Dastan-i Mirac


The Dastan- ı Miraç, is the story of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) ascent to heaven. The text is recited in many different ways and languages. This example shows the tradition in one of Europe’s lesser-known Muslim communities, the Tatars of Belarus, Poland and Lithuania.

The manuscript

The manuscript text is written on paper using a black ink for both the main lines of the poem and the translations between them. The Dastan is part of a miscellany or collection of Qur’anic excerpts, other poems in Arabic and Turkic, and texts about the Prophet Muhammad. Although the copyist of the entire work is anonymous, the author of the original Turkic poem has been identified as Hajji Mahmud. The Slavic translation is written in modified Arabic characters with special letters to indicate sounds that do not exist in Arabic or Turkic.

Why is it so important?

This copy of the Dastan-ı Miraç demonstrates the process of the translation and transmission of religious knowledge. Although the Tatars are a Turkic people, they have been using Lithuanian, Polish, Belarussian or Russian as their means of daily communication for centuries. The bilingual text of the Dastan provides us with a guide to how important religious texts are brought into new contexts.

Full title:
Dastan-ı Mihraç [Miscellany of religious works]
late 18th–early 19th century, Belarus
Oghuz Turkic / Eastern Slavic
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Or 13020

Full catalogue details

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