IOLÄUS: AN ANTHOLOGY OF FRIENDSHIP (1908): Islam
The full text of IOLÄUS is available.
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[Introduction: Edward Carpenter's Ioläus is
an attempt to provide a historical context for male friendship.
One should not be misled, however. Carpenter, one of the earliest
English homosexual activists, is writing about homosexual relationships
and trying to provide a historical grounding for them. As such
his work is of interest not only for its references, but also
as evidence of the strategies of the early gay movement .]
I: FRIENDSHIP-CUSTOMS IN THF. PAGAN
AND EARLY WORLD
 AMONG the Arab tribes very much the same thing may
be found, every Sheikh having his bodyguard of young men, whom
he instructs and educates, while they render to him their military
and personal devotion. In the late expedition of the British to
Khartoum (Nov., 1899), when Colonel Wingate and his troops mowed
down the Khalifa and his followers with their Maxims, the death
of the Khalifa was thus described by a correspondent of the daily
"In the centre of what was evidently the main attack on our
right we came across a very large number of bodies all huddled
together in a very small place; their horses lay dead behind them,
the Khalifa lay dead on his furma, or sheepskin, the typical end
of the Arab Sheikh who disdains surrender; on his right was the
Khalifa Aly Wad Hila, and on his left Ahmed Fedil, his great fighting
leader, whilst all around him lay his faithful emirs, all content
to meet their death when he had chosen to meet his. His black
Mulamirin, or bodyguard, all lay dead in a straight line about
40 yards in front of their master's body, with their faces to
the foe and faithful to the last. It was truly a touching sight,
and one could not help but feel that ... their end was truly grand....Amongst
the dead were found two men tied together by the arms, who had
charged towards the guns and had got nearer than any others. On
 inquiring of the prisoners Colonel Wingate was told these
two were great friends, and on seeing the Egyptian guns come up
had tied themselves by the arms with a cord, swearing to reach
the guns or die together."
IV: FRIENDSHIP IN EARLY CHRISTIAN
AND MEDIAEVAL TIMES
 IT may not be out of place here, and before passing on to
the times of the Renaissance and Modern Europe, to give one or
two extracts relating to Eastern countries. The honor paid to
friendship in Persia, Arabia, Syria and other Oriental lands has
always been great, and the tradition of this attachment there
should be especially interesting to us, as having arisen independently
of classic or Christian ideals. The poets of Persia, Saadi and
Jalalu-ddin Rumi  (13th cent.), Hafiz (14th cent.), Jami
(15th cent.), and others, have drawn much of their inspiration
from this source; but unfortunately for those who cannot read
the originals, their work has been scantily translated, and the
translations themselves are not always very reliable. The extraordinary
way in which, following the method of the Sufis, and of Plato,
they identify the mortal and the divine love, and see in their
beloved an image or revelation of God himself, makes their poems
diflicult of comprehension to the Western mind. Apostrophes to
Love, Wine, and Beauty often, with them, bear a frankly twofold
sense, material and spiritual. To these poets of the mid-region
of the earth, the bitter antagonism between matter and spirit,
which like an evil dream has haunted so long both the extreme
Western and the extreme Eastern mind, scarcely exists; and even
the body " which is a portion of the dustpit " has become
perfect and divine.
" Every form you see has its archetype in the placeless world....
From the moment you came into the world of being
A ladder was placed before you that you might escape ( ascend
First you were mineral, later you turned to plant,
Then you became an animal: how should this be a secret to
Afterwards you were made man, with knowledge, reason, faith;
Behold the body, which is a portion of the dustpit, how perfect
it has grownig
When you have travelled on from man, you will doubtless become
After that you are done with earth: your station is in heaven.
Pass again even from angelhood: enter thatocean,
That your drop may become a sea which is a hundred seas of ' Oman.'
From the Divani Shamsi Tabriz of Jalalu-ddin Rumi, trans.
by R. H. Nicholson.
'Twere better that the spirit which wears not true love as a garment
Had not been: its being is but shame.
Be drunken in love, for love is all that exists.
Dismiss cares and be utterly clear of heart,
Like the face of a mirror, without image or picture.
When it becomes clear of images, all images are contained in it."
Happy the moment when we are seated in the palace, thou and I,
With two forms and with two figures, but with one soul, thou and
"Once a man came and knocked at the door of his friend.
His friend said, ' Who art thou, O faithfulone ? '
He said, "Tis I.' He answered, ' There is no admittance.
There is no room for the raw at my well-cooked feast.
Naught but fire of separation and absence
Can cook the raw one and free him from hypocrisy I
Since thy self has not yet left thee,
Thou must be burned in fiery flames.'
The poor man went away, and for one whole year
Journeyed burning with grief for his friend's absence.
