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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 2

After the death of Prince Muhammad-'Ali Mirza,[1] Shaykh Ahmad, freed from the urgent solicitations of the Prince to extend his sojourn in Kirmanshah, transferred his residence to Karbila. Though to outward seeming he was circling round the shrine of the Siyyidu'sh-Shuhada',[2] the Imam Husayn, his heart, whilst he performed those rites, was set upon that true Husayn, the only object of his devotions. A host of

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the most distinguished ulamas and mujtahids thronged to see him. Many began to envy his reputation, and a number sought to undermine his authority. However much they strove, they failed to shake his position of undoubted preeminence amongst the learned men of that city. Eventually that shining light was summoned to shed its radiance upon the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Thither he journeyed, there he pursued with unstinted devotion his labours, and there he was laid to rest beneath the shadow of the Prophet's sepulchre, for the understanding of whose Cause he had so faithfully laboured.

[1 1237. A.H.]
[2 "The Prince of Martyrs."]

Ere he departed from Karbila, he confided to Siyyid Kazim, his chosen successor, the secret of his mission,[1] and instructed him to strive to kindle in every receptive heart the fire that had burned so brightly within him. However much Siyyid Kazim insisted on accompanying him as far as Najaf, Shaykh Ahmad refused to comply with his request. "You have no time to lose," were the last words which he addressed to him. "Every fleeting hour should be fully and wisely utilised. You should gird up the loin of endeavour and strive day and night to rend asunder, by the grace of God and by the hand of wisdom and loving-kindness, those veils of heedlessness that have blinded the eyes of men. For verily I say, the Hour is drawing nigh, the Hour I have besought God to spare me from witnessing, for the earthquake of the Last Hour will be tremendous. You should pray to God to be spared the overpowering trials of that Day, for neither of us is capable of withstanding its sweeping force. Others, of greater endurance and power, have been destined to bear this stupendous weight, men whose hearts are sanctified from all earthly things, and whose strength is reinforced by the potency of His power."

[1 A. L. M. Nicolas, in his preface to "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," I, quotes the following as having been spoken by Shaykh Ahmad regarding Siyyid Kazim: "There is only Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti who understands my objective and no one but him understands it.... Seek the science after me from Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti who has acquired it directly from me, who learned it from the Imams, who learned it from the Prophet to whom God had given it.... He is the only one who understands me!"]

Having spoken these words, Shaykh Ahmad bade him farewell, urged him to face valiantly the trials that must needs afflict him, and committed him to the care of God.

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In Karbila, Siyyid Kazim devoted himself to the work initiated by his master, expounded his teachings, defended his Cause, and answered whatever questions perplexed the minds of his disciples. The vigour with which he prosecuted his task inflamed the animosity of the ignorant and envious. "For forty years," they clamoured, "we have suffered the pretentious teachings of Shaykh Ahmad to be spread with no opposition whatever on our part. We no longer can tolerate similar pretensions on the part of his successor, who rejects the belief in the resurrection of the body, who repudiates the literal interpretation of the 'Mi'raj,'[1] who regards the signs of the coming Day as allegorical, and who preaches a doctrine heretical in character and subversive of the best tenets of orthodox Islam." The louder their clamour and protestations, the firmer grew the determination of Siyyid Kazim to prosecute his mission and fulfil his trust. He addressed an epistle to Shaykh Ahmad, wherein he set forth at length the calumnies that had been uttered against him, and acquainted him with the character and extent of their opposition. In it he ventured to enquire as to how long he was destined to submit to the unrelenting fanaticism of a stubborn and ignorant people, and prayed to be enlightened regarding the time when the promised One was to be made manifest. To this Shaykh Ahmad replied: "Be assured of the grace of your God. Be not grieved at their doings. The mystery of this Cause must needs be made manifest, and the secret of this Message must needs be divulged.[2] I can say no more, I can appoint

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no time. His Cause will be made known after Hin.[3] 'Ask me not of things which, if revealed unto you, might only pain you.'"

[1 "The Ascent" of Muhammad to Heaven.]

[2 The Báb, Himself, refers to this passage and confirms it in the "Dala'il-i-Sab'ih": "The words of the revered Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa'i are well known. They contain numerous allusions to the subject of the Manifestation. For example, he has written with his own hand to Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti: 'Just as it is necessary in order to build a house to have suitable ground, so also for this Manifestation must the moment be propitious. But here one cannot give an answer clearly foretelling the moment. Soon we shall know it with certainty.' That which you have heard so often yourself from Siyyid Kazim, is not that an explanation? Did he not reiterate every minute--'You do not wish then that I should go away so that God may appear?'" ("The Book of the Seven Proofs," translated by A. L. M. Nicolas, p. 58.) "There is also the anecdote referring to Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa'i on his way to Mecca. It has been proven that this anecdote is authentic and hence there is something which is certain. The disciples of the deceased have related the sayings which they have heard and also certain personages were mentioned such as Mulla Abdu'l-Khaliq and Murtada-Quli. Mulla Abdu'l-Khaliq relates that the Shaykh said to them one day: 'Pray that you may not be present at the beginning of the Manifestation and of the Return, as there will be many civil wars.' He added: 'If any one of you should still be living at that time, he shall see strange things between the years sixty and sixty-seven. And what strange thing can be more strange than the very Being of the Manifestation? You will be there and you will witness another extraordinary event; that is to say, God, in order to bring about the victory of the Manifestation, will raise up a Being who will speak his own thoughts without ever having been instructed by anyone.'" (Ibid., pp. 59-60.)]

[3 According to the Abjad notation, the numerical value of the word "Hin" is 68. It was in the year 1268 A.H. that Bahá'u'lláh, while confined in the Siyah-Chal of Tihran received the first intimations of His Divine Mission. Of this He hinted in the odes which He revealed in that year.]

How great, how very great, is His Cause, that even to so exalted a personage as Siyyid Kazim words such as these should have been addressed! This answer of Shaykh Ahmad imparted solace and strength to the heart of Siyyid Kazim, who, with redoubled determination, continued to withstand the onslaught of an envious and insidious enemy.

Shaykh Ahmad died soon after,[1] in the year 1242 A.H., at the age of eighty-one, and was laid to rest in the cemetery of Baqi',[2] in the close vicinity of the resting place of Muhammad in the holy city of Medina.

[1 He died in a place called Haddih, in the neighbourhood of Medina. (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," I, p. 60.)]

[2 "His body was carried to Medina where it was buried in the Cemetery Baqi, behind the walls of the cupola of the Prophet, on the south side, under the drain spout of Mihrab. They say that there also is to be found the tomb of Fatimih facing that of Baytu'l-Hazan." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," I, pp. 60-61.) "The death of Shaykh Ahmad put an end for a few days to the conflict, and the anger seemed appeased. Moreover it was at this time that Islam received a terrible blow and that its power was broken. The Russian Emperor defeated the Moslem nations and most of the provinces, inhabited by the Moslem peoples, fell into the hands of the Russian armies." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," II, p. 5.) "On the other hand, it was thought that Shaykh Ahmad being now dead, his doctrine would definitely disappear with him. Peace lasted for nearly two years; but the Muhammadans returned quickly to their former sentiments as soon as they saw that the light of the doctrine of the deceased still radiated over the world, thanks to Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti, the best, the most faithful disciple of Shaykh Ahmad, and his successor." (Ibid., pp. 5-6.)]

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CHAPTER II
THE MISSION OF SIYYID KAZIM-I-RASHTI

THE news of the passing of his beloved master brought unspeakable sorrow to the heart of Siyyid Kazim. Inspired by the verse of the Qur'an, "Fain would they put out God's light with their mouths; but God only desireth to perfect His light, albeit the infidels abhor it," he arose with unswerving purpose to consummate the task with which Shaykh Ahmad had entrusted him. He found himself, after the removal of so distinguished a protector, a victim of the slanderous tongue and unrelenting enmity of the people around him. They attacked his person, scorned his teachings, and reviled his name. At the instigation of a powerful and notorious shi'ah leader, Siyyid Ibrahim-i-Qazvini, the enemies of Siyyid Kazim leagued together, and determined to destroy him. Thereupon Siyyid Kazim conceived the plan of securing the support and good will of one of the most formidable and outstanding ecclesiastical dignitaries of Persia, the renowned Haji Siyyid Muhammad Baqir-i-Rashti, who lived in Isfahan and whose authority extended far beyond the confines of that city. This friendship and sympathy, Siyyid Kazim thought, would enable him to pursue untrammelled the course of his activities, and would considerably enhance the influence which he exercised over his disciples. "Would that one amongst you," he was often heard to say to his followers, "could arise, and, with complete detachment, journey to Isfahan, and deliver this message from me to that learned Siyyid: 'Why is it that in the beginning you showed such marked consideration and affection for the late Shaykh Ahmad, and have now suddenly detached yourself from the body of his chosen disciples? Why is it that you have abandoned us to the mercy of our opponents?' Would that such a messenger, putting his trust in God, might arise to unravel whatever mysteries perplex the mind of that learned Siyyid, and dispel such doubts as might have alienated

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his sympathy. Would that he were able to obtain from him a solemn declaration testifying to the unquestioned authority of Shaykh Ahmad, and to the truth and soundness of his teachings. Would that he also, after having secured such a testimony, might visit Mashhad and there obtain a similar pronouncement from Mirza Askari, the foremost ecclesiastical leader in that holy city, and then, having completed his mission, might return in triumph to this place." Again and again did Siyyid Kazim find opportunity to reiterate his appeal. None, however, ventured to respond to his call except a certain Mirza Muhit-i-Kirmani, who expressed readiness to undertake this mission. To him Siyyid Kazim replied: "Beware of touching the lion's tail. Belittle not the delicacy and difficulty of such a mission." He then, turning his face towards his youthful disciple, Mulla Husayn-i-Bushru'i, the Bábu'l-Bab,[1] addressed him in these words: "Arise and perform this mission, for I declare you equal to this task. The Almighty will graciously assist you, and will crown your endeavours with success."

[1 He was the first to believe in the Báb, who gave him this title.]

Mulla Husayn joyously sprang to his feet, kissed the hem of his teacher's garment, vowed his loyalty to him, and started forthwith on his journey. With complete severance and noble resolve, he set out to achieve his end. Arriving in Isfahan, he sought immediately the presence of the learned Siyyid. Clad in mean attire, and laden with the dust of travel, he appeared, amidst the vast and richly apparelled company of the disciples of that distinguished leader, an insignificant and negligible figure. Unobserved and undaunted, he advanced to a place which faced the seat occupied by that renowned teacher. Summoning to his aid all the courage and confidence with which the instructions of Siyyid Kazim had inspired him, he addressed Haji Siyyid Muhammad-Baqir in these words: "Hearken, O Siyyid, to my words, for response to my plea will ensure the safety of the Faith of the Prophet of God, and refusal to consider my message will cause it grievous injury." These bold and courageous words, uttered with directness and force, produced a surprising impression upon the Siyyid. He suddenly interrupted his discourse, and, ignoring his audience, listened with close attention

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to the message which this strange visitor had brought. His disciples, amazed at this extraordinary behaviour, rebuked this sudden intruder and denounced his presumptuous pretensions. With extreme politeness, in firm and dignified language, Mulla Husayn hinted at their discourtesy and shallowness, and expressed surprise at their arrogance and vainglory. The Siyyid was highly pleased with the demeanour and argument which the visitor so strikingly displayed. He deplored and apologised for the unseemly conduct of his own disciples. In order to compensate for their ingratitude, he extended every conceivable kindness to that youth, assured him of his support, and besought him to deliver his message. Thereupon, Mulla Husayn acquainted him with the nature and object of the mission with which he had been entrusted. To this the learned Siyyid replied: "As we in the beginning believed that both Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim were actuated by no desire except to advance the cause of knowledge and safeguard the sacred interests of the Faith, we felt prompted to extend to them our heartiest support and to extol their teachings. In later years, however, we have noticed so many conflicting statements and obscure and mysterious allusions in their writings, that we felt it advisable to keep silent for a time, and to refrain from either censure or applause." To this Mulla Husayn replied: "I cannot but deplore such silence on your part, for I firmly believe that it involves the loss of a splendid opportunity to advance the cause of Truth. It is for you to set forth specifically such passages in their writings as appear to you mysterious or inconsistent with the precepts of the Faith, and I will, with the aid of God, undertake to expound their true meaning." The poise, the dignity and confidence, which characterised the behaviour of this unexpected messenger, greatly impressed Haji Siyyid Muhammad-Baqir. He begged him not to press the matter at this moment, but to wait until a later day, when, in private converse, he might acquaint him with his own doubts and misgivings. Mulla Husayn, however, feeling that delay might prove harmful to the cause he had at heart, insisted upon an immediate conference with him about the weighty problems which he felt impelled and able to resolve. The Siyyid was moved to tears by the youthful enthusiasm,

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the sincerity and serene confidence to which the countenance of Mulla Husayn so admirably testified. He sent immediately for some of the works written by Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim, and began to question Mulla Husayn regarding those passages which had excited his disapproval and surprise. To each reference the messenger replied with characteristic vigour, with masterly knowledge and befitting modesty.

He continued in this manner, in the presence of the assembled disciples, to expound the teachings of Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim, to vindicate their truth, and to defend their cause, until the time when the Mu'adhdhin, calling the faithful to prayer, suddenly interrupted the flow of his argument. The next day, he similarly, in the presence of a large and representative assembly, and whilst facing the Siyyid, resumed his eloquent defence of the high mission entrusted by an almighty Providence to Shaykh Ahmad and his successor. A deep silence fell upon his hearers. They were seized with wonder at the cogency of his argument and the tone an manner of his speech. The Siyyid publicly promised that on the following day he would himself issue a written declaration wherein he would testify to the eminence of the position held by both Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim, and would pronounce whosoever deviated from their path as one who had turned aside from the Faith of the Prophet Himself. He would likewise bear witness to their penetrative insight, and their correct and profound understanding of the mysteries which the Faith of Muhammad enshrined. The Siyyid redeemed his pledge, and with his own hand penned the promised declaration. He wrote at length, and in the course of his testimony paid a tribute to the character and learning of Mulla Husayn. He spoke in glowing terms of Siyyid Kazim, apologised for his former attitude, and expressed the hope that in the days to come he might be enabled to make amends for his past and regrettable conduct towards him. He read, himself, to his disciples the text of this written testimony, and delivered it unsealed to Mulla Husayn, authorising him to share its contents with whomsoever he pleased, that all might know the extent of his devotion to Siyyid Kazim.

No sooner had Mulla Husayn retired than the Siyyid charged one of his trusted attendants to follow in the footsteps

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of the visitor and find out the place where he was residing. The attendant followed him to a modest building, which served as a madrisih,[1] and saw him enter a room which, except for a worn-out mat which covered its floor, was devoid of furniture. He watched him arrive, offer his prayer of thanksgiving to God, and lie down upon that mat with nothing to cover him except his aba.[2] Having reported to his master all that he had observed, the attendant was again instructed to deliver to Mulla Husayn the sum of a hundred tumans,[3] and to express the sincere apologies of his master for his inability to extend to so remarkable a messenger a hospitality that befitted his station. To this offer Mulla Husayn sent the following reply: "Tell your master that his real gift to me is the spirit of fairness with which he received me, and the open-mindedness which prompted him, despite his exalted rank, to respond to the message which I, a lowly stranger, brought him. Return this money to your master, for I, as a messenger, ask for neither recompense nor reward. 'We nourish your souls for the sake of God; we seek from you neither recompense nor thanks.'[4] My prayer for your master is that earthly leadership may never hinder him from acknowledging and testifying to the Truth."[5] Haji Siyyid Muhammad-Baqir died before the year sixty A.H., the year that witnessed the birth of the Faith proclaimed by the Báb.

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He remained to his last moment a staunch supporter and fervent admirer of Siyyid Kazim.

[1 "The Madrisih or Persian colleges are entirely in the hands of the clergy and there are several in every large town. They generally consist of a court, surrounded by buildings containing chambers for students and masters, with a gate on one side; and frequently a garden and a well in the centre of the court.... Many of the madrisihs have been founded and endowed by kings or pious persons." (C. R. Markham's "A General Sketch of the History of Persia," p. 365.)]

[2 A loose outer garment, resembling a cloak, commonly made of camel's hair.]

[3 Worth approximately one hundred dollars, a substantial sum in those days.]

[4 Qur'an, 76:9.]

[5 The Báb, in the "Dala'il-i-Sab'ih," refers to Mulla Husayn in these terms: "You, especially, know who is the first witness of that faith. You know that the majority of the doctors of the Shaykhi and the Siyyidiyyih and other sects admired his science and his talent. When he came to Isfahan the urchins of the town cried out as he passed, 'Ah! Ah! a ragged student has just arrived!' But behold! This man by his proofs and arguments convinced a Siyyid, one known for his proven scientific knowledge, Muhammad-Baqir! Truly that is one of the proofs of this Manifestation, for after the death of the Siyyid, this personage went to see most of the doctors of Islam and found Truth only with the Master of Truth. It was then that he attained the destiny which had been determined for him. In truth the people of the beginning and of the end of this Manifestation envy him and will envy him until the Day of Judgment. And who then can accuse this master-mind of mental weakness and infidelity?" ("Le Livre des Sept Preuves," translated by A. L. M. Nicolas, p. 54.)]

Having fulfilled the first part of his mission, Mulla Husayn despatched this written testimony of Haji Siyyid Muhammad-Baqir to his master in Karbila, and directed his steps towards Mashhad, determined to deliver, to the best of his ability the message which he was charged to give to Mirza Askari. Immediately the letter, enclosing the Siyyid's written declaration, was delivered to Siyyid Kazim, the latter was so rejoiced that he forthwith sent to Mulla Husayn his reply, expressing his grateful appreciation of the exemplary manner in which he had discharged his trust. He was so delighted with the answer he had received that, interrupting the course of his lecture, he read out, to his disciples, both the letter of Mulla Husayn and the written testimony enclosed in that letter. He afterwards shared with them the epistle which he himself had written to Mulla Husayn in recognition of the remarkable service he had rendered him. In it Siyyid Kazim paid such a glowing tribute to his high attainments, to his ability and character that a few among those who heard it suspected that Mulla Husayn was that promised One to whom their master unceasingly referred, the One whom he so often declared to be living in their very midst and yet to have remained unrecognized by them all. That communication enjoined upon Mulla Husayn the fear of God, urged him to regard it as the most potent instrument with which to withstand the onslaught of the enemy, and the distinguishing feature of every true follower of the Faith. It was couched in such terms of tender affection, that no one who read it could doubt that the writer was bidding farewell to his beloved disciple, and that he entertained no hope of ever meeting him again in this world.

In those days Siyyid Kazim became increasingly aware of the approach of the Hour at which the promised One was to be revealed.[1] He realised how dense were those veils that

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hindered the seekers from apprehending the glory of the concealed Manifestation. He accordingly exerted his utmost endeavour to remove gradually, with caution and wisdom, whatever barriers might stand in the way of the full recognition of that Hidden Treasure of God. He repeatedly urged his disciples to bear in mind the fact that He whose advent they were expecting would appear neither from Jabulqa nor from Jabulsa.'[2] He even hinted at His presence in their very midst. "You behold Him with your own eyes," he often observed, "and yet recognize Him not!" To his disciples who questioned him regarding the signs of the Manifestation, he would say: "He is of noble lineage. He is a descendant of the Prophet of God, of the family of Hashim. He is young in age, and is possessed of innate knowledge. His learning is derived, not from the teachings of Shaykh Ahmad, but from God. My knowledge is but a drop compared with the immensity of His knowledge; my attainments a speck of dust in the face of the wonders of His grace and power. Nay, immeasurable is the difference. He is of medium height, abstains from smoking, and is of extreme devoutness and piety."[3] Certain of the Siyyid's disciples, despite the testimonies of their master, believed him to be the promised One, for in him they recognized the signs to which he was alluding. Among them was a certain Mulla Mihdiy-i-Khu'i, who went so far as to make public this belief. Whereupon the Siyyid was sore displeased, and would have cast him out from the company of his chosen followers had he not begged forgiveness and expressed his repentance for his action.

[1 The Báb in this connection reveals the following in the "Dala'il-i-Sab'ih": "That which he was still saying at the time of his last journey, that which you, yourself, have heard, is it not being spoken of? And likewise the account of Mirza Muhammad-i-Akhbari which Abdu'l-Husayn-i-Shushtari relates? Mirza Muhammad-i-Akhbari, while at Kazimayn, one day asked of the venerable Siyyid when the Imam would manifest himself. The Siyyid looked over the assembly and said: 'You will see him.' Mulla Muhammad-Taqiy-i-Haravi also related this incident in Isfahan." ("Le Livre des Sept Preuves," translated by A. L. M. Nicolas, p. 58.)]

[2 See note, at the beginning of the book, on "Distinguishing Features of Shi'ah Islam."]

[3 "There seems to be conclusive evidence that Siyyid Kazim adverted often near the close of life to the divine Manifestation which he believed to be at hand. He was fond of saying, 'I see him as the rising sun.'" (Dr. T. K. Cheyne's the Reconciliation of Races and Religions," p. 19.) ]

Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi, himself, informed me that he too entertained such doubts, that he prayed to God that if his supposition was well founded he should be confirmed in his belief, and if not that he should be delivered from such idle fancy. "I was so perturbed," he once related to me, "that for days I could neither eat nor sleep. My days were spent in the service of Siyyid Kazim, to whom I was greatly attached. One day, at the hour of dawn, I was suddenly

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awakened by Mulla Naw-ruz, one of his intimate attendants, who, in great excitement, bade me arise and follow him. We went to the house of Siyyid Kazim, where we found him fully dressed, wearing his aba, and ready to leave his home. He asked me to accompany him. 'A highly esteemed and distinguished Person,' he said, 'has arrived. I feel it incumbent upon us both to visit Him.' The morning light had just broken when I found myself walking with him through the streets of Karbila. We soon reached a house, at the door of which stood a Youth, as if expectant to receive us. He wore a green turban, and His countenance revealed an expression of humility and kindliness which I can never describe. He quietly approached us, extended His arms towards Siyyid Kazim, and lovingly embraced him. His affability and loving-kindness singularly contrasted with the sense of profound reverence that characterised the attitude of Siyyid Kazim towards him. Speechless and with bowed head, he received the many expressions of affection and esteem with which that Youth greeted him. We were soon led by Him to the upper floor of that house, and entered a chamber bedecked with flowers and redolent of the loveliest perfume. He bade us

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be seated. We knew not, however, what seats we actually occupied, so overpowering was the sense of delight which seized us. We observed a silver cup which had been placed in the centre of the room, which our youthful Host, soon after we were seated, filled to overflowing, and handed to Siyyid Kazim, saying: 'A drink of a pure beverage shall their Lord give them.'[1] Siyyid Kazim held the cup with both hands and quaffed it. A feeling of reverent joy filled his being, a feeling which he could not suppress. I too was presented with a cupful of that beverage, though no words were addressed to me. All that was spoken at that memorable gathering was the above-mentioned verse of the Qur'an. Soon after, the Host arose from His seat and, accompanying us to the threshold of the house, bade us farewell. I was mute with wonder, and knew not how to express the cordiality of His welcome, the dignity of His bearing, the charm of that face, and the delicious fragrance of that beverage. How great was my amazement when I saw my teacher quaff without the least hesitation that holy draught from a silver cup, the use of which, according to the precepts of Islam, is forbidden to the faithful. I could not explain the motive which could have induced the Siyyid to manifest such profound reverence in the presence of that Youth--a reverence which even the sight of the shrine of the Siyyidu'sh-Shuhada' had failed to excite. Three days later, I saw that same Youth arrive and take His seat in the midst of the company of the assembled disciples of Siyyid Kazim. He sat close to the threshold, and with the same modesty and dignity of bearing listened to the discourse of the Siyyid. As soon as his eyes fell upon that Youth, the Siyyid discontinued his address and held his peace. Whereupon one of his disciples begged him to resume the argument which he had left unfinished. 'What more shall I say?' replied Siyyid Kazim, as he turned his face toward the Báb. 'Lo, the Truth is more manifest than the ray of light that has fallen upon that lap!' I immediately observed that the ray to which the Siyyid referred had fallen upon the lap of that same Youth whom we had recently visited. 'Why is it,' that questioner enquired, 'that you neither reveal His name nor identify His

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person?' To this the Siyyid replied by pointing with his finger to his own throat, implying that were he to divulge His name, they both would be put to death instantly. This added still further to my perplexity. I had already heard my teacher observe that so great is the perversity of this generation, that were he to point with his finger to the promised One and say: 'He indeed is the Beloved, the Desire of your hearts and mine,' they would still fail to recognize and acknowledge Him. I saw the Siyyid actually point out with his finger the ray of light that had fallen on that lap, and yet none among those who were present seemed to apprehend

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its meaning. I, for my part, was convinced that the Siyyid himself could never be the promised One, but that a mystery inscrutable to us all, lay concealed in that strange and attractive Youth. Several times I ventured to approach Siyyid Kazim and seek from him an elucidation of this mystery. Every time I approached him, I was overcome by a sense of awe which his personality so powerfully inspired. Many a time I heard him remark: 'O Shaykh Hasan, rejoice that your name is Hasan [praiseworthy]; Hasan your beginning, and Hasan your end. You have been privileged to attain to the day of Shaykh Ahmad, you have been closely associated

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with me, and in the days to come yours shall be the inestimable joy of beholding "what eye hath seen not, ear heard not, nor any heart conceived."'

[1 Qur'an, 76:21.]

"I often felt the urge to seek alone the presence of that Hashimite Youth and to endeavour to fathom His mystery. I watched Him several times as He stood in an attitude of prayer at the doorway of the shrine of the Imam Husayn. So wrapt was He in His devotions that He seemed utterly oblivious of those around Him. Tears rained from His eyes, and from His lips fell words of glorification and praise of such power and beauty as even the noblest passages of our Sacred Scriptures could not hope to surpass. The words 'O God, my God, my Beloved, my heart's Desire' were uttered with a frequency and ardour that those of the visiting pilgrims who were near enough to hear Him instinctively interrupted the course of their devotions, and marvelled at the evidences of piety and veneration which that youthful countenance evinced. Like Him they were moved to tears, and from Him they learned the lesson of true adoration. Having completed His prayers, that Youth, without crossing the threshold of the shrine and without attempting to address any words to those around Him, would quietly return to His home. I felt the impulse to address Him, but every time I ventured an approach, a force that I could neither explain nor resist, detained me. My enquiries about Him elicited the information that He was a resident of Shiraz, that He was a merchant by profession, and did not belong to any of the ecclesiastical orders. I was, moreover, informed that He, and also His uncles and relatives, were among the lovers and admirers of Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim. Soon after, I learned that He had departed for Najaf on His way to Shiraz. That Youth had set my heart aflame. The memory of that vision haunted me. My soul was wedded to His till the day when the call of a Youth from Shiraz, proclaiming Himself to be the Báb, reached my ears. The thought instantly flashed through my mind that such a person could be none other than that selfsame Youth whom I had seen in Karbila, the Youth of my heart's desire.

"When later on I journeyed from Karbila to Shiraz, I found that He had set out on a pilgrimage to Mecca and

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Medina. I met Him on His return and endeavoured, despite the many obstacles in my way, to remain in close association with Him. When subsequently He was incarcerated in the fortress of Mah-Ku, in the province of Adhirbayjan, I was engaged in transcribing the verses which He dictated to His amanuensis. Every night, for a period of nine months, during which He was a prisoner in that fort, He revealed, after He had offered His evening prayer, a commentary on a juz'[1] of the Qur'an. At the end of each month a commentary on the whole of that sacred Book was thus completed. During His incarceration in Mah-Ku, nine commentaries on the whole of the Qur'an had been revealed by Him. The texts of these commentaries were entrusted, in Tabriz, to the keeping of a certain Siyyid Ibrahim-i-Khalil, who was instructed to conceal them until the time for their publication might arrive. Their fate is unknown until now.

[1 A juz' is one-thirtieth of the Qur'an.]

"In connection with one of these commentaries, the Báb one day asked me: 'Which do you prefer, this commentary which I have revealed, or the Ahsanu'l-Qisas, My previous commentary on the Surih of Joseph? Which of the two is superior, in your estimation?' 'To me,' I replied, 'the Ahsanu'l-Qisas seems to be endowed with greater power and charm.' He smiled at my observation and said: 'You are as yet unfamiliar with the tone and tenor of this later commentary. The truths enshrined in this will more speedily and effectively enable the seeker to attain the object of his quest.'

"I continued to be closely associated with Him until that great encounter of Shaykh Tabarsi. When informed of that event, the Báb directed all His companions to hasten to that spot, and extend every assistance in their power to Quddus, His heroic and distinguished disciple. Addressing me one day, He said: 'But for My incarceration in the Jabal-i-Shadid, the fortress of Chihriq, it would have been incumbent upon Me to lend My personal assistance to My beloved Quddus. Participation in that struggle is not enjoined upon you. You should proceed to Karbila and should abide in that holy city, inasmuch as you are destined to behold, with your own eyes, the beauteous countenance of the promised Husayn. As you gaze upon that radiant face, do also remember

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Me. Convey to Him the expression of My loving devotion.' He again emphatically added these words: 'Verily I say, I have entrusted you with a great mission. Beware lest your heart grow faint, lest you forget the glory with which I have invested you.'

"Soon after, I journeyed to Karbila and lived, as bidden, in that holy city. Fearing that my prolonged stay in that centre of pilgrimage might excite suspicion, I decided to marry. I started to earn my livelihood as a scribe. What afflictions befell me at the hands of the Shaykhis, those who professed to be the followers of Shaykh Ahmad and yet failed to recognize the Báb! Mindful of the counsels of that beloved Youth, I patiently submitted to the indignities inflicted upon me. For two years I lived in that city. Meanwhile that holy Youth was released from His earthly prison and, through His martyrdom, was delivered from the atrocious cruelties that had beset the closing years of His life.

"Sixteen lunar months, less twenty and two days, had elapsed since the day of the martyrdom of the Báb, when, on the day of Arafih,[1] in the year 1267 A.H.,[2] while I was passing by the gate of the inner courtyard of the shrine of the Imam Husayn, my eyes, for the first time, fell upon Bahá'u'lláh. What shall I recount regarding the countenance which I beheld! The beauty of that face, those exquisite features which no pen or brush dare describe, His penetrating glance, His kindly face, the majesty of His bearing, the sweetness of His smile, the luxuriance of His jet-black flowing locks, left an indelible impression upon my soul. I was then an old man, bowed with age. How lovingly He advanced towards me! He took me by the hand and, in a tone which at once betrayed power and beauty, addressed me in these words: 'This very day I have purposed to make you known as a Babi throughout Karbila.' Still holding my hand in His, He continued to converse with me. He walked with me all along the market-street, and in the end He said: 'Praise be to God that you have remained in Karbila, and have beheld with your own eyes the countenance of the promised Husayn.' I recalled instantly the promise which had been given me by

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the Báb. His words, which I had regarded as referring to a remote future, I had not shared with anyone. These words of Bahá'u'lláh moved me to the depths of my being. I felt impelled to proclaim to a heedless people, at that very moment and with all my soul and power, the advent of the promised Husayn. He bade me, however, repress my feelings and conceal my emotions. 'Not yet,' He breathed into my ears; 'the appointed Hour is approaching. It has not yet struck. Rest assured and be patient.' From that moment all my sorrows vanished. My soul was flooded with joy. In those days I was so poor that most of the time I hungered for food. I felt so rich, however, that all the treasures of the earth melted away into nothingness when compared with that which I already possessed. 'Such is the grace of God; to whom He will, He giveth it: He, verily, is of immense bounty.'"

[1 The ninth day of the month of Dhi'l-Hijjih.]
[2 October 5, 1851 A.D.]

I now return, after this digression, to my theme. I had been referring to the eagerness with which Siyyid Kazim had determined to rend asunder those veils which intervened between the people of his day and the recognition of the promised Manifestation. In the introductory pages of his works, entitled Sharh-i-Qasidih and Sharh-i-Khutbih,[1] he, in veiled language, alludes to the blessed name of Bahá'u'lláh. In a booklet, the last he wrote, he explicitly mentions the name of the Báb by his reference to the term "Dhikru'llah-i-A'zam." In it he writes: "Addressing this noble 'Dhikr,'[2] this mighty voice of God, I say: 'I am apprehensive of the people, lest they harm you. I am apprehensive of my own self, lest I too may hurt you. I fear you, I tremble at your authority, I dread the age in which you live. Were I to treasure you "

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as the apple of my eye until the Day of Resurrection, I would not sufficiently have proved my devotion to you.'"[3]

[1 Chapter 2 of A. L. M. Nicolas' "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," II, is entirely devoted to a detailed enumeration of the hundred and thirty-five works composed by Siyyid Kazim, among which the following are of outstanding interest:

1. Sharh-i-Khutbiy-i-Tutunjiyyih.
2. Sharh-i-Qasidih.
3. Tafsirih Ayatu'l-Kursi.
4. Dar Asrar-i-Shihihadat-i-Imam Husayn.
5. Cosmography.
6. Dalilu'l-Mutahayyirin.

His works are said to exceed 300 volumes. ("A Traveller's Narrative," Note E, p. 238.)]

[2 "Dhikr" means "mention," "remembrance.]

[3 A. L. M. Nicolas quotes in Chapter 3 of his "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," II, p. 43, the following extract from the Sharh-i-Qasidih of Siyyid Kazim: "I have announced that every hundred years there are a chosen few who spread and sow the precepts which explain that which is lawful and that which is unlawful; who tell of the things that were hidden during the hundred preceding years. In other words, in every century a learned and perfect man is found who causes the tree of religious law to revive and bloom; who regenerates its trunk to such an extent that at last the book of Creation comes to its end in a period of twelve hundred years. At that moment, a certain number of perfect men will appear who will reveal certain very intimate things which were hidden.... Therefore, when the twelve hundred years will have been completed, when the first cycle is ended, which depended upon the appearance of the Sun of the Prophet and of the Moon of the Vilayat, then the influence of that cycle is ended and a second cycle begins in which the intimate precepts and hidden meanings of the former cycle are explained." He himself then adds these words: "In other words, and in order to render clearer this amazing statement which truly needs no interpretation, Siyyid Kazim tells us that the first cycle which lasts twelve hundred years is solely for the education of the bodies and of the spirits which are dependent upon them. It is like a child in the womb of the mother. The second cycle is for the education of the pure spirits, the souls which have no relation to the world of matter. It is as though God wished to elevate the spirit by means of the performance of its duty in this world. Therefore, when the first cycle is completed, the glory of which is the name of Muhammad, comes the cycle of the education of the intimates. In this cycle the appearances obey the intimates, just as in the preceding cycle the heavenly name of the Prophet, which is Ahmad, is the place of the appearance, the Master: 'But this name must necessarily be found to be of the fruit of the best soil and of the purest air.'" Nicolas further adds in a footnote the following words: "The name of Ahmad mentioned above would lead one to believe that it refers to Shaykh Ahmad, but one cannot say, however, in speaking of Lahca, that it is the best of lands, or of the purest air. We know, on the contrary, that all the Persian poets sing the praises of Shiraz and of its ideal climate. It is only necessary to see what Shaykh Ahmad himself said of his country."]

How grievously Siyyid Kazim suffered at the hands of the people of wickedness! What harm that villainous generation inflicted upon him! For years he suffered silently, and endured with heroic patience all the indignities, the calumnies, the denunciations that were heaped upon him. He was destined, however, to witness, during the last years of his life, how the avenging hand of God "destroyed with utter destruction" those that opposed, vilified, and plotted against him. In those days the followers of Siyyid Ibrahim, that notorious enemy of Siyyid Kazim, banded themselves together for the purpose of stirring up sedition and mischief and endangering the life of their formidable adversary. By every means at their disposal, they sought to poison the minds of his admirers and friends, to undermine his authority, and to discredit his name. No voice was raised in protest against the agitation that was being sedulously prepared by that ungodly and treacherous people, each of whom professed to be the exponent of true learning and the repository of the mysteries of the

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Faith of God. No one sought to warn or awaken them. They gathered such force and kindled such strife that they succeeded in evicting from Karbila, in a disgraceful manner, the representative official of the Ottoman government, and appropriated for their own sordid aims whatever revenues accrued to him. Their menacing attitude aroused the central government at Constantinople, which despatched a military official to the scene of agitation, with full instructions to quench the fires of mischief. With the force at his command, that official besieged the city, and despatched a communication to Siyyid Kazim in which he entreated him to pacify the minds of the excited populace. He appealed to him to counsel moderation to its inhabitants, to induce them to relax their stubbornness, and to surrender voluntarily to his rule. Were they to heed his counsels, he promised that he would undertake to ensure their safety and protection, would proclaim a general amnesty, and would strive to promote their welfare. If they refused, however, to submit, he warned them that their lives would be in danger, that a great calamity would surely befall them.

Upon the receipt of this formal communication, Siyyid Kazim summoned to his presence the chief instigators of the movement, and, with the utmost wisdom and affection, exhorted them to cease their agitation and surrender their arms. He spoke with such persuasive eloquence, such sincerity and detachment, that their hearts were softened and their resistance was subdued. They solemnly undertook to throw open, the next morning, the gates of the citadel and to present themselves, in the company of Siyyid Kazim, to the officer in command of the besieging forces. It was agreed that the Siyyid would intervene in their behalf, and secure for them whatever would ensure their tranquillity and welfare. No sooner had they left the presence of the Siyyid than the ulamas, the chief instigators of the rebellion, unanimously arose to frustrate this plan. Fully aware that such intervention on the part of the Siyyid, who had already excited their envy, would serve to enhance his prestige and consolidate his authority, they determined to persuade a number among the foolish and excitable elements of the population to sally forth at night and attack the forces of the enemy. They assured

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them of victory on the strength of a dream in which one of their members had seen Abbas,[1] who had charged him to incite his followers to wage holy war against the besiegers and had given him the promise of ultimate success.

[1 Brother of the Imam Husayn.]

Deluded by this vain promise, they rejected the advice tendered by that wise and judicious counsellor, and arose to execute the designs of their foolish leaders. Siyyid Kazim, who was well aware of the evil influence that actuated that revolt, addressed a detailed and faithful report on the situation to the Turkish commander, who again wrote to Siyyid Kazim and reiterated his appeal for a peaceful settlement of the issue. He, moreover, declared that at a given time he would force the gates of the citadel, and would regard the home of the Siyyid as the only place of refuge for a defeated enemy. This declaration the Siyyid caused to be spread throughout the city. It served only to excite the derision and contempt of the population. When informed of the reception accorded that declaration, the Siyyid remarked: "Verily, that with which they are threatened is for the morning. Is not the morning near?"[2]

[2 Qur'an, 11:81.]

At daybreak, the appointed hour, the forces of the enemy bombarded the ramparts of the citadel, demolished its walls, entered the city, and pillaged and massacred a considerable number of its population. Many fled in consternation to the courtyard of the shrine of the Imam Husayn. Others sought refuge in the sanctuary of Abbas. Those who loved and honoured Siyyid Kazim betook themselves to his home. So great was the crowd that hastened to the shelter of his residence, that it was found necessary to appropriate a number of the adjoining houses in order to accommodate the multitude of refugees who pressed at his doors. So vast and excited was the concourse that thronged his house, that when once the tumult had subsided, it was ascertained that no less than twenty-two persons had been trampled to death.

What consternation seized the residents and visitors of the holy city! With what severity did the victors treat their terrified enemy! With what audacity they ignored those sacred rights and prerogatives with which the piety of countless Muslim pilgrims had invested the holy sites of Karbila!

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They refused to recognize alike the shrine of the Imam Husayn and the sacred mausoleum of Abbas as inviolable sanctuaries for the thousands who fled before the avenging wrath of an alien people. The hallowed precincts of both these shrines ran with the blood of the victims. One place, and only one, could assert its right of sanctuary to the innocent and faithful among the population. That place was the residence of Siyyid Kazim. His house, with its dependencies, was regarded as being endowed with such sanctity as even the most hallowed shrine of shi'ah Islam had failed to retain. That strange manifestation of the avenging wrath of God was an object lesson to those who were inclined to belittle the station of that holy man. That memorable event [1] happened on the eighth of Dhi'l-Hijjih in the year 1258 A.H.[2]

[1 A. L. M. Nicolas, in his "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," II, pp. 29-30, describes the event as follows: "It was in the year 1258 (1842) that this event took place, on the day of the Feast of Qadr. The armies of Baghdad, under the leadership of Najib Pasha, took possession of Karbila whose inhabitants they massacred and whose rich Mosques they pillaged. About nine thousand people were killed, the majority of whom were Persians. Muhammad Shah was seriously ill at the time of this disaster and therefore his officials had kept the news from him. "When the Shah heard later on of these events, he grew furiously angry and swore fierce vengeance, but the Russian and English representatives intervened in order to quiet things. Finally Mirza Ja'far Khan Mushiru'd-Dawlih, on return from his ambassadorship at Constantinople, was sent to Erzeroum there to meet the English, Russian and Ottoman delegates. "Having arrived at Tabriz, the Persian plenipotentiary fell ill and Haji Mirza Aqasi appointed in his place Mirza Taqi Khan-i-Farahani, Vazir Nizam: this man appeared in Erzeroum with two hundred officers. "The Turkish delegate was Anvar Effendi who showed himself both courteous and conciliatory, but one of the men of the Amir Nizam committed an offense against the Sunnite religion; the population then attacked the camp of the Ambassador, two or three Persians were killed, everything was pillaged and the Amir Nizam was saved only through the intervention of Badri Pasha. "The Turkish Government expressed regret and paid an indemnity of 15,000 tumans. "In his Hidayatut-Talibin, Karim Khan asserts that during the sack of Karbila, the victorious troops respected the homes of the Shaykhis. All those, he said, who sought refuge in them were saved, together with many precious objects which were gathered there. None of the companions of Siyyid Kazim were killed, while those who had sought refuge in the holy sepulchres were massacred without mercy. It is said that the Pasha entered on horseback within the sacred precincts."

[2 January 10, 1843 A.D.]

It is admittedly evident that in every age and dispensation those whose mission it is either to proclaim the Truth or to prepare the way for its acceptance, have invariably been opposed by a number of powerful adversaries, who challenged their authority and attempted to pervert their teachings. These have, either by fraud or pretence, calumny or oppression, succeeded for a time in beguiling the uninformed and in

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misleading the feeble. Desirous of maintaining their hold over the thoughts and consciences of men, they have, so long as the Faith of God remained concealed, been able to enjoy the fruits of a fleeting and precarious ascendancy. No sooner was the Faith proclaimed, however, than they found, to their utter dismay, the effects of their dark plottings pale before the dawning light of the new Day of God. Before the fierce rays of that rising Orb all their machinations and evil deeds faded into nothingness and were soon a thing forgotten.

Around Siyyid Kazim were likewise gathered a number of vain and ignoble people who feigned devotion and attachment to his person; who professed to be devout and pious, and who claimed to be the sole repositories of the mysteries enshrined in the utterances of Shaykh Ahmad and his successor. They occupied the seats of honour in the company of the assembled disciples of Siyyid Kazim. To them he addressed his discourse, and towards them he showed marked consideration and courtesy. And yet he often, in covert and subtle phrases, I alluded to their blindness, their vainglory and utter inaptitude for the apprehension of the mysteries of Divine utterance. Among his allusions were the following: "None can comprehend my language except him who is begotten of me." Oftentimes he quoted this saying: "I am spellbound by the vision. I am mute with wonder, and behold the world bereft of the power of hearing. I am powerless to divulge the mystery, and find the people incapable of bearing its weight." On another occasion he remarked: "Many are those who claim to have attained union with the Beloved, and yet that Beloved refuses to acknowledge their claim. By the tears which he sheds for his loved One can the true lover be distinguished from the false." Many a time he observed: "He who is destined to be made manifest after me is of pure lineage, of illustrious descent, of the seed of Fatimih. He is of medium height, and is free from bodily deficiency."[1]

[1 A. L. M. Nicolas, in his "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," Il, pp. 60-61, gives the following extract from the writings of Siyyid Kazim: "You have understood, I think, that the religious law and the precepts of morality are the food of the Spirit. It is then necessary that these religious laws be diverse; it is necessary that sometimes the older regulations be annulled; it is necessary that these precepts contain some things which are doubtful and some things which are certain; some things general and some things specific; some things absolute and some things finite; some of appearances and some of inner realities, so that the child may reach adolescence and may be perfect in his power and his capacity. "It is, at that time, that the Qa'im will appear and after his manifestation the length of his days will come to an end and he will be martyred, and when he is martyred, the world will have reached its eighteenth year.]"

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I have heard Shaykh Abu-Turab [1] recount the following: "I, together with a number of the disciples of Siyyid Kazim, regarded the allusions to these deficiencies, from which the Siyyid declared the promised One to be free, as specifically directed toward three individuals amongst our fellow-disciples. We even designated them by such appellations as indicated their bodily defects. One of them was Haji Mirza Karim Khan,[2] son of Ibrahim Khan-i-Qajar-i-Kirmani, who was both one-eyed and sparsely bearded. Another was Mirza Hasan-i-Gawhar, an exceptionally corpulent man. The third was Mirza Muhit-i-Sha'ir-i-Kirmani, who was extraordinarily lean and tall. We felt convinced that these were none other than those to whom the Siyyid constantly alluded as those vain and faithless people who would eventually reveal their real selves, and betray their ingratitude and folly. As to Haji Mirza Karim Khan, who for years sat at the feet of Siyyid Kazim and acquired from him all his so-called learning, in the end he obtained leave from his master to settle in Kirman, and there engage in the promotion of the interests of Islam and the dissemination of those traditions that clustered round the sacred memory of the Imams of the Faith.

[1 According to Samandar (p. 32), Shaykh Abu-Turab was a native of Ishhtihad, and ranked among the leading disciples of Siyyid Kazim. He married the sister of Mulla Husayn. He died while in prison in Tihran.]

[2 "The Báb wrote to Haji Muhammad-Karim Khan ... and invited him to acknowledge his authority. This the latter not only entirely refused to do, but further wrote a treatise against the Báb and his doctrines." (P. 910.) "At least two such treatises were written by Haji Muhammad-Karim Khan. One of them was composed at a later date than this, probably after the Báb's death, at the special request of Nasiri'd-Din Shah. Of these two one has been printed, and is called 'the crushing of falsehood' (Izhaqu'l-Batil)." (Footnote 1, p. 910.) (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1889, article 12.)

"I was present in the library of Siyyid Kazim when, one day, an attendant of Haji Mirza Karim Khan arrived, holding a book in his hand, which he presented to the Siyyid on behalf of his master, requesting him to peruse it and to signify in his own handwriting his approval of its contents. The Siyyid read portions of that book, and returned it to the attendant with this message: 'Tell your master that he, better than anyone else, can estimate the value of his own book.' The attendant had retired when the Siyyid, with sorrowful voice, remarked: 'Accursed be he! For years he has been associated with me, and now that he intends to depart, his one aim, after so many years of study and companionship,

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is to diffuse, through his book, such heretical and atheistic doctrines as he now wishes me to endorse. He has covenanted with a number of self-seeking hypocrites with the view of establishing himself in Kirman, and in order to assume, after my departure from this world, the reins of undisputed leadership. How grievously he erred in his judgment! For the breeze of divine Revelation, wafted from the Day-Spring of guidance, will assuredly quench his light and destroy his influence. The tree of his endeavour will eventually yield naught but the fruit of bitter disillusion and gnawing remorse. Verily I say, you shall behold this with your own eyes. My prayer for you is that you may be protected from the mischievous influence which he, the antichrist of the promised Revelation, will in future exercise.' He bade me conceal this prediction until the Day of Resurrection, the Day when the Hand of Omnipotence will have disclosed the secrets which are now hidden within the breasts of men. 'On that Day,' he exhorted me, 'arise with unswerving purpose and determination for the triumph of the Faith of God. Publish far and wide all that you have heard and witnessed.'" This same Shaykh Abu-Turab, who in the early days of the Dispensation proclaimed by the Báb thought it wiser and better not to identify himself with His Cause, cherished in his heart the fondest love for the revealed Manifestation, and in his faith remained firm and immovable as the rock. Eventually that smouldering fire blazed forth in his soul and was responsible for such behaviour on his part as to cause him to suffer imprisonment in Tihran, in the same dungeon within which Bahá'u'lláh was confined. He remained steadfast to the very end, and crowned a life of loving sacrifice with the glory of martyrdom.

And as the days of Siyyid Kazim drew to a close, he, whenever he met his disciples, whether in private converse or public discourse, exhorted them, saying: "O my beloved companions! Beware, beware, lest after me the world's fleeting vanities beguile you. Beware lest you wax haughty and forgetful of God. It is incumbent upon you to renounce all comfort, all earthly possessions and kindred, in your quest of Him who is the Desire of your hearts and of mine. Scatter far and wide, detach yourselves from all earthly things, and

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humbly and prayerfully beseech your Lord to sustain and guide you. Never relax in your determination to seek and find Him who is concealed behind the veils of glory. Persevere till the time when He, who is your true Guide and Master, will graciously aid you and enable you to recognize Him. Be firm till the day when He will choose you as the companions and the heroic supporters of the promised Qa'im. Well is it with every one of you who will quaff the cup of martyrdom in His path. Those of you whom God, in His wisdom, will preserve and keep to witness the setting of the Star of Divine guidance, that Harbinger of the Sun of Divine Revelation, must needs be patient, must remain assured and steadfast. Such ones amongst you must neither falter nor feel dismayed. For soon after the first trumpet-blast which is to smite the earth with extermination and death, there shall be sounded again yet another call, at which all things will be quickened and revived. Then will the meaning of these sacred verses be revealed: 'And there was a blast on the trumpet, and all who are in the heavens and all who are in the earth expired, save those whom God permitted to live. Then was there sounded another blast, and, lo! arising, they gazed around them. And the earth shone with the light of her Lord, and the Book was set, and the Prophets were brought up, and the witnesses; and judgment was given between them with equity; and none was wronged.'[1] Verily I say, after the Qa'im the Qayyum [2] will be made manifest. For

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when the star of the Former has set, the sun of the beauty of Husayn will rise and illuminate the whole world. Then will be unfolded in all its glory the 'mystery' and the 'secret' spoken of by Shaykh Ahmad, who has said: 'The mystery of this Cause must needs be made manifest, and the secret of this Message must needs be divulged.' To have attained unto that Day of days is to have attained unto the crowning glory of past generations, and one goodly deed performed in that age is equal to the pious worship of countless centuries. How often has that venerable soul, Shaykh Ahmad, recited those verses of the Qur'an already referred to! What stress he laid upon their significance as foreshadowing the advent of those twin Revelations which are to follow each other in rapid succession, and each of which is destined to suffuse the world with all its glory! How many times did he exclaim: 'Well is it with him who will recognize their significance and behold their splendour!' How often, addressing me, did he remark: 'Neither of us shall live to gaze upon their effulgent glory. But many of the faithful among your disciples shall witness the Day which we, alas, can never hope to behold!' O my beloved companions! How great, how very great, is the Cause! How exalted the station to which I summon you! How great the mission for which I have trained and prepared you! Gird up the loins of endeavour, and fix your gaze upon His promise. I pray to God graciously to assist you to weather the storms of tests and trials which must needs beset you, to enable you to emerge, unscathed and triumphant, from their midst, and to lead you to your high destiny."

[1 Qur'an, 39:68.]

[2 References to the Báb and to Bahá'u'lláh, respectively.]

Every year, in the month of Dhi'l-Qa'dih, the Siyyid would proceed from Karbila to Kazimayn [1] in order to visit the shrines of the imams. He would return to Karbila in time to visit, on the day of Arafih, the shrine of the Imam Husayn. In that year, the last year of his life, he, faithful to his custom, departed from Karbila in the first days of the month of Dhi'l-Qa'dih, in the year 1259 A.H.,[2] accompanied by a number of his companions and friends. On the fourth day of that month he arrived at the Masjid-i-Baratha, situated

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on the highway between Baghdad and Kazimayn, in time to offer up his noonday prayer. He bade the Muadhdhin summon the faithful to gather and pray. Standing beneath the shade of a palm which faced the masjid, he joined the congregation, and had just concluded his devotions when an Arab suddenly appeared, approached the Siyyid, and embraced him. "Three days ago," he said, "I was shepherding my flock in this adjoining pasture, when sleep suddenly fell upon me. In my dream I saw Muhammad, the Apostle of God, who addressed me in these words: 'Give ear, O shepherd, to My words, and treasure them within your heart. For these words of Mine are the trust of God which I commit to your keeping. If you be faithful to them, great will be your reward. If you neglect them, grievous retribution will befall you. Hear Me; this is the trust with which I charge you: Stay within the precincts of the Masjid-i-Baratha. On the third day after this dream, a scion of My house, Siyyid Kazim by name, will, accompanied by his friends and companions,

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alight, at the hour of noon, beneath the shadow of the palm in the vicinity of the masjid. There he will offer his prayer. As soon as your eyes fall upon him, seek his presence and convey to him My loving greetings. Tell him, from Me: "Rejoice, for the hour of your departure is at hand. When you shall have performed your visits in Kazimayn and shall have returned to Karbila, there, three days after your return, on the day of Arafih, [3] you will wing your flight to Me. Soon after shall He who is the Truth be made manifest. Then

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shall the world be illuminated by the light of His face."'" A smile wreathed the countenance of Siyyid Kazim upon the completion of the description of the dream related by that shepherd. He said: "Of the truth of the dream which you have dreamt there is no doubt." His companions were sorely grieved. Turning to them, he said: "Is not your love for me for the sake of that true One whose advent we all await? Would you not wish me to die, that the promised One may be revealed?" This episode, in its entirety, has been related to me by no less than ten persons, all of whom were present on that occasion, and who testified to its accuracy. And yet many of those who witnessed with their own eyes such marvellous signs have rejected the Truth and repudiated His Message!

[1 The tombs of "the two Kazims," the seventh Imam Musa Kazim and the ninth Imam Muhammad-Taqi, about three miles north of Baghdad. Around them has grown up a considerable town, inhabited chiefly by Persians, known as "Kazimayn."]

[2 November 23--December 23, 1843 A.D.
[3 December 31, 1843 A.D.

This strange event was noised abroad. It brought sadness to the heart of the true lovers of Siyyid Kazim. To these he, with infinite tenderness and joy, addressed words of cheer and comfort. He calmed their troubled hearts, fortified their faith, and inflamed their zeal. With dignity and calm he completed his pilgrimage and returned to Karbila. The very day of his arrival he fell ill, and was confined to bed. His enemies spread the rumour that he had been poisoned by the Governor of Baghdad. This was sheer calumny and downright falsehood, inasmuch as the Governor himself had placed his unqualified confidence in Siyyid Kazim, and had always regarded him as a highly talented leader endowed with keen perception and possessed of irreproachable character.[1] On the day of Arafih, in the year 1259 A.H., at the ripe age of sixty, Siyyid Kazim, in accordance with the vision of that lowly shepherd, bade farewell to this world, leaving behind him a band of earnest and devoted disciples who, purged of all worldly desire, set out in quest of their promised Beloved. His sacred remains were interred within the precincts of the shrine of the Imam Husayn.[2] His passing raised

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a tumult in Karbila similar to the agitation that seized its people the preceding year,[3] on the eve of the day of Arafih, when the victorious enemy forced the gates of the citadel and massacred a considerable number of its besieged inhabitants. A year before, on that day, his house had been the one haven of peace and security for the bereaved and homeless, whereas now it had become a house of sorrow where those whom he had befriended and succoured bewailed his passing and mourned his loss.[4]

[1 "Karim Khan, regarding the taking of Karbila, speaks emphatically of the respect which the attacking troops showed to the Shaykhis and to Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti. He declares, without the least hesitation, that it is very likely that Siyyid Kazim was poisoned in Baghdad by this infamous Najib Pasha who, he says, gave him a potion to drink which caused such intense thirst that it brought about the death of Siyyid Kazim. It is thus that the Persians record history!" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," II, pp. 30-31.)]

[2 "He was buried behind the window in the corridor of the tomb of the Lord of the Confessors. This tomb was built on an incline toward the interior of the forbidden precincts." (Ibid., p. 31.)]

[3 "During the lifetime of Siyyid Kazim, the doctrine of the Shaykhis spread over all Persia so well that in the Province of Iraq alone there were more than a hundred thousand murids." (Journal Asiatique, 1866, tome 7, p. 463.)

[4 "Here ends the history of the establishment of Shaykhism, or at least of its unity, for, after the death of Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti, it became divided into two branches. One branch, under the name of Babism, flowered as foreshadowed by the strength of the movement created by Shaykh Ahmad, thus fulfilling the expectations of the two masters, if one may believe their predictions. The other, under the leadership of Karim Khan-i-Qajar-i-Kirmani, will continue its struggles against the Shiite sect, but will always seek security in affecting the outer appearance Ithna-'Asharisme. If, according to Karim Khan, the Báb and his followers are infamous and impious, for the Bábis, Karim Khan is the Anti-Christ or Dajjal foretold by Muhammad." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," II, p. 31.) ]

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CHAPTER III
THE DECLARATION OF THE BAB'S MISSION

THE death of Siyyid Kazim was the signal for renewed activity on the part of his enemies. Athirst for leadership, and emboldened by his removal and the consequent dismay of his followers, they reasserted their claims and prepared to realise their ambitions. For a time, fear and anxiety filled the hearts of Siyyid Kazim's faithful disciples, but with the return of Mulla Husayn-i-Bushru'i from the highly successful mission with which he had been entrusted by his teacher, their gloom was dispelled. [1]

[ 1 "Mulla Husayn-i-Bushru'i was a man whose great learning and strength of character were acknowledged even by his enemies. He had devoted himself to study from early childhood and his progress in theology and jurisprudence had won him no little consideration." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 128.)]

It was on the first day of Muharram, in the year 1260 A.H.,[1] that Mulla Husayn came back to Karbila. He cheered and strengthened the disconsolate disciples of his beloved chief, reminded them of his unfailing promise, and pleaded for unrelaxing vigilance and unremitting effort in their search for the concealed Beloved. Living in the close neighbourhood of the house the Siyyid had occupied, he, for three days, was engaged continually in receiving visits from a considerable number of mourners who hastened to convey to him, as the leading representative of the Siyyid's disciples, the expression of their distress and sorrow. He afterwards summoned a group of his most distinguished and trusted fellow-disciples and enquired about the expressed wishes and the last exhortations of their departed leader. They told him that, repeatedly and emphatically, Siyyid Kazim had bidden them quit their homes, scatter far and wide, purge their hearts from every idle desire, and dedicate themselves to the quest of Him to whose advent he had so often alluded. "He told us," they said, "that the Object of our quest was now

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revealed. The veils that intervened between you and Him are such as only you can remove by your devoted search. Nothing short of prayerful endeavour, of purity of motive, of singleness of mind, will enable you to tear them asunder. Has not God revealed in His Book: 'Whoso maketh efforts for Us, in Our ways will We guide them'?"[2] "Why, then," Mulla Husayn observed, "have you chosen to tarry in Karbila? Why is it that you have not dispersed, and arisen to carry out his earnest plea?" "We acknowledge our failure," was their reply; "to your greatness we all bear witness. Such is our confidence in you, that if you claim to be the promised One, we shall all readily and unquestionably submit. We herein pledge our loyalty and obedience to whatever you bid us perform." "God forbid!" exclaimed Mulla Husayn. "Far be it from His glory that I, who am but dust, should be compared to Him who is the Lord of Lords! Had you been conversant with the tone and language of Siyyid Kazim, you never would have uttered such words. Your first obligation, as well as mine, is to arise and carry out, both in the spirit and in the letter, the dying message of our beloved chief." He arose instantly from his seat, and went directly to Mirza Hasan-i-Gawhar, Mirza Muhit, and other well-known figures among the disciples of Siyyid Kazim. To each and all he fearlessly delivered the parting message of his chief, emphasised the pressing character of their duty, and urged them to arise and fulfil it. To his plea they returned evasive and unworthy answers. "Our enemies," one of them remarked, "are many and powerful. We must remain in this city and guard the vacant seat of our departed chief." Another observed: "It is incumbent upon me to stay and care for the children whom the Siyyid has left behind." Mulla Husayn immediately recognized the futility of his efforts. Realising the degree of their folly, their blindness and ingratitude, he spoke to them no more. He retired, leaving them to their idle pursuits.

[1 January, 22, 1844 A.D.]
[2 Qur'an, 29:69.]

As the year sixty, the year that witnessed the birth of the promised Revelation, had just dawned upon the world, it would not seem inappropriate, at this juncture, to digress from our theme, and to mention certain traditions of Muhammad

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and of the imams of the Faith which bear specific reference to that year. Imam Ja'far, son of Muhammad, when questioned concerning the year in which the Qa'im was to be made manifest, replied as follows: "Verily, in the year sixty His Cause shall be revealed, and His name shall be noised abroad." In the works of the learned and far-famed Muhyi'd-Din-i-'Arabi, many references are to be found regarding both the year of the advent and the name of the promised Manifestation. Among them are the following: "The ministers and upholders of His Faith shall be of the people of Persia." "In His name, the name of the Guardian [Ali] precedeth that of the Prophet [Muhammad]." "The year of His Revelation is identical with half of that number which is divisible by nine [2520]." Mirza Muhammad-i-Akhbari, in his poems relating to the year of the Manifestation,

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makes the following prediction: "In the year Ghars [the numerical value of the letters of which is 1260] the earth shall be illumined by His light, and in Gharasih [1265] the world shall be suffused with its glory. If thou livest until the year Gharasi [1270], thou shalt witness how the nations, the rulers, the peoples, and the Faith of God shall all have been renewed." In a tradition ascribed to the Imam Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, it is likewise recorded: "In Ghars the Tree of Divine guidance shall be planted."

Mulla Husayn, having acquitted himself of the obligation he felt to urge and awaken his fellow-disciples, set out from Karbila for Najaf. With him were Muhammad-Hasan, his brother, and Muhammad-Baqir, his nephew, both of whom had accompanied him ever since his visit to his native town of Bushruyih, in the province of Khurasan. Arriving at the Masjid-i-Kufih, Mulla Husayn decided to spend forty days in that place, where he led a life of retirement and prayer. By his fasts and vigils he prepared himself for the holy adventure upon which he was soon to embark. In the exercise of these acts of worship, his brother alone was associated with him, while his nephew, who attended to their daily needs, observed the fasts, and in his hours of leisure joined them in their devotions.

This cloistered calm with which they were surrounded was, after a few days, unexpectedly interrupted by the arrival of Mulla Aliy-i-Bastami, one of the foremost disciples of Siyyid Kazim. He, together with twelve other companions, arrived at the Masjid-i-Kufih, where he found his fellow-disciple Mulla Husayn immersed in contemplation and prayer. Mulla Ali was endowed with such vast learning, and was so deeply conversant with the teachings of Shaykh Ahmad, that many regarded him as even superior to Mulla Husayn. On several occasions he attempted to enquire from Mulla Husayn as to his destination after the termination of the period of his retirement. Every time he approached him, he found him so wrapt in his devotions that he felt it impossible to venture a question. He soon decided to retire, like him, for forty days from the society of men. All his companions followed his example with the exception of three who acted as their personal attendants.

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Immediately after the completion of his forty days' retirement, Mulla Husayn, together with his two companions, departed for Najaf. He left Karbila by night, visited on his way the shrine of Najaf, and proceeded directly to Bushihr, on the Persian Gulf. There he started on his holy quest after the Beloved of his heart's desire. There, for the first time, he inhaled the fragrance of Him who, for years, had led in that city the life of a merchant and humble citizen.

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There he perceived the sweet savours of holiness with which that Beloved's countless invocations had so richly impregnated the atmosphere of that city.

He could not, however, tarry longer in Bushihr. Drawn as if by a magnet which seemed to attract him irresistibly towards the north, he proceeded to Shiraz. Arriving at the gate of that city, he instructed his brother and his nephew to proceed directly to the Masjid-i-Ilkhani, and there to remain until his arrival. He expressed the hope that, God willing, he would arrive in time to join them in their evening prayer.

On that very day, a few hours before sunset, whilst walking outside the gate of the city, his eyes fell suddenly upon a Youth of radiant countenance, who wore a green turban and who, advancing towards him, greeted him with a smile of loving welcome. He embraced Mulla Husayn with tender affection as though he had been his intimate and lifelong friend. Mulla Husayn thought Him at first to be a disciple of Siyyid Kazim who, on being informed of his approach to Shiraz, had come out to welcome him.

Mirza Ahmad-i-Qazvini, the martyr, who on several occasions had heard Mulla Husayn recount to the early believers the story of his moving and historic interview with the Báb, related to me the following: "I have heard Mulla Husayn repeatedly and graphically describe the circumstances of that remarkable interview: 'The Youth who met me outside the gate of Shiraz overwhelmed me with expressions of affection and loving-kindness. He extended to me a warm invitation to visit His home, and there refresh myself after the fatigues of my journey. I prayed to be excused, pleading that my

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two companions had already arranged for my stay in that city, and were now awaiting my return. "Commit them to the care of God," was His reply; "He will surely protect and watch over them." Having spoken these words, He bade me follow Him. I was profoundly impressed by the gentle yet compelling manner in which that strange Youth spoke to me. As I followed Him, His gait, the charm of His voice, the dignity of His bearing, served to enhance my first impressions of this unexpected meeting.

