More Books by Shoghi Effendi

Arohanui - Letters to New Zealand
Baha'i Administration
Call to the Nations
Citadel of Faith
Dawn of a New Day
Directives from the Guardian
Extracts from the USBN
God Passes By Part 1
God Passes By Part 2
Guidance for today and tomorrow
High Endeavours - Messages to Alaska
Japan Will Turn Ablaze
Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand
Letters to Australia and New Zealand
Messages to America
Messages to Canada
Messages to the Antipodes Part 1
Messages to the Antipodes Part 2
Messages to the Baha'i World - 1950-1957
Messages to the Indian Subcontinent
Passing of Abdu'l-Baha, The
Summary Statement - 1947 Special UN Committee on Palestine
Summary Statement -The World Religion
The Advent of Divine Justice
The Dawn-Breakers Part 1
The Dawn-Breakers Part 2
The Dawn-Breakers Part 3
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Shoghi Effendi : The Dawn-Breakers Part 3

From Tabriz The Báb was taken back to Chihriq, where He was again entrusted to the keeping of Yahya Khan. His persecutors had fondly imagined that by summoning Him to their presence they would, through threats and intimidation, induce Him to abandon His Mission. That gathering enabled The Báb to set forth emphatically, in the presence of the most illustrious dignitaries assembled in the capital of Adhirbayjan, the distinguishing features of His claim, and to confute, in brief and convincing language, the arguments of His adversaries. The news of that momentous declaration, fraught with such far-reaching consequences, spread rapidly throughout Persia and stirred again more deeply the feelings of the disciples of The Báb. It reanimated their zeal, reinforced their position, and was a signal for the tremendous happenings that were soon to convulse that land.

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No sooner had The Báb returned to Chihriq than He wrote in bold and moving language a denunciation of the character and action of Haji Mirza Aqasi. In the opening passages of that epistle, which was given the name of the Khutbiy-i-Qahriyyih,[1] the Author addresses the Grand Vazir of Muhammad Shah in these terms: "O thou who hast disbelieved in God and hast turned thy face away from His signs!" That lengthy epistle was forwarded to Hujjat, who, in those days, was confined in Tihran. He was instructed to deliver it in person to Haji Mirza Aqasi.

[1 Literally "Sermon of Wrath."]

I was privileged to hear the following account from the lips of Bahá'u'lláh while in the prison-city of Akka: "Mulla Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Zanjani, soon after he had delivered that Tablet to Haji Mirza Aqasi, came and visited me. I was in the company of Mirza Masih-i-Nuri and a number of other believers when he arrived. He recounted the circumstances attending the delivery of the Tablet, and recited before us the entire text, which was about three pages in length, and which he had committed to memory." The tone of Bahá'u'lláh's reference to Hujjat indicated how greatly pleased He was with the purity and nobleness of his life, and how much He admired his undaunted courage, his indomitable will, his unworldliness, and his unwavering constancy.

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IN THE same month of Sha'ban that witnessed the indignities inflicted upon The Báb in Tabriz, and the afflictions which befell Bahá'u'lláh and His companions in Niyala, Mulla Husayn returned from the camp of Prince Hamzih Mirza to Mashhad, from which place he was to proceed seven days later to Karbila accompanied by whomsoever he might desire. The prince offered him a sum to defray the expenses of his journey, an offer that he declined, sending the money back with a message requesting him to expend it for the relief of the poor and needy. Abdu'l-'Ali Khan likewise volunteered to provide all the requirements of Mulla Husayn's intended pilgrimage, and expressed his eagerness to pay also the expenses of whomsoever he might choose to accompany him. All that he accepted from him was a sword and a horse, both of which he was destined to utilise with consummate bravery and skill in repulsing the assaults of a treacherous enemy.

My pen can never adequately describe the devotion which Mulla Husayn had kindled in the hearts of the people of Mashhad, nor can it seek to fathom the extent of his influence. His house, in those days, was continually besieged by crowds of eager people who begged to be allowed to accompany him on his contemplated journey. Mothers brought their sons, and sisters their brothers, and tearfully implored him to accept them as their most cherished offerings on the Altar of Sacrifice.

Mulla Husayn was still in Mashhad when a messenger arrived bearing to him The Báb's turban and conveying the news that a new name, that of Siyyid Ali, had been conferred upon him by his Master. "Adorn your head," was the message, "with My green turban, the emblem of My lineage, and, with the Black Standard [1] unfurled before you,

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hasten to the Jaziriy-i-Khadra',[1] and lend your assistance to My beloved Quddus."

[1 Refer to p. 351.]
[2 Literally "Verdant Isle."]

As soon as that message reached him, Mulla Husayn arose to execute the wishes of his Master. Leaving Mashhad for a place situated at a farsang's [1] distance from the city, he hoisted the Black Standard, placed the turban of The Báb upon his head, assembled his companions, mounted his steed, and gave the signal for their march to the Jaziriy-i-Khadra'. His companions, who were two hundred and two in number, enthusiastically followed him. That memorable day was the nineteenth of Sha'ban, in the year 1264 A.H.[2] Wherever they tarried, at every village and hamlet through which they passed, Mulla Husayn and his fellow-disciples would fearlessly proclaim the message of the New Day, would invite the people to embrace its truth, and would select from among those who responded to their call a few whom they would ask to join them on their journey.

[1 Refer to Glossary.]
[2 July 21, 1848 A.D.]

In the town of Nishapur, Haji Abdu'l-Majid, the father of Badi',[1] who was a merchant of note, enlisted under the banner of Mulla Husayn. Though his father enjoyed an unrivalled prestige as the owner of the best-known turquoise mine of Nishapur, he, forsaking all the honours and material benefits that his native town had conferred upon him, pledged his undivided loyalty to Mulla Husayn. In the village of Miyamay, thirty among its inhabitants declared their faith

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and joined that company. All of them with the exception of Mulla Isa, fell martyrs in the fort of Shaykh Tabarsi.[2]

[1 Bearer of Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet to Nasiri'd-Din Shah.]

[2 "He (Mulla Husayn) arrived first at Miyamay where he rejoined thirty Bábis whose chief, Mirza Zaynu'l-'Abidin, pupil of the late Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa'i, was an elderly, pious and respected gentleman. His zeal was so intense that he brought with him his son-in-law, a young man of eighteen years, who had been married to his daughter only a few days. 'Come,' he said to him, 'Come with me on my last journey. Come, because I must be a true father to you and make you partake of the joy of salvation!' "They departed therefore, and it was on foot that the aged man desired to travel the road which was to lead him to martyrdom." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 290.)]

Arriving at Chashmih-'Ali, a place situated near the town of Damghan and on the highroad to Mazindaran, Mulla Husayn decided to break his journey and to tarry there for a few days. He encamped under the shadow of a big tree, by the side of a running stream. "We stand at the parting of the ways," he told his companions. "We shall await His decree as to which direction we should take." Towards the end of the month of Shavval,[1] a fierce gale arose and struck down a large branch of that tree; whereupon Mulla Husayn observed: "The tree of the sovereignty of Muhammad Shah has, by the will of God, been uprooted and hurled to the ground." On the third day after he had uttered that prediction, a messenger, who was on his way to Mashhad, arrived from Tihran and reported the death of his sovereign. [2] The following day, the company determined to leave for Mazindaran. As their leader arose to depart, he pointed in the direction of Mazindaran and said: "This is the way that leads to our Karbila. Whoever is unprepared for the great trials that lie before us, let him now repair to his home and give up the journey." He several times repeated that warning, and, as he approached Savad-Kuh, explicitly declared: "I, together with seventy-two of my companions, shall suffer death for the sake of the Well-Beloved. Whoso is unable to renounce the world, let him now at this very moment, depart, for later on he will be unable to escape." Twenty of his companions chose to return, feeling themselves powerless to withstand the trials to which their chief continually alluded.

[1 August 31-September 29, 1848 A.D.] [2Muhammad Shah died on the eve of the sixth of Shavval (September 4, 1848 A.D.). "There was an interregnum of about two months. A provisional government was formed comprising four administrators under the presidency of the widow of the deceased Shah. Finally after much hesitation, the lawful heir, the young Prince Nasiri'd-Din Mirza, governor of Adhirbayjan was permitted to ascend the throne." (Journal Asiatique, 1866, tome 7, p. 367.)

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The news of their approach to the town of Barfurush alarmed the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama'. The widespread and growing popularity of Mulla Husayn, the circumstances attending his departure from Mashhad, the Black Standard which waved before him--above all, the number, the discipline, and the enthusiasm of his companions, combined to arouse the implacable hatred of that cruel and overbearing mujtahid. He bade the crier summon the people of Barfurush to the masjid and announce that a sermon of such momentous consequence was to be delivered by him that no loyal adherent of Islam in that neighbourhood could afford to ignore it. An immense crowd of men and women thronged the masjid, saw him ascend the pulpit, fling his turban to the ground, tear open the neck of his shirt, and bewail the plight into which the Faith had fallen. "Awake," he thundered from the pulpit, for our enemies stand at our very doors, ready to wipe out all that we cherish as pure and holy in Islam! Should we fail to resist them, none will be left to survive their onslaught. He who is the leader of that band came alone, one day, and attended my classes. He utterly ignored me and treated me with marked disdain in the presence of my assembled disciples. As I refused to accord him the honours which he expected, he angrily arose and flung me his challenge. This man had the temerity, at a time when Muhammad Shah was seated upon his throne and was at the height of his power, to assail me with so much bitterness. What excesses this stirrer-up of mischief, who is now advancing at the head of his savage band, will not commit now that the protecting hand of Muhammad Shah has been suddenly withdrawn! It is the duty of all the inhabitants of Barfurush, both young and old, both men and women, to arm themselves against these contemptible wreckers of Islam, and by every means in their power to resist their onset. To-morrow, at the hour of dawn, let all of you arise and march out to exterminate their forces."

The entire congregation arose in response to his call. His passionate eloquence, the undisputed authority he exercised over them, and the dread of the loss of their own lives and property, combined to induce the inhabitants of that town to make every possible preparation for the coming

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encounter. They armed themselves with every weapon which they could either find or devise, and set out at break of day from the town of Barfurush, fully determined to face and slay the enemies of their Faith and to plunder their property.[1]

[1 "The minister [Mirza Taqi Khan] with the utmost arbitrariness, without receiving any instructions or asking permission, sent forth commands in all directions to punish and chastise The Bábi's. Governors and magistrates sought a pretext for amassing wealth, and officials a means of acquiring profits, celebrated doctors from the summits of their pulpits incited men to make a general onslaught; the powers of the religious and the civil law linked hands and strove to eradicate and destroy this people. Now this people had not yet acquired such knowledge as was right and needful of the fundamental principles and hidden doctrines of The Báb's teachings, and did not recognize their duties. Their conceptions and ideas were after the former fashion, and their conduct and behaviour in correspondence with ancient usage The way of approach to The Báb was, moreover, closed, and the flame of trouble visibly blazing on every side. At the decree of the most celebrated of the doctors, the government, and indeed the common people, had, with irresistible power, inaugurated rapine and plunder on all sides, and were engaged in punishing and torturing, killing and despoiling, in order that they might quench this fire and wither these poor souls. In towns where these were but a limited number all of them with bound hands became food for the sword, while in cities where they were numerous they arose in self-defence in accordance with their former beliefs, since it was impossible for them to make enquiry as to their duty, and all doors were closed." ("Traveller's Narrative," pp. 34-5.)]

As soon as Mulla Husayn had determined to pursue the way that led to Mazindaran, he, immediately after he had offered his morning prayer, bade his companions discard all their possessions. "Leave behind all your belongings," he urged them, "and content yourselves only with your steeds and swords, that all may witness your renunciation of all earthly things, and may realise that this little band of God's chosen companions has no desire to safeguard its own property, much less to covet the property of others." Instantly they all obeyed and, unburdening their steeds, arose and joyously followed him. The father of Badi' was the first to throw aside his satchel, which contained a considerable amount of turquoise which he had brought with him from the mine that belonged to his father. One word from Mulla Husayn proved sufficient to induce him to fling by the road-side what was undoubtedly his most treasured possession, and to cling to the desire of his leader.

At a farsang's [1] distance from Barfurush, Mulla Husayn and his companions encountered their enemies. A multitude of people, fully equipped with arms and ammunition, had gathered, and blocked their way. A fierce expression of savagery rested upon their countenances, and the foulest

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imprecations fell unceasingly from their lips. The companions, in the face of the uproar of this angry populace, made as if to unsheathe their swords. "Not yet," commanded their leader; "not until the aggressor forces us to protect ourselves must our swords leave their scabbards." He had scarcely uttered these words when the fire of the enemy was directed against them. Six of the companions were immediately hurled to the ground. "Beloved leader," exclaimed one of them, "we have risen and followed you with no desire except to sacrifice ourselves in the path of the Cause we have embraced. Allow us, we pray you, to defend ourselves, and suffer us not to fall so disgracefully a victim to the fire of the enemy." "The time is not yet come," replied Mulla Husayn; "the number is as yet incomplete." A bullet immediately after pierced the breast of one of his companions, a siyyid from Yazd [2] who had walked all the way from Mashhad to that place, and who ranked among his staunchest supporters. At the sight of that devoted companion fallen dead at his feet, Mulla Husayn raised his eyes to heaven and prayed: "Behold, O God, my God, the plight of Thy chosen companions, and witness the welcome which these people have accorded Thy loved ones. Thou knowest that we cherish no other desire than to guide them to the way of Truth and to confer upon them the knowledge of Thy Revelation. Thou hast Thyself commanded us to defend our lives against the assaults of the enemy. Faithful to Thy command, I now arise with my companions to resist the attack which they have launched against us." [3]

[1 See Glossary.]

[2 "The bullet struck Siyyid Rida full in the chest and killed him instantly. He was a man of pure and simple ways, of deep and sincere convictions. Out of respect for his master he always walked alongside of his horse ready to meet his every need." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 294.)]

[3 No one is to be slain for unbelief, for the slaying of a soul is outside the religion of God; ... and if anyone commands it, he is not and has not been of the Bayan, and no sin can be greater for him than this." ("The Bayan." See Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Oct. 1889, art. 12, pp. 927-8.)]

Unsheathing his sword and spurring on his charger into the midst of the enemy, Mulla Husayn pursued, with marvellous intrepidity, the assailant of his fallen companion. His opponent, who was afraid to face him, took refuge behind a tree and, holding aloft his musket, sought to shield himself. Mulla Husayn immediately recognized him, rushed

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forward, and with a single stroke of his sword cut across the trunk of the tree, the barrel of the musket, and the body of his adversary.[1] The astounding force of that stroke confounded the enemy and paralysed their efforts. All fled panic-stricken in the face of so extraordinary a manifestation of skill, of strength, and of courage. This feat was the first of its kind to attest to the prowess and heroism of Mulla Husayn, a feat which earned him the commendation of The Báb. Quddus likewise paid his tribute to the cool fearlessness which Mulla Husayn displayed on that occasion. He is reported to have quoted, when informed of the news, the following verse of the Quran: "So it was not ye who slew them, but God who slew them; and those shafts were God's, not thine! He would make trial of the faithful by a gracious trial from Himself: verily, God heareth, knoweth. This befell, that God might also bring to naught the craft of the infidels."

[1 "But the pain and the anger redoubled the strength of Mulla Husayn who with one single blow of his weapon cut in two the gun, the man and the tree." (Mirza Jani adds that the Bushru'i used his left hand on this occasion. The Mussulmans themselves do not question the authenticity of this anecdote.) (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 295 and note 215.) Then Jinab-i-Babu'l-Báb turned himself about, saying: 'Now have they made it our duty to protect ourselves'; grasped the hilt of his sword, and, acquiescing in that which the providence of God had ordained, began to defend himself. Notwithstanding his slender and fragile frame and trembling hand, such were his valour and prowess on that day that whosoever had eyes to discern the truth could clearly see that such strength and courage could only be from God, being beyond human capacity.... Then I saw Mulla Husayn unsheathe his sword and raise his face towards heaven, and heard him exclaim: 'O God I hare completed the proof to this host, but it availeth not.' Then he began to attack us on the right and on the left I swear by God that on that day he wielded the sword in such wise as transcends the power of man. Only the horsemen of Mazindaran held their ground and refused to flee. And when Mulla Husayn was well warmed to the fray, he overtook a fugitive soldier. The soldier sheltered himself behind a tree, and further strove to shield himself with his musket. Mulla Husayn dealt him such a blow with his sword that he clave him and the tree and the musket into six pieces." (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," pp 49, 107-8.)]

I myself, when in Tihran, in the year 1265 A.H.,[1] a month after the conclusion of the memorable struggle of Shaykh Tabarsi, heard Mirza Ahmad relate the circumstances of this incident in the presence of a number of believers, among whom were Mirza Muhammad-Husayn-i-Hakamiy-i-Kirmani, Haji Mulla Isma'il-i-Farahani, Mirza Habibu'llah-i-Isfahani, and Siyyid Muhammad-i-Isfahani.

[1 1848-9 A.D. ]

When, at a later time, I visited Khurasan and was staying at the home of Mulla Sadiq-i-Khurasani in Mashhad, where I had been invited to teach the Cause, I asked Mirza Muhammad-i-Furughi,

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in the presence of a number of believers, among whom were Nabil-i-Akbar and the father of Badi', to enlighten me regarding the true character of that amazing report. Mirza Muhammad emphatically declared: "I myself was a witness to this act of Mulla Husayn. Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I never would have believed it." In this connection, the same Mirza Muhammad related to us the following story: "After the engagement of Vas-Kas, when Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza was completely routed, and had fled barefooted from the face of the companions of The Báb, the Amir-Nizam [1] severely rebuked him. 'I have charged you,' he wrote him, 'with the mission of subduing a handful of young and contemptible students. I have placed at your disposal the army of the Shah, and yet you have allowed it to suffer such a disgraceful defeat. What would have befallen you, I wonder, had I entrusted you with the mission of defeating the combined forces of the Russian and Ottoman governments?' The prince thought it best to entrust a messenger with the fragments of the barrel of that same rifle which was cleft in twain by the sword of Mulla Husayn, and to instruct him to present them, in person, to the Amir-Nizam. 'Such is,' was his message to the Amir, 'the contemptible strength of an adversary who, with a single stroke of his sword, has shattered into six pieces the tree, the musket, and its holder.'

[1 Mirza Taqi Khan, I'timadu'd-Dawlih, Grand Vazir and successor to Haji Mirza Aqasi. The following reference is made to him in "A Traveller's Narrative" (pp. 32-3): "Mirza Taqi Khan Amir-Nizam, who was Prime Minister and Chief Regent, seized in the grasp of his despotic power the reins of the affairs of the commonwealth, and urged the steed of his ambition into the arena of wilfulness and sole possession. The minister was a person devoid of experience and wanting in consideration for the consequences of actions; bloodthirsty and shameless; and swift and ready to shed blood. Severity in punishing he regarded as wise administration, and harshly entreating, distressing, intimidating, and frightening the people he considered as a fulcrum for the advancement of the monarchy. And as His Majesty the King was in the prime of youthful years the minister fell into strange fancies and sounded the drum of absolutism in (the conduct of) affairs: on his own decisive resolution, without seeking permission from the Royal Presence or taking counsel with prudent statesmen, he issued orders to persecute The Bábis, imagining that by overweening force he could eradicate and suppress matters of this nature, and that harshness would bear good fruit; whereas (in fact) to interfere with matters of conscience is simply to give them greater currency and strength; the more you strive to extinguish, the more will the name be kindled, more specially in matters of faith and religion, which spread and acquire influence so soon as blood is shed, and strongly affect men's hearts."]

"So convincing a testimony of the strength of his opponent constituted, in the eyes of the Amir-Nizam, a challenge

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which no man of his position and authority could afford to ignore. He resolved to curb the power which, by so daring an act, had sought to assert itself against his forces. Unable, in spite of the overwhelming number of his men, to defeat Mulla Husayn and his companions fairly and honourably, he meanly resorted to treachery and fraud as instruments for the attainment of his purpose. He ordered the prince to affix his seal to the Quran and pledge the honour of his officers that they would henceforth abstain from any act of hostility towards the occupants of the fort. By this means he was able to induce them to lay down their arms, and to inflict upon his defenceless opponents a crushing and inglorious defeat."

Such a remarkable display of dexterity and strength could not fail to attract the attention of a considerable number of observers whose minds had remained, as yet, untainted by prejudice or malice. It evoked the enthusiasm of poets who, in different cities of Persia, were moved to celebrate the exploits of the author of so daring an act. Their poems helped to diffuse the knowledge, and to immortalise the memory, of that mighty deed. Among those who paid their tribute to the valour of Mulla Husayn was a certain Rida-Quli Khan-i-Lalih-Bashi, who, in the "Tarikh-i-Nasiri," lavished his praise on the prodigious strength and the unrivalled skill which had characterised that stroke.

I ventured to ask Mirza Muhammad-i-Furughi whether he was aware that in the "Nasikhu't-Tavarikh" mention had been made of the fact that Mulla Husayn had, in his early youth, been instructed in the art of swordsmanship, that he had acquired his proficiency only after a considerable period of training. "This is sheer fabrication," affirmed Mulla Muhammad. "I have known him from his childhood, and have been associated with him, as a classmate and friend, for a long time. I have never known him to be possessed of such strength and power. I even deem myself superior in vigour and bodily endurance. His hand trembled as he wrote, and he often expressed his inability to write as fully and as frequently as he wished. He was greatly handicapped in this respect, and he continued to suffer from its effects until his journey to Mazindaran. The moment he unsheathed

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his sword, however, to repulse that savage attack, a mysterious power seemed to have suddenly transformed him. In all subsequent encounters, he was seen to be the first to spring forward and spur on his charger into the camp of the aggressor. Unaided, he would face and fight the combined forces of his opponents and would himself achieve the victory. We, who followed him in the rear, had to content ourselves with those who had already been disabled and were weakened by the blows they had sustained. His name alone was sufficient to strike terror into the hearts of his adversaries. They fled at mention of him; they trembled at his approach. Even those who were his constant companions were mute with wonder before him. We were stunned by the display of his stupendous force, his indomitable will and complete intrepidity. We were all convinced that he had ceased to be the Mulla Husayn whom we had known, and that in him resided a spirit which God alone could bestow."

This same Mirza Muhammad-i-Furughi related to me the following: "Mulla Husayn had no sooner dealt his memorable blow to his adversary than he disappeared from our sight. We knew not whither he had gone. His attendant, Qambar-'Ali, alone could follow him. He subsequently informed us that his master threw himself headlong upon his enemies, and was able with a single stroke of his sword to strike down each of those who dared assail him. Unmindful of the bullets that rained upon him, he forced his way through the ranks of the enemy and headed for Barfurush. He rode straight to the residence of the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama', thrice made the circuit of his house, and cried out: 'Let that contemptible

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coward, who has incited the inhabitants of this town to wage holy warfare against us and has ignominiously concealed himself behind the walls of his house, emerge from his inglorious retreat. Let him, by his example, demonstrate the sincerity of his appeal and the righteousness of his cause. Has he forgotten that he who preaches a holy war must needs himself march at the head of his followers, and by his own deeds kindle their devotion and sustain their enthusiasm?'"

The voice of Mulla Husayn drowned the clamour of the multitude. The inhabitants of Barfurush surrendered and soon raised the cry, "Peace, peace!" No sooner had the voice of surrender been raised than the acclamations of the followers of Mulla Husayn, who at that moment were seen galloping towards Barfurush, were heard from every side. The cry of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!"[1] which they shouted at the top of their voices, struck dismay into the hearts of those who heard it. The companions of Mulla Husayn, who had abandoned the hope of again finding him alive, were greatly surprised when they saw him seated erect upon his horse, unhurt and unaffected by the fierceness of that onset. Each reverently approached him and kissed his stirrups.

[1 See Glossary.]

On the afternoon of that day, the peace which the inhabitants of Barfurush had implored was granted. To the crowd which had gathered about him, Mulla Husayn spoke these words: "O followers of the Prophet of God, and shi'ahs of the imams of His Faith! Why have you risen against us? Why deem the shedding of our blood an act meritorious in the sight of God? Did we ever repudiate the truth of your Faith? Is this the hospitality which the Apostle of God has enjoined His followers to accord to both the faithful and the infidel? What have we done to merit such condemnation on your part? Consider: I alone, with no other weapon than my sword, have been able to face the rain of bullets which the inhabitants of Barfurush have poured upon me, and have emerged unscathed from the midst of the fire with which you have besieged me. Both my person and my horse have escaped unhurt from your overwhelming attack. Except for the slight scratch which I received on my face, you have

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been powerless to wound me. God has protected me and willed to establish in your eyes the ascendancy of His Faith."

Immediately afterwards, Mulla Husayn proceeded to the caravanserai of Sabzih-Maydan. He dismounted and, standing at the entrance of the inn, awaited the arrival of his companions. As soon as they had gathered and been accommodated in that place, he sent for bread and water. Those who had been commissioned to fetch them returned empty-handed, and informed him that they had been unable to procure either bread from the baker or water from the public square. "You have exhorted us," they told him, "to put our trust in God and to resign ourselves to His will. 'Nothing can befall us but what God hath destined for us. Our liege Lord is He; and on God let the faithful trust!'"[1]

[1 Quran, 9:52.]

Mulla Husayn ordered that the gates of the caravanserai be closed. Assembling his companions, he begged them to remain gathered in his presence until the hour of sunset. As the evening approached, he asked whether any among them would be willing to arise and, renouncing his life for the sake of his Faith, ascend to the roof of the caravanserai and sound the adhan.[1] A youth gladly responded. No sooner had the opening words of "Allah-u-Akbar" dropped from his lips than a bullet suddenly struck him and immediately caused his death. "Let another one among you arise,"

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Mulla Husayn urged them, "and, with the selfsame renunciation, proceed with the prayer which that youth was unable to finish." Another youth started to his feet, and had no sooner uttered the words, "I bear witness that Muhammad is the Apostle of God," than he also was struck down by another bullet from the enemy. A third youth, at the bidding of his chief, attempted to complete the prayer which his martyred companions had been forced to leave unfinished. He, too, suffered the same fate. As he was approaching the end of his prayer, and was uttering the words, "There is no God but God," he, in his turn, fell dead.

[1 "'The Bábu'l-Bab,' says our author, 'wishing to fulfill a religious duty and at the same time to give an example of the firm conviction of the believers, of their contempt for life, and to show the world the impiety and irreligion of the so called Mussulmans, commanded one of his followers to ascend the terrace and intone the adhan.'" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," pp. 295-6.) "It was at Marand," writes Lady Sheil, "that I first heard the adhan, or call of the Muslims to prayer, so solemn and impressive, specially when well chanted, for it is in fact a chant.... He turned towards Mecca, and placing his open hands to his head, proclaimed with a loud sonorous voice, 'Allah-u-Akbar,' which he repeated four times; then 'Ashhad-u-an-la-ilah-a-illa'llah' (I bear witness there is no God but God), twice; then 'Ashhad-u-inna-Muhammadan-Rasu'llah' --(I bear witness that Muhammad is the Prophet of God), twice; then 'I bear witness that Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, is the friend of God.'... The single toll in the knell for transporting the dead to their last earthly abode arouses, perhaps from association, ideas of profound solemnity; so too does the trumpet echoing through the camp when it ushers the dragoon to his grave; but above both, in solemn awe, is the keening as it sweeps afar over the dales and hills of Munster, announcing that a Gael has been gathered to his fathers. The adhan excites a different impression. It raises in the mind a combination of feelings, of dignity, solemnity, and devotion, compared with which the din of bells becomes insignificant. It is an imposing thing to hear in the dead of the night the first sounds of the mu'adhdhin proclaiming 'Allah-u-Akbar--Mighty is the Lord--I bear witness there is no God but God!' St. Peter's and St. Paul's together can produce nothing equal to it." ("Glimpses of Life and Manners in Persia," pp. 84, 85.)]

The fall of his third companion decided Mulla Husayn to throw open the gate of the caravanserai, and to arise, together with his friends, to repulse this unexpected attack from a treacherous enemy. Leaping on horseback, he gave the signal to charge upon the assailants who had massed before the gates and had filled the Sabzih-Maydan. Sword in hand, and followed by his companions, he succeeded in decimating the forces that had been arrayed against him. Those few who had escaped their swords fled before them in panic, again pleading for peace, again imploring mercy. With the approach of evening, the entire crowd had vanished. The Sabzih-Maydan, which a few hours before overflowed with a seething mass of opponents, was now deserted. The clamour of the multitude was stilled. Bestrewn with the bodies of the slain, the Maydan and its surroundings offered a sad and moving spectacle, a scene which bore witness to the victory of God over His enemies.

So startling a victory [1] induced a number of the nobles and chiefs of the people to intervene and beseech the mercy of Mulla Husayn on behalf of their fellow-citizens. They came on foot to submit to him their petition. "God is our witness," they pleaded, "that we harbour no intention but

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that of establishing peace and reconciliation between us. Remain seated on your charger for a while, until we have explained our motive." Observing the earnestness of their appeal, Mulla Husayn dismounted and invited them to join him in the caravanserai. "We, unlike the people of this town, know how to receive the stranger in our midst," he said, as he invited them to be seated beside him and ordered that they be served with tea. "The Sa'idu'l-'Ulama'," they replied, "was alone responsible for having kindled the fire of so much mischief. The people of Barfurush should in no wise he implicated in the crime which he has committed. Let the past be now forgotten. We would suggest, in the interest of both parties, that you and your companions leave to-morrow for Amul. Barfurush is in the throes of great excitement; we fear lest they may again be instigated to attack you." Mulla Husayn, though hinting at the insincerity of the people, consented to their proposal; whereupon Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani [2] and Haji Mustafa Khan arose together and, swearing by the Quran which they had brought with them, solemnly declared their intention to regard them as their guests that night, and the following day to instruct Khusraw-i-Qadi-Kala'i [3] and a hundred horsemen to ensure their safe passage through Shir-Gah. "The malediction of God and His Prophets be upon us, both in this world and

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in the next," they added, "if we ever allow the slightest injury to be inflicted upon you and your party."

[1 "Sa'idu'l-'Ulama' wishing to have done at any cost, gathered together as many people as he could and again began the attack in front of the caravansary. The struggle had been waging from five to six days when Abbas-Quli Khan Sardar-i-Larijani appeared. In the meantime, and since the outbreak of the conflict, the Ulamas of Barfurush exasperated by the numerous conversions which Quddus had been able to make in the city (three hundred in a week, the Muhammadan historians admit reluctantly), referred the case to the governor of the province, Prince Khanlan Mirza. He, however, paid no attention to their grievances, having many other preoccupations. "The death of Muhammad Shah worried him much more than the wrangling of the Mullas and he made ready to go to Tihran to pay homage to the new king, whose favor he hoped to win. "Having failed in this attempt, under the pressure of events, the Ulamas wrote a very urgent letter to the military chief of the province, Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani. He however, thinking it unnecessary to trouble himself, sent Muhammad Bik, Yavar (captain), at the head of three hundred men, to restore order. Thus it was that the Muhammadans began to attack the caravansary. The struggle went on, but if ten Bábis were killed, an infinitely larger number of aggressors bit the dust. As things continued to drag along, Abbas-Quli Khan felt he should come himself in order to size up the situation." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," pp. 296-297.)]

[2 Gobineau describes him in the following terms: "The Turkish and Persian nomads pass their lives in hunting, often also in fighting and above all in talking of the hunt and of war. They are brave but not always and they are well described by Brant to me who, in his war experience had often encountered that type of bravery which he called 'one day courage.' But this is what they are in a very regular and consistent manner, great talkers, great wreckers of towns, great assassins of heroes, great exterminators of multitudes, in a word, naive, very outspoken in their sentiments, very violent in the expression of anything which arouses them and extremely amusing. Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani although well born, was a perfect type of nomad." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 171.)]

[3 A notorious scoundrel who often rebelled against the government.]

As soon as they had made their declaration, their friends who had gone to fetch food for the companions and fodder for their horses, arrived. Mulla Husayn bade his fellow-believers break their fast, inasmuch as none of them that day, which was Friday, the twelfth of the month of Dhi'l-Qa'dih,[1] had taken any meat or drink since the hour of dawn. So great was the number of notables and their attendants that had crowded into the caravanserai that day that neither he nor any of his companion had partaken of the tea which they had offered to their visitors.

[1 October 10, 1848 A.D.]

That night, about four hours after sunset, Mulla Husayn, together with his friends, dined in the company of Abbas-Quli Khan and Haji Mustafa Khan. In the middle of that same night, the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama' summoned Khusraw-i-Qadi-Kala'i and confidentially intimated to him his desire that, at any time or place he himself might decide, the entire property of the party which had been entrusted to his charge should be seized, and that they themselves, without a single exception, should be put to death. "Are these not the followers of Islam?" Khusraw observed. "Have not these same people, as I have already learned, preferred to sacrifice three of their companions rather than leave unfinished the call to prayer which they had raised? How could we, who cherish such designs and perpetrate such acts, be regarded as worthy of that name?" That shameless miscreant insisted that his orders be faithfully obeyed. "Slay them," he said, as he pointed with his finger to his neck, "and be not afraid. I hold myself responsible for your act. I will, on the Day of Judgment, be answerable to God in your name. We, who wield the sceptre of authority, are surely better informed than you, and can better judge how best to extirpate this heresy."

At the hour of sunrise, Abbas-Quli Khan asked that Khusraw be conducted into his presence, and bade him exercise the utmost consideration towards Mulla Husayn and his companions, to ensure their safe passage through Shir-Gah, and to refuse whatever rewards they might wish to offer him.

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Khusraw feigned submission to these instructions and assured him that neither he nor his horsemen would relax in their vigilance or flinch in their devotion to them. "On our return," he added, "we shall show you his own written expression of satisfaction with the services we shall have rendered him."

When Khusraw was taken by Abbas-Quli Khan and Haji Mustafa Khan and other representative leaders of Barfurush into the presence of Mulla Husayn and was introduced to him, the latter remarked: "'If ye do well, it will redound to your own advantage; and if ye do evil, the evil will return upon you."[1] If this man should treat us well, great shall be his reward; and if he act treacherously towards us, great shall be his punishment. To God would we commit our Cause, and to His will are we wholly resigned."

[1 Quran, 17:7.]

Mulla Husayn spoke these words and gave the signal for departure. Once more Qambar-'Ali was heard to raise the call of his master, "Mount your steeds, O heroes of God!"-- a summons which he invariably called out on such occasions. At the sound of those words, they all hurried to their steeds. A detachment of Khusraw's horsemen marched before them. They were immediately followed by Khusraw and Mulla Husayn, who rode abreast in the centre of the company. In their rear followed the rest of the companions, and on their right and left marched the remainder of the hundred horsemen whom Khusraw had armed as willing instruments for the execution of his design. It had been agreed that the party should start early in the morning from Barfurush and arrive on the same day at noon at Shir-Gah. Two hours after sunrise, they started for their destination. Khusraw intentionally took the way of the forest, a route which he thought would better serve his purpose.

As soon as they had penetrated it, he gave the signal for attack. His men fiercely threw themselves upon the companions, seized their property, killed a number, among whom was the brother of Mulla Sadiq, and captured the rest. As soon as the cry of agony and distress reached his ears, Mulla Husayn halted, and, alighting from his horse, protested against Khusraw's treacherous behaviour. "The hour of midday is long past," he told him; "we still have not attained

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our destination. I refuse to proceed further with you; I can dispense with your guidance and company and that of your men." Turning to Qambar-'Ali, he asked him to spread his prayer-mat, that he might offer his devotions. He was performing his ablutions, when Khusraw, who had also dismounted, called one of his attendants and bade him inform Mulla Husayn that if he wished to reach his destination safely, he should deliver to him both his sword and his horse. Refusing to give a reply, Mulla Husayn proceeded to offer his prayer. Shortly after, Mirza Muhammad-Taqiy-i-Juvayniy-i-Sabzivari, a man of literary accomplishments and fearless courage, went to an attendant who was preparing the qulayn,[1] and requested him to allow him to take it in person to Khusraw; a request that was readily granted. Mirza Muhammad-Taqi was bending to kindle the fire of the qulayn, when, thrusting his hand suddenly into Khusraw's bosom, he drew his dagger from his robe and plunged it hilt-deep into his vitals.[2]

[1 See Glossary.]

[2 According to "A Traveller's Narrative" (p. 36), it was Mirza Lutf-'Ali,the secretary who drew his dagger and stabbed Khusraw.]

Mulla Husayn was still in the act of prayer when the cry of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman"[1] was raised again by his companions. They threw themselves upon their treacherous assailants and in one onslaught struck them all down except the attendant who had prepared the qulayn. Affrighted and defenceless, he fell at the feet of Mulla Husayn and implored his aid. He was given the bejewelled qulayn which belonged to his master and was bidden to return to Barfurush and recount to Abbas-Quli Khan all that he had witnessed. "Tell him," said Mulla Husayn, "how faithfully Khusraw discharged his mission. That false miscreant foolishly imagined that my mission had come to an end, that both my sword and my horse had fulfilled their function. Little did he know that their work had but just begun, that until the services which they can render are entirely accomplished, neither his power nor the power of any man beside him can wrest them from me."

[1 See Glossary.]

As the night was approaching, the party decided to tarry in that spot until the hour of dawn. At daybreak, after Mulla Husayn had offered his prayer, he gathered his companions

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together and said: "We are approaching our Karbila, our ultimate destination." Immediately after, he set out on foot towards that spot, and was followed by his companions. Finding that a few were attempting to carry with them the belongings of Khusraw and of his men, he ordered them to leave everything behind except their swords and horses. "It behoves you," he urged them, "to arrive at that hallowed spot in a state of complete detachment, wholly sanctified from all that pertains to this world."[1] He had walked the distance of a maydan [2] when he arrived at the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsi.[3] The Shaykh had been one of the transmitters of the traditions ascribed to the imams of the Faith, and his burial-place was visited by the people of the neighbourhood. On reaching that spot, he recited the following verse of the Quran: "O

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my Lord, bless Thou my arrival at this place, for Thou alone canst vouchsafe such blessings."

[1 "Then turning to his companions he said: 'During these few days of life which remain to us, let us beware not to be divided and estranged by perishable riches. Let all this be held in common and let everyone share in its benefits.' The Bábis agreed with joy and it is this marvellous spirit of self-sacrifice and this complete self-abnegation which made their enemies say that they advocated collective ownership in earthly goods and even women!" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 299.)]

[2 See Glossary.]

[3 Shrine of Shaykh Ahmad-ibn-i-Abi-Talib-i-Tabarsi, situated about fourteen miles S.E. of Barfurush. Professor Browne, of Cambridge University, visited the spot on September 26, 1888, and saw the name of the buried saint inscribed on a tablet with the form of words used for his "visitation," the tablet hanging suspended from the railings surrounding the tomb. "It consists at present," he writes, "of a flat, grassy enclosure surrounded by a hedge and containing, besides the buildings of the shrine and another building at the gateway (opposite to which, but outside the enclosure, stands the house of the mutavalli, or custodian of the shrine), nothing but two or three orange trees and a few rude graves covered with flat stones, the last resting places, perhaps, of some of The Bábi defenders. The building at the gateway is two storeys high, is traversed by the passage giving access to the enclosure, and is roofed with tiles. The buildings of the shrine, which stand at the farther end of the enclosure, are rather more elaborate. Their greatest length (about 20 paces) lies east and west; their breadth is about ten paces; and, besides the covered portico at the entrance they contain two rooms scantily lighted by wooden gratings over the doors. The tomb of the Shaykh, from whom the place takes its name, stands surrounded by wooden railings in the centre of the inner room, to which access is obtained either by a door communicating with the outer chamber, or by a door opening externally into the enclosure." (For plans and sketches, see the author's translation of the "Tarikh-i-Jadid.") (E. G. Browne's "A Year Amongst the Persians," p. 565.)]

The night preceding their arrival, the guardian of the shrine dreamed that the Siyyidu'sh-Shuhada', the Imam Husayn, had arrived at Shaykh Tabarsi, accompanied by no less than seventy-two warriors and a large number or his companions. He dreamed that they tarried in that spot, engaged in the most heroic of battles, triumphing in every encounter over the forces of the enemy, and that the Prophet of God, Himself, arrived one night and joined that blessed company. When Mulla Husayn arrived on the following day, the guardian immediately recognized him as the hero he had seen in his vision, threw himself at his feet, and kissed them devoutly. Mulla Husayn invited him to be seated by his side, and heard him relate his story. "All that you

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have witnessed," he assured the keeper of the shrine, "will come to pass. Those glorious scenes will again be enacted before your eyes." That servant threw in his lot eventually with the heroic defenders of the fort and fell a martyr within its walls.

On the very day of their arrival, which was the fourteenth of Dhi'l-Qa'dih,[1] Mulla Husayn gave Mirza Muhammad-Baqir, who had built The Bábiyyih, the preliminary instructions regarding the design of the fort which was to be constructed for their defence. Towards the evening of the same day, they found themselves suddenly encompassed by an irregular multitude of horsemen who had emerged from the forest and were preparing to open fire upon them. "We are of the inhabitants of Qadi-Kala," they shouted. "We come to avenge the blood of Khusraw. Not until we have put you all to the sword shall we be satisfied." Besieged by a savage crowd ready to pounce upon them, the party had to draw

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their swords again in self-defence. Raising the cry of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman," they leaped forward, repulsed the assailants, and put them to flight. So tremendous was the shout, that the horsemen vanished as suddenly as they had appeared. Mirza Muhammad-Taqiy-i-Juvayni had, at his own request, assumed the command of that encounter.

[1 October 12, 1848 A.D.]

Fearing that their assailants might again turn on them and resort to a general massacre, they pursued them until they reached a village which they thought to be the village of Qadi-Kala. At the sight of them, all the men fled in wild terror. The mother of Nazar Khan, the owner of the village, was inadvertently killed in the darkness of the night, amid the confusion that ensued. The outcries of the women, who were violently protesting that they had no connection whatever with the people of Qadi-Kala, soon reached the ears of Mirza Muhammad-Taqi, who immediately ordered his companions to withhold their hands until they ascertained the name and character of the place. They soon found out that the village belonged to Nazar Khan and that the woman who had lost her life was his mother. Greatly distressed at the discovery of so grievous a mistake on the part of his companions, Mirza Muhammad-Taqi sorrowfully exclaimed: "We did not intend to molest either the men or the women of this village. Our sole purpose was to curb the violence of the people of Qadi-Kala, who were about to put us all to death." He apologised earnestly for the pitiful tragedy which his companions had unwittingly enacted.

Nazar Khan, who in the meantime had concealed himself in his house, was convinced of the sincerity of the regrets expressed by Mirza Muhammad-Taqi. Though suffering from this grievous loss, he was moved to call upon him and to invite him to his home. He even asked Mirza Muhammad-Taqi to introduce him to Mulla Husayn, and expressed a keen desire to be made acquainted with the precepts of a Cause that could kindle such fervour in the breasts of its adherents.

At the hour of dawn, Mirza Muhammad-Taqi, accompanied by Nazar Khan, arrived at the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsi, and found Mulla Husayn leading the congregational prayer. Such was the rapture that glowed upon his countenance

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that Nazar Khan felt an irresistible impulse to join the worshippers and to repeat the very prayers that were then falling from their lips. After the completion of that prayer, Mulla Husayn was informed of the loss which Nazar Khan had sustained. He expressed in the most touching language the sympathy which he and the entire company of his fellow-disciples felt for him in his great bereavement. "God knows," he assured him, "that our sole intention was to protect our lives rather than disturb the peace of the neighbourhood." Mulla Husayn then proceeded to relate the circumstances that had led to the attack directed against them by the people of Barfurush, and explained the treacherous conduct of Khusraw. He again assured him of the sorrow which the death of his mother had caused him. "Afflict not your heart," Nazar Khan spontaneously replied. "Would that a hundred sons had been given me, all of whom I would have joyously placed at your feet and offered as a sacrifice to the Sahibu'z-Zaman!" He pledged, that very moment, his undying loyalty to Mulla Husayn, and hastened back to his village in order to return with whatever provisions might be required for the party.

Mulla Husayn ordered his companions to commence the building of the fort which had been designed. To every group he assigned a section of the work, and encouraged them to hasten its completion. In the course of these operations, they were continually harassed by the people of the neighbouring villages, who, at the persistent instigations of the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama', marched out and fell upon them. Every attack of the enemy ended in failure and shame. Undeterred by the fierceness of their repeated onsets, the companions valiantly withstood their assaults until they had succeeded in subjugating temporarily the forces which had hemmed them in on every side. When the work of construction was completed, Mulla Husayn undertook the necessary preparations for the siege which the fort was destined to sustain, and provided, despite the obstacles which stood in his way, whatever seemed essential for the safety of its occupants.

The work had scarcely been completed when Shaykh Abu-Turab arrived bearing the news of Bahá'u'lláh's arrival at the village of Nazar Khan. He informed Mulla Husayn

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that he had been specially commanded by Bahá'u'lláh to inform them that they all were to be His guests that night and that He Himself would join them that same afternoon. I have heard Mulla Mirza Muhammad-i-Furughi recount the following: "The tidings which Shaykh Abu-Turab brought imparted an indefinable joy to the heart or Mulla Husayn. He hastened immediately to his companions and bade them bestir themselves for the reception of Bahá'u'lláh. He himself joined them in sweeping and sprinkling with water the approaches to the shrine, and attended in person to whatever was necessary for the arrival of the beloved Visitor. As soon as he saw Him approaching with Nazar Khan, he rushed forward, tenderly embraced Him, and conducted Him to the place of honour which he had reserved for His reception. We were too blind in those days to recognize the glory of Him whom our leader had introduced with such reverence and love into our midst. What Mulla Husayn had perceived, our

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dull vision was as yet unable to recognize. With what solicitude he received Him in his arms! What feelings of rapturous delight filled his heart on seeing Him! He was so lost in admiration that he was utterly oblivious of us all. His soul was so wrapt in contemplation of that countenance that we who were awaiting his permission to be seated were kept standing a long time beside him. It was Bahá'u'lláh Himself who finally bade us be seated. We, too, were soon made to feel, however inadequately, the charm of His utterance, though none of us were even dimly aware of the infinite potency latent in His words.

Bahá'u'lláh, in the course of that visit, inspected the fort and expressed His satisfaction with the work that had been accomplished. In His conversation with Mulla Husayn, He explained in detail such matters as were vital to the welfare and safety of his companions. 'The one thing this fort and company require,' He said, 'is the presence of Quddus. His association with this company would render it complete and perfect.' He instructed Mulla Husayn to despatch Mulla Mihdiy-i-Khu'i with six people to Sari, and to demand Mirza Muhammad-Taqi that he immediately deliver Quddus into their hands. 'The fear of God and the dread of His punishment,' He assured Mulla Husayn, 'will prompt him to surrender unhesitatingly his captive.'

"Ere He departed, Bahá'u'lláh enjoined them to be patient and resigned to the will of the Almighty. 'If it be His will,' He added, 'We shall once again visit you at this same spot, and shall lend you Our assistance. You have been chosen of God to be the vanguard of His host and the establishers of His Faith. His host verily will conquer. Whatever may befall, victory is yours, a victory which is complete and certain.' With these words, He committed those valiant companions to the care of God, and returned to the village with Nazar Khan and Shaykh Abu-Turab. From thence He departed by way of Nur to Tihran."

Mulla Husayn set out immediately to carry out the instructions he had received. Summoning Mulla Mihdi, he bade him proceed together with six other companions to Sari and ask that the mujtahid liberate his prisoner. As soon as the message was conveyed to him, Mirza Muhammad-Taqi

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unconditionally acceded to their request. The potency with which that message had been endowed seemed to have completely disarmed him. "I have regarded him," he hastened to assure the messengers, "only as an honoured guest in my house. It would be unbecoming of me to pretend to have dismissed or released him. He is at liberty to do as he desires. Should he wish it, I would be willing to accompany him."

Mulla Husayn had in the meantime apprised his companions of the approach of Quddus, and had enjoined them to observe towards him a reverence such as they would feel prompted to show to The Báb Himself. "As to myself," he added, "you must consider me as his lowly servant. You should bear him such loyalty that if he were to command you to take my life, you would unhesitatingly obey. If you waver or hesitate, you will have shown your disloyalty to your Faith. Not until he summons you to his presence must you in any wise venture to intrude upon him. You should forsake your desires and cling to his will and pleasure. You should refrain from kissing either his hands or his feet, for his blessed heart dislikes such evidences of reverent affection. Such should be your behaviour that I may feel proud of you before him. The glory and authority with which he has been invested must needs be duly recognized by even the most insignificant of his companions. Whoso departs from the spirit and letter of my admonitions, a grievous chastisement will surely overtake him."

The incarceration of Quddus in the home of Mirza Muhammad-Taqi,

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Sari's most eminent mujtahid, to whom he was related, lasted five and ninety days. Though confined, Quddus was treated with marked deference, and was allowed to receive most of the companions who had been present at the gathering of Badasht. To none, however, did he grant permission to stay in Sari. Whoever visited him was urged, in the most pressing terms, to enlist under the Black Standard hoisted by Mulla Husayn. It was the same standard of which Muhammad, the Prophet of God, had thus spoken: "Should your eyes behold the Black Standards proceeding from Khurasan, hasten ye towards them, even though ye should have to crawl over the snow, inasmuch as they proclaim the advent of the promised Mihdi,[1] the Vicegerent of God." That standard was unfurled at the command of The Báb, in the name of Quddus, and by the hands of Mulla Husayn. It was carried aloft all the way from the city of Mashhad to the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsi. For eleven months, from the beginning of Sha'ban in the year 1264 A.H.[2] to the end of Jamadiyu'th-Thani, in the year 1265 A.H.,[3] that earthly emblem of an unearthly sovereignty waved continually over the heads of that small and valiant band, summoning the multitude who gazed upon it to renounce the world and to espouse the Cause of God.

[1 See Glossary.]
[2 July 3-August 1, 1848 A.D.]
[3 April 24-May 23, 1849 A.D.]

While in Sari, Quddus frequently attempted to convince Mirza Muhammad-Taqi of the truth of the Divine Message. He freely conversed with him on the most weighty and outstanding issues related to the Revelation of The Báb. His bold and challenging remarks were couched in such gentle, such persuasive and courteous language, and delivered with such geniality and humour, that those who heard him felt not in the least offended. They even misconstrued his allusions to the sacred Book as humorous observations intended to entertain his hearers. Mirza Muhammad-Taqi, despite the cruelty and wickedness that were latent in him and which he subsequently manifested by the stand he took in insisting upon the extermination of the remnants of the defenders of the fort of Shaykh Tabarsi, was withheld by an inner power from showing the least disrespect to Quddus while the latter was confined in his home. He even was prompted to prevent

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the inhabitants of Sari from offending Quddus, and was often heard to rebuke them for the harm which they desired to inflict upon him.

The news of the impending arrival of Quddus bestirred the occupants of the fort of Tabarsi. As he drew near his destination, he sent forward a messenger to announce his approach. The joyful tidings gave them new courage and strength. Roused to a burst of enthusiasm which he could not repress, Mulla Husayn started to his feet and, escorted by about a hundred of his companions, hastened to meet the expected visitor. He placed two candles in the hands of each, lighted them himself, and bade them proceed to meet Quddus. The darkness of the night was dispelled by the radiance which those joyous hearts shed as they marched forth to meet their beloved. In the midst of the forest of Mazindaran, their eyes instantly recognized the face which they had longed to behold. They pressed eagerly around his steed, and with every mark of devotion aid him their tribute of love and undying allegiance. Still holding the lighted candles in their hands, they followed him on foot towards their destination. Quddus, as he rode along in their midst, appeared as the day-star that shines amidst its satellites. As the company slowly wended its way towards the fort, there broke forth the hymn of glorification and praise intoned by the band of his enthusiastic admirers. "Holy, holy, the Lord our God, the Lord of the angels and the spirit!" rang their jubilant voices around him. Mulla Husayn raised the glad refrain, to which the entire company responded. The forest of Mazindaran re-echoed to the sound of their acclamations.

In this manner they reached the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsi. The first words that fell from the lips of Quddus after he had dismounted and leaned against the shrine were the following: "The Baqiyyatu'llah [1] will be best for you if ye are of those who believe."[2] By this utterance was fulfilled the prophecy of Muhammad as recorded in the following tradition: "And when the Mihdi [3] is made manifest, He shall lean His back against the Ka'bih and shall address to the three hundred and thirteen followers who will have grouped around Him, these words: 'The Baqiyyatu'llah will be best for you if

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ye are of those who believe.'" By "Baqiyyatu'llah" Quddus meant none other than Bahá'u'lláh. To this testified Mulla Mirza Muhammad-i-Furughi, who related to me the following: "I myself was present when Quddus alighted from his horse. I saw him lean against the shrine and heard him utter those same words. No sooner had he spoken them than he made mention of Bahá'u'lláh and, turning to Mulla Husayn, enquired about Him. He was informed that unless God decreed to the contrary, He had signified His intention to return to this place before the first day of Muharram.[4]

[1 Literally "Remnant of God."]
[2 Quran, 11:85.]
[3 See Glossary.]
[4 November 27, 1848 A.D.]

"Shortly after, Quddus entrusted to Mulla Husayn a number of homilies which he asked him to read aloud to his assembled companions. The first homily he read was entirely devoted to The Báb, the second concerned Bahá'u'lláh, and the third referred to Tahirih. We ventured to express to Mulla Husayn our doubts whether the references in the second homily were applicable to Bahá'u'lláh, who appeared clothed in the garb of nobility. The matter was reported to Quddus, who assured us that, God willing, its secret would be revealed to us in due time. Utterly unaware, in those days, of the character of the Mission of Bahá'u'lláh, we were unable to understand the meaning of those allusions, and idly conjectured as to what could be their probable significance. In my eagerness to unravel the subtleties of the traditions concerning the promised Qa'im, I several times approached Quddus and requested him to enlighten me regarding that subject. Though at first reluctant, he eventually acceded to my wish. The manner of his answer, his convincing and illuminating explanations, served to heighten the sense of awe and of veneration which his presence inspired. He dispelled whatever doubts lingered in our minds, and such were the evidences of his perspicacity that we came to believe that to him had been given the power to read our profoundest thoughts and to calm the fiercest tumult in our hearts.

[1 Reference to the year 1280 A.H. (1863-4 A.D.), in which Bahá'u'lláh declared His Mission in Baghdad.]

"Many a night I saw Mulla Husayn circle round the shrine within the precincts of which Quddus lay asleep. How often did I see him emerge in the mid-watches of the night from his chamber and quietly direct his steps to that spot and whisper the same verse with which we all had greeted

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the arrival of the beloved visitor! With what feelings of emotion I can still remember him as he advanced towards me, in the stillness of those dark and lonely hours which I devoted to meditation and prayer, whispering in my ears these words: 'Banish from your mind, O Mulla Mirza Muhammad, these perplexing subtleties and, freed from their trammels, arise and seek with me to quaff the cup of martyrdom. Then will you be able to comprehend, as the year '80 [1]dawns upon the world, the secret of the things which now lie hidden from you.'"

Quddus, on his arrival at the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsi, charged Mulla Husayn to ascertain the number of the assembled companions. One by one he counted them and passed them in through the gate of the fort: three hundred and twelve in all. He himself was entering the fort in order to acquaint Quddus with the result, when a youth, who had hastened all the way on foot from Barfurush, suddenly rushed in and seizing the hem of his garment, pleaded to be enrolled among the companions and to be allowed to lay down his life, whenever required, in the path of the Beloved. His wish was readily granted. When Quddus was informed of the total number of the companions, he remarked: "Whatever the tongue of the Prophet of God has spoken concerning the promised One must needs be fulfilled,[1] that thereby His testimony may be complete in the eyes of those divines who esteem themselves as the sole interpreters of the law and traditions of Islam. Through them will the people recognize the truth and acknowledge the fulfilment of these traditions."[2]

[1 The assembling of three hundred and thirteen chosen supporters of the imam in Taliqan of Khurasan is one of the signs that must needs herald the advent of the promised Qa'im. (E. G. Browne's "A History of Persian Literature in Modern Times" [A.D. 1500-1924], p. 399.)]

[2 Amongst them also was Rida Khan, the son of Muhammad Khan the Turkaman, Master of the Horse to his late Majesty Muhammad Shah. And he was a youth graceful of form, comely of face, endowed with all manner of talents and virtues, dignified, temperate gentle, generous, courageous, and manly. For the love and service of His Supreme Holiness he forsook both his post and his salary, and shut his eyes alike to rank and name, fame and shame, reproaches of friends and revilings of foes. At the first step he left behind him dignity, wealth, position, and all the power and consideration which he enjoyed, spent large sums of money (four or five thousand tumans at least) in the Cause, and repeatedly showed his readiness freely to lay down his life. One of these occasions was when His Supreme Holiness arrived at the village of Khanliq near Tihran, and, to try the fidelity of His followers, said: 'Were there but a few horsemen who would deliver Me from the bonds of the froward and their devices, it were not amiss.' On hearing these words, several tried and expert horsemen, fully equipped and armed, at once prepared to set out, and, pronouncing all that they had, hastily conveyed themselves before His Holiness. Amongst these were Mirza Qurban-'Ali, of Astaribad, and Rida Khan. When they were come before His Holiness, He smiled and said, "The mountain of Adhirbayjan has also a claim on Me,' and bade them turn back. After his return, Rida Khan devoted himself to the service of the friends of God, and his house was often the meeting place of the believers, amongst whom both Jinab-i-Quddus and Jinab-i-Babu'l-Báb were for a while his honoured guests. Indeed, he neither spared himself nor fell short in the service of any of this circle, but, notwithstanding his high position, strove with heart md soul to further the object of God's servants. When, for instance, Jinab-i-Quddus first began to preach the doctrine in Mazindaran, and the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama, being informed of this, made strenuous efforts to do him injury, Rida Khan at once hastened to Mazindaran, and, whenever Jinab-i-Quddus went forth from his house, used, in spite of his high position and the respect to which he was accustomed, to walk on foot before him with his drawn sword over his shoulder; seeing which, the malignants feared to take any liberty.... For some while, Rida Khan remained after this fashion in Mazindaran, until he accompanied Jinab-i-Quddus to Mashhad. On his return thence, he was present at the troubles at Badasht, where he performed the most valuable services, and was entrusted with the most important and delicate commissions. After the meeting at Badasht was dispersed, he fell ill, and, in company with Mirza Sulayman-Quli of Nur (a son of the late Shatir-bashi, also conspicuous for his virtues, learning, and devotion), came to Tihran. Rida Khan's illness lasted for some while, and on his recovery the siege of the castle of Tabarsi had already waxed grievous. He at once determined to go to the assistance of the garrison. Being, however, a man of mark and well known, he could not leave the capital without giving some plausible reason. He therefore pretended to repent his former course of action, and begged that he might be sent to take part in the war in Mazindaran, and thus make amends for the past. The king granted his request, and he was appointed to accompany the force proceeding under Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza against the castle. During the march thither he was continually saying to the prince, 'I will do this,' and 'I will do that', so that the prince came to entertain high hopes of him, and promised him a post commensurate with his services for till the day when battle was inevitable and peace no longer possible, he was ever foremost in the army and most active in ordering its affairs. But on the first day of battle he began to gallop his horse and practise other martial exercises, until, without having aroused suspicion, he suddenly gave it free rein and effected a junction with the Brethren of Purity. On arriving in their midst, he kissed the knee of Jinab-i-Quddus and prostrated himself before him in thankfulness. Then he once more returned to the battle-field, and began to revile and curse the prince, saying: 'Who is man enough to trample underfoot the pomp and circumstance of the world, free himself from the bonds of carnal lusts, and join himself, as I have done, to the saints of God? I, for my part, shall be satisfied with my head only when it falls stained with dust and blood in this plain.' Then, like a ravening lion, he rushed upon them with naked brand, and quitted himself so manfully that all the royalist officers were astonished, saying: 'Such valour must have been newly granted him from on high, or else a new spirit hath been breathed into his frame.' For it happened more than once that he cut down a gunner as he was in the very act of firing his gun, while so many of the chief officers of the royalist army fell by his hand that the prince and the other commanding officers desired more eagerly to revenge themselves on him than on any other of The Bábis. Therefore, on the eve of the day appointed for Jinab-i-Quddus to surrender himself at the royalist camp, Rida Khan, knowing that because of the fierce hatred which they bore him they would slay him with the most cruel tortures, went by night to the quarters of an officer in the camp who was an old and faithful friend and comrade. After the massacre of the other Bábis, search was made for Rida Khan, and he was at length discovered. The officer who had sheltered him proposed to ransom him for the sum of two thousand tumans in cash, but his proposal rejected, and though he offered to increase the sum, and strove earnestly to save his friend, it was of no avail, for the prince, because of the exceeding hatred he bore Rida Khan order him to be hewn in pieces." (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," pp. 96-101.)]

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Every morning and every afternoon during those days, Quddus would summon Mulla Husayn and the most distinguished among his companions and ask them to chant the writings of The Báb. Seated in the Maydan, the open square adjoining the fort, and surrounded by his devoted friends, he would listen intently to the utterances of his Master and would occasionally be heard to comment upon them. Neither the threats of the enemy nor the fierceness of their successive onsets could induce him to abate the fervour, or to break the regularity, of his devotions. Despising all danger and oblivious of his own needs and wants, he continued, even under the most distressing circumstances, his daily communion with his Beloved, wrote his praises of Him, and roused to fresh exertions the defenders of the fort. Though exposed to the bullets that kept ceaselessly raining upon his besieged companions, he, undeterred by the ferocity of the attack, pursued his labours in a state of unruffled calm. "My soul is wedded to Thy mention!" he was wont to exclaim. "Remembrance of Thee is the stay and solace of my life! I glory in that I was the first to suffer ignominiously for Thy

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sake in Shiraz. I long to be the first to suffer in Thy path a death that shall be worthy of Thy Cause."

He would sometimes ask his Iraqi companions to chant various passages of the Quran, to which he would listen with close attention, and would often be moved to unfold their meaning. In the course of one of their chantings, they came across the following verse: "With somewhat of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and fruits, will We surely prove you: but bear good tidings to the patient." "These words," Quddus would remark, "were originally revealed with reference to Job and the afflictions that befell him. In this day, however, they are applicable to us, who are destined to suffer those same afflictions. Such will be the measure of our calamity that none but he who has been endowed with constancy and patience will be able to survive them."

The knowledge and sagacity which Quddus displayed on those occasions, the confidence with which he spoke, and the resource and enterprise which he demonstrated in the instructions he gave to his companions, reinforced his authority and enhanced his prestige. These at first supposed that the profound

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reverence which Mulla Husayn showed towards him was dictated by the exigencies of the situation rather than prompted by a spontaneous feeling of devotion to his person. His own writings and general behaviour gradually dispelled such doubts and served to establish him still more firmly in the esteem of his companions. In the days of his confinement in the town of Sari, Quddus, whom Mirza Muhammad-Taqi had requested to write a commentary on the Surih of Ikhlas, better known as the Surih of Qul Huva'llahu'l-Ahad, composed, in his interpretation of the Sad of Samad alone, a treatise which was thrice as voluminous as the Quran itself. That exhaustive and masterly exposition had profoundly impressed Mirza Muhammad-Taqi and had been responsible for the marked consideration which he showed towards Quddus, although in the end he joined the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama' in compassing the death of the heroic martyrs of Shaykh Tabarsi. Quddus continued, while besieged in that fort, to write his commentary on that Surih, and was able, despite the vehemence of the enemy's onslaught, to pen as many verses as he had previously written in Sari in his interpretation of that same letter. The rapidity and copiousness of his composition, the inestimable treasures which his writings revealed, filled his companions with wonder and justified his leadership in their eyes. They read eagerly the pages of that commentary which Mulla Husayn brought to them each day and to which he paid his share of tribute.

The completion of the fort, and the provision of whatever was deemed essential for its defence, animated the enthusiasm of the companions of Mulla Husayn and excited the curiosity of the people of the neighbourhood.[1] A few out of sheer curiosity, others in pursuit of material interest, and still others prompted by their devotion to the Cause which that building symbolised, sought to be admitted within its walls and marvelled at the rapidity with which it had been raised. Quddus had no sooner ascertained the number of its occupants

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than he ordered that no visitor be allowed to enter it. The praises which those who had already inspected the fort had lavished upon it were transmitted from mouth to mouth until they reached the ears of the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama' and kindled within his breast the flame of unrelenting jealousy. In his detestation of those who had been responsible for its erection, he issued the strictest prohibition against anyone's approaching its precincts and urged all to boycott the companions of Mulla Husayn. Despite the stringency of his orders, a few were found to disregard his wishes and to render whatever assistance was in their power to those whom he had so undeservedly persecuted. The afflictions to which these sufferers were subjected were such that at times they felt a distressing need of the bare necessities of life. In their dark hour of adversity, however, there would suddenly break upon them the light of Divine deliverance opening before their face the door of unexpected relief.

[1 "According to the descriptions which I have heard, the fortress erected by Mulla Husayn soon became a very strong building. Its walls made of large stones reached a height of ten meters. On this base, they raised a construction made of enormous tree trunks in the middle of which they arranged a number of loopholes; they then surrounded it entirely with a deep ditch. In fact it was a kind of great tower having stones for the foundation while the higher stories were of wood and provided with three rows of loopholes where they could place as many tufang-chis as they wished, or rather, as they had. They made openings for many doors and postern gates in order to facilitate entrance and exit. "They dug wells, thus securing an abundance of water; underground passages were excavated in order to provide refuge in case of need; storehouses were built and filled with all sorts of provisions either bought, or perhaps taken in the neighboring villages. Finally, they manned 1 the fortress with the most energetic Bábis, the most devoted, and the most dependable available among them." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 156.)]

The providential manner in which the occupants of the fort were relieved of the distress which weighed upon them fanned to fury the wrath of the wilful and imperious Sa'idu'l-'Ulama'. Impelled by an implacable hatred, he addressed a burning appeal to Nasiri'd-Din Shah, who had recently ascended the throne, and expatiated upon the danger with which his dynasty, nay the monarchy itself, was menaced. "The standard of revolt," he pleaded, "has been raised by the contemptible sect of The Bábis. This wretched band of irresponsible agitators has dared to strike at the very foundations of the authority with which your Imperial Majesty has been invested. The inhabitants of a number of villages in the immediate vicinity of their headquarters have already flown to their standard and sworn allegiance to their cause. They have built themselves a fort, and in that massive stronghold they have entrenched themselves, ready to direct a campaign against you. With unswerving obstinacy they

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have resolved to proclaim their independent sovereignty, a sovereignty that shall abase to the dust the imperial diadem of your illustrious ancestors. You stand at the threshold of your reign. What greater triumph could signalise the inauguration of your rule than to extirpate this hateful creed that has dared to conspire against you? It will serve to establish your Majesty in the confidence of your people. It will enhance your prestige, and invest your crown with imperishable glory. Should you vacillate in your policy, should you betray the least indulgence towards them, I feel it my duty to warn you that the day is fast approaching when not only the province of Mazindaran but the whole of Persia, from end to end, will have repudiated your authority and will have surrendered to their cause."

Nasiri'd-Din Shah, as yet inexperienced in the affairs of State, referred the matter to the officers who commanded the army of Mazindaran and who were in attendance upon him.[1] He instructed them to take whatever means they deemed fit for the eradication of the disturbers of his realm. Haji Mustafa Khan-i-Turkaman submitted his views to his sovereign: "I myself come from Mazindaran. I have been able to estimate the forces at their disposal. The handful of untrained and frail-bodied students whom I have seen are utterly powerless to withstand the forces which your Majesty can command. The army which you contemplate despatching is in my view unnecessary. A small detachment of that army will be sufficient to wipe them out. They are utterly unworthy of the care and consideration of my sovereign. Should your Majesty be willing to signify your desire, in an imperial message addressed to my brother Abdu'llah Khan-i-Turkaman,

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that he should be given the necessary authority to subjugate that band, I am convinced that he will, within the space of two days, quell their rebellion and shatter their hopes."

[1 "Thus frantic about the maintenance of order, the Amir-Nizam disposed quickly of the Mazindaran question. When the leading men of this province came to Tihran to pay their respects to the king, they were ordered, as they departed, to take necessary measures to put an end to the sedition of The Bábis. They promised to do their best and in fact, as soon as they returned, these chiefs began to gather their forces and to deliberate. They wrote to their relations to come and join them. Haji Mustafa Khan called for his brother Abdu'llah, Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani sent for Muhammad-Sultan and Ali-Khan of Savad-Kuh. All of these worthies decided to attack The Bábis in their fortress before they, themselves, could assume the defensive. The royal officers, seeing the chiefs of the country so willing, summoned a grand council to which hastened the lords already mentioned and also Mirza Aqa, Mustawfi of Mazindaran, superintendent of finances, the head of the Ulamas and many other men of high standing." (Ibid., pp. 160-161.)]

The Shah gave his consent, and issued his farman [1] to that same Abdu'llah Khan, bidding him to recruit without delay, from any part of his realm, the forces he might require for the execution of his purpose. He sent with his message a royal badge, which he bestowed upon him as a mark of confidence in his capacity to undertake that task. The receipt of the imperial farman and the token of the honour which his sovereign had conferred upon him nerved him to fresh resolve to carry out his mission befittingly. Within a short space of time, he had raised an army of about twelve thousand men, composed largely of the Usanlu, the Afghan, and the Kudar communities.[2] He equipped them with whatever ammunition was required, and stationed them in the village of Afra, which was the property of Nazar Khan, and

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which commanded the fort of Tabarsi. No sooner had he fixed his camp upon that eminence than he set out to intercept the bread which was being daily conveyed to the companions of Mulla Husayn. Even water was soon to be denied them, as it became impossible for the besieged to leave the fort under the fire of the enemy.

[1 See Glossary.]

[2 "On his side, the superintendent of finances raised a troop amongst the Afghans domiciled at Sari and added to it several men from the Turkish tribes under his administration. Ali-Abad, the village so severely punished by The Bábis, which aspired to avenge itself, furnished what it could and was reinforced by a party of men from Qadi who, being in the neighborhood, were willing to enlist." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 161.)]

The army was ordered to set up a number of barricades in front of the fort and to open fire upon anyone who chanced to leave its gate. Quddus forbade his companions to go out in order to fetch water from the neighbourhood. "Our bread has been intercepted by our enemy," complained Rasul-i-Bahnimiri. "What will befall us if water should likewise be denied us?" Quddus, who was at that time, the hour of sunset, viewing the army of the enemy in company with Mulla Husayn from the terrace of the fort, turned to him and said: "The scarcity of water has distressed our companions. God willing, this very night a downpour of rain will overtake our opponents, followed by a heavy snowfall, which will assist us to repulse their contemplated assault."

That very night, the army of Abdu'llah Khan was surprised by a torrential rain which overwhelmed that section which lay close to the fort. Much of the ammunition was irretrievably ruined. There gathered within the walls of the fort an amount of water which, for a long period, was sufficient for the consumption of the besieged. In the course of the following night, a snowfall such as the people of the neighbourhood even in the depth of winter had never experienced, added considerably to the annoyance which the rain had caused. The next night, which was the evening preceding the fifth of Muharram, in the year 1265 A.H.,[1] Quddus determined to leave the gate of the fort. "Praise be to God," he remarked to Rasul-i-Bahnimiri as he paced with calm and serenity the approaches to the gate, "who has graciously answered our prayer and caused both rain and snow to fall upon our enemies; a fall that has brought desolation into their camp and refreshment into our fort."

[1 December 1, 1848 A.D.]

As the hour of the attack approached for which that numerous army, despite the losses it had sustained, was strenuously preparing, Quddus determined to sally out and

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scatter its forces. Two hours after sunrise, he mounted his steed and, escorted by Mulla Husayn and three other of his companions, all of whom were riding beside him, marched out of the gate, followed by the entire company on foot behind them. As soon as they had emerged, there pealed out the cry of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!"[1]--a cry that diffused consternation through the camp of the enemy. The roar which these lion-hearted followers of The Báb raised amidst the forest of Mazindaran dispersed the affrighted enemy that lay in ambush within its recesses. The glitter of their bared weapons dazzled their sight, and its menace was sufficient to stun and overpower them. They fled in disgraceful rout before their onrush, leaving all possessions behind them. Within the space of forty-five minutes, the shout of victory had been raised. Quddus and Mulla Husayn had succeeded in bringing under their control the remnants of the defeated army. Abdu'llah Khan-i-Turkaman, with two of his officers, Habibu'llah Khan-i-Afghan and Nuru'llah Khan-i-Afghan, together with no less than four hundred and thirty of their men, had perished.

[1 See Glossary.]

Quddus returned to the fort while Mulla Husayn was still engaged in pursuing the work which had been so valiantly performed. The voice of Siyyid Abdu'l-'Azim-i-Khu'i was soon raised summoning him, on behalf of Quddus, to return immediately to the fort. "We have repulsed the assailants,"

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Quddus remarked; "we need not carry further the punishment. Our purpose is to protect ourselves that we may be able to continue our labours for the regeneration of men. We have no intention whatever of causing unnecessary harm to anyone. What we have already achieved is sufficient testimony to God's invincible power. We, a little band of His followers, have been able, through His sustaining grace, to overcome the organised and trained army of our enemies."

Despite this defeat, not one of the followers of The Báb lost his life in the course of that encounter. No one except a man named Quli, who rode in advance of Quddus, was badly wounded. They were all commanded to take none of the property of their adversaries excepting their swords and horses.

As the signs of the reassembling of the forces which had been commanded by Abdu'llah Khan became apparent, Quddus bade his companions dig a moat around the fort as a safeguard against a renewed attack. Nineteen days elapsed during which they exerted themselves to the utmost for the completion of the task they had been charged to perform. They joyously laboured by day and by night in order to expedite the work with which they had been entrusted. Soon after the work was completed, it was announced that Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza [1] was advancing towards the fort at the head of a numerous army, and had actually encamped at Shir-Gah. A few days later, he had transferred his headquarters to Vas-Kas. On his arrival, he sent one of his men to inform Mulla Husayn that he had been commanded by the Shah to ascertain the purpose of his activities and to request that he be enlightened as to the object he had in view. "Tell your master," Mulla Husayn replied, "that we utterly disclaim any intention either of subverting

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the foundations of the monarchy or of usurping the authority of Nasiri'd-Din Shah. Our Cause concerns the revelation of the promised Qa'im and is primarily associated with the interests of the ecclesiastical order of this country. We can set forth incontrovertible arguments and deduce infallible proofs in support of the truth of the Message we bear." The passionate sincerity with which Mulla Husayn pleaded in defence of his Cause, and the details which he cited to demonstrate the validity of his claims, touched the heart of the messenger and brought tears to his eyes. "What are we to do?" he exclaimed. "Let the prince," Mulla Husayn replied, "direct the ulamas of both Sari and Barfurush to betake themselves to this place, and ask us to demonstrate the validity of the Revelation proclaimed by The Báb. Let the Quran decide as to who speaks the truth. Let the prince himself judge our case and pronounce the verdict. Let him also decide as to how he should treat us if we fail to establish, by the aid of verses and traditions, the truth of this Cause." The messenger expressed his complete satisfaction with the answer he had received, and promised that before the lapse of three days the ecclesiastical dignitaries would be convened in the manner he had suggested.

[1 "The Amir-Nizam grew violently angry at the news of what had happened. The description of the terrors aroused his indignation. Too far from the scene of action to appraise the wild enthusiasm of the rebels, the only conclusion he could reach was that The Bábies should be done away with before their courage could be further stimulated by real victories. The Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza, appointed lieutenant of the king in the threatened province, left with a grant of extraordinary powers. Instructions were given to draw up a list of the men who had died in the attack on The Bábis' fortress and in the sacking of Ferra and pensions were promised to the survivors. "Haji Mustafa Khan, brother of Abdu'llah, received substantial tokens of the royal favor; in a word, all that was possible was done to restore the courage and confidence of the Mussulmans." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 164-165.)]

The promise given by the messenger was destined to remain unfulfilled. Three days after, Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza prepared to launch his attack, on a scale hitherto unprecedented, upon the occupants of the fort. At the head of three regiments of infantry and several regiments of cavalry, he quartered his host upon a height that overlooked that spot, and gave the signal to open fire in that direction.

The day had not yet broken when at the signal, "Mount your steeds, O heroes of God!" Quddus ordered that the gates of the fort be again thrown open. Mulla Husayn and two hundred and two of his companions ran to their horses and followed Quddus as he rode out in the direction of Vas-Kas. Undaunted by the overwhelming forces arrayed against them, and undeterred by the snow and mud which had accumulated on the roads, they headed, without a pause, in the midst of the darkness that surrounded them, towards the stronghold which served as a base for the operations of the enemy.

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The prince, who was observing the movements of Mulla Husayn, saw him approaching, from his fort, and ordered his men to open fire upon him. The bullets which they discharged were powerless to check his advance. He forced his way through the gate and rushed into the private apartments of the prince, who, with a sudden sense that his life was in danger, threw himself from a back window into the moat and escaped barefooted.[1] His host, deprived of their leader and struck with panic, fled in disgraceful rout before that little band which, despite their own overwhelming numbers and the resources which the imperial treasury had placed at their disposal, they were unable to subdue.[2]

[1 "We have left Mihdi-Quli Mirza running away from his burning home and wandering alone in the country, in the snow and the darkness. Toward dawn, he found himself in an unknown mountain pass, lost in a wild country, but in reality only a short distance away from the slaughter of battle. The wind brought to his ears the noise of the volleys of musketry. "In this sad state, completely bewildered, he was met by a Mazindarani, mounted on a fairly good horse, who recognized him. This man dismounted, placed the Prince on his horse and offered to serve him as guide. He led him to a peasant's hut, settled him in the barn (this is not considered a place to frown upon in Persia) and while the Prince slept and ate, the Mazindarani mounted his horse and, covering the country side, gave out the glad tidings that the Prince was safe and well. Thus he brought to him all his men, or at least a respectable number of them, one band after another. "If Mihdi-Quli Mirza had been one of those proud spirits not easily broken by reverses, he would have considered his position only slightly altered by the mishaps of the previous evening; he could have believed that his men had been unfortunately surprised; then with the remainder of his forces he would have saved appearances and held the ground, for in fact, The Bábis had retreated and were out of sight. But the Shahzadih, far from priding himself on such firmness, was a weak character and, when he saw himself so well guarded, he left the barn and hurried to the village of Qadi-Kala whence he reached Sari in great haste. This conduct strengthened in the whole province the impression caused by the defeat of Vaskas. Panic ensued, open towns believed themselves exposed to every danger and, in spite of the rigor of the season, one could see caravans of non-combatants in great distress, taking their wives and children to the desert of Damav and to save them from the miserable dangers which the cautious conduct of Shahzadih seemed to foretell. When the Asiatics lose their heads they do so completely." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 169-170.)]

[2 "In a few moments his army already in such confusion, was scattered by the three hundred men of Mulla Husayn! Was not this the sword of the Lord and of Gideon?" (Ibid., p. 167.)]

As the victors were forcing their way through the section of the fort reserved for the prince, two other princes of royal blood [1] fell in an attempt to strike down their opponents. As they penetrated his apartments, they discovered, in one

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of his rooms, coffers filled with gold and silver, all of which they disdained to touch. With the exception of a pot of gunpowder and the favourite sword of the prince which they carried as an evidence of their triumph to Mulla Husayn, his companions ignored the costly furnishings which their owner had abandoned in his despair. When they took it to Mulla Husayn, they discovered that he had, as a result of the bullet which had struck his own sword, exchanged it for that of Quddus, with which he was engaged in repulsing the assailant.

[1 According to Gobineau (p. 167), they were Sultan Husayn Mirza, son of Fath-'Ali Shah, and Dawud Mirza, son of Zillu's-Sultan, uncle of the Shah. A. L. M. Nicolas, in his "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb" (p. 308), adds Mustawfi Mirza Abdu'l-Baqi.]

They were throwing open the gate of the prison which had been in the hands of the enemy, when they heard the voice of Mulla Yusuf-i-Ardibili, who had been made a captive on his way to the fort and was languishing among the prisoners. He interceded for his fellow-sufferers and succeeded in obtaining their immediate release.

On the morning of that memorable engagement, Mulla Husayn assembled his companions around Quddus in the outskirts of Vas-Kas, while he remained himself on horseback in anticipation of a renewed attack by the enemy. He was watching their movements, when he suddenly observed an innumerable host rushing from both sides towards him. All sprang to their feet and, raising again the cry of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!" pressed forward to face the challenge. Mulla Husayn spurred his charger in one direction, and Quddus and his companions in another. The detachment which was charging Mulla Husayn suddenly deflected its course and, fleeing from before him, joined forces with the rest of the enemy and encompassed Quddus and those who were with him. At a given moment, they discharged a thousand bullets, one of which struck Quddus in the mouth, knocking out several of his teeth and wounding both his tongue and throat. The loud noise which the simultaneous discharge of a thousand bullets produced, and which could be heard at a distance of ten farsangs,[1] filled with apprehension Mulla Husayn, who hastened to the rescue of his friends. As soon as he reached them, he alighted from his horse and, entrusting it to his attendant, Qambar-'Ali, ran towards Quddus. The sight of blood dripping profusely from the mouth of his beloved chief

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struck him with fear and dismay. He raised his hands in horror and was on the point of beating himself upon the head when Quddus bade him desist. Obeying his leader instantly, he begged him to be allowed to receive his sword from his hand, which, as soon as it had been delivered, was unsheathed from its scabbard and used to scatter the forces that had massed around him. Followed by a hundred and ten of his fellow-disciples, he faced the forces arrayed against him. Wielding in one hand the sword of his beloved leader and in the other that of his disgraced opponent, he fought a desperate battle against them, and within thirty minutes, during which he displayed marvellous heroism, he succeeded in putting the entire army to flight.

[1 See Glossary.]

The disgraceful retreat of the army of Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza enabled Mulla Husayn and his companions to repair to the fort. With pain and regret, they conducted their wounded leader to the shelter of his stronghold. On his arrival, Quddus addressed a written appeal to his friends who were bewailing his injury, and by his words of cheer soothed their sorrow. "We should submit," he exhorted them, "to whatever is the will of God. We should stand firm and steadfast in the hour of trial. The stone of the infidel broke the teeth of the Prophet of God; mine have fallen as a result of the bullet of the enemy. Though my body be afflicted, my soul is immersed in gladness. My gratitude to God knows no bounds. If you love me, suffer not that this joy be obscured by the sight of your lamentations."

