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TRANSLATION OF THE FRENCH FOOT-NOTES OF THE DAWN-BREAKERSby Emily McBride Perigord
The translator of these Notes has not striven primarily for an interpretation of marked literary excellence. Her first concern has, at all times, been accuracy. When necessary she has chosen to sacrifice elegance of style to fidelity to the original text. This may explain a few instances of apparently awkward phrasing where the French construction is felt in the English translation.Page 1
Siyyid Kazim, in his book entitled "Dalilu'l-Mutahayyirin," writes as follows:
"Our master, one night, saw the Imam Hasan; upon him may the blessing of God rest! His Holiness put in his mouth his blessed tongue. From the adorable saliva of His Holiness he drew forth the sciences and the assistance of God. To the taste it was sweeter even than honey, more perfumed than the musk. It was also quite warm. When he came to himself and wakened from his dream, he inwardly radiated the light of divine contemplation; his soul overflowed with the blessings of God and became entirely severed from everything save God.
"His faith, his trust in God and his resignation to the Will of the Most High grew apace. Because of a great love and an ardent desire which arose in his heart, he forgot to eat or to clothe himself except barely enough to sustain life." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," I, p. 6.)Page 4, Note 2
"In the country of Fars, there is a Mosque in the center of which rises a structure similar to the Ka'bih, (Masjid-i-Jum'ih). It was built only as a sign indicating the Manifestation of the Will of God through the erection of the house in that land. [Allusion to the new Mecca, i.e., the house of the Báb in Shiraz.] Blessed be he who worships God in that land; truly we, too, worshipped God there, and prayed for him who had erected that building." ("Le Bayan Persan," vol. 2, p. 151.)Page 5, Note 2
"The news of his arrival caused a great stir and certain Ulamas among the most celebrated received him with reverence. They accorded him great consideration and the inhabitants of the town did likewise. All of the Ulamas came to see him. It was well known that he was the most learned among the most learned." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," p. 18.)Page 2
A. L. M. Nicolas, in his book "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," pp. 19-20, refers to a second letter addressed by the Shah to Shaykh Ahmad:
"The Shah, forewarned, wrote again telling him that evidently it was his duty, his, the King's, to go out of his way to come to Yazd to see the illustrious and holy person whose feet were a blessing to the province upon whose soil they had trodden, but because of political reasons of high importance he could not, at this moment, leave the capital. Besides it was necessary, he said, in case of change of residence, to bring with him a force of at least ten thousand men, and, as the town of Yazd was too small to support such a large population, the arrival of so many troops would most certainly occasion a famine. 'You would not wish such a calamity to occur, I am quite certain, and I think therefore that, although I am of very small importance compared to you, you will consent, nevertheless to come to me.'"Page 12, Note 1
"The Shah felt his good will and respect for the Shaykh grow increasingly from day to day. He felt obliged to obey him and would have considered it an act of blasphemy to oppose him. However, at this time, a succession of earthquakes occurred in Rayy and many were destroyed.
"The Shah had a dream in which it was revealed to him that, if Shaykh Ahmad had not been there, the entire city would have been destroyed and all the inhabitants killed. He awakened terrified and his faith in the Shaykh grew apace." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," I, p. 21.)Page 13, Note 2
"Kirmanshah awaited him with great impatience. The Prince Governor Muhammad-'Ali Mirza had sent the entire town to meet him and they had erected tents in which to receive him at Chah-Qilan. The Prince went even beyond to the Taj-Abad which lies four farsakhs distant from the town." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Essai sur le Shaykhisme," I, p. 30.)Page 16, Note 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, whoPage 3
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!"Pages 17-18, Note 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.)Page 18, Note 3
"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, inhabitedPage 4
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.)CHAPTER II
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.)Page 24, Note 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.)Page 5
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."Page 37, Note 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 ofPage 6
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."Page 38, Note 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.Page 7
"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."Page 45, Note 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.)Page 45, Note 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.)Page 46, Note 1
"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.)Page 46, Note 2
"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.)Page 8
"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.)Page 62, Note 1
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.)Page 63, Note 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.)Page 66, Note 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.)Page 76, Note 1
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 samePage 9
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.)Page 76, Note 3
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.)Page 76, Note 4
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.)Page 77, Note 2
"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 hePage 10
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.)Page 79, Note 1
"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.)Page 79-80, Note 4
"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.)Pages 82-83, Note 2
"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 MullaPage 11
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 somePage 12
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 as the greatPage 13
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.)Pages 84-85, Note 1
"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.Page 14
"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.)Page 85, Note 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.)Page 94, Note 1
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 ofPage 15
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.)Pages 94-96, Note 2
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."CHAPTER IV
"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.)Page 99, Note 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 thePage 15
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.)Page 101, Note 1
"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.)Page 103, Note 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.)CHAPTER VI
"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 thePage 17
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.)CHAPTER VII
"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, 4:16.)Page 18
"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 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.)Pages 130-131, Note 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.)Page 19
"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.)Page 154, Note 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.)Pages 157-158, Note 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.Page 20
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. InPage 21
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.)CHAPTER IX
"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.) Pages 171-172, Note 2
* * * "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 favorPage 22
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.)Page 175, Note 1
* * * "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 twoPage 23
nights without interruption, he would reveal, out of this mine of eloquence, the equivalent of the Qur'an." (Ibid., vol. 2, p. 132.)Page 175, Note 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.)Page 187, Note 2
"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.)Page 193, Note 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.)Page 24
"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.)Page 196, Note 2
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.)CHAPTER X
"Muhammad having grown silent, Mirza Muhammad-Hasan, who followed the philosophical doctrine of Mulla Sadra, questioned the Báb inPage 25
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.)Page 211, Note 2
"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.)Page 26
"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.)Page 215, Note 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.)CHAPTER XII
"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.)Page 229-230, Note 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 affectionPage 27
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 or 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.)Page 230, Note 1
* * * "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; 0 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 thatPage 28
of each one of his followers." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 124.)Page 231, Note 2
* * * "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.)Page 231-232, Note 3
"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,Page 29
walking free from care in this cool shade."'" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 243-244) * * *Page 232, Note 2
"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.)Page 234, Note 2
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.)Page 239, Note 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.)Page 30
"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.)Page 244, Note 3
"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.)Pages 245-246, Note 1
"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.)Page 31
'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.)Page 248, Note 1
* * * "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.) * * *Pages 248-251, Note 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. ThePage 32
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 thePage 33
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 forcedPage 34
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,Page 35
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.)Page 249, Note 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.)Page 36
"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.)Pages 253-254, Note 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 BabaPage 37
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.)Pages 254-255, Note 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.Page 38
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.)Page 259, Note 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.)CHAPTER XV
"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.)Page 270, Note 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.Page 39
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.)Page 275, Note 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.)CHAPTER XVI
"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.)Page 40
"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.)CHAPTER XVIII
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.)Page 319, Note 1
"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.)CHAPTER XIX
"He (Mulla Husayn) arrived first at Miyamay where he rejoined thirty Babis whose chief, Mirza Zaynu'l-'Abidin, pupil of the late Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa'i, was an elderly, pious and respected gentleman. His zeal was so intense that he brought with him his son-in-law, a young man of eighteen years, who had been married to his daughter only a few days. 'Come,' hePage 41
said to him, 'Come with me on my last journey. Come, because I must be a true father to you and make you partake of the joy of salvation!'
"They departed therefore, and it was on foot that the aged man desired to travel the road which was to lead him to martyrdom." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 290.)Page 326, Note 3
Muhammad Shah died on the eve of the sixth of Shavval (September 4,
1848 A.D.). "There was an interregnum of about two months. A provisional
government was formed comprising four administrators under the
presidency of the widow of the deceased Shah. Finally after much hesitation,
the lawful heir, the young Prince Nasiri'd-Din Mirza, governor of
Adhirbayjan was permitted to ascend the throne." (Journal Asiatique,1866, tome 7, p. 367.)
"The bullet struck Siyyid Rida full in the chest and killed him instantly. He was a man of pure and simple ways, of deep and sincere convictions. Out of respect for his master he always walked alongside of his horse ready to meet his every need." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 294.)Page 331, Note 1
"But the pain and the anger redoubled the strength of Mulla Husayn who with one single blow of his weapon cut in two the gun, the man and the tree." (Mirza Jani adds that the Bushru'i used his left hand on this occasion. The Mussulmans themselves do not question the authenticity of this anecdote.) (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 295 and note 215.)Page 337, Note 2
"'The Bábu'l-Bab,' says our author, 'wishing to fulfill a religious duty and at the same time to give an example of the firm conviction of the believers, of their contempt for life, and to show the world the impiety and irreligion of the so called Mussulmans, commanded one of his followers to ascend the terrace and intone the adhan.'" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 295-296.)Page 338-339, Note 1
"Sa'idu'l-'Ulama' wishing to have done at any cost, gathered together as many people as he could and again began the attack in front of thePage 42
caravansary. The struggle had been waging from five to six days when Abbas-Quli Khan Sardar-i-Larijani appeared. In the meantime, and since the outbreak of the conflict, the Ulamas of Barfurush exasperated by the numerous conversions which Quddus had been able to make in the city (three hundred in a week, the Muhammadan historians admit reluctantly), referred the case to the governor of the province, Prince Khanlan Mirza. He, however, paid no attention to their grievances, having many other preoccupations.
"The death of Muhammad Shah worried him much more than the wrangling of the Mullas and he made ready to go to Tihran to pay homage to the new king, whose favor he hoped to win.
