Legend about St. Daniel
Between the hills of Afrosiab settlement in contemporary Samarkand, on the shore near the small tributary of Zerafshan - Siyobcha, there is an amazing place, the blessing of which is felt almost physically, and even the birds seemed to protect the reigning peace.
The keepers of the Mausoleum and local residents will tell you that the relics of Daniel, the Old Testament biblical prophet, are buried here. Others will say that here Daniyor lies, a companion of the Arab preacher Kussam ibn Abbas. Still others will offer the version that Daniyar is a local saint, who had earned special respect among the townspeople, but both the one and the other agree in one thing - a saint lies here, and representatives of all three world religions come to bow to him.
It is believed that the spirit of the Saint buried here patronizes Samarkand, protects it, brings prosperity and wellbeing. Samarkand people and many people who come here believe that a prayer service at the Mausoleum will help them cope with illnesses, difficulties and bring good luck.
Pilgrims pay special honor to the spring, which beats at the foot of the Mausoleum. Sweet mineralized water is not only tasty, but also healthy. They get drunk, washed and take with them in plastic bottles - add to drinking water, bathing and washing water. Historically educated in the spirit of tolerance, practical Samarkand people pay tribute to all their shrines and enjoy their benefits.
Meanwhile, historians, researchers and tourists recall that there are several Mausoleums of St. Daniel in the world that claim to be official (in Israel, Iran, Iraq, Turkey), and they again ask the question - who is buried in the Samarkand mausoleum?
The legend about St. Daniel, version one. Amir Timur brought the relics of St. Daniel to Samarkand.
Legend tells that at the turn of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Great Timur launched a military campaign in Asia Minor, during which one of the small towns in Iran, Susa, was besieged. The city, however, did not give up. It was incredible - the professional army of the great commander tried, but could not break the resistance of a small town. Analyzing the situation, Amir Timur turned to the locals and his spiritual teacher. Then he received the answer that the spirit of Daniel himself, the Old Testament Jewish prophet, guarded the city.
Timur announced the end of the siege, the legend continues, and turned to the townspeople with a request to lead him to the burial of the Saint. He spent some time at the relics, convinced the authorities to put them to the ground (as the religions of the One God require), and the next morning he sent a caravan to Samarkand with ashes from the grave of the Saint.
According to another legend about Daniel, when the caravan reached Samarkand, the camels suddenly stopped at a place resembling Susa, and the sign was understood. Here the ashes of the Saint were buried, and the Mausoleum was erected.
Sometimes you can hear the version that ashes should be understood as part of the relics of the Saint, which is unlikely. Islamic tradition forbids disturbing the remains of the dead and requires their immediate burial. Knowing this very well, Timur could send earth (also called “dust”) to Samarkand from the burial place of the Saint.
This circumstance can explain the length of the tombstone (it is more than 10 meters). The logic of those who built the mausoleum could be based on the fact that the ashes from Susa mixed with Samarkand land could no longer be removed or stolen.
However, a number of Byzantine sources claim that at the time of Timur’s campaign in Asia Minor, the relics of St. Daniel were already taken to Constantinople (although the Mausoleum remained in Susa). Historians also state that the sources studied so far have not been able to provide an unambiguous reference to the events described in this legend.
There is also a version that the ashes from the grave of St. Daniel were brought to Samarkand in the V-VI centuries by immigrants from Mosul (modern-day Iraq), where one of the official burial places of the prophet Daniel is located. Theoretically, they could do it, but again, there is no evidence for this in well-known historical sources.
The legend about Prophet Daniel, version two. The biblical Prophet Daniel lived and died in Samarkand.
Adherents of this version note that the prophet Daniel, who survived all the Babylonian kings, could serve among the Persians who liberated the Jews from the Babylonian captivity. The version tells that the Great Darius could make an exception and appoint Daniel as his satrap in Sogdiana, the capital of which was Samarkand. However, this version is also not supported by historical sources.
The legend about Prophet Tabba, version three. The remains of the prophet Tabba lie in the Mausoleum.
This version is mentioned in “Kandia Malaya” (a literary and historical work of the 17th century), which refers to the words of the Samarkand sheikh Khoja Abdu-Darun that “... the prophet of God crossed the river Jeykhun (Amu Darya) and reached Samarkand. He was a skilled fortuneteller. The population of the city respected him. He settled here and died in Samarkand. In Arabic, he was called Tabba Nabi (the Prophet Tabba). The Prophet said: "I am Muhammad, the son of Abdullah, I have acquired the perfection of knowledge of the innermost world at his grave." And everyone who wants to become a gifted revelation, should every Friday after Friday prayers serve on the kubba of the prophet ..."
It is interesting that Khoja Abdu-Darun lived in Samarkand in the 9th century. And the Mausoleum of the Saint appeared on the bank of the Samarkand rivulet 4-5 centuries before Timur.
The legend about St. Daniyar, version four.
In the Mausoleum are the remains of Daniyar, an associate of Kusam ibn Abbas.
This version is reported by the Arab historian Abu Tohir Khoja in his work “Samaria” (late 19th century). He writes that many confuse Daniel with the Arab righteous Khoja Daniyar, who arrived in Samarkand to spread Islam along with Kusam ibn Abbas himself, the cousin of the prophet Muhammad. According to this version, Khoja Daniyar enjoyed special respect among the Samarkand people.
Many stories are also associated with the length of the grave. The servants of the mausoleum repeatedly rebuilt the tomb, claiming that in especially prosperous years the Saint’s bones grow. Thus, to date, the length of the grave has reached 18 meters. They say that the hand of Daniel will grow until the whole planet is encircled by it, and then paradise will come on Earth. According to another legend, Timur decided to build a tomb of such a length that enemies and greedy people could not find the relics.
These and other versions are worked out by historians and archaeologists and, possibly, the world will soon learn the history of the mysterious Mausoleum and the legend about St. Daniel. But while the Samarkand land keeps its secrets, Muslim, Jewish and Christian prayers of people who have arrived in Samarkand to fill their hearts and souls with the light of holiness are heard at the Mausoleum.
Patriarch Alexy II, who visited Samarkand in 1996 during the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Tashkent Orthodox Diocese, noted the unusualness of this place and even allowed himself to linger here more time. The "very blessed place" - repeated the Orthodox Bishop, measuring the steps of the ancient shrine.