This memorable engagement fell on the twenty-fifth of Muharram, 1265 A.H.[1] In the beginning of that same month, Bahá'u'lláh, faithful to the promise He had given to Mulla Husayn, set out, attended by a number of His friends, from Nur for the fort of Tabarsi. Among those who accompanied Him were Haji Mirza Janiy-i-Kashani, Mulla Baqir-i-Tabrizi, one of the Letters of the Living, and Mirza Yahya, His brother. Bahá'u'lláh had signified His wish that they should proceed directly to their destination and allow no pause in their journey. His intention was to reach that spot at night, inasmuch as strict orders had been issued, ever since Abdu'llah

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Khan had assumed the command, that no help should be extended, under any circumstances, to the occupants of the fort. Guards had been stationed at different places to ensure the isolation of the besieged. His companions, however, pressed Him to interrupt the journey and to seek a few hours of rest. Although He knew that this delay would involve a grave risk of being surprised by the enemy, He yielded to their earnest request. They halted at a lonely house adjoining the road. After supper, his companions all retired to sleep. He alone, despite the hardships He had endured, remained wakeful. He knew well the perils to which He and His friends were exposed, and was fully aware of the possibilities which His early arrival at the fort involved.

[1 December 21, 1848 A.D.]

As He watched beside them, the secret emissaries of the enemy informed the guards of the neighbourhood of the arrival of the party, and ordered the immediate seizure of whatever they could find in their possession. "We have received strict orders, they told Bahá'u'lláh, whom they recognized instantly as the leader of the group, "to arrest every person we chance to meet in this vicinity, and are commanded to conduct him, without any previous investigation, to Amul and deliver him into the hands of its governor." "The matter has been misrepresented in your eyes," Bahá'u'lláh remarked. "You have misconstrued our purpose. I would advise you to act in a manner that will cause you eventually no regret." This admonition, uttered with dignity and calm, induced the chief of the guards to treat with consideration and courtesy those whom he had arrested. He bade them mount their horses and proceed with him to Amul. As they were approaching the banks of a river, Bahá'u'lláh signalled to His companions, who were riding at a distance from the guards, to cast into the water whatever manuscripts they had in their possession.

At daybreak, as they were approaching the town, a message was sent in advance to the acting governor, informing him of the arrival of a party that had been captured on their way to the fort of Tabarsi. The governor himself, together with the members of his body-guard, had been appointed to join the army of Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza, and had commissioned his kinsman to act in his absence. As

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soon as the message reached him, he went to the masjid of Amul and summoned the ulamas and leading siyyids of the town to gather and meet the party. He was greatly surprised as soon as his eyes saw and recognized Bahá'u'lláh, and deeply regretted the orders he had given. He feigned to reprimand Him for the action He had taken, in the hope of appeasing the tumult and allaying the excitement of those who had gathered in the masjid. "We are innocent," Bahá'u'lláh declared, "of the guilt they impute to us. Our blamelessness will eventually be established in your eyes. I would advise you to act in a manner that will cause you eventually no regret." The acting governor asked the ulamas who were present to put any question they desired.

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To their enquiries Bahá'u'lláh returned explicit and convincing replies. As they were interrogating Him, they discovered a manuscript in the possession of one of His companions which they recognized as the writings of The Báb and which they handed to the chief of the ulamas present at that gathering. As soon as he had perused a few lines of that manuscript, he laid it aside and, turning to those around him, exclaimed: "These people, who advance such extravagant claims, have, in this very sentence which I have read, betrayed their ignorance of the most rudimentary rules of orthography." "Esteemed and learned divine," Bahá'u'lláh replied, "these words which you criticise are not the words of The Báb. They have been uttered by no less a personage than the Imam Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, in his reply to Kumayl-ibn-i-Ziyad, whom he had chosen as his companion."

The circumstances which Bahá'u'lláh proceeded to relate in connection with the reply, no less than the manner of His delivery, convinced the arrogant mujtahid of his stupidity and blunder. Unable to contradict so weighty a statement, he preferred to keep silent. A siyyid angrily interjected: "This very statement conclusively demonstrates that its author is himself a Bábi and no less than a leading expounder of the tenets of that sect." He urged in vehement language that its followers be put to death. "These obscure sectarians are the sworn enemies," he cried, "both of the State and of the Faith of Islam! We must, at all costs, extirpate that heresy." He was seconded in his denunciation by the other siyyids who were present, and who, emboldened by the imprecations uttered at that gathering, insisted that the governor comply unhesitatingly with their wishes.

The acting governor was much embarrassed, and realised that any evidence of indulgence on his part would be fraught with grave consequences for the safety of his position. In his desire to hold in check the passions which had been aroused, he ordered his attendants to prepare the rods and promptly inflict a befitting punishment upon the captives. "We will afterwards," he added, "keep them in prison pending the return of the governor, who will send them to Tihran,

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where they will receive, at the hands of the sovereign, the chastisement they deserve."

The first who was bound to receive the bastinado was Mulla Baqir. "I am only a groom of Bahá'u'lláh," he urged. "I was on my way to Mashhad when they suddenly arrested me and brought me to this place." Bahá'u'lláh intervened and succeeded in inducing his oppressors to release him. He likewise interceded for Haji Mirza Jani, who He said was "a mere tradesman" whom He regarded as His "guest," so that He was "responsible for any charges brought against him." Mirza Yahya, whom they proceeded to bind, was also set free as soon as Bahá'u'lláh had declared him to be His attendant. "None of these men," He told the acting governor, "are guilty of any crime. If you insist on inflicting your punishment, I offer Myself as a willing Victim of your chastisement." The acting governor was reluctantly compelled to give orders that Bahá'u'lláh alone be chosen to suffer the indignity which he had intended originally for His companions.[1]

[1 O Shaykh! Things the like of which no eye hath seen have befallen this wronged one. Gladly and with the utmost resignation I have accepted to suffer, that thereby the souls of men may be enlightened and the Word of God be established. When we were imprisoned in the Land of Mim [Mazindaran], they one day delivered us into the hands of the ulama. That which ensued, thou canst well imagine!" ("The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf," p. 57.)]

The same treatment that had been me-ed out to The Báb five months previously in Tabriz, Bahá'u'lláh suffered in the presence of the assembled ulamas of Amul. The first confinement that The Báb suffered at the hands of His enemies was in the house of Abdu'l-Hamid Khan, the chief constable of Shiraz; the first confinement of Bahá'u'lláh was in the home of one of the kad-khudas of Tihran. The Báb's second imprisonment was in the castle of Mah-Ku; that of Bahá'u'lláh was in the private residence of the governor of Amul. The Báb was scourged in the namaz-khanih [1] of the Shaykhu'l-Islam of Tabriz; the same indignity was inflicted on Bahá'u'lláh in the namaz-khanih of the mujtahid of Amul. The Báb's third confinement was in the castle of Chihriq; Bahá'u'lláh's was in the Siyah-Chal [2] of Tihran. The Báb, whose trials and sufferings had preceded, in almost every case,

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those of Bahá'u'lláh, had offered Himself to ransom His Beloved from the perils that beset that precious Life; whilst Bahá'u'lláh, on His part, unwilling that He who so greatly loved Him should be the sole Sufferer, shared at every turn the cup that had touched His lips. Such love no eye has ever beheld, nor has mortal heart conceived such mutual devotion. If the branches of every tree were turned into pens, and all the seas into ink, and earth and heaven rolled into one parchment, the immensity of that love would still remain unexplored, and the depths of that devotion unfathomed.

[1 Literally "prayer-house."]

[2 Literally "black pit," the subterranean dungeon in which Bahá'u'lláh was imprisoned.]

Bahá'u'lláh and His companions remained for a time imprisoned in one of the rooms that formed part of the masjid.

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The acting governor, who was still determined to shield his Prisoner from the assaults of an inveterate enemy, secretly instructed his attendants to open, at an unsuspected hour, a passage through the wall of the room in which the captives were confined, and to transfer their Leader immediately to his home. He was himself conducting Bahá'u'lláh to his residence when a siyyid sprang forward and, directing his fiercest invectives against Him, raised the club which he held in his hand to strike Him. The acting governor immediately interposed himself and, appealing to the assailant, "adjured him by the Prophet of God" to stay his hand. "What!" burst forth the siyyid. "How dare you release a man who is the sworn enemy of the Faith of our fathers?" A crowd of ruffians had meanwhile gathered around him, and by their howls of derision and abuse added to the clamour which he had raised. Despite the growing tumult, the attendants of the acting governor were able to conduct Bahá'u'lláh in safety to the residence of their master, and displayed on that occasion a courage and presence of mind that were truly surprising.

Despite the protestations of the mob, the rest of the prisoners were taken to the seat of government, and thus escaped from the perils with which they had been threatened. The acting governor offered profuse apologies to Bahá'u'lláh for the treatment which the people of Amul had accorded Him. "But for the interposition of Providence," he said, "no force would have achieved your deliverance from the grasp of this malevolent people. But for the efficacy of the vow which I had made to risk my own life for your sake, I, too, would have fallen a victim to their violence, and would have been trampled beneath their feet." He bitterly complained of the outrageous conduct of the siyyids of Amul, and denounced the baseness of their character. He expressed himself as being continually tormented by the effects of their malignant designs. He set about serving Bahá'u'lláh with devotion and kindness, and was often heard, in the course of his conversation with Him, to remark: "I am far from regarding you a prisoner in my home. This house, I believe, was built for the very purpose of affording you a shelter from the designs of your foes."

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I have heard Bahá'u'lláh Himself recount the following: "No prisoner has ever been accorded the treatment which I received at the hands of the acting governor of Amul. He treated Me with the utmost consideration and esteem. I was generously entertained by him, and the fullest attention was given to everything that affected My security and comfort. I was, however, unable to leave the gate of the house. My host was afraid lest the governor, who was related to Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani, might return from the fort of Tabarsi and inflict injury upon Me. I tried to dispel his apprehensions. 'The same Omnipotence,' I assured him, 'who has delivered us from the hands of the mischief-makers of Amul, and has enabled us to be received with such hospitality by you in this house, is able to change the heart of the governor and to cause him to treat us with no less consideration and love.'

"One night we were suddenly awakened by the clamour of the people who had gathered outside the gate of the house. The door was opened, and it was announced that the governor had returned to Amul. Our companions, who were anticipating a fresh attack upon them, were completely surprised to hear the voice of the governor rebuking those who had denounced us so bitterly on the day of our arrival. 'For what reason,' we heard him loudly remonstrating, 'have these miserable wretches chosen to treat so disrespectfully a guest whose hands are tied and who has not been given the chance to defend himself? What is their justification for having demanded that he be immediately put to death? What evidence have they with which to support their contention? If they be sincere in their claims to be devotedly attached to Islam and to be the guardians of its interests, let them betake themselves to the fort of Shaykh Tabarsi and there demonstrate their capacity to defend the Faith of which they profess to be the champions.'"

What he had seen of the heroism of the defenders of the fort had quite changed the mind and heart of the governor of Amul. He returned filled with admiration for a Cause which he had formerly despised, and the progress of which he had strenuously resisted. The scenes he witnessed had disarmed his wrath and chastened his pride. Humbly and

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respectfully, he went to Bahá'u'lláh and apologised for the insolence of the inhabitants of a town that he had been chosen to govern. He served Him with extreme devotion, utterly ignoring his own position and rank. He paid a glowing tribute to Mulla Husayn, and expatiated upon his resourcefulness, his intrepidity, his skill, and nobleness of soul. A few days later, he succeeded in arranging for the safe departure of Bahá'u'lláh and His companions for Tihran.

Bahá'u'lláh's intention to throw in His lot with the defenders of the fort of Shaykh Tabarsi was destined to remain unfulfilled. Though Himself extremely desirous to lend every possible assistance in His power to the besieged, He was spared, through the mysterious dispensation of Providence, the tragic fate that was soon to befall the chief participators in that memorable struggle. Had He been able to reach the fort, had He been allowed to join the members of that heroic band, how could He have played His part in the great drama which He was destined to unfold? How could He have consummated the work that had been so gloriously conceived and so marvellously inaugurated? He was in the heyday of His life when the call from Shiraz reached Him. At the age of twenty-seven, He arose to consecrate His life to its service, fearlessly identified Himself with its teachings, and distinguished Himself by the exemplary part He played in its diffusion. No effort was too great for the energy with which He was endowed, and no sacrifice too woeful for the devotion with which His faith had inspired Him. He flung aside every consideration of fame, of wealth, and position, for the prosecution of the task He had set His heart to achieve. Neither the taunts of His friends nor the threats of His enemies could induce Him to cease championing a Cause which they alike regarded as that of an obscure and proscribed sect.

The first incarceration to which He was subjected as a result of the helping hand He had extended to the captives of Qazvin; the ability with which He achieved the deliverance of Tahirih; the exemplary manner in which He steered the course of the turbulent proceedings in Badasht; the manner in which He saved the life of Quddus in Niyala; the wisdom which He showed in His handling of the delicate situation created by the impetuosity of Tahirih, and the vigilance He

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exercised for her protection; the counsels which He gave to the defenders of the fort of Tabarsi; the plan He conceived of joining the forces of Quddus to those of Mulla Husayn and his companions; the spontaneity with which He arose to support the exertions of those brave defenders; the magnanimity which prompted Him to offer Himself as a substitute for His companions who were under the threat of severe indignities; the serenity with which He faced the severity inflicted upon Him as a result of the attempt on the life of Nasiri'd-Din Shah; the indignities which were heaped upon Him all the way from Lavasan to the headquarters of the imperial army and from thence to the capital; the galling weight of chains which He bore as He lay in the darkness of the Siyah-Chal of Tihran--all these are but a few instances that eloquently testify to the unique position which He occupied as the prime Mover of the forces which were destined to reshape the face of His native land. It was He who had released these forces, who steered their course, harmonised their action, and brought them finally to their highest consummation in the Cause He Himself was destined at a later time to reveal.

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THE forces under the command of Prince Mihdi-Quli
Mirza meanwhile had recovered from the
state of utter demoralisation into which they had
sunk, and were now diligently preparing to renew

their attack upon the occupants of the fort of Tabarsi. The

latter found themselves again encompassed by a numerous

host, at the head of which marched Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani

and Sulayman Khan-i-Afshar-i-Shahriyari, who, together

with several regiments of infantry and cavalry, had

hastened to reinforce the company of the prince's soldiers.[1]

Their combined forces encamped in the neighbourhood of the

fort,[2] and proceeded to erect a series of seven barricades

around it. With the utmost arrogance, they sought at first

to display the extent of the forces at their command, and

indulged with increasing zest in the daily exercise of their arms.

[1 "Thus perplexed and not knowing which way to turn, Shahzadih, poor man, gave orders to gather together new soldiers and raise another army. The population was not eager to serve under a chief whose worth and intrepidity had not brilliantly stood the test. Nevertheless, by the help of money and through promises, the Mullas particularly, who did not lose sight of their interests, and who had the most at stake, displayed such zeal that in the end a fair number of tufang-chis were assembled. As for the mounted soldiers of the various tribes, from the moment their chiefs mount their horses, they do likewise without even asking why. "Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani obeyed without hesitation the order to send new recruits. This time however, either through distrust of a Prince whose ineptitude might endanger the lives of his relatives and subjects, or because ambitious to distinguish himself, he no longer gave anyone the command of his forces. He led them himself by a daring move and, instead of rejoining the royal army, he went straight on to attack The Bábis in their refuge. Then he gave notice to the Prince that he had arrived at the fortress of Shaykh Tabarsi and that he was besieging it. Besides, he notified him that he had no need of assistance nor of support, that his forces were more than adequate and that, if his royal highness would see for himself how he, Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani was about to treat the rebels, he would be both honored and gratified." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 170-171.)]

[2 "Mihdi-Quli Mirza could not pass for a bold warrior, as we have just seen, but he substituted for an excessive intrepidity another quality very useful to a general, he did not take literally the boastings of his lieutenants. Therefore, fearing that ill might befall this impudent nomad, he sent him reinforcements immediately. Thus departed in great haste Muhsin Khan-i-Ashrafi with his cavalry, a troop of Afghans, Muhammad-Karim Khan-i-Ashrafi with some of the tufang-chis of the town, and Khalil Khan of Savad-Kuh with the men of Qadi-Kala." (Ibid., p. 171.)]

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The scarcity of water had, in the meantime, compelled those who were besieged to dig a well within the enclosure of the fort. On the day the work was to be completed, the eighth day of the month of Rabi'u'l-Avval,[1] Mulla Husayn, who was watching his companions perform this task, remarked: "To-day we shall have all the water we require for our bath. Cleansed of all earthly defilements, we shall seek the court of the Almighty, and shall hasten to our eternal abode. Whoso is willing to partake of the cup of martyrdom, let him prepare himself and wait for the hour when he can seal with his life-blood his faith in his Cause. This night, ere the hour of dawn, let those who wish to join me be ready to issue forth from behind these walls and, scattering once again the dark forces which have beset our path, ascend untrammelled to the heights of glory."

[1 February 1, 1849 A.D.]

That same afternoon, Mulla Husayn performed his ablutions, clothed himself in new garments, attired his head with The Báb's turban, and prepared for the approaching encounter. An undefinable joy illumined his face. He serenely alluded to the hour of his departure, and continued to his last moments to animate the zeal of his companions. Alone with Quddus, who so powerfully reminded him of his Beloved, he poured forth, as he sat at his feet in the closing moments of his earthly life, all that an enraptured soul could no longer restrain. Soon after midnight, as soon as the morning-star had risen, the star that heralded to him the dawning light of eternal reunion with his Beloved, he started to his feet and, mounting his charger, gave the signal that the gate of the fort be opened. As he rode out at the head of three hundred and thirteen of his companions to meet the enemy, the cry of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!"[1] again broke forth, a cry so intense and powerful that forest, fort, and camp vibrated to its resounding echo.

[1 See Glossary.]

Mulla Husayn first charged the barricade which was defended by Zakariyyay-i-Qadi-Kala'i, one of the enemy's most valiant officers. Within a short space of time, he had broken

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through that barrier, disposed of its commander, and scattered his men. Dashing forward with the same swiftness and intrepidity, he overcame the resistance of both the second and third barricades, diffusing, as he advanced, despair and consternation among his foes. Undeterred by the bullets which rained continually upon him and his companions, they pressed forward until the remaining barricades had all been captured and overthrown. In the midst of the tumult which ensued, Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani had climbed a tree, and, hiding himself in its branches, lay waiting in ambush for his opponents. Protected by the darkness which surrounded him, he was able to follow from his hiding place the movements of Mulla Husayn and his companions, who were exposed to the fierce glare of the conflagration which they had raised. The steed of Mulla Husayn suddenly became entangled in the rope of an adjoining tent, and ere he was able to extricate himself, he was struck in the breast by a bullet from his treacherous assailant. Though the shot was successful, Abbas-Quli Khan was unaware of the identity of the horseman he had wounded. Mulla Husayn, who was bleeding profusely, dismounted from his horse, staggered a few steps, and, unable to proceed further, fell exhausted upon the ground. Two of his young companions, of Khurasan, Quli, and Hasan, came to his rescue and bore him to the fort.[1]

[1 "Although seriously wounded, The Bábi chief continued, nevertheless, to give orders and to lead and stimulate his men until, seeing that little more could be gained, he gave the signal to retreat, remaining himself with the rear guard." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 174.)]

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I have heard the following account from Mulla Sadiq and Mulla Mirza Muhammad-i-Furughi: "We were among those who had remained in the fort with Quddus. As soon as Mulla Husayn, who seemed to have lost consciousness, was brought in, we were ordered to retire. 'Leave me alone with him,' were the words of Quddus as he bade Mirza Muhammad-Baqir close the door and refuse admittance to anyone desiring to see him. 'There are certain confidential matters which I desire him alone to know.' We were amazed a few moments later when we heard the voice of Mulla Husayn replying to questions from Quddus. For two hours they continued to converse with each other. We were surprised to see Mirza Muhammad-Baqir so greatly agitated. 'I was watching Quddus,' he subsequently informed us, 'through a fissure in the door. As soon as he called his name, I saw Mulla Husayn arise and seat himself, in his customary manner, on bended knees beside him. With bowed head and downcast eyes, he listened to every word that fell from the lips of Quddus, and answered his questions. "You have hastened the hour of your departure," I was able to hear Quddus remark, "and have abandoned me to the mercy of my foes. Please God, I will ere long join you and taste the sweetness of heaven's ineffable delights." I was able to gather the following words uttered by Mulla Husayn: "May my life be a ransom for you. Are you well pleased with me?"'

"A long time elapsed before Quddus bade Mirza Muhammad-Baqir open the door and admit his companions. 'I have bade my last farewell to him,' he said, as we entered the room. 'Things which previously I deemed it unallowable to utter I have now shared with him.' We found on our arrival that Mulla Husayn had expired. A faint smile still lingered upon his face. Such was the peacefulness of his countenance that he seemed to have fallen asleep. Quddus attended to his burial, clothed him in his own shirt, and gave instructions to lay him to rest to the south of, and adjoining, the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsi.[1] 'Well is it with you to have remained to your last hour faithful to the Covenant

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of God,' he said, as he laid a parting kiss upon his eyes and forehead. 'I pray God to grant that no division ever be caused between you and me.' He spoke with such poignancy that the seven companions who were standing beside him wept profusely, and wished they had been sacrificed in his stead. Quddus, with his own hands, laid the body in the tomb, and cautioned those who were standing near him to maintain secrecy regarding the spot which served as his resting place, and to conceal it even from their companions. He afterwards instructed them to inter the bodies of the thirty-six martyrs who had fallen in the course of that engagement in one and the same grave on the northern side of the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsi. 'Let the loved ones of God,' he was heard to remark as he consigned them to their tomb, 'take heed of the example of these martyrs of our Faith. Let them in life be and remain as united as these are now in death.'"

[1 "His [Mulla Husayn's] mortal remains still repose in the little inner room of the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsi where, at the direction of Mulla Muhammad-'Ali Barfurushi, they were reverently laid by the hands of his sorrowing comrades in the beginning of the year A.D. 1849." ("A Traveller's Narrative," Note F, p. 245.)]

No less than ninety of the companions were wounded that night, most of whom succumbed. From the day of their arrival at Barfurush to the day they were first attacked, which fell on the twelfth of Dhi'l-Qa'dih in the year 1264 A.H.,[1] to the day of the death of Mulla Husayn, which took place at the hour of dawn on the ninth of Rabi'u'l-Avval in the year 1265 A.H.,[2] the number of martyrs, according to the computation of Mirza Muhammad-Baqir, had reached a total of seventy-two.

[1 October 10, 1848 A.D.]
[2 February 2, 1849 A.D.]

From the time when Mulla Husayn was assailed by his enemies to the time of his martyrdom was a hundred and sixteen days, a period rendered memorable by deeds so heroic that even his bitterest foes felt bound to confess their wonder. On four distinct occasions, he rose to such heights of courage and power as few indeed could attain. The first encounter took place on the twelfth of Dhi'l-Qa'dih,[1] in the outskirts of Barfurush; the second, in the immediate neighbourhood of the fort of Shaykh Tabarsi, on the fifth day of the month of Muharram,[2] against the forces of Abdu'llah Khan-i-Turkaman; the third, in Vas-Kas, on the twenty-fifth day of Muharram,[3] directed against the army of Prince

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Mihdi-Quli Mirza. The last and most memorable battle of all was directed against the combined forces of Abbas-Quli Khan, of Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza, and of Sulayman Khan-i-Afshar, assisted by a company of forty-five officers of tried ability and matured experience. From each of these hot and fierce engagements Mulla Husayn emerged, in spite of the overwhelming forces arrayed against him, unscathed and triumphant. In each encounter he distinguished himself by such acts of valour, of chivalry, of skill, and of strength that each one would alone suffice to establish for all time the transcendent character of a Faith for the protection of which he had so valiantly fought, and in the path of which he had so nobly died. The traits of mind and of character which, from his very youth, he displayed, the profundity of his learning, the tenacity of his faith, his intrepid courage, his singleness of purpose, his high sense of justice and unswerving devotion, marked him as an outstanding figure among those who, by their lives, have borne witness to the glory and power of the new Revelation. He was six and thirty years old when he quaffed the cup of martyrdom. At the age of eighteen he made the acquaintance, in Karbila, of Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti. For nine years he sat at his feet, and imbibed the lesson which was destined to prepare him for the acceptance of the Message of The Báb. The nine remaining years of his life were spent in the midst of a restless, a feverish activity which carried him eventually to the field of martyrdom, in circumstances that have shed imperishable lustre upon his country's history.[4]

[1 October 10, 1848 A.D.]
[2 December 1, 1848 A.D.]
[3 December 21, 1848 A.D.

[4 "Among them was Mulla Husayn, who was made the recipient of the effulgent glory of the Sun of Revelation. But for him, God would not have been established upon the seat of His mercy, nor ascended the throne of eternal glory." (The "Kitáb-i-Iqan," p. 188.) See note 5, p. 23. "Frail of form, but a gallant soldier and an impassioned lover of God he combined qualities and characteristics which even in the spiritual aristocracy of Persia are seldom found united in the same person." (Dr. T. K. Cheyne's "The Reconciliation of Races and Religions," p. 83.) "At last," writes Gobineau, "he passed away. The new religion, which found in him its first martyr, lost, in the same stroke, a man whose moral strength and ability would have been of great value to it, had he lived longer. The Muhammadans naturally feel a hatred for the memory of this leader, which is as deep as the love and veneration shown for him by The Bábis. They can both justify their opposing sentiments. What is certain is that Mulla Husayn-i-Bushru'i was the first to give to Bábism, in the Persian empire, the status which a religious or political body acquires in the eyes of the people only after it has demonstrated its warlike strength." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 176.) "The late Haji Mirza Jani writes: 'I myself met him [Mirza Muhammad-Hasan, the younger brother of Mulla Husayn] when he was bringing his mother and sister from Karbila to Qazvin and from Qazvin to Tihran. His sister was the wife of Shaykh Abu-Turab of Qazvin, who was a scholar and philosopher such at is rarely met with and believed with the utmost sincerity and purity of purpose, while such was his love and devotion to The Báb that if anyone did so much as mention the name of His Supreme Holiness (the souls of all beside him be His sacrifice) he could not restrain his tears. Often have I seen him, when engaged in the perusal of the writings of His Supreme Holiness, become almost beside himself with rapture, and nearly faint with joy. Of his wife he used to say: "I married her three years ago in Karbila. She was then but an indifferent scholar even in Persian, but now she can expound texts from the Quran and explain the most difficult questions and most subtle points of the doctrine of the Divine Unity in such wise that I have never seen a man who was her equal in this, or in readiness of apprehension. These gifts she has obtained by the blessing of His Holiness the Supreme and through converse with her holiness the Pure (Qurratu'l-'Ayn). I have seen in her a patience and resignation rare even in the most self-denying men, for during these three years, though I have not sent her a single dinar for her expenses and she has supported herself only with the greatest difficulty, she has never uttered a word; and now that she has come to Tihran, she refrains altogether from speaking of the past, and though, in accordance with the wishes of Jinab-i-Babu'l-Bab, she now desires to proceed to Khurasan, and has literally nothing to put on save one well-worn dress which she wears, she never asks for clothes or travelling-money, but ever seeks reasonable excuses wherewith to set me at my ease and prevent me from feeling ashamed. Her purity, chastity, and virtue are boundless, and during all this while no unprivileged person hath so much as heard her voice." But the virtues of the daughter were surpassed by those of the mother, who possessed rare attainments and accomplishments, and had composed many poems and eloquent elegies on the afflictions of her sons. Although Jinab-i-Babu'l-Báb had warned her of his approaching martyrdom and foretold to her all the impending calamities, she still continued to exhibit the same eager devotion and cheerful resignation, rejoicing that God had accepted the sacrifice of her sons, and even praying that they might attain to this great dignity and not be deprived of so great blessedness. It is indeed wonderful to meditate on this virtuous and saintly family, the sons so conspicuous for their single-minded devotion and self-sacrifice, the mother and daughter so patient and resigned. When I, Mirza Jani, met Mirza Muhammad-Hasan, he was but seventeen years of age, yet I observed in him a dignity, gravity, composure, and virtue which amazed me. After the death of Jinab-i-Babu'l-Bab, Hadrat-i-Quddus bestowed on him the sword and turban of that glorious martyr, and made him captain of the troops of the True King. As to his martyrdom, there is a difference of opinion as to whether he was slain at the breakfast-table in the camp, or suffered martyrdom with Jinab-i-Quddus in the square of Barfurush.'" (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," pp. 93-5.) The sister of Mulla Husayn was surnamed "Varaqatu'l-Firdaws" and was intimately associated, while in Karbila, with Tahirih. ("Memorials of the Faithful," p. 270.)]

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So complete and humiliating a rout paralysed for a time the efforts of the enemy. Five and forty days passed before they could again reassemble their forces and renew their attack. During these intervening days, which ended with the day of Naw-Ruz, the intense cold which prevailed induced them to defer their venture against an opponent that had covered them with so much reproach and shame. Though their attacks had been suspended, the officers in charge of the remnants of the imperial army had given strict orders prohibiting the arrival of all manner of reinforcements at the fort. When the supply of their provisions was nearly exhausted, Quddus instructed Mirza Muhammad-Baqir to distribute among his companions the rice which Mulla Husayn had stored for such time as might be required. When each had received his portion, Quddus summoned them and said: "Whoever feels himself strong enough to withstand the calamities that are soon to befall us, let him remain with us in this fort. And whoever perceives in himself the least hesitation and fear, let him betake himself away from this place. Let him leave immediately ere the enemy has again assembled his forces and assailed us. The way will soon be barred before our face; we shall very soon encounter the severest hardship and fall a victim to devastating afflictions."

The very night Quddus had given this warning, a siyyid from Qum, Mirza Husayn-i-Mutavalli, was moved to betray his companions. "Why is it," he wrote to Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani, "that you have left unfinished the work

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which you have begun? You have already disposed of a formidable opponent. By the removal of Mulla Husayn, who was the moving force behind these walls, you have demolished the pillar on which the strength and security of the fort depend. Had you been patient for one more day, you would have assuredly won for yourself the laurels of victory. With no more than a hundred men, I pledge my word that within the space of two days you will be able to capture the fort and secure the unconditional surrender of its occupants. They are worn with famine and are being grievously tested." The sealed letter was entrusted to a certain Siyyid Aliy-i-Zargar, who, as he carried with him the share of the rice he had received from Quddus, stole out of the fort at the hour of midnight and delivered it to Abbas-Quli Khan, with whom he was already acquainted. The message reached him at a time when he had sought refuge in a village situated at a distance of four farsangs [1] from the fort, and knew not whether he should return to the capital and present himself after such a humiliating defeat to his sovereign, or repair to his home in Larijan, where he was sure to face the reproaches of his relations and friends.

[1 See Glossary.]

He had just risen from his bed when, at the hour of sunrise, the siyyid brought him the letter. The news of the death of Mulla Husayn nerved him to a fresh resolve. Fearing

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lest the messenger should spread the report concerning the death of so redoubtable an opponent, he instantly killed him, and then contrived by some strange device to divert from himself the suspicion of murder. Resolved to take the fullest advantage of the distress of the besieged and of the depletion of their forces, he undertook immediately the necessary preparations for the resumption of his attacks. Ten days before Naw-Ruz, he had encamped at half a farsang from the fort, and had ascertained the accuracy of the message that treacherous siyyid had brought him. In the hope of obtaining for himself every possible credit for the eventual surrender of his opponents, he refused to divulge, to even his closest officers, the information he had received.

The day had just broken when he hoisted his standard [1] and, marching at the head of two regiments of infantry and cavalry, encompassed the fort and ordered his men to open fire upon the sentinels who were guarding the turrets. "The betrayer," Quddus informed Mirza Muhammad-Baqir, who had hastened to acquaint him with the gravity of the situation, "has announced the death of Mulla Husayn to Abbas-Quli Khan. Emboldened by his removal, he is now determined to storm our stronghold and to secure for himself the honour of being its sole conqueror. Sally out and, with the aid of eighteen men marching at your side, administer a befitting chastisement upon the aggressor and his host. Let him realise that though Mulla Husayn be no more, God's

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invincible power still continues to sustain his companions and enable them to triumph over the forces of their enemies."

[1 "This time the terror knew no bounds; throughout the province the people, deeply aroused by the repeated defeats of Islam, were beginning to lean toward the new religion. The military leaders felt their authority tottering, the religious chiefs saw their power over souls waning; the situation was extremely critical and the least incident might place the province completely under the influence of the Reformer." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 315.) "But when the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama' was informed of this, he (fearing lest The Bábis should enter Barfurush and mete out to him the punishment which he deserved) was overcome with trouble and consternation, and wrote several successive letters to Abbas-Quli Khan, saying: 'I congratulate you on your courage and discretion, but how much to be deplored it is that after you have been at such pains, lost so many of your kinsmen, and gained at length so signal a victory, you did not follow it up. You have made a great multitude food for the sword, and have returned, leaving only a few decrepit old men as survivors. Alas, that, after all your efforts and perseverance, the prince is now prepared to march against the castle and take captive these few poor wretches, so that after all he will get the credit of this signal victory, and will appropriate to himself all the money and property of the vanquished! You must make it your first and most important business to return to the castle ere he has set out, for the government of a province like Mazindaran is not a thing to be trifled with. Strive, then, to gain the entire credit of this victory, and let your exertions accomplish what your zeal has begun.' He also wrote at great length to the clergy of Amul urgently exhorting them to use their best endeavours to make the Sartip Abbas-Quli Khan start at once without further delay. So they continued too remind him incessantly that it was his duty to march with all speed against the castle; and the Sartip, though he knew that what the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama' had written to him was utterly false and baseless, was eager, if it should be possible, to make some amends for what had passed, and so to clear himself in some measure of the disgrace which he had incurred in the eyes of the Larijani women whose husbands he had sacrificed, and of the government. But inwardly he was consumed with anxiety, fearing that, as in the previous campaign, he might fail to accomplish anything. Most of his men, too, were wounded, while many had fled and concealed themselves in the surrounding villages distant four or five farsangs from the city. So, as a makeshift, he wrote to the clergy of Amul, saying: 'If indeed this be a religious war, you, who are such zealous champions of the Faith, and to whom men look for example, should take the lead, and make the first move, so that others may follow you.' The clergy, not being prepared with a suitable answer, and seeing no way of excusing themselves, were obliged to send a message to the effect that the war was a religious war. A great company of tradesmen, common people, and roughs was assembled, and these, with the clergy and students, set out, ostensibly for the accomplishment of a religious duty, but really bent on plunder and rapine. Most of these went to Barfurush and there joined the advance of Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza, who, on reaching a village distant one farsang from the castle, sent a body of his men to reconnoitre and collect information about the movements of The Bábi garrison." (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," pp. 72-3.)]

No sooner had Mirza Muhammad-Baqir selected his companions than he ordered that the gate of the fort be flung open. Leaping upon their chargers and raising the cry of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!" they plunged headlong into the camp of the enemy. The whole army fled in confusion before so terrific a charge. All but a few were able to escape. They reached Barfurush utterly demoralised and laden with shame. Abbas-Quli Khan was so shaken with fear that he fell from his horse. Leaving, in his distress, one of his boots hanging from the stirrup, he ran away, half shod and bewildered, in the direction which the army had taken. Filled with despair, he hastened to the prince and confessed the ignominious reverse he had sustained.[1] Mirza Muhammad-Baqir, on his part, emerging together with his eighteen companions unscathed from that encounter, and holding in his hand the

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standard which an affrighted enemy had abandoned, repaired with exultation to the fort and submitted to his chief, who had inspired him with such courage, this evidence of his victory.

[1 "The reverend divines, who with their pupils, had come to take part in the holy war, were scarce able to sleep at night for fear (though their quarters were in a place distant two farsangs from the castle), and continually in their conversation would they roundly abuse the prince and Abbas-Quli Khan and curse the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama'; 'for,' said they, 'these have, without sufficient reason, taken us away from our studies, our discussions, and the earning of our livelihood, besides bringing us into dire peril; since to fight with men like these, who have renounced the world and carry their lives in their hands, is to incur great risk.' So the holy verse, 'Cast not yourselves into peril with your own hands,' became their daily utterance. One said: 'Certain circumstances exonerate me from the duty of taking part in this war at present.' Another (adducing thirty different pretexts) said: I am lawfully excused and am compelled to turn back.' A third said: 'I have little children dependant on me; what can I do?' A fourth said: 'I have made no provision for my wife, so I must go, but, should it be necessary, I will return again.' A fifth said: 'My accounts with certain persons are not yet settled; should I fall a martyr my wealth will be wasted and an injustice will be done to my wife and children; and both waste and injustice are condemned as repugnant to our holy religion and displeasing to God.' A sixth said: 'I owe money to certain persons and have none to acquit me of my debt. Should I fall my debt will not allow me to cross the Bridge of Sirat.' A seventh said: 'I came away without the knowledge of my mother, and she had said to me: "Shouldst thou go I will make the milk wherewith I nourished thee unlawful to thee." I fear, therefore, that I may be cast off aa undutiful by my mother.' An eighth wept, saying: 'I have made a vow to visit Karbila this year; one circumambulation of the holy sepulchre of the Chief of Martyrs is equivalent in merit to a hundred thousand martyrdoms or a thousand pilgrimages to Mecca. I fear to fail in the fulfilment of my vow and to be disappointed of this great blessing.' Others said: 'We for our part, have neither seen in these people, nor heard of them aught that showeth them to be unbelievers, for they also say: "There is no god but God, Muhammad is the Apostle of God and Ali is the Friend of God." At most, they maintain that the advent of the Imam Mihdi has taken place. Let them be; for at all events they are no worse than the sunnis who reject the twelve Imams and the fourteen immaculate saints recognize such an one as Umar as caliph, prefer Uthman to Ali-ibn-i-Abi-Talib, and accept Abu-Bakr as the successor of our holy Prophet. Why should our divines leave those alone and fight with these about matter whereof the rights and wrongs have not been properly determined?' In short throughout the camp, murmurs arose from every tongue, and complaints from every mouth; each one sang a different tune and devised a different pretext; and all awaited but some plausible excuse to betake themselves to flight. So when Abbas-Quli Khan perceived this to be the case, he, fearing lest the contagion of their terror might spread to his soldiers, was forced to accept the excuses of these reverend divines and their disciples and followers, who forthwith departed, rejoicing greatly, and uttering prayers for the Sartip's success." (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," pp. 74-6.)]

So complete a rout immediately brought relief to the hard-pressed companions. It cemented their unity and reminded them afresh of the efficacy of that power with which their Faith had endowed them. Their food, alas, was by this time reduced to the flesh of horses, which they had brought away with them from the deserted camp of the enemy. With steadfast fortitude they endured the afflictions which beset them from every side. Their hearts were set on the wishes of Quddus; all else mattered but little. Neither the severity of their distress nor the continual threats of the enemy could cause them to deviate a hairbreadth from the path which their departed companions had so heroically trodden. A few were found who subsequently faltered in the darkest hour of adversity. The faint-heartedness which this negligible element was compelled to betray paled, however, into insignificance before the radiance which the mass of their stouthearted companions shed in the hour of realised doom.

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Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza, who was stationed in Sari, welcomed with keen delight the news of the defeat that had overtaken the forces under the immediate command of his colleague Abbas-Quli Khan. Though himself desirous of extirpating the band that had sought shelter behind the walls of the fort, he rejoiced at the knowledge that his rival had failed to secure the victory which he coveted.[1] He wrote immediately to Tihran and demanded that reinforcements in the form of bomb-shells and camel-artillery, with all the necessary equipments, be despatched without delay to the neighbourhood of the fort, he being determined, this time, to effect the complete subjugation of its obstinate occupants.

[1 "Mihdi-Quli Mirza was somewhat surprised. He felt deeply disappointed, but what impressed him even more was that the Sardar could be considered as having been defeated as well as he, and this thought, flattering to his self-love, brought him no little pleasure. Not only did he no longer fear that one of his lieutenants might have won an enviable glory in taking the fortress of The Bábis; but it was not he himself alone who had failed; he had a companion in misfortune and a companion whom he would succeed in proving responsible for the two defeats. Overjoyed he called together his chiefs great and small and apprised them of the news, deploring of course the tragic fate of the Sardar and expressing the ardent hope that this valiant soldier might be more fortunate in the future." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 179.)]

Whilst their enemies were preparing for yet another and still fiercer attack upon their stronghold, the companions of Quddus, utterly indifferent to the gnawing distress that afflicted them, acclaimed with joy and gratitude the approach of Naw-Ruz. In the course of that festival, they gave free vent to their feelings of thanksgiving and praise in return for the manifold blessings which the Almighty had bestowed upon them. Though oppressed with hunger, they indulged in songs and merriment, utterly disdaining the danger with which they were beset. The fort resounded with the ascriptions of glory and praise which, both in the daytime and in the night-season, ascended from the hearts of that joyous band. The verse, "Holy, holy, the Lord our God, the Lord of the angels and the spirit," issued unceasingly from their lips, heightened their enthusiasm, and reanimated their courage.

All that remained of the cattle they had brought with them to the fort was a cow which Haji Nasiru'd-Din-i-Qazvini had set aside, and the milk of which he made into a pudding every day for the table of Quddus. Unwilling to

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deny his hunger-stricken friends their share of the delicacy which his devoted companion prepared for him, Quddus would, after partaking of a few teaspoonfuls of that dish, invariably distribute the rest among them. "I have ceased to enjoy," he was often heard to remark, "since the departure of Mulla Husayn, the meat and drink which they prepare for me. My heart bleeds at the sight of my famished companions, worn and wasted around me." Despite these adverse circumstances, he unfailingly continued further to elucidate in his commentary the significance of the Sad of Samad, and to exhort his friends to persevere till the vary end in their heroic endeavours. At morn and at eventide, Mirza Muhammad-Baqir would chant, in the presence of the assembled believers, verses from that commentary, the reading of which would quicken their enthusiasm and brighten their hopes.

I have heard Mulla Mirza Muhammad-i-Furughi testify to the following: "God knows that we had ceased to hunger for food. Our thoughts were no longer concerned with matters pertaining to our daily bread. We were so enraptured by the entrancing melody of those verses that, were we to have continued for years in that state, no trace of weariness and fatigue could possibly have dimmed our enthusiasm or marred our gladness. And whenever the lack of nourishment would tend to sap our vitality and weaken our strength, Mirza Muhammad-Baqir would hasten to Quddus and acquaint him with our plight. A glimpse of his face, the magic of his words, as he walked amongst us, would transmute our despondency into golden joy. We were reinforced with a strength of such intensity that, had the hosts of our enemies appeared suddenly before us, we felt ourselves capable of subjugating their forces."

On the day of Naw-Ruz, which fell on the twenty-fourth of Rabi'u'th-Thani in the year 1265 A.H.,[1] Quddus alluded, in a written message to his companions, to the approach of such trials as would bring in their wake the martyrdom of a considerable number of his friends. A few days later, an innumerable host,[2] commanded by Prince Mihdi-Quli

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Mirza [3] and seconded by the joint forces of Sulayman Khan-i-Afshar, of Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani, and of Ja'far-Quli Khan, assisted by about forty other officers, encamped in the neighbourhood of the fort, and set about constructing a series of trenches and barricades in its immediate vicinity.[4] On the ninth day of the month of Baha,[5] the commanding officer gave orders to those in charge of his artillery to open fire in the direction of the besieged. While the bombardment was in progress, Quddus emerged from his room and walked to the centre of the fort. His face was wreathed in smiles, and his demeanour breathed forth the utmost tranquillity. As he was pacing the floor, a cannon-ball fell suddenly before him. "How utterly unaware," he calmly remarked, as he rolled it with his foot, "are these boastful aggressors of the power of God's avenging wrath! Have they forgotten that a creature as insignificant as the gnat was capable of extinguishing

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the life of the all-powerful Nimrod? Have they not heard that the roaring of the tempest was sufficient to destroy the people of Ad and Thamud and to annihilate their forces? Seek they to intimidate the heroes of God, in whose sight the pomp of royalty is but an empty shadow, with such contemptible evidences of their cruelty?" "You are," he added, as he turned to his friends, "those same companions of whom Muhammad, the Apostle of God, has thus spoken: 'Oh, how I long to behold the countenance of my brethren; my brethren who will appear in the end of the world! Blessed are we, blessed are they; greater is their blessedness than ours.' Beware lest you allow the encroachments of self and desire to impair so glorious a station. Fear not the threats of the wicked, neither be dismayed by the clamour of the ungodly. Each one of you has his appointed hour, and when that time is come, neither the assaults of your enemy nor the endeavours of your friends will be able either to retard or to advance that hour. If the powers of the earth league themselves against you, they will be powerless, ere that hour strikes, to lessen by one jot or tittle the span of your life. Should you allow your hearts to be agitated for but one moment by the booming of these guns which, with increasing violence, will continue to shower their shot upon this fort, you will have cast yourselves out of the stronghold of Divine protection."

[1 1849 A.D.]

[2 "The Prince assigned to each one his post during the siege; he entrusted Haji Khan Nuri and Mirza Abdu'llah Navayy with the responsibility of securing adequate supplies. As military leaders, he selected the Sardar Abbas-Quli-i-Larijani, towards whom, since his recent failure, he was showing more sympathy; then Nasru'llah Khan-i-Bandibi, another chieftain, and Mustafa Khan from Ashraf to whom he gave the command of the brave tufang-chis of that city and also the command of the suritis. Other lesser lords led the men of Dudankih and Bala-Rastaq as well as several Turkish and Kurdish nomads who were not included in the bands of the great chiefs. These nomads were entrusted with the special duty of watching every move of the enemy. Past experience had convinced them that they should be more vigilant in the future. Turks and Kurds were given therefore the responsibility of following, night and day, the operations of the enemy and to be ever on the alert in order to prevent possible surprises." (Ibid., p. 181.)]

[3 "Mihdi-Quli Mirza, however, wished to combine recent strategy with old military technique and ordered to be brought from Tihran two cannon and two mortars with the necessary ammunition. He also enlisted the assistance of a man from Hirat who had discovered an explosive substance which could project flames to a distance of seven hundred meters and set fire to anything combustible within that radius. A trial test was made and it proved satisfactory; the burning material was shot out into the fort, a conflagration started immediately and all the dwellings or shelters whether of wood, of reeds or of straw, which The Bábis had erected, either within the enclosure or upon the walls, were reduced to ashes. "While this destruction went on, the bombs and bullets shot from the mortars seriously damaged a building hastily erected by men who were neither architects nor engineers and had never anticipated an artillery attack. In a very short time, the outer defences of the fortress were dismantled; nothing was left of them but fallen girders, smoked and burning timbers, scattered stones." (Ibid., pp. 181-182.)]

[4 "After taking these precautions, they dug holes and trenches for the use of the tufang-chis who were ordered to shoot down any Bábis who might appear. They built large towers as high as the various levels of the fortress or even higher and, through a continuous plunging fire, they rendered the circulation of The Bábis within their fort extremely dangerous. It was a decided advantage for the besiegers, but, in a few days, The Bábi chiefs, taking advantage of the long nights, raised their fortifications so that their height exceeded that of the attacking towers of the enemy." (Ibid., p. 181.)]

[5 The ninth day after Naw-Ruz.]

So powerful an appeal could not fail to breathe confidence into the hearts of those who heard it. A few, however, whose countenances betrayed vacillation and fear, were seen huddled together in a sheltered corner of the fort, viewing with envy and surprise the zeal that animated their companions.[1]

[1 "Once indeed, some few of them did go out to try to obtain a little tea and sugar for Jinab-i-Quddus. The most notable of these was Mulla Sa'id of Zarkanad. Now he was a man so accomplished in science that when certain learned men of the kindred of Mulla Muhammad-Taqi of Nur addressed to Jinab-i-Quddus in writing certain questions touching the science of divination and astrology, the latter said to Mulla Sa'id: 'Do you speedily write for them a brief and compendious reply that their messenger be not kept waiting and a more detailed answer shall be written subsequently.' So Mulla Sa'id though hurried by the presence of the messenger and distracted by the turmoil of the siege rapidly penned a most eloquent address wherein while replying to the questions asked he introduced nearly a hundred well-authenticated traditions bearing on the truth of the new Manifestation of the promised Proof besides several which foreshadowed the halting of those who had believed in the Lord about Tabarsi and their martyrdom The learned men of Nur were amazed beyond all measure at his erudition and said: 'Candour compels us to admit that such a presentation of these matters is a great miracle, and that such erudition and eloquence are far beyond the Mulla Sa'id whom we knew. Assuredly this talent hath been bestowed on him from on high and he in turn hath made it manifest to us.' Now Mulla Sa'id and his companions, while they were without the castle fell into the hands of the royal troops and were by them carried before the prince. The prince strove by every means to extract from them some information about the state of The Bábi garrison their numbers and the amount of their munitions; but do what he would, he could gain nothing. So when he perceived Mulla Sa'id to be a man of talent and understanding he said to him: 'Repent, and I will release you and not suffer you to be slain.' To this Mulla Sa'id replied 'Never did anyone repent of obedience to God's command; why then should I? Rather do you repent who are acting contrary to His good pleasure, and more evilly than anyone hath heretofore done.' And he spoke much more after the same fashion. So at length they sent him to Sari in chains and fetters and there slew him under circumstances of the utmost cruelty along with his companions, who appear to have been five in number." (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," pp. 79-80.)]

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The army of Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza continued for a few days to fire in the direction of the fort. His men were surprised to find that the booming of their guns had failed to silence the voice of prayer and the acclamations of joy which the besieged raised in answer to their threats. Instead of the unconditional surrender which they expected, the call of the muadhdhin,[1] the chanting of the verses of the Quran, and the chorus of gladsome voices intoning hymns of thanksgiving and praise reached their ears without ceasing.

[1 See Glossary.]

Exasperated by these evidences of unquenchable fervour and impelled by a burning desire to extinguish the enthusiasm which swelled within the breasts of his opponents, Ja'far-quli Khan erected a tower, upon which he stationed his cannon,[1] and from that eminence directed his fire into the heart of the fort. Quddus immediately summoned Mirza Muhammad-Baqir and instructed him to sally again and inflict upon the "boastful newcomer" a humiliation no less crushing than the one which Abbas-Quli Khan had suffered.

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"Let him know," he added, "that God's lion-hearted warriors, when pressed and driven by hunger, are able to manifest deeds of such heroism as no ordinary mortals can show. Let him know that the greater their hunger, the more devastating shall be the effects of their exasperation."

[1 "Thus the latter constructed four towers on the four sides of the castle, and raised them so high that they were able to command the interior of the fortress with their guns, and to make the garrison targets for their bullets. Then the faithful, seeing this, began to dig subterranean passages and to retreat thither. But the ground of Mazindaran lies near the water and is saturated with moisture, added to which rain fell continually, increasing the damage, so that these poor sufferers dwelt amidst mud and water till their garments rotted away with damp.... Whenever one of their comrades quaffed the draught of martyrdom before their eyes, instead of grieving they rejoiced. Thus, for instance, on one occasion bomb-shell fell on the roof of a hut, which caught fire. Shaykh Salih of Shiraz went to extinguish the fire. A bullet struck his head and shattered his skull. Even as they were raising his corpse a second bullet carried away the hand of Aqa Mirza Muhammad Ali, the son of Siyyid Ahmad who was the father of Aqa Siyyid Husayn, 'the beloved.' So too, was Aqa Siyyid Husayn 'the beloved,' a child ten years of age slain before his father's eyes and he fell rolling in mud and gore, with limbs quivering like those of a half-killed bird." (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," pp. 81-3.)]

Mirza Muhammad-Baqir again ordered eighteen of his companions to hurry to their steeds and follow him. The gates of the fort were thrown open, and the cry of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!" --fiercer and more thrilling than ever--diffused panic and consternation in the ranks of the enemy. Ja'far-Quli Khan, with thirty of his men, fell before the sword of their adversary, who rushed to the tower, captured the guns, and hurled them to the ground. Thence they threw themselves upon the barricade which had been erected, demolished a number of them, and would, but for the approaching darkness, have captured and destroyed the rest.

Triumphant and unhurt, they repaired to the fort, carrying back with them a number of the stoutest and best-fed stallions which had been left behind. A few days elapsed during which there was no sign of a counter-attack.[1] A sudden explosion in one of the ammunition stores of the enemy, which had caused the death of several artillery officers and a number of their fellow-combatants, forced them for one whole month to suspend their attacks upon the garrison.[2] This lull enabled a number of the companions to emerge occasionally from their stronghold and gather such grass as they could find in the field as the only means wherewith to

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allay their hunger. The flesh of horses, even the leather of their saddles, had been consumed by these hard-pressed companions. They boiled the grass and devoured it with piteous avidity.[3] As their strength declined, as they languished exhausted within the walls of their fort, Quddus multiplied his visits to them, and endeavoured by his words of cheer and of hope to lighten the load of their agony.

[1 "This state of affairs had lasted four months. The Shah began to grow impatient. The success of The Bábis aroused his anger which according to the Persian historian he expressed thus: 'We thought that our army would go without hesitation through fire and water, that, fearless, it would fight a lion or a whale, but we have sent it to fight a handful of weak and defenseless men and it has achieved nothing! Do the notables of Mazindaran think that we approve of this delay? Is it their policy to allow this conflagration to spread in order to magnify their importance in case they later put an end to it? Very well, let them know that I shall act as though Allah had never created Mazindaran and I shall exterminate its inhabitants to the last man!" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 322.)]

[2 "The siege had been going on for four months and had made no visible progress. The old fortifications had been destroyed but, with indomitable energy, The Bábis had built new ones and, night and day, they restored and enlarged them. It was impossible to foresee the outcome of this situation, the more so because, as I have already said, Mazindaran was not the only region in Persia where the devotees of the new Faith were giving evidence of their zeal and their daring. The King and the prime minister, in their anxiety, burst forth into abuse against their lieutenants. Not only did they charge them with incompetence, in the most bitter terms, but they threatened to extend to them the same treatment planned for The Bábis, if a final settlement were not reached without delay. Thereupon, the command was taken from Mihdi-Quli Mirza and given to the Afshar Sulayman Khan, a man of acknowledged firmness and of great influence, not only in his own tribe, one of the noblest in Persia, but throughout the military circles who knew him and held him in high esteem. He was given the most rigorous orders." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 183-184.) .."Those who remained firm had already consumed not only all their food supply, but such grass as they could find in the enclosure and the bark of all the trees. There remained only the leather of their belts and the scabbards of their swords. They had to resort to the expedient recommended by the Spanish ambassador to the soldiers of the league besieged in Paris; they ground the bones of the dead and made flour with the dust thereof. At last, desperate, they were reduced to perpetrate a sort of profanation. The horse of Mulla Husayn had died of the wounds suffered during that fatal night which witnessed the death of its master. The Bábis had buried it out of regard for their holy leader and a little of the deep veneration which all felt for him hovered over the grave of the poor animal. They held council and, deploring the necessity for such a discussion, they debated the question whether extreme distress could justify them to disinter the sacred charger and eat the remains. With deep sorrow, they agreed that the deed was justifiable. They cooked the remains of the horse with the flour made from the bones of the dead, they ate this strange mixture and took up their guns once more!" (Ibid., pp 186-187.)]

[3 `Abdu'l-Bahá refers, in the "Memorials of the Faithful" (pp. 16-17) to the hardships and sufferings endured by the heroic defenders of the fort of Shaykh Tabarsi He pays a glowing tribute to the constancy, the zeal and courage of the besieged, mentioning in particular Mulla Sadiq-i-Muqaddas. "For eighteen days," He says, "they remained without food. They lived on the leather of their shoes. This too was soon consumed, and they had nothing left but water. They drank a mouthful every morning and lay famished and exhausted in their fort. When attacked, however, they would instantly spring to their feet, and manifest in the face of the enemy a magnificent courage and astonishing resistance.... Under such circumstances to maintain an unwavering faith and patience is extremely difficult, and to endure such dire afflictions a rare phenomenon."]

The month of Jamadiyu'th-Thani [1] had just begun when the artillery of the enemy was heard again discharging its showers of balls upon the fort. Simultaneously with the booming of the cannons, a detachment of the army, headed by a number of officers and consisting of several regiments of infantry and cavalry, rushed to storm it. The sound of their approach impelled Quddus to summon promptly his valiant lieutenant, Mirza Muhammad-Baqir, and to bid him emerge with thirty-six of his companions and repulse their attack.

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"Never since our occupation of this fort," he added, "have we under any circumstances attempted to direct any offensive against our opponents. Not until they unchained their attack upon us did we arise to defend our lives. Had we cherished the ambition of waging holy war against them, had we harboured the least intention of achieving ascendancy through the power of our arms over the unbelievers, we should not, until this day, have remained besieged within these walls. The force of our arms would have by now, as was the case with the companions of Muhammad in days past, convulsed the nations of the earth and prepared them for the acceptance of our Message. Such is not the way, however, which we have chosen to tread. Ever since we repaired to this fort, our sole, our unalterable purpose has been the vindication, by our deeds and by our readiness to shed our blood in the path of our Faith, of the exalted character of our mission. The hour is fast approaching when we shall be able to consummate this task."

[1 April 24-May 23, 1849 A.D.]

Mirza Muhammad-Baqir once more leaped on horseback and, with the thirty-six companions whom he had selected, confronted and scattered the forces which had beset him. He carried with him, as he re-entered the gate, the banner which an alarmed enemy had abandoned as soon as the reverberating cry of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!" had been raised. Five of his companions suffered martyrdom in the course of that engagement, all of whom he bore to the fort and interred in one tomb close to the resting place of their fallen brethren.

Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza, astounded by this further evidence of the inexhaustible vitality of his opponents, took counsel with the chiefs of his staff, urging them to devise such means as would enable him to bring that costly enterprise to a speedy end. For three days he deliberated with them, and finally came to the conclusion that the most advisable course to take would be to suspend all manner of hostilities for a few days in the hope that the besieged, exhausted with hunger and goaded by despair, would decide to emerge from their retreat and submit to an unconditional surrender.

As the prince was waiting for the consummation of the plan he had conceived, there arrived from Tihran a messenger

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bearing to him the farman [1] of his sovereign. This man was a resident of the village of Kand, a place not far from the capital. He succeeded in obtaining leave from the prince to enter the fort and attempt to induce two of its occupants, Mulla Mihdi and his brother Mulla Baqir-i-Kandi, to escape from the imminent danger to which their lives were exposed. As he approached its walls, he called the sentinels and asked them to inform Mulla Mihdiy-Kandi that an acquaintance of his desired to see him. Mulla Mihdi reported the matter to Quddus, who permitted him to meet his friend.

[1 See Glossary.]

I have heard Aqay-i-Kalim give the following account, as related to him by that same messenger whom he met in Tihran: "'I saw,' the messenger informed me, 'Mulla Mihdi appear above the wall of the fort, his countenance revealing an expression of stern resolve that baffled description. He looked as fierce as a lion, his sword was girded on over a long white shirt after the manner of the Arabs, and he had a white kerchief around his head. "What is it that you seek?" he impatiently enquired. "Say it quickly, for I fear that my master will summon me and find me absent." The determination that glowed in his eyes confused me. I was dumbfounded at his looks and manner. The thought suddenly flashed through my mind that I would awaken a dormant sentiment in his heart. I reminded him of his infant child, Rahman, whom he had left behind in the village, in his eagerness to enlist under the standard of Mulla Husayn. In his great affection for the child, he had specially composed a poem which he chanted as he rocked his cradle and lulled him to sleep. "Your beloved Rahman," I said, "longs for the affection which you once lavished upon him. He is alone and forsaken, and yearns to see you." "Tell him from me," was the father's instant reply, "that the love of the true Rahman,[1] a love that transcends all earthly affections, has so filled my heart that it has left no place for any other it love besides His." The poignancy with which he uttered these words brought tears to my eyes. "Accursed," I indignantly exclaimed, "be those who consider you and your fellow-disciples as having strayed from the path of God!"

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"What," I asked him, "if I venture to enter the fort and join you?" "If your motive be to seek and find the Truth," he calmly replied, "I will gladly show you the way. And if you seek to visit me as an old and lifelong friend, I will accord you the welcome of which the Prophet of God has spoken: 'Welcome your guests though they be of the infidels.' I will, faithful to that injunction, offer you the boiled grass and the churned bones which serve as my meat, the best I can procure for you. But if your intention be to harm me, I warn you that I will defend myself and will hurl you from the heights of these walls to the ground." His unswerving obstinacy convinced me of the futility of my efforts. I could feel that he was fired with such enthusiasm that, were the divines of the realm to assemble and endeavour to dissuade him from the course he had chosen to pursue, he would, alone and unaided, baffle their efforts. Neither, was I convinced, could all the potentates of the earth succeed in luring him away from the Beloved of his heart's desire. "May the cup," I was moved to say, "which your lips have tasted, bring you all the blessings you seek." "The prince," I added, "has vowed that whoever steps out of this fort will be secure from danger, that he will even receive a safe passage from him, as well as whatever expenses he may require for the journey to his home." He promised to convey the prince's message to his fellow-companions. "Is there anything further you wish to tell me?" he added. "I am impatient to join my master." "May God," I replied, "assist you in accomplishing your purpose." "He has indeed assisted me!" he burst forth in exultation. "How else could I have been delivered from the darkness of my prison-home in Kand? How could I have reached this exalted stronghold?" No sooner had he uttered these words than, turning his face away from me, he vanished from my sight.'"

[1 Reference to God, the word Rahman meaning "merciful."]

As soon as he had joined his companions, Mulla Mihdi conveyed the prince's message to them. On the afternoon of that same day, Siyyid Mirza Husayn-i-Mutavalli, accompanied by his servant, left the fort and went directly to join the prince in his camp. The next day, Rasul-i-Bahnimiri and a few other of his companions, unable to resist the ravages of famine, and encouraged by the explicit assurances

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or the prince, sadly and reluctantly separated themselves from their friends. No sooner had they stepped out of the fort than they were all instantly slain at the order of Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani.

During the few days that elapsed after that incident, the enemy, still encamped in the neighbourhood of the fort, refrained from any act of hostility towards Quddus and his companions. On Wednesday morning, the sixteenth of Jamadiyu'th-Thani,[1] an emissary of the prince arrived at the fort and requested that two representatives be delegated by the besieged to conduct confidential negotiations with them in the hope of arriving at a peaceful settlement of the issues outstanding between them.[2]

[1 May 9, 1849 A.D.]

[2 "This stark and desperate bravery, this unquenchable enthusiasm gave grave concern to the leaders of the imperial army. Despairing to break through the fortification after repeated defeats, they thought of resorting to shrewdness. The Prince was naturally shrewd and Sulayman Khan-i-Afshar, recently sent by the Shah, was urging such a method, fearful that longer delays might endanger his prestige and his life." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 325.) ]

Accordingly, Quddus instructed Mulla Yusuf-i-Ardibili and Siyyid Riday-i-Khurasani to act as his representatives, and bade them inform the prince of his readiness to accede to his wish. Mihdi-Quli Mirza courteously received them, and invited them to partake of the tea which he had prepared. "We should," they said, as they declined his offer, "feel it to be an act of disloyalty on our part were we to partake of either meat or drink whilst our beloved leader languishes worn and famished in the fort." "The hostilities between us," the prince remarked, "have been unduly prolonged. We, on both sides, have fought long and suffered grievously. It is my fervent wish to achieve an amicable settlement of our differences." He took hold of a copy of the Quran that lay beside him, and wrote, with his own hand, in confirmation of his statement, the following words on the margin of the opening Surih: "I swear by this most holy Book, by the righteousness of God who has revealed it, and the Mission of Him who was inspired with its verses, that I cherish no other purpose than to promote peace and friendliness between us. Come forth from your stronghold and rest assured that no hand will be stretched forth against you. You yourself

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and your companions, I solemnly declare, are under the sheltering protection of the Almighty, of Muhammad, His Prophet, and of Nasiri'd-Din Shah, our sovereign. I pledge my honour that no man, either in this army or in this neighbourhood, will ever attempt to assail you. The malediction of God, the omnipotent Avenger, rest upon me if in my heart I cherish any other desire than that which I have stated.

He affixed his seal to his statement and, delivering the Quran into the hands of Mulla Yusuf, asked him to convey his greetings to his leader and to present him this formal and written assurance. "I will," he added, "in pursuance of my declaration, despatch to the gate of the fort, this very afternoon, a number of horses, which I trust he and his leading companions will accept and mount, in order to ride to the neighbourhood of this camp, where a special tent will have been pitched for their reception. I would request them to be our guests until such time as I shall be able to arrange for their return, at my expense, to their homes."

Quddus received the Quran from the hand of his messenger, kissed it reverently, and said: "O our Lord, decide between us and between our people with truth; for the best to decide art Thou."[1] Immediately after, he bade the rest of his companions prepare themselves to leave the fort. "By our response to their invitation," he told them, "we shall enable them to demonstrate the sincerity of their intentions."

[1 Quran, 7:88.]

As the hour of their departure approached, Quddus attired his head with the green turban which The Báb had sent to him at the time He sent the one that Mulla Husayn wore on the day of his martyrdom. At the gate of the fort, they mounted the horses which had been placed at their disposal, Quddus mounting the favourite steed of the prince which the latter had sent for his use. His chief companions, among whom were a number of siyyids and learned divines, rode behind him, and were followed by the rest, who marched on foot, carrying with them all that was left of their arms and belongings. As the company, who were two hundred and two in number, reached the tent which the prince had ordered to be pitched for Quddus in the vicinity of the public bath

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of the village of Dizva, overlooking the camp of the enemy, they alighted and proceeded to occupy their lodgings in the neighbourhood of that tent.

Soon after their arrival, Quddus emerged from his tent and, gathering together his companions, addressed them in these words: "You should show forth exemplary renunciation, for such behaviour on your part will exalt our Cause and redound to its glory. Anything short of complete detachment will but serve to tarnish the purity of its name and to obscure its splendour. Pray the Almighty to grant that even to your last hour He may graciously assist you to contribute your share to the exaltation of His Faith."

A few hours after sunset, they were served with dinner brought from the camp of the prince. The food that was offered them in separate trays, each of which was assigned to a group of thirty companions, was poor and scanty. "Nine of us," those who were with Quddus subsequently related, "were summoned by our leader to partake of the dinner which had been served in his tent. As he refused to taste it, we too, following his example, refrained from eating. The attendants who waited upon us were delighted to partake of the dishes which we had refused to touch, and devoured their contents with appreciation and avidity." A few of the companions

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who were dining outside the tent were heard remonstrating with the attendants, pleading that they were willing to buy from them, at however exorbitant a price, the bread which they needed. Quddus strongly disapproved of their conduct and rebuked them for the request they had made. But for the intercession of Mirza Muhammad-Baqir, he would have severely punished them for having so completely disregarded his earnest exhortations.

At daybreak a messenger arrived, summoning Mirza Muhammad-Baqir to the presence of the prince. With the consent of Quddus, he responded to that invitation, and returned an hour later, informing his chief that the prince had, in the presence of Sulayman Khan-i-Afshar, reiterated the assurances he had given, and had treated him with great consideration and kindness. "'My oath,' he assured me," Mirza Muhammad-Baqir explained, "'is irrevocable and sacred.' He cited the case of Ja'far-Quli Khan, who, notwithstanding his shameless massacre of thousands of soldiers of the imperial army, in the course of the insurrection fomented by the Salar, was pardoned by his sovereign and promptly invested with fresh honours by Muhammad Shah. To-morrow the prince intends to accompany you in the morning to the public bath, from whence he will proceed to your tent, after which he will provide the horses required to convey the entire company to Sang-Sar, from where they will disperse, some returning to their homes in Iraq, and others proceeding to Khurasan. At the request of Sulayman Khan, who urged that the presence of such a large gathering at such a fortified centre as Sang-Sar would be fraught with risk, the prince decided that the party should disperse, instead, at Firuz-Kuh. I am of opinion that what his tongue professes, his heart does not believe at all." Quddus, who shared his view, bade his companions disperse that very night, and stated that he himself would soon proceed to Barfurush. They hastened to implore him not to separate himself from them, and begged to be allowed to continue to enjoy the blessings of his companionship. He counselled them to be calm and patient, and assured them that, whatever afflictions the future might yet reveal, they would meet again. "Weep not," were his parting words; "the reunion which will follow this separation

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will be such as shall eternally endure. We have committed our Cause to the care of God; whatever be His will and pleasure, the same we joyously accept."

The prince failed to redeem his promise. Instead of joining Quddus in his tent, he called him, with several of his companions, to his headquarters, and informed him, as soon as they reached the tent of the Farrash-Bashi,[1] that he himself would summon him at noon to his presence. Shortly after, a number of the prince's attendants went and told the rest of the companions that Quddus permitted them to join him at the army's headquarters. Several of them were deceived by this report, were made captives, and were eventually sold as slaves. These unfortunate victims constitute the remnant of the companions of the fort of Shaykh Tabarsi, who survived that heroic struggle and were spared to transmit to their countrymen the woeful tale of their sufferings and trials.

[1 See Glossary.]

Soon after, the prince's attendants brought pressure to bear upon Mulla Yusuf to inform the remainder of his companions of the desire of Quddus that they immediately disarm. "What is it that you will tell them exactly?" they asked him, as he was being conducted to a place at some distance from the army's headquarters. "I will," was the bold reply, "warn them that whatever be henceforth the nature of the message you choose to deliver to them on behalf of their leader, that message is naught but downright falsehood." These words had hardly escaped his lips when

he was mercilessly put to death.

From this savage act they turned their attention to the fort, plundered it of its contents, and proceeded to bombard and demolish it completely.[1] They then immediately encompassed the remaining companions and opened fire upon them. Any who escaped the bullets were killed by the swords of the officers and the spears of their men.[2] In the

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very throes of death, these unconquerable heroes were still heard to utter the words, "Holy, holy, O Lord our God, Lord of the angels and the spirit," words which in moments of exultation had fallen from their lips, and which they now repeated with undiminished fervour at this crowning hour of their lives.

[1 "All the fortifications constructed by The Bábis were razed to the ground and even the ground was leveled to remove any evidences of the heroic defense of those who had died for their Faith. They imagined that this would silence history." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 327.)]

[2 "They formed them in a line and made sport of cutting open their stomachs. This amused them the more because, from the perforated intestines, issued grass still undigested, striking evidence of the sufferings they had endured and also of the faith that had sustained them. Some, very few, succeeded in escaping into the forest." (Ibid.)]

As soon as these atrocities hath been perpetrated, the prince ordered those who had been retained as captives to be ushered, one after another, into his presence. Those among them who were men of recognized standing, such as the father of Badi',[1] Mulla Mirza Muhammad-i-Furughi, and Haji Nasir-i-Qazvini,[2] he charged his attendants to conduct to Tihran and obtain in return for their deliverance a ransom from each one of them in direct proportion to their capacity and wealth. As to the rest, he gave orders to his executioners that they be immediately put to death. A few were cut to pieces with the sword,[3] others were torn asunder, a number were bound to trees and riddled with bullets, and still others were blown

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from the mouths of cannons and consigned to the flames.[4]

[1 Haji Abdu'l-Majid-i-Nishaburi, who was eventually martyred in Khurasan.]

[2 "It was then, says Mirza Jani, that Islam gave a shameful exhibition to the world. The victors, if they can be so called, wished to enjoy the intoxication of their triumph. They bound in chains Quddus, Mirza Muhammad-Hasan Khan, brother of The Bábu'l-Bab, Akhund Mulla Muhammad-Sadiq-i-Khurasani, Mirza Muhammad Sadiq-i-Khurasani, Haji Mirza Hasan Khurasani, Shaykh Ni'matu'llah-i-Amuli, Haji Nasir-i-Qazvini, Mulla Yusuf-i-Ardibili, Aqa Siyyid Abdu'l-'Aim-i-Khu'i and several others. These they placed at the center of the parade which started out at the sound of the trumpets, and, every time they went through an inhabited section, they struck them." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," pp. 327-328.) "The cruelty went further still. If a few escaped death, having been sold into slavery, others were tortured until they died. Those who found kindly masters were Akhund Mulla Muhammad-Sadiq-i-Khurasani, Mulla Muhammad-i-Mahvalatiy-i-Dugh-Abadi, Aqa Siyyid Azim-i-Khu'i, Haji Nasir-i-Qazvini, Haji Abdu'l-Majid-i-Nishaburi and Mirza Husayn-i-Matavalliy-i-Qumi. Four Bábis suffered martyrdom at Barfurush, two were sent to Amul; one of these was Mulla Ni'matu'llah-i-Amuli, the other Mirza Muhammad-Baqir-i-Khurasaniy-i-Qa'ini, cousin of our Bábi author. "Qa'ini lived previously at Mashhad, on the avenue called Khiyaban-Bala, and his house, which had been named 'Babiyyih,' was the rendezvous of the secretaries as well as the home for the co-religionists journeying through. It is there that Quddus and The Bábu'l-Báb sojourned on their way to Khurasan. Besides his religious knowledge, Qa'ini was very skillful with his hands and it was he who designed the fortifications of Shaykh-Tabarsi." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 329.)]

[3 "As to the other prisoners they were made to lie down on the ground and the executioners cut open their stomachs. It was noticed that several of these unfortunates had raw grass in their intestines. This massacre completed, they found that there was still more to be done and they assassinated the fugitives who had already been pardoned. There were women and children and even fifty were not spared and their throats were cut. It was indeed a full day with much killing and no risk!" (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 189.) "On his arrival at Amul, Mulla Ni'matu'llah was tortured with ruthless ferocity. Apparently, this scene threw Qa'ini into a fit of rage. In any case, when the executioner approached, Qa'ini, breaking his bonds, jumped upon him, snatched his sword and struck him with such violence that his head rolled about fifteen feet away. The crowd rushed upon him but, terrible in his strength, he mowed down all those who came within his reach and they had finally to shoot him with a rifle in order to subdue him. After his death, they found in his pocket a piece of roasted horse flesh proof of the misery that he had endured for his faith !" (Ibid., pp. 329-330.)]

[4 "The whole world marvelled at the manner of their sacrifice.... The mind is bewildered at their deeds and the soul marvelleth at their fortitude and bodily endurance.... These holy lights have for eighteen years, heroically endured the showers of afflictions which, from every side have rained upon them With what love, what devotion, what exultation and holy rapture they sacrificed their lives in the path of the All-Glorious! To the truth of this all witness. And yet how can they belittle this Revelation? Hath any age witnessed such momentous happenings? If these companions be not the true strivers after God, who else could be called by this name? Have these companions been seekers after power or glory? Have they ever yearned for riches? Have they cherished any desire except the good pleasure of God? If these companions with all their marvellous testimonies and wondrous works be false who then is worthy to claim for himself the truth? By God! their very deeds are a sufficient testimony, and an irrefutable proof unto all the peoples of the earth, were men to ponder in their hearts the mysteries of Divine Revelation. 'And they who act unjustly shall soon know what a lot awaiteth them!'" (The "Kitáb-i-Iqan," pp. 189-91.)]

This terrible butchery had hardly been concluded when three of the companions of Quddus, who were residents of Sang-Sar, were ushered into the presence of the prince. One of them was Siyyid Ahmad, whose father, Mir Muhammad-'Ali, a devoted admirer of Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa'i, had been a man of great learning and distinguished merit. He, accompanied by this same Siyyid Ahmad and his brother, Mir Abu'l-Qasim, who met his death the very night on which Mulla Husayn was slain, had departed for Karbila in the year preceding the declaration of The Báb, with the intention of introducing his two sons to Siyyid Kazim. Ere his arrival, the siyyid had departed this life. He immediately determined to leave for Najaf. While in that city, the Prophet Muhammad one night appeared to him in a dream, bidding the Imam Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, announce to him that after his death both his sons, Siyyid Ahmad and Mir Abu'l-Qasim, would attain the presence of the promised Qa'im and would each suffer martyrdom in His path. As soon as he awoke, he called for his son Siyyid Ahmad and acquainted him with his will and last wishes. On the seventh day after that dream he died.

In Sang-Sar two other persons, Karbila'i Ali and Karbila'i Abu-Muhammad, both known for their piety and spiritual insight, strove to prepare the people for the acceptance of

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the promised Revelation, the advent of which they felt was fast approaching. In the year 1264 A.H.[1] they publicly announced that in that very year a man named Siyyid Ali would, preceded by a Black Standard and accompanied by a number of his chosen companions, set forth from Khurasan and proceed to Mazindaran. They urged every loyal adherent of Islam to arise and lend him every possible assistance. "The standard which he will hoist," they declared, "will be none other than the standard of the promised Qa'im; he who will unfurl it, none other than His lieutenant and chief promoter of His Cause. Whoso follows him will be saved, and he who turns away will be among the fallen." Karbila'i Abu-Muhammad urged his two sons, Abu'l-Qasim and Muhammad-'Ali, to arise for the triumph of the new Revelation and to sacrifice every material consideration for the attainment of that end. Both Karbila'i Abu-Muhammad and Karbila'i Ali died in the spring of that same year.

[1 1847-8 A.D.]

These two sons of Karbila'i Abu-Muhammad were the two companions who had been ushered, together with Siyyid Ahmad, into the presence of the prince. Mulla Zaynu'l-'Abidin-i-ShahMirzadi, one of the trusted and learned counsellors of the government, acquainted the prince with their story and related the experiences and activities of their respective fathers. "For what reason," Siyyid Ahmad was asked, "have you chosen to tread a path that has involved you and your kinsmen in such circumstances of wretchedness and disgrace? Could you not have been satisfied with the vast number of erudite and illustrious divines who are to be found in this land and in Iraq?" "My faith in this Cause," he fearlessly retorted, "is born not of idle imitation. I have dispassionately enquired into its precepts, and am convinced of its truth. When in Najaf, I ventured to request the preeminent mujtahid of that city, Shaykh Muhammad-Hasan-i-Najafi, to expound for me certain truths connected with the secondary principles underlying the teachings of Islam. He refused to accede to my request. I reiterated my appeal, whereupon he angrily rebuked me and persisted in his refusal. How can I, in the light of such experience, be expected to seek enlightenment on the abstruse articles of the Faith

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of Islam from a divine, however illustrious, who refuses to answer my question on such simple and ordinary matters and who expresses his indignation at my having put such questions to him?" "What is your belief concerning Haji Muhammad-'Ali?" asked the prince. "We believe," he replied, "Mulla Husayn to have been the bearer of the standard of which Muhammad has spoken: 'Should your eyes behold the Black Standards proceeding from Khurasan, hasten ye towards them, even though ye should have to crawl over the snow.' For this reason we have renounced the world and have flocked to his standard, a standard which is but a symbol of our Faith. If you wish to bestow upon me a favour, bid your executioner put an end to me and enable me to be gathered to the company of my immortal companions. For the world and all its charms have ceased to allure me. I long to depart this life and return to my God." The prince, who was reluctant to take the life of a siyyid, refused to order his execution. His two companions, however, were immediately put to death. He, with his brother Siyyid Abu-Talib, was delivered into the hands of Mulla Zaynu'l-'Abidin, who was instructed to conduct them to Sang-Sar.

Meanwhile Mirza Muhammad-Taqi, accompanied by seven of the ulamas of Sari, set out from that town to share in the meritorious act of inflicting the punishment of death upon the companions of Quddus. When they found that they had already been put to death, Mirza Muhammad-Taqi urged the prince to reconsider his decision and to order the immediate execution of Siyyid Ahmad, pleading that his arrival at Sari would be the signal for fresh disturbances as grave as those which had already afflicted them. The prince eventually yielded, on the express condition that he be regarded as his guest until his own arrival at Sari, at which time he would take whatever measures were required to prevent him from disturbing the peace of the neighbourhood.

No sooner had Mirza Muhammad-Taqi taken the direction of Sari than he proceeded to vilify Siyyid Ahmad and his father. "Why ill-treat a guest," his captive pleaded, "whom the prince has committed to your charge? Why ignore the Prophet's injunction, 'Honour thy guest though he be an infidel'?" Roused to a burst of fury, Mirza Muhammad-Taqi,

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together with his seven companions, drew their swords and cut his body to pieces. With his last breath Siyyid Ahmad was heard invoking the aid of the Sahibu'z-Zaman. As to his brother Siyyid Abu-Talib, he was safely conducted to Sang-Sar by Mulla Zaynu'l-'Abidin, and to this day resides with his brother Siyyid Muhammad-Rida in Mazindaran. Both are engaged in the service of the Cause and are accounted among its active supporters.

As soon as his work was completed, the prince, accompanied by Quddus, returned to Barfurush. They arrived on Friday afternoon, the eighteenth of Jamadiyu'th-Thani.[1] The Sa'idu'l-'Ulama', together with all the ulamas of the town, came out to welcome the prince and to extend their congratulations on his triumphal return. The whole town was beflagged to celebrate the victory, and the bonfires which blazed at night witnessed to the joy with which a grateful population greeted the return of the prince. Three days of festivities elapsed during which he gave no indication as to his intention regarding the fate of Quddus. He vacillated in his policy, and was extremely reluctant to ill-treat his captive. He at first refused to allow the people to gratify their feelings of unrelenting hatred, and was able to restrain their fury. He had originally intended to conduct him to Tihran and, by delivering him into the hands of his sovereign, to relieve himself of the responsibility which weighed upon him.

[1 May 11, 1849 A.D. ]

The Sa'idu'l-'Ulama''s unquenchable hostility, however, interfered with the execution of this plan. The hatred with which Quddus and his Cause inspired him blazed into furious rage as he witnessed the increasing evidences of the prince's inclination to allow so formidable an opponent to slip from his grasp. Day and night he remonstrated with him and, with every cunning that his resourceful brain could devise, sought to dissuade him from pursuing a policy which he thought to be at once disastrous and cowardly. In the fury of his despair, he appealed to the mob and sought, by inflaming their passions, to awaken the basest sentiments of revenge in their hearts. The whole of Barfurush had been aroused by the persistency of his call. His diabolical skill

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soon won him the sympathy and support of the masses. "I have vowed," he imperiously protested, "to deny myself both food and sleep until such time as I am able to end the life of Haji Muhammad-'Ali with my own hands!" The threats of an agitated multitude reinforced his plea and succeeded in arousing the apprehensions of the prince. Fearing that his own life might be endangered, he summoned to his presence the leading ulamas of Barfurush for the purpose of consulting as to the measures that should be taken to allay the tumult of popular excitement. All those who had been invited responded with the exception of Mulla Muhammad-i-Hamzih, who pleaded to be excused from attending that meeting. He had previously, on several occasions, endeavoured, during the siege of the fort, to persuade the people to refrain from violence. To him Quddus, a few days before his abandonment of the fort, had committed, through one of his trusted companions of Mazindaran, a locked saddlebag containing the text of his own interpretation of the Sad of Samad as well as all his other writings and papers that he had in his possession, the fate of which remains unknown until the present day.