"'We soon found ourselves standing at the gate of a house of modest appearance. He knocked at the door, which was soon opened by an Ethiopian servant. "Enter therein in peace, secure,"[1] were His words as He crossed the threshold

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and motioned me to follow Him. His invitation, uttered with power and majesty, penetrated my soul. I thought it a good augury to be addressed in such words, standing as I did on the threshold of the first house I was entering in Shiraz, a city the very atmosphere of which had produced already an indescribable impression upon me. Might not my visit to this house, I thought to myself, enable me to draw nearer to the Object of my quest? Might it not hasten the termination of a period of intense longing, of strenuous search, of increasing anxiety, which such a quest involves? As I entered the house and followed my Host to His chamber, a feeling of unutterable joy invaded my being. Immediately

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we were seated, He ordered a ewer of water to be brought, and bade me wash away from my hands and feet the stains of travel. I pleaded permission to retire from His presence and perform my ablutions in an adjoining room. He refused to grant my request, and proceeded to pour the water over my hands. He then gave me to drink of a refreshing beverage, after which He asked for the samovar [2] and Himself prepared the tea which He offered me.

[1 Qur'an, 15:46.]
[2 Tea-urn.]

"'Overwhelmed with His acts of extreme kindness, I arose to depart. "The time for evening prayer is approaching," I ventured to observe. "I have promised my friends to join them at that hour in the Masjid-i-Ilkhani." With extreme courtesy and calm He replied: "You must surely have made the hour of your return conditional upon the will and pleasure of God. It seems that His will has decreed otherwise. You need have no fear of having broken your pledge." His dignity and self-assurance silenced me I renewed my ablutions and prepared for prayer. He, too, stood beside me and prayed. Whilst praying, I unburdened my soul, which

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was much oppressed, both by the mystery of this interview and the strain and stress of my search. I breathed this prayer: "I have striven with all my soul, O my God, and until now have failed to find Thy promised Messenger. I testify that Thy word faileth not, and that Thy promise is sure."

"'That night, that memorable night, was the eve preceding the fifth day of Jamadiyu'l-Avval, in the year 1260 A.H.[1]

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It was about an hour after sunset when my youthful Host began to converse with me. "Whom, after Siyyid Kazim," He asked me, "do you regard as his successor and your leader?" "At the hour of his death," I replied, "our departed teacher insistently exhorted us to forsake our homes, to scatter far and wide, in quest of the promised Beloved. I have, accordingly, journeyed to Persia, have arisen to accomplish his will, and am still engaged in my quest." "Has your teacher," He further enquired, "given you any detailed indications as to the distinguishing features of the promised One?" "Yes," I replied, "He is of a pure lineage, is of illustrious descent, and of the seed of Fatimih. As to His age, He is more than twenty and less than thirty. He is endowed with innate knowledge. He is of medium height, abstains from smoking, and is free from bodily deficiency." He paused for a while and then with vibrant voice declared: "Behold, all these signs are manifest in Me!" He then considered each of the above-mentioned signs separately, and conclusively demonstrated that each and all were applicable to His person. I was greatly surprised, and politely observed: "He whose advent we await is a Man of unsurpassed holiness, and the Cause He is to reveal, a Cause of tremendous power. Many and diverse are the requirements which He who claims to be its visible embodiment must needs fulfil. How often has Siyyid Kazim referred to the vastness of the knowledge of the promised One! How often did he say: 'My own knowledge is but a drop compared with that with which He has been endowed. All my attainments are but a speck of dust in the face of the immensity of His knowledge. Nay, immeasurable is the difference!'" No sooner had those words dropped from my lips than I found myself seized with fear and remorse, such as I could neither conceal nor explain. I bitterly reproved myself, and resolved at that very moment to alter my attitude and to soften my tone. I vowed to God that should my Host again refer to the subject, I would, with the utmost humility, answer and say: "If you be willing to substantiate your claim, you will most assuredly deliver me from the anxiety and suspense which so heavily oppress my soul. I shall truly be indebted to you for such deliverance." When I first started upon my quest, I determined to regard

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[Illustrations: VIEWS OF THE UPPER ROOM OF THE BAB'S HOUSE IN SHIRAZ WHERE HE DECLARED HIS MISSION.]

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the two following standards as those whereby I could ascertain the truth of whosoever might claim to be the promised Qa'im. The first was a treatise which I had myself composed, bearing upon the abstruse and hidden teachings propounded by Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim. Whoever seemed to me capable of unravelling the mysterious allusions made in that treatise, to him I would next submit my second request, and would ask him to reveal, without the least hesitation or reflection, a commentary on the Surih of Joseph, in a style and language entirely different from the prevailing standards of the time. I had previously requested Siyyid Kazim, in private, to write a commentary on that same Surih, which he refused, saying: "This is, verily, beyond me. He, that great One, who comes after me will, unasked, reveal it for you. That commentary will constitute one of the weightiest testimonies of His truth, and one of the clearest evidences of the loftiness of His position."[2]

[1 Corresponding with the evening of May 22, 1844 A.D. The 23rd of May fell on a Thursday.]

[2 "Mulla Husayn is reported to have said the following: "One day, when I was alone with the late Siyyid [Kazim] in his library, I enquired the reason why the Suriy-i-Yusuf was entitled in the Qur'an 'the Best of Stories,' to which he replied that it was not then the proper occasion for explaining the reason. This incident remained concealed in my mind, neither had I mentioned it to anyone." ("The Tarikh-i-Jadid," p. 39.)]

"'I was revolving these things in my mind, when my distinguished Host again remarked: "Observe attentively. Might not the Person intended by Siyyid Kazim be none other than I?" I thereupon felt impelled to present to Him a copy of the treatise which I had with me. "Will you," I asked Him, "read this book of mine and look at its pages with indulgent eyes? I pray you to overlook my weaknesses and failings." He graciously complied with my wish. He opened the book, glanced at certain passages, closed it, and began to address me. Within a few minutes He had, with characteristic vigour and charm, unravelled all its mysteries and resolved all its problems. Having to my entire satisfaction accomplished, within so short a time, the task I had expected Him to perform, He further expounded to me certain truths which could be found neither in the reported sayings of the imams of the Faith nor in the writings of Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim. These truths, which I had never heard before, seemed to be endowed with refreshing vividness and power. "Had you not been My guest," He afterwards

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[Illustrations: HIS BEDCHAMBER. HIS MOTHER'S ROOM. HIS SITTING ROOM. VIEWS OF THE BAB'S HOUSE IN SHIRAZ.]

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observed, "your position would indeed have been a grievous one. The all-encompassing grace of God has saved you. It is for God to test His servants, and not for His servants to judge Him in accordance with their deficient standards. Were I to fail to resolve your perplexities, could the Reality that shines within Me be regarded as powerless, or My knowledge be accused as faulty? Nay, by the righteousness of God! it behoves, in this day, the peoples and nations of both the East and the West to hasten to this threshold, and here seek to obtain the reviving grace of the Merciful. Whoso hesitates will indeed be in grievous loss. Do not the peoples of the earth testify that the fundamental purpose of their creation is the knowledge and adoration of God? It behoves them to arise, as earnestly and spontaneously as you have arisen, and to seek with determination and constancy their promised Beloved." He then proceeded to say: "Now is the time to reveal the commentary on the Surih of Joseph." He took up His pen and with incredible rapidity revealed the entire Surih of Mulk, the first chapter of His commentary on the Surih of Joseph. The overpowering effect of the manner in which He wrote was heightened by the gentle intonation of His voice which accompanied His writing. Not for one moment did He interrupt the flow of the verses which streamed from His pen. Not once did He pause till the Surih of Mulk was finished. I sat enraptured by the magic of His voice and the sweeping force of His revelation. At last I reluctantly arose from my seat and begged leave to depart. He smilingly bade me be seated, and said: "If you leave in such a state, whoever sees you will assuredly say: 'This poor youth has lost his mind.'" At that moment the clock registered two hours and eleven minutes after sunset.[1] That night, the eve of the fifth day of Jamadiyu'l-Avval, in the year 1260 A.H., corresponded with the eve preceding the sixty-fifth day after Naw-ruz, which was also the eve of the sixth day of Khurdad, of the year Nahang. "This night," He declared, "this very hour will, in the days to come, be celebrated as one of the greatest and most significant of all festivals. Render thanks

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to God for having graciously assisted you to attain your heart's desire, and for having quaffed from the sealed wine of His utterance. 'Well is it with them that attain thereunto.'"[2]

[1 The date of the Manifestation is fixed by the following passage in the Persian Bayan [Vahid 2, Báb 7): "The beginning thereof was when two hours and eleven minutes [had passed] from the evening preceding the fifth of Jamadiyu'l-Ula, 1260 [A.H.], which is the year 1270 of the mission [of Muhammad]." (From manuscript copy of Bayan written by the hand of Siyyid Husayn, amanuensis and companion of the Báb.)]

[2 A. L. M. Nicolas quotes the following from the Kitábu'l-Haramayn: "In truth, the first day that the Spirit descended in the heart of this Slave was the fifteenth of the month of Rabi'u'l-Avval." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 206.)]

"'At the third hour after sunset, my Host ordered the dinner to be served. That same Ethiopian servant appeared again and spread before us the choicest food. That holy repast refreshed alike my body and soul. In the presence of my Host, at that hour, I felt as though I were feeding upon the fruits of Paradise. I could not but marvel at the manners and the devoted attentions of that Ethiopian servant whose very life seemed to have been transformed by the regenerating influence of his Master. I then, for the first time, recognized the significance of this well-known traditional utterance ascribed to Muhammad: "I have prepared for the godly and righteous among My servants what eye hath seen not, ear heard not, nor human heart conceived." Had my youthful Host no other claim to greatness, this were sufficient---that He received me with that quality of hospitality and loving-kindness which I was convinced no other human being could possibly reveal.

"'I sat spellbound by His utterance, oblivious of time and of those who awaited me. Suddenly the call of the muadhdhin, summoning the faithful to their morning prayer, awakened me from the state of ecstasy into which I seemed to have fallen. All the delights, all the ineffable glories, which the Almighty has recounted in His Book as the priceless possessions of the people of Paradise--these I seemed to be experiencing that night. Methinks I was in a place of which it could be truly said: "Therein no toil shall reach us, and therein no weariness shall touch us"; "No vain discourse shall they hear therein, nor any falsehood, but only the cry, 'Peace! Peace!'"; "Their cry therein shall be, 'Glory be to Thee, O God!' and their salutation therein, 'Peace!' And the close of their cry, 'Praise be to God, Lord of all creatures!'"[1]

[1 Quotations from the Qur'an.]

"'Sleep had departed from me that night. I was enthralled by the music of that voice which rose and fell as He

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chanted; now swelling forth as He revealed verses of the Qayyumu'l-Asma',[1] again acquiring ethereal, subtle harmonies as He uttered the prayers He was revealing.[2] At the end of each invocation, He would repeat this verse: "Far from the glory of thy Lord, the All-Glorious, be that which His creatures affirm of Him! And peace be upon His Messengers! And praise be to God, the Lord of all beings!"[3]

[1 The Báb's commentary on the Surih of Joseph.]

[2 "In the first of his books he was, above all, pious and mystical; in the second, polemics and dialectics held an important place, and his listeners noticed that he unfolded, from a chapter in the Book of God which he had chosen, a new meaning which no one had heretofore perceived and especially that he drew from it doctrines and information wholly unexpected. That which one never tired of admiring was the elegance and beauty of the Arabic style used in those writings. They soon had enthusiastic admirers who did not fear to prefer them to the finest passages in the Qur'an." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 120.)]

[3 Qur'an, 37:180.]

"'He then addressed me in these words: "O thou who art the first to believe in Me! Verily I say, I am the Báb, the Gate of God, and thou art the Bábu'l-Bab, the gate of that Gate. Eighteen souls must, in the beginning, spontaneously and of their own accord, accept Me and recognize the truth of My Revelation. Unwarned and uninvited, each of these must seek independently to find Me. And when their number is complete, one of them must needs be chosen to accompany Me on My pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. There I shall deliver the Message of God to the Sharif of Mecca. I then shall return to Kufih, where again, in the Masjid of that holy city, I shall manifest His Cause. It is incumbent upon you not to divulge, either to your companions or to any other soul, that which you have seen and heard. Be engaged in the Masjid-i-Ilkhani in prayer and in teaching. I, too, will there join you in congregational prayer. Beware lest your attitude towards Me betray the secret of your faith. You should continue in this occupation and maintain this attitude until our departure for Hijaz. Ere we depart, we shall appoint unto each of the eighteen souls his special mission, and shall send them forth to accomplish their task. We shall instruct them to teach the Word of God and to quicken the souls of men." Having spoken these words to me, He dismissed me from His presence. Accompanying

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[Illustrations: ORIGINAL WINDOW SASH AND DOOR. STEPS LEADING TO THE DECLARATION CHAMBER. ENTRANCE. VIEWS OF THE BAB'S HOUSE IN SHIRAZ WHERE HE DECLARED HIS MISSION.]

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me to the door of the house, He committed me to the care of God.

"'This Revelation, so suddenly and impetuously thrust upon me, came as a thunderbolt which, for a time, seemed to have benumbed my faculties.[1] I was blinded by its dazzling splendour and overwhelmed by its crushing force. Excitement, joy, awe, and wonder stirred the depths of my soul. Predominant among these emotions was a sense of gladness and strength which seemed to have transfigured me. How feeble and impotent, how dejected and timid, I had felt previously! Then I could neither write nor walk, so tremulous were my hands and feet. Now, however, the knowledge of His Revelation had galvanised my being. I felt possessed of such courage and power that were the world, all its peoples and its potentates, to rise against me, I would, alone and undaunted, withstand their onslaught. The universe seemed but a handful of dust in my grasp. I seemed to be the Voice of Gabriel personified, calling unto all mankind: "Awake, for lo! the morning Light has broken. Arise, for His Cause is made manifest. The portal of His grace is open wide; enter therein, O peoples of the world! For He who is your promised One is come!"

[1 "It is related in the 'Biharu'l-Anvar,' the 'Avalim,' and the 'Yanbu" of Sadiq, son of Muhammad, that he spoke these words: 'Knowledge is seven and twenty letters. All that the Prophets have revealed are two letters thereof. None thus far hath known any besides these two letters. But when the Qa'im shall arise, He will cause the remaining five and twenty letters to be made manifest.' Consider: he hath declared Knowledge to consist of seven and twenty letters, and regarded all the Prophets, from Adam even unto the 'Seal,' as Expounders of only two letters thereof, and as having been sent down with these two letters. He also saith that the Qa'im will reveal all the remaining five and twenty letters. Behold from this utterance how great and lofty is His station. His rank excelleth that of all the Prophets, and His Revelation transcendeth the comprehension and understanding of all their chosen ones." ("The Kitáb-i-Iqan," p. 205.)]

"'In such a state I left His house and joined my brother and nephew. A large number of the followers of Shaykh Ahmad, who had heard of my arrival, had gathered in the Masjid-i-Ilkhani to meet me. Faithful to the directions of my newly found Beloved, I immediately set myself to carry out His wishes. As I began to organise my classes and perform my devotions, a vast concourse of people gathered gradually about me. Ecclesiastical dignitaries and officials of the city also came to visit me. They marvelled at the spirit which my lectures revealed, unaware that the Source

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whence my knowledge flowed was none other than He whose advent they, for the most part, were eagerly awaiting.

"'During those days I was, on several occasions, summoned by the Báb to visit Him. He would send at night-time that same Ethiopian servant to the masjid, bearing to me His most loving message of welcome. Every time I visited Him, I spent the entire night in His presence. Wakeful until the dawn, I sat at His feet fascinated by the charm of His utterance and oblivious of the world and its cares and pursuits. How rapidly those precious hours flew by! At daybreak I reluctantly withdrew from His presence. How eagerly in those days I looked forward to the approach of the evening hour! With what feelings of sadness and regret I beheld the dawning of day! In the course of one of these nightly visits, my Host addressed me in these words: "To-morrow thirteen of your companions will arrive. To each of them extend the utmost loving-kindness. Leave them not to themselves, for they have dedicated their lives to the quest of their Beloved. Pray to God that He may graciously enable them to walk securely in that path which is finer than a hair and keener than a sword. Certain ones among them will be accounted, in the sight of God, as His chosen and favoured disciples. As to others, they will tread the middle way. The fate of the rest will remain undeclared until the hour when all that is hidden shall be made manifest."[1]

[1 "Understand in the same way the beginning of the manifestation of the Bayan during forty days no one but the letter Sin believed in B. It was only, little by little, that the Bismi'llahu'l-Amna'u'l-Aqdas clothed themselves with the garment of faith until finally the Primal Unity was completed. Witness then how it has increased until our day." ("Le Bayan Persan," vol. 4, p. 119.)]

"'That same morning, at sunrise, soon after my return from the home of the Báb, Mulla Aliy-i-Bastami, accompanied by the same number of companions as indicated to me, arrived at the Masjid-i-Ilkhani. I immediately set about to provide the means for their comfort. One night, a few days after their arrival, Mulla Ali, as the spokesman of his companions, gave vent to feelings which he could no longer repress. "You know well," he said, "how great is our confidence in you. We bear you such loyalty that if you should claim to be the promised Qa'im we would all unhesitatingly submit. Obedient to your summons, we have forsaken our

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homes and have gone forth in search of our promised Beloved. You were the first to set us all this noble example. We have followed in your footsteps. We have determined not to relax in our efforts until we find the Object of our quest. We have followed you to this place, ready to acknowledge whomsoever you accept, in the hope of seeking the shelter of His protection and of passing successfully through the tumult and agitation that must needs signalise the last Hour. How is it that we now see you teaching the people and conducting their prayers and devotions with the utmost tranquillity? Those evidences of agitation and expectancy seem to have vanished from your countenance. Tell us, we beseech you, the reason, that we too may be delivered from our present state of suspense and doubt." "Your companions," I gently observed, "may naturally attribute my peace and composure to the ascendancy which I seem to have acquired in this city. The truth is far from that. The world, I assure you, with all its pomp and seductions, can never lure away this Husayn of Bushruyih from his Beloved. Ever since the beginning of this holy enterprise upon which I have embarked, I have vowed to seal, with my life-blood, my own destiny. For His sake I have welcomed immersion in an ocean of tribulation. I yearn not for the things of this world. I crave only the good pleasure of my Beloved. Not until I shed my blood for His name will the fire that glows within me be quenched. Please God you may live to witness that day. Might not your companions have thought that, because of the intensity of his longing and the constancy of his endeavours, God has, in His infinite mercy, graciously deigned to unlock before the face of Mulla Husayn the Gate of His grace, and, wishing, according to His inscrutable wisdom, to conceal this fact, has bidden him engage in such pursuits?" These words stirred the soul of Mulla Ali. He at once perceived their meaning. With tearful eyes he entreated me to disclose the identity of Him who had turned my agitation into peace and converted my anxiety into certitude. "I adjure you," he pleaded, "to bestow upon me a portion of that holy draught which the Hand of mercy has given you to drink, for it will assuredly allay my thirst, and ease the pain of longing in my heart." "Beseech me not,"

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I replied, "to grant you this favour. Let your trust be in Him, for He will surely guide your steps, and appease the tumult of your heart."'"

Mulla Ali hastened to his companions and acquainted them with the nature of his conversation with Mulla Husayn. Ablaze with the fire which the account of that conversation had kindled in their hearts, they immediately dispersed, and, seeking the seclusion of their cells, besought, through fasting and prayer, the early removal of the veil that intervened between them and the recognition of their Beloved. They prayed while keeping their vigils: "O God, our God! Thee only do we worship, and to Thee do we cry for help. Guide us, we beseech Thee, on the straight Path, O Lord our God! Fulfil what Thou hast promised unto us by Thine Apostles, and put us not to shame on the Day of Resurrection. Verily, Thou wilt not break Thy promise."

On the third night of his retirement, whilst wrapt in prayer, Mulla Aliy-i-Bastami had a vision. There appeared before his eyes a light, and, lo! that light moved off before him. Allured by its splendour, he followed it, till at last it led him to his promised Beloved. At that very hour, in the mid-watches of the night, he arose and, exultant with joy and radiant with gladness, opened the door of his chamber and hastened to Mulla Husayn. He threw himself into the arms of his revered companion. Mulla Husayn most lovingly embraced him and said: "Praise be to God who hath guided us hither! We had not been guided had not God guided us!"

That very morning, at break of day, Mulla Husayn, followed by Mulla Ali, hastened to the residence of the Báb. At the entrance of His house they met the faithful Ethiopian servant, who immediately recognized them and greeted them in these words: "Ere break of day, I was summoned to the presence of my Master, who instructed me to open the door of the house and to stand expectant at its threshold. 'Two guests,' He said, 'are to arrive early this morning. Extend to them in My name a warm welcome. Say to them from Me: "Enter therein in the name of God."'"

The first meeting of Mulla Ali with the Báb, which was analogous to the meeting with Mulla Husayn, differed only in this respect, that whereas at the previous meeting the

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proofs and testimonies of the Báb's mission had been critically scrutinised and expounded, at this one all argument had been set aside and nothing but the spirit of intense adoration and of close and ardent fellowship prevailed. The entire chamber seemed to have been vitalised by that celestial potency which emanated from His inspired utterance. Everything in that room seemed to be vibrating with this testimony: "Verily, verily, the dawn of a new Day has broken. The promised One is enthroned in the hearts of men. In His hand He holds the mystic cup, the chalice of immortality. Blessed are they who drink therefrom!"

Each of the twelve companions of Mulla Ali, in his turn and by his own unaided efforts, sought and found his Beloved. Some in sleep, others in waking, a few whilst in prayer, and still others in their moments of contemplation, experienced the light of this Divine Revelation and were led to recognize the power of its glory. After the manner of Mulla Ali, these, and a few others, accompanied by Mulla Husayn, attained the presence of the Báb and were declared "Letters of the Living." Seventeen Letters were gradually enrolled in the preserved Tablet of God, and were appointed as the chosen Apostles of the Báb, the ministers of His Faith, and the diffusers of His light.

One night, in the course of His conversation with Mulla Husayn; the Báb spoke these words: "Seventeen Letters have thus far enlisted under the standard of the Faith of God. There remains one more to complete the number. These Letters of the Living shall arise to proclaim My Cause and to establish My Faith. To-morrow night the remaining Letter will arrive and will complete the number of My chosen disciples." The next day, in the evening hour, as the Báb, followed by Mulla Husayn, was returning to His home, there appeared a youth dishevelled and travel-stained. He approached Mulla Husayn, embraced him, and asked him whether he had attained his goal. Mulla Husayn tried at first to calm his agitation and advised him to rest for the moment, promising that he would subsequently enlighten him. That youth, however, refused to heed his advice. Fixing his gaze upon the Báb, he said to Mulla Husayn: "Why seek you to hide Him from me? I can recognize Him by His

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gait. I confidently testify that none besides Him, whether in the East or in the West, can claim to be the Truth. None other can manifest the power and majesty that radiate from His holy person." Mulla Husayn marvelled at his words. He pleaded to be excused, however, and induced him to restrain his feelings until such time as he would be able to acquaint him with the truth. Leaving him, he hastened to join the Báb, and informed Him of his conversation with that youth. "Marvel not," observed the Báb, "at his strange behaviour. We have in the world of the spirit been communing with that youth. We know him already. We indeed awaited his coming. Go to him and summon him forthwith to Our presence." Mulla Husayn was instantly reminded by these words of the Báb of the following traditional utterance: "On the last Day, the Men of the Unseen shall, on the wings of the spirit, traverse the immensity of the earth, shall attain the presence of the promised Qa'im, and shall seek from Him the secret that will resolve their problems and remove their perplexities."

Though distant in body, these heroic souls are engaged in daily communion with their Beloved, partake of the bounty of His utterance, and share the supreme privilege of His companionship. Otherwise how could Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim have known of the Báb? How could they have perceived the significance of the secret which lay hidden in Him? How could the Báb Himself, how could Quddus, His beloved disciple, have written in such terms, had not the mystic bond of the spirit linked their souls together? Did not the Báb, in the earliest days of His Mission, allude, in the opening passages of the Qayyumu'l-Asma', His commentary on the Surih of Joseph, to the glory and significance of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh? Was it not His purpose, by dwelling upon the ingratitude and malice which characterised the treatment of Joseph by his brethren, to predict what Bahá'u'lláh was destined to suffer at the hands of His brother and kindred? Was not Quddus, although besieged within the fort of Shaykh Tabarsi by the battalions and fire of a relentless enemy, engaged, both in the daytime and in the night-season, in the completion of his eulogy of Bahá'u'lláh --that immortal commentary on the Sad of Samad which

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had already assumed the dimensions of five hundred thousand verses? Every verse of the Qayyumu'l-Asma', every word of the aforementioned commentary of Quddus, will, if dispassionately examined, bear eloquent testimony to this truth.

The acceptance by Quddus of the truth of the Báb's Revelation completed the assigned number of His chose disciples. Quddus, whose name was Muhammad-'Ali, was, through his mother, a direct descendant of the Imam Hasan, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.[1] He was born in Barfurush, in the province of Mazindaran. It has been reported by those who attended the lectures of Siyyid Kazim that in the last years of the latter' life, Quddus enrolled himself

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as one of the Siyyid's disciples. He was the last to arrive, and invariably occupied the lowliest seat in the assembly. He was the first to depart upon the conclusion of every meeting. The silence he observed and the modesty of his behaviour distinguished him from the rest of his companions. Siyyid Kazim was often heard to remark that certain ones among his disciples, though they occupied the lowliest of seats, and observed the strictest silence, were none the less so exalted in the sight of God that he himself felt unworthy to rank among their servants. His disciples, although they observed the humility of Quddus and acknowledged the exemplary character of his behaviour, remained unaware of the purpose of Siyyid Kazim. When Quddus arrived in Shiraz and embraced the Faith declared by the Báb, he was only twenty-two years of age. Though young in years, he showed that indomitable courage and faith which none among the disciples of his master could exceed. He exemplified by his life and glorious martyrdom the truth of this tradition: "Whoso seeketh Me, shall find Me. Whoso findeth Me, shall be drawn towards Me. Whoso draweth nigh unto Me, shall love Me. Whoso loveth Me, him shall I also love. He who is beloved of Me, him shall I slay. He who is slain by Me, I Myself shall be his ransom."

[1 The father of Quddus, according to the "Kashfu'l-Ghita'," died several years before the Manifestation of the Báb. At the time of the death of his father, Quddus was still a boy studying in Mashhad in the school of Mirza Ja'far. (P. 227, note 1.)]

The Báb, whose name was Siyyid Ali-Muhammad,[1] was born in the city of Shiraz, on the first day of Muharram, in the year 1235 A.H.[2] He belonged to a house which was renowned for its nobility and which traced its origin to Muhammad Himself. The date of His birth confirmed the truth of the prophecy traditionally attributed to the Imam Ali: "I am two years younger than my Lord." Twenty-five years, four months, and four days had elapsed since the day of His birth, when he declared His Mission. In His early childhood He lost His father, Siyyid Muhammad-Rida,[3] a man who was known throughout the province of Fars for his piety

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and virtue, and was held in high esteem and honour. Both His father and His mother were descendants of the Prophet, both were loved and respected by the people. He was reared by His maternal uncle, Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, a martyr to the Faith, who placed Him, while still a child, under the care of a tutor named Shaykh Abid.[4] The Báb, though not inclined to study, submitted to His uncle's will and directions.

[1 He is also known by the following designations:

Siyyid-i-Dhikr
Abdu'dh-Dhikr
Babu'llah
Nuqtiy-i-Ula
Tal'at-i-A'la
Hadrat-i-A'la
Rabb-i-A'la
Nuqity-i-Bayan
Siyyid-i-Báb
[2 October 20, 1819 A.D.]

[3 According to Mirza Abu'l-Fadl (manuscript on history of the Cause, p. 3), the Báb was still an infant, and had not yet been weaned, when His father passed away.]

[4 According to Mirza Abu'l-Fadl (manuscript, p. 41,) the Báb was six or seven years of age when He entered the school of Shaykh Abid. The school was known by the name of "Qahviyih-Awliya." The Báb remained five years at that school where He was taught the rudiments of Persian. On the first day of the month of Rabi'u'l-Avval, in the year 1257 A.H., He left for Najaf and Karbila, returning seven months after to His native province of Fars.]

Shaykh Abid, known by his pupils as Shaykhuna, was a man of piety and learning. He had been a disciple of both Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim. "One day," he related, "I asked the Báb to recite the opening words of the Qur'an: 'Bismi'llahi'r-Rahmani'r-Rahim.'[1] He hesitated, pleading that unless He were told what these words signified, He would in no wise attempt to pronounce them. I pretended not to know their meaning. 'I know what these words signify,' observed my pupil; 'by your leave, I will explain them.' He spoke with such knowledge and fluency that I was struck with amazement. He expounded the meaning of 'Allah,' of 'Rahman,' and 'Rahim,' in terms such as I had neither read nor heard. The sweetness of His utterance still lingers in my memory. I felt impelled to take Him back to His uncle and to deliver into his hands the Trust he had committed to my care. I determined to tell him how unworthy I felt to teach so remarkable a child. I found His uncle alone in his office. 'I have brought Him back to you,' I said, 'and commit Him to your vigilant protection. He is not to be treated as a mere child, for in Him I can already discern evidences of that mysterious power which the Revelation of the Sahibu'z-Zaman [2] alone can reveal. It is incumbent upon you to surround Him with your most loving care. Keep Him in your house, for He, verily, stands in no need of teachers such as I.' Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali sternly rebuked the Báb. 'Have You forgotten my instructions?' he said. 'Have I not already admonished You to follow the example of Your

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fellow-pupils, to observe silence, and to listen attentively to every word spoken by Your teacher?' Having obtained His promise to abide faithfully by his instructions, he bade the Báb return to His school. The soul of that child could not, however, be restrained by the stern admonitions of His uncle. No discipline could repress the flow of His intuitive knowledge. Day after day He continued to manifest such remarkable evidences of superhuman wisdom as I am powerless to recount." At last His uncle was induced to take Him away from the school of Shaykh Abid, and to associate Him with himself in his own profession.[3] There, too, He revealed signs of a power and greatness that few could approach and none could rival.

[1 In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.]

[2 "The Lord of the Age," one of the titles of the promised Qa'im.]

[3 According to Haji Mu'inu's-Saltanih's narrative (p. 37), the Báb assumed, at the age of twenty, the independent direction of His business affairs. "Orphaned at an early age, he was placed under the tutelage of his maternal uncle, Aqa Siyyid Ali, under whose direction he entered the same trade in which his father had been engaged (that is to say, the mercantile business)." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 189.)]

Some years later [1] the Báb was united in wedlock with the sister of Mirza Siyyid Hasan and Mirza Abu'l-Qasim.[2] The child which resulted from this union, He named Ahmad.[3] He died in the year 1259 A.D.,[4] the year preceding the declaration of the Faith by the Báb. The Father did not lament his loss. He consecrated his death by words such as these:

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"O God, my God! Would that a thousand Ishmaels were given Me, this Abraham of Thine, that I might have offered them, each and all, as a loving sacrifice unto Thee. O my Beloved, my heart's Desire! The sacrifice of this Ahmad whom Thy servant Ali-Muhammad hath offered up on the altar of Thy love can never suffice to quench the flame of longing in His heart. Not until He immolates His own heart at Thy feet, not until His whole body falls a victim to the cruelest tyranny in Thy path, not until His breast is made a target for countless darts for Thy sake, will the tumult of His soul be stilled. O my God, my only Desire! Grant that the sacrifice of My son, My only son, may be acceptable unto Thee. Grant that it be a prelude to the sacrifice of My own, My entire self, in the path of Thy good pleasure. Endue with Thy grace My life-blood which I yearn to shed in Thy path. Cause it to water and nourish the seed of Thy Faith. Endow it with Thy celestial potency, that this infant seed of God may soon germinate in the hearts of men, that it may thrive and prosper, that it may grow to become a mighty tree, beneath the shadow of which all the peoples and kindreds of the earth may gather. Answer Thou My prayer, O God, and fulfil My most cherished desire. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the All-Bountiful."[5]

[1 According to Haji Mu'inu's-Saltanih's narrative (p. 37), the Báb's marriage took place when He was twenty-two years of age.]

[2 The Báb refers to her in his commentary on the Surih of Joseph (Surih of Qarabat). The following is A. L. M. Nicolas' translation of the passage in question: "In truth I have become betrothed before the throne of God with Sara, that is to say, the dearly beloved, because 'dearly beloved' is derived from Dearly Beloved (the Dearly Beloved is Muhammad which signifies that Sara was a Siyyid). In truth I have taken the angels of heaven and those who dwell in Paradise as witnesses of our betrothal. "Know that the benevolence of the Dhikr Sublime is great, O dearly beloved! Because it is the benevolence which comes from God, the Beloved. Thou art not like other women if thou obeyest God with regard to the Dhikr Sublime. Know the great truth of the Holy Word and glory within thyself that thou art seated with the friend who is the Favorite of the Most High God. Truly the glory comes to thee from God, the Wise. Be patient in the command which comes from God concerning the Báb and his family. Verily, thy son Ahmad has a refuge in the blessed heaven close to the great Fatimih!" (Preface to A. L. M. Nicolas' "Le Bayan Persan," vol. 2, pp. 10-11.)]

[3 The Báb refers to his son in his commentary on the Surih of Joseph. The following is A. L. M. Nicolas' translation: "In truth, thy son Ahmad has a refuge in the Blessed Paradise near to the Great Fatimih." (Surih of Qarabat.) "Glory be to God Who in truth has given to the 'Delight of the Eyes,' in her youth, a son who is named Ahmad. Verily, we have reared this child toward God!" (Surih of Abd.) (Preface A. L. M. Nicolas' "Le Bayan Persan," vol. 2, p. II.)]

[4 1843 A.D.]

[5 "He left Shiraz for Bushihr at the age of 17, and remained there for five years engaged in commercial pursuits. During this time he won the esteem of all the merchants with whom he was brought in contact, by his integrity and piety. He was extremely attentive to his religious duties, and gave away large sums to charity. On one occasion he gave 70 tumans [about 22] to a poor neighbour." (Appendix 2 of Tarikh-i-Jadid: Haji Mirza Jani's History, pp. 343-4.)]

The days which the Báb devoted to commercial pursuits were mostly spent in Bushihr.[1] The oppressive heat of the summer did not deter Him from devoting, each Friday, several hours to continuous worship upon the roof of His house. Though exposed to the fierce rays of the noontide sun, He, turning His heart to His Beloved, continued to commune with Him, unmindful of the intensity of the heat

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and oblivious of the world around Him. From early dawn till sunrise, and from midday till late in the afternoon, He dedicated His time to meditation and pious worship. Turning His gaze towards the north, in the direction of Tihran, He, at every break of day, greeted, with a heart overflowing with love and joy, the rising, sun, which to Him was a sign and symbol of that Day-Star of Truth that was soon to dawn upon the world. As a lover who beholds the face of his beloved, He gazed upon the rising orb with steadfastness and longing. He seemed to be addressing, in mystic language, that shining luminary, and to be entrusting it with His, message of yearning and love to His concealed Beloved. With such transports of delight He greeted its beaming rays, that the heedless and

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ignorant around Him thought Him to be enamoured with the sun itself.[2]

[1 "He was already predisposed to meditation and inclined to be silent, while his fine face, the radiance of his glance as well as his modest and contemplative mien drew, even at that early date, the attention of his fellow-citizens. Though very young, he felt an invincible attraction to matters of religion, for he was barely nineteen when he wrote his first work, the 'risaliy-i-Fiqhiyyih' in which he reveals a true piety and an Islamic effusion, which seemed to predict a brilliant future within the law of Shiite orthodoxy. It is probable that this work was written at Bushihr, for he was sent there by his uncle at the age of eighteen or nineteen to look after his business interests." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 188-189.)]

[2 "In society he held converse preferably with the learned or listened to the tales of travelers who congregated in this commercial city. This is why he was generally considered to be one of the followers of Tariqat who were held in high esteem by the people." (Journal Asiatique, 1866, tome 7, p. 335.)]

I have heard Haji Siyyid Javad-i-Karbila'i [1] recount the following: "Whilst journeying to India, I passed through Bushihr. As I was already acquainted with Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, I was enabled to meet the Báb on several occasions. Every time I met Him, I found Him in such a state of humility and lowliness as words fail me to describe. His downcast eyes, His extreme courtesy, and the serene expression of His face made an indelible impression upon my soul.[2] I often heard those who were closely associated with Him testify to the purity of His character, to the charm of His manners, to His self-effacement, to His high integrity, and to His extreme devotion to God.[3] A certain man confided to His care a trust, requesting Him to dispose of it at a fixed price. When the Báb sent him the value of that article, the man found that the sum which he had been offered considerably exceeded the limit which he had fixed. He immediately wrote to the Báb, requesting Him to explain the reason. The Báb replied: 'What I have sent you is entirely your due. There is not a single farthing in excess of

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what is your right. there was a time when the trust you had delivered to Me had attained this value. Failing to sell it at that price, I now feel it My duty to offer you the whole of that sum.' However much the Báb's client entreated Him to receive back the sum in excess, the Báb persisted in refusing.

[1 "The Kashfu'l-Ghiti'" gives the following particulars regarding this remarkable person: "Haji Siyyid Javad himself informed me that he was a resident of Karbila, that his cousins were well known among the recognized ulamas and doctors of the law in that city and belonged to the Ithna-'Ashari sect of Shi'ah Islam. In his youth he met Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa'i, but was never regarded as his disciple. He was, however, an avowed follower and supporter of Siyyid Kazim, and ranked among his foremost adherents. He met the Báb in Shiraz, long before the date of the latter's Manifestation. He saw Him on several occasions which the Báb was only eight or nine years old, in the house of His maternal uncle. He subsequently met Him in Bushihr and stayed for about six months in the same khan in which the Báb and His maternal uncle were residing. Mulla Aliy-i-Bastami, one of the Letters of the Living, acquainted him with the Message of the Báb, while in Karbila, from which city he proceeded to Shiraz in order to inform himself more fully of the nature of His Revelation." (Pp- 55-7.)

[2 "[The] Báb possessed a mild and benignant countenance, his manners were composed and dignified, his eloquence was impressive, and he wrote rapidly and well." (Lady Sheil's "Glimpses of Life and Manners in Persia," p. 178.)]

[3 "Withdrawn within himself, always absorbed in pious practices, of extreme simplicity of manner, of a fascinating gentleness, those gifts further heightened by his great youth and his marvellous charm, he drew about himself a number of persons who were deeply edified. People then began to speak of his science and of the penetrating eloquence of his discourses. He could not open his lips (we are assured by those who knew him) without stirring the hearts to their very depths. "Speaking, moreover, with a profound reverence regarding the Prophet, the Imams and their holy companions, he fascinated the severely orthodox while, at the same time, in more intimate addresses, the more ardent and eager minds were happy to find that there was no rigidity in his profession of traditional opinions which they would have found boring. His conversations, on the contrary, opened before them unlimited horizons, varied, colored, mysterious, with shadows broken here and there by patches of blinding light which transported those imaginative people of Persia into a state of ecstasy." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 118.)]

"With what assiduous care He attended those gatherings at which the virtues of the Siyyidu'sh-Shuhada', the Imam Husayn, were being extolled! With what attention He listened to the chanting of the eulogies! What tenderness and devotion He showed at those scenes of lamentation and prayer! Tears rained from His eyes as His trembling lips murmured words of prayer and praise. How compelling was His dignity, how tender the sentiments which His countenance inspired!"

As to those whose supreme privilege it was to be enrolled by the Báb in the Book of His Revelation as His chosen Letters of the Living, their names are as follows:

Mulla Husayn-i-Bushru'i,
Muhammad-Hasan, his brother,
Muhammad-Baqir, his nephew,
Mulla Aliy-i-Bastami,

Mulla Khuda-Bakhsh-i-Quchani, later named Mulla Ali

Mulla Hasan-i-Bajistani,
Siyyid Husayn-i-Yazdi,
Mirza Muhammad Rawdih-Khan-i-Yazdi,
Sa'id-i-Hindi,
Mulla Mahmud-i-Khu'i,
Mulla Jalil-i-Urumi,
Mulla Ahmad-i-Ibdal-i-Maraghi'i,
Mulla Baqir-i-Tabrizi,
Mulla Yusif-i-Ardibili,
Mirza Hadi, son of Mulla Abdu'l-Vahhab-i-Qazvini,
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Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Qazvini.[1]
Tahirih,[2]
Quddus.

These all, with the single exception of Tahirih, attained the presence of the Báb, and were personally invested by Him with the distinction of this rank. It was she who, having learned of the intended departure of her sister's husband, Mirza Muhammad-'Ali, from Qazvin, entrusted him with a sealed letter, requesting that he deliver it to that promised One whom she said he was sure to meet in the course of his journey. "Say to Him, from me," she added, "'The effulgence of Thy face flashed forth, and the rays of Thy visage arose on high. Then speak the word, "Am I not your

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Lord?" and "Thou art, Thou art!" we will all reply.'"[3]

[1 According to Samandar, who was one of the early believers of Qazvin (manuscript, p. 15), Tahirih's sister, Mardiyyih, was the wife of Mirza Muhammad-'Ali, who was one of the Letters of the Living, and who suffered martyrdom at Shaykh Tabarsi. Mardiyyih appears to have recognized and embraced the Message of the Báb (p. 5). Mirza Muhammad-'Ali was the son of Haji Mulla Abdu'l-Vahhab, to whom the Báb addressed a Tablet while in the neighbourhood of Qazvin.]

[2 According to the "Memorials of the Faithful" (pp. 291-8), Tahirih had two sons and one daughter, none of whom recognized the truth of the Cause. Such was the degree of her knowledge and attainment, that her father, Haji Mulla Salih often expressed his regret in the following terms: "Would that she had been a boy for he would have shed illumination upon my household, and would have succeeded me!" She became acquainted with the writings of Shaykh Ahmad while staying in the home of her cousin, Mulla Javad, from whose library she borrowed these books, and took them over to her home. Her father raised violent objections to her action and, in his heated discussions with her, denounced and criticised the teachings of Shaykh Ahmad. Tahirih refused to heed the counsels of her father, and engaged in secret correspondence with Siyyid Kazim, who conferred upon her the name of "Qurratu'l-'Ayn." The title of "Tahirih" was first associated with her name while she was staying in Badasht, and was subsequently approved by the Báb. From Qazvin she left for Karbila, hoping to meet Siyyid Kazim, but arrived too late, the Siyyid having passed away ten days before her arrival. She joined the companions of the departed leader, and spent her time in prayer and meditation, eagerly expecting the appearance of Him whose advent Siyyid Kazim had foretold. While in that city, she dreamed a dream. A youth, a Siyyid, wearing a black cloak and a green turban, appeared to her in the heavens, who with upraised hands was reciting certain verses, one of which she noted down in her book. She awoke from her dream greatly impressed by her strange experience. When, later on, a copy of the "Ahsanu'l-Qisas," the Báb's commentary on the Surih of Joseph, reached her, she, to her intense delight, discovered that same verse which she had heard in her dream in that book. That discovery assured her of the truth of the Message which the Author of that work had proclaimed. She herself undertook the translation of the "Ahsanu'l-Qisas" into Persian, and exerted the utmost effort for its spread and interpretation. For three months her house in Karbila was besieged by the guards whom the Governor had appointed to watch and prevent her from associating with the people. From Karbila she proceeded to Baghdad, and lived for a time the house of Shaykh Muhammad-i-Shibl, from which place she transferred her residence to another quarter, and was eventually taken to the home of the Mufti, where she stayed for about three months.]

[3 According to the "Kashfu'l-Ghiti'" (p. 93), Tahirih was informed of the Message of the Báb by Mulla Aliy-i-Bastami, who visited Karbila in the year 1260 A.H., after his return from Shiraz.]

Mirza Muhammad-'Ali eventually met and recognized the Báb and conveyed to Him both the letter and the message of Tahirih. The Báb forthwith declared her one of the Letters of the Living. Her father, Haji Mulla Salih-i-Qazvini, and his brother, Mulla Taqi, were both mujtahids of great renown,[1] were skilled in the traditions of Muslim law, and were universally respected by the people of Tihran, Qazvin, and other leading cities of Persia. She was married to Mulla Muhammad, son of Mulla Taqi, her uncle, whom

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the shi'ahs styled Shahid-i-Thalith.[2] Although her family belonged to the Bala-Sari, Tahirih alone showed, from the very beginning, a marked sympathy and devotion to Siyyid Kazim. As an evidence of her personal admiration for him, she wrote an apology in defence and justification of the teachings of Shaykh Ahmad and presented it to him. To this she soon received a reply, couched in the most affectionate terms, in the opening passages of which the Siyyid thus addressed her: "O thou who art the solace of mine eyes (Ya Qurrat-i-'Ayni!), and the joy of my heart!" Ever since that time she has been known as Qurratu'l-'Ayn. After the historic

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gathering of Badasht, a number of those who attended were so amazed at the fearlessness and outspoken language of that heroine, that they felt it their duty to acquaint the Báb with the character of her startling and unprecedented behaviour. They strove to tarnish the purity of her name. To their accusations the Báb replied: "What am I to say regarding her whom the Tongue of Power and Glory has named Tahirih [the Pure One]?" These words proved sufficient to silence those who had endeavoured to undermine her position. From that time onwards she was designated by the believers as Tahirih.[3]

[1 "One of the most distinguished families of Qazvin--and by this I mean most distinguished by the number of high offices which their various members held in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, as well as by their reputation for science--was, without doubt, the family of Haji Mulla Salih-i-Baraqani who received after his death the title of 'Shahid-i-Thalith', that is to say, 'the third martyr.' We shall review their early history in order to make clear the role which they played in the religious dissensions of Persia, as well as in the catastrophe which was fatally to develop the arrogant character of the brother of Mulla Salih. When the great Mujtahid Aqa Siyyid Muhammad arrived at Qazvin, someone asked him if Haji Mulla Salih-i-Baraqani was a Mujtahid. 'Assuredly,' replied the Siyyid, and that all the more so since Salih was one of his former students who towards the last had followed the teachings of Aqa Siyyid Ali. 'Very well,' replied his questioner, 'but his brother Muhammad-Taqi, is he also worthy of the sacred title?' Aqa Siyyid Muhammad replied by praising the qualities and the science of Taqi but avoiding a precise answer to the direct question put to him. However, this did not prevent the questioner from spreading abroad in the city the news that Siyyid Muhammad himself acknowledged Taqi as a Master whom he had declared Mujtahid in his presence. "Now Siyyid Muhammad had gone to live with one of his colleagues, Haji Mulla Abdu'l-Vahhab. The latter learned quickly of the news which was thus noised abroad and he immediately summoned before him the questioner of the Siyyid whom he reproached severely in the presence of witnesses. Naturally, the rumor spread from tongue to tongue until it reached Taqi,who became furious and declared each time he heard the name of Mulla Abdu'l-Vahhab,--'I only respect him because he is the son of my blessed Master.'"Siyyid Muhammad, having been informed of all these incidents and of all the rumors, and realizing that he had saddened the heart of Taqi, came one day to invite him to luncheon; he treated him with great respect, wrote for him his brevet of Mujtahid and, this same day, accompanied him to the Mosque. The prayer over, he sat down on the steps of the pulpit where he spoke the praises of Taqi and confirmed him in his new dignity, in the presence of the entire assembly. It happened that, a little later, Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa'i passed through Qazvin. This personage, said to be the very pious author of 'Qisasu'l-'Ulama,' was declared impious because he had endeavored to reconcile philosophy and religious law, 'and everyone knows that in most cases to try to blend religious law with intelligence is an impossibility.' Be that as it may, Shaykh Ahmad rose high above his contemporaries, many men sharing his opinions. He had followers in all the cities of Persia and the Shah Fath-'Ali treated him with great deference, while Akhund Mulla Ali said of him, 'He is an ignorant man with a pure heart.' "While in Qazvin, he sojourned in the house of Mulla Abdu'l-Vahhab who was henceforth to be the enemy of the Baraqani family. He went to worship in the Mosque of the parish and the ulamas of Qazvin came to pray under his guidance. He naturally returned all the visits and courtesies extended to him by these holy men, was on good terms with them and soon it became known that his host was one of his disciples. One day he went to call upon Haji Mulla Taqi-i-Baraqani who received him apparently with profound respect, but took advantage of the opportunity to ask him some insidious questions. 'Regarding the resurrection of the dead on the Day of Judgment,' he asked, 'do you share the opinion of Mulla Sadra?' 'No,' replied Shaykh Ahmad. Then Taqi, calling his youngest brother Haji Mulla Ali, said: 'Go to my library and bring me the Shavahid-i-Rububiyyih of Mulla Sadra.' Then, as Haji Mulla was slow to return, he said to Shaykh Ahmad: 'Although I do not agree with you on this subject, I am nevertheless curious to know your opinion on the matter.' The Shaykh replied, 'Nothing would be easier. My conviction is that the resurrection will not take place with our material bodies but with their essence, and by essence I mean, for example, the glass which is potentially in the stone.' "Excuse me,' Taqi replied maliciously, 'but this essence is different from the material body and you know that it is a dogma in our holy religion to believe in the resurrection of the material body.' The Shaykh remained silent and it was in vain that one of his pupils, a native of Turkistan, endeavored to divert the conversation by starting a discussion which was likely to be a lengthy one, but the blow was dealt and Shaykh Ahmad withdrew, convinced that he had been compromised. It was not long before he realized that his conversation had been carefully related by Taqi for, that very day, when he went to the Mosque to pray he was followed only by Abdu'l-Vahhab. A misunderstanding was broiling and threatened to break, but Abdu'l-Vahhab, thinking he had found a way to smooth things over and remove all the difficulties, entreated his Master to write and publish a book in which he would affirm the resurrection of the material body. But he had not taken into account the hatred of Taqi. In fact, Shaykh Ahmad did write the treatise, which still may be found in his book entitled 'Ajvibatu'l-Masa'il' but no one cared to read it and his impiety was noised abroad increasingly from day to day. It came to the point where the Governor of the city, Prince Ali-Naqi Mirza Ruknu'd-Dawlih, considering the importance of the personages involved in the controversy and afraid being blamed for allowing this dissension to grow, resolved to bring about an agreement. "One night, he invited all the celebrated Ulamas of the city to a great banquet. Shaykh Ahmad was given the seat of honor and close to him, only separated by one person, was Taqi. Platters were brought, prepared for three people, so that the two enemies found that they were obliged to eat together, but the irreconcilable Taqi turned toward the platter of his neighbors on his right hand and to the great consternation of the Prince, he placed his left hand over the left side of his face in such a manner that he could not possibly see Shaykh Ahmad. After the banquet which proved rather dull, the Prince, still determined to reconcile the two adversaries, bestowed great praise on Shaykh Ahmad, acknowledging him s the great Arabian and Persian Doctor and saying that Taqi should show him the greatest respect; that it was not proper for him to give ear to the gossip of men eager to create conflict between two exceptional minds.Taqi interrupted him violently and declared with great contempt, 'There can be no peace between impiety and faith! Concerning the resurrection the Shaykh holds a doctrine opposed to the religion of Islam, (Islamic law) therefore, whoever holds such a doctrine is an impious one and what can such a rebel and I have in common?' "The Prince insisted and entreated in vain, but Taqi refused to yield and they all adjourned." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 263-267.)]

[2 Third Martyr.]

[3 "Mulla Salih had among his children a daughter, Zarrin-Taj (Crown of Gold), who had attracted attention from early childhood. Instead of taking part in games and amusements like her companions, she passed hours at a time listening to her parents discuss religious matters. Her keen intelligence quickly perceived the fallacies of Islamic science without succumbing to it and soon she was able to discuss points which were most obscure and confusing. The Hadiths (traditions) held no secrets for her. Her reputation soon became widely known in the city and her fellow-citizens considered her a prodigy, and justly so. A prodigy in science, also a prodigy of beauty, for the child, as she grew to girlhood, possessed a face which shone with such radiant beauty that they named her 'Qurratu'l-'Ayn', which M. de Gobineau translates as 'The Consolation of the Eyes.' Her brother Abdu'l-Vahhab-i-Qazvini who inherited the learning and reputation of his father, himself relates, in spite of the fact that he remained, at least in appearance, a Muhammadan: 'None of us, her brothers or her cousins dared to speak in her presence, her learning so intimidated us, and if we ventured to express some hypothesis upon a disputed point of doctrine, she demonstrated in such a clear, precise and conclusive manner that we were going astray, that we instantly withdrew confused.' "She was present at her father's and uncle's classes, in the same room with two or three hundred students, but always concealed behind a curtain, and more than once she refuted the explanation that these two elderly men offered upon such and such a question. Her reputation became universal throughout all Persia, and the most haughty Ulamas consented to adopt some of her hypotheses and opinions. This fact is all the more extraordinary because the Shiite Muhammadan religion relegates the woman almost to the level of the animal. They consider that she has no soul and exists merely for reproduction. "Qurratu'l-'Ayn married, when still quite young, the son of her uncle, Muhammad-i-Qazvini who was the Imam-Jum'ih of the city and later she went to Karbila where she attended the classes of Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti. She shared with enthusiasm the ideas of her Master, ideas with which she was already familiar, the city of Qazvin having become a center for the Shaykhi doctrine. "She was, as we shall see later, of an ardent temperament, of a precise and clear intelligence, of a marvellous presence of mind and indomitable courage. All of these qualities combined were to bring her to take interest in the Báb whom she heard speak immediately after his return to Qazvin. That which she learned interested her so vitally that she began corresponding with the Reformer and soon, convinced by him, she made known her conversion urbi et orbi. The scandal was very great and the clergy were shocked. In vain, her husband, her father and her brothers pleaded with her to renounce this dangerous madness, but she remained inflexible and proclaimed resolutely her faith." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 273-274.)]

A word should now be said in explanation of the term Bala-Sari. Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim, as well as their followers, when visiting the shrine of the Imam Husayn in Karbila, invariably occupied, as a mark of reverence, the lower end of the sepulchre. They never advanced beyond it, whereas other worshippers, the Bala-Sari, recited their prayers in the upper section of that shrine. The Shaykhis, believing, as they did, that "every true believer lives both in this world and in the next," felt it unseemly and improper to step beyond the limits of the lower sections of the shrine

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of the Imam Husayn, who in their eyes was the very incarnation of the most perfect believer.[1]

[1 "'This name comes to them,' said Haji Karim Khan in his Hidayatu't-Talibin, 'from the fact that the late Shaykh Ahmad, being at Karbila during his pilgrimages to the holy tombs, and out of respect for the Imams, recited his prayers standing behind the Imam, that is to say, at his feet. In fact, for him there was no difference between the respect to be tendered to a dead Imam or a living Imam. The Persians, on the contrary, when entering into the tomb, placed themselves at the head of the Imam and consequently turned their backs to him when they prayed because the dead saints are buried with their heads towards the Qiblih. This is a disgrace and a lie! The apostles of Jesus pretending to have come to the assistance of God, were called 'Nasara,' a name which was given to all those who followed in their footsteps. It is thus that the name of Bala-Sari extended to all that follow the doctrine of those who pray standing at the head of the Imam.'" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," I, preface, pp. 5-6.)]

Mulla Husayn, who anticipated being the chosen companion of the Báb during His pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, was, as soon as the latter decided to depart from Shiraz, summoned to the presence of his Master, who gave him the following instructions: "The days of our companionship are approaching their end. My Covenant with you is now accomplished. Gird up the loins of endeavour, and arise to diffuse My Cause. Be not dismayed at the sight of the degeneracy and perversity of this generation, for the Lord of the Covenant shall assuredly assist you. Verily, He shall surround you with His loving protection, and shall lead you from victory to victory. Even as the cloud that rains its bounty upon the earth, traverse the land from end to end, and shower upon its people the blessings which the Almighty, in His mercy, has deigned to confer upon you. Forbear with the ulamas, and resign yourself to the will of God. Raise the cry: 'Awake, awake, for, lo! the Gate of God is open, and the morning Light is shedding its radiance upon all mankind! The promised One is made manifest; prepare the way for Him, O people of the earth! Deprive not yourselves of its redeeming grace, nor close your eyes to its effulgent glory.' Those whom you find receptive to your call, share with them the epistles and tablets We have revealed for you, that, perchance, these wondrous words may cause them to turn away from the slough of heedlessness, and soar into the realm

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of the Divine presence. In this pilgrimage upon which We are soon to embark, We have chosen Quddus as Our companion. We have left you behind to face the onslaught of a fierce and relentless enemy. Rest assured, however, that a bounty unspeakably glorious shall be conferred upon you. Follow the course of your journey towards the north, and visit on your way Isfahan, Kashan, Qum, and Tihran. Beseech almighty Providence that He may graciously enable you to attain, in that capital, the seat of true sovereignty, and to enter the mansion of the Beloved. A secret lies hidden in that city. When made manifest, it shall turn the earth into paradise. My hope is that you may partake of its grace and recognize its splendour. From Tihran proceed to Khurasan, and there proclaim anew the Call. From thence return to Najaf and Karbila, and there await the summons

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of your Lord. Be assured that the high mission for which you have been created will, in its entirety, be accomplished by you. Until you have consummated your work, if all the darts of an unbelieving world be directed against you, they will be powerless to hurt a single hair of your head. All things are imprisoned within His mighty grasp. He, verily, is the Almighty, the All-Subduing."

The Báb then summoned to His presence Mulla Aliy-i-Bastami, and addressed to him words of cheer and loving-kindness. He instructed him to proceed directly to Najaf and Karbila, alluded to the severe trials and afflictions that would befall him, and enjoined him to be steadfast till the end. "Your faith," He told him, "must be immovable as the rock, must weather every storm and survive every calamity. Suffer not the denunciations of the foolish and the calumnies of the clergy to afflict you, or to turn you from your purpose. For you are called to partake of the celestial banquet prepared for you in the immortal Realm. You are the first to leave the House of God, and to suffer for His sake. If you be slain in His path, remember that great will be your reward, and goodly the gift which will be bestowed upon you."

No sooner were these words uttered than Mulla Ali arose from his seat and set out to prosecute his mission. At about a farsang's distance from Shiraz he was overtaken by a youth who, flushed with excitement, impatiently asked to speak to him. His name was Abdu'l-Vahhab. "I beseech you," he tearfully entreated Mulla Ali, "to allow me to accompany you on your journey. Perplexities oppress my heart; I pray you to guide my steps in the way of Truth. Last night, in my dream, I heard the crier announce in the market-street of Shiraz the appearance of the Imam Ali, the Commander of the Faithful. He called to the multitude: 'Arise and seek him. Behold, he plucks out of the burning fire charters of liberty and is distributing them to the people. Hasten to him, for whoever receives them from his hands will be secure from penal suffering, and whoever fails to obtain them from him, will be bereft of the blessings of Paradise.' Immediately I heard the voice of the crier, I arose and, abandoning my shop, ran across the market-street of Vakil to a place where my eyes beheld you standing and distributing

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those same charters to the people. To everyone who approached to receive them from your hands, you would whisper in his ear a few words which instantly caused him to flee in consternation and exclaim: 'Woe betide me, for I am deprived of the blessings of Ali and his kindred! Ah, miserable me, that I am accounted among the outcast and fallen !' I awoke from my dream and, immersed in an ocean of thought, regained my shop. Suddenly I saw you pass, accompanied by a man who wore a turban, and who was conversing with you. I sprang from my seat and, impelled by a power which I could not repress, ran to overtake you. To my utter amazement, I found you standing upon the very site which I had witnessed in my dream, engaged in the recital of traditions and verses. Standing aside, at a distance, I kept watching you, wholly unobserved by you and your friend. I heard the man whom you were addressing, impetuously protest: 'Easier is it for me to be devoured by the flames of hell than to acknowledge the truth of your words, the weight of which mountains are unable to sustain!' To his contemptuous rejection you returned this answer: 'Were all the universe to repudiate His truth, it could never tarnish the unsullied purity of His robe of grandeur.' Departing from him, you directed your steps towards the gate of Kaziran. I continued to follow you until I reached this place."

Mulla Ali tried to appease his troubled heart and to persuade him to return to his shop and resume his daily work. "Your association with me," he urged, "would involve me in difficulties. Return to Shiraz and rest assured, for you are accounted of the people of salvation. Far be it from the justice of God to withhold from so ardent and devoted a seeker the cup of His grace, or to deprive a soul so athirst from the billowing ocean of His Revelation." The words of Mulla Ali proved of no avail. The more he insisted upon the return of Abdu'l-Vahhab, the louder grew his lamentation and weeping. Mulla Ali finally felt compelled to comply with his wish, resigning himself to the will of God. Haji Abdu'l-Majid, the father of Abdu'l-Vahhab, has often been heard to recount, with eyes filled with tears, this story: "How deeply," he said, "I regret the deed I committed. Pray that God may grant me the remission of my sin. I

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was one among the favoured in the court of the sons of the Farman-Farma, the governor of the province of Fars. Such was my position that none dared to oppose or harm me. No one questioned my authority or ventured to interfere with my freedom. Immediately I heard that my son Abdu'l-Vahhab had forsaken his shop and left the city, I ran out in the direction of the Kaziran gate to overtake him. Armed with a club with which I intended to beat him, I enquired as to the road he had taken. I was told that a man wearing a turban had just crossed the street and that my son was seen following him. They seemed to have agreed to leave the city together. This excited my anger and indignation. How could I tolerate, I thought to myself, such unseemly behaviour on the part of my son, I, who already hold so privileged a position in the court of the sons of the Farman-Farma? Nothing but the severest chastisement, I felt, could wipe away the effect of my son's disgraceful conduct.

"I continued my search until I reached them. Seized with a savage fury, I inflicted upon Mulla Ali unspeakable injuries. To the strokes that fell heavily upon him, he, with extraordinary serenity, returned this answer: 'Stay your hand, O Abdu'l-Majid, for the eye of God is observing you. I take Him as my witness, that I am in no wise responsible for the conduct of your son. I mind not the tortures you inflict upon me, for I stand prepared for the most grievous afflictions in the path I have chosen to follow. Your injuries, compared to what is destined to befall me in future, are as a drop compared to the ocean. Verily, I say, you shall survive me, and will come to recognize my innocence. Great will then be your remorse, and deep your sorrow.' Scorning his remarks, and heedless of his appeal, I continued to beat him until I was exhausted. Silently and heroically he endured this most undeserved chastisement at my hands. Finally, I ordered my son to follow me, and left Mulla Ali to himself. "On our way back to Shiraz, my son related to me the dream he had dreamt. A feeling of profound regret gradually seized me. The blamelessness of Mulla Ali was vindicated in my eyes, and the memory of my cruelty to him continued long to oppress my soul. Its bitterness lingered in my heart until the time when I felt obliged to transfer my residence

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from Shiraz to Baghdad. From Baghdad I moved to Kazimayn, where Abdu'l-Vahhab established his business. A strange mystery brooded over his youthful face. He seemed to be concealing from me a secret which appeared to have transformed his life. And when, in the year 1267 A.H.,[1] Bahá'u'lláh journeyed to Iraq and visited Kazimayn, Abdu'l-Vahhab fell immediately under the spell of His charm and pledged his undying devotion to Him. A few years later, when my son had suffered martyrdom in Tihran and Bahá'u'lláh had been exiled to Baghdad, He, with infinite loving-kindness and mercy, awakened me from the sleep of heedlessness, and Himself taught me the message of the New Day, washing away with the waters of Divine forgiveness the stains of that cruel act."

[1 1850-51 A.D.]

This episode marks the first affliction which befell a disciple of the Báb after the declaration of His mission. Mulla Ali realised from this experience how steep and thorny was the path leading to his eventual attainment of the promise given him by his Master. Wholly resigned to His will, and prepared to shed his life-blood for His Cause, he resumed his journey until he arrived at Najaf. In the presence of Shaykh Muhammad-Hasan, one of the most celebrated ecclesiastics of shi'ah Islam, and in the face of a distinguished company of his disciples, Mulla Ali announced fearlessly the manifestation of the Báb, the Gate whose advent they were eagerly awaiting. "His proof," he declared, "is His Word; His testimony, none other than the testimony with which Islam seeks to vindicate its truth. From the pen of this unschooled Hashimite Youth of Persia there have streamed, within the space of forty-eight hours, as great a number of verses, of prayers, of homilies, and scientific treatises, as would equal in volume the whole of the Qur'an, which it took Muhammad, the Prophet of God, twenty-three years to reveal!" That proud and fanatic leader, instead of welcoming, in an age of darkness and prejudice, these life-giving evidences of a new-born Revelation, forthwith pronounced Mulla Ali a heretic and expelled him from the assembly. His disciples and followers, even the Shaykhis, who already testified to Mulla Ali's piety, sincerity, and learning, endorsed, unhesitatingly,

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the judgment against him. The disciples of Shaykh Muhammad-Hasan, joining hands with their adversaries, heaped upon him untold indignities. They eventually delivered him, his hands bound in chains, to an official of the Ottoman government, arraigning him as a wrecker of Islam, a calumniator of the Prophet, an instigator of mischief, a disgrace to the Faith, and worthy of the penalty of death. He was taken to Baghdad under the escort of government officials, and was cast into prison by the governor of that city.

Haji Hashim, surnamed Attar, a prominent merchant, who was well versed in the Scriptures of Islam, recounted the following: "I was present at Government House on one occasion when Mulla Ali was summoned to the presence of the assembled notables and government officials of that city. He was publicly accused of being an infidel, an abrogator of the laws of Islam, and a repudiator of its rituals and accepted standards. When his alleged offences and misdeeds had been enumerated, the Mufti, the chief exponent of the law of Islam in that city, turned to him and said: 'O enemy of God!' As I was occupying a seat beside the Mufti, I whispered in his ear: 'You are as yet unacquainted with this unfortunate stranger. Why address him in such terms? Do you not realise that such words as you have addressed to him will excite the anger of the populace against him? It behoves you to disregard the unsupported charges these busybodies have brought against him, to question him yourself, and to judge him according to the accepted standards of justice inculcated by the Faith of Islam.' The Mufti was sore displeased, arose from his seat, and left the gathering. Mulla Ali was again thrown into prison. A few days later, I enquired about him, hoping to achieve his deliverance. I was informed that, on the night of that same day, he had been deported to Constantinople. I made further enquiries and endeavoured to find out what eventually befell him. I could not, however, ascertain the truth. A few believed that on his way to Constantinople he had fallen ill and died. Others maintained that he had suffered martyrdom."[1] Whatever

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his end, Mulla Ali had by his life and death earned the immortal distinction of having been the first sufferer in the path of this new Faith of God, the first to have laid down his life as an offering on the Altar of Sacrifice.

