January 12, 1976

The next letter is dated January 12, 1976. Like Jayanara Herz, wife of Hassan Herz mentioned earlier, who has to be constantly vigilant lest someone misuse her father’s creation of the song, Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer, Mansur in this letter introduces a similar theme. Mansur has to be constantly vigilant lest someone misuse, or put into the public domain, or somehow leave open the unauthorized usage of his Murshid photos. All eight paragraphs concern this. Mansur addressed Moineddin about this, because someone in SIRS accepted the responsibility of marketing Mansur's photos of Murshid. Surya is speaking for Lama Foundation in New Mexico, which is preparing a book called In the Garden about Murshid. Graciously, Moineddin painstakingly recovers and quotes from old letters relating to this matter.

The invitation in paragraph 5 for Lama to publish Mansur’s children’s storybook with drawings about “Namla, the cat,” actually titled, “Curiosity Liberated the Cat” did not happen for reasons that escape me at this late date.

To finish the story related to the lost sheet “Instructions for an agent of Sufi Film Productions,” which was the name Mansur was using for his film business, it should be noted that after several years of sales by S.I.R.S. and no royalties to Mansur, when Mansur mentioned this to Moineddin, a check for $100 was issued by Moineddin to Mansur on behalf of S.I.R.S. for unaccounted sales over that time period.

Considering that the letter concludes with Moineddin not recalling Murshid speaking about the commercialization of his photos, I will include a copy of the release Murshid signed regarding the commercialization of his photos after the next letter. The release itself is a zerox copy and doesn’t scan well. Suffice it to say, permission was granted by Murshid to market his image, which is what we are doing exclusively on this website.


January 12, 1976

Dear Mansur,

Thanks for your letter of January 4. Going back over my correspondence to and from Surya early in 1975 I find that it was clearly stated that the color shots of Murshid were yours and should be credited to you. Without wanting to go out and have several letters Xeroxed, I will quote some lines from Surya’s letters to me at that time.

“Mansur wrote, in response to my query about photos for the Murshid Sam book we’re preparing,--that I should contact you.” (No date on this letter, but I assume it was written in December, 1974.)

“So the question is—about the photos—may we have permission to purchase a full set of photos? (Not just the ‘pre-beard’ ones Mansur mentined.) Then we will check with you about which ones we may have permission to use after we see what is available. Mansur will be paid and credit will be given.” (My italics; from same letter.)

“Thank you so much for the color photos. (I’ve written Mansur about use of photos.” (From a letter dated January 28, 1975.)

“Thank you 108 [?] for set of Murshid S.A.M. photos. As you suggested I have written to Mansur, asking about other photos and also seeing if we could include a little booklet he wrote about his visit to Lama with Murshid (the booklet about Namla the cat.)” (From a letter dated February 1, 1975.)

The only additional pertinent stuff I can find is a P.S. you wrote to Surya on February 7, 1975: “But in the meantime, if you want me to keep working on this, send me $200, including $100 for proofsheets of Murshid pictures that I have and $100 for copies of writings, agree to pay so much for each picture that you use, and promise to give credit to MANSUR on each page where you use something I supply. The writings would include my journal [which became the book Murshid] ‘Murshid,’ The Bowl of Saki Life of Samuel L. Lewis, and the book you requested on Namla, Curiosity Liberated the Cat.

Also, after leafing page by page through my Mansur file, I cannot find the “INSTRUCTIONS FOR AN AGENT OF SUFI FILM PRODUCTIONS. I recall that I leaded this sheet to Zeinob a couple of years ago because she wanted to sell some Murshid photos. I think she fulfilled all obligations you outlined on the sheet. I do think she returned the sheet to me but now it is apparently lost. Presumably this is why I requested so strongly that Surya contact you personally about all the photos you took, and make any and all arrangements with you concerning the use of the photos. (Any reference by Surya to me of getting my ‘permission’ for which ones to use, is from Surya’s side and not from any request from me.)

I don’t believe that S.I.R.S. owns your picures at all, just the set we purchased. All the rights are yours, obviously. I don’t recall Murshid’s statements regarding permission for you to commercialize photos of him, or that pictures of him without a beard would be valuable some day—but I see no reason not to accept that he made such statements, especially if you say he did.

Sorry for the mix-up.

Love and blessings, Moineddin

P.S. You should write to Lama before the next edition comes out to get it all cleared up. Let me know if you want me to write to them too.