"Having failed in this attempt, under the pressure of events, the Ulamas wrote a very urgent letter to the military chief of the province, Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani. He however, thinking it unnecessary to trouble himself, sent Muhammad Bik, Yavar (captain), at the head of three hundred men, to restore order. Thus it was that the Muhammadans began to attack the caravansary. The struggle went on, but if ten Babis were killed, an infinitely larger number of aggressors bit the dust. As things continued to drag along, Abbas-Quli Khan felt he should come himself in order to size up the situation." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 296-297.)Page 339, Note 1
Gobineau describes him in the following terms: "The Turkish and Persian nomads pass their lives in hunting, often also in fighting and above all in talking of the hunt and of war. They are brave but not always and they are well described by Branttome who, in his war experience had often encountered that type of bravery which he called 'one day courage.' But this is what they are in a very regular and consistent manner, great talkers, great wreckers of towns, great assassins of heroes, great exterminators of multitudes, in a word, naive, very outspoken in their sentiments, very violent in the expression of anything which arouses them and extremely amusing. Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani although well born, was a perfect type of nomad." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 171.)Page 343, Note 1
"Then turning to his companions he said: 'During these few days of life which remain to us, let us beware not to be divided and estranged by perishable riches. Let all this be held in common and let everyone share in its benefits.' The Bábis agreed with joy and it is this marvellous spiritPage 43
of self-sacrifice and this complete self-abnegation which made their enemies say that they advocated collective ownership in earthly goods and even women!" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 299.)Page 357, Note 1
"According to the descriptions which I have heard, the fortress erected by Mulla Husayn soon became a very strong building. Its walls made of large stones reached a height of ten meters. On this base, they raised a construction made of enormous tree trunks in the middle of which they arranged a number of loopholes; they then surrounded it entirely with a deep ditch. In fact it was a kind of great tower having stones for the foundation while the higher stories were of wood and provided with three rows of loopholes where they could place as many tufang-chis as they wished, or rather, as they had. They made openings for many doors and postern gates in order to facilitate entrance and exit.
"They dug wells, thus securing an abundance of water; underground passages were excavated in order to provide refuge in case of need; storehouses were built and filled with all sorts of provisions either bought, or perhaps taken in the neighboring villages. Finally, they manned the fortress with the most energetic Babis, the most devoted, and the most dependable available among them." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 156.)Page 359, Note 1
"Thus frantic about the maintenance of order, the Amir-Nizam disposed quickly of the Mazindaran question. When the leading men of this province came to Tihran to pay their respects to the king, they were ordered, as they departed, to take necessary measures to put an end to the sedition of the Bábis. They promised to do their best and in fact, as soon as they returned, these chiefs began to gather their forces and to deliberate. They wrote to their relations to come and join them. Haji Mustafa Khan called for his brother Abdu'llah, Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani sent for Muhammad-Sultan and Ali-Khan of Savad-Kuh. All of these worthies decided to attack the Bábis in their fortress before they, themselves, could assume the defensive. The royal officers, seeing the chiefs of the country so willing, summoned a grand council to which hastened the lords already mentioned and also Mirza Aqa, Mustawfi of Mazindaran, superintendent of finances, the head of the Ulamas and many other men of high standing." (Ibid., pp. 160-161.)Page 44
"On his side, the superintendent of finances raised a troop amongst the Afghans domiciled at Sari and added to it several men from the Turkish tribes under his administration. Ali-Abad, the village so severely punished by the Bábis, which aspired to avenge itself, furnished what it could and was reinforced by a party of men from Qadi who, being in the neighborhood, were willing to enlist." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 161.)Page 363, Note 1
"The Amir-Nizam grew violently angry at the news of what had happened. The description of the terrors aroused his indignation. Too far from the scene of action to appraise the wild enthusiasm of the rebels, the only conclusion he could reach was that the Bábies should be done away with before their courage could be further stimulated by real victories. The Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza, appointed lieutenant of the king in the threatened province, left with a grant of extraordinary powers. Instructions were given to draw up a list of the men who had died in the attack on the Bábis' fortress and in the sacking of Ferra and pensions were promised to the survivors.
"Haji Mustafa Khan, brother of Abdu'llah, received substantial tokens of the royal favor; in a word, all that was possible was done to restore the courage and confidence of the Mussulmans." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 164-165.)Page 366, Note 1
"We have left Mihdi-Quli Mirza running away from his burning home and wandering alone in the country, in the snow and the darkness. Toward dawn, he found himself in an unknown mountain pass, lost in a wild country, but in reality only a short distance away from the slaughter of battle. The wind brought to his ears the noise of the volleys of musketry.
"In this sad state, completely bewildered, he was met by a Mazindarani, mounted on a fairly good horse, who recognized him. This man dismounted, placed the Prince on his horse and offered to serve him as guide. He led him to a peasant's hut, settled him in the barn (this is not considered a place to frown upon in Persia) and while the Prince slept and ate, the Mazindarani mounted his horse and, covering the country side, gave out the glad tidings that the Prince was safe and well. Thus he brought to him all his men, or at least a respectable number of them, one band after another.Page 45
"If Mihdi-Quli Mirza had been one of those proud spirits not easily broken by reverses, he would have considered his position only slightly altered by the mishaps of the previous evening; he could have believed that his men had been unfortunately surprised; then with the remainder of his forces he would have saved appearances and held the ground, for in fact, the Bábis had retreated and were out of sight. But the Shahzadih, far from priding himself on such firmness, was a weak character and, when he saw himself so well guarded, he left the barn and hurried to the village of Qadi-Kala whence he reached Sari in great haste. This conduct strengthened in the whole province the impression caused by the defeat of Vaskas. Panic ensued, open towns believed themselves exposed to every danger and, in spite of the rigor of the season, one could see caravans of non-combatants in great distress, taking their wives and children to the desert of Damavand to save them from the miserable dangers which the cautious conduct of Shahzadih seemed to foretell. When the Asiatics lose their heads they do so completely." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 169-170.)Page 366, Note 2
"In a few moments his army already in such confusion, was scattered by the three hundred men of Mulla Husayn! Was not this the sword of the Lord and of Gideon?" (Ibid., p. 167.)CHAPTER XX
"Thus perplexed and not knowing which way to turn, Shahzadih, poor man, gave orders to gather together new soldiers and raise another army. The population was not eager to serve under a chief whose worth and intrepidity had not brilliantly stood the test. Nevertheless, by the help of money and through promises, the Mullas particularly, who did not lose sight of their interests, and who had the most at stake, displayed such zeal that in the end a fair number of tufang-chis were assembled. As for the mounted soldiers of the various tribes, from the moment their chiefs mount their horses, they do likewise without even asking why.
"Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani obeyed without hesitation the order to send new recruits. This time however, either through distrust of a Prince whose ineptitude might endanger the lives of his relatives and subjects, orPage 46
because ambitious to distinguish himself, he no longer gave anyone the command of his forces. He led them himself by a daring move and, instead of rejoining the royal army, he went straight on to attack the Bábis in their refuge. Then he gave notice to the Prince that he had arrived at the fortress of Shaykh Tabarsi and that he was besieging it. Besides, he notified him that he had no need of assistance nor of support, that his forces were more than adequate and that, if his royal highness would see for himself how he, Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani was about to treat the rebels, he would be both honored and gratified." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 170-171.)Page 378, Note 2
"Mihdi-Quli Mirza could not pass for a bold warrior, as we have just seen, but he substituted for an excessive intrepidity another quality very useful to a general, he did not take literally the boastings of his lieutenants. Therefore, fearing that ill might befall this impudent nomad, he sent him reinforcements immediately. Thus departed in great haste Muhsin Khan-i-Ashrafi with his cavalry, a troop of Afghans, Muhammad-Karim Khan-i-Ashrafi with some of the tufang-chis of the town, and Khalil Khan of Savad-Kuh with the men of Qadi-Kala." (Ibid., p. 171.)Page 380, Note 1
"Although seriously wounded, the Bábi chief continued, nevertheless, to give orders and to lead and stimulate his men until, seeing that little more could be gained, he gave the signal to retreat, remaining himself with the rear guard." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 174.)Page 383, Note 1
..."At last," writes Gobineau, "he passed away. The new religion, which found in him its first martyr, lost, in the same stroke, a man whose moral strength and ability would have been of great value to it, had he lived longer. The Muhammadans naturally feel a hatred for the memory of this leader, which is as deep as the love and veneration shown for him by the Bábis. They can both justify their opposing sentiments. What is certain is that Mulla Husayn-i-Bushru'i was the first to give to Babism, in the Persian empire, the status which a religious or political body acquires in the eyes of the people only after it has demonstrated its warlike strength." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 176.)Page 47
"This time the terror knew no bounds; throughout the province the people, deeply aroused by the repeated defeats of Islam, were beginning to lean toward the new religion. The military leaders felt their authority tottering, the religious chiefs saw their power over souls waning; the situation was extremely critical and the least incident might place the province completely under the influence of the Reformer." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 315.)Page 389, Note 1
"Mihdi-Quli Mirza was somewhat surprised. He felt deeply disappointed, but what impressed him even more was that the Sardar could be considered as having been defeated as well as he, and this thought, flattering to his self-love, brought him no little pleasure. Not only did he no longer fear that one of his lieutenants might have won an enviable glory in taking the fortress of the Bábis; but it was not he himself alone who had failed; he had a companion in misfortune and a companion whom he would succeed in proving responsible for the two defeats. Overjoyed he called together his chiefs great and small and apprised them of the news, deploring of course the tragic fate of the Sardar and expressing the ardent hope that this valiant soldier might be more fortunate in the future." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 179.)Page 390, Note 2
"The Prince assigned to each one his post during the siege; he entrusted Haji Khan Nuri and Mirza Abdu'llah Navayy with the responsibility of securing adequate supplies. As military leaders, he selected the Sardar Abbas-Quli-i-Larijani, towards whom, since his recent failure, he was showing more sympathy; then Nasru'llah Khan-i-Bandibi, another chieftain, and Mustafa Khan from Ashraf to whom he gave the command of the brave tufang-chis of that city and also the command of the suritis. Other lesser lords led the men of Dudankih and Bala-Rastaq as well as several Turkish and Kurdish nomads who were not included in the bands of the great chiefs. These nomads were entrusted with the special duty of watching every move of the enemy. Past experience had convinced them that they should be more vigilant in the future. Turks and Kurds were given therefore the responsibility of following, night and day, the operations of the enemy and to be ever on the alert in order to prevent possible surprises." (Ibid., p. 181.)Page 48
"Mihdi-Quli Mirza, however, wished to combine recent strategy with old military technique and ordered to be brought from Tihran two cannon and two mortars with the necessary ammunition. He also enlisted the assistance of a man from Hirat who had discovered an explosive substance which could project flames to a distance of seven hundred meters and set fire to anything combustible within that radius. A trial test was made and it proved satisfactory; the burning material was shot out into the fort, a conflagration started immediately and all the dwellings or shelters whether of wood, of reeds or of straw, which the Bábis had erected, either within the enclosure or upon the walls, were reduced to ashes.
