Abbasgulu Bakikhanov by Gagarin
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    Kitab-e Nasaikh (The Book of Admonitions, 1836) was a collection of short moralizing sayings, based on the previous book Tahzib al-Akhlaq (Education of Morals, 1832) which was a book on morality for children, based on Oriental and Greek philosophy – both penned by Abbasgulu Bakikhanov. I will use Audrey Altstadt’s translation to English, Elmin Aliyev’s translation to Turkish, Masiagha Mahammadi’s translation to Azerbaijani and E. Ahmedov’s translation to Russian. I intend to publish other works by Abbasgulu Bakikhanov in English shortly.

    According to Aliyev, there are 7 manuscripts of this book, but different translations and editions as Altstadt also confirms. In this compilation, I will try to collect them all. Read my recently edited Wikipedia article to learn more about him.


    ʿAbbās-Qoli bin Mirzā Moḥammad ḵān Qodsi Bakui

    In the name of Allah, the Merciful and the Compassionate! Praise be to the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessings be upon the most honorable of [all human beings] who came in past and [will come in] future, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and his pure and immaculate descendants.

    Abbasgulu Bakuyi with pseudonym Qodsi, son of late Mirza Muhammad Khan says thus: when your humble servant was informed and became versed about the state of knowledge, [he] discovered that after finishing the Qu’ran, students begin [reading] some books with words incomprehensible in their own way that many teachers themselves do not understand [them], and in some copies the questions are so lengthy and scattered that their understanding and memorization turns out to be difficult. Therefore, (as it is) follows from the meaning of [the saying] “The study of knowledge in childhood is like carving on stone,” and the beauty of morals should be taught in childhood. After bad morals, through repetition and custom, take root in nature, knowledge and the rules of communication are difficult to influence on them. Therefore, in 1252 AH, I set out in understandable phrases and content one short essay – a book of instructions called “The Book of Admonitions.” I hope for the help of the beneficial threshold, that the children will benefit from it and that it will reach [them] in excess.


    My dear, you are a human being! Allah Almighty created man superior to everything in the world. Don’t you see that animals, [even though they are] so strong and big, are captives in the hands of man? This is because [man] knows the order of things. In the group in question [that is, among society], a competent and charitable person always gains respect. Therefore, we need to learn the nature of skill and doing good from those who explain goodness and evil through investigation and experience and whose words are advice for us.