No sooner had the ulamas assembled than the prince gave orders for Quddus to be brought into their presence. Since the day of his abandoning the fort, Quddus, who had been delivered into the custody of the Farrash-Bashi, had not been summoned to his presence. As soon as he arrived, the prince arose and invited him to be seated by his side. Turning to the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama', he urged that his conversations with him be dispassionately and conscientiously conducted. "Your discussions," he asserted, "must revolve around, and be based upon, the verses of the Quran and the traditions of Muhammad, by which means alone you can demonstrate the truth or falsity of your contentions." "For what reason," the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama' impertinently enquired, "have you, by choosing to place a green turban upon your head, arrogated to yourself a right which only he who is a true descendant of the Prophet can claim? Do you not know that whoso defies this sacred tradition is accursed of God?" "Was Siyyid Murtada," Quddus calmly replied, "whom all the recognized ulamas praise and esteem, a descendant of

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the Prophet through his father or his mother?" One of those present at that gathering instantly declared the mother alone to have been a siyyid. "Why, then, object to me," retorted Quddus, "since my mother was always recognized by the inhabitants of this town as a lineal descendant of the Imam Hasan? Was she not, because of her descent, honoured, nay venerated, by every one of you?"

No one dared to contradict him. The Sa'idu'l-'Ulama' burst forth into a fit of indignation and despair. Angrily he flung his turban to the ground and arose to leave the meeting. "This man," he thundered, ere he departed, "has succeeded in proving to you that he is a descendent of the Imam Hasan. He will, ere long, justify his claim to be the mouthpiece of God and the revealer of His will!" The prince was moved to make this declaration: "I wash my hands of all responsibility for any harm that may befall this man. You are free to do what you like with him. You will yourselves be answerable to God on the Day of Judgment." Immediately after he had spoken these words, he called for his horse and, accompanied by his attendants, departed for Sari. Intimidated by the imprecations of the ulamas and forgetful of his oath, he abjectly surrendered Quddus to the hands of an unrelenting foe, those ravening wolves who panted for the moment when they could pounce, with uncontrolled violence, upon their prey, and let loose on him the fiercest passions of revenge and hate.

No sooner had the prince freed them from the restraints which he had exercised than the ulamas and the people of Barfurush, acting under orders from the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama',[1] arose to perpetrate upon the body of their victim acts of such atrocious cruelty as no pen can describe. By the testimony of Bahá'u'lláh, that heroic youth, who was still on the threshold of his life, was subjected to such tortures and suffered

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such a death as even Jesus had not faced in the hour of His greatest agony. The absence of any restraint on the part of the government authorities, the ingenious barbarity which the torture-mongers of Barfurush so ably displayed, the fierce fanaticism which glowed in the breasts of its shi'ah inhabitants, the moral support accorded to them by the dignitaries of Church and State in the capital--above all, the acts of heroism which their victim and his companions had accomplished and which had served to heighten their exasperation, all combined to nerve the hand of the assailants and to add to the diabolical ferocity which characterised his martyrdom.

[1 "The Bábis call attention to the fact that shortly afterwards a strange disease afflicted Sa'idu'l-'Ulama'. In spite of the furs which he wore, in spite of the fire which burned constantly in his room, he shivered with cold yet, at the same time, his fever was so high, that nothing could quench his intolerable thirst. He died, and his house, which was very beautiful, was abandoned and finally crumbled into ruins. Little by little, the practice grew of dumping refuse on the site where it had once so proudly stood. This so impressed the Mazindaranis that when they quarrel among themselves, the final insult frequently is, 'May thy house meet the same fate as the house of Sa'idu'l-'Ulama!'" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 330.)]

Such were its circumstances that The Báb, who was then confined in the castle of Chihriq, was unable for a period of six months either to write or to dictate. The deep grief which he felt had stilled the voice of revelation and silenced His pen. How deeply He mourned His loss! What cries of anguish He must have uttered as the tale of the siege, the untold sufferings, the shameless betrayal, and the wholesale massacre of the companions of Shaykh Tabarsi reached His ears and was unfolded before His eyes! What pangs of sorrow He must have felt when He learned of the shameful treatment which His beloved Quddus had undergone in his hour of martyrdom at the hands of the people of Barfurush; how he was stripped of his clothes; how the turban which He had bestowed upon him had been befouled; how, barefooted, bareheaded, and loaded with chains, he was paraded through the streets, followed and scorned by the entire population of the town; how he was execrated and spat upon by the howling mob; how he was assailed with the knives and axes of the scum of its female inhabitants; how his body was pierced and mutilated, and how eventually it was delivered to the flames!

Amidst his torments, Quddus was heard whispering forgiveness to his foes. "Forgive, O my God," he cried, "the trespasses of this people. Deal with them in Thy mercy, for they know not what we already have discovered and cherish. I have striven to show them the path that leads to their salvation; behold how they have risen to overwhelm and kill me! Show them, O God, the way of Truth, and turn their ignorance into faith." In his hour of agony, the Siyyid-i-Qumi,

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who had so treacherously deserted the fort, was seen passing by his side. Observing his helplessness, he smote him in the face. "You claimed," he cried in haughty scorn, "that your voice was the voice of God. If you speak the truth, burst your bonds asunder and free yourself from the hands of your enemies." Quddus looked steadfastly into his

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face, sighed deeply, and said: "May God requite you for your deed, inasmuch as you have helped to add to the measure of my afflictions." Approaching the Sabzih-Maydan, he raised his voice and said: "Would that my mother were with me, and could see with her own eyes the splendour of my nuptials!" He had scarcely spoken these words when the enraged multitude fell upon him and, tearing his body to pieces, threw the scattered members into the fire which they had kindled far that purpose. In the middle of the night, what still remained of the fragments of that burned and mutilated body was gathered by the hand of a devoted friend [1] and interred in a place not far distant from the scene of his martyrdom.[2]

[1 "At all events it appears that after the martyrdom of Jinab-i-Quddus a pious divine Haji Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Hamzih by name, whose skill in exegesis and spiritual gifts was recognized by all, secretly sent several persons to bury the mutilated remains in the ruined college already mentioned. And he, far from approving the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama''s conduct, used to curse and revile him, and never himself pronounced sentence of death against any Bábi, but, on the contrary used to obtain decent burial for those slain by the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama'. And when men questioned him concerning the garrison of the castle, he would reply: 'I do not condemn them or speak evil of them.' For this reason half of Barfurush remained neutral, for at first he used to forbid men to traduce or molest The Bábis, though later when the trouble waxed great, he deemed it prudent to be silent and shut himself up in his house. Now his austerity of life, piety, learning, and virtue were as well known to the people of Mazindaran as were the irreligion immorality and worldliness of the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama'." (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," p. 92.)]

[2 "He who knew Quddus and who made the pilgrimage with him is the one upon whom 'eight unities' have passed and God honored him among His angels in the heavens, because of the way in which he had withdrawn himself from all and because he was without blame in the sight of God." ("Le Bayan Persan," vol. 2, p. 164.) "Yet more wonderful than the events above described is the account of them given by Abbas-Quli Khan, with many expressions of admiration to Prince Ahmad Mirza. The late Haji Mirza Jani writes: 'About two years after the disaster of Shaykh Tabarsi, I heard one, who, though not a believer, was honest, truthful, and worthy of credit, relate as follows: "We were sitting together when some allusion was made to the war waged by some of those present against Hadrat-i-Quddus and Jinab-i-Babu'l-Bab. Prince Ahmad Mirza and Abbas-Quli Khan were amongst the company. The prince questioned Abbas-Quli Khan about the matter, and he replied thus: 'The truth of the matter is that anyone who had not seen Karbila would, if he had seen Tabarsi, not only have comprehended what there took place, but would have ceased to consider it and had he seen Mulla Husayn of Bushruyih he would have been convinced that the Chief of Martyrs had returned to earth; and had he witnessed my deeds he would assuredly have said: "This is Shimr come back with sword and Lance." I swear by the sacred plume of His Majesty the Centre of the Universe that one day Mulla Husayn, having on his head a green turban, and over his shoulder a shroud, came forth from the castle, stood forth in the open field, and, leaning on a lance which he held in his hand said: "O people, why, without enquiry and under the influence of passion and prejudiced misrepresentation, do ye act so cruelly towards us, and strive without cause to shed innocent blood? Be ashamed before the Creator of the universe, and at last give us passage, that we may depart out of this land." Seeing that the soldiers were moved, I opened fire and ordered the troops to shout so as to drown his voice. Again I saw him lean on his lance and heard him cry: "Is there any who will help me?" three times so that all heard his cry. At that moment all the soldiers were silent and some began to weep, and many of the horsemen were visibly affected. Fearing that the army might be seduced from their allegiance, I again ordered them to fire and shout. Then I saw Mulla Husayn unsheathe his sword raise his face towards heaven, and heard him exclaim: "O God I have completed the proof to this host, but it availeth not.' Then he began to attack us on the right and on the left. I swear by God that on that day he wielded the sword in such wise as transcends the power of man. Only the horsemen of Mazindaran held their ground and refused to flee. And when Mulla Husayn was well warmed to the fray, he overtook a fugitive soldier. The soldier sheltered himself behind a tree, and further strove to shield himself with his musket. Mulla Husayn dealt him such blow with his sword that he clave him and the tree and the musket into six pieces. And, during that war not once was his sword-stroke at fault, but every blow that he struck fell true. And by the nature of their wounds I could recognize all whom Mulla Husayn had cut down with his sword, and since I had heard and knew that none could rightly wield the sword save the Chief of Believers, and that it was well-nigh impossible for sword to cut so true, therefore I forbade all who were aware of this thing to mention it or make it known, lest the troops should be discouraged and should wax faint in the fight. But in truth I know not what had been shown to these people, or what they had seen, that they came forth to battle with such alacrity and joy, and engaged so eagerly and gladly in the strife, without displaying in their countenance any trace of fear or apprehension. One would imagine that in their eyes the keen sword and blood-spilling dagger were but means to the attainment of everlasting life, so eagerly did their necks and bosoms welcome them as they circled like salamanders round the fiery hail of bullets. And the astonishing thing was that all these men were scholars and men of learning, sedentary recluses of the college and the cloister, delicately nurtured and of weakly frame, inured indeed to austerities, but strangers to the roar of cannon, the rattle of musketry, and the field of battle. During the last three months of the siege, moreover, they were absolutely without bread and water, and were reduced to the extreme of weakness through lack of even such pittance of food as is sufficient to sustain life. Notwithstanding this, it seemed as if in time of battle a new spirit were breathed into their frames, in so much that the imagination of man cannot conceive the vehemence of their courage and valour. They used to expose their bodies to the bullets and cannon-balls not only fearlessly and courageously, but eagerly and joyously, seeming to regard the battle-field as a banquet, and to be bent on casting away their lives.'"'" (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," pp. 106-9.)]

It would be appropriate at this juncture to place on record the names of those martyrs who participated in the defence of the fort of Shaykh Tabarsi, in the hope that generations yet to come may recall with pride and gratitude the names, no less than the deeds, of those pioneers who, by their life and death, have so greatly enriched the annals of God's immortal Faith. Such names as I have been able to collect from various sources, and for which I am particularly indebted

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to Ismu'llahu'l-Mim, Ismu'llahu'l-Javad, and Ismu'llahu'l-Asad, I now proceed to enumerate, trusting that even as in the world beyond their souls have been invested with the light of unfading glory, their names may likewise linger for ever on the tongues of men; that their mention may continue to evoke a like spirit of enthusiasm and devotion in the hearts of those to whom this priceless heritage has been transmitted. From my informants I not only have been able to gather the names of most of those who fell in the course of that memorable siege, but have also succeeded in obtaining a representative, though incomplete, list of all those martyrs who, from the year '60 [1] until the present day, the latter part of the month of Rabi'u'l-Avval in the year 1306 A.H.,[2] have laid down their lives in the path of the Cause of God. It is my intention to make mention of each of these names in connection with the particular event with which it is chiefly connected. As to those who quaffed the cup of martyrdom while defending the fort of Tabarsi, their names are as follows:

[1 1844 A.D.]
[2 November-December 1888 A.D.]

1. First and foremost among them stands Quddus, upon whom The Báb bestowed the name of Ismu'llahu'l-Akhar.[1] He, the Last Letter of the Living and The Báb's chosen companion

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on His pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, was, together with Mulla Sadiq and Mulla Ali-Akbar-i-Ardistani, the first to suffer persecution on Persian soil for the sake of the Cause of God. He was only eighteen years of age when he left his native town of Barfurush for Karbila. For about four years he sat at the feet of Siyyid Kazim, and at the age of twenty-two met and recognized his Beloved in Shiraz. Five years later, on the twenty-third day of Jamadiyu'th-Thani in the year 1265 A.H.,[2] he was destined to fall, in the Sabzih-Maydan of Barfurush, a victim of the most refined and wanton barbarity at the hands of the enemy. The Báb and, at a later time, Bahá'u'lláh have mourned in unnumbered Tablets and prayers his loss, and have lavished on him their eulogies. Such was the honour accorded to him by Bahá'u'lláh that in His commentary on the verse of Kullu't-Ta'am,[3] which He revealed while in Baghdad, He conferred upon him the unrivalled station of the Nuqtiy-i-Ukhra,[4] a station second to none except that of The Báb Himself.[5]

[1 Literally "The Last Name of God."]
[2 May 16 1849 A.D.]
[3 Quran, 3:93.]
[4 Literally "The Last Point."]
[5 Refer to note 2, p. 413.]

2. Mulla Husayn, surnamed The Bábu'l-Bab, the first to recognize and embrace the new Revelation. At the age of eighteen, he, too, departed from his native town of Bushruyih in Khurasan for Karbila, and for a period of nine years

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remained closely associated with Siyyid Kazim. Four years prior to the Declaration of The Báb, acting according to the instructions of Siyyid Kazim, he met in Isfahan the learned mujtahid Siyyid Baqir-i-Rashti and in Mashhad Mirza Askari, to both of whom he delivered with dignity and eloquence the messages with which he had been entrusted by his leader. The circumstances attending his martyrdom evoked The Báb's inexpressible sorrow, a sorrow that found vent in eulogies and prayers of such great number as would be equivalent to thrice the volume of the Quran. In one of His visiting Tablets, The Báb asserts that the very dust of the ground where the remains of Mulla Husayn lie buried is endowed with such potency as to bring joy to the disconsolate and healing to the sick. In the Kitáb-i-Iqan, Bahá'u'lláh extols with still greater force the virtues of Mulla Husayn. "But for him," He writes, "God would not have been established upon the seat of His mercy, nor have ascended the throne of eternal glory!"[1]

[1 Refer to note 1, p. 383.]

3. Mirza Muhammad-Hasan, the brother of Mulla Husayn.

4. Mirza Muhammad-Baqir, the nephew of Mulla Husayn. He, as well as Mirza Muhammad-Hasan, accompanied Mulla Husayn from Bushruyih to Karbila and from thence to Shiraz, where they embraced the Message of The Báb and were enrolled among the Letters of the Living. With the exception of the journey of Mulla Husayn to the castle of Mah-Ku, they continued to be with him until the time they suffered martyrdom in the fort of Tabarsi.

5. The brother-in-law of Mulla Husayn, the father of Mirza Abu'l-Hasan and Mirza Muhammad-Husayn, both of whom are now in Bushruyih, and into whose hands the care of the Varaqatu'l-Firdaws, Mulla Husayn's sister, is committed. Both are firm and devoted adherents of the Faith.

6. The son of Mulla Ahmad, the elder brother of Mulla Mirza Muhammad-i-Furughi. He, unlike his uncle, Mulla Mirza Muhammad, suffered martyrdom and was, as testified by the latter, a youth of great piety and distinguished for his learning and his integrity of character.

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7. Mirza Muhammad-Baqir, known as Harati, though originally a resident of Qayin. He was a close relative of the father of Nabil-i-Akbar, and was the first in Mashhad to embrace the Cause. It was he who built The Bábiyyih, and who devotedly served Quddus during his sojourn in that city. When Mulla Husayn hoisted the Black Standard, he, together with his child, Mirza Muhammad-Kazim, eagerly enrolled under his banner and went forth with him to Mazindaran. That child was saved eventually, and has now grown up into a fervent and active supporter of the Faith in Mashhad. It was Mirza Muhammad-Baqir who acted as the standard-bearer of the company, who designed the plan of the fort, its walls and turrets and the moat which surrounded it, who succeeded Mulla Husayn in organising the forces of his companions and in leading the charge against the enemy, and who acted as the intimate companion, the lieutenant and trusted counsellor of Quddus until the hour when he fell a martyr in the path of the Cause.

8. Mirza Muhammad-Taqiy-i-Juvayni, a native of Sabzihvar, who was distinguished for his literary accomplishments and was often entrusted by Mulla Husayn with the task of leading the charge against the assailants. His head and that of his fellow-companion, Mirza Muhammad-Baqir, were impaled on spears and paraded through the streets of Barfurush, amid the shouts and howling of an excited populace.

9. Qambar-'Ali, the fearless and faithful servant of Mulla Husayn, who accompanied him on his journey to Mah-Ku and who suffered martyrdom on the very night on which his master fell a victim to the bullets of the enemy.

10. Hasan and

11. Quli, who, together with a man named Iskandar, a native of Zanjan, bore the body of Mulla Husayn to the fort on the night of his martyrdom and placed it at the feet of Quddus. He it was, the same Hasan, who, by the orders of the chief constable of Mashhad, was led by a halter through the streets of that city.

12. Muhammad-Hasan, the brother of Mulla Sadiq, whom the comrades of Khusraw slew on the way between Barfurush and the fort of Tabarsi. He distinguished himself

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by his unwavering constancy, and had been one of the servants of the shrine of the Imam Rida.

13. Siyyid Rida, who, with Mulla Yusuf-i-Ardibili, was commissioned by Quddus to meet the prince, and who brought back with him the sealed copy of the Quran bearing the oath which the prince had written. He was one of the well-known siyyids of Khurasan, and was recognized for his learning as well as for the integrity of his character.

14. Mulla Mardan-'Ali, one of the noted companions from Khurasan, a resident of the village of Miyamay, the site of a well-fortified fortress situated between Sabzihvar and Shah-Rud. He, together with thirty-three companions, enlisted under the banner of Mulla Husayn on the day of the latter's passage through that village. It was in the masjid of Miyamay, to which Mulla Husayn had repaired in order to offer the Friday congregational prayer, that he delivered his soul-stirring appeal in which he laid stress upon the fulfilment of the tradition relating to the hoisting of the Black Standard in Khurasan, and in which he declared himself to be its bearer. His eloquent address profoundly impressed his hearers, so much so that on that very day the majority of those who heard him, most of whom were men of distinguished merit, arose and followed him. Only one of those thirty-three companions, a Mulla Isa, survived, whose sons are at present in the village of Miyamay, actively engaged in the service of the Cause. The names of the martyred companions of that village are as follows:

15. Mulla Muhammad-Mihdi,
16. Mulla Muhammad-Ja'far,
17. Mulla Muhammad-ibn-i-Mulla Muhammad,
18. Mulla Rahim,
19. Mulla Muhammad-Rida,
20. Mulla Muhammad-Husayn,
21. Mulla Muhammad,
22. Mulla Yusuf,
23. Mulla Ya'qub,
24. Mulla Ali,
25. Mulla Zaynu'l-'Abidin,
26. Mulla Muhammad, son of Mulla Zaynu'l-'Abidin,
27. Mulla Baqir,
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28. Mulla Abdu'l-Muhammad,
29. Mulla Abu'l-Hasan,
30. Mulla Isma'il,
31. Mulla Abdu'l-'Ali,
32. Mulla Aqa-Baba,
33. Mulla Abdu'l-Javad,
34. Mulla Muhammad-Husayn,
35. Mulla Muhammad-Baqir,
36. Mulla Muhammad,
37. Haji Hasan,
38. Karbila'i Ali,
39. Mulla Karbila'i Ali,
40. Karbila'i Nur-Muhammad,
41. Muhammad-Ibrahim,
42. Muhammad-Sa'im,
43. Muhammad-Hadi,
44. Siyyid Mihdi,
45. Abu-Muhammad.

Of the companions of the village of Sang-Sar, which forms part of the district of Simnan, eighteen were martyred. Their names are as follows:

46. Siyyid Ahmad, whose body was cut to pieces by Mirza Muhammad-Taqi and the seven ulamas of Sari. He was a noted divine and greatly esteemed for his eloquence and piety.

47. Mir Abu'l-Qasim, Siyyid Ahmad's brother, who won the crown of martyrdom on the very night on which Mulla Husayn met his death.

48. Mir Mihdi, the paternal uncle of Siyyid Ahmad,

49. Mir Ibrahim, the brother-in-law of Siyyid Ahmad,

50. Safar-'Ali, the son of Karbila'i Ali, who, together with Karbila'i Muhammad, had so strenuously endeavoured to awaken the people of Sang-Sar from their sleep of heedlessness. Both of them, owing to their infirmities, were unable to proceed to the fort of Tabarsi.

51. Muhammad-'Ali, the son of Karbila'i Abu-Muhammad,

52. Abu'l-Qasim, the brother of Muhammad-'Ali,
53. Karbila'i Ibrahim,
54. Ali-Ahmad,
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55. Mulla Ali-Akbar,
56. Mulla Husayn-'Ali,
57. Abbas-'Ali,
58. Husayn-'Ali,
59. Mulla Ali-Asghar,
60. Karbila'i Isma'il,
61. Ali Khan,
62. Muhammad-Ibrahim,
63. Abdu'l-'Azim.

From the village of Shah-Mirzad, two fell in defending the fort:

64. Mulla Abu-Rahim and
65. Karbila'i Kazim.

As to the adherents of the Faith in Mazindaran, twenty-seven martyrs have thus far been recorded:

66. Mulla Riday-i-Shah,
67. Azim,
68. Karbila'i Muhammad-Ja'far,
69. Siyyid Husayn,
70. Muhammad-Baqir,
71. Siyyid Razzaq,
72. Ustad Ibrahim,
73. Mulla Sa'id-i-Zirih-Kinari,
74. Riday-i-'Arab,
75. Rasul-i-Bahnimiri,

76. Muhammad-Husayn, the brother of Rasul-i-Bahnimiri,

77. Tahir,
78. Shafi',
79. Qasim,
80. Mulla Muhammad-Jan,
81. Masih, the brother of Mulla Muhammad-Jan,
82. Ita-Baba,
83. Yusuf,
84. Fadlu'llah,
85. Bába,
86. Safi-Quli,
87. Nizam,
88. Ruhu'llah,
89. Ali-Quli,
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90. Sultan,
91. Ja'far,
92. Khalil.

Of the believers of Savad-Kuh, the five following names have thus far been ascertained:

93. Karbila'i Qambar-Kalish,
94. Mulla Nad-'Aliy-i-Mutavalli,
95. Abdu'l-Haqq,
96. Itabaki-Chupan,
97. Son of Itabaki-Chupan.

From the town of Ardistan, the following have suffered


98. Mirza Ali-Muhammad, son of Mirza Muhammad-Sa'id,

99. Mirza Abdu'-Vasi', son of Haji Abdu'l-Vahhab,
100. Muhammad-Husayn, son of Haji Muhammad-Sadiq,

101. Muhammad-Mihdi, son of Haji Muhammad-Ibrahim,

102. Mirza Ahmad, son of Muhsin,
103. Mirza Muhammad, son of Mir Muhammad-Taqi.

From the city of Isfahan, thirty have thus far been recorded:

104. Mulla Ja'far, the sifter of wheat, whose name has been mentioned by The Báb in the Persian Bayan.

105. Ustad Aqa, surnamed Buzurg-Banna,
106. Ustad Hasan, son of Ustad Aqa,
107. Ustad Muhammad, son of Ustad Aqa,

108. Muhammad-Husayn, son of Ustad Aqa, whose younger brother Ustad Ja'far was sold several times by his enemies until he reached his native city, where he now resides.

109. Ustad Qurban-'Aliy-i-Banna,

110. Ali-Akbar, son of Ustad Qurban-'Aliy-i-Banna,

111. Abdu'llah, son of Ustad Qurban-'Ali-i-Banna,

112. Muhammad-i-Baqir-Naqsh, the maternal uncle of Siyyid Yahya, son of Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Nahri. He was fourteen years old and was martyred the very night that Mulla Husayn met his death.

113. Mulla Muhammad-Taqi,

114. Mulla Muhammad-Rida, both brothers of the late Abdu's-Salih, the gardener of the Ridvan at Akka.

115. Mulla Ahmad-i-Saffar,
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116. Mulla Husayn-i-Miskar,
117. Ahmad-i-Payvandi,
118. Hasan-i-Sha'r-Baf-i-Yazdi,
119. Muhammad-Taqi,

120. Muhammad-'Attar, brother of Hasan-i-Sha'r-Baf,

121. Mulla Abdu'l-Khaliq, who cut his throat in Badasht and whom Tahirih named Dhabih.

122. Husayn,
123. Abu'l-Qasim, brother of Husayn,
124. Mirza Muhammad-Rida,

125. Mulla Haydar, brother of Mirza Muhammad-Rida,

126. Mirza Mihdi,
127. Muhammad-Ibrahim,
128. Muhammad-Husayn, surnamed Dastmal-Girih-Zan,

129. Muhammad-Hasan-i-Chit-Saz, a well-known cloth manufacturer who attained the presence of The Báb.

130. Muhammad-Husayn-i-'Attar,
131. Ustad Haji Muhammad-i-Banna,

132. Mahmud-i-Muqari'i, a noted cloth dealer. He was newly married and had attained the presence of The Báb in the castle of Chihriq. The Báb urged him to proceed to the Jaziriy-i-Khadra and to lend his assistance to Quddus. While in Tihran, he received a letter from his brother announcing the birth of a son and entreating him to hasten to Isfahan to see him, and then to proceed to whichever place he felt inclined. "I am too much fired," he replied, "with the love of this Cause to be able to devote any attention to my son. I am impatient to join Quddus and to enlist under his banner."

133. Siyyid Muhammad-Riday-i-Pa-Qal'iyi, a distinguished siyyid and a highly esteemed divine, whose declared purpose to enlist under the banner of Mulla Husayn caused a great tumult among the ulamas of Isfahan.

Among the believers of Shiraz, the following attained the station of martyrdom:

134. Mulla Abdu'llah, known also by the name of Mirza Salih,

135. Mulla Zaynu'l-'Abidin,
136. Mirza Muhammad.

Of the adherents of the Faith in Yazd, only four have thus far been recorded:

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137. The siyyid who walked on foot all the way from Khurasan to Barfurush, where he fell a victim to the bullet of the enemy.

138. Siyyid Ahmad, the father of Siyyid Husayn-i-'Aziz, the amanuensis of The Báb,

139. Mirza Muhammad-'Ali, son of Siyyid Ahmad, whose head was blown off by the ball from a cannon as he was standing at the entrance of the fort, and who, because of his tender age, was greatly loved and admired by Quddus.

140. Shaykh Ali, son of Shaykh Abdu'l-Khaliq-i-Yazdi, a resident of Mashhad, a youth whose enthusiasm and untiring energy were greatly praised by Mulla Husayn and Quddus.

Of the believers of Qazvin, the following were martyred:

141. Mirza Muhammad-'Ali, a noted divine, whose father, Haji Mulla Abdu'l-Vahhab, was one of the most distinguished mujtahids in Qazvin. He attained the presence of The Báb in Shiraz, and was enrolled as one of the Letters of the Living.

142. Muhammad-Hadi, a noted merchant, son of Haji Abdu'l-Karim, surnamed Baghban-Bashi,

143. Siyyid Ahmad,
144. Mirza Abdu'l-Jalil, a noted divine,
145. Mirza Mihdi.

146. From the village of Lahard, a man named Haji Muhammad-'Ali, who had greatly suffered as a result of the murder of Mulla Taqi in Qazvin.

Of the believers of Khuy, the following have suffered martyrdom:

147. Mulla Mihdi, a distinguished divine, who had been one of the esteemed disciples of Siyyid Kazim. He was noted for his learning, his eloquence, and his staunchness of faith.

148. Mulla Mahmud-i-Khu'i, brother of Mulla Mihdi, one of the Letters of the Living and a distinguished divine.

149. Mulla Yusuf-i-Ardibili, one of the Letters of the Living, noted for his learning, his enthusiasm and eloquence. It was he who had aroused the apprehensions of Haji Karim Khan on his arrival at Kirman, and who struck terror to the hearts of his adversaries. "This man," Haji Karim Khan was heard to say to his congregation, "must needs be expelled from this town, for if he be allowed to remain, he will assuredly

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cause the same tumult in Kirman as he has already done in Shiraz. The injury he will inflict will be irreparable. The magic of his eloquence and the force of his personality, if they do not already excel those of Mulla Husayn, are certainly not inferior to them." By this means he was able to force him to curtail his stay in Kirman and to prevent him from addressing the people from the pulpit. The Báb gave him the following instructions: "You must visit the towns and cities of Persia and summon their inhabitants to the Cause of God. On the first day of the month of Muharram in the year 1265 A.H.,[1] you must be in Mazindaran and must arise to lend every assistance in your power to Quddus." Mulla Yusuf, faithful to the instructions of his Master, refused to prolong his stay beyond a week in any of the towns and cities which he visited. On his arrival in Mazindaran, he was made captive by the forces of Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza, who immediately recognized him and gave orders that he be imprisoned. He was eventually released, as we have already observed, by the companions of Mulla Husayn on the day of the battle of Vas-Kas.

[1 November 27, 1848 A.D.]

150. Mulla Jalil-i-Urumi, one of the Letters of the Living, noted for his learning, his eloquence, and tenacity of faith.

151. Mulla Ahmad, a resident of Maraghih, one of the Letters of the Living, and a distinguished disciple of Siyyid Kazim.

152. Mulla Mihdiy-i-Kandi, a close companion of Bahá'u'lláh, and a tutor to the children of His household.

153. Mulla Baqir, brother of Mulla Mihdi, both of whom were men of considerable learning, to whose great attainments Bahá'u'lláh testifies in the "Kitáb-i-Iqan."

154. Siyyid Kazim, a resident of Zanjan, and one of its noted merchants. He attained the presence of The Báb in Shiraz, and accompanied Him to Isfahan. His brother, Siyyid Murtada, was one of the Seven Martyrs of Tihran.

155. Iskandar, also a resident of Zanjan, who, together with Hasan and Quli, bore the body of Mulla Husayn to the fort.

156. Isma'il,
157. Karbila'i Abdu'l-'Ali,
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158. Abdu'l-Muhammad,
159. Haji Abbas,
160. Siyyid Ahmad--all residents of Zanjan.

161. Siyyid Husayn-i-Kulah-Duz, a resident of Barfurush, whose head was impaled on a lance and was paraded through its streets.

162. Mulla Hasan-i-Rashti,
163. Mulla Hasan-i-Bayajmandi,
164. Mulla Ni'matu'llah-i-Barfurushi,
165. Mulla Muhammad-Taqiy-i-Qarakhili,
166. Ustad Zaynu'l-'Abidin,
167. Ustad Qasim, son of Ustad Zaynu'l-'Abidin,

168. Ustad Ali-Akbar, brother of Ustad Zaynu'l-'Abidin.

The last three were masons by profession, were natives of Kirman, and resided in Qayin in the province of Khurasan.

169 and 170. Mulla Riday-i-Shah and a young man from Bahnimir were slain two days after the abandonment of the fort by Quddus, in the Panj-Shanbih-Bazar of Barfurush. Haji Mulla Muhammad-i-Hamzih, surnamed the Shari'at-Madar, succeeded in burying their bodies in the neighbourhood of the Masjid-i-Kazim-Big, and in inducing their murderer to repent and ask forgiveness.

171. Mulla Muhammad-i-Mu'allim-i-Nuri, an intimate companion of Bahá'u'lláh who was closely associated with Him in Nur, in Tihran, and in Mazindaran. He was famed for his intelligence and learning, and was subjected, Quddus only excepted, to the severest atrocities that have ever befallen a defender of the fort of Tabarsi. The prince had promised that he would release him on condition that he would execrate the name of Quddus, and had pledged his word that, should he be willing to recant, he would take him back with him to Tihran and make him the tutor of his sons. "Never will I consent," he replied, "to vilify the beloved of God at the bidding of a man such as you. Were you to confer upon me the whole of the kingdom of Persia, I would not for one moment turn my face from my beloved leader. My body is at your mercy, my soul you are powerless to subdue. Torture me as you will, that I may be enabled to demonstrate to you the truth of the verse, 'Then, wish for death, if ye be men of

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truth.'"[1] The prince, infuriated by his answer, gave orders that his body be cut to pieces and that no effort be spared to inflict upon him a most humiliating punishment.

[1 Quran, 9:94.]

172. Haji Muhammad-i-Karradi, whose home was situated in one of the palm groves adjoining the old city of Baghdad, a man of great courage who had fought and led a hundred men in the war against Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt. He had been a fervent disciple of Siyyid Kazim, and was the author of a long poem in which he expatiated upon the virtues and merits of the siyyid. He was seventy-five years old when he embraced the Faith of The Báb, whom he likewise eulogised in an eloquent and detailed poem. He distinguished himself by his heroic acts during the siege of the fort, and eventually became a victim of the bullets of the enemy.

173. Sa'id-i-Jabbavi, a native of Baghdad, who displayed extraordinary courage during the siege. He was shot in the abdomen, and, though severely wounded, managed to walk until he reached the presence of Quddus. He joyously threw himself at his feet and expired.

The circumstances of the martyrdom of these last two companions were related by Siyyid Abu-Talib-i-Sang-Sari, one of those who survived that memorable siege, in a communication he addressed to Bahá'u'lláh. In it he relates, in addition, his own story, as well as that of his two brothers, Siyyid Ahmad and Mir Abu'l-Qasim, both of whom were martyred while defending the fort. "On the day on which Khusraw was slain," he wrote, "I happened to be the guest of a certain Karbila'i Ali-Jan, the kad-khuda [1] of one of the villages in the neighbourhood of the fort. He had gone to assist in the protection of Khusraw, and had returned and was relating to me the circumstances attending his death. On that very day, a messenger informed me that two Arabs had arrived at that village and were anxious to join the occupants of the fort. They expressed their fear of the people of the village of Qadi-Kala, and promised that they would amply reward whoever would be willing to conduct them to their destination. I recalled the counsels of my father, Mir Muhammad-'Ali, who exhorted me to arise and

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help in the promotion of the Cause of The Báb. I immediately decided to seize the opportunity that had presented itself to me, and, together with these two Arabs, and with the aid and assistance of the Kad-khuda, reached the fort, met Mulla Husayn, and determined to consecrate the remaining days of my life to the service of the Cause he had chosen to follow."

[1 See Glossary.]

The names of some of the officers who distinguished themselves among the opponents of the companions of Quddus are as follows:

1. Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza, brother of the late Muhammad Shah,

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2. Sulayman Khan-i-Afshar,
3. Haji Mustafa Khan-i-Sur-Tij,
4. Abdu'llah Khan, brother of Haji Mustafa Khan,

5. Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani, who shot Mulla Husayn,

6. Nuru'llah Khan-i-Afghan,
7. Habibu'llah Khan-i-Afghan,
8. Dhu'l-Faqar Khan-i-Karavuli,
9. Ali-Asghar Khan-i-Du-Dungi'i,
10. Khuda-Murad Khan-i-Kurd,
11. Khalil Khan-i-Savad-Kuhi,
12. Ja'far-Quli Khan-i-Surkh-Karri'i,
13. The Sartip of the Fawj-i-Kalbat,
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14. Zakariyyay-i-Qadi-Kala'i, a cousin of Khusraw, and his successor.

As to those believers who participated in that memorable siege and survived its tragic end, I have been thus far unable to ascertain in full either their names or their number. I have contented myself with a representative, though incomplete, list of the names of its martyrs, trusting that in the days to come the valiant promoters of the Faith will arise to fill this gap, and will, by their research and industry, be able to remedy the imperfections of this altogether inadequate description of what must ever remain as one of the most moving episodes of modern times.

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THE news of the tragic fate which had befallen the heroes of Tabarsi brought immeasurable sorrow to the heart of The Báb. Confined it His prison-castle of Chihriq, severed from the little band of His struggling disciples, He watched with keen anxiety the progress of their labours and prayed with unremitting zeal for their victory. How great was His sorrow when, in the early days of Sha'ban in the year 1265 A.H.,[1] He came to learn of the trials that had beset their path, of the agony they had suffered, of the betrayal to which an exasperated enemy had felt compelled to resort, and of the abominable butchery with which their career had ended.

[1 June 22-July 21, 1849 A.D.]

"The Báb was heart-broken," His amanuensis, Siyyid Husayn-i-'Aziz, subsequently related, "at the receipt of this unexpected intelligence. He was crushed with grief, a grief that stilled His voice and silenced His pen. For nine days He refused to meet any of His friends. I myself, though His close and constant attendant, was refused admittance. Whatever meat or drink we offered Him, He was disinclined to touch. Tears rained continually from His eyes, and expressions of anguish dropped unceasingly from His lips. I could hear Him, from behind the curtain, give vent to His feelings of sadness as He communed, in the privacy of His cell, with His Beloved. I attempted to jot down the effusions of His sorrow as they poured forth from His wounded heart. Suspecting that I was attempting to preserve the lamentations He uttered, He bade me destroy whatever I had recorded. Nothing remains of the moans and cries with which that heavy-laden heart sought to relieve itself of the pangs that had seized it. For a period of five months He languished, immersed in an ocean of despondency and sorrow."

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With the advent of Muharram in the year 1266 A.H.,[1] The Báb again resumed the work He had been compelled to interrupt. The first page He wrote was dedicated to the memory of Mulla Husayn. In the visiting Tablet revealed in his honour, He extolled, in moving terms, the unswerving fidelity with which he served Quddus throughout the siege of the fort of Tabarsi. He lavished His eulogies on his magnanimous conduct, recounted his exploits, and asserted his undoubted reunion in the world beyond with the leader whom he had so nobly served. He too, He wrote, would soon join those twin immortals, each of whom had, by his life and death, shed imperishable lustre on the Faith of God. For one whole week The Báb continued to write His praises of Quddus, of Mulla Husayn, and of His other companions who had gained the crown of martyrdom at Tabarsi.

[1 November 17-December 17, 1849 A.D.]

No sooner had He completed His eulogies of those who had immortalised their names in the defence of the fort, than He summoned, on the day of Ashura, [1] Mulla Adi-Guzal, [2] one of the believers of Maraghih, who for the last two months had been acting as His attendant instead of Siyyid Hasan, the brother of Siyyid Husayn-i-'Aziz. He affectionately received him, bestowed upon him the name Sayyah, entrusted to his care the visiting Tablets He had revealed in memory of the martyrs of Tabarsi, and bade him perform, on His behalf, a pilgrimage to that spot. "Arise," He urged him, "and with complete detachment proceed, in the guise of a traveller, to Mazindaran, and there visit, on My behalf, the spot which enshrines the bodies of those immortals who, with their blood, have sealed their faith in My Cause. As you approach the precincts of that hallowed ground, put off your shoes and, bowing your head in reverence to their memory, invoke their names and prayerfully make the circuit of their shrine. Bring back to Me, as a remembrance of your visit, a handful of that holy earth which covers the remains of My beloved ones, Quddus and Mulla

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Husayn. Strive to be back ere the day of Naw-Ruz, that you may celebrate with Me that festival, the only one I probably shall ever see again."

[1 The tenth of Muharram the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Imam Husayn, fell in that year on November 26, 1849 A.D.]

[2 According to the "Kashful'l-Ghita'" (p. 241) his full name was Mirza Aliy-i-Sayyah-i-Maraghih'i. He had acted as the servant of The Báb in Mah-Ku, ranked among His leading companions, and subsequently embraced the Message of Bahá'u'lláh.]

Faithful to the instructions he had received, Sayyah set out on his pilgrimage to Mazindaran. He reached his destination on the first day of Rabi'u'l-Avval in the year 1266 A.H.,[1] and by the ninth day of that same month,[2] the first anniversary of the martyrdom of Mulla Husayn, he had performed his visit and acquitted himself of the mission with which he had been entrusted. From thence he proceeded to Tihran.

[1 January 15, 1850 A.D.]
[2 January 23, 1850 A.D.]

I have heard Aqay-i-Kalim, who received Sayyah at the entrance of Bahá'u'lláh's home in Tihran, relate the following: "It was the depth of winter when Sayyah, returning from his pilgrimage, came to visit Bahá'u'lláh. Despite the cold and snow of a rigorous winter, he appeared attired in the garb of a dervish, poorly clad, barefooted, and dishevelled. His heart was set afire with the flame that pilgrimage had kindled. No sooner had Siyyid Yahyay-i-Darabi, surnamed Vahid, who was then a guest in the home of Bahá'u'lláh, been informed of the return of Sayyah from the fort of Tabarsi, than he, oblivious of the pomp and circumstance to which a man of his position had been accustomed, rushed forward and flung himself at the feet of the pilgrim. Holding his legs, which had been covered with mud to the knees, in his arms, he kissed them devoutly. I was amazed that day at the many evidences of loving solicitude which Bahá'u'lláh evinced towards Vahid. He showed him such favours as I had never seen Him extend to anyone. The manner of His conversation left no doubt in me that this same Vahid would ere long distinguish himself by deeds no less remarkable than those which had immortalised the defenders of the fort of Tabarsi."

Sayyah tarried a few days in that home. He was, however, unable to perceive, as did Vahid, the nature of that power which lay latent in his Host. Though himself the recipient of the utmost favour from Bahá'u'lláh, he failed to apprehend the significance of the blessings that were being showered upon him. I have heard him recount his experiences, during his sojourn in Famagusta: "Bahá'u'lláh overwhelmed

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me with His kindness. As to Vahid, notwithstanding the eminence of his position, he invariably gave me preference over himself whenever in the presence of his Host. On the day of my arrival from Mazindaran, he went so far as to kiss my feet. I was amazed at the reception accorded me in that home. Though immersed in an ocean of bounty, I failed, in those days, to appreciate the position then occupied by Bahá'u'lláh, nor was I able to suspect, however dimly, the nature of the Mission He was destined to perform."

Ere the departure of Sayyah from Tihran, Bahá'u'lláh entrusted him with an epistle, the text of which He had dictated to Mirza Yahya,[1] and sent it in his name. Shortly after, a reply, penned in The Báb's own handwriting, in which He commits Mirza Yahya to the care of Bahá'u'lláh and urges that attention be paid to his education and training, was received. That communication the people of the Bayan [2] have misconstrued as an evidence of the exaggerated claims [3] which they have advanced in favour of their leader. Although the text of that reply is absolutely devoid of such pretensions, and does not, beyond the praise it bestows upon Bahá'u'lláh and the request it makes for the upbringing of Mirza Yahya, contain any reference to his alleged position, yet his followers have idly imagined that that letter constitutes an assertion of the authority with which they have invested him.[4]

[1 Surnamed Subh-i-Azal.]
[2 Followers of Mirza Yahya.]

[3 The claims of this young man were based on a nomination-document now in the possession Prof. Browne, and have been supported by a letter given in a French version by Mons. Nicolas. Forgery, however, has played such great part in written documents of the East that I hesitate to recognize the genuineness of this nomination. And I think it very improbable that any company of intensely earnest men should have accepted the document in preference to the evidence of their own knowledge respecting the inadequate endowments of Subh-i-Azal.... The probability is that the arrangement already made was further sanctioned, viz. that Bahá'u'lláh was for the present to take the private direction of affairs and exercise his great gifts as a teacher, while Subh-i-Azal (a vain young man) gave his name as ostensible head, especially with view to outsiders and to agents of the government." (Dr. T. K. Cheyne's "The Reconciliation of Races and Religions," pp. 118-19.)]

[4 "I adjure thee by God, the One, the Mighty, the Omnipotent, to ponder in thine heart those writings which were sent in his [Mirza Yahya's] name to the Primal Point [The Báb], that thou mayest recognize and distinguish, as manifest as the sun, the signs of the True One." (The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf," p. 125.)]

At this stage of my narrative, when I have already recounted the outstanding events that occurred in the course

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of the year 1265 A.H.,[1] I am reminded that that very year witnessed the most significant event in my own life, an event which marked my spiritual rebirth, my deliverance from the fetters of the past, and my acceptance of the message of this Revelation. I seek the indulgence of the reader if I dwell too long on the circumstances of my early life, and recount with too great detail the events that led to my conversion. My father belonged to the tribe of Tahiri, who led a nomadic life in the province of Khurasan. His name was Ghulam Ali, son of Husayn-i-'Arab. He married the daughter of Kalb-'Ali, and by her had three sons and three daughters. I was his second son, and was given the name of Yar-Muhammad. I was born on the eighteenth of Safar in the year 1247 A.H.,[2] in the village of Zarand. I was a shepherd by profession, and was given in my early days a most rudimentary education. I longed to devote more time to my studies, but was unable to do so, owing to the exigencies of my situation. I read the Quran with eagerness, committed several of its passages to memory, and chanted them whilst I followed my flock over the fields. I loved solitude, and watched the stars at night with delight and wonder. In the quiet of the wilderness, I recited certain prayers attributed to the Imam Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, and, as I turned my face towards the Qiblih,[3] supplicated the Almighty to guide my steps and enable me to find the Truth.

[1 1848-9 A.D.]
[2 July 29, 1831 A.D.]
[3 See Glossary.]

My father oftentimes took me with him to Qum, where I became acquainted with the teachings of Islam and the ways and manners of its leaders. He was a devout follower of that Faith, and was closely associated with the ecclesiastical leaders who congregated in that city. I watched him as he prayed at the Masjid-i-Imam-Hasan and performed, with scrupulous care and extreme piety, all the rites and ceremonies prescribed by his Faith. I heard the preaching of several eminent mujtahids who had arrived from Najaf, attended their lectures, and listened to their disputations. Gradually I came to perceive their insincerity and to loathe the baseness of their character. Eager as I was to ascertain the trustworthiness of the creeds and dogmas which they strove to impose upon me, I could neither find the time nor obtain the

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facilities with which to satisfy my desire. I was often rebuked by my father for my temerity and restlessness. "I fear," he often remarked, "that your aversion to these mujtahids may some day involve you in great difficulties and bring upon you reproach and shame."

I was in the village of Rubat-Karim, on a visit to my maternal uncle, when, on the twelfth day after Naw-Ruz, in the year 1263 A.H.,[1] I accidentally overheard, in the masjid of that village, a conversation between two men which first made me acquainted with the Revelation of The Báb. "Have you heard," one of them remarked, "that the Siyyid-i-Báb has been conducted to the village of Kinar-Gird and is on his way to Tihran?" Finding his friend ignorant of that episode, he proceeded to relate the whole story of The Báb, giving a detailed account of the circumstances attending His Declaration, of His arrest in Shiraz, His departure for Isfahan, the reception which both the Imam-Jum'ih and Manuchihr Khan had extended to Him, the prodigies and wonders He had manifested, and the verdict that the ulamas of Isfahan had pronounced against Him. Every detail of that story excited my curiosity and stirred in me a keen admiration for a Man who could throw such a spell over His countrymen. His light seemed to have flooded my soul; I felt as if I were already a convert to His Cause.

[1 1847 A.D.]

From Rubat-Karim I returned to Zarand. My father remarked Upon my restlessness, and expressed his surprise at my behaviour. I had lost my appetite and sleep, and was determined to conceal the secret of my inner agitation from my father, lest its disclosure might interfere with the eventual realisation of my hopes. I remained in that state until a certain Siyyid Husayn-i-Zavari'i arrived at Zarand and was able to enlighten me on a subject which had become the ruling passion of my life. Our acquaintance speedily ripened into a friendship which encouraged me to share with him the longings of my heart. To my great surprise, I found him already enthralled by the secret of the theme which I had begun to disclose to him. "One of my cousins," he proceeded to relate, "Siyyid Isma'il-i-Zavari'i by name, convinced me of the truth of the Message proclaimed by the Siyyid-i-Bab.

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He informed me that he had several times met the Siyyid-i-Báb in the house of the Imam-Jum'ih of Isfahan, and had seen Him actually reveal, in the presence of His host, a commentary on the Surih of Va'l-'Asr.[1] The rapidity of The Báb's composition, and the force and originality of His style, had excited his surprise and admiration. He was amazed to find that, whilst revealing His commentary, and without lessening the speed of His writing, He was able to answer whatever questions those who were present were moved to ask Him. The fearlessness with which my cousin arose to preach the Message aroused the hostility of the kad-khudas [2] and siyyids of Zavarih, who compelled him to return to Isfahan, where he had of late been residing. I too, unable to remain in Zavarih, departed for Kashan, in which town I spent the winter and met Haji Mirza Jani, of whom my cousin had spoken, and who gave me a treatise written by The Báb, entitled 'Risaliy-i-'Adliyyih,' urging me to read it carefully and return it to him after a few days. I was so charmed by the theme and language of that treatise that I proceeded immediately to transcribe the whole text. When I returned it to its owner, he, to my profound regret, informed me that I had just missed the opportunity of meeting its Author. 'The Siyyid-i-Báb Himself,' he said, 'arrived on the eve of the day of Naw-Ruz and spent three nights as a Guest in my home. He is now on His way to Tihran, and if you start immediately, you will certainly overtake Him.' Straightway I arose and departed, walking all the way from Kashan to a fortress in the neighbourhood of Kinar-Gird. I was resting under the shadow of its walls when a pleasant-looking man emerged from that fortress and asked me who I was and whither I was going. 'I am a poor siyyid,' I replied, 'a wayfarer and stranger to this place.' He took me to his home and invited me to spend the night as his guest. In the course of his conversation with me, he said: 'I suspect you to be a follower of the Siyyid who was staying for a few days in this fortress, from whence He was transferred to the village of Kulayn, and who, three days ago, left for Adhirbayjan. I esteem myself as one of His adherents. My name is Haji Zaynu'l-'Abidin. I intended not to separate myself

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from Him, but He bade me remain in this place and convey to any of His friends whom I might meet His loving greetings, and dissuade them from following Him. "Tell them," He instructed me, "to consecrate their lives to the service of My Cause, that haply the barriers that hinder the progress of this Faith may be removed, so that My followers may, with safety and freedom, worship their God and observe the precepts of their Faith." I immediately abandoned my project and, instead of returning to Qum, decided to come to this place.'"

[1 Quran, 103.]
[2 See Glossary.]

The story which this Siyyid Husayn-i-Zavari'i related to me served to allay my agitation. He shared with me the copy of the "Risaliy-i-'Adliyyih" he had brought with him, the reading of which imparted strength and refreshment to my soul. In those days I was a pupil of a siyyid who taught me the Quran and whose incapacity to enlighten me on the tenets of his Faith became more and more evident in my eyes. Siyyid Husayn, whom I asked for further information about the Cause, advised me to meet Siyyid Isma'il-i-Zavari'i, whose invariable practice it was to visit, every spring, the shrines of the imam-zadihs [1] of Qum. I induced my father, who was reluctant to separate himself from me, to send me to that city with the object of perfecting my knowledge of the Arabic language. I was careful to conceal from him my real purpose, fearing that its disclosure might involve him in embarrassments with the Qadi [2] and the ulamas of Zarand and prevent me from achieving my end.

[1 See Glossary.]
[2 See Glossary.]

While I was in Qum, my mother, my sister, and my brother came to visit me in connection with the festival of Naw-Ruz, and stayed with me for about a month. In the course of their visit, I was able to enlighten my mother and my sister about the new Revelation, and succeeded in kindling in their hearts the love of its Author. A few days after their return to Zarand, Siyyid Isma'il, whom I impatiently awaited, arrived, and was able, in the course of his discussions with me, to set forth in detail all that was required to win me over completely to the Cause. He laid stress on the continuity of Divine Revelation, asserted the fundamental oneness of the Prophets of the past, and explained their close relationship

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to the Mission of The Báb. He also disclosed the nature of the work accomplished by Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa'i and Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti, neither of whom I had previously heard. I asked as to the duty incumbent at the present time upon every loyal adherent of the Faith. "The injunction of The Báb," he replied, "is that all those have accepted His Message should proceed to Mazindaran and their assistance to Quddus, who is now hemmed in by the forces of an unrelenting foe." I expressed my eagerness to join him,

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as he himself was intending to journey to the fort of Tabarsi. He advised me, however, to remain in Qum together with a certain Mirza Fathu'llah-i-Hakkak, a lad of my age whom he had recently guided to the Cause, until the receipt of his message from Tihran.

I waited in vain for that message, and, finding that no word came from him, decided to leave for the capital. My friend Mirza Fathu'llah subsequently followed me. He was eventually arrested and shared the fate of those who were put to death in the year 1268 A.H.[1] as a result of the attempt on the life or the Shah. Arriving in Tihran, I proceeded directly to the Masjid-i-Shah, which was opposite a madrisih,[2] at the entrance of which I, later on, unexpectedly encountered Siyyid Isma'il-i-Zavari'i, who hastened to inform me that he had just written me the letter and was on the point of despatching it to Qum.

[1 1851-2 A.D.]
[2 See Glossary.]

We were preparing ourselves to leave for Mazindaran, when the news reached us that the defenders of the fort of Tabarsi had been treacherously slaughtered and that the fort itself had been levelled with the ground. We were filled with distress at the receipt of the appalling news, and mourned the tragic fate of those who had so heroically defended their beloved Cause. One day I unexpectedly came across my maternal uncle, Naw-Ruz-'Ali, who had come on purpose to fetch me. I informed Siyyid Isma'il, who advised me to leave for Zarand and not to arouse further hostility on the part of those who insisted upon my return.

On my arrival at my native village, I was able to win over my brother to the Cause, which my mother and my sister had already embraced. I also succeeded in inducing my father to allow me to leave again for Tihran. I took up my residence in the same madrisih where I had been accommodated on my previous visit, and there met a certain Mulla Abdu'l-Karim, whom, I subsequently learned, Bahá'u'lláh had named Mirza Ahmad. He affectionately received me and told me that Siyyid Isma'il had entrusted me to his care and wished me to remain in his company until the former's return to Tihran. The days of my companionship with Mirza Ahmad will never be forgotten. I found him

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the very incarnation of love and kindness. The words with which he inspired me and animated my faith are indelibly graven upon my heart.

Through him I was introduced to the disciples of The Báb, with whom I associated and from whom I obtained fuller information regarding the teachings of the Faith. Mirza Ahmad was in those days earning his livelihood as a scribe, and devoted his evenings to copying the Persian Bayan and other writings of The Báb. The copies which he so devotedly prepared were given by him as gifts to his fellow-disciples. I myself was several times the bearer of such gifts from him to the wife of Mulla Mihdiy-i-Kandi, who had forsaken his infant son and hastened to join the occupants of the fort of Tabarsi.

During those days I was informed that Tahirih, who, ever since the dispersal of the gathering at Badasht, had been living in Nur, had arrived at Tihran and was confined in the house of Mahmud Khan-i-Kalantar, where, although a prisoner, she was treated with consideration and courtesy.

One day Mirza Ahmad conducted me to the house of Bahá'u'lláh, whose wife, the Varaqatu'l-'Ulya,[1] the mother of the Most Great Branch,[2] had already healed my eyes with an ointment which she herself had prepared and sent to me

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by this same Mirza Ahmad. The first one I met in that house was that same beloved Son of hers, who was then a child of six. He smiled His welcome to me as He was standing at the door of the room which Bahá'u'lláh occupied. I passed that door, and was ushered into the presence of Mirza Yahya, utterly unaware of the station of the Occupant of the room I had left behind me. When brought face to face with Mirza Yahya, I was startled, immediately I observed his features and noted his conversation, at his utter unworthiness of the position that had been claimed for him.

[1 Literally "The Most Exalted Leaf."]
[2 Title of `Abdu'l-Bahá.]

On another occasion, when I visited that same house, I on the point of entering the room that Mirza Yahya occupied, when Aqay-i-Kalim, whom I had previously met, approached and requested me, since Isfandiyar, their servant, had gone to market and had not yet returned, to conduct "Aqa"[1] to the Madrisiy-i-Mirza-Salih in his stead and then return to this place. I gladly consented, and as I was preparing to leave, I saw the Most Great Branch, a child of exquisite beauty, wearing the kulah [2] and cloaked in the jubbiy-i-hizari'i,[3] emerge from the room which His Father occupied, and descend the steps leading to the gate of the house. I advanced and stretched forth my arms to carry Him. "We shall walk together," He said, as He took hold of my hand and led me out of the house. We chatted together as we walked hand in hand in the direction of the madrisih known in those days by the name of Pa-Minar. As we reached His classroom, He turned to me and said: "Come again this afternoon and take me back to my home, for Isfandiyar is unable to fetch me. My Father will need him to-day." I gladly acquiesced, and returned immediately to the house of Bahá'u'lláh. There again I met Mirza Yahya, who delivered into my hands a letter which he asked me to take to the Madrisiy-i-Sadr and hand to Bahá'u'lláh, whom I was told I would find in the room occupied by Mulla Baqir-i-Bastami. He asked me to bring back the reply immediately. I fulfilled the commission and returned to the madrisih in time to conduct the Most Great Branch to His home.

[1 Meaning "Master" by which title `Abdu'l-Bahá was then designated.]

[2 See Glossary.]
[3 A kind of overcoat.
One day Mirza Ahmad invited me to meet Haji Mirza
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Siyyid Ali, The Báb's maternal uncle, who had recently returned from Chihriq and was staying in the home of Muhammad Big-i-Chaparchi, in the neighbourhood of the gate of Shimiran. I was struck, when I gazed at his face, with the nobility of his features and the serenity of his countenance. My subsequent visits to him served to heighten my admiration for the sweetness of his temper, his mystical piety and strength of character. I well remember how on one occasion Aqay-i-Kalim urged him, at a certain gathering, to leave Tihran, which was then in a state of great ferment, and escape its dangerous atmosphere. "Why fear for my safety?" he confidently replied. "Would that I too could share in the banquet which the hand of Providence is spreading for His chosen ones!"

Shortly after, the stirrers-up of mischief were able to kindle a grave turmoil in that city. Its immediate cause was the action of a certain siyyid from Kashan, who was living in the Madrisiy-i-Daru'sh-Shafa' and whom the well-known Siyyid Muhammad had taken into his confidence and claimed to have converted to The Báb's teachings. Mirza Muhammad-Husayn-i-Kirmani, who lodged in that same madrisih and who was a well-known lecturer on the metaphysical doctrines of Islam, attempted several times to induce Siyyid Muhammad,

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who was one of his pupils, to break off his acquaintance with that siyyid, whom he believed to be unreliable, and to refuse him admittance to the gathering of the believers. Siyyid Muhammad refused, however, to be admonished by this warning, and continued to associate with him until the beginning of the month of Rabi'u'th-Thani in the year 1266 A.H.,[1] at which time the treacherous siyyid went to a certain Siyyid Husayn, one of the ulamas of Kashan, and delivered into his hands the names and addresses of about fifty of the believers who were then residing in Tihran. That same list was immediately submitted by Siyyid Husayn to Mahmud Khan-i-Kalantar, who ordered that all of them be arrested. Fourteen of them were seized and brought before the authorities.

[1 February 14-March 15, 1850 A.D.]

One the day they were captured, I happened to be with my brother and my maternal uncle, who had arrived from Zarand and had lodged in a caravanersai outside the gate of Naw. The next morning they departed for Zarand, and

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as I returned to the Madrisiy-i-Daru'sh-Shafa', I discovered in my room a package upon which was placed a letter addressed to me by Mirza Ahmad. That letter informed me that the treacherous siyyid had at last denounced us and had raised a violent commotion in the capital. "The package which I have left in this room," he wrote, "contains all the sacred writings that are in my possession. If you ever reach this place in safety, take them to the caravanserai of Haji Nad-'Ali, where you will find in one of its rooms a man bearing that name, a native of Qazvin, to whom you will deliver the package together with the letter which accompanies it. From thence you will proceed immediately to the Masjid-i-Shah, where I hope to be able to meet you." Following his directions, I delivered the package to the Haji and succeeded in reaching the masjid, where I met Mirza Ahmad and heard him relate how he had been assailed and had sought refuge in the masjid, in the precincts of which he was immune from further attack.

In the meantime, Bahá'u'lláh had sent from the Madrisiyi-Sadr a message to Mirza Ahmad informing him of the designs of the Amir-Nizam, who had, already on three different occasions, demanded his arrest from the Imam-Jum'ih. He was also warned that the Amir, ignoring the right of asylum with which the masjid had been invested, intended to arrest those who had sought refuge in that sanctuary. Mirza Ahmad was urged to leave in disguise for Qum, and was charged to direct me to return to my home in Zarand.

Meanwhile, my relations, who had recognized me in the Masjid-i-Shah, pressed me to leave for Zarand, pleading that my father, who had been misinformed of my arrest and impending execution, was in grave distress, and that it was my duty to hasten and relieve him of his anxieties. Acting on the advice of Mirza Ahmad, who counselled me to seize this God-sent opportunity, I left for Zarand and celebrate the Feast of Naw-Ruz with my family, a Feast that was doubly blessed inasmuch as it coincided with the fifth day of Jamadiyu'l-Avval in the year 1266 A.H.,[1] the anniversary of the day on which The Báb had declared His Mission. The Naw-Ruz of that year has been mentioned in the "Kitáb-i-Panj-Sha'n,"

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one of the last works of The Báb. "The sixth Naw-Ruz," He wrote in that Book, "after the Declaration of the Point of the Bayan,[2]' has fallen on the fifth day of Jamadiyu'l-Avval, in the seventh lunar year after that same Declaration." In that same passage, The Báb alludes to the fact that the Naw-Ruz of that year would be the last He was destined to celebrate on this earth.

[1 1850 A.D.]
[2 One of the titles of The Báb.]

In the midst of the festivities which my relatives celebrated in Zarand, my heart was set upon Tihran, and my thoughts centred round the fate which might have befallen my fellow-disciples in that agitated city. I longed to hear of their safety. Though in the house of my father, and surrounded with the solicitude of my parents, I felt oppressed by the thought of being severed from that little band, whose perils I could well imagine and whose afflictions I longed to share. The terrible suspense under which I lived, while confined in my home, was unexpectedly relieved by the arrival of Sadiq-i-Tabrizi, who came from Tihran and was received in the house of my father. Though delivering me from the uncertainties which had been weighing so heavily upon me, he, to my profound horror, unfolded to my ears a tale of such terrifying cruelty that the anxieties of suspense paled before the ghastly light which that lurid story cast upon my heart.

The circumstances of the martyrdom of my arrested brethren in Tihran--for such was their fate--I now proceed to relate. The fourteen disciples of The Báb, who had been captured, remained incarcerated in the house of Mahmud Khan-i-Kalantar from the first to the twenty-second day of the month of Rabi'u'th-Thani.[1] Tahirih was also confined on the upper floor of that same house. Every kind of ill treatment was inflicted upon them. Their persecutors sought, by every device, to induce them to supply the information they required, but failed to obtain a satisfactory answer. Among the captives was a certain Muhammad-Husayn-i-Maraghiyi, who obstinately refused to utter a single word despite the severe pressure that was brought to bear upon him. They tortured him, they resorted to every possible measure in order to extort from him any hint that could

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serve their purpose, but failed to achieve their end. Such was his unswerving obstinacy that his oppressors thought him to be dumb. They asked Haji Mulla Isma'il, who had converted him to his Faith, whether or not he could talk. "He is mute, but not dumb," he replied; "he is fluent of speech and is free from any impediment." He had no sooner called him by his name than the victim answered, assuring him of his readiness to abide by his will.

[1 February 14, March 15, 1850 A.D.]

Convinced of their powerlessness to bend their will, they referred the matter to Mahmud Khan, who, in his turn, submitted their case to the Amir-Nizam, Mirza Taqi Khan,[1] the Grand Vazir of Nasiri'd-Din Shah. The sovereign in those days refrained from direct interference in matters pertaining to the affairs of the persecuted community, and was often ignorant of the decisions that were being made with regard to its members. His Grand Vazir was invested with plenary powers to deal with them as he saw fit. No one questioned his decisions, nor dared disapprove of the manner in which he exercised his authority. He immediately issued a peremptory order threatening with execution whoever among these fourteen prisoners was unwilling to recant his faith. Seven were compelled to yield to the pressure that was brought to bear upon them, and were immediately released. The remaining seven constitute the Seven Martyrs of Tihran:

[1 He was the son of Qurban, the head cook of the Qa'im-Magam, the predecessor of Haji Mirza Aqasi.]

1. Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, surnamed Khal-i-A'zam,[1] The Báb's maternal uncle, and one of the leading merchants of Shiraz. It was this same uncle into whose custody The Báb, after the death of His father, was entrusted, and who, on his Nephew's return from His pilgrimage to Hijaz and His arrest by Husayn Khan, assumed undivided responsibility for Him by pledging his word in writing. It was he who surrounded Him, while under his care, with unfailing solicitude, who served Him with such devotion, and who acted as intermediary between Him and the hosts of His followers who flocked to Shiraz to see Him. His only child, a Siyyid Javad, died in infancy. Towards the middle of the year 1265 A.H.,[2]

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this same Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali left Shiraz and visited The Báb in the castle of Chihriq. From thence he went to Tihran and, though having no special occupation, remained in that city until the outbreak of the sedition which brought about eventually his martyrdom.

[1 Literally, "The Greatest Uncle."]
[2 1848-9 A.D.]

Though his friends appealed to him to escape the turmoil that was fast approaching, he refused to heed their counsel and faced, until his last hour, with complete resignation, the persecution to which he was subjected. A considerable number among the more affluent merchants of his acquaintance offered to pay his ransom, an offer which he rejected. Finally he was brought before the Amir-Nizam. "The Chief Magistrate of this realm," the Grand Vazir informed him, "is loth to inflict the slightest injury upon the Prophet's descendants. Eminent merchants of Shiraz and Tihran are willing, nay eager, to pay your ransom. The Maliku't-Tujjar has even interceded in your behalf. A word of recantation from you is sufficient to set you free and ensure your return, with honours, to your native city. I pledge my word that, should you be willing to acquiesce, the remaining days of your life will be spent with honour and dignity under the sheltering shadow of your sovereign." "Your Excellency," boldly replied Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, "if others before me, who quaffed joyously the cup of martyrdom, have chosen to reject an appeal such as the one you now make to me, know of a certainty that I am no less eager to decline such a request. My repudiation of the truths enshrined in this Revelation would be tantamount to a rejection of all the Revelations that have preceded it. To refuse to acknowledge the Mission of the Siyyid-i-Báb would be to apostatise from the Faith of my forefathers and to deny the Divine character of the Message which Muhammad, Jesus, Moses, and all the Prophets of the past have revealed. God knows that whatever I have heard and read concerning the sayings and doings of those Messengers, I have been privileged to witness the same from this Youth, this beloved Kinsman of mine, from His earliest boyhood to this, the thirtieth year of His life. Everything in Him reminds me of His illustrious Ancestor and of the imams of His Faith whose lives our recorded traditions have portrayed. I only request of you that you allow me to be

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the first to lay down my life in the path of my beloved Kinsman."

The Amir was stupefied by such an answer. In a frenzy of despair, and without uttering a word, he motioned that he be taken out and beheaded. As the victim was being conducted to his death, he was heard, several times, to repeat these words of Hafiz: "Great is my gratitude to Thee, O my God, for having granted so bountifully all I have asked of Thee." "Hear me, O people," he cried to the multitude that pressed around him; "I have offered myself up as a willing sacrifice in the path of the Cause of God. The entire province of Fars, as well as Iraq, beyond the confines of Persia, will readily testify to my uprightness of conduct, to my sincere piety and noble lineage. For over a thousand years, you have prayed and prayed again that the promised Qa'im be made manifest. At the mention of His name, how often have you cried, from the depths of your hearts: 'Hasten, O God, His coming; remove every barrier that stands in the way of His appearance!' And now that He is come, you have driven Him to a hopeless exile in a remote and sequestered corner of Adhirbayjan and have risen to exterminate His companions. Were I to invoke the malediction of God upon you, I am certain that His avenging wrath would grievously afflict you. Such is not, however, my prayer. With my last breath, I pray that the Almighty may wipe away the stain of your guilt and enable you to awaken from the sleep of heedlessness."[1]

[1 "He took off his turban, and, raising his face towards heaven, exclaimed, 'O God, Thou art witness of how they are slaying the son of Thy most honourable Prophet without fault on his part.' Then he turned to the executioner and recited this verse: 'How long shall grief of separation from Him slay me? Cut off my head that Love may bestow on me a head.'" (Mathnavi, Book 6, p. 649, 1, 2; ed. Ala'u'd-Dawlih.) ("A Traveller's Narrative," Note B, p. 174.)]

These words stirred his executioner to his very depths. Pretending that the sword he had been holding in readiness in his hands required to be resharpened, he hastily went away, determined never to return again. "When I was appointed to this service," he was heard to complain, weeping bitterly the while, "they undertook to deliver into my hands only those who had been convicted of murder and highway robbery. I am now ordered by them to shed the blood of

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one no less holy than the Imam Musay-i-Kazim [1] himself!" Shortly after, he departed for Khurasan and there sought to earn his livelihood as a porter and crier. To the believers of that province, he recounted the tale of that tragedy, and expressed his repentance of the act which he had been compelled to perpetrate. Every time he recalled that incident, every time the name of Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali was mentioned to him, tears which he could not repress flowed from his eyes, tears that were a witness to the affection which that holy man had instilled into his heart.

[1 The Seventh Imam.]

2. Mirza Qurban-'Ali,[1] a native of Barfurush in the province of Mazindaran, and an outstanding figure in the community known by the name of Ni'matu'llahi. He was a man of sincere piety and endowed with great nobleness of nature. Such was the purity of his life that a considerable number among the notables of Mazindaran, of Khurasan and Tihran had pledged him their loyalty, and regarded him as the very embodiment of virtue. Such was the esteem in which he was held by his countrymen that, on the occasion of his pilgrimage to Karbila, a vast concourse of devoted admirers thronged his route in order to pay their homage to him. In Hamadan, as well as in Kirmanshah, a great number of people were influenced by his personality and joined the company of his followers. Wherever he went, he was greeted with the acclamations of the people. These demonstrations of popular enthusiasm were, however, extremely distasteful to him. He avoided the crowd and disdained the pomp and circumstance of leadership. On his way to Karbila, while passing through Mandalij, a shaykh of considerable influence became so enamoured of him that he renounced all that he had formerly cherished and, leaving his friends and disciples, followed him as far as Ya'qubiyyih. Mirza Qurban-'Ali, however, succeeded in inducing him to return to Mandalij and resume the work which he had abandoned.

[1 According to Haji Mu'inu's-Saltanih's narrative (p. 131), Mirza Qurban-'Ali the dervish, met The Báb in the village of Khanliq.]

On his return from his pilgrimage, Mirza Qurban-'Ali met Mulla Husayn and through him embraced the truth of the Cause. Owing to illness, he was unable to join the defenders

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of the fort of Tabarsi, and, but for his unfitness to travel to Mazindaran, would have been the first to join its occupants. Next to Mulla Husayn, among the disciples of The Báb, Vahid was the person to whom he was most attached. During my visit to Tihran, I was informed that the latter had consecrated his life to the service of the Cause and had risen with exemplary devotion to promote its interests far and wide. I often heard Mirza Qurban-'Ali, who was then in the capital, deplore that illness. "How greatly I grieve," I heard him several times remark, "to have been deprived of my share of the cup which Mulla Husayn and his companions have quaffed! I long to join Vahid and enrol myself under his banner and strive to make amends for my previous failure." He was preparing to leave Tihran, when he was suddenly arrested. His modest attire witnessed to the degree of his detachment. Clad in a white tunic, after the manner of the Arabs, cloaked in a coarsely woven aba,[1] and wearing the head-dress of the people of Iraq, he seemed, as he walked the streets, the very embodiment of renunciation. He scrupulously adhered to all the observances of his Faith, and with exemplary piety performed his devotions. "The Báb Himself conforms to the observances of His Faith in their minutest details," he often remarked. "Am I to neglect on my part the things which are observed by my Leader?"

[1 See Glossary.]

When Mirza Qurban-'Ali was arrested and brought before the Amir-Nizam, a commotion such as Tihran had rarely experienced was raised. Large crowds of people thronged the approaches to the headquarters of the government, eager to learn what would befall him. "Since last night," the Amir, as soon as he had seen him, remarked, "I have been besieged by all classes of State officials who have vigorously interceded in your behalf.[1] From what I learn of the position you occupy and the influence your words exercise, you are not

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much inferior to the Siyyid-i-Báb Himself. Had you claimed for yourself the position of leadership, better would it have been than to declare your allegiance to one who is certainly inferior to you in knowledge." "The knowledge which I have acquired," he boldly retorted, "has led me to bow down in allegiance before Him whom I have recognized to be my Lord and Leader. Ever since I attained the age of manhood, I have regarded justice and fairness as the ruling motives of my life. I have judged Him fairly, and have reached the conclusion that should this Youth, to whose transcendent power friend and foe alike testify, be false, every Prophet of God, from time immemorial down to the present day, should be denounced as the very embodiment of falsehood! I am assured of the unquestioning devotion of over a thousand admirers, and yet I am powerless to change the heart of the least among them. This Youth, however, has proved Himself capable of transmuting, through the elixir of His love, the souls of the most degraded among His fellow men. Upon a thousand like me He has, unaided and alone, exerted such influence that, without even attaining His presence, they have flung aside their own desires and have clung passionately to His will. Fully conscious of the inadequacy of the sacrifice they have made, these yearn to lay down their lives for His sake, in the hope that this further evidence of their devotion may be worthy of mention in His Court."

[1 "Mirza Qurban-'Ali was famous amongst mystics and dervishes, and had many friends and disciples in Tihran, besides being well known to most of the nobles and chief men, and even to the Shah's mother. She, because of her friendship for him and the compassion she felt for his plight, said to his Majesty the king: 'He is no Bábi, but has been falsely accused.' So they sent and brought him out saying: 'Thou art a dervish, a scholar, and a man of learning; thou dost not belong to this misguided sect; a false charge has been preferred against thee.' He replied: 'I reckon myself one of the followers and servants of His Holiness, though whether or no He hath accepted me as such, I wot not.' When they continued to persuade him, holding out hopes of a pension and salary, he said: 'This life and these drops of blood of mine are of but small account; were the empire of the world mine, and had I a thousand lives, I would freely cast them all at the feet of His friends: 'To sacrifice the head for the Beloved, in mine eyes appears an easy thing indeed; Close thy lips, and cease to speak of mediation, For of mediation lovers have no need.' So at length they desisted in despair, and signified that he should die." (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," p. 254.)]

"I am loth," the Amir-Nizam remarked, "whether your words be of God or not, to pronounce the sentence of death against the possessor of so exalted a station." "Why hesitate? burst forth the impatient victim. "Are you not aware that all names descend from Heaven? He whose name is Ali,[1] in whose path I am laying down my life, has

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from time immemorial inscribed my name, Qurban-'Ali,[2] in the scroll of His chosen martyrs. This is indeed the day on which I celebrate the Qurban festival, the day on which I shall seal with my life-blood my faith in His Cause. Be not, therefore, reluctant, and rest assured that I shall never blame you for your act. The sooner you strike off my head, the greater will be my gratitude to you." "Take him away from this place!" cried the Amir. "Another moment, and this dervish will have cast his spell over me!" "You are proof against that magic," Mirza Qurban-'Ali replied, "that can captivate only the pure in heart. You and your like can never be made to realise the entrancing power of that Divine elixir which, swift as the twinkling of an eye, transmutes the souls of men."

[1 Reference to The Báb.]

[2 Qurban means "Sacrifice"; hence, "Sacrifice for The Báb."]

Exasperated by the reply, the Amir-Nizam arose from his seat and, his whole frame shaking with anger, exclaimed: "Nothing but the edge of the sword can silence the voice of this deluded people!" "No need," he told the executioners who were in attendance upon him, "to bring any more members of this hateful sect before me. Words are powerless to overcome their unswerving obstinacy. Whomever you are able to induce to recant his faith, release him; as for the rest, strike off their heads."

As he drew near the scene of his death, Mirza Qurban-'Ali, intoxicated with the prospect of an approaching reunion with his Beloved, broke forth into expressions of joyous exultation. "Hasten to slay me," he cried with rapturous delight, "for through this death you will have offered me the chalice of everlasting life. Though my withered breath you now extinguish, with a myriad lives will my Beloved reward me; lives such as no mortal heart can conceive!" "Hearken to my words, you who profess to be the followers of the Apostle of God," he pleaded, as he turned his gaze to the concourse of spectators. "Muhammad, the Day-Star of Divine guidance, who in a former age arose above the horizon of Hijaz, has to-day, in the person of Ali-Muhammad, again risen from the Day-Spring of Shiraz, shedding the same radiance and imparting the same warmth. A rose is a rose in whichever garden, and at whatever time, it may bloom." Seeing on

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every side how the people were deaf to his call, he cried aloud: "Oh, the perversity of this generation! How heedless of the fragrance which that imperishable Rose has shed! Though my soul brim over with ecstasy, I can, alas, find no heart to share with me itS charm, nor mind to apprehend its glory."

At the sight of the body of Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, beheaded and bleeding at his feet, his fevered excitement rose to its highest pitch. "Hail," he shouted as he flung himself upon it, "hail the day of mutual rejoicing, the day of our reunion with our Beloved!" "Approach," he cried to the executioner, as he held the body in his arms, "and strike your blow, for my faithful comrade is unwilling to release himself from my embrace, and calls me to hasten together with him to the court of the Well-Beloved." A blow from the executioner fell immediately upon the nape of his neck. A few moments later, and the soul of that great man had passed away. That cruel stroke stirred in the bystanders feelings of mingled indignation and sympathy. Cries of sorrow and lamentation ascended from the hearts of the multitude, and provoked a distress that was reminiscent of the outbursts of grief with which every year the populace greets the day of Ashura.[1]

[1 "When he was brought to the foot of the execution-pole, the headman raised his sword and smote him on the neck from behind. The blow only bowed his head, and caused the dervish's turban which he wore to roll some paces from him on the ground. Immediately as it were with his last breath, he sent a fresh pang through the heart of everyone capable of emotion by reciting these verses: 'Happy he whom love's intoxication So hath overcome that scarce he knows Whether at the feet of the Beloved It be head or turban which he throws!'" (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid", pp. 254-5.)]

3. Then came the turn of Haji Mulla Isma'il-i-Qumi, who was a native of Farahan. In his early youth, he departed for Karbila In quest of the Truth which he was diligently striving to discover. He had associated with all the leading ulamas of Najaf and Karbila, had sat at the feet of Siyyid Kazim, and had acquired from him the knowledge and understanding which enabled him, a few years later when in Shiraz, to acknowledge the Revelation of The Báb. He distinguished himself by the tenacity of his faith and the fervour of his devotion. As soon as the injunction of The Báb, bidding His

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followers hasten to Khurasan, reached him, he enthusiastically responded, joined the companions who were proceeding to Badasht, and there received the appellation of Sirru'l-Vujud. Whilst in their company, his understanding of the Cause grew deeper and his zeal for its promotion correspondingly increased. He grew to be the very embodiment of detachment, and felt more and more impatient to demonstrate in a befitting manner the spirit with which his Faith had inspired him. In the exposition of the meaning of the verses of the Quran and the traditions of Islam, he displayed an insight which few could rival, and the eloquence with which he set forth those truths won him the admiration of his fellow-disciples. In the days when the fort of Tabarsi had become the rallying centre for the disciples of The Báb, he languished disconsolate upon a sick-bed, unable to lend his assistance and play his part for its defence. No sooner had he recovered than, finding that that memorable siege had ended with the massacre of his fellow-disciples, he arose, with added determination, to make up by his self-sacrificing labours for the loss which the Cause had sustained. That determination carried him eventually to the field of martyrdom and won him its crown.

Conducted to the block and waiting for the moment of his execution, he turned his gaze towards those twin martyrs who had preceded him and who still lay entwined in each other's embrace. "Well done, beloved companions!" he cried, as he fixed his gaze upon their gory heads. "You have turned Tihran into a paradise! Would that I had preceded you!" Drawing from his pocket a coin, which he handed to his executioner, he begged him to purchase for him something with which he could sweeten his mouth. He took some of it and gave the rest to him, saying: "I have forgiven you your act; approach and deal your blow. For thirty years I have yearned to witness this blessed day, and was fearful lest I should carry this wish with me unfulfilled to the grave." "Accept me, O my God," he cried, as he turned his eyes to heaven, "unworthy though I be, and deign to inscribe my name upon the scroll of those immortals who have laid down their lives on the altar of sacrifice." He was

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still offering his devotions when the executioner, at his request, suddenly cut short his prayer.[1]

[1 "Now when they were ready to begin their work of decapitation and slaughter, it was Haji Mulla Isma'il's turn to die, one came to him, saying: 'Such an one of your friends will give such-and-such a sum of money to save you from death, on condition of your recanting, that thus they may be induced to spare you. In a case of dire necessity, when it is a question of saving your life, what harm is there in merely saying, "I am not a Bábi," so that they may have a pretext for releasing you?' He replied: 'Were I willing to recant, even without money none would touch me.' Being further pressed and greatly importuned, he drew himself up to his full height amidst the crowd, and exclaimed, so that all might hear: 'Zephyr, prithee bear for me a message To that Ishmael who was not slain: "Living from the street of the Beloved Love permits not to return again."'" (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," pp. 253-4.)]

4. He had hardly expired when Siyyid Husayn-i-Turshizi, the mujtahid, was conducted in his turn to the block. He was a native of Turshiz, a village in Khurasan, and was highly esteemed for his piety and rectitude of conduct. He had studied for a number of years in Najaf, and was commissioned by his fellow-mujtahids to proceed to Khurasan and there propagate the principles he had been taught. When he arrived at Kazimayn, he met Haji Muhammad-Taqiy-i-Kirmani, an old acquaintance of his, who ranked among the foremost merchants of Kirman, and who had opened a branch of his business in Khurasan. As he was on his way to Persia, he decided to accompany him. This Haji Muhammad-Taqi had been a close friend of Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, The Báb's maternal uncle, through whom he had been converted to the Cause in the year 1264 A.H.,[1] while preparing to leave Shiraz on a pilgrimage to Karbila. When informed of the projected journey of Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali to Chihriq for the purpose of visiting The Báb, he expressed his eager desire to accompany him. Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali advised him to carry out his original purpose and proceed to Karbila and there await his letter, which would inform him whether it would be advisable to join him. From Chihriq, Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali was ordered to depart for Tihran, in the hope that after a short stay in the capital he would be able to renew his visit to his Nephew. Whilst in Chihriq, he expressed his reluctance to return to Shiraz, inasmuch as he could no longer endure .the increasing arrogance of its inhabitants.

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Upon his arrival in Tihran, he requested Haji Muhammad-Taqi to join him. Siyyid Husayn accompanied him from Baghdad to the capital and through him was converted to the Faith.

