometimes destroys and sinks the fishing boats.  From its head 
alone, 40 barrels of oil are filled and some people say this amount may be even more.
Hunting whales is quite an adventure.

The Moslems of Ebaiye (Salvador)

salvador brazil moslems 1860 ile ilgili görsel sonucu

There are more Moslems in Ebaiye (Salvador) than in other cities.  But since
 they are not very interested in learning the rules and information about religion, 
they are no different from those in other cities, from the standpoint of ignorance.  In
 fact, as the example below shows, with regard to their wedding customs, they are
 much worse than other Moslems.

When a Moslem in Ebaiye wants to marry, he brings the girl home to try her out,
 lying down with her before marriage.  The girl is kept in the home until she bears
 a child.  If during this time the girl shows obedience, protects the man’s secrets and
genuinely gains his love then the Moslem agrees to marry her and a marriage is 
conducted.  If it all doesn’t work out, the girl returns to her family with the child.

As soon as I came here my first effort was to try to get rid of this illegitimate 
marriage custom.   As an experiment, I had one or two of these Moslems who had
 such women, get married in exchange for a specified dowry.   Additionally, I 
explained to them the rules of Islam with regard to divorce, when necessary.

The month of Ramazan came and they showed a lot of interest in ‘teravih’ prayers 
(the supererogatory night service in Ramazan performed immediately after the 
prescribed night service of worship.)  In order to make it easy for them, I said 10 
‘rekat’ tevarih prayers (complete act of worship with prescribed postures.) each night.

The Moslem women of Ebaiye don’t wear ‘tesettür’ head coverings and tour
around with their heads uncovered.  When one of them dies their relatives and 
friends go to the church and have the Bible read for the soul of the departed, giving
alms to the priest, as well.  I told them that this was forbidden and prohibited it.

Most of the Moslem children are being converted to Christianity.  The main reasons 
for this are that they live side by side with the Christians and there are many priests. 
When a child sees that no one else opposes the community except his father, 
naturally  the child thinks his father is lying and he conforms with the majority.  For 
this reason,  I told the Moslems to keep their children separate from the Christians 
until Moslems  have wealth and power  and until the children can tell right from 
wrong.  I stayed in  Ebaiye one full year and tried as best I could to teach people the 
tenets of Islam. 

//END of PART X//

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