"While this destruction went on, the bombs and bullets shot from the mortars seriously damaged a building hastily erected by men who were neither architects nor engineers and had never anticipated an artillery attack. In a very short time, the outer defences of the fortress were dismantled; nothing was left of them but fallen girders, smoked and burning timbers, scattered stones." (Ibid., pp. 181-182.)Page 391, Note 2
"After taking these precautions, they dug holes and trenches for the use of the tufang-chis who were ordered to shoot down any Babis who might appear. They built large towers as high as the various levels of the fortress or even higher and, through a continuous plunging fire, they rendered the circulation of the Bábis within their fort extremely dangerous. It was a decided advantage for the besiegers, but, in a few days, the Bábi chiefs, taking advantage of the long nights, raised their fortifications so that their height exceeded that of the attacking towers of the enemy." (Ibid., p. 181.)Page 394, Note 1
"This state of affairs had lasted four months. The Shah began to grow impatient. The success of the Bábis aroused his anger which according to the Persian historian he expressed thus: 'We thought that our army would go without hesitation through fire and water, that, fearless, it would fight a lion or a whale, but we have sent it to fight a handful of weak and defenseless men and it has achieved nothing! Do the notables of Mazindaran think that we approve of this delay? Is it their policy to allow this conflagration to spread in order to magnify their importance in case they later put an end to it? Very well, let them know that I shall act as though Allah had never created Mazindaran and I shall exterminate its inhabitantsPage 49
to the last man!" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 322.)Page 394, Note 2
"The siege had been going on for four months and had made no visible progress. The old fortifications had been destroyed but, with indomitable energy, the Bábis had built new ones and, night and day, they restored and enlarged them. It was impossible to foresee the outcome of this situation, the more so because, as I have already said, Mazindaran was not the only region in Persia where the devotees of the new Faith were giving evidence of their zeal and their daring. The King and the prime minister, in their anxiety, burst forth into abuse against their lieutenants. Not only did they charge them with incompetence, in the most bitter terms, but they threatened to extend to them the same treatment planned for the Bábis, if a final settlement were not reached without delay. Thereupon, the command was taken from Mihdi-Quli Mirza and given to the Afshar Sulayman Khan, a man of acknowledged firmness and of great influence, not only in his own tribe, one of the noblest in Persia, but throughout the military circles who knew him and held him in high esteem. He was given the most rigorous orders." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 183-184.)
..."Those who remained firm had already consumed not only all their food supply, but such grass as they could find in the enclosure and the bark of all the trees. There remained only the leather of their belts and the scabbards of their swords. They had to resort to the expedient recommended by the Spanish ambassador to the soldiers of the league besieged in Paris; they ground the bones of the dead and made flour with the dust thereof. At last, desperate, they were reduced to perpetrate a sort of profanation. The horse of Mulla Husayn had died of the wounds suffered during that fatal night which witnessed the death of its master. The Bábis had buried it out of regard for their holy leader and a little of the deep veneration which all felt for him hovered over the grave of the poor animal. They held council and, deploring the necessity for such a discussion, they debated the question whether extreme distress could justify them to disinter the sacred charger and eat the remains. With deep sorrow, they agreed that the deed was justifiable. They cooked the remains of the horse with the flour made from the bones of the dead, they ate this strange mixture and took up their guns once more!" (Ibid., pp 186-187.)Page 50
"This stark and desperate bravery, this unquenchable enthusiasm gave grave concern to the leaders of the imperial army. Despairing to break through the fortification after repeated defeats, they thought of resorting to shrewdness. The Prince was naturally shrewd and Sulayman Khan-i-Afshar, recently sent by the Shah, was urging such a method, fearful that longer delays might endanger his prestige and his life." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 325.)Page 403, Note 2
"All the fortifications constructed by the Bábis were razed to the ground and even the ground was leveled to remove any evidences of the heroic defense of those who had died for their Faith. They imagined that this would silence history." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 327.)Page 403, Note 3
"They formed them in a line and made sport of cutting open their stomachs. This amused them the more because, from the perforated intestines, issued grass still undigested, striking evidence of the sufferings they had endured and also of the faith that had sustained them. Some, very few, succeeded in escaping into the forest." (Ibid.)Page 404, Note 2
"It was then, says Mirza Jani, that Islam gave a shameful exhibition to the world. The victors, if they can be so called, wished to enjoy the intoxication of their triumph. They bound in chains Quddus, Mirza Muhammad-Hasan Khan, brother of the Bábu'l-Bab, Akhund Mulla Muhammad-Sadiq-i-Khurasani, Mirza Muhammad Sadiq-i-Khurasani, Haji Mirza Hasan Khurasani, Shaykh Ni'matu'llah-i-Amuli, Haji Nasir-i-Qazvini, Mulla Yusuf-i-Ardibili, Aqa Siyyid Abdu'l-'Aim-i-Khu'i and several others. These they placed at the center of the parade which started out at the sound of the trumpets, and, every time they went through an inhabited section, they struck them." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 327-328.)
"The cruelty went further still. If a few escaped death, having been sold into slavery, others were tortured until they died. Those who found kindly masters were Akhund Mulla Muhammad-Sadiq-i-Khurasani, Mulla Muhammad-i-Mahvalatiy-i-Dugh-Abadi, Aqa Siyyid Azim-i-Khu'i, Haji Nasir-i-Qazvini, Haji Abdu'l-Majid-i-Nishaburi and Mirza Husayn-i-Matavalliy-i-Qumi. Four Babis suffered martyrdom at Barfurush,Page 51
two were sent to Amul; one of these was Mulla Ni'matu'llah-i-Amuli, the other Mirza Muhammad-Baqir-i-Khurasaniy-i-Qa'ini, cousin of our Babi author.
"Qa'ini lived previously at Mashhad, on the avenue called Khiyaban-Bala, and his house, which had been named 'Babiyyih,' was the rendezvous of the secretaries as well as the home for the co-religionists journeying through. It is there that Quddus and the Bábu'l-Báb sojourned on their way to Khurasan. Besides his religious knowledge, Qa'ini was very skillful with his hands and it was he who designed the fortifications of Shaykh-Tabarsi." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 329.)Page 404, Note 3
"As to the other prisoners they were made to lie down on the ground and the executioners cut open their stomachs. It was noticed that several of these unfortunates had raw grass in their intestines. This massacre completed, they found that there was still more to be done and they assassinated the fugitives who had already been pardoned. There were women and children and even fifty were not spared and their throats were cut. It was indeed a full day with much killing and no risk!" (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 189.)
"On his arrival at Amul, Mulla Ni'matu'llah was tortured with ruthless ferocity. Apparently, this scene threw Qa'ini into a fit of rage. In any case, when the executioner approached, Qa'ini, breaking his bonds, jumped upon him, snatched his sword and struck him with such violence that his head rolled about fifteen feet away. The crowd rushed upon him but, terrible in his strength, he mowed down all those who came within his reach and they had finally to shoot him with a rifle in order to subdue him. After his death, they found in his pocket a piece of roasted horse flesh proof of the misery that he had endured for his faith !" (Ibid., pp. 329-330.)Page 410, Note 1
"The Bábis call attention to the fact that shortly afterwards a strange disease afflicted Sa'idu'l-'Ulama'. In spite of the furs which he wore, in spite of the fire which burned constantly in his room, he shivered with cold yet, at the same time, his fever was so high, that nothing could quench his intolerable thirst. He died, and his house, which was very beautiful, was abandoned and finally crumbled into ruins. Little by little, the practice grew of dumping refuse on the site where it had once so proudly stood. This so impressed the Mazindaranis that when they quarrel among themselves,Page 52
the final insult frequently is, 'May thy house meet the same fate as the house of Sa'idu'l-'Ulama!'" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 330.)Page 413, Note 2
"He who knew Quddus and who made the pilgrimage with him is the one upon whom 'eight unities' have passed and God honored him among His angels in the heavens, because of the way in which he had withdrawn himself from all and because he was without blame in the sight of God." ("Le Bayan Persan," vol. 2, p. 164.)CHAPTER XXI
..."This eventful day brought to the Báb more secret followers than many sermons could have done. I have just said that the impression created by the prodigious endurance of the martyrs was deep and lasting. I have often heard repeated the story of that day by eye witnesses, by men close to the government, some even important officials. From their accounts, one might easily have believed that they were all Babis, so great was the admiration they felt for memories which were not to the honor of Islam, and so high was the esteem they entertained for the resourcefulness, the hopes and the chances of success of the new doctrine." ("A Traveller's Narrative," Note B, pp. 175-176.)Page 464, Note 1
'While these developments were taking place in the north of Persia, the provinces of the center and the south were deeply stirred by the enthusiastic appeals of the missionaries of the new doctrine. The people -- light, credulous, ignorant, superstitious in the extreme -- were dumbfounded by the accounts of continuous miracles of which they heard every minute; the Mullas, deeply concerned, feeling that their wavering flock was ready to escape their control, multiplied their slanders and defamation; the grossest lies, the most cruel fictions were circulated among the bewildered masses, divided between terror and admiration." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 387.)Page 53
"Carried away by his zeal and overflowing with the love of God, he was eager to reveal to Persia the glory and joy of the one eternal Truth. 'To love and to conceal one's secret is impossible,' says the poet; so our Siyyid began to preach openly in the Mosques, in the streets, in the bazaars, on the public squares, in a word, wherever he could find listeners. Such an enthusiasm brought forth fruit and the conversions were numerous and sincere. The Mullas, deeply troubled, violently denounced the sacrilege to the governor of the city." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 390.)Page 475, Note 2