[1 1847-8 A.D.]

As he faced the multitude that had gathered round him to witness his martyrdom, Siyyid Husayn raised his voice and said: "Hear me, O followers of Islam! My name is Husayn, and I am a descendant of the Siyyidu'sh-Shuhada, who also bore that name.[1] The mujtahids of the holy cities of Najaf and Karbila have unanimously testified to my position as the authorised expounder of the law and teachings of their Faith. Not until recently had heard thee name of the Siyyid-i-Bab. The mastery I have obtained over the intricacies of the Islamic teachings has enabled me to appreciate the value of the Message which the Siyyid-i-Báb has brought. I am convinced that, were I to deny the Truth which He has revealed, I should, by this very act, have renounced my allegiance to every Revelation that has preceded it. I appeal to every one of you to call upon the ulamas and mujtahids of this city and to convene a gathering, at which I will undertake in their presence to establish the truth of this Cause. Let them then judge whether I am able to demonstrate the validity of the claims advanced by The Báb. If they be satisfied with the proofs which I shall adduce in support of my argument, let them desist from shedding the blood of the innocent; and if I fail, let them inflict upon me the punishment I deserve." These words had scarcely dropped from his lips when an officer in the service of the Amir-Nizam haughtily interjected: "I carry with me your death-warrant signed and sealed by seven of the recognized mujtahids of Tihran, who have in their own handwriting pronounced you an infidel. I will myself be answerable to God on the Day of Judgment for your blood, and will lay the responsibility upon those leaders in whose judgment we have been asked to put our trust and to whose decisions we have been compelled to submit." With these words he drew out his dagger and stabbed him with such force that he immediately fell dead at his feet.

[1 The Imam Husayn.]

5. Soon after, Haji Muhammad-Taqiy-i-Kirmani was led

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to the scene of execution. The ghastliness of the sight he beheld provoked his violent indignation. "Approach, you wretched and heartless tyrant," he burst forth as he turned to his persecutor, "and hasten to slay me, for I am impatient to join my beloved Husayn. To live after him is a torture I cannot endure."

6. No sooner had Haji Muhammad-Taqi uttered these words than Siyyid Murtada, who was one of the noted merchants of Zanjan, hastened to take precedence of his companions. He flung himself over the body of Haji Muhammad-Taqi, and pleaded that, being a siyyid, his martyrdom would be more meritorious in the sight of God than that of Haji Muhammad-Taqi. As the executioner

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unsheathed his sword, Siyyid Murtada invoked the memory of his martyred brother, who had struggled side by side with Mulla Husayn; and such were his references that the onlookers marvelled at the unyielding tenacity of the faith with which he was inspired.

7. In the midst of the turmoil which the stirring words of Siyyid Murtada had raised, Muhammad-Husayn-i-Maraghiyi rushed forward and begged that he be allowed to be martyred immediately ere his companions were put to the sword. As soon as his eyes fell upon the body of Haji Mulla Isma'il-i-Qumi, for whom he entertained a deep affection, he impulsively threw himself upon him and, holding him in his embrace, exclaimed: "Never will I consent to separate myself from my dearly beloved friend, in whom I have reposed the utmost confidence and from whom I have received so many evidences of a sincere and deep-felt affection!"

Their eagerness to precede one another in laying down their lives for their Faith astonished the multitude who wondered which of the three would be preferred to his companions. They pleaded with such fervour that eventually they were beheaded, all three, at one and the same moment.

So great a faith, such evidences of unbridled cruelty, human eye has rarely beheld. Few as they were in number, yet when we recall the circumstances of their martyrdom, we are compelled to acknowledge the stupendous character of that force which could evoke so rare a spirit of self-sacrifice. When we remember the exalted rank these victims had occupied, when we observe the degree of their renunciation and the vitality of their faith, when we recall the pressure which from influential quarters had been exerted to avert the danger with which their lives were threatened, above all when we picture to our minds the spirit that defied the atrocities which a heartless enemy so far bemeaned themselves as to inflict upon them, we are impelled to look upon that episode as one of the most tragic occurrences in the annals of this Cause.[1]

[1 "After detailing the occurrences briefly set forth above, The Bábi historian proceeds to point out the special value and unique character of the testimony given by the "Seven Martyrs.' They were men representing all the more important classes in Persia--divines, dervishes, merchants, shopkeepers, and government officials; they were men who had enjoyed the respect and consideration of all; they died fearlessly, willingly, almost eagerly, declining to purchase life by that mere lip-denial which, under the name of kitman or taqiyyih, is recognized by the by the shi'ahs as a perfectly justifiable subterfuge in case of peril; they were not driven to despair of mercy as were those who died at Shaykh Tabarsi and Zanjan and they sealed their faith with their blood in the public square of the Persian capital wherein is the abode of the foreign ambassadors accredited to the court of the Shah. And herein The Bábi historian is right: even those who speak severely of The Bábi movement generally, characterising it as a communism destructive of all order and all morality, express commiseration for the guiltless victims. To the day of their martyrdom we may well apply Gobineau's eloquent reflection on a similar tragedy enacted two years later: ..."This eventful day brought to The Báb more secret followers than many sermons could have done. I have just said that the impression created by the prodigious endurance of the martyrs was deep and lasting. I have often heard repeated the story of that day by eye witnesses, by men close to the government, some even important officials. From their accounts, one might easily have believed that they were all Bábis, so great was the admiration they felt for memories which were not to the honor of Islam, and so high was the esteem they entertained for the resourcefulness, the hopes and the chances of success of the new doctrine." ("A Traveller's Narrative," Note B, pp. 175-176.)]

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At this stage of my narrative I was privileged to submit to Bahá'u'lláh such sections of my work as I had already revised and completed. How abundantly have my labours been rewarded by Him whose favour alone I seek, and for whose satisfaction I have addressed myself to this task! He graciously summoned me to His presence and vouchsafed me His blessings. I was in my home in the prison-city of Akka, and lived in the neighbourhood of the house of Aqay-i-Kalim, when the summons of my Beloved reached me. That day, the seventh of the month of Rabi'u'th-Thani in the year 1306 A.H.,[1] I shall never forget. I here reproduce the gist of His words to me on that memorable occasion:

[1 December 11, 1888 A.D.]

"In a Tablet which We yesterday revealed, We have explained the meaning of the words, 'Turn your eyes away,'[1] in the course of Our reference to the circumstances attending the gathering at Badasht. We were celebrating, in the company of a number of distinguished notables, the nuptials of one of the princes of royal blood in Tihran, when Siyyid Ahmad-i-Yazdi, father of Siyyid Husayn, The Báb's amanuensis, appeared suddenly at the door. He beckoned to Us, and seemed to be the bearer of an important message which he wished immediately to deliver. We were, however, unable at that moment to leave the gathering, and motioned to him to wait. When the meeting had dispersed, he informed

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Us that Tahirih had been placed in strict confinement in Qazvin, and that her life was in great danger. We immediately summoned Muhammad-Hadiy-i-Farhadi, and gave him the necessary directions to release her from her captivity, and escort her to the capital. As the enemy had seized Our house, We were unable to accommodate her indefinitely in Our home. Accordingly, We arranged for her transference from Our house to that of the Minister of War,[1] who, in those days, had been disgraced by his sovereign and had been deported to Kashan. We requested his sister, who still was numbered among Our friends, to act as hostess to Tahirih.

[1 According to Islamic traditions, Fatimih, Muhammad's daughter, will appear unveiled as she crosses the bridge "Sirat" on the Day of Judgment. At her appearance a voice from heaven will declare: "Turn your eyes away, O concourse of people!"]

[1 Mirza Aqa Khan-i-Nuri, who succeeded the Amir-Nizam as Grand Vazir of Nasiri'd-Din Shah.]

"She remained in her company until the call of The Báb, bidding Us proceed to Khurasan, reached Our ears. We decided that Tahirih should proceed immediately to that province, and commissioned Mirza [1] to conduct her to a place outside the gate of the city, and from thence to any locality she deemed advisable in that neighbourhood. She was taken to an orchard in the vicinity of which was a deserted building, where they found an old man who acted as its caretaker. Mirza Musa returned and informed Us of the reception which had been accorded to them, and highly praised the beauty of the surrounding landscape. We subsequently arranged for her departure for Khurasan, and promised that We would follow within the space of a few days.

[1 Aqay-i-Kalim, brother of Bahá'u'lláh.]

"We soon joined her at Badasht, where We rented a garden for her use, and appointed the same Muhammad-Hadi who had achieved her deliverance, as her doorkeeper. About seventy of Our companions were with Us and lodged in a place in the vicinity of that garden.

"We fell ill one day, and were confined to bed. Tahirih sent a request to call upon Us. We were surprised at her message, and were at a loss as to what We should reply. Suddenly We saw her at the door, her face unveiled before Us. How well has Mirza Aqa Jan [1] commented upon that incident. 'The face of Fatimih,' he said, 'must needs be revealed on the Day of Judgment and appear unveiled before the eyes of men. At that moment the voice of the Unseen

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shall be heard saying: "Turn your eyes away from that which ye have seen."

[1 Bahá'u'lláh's amanuensis.]

"How great was the consternation that seized the companions on that day! Fear and bewilderment filled their hearts. A few, unable to tolerate that which was to them so revolting a departure from the established customs of Islam, fled in horror from before her face. Dismayed, they sought refuge in a deserted castle in that neighbourhood. Among those who were scandalised by her behaviour and severed from her entirely were the Siyyid-i-Nahri [1] and his brother Mirza Hadi, to both of whom We sent word that it was unnecessary for them to desert their companions and seek refuge in a castle.

[1 Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Nahri.]

"Our friends eventually dispersed, leaving Us at the mercy of Our enemies. When, at a later time, We went to Amul, such was the turmoil which the people had raised that above four thousand persons had congregated in the masjid and had crowded onto the roofs of their houses. The leading mulla of the town denounced Us bitterly. 'You have perverted the Faith of Islam,' he cried in his mazindarani dialect, 'and sullied its fame! Last night I saw you in a dream enter the masjid, which was thronged by an eager multitude that had gathered to witness your arrival. As the crowd pressed round you, I beheld, and, lo, the Qa'im was standing in a corner with His gaze fixed upon your countenance, His features betraying great surprise. This dream I regard as evidence of your having deviated from the path of Truth.' We assured him that the expression of surprise on that countenance was a sign of the Qa'im's strong disapproval of the treatment he and his fellow-townsmen had accorded Us. He questioned Us regarding the Mission of The Báb. We informed him that, although We had never met Him face to face, yet We cherished, none the less, a great affection for Him. We expressed Our profound conviction that He had, under no circumstances, acted contrary to the Faith of Islam.

The mulla and his followers, however refused to believe Us, and rejected Our testimony as a perversion of the truth. They eventually placed Us in confinement, and forbade Our

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friends to meet Us. The acting governor of Amul succeeded in effecting Our release from captivity. Through an opening in the wall that he ordered his men to make, he enabled Us to leave that room, and conducted Us to his house. No sooner were the inhabitants informed of this act than they arose against Us, besieged the governor's residence, pelted Us with stones, and hurled in Our face the foulest invectives.

"At the time We proposed to send Muhammad-Hadiy-i-Farhadi to Qazvin, in order to achieve the deliverance of Tahirih and conduct her to Tihran, Shaykh Abu-Turab wrote Us, insisting that such an attempt was fraught with grave risks and might occasion an unprecedented tumult. We refused to be deflected from Our purpose. That Shaykh was a kind-hearted man, was simple and lowly in temper, and behaved with great dignity. He lacked courage and determination, however, and betrayed weakness on certain occasions."

A word should now be added regarding the closing stages of the tragedy that witnessed to the heroism of the Seven Martyrs of Tihran. For three days and three nights they remained abandoned in the Sabzih-Maydan, which adjoined the imperial palace, exposed to untold indignities which an unrelenting foe heaped upon them. Thousands of devout shi'ahs gathered round their corpses, kicked them with their

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feet, and spat upon their faces. They were pelted, cursed, and mocked by the angry multitude. Heaps of refuse were flung upon their remains by the bystanders, and the foulest atrocities were perpetrated upon their bodies. No voice was raised in protest, no hand was stretched to stay the arm of the barbarous oppressor.

Having allayed the tumult of their passion, they buried them outside the gate of the capital, in a place which lay beyond the limits of the public cemetery, adjoining the moat, between the gates of Naw and of Shah Abdu'l-'Azim. They were all laid in the same grave, thus remaining united in body, as they had been in spirit during the days of their earthly life.[1]

[1 "When the executioners had completed their bloody work, the rabble onlookers, awed for a while by the patient courage of the martyrs, again allowed their ferocious fanaticism to break out in insults to the mortal remains of those whose spirits had now passed beyond the power of their malice. They cast stones and filth at the motionless corpses, abusing them, and crying out, 'This is the recompense of the people of affection and of such as pursue the Path of Wisdom and Truth!' Nor would they suffer their bodies to be interred in a burial-ground, but cast them into a pit outside the Gate of Shah Abdu'l-'Azim, which they then filled up." ("A Traveller's Narrative," Note B, pp. 174-5.)]

The news of their martyrdom came as an added blow to The Báb, who was already plunged in sorrow at the fate that had befallen the heroes of Tabarsi. In the detailed Tablet He revealed in their honour, every word of which testified to the exalted position they occupied in His eyes, He referred to them as those very "Seven Goats" spoken of in the traditions of Islam, who on the Day of Judgment shall "walk in front of the promised Qa'im." They shall symbolise by their life the noblest spirit of heroism, and by their death shall manifest true acquiescence in His will. By preceding the Qa'im, The Báb explained, is meant that their martyrdom will precede that of the Qa'im Himself, who is their Shepherd. What The Báb had predicted came to be fulfilled, inasmuch as His own martyrdom occurred four months later in Tabriz.

That memorable year witnessed, in addition to the martyrdom of The Báb and that of His seven companions in Tihran, the momentous happenings of Nayriz which culminated in the death of Vahid. Towards the end of that same year, Zanjan likewise became the centre of a storm which raged with exceptional violence throughout the surrounding district, bringing in its wake the massacre of a vast number of

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The Báb's staunchest disciples. That year, rendered memorable by the magnificent heroism which those staunch supporters of His Faith displayed, not to speak of the marvellous circumstances that attended His own martyrdom, must ever remain as one of the most glorious chapters ever recorded in that Faith's blood-stained history. The entire face of the land was blackened by the atrocities in which a cruel and rapacious enemy freely and persistently indulged. From Khurasan, on the eastern confines of Persia, as far west as Tabriz, the scene of The Báb's martyrdom, and from the northern cities of Zanjan and Tihran stretching south as far as Nayriz, in the province of Fars, the whole country was enveloped in darkness, a darkness that heralded the dawning light of the Revelation which the expected Husayn was soon to manifest, a Revelation mightier and more glorious than that which The Báb Himself had proclaimed.[1]

[1 'While these developments were taking place in the north of Persia, the provinces of the center and the south were deeply stirred by the enthusiastic appeals of the missionaries of the new doctrine. The people-- light, credulous, ignorant, superstitious in the extreme--were dumbfounded by the accounts of continuous miracles of which they heard every minute; the Mullas, deeply concerned, feeling that their wavering flock was ready to escape their control, multiplied their slanders and defamation; the grossest lies, the most cruel fictions were circulated among the bewildered masses, divided between terror and admiration." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 387.)]

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IN THE early days of the siege of the fort of Tabarsi, Vahid was engaged in spreading the teachings of the Cause in Burujird as well as in the province of Kurdistan. He had resolved to win the majority of the inhabitants of those regions to the Faith of The Báb, and had intended to proceed from thence to Fars and there continue his labours. As soon as he had learned of Mulla Husayn's departure for Mazindaran, he hastened to the capital and undertook the necessary preparations for his journey to the fort of Tabarsi. He was preparing to leave, when Bahá'u'lláh arrived from Mazindaran and informed him of the impossibility of joining his brethren. He was greatly saddened at this news, and his only consolation in those days was to visit Bahá'u'lláh frequently, and to obtain the benefit of His wise and priceless counsels.[1]

[1 "When, after the lapse of some time," writes Mirza Jani, "I again had the honour of meeting Aqa Siyyid Yahya in Tihran, I observed in his august countenance the signs of a glory and power which I had not noticed during my first journey with him to the capital, nor on other occasions of meeting, and I knew that these signs portended the near approach of his departure from the world Subsequently he said several times in the course of conversation: 'This is my last journey, and hereafter you will see me no more'; and often, explicitly or by implication, he gave utterance to the same thought. Sometimes when we were together, and the conversation took an appropriate turn, he would remark: 'The saints of God are able to foretell coming events, and I swear, by that loved One in the grasp of whose power my soul lies, that I know and could tell where and how I shall be slain, and who it is that shall slay me And how glorious and blessed a thing it is that my blood should be shed for the uplifting of the Word of Truth!'" (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," p. 115.)]

Vahid eventually determined to proceed to Qazvin and to resume the work in which he had been engaged. From thence he left for Qum and Kashan, where he met his fellow-disciples and was able to stimulate their enthusiasm and reinforce their efforts. He continued his journey to Isfahan, to Ardistan and Ardikan, and in each of these cities he proclaimed, with zest and fearlessness, the fundamental teachings of his Master and succeeded in winning over a considerable

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number of able supporters to the Cause. He reached Yazd in time to celebrate the festivities of Naw-Ruz with his brethren, who expressed their joy at his arrival and were greatly encouraged by his presence among them. Being a man of renowned influence, he possessed, in addition to his house in Yazd, where his wife and her four sons had settled, a home in Darab, which was the abode of his ancestors, and another one in Nayriz, which was superbly furnished.

He arrived at Yazd on the first day of the month of Jamadiyu'l-Avval, in the year 1266 A.H.,[1] the fifth day of which, the anniversary of The Báb's Declaration, coincided with the feast of Naw-Ruz. The leading ulamas and notables of the city all came on that day to greet him and to offer their best wishes. Navvab-i-Radavi, the meanest and most prominent among his adversaries, was present on that occasion, and maliciously hinted at the extravagance and splendour of that reception. "The Shah's imperial banquet," he was heard to remark, "can scarcely hope to rival the sumptuous repast you have spread before us. I suspect that in addition to this national festival which to-day we are celebrating, you commemorate another one besides it." Vahid's bold and sarcastic retort provoked the laughter of those who were present. All applauded, in view of the avarice

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and wickedness of the Navvab, the appropriateness of his remark. The Navvab, who had never encountered the ridicule of so large and distinguished a company, was stung by that answer. The smouldering fire which he nourished in his mind against his opponent now blazed forth with added intensity, and impelled him to satisfy his thirst for revenge.

[1 1850 A.D.]

Vahid seized the occasion to proclaim, fearlessly and without reserve, in that gathering, the basic principles of his Faith, and to demonstrate their validity. The majority of those who heard him were but partially acquainted with the distinguishing features of the Cause, and were ignorant of its full import. Certain ones among them were irresistibly attracted, and readily embraced it; the rest, unable to challenge its claims publicly, denounced it in their hearts and swore to extirpate it by every means in their power. His eloquence and fearless exposition of the Truth inflamed their hostility and strengthened their determination to seek, without delay, the overthrow of his influence. That very day witnessed the combination of their forces against him, and marked the beginning of an episode that was destined to bring in its wake so much suffering and distress.[1]

[1 "Carried away by his zeal and overflowing with the love of God, he was eager to reveal to Persia the glory and joy of the one eternal Truth. 'To love and to conceal one's secret is impossible,' says the poet; so our Siyyid began to preach openly in the Mosques, in the streets, in the bazaars, on the public squares, in a word, wherever he could find listeners. Such an enthusiasm brought forth fruit and the conversions were numerous and sincere. The Mullas, deeply troubled, violently denounced the sacrilege to the governor of the city." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 390.)]

To destroy the life of Vahid became the paramount object of their activity. They spread the news that, on the day of Naw-Ruz, in the midst of the assembled dignitaries of the city, both civil and ecclesiastical, Siyyid Yahyay-i-Darabi had had the temerity to unveil the challenging features of the Faith of The Báb and had adduced, for the purpose of his argument, proofs and evidences gleaned both from the Quran and from the traditions of Islam. "Though his listeners," they urged, "ranked among the most illustrious of the mujtahids of the city, no one could be found in that assemblage to venture a protest against his vehement assertions of the

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claims of his creed. The silence kept by those who heard him has been responsible for the wave of enthusiasm which has swept over the city in his favour, and has brought no less than half of its inhabitants to his feet, while the remainder are being fast attracted."

This report spread like wildfire throughout Yazd and the surrounding district. It kindled, on the one hand, the flame of bitter hatred, and, on the other, was instrumental in adding considerable numbers to those who had already identified themselves with that Faith. From Ardikan and Manshad, as well as from the more distant towns and villages, crowds of people, eager to hear of the new Message, flocked to the house of Vahid. "What are we to do?" they asked him. "In what manner do you advise us to show forth the sincerity of our faith and the intensity of our devotion?" From morning till night, Vahid was absorbed in resolving their perplexities and in directing their steps in the path of service.

For forty days, this feverish activity persisted on the part of his zealous supporters, both men and women. His house had become the rallying centre of an innumerable host of devotees who yearned to demonstrate worthily the spirit of the Faith that had fired their souls. The commotion that ensued provided the Navvab-i-Radavi with a fresh pretext for enlisting the support of the governor of the city,[1] who was young and inexperienced in the affairs of State, in his efforts against his adversary. He soon fell a victim to the intrigues and machinations of that evil plotter, who succeeded in inducing him to despatch a force of armed men to besiege the house of Vahid. While a regiment of the army was proceeding to that spot, a mob composed of the degraded elements of the city were, at the instigation of the Navvab, directing their steps towards that same place, determined by their threats and imprecations to intimidate its occupants.

[1 His name was Aqa Khan.]

Though hemmed in by hostile forces on every side, Vahid continued, from the window of the upper floor of his house, to animate the zeal of his supporters and to clarify whatever remained obscure in their minds. At the sight of a whole regiment, reinforced by an infuriated mob, preparing to attack

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them, they turned to Vahid in their distress and begged him to direct their steps. "This very sword that lies before me," was his answer, as he remained seated beside the window, "was given me by the Qa'im Himself. God knows, had I been authorised by Him to wage holy warfare against this people, I would, alone and unaided, have annihilated their forces. I am, however, commanded to refrain from such an act." "This very steed," he added, as his eyes fell upon the horse which his servant Hasan had saddled and brought to the front of his house, "the late Muhammad Shah gave me, that with it I might undertake the mission with which he entrusted me, of conducting an impartial investigation into the nature of the Faith proclaimed by the Siyyid-i-Bab. He asked me to report personally to him the results of my enquiry, inasmuch as I was the only one among the ecclesiastical leaders of Tihran in whom he could repose implicit confidence. I undertook that mission with the firm resolution of confuting the arguments of that siyyid, of inducing Him to abandon His ideas and to acknowledge my leadership, and of conducting Him with me to Tihran as a witness to the triumph I was to achieve. When I came into His presence, however, and heard His words, the opposite of that which I had imagined took place. In the course of my first audience with Him, I was utterly abashed and confounded; by the end of the second, I felt as helpless and ignorant as a child; the third found me as lowly as the dust beneath His feet. He had indeed ceased to be the contemptible siyyid I had previously imagined. To me, He was the manifestation of God Himself, the living embodiment of the Divine Spirit. Ever since that day, I have yearned to lay down my life for His sake. I rejoice that the day I have longed to witness is fast approaching."

Seeing the agitation that had seized his friends, he exhorted them to be calm and patient, and to rest assured that the omnipotent Avenger would ere long inflict, with His own invisible hand, a crushing defeat upon the forces arrayed against His loved ones. No sooner had he uttered these words than the news arrived that a certain Muhammad-Abdu'llah, whom no one suspected of being still alive, had suddenly emerged with a number of his comrades, who had

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likewise disappeared from sight, and, raising the cry of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!"[1] had flung themselves upon their assailants and dispersed their forces. He displayed such courage that the whole detachment, abandoning their arms, had sought refuge, together with the governor, in the fort of Narin.

[1 See Glossary.]

That night, Muhammad-'Abdu'llah asked to be introduced into the presence of Vahid. He assured him of his

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faith in the Cause, and acquainted him with the plans he had conceived of subjugating the enemy. "Although your intervention," Vahid replied, "has to-day averted from this house the danger of an unforeseen calamity, yet you must recognize that until now our contest with these people was limited to an argument centering round the Revelation of the Sahibu'z-Zaman. The Navvab, however, will henceforth be induced to instigate the people against us, and will contend that I have arisen to establish my undisputed sovereignty over the entire province and intend to extend it over the whole of Persia." Vahid advised him to leave the city immediately, and to commit him to the care and protection of the Almighty. "Not until our appointed time arrives," he assured him, "will the enemy be able to inflict upon us the slightest injury."

Muhammad-'Abdu'llah, however, preferred to ignore the advice of Vahid. "It would be cowardly of me," he was heard to remark as he retired, "to abandon my friends to the mercy of an irate and murderous adversary. What, then, would be the difference between me and those who forsook the Siyyidu'sh-Shuhada [1] on the day of Ashura,[2] and left him companionless on the field of Karbila? A merciful God will, I trust, be indulgent towards me and will forgive my action."

[1 The Imam Husayn.]

[2 The tenth of Muharram, the day on which the Imam Husayn was martyred.]

With these words, he directed his steps to the fort of Narin and compelled the forces that had massed in its vicinity to seek an inglorious refuge within the walls of the fort; and succeeded in keeping the governor confined along with those who were besieged. He himself kept watch, ready to intercept whatever reinforcements might seek to reach them.

Meanwhile the Navvab had succeeded in raising a general upheaval in which the mass of the inhabitants took part. They were preparing to attack the house of Vahid when he summoned Siyyid Abdu'l-'Azim-i-Khu'i, surnamed the Siyyid-i-Khal-Dar, who had participated for a few days in the defence of the fort of Tabarsi, and whose dignity of bearing attracted widespread attention, and bade him mount his own steed and address publicly, through the streets and

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bazaars, an appeal on his behalf to the entire populace, and urge them to embrace the Cause of the Sahibu'z-Zaman. "Let them know," he added, "that I disclaim any intention of waging holy warfare against them. Let them be warned, however, that if they persist in besieging my house and continue their attacks upon me, in utter defiance of my position and lineage, I shall be constrained, as a measure of self-defence, to resist and disperse their forces. If they choose to reject my counsel and yield to the whisperings of the crafty Navvab, I will order seven of my companions to repulse their forces shamefully and to crush their hopes."

The Siyyid-i-Khal-Dar leaped upon the steed and, escorted by four of his chosen brethren, rode out through the market and pealed out, in accents of compelling majesty, the warning he had been commissioned to proclaim. Not content with the message with which he had been entrusted, he ventured to add, in his own inimitable manner, a few words by which he sought to heighten the effect which the proclamation had produced. "Beware," he thundered, "if you despise our plea. My lifted voice, I warn you, will prove sufficient to cause the very walls of your fort to tremble, and the strength of my arm will be capable of breaking down the resistance of its gates!"

His stentorian voice rang out like a trumpet, and diffused consternation in the hearts of those who heard it. With one voice, the affrighted population declared their intention to lay down their swords and cease to molest Vahid, whose lineage they said they would henceforth recognize and respect.

Constrained by the blank refusal of the people to fight against Vahid, the Navvab induced them to direct their attack against Muhammad-'Abdu'llah and his comrades, who were stationed in the neighbourhood of the fort. The clash of these forces induced the governor to sally from his refuge and to instruct the besieged detachment to join hands with those who had been recruited by the Navvab. Muhammad-'Abdu'llah had begun to disperse the mob that had rushed forth from the city against him, when he was suddenly assailed by the fire which the troops opened upon him by order of the governor. A bullet struck his foot and threw him to the ground. A number of his supporters were also

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wounded. His brother hurriedly got him away to a place of safety, and from thence carried him, at his request, to the house of Vahid.

The enemy followed him to that house, fully determined to seize and slay him. The clamour of the people that had massed around his house compelled Vahid to order Mulla Muhammad-Riday-i-Manshadi, one of the most enlightened ulamas of Manshad, who had discarded his turban and offered himself as his doorkeeper, to sally forth and, with the aid of six companions, whom he would choose, to scatter their forces. "Let each one of you raise his voice," he commanded them, "and repeat seven times the words 'Allah-u-Akbar,'[1] and on your seventh invocation spring forward at one and the same moment into the midst of your assailants."

[1 "God is Most Great."]

Mulla Muhammad-Rida, whom Bahá'u'lláh had named Rada'r-Ruh, sprang to his feet and, with his companions, straightway proceeded to fulfil the instructions he had received. Those who accompanied him, though frail of form and inexperienced in the art of swordsmanship, were fired with a faith that made them the terror of their adversaries. Seven of the most redoubtable among the enemy perished that day, which was the twenty-seventh of the month of Jamadiyu'th-Thani.[1] "No sooner had we routed the enemy," Mulla Muhammad-Rida related, "and returned to the house of Vahid, than we found Muhammad-'Abdu'llah lying wounded before us. He was carried to our leader, and partook of the food with which the latter had been served. Afterwards he was borne to a hiding place, where he remained concealed until he recovered from his wound. Eventually he was seized and slain by the enemy."

[1 May 10, 1850 A.D.]

That very night, Vahid bade his companions disperse and exercise the utmost vigilance to secure their safety. He advised his wife to remove, with her children and all their belongings, to the home of her father, and to leave behind whatever was his personal property. "This palatial residence," he informed her, "I have built with the sole intention that it should be eventually demolished in the path of the Cause, and the stately furnishings with which I have adorned it have been purchased in the hope that one day I shall be

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able to sacrifice them for the sake of my Beloved. Then will friend and foe alike realise that he who owned this house was endowed with so great and priceless a heritage that an earthly mansion, however sumptuously adorned and magnificently equipped, had no worth in his eyes; that it had sunk, in his estimation, to the state of a heap of bones to which only the dogs of the earth could feel attracted. Would that such compelling evidence of the spirit of renunciation were able to open the eyes of this perverse people, and to stir in them the desire to follow in the steps of him who showed that spirit!"

In the mid-watches of that same night, Vahid arose and, collecting the writings of The Báb that were in his possession, as well as the copies of all the treatises that he himself had composed, entrusted them to his servant Hasan, and ordered him to convey them to a place outside the gate of the city where the road branches off to Mihriz. He bade him await his arrival, and warned him that, were he to disregard his instructions, he would never again be able to meet him.

No sooner had Hasan mounted his horse and prepared to leave than the cries of the sentinels, who kept watch at the entrance of the fort, reached his ears. Fearing lest they should capture him and seize the precious manuscripts in his possession, he decided to follow a different route from the one which his master had instructed him to take. As he was passing behind the fort, the sentinels recognized him, shot his horse, and captured him.

Meanwhile Vahid was preparing to depart from Yazd. Leaving his two sons, Siyyid Isma'il and Siyyid 'Ali-Muhammad, in the care of their mother, he left, accompanied by his two other sons, Siyyid Ahmad and Siyyid Mihdi, together with two of his companions who were both residents of Yazd and had asked permission to accompany him on his journey. The first, who was named Ghulam-Rida, was a man of exceptional courage, while the latter, Ghulam-Riday-i-Kuchik, had distinguished himself in the art of marksmanship. He chose the same route that he had advised his servant to take, and, arriving safely at that spot, was surprised to find that Hasan was missing. Vahid knew immediately that he had disregarded his directions and had been captured by the

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enemy. He deplored his fate, and was reminded of the action of Muhammad-'Abdu'llah, who had similarly acted against his will and had in consequence suffered injury. They were subsequently informed that on the morning of that same day Hasan was blown from the mouth of a cannon[1] and that a certain Mirza Hasan, who had been the imam of one of the quarters of Yazd, and who was a man of renowned piety, had an hour later also been captured and subjected to the same fate as his comrade.

[1 "When they would have bound him with his back towards the gun, he said: 'Bind me, I pray you, with my face towards the gun, that I may see it fired.' The gunners and those who stood looking on were all astonished at his composure and cheerfulness, and indeed one who can be cheerful in such a plight must needs have great faith and fotitude." (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid", p. 117.)]

The departure of Vahid from Yazd roused the enemy to fresh exertions. They rushed to his house, plundered his possessions, and demolished it completely.[1] He himself was meanwhile directing his steps towards Nayriz. Though unaccustomed to walking, he covered, that night, seven farsangs[2] on foot, while his sons were carried part of the way by his two companions.

[1 "When Aqa Khan had verified the disappearance of the rebel, he gave a sigh of relief. Besides, he felt that to pursue the fugitives would involve some peril and that, therefore, it would be infinitely more practical, more beneficial, more profitable and less dangerous to torture The Bábis, or those presumed to be Bábis - provided that they were wealthy - who had remained in the city. He sought out the most prosperous, ordered their execution, and confiscated their possessions, avenging thus his outraged religion, a matter perhaps of little concern to him, and filling his coffers, which pleased him immensely." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid 'Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 391.)]

[2 Farsang: Farsakh: Unit of measurement. Its length differs in different parts of the country according to the nature of the ground, the local interpretation of the term being the distance which a laden mule will walk in the hour, which varies from three to four mile. Arabicised from the old Persian "parsang," and supposed to be derived from pieces of stone (sang) placed an the roadside.]

In the course of the ensuing day, he concealed himself within the recesses of a neighbouring mountain. As soon as his brother, who resided in that vicinity and entertained a deep affection for him, was informed of his arrival, he secretly despatched to him whatever provisions he required.

That same day a body of the governor's mounted attendants, who had set out in pursuit of Vahid, arrived at that village, searched the house of his brother, where they suspected that he was concealed, and appropriated a large amount of his property. Unable to find him, they retraced their steps to Yazd.

Vahid, in the meantime, made his way through the mountains until he reached the district of Bavanat-i-Fars. Most of its inhabitants, who were numbered among his fervent admirers, readily embraced the Cause, among whom was the

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well-known Haji Siyyid Isma'il, the Shaykhu'l-Islam of Bavanat. A considerable number of these people accompanied him as far as the village of Fasa, where the inhabitants refused to respond to the Message which he invited them to follow.

All along his route, wherever he tarried, Vahid's first thought, as soon as he had dismounted, was to seek the neighbouring masjid, wherein he would summon the people to hear him announce the tidings of the New Day. Utterly oblivious of the fatigues of his journey, he would promptly ascend the pulpit and fearlessly proclaim to his congregation the character of the Faith he had risen to champion he would spend only one night in that place if he had succeeded in winning to the Cause souls upon whom he could rely to propagate it after his departure. Otherwise he would straightway resume his march and refuse further to associate with them. "Through a whichever village I pass," he often remarked, "and fail to inhale from its inhabitants the fragrance of belief, its food and its drink are both distasteful to me."

Arriving at the village of Runiz, in the district of Fasa, Vahid decided to tarry for a few days. Those hearts which he found receptive to his call he strove to attract and to inflame with the fire of God's love. As soon as the news of his arrival reached Nayriz, the entire population of the Chinar-Sukhtih quarter hastened out to meet him. People from other quarters likewise, impelled by their love and admiration for him, decided to join them. Fearing lest Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, the governor of Nayriz, should object to their visit, the majority of them set out at night. From the quarter of Chinar-Sukhtih alone more than a hundred students, preceded by their leader, Haji Shaykh Abdu'l-Ali, the father-in-law of Vahid, and a judge of recognized standing throughout that district, were moved to join a number of the most distinguished among the notables of Nayriz in greeting the expected visitor ere his arrival at their town. Among these figured Mulla Abdu'l-Husayn, a venerable man of eighty who was highly esteemed for his piety and learning; Mulla Baqir, who was the Imam of the Chinar-Sukhtih quarter; Mirza Husayn-i-Qutb, the kad-khuda'[1] of the Bazar quarter,

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with all his relatives; Mirza Abu'l-Qasim, a relative of the governor; Haji Muhammad-Taqi, who has been mentioned by Bahá'u'lláh in the "Suriy-i-Ayyub," together with his son-in-law; Mirza Nawra and Mirza Ali-Rida, both of the Sadat quarter.[2]

[1 See Glossary.]

[2 "The Nayrizis welcomed Siyyid Yahya with the greatest enthusiasm. Barely two days after his arrival, a large number came to see him by night out of fear of the government, says the Fars-Namih, and offered their services, for they hated their rulers. Others, mostly residents of the district of Chinar-Sukhtih, were converted in great numbers. Their example was contagious and soon The Bábis could count, in their midst, the tullabs of Chinar-Sukhtih who numbered about one hundred, their chief Haji Shaykh Abdu'l-'Ali, father of the wife of Siyyid Yahya, the late Akhund Mulla Abdu'l-Husayn, an aged gentleman well versed in religious literature, Akhund Mulla Baqir, Pish-namaz of the district, Mulla Ali Katib, another Mulla Ali with his four brothers, and the kad-khuda, and the Rish-Safid, and other citizens from the quarter called 'Bazar', such as the late Mashhadi Mirza Husayn called Qutb, with all of his family and his relatives, Mirza Abu'l-Qasim who was the nephew of the governor! Haji Muhammad-Taqi surnamed Ayyub and his son-in-law Mirza Husayn and many others from the quarter of the Siyyid, and the son of Mirza Nawra, and Mirza Ali-Rida, son of Mirza Husayn, and the son of Haji Ali, etc., etc. All were converted, some at night in deadly fear, others openly and fearlessly." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 393.)]

All of these, some by day and others by night, went as far as the village of Runiz in order to extend their welcome to the visitor, and to assure him of their unalterable devotion. Although The Báb had revealed a general Tablet addressed specially to those who had newly embraced His Cause in Nayriz, yet its recipients remained ignorant of its significance and fundamental principles. It was given to Vahid to enlighten them regarding its true purpose and set forth its distinguishing features.

No sooner had Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan been made aware of the considerable exodus that had taken place for the purpose of welcoming the arrival of Vahid, than he despatched a special messenger to overtake and inform those who had already departed of his determination to take the life, capture the wives, and confiscate the property of everyone who persisted in giving allegiance to him. Not one of those who departed heeded the warning, but rather did they cling still more passionately to their leader. Their unyielding determination and disdainful neglect of his messenger filled the governor with dismay. Fearful lest these should arise against him, he decided to transfer his residence to the village of Qutrih, where his original home had been, and which lay at a distance of eight farsangs [1] from Nayriz. He chose that

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village because in its vicinity there stood a massive fortress which he could utilise as a place of refuge in case of danger. He was, moreover, assured that its inhabitants were trained in the art of marksmanship and could be relied upon whenever summoned to defend him.

[1 See Glossary.]

Vahid had meanwhile left Runiz for the shrine of Pir-Murad, which was situated outside the village of Istahbanat. Despite the interdiction pronounced by the ulamas of that village against his admittance, no less than twenty of its inhabitants went out to welcome him, and accompanied him as far as Nayriz. When they arrived, in the forenoon of the fifteenth of Rajab,[1] the first thing Vahid did, as soon as he reached his native quarter of Chinar-Sukhtih, even before going to his own house, was enter the masjid and summon the congregation that had gathered to acknowledge and embrace the Message of The Báb. Impatient to face the multitude that awaited him, still wearing his dust-laden garments, he ascended the pulpit and spoke with such convincing eloquence that the whole audience was electrified by his appeal.[2] No less than a thousand persons, all natives

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of the Chinar-Sukhtih quarter, and five hundred others from other sections of Nayriz, all of whom had thronged the building, spontaneously responded. "We have heard and we obey!" cried, with unrestrained enthusiasm, the jubilant multitude, as they came forward to assure him of their homage and gratitude. The spell which that impassioned address threw over the hearts of those who heard it was such as Nayriz had never before experienced. "My sole purpose," Vahid went on, explaining to his audience, as soon as the first flush of excitement had subsided, "in coming to Nayriz is to proclaim the Cause of God. I thank and glorify Him for having enabled me to touch your hearts with His Message. No need for me to tarry any longer in your midst, for if I prolong my stay, I fear that the governor will ill-treat you because of me. He may seek reinforcement

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from Shiraz and destroy your homes and subject you to untold indignities." "We are ready and resigned to the will of God," answered, with one voice, the congregation. "God grant us His grace to withstand the calamities that may yet befall us. We cannot, however, reconcile ourselves to so abrupt and hasty a separation from you."

[1 May 27, 1850.]

[2 "He ascended the pulpit and cried out: 'Am I not he whom you have always considered your shepherd and your guide? Have you not always depended on my teaching for the direction of your conscience in the path of salvation? Am I not he whose words of counsel you have always obeyed? What has happened that you should treat me as though I were your enemy and the enemy of your religion? What lawful deeds have I forbidden? What illicit action have I permitted? With what impiety can you charge me? Have I ever led you into error? And behold! That because I have told you the truth, because I have loyally sought to instruct you, I am oppressed and persecuted! My heart burns with love for you and you persecute me! Remember! Remember well, whosoever saddens me, saddens my ancestor Muhammad, the glorious Prophet, and whosoever helps me, helps him also. In the name of all that is sacred to you let all those who love the Prophet follow me!'" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 395.)]

No sooner had these words escaped their lips than men and women joined hands in conducting Vahid triumphantly to his home. Wild with excitement and exultant with joy, they pressed round him and, with cheers and acclamations, escorted him to the very entrance of his house.

The few days Vahid consented to tarry in Nayriz were spent mostly in the masjid, where he continued with his customary

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eloquence and without the least reservation to propound the fundamental teachings which he had received from his Master. Every day witnessed an increase in the number of his audience, and from every side evidences of his marvellous influence became more and more manifest.

The fascination which he exerted over the people could not fail to fan to fury the dormant hostility of Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan. He was roused to new exertions, and gave orders that an army be raised for the avowed purpose of eradicating a Cause which he felt was fast undermining his own position. He soon succeeded in recruiting about a thousand men, consisting of both cavalry and infantry, all of whom were well trained in the art of warfare and were equipped with an ample store of munitions. His plan was, by a sudden onset, to make him a prisoner.

Vahid, as soon as he was informed of the designs of the governor, ordered those twenty companions who had left Istahbanat to welcome him, and who had accompanied him as far as Nayriz, to occupy the fort of Khajih, which was situated in the vicinity of the Chinar-Sukhtih quarter. He appointed Shaykh Hadi, son of Shaykh Muhsin, as the leader of the band, and urged his followers who resided in that quarter to fortify the gates, the turrets, and the walls of that stronghold.

The governor had meanwhile transferred his seat to his own house in the Bazar quarter. The force he had raised accompanied him and occupied the fort situated in its vicinity. Its towers and walls, which he began to reinforce, overlooked the whole town. Having compelled Siyyid Abu-Talib, the kad-khuda[1] of that quarter and one of the companions of Vahid, to evacuate his house, he fortified its roof and, stationing upon it a number of his men, under the command of Muhammad-'Ali Khan, he gave orders to open fire upon his adversary. The first to suffer was that same Mulla Abdu'l-Husayn who, despite his advanced age, had walked out to welcome Vahid. He was offering his prayer on the roof of his house when a bullet struck his right foot, causing him to bleed profusely. That cruel blow evoked the sympathy of Vahid, who hastened, in a written message to the sufferer,

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to express his grief at the injury he had sustained, and to cheer him with the thought that he, at this advanced stage of his life, was the first to be chosen to fall a victim in the path of the Cause.

[1 See Glossary.]

The suddenness of the attack dismayed a number of the companions who had hastily embraced the Message and had failed to appreciate its full meaning. Their faith was so severely shaken that a few were induced, in the dead of night, to separate themselves from their companions and join forces with the enemy. Vahid had no sooner been informed of their action than he arose at the hour of dawn and, mounting his steed and accompanied by a number of his supporters, rode out to the fort of Khajih, where he fixed his residence.

His arrival was the signal for a fresh attack upon him. Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan immediately despatched his elder brother, Ali-Asghar Khan, together with a thousand men, all armed and well trained, to lay siege to that fort, in which seventy-two companions had already taken shelter. At the hour of sunrise, a certain number of them, acting in accordance with the instructions or Vahid, sallied forth, and with extraordinary rapidity forced the besiegers to disperse.

No more than three of the companions met their death in the course of that encounter. The first was Taju'd-Din, a man renowned for his fearlessness, whose business was the manufacture of the woollen kulah;[1] the second was Zaynil, son of Iskandar, who was an agriculturist by profession; the third was Mirza Abu'l-Qasim, who was a man of distinguished merit.

[1 See Glossary.]

This complete and sudden rout aroused the apprehensions of Prince Firuz Mirza, the Nusratu'd-Dawlih, governor of Shiraz, who gave orders for the prompt extermination of the occupants of the fort. Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan despatched one of the prince's attendants to Vahid, urging him, in view of the strained relations between them, to depart from Nayriz, in the hope that the mischief that had been kindled might soon be extinguished. "Tell him," replied Vahid, "that my two children, together with their two attendants, are all the company I have with me. If my presence in this town will cause mischief, I am willing to depart why is it that, instead

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of according us the welcome which befits a descendant of the Prophet, he has deprived us of water and has incited his men to besiege and attack us? If he persists in denying us the necessities of life, I warn him that seven of my companions, whom he regards as the most contemptible among men, will inflict upon his combined forces a humiliating defeat."

Finding that Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan ignored his warning, Vahid ordered his companions to emerge from the fort and punish their assailants. With admirable courage and confidence, they succeeded, though extremely young in years, and utterly inexperienced in the use of arms, in demoralising a trained and organised army. Ali-Asghar Khan himself perished, and two of his sons were captured. Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan disgracefully retreated, with what still remained of his scattered forces, to the village of Qutrih, acquainted the prince with the gravity of the situation, and begged him to send immediate reinforcements, stressing in particular the need for heavy artillery and a large detachment of both infantry and cavalry.

Vahid, on his part, finding that the enemy was bent on their extermination, gave orders that the defences of the fort be strengthened, that a water-cistern be constructed within its enclosure, and that the tents they had carried away be pitched outside its gates. That day certain of his companions had assigned to them special functions and duties. Karbila'i Mirza Muhammad was made the gatekeeper of the fort; Shaykh Yusuf, the custodian of the funds; Karbila'i Muhammad, son of Shamsu'd-Din, the superintendent of the gardens adjoining the fort and its barricades; Mirza Ahmad, the uncle of Aliy-i-Sardar, was appointed the officer in charge of the tower of the mill known by the name of Chinar, situated in the vicinity of the fort; Shaykhi-i-Shivih-Kash to be the executioner; Mirza Muhammad-Ja'far, cousin of Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, the chronicler; Mirza Fadlu'llah as the reader of these records; Mashhadi Taqi-Baqqal to be the gaoler; Muhammad Taqi, the registrar; and Ghulam-Riday-i-Yazdi to be the captain of the forces. In addition to the seventy-two companions who were with him within the fort and had accompanied him

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from Istahbanat to Nayriz, Vahid was induced, at the instance of Siyyid Ja'far-i-Yazdi, a well-known divine, and Shaykh Abdu'l-'Ali, Vahid's father-in-law, to admit to the fort a number of the residents of the Bazar quarter, together with several of his own kindred.

Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan again renewed his appeal to the prince, and enclosed this time with his petition, which pleaded for urgent and adequate reinforcements, the sum of five thousand tumans [1] as his personal gift to him. He entrusted his letter to one of his intimate friends, Mulla Baqir, allowed him to mount his own steed, and instructed him to deliver it in person to the prince. He chose him for his intrepidity, his fluency of speech, and tactfulness. Mulla Baqir took an unfrequented route, and after a day's journey reached a place called Hudashtak, in the neighbourhood of which was a fort around which tribes who roved the country sometimes pitched their tents.

[1 See Glossary.]

Mulla Baqir dismounted near one of these tents, and whilst he was talking with its occupants, Haji Siyyid Isma'il, the Shaykhu'l-Islam of Bavanat, arrived. He had obtained leave from Vahid to proceed to his native village on some urgent affair, and to return immediately to Nayriz. After his lunch, he saw that a richly caparisoned horse was tethered to the ropes of one of the neighbouring tents. Being informed that it belonged to one of the friends of Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, who had arrived from Nayriz and was on his way to Shiraz, Haji Siyyid Isma'il, who was a man of exceptional courage, immediately went to that tent, mounted the horse, and, unsheathing his sword, sternly spoke these words to the owner of the tent with whom Mulla Baqir was still conversing: "Arrest this scoundrel, who has fled from before the face of the Sahibu'z-Zaman. [1] Tie his hands and deliver him to me." Affrighted by the words and manner of Haji Mulla Isma'il, the occupants of the tent immediately obeyed. They bound his hands and delivered the rope with which they had tied him to Haji Siyyid Isma'il, who spurred on his charger in the direction of Nayriz and compelled his captive to follow him. At a distance of two farsangs from that town, he reached the village of Rastaq and delivered his

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captive into the hands of its kad-khuda, whose name was Haji Akbar, urging that he be conducted into the presence of Vahid. When brought before him, the latter enquired as to the purpose of his journey to Shiraz, to which he gave a frank and detailed reply. Though Vahid was willing to forgive him, yet Mulla Baqir, by reason of his attitude towards him, was eventually put to death at the hands of the companions.

[1 See Glossary.]

Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, far from relaxing in his determination to solicit the aid he needed from Shiraz, appealed this time with increased vehemence to the prince, begging him to redouble his efforts for the extermination of what he regarded as the gravest menace to the security of his province. Not content with his earnest entreaty, he despatched to Shiraz a number of his trusted men, whom he loaded with presents for the prince, hoping thereby to induce him to act with promptness. In a further effort to ensure the success of his endeavours, he addressed several appeals to the leading ulamas and siyyids of Shiraz, wherein he glaringly misrepresented the aims of Vahid, expatiated upon his subversive activities, and urged them to intercede with the prince and entreat him to expedite the despatch of reinforcements.

The prince readily granted their request. He instructed Abdu'llah Khan, the Shuja'u'l-Mulk, to set out at once for Nayriz, accompanied by the Hamadani and Silakhuri regiments, headed by several officers, and provided with an adequate force of artillery. He, moreover, instructed his representative in Nayriz to recruit all the able-bodied men from the surrounding district, including the villages of Istahbanat, Iraj, Panj-Ma'adin, Qutrih, Bashnih, Dih-Chah, Mushkan, and Rastaq. To these he added the members of the tribe known by the name of Visbaklariyyih, whom he commanded to join the army of Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan.

An innumerable host suddenly surrounded the fort in which Vahid and his companions were besieged, and began to dig trenches around it and to set up barricades along those trenches.[1] No sooner was the work accomplished than they

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opened fire on them. A bullet struck the house on which one of Vahid's attendants was riding as he was keeping watch at the gate. Another bullet followed immediately upon the first, and penetrated the turret above that gate. In the course of that bombardment, one of the companions, aiming with his rifle at the officer in charge of the artillery, shot him dead instantly, as a result of which the roar of the guns was immediately silenced. The assailants meanwhile retreated and hid themselves within their trenches. That night neither the besieged nor those who attacked them ventured to sally forth from their places of shelter.

[1 The author of Nasikhu't Tavarikh affirms without the least sorrow that the imperial troops were poorly trained and not at all eager to fight, so, with no thought of attacking, they established a camp which they hastened to fortify immediately." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 401.)]

The second night, however, Vahid summoned Ghulam-Riday-i-Yazdi and instructed him, together with fourteen of his companions, to sally forth from the fort and drive off the enemy. Those who were called upon to perform that task were for the most part men of advanced age, whom no one would have thought capable of bearing the brunt of so fierce a struggle. Among them was a shoemaker who, though more than ninety years of age, showed such enthusiasm and vigour as no youth could hope to exceed. The rest of the fourteen were mere lads, as yet wholly unprepared to face the perils and endure the strain which such a sally entailed. Age, however, to those heroes, whom a dauntless will and an immovable confidence in the high destiny of their Cause had wholly transformed, mattered but little. They were instructed by their leader to divide immediately after they left the cover of the fort and, raising simultaneously the cry of "Allah-u-Akbar!"[1] to spring into the midst of the enemy.

[1 See Glossary.]

No sooner had the signal been given than they arose and, hurrying to their steeds and rifles, marched out of the gate of the fort. Undaunted by the fire which spouted from the mouths of the cannons and by the bullets which rained upon their heads, they plunged headlong into the midst of their adversaries. This sudden encounter lasted for no less than eight hours, during which that fearless band was able to demonstrate such skill and bravery as amazed the veterans in the ranks of the enemy. From the town of Nayriz, as well as from its surrounding fortifications reinforcements rushed to the aid of the small company that had withstood so valiantly

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the combined forces of a whole army. As the scope of the struggle extended, the voices of the women of Nayriz, who had rushed to the roofs of their houses to acclaim the heroism which was being so strikingly displayed, were raised from every side. Their exulting cheers swelled the roar of the guns, which acquired added intensity by the shout of "Allah-u-Akbar!" which the companions, in a frenzy of excitement, raised amidst that tumult. The uproar caused by their womenfolk, their amazing audacity and self-confidence, utterly demoralised their opponents and paralysed their efforts. The camp of the enemy was desolate and forsaken, and offered a sad spectacle as the victors retraced their steps to the fort. They carried with them, in addition to those who were grievously wounded, no less than sixty dead, among whom were the following:

1. Ghulam-Riday-i-Yazdi (not to be confounded with the captain of the forces who bore the same name),

2. Brother of Ghulam-Riday-i-Yazdi,
3. Ali, son of Khayru'llah,
4. Khajih Husayn-i-Qannad, son of Khajih Ghani,
5. Asghar, son of Mulla Mihdi,
6. Karbila'i Abdu'l-Karim,
7. Husayn, son of Mashhadi Muhammad,

8. Zaynu'l-'Abidin, son of Mashhadi Baqir-i-Sabbagh,

9. Mulla Ja'far-i-Mudhahhib,
10. Abdu'llah, son of Mulla Musa,
11. Muhammad, son of Mashhadi Rajab-i-Haddad,

12. Karbila'i Hasan, son of Karbila'i Shamsu'd-Din-i-Maliki-Duz,

13. Karbila'i Mirza Muhammad-i-Zari',
14. Karbila'i Baqir-i-Kafsh-Duz,
15. Mirza Ahmad, son of Mirza Husayn-i-Kashi-Saz,
16. Mulla Hasan, son of Mulla Abdu'llah,
17. Mashhadi Haji Muhammad,
18. Abu-Talib, son of Mir Ahmad-i-Nukhud-Biriz,
19. Akbar, son of Muhammad-i-'Ashur,
20. Taqiy-i-Yazdi,
21. Mulla Ali, son of Mulla Ja'far,
22. Karbila'i Mirza Husayn,
23. Husayn Khan, son of Sharif,
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24. Karbila'i Qurban,
25. Khajih Kazim, son of Khajih Ali,
26. Aqa, son of Haji Ali,
27. Mirza Nawra, son of Mirza Mu'ina.

So complete a failure convinced Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan and his staff of the futility of their efforts to compel, in an open contest, the submission of their adversaries.[1] As was the case with the army of Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza, who had miserably failed to subdue his opponents fairly in the field, treachery and fraud proved eventually the sole weapons with which a cowardly people could conquer an invincible enemy. By the devices to which Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan and his staff eventually resorted, they betrayed their powerlessness, despite the vast resources at their disposal and the moral support which the governor of Fars and the inhabitants of the whole province had extended to them, to vanquish what to outward appearance seemed but a handful of untrained and contemptible people. In their hearts, they were convinced that behind the walls of that fort were clustered a band of volunteers which no force at their command could face and defeat.

[1 "Although the losses were almost even this time, the imperial troops were none-the-less frightened; things were dragging on and might moreover end in the general confusion of the Mussulmans, so they resolved to resort to 1 deceit." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 403.)]

By raising the cry of peace, they sought, through such base cunning, to beguile those pure and noble hearts. For a few days they suspended all manner of hostility, after which they addressed a solemn and written appeal to the besieged, which in substance ran as follows: "Hitherto, as we were ignorant of the true character of your Faith, we have allowed the mischief-makers to induce us to believe that every one of you has violated the sacred precepts of Islam. Therefore did we arise against you, and have endeavoured to extirpate your Faith. During the last few days, we have been made aware of the fact that your activities are untinged by any political motive, that none of you cherish any inclination to subvert the foundations of the State. We also have been convinced of the fact that your teachings do not involve any grave departure from the fundamental teachings of Islam. All that you seem to uphold is the claim that a man has

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appeared whose words are inspired and whose testimony is certain, and whom all the followers of Islam must recognize and support. We can in no wise be convinced of the validity of this claim unless you consent to repose the utmost confidence in our sincerity, and accept our request to allow certain of your representatives to emerge from the fort and meet us in this camp, where we can, within the space of a few days, ascertain the character of your belief. If you prove yourselves able to demonstrate the true claims of your Faith, we too will readily embrace it, for we are not the enemies Truth, and none of us wish to deny it. Your leader we have always recognized as one of the ablest champions of Islam, and we regard him as our example and guide. This Quran, to which we affix our seals, is the witness to the integrity of our purpose. Let that holy Book decide whether the claim you advance is true or false. The malediction of God and His Prophet rest upon us if we should attempt to deceive you. Your acceptance of our invitation will save a whole army from destruction, whilst your refusal will leave them in suspense and doubt. We pledge our word that as soon as we are convinced of the truth of your Message, we shall strive to display the same zeal and devotion you already have so strikingly manifested. Your friends will be our friends, and your enemies our enemies. Whatever your leader may choose to command, the same we pledge ourselves to obey. On the other hand, if we fail to be convinced of the truth of your claim, we solemnly promise that we shall in no wise interfere with your safe return to the fort, and shall be willing to resume our contest against you. We entreat you to refuse to shed more blood before attempting to establish the truth of your Cause."

Vahid received the Quran with great reverence and kissed it devoutly. "Our appointed hour has struck," he remarked. "Our acceptance of their invitation will surely make them feel the baseness of their treachery." "Though I am well aware of their designs," he added, as he turned to his companions, "I feel it my duty to accept their call and take the opportunity to attempt once again to unfold the verities of my beloved Faith." He bade them continue to discharge their duties, and place no reliance whatever on

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what their adversaries might profess to believe. He, moreover, ordered them to suspend all manner of hostilities until further notice from him.

With these words he bade farewell to his companions and, accompanied by five attendants, among whom were Mulla Aliy-i-Mudhahhib and the treacherous Haji Siyyid Abid, set out for the camp of the enemy. Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, accompanied by Shuja'u'l-Mulk and all the members of his staff, came out to welcome him. They ceremoniously received him, conducted him to a tent that had been specially pitched for his reception, and introduced him to the rest of the officers. He seated himself upon a chair, while the rest of the company, with the exception of Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, Shuja'u'l-Mulk, and another officer, whom he motioned to be seated, all stood before him. The words in which he addressed them were such that even a stone-hearted man could not fail to feel their power. Bahá'u'lláh, in the "Suriy-Sabr," has immortalised that noble appeal and revealed the full measure of its significance. "I am come to you," Vahid declared, "armed with the testimony with which my Lord has entrusted me. Am I not a descendant of the Prophet of God? Wherefore should you have risen to slay me? For what reason have you pronounced my death-sentence, and refused to recognize the undoubted rights with which my lineage has invested me?"

The majesty of his bearing, combined with his penetrating eloquence, confounded his hearers. For three days and three nights, they lavishly entertained him and treated him with marked respect. In their congregational prayer, they invariably followed his lead, and attentively listened to his discourse. Though outwardly they seemed to be bowing to his will, yet they were secretly plotting against his life and were conspiring to exterminate the remnant of his companions. They knew full well that, were they to inflict upon him the least injury while his companions remained entrenched behind the walls of their fort, they would be exposing themselves to a peril still greater than the one they had already been compelled to face. They trembled at the fury and vengeance of their women no less than at the bravery and skill of their men. They realised that all the resources of

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the army had been powerless to subdue a handful of immature lads and decrepit old men. Nothing short of a bold and well-conceived stratagem could ensure their ultimate victory. The fear that filled their hearts was to a great extent inspired by the words of Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, who, with unrelaxing determination, sought to maintain undiminished the hatred with which he had inflamed their souls. Vahid's repeated exhortations had aroused his apprehensions lest he should succeed, by the magic of his words, in inducing them to transfer their allegiance to so eloquent an opponent.

Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan and his friends at last decided to request Vahid to address in his own handwriting a message to his companions who were still within the fort, to inform them that an amicable settlement of their differences had been effected, and to urge them either to join him at the headquarters of the army or to return to their homes. Though reluctant to give his assent to such a request, Vahid was eventually forced to submit. In addition to this message, he confidentially informed his companions, in a second letter, of the evil designs of the enemy, and warned them not to allow themselves to be deceived. He entrusted both letters to Haji Siyyid Abid, instructing him to destroy the former and deliver the latter to his companions. He charged him, moreover, to urge them to choose the ablest among their number, and to sally forth in the dead of night and scatter the forces of the enemy.

No sooner had Haji Siyyid Abid received these directions than he treacherously communicated them to Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan. The latter immediately sought to induce him to urge the occupants of the fort, in the name of their leader, to disperse, promising that he would in return abundantly reward him. The disloyal messenger delivered the first letter to Vahid's companions, and informed them that their leader had succeeded in winning over to his Faith the entire army, and that in view of this conversion he had advised them to leave for their homes.

Though extremely bewildered by such a message, the companions felt unable to disregard the wishes Vahid had so clearly expressed. They reluctantly dispersed, leaving all the fortifications unguarded. Obedient to the commands

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written by their leader, several of them discarded their arms, and directed their steps towards Nayriz.

Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, anticipating the immediate evacuation of the fort, despatched a detachment of his forces to intercept their entry into the town. They were soon encompassed by a multitude of armed men, who were being continually reinforced from the army's headquarters. Finding themselves thus unexpectedly hemmed in, they determined by every means in their power to repulse the attack and gain the Masjid-i-Jami' as swiftly as possible. By the aid of swords and rifles which some of them were carrying, others with sticks and stones only, they sought to force their way to the town. The cry of "Allah-u-Akbar!"[1] rose again, fiercer and more compelling than ever. A few among them suffered martyrdom, as they forced their way through the ranks of their treacherous assailants. The rest, though wounded and harassed by fresh reinforcements which had beset them from every side, eventually succeeded in attaining the shelter of the masjid.

[1 See Glossary.]

Meanwhile the notorious Mulla Hasan, the son of Mulla Muhammad-'Ali, an officer in the army of Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, succeeded, together with his men, in outdistancing his opponents and, concealing himself in one of the minarets of that masjid, lay in wait for the fugitives. No sooner had the scattered band approached the masjid than he opened fire upon them. A certain Mulla Husayn recognized him and, raising the cry of "Allah-u-Akbar!" scaled the minaret, aimed his rifle at that cowardly officer, and hurled him to the ground. His friends carried him away to a place where he was enabled to recover from his wound.

The companions, unable any longer to obtain shelter in the masjid, were compelled to hide in whatever place of safety they could find, until such time as they might ascertain the fate of their leader. Their first thought after their betrayal was to seek his presence and follow whatever instructions he might wish to give them. They were, however, unable to discover what had befallen him, and trembled at the thought that he might have been put to death.

Meanwhile Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan and his staff, emboldened

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by the dispersal of the companions, were strenuously exerting themselves to discover means whereby they could evade the obligations of their solemn oath and proceed unhindered to slay their chief opponent. They endeavoured by some specious device to set aside their sacred promises and to hasten the fulfilment of a long-cherished desire. In the midst of their deliberations, Abbas-Quli Khan, a man notorious for his ruthlessness and cruelty, assured his comrades that if the thought of having taken that oath perplexed them, he himself had in no wise participated in that declaration, and was ready to execute what they felt unable to perform. "I can arrest at any time," he burst forth in a fit of indignation, "and put to death whomever I deem guilty of having violated the laws of the land." He immediately afterwards called upon all those whose kinsmen had perished to execute the sentence of death pronounced against Vahid. The first to present himself was Mulla Rida, whose brother Mulla Baqir had been captured by the Shaykhu'l-Islam of Bavanat; the next was a man named Safar, whose brother Sha'ban had perished; the third was Aqa Khan, whose father, Ali-Asghar Khan, elder brother of Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, had suffered the same fate.

In their eagerness to carry out the suggestion of Abbas-Quli Khan, these men snatched the turban from the head of Vahid, wound it around his neck, and, binding him to a horse, dragged him ignominiously through the streets.[1] The indignities that were heaped upon him reminded those who witnessed that awful spectacle of the tragic end of the Imam Husayn, whose body was abandoned to the mercy of an infuriated enemy, and upon which a multitude of horsemen pitilessly trampled. The women or Nayriz, stirred to the highest pitch of excitement by the shouts of triumph which a murderous enemy was raising, pressed from every side around the corpse, and, to the accompaniment of drums and cymbals, gave free vent to their feelings of unrestrained fanaticism.

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They danced merrily around it, scornful of the words which Vahid, in the midst of his agony, had spoken, words which the Imam Husayn, in a former age and in similar circumstances, had uttered: "Thou knowest, O my Beloved, that I have abandoned the world for Thy sake, and have placed my trust in Thee alone. I am impatient to hasten to Thee, for the beauty of Thy countenance has been unveiled to my eyes. Thou dost witness the evil designs which my wicked persecutor has cherished against me. Nay, never will I submit to his wishes or pledge my allegiance to him."

[1 "He took hold of the green belt of Yahya, symbol of his holy ancestry, tied it in a knot about his neck and began to drag him on the ground. Then came Safar whose brother Sha'ban had fallen during the war, then Aqa Jan, son of Ali-Asghar Khan, brother of Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, and the Muhammadans, aroused by the scene, stoned and beat to death the unfortunate man. They then severed the head, tore off the skin, stuffed it with straw and sent that trophy to Shiraz!" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 406.)]

Thus was brought to an end a noble and heroic life. Such an eventful and brilliant career, distinguished by such vast learning,[1] such dauntless courage, and so rare a spirit of self-sacrifice, surely required for crown a death as glorious as that which completed his martyrdom.[2] The extinction of that life was the signal for a fierce onslaught on the lives and property of those who had identified themselves with his Faith. No less than five thousand men were commissioned for that villainous task. The men were seized, chained, ill-treated, and eventually slaughtered. The women and children were captured and subjected to brutalities which no pen dare describe. Their property was confiscated, and their houses were destroyed. The fort of Khajih was burned to the ground. The majority of the men were first conducted in chains to Shiraz, and there, for the most part, suffered a cruel death.[3] Those whom Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, for purposes

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of personal benefit, had plunged into dark and subterranean dungeons were, as soon as his object had been achieved, delivered into the hands of his myrmidons, who perpetrated upon them acts of unspeakable cruelty.[4] They were paraded at first through the streets of Nayriz, after which they were subjected to atrocious treatment in the hope of extracting from them whatever material advantage their persecutors had hitherto been unable to obtain. These having satisfied their greed, each victim was made to suffer an agonising death. Every instrument of torture their executioners could devise was utilised to quench their thirst for revenge. They were branded, their nails were pulled out, their bodies were lashed, an incision was made in the nose through which a string was driven, nails were hammered into their hands and feet, and in that piteous state each of them was dragged through the streets, an object of contempt and derision to all the people.

[1 According to `Abdu'l-Bahá'í testimony, he had committed to memory no less than thirty thousand traditions. (Manuscript entitled "Bahá'í Martyrs".)]

[2 Bahá'u'lláh refers to him as "that unique and peerless figure of his age." (The "Kitáb-i-Iqan," p. 188.) The Báb, in the "Dala'il-i-Sab'ih," refers to him in the following terms: 'Behold again the number of the name of God (Siyyid Yahya)! This man was living a holy, peaceful life in such a way that no one could deny his talents or his sanctity, all admired his greatness in the sciences and the heights he had attained in philosophy. Refer to the commentary of the Suratu'l-Kawthar (Quran: S. 108) and to the other treatises written for him, which prove how high a place he occupies in the sight of God!'" ("Le Livre des Sept Preuves," translated by A. L. M. Nicolas, pp. 54-55.)]

[3 "Siyyid Yahya was strangled with his own girdle by one whose two brothers had been killed during the siege, and the other Bábis likewise died by the hands of the executioner. The heads of the victims were stuffed with straw, and bearing with them these grim trophies of their prowess, together with some forty or fifty Bábi women and one child of tender age as captives, the victorious army returned to Shiraz. Their entry into that city was made the occasion of general rejoicing; the captives were paraded through the streets and bazaars and finally brought before Prince Firuz Mirza, who was feasting in a summer-house called Kulah-i-Farangi. In his presence Mihr-'Ali Khan, Mirza Na'im, and the other officers recounted the details of their victory, and received congratulations and marks of favour. The captive women were finally imprisoned in an old caravanserai outside the Isfahan gate. What treatment they experienced at the hands of their captors is left to our conjecture." ("A Traveller's Narrative," Note H, p. 190.) "This day was a fete day, so an eye witness tells us. The inhabitants were scattered about through the countryside, bringing with them their food and many among them drinking, on the sly, whole bottles of wine. The air was filled with musical strains, the songs of musicians, the screaming and laughter of the lewd women. The bazaars were adorned with flags joy was general. Suddenly there was absolute silence. They saw coming thirty-two camels, each carrying an unfortunate prisoner, a woman or a child, bound and thrown crosswise over the saddle like a bundle. All around them were soldiers carrying long lances and upon each lance was impaled the head of a Bábi who had been slain at Nayriz. The hideousness of the sight deeply affected the holiday population of Shiraz and they returned, saddened, to their dwellings. "The horrible caravan passed through the bazaars and continued to the palace of the governor. This personage was in his garden where he had gathered in his kiosk (called Kulah-i-Farangi) the rich, the eminent citizens of Shiraz. The music ceased, the dancing stopped and Muhammad-'Ali-Khan as well as Mirza Na'im, two small tribal chiefs who had taken part in the campaign, came to tell of their brave deeds and to name one by one the prisoners." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 407.)]

[4 "It would seem, alas, that all this bloodshed would have been sufficient to appease the hatred and the lust of the Muhammadans. Not at all! Mirza Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, finding himself threatened with a desire for revenge on those he had betrayed and vanquished, gave neither truce nor rest to the surviving ones of the sect. His hatred knew no bounds and it was to last as long as he lived. It was actually the very poor that had been sent to Shiraz, the rich had been kept back. Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan had entrusted them to a guard who was ordered to walk them through the city beating them as they went. The people of Nayriz were greatly entertained that time. They hung The Bábi's by four nails and everyone came to gloat over their anguish. They placed burning weeds under the nails of these unfortunate martyrs, they branded them with hot irons, they deprived them of bread and water, they cut holes through their noses, and running through them a cord they led them as one would a bear!" (Ibid., p. 408.)]

Among them was a certain Siyyid Ja'far-i-Yazdi, who in former days had exercised immense influence and had been

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greatly honoured by the people. So great was the respect they owed him that Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan gave him precedence over himself and treated him with extreme deference and courtesy. He gave orders that the turban of that same man be befouled and flung into the fire. Shorn of the emblem of his lineage, he was exposed to the eyes or the public, who marched before him and overwhelmed him with abuse and ridicule.[1]

[1 "Aqa Siyyid Ja'far-i-Yazdi saw the executioners burn his turban and then they took him from door to door making him beg for money." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 408.)]

Another victim of their tyranny was Haji Muhammad-Taqi, who had enjoyed, in days past, such a reputation for honesty and justice that his opinion was invariably regarded by the judges of the court as the determining word in their judgment. So great and esteemed a man was, in the depth of winter, stripped of his clothes, thrown into a pond, and lashed severely. Siyyid Ja'far and Shaykh Abdu'l-'Ali, who

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was Vahid's father-in-law and the leading divine of Nayriz, as well as a judge of great reputation, together with Siyyid Husayn, one of the notables of the town, were doomed to suffer the same fate. While they were exposed to the cold, the scum of the people was hired to heap upon their shivering bodies abominable cruelties. Many a poor man, who hastened to obtain the reward promised for this vile deed, revolted when informed of the nature of the task he was called upon to perform, and, rejecting the money, turned away with loathing and contempt.[1]

[1 "Aqa Siyyid Abu-Talib, who was very wealthy, was bound with chains and sent by the governor of Nayriz to Ma'dan, and there poisoned by Haji Mirza Nasir, the same man who had ordered The Báb to kiss the hand of Shaykh Abu-Turab. Two Bábi women, rather than be taken prisoners, threw themselves in a well and perished. Some Bábi's, eager to see Mirza Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan punished, started for Tihran to protest to his Majesty against the atrocities which had been committed. They were but two or three stations away from the capital and, after the fatigue of the journey, were enjoying a little rest, when a caravan of Shirazi people went by and recognized them. They were all arrested except Zaynu'l-'Abidin who succeeded in reaching Tihran. The others were taken to Shiraz where the Prince immediately ordered them executed, and so these men, Karbila'i Abu'l-Hasan, a dealer in crockery, Aqa Shaykh Hadi, uncle of the wife of Vahid, Mirza Ali and Abu'l-Qasim-ibn-i-Haji-Zayna, Akbar-ibn-i-'Abid, Mirza Hasan and his brother Mirza Bába all died for their faith at this time. (Ibid., pp. 408-409.)]

The day of Vahid's martyrdom was the eighteenth of the month of Sha'ban, in the year 1266 A.H. Ten days later, The Báb was shot in Tabriz.

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THE tale of the tragedy that marked the closing stages of the Nayriz upheaval spread over the length and breadth of Persia and kindled a startling enthusiasm in the hearts of those who heard it. It plunged the authorities of the capital into consternation and nerved them to a resolve of despair. The Amir-Nizam, the Grand Vazir of Nasiri'd-Din Shah, was particularly overawed by these recurrent manifestations of an indomitable will, of a fierce and inflexible tenacity of faith. Though the forces of the imperial army had everywhere triumphed, though the companions of Mulla Husayn and Vahid had successively been mowed down in a ruthless carnage at the hands of its officers, yet to the shrewd minds of the rulers of Tihran it was clear and evident that

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the spirit responsible for such rare heroism was by no means vanquished, that its might was far from broken. The loyalty which the remnants of that scattered band bore to their captive Leader still remained unimpaired. Nothing had as yet been successful, despite the appalling losses they had sustained, in sapping that loyalty or in undermining that faith. Far from being extinguished, that spirit had blazed more intense and devastating than ever. Galled by the memory of the indignities they had suffered, that persecuted band clung ever more passionately to its Faith and looked with increasing fervour and hope to its Leader.[1] Above all, He who had kindled that flame and nourished that spirit was still alive, and, despite His isolation, was able to exercise the full measure of His influence. Even a sleepless vigilance had been powerless to stem the tide that had swept over the entire face of the land, and which had as its motive force the continued existence of The Báb. Extinguish that light, choke the stream at its very source, and the torrent that had brought so much devastation in its wake would run dry. Such was the thought that swayed the Grand Vazir of Nasiri'd-Din Shah. To do Him to death seemed to that foolish minister the most efficacious means for the recovery of his country from the shame into which he thought it had sunk.[2]

[1 "It was only too well known that Bábi's were to be found everywhere. Persia was full of them and, if the minds concerned about transcendental questions, if the philosophers in search of new formulas, if the bruised souls shocked by the injustices and weaknesses of the present day--had given themselves up eagerly to the thought and to the promises of a new and more satisfactory world order, one could properly think that the turbulent imaginations eager for action, even at the price of failure, the brave and militant hearts, and finally the daring and ambitious would easily be tempted to throw themselves in with an army which revealed itself so well supplied with soldiers fit to constitute dauntless battalions. "Mirza Taqi Khan, cursing the laxity with which his predecessor Haji Mirza Aqasi had allowed so great a peril to grow, realized that this weak policy should not continue and decided to destroy the evil to its very roots. He became convinced that the main cause was The Báb himself, father of all the doctrines which were arousing the people, and he decided to remove that cause." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 210-11.)

[2 "In the meantime, Haji Mirza Taqi resolved to strike at the very head of this monster of Bábism and he imagined that, after such a blow which would definitely remove the instigator of that agitation and silence his appeal, the old order would be restored. Nevertheless, strange phenomenon in an Asiatic government, and especially in a statesmen like Mirza Taqi Khan who could indulge in excessive severity without scruple, this minister did not order the death of the reformer! He thought that the most effective way to destroy him was to ruin him morally; to bring him out of his retreat in Chihriq where a halo of suffering, holiness, science and eloquence made him radiate like a sun; to show him to the people just as he was--that is to say, just as he thought he was--was the best way to render him harmless by destroying his prestige. "He was picturing him as a vulgar charlatan, a weak dreamer who did not have courage enough to conceive, still less to direct the daring enterprises of his three apostles, or even to take part in them. Such a man, taken to Tihran and brought face to face with the most subtle dialecticians of Islam, could not but surrender shamefully. His influence would vanish the more rapidly than if while destroying his body, one allowed to linger in the minds of the people the phantom of a superiority which death would have consecrated. It was therefore decided to arrest him and bring him to Tihran and, on the way, to exhibit him publicly in chains and humiliated; to make him debate everywhere with the Mullas, silencing him whenever he would become too audacious; briefly, to engage him in a series of unequal encounters in which he would inevitably meet defeat, as he would have been previously demoralized and heartbroken. It was a lion that they were eager to unnerve, hold in chains and strip of claws and teeth, then turn him over to the dogs to show how easily they could overpower him. Once defeated, his ultimate fate was of little importance. "This plan was not devoid of sense, but it rested upon premises which were far from proven. It was not enough to imagine that The Báb was without courage and firmness, it was necessary that he be really so. But his conduct in the fort of Chihriq gave no such evidence. He prayed and worked unceasingly. His meekness was unfailing. Those who came near him felt in spite of themselves the fascinating influence of his personality, of his manner and of his speech. His guards were not free from that weakness. He (The Báb) felt that his death was near and he would frequently refer to it as to a thought that was not only familiar but even pleasant. Suppose, for a moment, that thus exhibited throughout Persia he would still remain undaunted? Suppose he would display neither arrogance nor fear but would rise far above his misfortune? Suppose that he succeeded in throwing into confusion the learned, subtle, and eloquent doctors arraigned against him? Suppose he would remain more than ever The Báb for his old followers and become so for the indifferent and even for his enemies? It was risking much in order to gain much, without doubt, but also perhaps to lose much and, after having weighed the matter with care, they dared not take the chance." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 211-213.)

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Bestirred to action, he summoned his counsellors, shared with them his fears and his hopes, and acquainted them with the nature of his plans. "Behold," he exclaimed, "the storm which the Faith of the Siyyid-i-Báb has provoked in the hearts of my fellow-countrymen! Nothing short of his public execution can, to my mind, enable this distracted country to recover its tranquillity and peace. Who dare compute the forces that have perished in the course of the engagements at Shaykh Tabarsi? Who can estimate the efforts exerted to secure that victory? No sooner had the mischief that convulsed Mazindaran been suppressed, than the flames of another sedition blazed forth in the province of Fars, bringing in its wake so much suffering to my people. We had no sooner succeeded in quelling the revolt that had ravaged the south, than another insurrection breaks out in the north, sweeping in its vortex Zanjan and its surroundings. If you are able to advise a remedy, acquaint me with it, for my sole purpose is to ensure the peace and honour of my countrymen."

Not a single voice dared venture a reply, except that of Mirza Aqa Khani-i-Nuri, the Minister of War, who pleaded

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that to put to death a banished siyyid for the deeds committed by a band of irresponsible agitators would be an act of manifest cruelty. He recalled the example of the late Muhammad Shah, whose invariable practice it had been to disregard the base calumnies the enemies of that siyyid brought continually to his attention. The Amir-Nizam was sorely displeased. "Such considerations," he protested, "are wholly irrelevant to the issue with which we are faced. The interests of the State are in jeopardy, and we can in no wise tolerate these periodic upheavals. Was not the Imam Husayn, in view of the paramount necessity for safeguarding the unity of the State, executed by those same persons who had seen him more than once receive marks of exceptional affection from Muhammad, his Grandfather? Did they not in such circumstances refuse to consider the rights which his lineage had conferred upon him? Nothing short of the remedy I advocate can uproot this evil and bring us the peace for which we long."

Disregarding the advice of his counsellor, the Amir-Nizam despatched his orders to Navvab Hamzih Mirza, the governor of Adhirbayjan, who was distinguished among the princes of royal blood for his kind-heartedness and rectitude of conduct, to summon The Báb to Tabriz.[1] He was careful not to divulge to the prince his real purpose. The Navvab, assuming that the intention of the minister was to enable his Captive to return to His home, immediately directed one of his trusted officers, together with a mounted escort, to proceed to Chihriq, where The Báb still lay confined, and to bring Him back to Tabriz. He recommended Him to their care, urging them to exercise towards Him the utmost consideration.

Forty days before the arrival of that officer at Chihriq, The Báb collected all the documents and Tablets in His possession and, placing them, with His pen-case, His seals, and agate rings, in a coffer, entrusted them to the care of Mulla Baqir, one of the Letters of the Living. To him He also delivered a letter addressed to Mirza Ahmad, His amanuensis,

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in which He enclosed the key to that coffer. He urged him to take the utmost care of that trust, emphasised the sacredness of its character, and bade him conceal its contents from anyone except Mirza Ahmad.

[1 "The prime minister, having summoned Sulayman Khan, the Afshar, asked him to carry to Tabriz, to the Prince Hamzih Mirza, governor of Adhirbayjan, the order to take The Báb out of the fort of Chihriq and to imprison him in the citadel of Tabriz where he would later be apprised of his fate." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 213.)]

Mulla Baqir departed forthwith for Qazvin. Within eighteen days he reached that town and was informed that Mirza Ahmad had departed for Qum. He left immediately for that destination and arrived towards the middle of the month of Sha'ban.[1] I was then in Qum, together with a certain Sadiq-i-Tabrizi, whom Mirza Ahmad had sent to fetch me from Zarand. I was living in the same house with Mirza Ahmad, a house which he had hired in the Bagh-Panbih quarter. In those days Shaykh Azim, Siyyid Isma'il, and a number of other companions likewise were dwelling with us. Mulla Baqir delivered the trust into the hands of Mirza Ahmad, who, at the insistence of Shaykh Azim, opened it before us. We marvelled when we beheld, among the things which that coffer contained, a scroll of blue paper, of the most delicate texture, on which The Báb, in His own exquisite handwriting, which was a fine shikastih script, had penned, in the form of a pentacle, what numbered about five hundred verses, all consisting of derivatives from the word "Baha."[2] That scroll was in a state of perfect preservation, was spotlessly clean, and gave the impression, at first sight, of being a printed rather than a written page. So fine and intricate was the penmanship that, viewed at a distance, the writing appeared as a single wash of ink on the paper. We were overcome with admiration as we gazed upon a masterpiece which no calligraphist, we believed, could rival. That scroll was replaced in the coffer and handed back to Mirza Ahmad, who, on the very day he received it, proceeded to Tihran. Ere he departed, he informed us that all he could divulge of that letter was the injunction that the trust was to be delivered into the hands of Jinab-i-Baha[3] in Tihran.[4]

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As to me, I was instructed by Mirza Ahmad to proceed to Zarand and join my father, who anxiously awaited my return.