    1. A world with such foundation and order cannot exist without a ruler. This means that there is one Allah who created everything. We must know him.
    2. If a father does not leave his children to themselves and assigns a certain task to each one, then how is it possible that Allah Almighty created us in vain and did not assign a certain duty to us?
    3. Since we do not see Allah, therefore, we need a person who would convey to us the words and responsibilities of Allah through the angels. We call such a person a prophet.
    4. There were many prophets; all are right. But since every task has its own time, now Allah Almighty has granted to deign the Shari’a of our prophet, the Messenger of God Muhammad ibn Abdallah (pbuh), to consider the best of the laws of other prophets and ordered to obey him.
    5. The command and duty that Allah Almighty has conveyed to us through the Prophet is the Quran, which is from beginning to end the word of Allah, and no one can interfere and change it, for the word of man is not like the word of Allah.
    6. Every person is obliged to cherish love and obey the imams and the members of the family of the prophet (blessings be upon him and his family), they are the heirs of the knowledge of the prophet; and the messenger of God, Imam Mahdi (may peace be upon him), who will appear at the end of the world and implement the Shari’a of the prophet throughout the entire earth, belongs to their lot.
    7. Since Allah Almighty has entrusted us with a duty, therefore, whoever fulfills it, Allah will reward him with contentment and nobility in this world, and will enter into paradise at the resurrection; whoever does not fulfill this duty will be miserable and miserable in this world, obscene, upon resurrection he will go to hell.
    8. Resurrection is the day when Allah will raise all people together from the dead and demand an account of their deeds.
    9. Those who have done good deeds will be placed in paradise, so that they can constantly achieve endless contentment there in colorful gardens and enchanting palaces.
    10. Those who have committed evil deeds will be sent to hell to burn in terrible fire for several thousand years, dragons and scorpions tearing the flesh of their bodies into pieces.
    11. One of the duties established by Allah is the five ritual prayers, the fulfillment of which is necessary for the remembrance of Allah.
    12. All days of the month of Ramadan you must fast from dawn to dark so that you enter into the position of the hungry and be merciful to them.
    13. It is necessary for rich people to donate zakat, khums, and alms to the poor, so that this will serve as a means of subsistence for those and the reason for the well-being of the lives and property of others.
    14. After Allah, the prophet, and imams, honor your parents most of all; whatever they command, do it, and do not offend them in any way. Where the parents are not pleased, Allah Almighty is not pleased. Submit also to your elder brother and your paternal and maternal uncles.
    15. Respect those people who are older than you in degree or knowledge or age, so that those who are lower than you respect you.
    16. Treat theological scholars with respect, for the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Imam (peace be upon him) are not among us, and we need their presence in studying the precepts of the Sharia.
    17. Consider obedience to the shahs and amirs as a duty for yourself, for without them people will encroach on each other’s lives, honor, and property, and in state affairs there will be no order.
    18. Whatever area you are in, do not do anything contrary to its state laws, so that you are not subjected to torture.
    19. Do not do a deed or say a word from which there is no benefit either in the [here] world or in the afterlife, so that you do not suffer a loss.
    20. When you see a person unhappy and helpless, do not mock him, for Allah can make you the same as him.
    21. Whomever you meet, say hello, and if he says something, answer politely and modestly, so that everyone will love you.
    22. Communicate with those people whom elders consider decent. Beware of scoundrels and chatters, so as not to become one yourself.
    23. When you see a person in need, do not shy away, give him all the help you can, so that others will help you at the time of need.
    24. Don’t defame anyone in front of anyone. If he is an enemy, he will tell him, but if he is a friend, then he will have a bad opinion of you.
    25. Refrain from telling lies, because if anyone notices this character trait in you, he will stop believing your true words.
    26. Stay away from a person who tells you about someone else’s vice, because he will tell others about your vice.
    27. When you are at enmity with someone, do not act in such a way that, having once become his friend, you will not be ashamed of him.
    28. When angry, a person becomes unreasonble. In this state, keep yourself away from all work. And do the work that you have to do after calming down your nerves!
    29. Do not engage in job that is not your responsibility, because you will not get any benefit from it, and besides, you will fall behind your own business.
    30. Be afraid of idleness, for it is worse than all vices, and there is nothing more nasty in the world than idleness.
    31. All things were created by Allah as causes for order – the structure of the world, so that one of them does not exist without the other; one of these reasons is you; if you remain idle [and don’t marry], then stone and mud are the better than you, for [at least] they will be useful to build a house.
    32. Consider the acquisition of knowledge and perfection to be the most valuable, for everything is accessible through them.
    33. Do not do good to a person who himself thinks evil towards others. Of course, good to the evil is evil to the good.
    34. Don’t believe every word as soon as you hear it. Perhaps the one who said it has a specific goal or did not understand it. Check this word is also from other sources.
    35. It may very well be that we are often sure about some matter, and then it will turn out that the state of affairs was different.