"When Aqa Khan had verified the disappearance of the rebel, he gave a sigh of relief. Besides, he felt that to pursue the fugitives would involve some peril and that, therefore, it would be infinitely more practical, more beneficial, more profitable and less dangerous to torture the Bábis, or those presumed to be Babis -- provided that they were wealthy -- who had remained in the city. He sought out the most prosperous, ordered their execution, and confiscated their possessions, avenging thus his outraged religion, a matter perhaps of little concern to him, and filling his coffers, which pleased him immensely." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 391.)Page 477, Note 1
"The Nayrizis welcomed Siyyid Yahya with the greatest enthusiasm. Barely two days after his arrival, a large number came to see him by night out of fear of the government, says the Fars-Namih, and offered their services, for they hated their rulers. Others, mostly residents of the district of Chinar-Sukhtih, were converted in great numbers. Their example was contagious and soon the Bábis could count, in their midst, the tullabs of Chinar-Sukhtih who numbered about one hundred, their chief Haji Shaykh Abdu'l-'Ali, father of the wife of Siyyid Yahya, the late Akhund Mulla Abdu'l-Husayn, an aged gentleman well versed in religious literature, Akhund Mulla Baqir, Pish-namaz of the district, Mulla Ali Katib, another Mulla Ali with his four brothers, and the kad-khuda, and the Rish-Safid, and other citizens from the quarter called 'Bazar', such as the late Mashhadi Mirza Husayn called Qutb, with all of his family and his relatives, Mirza Abu'l-Qasim who was the nephew of the governor! Haji Muhammad-TaqiPage 54
surnamed Ayyub and his son-in-law Mirza Husayn and many others from the quarter of the Siyyid, and the son of Mirza Nawra, and Mirza Ali-Rida, son of Mirza Husayn, and the son of Haji Ali, etc., etc. All were converted, some at night in deadly fear, others openly and fearlessly." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 393.)Page 478-479, Note 2
"He ascended the pulpit and cried out: 'Am I not he whom you have always considered your shepherd and your guide? Have you not always depended on my teaching for the direction of your conscience in the path of salvation? Am I not he whose words of counsel you have always obeyed? What has happened that you should treat me as though I were your enemy and the enemy of your religion? What lawful deeds have I forbidden? What illicit action have I permitted? With what impiety can you charge me? Have I ever led you into error? And behold! That because I have told you the truth, because I have loyally sought to instruct you, I am oppressed and persecuted! My heart burns with love for you and you persecute me! Remember! Remember well, whosoever saddens me, saddens my ancestor Muhammad, the glorious Prophet, and whosoever helps me, helps him also. In the name of all that is sacred to you let all those who love the Prophet follow me!'" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 395.)Page 485, Note 1
The author of Nasikhu't Tavarikh affirms without the least sorrow that the imperial troops were poorly trained and not at all eager to fight, so, with no thought of attacking, they established a camp which they hastened to fortify immediately." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 401.)Page 488, Note 1
"Although the losses were almost even this time, the imperial troops were none-the-less frightened; things were dragging on and might moreover end in the general confusion of the Mussulmans, so they resolved to resort to deceit." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 403.)Page 494, Note 1
"He took hold of the green belt of Yahya, symbol of his holy ancestry, tied it in a knot about his neck and began to drag him on the ground.Page 55
Then came Safar whose brother Sha'ban had fallen during the war, then Aqa Jan, son of Ali-Asghar Khan, brother of Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, and the Muhammadans, aroused by the scene, stoned and beat to death the unfortunate man. They then severed the head, tore off the skin, stuffed it with straw and sent that trophy to Shiraz!" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 406.)Page 495, Note 2
Bahá'u'lláh refers to him as "that unique and peerless figure of his age." (The "Kitáb-i-Iqan," p. 188.) The Báb, in the "Dala'il-i-Sab'ih," refers to him in the following terms: 'Behold again the number of the name of God (Siyyid Yahya)! This man was living a holy, peaceful life in such a way that no one could deny his talents or his sanctity, all admired his greatness in the sciences and the heights he had attained in philosophy. Refer to the commentary of the Suratu'l-Kawthar (Qur'an: S. 108) and to the other treatises written for him, which prove how high a place he occupies in the sight of God!'" ("Le Livre des Sept Preuves," translated by A. L. M. Nicolas, pp. 54-55.)Pages 495-496, Note 3
..."This day was a fete day, so an eye witness tells us. The inhabitants were scattered about through the countryside, bringing with them their food and many among them drinking, on the sly, whole bottles of wine. The air was filled with musical strains, the songs of musicians, the screaming and laughter of the lewd women. The bazaars were adorned with flags joy was general. Suddenly there was absolute silence. They saw coming thirty-two camels, each carrying an unfortunate prisoner, a woman or a child, bound and thrown crosswise over the saddle like a bundle. All around them were soldiers carrying long lances and upon each lance was impaled the head of a Babi who had been slain at Nayriz. The hideousness of the sight deeply affected the holiday population of Shiraz and they returned, saddened, to their dwellings.
"The horrible caravan passed through the bazaars and continued to the palace of the governor. This personage was in his garden where he had gathered in his kiosk (called Kulah-i-Farangi) the rich, the eminent citizens of Shiraz. The music ceased, the dancing stopped and Muhammad-'Ali-Khan as well as Mirza Na'im, two small tribal chiefs who had taken part in the campaign, came to tell of their brave deeds and to name one by one the prisoners." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 407.)Page 56
"It would seem, alas, that all this bloodshed would have been sufficient to appease the hatred and the lust of the Muhammadans. Not at all! Mirza Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, finding himself threatened with a desire for revenge on those he had betrayed and vanquished, gave neither truce nor rest to the surviving ones of the sect. His hatred knew no bounds and it was to last as long as he lived. It was actually the very poor that had been sent to Shiraz, the rich had been kept back. Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan had entrusted them to a guard who was ordered to walk them through the city beating them as they went. The people of Nayriz were greatly entertained that time. They hung the Bábi's by four nails and everyone came to gloat over their anguish. They placed burning weeds under the nails of these unfortunate martyrs, they branded them with hot irons, they deprived them of bread and water, they cut holes through their noses, and running through them a cord they led them as one would a bear!" (Ibid., p. 408.)Page 498, Note 1
"Aqa Siyyid Ja'far-i-Yazdi saw the executioners burn his turban and then they took him from door to door making him beg for money." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 408.)Page 499, Note 1
"Aqa Siyyid Abu-Talib, who was very wealthy, was bound with chains and sent by the governor of Nayriz to Ma'dan, and there poisoned by Haji Mirza Nasir, the same man who had ordered the Báb to kiss the hand of Shaykh Abu-Turab. Two Babi women, rather than be taken prisoners, threw themselves in a well and perished. Some Babi's, eager to see Mirza Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan punished, started for Tihran to protest to his Majesty against the atrocities which had been committed. They were but two or three stations away from the capital and, after the fatigue of the journey, were enjoying a little rest, when a caravan of Shirazi people went by and recognized them. They were all arrested except Zaynu'l-'Abidin who succeeded in reaching Tihran. The others were taken to Shiraz where the Prince immediately ordered them executed, and so these men, Karbila'i Abu'l-Hasan, a dealer in crockery, Aqa Shaykh Hadi, uncle of the wife of Vahid, Mirza Ali and Abu'l-Qasim-ibn-i-Haji-Zayna, Akbar-ibn-i-'Abid, Mirza Hasan and his brother Mirza Baba all died for their faith at this time. (Ibid., pp. 408-409.)Page 57
"It was only too well known that Babi's were to be found everywhere. Persia was full of them and, if the minds concerned about transcendental questions, if the philosophers in search of new formulas, if the bruised souls shocked by the injustices and weaknesses of the present day -- had given themselves up eagerly to the thought and to the promises of a new and more satisfactory world order, one could properly think that the turbulent imaginations eager for action, even at the price of failure, the brave and militant hearts, and finally the daring and ambitious would easily be tempted to throw themselves in with an army which revealed itself so well supplied with soldiers fit to constitute dauntless battalions.
"Mirza Taqi Khan, cursing the laxity with which his predecessor Haji Mirza Aqasi had allowed so great a peril to grow, realized that this weak policy should not continue and decided to destroy the evil to its very roots. He became convinced that the main cause was the Báb himself, father of all the doctrines which were arousing the people, and he decided to remove that cause." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 210-11.)Pages 501-502, Note 2
"In the meantime, Haji Mirza Taqi resolved to strike at the very head of this monster of Babism and he imagined that, after such a blow which would definitely remove the instigator of that agitation and silence his appeal, the old order would be restored. Nevertheless, strange phenomenon in an Asiatic government, and especially in a statesmen like Mirza Taqi Khan who could indulge in excessive severity without scruple, this minister did not order the death of the reformer! He thought that the most effective way to destroy him was to ruin him morally; to bring him out of his retreat in Chihriq where a halo of suffering, holiness, science and eloquence made him radiate like a sun; to show him to the people just as he was -- that is to say, just as he thought he was -- was the best way to render him harmless by destroying his prestige.
"He was picturing him as a vulgar charlatan, a weak dreamer who did not have courage enough to conceive, still less to direct the daring enterprises of his three apostles, or even to take part in them. Such a man, taken to Tihran and brought face to face with the most subtle dialecticians of Islam, could not but surrender shamefully. His influence would vanish the more rapidly than if while destroying his body, one allowed to lingerPage 58
in the minds of the people the phantom of a superiority which death would have consecrated. It was therefore decided to arrest him and bring him to Tihran and, on the way, to exhibit him publicly in chains and humiliated; to make him debate everywhere with the Mullas, silencing him whenever he would become too audacious; briefly, to engage him in a series of unequal encounters in which he would inevitably meet defeat, as he would have been previously demoralized and heartbroken. It was a lion that they were eager to unnerve, hold in chains and strip of claws and teeth, then turn him over to the dogs to show how easily they could overpower him. Once defeated, his ultimate fate was of little importance.