[1 June 12-July 11, 1850 A.D.]

[2 According to "A Traveller's Narrative" (p. 42), The Báb had produced no less than three hundred and sixty derivatives from the word "Baha."]

[3 Title by which Bahá'u'lláh was designated in those days.]

[4 "The end of The Báb's earthly Manifestation is now close upon us. He knew it himself before the event, and was not displeased at the presentiment. He had already 'set his house in order,' as regards the spiritual affairs of The Bábi community, which he had, if I mistake not, confided to the intuitive wisdom of Bahá'u'lláh.... It is impossible not to feel that this is far more probable than the view which makes Subh-i-Azal the custodian of the sacred writings and the arranger of a resting-place for the sacred remains. I much fear that the Azali's have manipulated tradition in the interest of their party." (Dr. T. K. Cheyne's "The Reconciliation of Races and Religions," pp. 65-6.)]

Faithful to the instructions he had received from Navvab Hamzih Mirza, that officer conducted The Báb to Tabriz and showed Him the utmost respect and consideration. The prince had instructed one of his friends to accommodate Him in his home and to treat Him with extreme deference. Three days after The Báb's arrival, a fresh order was received from the Grand Vazir, commanding the prince to carry out the execution of his Prisoner on the very day the farman [1] would reach him. Whoever would profess himself His follower was likewise to be condemned to death. The Armenian regiment of Urumiyyih, whose colonel was Sam Khan, was ordered to shoot Him, in the courtyard of the barracks of Tabriz, which were situated in the centre of the city.

[1 See Glossary.]

The prince expressed his consternation to the bearer of the farman, Mirza Hasan Khan, the Vazir-Nizam and brother of the Grand Vazir. "The Amir," he told him, "would do better to entrust me with services of greater merit than the one with which he has now commissioned me. The task I am called upon to perform is a task that only ignoble people would accept. I am neither Ibn-i-Ziyad nor Ibn-i-Sa'd [1] that he should call upon me to slay an innocent descendant of the Prophet of God." Mirza Hasan Khan reported these sayings of the prince to his brother, who thereupon ordered him to follow, himself, without delay and in their entirety, the instructions he had already given. "Relieve us," the Vazir urged his brother, "from this anxiety that weighs upon our hearts, and let this affair be brought to an end ere the month of Ramadan breaks upon us, that we may enter the period of fasting with undisturbed tranquillity." Mirza Hasan Khan attempted to acquaint the prince with these fresh instructions, but failed in his efforts, as the prince, pretending to be ill, refused to meet him. Undeterred by this refusal, he issued his instructions for the immediate transfer of The Báb and those in His company from the house

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in which He was staying to one of the rooms of the barracks. He, moreover, directed Sam Khan to despatch ten of his men to guard the entrance of the room in which He was to be confined.

[1 Persecutors of the descendants of Muhammad.]

Deprived of His turban and sash, the twin emblems of His noble lineage, The Báb, together with Siyyid Husayn, His amanuensis, was driven to yet another confinement which He well knew was but a step further on the way leading Him to the goal He had set Himself to attain. That day witnessed a tremendous commotion in the city of Tabriz. The great convulsion associated in the ideas of its inhabitants with the Day of Judgment seemed at last to have come upon them. Never had that city experienced a turmoil so fierce and so mysterious as the one which seized its inhabitants on the day The Báb was led to that place which was to be the scene of His martyrdom. As He approached the courtyard of the barracks, a youth suddenly leaped forward who, in his eagerness to overtake Him, had forced his way through the crowd, utterly ignoring the risks and perils which such an attempt might involve. His face was haggard, his feet were bare, and his hair dishevelled. Breathless with excitement and exhausted with fatigue, he flung himself at the feet of The Báb and, seizing the hem of His garment, passionately implored Him: "Send me not from Thee, O Master. Wherever Thou goest, suffer me to follow Thee." "Muhammad-'Ali," answered The Báb, "arise, and rest assured that you will be with Me.[1] To-morrow you shall witness what God has decreed." Two other companions, unable to contain themselves, rushed forward and assured Him of their unalterable loyalty. These, together with Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Zunuzi, were seized and placed in the same cell in which The Báb and Siyyid Husayn were confined.

[1 "It is no doubt a singular coincidence that both Ali-Muhammad and Jesus Christ are reported to have addressed these words to a disciple: 'To-day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.'" (Dr. T. K. Cheyne's "The Reconciliation of Races and Religions," p. 185.)]

I have heard Siyyid Husayn bear witness to the following: "That night the face of The Báb was aglow with joy, a joy such as had never shone from His countenance. Indifferent to the storm that raged about Him, He conversed with us with gaiety and cheerfulness. The sorrows that had weighed

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so heavily upon Him seemed to have completely vanished. Their weight appeared to have dissolved in the consciousness of approaching victory. 'To-morrow,' He said to us, 'will be the day of My martyrdom. Would that one of you might now arise and, with his own hands, end My life. I prefer to be slain by the hand of a friend rather than by that of the enemy.' Tears rained from our eyes as we heard Him express that wish. We shrank, however, at the thought of taking away with our own hands so precious a life. We refused, and remained silent. Mirza Muhammad-'Ali suddenly sprang to his feet and announced himself ready to obey whatever The Báb might desire. This same youth who has risen to comply with My wish,' The Báb declared, as soon as we had intervened and forced him to abandon that thought, 'will, together with Me, suffer martyrdom. Him will I choose to share with Me its crown.'"

Early in the morning, Mirza Hasan Khan ordered his farrash-bashi [1] to conduct The Báb into the presence of the leading mujtahids of the city and to obtain from them the authorisation required for His execution.[2] As The Báb was leaving the barracks, Siyyid Husayn asked Him what he should do. "Confess not your faith," He advised him. "Thereby you will be enabled, when the hour comes, to convey to those who are destined to hear you, the things of which you alone are aware." He was engaged in a confidential conversation with him when the farrash-bashi suddenly

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interrupted and, holding Siyyid Husayn by the hand, drew him aside and severely rebuked him. "Not until I have said to him all those things that I wish to say," The Báb warned the farrash-bashi, "can any earthly power silence Me. Though all the world be armed against Me, yet shall they be powerless to deter Me from fulfilling, to the last word, My intention." The farrash-bashi was amazed at such a bold assertion. He made, however, no reply, and bade Siyyid Husayn arise and follow him.

[1 See Glossary.]

[2 "On the following day, early in the morning, the people of Hamzih Mirza, having opened the doors of the prison, brought out The Báb and his disciples. They made sure that the irons which they had around their necks and on their wrists were secure; they tied to the iron collar of each one a long cord the end of which was held by a farrash. Then, so that everyone could see them well and recognize them, they walked them about the town, through the streets and the bazaars, overwhelming them with blows and insults. The crowd filled the streets and the people climbed upon each others' shoulders better to see this man who was so much talked about. The Bábi's, scattered in all directions, were trying to arouse among some of the onlookers a little pity or some feeling of sympathy which might have helped them to save their Master. The indifferent ones, the philosophers, the Shaykhis, the Sufis, turned away from the sight with disgust and returned to their houses, or on the contrary waited for The Báb at a street corner and simply watched him with silent curiosity. The tattered crowd, restless and excitable, flung insulting words at the three martyrs, but they were all ready to change their minds with any sudden change of circumstances. "Finally, the victorious Muhammadans pursued the prisoners with insults, tried to break through the guard in order to strike them in the face or on the head and when they succeeded, or when a missile thrown by some child would strike The Báb or one of his companions in the face, the guard and the crowd would burst into laughter." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 220.)]

When Mirza Muhammad-'Ali was ushered into the presence of the mujtahids, he was repeatedly urged, in view of the position which his stepfather, Siyyid Aliy-i-Zunuzi, occupied, to recant his faith. "Never," he exclaimed, "will I renounce my Master. He is the essence of my faith, and the object of my truest adoration. In Him I have found my paradise, and in the observance of His law I recognize the ark of my salvation." "Hold your peace!" thundered Mulla Muhammad-i-Mamaqani, before whom that youth was brought. "Such words betray your madness; I can well excuse the words for which you are not responsible." "I am not mad," he retorted. "Such a charge should rather be brought against you who have sentenced to death a man no less holy than the promised Qa'im. He is not a fool who

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has embraced His Faith and is longing to shed his blood in His path.

The Báb was, in His turn, brought before Mulla Muhammad-i-Mamaqani. No sooner had he recognized Him than he seized the death-warrant he himself had previously written and, handing it to his attendant, bade him deliver it to the farrash-bashi. "No need," he cried, "to bring the Siyyid-i-Báb into my presence. This death-warrant I penned the very day I met him at the gathering presided over by the Vali-'Ahd. He surely is the same man whom I saw on that occasion, and has not, in the meantime, surrendered any of his claims."

From thence The Báb was conducted to the house of Mirza Baqir, the son of Mirza Ahmad, to whom he had recently succeeded. When they arrived, they found his attendant standing at the gate and holding in his hand The Báb's death-warrant. "No need to enter," he told them. "My master is already satisfied that his father was right in pronouncing the sentence of death. He can do no better than follow his example."

Mulla Murtada-Quli, following in the footsteps of the other two mujtahids, had previously issued his own written testimony and refused to meet face to face his dreaded opponent. No sooner had the farrash-bashi secured the necessary documents than he delivered his Captive into the hands of Sam Khan, assuring him that he could proceed with his task now that he had obtained the sanction of the civil and ecclesiastical authorities of the realm.

Siyyid Husayn had remained confined in the same room in which he had spent the previous night with The Báb. They were proceeding to place Mirza Muhammad-'Ali in that same room, when he burst forth into tears and entreated them to allow him to remain with his Master. He was delivered into the hands of Sam Khan, who was ordered to execute him also, if he persisted in his refusal to deny his Faith.

Sam Khan was, in the meantime, finding himself increasingly affected by the behaviour of his Captive and the treatment that had been meted out to Him. He was seized with great fear lest his action should bring upon him the

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wrath of God. "I profess the Christian Faith," he explained to The Báb, "and entertain no ill will against you. If your Cause be the Cause of Truth, enable me to free myself from the obligation to shed your blood." "Follow your instructions," The Báb replied, "and if your intention be sincere, the Almighty is surely able to relieve you from your perplexity."

Sam Khan ordered his men to drive a nail into the pillar that lay between the door of the room that Siyyid Husayn occupied and the entrance to the adjoining one, and to make fast two ropes to that nail, from which The Báb and His companion were to be separately suspended.[1] Mirza Muhammad-'Ali begged Sam Khan to be placed in such a manner that his own body would shield that of The Báb.[2] He was eventually suspended in such a position that his head reposed on the breast of his Master. As soon as they were fastened, a regiment of soldiers ranged itself in three files, each of two hundred and fifty men, each of which was ordered to open fire in its turn until the whole detachment had discharged the volleys of its bullets.[3] The smoke of the firing of the seven hundred and fifty rifles was such as to turn the light of the noonday sun into darkness. There had crowded onto

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the roof of the barracks, as well as the tops of the adjoining houses, about ten thousand people, all of whom were witnesses to that sad and moving scene.

[1 "The Báb remained silent. His pale handsome face framed by a black beard and small mustache, his appearance and his refined manners, his white and delicate hands, his simple but very neat garments--everything about him awakened sympathy and compassion." (Journal Asiatique, 1866. tome 7, p. 378.)]

[2 "Proof of the devotion and steadfastness of this noble man is afforded by a letter in his own blessed writing which was in the possession of his brother Mulla Abdu'llah, who still lives in Tabriz. This letter he wrote from the prison, three days or two days before his martyrdom, in reply to his brother, who had written to him counselling him to turn aside from his devotion and thraldom; and therein he makes his apology. And since the martyr was the younger of the two brethren, therefore he adopts a respectful tone in his letter. The text of this letter of reply is as follows: 'He is the Compassionate. O my Qiblih! Thanks be to God, I have no fault to find with my circumstances, and "to every travail rest succeeds." As to what you wrote, that this matter hath no end, what matter, then, hath an end? We, at least, have no discontent therein; being, indeed, unable sufficiently to express our gratitude for this blessing. At most we can but be slain for God's sake, and, oh, what happiness were this! The Lord's will must be accomplished through His servants, neither can prudence avert predestined fate. What God wills comes to pass: there is no strength save in God. O my Qiblih! The end of the life of the world is death: "every soul shall taste of death." If the appointed destiny which the Lord (mighty and glorious is He) hath decreed should overtake me, then God is the guardian of my family, and thou art my trustee; act in such wise as accords with God's good pleasure. Forgive any failure in the respect or duty owed to an elder brother of which I may have been guilty, seek pardon for me from all those of my household, and commend me to God. God is my portion, and how good is He as a guardian!'" (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," pp. 301-3.)][3 "When the condemned are shot in Persia, they are bound to a post looking away from the spectators so that they are not able to see the signals for execution given by the officer." (Journal Asiatique, 1866, tome 7, p. 377.)]

As soon as the cloud of smoke had cleared away, an astounded multitude were looking upon a scene which their eyes could scarcely believe. There, standing before them alive and unhurt, was the companion of The Báb, whilst He Himself had vanished uninjured from their sight. Though the cords with which they were suspended had been rent in pieces by the bullets, yet their bodies had miraculously escaped the volleys.[1] Even the tunic which Mirza Muhammad-'Ali was wearing had, despite the thickness of the smoke, remained unsullied. "The Siyyid-i-Báb has gone from our sight!" rang out the voices of the bewildered multitude. They set out in a frenzied search for Him, and found Him, eventually, seated in the same room which He had occupied the night before, engaged in completing His interrupted conversation, with Siyyid Husayn. An expression of unruffled calm was upon His face. His body had emerged unscathed from the shower of bullets which the regiment had directed against Him. "I have finished My conversation with Siyyid Husayn," The Báb told the farrash-bashi. "Now you may proceed to fulfil your intention." The man was too much shaken to resume what he had already attempted. Refusing to accomplish his duty, he, that same moment, left that scene and resigned his post. He related all that he had seen to

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his neighbour, Mirza Siyyid Muhsin, one of the notables of Tabriz, who, as soon as he heard the story, was converted to the Faith.

[1 "An intense clamor arose from the crowd at this moment as the onlookers saw The Báb freed from his bonds advancing towards them. Amazing to believe, the bullets had not struck the condemned but, on the contrary, had broken his bonds and he was delivered. It was a real miracle and God alone knows what would have happened without the fidelity and calm of the Christian regiment on this occurrence. The soldiers in order to quiet the excitement of the crowd which, being extremely agitated, was ready to believe the claims of a religion which thus demonstrated its truth, showed the cords broken by the bullets, implying that no miracle had really taken place. At the same time, they seized The Báb and tied him again to the fatal post. This time the execution was effective. Muhammadan justice and ecclesiastical law had asserted themselves. But the crowd, vividly impressed by the spectacle they had witnessed, dispersed slowly, hardly convinced that The Báb was a criminal. After all his crime was only a crime for the legalists and the world is indulgent toward crimes which it does not understand." (M.C. Huart's "La Religion du Báb," pp. 3-4.) "An extraordinary thing happened, unique in the annals of the history of humanity: the bullets cut the cords that held The Báb and he fell on his feet without a scratch." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 375.) "By a strange coincidence, the bullet only touched the cords which bound The Báb, they were broken and he felt himself free. Uproar and shouts arose on all sides, no one understanding at first what it was all about." (Ibid., p. 379.)]

I was privileged to meet, subsequently, this same Mirza Siyyid Muhsin, who conducted me to the scene of The Báb's martyrdom and showed me the wall where He had been suspended. I was taken to the room in which He had been found conversing with Siyyid Husayn, and was shown the very spot where He had been seated. I saw the very nail which His enemies had hammered into the wall and to which the rope which had supported His body had been attached.

Sam Khan was likewise stunned by the force of this tremendous revelation. He ordered his men to leave the barracks immediately, and refused ever again to associate himself and his regiment with any act that involved the least injury to The Báb. He swore, as he left that courtyard, never again to resume that task even though his refusal should entail the loss of his own life.

No sooner had Sam Khan departed than Aqa Jan Khan-i-Khamsih, colonel of the body-guard, known also by the names of Khamsih and Nasiri, volunteered to carry out the order for execution. On the same wall and in the same manner, The Báb and His companion were again suspended, while the regiment formed in line to open fire upon them. Contrariwise to the previous occasion, when only the cord with which they were suspended had been shot into pieces, this time their bodies were shattered and were blended into one mass of mingled flesh and bone.[1] "Had you believed in Me, O wayward generation," were the last words of The Báb to the gazing multitude as the regiment was preparing to fire the final volley, "every one of you would have followed the example of this youth, who stood in rank above most of you, and willingly would have sacrificed himself in My path. The day will come when you will have recognized Me; that day I shall have ceased to be with you."[2]

[1 According to "A Traveller's Narrative" (p. 45), "the breasts [of the victims] were riddled and their limbs were completely dissected, except their faces, which were but little marred."]

[2 "Praise be to God who manifested the Point [The Báb] and caused to proceed therefrom the knowledge of all that was and shall be.... He is that Point which God hath made to be an Ocean of light unto the faithful among His servants, and a Ball of Fire unto the deniers among His creatures and the impious among His people." (Bahá'u'lláh, the "Ishraqat," p. 3.) "In His interpretation of the letter 'Ha,' He craved martyrdom, saying: 'Methinks I heard a voice calling in My inmost being: "Do Thou sacrifice the thing which Thou lovest most in the path of God, even as Husayn, peace be upon him, hath offered up his life for My sake." And were I not regardful of this inevitable mystery, by Him in whose hand is My soul, even if all the kings of the earth were to be leagued together, they would be powerless to take from Me a single letter; how much less can such servants as these, who are worthy of no attention, and who verily are of the outcast? that all may know the degree of My patience, My resignation and self-sacrifice in the path of God.'" (Idem, the "Kitáb-i-Iqan," p. 195.) "The Báb, the Lord most high, may the life of all be a sacrifice unto Him, hath specifically revealed an Epistle unto the ulamas of every city, wherein He hath fully set forth the character of the denial and repudiation of each of them. Wherefore, take ye good heed, ye who are men of insight!" (Ibid., p. 193.) "This illustrious Soul arose with such power that He shook the supports of the religion, of the morals, the conditions, the habits and the customs of Persia, and instituted new rules, new laws, and a new religion. Though the great personages of the State, nearly all the clergy, and the public men, arose to destroy and annihilate Him, He alone withstood them, and moved the whole of Persia.... He imparted Divine education to an unenlightened multitude and produced marvellous results on the thoughts, morals, customs, and conditions of the Persians." (Abdu'l-Bahá, "Some Answered Questions," pp. 30-31.) "Christians believe that if Jesus Christ had wished to come down from the cross he could have done so easily; he died of his own free will because it was written that he should and in order that the prophecies might be fulfilled. The same is true of The Báb, so The Bábi's say, who, in this way, gave a clear sanction to his teachings. He likewise died voluntarily because his death was to be the salvation of humanity. Who will ever tell us the words that The Báb uttered in the midst of the unprecedented turmoil which broke out as he ascended? Who will ever know the memories which stirred his noble soul? Who will reveal to us the secret of that death.... The sight of the baseness, the vices, the deceptions of that clergy shocked his pure and sincere soul: he felt the need of a thorough reform in public morals and he undoubtedly hesitated more than once, at the thought of a revolution, which seemed unavoidable, to free the bodies as well as the minds from the yoke of brutishness and violence which weighed upon all Persia for the selfish benefit of a minority ... of pleasure lovers, and to the greatest shame of the true religion of the Prophet. He must have been much perplexed, deeply anxious, and he stood in need of the triple shield of which Horace speaks, to throw himself headlong into that ocean of superstition and hatred which was fatally to engulf him. His life is one of the most magnificent examples of courage which it has been the privilege of mankind to behold, and it is also an admirable proof of the love which our hero felt for his fellow countrymen. He sacrificed himself for humanity, for it he gave his body and his soul, for it he endured privations, insults, torture and martyrdom. He sealed, with his very lifeblood, the covenant of universal brotherhood. Like Jesus he paid with his life for the proclamation of a reign of concord, equity and brotherly love. More than anyone he knew what dreadful dangers he was heaping upon himself. He had been able to see personally the degree of exasperation that a fanaticism, shrewdly aroused, could reach; but all these considerations could not weaken his resolve. Fear had no hold upon his soul and, perfectly calm, never looking back, in full possession of all his powers, he walked into the furnace." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad, dit le Báb," pp. 203-204, 376.) "The head of the new religion was dead and, according to the provisions of the prime minister, the minds of the people would now be at peace and there was no room for further anxiety, at least from that source. But such political wisdom was baffled and, instead of appeasing the flames, it had fanned them into greater violence." "We shall see shortly, when I shall examine the religious dogmas preached by The Báb, that the perpetuity of the sect did not in the least depend upon his physical presence; all could proceed and grow without him. If the premier had been aware of this fundamental trait of the hostile religion, it is not likely that he would have been so eager to do away with a man whose existence, after all, would not have had any more significance than his death." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 224-225.) Such a prophet," writes the Rev. Dr. T. K. Cheyne, "was The Báb; we call him 'prophet' for want of a better name, 'yea, I say unto you, a prophet and more than a prophet.' His combination of mildness and power is so rare that we have to place him in a line with super-normal men.... We learn that at great points in his career, after he had been in an ecstasy, such radiance of might and majesty streamed from his countenance that none could bear to look upon the effulgence of his glory and beauty. Nor was it an uncommon occurrence for unbelievers involuntarily to bow down in lowly obeisance on beholding His Holiness-- while the inmates of the castle though for the most part Christians and Sunnis, reverently prostrated themselves whenever they saw the visage of His Holiness. Such transfiguration is well known to the saints. It was regarded as the affixing of the heavenly seal to the reality and completeness of [the] Báb's detachment." ("The Reconciliation of Races and Religions," pp. 8-9.) "Who can fail to be attracted by the gentle spirit of Mirza Ali-Muhammad? His sorrowful and persecuted life; his purity of conduct, and youth; his courage and uncomplaining patience under misfortune; his complete self-negation; the dim ideal of a better state of things which can be discerned through the obscure and mystic utterances of the Bayan; but most of all his tragic death, all serve to enlist our sympathies on behalf of the young Prophet of Shiraz. The irresistible charm which won him such devotion during his life still lives on, and still continues to influence the minds of the Persian people." (E. G. Browne's art. "The Bábi's of Persia," Journal of J. R. A. S., 1889, p. 933.) "Few believe that by these sanguinary measures the doctrines of [the] Báb will cease from propagation. There is a spirit of change abroad among the Persians, which will preserve his system from extinction; besides which, his doctrines are of an attractive nature to Persians. Though now subdued, and obliged to lurk concealed in towns, it is conjectured that the creed of [the] Báb, far from diminishing, is daily spreading." Lady Sheil's "Glimpses of Life and Manners in Persia," p. 181.) "The story of The Báb, as Mirza Ali-Muhammad called himself, was the story of spiritual heroism unsurpassed in Svabhava's experience; and his own adventurous soul was fired by it. That a youth of no social influence and no education should, by the simple power of insight, be able to pierce into the heart of things and see the real truth, and then hold on to it with such firmness of conviction and present it with such suasion that he was able to convince men that he was the Messiah and get them to follow him to death itself, was one of those splendid facts in human history that Svabhava loved to meditate on... The Báb's passionate sincerity could not be doubted, for he had given his life for his faith. And that there must be something in his message that appealed to men and satisfied their souls was witnessed to by the fact that thousands gave their lives in his cause and millions now follow him. If a young man could, in only six years of ministry, by the sincerity of his purpose and the attraction of his personality, so inspire rich and poor, cultured and illiterate, alike, with belief in himself and his doctrines that they would remain staunch though hunted down and without trial sentenced to death, sawn asunder, strangled, shot, blown from guns; and if men of high position and culture in Persia, Turkey and Egypt in numbers to this day adhere to his doctrines, his life must be one of those events in the last hundred years which is really worth study." (Sir Francis Younghusband's "The Gleam," pp. 183-4.) "Thus, in only his thirtieth year, in the year 1850, ended the heroic career of a true God-man. Of the sincerity of his conviction that he was God-appointed, the manner of his death is the amplest possible proof. In the belief that he would thereby save others from the error of their present beliefs he willingly sacrificed his life. And of his power of attaching men to him the passionate devotion of hundreds and even thousands of men who gave their lives in his cause is convincing testimony." (Ibid., p. 210.) "The Báb was dead, but not Bábism. He was not the first, and still less the last, of a long line of martyrs who have testified that even in a country gangrened with corruption and atrophied with indifferentism like Persia, the soul of a nation survives, inarticulate perhaps, and in a way helpless, but still capable of sudden spasms of vitality." (Valentine Chirol's "The Middle Eastern Question," p. 120.)]

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The very moment the shots were fired, a gale of exceptional severity arose and swept over the whole city. A whirlwind of dust of incredible density obscured the light of the sun and blinded the eyes of the people. The entire city remained enveloped in that darkness from noon till night. Even so strange a phenomenon, following immediately in the wake of that still more astounding failure of Sam Khan's regiment to injure The Báb, was unable to move

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the hearts of the people of Tabriz, and to induce them to pause and reflect upon the significance of such momentous events. They witnessed the effect which so marvellous an occurrence had produced upon Sam Khan; they beheld the consternation of the farrash-bashi and saw him make his irrevocable decision; they could even examine that tunic which, despite the discharge of so many bullets, had remained whole and stainless; they could read in the face of

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The Báb, who had emerged unhurt from that storm, the expression of undisturbed serenity as He resumed His conversation with Siyyid Husayn; and yet none of them troubled himself to enquire as to the significance of these unwonted signs and wonders.

The martyrdom of The Báb took place at noon on Sunday, the twenty-eighth of Sha'ban, in the year 1266 A.H.,[1] thirty-one lunar years, seven months, and twenty-seven days from the day of His birth in Shiraz.

[1 July 9, 1850 A.D.]

On the evening of that same day, the mangled bodies of The Báb and His companion were removed from the courtyard

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of the barracks to the edge of the moat outside the gate of the city. Four companies, each consisting of ten sentinels, were ordered to keep watch in turn over them. On the morning following the day of martyrdom, the Russian consul in Tabriz, accompanied by an artist, went to that spot and ordered that a sketch be made of the remains as they lay beside the moat.[1]

[1 "'The Emperor of Russia,' he [Haji Mirza Jani] says, 'sent to the Russian consul at Tabriz, bidding him fully investigate and report the circumstances of His Holiness The Báb. As Soon as this news arrived, they, i.e. the Persian authorities, put The Báb to death. The Russian consul summoned Aqa Siyyid Muhammad-i-Husayn, The Báb's amanuensis, who was imprisoned at Tabriz, into his presence, and enquired concerning the signs and circumstances of His Holiness. Aqa Siyyid Husayn, because there were Musulmans present, dared not speak plainly about his Master, but managed by means of hints to communicate sundry matters, and also gave him [the Russian consul] certain of The Báb's writings.' That this statement is, in part at least, true is proved by the testimony of Dorn, who, in describing a M.S. of one of The Báb's 'Commentaries on the Names of God' (which he calls 'Quran der Bábi') says, on p. 248 of vol. 8 of the Bulletin de l'Academie Imperiale des Sciences de St. Petersbourg, that it was 'received directly from The Báb's own secretary, who, during his imprisonment at Tabriz, placed it in European hands.'" (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," pp. 395-6.)]

I have heard Haji Ali-'Askar relate the following: "An official of the Russian consulate, to whom I was related, showed me that same sketch on the very day it was drawn. It was such a faithful portrait of The Báb that I looked upon! No bullet had struck His forehead, His cheeks, or His lips. I gazed upon a smile which seemed to be still lingering upon His countenance. His body, however, had been severely mutilated. I could recognize the arms and head of His companion, who seemed to be holding Him in his embrace. As I gazed horror-struck upon that haunting picture, and saw how those noble traits had been disfigured, my heart sank within me. I turned away my face in anguish and, regaining my house, locked myself with my room. For three days and three nights, I could neither sleep nor eat, so overwhelmed was I with emotion. That short and tumultuous life, with all its sorrows, its turmoils, its banishments, and eventually the awe-inspiring martyrdom with which it had been crowned, seemed again to be re-enacted before my eyes. I tossed upon my bed, writhing in agony and pain."

On the afternoon of the second day after The Báb's martyrdom, Haji Sulayman Khan, son of Yahya Khan, arrived at Bagh-Mishih, a suburb of Tabriz, and was received at the house of the Kalantar,[1] one of his friends and confidants,

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who was a dervish and belonged to the sufi community. As soon as he had been informed of the imminent danger that threatened the life of The Báb, Haji Sulayman Khan had left Tihran with the object of achieving His deliverance. To his dismay, he arrived too late to carry out his intention. No sooner had his host informed him of the circumstances that had led to the arrest and condemnation of The Báb, and related to him the events of His martyrdom, than he instantly resolved to carry away the bodies of the victims, even at the risk of endangering his own life. The Kalantar advised him to wait and follow his suggestion rather than expose himself to what seemed to him would be inevitable death. He urged him to transfer his residence to another house and to wait for the arrival, that evening, of a certain Haji Allah-Yar, who, he said, would be willing to carry out whatever he might wish him to do. At the appointed hour, Haji Sulayman Khan met Haji Allah-Yar, who succeeded, in the middle of that same night, in bearing the bodies from the edge of the moat to the silk factory owned by one of the believers of Milan; laid them, the next day, in a specially constructed wooden case, and transferred them, according to Haji Sulayman Khan's directions, to a place of safety. Meanwhile the sentinels sought to justify themselves by pretending that, while they slept, wild beasts had carried away the bodies.[2] Their superiors, on their part, unwilling to compromise their own honour, concealed the truth and did not divulge it to the authorities.[3]

[1 See Glossary.]

[2 "Following an immemorial custom of the Orient, usage exemplified at the siege of Bethulie as well as at the tomb of our Lord, the sentinel is a soldier who sleeps, to his heart's content, at the post which he is expected to guard." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 166.) "We have been able to see throughout this history what the Persian guards are; their functions consist principally in sleeping by the trust that they are given to watch over." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 378.)]

[3 "M. de Gobineau, in agreement with the authors of the Nasikhu't-Tavarikh, of Rawdatu's-Safa, of Mir'atu'l-Buldan, in a word with all the official historians, relates that after the execution the body of The Báb was thrown in a moat of the city and devoured by dogs. In reality it was not so, and we shall see why this news had been spread by the authorities of Tabriz (little eager to draw upon themselves a rebuke of the government for a favor dearly sold) and by The Bábi's, desirous to prevent any further investigation by the police. The most reliable testimony of the actual witnesses of the drama or of its actors do not leave me any doubt that the body of Siyyid Ali-Muhammad was carried away by pious hands and, at last, after various incidents which I shall narrate, received a burial worthy of him." (Ibid., p. 377.)]

Haji Sulayman Khan immediately reported the matter

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to Bahá'u'lláh, who was then in Tihran and who instructed Aqay-i-Kalim to despatch a special messenger to Tabriz for the purpose of transferring the bodies to the capital. This decision was prompted by the wish The Báb Himself had expressed

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in the "Ziyarat-i-Shah-'Abdu'l-'Azim," a Tablet He had revealed while in the neighbourhood of that shrine and which He delivered to a certain Mirza Sulayman-i-Khatib, who was instructed by Him to proceed together with a number of believers to that spot and to chant it within its precincts.[1] "Well is it with you," The Báb addressed the buried saint in words such as these, in the concluding passages of that Tablet, "to have found your resting place in Rayy, under the shadow of My Beloved. Would that I might be entombed within the precincts of that holy ground!"

[1 "Tihran is thus endowed in respect of the mausoleum and sanctuary of Shah Zadih Abdu'l-'Azim. Reposing beneath a golden-plated dome, whose scintillations I had seen from afar while riding towards the city, the remains of this holy individual are said to attract an annual visitation of 300 thousand persons. I find that most writers discreetly veil their ignorance of the identity of the saint by describing him as 'a holy Musulman, whose shrine is much frequented by the pious Tihranis.' It appears, however, that long before the advent of Islam this had been a sacred spot, as the sepulchre of a lady of great sanctity, in which connection it may be noted that the shrine is still largely patronised by women. Here, after the Musulman conquest, was interred Imam-Zadih Hamzih, the son of the seventh Imam, Musa-Kazim; and here, flying from the Khalif Mutavakkil, came a holy personage named Abu'l-Qasim Abdu'l-'Azim, who lived in concealment at Rayy till his death in about 861 A.D. (This is the account given by the Persian Kitáb-i-Majlisi, quoting Shaykh Najashi, quoting Barki.) Subsequently his fame obscured that of his more illustrious predecessor. Successive sovereigns, particularly those of the reigning dynasty, have extended and beautified the cluster of buildings raised above his grave, the ever-swelling popularity of which has caused a considerable village to spring up around the hallowed site. The mosque is situated in the plain, about six miles to the south-southeast of the capital, just beyond the ruins of Rayy, and at the extremity of the mountain-spur that encloses the Tihran plain the southeast." (Lord Curzon's "Persia and the Persian Question," pp. 345-7.)]

I was myself in Tihran, in the company of Mirza Ahmad, when the bodies of The Báb and His companion arrived. Bahá'u'lláh had in the meantime departed for Karbila, in pursuance of the instructions of the Amir-Nizam. Aqay-i-Kalim, together with Mirza Ahmad, transferred those remains from the Imam-Zadih-Hasan,[1] where they were first taken, to a place the site of which remained unknown to anyone excepting themselves. That place remained secret until the departure of Bahá'u'lláh for Adrianople, at which time Aqay-i-Kalim was charged to inform Munir, one of his fellow-disciples, of the actual site where the bodies had been laid. In spite of his search, he was unable to find it. It was subsequently discovered by Jamal, an old adherent of the Faith, to whom that secret was confided while Bahá'u'lláh

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was still in Adrianople. That spot is, until now, unknown to the believers, nor can anyone conjecture where the remains will eventually be transferred.

[1 A local shrine in Tihran.]

The first in Tihran to hear of the circumstances attending that cruel martyrdom, after the Grand Vazir, was Mirza Aqa Khan-i-Nuri, who had been banished to Kashan by Muhammad Shah when The Báb was passing through that city. He had assured Haji Mirza Jani, who had acquainted him with the precepts of the Faith, that if the love he bore for the new Revelation would cause him to regain his lost position, he would exert his utmost endeavour to secure the well-being and safety of the persecuted community. Haji Mirza Jani reported the matter to his Master, who charged him to assure the disgraced minister that ere long he would be summoned to Tihran and would be invested, by his sovereign, with a position that would be second to none except that of the Shah himself. He was warned not to forget his promise, and to strive to carry out his intention. He was delighted with that message, and renewed the assurance he had given.

When the news of The Báb's martyrdom reached him, he had already been promoted, had received the title of I'timadu'd-Dawlih, and was hoping to be raised to the position of Grand Vazir. He hastened to inform Bahá'u'lláh, with whom he was intimately acquainted, of the news he had received, expressing the hope that the fire he feared would one day bring untold calamity upon Him, was at last extinguished. "Not so," Bahá'u'lláh replied. "If this be true, you can be certain that the flame that has been kindled will, by this very act, blaze forth more fiercely than ever, and will set up a conflagration such as the combined forces of the statesmen of this realm will be powerless to quench." The significance of these words Mirza Aqa Khan was destined to appreciate at a later time. Scarcely did he imagine, when that prediction was uttered, that the Faith which had received so staggering a blow could survive its Author. He himself had, on one occasion, been cured by Bahá'u'lláh of an illness from which he had given up all hope of recovery.

His son, the Nizamu'l-Mulk, one day asked him whether he did not think that Bahá'u'lláh, who, of all the sons of the late Vazir, had shown Himself the most capable, had failed

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to live up to the tradition of His father and had disappointed the hopes that had been reposed in Him. "My son," he replied, "do you really believe him to be an unworthy son of his father? All that either of us can hope to achieve is but a fleeting and precarious allegiance which will vanish as soon as our days are ended. Our mortal life can never be free from the vicissitudes that beset the path of earthly ambition. Should we even succeed in ensuring, in our lifetime, the honour of our name, who can tell whether, after our death, calumny may not stain our memory and undo the work we have achieved? Even those who, while we are still living, honour us with their lips would, in their hearts, condemn and vilify us were we, for but one moment, to fail to promote their interests. Not so, however, with Bahá'u'lláh. Unlike the great ones of the earth, whatever be their race or rank, he is the object of a love and devotion such as time cannot dim nor enemy destroy. His sovereignty the shadows of death can never obscure nor the tongue of the slanderer undermine. Such is the sway of his influence that no among his loves dare, in the stillness of night, evoke the memory of the faintest desire that could, even remotely, be construed as contrary to his wish. Such lovers will greatly increase in number. The love they bear him will never grow less, and will be transmitted from generation to generation until the world shall have been suffused with its glory."

The malicious persistence with which a savage enemy sought to ill-treat and eventually to destroy the life of The Báb brought in its wake untold calamities upon Persia and its inhabitants. The men who perpetrated these atrocities fell victims to gnawing remorse, and in an incredibly short period were made to suffer ignominious deaths. As to the great mass of its people, who watched with sullen indifference the tragedy that was being enacted before their eyes, and who failed to raise a finger in protest against the hideousness of those cruelties, they fell, in their turn, victims to a misery which all the resources of the land and the energy of its statesmen were powerless to alleviate. The wind of adversity blew fiercely upon them, and shook to its foundations their material prosperity. From the very day the hand of the assailant was stretched forth against The Báb, and sought to

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deal its fatal blow, to His Faith, visitation upon visitation crushed the spirit out of that ungrateful people, and brought them to the very brink of national bankruptcy. Plagues, the very names of which were almost unknown to them except for a cursory reference in the dust-covered books which few cared to read, fell upon them with a fury that none could escape. That scourge scattered devastation wherever it spread. Prince and peasant alike felt its sting and bowed to its yoke. It held the populace in its grip, and refused to relax its hold upon them. As malignant as the fever which decimated the province of Gilan, these sudden afflictions continued to lay waste the land. Grievous as were these calamities, the avenging wrath of God did not stop at the misfortunes that befell a perverse and faithless people. It made itself felt in every living being that breathed on the surface of that stricken land. It affected the life of plants and animals alike, and made the people feel the magnitude of their distress. Famine added its horrors to the stupendous weight of afflictions under which the people were groaning. The gaunt spectre of starvation stalked abroad amidst them, and the prospect of a slow and painful death haunted their vision. People and government alike sighed for the relief which they could nowhere obtain. They drank the cup of woe to its dregs, utterly unregardful of the hand which had brought it to their lips, and of the Person for whose sake they were made to suffer.

The first who arose to ill-treat The Báb was none other than Husayn Khan, the governor of Shiraz. His disgraceful treatment of his Captive cost him the lives of thousands who had been committed to his protection and who connived at his acts. His province was ravaged by a plague which brought it to the verge of destruction. Impoverished and exhausted, Fars languished helpless beneath its weight, calling for the charity of its neighbours and the assistance of its friends. Husayn Khan himself witnessed with bitterness the undoing of all his labours, was condemned to lead in obscurity the remaining days of his life, and tottered to his grave, abandoned and forgotten, alike by his friends and his enemies.

The next who sought to challenge the Faith of The Báb

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and to stem its progress was Haji Mirza Aqasi. It was he who, for selfish purposes and in order to court the favour of the abject ulamas of his time, interposed between The Báb and Muhammad Shah and endeavoured to prevent their meeting. It was he who pronounced the banishment of his dreaded Captive to a sequestered corner of Adhirbayjan and, with dogged vigilance, kept watch over His isolation. It was he who was made the recipient of that denunciatory Tablet in which his Prisoner foreshadowed his doom and exposed his infamy. Barely a year and six months had passed after The Báb had reached the neighbourhood of Tihran, when Divine vengeance hurled him from power and drove him to seek shelter within the inglorious precincts of the shrine of Shah-'Abdu'l-'Azim, a refugee from the wrath of his own people. From thence the hand of the Avenger drove him into exile beyond the confines of his native land, and plunged him into an ocean of afflictions until he met his death in circumstances of abject poverty and unspeakable distress.

As to the regiment which, despite the unaccountable failure of Sam Khan and his men to destroy the life of The Báb, had volunteered to renew that attempt, and which eventually riddled His body with its bullets, two hundred and fifty of its members met their death in that same year, together with their officers, in a terrible earthquake. While they were resting on a hot summer day under the shadow of a wall on their way between Ardibil and Tabriz, absorbed in their games and pleasures, the whole structure suddenly collapsed and fell upon them, leaving not one survivor. The remaining five hundred suffered the same fate as that which their own hands had inflicted upon The Báb. Three years after His martyrdom, that regiment mutinied, and its members were thereupon mercilessly shot by command of Mirza Sadiq Khan-i-Nuri. Not content with a first volley, he ordered that a second one be fired in order to ensure that none of the mutineers had survived. Their bodies were afterwards pierced with spears and lances, and left exposed to the gaze of the people of Tabriz. That day many of the inhabitants of the city, recalling the circumstances of The Báb's martyrdom, wondered at that same fate which had overtaken those who had slain Him. "Could it be, by any chance, the vengeance

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of God," a few were heard to whisper to one another, "that has brought the whole regiment to so dishonourable and tragic an end? If that youth had been a lying impostor, why should his persecutors have been so severely punished?" These expressed misgivings reached the ears of the leading mujtahids of the city, who were seized with great fear and ordered that all those who entertained such doubts should be severely punished. Some were beaten, others were fined, all were warned to cease such whisperings, which could only revive the memory of a terrible adversary and rekindle enthusiasm for His Cause.

The prime mover of the forces that precipitated The Báb's martyrdom, the Amir-Nizam, and also his brother, the Vazir-Nizam, his chief accomplice, were, within two years of that savage act, subjected to a dreadful punishment, which ended miserably in their death. The blood of the Amir-Nizam stains, to this very day, the wall of the bath of Fin,[1] a witness to the atrocities his own hand had wrought.[2]

[1 "It is true," writes Lord Curzon, "that his [Nasiri'd-Din Shah's] reign has been disfigured by one or two acts of regrettable violence; worst among which was the murder of his first Prime Minister, Mirza Taqi Khan, the Amir-Nizam.... The brother-in-law of the Shah, and the first subject in the kingdom, he owed the vindictiveness of court intrigue and to the maliciously excited jealously of his youthful sovereign, a disgrace which his enemies were not satisfied until they had fulfilled by the death of their fallen, but still formidable victim." ("Persia and the Persian Question," vol. 1, p. 402.)]

[2 "Every one knew that The Bábis had foretold the death of the prime minister and predicted the manner of his going. It happened precisely, it is said, as the martyrs of Zanjan, Mirza Rida, Haji Muhammad-'Ali and Haji Muhsin had announced. Fallen into disgrace and pursued by the royal hatred, his veins were slashed open in the village of Fin, near Kashan, as the veins of his victims had been slashed. His successor was Mirza Aqa Khan-i-Nuri of a noble tribe of Mazindaran, and erstwhile minister of war. This new official took the title of Sadr-i-A'zam which is the privilege of the grand viziers of the Ottoman Empire. This occurred in 1852. (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 230.)]

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THE spark that had kindled the great conflagrations of Mazindaran and Nayriz had already set aflame Zanjan [1] and its surroundings when The Báb met His death in Tabriz. Profound as was His sorrow at the sad and calamitous fate that had overtaken the heroes of Shaykh Tabarsi, the news of the no less tragic sufferings that had been the lot of Vahid and his companions, came as an added blow to His heart, already oppressed by the weight of manifold afflictions. The consciousness of the dangers that thickened around Him; the memory of the indignity He endured when He was last conducted to Tabriz; the strain of a prolonged and rigorous captivity amidst the mountain fastnesses of Adhirbayjan; the terrible butcheries that marked the closing stages of the Mazindaran and Nayriz upheavals; the outrages to His Faith wrought by the persecutors of the Seven Martyrs of Tihran--even these were not all the troubles

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that beclouded the remaining days of a fast-ebbing life. He was already prostrated by the severity of these blows when the news of the happenings at Zanjan, which were then beginning to foreshadow their sad events, reached Him and served to consummate the anguish of His last days. What pangs must He have endured as the shadows of death were fast gathering about Him! In every field, whether in the north or in the south, the champions of His Faith had been subjected to undeserved sufferings, had been infamously deceived, had been robbed of their possessions, and had been inhumanly massacred. And now, as if to fill His cup of woes to over-flowing,

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there broke forth the storm of Zanjan, the most violent and devastating of them all.[2]

[1 Capital of the district of Khamsih. Zanjan is the capital of the district of Khamsih. "Khamsih is a small province to the east of Kaflan-Kuh or Mountain of the Tiger, between Iraq and Adhirbayjan. Its capital, Zanjan, is a beautiful city surrounded by an embattled wall fortified with towers like all Persian cities. The inhabitants are of the Turkish race and the Persian language is seldom spoken, unless it be by government employees. The surrounding country is studded with villages which are fairly prosperous. Powerful tribes visit them, especially in the winter and spring." (Ibid., p. 191.)]

[2 "Now in these years [A.H. 1266 and 1267] throughout all Persia fire fell on the households of The Bábi's, and each one of them, in whatever hamlet he might be, was, on the slightest suspicion arising, put to the sword. More than four thousand souls were slain, and a great multitude of women and children, left without protector or helper, distracted and confounded, were trodden down and destroyed." ("A Traveller's Narrative," pp. 47-8.) "There lived in that city a mujtahid called

Mulla ]

I now proceed to relate the circumstances that have made of that event one of the most thrilling episodes in the history of this Revelation. Its chief figure was Hujjat-i-Zanjani, whose name was Mulla Muhammad-'Ali,[1] one of the ablest ecclesiastical dignitaries of his age, and certainly one of the most formidable champions of the Cause. His father, Mulla Rahim-i-Zanjani, was one of the leading mujtahids of Zanjan, and was greatly esteemed for his piety, his learning and force of character. Mulla Muhammad-'Ali, surnamed Hujjat, was born in the year 1227 A.H.[2] From his very boyhood, he showed such capacity that his father lavished the utmost care upon his education. He sent him to Najaf, where he distinguished himself by his insight, his ability and fiery ardour.[3] His scholarship and keen intelligence excited the admiration of his friends, whilst his outspokenness and the strength of his character made him the terror of his adversaries. His father advised him not to return to Zanjan,

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where his enemies were conspiring against him. He accordingly decided to establish his residence in Hamadan,[4] where he married one of his kinswomen, and lived there for about two and a half years, when the news of his father's death decided him to leave for his native town. The ovation accorded him on his arrival inflamed the hostility of the ulamas, who, despite their avowed opposition, received at his hands every mark of consideration and kindness.[5]

[1 Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Zanjani. He was a native of Mazindaran and studied under a celebrated master. Dignified with the title of Sharifu'l-'Ulama, Muhammad-'Ali had concentrated his attention on dogmatic theology and jurisprudence, and had become famous. The Muhammadans affirm that, in his function as mujtahid, he showed himself restless and turbulent. No question ever seemed to him either sufficiently studied or properly solved. His repeated fatvas disconcerted the conscience and confused the practices of the faithful. Eager for change, he was neither tolerant in discussion nor moderate in debate. Sometimes he would unduly prolong the fast of Ramadan for reasons which no one had advanced before; sometimes he would alter the ritual of prayer in quite a novel way. He became obnoxious to the peaceful and odious to the traditionalists. But it is also admitted that he counted many followers who considered him a saint, prized his zeal, and put their faith in him. An impartial judge could recognize in him one of the Muhammadans who are only so in appearance, but urged on by a living faith and an abundant religious zeal for which they are eager to find a scope. His misfortune was that he found, or thought he found, a natural use for his powers in the overthrow of traditions whose minor significance did not justify such a disturbance." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 191-192.)]

[2 1812-13 A.D.]

[3 "Among the Ulamas of the city was a man called Akhund Mulla Abdu'r-Rahim renowned for his piety. He had a son who lived in Najaf and at Karbila where he attended the lectures of the celebrated Sharifu'l-'Ulamay-i-Mazindarani. This young man was of a restless nature and rather impatient with the narrowness of Shi'ism." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 332.)]

[4 "On his way back from the Holy Land he stopped at Hamadan where the citizens welcomed him cordially and entreated him to remain." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 336.)]

[5 "All the Ulamas of the city called on him and left concerned over the few words which he had spoken and which revealed quite a novel turn of mind. Indeed the attitude of the newcomer very quickly proved to these pious men that their conjectures were well founded." (Ibid.)]

From the pulpit of the masjid which his friends erected in his honour, he urged the vast throng that gathered to hear him, to refrain from self-indulgence and to exercise moderation in all their acts.[1] He ruthlessly suppressed every form of abuse, and by his example encouraged the people to adhere rigidly to the principles inculcated by the Quran. Such were the care and ability with which he taught his disciples that they surpassed in knowledge and understanding the recognized ulamas of Zanjan. For seventeen years, he pursued his meritorious labours and succeeded in purging the minds and hearts of his fellow-townsmen from whatever seemed contrary to the spirit and teachings of their Faith.[2]

[1 "There was a caravansary of the days of Shah-'Abbas which had gradually become a sighih-khanih: in order to prevent a breach of the Shiite law a certain Mulla Dust-Muhammad who made his residence there, would bless the transitory union between the male visitors to the place and the inmates. Hujjatu'l-Islam, such was the title which our hero had assumed, ordered the institution to be closed, gave in marriage the greater number of these women and secured employment for the others in respectable families. He also caused a wine dealer to be whipped and his house to be torn down." (Ibid., pp. 332-333.)]

[2 "But this was the limit of his activity. Always troubled with the problems raised by a religion founded upon hadiths which were frequently contradictory, he perplexed the conscience of the faithful by peculiar fatvas which upset old traditions. Thus he restored the hadith according to which Muhammad would have said: The month of Ramadan is always full.' Without investigating the origin of that tradition, without enquiring whether those who had related it were worthy of faith, he commanded that it should be literally obeyed, thus inducing his hearers to fast on the day of Fitr which is held to be a grievous sin. He also permitted that prostrations be made at prayer time by resting the head upon a crystal stone. All these innovations won for him a large number of partisans who admired his science and his activity; but they displeased the official clergy whose hatred, further augmented by anxiety, soon knew no bounds." (Ibid., p. 333.)]

When the Call from Shiraz reached him, he despatched his trusted messenger, Mulla Iskandar, to enquire into the claims of the new Revelation; and such was his response to

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that Message that his enemies were stirred to redouble their attacks upon him. Unable, hitherto, to disgrace him in the eyes of the government and the people, they now endeavoured to denounce him as an advocate of heresy and a repudiator of all that is sacred and cherished in Islam. "His reputation for justice, for piety, wisdom, and learning," they whispered to one another, "has been such as to render it impossible for us to shake his position. When summoned to Tihran, in the presence of Muhammad Shah was he not able, by his magnetic eloquence, to win him over to his side, and make of him one of his devoted admirers? Now, however, that he has so openly championed the cause of the Siyyid-i-Bab, we can surely succeed in obtaining from the government the order for his arrest and banishment from our town."

They accordingly drew up a petition to Muhammad Shah, in which they sought, by every device their malevolent and crafty minds could invent, to discredit his name. "While still professing himself a follower of our Faith," they complained, "he, by the aid of his disciples, was able to repudiate our authority. Now that he has identified himself with the cause of the Siyyid-i-Báb and won over to that hateful creed two-thirds of the inhabitants of Zanjan, what humiliation will he not inflict upon us! The concourse that throngs his gates, the whole masjid can no longer contain. Such is his influence that the masjid that belonged to his father and the one that has been built in his honour, have been connected and made into one edifice in order to accommodate the ever-increasing multitude that hastens eagerly to follow his lead in prayer. The time is fast approaching when not only Zanjan but the neighbouring villages also will have declared themselves his supporters."

The Shah was greatly surprised at the tone and language with which the petitioners sought to arraign Hujjat. He shared his astonishment with Mirza Nazar-'Ali, the Hakim-Bashi, and recalled the glowing tribute which many a visitor to Zanjan had paid to the abilities and integrity of the accused. He decided to summon him, together with his opponents, to Tihran. In a special gathering at which he himself, together with Haji Mirza Aqasi and the leading officials of the government, as well as a number of the recognized ulamas

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of Tihran, had assembled, he called upon the ecclesiastical leaders of Zanjan to vindicate the claims they had advanced. Whatever questions they submitted to Hujjat, regarding the teachings of their Faith, he answered in a manner that could not fail to win the unqualified admiration of his hearers and to establish the sovereign's confidence in his innocence. The Shah expressed his entire satisfaction, and amply rewarded Hujjat for the excellent manner in which he had succeeded in refuting the allegations of his enemies. He bade him return to Zanjan and resume his valuable services to the cause of his people, assuring him that he would under all circumstances support him and asking to be informed of any difficulty with which he might be faced in the future.[1]

[1 "Hujjat came and, by his courtesy and his captivating personality, soon won over all those who came in contact with him, even His Majesty. One day, so the story goes, he was in the palace of the Shah with several of his colleagues, when one of them, an Ulama of Kashan, brought out a document and besought the king to sign it. It was a royal decree granting certain stipends. Hujjat rose up and bitterly denounced a clergy who begged pensions from the government. He had recourse to the hadiths and to the Quran to show how shameful was such a practice which had originated with the Bani-Umayyih. His colleagues were beside themselves with anger, but the Shah, pleased with such frankness, presented our hero with a staff and a ring and authorized him to return to Zanjan." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," pp. 373-374.)]

His arrival at Zanjan was the signal for a fierce outburst on the part of his humiliated opponents. As the evidences of their hostility multiplied, the marks of devotion on the part of his friends and supporters correspondingly increased.[1] Utterly disdainful of their machinations, he pursued his activities with unrelaxing zeal.[2] The liberal principles which he unceasingly and fearlessly advocated struck at the very root of the fabric which a bigoted enemy had laboriously reared. They beheld with impotent fury the disruption of their authority and the collapse of their institutions.

[1 "The inhabitants of Zanjan came in crowds to meet him and offered sacrifices of oxen, chickens and sheep. Twelve children, each twelve years of age, with red kerchiefs about their necks to show their readiness to sacrifice their all, were in the center of the cortege. It proved a triumphal entry." (Ibid., p. 334.)]

[2 "He transformed his disciples into models of virtue and temperance; henceforth the men quenched their thirst at the fountains of spiritual life. They fasted during three months, lengthened their prayers by adding to them daily the invocation of Ja'far-i-Tayyar, performing once a day their ablutions with the water of the Qur (legal measure of purity) and finally on Fridays they crowded the Mosques." (Ibid., p. 334.)]

It was in those days that his special envoy, Mashhadi Ahmad, whom he had confidentially despatched to Shiraz with a petition and gifts from him to The Báb, arrived at

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Zanjan and delivered into his hands, while he was addressing his disciples, a sealed letter from his Beloved. In the Tablet he received, The Báb conferred upon him one of His own titles, that of Hujjat, and urged him to proclaim from the pulpit, without the least reservation, the fundamental teachings of His Faith. No sooner was he informed of the wishes of his Master than he declared his resolve to devote himself to the immediate enforcement of whatever injunction that Tablet contained. He immediately dismissed his disciples, bade them close their books, and declared his intention of discontinuing his courses of study. "Of what profit," he said, "are study and research to those who have already found the Truth, and why strive after learning when He who is the Object of all knowledge is made manifest?"

As soon as he attempted to lead the congregation in offering the Friday prayer, enjoined upon him by The Báb,[1] the Imam-Jum'ih, who had hitherto performed that duty, vehemently protested, on the ground that this right was the exclusive privilege of his own forefathers, that it had been conferred upon him by his sovereign, and that no one, however exalted his station, could usurp it. "That right," Hujjat retorted, "has been superseded by the authority with which the Qa'im Himself has invested me. I have been commanded by Him to assume that function publicly, and I cannot allow any person to trespass upon that right. If attacked, I will take steps to defend myself and to protect the lives of my companions."

[1 "Finally, he uttered in a clear voice the Friday prayer which must be said instead of the habitual daily one said when the Imam comes. He then expounded several sayings of The Báb and concluded thus: 'The goal for which the world has been striving is now here, free from veils and obstacles. The sun of Truth has risen and the lights of imagination and imitation have been extinguished. Fix your eyes upon The Báb, not upon me, the least of his slaves. My wisdom compared to his is as an unlighted candle to the sun at midday. Know God by God and the sun by its rays. So, today has appeared the Sahibu'z-Zaman. The Sultan of Possibilities is living.' Needless to say, these words made a deep impression upon the audience. Nearly all accepted this message and conversed among themselves regarding the true nature of The Báb." (Ibid., p. 335.)]

His fearless insistence on the duty laid upon him by The Báb caused the ulamas of Zanjan to league themselves with the Imam-Jum'ih [1] and to lay their complaints before Haji Mirza Aqasi, pleading that Hujjat had challenged the validity

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of recognized institutions and trampled upon their rights. "We must either flee from this town with our families and belongings," they pleaded, "and leave him in sole charge of the destinies of its people, or obtain from Muhammad Shah an edict for his immediate expulsion from this country; for we firmly believe that to allow him to remain on its soil would be courting disaster." Though Haji Mirza Aqasi, in his heart, distrusted the ecclesiastical order of his country and had a natural aversion to their beliefs and practices, he was forced eventually to yield to their pressing demands, and submitted the matter to Muhammad Shah, who ordered the transfer of Hujjat from Zanjan to the capital.

[1 "The conversion of Mulla Muhammad-'Ali and his numerous partisans had in fact exhausted the patience of the Imam-Jum'ih and of Shaykhu'l-Islam. They wrote indignant letters to His Majesty who in reply gave orders for the arrest of the offender." (Ibid., p. 336.)]

A Kurd named Qilij Khan was commissioned by the Shah to deliver the royal summons to Hujjat. The Báb had meanwhile arrived in the neighbourhood of Tihran on His way to Tabriz. Ere the arrival of the royal messenger at Zanjan, Hujjat had sent one of his friends, a certain Khan-Muhammad-i-Tub-Chi, to his Master with a petition in which he begged to be allowed to rescue Him from the hands of the enemy. The Báb assured him that His deliverance the Almighty alone could achieve and that no one could escape from His decree or evade His law. "As to your meeting with Me," He added, "it soon will take place in the world beyond, the home of unfading glory."

The day Hujjat received that message, Qilij Khan arrived at Zanjan, acquainted him with the orders he had received, and set out, accompanied by him, for the capital. Their arrival at Tihran coincided with The Báb's departure from the village of Kulayn, where He had been detained for some days.

The authorities, apprehensive lest a meeting between The Báb and Hujjat might lead to fresh disturbances, had taken the necessary precautions to ensure the absence of the latter from Zanjan during The Báb's passage through that town. The companions who were following Hujjat at a distance, whilst he was on his way to the capital, were urged by him to return and try to meet their Master and to assure Him of his readiness to come to His rescue. On their way back to their homes, they encountered The Báb, who again expressed His desire that no one of His friends should attempt to

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deliver Him from His captivity. He even directed them to tell the believers among their fellow-townsmen not to press round Him, but even to avoid Him wherever He went.

No sooner had that message been delivered to those who had gone out to welcome Him on His approach to their town than they began to grieve and deplore their fate. They could not, however, resist the impulse that drove them to march forth to meet Him, forgetful of the desire He had expressed.

As soon as they were met by the guards who were marching in advance of their Captive, they were ruthlessly dispersed. On reaching a fork in the road, there arose an altercation

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between Muhammad Big-i-Chaparchi and his colleague, who had been despatched from Tihran to assist in conducting The Báb to Tabriz. Muhammad Big insisted that their Prisoner should be taken into the town, where He should be allowed to pass the night in the caravanserai of Mirza Ma'sum-i-Tabib, the father of Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Tabib, a martyr of the Faith, before resuming their march to Adhirbayjan. He pleaded that to pass the night outside the gate would be to expose their lives to danger, and would encourage their opponents to attempt an attack upon them. He eventually succeeded in convincing his colleague that he should conduct The Báb to that caravanserai. As they were passing through the streets, they were amazed to see the multitude that had crowded onto the housetops in their eagerness to catch a glimpse of the face of the Prisoner.

Mirza Ma'sum, the former owner of the caravanserai, had lately died, and his eldest son, Mirza Muhammad-'Ali, the leading physician of Hamadan, who, though not a believer, was a true lover of The Báb, had arrived at Zanjan and was in mourning for his father. He lovingly received The Báb in the caravanserai he had specially prepared beforehand for His reception. That night he remained until a late hour in His presence and was completely won over to His Cause.

"The same night that witnessed my conversion," I heard him subsequently relate, "I arose ere break of day, lit my lantern, and, preceded by my father's attendant, directed my steps towards the caravanserai. The guards who were stationed at the entrance recognized me and allowed me to enter. The Báb was performing His ablutions when I was ushered into His presence. I was greatly impressed when I saw Him absorbed in His devotions. A feeling of reverent joy filled my heart as I stood behind Him and prayed. I myself prepared His tea and was offering it to Him when He turned to me and bade me depart for Hamadan. 'This town,' He said, 'will be thrown into a great tumult, and its streets will run with blood.' I expressed my strong desire to be allowed to shed my blood in His path. He assured me that the hour of my martyrdom had not yet come, and bade me be resigned to whatever God might decree. At the hour

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of sunrise, as He mounted His horse and was preparing to depart, I begged to be allowed to follow Him, but He advised me to remain, and assured me of His unfailing prayers. Resigning myself to His will, with regret I watched Him disappear from my sight."

On his arrival at Tihran, Hujjat was conducted into the presence of Haji Mirza Aqasi; who, on behalf of the Shah and himself, expressed his annoyance at the intense hostility which his conduct had aroused among the ulamas of Zanjan. "Muhammad Shah and I," he told him, "are continually besieged by the oral as well as written denunciations brought against you. I could scarcely believe their indictment relating to your desertion of the Faith of your forefathers. Nor is the Shah inclined to credit such assertions. I have been commanded by him to summon you to his capital and to call upon you to refute such accusations. It grieves me to hear that a man whom I consider infinitely superior in knowledge and ability to the Siyyid-i-Báb has chosen to identify himself with his creed." "Not so," replied Hujjat; "God knows that if that same Siyyid were to entrust me with the meanest service in His household, I would deem it an honour such as the highest favours of my sovereign could never hope to surpass." "This can never be!" burst forth Haji Mirza Aqasi. "It is my firm and unalterable conviction," Hujjat reaffirmed, "that this Siyyid of Shiraz is the very One whose advent you yourself, with all the peoples of the world, are eagerly awaiting. He is our Lord, our promised Deliverer.

Haji Mirza Aqasi reported the matter to Muhammad Shah, to whom he expressed his fears that to allow so formidable an adversary, whom the sovereign himself believed to be the most accomplished of the ulamas of his realm, to pursue unhindered the course of his activities would be a policy fraught with gravest danger to the State. The Shah, disinclined to credit such reports, which he attributed to the malice and envy of the enemies of the accused, ordered that a special meeting be convened at which he should be asked to vindicate his position in the presence of the assembled ulamas of the capital.

Several meetings were held for that purpose, before each

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of which Hujjat eloquently set forth the basic claims of his Faith and confounded the arguments of those who tried to oppose him. "Is not the following tradition," he boldly declared, "recognized alike by shi'ah and sunni Islam: 'I leave amidst you my twin testimonies, the Book of God and my family'? Has not the second of these testimonies, in your opinion, passed away, and is not our sole means of guidance, as a result, contained in the testimony of the sacred Book? I appeal to you to measure every claim that either of us shall advance, by the standard established in that Book, and to regard it as the supreme authority whereby the righteousness of our argument can be judged." Unable to defend their case against him, they, as a last resort, ventured to ask him to produce a miracle whereby to establish the truth of his assertion. "What greater miracle," he exclaimed, "than that He should have enabled me to triumph, alone and unaided, by the simple power of my argument, over the combined forces of the mujtahids and ulamas of Tihran?"

The masterly manner in which Hujjat refuted the unsound claims advanced by his adversaries won for him the favour of his sovereign, who from that day forth was no longer swayed by the insinuations of his enemies. Although the entire company of the ulamas of Zanjan, as well as a number of the ecclesiastical leaders of Tihran, had declared him to be an infidel and condemned him to death, yet Muhammad Shah continued to bestow his favours upon him and to assure him that he could rely on his support. Haji Mirza Aqasi, though at heart unfriendly to Hujjat, was unable, in the face of such unmistakable evidences of royal favour, to resist his influence openly, and by his frequent visits to his house, and by the gifts he lavished upon him, that deceitful minister sought to conceal his resentment and envy.

Hujjat was virtually a prisoner in Tihran. He was unable to go beyond the gates of the capital, nor was he allowed free intercourse with his friends. The believers among his fellow-townsmen eventually determined to send a deputation and ask him for fresh instructions regarding their attitude towards the laws and principles of their Faith. He charged them to observe with absolute loyalty the admonitions he had received from The Báb through the messengers he had

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sent to investigate His Cause. He enumerated a series of observances, some of which constituted a definite departure from the established traditions of Islam. "Siyyid Kazim-i-Zanjani," he assured them, "has been intimately connected with my Master both in Shiraz and in Isfahan. He, as well as Mulla Iskandar and Mashhadi Ahmad, both of whom I sent to meet Him, have positively declared that He Himself is the first to practise the observances He has enjoined upon the faithful. It therefore behoves us who are His supporters to follow His noble example."

These explicit instructions were no sooner read to his companions than they became inflamed with an irresistible desire to carry out his wishes. They enthusiastically set to work to enforce the laws of the new Dispensation, and, giving up their former customs and practices, unhesitatingly identified themselves with its claims. Even the little children were encouraged to follow scrupulously the admonitions of The Báb. "Our beloved Master," they were taught to say, "Himself is the first to practise them. Why should we who are His privileged disciples hesitate to make them the ruling principles of our lives?"

Hujjat was still a captive in Tihran when the news of the siege of the fort of Tabarsi reached him. He longed, and deplored his inability, to throw in his lot with those of his companions who were struggling with such splendid heroism for the emancipation of their Faith. His sole consolation in those days was his close association with Bahá'u'lláh, from whom he received the sustaining power that enabled him, in the time to come, to distinguish himself by deeds no less remarkable than those which that company had manifested in the darkest hours of their memorable struggle.

He was still in Tihran when Muhammad Shah passed away, leaving the throne to his son Nasiri'd-Din Shah.[1] The Amir-Nizam, the new Grand Vazir, decided to make Hujjat's imprisonment more rigorous, and to seek in the meantime a way of destroying him. On being informed of the imminence of the danger that threatened his life, his captive decided to

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leave Tihran in disguise and join his companions, who eagerly awaited his return.

[1 "He was in Tihran until the day when, after the death of Muhammad Shah, Nasir'd-Din Mirza now Nasiri'd-Din Shah, appointed as governor of Zanjan, one of his uncles, Amir Arslan Khan Majdu'd-Dawlih, who was Ishiq Aghasi of the palace." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 337.)]

His arrival at his native town, which a certain Karbila'i Vali-'Attar announced to his companions, was a signal for a tremendous demonstration of devoted loyalty on the part of his many admirers. They flocked out, men, women, and children, to welcome him and to renew their assurances of abiding and undiminished affection.[1] The governor of Zanjan, Majdu'd-Dawlih,[2] the maternal uncle of Nasiri'd-Din Shah, astounded by the spontaneity of that ovation, ordered, in the fury of his despair, that the tongue of Karbila'i Vali-'Attar be immediately cut out. Though at heart he loathed Hujjat, he pretended to be his friend and well-wisher. He often visited him and showed him unbounded consideration, yet he was secretly conspiring against his life and was waiting for the moment when he could strike the fatal blow.

[1 "He made a triumphant entry into his native city. Now that he was a Bábi, to his old friends were added the believers in the new doctrine. A large number of men, rich and respected, soldiers, merchants, even Mullas came to meet him, at a distance of one or two stations away, and conducted him home, not as an exile who returns, not as a suppliant who asks only rest, not even as a rival strong enough to demand respect, but he entered as a master." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 193.) "The author of 'Nasikhu't-Tavarikh' himself acknowledged that a goodly number of citizens of Zanjan, and among them high officials, traveled the distance of two stations to meet him. He was received like a conqueror and many heads of sheep were sacrificed in his honor. None of his opponents dared ask him why he had left Tihran and had returned to Zanjan; but Islam was severely tried as the Zanjanis did not hesitate to preach throughout the city the new doctrine. The Muhammadan writer points out that all the Zanjanis were simple-minded and so fell easily into the snare; but contradicting himself he declares that only the knaves, greedy for worldly possessions, and the impious ones gathered round the new leader. However they were quite numerous and, according to his story, about fifteen thousand, which seems rather an exaggerated estimate." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," pp. 337-338.)]

[2 "Majdu'd-Dawlih, governor of the city, a cruel, heartless and severe man, enraged at the news of the return of so troublesome a person as Hujjat, ordered that Muhammad Big be whipped and that the tongue of Karbila'i Vali be cut out." (Ibid., p. 337.)]

That smouldering hostility was soon to be fanned into flame by an incident that was of little importance in itself. The occasion was afforded when a quarrel suddenly broke out between two children of Zanjan, one of whom belonged to a kinsman of one of the companions of Hujjat. The governor immediately ordered that child to be arrested and placed in strict confinement. A sum of money was offered

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by the believers to the governor, in order to induce him to release his young prisoner. He refused their offer, whereupon they complained to Hujjat, who vehemently protested. "That child," he wrote to the governor, "is too young to be held responsible for his behaviour. If he deserves punishment, his father and not he should be made to suffer."

Finding that the appeal had been ignored, he renewed his protest and entrusted it to the hands of one of his influential comrades, Mir Jalil, father of Siyyid Ashraf and martyr of the Faith, directing him to present it in person to the governor. The guards stationed at the entrance of the house at first refused him admittance. Indignant at their refusal, he threatened to force his way through the gate, and succeeded, by the mere threat of unsheathing his sword, in overcoming their resistance and in compelling the infuriated governor to release the child.

The unconditional compliance of the governor with the demand of Mir Jalil stirred the furious indignation of the ulamas. They violently protested, and deprecated his submission to the threats with which their opponents had sought to intimidate him. They expressed to him their fear that such a surrender on his part would encourage them to make still greater demands upon him, would enable them before long to assume the reins of authority and to exclude him from any share in the administration of the government. They eventually induced him to consent to the arrest of Hujjat, an act which they were convinced would succeed in checking the progress of his influence.

The governor reluctantly consented. He was repeatedly assured by the ulamas that his action would under no circumstances endanger the peace and security of the town. Two of their supporters, Pahlavan[1] Asadu'llah and Pahlavan Safar-'Ali, both notorious for their brutality and prodigious strength, volunteered to seize Hujjat and deliver him hand-cuffed to the governor. Each was promised a handsome reward in return for this service. Clad in their amour, with helmets on their heads, and followed by a band of ruffians recruited from among the most degraded of the population.

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they set out to accomplish their purpose. The ulamas were in the meantime busily engaged in inciting the populace and encouraging them to reinforce their efforts.

[1 See Glossary.]

As soon as the emissaries arrived in the quarter in which Hujjat was living, they were unexpectedly confronted by Mir Salah, one of his most formidable supporters, who, together with seven of his armed companions, strenuously opposed their advance. He asked Asadu'llah whither he was bound, and, on receiving from him an insulting answer, unsheathed his sword and, with the cry of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!"[1] sprang upon him and wounded him in the forehead. Mir Salah's audacity, in spite of the heavy amour which his adversary was wearing, frightened the whole band and caused them to flee in different directions.[2]

[1 See Glossary.]

[2 "At the spectacle, the Muhammadans took flight and the wounded man was cared for the aunt of Mir Salah in her own house." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 341.)]

The cry which that stout-hearted defender of the Faith raised on that day was heard for the first time in Zanjan, a cry that spread panic through the town. The governor was terrified by its tremendous force, and asked what that shout could mean and whose voice had been able to raise it. He was gravely shaken when told that it was the watchword of Hujjat's companions, with which they called for the assistance of the Qa'im in the hour of distress.

The remnants of that affrighted band encountered, shortly after, Shaykh Muhammad-i-Tub-Chi, whom they immediately recognized as one of their ablest adversaries. Finding him unarmed, they fell upon him and, with an axe one of them was carrying, struck him and broke his head. They bore him to the governor, and no sooner had they laid down the wounded man than a certain Siyyid Abu'l-Qasim, one of the mujtahids of Zanjan who was present, leaped forward and, with his penknife, stabbed him in the breast. The governor too, unsheathing his sword, struck him on the mouth and was followed by the attendants who, with the weapons they carried with them, completed the murder of their hapless victim. As their blows rained upon him, unmindful of his sufferings, he was heard to say: "I thank Thee, O my God, for having vouchsafed me the crown of martyrdom."

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He was the first among the believers of Zanjan to lay down his life in the path of the Cause. His death, which occurred on Friday, the fourth of Rajab, in the year 1266 A.H.,[1] preceded by forty-five days the martyrdom of Vahid and by fifty-five days that of The Báb.

[1 May 16, 1850 A.D.]

The blood that was shed on that day, far from allaying the hostility of the enemy, served further to inflame their passions, and to reinforce their determination to subject to the same fate the rest of the companions. Encouraged by the governor's tacit approval of their expressed intentions, they resolved to put to death all upon whom they could lay their hands, without obtaining beforehand an express authorisation from the government officials. They solemnly covenanted among themselves not to rest until they had extinguished the fire of what they deemed a shameless heresy.[1] They compelled the governor to bid a crier proclaim throughout Zanjan that whoever was willing to endanger his life, to forfeit his property, and expose his wife and children to misery and shame, should throw in his lot with Hujjat and his companions; and that those desirous of ensuring the well-being and honour of themselves and their families, should withdraw from the neighbourhood in which those companions resided and seek the shelter of the sovereign's protection.

[1 "The governor and the Ulamas wrote to His Majesty reports in which their fear and perplexity were revealed. The Shah, hardly rid of the war in Mazindaran and enraged at the thought of another sedition in another section of his empire, urged also by his son Sadr-i-A'zam and by the ulamas who had declared a holy war, gave orders to kill The Bábis and

plunder their possessions. It was on Friday the third of Rajab that the order came to Zanjan." (Ibid., pp. 341-342.)]

That warning immediately divided the inhabitants into two distinct camps, and severely tested the faith of those who were still wavering in their allegiance to the Cause. It gave rise to the most pathetic scenes, caused the separation of fathers from their sons and the estrangement of brothers and of kindred. Every tie of worldly affection seemed to be dissolving on that day, and the solemn pledges were forsaken in favour of a loyalty mightier and more sacred than any earthly allegiance. Zanjan fell a prey to the wildest excitement. The cry of distress which members of divided families, in a frenzy of despair, raised to heaven, mingled with the blasphemous shouts which a threatening enemy

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hurled upon them. Shouts of exultation hailed at every turn those who, tearing themselves from their homes and kinsmen, enrolled themselves as willing supporters of the Cause of Hujjat. The camp of the enemy hummed with feverish activity in preparation for the great struggle upon which they had secretly determined. Reinforcements were rushed into the town from the neighbouring villages, at the command of its governor and with the encouragement of the mujtahids, the siyyids, and the ulamas who supported him.[1]

[1 "All was bewildering confusion. The Muhammadans were frantically running to and fro, looking for their wives, their children or their belongings. They came and went crazed, aghast, weeping over what they had to abandon. Families were separated, fathers thrusting back their sons, wives their husbands, children their mothers. Whole houses remained deserted. so great was the haste, and the governor sent soldiers to the neighboring villages to secure new recruits for the holy war." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 342.)]

Undeterred by the growing tumult, Hujjat ascended the pulpit and, with uplifted voice, proclaimed to the congregation: "The hand of Omnipotence has, in this day, separated truth from falsehood and divided the light of guidance from the darkness of error. I am unwilling that because of me you should suffer injury. The one aim of the governor and of the ulamas who support him is to seize and kill me. They cherish no other ambition. They thirst for my blood and seek no one besides me. Whoever among you feels the least desire to safeguard his life against the perils with which we are beset, whoever is reluctant to offer his life for our Cause, let him, ere it is too late, betake himself from this place and return whence he came."[1]

[1 "The Bábis, on the other hand, were not passive. They were organizing for their own protection. Hujjat was exhorting them never to attack but always to defend themselves. 'Brothers,' he would say to them, 'do not be ashamed of me. Do not believe that because you are the companions of the Sahibu'z-Zaman you are to conquer the world by the sword. I take God as witness; they will kill you, they will burn you, they will send your heads from town to town. The only victory in store for you is to sacrifice yourselves, your wives and your possessions. God has always decreed that in every age the blood of the believers is to be the oil of the lamp of religion. You have learned of the tortures endured by the saintly martyrs of Mazindaran. They were put to death because they affirmed that the promised Mihdi had come. I say to you, whosoever has not the strength to bear such torture, let him go over to the other side for we will have to endure martyrdom. Is not our master in their power?'" (Ibid., pp. 342-343.)]

That day more than three thousand men were recruited by the governor from the surrounding villages of Zanjan. Meanwhile Mir Salah, accompanied by a number of his comrades, who observed the growing restiveness of their

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opponents, sought the presence of Hujjat and urged him, as a precautionary measure, to transfer his residence to the fort of Ali-Mardan Khan,[1] adjacent to the quarter in which he was residing. Hujjat gave his consent and ordered that their women and children, together with such provisions as they might require, be taken to the fort. Though they found it occupied by its owners, the companions eventually induced them to withdraw, and gave them in exchange the houses in which they themselves had been dwelling.

[1 "Picture to yourself a Persian city. The streets are narrow, of a width of four or five or eight feet at the most. The surface unpaved has so many holes that one must proceed cautiously to avoid breaking one's legs. The houses, with no windows opening on the street, present on both sides unbroken walls, generally about fifteen feet high and topped with a terrace without a railing, sometimes crowned by a bala-Khanih or open pavilion which is usually an indication of a wealthy house. All that is of adobe or bricks baked in the sun. The uprights are of bricks baked in the kiln. This type, of venerable antiquity and in use even before historical times in the ancient cities of Mesopotamia, has many advantages: it is inexpensive, it is sanitary, it adapts itself to modest or pretentious plans; it can be a cottage or a palace entirely covered with mosaics, brilliant paintings and gold ornaments. But, as is always the case in this world, so many advantages are offset by the ease with which such dwellings crumble to pieces. Cannon balls are not needed, the rain is quite sufficient to demolish them. Thus we can visualize these famous sites covered, according to tradition, with immense cities of which nothing remains but ruins of temples and palaces and mounds scattered over the plains. "In a few years whole districts vanish without leaving a trace, if the houses are not kept in repair. As all the cities of Persia are constructed after the same plan and of the same material, it is easy to visualize Zanjan with her crenellated walls with high towers, her crooked streets unpaved and full of ruts. In the midst of these rose a formidable citadel called 'Chateau d''Ali-Mardan Khan.'" (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 197-198.)]

The enemy was meanwhile preparing for a violent attack upon them. No sooner had a detachment of their forces opened fire upon the barricades the companions had raised than Mir Rida, a siyyid of exceptional courage, asked his leader to allow him to attempt to capture the governor and to bring him as a prisoner to the fort. Hujjat, unwilling to comply with his request, advised him not to risk his life.

The governor was so overcome with fear when informed of that siyyid's intention that he decided to leave Zanjan immediately. He was, however, dissuaded from taking that course by a certain siyyid who pleaded that his departure would be the signal for grave disturbances such as would disgrace him in the sight of his superiors. The siyyid himself

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set out, as evidence of his earnestness, to launch an offensive against the occupants of the fort. He had no sooner given the signal for attack and advanced at the head of a band of thirty of his comrades, than he unexpectedly encountered two of his adversaries who were marching with drawn swords towards him. Believing that they intended to assail him, he, with the whole of his band, was suddenly seized with panic, straightway regained his home, and, forgetful of the assurances he had given to the governor, remained the whole day closeted within his room. Those who were with him promptly dispersed, renouncing the thought of pursuing the attack. They were subsequently informed that the two men they had encountered had no hostile intention against them, but were simply on their way to fulfil a commission with which they had been entrusted.

That humiliating episode was soon followed by a number of similar attempts on the part of the supporters of the governor, all of which utterly failed to achieve their purpose. Every time they rushed to attack the fort, Hujjat would order a few of his companions, who were three thousand in number, to emerge from their retreat and scatter their forces. He never failed, every time he gave them such orders, to caution his fellow-disciples against shedding unnecessarily the blood of their assailants. He constantly reminded them that their action was of a purely defensive character, and that their sole purpose was to preserve inviolate the security of their women and children. "We are commanded," he was frequently heard to observe, "not to wage holy war under any circumstances against the unbelievers, whatever be their attitude towards us."

This state of affairs continued [1] until the orders of the

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Amir-Nizam reached one of the generals of the imperial army, Sadru'd-Dawliy-i-Isfahani by name,[2] who had set out at the head of two regiments for Adhirbayjan. The written orders of the Grand Vazir reached him in Khamsih, bidding him cancel his projected journey and proceed immediately to Zanjan and there give his assistance to the forces that had been mustered by the government. "You have been commissioned by your sovereign," the Amir-Nizam wrote him, "to subjugate the band of mischief-makers in and around Zanjan. It is your privilege to crush their hopes and exterminate their forces. So signal a service, at so critical a moment, will win for you the Shah's highest favour, no less than the applause and esteem of his people."

