MY interest in Shāh Ismā'īl's poetry was aroused thirty-six years ago, when from my Ahl-i Ḥaqq friends I learnt that the Khāṭu'ī mentioned in one of their hymns was no lessa person than the founder of the Ṣafavi dynasty: Khatā'ī-dä nāṭiq oldï, Türkistanïn pīri oldï “(Godhead) came to speech in the person of Khatā'ī, (who) became the pīr of the Turks (of Āzarbāyjān)”, according to the explanation given to me.
For some time I suspected the Ahl-i Ḥaqq doctrines to be identical with the arcana of the Safavids, but later came to the conclusion that the home of the former was in Kurdistan, in the region of Sulaymānī, and that only by a kind of alliance were they related to the Ṣafavi propaganda.
It was only in 1920, in Paris, that I could carefully study a copy of Khatā'ī's dīvān (Bibliothéque Nationale, sup. turc 1307). This time my attention was attracted by the autobiographical hintsof the crowned poet and by the dialectic peculiarities of his Turkish poems. I read a paper on Shāh Ismā'īl's poems before the Sociètè Asiatique (9th December, 1921), and started on the preparation of a selection from Khatā'ī's dīvān. My work was several times interrupted.