"This plan was not devoid of sense, but it rested upon premises which were far from proven. It was not enough to imagine that the Báb was without courage and firmness, it was necessary that he be really so. But his conduct in the fort of Chihriq gave no such evidence. He prayed and worked unceasingly. His meekness was unfailing. Those who came near him felt in spite of themselves the fascinating influence of his personality, of his manner and of his speech. His guards were not free from that weakness. He (the Báb) felt that his death was near and he would frequently refer to it as to a thought that was not only familiar but even pleasant. Suppose, for a moment, that thus exhibited throughout Persia he would still remain undaunted? Suppose he would display neither arrogance nor fear but would rise far above his misfortune? Suppose that he succeeded in throwing into confusion the learned, subtle, and eloquent doctors arraigned against him? Suppose he would remain more than ever the Báb for his old followers and become so for the indifferent and even for his enemies? It was risking much in order to gain much, without doubt, but also perhaps to lose much and, after having weighed the matter with care, they dared not take the chance." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 211-213.)Page 504, Note 1
"The prime minister, having summoned Sulayman Khan, the Afshar, asked him to carry to Tabriz, to the Prince Hamzih Mirza, governor of Adhirbayjan, the order to take the Báb out of the fort of Chihriq and to imprison him in the citadel of Tabriz where he would later be apprised of his fate." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 213.)Page 508, Note 2
"On the following day, early in the morning, the people of Hamzih Mirza, having opened the doors of the prison, brought out the Báb and hisPage 59
disciples. They made sure that the irons which they had around their necks and on their wrists were secure; they tied to the iron collar of each one a long cord the end of which was held by a farrash. Then, so that everyone could see them well and recognize them, they walked them about the town, through the streets and the bazaars, overwhelming them with blows and insults. The crowd filled the streets and the people climbed upon each others' shoulders better to see this man who was so much talked about. The Bábi's, scattered in all directions, were trying to arouse among some of the onlookers a little pity or some feeling of sympathy which might have helped them to save their Master. The indifferent ones, the philosophers, the Shaykhis, the Sufis, turned away from the sight with disgust and returned to their houses, or on the contrary waited for the Báb at a street corner and simply watched him with silent curiosity. The tattered crowd, restless and excitable, flung insulting words at the three martyrs, but they were all ready to change their minds with any sudden change of circumstances.
"Finally, the victorious Muhammadans pursued the prisoners with insults, tried to break through the guard in order to strike them in the face or on the head and when they succeeded, or when a missile thrown by some child would strike the Báb or one of his companions in the face, the guard and the crowd would burst into laughter." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 220.)Page 512, Note 1
"The Báb remained silent. His pale handsome face framed by a black beard and small mustache, his appearance and his refined manners, his white and delicate hands, his simple but very neat garments -- everything about him awakened sympathy and compassion." (Journal Asiatique, 1866. tome 7, p. 378.)Page 513, Note 1
"An intense clamor arose from the crowd at this moment as the onlookers saw the Báb freed from his bonds advancing towards them. Amazing to believe, the bullets had not struck the condemned but, on the contrary, had broken his bonds and he was delivered. It was a real miracle and God alone knows what would have happened without the fidelity andPage 60
calm of the Christian regiment on this occurrence. The soldiers in order to quiet the excitement of the crowd which, being extremely agitated, was ready to believe the claims of a religion which thus demonstrated its truth, showed the cords broken by the bullets, implying that no miracle had really taken place. At the same time, they seized the Báb and tied him again to the fatal post. This time the execution was effective. Muhammadan justice and ecclesiastical law had asserted themselves. But the crowd, vividly impressed by the spectacle they had witnessed, dispersed slowly, hardly convinced that the Báb was a criminal. After all his crime was only a crime for the legalists and the world is indulgent toward crimes which it does not understand." (M.C. Huart's "La Religion du Bab," pp. 3-4.)
"An extraordinary thing happened, unique in the annals of the history of humanity: the bullets cut the cords that held the Báb and he fell on his feet without a scratch." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 375.)
"By a strange coincidence, the bullet only touched the cords which bound the Báb, they were broken and he felt himself free. Uproar and shouts arose on all sides, no one understanding at first what it was all about." (Ibid., p. 379.)Page 514-516, Note 2
..."Christians believe that if Jesus Christ had wished to come down from the cross he could have done so easily; he died of his own free will because it was written that he should and in order that the prophecies might be fulfilled. The same is true of the Báb, so the Bábi's say, who, in this way, gave a clear sanction to his teachings. He likewise died voluntarily because his death was to be the salvation of humanity. Who will ever tell us the words that the Báb uttered in the midst of the unprecedented turmoil which broke out as he ascended? Who will ever know the memories which stirred his noble soul? Who will reveal to us the secret of that death.... The sight of the baseness, the vices, the deceptions of that clergy shocked his pure and sincere soul: he felt the need of a thorough reform in public morals and he undoubtedly hesitated more than once, at the thought of a revolution, which seemed unavoidable, to free the bodies as well as the minds from the yoke of brutishness and violence which weighed upon all Persia for the selfish benefit of a minority ... of pleasure lovers, and to the greatest shame of the true religion of the Prophet. He must have been much perplexed, deeply anxious, and he stood in need of the triple shield of which Horace speaks, to throw himself headlong into that ocean of superstition and hatred which was fatally to engulf him. HisPage 61
life is one of the most magnificent examples of courage which it has been the privilege of mankind to behold, and it is also an admirable proof of the love which our hero felt for his fellow countrymen. He sacrificed himself for humanity, for it he gave his body and his soul, for it he endured privations, insults, torture and martyrdom. He sealed, with his very lifeblood, the covenant of universal brotherhood. Like Jesus he paid with his life for the proclamation of a reign of concord, equity and brotherly love. More than anyone he knew what dreadful dangers he was heaping upon himself. He had been able to see personally the degree of exasperation that a fanaticism, shrewdly aroused, could reach; but all these considerations could not weaken his resolve. Fear had no hold upon his soul and, perfectly calm, never looking back, in full possession of all his powers, he walked into the furnace." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad, dit le Bab," pp. 203-204, 376.)
"The head of the new religion was dead and, according to the provisions of the prime minister, the minds of the people would now be at peace and there was no room for further anxiety, at least from that source. But such political wisdom was baffled and, instead of appeasing the flames, it had fanned them into greater violence."
"We shall see shortly, when I shall examine the religious dogmas preached by the Báb, that the perpetuity of the sect did not in the least depend upon his physical presence; all could proceed and grow without him. If the premier had been aware of this fundamental trait of the hostile religion, it is not likely that he would have been so eager to do away with a man whose existence, after all, would not have had any more significance than his death." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 224-225.)Page 519, Note 1
"Following an immemorial custom of the Orient, usage exemplified at the siege of Bethulie as well as at the tomb of our Lord, the sentinel is a soldier who sleeps, to his heart's content, at the post which he is expected to guard." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 166.) "We have been able to see throughout this history what the Persian guards are; their functions consist principally in sleeping by the trust that they are given to watch over." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 378.)Page 519, Note 2
"M. de Gobineau, in agreement with the authors of the Nasikhu't-Tavarikh, of Rawdatu's-Safa, of Mir'atu'l-Buldan, in a word with all thePage 62
official historians, relates that after the execution the body of the Báb was thrown in a moat of the city and devoured by dogs. In reality it was not so, and we shall see why this news had been spread by the authorities of Tabriz (little eager to draw upon themselves a rebuke of the government for a favor dearly sold) and by the Bábi's, desirous to prevent any further investigation by the police. The most reliable testimony of the actual witnesses of the drama or of its actors do not leave me any doubt that the body of Siyyid Ali-Muhammad was carried away by pious hands and, at last, after various incidents which I shall narrate, received a burial worthy of him." (Ibid., p. 377.)Page 526, Note 2
"Every one knew that the Bábis had foretold the death of the prime minister and predicted the manner of his going. It happened precisely, it is said, as the martyrs of Zanjan, Mirza Rida, Haji Muhammad-'Ali and Haji Muhsin had announced. Fallen into disgrace and pursued by the royal hatred, his veins were slashed open in the village of Fin, near Kashan, as the veins of his victims had been slashed. His successor was Mirza Aqa Khan-i-Nuri of a noble tribe of Mazindaran, and erstwhile minister of war. This new official took the title of Sadr-i-A'zam which is the privilege of the grand viziers of the Ottoman Empire. This occurred in 1852. (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 230.)CHAPTER XXIV
Zanjan is the capital of the district of Khamsih. "Khamsih is a small province to the east of Kaflan-Kuh or Mountain of the Tiger, between Iraq and Adhirbayjan. Its capital, Zanjan, is a beautiful city surrounded by an embattled wall fortified with towers like all Persian cities. The inhabitants are of the Turkish race and the Persian language is seldom spoken, unless it be by government employees. The surrounding country is studded with villages which are fairly prosperous. Powerful tribes visit them, especially in the winter and spring." (Ibid., p. 191.)Page 529, Note 2
"There lived in that city a mujtahid called Mulla Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Zanjani. He was a native of Mazindaran and studied under a celebrated master. Dignified with the title of Sharifu'l-'Ulama, Muhammad-'AliPage 63
had concentrated his attention on dogmatic theology and jurisprudence, and had become famous. The Muhammadans affirm that, in his function as mujtahid, he showed himself restless and turbulent. No question ever seemed to him either sufficiently studied or properly solved. His repeated fatvas disconcerted the conscience and confused the practices of the faithful. Eager for change, he was neither tolerant in discussion nor moderate in debate. Sometimes he would unduly prolong the fast of Ramadan for reasons which no one had advanced before; sometimes he would alter the ritual of prayer in quite a novel way. He became obnoxious to the peaceful and odious to the traditionalists. But it is also admitted that he counted many followers who considered him a saint, prized his zeal, and put their faith in him. An impartial judge could recognize in him one of the Muhammadans who are only so in appearance, but urged on by a living faith and an abundant religious zeal for which they are eager to find a scope. His misfortune was that he found, or thought he found, a natural use for his powers in the overthrow of traditions whose minor significance did not justify such a disturbance." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 191-192.)Page 529, Note 4