[1 According to Muhammad Mustafa (p. 106), Mulla Ali suffered six months' imprisonment in Baghdad by order of Najib Pasha, the governor of the city. He was thence ordered to leave for Constantinople, according to instructions received from the Ottoman government. He passed through Mosul, where he was able to awaken interest in the new Revelation. His friends were, however, unable to discover whether he eventually reached his destination.]

Having sent forth Mulla Ali on his mission, the Báb summoned to His presence the remaining Letters of the Living, and to each severally He gave a special command and appointed a special task. He addressed to them these parting words: "O My beloved friends! You are the bearers of the name of God in this Day. You have been chosen as the repositories of His mystery. It behoves each one of you to manifest the attributes of God, and to exemplify by your deeds and words the signs of His righteousness, His power and glory. The very members of your body must bear witness to the loftiness of your purpose, the integrity of your life, the reality of your faith, and the exalted character of your devotion. For verily I say, this is the Day spoken of by God in His Book:[1] 'On that day will We set a seal upon their mouths yet shall their hands speak unto Us, and their feet shall bear witness to that which they shall have done.' Ponder the words of Jesus addressed to His disciples, as He sent them forth to propagate the Cause of God. In words such as these, He bade them arise and fulfil their mission: 'Ye are even as the fire which in the darkness of the night has been kindled upon the mountain-top. Let your light shine before the eyes of men. Such must be the purity of your character and the degree of your renunciation, that the people of the earth may through you recognize and be drawn closer to the heavenly Father who is the Source of purity and grace. For none has seen the Father who is in heaven. You who are His spiritual children must by your deeds exemplify His virtues, and witness to His glory. You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? Such must be the degree of your detachment, that into whatever city you enter to proclaim and teach the Cause of God, you should in no wise expect either meat or reward from its people. Nay, when you depart out of that city, you should shake the dust from off your feet. As you have entered it pure and

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undefiled, so must you depart from that city. For verily I say, the heavenly Father is ever with you and keeps watch over you. If you be faithful to Him, He will assuredly deliver into your hands all the treasures of the earth, and will exalt you above all the rulers and kings of the world.' O My Letters! Verily I say, immensely exalted is this Day above the days of the Apostles of old. Nay, immeasurable is the difference! You are the witnesses of the Dawn of the promised Day of God. You are the partakers of the mystic chalice of His Revelation. Gird up the loins of endeavour, and be mindful of the words of God as revealed in His Book:[2] 'Lo, the Lord thy God is come, and with Him is the company of His angels arrayed before Him!' Purge your hearts of worldly desires, and let angelic virtues be your adorning. Strive that by your deeds you may bear witness to the truth of these words of God, and beware lest, by 'turning back,' He may 'change you for another people,' who 'shall not be your like,' and who shall take from you the Kingdom of God. The days when idle worship was deemed sufficient are ended. The time is come when naught but the purest motive, supported by deeds of stainless purity, can ascend to the throne of the Most High and be acceptable unto Him. 'The good word riseth up unto Him, and the righteous deed will cause it to be exalted before Him.' You are the lowly, of whom God has thus spoken in His Book:[3] "And We desire to show favour to those who were brought low in the land, and to make them spiritual leaders among men, and to make them Our heirs.' You have been called to this station; you will attain to it, only if you arise to trample beneath your feet every earthly desire, and endeavour to become those 'honoured servants of His who speak not till He hath spoken, and who do His bidding.' You are the first Letters that have been generated from the Primal Point,[4] the first Springs that have welled out from the Source of this Revelation. Beseech the Lord your God to grant that no earthly entanglements, no worldly affections, no ephemeral pursuits, may tarnish the purity, or embitter the sweetness, of that grace which flows through you. I am preparing you for the advent of a mighty Day. Exert your utmost endeavour that, in the world to come, I, who am now instructing you, may, before the mercy-seat of

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God, rejoice in your deeds and glory in your achievements. The secret of the Day that is to come is now concealed. It can neither be divulged nor estimated. The newly born babe of that Day excels the wisest and most venerable men of this time, and the lowliest and most unlearned of that period shall surpass in understanding the most erudite and accomplished divines of this age. Scatter throughout the length and breadth of this land, and, with steadfast feet and sanctified hearts, prepare the way for His coming. Heed not your weaknesses and frailty; fix your gaze upon the invincible power of the Lord, your God, the Almighty. Has He not, in past days, caused Abraham, in spite of His seeming helplessness, to triumph over the forces of Nimrod? Has He not enabled Moses, whose staff was His only companion, to vanquish Pharaoh and his hosts? Has He not established the ascendancy of Jesus, poor and lowly as He was in the eyes of men, over the combined forces of the Jewish people? Has He not subjected the barbarous and militant tribes of Arabia to the holy and transforming discipline of Muhammad, His Prophet? Arise in His name, put your trust wholly in Him, and be assured of ultimate victory.'[5]

[1 The Qur'an.]
[2 The Qur'an.]
[3 The Qur'an.]
[4 One of the Báb's titles.]

[5 The Báb refers to the Letters of the Living in the Persian Bayan (Vahid I, Báb 2) in the following terms: "All of these formed the name of the Living One, for these are the names that are the nearest to God; the others are guided by their clear and significant actions, for God began the creation of the Bayan through them, and it is to them that the creation of the Bayan will again return. They are the lights which in the past have eternally prostrated themselves and will prostrate themselves eternally in the future, before the celestial throne." ("Le Bayan Persan," vol. 1, pp. 24-25.)]

With such words the Báb quickened the faith of His disciples and launched them upon their mission. To each He assigned his own native province as the field of his labours. He directed them each and all to refrain from specific references to His own name and person.[1] He instructed them to raise the call that the Gate to the Promised One has been opened, that His proof is irrefutable, and that His testimony is complete. He bade them declare that whoever believes in Him has believed in all the prophets of God, and that whoever denies Him has denied all His saints and His chosen

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[Illustration: THE MADRISH OF NIM-AVARD, ISFAHAN]
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ones. With these instructions He dismissed them from His presence and committed them to the care of God. Of these Letters of the Living, whom He thus addressed, there remained with Him in Shiraz Mulla Husayn, the first of these Letters, and Quddus, the last. The rest, fourteen in number, set out, at the hour of dawn, from Shiraz, each resolved to carry out, in its entirety, the task with which he had been entrusted.

[1 A. L. M. Nicolas, in his introduction to volume I of "Le Bayan Persan" (pp. 3-5), writes as follows: "Everyone agrees in acknowledging that it would be absolutely impossible for him to proclaim loudly his doctrine or to spread it among men. He had to act as does a physician to children, who must disguise a bitter medicine in a sweet coating in order to win over his young patients. The people in the midst of whom he appeared were, and still are, alas, more fanatical than the Jews were at the time of Jesus, when the majesty of Roman peace was no longer there to put a stop to the furious excesses of religious madness of an over-excited people. Therefore, if Christ, in spite of the relative calm of the surroundings in which He preached, thought it necessary to employ the parable, Siyyid Ali-Muhammad, a fortiori, was obliged to disguise his thought in numerous circuitous ways and only pour out, one drop at a time, the filter of his divine truths. He brings up his child, Humanity; he guides it, endeavoring always not to frighten it and directs its first steps on a path which leads it slowly but surely, so that, as soon as it can proceed alone, it reaches the goal pre-ordained for it from all eternity."]

To Mulla Husayn, as the hour of his departure approached, the Báb addressed these words: "Grieve not that you have not been chosen to accompany Me on My pilgrimage to Hijaz. I shall, instead, direct your steps to that city which enshrines a Mystery of such transcendent holiness as neither Hijaz nor Shiraz can hope to rival. My hope is that you may, by the aid of God, be enabled to remove the veils from the eyes of the wayward and to cleanse the minds of the malevolent. Visit, on your way, Isfahan, Kashan, Tihran, and Khurasan. Proceed thence to Iraq, and there await the summons of your Lord, who will keep watch over you and will direct you to whatsoever is His will and desire. As to Myself, I shall, accompanied by Quddus and My Ethiopian servant, proceed on My pilgrimage to Hijaz. I shall join the company of the pilgrims of Fars, who will shortly be sailing for that land. I shall visit Mecca and Medina, and there fulfil the mission with which God has entrusted Me. God willing, I shall return hither by the way of Kufih, in which place I hope to meet you. If it be decreed otherwise, I shall ask you to join Me in Shiraz. The hosts of the invisible Kingdom, be assured, will sustain and reinforce your efforts. The essence of power is now dwelling in you, and the company of His chosen angels revolves around you. His almighty arms will surround you, and His unfailing Spirit will ever continue to guide your steps. He that loves you, loves God; and whoever opposes you, has opposed God. Whoso befriends you, him will God befriend; and whoso rejects you, him will God reject."

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CHAPTER IV
MULLA HUSAYN'S JOURNEY TO TIHRAN

WITH these noble words ringing in his ears, Mulla Husayn embarked upon his perilous enterprise. Wherever he went, to whatever class of people he addressed himself, he delivered fearlessly and without reserve the Message with which his beloved Master had entrusted him. Arriving in Isfahan, he established himself in the madrisih of Nim-Avard. Around him gathered those who on his previous visit to that city had known him as the favoured messenger of Siyyid Kazim to the eminent mujtahid, Haji Siyyid Muhammad-Baqir.[1] He, being now dead, had been succeeded by his son, who had just returned from Najaf and was now established upon the seat of his father. Haji Muhammad-Ibrahim-i-Kalbasi had also fallen seriously ill, and was on the verge of death. The disciples of the late Haji Siyyid Muhammad-Baqir, now freed from the restraining influence of their departed teacher, and alarmed at the strange doctrines which Mulla Husayn was propounding, vehemently denounced him to Haji Siyyid Asadu'llah, the son of the late Haji Siyyid Muhammad-Baqir. "Mulla Husayn," they complained, "was able, in the course of his last visit, to win the support of your illustrious father to the cause of Shaykh Ahmad. No one among the Siyyid's helpless disciples dared to oppose him. He now comes as the upholder of a still more formidable opponent and is pleading His Cause with still greater vehemence and vigour. He is persistently claiming that He whose Cause he now champions is the Revealer of a Book which is divinely inspired, and which bears a striking resemblance to the tone

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and language of the Qur'an. In the face of the people of this city, he has flung these challenging words: 'Produce one like it, if you are men of truth.' The day is fast approaching when the whole of Isfahan will have embraced his Cause!" Haji Siyyid Asadu'llah returned evasive answers to their complaints. "What am I to say?" he was at last forced to reply. Do you not yourselves admit that Mulla Husayn has, by his eloquence and the cogency of his argument, silenced a man no less great than my illustrious father? How can I, then, who am so inferior to him in merit and knowledge, presume to challenge what he has already approved? Let each man dispassionately examine these claims. If he be satisfied, well and good; if not, let him observe silence, and not incur the risk of discrediting the fair name of our Faith."

[1 "In crowds they gathered to hear the teacher. He occupied in turn all the pulpits of Isfahan where he was free to speak publicly and to announce that Mirza Ali-Muhammad was the twelfth Imam, the Imam Mihdi. He displayed and read his Master's books and would reveal their eloquence and their depth, emphasizing the extreme youthfulness of the seer and telling of his miracles." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 130.)]

Finding that their efforts had failed to influence Haji Siyyid Asadu'llah, his disciples referred the matter to Haji Muhammad-Ibrahim-i-Kalbasi. "Woe betide us," they loudly protested, "for the enemy has risen to disrupt the holy Faith of Islam. In lurid and exaggerated language, they stressed the challenging character of the ideas propounded by Mulla Husayn. "Hold your peace," replied Haji Muhammad-Ibrahim. "Mulla Husayn is not the person to be duped by anyone, nor can he fall a victim to dangerous heresies. If your contention be true, if Mulla Husayn has indeed espoused a new Faith, it is unquestionably your first obligation to enquire dispassionately into the character of his teachings, and to refrain from denouncing him without previous and careful scrutiny. If my health and strength be restored, it is my intention, God willing, to investigate the matter myself, and to ascertain the truth."

This severe rebuke, pronounced by Haji Kalbasi, greatly disconcerted the disciples of Haji Siyyid Asadu'llah. In their dismay they appealed to Manuchihr Khan, the Mu'tamidu'd-Dawlih, the governor of the city. That wise and judicious ruler refused to interfere in these matters, which he said fell exclusively within the jurisdiction of the ulamas. He warned them to abstain from mischief and to cease disturbing the peace and tranquillity of the messenger. His trenchant words shattered the hopes of the mischief-makers. Mulla Husayn was thereby relieved from the machinations

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of his enemies, and, for a time, pursued untrammelled the course of his labours.

The first to embrace the Cause of the Báb in that city was a man, a sifter of wheat, who, as soon as the Call reached his ears, unreservedly accepted the Message. With marvellous devotion he served Mulla Husayn, and through his close association with him became a zealous advocate of the new Revelation. A few years later, when the soul-stirring details of the siege of the fort of Shaykh Tabarsi were being recounted to him, he felt an irresistible impulse to throw in his lot with those heroic companions of the Báb who had risen for the defence of their Faith. Carrying his sieve in his hand, he immediately arose and set out to reach the scene of that memorable encounter. "Why leave so hurriedly?" his friends asked him, as they saw him running in a state of intense excitement through the bazaars of Isfahan. "I have risen," he replied, "to join the glorious company of the defenders of the fort of Shaykh Tabarsi! With this sieve which I carry with me, I intend to sift the people in every city through which I pass. Whomsoever I find ready to espouse the Cause I have embraced, I will ask to join me and hasten forthwith to the field of martyrdom." Such was the devotion of this youth, that the Báb, in the Persian Bayan, refers to him in such terms: "Isfahan, that outstanding city, is distinguished by the religious fervour of its shi'ah inhabitants, by the learning of its divines, and by the keen expectation, shared by high and low alike, of the imminent coming of the Sahibu'z-Zaman. In every quarter of that city, religious institutions have been established. And yet, when the Messenger of God had been made manifest, they who claimed to be the repositories of learning and the expounders of the mysteries of the Faith of God rejected His Message. Of all the inhabitants of that seat of learning, only one person, a sifter of wheat, was found to recognize the Truth, and was invested with the robe of Divine virtue!"[1]

[1 'Behold the land of Sad (Isfahan) which in this world of appearances is the greatest of lands. In every one of its schools, numerous slaves are found who bear the name of savants and contestants. At the time of the election of members, even a sifter of grain may put on the garb of primacy (above the others). It is here that the secret of the word of the Imams, regarding the Manifestation, shines forth: "The lowliest of the creatures shall become the most exalted, and the most exalted shall become the most debased.'" ("The Bayan Persan," vol. 4, p. 113.)]

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Among the siyyids of Isfahan, a few, such as Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Nahri, whose daughter was subsequently joined in wedlock with the Most Great Branch,[1] Mirza Hadi, the brother of Mirza Muhammad-'Ali, and Mirza Muhammad-Riday-i-Pa-Qal'iyi, recognized the truth of the Cause. Mulla Sadiq-i-Khurasani, formerly known as Muqaddas, and surnamed by Bahá'u'lláh, Ismu'llahu'l-Asdaq, who, according to the instructions of Siyyid Kazim, had during the last five years been residing in Isfahan and had been preparing the way for the advent of the new Revelation, was also among the first believers who identified themselves with the Message proclaimed by the Báb.[2] As Soon as he learned of the arrival of Mulla Husayn in Isfahan, he hastened to meet him. He gives the following account of his first interview, which took place at night in the home of Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Nahri: "I asked Mulla Husayn to divulge the name of Him who claimed to be the promised Manifestation. He replied: 'To enquire about that name and to divulge it are alike forbidden.' 'Would it, then, be possible,' I asked, 'for me, even as the Letters of the Living, to seek independently the grace of the All-Merciful and, through prayer, to discover His identity?' 'The door of His grace,' he replied, 'is never closed before the face of him who seeks to find Him.' I immediately retired from his presence, and requested his host to allow me the privacy of a room in his house where, alone and undisturbed, I could commune with God. In the midst of my contemplation, I suddenly remembered the face of a Youth whom I had often observed while in Karbila, standing in an attitude of prayer, with His face bathed in tears at the entrance of the shrine of the Imam Husayn. That same countenance now reappeared before my eyes. In my vision I seemed to behold that same face, those same features, expressive of such joy as I could never describe. He smiled as He gazed at me. I went towards Him, ready to throw myself at His feet. I was bending towards the ground, when, lo! that radiant figure vanished from before me. Overpowered with joy and gladness, I ran out to meet Mulla

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Husayn, who with transport received me and assured me that I had, at last, attained the object of my desire. He bade me, however, repress my feelings. 'Declare not your vision to anyone,' he urged me; 'the time for it has not yet arrived. You have reaped the fruit of your patient waiting in Isfahan. You should now proceed to Kirman, and there acquaint Haji Mirza Karim Khan with this Message. From that place you should travel to Shiraz and endeavour to rouse the people of that city from their heedlessness. I hope to join you in Shiraz and share with you the blessings of a joyous reunion with our Beloved.'"[3]

[1 Reference to Abdu'l-Bahá'í marriage with Munirih Khanum.]

[2 Gobineau (p. 129) mentions Mulla Muhammad-Taqiy-i-Harati, a well-known juris-consult, as one of the earliest converts to the Faith.]

[3 "The sojourn of Bushru'i in Isfahan proved a triumph for the Báb. The conversions that he performed were numerous and brilliant; but, such are the ways of the world, that they drew down upon him the fierce hatred of the official clergy to which he was obliged to yield and he withdrew from that city. In fact, the conversion of Mulla Muhammad Taqi-i-Hirati, a jurist of the first rank, brought their fury to a climax, because over-flowing with zeal as he was, he would go every day to the mambar where he talked to men openly of the greatness of the Báb to whom he gave the rank of Na'ib-i-khass of the twelfth Imam." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 255.)]

From Isfahan, Mulla Husayn proceeded to Kashan. The first to be enrolled in that city among the company of the faithful was a certain Haji Mirza Jani, surnamed Par-Pa, who was a merchant of note.[1] Among the friends of Mulla Husayn was a well-known divine, Siyyid Abdu'l-Baqi, a resident of Kashan and a member of the shaykhi community. Although intimately associated with Mulla Husayn during his stay in Najaf and Karbila, the Siyyid felt unable to sacrifice rank and leadership for the Message which his friend had brought him.

[1 According to the "Kashfu'l-Ghiti'" (pp. 42-5), Haji Mirza Jani was known by the people of Kashan as Haji Mirza Janiy-i-Buzurg in order to distinguish him from his namesake, who was also a merchant of Kashan, known by the name of Haji Mirza Janiy-i-Turk, or Kuchiq. The former had three brothers the eldest was named Haji Muhammad-Isma'il-i-Dhabih, the second Haji Mirza Ahmad, the third Haji Ali-Akbar.]

Arriving in Qum, Mulla Husayn found its people utterly unprepared to heed his call. The seeds he sowed among them did not germinate until the time when Bahá'u'lláh was exiled to Baghdad. In those days Haji Mirza Musa, a native of Qum, embraced the Faith, journeyed to Baghdad, and there met Bahá'u'lláh. He eventually quaffed the cup of martyrdom in His path.

From Qum, Mulla Husayn proceeded directly to Tihran. He lived, during his stay in the capital, in one of the rooms

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which belonged to the madrisih of Mirza Salih, better known as the madrisih of Pay-i-Minar. Haji Mirza Muhammad-i-Khurasani, the leader of the shaykhi community of Tihran, who acted as an instructor in that institution, was approached by Mulla Husayn but failed to respond to his motivation to accept the Message. "We had cherished the hope he said to Mulla Husayn, "that after the death of Siyyid Kazim you would strive to promote the best interests of the shaykhi community and would deliver it from the

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obscurity into which it has sunk. You seem, however, to have betrayed its cause. You have shattered our fondest expectations. If you persist in disseminating these subversive doctrines, you will eventually extinguish the remnants of the shaykhis in this city." Mulla Husayn assured him that he had no intention of prolonging his stay in Tihran, that his aim was in no wise to abase or suppress the teachings inculcated by Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim.[1]

[1 "He passed several days in that capital but he did not appear in public. He limited himself to confidential conversations with those who visited him. He thus received many and won over to his doctrine a fairly large number of enquirers. Each one wished to see him, or to have seen him, and the King, Muhammad Shah and his Minister, Haji Mirza Aqasi, true Persians as they were, did not fail to have him brought before them. He laid before them his doctrine and gave to them the Books of the Master." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 131.)]

During his stay in Tihran, Mulla Husayn each day would leave his room early in the morning and would return to it only an hour after sunset. Upon his return he would quietly and alone re-enter his room, close the door behind him, and

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remain in the privacy of his cell until the next day.[1] Mirza Musa, Aqay-i-Kalim, the brother of Bahá'u'lláh, recounted to me the following: "I have heard Mulla Muhammad-i-Mu'allim, a native of Nur, in the province of Mazindaran, who was a fervent admirer of both Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim, relate this story: 'I was in those days recognized as one of the favoured disciples of Haji Mirza Muhammad, and lived in the same school in which he taught. My room adjoined his room, and we were closely associated together. On the day that he was engaged in discussion with Mulla Husayn, I overheard their conversation from beginning to end, and was deeply affected by the ardour, the fluency, and learning of that youthful stranger. I was surprised at the evasive answers, the arrogance, and contemptuous behaviour of Haji Mirza Muhammad. That day I felt strongly attracted by the charm of that youth, and deeply resented the unseemly conduct of my teacher towards him. I concealed my feelings, however, and pretended to ignore his discussions with Mulla Husayn. I was seized with a passionate desire to meet the latter, and ventured, at the hour of midnight, to visit him. He did not expect me, but I knocked at his door, and found him awake seated beside his lamp. He received me affectionately, and spoke to me with extreme courtesy and tenderness. I unburdened my heart to him, and as I was addressing him, tears, which I could not repress, flowed from my eyes. "I can now see," he said, "the reason why I have chosen to dwell in this place. Your teacher has contemptuously rejected this Message and despised its Author. My hope is that his pupil may, unlike his master, recognize its truth. What is your name, and which city is your home?" "My name," I replied, "is Mulla Muhammad, and my surname Mu'allim. My home is Nur, in the province of Mazindaran." "Tell me," further enquired Mulla Husayn, "is there to-day among the family of the late Mirza Buzurg-i-Nuri, who was so renowned for his character, his charm, and artistic and intellectual attainments, anyone who has proved himself capable of maintaining the high traditions of that

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illustrious house?" "Yea," I replied, "among his sons now living, one has distinguished Himself by the very traits which characterised His father. By His virtuous life, His high attainments, His loving-kindness and liberality, He has proved Himself a noble descendant of a noble father." "What is His occupation?" he asked me. "He cheers the disconsolate

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and feeds the hungry," I replied. "What of His rank and position?" "He has none," I said, "apart from befriending the poor and the stranger." "What is His name?" "Husayn-'Ali." "In which of the scripts of His father does He excel?" "His favourite script is shikastih-nasta'liq." "How does He spend His time?" "He roams the woods and delights in the beauties of the countryside."[2] "What is His age?" "Eight and twenty." The eagerness with which Mulla Husayn questioned me, and the sense of delight with which he welcomed every particular I gave him, greatly surprised me. Turning to me, with his face beaming with satisfaction and joy, he once more enquired: "I presume you often meet Him?" "I frequently visit His home," I replied. "Will you," he said, "deliver into His hands a trust from me?" "Most assuredly," was my reply. He then gave me a scroll wrapped in a piece of cloth, and requested me to hand it to Him the next day at the hour of dawn. "Should He deign to answer me," he added, "will you be kind enough to acquaint me with His reply. I received the scroll from him and, at break of day, arose to carry out his desire.

[1 According to Samandar (manuscript, p. 2), Mulla Husayn, on his way from Shiraz to Tihran in the year 1260 A.H., was the bearer of a Tablet revealed by the Báb for Muhammad Shah.]

[2 "On one occasion," writes Dr. J. E. Esslemont, "Abdu'l-Bahá, the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, related to the writer the following particulars about +His Father's early days: 'From childhood He was extremely kind and generous. He was a great lover of outdoor life, most of His time being spent in the garden or the fields. He had an extraordinary power of attraction, which was felt by all. People always crowded around Him. Ministers and people of the Court would surround Him, and the children also were devoted to Him. When He was only thirteen or fourteen years old He became renowned for His learning.... When Bahá'u'lláh was twenty-two years old, His father died, and the Government wished Him to succeed to His father's position in the Ministry as was customary in Persia, but Bahá'u'lláh did not accept the offer. Then the Prime Minister said: "Leave him to himself. Such a position is unworthy of him. He has some higher aim in view. I cannot understand him, but I am convinced that he is destined for some lofty career. His thoughts are not like ours. Let him alone."'" ("Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era," pp. 29-30.)]

"'As I approached the house of Bahá'u'lláh, I recognized His brother Mirza Musa, who was standing at the gate, and to whom I communicated the object of my visit. He went into the house and soon reappeared bearing a message of welcome. I was ushered into His presence, and presented the scroll to Mirza Musa, who laid it before Bahá'u'lláh. He bade us both be seated. Unfolding the scroll, He glanced at its contents and began to read aloud to us certain of its passages. I sat enraptured as I listened to the sound of His

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voice and the sweetness of its melody. He had read a page of the scroll when, turning to His brother, He said: "Musa, what have you to say? Verily I say, whoso believes in the Qur'an and recognizes its Divine origin, and yet hesitates, though it be for a moment, to admit that these soul-stirring words are endowed with the same regenerating power, has most assuredly erred in his judgment and has strayed far from the path of justice." He spoke no more. Dismissing me from His presence, He charged me to take to Mulla Husayn, as a gift from Him, a loaf of Russian sugar and a package of tea,[1] and to convey to him the expression of His appreciation and love.

[1 Tea and that variety of sugar being extremely rare in Persia at that time, both were used as gifts among the higher classes of the population.]

"'I arose and, filled with joy, hastened back to Mulla Husayn, and delivered to him the gift and message of Bahá'u'lláh. With what joy and exultation he received them from me! Words fail me to describe the intensity of his emotion. He started to his feet, received with bowed head the gift from my hand, and fervently kissed it. He then took me in his arms, kissed my eyes, and said: "My dearly beloved friend! I pray that even as you have rejoiced my heart, God may grant you eternal felicity and fill your heart with imperishable gladness." I was amazed at the behaviour of Mulla Husayn. What could be, I thought to myself, the nature of the bond that unites these two souls? What could have kindled so fervid a fellowship in their hearts? Why should Mulla Husayn, in whose sight the pomp and circumstance of royalty were the merest trifle, have evinced such gladness at the sight of so inconsiderable a gift from the hands of Bahá'u'lláh? I was puzzled by this thought and could not unravel its mystery.

"'A few days later, Mulla Husayn left for Khurasan. As he bade me farewell, he said: "Breathe not to anyone what you have heard and witnessed. Let this be a secret hidden within your breast. Divulge not His name, for they who envy His position will arise to harm Him. In your moments of meditation, pray that the Almighty may protect Him, that, through Him, He may exalt the downtrodden, enrich the poor,

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and redeem the fallen. The secret of things is concealed from our eyes. Ours is the duty to raise the call of the New Day and to proclaim this Divine Message unto all people. Many a soul will, in this city, shed his blood in this path. That blood will water the Tree of God, will cause it to flourish, and to overshadow all mankind."'"

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CHAPTER V
BAHÁ'U'LLÁH'S JOURNEY TO MAZINDARAN

THE first journey Bahá'u'lláh undertook for the purpose of promoting the Revelation announced by the Báb was to His ancestral home in Nur, in the province of Mazindaran. He set out for the village of Takur, the personal estate of His father, where He owned a vast mansion, royally furnished and superbly situated. It was my privilege to hear Bahá'u'lláh Himself, one day, recount the following: "The late Vazir, My father, enjoyed a most enviable position among his countrymen. His vast wealth, his noble ancestry, his artistic attainments, his unrivalled prestige and exalted rank made him the object of the admiration of all who knew him. For a period of over twenty years, no one among the wide circle of his family and kindred, which extended over Nur and Tihran, suffered distress, injury, or illness. They enjoyed, during a long and uninterrupted period, rich and manifold blessings. Quite suddenly, however, this prosperity and glory gave way to a series of calamities which severely shook the foundations of his material prosperity. The first loss he suffered was occasioned by a great flood which, rising in the mountains of Mazindaran, swept with great violence over the village of Takur, and utterly destroyed half the mansion of the Vazir, situated above the fortress of that village. The best part of that house, which had been known for the solidity of its foundations, was utterly wiped away by the fury of the roaring torrent. Its precious articles of furniture were destroyed, and its elaborate ornamentation irretrievably ruined. This was shortly followed by the loss of various State positions which the Vazir occupied, and by the repeated assaults directed against him by his envious adversaries. Despite this sudden change of fortune, the Vazir maintained his dignity and calm, and continued, within the restricted limits of his means, his acts of benevolence and charity. He continued to exercise towards his faithless associates

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that same courtesy and kindness that had characterised his dealings with his fellow-men. With splendid fortitude he grappled, until the last hour of his life, with the adversities that weighed so heavily upon him."

Bahá'u'lláh had already, prior to the declaration of the Báb, visited the district of Nur, at a time when the celebrated mujtahid Mirza Muhammad Taqiy-i-Nuri was at the height of his authority and influence. Such was the eminence of his position, that they who sat at his feet regarded themselves each as the authorised exponent of the Faith and Law of Islam. The mujtahid was addressing a company of over two hundred of such disciples, and was expatiating upon a dark passage of the reported utterances of the imams, when Bahá'u'lláh, followed by a number of His companions, passed by that place, and paused for a while to listen to his discourse. The mujtahid asked his disciples to elucidate an abstruse theory relating to the metaphysical aspects of the Islamic teachings. As they all confessed their inability to explain it, Bahá'u'lláh was moved to give, in brief but convincing language, a lucid exposition of that theory. The mujtahid was greatly annoyed at the incompetence of his disciples. "For years I have been instructing you," he angrily exclaimed, "and have patiently striven to instil into your minds the profoundest truths and the noblest principles of the Faith. And yet you allow, after all these years of persistent study, this youth, a wearer of the kulah,[1] who has had no share in scholarly training, and who is entirely unfamiliar with your academic learning, to demonstrate his superiority over you!

[1 The kulah, a lambskin hat, differentiated the clergy from the laity, and was worn invariably by State officials.]

Later on, when Bahá'u'lláh had departed, the mujtahid related to his disciples two of his recent dreams, the circumstances of which he believed were of the utmost significance. "In my first dream," he said, "I was standing in the midst of a vast concourse of people, all of whom seemed to be pointing to a certain house in which they said the Sahibu'z-Zaman dwelt. Frantic with joy, I hastened in my dream to attain His presence. When I reached the house, I was, to my great surprise, refused admittance. 'The promised

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Qa'im,' I was informed, 'is engaged in private conversation with another Person. Access to them is strictly forbidden.' From the guards who were standing beside the door, I gathered that that Person was none other than Bahá'u'lláh.

"In my second dream," the mujtahid continued, "I found myself in a place where I beheld around me a number of coffers, each of which, it was stated, belonged to Bahá'u'lláh. As I opened them, I found them to be filled with books. Every word and letter recorded in these books was set with the most exquisite jewels. Their radiance dazzled me. I was so overpowered by their brilliance that I awoke suddenly from my dream."

When, in the year '60, Bahá'u'lláh arrived in Nur, He discovered that the celebrated mujtahid who on His previous visit had wielded such immense power had passed away. The vast number of his devotees had shrunk into a mere handful of dejected disciples who, under the leadership of his successor, Mulla Muhammad, were striving to uphold the traditions of their departed leader. The enthusiasm which greeted Bahá'u'lláh's arrival sharply contrasted with the

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gloom that had settled upon the remnants of that once flourishing community. A large number of the officials and notables in that neighbourhood called upon Him and, with every mark of affection and respect, accorded Him a befitting welcome. They were eager, in view of the social position He occupied, to learn from Him all the news regarding the life of the Shah, the activities of his ministers, and the affairs of his government. To their enquiries Bahá'u'lláh replied with extreme indifference, and seemed to reveal very little interest or concern. With persuasive eloquence He pleaded the cause of the new Revelation, and directed their attention to the immeasurable benefits which it was destined to confer upon their country.[1] Those who heard Him marvelled at the keen interest which a man of His position and age evinced for truths which primarily concerned the divines and theologians of Islam. They felt powerless to challenge the soundness of His arguments or to belittle the Cause which He so ably expounded. They admired the loftiness of His enthusiasm and the profundity of His thoughts, and were deeply impressed by His detachment and self-effacement.

[1 "His [Bahá'u'lláh's] speech was like a 'rushing torrent' and his clearness in exposition brought the most learned divines to his feet." (Dr. T. K. Cheyne's "The Reconciliation of Races and Religions," p. 120.)]

None dared to contend with His views except His uncle Aziz, who ventured to oppose Him, challenging His statements and aspersing their truth. When those who heard him sought to silence this opponent and to injure him, Bahá'u'lláh intervened in his behalf, and advised them to leave him in the hands of God. Alarmed, he sought the aid of the mujtahid of Nur, Mulla Muhammad, and appealed to him to lend him immediate assistance. "O vicegerent of the Prophet of God!" he said. "Behold what has befallen the Faith. A youth, a layman, attired in the garb of nobility, has come to Nur, has invaded the strongholds of orthodoxy, and disrupted the holy Faith of Islam. Arise, and resist his onslaught. Whoever attains his presence falls immediately under his spell, and is enthralled by the power of his utterance. I know not whether he is a sorcerer, or whether he mixes with his tea some mysterious substance that makes every man who drinks the tea fall a victim to its charm." The

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mujtahid, notwithstanding his own lack of comprehension, was able to realise the folly of such remarks. Jestingly he observed: "Have you not partaken of his tea, or heard him address his companions?" "I have," he replied, "but, thanks to your loving protection, I have remained immune from the effect of his mysterious power." The mujtahid, finding himself unequal to the task of arousing the populace against Bahá'u'lláh, and of combating directly the ideas which so powerful an opponent was fearlessly spreading, contented himself with a written statement in which he declared: "O Aziz, be not afraid, no one will dare molest you." In writing this, the mujtahid had, through a grammatical error, so perverted the purport of his statement, that those who read it among the notables of the village of Takur were scandalised by its meaning, and vilified both the bearer and the author of that statement.

Those who attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh and heard Him expound the Message proclaimed by the Báb were so much impressed by the earnestness of His appeal that they forthwith arose to disseminate that same Message among the people of Nur and to extol the virtues of its distinguished Promoter. The disciples of Mulla Muhammad meanwhile endeavoured to persuade their teacher to proceed to Takur, to visit Bahá'u'lláh in person, to ascertain from Him the nature of this new Revelation, and to enlighten his followers regarding its character and purpose. To their earnest entreaty the mujtahid returned an evasive answer. His disciples, however, refused to admit the validity of the objections he raised. They urged that the first obligation imposed upon a man of his position, whose function was to preserve the integrity of shi'ah Islam, was to enquire into the nature of every movement that tended to affect the interests of their Faith. Mulla Muhammad eventually decided to delegate two of his eminent lieutenants, Mulla Abbas and Mirza Abu'l-Qasim, both sons-in-law and trusted disciples of the late mujtahid, Mirza Muhammad-Taqi, to visit Bahá'u'lláh and to determine the true character of the Message He had brought. He pledged himself to endorse unreservedly whatever conclusions they might arrive at, and to recognize their decision in such matters as final.

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On being informed, upon their arrival in Takur, that Bahá'u'lláh had departed for His winter resort, the representatives of Mulla Muhammad decided to leave for that place. When they arrived, they found Bahá'u'lláh engaged in revealing a commentary on the opening Surih of the Qur'an, entitled "The Seven Verses of Repetition." As they sat and listened to His discourse, the loftiness of the theme, the persuasive eloquence which characterised its presentation, as well as the extraordinary manner of its delivery, profoundly impressed them. Mulla Abbas, unable to contain himself, arose from his seat and, urged by an impulse he could not resist, walked back and stood still beside the door in an attitude of reverent submissiveness. The charm of the discourse to which he was listening had fascinated him. "You behold my condition," he told his companion as he stood trembling with emotion and with eyes full of tears. "I am powerless to question Bahá'u'lláh. The questions I had planned to ask Him have vanished suddenly from my memory. You are free either to proceed with your enquiry or to return alone to our teacher and inform him of the state in which I find myself. Tell him from me that Abbas can never again return to him. He can no longer forsake this threshold." Mirza Abu'l-Qasim was likewise moved to follow the example of his companion. "I have ceased to recognize my teacher," was his reply. "This very moment, I have vowed to God to dedicate the remaining days of my life to the service of Bahá'u'lláh, my true and only Master."

The news of the sudden conversion of the chosen envoys of the mujtahid of Nur spread with bewildering rapidity throughout the district. It roused the people from their lethargy. Ecclesiastical dignitaries, State officials, traders, and peasants all flocked to the residence of Bahá'u'lláh. A considerable number among them willingly espoused His Cause. In their admiration for Him, a number of the most distinguished among them remarked: "We see how the people of Nur have risen and rallied round you. We witness on every side evidences of their exultation. If Mulla Muhammad were also to join them, the triumph of this Faith would be completely assured." "I am come to Nur," Bahá'u'lláh replied, "solely for the purpose of proclaiming the

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Cause of God. I cherish no other intention. If I were told that at a distance of a hundred leagues a seeker yearned for the Truth and was unable to meet Me, I would, gladly and unhesitatingly, hasten to his abode, and would Myself satisfy his hunger. Mulla Muhammad, I am told, lives in Sa'adat-Abad, a village not far distant from this place. It is My purpose to visit him and deliver to him the Message of God."

Desirous of giving effect to His words, Bahá'u'lláh, accompanied by a number of His companions, proceeded immediately to that village. Mulla Muhammad most ceremoniously received Him. "I have not come to this place," Bahá'u'lláh observed, "to pay you an official or formal visit. My purpose is to enlighten you regarding a new and wondrous Message, divinely inspired and fulfilling the promise given to Islam. Whosoever has inclined his ear to this Message has felt its irresistible power, and has been transformed by the potency of its grace. Tell Me whatsoever perplexes your mind, or hinders you from recognising the Truth." Mulla Muhammad disparagingly remarked: "I undertake no action unless I first consult the Qur'an. I have invariably, on such occasions, followed the practice of invoking the aid of God and His blessings; of opening at random His sacred Book, and of consulting the first verse of the particular page upon which my eyes chance to fall. From the nature of that verse I can judge the wisdom and the advisability of my contemplated course of action." Finding that Bahá'u'lláh was not inclined to refuse him his request, the mujtahid called for a copy of the Qur'an, opened and closed it again, refusing to reveal the nature of the verse to those who were present. All he said was this: "I have consulted the Book of God, and deem it inadvisable to proceed further with this matter." A few agreed with him; the rest, for the most part, did not fail to recognize the fear which those words implied. Bahá'u'lláh, disinclined to cause him further embarrassment, arose and, asking to be excused, bade him a cordial farewell.

One day, in the course of one of His riding excursions into the country, Bahá'u'lláh, accompanied by His companions, saw, seated by Me roadside, a lonely youth. His hair was dishevelled, and he wore the dress of a dervish. By the side of a brook he had kindled a fire, and was cooking his food

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and eating it. Approaching him, Bahá'u'lláh most lovingly enquired: "Tell Me, dervish, what is it that you are doing?" "I am engaged in eating God," he bluntly replied. "I am cooking God and am burning Him." The unaffected simplicity of his manners and the candour of his reply pleased Bahá'u'lláh extremely. He smiled at his remark and began to converse with him with unrestrained tenderness and freedom. Within a short space of time, Bahá'u'lláh had changed him completely. Enlightened as to the true nature of God, and with a mind purged from the idle fancy of his own people, he immediately recognized the Light which that loving Stranger had so unexpectedly brought him. That dervish, whose name was Mustafa, became so enamoured with the teachings which had been instilled into his mind that, leaving his cooking utensils behind, he straightway arose and followed Bahá'u'lláh. On foot, behind His horse, and inflamed with the fire of His love, he chanted merrily verses of a love-song which he had composed on the spur of the moment and had dedicated to his Beloved. "Thou art the Day-Star of guidance," ran its glad refrain. "Thou art the Light of Truth. Unveil Thyself to men, O Revealer of the Truth." Although, in later years, that poem obtained wide circulation among his people, and it became known that a certain dervish, surnamed Majdhub, and whose name was Mustafa Big-i-Sanandaji, had, without premeditation, composed it in praise of his Beloved, none seemed to be aware to whom it actually referred, nor did anyone suspect, at a time when Bahá'u'lláh was still veiled from the eyes of men, that this dervish alone had recognized His station and discovered His glory.

Bahá'u'lláh's visit to Nur had produced the most far-reaching results, and had lent a remarkable impetus to the spread of the new-born Revelation. By His magnetic eloquence, by the purity of His life, by the dignity of His bearing, by the unanswerable logic of His argument, and by the many evidences of His loving-kindness, Bahá'u'lláh had won the hearts of the people of Nur, had stirred their souls, and had enrolled them under the standard of the Faith. Such was the effect of words and deeds, as He went about preaching the Cause and revealing its glory to His countrymen in Nur, that the very stones and trees of that district seemed to have

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been quickened by the waves of spiritual power which emanated from His person. All things seemed to be endowed with a new and more abundant life, all things seemed to be proclaiming aloud: "Behold, the Beauty of God has been made manifest! Arise, for He has come in all His glory." The people of Nur, when Bahá'u'lláh had departed from out their midst, continued to propagate the Cause and to consolidate its foundations. A number of them endured the severest afflictions for His sake; others quaffed with gladness the cup of martyrdom in His path. Mazindaran in general, and Nur in particular, were thus distinguished from the other provinces and districts of Persia, as being the first to have eagerly embraced the Divine Message. The district of Nur, literally meaning "light," which lay embedded within the mountains of Mazindaran, was the first to catch the rays of the Sun that had arisen in Shiraz, the first to proclaim to the rest of Persia, which still lay enveloped in the shadow of the vale of heedlessness, that the Day-Star of heavenly guidance had at length arisen to warm and illuminate the whole land.

When Bahá'u'lláh was still a child, the Vazir, His father, dreamed a dream. Bahá'u'lláh appeared to him swimming in a vast, limitless ocean. His body shone upon the waters with a radiance that illumined the sea. Around His head, which could distinctly be seen above the waters, there radiated, in all directions, His long, jet-black locks, floating in great profusion above the waves. As he dreamed, a multitude of fishes gathered round Him, each holding fast to the extremity of one hair. Fascinated by the effulgence of His face, they followed Him in whatever direction He swam. Great as was their number, and however firmly they clung to His locks, not one single hair seemed to have been detached from His head, nor did the least injury affect His person. Free and unrestrained, He moved above the waters and they all followed Him.

The Vazir, greatly impressed by this dream, summoned a soothsayer, who had achieved fame in that region, and asked him to interpret it for him. This man, as if inspired by a premonition of the future glory of Bahá'u'lláh, declared: "The limitless ocean that you have seen in your dream, O

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Vazir, is none other than the world of being. Single-handed and alone, your son will achieve supreme ascendancy over it. Wherever He may please, He will proceed unhindered. No one will resist His march, no one will hinder His progress. The multitude of fishes signifies the turmoil which He will arouse amidst the peoples and kindreds of the earth. Around Him will they gather, and to Him will they cling. Assured of the unfailing protection of the Almighty, this tumult will never harm His person, nor will His loneliness upon the sea of life endanger His safety."

That soothsayer was subsequently taken to see Bahá'u'lláh. He looked intently upon His face, and examined carefully His features. He was charmed by His appearance, and extolled every trait of His countenance. Every expression in that face revealed to his eyes a sign of His concealed glory. So great was his admiration, and so profuse his praise of Bahá'u'lláh, that the Vazir, from that day, became even more passionately devoted to his son. The words spoken by that soothsayer served to fortify his hopes and confidence in Him. Like Jacob, he desired only to ensure the welfare of his beloved Joseph, and to surround Him with his loving protection.

Haji Mirza Aqasi, the Grand Vazir of Muhammad Shah, though completely alienated from Bahá'u'lláh's father, showed his son every mark of consideration and favour. So great was the esteem which the Haji professed for Him, that Mirza Aqa Khan-i-Nuri, the I'timadu'd-Dawlih, who afterwards succeeded Haji Mirza Aqasi, felt envious. He resented the superiority which Bahá'u'lláh, as a mere youth, was accorded over him. The seeds of jealousy were, from that time, implanted in his breast. Though still a youth, and while his father is yet alive, he thought, he is given precedence in the presence of the Grand Vazir. What will, I wonder, happen to me when this young man shall have succeeded his father?

After the death of the Vazir, Haji Mirza Aqasi continued to show the utmost consideration to Bahá'u'lláh. He would visit Him in His home, and would address Him as though He were his own son. The sincerity of his devotion, however, was very soon put to the test. One day, as he was passing through the village of Quch-Hisar, which belonged to Bahá'u'lláh,

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he was so impressed by the charm and beauty of that place and the abundance of its water that he conceived the idea of becoming its owner. Bahá'u'lláh, whom he had summoned to effect the immediate purchase of that village, observed: "Had this property been exclusively mine own, I would willingly have complied with your desire. This transitory life, with all its sordid possessions, is worthy of no attachment in my eyes, how much less this small and insignificant estate. As a number of other people, both rich and poor, some of full age and some still minors, share with me the ownership of this property, I would request you to refer this matter to them, and to seek their consent." Unsatisfied with this reply, Haji Mirza Aqasi sought, through fraudulent means, to achieve his purpose. So soon as Bahá'u'lláh was informed of his evil designs, He, with the consent of all concerned, immediately transferred the title of the property to the name of the sister of Muhammad Shah, who had already repeatedly expressed her desire to become its owner. The Haji, furious at this transaction, ordered that the estate should be forcibly seized, claiming that he already had purchased it from its original possessor. The representatives of Haji Mirza Aqasi were severely rebuked by the agents of the sister of the Shah, and were requested to inform their master of the determination of that lady to assert her rights. The Haji referred the case to Muhammad Shah, and complained of the unjust treatment to which he had been subjected. That very night, the Shah's sister had acquainted him with the nature of the transaction. "Many a time," she said to her brother, "your Imperial Majesty has graciously signified your desire that I should dispose of the jewels with which I am wont to adorn myself in your presence, and with the proceeds purchase some property. I have at last succeeded in fulfilling your desire. Haji Mirza Aqasi, however, is now fully determined to seize it forcibly from me." The Shah reassured his sister, and commanded the Haji to forgo his claim. The latter, in his despair, summoned Bahá'u'lláh to his presence and, by every artifice, strove to discredit His name. To the charges he brought against Him, Bahá'u'lláh vigorously replied, and succeeded in establishing His innocence. In his impotent rage, the Grand Vazir exclaimed:

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"What is the purpose of all this feasting and banqueting in which you seem to delight? I, who am the Prime Minister of the Shahinshah of Persia, never receive the number and variety of guests that crowd around your table every night. Why all this extravagance and vanity? You surely must be meditating a plot against me." "Gracious God!" Bahá'u'lláh replied. "Is the man who, out of the abundance of his heart, shares his bread with his fellow-men, to be accused of harbouring criminal intentions?" Haji Mirza Aqasi was utterly confounded. He dared no reply. Though supported by the combined ecclesiastical and civil powers of Persia, he eventually found himself, in every contest he ventured against Bahá'u'lláh, completely defeated.

On a number of other occasions, Bahá'u'lláh's ascendancy over His opponents was likewise vindicated and recognized. These personal triumphs achieved by Him served to enhance His position, and spread abroad His fame. All classes of men marvelled at His miraculous success in emerging unscathed from the most perilous encounters. Nothing short of Divine protection, they thought, could have ensured His safety on such occasions. Not once did Bahá'u'lláh, beset though He was by the gravest perils, submit to the arrogance, the greed, and the treachery of those around Him. In His constant association, during those days, with the highest dignitaries of the realm, whether ecclesiastical or State officials, He was never content simply to accede to the views they expressed or the claims they advanced. He would, at their gatherings, fearlessly champion the cause of truth, would assert the rights of the downtrodden, defending the weak and protecting the innocent.

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CHAPTER VI
MULLA HUSAYN'S JOURNEY TO KHURASAN

AS THE Báb bade farewell to the Letters of the Living, He instructed them, each and all, to record separately the name of every believer who embraced the Faith and identified himself with its teachings. The list of these believers He bade them enclose in sealed letters, and address them to His maternal uncle, Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, in Shiraz, who would in turn deliver them to Him. "I shall classify these lists," He told them, "into eighteen sets of nineteen names each. Each set will constitute one vahid.[1] All these names, in these eighteen sets, will, together with the first vahid, consisting of My own name and those of the eighteen Letters of the Living, constitute the number of Kull-i-Shay'.[2] Of all these believers I shall make mention in the Tablet of God, so that upon each one of them the Beloved of our hearts may, in the Day when He shall have ascended the throne of glory, confer His inestimable blessings, and declare them the dwellers of His Paradise."

[1 The numerical value of the word "vahid," which means "unity," is 19.]

[2 The numerical value of "Kull-i-Shay'," which means "all things," is 361, or 19 X 19.]

To Mulla Husayn, more particularly, the Báb gave definite injunctions to send Him a written report on the nature and progress of his activities in Isfahan, in Tihran, and in Khurasan. He urged him to inform Him of those who accepted and submitted to the Faith, as well as of those who rejected and repudiated its truth. "Not until I receive your letter from Khurasan," He said, "shall I be ready to set out from this city on My pilgrimage to Hijaz."

Mulla Husayn, refreshed and fortified by the experience of his intercourse with Bahá'u'lláh, set out on his journey to Khurasan. During his visit to that province, he exhibited in an astonishing manner the effects of that regenerating power with which the parting words of the Báb had invested

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him.[1] The first to embrace the Faith in Khurasan was Mirza Ahmad-i-Azghandi, the most learned, the wisest, and the most eminent among the ulamas of that province. In whatever gathering he appeared, no matter how great the number or representative the character of the divines who were present, he alone was invariably the chief speaker. The high traits of his character, as well as his extreme devoutness, had ennobled the reputation which he had already acquired through his erudition, his ability and wisdom. The next to embrace the Faith among the shaykhis of Khurasan was Mulla Ahmad-i-Mu'allim, who, while in Karbila, had been the instructor of the children of Siyyid Kazim. Next to him came Mulla Shaykh Ali, whom the Báb surnamed Azim, and then Mulla Mirza Muhammad-i-Furughi, whose learning was unsurpassed except by that of Mirza Ahmad. No one apart from these outstanding figures among the ecclesiastical leaders of Khurasan exercised sufficient authority or possessed the necessary knowledge to challenge the arguments of Mulla Husayn.

[1 "The pilgrim, as was customary with him, would make the most of his stay which he would prolong if need be, in the villages, towns and cities on his way, in order to hold conferences, to speak against the Mullas, to make known the Books of the Báb and to preach his doctrines. He was summoned everywhere and waited for impatiently; he was sought after with curiosity, listened to eagerly and believed with little difficulty. "It was at Nishapur above all, that he made two important conversions in the persons of Mulla Abdu'l-Khaliq of Yazd, and of Mulla Ali the Young. The first of these Doctors had been the pupil of Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa'i. He was a person celebrated for his science, for his eloquence and for his standing among the people. The other, a Shaykh like the first, a man of strict ethics and high understanding, held the important position of the principal mujtahid of the city. Both became ardent Babis. They made the pulpits of the Mosques resound with violent denunciations of Islam. "During several weeks, it seemed as though the old religion had been completely defeated. The clergy, demoralized by the defection of their chief and frightened by the public addresses which did not spare them, either dared not show themselves or had taken flight. When Mulla Husayn-i-Bushru'i came to Mashhad he found, on the one hand, the population stirred up and divided about him, on the other hand, the clergy forewarned and very anxious, but exasperated and determined to oppose a vigorous resistance to the attacks about to be launched against them." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 139-140.)]

Mirza Muhammad Baqir-i-Qa'ini, who, for the remaining years of his life, had established his residence in Mashhad, was the next to embrace the Message. The love of the Báb inflamed his soul with such a consuming passion, that no one could resist its force or could belittle its influence. His fearlessness, his unsparing energy, his unswerving loyalty, and the integrity of his life, all combined to make him the terror of his enemies and a source of inspiration to his friends.

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He placed his home at the disposal of Mulla Husayn, arranged for separate interviews between him and the ulamas of Mashhad, and continued to endeavour, to the utmost of his power, to remove every obstacle that might impede the progress of the Faith. He was untiring in his efforts, undeviating in his purpose, and inexhaustible in his energy. He continued to labour indefatigably for his beloved Cause until the last hour of his life, when he fell a martyr at the fort of Shaykh Tabarsi. In his last days he was bidden by Quddus, after the tragic death of Mulla Husayn, to assume the leadership of the heroic defenders of that fort. He acquitted himself gloriously of his task. His home, situated in Bala-Khiyaban, in the city of Mashhad, is up to the present time known by the name of Babiyyih. Whoever enters it can never escape the accusation of being a Babi. May his soul rest in peace!

Mulla Husayn, as soon as he had won to the Cause such able and devoted supporters, decided to address a written report concerning his activities to the Báb. In his communication he referred at length to his sojourn in Isfahan and Kashan, described the account of his experience with Bahá'u'lláh, referred to the departure of the latter for Mazindaran, related the events of Nur, and informed Him of the success which had attended his own efforts in Khurasan. In it he enclosed a list of the names of those who had responded to his call, and of whose steadfastness and sincerity he was assured. He sent his letter by way of Yazd, through the trustworthy partners of the Báb's maternal uncle who were at that time residing in Tabas. That letter reached the Báb on the night preceding the twenty-seventh day of Ramadan,[1] a night held in great reverence by all the sects of Islam and regarded by many as rivalling in sacredness the Laylatu'l-Qadr itself, the night which, in the words of the Qur'an, "excelleth a thousand months."[2] The only companion of the Báb, when that letter reached Him that night, was Quddus, with whom He shared a number of its passages.

[1 Corresponding with the night preceding the 10th of October, 1844 A.D.]

[2 The Laylatu'l-Qadr, meaning literally "Night of Power," is one of the last

ten nights of Ramadan, and, as is commonly believed, the seventh of those

nights reckoning backward.]

I have heard Mirza Ahmad relate the following: "The Báb's maternal uncle himself described to me the circumstances

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attending the receipt of Mulla Husayn's letter by the Báb: 'That night I saw such evidences of joy and gladness on the faces of the Báb and of Quddus as I am unable to describe. I often heard the Báb, in those days, exultingly repeat the words, "How marvellous, how exceedingly marvellous, is that which has occurred between the months of Jamadi and Rajab!" As He was reading the communication addressed to Him by Mulla Husayn, He turned to Quddus and, showing him certain passages of that letter, explained the reason for His joyous expressions of surprise. I, for my part, remained completely unaware of the nature of that explanation.'"

Mirza Ahmad, upon whom the account of this incident had produced a profound impression, was determined to fathom its mystery. "Not until I met Mulla Husayn in Shiraz," he told me, "was I able to satisfy my curiosity. When I repeated to him the account described to me by the Báb's uncle, he smiled and said how well he remembered that

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between the months of Jamadi and Rajab he chanced to be in Tihran. He gave no further explanation, and contented himself with this brief remark. This was sufficient, however, to convince me that in the city of Tihran there lay hidden a Mystery which, when revealed to the world, would bring unspeakable joy to the hearts of both the Báb and Quddus."

The references in Mulla Husayn's letter to Bahá'u'lláh's immediate response to the Divine Message, to the vigorous campaign which He had boldly initiated in Nur, and to the marvellous success which had attended His efforts, cheered and gladdened the Báb, and reinforced His confidence in the ultimate victory of His Cause. He felt assured that if now He were to fall suddenly a victim to the tyranny of His foes and depart from this world, the Cause which He had revealed would live; would, under the direction of Bahá'u'lláh, continue to develop and flourish, and would yield eventually its choicest fruit. The master-hand of Bahá'u'lláh would steer its course, and the pervading influence of His love would establish it in the hearts of men. Such a conviction fortified His spirit and filled Him with hope. From that moment His fears of the imminence of peril or danger entirely forsook Him. Phoenix-like He welcomed with joy the fire of adversity, and gloried in the glow and heat of its flame.

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CHAPTER VII
THE BAB'S PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA AND MEDINA

THE letter of Mulla Husayn decided the Báb to undertake His contemplated pilgrimage to Hijaz. Entrusting His wife to His mother, and committing them both to the care and protection of His maternal uncle, He joined the company of the pilgrims of Fars who were preparing to leave Shiraz for Mecca and Medina.[1] Quddus was His only companion, and the Ethiopian servant His personal attendant. He first proceeded to Bushihr, the seat of His uncle's business, where in former days He, in close association with him, had lived the life of a humble merchant. Having there completed the preliminary arrangements for His long and arduous voyage, He embarked on a sailing vessel, which, after two months of slow, stormy, and unsteady sailing, landed Him upon the shores of that sacred land.[2] High seas and the complete absence of comfort could

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neither interfere with the regularity of His devotions nor perturb the peacefulness of His meditations and prayers. Oblivious of the storm that raged about Him, and undeterred by the sickness which had seized His fellow-pilgrims, He continued to occupy His time in dictating to Quddus such prayers and epistles as He felt inspired to reveal.

[1 According to Haji Mu'inu's-Saltanih's narrative (p. 72), the Báb set out on His pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina in the month of Shavval, 1260 A.H. (Oct., 1844 A.D.).]

[2 "He retained the most disagreeable impression of his voyage. 'Know that the sea voyages are hard. We do not favor them for the faithful; travel by land,' he wrote in the Kitáb-i-Baynu'l-Haramayn in addressing himself to his uncle, as we shall soon see. He elaborates upon this subject also in the Bayan. Do not consider this childish, the feelings which moved the Báb in his horror of the sea are far more noble. "Struck by the selfishness of the pilgrims which was heightened by the discomforts of a long and dangerous sea voyage, equally shocked by the unclean conditions that the pilgrims were obliged to endure on board, he wished to prevent men from yielding to their lower instincts and treating one another harshly. We know that the Báb especially commended politeness and the most refined courtesy in all social relations. 'Never sadden anyone, no matter whom, for no matter what,' he enjoined, and during this voyage he experienced the meanness of man and his brutality when in the presence of difficulties. 'The saddest thing that I saw on my pilgrimage to Mecca was the constant disputes of the pilgrims between themselves, disputes which took away the moral benefit of the pilgrimage.' (Bayan, z:16.) "In time he arrived at Mascate where he rested for several days during which he sought to convert the people of that country but without success. He spoke to one among them, a religious man probably, one of high rank, whose conversion might also have been followed by that of his fellow citizens, at least so I believe, though he gives us no details upon this subject. Evidently he did not attempt to convert the first comer who would have had no influence on the other inhabitants of the city. That he attempted a conversion and did not succeed is an indisputable fact because he himself affirms it: 'The mention of God, in truth, descended upon the earth of Mascate and made the way of God come to one of the inhabitants of the country. It may be possible that he understood our verses and became one of those who are guided. Say: This man obeyed his passions after having read our verses and in truth this man is by the rules of the Book, among the transgressors. Say: We have not seen in Mascate men of the Book willing to help him, because they are lost in ignorance. And the same was true of all these voyagers on the boat with the exception of one who 2 believed in our verses and became one of those who fear God.'" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 207-208.)]

I have heard Haji Abu'l-Hasan-i-Shirazi, who was travelling in the same vessel as the Báb, describe the circumstances of that memorable voyage: "During the entire period of approximately two months," he asserted, "from the day we embarked at Bushihr to the day when we landed at Jaddih, the port of Hijaz, whenever by day or night I chanced to meet either the Báb or Quddus, I invariably found them together, both absorbed in their work. The Báb seemed to be dictating, and Quddus was busily engaged in taking down whatever fell from His lips. Even at a time when panic seemed to have seized the passengers of that storm-tossed vessel, they would be seen pursuing their labours with unperturbed confidence and calm. Neither the violence of the elements nor the tumult of the people around them could either ruffle the serenity of their countenance or turn them from their purpose."

The Báb Himself, in the Persian Bayan,[1] refers to the

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hardships of that voyage. "For days," He wrote, "we suffered from the scarcity of water. I had to content myself with the juice of the sweet lemon." Because of this experience, He supplicated the Almighty to grant that the means of ocean travel might soon be speedily improved, that its hardships might be reduced, and its perils be entirely eliminated. Within a short space of time, since that prayer was offered, the evidences of a remarkable improvement in all forms of maritime transport have greatly multiplied, and the Persian Gulf, which in those days hardly possessed a single steam-driven vessel, now boasts a fleet of ocean liners that can, within the range of a few days and in the utmost comfort, carry the people of Fars on their annual pilgrimage to Hijaz.

[1 "It is thus that I myself saw, on the voyage to Mecca, a notable who was spending considerable sums of money but who hesitated to spend the price of a glass of water for his fellow-traveler. This happened on the boat where the water was scarce, so scarce in fact, during the voyage from Bushihr to Mascate, which lasted twelve days with no opportunity to get water, that I had to content myself with sweet lemons." ("Le Bayan Persan," vol. 2, p. 154.) "One cannot imagine on the sea anything but discomfort. One cannot have all the necessities as in land travel. The mariners are obliged to live thus but by their services they come nearer to God, and God rewards actions performed on the land and on the sea but He grants a two-fold recompense for those services accomplished by one of the servants on the sea, because their work is more arduous." (Ibid., pp. 155-156.) "I have seen (on the way to Mecca) acts of the vilest kind, in the eyes of God, which were sufficient to undo the good resulting from the pilgrimage. These were the quarrels among the pilgrims! Verily, the House of God has no need of such people!" (Ibid., p. 155.)]

The peoples of the West, among whom the first evidences of this great Industrial Revolution have appeared, are, alas, as yet wholly unaware of the Source whence this mighty stream, this great motive power, proceeds--a force that has revolutionised every aspect of their material life. Their own history testifies to the fact that in the year which witnessed the dawn of this glorious Revelation, there suddenly appeared evidences of an industrial and economic revolution that the people themselves declare to have been unprecedented in the history of mankind. In their concern for the details of the working and adjustments of this newly conceived machinery, they have gradually lost sight of the Source and object of this tremendous power which the Almighty has committed to their charge. They seem to have sorely misused this power and misunderstood its function. Designed to confer upon the people of the West the blessings of peace and of happiness, it has been utilised by them to promote the interests of destruction and war.

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Upon His arrival in Jaddih, the Báb donned the pilgrim's garb, mounted a camel, and set out on His journey to Mecca. Quddus, however, notwithstanding the repeatedly expressed desire of his Master, preferred to accompany Him on foot all the way from Jaddih to that holy city. Holding in his hand the bridle of the camel upon which the Báb was riding, he walked along joyously and prayerfully, ministering to his Master's needs, wholly indifferent to the fatigues of his arduous march. Every night, from eventide until the break of day, Quddus, sacrificing comfort and sleep, would continue with unrelaxing vigilance to watch beside his Beloved, ready to provide for His wants and to ensure the means of His protection and safety.

One day, when the Báb had dismounted close to a well in order to offer His morning prayer, a roving Bedouin suddenly appeared on the horizon, drew near to Him, and, snatching the saddlebag that had been lying on the ground beside Him, and which contained His writings and papers, vanished into the unknown desert. His Ethiopian servant set out to pursue him, but was prevented by his Master, who, as He was praying, motioned to him with His hand to give up his pursuit. "Had I allowed you," the Báb later on affectionately assured him, "you would surely have overtaken and punished him. But this was not to be. The papers and writings which that bag contained are destined to reach, through the instrumentality of this Arab, such places as we could never have succeeded in attaining. Grieve not, therefore, at his action, for this was decreed by God, the Ordainer, the Almighty." Many a time afterwards did the Báb on similar occasions seek to comfort His friends by such reflections. By words such as these He turned the bitterness of regret and of resentment into radiant acquiescence in the Divine purpose and into joyous submission to God's will.

On the day of Arafat,[1] the Báb, seeking the quiet seclusion of His cell, devoted His whole time to meditation and worship. On the following day, the day of Nahr, after He had offered the feast-day prayer, He proceeded to Muna, where, according to ancient custom, He purchased nineteen lambs of the choicest breed, of which He sacrificed nine in

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His own name, seven in the name of Quddus, and three in the name of His Ethiopian servant. He refused to partake of the meat of this consecrated sacrifice, preferring instead to distribute it freely among the poor and needy of that neighbourhood.

[1 The day preceding the festival.]

Although the month of Dhi'l-Hijjih,[1] the month of pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, coincided in that year with the first month of the winter season, yet so intense was the heat in that region that the pilgrims who made the circuit of

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the sacred shrine were unable to perform that rite in their usual garments. Draped in a light, loose-fitting tunic, they joined in the celebration of the festival. The Báb, however, refused, as a mark of deference, to discard either His turban or cloak. Dressed in His usual attire, He, with the utmost dignity and calm, and with extreme simplicity and reverence, compassed the Ka'bih and performed all the prescribed rites of worship.

[1 December, 1844 A.D.]

