Two Different Accounts

These two accounts explain the conversion of Seljuk, the ancestor of the Seljuks, to Islam. The first is from the Meliknameh, “the Book of the King,” which has not survived. It told the history of the rise of the Seljuks from their own perspective. It exists today only in quotes in later works, compiled between the 13th and 15th centuries. The second text is by Bar Hebraeus, a 13th-century monk who wrote a history in Syriac.

The Meliknameh:

When [Seljuk] reached the region of Jand, God enlightened his heart with divine light. He sent a messenger to the governor of that province saying, ‘The reason of my coming to this place is so that I can join the path of the people of Islam. I beseech you to send a distinguished scholar of Islam to me so that by teaching the Qurʾan, the truths of the faith and Islam he may guide the erring pagans of the steppe to the wellsprings of true faith.’ His request was accepted and Seljuk and his followers and companions became Muslim.

Bar Hebraeus:

[Seljuk] went forth from the land of Turan, that is to say Turks, to the land of Iran, that is to say Persians, under the pretense they were shepherds. And when they saw that Persia was flourishing with Islam, they took council together and said, ‘If we do not enter the Faith of the People in the country in which we desire [to live] and make a pact with them (or, conform to their customs), no man will cleave to us, and we shall be a small and solidary people. [Bar Hebraeus]

Source, pp. 246-7

A 12th-century Manuscript

This image is a folio from a Seljuk-era Qur’an, copied in 1180.