"Among the Ulamas of the city was a man called Akhund Mulla Abdu'r-Rahim renowned for his piety. He had a son who lived in Najaf and at Karbila where he attended the lectures of the celebrated Sharifu'l-'Ulamay-i-Mazindarani. This young man was of a restless nature and rather impatient with the narrowness of Shi'ism." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 332.)Page 530, Note 1
"On his way back from the Holy Land he stopped at Hamadan where the citizens welcomed him cordially and entreated him to remain." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 336.)Page 530, Note 2
"All the Ulamas of the city called on him and left concerned over the few words which he had spoken and which revealed quite a novel turn of mind. Indeed the attitude of the newcomer very quickly proved to these pious men that their conjectures were well founded." (Ibid.)Page 530, Note 3
"There was a caravansary of the days of Shah-'Abbas which had gradually become a sighih-khanih: in order to prevent a breach of the ShiitePage 64
law a certain Mulla Dust-Muhammad who made his residence there, would bless the transitory union between the male visitors to the place and the inmates. Hujjatu'l-Islam, such was the title which our hero had assumed, ordered the institution to be closed, gave in marriage the greater number of these women and secured employment for the others in respectable families. He also caused a wine dealer to be whipped and his house to be torn down." (Ibid., pp. 332-333.)Page 530, Note 4
"But this was the limit of his activity. Always troubled with the problems raised by a religion founded upon hadiths which were frequently contradictory, he perplexed the conscience of the faithful by peculiar fatvas which upset old traditions. Thus he restored the hadith according to which Muhammad would have said: The month of Ramadan is always full.' Without investigating the origin of that tradition, without enquiring whether those who had related it were worthy of faith, he commanded that it should be literally obeyed, thus inducing his hearers to fast on the day of Fitr which is held to be a grievous sin. He also permitted that prostrations be made at prayer time by resting the head upon a crystal stone. All these innovations won for him a large number of partisans who admired his science and his activity; but they displeased the official clergy whose hatred, further augmented by anxiety, soon knew no bounds." (Ibid., p. 333.)Page 532, Note 1
"Hujjat came and, by his courtesy and his captivating personality, soon won over all those who came in contact with him, even His Majesty. One day, so the story goes, he was in the palace of the Shah with several of his colleagues, when one of them, an Ulama of Kashan, brought out a document and besought the king to sign it. It was a royal decree granting certain stipends. Hujjat rose up and bitterly denounced a clergy who begged pensions from the government. He had recourse to the hadiths and to the Qur'an to show how shameful was such a practice which had originated with the Bani-Umayyih. His colleagues were beside themselves with anger, but the Shah, pleased with such frankness, presented our hero with a staff and a ring and authorized him to return to Zanjan." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 373-374.)Page 532, Note 2
"The inhabitants of Zanjan came in crowds to meet him and offered sacrifices of oxen, chickens and sheep. Twelve children, each twelve yearsPage 65
of age, with red kerchiefs about their necks to show their readiness to sacrifice their all, were in the center of the cortege. It proved a triumphal entry." (Ibid., p. 334.)Page 532, Note 3
"He transformed his disciples into models of virtue and temperance; henceforth the men quenched their thirst at the fountains of spiritual life. They fasted during three months, lengthened their prayers by adding to them daily the invocation of Ja'far-i-Tayyar, performing once a day their ablutions with the water of the Qur (legal measure of purity) and finally on Fridays they crowded the Mosques." (Ibid., p. 334.)Page 533, Note 1
"Finally, he uttered in a clear voice the Friday prayer which must be said instead of the habitual daily one said when the Imam comes. He then expounded several sayings of the Báb and concluded thus: 'The goal for which the world has been striving is now here, free from veils and obstacles. The sun of Truth has risen and the lights of imagination and imitation have been extinguished. Fix your eyes upon the Báb, not upon me, the least of his slaves. My wisdom compared to his is as an unlighted candle to the sun at midday. Know God by God and the sun by its rays. So, today has appeared the Sahibu'z-Zaman. The Sultan of Possibilities is living.' Needless to say, these words made a deep impression upon the audience. Nearly all accepted this message and conversed among themselves regarding the true nature of the Báb." (Ibid., p. 335.)Page 533, Note 2
"The conversion of Mulla Muhammad-'Ali and his numerous partisans had in fact exhausted the patience of the Imam-Jum'ih and of Shaykhu'l-Islam. They wrote indignant letters to His Majesty who in reply gave orders for the arrest of the offender." (Ibid., p. 336.)Page 539, Note 1
"He was in Tihran until the day when, after the death of Muhammad Shah, Nasir'd-Din Mirza now Nasiri'd-Din Shah, appointed as governor of Zanjan, one of his uncles, Amir Arslan Khan Majdu'd-Dawlih, who was Ishiq Aghasi of the palace." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 337.)Page 540, Note 1
"He made a triumphant entry into his native city. Now that he was a Babi, to his old friends were added the believers in the new doctrine. APage 66
large number of men, rich and respected, soldiers, merchants, even Mullas came to meet him, at a distance of one or two stations away, and conducted him home, not as an exile who returns, not as a suppliant who asks only rest, not even as a rival strong enough to demand respect, but he entered as a master." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 193.)
"The author of 'Nasikhu't-Tavarikh' himself acknowledged that a goodly number of citizens of Zanjan, and among them high officials, traveled the distance of two stations to meet him. He was received like a conqueror and many heads of sheep were sacrificed in his honor. None of his opponents dared ask him why he had left Tihran and had returned to Zanjan; but Islam was severely tried as the Zanjanis did not hesitate to preach throughout the city the new doctrine. The Muhammadan writer points out that all the Zanjanis were simple-minded and so fell easily into the snare; but contradicting himself he declares that only the knaves, greedy for worldly possessions, and the impious ones gathered round the new leader. However they were quite numerous and, according to his story, about fifteen thousand, which seems rather an exaggerated estimate." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 337-338.)Page 540, Note 2
"Majdu'd-Dawlih, governor of the city, a cruel, heartless and severe man, enraged at the news of the return of so troublesome a person as Hujjat, ordered that Muhammad Big be whipped and that the tongue of Karbila'i Vali be cut out." (Ibid., p. 337.)Page 542, Note 2
"At the spectacle, the Muhammadans took flight and the wounded man was cared for the aunt of Mir Salah in her own house." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 341.)Page 543, Note 2
"The governor and the Ulamas wrote to His Majesty reports in which their fear and perplexity were revealed. The Shah, hardly rid of the war in Mazindaran and enraged at the thought of another sedition in another section of his empire, urged also by his son Sadr-i-A'zam and by the ulamas who had declared a holy war, gave orders to kill the Bábis and plunder their possessions. It was on Friday the third of Rajab that the order came to Zanjan." (Ibid., pp. 341-342.)Page 67
"All was bewildering confusion. The Muhammadans were frantically running to and fro, looking for their wives, their children or their belongings. They came and went crazed, aghast, weeping over what they had to abandon. Families were separated, fathers thrusting back their sons, wives their husbands, children their mothers. Whole houses remained deserted. so great was the haste, and the governor sent soldiers to the neighboring villages to secure new recruits for the holy war." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 342.)Page 544, Note 2
"The Bábis, on the other hand, were not passive. They were organizing for their own protection. Hujjat was exhorting them never to attack but always to defend themselves. 'Brothers,' he would say to them, 'do not be ashamed of me. Do not believe that because you are the companions of the Sahibu'z-Zaman you are to conquer the world by the sword. I take God as witness; they will kill you, they will burn you, they will send your heads from town to town. The only victory in store for you is to sacrifice yourselves, your wives and your possessions. God has always decreed that in every age the blood of the believers is to be the oil of the lamp of religion. You have learned of the tortures endured by the saintly martyrs of Mazindaran. They were put to death because they affirmed that the promised Mihdi had come. I say to you, whosoever has not the strength to bear such torture, let him go over to the other side for we will have to endure martyrdom. Is not our master in their power?'" (Ibid., pp. 342-343.)Page 454, Note 1
"Picture to yourself a Persian city. The streets are narrow, of a width of four or five or eight feet at the most. The surface unpaved has so many holes that one must proceed cautiously to avoid breaking one's legs. The houses, with no windows opening on the street, present on both sides unbroken walls, generally about fifteen feet high and topped with a terrace without a railing, sometimes crowned by a bala-Khanih or open pavilion which is usually an indication of a wealthy house. All that is of adobe or bricks baked in the sun. The uprights are of bricks baked in the kiln. This type, of venerable antiquity and in use even before historical times in the ancient cities of Mesopotamia, has many advantages: it is inexpensive, it is sanitary, it adapts itself to modest or pretentious plans; it can be a cottage or a palace entirely covered with mosaics, brilliant paintings and gold ornaments. But, as is always the case in this world, so many advantagesPage 68
are offset by the ease with which such dwellings crumble to pieces. Cannon balls are not needed, the rain is quite sufficient to demolish them. Thus we can visualize these famous sites covered, according to tradition, with immense cities of which nothing remains but ruins of temples and palaces and mounds scattered over the plains.
"In a few years whole districts vanish without leaving a trace, if the houses are not kept in repair. As all the cities of Persia are constructed after the same plan and of the same material, it is easy to visualize Zanjan with her crenellated walls with high towers, her crooked streets unpaved and full of ruts. In the midst of these rose a formidable citadel called 'Chateau d''Ali-Mardan Khan.'" (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 197-198.)Page 547, Note 2
"On the fourth day, the Muhammadans saw with great joy Sadru'd-Dawlih, grandson of Haji Muhammad-Husayn Khan of Isfahan, enter their section of the city coming from Sultaniyyih, at the head of the tribe of Khamsih. For several days thereafter, reinforcements arrived in great numbers. First of all, Siyyid Ali Khan and Shahbar Khan, one from Firuz-Kuh, the other from Maraghih, with two hundred horsemen from their respective tribes. After them came Muhammad-'Ali Khan-i-Shah-Sun with two hundred mounted afshars; fifty artillerymen with two field guns and two mortars, so that the governor was provided with as much assistance as he could have wished and surrounded with a goodly number of military chieftains, among whom were several who were famous throughout the country." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," 198-199.)