On the last day of His pilgrimage to Mecca, the Báb met Mirza Muhit-i-Kirmani. He stood facing the Black Stone, when the Báb approached him and, taking his hand in His, addressed him in these words: "O Muhit! You regard yourself as one of the most outstanding figures of the shaykhi community and a distinguished exponent of its teachings. In your heart you even claim to be one of the direct successors and rightful inheritors of those twin great Lights, those Stars that have heralded the morn of Divine guidance. Behold, we are both now standing within this most sacred shrine. Within its hallowed precincts, He whose Spirit dwells in this place can cause Truth immediately to be known and distinguished from falsehood, and righteousness from error. Verily I declare, none besides Me in this day, whether in the East or in the West, can claim to be the Gate that leads men to the knowledge of God. My proof is none other than that proof whereby the truth of the Prophet Muhammad was established. Ask Me whatsoever you please; now, at this very moment, I pledge Myself to reveal such verses as can demonstrate the truth of My mission. You must choose either to submit yourself unreservedly to My Cause or to repudiate it entirely. You have no other alternative. If you choose to reject My message, I will not let go your hand until you pledge your word to declare publicly your repudiation

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of the Truth which I have proclaimed. Thus shall He who speaks the Truth be made known, and he that speaks falsely shall be condemned to eternal misery and shame. Then shall the way of Truth be revealed and made manifest to all men."

This peremptory challenge, thrust so unexpectedly by the Báb upon Mirza Muhit-i-Kirmani, profoundly distressed him. He was overpowered by its directness, its compelling

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majesty and force. In the presence of that Youth, he, notwithstanding his age, his authority and learning, felt as a helpless bird prisoned in the grasp of a mighty eagle. Confused and full of fear, he replied: "My Lord, my Master! Ever since the day on which my eyes beheld You in Karbila, I seemed at last to have found and recognized Him who had been the object of my quest. I renounce whosoever has failed to recognize You, and despise him in whose heart may yet linger the faintest misgivings as to Your purity and holiness. I pray You to overlook my weakness, and entreat You to answer me in my perplexity. Please God I may, at this very place, within the precincts of this hallowed shrine, swear my fealty to You, and arise for the triumph of Your Cause. If I be insincere in what I declare, if in my heart I should disbelieve what my lips proclaim, I would deem myself utterly unworthy of the grace of the Prophet of God, and regard my action as an act of manifest disloyalty to Ali, His chosen successor."

The Báb, who listened attentively to his words, and who was well aware of his helplessness and poverty of soul, answered and said: "Verily I say, the Truth is even now known and distinguished from falsehood. O shrine of the Prophet of God, and you, O Quddus, who have believed in Me! I take you both, in this hour, as My witnesses. You have seen and heard that which has come to pass between Me and him. I call upon you to testify thereunto, and God, verily, is, beyond and above you, My sure and ultimate Witness. He is the All-Seeing, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. O Muhit! Set forth whatsoever perplexes your mind, and I will, by the aid of God, unloose My tongue and undertake to resolve your problems, so that you may testify to the excellence of My utterance and realise that no one besides Me is able to manifest My wisdom."

Mirza Muhit responded to the invitation of the Báb and submitted to Him his questions. Pleading the necessity of his immediate departure for Medina, he expressed the hope of receiving, ere his departure from that city, the text of the promised reply. "I will grant your request," the Báb assured him. On My way to Medina I shall, with the assistance of God, reveal My answer to your questions. If I meet you

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not in that city, My reply will surely reach you immediately after your arrival at Karbila. Whatever justice and fairness may dictate, the same shall I expect you to fulfil. 'If ye do well, to your own behoof will ye do well: and if ye do evil, against yourselves will ye do it.' 'God is verily independent of all His creatures.'"[1]

[1 Verses of the Qur'an.]

Mirza Muhit, ere his departure, again expressed his firm resolve to redeem his solemn pledge. "I shall never depart from Medina," he assured the Báb, "whatever may betide, until I have fulfilled my covenant with You." As the mote which is driven before the gale, he, unable to withstand the sweeping majesty of the Revelation proclaimed by the Báb, fled in terror from before His face. He tarried awhile in Medina and, faithless to his pledge and disregardful of the admonitions of his conscience, left for Karbila.

The Báb, faithful to His promise, revealed, on His way from Mecca to Medina, His written reply to the questions that had perplexed the mind of Mirza Muhit, and gave it the name of Sahifiyi-i-Baynu'l-Haramayn.[1] Mirza Muhit, who received it in the early days of his arrival in Karbila, remained unmoved by its tone and refused to recognize the precepts which it inculcated. His attitude towards the Faith was one of concealed and persistent opposition. At times he professed to be a follower and supporter of that notorious adversary of the Báb, Haji Mirza Karim Khan, and occasionally claimed for himself the station of an independent leader. Nearing the end of his days, whilst residing in Iraq, he, feigning submission to Bahá'u'lláh, expressed, through one of the Persian princes who dwelt in Baghdad, a desire to meet Him. He requested that his proposed interview be regarded as strictly confidential. "Tell him," was Bahá'u'lláh's reply, "that in the days of My retirement in the mountains of Sulaymaniyyih, I, in a certain ode which I composed, set forth the essential requirements from every wayfarer who treads the path of search in his quest of Truth. Share with him this verse from that ode: 'If thine aim be to cherish thy life, approach not our court; but if sacrifice be thy heart's desire, come and let others come with thee. For such is the way of Faith, if in

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thy heart thou seekest reunion with Baha; shouldst thou refuse to tread this path, why trouble us? Begone!' If he be willing, he will openly and unreservedly hasten to meet Me; if not, I refuse to see him." Bahá'u'lláh's unequivocal answer disconcerted Mirza Muhit. Unable to resist and unwilling to comply, he departed for his home in Karbila the very day he received that message. As soon as he arrived, he sickened, and, three days later, he died.

[1 "The Epistle between the Two Shrines."]

No sooner had the Báb performed the last of the observances in connection with His pilgrimage to Mecca than he addressed an epistle to the Sherif of that holy city, wherein He set forth, in clear and unmistakable terms, the distinguishing features of His mission, and called upon him to arise and embrace His Cause. This epistle, together with selections from His other writings, He delivered to Quddus, and instructed him to present them to the Sherif. The latter, however, too absorbed in his own material pursuits to incline his ear to the words which had been addressed to him by the Báb, failed to respond to the call of the Divine Message. Haji Niyaz-i-Baghdadi has been heard to relate the following: "In the year 1267 A.H.,[1] I undertook a pilgrimage to that holy city, where I was privileged to meet the Sherif. In the course of his conversation with me, he said: 'I recollect that in the year '60, during the season of pilgrimage, a youth came to visit me. He presented to me a sealed book which I readily accepted but was too much occupied at that time to read. A few days later I met again that same youth, who asked me whether I had any reply to make to his offer. Pressure of work had again detained me from considering the contents of that book. I was therefore unable to give him a satisfactory reply. When the season of pilgrimage was over, one day, as I was sorting out my letters, my eyes fell accidentally upon that book. I opened it and found, in its introductory pages, a moving and exquisitely written homily which was followed by verses the tone and language of which bore a striking resemblance to the Qur'an. All that I gathered from the perusal of the book was that among the people of Persia a man of the seed of Fatimih and descendant of the family of Hashim, had raised a new call, and was announcing

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to all people the appearance of the promised Qa'im. I remained, however, ignorant of the name of the author of that book, nor was I informed of the circumstances attending that call.' 'A great commotion,' I remarked, 'has indeed seized that land during the last few years. A Youth, a descendant of the Prophet and a merchant by profession, has claimed that His utterance was the Voice of Divine inspiration. He has publicly asserted that, within the space of a few days, there could stream from His tongue verses of such number and excellence as would surpass in volume and beauty the Qur'an itself--a work which it took Muhammad no less than twenty-three years to reveal. A multitude of people, both high and low, civil and ecclesiastical, among the inhabitants of Persia, have rallied round His standard and have willingly sacrificed themselves in His path. That Youth has, during the past year, in the last days of the month of Sha'ban,[2] suffered martyrdom in Tabriz, in the province of Adhirbayjan. They who persecuted Him sought by this means to extinguish the light which He kindled in that land. Since His martyrdom, however, His influence has pervaded all classes of people.' The Sherif, who was listening attentively, expressed his indignation at the behaviour of those

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who had persecuted the Báb. 'The malediction of God be upon these evil people,' he exclaimed, 'a people who, in days past, treated in the same manner our holy and illustrious ancestors!' With these words the Sherif concluded his conversation with me."

[1 1850-51 A.D.]
[2 July, 1850 A.D.]

From Mecca the Báb proceeded to Medina. It was the first day of the month of Muharram, in the year 1261 A.H.,[1] when He found Himself on the way to that holy city. As He approached it, He called to mind the stirring events that had immortalised the name of Him who had lived and died within its walls. Those scenes which bore eloquent testimony to the creative power of that immortal Genius seemed to be re-enacted, with undiminished splendour, before His eyes. He prayed as He drew nigh unto that holy sepulchre which enshrined the mortal remains of the Prophet of God. He also remembered, as He trod that holy ground, that shining Herald of His own Dispensation. He knew that in the cemetery of Baqi', in a place not far distant from the shrine of Muhammad, there had been laid to rest Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa'i, the harbinger of His own Revelation, who, after a life of onerous service, had decided to spend the evening of his days within the precincts of that hallowed shrine. There came to Him also the vision of those holy men, those pioneers and martyrs of the Faith, who had fallen gloriously on the field of battle, and who, with their life-blood, had sealed the triumph of the Cause of God. Their sacred dust seemed as if reanimated by the gentle tread of His feet. Their shades seemed to have been stirred by the reviving breath of His presence. They looked to Him as if they had arisen at His approach, were hastening towards Him, and were voicing their welcome. They seemed to be addressing to Him this fervent plea: 'Repair not unto Thy native land, we beseech Thee, O Thou Beloved of our hearts! Abide Thou in our midst, for here, far from the tumult of Thine enemies who are lying in wait for Thee, Thou shalt be safe and secure. We are fearful for Thee. We dread the plottings and machinations of Thy foes. We tremble at the thought that their deeds might bring eternal damnation to their souls." "Fear not," the Báb's indomitable Spirit replied: "I am come into this

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world to bear witness to the glory of sacrifice. You are aware of the intensity of My longing; you realise the degree of My renunciation. Nay, beseech the Lord your God to hasten the hour of My martyrdom and to accept My sacrifice. Rejoice, for both I and Quddus will be slain on the altar of our devotion to the King of Glory. The blood which we are destined to shed in His path will water and revive the garden of our immortal felicity. The drops of this consecrated blood will be the seed out of which will arise the mighty Tree of God, the Tree that will gather beneath its all-embracing shadow the peoples and kindreds of the earth. Grieve not, therefore, if I depart from this land, for I am hastening to fulfil My destiny."

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[1 Friday, January 30, 1845 A.D.]

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CHAPTER VIII
THE BAB'S STAY IN SHIRAZ AFTER THE PILGRIMAGE

THE visit of the Báb to Medina marked the concluding stage of His pilgrimage to Hijaz. From thence He returned to Jaddih, and by way of the sea regained His native land. He landed at Bushihr nine lunar months after He had embarked on His pilgrimage from that port. In the same khan [1] which He had previously occupied, He received His friends and relatives, who had come to greet and welcome Him. While still in Bushihr, He summoned Quddus to His presence and with the utmost kindness bade him depart for Shiraz. "The days of your companionship with Me," He told him, "are drawing to a close. The hour of separation has struck, a separation which no reunion will follow except in the Kingdom of God, in the presence of the King of Glory. In this world of dust, no more than nine fleeting months of association with Me have been allotted to you. On the shores of the Great Beyond, however, in the realm of immortality, joy of eternal reunion awaits us. The hand of destiny will ere long plunge you into an ocean of tribulation for His sake. I, too, will follow you; I, too, will be immersed beneath its depths. Rejoice with exceeding gladness, for you have been chosen as the standard-bearer of the host of affliction, and are standing in the vanguard of the noble army that will suffer martyrdom in His name. In the streets of Shiraz, indignities will be heaped upon you, and the severest injuries will afflict your body. You will survive the ignominious behaviour of your foes, and will attain the presence of Him who is the one object of our adoration and love. In His presence you will forget all the harm and disgrace that shall have befallen you. The hosts of the Unseen will hasten forth to assist you, and will

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proclaim to all the world your heroism and glory. Yours will be the ineffable joy of quaffing the cup of martyrdom for His sake. I, too, shall tread the path of sacrifice, and will join you in the realm of eternity." The Báb then delivered into his hands a letter He had written to Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, His maternal uncle, in which He had informed him of His safe return to Bushihr. He also entrusted him with a copy of the Khasa'il-i-Sab'ih,[2] a treatise in which He had set forth the essential requirements from those who had attained to the knowledge of the new Revelation and had recognized its claim. As He bade Quddus His last farewell, He asked him to convey His greetings to each of His loved ones in Shiraz.

[1 Similar to a caravanserai.]
[2 Literally meaning "The Seven Qualifications.]

Quddus, with feelings of unshakable determination to carry out the expressed wishes of his Master, set out from Bushihr. Arriving at Shiraz, he was affectionately welcomed by Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, who received him in his own home and eagerly enquired after the health and doings of his beloved Kinsman. Finding him receptive to the call of the new Message, Quddus acquainted him with the nature of the Revelation with which that Youth had already fired his soul. The Báb's maternal uncle, as a result of the endeavours exerted by Quddus, was the first, after the Letters of the Living, to embrace the Cause in Shiraz. As the full significance of the new-born Faith had remained as yet undivulged, he was unaware of the full extent of its implications and glory. His conversation with Quddus, however, removed the veil from his eyes. So steadfast became his faith, and so profound grew his love for the Báb, that he consecrated his whole life to His service. With unrelaxing vigilance he arose to defend His Cause and to shield His person. In his sustained endeavours, he scorned fatigue and was disdainful of death. Though recognized as an outstanding figure among the business men of that city, he never allowed material considerations to interfere with his spiritual responsibility of safeguarding the person, and advancing the Cause, of his beloved Kinsman. He persevered in his task until the hour when, joining the company of the Seven Martyrs of Tihran, he, in circumstances of exceptional heroism, laid down his life for Him.

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The next person whom Quddus met in Shiraz was Ismu'llahu'l-Asdaq, Mulla Sadiq-i-Khurasani, to whom he entrusted the copy of the Khasa'il-i-Sab'ih, and stressed the necessity of putting into effect immediately all its provisions. Among its precepts was the emphatic injunction of the Báb to every loyal believer to add the following words to the traditional formula of the adhan:[1] "I bear witness that He whose name is Ali-Qabl-i-Muhammad [2] is the servant of the Baqiyyatu'llah."[3] Mulla Sadiq, who in those days had been extolling from the pulpit-top to large audiences the virtues of the imams of the Faith, was so enraptured by the theme and language of that treatise that he unhesitatingly resolved to carry out all the observances it ordained. Driven by the impelling force inherent in that Tablet, he, one day as he was leading his congregation in prayer in the Masjid-i-Naw, suddenly proclaimed, as he was sounding the adhan, the additional words prescribed by the Báb. The multitude that

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heard him was astounded by his cry. Dismay and consternation seized the entire congregation. The distinguished divines, who occupied the front seats and who were greatly revered for their pious orthodoxy, raised a clamour, loudly protesting: "Woe betide us, the guardians and protectors of the Faith of God! Behold, this man has hoisted the standard of heresy. Down with this infamous traitor! He has spoken blasphemy. Arrest him, for he is a disgrace to our Faith." "Who," they angrily exclaimed, "dared authorised such grave departure from the established precepts of Islam? Who has presumed to arrogate to himself this supreme prerogative?"

[1 Refer to Glossary.]
[2 Reference to the name of the Báb.]
[3 Reference to Bahá'u'lláh. Refer to Glossary.]

The populace re-echoed the protestations of these divines, and arose to reinforce their clamour. The whole city had been aroused, and public order was, as a result, seriously threatened. The governor of the province of Fars, Husayn Khan-i-Iravani, surnamed Ajudan-Bashi, and generally designated in those days as Sahib-Ikhtiyar,[1] found it necessary to intervene and to enquire into the cause of this sudden commotion. He was informed that a disciple of a young man named Siyyid-i-Bab, who had just returned from His pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina and was now living in Bushihr, had arrived in Shiraz and was propagating the teachings of his Master. "This disciple," Husayn Khan was further informed, "claims that his teacher is the author of a new revelation and is the revealer of a book which he asserts is divinely inspired. Mulla Sadiq-i-Khurasani has embraced that faith, and is fearlessly summoning the multitude to the acceptance of that message. He declares its recognition to be the first obligation of every loyal and pious follower of shi'ah Islam."

[1 According to the "Tarikh-i-Jadid" (p. 204), he was also styled "Nizamu'd-Dawlih."]

Husayn Khan ordered the arrest of both Quddus and Mulla Sadiq. The police authorities, to whom they were delivered, were instructed to bring them handcuffed into the presence of the governor. The police also delivered into the hands of Husayn Khan the copy of the Qayyumu'l-Asma', which they had seized from Mulla Sadiq while he was reading aloud its passages to an excited congregation. Quddus, owing to his youthful appearance and unconventional dress, was at first ignored by Husayn Khan, who preferred to direct

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his remarks to his more dignified and elderly companion. "Tell me," angrily asked the governor, as he turned to Mulla Sadiq, "if you are aware of the opening passage of the Qayyumu'l-Asma' wherein the Siyyid-i-Báb addresses the rulers and kings of the earth in these terms: 'Divest yourselves of the robe of sovereignty, for He who is the King in truth, hath been made manifest! The Kingdom is God's, the Most Exalted. Thus hath the Pen of the Most High decreed!' If this be true, it must necessarily apply to my sovereign, Muhammad Shah, of the Qajar dynasty,[1] whom I represent as the chief magistrate of this province. Must Muhammad Shah, according to this behest, lay down his crown and abandon his sovereignty? Must I, too, abdicate my power and relinquish my position?" Mulla Sadiq unhesitatingly replied: "When once the truth of the Revelation announced by the Author of these words shall have been definitely established, the truth of whatsoever has fallen from His lips will likewise be vindicated. If these words be the Word of God, the abdication of Muhammad Shah and his like can matter but little. It can in no wise turn aside the Divine purpose, nor alter the sovereignty of the almighty and eternal King."[2]

[1 "One of the tribes of Turan, a Turkish family, called the Qajar, which first appeared in Persia in the invading army of Changiz Khan." (C. R. Markham's "A General Sketch of the History of Persia," p. 339.)]

[2 According to A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab" (footnote 175, p. 225), this meeting took place on August 6, 1845 A.D.]

That cruel and impious ruler was sorely displeased with such an answer. He reviled and cursed him, ordered his attendants to strip him of his garments and to scourge him with a thousand lashes. He then commanded that the beards of both Quddus and Mulla Sadiq should be burned, their noses be pierced, that through this incision a cord should be passed, and with this halter they should be led through the streets of the city.[1] "It will be an object lesson to the people of Shiraz," Husayn Khan declared, "who will know what the penalty of heresy will be." Mulla Sadiq, calm and self-possessed and with eyes upraised to heaven, was heard reciting this prayer: "O Lord, our God! We have indeed heard the voice of One that called. He called us to the

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Faith--'Believe ye on the Lord your God!'--and we have believed. O God, our God! Forgive us, then, our sins, and hide away from us our evil deeds, and cause us to die with the righteous."[2] With magnificent fortitude both resigned themselves to their fate. Those who had been instructed to inflict this savage punishment performed their task with alacrity and vigour. None intervened in behalf of these sufferers, none was inclined to plead their cause. Soon after this, they were both expelled from Shiraz. Before their expulsion, they were warned that if they ever attempted to return to this city, they would both be crucified. By their sufferings they earned the immortal distinction of having been the first to be persecuted on Persian soil for the sake of their Faith. Mulla Aliy-i-Bastami, though the first to fall a victim to the relentless hate of the enemy, underwent his persecution in Iraq, which lay beyond the confines of Persia. Nor did his sufferings, intense as they were, compare with the hideousness and the barbaric cruelty which characterised the torture inflicted upon Quddus and Mulla Sadiq.

[1 According to the "Traveller's Narrative" (p. 5), a certain Mulla Ali-Akbar-i-Ardistani was, together with them, subjected to the same persecution.]

[2 Qur'an, 3:193.]

An eye-witness of this revolting episode, an unbeliever residing in Shiraz, related to me the following: "I was present when Mulla Sadiq was being scourged. I watched his persecutors each in turn apply the lash to his bleeding shoulders, and continue the strokes until he became exhausted. No one believed that Mulla Sadiq, so advanced in age and so frail in body, could possibly survive fifty such savage strokes. We marvelled at his fortitude when we found that, although the number of the strokes of the scourge he had received had already exceeded nine hundred, his face still retained its original serenity and calm. A smile was upon his face, as he held his hand before his mouth. He seemed utterly indifferent to the blows that were being showered upon him. When he was being expelled from the city, I succeeded in approaching him, and asked him why he held his hand before his mouth. I expressed surprise at the smile upon his countenance. He emphatically replied: 'The first seven strokes were severely painful; to the rest I seemed to have grown indifferent. I was wondering whether the strokes that followed were being actually applied to my own body. A feeling

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of joyous exultation had invaded my soul. I was trying to repress my feelings and to restrain my laughter. I can now realise how the almighty Deliverer is able, in the twinkling of an eye, to turn pain into ease, and sorrow into gladness. Immensely exalted is His power above and beyond the idle fancy of His mortal creatures.'" Mulla Sadiq, whom I met years after, confirmed every detail of this moving episode.

Husayn Khan's anger was not appeased by this atrocious and most undeserved chastisement. His wanton and capricious cruelty found further vent in the assault which he now directed against the person of the Báb.[1] He despatched to Bushihr a mounted escort of his own trusted guard, with emphatic instructions to arrest the Báb and to bring Him in chains to Shiraz. The leader of that escort, a member of the Nusayri community, better known as the sect of Aliyu'llahi, related the following: "Having completed the third stage of our journey to Bushihr, we encountered, in the midst of the wilderness a youth who wore a green sash and a small turban after the manner of the siyyids who are in the trading profession. He was on horseback, and was followed by an Ethiopian servant who was in charge of his belongings. As we approached him, he saluted us and enquired as to our destination. I thought it best to conceal from him the truth, and replied that in this vicinity we had been commanded by the governor of Fars to conduct a certain enquiry. He smilingly observed: 'The governor has sent you to arrest Me. Here am I; do with Me as you please. By

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coming out to meet you, I have curtailed the length of your march, and have made it easier for you to find Me.' I was startled by his remarks and marvelled at his candour and straightforwardness. I could not explain, however, his readiness to subject himself, of his own accord, to the severe discipline of government officials, and to risk thereby his own life and safety. I tried to ignore him, and was preparing to leave, when he approached me and said: 'I swear by the righteousness of Him who created man, distinguished him from among the rest of His creatures, and caused his heart to be made the seat of His sovereignty and knowledge, that all My life I have uttered no word but the truth, and had no other desire except the welfare and advancement of My fellow-men. I have disdained My own ease and have avoided being the cause of pain or sorrow to anyone. I know that you are seeking Me. I prefer to deliver Myself into your hands, rather than subject you and your companions to unnecessary annoyance for My sake.' These words moved me profoundly. I instinctively dismounted from my horse, and, kissing his stirrups, addressed him in these words: 'O light of the eyes of the Prophet of God! I adjure you, by Him who has created you and endowed you with such loftiness and power, to grant my request and to answer my prayer. I beseech you to escape from this place and to flee from before the face of Husayn Khan, the ruthless and despicable governor of this province. I dread his machinations against you; I rebel at the idea of being made the instrument of his malignant designs against so innocent and noble a descendant of the Prophet of God. My companions are all honourable men. Their word is their bond. They will pledge themselves not to betray your flight. I pray you, betake yourself to the city of Mashhad in Khurasan, and avoid falling a victim to the brutality of this remorseless wolf.' To my earnest entreaty he gave this answer: 'May the Lord your God requite you for your magnanimity and noble intention. No one knows the mystery of My Cause; no one can fathom its secrets. Never will I turn My face away from the decree of God. He alone is My sure Stronghold, My Stay and My Refuge. Until My last hour is at hand, none dare assail Me, none can frustrate the plan of the Almighty. And when

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My hour is come, how great will be My joy to quaff the cup of martyrdom in His name! Here am I; deliver Me into the hands of your master. Be not afraid, for no one will blame you.' I bowed my consent and carried out his desire."

[1 "This city became the arena for passionate discussions which profoundly troubled the general peace. The curious, the pilgrims, the scandal-mongers met there commenting upon the news, approving or blaming, exalting the young Siyyid, or, on the contrary, heaping upon him maledictions and insults. Everyone was excited and enervated. The Mullas saw with bitter anxiety the growing number of adherents to the new doctrine and their resources diminished correspondingly. It became necessary to act, as prolonged tolerance would empty the Mosques of their believers who were convinced that since Islam did not defend itself, it acknowledged defeat. On the other hand, Husayn Khan, governor of Shiraz, Nizamu'd-Dawlih, feared that, in letting things drift, the scandal would become such that later it would be impossible to suppress it; that would be to court disgrace. Besides, the Báb did not content himself with preaching, he called to himself men of good-will. 'He who knows the Word of God and does not come to His assistance in the days of violence is exactly like those who turned away from the testimony of his holiness Husayn, son of Ali, at Karbila. Those are the impious ones!' (Kitáb-i-Baynu'l-Haramayn.) The civil interests concurring with the interests of heaven, Nizamu'd-Dawlih and Shaykh Abu-Turab, the Imam-Jum'ih agreed that humiliation should be inflicted upon the innovator such as would discredit him in the eyes of the populace; perhaps thus they might succeed in quieting things." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 229-230.)]

The Báb straightway resumed His journey to Shiraz. Free and unfettered, He went before His escort, which followed Him in an attitude of respectful devotion. By the magic of His words, He had disarmed the hostility of His guards and transmuted their proud arrogance into humility and love. Reaching the city, they proceeded directly to the seat of the government. Whosoever observed the cavalcade marching through the streets could not help but marvel at this most unusual spectacle. Immediately Husayn Khan was informed of the arrival of the Báb, he summoned Him to his presence. He received Him with the utmost insolence and bade Him occupy a seat facing him in the centre of the room. He publicly rebuked Him, and in abusive language denounced His conduct. "Do you realise," he angrily protested, "what a great mischief you have kindled? Are you aware what a disgrace you have become to the holy Faith of Islam and to the august person of our sovereign? Are you not the man who claims to be the author of a new revelation which annuls the sacred precepts of the Qur'an?" The Báb calmly replied: "'If any bad man come unto you with news, clear up the matter at once, lest through ignorance ye harm others, and be speedily constrained to repent of what ye have done.'"[1] These words inflamed the wrath of Husayn Khan. "What!" he exclaimed. "Dare you ascribe to us evil, ignorance, and folly?" Turning to his attendant, he bade him strike the Báb in the face. So violent was the blow, that the Báb's turban fell to the ground. Shaykh Abu-Turab, the Imam-Jum'ih of Shiraz, who was present at that meeting and who strongly disapproved of the conduct of Husayn Khan, ordered that the Báb's turban be replaced upon His head, and invited Him to be seated by his side. Turning to the governor, the Imam-Jum'ih explained to him the circumstances connected with the revelation of the verse of the Qur'an which the Báb had quoted, and sought by this means to calm his fury. "This verse which this youth has

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quoted," he told him, "has made a profound impression upon me. The wise course, I feel, is to enquire into this matter with great care, and to judge him according to the precepts of the holy Book." Husayn Khan readily consented; whereupon Shaykh Abu-Turab questioned the Báb regarding the nature and character of His Revelation. The Báb denied the claim of being either the representative of the promised Qa'im or the intermediary between Him and the faithful. "We are completely satisfied," replied the Imam-Jum'ih; "we shall request you to present yourself on Friday in the Masjid-i-Vakil, and to proclaim publicly your denial." As Shaykh Abu-Turab arose to depart in the hope of terminating the proceedings, Husayn Khan intervened and said: "We shall require a person of recognized standing to give bail and surety for him, and to pledge his word in writing that if ever in future this youth should attempt by word or deed to prejudice the interests either of the Faith of Islam or of the government of this land, he would straightway deliver him into our hands, and regard himself under all circumstances responsible for his behaviour." Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, the Báb's maternal uncle, who was present at that meeting, consented to act as the sponsor of his Nephew. In his own handwriting he wrote the pledge, affixed to it his seal, confirmed it by the signature of a number of witnesses, and delivered it to the governor; whereupon Husayn Khan ordered that the Báb be entrusted to the care of His uncle, with the condition that at whatever time the governor should deem it advisable, Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali would at once deliver the Báb into his hands.

[1 Qur'an, 49:6.]

Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, his heart filled with gratitude to God, conducted the Báb to His home and committed Him to the loving care of His revered mother. He rejoiced at this family reunion and was greatly relieved by the deliverance of his dear and precious Kinsman from the grasp of that malignant tyrant. In the quiet of His own home, the Báb led for a time a life of undisturbed retirement. No one except His wife, His mother, and His uncles had any intercourse with Him. Meanwhile the mischief-makers were busily pressing Shaykh Abu-Turab to summon the Báb to the Masjid-i-Vakil and to call upon Him to fulfil His pledge.

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Shaykh Abu-Turab was known to be a man of kindly disposition, and of a temperament and nature which bore a striking resemblance to the character of the late Mirza Abu'l-Qasim, the Imam-Jum'ih of Tihran. He was extremely reluctant to treat with contumely persons of recognized standing, particularly if these were residents of Shiraz. Instinctively he felt this to be his duty, observed it conscientiously, and was as a result universally esteemed by the people of that city. He therefore sought, through evasive answers and repeated postponements, to appease the indignation of the multitude. He found, however, that the stirrers-up of mischief and sedition were bending every effort further to inflame the feelings of general resentment which had seized the masses. He at length felt compelled to address a confidential message to Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, requesting him to bring the Báb with him on Friday to the Masjid-i-Vakil, that He might fulfil the pledge He had given. "My hope," he added, "is that by the aid of God the statements of your nephew may ease the tenseness of the situation and may lead to your tranquillity as well as to our own."

The Báb, accompanied by Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, arrived at the Masjid at a time when the Imam-Jum'ih had just ascended the pulpit and was preparing to deliver his sermon. As soon as his eyes fell upon the Báb, he publicly welcomed Him, requested Him to ascend the pulpit, and called upon Him to address the congregation. The Báb, responding to his invitation, advanced towards him and, standing on the first step of the staircase, prepared to address the people. "Come up higher," interjected the Imam-Jum'ih. Complying with his wish, the Báb ascended two more steps. As He was standing, His head hid the breast of Shaykh Abu-Turab, who was occupying the pulpit-top. He began by prefacing His public declaration with an introductory discourse. No sooner had He uttered the opening words of "Praise be to God, who hath in truth created the heavens and the earth," than a certain siyyid known as Siyyidi-Shish-Pari, whose function was to carry the mace before the Imam-Jum'ih, insolently shouted: "Enough of this idle chatter! Declare, now and immediately, the thing you intend to say." The Imam-Jum'ih greatly resented the rudeness of the siyyid's

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remark. "Hold your peace," he rebuked him, "and be ashamed of your impertinence." He then, turning to the Báb, asked Him to be brief, as this, he said, would allay the excitement of the people. The Báb, as He faced the congregation, declared: "The condemnation of God be upon him who regards me either as a representative of the Imam or the gate thereof. The condemnation of God be also upon whosoever imputes to me the charge of having denied the unity of God, of having repudiated the prophethood of Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets, of having rejected the truth of any of the messengers of old, or of having refused to recognize the guardianship of Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, or of any of the imams who have succeeded him." He then ascended to the top of the staircase, embraced the Imam-Jum'ih, and, descending to the floor of the Masjid, joined the congregation for the observance of the Friday prayer. The Imam-Jum'ih intervened and requested Him to retire. "Your family," he said, "is anxiously awaiting your return. All are apprehensive lest any harm befall you. Repair to your house and there offer your prayer; of greater merit shall this deed be in the sight of God." Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali also was, at the request of the Imam-Jum'ih, asked to accompany his nephew to his home. This precautionary measure which Shaykh Abu-Turab thought it wise to observe was actuated by the fear lest, after the dispersion of the congregation, a few of the evil-minded among the crowd might still attempt to injure the person of the Báb or endanger His life. But for the sagacity, the sympathy, and the careful attention which the Imam-Jum'ih so strikingly displayed on a number of such occasions, the infuriated mob would doubtless have been led to gratify its savage desire, and would have committed the most abominable of excesses. He seemed to have been the instrument of the invisible Hand appointed to protect both the person and the Mission of that Youth.[1]

[1 "Following this public seance provoked by the folly of the Mullas and which won for him numerous partisans, the trouble became serious in all the provinces of Persia; the dispute grew into such a grave situation that Muhammad Shah sent to Shiraz a man in whom he had complete confidence, instructing him to make a report of everything he saw and understood. This envoy was Siyyid Yahyay-i-Darabi." (A. L. M. Nicolas' Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 232-233.)]

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The Báb regained His home and for some time was able to lead, in the privacy of His house, and in close association with His family and kinsmen, a life of comparative tranquillity. In those days He celebrated the advent of the first Naw-Ruz since He had declared His Mission. That festival fell, in that year, on the tenth day of the month of Rabi'u'l-Avval, 1261 A.H.[1]

[1 March, 1845 A.D.]

A few among those who were present on that memorable occasion in the Masjid-i-Vakil, and had listened to the statements of the Báb, were greatly impressed by the masterly manner in which that Youth had, by His unaided efforts, succeeded in silencing His formidable opponents. Soon after this event, they were each led to apprehend the reality of His Mission and to recognize its glory. Among them was Shaykh Ali Mirza, the nephew of this same Imam-Jum'ih, a young man who had just attained the age of maturity. The seed implanted in his heart grew and developed, until in the year 1267 A.H.[1] he was privileged to meet Bahá'u'lláh in Iraq. That visit filled him with enthusiasm and joy. Returning greatly refreshed to his native land, he resumed with redoubled energy his labours for the Cause. From that year until the present time, he has persevered in his task, and has achieved distinction by the uprightness of his character and whole-hearted devotion to his government and country. Recently a letter addressed by him to Bahá'u'lláh has reached the Holy Land, in which he expresses his keen satisfaction at the progress of the Cause in Persia. "I am mute with wonder," he writes, "when I behold the evidences of God's unconquerable power manifested among the people of my country. In a land which has for years so savagely persecuted the Faith, a man who for forty years has been known throughout Persia as a Babi, has been made the sole arbitrator in a case of dispute which involves, on the one hand, the Zillu's-Sultan, the tyrannical son of the Shah and a sworn enemy of the Cause, and, on the other, Mirza Fath-'Ali Khan, the Sahib-i-Divan. It has been publicly announced that whatsoever be the verdict of this Babi, the same should be unreservedly accepted by both parties and should be unhesitatingly enforced."

[1 1850-51 A.D.]
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A certain Muhammad-Karim who was among the congregation that Friday was likewise attracted by the Báb's remarkable behaviour on that occasion. What he saw and heard on that day brought about his immediate conversion. Persecution drove him out of Persia to Iraq, where, in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, he continually deepened his understanding and faith. Later on he was bidden by Him to return to Shiraz and to endeavour to the best of his ability to propagate the Cause. There he remained and laboured to the end of his life.

Still another was Mirza Aqay-i-Rikab-Saz. He became so enamoured of the Báb on that day that no persecution, however severe and prolonged, was able either to shake his convictions or to obscure the radiance of his love. He, too, attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh in Iraq. In answer to the questions which he asked regarding the interpretation of the Disconnected Letters of the Qur'an and the meaning of the Verse of Nur, he was favoured with an expressly written Tablet revealed by the pen of Bahá'u'lláh. In His path he eventually suffered martyrdom.

Among them also was Mirza Rahim-i-Khabbaz, who distinguished himself by his fearlessness and fiery ardour. He relaxed not in his efforts until the hour of his death.

Haji Abu'l-Hasan-i-Bazzaz, who, as a fellow-traveller of the Báb during His pilgrimage to Hijaz, had but dimly recognized the overpowering majesty of His Mission, was, on that memorable Friday, profoundly shaken and completely transformed. He bore the Báb such love that tears of an overpowering devotion continually flowed from his eyes. All who knew him admired the uprightness of his conduct and praised his benevolence and candour. He, as well as his two sons, has proved by his deeds the tenacity of his faith, and has won the esteem of his fellow-believers.

And yet another of those who felt the fascination of the Báb on that day was the late Haji Muhammad-Bisat, a man well-versed in the metaphysical teachings of Islam and a great admirer of both Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim. He was of a kindly disposition and was gifted with a keen sense of humour. He had won the friendship of the Imam-Jum'ih,

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was intimately associated with him, and was a faithful attendant at the Friday congregational prayer.

The Naw-Ruz of that year, which heralded the advent of a new springtime, was also symbolic of that spiritual rebirth, the first stirring of which could already be discerned throughout the length and breadth of the land. A number of the most eminent and learned among the people of that country emerged from the wintry desolation of heedlessness, and were quickened by the reviving breath of the new-born Revelation. The seeds which the Hand of Omnipotence had implanted in their hearts germinated into blossoms of the purest and loveliest fragrance.[1] As the breeze of His loving-kindness and tender mercy wafted over these blossoms, the penetrating power of their perfume spread far and wide over the face of all that land. It diffused itself even beyond the confines of Persia. It reached Karbila and reanimated the souls of those who were waiting in expectation for the return

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of the Báb to their city. Soon after Naw-Ruz, an epistle reached them by way of Basrih, in which the Báb, who had intended to return from Hijaz to Persia by way of Karbila, informed them of the change in His plan and of His consequent inability to fulfil His promise. He directed them to proceed to Isfahan and remain there until the receipt of further instructions. "Should it be deemed advisable," He added, "We shall request you to proceed to Shiraz; if not, tarry in Isfahan until such time as God may make known to you His will and guidance."

[1 "Be that as it may, the resultant impression was immense in Shiraz and all the learned and religious gathered around Ali-Muhammad. As soon as he appeared in the Mosque, they surrounded him and, as soon as he was seated in the pulpit, everyone was silent in order to listen to him. His public talks never attacked the essentials of the Faith of Islam, they respected most of its ritual; in fact, the Kitman dominated. Nevertheless, they were daring discourses. The clergy was not spared; its vices were cruelly lashed. The sad and painful destiny of humanity was generally the theme. Here and there, certain allusions, the obscurity of which irritated the passions of some while it flattered the pride of others already initiated as a whole or only in part, gave to his prophecies such a bitter truth that the crowd was growing day by day and so, in all Persia, they were beginning to talk of Ali-Muhammad. "The Mullas of Shiraz had not waited for all this agitation to unite against this young detractor. From his first public appearances, they sent to him their most able Mullas to argue with him and confuse him, and these public debates were held either in the Mosques or in the colleges in the presence of the Governor, the military chiefs, the clergy, the people, in fact before everyone. But, instead of benefiting the clergy, they contributed quite a little to spread and exalt, at their own expense, the renown of this enthusiastic teacher. It is a fact that he defeated his adversaries, he condemned them--which was not very difficult--with the Qur'an in hand. It was an easy matter for him to show before all these crowds who knew the Mullas well, at which point their conduct, their precepts, and to what extent their beliefs, even their theology, were in flagrant contradiction with the Book, which they could not deny. "Possessed of extraordinary daring and exaltation, he flayed unsparingly the vices of his antagonists, disregarding all ordinary conventions. After having proven their infidelity to their own doctrine, he shamed them in their lives and threw them at pitch and toss to the indignation or the contempt of the auditors. "At Shiraz, his first appearances, when he preached, were so profoundly moving that even the orthodox Muhammadans who were present have retained an indelible memory of them and never recall them without a sort of terror. They agreed unanimously that the eloquence of Ali-Muhammad was of an incomparable kind, such that, without having been an eye-witness, one could not possibly imagine. Soon the young theologian no longer appeared in public without being surrounded with many partisans. His house was always filled with them and he not only taught in the Mosques and in the colleges, but it was principally at his house and in the evenings that, withdrawn in a room with the elite of his admirers, he lifted for them the veils of a doctrine which even for himself he had not yet fully established. "It seemed in these early days that he was occupied with polemics rather than with dogmatic statements and nothing is more natural. In these secret talks, his bold declarations which were much more frequent than in the public addresses, grew each day and tended so clearly to a complete overthrow of Islam that they were a prelude to a new profession of Faith. The little congregation was ardent, brave, carried away, ready for anything; they were fanatical in the true and noble sense of the word, that is to say, that every one of its members thought himself of no importance and burned with a desire to sacrifice his life-blood and his belongings for the cause of Truth." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 120, 122.) "These ethics taught by a young man at an age when passions were intense, deeply impressed an audience, religious to the point of fanaticism, above all when the words of the preacher were in perfect harmony with his conduct. No one doubted the continence and the firmness of Karbila'i Siyyid Ali-Muhammad; he spoke little, meditated constantly and most of the time fled from the presence of men, which all the more aroused their curiosity. He was sought after everywhere." (Journal Asiatique, 1866, tome 7, p. 341.) "By the uprightness of his life the young Siyyid served as an example to those about him. He was willingly listened to when, in his ambiguous and interrupted talks, he condemned the abuses evident in all classes of society. His words were repeated and elaborated upon and they spoke of him as the true Master and gave themselves to him unreservedly." (Ibid.)]

The receipt of this unexpected intelligence created a considerable stir among those who had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Báb at Karbila. It agitated their minds and tested their loyalty. "What of His promise to us?" whispered a few of the discontented among them. "Does He regard the breaking of His pledge as the interposition of the will of God?" The others, unlike those waverers, became more steadfast in their faith and clung with added determination to the Cause. Faithful to their Master, they joyously responded to His invitation, ignoring entirely the criticisms and protestations of those who had faltered in their faith.

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They set out for Isfahan, determined to abide by whatsoever might be the will and desire of their Beloved. They were joined by a few of their companions, who, though gravely shaken in their belief, concealed their feelings. Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Nahri, whose daughter was subsequently joined in wedlock with the Most Great Branch, and Mirza Hadi, the brother of Mirza Muhammad-'Ali, both residents of Isfahan, were among those companions whose vision of the glory and sublimity of the Faith the expressed misgivings of the evil whisperers had failed to obscure. Among them, too, was a certain Muhammad-i-Hana-Sab, also a resident of Isfahan, who is now serving in the home of Bahá'u'lláh. A number of these staunch companions of the Báb participated in the great struggle of Shaykh Tabarsi and miraculously escaped the tragic fate of their fallen brethren.

On their way to Isfahan they met, in the city of Kangavar, Mulla Husayn with his brother and nephew, who were his companions on his previous visit to Shiraz, and who were proceeding to Karbila. They were greatly delighted by this unexpected encounter, and requested Mulla Husayn to prolong his stay in Kangavar, with which request he readily complied. Mulla Husayn, who, while in that city, led the companions of the Báb in the Friday congregational prayer, was held in such esteem and reverence by his fellow-disciples that a number of those present, who later on, in Shiraz, revealed their disloyalty to the Faith, were moved with envy. Among them were Mulla Javad-i-Baraghani and Mulla Abdu'l-'Aliy-i-Harati, both of whom feigned submission to the Revelation of the Báb in the hope of satisfying their ambition for leadership. They both strove secretly to undermine the enviable position achieved by Mulla Husayn. Through their hints and insinuations, they persistently endeavoured to challenge his authority and disgrace his name.

I have heard Mirza Ahmad-i-Katib, better known in those days as Mulla Abdu'l-Karim, who had been the travelling companion of Mulla Javad from Qazvin, relate the following: "Mulla Javad often alluded in his conversation with me to Mulla Husayn. His repeated and disparaging remarks, couched in artful language, impelled me to cease my association with him. Every time I determined to sever my

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intercourse with Mulla Javad, I was prevented by Mulla Husayn, who, discovering my intention, counselled me to exercise forbearance towards him. Mulla Husayn's association with the loyal companions of the Báb greatly added to their zeal and enthusiasm. They were edified by his example and were lost in admiration for the brilliant qualities of mind and heart which distinguished so eminent a fellow-disciple."

Mulla Husayn decided to join the company of his friends and to proceed with them to Isfahan. Travelling alone, at about a farsakh's [1] distance in advance of his companions, he, as soon as he paused at nightfall to offer his prayer, would be overtaken by them and would, in their company, complete his devotions. He would be the first to resume the journey, and would again be joined by that devoted band at the hour of dawn, when he once more would break his march to offer his prayer. Only when pressed by his friends would he consent to observe the congregational form of worship. On such occasions he would sometimes follow the lead of one of his companions. Such was the devotion which he had kindled in those hearts that a number of his fellow-travellers would dismount from their steeds and, offering them to those who were journeying on foot, would themselves follow him, utterly indifferent to the strain and fatigues of the march.

[1 Refer to Glossary.]

As they approached the outskirts of Isfahan, Mulla Husayn, fearing that the sudden entry of so large a group of people might excite the curiosity and suspicion of its inhabitants, advised those who were travelling with him to disperse and to enter the gates in small and inconspicuous numbers. A few days after their arrival, there reached them the news that Shiraz was in a state of violent agitation, that all manner of intercourse with the Báb had been forbidden, and that their projected visit to that city would be fraught with the gravest danger. Mulla Husayn, quite undaunted by this sudden intelligence, decided to proceed to Shiraz. He acquainted only a few of his trusted companions with his intention. Discarding his robes and turban, and wearing the jubbih [1] and kulah of the people of Khurasan, he, disguising himself as a horseman of Hizarih and Quchan and accompanied by his brother and nephew, set out at an unexpected hour for the

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city of his Beloved. As he approached its gate, he instructed his brother to proceed in the dead of night to the house of the Báb's maternal uncle and to request him to inform the Báb of his arrival. Mulla Husayn received, the next day, the welcome news that Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali was expecting him an hour after sunset outside the gate of the city. Mulla Husayn met him at the appointed hour and was conducted to his home. Several times at night did the Báb honour that house with His presence, and continue in close association with Mulla Husayn until the break of day. Soon after this, He gave permission to His companions who had gathered in Isfahan, to leave gradually for Shiraz, and there to wait until it should be feasible for Him to meet them. He cautioned them to exercise the utmost vigilance, instructed them to enter, a few at a time, the gate of the city, and bade them disperse, immediately upon their arrival, into such quarters as were reserved for travellers, and accept whatever employment they could find.

[1 Refer to Glossary.]

The first group to reach the city and meet the Báb, a few days after the arrival of Mulla Husayn, consisted of Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Nahri, Mirza Hadi, his brother; Mulla Abdu'l-Karim-i-Qazvini, Mulla Javad-i-Baraghani, Mulla Abdu'l-'Aliy-i-Harati, and Mirza Ibrahim-i-Shirazi. In the course of their association with Him, the last three of the group gradually betrayed their blindness of heart and demonstrated the baseness of their character. The manifold evidences of the Báb's increasing favour towards Mulla Husayn aroused their anger and excited the smouldering fire of their jealousy. In their impotent rage, they resorted to the abject weapons of fraud and of calumny. Unable at first to manifest openly their hostility to Mulla Husayn, they sought by every crafty device to beguile the minds and damp the affections of his devoted admirers. Their unseemly behaviour alienated the sympathy of the believers and precipitated their separation from the company of the faithful. Expelled by their very acts from the bosom of the Faith, they leagued themselves with its avowed enemies and proclaimed their utter rejection of its claims and principles. So great was the mischief which they stirred up among the people of that city that they were eventually expelled by the civil authorities,

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who alike despised and feared their plottings. The Báb has in a Tablet, in which He expatiates upon their machinations and misdeeds, compared them to the calf of the Samiri, the calf that had neither voice nor soul, which was both the abject handiwork and the object of the adoration of a wayward people. "May Thy condemnation, O God!" He wrote, with reference to Mulla Javad and Mulla Abdu'l-'Ali, "rest upon the Jibt and Taghut,[1] the twin idols of this perverse people." All three subsequently proceeded to Kirman and joined forces with Haji Mirza Muhammad Karim Khan, whose designs they furthered and the vehemence of whose denunciations they strove to reinforce.

[1 Qur'an, 4:50.]

One night after their expulsion from Shiraz, the Báb, who was visiting the home of Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, where He had summoned to meet Him Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Nahri, Mirza Hadi, and Mulla Abdu'l-Karim-i-Qazvini, turned suddenly to the last-named and said: "Abdu'l-Karim, are you seeking the Manifestation?" These words, uttered with calm and extreme gentleness, had a startling effect upon him. He paled at this sudden interrogation and burst into tears. He threw himself at the feet of the Báb in a state of profound agitation. The Báb took him lovingly in His arms, kissed his forehead, and invited him to be seated by His side. In a tone of tender affection, He succeeded in appeasing the tumult of his heart.

As soon as they had regained their home, Mirza Muhammad-'Ali and his brother enquired of Mulla Abdu'l-Karim the reason for the violent perturbation which had suddenly seized him. "Hear me," he answered; "I will relate to you the tale of a strange experience, a tale which I have shared with no one until now. When I attained the age of maturity, I felt, while I lived in Qazvin, a profound yearning to unravel the mystery of God and to apprehend the nature of His saints and prophets. Nothing short of the acquisition of learning, I realised, could enable me to achieve my goal. I succeeded in obtaining the consent of my father and uncles to the abandonment of my business, and plunged immediately into study and research. I occupied a room in one of the madrisihs of Qazvin, and concentrated my efforts on the

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acquisition of every available branch of human learning. I often discussed the knowledge which I acquired with my fellow-disciples, and sought by this means to enrich my experience. At night, I would retire to my home, and, in the seclusion of my library, would devote many an hour to undisturbed study. I was so immersed in my labours that I grew indifferent to both sleep and hunger. Within two years I had resolved to master the intricacies of Muslim jurisprudence and theology. I was a faithful attendant at the lectures given by Mulla Abdu'l-Karim-i-Iravani, who, in those days, ranked as the most outstanding divine of Qazvin. I greatly admired his vast erudition, his piety and virtue. Every night during the period that I was his disciple, I devoted my time to the writing of a treatise which I submitted to him and which he revised with care and interest. He seemed to be greatly pleased with my progress, and often extolled my high attainments. One day, in the presence of his assembled disciples, he declared: 'The learned and sagacious Mulla Abdu'l-Karim has qualified himself to expound authoritatively the sacred Scriptures of Islam. He no longer needs to attend either my classes or those of my equals. I shall, please God, celebrate his elevation to the rank of a mujtahid on the morning of the coming Friday, and will deliver his certificate to him after the congregational prayer.'

"No sooner had Mulla Abdu'l-Karim spoken these words and departed than his disciples came forward and heartily congratulated me on my accomplishments. I returned, greatly elated, to my home. Upon my arrival I discovered that both my father and my elder uncle, Haji Husayn-'Ali, both of whom were greatly esteemed throughout Qazvin, were preparing a feast in my honour, with which they intended to celebrate the completion of my studies. I requested them to postpone the invitation they had extended to the notables of Qazvin until further notice from me. They gladly consented, believing that in my eagerness for such a festival I would not unduly postpone it. That night I repaired to my library and, in the privacy of my cell, pondered the following thoughts in my heart: Had you not fondly imagined, I said to myself, that only the sanctified in spirit could ever hope to attain the station of an authoritative expounder of the

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sacred Scriptures of Islam? Was it not your belief that whoso attained this station would be immune from error? Are you not already accounted among those who enjoy that rank? Has not Qazvin's most distinguished divine recognized and declared you to be such? Be fair. Do you in your own heart regard yourself as having attained that state of purity and sublime detachment which you, in days past, considered the requisites for one who aspires to reach that exalted position? Think you yourself to be free from every taint of selfish desire? As I sat musing, a feeling of my own unworthiness gradually overpowered me. I recognized myself as still a victim of cares and perplexities, of temptations and doubts. I was oppressed by such thoughts as to how I should conduct my classes, how to lead my congregation in prayer, how to enforce the laws and precepts of the Faith. I felt continually anxious as to how I should discharge my duties, how to ensure the superiority of my achievements over those who had preceded me. I was overcome with such a sense of humiliation that I felt impelled to seek forgiveness from God. Your aim in acquiring all this learning, I thought to myself, has been to unravel the mystery of God and to attain the state of certitude. Be fair. Are you sure of your own interpretation of the Qur'an? Are you certain that the laws which you promulgate reflect the will of God? The consciousness of error suddenly dawned upon me. I realised for the first time how the rust of learning had corroded my soul and had obscured my vision. I lamented my past, and deplored the futility of my endeavours. I knew that the people of my own rank were subject to the same afflictions. As soon as they had acquired this so-called learning, they would claim to be the exponents of the law of Islam and would arrogate to themselves the exclusive privilege of pronouncing upon its doctrine.

"I remained absorbed in my thoughts until dawn. That night I neither ate nor slept. At times I would commune with God: 'Thou seest me, O my Lord, and Thou beholdest my plight. Thou knowest that I cherish no other desire except Thy holy will and pleasure. I am lost in bewilderment at the thought of the multitude of sects into which Thy holy Faith hath fallen. I am deeply perplexed when I behold the

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schisms that have torn the religions of the past. Wilt Thou guide me in my perplexities, and relieve me of my doubts? Whither am I to turn for consolation and guidance?' I wept so bitterly that night that I seemed to have lost consciousness. There suddenly came to me the vision of a great gathering of people, the expression of whose shining faces greatly impressed me. A noble figure, attired in the garb of a siyyid, occupied a seat on the pulpit facing the congregation. He was expounding the meaning of this sacred verse of the Qur'an: 'Whoso maketh efforts for Us, in Our ways will We guide them.' I was fascinated by his face. I arose, advanced towards him, and was on the point of throwing myself at his feet when that vision suddenly vanished. My heart was flooded with light. My joy was indescribable.

"I immediately decided to consult Haji Allah-Vardi, father of Muhammad-Javad-i-Farhadi, a man known throughout Qazvin for his deep spiritual insight. When I related to him my vision, he smiled and with extraordinary precision described to me the distinguishing features of the siyyid who had appeared to me. 'That noble figure,' he added, 'was none other than Haji Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti, who is now in Karbila and who may be seen expounding every day to his disciples the sacred teachings of Islam. Those who listen to his discourse are refreshed and edified by his utterance. I can never describe the impression which his words exert upon his hearers.' I joyously arose and, expressing to him my feelings of profound appreciation, retired to my home and started forthwith on my journey to Karbila. My old fellow-disciples came and entreated me either to call in person on the learned Mulla Abdu'l-Karim, who had expressed a desire to meet me, or to allow him to come to my house. 'I feel the impulse,' I replied, 'to visit the shrine of the Imam Husayn at Karbila. I have vowed to start immediately on that pilgrimage. I cannot postpone my departure. I will, if possible, visit him for a few moments when I start to leave the city. If I cannot, I would beg him to excuse me and to pray in my behalf that I may be guided on the straight path.'

"I confidentially acquainted my relatives with the nature of my vision and its interpretation. I informed them of my projected visit to Karbila. My words to them that very day

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instilled the love of Siyyid Kazim in their hearts. They felt greatly drawn to Haji Allah-Vardi, freely associated with him, and became his fervent admirers.

"My brother, Abdu'l-Hamid [who later quaffed the cup of martyrdom in Tihran], accompanied me on my journey to Karbila. There I met Siyyid Kazim and was amazed to hear him discourse to his assembled disciples under exactly the same circumstances as he had appeared to me in my vision. I was astounded when I discovered, upon my arrival, that he was expounding the meaning of the same verse which he, when he appeared to me, was explaining to his disciples. As I sat and listened to him, I was greatly impressed by the force of his argument and the profundity of his thoughts. He graciously received me and showed me the utmost kindness. My brother and I both felt an inner joy we had never before experienced. At the hour of dawn we would hasten to his home, and would accompany him on his visit to the shrine of the Imam Husayn.

"I spent the entire winter in close companionship with him. During the whole of that period, I faithfully attended his classes. Every time I listened to his speech, I heard him describe a particular aspect of the manifestation of the promised Qa'im. This theme constituted the sole subject of his discourses. Whichever verse or tradition he happened to be expounding, he would invariably conclude his commentary on it with a particular reference to the advent of the promised Revelation. 'The promised One,' he would openly and repeatedly declare, lives in the midst of this people. The appointed time for His appearance is fast approaching. Prepare the way for Him, and purify yourselves so that you may recognize His beauty. Not until I depart from this world will the day-star of His countenance be revealed. It behoves you after my departure to arise and seek Him. You should not rest for one moment until you find Him.'

"After the celebration of Naw-Ruz, Siyyid Kazim bade me depart from Karbila. 'Rest assured, O Abdu'l-Karim,' he told me as he bade me farewell, 'you are of those who, in the Day of His Revelation, will arise for the triumph of His Cause. You will, I hope, remember me on that blessed Day.' I besought him to allow me to remain in Karbila, pleading

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that my return to Qazvin would arouse the enmity of the mullas of that city. 'Let your trust be wholly in God,' was his reply. 'Ignore entirely their machinations. Engage in trade, and rest assured that their protestations will never succeed in harming you.' I followed his advice, and together with my brother set out for Qazvin.

"Immediately upon my arrival, I undertook to carry out the counsel of Siyyid Kazim. With the instructions he had given me, I was able to silence every malicious opposer. I devoted my days to the transaction of my business; at night I would regain my home and, in the quiet of my chamber, would consecrate my time to meditation and prayer. With tearful eyes I would commune with God and would beseech Him, saying: 'Thou hast, by the mouth of Thine inspired servant, promised that I shall attain unto Thy Day, and shall behold Thy Revelation. Thou hast, through him, assured me that I shall be among those who will arise for the triumph of Thy Cause. How long wilt Thou withhold from me Thy promise? When will the hand of Thy loving-kindness unlock to me the door of Thy grace, and confer upon me Thy everlasting bounty?' Every night I would renew this prayer and would continue in my supplications until the break of day.

"One night, on the eve of the day of Arafih, in the year 1255 A.H.,[1] I was so wrapt in prayer that I seemed to have fallen into a trance. There appeared before me a bird, white as the snow, which hovered above my head and alighted upon the twig of a tree beside me. In accents of indescribable sweetness, that bird voiced these words: 'Are you seeking the Manifestation, O Abdu'l-Karim? Lo, the year '60.' Immediately after, the bird flew away and vanished. The mystery of those words greatly agitated me. The memory of the beauty of that vision lingered long in my mind. I seemed to have tasted all the delights of Paradise. My joy was irrepressible.

[1 The night preceding February 13, 1840 A.D.]

"The mystic message of that bird had penetrated my soul and was continually on my lips. I revolved it constantly in my mind. I shared it with no one, fearing lest its sweetness forsake me. A few years later, the Call from Shiraz reached my ears. The day I heard it, I hastened to that city. On

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my way I met, in Tihran, Mulla Muhammad-i-Mu'allim, who acquainted me with the nature of this Call, and informed me that those who had acknowledged it had gathered in Karbila and were awaiting the return of their Leader from Hijaz. I immediately departed for that city. From Hamadan, Mulla Javad-i-Baraghani, to my great distress, accompanied me to Karbila, where I was privileged to meet you as well as the rest of the believers. I continued to treasure within my heart the strange message conveyed to me by that bird. When I subsequently attained the presence of the Báb and heard from His lips those same words, spoken in the same tone and language as I had heard them, I realised their significance. I was so overwhelmed by their power and glory that I instinctively fell at His feet and magnified His name."

In the early days of the year 1265 A.H.,[1] I set out, at the age of eighteen, from my native village of Zarand for Qum, where I chanced to meet Siyyid Isma'il-i-Zavari'i, surnamed Dhabih, who later on, while in Baghdad, offered up his life as a sacrifice in the path of Bahá'u'lláh. Through him I was led to recognize the new Revelation. He was then preparing to leave for Mazindaran and had determined to join the heroic defenders of the fort of Shaykh Tabarsi. He had intended to take me with him, together with Mirza Fathu'llah-i-Hakkak, a lad of my age, who was a resident of Qum. As circumstances interfered with his plan, he promised before his departure that he would communicate with us from Tihran and would ask us to join him. In the course of his conversation with Mirza Fathu'llah and me, he related to us the account of Mulla Abdu'l-Karim's marvellous experience. I was seized with an ardent desire to meet him. When I subsequently arrived at Tihran and met Siyyid Isma'il in the Madrisiy-i-Daru'sh-Shafay-i-Masjid-i-Shah, I was introduced by him to this same Mulla Abdu'l-Karim, who was then living in that same madrisih. In those days we were informed that the struggle of Shaykh Tabarsi had come to an end, and that those companions of the Báb who had gathered in Tihran and were contemplating joining their brethren had each returned to his own province unable to achieve his goal. Mulla Abdu'l-Karim remained in the

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capital, where he devoted his time to transcribing the Persian Bayan. My close association with him at that time served to deepen my love and admiration for him. I still feel, after the lapse of eight and thirty years since our first interview in Tihran, the warmth of his friendship and the fervour of his faith. My feelings of affectionate regard for him prompted me to dwell at length upon the circumstances of his early life, culminating in what may be regarded as the turning point of his whole career. May it in turn serve to awaken the reader to the glory of this momentous Revelation.

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[1 1848 A.D.]

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CHAPTER IX
THE BAB'S STAY IN SHIRAZ AFTER THE PILGRIMAGE
(Continued)

SOON after the arrival of Mulla Husayn at Shiraz, the voice of the people rose again in protest against him. The fear and indignation of the multitude were excited by the knowledge of his continued and intimate intercourse with the Báb. "He again has come to our city," they clamoured; "he again has raised the standard of revolt and is, together with his chief, contemplating a still fiercer onslaught upon our time-honoured institutions." So grave and menacing became the situation that the Báb instructed Mulla Husayn to regain, by way of Yazd, his native province of Khurasan. He likewise dismissed the rest of His companions who had gathered in Shiraz, and bade them return to Isfahan. He retained Mulla Abdu'l-Karim, to whom He assigned the duty of transcribing His writings.

These precautionary measures which the Báb deemed wise to undertake, relieved Him from the immediate danger of violence from the infuriated people of Shiraz, and served to lend a fresh impetus to the propagation of His Faith beyond the limits of that city. His disciples, who had spread throughout the length and breadth of the country, fearlessly proclaimed to the multitude of their countrymen the regenerating power of the new-born Revelation. The fame of the Báb had been noised abroad and had reached the ears of those who held the highest seats of authority, both in the capital and throughout the provinces.[1] A wave of passionate enquiry swayed the minds and hearts of both the leaders and the

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masses of the people. Amazement and wonder had seized those who had heard from the lips of the immediate messengers of the Báb the tales of those signs and testimonies which had heralded the birth of His Manifestation. The dignitaries of State and Church either attended in person or delegated their ablest representatives to enquire into the truth and character of this remarkable Movement.

[1 "Babism had many adepts in all classes of society, and many among them were of important standing; great lords, members of the clergy, military men and merchants had accepted this doctrine." (Journal Asiatique, 1866, tome 8, p. 251.)]

Muhammad Shah [1] himself was moved to ascertain the veracity of these reports and to enquire into their nature. He delegated Siyyid Yahyay-i-Darabi,[2] the most learned, the most eloquent, and the most influential of his subjects, to interview the Báb and to report to him the results of his investigations. The Shah had implicit confidence in his impartiality, in his competence and profound spiritual insight. He occupied a position of such pre-eminence among the leading figures in Persia that at whatever meeting he happened to be present, no matter how great the number of the ecclesiastical leaders who attended it, he was invariably its chief speaker. None would dare to assert his views in his presence. They all reverently observed silence before him; all testified to his sagacity, his unsurpassed knowledge and mature wisdom.

[1 Refer to "Pedigree of the Qajar Dynasty" at the beginning of the book.]

[2 Concerning him, Abdu'l-Bahá has written the following: "This remarkable man, this precious soul, had committed to memory no less than thirty thousand traditions, and was highly esteemed and admired by all classes of people. He had achieved universal renown in Persia, and his authority and erudition were widely and fully recognized." (From manuscript relating to martyrdoms in Persia.) "This personage was, as his name indicates, born at Darab near Shiraz; his father, Siyyid Ja'far, surnamed Kashfi, was one of the greatest and most celebrated Ulamas of that period. His high moral character, his righteous ways had attracted to him universal esteem and consideration. His science had won for him the glorious name of Kashfi, that is to say, one who discovers and explains the divine secrets. Brought up by him, his son was not slow to equal him in every way and he enjoyed the public favor bestowed on his father. When he went to Tihran, he was preceded by his fame and popularity. He became the regular guest of Prince Tahmasp Mirza, Mu'ayyadu'd-Dawlih, grandson of Fath-'Ali Shah by his father Muhammad-'Ali Mirza. The government itself paid homage to his science and to his merit and he was consulted more than once in trying circumstances. It was of him that Muhammad Shahet Haji Mirza Aqasi thought when they wished to find an honest emissary whose faithfulness could not be questioned." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 233.) "While these events were taking place in the north of Persia, the central and southern provinces were deeply roused by the fiery eloquence of the missionaries of the new doctrine. The people, light, credulous, ignorant, superstitious in the extreme, were struck dumb by the incessant miracles which they heard related every moment; the anxious priests, feeling their flock quivering with impatience and ready to escape their control, redoubled their slanders and infamous imputations; the grossest lies, the most bloody fictions were spread among the bewildered populace, torn between horror and admiration.... Siyyid Ja'far was unacquainted with the doctrine of the Shaykhis as he was with those of Mulla Sadra. Nevertheless, his burning zeal and his ardent imagination had carried him, towards the end of his life, out of the ways of the orthodox Shiite. He interpreted the 'hadiths' differently from his colleagues and claimed even, so they said, to have fathomed the seventy inner meanings of the Qur'an. His son, who was to outdo these oddities, was at that time about thirty-five years of age. After the completion of his studies, he came to Tihran where he became intimately associated with all that the court counted of great personages and distinguished men. It was upon him that the choice of His Majesty fell. He was, therefore, commissioned to go to Shiraz to make contact with the Báb and to inform the central authority, as exactly as possible, of the political consequences which would result from a reform which seemed likely unsettle heart of the country." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 387-388.)]