[1 "He [the governor of Zanjan] fearing for himself at once took measures to safeguard his authority and forwarded to Mirza Muhammad-Taqi Khan Amir-i-Kabir a garbled account of the affair; for he was fearful lest another should acquire more influence than he possessed and so his authority and consideration should be weakened. In consequence of his representations Siyyid Ali Khan Lieutenant-Colonel of Firuz-Kuh received the royal command to proceed with a numerous body of horse and foot to Zanjan, and to arrest Mulla Muhammad-'Ali, who had retired with his followers (nearly five thousand in number) to the citadel. On his arrival Siyyid Ali Khan laid siege to the citadel and thus was the fire of strife kindled, and day by day the number of those slain on either side increased until at length he suffered an ignominious defeat and was obliged to ask for reinforcements from the capital. The government wished to send Ja'far-Quli Khan, Lieutenant-Colonel, the brother of I'timadu'd-Dawlih, but he excused himself, and said to Mirza Taqi Khan Amir-i-Kabir: 'I'm not an Ibn-i-Ziyad to go and make war on a band of siyyids and men of learning of whose tenets I know nothing, though I should be ready enough to fight Russians Jews or other infidels.' Other officers besides him showed a disinclination to take part in this war. Amongst these was Mir Siyyid Husayn Khan of Firuz-Kuh, whom Mirza Taqi Khan the Amir dismissed and disgraced as soon as he became acquainted with his sentiments. So also many of the officers who were of the sect of the Aliyu'llahis, although they went to the war withdrew from it when they learned more of the matter. For their chief had forbidden them to fight, and therefore they fled. For it is written in their books that when the soldiers of Guran shall come to the capital of the king then the Lord of the Age (whom they call God) shall appear; and this prophecy was now accomplished. They also possess certain poems which contain the date of the Manifestation, and these too came true. So they were convinced that this was the Truth become manifest, and begged to be excused from taking part in the war, which thing they declared themselves unable to do. And to The Bábis they said: 'In subsequent conflicts, when the framework of your religion shall have gathered strength, we will help you.' In short, when the officers of the army perceived in their opponents naught but devotion, godliness, and piety, some wavered in secret and did not put forth their full strength in the war." (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," pp. 138-43.)]

[2 According to Gobineau (p. 198), he was the grandson of Haji Muhammad Husayn Khan-i-Isfahani.]

This encouraging farman stirred the imagination of the ambitious Sadru'd-Dawlih. He marched instantly on Zanjan at the head of his two regiments, organised the forces which the governor placed at his disposal, and gave orders for a combined attack upon the fort and its defenders.[1] The

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contest raged in the environs of the fort three days and three nights, in the course of which the besieged, under the direction of Hujjat, resisted with splendid daring the fierce onslaught of their assailants. Neither their overwhelming numbers nor the superiority of their equipment and training could enable them to reduce the intrepid companions to an unconditional surrender.[2] Undeterred by the fire of the cannon with which they were deluged, and forgetful of both sleep and hunger, they rushed in a headlong charge out of the fort, utterly unmindful of the perils incurred by such a sally. To the imprecations with which an opposing host greeted their appearance from their retreat, they shouted their answer of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!" and, carried away by the spell which that invocation threw upon them, hurled themselves upon the enemy and scattered his forces. The frequency and success of these sallies demoralised their assailants and convinced them of the futility of their efforts. They were soon compelled to acknowledge their powerlessness to win a decisive victory. Sadru'd-Dawlih himself had to confess that after the lapse of nine months of sustained fighting, all the men who had originally belonged to his two regiments, no more than thirty crippled soldiers were left to support him. Filled with humiliation, he was forced, eventually, to admit his powerlessness to daunt the spirit of his opponents. He was degraded from his rank and gravely reprimanded by his sovereign. The hopes he had fondly cherished were, as the result of that defeat, irretrievably shattered.

[1 "On the fourth day, the Muhammadans saw with great joy Sadru'd-Dawlih, grandson of Haji Muhammad-Husayn Khan of Isfahan, enter their section of the city coming from Sultaniyyih, at the head of the tribe of Khamsih. For several days thereafter, reinforcements arrived in great numbers. First of all, Siyyid Ali Khan and Shahbar Khan, one from Firuz-Kuh, the other from Maraghih, with two hundred horsemen from their respective tribes. After them came Muhammad-'Ali Khan-i-Shah-Sun with two hundred mounted afshars; fifty artillerymen with two field guns and two mortars, so that the governor was provided with as much assistance as he could have wished and surrounded with a goodly number of military chieftains, among whom were several who were famous throughout the country." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," 198-199.) "One of the most terrible encounters related in the journal of the siege, is the one which took place on the fifth of Ramadan. Mustafa Khan, Qajar, with the fifteenth regiment of Shigaghi Sadru'd-Dawlih with his horsemen of Khamsih; Siyyid Ali Khan of Firuz-Kuh with his own regiment; Muhammad Aqa, colonel, with the regiment of Nasir called the royal regiment; Muhammad-'Ali Khan with the Afshar cavalry; Major Nabi Big with his cavalry and a troop made up of loyal citizens of Zanjan; all these men at dawn attacked the fortifications of The Bábis. The resistance of The Bábis was magnificent but disastrous. They saw their best leaders fall, one after another, leaders brave and true, saints who could not be replaced: Nur-'Ali the hunter; Bakhsh-'Ali the carpenter; Khudadad and Fathu'llah Big, all indispensable to the attainment of victory. They all fell, some in the morning and others in the evening." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 200.)]

[2 "I have seen at Zanjan the ruins of that fierce encounter; whole sections of the city have not yet been rebuilt and probably never will be. Some of those who took part in the tragedy have related to me upon the very spot certain incidents: The Bábis ascended and descended the terraces while carrying their cannon with them. Sometimes the earthen floor, not very firm, gave way and they had to raise the heavy gun again by dint of man power and had to prop the ground up with beams. When the enemy approached the crowd surrounded the guns with enthusiasm, all arms extended to lift them up and, when the carriers fell under the bullets of the assailants, a hundred comrades vied with each other for the honor of replacing them. Assuredly this was true faith!" (Ibid., pp. 200-201.)]

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So abject a defeat struck dismay into the hearts of the people of Zanjan. Few were willing, after that disaster, to risk their lives in hopeless encounters. Only those who were compelled to fight ventured to renew their attacks upon the besieged. The brunt of the struggle was mainly borne by the regiments which were being successively despatched from Tihran for that purpose. While the inhabitants of the town, and particularly the merchant class among them, profited greatly by the sudden influx of such a large number of forces, the companions of Hujjat suffered want and privation within the walls of the fort. Their supplies dwindled rapidly; their only hope of receiving any food from outside lay in the efforts, often unsuccessful, of a few women who could manage, under various pretexts, to approach the fort and sell them at an exorbitant price the provisions they so sadly needed.

Though oppressed with hunger and harassed by fierce and sudden onsets, they maintained with unflinching determination the defence of the fort. Sustained by a hope that no amount of adversity could dim, they succeeded in erecting no less than twenty-eight barricades, each of which was entrusted to the care of a group of nineteen of their fellow-disciples. At each barricade, nineteen additional companions were stationed as sentinels, whose function it was to watch and report the movements of the enemy.

They were frequently surprised by the voice of the crier whom the enemy sent to the neighbourhood of the fort to induce its occupants to desert Hujjat and his Cause. "The governor of the province," he would proclaim, "and the commander-in-chief too, are willing to forgive and extend a safe passage to whoever among you will decide to leave the fort and renounce his faith. Such a man will be amply rewarded by his sovereign, who, in addition to lavishing gifts upon him, will invest him with the dignity of noble rank. Both the Shah and his representatives have pledged their honour not to depart from the promise they have given." To this call the besieged would, with one voice, return contemptuous and decisive replies.

Further evidence of the spirit of sublime renunciation animating those valiant companions was afforded by the behaviour of a village maiden, who, of her own accord, threw

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in her lot with the band of women and children who had joined the defenders of the fort. Her name was Zaynab, her home a tiny hamlet in the near neighbourhood of Zanjan. She was comely and fair of face, was fired with a lofty faith, and endowed with intrepid courage. The sight of the trials and hardships which her men companions were made to endure stirred in her an irrepressible yearning to disguise herself in male attire and share in repulsing the repeated attacks of the enemy. Donning a tunic and wearing a head-dress like those of her men companions, she cut off her locks, girt on a sword, and, seizing a musket and a shield, introduced herself into their ranks. No one suspected her of being a maid when she leaped forward to take her place behind the barricade. As soon as the enemy charged, she bared her sword and, raising the cry of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!" flung herself with incredible audacity upon the forces arrayed against her. Friend and foe marvelled that day at a courage and resourcefulness the equal of which their eyes had scarcely ever beheld. Her enemies pronounced her the curse which an angry Providence had hurled upon them. Overwhelmed with despair and abandoning their barricades, they fled in disgraceful rout before her.

Hujjat, who was watching the movements of the enemy from one of the turrets, recognized her and marvelled at the prowess which that maiden was displaying. She had set out in pursuit of her assailants, when he ordered his men to bid her return to the fort and give up the attempt. "No man," he was heard to say, as he saw her plunge into the fire directed upon her by the enemy, "has shown himself capable of such vitality and courage." When questioned by him as to the motive of her behaviour, she burst into tears and said: "My heart ached with pity and sorrow when I beheld the toil and sufferings of my fellow-disciples. I advanced by an inner urge I could not resist. I was afraid lest you would deny me the privilege of throwing in my lot with my men companions." "You are surely the same Zaynab," Hujjat asked her, "who volunteered to join the occupants of the fort?" "I am," she replied. "I can confidently assure you that no one has hitherto discovered my sex. You alone have recognized me. I adjure you by The Báb not to withhold

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from me that inestimable privilege, the crown of martyrdom, the one desire of my life."

Hujjat was profoundly impressed by the tone and manner of her appeal. He sought to calm the tumult of her soul, assured her of his prayers in her behalf, and gave her the name Rustam-'Ali as a mark of her noble courage. "This is the Day of Resurrection," he told her, "the day when 'all secrets shall be searched out.'[1] Not by their outward appearance, but by the character of their beliefs and the manner of their lives, does God judge His creatures, be they men or women. Though a maiden of tender age and immature experience, you have displayed such vitality and resource as few men could hope to surpass." He granted her request, and warned her not to exceed the bounds their Faith had imposed upon them. "We are called upon to defend our lives," he reminded her, "against a treacherous assailant, and not to wage holy war against him."

[1 Quran, 86:9.]

For a period of no less than five months, that maiden continued to withstand with unrivalled heroism the forces of the enemy. Disdainful of food and sleep, she toiled with fevered earnestness for the Cause she most loved. She quickened, by the example of her splendid daring, the courage of the few who wavered, and reminded them of the duty each was expected to fulfil. The sword she wielded remained, throughout that period, by her side. In the brief intervals of sleep she was able to obtain, she was seen with her head resting upon her sword and her shield serving as a covering for her body. Every one of her companions was assigned to a particular post which he was expected to guard and defend, while that fearless maid alone was free to move in whatever direction she pleased. Always in the thick and forefront of the turmoil that raged round her, Zaynab was ever ready to rush to the rescue of whatever post the assailant was threatening, and to lend her assistance to any one of those who needed either her encouragement or support. As the end of her life approached, her enemies discovered her secret, and continued, despite their knowledge that she was a maid, to dread her influence and to tremble at her approach. The

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shrill sound of her voice was sufficient to strike consternation into their hearts and to fill them with despair.

One day, seeing that her companions were being suddenly enveloped by the forces of the enemy, Zaynab ran in distress to Hujjat and, flinging herself at his feet, implored him, with tearful eyes, to allow her to rush forth to their aid. "My life, I feel, is nearing its end," she added. "I may myself fall beneath the sword of the assailant. Forgive, I entreat you, my trespasses, and intercede for me with my Master, for whose sake I yearn to lay down my life."

Hujjat was too much overcome with emotion to reply. Encouraged by his silence, which she interpreted to mean that he consented to grant her appeal, she leaped out of the gate and, raising seven times the cry "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!" rushed to stay the hand that had already slain a number of her companions. "Why befoul by your deeds the fair name of Islam?" she shouted, as she flung herself upon them. "Why flee abjectly from before our face, if you be speakers of truth?" She ran to the barricades which the enemy had erected, routed those who guarded the first three of the defences, and was engaging in overcoming the fourth, when, beneath a shower of bullets, she dropped dead upon the ground. Not a single voice among her opponents dared question her chastity or ignore the sublimity of her faith and the enduring traits of her character. Such was her devotion that after her death no less than twenty women of her acquaintance embraced the Cause of The Báb. To them she had ceased to be the peasant girl they had known; she was the very incarnation of the noblest principles of human conduct, a living embodiment of the spirit which only a Faith such as hers could manifest.

The messengers who acted as intermediaries between Hujjat and his companions were one day directed to inform the guards of the barricades to carry out The Báb's injunction to His followers and to repeat nineteen times, each night, each of the following invocations: "Allah-u-Akbar,"[1] "Allah-u-A'zam,"[2] "Allah-u-Ajmal,"[3] "Allah-u-Abha,"[4] and "Allah-u-Athar."[5] The very night the behest was received, all the

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defenders of the barricades joined in shouting those words simultaneously. So loud and compelling was that cry that the enemy was rudely awakened from sleep, abandoned the camp in horror, and, hurrying to the environs of the governor's residence, sought shelter in the neighbouring houses. A few were so shocked with terror that they instantly dropped dead. A considerable number of the inhabitants of Zanjan fled, panic-stricken, to the adjoining villages. Many believed that stupendous uproar to be a sign heralding the Day of Judgment; to others it signified the sending forth, on the part of Hujjat, of a fresh summons which they felt would be the prelude to a sudden offensive against them more terrible than any they had yet experienced.

[1 "God the Great."]
[2 "God the Most Great."]
[3 "God the Most Beauteous."]
[4 "God the Most Glorious."]
[5 "God the Most Pure."]

"What," Hujjat was heard to remark, when informed of the terror that sudden invocation had inspired, "if I had been permitted by my Master to wage holy war against these cowardly miscreants! I am bidden by Him to instil into men's hearts the ennobling principles of charity and love, and to refrain from all unnecessary violence. My aim and that of my companions is, and ever will be, to serve our sovereign loyally and to be the well-wishers of his people. Had I chosen to follow in the footsteps of the ulamas of Zanjan, I should, as long as I live, have continued to remain the object of the slavish adoration of this people. Never shall I be willing to barter for all the treasures and honours this world can give me, the undying loyalty I bear His Cause."

The memory of that night still lingers in the minds of those who experienced its awe and terror. I have heard several eye-witnesses express in glowing terms the contrast between the tumult and disorder that reigned in the camp of the enemy and the atmosphere of reverent devotion that filled the fort. While those in the fort were invoking the name of God and praying for His guidance and mercy, their opponents, officers and men alike, were absorbed in acts of debauchery and shame. Though worn and exhausted, the occupants of the fort continued to observe their vigils and chant such anthems as The Báb had instructed them to repeat. The camp of the enemy at that same hour resounded with peals of noisy laughter, with imprecations and blasphemies. That night in particular, no sooner had the invocation

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pealed out than the dissolute officers, who were holding their wine-glasses in their hands, dropped them instantly to the ground and rushed out headlong, in bare feet, as if stunned by that stentorian outcry. Gambling tables were overturned in the midst of the disorder that ensued. Half dressed and bareheaded, a number ran out into the wilderness, while others betook themselves in haste to the homes of the ulamas and roused them from their sleep. Alarmed and overawed, these began to direct their fiercest invectives against one another for having kindled the fire of such great mischief.

As soon as the enemy had discovered the purpose of that loud clamour, they returned to their posts, reassured, though greatly humiliated, by their experience. The officers directed a certain number of their men to lie in ambush and to fire in any direction from which those voices might again proceed. Every night they succeeded in this way in slaying a number of the companions. Undeterred by the losses they were repeatedly sustaining, Hujjat's supporters continued to raise, with undiminished fervour, their invocation, despising the perils which the offering of the prayer involved. As their number diminished, that prayer grew louder and acquired added poignancy. Even the imminence of death was powerless to induce the intrepid defenders of the fort to give up what they deemed the noblest and most powerful reminder of their Beloved.

The contest was still raging when Hujjat was moved to address his written message to Nasiri'd-Din Shah. "The subjects of your Imperial Majesty," he wrote him, "regard you both as their temporal ruler and as the supreme custodian of their Faith. They appeal to you for justice, and look upon you as the supreme protector of their rights. Our controversy primarily concerned the ulamas of Zanjan only, and under no circumstances involved either your government or people. I myself was summoned by your predecessor to Tihran and was requested by him to set forth the basic claims of my Faith. The late Shah was entirely satisfied, and highly commended my efforts. I resigned myself to leave my home and settle in Tihran, with no other intention than that of abating the fury that raged round my person and of

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extinguishing the fire which the mischief-makers had kindled. Though free to return to my home, I preferred to remain in the capital, wholly relying upon the justice of my sovereign. In the early days of your reign, the Amir-Nizam, while the Mazindaran upheaval was still in progress, suspected me of treason and determined to destroy my life. Finding no one in Tihran able to protect me, I determined, in self-defence to flee to Zanjan, where I resumed my labours and strove with all my might to advance the true interest of Islam. I was pursuing my work when Majdu'd-Dawlih arose against me. I several times appealed to him to exercise moderation and justice, but he refused to grant my request. Instigated by the ulamas of Zanjan, and encouraged by the adulation they lavished upon him, he determined to arrest me. My friends intervened and attempted to stay his hand. He continued to rouse the people against me, and they in their turn have acted in a manner that has led to the present situation. Your Majesty has until now refrained from extending his gracious assistance to us, who are the innocent victims of such ferocious cruelty. Our enemies have even sought to represent our Cause, in the eyes of your Majesty, as a conspiracy against the authority with which you have been invested. Surely every unbiased observer will readily admit that we cherish in our hearts no such intention. Our sole aim is to advance the best interests of your government and people. I and my principal companions hold ourselves in readiness to leave for Tihran, that we may, in your presence as well as in that of our chief opponents, establish the soundness of our Cause."

Not content with his own petition, he bade his leading supporters address similar appeals to the Shah and stress his request for justice.

No sooner had the messenger who was carrying those petitions to Tihran set out on his way than he was seized and brought back into the presence of the governor. Infuriated by the action of his opponents, he ordered the messenger to be immediately put to death. He destroyed the petitions and in their stead wrote the Shah letters which he loaded with abuse and insult, and, adding the signatures of Hujjat and his chief companions, despatched them to Tihran.

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The Shah was so indignant after the perusal of these insolent petitions that he gave orders for the immediate despatch of two regiments equipped with guns and munitions to Zanjan, commanding that not one supporter of Hujjat be allowed to survive.

The news of The Báb's martyrdom had meanwhile reached the hard-pressed occupants of the fort through Siyyid Hasan, brother of Siyyid Husayn, The Báb's amanuensis, who had arrived from Adhirbayjan on his way to Qazvin. The news spread among the enemy and was welcomed by them with shouts of wild delight. They hastened to ridicule and hurl their taunts at the efforts of His adherents. "For what reason," they cried in haughty scorn, "will you henceforth be willing to sacrifice yourselves? He in whose path you long to lay down your lives, has himself fallen a victim to the bullets of a triumphant foe. His body is even now lost both to his enemies and to his friends. Why persist in your stubbornness when a word is sufficient to deliver you from your woes?" However much they strove to shake the confidence of the bereaved community, they failed, in the end, to induce the feeblest among them either to desert the fort or to recant his Faith.

The Amir-Nizam was meanwhile urging his sovereign to

despatch further reinforcements to Zanjan. Muhammad

Khan, the Amir-Tuman, at the head of five regiments and

equipped with a considerable amount of arms and munitions,

was finally commissioned to demolish the fort and wipe out

its occupants.

During the twenty days that hostilities were suspended, Aziz Khan-i-Mukri, surnamed Sardar-i-Kull, who was on a military mission to Iravan,[1] arrived at Zanjan and succeeded in meeting Hujjat through his host, Siyyid Ali Khan. The latter related to Aziz Khan the circumstances of a touching interview he had had with Hujjat, when he had obtained all the information he required regarding the intentions and proposals of the besieged. "Should the government," Hujjat

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had told him, "refuse to entertain my appeal, I am willing, with its permission, to depart with my family to a place beyond the confines of this land. Should it refuse to grant even this request and persist in attacking us, we should feel constrained to arise and defend ourselves." Aziz Khan assured Siyyid Ali Khan that he would do all in his power to induce the authorities to effect a speedy solution of this problem. No sooner had Siyyid Ali Khan retired than Aziz Khan was surprised by the farrash [2] of the Amir-Nizam, who had come to arrest Siyyid Ali Khan and to conduct him to the capital. He was seized with great fear and, in order to avert any suspicion from himself, began to abuse Hujjat and to denounce him openly before the farrash. By this means he was able to ward off the danger that threatened his own life.

[1 According to Gobineau (p. 202), Aziz Khan was "general-in-chief of the troops of Adhirbayjan and then first aide-de-camp of the king. He was passing through Zanjan, on his way to Tiflis, to congratulate the grand duke, heir apparent of Russia, on the occasion of his arrival in Caucasia."]

[2 See Glossary.]

The arrival of the Amir-Tuman was the signal for the resumption of hostilities on a scale such as Zanjan had never before experienced. Seventeen regiments of cavalry and infantry had rallied to his standard, and fought under his command. [1] No less than fourteen guns were, at his orders, directed against the fort. Five additional regiments, which the Amir had recruited from the neighbourhood, were being trained by him as reinforcements. The very night he arrived, he issued orders that the trumpets be sounded as a signal for the resumption of the attack. The officers in charge of his artillery were commanded to open fire instantly upon the besieged. The booming of the cannons, which could be heard distinctly at a distance of about fourteen farsangs, [2] had scarcely begun when Hujjat ordered his companions to make use of the two guns they themselves had constructed. One of them was transported to a high position commanding the Amir's headquarters. A ball struck his tent and mortally

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wounded his steed. The enemy was meanwhile directing, with unrelenting fury, its fire upon the fort, and had succeeded in killing a large number of its occupants.

[1 "Muhammad Khan, then Bigliyirbigi and Mir-panj, or general of the division, today become Amir-Tuman, joined the troops already engaged in this city; he brought them three thousand men of the regiments of Shigaghi and certain regiments of the guards with six cannon and two mortars. Almost at the same time Qasim Khan arrived from the frontier of Karabagh, entering Zanjan from another quarter, and the major Arslan Khan with cavalry from Khirghan, and Ali-Agbar, captain of Khuy, arrived with infantry. For each one had received orders from the king and they were all hastening to comply." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 201.)]

[2 See Glossary.]

As the days-went by; it became increasingly evident that the forces under the command of the Amir-Tuman, in spite of their great superiority in number, equipment, and training, were unable to achieve the victory they had fondly anticipated. The death of Farrukh Khan, son of Yahya Khan and brother of Haji Sulayman Khan, one of the generals of the enemy's army, aroused the indignation of the Amir-Nizam, who addressed a strongly worded communication to the commanding officer, reprimanding him for his failure to force the besieged to an unconditional surrender. "You have sullied the fair name of our country," he wrote him, "have demoralised the army, and have wasted the lives of its ablest officers." He was bidden enforce the strictest discipline among his subordinates and cleanse his camp from every stain of debauchery and vice. He was, moreover, urged to take counsel with the chiefs of the people of Zanjan, and was warned that, failing to achieve his end, he would be degraded from his position. "If your combined endeavours," he added, "prove powerless to force their submission, I myself will proceed to Zanjan, and will order a wholesale massacre of its inhabitants, irrespective of their position or belief. A town that can bring so much humiliation to the Shah and distress to his people is utterly unworthy of the clemency of our sovereign."

In a frenzy of despair, the Amir-Tuman summoned all the kad-khudas [1] and chiefs of the people, showed them the text of that letter, and by his earnest entreaties succeeded in rousing them to immediate action. The next day every able-bodied man in Zanjan had enlisted under the Amir-Tuman's standard. Headed by their kad-khudas and preceded by four regiments, a vast multitude of people marched, to the sound of a flourish of trumpets and the beating of drums, in the direction of the fort. Undaunted by their clamour, the companions of Hujjat raised simultaneously the cry of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!" then poured out of the gates and flung themselves upon them. That encounter was the fiercest and most desperate engagement that had yet

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been experienced. The flower of Hujjat's supporters fell on that day, victims to a ruthless carnage. Many a son was butchered in circumstances of unbridled cruelty under the eyes of his mother, while sisters gazed with horror and anguish upon the heads of their brothers raised on spears and brutally disfigured by the weapons of their foes. In the midst of a tumult in which the boisterous enthusiasm of the companions of Hujjat faced the fury and barbarism of an exasperated enemy, the voices of women, who were struggling side by side with the men, could be heard from time to time, animating the zeal of their fellow-disciples. The victory that was miraculously achieved on that day was, in no small measure, attributable to the shouts of exultation which those women raised in the face of a mighty foe, shouts which acquired added poignancy by their own acts of heroism and self-sacrifice. Disguised in the garb of men, some had rushed forward, in their eagerness to supplant their fallen brethren, while the rest were seen carrying on their shoulders skins full of water, with which they strove to allay the thirst, and revive the strength, of the wounded. Confusion reigned meanwhile in the camp of the enemy. Deprived of water, and distressed by defection in their ranks, they fought a losing battle, unable to retreat and impotent to conquer. No less than three hundred companions quaffed, that day, the cup of martyrdom.

[1 See Glossary.]

One of Hujjat's supporters was a man named Muhsin, whose function it was to sound the adhan.[1] His voice was endowed with a quality of warmth and richness that no man in the neighbourhood could equal. Its reverberation, as he summoned the faithful to prayer, could be distinctly felt as far as the adjoining villages, and penetrated the hearts of those who heard it. Oftentimes did the worshippers in that vicinity, in whose ears the voice of Muhsin was ringing, express their indignation at the charges of heresy imputed to Hujjat and his friends. So loud grew their protestations that they eventually reached the ears of the leading mujtahid of Zanjan, who, unable himself to impose silence upon them, implored the Amir-Tuman to devise some means of eradicating from the minds of the people the belief in the piety

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and uprightness of Hujjat and his companions. "Day and night," he complained, "I strive through my public discourse, no less than by private converse with the people, to instil into their minds the conviction that that wretched band is the sworn enemy of the Prophet and the wrecker of His Faith. The cry of that evil man, Muhsin, robs my words of their influence and nullifies my exertions. To exterminate that miserable wretch is surely your first obligation."

[1 See Glossary.]

The Amir refused at first to entertain his appeal. "You and your like," he replied, "are to be held responsible for having declared the necessity of waging holy war against them. We are but the servants of the government, and our duty is to obey the orders we receive. If you seek, however, to put an end to his life, you should be prepared to make the proper sacrifice." The siyyid immediately understood the purpose of the Amir's allusion. He had no sooner regained his house than he sent him, by the hand of a messenger, the gift of a hundred tumans.[1]

[1 See Glossary.]

The Amir promptly ordered a number of his men, who were famed for their marksmanship, to lie in wait for Muhsin and shoot him when in the act of prayer. It was the hour of dawn when, as he raised the cry of "La Ilah-a-Illa'llah,"[1] a bullet struck him in the mouth and killed him instantly. Hujjat, as soon as he was informed of that cruel act, ordered another of his companions to ascend the turret and continue the prayer from where Muhsin had left off. Though his life was spared until the cessation of hostilities, he, together with certain of his brethren, was made to suffer, eventually, a death no less atrocious than that of his fellow-disciple.

[1 There is no God but God.]

As the days of the siege were drawing to a close, Hujjat urged all those who were betrothed to celebrate their nuptials. For each unmarried youth among the besieged he chose a spouse, and, within the limits of the means at his disposal, contributed from his own purse whatever could add to the comfort and gladness of the newly married. He sold all the jewels his wife possessed, and, with the money, provided whatever could be obtained to bring happiness and pleasure to those he had joined in wedlock. During more than three months these festivities continued, festivities which were

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intermingled with the terrors and hardships of a long-protracted siege. How often did the clamour of an advancing foe drown the acclamations of joy with which bride and bridegroom greeted each other! How suddenly was the voice of merriment stilled by the cry of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!" that summoned the faithful to arise and repulse the invader! With what tenderness would the bride entreat the bridegroom to tarry awhile longer beside her ere he rushed forth to win the crown of martyrdom! "I can spare no time," he would reply. "I must hasten to obtain the crown of glory. We shall surely meet again on the shores of the great Beyond, the home of a blissful and eternal reunion."

No less than two hundred youths were joined in wedlock during those tumultuous days. Some a month, others a few days, and still others for but a brief moment, were able to tarry undisturbed in the company of their brides; no one among them failed, as the beating of the drum announced the hour of his departure, to respond joyously to the call. Each and every one ungrudgingly offered himself as a sacrifice for his true Beloved; all drank, eventually, the cup of martyrdom. No wonder the spot that has been the theatre of untold sufferings and has witnessed such heroism has been named Ard-i-A'la [1] by The Báb, a title that has remained for all time linked with His own blessed name.

[1 "The Exalted Spot," title given to Zanjan by The Báb.]

Among the companions was a certain Karbila'i Abdu'l-Baqi, the father of seven sons, five of whom Hujjat joined in wedlock. The nuptial ceremonies were hardly at an end when cries of terror suddenly announced the resumption of a fresh offensive against them. They sprang to their feet and, forsaking their loved ones, instantly rushed out to repulse the invader. All five fell in turn in the course of that encounter. The eldest of them, a youth greatly esteemed for his intelligence, and of renowned courage, was captured and conducted into the presence of the Amir-Tuman. "Lay him upon the ground," cried the infuriated Amir, "and kindle upon his breast, which dared nourish so great a love for Hujjat, a fire that shall consume it." "Wretched man," burst forth the undaunted youth, "no flame that the hands of your men are able to kindle, could destroy the love that

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glows in my heart." The praise of his Beloved lingered on his lips until the last moment of his life.

Among the women who distinguished themselves by the tenacity of their faith was one named Umm-i-Ashraf,[1] who was newly married when the storm of Zanjan broke out. She was within the fort when she gave birth to her son Ashraf. Both mother and child survived the massacre that marked the closing stages of that tragedy. Years afterwards, when her son had grown into a youth of great promise, he was involved in the persecutions that afflicted brethren. Unable to persuade him to recant, his enemies endeavoured to alarm his mother and convince her of the necessity of saving him, ere it was too late, from his fate. "I will disown you as my son," cried the mother, when brought face to face with him, "if you incline your heart to such evil whisperings and allow them to turn you away from the Truth." Faithful to his mother's admonitions, Ashraf met his death with intrepid calm. Though herself a witness to the cruelties inflicted on her son, she made no lamentation, neither did she shed a tear. This marvellous mother showed a courage and fortitude that amazed the perpetrators of that shameless deed. "I have now in mind," she exclaimed, as she cast a parting glance at the corpse of her son, "the vow I made on

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the day of your birth, while besieged in the fort of Ali-Mardan Khan. I rejoice that you, the only son whom God gave me, have enabled me to redeem that pledge."

[1 "Mother of Ashraf."]

My pen is powerless to portray, much less to render befitting tribute to, the consuming enthusiasm that glowed in those valiant hearts. Violent as were the winds of adversity they were powerless to quench its flame. Men and women laboured with unabating fervour to strengthen the defences of the fort and reconstruct whatever the enemy had demolished. What leisure they could obtain was consecrated to prayer. I very thought, every desire, was subordinated to the paramount necessity of guarding their stronghold against the onslaughts of the assailant. The part the women played in these operations was no less arduous than that accomplished by their men companions. Every woman, irrespective of rank and age, joined with energy in the common task. They sewed the garments, baked the bread, ministered to the sick and wounded, repaired the barricades, cleared away from the courts and terraces the balls and missiles fired upon them by the enemy, and, last but not least, cheered the faint in heart and animated the faith of the wavering.[1] Even the children joined in giving whatever assistance was in their power to the common cause, and seemed to be fired by an enthusiasm no less remarkable than that which their fathers and mothers displayed.

[1 "The desperate resistance offered by The Bábis must therefore be attributed less to the strength of the position which they occupied than to the extraordinary valour with which they defended themselves even the women took part in the defence, and I subsequently heard it stated on good authority that like the Carthaginian women of old, they cut off their long hair and bound it round the crazy guns to afford them the necessary support." (E. G. Browne's "A Year amongst the Persians," p. 74.)]

Such was the spirit of solidarity that characterised their labours, and such the heroism of their acts, that the enemy was led to believe their number was no less than ten thousand. It was generally conceded that a continual supply of provisions found its way, in an unaccountable manner, to the fort, and that fresh reinforcements were being steadily despatched from Nayriz, from Khurasan, and from Tabriz. The power of the besieged seemed to them as unshakable as ever, their resources inexhaustible.

The Amir-Tuman, exasperated by their unyielding tenacity

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and spurred by the rebukes and protestations of the authorities in Tihran, determined to resort to the abject weapons of treachery in order to exact the complete submission of the besieged.[1] Firmly convinced of the futility of his efforts to face his opponents in the field honourably, he craftily called for the suspension of hostilities, and gave currency to the report that the Shah had decided to abandon the whole enterprise. He represented his sovereign as having, from the very beginning, discountenanced the idea of extending his support to the forces that fought in Mazindaran and Nayriz, and of having deplored the shedding of so much blood for so insignificant a cause. The people of Zanjan and the surrounding villages were led to believe that Nasiri'd-Din Shah had actually ordered the Amir-Tuman to negotiate a friendly settlement of the issues between him and Hujjat, and that it was his intention to put an end, as speedily as possible, to this unhappy state of affairs.

[1 "Decidedly the situation was becoming critical for the Muhammadans and it looked as though they would never overcome such a tenacious resistance. Moreover, why take so much trouble? Why endanger uselessly the lives,--not of the soldiers, mere cannon fodder they,--but those of the officers and the generals? Why expose oneself daily to ridicule and to defeat? Why not follow the example of Shaykh Tabarsi? Why not resort to deceit? Why not make the most sacred promises, even though it might later become necessary to massacre those gullibles who had put their trust in them?" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 350.)]

Assured that the people had been deceived by his cunning plot, he drew up an appeal for peace, in which he assured Hujjat of the sincerity of his intention of achieving a lasting settlement between him and his supporters. He accompanied that declaration with a sealed copy of the Quran, as a testimony of the sacredness of his pledge. "My sovereign," he added, "has forgiven you. You, as well as your followers, I hereby solemnly declare to be under the protection of his Imperial Majesty. This Book of God is my witness that if any of you decide to come out of the fort, you will be safe from any danger."

Hujjat reverently received the Quran from the hand of the messenger, and, as soon as he had read the appeal, bade its bearer inform his master that he would send an answer in the course of the following day. That night he gathered together his chief companions and spoke to them of the misgivings he entertained as to the sincerity of the enemy's declarations. "The treacheries of Mazindaran and of Nayriz

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are still vivid in our minds. That which was perpetrated against them, the same they purpose to perpetrate against us. In deference to the Quran, however, we shall respond to their invitation, and shall despatch to their camp a number of our companions, that thereby their deceitfulness may be exposed."

I have heard Ustad Mihr-'Aliy-i-Haddad, who survived the massacre of Zanjan, relate the following: "I was one of the nine children, none of whom were more than ten years old, who accompanied the delegation sent by Hujjat to the Amir-Tuman. The rest were men of over eighty years of age. Among them were Karbila'i Mawla-Quli-Aqa-Dadash, Darvish-Salah, Muhammad-Rahim, and Muhammad. Darvish-Salah was a most impressive figure, tall of stature, white-bearded, and of singular beauty. He was greatly esteemed for his honourable and just conduct. His intervention on behalf of the downtrodden invariably received the consideration and sympathy of the authorities concerned. He renounced, after his conversion, all the honours he had received, and, though far advanced in age, enrolled himself among the defenders of the fort. He marched before us carrying the sealed Quran as we were led into the presence of the Amir-Tuman.

"Reaching his tent, we stood at its entrance awaiting his orders. To our salute he gave no response, and treated us with marked contempt. He kept us standing half an hour before he deigned to address us in a tone of severe reprimand. 'A meaner and more shameless people than you,' he cried in haughty scorn, 'has never been seen!' He had hurled his denunciations at us when one of the companions, the oldest and feeblest among them, begged to be allowed to say a few words to him, and, on obtaining his permission, spoke, unlettered though he was, in a manner that could not fail to excite our profound admiration. 'God knows,' he pleaded, 'that we are, and will ever remain, loyal and law-abiding subjects of our sovereign, with no other desire than to advance the true interests of his government and people. We have been grievously misrepresented by our ill-wishers. No one of the Shah's representatives was inclined to protect or befriend us; no one was found to plead our Cause before

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him. We repeatedly appealed to him, but he ignored our entreaty and was deaf to our call. Our enemies, emboldened by the indifference which characterised the attitude of the ruling authorities, assailed us from every side, plundered our property, violated the honour of our wives and daughters, and captured our children. Undefended by our government and encompassed by our foes, we felt constrained to arise and defend our lives.'

"The Amir-Tuman turned to his lieutenant and asked him what action he would advise him to take. 'I am at a loss," the Amir added, 'as to the answer I should give this man. Were I at heart religious, I would unhesitatingly embrace his cause.' 'Nothing but the sword,' replied his lieutenant, 'will deliver us from this abomination of heresy.' 'I still hold the Quran in my hand,' interposed Darvish-Salah, 'and carry the declaration which you, of your own accord, chose to make. Are the words we have just heard our reward for having responded to your appeal?'

"The Amir-Tuman, in a burst of fury, offered that Darvish-Salah's beard be torn out, and that he, with those who were with him, be thrown into a dungeon. I and the rest of the children were scared, and attempted to escape. Raising the cry of 'Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!' we hurried in the direction of our barricades. Some of us were overtaken and made prisoners. As I was fleeing, the man who was pursuing me laid hold of the hem of my garment. I tore myself away from him and managed to reach the gate that led to the approaches of the fort, in a state of utter exhaustion. How great was my surprise when I saw one of the companions, a man named Iman-Quli, being savagely mutilated by the enemy. I was horrified as I gazed upon that scene, knowing as I did that on that very day the cessation of hostilities had been proclaimed and the most solemn pledges given that no acts of violence would be committed. I was soon informed that the victim had been betrayed by his brother, who, on the pretext of desiring to speak with him, had handed him over to his persecutors.

"I straightway hastened to Hujjat, who lovingly received me and, wiping the dust from my face, and clothing me with new garments, invited me to be seated by his side and bade

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me tell him the fate of his companions. I described to him all that I had seen. 'It is the tumult of the Day of Resurrection,' he explained, 'a tumult such as the world has never seen before. This is the day on which "man shall fly from his brother, and his mother and his father, and his wife and his children."[1] This is the day when man, not content with having abandoned his brother, sacrifices his substance in order to shed the blood of his nearest kinsman. This is the day when "every suckling woman shall forsake her sucking Bábe; and every woman that hath a burden in her womb shall cast her burden. And thou shalt see men drunken, yet they are not drunken; but it is the mighty chastisement of God!"'"[2]

[1 Quran, 80:34.]
[2 Quran, 22:2.]

Seating himself in the centre of the maydan,[1] Hujjat summoned his followers. On their arrival, he arose and, standing erect in their midst, spoke to them in these words: "I am well pleased with your unflinching endeavours, my beloved companions. Our enemies are bent upon our destruction. They harbour no other desire. Their intention was to trick you into coming out of the fort, and then to slaughter you mercilessly after their hearts' desire. Finding that their treachery has been exposed, they have, in the fury of their rage, ill-treated and imprisoned the oldest and the youngest among you. It is clear that not until they capture this fort and scatter you, will they lay down their arms or cease their persecutions against us. Your continued presence in this fort will eventually cause you to be taken captive by the enemy, who will of a certainty dishonour your wives and slay your children. Better is it, therefore, for you to make your escape in the middle of the night and to take your wives and children with you. Let each one seek a place of safety until such time as this tyranny shall be overpast. I shall remain alone to face the enemy. It were better that my death should allay their thirst for revenge than that you should all perish."

[1 See Glossary.]

The companions were moved to their very depths and, with tears in their eyes, declared their firm resolve to remain, to the end, by his side. "We can never consent," they exclaimed, to abandon you to the mercy of a murderous enemy! Our lives are not more precious than your life,

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neither are our families of a more noble descent than that of your kinsmen. Whatever calamity may yet befall you, is what we shall welcome for ourselves."

All except a few remained true their pledge. These, unable to bear the ever-increasing distress of a prolonged siege, and encouraged by the advice Hujjat himself had given them, betook themselves to a place of safety outside the fort, thus separating themselves from the rest of their fellow-disciples.

Nerved to a resolve of despair, the Amir-Tuman ordered all able-bodied men in Zanjan to assemble in the neighbourhood of his camp, ready to receive his commands. He reorganised the forces of his regiments, appointed their officers, and added them to the host of fresh recruits that had massed in the town. He ordered no less than sixteen regiments, each equipped with ten guns, to march against the fort. Eight of these regiments were charged to attack the fort every forenoon, after which the remainder of the forces were to replace them in their offensive until the approach of evening. The Amir himself took the field, and was seen in the forenoon of every day directing the efforts of his host, assuring them of the reward awaiting their success, and warning them of the punishment which, in the event of defeat, the sovereign would inflict upon them.

For one whole month the siege continued. Not content with attacks by day, the enemy several times attacked them by night also. The fierceness of their onslaughts, the overwhelming force of their numbers, and the rapid succession of the onsets, thinned the ranks of the companions and aggravated their distress. Reinforcements for the enemy continued to pour in from all directions, while the besieged languished in a state of misery and hunger.[1]

[1 "Finally the threats of the court, the encouragement and the reinforcements arrived so fast, there was such a disproportion as to soldiers and supplies between The Bábis and their adversaries that the outcome became both evident and imminent." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 203.)]

The Amir-Nizam meanwhile decided to strengthen the hands of the Amir-Tuman by the appointment of Hasan-Ali Khan-i-Karrusi, who was commanded to march at the head of two sunni regiments to Zanjan. His arrival was the signal for the concentration of the enemy's artillery on

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the fort. A tremendous bombardment threatened the structure with immediate destruction. It lasted for a number of days, during which the stronghold stood firm in spite of the increasing fire which was directed against it. The friends of Hujjat displayed, during those days, a valour and skill that even their bitterest foes were compelled to admire.

One day, while the bombardment was still in progress, a bullet struck Hujjat in the right arm, as he was performing his ablutions. Though he ordered his servant not to inform his wife of the wound he had received, yet such was the man's grief that he was powerless to conceal his emotion. His tears betrayed his distress, and no sooner had the wife of Hujjat learned of the injury inflicted on her husband than she ran in distress and found him absorbed in prayer in a state of unruffled calm. Though bleeding profusely from his wound, his face retained its expression of undisturbed confidence. "Pardon this people, O God," he was heard to say, "for they know not what they do. Have mercy upon them, for they who have led them astray are alone responsible for the misdeeds the hands of this people have wrought."

Hujjat sought to calm the agitation that had seized his wife and relatives at the sight of the blood that covered his body. "Rejoice," he told them, "for I am still with you and desire you to be wholly resigned to God's will. What you now behold is but a drop compared to the ocean of afflictions that will be poured forth at the hour of my death. Whatever be His decree, it is our duty to acquiesce and bow down to His will."

No sooner had the news that he had been wounded reached the companions than they laid down their arms and hastened to him. The enemy, meanwhile, taking advantage of the momentary absence of their adversaries, redoubled their attack upon the fort and were able to force their passage through its gate.[1] That day they took captive no less than a hundred of the women and children, and plundered all their

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possessions. Despite the severity of that winter, these captives were left exposed in the open for no less than fifteen days and nights to a biting cold such as Zanjan had rarely experienced. Clad in the thinnest of garments, with no covering to protect them, they were abandoned, without food and shelter, in the wilderness. Their only protection was the gauze that covered their heads, with which they sought in vain to shield their faces from the icy wind that blew mercilessly upon them. Crowds of women, most of whom were inferior to them in social position, flocked from the various quarters of Zanjan to the scene of their sufferings and poured upon them contempt and ridicule. "You have now found your god," they scornfully exclaimed, as they danced wildly around them, "and have been rewarded abundantly by him." They spat in their faces and heaped upon them the foulest invectives.

[1 "The regiment of Karrus under the command of the chief of the tribe, Hasan-'Ali Khan (today minister to Paris), took the fort of Ali-Mardan Khan; the fourth regiment broke into the house of Aqa Aziz, one of the strongholds of the city, and burnt it to the ground; the regiment of guards blew up the hotel located near the Hamadan gate and, though it lost one captain and several soldiers, nevertheless it remained in possession of the place." (Ibid., p. 203.)]

The capture of the fort, though robbing Hujjat's companions of their chief instrument of defence, failed either to daunt their spirit or discourage their efforts. All property on which the enemy could lay its hands was plundered, and the women and children who were left defenceless were made captives. The rest of the companions, together with the remaining women and children, crowded into the houses that lay in the close vicinity of Hujjat's residence. They were divided into five companies, each consisting of nineteen times nineteen companions. From each of these companies, nineteen would rush forth together and, raising with one voice the cry of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!" would fling themselves into the midst of the enemy and would succeed in scattering its forces. The uplifted voices of these ninety-five companions would alone prove sufficient to paralyse the efforts, and crush the spirit, of their assailants.

This state of affairs continued for a few days, bringing in its wake both humiliation and loss to an enemy that had believed itself capable of achieving immediate and signal victory. Many were killed in the course of these encounters. Officers, to the distress of their superiors, were beginning to desert their posts, the captains of the artillery were abandoning their guns, whilst the rank and file of the army was demoralised and completely exhausted. The Amir-Tuman

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was himself weary of the coercive measures to which he had been compelled to resort in order to maintain the discipline of his men and to keep unimpaired their efficiency and vigour. He was drive against to take counsel with the remainder of his officers, and to seek a desperate remedy for a situation that was fraught with grave danger to his own life no less than to that of the inhabitants of Zanjan. "I am weary," he confessed, "of the grim resistance of this people. They are evidently animated by a spirit which no amount of encouragement from our sovereign can hope to call forth in our men. Such self-renunciation surely no one in the ranks of our army is able to manifest. No power that I can command is able to arouse my men from the slough of despair into which they have fallen. Whether they triumph or fail, these soldiers believe themselves doomed to eternal damnation."

Their mature deliberations resulted in the decision to

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dig out underground passages from the site which their camp occupied to a place underneath the quarter in which the dwellings of Hujjat's adherents were situated. They determined to blow up these houses and by this means to force them to an unconditional surrender. For one whole month they laboured to fill these underground passages with all manner of explosives, and continued, at the same time, to demolish with fiendish cruelty such houses as remained standing. Wishing to accelerate the work of destruction, the Amir-Tuman ordered the officers in charge of his artillery to direct their fire upon Hujjat's residence, as the buildings that intervened between that house and the camp of the enemy had been razed to the ground, there remaining no further obstacle in the way of its ultimate destruction.

A section of his dwelling had already collapsed when Hujjat, who was still living within its walls, turned to his wife Khadijih, who was holding Hadi, their Báby, in her arms, and warned her that the day was fast approaching when she and her infant might be taken captive, and bade her be prepared for that day. She was giving vent to her distress when a cannon-ball struck the room which she occupied, and killed her instantly. Her child, whom she was holding to her breast, fell into the brazier beside her, and shortly afterwards died of the injuries he had received, in the house of Mirza Abu'l-Qasim, the mujtahid of Zanjan.

Hujjat, though filled with grief, refused to yield to idle sorrow. "The day whereon I found Thy beloved One, O my God," he cried, "and recognized in Him the Manifestation of Thy eternal Spirit, I foresaw the woes that I should suffer for Thee. Great as have been until now my sorrows, they can never compare with the agonies that I would willingly suffer in Thy name. How can this miserable life of mine, the loss of my wife and of my child, and the sacrifice of the band of my kindred and companions, compare with the blessings which the recognition of Thy Manifestation has bestowed on me! Would that a myriad lives were mine, would that I possessed the riches of the whole earth and its glory, that I might resign them all freely and joyously in Thy path."

The tragic loss their beloved leader had sustained, and the grievous wound inflicted upon him, distressed the companions

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of Hujjat, and filled them with burning indignation. They determined to make a last and desperate effort to avenge the blood of their slaughtered brethren. Hujjat, however, dissuaded them from making that attempt, and exhorted them not to hasten the issue of the conflict. He bade them resign themselves to the will of God and to remain calm and steadfast to the end, whenever that end might come.

As time went on, their number diminished, their sufferings multiplied, and the area within which they could feel secure was reduced. On the morning of the fifth of the month of Rabi'u'l-Avval, in the year 1267 A.H.,[1] Hujjat, who had already, for nineteen days, endured the severe pain caused by his wound, was in the act of prayer and had fallen prostrate upon his face, invoking the name of The Báb, when he suddenly passed away.

[1 January 8, 1851 A.D.]

His sudden death came as a severe shock to his kindred and companions. Their grief at the passing of so able, so accomplished, and so inspiring a leader, was profound; the loss was irreparable. Two of his companions, Din-Muhammad-Vazir and Mir Riday-i-Sardar, straightway undertook, ere the enemy was made aware of his death, to inter his remains in a place which neither his kindred nor his friends could suspect. At midnight the body was borne to a room that belonged to Din-Muhammad-Vazir, where it received burial. They demolished that room in order to ensure the safety of the remains from desecration, and exercised the utmost care to maintain the secrecy of the spot.

More than five hundred women who survived that terrible tragedy were, immediately after the death of Hujjat, gathered together in his house. His companions, in spite of the death of their leader, continued to face, with undiminished zeal, the forces of their assailants. Of the great multitude that had flocked to the standard of Hujjat, there remained only two hundred vigorous men; the rest either had died or were utterly incapacitated by the wounds they had received.

The knowledge of the removal of so inspiring a leader nerved the enemy to resistance and decided them to wipe

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out what still remained of the formidable forces they had been unable to subdue. They launched a general attack, fiercer and more determined than any previous one. Animated by the beating of drums and the sound of trumpets, and encouraged by the shouts of exultation raised by the populace, they threw themselves upon the companions with unbridled ferocity, resolved not to rest until the whole company had been annihilated. In the face of this fierce onset, the companions raised once more the cry of Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!" and rushed forth, undismayed, to continue the heroic struggle until all of them had been either slain or captured.

That massacre had scarcely been perpetrated when the signal was given for a pillage, unexampled in its scope and ferocity. Had not the Amir-Tuman issued orders to spare what remained of the house and belongings of Hujjat, and to refrain from any acts of violence against his kindred, even more dastardly attacks would have been made by his rapacious army. His intention was to inform the authorities in Tihran and to seek from them whatever advice they wished to give him. He failed, however, to restrain indefinitely the spirit of violence which animated his men. The ulamas of Zanjan, flushed with the victory that had cost them such exertion and loss of life, and which had involved to such an unprecedented degree their reputation and prestige, endeavoured to incite the populace to commit every imaginable outrage against the lives of their men captives and the honour of their women. The sentinels who guarded the entrance to the house in which Hujjat had been living, were driven from their posts in the general tumult that ensued. The populace joined hands with the army to plunder the property and assail the persons of the few who still survived that memorable struggle. Neither the Amir-Tuman nor the governor was able to allay the thirst for plunder and revenge which had seized the whole town. Order and discipline no longer existed in the midst of the general confusion.

The governor of the province was, however, able to induce the officers of the army to gather together the captives into the house of a certain Haji Ghulam and to keep them in custody until the arrival of fresh instructions from Tihran.

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The entire company were huddled together like sheep in that wretched place, exposed to the cold of a severe winter. The enclosure into which they were crowded was roofless and without furniture. For a few days they remained without food. From thence the women were removed to the house of a muJtahid named Mirza Abu'l-Qasim, in the hope that he would induce them to recant, in return for which they would be offered their freedom. The greedy mujtahid, however, had, with the aid of his wives, his sisters and daughters, succeeded in seizing all they had been allowed to carry with them; had stripped them of their garments, clothed them in the meanest attire, and appropriated for himself whatever valuables he could find among their belongings.

After suffering untold hardships, these women captives were allowed to join their relatives, on condition that these would undertake full responsibility for their future behaviour. The rest were dispersed throughout the neighbouring villages, the inhabitants of which, unlike the people of Zanjan, welcomed the newcomers with treatment that was at once affectionate and genuine. The family of Hujjat, however, was detained in Zanjan until the arrival of definite instructions from Tihran.

As to the wounded, they were placed in custody until such time as the authorities in the capital should send directions as to how they were to be treated. Meanwhile the severity of the cold to which they were exposed and the cruelties they underwent were such that within a few days they had all perished.

The rest of the captives were delivered by the Amir-Tuman into the hands of the Karrusi, the Khamsih, and the Iraqi regiments, with orders that they be immediately executed. They were conducted in procession, to the accompaniment of drums and trumpets, to the camp where the army was stationed.[1] All these regiments combined to add

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to the horror of the abominations perpetrated against the poor sufferers. Armed with their lances and spears, they flung themselves upon the seventy-six companions who still remained, piercing and mutilating their bodies with a savage ruthlessness that excelled the dark deeds of even the most refined torture-mongers of their race. The spirit of revenge which that day dominated those barbarous men passed all bounds. Regiment vied with regiment in committing the foulest atrocities which their ingenious minds could devise. They were preparing to swoop afresh upon their victims when a certain Haji Muhammad-Husayn, father of Aba-Basir, sprang to his feet and, raising the call of the adhan, [2] thrilled the multitude that had gathered about him. Though in the hour of his death, such were the fervour and majesty with which he pealed out the words "Allah-u-Akbar," [3] that the entire Iraqi regiment immediately proclaimed their refusal to continue participating in such shameful deeds. Deserting their posts, and raising the cry "Ya Ali!" they fled from that place in horror and disgust. "Accursed be the Amir-Tuman!" they were heard to exclaim, as they turned their backs on that scene of bloodshed and horror. "That wretch

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has deceived us! With devilish persistence he sought to convince us of this people's disloyalty to the Imam Ali and to his kindred. Never, though we all be slain, will we consent to assist in such criminal deeds."

[1 "Then Muhammad Khan Bigliyirbigi, Amir Arslan Khan and the other commanders, although they had guaranteed on their honor to spare the lives of The Bábis, assembled them in front of their troops to the accompaniment of drums and trumpets and ordered one hundred men, chosen from the different regiments, to take the prisoners and place them in a row. The command was then given to pierce them with bayonets, which was done. Then the leaders of The Bábis, Sulayman the shoemaker and Haji Kazim Giltughi were blown to pieces from the mouths of mortars. This type of execution invented in Asia, but practised also by the English troops during the revolt in India, with the refinement with which European science and intelligence invest everything they do, consists in tying the victim to the mouth of the cannon loaded with powder. When the explosion takes place, the victim is torn to pieces, the size of the pieces depending upon the amount of powder used. "The execution over, the captives were sorted again. They set aside Mirza Rida, lieutenant of Mulla Muhammad-'Ali, and on all those of high standing or importance they placed chains about their necks and shackles on their hands and feet. They then decided to disregard the royal command and to take them to Tihran in order to augment their triumph. As for the few unfortunates who were left and whose life or death was of no importance to anyone, they were abandoned and the victorious army returned to the capital, dragging with them their prisoners, who walked ahead of the horses of the victorious generals. "Upon their arrival in Tihran, the Amir Nizam, prime minister, found it necessary to make an example of this new execution and Mirza Rida, Haji Muhammad-'Ali and Haji Muhsin were condemned to have their veins slashed open. The three victims learned the news without betraying the least emotion; they declared, nevertheless, that the lack of good faith, of which the authorities had been guilty, was not one of those crimes that the Almighty could be satisfied with punishing in the ordinary way; He would demand a punishment more impressive and striking for the persecutors of His saints. Consequently, they foretold that the prime minister would very soon suffer the same death that he was inflicting upon them. "I have heard this prophecy referred to and I do not doubt for an instant that they who informed me of it, were firmly convinced of its truth. I must however state here that when I was told about it, four years had elapsed since the Amir-Nizam was thus put to death by royal edict. The only thing I can affirm therefore is that I was given assurance that the prophecy had really been made by the martyrs of Zanjan." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 207-209.)]

[2 See Glossary.]
[3 "God is Most Great."]

A number of these captives were blown from guns; others were stripped naked, ice-cold water was poured upon their bodies, and they were lashed severely. Still others were smeared with treacle and left to perish in the snow. Despite the shame and cruelties they were made to suffer, not one of these captives was known either to recant or to utter one angry word against his persecutors. Not even a whisper of discontent escaped their lips, nor did their countenances betray a shadow of regret or grief. No amount of adversity could succeed in darkening the light that shone in those faces; no words, however insulting, could disturb the serenity of their expressions.[1]

[1 "After the execution, the spectators invaded the field of death, some searching for the body of a friend in order to bury it, others moved only by morbid curiosity. It is said that a Muhammadan, named Vali-Muhammad, came upon the body of one of his neighbours and, noticing that he was not quite dead, he called to him and said, 'I am your neighbor Vali-Muhammad. If you need anything call on me.' The other indicated that he was thirsty. Immediately the Muhammadan fetched a large stone and returning to his neighbor, said, 'Open your mouth, I bring you water.' As the dying man complied he crushed his head with the stone. "At last, the Bigliyirbigi started for Tihran, taking with him forty-four prisoners among whom were the son of Mirza Rida, Haji Muhammad-'Ali and Haji Muhsin the surgeon. These three were put to death after their arrival, the others were doomed to rot in prison." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 363.)]

No sooner had the persecutors finished their work than they began to seek for the body of Hujjat, the place of whose burial the companions had carefully concealed. The most inhuman tortures had proved powerless to induce them to disclose the identity of that spot. The governor, exasperated by the failure of his search, asked that the seven-year-old son of Hujjat, whose name was Husayn, be brought to him that he might attempt to induce him to disclose the secret. [1] My son, he said, as he gently caressed him, "I am filled with grief at the knowledge of all the afflictions that have been the lot of your parents. Not I, but the mujtahids of Zanjan,

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should be held responsible for the abominations that have been committed. I am now willing to accord the remains of your father a befitting burial, and wish to atone for the shameful deeds that have been perpetrated against him." By his gentle insinuations, he succeeded in getting the child to reveal the secret, and thereupon sent his men to fetch the body. No sooner had the object of his desire been delivered into his hands than he ordered that it be dragged with a rope, to the sound of drums and trumpets, through the streets of Zanjan. For three days and three nights, unspeakable injuries were heaped upon the body, which lay exposed to the eyes of the people in the maydan.[2] On the third night, it was reported that a number of horsemen had succeeded in carrying away the remnants of the corpse to a place of safety in the direction of Qazvin. As to Hujjat's kinsmen, orders were received from Tihran to conduct them to Shiraz and to deliver them into the hands of the governor. There they languished in poverty and misery. Whatever possessions still remained to them the governor seized for himself, and condemned the victims of his rapacity to seek shelter in a ruined and dilapidated house. Hujjat's youngest son, Mihdi, died

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of the privations he and his family were made to suffer, and was buried in the very midst of the ruins that had served as his shelter.

[1 "It was not enough for them to have gained the victory, they had even to insult the bodies of their enemies. They were eager to question The Bábis but, no matter how great the torture with which they threatened them, The Bábis refused to speak. They poured boiling oil upon the head of Aqa Din-Muhammad, but he remained silent. Finally, the Sardar had the son of the deceased chief brought before him. This child was but seven years of age, his name was Aqa Husayn and, through clever threats and insidious flattery, they succeeded in making him speak." (Ibid., p. 361.)]

[2 See Glossary.]

I was privileged, nine years after the termination of that memorable struggle, to visit Zanjan and witness the scene of those terrible butcheries. I beheld with grief and horror the ruins of the fort of Ali-Mardan Khan, and trod the ground that had been saturated with the blood of its immortal defenders. I could discern on its gates and walls traces of the carnage that marked its surrender to the enemy, and could discover upon the very stones that had served as barricades, stains of the blood that had been so profusely shed in that neighbourhood.

As to the number of those who fell in the course of these encounters, no accurate estimate has as yet been made. So numerous were those who participated in that struggle, and

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so prolonged the siege which they withstood, that to ascertain their names and number would be a task that I would hesitate to undertake. A tentative list of such names, which readers might do well to consult, has been prepared by Ismu'llahu'l-Mim and Ismu'llahu'l-Asad. Many and conflicting are the reports as to the exact number of those who struggled and fell under the banner of Hujjat in Zanjan. Some have estimated that there were as many as a thousand martyrs; according to others, they were more numerous. I have heard it stated that one of the companions of Hujjat who undertook to record the names of those who had suffered martyrdom, had left a written statement in which he had computed the number of those who had fallen prior to the death of Hujjat to be a thousand, five hundred and ninety-eight, whilst those who had suffered martyrdom afterwards were thought to have been in all two hundred and two persons.

For the account I have related of the happenings of Zanjan I am primarily indebted to Mirza Muhammad Aliy-i-Tabib-i-Zanjani, to Aba-Basir, and to Siyyid Ashraf, all martyrs of the Faith, with each of whom I was closely acquainted. The rest of my narrative is based upon the manuscript which a certain Mulla Husayn-i-Zanjani wrote and sent to the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, in which he recorded all the information he could glean from different sources regarding the events connected with that episode.

What I have related of the struggle of Mazindaran has been similarly inspired, to a very great extent, by the written account sent to the Holy Land by a certain Siyyid Abu-Talib-i-ShahMirzadi, as well as by the brief survey prepared here by one of the believers named Mirza Haydar-'Aliy-i-Ardistani. I have, moreover, ascertained certain facts connected with that struggle from persons who actually participated in it, such as Mulla Muhammad-Sadiq-i-Muqaddas, Mulla Mirza Muhammad-i-Furughi, and Haji Abdu'l-Majid, father of Badi' and martyr to the Faith.

As to the events relating to the life and deeds of Vahid, I have obtained my information regarding what took place in Yazd from Rida'r-Ruh, who was one of his intimate companions. As to the later stages of that struggle in Nayriz, my narrative is mainly drawn from such information as I

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could gather from the detailed account sent to the Holy Land by a believer of that town, named Mulla Shafi, who had carefully investigated the matter and had reported it to Bahá'u'lláh. Whatever my pen has failed to record, future generations will, I hope, gather together and preserve for posterity. Many, I confess, are the gaps in this narrative, for which I beg the indulgence of my readers. It is my earnest hope that these gaps may be filled by those who will, after me, arise to compile an exhaustive and befitting account of these stirring events, the significance of which we can as yet but dimly discern.

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Ever since I began the writing of my narrative, it has been my firm intention to include, in such accounts as I might be able to relate of the early days of this Revelation, those gems of inestimable value which it has been my privilege to hear, from time to time, from the lips of Bahá'u'lláh. These words, some of which were addressed to me alone, others which I shared with my fellow-disciples as we sat in His presence, are mainly concerned with the very episodes I have essayed to describe. Bahá'u'lláh's comments on the conference of Badasht, and His references to the tumult that marked its closing stages, to which I have referred in a preceding chapter, are but instances of the passages with which I hope to enrich and ennoble my narrative.

Upon the termination of the description of the struggle of Zanjan, I was ushered into His presence, and received, together with a number of other believers, the blessings which on two occasions He deigned to confer upon us. Both visits took place during the four days which Bahá'u'lláh chose to tarry in the home of Aqay-i-Kalim. On the second and fourth nights after His arrival at His brother's house, which fell on the seventh day of the month of Jamadiyu'l-Avval, in the year 1306 A.H.,[1] I, together with a number of pilgrims from Sarvistan and Faran, as well as a few resident believers, was admitted into His presence. The words He spoke to us lie for ever engraved upon my heart, and I feel it my duty to my readers to share with them the gist of His talk.

[1 January 9, 1889 A.D.]

"Praise be to God," He said, "that whatever is essential for the believers in this Revelation to be told has been revealed. Their duties have been clearly defined, and the deeds they are expected to perform have been plainly set forth in

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Our Book. Now is the time for them to arise and fulfil their duty. Let them translate into deeds the exhortations We have given them. Let them beware lest the love they bear God, a love that glows so brightly in their hearts, cause them to transgress the bounds of moderation, and to overstep the limits We have set for them. In regard to this matter, We wrote thus, while in Iraq, to Haji Mirza Musay-i-Qumi: 'Such is to be the restraint you should exercise that if you be made to quaff from the well-springs of faith and certitude all the rivers of knowledge, your lips must never be allowed to betray, to either friend or stranger, the wonder of the draught of which you have partaken. Though your heart be aflame with His love, take heed lest any eye discover your inner agitation, and though your soul be surging like an ocean, suffer not the serenity of your countenance to be disturbed, nor the manner of your behaviour to reveal the intensity of your emotions.'

"God knows that at no time did We attempt to conceal Ourself or hide the Cause which We have been bidden to proclaim. Though not wearing the garb of the people of learning, We have again and again faced and reasoned with men of great scholarship in both Nur and Mazindaran, and have succeeded in persuading them of the truth of this Revelation. We never flinched in Our determination; We never hesitated to accept the challenge from whatever direction it came. To whomsoever We spoke in those days, We found him receptive to our Call and ready to identify himself with its precepts. But for the shameful behaviour of the people of Bayan, who sullied by their deeds the work We had accomplished, Nur and Mazindaran would have been entirely won to this Cause and would have been accounted by this time among its leading strongholds.

At a time when the forces of Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza had besieged the fort of Tabarsi, We resolved to depart from Nur and lend Our assistance to its heroic defenders. We had intended to send Abdu'l-Vahhab, one of Our companions, in advance of Us, and to request him to announce Our approach to the besieged. Though encompassed by the forces of the enemy, We had decided to throw in Our lot with those steadfast companions, and to risk the dangers with which

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they were confronted. This, however, was not to be. The hand of Omnipotence spared Us from their fate and preserved Us for the work We were destined to accomplish. In pursuance of God's inscrutable wisdom, the intention We had formed was, before Our arrival at the fort, communicated by certain inhabitants of Nur to Mirza Taqi, the governor of Amul, who sent his men to intercept Us. While We were resting and taking Our tea, We found Ourselves suddenly surrounded by a number of horsemen, who seized Our belongings and captured Our steeds. We were given, in exchange for Our own horse, a poorly saddled animal which We found it extremely uncomfortable to ride. The rest of Our companions were conducted, handcuffed, to Amul. Mirza Taqi succeeded, in spite of the tumult Our arrival had raised, and in the face of the opposition of the ulamas, in releasing Us from their grasp and in conducting Us to his own house. He extended to Us the warmest hospitality. Occasionally he yielded to the pressure which the ulamas were continuously bringing to bear upon him, and felt himself powerless to defeat their attempts to harm Us. We were still in his house when the Sardar, who had joined the army in Mazindaran, returned to Amul. No sooner was he informed of the indignities We had suffered than he rebuked Mirza Taqi for the weakness he had shown in protecting Us from Our enemies. 'Of what importance,' he indignantly demanded, 'are the denunciations of this ignorant people? Why is it that you have allowed yourself to be swayed by their clamour? You should have been satisfied with preventing the party from reaching their destination and, instead of detaining them in this house, you should have arranged for their safe and immediate return to Tihran.'

"Whilst in Sari, We were again exposed to the insults of the people. Though the notables of that town were, for the most part, Our friends and had on several occasions met Us in Tihran, no sooner had the townspeople recognized Us, as We walked with Quddus in the streets, than they began to hurl their invectives at Us. The cry 'Babi! Bábi!' greeted Us wherever We went. We were unable to escape their bitter denunciations.

"In Tihran We were twice imprisoned as a result of Our

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having risen to defend the cause of the innocent against a ruthless oppressor. The first confinement to which We were subjected followed the slaying of Mulla Taqiy-i-Qazvini, and was occasioned by the assistance We were moved to extend to those upon whom a severe punishment had been undeservedly inflicted. Our second imprisonment, infinitely more severe, was precipitated by the attempt which irresponsible followers of the Faith made on the life of the Shah. That event led to Our banishment to Baghdad. Soon after Our arrival, We betook Ourself to the mountains of Kurdistan, where We led for a time a life of complete solitude. We sought shelter upon the summit of a remote mountain which lay at some three days' distance from the nearest human habitation. The comforts of life were completely lacking. We remained entirely isolated from Our fellow men until a certain Shaykh Isma'il discovered Our abode and brought Us the food We needed.

'Upon Our return to Baghdad, We found, to Our great astonishment, that the Cause of The Báb had been sorely neglected, that its influence had waned, that its very name had almost sunk into oblivion. We arose to revive His Cause and to save it from decay and corruption. At the time when ear and perplexity had taken fast hold of Our companions, We reasserted, with fearlessness and determination, its essential verities, and summoned all those who had become lukewarm to espouse with enthusiasm the Faith they had so grievously neglected. We sent forth Our appeal to the peoples of the world, and invited them to fix their gaze upon the light of His Revelation.

"After Our departure from Adrianople, a discussion arose among the government officials in Constantinople as to whether We and Our companions should not be thrown into the sea. The report of such a discussion reached Persia, and gave rise to a rumour that We had actually suffered that fate. In Khurasan particularly, Our friends were greatly perturbed. Mirza Ahmad-i-Azghandi, as soon as he was informed of this news, was reported to have asserted that under no circumstances could he credit such a rumour. 'The Revelation of The Báb,' he said, 'must, if this be true, be regarded as utterly devoid of foundation.' The news of Our safe arrival

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in the prison-city of Akka rejoiced the hearts of Our friends, deepened the admiration of the believers of Khurasan for the faith of Mirza Ahmad, and increased their confidence him.

"From Our Most Great Prison We were moved to address to the several rulers and crowned heads of the world Epistles in which We summoned them to arise and embrace the Cause of God. To the Shah of Persia We sent Our messenger Badi', into whose hands We entrusted the Tablet. It was he who raised it aloft before the eyes of the multitude and, with uplifted voice, appealed to his sovereign to heed the words that Tablet contained. The rest of the Epistles likewise reached their destination. To the Tablet We addressed to the Emperor of France, an answer was received from his minister, the original of which is now in the possession of the Most Great Branch.[1] To him We addressed these words: 'Bid the high priest, O Monarch of France, to cease ringing his bells, for, lo! the Most Great Bell, which the hands of the will of the Lord thy God are ringing, is made manifest in the person of His chosen One.' The Epistle We addressed to the Czar of Russia, alone failed to reach it destination. Other Tablets, however, have reached him, and that Epistle will eventually be delivered into his hands.

[1 `Abdu'l-Bahá'í title.]

"Be thankful to God for having enabled you to recognize His Cause. Whoever has received this blessing must, prior to his acceptance, have performed some deed which, though he himself was unaware of its character, was ordained by God as a means whereby he has been guided to find and embrace the Truth. As to those who have remained deprived of such a blessing, their acts alone have hindered them from recognising the truth of this Revelation. We cherish the hope that you, who have attained to this light, will exert your utmost to banish the darkness of superstition and unbelief from the midst of the people. May your deeds proclaim your faith and enable you to lead the erring into the paths of eternal salvation. The memory of this night will never be forgotten. May it never be effaced by the passage of time, and may its mention linger for ever on the lips of men."

The seventh Naw-Ruz after the Declaration of The Báb

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fell on the sixteenth day of the month of Jamadiyu'l-Avval in the year 1267 A.H.,[1] a month and a half after the termination of the struggle of Zanjan. That same year, towards the end of spring, in the early days of the month of Sha'ban,[2] Bahá'u'lláh left the capital for Karbila. I was, at that time, dwelling in Kirmanshah, in the company of Mirza Ahmad, The Báb's amanuensis, who had been ordered by Bahá'u'lláh to collect and transcribe all the sacred writings, the originals of which were, for the most part, in his possession. I was in Zarand, in the home of my father, when the Seven Martyrs of Tihran met their cruel fate. I subsequently succeeded in leaving for Qum, under the pretext of desiring to visit the shrine. Unable to find Mirza Ahmad, whom I wished to meet, I left for Kashan, on the advice of Haji Mirza Musay-i-Qumi, who informed me that the only person who could enlighten me as to the whereabouts of Mirza Ahmad was Azim, who was then living in Kashan. With him I again returned to Qum, where I was introduced to a certain Siyyid Abu'l-Qasim-i-'Alaqih-Band-i-Isfahani, who had previously accompanied Mirza Ahmad on his journey to Kirmanshah. Azim instructed him to conduct me to the gate of the city, where he was to inform me of the place where Mirza Ahmad was residing, and to arrange for my departure for Hamadan. Siyyid Abu'l-Qasim, in turn, referred me to Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-Tabib-i-Zanjani, whom he said I was sure to find in Hamadan and who would direct me to the place where I could meet Mirza Ahmad. I followed his instructions and was directed by this Mirza Muhammad-'Ali to meet, in Kirmanshah, a certain merchant, Ghulam-Husayn-i-Shushtari by name, who would conduct me to the house where Mirza Ahmad was residing.

[1 1851 A.D.]
[2 June 1-30, 1851 A.D.]

A few days after my arrival, Mirza Ahmad informed me of his having succeeded, while in Qum, in teaching the Cause to Ildirim Mirza, brother of Khanlar Mirza, to whom he wished to present a copy of the "Dala'il-i-Sab'ih,"[1] and expressed his desire that I should be its bearer. Ildirim Mirza was in those days governor of Khurram-Abad, in the province of Luristan, and had encamped with his army in the mountains

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of Khavih-Valishtar. I was only too glad to grant his request, and expressed my readiness to start immediately on that journey. With a Kurdish guide, we traversed mountains and forests for six days and six nights, until we reached the governor's headquarters. I delivered the trust into his hands and brought back with me for Mirza Ahmad a written message from him expressing his appreciation of the gift and assuring him of his devotion to the Cause of its Author.

[1 One of The Báb's best-known works.]

On my return, I received from Mirza Ahmad the joyful tidings of the arrival of Bahá'u'lláh in Kirmanshah. As we were being ushered into His presence, we found Him, it being the month of Ramadan, engaged in reading the Quran, and were blessed by hearing Him read verses of that sacred Book. I presented to Him Ildirim Mirza's written message to Mirza Ahmad. "The faith which a member of the Qajar dynasty professes," He remarked, after reading the letter, "cannot be depended upon. His declarations are insincere. Expecting that The Bábis will one day assassinate the sovereign, he harbours in his heart the hope of being acclaimed by them the successor. The love he professes for The Báb is actuated by that motive." Within a few months we knew the truth of His words. This same Ildirim Mirza gave orders that a certain Siyyid Basir-i-Hindi, a fervent adherent of the Faith, should be put to death.

It would be appropriate at this juncture to deviate from the course of our narrative and refer briefly to the circumstances of this martyr's conversion and death. Among the disciples whom The Báb had instructed, in the early days of His Mission, to disperse and teach His Cause, was a certain Shaykh Sa'id-i-Hindi, one of the Letters of the Living, who had been directed by his Master to journey throughout India and proclaim to its people the precepts of His Revelation. Shaykh Sa'id, in the course of his travels, visited the town of Mooltan, where he met this Siyyid Basir,[l] who,

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though blind, was able to perceive immediately, with his inner eye, the significance of the message Shaykh Sa'id had brought him. The vast learning he had acquired, far from hindering him from appreciating the value of the Cause to which he was summoned, enabled him to grasp its meaning and understand the greatness of its power. Casting behind him the trappings of leadership, and severing himself from his friends and kinsmen, he arose with a fixed resolve to render his share of service to the Cause he had embraced. His first act was to undertake a pilgrimage to Shiraz, in the hope of meeting his Beloved. Arriving in that city, he was informed, to his surprise and grief, that The Báb had been banished to the mountains of Adhirbayjan, where He was leading a life of unrelieved solitude. He straightway proceeded to Tihran, and from thence departed for Nur, where he met Bahá'u'lláh. This meeting relieved his heart from the burden of sorrow caused by his failure to meet his Master. To those he subsequently met, of whatever class or creed, he imparted the joys and blessings he had so abundantly received from the hands of Bahá'u'lláh, and was able to endow them with a measure of the power with which his intercourse with Him had invested his innermost being.

[1 "From his childhood, Siyyid Basir showed signs of the wonderful faculties which he afterwards manifested. For seven years he enjoyed the blessings of sight, but then, even as the vision of his soul became clear, a veil of darkness fell on his outward eyes. From his infancy, he had displayed his good disposition and amiable character both in word and deed, he now added to this a singular piety and soberness of life. At length, at the age of twenty-one, he set out with great pomp and state (for he had much wealth in India) to perform the pilgrimage; and, on reaching Persia, began to associate with every sect and party (for he was well acquainted with the doctrines and tenets of all), and to give away large religious discipline. And since his ancestors had foretold that in those days a Perfect Man should appear in Persia, was continually engaged in making enquiries. He visited Mecca and, after performing the rites of the pilgrimage, proceeded to the holy shrines of Karbila and Najaf, where he met the late Haji Siyyid Kazim, for whom he conceived a sincere friendship. He then returned to India; but, on reaching Bombay, he heard that one claiming to be The Báb had appeared in Persia, whereupon he at once turned back thither." (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," pp. 245-6.)]

I have heard Shaykh Shahid-i-Mazkan relate the following: "I was privileged to meet Siyyid Basir at the height of summer during his passage through Qamsar, whither the leading men of Kashan go to escape the heat of that town. Day and night, I found him engaged in arguing with the leading ulamas who had congregated in that village. With ability and insight, he discussed with them the subtleties of their Faith, expounded without fear or reservation the fundamental teachings of the Cause, and absolutely confuted their arguments. No one, however great his learning and experience, was able to reject the evidences he set forth in support of his claims. Such were his insight and his knowledge

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of the teachings and ordinances of Islam that his adversaries conceived him to be a sorcerer, whose baneful influence they feared would ere long rob them of their position."

I have similarly heard Mulla Ibrahim, surnamed Mulla-Bashi, who was martyred in Sultan-Abad, thus recount his impression of Siyyid Basir: "Towards the end of his life, Siyyid Basir passed through Sultan-Abad, where I was able to meet him. He was continually associated with the leading ulamas. No one could surpass his knowledge of the Quran and his mastery of the traditions ascribed to Muhammad. He displayed an understanding which made him the terror of his adversaries. Often would his opponents question the accuracy of his quotations or reject the existence of the tradition which he produced in support of his contention. With unerring exactitude, he would establish the truth of his argument by his reference to the text of the Usul-i-Kafi' and the 'Biharu'l-Anvar,'[1] from which he would instantly bring out the particular tradition demonstrating the truth of his words. He stood unrivalled alike in the fluency of his argument and the facility with which he brought out the most incontrovertible proofs in support of his theme."

[1 Compilations of Muhammadan traditions.]

From Sultan-Abad, Siyyid Basir proceeded to Luristan, where he visited the camp of Ildirim Mirza, and was receive by him with marked respect and consideration. In the course of his conversation with him one day, the siyyid, who was a man of great courage, referred to Muhammad Shah in terms that aroused the fierce anger of Ildirim Mirza. He was furious at the tone and vehemence of his remarks, and ordered that his tongue be pulled out through the back of his n eck. The siyyid endured this cruel torture with amazing fortitude, but succumbed to the pain which his oppressor had mercilessly inflicted upon him. The same week a letter, in which Ildirim Mirza had abused his brother, Khanlar Mirza, was discovered by the latter, who immediately obtained the consent of his sovereign to treat him in whatever way he pleased. Khanlar Mirza, who entertained an implacable hatred for his brother, ordered that he be stripped of his clothes and conducted, naked and in chains, to Ardibil, where he was imprisoned and where eventually he died.

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Bahá'u'lláh spent the entire month of Ramadan in Kirmanshah. Shukru'llah-i-Nuri, one of His kinsmen, and Mirza Muhammad-i-Mazindarani, who had survived the struggle of Tabarsi, were the only companions He chose to take with Him to Karbila. I have heard Bahá'u'lláh Himself give the reasons for His departure from Tihran. "The Amir-Nizam, He told us, "asked Us one day to see him. He received Us cordially, and revealed the purpose for which he had summoned Us to his presence. 'I am well aware,' he gently insinuated, 'of the nature and influence of your activities, and am firmly convinced that were it not for the support and assistance which you have been extending to Mulla Husayn and his companions, neither he nor his band of inexperienced students would have been capable of resisting for seven months the forces of the imperial government. The ability and skill with which you have managed to direct and encourage those efforts could not fail to excite my admiration. I have been unable to obtain any evidence whereby I could establish your complicity in this affair. I feel it a pity that so resourceful a person should be left idle and not be given an opportunity to serve his country and sovereign. The thought has come to me to suggest to you that you visit Karbila in these days when the Shah is contemplating a journey to Isfahan. It is my intention to be enabled, on his return, to confer upon you the position of Amir-Divan, a function you could admirably discharge.' We vehemently protested against such accusations, and refused to accept the position he hoped to offer Us. A few days after that interview, We left Tihran for Karbila."

Ere Bahá'u'lláh's departure from Kirmanshah, He summoned Mirza Ahmad and me to His presence and bade us depart for Tihran. I was charged to meet Mirza Yahya immediately after my arrival and to take him with me to the fort of Dhu'l-Faqar Khan, situated in the vicinity of Shahrud, and remain with him until Bahá'u'lláh returned to the capital Mirza Ahmad was instructed to remain in Tihran until His arrival, and was entrusted with a box of sweetmeats and a letter addressed to Aqay-i-Kalim, who was to forward the gift to Mazindaran, where the Most Great Branch and His mother were residing.

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Mirza Yahya, to whom I delivered the message, refused to leave Tihran, and directed me instead to leave for Qazvin. He compelled me to abide by his wish and to take with me certain letters which he bade me deliver to certain of his friends in that town. On my return to Tihran, I was constrained, on the insistence of my kinsmen, to leave for Zarand. Mirza Ahmad, however, promised that he would again arrange for my return to the capital, a promise which he fulfilled. Two months later, I was again living with him in a caravanserai outside the gate of Naw, where I passed the whole winter in his company. He spent his days in transcribing the Persian Bayan and the "Dala'il-i-Sab'ih," a work he accomplished with admirable enthusiasm. He entrusted me with two copies of the latter, asking me to present them on his behalf to Mustawfiyu'l-Mamalik-i-Ashtiyani and Mirza Siyyid Aliy-i-Tafarshi, surnamed the Majdu'l-Ashraf. The former was so much affected that he was completely won over to the Faith. As for Mirza Siyyid Ali, the views he expressed were of a totally different character. At a gathering at which Aqay-i-Kalim was present, he commented in an unfavourable manner upon the continued activities of the believers. "This sect," he publicly declared, "is still living. Its emissaries are hard at work, spreading the teachings of their leader. One of them, a youth, came to visit me the other day, and presented me with a treatise which I regard as highly dangerous. Anyone from among the common people who shall read that book will surely be beguiled by its tone." Aqay-i-Kalim immediately understood from his allusions that Mirza Ahmad had sent the Book to him and that I had acted as his messenger. On that very day, Aqay-i-Kalim asked me to visit him and advised me to return to my home in Zarand. I was asked to induce Mirza Ahmad to leave instantly for Qum, as both of us, in his opinion, were exposed to great danger. Acting according to Mirza Ahmad's instructions, I succeeded in inducing the siyyid to return the Book that had been offered him. Shortly after, I parted company with Mirza Ahmad, whom I never met again. I accompanied him as far as Shah-'Abdu'l-'Azim, while he departed for Qum, while I pursued my way to Zarand.