"One of the most terrible encounters related in the journal of the siege, is the one which took place on the fifth of Ramadan. Mustafa Khan, Qajar, with the fifteenth regiment of Shigaghi Sadru'd-Dawlih with his horsemen of Khamsih; Siyyid Ali Khan of Firuz-Kuh with his own regiment; Muhammad Aqa, colonel, with the regiment of Nasir called the royal regiment; Muhammad-'Ali Khan with the Afshar cavalry; Major Nabi Big with his cavalry and a troop made up of loyal citizens of Zanjan; all these men at dawn attacked the fortifications of the Bábis. The resistance of the Bábis was magnificent but disastrous. They saw their best leaders fall, one after another, leaders brave and true, saints who could not be replaced: Nur-'Ali the hunter; Bakhsh-'Ali the carpenter; Khudadad and Fathu'llah Big, all indispensable to the attainment of victory. They all fell, some in the morning and others in the evening." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 200.)Page 69
"I have seen at Zanjan the ruins of that fierce encounter; whole sections of the city have not yet been rebuilt and probably never will be. Some of those who took part in the tragedy have related to me upon the very spot certain incidents: the Bábis ascended and descended the terraces while carrying their cannon with them. Sometimes the earthen floor, not very firm, gave way and they had to raise the heavy gun again by dint of man power and had to prop the ground up with beams. When the enemy approached the crowd surrounded the guns with enthusiasm, all arms extended to lift them up and, when the carriers fell under the bullets of the assailants, a hundred comrades vied with each other for the honor of replacing them. Assuredly this was true faith!" (Ibid., pp. 200-201.)Page 556, Note 1
According to Gobineau (p. 202), Aziz Khan was "general-in-chief of the troops of Adhirbayjan and then first aide-de-camp of the king. He was passing through Zanjan, on his way to Tiflis, to congratulate the grand duke, heir apparent of Russia, on the occasion of his arrival in Caucasia."Page 557, Note 2
"Muhammad Khan, then Bigliyirbigi and Mir-panj, or general of the division, today become Amir-Tuman, joined the troops already engaged in this city; he brought them three thousand men of the regiments of Shigaghi and certain regiments of the guards with six cannon and two mortars. Almost at the same time Qasim Khan arrived from the frontier of Karabagh, entering Zanjan from another quarter, and the major Arslan Khan with cavalry from Khirghan, and Ali-Agbar, captain of Khuy, arrived with infantry. For each one had received orders from the king and they were all hastening to comply." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 201.)Page 564, Note 1
"Decidedly the situation was becoming critical for the Muhammadans and it looked as though they would never overcome such a tenacious resistance. Moreover, why take so much trouble? Why endanger uselessly the lives, -- not of the soldiers, mere cannon fodder they, -- but those of the officers and the generals? Why expose oneself daily to ridicule and to defeat? Why not follow the example of Shaykh Tabarsi? Why notPage 70
resort to deceit? Why not make the most sacred promises, even though it might later become necessary to massacre those gullibles who had put their trust in them?" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 350.)Page 568, Note 1
"Finally the threats of the court, the encouragement and the reinforcements arrived so fast, there was such a disproportion as to soldiers and supplies between the Bábis and their adversaries that the outcome became both evident and imminent." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 203.)Page 569, Note 1
"The regiment of Karrus under the command of the chief of the tribe, Hasan-'Ali Khan (today minister to Paris), took the fort of Ali-Mardan Khan; the fourth regiment broke into the house of Aqa Aziz, one of the strongholds of the city, and burnt it to the ground; the regiment of guards blew up the hotel located near the Hamadan gate and, though it lost one captain and several soldiers, nevertheless it remained in possession of the place." (Ibid., p. 203.)Pages 575-576, Note 1
"Then Muhammad Khan Bigliyirbigi, Amir Arslan Khan and the other commanders, although they had guaranteed on their honor to spare the lives of the Bábis, assembled them in front of their troops to the accompaniment of drums and trumpets and ordered one hundred men, chosen from the different regiments, to take the prisoners and place them in a row. The command was then given to pierce them with bayonets, which was done. Then the leaders of the Bábis, Sulayman the shoemaker and Haji Kazim Giltughi were blown to pieces from the mouths of mortars. This type of execution invented in Asia, but practised also by the English troops during the revolt in India, with the refinement with which European science and intelligence invest everything they do, consists in tying the victim to the mouth of the cannon loaded with powder. When the explosion takes place, the victim is torn to pieces, the size of the pieces depending upon the amount of powder used.
"The execution over, the captives were sorted again. They set aside Mirza Rida, lieutenant of Mulla Muhammad-'Ali, and on all those of high standing or importance they placed chains about their necks and shacklesPage 71
on their hands and feet. They then decided to disregard the royal command and to take them to Tihran in order to augment their triumph. As for the few unfortunates who were left and whose life or death was of no importance to anyone, they were abandoned and the victorious army returned to the capital, dragging with them their prisoners, who walked ahead of the horses of the victorious generals.
"Upon their arrival in Tihran, the Amir Nizam, prime minister, found it necessary to make an example of this new execution and Mirza Rida, Haji Muhammad-'Ali and Haji Muhsin were condemned to have their veins slashed open. The three victims learned the news without betraying the least emotion; they declared, nevertheless, that the lack of good faith, of which the authorities had been guilty, was not one of those crimes that the Almighty could be satisfied with punishing in the ordinary way; He would demand a punishment more impressive and striking for the persecutors of His saints. Consequently, they foretold that the prime minister would very soon suffer the same death that he was inflicting upon them.
"I have heard this prophecy referred to and I do not doubt for an instant that they who informed me of it, were firmly convinced of its truth. I must however state here that when I was told about it, four years had elapsed since the Amir-Nizam was thus put to death by royal edict. The only thing I can affirm therefore is that I was given assurance that the prophecy had really been made by the martyrs of Zanjan." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 207-209.)Page 577, Note 1
"After the execution, the spectators invaded the field of death, some searching for the body of a friend in order to bury it, others moved only by morbid curiosity. It is said that a Muhammadan, named Vali-Muhammad, came upon the body of one of his neighbours and, noticing that he was not quite dead, he called to him and said, 'I am your neighbor Vali-Muhammad. If you need anything call on me.' The other indicated that he was thirsty. Immediately the Muhammadan fetched a large stone and returning to his neighbor, said, 'Open your mouth, I bring you water.' As the dying man complied he crushed his head with the stone.
"At last, the Bigliyirbigi started for Tihran, taking with him forty-four prisoners among whom were the son of Mirza Rida, Haji Muhammad-'Ali and Haji Muhsin the surgeon. These three were put to death after their arrival, the others were doomed to rot in prison." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 363.)Page 72
"It was not enough for them to have gained the victory, they had even to insult the bodies of their enemies. They were eager to question the Bábis but, no matter how great the torture with which they threatened them, the Bábis refused to speak. They poured boiling oil upon the head of Aqa Din-Muhammad, but he remained silent. Finally, the Sardar had the son of the deceased chief brought before him. This child was but seven years of age, his name was Aqa Husayn and, through clever threats and insidious flattery, they succeeded in making him speak." (Ibid., p. 361.)CHAPTER XXVI
"In the morning, the king went out for a horseback ride. Before him, as usual, went equerries carrying long lances, grooms leading horses with embroidered saddle cloths, and a group of nomad riders with their rifles slung over the shoulder and their swords hanging from their saddles. This vanguard preceded the king in order that he might not be annoyed by the dust raised by the cavalry, and the king followed along slowly, a little distance from the retinue of the great lords, chiefs and officers who accompanied him everywhere. He was near the palace and had barely passed the small door of the garden of Muhammad-Hasan, Sanduq-dar or treasurer of the Savings, when he noticed, at the side of the road, three men, three gardeners, standing two on the left, and one on the right side, seemingly waiting for him. He did not suspect danger and rode on. When quite close, he saw them bow very low and he heard them cry out together, 'We are your sacrifice! We make a request.' This is the traditional formula, but instead of remaining aloof as is customary, they rushed on him repeating, 'We make a request!' Surprised, the king shouted, 'Rascals, what do you want?' At that moment, the man on his right took hold of the bridle of the horse and fired upon the king. In the meantime, the two men on the left fired also. One of the shots cut the collar of pearls adorning the horse's neck, another riddled with buckshot the right arm and back of the king. Immediately, the man on the right pulled on the leg of His Majesty and would have unsaddled him, had it not been that the two assassins on the left were pulling on the other side. The king was striking his assailants on the head with his fists, while the jumping of the frightened horse paralyzed their efforts and delayed their aggression. The royal retinue, at first dumbfounded, hurried towards their master. Asadu'llahPage 73
Khan, the grand equerry, and one of the nomad riders killed the man on the right with their swords. In the meantime, several lords threw down the other two men and bound them.
"Doctor Cloquet, the court physician, had the king brought quickly into the garden of Muhammad-Hasan, Sanduq-dar; as no one seemed to know what had really happened, and those who sensed an imminent danger, had no idea of what a catastrophe it might be. During more than an hour, a great tumult reigned in the city of Niyavaran, while ministers headed by the Sadr-i-A'zam rushed into the garden. The bugles, the drums, the tambourines and the fifes were calling the troops together; the ghulams came riding at full speed; everyone was giving orders, no one saw, heard or knew anything. In the midst of this confusion a courier arrived from Tihran, sent by Ardishir Mirza, governor of the city, to enquire what had happened and what measures should be taken in the capital, for, on the previous evening, the rumor had grown into a certainty that the king had been assassinated. The bazaars, policed by men in arms, had been deserted by the merchants. All night long, bakeries had been surrounded, everyone trying to store up provisions for several days, as people do when they foresee trouble.
"At dawn, as the agitation grew, Ardishir Mirza had ordered the gates of the citadel of the town closed, put the regiment on a war footing, and pointed his guns, although he did not know who the enemy was; and now he was asking for orders." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 231-233.)Pages 605-606, Note 1
..."Ardishir Mirza was forced to act in consequence. He kept the gates of the city closed and guarded, giving orders to examine closely all those who might ask to leave. The people were urged to climb the walls near the Shimiran gate in order to see in the open field across the bridge the mutilated body of Sadiq. The prince governor called together the Kalantar or prefect of police, the Vazir of the city, the Darughih or police judge, and the heads of the boroughs and ordered them to seek and arrest all persons suspected of being Babis. As no one could leave the city, they waited until night-fall to start ferreting them out, ruse and cunning being the main requisites employed.
"The police force in Tihran, as in all Asiatic cities, is very well organized. It is a legacy of the Sassanides which the Arabian Khalifs have carefully preserved. As it was to the advantage of all governments (no matter how bad, and even more so to the worst ones) to maintain it, it hasPage 74
remained, so to speak, unchanged, in the midst of the ruins of other institutions, equally efficient, which have decayed.
