They announced this sect in Hempher is a British missionary who was assigned the task of carrying on espionage activities in Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Hidjaz and. [Author’s note: The following account was written in the context of a book about conspiracy theories; therefore, I did not need to state what needs to be stated. The British accomplished this through a British spy named Hempher. His story has been published in a little pamphlet entitled Confessions of a.
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It was on one of those days when Muhammad of Najd and I had become very intimate friends that I received a message from London ordering me to leave for the cities of Kerbelaa and Najaf, the two most popular Shiite centers of knowledge and spirituality. So I had to put an end to my company with Muhammad of Najd and leave Basra.
Yet I was happy because I was sure that this ignorant and morally depraved man was going to establish a new sect, which in turn would demolish Islam from within, and that I was the composer of the heretical tenets of this new sect.
The city of Koofa, which was a distance of one fersah leaguei. When ‘Alee was killed, his sons Hasan and Huseyn buried him outside Koofa at a place called Najaf today. In the course of time, Najaf began to grow, while Koofa gradually fell into decay. The Shiite men of religion came together in Najaf. Houses, markets, madrasas Islamic schools and universities were built.
The Khaleefa in Istanbul was kind and generous to them for the following reasons: The Khaleefa’s interfering with them would cause tension between the states, which in turn could lead to warfare.
Although they did not have much significance in terms of weaponry and organization, it would be unwise for the Khaleefa to run the risk of getting into trouble with them. If the Khaleefa disturbed them, all the Shiites would rise against him. Huseyn bin ‘Alee, the Prophet’s grandson, i. The people of Iraq had sent for Huseyn in Medina and invited him to Iraq to elect him their Khaleefa. Huseyn and his family were in the territory called Kerbelaa when the Iraqis gave up their former intention and, acting upon the order given by Yazeed bin Muaawiya, the Umayyad Khaleefa living in Damascus, set out with the intention of arresting him.
Huseyn and his family put up a heroic last-ditch fight against the Iraqi army. The battle ended in their death, so the Iraqi army was the winning side.
Since that day, the Shiites have accepted Kerbelaa as their spiritual center, so that Shiites from all over the world come here and form such a huge crowd that our religion of Christianity does not have a likeness to it.
Kerbelaa, a Shiite city, contains Shiite madrasas. This city and Najaf support each other. Upon receiving the order to go to these two cities, I left Basra for Baghdad, and thence to a city named ‘Hulla’ situated alongside the Euphrates.
Iraq’s agriculture and welfare are due to these two rivers. When I was back in London, I proposed to the Ministry of Colonies that a project could be drawn up to change the beds of these two rivers in order to make Iraq accept our proposals. When the water was cut off, Iraq would have to satisfy our demands.
From Hulla to Najaf I travelled in the guise of an Azerbaijani tradesman.
Establishing close friendships with Shiite men of religion, I began hepmher mislead them. I joined their circles of religious instruction. I saw that they did not study science like the Sunnites, nor did they have the beautiful moral qualities possessed by the Sunnites.
For they were Shiites and the Turks were Sunnites. They said that the Sunnites were disbelievers. I hemppher to myself: What a wretched sort of people these Shiites are. They are sound asleep when the whole world is awake. One day a flood will come and take them all away.
Several times I attempted to entice them to revolt against the Khaleefa. Unfortunately, no one would even listen to me.
Some of them laughed at me as though I had told them to destroy the earth. For they looked on the Khaleefa as a fortress impossible to capture. According to them, they would get rid of the caliphate with the advent of the promised Mahdi. According to them, Mahdi was their twelfth imaam, who was a descendant of Islam’s Prophet and who disappeared in the Hijree year They believed he was still alive and would one day reappear and rescue the world from this state of utter cruelty and injustice, filling it with justice.
How come these Shiite people believe in these superstitions! It was like the superstitious doctrine, “Jesus Christ will come back and fill the world with justice,” held by our Christians. One day I said to one of them: These are scientific matters. You cannot understand this. The mausoleum of Alee the Emeer-ul-mu’mineen was profusely decorated. It had a splendid yard, a gold-covered dome, and two tall minarets.
Every day great numbers of Shiites visited this mausoleum. They performed namaaz in jamaa’at in it. Every visitor first stooped in front of the threshold, kissed it, and then greeted the grave. They asked for permission and then entered. The mausoleum had a vast yard, which contained numerous rooms for men of religion and visitors.
There were two mausoleums similar to that of ‘Alee’s in Kerbelaa. One of them belonged to Huseyn and the other belonged his brother Abbaas, who had been martyred with him in Kerbelaa.
Confessions of a British Spy
In Kerbelaa the Shiites repeated the same practices as they did in Najaf. The climate of Kerbelaa was better than that of Najaf.
It was surrounded with graceful orchards and lovely brooks. During my mission to Iraq I met with a scene that gave relief to my heart.
Some events heralded the end of the Ottoman Empire. For one thing, the governor appointed by the administration in Istanbul was an uneducated and cruel person. He acted as he wished. The people did not like him. The Sunnites were uneasy because the governor restricted their freedom and did not value them, and the Shiites felt indignant over being governed by a Turk while among them there were sayyeds and shareefs, the Prophet’s descendants, who would have been a much better choice for governorship.
The Shiites were in an utterly woebegone situation. They lived in squalid and dilapidated environments. The roads were not safe. Highwaymen always awaited caravans, and attacked whenever they saw that there were no soldiers escorting them. For this reason, convoys would not set out unless the government would appoint a detachment to escort them. The Shiite tribes were mostly warlike with one uempher. They killed and plundered one another daily. Ignorance and illiteracy were dreadfully widespread.
This state of the Shiites reminded me of the time when Europe had been under an ecclesiastical invasion. With the exclusion of the religious leaders living in Najaf and Kerbelaa and a hemphee minority, who sph their votaries, not even one out of every thousand Shiites knew how to read or write.
The economy had collapsed entirely, and the people were suffering utter poverty. The administrative system was quite out of order. The Shiites committed treasons against the government. The State and the people viewed each other with suspicion.
As a result, there was no mutual aid between them. The Shiite religious leaders, totally given to vituperating the Sunnites, had already relinquished knowledge; business, religious and worldly alike.
I stayed in Kerbelaa and in Najaf for four months. I suffered a very serious illness in Najaf. I felt so bad that I completely gave up hope of recovery.
My illness lasted three weeks. I went to a doctor. He gave me a prescription.
Using the medicine, I began to recover. Throughout my illness I stayed in an underground room. Because I was ill, my host prepared my medicine and food in return for an insignificant sum of money and expected great thawaab for serving me.
For I was, so to speak, a visitor of ‘Alee the Emeer-ul-mu’mineen. The doctor advised me to have only chicken broth during the first few days.
Later on he permitted me to eat chicken as well. The third week I had rice soup.
Confessions of a British Spy by Mr. Hempher
After becoming well again I left for Baghdad. I prepared a report of one hundred pages on my observations in Najaf, Hulla, and Baghdad and while on the way. I submitted the report to the Baghdad representative of the Ministry of Colonies.
I waited for the Ministry’s order on whether I should remain in Iraq or return to London. I wished to go back to London. For I had been abroad for a long time.