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The month of Shavval, in the year 1267 A.H.,[1] witnessed the arrival of Bahá'u'lláh at Karbila. On His way to that holy city, He tarried a few days in Baghdad, that place which He was soon to visit again and where His Cause was destined to mature and unfold itself to the world. When He arrived at Karbila, He found that a number of its leading residents, among whom were Shaykh Sultan and Haji Siyyid Javad, had fallen victims to the pernicious influence of a certain Siyyid-i-'Uluvv, and had declared themselves his supporters. They were immersed in superstitions and believed their leader to be the very incarnation of the Divine Spirit. Shaykh Sultan ranked among his most fervent disciples and regarded himself, next to his master, as the foremost leader of his countrymen. Bahá'u'lláh met him on several occasions and succeeded, by His words of counsel and loving-kindness, in purging his mind from his idle fancies and in releasing him from the state of abject servitude into which he had sunk. He won him over completely to the Cause of The Báb and kindled in his heart a desire to propagate the Faith. His fellow-disciples, witnessing the effects of his immediate and marvellous conversion, were led, one after another, to forsake their former allegiance and to embrace the Cause which their colleague had risen to champion. Abandoned and despised by his former adherents, the Siyyid-i-'Uluvv was at length reduced to recognising the authority of Bahá'u'lláh and acknowledging the superiority of His position. He even went so far as to express repentance for his acts, and to pledge his word that he would never again advocate the theories and principles with which he had identified himself.

[1 July 30-August 28, 1851 A.D.]

It was during that visit to Karbila that Bahá'u'lláh encountered, as He was walking through the streets, Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi, to whom He confided the secret He was destined to reveal at a later time in Baghdad. He found him eagerly searching after the promised Husayn, to whom The Báb had so lovingly referred and whom He had promised he would meet in Karbila. We have already, in a preceding chapter, narrated the circumstances leading to his meeting with Bahá'u'lláh. From that day, Shaykh Hasan became magnetised by the charm of his newly found Master, and

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would, but for the restraint he was urged to exercise, have proclaimed to the people of Karbila the return of the promised Husayn whose appearance they were awaiting.

Among those who were made to feel that power was Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Tabib-i-Zanjani, in whose heart was implanted a seed that was destined to grow and blossom into a faith of such tenacity that the fires of persecution were powerless to quench it. To his devotion, his high-mindedness and singleness of purpose Bahá'u'lláh Himself testified. That faith carried him eventually to the field of martyrdom. The same fate was shared by Mirza Abdu'l-Vahhab-i-Shirazi, son of Haji Abdu'l-Majid, who owned a shop in Karbila and who felt the impulse to forsake all his possessions and follow his Master. He was advised, however, not to abandon his work, but to continue to earn his livelihood until such time as he should be summoned to Tihran. Bahá'u'lláh urged him to be patient, and gave him a sum of money wherewith he encouraged him to extend the scope of his business. Unable to concentrate his attention upon his trade, Mirza Abdu'l-Vahhab hastened to Tihran, where he remained until he was thrown into the dungeon in which his Master was confined and there suffered martyrdom for His sake.

Shaykh Ali-Mirzay-i-Shirazi was likewise attracted to, and remained to his last breath a staunch supporter of, the Cause to which he had been called and which he served with a selflessness and devotion beyond all praise. To friend and stranger alike he recounted his experiences of the marvellous influence the presence of Bahá'u'lláh had had upon him, and enthusiastically described the signs and wonders he had witnessed during and after the days of his conversion.

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THE eighth Naw-Ruz after the Declaration of The Báb, which fell on the twenty-seventh day of the month of Jamadiyu'l-Avval, in the year 1268 A.H.,[1] found Bahá'u'lláh still in Iraq, engaged in spreading the teachings, and making firm the foundations, of the New Revelation. Displaying an enthusiasm and ability that recalled His activities in the early days of the Movement in Nur and Mazindaran, He continued to devote Himself to the task of reviving the energies, of organising the forces, and of directing the efforts, of The Báb's scattered companions. He was the sole light amidst the darkness that encompassed the bewildered disciples who had witnessed, on the one hand, the cruel martyrdom of their beloved Leader and, on the other, the tragic fate of their companions. He alone was able to inspire them with the needful courage and fortitude to endure the many afflictions that had been heaped upon them; He alone was capable of preparing them for the burden of the task they were destined to bear, and of inuring them to brave the storm and perils they were soon to face.

[1 1852 A.D.]

In the course of the spring of that year, Mirza Taqi Khan, the Amir-Nizam, the Grand Vazir of Nasiri'd-Din Shah, who had been guilty of such infamous outrages against The Báb an His companions, met his death in a public bath in Fin, near Kashan,[1] having miserably failed to stay the

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onrush of the Faith he had striven so desperately to crush. His own fame and honour were destined eventually to perish with his death, and not the influence of the life he had sought to extinguish. During the three years when he held the post of Grand Vazir of Persia, his ministry was stained with deeds of blackest infamy. What atrocities did not his hands commit as they were stretched forth to tear down the fabric The Báb had raised! To what treacherous measures did he not resort, in his impotent rage, in order to sap the vitality of a Cause which he feared and hated! The first year of his administration was marked by the ferocious onslaught of the imperial army of Nasiri'd-Din Shah against the defenders of the fort of Tabarsi. With what ruthlessness he conducted the campaign of repression against those innocent upholders of the Faith of God! What fury and eloquence he displayed in pleading for the extermination of the lives of Quddus, of Mulla Husayn, and of three hundred and thirteen of the best and noblest of his countrymen! The second year of his ministry found him battling with savage determination to extirpate the Faith in the capital. It was he who authorised and encouraged the capture of the believers who resided in that city, and who ordered the execution of the Seven Martyrs of Tihran. It was he who unchained the offensive against Vahid and his companions, who inspired that campaign of revenge which animated their persecutors, and who instigated them to commit the abominations with which that episode will for ever remain associated. That same year witnessed another blow more terrible than any he had hitherto dealt that persecuted community, a blow that brought to a tragic end the life of Him who was the Source of all the forces he had in vain sought to repress. The last years of that Vazir's life will for ever remain associated with the most revolting of the vast campaigns which his ingenious mind had devised,

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a campaign that involved the destruction of the lives of Hujjat and of no less than eighteen hundred of his companions. Such were the distinguishing features of a career that began and ended in a reign of terror such as Persia had seldom seen.

[1 "About four miles to the southwest of Kashan, on the slopes of the mountains, is situated the palace of Fin, the springs of which have rendered it a favourite resort of royalty from early times.... In later times, a gloomier memory has attached to the palace of Fin; for here, in 1852, Mirza Taqi Khan, the first great minister of the reigning Shah, and brother-in-law of the king, was put to death by the Royal order, his veins being opened in a bath. The place is now deserted." (Lord Curzon's "Persia and the Persian Question," vol. 2, p.16.) "A lady of the harem was sent to the Princess, telling her to dry her tears, for that the Shah had relented, and that the Amir was to return to Tihran or go to Karbila, the usual haven for Persians who have lost court favour. 'The khal'at or coat of honour,' said she, "is on the way, and will arrive in an hour or two; go therefore, to the bath, and prepare to receive it.' The Amir all this time had not once ventured to quit the safety afforded by the apartment of the Princess, and of her presence. On hearing the joyful news, however, he resolved to take the advice of this woman, and indulge in the luxury of a bath. He left the Princess, and she never saw him more. When he reached the bath the fatal order was revealed to him, and the crime perpetrated. The farrash-bashi and his vile crew presented themselves, and the choice of the mode of death was given to him. It is said he bore his fate with patience and fortitude. His veins were opened, and he at length expired." (Lady Sheil's "Glimpses of Life and Manners in Persia," pp. 251-2.)]

He was succeeded by Mirza Aqa Khan-i-Nuri,[1] who endeavoured, at the very outset of his ministry, to effect a reconciliation between the government of which he was the head and Bahá'u'lláh, whom he regarded as the most capable of The Báb's disciples. He sent Him a warm letter requesting Him to return to Tihran, and expressing his eagerness to meet Him. Ere the receipt of that letter, Bahá'u'lláh had already decided to leave Iraq for Persia.

[1 His title was the I'timadu'd-Dawlih, the Trusted of the State. (Lady Sheil's "Glimpses of Life and Manners in Persia," p. 249.)]

He arrived in the capital in the month of Rajab,[1] and was welcomed by the Grand Vazir's brother, Ja'far-Quli Khan, who had been specially directed to go forth to receive Him. For one whole month, He was the honoured Guest of

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the Grand Vazir, who had appointed his brother to act as host on his behalf. So great was the number of the notables and dignitaries of the capital who flocked to meet Him that He found Himself unable to return to His own home. He remained in that house until His departure for Shimiran. [2]

[1 April 21-May 21, 1852 A.D.

[2 "Shimiran or Shimran (sometimes used in the plural, Shimranat) is the name applied generally to the villages and mansions situated on the lower slopes descending from Elburz which serve as summer residences to the wealthier inhabitants of Tihran." ("Traveller's Narrative," p. 81, footnote 1.)]

I have heard it stated by Aqay-i-Kalim that in the course of that journey Bahá'u'lláh was able to meet Azim, who had been endeavouring for a long time to see Him, and who in that interview was advised, in the most emphatic terms, to abandon the plan he had conceived. Bahá'u'lláh condemned his designs, dissociated Himself entirely from the act it was his intention to commit, and warned him that such an attempt would precipitate fresh disasters of unprecedented magnitude.

Bahá'u'lláh proceeded to Lavasan, and was staying in the village of Afchih, the property of the Grand Vazir, when the news of the attempt on the life of Nasiri'd-Din Shah reached Him. Ja'far-Quli Khan was still acting as His host on behalf of the Amir-Nizam. That criminal act was committed towards the end of the month of Shavval, in the year 1268 A.H.,[1] by two obscure and irresponsible young men, one named Sadiq-i-Tabrizi, the other Fathu'llah-i-Qumi, both of whom earned their livelihood in Tihran. At a time when the imperial army, headed by the Shah himself, had encamped in Shimiran, these two ignorant youths, in a frenzy of despair, arose to avenge the blood of their slaughtered brethren.[2]

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The folly that characterised their act was betrayed by the fact that in making such an attempt on the life of their sovereign, instead of employing effective weapons which would ensure the success of their venture, these youths charged their pistols with shot which no reasonable person would ever think of using for such a purpose. Had their action been instigated by a man of judgment and common sense, he would certainly never have allowed them to carry out their intention with such ridiculously ineffective instruments.[3]

[1 Shavval 28; August 15, 1852 A.D.

[2 "In the morning, the king went out for a horseback ride. Before him, as usual, went equerries carrying long lances, grooms leading horses with embroidered saddle cloths, and a group of nomad riders with their rifles slung over the shoulder and their swords hanging from their saddles. This vanguard preceded the king in order that he might not be annoyed by the dust raised by the cavalry, and the king followed along slowly, a little distance from the retinue of the great lords, chiefs and officers who accompanied him everywhere. He was near the palace and had barely passed the small door of the garden of Muhammad-Hasan, Sanduq-dar or treasurer of the Savings, when he noticed, at the side of the road, three men, three gardeners, standing two on the left, and one on the right side, seemingly waiting for him. He did not suspect danger and rode on. When quite close, he saw them bow very low and he heard them cry out together, 'We are your sacrifice! We make a request.' This is the traditional formula, but instead of remaining aloof as is customary, they rushed on him repeating, 'We make a request!' Surprised, the king shouted, 'Rascals, what do you want?' At that moment, the man on his right took hold of the bridle of the horse and fired upon the king. In the meantime, the two men on the left fired also. One of the shots cut the collar of pearls adorning the horse's neck, another riddled with buckshot the right arm and back of the king. Immediately, the man on the right pulled on the leg of His Majesty and would have unsaddled him, had it not been that the two assassins on the left were pulling on the other side. The king was striking his assailants on the head with his fists, while the jumping of the frightened horse paralyzed their efforts and delayed their aggression. The royal retinue, at first dumbfounded, hurried towards their master. Asadu'llah Khan, the grand equerry, and one of the nomad riders killed the man on the right with their swords. In the meantime, several lords threw down the other two men and bound them. "Doctor Cloquet, the court physician, had the king brought quickly into the garden of Muhammad-Hasan, Sanduq-dar; as no one seemed to know what had really happened, and those who sensed an imminent danger, had no idea of what a catastrophe it might be. During more than an hour, a great tumult reigned in the city of Niyavaran, while ministers headed by the Sadr-i-A'zam rushed into the garden. The bugles, the drums, the tambourines and the fifes were calling the troops together; the ghulams came riding at full speed; everyone was giving orders, no one saw, heard or knew anything. In the midst of this confusion a courier arrived from Tihran, sent by Ardishir Mirza, governor of the city, to enquire what had happened and what measures should be taken in the capital, for, on the previous evening, the rumor had grown into a certainty that the king had been assassinated. The bazaars, policed by men in arms, had been deserted by the merchants. All night long, bakeries had been surrounded, everyone trying to store up provisions for several days, as people do when they foresee trouble. "At dawn, as the agitation grew, Ardishir Mirza had ordered the gates of the citadel of the town closed, put the regiment on a war footing, and pointed his guns, although he did not know who the enemy was; and now he was asking for orders." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 231-233.)]

[3 Lord Curzon, who regards this event as being "most unfairly mistaken for a revolutionary and anarchical conspiracy," writes as follows: "From the facts that Bábism in its earliest years found itself in conflict with the civil powers, and that an attempt was made by Bábis upon the life of the Shah, it has been wrongly inferred that the movement was political in origin and Nihilist in character. It does not appear from a study of the writings either of The Báb or his successors, that there is any foundation for such a suspicion. The persecution of the government very early drove the adherents of the new creed into an attitude of rebellion; and in the exasperation produced by the struggle, and by the ferocious brutality with which the rights of conquest were exercised by the victors, it was not surprising if fanatical hands were found ready to strike the sovereign down. At the present time The Bábis are equally loyal with any other subjects of the Crown. Nor does there appear to be any greater justice in the charges of socialism, communism, and immorality, that have so freely been levelled at the youthful persuasion. Certainly no such idea as communism in the European sense, i.e., a forcible redistribution of property, or as socialism in the nineteenth century sense i.e., the defeat of capital by labour, ever entered the brain of The Báb or his disciples. The only communism known to and recommended by him was that of the New Testament and the early Christian Church, viz the sharing of goods in common by members of the faith, and the exercise of almsgiving, and an ample charity. The charge of immorality seems to have arisen partly from the malignant inventions of opponents, partly from the much greater freedom claimed for women by The Báb, which in the Oriental mind is scarcely dissociable from profligacy of conduct.... Broadly regarded, Bábism may be defined as a creed of charity, and almost of common humanity. Brotherly love, kindness to children, courtesy combined with dignity, sociability, hospitality, freedom from bigotry, friendliness even to Christians, are included in its tenets. That every Bábi recognizes or observes these precepts would be a foolish assertion; but let a prophet, if his gospel be in question, be Judged by his own preaching." (Lord Curzon's "Persia and the Persian Question," pp. 501-2.)

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That act, though committed by wild and feeble-minded fanatics, and in spite of its being from the very first emphatically condemned by no less responsible a person than Bahá'u'lláh, was the signal for the outbreak of a series of persecutions and massacres of such barbarous ferocity as could be compared only to the atrocities of Mazindaran and Zanjan. The storm to which that act gave rise plunged the whole of Tihran into consternation and distress. It involved the life of the leading companions who had survived the calamities to which their Faith had been so cruelly and repeatedly subjected. That storm was still raging when Bahá'u'lláh, with some of His ablest lieutenants, was plunged into a filthy, dark, and fever-stricken dungeon, whilst chains of such weight as only notorious criminals were condemned to carry, were placed upon His neck. For no less than four months He bore the burden, and such was the intensity of His suffering that the marks of that cruelty remained imprinted upon His body all the days of His life.

So grave a menace to their sovereign and to the institutions of his realm stirred the indignation of the entire body of the ecclesiastical order of Persia. To them so bold a deed called for immediate and condign punishment. Measures of unprecedented severity, they clamoured, should be undertaken to stem the tide that was engulfing both the government and the Faith of Islam. Despite the restraint which the followers of The Báb had exercised ever since the inception of the Faith in every part of the land; despite the repeated charges of the chief disciples to their brethren enjoining them

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to refrain from acts of violence, to obey their government loyally, and to disclaim any intention of a holy war, their enemies persevered in their deliberate efforts to misrepresent the nature and purpose of that Faith to the authorities. Now that an act of such momentous consequences had been committed, what accusations would not these same enemies be prompted to attribute to the Cause with which those guilty of the crime had been associated! The moment seemed to have come when they could at last awaken the rulers of the country to the necessity of extirpating as speedily as possible a heresy which seemed to threaten the very foundations of the State.

Ja'far-Quli Khan, who was in Shimiran when the attempt on the Shah's life was made, immediately wrote a letter to Bahá'u'lláh and acquainted Him with what had happened. "The Shah's mother," he wrote, "is inflamed with anger. She is denouncing you openly before the court and people as the 'would-be murderer' of her son. She is also trying to involve Mirza Aqa Khan in this affair, and accuses him of being your accomplice." He urged Bahá'u'lláh to remain for a time concealed in that neighbourhood, until the passion of the populace had subsided. He despatched to Afchih an old and experienced messenger whom he ordered to be at the

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disposal of his Guest and to hold himself in readiness to accompany Him to whatever place of safety He might desire.

Bahá'u'lláh refused to avail Himself of the opportunity Ja'far-Quli Khan offered Him. Ignoring the messenger and rejecting his offer, He rode out, the next morning, with calm confidence, from Lavasan, where He was sojourning, to the headquarters of the imperial army, which was then stationed in Niyavaran, in the Shimiran district. Arriving at the village of Zarkandih, the seat of the Russian legation, which lay at a distance of one maydan [1] from Niyavaran, He was met by Mirza Majid, His brother-in-law, who acted as secretary to the Russian minister,[2] and was invited by him to stay at his home, which adjoined that of his superior. The attendants of Haji Ali Khan, the Hajibu'd-Dawlih, recognized Him and went straightway to inform their master, who in turn brought the matter to the attention of the Shah.

[1 See Glossary.]
[2 Prince Dolgorouki.]

The news of the arrival of Bahá'u'lláh greatly surprised the officers of the imperial army. Nasiri'd-Din Shah himself was amazed at the bold and unexpected step which a man who was accused of being the chief instigator of the attempt upon his life had taken. He immediately sent one of his trusted officers to the legation, demanding that the Accused be delivered into his hands. The Russian minister refused, and requested Bahá'u'lláh to proceed to the home of Mirza Aqa Khan, the Grand Vazir, a place he thought to be the most appropriate under the circumstances. His request was granted, whereupon the minister formally communicated to the Grand Vazir his desire that the utmost care should be exercised to ensure the safety and protection of the Trust his government was delivering into his keeping, warning him that he would hold him responsible should he fail to disregard his wishes.[1]

[1 "When I was in chains and fetters, in the prison of Ta, one of thine ambassadors assisted Me. Therefore hath God decreed unto thee a station which none but Himself can comprehend. Beware lest thou change this lofty station." (Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet to the Czar of Russia.)]

Mirza Aqa Khan, though he undertook to give the fullest assurances that were required, and received Bahá'u'lláh with every mark of respect into his home, was, however, too apprehensive

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for the safety of his own position to accord his Guest the treatment he was expected to extend.

As Bahá'u'lláh was leaving the village of Zarkandih, the minister's daughter, who felt greatly distressed at the dangers which beset His life, was so overcome with emotion that she was unable to restrain her tears. "Of what use," she was heard expostulating with her father, "is the authority with which you have been invested, if you are powerless to extend your protection to a guest whom you have received in your house?" The minister, who had a great affection for his daughter, was moved by the sight of her tears, and sought to comfort her by his assurances that he would do all in his power to avert the danger that threatened the life of Bahá'u'lláh.

That day the army of Nasiri'd-Din Shah was thrown into a state of violent tumult. The peremptory orders of the sovereign, following so closely upon the attempt on his life, gave rise to the wildest rumours and excited the fiercest passions in the hearts of the people of the, neighbourhood. The agitation spread to Tihran and fanned into flaming fury the smouldering embers of hatred which the enemies of the Cause still nourished ill their hearts. Confusion, unprecedented in its range, reigned in the capital. A word of denunciation, a sign, or a whisper was sufficient to subject the

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innocent to a persecution which no pen dare try to describe. Security of life and property had completely vanished. The highest ecclesiastical authorities in the capital joined hands with the most influential members of the government to deal what they hoped would be the fatal blow to a foe who, for eight years, had so gravely shaken the peace of the land, and whom no cunning or violence had yet been able to silence.[1]

[1 Renan, in his work entitled "Les Apotres" (p. 378), characterises the great massacre of Tihran, following on the attempt made on the life of the Shah, as "un jour sans pareil peut-etre dans l'historire du monde." (E. G. Browne's introduction to "A Traveller's Narrative," p. 45.) "The number of martyrdoms which have taken place in Persia has been estimated at ten thousand. [This estimate is conservative. Many place the number at from twenty to thirty thousand. [This estimate is conservative. Many place the number at from twenty to thirty thousand, and some even higher.] Most of these occurred during the early history of the faith, but they have continued with diminishing frequency, even down to the present time." (M. H. Phelps' "Life and Teachings of Abbas Effendi," introduction, p. 36.) "Amongst the documents referring to The Bábis in my possession is a manuscript copy of an article in German published on October 17, 1852 in No. 291 of some German or Austrian newspaper of which, unhappily, the name is not noted. I think that I received it a good many years ago from the widow of the late Dr. Polak, an Austrian doctor, who was a physician to Nasiri'd-Din Shah at the beginning of his reign, and who is the author of a valuable book and several smaller treatises on Persia and matters connected therewith. It is chiefly based on a letter written on August 29, 1852, by an Austrian officer, Captain von Goumoens, who was in the Shah's service, but who was so disgusted, and horrified at the cruelties he was compelled to witness that he sent in his resignation. The translation of this article is as follows: 'Some days ago we mentioned the attempt made on the life of the Shah of Persia on the occasion of a hunting-party. The conspirators, as is well known, belonged to The Bábis, a religious sect. Concerning this sect and the repressive measures adopted against it, the letter of Austrian Captain von Goumoens lately published in the "Soldier's Friend" (Soldatenfreund) contains interesting disclosures, and elucidates to some extent the attempt in question. This letter runs as follows: "Tihran, August 29, 1852. Dear Friend, My last letter of the 20th inst. mentioned the attempt on the King. I will now communicate to you the result of the interrogation to which the two criminals were subjected. In spite of the terrible tortures inflicted, the examination extorted no comprehensive confession; the lips of the fanatics remained closed, even when by means of red-hot pincers and limb-rending screws they sought to discover the chief conspirator.... But follow me, my friend, you who lay claim to a heart and European ethics, follow me to the unhappy ones who, with gouged-out eyes, must eat, on the scene of the deed, without any sauce, their own amputated ears; or whose teeth are torn out with inhuman violence by the hand of the executioner; or whose bare skulls are simply crushed by blows from a hammer; or where the bazar is illuminated with 1 unhappy victims, because on right and left the people dig deep holes in their breasts and shoulders and insert burning wicks in the wounds. I saw some dragged in chains through the bazar preceded by a military band, in whom these wicks had burned so deep that now the fat flickered convulsively in the wound like a newly-extinguished lamp. Not seldom it happens that the unwearying ingenuity of the Orientals leads to fresh tortures. They will skin the soles of The Bábi's feet, soak the wounds in boiling oil, shoe the foot like the hoof of a horse, and compel the victim to run. No cry escaped from the victim's breast; the torment is endured in dark silence by the numbed sensation of the fanatic; now he must run; the body cannot endure what the soul has endured; he falls. Give him the coup de grace! Put him out of his pain! No! The executioner swings the whip, and--I myself have had to witness it--the unhappy victim of hundredfold tortures and runs! This is the beginning of the end. As for the end itself, they hang the scorched and perforated bodies by their hands and feet to a tree head downwards, and now every Persian may try his marksmanship to heart's content from a fixed but not too proximate distance on the noble quarry placed at his disposal. I saw corpses torn by nearly 150 bullets.... When I read over again what I have written I am overcome by the thought that those who are with you in our dearly beloved Austria may doubt the full truth of the picture, and accuse me of exaggeration. Would to God that I had not lived to see it! But by the duties of my profession I was unhappily often, only too often, a witness of these abominations. At present I never leave my house, in order not to meet with fresh scenes of horror. After their death The Bábis are hacked in two and either nailed to the city gate, or cast out into the plain as food for the dogs and jackals. Thus the punishment extends even beyond the limits which bound this bitter world, for Musulmans who are not buried have no right to enter the Prophet's Paradise. Since my whole soul revolts against such infamy, against such abominations as recent times, according to the judgment of all, present, I will no longer maintain my connection with the scene of such crimes."' (He goes on to say that he has already asked for his discharge, but has not yet received an answer.)" (E. G. Browne's "Materials for the Study of The Bábi Religion," pp. 267-71.) "Ardishir Mirza was forced to act in consequence. He kept the gates of the city closed and guarded, giving orders to examine closely all those who might ask to leave. The people were urged to climb the walls near the Shimiran gate in order to see in the open field across the bridge the mutilated body of Sadiq. The prince governor called together the Kalantar or prefect of police, the Vazir of the city, the Darughih or police judge, and the heads of the boroughs and ordered them to seek and arrest all persons suspected of being Bábis. As no one could leave the city, they waited until night-fall to start ferreting them out, ruse and cunning being the main requisites employed. "The police force in Tihran, as in all Asiatic cities, is very well organized. It is a legacy of the Sassanides which the Arabian Khalifs have carefully preserved. As it was to the advantage of all governments (no matter how bad, and even more so to the worst ones) to maintain it, it has remained, so to speak, unchanged, in the midst of the ruins of other institutions, equally efficient, which have decayed. "One should know that the head of every borough, always in touch with the Kalantar, has under him a few men called 'sar-ghishmihs,' policemen who, without either uniform or badge, never leave the streets which are assigned to them. They are generally well liked by the people and they live on familiar terms with them. They are helpful at all times and, at night, be it winter or summer, they recline under the awning of any store, indifferent to rain or snow, and watch over private property. In this way they reduce the number of thefts by rendering them difficult. Moreover, they know every dweller and his ways, so that they can assist in case of investigation; they know the minds, the opinions, the acquaintances, the relations of everyone; and if one asks three friends to dinner, the sar-ghishmih without spying, so well informed is he about everyone, knows the time of the arrival of the guests, what has been served, what has been said and done, and the time of their departure. The Kad-khudas warned these policemen to watch The Bábis in their respective sections and everyone awaited the results." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 234-235.)]

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Bahá'u'lláh, now that The Báb was no more, appeared in their eyes to be the arch-foe whom they deemed it their first duty to seize and imprison. To them He was the reincarnation of the Spirit The Báb had so powerfully manifested, the Spirit through which He had been able to accomplish so complete a transformation in the lives and habits of His countrymen. The precautions the Russian minister had taken, and the warning he had uttered, failed to stay the hand that had been outstretched with such determination against that precious Life.

From Shimiran to Tihran, Bahá'u'lláh was several times

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stripped of His garments, and was overwhelmed with abuse and ridicule. On foot and exposed to the fierce rays of the midsummer sun, He was compelled to cover, barefooted and bareheaded, the whole distance from Shimiran to the dungeon already referred to. All along the route, He was pelted and vilified by the crowds whom His enemies had succeeded in convincing that He was the sworn enemy of their sovereign and the wrecker of his realm. Words fail me to portray the horror of the treatment which was meted out to Him as He was being taken to the Siyah-Chal [1] of Tihran. As He was approaching the dungeon, and old and decrepit woman was seen to emerge from the midst of the crowd, with a stone in her hand, eager to cast it at the face of Bahá'u'lláh. Her eyes glowed with a determination and fanaticism of which few women of her age were capable. Her whole frame shook with rage as she stepped forward and raised her hand to hurl her missile at Him. "By the Siyyidu'sh-Shuhada,[2 I adjure you," she pleaded, as she ran to overtake those into whose hands Bahá'u'lláh had been delivered, "give me a chance to fling my stone in his face!" "Suffer not this woman to be

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disappointed," were Bahá'u'lláh's words to His guards, as He saw her hastening behind Him. "Deny her not what she regards as a meritorious act in the sight of God."

[1 Name of the dungeon, meaning "Black Pit."]
[2 The Imam Husayn.]

The Siyah-Chal, into which Bahá'u'lláh was thrown, originally a reservoir of water for one of the public baths of Tihran, was a subterranean dungeon in which criminals of the worst type were wont to be confined. The darkness, the filth, and the character of the prisoners, combined to make of that pestilential dungeon the most abominable place to which human beings could be condemned. His feet were placed in stocks, and around His neck were fastened the Qara-Guhar chains, infamous throughout Persia for their galling weight.[1] For three days and three nights, no manner of food or drink was given to Bahá'u'lláh. Rest and sleep were both impossible to Him. The place was infested with vermin, and the stench of that gloomy abode was enough to crush the very spirits of those who were condemned to suffer its horrors. Such were the conditions under which He was held down that even one of the executioners who were watching over Him was moved with pity. Several times this man attempted to induce Him to take some tea which he had managed to introduce into the dungeon under the cover of his garments. Bahá'u'lláh, however, would refuse to drink it. His family often endeavoured to persuade the

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guards to allow them to carry the food they had prepared for Him into His prison. Though at first no amount of pleading would induce the guards to relax the severity of their discipline, yet gradually they yielded to His friends' importunity. No one could be sure, however, whether that food would eventually reach Him, or whether He would consent to eat it whilst a number of His fellow-prisoners were starving before His eyes. Surely greater misery than had befallen these innocent victims of the wrath of their sovereign, could hardly be imagined.[2]

[1 "If sometime thou shouldst happen to visit the prison of His Majesty the Shah, ask thou the director and chief of that place to show thee those two chains, one of which is known as Qara-Guhar and the other as Salasil. I swear by the Day-star of Justice, that during four months, I was weighted and tormented by one of these chains. 'The sorrow of Jacob paleth before my sorrow; and all the afflictions of Job were but a part of my calamities.'" ("The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf," p. 57.) "Concerning the Persian mode of imprisonment, the practice is as different from our own as in the case of penalties. There is no such thing as penal servitude for life, or even for a term of years; hard labour is unknown as a sentence; and confinement for any lengthy period is rare. There is usually a gaol-delivery at the beginning of the new year; and when a fresh governor is appointed, he not uncommonly empties the prison that may have been filled by his predecessor, one or two of the worst cases, perhaps, suffering the death penalty, in order to create a salutary impression of strength. There is no such thing as a female ward, women being detained, as also are male criminals of high rank, in the house of a priest. In Tihran there are said to be three kinds of prison the subterranean cells beneath the Ark, where criminals guilty of conspiracy, or high treason are reported to have been confined; the town prison, where the vulgar criminals may be seen with iron collars round their neck, sometimes with their feet in stocks, and attached to each other by iron chains; and the private guard-house, that is frequently an appurtenance of the mansions of the great. It will be seen that the Persian theory of justice, as expressed both in judicial sentences, in the infliction of penalties, and in the prison code, is one of sharp and rapid procedure, whose object is the punishment (in a manner as roughly equivalent as possible to the original offence), but in no sense the reformation, of the culprit." Lord Curzon's "Persia and the Persian Question," vol. i, pp. 458-9.)]

[2 "We had nothing to do with this odious deed, and Our innocence was indisputably proved before the tribunals. Nevertheless, they arrested Us and brought Us to the prison in Tihran, from Niyavaran, which was then the seat of the royal residence; on foot, in chains, and with bare head and feet, for a brutal fellow who was accompanying Us on horseback snatched the hat from Our head, and many executioners and farrashes hurried Us along with great speed and put Us for four months in a place the like of which has not been seen. In reality, a dark and narrow cell were far better than the place where this wronged One and His companions were confined. When We entered the prison, on arrival, they conducted us along a dismal corridor, and thence We descended three steep stairs to the dungeon appointed for Us. The place was dark, and its inmates numbered nearly a hundred and fifty--thieves, assassins, and highway robbers. Holding such a crowd as this, it yet had no outlet but the passage through which We entered. The pen fails to describe this place and putrid stench. Most of the company had neither clothes to wear nor mat to lie on. God knows what We endured in that gloomy and loathsome place! By day and by night, in this prison We reflected on the condition of The Bábis and their doings and affairs, wondering how, notwithstanding their greatness of soul, nobility, and intelligence, they could be capable of such a deed as this audacious attempt on the life of the sovereign. Then did this wronged One determine that, on leaving this prison, He would arise with the utmost endeavour for the regeneration of these souls. One night, in a dream, this all-glorious word was heard from all sides: 'Verily We will aid Thee to triumph by Thyself and by Thy pen. Grieve not for that which hath befallen Thee, and have no fear. Truly Thou art of them that are secure. Ere long shall the Lord send forth and reveal the treasures of the earth, men who shall give Thee the victory by Thyself and by Thy name wherewith the Lord hath revived the hearts of them that know.'" (Bahá'u'lláh's reference to the Siyah-Chal in "The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf.") "Abdu'l-Bahá," writes Dr. J. E. Esslemont, "tells how one day He was allowed to enter the prison-yard to see His beloved Father when He came out for His daily exercise. Bahá'u'lláh was terribly altered, so ill He could hardly walk. His hair and beard unkempt, His neck galled and swollen from the pressure of a heavy steel collar, His body bent by the weight of His chains, and the sight made a never-to-be-forgotten impression on the mind of the sensitive boy." ("Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era," p. 61.)]

As to the youth Sadiq-i-Tabrizi, the fate he suffered was as cruel as it was humiliating. He was seized at the moment he was rushing towards the Shah, whom he had thrown from his horse, hoping to strike him with the sword he held in his hand. The Shatir-Bashi, together with the Mustawfiyu'l-Mamalik's attendants, fell upon him and, without attempting to learn who he was, slew him on the spot. Wishing to allay the excitement of the populace, they hewed his body into two halves, each of which they suspended to the public

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gaze at the entrance of the gates of Shimiran and Shah-'Abdu'l-'Azim.[1] His two other companions, Fathu'llah-i-Hakkak-i-Qumi and Haji Qasim-i-Nayrizi, who had succeeded in inflicting only slight wounds on the Shah, were subjected to inhuman treatment, to which they ultimately owed their death. Fathu'llah, though suffering unspeakable cruelties, obstinately refused to answer the questions they asked him. The silence he maintained in the face of manifold tortures, induced his persecutors to believe that he was devoid of the power of speech. Exasperated by the failure of their efforts, they poured molten lead down his throat, an act which brought his sufferings to an end.

[1 "They ordered the body of Sadiq, The Bábi who had been murdered, to be tied to the tail of a mule and dragged over the stones as far as Tihran, so that the entire population could see that the conspirators had failed. At the same time, messengers were sent to Ardishir Mirza to dictate to him what he should do." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 234.)]

His comrade, Haji Qasim, was treated with a savagery still more revolting. On the very day Haji Sulayman Khan was being subjected to that terrible ordeal, this poor wretch was receiving similar treatment at the hands of his persecutors in Shimiran. He was stripped of his clothes, lighted

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candles were thrust into holes driven into his flesh, and he was thus paraded before the eyes of a multitude who yelled and cursed him. The spirit of revenge that animated those into whose hands he was delivered seemed insatiable. Day after day fresh victims were forced to expiate with their blood a crime which they had never committed, and of the circumstances of which they were wholly ignorant. Every ingenious device that the torture-mongers of Tihran could employ was applied with merciless severity to the bodies of these unfortunate ones who were neither brought to trial nor questioned, and whose right to plead and prove their innocence was entirely ignored.

Each of those days of terror witnessed the martyrdom of two companions of The Báb, one of whom was slain in Tihran, whilst the other met his fate in Shimiran. Both were subjected to the same manner of torture, both were handed over to the public to wreak their vengeance upon them. Those arrested were distributed among the various classes of people, whose messengers would visit the dungeon each day and claim their

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victim.[1] Conducting him to the scene of his death, they would give the signal for a general attack upon him, whereupon men and women would close upon their prey, tear his body to pieces, and so mutilate it that no trace of its original form would remain. Such ruthlessness amazed even the most brutal of the executioners, whose hands, however much accustomed to human slaughter, had never perpetrated the atrocities of which those people had proved themselves capable.[2]

[1 "It was on this occasion that Mirza Aqa Khan, the Grand Vazir, in order to distribute the responsibility of punishment and to lessen the chances of blood-revenge, conceived the extraordinary idea of assigning the several criminals for execution to the principal ministers, generals, and officers of the Court, as well as to representatives of the priestly and merchant classes. The Foreign Secretary killed one, the Home Secretary another, the Master of the Horse a third, and so on." (Lord Curzon's "Persia and the Persian Question," p. 402, note 2.)]

[2 "His Excellency resolved to divide the execution of the victims among the different departments of the state; the only person he exempted was himself. First came the Shah, who was entitled to Qisas, or legal retaliation, for his wound. To save the dignity of the crown, the steward of the household, as the Shah's representative, fired the first shot at the conspirator selected as his victim, and his deputies, the farrashes, completed the work. The Prime Minister's son headed the Home Office, and slew another Bábi. Then came the Foreign Office. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, a pious, silly man, who spent his time in conning over the traditions of Muhammad, With averted face made the first swordcut, and then the Under-Secretary of State and clerks of the Foreign Office hewed their victim into pieces. The priesthood, the merchants, the artillery, the infantry, had each their allotted Bábi. Even the Shah's admirable French physician, the late lamented Dr. Cloquet, was invited to show his loyalty by following the example of the rest of the Court. He excused himself, and pleasantly said he killed too many men professionally to permit him to increase their number by any voluntary homicide on his part. The Sadr was reminded that these barbarous and unheard-of proceedings were not only revolting in themselves, but would produce the utmost horror and disgust in Europe. Upon this he became very much excited, and asked angrily, 'Do you wish the vengeance of all The Bábis to be concentrated upon me alone?' The following is an extract from the 'Tihran Gazette' of that day, and will serve as a specimen of a Persian 'leader': 'Some profligate, unprincipled individuals, destitute of religion, became disciples of the accursed Siyyid Ali-Muhammad Báb, who some years ago invented a new religion, and who afterwards met his doom. They were unable to prove the truth of their faith, the falsehood of which was visible. For instance, many of their books having fallen into our hands, they are found to contain nothing but pure infidelity. In worldly argument, too, they never were able to support their religion, which seemed fit only for entering into a contest with the Almighty. They then began to think of aspiring to sovereignty, and to endeavour to raise insurrections, hoping to profit by the confusion, and to pillage the property of their neighbours. A wretched miserable gang, whose chief, Mulla Shaykh Ali of Turshiz, styled himself the deputy of the former Báb, and who gave himself the title of High Majesty, collected round themselves some of the former companions of [the] Báb. They seduced to their principles some dissolute debauchees, one of whom was Haji Sulayman Khan, son of the late Yahya Khan of Tabriz. In the house of this Haji it was their practice to assemble for consultation, and to plan an attempt on the auspicious life of his Majesty. Twelve of their number, who were volunteers for the deed, were selected to execute their purpose, and to each of them were given pistols, daggers, etc. It was resolved that the above number should proceed to the Shah's residence at Niyavaran, and await their opportunity.' Then follows an account of the attack, which I have already given in sufficient detail. 'Six persons, whose crimes were not so clearly proved, were condemned to perpetual imprisonment; the remainder were divided among the priesthood, the doctors of the law, the chief servants of the court, the people of the town, merchants, tradesmen, artisans, who bestowed on them their deserts in the following manner: The mullas, priests, and learned body slew Mulla Shaykh Ali, the deputy of [the] Báb, who gave himself the title of Imperial Majesty, and who was the author of this atrocity. The princes slew Siyyid Hasan, of Khurasan, a man of noted profligacy, with pistol-shots, swords, and daggers. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, full of religious and moral zeal, took the first shot at Mulla Zaynu'l-'Abidin of Yazd, and the secretaries of his department finished him and cut him in pieces. The Nizamu'l-Mulk (son of the Prime Minister) slew Mulla Husayn. Mirza Abdu'l-Vahhab, of Shiraz, who was one of the twelve assassins, was slain by the brother and the sons of the Prime Minister; his other relations cut him in pieces. Mulla Fathu'llah, of Qum, who fired the shot which wounded the royal person, was killed thus: In the midst of the royal camp candles were placed in the body (by making incisions) and lighted. The steward of the household wounded him in the very place that he had injured the Shah, and then the attendants stoned him. The nobles of the court sent Shaykh Abbas of Tihran to hell. The Shah's personal attendants put to death Mulla-Baqir, one of the twelve. The Shah's master of the horse and the servants of the stable horse-shod Muhammad-Taqi of Shiraz, and then sent him to join his companions. The masters of the ceremonies and other nobles, with their deputies, slew Muhammad of Najaf-Abad with hatchets and maces, and sent him to the depths of hell. The artillerymen first dug out the eye of Muhammad-'Ali of Najaf-Abad and then blew him away from a mortar. The soldiers bayoneted Siyyid Husayn, of Milan, and sent him to hell. The cavalry slew Mirza Rafi'. The adjutant-general, generals, and colonels slew Siyyid Husayn.'" (Lady Sheil's "Glimpses of Life and Manners in Persia," pp. 277-81.) ."On that day, a spectacle was witnessed in the streets and bazaars of Tihran which the people can never forget. Even to this very day, it remains the topic of conversation; one still feels a shocking horror which the years have not been able to lessen. The people saw marching, between executioners, children and women with deep holes cut into their flesh in which lighted wicks were inserted. The victims were dragged with ropes and goaded on with whips. Children and women went forth singing this verse: 'In truth, we come from God and unto Him do we return.' Their voices were raised triumphant above the deep silence of the crowd, for the citizens of Tihran were neither mean nor great believers in Islam. When one of the victims fell to the ground and they prodded him up with bayonets, if the loss of blood which dripped from his wounds had left him any strength, he would begin to dance and to cry out with even greater enthusiasm: 'In truth, we come from God and unto Him do we return!' "Some of the children expired on the way. The executioners would throw their bodies under the feet of their fathers and sisters, who proudly walked over them without giving it a second thought. When the cortege reached the place of execution near the New Gate, the victims were given the choice between life and abjuration of their faith; they were even subjected to every form of intimidation. One of the executioners conceived the idea of saying to a father that, unless he yielded, he would cut the throats of his two sons on his very breast. The sons were quite young, the oldest about fourteen. Covered with blood, their flesh scorched, they were listening stoically to the threats. The father replied, while laying himself down, that he was ready and the older of the boys, claiming a prior right, requested to be the first to die. It may be that the executioner denied him even that last comfort. "At last, the tragedy was over and night fell upon a heap of formless bodies; the heads were tied in bundles to the posts of justice and the dogs on the outskirts of the city were crowding about. That day won for The Bábis a larger number of secret followers than much exhortation could have done. "As I have said above, the impression caused by the terrifying impassibility of the martyrs was deep and lasting. I have often heard eye witnesses describe the scenes of that fateful day, men close to the government, some even holding important positions. While listening to them, one could easily have believed that they were all Bábis, so great was their admiration for the events in which Islam played so inglorious a part, and so high a conception did they entertain of the resources, the hopes and the means of success of the new religion." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 248-250.) "These executions were not merely criminal, but foolish. The barbarity of the persecutors defeated its own ends, and instead of inspiring terror, gave the martyrs and opportunity of exhibiting a heroic fortitude which has done more than any propaganda, however skilful, could have done to ensure the triumph of the cause for which they died.... The impression produced by such exhibitions of courage and endurance was profound and lasting; nay, the faith which inspired the martyrs was often contagious, as the following incident shows. A certain Yazdi rough, noted for his wild and disorderly life, went to see the execution of some Bábis, perhaps to scoff at them. But when he saw with what calmness and steadfastness they met torture and death, his feelings underwent so great a revulsion that he rushed forward crying, 'Kill me too! I am also a Bábi!' And thus he continued to cry till he too was made a partaker in the doom he had come out only to gaze upon." (E. G. Browne's "A Year amongst the Persians," pp. 111-12.)]

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Of all the tortures which an insatiable enemy inflicted upon its victims, none was more revolting in its character than that which characterised the death of Haji Sulayman Khan. He was the son of Yahya Khan, one of the officers in the service of the Nayibu's-Saltanih, who was the father of Muhammad Shah. He retained that same position in the early days of the reign of Muhammad Shah. Haji Sulayman Khan showed from his earliest years a marked disinclination to rank and office. Ever since the day of his acceptance of

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the Cause of The Báb, the petty pursuits in which the people around him were immersed excited his pity and contempt. The vanity of their ambitions had been abundantly demonstrated in his eyes. In his early youth, he felt a longing to escape from the turmoil of the capital and to seek refuge in the holy city of Karbila. There he met Siyyid Kazim and grew to be one of his most ardent supporters. His sincere piety, his frugality and love of seclusion were among the chief traits of his character. He tarried in Karbila until the day when the Call from Shiraz reached him through Mulla Yusuf-i-Ardibili and Mulla Mihdiy-Ku'i, both of whom were among his best-known friends. He enthusiastically embraced the Message of The Báb.[1] He had intended, upon his return from Karbila to Tihran, to join the defenders of the fort of Tabarsi, but arrived too late to achieve his purpose. He remained in the capital and continued to wear the kind of dress he had adopted in Karbila. The small turban he wore, and the white tunic which his black aba [2] concealed, were displeasing to the Amir-Nizam, who induced him to discard these garments and to clothe himself instead in a

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military uniform. He was made to wear the kulah,[3] a head-dress that was thought to be more in accordance with the rank his father held. Though the Amir insisted that he should accept a position in the service of the government, he obstinately refused to comply with his request. Most of his time was spent in the company of the disciples of The Báb, particularly those of His companions who had survived the struggle of Tabarsi. He surrounded them with a care and kindness truly surprising. He and his father were so influential that the Amir-Nizam was induced to spare his life and indeed to refrain from any acts of violence against him. Though he was present in Tihran when the seven companions of The Báb, with whom he was intimately associated, were martyred, neither the officials of the government nor any of the common people ventured to demand his arrest. Even in Tabriz, whither he had journeyed for the purpose of saving the life of The Báb, not one among the inhabitants of that city dared to lift a finger against him. The Amir-Nizam, who was duly informed of all his services to the Cause of The Báb, preferred to ignore his acts rather than precipitate a conflict with him and his father.

[1 According to Samandar (manuscript, p. 2), Sulayman Khan attained to the presence of The Báb in the course of His pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.]

[2 See Glossary.]
[3 See Glossary.]

Soon after the martyrdom of a certain Mulla Zaynu'l-'Abidin-i-Yazdi, a rumour was spread that those whom the government intended to put to death, among whom were Siyyid Husayn, The Báb's amanuensis, and Tahirih, were to be released and that further persecution of their friends was to be definitely abandoned. It was reported far and wide that the Amir-Nizam, deeming the hour of his death to be approaching, had been seized suddenly with a great fear and, in an agony of repentance, had exclaimed: "I am haunted by the vision of the Siyyid-i-Bab, whom I have caused to be martyred. I can now see the fearful mistake I have made. I should have restrained the violence of those who pressed me to shed his blood and that of his companions. I now perceive that the interests of the State required it." His successor, Mirza Aqa Khan, was similarly inclined in the early days of his administration, and was intending to inaugurate his ministry with a lasting reconciliation between him and the followers of The Báb. He was preparing to

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undertake that task when the attempt on the life of the Shah shattered his plans and threw the capital into a state of unprecedented confusion.

I have heard the Most Great Branch,[1] who in those days was a child of only eight years of age, recount one of His experiences as He ventured to leave the house in which He was then residing. "We had sought shelter, He told us, "in the house of My uncle, Mirza Isma'il. Tihran was in the throes of the wildest excitement. I ventured at times to sally forth from that house and to cross the street on My way to the market. I would hardly cross the threshold and step into the street, when boys of My age, who were running about, would crowd around Me crying, 'Babi! Bábi. Knowing well the state of excitement into which all the inhabitants of the capital, both young and old, had fallen, I would deliberately ignore their clamour and quietly steal away to My home. One day I happened to be walking alone through the market on My way to My uncle's house. As I was looking behind Me, I found a band of little ruffians running fast to overtake Me. They were pelting Me with stones and shouting menacingly, 'Babi! Bábi!' To intimidate them seemed to be the only way I could avert the danger with which I was threatened. I turned back and rushed towards them with such determination that they fled away in distress and vanished. I could hear their distant cry, 'The little Bábi is fast pursuing us! He will surely overtake and slay us all!' As I was directing My steps towards home, I heard a man shouting at the top of his voice: 'Well done, you brave and fearless child! No one of your age would ever have been able, unaided, to withstand their attack.' From that day onward, I was never again molested by any of the boys of the streets, nor did I hear any offensive word fall from their lips."

[1 `Abdu'l-Bahá'í title.]

Among those who, in the midst of the general confusion, were seized and thrown into prison was Haji Sulayman Khan, the circumstances of whose martyrdom I now proceed to relate. The facts I mention have been carefully sifted and verified by me, and I owe them, for the most part, to Aqay-i-Kalim, who was himself in those days in Tihran and was made

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to share the terrors and sufferings of his brethren. "On the very day of Haji Sulayman Khan's martyrdom," he informed me, "I happened to be present, with Mirza Abdu'l-Majid, at a gathering in Tihran at which a considerable number of the notables and dignitaries of the capital were present. Among them was Haji Mulla Mahmud, the Nizamu'l-'Ulama, who requested the Kalantar to describe the actual circumstances of the death of Haji Sulayman Khan. The Kalantar motioned with his finger to Mirza Taqi, the kad-khuda [1] who, he said, had conducted the victim from the vicinity of the imperial palace to the place of his execution, outside the gate of Naw. Mirza Taqi was accordingly requested to relate to those present all that he had seen and heard. 'I and my assistants,' he said, 'were ordered to purchase nine candles and to thrust them, ourselves into deep holes we were to cut in his flesh. We were instructed to light each one of these candles and to conduct him through the market to the accompaniment of drums and trumpets as far as the place of his execution. There we were ordered to hew his body into two halves, each of which we were asked to suspend on either side of the gate of Naw. He himself chose the manner in which he wished to be martyred. Hajibu'd-Dawlih [2] had been commanded by Nasiri'd-Din Shah to enquire into the complicity of the accused, and, if assured of his innocence, to induce him to recant. If he submitted, his life was to be spared and he was to be detained pending the final settlement of his case. In the event of his refusal, he was to be put to death in whatever manner he himself might desire.

[1 See Glossary.]

[2 His name was Haji Ali Khan. (See "A Traveller's Narrative," p. 52, note 1.)]

"'The investigation of hajibu'd-Dawlih convinced him of the innocence of Haji Sulayman Khan. The accused, as soon as he had been informed of the instructions of his sovereign, was heard joyously exclaiming: "Never, so long as my life-blood continues to pulsate in my veins, shall I be willing to recant my faith in my Beloved! This world which the Commander of the Faithful [1] has likened to carrion will never allure me from my heart's Desire." He was asked to

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determine the manner in which he wished to die. "Pierce holes in my flesh," was the instant reply, "and in each wound place a candle. Let nine candles be lighted all over my body, and in this state conduct me through the streets of Tihran. Summon the multitude to witness the glory of my martyrdom, so that the memory of my death may remain imprinted in their hearts and help them, as they recall the intensity of my tribulation, to recognize the Light I have embraced. After I have reached the foot of the gallows and have uttered the last prayer of my earthly life, cleave my body in twain and suspend my limbs on either side of the gate of Tihran, that the multitude passing beneath it may witness to the love which the Faith of The Báb has kindled in the hearts of His disciples, and may look upon the proofs of their devotion."

[1 The Imam Ali.]

"'Hajibu'd-Dawlih instructed his men to abide by the expressed wishes of Haji Sulayman Khan, and charged me to conduct him through the market as far as the place of his execution. As they handed to the victim the candles they had purchased, and were preparing to thrust their knives into his breast, he made a sudden attempt to seize the weapon from the executioner's trembling hands in order to plunge it himself into his flesh. "Why fear and hesitate?" he cried, as he stretched forth his arm to snatch the knife from his grasp. "Let me myself perform the deed and light the candles." Fearing lest he should attack us, I ordered my men to resist his attempt and bade them tie his hands behind his back. "Let me," he pleaded, point out with my fingers the places into which I wish them to thrust their dagger, for I have no other request to make besides this."

"'He asked them to pierce two holes in his breast, two in his shoulders, one in the nape of his neck, and the four others in his back. With stoic calm he endured those tortures. Steadfastness glowed in his eyes as he maintained a mysterious and unbroken silence. Neither the howling of the multitude nor the sight of the blood that streamed all over his body could induce him to interrupt that silence. Impassive and serene he remained until all the nine candles were placed in position and lighted.

"'When all was completed for his march to the scene

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of his death, he, standing erect as an arrow and with that same unflinching fortitude gleaming upon his face, stepped forward to lead the concourse that was pressing round him to the place that was to witness the consummation of his martyrdom. Every few steps he would interrupt his march and, gazing at the bewildered bystanders, would shout: "What greater pomp and pageantry than those which this day accompany my progress to win the crown of glory! Glorified be The Báb, who can kindle such devotion in the breasts of His lovers, and can endow them with a power greater than the might of kings!" At times, as if intoxicated with the fervour of that devotion, he would exclaim: "The Abraham of a bygone age, as He prayed God, in the hour of bitter agony, to send down upon Him the refreshment for which His soul was crying, heard the voice of the Unseen proclaim: 'O fire! Be thou cold, and to Abraham a safety![1] But this Sulayman is crying out from the depths of his ravaged heart: 'Lord, Lord, let Thy fire burn unceasingly within me, and suffer its flame to consume my being.'" As his eyes saw the wax flicker in his wounds, he burst forth in an acclamation of frantic delight: "Would that He whose hand has enkindled my soul were here to behold my state!" "Think me not to be intoxicated with the wine of this earth!" he cried to the vast throng who stood aghast at the sight of his behaviour. It is the love of my Beloved that has filled my soul and made me feel endowed with a sovereignty which even kings might envy!"

[1 Quran, 21:69.]

"'I cannot recall the exclamations of joy which fell from his lips as he drew near to his end. All I remember are but a few of the stirring words which, in his moments of exultation, he was moved to cry out to the concourse of spectators. Words fail me to portray the expression of that countenance or to measure the effect of his words on the multitude.

"'He was still in the bazaar when the blowing of a breeze excited the burning of the candles that were placed upon his breast. As they melted rapidly, their flames reached the level of the wounds into which they had been thrust. We who were following a few steps behind him could hear distinctly the sizzling of his flesh. The sight of gore and fire

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which covered his body, instead of silencing his voice, appeared to heighten his unquenchable enthusiasm. He could still be heard, this time addressing the flames, as they ate into his wounds: "You have long lost your sting, O flames, and have been robbed of your power to pain me. Make haste, for from your very tongues of fire I can hear the voice that calls me to my Beloved!"

"'Pain and suffering seemed to have melted away in the ardour of that enthusiasm. Enveloped by the flames, he walked as a conqueror might have marched to the scene of his victory. He moved through the excited crowd a blaze of light amidst the gloom that surrounded him. Arriving at the foot of the gallows, he again raised his voice in a last appeal to the multitude of onlookers: "Did not this Sulayman whom you now see before you a prey to fire and blood, enjoy until recently all the favours and riches the world can bestow? What could have caused him to renounce this earthly glory and accept in return such great degradation and suffering?" Prostrating himself in the direction of the shrine of the Imam-Zadih Hasan, he murmured certain words in Arabic which I could not understand. "My work is now finished!" he cried to the executioner, as soon as his prayer was ended. "Come and do yours!" He was still alive when his body was hewn into two halves with a hatchet. The praise of his Beloved, despite such incredible sufferings, lingered upon his lips until the last moment of his life.'[1]

[1 "The extraordinary heroism with which Sulayman Khan bore these frightful tortures is notorious and I have repeatedly heard it related how he ceased not during the long agony which he endured to testify his joy that he should be accounted worthy to suffer martyrdom for his Master's cause. He even sang and recited verses of poetry, amongst them the following: 'I have returned! I have returned! I have come by the way of Shiraz! I have come with winsome airs and graces! Such is the lover's madness!' 'Why do you not dance,' asked the executioners mockingly, 'since you find death so pleasant?' 'Dance!' cried Sulayman Khan. 'In one hand the wine-cup, in one hand the tresses of the Friend. Such a dance in the midst of the market-place is my desire!'" ("A Traveller's Narrative," Note T, pp. 333-4.) He was martyred in August, 1852. "When they arrested Sulayman Khan, and strove, in consideration of his faithful service and loyalty, to induce him, by promises of rewards from the king, to abandon the creed which he had adopted, he would not consent, but answered firmly: 'His Majesty the King has a right to demand from his servants fidelity, loyalty, and uprightness; but he is not entitled to meddle with their religious convictions.' In consequence of this boldness of speech, it was ordered that his body should be pierced with wounds, and that into each of these wounds a lighted candle should be inserted as an example to others. Another victim was similarly treated. In this state, with minstrels and drummers going in advance, they led him through the bazaars, and he, meanwhile, with smiling countenance, kept repeating these verses: 'Happy he whom love's intoxication So hath overcome that scare he knows Whether at the feet of the Beloved It be head or turban which he throws!' Whenever one of the candles fell from his body, he would with his own hand pick it up, light it from the others, and replace it. The executioners, seeing in him such exultation and rapture said: 'If thou art so eager for martyrdom, why dost thou not dance?' Thereat he began to leap, and to sing, in verses appropriate to his condition: 'An ear no longer dulled with ignorance And self-subdued entitles one to dance. Fools dance and caper in the market-place; Men dance the while their life-blood flows apace. When self is slain, they clap their hands in glee, And dance, because from evil they are free.' In such fashion did they lead these two forth through the gate of Shah Abdu'l-Azim. When they were preparing to saw that brave man asunder, he stretched out his feet without fear or hesitation, while he recited these verses: I hold this body as of little worth; A brave man's spirit scorns its house of earth. Dagger and sword like fragrant basil seem, Or flowers to deck death's banquet with their gleam.'" (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," pp. 228-30.)]

"That tragic tale stirred the listeners to the very depths of their souls. The Nizamu'l-'Ulama, who was listening intently

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to all its details, wrung his hands in horror and despair. How strange, how very strange, is this Cause!' he exclaimed. Without adding a further word of comment, he, immediately after, arose and departed."[1]

[1 "If one conclusion more than another has been forced upon our notice by the retrospect in which I have indulged, it is that a sublime and unmurmuring devotion has been inculcated by this new faith, whatever it be. There is, I believe, but one instance of a Bábi having recanted under pressure or menace of suffering, and he reverted to the faith and was executed with two years. Tales of magnificent heroism illumine the blood-stained pages of Bábi history. Ignorant and unlettered as many of the votaries are, and have been, they are yet prepared to die for their religion, and the fires of Smithfield did not kindle a nobler courage than has met and defined the more refined torture-mongers of Tihran. Of no small account, then, must be the tenets of a creed that can awaken in its followers so rare and beautiful a spirit of self-sacrifice.... It is these little incidents, protruding from time to time their ugly features, that prove Persia to be not as yet quite redeemed, and that somewhat a stagger the tall-takers about Iranian civilization." (Lord Curzon's "Persia and the Persian Question," vol. 1, p. 501.)]

Those days of unceasing turmoil witnessed the martyrdom of yet another eminent disciple of The Báb. A woman, no less great and heroic than Tahirih herself, was engulfed in the storm that was then raging with undiminished violence throughout the capital. What I now begin to relate regarding the circumstances of her martyrdom has been obtained from trustworthy informants, some of whom were themselves witnesses of the events I am attempting to describe. Her stay in Tihran was marked by many proofs of the warm

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affection and high esteem in which she was held by the leading women of the capital. She had reached, indeed, in those days, the high-water mark of her popularity.[1] The house where she was confined was besieged by her women admirers, who thronged her doors, eager to enter her presence and to seek the benefit of her knowledge.[2] Among these ladies, the wife of Kalantar [3] distinguished herself by the extreme reverence she showed to Tahirih. Acting as her hostess, she introduced into her presence the flower of womanhood in Tihran, served her with extraordinary enthusiasm, and never failed to contribute her share in deepening her influence among her womenfolk. Persons with whom the wife of Kalantar was intimately connected have heard her relate the following: "One night, whilst Tahirih was staying in my home, I was summoned to her presence and found her fully adorned, dressed in a gown of snow-white silk. Her room was redolent with the choicest perfume. I expressed to her my surprise at so unusual a sight. 'I am preparing to meet my Beloved,' she said, 'and wish to free you from the cares

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and anxieties of my imprisonment.' I was much startled at first, and wept at the thought of separation from her. 'Weep not, she sought to reassure me. 'The time of your lamentation is not yet come. I wish to share with you my last wishes, for the hour when I shall be arrested and condemned to suffer martyrdom is fast approaching. I would request you to allow your son to accompany me to the scene of my death and to ensure that the guards and executioner into whose hands I shall be delivered will not compel me to divest myself of this attire. It is also my wish that my body be thrown into a pit, and that that pit be filled with earth and stones. Three days after my death a woman will come and visit you, to whom you will give this package which I now deliver into your hands. My last request is that you permit no one henceforth to enter my chamber. From now until the time when I shall be summoned to leave this house, let no one be allowed to disturb my devotions. This day I intend to fast-- a fast which I shall not break until I am brought face to face

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with my Beloved.' She bade me, with these words, lock the door of her chamber and not open it until the hour of her departure should strike. She also urged me to keep secret the tidings of her death until such time as her enemies should themselves disclose it.

[1 "She remained in Tihran a long time receiving numerous visitors both men and women. She aroused the women by showing them the abject role which Islam assigned to them and she won them over to the new religion by showing them the freedom and respect which it would bestow upon them. Many domestic disputes followed, not always to the advantage and credit of the husband. These discussions might have continued at length, if Mirza Aqa Khan-i-Nuri had not been appointed Sadr-i-A'zam. The premier ordered Haji Mulla Muhammad Andirmani and Haji Mulla Ali Kini to call on her in order to examine into her belief. They held seven conferences with her in which she argued with much feeling and affirmed that The Báb was the promised and expected Imam. Her adversaries called her attention to the fact that, in accordance with the prophecies, the promised Imam was to come from Jabulqa and Jabulsa. She retorted feelingly that those prophecies were false and forged by false traditionalists and, as these two cities never existed, they could only be the superstitions of diseased brains. She expounded the new doctrine, bringing out its truth, but always encountered the same argument of Jabulqa. Exasperated, she finally told them: 'Your reasoning is that of an ignorant and stupid child; how long will you cling to these follies and lies? When will you lift your eyes towards the Sun of Truth?' Shocked by such blasphemy, Haji Mulla Ali rose up and led his friend away saying, 'Why prolong our discussion with an infidel?' They returned home and wrote out the sentence which established her apostasy and her refusal to retract, and condemned her to death in the name of the Quran!" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," pp. 446-447.)]

[2 "While a prisoner in the house of the Kalantar, the marriage of the son of the family took place. Naturally, the wives of all the prominent men were invited; but, although the host had gone to a great deal of expense to provide the customary entertainment, the women loudly demanded that Qurratu'l-'Ayn be brought before the company. She had hardly appeared and begun to speak when the musicians and dancers were dismissed. The ladies, forgetful of the sweets of which they were so fond, had eyes only for Qurratu'l-'Ayn." (Ibid., p. 448.)]

[3 Mahmud Khan-i-Kalantar, in whose custody she was placed.]

"The great love I cherished for her in my heart, alone enabled me to abide by her instructions. But for the compelling desire I felt to fulfil her wishes, I would never have consented to deprive myself of one moment of her presence. I locked the door of her chamber and retired to my own, in a state of uncontrollable sorrow. I lay sleepless and disconsolate upon my bed. The thought of her approaching martyrdom lacerated my soul. 'Lord, Lord,' I prayed in my despair, 'turn from her, if it be Thy wish, the cup which her lips desire to drink.' That day and night, I several times, unable to contain myself, arose and stole away to the threshold of that room and stood silently at her door, eager to listen to whatever might be falling from her lips. I was enchanted by the melody of that voice which intoned the praise of her Beloved. I could hardly remain standing upon my feet, so

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great was my agitation. Four hours after sunset, I heard a knocking at the door. I hastened immediately to my son, and acquainted him with the wishes of Tahirih. He pledged his word that he would fulfil every instruction she had given me. It chanced that night that my husband was absent. My son, who opened the door, informed me that the farrashes [1] of Aziz Khan-i-Sardar were standing at the gate, demanding that Tahirih be immediately delivered into their hands. I was struck with terror by the news, and, as I tottered to her door and with trembling hands unlocked it, found her veiled and prepared to leave her apartment. She was pacing the floor when I entered, and was chanting a litany expressive of both grief and triumph. As soon as she saw me, she approached and kissed me. She placed in my hand the key to her chest, in which she said she had left for me a few trivial things as a remembrance of her stay in my house. Whenever you open this chest,' she said, 'and behold the things it contains, you will, I hope, remember me and rejoice in my gladness.'

[1 See Glossary.]

"With these words she bade me her last farewell, and, accompanied by my son, disappeared from before my eyes. What pangs of anguish I felt that moment, as I beheld her beauteous form gradually fade away in the distance! She mounted the steed which the Sardar had sent for her, and, escorted by my son and a number of attendants, who marched on each side of her, rode out to the garden that was to be the scene of her martyrdom.

"Three hours later my son returned, his face drenched with tears, hurling imprecations at the Sardar and his abject lieutenants. I tried to calm his agitation, and, seating him beside me, asked him to relate as fully as he could the circumstances of her death. 'Mother,' he sobbingly replied, 'I can scarcely attempt to describe what my eyes have beheld. We straightway proceeded to the Ilkhani garden,[1]

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outside the gate of the city. There I found, to my horror, the Sardar and his lieutenants absorbed in acts of debauchery and shame, flushed with wine and roaring with laughter. Arriving at the gate, Tahirih dismounted and, calling me to her, asked me to act as her intermediary with the Sardar, whom she said she was disinclined to address in the midst of his revelry. 'They apparently wish to strangle me,' she said. 'I set aside, long ago, a silken kerchief which I hoped would be used for this purpose. I deliver it into your hands and wish you to induce that dissolute drunkard to use it as a means whereby he can take my life.'

[1 "Across from the English Legation and the Turkish Embassy stretched a rather vast square which since 1893 has disappeared. Toward the center of this square, but in line with the street, stood five or six trees which marked the spot where The Bábi heroine had died, for in those days the garden of Ilkhani extended that far. On my return in 1898 the square had entirely disappeared overrun by modern buildings and I do not know whether the present owner has saved those trees which pious hands had planted." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," p. 452.)]

"When I went to the Sardar, I found him in a state of wretched intoxication. 'Interrupt not the gaiety of our festival!' I heard him shout as I approached him. 'Let that miserable wretch be strangled and her body be thrown into a pit!' I was greatly surprised at such an order. Believing it unnecessary to venture any request from him, I went to two of his attendants, with whom I was already acquainted, and gave them the kerchief with which Tahirih had entrusted me. They consented to grant her request. That same kerchief was wound round her neck and was made the instrument of her martyrdom. I hastened immediately afterwards to the gardener and asked him whether

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he could suggest a place where I could conceal the body. He directed me, to my great delight, to a well that had been dug recently and left unfinished. With the help of a few others, I lowered her into her grave and filled the well with earth and stones in the manner she herself had wished. Those who saw her in her last moments were profoundly affected. With downcast eyes and rapt in silence, they mournfully dispersed, leaving their victim, who had shed so imperishable a lustre upon their country, buried beneath a mass of stones which they, with their own hands, had heaped upon her.

I wept hot tears as my son unfolded to my eyes that tragic tale. I was so overcome with emotion that I fell prostrate and unconscious upon the ground. When I had recovered, I found my son a prey to an agony no less severe than my own. He lay upon his couch, weeping in a passion of devotion. Beholding my plight, he approached and comforted me. 'Your tears,' he said, 'will betray you in the eyes of my father. Considerations of rank and position will, no doubt, induce him to forsake us and sever whatever ties bind him to this home. He will, if we fail to repress our tears, accuse us before Nasiri'd-Din Shah, as victims of the charm of a hateful enemy. He will obtain the sovereign's consent to our death, and will probably, with his own hands, proceed to slay us. Why should we, who have never embraced that Cause, allow ourselves to suffer such a fate at his hands? All we should do is to defend her against those who denounce her as the very negation of chastity and honour. We should ever treasure her love in our hearts and maintain in the face of a slanderous enemy the integrity of that life.'

"His words allayed my inner agitation. I went to her chest and, with the key she had placed in my hand, opened it. I found a small vial of the choicest perfume, beside which lay a rosary, a coral necklace, and three rings, mounted with turquoise, cornelian, and ruby stones. As I gazed upon her earthly belongings, I mused over the circumstances of her eventful life, and recalled, with a throb of wonder, her intrepid courage, her zeal, her high sense of duty and unquestioning devotion. I was reminded of her literary attainments, and brooded over the imprisonments, the shame, and the calumny which she had faced with a fortitude such as no other woman

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in her land could manifest. I pictured to myself that winsome face which now, alas, lay buried beneath a mass of earth and stones. The memory of her passionate eloquence warmed my heart, as I repeated to myself the words that had so often dropped from her lips. The consciousness of the vastness of her knowledge, and her mastery of the sacred Scriptures of Islam, flashed through my mind with a suddenness that disconcerted me. Above all, her passionate loyalty to the Faith she had embraced, her fervour as she pleaded its cause, the services she rendered it, the woes and tribulations she endured for its sake, the example she had given to its followers, the impetus she had lent to its advancement the name she had carved for herself in the hearts of her fellow-countrymen, all these I remembered as I stood beside her chest, wondering what could have induced so great a woman to forsake all the riches and honours with which she had been surrounded and to identify herself with the cause of an obscure youth from Shiraz. What could have been the secret, I thought to myself, of the power that tore her away from her home and kindred, that sustained her throughout her stormy career, and eventually carried her to her grave? Could that force, I pondered, be of God? Could the hand of the Almighty have guided her destiny and steered her course amidst the perils of her life?

"On the third day after her martyrdom,[1] the woman whose coming she had promised arrived. I enquired her name, and, finding it to be the same as the one Tahirih had told me, delivered into her hands the package with which I had been entrusted. I had never before met that woman, nor did I ever see her again."[2]

[1 August, 1852 A.D.]

[2 See Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1889, article 6, p. 492.]

The name of that immortal woman was Fatimih, a name which her father had bestowed upon her. She was surnamed Umm-i-Salmih by her family and kindred, who also designated her as Zakiyyih. She was born in the year 1233 A.H.,[1] the very year which witnessed the birth of Bahá'u'lláh. She was thirty-six years of age when she suffered martyrdom in Tihran. May future generations be enabled to present a

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worthy account of a life which her contemporaries have failed adequately to recognize. May future historians perceive the full measure of her influence, and record the unique services this great woman has rendered to her land and its people. May the followers of the Faith which she served so well strive to follow her example, recount her deeds, collect her writings, unfold the secret of her talents, and establish her, for all time, in the memory and affections of the peoples and kindreds of the earth.[2]

[1 1817-18 A.D.]

[2 "Beauty and the female see also lent their consecration to the new creed and the heroism of the lovely but ill-fated poetess of Qazvin, Zarrin-Taj (Crown of Gold; or Qurratu'l-'Ayn (Solace of the Eyes), who, throwing off the veil, carried the missionary torch far and wide, is one of the most affecting episodes in modern history." (Lord Curzon's "Persia and the Persian Question," vol. 1, p. 497, note 2.) "No memory is more deeply venerated or kindles greater enthusiasm than hers, and the influence which she wielded in her lifetime still inures to her sex." (Valentine Chirol's "The Middle Eastern Question," p. 124.) "The appearance of such a woman as Qurratu'l-'Ayn is in any country and any age a rare phenomenon, but in such a country as Persia it is a prodigy--nay, almost a miracle. Alike in virtue of her marvellous beauty, her rare intellectual gifts, her fervid eloquence her fearless devotion, and her glorious martyrdom, she stands forth incomparable and immortal amidst her countrywomen. Had The Bábi religion no other claim to greatness, this were sufficient--that it produced a heroine like Qurratu'l-'Ayn." ("A Traveller's Narrative," Note Q, p. 213.) "Almost the most remarkable figure in the whole movement was the poetess Qurratu'l-'Ayn. She was known for her virtue, piety, and learning, and had been finally converted on reading some of the verses and exhortations of The Báb. So strong in her faith did she become that although she was both rich and noble she gave up wealth, child, name and position for her Master's service and set herself to proclaim and establish his doctrine... The beauty of her speech was such as to draw guests from a marriage feast rather than listen to the music provided by the host. And her verses were among the most stirring in the Persian language." (Sir Francis Younghusband's "The Gleam," pp. 202-3.) "Looking back on the short career or Qurratu'l-'Ayn, one is chiefly struck by her fiery enthusiasm and by her absolute unworldliness. This world was, in fact, to her, as it was said to be to Quddus, a mere handful of dust. She was also an eloquent speaker and experienced in the intricate measures of Persian poetry. One of her few Poems which have thus far been made known is of special interest, because of the belief which it expresses in the divine-human character of some one (here called Lord), whose claims, when once adduced, would receive general recognition. Who was this Personage? It appears that Qurratu'l-'Ayn thought Him slow in bringing forward these claims. Is there any one who can be thought of but Bahá'u'lláh? The poetess was a true Baha'i." (Dr. T. K. Cheyne's "The Reconciliation of Races and Religions," pp. 114, 115.) "The harvest sown in Islamic lands by Qurratu'l-'Ayn is now beginning to appear. A letter addressed to the "Christian Commonwealth" last June informs us that forty Turkish suffragettes are being deported from Constantinople to Akka (so long the prison of Bahá'u'lláh): 'During the last few years suffrage ideas have been spreading quietly behind in the harems. The men were ignorant of it; everybody was ignorant of it; and now suddenly the floodgate is opened and the men of Constantinople have thought it necessary to resort to drastic measures. Suffrage clubs have been organised, intelligent memorials incorporating the women's demands have been drafted and circulated; women's journals and magazines have sprung up, publishing excellent articles; and public meetings were held. Then one day the members of these clubs--four hundred of them--cast away their veils. The staid, fossilised class of society were shocked, the good Musulmans were alarmed, and the Government forced into action. These four hundred liberty-loving women were divided into several groups. One group composed of forty have been exiled to Akka, and will arrive in a few days. Everybody is talking about it, and it is really surprising to see how numerous are those in favour of removing the veils from the faces of the women. Many men with whom I have talked think the custom not only archaic, but thought-stifling. The Turkish authorities, thinking to extinguish this light of liberty, have greatly added to its flame, and their high-handed action has materially assisted the creation of a wider public opinion and a better understanding of this crucial problem.'" (Ibid., pp. 115-16.) ."The other missionary, the woman to whom I refer, had come to Qazvin. She was without doubt, at the same time, the object of The Bábis highest veneration and one of the most strikingly fascinating manifestations of that religion." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 136.) "Many who have known her and heard her at different times have stated that, for a person so learned and so well read, the outstanding characteristic of her discourse was an amazing simplicity and still, when she spoke, her audience was deeply stirred and filled with admiration, often in tears." (Ibid., p. 150.) "Although the Muhammadans and Bábis speak in the highest terms of the beauty of 'Consolation of the Eyes,' it is beyond dispute that the intelligence and character of this young woman were even more remarkable than has been related. Having heard, almost daily, learned conversations, it seems that, at an early age, she had taken a deep interest in them; hence it came about that she was perfectly able to follow the subtle arguments of her father, her uncle, her cousin and now her husband, and even to debate with them and frequently to astonish them with the power and keenness of her mind. In Persia, one does not frequently see women engaged in intellectual pursuits but, nevertheless, it does sometimes occur. What is really extraordinary is to find a woman of the ability of Qurratu'l-'Ayn. Not only did she carry her knowledge of Arabic to an unusual degree of perfection, but she became also outstanding in the knowledge of the traditions of Islam and of the varied interpretations of the disputed passages of the Quran and of the great writers. In Qazvin, she was rightly considered a prodigy." (Ibid., p. 137.)]

Another distinguished figure among the disciples of The Báb who met his death during the turbulent time that had overwhelmed Tihran was Siyyid Husayn-i-Yazdi, who was The Báb's amanuensis both in Mah-Ku and Chihriq. Such was his knowledge of the teachings of the Faith that The Báb, in a Tablet addressed to Mirza Yahya, urged the latter to seek enlightenment from him in whatever might pertain to the sacred writings. A man of standing and experience, in whom The Báb reposed the utmost confidence and with whom he had been intimately associated, he suffered, after the martyrdom of his Master in Tabriz, the agony of a long confinement in the subterranean dungeon of Tihran, which confinement terminated in his martyrdom. To a very great

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extent, Bahá'u'lláh helped to allay the hardships from which he suffered. Regularly every month He sent him whatever financial assistance he required. He was praised and admired even by the gaolers who watched over him. His long and intimate companionship with The Báb, during the last and stormiest days of His life, had deepened his understanding and endowed his soul with a power which he was destined to manifest more and more as the days of his earthly life drew near to their close. He lay in the prison, longing for the time when he should be called upon to suffer a death similar to that of his Master. Deprived of the privilege of being martyred on the same day as The Báb, a privilege which it had been his supreme desire to attain, he now eagerly awaited the hour when he, in his turn, should drain to the very dregs the cup that had touched His lips. Many a time did the leading officials of Tihran strive to induce him to accept their offer to deliver him from the rigours of his imprisonment, as well as from the prospect of a still more cruel death. He steadfastly refused. Tears flowed unceasingly from his eyes --tears born of his longing to see again that face whose radiance had shone so brightly amidst the darkness of a cruel incarceration in Adhirbayjan, and whose glow warmed the chill

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of its wintry nights. As he mused in the gloom of his prison cell over those blissful days spent in the presence of his Master, there came to him One who alone could banish, by the light of His presence, the anguish that had settled upon his soul. His Comforter was none other than Bahá'u'lláh Himself. In His company Siyyid Husayn was privileged to remain until the hour of his death. The hand of Aziz Khan-i-Sardar, which had struck down Tahirih, was the hand that dealt the fatal blow to The Báb's amanuensis and sometime fellow-prisoner in Adhirbayjan. I need not expatiate upon the circumstances of the death which that murderous Sardar inflicted upon him. Suffice it to say that he too, like those who went before, drank, in circumstances of shameful cruelty, the cup for which he had so long and so deeply yearned.

I now proceed to relate what befell the remaining companions of The Báb, those who had been privileged to share the horrors of the confinement with Bahá'u'lláh. From His own lips I have often heard the following account: "All those who were struck down by the storm that raged during that memorable year in Tihran were Our fellow-prisoners in the Siyah-Chal, where We were confined. We were all huddled together in one cell, our feet in stocks, and around our necks fastened the most galling of chains. The air we breathed was laden with the foulest impurities, while the floor on which

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we sat was covered with filth and infested with vermin. No ray of light was allowed to penetrate that pestilential dungeon or to warm its icy-coldness. We were placed in two rows, each facing the other. We had taught them to repeat certain verses which, every night, they chanted with extreme fervour. 'God is sufficient unto me; He verily is the All-sufficing!' one row would intone, while the other would reply: 'In Him let the trusting trust.' The chorus of these gladsome voices would continue to peal out until the early hours of the morning. Their reverberation would fill the dungeon, and, piercing its massive walls, would reach the ears of Nasiri'd-Din Shah, whose palace was not far distant from the place where we were imprisoned. 'What means this sound?' he was reported to have exclaimed. 'It is the anthem The Bábis are intoning in their prison,' they replied. The Shah made no further remarks, nor did he attempt to restrain the enthusiasm his prisoners, despite the horrors of their confinement, continued to display.

"One day, there was brought to Our prison a tray of roasted meat, which they informed Us the Shah had ordered to be distributed among the prisoners. 'The Shah,' We were told, 'faithful to a vow he made, has chosen this day to offer to you all this lamb in fulfilment of his pledge.' A deep silence fell upon Our companions, who expected Us to make answer on their behalf. 'We return this gift to you,' We replied; 'we can well dispense with this offer.' The answer We made would have greatly irritated the guards had they not been eager to devour the food we had refused to touch. Despite the hunger with which Our companions were afflicted, only one among them, a certain Mirza Husayn-i-Matavalliy-i-Qumi, showed any desire to eat of the food the sovereign had chosen to spread before us. With a fortitude that was truly heroic, Our fellow-prisoners submitted, without a murmur, to endure the piteous plight to which they were reduced. Praise of God, instead of complaint of the treatment meted out to them by the Shah, fell unceasingly from their lips--praise with which they sought to beguile the hardships of a cruel captivity.

"Every day Our gaolers, entering Our cell, would call the name of one of Our companions, bidding him arise and follow

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them to the foot of the gallows. With what eagerness would the owner of that name respond to that solemn call! Relieved of his chains, he would spring to his feet and, in a state of uncontrollable delight, would approach and embrace Us. We would seek to comfort him with the assurance of an everlasting life in the world beyond, and, filling his heart with hope and joy, would send him forth to win the crown of glory. He would embrace, in turn, the rest of his fellow-prisoners and then proceed to die as dauntlessly as he had lived. Soon after the martyrdom of each of these companions, We would be informed by the executioner, who had grown to be friendly to Us, of the circumstances of the death of his victim, and of the joy with which he had endured his sufferings to the very end.

"We were awakened one night, ere break of day, by Mirza Abdu'l-Vahhab-i-Shirazi, who was bound with Us to the same chains. He had left Kazimayn and followed Us to Tihran, where he was arrested and thrown into prison. He asked Us whether We were awake, and proceeded to relate to Us his dream. 'I have this night,' he said, 'been soaring into a space of infinite vastness and beauty. I seemed to be uplifted on wings that carried me wherever I desired to go. A feeling of rapturous delight filled my soul. I flew in the midst of that immensity with a swiftness and ease that I cannot describe.' 'To-day,' We replied, 'it will be your turn to sacrifice yourself for this Cause. May you remain firm and steadfast to the end. You will then find yourself soaring in that same limitless space of which you dreamed, traversing with the same ease and swiftness the realm of immortal sovereignty, and gazing with that same rapture upon the Infinite Horizon.'

"That morning saw the gaoler again enter Our cell and call out the name of Abdu'l-Vahhab. Throwing off his chains, he sprang to his feet, embraced each of his fellow-prisoners, and, taking Us into his arms, pressed Us lovingly to his heart. That moment We discovered that he had no shoes to wear We gave him Our own, and, speaking a last word of encouragement and cheer, sent him forth to the scene of his martyrdom. Later on, his executioner came to Us, praising in glowing language the spirit which that youth had shown.

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How thankful We were to God for this testimony which the executioner himself had given!"