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In those days Siyyid Yahya was residing in Tihran in the house of Mirza Lutf-'Ali, the Master of Ceremonies to the Shah, as the honoured guest of his Imperial Majesty. The Shah confidentially signified through Mirza Lutf-'Ali his desire and pleasure that Siyyid Yahya should proceed to Shiraz and investigate the matter in person. "Tell him from us, commanded the sovereign, "that inasmuch as we repose the utmost confidence in his integrity, and admire his moral and intellectual standards, and regard him as the most suitable among the divines of our realm, we expect him to proceed to Shiraz, to enquire thoroughly into the episode of the Siyyid-i-Bab, and to inform us of the results of his investigations; We shall then know what measures it behoves us to take."

Siyyid Yahya had been himself desirous of obtaining first-hand knowledge of the claims of the Báb, but had been unable, owing to adverse circumstances, to undertake the journey to Fars. The message of Muhammad Shah decided him to carry out his long-cherished intention. Assuring his sovereign of his readiness to comply with his wish, he immediately set out for Shiraz.

On his way, he conceived the various questions which he thought he would submit to the Báb. Upon the replies which the latter gave to these questions would, in his view, depend the truth and validity of His mission. Upon his arrival at Shiraz, he met Mulla Shaykh Ali, surnamed Azim, with whom he had been intimately associated while in Khurasan. He asked him whether he was satisfied with his interview with the Báb. "You should meet Him," Azim replied, "and seek independently to acquaint yourself with His Mission. As a friend, I would advise you to exercise the utmost consideration

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in your conversations with Him, lest you, too, in the end should be obliged to deplore any act of discourtesy towards Him."

Siyyid Yahya met the Báb at the home of Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, and exercised in his attitude towards Him the courtesy which Azim had counselled him to observe. For about two hours he directed the attention of the Báb to the most abstruse and bewildering themes in the metaphysical teachings of Islam, to the obscurest passages of the Qur'an, and to the mysterious traditions and prophecies of the imams of the Faith. The Báb at first listened to his learned references to the law and prophecies of Islam, noted all his questions, and began to give to each a brief but persuasive reply. The conciseness and lucidity of His answers excited the wonder and admiration of Siyyid Yahya. He was overpowered by a sense of humiliation at his own presumptuousness and pride. His sense of superiority completely vanished. As he arose to depart, he addressed the Báb in these words: "Please God, I shall, in the course of my next audience with You, submit the rest of my questions and with them shall conclude my enquiry." As soon as he retired, he joined Azim, to whom he related the account of his interview. "I have in His presence," he told him, "expatiated unduly upon my own learning. He was able in a few words to answer my questions and to resolve my perplexities. I felt so abased before Him that I hurriedly begged leave to retire." Azim reminded him of his counsel, and begged him not to forget this time the advice he had given him.

In the course of his second interview, Siyyid Yahya, to his amazement, discovered that all the questions which he had intended to submit to the Báb had vanished from his memory. He contented himself with matters that seemed irrelevant to the object of his enquiry. He soon found, to his still greater surprise, that the Báb was answering, with the same lucidity and conciseness that had characterised His previous replies, those same questions which he had momentarily forgotten. "I seemed to have fallen fast asleep," he later observed. "His words, His answers to questions which I had forgotten to ask, reawakened me. A voice still kept whispering in my ear: 'Might not this, after all, have

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been an accidental coincidence?' I was too agitated to collect my thoughts. I again begged leave to retire. Azim, whom I subsequently met, received me with cold indifference, and sternly remarked: 'Would that schools had been utterly abolished, and that neither of us had entered one! Through our little-mindedness and conceit, we are withholding from ourselves the redeeming grace of God, and are causing pain to Him who is the Fountain thereof. Will you not this time beseech God to grant that you may be enabled to attain His presence with becoming humility and detachment, that perchance He may graciously relieve you from the oppression of uncertainty and doubt?'

"I resolved that in my third interview with the Báb I would in my inmost heart request Him to reveal for me a commentary on the Surih of Kawthar.[1] I determined not to breathe that request in His presence. Should he, unasked by me, reveal this commentary in a manner that would immediately distinguish it in my eyes from the prevailing standards current among the commentators on the Qur'an, I then would be convinced of the Divine character of His Mission, and would readily embrace His Cause. If not, I would refuse to acknowledge Him. As soon as I was ushered into His presence, a sense of fear, for which I could not account, suddenly seized me. My limbs quivered as I beheld His face. I, who on repeated occasions had been introduced into the presence of the Shah and had never discovered the slightest trace of timidity in myself, was now so awed and shaken that I could not remain standing on my feet. The Báb, beholding my plight, arose from His seat, advanced towards me, and, taking hold of my hand, seated me beside Him. 'Seek from Me,' He said, 'whatever is your heart's desire. I will readily reveal it to you.' I was speechless with wonder. Like a babe that can neither understand nor speak, I felt powerless to respond. He smiled as He gazed at me and said: 'Were I to reveal for you the commentary on the Surih of Kawthar, would you acknowledge that My words are born of the Spirit of God? Would you recognize that My utterance can in no wise be associated with sorcery or magic?' Tears flowed from my eyes as I heard Him speak these words.

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All I was able to utter was this verse of the Qur'an: 'O our Lord, with ourselves have we dealt unjustly: if Thou forgive us not and have not pity on us, we shall surely be of those who perish.'

[1 Qur'an, 108.]

"It was still early in the afternoon when the Báb requested Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali to bring His pen-case and some paper. He then started to reveal His commentary on the Surih of Kawthar. How am I to describe this scene of inexpressible majesty? Verses streamed from His pen with a rapidity that was truly astounding. The incredible swiftness of His writing,[1] the soft and gentle murmur of His voice, and the stupendous force of His style, amazed and bewildered me. He continued in this manner until the approach of sunset. He did not pause until the entire commentary of the Surih was completed. He then laid down His pen and asked for tea. Soon after, He began to read it aloud in my presence. My heart leaped madly as I heard Him pour out, in accents of unutterable sweetness, those treasures enshrined in that sublime commentary.[2] I was so entranced by its beauty that three times over I was on the verge of fainting. He sought to revive my failing strength with a few drops of rose-water which He caused to be sprinkled on my face. This

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restored my vigour and enabled me to follow His reading to the end.

[1 According to the "Kashfu'l-Ghita'" (p. 81), no less than two thousand verses were revealed on that occasion by the Báb. The bewildering rapidity of this revelation was no less remarkable in the eyes of Siyyid Yahya than the matchless beauty and profound meaning of the verses in that commentary. "Within five hours' time he revealed two thousand verses, that is, he spoke as fast as the scribe could write. One can judge thereby that, if he had been left free, how many of his works from the beginning of his manifestation until today would have been spread abroad among men." ("Le Bayan Persan," vol. I, p. 43.) "God had given him such power and such fluency of expression that, if a scribe wrote with the most extreme rapidity during two days and two nights without interruption, he would reveal, out of this mine of eloquence, the equivalent of the Qur'an." (Ibid., vol. 2, p. 132.)]

[2 "Certainly the fact of writing, currente calamo, a new commentary on a surih whose meaning is so obscure, should deeply astonish the Siyyid Yahya, but that which surprised him even more was to find, in this commentary, the explanation that he, himself, had found in his meditation on these three verses. Thus he found himself in agreement with the Reformer in the interpretation that he had believed himself to be the only one to have reached and that he had not made known to anyone." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 234.)]

"When He had completed His recital, the Báb arose to depart. He entrusted me, as He left, to the care of His maternal uncle. 'He is to be your guest,' He told him, 'until the time when he, in collaboration with Mulla Abdu'l-Karim, shall have finished transcribing this newly revealed commentary, and shall have verified the correctness of the transcribed copy.' Mulla Abdu'l-Karim and I devoted three days and three nights to this work. We would in turn read aloud to each other a portion of the commentary until the whole of it had been transcribed. We verified all the traditions in the text and found them to be entirely accurate. Such was the state of certitude to which I had attained that if all the powers of the earth were to be leagued against me they would be powerless to shake my confidence in the greatness of His Cause.[1]

"As I had, since my arrival at Shiraz, been living in the home of Husayn Khan, the governor of Fars, I felt that my prolonged absence from his house might excite his suspicion and inflame his anger. I therefore determined to take leave of Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali and Mulla Abdu'l-Karim and to regain the residence of the governor. On my arrival I found that Husayn Khan, who in the meantime had been searching for me, was eager to know whether I had fallen a victim to the Báb's magic influence. 'No one but God,' I replied, 'who alone can change the hearts of men, is able to captivate the heart of Siyyid Yahya. Whoso can ensnare his heart is of God, and His word unquestionably the voice of Truth.' My answer silenced the governor. In his conversation with others, I subsequently learned, he had expressed the view that I too had fallen a hopeless victim to the charm of that Youth. He had even written to Muhammad Shah and complained that during my stay in Shiraz I had refused all manner of intercourse with the ulamas of the city. 'Though nominally my guest,' he wrote to his sovereign, 'he frequently

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absents himself for a number of consecutive days and nights from my house. That he has become a Babi, that he has been heart and soul enslaved by the will of the Siyyid-i-Bab, I have ceased to entertain any doubt.'

[1 "It was a strange circumstance," writes Lady Sheil, "that among those who adopted [the] Báb's doctrine there should have been a large number of mullas, and even mujtahids, who hold a high rank as expounders of the law in the Muhammadan church. Many or these men sealed their faith with their blood." ("Glimpses of Life and Manners in Persia," pp. 178-9.)]

"Muhammad Shah himself, at one of the state functions in his capital, was reported to have addressed these words to Haji Mirza Aqasi: 'We have been lately informed [1] that Siyyid Yahyay-i-Darabi has become a Babi. If this be true, it behoves us to cease belittling the cause of that siyyid.' Husayn Khan, on his part, received the following imperial command: 'It is strictly forbidden to any one of our subjects to utter such words as would tend to detract from the exalted rank of Siyyid Yahyay-i-Darabi. He is of noble lineage, a man of great learning, of perfect and consummate virtue. He will under no circumstances incline his ear to any cause unless he believes it to be conducive to the advancement of the best interests of our realm and to the well-being of the Faith of Islam.'

[1 According to "A Traveller's Narrative" (p. 8), Siyyid Yahya "wrote without fear or care a detailed account of his observations to Mirza Lutf-'Ali, the chamberlain, in order that the latter might submit it to the notice of the late king, while he himself journeyed to all parts of Persia, and in every town and station summoned the people from the pulpit-tops in such wise that other learned doctors decided that he must be mad, accounting it a sure case of bewitchment."]

"Upon the receipt of this imperial injunction, Husayn Khan, unable to resist me openly, strove privily to undermine my authority. His face betrayed an implacable enmity and hate. He failed, however, in view of the marked favours bestowed upon me by the Shah, either to harm my person or to discredit my name.

"I was subsequently commanded by the Báb to journey to Burujird, and there acquaint my father [1] with the new Message. He urged me to exercise towards him the utmost forbearance and consideration. From my confidential conversations with him I gathered that he was unwilling to repudiate the truth of the Message I had brought him. He preferred, however, to be left alone and to be allowed to pursue his own way."

[1 His name was Siyyid Ja'far, known as Kashfi "the Discloser," because of his skill in the interpretation of the Qur'an and the visions which he claimed to have.]

Another dignitary of the realm who dispassionately investigated and ultimately embraced the Message of the Báb

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was Mulla Muhammad-'Ali,[1] a native of Zanjan, whom the Báb surnamed Hujjat-i-Zanjani. He was a man of independent mind, noted for extreme originality and freedom from all forms of traditional restraint. He denounced the whole hierarchy of the ecclesiastical leaders of his country, from the Abvab-i-Arba'ih [2] down to the humblest mulla among his contemporaries. He despised their character, deplored their degeneracy, and expatiated upon their vices. He even, prior to his conversion, betrayed an attitude of careless contempt for Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa'i and Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti.[3] He was so filled with horror at the misdeeds that had stained the history of shi'ah Islam that whoever belonged to that sect, no matter how high his personal attainments, was regarded by him as unworthy of his consideration. Not infrequently did cases of fierce controversy arise between him and the divines of Zanjan which, but for the personal intervention of the Shah, would have led to grave disorder and bloodshed. He was eventually summoned to the capital and, in the presence of his opponents, representatives of the ecclesiastical heads of Tihran and other cities, was called upon to vindicate his claim. Single-handed and alone he would establish his superiority over his adversaries and would silence their clamour. Although in their hearts they dissented from his views and condemned his conduct, they were compelled to acknowledge outwardly his authority and to confirm his opinion.

[1 He was styled Hujjatu'l-Islam.]

[2 Literally meaning "The Four Gates," each of whom claimed to be an intermediary between the absent Imam and his followers.]

[3 He was an Akhbari. For an account of the Akhbaris, see Gobineau's "Les Religions et Les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 23 et seq.]

As soon as the Call from Shiraz reached his ears, Hujjat deputed one of his disciples, Mulla Iskandar, in whom he reposed the fullest confidence, to enquire into the whole matter and to report to him the result of his investigations. Utterly indifferent to the praise and censure of his countrymen, whose integrity he suspected and whose judgment he disdained, he sent his delegate to Shiraz with explicit instructions to conduct a minute and independent enquiry. Mulla Iskandar attained the presence of the Báb and felt immediately the regenerating power of His influence. He tarried

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forty days in Shiraz, during which time he imbibed the principles of the Faith and acquired, according to his capacity, a knowledge of the measure of its glory.

With the approval of the Báb, he returned to Zanjan. He arrived at a time when all the leading ulamas of the city had assembled in the presence of Hujjat. As soon as he appeared, Hujjat enquired whether he believed in, or rejected, the new Revelation. Mulla Iskandar submitted the writings of the Báb which he had brought with him, and asserted that whatever should be the verdict of his master, the same would he deem it his obligation to follow. "What!" angrily exclaimed Hujjat. "But for the presence of this distinguished company; I would have chastised you severely. How dare you consider matters of belief to be dependent upon the approbation or rejection of others?" Receiving from the hand of his messenger the copy of the Qayyumu'l-Asma', he, as soon as he had perused a page of that book, fell prostrate upon the ground and exclaimed "I bear witness that these words which I have read proceed from the same Source as that of the Qur'an. Whoso has recognized the truth of that sacred Book must needs testify to the Divine origin of these words, and must needs submit to the precepts inculcated by their Author. I take you, members of this assembly, as my witnesses: I pledge such allegiance to the Author of this Revelation that should He ever pronounce the night to be the day, and declare the sun to be a shadow, I would unreservedly submit to His judgment, and would regard His verdict as the voice of Truth. Whoso denies Him, him will I regard as the repudiator of God Himself." With these words he terminated the proceedings of that gathering.[1]

[1 "'I met him [Mulla Muhammad-'Ali],' says Mirza Jani, 'in Tihran, in the house of Mahmud Khan, the kalantar, where he was confined because of his devotion to His Holiness. He said: 'I was a mulla, so proud and masterful that I would abase myself to no one, not even the late Haji Siyyid Baqir Rasht, who was regarded as the 'Proof of Islam' and the most learned of doctors. My doctrines being after the Akhbari school, I differed in certain questions with the mass of the clergy. People complained of me, and Muhammad Shah summoned me to Tihran. I came, and he perused my books and informed himself of their purport. I asked him to summon the siyyid [i.e. Siyyid Baqir of Rasht] also, that we might dispute. At first he intended to do so, but afterwards, having considered the mischief which might result, suspended the proposed discussion. To be brief, notwithstanding all this self-sufficiency, as soon as news of the Manifestation of His Holiness reached me, and I had perused a small page of the verses of that Point of the Furqan, I became as one beside himself, and involuntarily, yet with full option, confessed the truth of His claim, and became His devoted slave; for I beheld in Him the most noble of the Prophet's miracles, and, had I rejected it, I should have rejected the truth of the religion of Islam."'" (Haji Mirza Jani's History: Appendix 2 of "Tarikh-i-Jadid," pp. 349-50.)]

We have, in the preceding pages, referred to the expulsion of Quddus and of Mulla Sadiq from Shiraz, and have attempted to describe, however inadequately, the chastisement inflicted upon them by the tyrannical and rapacious Husayn

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Khan. A word should now be said regarding the nature of their activities after their expulsion from that city. For a few days they continued to journey together, after which they separated, Quddus departing for Kirman in order to interview Haji Mirza Karim Khan, and Mulla Sadiq directing his steps towards Yazd with the intention of pursuing among the ulamas of that province the work which he had been so cruelly forced to abandon in Fars. Quddus was received, upon his arrival, at the home of Haji Siyyid Javad-i-Kirmani, whom he had known in Karbila and whose scholarship, skill, and competence were universally recognized by the people of Kirman. At all the gatherings held in his home, he invariably assigned to his youthful guest the seat of honour and treated him with extreme deference and courtesy. So marked a preference for so young and seemingly mediocre a person kindled the envy of the disciples of Haji Mirza Karim Khan, who, describing in vivid and exaggerated language the honours which were being lavished upon Quddus, sought to excite the dormant hostility of their chief. "Behold," they whispered in his ears, "he who is the best beloved, the trusted and most intimate companion of the Siyyid-i-Bab, is now the honoured guest of one who is admittedly the most powerful inhabitant of Kirman. If he be allowed to live in close companionship with Haji Siyyid Javad, he will no doubt instil his poison into his soul, and will fashion him as the instrument whereby he will succeed in disrupting your authority and in extinguishing your fame." Alarmed by these evil whisperings, the cowardly Haji Mirza Karim Khan appealed to the governor and induced him to call in person upon Haji Siyyid Javad and demand that he terminate that dangerous association. The representations of the governor inflamed the wrath of the intemperate Haji Siyyid Javad. "How often," he violently protested, "have I advised you

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to ignore the whisperings of this evil plotter! My forbearance has emboldened him. Let him beware lest he overstep his bounds. Does he desire to usurp my position? Is he not the man who receives into his home thousands of abject and ignoble people and overwhelms them with servile flattery? Has he not, again and again, striven to exalt the ungodly and to silence the innocent? Has he not, year after year, by reinforcing the hand of the evil-doer, sought to ally himself with him and gratify his carnal desires? Does he not until this day persist in uttering his blasphemies against all that is pure and holy in Islam? My silence seems to have added to his temerity and insolence. He gives himself the liberty of committing the foulest deeds, and refuses to allow me to receive and honour in my own home a man of such integrity, such learning and nobleness. Should he refuse to desist from his practice, let him be warned that the worst elements of the city will, at my instigation, expel him from Kirman." Disconcerted by such vehement denunciations, the governor apologised for his action. Ere he retired, he assured Haji Siyyid Javad that he need entertain no fear, that he himself would endeavour to awaken Haji Mirza Karim Khan to the folly of his behaviour, and would induce him to repent.

The siyyid's message stung Haji Mirza Karim Khan. Convulsed by a feeling of intense resentment which he could neither suppress nor gratify, he relinquished all hopes of acquiring the undisputed leadership of the people of Kirman. That open challenge sounded the death-knell of his cherished ambitions.

In the privacy of his home, Haji Siyyid Javad heard Quddus recount all the details of his activities from the day of his departure from Karbila until his arrival at Kirman. The circumstances of his conversion and his subsequent pilgrimage with the Báb stirred the imagination and kindled the flame of faith in the heart of his host, who preferred, however, to conceal his belief, in the hope of being able to guard more effectively the interests of the newly established community. "Your noble resolve," Quddus lovingly assured him, "will in itself be regarded as a notable service rendered to the

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Cause of God. The Almighty will reinforce your efforts and will establish for all time your ascendancy over your opponents."

The incident was related to me by a certain Mirza Abdu'llah-i-Ghawgka, who, while in Kirman, had heard it from the lips of Haji Siyyid Javad himself. The sincerity of the expressed intentions of the siyyid has been fully vindicated by the splendid manner in which, as a result of his endeavours, he succeeded in resisting the encroachments of the insidious Haji Mirza Karim Khan, who, had he remained unchallenged, would have caused incalculable harm to the Faith.

From Kirman, Quddus decided to leave for Yazd, and from thence to proceed to Ardikan, Nayin, Ardistan, Isfahan, Kashan, Qum, and Tihran. In each of these cities, notwithstanding the obstacles that beset his path, he succeeded in instilling into the understanding of his hearers the principles which he had so bravely risen to advocate. I have

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heard Aqay-i-Kalim, the brother of Bahá'u'lláh, describe in the following terms his meeting with Quddus in Tihran: "The charm of his person, his extreme affability, combined with a dignity of bearing, appealed to even the most careless observer. Whoever was intimately associated with him was seized with an insatiable admiration for the charm of that youth. We watched him one day perform his ablutions, and were struck by the gracefulness which distinguished him from the rest of the worshippers in the performance of so ordinary a rite. He seemed, in our eyes, to be the very incarnation of purity and grace."

In Tihran, Quddus was admitted into the presence of Bahá'u'lláh after which he proceeded to Mazindaran, where, in his native town of Barfurush, in the home of his father, he lived for about two years, during which time he was surrounded by the loving devotion of his family and kindred. His father had married, on the death of his first wife, a lady who treated Quddus with a kindness and care that no mother could have hoped to surpass. She longed to witness his wedding, and was often heard to express her fears lest she should have to carry with her to the grave the "supreme joy of her heart." "The day of my wedding," Quddus observed, "is not yet come. That day will be unspeakably glorious. Not within the confines of this house, but out in the open air, under the vault of heaven, in the midst of the Sabzih-Maydan, before the gaze of the multitude, there shall I celebrate my nuptials and witness the consummation of my hopes." Three years later, when that lady learned of the circumstances attending the martyrdom of Quddus in the Sabzih-Maydan, she recalled his prophetic words and understood their meaning.[1] Quddus remained in Barfurush until the time when he was joined by Mulla Husayn after the latter's return from his visit to the Báb in the castle of Mah-Ku. From Barfurush they set out for Khurasan, a journey rendered memorable by deeds so heroic that none of their countrymen could hope to rival them.

[1 A similar statement is reported in the "Kashfu'l-Ghita'" (p. 227). Such a statement, the author declares, was made to him by several residents of the province of Mazindaran.]

As to Mulla Sadiq, as soon as he arrived at Yazd, he enquired of a trusted friend, a native of Khurasan, about the

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latest developments connected with the progress of the Cause in that province. He was particularly anxious to be enlightened concerning the activities of Mirza Ahmad-i-Azghandi, and expressed his surprise at the seeming inactivity of one who, at a time when the mystery of the Faith was still undivulged, had displayed such conspicuous zeal in preparing the people for the acceptance of the expected Manifestation.

"Mirza Ahmad," he was told, "secluded himself for a considerable period of time in his own home, and there concentrated his energies upon the preparation of a learned and voluminous compilation of Islamic traditions and prophecies relating to the time and the character of the promised Dispensation. He collected more than twelve thousand traditions of the most explicit character, the authenticity of which was universally recognized; and resolved to take whatever steps were required for the copying and the dissemination of that book. By encouraging his fellow-disciples to quote publicly from its contents, in all congregations and gatherings, he hoped he would be able to remove such hindrances as might impede the progress of the Cause he had at heart.

"When he arrived at Yazd, he was warmly welcomed by his maternal uncle, Siyyid Husayn-i-Azghandi, the foremost mujtahid of that city, who, a few days before the arrival of his nephew, had sent him a written request to hasten to Yazd and deliver him from the machinations of Haji Mirza Karim Khan, whom he regarded as a dangerous though unavowed enemy of Islam. The mujtahid called upon Mirza Ahmad to combat by every means in his power Haji Mirza Khan's pernicious influence; and wished him to establish permanently his residence in that city, that he might, through incessant exhortations and appeals, succeed in enlightening the minds of the people as to the true aims and intentions cherished by that malignant enemy.

"Mirza Ahmad, concealing from his uncle his original intention to leave for Shiraz, decided to prolong his stay in Yazd. He showed him the book which he had compiled, and shared its contents with the ulamas who thronged from every quarter of the city to meet him. All were greatly impressed

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by the industry, the erudition, and the zeal which the compiler of that celebrated work had demonstrated.

"Among those who came to visit Mirza Ahmad was a certain Mirza Taqi, a man who was wicked, ambitious, and haughty, who had recently returned from Najaf, where he had completed his studies and had been elevated to the rank of mujtahid. In the course of his conversation with Mirza Ahmad, he expressed a desire to peruse that book, and to be allowed to retain it for a few days, that he might acquire a fuller understanding of its contents. Siyyid Husayn and his nephew both acceded to his wish. Mirza Taqi, who was to have returned the book, failed to redeem his promise. Mirza Ahmad, who had already suspected the insincerity of Mirza Taqi's intentions, urged his uncle to remind the borrower of the pledge he had given. 'Tell your master,' was the insolent reply to the messenger sent to claim the book, 'that after having satisfied myself as to the mischievous character of that compilation, I decided to destroy it. Last night I threw it into the pond, thereby obliterating its pages.'

"Moved by deep and determined indignation at such deceitfulness and impertinence, Siyyid Husayn resolved to wreak his vengeance upon him. Mirza Ahmad succeeded, however, by his wise counsels, in pacifying the anger of his infuriated uncle and in dissuading him from carrying out the measures which he proposed to take. 'This punishment,' he urged, 'which you contemplate will excite the agitation of the people, and will stir up mischief and sedition. It will gravely interfere with the efforts which you wish me to exert in order to extinguish the influence of Haji Mirza Karim Khan. He will undoubtedly seize the occasion to denounce you as a Babi, and will hold me responsible for having been the cause of your conversion. By this means he will both undermine your authority and earn the esteem and gratitude of the people. Leave him in the hands of God.'"

Mulla Sadiq was greatly pleased to learn from the account of this incident that Mirza Ahmad was actually residing in Yazd, and that no obstacles stood in the way of his meeting with him. He went immediately to the masjid in which Siyyid Husayn was leading the congregational prayer and in which

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Mirza Ahmad delivered the sermon. Taking his seat in the first row among the worshippers, he joined them in prayer, after which he went straight to Siyyid Husayn and publicly embraced him. Uninvited, he immediately afterwards ascended the pulpit and prepared to address the faithful Siyyid Husayn, though at first startled, preferred to raise no objection, being curious to discover the motive, and ascertain the degree of the learning, of this sudden intruder. He motioned to his nephew to refrain from opposing him.

Mulla Sadiq prefaced his discourse with one of the best-known and most exquisitely written homilies of the Báb, after which he addressed the congregation in these terms: "Render thanks to God, O people of learning, for, behold, the Gate of Divine Knowledge, which you deem to have been closed, is now wide open. The River of everlasting life has streamed forth from the city of Shiraz, and is conferring untold blessings upon the people of this land. Whoever has partaken of one drop from this Ocean of heavenly grace, no matter how humble and unlettered, has discovered in himself the power to unravel the profoundest mysteries, and has felt capable of expounding the most abstruse themes of ancient wisdom. And whoever,though he be the most learned expounder of the Faith of Islam, has chosen to rely upon his own competence and power and has disdained the Message of God, has condemned himself to irretrievable degradation and loss."

A wave of indignation and dismay swept over the entire congregation as these words of Mulla Sadiq pealed out this momentous announcement. The masjid rang with cries of "Blasphemy!" which an infuriated congregation shouted in horror against the speaker. "Descend from the pulpit," rose the voice of Siyyid Husayn amid the clamour and tumult of the people, as he motioned to Mulla Sadiq to hold his peace and to retire. No sooner had he regained the floor of the masjid than the whole company of the assembled worshippers rushed upon him and overwhelmed him with blows. Siyyid Husayn immediately intervened, vigorously dispersed the crowd, and, seizing the hand of Mulla Sadiq, forcibly drew him to his side. "Withhold your hands," he appealed to the multitude; "leave him in my custody. I will take him

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to my home, and will closely investigate the matter. A sudden fit of madness may have caused him to utter these words. I will myself examine him. If I find that his utterances are premeditated and that he himself firmly believes in the things which he has declared, I will, with my own hands, inflict upon him the punishment imposed by the law of Islam."

By this solemn assurance, Mulla Sadiq was delivered from the savage attacks of his assailants. Divested of his aba [1] and turban, deprived of his sandals and staff, bruised and shaken by the injuries he had received, he was entrusted to the care of Siyyid Husayn's attendants, who, as they forced their passage among the crowd, succeeded eventually in conducting him to the home of their master.

[1 Refer to Glossary.]

Mulla Yusuf-i-Ardibili, likewise, was subjected in those days to a persecution fiercer and more determined than the savage onslaught which the people of Yazd had directed against Mulla Sadiq. But for the intervention of Mirza Ahmad and the assistance of his uncle, he would have fallen a victim to the wrath of a ferocious enemy.

When Mulla Sadiq and Mulla Yusuf-i-Ardibili arrived at Kirman, they again had to submit to similar indignities and to suffer similar afflictions at the hands of Haji Mirza Karim Khan and his associates.[1] Haji Siyyid Javad's persistent exertions freed them eventually from the grasp of their persecutors, and enabled them to proceed to Khurasan.

[1 "A bitter struggle broke out between the Muqaddas and Karim Khan who, as it is known, had taken the rank of chief of the Shaykhi sect, after the death of Kazim. The discussion took place in the presence of many people and Karim challenged his opponent to prove the truth of the mission of the Báb. 'If you succeed,' he said to him, 'I will be converted and my pupils with me; but if you fail, I shall have it proclaimed in the bazaars: "Behold the one who tramples under foot the Holy Law of Islam!'" 'I know who you are, Karim,' replied Muqaddas to him. 'Do you not remember your Master Siyyid Kazim and that which he told you: "Dog, do you not wish that I should die that, after me, may appear the absolute truth?" Witness how today, urged on by your passion for riches and for glory, you lie to yourself!' "Begun in this vein, the discussion was bound to be brief. Instantly, the pupils of Karim drew their knives and threw themselves upon him who was insulting their chief. Fortunately, the governor of the city interposed; Muqaddas arrested and brought to his house where he kept him for a while and, when the excitement had subsided, he sent him away by night, escorted for several miles by ten mounted men." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 228-229.)]

Though hunted and harassed by their foes, the Báb's immediate disciples, together with their companions in different parts of Persia, were undeterred by such criminal acts

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from the accomplishment of their task. Unswerving in their purpose and immovable in their convictions, they continued to battle with the dark forces that assailed them every step of their path. By their unstinted devotion and unexampled fortitude, they were able to demonstrate to many of their countrymen the ennobling influence of the Faith they had arisen to champion.

While Vahid [1] was still in Shiraz, Haji Siyyid Javad-i-Karbila'i [2] arrived and was introduced by Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali into the presence of the Báb. In a Tablet which He addressed to Vahid and Haji Siyyid Javad, the Báb extolled the firmness of their faith and stressed the unalterable character of their devotion. The latter had met and known the Báb before the declaration of His Mission, and had been a fervent admirer of those extraordinary traits of character which had distinguished Him ever since His childhood. At a later time, he met Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdad and became the recipient of His special favour. When, a few years afterwards, Bahá'u'lláh was exiled to Adrianople, he, already much advanced in years, returned to Persia, tarried awhile in the province of Iraq, and thence proceeded to Khurasan. His kindly disposition, extreme forbearance, and unaffected simplicity earned him the appellation of the Siyyid-i-Nur.[3]

[1 Title given by the Báb to Siyyid Yahyay-i-Darabi.]

[2 The remarkable circumstances attending the conversion of Haji Siyyid Javad-i-Karbila'i are fully related in the "Kashfu'l-Ghita'" (pp. 70-77), and reference is made to a significant Tablet revealed to him by Bahá'u'lláh (p. 63), in which the importance of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is fully stressed, and the necessity of exercising the utmost caution and moderation in the application and execution of its precepts emphasised. The text of this Tablet is found on pp. 64-70 of the same book. The following passage of the "Dala'il-i-Sab'ih" refers to the conversion of Haji Siyyid Javad: "Aqa Siyyid Javad-i-Karbila'i a dit qu'avant la manifestation, un indien lui avait ecrit le nom de celui qui serait manifeste." ("Le Livre des Sept Preuves," traduction par A. L. M. Nicolas, p. 59.)]

[3 Literally meaning "radiant siyyid."]

Haji Siyyid Javad, one day, while crossing a street in Tihran, suddenly saw the Shah as he was passing on horseback. Undisturbed by the presence of his sovereign, he calmly approached and greeted him. His venerable figure and dignity of bearing pleased the Shah immensely. He acknowledged his salute and invited him to come and see him. Such was the reception accorded him that the courtiers of the Shah were moved with envy. "Does not your Imperial Majesty realise," they protested, "that this Haji

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Siyyid Javad is none other than the man who, even prior to the declaration of the Siyyid-i-Bab, had proclaimed himself a Babi, and had pledged his undying loyalty to his person?" The Shah, perceiving the malice which actuated their accusation, was sorely displeased, and rebuked them for their temerity and low-mindedness. "How strange!" he is reported to have exclaimed; "whoever is distinguished by the uprightness of his conduct and the courtesy of his manners, my people forthwith denounce him as a Babi and regard him as an object worthy of my condemnation!"

Haji Siyyid Javad spent the last days of his life in Kirman and remained until his last hour a staunch supporter of the Faith. He never wavered in his convictions nor relaxed in his unsparing endeavours for the diffusion of the Cause.

Shaykh Sultan-i-Karbila'i, whose ancestors ranked among the leading ulamas of Karbila, and who himself had been a firm supporter and intimate companion of Siyyid Kazim, was also among those who, in those days, had met the Báb in Shiraz. It was he who, at a later time, proceeded to Sulaymaniyyih in search of Bahá'u'lláh, and whose daughter was subsequently given in marriage to Aqay-i-Kalim. When he arrived at Shiraz, he was accompanied by Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi, to whom we have referred in the early pages of this narrative. To him the Báb assigned the task of transcribing, in collaboration with Mulla Abdu'l-Karim, the Tablets which He had lately revealed. Shaykh Sultan, who had been too ill, at the time of his arrival, to meet the Báb, received one night, while still on his sick-bed, a message from his

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Beloved, informing him that at about two hours after sunset He would Himself visit him. That night the Ethiopian servant, who was acting as lantern-bearer to his Master, was instructed to walk in advance at a distance which would keep away the attention of the people from Him, and to extinguish the lantern as soon as he reached his destination.

I have heard Shaykh Sultan himself describe that nocturnal visit: "The Báb, who had bidden me extinguish the lamp in my room ere He arrived, came straight to my bedside. In the midst of the darkness which enveloped us, I was holding fast to the hem of His garment and was imploring Him: 'Fulfil my desire, O Beloved of my heart, and allow me to sacrifice myself for Thee; for no one else except Thee is able to confer upon me this favour.' 'O Shaykh!' the Báb replied, 'I too yearn to immolate Myself upon the altar of sacrifice. It behoves us both to cling to the garment of the Best-Beloved and to seek from Him the joy and glory of martyrdom in His path. Rest assured I will, in your behalf, supplicate the Almighty to enable you to attain His presence. Remember Me on that Day, a Day such as the world has never seen before.' As the hour of parting approached, he placed in my hand a gift which He asked me to expend for myself. I tried to refuse; but He begged me to accept it. Finally I acceded to His wish; whereupon He arose and departed.

"The allusion of the Báb that night to His 'Best-Beloved' excited my wonder and curiosity. In the years that followed I oftentimes believed that the one to whom the Báb had referred was none other than Tahirih. I even imagined Siyyid-i-'Uluvv to be that person. I was sorely perplexed, and knew not how to unravel this mystery. When I reached Karbila and attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, I became firmly convinced that He alone could claim such affection from the Báb, that He, and only He, could be worthy of such adoration."

The second Naw-Ruz after the declaration of the Báb's Mission, which fell on the twenty-first day of the month of Rabi'u'l-Avval, in the year 1262 A.H.,[1] found the Báb still in Shiraz enjoying, under circumstances of comparative tranquillity and ease, the blessings of undisturbed association

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with His family and kindred. Quietly and unceremoniously, He celebrated the festival of Naw-Ruz in His own home, and, in accordance with His invariable custom, bountifully conferred upon both His mother and His wife the marks of His affection and favour. By the wisdom of His counsels and the tenderness of His love, He cheered their hearts and dispelled their apprehensions. He bequeathed to them all His possessions and transferred to their names the title to His property. In a document which He Himself wrote and signed, He directed that His house and its furniture, as well as the rest of His estate, should be regarded as the exclusive property of His mother and His wife; and that upon the death of the former, her share of the property should revert to His wife.

[1 1846 A.D.]

The mother of the Báb failed at first to realise the significance of the Mission proclaimed by her Son. She remained for a time unaware of the magnitude of the forces latent in His Revelation. As she approached the end of her life, however, she was able to perceive the inestimable quality of that Treasure which she had conceived and given to the world. It was Bahá'u'lláh who eventually enabled her to discover the value of that hidden Treasure which had lain for so many years concealed from her eyes. She was living in Iraq, where she hoped to spend the remaining days of her life, when Bahá'u'lláh instructed two of His devoted followers, Haji Siyyid Javad-i-Karbila'i and the wife of Haji Abdu'l-Majid-i-Shirazi, both of whom were already intimately acquainted with her, to instruct her in the principles of the Faith. She acknowledged the truth of the Cause and remained, until the closing years of the thirteenth century A.H.,[1] when she departed this life, fully aware of the bountiful gifts which the Almighty had chosen to confer upon her.

[1 The thirteenth century A.H. ended in October, 1882 A.D.]

The wife of the Báb, unlike His mother, perceived at the earliest dawn of His Revelation the glory and uniqueness of His Mission and felt from the very beginning the intensity of its force. No one except Tahirih, among the women of her generation, surpassed her in the spontaneous character of her devotion nor excelled the fervor of her faith. To her the Báb confided the secret of His future sufferings, and unfolded

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to her eyes the significance of the events that were to transpire in His Day. He bade her not to divulge this secret to His mother and counselled her to be patient and resigned to the will of God. He entrusted her with a special prayer, revealed and written by Himself, the reading of which, He assured her, would remove her difficulties and lighten the burden of her woes. "In the hour of your perplexity," He directed her, "recite this prayer ere you go to sleep. I Myself will appear to you and will banish your anxiety." Faithful to His advice, every time she turned to Him in prayer, the light of His unfailing guidance illumined her path and resolved her problems.[1]

[1 "The Báb's widow survived till A.H. 1300, only six years ago. She was the sister of my friend's maternal grandfather. The above particulars are derived from an old lady of the same family, so that there is every reason to regard them as reliable." (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1889, p. 993.)]

After the Báb had settled the affairs of His household and provided for the future maintenance of both His mother and His wife, He transferred His residence from His own home to that of Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali. There He awaited the approaching hour of His sufferings. He knew that the afflictions which were in store for Him could no longer be delayed, that He was soon to be caught in a whirlwind of adversity which would carry Him swiftly to the field of martyrdom, the crowning object of His life. He bade those of His disciples who had settled in Shiraz, among whom were Mulla Abdu'l-Karim and Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi, to proceed to Isfahan and there await His further instructions. Siyyid Husayn-i-Yazdi,

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one of the Letters of the Living, who had recently arrived at Shiraz, was likewise instructed to proceed to Isfahan and to join the company of his fellow-disciples in that city.

Meanwhile Husayn Khan, the governor of Fars, was bending every effort to involve the Báb in fresh embarrassments and to degrade Him still further in the eyes of the public. The smouldering fire of his hostility was fanned to flame by the knowledge that the Báb was allowed to pursue unmolested the course of His activities, that He was still able to associate with certain of His companions, and that He continued to enjoy the benefits of unrestrained fellowship with His family and kindred.[1] By the aid of his secret agents, he succeeded in obtaining accurate information regarding

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the character and influence of the Movement which the Báb had initiated. He had secretly watched His movements, ascertained the degree of enthusiasm which He had aroused, and scrutinised the motives, the conduct, and the number of those who had embraced His Cause.

[1 "Meanwhile the turmoil, the intense discussions, the scandal continued in Shiraz, so much so that, annoyed by all this uproar and fearful of the outcome, Haji Mirza Aqasi ordered Husayn Khan Nizamu'd-Dawlih to be done with the Reformer and to have him killed immediately and secretly." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 235.)]

One night there came to Husayn Khan the chief of his emissaries with the report that the number of those who were crowding to see the Báb had assumed such proportions as to necessitate immediate action on the part of those whose function it was to guard the security of the city. "The eager crowd that gathers every night to visit the Báb," he remarked, "surpasses in number the multitude of people that throngs every day before the gates of the seat of your government. Among them are to be seen men celebrated alike for their exalted rank and extensive learning.[1] Such are the tact and lavish generosity which his maternal uncle displays in his attitude towards the officials of your government that no one among your subordinates is inclined to acquaint you with the reality of the situation. If you would permit me, I will, with the aid of a number of your attendants, surprise the Báb at the hour of midnight and will deliver, handcuffed, into your hands certain of his associates who will enlighten you concerning his activities, and who will confirm the truth of my statements." Husayn Khan refused to comply with his wish. "I can tell better than

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you," was his answer, "what the interests of the State require. Watch me from a distance; I shall know how to deal with him."

[1 "Extremely irritated, discontented and worried, the Mullas of Fars, unable to foresee the heights that popular indignation against them might reach were not the only ones to be perplexed. The authorities of the town and of the province understood only too well that the people, who were under their care but who were never very much under their control, this time were quite independent of it. The men of Shiraz, superficial, mockers, noisome, quarrelsome, rebellious, insolent in the extreme, perfectly indifferent toward the Qajar dynasty, were never easy to govern and their administrators often passed wearisome days. What then would be the position of these administrators if the real chief of the city and of the country, the arbiter of their thoughts, their idol, were to be a young man who, undaunted, with no ties whatsoever, and no love of personal gain, made a pedestal of his independence and took advantage of it by impudently and publicly attacking every day all that which, until now, had been considered as strong and respected in the city? "In truth, the court, the government and its policies had not as yet been the object of any of the violent denunciations of the Innovator, but, in view of the fact that he was so rigid in his habits, so unrelenting against intellectual dishonesty and the plundering practices of the clergy, it was unlikely that he would approve the same rapaciousness so flagrant in the public officials. One could well believe that the day when they would fall under his scrutiny, he would not fail to see and violently condemn the abuses which could no longer be concealed." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 122-123.)]

That very moment, the governor summoned Abdu'l-Hamid Khan, the chief constable of the city. "Proceed immediately," he commanded him, "to the house of Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali. Quietly and unobserved, scale the wall and ascend to the roof, and from there suddenly enter his home. Arrest the Siyyid-i-Báb immediately, and conduct him to this place together with any of the visitors who may be present with him at that time. Confiscate whatever books and documents you are able to find in that house. As to Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, it is my intention to impose upon him, the following day, the penalty for having failed to redeem his promise. I swear by the imperial diadem of Muhammad Shah that this very night I shall have the Siyyid-i-Báb executed together with his wretched companions. Their ignominious death will quench the flame they have kindled, and will awaken every would-be follower of that creed to the danger that awaits every disturber of the peace of this realm. By this act I shall have extirpated a heresy the continuance of which constitutes the gravest menace to the interests of the State."

Abdu'l-Hamid Khan retired to execute his task. He, together with his assistants, broke into the house of Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali [1] and found the Báb in the company of His maternal uncle and a certain Siyyid Kazim-i-Zanjani, who was later martyred in Mazindaran, and whose brother, Siyyid Murtada, was one of the Seven Martyrs of Tihran. He immediately arrested them, collected whatever documents he could find, ordered Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali to remain in his house, and conducted the rest to the seat of government. The Báb, undaunted and self-possessed, was heard to repeat this verse of the Qur'an: "That with which they are threatened is for the morning. Is not the morning near?" No sooner had the chief constable reached the marketplace than he discovered, to his amazement, that the people of the city were fleeing from every side in consternation, as if overtaken by an appalling calamity. He was struck

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with horror when he witnessed the long train of coffins being hurriedly transported through the streets, each followed by a procession of men and women loudly uttering shrieks of agony and pain. This sudden tumult, the lamentations, the affrighted countenances, the imprecations of the multitude distressed and bewildered him. He enquired as to the reason. "This very night," he was told, "a plague [2] of exceptional virulence has broken out. We are smitten by its devastating power. Already since the hour of midnight it has extinguished the lives of over a hundred people. Alarm and despair reign in every house. The people are abandoning their homes, and in their plight are invoking the aid of the Almighty."[3]

[1 September 23,1845 A.D. See "Tarikh-i-Jadid," p. 204.]

[2 Outbreak of cholera.]

[3 The Báb refers to this incident in the "Dala'il-i-Sab'ih" in the following terms: "Recall the first days of the Manifestation, how many people died of cholera! That was one of the wonders of the Manifestation yet no one understood it. During four years the scourge raged among the Muhammadan Shiites without anyone grasping its true significance." ("Le Livre des Sept Preuves," translated by A. L. M. Nicolas, pp. 61-62.)]

Abdu'l-Hamid Khan, terrified by this dreadful intelligence, ran to the home of Husayn Khan. An old man who guarded his house and was acting as door-keeper informed him that the house of his master was deserted, that the ravages of the pestilence had devastated his home and afflicted the members of his household. "Two of his Ethiopian maids," he was told, "and a man-servant have already fallen victims to this scourge, and members of his own family are now dangerously ill. In his despair, my master has abandoned his home and, leaving the dead unburied, has fled with the rest of his family to the Bagh-i-Takht."[1]

[1 A garden in the outskirts of Shiraz.]

Abdu'l-Hamid Khan decided to conduct the Báb to his own home and keep Him in his custody pending instructions from the governor. As he was approaching his house, he was struck by the sound of weeping and wailing of the members of his household. His son had been attacked by the plague and was hovering on the brink of death. In his despair, he threw himself at the feet of the Báb and tearfully implored Him to save the life of his son. He begged Him to forgive his past transgressions and misdeeds. "I adjure you," he entreated the Báb as he clung to the hem of His garment, "by Him who has elevated you to this exalted

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position, to intercede in my behalf and to offer a prayer for the recovery of my son. Suffer not that he, in the prime of youth, be taken away from me. Punish him not for the guilt which his father has committed. I repent of what I have done, and at this moment resign my post. I solemnly pledge my word that never again will I accept such a position even though I perish of hunger."

The Báb, who was in the act of performing His ablutions and was preparing to offer the prayer of dawn, directed him to take some of the water with which He was washing His face to his son and request him to drink it. This He said would save his life.

No sooner had Abdu'l-Hamid Khan witnessed the signs of the recovery of his son than he wrote a letter to the governor in which he acquainted him with the whole situation and begged him to cease his attacks on the Báb. "Have pity on yourself," he wrote him, "as well as on those whom Providence has committed to your care. Should the fury of this plague continue its fatal course, no one in this city, I fear, will by the end of this day have survived the horror of its attack." Husayn Khan replied that the Báb should be immediately released and given freedom to go wherever He might please.[1]

[1 According to "A Traveller's Narrative" (p. 11), "Husayn Khan released the Báb on condition of his quitting the city."]

As soon as an account of these happenings reached Tihran and was brought to the attention of the Shah, an imperial edict dismissing Husayn Khan from office was issued and sent to Shiraz. From the day of his dismissal, that shameless tyrant fell a victim to countless misfortunes, and was in the end unable to earn even his daily bread. No one seemed willing or able to save him from his evil plight. When, at a later time, Bahá'u'lláh had been banished to Baghdad, Husayn Khan sent Him a letter in which he expressed repentance and promised to atone for his past misdeeds on condition that he should regain his former position. Bahá'u'lláh refused to answer him. Sunk in misery and shame, he languished until his death.

The Báb, who was staying at the home of Abdu'l-Hamid Khan, sent Siyyid Kazim to request Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali to

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come and see Him. He informed His uncle of His intended departure from Shiraz, entrusted both His mother and His wife to his care, and charged him to convey to each the expression of His affection and the assurance of God's unfailing assistance. "Wherever they may be," He told His uncle, as He bade him farewell, "God's all-encompassing love and protection will surround them. I will again meet you amid the mountains of Adhirbayjan, from whence I will send you forth to obtain the crown of martyrdom. I Myself will follow you, together with one of My loyal disciples, and will join you in the realm of eternity."

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CHAPTER X
THE BAB'S SOJOURN IN ISFAHAN

THE summer of the year 1262 A.H.[1] was drawing to a close when the Báb bade His last farewell to His native city of Shiraz, and proceeded to Isfahan. Siyyid Kazim-i-Zanjani accompanied Him on that journey. As He approached the outskirts of the city, He wrote a letter to the governor of the province, Manuchihr Khan, the Mu'tamidu'd-Dawlih,[2] in which He requested him to signify his wish as to the place where He could dwell. The letter, which He entrusted to Siyyid Kazim, was expressive of such courtesy and revealed such exquisite penmanship that the Mu'tamid was moved to instruct the Sultanu'l-'Ulama, the Imam-Jum'ih of Isfahan,'[3] the foremost ecclesiastical authority of that province, to receive the Báb in his own home and to accord Him a kindly and generous

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reception. In addition to his message, the governor sent the Imam-Jum'ih the letter he had received from the Báb. The Sultanu'l-'Ulama accordingly bade his own brother, whose savage cruelty in later years earned him the appellation of

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Raqsha'[3] from Bahá'u'lláh, to proceed with a number of his favourite companions to meet and escort the expected Visitor to the gate of the city. As the Báb approached, the Imam-Jum'ih went out to welcome Him in person, and conducted Him ceremoniously to his house.

[1 1846 A.D.]

[2 "He [Manuchihr Khan] was a man of energy and courage and in 1841 completely crushed the Bakhtiyari tribes, which had risen in rebellion. His vigorous though severe administration secured to the people of Isfahan some little justice." (C. R. Markham's "A General Sketch of the History of Persia," p. 487.)]

[3 According to Mirza Abu'l-Fadl (manuscript, p. 66), the name of the Imam-Jum'ih of Isfahan was Mir Siyyid Muhammad, and his title "Sultanu'l-'Ulama'." "The office of Sadru's-Sudur, or chief priest of Safavi times, was abolished by Nadir Shah, and the Imam-Jum'ih of Isfahan is now the principal ecclesiastical dignitary of Persia." (C. R. Markham's "A General Sketch of the History of Persia," p. 365.)]

[3 Meaning female serpent.]

Such were the honours accorded to the Báb in those days that when, on a certain Friday, He was returning from the public bath to the house, a multitude of people were seen eagerly clamouring for the water which He had used for His ablutions. His fervent admirers firmly believed in its unfailing virtue and power to heal their sicknesses and ailments. The Imam-Jum'ih himself had, from the very first night, become so enamoured with Him who was the object of such devotion, that, assuming the functions of an attendant, he undertook to minister to the needs and wants of his beloved Guest. Seizing the ewer from the hand of the chief steward and utterly ignoring the customary dignity of his rank, he proceeded to pour out the water over the hands of the Báb.

One night, after supper, the Imam-Jum'ih, whose curiosity had been excited by the extraordinary traits of character which his youthful Guest had revealed, ventured to request Him to reveal a commentary on the Surih of Va'l-'Asr.[1] His request was readily granted. Calling for pen and paper, the Báb, with astonishing rapidity and without the least premeditation, began to reveal, in the presence of His host, a most illuminating interpretation of the aforementioned Surih. It was nearing midnight when the Báb found Himself engaged in the exposition of the manifold implications involved in the first letter of that Surih. That letter, the letter 'vav' upon which Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa'i had already laid such emphasis in his writings, symbolised for the Báb the advent of a new cycle of Divine Revelation, and has since been alluded to by Bahá'u'lláh in the "Kitáb-i-Aqdas" in such passages as "the mastery of the Great Reversal" and "the Sign of the Sovereign." The Báb soon after began to chant, in the presence of His host and his companions, the homily with which He had prefaced His commentary on the Surih. Those words of power confounded His hearers with wonder.

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They seemed as if bewitched by the magic of His voice. Instinctively they started to their feet and, together with the Imam-Jum'ih, reverently kissed the hem of His garment. Mulla Muhammad-Taqiy-i-Harati, an eminent mujtahid, broke out into a sudden expression of exultation and praise. "Peerless and unique," he exclaimed, "as are the words which have streamed from this pen, to be able to reveal, within so short a time and in so legible a writing, so great a number of verses as to equal a fourth, nay a third, of the Qur'an, is in itself an achievement such as no mortal, without the intervention of God, could hope to perform. Neither the cleaving of the moon nor the quickening of the pebbles of the sea can compare with so mighty an act."

[1 Qur'an, 103.]

As the Báb's fame was being gradually diffused over the entire city of Isfahan, an unceasing stream of visitors flowed from every quarter to the house of the Imam-Jum'ih: a few to satisfy their curiosity, others to obtain a deeper understanding of the fundamental verities of His Faith, and still others to seek the remedy for their ills and sufferings. The Mu'tamid himself came one day to visit the Báb and, while seated in the midst of an assemblage of the most brilliant and accomplished divines of Isfahan, requested Him to expound the nature and demonstrate the validity of the Nubuvvat-i-Khassih.[1] He had previously, in that same gathering, called upon those who were present to adduce such proofs and evidences in support of this fundamental article of their Faith as would constitute an unanswerable testimony for those who were inclined to repudiate its truth. No one, however, seemed capable of responding to his invitation. "Which do you prefer," asked the Báb, "a verbal or a written answer to your question?" "A written reply," he answered, "not only would please those who are present at this meeting, but would edify and instruct both the present and future generations."

[1 Muhammad's "Specific Mission."]

The Báb instantly took up His pen and began to write. In less than two hours, He had filled about fifty pages with a most refreshing and circumstantial enquiry into the origin, the character, and the pervasive influence of Islam. The originality of His dissertation, the vigour and vividness of

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its style, the accuracy of its minutest details, invested His treatment of that noble theme with an excellence which no one among those who were present on that occasion could have failed to perceive. With masterly insight, He linked the central idea in the concluding passages of this exposition with the advent of the promised Qa'im and the expected "Return" of the Imam Husayn.[1] He argued with such force

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and courage that those who heard Him recite its verses were astounded by the magnitude of His revelation. No one dared to insinuate the slightest objection--much less, openly to challenge His statements. The Mu'tamid could not help giving vent to his enthusiasm and joy. "Hear me!" he exclaimed. "Members of this revered assembly, I take you as my witnesses. Never until this day have I in my heart been firmly convinced of the truth of Islam. I can henceforth, thanks to this exposition penned by this Youth, declare myself a firm believer in the Faith proclaimed by the Apostle of God. I solemnly testify to my belief in the reality of the superhuman power with which this Youth is endowed, a power which no amount of learning can ever impart." With these words he brought the meeting to an end.

[1 Reference to His own Mission and to Bahá'u'lláh's subsequent Revelation.]

The growing popularity of the Báb aroused the resentment of the ecclesiastical authorities of Isfahan, who viewed with concern and envy the ascendancy which an unlearned Youth was slowly acquiring over the thoughts and consciences of their followers. They firmly believed that unless they rose to stem the tide of popular enthusiasm, the very foundations of their existence would be undermined. A few of the more sagacious among them thought it wise to abstain from acts of direct hostility to either the person or the teachings of the Báb, as such action, they felt, would serve only to enhance His prestige and consolidate His position. The mischief-makers, however, were busily engaged in disseminating the wildest reports concerning the character and claims of the Báb. These reports soon reached Tihran and were brought to the attention of Haji Mirza Aqasi, the Grand Vazir of Muhammad Shah. This haughty and overbearing minister viewed with apprehension the possibility that his sovereign might one day feel inclined to befriend the Báb, an inclination which he felt sure would precipitate his own downfall. The Haji was, moreover, apprehensive lest the Mu'tamid, who enjoyed the confidence of the Shah, should succeed in arranging an interview between the sovereign and the Báb. He was well aware that should such an interview take place, the impressionable and tender-hearted Muhammad Shah would be completely won over by the attractiveness and novelty of that creed. Spurred on by

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such reflections, he addressed a strongly worded communication to the Imam-Jum'ih, in which he upbraided him for his grave neglect of the obligation imposed upon him to safeguard the interests of Islam. "We have expected you," Haji Mirza Aqasi wrote him, "to resist with all your power every cause which conflicts with the best interests of the government and people of this land. You seem instead to have befriended, nay to have glorified, the author of this obscure and contemptible movement." He likewise wrote a number of encouraging letters to the ulamas of Isfahan, whom he had previously ignored but upon whom he now lavished his special favours. The Imam-Jum'ih, while refusing to alter his respectful attitude towards his Guest, was induced by the tone of the message he had received from the Grand Vazir, to instruct his associates to devise such means as would tend to lessen the ever-increasing number of visitors who thronged each day to the presence of the Báb. Muhammad-Mihdi, surnamed the Safihu'l-'Ulama', son of the late Haji Kalbasi, in his desire to gratify the wish and to earn the esteem of Haji Mirza Aqasi, began to calumniate the Báb from the pulpit in the most unseemly language.

As soon as the Mu'tamid was informed of these developments, he sent a message to the Imam-Jum'ih in which he reminded him of the visit he as governor had paid to the Báb, and extended to him as well as to his Guest an invitation to his home. The Mu'tamid invited Haji Siyyid Asadu'llah, son of the late Haji Siyyid Muhammad Baqir-i-Rashti, Haji Muhammad-Ja'far-i-Abadiyi, Muhammad-Mihdi, Mirza Hasan-i-Nuri, and a few others to be present at that meeting. Haji Siyyid Asadu'llah refused the invitation and endeavoured to dissuade those who had been invited, from participating in that gathering. "I have sought to excuse myself," he informed them, "and I would most certainly urge you to do the same. I regard it as most unwise of you to meet the Siyyid-i-Báb face to face. He will, no doubt, reassert his claim and will, in support of his argument, adduce whatever proof you may desire him to give, and, without the least hesitation, will reveal as a testimony to the truth he bears, verses of such a number as would equal half the Qur'an. In the end he will challenge you in these words: 'Produce likewise,

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if ye are men of truth.' We can in no wise successfully resist him. If we disdain to answer him, our impotence will have been exposed. If we, on the other hand, submit to his claim, we shall not only be forfeiting our own reputation, our own prerogatives and rights, but will have committed

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ourselves to acknowledge any further claims that he may feel inclined to make in the future."

Haji Muhammad-Ja'far heeded this counsel and refused to accept the invitation of the governor. Muhammad Mihdi, Mirza Hasan-i-Nuri, and a few others who disdained such advice, presented themselves at the appointed hour at the home of the Mu'tamid. At the invitation of the host, Mirza Hasan, a noted Platonist, requested the Báb to elucidate certain abstruse philosophical doctrines connected with the Arshiyyih of Mulla Sadra,[1] the meaning of which only a few had been able to unravel.[2] In simple and unconventional language, the Báb replied to each of his questions. Mirza Hasan, though unable to apprehend the meaning of the answers which he had received, realised how inferior was the learning of the so-called exponents of the Platonic and the Aristotelian schools of thought of his day to the knowledge displayed by that Youth. Muhammad Mihdi ventured in his turn to question the Báb regarding certain aspects of the Islamic law. Dissatisfied with the explanation he received, he began to contend idly with the Báb. He was soon silenced by the Mu'tamid, who, cutting short his conversation, turned to an attendant and, bidding him light the lantern, gave the order that Muhammad Mihdi be immediately conducted to his home. The Mu'tamid subsequently

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confided his apprehensions to the Imam-Jum'ih. "I fear the machinations of the enemies of the Siyyid-i-Bab," he told him. "The Shah has summoned Him to Tihran. I am commanded to arrange for His departure. I deem it more advisable for Him to stay in my home until such time as He can leave this city." The Imam-Jum'ih acceded to his request and returned alone to his house.

[1 See Note K, "A Traveller's Narrative," and Gobineau, pp. 65-73.]

[2 "Muhammad having grown silent, Mirza Muhammad-Hasan, who followed the philosophical doctrine of Mulla Sadra, questioned the Báb in order to induce him to explain three miracles which it would suffice to relate in order to enlighten the reader. The first one was the Tiyyu'l-Ard, or the immediate transfer of a human being from one part of the world to another very distant point. The Shiites are convinced that the third Imam, Javad, had adopted this easy and economical way of traveling. For example, he betook himself, in the twinkling of an eye, from Medina in Arabia to Tus in Khurasan. "The second miracle was the multiple and simultaneous presence of the same person in many different places. Ali was, at the same moment, host to sixty different people. "The third miracle was a problem of cosmography which I submit to our astronomers who will certainly relish it. It is said that, during the reign of a tyrant, the heavens revolve rapidly, while during that of an Imam they revolve slowly. First, how could the heavens have two movements and then, what were they doing during the reign of the Umayyads and the Abbassids? It was the solution of these insanities that they proposed to the Báb! "I shall not dwell on them any longer but I believe I must here make clear the mentality of the learned Moslems of Persia. And if one should consider that, for nearly one thousand years, the science of Iran rests upon such trash, that men exhaust themselves in continuous research upon such matters, one will easily understand the emptiness and arrogance of all these minds. "Be that as it may, the reunion was interrupted by the announcement of dinner of which each one partook, after which they returned to their respective homes." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 239-240.)]

The Báb had tarried forty days at the residence of the Imam-Jum'ih. While He was still there, a certain Mulla Muhammad-Taqiy-i-Harati, who was privileged to meet the Báb every day, undertook, with His consent, to translate one of His works, entitled Risaliy-i-Furu'-i-'Adliyyih, from the original Arabic into Persian. The service he thereby rendered to the Persian believers was marred, however, by his subsequent behaviour. Fear suddenly seized him, and he was induced eventually to sever his connection with his fellow-believers.

Ere the Báb had transferred His residence to the house of the Mu'tamid, Mirza Ibrahim, father of the Sultanu'sh-Shuhada' and elder brother of Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Nahri, to whom we have already referred, invited the Báb to his home one night. Mirza Ibrahim was a friend of the Imam-Jum'ih, was intimately associated with him, and controlled the management of all his affairs. The banquet which was spread for the Báb that night was one of unsurpassed magnificence. It was commonly observed that neither the officials nor the notables of the city had offered a feast of such magnitude and splendour. The Sultanu'sh-Shuhada' and his brother, the Mahbubu'sh-Shuhada', who were lads of nine and eleven, respectively, served at that banquet and received special attention from the Báb. That night, during dinner, Mirza Ibrahim turned to his Guest and said: "My brother, Mirza Muhammad-'Ali, has no child. I beg You to intercede in his behalf and to grant his heart's desire." The Báb took a portion of the food with which He had been served, placed it with His own hands on a platter, and handed it to His host, asking him to take it to Mirza Muhammad-'Ali and his wife. "Let them both partake of this," He said; "their wish will be fulfilled." By virtue of that portion which the Báb had chosen to bestow upon her, the wife of Mirza

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Muhammad-'Ali conceived and in due time gave birth to a girl, who eventually was joined in wedlock with the Most Great Branch,[1] a union that came to be regarded as the consummation of the hopes entertained by her parents.

[1 Reference to Munirih Khanum's marriage with Abdu'l-Bahá.]

The high honours accorded to the Báb served further to inflame the hostility of the ulamas of Isfahan. With feelings of dismay, they beheld on every side evidences of His all-pervasive influence invading the stronghold of orthodoxy and subverting their foundations. They summoned a gathering, at which they issued a written document, signed and sealed by all the ecclesiastical leaders of the city, condemning the Báb to death.[1] They all concurred in this condemnation with the exception of Haji Siyyid Asadu'llah and Haji Muhammad-Ja'far-i-Abadiyi, both of whom refused to associate themselves with the contents of so glaringly abusive a document. The Imam-Jum'ih, though declining to endorse the death-warrant of the Báb, was induced, by reason of his extreme cowardice and ambition, to add to that document, in his own handwriting, the following testimony: "I testify that in the course of my association with this youth I have been unable to discover any act that would in any way betray his repudiation of the doctrines of Islam. On the contrary, I have known him as a pious and loyal observer of its precepts. The extravagance of his claims, however, and his disdainful contempt for the things of the world, incline me to believe that he is devoid of reason and judgment."

[1 According to Mirza Abu'l-Fadl, about seventy eminent ulamas and notables

had set their seal to a document which condemned the Báb as a heretic, and

which declared Him to be deserving of the penalty of death.]

No sooner had the Mu'tamid been informed of the condemnation pronounced by the ulamas of Isfahan than he determined, by a plan which he himself conceived, to nullify the effects of that cruel verdict. He issued immediate instructions that towards the hour of sunset the Báb, escorted by five hundred horsemen of the governor's own mounted body-guard, should leave the gate of the city and proceed in the direction of Tihran. Imperative orders had been given that at the completion of each farsang [1] one hundred of this mounted escort should return directly to Isfahan.

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To the chief of the last remaining contingent, a man in whom he placed implicit confidence, the Mu'tamid confidentially intimated his desire that at every maydan [2] twenty of the [2] Maydan: A subdivision of a farsakh. A square or open place.

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remaining hundred should likewise be ordered by him to return to the city. Of the twenty remaining horsemen, the Mu'tamid directed that ten should be despatched to Ardistan for the purpose of collecting the taxes levied by the government, and that the rest, all of whom should be of his tried and most reliable men, should, by an unfrequented route, bring the Báb back in disguise to Isfahan. [2] They were, moreover, instructed so to regulate their march that before dawn of the ensuing day the Báb should have arrived at Isfahan and should have been delivered into his custody. This plan was immediately taken in hand and duly executed. At an unsuspected hour the Báb re-entered the city, was directly conducted to the private residence of the Mu'tamid, known by the name of Imarat-i-Khurshid, [3] and was introduced, through a side entrance reserved for the Mu'tamid himself, into his private apartments. The governor waited in person on the Báb, served His meals, and provided whatever was required for His comfort and safety.[4]

[1 Refer to Glossary.]

