''Prayer and practice alone, the Khan's Children hold, can bind the whole together, from high to low. Daily devotion guides the honorable among the fissures that threaten to break the world and mankind upon them. There is no surety else.
There is no surety, say the a-lehani. Not in this world.
- For Want of Roses

The a-lehani are a Haradric religious sect, also known as the Order of the Blue.[1] Among the Khan's Children, as the practitioners of the more accepted form of the religion call themselves, the a-lehani are considered heretics.

Notable characteristicsEdit

Only one substantial theological difference between the a-lehani and the Khan's Children has been established in a story:

  • A-lehani believe that human weakness prevents mortals from being able literally to accept death by fire as a way of meeting God in godly terms;[2] they believe instead that acceptance of the call to be "living flame" means to live with God among people.[3]
  • By contrast, the Khan's Children believe that God the Giver gives the capacity to discern whether the Sacred Fire has truly bestowed the gift of sufficient loving-courage rightly to accept literal death by fire in order for the elderly to meet God in a god-like way.[4]

Beyond that, noted a-lehani deviations from khanate practice include:

  • less dependence upon ritual
  • less focus and reliance on the figure of the khan as a religious figure
  • greater capacity to accept foreign devotees, and the capacity to accept out-caste devotees.
  • Distinctive address for the Sacred Fire : kha-leha.
  • reliance on the teachings of "servants [who] walked among us, and brought us home to [the Sacred Fire]" at some unspecified point in the historical past, though evidently later than the establishment of the religion as practiced by the Khan's Children.[5]

Similarities include:

  • holding that fire either is or symbolizes the supreme form of the divine, and acceptance of the use of fire in religious ritual
  • accepting Sauron in his guise as Annatar as a god: God the Giver.
  • the vow or oath as a major form of religious expression, not merely as a political or personal bond[6]
  • acceptance of some form of fate

Characteristic elements of a-lehani worship, which may or may not be shared to a certain or even significant degree with khanate worship:

  • Poetic orison [8]
  • Distinctive proper names that have become associated with the religious sect [9]
  • The style in which the Renewal holiday is celebrated
  • The liturgical year includes major holidays on the winter solstice, both equinoxes (Fall involves some form of gathering; Spring involves bitter herbs, recanting one's vows, repaying or acknowledging debts to those to whom one is indebted, and writing out major debts at a shrine or functioning altar),[10][11] and a springtime holiday called the "Greening Days."[12] [13]

Known a-lehaniEdit

  • Chakkhaurin of Pelargir - the son of a merchant, of Haradric descent, born in Gondor.
  • Esteven - a Swan Knight of Haradric descent, born in Gondor.
  • Majhindanyë - a historical figure: a slave woman and devotee, at least one of whose prayer-poems survived and became part of the a-lehani tradition.[16]
  • Many, if not most, Gondorian Haradrim in Pelargir and Dol Amroth

Andrahar's status is ambiguous in that he appears to have absorbed and practiced the religious traditions of both of his parents at various times in his life (and sometimes both at once), though of necessity, after his father's death, he relied mostly on his mother's a-lehani beliefs and practices. At one point, he seemed to prefer the khanate rites for their elaborateness,[17] but whether he retained any such preference beyond his childhood is unclear. For significant periods of time, he has felt attached to no religion at all and professed (albeit uncertain) unbelief.[18] [19] His name is said to be a-lehani.[20]


False Fire

For Want of Roses

In A Different Light