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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

Islam's Triumph in the Wahkhan

Many ages ago, in a land far away, there lived a king named Asfalikhan. But our tale does not revolve around him; it follows the legend of Kakhkaha, a formidable giant of a man who, along with his black-clad followers, carved a kingdom of their own.

Kakhkaha was a force to be reckoned with. He ruled over the lands with an iron fist, and his power was unmatched. In his family, there was his wife, a daughter named Qumrisaymo, two sisters named Zulkhomor and Zulhasham, and two brothers—Zangibar and Zamri Otashparast, the latter name signifying a "fire worshipper." These siblings ruled from fortresses further up the Wakhan, creating a formidable dynasty.

Among Kakhkaha's most trusted chiefs was Mobashir, who had once served in the army of Mohamed. It was Mobashir who first brought alarming news to Kakhkaha—that the forces of Islam, led by the Prophet Mohamed, were rapidly spreading. Yet, Kakhkaha remained steadfast in his own beliefs.

One day, a messenger arrived, bearing news that the Prophet Mohamed himself had visited him in a dream. But hearing the Prophet's name filled Kakhkaha with such rage that he ordered the messenger's imprisonment and death. The messenger, however, managed to escape and embarked on a treacherous journey to Mecca, where he shared his dream with the Prophet and revealed the location of Kakhkaha's formidable fortress.

Upon hearing of this challenge, Mohamed ordered a formidable force of ten thousand soldiers to march on Kakhkaha's fortress, led by Hashid Ibn-i-Vashid. The army camped in a place named Aspadev, opposite the village of Ryn. The well in this place was poisoned, and all who drank from it met a grim end. Strangely, the army remained unharmed.

Mobashir, stationed in a watchtower overlooking the valley, watched in amazement as the army, clad in green, survived the poisoned well. He hurriedly reported this miraculous occurrence to Kakhkaha.

Kakhkaha, curious and cautious, requested ten days to prepare for battle. Hashid Ibn-i Vashid agreed to this request, showing a measure of trust in Kakhkaha's word. Little did he know that Kakhkaha had deceit in his heart.

Breaking his promise, Kakhkaha launched a surprise attack after only three days, catching Hashid Ibn-i Vashid's forces off guard. They were captured or killed in a treacherous act of betrayal.

One survivor managed to escape, embarking on a perilous journey that spanned three grueling months to reach Mecca. There, he sought help, and the Prophet's cousin and son-in-law, Ali, rose to the challenge.

With only a few loyal followers, Ali journeyed to Aspadev, where a massive stone stood near a well. With incredible strength, he hurled the stone far away from the well, rendering the poisoned water harmless. Mobashir, who had observed this extraordinary feat, realized the true identity of these travelers.

Approaching Ali, Mobashir questioned his intentions. Ali replied cryptically, claiming they were merely "players." Mobashir, however, knew better and identified Ali as "Haidari Safdar, the invincible lion—Shohi Mardon, the King of men." It turned out that Mobashir had once been Ali's servant for eleven years before being enslaved by Kakhkaha.

Ali enlisted Mobashir as an ally and shared his plan to defeat Kakhkaha. They agreed that Mobashir would keep Ali's true identity hidden from Kakhkaha and that after their victory, Mobashir would wed Kakhkaha's daughter, Qumrisaymo.

Under Ali's guidance, Mobashir returned to Kakhkaha, maintaining the ruse that they were mere "players." Intrigued, Kakhkaha invited them into his fortress, offering them hospitality. He even requested games to be played the next day.

That night, Kakhkaha had a dream of a snake entering his fortress—a dream he found deeply troubling. He sought an explanation from his guests, who responded cryptically. But Ali had a plan.

First, he showcased a game of strength called kolbozi, where contestants lifted and hurled heavy stones. Ali's strength was so astonishing that some of Kakhkaha's men met their end. The stones they left behind would later become revered relics, placed in shrines throughout the Wakhan.

Kakhkaha, dismayed by the loss of his soldiers, requested another game. Ali suggested a horse race, but none of Kakhkaha's men dared to face him. When Ali rode the horse, Sumbi Duldul, so fiercely that it lost a shoe, he repaired it with a mere touch.

Ali then proposed a unique challenge—a duel between his young son, Hasan, and Kakhkaha's mightiest warrior, Muboriz. Kakhkaha, initially taken aback, eventually agreed.

Muboriz, a colossal figure, had to be dragged from a dungeon, his hands and feet bound in chains. Astonishingly, he broke free from his restraints and overpowered those who attempted to control him. When a horse was brought for the duel, it threw off every rider—until Hasan approached.

Hasan's touch calmed the horse, and he saddled it with ease. Ali unveiled the legendary sword Zulfiqar, explaining its unmatched power, and placed it in Hasan's hands. In a single strike, Zulfiqar shattered Muboriz's sword and defeated him.

Fear began to gnaw at Kakhkaha, and he offered Ali a fortune to secure Hasan's loyalty. But Ali stood firm, for a father cannot sell his child. Ali then revealed his true purpose—to end Kakhkaha's reign of terror.

Kakhkaha, realizing his peril, fled and hid in the deepest recesses of his fortress. Yet, Ali pursued him relentlessly, eventually challenging him to battle. In a fierce duel, Ali struck down Kakhkaha, ending his reign once and for all.

With the threat of Kakhkaha vanquished, Ali freed the people who had suffered under his rule. He continued to defeat Kakhkaha's brothers, gaining control over all of Wakhan and bringing the people to Islam.

The Oston-i Shoh-i Mardon in Namadgut, to this day, celebrates Ali's triumphant victory over Kakhkaha and the conversion of fire-worshippers to Islam.

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