    36. Do not make jokes and tricks a trait for yourself, for you will seem frivolous in the eyes of people; because of mockery, others may be offended by you and may set themselves the goal of causing you harm.
    37. If you defeat someone in an argument, do not make his ignorance known to those present; because of this, he will harbor anger towards you in his soul and wait for an opportunity for revenge.
    38. When in argument, give others the opportunity to speak; perhaps a sly man will mistakenly reveal the true situation and the enemy will speak out in your favor. If you talk a lot, then error and disadvantage will be on your side.
    39. Well-being does not lie in a high position, but in a good mood. It is very possible that the poor man peacefully eats a piece of bread, and the owner of power is plunged into confusion and sadness due to the disorder of affairs.
    40. When any calamity befalls you, trust in Allah and endure; regret will not bring back what is destroyed; because of your anxiety, you may not prepare for future events.
    41. Do not talk about your misfortune in front of people: if they are enemies, then this will cause their gloating and increase their strength; if they are strangers, then you will lower yourself in their eyes; if they are friends, then you will hurt them and it will be a new trouble for you.
    42. Acting with bad character in most cases give the opposite result to the desire: a miserly person lives meagerly in fear of a hard life, a braggart humiliates himself in the opinion of the people, an egotist who is afraid of shame turns into an object of ridicule, an angry person tortures himself because of someone else’s guilt.
    43. Envy is an indicator of lack of talent. A person who believes in his talent tries to acquire more than another; the untalented, knowing that he does not have the means to progress wants others to fall as well so they can be equal to him.
    44. There is no flame that burns worse than envy. An envious person can never live in peace. His own bitterness and the joy of others – both of them will become a disaster for him.
    45. The greedy is always in grief; no matter how much you accumulate, you will always think it’s not enough.
    46. Do not rely on the courtesy and modesty of the enemy, maybe he is deceiving you, and if he is weak, then he is waiting for an opportunity.
    47. Do not think of yourself as talented because of praise and compliment, maybe he is pursuing a certain goal and covering his intention with flattery.
    48. Whatever position you hold, know the extent of your dignity; neither humiliate yourself and nor consider yourself superior.
    49. Let people not immediately find out about your deeds, they will interpret them with their tongues either as good or as evil. In this case, refrain from sharing your secret word.
    50. Do everything according to the reason and intellect of your mind. If suddenly luck does not help to overcome it, at least everyone will remember you as skillful expert.
    51. Do not deny what you know, and do not rely too much on what you know, for our knowledge is too limited and our minds are confused.
    52. He who is modest and sweet-tongued has many friends.
    53. Happy is he who has many friends. What could be better than sharing your grief with a friend, pointing out your shortcomings and helping you in need?!
    54. A person who is too attached to property and earthly love is not suitable for friendship, for he for the sake of his own benefit will try to harm another.
    55. Consult about matters with those who know more than you and are impartial. The mind alone cannot know the direction of all affairs.
    56. Don’t measure the value of a word by who spoke it. Sometimes, perhaps, an ignorant person will say a good word that will surprise the insightful, and the insightful person will make a mistake that the ignorant do not make.
    57. By kindness you will make a free man your slave and by torment you will drive these servants away from you.
    58. Beware of overeating, for it is harmful to the health of body and mind.
    59. Don’t do everything that your heart desires, but do what your mind requires. For the mind will distinguish between what is good and what is bad.
    60. There is no better wealth than intelligence and knowledge. For they are always with you, and no one can take them away from you.
    61. If you want to give someone an instruction or explain the benefits of his work, then do this in solitude, for in public he will not accept it and will still be offended in his soul.
    62. Try to keep any of your promises so that they will believe you if you promise another time.
    63. If possible, do not accept what another gives you, for you will lower yourself in his eyes, and he will rise in yours.
    64. Do not put off the work that you can do today until tomorrow; perhaps tomorrow you will not be able to do it.
    65. Make piety your motto; whoever commits an immoral offense will lose faith and shame, and will be disgraced among the people.
    66. If you notice a flaw of someone, then try to hide them, so that Allah will cover your vices.
    67. If there is a possibility that it is good, do not interpret the deeds of people as evil, perhaps this deed is good, and you do not know its benefits.
    68. A person is famous not for his lineage, but for his personal achievements. A worthy son does not need high birth; a degenerate is a disgrace to the family.
    69. What you consider bad for yourself, do not allow in relation to others, so that the reward for it will not be attributed to you instead of another.
    70. Since people of all religions, even idolaters [and Buddhists], believe in retribution for committed misdeeds, therefore, no matter what good or evil you do to others, you do to yourself.
    71. Saying any word or performing any act, do not be sure that you are alone and no one knows about you; it is very possible that they will find out; everyone who commits a bad deed believes the same, but is quickly disgraced.