[2 According to "A Traveller's Narrative" (p. 13), the Mu'tamid gave secret orders that when the Báb reached Murchih-Khar (the second stage out from Isfahan on the north road, distant about 35 miles therefrom), He should return to Isfahan.]

[3 "Thus this room (in which I find myself) which has neither doors nor definite limits, is today the highest of the dwellings of Paradise, for the Tree of Truth lives herein. It would seem that all the atoms of the room, all sing in one voice, 'In truth, I am God! There is no other God beside Me, the Lord of all things.' And they sing above all the rooms of the earth, even above those adorned with mirrors of gold. If, however, the Tree of Truth abides in one of these ornamented rooms, then the atoms of their mirrors sing that song as did and do the atoms of the mirrors of the Palace Sadri, for in the days of Sad (Isfahan) he abided therein." ("Le Bayan Persan," vol. 1, p. 128.])

[4 According to "A Traveller's Narrative," p. 13, the Báb remained four months in that house.]

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Meanwhile the wildest conjectures obtained currency in the city regarding the journey of the Báb to Tihran, the sufferings which He was made to endure on His way to the capital, the verdict which had been pronounced against Him, and the penalty which He had suffered. These rumours greatly distressed the believers who were residing in Isfahan. The Mu'tamid, who was well aware of their grief and anxiety, interceded with the Báb in their behalf and begged to be allowed to introduce them into His presence. The Báb addressed a few words in His own handwriting to Mulla Abdu'l-Karim-i-Qazvini, who had taken up his quarters in the madrisih of Nim-Avard, and instructed the Mu'tamid to send it to him by a trusted messenger. An hour later, Mulla Abdu'l-Karim was ushered into the presence of the Báb. Of his arrival no one except the Mu'tamid was informed. He received from his Master some of His writings, and was instructed to transcribe them in collaboration with Siyyid Husayn-i-Yazdi and Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi. To these he soon returned, bearing the welcome news of the Báb's well-being and safety. Of all the believers residing in Isfahan, these three alone were allowed to see Him.

One day, while seated with the Báb in his private garden within the courtyard of his house, the Mu'tamid, taking his Guest into his confidence, addressed Him in these words: "The almighty Giver has endowed me with great riches.[1] I know not how best to use them. Now that I have, by the aid of God, been led to recognize this Revelation, it is my ardent desire to consecrate all my possessions to the furtherance of its interests and the spread of its fame. It is my intention to proceed, by Your leave, to Tihran, and to do my best to win to this Cause Muhammad Shah, whose confidence in me is firm and unshaken. I am certain that he will eagerly embrace it, and will arise to promote it far and wide. I will also endeavour to induce the Shah to dismiss the profligate Haji Mirza Aqasi, the folly of whose administration has well-nigh brought this land to the verge of ruin. Next, I will strive to obtain for You the hand of one of the

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sisters of the Shah, and will myself undertake the preparation of Your nuptials. Finally, I hope to be enabled to incline the hearts of the rulers and kings of the earth to this most wondrous Cause and to extirpate every lingering trace of that corrupt ecclesiastical hierarchy that has stained the fair name of Islam." "May God requite you for your noble intentions," the Báb replied. "So lofty a purpose is to Me even more precious than the act itself. Your days and Mine are numbered, however; they are too short to enable Me to witness, and allow you to achieve, the realisation of your hopes. Not by the means which you fondly imagine will an almighty Providence accomplish the triumph of His Faith. Through the poor and lowly of this land, by the blood which these shall have shed in His path, will the omnipotent Sovereign ensure the preservation and consolidate the foundation of His Cause. That same God will, in the world to come, place upon your head the crown of immortal glory, and will shower upon you His inestimable blessings. Of the span of your earthly life there remain only three months and nine days, after which you shall, with faith and certitude, hasten to your eternal abode." The Mu'tamid greatly rejoiced at these words. Resigned to the will of God, he prepared himself for the departure which the words of the Báb had so clearly foreshadowed. He wrote his testament, settled his private affairs, and bequeathed whatever he possessed to the Báb. Immediately after his death, however, his nephew, the rapacious Gurgin Khan, discovered and destroyed his will, seized his property, and contemptuously ignored his wishes.

[1 "On the fourth of March, 1847, Monsieur de Bonniere wrote to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of France: 'Mu'tamidu'd-Dawlih, governor of Isfahan, has just died leaving a fortune appraised at forty million francs.'" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 242, note 192.)]

As the days of his earthly life were drawing to a close, the Mu'tamid increasingly sought the presence of the Báb, and, in his hours of intimate fellowship with Him, obtained a deeper realisation of the spirit which animated His Faith. "As the hour of my departure approaches," he one day told the Báb, "I feel an undefinable joy pervading my soul. But I am apprehensive for You, I tremble at the thought of being compelled to leave You to the mercy of so ruthless a successor as Gurgin Khan. He will, no doubt, discover Your presence in this home, and will, I fear, grievously ill-treat You." "Fear not," remonstrated the Báb; "I have

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committed Myself into the hands of God. My trust is in Him. Such is the power which He has bestowed upon Me that if it be My wish, I can convert these very stones into gems of inestimable value, and can instil into the heart of the most wicked criminal the loftiest conceptions of uprightness and duty. Of My own will have I chosen to be afflicted by My enemies, 'that God might accomplish the thing destined to be done.'"[1] As those precious hours flew by, a sense of overpowering devotion, of increased consciousness of nearness to God, filled the heart of the Mu'tamid. In his eyes the world's pomp and pageantry melted away into insignificance when brought face to face with the eternal realities enshrined in the Revelation of the Báb. His vision of its glories, its infinite potentialities, its incalculable blessings grew in vividness as he increasingly realised the vanity of earthly ambition and the limitations of human endeavour. He continued to ponder these thoughts in his heart, until the time when a slight attack of fever, which lasted but one night, suddenly terminated his life. Serene and confident, he winged his flight to the Great Beyond.[2]

[1 Qur'an, 8:42.]

[2 He died, according to E. G. Browne ("A Traveller's Narrative,' Note L, p. 227), in the month of Rabi'u'l-Avval of the year 1263 A.H. (Feb.-March, 1847 A.D.).]

As the life of the Mu'tamid was approaching its end, the Báb summoned to His presence Siyyid Husayn-i-Yazdi and Mulla Abdu'l-Karim, acquainted them with the nature of His prediction to His host, and bade them tell the believers who had gathered in the city, to scatter throughout Kashan, Qum, and Tihran, and await whatever Providence, in His wisdom, might choose to decree.

A few days after the death of the Mu'tamid, a certain person who was aware of the design which he had conceived and carried out for the protection of the Báb, informed his successor, Gurgin Khan, [1] of the actual residence of the Báb in the Imarat-i-Khurshid, and described to him the honours which his predecessor had lavished upon his Guest in the privacy of his own home. On the receipt of this unexpected intelligence, Gurgin Khan despatched his messenger to Tihran and instructed him to deliver in person the following

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message to Muhammad Shah: "Four months ago it was generally believed in Isfahan that, in pursuance of your Majesty's imperial summons, the Mu'tamidu'd-Dawlih, my predecessor, had sent the Siyyid-i-Báb to the seat of your Majesty's government. It has now been disclosed that this same siyyid is actually occupying the Imarat-i-Khurshid, the private residence of the Mu'tamidu'd-Dawlih. It has been ascertained that my predecessor himself extended the hospitality of his home to the Siyyid-i-Báb and sedulously guarded that secret from both the people and the officials of this city. Whatever it pleases your Majesty to decree, I unhesitatingly pledge myself to perform."

[1 According to "A Traveller's Narrative," p. 13, he was the nephew of the Mu'tamid.]

The Shah, who was firmly convinced of the loyalty of the Mu'tamid, realised, when he received this message, that the late governor's sincere intention had been to await a favourable occasion when he could arrange a meeting between him and the Báb, and that his sudden death had interfered with the execution of that plan. He issued an imperial mandate summoning the Báb to the capital. In his written message to Gurgin Khan, the Shah commanded him to send the Báb in disguise, in the company of a mounted escort [1] headed by Muhammad Big-i-Chaparchi,[2] of the sect of the Aliyu'llahi, to Tihran; to exercise the utmost consideration towards Him in the course of His journey, and strictly to maintain the secrecy of His departure.[3]

[1 According to "A Traveller's Narrative," p. 14, the members of the escort were Nusayri horsemen. See note 1, p. 14.]

[2 Chaparchi means "courier."]

[3 "The Shah, whimsical and fickle, forgetting that he had, a short time before, ordered the murder of the Reformer, felt the desire of seeing, at last, the man who aroused such universal interest; he therefore gave the order to Gurgin Khan to send the Báb to him in Tihran." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 242.)]

Gurgin Khan went immediately to the Báb and delivered into His hands the written mandate of the sovereign. He then summoned Muhammad Big, conveyed to him the behests of Muhammad Shah, and ordered him to undertake immediate preparations for the journey. "Beware," he warned him, "lest anyone discover his identity or suspect the nature of your mission. No one but you, not even the members of his escort, should be allowed to recognize him. Should anyone question you concerning him, say that he is

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a merchant whom we have been instructed to conduct to the capital and of whose identity we are completely ignorant." Soon after midnight, the Báb, in accordance with those instructions, set out from the city and proceeded in the direction of Tihran.

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CHAPTER XI
THE BAB'S STAY IN KASHAN

ON THE eve of the Báb's arrival at Kashan, Haji Mirza Jani, surnamed Parpa, a noted resident of that city, dreamed that he was standing at a late hour in the afternoon at the gate of Attar, one of the gates of the city, when his eyes suddenly beheld the Báb on horseback wearing, instead of His customary turban, the kulah [1] usually worn by the merchants of Persia. Before Him, as well as behind Him, marched a number of horsemen into whose custody He seemed to have been delivered. As they approached the gate, the Báb saluted him and said: "Haji Mirza Jani, We are to be your Guest for three nights. Prepare yourself to receive Us."

[1 See Glossary.]

When he awoke, the vividness of his dream convinced him of the reality of his vision. This unexpected apparition constituted in his eyes a providential warning which he felt it his duty to heed and observe. He accordingly set out to prepare his house for the reception of the Visitor, and to provide whatever seemed necessary for His comfort. As soon as he had completed the preliminary arrangements for the banquet which he had decided to offer the Báb that night, Haji Mirza Jani proceeded to the gate of Attar, and there waited for the signs of the Báb's expected arrival. At the appointed hour, as he was scanning the horizon, he descried in the distance what seemed to him a company of horsemen

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approaching the gate of the city. As he hastened to meet them, his eyes recognized the Báb surrounded by His escort dressed in the same clothes and wearing the same expression as he had seen the night before in his dream. Haji Mirza Jani joyously approached Him and bent to kiss His stirrups. The Báb prevented him, saying: "We are to be your Guest for three nights. To-morrow is the day of Naw-Ruz; we shall celebrate it together in your home." Muhammad Big, who had been riding close to the Báb, thought Him to be an intimate acquaintance of Haji Mirza Jani. Turning to him, he said: "I am ready to abide by whatever is the desire of the Siyyid-i-Bab. I would ask you, however, to obtain the approval of my colleague who shares with me the charge of conducting the Siyyid-i-Báb to Tihran." Haji Mirza Jani submitted his request and was met with a flat refusal. "I decline your suggestion," he was told. "I have been most emphatically instructed not to allow this youth to enter any city until his arrival at the capital. I have been particularly commanded to spend the night outside the gate of the city,

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to break my march at the hour of sunset, and to resume it the next day at the hour of dawn. I cannot depart from the orders that have been given to me." This gave rise to a heated altercation which was eventually settled in favour of Muhammad Big, who succeeded in inducing his opponent to deliver the Báb into the custody of Haji Mirza Jani with the express understanding that on the third morning he should safely deliver back his Guest into their hands. Haji Mirza Jani, who had intended to invite to his home the entire escort of the Báb, was advised by Him to abandon this intention. "No one but you," He urged, "should accompany Me to your home." Haji Mirza Jani requested to be allowed to defray the expense of the horsemen's three days' stay in Kashan. "It is unnecessary," observed the Báb; "but for My will, nothing whatever could have induced them to deliver Me into your hands. All things lie prisoned within the grasp of His might. Nothing is impossible to Him. He removes every difficulty and surmounts every obstacle." The horsemen were lodged in a caravanserai in the immediate neighbourhood of the gate of the city. Muhammad Big, following the instructions of the Báb, accompanied Him until they drew near the house of Haji Mirza Jani. Having ascertained the actual situation of the house, he returned and joined his companions.

The night the Báb arrived at Kashan coincided with the eve preceding the third Naw-Ruz, after the declaration of His Mission, which fell on the second day of the month of Rabi'u'th-Thani, in the year 1263 A.H.[1] On that same night, Siyyid Husayn-i-Yazdi, who had previously, in accordance with the directions of the Báb, come to Kashan, was invited to the house of Haji Mirza Jani and introduced into the presence of his Master. The Báb was dictating to him a Tablet in honour of His host, when a friend of the latter, a certain Siyyid Abdu'l-Baqi, who was noted in Kashan for his learning, arrived. The Báb invited him to enter, permitted him to hear the verses which He was revealing, but refused to disclose His identity. In the concluding passages of the Tablet which He was addressing to Haji Mirza Jani, He prayed in his behalf, supplicated the Almighty to illumine

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his heart with the light of Divine knowledge, and to unloose his tongue for the service and proclamation of His Cause. Unschooled and unlettered though he was, Haji Mirza Jani was able, by virtue of this prayer, to impress with his speech even the most accomplished divine of Kashan. He became endowed with such power that he was able to silence every idle pretender who dared to challenge the precepts of his Faith. Even the haughty and imperious Mulla Ja'far-i-Naraqi was unable, despite his consummate eloquence, to resist the force of his argument, and was compelled to acknowledge outwardly the merits of the Cause of his adversary, though at heart he refused to believe in its truth.

[1 1847 A.D.]

Siyyid Abdu'l-Baqi sat and listened to the Báb. He heard His voice, watched His movements, looked upon the expression of His face, and noted the words which streamed unceasingly from His lips, and yet failed to be moved by their majesty and power. Wrapt in the veils of his own idle fancy and learning, he was powerless to appreciate the meaning of the utterances of the Báb. He did not even trouble to enquire the name or the character of the Guest into whose presence he had been introduced. Unmoved by the things he had heard and seen, he retired from that presence, unaware of the unique opportunity which, through his apathy, he had irretrievably lost. A few days later, when informed of the name of the Youth whom he had treated with such careless indifference, he was filled with chagrin and remorse. It was too late, however, for him to seek His presence and atone for his conduct, for the Báb had already departed from Kashan. In his grief, he renounced the society of his fellowmen, and led, to the end of his days, a life of unrelieved seclusion.

Among those who were privileged to meet the Báb in the home of Haji Mirza Jani was a man named Mihdi, who was destined at a later time, in the year 1268 A.H.,[1] to suffer martyrdom in Tihran. He and a few others were, during those three days, affectionately entertained by Haji Mirza Jani, whose lavish hospitality earned him the praise and commendation of his Master. To even the members of the Báb's escort he extended the same loving-kindness, and, by

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his liberality and charm of manner, won their lasting gratitude. On the morning of the second day after Naw-Ruz, he, mindful of his pledge, delivered the Prisoner into their hands, and, with a heart overflowing with grief, bade Him a last and touching farewell.

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[1 1851-2 A.D.]

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CHAPTER XII
THE BAB'S JOURNEY FROM KASHAN TO TABRIZ

ATTENDED by His escort, the Báb proceeded in the direction of Qum.[1] His alluring charm, combined with a compelling dignity and unfailing benevolence, had, by this time, completely disarmed and transformed His guards. They seemed to have abdicated all their rights and duties and to have resigned themselves to His will and pleasure. In their eagerness to

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serve and please Him, they, one day, remarked: "We are strictly forbidden by the government to allow You to enter the city of Qum, and have been ordered to proceed by an unfrequented route directly to Tihran. We have been particularly directed to keep away from the Haram-i-Ma'sumih,[2] that inviolable sanctuary under whose shelter the most notorious criminals are immune from arrest. We are ready, however, to ignore utterly for Your sake whatever instructions we have received. If it be Your wish, we shall unhesitatingly conduct You through the streets of Qum and enable You to visit its holy shrine." "'The heart of the true believer is the throne of God,'" observed the Báb. "He who is the ark of salvation and the Almighty's impregnable stronghold is now journeying with you through this wilderness. I prefer the way of the country rather than to enter this unholy city. The immaculate one whose remains are interred within this shrine, her brother, and her illustrious ancestors no doubt bewail the plight of this wicked people. With their lips they pay homage to her; by their acts they heap dishonour upon her name. Outwardly they serve and reverence her shrine; inwardly they disgrace her dignity."

[1 The site of the second most sacred shrine in Persia, and the burial-place of many of her kings, among them Fath-'Ali and Muhammad Shah.

[2 "At Qum are deposited the remains of his [Imam Rida's] sister, Fatimiy-i-Ma'sumih, i.e. the Immaculate, who, according to one account, lived and died here, having fled from Baghdad to escape the persecution of the Khalifs; according to another, sickened and died at Qum, on her way to see her brother at Tus. He, for his part, is believed by the pious Shi'ahs to return the compliment by paying her a visit every Friday from

his shrine at Mashhad." Lord Curzon's "Persia and the Persian Question,"

1 vol. 2, p. 8.)]

Such lofty sentiments had instilled such confidence in the hearts of those who accompanied the Báb that had He at any time chosen to turn away suddenly and leave them, no one among His guards would have felt in the least perturbed or would have attempted to pursue Him. Proceeding by a route that skirted the northern end of the city of Qum, they halted at the village of Qumrud, which was owned by a relative of Muhammad Big, and the inhabitants of which all belonged to the sect of the Aliyu'llahi. At the invitation of the headman of the village, the Báb tarried one night in that place and was touched by the warmth and spontaneity of the reception which those simple folk had accorded Him. Ere He resumed His journey, He invoked the blessings of

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the Almighty in their behalf and cheered their hearts with assurances of His appreciation and love.

After a march of two days from that village, they arrived, on the afternoon of the eighth day after Naw-Ruz, at the fortress of Kinar-Gird,[1] which lies six farsangs to the south of Tihran. They were planning to reach the capital on the

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ensuing day, and had decided to spend the night in the neighbourhood of that fortress, when a messenger unexpectedly arrived from Tihran, bearing a written order from Haji Mirza Aqasi to Muhammad Big. That message instructed him to proceed immediately with the Báb to the village of Kulayn,[2] where Shaykh-i-Kulayni, Muhammad-ibn-i-Ya'qub, the author of the Usul-i-Kafi, who was born in that place, had been laid to rest with his father, and whose shrines are greatly

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honoured by the people of that neighbourhood.[3] Muhammad Big was commanded, in view of the unsuitability of the houses in that village, to pitch a special tent for the Báb and keep the escort in its neighbourhood pending the receipt of further instructions. On the morning of the ninth day after Naw-Ruz, the eleventh day of the month of Rabi'u'th-Thani, in the year 1263 A.H.,[4] in the immediate vicinity of that village, which belonged to Haji Mirza Aqasi, a tent which had served for his own use whenever he visited that place was erected for the Báb, on the slopes of a hill pleasantly situated amid wide stretches of orchards and smiling meadows. The peacefulness of that spot, the luxuriance of its vegetation, and the unceasing murmur of its streams greatly pleased the Báb. He was joined two days after by Siyyid Husayn-i-Yazdi, Siyyid Hasan, his brother; Mulla Abdu'l-Karim, and Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi, all of whom were invited to lodge in the immediate surroundings of His tent. On the fourteenth day of the month of Rabi'u'th-Thani,[5] the twelfth day after Naw-Ruz, Mulla Mihdiy-i-Khu'i and Mulla Muhammad-Mihdiy-i-Kandi arrived from Tihran. The latter, who had been closely associated with Bahá'u'lláh in Tihran, had been commissioned by Him to present to the Báb a sealed letter together with certain gifts which, as soon as they were delivered into His hands, provoked in His soul sentiments of unusual delight. His face glowed with joy as He overwhelmed the bearer with marks of His gratitude and favour.

[1 A station on the old Tsfahan road, distant about 28 miles from Tihran. ("A Traveller's Narrative," p. 14, note 2.)

[2 See "A Traveller's Narrative," p. 14, note 3.

[3 "As the order of the prime minister Haji Mirza Aqasi became generally known, it was impossible to carry it out. From Isfahan to Tihran, everyone spoke of the iniquity of the clergy and of the government towards the Báb; everywhere the people muttered and exclaimed against such an injustice." (Journal Asiatique, 1866, tome 7, p. 355.)]

[4 March 29, 1847 A.D.]
[5 April 1, 1847 A.D.]

That message, received at an hour of uncertainty and suspense, imparted solace and strength to the Báb. It dispelled the gloom that had settled upon His heart, and imbued His soul with the certainty of victory. The sadness which had long lingered upon His face, and which the perils of His captivity had served to aggravate, visibly diminished. He no longer shed those tears of anguish which had streamed so profusely from His eyes ever since the days of His arrest and departure from Shiraz. The cry "Beloved, My Well-Beloved,"

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which in His bitter grief and loneliness He was wont to utter, gave way to expressions of thanksgiving and praise, of hope and triumph. The exultation which glowed upon His face never forsook Him until the day when the news of the great disaster which befell the heroes of Shaykh Tabarsi again beclouded the radiance of His countenance and dimmed the joy of His heart.

I have heard Mulla Abdu'l-Karim recount the following incident: "My companions and I were fast asleep in the vicinity of the tent of the Báb when the trampling of horsemen suddenly awakened us. We were soon informed that the tent of the Báb was vacant and that those who had gone out in search of Him had failed to find Him. We heard Muhammad Big remonstrate with the guards. 'Why feel disturbed?' he pleaded. 'Are not His magnanimity and nobleness of soul sufficiently established in your eyes to convince you that He will never, for the sake of His own safety, consent to involve others in embarrassment? He, no doubt, must have retired, in the silence of this moonlit night, to a place where He can seek undisturbed communion with God. He will unquestionably return to His tent. He will never desert us.' In his eagerness to reassure his colleagues, Muhammad Big set out on foot along the road leading to Tihran. I, too, with my companions, followed him. Shortly after, the rest of the guards were seen, each on horseback, marching behind us. We had covered about a maydan [1] when, by the dim light of the early dawn, we discerned in the distance the lonely figure of the Báb. He was coming towards us from the direction of Tihran. 'Did you believe Me to have escaped?' were His words to Muhammad Big as He approached him. 'Far be it from me,' was the instant reply as he flung himself at the feet of the Báb, 'to entertain such thoughts.' Muhammad Big was too much awed by the serene majesty which that radiant face revealed that morning to venture any further remark. A look of confidence had settled upon His countenance, His words were invested with such transcendent power, that a feeling of profound reverence wrapped our very souls. No one dared to question Him as to the cause of so remarkable a change in His speech

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and demeanour. Nor did He Himself choose to allay our curiosity and wonder."

[1 See Glossary.

For a fortnight [1] the Báb tarried in that spot. The tranquillity which He enjoyed amidst those lovely surroundings was rudely disturbed by the receipt of a letter which Muhammad Shah [2] himself addressed to the Báb and which was

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composed in these terms:[3]1 "Much as we desire to meet you, we find ourself unable, in view of our immediate departure from our capital, to receive you befittingly in Tihran. We have signified our desire that you be conducted to Mah-Ku, and have issued the necessary instructions to Ali Khan, the warden of the castle, to treat you with respect and consideration. It is our hope and intention to summon you to this place upon our return to the seat of our government, at

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which time we shall definitely pronounce our judgment. We trust that we have caused you no disappointment, and that you will at no time hesitate to inform us in case any grievances befall you. We fain would hope that you will continue to pray for our well-being and for the prosperity of our realm." (Dated Rabi'u'th-Thani, 1263 A.H.)[4]

[1 According to "A Traveller's Narrative" (p. 14), the Báb remained in the village of Kulayn for a period of twenty days.]

[2 "Muhammad Shah," writes Gobineau, "was a prince of peculiar ] temperament, a type often seen in Asia but not often discovered or understood by Europeans. Although he reigned during a period when political practices were rather harsh, he was kind and patient and his tolerance extended even to the discords of his harem which were of such a nature as normally to cause grave annoyance; for, even in the days of Fath-'Ali Shah, the laisser-aller, the whims and fancies were never carried to such an extreme. The following words which our 18th century might recognize as its own are attributed to him: 'Why are you not more discreet, Madam? I do not wish to hinder you from enjoying yourself.' "But, in his case, it was not affected indifference, but fatigue and boredom. His health had always been wretched; seriously ill with gout, he was hardly ever free from pain. His disposition naturally weak, had become very melancholy and, as he craved love and could not find it in his family either with his wives or children, he had centered all his affection upon the aged Mulla, his tutor. He had made of him his only friend, his confidant, then his first and all-powerful minister, even his god! Brought up by this idol with very irreverent sentiments toward Islam, he was equally as indifferent toward the dogmas of the Prophet as toward the Prophet himself. He cared little for the Imams and, if he had any regard for Ali, it is because the Persian mind is wont to identify this venerable personage with the nation itself. "But in brief, Muhammad Shah was no better Muhammadan than he was Christian or Jew. He believed that the Divine Essence incarnates Itself in the Sages with all Its power, and, as he considered Haji Mirza Aqasi a Sage par excellence, he felt certain that he was God and he would piously ask him to perform miracles. Often he said to his officers with earnestness and conviction, 'The Haji has promised me a miracle for tonight, you shall see!' As long as the character of the Haji was not involved, Muhammad Shah was completely indifferent regarding the success r failure of this or that religious doctrine; he was rather pleased to witness the conflict of opinions which were proof to him of the universal blindness." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale,' pp. 131-132.)]

[3 According to "A Traveller's Narrative" (p. 14), the Báb "forwarded a letter to the Royal Presence craving audience to set forth the truth of His condition, expecting this to be a means for the attainment of great advantages." Regarding this letter, Gobineau writes as follows: "Ali-Muhammad wrote personally to the Court and his letter and the accusations of his adversaries all arrived at the same time. Without assuming an aggressive attitude toward the king, but trusting on the contrary to his authority and justice, he represented to them that the depravity of the clergy in Persia had been well known for many years; that not only morals were thereby corrupted and the well-being of the nation affected, but that religion itself, poisoned by the sins of so many, was in great danger and was about to disappear leaving the people in perilous darkness. "As for himself, called by God, in virtue of a special mission, to prevent such an evil, he had already begun to apprise the people of Fars that the true doctrine had made evident and rapid progress; that all its adversaries had been confounded and were now powerless and universally despised; but that this was only a beginning. "The Báb, confident of the magnanimity of the king, requested the permission to come to the capital with his principal disciples and there hold conferences with all the Mullas of the Empire, in the presence of the Sovereign, the nobles and the people, convinced that he would shame them by exposing their faithlessness. He would accept beforehand the judgment of the king and, in case of failure, was ready to sacrifice his head and that of each one of his followers." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 124.)]

[4 March 19-April 17, 1847 A.D.]

Haji Mirza Aqasi [1] was no doubt responsible for having induced Muhammad Shah to address such a communication to the Báb. He was actuated solely by a sense of fear [2] lest

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the contemplated interview should rob him of his position of unquestioned pre-eminence in the affairs of the State and should lead eventually to his overthrow from power. He entertained no feelings of malice or resentment toward the Báb. He finally succeeded [3] in persuading his sovereign to transfer so dreaded an opponent to a remote and sequestered corner of his realm, and was thus able to relieve his mind of a thought that continually obsessed him.[4] How stupendous was his mistake, how grievous his blunder! Little did he realise, at that moment, that by his incessant intrigues he was withholding from his king and country the incomparable benefits of a Divine Revelation which alone had the power to deliver the land from the appalling state of degradation into which it had fallen. By his act that short-sighted minister did not only withhold from Muhammad Shah the supreme instrument with which he could have rehabilitated a fast-declining empire, but also deprived him of that spiritual Agency which could have enabled him to establish his undisputed ascendancy over the peoples and nations of the earth. By his folly, his extravagance and perfidious counsels, he undermined the foundations of the State, lowered its prestige, sapped the loyalty of his subjects, and plunged them into

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an abyss of misery.[5] Incapable of being admonished by the example of his predecessors, he contemptuously ignored the demands and interests of the people, pursued, with unremitting zeal, his designs for personal aggrandisement, and by his profligacy and extravagance involved his country in ruinous wars with its neighbours. Sa'd-i-Ma'adh, who was neither of royal blood nor invested with authority, attained, through the uprightness of his conduct and his unsparing

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devotion to the Cause of Muhammad, so exalted a station that to the present day the chiefs and rulers of Islam have continued to reverence his memory and to praise his virtues; whereas Buzurg-Mihr, the ablest, the wisest and most experienced administrator among the vazirs of Nushiravan-i-'Adil, in spite of his commanding position, eventually was publicly disgraced, was thrown into a pit, and became the object of the contempt and the ridicule of the people. He bewailed his plight and wept so bitterly that he finally lost his sight. Neither the example of the former nor the fate of the latter seemed to have awakened that self-confident minister to the perils of his own position. He persisted in his thoughts until he too forfeited his rank, lost his riches,[6] and sank into abasement and shame. The numerous properties which he forcibly seized from the humble and law-abiding subjects of the Shah, the costly furnitures with which he embellished them, the vast expenditures of labour and treasure which he ordered for their improvement--all were irretrievably lost two years after he had issued his decree condemning the Báb to a cruel incarceration in the inhospitable mountains of Adhirbayjan. All his possessions were confiscated by the State. He himself was disgraced by his sovereign, was ignominiously expelled from Tihran, and fell a prey to disease and poverty. Bereft of hope and sunk in misery, he languished in Karbila until the hour of his death.[7]

[1 According to Hidayat in the "Majma'u'l-Fusaha'," the name of Haji Mirza Aqasi was Abbas-'Ali. He was the son of Mirza Muslim, one of the well-known divines of Iravan. His son, Abbas-'Ali, was a pupil, while in Karbila, of Fahkru'd-Din Abdu's-Samad-i-Hamadani. From Karbila he proceeded to Hamadan, visited Adhirbayjan, and from there undertook a pilgrimage to Mecca. Returning, in circumstances of extreme poverty, to Adhirbayjan, he succeeded in gradually improving his position, and was made the tutor of the children of Mirza Musa Khan, the brother of the late Mirza Abu'l-Qasim, the Qa'im-Maqam. Muhammad Mirza, to whom he had announced his eventual accession to the throne of Persia, was greatly devoted to him. He eventually was appointed his prime minister, and retired after the death of the monarch to Karbila, where he died in Ramadan, 1265 A.H. (Notes of Mirza Abu'l-Fadl.) According to Haji Mu'inu's-Saltanih's narrative (p. 220), Haji Mirza Aqasi was born in Mah-Ku, where his parents had been residing after their departure from Iravan, in the Caucasus. "Haji Mirza Aqasi, native of Iravan, attained unlimited influence over his weak-minded master, formerly his tutor, and professed Sufi doctrine. A quizzical old gentleman, with a long nose, whose countenance betokened the oddity and self-sufficiency of his character." (C. R. Markham's "A General Sketch of the History of Persia" p. 473.) "As for the Haji, he was a very special kind of god. It was not absolutely certain that he did himself believe that of which the Shah was convinced. In any case, he preferred the same general principles as the King and he had taught them to him in good faith. He could nevertheless be a buffoon; jesting was the policy, the rule of his conduct and of his life. He pretended to take nothing seriously, not even himself. "'I am not a prime minister,' he often said, especially to those whom he mistreated; 'I am an old Mulla of humble birth and without merit and, if I find myself in this high office, it is because it is the wish of the King.' "He never referred to his sons without calling them 'sons of hussies and sons of dogs.' It is in these terms that he enquired of them or sent them orders by his officers, when they were away. His greatest delight was to pass in review units of cavalry in which he would assemble, in their most gorgeous trappings, all the nomad Khans of Persia. When these warlike tribes were gathered in the valley, the Haji would appear, dressed like a beggar, with a threadbare and shapeless cap, a sword dangling awkwardly at his side and riding a small donkey. Then he would draw up the horsemen about him, call them fools, make fun of their attire, show their worthlessness, and then send them home with presents; for his sarcasm was always tempered with generosity." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 132-133.)]

[2 "An anecdote shows the real motive of the prime minister in the suggestions he made to the Shah concerning the Báb. The Prince Farhad Mirza, still young, was the pupil of Haji Mirza Aqasi. The latter related the following story: "When His Majesty, after consulting the prime minister, had written to the Báb to betake himself to Mah-Ku, we went with Haji Mirza Aqasi to spend a few days at Yaft-Abad, in the neighborhood of Tihran, in the park which he had created there. I was very desirous of questioning my master regarding the recent happenings but I feared to do so publicly. One day, while I was walking with him in the garden and he was in a good humor, I made bold to ask him: "Haji, why have you sent the Báb to Mah-Ku?" He replied,--"You are still too young to understand certain things, but know that had he come to Tihran. you and I would not be, at this moment, walking free from care in this cool shade."'" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 243-244) According to Haji Mu'inu's-Saltanih's narrative (p. 129), the chief motive which actuated Haji Mirza Aqasi to urge Muhammad Shah to order the banishment of the Báb to Adhirbayjan was the fear lest the promise which the Báb had given to the sovereign that He would cure him of his illness, were he to allow Him to be received in Tihran, should be fulfilled. He felt sure that should the Báb be able to effect such a cure, the Shah would fall under the influence of his Prisoner and would cease to confer upon his prime minister the honours and benefits which he exclusively enjoyed.]

[3 According to Mirza Abu'l-Fadl, Haji Mirza Aqasi sought, by his reference to the rebellion of Muhammad Hasan Khan, the Salar, in Khurasan, and the revolt of Aqa Khan-i-Isma'ili, in Kirman, to induce the sovereign to abandon the project of summoning the Báb to the capital, and to send Him instead to the remote province of Adhirbayjan.]

[4 "Nevertheless, on this occasion, his expectations did not materialize. Fearing that the presence of the Báb in Tihran would occasion new disturbances (there were plenty of them due to his whims and his poor administration), he altered his plans and the escort, charged to take the Báb from Isfahan to Tihran, received, when about thirty kilometers from

the city, the order to take the prisoner directly to Mah-Ku. This town, in the mind of the prime minister, would offer nothing to the impostor because its inhabitants, out of gratitude for the favors and protection they had received from him, would take steps to suppress any disturbances which might break out." (Journal Asiatique, 1866, tome 7, p. 356.)]

[5 "The state of Persia, however, was not satisfactory; for Haji Mirza Aqasi, who had been its virtual ruler for thirteen years, 'was utterly ignorant of statesmanship or of military science, yet too vain to receive instruction and too jealous to admit of a coadjutor; brutal in his language; insolent in his demeanour; indolent in his habits; he brought the exchequer to the verge of bankruptcy and the country to the brink of revolution. The pay of the army was generally from three to five years in arrears. 'The cavalry of the tribes was a almost annihilated.' Such--to adopt the weighty words of Rawlinson--was the condition of Persia in the middle of the nineteenth century." (P. M. Sykes' "A History of Persia," vol. 2, pp. 439-40.)]

[6 "Haji Mirza Aqasi, the half crazy old Prime Minister, had the whole administration in his hands, and obtained complete control over the Shah. The misgovernment of the country grew worse and worse, while the people starved, and cursed the Qajar dynasty.... The condition of the province was deplorable and every man with any pretension to talent or patriotism was driven into exile by the old haji, who was sedulously collecting wealth for himself at Tihran, at the expense of the wretched country. The governorships of provinces were sold to the highest bidders, who oppressed the people in a fearful manner." (C. R. Markham's "A General Sketch of the History of Persia," pp. 486-7.)]

[7 Gobineau writes regarding his fall: "Haji Mirza Aqasi, robbed of the power which he had constantly ridiculed, had retired to Karbila and he spent his remaining days playing tricks on the Mullas and scoffing even at the holy martyrs." ("Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 160.) "This shrewd man had gained such power over the late Shah that one could truly say that the minister was the real sovereign; he could not therefore survive the loss of his good fortune. At the death of Muhammad Shah, he had disappeared and had gone to Karbila where, under the protection of the sainted Imam, even a state criminal could find an inviolable asylum. He was soon overcome by gnawing grief which, more than his remorse; shortened his life." (Journal Asiatique, 1866, tome 7, pp. 367-368.)]

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The Báb was accordingly ordered to proceed to Tabriz.[1] The same escort, under the command of Muhammad Big, attended Him on His journey to the northwestern province of Adhirbayjan. He was allowed to select one companion and one attendant from among His followers to be with Him during His sojourn in that province. He selected Siyyid Husayn-i-Yazdi and Siyyid Hasan, his brother. He refused to expend on Himself the funds provided by the government for the expense of that journey. All the allowances that were given by the State He bestowed upon the poor and needy, and devoted to His own private needs the money which He, as a merchant, had earned in Bushihr and Shiraz. As orders had been given to avoid entering the towns in the course of the journey to Tabriz, a number of the believers of Qazvin, informed of the approach of their beloved Leader, set out for the village of Siyah-Dihan [2] and were there able to meet Him.

[1 According to "A Traveller's Narrative" (p. 16), the Báb "wrote a letter, in the course of the journey, to the Prime Minister, saying: 'You summoned me from Isfahan to meet the doctors and for the attainment of a decisive settlement. What has happened now that this excellent intention has been changed for Mah-Kuh and Tabriz?'"]

[2 According to Samandar (manuscript, pp. 45), the Báb tarried in the village

of Siyah-Dihan, in the neighbourhood of Qazvin, on His way to Adhirbayjan. In the course of that journey, He is reported to have revealed several Tablets addressed to the leading ulamas in Qazvin among whom were the following: Haji Mulla Abdu'l-Vahhab, Haji Mulla Salih, Haji Mulla Taqi, and Haji Siyyid Taqi. These Tablets were conveyed to their recipients through Haji Mulla Ahmad-i-Ibdal. Several believers, among whom were the two sons of Haji Mulla Abdu'l-Vahhab were able to meet the Báb during the night He spent in that village. It is from this village that the Báb is reported to have addressed His epistle to Haji Mirza Aqasi.]

One of them was Mulla Iskandar, who had been delegated by Hujjat to visit the Báb in Shiraz, and to investigate His Cause. The Báb commissioned him to deliver the following message to Sulayman Khan-i-Afshar, who was a great admirer of the late Siyyid Kazim: "He whose virtues the late siyyid unceasingly extolled, and to the approach of whose Revelation he continually alluded, is now revealed. I am that promised One. Arise and deliver Me from the hand of the oppressor." When the Báb entrusted this message to Mulla Iskandar, Sulayman Khan was in Zanjan and was preparing to leave for Tihran. Within the space of three days, that message reached him. He failed, however, to respond to that appeal.

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Two days later, a friend of Mulla Iskandar had acquainted Hujjat, who, at the instigation of the ulamas of Zanjan, had been incarcerated in the capital, with the appeal of the Báb. Hujjat immediately instructed the believers of his native city to undertake whatever preparations were required and to collect the necessary forces to achieve the deliverance of their Master. He urged them to proceed with caution and to attempt, at an appropriate moment, to seize and carry Him away to whatever place He might desire. These were shortly joined by a number of believers from Qazvin and Tihran, who set out, according to the directions of Hujjat, to execute the plan. They overtook the guards at the hour of midnight and, finding them fast asleep, approached the Báb and begged Him to flee. "The mountains of Adhirbayjan too have their claims," was His confident reply as He lovingly advised them to abandon their project and return to their homes.[1]

[1 In the "Tarikh-i-Jadid," Muhammad Big is reported to have related the following account to Haji Mirza Jani: "So we mounted and rode on till we came to a brick caravanserai distant two parsangs from the city. Thence we proceeded to Milan, where many of the inhabitants came to see His Holiness, and were filled with wonder at the majesty and dignity of that Lord of mankind. In the morning, as we were setting out from Milan, an old woman brought a scald-headed child, whose head was so covered with scabs that it was white down to the neck, and entreated His Holiness to heal him. The guards would have forbidden her but His Holiness prevented them, and called the child to Him. Then He drew a handkerchief over its head and repeated certain words; which he had no sooner done than the child was healed. And in that place about two hundred persons believed and underwent a true and sincere conversion." (Pp. 222-21.)]

Approaching the gate of Tabriz, Muhammad Big, feeling that the hour of his separation from his Prisoner was at hand, besought His presence and with tearful eyes begged Him to overlook his shortcomings and transgressions. "The journey from Isfahan," he said, "has been long and arduous. I have failed to do my duty and to serve You as I ought. I crave Your forgiveness, and pray You to vouchsafe me Your blessings." "Be assured," the Báb replied, "I account you a member of My fold. They who embrace My Cause will eternally bless and glorify you, will extol your conduct and exalt your name."[1] The rest of the guards followed the

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example of their chief, implored the blessings of their Prisoner, kissed His feet, and with tears in their eyes bade Him a last farewell. To each the Báb expressed His appreciation of his devoted attentions and assured him of His prayers in his behalf. Reluctantly they delivered Him into the hands of the governor of Tabriz, the heir to the throne of Muhammad Shah. To those with whom they were subsequently brought in contact, these devoted attendants of the Báb and eye-witnesses of His superhuman wisdom and power, recounted with awe and admiration the tale of those wonders which they had seen and heard, and by this means helped to diffuse in their own way the knowledge of the new Revelation.

[1 Mirza Abu'l-Fadl states in his writings that he himself, while in Tihran, met the son of Muhammad Big, and heard him recount the remarkable experiences his father had had in the course of his journey to Tabriz in the company of the Báb. Ali-Akbar Big was a fervent believer in the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh and was known as such by the Bahá'ís of Persia.]

The news of the approaching arrival of the Báb at Tabriz bestirred the believers in that city. They all set out to meet Him, eager to extend to so beloved a Leader their welcome. The officials of the government into whose custody the Báb was to be delivered refused to allow them to draw near and to receive His blessings. One youth, however, unable to restrain himself, rushed forth barefooted, through the gate of the city, and, in his impatience to gaze upon the face of his Beloved, ran out a distance of half a farsang [1] towards Him. As he approached the horsemen who were marching in advance of the Báb, he joyously welcomed them and, seizing

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the hem of the garment of one among them, devoutly kissed his stirrups. "Ye are the companions of my Well-Beloved," he tearfully exclaimed. "I cherish you as the apple of my eye." His extraordinary behaviour, the intensity of his emotion, amazed them. They immediately granted him his request to attain the presence of his Master. As soon as his eyes fell upon Him, a cry of exultation broke from his lips. He fell upon his face and wept profusely. The Báb dismounted from His horse, put His arms around him, wiped away his tears, and soothed the agitation of his heart. Of all the believers of Tabriz, that youth alone succeeded in offering his homage to the Báb and in being blessed by the touch of His hand. All the others had perforce to content themselves with a distant glimpse of their Beloved, and with that view sought to satisfy their longing.

[1 See Glossary.]

When the Báb arrived at Tabriz, He was conducted to one of the chief houses in that city, which had been reserved

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for His confinement.[1] A detachment of the Nasiri regiment stood guard at the entrance of His house. With the exception of Siyyid Husayn and his brother, neither the public nor His followers were allowed to meet Him. This same regiment, which had been recruited from among the inhabitants of Khamsih, and upon which special honours had been conferred, was subsequently chosen to discharge the volley that caused His death. The circumstances of His arrival had stirred the people in Tabriz profoundly. A tumultuous concourse of people had gathered to witness His entry into the city.[2] Some were impelled by curiosity, others were earnestly desirous of ascertaining the veracity of the wild reports that were current about Him, and still others were moved by their faith and devotion to attain His presence and to assure Him of their loyalty. As He walked along the streets, the acclamations of the multitude resounded on every side. The great majority of the people who beheld His face greeted Him with the shout of "Allah-u-Akbar,"[3] others loudly glorified and cheered Him, a few invoked upon Him the blessings of the Almighty, others were seen to kiss reverently the dust of His footsteps. Such was the clamour which His arrival had raised that a crier was ordered to warn the populace of the danger that awaited those who ventured to seek His presence. "Whosoever shall make any attempt to approach the Siyyid-i-Bab," went forth the cry, "or seek to meet him, all his possessions shall forthwith be seized and he himself condemned to perpetual imprisonment."

[1 According to "A Traveller's Narrative" (p. 16), the Báb remained forty days in Tabriz. According to Haji Mu'inu's-Saltanih's manuscript (p. 138), the Báb spent the first night, on His arrival in Tabriz, in the home of Muhammad Big. From there He was transferred to a room in the Citadel (the Ark) which adjoined the Masjid-i-'Ali Shah.]

[2 "The success of this energetic man, Mulla Yusuf-i-Ardibili, was so great and so swift that, at the very gates of Tauris (Tabriz), the inhabitants of this populous village acknowledged him as their leader and took the name of Babi's. Needless to say that, in the town itself, the Bábi's were quite numerous, even though the government was taking steps to convict the Báb, to punish him and thereby justify itself in the eyes of the people." (Journal Asiatique, 1866, tome 7, pp. 357-358.)]

[3 'God is the Most Great."]

On the day after the Báb's arrival, Haji Muhammad-Taqiy-i-Milani, a noted merchant of the city, ventured, together with Haji Ali-'Askar, to interview the Báb. They were warned by their friends and well-wishers that by such an attempt they would not only be risking the loss of their

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possessions but would also be endangering their lives. They refused, however, to heed such counsels. As they approached the door of the house in which the Báb was confined, they were immediately arrested. Siyyid Hasan, who at that moment was coming out from the presence of the Báb, instantly intervened. "I am commanded by the Siyyid-i-Bab," he vehemently protested, "to convey to you this message: 'Suffer these visitors to enter, inasmuch as I Myself have invited them to meet Me.'" I have heard Haji Ali-'Askar testify to the following: "This message immediately silenced the opposers. We were straightway ushered into His presence. He greeted us with these words: 'These miserable wretches who watch at the gate of My house have been destined by Me as a protection against the inrush of the multitude who throng around the house. They are powerless to prevent those whom I desire to meet from attaining My presence.' For about two hours, we tarried with Him. As He dismissed us, He entrusted me with two cornelian ringstones, instructing me to have carved on them the two verses which He had previously given to me; to have them mounted and brought to Him as soon as they were ready. He assured us that at whatever time we desired to meet Him, no one would hinder our admittance to His presence. Several times I ventured to go to Him in order to ascertain His wish regarding certain details connected with the commission with which He had entrusted me. Not once did I encounter the slightest opposition on the part of those who were guarding the entrance of His house. Not one offensive word did they utter against me, nor did they seem to expect the slightest remuneration for their indulgence.

"I recall how, in the course of my association with Mulla Husayn, I was impressed by the many evidences of his perspicacity and extraordinary power. I was privileged to accompany him on his journey from Shiraz to Mashhad, and visited with him the towns of Yazd, Tabas, Bushruyih, and Turbat. I deplored in those days the sadness of my failure to meet the Báb in Shiraz. 'Grieve not,' Mulla Husayn confidently assured me; 'the Almighty is no doubt able to compensate you in Tabriz for the loss you have sustained in Shiraz. Not once, but seven times, can He enable you

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to partake of the joy of His presence, in return for the one visit which you have missed.' I was amazed at the confidence with which he uttered those words. Not until the time of my visit to the Báb in Tabriz, when, despite adverse circumstances, I was, on several occasions, admitted into His presence, did I recall those words of Mulla Husayn and marvel at his remarkable foresight. How great was my surprise when, on my seventh visit to the Báb, I heard Him speak these words: 'Praise be to God, who has enabled you to complete the number of your visits and who has extended to you His loving protection.'"

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CHAPTER XIII
THE BAB'S INCARCERATION IN THE CASTLE OF MAH-KU

SIYYID HUSAYN-I-YAZDI has been heard to relate the following: "During the first ten days of the Báb's incarceration in Tabriz, no one knew what would next befall Him. The wildest conjectures were current in the city. One day I ventured to ask Him whether He would continue to remain where He was or would be transferred to still another place. 'Have you forgotten,' was His immediate reply, 'the question you asked me in Isfahan? For a period of no less than nine months, we shall remain confined in the Jabal-i-Basit,[1] from whence we shall be transferred to the Jabal-i-Shadid.[2] Both these places are among the mountains of Khuy and are situated on either side of the town bearing that name.' Five days after the Báb had uttered this prediction, orders were issued to transfer Him and me to the castle of Mah-Ku and to deliver us into the custody of Ali Khan-i-Mah-Ku'i."

[1 Literally "the Open Mountain," allusion to Mah-Ku. The numerical value of "Jabal-i-Basit equivalent to that of "Mah-Ku."]

[2 Literally "the Grievous Mountain," allusion to Chihrig. The numerical value of "Jabal-i-Shadid" is equivalent to that of "Chihrig."]

The castle, a solid, four-towered stone edifice, occupies the summit of a mountain at the foot of which lies the town of Mah-Ku. The only road that leads from it passes into that town, ending at a gate which adjoins the seat of government and is invariably kept closed. This gate is distinct from that of the castle itself. Situated on the confines of both the Ottoman and Russian empires, this castle has been used, in view of its commanding position and strategic advantages, as a centre for reconnoitring purposes. The officer in charge of that station observed, in time of war, the movements of the enemy, surveyed the surrounding regions, and reported to his government such cases of emergency as came

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under his observation. The castle is bounded on the west by the river Araxes, which marks the frontier between the territory of the Shah and the Russian empire. To the south extends the territory of the Sultan of Turkey; the frontier town of Bayazid being at a distance of only four farsangs [1] from the mountain of Mah-Ku. The frontier officer, in charge of the castle, was a man named Ali Khan. The residents of the town are all Kurds and belong to the sunni sect of Islam.[2] The shi'ahs, who constitute the vast majority of the inhabitants of Persia, have always been their avowed and bitter enemies. These Kurds particularly abhor the siyyids of the shi'ah denomination, whom they regard as the spiritual leaders and chief agitators among their opponents. Ali Khan's mother being a Kurd, the son was held in great esteem and was implicitly obeyed by the people of Mah-Ku. They regarded him as a member of their own community and placed the utmost confidence in him.

[1 Refer to Glossary.]

[2 "He dwells in a mountain of which the inhabitants could not even pronounce the name 'Jannat' (Paradise) which is an Arabic word; how then could they understand its meaning? Imagine then what can happen in the matter of the essential truths!" ("Le Bayan Persan," vol. 4, p. 14.)]

Haji Mirza Aqasi had deliberately contrived to relegate the Báb to so remote, so inhospitable and dangerously situated a corner of the territory of the Shah, with the sole purpose of stemming the tide of His rising influence and of severing every tie that bound Him to the body of His disciples throughout the country. Confident that few, if any, would venture to penetrate that wild and turbulent region, occupied by so rebellious a people, he fondly imagined that this forced seclusion of his Captive from the pursuits and interests of His followers would gradually tend to stifle the Movement at its very birth and would lead to its final extinction.[1] He was soon made to realise, however, that he had gravely mistaken the nature of the Revelation of the Báb and had underrated the force of its influence. The turbulent spirits of this unruly people were soon subdued by the gentle manners of the Báb, and their hearts were softened

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by the ennobling influence of His love. Their pride was humbled by His unexampled modesty, and their unreasoning arrogance mellowed by the wisdom of His words. Such was the fervour which the Báb had kindled in those hearts that their first act, every morning, was to seek a place whence they could catch a glimpse of His face, where they could commune with Him and beseech His blessings upon their daily work. In cases of dispute, they would instinctively hasten to that spot and, with their gaze fixed upon His prison, would invoke His name and adjure one another to declare the truth. Ali Khan several times attempted to induce them to desist from this practice but found himself powerless to restrain their enthusiasm. He discharged his functions with the utmost severity and refused to allow any of the avowed disciples of the Báb to reside, even for one night, in the town of Mah-Ku.[2]

[1 "The country of the first minister on the Adhirbayjan frontier, this village was lifted out of obscurity under the administration of this minister and many citizens of Mah-Ku were raised to the highest offices in the state, because of their slavish attitude toward Haji Mirza Aqasi." (Journal Asiatique, 1866, tome 7, p. 356, note 1.)]

[2 "The Báb himself tells us how he spent his days in the prison in which he was held captive. His lamentations, so frequent in the Bayan, were, I believe, due to the discipline which, from time to time, grew more severe at the command from Tihran. All the historians, in fact, Babis as well as Moslem, tell us that in spite of the strict orders to keep the Báb from communicating with the outer world, the Báb received great numbers of disciples and strangers in his prison. (The author of Mutanabbiyyin writes: 'The Bábis from all parts of the earth went to Adhirbayjan on a pilgrimage to their chief.') "'Oh! How great is your blindness, O my children ! That which you do, you do believing to please me! And in spite of these verses which prove my being, these verses which flow from my power, the treasure of which is the very being of this personage (the Báb), in spite of these verses which come from his lips only by my permission, behold that, without any right whatsoever, you have placed him on the summit of a mountain whose inhabitants are not even worthy of mention. Close to him, which is close to me, there is no one except one of the Letters of the Living of my book. In his hands, which are my hands, there is not even a servant to light the lamp at night. And behold! The men who are upon the earth have been created only for his own existence: it is through his good will that has come all their joy and they do not give him even a light!' (Unite 2, porte 1.) "'The fruit of the religion of Islam is faith in the Manifestation (of the Báb) and behold they imprison him in Mah-Ku!' (Unite 2, porte 7.) 'All that belongs to the divinely Chosen One is in heaven. This solitary room (wherein I am) which has not even a door, is today the greatest of the gardens of Paradise, for the Tree of Truth is planted herein. All the atoms of which it is composed cry out, "In truth, there is no other God but God, and there is no other God beside me, the Lord of the Universe!"' (Unite 2, porte 16.) "'The fruit of this door is that men, seeing that it is permitted to do all that for the Bayan (that is, spend so much money) which is only the foreshadowing of Him whom God shall make manifest, must realize what should be done for Him whom God shall make manifest, when he will appear, so that he will be spared what is happening to me on this day. That is to say, that there are throughout the world many Qur'ans worth thousands of tumans, while He who has showered verses (the Báb) is imprisoned on a mountain, in a room built of bricks baked in the sun. And, notwithstanding, that room is the Arch itself (9th heaven, the abode of Divinity). Let this be an example to the Bayanis so that they may not act toward Him as the believers in the Qur'an have acted toward me.' (Unite 3, porte 19.)" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 365-367.) "All believe in Him, and still they have imprisoned him on a mountain! All are made glad in Him and they have abandoned him! No fire is fiercer for those who have acted thus than their very works; likewise for the believers no heaven is higher than their own faith!" ("Le Bayan Persan," vol. 1, pp. 126-127.)]

"For the first two weeks," Siyyid Husayn further related, "no one was permitted to visit the Báb. My brother and I alone were admitted to His presence. Siyyid Hasan would, every day, accompanied by one of the guards, descend to the town and purchase our daily necessities. Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi, who had arrived at Mah-Ku, spent the nights in a masjid outside the gate of the town. He acted as an intermediary between those of the followers of the Báb who occasionally visited Mah-Ku and Siyyid Hasan, my brother, who would in turn submit the petitions of the believers to their Master and would acquaint Shaykh Hasan with His reply.

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"One day the Báb charged my brother to inform Shaykh Hasan that He would Himself request Ali Khan to alter his attitude towards the believers who visited Mah-Ku and to abandon his severity. 'Tell him,' He added, 'I will to-morrow instruct the warden to conduct him to this place.' I was greatly surprised at such a message. How could the domineering and self-willed Ali Khan, I thought to myself, be induced to relax the severity of his discipline? Early the next day, the gate of the castle being still closed, we were surprised by a sudden knock at the door, knowing full well that orders had been given that no one was to be admitted before the hour of sunrise. We recognized the voice of Ali Khan, who seemed to be expostulating with the guards, one of whom presently came in and informed me that the warden of the castle insisted on being allowed admittance into the presence of the Báb. I conveyed his message and was commanded to usher him at once into His presence. As I was stepping out of the door of His antechamber, I found Ali Khan standing at the threshold in an attitude of complete submission, his face betraying an expression of unusual humility and wonder. His self-assertiveness and pride seemed to have entirely vanished. Humbly and with extreme courtesy, he returned my salute and begged me to allow him to enter the presence of the Báb. I conducted him to the room which my Master occupied. His limbs trembled as he followed me. An inner agitation which he could not conceal

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brooded over his face. The Báb arose from His seat and welcomed him. Bowing reverently, Ali Khan approached and flung himself at His feet. 'Deliver me,' he pleaded, 'from my perplexity. I adjure You, by the Prophet of God, Your illustrious Ancestor, to dissipate my doubts, for their weight has well-nigh crushed my heart. I was riding through the wilderness and was approaching the gate of the town, when, it being the hour of dawn, my eyes suddenly beheld You standing by the side of the river engaged in offering Your prayer. With outstretched arms and upraised eyes, You were invoking the name of God. I stood still and watched You. I was waiting for You to terminate Your devotions that I might approach and rebuke You for having ventured to leave the castle without my leave. In Your communion with God, You seemed so wrapt in worship that You were utterly forgetful of Yourself. I quietly approached You; in Your state of rapture, You remained wholly unaware of my presence. I was suddenly seized with great fear and recoiled at the thought of awakening You from Your ecstasy. I decided to leave You, to proceed to the guards and to reprove them for their negligent conduct. I soon found out, to my amazement, that both the outer and inner gates were closed. They were opened at my request, I was ushered into Your presence, and now find You, to my wonder, seated before me. I am utterly confounded. I know not whether my reason has deserted me.' The Báb answered and said: 'What you have witnessed is true and undeniable. You belittled this Revelation and have contemptuously disdained its Author. God, the All-Merciful, desiring not to afflict you with His punishment, has willed to reveal to your eyes the Truth. By His Divine interposition, He has instilled into your heart the love of His chosen One, and caused you to recognize the unconquerable power of His Faith.'"

This marvellous experience completely changed the heart of Ali Khan. Those words had calmed his agitation and subdued the fierceness of his animosity. By every means in his power, he determined to atone for his past behaviour. 'A poor man, a shaykh, he hastily informed the Báb, "is yearning to attain Your presence. He lives in a masjid outside the gate of Mah-Ku. I pray You that I myself be

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allowed to bring him to this place that he may meet You. By this act I hope that my evil deeds may be forgiven, that I may be enabled to wash away the stains of my cruel behaviour toward Your friends." His request was granted, whereupon he went straightway to Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi and conducted him into the presence of his Master.

Ali Khan set out, within the limits imposed upon him, to provide whatever would tend to alleviate the rigour of the captivity of the Báb. At night the gate of the castle was still closed; in the daytime, however, those whom the Báb desired to see were allowed to enter His presence, were able to converse with Him and to receive His instructions.

As He lay confined within the walls of the castle, He devoted His time to the composition of the Persian Bayan, the most weighty, the most illuminating and comprehensive of all His works.[1] In it He laid down the laws and precepts of His Dispensation, plainly and emphatically announced the advent of a subsequent Revelation, and persistently urged His followers to seek and find "Him whom God would make manifest,"[2] warning them lest they allow the mysteries and allusions in the Bayan to interfere with their recognition of His Cause.[3]

[1 So great multitudes continued to come from all quarters to visit the Báb, and the writings which emanated from His inspired pen during this period were so numerous that they amounted in all to more than a hundred thousand verses." (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid," p. 238.) "Behold, that about one hundred thousand lines similar to these verses have been scattered among men not to mention the prayers and questions of science and philosophy." ("Le Bayan Persan," vol. 1, p. 43.) "Consider also the Point of the Bayan. Those who are familiar with it know how great its importance was before the manifestation; but thereafter, and although it has revealed more than five hundred thousand verses upon diverse subjects, attacks are made upon it which are so violent that no writer would wish to relate them." ("Le Bayan Persan," vol. 3, p. 113.) "The verses which have rained from this Cloud of Divine mercy [the Báb] have been so abundant that none hath yet been able to estimate their number. A score of volumes are now available. How many still remain beyond our reach! How many have been plundered and have fallen into the hands of the enemy, the fate of which none knoweth!" (The "Kitáb-i-Iqan," pp. 182-3.)]

[2 Allusion to Bahá'u'lláh. "To Mulla Baqir, one of the Letters of the Living--the glory and favour of God be upon him--He [the Báb] addresses these words: 'Haply, in the eighth year, the Day of His Manifestation, thou mayest attain His presence.'" ("The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf," p. 129.)]

[3 "It is always in the same line of thought that when imprisoned in Mah-Ku he addressed a long letter to the Shah (Muhammad Shah) which we are about to analyze here. The document begins like nearly all the literary documents of the Báb with exalted praise of Divine Unity. The Báb continues in praising, as is fitting, Muhammad, the twelve Imams, who, as we shall see in the second volume of this work, are cornerstones of the Bayan edifice. 'I affirm,' he exclaims, 'that everything which is in this world of possibilities other than they, is, in comparison, as absolute nothingness, and if one could express it at all, all that is but a shadow of a shadow. I ask God to pardon me for assigning to them such limits. In truth, the highest degree of praise which one can confer upon them is to confess in their very presence that it is impossible to praise them.... "'This is why God has created me out of a clay from which no one else has been created. And God has given me what the learned, with all their science, are unable to understand, what no one can know unless he be completely humbled before my revelation.... Know then in truth, I am a pillar of the first word; whosoever knows that first word has known God wholly, and has entered into the universal good. Whosoever has refused to know it has remained in ignorance of God and has entered into the universal evil. "'I take God as witness, the Master of the two worlds, he who here below lives as long as nature permits and remains all his life the servant of God in all the works prescribed by true religion, if he entertains in his heart any enmity towards me, even so little that God alone might be aware of it, he is useless and God will prepare for him a punishment; he will be among those destined to die. God has determined the good which is implied in obedience to me, and all the evil which follows disobedience to my commands. In truth, today I see all that I have just said; I see the children of my love, the obedient ones in the highest heaven, while my enemies are thrust into the depths of eternal fire! "'By my life, I swear, if I had not been obliged to accept the station of the Hujjat of God, I would not have warned you!'... "It is evident that the Báb re-states his affirmations made in the Kitáb-i-baynu'i-Haramayn without addition or retraction. 'I am,' he says, 'the Point from which all being flows. I am that Face of God which never dies! I am that Light which is never extinguished! He who knows me is accompanied with all good, he who rejects me is pursued by evil. In truth, when Moses besought God that he might gaze upon Him, God radiated upon the mountain and as the hadith explains, "this light, I solemnly affirm was my light." Do you not see that the numerical value of the letters which make up my name is equal to the value of those which compose the word Rabb (Lord)? But has not God said in the Qur'an, "And when your Rabb radiates upon the mountain"?' "The Báb continues with a study of the prophecies contained in the Qur'an and in some of the hadiths concerning the manifestation of the Mihdi. He relates the celebrated hadith of Mufaddal which is one of the strongest arguments in favor of the truth of his mission. "It is said in the Qur'an, chapter 32, verse 4: 'From the heaven to the earth, He governeth all things; hereafter shall they come up to Him on a day whose length shall be a thousand of such years as ye reckon.' (Note: J. M. Rodwell's translation.) "On the other hand, the last Imam disappeared in the year 260 of the Hegira; it is at that time that the prophetic manifestation is completed and that 'The door of science is closed.' But Mufaddal questioned the Imam Sadiq as to the signs of the coming of the Mihdi and the Imam answered: 'He will appear in the year sixty and his name will be glorified.' This means in the year 1260 which is precisely the year of the manifestation of the Báb. "On this subject Siyyid Ali-Muhammad said: 'I declare before God I have never been taught and my education has been that of a merchant. In the year sixty, I felt my heart filled with potent verses, with true knowledge and with the testimony of God and I proclaimed my mission that very year.... That same year I sent you a messenger (Mulla Husayn-i-Bushru'i) carrying a Book, so that the government might fulfill its duty towards the Hujjat. But the will of God being that civil war should break out which would deafen the ears of men, blind their eyes and crush their hardened hearts, the messenger was not permitted to reach you. Those who considered themselves patriots intervened and, even today, after a lapse of four years, no one has told you the truth regarding this occurrence. And now as my time is near and my work is not human but divine, I have written briefly to you. "'If you could know how during these four years your officials and delegates have treated me! If you knew, the fear of God would choke you unless you would decide immediately to obey the Hujjat and make amends for the harm done. "'I was in Shiraz and I suffered from this evil and accursed governor such tyrannies that, if you knew even the least of them, your sense of justice would exact revenge, because his cruelty has drawn the punishment of heaven even unto the judgment day on the entire empire. This man, very proud and always inebriated, never gave an intelligent order. I was forced to leave Shiraz and was on my way to visit you in Tihran, but the late Mu'tamidu'd-Dawlih understood my mission and did what respect for God's elect demands. The ignorant of the city started an uprising and I, therefore, hid myself in the Palace of Sadr until the death of Mu'tamidu'd-Dawlih. May God reward him! There is no doubt that his salvation from eternal fire is due to what he has done for me. Then Gurgin forced me to travel during seven nights with five other men, exposed to every discomfort and brutality and deprived of every necessity. At last, the Sultan ordered that I should be taken to Mah-Ku without even providing me with a mount. I finally reached that village whose inhabitants are ignorant and coarse. I affirm before God, if you knew in what place I dwell, you would be the first to pity me. It is a dungeon on a mountain top and I owe that to your kindness! My companions are two men and four dogs. Imagine how I spend my days! I thank God as He should be thanked, and I declare before God that he who has thus imprisoned me is satisfied with himself. And if he only knew who it is he has so treated he would never again taste happiness! "'And now I reveal a secret to you! This man in imprisoning me has imprisoned all of the prophets, all the saints and him who is filled with divine wisdom. There is no sin which has not brought me affliction. When I learned of your command (to take me to Mah-Ku) I wrote to Sadr-i-A'zam: "Kill me and send my head wherever you please, because to live without sin among sinners does not please me." He did not reply and I am convinced that he did not understand the matter, because to sadden without reason the hearts of the believers is worse than to destroy the very house of God; but I declare that it is I who am today the house of God! Reward comes to him who is good to me; it is as though he were good to God, to His angels and to His saints. But perhaps God and His saints are too high above us for the good or evil of men to reach their threshold, but what happens to God, happens to me. I declare before God that he who has imprisoned me has imprisoned himself; only that which is the will of God can happen to me. Woe to him whose hand works evil! Blessed is he who scatters good! "'At last, to sum up this letter already too long: The late Mu'tamid, one night, dismissed all his guests to retire, even Haji Mulla Ahmad, and then he said to me: "I know very well that all I have acquired has been obtained through force and all that I have belongs to the Sahibu'z-Zaman. I therefore give it all to thee, thou art the Master of Truth and I ask of thee the privilege of ownership." He even took the ring off his finger and gave it to me. I took it and gave it back to him and I sent him away in possession of all his goods. God is witness of the truth of this testimony. I do not wish for a dinar of his wealth, that is for you to dispose of; but as, in any dispute, God requires the testimony of two witnesses, from the midst of all the learned, call Siyyid Yahya and Akhund Mulla Abdu'l-Khaliq. They will show you and will explain my verses and the truth of my testimony will appear. "'Of these two personages, one knew me before the manifestation, the other afterward; I have chosen them because they both know me well!' "The letter ends with cabalistic proofs and some hadiths. It is clear therefore that the Báb was very unhappy in his prison. He evidently remained there a long time, as the document which we have quoted dates back to 1264, and the execution of the martyr took place only on the twenty-seventh of Sha'ban of the year 1266 (July 8, 1850)." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 367-373.)]