His heart burned till it was cooked; then he went again
And drew near to the house of his friend.
He knocked at the door in fear and trepidation
Lest some careless word should fall from his lips.
His friend shouted, ' Who is that at the door? '
He answered, ' 'Tis thou who art at the door, O beloved I '
The friend said, ' Since 'tis I, let me come in,
There is not room for two I's in one house."'
From the Masnavi of Jalalu-ddin Rumi, trans. by E. H. Whinfield.
HAFIZ and SAADI
SOME short quotations here following are taken from Flowers
culled from Persian Gardens (Manchester, 1872):
"Everyone, whether he be abstemious or self indulgent is
searching after the Friend. Every place may be the abode of love,
whether it be a mosque or a synagogue.... On thy last day, though
the cup be in thy hand, thou may'st be borne away to Paradise
even from the corner of the tavern."
"I have heard a sweet word which was spoken by the old man
of Canaan (Jacob)-' No tongue can express what means the separation
"Neither of my own free will cast I myself into the fire;
for the chain of affection was laid upon my neck. I was still
at a distance when the fire began to glow, nor is this the moment
that it was lighted up within me. Who shall impute it to me as
a fault, that I am enchanted by my friend, that I am content in
casting myself at his feet? "
VON KUPFFER, in his Anthology, Lieblingminne und Freundes liebe
in der Weltliteratur, gives the following three poems from
Saadi and Hafiz:
SAADI'S ROSE GARDEN
"A youth there was of golden heart and nature,
Who loved a friend, his like in every feature;
 Once, as upon the ocean sailed the pair,
They chanced into a whirlpool unaware.
A fisherman made haste the first to save,
Ere his young life should meet a watery grave;
But crying from the raging surf, he said:
' Leave me, and seize my comrade's hand instead.'
E'en as he spoke the mortal swoon o'ertook him,
With that last utterance life and sense forsook him.
Learn not love's temper from that shallow pate
Who in the hour of fear forsakes his mate
True friends will ever act like him above
(Trust one who is experienced in love);
For Sadi knows full well the lover's part,
And Bagdad understands the Arab heart.
More than all else thy loved one shalt thou prize,
Else is the whole world hidden from thine eyes."
Lov'st thou a being formed of dust like thee
Peace and contentment from thy heart shall flee -
Waking, fair limbs and features shall torment thee;
Sleeping, thy love in dreams shall hold and haunt thee.
Under his feet thy head is bowed to earth;
Compared with him the world's a paltry crust;
If to thy loved one gold is nothing worth,
Why, then to thee is gold no more than dust
 Hardly a word for others canst thou find,
For no room's left for others in thy mind."
" Dear Friend, since thou hast passed the whole
Of one sweet night, till dawn, with me,
I were scarce mortal, could I spend
Another hour apart from thee.
The fear of death, for all of time
Hath left me since my soul partook
The water of true Life, that wells
In sweet abundance from thy brook."
Hahn in his Albanesische Studien, already quoted (p. 20),
gives some of the verses of Necin or Nesim Bey, a Turco-Albanian
poet, of which the following is an example:
"Whate'er, my friend, or false or true,
The world may tell thee, give no ear,
For to separate us, dear,
The world will say that one is two.
Who should seek to separate us
May he never cease to weep.
The rain at times may cease; but he
In Summer's warmth or Winter's sleep
May he never cease to weep."
BESIDES literature there is no doubt a vast amount of material
embedded in the customs and traditions of these countries and
awaiting adequate recognition and interpretation.  The following
quotations may afford some glimpses of interest.
Suleyman the Magnificent.-The Story of Suleyman's attachment
to his Vezir Ibrahim is told as follows by Stanley Lane-Poole:
" Suleyman, great as he was, shared his greatness with a
second mind, to which his reign owed much of its brilliance. The
Grand Vezir Ibrahim was the counterpart of the Grand Monarch Suleyman.
He was the son of a sailor at Parga, and had been captured by
corsairs, by whom he was sold to be the slave of a widow at Magnesia.
Here he passed into the hands of the young prince Suleyman, then
Governor of Magnesia, and soon his extraordinary talents and address
brought him promotion.... From being Grand Falconer on the accession
of Suleyman, he rose to be first minister and almost co-Sultan
" He was the object of the Sultan's tender regard: an emperor
knows better than most men how solitary is life without friendship
and love, and Suleyman loved this man more than a brother. Ibrahim
was not only a friend, he was an entertaining and instructive
companion. He read Persian, Greek and Italian; he knew how to
open unknown worlds to the Sultan's mind, and Sulevman drank in
his Vezir's wisdom with assiduity. They lived together: their
meals were shared in common; even their beds were in the same
room. The Sultan gave his sister in marriage to the sailor's 
son, and Ibrahim was at the summit of power."