    72. Do not wish harm to anyone, be honest in your calculations when buying and selling, do not encroach on what is entrusted to you to keep, so that you are not subjected to the wrath of Allah, and are not cursed by the people.
    73. Try to protect and support your relatives and loved ones, and those involved in them, so that they too will be kind to you.
    74. Treat your neighbors and people around you kindly, so that they treat you the same way. You are one person, there are many of them, clearly, that one needs many.
    75. Avoid people of bad nature and ill-will, for this will destroy all the beauty of morals. An evil person suffers from his own character, not to mention strangers.
    76. Having done good to someone, do not favor him with a hint or a joke, so that because of this the kindness will be ruined and hostility will arise instead of gratitude.
    77. Smart is the one who sees more vices in himself than in others, and considers his talent even less.
    78. When someone does something to you bad, have patience, get rid of him calmly. If there is no other way out but to answer him badly, then let him bark this to the extent that it reflects his evil, no more.
    79. Look for friendship as much as possible, for enmity can have no other outcome than grief.
    80. Do not consider any enemy insignificant; perhaps he has certain friends and there is a connection with some powerful people who want to help him.
    81. Don’t accumulate hatred in your heart against anyone, as it might disturb the peace of your heart and mind.
    82. When you hear something bad about yourself from someone, immediately express it to them; perhaps the truth or falsity of this word will become clear from their actions and way of speaking.
    83. Spend the fortune given to you by Allah in favor of the world and the afterlife. A person who hoards deprives himself of his fortune, because it is easy to lose or will be inherited by someone else.
    84. One must be smart when spending one’s fortune, so that it does not reach the point of wastefulness, and the expected benefit from it is not destroyed due to inept spending.
    85. If you do a bad deed, you will not get any benefit from it, but you will still have sin and a bad name.
    86. You will enjoy a good deed twice: first, when you do it, and second, when you are rewarded for it.
    87. Since everything in the world is doomed to destruction, do not attach yourself to anything so that one day, when it is destroyed, your life does not become unbearable.
    88. Don’t waste your life on a matter that you will have to leave in the end.
    89. Have patience when you take action on matters, but hurry up in their implementation, because to reflect on the benefits of the matter, more time is needed, and a convenient moment is sufficient for its implementation.
    90. Don’t complain about poverty and misfortune, because there are many people in the world poorer and unluckier than you, who would be glad if they were in your situation.
    91. The world was created by Allah according to good agreement, rule, and order. All people in it cannot be equal, just as in one body the ear cannot cope with what is required of the eye, the hand cannot do what the mouth does. Allah created each of them in a form necessary for the given task.
    92. Just as people differ in appearance and voice, they also differ in knowledge and morals. Since we know the Lord of the worlds to be wise, there is no room for reproach about why He made one person this way and another that way.
    93. When things don’t happen according to your wishes, think carefully: were you not the reason for this? It often happens that we do not do things according to the dictates of our mind, then we blame others, and worst of all, considering Allah to be an obstacle, we say: Allah did not provide.
    94. Moderation must be observed in all circumstances. Not only is extravagance bad, but also misery. Although gentleness is the best of morals, anger must also have its place. Therefore, he is smart who always adheres to moderation.
    95. Do not try to save the guilty from the punishment that he rightfully deserves, because this will encourage others to commit sinful acts and torment the poor.
    96. If you see that [an unjust] punishment has befallen an innocent person, try as much as possible to rescue him and help him, so that Allah will impose on others the duty to help you in trouble.
    97. Unlucky is the one who, having an opportunity to do good to someone, does not do it. Meanwhile, after doing good, a person should truly be thankful that he turned out to be a benefactor.
    98. Without deeds and merits, it is vain to hope for the blessings of Allah, for to give undeservedly means to give in error.
    99. Take all your affairs upon yourself or supervise their implementation, for no one will want your benefit more than you yourself. Due to differences in precision, it is difficult to imagine that anyone has performed any task with the same level as you.
    100. In business, everyone needs help, because one person cannot take on all matters; occupied with particulars, he will often remain ignorant of big matters. Therefore, he must entrust every task to someone and briefly monitor their implementation.
    101. Take on not as many tasks as your desire requires, but as many as you are talented and able to do. It may very well be that by demanding more, you will lose what you have.
    102. Do good to everyone according to his position, for some little things please someone more than a significant thing.
    103. Although we have our own will in affairs, if Allah does not wish, then we cannot do anything. Therefore, it is necessary that we ourselves take action on the matter, and ask for the well-being of its implementation from the Lord of the worlds.

    Allah knows the truth and to Him is the restitution.

    Completed in 1254 AH (1838-39).

    Published for the first time by “Firudin Köçərli – Azərbaycan ədəbiyyatı tarixi materialları, Baku, 1925.” Translation from Persian.

    Manuscripts of Kitab-e Nasaikh: A–153/2941, C–283/10148, M–124, D–367/259, D–395/262, B–2462/3002, A–58/501, A–777 are all kept in Institute of Manuscripts in Baku, Azerbaijan.