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I have heard Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi bear witness to the following: "The voice of the Báb, as He dictated the teachings and principles of His Faith, could be clearly heard by those who were dwelling at the foot of the mountain. The melody of His chanting, the rhythmic flow of the verses which streamed from His lips caught our ears and penetrated into our very souls. Mountain and valley re-echoed the majesty of His voice. Our hearts vibrated in their depths to the appeal of His utterance."[1]

[1 This is the prayer which the Báb Himself quotes in the "Dalia'il-i-Sab'ih" as His supplication during the months of His captivity in the castle of Mah-Ku: "O my God! Grant to him, to his descendants, to his family, to his friends, to his subjects, to his relatives and all the inhabitants of the earth the light which will clarify their vision and facilitate their task; grant that they may partake of the noblest works here and hereafter! "In truth, nothing is impossible to Thee. "O my God! give him the power to bring about a revival of Thy religion and give life by him to what Thou hast changed in Thy Book. Manifest through him Thy new commandments so that through him Thy religion may blossom again! Put into his hands a new Book, pure and holy, that this Book may be free from all doubt and uncertainty and that no one may be able to alter or destroy it. "O my God! Dispel through Thy splendor all darkness and through his evident power do away with the antiquated laws. By his preeminence ruin those who have not followed the ways of God. Through him destroy all tyrants, put an end, through his sword, to all discord; annihilate, through his justice, all forms of oppression; render the rulers obedient to his commandments; subordinate all the empires of the world to his empire! "O my God! Humble everyone who desires to humble him; destroy all his enemies; deny anyone who denies him and confuse anyone who spurns the truth, resists his orders, endeavors to darken his light and blot his name!" The Báb then adds these words: "Repeat these benedictions often and, if time to recite them all be lacking, do not fail to say at least the last. Be awake on the day of the apparition of Him whom God will manifest because this prayer has come down from heaven for Him, although I hope no sorrow awaits Him; I have taught the believers in my religion never to rejoice over the misfortune of anyone. It is possible therefore that at the time of the appearance of the Sun of Truth no suffering may fall upon Him." ("Le Livre des Sept Preuves," translation of A. L. M. Nicolas, pp. 64-65.)]

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The gradual relaxation of the stern discipline imposed upon the Báb encouraged an increasing number of His disciples from the different provinces of Persia to visit Him in the castle of Mah-Ku. An unceasing stream of eager and devout pilgrims was directed to its gates through the gentleness and leniency of Ali Khan.[1] After a stay of three days, they would invariably be dismissed by the Báb, with instructions to return to their respective fields of service and to resume their labours for the consolidation of His Faith. Ali

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Khan himself never failed to pay his respects to the Báb each Friday, and to assure Him of his unswerving loyalty and devotion. He often presented Him with the rarest and choicest fruit available in the neighbourhood of Mah-Ku, and would continually offer Him such delicacies as he thought would prove agreeable to His taste and liking.

[1 "L'auteur du Mutanabiyyin ecrit: 'Les Babi de toutes les parties de la terre se rendaient en Adhirbayjan, en pelerinage aupres de leur chef.'" (Prince Ali-Quli Mirza, I'tidadu's-Saltanih being the author.) (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 365, note 227.)]

In this manner the Báb spent the summer and autumn within the walls of that castle. A winter followed of such

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exceptional severity that even the copper implements were affected by the intensity of the cold. The beginning of that season coincided with the month of Muharram of the year 1264 A.H.[1] The water which the Báb used for His ablutions was of such icy coldness that its drops glistened as they froze upon His face. He would invariably, after the termination of each prayer, summon Siyyid Husayn to His presence and would request him to read aloud to Him a passage from the Muhriqu'l-Qulub, a work composed by the late Haji Mulla Mihdi, the great-grandfather of Haji Mirza Kamalu'd-Din-i-Naraqi, in which the author extols the virtues, laments the death, and narrates the circumstances of the martyrdom of the Imam Husayn. The recital of those sufferings would provoke intense emotion in the heart of the Báb. His tears would keep flowing as He listened to the tale of the unutterable indignities heaped upon him, and of the agonising pain which he was made to suffer at the hands of a perfidious enemy. As the circumstances of that tragic life were unfolded before Him, the Báb was continually reminded of that still greater tragedy which was destined to signalise the advent of the promised Husayn. To Him those past atrocities were but a symbol which foreshadowed the bitter afflictions which His own beloved Husayn was soon to suffer at the hands of His countrymen. He wept as He pictured in His mind those calamities which He who was to be made manifest was predestined to suffer, calamities such as the Imam Husayn, even in the midst of his agonies, was never made to endure.[2]

[1 December 9, 1847-January 8, 1848 A.D.]

[2 "During his sojourn in Mah-Ku, the Báb composed a great number of works amongst the most important of which may be especially mentioned the Persian Bayan and the Seven Proofs, (Dala'il-i-Sab'ih) both of which contain ample internal evidence of having been written at this period. Indeed, if we may credit a statement made in the Tarikh-i-Jadid, on the authority of Mirza Abdu'l-Vahhab, the various writings of the Báb, current in Tabriz alone, amounted in all to not less than a million verses!" ("A Traveller's Narrative" Note L, p. 200.) Regarding the "Dala'il-i-Sab'ih," Nicolas writes as follows: "'The Book of Seven Proofs' is the most important of the polemical works from the pen of Siyyid Ali-Muhammad, dit le Bab." (Preface, page 1.) "His correspondent evidently asked him for the proofs of his mission and his answer is admirable for its precision and clearness. It rests upon two verses of the Qur'an; according to the first, no one can reveal verses even though assisted by the entire world of men and evil spirits; according to the second, no one can understand the meaning of the verses of the Qur'an except God, and men of solid learning." (Preface, p. 5.) "Clearly the arguments of the Báb are new and original and one can see, by this brief reference, of what profound interest must be his literary work. The scope of my work does not permit me to expound, even briefly, the principal dogmas of a bold doctrine the form of which is both brilliant and attractive. I hope to do so in the future but I wish to make another comment upon the 'Book of the Seven Proofs': toward the end of his book, the Báb speaks of the miracles which have accompanied his manifestation. This will probably astonish the readers, as we have seen the new apostle deny clearly the truth of the physical miracles which the Muhammadan imagination attributes to Muhammad. He affirms that, for himself as well as for the Arabian Prophet, the only proof of his mission was the outpouring of the verses. He offers no other proof, not because he is unable to perform miracles, (God being all-powerful) but simply because physical marvels are of inferior order in comparison with spiritual miracles." (Preface, pp. 12-13.) ("Le Livre des Sept Preuves," translation by A. L. M. Nicolas.)]

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In one of His writings revealed in the year '60 A.H., the Báb declares the following: "The spirit of prayer which animates My soul is the direct consequence of a dream which I had in the year before the declaration of My Mission. In My vision I saw the head of the Imam Husayn, the Siyyidu'sh-Shuhada', which was hanging upon a tree. Drops of blood dripped profusely from His lacerated throat. With feelings of unsurpassed delight, I approached that tree and, stretching forth My hands, gathered a few drops of that sacred blood, and drank them devoutly. When I awoke, I felt that the Spirit of God had permeated and taken possession of My soul. My heart was thrilled with the joy of His Divine presence, and the mysteries of His Revelation were unfolded before My eyes in all their glory."

No sooner had Muhammad Shah condemned the Báb to captivity amid the mountain fastnesses of Adhirbayjan than he became afflicted with a sudden reverse of fortune, such as he had never known before and which struck at the very foundations of his State. Appalling disaster surprised his forces that were engaged in maintaining internal order throughout the provinces.[1] The standard of rebellion was

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hoisted in Khurasan, and so great was the consternation provoked by that rising that the projected campaign of the Shah to Hirat was immediately abandoned. Haji Mirza Aqasi's recklessness and prodigality had fanned into flame the smouldering fires of discontent, had exasperated the masses and encouraged them to stir up sedition and mischief. The most turbulent elements in Khurasan that inhabited the regions of Quchan, Bujnurd, and Shiravan leagued themselves with the Salar, son of the Asifu'd-Dawlih, the elder maternal uncle of the Shah and governor of the province, and repudiated the authority of the central government. Whatever forces were despatched from the capital met with immediate defeat at the hands of the chief instigators of the rebellion. Ja'far-Quli Khan-i-Namdar and Amir Arslan Khan, son of the Salar, who conducted the operations against the forces of the Shah, displayed the utmost cruelty and, having repulsed the attacks of the enemy, mercilessly put their captives to death.

[1 "The province had been for some years the scene of serious uprisings. At the end of 1844 or at the beginning of 1845, the governor of Bujnurd had revolted against the authority of the Shah and had made an alliance with the Turkomans against Persia. The Prince Asifu'd-Dawlih, governor of Khurasan, asked the capital for assistance. The general Khan Baba Khan, commander-in-chief of the Persian army, was ordered to send a thousand men against the rebels but the scarcity of public funds prevented the expedition. The Shah, therefore, planned to head personally a campaign in the spring. The preparations began immediately. Soon ten battalions, of one thousand men each, were ready awaiting the arrival of Prince Hamzih Mirza, appointed general-in-chief of the expedition. All of a sudden, the governor of Khurasan, Asifu'd-Dawlih, brother of the King's mother, feeling that his security was threatened by the suspicions of the authorities at Tihran, arrived at the Court humbly to protest at the feet of the King and to assure him of his complete devotion, and demand that his defamers be punished. "It so happened that the principal one among his adversaries was Haji Mirza Aqasi, the all-powerful prime minister. A long trial took place which ended with the defeat of the governor and he was ordered to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca with the mother of the King. "The son of Asifu'd-Dawlih, Salar, guardian of the mosque at Mashhad, wealthy in his own right, confident because of his alliance with the chief Kurd, Ja'far-Quli Khan, Ilkhahni of the tribe of Qajar, assumed a hostile attitude. Thereupon 3000 men and 12 pieces of artillery were sent in retaliation and the government of Khurasan was given into the hands of Hamzih Mirza. "The news that Ja'far-Quli Khan, heading a large troop of cavalry, had attacked the royal expedition, caused five more regiments and eighteen additional field pieces to be sent. On the twenty-eighth of October, 1847, this uprising was completely crushed, through the victory of Shah-rud (September 15) and the defeat and flight of Ja'far-Quli-Khan and of Salar." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 257-258.)]

Mulla Husayn was at that time residing at Mashhad,[1] and was endeavouring, despite the tumult which that revolt had occasioned, to spread the knowledge of the new Revelation. No sooner had he discovered that the Salar, in his desire to extend the scope of the rebellion, had determined to approach him and obtain his support, than he promptly decided to leave the city in order to avoid implicating himself

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self in the plots of that proud and rebellious chief. In the dead of night, with only Qambar-'Ali as his attendant, he proceeded on foot in the direction of Tihran, from which place he was determined to visit Adhirbayjan, where he hoped to meet the Báb. His friends, when they learned of the manner of his departure, immediately provided whatever would be conducive to the comforts of his long and arduous journey and hastened to overtake him. Mulla Husayn declined their help. "I have vowed," he said, "to walk the whole distance that separates me from my Beloved. I shall not relax in my resolve until I shall have reached my destination." He even tried to induce Qambar-'Ali to return to Mashhad, but was finally obliged to yield to his entreaty to allow him to act as his servant throughout his pilgrimage to Adhirbayjan.

[1 "Mashhad is the greatest place of pilgrimage in all Persia, Karbila being, as everyone knows in Ottoman territory. It is in Mashhad that the holy shrine of the Imam Rida is located. I shall not enlarge upon the hundreds of miracles that have taken place and still take place at this shrine; it is enough to know that every year thousands of pilgrims visit the tomb and return home only after the shrewd exploiters of that productive business have separated them from their last penny. The stream of gold flows on and on for the benefit of the greedy officials; but these officials need the cooperation of many partners to catch their innumerable dupes in their nets. This is, without doubt, the best organized industry in Persia. If one half of the city derives its living from the Mosque, the other half is likewise keenly interested in the great concourse of pilgrims. The merchants, the restaurant and hotel keepers, even the young women who find among the visitors an abundant supply of 'husbands for a day'! "All these people were naturally allied against a missionary whose teachings were threatening their livelihood. To denounce these abuses in any other city was tolerable but it was quite improper to denounce them where everyone of every class was thriving upon them. The Imam Mihdi had undoubtedly the right to come but he certainly was a public nuisance. It may have been very thrilling to undertake with him the conquest of the world, but there was fatigue, risk and danger in the enterprise while now they were enjoying perfect peace in a fine city where one could earn a living with ease and security." (Ibid., pp. 258-259.)]

On his way to Tihran, Mulla Husayn was enthusiastically greeted by the believers in the different towns through which he passed. They addressed to him the same request and received from him the same reply. I have heard the following testimony from the lips of Aqay-i-Kalim: "When Mulla Husayn arrived at Tihran, I, together with a large number of believers, went to visit him. He seemed to us the very embodiment of constancy, of piety and virtue. He inspired us with his rectitude of conduct and passionate loyalty. Such were the force of his character and the ardour of his faith that we felt convinced that he, unaided and alone, would be capable of achieving the triumph of the Faith of God." He was, with secrecy, ushered into the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, and, soon after his interview, proceeded to Adhirbayjan.

The night before his arrival at Mah-Ku, which was the eve of the fourth Naw-Ruz after the declaration of the

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Mission of the Báb, and which fell in that year, the year 1264 A.H.,[1] on the thirteenth of the month of Rabi'u'th-Thani, Ali Khan dreamed a dream. "In my sleep," he thus relates his story, "I was startled by the sudden intelligence that Muhammad, the Prophet of God, was soon to arrive at Mah-Ku, that He was to proceed directly to the castle in order to visit the Báb and to offer Him His congratulations on the advent of the Naw-Ruz festival. In my dream, I ran out to meet Him, eager to extend to so holy a Visitor the expression of my humble welcome. In a state of indescribable gladness, I hastened on foot in the direction of the river, and as I reached the bridge, which lay at a distance of a maydan [2] from the town of Mah-Ku, I saw two men advancing towards me. I thought one of them to be the Prophet Himself, while the other who walked behind Him I supposed to be one of His distinguished companions. I hastened to throw myself at His feet, and was bending to kiss the hem of His robe, when I suddenly awoke. A great joy had flooded my soul. I felt as if Paradise itself, with all its delights, had been crowded into my heart. Convinced of the reality of my vision, I performed my ablutions, offered my prayer, arrayed myself in my richest attire, anointed myself with perfume, and proceeded to the spot where, the night before in my dream, I had gazed upon the countenance of the Prophet. I had instructed my attendants to saddle three of my best and swiftest steeds and to conduct them immediately to the bridge. The sun had just risen when, alone and unescorted, I walked out of the town of Mah-Ku in the direction of the river. As I approached the bridge, I discovered, with a throb of wonder, the two men whom I had seen in my dream walking one behind the other, and advancing towards me. Instinctively I fell at the feet of the one whom I believed to be the Prophet, and devoutly kissed them. I begged Him and His companion to mount the horses which I had prepared for their entry into Mah-Ku. 'Nay,' was His reply, 'I have vowed to accomplish the whole of my journey on foot. I will walk to the summit of this mountain and will there visit your Prisoner.'"

[1 1848 A.D.]
[2 See Glossary.]

This strange experience of Ali Khan brought about a

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deepening of reverence in his attitude towards the Báb. His faith in the potency of His Revelation became even greater, and his devotion to Him was vastly increased. In an attitude of humble surrender, he followed Mulla Husayn until they reached the gate of the castle. As soon as the eyes of Mulla Husayn fell upon the countenance of his Master, who was seen standing at the threshold of the gate, he halted instantly and, bowing low before Him, stood motionless by His side. The Báb stretched forth His arms and affectionately embraced him. Taking him by the hand, He conducted him to His chamber. He then summoned His friends into His presence and celebrated in their company the feast of Naw-Ruz. Dishes of sweetmeats and of the choicest fruits had been spread before Him. He distributed them among His assembled friends, and as He offered some of the quinces and apples to Mulla Husayn, He said: "These luscious fruits have come to us from Milan, the Ard-i-Jannat,[1] and have been specially plucked and consecrated to this feast by the Ismu'llahu'l-Fatiq, Muhammad-Taqi."

[1 Literally "Land of Paradise.]

Until that time no one of the disciples of the Báb but Siyyid Husayn-i-Yazdi and his brother had been allowed to spend the night within the castle. That day Ali Khan went to the Báb and said: "If it be Your desire to retain

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Mulla Husayn with You this night, I am ready to abide by Your wish, for I have no will of my own. However long You desire him to stay with You, I pledge myself to carry out Your command." The disciples of the Báb continued to arrive in increasing numbers at Mah-Ku, and were immediately and without the least restriction admitted to His presence.

One day, as the Báb, in the company of Mulla Husayn, was looking out over the landscape of the surrounding country from the roof of the castle, He gazed towards the west and, as He saw the Araxes winding its course far away below Him, turned to Mulla Husayn and said: "That is the river, and this is the bank thereof, of which the poet Hafiz has thus written: 'O zephyr, shouldst thou pass by the banks of the Araxes, implant a kiss on the earth of that valley and make fragrant thy breath. Hail, a thousand times hail, to thee, O abode of Salma! How dear is the voice of thy camel-drivers, how sweet the jingling of thy bells!'[1] The days of your stay in this country are approaching their end. But for the shortness of your stay, we would have shown you the 'abode of Salma,' even as we have revealed to your eyes the 'banks of the Araxes.'" By the "abode of Salma" the Báb meant the town of Salmas, which is situated in the neighbourhood of Chihriq and which the Turks designate as Salmas. Continuing His remarks, the Báb said: "It is the immediate influence of the Holy Spirit that causes words such as these to stream from the tongue of poets, the significance of which they themselves are oftentimes unable to apprehend. The following verse is also divinely inspired: 'Shiraz will be thrown into a tumult; a Youth of sugar-tongue will appear. I fear lest the breath of His mouth should agitate and upset Baghdad.' The mystery enshrined within this verse is now concealed; it will be revealed in the year after Hin."[2] The Báb subsequently quoted this well-known tradition: "Treasures lie hidden beneath the throne

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of God; the key to those treasures is the tongue of poets." He then, one after the other, related to Mulla Husayn those events which must needs transpire in the future, and bade him not to mention them to anyone.[3] "A few days after your departure from this place," the Báb informed him, "they will transfer Us to another mountain. Ere you arrive at your destination, the news of Our departure from Mah-Ku will have reached you."

[1 According to Haji Mu'inu's-Saltanih's narrative (pp. 67-8), Mirza Habib-i-Shirazi better known by the name of Qa'ini, one of the most eminent poets of Persia, was the first to sing the praise of the Báb and to extol the loftiness of His station. A manuscript copy of Qa'ini's poems, containing these verses, was shown to the author of the narrative. The following words, he says, were written at the head of the eulogy: 'In praise of the manifestation of the Siyyid-i-Bab.]

[2 See note 1, page 18.]

[1 In the "Dala'il-i-Sab'ih," the Báb reveals the following: "The hadith Adhirbayjan' referring to this matter says: 'The things which will happen in Adhirbayjan are necessary for us, nothing can prevent their occurrence. Remain therefore in your homes, but if you hear that an agitator has appeared then hasten towards him.' And the hadith continues, saying: 'Woe to the Arabs, for the civil war is near!' If, in speaking these last words, the Prophet had intended to refer to his own mission, his statement would have been vain and worthless." ("The Book of Seven Proofs," Nicolas' translation, p. 47.)]

The prediction which the Báb had uttered was promptly fulfilled. Those who had been charged to watch secretly the movements and conduct of Ali Khan submitted to Haji Mirza Aqasi a detailed report in which they expatiated upon his extreme devotion to his Prisoner and described such incidents as tended to confirm their statements. "Day and night," they wrote him, "the warden of the castle of Mah-Ku is to be seen associating with his captive in conditions of unrestrained freedom and friendliness. Ali Khan, who obstinately refused to wed his daughter with the heir to the throne of Persia, pleading that such an act would so infuriate the sunni relatives of his mother that they would unhesitatingly put him and his daughter to death, now with the keenest eagerness desires that same daughter to be espoused to the Báb. The latter has refused, but Ali Khan still persists in his entreaty. But for the prisoner's refusal, the nuptials of the maiden would have been already celebrated." Ali Khan had actually made such a request and had even begged Mulla Husayn to intercede in his behalf with the Báb but had failed to obtain His consent.

These malevolent reports had an immediate influence upon Haji Mirza Aqasi. Fear and resentment again impelled that capricious minister to issue a peremptory order for the transference of the Báb to the castle of Chihriq.

Twenty days after Naw-Ruz, the Báb bade farewell to the people of Mah-Ku, who, in the course of His nine months' captivity, had recognized to a remarkable degree the power

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of His personality and the greatness of His character. Mulla Husayn, who had already, at the bidding of the Báb, departed from Mah-Ku, was still in Tabriz when the news of his Master's predicted transference to Chihriq reached him. As the Báb bade His last farewell to Mulla Husayn, He addressed him in these words: "You have walked on foot all the way from your native province to this place. On foot you likewise must return until you reach your destination; for your days of horsemanship are yet to come. You are destined to exhibit such courage, such skill and heroism as shall eclipse the mightiest deeds of the heroes of old. Your daring exploits will win the praise and admiration of the dwellers in the eternal Kingdom. You should visit, on your way, the believers of Khuy, of Urumiyyih, of Maraghih, of Milan, of Tabriz, of Zanjan, of Qazvin, and of Tihran. To each you will convey the expression of My love and tender affection. You will strive to inflame their hearts anew with the fire of the love of the Beauty of God, and will endeavour to fortify their faith in His Revelation. From Tihran you should proceed to Mazindaran, where God's hidden treasure will be made manifest to you. You will be called upon to perform deeds so great as will dwarf the mightiest achievements of the past. The nature of your task will, in that place, be revealed to you, and strength and guidance will be bestowed upon you that you may be fitted to render your service to His Cause."

On the morning of the ninth day after Naw-Ruz, Mulla Husayn set forth, as bidden by his Master, on his journey to Mazindaran. To Qambar-'Ali the Báb addressed these parting words: "The Qambar-'Ali of a bygone age would glory in that his namesake has lived to witness a Day for which even He [1] who was the Lord of his lord sighed in vain; of which He, with keen longing, has spoken: 'Would that My eyes could behold the faces of My brethren who have been privileged to attain unto His Day!'"

[1 Reference to the Prophet Muhammad.]
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CHAPTER XIV
MULLA HUSAYN'S JOURNEY TO MAZINDARAN

ALI KHAN cordially invited Mulla Husayn to tarry a few days in his home before his departure from Mah-Ku. He expressed a keen desire to provide every facility for his journey to Mazindaran. The latter, however, refused to delay his departure or to avail himself of the means of comfort which Ali Khan had so devotedly placed at his disposal.

He, faithful to the instructions he had received, stopped at every town and village that the Báb had directed him to visit, gathered the faithful, conveyed to them the love, the greetings, and the assurances of their beloved Master, quickened afresh their zeal, and exhorted them to remain steadfast in His way. In Tihran he was again privileged to enter the presence of Bahá'u'lláh and to receive from His hands that spiritual sustenance which enabled him, with such undaunted courage, to brave the perils that so fiercely assailed the closing days of his life.

From Tihran Mulla Husayn proceeded to Mazindaran in eager expectation of witnessing the revelation of the hidden treasure promised to him by his Master. Quddus was at that time living in Barfurush in the home which had originally belonged to his own father. He freely associated with all classes of people, and by the gentleness of his character and the wide range of his learning had won the affection and unqualified admiration of the inhabitants of that town. Upon his arrival in that city, Mulla Husayn went directly to the home of Quddus and was affectionately received by him. Quddus himself waited upon his guest, and did his utmost to provide whatever seemed necessary for his comfort. With his own hands he removed the dust, and washed the blistered skin of his feet. He offered him the seat of honour in the company of his assembled friends, and introduced, with

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extreme reverence, each of the believers who had gathered to meet him.

On the night of his arrival, as soon as the believers who had been invited to dinner to meet Mulla Husayn had returned to their homes, the host, turning to his guest, enquired whether he would enlighten him more particularly regarding his intimate experiences with the Báb in the castle of Mah-Ku. "Many and diverse," replied Mulla Husayn, "were the things which I heard and witnessed in the course of my nine days' association with Him. He spoke to me of things relating both directly and indirectly to His Faith. He gave me, however, no definite directions as to the course I should pursue for the propagation of His Cause. All He told me was this: 'On your way to Tihran, you should visit the believers in every town and village through which you pass. From Tihran you should proceed to Mazindaran, for there lies a hidden treasure which shall be revealed to you, a treasure which will unveil to your eyes the character of the task you are destined to perform.' By His allusions I could, however dimly, perceive the glory of His Revelation and was able to discern the signs of the future ascendancy of His Cause. From His words I gathered that I should eventually be called upon to sacrifice my unworthy self in His path. For on previous occasions, whenever dismissing me from His presence, the Báb would invariably assure me that I should again be summoned to meet Him. This time, however, as He spoke to me His parting words, He gave me no such promise, nor did He allude to the possibility of my ever meeting Him again face to face in this world. 'The Feast of Sacrifice,' were His last words to me, 'is fast approaching. Arise and gird up the loin of endeavour, and let nothing detain you from achieving your destiny. Having attained your destination, prepare yourself to receive Us, for We too shall ere long follow you.'"

Quddus enquired whether he had brought with him any of his Master's writings, and, on being informed that he had none with him, presented his guest with the pages of a manuscript which he had in his possession, and requested him to read certain of its passages. As soon as he had read a page of that manuscript, his countenance underwent a

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sudden and complete change. His features betrayed an undefinable expression of admiration and surprise. The loftiness, the profundity--above all, the penetrating influence of the words he had read, provoked intense agitation in his heart and called forth the utmost praise from his lips. Laying down the manuscript, he said: "I can well realise that the Author of these words has drawn His inspiration from that Fountainhead which stands immeasurably superior to the sources whence the learning of men is ordinarily derived. I hereby testify to my whole-hearted recognition of the sublimity of these words and to my unquestioned acceptance of the truth which they reveal." From the silence which Quddus observed, as well as from the expression which his countenance betokened, Mulla Husayn concluded that no one else except his host could have penned those words. He instantly arose from his seat and, standing with bowed head at the threshold of the door, reverently declared: "The hidden treasure of which the Báb has spoken, now lies unveiled before my eyes. Its light has dispelled the gloom of perplexity and doubt. Though my Master be now hidden amid the mountain fastnesses of Adhirbayjan, the sign of His splendour and the revelation of His might stand manifest before me. I have found in Mazindaran the reflection of His glory."

How grave, how appalling the mistake of Haji Mirza Aqasi! This foolish minister had vainly imagined that by condemning the Báb to a life of hopeless exile in a remote and sequestered corner of Adhirbayjan, he would succeed in concealing from the eyes of his countrymen that Flame of God's undying Fire. Little did he perceive that by setting up the Light of God upon a hill, he was helping to diffuse its radiance and to proclaim its glory. By his own acts, by his amazing miscalculations, instead of hiding that heavenly Flame from the eyes of men, he gave it still further prominence and helped to excite its glow. How fair, on the other hand, was Mulla Husayn, and how keen and sure his judgment! Of those who had known and seen him, none could for one moment question the erudition of this youth, his charm, his high integrity and amazing courage. Had he, after the death of Siyyid Kazim, declared himself the promised

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Qa'im, the most distinguished among his fellow-disciples would have unanimously acknowledged his claim and submitted to his authority. Had not Mulla Muhammad-i-Mamaqani, that noted and learned disciple of Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa'i, after he was made acquainted in Tabriz by Mulla Husayn with the claims of the new Revelation, declared: "I take God as my witness! Had this claim which the Siyyid-i-Báb has made been advanced by this same Mulla Husayn I would, in view of his remarkable traits of character and breadth of knowledge, have been the first to champion his cause and to proclaim it to all people. As he, however, has chosen to subordinate himself to another person, I have ceased to have any confidence in his words and have refused to respond to his appeal." Had not Siyyid Muhammad-Baqir-i-Rashti, when he heard Mulla Husayn so ably resolve the perplexities which had long afflicted his mind, testified in such glowing terms to his high attainments: "I, who fondly imagined myself capable of confounding and silencing Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti, realised, when I first met and conversed with him who claims to be only his humble disciple, how grievously I had erred in my judgment. Such is the strength with which this youth seems endowed that if he were to declare the day to be night, I would still believe him able to deduce such proofs as would conclusively demonstrate, in the eyes of the learned divines, the truth of his statement."

On the very night he was brought in contact with the Báb, Mulla Husayn, though at first conscious of his own infinite superiority and predisposed to belittle the claims advanced by the son of an obscure merchant of Shiraz, did not fail to perceive, as soon as his Host had begun to unfold His theme, the incalculable benefits latent in His Revelation. He eagerly embraced His Cause and disdainfully abandoned whatever might hamper his own efforts for the proper understanding and the effective promotion of its interests. And when, in due course, Mulla Husayn was given the opportunity of appreciating the transcendent sublimity of the writings of Quddus, he, with his usual sagacity and unerring judgment, was likewise able to estimate the true worth and merit of those special gifts with which both the person and the utterance

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of Quddus were endowed. The vastness of his own acquired knowledge dwindled into insignificance before the all-encompassing, the God-given virtues which the spirit of this youth displayed. That very moment, he pledged his undying loyalty to him who so powerfully mirrored forth the radiance of his own beloved Master. He felt it to be his first obligation to subordinate himself entirely to Quddus, to follow in his footsteps, to abide by his will, and to ensure by every means in his power his welfare and safety. Until the hour of his martyrdom, Mulla Husayn remained faithful to his pledge. In the extreme deference which he henceforth showed to Quddus, he was solely actuated by a firm and unalterable conviction of the reality of those supernatural gifts which so clearly distinguished him from the rest of his fellow-disciples. No other consideration induced him to show such deference and humility in his behaviour towards one who seemed to be but his equal. Mulla Husayn's keen insight swiftly apprehended the magnitude of the power that lay latent in him, and the nobility of his character impelled him to demonstrate befittingly his recognition of that truth.

Such was the transformation wrought in the attitude of Mulla Husayn towards Quddus that the believers who gathered the next morning at his house were extremely surprised to find that the guest who the night before had occupied the seat of honour, and upon whom had been lavished such kindness and hospitality, had given his seat to his host and was now standing, in his place, at the threshold in an attitude of complete humility. The first words which, in the company of the assembled believers, Quddus addressed to Mulla Husayn were the following: "Now, at this very hour, you should arise and, armed with the rod of wisdom and of might, silence the host of evil plotters who strive to discredit the fair name of the Faith of God. You should face that multitude and confound their forces. You should place your reliance upon the grace of God, and should regard their machinations as a futile attempt to obscure the radiance of the Cause. You should interview the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama', that notorious and false-hearted tyrant, and should fearlessly disclose to his eyes the distinguishing features of this Revelation. From thence you should proceed to Khurasan. In the town

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of Mashhad, you should build a house so designed as both to serve for our private residence and at the same time afford adequate facilities for the reception of our guests. Thither we shall shortly journey, and in that house we shall dwell. To it you shall invite every receptive soul who we hope may be guided to the River of everlasting life. We shall prepare and admonish them to band themselves together and proclaim the Cause of God."

Mulla Husayn set out the next day at the hour of sunrise to interview the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama'. Alone and unaided, he sought his presence and conveyed to him, as bidden by Quddus, the Message of the new Day. With fearlessness and eloquence, he pleaded, in the midst of the assembled disciples, the Cause of his beloved Master, called upon him to demolish those idols which his own idle fancy had carved and to plant upon their shattered fragments the standard of Divine guidance. He appealed to him to disentangle his mind from the fettering creeds of the past, and to hasten, free and untrammelled, to the shores of eternal salvation. With characteristic vigour, he defeated every argument with which that specious sorcerer sought to refute the truth of the Divine Message, and exposed, by means of his unanswerable logic, the fallacies of every doctrine that he endeavoured to propound. Assailed by the fear lest the congregation of his disciples should unanimously rally round the person of Mulla Husayn, the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama' had recourse to the meanest of devices, and indulged in the most abusive language in the hope of safeguarding the integrity of his position. He hurled his calumnies into the face of Mulla Husayn, and, contemptuously ignoring the proofs and testimonies adduced by his opponent, confidently asserted, without the least justification on his part, the futility of the Cause he had been summoned to embrace. No sooner had Mulla Husayn realised his utter incapacity to apprehend the significance of the Message he had brought him than he arose from his seat and said: "My argument has failed to rouse you from your sleep of negligence. My deeds will in the days to come prove to you the power of the Message you have chosen to despise." He spoke with such vehemence and emotion that the Sa'idu'l-'Ulama' was utterly confounded.

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Such was the consternation of his soul that he was unable to reply. Mulla Husayn then turned to a member of that audience who seemed to have felt the influence of his words, and charged him to relate to Quddus the circumstances of this interview. "Say to him," he added: "'Inasmuch as you did not specifically command me to seek your presence, I have determined to set out immediately for Khurasan. I proceed to carry out in their entirety those things which you have instructed me to perform.'"

Alone and with a heart wholly detached from all else but God, Mulla Husayn set out on his journey to Mashhad. His only companion, as he trod his way to Khurasan, was the thought of accomplishing faithfully the wishes of Quddus, and his one sustenance the consciousness of his unfailing promise. He went directly to the home of Mirza Muhammad-Baqir-i-Qa'ini, and was soon able to buy, in the neighbourhood of that house in Bala-Khiyaban, a tract of land on which he began to erect the house which he had been commanded to build, and to which he gave the name of Babiyyih, a name that it bears to the present day. Shortly after it was completed, Quddus arrived at Mashhad and abode in that house. A steady stream of visitors, whom the energy and zeal of Mulla Husayn had prepared for the acceptance of the Faith, poured into the presence of Quddus, acknowledged the claim of the Cause, and willingly enlisted under its banner. The all-observing vigilance with which Mulla Husayn laboured to diffuse the knowledge of the new Revelation, and the masterly manner in which Quddus edified its ever-increasing adherents, gave rise to a wave of enthusiasm which swept over the entire city of Mashhad, and the effects of which spread rapidly beyond the confines of Khurasan. The house of Babiyyih was soon converted into a rallying centre for a multitude of devotees who were fired with an inflexible resolve to demonstrate, by every means in their power, the great inherent energies of their Faith.

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CHAPTER XV
TAHIRIH'S JOURNEY FROM KARBILA TO KHURASAN

AS THE appointed hour approached when, according to the dispensations of Providence, the veil which still concealed the fundamental verities of the Faith was to be rent asunder, there blazed forth in the heart of Khurasan a flame of such consuming intensity that the most formidable obstacles standing in the way of the ultimate recognition of the Cause melted away and vanished.[1] That fire caused such a conflagration in the hearts of men that the effects of its quickening power were felt in the most outlying provinces of Persia. It obliterated every trace of the misgivings and doubts which had still lingered in the hearts of the believers, and had hitherto hindered them from apprehending the full measure of its glory. The decree of the enemy had condemned to perpetual isolation Him who was the embodiment of the beauty of God, and sought thereby to quench for all time the flame of His love. The hand of Omnipotence, however, was busily engaged, at a time when the host of evil-doers were darkly plotting against Him, in confounding their schemes and in nullifying their efforts. In the easternmost province of Persia, the Almighty had, through the hand of Quddus, lit a fire that glowed with the hottest flame in the breasts of the people of Khurasan. And in Karbila, beyond the western confines of that land, He had kindled the light of Tahirih, a light that was destined to shed its radiance upon the whole of Persia. From the east

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and from the west of that country, the voice of the Unseen summoned those twin great lights to hasten to the land of Ta,[2] the day-spring of glory, the home of Bahá'u'lláh. He bade them each seek the presence, and revolve round the person of that Day-Star of Truth, to seek His advice, to reinforce His efforts, and to prepare the way for His coming Revelation.

[1 "It will surprise no one to learn," writes Clement Huart, "that the new sect spread more rapidly in Khurasan than it had anywhere else. Khurasan has been singularly fortunate in that she has always offered to new ideas the most propitious field. It is out of this province that came many evolutions which caused fundamental changes in the Muhammadan Orient. It is enough to recall that in Khurasan the idea of the Persian renovation originated after the Arabian conquest. It was there likewise that the army was organized which, under the orders of Abu-Muslim placed the Abbassides upon the throne of the Khalifs by overthrowing the aristocracy of Mecca which had occupied it since the accession of the Umayyads." ("La Religion de Bab," pp. 18-19.)]

[1 Tihran.]

In pursuance of the Divine decree, in the days when Quddus was still residing in Mashhad, there was revealed from the pen of the Báb a Tablet addressed to all the believers of Persia, in which every loyal adherent of the Faith was enjoined to "hasten to the Land of Kha," the province of Khurasan.[1] The news of this high injunction spread with marvellous rapidity and aroused universal enthusiasm. It reached the ears of Tahirih, who, at that time, was residing in Karbila and was bending every effort to extend the scope of the Faith she had espoused.[2] She had left her native town of Qazvin and had arrived, after the death of Siyyid Kazim, at that holy city, in eager expectation of witnessing the signs which the departed siyyid had foretold. In the foregoing pages we have seen how instinctively she had been led to discover the Revelation of the Báb and how spontaneously she had acknowledged its truth. Unwarned and uninvited, she perceived the dawning light of the promised Revelation breaking upon the city of Shiraz, and was prompted to pen her message and plead her fidelity to Him who was the Revealer of that light.

[1 "It is believed," writes Lieut.-Col. P. M. Sykes, "that the twelfth Imam never died, but in A.H. 260 (873) disappeared into miraculous concealment, from which he will reappear on the Day of Judgment in the mosque of Gawhar-Shad at Mashhad, to be hailed as the Mihdi or 'Guide' and to fill the earth with justice." ("A History of Persia," vol. 2, p. 45.)]

[2 According to Muhammad Mustafa (p. 108), Tahirih arrived in Karbila in the year 1263 A.H. She visited Kufih and the surrounding district, and was engaged in spreading the teachings of the Báb. She shared with the people whom she met the writings of her Master, among which was His commentary on the Surih of Kawthar.]

The Báb's immediate response to her declaration of faith which, without attaining His presence, she was moved to make, animated her zeal and vastly increased her courage. She arose to spread abroad His teachings, vehemently denounced the corruption and perversity of her generation, and fearlessly advocated a fundamental revolution in the habits

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and manners of her people.[1] Her indomitable spirit was quickened by the fire of her love for the Báb, and the glory of her vision was further enhanced by the discovery of the inestimable blessings latent in His Revelation. The innate fearlessness and the strength of her character were reinforced a hundredfold by her immovable conviction of the ultimate victory of the Cause she had embraced; and her boundless energy was revitalised by her recognition of the abiding value of the Mission she had risen to champion. All who met her in Karbila were ensnared by her bewitching eloquence and felt the fascination of her words. None could resist her charm; few could escape the contagion of her belief. All testified to the extraordinary traits of her character, marvelled at her amazing personality, and were convinced of the sincerity of her convictions.

[1 "It was in her own family that she heard, for the first time, of the preaching of the Báb at Shiraz and learned the meaning of his doctrines. This knowledge, even incomplete and imperfect as it was, pleased her extremely; she began to correspond with the Báb and soon espoused all his ideas. She did not content herself with a passive sympathy but confessed openly the faith of her Master. She denounced not only polygamy but the use of the veil and showed her face uncovered in public to the great amazement and scandal of her family and of all the sincere Mussulmans but to the applause of many other fellow citizens who shared her enthusiasm and whose numbers grew as a result of her preaching. Her uncle the doctor, her father the jurist, and her husband tried in every way to bring her back at least to a conduct more calm and more reserved. She rebuffed them with arguments inspired by a faith incapable of placid resignation." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 137-138.)]

She was able to win to the Cause the revered widow of Siyyid Kazim, who was born in Shiraz, and was the first among the women of Karbila to recognize its truth. I have heard Shaykh Sultan describe her extreme devotion to Tahirih, whom she revered as her spiritual guide and esteemed as her affectionate companion. He was also a fervent admirer of the character of the widow of the Siyyid, to whose gentleness of manner he often paid a glowing tribute. "Such was her attachment to Tahirih," Shaykh Sultan was often heard to remark, "that she was extremely reluctant to allow that heroine who was a guest in her house to absent herself, though it were for an hour, from her presence. So great an attachment on her part did not fail to excite the curiosity and quicken the faith of her women friends, both Persian and Arab, who were constant visitors in her home. In the first year of her acceptance of the Message, she suddenly

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fell ill, and after the lapse of three days, as had been the case with Siyyid Kazim, she departed this life."

Among the men who in Karbila eagerly embraced, through the efforts of Tahirih, the Cause of the Báb, was a certain Shaykh Salih, an Arab resident of that city who was the first to shed his blood in the path of the Faith, in Tihran. She was so profuse in her praise of Shaykh Salih that a few suspected him of being equal in rank to Quddus. Shaykh Sultan was also among those who fell under the spell of Tahirih. On his return from Shiraz, he identified himself with the Faith, boldly and assiduously promoted its interests, and did his utmost to execute her instructions and wishes. Another admirer was Shaykh Muhammad-i-Shibl, the father of Muhammad-Mustafa, an Arab native of Baghdad who ranked high among the ulamas of that city. By the aid of this chosen band of staunch and able supporters, Tahirih was able to fire the imagination and to enlist the allegiance of a considerable number of the Persian and Arab inhabitants of Iraq, most of whom were led by her to join forces with those of their brethren in Persia who were soon to be called upon to shape by their deeds the destiny, and to seal with their life-blood the triumph, of the Cause of God.

The Báb's appeal, which was originally addressed to His followers in Persia, was soon transmitted to the adherents of His Faith in Iraq. Tahirih gloriously responded. Her example was followed immediately by a large number of her faithful admirers, all of whom expressed their readiness to journey forthwith to Khurasan. The ulamas of Karbila sought to dissuade her from undertaking that journey. Perceiving immediately the motive which prompted them to tender her such advice, and aware of their malignant design, she addressed to each of these sophists a lengthy epistle in which she set forth her motives and exposed their dissimulation.[1]

[1 According to Samandar (manuscript, p. 9), the main reason for the agitation of the people of Karbila which induced them to accuse Tahirih before the governor of Baghdad was her bold action in disregarding the anniversary of the martyrdom of Husayn which was being commemorated in the early days of the month of Muharram in the house of the late Siyyid Kazim in Karbila, and in celebrating instead the anniversary of the birthday of the Báb, which fell on the first day of that month. She is reported to have asked her sister and relatives to discard their mourning garb and wear instead gay attire, in open defiance of the customs and traditions of the people on that occasion.]

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From Karbila she proceeded to Baghdad.[1] A representative delegation, consisting of the ablest leaders among the shi'ah, the sunni, the Christian and Jewish communities of that city, sought her presence and endeavoured to convince her of the folly of her actions. She was able, however, to silence their protestations, and astounded them with the force of her argument. Disillusioned and confused, they retired, deeply conscious of their own impotence.[2]

[1 According to Muhammad Mustafa (pp. 108-9), the following disciples and companions were with Tahirih when she arrived in Baghdad: Mulla Ibrahim-i-Mahallati, Shaykh Salih-i-Karimi, Siyyid Ahmad-i-Yazdi (father of Siyyid Husayn, the amanuensis of the Báb) Siyyid Muhammad-i-Bayigani, Shaykh Sultan-i-Karbila'i, the mother of Mulla Husayn and her daughter, the wife of Mirza Hadiy-i-Nahri and his mother. According to the "Kashfu'l-Ghita'" (p. 94), the mother and sister of Mulla Husayn were among the ladies and disciples who accompanied Tahirih on her journey from Karbila to Baghdad. On their arrival they took up their quarters in the house of Shaykh Muhammad-ibn-i-Shiblu'l-'Araqi, after which they were transferred, by order of the governor of Baghdad to the house of the Mufti Siyyid Mahmud-i-Aluri, the well known author of the celebrated commentary entitled "Ruhu'-Ma'ani," pending the receipt of fresh instructions from the Sultan in Constantinople. The "Kashfu'l-Ghita'" further adds (p. 96) that in the "Ruhu'l-Ma'ani" references are reported to have been found to the conversations which the Mufti had had with Tahirih, to whom, it is reported, he addressed these words: "O Qurratu'l-'Ayn! I swear by God that I share in thy belief. I am apprehensive, however, of the swords of the family of Uthman." "She proceeded directly to the house of the chief Mufti, before whom she defended her creed and her conduct with great ability. The question whether she should be allowed to continue her teaching was submitted first to the Pasha of Baghdad and then to the central government, the result being that she was ordered to leave Turkish territory." ("A Traveller's Narrative," Note Q. p. 310.)]

[2 According to Muhammad Mustafa (p. 111), the following accompanied Tahirih from Khaniqin (on the Persian frontier) to Kirmanshah: Shaykh Salih-i-Karimi, Shaykh Muhammad-i-Shibl, Shaykh Sultan-i-Karbila'i, Siyyid Ahmad-i-Yazdi, Siyyid Muhammad-i-Bayigani, Siyyid Muhsin-i-Kazimi, Mulla Ibrahim-i-Mahallati, and about thirty Arab believers. They tarried three days in the village of Karand, where Tahirih fearlessly proclaimed the teachings of the Báb and was highly successful in awakening the interest of all classes of people in the new Revelation. Twelve hundred persons are reported to have volunteered to follow her and do her bidding.]

The ulamas of Kirmanshah respectfully received her and presented her with various tokens of their esteem and admiration.[1] In Hamadan,[2] however, the ecclesiastical leaders

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of the city were divided in their attitude towards her. A few sought privily to provoke the people and undermine her prestige; others were moved to extol openly her virtues and applaud her courage. "It behoves us," these friends declared from their pulpits, "to follow her noble example and reverently to ask her to unravel for us the mysteries of the Qur'an and to resolve the intricacies of the holy Book. For our highest attainments are but a drop compared to the immensity of her knowledge." While in Hamadan, Tahirih was met by those whom her father, Haji Mulla Salih, had sent from Qazvin to welcome and urge her, on his behalf, to visit her native town and prolong her stay in their midst.[3] She reluctantly consented. Ere she departed, she bade those who had accompanied her from Iraq to proceed to their native land. Among them were Shaykh Sultan, Shaykh Muhammad-i-Shibl and his youthful son, Muhammad-Mustafa, Abid and his son Nasir, who subsequently was given the name of Haji Abbas. Those of her companions who had been living in Persia, such as Siyyid Muhammad-i-Gulpaygani, whose pen-name was Ta'ir, and whom Tahirih had styled Fata'l-Malih, and others were also bidden to return to their homes. Only two of her companions remained with her--Shaykh Salih and Mulla Ibrahim-i-Gulpaygani, both of whom quaffed the cup of martyrdom, the first in Tihran and the other in Qazvin. Of her own kinsmen, Mirza Muhammad-'Ali, one of the Letters of the Living and her brother-in-law, and Siyyid Abdu'l-Hadi, who had been betrothed to her daughter, travelled with her all the way from Karbila to Qazvin.

[1 According to Muhammad Mustafa (p. 112), an enthusiastic reception was accorded her on her arrival in Kirmanshah. Princes, ulamas, and government officials hastened to visit her, and were greatly impressed by her eloquence, her fearlessness, her extensive knowledge, and the force of her character. The commentary on the Surih of Kawthar, revealed by the Báb, was publicly read and translated. The wife of the Amir, the governor of Kirmanshah, was among the ladies who met Tahirih and heard her expound the sacred teachings. The Amir himself, together with his family, acknowledged the truth of the Cause and testified to their admiration and love for Tahirih. According to Muhammad Mustafa (p. 116), Tahirih tarried two days in the village of Sahnih on her way to Hamadan, where she was accorded a reception no less enthusiastic than the one which had greeted her in the village of Karand. The inhabitants of the village begged to be allowed to gather together the members of their community and to join hands with the body of her followers for the spread and promotion of the Cause. She advised them, however, to remain, extolled and blessed their efforts, and proceeded to Hamadan.]

[2 According to the "Memorials of the Faithful" (p. 275), Tahirih tarried two months in Hamadan.]

[3 According to Muhammad Mustafa (p. 117), among those who had been sent from Qazvin were the brothers of Tahirih.]

On her arrival at the house of her father, her cousin, the haughty and false-hearted Mulla Muhammad, son of Mulla Taqi, who esteemed himself, next to his father and his uncle, the most accomplished of all the mujtahids of Persia, sent certain ladies of his own household to persuade Tahirih to transfer her residence from her father's house to his own. "Say to my presumptuous and arrogant kinsman," was her bold reply to the messengers: "'If your desire had really been to be a faithful mate and companion to me, you would have hastened to meet me in Karbila and would on foot have

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guided my howdah+F1 all the way to Qazvin. I would, while journeying with you, have aroused you from your sleep of heedlessness and would have shown you the way of truth. But this was not to be. Three years have elapsed since our separation. Neither in this world nor in the next can I ever be associated with you. I have cast you out of my life for ever.'"

So stern and unyielding a reply roused both Mulla Muhammad and his father to a burst of fury. They immediately pronounced her a heretic, and strove day and night to undermine her position and to sully her fame. Tahirih vehemently defended herself and persisted in exposing the depravity of their character.[2] Her father, a peace-loving and fair-minded

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man, deplored this acrimonious dispute and endeavoured to bring about a reconciliation and harmony between them, but failed in his efforts.

[1 See Glossary.]

[2 "How could it be that a woman, in Persia where woman is considered so weak a creature, and above all in a city like Qazvin, where the clergy possessed so great an influence, where the Ulamas, by their number and importance attracted the attention of the government and of the people,--how could it be that there, precisely under such untoward circumstances, a woman could have organized so strong a group of heretics? There lies a question which puzzles even the Persian historian, Sipihr, for such an occurrence was without precedent!" (Journal Asiatique, 1866, tome 7, p. 474.)]

This state of tension continued until the time when a certain Mulla Abdu'llah, a native of Shiraz and fervent admirer of both Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim, arrived in Qazvin at the beginning of the month of Ramadan, in the year 1263 A.H.[1] Subsequently, in the course of his trial in Tihran, in the presence of the Sahib-Divan, this same Mulla Abdu'llah recounted the following: "I have never been a convinced Babi. When I arrived at Qazvin, I was on my way to Mah-Ku, intending to visit the Báb and investigate the nature of His Cause. On the day of my arrival at Qazvin, I became aware that the town was in a great state of turmoil. As I was passing through the market-place, I saw a crowd of ruffians who had stripped a man of his head-dress and shoes, had wound his turban around his neck, and by it were dragging him through the streets. An angry multitude was tormenting him with their threats, their blows and curses. 'His unpardonable guilt,' I was told in answer to my enquiry, 'is that he has dared to extol in public the virtues of Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim. Accordingly, Haji Mulla Taqi, the Hujjatu'l-Islam, has pronounced him a heretic and decreed his expulsion from the town.'"

[1 August 13-September 12, 1847 A.D.]

I was amazed at the explanation given me. How could a shaykhi, I thought to myself, be regarded as a heretic and be deemed worthy of such cruel treatment? Desirous of ascertaining from Mulla Taqi himself the truth of this report, I betook myself to his school and asked whether he had actually pronounced such a condemnation against him. 'Yes,' he bluntly replied, 'the god whom the late Shaykh Ahmad-i-Bahrayni worshipped is a god in whom I can never believe. Him as well as his followers I regard as the very embodiments of error.' I was moved that very moment to smite his face in the presence of his assembled disciples. I restrained myself, however, and vowed that, God willing, I would pierce his lips with my spear so that he would never be again able to utter such blasphemy.

"I straightway left his presence and directed my steps

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towards the market, where I bought a dagger and a spear-head of the sharpest and finest steel. I concealed them in my bosom, ready to gratify the passion that burned within me. I was waiting for my opportunity when, one night, I entered the masjid in which he was wont to lead the congregation in prayer. I waited until the hour of dawn, at which time I saw an old woman enter the masjid, carrying with her a rug, which she spread over the floor of the mihrab.[1] Soon after, I saw Mulla Taqi enter alone, walk to the mihrab, and offer his prayer. Cautiously and quietly, I followed him and stood behind him. He was prostrating himself on the floor, when I rushed upon him, drew out my spear-head, and plunged it into the back of his neck. He uttered a loud cry. I threw him on his back and, unsheathing my dagger, drove it hilt-deep into his mouth. With the same dagger, I struck him at several places in his breast and side, and left him bleeding in the mihrab.

[1 See Glossary.]

"I ascended immediately the roof of the masjid and watched the frenzy and agitation of the multitude. A crowd rushed in and, placing him upon a litter, transported him to his house. Unable to identify the murderer, the people seized the occasion to gratify their basest instincts. They rushed at one another's throats, violently attacked and mutually accused one another in the presence of the governor. Finding out that a large number of innocent people had been gravely molested and thrown into prison, I was impelled by the voice of my conscience to confess my act. I accordingly besought the presence of the governor and said to him: 'If I deliver into your hands the author of this murder, will you promise me to set free all the innocent people who are suffering his place?' No sooner had I obtained from him the necessary assurance than I confessed to him that I had committed the deed. He was not disposed at first to believe me. At my request, he summoned the old woman who had spread the rug in the mihrab, but refused to be convinced by the evidence which she gave. I was finally conducted to the bedside of Mulla Taqi, who was on the point of death. As soon as he saw me, he recognized my features. In his agitation, he pointed with his finger to

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me, indicating that I had attacked him. He signified his desire that I be taken away from his presence. Shortly after, he expired. I was immediately arrested, was convicted of murder, and thrown into prison. The governor, however, failed to keep his promise and refused to release the prisoners."

The candour and sincerity of Mulla Abdu'llah greatly pleased the Sahib-Divan. He gave secret orders to his attendants to enable him to escape from prison. At the hour of midnight, the prisoner took refuge in the home of Rida Khan-i-Sardar, who had recently been married to the sister of the Sipah-Salar, and remained concealed in that house until the great struggle or Shaykh Tabarsi, when he determined to throw in his lot with the heroic defenders of the fort. He, as well as Rida Khan, who followed him to Mazindaran, quaffed eventually the cup of martyrdom.

The circumstances of the murder fanned to fury the wrath of the lawful heirs of Mulla Taqi, who now determined to wreak their vengeance upon Tahirih. They succeeded in having her placed in the strictest confinement in the house of her father, and charged those women whom they had selected to watch over her, not to allow their captive to leave her room except for the purpose of performing her daily ablutions. They accused her of really being the instigator of the crime. "No one else but you," they asserted, "is guilty of the murder of our father. You issued the order for his assassination." Those whom they had arrested and confined were conducted by them to Tihran and were incarcerated in the home of one of the kad-khudas [1] of the capital. The friends and heirs of Mulla Taqi scattered themselves in all directions, denouncing their captives as the repudiators of the law of Islam and demanding that they be immediately put to death.

[1 See Glossary.]

Bahá'u'lláh who was at that time residing in Tihran, was informed of the plight of these prisoners who had been the companions and supporters of Tahirih. As He was already acquainted with the kad-khuda in whose home they were incarcerated, He decided to visit them and intervene in their behalf. That avaricious and deceitful official, who was fully aware of the extreme generosity of Bahá'u'lláh, greatly exaggerated

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in the hope of deriving a substantial pecuniary advantage for himself, the misfortune that had befallen the unhappy captives. "They are destitute of the barest necessities of life," urged the kad-khuda. "They hunger for food, and their clothing is wretchedly scanty." Bahá'u'lláh extended immediate financial assistance for their relief, and urged the kad-khuda to relax the severity of the rule under which they were confined. The latter consented to relieve a few who were unable to support the oppressive weight of their chains, and for the rest did whatever he could to alleviate the rigour of their confinement. Prompted by greed, he informed his superiors of the situation, and emphasised the fact that both food and money were being regularly supplied by Bahá'u'lláh for those who were imprisoned in his house.

These officials were in their turn tempted to derive every possible advantage from the liberality of Bahá'u'lláh. They summoned Him to their presence, protested against His action, and accused Him of complicity in the act for which the captives had been condemned. "The kad-khuda," replied Bahá'u'lláh, "pleaded their cause before Me and enlarged upon their sufferings and needs. He himself bore witness to their innocence and appealed to Me for help. In return for the aid which, in response to his invitation, I was impelled to extend, you now charge Me with a crime of which I am innocent." Hoping to intimidate Bahá'u'lláh by threatening immediate punishment, they refused to allow Him to return to His home. The confinement to which He was subjected was the first affliction that befell Bahá'u'lláh in the path of the Cause of God; the first imprisonment He suffered for the sake of His loved ones. He remained in captivity for a few days, until Ja'far-Quli Khan, the brother of Mirza Aqa Khan-i-Nuri, who at a later time was appointed Grand Vazir of the Shah, and a number of other friends intervened in His behalf and, threatening the kad-khuda in severe a language, were able to effect His release. Those who had been responsible for His confinement had confidently hoped to receive, in return for His deliverance, the sum of one thousand tumans,[1] but they soon found out that they were forced to comply with the wishes of Ja'far-Quli Khan without

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the hope of receiving, either from him or from Bahá'u'lláh, the slightest reward. With profuse apologies and with the utmost regret, they surrendered their Captive into his hands.

[1 See Glossary.]

The heirs of Mulla Taqi were in the meantime bending every effort to avenge the blood of their distinguished kinsman. Unsatisfied with what they had already accomplished, they directed their appeal to Muhammad Shah himself, and endeavoured to win his sympathy to their cause. The Shah is reported to have returned this answer: "Your father, Mulla Taqi, surely could not have claimed to be superior to the Imam Ali, the Commander of the Faithful. Did not the latter instruct his disciples that, should he fall a victim to the sword of Ibn-i-Muljam, the murderer alone should, by his death, be made to atone for his act, that no one else but he should be put to death? Why should not the murder of your father be similarly avenged? Declare to me his murderer, and I will issue my orders that he be delivered into your hands in order that you may inflict upon him the punishment which he deserves."

The uncompromising attitude of the Shah induced them to abandon the hopes which they had cherished. They declared Shaykh Salih to be the murderer of their father, obtained his arrest, and ignominiously put him to death. He was the first to shed his blood on Persian soil in the path of the Cause of God; the first of that glorious company destined to seal with their life-blood the triumph of God's holy Faith. As he was being conducted to the scene of his martyrdom, his face glowed with zeal and joy. He hastened to the foot of the gallows and met his executioner as if he were welcoming a dear and lifelong friend. Words of triumph and hope fell unceasingly from his lips. "I discarded," he cried, with exultation, as his end approached, "the hopes and the beliefs of men from the moment I recognized Thee, Thou who art my Hope and my Belief!" His remains were interred in the courtyard of the shrine of the Imam-Zadih Zayd in Tihran.

The unsatiable hatred that animated those who had been responsible for the martyrdom of Shaykh Salih impelled them to seek additional instruments for the furtherance of their designs. Haji Mirza Aqasi, whom the Sahib-Divan had succeeded in convincing of the treacherous conduct of the heirs

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of Mulla Taqi, refused to entertain their appeal. Undeterred by his refusal, they submitted their case to the Sadr-i-Ardibili, a man notoriously presumptuous and one of the most arrogant among the ecclesiastical leaders of Persia. "Behold," they pleaded, "the indignity that has been inflicted upon those whose supreme function it is to keep guard over the integrity of the Law. How can you, who are its chief and illustrious exponent, allow so grave an affront to its dignity to remain unpunished? Are you really incapable of avenging the blood of that slaughtered minister of the Prophet of God? Do you not realise that to tolerate such a heinous crime would in itself unloose a flood of calumny against those who are the chief repositories of the teachings and principles of our Faith? Will not your silence embolden the enemies of Islam to shatter the structure which your own hands have reared? As a result, will not your own life be endangered?"

The Sadr-i-Ardibili was sore afraid, and in his impotence sought to beguile his sovereign. He addressed the following request to Muhammad Shah: "I would humbly implore your Majesty to allow the captives to accompany the heirs of that martyred leader on their return to Qazvin, that these may, of their own accord, forgive them publicly their action, and enable them to recover their freedom. Such a gesture on their part will considerably enhance their position and will win them the esteem of their countrymen." The Shah, wholly unaware of the mischievous designs of that crafty plotter, immediately granted his request, on the express condition that a written statement be sent to him from Qazvin assuring him that the condition of the prisoners after their freedom was entirely satisfactory, and that no harm was likely to befall them in the future.

No sooner were the captives delivered into the hands of the mischief-makers than they set about gratifying their feelings of implacable hatred towards them. On the first night after they had been handed over to their enemies, Haji Asadu'llah, the brother of Haji Allah-Vardi and paternal uncle of Muhammad-Hadi and Muhammad-Javad-i-Farhadi, a noted merchant of Qazvin who had acquired a reputation for piety and uprightness which stood as high as that of his illustrious brother, was mercilessly put to death. Knowing

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full well that in his own native town they would be unable to inflict upon him the punishment they desired, they determined to take his life whilst in Tihran in a manner that would protect them from the suspicion of murder. At the hour of midnight, they perpetrated the shameful act, and, the next morning, announced that illness had been the cause of his death. His friends and acquaintances, mostly natives of Qazvin, none of whom had been able to detect the crime that had extinguished such a noble life, accorded him a burial that befitted his station.

The rest of his companions, among whom were Mulla Tahir-i-Shirazi and Mulla Ibrahim-i-Mahallati, both of whom were greatly esteemed for their learning and character, were savagely put to death immediately after their arrival at Qazvin. The entire population, which had been sedulously instigated beforehand, clamoured for their immediate execution. A band of shameless scoundrels, armed with knives, swords, spears, and axes, fell upon them and tore them to pieces. They mutilated their bodies with such wanton barbarity that no fragment of their scattered members could be found for burial.

Gracious God! Acts of such incredible savagery have been perpetrated in a town like Qazvin, which prides itself on the fact that no less than a hundred of the highest ecclesiastical leaders of Islam dwell within its gates, and yet none could be found among all its inhabitants to raise his voice in protest against such revolting murders! No one seemed to question their right to perpetrate such iniquitous and shameless deeds. No one seemed to be aware of the utter incompatibility between such ferocious deeds committed by those who claimed to be the sole repositories of the mysteries of Islam, and the exemplary conduct of those who first manifested its light to the world. No one was moved to exclaim indignantly: "O evil and perverse generation! To what depths of infamy and shame you have sunk! Have not the abominations which you have wrought surpassed in their ruthlessness the acts of the basest of men? Will you not recognize that neither the beasts of the field nor any moving thing on earth has ever equalled the ferociousness of your acts? How long is your heedlessness to last? Is it not your

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belief that the efficacy of every congregational prayer is dependent upon the integrity of him who leads that prayer? Have you not again and again declared that no such prayer is acceptable in the sight of God until and unless the imam who leads the congregation has purged his heart from every trace of malice? And yet you deem those who instigate and share in the performance of such atrocities to be the true leaders of your Faith, the very embodiments of fairness and justice. Have you not committed to their hands the reins of your Cause and regarded them as the masters of your destinies?"

The news of this outrage reached Tihran and spread with bewildering rapidity throughout the city. Haji Mirza Aqasi vehemently protested. "In what passage of the Qur'an," he is reported to have exclaimed, "in which tradition of Muhammad, has the massacre of a number of people been justified in order to avenge the murder of a single person?" Muhammad Shah also expressed his strong disapproval of the treacherous conduct of the Sadr-i-Ardibili and his confederates. He denounced his cowardice, banished him from the capital, and condemned him to a life of obscurity in Qum. His degradation from office pleased immensely the Grand Vazir, who had hitherto laboured in vain to bring about his downfall, and whom his sudden removal from Tihran relieved of the apprehensions which the extension of his authority had inspired. His own denunciation of the massacre of Qazvin was prompted, not so much by his sympathy with the Cause of the defenceless victims, as by his hope of involving the Sadr-i-Ardibili in such embarrassments as would inevitably disgrace him in the eyes of his sovereign.