All this suffering and the cruel revenge the authorities had taken on those who had attempted the life of their sovereign failed to appease the anger of the Shah's mother. Day and night she persisted in her vindictive clamour, demanding the execution of Bahá'u'lláh, whom she still regarded as the real author of the crime. "Deliver him to the executioner!" she insistently cried to the authorities. "What greater humiliation than this, that I, who am the mother of the Shah, should be powerless to inflict upon that criminal the punishment so dastardly an act deserves!" Her cry for vengeance, which an impotent rage served to intensify, was doomed to remain unanswered. Despite her machinations, Bahá'u'lláh was saved from the fate she had so importunately striven to precipitate. The Prisoner was eventually released from His confinement, and was able to unfold and establish, beyond the confines of the kingdom of her son, a sovereignty the possibility of which she could never even have dreamed of. The blood shed in the course of that fateful year in Tihran by that heroic band with whom Bahá'u'lláh had been imprisoned, was the ransom paid for His deliverance from the hand of a foe that sought to prevent Him from achieving the purpose for which God had destined Him. Ever since the time He espoused the Cause of The Báb, He had never neglected one single occasion to champion the Faith He had embraced. He had exposed Himself to the perils which the followers of the Faith had to face in its early days. He was the first of The Báb's disciples to set the example of renunciation and service to the Cause. Yet His life, beset as it was by the risks and dangers that a career such as His was sure to encounter, was spared by that same Providence who had chosen Him for a task which He, in His wisdom, deemed it as yet too soon to proclaim publicly.

The terror that convulsed Tihran was but one of the many risks and dangers to which Bahá'u'lláh's life was exposed. Men, women, and children in the capital trembled at the ruthlessness with which the enemy pursued their victims. A youth named Abbas, a former servant of Haji Sulayman Khan, and fully informed, owing to the wide

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circle of friends whom his master cultivated, of the names the number, and the dwelling places of The Báb's disciples, was employed by the enemy as an instrument ready to hand for the prosecution of its designs. He had identified himself with the Faith of his master, and regarded himself as one of its zealous supporters. At the outset of the turmoil, he was arrested and compelled to betray all those whom he knew to be associated with the Faith. They sought by every manner of reward to induce him to reveal those who were his master's fellow-disciples, and warned him that, should he refuse to disclose their names, he would be subjected to inhuman tortures. He pledged his word that he would act according to their wishes and would inform the assistants of Haji Ali Khan, the Hajibu'd-Dawlih, the Farrash-Bashi, of their names and abodes. He was taken through the streets of Tihran and directed to point out everyone he recognized as being a follower of The Báb. A number of people whom he had never met and known were in this manner delivered into the hands of Haji Ali Khan's assistants--people who had never had any connection with The Báb and His Cause. These were able to recover their freedom only after having paid a heavy bribe to those who had captured them. Such was the greed of the Hajibu'd-Dawlih's attendants that they specially requested Abbas to salute as a sign of betrayal every person who he thought would be willing and able to pay large sums for his deliverance. They would even force him to betray such persons, threatening that his refusal would be fraught with grave danger to his own life. They would frequently promise to give him a share of the money they determined to extort from their victims.

This Abbas was taken to the Siyah-Chal and introduced to Bahá'u'lláh, whom he had met previously on several occasions in the company of his master, in the hope that he would betray Him. They promised that the mother of the Shah would amply reward him for such a betrayal. Every time he was taken into Bahá'u'lláh's presence, Abbas, after standing a few moments before Him and gazing upon His face, would leave the place, emphatically denying ever having seen Him. Having failed in their efforts, they resorted to poison, in the hope of obtaining the favour of the mother of

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their sovereign. They were able to intercept the food that their Prisoner was permitted to receive from His home, and mixed with it the poison they hoped would be fatal to Him. This measure, though impairing the health of Bahá'u'lláh for years, failed to achieve its purpose.

The enemy was finally induced to cease regarding Him as the prime mover of that attempt, and decided to transfer the responsibility for this act to Azim, whom they now accused of being the real author of the crime. By this means they endeavoured to obtain the favour of the mother of the Shah, a favour they greatly coveted. Haji Ali Khan was only too happy to second their efforts. As he himself had taken no share in imprisoning Bahá'u'lláh, he seized upon the occasion which offered itself to denounce Azim, whom he had already succeeded in arresting, as the chief and responsible instigator.

The Russian minister, who, through one of his agents, was watching the developments of the situation and keeping in close touch with the condition of Bahá'u'lláh, addressed, through his interpreter, a strongly worded message to the Grand Vazir, in which he protested against his action, suggesting that a messenger should proceed, in the company of one of the government's trusted representatives and of Hajibu'd-Dawlih, to the Siyah-Chal and there ask the newly recognized leader to declare publicly his opinion regarding Bahá'u'lláh's position. "Whatever that leader may declare," he wrote, "whether in praise or denunciation, I think ought to be immediately recorded and should serve as a basis for the final judgment which should be pronounced in this affair."

The Grand Vazir promised the interpreter that he would follow the minister's advice, and even appointed a time for the messenger to join the government representative and Hajibu'd-Dawlih and proceed with them to the Siyah-Chal.

When Azim was questioned as to whether he regarded Bahá'u'lláh as the responsible leader of the group that had made the attempt on the Shah's life, he answered: "The Leader of this community was none other than the Siyyid-i-Bab, who was slain in Tabriz, and whose martyrdom induced me to arise and avenge His death. I alone conceived this plan

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and endeavoured to execute it. The youth who threw the Shah from his horse was none other than Sadiq-i-Tabrizi, a servitor in a confectioner's shop in Tihran who had been for two years in my service. He was fired with a desire even more burning than my own to avenge the martyrdom of his Leader. He acted too hastily, however, and failed to make certain the success of his attempt."

The words of his declaration were taken down by both the minister's interpreter and the Grand Vazir's representative, who submitted their records to Mirza Aqa Khan. The documents which were placed in his hands were chiefly responsible for Bahá'u'lláh's release from His imprisonment.

Azim was accordingly delivered into the hands of the ulamas, who, though themselves anxious to hasten his death, were prevented by the hesitancy of Mirza Abu'l Qasim, the Imam-Jum'ih of Tihran. Hajibu'd-Dawlih, because of the near approach of the month of Muharram, induced the ulamas to assemble on the upper floor of the barracks, where he succeeded in obtaining the presence of the Imam-Jum'ih, who still persisted in his refusal to consent to the death of Azim. He directed that the accused be brought to that place and there await the judgment that was to be pronounced against him. He was roughly conducted through the streets, overwhelmed with ridicule, and reviled by the populace. Through a subtle device which the enemy had contrived, they succeeded in obtaining a verdict for death. A siyyid armed with a club rushed at him and smashed his head. His example was followed by the people, who, with sticks, stones, and daggers, fell upon him and mutilated his body. Haji Mirza Jani also was among those who suffered martyrdom in the course of the agitation that followed the attempt on the life of the Shah. Owing to the disinclination of the Grand Vazir to harm him, he was secretly put to death.

The conflagration kindled in the capital spread to the adjoining provinces, bringing in its wake devastation and misery to countless innocent people among the subjects of the Shah. It ravaged Mazindaran, the home of Bahá'u'lláh, and was the signal for acts of violence which were directed mainly against all His possessions in that province. Two of The Báb's devoted disciples, Muhammad-Taqi Khan and

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Abdu'l-Vahhab, both residents of Nur, suffered martyrdom as the result of that turmoil.

The enemies of the Faith, finding to their disappointment that Bahá'u'lláh's deliverance from prison was almost assured, sought by intimidating their sovereign to involve Him ill fresh complications and thus encompass His death. The folly of Mirza Yahya, who, driven by his idle hopes, had sought to secure for himself and the band of his foolish supporters a supremacy which hitherto he had in vain laboured to obtain, served as a further pretext for the enemy to urge the Shah to take drastic measures for the destruction of whatever influence his Prisoner still retained in Mazindaran.

The alarming reports received by the Shah, who had scarcely recovered from his wounds, stirred in him a terrible thirst for revenge. He summoned the Grand Vazir and reprimanded him for having failed to maintain order and discipline among the people of his own province, who were bound to him by ties of kinship. Disconcerted by the rebuke of his sovereign, he expressed his readiness to fulfil whatever he would direct him to do. He was bidden despatch immediately to that province several regiments, with strict orders to repress with a ruthless hand the disturbers of the public peace.

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The Grand Vazir, though fully aware of the exaggerated character of the reports that had been submitted to him, found himself compelled, owing to the Shah's insistence, to order the despatch of the Shah-Sun regiment, headed by Husayn-'Ali Khan-i-Shah-Sun, to the village of Takur, in the district of Nur, where the home of Bahá'u'lláh was situated. He gave the supreme command into the hands of his nephew, Mirza Abu-Talib Khan, brother-in-law of Mirza Hasan, who was Bahá'u'lláh's half-brother. Mirza Aqa Khan urged him to exercise the utmost caution and restraint while encamping in that village. "Whatever excesses," he urged him, "are committed by your men will react unfavourably on the prestige of Mirza Hasan and be the cause of affliction to your own sister." He bade him investigate the nature of these reports and not to encamp more than three days in the vicinity of that village.

The Grand Vazir afterwards summoned Husayn-'Ali Khan and exhorted him to conduct himself with the utmost circumspection and wisdom. "Mirza Abu-Talib," he said, is still young and inexperienced. I have specially chosen him owing to his kinship to Mirza Hasan. I trust that he will, for the sake of his sister, refrain from causing unnecessary injury to the inhabitants of Takur. Being superior to him in age and experience, you must set him a noble example and impress on him the necessity of serving the interests of both government and people. You must never allow him to undertake any operations without having previously consulted with you." He assured Husayn-'Ali Khan that he had issued written instructions to the chieftains of that district, calling upon them to come to his assistance whenever required.

Mirza Abu-Talib Khan, flushed with pride and enthusiasm, forgot the counsels of moderation the Grand Vazir had given him. He refused to be influenced by the pressing appeals of Husayn-'Ali Khan, who entreated him not to provoke an unnecessary conflict with the people. No sooner had he reached the pass which divided the district of Nur from the adjoining province, which was not far distant from Takur, than he ordered his men to prepare for an attack upon the people of that village. Husayn-'Ali Khan ran to him in despair and begged him to refrain from such an act. "It is

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for me," Mirza Abu-Talib haughtily retorted, "who am your superior, to decide what measures should be taken and in what manner I should serve my sovereign."

A sudden attack was launched upon the defenceless people of Takur. Surprised by so unexpected and fierce an onslaught, they appealed to Mirza Hasan, who asked to be introduced into the presence of Mirza Abu-Talib but was refused admittance. "Tell him," was the commander's message, that

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I am charged by my sovereign to order a wholesale massacre of the people of this village, to capture its women and confiscate their property. For your sake, however, I am willing to spare such women as take refuge in your house."

Mirza Hasan, indignant at this refusal, severely censured him and, denouncing the action of the Shah, returned to his home. The men of that village had meanwhile left their dwellings and sought refuge in the neighbouring mountains. Their women, abandoned to their fate, betook themselves to the home of Mirza Hasan, whom they implored to protect them from the enemy.

The first act of Mirza Abu-Talib Khan was directed against the house Bahá'u'lláh had inherited from the Vazir, His father, and of which He was the sole possessor. That house had been royally furnished and was decorated with vessels of inestimable value. He ordered his men to break open all its treasuries and to take away their contents. Such things as he was unable to carry away, he ordered to be destroyed. Some were shattered, others were burned. Even the rooms, which were more stately than those of the palaces of Tihran, were disfigured beyond repair; the beams were burned down and the decorations utterly ruined.

He next turned to the houses of the people, which he levelled with the ground, appropriating to himself and his men whatever valuables they contained. The entire village, despoiled and deserted by its men inhabitants, was delivered to the flames. Not able to find any able-bodied men, he ordered that a search be conducted in the neighbouring mountains. Any who were found were to be either shot or captured. All they could lay their hands upon were a few aged men and shepherds who had been unable to proceed further afield in their flight from the enemy. They discovered two men lying in the distance on the slopes of a mountain beside a running brook. Their weapons gleaming under the rays of the sun had betrayed them. Finding them asleep, they shot them both from across the brook which intervened between the assailants and their victims. They recognized them as Abdu'l-Vahhab and Muhammad-Taqi Khan. The former was shot dead, while the latter was severely wounded. They were carried into the presence of Mirza Abu-Talib,

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who did his best to preserve the life of the victim whom he wished, owing to his far-famed courage, to take with him to Tihran as a trophy of his victory. His efforts failed, however, for Muhammad-Taqi Khan, two days after, died from his wounds. The few men they had been able to capture were led in chains to Tihran and thrown into the same underground dungeon where Bahá'u'lláh had been confined. Among them was Mulla Ali-Baba, who, together with a number of his fellow-prisoners, perished in that dungeon as a result of the hardships he had endured.

The year after, this same Mirza Abu-Talib was stricken with plague and taken in a state of wretched misery to Shimiran. Shunned by even his nearest kindred, he lay on his sick-bed until this same Mirza Hasan, whom he had so haughtily insulted, offered to tend his sores and bear him company in his days of humiliation and loneliness. He was on the brink of death when the Grand Vazir visited him and found none at his bedside but the one whom he had so rudely treated. That very day that wretched tyrant expired, bitterly disappointed at the failure of all the hopes he had fondly cherished.

The commotion that had seized Tihran, the effects of which had been severely felt in Nur and the surrounding district, spread as far as Yazd and Nayriz, where a considerable number of The Báb's disciples were seized and inhumanly martyred. The whole of Persia seemed, indeed, to have felt the shock of that great convulsion. Its tide swept as far as the remotest hamlets of the distant provinces, and brought in its wake untold sufferings to the remnants of a persecuted community. Governors, no less than their subordinates, inflamed with greed and revenge, seized the occasion to enrich themselves and obtain the favour of their sovereign. Without mercy, moderation, or shame, they employed any means, however base and lawless, to extort from the innocent the benefits they themselves coveted. Forsaking every principle of justice and decency, they arrested, imprisoned, and tortured whomsoever they suspected of being a Bábi, and would hasten to inform Nasiri'd-Din Shah in Tihran of the victories achieved over a detested opponent.

In Nayriz the full effects of that turmoil revealed themselves

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in the treatment accorded by its rulers and people to the followers of The Báb. About two months after the attempt on the life of the Shah, a young man named Mirza Ali, whose exceptional courage had earned for him the surname of Aliy-i-Sardar, distinguished himself by the extreme solicitude he extended to the survivors of the struggle which ended with the death of Vahid and his supporters. He was often seen in the darkness of the night to emerge from his shelter, carrying whatever aid was in his power to the widows and orphans who had suffered from the consequences of that tragedy. To those in need he distributed food and garments with noble generosity, tended their injuries, and comforted them in their sorrow. The sight of the continuous sufferings of these innocent ones stirred the fierce indignation of some of Mirza Ali's companions, who undertook to wreak their vengeance upon Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, who was still dwelling in Nayriz and whom they regarded as the author of their misfortunes. Believing that he had still in his heart a desire to subject them to even further afflictions, they determined to take his life. They surprised him in the public bath, where they succeeded in accomplishing their purpose. This led to an upheaval that recalled in its concluding stages the horror of the butcheries of Zanjan.

Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan's widow pressed Mirza Na'im, who held the reins of authority in his grasp and was then residing in Shiraz, to avenge the blood of her husband, promising that she would in return bestow all her jewels upon him and would transfer to his name whatever he might desire of her possessions. Through treachery, the authorities succeeded in capturing a considerable number of The Báb's followers, many of whom were savagely beaten. All were thrown into prison, pending the receipt of instructions from Tihran. The Grand Vazir submitted the list of names he had received, together with the report that accompanied it, to the Shah, who expressed his extreme satisfaction at the success that had attended the efforts of his representative in Shiraz, and whom he amply rewarded for his signal service. He asked that all those who were captured be brought to the capital.

I shall not attempt to record the various circumstances that led to the carnage which marked the termination of

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that episode. I would refer my reader to the graphic and detailed account which Mirza Shafi'-i-Nayrizi has written in a separate booklet, in which he refers with accuracy and force to every detail of that moving event. Suffice it to say that no less than one hundred and eighty of The Báb's valiant disciples suffered martyrdom. A like number were wounded and, though incapacitated by their injuries, were ordered to leave for Tihran. Only twenty-eight persons among them survived the hardships of the journey to the capital. Of these twenty-eight, fifteen were taken to the gallows on the very day of their arrival. The rest were thrown into prison and made to suffer for two years the most horrible atrocities. Though eventually released, many of them perished on their way to their homes, exhausted by the trials of a long and cruel captivity.

A large number of their fellow-disciples were slain in Shiraz by order of Tahmasb-Mirza. The heads of two hundred of these victims were placed on bayonets and carried triumphantly by their oppressors to Abadih, a village in Fars. They were intending to take them to Tihran, when a royal messenger commanded them to abandon their project, whereupon they decided to bury the heads in that village.

As to the women, who were six hundred in number, half of them were released in Nayriz, while the rest were carried,

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each two being forced to ride together on an unsaddled horse, to Shiraz, where, after being submitted to severe tortures, they were abandoned to their fate. Many perished on their way to that city; many yielded up their lives to the afflictions they were made to endure ere they recovered their freedom. My pen shrinks in horror in attempting to describe what befell those valiant men and women who were made to suffer so severely for their Faith. The wanton barbarity that characterised the treatment meted out to them reached the lowest depths of infamy in the concluding stages of that lamentable episode. What I have attempted to recount of the horrors of the siege of Zanjan, of the indignities heaped upon Hujjat and his supporters, pales before the glaring ferocity of the atrocities perpetrated a few years later in Nayriz and Shiraz. A pen abler than mine to describe in all their tragic details these unspeakable savageries will, I trust, be found to place on record a tale which, however grim its features, must ever remain as one of the noblest evidences of the faith which the Cause of The Báb was able to inspire in His followers.[1]

[1 "Strange as it may seem, they respected the women whom they gathered and led to Mount Biyaban. There were, among them, two old men too feeble to fight, Mulla Muhammad-Musa, a fuller, and Mashhadi Baqir, a dyer. These were murdered. Mashhadi Baqir was killed by Ali Big, captain of the Nayrizi soldiers, who severed the head from the body of his victim and gave it to a child; then, covering the head of the niece of his victim with a black veil, he led her to Mirza Na'im, who was then on Mount Biyaban seated upon a stone in a garden. When Ali Big approached him, he threw the head of Baqir at him and shoved the little girl abruptly forward. She fell on her face, as he cried out, 'We have done as you wished, The Bábis are no more!' "Akhund Mulla Abdu'l-Husayn ordered that the mouth of Mirza Na'im be stuffed with dirt, then a ghulam shot him in the head but the wound was not fatal. "Approximately six hundred and three women were arrested and taken to the mill called 'Takht' which is near Nayriz. One author tells the following anecdote: 'I was very young then and I was following my mother who had another son younger than I. A man, called Asadu'llah, was carrying my brother on his shoulders. The child wore a hat decorated with a few ornaments. A rider saw the hat and snatched it with such brutality that he took hold at the same time of the hair of The Báby. The child was thrown about ten feet away and my poor mother found him unconscious.' "I shall not expatiate upon the horrors which followed this victory. It is enough to know that Mirza Na'im rode on, preceded and followed by men carrying the heads of the martyrs on pikes. The prisoners were prodded along with whip and sword. The women were jostled into ditches full of water. The night was spent at the caravansary in Shiraz. In the morning, the women were taken out, all entirely naked; they were kicked, stoned, whipped and spat upon. When their tormentors grew tired, they were confined for twenty days, during which time they were constantly insulted and outraged. Eighty Bábis bound together in tens, were entrusted to one hundred soldiers, with Shiraz as their destination. Siyyid Mir Muhammad Abd died from exposure to cold at Khanih-gird, others expired a little further on. The guards, from time to time, would cut off the head of one of them. At last they entered Shiraz, through the gate of Sa'di. They paraded the prisoners through the streets, then they cast them into prison. The women were taken out of the school building after twenty days and separated into two groups. One group was set free, the others were sent to Shiraz with other prisoners who had lately been arrested. "On reaching Shiraz, the caravan was again divided into two groups; the women were sent to the caravansary Shah Mir Ali-Hamzih and the men to prison with the other Bábis. The next day was a feast day. The governor, surrounded by all the prominent citizens of Shiraz, ordered the prisoners to be brought before him. A Nayrizi called Jalal, whom Na'im had nicknamed 'Bulbul,' revealed the names of his fellow-citizens. The first one to appear was Mulla Abdu'l-Husayn, who was commanded to curse The Báb. He refused and his head rolled on the ground. Haji son of Asghar, Ali Garm-Siri, Husayn son of Hadi Khayri, Sadiq son of Salih, and Muhammad-ibn-i-Muhsin all were executed. The women were set free and the men who survived were taken back to prison. The Shah having demanded that the prisoners be sent away, seventy-three were sent to Tihran. Twenty-two died during the journey, among whom were Mulla Abdu'l-Husayn who died at Saydan, Ali son of Karbila'i Zaman at Abadih; Akbar son of Karbila'i Muhammad at Qinarih; Hasan son of Abdu'l-Vahhab, Mulla Ali-Akbar, at Isfahan. Karbila'i Baqir son of Muhammad-Zamam, Hasan and his brother Dhu'l-Faqar, Karbila'i Naqi and Ali his son, Vali Khan, Mulla Karim, Akbar Ra'is, Ghulam-'Ali son of Pir Muhammad, Naqi and Muhammad-'Ali, sons of Muhammad, expired likewise during the course of the journey. "The others reached Tihran and, on the very day of their arrival, fifteen of them were put to death, among them Aqa Siyyid Ali who had been abandoned as dead, Karbila'i Rajab the barber, Sayfu'd-Din, Sulayman son of K. Salman, Ja'far, Murad Khayri, Husayn son of K. Baqir, Mirza Abu'l-Hasan son of Mirza Taqi, Mulla Muhammad-'Ali son of Aqa Mihdi. Twenty-three died in prison, thirteen were freed after three years, the only one who remained in Tihran, to die there a little later, was Karbila'i Zaynu'l-'Abidin." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," pp. 421-424.) "Their persecutors, having captured and killed the men, seized and slew forty women and children in the following manner: They placed them in the midst of a cave, heaped up in the cave a vast quantity of firewood, poured naphtha over the faggots strewn around, set fire to it. One of those who took part in this deed related as follows: 'After two or three days I ascended that mountain and removed the door from the cave. I saw that the fire had sunk down into the ashes; but all those women with their children were seated, each in some corner, clasping their little ones to their bosoms, and sitting round in a circle, just as they were when we left them. Some as though in despair or in mourning, had suffered their heads to sink down on their knees in grief, and all retained the postures they had assumed. I was filled with amazement, thinking that the fire had not burned them. Full of apprehension and awe, I entered. Then I saw that all were burned and charred to a cinder, yet had they never made a movement which would cause the crumbling away of the bodies. As soon as I touched them with my hand, however, they crumbled away to ashes. And all of us, when we had seen this, repented what we had done. But of what avail was this?'" (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," pp. 128-31.) "The author of the "Tarikh-i-Jadid," in concluding this narrative, takes occasion to point out how literally was fulfilled in these events the prophecy contained in the tradition referring to the signs which shall mark the appearance of the Imam Mihdi: 'In Him (shall be) the perfection of Moses, the preciousness of Jesus, and the patience of Job; His saints shall be abased in His time, and their heads shall be exchanged as presents, even as the heads of the Turk and the Daylamite are exchanged as presents; they shall be slain and burned, and shall be afraid, fearful, and dismayed; the earth shall be dyed with their blood, and lamentation and wailing shall prevail amongst their women; these are my saints indeed.' [This tradition, called Hadith-i-Jabir, is also quoted from the "Kafi," one of the principal compilations of shi'ite traditions, in the "Iqan."] When I was at Yazd in the early summer of 1888, I became acquainted with a Bábi holding a position of some importance under government, two of whose ancestors had taken a prominent part in the suppression of the Nayriz insurrection. Of what he told me concerning this the following is a summary taken from my diary for May 18th, 1888: 'My maternal grandfather Mihr-'Ali Khan Shuja'u'l-Mulk and my great-uncle Mirza Na'im both took an active part in the Nayriz war--but on the wrong side. When orders came to Shiraz to quell the insurrection, my grandfather was instructed to take command of the expedition sent for that purpose. He did not like the task committed to him and communicated his reluctance to two of the ulamas, who, however, reassured him, declaring that the war on which he was about to engage was a holy enterprise sanctioned by Religion, and that he would receive reward therefor in Paradise. So he went, and what happened happened. After they had killed 750 men, they took the women and children, stripped them almost naked, mounted them on donkeys, mules, and camels, and led them through rows of heads hewn from the lifeless bodies of their fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands towards Shiraz. On their arrival there, they were placed in a ruined caravanserai just outside the Isfahan gate and opposite to an Imam-zadih, their captors taking up their quarters under some trees hard by. Here they remained a long while, subjected to many insults, and hardships, and many of them died. Now see the judgment of God on the oppressors; for of those chiefly responsible for these cruelties not one but came to a bad end and died overwhelmed with calamity. My grandfather Mihr-'Ali Khan presently fell ill and was dumb till the day of his death. Just as he was about to expire, those who stood round him saw from the movement of his lips that he was whispering something. They leant down to catch his last words and heard him murmur faintly "Babi! Bábi! Bábi!" three times. Then he fell back dead. My great-uncle Mirza Na'im fell into disgrace with the government and was twice fined ten thousand tumans the first time, fifteen thousand the second. But his punishment did not cease here, for he was made to suffer diverse tortures. His hands were put in the "il-chik" (the torture consists in placing pieces of wood between the victims fingers, binding them round tightly with cord. Cold water is then thrown over the cord to cause its further contraction) and his feet in the "tang-i-Qajar" (or "Qajar squeeze," an instrument of torture resembling the "boot" once used in England, for the introduction of which Persia is indebted to the dynasty which at present occupies the throne); he was made to stand bareheaded in the sun with treacle smeared over his head to attract the flies; and, after suffering these and other torments yet more painful and humiliating, he was dismissed a disgraced and ruined man.'" ("A Traveller's Narrative," Note H, pp. 191-3.)]

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The confession of Azim freed Bahá'u'lláh from the danger to which His life had been exposed. The circumstances of the death of him who had declared himself the chief instigator of that crime served to abate the wrath with which an enraged populace clamoured for the immediate punishment of so daring an attempt. The cries of rage and vengeance, the appeals for immediate retribution, which had hitherto been focussed on Bahá'u'lláh were now diverted from Him. The ferocity of those claimant denunciations was, by degrees, much allayed. The conviction grew firmer in the minds of the responsible authorities in Tihran that Bahá'u'lláh hitherto regarded as the arch-foe of Nasiri'd-Din

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Shah, was by no means involved in any conspiracy against the sovereign's life. Mirza Aqa Khan was therefore encouraged to send his trusted representative, a man named Haji Ali, to the Siyah-Chal, and to present the order for His release to the Prisoner.

Upon his arrival, the sight which the emissary beheld filled him with grief and surprise. The spectacle which met his eyes was one he could scarcely believe. He wept as he saw Bahá'u'lláh chained to a floor that was infested with vermin, His neck weighed down by galling chains, His face laden with sorrow, ungroomed and dishevelled, breathing the pestilential atmosphere of the most terrible of dungeons.

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"Accursed be Mirza Aqa Khan!" he burst forth, as his eyes recognized Bahá'u'lláh in the gloom that surrounded Him. "God knows I had never imagined that you could have been subjected to so humiliating a captivity. I should never have thought that the Grand Vazir could have dared commit so heinous an act."

He removed the mantle from his shoulders and presented it to Bahá'u'lláh, entreating Him to wear it when in the presence of the minister and his counsellors. Bahá'u'lláh refused his request, and, wearing the dress of a prisoner, proceeded straightway to the seat of the imperial government. The first word the Grand Vazir was moved to address to his Captive was the following: "Had you chosen to take my advice, and had you dissociated yourself from the faith of the Siyyid-i-Bab, you would never have suffered the pains and indignities that have been heaped upon you." "Had you, in your turn," Bahá'u'lláh replied, "followed my counsels, the affairs of the government would not have reached so critical a stage."

He was immediately reminded of the conversation he had

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had with Him on the occasion of The Báb's martyrdom. The words, "the flame that has been kindled will blaze forth more fiercely than ever," flashed through the mind of Mirza Aqa Khan. "The warning you uttered," he remarked, "has, alas been fulfilled. What is it that you advise me now to do?" "Command the governors of the realm," was the instant reply, "to cease shedding the blood of the innocent, to cease plundering their property, to cease dishonouring their women and injuring their children. Let them cease the persecution of the Faith of The Báb; let them abandon the idle hope of wiping out its followers."

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That same day orders were given, through a circular addressed to all the governors of the realm, bidding them desist from their acts of cruelty and shame. "What you have done is enough," Mirza Aqa Khan wrote them. "Cease arresting and punishing the people. Disturb no longer the peace and tranquillity of your countrymen." The Shah's government had been deliberating as to the most effective measures that should be taken to rid the country, once and for all, of the curse with which it had been afflicted. No sooner had Bahá'u'lláh recovered His freedom than the decision of the government was handed to Him, informing Him that within a month of the issuing of this order, He, with His family, was expected to leave Tihran for a place beyond the confines of Persia.

The Russian minister, as soon as he learned of the action which the government contemplated taking, volunteered to take Bahá'u'lláh under his protection, and invited Him to go to Russia. He refused the offer and chose instead to leave for Iraq. Nine months after His return from Karbila, on the first day of the month of Rabi'u'th-Thani, in the year 1269 A.H.,[1] Bahá'u'lláh, accompanied by the members of His family, among whom were the Most Great Branch[2] and Aqay-i-Kalim,[3] and escorted by a member of the imperial body-guard and an official representing the Russian legation, set out from Tihran on His journey to Baghdad.

[1 January 12,1853 A.D.]
[2 `Abdu'l-Bahá.]

[3 Mirza Musa, commonly called Aqay-i-Kalim, the ablest and most distinguished among Bahá'u'lláh's brothers and sisters, and His staunch and valued supporter.]

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NEVER had the fortunes of the Faith proclaimed by The Báb sunk to a lower ebb than when Bahá'u'lláh was banished from His native land to Iraq. The Cause for which The Báb had given His life, for which Bahá'u'lláh had toiled and suffered, seemed to be on the very verge of extinction. Its force appeared to have been spent, its resistance irretrievably broken. Discouragements and disasters, each more devastating in its effect than the preceding one, had succeeded one another with bewildering rapidity, sapping its vitality and dimming the hope of its stoutest supporters. Indeed, to a superficial reader of the pages of Nabil's narrative, the whole story from its very beginning appears to be a mere recital of reverses and massacres, of humiliations and disappointments, each more severe than the previous one, culminating at last in the banishment of Bahá'u'lláh from His own country. To the sceptical reader, unwilling to recognize the celestial potency with which that Faith was endowed, the entire conception that had evolved in the mind of its Author seems to have been foredoomed to failure. The work of The Báb, so gloriously conceived, so heroically undertaken, would appear to have ended in a colossal disaster. To such a reader, the life of the ill-fated Youth of Shiraz would seem, judging from the cruel blows it sustained, to be one of the saddest and most fruitless that had ever been the lot of mortal men. That short and heroic career, which, swift as a meteor, flashed across the firmament of Persia, and seemed for a time to have brought the longed-for light of eternal salvation into the gloom that encircled the country, was plunged at last into an abyss of darkness and despair.

Every step He took, every endeavour He made, had but served to intensify the sorrows and disappointments that weighed upon His soul. The plan He had, at the very outset of His career, conceived of inaugurating His Mission with a public proclamation in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina

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failed to materialise as He had hoped. The Sherif of Mecca, to whom Quddus was bidden deliver His Message, accorded him a reception that betrayed by its icy indifference the contemptuous disregard in which the Cause of a Youth of Shiraz was held by the ruler of Hijaz and custodian of its Ka'bih. The project He had in mind of returning triumphantly from His pilgrimage to the cities of Karbila and Najaf, where He hoped to establish His Cause, in the very heart of that stronghold of shi'ah orthodoxy, was likewise hopelessly shattered. The programme which He had thought out, the essentials of which He had already communicated to the chosen nineteen of His disciples, remained for the most part unfulfilled. The moderation He had exhorted them to observe was forgotten in the first flush of enthusiasm that seized the early missionaries of His Faith, which behaviour was in no small measure responsible for the failure of the hopes He had so fondly cherished. The Mu'tamid, that wise and sagacious ruler, who had so ably warded off the danger with which that precious Life was threatened, and who had proved his capacity to render Him services of such distinction as few of His more modest companions could have hoped to offer, was suddenly taken from Him, leaving Him at the mercy of the perfidious Gurgin Khan, the most detestable and unscrupulous of all His enemies. The Báb's only chance of meeting Muhammad Shah--a meeting which He Himself had requested and on which He had pinned His fondest hopes --was dashed to the ground by the intervention of the cowardly and capricious Haji Mirza Aqasi, who trembled at the thought lest His contact with the sovereign, already unduly inclined to befriend that Cause, should prove fatal to his own interests. The attempts, inspired and initiated by The Báb, which two of His foremost disciples, Mulla Aliy-i-Bastami and Shaykh Sa'id-i-Hindi, had made to introduce the Faith, the one in Turkish territory and the other in India, ended in dismal failure. The first enterprise collapsed at its very outset by reason of the cruel martyrdom of its promoter, whilst the latter was productive of what might seem a negligible result, its only fruit being the conversion of a certain siyyid whose chequered career of service was brought to a sudden end in Luristan by the action of the treacherous Ildirim

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Mirza. The captivity to which The Báb Himself, during the greater part of the years of His ministry, was condemned; His isolation in the mountain fastnesses of Adhirbayjan from the body of His followers, who were being sorely tried by a rapacious enemy; above all, the tragedy of His own martyrdom, so intense, so terribly humiliating, would appear to have marked the lowest depths of ignominy which so noble a Cause, from the very hour of its birth, was doomed to suffer. His death, the culmination of a swift and stormy career, would seem to have set the seal of failure upon a task which, however heroic in the efforts it inspired, was impossible of achievement.

Much as He Himself had suffered, the agony He was made to endure was but a drop compared to the calamities which were to rain down upon the multitude of His avowed followers. The cup of sorrow that had touched His lips had yet to be drained to its very dregs by those who still remained after Him. The catastrophe of Shaykh Tabarsi, which robbed Him of His ablest lieutenants, Quddus and Mulla Husayn, and which engulfed no less than three hundred and thirteen of His staunch companions, came as the cruelest blow that had yet fallen upon Him, and enveloped with a shroud of darkness the closing days of His fast-ebbing life. The struggle of Nayriz, with its attendant horrors and cruelties, involving as it did the loss of Vahid, the most learned, the most influential, and the most accomplished among the followers of The Báb, was an added blow to the resources and numbers of those who continued to hold aloft the torch in their hands. The siege of Zanjan, following closely in the wake of the disaster that had befallen the Faith in Nayriz, and marked by the butcheries with which the name of that province will ever remain associated, depleted still further the ranks of the upholders of the Faith, and deprived them of the sustaining strength with which the presence of Hujjat inspired them. With him was gone the last outstanding figure among the representative leaders of the Faith who towered, by virtue of their ecclesiastical authority, their learning, their fearlessness and force of character, above the rank and file of their fellow-disciples. The flower of the

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Báb's followers had been mown down in a ruthless carnage, leaving behind it a vast company of enslaved women and children, who groaned beneath the yoke of an unrelenting foe. Their leaders, who, alike by their knowledge and example, had fed and sustained the flame that glowed in those valiant hearts, had also perished, their work seemingly abandoned amidst the confusion that afflicted a persecuted community.

Of all those who had shown themselves capable of carrying on the work which The Báb had handed down to His followers, Bahá'u'lláh alone remained.[1] All the rest had fallen by the sword of the enemy. Mirza Yahya, the nominal leader of the band that survived The Báb, had ingloriously sought refuge in the mountains of Mazindaran from the perils of the turmoil that had seized the capital. In the guise of a dervish, kashkul[2] in hand, he had deserted his companions and fled the scene of danger to the forests of Gilan. Siyyid Husayn, The Báb's amanuensis, and Mirza Ahmad, his collaborator, who were both well-versed in the teachings and implications of the newly revealed Bayan and, by virtue of their intimacy with their Master and their familiarity with the precepts of His Faith, were in a position to enlighten the understanding, and consolidate the foundations of the faith, of their companions, lay in chains in the Siyah-Chal of Tihran, cut off entirely from the body of the believers who so greatly needed their counsel, both doomed to suffer, at an early date, a cruel martyrdom. Even His own maternal uncle, who, ever since His childhood, had surrounded Him with a paternal solicitude that no father could have surpassed, who had rendered Him signal services in the early days of His sufferings in Shiraz, and who, had he been allowed to survive Him by only a few years, could have rendered

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inestimable services to His Cause, languished in prison, forlorn and hopeless of ever continuing the work that was so close to his heart. Tahirih, that flaming emblem of His Cause who, alike by her indomitable courage, her impetuous character, her dauntless faith, her fiery ardour and vast knowledge, seemed for a time able to win the whole womanhood of Persia to the Cause of her Beloved, fell, alas, at the very hour when victory seemed near at hand, a victim to the wrath of a calumnious enemy. The influence of her work, the course of which was so prematurely arrested, seemed to those who stood near as they lowered her into the pit that served as her grave, to have been completely extinguished. The Báb's remaining Letters of the Living either had perished by the sword or were fettered in prison, or again were leading an obscure life in some remote corner of the realm. The body of The Báb's voluminous writings suffered, for the most part, a fate no less humiliating than that which had befallen His disciples. Many of His copious works were utterly obliterated, others were torn and reduced to ashes, a few were corrupted, much was seized by the enemy, and the rest lay a mass of disorganised and undeciphered manuscripts, precariously hidden and widely scattered among the survivors of His companions.

[1 Mirza Abu'l-Fadl quotes in his "Fara'id" (pp. 50-51), the following remarkable tradition from Muhammad, which is recognized as an authentic utterance of the Prophet and to which Siyyid Abdu'l-Vahhab-i-Sha'rani refers in his work entitled "Kitábu'l-Yavaqit-iva'l-Javahir": "All of them [the companions of the Qa'im] shall be slain except One who shall reach the plain of Akka, the Banquet-Hall of God." The full text is also mentioned, according to Mirza Abu'l-Fadl, by Shaykh Ibnu'l-'Arabi in his "Futuhat-i-Makkiyyih."]

[2 "'A hollow receptacle of about the size and shape of a cocoa-nut, round the orifice of which two chains are attached at four points to serve as a handle. It is used by dervishes as an alms-basket." ("A Traveller's Narrative," p. 51, note 3.)]

The Faith The Báb had proclaimed, and for which He had given His all, had indeed reached its lowest ebb. The fires kindled against it had almost consumed the fabric upon which its continued existence depended. The wings of death seemed to be hovering above it. Extermination, complete and irremediable, appeared to be threatening its very life. Amidst the shadows that were fast gathering about it, the figure of Bahá'u'lláh alone shone as the potential Deliverer of a Cause that was fast speeding to its end. The marks of clear vision, of courage and sagacity which He had shown on more than one occasion ever since He had risen to champion the Cause of The Báb, appeared to qualify Him, should His life and continued existence in Persia be ensured, to revive the fortunes of an expiring Faith. But this was not to be. A catastrophe, unexampled in the whole history of that Faith, precipitated a persecution fiercer than any that had

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hitherto taken place, and this time drew into its vortex the person of Bahá'u'lláh Himself. The slender hopes which the remnants of the believers still entertained were wrecked amidst the confusion that ensued. For Bahá'u'lláh, their only hope and the sole object of their confidence, was so struck down by the severity of that storm that no recovery could any longer be thought possible. After He had been despoiled of all His possessions in Nur and Tihran, denounced as the prime mover of a dastardly attempt upon the life of His sovereign, abandoned by His kindred and despised by His former friends and admirers, plunged into a dark and pestilential dungeon, and at last, with the members of His family, driven into hopeless exile beyond the confines of His native land, all the hopes that had centred round Him as the possible Redeemer of an afflicted Faith seemed for a moment to have completely vanished.

No wonder Nasiri'd-Din Shah, under whose eyes and by whose impulse such blows were being dealt, was already priding himself on being the wrecker of a Cause against which he had so consistently battled, and which he had at last, to outward seeming, been able to crush. No wonder he imagined, as he sat musing over the successive stages of this vast and bloody enterprise, that by the act of banishment which his hands had signed, he was sounding the death-knell of that hateful heresy which had struck such terror to the hearts of his people. To Nasiri'd-Din Shah it appeared, at that supreme moment, that the spell of that terror was broken, that the tide that had swept over his country was at last turning and bringing back to his fellow-countrymen the peace for which they cried. Now that The Báb was no more; now that the mighty pillars that sustained His Cause had been crushed into dust; now that the mass of its devotees, throughout the length and breadth of his dominion, were cowed and exhausted; now that Bahá'u'lláh Himself, the one remaining hope of a leaderless community, had been driven into exile and had, of His own accord, sought refuge in the neighbourhood of the stronghold of shi'ah fanaticism, the spectre that had haunted him ever since he had ascended the throne had vanished for ever. Never again, he imagined,

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would he hear of that detestable Movement which, if he were to believe his best counsellors, was swiftly receding into the shadows of impotence and oblivion.[1]

[1 "Excellency, After the carrying out of those energetic measures on the part of the Persian Government for the extirpation and extermination of the misguided and detestable sect of The Bábis, with the details of which Your Excellency is fully acquainted [allusion is made to the great persecution of The Bábis in Tihran in the summer of 1852], praise be to God, by the attention of the Imperial mind of is most potent Majesty, whose rank is as that of Jamshid, the refuge of the True Religion--may our lives be his sacrifice!--, their roots were torn up." (Extract from letter addressed by Mirza Sa'id Khan, ex-foreign minister of Persia; to the Persian ambassador in Constantinople; dated 12th of 12th Dhu'l-Hijjih, 1278 [May 10, 1862]. Facsimile and translation of the document reproduced in E. G. Browne's "Materials for the Study of The Bábi Religion," p. 283.) ]

To even the followers of the Faith who were left to survive the abominations heaped upon their Cause--to even that small caravan, with perhaps a few exceptions, wending its way in the depth of winter through the snows of the mountains bordering on Iraq,[1] the Cause of The Báb, one can well imagine, might for a moment have seemed to have failed in accomplishing its purpose. The forces of darkness that had encompassed it on every side would seem to have at last triumphed over, and put out, the light which that young Prince of Glory had kindled in His land.

[1 "It was a terrible journey in rough mountain country and the travellers suffered greatly from exposure." (Dr. T. K. Cheyne's "The Reconciliation of Races and Religions," p. 121.)]

In the eyes of Nasiri'd-Din Shah, at all events, the power that had seemed for a time to have swept within its orbit the entire forces of his realm had ceased to count. Ill-starred from its very birth, it had eventually been forced to surrender to the violence of the blows which his sword had dealt. The Faith had suffered a disruption certainly well deserved. Delivered from its curse, which for many nights had robbed him of his sleep, he could now, with undivided attention, set about the task of rescuing his land from the devastating effects of that vast delusion. Henceforth his real mission, as he conceived it, was to enable both Church and State to consolidate their foundations and to reinforce their ranks against the intrusion of similar heresies, which might, in a future day, poison the life of his countrymen.

How vain were his imaginings, how vast his own delusion! The Cause he had fondly imagined to have been crushed was still living, destined to emerge from the midst of that great convulsion stronger, purer, and nobler than ever. The Cause

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which, to the mind of that foolish monarch, seemed to be speeding towards destruction was but passing through the fiery tests of a phase of transition that was to carry it a step further on the path of its high destiny. A new chapter in its history was being unfolded, more glorious than any that had marked its birth or its rise. The repression which that monarch had believed to have succeeded in sealing its doom was but the initial stage in an evolution destined to blossom, in the fulness of time, into a Revelation mightier than any that The Báb Himself had proclaimed. The seed His hand had sown, though subjected, for a time, to the fury of a storm of unexampled violence and though later transplanted to a foreign soil, was to continue to develop and grow, in due time, into a Tree destined to spread its shelter over all the kindreds and peoples of the earth. Though The Báb's disciples might be tortured and slain, and His companions humiliated and crushed; though His followers might dwindle in number; though the voice of the Faith itself might be silenced by the arm of violence; though despair might settle upon its fortunes; though its ablest defenders might apostatise from their faith, yet the promise embedded within the shell of His word no hand could succeed in ravishing, and no power stand in the way of its germination and growth.

Indeed, the first glimmerings of the dawning Revelation, of which The Báb had declared Himself to be the Herald, and to the approach and certainty of which He had so repeatedly alluded,[1] could already be discerned amidst the gloom that encircled Bahá'u'lláh in the Siyah-Chal of Tihran.[2] The

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force that, growing out of the momentous Revelation released by The Báb, was at a later time to unfold itself in all its glory and encompass the globe, was already pulsating in the veins of Bahá'u'lláh as He lay exposed in His cell to the sword of His executioner. The still voice which, in the hour of bitter agony, announced to the Prisoner the Revelation of which He was chosen to be the Mouthpiece, could not, of a certainty, have reached the ears of the monarch who was already preparing the celebration of the extinction of the Faith his Captive had championed. That imprisonment which he who had caused it, believed to have branded with infamy the fair name of Bahá'u'lláh, and which he regarded as a prelude to a still more humiliating banishment to Iraq, was, indeed, the very scene that witnessed the first stirrings of that Movement of which Bahá'u'lláh was to be the Author, a Movement which was first to be made known in the city of Baghdad and at a later time to be proclaimed from the prison-city of Akka to the Shah, no less than to the other rulers and crowned heads of the world.

[1 "But just as remarkable as his boldness in claiming Divine authority is his restraint in insisting that his authority was not final. He felt competent and commissioned to reveal much, but he felt with equal certainty that there was infinitely more yet to be revealed. Herein was his greatness. And herein was his greatest sacrifice. He thereby risked the diminution of his personal fame. But he insured the continuance of his mission.... He insured that the movement he had started would grow and expand. He himself was but 'a letter out of that most mighty book, a dewdrop from that limitless ocean.'... This was the humility of true insight. And it had its effect. His movement has grown and expanded, and it has yet a great future before it." (Sir Francis Younghusband's "The Gleam," pp. 210-11.)]

[2 "During the days when I was imprisoned in the Land of Ta [Tihran], although the galling weight of chains and the loathsome atmosphere of the prison allowed me little sleep, yet occasionally, in my moments of slumber, I felt as if something were pouring forth over breast, even as a mighty torrent, which, descending from the Summit of a lofty mountain precipitates itself over the earth. All my limbs seemed to have been set aflame. At such moments my tongue recited what mortal ears could not hear." ("The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf," p. 17.)]

Little did Nasiri'd-Din Shah imagine that by the very act of pronouncing the sentence of banishment against Bahá'u'lláh he was helping in the unfolding of God's irrepressible Purpose and that he himself was but an instrument in the execution of that Design. Little did he imagine that as his reign was drawing to a close it would witness a revival of the very forces he had sought so strenuously to exterminate-- a revival that would manifest a vitality such as he, in the hour of darkest despair, had never believed that Faith to possess. Not only within the confines of his own realm,[1]

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not only throughout the adjacent territories of Iraq and Russia, but as far as India in the East,[2] as far as Egypt and European Turkey in the West, a recrudescence of the Faith such as he had never expected, awakened him from the dreams in which he had so fondly indulged. The Cause of The Báb seemed as if risen from the dead. It appeared under a form infinitely more formidable than any under which it had appeared in the past. The fresh impetus which, despite his calculations, the personality of Bahá'u'lláh, and, above all, the inherent strength of the Revelation which He personified, had lent to the Cause of The Báb, was one Nasiri'd Din Shah had never imagined. The rapidity with which a

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slumbering Faith had been revived and consolidated within his own territory; its spreading out to States beyond its confines; the stupendous claims advanced by Bahá'u'lláh almost in the midst of the stronghold where He had chosen to dwell; the public declaration of that claim in European Turkey, and its proclamation in challenging Epistles to the crowned heads of the earth, one of which the Shah himself was destined to receive; the enthusiasm that announcement evoked in the

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hearts of countless followers; the transference to the Holy Land of the centre of His Cause; the gradual relaxation of the severity of His confinement which marked the closing days of His life; the lifting of the ban that had been imposed by the Sultan of Turkey on His intercourse with visitors and pilgrims who flocked from various parts of the East to His prison; the awakening of the spirit of enquiry among the thinkers of the West; the utter disruption of the forces that had attempted to effect a schism in the ranks of His followers, and the fate that had befallen its chief instigator; above all,

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the sublimity of those teachings with which His published works abounded and which were being read, disseminated, and taught by an ever-increasing number of adherents in Russian Turkistan, in Iraq, in India, in Syria, and as far off as European Turkey--these were among the chief factors that convincingly revealed to the eyes of the Shah the invincible character of a Faith he believed himself to have bridled and destroyed. The futility of his efforts, however much he might attempt to conceal his feelings, was only too apparent. The Cause of The Báb, the birth and tribulations of which he had himself witnessed, and the triumphant progress of which he was now beholding, had risen phoenix-like from its ashes and was pressing forward along the road leading to undreamt-of achievements.+F1

[1 Gobineau, writing in about the year 1865, testifies as follows: "Public opinion holds that The Bábis are to be found in every social class and among the members of every religion, with the exception of the Nusayris and the Christians, but it is especially the educated classes, the men of learning who are suspected of sympathy with Bábism. It is believed, and with good reason, that many mullas and, among them, outstanding mujtahids, magistrates of high rank, and high court officials very close to the king, are Bábis. According to a recent estimate, there would be in Tihran, a city of about eighty thousand souls, five thousand Bábis. But this estimate is not very reliable and I am inclined to think that, if The Bábis were to triumph in Persia, their number in the capital would be much larger, for, at that moment, one would have to add to the number of the zealous ones, whatever that number may now be, a large proportion of those who are recently in favor of the officially condemned doctrine and to whom victory would impart the courage to declare their faith openly." (Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 251.) "Half a century has not yet elapsed since Mirza Ali-Muhammad, the young Seer of Shiraz, first began to preach the religion which now counts its martyrs by hundreds and its adherents by hundreds of thousands; which seemed at one time to menace the supremacy alike of the Qajar dynasty and of the Muhammadan faith in Persia, and may still not improbably prove an important factor in the history of Western Asia." (E. G. Browne's introduction to the "Tarikh-i-Jadid," p. 7.) "Babism," writes Professor James Darmesteter, "which diffused itself in less than five years from one end of Persia to another, which was bathed in 1852 in the blood of its martyrs, has been silently progressing and propagating itself. If Persia is to be at all regenerate it will be through this new faith." (Extract from "Persia: A Historical and Literary Sketch," translated by G. K. Nariman.) "If Bábism continues to grow at its present rate of progression, a time may conceivably come when it will oust Muhammadanism from the field in Persia. This, I think, it would be unlikely to do, did it appear upon the ground under the flag of a hostile faith. But since its recruits are won from the best soldiers of the garrison whom it is attacking, there is greater reason to believe that it may ultimately prevail. To those who know anything of the Persian character, so extraordinarily susceptible of religious influences as it is, it will be obvious to how many classes in that country the new creed makes successful appeal. The Sufis, or mystics, have long held that there must always be a Pir, or Prophet, visible in the flesh, and are very easily absorbed into The Bábi fold. Even the orthodox Musulman, whose mind's eye has ever been turned in eager anticipation upon the vanished Imam, is amenable to the cogent reasoning, by which it is sought to prove that either The Báb, or Baha, is the Mihdi, according to all the predictions of the Quran and the traditions. The pure and suffering life of The Báb, his ignominious death, the heroism and martyrdom of his followers, will appeal to many others who can find no similar phenomena in the contemporaneous records of Islam." (Lord Curzon's "Persia and the Persian Question," vol. 1, p. 503.) The author, in the same chapter, commenting on the prospects of Christian missionary enterprise in Persia, writes as follows: "Persia has even been described as the most hopeful among the fields of missionary labour in the East. While conscious of the valuable work that has been and is being done by the representatives of English, French, and American Mission societies in that country, by the spread of education, by the display of charity, by the free gift of medical assistance, by the force of example, and while in no way suggesting that these pious labours should be slackened, I am unable, from such knowledge as I possess, to participate in so sanguine a forecast of the future." (p. 504.) "...In Persia, however, not the least of the obstacles with which Christian communities are confronted arise from their own sectarian differences, and the Musulmans are perfectly entitled to scoff at those who invite them to enter a flock the different members of which love each other so bitterly. Protestants squabble with Roman Catholics, Presbyterians with Episcopalians, the Protestant Nestorians look with no very friendly eye upon the Nestorians proper, and these, again, are not on the most harmonious terms with the Chaldaeans, or Catholic Nestorians. The Armenians gaze askance upon the United (or Catholic) Armenians, and both unite in retarding the work of the Protestant missions. Finally, the hostility of the Jews may, as a rule, be reckoned upon. In the various countries of the East in which I have traveled, from Syria to Japan, I have been struck by the strange and, to my mind, sorrowful phenomenon, of missionary bands waging the noblest of warfares under the banner of the King of Peace with fratricidal weapons in their hands." (Pp. 507-8.) "...If, then, the criterion of missionary enterprise in Persia be the number of converts it has made from Islam, I do not hesitate to say that the prodigious expenditure of money of honest effort, and of sacrificing toil that has been showered upon that country has met with a wholly inadequate return. Young Muhammadans have sometimes been baptised by Christian missionaries. But this must not too readily be confounded with conversion, since the bulk of the newcomers relapse into the faith of their fathers and I question if, since the day when Henry Martyn set foot in Shiraz up till the present moment, half a dozen Persian Muhammadans have genuinely embraced the Christian creed. I have myself often enquired for, but have never seen, a converted Musulman (I exclude, of course, those derelicts or orphans of Musulman parents who are brought up from childhood in Christian schools). Nor am I surprised at even the most complete demonstration of failure. Putting aside the dogmatic assumptions of Christianity (e.g. the doctrine of the Trinity and the Divinity of Christ), which are so repugnant to the Muhammadan conception of the unity of God, we cannot regard the reluctance of a Musulman to desert his faith with much astonishment when we remember that the penalty for such an act is death. The chances of conversion are remote indeed so long as the body as well as the soul of the convert is thrown into the scales But personal apprehensions, though an important are not the deciding factor in the situation. It is against the impregnable rock-wall of Islam as a system embracing every sphere, and duty, and act of life, that the waves of missionary effort beat and buffet in vain. Marvellously adapted alike to the climate, character and occupations of those countries upon which it has laid its adamantine grip, Islam holds its votary in complete thrall from the cradle to the grave. To him, it is not only religion, it is government, philosophy, and science as well. The Muhammadan conception is not so much that of a state church as, if the phrase may be permitted, of a church state. The undergirders with which society itself is warped round are not of civil, but of ecclesiastical, fabrication, and, wrapped in this superb, if paralysing creed, the Musulman lives in contented surrender of all volition, deems it his highest duty to worship God and to compel, or, where impossible, to despise those who do not worship Him in the spirit, and then dies in sure and certain hope of Paradise. So long as this all-compelling, all-absorbing code of life holds an Eastern people in its embrace, determining every duty and regulating every act of existence, and finally meting out an assured salvation missionary treasure and missionary self-denial will largely be spent in vain. Indeed, an active propaganda is, in my judgment, the worst of policies that a Christian mission in a bigoted Musulman country can adopt and the very tolerance with which I have credited the Persian government is in large measure due to the prudent abstention of the Christian missionaries from avowed proselytism." (Pp. 508-9.)]

[2 Gobineau, writing about the year 1865, gives the following testimony: "Thus Bábism has won a considerable influence on the mind of Persia, and spreading beyond the Persian frontier, has overflowed into the pachalick of Baghdad and penetrated into India. Among its characteristics, one of the most striking is that, even during the life of The Báb, many of the new faith, many of its most convinced and devoted followers, have never known personally their prophet and do not seem to have attached great importance to the hearing of his instructions from his own lips. Nevertheless, they rendered him, completely and without reservation, the honors and the veneration to which, in their own eyes, he was certainly entitled." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 255.)]

[3 "The Cause of The Báb is on the road to great achievements. We have now shown how there has taken place a religious movement which absorbs the deepest attention of Central Asia, that is to say, of Persia, several regions of India and a section of Asiatic Turkey; a religious movement, therefore, truly remarkable and worthy of being studied. Through it, we witness events, manifestations, catastrophes such that one could only imagine possible in remote ages when the great religions were born. I even confess that if I were to see appear in Europe a religion like unto Bábism, with advantages such as Bábism possesses, with complete faith, an undaunted enthusiasm, tried courage and proven devotion, winning the respect of the indifferent, frightening its adversaries and, moreover, a tireless proselytism constantly gaining adherents in every social class, --if I were to see such a phenomenon in Europe, I would not hesitate to predict that, within a given time, power and sovereignty would of necessity belong to a group so richly endowed." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 116, 293-294.) "It seems certain that from the religious standpoint and especially from the moral one, Bábism marks an advance over the teachings of Islam; one may hold with M. Vambery (French Academy, March 12, 1892) that its leader has expressed doctrines worthy of the greatest thinkers.... In any case the growth of Bábism is an interesting chapter in the history of modern religions and civilization. And thus, after all is said, those who praise it are perhaps right; it may be that from Bábism will come the regeneration of the Persian peoples, even of the whole of Islam which is in real need of it. Unfortunately there is seldom a national regeneration without much shedding of blood." (M. J. Balteau's "Le Bábisme," p. 28.) "Now it appears to me that the history of The Bábi movement must be interesting in effort ways to others besides those who are directly engaged in the study of Persian. To the student of religious thought it will afford no little matter for reflection; for here he may contemplate such personalities as by lapse of time pass into heroes and demi-gods still unobscured by myth and fable he may examine by the light of concurrent and independent testimony one of those strange outbursts of enthusiasm, faith, fervent devotion, and indomitable heroism--or fanaticism, if you will-- which we are accustomed to associate with the earlier history of the human race; he may witness in a word, the birth of a faith which may not impossibly win a place amidst the great religions of the world. To the ethnologist also it may yield food for thought as to the character of a people who, stigmatised as they often have been as selfish, mercenary, avaricious, egotistical, sordid, and cowardly, are yet capable of exhibiting under the influence of a strong religious impulse a degree of devotion, disinterestedness, generosity, unselfishness, nobility, and courage which may be paralleled in history, but can scarcely be surpassed. To the politician, too, the matter is not devoid of importance; for what changes may not be effected in a country now reckoned almost as a cypher in the balance of national forces by a religion capable of evoking so mighty a spirit? Let those who know what Muhammad made the Arabs, consider well what The Báb may yet make the Persians." (E. G. Browne's introduction to "A Traveller's Narrative," pp. 8-9.) "So here at Bahji was I installed as a guest, in the very midst of all that Bábism accounts most noble and most holy; and here did I spend five most memorable days, during which I enjoyed unparalleled and unhoped-for opportunities of holding intercourse with those who are the very fountain-heads of that mighty and wondrous spirit which works with invisible but ever-increasing force for the transformation and quickening of a people who slumber in a sleep like unto death. It was in truth a strange and moving experience, but one whereof I despair of conveying any save the feeblest impression. I might, indeed, strive to describe in greater detail the faces and forms which surrounded me, the conversations to which I was privileged to listen, the solemn melodious reading of the sacred books, the general sense of harmony and content which pervaded the place, and the fragrant shady gardens whither in the afternoon we sometimes repaired; but all this was as nought in comparison with the spiritual atmosphere with which I was encompassed. Persian Muslims will tell you often that The Bábis bewitch or drug their guests so that these, impelled by a fascination which they cannot resist, become similarly affected with what the aforesaid Muslims regard as a strange and incomprehensible madness. Idle and absurd as this belief is, it yet rests on a basis of fact stronger than that which supports the greater part of what they allege concerning this people. The spirit which pervades The Bábis is such that it can hardly fail to affect most powerfully all subjected to its influence. It may appeal or attract: it cannot be ignored or disregarded. Let those who have not seen disbelieve me if they will; but, should that spirit once reveal itself to them, they will experience an emotion which they are not likely to forget." (Ibid., pp. 38-9.) "It will thus be seen that, in its external organisation, Bábism has undergone great and radical changes since it first appeared as a proselytising force half a century ago. These changes, however, have in no wise impaired, but appear, on the contrary, to have stimulated, its propaganda, which has advanced with a rapidity inexplicable to those who can only see therein a crude form of political or even of metaphysical fermentation. The lowest estimate places the present number of Bábis in Persia at half a million. I am disposed to think, from conversations with persons well qualified to judge, that the total is nearer one million. They are to be found in every walk of life, from the ministers and nobles of the Court to the scavenger or the groom, not the least arena of their activity being the Musulman priesthood itself. It will have been noticed that the movement was initiated by siyyids, hajis, and mullas--i.e. persons who, either by descent, from pious inclination, or by profession, were intimately concerned with the Muhammadan creed; and it is among even the professed votaries of the faith that they continue to make their converts. Many Bábis are well known to be such, but, as long as they walk circumspectly, are free from intrusion or persecution. In the poorer walks of life the fact is, as a rule, concealed for fear of giving an excuse for the superstitious rancour of superiors. Quite recently The Bábis have had great success in the camp of another enemy, having secured many proselytes among the Jewish populations of the Persian towns. I hear that during the past year they are reported to have made 150 Jewish converts in Tihran, 100 in Hamadan, 50 in Kashan, and 75 per cent of the Jews at Gulpayigan." (Lord Curzon's "Persia and the Persian Question," vol. 1, pp. 499-500.) "From that subtle race," writes Dr. J. Estlin Carpenter, "issues the most remarkable movement which modern Muhammadanism has produced.... Disciples gathered round him, and the movement was not checked by his arrest, his imprisonment for nearly six years and his final execution in 1850.... It, too, claims to be a universal teaching; it has already its noble army of martyrs and its holy hooks; has Persia, in the midst of her miseries, given birth to a religion which will go round the world?" ("Comparative Religion," pp. 70, 71.) "Once again," writes Professor E. G. Browne, "in the world's history has the East vindicated her claim to teach religion to the West, and to hold in the Spiritual World that preeminence which the Western nations hold in the Material." (Introduction to M. H. Phelps' "Life and Teachings of Abbas Effendi," p. 15.)]

Page 664

Little did Nabil himself imagine that within two score years of the writing of his narrative the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, the flower and fruit of all the Dispensations of the past, would have been capable of advancing thus far on the road leading to its world-wide recognition and triumph. Little did he imagine that less than forty years after the death of Bahá'u'lláh His Cause, bursting beyond the confines of Persia and the East, would have penetrated the furthermost regions of the globe and would have encircled the whole earth. Scarcely would he have believed the prediction had he been told that the Cause would, within that period, have implanted its banner in the heart of the American continent, would have made itself felt in the leading capitals of Europe, would have reached out to the southern confines of Africa, and would

Page 665

have established its outposts as far as Australasia. Hardly would his imagination, fired as it was by a conviction as to the destiny of his Faith, have carried him to a point at which he could have pictured to his mind the Tomb Shrine of The Báb, of the ultimate destination of whose remains he confesses himself to be ignorant, embosomed in the heart of Carmel, a place of pilgrimage and a beacon of light to many a visitor from the ends of the earth. Hardly could he have imagined that the humble dwelling of Bahá'u'lláh, lost amid the tortuous lanes of old Baghdad, would one day, as a result of the machinations of a tireless enemy, have forced itself on the attention, and become the object of the earnest deliberations, of the assembled representatives of the leading Powers of Europe. Little did he imagine that, with all the praise he, in his narrative, lavishes upon Him, there would proceed from the Most Great Branch [1] a power that within a short period would have awakened the northern States of the American continent to the glory of the Revelation bequeathed to Him by Bahá'u'lláh. Little did he imagine that the dynasties of those monarchs the evidences of whose tyranny he recounts so vividly in his narrative, would have tottered to their fall and suffered the very fate which their representatives had so desperately striven to inflict upon their dreaded opponents. Little did he imagine that the whole ecclesiastical hierarchy of his country, the prime mover and the willing instrument of the abominations heaped upon his Faith, would so swiftly and easily be overthrown by the very forces

Page 666

it had attempted to subdue. Never would he have believed that the highest institutions of sunni Islam, the Sultanate and the Caliphate,[2] those twin oppressors of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, would have been swept away so ruthlessly by the very hands of the professing adherents of the Faith of

Page 667

Islam. Little did he imagine that side by side with the steady expansion of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh the forces of consolidation and internal administration would so progress as to present to the world the unique spectacle of a Commonwealth of peoples, world-wide in its ramifications, united in its purpose, co-ordinated in its efforts, and fired by a zeal and enthusiasm that no amount of adversity can quench.

[1 `Abdu'l-Bahá'í title.]

[2 "The Caliphate began with the election of Abu-Bakr in A.D. 632 and lasted until A.D. 1258, when Hulagu Khan sacked Baghdad and put Mu'tasim-Bi'llah to death. For nearly three centuries after this catastrophe the title of Caliph was perpetuated in Egypt by descendants of the House of Abbas who lived under the protection of its Mameluke rulers, until in A.D. 1517 Sultan Salim, the Osmanli, having conquered the Mameluke dynasty induced the helpless Caliph to transfer to him the title and insignia." (P. M. Sykes' "A History of Persia," vol. 2, p. 25.)]

And yet who knows what achievements, greater than any that the past and the present have witnessed, may not still be in store for those into whose hands so precious a heritage has been entrusted? Who knows but that out of the turmoil which agitates the face of present-day society there may not emerge, sooner than we expect, the World-Order of Bahá'u'lláh, the bare outline of which is being but faintly discerned among the world-wide communities that bear His name? For, great and marvellous as have been the achievements of the past, the glory of the golden age of the Cause, whose promise lies embedded within the shell of Bahá'u'lláh's immortal utterance, is yet to be revealed. Fierce as may seem the onslaught of the forces of darkness that may still afflict this Cause, desperate and prolonged as may be that struggle, severe as may be the disappointments it may still experience, the ascendancy it will eventually obtain will be such as no other Faith has ever in its history achieved. The welding of the communities of East and West into the world-wide Brotherhood of which poets and dreamers have sung, and the promise of which lies at the very core of the Revelation conceived by Bahá'u'lláh; the recognition of His law as the indissoluble bond uniting the peoples and nations of the earth; and the proclamation of the reign of the Most Great Peace, are but a few among the chapters of the glorious tale which the consummation of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh will unfold.

Who knows but that triumphs, unsurpassed in splendour, are not in store for the mass of Bahá'u'lláh's toiling followers? Surely, we stand too near the colossal edifice His hand has reared to be able, at the present stage of the evolution of His Revelation, to claim to be able even to conceive the full measure of its promised glory. Its past history, stained by the blood of countless martyrs, may well inspire us with the

Page 668

thought that, whatever may yet befall this Cause, however formidable the forces that may still assail it, however numerous the reverses it will inevitably suffer, its onward march can never be stayed, and that it will continue to advance until the very last promise, enshrined within the words of Bahá'u'lláh, shall have been completely redeemed.

Page 669


1. The Persian Bayan
2. The Arabie Bayan
3. The Qayyumu'l-Asma'
4. The Sahifatu'l-Haramayn
5. The Dala'il-i-Sab'ih
6. Commentary on the Surih of Kawthar
7. Commentary on the Surih of Va'l-'Asr
8. The Kitáb-i-Asma'
9. Sahifiy-i-Makhdhumiyyih
10. Sahifiy-i-Ja'fariyyih
11. Ziyarat-i-Shah-'Abdu'l-'Azim
12. Kitáb-i-Panj-Sha'n
13. Sahifiy-i-Radaviyyih
14. Risaliy-i-'Adliyyih
15. Risaliy-i-Fiqhiyyih
16. Risaliy-i-Dhahabiyyih
17. Kitábu'r-Ruh
18. Suriy-i-Tawhid
19. Lawh-i-Hurufat
20. Tafsir-i-Nubuwat-i-Khassih
21. Risaliy-i-Furu'-i-'Adliyyih
22. Khasa'il-i-Sab'ih

23. Epistles to Muhammad Shah and Haji Mirza Aqasi

N.B. The Báb Himself states in one passage of the Persian Bayan

that His writings comprise no less than 500,000 verses.


1. Lord Curzon's "Persia and the Persian Question" (2 vols.)

(Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1892)
2. A. L. M. Nicolas' "Essai sur le Shaykhisme I"

(Librarie Paul Geuthner, Rue Mazarine, Paris, 1910)

3. A. L. M. Nicolas' "Essai sur le Shaykhisme II"

(Librairie Paul Geuthner, Rue Magazine Paris 1914)

4. A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb"

(Libraine Critique, Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, Paris, 1908)

5. Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie

Centrale" (Les Editions G. Cres et Cie., Paris, Rue de Sevres, 1928)

6. Lady Sheil's "Glimpses of Life and Manners in Persia"

(John Murray, Albemarle Street, London, 1856)

7. "The Tarikh-i-Jadid," by Mirza Husayn of Hamadan, translated from the

Persian by E. G. Browne (The University Press, Cambridge, 1893)

8. M. Clement Huart's "La Religion de Báb"
(Ernat Leroue, Rue Bonaparte, Paris, 1889)
Page 670

9. "A Traveller's Narrative," translated from the Persian by E. G. Browne

(The University Press, Cambridge, 1891)

10. "Le Bayan Persan," traduit du Persan par A. L. M. Nicolas (4 vols.)

11. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1889, articles 6, 12

12. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1892, articles, 7, 9, 13

13. "Le Livre des Sept Preuves," traduction par A. L. M. Nicolas

(J. Maisonneuve, Rue de Mezieres, Paris, 1902)
14. E. G. Browne's "A Year amongst the Persians"
(Messrs. A. and C. Black, Ltd., London, 1893)

15. E. G. Browne's "A Literary History of Persia" (4 vols.)

(The University Press, Cambridge, 1924)

16. Lieutenant-Colonel P. M. Sykes' "A History of Persia" (2 vols.)

(Macmillan Co., London, 1915)

17. Clements R. Markham's "A General Sketch or the History of Persia"

(Longman's Green and Co., London, 1874)
18. R. G. Watson's "History of Persia"

19. Journal Asiatique, 1806, sixieme serie, tomes 7, 8

("Báb et les Bábis," by Mirza Kazim Big)
20. M. J. Balteau's "Le Bábisme"

(Lecture faite par M. J. Balteau, membre titulaire, a la seance du 22

mai, 1896. Academie Nationale de Reims. Imprimerie de

l'Academie, Reims, N. Monce, Directeur; 24 Rue Pluche, 1897)

21. Gabriel Sacy's "Du Regne de Dieu et de l'Agneau connu sous le nom de

(12 Juin, 1902)

22. J. E. Esslemont's "Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era"

(The Bahá'í Publishing Committee, New York, 1927)
23. Muhammad Mustafa's "Risaliy-i-Amriyyih"
(Imprimerie Sa'adih, Cairo, Egypt)

24. E. G. Browne's "Materials for the Study of The Bábi Religion"

(The University Press, Cambridge, 1918)

25. Mirza Abu'l-Fadl's manuscripts and notes (unpublished)

26. Mirza Abu'l-Fadl's "The Kashfu'l-Ghita'"
(Ishqabad, Russia)

27. M. H. Phelps' "Life and Teachings of Abbas Effendi"

(G. P. Putnam's Sons London, 1912)

28. T. K. Cheyne's "The Reconciliation of Races and Religions"

(Adam and Charles Black, 1914)
29. Sir Francis Younghusband's "The Gleam"
(John Murray, Albemarle Street, London, 1923)
30. Samandar's manuscript (unpublished)
31. E. G. Browne's "The Persian Revolution"
(The University Press, Cambridge, 1910)

32. The Christian Commonwealth, January 22, 1913.

33. G. K. Nariman's "Persia and Parsis," Part I
(The Iran League, Bombay, 1925)

34. Valentine Chirol's "The Middle Eastern Question"

35. J. Estlin Carpenter's "Comparative Religion"
36. E. J. W. Gibb Memorial Series, vol. 15
(Luzac Co., London, 1910)

37. "The Nasikhu't-Tavarikh" (Qajarayyih volume), by Mirza Taqi Mustawfi,

Lisanu'l-Mulk, known as Sipihr
(Lithograph edition, Tihran)

38. Haji Mu'inu's-Saltanih's "History" (manuscript)

39. Mirza Abu'l-Fadl's "Kitábu'-Fara'id" (Cairo edition)

Works of Bahá'u'lláh:
"Kitáb-i-Iqan" (Cairo edition, 1900)

"Epistle to the Son of the Wolf" (Cairo edition, 1920)

Page 671
"Ishraqat" (manuscript)
"Tablets to the Kings" (manuscript)
Works of The Báb:
"Sahifatu'l-Haramayn" (manuscript)
"Qayyumu'l-Asma' " "
"Persian Bayan" "
"Arabic Bayan" "
"Dala'il-i-Sab'ih" "
Works of `Abdu'l-Bahá:

"Some Answered Questions" (Bahá'í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1918)

"Memorials of the Faithful" (Haifa edition, 1924)

N.B. For a general and fuller bibliography, refer to:

1. Bahá'í World, vol. iii, part 3

2. A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb," pp. 22-53

3. E. G. Browne's "Materials for the Study of The Bábi Religion,"

pp. 175-243

4. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1892, pp. 433-99, 637-710

5. "A Traveller's Narrative," pp. 173-211


"There is no fixed principle or permanence in the administrative

subdivisions of Persia. Their separation or combination is regulated by the

ability or reputation of their governors, and by the scope that may be

conceded thereto by the confidence or the fears of the sovereign.... It

should further be remarked that no principle, geographical, ethnographical,

or political, appears to be adopted in determining the borders and sizes of

the various divisions, which vary in extent from a province larger than the

whole of England, to a small and decayed town with its immediate


Administrative Division Capital

Adhirbayjan Tabriz

Khurasan and Sistan Mashhad

Tihran and Dependencies Tihran

Fars Shiraz

Isfahan and Dependencies Isfahan

Kirman and Persian Baluchistan Kirman

Arabistan Shushtar

Gilan and Talish Rasht

Mazindaran Amul

Yazd and Dependencies Yazd

Persian Gulf Littoral and Islands Bushihr

(From Lord Curzon's "Persia and the Persian Question," vol. 1, p. 437.)


1814 November . . . . . . . . . . Mr. Morier and Mr. Ellis.

1815 July . . . . . . . . . . . . Sir Henry Willock.

1826 September . . . . . . . . . Sir John Macdonald.

1830 June . . . . . . . . . . . . Sir John Campbell.

1835 November . . . . . . . . . . Sir Henry Ellis.

1836 August . . . . . . . . . . . Sir John McNeill.

1842 August . . . . . . . . . . . Sir Justin Sheil.

1847 October . . . . . . . . . . Colonel Farrant (acting).

1849 November . . . . . . . . . . Sir Justin Sheil (returned from leave).

1853 February . . . . . . . . . . Mr. Taylor Thomson (acting).

1855 April . . . . . . . . . . . Hon. A. C. Murray.

Page 672

1817 August . . . . . . . . . . . General Yermoloff.

1819 April . . . . . . . . . . . M. Mazarowitch.

1823 January . . . . . . . . . . M. Ambourger (acting).

1824 July . . . . . . . . . . . . M. Mazarowitch (returned from leave).

1825 September . . . . . . . . . M. Amboureer.

1826 July . . . . . . . . . . . . Prince Menschikoff.

1828 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . M. Grebayadoff.

1831 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Prince Dolgorouki.

1833 February . . . . . . . . . . Count Simonich.
1839 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Count Meden.

1846 January . . . . . . . . . . Prince Dologorouki.

1854 September . . . . . . . . . M. Anitchkoff.

(From Clements R. Markham, C.B., F.R.S., "A General Sketch of the History

of Persia," Appendix B. Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1874.)

Muharram . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 days
Safar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 "
Rabi'u'l-Avval . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 "
Rabi'u'th-Thani . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 "
Jamadiyu'-Avval . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 "
Jamadiy'th-Thani . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 "
Rajab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 "
Sha'ban . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 "
Ramadan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 "
Shavval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 "
Dhi'l-Qa'dih . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 "
Dhi'l-Hijjih . . . . . . . . . . . . 29-30 "

Muharram 1, 1 A.H. . . . . . . . . . July 16, 622 A.D. Friday.

Muharram 1, 1260 " . . . . . . . . . . . January 22, 1844 " Monday.

Muharram 1, 1261 " . . . . . . . . . . . January 10, 1845 " Friday.

Muharram 1, 1262 " . . . . . . . . . . . December 30, 1845 " Tuesday.

Muharram 1, 1263 " . . . . . . . . . . . December 20, 1846 " Sunday.

Muharram 1, 1264 " . . . . . . . . . . . December 9, 1847 " Thursday.

Muharram 1, 1265 " . . . . . . . . . . . November 27, 1848 " Monday.

Muharram 1, 1266 " . . . . . . . . . . . November 17, 1849 " Saturday.

Muharram 1, 1267 " . . . . . . . . . . . November 6, 1850 " Wednesday.

Muharram 1, 1268 " . . . . . . . . . . . October 27, 1851 " Monday.

Muharram 1, 1269 " . . . . . . . . . . . October 15, 1852 " Friday.

Muharram 1, 1270 " . . . . . . . . . . . October 4, 1853 " Tuesday.

(From "Wustemfield-Mahler'sche Vegleichungs-Tabellen," Leipzig, 1926.)

Page 673



[A box with Arabic script and their equal in transliterated English letters

appears in the space provided below the above description. Pronunciation of

the English letters appearing therein is described below.]

th [underlined] pronounced as s
dh [underlined] pronounced as z
zh [underlined] pronounced as j (French)
s [with dot beneath] pronounced as s
d [with dot beneath] pronounced as z
t [with dot beneath] pronounced as t
z [with dot beneath] pronounced as z
a as in account
a [with accent] as in arm
i as e in best
i [with accent] as ee in meet
u as o in short
u [with accent] as oo in moon
aw as in mown

The "i" added to the name of a town signifies "belonging to"; thus

Shirazi means native of Shiraz.

N.B. The spelling of the Oriental words and proper names used in this

book is according to the system of transliteration established at one of the

International Oriental Congresses.
Page 674
Aba: Cloak or mantle.
Adhan: Muslim call to prayer.

A.H.: "After Hijirah. "Date of Muhammad's migration from Mecca to

Medina, and basis of Muhammadan chronology.
Akbar: "Greater."
Amir: "Lord," "prince," "commander," "governor."
Aqa: Title given by Bahá'u'lláh to `Abdu'l-Bahá.
A'zam: "The greatest."

Bab: "Gate." Title assumed by Mirza Ali-Muhammad after the

declaration of His Mission in Shiraz in May, 1844, A.D.

Baha: "Glory," "splendour," "light." Title by which Bahá'u'lláh

(Mirza Husayn-'Ali) is designated.

Baqiyyatu'llah: "Remnant of God." Title applied both to The Báb and to


Bayan: "Utterance," "explanation." Title given by The Báb to His

Revelation, particularly to His Books.
Big: Honorary title; lower title than Khan
Caravanserai: An inn for caravans.
Darughih: "High constable."
Dawlih: "State," "government."
Farman: "Order," "command," "royal decree."
Farrash: "Footman," "lictor," "attendant."
Farrash-Bashi: The head farrash.

Farsakh: Unit of measurement. Its length differs in different parts

of the country according to the nature of the ground, the local

interpretation of the term being the distance which a laden mule will

walk in the hour, which varies from three to four miles. Arabicised

from the old Persian "parsang," and supposed to be derived from pieces

of stone (sang) placed on the roadside.

Haji: A Muhammadan who has performed the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Howdah: A litter carried by a camel, mule, horse, or elephant for

travelling purposes.
Il: "Clan."

Imam: Title of the twelve shi'ah successors of Muhammad. Also applied

to Muslim religious leaders.

Imam-Jum'ih: The leading imam in a town or city; chief of the mullas.

Imam-Zadih: Descendant of an imam, or his shrine.

Jubbih: An upper coat.

Ka'bih: Ancient shrine at Mecca. Now recognized as the most holy

shrine of Islam.

Kad-Khuda: Chief of a ward or parish in a town; headman of a village.

Page 675
Kalantar: "Mayor."
Kalim: "One who discourses."

Karbila'i: A Muhammadan who has performed the pilgrimage to Karbila.

Khan: "Prince," "lord," "nobleman," "chieftain."

Kulah: The Persian lambskin hat worn by government employees

and civilians.
Madrisih: Religious college.

Man-Yuzhiruh'llah: "He whom God will make manifest." Title given by the

Báb to the promised One.

Mashhadi: A Muhammadan who has performed the pilgrimage to Mashhad.

Masjid: Mosque, temple, place of worship.

Maydan: A subdivision of a farsakh. A square or open place.

Mihdi: Title of the Manifestation expected by Islam.

Mihrab: The principal place in a mosque, where the imam prays with

his face turned towards Mecca.

Mi'raj: "Ascent"; used with reference to Muhammad's ascension to


Mirza: A contraction of Amir-Zadih, meaning son of Amir. When affixed

to a name, it signifies prince; when prefixed, simply Mr.

Mu'adhdhin: The one who sounds the Adhan, the Muhammadan call to


Mujtahid: Muhammadan doctor of law. Most of the mujtahids of Persia

have received their diplomas from the most eminent jurists of

Karbila and Najaf.
Mulla: Muhammadan priest.

Mustaghath: "He who is invoked"; the numerical value of which has been

assigned by The Báb as the limit of the time fixed for the advent

of the promised Manifestation.
Nabil: "Learned," "noble."

Naw-Ruz: "New Day." Name applied to the Bahá'í New Year's Day;

according to the Persian calendar, the day on which the sun

enters Aries.
Nuqtih: "Point."

Pahlavan: "Athlete," "champion." Term applied to brave and muscular


Qadi: Judge: civil, criminal, and ecclesiastical

Qa'im: "He who shall arise." Title designating the promised One of

Qalyan: A pipe for smoking through water.

Qiblih: The direction to which people turn in prayer; especially Mecca,

the Qiblih of all Muhammadans.
Qurban: "Sacrifice."

Sahibu'z-Zaman: "Lord of the Age." One of the titles of the promised Qa'im.

Shahid: "Martyr." The plural of martyr is "Shuhada."

Page 676

Shaykhu'l-Islam: Head of religious court, appointed to every large city by

the Shah.
Siyyid: Descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.
Surih: Name of the chapters of the Quran.
Tuman: A sum of money equivalent to a dollar.
Vali-'Ahd: "Heir to the throne."
Zadih: "Son."

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