Turkey, Story of Nations series, p. 174.
T. S. BUCKINGHAM, in his "Travels in Assyria, Media and
Persia," speaking of his guide whom he had engaged at
Bagdad, and who was supposed to have left his heart behind him
in that city, says:
" Amidst all this I was at a loss to conceive how the Dervish
could find much enjoyment [in the expedition] while laboring under
the strong passion which I supposed he must then be feeling for
the object of his affections at Bagdad, whom he had quitted with
so much reluctance. What was my surprise, however, on seeking
an explanation of this seeming inconsistency, to find it was the
son, and not the daughter, of his friend Elias who held so powerful
a hold on his heart. I shrank back from the confession as a man
would recoil from a serpent on which he had unexpectedly trodden
. . . but in answer to enquiries naturally suggested by the subject
he declared he would rather suffer death than do the slightest
harm to so pure, so innocent, so heavenly a creature as this....
" I took the greatest pains to ascertain by a severe and
minute investigation, how far it might be possible to doubt of
the purity of the passion by which this Affgan Dervish was possessed,
and whether it deserved ta be classed with that  described
as prevailing among the ancient Greeks; and the result fully satisfied
me that both were the same. Ismael was, however, surprised beyond
measure when I assured him that such a feeling was not known at
all among the peoples of Europe."
Travels, Etc., 2nd edition, vol. I, p 159.
" The Dervish added a striking instance of the force of these
attachments, and the sympathy which was felt in the sorrows to
which they led, by the following fact from his own history. The
place of his residence, and of his usual labor, was near the bridge
of the Tigris, at the gate of the Mosque of the Vizier. While
he sat here, about five or six years since, surrounded by several
of his friends who came often to enjoy his conversation and beguile
the tedium of his work, he observed, passing among the crowd,
a young and beautiful Turkish boy, whose eyes met his, as if by
destiny, and they remained fixedly gazing on each other for some
time. The boy, after ' blushing like the first hue of a summer
morning,' passed on, frequently turning back to look on the person
who had regarded him so ardently. The Dervish felt his heart '
revolve within him,' for such was his expression, and a cold sweat
came across his brow. He hung his head upon his graving-tool in
dejection, and excused himself to those about him by saying he
felt suddenly ill. Shortly afterwards the boy returned, and after
walking to and fro several times, drawing nearer and nearer, as
if  under the influence of some attracting charm, he came
up to his observer and said, ' Is it really true, then, that you
love me? ' ' This,' said Ismael, ' was a dagger in my heart; I
could make no reply.' The friends who were near him, and now saw
all explained, asked him if there had been any previous acquaintance
existing between them. He assured them that they had never seen
each other before. ' Then,' they replied, ' such an event must
be from God.'
" The boy continued to remain for a while with this party,
told with great frankness the name and rank of his parents, as
well as the place of his residence, and promised to repeat his
visit on the following day. He did this regularly for several
months in succession, sitting for hours by the Dervish, and either
singing to him or asking him interesting questions, to beguile
his labors, until as Ismael expressed himself, ' though they were
still two bodies they became one soul.' The youth at length fell
sick, and was confined to his bed, during which time his lover,
Ismael, discontinued entirely his usual occupations and abandoned
himself completely to the care of his beloved. He watched the
changes of his disease with more than the anxiety of a parent,
and never quitted his bedside, night or day. Death at length separated
them; but even when the stroke came the Dervish could not be prevailed
on to quit the corpse. He constantly visited the grave that contained
the remains of all he held dear on  earth, and planting myrtles
and flowers there after the manner of the East, bedewed them daily
with his tears. His friends sympathized powerfully in his distress,
which he said ' continued to feed his grief ' until he pined away
to absolute illness, and was near following the fate of him whom
Ibid, p. 160.
"From all this, added to many other examples of a similar
kind, related as happening between persons who had often been
pointed out to me in Arabia and Persia, I could no longer doubt
the existence in the East of an affection for male youths, of
as pure and honorable a kind as that which is felt in Europe for
those of the other sex . . . and it would be as unjust to suppose
that this necessarily implied impurity of desire as to contend
that no one could admire a lovely countenance and a beautiful
form in the other sex, and still be inspired with sentiments of
the most Dure and honorable nature towards the object of his admiration."
Ibid, p. 163.
"One powerful reason why this passion may exist in the East,
while it is quite unknown in the West, is probably the seclusion
of women in the former, and the freedom of access to them in the
latter.... Had they [the Asiatics] the unrestrained intercourse
which we enjoy with such superior beings as the virtuous and accomplished
females of our own country they would find nothing in nature so
deserving of their love as these."
Ibid, p. 165.
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