The failure of the Shah and of his government to inflict immediate punishment upon the malefactors encouraged them to seek further means for the gratification of their relentless hatred towards their opponents. They now directed their attention to Tahirih herself, and resolved that she should suffer at their hands the same fate that had befallen her companions. While still in confinement, Tahirih, as soon as she was informed of the designs of her enemies, addressed the following message to Mulla Muhammad, who had succeeded to the position of his father and was now recognized

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as the Imam-Jum'ih of Qazvin: "'Fain would they put out God's light with their mouths: but God only desireth to perfect His light, albeit the infidels abhor it.'[1] If my Cause be the Cause of Truth, if the Lord whom I worship be none other than the one true God, He will, ere nine days have elapsed, deliver me from the yoke of your tyranny. Should He fail to achieve my deliverance, you are free to act as you desire. You will have irrevocably established the falsity of my belief." Mulla Muhammad, recognising his inability to accept so bold a challenge, chose to ignore entirely her message, and sought by every cunning device to accomplish his purpose.

[1 Qur'an, 9:33.]

In those days, ere the hour which Tahirih had fixed for her deliverance had struck, Bahá'u'lláh signified His wish that she should be delivered from her captivity and brought to Tihran. He determined to establish, in the eyes of the adversary, the truth of her words, and to frustrate the schemes which her enemies had conceived for her death. Muhammad-Hadiy-i-Farhadi was accordingly summoned by Him and was entrusted with the task of effecting her immediate transference to His own home in Tihran. Muhammad-Hadi was charged to deliver a sealed letter to his wife, Khatun-Jan, and instruct her to proceed, in the guise of a beggar, to the house where Tahirih was confined; to deliver the letter into her hands; to wait awhile at the entrance of her house, until she should join her, and then to hasten with her and commit her to his care. "As soon as Tahirih has joined you," Bahá'u'lláh urged the emissary, "start immediately for Tihran. This very night, I shall despatch to the neighbourhood of the gate of Qazvin an attendant, with three horses, that you will take with you and station at a place that you will appoint outside the walls of Qazvin. You will conduct Tahirih to that spot, will mount the horses, and will, by an unfrequented route, endeavour to reach at daybreak the outskirts of the capital. As soon as the gates are opened, you must enter the city and proceed immediately to My house. You should exercise the utmost caution lest her identity be disclosed. The Almighty will assuredly guide your steps and will surround you with His unfailing protection."

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Fortified by the assurance of Bahá'u'lláh, Muhammad-Hadi set out immediately to carry out the instructions he had received. Unhampered by any obstacle, he, ably and faithfully, acquitted himself of his task, and was able to conduct Tahirih safely, at the appointed hour, to the home of his Master. Her sudden and mysterious removal from Qazvin filled her friends and foes alike with consternation. The whole night, they searched the houses and were baffled in their efforts to find her. The fulfilment of the prediction she had uttered astounded even the most sceptical among her opponents. A few were made to realise the supernatural character of the Faith she had espoused, and submitted willingly to its claims. Mirza Abdu'l-Vahhab, her own brother, acknowledged, that very day, the truth of the Revelation, but failed to demonstrate subsequently by his acts the sincerity of his belief.[1]

[1 According to the "Kashfu'l-Ghiti'" (p. 110), Mulla Husayn is reported by Mulla Ja'far-i-Va'iz-i-Qazvini to have met Tahirih in Qazvin at the home of Aqa Hadi, who is probably none other than Muhammad Hadiy-i-Farhadi, who was commissioned by Bahá'u'lláh to conduct Tahirih to Tihran. The meeting is stated to have taken place prior to the murder of Mulla Taqi.]

The hour which Tahirih had fixed for her deliverance found her already securely established under the sheltering shadow of Bahá'u'lláh. She knew full well into whose presence she had been admitted; she was profoundly aware of the sacredness of the hospitality she had been so graciously accorded.[1] As it was with her acceptance of the Faith proclaimed by the Báb when she, unwarned and unsummoned, had hailed His Message and recognized its truth, so did she perceive through her own intuitive knowledge the future glory of Bahá'u'lláh. It was in the year '60, while in Karbila, that she alluded in her odes to her recognition of the Truth He was to reveal. I have myself been shown in Tihran, in the

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home of Siyyid Muhammad, whom Tahirih had styled Fata'l-Malih, the verses which she, in her own handwriting, had penned, every letter of which bore eloquent testimony to her faith in the exalted Missions of both the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. In that ode the following verse occurs: "The effulgence of the Abha Beauty hath pierced the veil of night; behold the souls of His lovers dancing, moth-like, in the light that has flashed from His face!" It was her steadfast conviction in the unconquerable power of Bahá'u'lláh that prompted her to utter her prediction with such confidence, and to fling her challenge so boldly in the face of her enemies. Nothing short of an immovable faith in the unfailing efficacy of that power could have induced her, in the darkest hours of her captivity, to assert with such courage and assurance the approach of her victory.

[1 Abdu'l-Bahá relates, in the "Memorials of the Faithful" (p. 306), the circumstances of a visit paid by Vahid to Tahirih, while the latter was staying in the home of Bahá'u'lláh in Tihran. "Tahirih," He writes, "was listening from behind the veil to the utterances of Vahid, who was discoursing with fervour and eloquence on the signs and verses that bore witness to the advent of the new Manifestation. I was then a child and was sitting on her lap, as she followed the recital of the remarkable testimonies which flowed ceaselessly from the lips of that learned man. I well remember interrupted him, and, raising her voice, vehemently declared: 'O Yahya! Let deeds, not words, testify to thy faith, if thou art a man of true learning. Cease idly repeating the traditions of the past, for the day of service, of steadfast action, is come. Now is the time to show forth the true signs of God, to rend asunder the veils of idle fancy, to promote the Word of God, and to sacrifice ourselves in His path. Let deeds, not words, be our adorning.'"]

A few days after Tahirih's arrival at Tihran, Bahá'u'lláh decided to send her to Khurasan in the company of the believers who were preparing to depart for that province. He too had determined to leave the capital and take the same direction a few days later. He accordingly summoned Aqay-i-Kalim and instructed him to take immediately the necessary measures to ensure the removal of Tahirih, together with her woman attendant, Qanitih, to a place outside the gate of the capital, from whence they were, later on, to proceed to Khurasan. He cautioned him to exercise the utmost care and vigilance lest the guards who were stationed at the entrance of the city, and who had been ordered to refuse the passage of women through the gates without a permit, should discover her identity and prevent her departure.

I have heard Aqay-i-Kalim recount the following: "Putting our trust in God, we rode out, Tahirih, her attendant, and I, to a place in the vicinity of the capital. None of the guards who were stationed at the gate of Shimiran raised the slightest objection, nor did they enquire regarding our destination. At a distance of two farsangs [1] from the capital, we alighted in the midst of an orchard abundantly watered and situated at the foot of a mountain, in the centre of which was a house that seemed completely deserted. As I went about in search of the proprietor, I chanced to meet an old

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man who was watering his plants. In answer to my enquiry, he explained that a dispute had arisen between the owner and his tenants, as a result of which those who occupied the place had deserted it. 'I have been asked by the owner,' he added, 'to keep guard over this property until the settlement of the dispute.' I was greatly delighted with the information he gave me, and asked him to share with us our luncheon. When, later in the day, I decided to depart for Tihran, I found him willing to watch over and guard Tahirih and her attendant. As I committed them to his care, I assured him that I would either myself return that evening or send a trusted attendant whom I would follow the next morning with all the necessary requirements for the journey to Khurasan.

[1 See Glossary.]

"Upon my arrival at Tihran, I despatched Mulla Baqir, one of the Letters of the Living, together with an attendant, to join Tahirih. I informed Bahá'u'lláh of her safe departure from the capital. He was greatly pleased at the information I gave Him, and named that orchard 'Bagh-i-Jannat.'[1] 'That house,' He remarked, 'has been providentially prepared for your reception, that you may entertain in it the loved ones of God.'

[1 "Garden of Paradise."]

"Tahirih tarried seven days in that spot, after which she set out, accompanied by Muhammad-Hasan-i-Qazvini, surnamed Fata, and a few others, in the direction of Khurasan. I was commanded by Bahá'u'lláh to arrange for her departure and to provide whatever might be required for her journey."

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CHAPTER XVI
THE CONFERENCE OF BADASHT

SOON after Tahirih had started on her journey, Bahá'u'lláh instructed Aqay-i-Kalim to complete the necessary preparations for His contemplated departure for Khurasan. He committed to his care His family and asked him to provide whatever might be conducive to their well-being and safety.

When He arrived at Shah-Rud, He was met by Quddus, who had left Mashhad, where he had been residing, and had come to welcome Him as soon as he had heard of His approach. The whole province of Khurasan was in those days in the throes of a violent agitation. The activities which Quddus and Mulla Husayn had initiated, their zeal, their courage, their outspoken language, had aroused the people from their lethargy, had kindled in the hearts of some the noblest sentiments of faith and devotion, and had provoked in the breasts of others the instincts of passionate fanaticism and malice. A multitude of seekers constantly poured from every direction into Mashhad, eagerly sought the residence of Mulla Husayn, and through him were ushered into the presence of Quddus.

Their numbers soon swelled to such proportions as to excite the apprehension of the authorities. The chief constable viewed with concern and dismay the crowds of agitated people who streamed unceasingly into every quarter of the holy City. In his desire to assert his rights, intimidate Mulla Husayn, and induce him to curtail the scope of his activities, he issued orders to arrest immediately the latter's special attendant, whose name was Hasan, and subject him to cruel and shameful treatment. They pierced his nose, passed a cord through the incision, and with this halter led and paraded him through the streets.

Mulla Husayn was in the presence of Quddus when the news of the disgraceful affliction that had befallen his servant

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reached him. Fearing lest this sad intelligence might grieve the heart of his beloved chief, he arose and quietly retired. His companions soon gathered round him, expressed their indignation at this outrageous assault upon so innocent a follower of their Faith, and urged him to avenge the insult. Mulla Husayn tried to appease their anger. "Let not," he pleaded, "the indignity that has befallen Hasan afflict and disturb you, for Husayn is still with you and will safely deliver him back into your hands to-morrow."

In the face of so solemn an assurance, his companions ventured no further remarks. Their hearts, however, burned with impatience to redress that bitter injury. A number of them eventually decided to band themselves together and loudly raise, through the streets of Mashhad, the cry of "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!"[1] as a protest against this sudden affront to the dignity of their Faith. That cry was the first of its kind to be raised in Khurasan in the name of the Cause of God. The city re-echoed with the sound of those voices. The reverberations of their shouts reached even the most outlying regions of the province, raised a great tumult in the hearts of the people, and were the signal for the tremendous happenings that were destined to transpire in the future.

[1 "O Lord of the Age!" one of the titles of the promised Qa'im.]

In the midst of the confusion that ensued, those who were holding the halter with which they dragged Hasan through the streets, perished by the sword. The companions of Mulla Husayn conducted the released captive into the presence of their leader and informed him of the fate that had befallen the oppressor. "You have refused," Mulla Husayn is reported to have remarked, "to tolerate the trials to which Hasan has been subjected; how can you reconcile yourselves to the martyrdom of Husayn?"[1]

[1 Allusion to his own martyrdom.]

The city of Mashhad, which had just recovered its peace and tranquillity after the rebellion that the Salar had provoked, was plunged again into confusion and distress. Prince Hamzih Mirza was stationed with his men and munitions at a distance of four farsangs [1] from the city, ready to face whatever emergency might arise when the news of these fresh disturbances suddenly reached him. He immediately

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despatched a detachment to the city with instructions to obtain the assistance of the governor for the arrest of Mulla Husayn, and to conduct him into his presence. Abdu'l-'Ali Khan-i-Maraghiyi, the captain of the prince's artillery, immediately intervened. "I deem myself," he pleaded, "one among the lovers and admirers of Mulla Husayn. If you contemplate inflicting any harm upon him, I pray you to take my life and then to proceed to execute your design; for I cannot, so long as I live, tolerate the least disrespect towards him."

[1 See Glossary.]

The prince, who knew full well how much he stood in need of that officer, was greatly embarrassed at this unexpected declaration. "I too have met Mulla Husayn," was his reply as he tried to remove the apprehension of Abdu'l-'Ali Khan. "I too cherish the utmost devotion to him. By summoning him to my camp, I am hoping to restrict the scope of the mischief which has been kindled and to safeguard his person." The prince then addressed in his own handwriting a letter to Mulla Husayn in which he urged the extreme desirability of his transferring his residence for a few days to his headquarters, and assured him of his sincere desire to shield him from the attacks of his infuriated opponents. He gave orders that his own highly ornamented tent be pitched in the vicinity of his camp and be reserved for the reception of his expected guest.

On the receipt of this communication, Mulla Husayn presented it to Quddus, who advised him to respond to the invitation of the prince. "No harm can befall you," Quddus assured him. "As to me, I shall this very night set out in the company of Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Qazvini, one of the Letters of the Living, for Mazindaran. Please God, you too, later on, at the head of a large company of the faithful and preceded by the 'Black Standards,' will depart from Mashhad and join me. We shall meet at whatever place the Almighty will have decreed."

Mulla Husayn joyously responded. He threw himself at the feet of Quddus and assured him of his firm determination to discharge with fidelity the obligations which he had imposed upon him. Quddus lovingly took him in his arms and, kissing his eyes and his forehead, committed him to the

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Almighty's unfailing protection. Early that same afternoon, Mulla Husayn mounted his steed and rode out with dignity and calm to the encampment of Prince Hamzih Mirza, and was ceremoniously conducted by Abdu'l-'Ali Khan, who, together with a number of officers, had been appointed by the prince to go out and welcome him, to the tent that had been specially erected for his use.

That very night, Quddus summoned to his presence Mirza Muhammad-Baqir-i-Qa'ini, who had built the Bábiyyih, together with a number of the most prominent among his companions, and enjoined upon them to bear unquestioned allegiance to Mulla Husayn and to obey implicitly whatever he might wish them to do. "Tempestuous are the storms which lie ahead of us," he told them. "The days of stress and violent commotion are fast approaching. Cleave to him, for in obedience to his command lies your salvation."

With these words, Quddus bade farewell to his companions and, accompanied by Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Qazvini, departed from Mashhad. A few days later, he encountered Mirza Sulayman-i-Nuri, who informed him of the circumstances attending the deliverance of Tahirih from her confinement in Qazvin, of her journey in the direction of Khurasan, and of Bahá'u'lláh's subsequent departure from the capital. Mirza Sulayman, as well as Mirza Muhammad-Ali,

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remained in the company of Quddus until their arrival at Badasht. They reached that hamlet at the hour of dawn and found there assembled a large gathering of people whom they recognized as their fellow-believers. They decided, however, to resume their journey, and proceeded directly to Shah-Rud. As they were approaching that village, Mirza Sulayman, who was following at a distance behind them, encountered Muhammad-i-Hana-Sab, who was on his way to Badasht. In answer to his enquiry as to the object of that gathering, Mirza Sulayman was informed that Bahá'u'lláh and Tahirih had, a few days before, left Shah-Rud for that hamlet; that a large number of believers had already arrived from Isfahan, Qazvin, and other towns of Persia, and were waiting to accompany Bahá'u'lláh on His intended journey to Khurasan. "Tell Mulla Ahmad-i-Ibdal, who is now in Badasht," Mirza Sulayman remarked, "that this very morning a light has shone upon you, the radiance of which you have failed to recognize."[1]

[1 Allusion to Quddus.]

No sooner had Bahá'u'lláh been informed by Muhammad-i-Hana-Sab of the arrival of Quddus at Shah-Rud than He decided to join him. Attended by Mulla Muhammad-i-Mu'allim-i-Nuri, He set out on horseback that same evening for that village, and had returned with Quddus to Badasht the next morning at the hour of sunrise.

It was then the beginning of summer. Upon His arrival, Bahá'u'lláh rented three gardens, one of which He assigned exclusively to the use of Quddus, another He set apart for Tahirih and her attendant, and reserved the third for Himself.

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Those who had gathered in Badasht were eighty-one in number, all of whom, from the time of their arrival to the day of their dispersion, were the guests of Bahá'u'lláh. Every day, He revealed a Tablet which Mirza Sulayman-i-Nuri chanted in the presence of the assembled believers. Upon each He bestowed a new name. He Himself was henceforth designated by the name of Baha; upon the Last Letter of the Living was conferred the appellation of Quddus, and to Qurratu'l-'Ayn was given the title of Tahirih. To each of those who had convened at Badasht a special Tablet was subsequently revealed by the Báb, each of whom He addressed by the name recently conferred upon him. When, at a later time, a number of the more rigid and conservative among her fellow-disciples chose to accuse Tahirih of indiscreetly rejecting the time-honoured traditions of the past, the Báb, to whom these complaints had been addressed, replied in the following terms: "What am I to say regarding her whom the Tongue of Power of Glory has named Tahirih [the Pure One]?"

Each day of that memorable gathering witnessed the abrogation of a new law and the repudiation of a long-established tradition. The veils that guarded the sanctity of the ordinances of Islam were sternly rent asunder, and the idols that had so long claimed the adoration of their blind worshippers were rudely demolished. No one knew, however, the Source whence these bold and defiant innovations proceeded, no one suspected the Hand which steadily and unerringly steered their course. Even the identity of Him who had bestowed a new name upon each of those who had congregated in that hamlet remained unknown to those who had received them. Each conjectured according to his own degree of understanding. Few, if any, dimly surmised that Bahá'u'lláh was the Author of the far-reaching changes which were being so fearlessly introduced.

Shaykh Abu-Turab, one of the best-informed as to the nature of the developments in Badasht, is reported to have related the following incident: "Illness, one day, confined Bahá'u'lláh to His bed. Quddus, as soon as he heard of His indisposition, hastened to visit Him. He seated himself, when ushered into His presence, on the right hand of

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Bahá'u'lláh. The rest of the companions were gradually admitted to His presence, and grouped themselves around Him. No sooner had they assembled than Muhammad-Hasan-i-Qazvini, the messenger of Tahirih, upon whom the name of Fata'l-Qazvini had been newly conferred, suddenly came in and conveyed to Quddus a pressing invitation from Tahirih to visit her in her own garden. 'I have severed myself entirely from her,' he boldly and decisively replied. 'I refuse to meet her.'[1] The messenger retired immediately, and soon returned, reiterating the same message and appealing to him to heed her urgent call. 'She insists on your visit,' were his words. 'If you persist in your refusal, she herself will come to you.' Perceiving his unyielding attitude, the messenger unsheathed his sword, laid it at the feet of Quddus, and said: 'I refuse to go without you. Either choose to accompany me to the presence of Tahirih or cut off my head with this sword.' 'I have already declared my intention not to visit Tahirih,' Quddus angrily retorted. 'I am willing to comply with the alternative which you have chosen to put before me.'

[1 According to the "Kashfu'l-Ghita'," a decision had been previously arrived at between Quddus and Tahirih, in accordance with which the latter was to proclaim publicly the independent character of the Revelation of the Báb, and to emphasise the abrogation of the laws and ordinances of the previous Dispensation. Quddus, on the other hand, was expected to oppose her contention and strenuously to reject her views. This arrangement was made for the purpose of mitigating the effects of such a challenging and far-reaching proclamation, and of averting the dangers and perils which such a startling innovation was sure to produce. (P. 211.) Bahá'u'lláh appears to have taken a neutral attitude in this controversy, though actually He was the prime mover and the controlling and directing influence throughout the different stages of that memorable episode.]

"Muhammad-Hasan, who had seated himself at the feet of Quddus, had stretched forth his neck to receive the fatal blow, when suddenly the figure of Tahirih, adorned and unveiled, appeared before the eyes of the assembled companions. Consternation immediately seized the entire gathering.[1] All stood aghast before this sudden and most unexpected

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apparition. To behold her face unveiled was to them inconceivable. Even to gaze at her shadow was a thing which they deemed improper, inasmuch as they regarded her as the very incarnation of Fatimih,[2] the noblest emblem of chastity in their eyes.

[1 "But the effect produced had been astounding! The assembly was as if struck by lightning. Some hid their faces with their hands, others, prostrated themselves, others covered their heads with their garments so that they could not see the features of her Highness, the Pure One. If it was a grievous sin to look upon the face of an unknown woman who might pass by, what a crime to let one's eyes fall upon her who was so saintly! The meeting was broken up in the midst of an indescribable tumult. Insults fell upon her whom they thought so indecent as to appear thus with her face uncovered. Some armed that she had lost her mind, others that she was shameless, and some, very few, took up her defense." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 283-284.)]

[2 Daughter of Muhammad, and wife of the Imam Ali.]

"Quietly, silently, and with the utmost dignity, Tahirih stepped forward and, advancing towards Quddus, seated herself on his right-hand side. Her unruffled serenity sharply contrasted with the affrighted countenances of those who were gazing upon her face. Fear, anger, and bewilderment stirred the depths of their souls. That sudden revelation seemed to have stunned their faculties. Abdu'l-Khaliq-i-Isfahani was so gravely shaken that he cut his throat with his own hands. Covered with blood and shrieking with excitement, he fled away from the face of Tahirih. A few, following his example, abandoned their companions and forsook their Faith. A number were seen standing speechless before her, confounded with wonder. Quddus, meanwhile, had remained seated in his place, holding the unsheathed sword in his hand, his face betraying a feeling of inexpressible anger. It seemed as if he were waiting for the moment when he could strike his fatal blow at Tahirih.

"His threatening attitude failed, however, to move her. Her countenance displayed that same dignity and confidence which she had evinced at the first moment of her appearance before the assembled believers. A feeling of joy and triumph had now illumined her face. She rose from her seat and, undeterred by the tumult that she had raised in the hearts of her companions, began to address the remnant of that assembly. Without the least premeditation, and in language which bore a striking resemblance to that of the Qur'an, she delivered her appeal with matchless eloquence and profound fervour. She concluded her address with this verse of the Qur'an: 'Verily, amid gardens and rivers shall the pious dwell in the seat of truth, in the presence of the potent King.' As she uttered these words, she cast a furtive glance towards both Bahá'u'lláh and Quddus in such a manner that those who were watching her were unable to tell to which of the two she was alluding. Immediately

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after, she declared: 'I am the Word which the Qa'im is to utter, the Word which shall put to flight the chiefs and nobles of the earth!'[1]

[1 Refer to page 15.]

"She then turned her face towards Quddus and rebuked him for having failed to perform in Khurasan those things which she deemed essential to the welfare of the Faith. 'I am free to follow the promptings of my own conscience,' retorted Quddus. 'I am not subject to the will and pleasure of my fellow-disciples.' Turning away her eyes from him, Tahirih invited those who were present to celebrate befittingly this great occasion. 'This day is the day of festivity and universal rejoicing,' she added, 'the day on which the fetters of the past are burst asunder. Let those who have shared in this great achievement arise and embrace each other.'"

That memorable day and those which immediately followed it witnessed the most revolutionary changes in the life and habits of the assembled followers of the Báb. Their manner of worship underwent a sudden and fundamental transformation. The prayers and ceremonials by which those devout worshippers had been disciplined were irrevocably

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discarded. A great confusion, however, prevailed among those who had so zealously arisen to advocate these reforms. A few condemned so radical a change as being the essence of heresy, and refused to annul what they regarded as the inviolable precepts of Islam. Some regarded Tahirih as the sole judge in such matters and the only person qualified to claim implicit obedience from the faithful. Others who denounced her behaviour held to Quddus, whom they regarded as the sole representative of the Báb, the only one who had the right to pronounce upon such weighty matters. Still others who recognized the authority of both Tahirih and Quddus viewed the whole episode as a God-sent test designed to separate the true from the false and distinguish the faithful from the disloyal.

Tahirih herself ventured on a few occasions to repudiate the authority of Quddus. "I deem him," she is reported to have declared, "a pupil whom the Báb has sent me to edify and instruct. I regard him in no other light." Quddus did not fail, on his part, to denounce Tahirih as "the author of heresy," and stigmatised those who advocated her views as "the victims of error." This state of tension persisted for a few days until Bahá'u'lláh intervened and, in His masterly manner, effected a complete reconciliation between them. He healed the wounds which that sharp controversy had caused, and directed the efforts of both along the path of constructive service.[1]

[1 "It was this bold act of Qurratu'l-'Ayn which shook the foundations of a literal belief in Islamic doctrines among the Persians. It may be added that the first-fruits of qurratu'l-'Ayn's teaching was no less than the heroic Quddus, and that the eloquent teacher herself owed her insight probably to Bahá'u'lláh. Of course, the supposition that her greatest friend might censure her is merely a delightful piece of irony." (Dr. T. K. Cheyne's "The Reconciliation of Races and Religions," pp. 103-4.)]

The object of that memorable gathering had been attained.[1] The clarion-call of the new Order had been sounded.

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The obsolete conventions which had fettered the consciences of men were boldly challenged and fearlessly swept away. The way was clear for the proclamation of the laws and precepts that were destined to usher in the new Dispensation. The remnant of the companions who had gathered in Badasht accordingly decided to depart for Mazindaran. Quddus and Tahirih seated themselves in the same howdah [2] which had been prepared for their journey by Bahá'u'lláh. On their way, Tahirih each day composed an ode which she instructed those who accompanied her to chant as they followed her howdah. Mountain and valley re-echoed the shouts with which that enthusiastic band, as they journeyed to Mazindaran, hailed the extinction of the old, and the birth of the new Day.

[1 "It has been suggested that the true cause of the summoning of that assembly was anxiety for the Báb, and a desire to carry him off to a place of safety. But the more accepted view--that the subject before the Council was the relation of the Bábis to the Islamic laws--is also the more probable." (Ibid., p. 80.) "The object of the conference was to correct a widespread misunderstanding. There were many who thought that the new leader came, in the most literal sense, to fulfil Islamic Law. They realised, indeed, that the object of Muhammad was to bring about an universal kingdom of righteousness and peace, but they thought this was to be effected by wading through streams of blood, and with the help of the divine judgments. The Báb, on the other hand, though not always consistent, was moving, with some of his disciples, in the direction of moral suasion; his only weapon was 'the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.' When the Qa'im appeared all things would be renewed. But the Qa'im was on the point of appearing, and all that remained was to prepare for his Coming. No more should there be any distinction between higher and lower races, or between male and female. No more should the long, enveloping veil be the badge of woman's inferiority. The gifted woman before us had her characteristic solution of the problem... It is said in one form of tradition, that Qurratu'l-'Ayn herself attended the conference with a veil on. If so, she lost no time in discarding it, and broke out (we are told) into the fervid exclamation, 'I am the blast of the trumpet, I am the call of the bugle,' i.e. 'Like Gabriel, I would awaken sleeping souls.' It is said, too, that this short speech of the brave woman was followed by the recitation by Bahá'u'lláh of the Surih of the Resurrection (75). Such recitations often have an overpowering effect. The inner meaning of this was that mankind was about to pass into a new cosmic cycle, for which a new set of laws and customs would be indispensable." (Dr. T. K. Cheyne's "The Reconciliation of Races and Religions," pp. 101-3.)]

[2 Refer to Glossary.]

Bahá'u'lláh's sojourn in Badasht lasted two and twenty days. In the course of their journey to Mazindaran, a few of the followers of the Báb sought to abuse the liberty which the repudiation of the laws and sanctions of an outgrown Faith had conferred upon them. They viewed the unprecedented action of Tahirih in discarding the veil as a signal to transgress the bounds of moderation and to gratify their selfish desires. The excesses in which a few indulged provoked the wrath of the Almighty and caused their immediate dispersion. In the village of Niyala, they were grievously tested and suffered severe injuries at the hands of their enemies. This scattering extinguished the mischief which a few of the irresponsible among the adherents of the Faith had sought to kindle, and preserved untarnished its honour and dignity.

I have heard Bahá'u'lláh Himself describe that incident:

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"We were all gathered in the village of Niyala and were resting at the foot of a mountain, when, at the hour of dawn, we were suddenly awakened by the stones which the people of the neighbourhood were hurling upon us from the top of the mountain. The fierceness of their attack induced our companions to flee in terror and consternation. I clothed Quddus in my own garments and despatched him to a place of safety, where I intended to join him. When I arrived, I found that he had gone. None of our companions had remained in Niyala except Tahirih and a young man from Shiraz, Mirza Abdu'llah. The violence with which we were assailed had brought desolation into our camp. I found no one into whose custody I could deliver Tahirih except that young man, who displayed on that occasion a courage and determination that were truly surprising. Sword in hand, undaunted by the savage assault of the inhabitants of the village, who had rushed to plunder our property, he sprang forward to stay the hand of the assailants. Though himself wounded in several parts of his body, he risked his life to protect our property. I bade him desist from his act. When the tumult had subsided, I approached a number of the inhabitants of the village and was able to convince them of the cruelty and shamefulness of their behaviour. I subsequently succeeded in restoring a part of our plundered property."

Bahá'u'lláh, accompanied by Tahirih and her attendant, proceeded to Nur. He appointed Shaykh Abu-Turab to watch over her and ensure her protection and safety. Meanwhile the mischief-makers were endeavouring to kindle the anger of Muhammad Shah against Bahá'u'lláh, and, by representing Him as the prime mover of the disturbances of Shah-Rud and Mazindaran, succeeded eventually in inducing the sovereign to have Him arrested. "I have hitherto," the Shah is reported to have angrily remarked, "refused to countenance whatever has been said against him. My indulgence has been actuated by my recognition of the services rendered to my country by his father. This time, however, I am determined to put him to death."

He accordingly commanded one of his officers in Tihran to instruct his son who was residing in Mazindaran to arrest

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Bahá'u'lláh and to conduct Him to the capital. The son of this officer received the communication on the very day preceding the reception which he had prepared to offer to Bahá'u'lláh, to whom he was devotedly attached. He was greatly distressed and did not divulge the news to anyone. Bahá'u'lláh, however, perceived his sadness and advised him to put his trust in God. The next day, as He was being accompanied by His friend to his home, they encountered a horseman who was coming from the direction of Tihran. "Muhammad Shah is dead!" that friend exclaimed in the Mazindarani dialect, as he hastened to rejoin Him after a brief conversation with the messenger. He drew out the imperial summons and showed it to Him. The document had lost its efficacy. That night was spent in the company of his guest in an atmosphere of undisturbed calm and gladness.

Quddus had in the meantime fallen into the hands of his opponents, and was confined in Sari in the home of Mirza Muhammad-Taqi, the leading mujtahid of that town. The rest of his companions, after their dispersal in Niyala, had scattered in different directions, each carrying with him to his fellow-believers the news of the momentous happenings of Badasht.

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CHAPTER XVII
THE BAB'S INCARCERATION IN THE CASTLE OF CHIHRIQ

THE incident of Niyala occurred in the middle of the month of Sha'ban, in the year 1264 A.H. [1] Towards the end of that same month, the Báb was brought to Tabriz, where He suffered at the hands of His oppressors a severe and humiliating injury. That deliberate affront to His dignity almost synchronised with the attack which the inhabitants of Niyala directed against Bahá'u'lláh and His companions. The one was pelted with stones by an ignorant and pugnacious people; the other was afflicted with stripes by a cruel and treacherous enemy.

[1 July 3-August 1, 1848 A.D.]

I shall now relate the circumstances that led to that odious indignity which the persecutors of the Báb chose to inflict upon Him. He had, in pursuance of the orders issued by Haji Mirza Aqasi, been transferred to the castle of Chihriq [1] and consigned to the keeping of Yahya Khan-i-Kurd, whose sister was the wife of Muhammad Shah, the mother of the Nayibu's-Saltanih. Strict and explicit instructions

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had been given by the Grand Vazir to Yahya Khan, enjoining him not to allow anyone to enter the presence of his Prisoner. He was particularly warned not to follow the example of Ali Khan-i-Mah-Ku'i, who had gradually been led to disregard the orders he had received.[2]

[1 According to "A Traveller's Narrative" (p. 18) the Báb remained for three months in the castle of Chihriq before He was taken to Tabriz to be examined.]

[2 "The Báb was subjected to a closer and more rigorous confinement at Chihriq than he had been at Mah-Ku. Hence he used to call the former 'the Grievous Mountain' (Jabal-i-Shadid the numerical value of the word 'Shadid'--318--being the same as that of the name Chihriq), and the latter 'the Open Mountain' (Jabal-i-Basit)." ("A Traveller's Narrative," Note L, p. 276.)]

Despite the emphatic character of that injunction, and in the face of the unyielding opposition of the all-powerful Haji Mirza Aqasi, Yahya Khan found himself powerless to abide by those instructions. He, too, soon came to feel the fascination of his Prisoner; he, too, forgot, as soon as he came into contact with His spirit, the duty he was expected to perform. At the very outset, the love of the Báb penetrated his heart and claimed his entire being. The Kurds who lived in Chihriq, and whose fanaticism and hatred of the shi'ahs exceeded the aversion which the inhabitants of Mah-Ku entertained for that people, were likewise subjected to the transforming influence of the Báb. Such was the love He had kindled in their hearts that every morning, ere they started for their daily work, they directed their steps towards His prison and, gazing from afar at the castle which contained His beloved self, invoked His name and besought His blessings. They would prostrate themselves on the ground and seek to refresh their souls with remembrance of Him. To one another they would freely relate the wonders of His power and glory, and would recount such dreams as bore witness to the creative power of His influence. To no one would Yahya Khan refuse admittance to the castle.[1] As Chihriq itself was unable to accommodate the increasing number of visitors who flocked to its gates, they were enabled to obtain the necessary lodgings in Iski-Shahr, the old Chihriq, which was situated at an hour's distance from the

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castle. Whatever provisions were required for the Báb were purchased in the old town and transported to His prison.

[1 "There like everywhere else, the people crowded around him. M. Mochenin says in his memoirs concerning the Báb: 'In the month of June, 1850, (is this not more likely to be 1849?), having gone to Chihriq on duty, I saw the Bala-Khanih from the heights of which the Báb taught his doctrine. The multitude of hearers was so great that the court was not large enough to hold them all; most of them stayed in the streets and listened with religious rapture to the verses of the new Qur'an. Very soon after the Báb was transferred to Tauris (Tabriz) to be condemned to death.'" (Journal Asiatique, 1866, tome 7, p. 371.)]

One day the Báb asked that some honey be purchased for Him. The price at which it had been bought seemed to Him exorbitant. He refused it and said: "Honey of a superior quality could no doubt have been purchased at a lower price. I who am your example have been a merchant by profession. It behoves you in all your transactions to follow in My way. You must neither defraud your neighbour nor allow him to defraud you. Such was the way of your Master. The shrewdest and ablest of men were unable to deceive Him, nor did He on His part choose to act ungenerously towards the meanest and most helpless of creatures." He insisted that the attendant who had made that purchase should return and bring back to Him a honey superior in quality and cheaper in price.

During the Báb's captivity in the castle of Chihriq, events of a startling character caused grave perturbation to the government. It soon became evident that a number of the most eminent among the siyyids, the ulamas, and the government officials of Khuy had espoused the Cause of the Prisoner and had completely identified themselves with His Faith. Among them figured Mirza Muhammad-'Ali and his brother Buyuk-Aqa, both siyyids of distinguished merit who had risen with fevered earnestness to proclaim their Faith to all sorts and conditions of people among their countrymen. A continuous stream of seekers and confirmed believers flowed back and forth, as the result of such activities, between Khuy and Chihriq.

It came to pass at that time that a prominent official of high literary ability, Mirza Asadu'llah, who was later surnamed Dayyan by the Báb and whose vehement denunciations of His Message had baffled those who had endeavoured to convert him, dreamed a dream. When he awoke, he determined not to recount it to anyone, and, fixing his choice on two verses of the Qur'an, he addressed the following request to the Báb: "I have conceived three definite things in my mind. I request you to reveal to me their nature." Mirza Muhammad-'Ali was asked to submit this written request to the Báb. A few days later, he received a reply

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penned in the Báb's handwriting, in which He set forth in their entirety the circumstances of that dream and revealed a the exact texts of those verses. The accuracy of that reply brought about a sudden conversion. Though unused to walking, Mirza Asadu'llah hastened on foot along that steep and stony path which led from Khuy to the castle. His friends tried to induce him to proceed on horseback to Chihriq, but he refused their offer. His meeting with the Báb confirmed him in his belief and excited that fiery ardour which he continued to manifest to the end of his life.

That same year the Báb had expressed His desire that forty of His companions should each undertake to compose a treatise and seek, by the aid of verses and traditions, to establish the validity of His Mission. His wishes were instantly obeyed, and the result of their labours was duly submitted to His presence. Mirza Asadu'llah's treatise won the unqualified admiration of the Báb and ranked highest in His estimation. He bestowed on him the name Dayyan and revealed in his honour the Lawh-i-Hurufat [1] in which He made the following statement: "Had the Point of the Bayan [2] no other testimony with which to establish His truth, this were sufficient--that He revealed a Tablet such as this, a Tablet such as no amount of learning could produce."

[1 Literally "Tablet of the Letters."]
[2 One of the titles of the Báb.]

The people of the Bayan, who utterly misconceived the purpose underlying that Tablet, thought it to be a mere exposition of the science of Jafr.[1] When, at a later time, in the early years of Bahá'u'lláh's incarceration in the prison city of Akka, Jinab-i-Muballigh made, from Shiraz, his request that He unravel the mysteries of that Tablet, there was revealed from His pen an explanation which they who misconceived the words of the Báb might do well to ponder. Bahá'u'lláh adduced from the statements of the Báb irrefutable evidence proving that the appearance of the Man-Yuzhiruhu'llah [2] must needs occur no less than nineteen years after the Declaration of the Báb. The mystery of the Mustaghath [3] had long baffled the most searching minds among the people of the Bayan and had proved an unsurmountable

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obstacle to their recognition of the promised One. The Báb had Himself in that Tablet unravelled that mystery; no one, however, was able to understand the explanation which He had given. It was left to Bahá'u'lláh to unveil it to the eyes of all men.

[1 Science of divination.]
[2 Reference to Bahá'u'lláh. See Glossary.]
[3 See Glossary.]

The untiring zeal which Mirza Asadu'llah displayed induced his father, who was an intimate friend of Haji Mirza Aqasi, to report to him the circumstances which led to the conversion of his son, and to inform him of his negligence in carrying out the duties which the State had imposed upon him. He expatiated upon the eagerness with which so able a servant of the government had risen to serve his new Master, and the success which had attended his efforts.

A further cause for apprehension on the part of the government authorities was supplied by the arrival at Chihriq of a dervish who had come from India and who, as soon as he met the Báb, acknowledged the truth of His Mission. All who met that dervish, whom the Báb had named Qahru'llah, during his sojourn at Iski-Shahr, felt the warmth of his enthusiasm and were deeply impressed by the tenacity of his conviction. An increasing number of people became enamoured of the charm of his personality and willingly acknowledged the compelling power of his Faith. Such was the influence which he exercised over them that a few among the believers were inclined to regard him as an exponent of Divine Revelation, although he altogether disclaimed such pretensions. He was often heard to relate the following: "In the days when I occupied the exalted position of a navvab in India, the Báb appeared to me in a vision. He gazed at me and won my heart completely. I arose, and had started to follow Him, when He looked at me intently and said: 'Divest yourself of your gorgeous attire, depart from your native land, and hasten on foot to meet Me in Adhirbayjan. In Chihriq you will attain your heart's desire.' I followed His directions and have now reached my goal."

The news of the turmoil which that lowly dervish had been able to raise among the Kurdish leaders in Chihriq reached Tabriz and was thence communicated to Tihran. No sooner had the news reached the capital than orders

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were issued to transfer the Báb immediately to Tabriz in the hope of allaying the excitement which His continued residence in that locality had provoked. Before the news of this fresh order had reached Chihriq, the Báb had charged Azim to inform Qahru'llah of His desire that he return to India and there consecrate his life to the service of His Cause. "Alone and on foot," He commanded him, "he should return whence he came. With the same ardour and detachment with which he performed his pilgrimage to this country, he must now repair to his native land and unceasingly labour to advance the interests of the Cause." He also bade him instruct Mirza Abdu'l-Vahhab-i-Turshizi, who was living in Khuy, to proceed immediately to Urumiyyih, where He said He would soon join him. Azim himself was directed to leave for Tabriz and there inform Siyyid Ibrahim-i-Khalil of His approaching arrival at that city. "Tell him," the Báb added, "that the fire of Nimrod will shortly be kindled in Tabriz, but despite the intensity of its flame no harm will befall our friends."

No sooner had Qahru'llah received the message from his Master than he arose to carry out His wishes. To anyone who wished to accompany him, he would say: "You can never endure the trials of this journey. Abandon the thought of coming with me. You would surely perish on your way, inasmuch as the Báb has commanded me to return alone to my native land." The compelling force of his reply silenced those who begged to be allowed to journey with him. He refused to accept either money or clothing from anyone. Alone, clad in the meanest attire, staff in hand, he walked all the way back to his country. No one knows what ultimately befell him.

Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Zunuzi, surnamed Anis, was among those who heard of the message from the Báb in Tabriz, and was fired with the desire to hasten to Chihriq and attain His presence. Those words had kindled in him an irrepressible longing to sacrifice himself in His path. Siyyid Aliy-i-Zunuzi, his stepfather, a notable of Tabriz, strenuously objected to his leaving the city, and was at last induced to confine him in his house and strictly watch over him. His

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Son languished in his confinement until the time when his Beloved had reached Tabriz and had been taken back again to His prison in Chihriq.

I have heard Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi relate the following: "At about the same time that the Báb dismissed Azim from His presence, I was instructed by Him to collect all the available Tablets that He had revealed during His incarceration in the castles of Mah-Ku and Chihriq, and to deliver them into the hands of Siyyid Ibrahim-i-Khalil, who was then living in Tabriz, and urge him to conceal and preserve them with the utmost care.

"During my stay in that city, I often visited Siyyid Aliy-i-Zunuzi, who was related to me, and frequently heard him deplore the sad fate of his son. 'He seems to have lost his reason,' he bitterly complained. 'He has, by his behaviour, brought reproach and shame upon me. Try to calm the agitation of his heart and induce him to conceal his convictions.' Every day I visited him, I witnessed the tears that continually rained from his eyes. After the Báb had departed from Tabriz, one day as I went to see him, I was surprised to note the joy and gladness which had illumined his countenance. His handsome face was wreathed in smiles as he stepped forward to receive me. 'The eyes of my Beloved,' he said, as he embraced me, 'have beheld this face, and these eyes have gazed upon His countenance.' 'Let me,' he added, 'tell you the secret of my happiness. After the Báb had been taken back to Chihriq, one day, as I lay confined in my cell, I turned my heart to Him and besought Him in these words: "Thou beholdest, O my Best-Beloved, my captivity and helplessness, and knowest how eagerly I yearn to look upon Thy face. Dispel the gloom that oppresses my heart, with the light of Thy countenance." What tears of agonising pain I shed that hour! I was so overcome with emotion that I seemed to have lost consciousness. Suddenly I heard the voice of the Báb, and, lo! He was calling me. He bade me arise. I beheld the majesty of His countenance as He appeared before me. He smiled as He looked into my eyes. I rushed forward and flung myself at His feet. "Rejoice," He said; "the hour is approaching when, in this very city, I shall be suspended before the eyes of the multitude

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and shall fall a victim to the fire of the enemy. I shall choose no one except you to share with Me the cup of martyrdom. Rest assured that this promise which I give you shall be fulfilled." I was entranced by the beauty of that vision. When I recovered, I found myself immersed in an ocean of joy, a joy the radiance of which all the sorrows of the world could never obscure. That voice keeps ringing in my ears. That vision haunts me both in the daytime and in the night-season. The memory of that ineffable smile has dissipated the loneliness of my confinement. I am firmly convinced that the hour at which His pledge is to be fulfilled can no longer be delayed.' I exhorted him to be patient and to conceal his emotions. He promised me not to divulge that secret, and undertook to exercise the utmost forbearance towards Siyyid Ali. I hastened to assure the father of his determination, and succeeded in obtaining his release from his confinement. That youth continued until the day of his martyrdom to associate, in a state of complete serenity and joy, with his parents and kinsmen. Such was his behaviour towards his friends and relatives that, on the day he laid down his life for his Beloved, the people of Tabriz all wept and bewailed him."

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CHAPTER XVIII
EXAMINATION OF THE BÁB AT TABRIZ

THE Bab, in anticipation of the approaching hour of His affliction, had dispersed His disciples who had gathered in Chihriq and awaited with calm resignation the order which was to summon Him to Tabriz. Those into whose custody He was delivered thought it inadvisable to pass through the town of Khuy, which lay on their route to the capital of Adhirbayjan. They decided to go by way of Urumiyyih and thus avoid the demonstrations which the excited populace in Khuy were likely to make as a protest against the tyranny of the government. When the Báb arrived at Urumiyyih, Malik Qasim Mirza ceremoniously received Him and accorded Him the warmest hospitality. In His presence, the prince acted with extraordinary deference and refused to allow the least disrespect on the part of those who were allowed to meet Him.

On a certain Friday when the Báb was going to the public bath, the prince, who was curious to test the courage and power of his Guest, ordered his groom to offer Him one of his wildest horses to ride. Apprehensive lest the Báb might suffer any harm, the attendant secretly approached Him and tried to induce Him to refuse to mount a horse that had already overthrown the bravest and most skilful of horsemen. "Fear not," was His reply. "Do as you have been bidden, and commit Us to the care of the Almighty." The inhabitants of Urumiyyih, who had been informed of the intention of the prince, had filled the public square, eager to witness what might befall the Báb. As soon as the horse was brought to Him, He quietly approached it and, taking hold of the bridle which the groom had offered Him, gently caressed it and placed His foot in the stirrup. The horse stood still and motionless beside Him as if conscious of the power which was dominating it. The multitude that watched this most unusual spectacle marvelled at the

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behaviour of the animal. To their simple minds this extraordinary incident appeared little short of a miracle. They hastened in their enthusiasm to kiss the stirrups of the Báb, but were prevented by the attendants of the prince, who feared lest so great an onrush of people might harm Him. The prince himself, who had accompanied his Guest on foot as far as the vicinity of the bath, was bidden by Him, ere they reached its entrance, to return to his residence. All the way, the prince's footmen were endeavouring to restrain the people who, from every side, were pressing forward to catch a glimpse of the Báb. Upon His arrival, He dismissed all those who had accompanied Him except the prince's private attendant and Siyyid Hasan, who waited in the antechamber and aided Him in undressing. On His return from the bath, He again mounted the same horse and was acclaimed by the same multitude. The prince came on foot to meet Him, and escorted Him back to his residence.

No sooner had the Báb left the bath than the people of Urumiyyih rushed to take away, to the last drop, the water which had served for His ablutions. Great excitement prevailed on that day. The Báb, as He observed these evidences of unrestrained enthusiasm, was reminded of the well-known tradition, commonly ascribed to the Imam Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, which specifically referred to Adhirbayjan. The lake of Urumiyyih, that same tradition asserts in its concluding passages, will boil up, will overrun its banks, and inundate the town. When He was subsequently informed how the overwhelming majority of the people had spontaneously arisen to proclaim their undivided allegiance to His Cause, He calmly observed: "Think men that when they say, 'We believe,' they shall be let alone and not be put to the proof?"[1] This comment was fully justified by the attitude which that same people assumed towards Him when the news of the dreadful treatment meted out to Him in Tabriz reached them. Hardly a handful among those who had so ostentatiously professed their faith in Him persevered, in the hour of trial, in their allegiance to His Cause. Foremost among these was Mulla Imam-Vardi, the tenacity of whose faith no one except Mulla Jalil-i-Urumi, a native of

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Urumiyyih and one of the Letters of the Living, could surpass. Adversity served but to intensify the ardour of his devotion and to reinforce his belief in the righteousness of the Cause he had embraced. He subsequently attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, the truth of whose Mission he readily recognized, and for the advancement of which he strove with the same fevered earnestness that had characterised his earlier strivings for the promotion of the Cause of the Báb. In recognition of his long-standing services, he, and also his family, were honoured with numerous Tablets from the pen of Bahá'u'lláh in which He extolled his achievements and invoked the blessings of the Almighty upon his efforts. With unflinching determination, he continued to labour for the furtherance of the Faith until past eighty years of age, when he departed this life.

[1 Qur'an, 29:2.]

The tales of the signs and wonders which the Báb's unnumbered admirers had witnessed were soon transmitted from mouth to mouth, and gave rise to a wave of unprecedented enthusiasm which spread with bewildering rapidity over the entire country. It swept over Tihran and roused the ecclesiastical dignitaries of the realm to fresh exertions against Him. They trembled at the progress of a Movement which, if allowed to run its course, they felt certain would soon engulf the institutions upon which their authority, nay their very existence, depended. They saw on every side increasing evidences of a faith and devotion such as they themselves had been powerless to evoke, of a loyalty which struck at the very root of the fabric which their own hands had reared and which all the resources at their command had as yet failed to undermine.

Tabriz, in particular, was in the throes of the wildcat excitement. The news of the impending arrival of the Báb had inflamed the imagination of its inhabitants and had kindled the fiercest animosity in the hearts of the ecclesiastical leaders of Adhirbayjan. These alone, of all the people of Tabriz, abstained from sharing in the demonstrations with which a grateful population hailed the return of the Báb to their city. Such was the fervour of popular enthusiasm which that news had evoked that the authorities decided to house the Báb in a place outside the gates of the city. Only those

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whom He desired to meet were allowed the privilege of approaching Him. All others were strictly refused admittance.

On the second night after His arrival, the Báb summoned Azim to His presence and, in the course of His conversation with him, asserted emphatically His claim to be none other than the promised Qa'im. He found him, however, reluctant to acknowledge this claim unreservedly. Perceiving his inner agitation, He said: "To-morrow I shall, in the presence of the Vali-'Ahd,[1] and in the midst of the assembled ulamas and notables of the city, proclaim My Mission. Whoso may feel inclined to require from Me any other testimony besides the verses which I have revealed, let him seek satisfaction from the Qa'im of his idle fancy."

[1 The heir to the throne.]

I have heard Azim testify to the following: "That night I was in a state of great perturbation. I remained awake and restless until the hour of sunrise. As soon as I had offered my morning prayer, however, I realised that a great change had come over me. A new door seemed to have been unlocked and set open before my face. The conviction soon dawned upon me that if I were loyal to my faith in Muhammad, the Apostle of God, I must needs also unreservedly acknowledge the claims advanced by the Báb, and must submit without fear or hesitation to whatever He might choose to decree. This conclusion allayed the agitation of my heart. I hastened to the Báb and begged His forgiveness. 'It is a further evidence of the greatness of this Cause,' He remarked, 'that even Azim [1] should have felt so exceedingly troubled and shaken by its power and the immensity of its claim.' 'Rest assured,' He added, 'the grace of the Almighty shall enable you to fortify the faint in heart and to make firm the step of the waverer. So great shall be your faith that should the enemy mutilate and tear your body to pieces, in the hope of lessening by one jot or tittle the ardour of your love, he would fail to attain his object. You will, no doubt, in the days to come, meet face to face Him who is the Lord of all the worlds, and will partake of the joy of His presence.' These words dispelled the gloom of my apprehensions. From that day onward, no trace of either fear or agitation ever again cast its shadow upon me."

[1 Literally meaning "great."]
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The detention of the Báb outside the gate of Tabriz failed to allay the excitement which reigned in the city. Every measure of precaution, every restriction, which the authorities had imposed, served only to aggravate a situation which had already become ominous and menacing. Haji Mirza Aqasi issued his orders for the immediate convocation of the ecclesiastical dignitaries of Tabriz in the official residence of the governor of Adhirbayjan for the express purpose of arraigning the Báb and of seeking the most effective means for the extinction of His influence. Haji Mulla Mahmud, entitled the Nizamu'l-'Ulama', who was the tutor of Nasiri'd-Din Mirza the Vali-'Ahd,[1] Mulla Muhammad-i-Mamaqani, Mirza Ali-Asghar the Shaykhu'l-Islam, and a number of the most distinguished shaykhis and doctors of divinity were among those who had convened for that purpose.[2] Nasiri'd-Din Mirza himself attended that

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gathering. The presidency belonged to the Nizamu'l-'Ulama', who, as soon as the proceedings had begun, in the name of the assembly commissioned an officer of the army to introduce the Báb into their presence. A multitude of people had meanwhile besieged the entrance of the hall and were impatiently awaiting the time when they could catch a glimpse of His face. They were pressing forward in such large numbers that a passage had to be forced for Him through the crowd that had collected before the gate.

[1 Born July 17, 1831; began to reign September, 1848, died 1896. "This Prince left Tihran to return to his government the twenty-third of January, 1848. His father having died the fourth of September, he returned to assume the title of Shah on the eighteenth of September of the same year." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 243, note 195.)]

[2 "A Traveller's Narrative" (p. 19) mentions in addition the name Mirza Ahmad, the Imam-Jum'ih.]

Upon His arrival, the Báb observed that every seat in that hall was occupied except one which had been reserved for the Vali-'Ahd. He greeted the assembly and, without the slightest hesitation, proceeded to occupy that vacant seat. The majesty of His gait, the expression of overpowering confidence which sat upon His brow--above all, the spirit of power which shone from His whole being, appeared to have for a moment crushed the soul out of the body of those whom He had greeted. A deep, a mysterious silence, suddenly fell upon them. Not one soul in that distinguished assembly dared breathe a single word. At last the stillness which brooded over them was broken by the Nizamu'l-'Ulama'. "Whom do you claim to be," he asked the Báb, "and what is the message which you have brought?" "I am," thrice exclaimed the Báb, "I am, I am, the promised One! I am the One whose name you have for a thousand years invoked, at whose

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mention you have risen, whose advent you have longed to witness, and the hour of whose Revelation you have prayed God to hasten. Verily I say, it is incumbent upon the peoples of both the East and the West to obey My word and to pledge allegiance to My person." No one ventured to reply except Mulla Muhammad-i-Mamaqani, a leader of the Shaykhi community who had been himself a disciple of Siyyid Kazim. It was he on whose unfaithfulness and insincerity the siyyid had tearfully remarked, and the perversity of whose nature he had deplored. Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi, who had heard Siyyid Kazim make these criticisms, recounted to me the following: "I was greatly surprised at the tone of his reference to Mulla Muhammad, and was curious to know what his future behaviour would be so as to merit such expressions of pity and condemnation from his master. Not until I discovered his attitude that day towards the Báb did I realise the extent of his arrogance and blindness. I was standing together with other people outside the hall, and was able to follow the conversation of those who were within. Mulla Muhammad was seated on the left hand of the Vali-'Ahd. The Báb was occupying a seat between them. Immediately after He had declared Himself to be the promised One, a feeling of awe seized those who were present. They had dropped their heads in silent confusion. The pallor of their faces betrayed the agitation of their hearts. Mulla Muhammad, that one-eyed and white-bearded renegade, insolently reprimanded Him, saying: 'You wretched and immature lad of Shiraz! You have already convulsed and

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subverted Iraq; do you now wish to arouse a like turmoil in Adhirbayjan?' 'Your Honour,' replied the Báb, 'I have not come hither of My own accord. I have been summoned to this place.' 'Hold your peace,' furiously retorted Mulla Muhammad, 'you perverse and contemptible follower of Satan!' 'Your Honour,' the Báb again answered, 'I maintain what I have already declared.'

"The Nizamu'l-'Ulama' thought it best to challenge His Mission openly. 'The claim which you have advanced,' he told the Báb, 'is a stupendous one; it must needs be supported by the most incontrovertible evidence.' 'The mightiest, the most convincing evidence of the truth of the Mission of the Prophet of God,' the Báb replied, 'is admittedly His own Word. He Himself testifies to this truth: "Is it not enough for them that We have sent down to Thee the Book?"[1] The power to produce such evidence has been given to Me by God. Within the space of two days and two nights, I declare Myself able to reveal verses of such number as will equal the whole of the Qur'an.' 'Describe orally, if you speak the truth,' the Nizamu'l-'Ulama' requested, 'the proceedings of this gathering in language that will resemble the phraseology of the verses of the Qur'an so that the Vali-'Ahd and the assembled divines may bear witness to the truth of your claim.' The Báb readily acceded to his wish. No sooner had He uttered the words, 'In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, praise be to Him who has

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created the heaven and the earth,' than Mulla Muhammad-i-Mamaqani interrupted and called His attention to all infraction of the rules of grammar. 'This self-appointed Qa'im of ours,' he cried in haughty scorn, 'has at the very start of his address betrayed his ignorance of the most rudimentary rules of grammar!' 'The Qur'an itself,' pleaded the Báb, 'does in no wise accord with the rules and conventions current amongst men. The Word of God can never be subject to the limitations

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of His creatures. Nay, the rules and canons which men have adopted have been deduced from the text of the Word of God and are based upon it. These men have, in the very texts of that holy Book, discovered no less than three hundred instances of grammatical error, such as the one you now criticise. Inasmuch as it was the Word of God, they had no other alternative except to resign themselves to His will.'[2]

[1 Qur'an 29:51.]

[2 "If anyone should raise an objection to the grammar or syntax of these verses, this objection is vain, because the rules of grammar should be taken from the verses and not the verses written in compliance with the rules of grammar. There is no doubt that the Master of these verses denied these rules, denied that he, himself, was ever aware of them." ("Le Bayan Persan," vol. 1, pp. 45-46.)]

"He then repeated the same-words He had uttered, to which Mulla Muhammad raised again the same objection. Shortly after, another person ventured to put this question to the Báb: 'To which tense does the word Ishtartanna belong?' In answer to him, the Báb quoted this verse of the Qur'an: 'Far be the glory of thy Lord, the Lord of all greatness, from what they impute to Him, and peace be upon His Apostles! And praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds.' Immediately after, He arose and left the gathering."[1]

[1 "And as for the Muslim accounts, those which we have before us do not bear the stamp of truth: they seem to be forgeries. Knowing what we do of the Báb it is probable that he had the best of the argument and that the doctors and functionaries who attended the meeting were unwilling to put upon record their own fiasco." (Dr. T. K. Cheyne's "The Reconciliation of Race and Religions," p. 62.) "It is difficult to decide to what measure of credence the above narrative [the Muhammadan version of the examination of the Báb at Tabriz] is entitled Very probably such questions as are there recorded--and assuredly some of them are sufficiently frivolous and even indecent--were asked; but, even though the Báb may have been unable to answer them, it is far more likely that, as stated in the 'Tarikh-i-Jadid' he preserved a dignified silence than that he gave utterance to the absurdities attributed to him by the Muhammadan writers. These, indeed, spoil their own case; for desiring to prove that the Báb was not endowed with superhuman wisdom, they represent him as displaying an ignorance which we can scarcely credit. That the whole examination was a farce throughout, that the sentence was a foregone conclusion, that no serious attempt to apprehend the nature and evidence of the Báb's claim and doctrine was made that from first to last a systematic course of browbeating, irony, and mockery was pursued appear to me to be facts proved no less by the Muhammadan than by the Bábi accounts of these inquisitorial proceedings" ("A Traveller's Narrative," Note M, p. 290.)]

The Nizamu'l-'Ulama' was sorely displeased at the manner in which the meeting had been conducted. "How shameful," he was heard to exclaim later, "is the discourtesy of the people of Tabriz! What could possibly be the connection between these idle remarks and the consideration of such weighty, such momentous issues?" A few others were likewise

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inclined to denounce the disgraceful treatment meted out to the Báb on that occasion. Mulla Muhammad-i-Mamaqani, however, persisted in his vehement denunciations. "I warn you," he loudly protested, "if you allow this youth to pursue unhampered the course of his activities, the day will come when the entire population of Tabriz will have flocked to his standard. Should he, when that day arrives, signify his wish that all the ulamas of Tabriz, that the Vali-'Ahd himself, should be expelled from the city and that he should alone assume the reins of civil and ecclesiastical authority, no one of you, who now view with apathy his cause, will feel able to oppose him effectually. The entire city, nay the whole province of Adhirbayjan, will on that day unanimously support him."

The persistent denunciations of that evil plotter excited the apprehensions of the authorities of Tabriz. Those who held the reins of power in their grasp took counsel together as to the most effective measures to be taken to resist the progress of His Faith. Some urged that in view of the marked disrespect which the Báb had shown to the Vali-'Ahd in occupying his seat without his leave, and because of His failure to obtain the consent of the chairman of that gathering when He arose to depart, He should be summoned again to a like gathering and should receive from the hands of its members a humiliating punishment. Nasiri'd-Din Mirza, however, refused to entertain this proposal. Finally it was decided that the Báb should be brought to the home of Mirza Ali-Asghar, who was both the Shaykhu'l-Islam of Tabriz and a siyyid, and should receive at the hands of the governor's bodyguard the chastisement which He deserved. The guard refused to accede to this request, preferring not to interfere in a matter which they regarded as the sole concern of the ulamas of the city. The Shaykhu'l-Islam himself decided to inflict the punishment. He summoned the Báb to his home, and with his hand eleven times applied the rods to His feet.[1]

[1 The following is Dr. Cormick's account of his personal impressions of Mirza Ali-Muhammad the Báb, extracted from letters written by him to the Rev. Benjamin Labaree, D.D. (Dr. Cormick was an English physician long resident in Tabriz, where he was highly respected. The document was communicated to Professor E. G. Browne of Cambridge University, by Mr. W. A. Shedd, who wrote concerning it, in a letter dated March 1, 1911: "Dear Professor Browne, In going over papers of my father (the late Rev. J. H. Shedd, D.D., of the American Mission at Urumiyyih, Persia, of the same mission as Dr. Benjamin Labaree), I found something which I think may be of value from a historical point of view. I have no books here, nor are any accessible here, to be certain whether this bit of testimony has been used or not. I think probably not, and I am sure that I can do nothing better than send them to you, with the wish that you may use them as you think best. Of the authenticity of the papers there can be no doubt.") "You ask me for some particulars of my interview with the founder of the sect known as Babis. Nothing of any importance transpired in this interview, as the Báb was aware of my having been sent with two other Persian doctors to see whether he was of sane mind or merely a madman, to decide the question whether to put him to death or not. With this knowledge he was loth to answer any questions put to him. To all enquiries he merely regarded us with a mild look, chanting in a low melodious voice some hymns, I suppose. Two other Siyyids, his intimate friends, were also present, who subsequently were put to death with him, besides a couple of government officials. He only once deigned to answer me, on my saying that I was not a Musulman and was willing to know something about his religion, as I might perhaps be inclined to adopt it. He regarded me very intently on my saying this, and replied that he had no doubt of all Europeans coming over to his religion. Our report to the Shah at that time was of a nature to spare his life. He was put to death some time after by the order of the Amir-Nizam Mirza Taqi Khan. On our report he merely got the bastinado, in which operation a farrash, whether intentionally or not, struck him across the face with the stick destined for his feet, which produced a great wound and swelling of the face. On being asked whether a Persian surgeon should be brought to treat him, he expressed a desire that I should be sent for, and I accordingly treated him for a few days, but in the interviews consequent on this I could never get him to have a confidential chat with me, as some government people were always present, he being a prisoner. He was very thankful for my attentions to him. He was a very mild and delicate-looking man, rather small in stature and very fair for a Persian, with a melodious soft voice, which struck me much. Being a Siyyid, he was dressed in the habit of that sect, as were also his two companions. In fact his whole look and deportment went far to dispose on in his favour. Of his doctrine I heard nothing from his own lips, although the idea was that there existed in his religion a certain approach to Christianity. He was seen by some Armenian carpenters, who were sent to make some repairs to his prison, reading the Bible, and he took no pains to conceal it, but on the contrary told them of it. Most assuredly the Mussulman fanaticism does not exist in his religion, as applied to Christians, nor is there that restraint of females that now exists." In connection with this document, Professor Browne writes as follows: "The first of these two documents is very valuable as giving the personal impression produced by the Báb, during the period of his imprisonment and suffering, on a cultivated and impartial Western mind. Very few Western Christians can have had the opportunity of seeing, still less of conversing with, the Báb, and I do not know of any other who has recorded his impressions." (E. G. Browne's Materials for the Study of the Bábi Religion," pp. 260-62, 264.)]

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That same year this insolent tyrant was struck with paralysis, and, after enduring the most excruciating pain, died a miserable death. His treacherous, avaricious, and self-seeking character was universally recognized by the people of Tabriz. Notoriously cruel and sordid, he was feared and despised by the people who groaned under his yoke and prayed for deliverance. The abject circumstances of his death reminded both his friends and his opponents of the punishment which must necessarily await those whom neither the fear of God nor the voice of conscience can deter from behaving with such perfidious cruelty towards their fellow men. After his death the functions of the Shaykhu'l-Islam were abolished in Tabriz. Such was his infamy that the very name of the institution with which he had been associated came to be abhorred by the people.

And yet his behaviour, base and treacherous as it was, was only one instance of the villainous conduct which characterised the attitude of the ecclesiastical leaders among his countrymen towards the Báb. How far and how grievously have these erred from the path of fairness and justice! How contemptuously have they cast away the counsels of the Prophet of God and the admonitions of the imams of the Faith! Have not these explicitly declared that "should a

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Youth from Bani-Hashim [1] be made manifest and summon the people to a new Book and to new laws, all should hasten to Him and embrace His Cause"? Although these same imams have clearly stated that "most of His enemies shall be the ulamas," yet these blind and ignoble people have chosen to follow the example of their leaders and to regard their conduct as the pattern of righteousness and justice. They walk in their footsteps, implicitly obey their orders, and deem themselves the "people of salvation," the "chosen of God," and the "custodians of His Truth."

[1 Hashim was the great-grandfather of Muhammad.]

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