Even the infidel comes to the fold of the faithful, but not the heretic dervish; the infidel has receptivity but not him.
He is out of the sphere of hope while the infidel is in the circle of fear of God,
By God, the infidel is far superior to him.1
The young boyKubad had no memoryof his mother.2He had onlyheard tales and rumors: that she was a prostitute, a gypsy, a Tatar princess, and, most extraordinary of all, that she had been a favorite of Ibrahim Pasha, Sultan Süleyman's powerful if ill-fated grand vizier who led Ottoman armies and conquered Baghdad in 1634, onlyto be executed two years later bysultanic decree.
Not that it reallymattered to Kubad. The onlymother he had ever known – his “milk mother” – was the daughter of a venerated Shaykh of the Haydari order of dervishes.3The boyspent his first years near the Ottoman frontier town of Erzincan, in a rustic hamlet next to the tekke, or house of worship, of this Shaykh. One of his earliest memories was of an elder reciting the strange words inscribed on the door of this tekke: “he who wants to enter our religion should live as we do, and preserve his chastity.” Kubad was so familiar with those who did join this devout order, that he thought nothing of their appearance. Other than a drooping mustache and a long tuft of hair at their foreheads, the heads of these worshipers were clean shaven. On all their limbs theywore heavyiron rings, and on their heads were towering conical hats. Bells, suspended at their sides, banged awayas theydanced about, chanting poems and praising God. Onlymuch later did the boyunderstand how deviating these customs were, that____________________