"One should know that the head of every borough, always in touch with the Kalantar, has under him a few men called 'sar-ghishmihs,' policemen who, without either uniform or badge, never leave the streets which are assigned to them. They are generally well liked by the people and they live on familiar terms with them. They are helpful at all times and, at night, be it winter or summer, they recline under the awning of any store, indifferent to rain or snow, and watch over private property. In this way they reduce the number of thefts by rendering them difficult. Moreover, they know every dweller and his ways, so that they can assist in case of investigation; they know the minds, the opinions, the acquaintances, the relations of everyone; and if one asks three friends to dinner, the sar-ghishmih without spying, so well informed is he about everyone, knows the time of the arrival of the guests, what has been served, what has been said and done, and the time of their departure. The Kad-khudas warned these policemen to watch the Bábis in their respective sections and everyone awaited the results." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 234-235.)Page 610, Note 1
"They ordered the body of Sadiq, the Bábi who had been murdered, to be tied to the tail of a mule and dragged over the stones as far as Tihran, so that the entire population could see that the conspirators had failed. At the same time, messengers were sent to Ardishir Mirza to dictate to him what he should do." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 234.)Page 612-614, Note 2
..."On that day, a spectacle was witnessed in the streets and bazaars of Tihran which the people can never forget. Even to this very day, it remains the topic of conversation; one still feels a shocking horror which the years have not been able to lessen. The people saw marching, between executioners, children and women with deep holes cut into their flesh in which lighted wicks were inserted. The victims were dragged with ropes and goaded on with whips. Children and women went forth singing this verse: 'In truth, we come from God and unto Him do we return.' Their voices were raised triumphant above the deep silence of the crowd, for the citizens of Tihran were neither mean nor great believers in Islam. When one of the victims fell to the ground and they prodded him up with bayonets, if the loss of blood which dripped from his wounds had left him anyPage 75
strength, he would begin to dance and to cry out with even greater enthusiasm: 'In truth, we come from God and unto Him do we return!'
"Some of the children expired on the way. The executioners would throw their bodies under the feet of their fathers and sisters, who proudly walked over them without giving it a second thought. When the cortege reached the place of execution near the New Gate, the victims were given the choice between life and abjuration of their faith; they were even subjected to every form of intimidation. One of the executioners conceived the idea of saying to a father that, unless he yielded, he would cut the throats of his two sons on his very breast. The sons were quite young, the oldest about fourteen. Covered with blood, their flesh scorched, they were listening stoically to the threats. The father replied, while laying himself down, that he was ready and the older of the boys, claiming a prior right, requested to be the first to die. It may be that the executioner denied him even that last comfort.
"At last, the tragedy was over and night fell upon a heap of formless bodies; the heads were tied in bundles to the posts of justice and the dogs on the outskirts of the city were crowding about. That day won for the Bábis a larger number of secret followers than much exhortation could have done.
"As I have said above, the impression caused by the terrifying impassibility of the martyrs was deep and lasting. I have often heard eye witnesses describe the scenes of that fateful day, men close to the government, some even holding important positions. While listening to them, one could easily have believed that they were all Babis, so great was their admiration for the events in which Islam played so inglorious a part, and so high a conception did they entertain of the resources, the hopes and the means of success of the new religion." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 248-250.)Page 622, Note 1
"She remained in Tihran a long time receiving numerous visitors both men and women. She aroused the women by showing them the abject role which Islam assigned to them and she won them over to the new religion by showing them the freedom and respect which it would bestow upon them. Many domestic disputes followed, not always to the advantage and credit of the husband. These discussions might have continued at length, if Mirza Aqa Khan-i-Nuri had not been appointed Sadr-i-A'zam. The premier ordered Haji Mulla Muhammad Andirmani and Haji Mulla Ali Kini to call on her in order to examine into her belief. They held seven conferences with her in which she argued with much feeling andPage 76
affirmed that the Báb was the promised and expected Imam. Her adversaries called her attention to the fact that, in accordance with the prophecies, the promised Imam was to come from Jabulqa and Jabulsa. She retorted feelingly that those prophecies were false and forged by false traditionalists and, as these two cities never existed, they could only be the superstitions of diseased brains. She expounded the new doctrine, bringing out its truth, but always encountered the same argument of Jabulqa. Exasperated, she finally told them: 'Your reasoning is that of an ignorant and stupid child; how long will you cling to these follies and lies? When will you lift your eyes towards the Sun of Truth?' Shocked by such blasphemy, Haji Mulla Ali rose up and led his friend away saying, 'Why prolong our discussion with an infidel?' They returned home and wrote out the sentence which established her apostasy and her refusal to retract, and condemned her to death in the name of the Qur'an!" (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 446-447.)Page 622, Note 2
"While a prisoner in the house of the Kalantar, the marriage of the son of the family took place. Naturally, the wives of all the prominent men were invited; but, although the host had gone to a great deal of expense to provide the customary entertainment, the women loudly demanded that Qurratu'l-'Ayn be brought before the company. She had hardly appeared and begun to speak when the musicians and dancers were dismissed. The ladies, forgetful of the sweets of which they were so fond, had eyes only for Qurratu'l-'Ayn." (Ibid., p. 448.)Page 625, Note 2
"Across from the English Legation and the Turkish Embassy stretched a rather vast square which since 1893 has disappeared. Toward the center of this square, but in line with the street, stood five or six trees which marked the spot where the Bábi heroine had died, for in those days the garden of Ilkhani extended that far. On my return in 1898 the square had entirely disappeared overrun by modern buildings and I do not know whether the present owner has saved those trees which pious hands had planted." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," p. 452.)Page 629-631, Note 1
..."The other missionary, the woman to whom I refer, had come to Qazvin. She was without doubt, at the same time, the object of the Bábis highest veneration and one of the most strikingly fascinating manifestationsPage 77
of that religion." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 136.)
"Many who have known her and heard her at different times have stated that, for a person so learned and so well read, the outstanding characteristic of her discourse was an amazing simplicity and still, when she spoke, her audience was deeply stirred and filled with admiration, often in tears." (Ibid., p. 150.)
"Although the Muhammadans and Babis speak in the highest terms of the beauty of 'Consolation of the Eyes,' it is beyond dispute that the intelligence and character of this young woman were even more remarkable than has been related. Having heard, almost daily, learned conversations, it seems that, at an early age, she had taken a deep interest in them; hence it came about that she was perfectly able to follow the subtle arguments of her father, her uncle, her cousin and now her husband, and even to debate with them and frequently to astonish them with the power and keenness of her mind. In Persia, one does not frequently see women engaged in intellectual pursuits but, nevertheless, it does sometimes occur. What is really extraordinary is to find a woman of the ability of Qurratu'l-'Ayn. Not only did she carry her knowledge of Arabic to an unusual degree of perfection, but she became also outstanding in the knowledge of the traditions of Islam and of the varied interpretations of the disputed passages of the Qur'an and of the great writers. In Qazvin, she was rightly considered a prodigy." (Ibid., p. 137.)Pages 645-647, Note 1
"Strange as it may seem, they respected the women whom they gathered and led to Mount Biyaban. There were, among them, two old men too feeble to fight, Mulla Muhammad-Musa, a fuller, and Mashhadi Baqir, a dyer. These were murdered. Mashhadi Baqir was killed by Ali Big, captain of the Nayrizi soldiers, who severed the head from the body of his victim and gave it to a child; then, covering the head of the niece of his victim with a black veil, he led her to Mirza Na'im, who was then on Mount Biyaban seated upon a stone in a garden. When Ali Big approached him, he threw the head of Baqir at him and shoved the little girl abruptly forward. She fell on her face, as he cried out, 'We have done as you wished, the Bábis are no more!'
"Akhund Mulla Abdu'l-Husayn ordered that the mouth of Mirza Na'im be stuffed with dirt, then a ghulam shot him in the head but the wound was not fatal.
"Approximately six hundred and three women were arrested and taken to the mill called 'Takht' which is near Nayriz. One author tells thePage 78
following anecdote: 'I was very young then and I was following my mother who had another son younger than I. A man, called Asadu'llah, was carrying my brother on his shoulders. The child wore a hat decorated with a few ornaments. A rider saw the hat and snatched it with such brutality that he took hold at the same time of the hair of the baby. The child was thrown about ten feet away and my poor mother found him unconscious.'
"I shall not expatiate upon the horrors which followed this victory. It is enough to know that Mirza Na'im rode on, preceded and followed by men carrying the heads of the martyrs on pikes. The prisoners were prodded along with whip and sword. The women were jostled into ditches full of water. The night was spent at the caravansary in Shiraz. In the morning, the women were taken out, all entirely naked; they were kicked, stoned, whipped and spat upon. When their tormentors grew tired, they were confined for twenty days, during which time they were constantly insulted and outraged. Eighty Babis bound together in tens, were entrusted to one hundred soldiers, with Shiraz as their destination. Siyyid Mir Muhammad Abd died from exposure to cold at Khanih-gird, others expired a little further on. The guards, from time to time, would cut off the head of one of them. At last they entered Shiraz, through the gate of Sa'di. They paraded the prisoners through the streets, then they cast them into prison. The women were taken out of the school building after twenty days and separated into two groups. One group was set free, the others were sent to Shiraz with other prisoners who had lately been arrested.
"On reaching Shiraz, the caravan was again divided into two groups; the women were sent to the caravansary Shah Mir Ali-Hamzih and the men to prison with the other Babis. The next day was a feast day. The governor, surrounded by all the prominent citizens of Shiraz, ordered the prisoners to be brought before him. A Nayrizi called Jalal, whom Na'im had nicknamed 'Bulbul,' revealed the names of his fellow-citizens. The first one to appear was Mulla Abdu'l-Husayn, who was commanded to curse the Báb. He refused and his head rolled on the ground. Haji son of Asghar, Ali Garm-Siri, Husayn son of Hadi Khayri, Sadiq son of Salih, and Muhammad-ibn-i-Muhsin all were executed. The women were set free and the men who survived were taken back to prison. The Shah having demanded that the prisoners be sent away, seventy-three were sent to Tihran. Twenty-two died during the journey, among whom were Mulla Abdu'l-Husayn who died at Saydan, Ali son of Karbila'i Zaman at Abadih; Akbar son of Karbila'i Muhammad at Qinarih; Hasan son of Abdu'l-Vahhab, Mulla Ali-Akbar, at Isfahan. Karbila'i Baqir son of Muhammad-Zamam, Hasan and his brother Dhu'l-Faqar, Karbila'i NaqiPage 79
and Ali his son, Vali Khan, Mulla Karim, Akbar Ra'is, Ghulam-'Ali son of Pir Muhammad, Naqi and Muhammad-'Ali, sons of Muhammad, expired likewise during the course of the journey.
"The others reached Tihran and, on the very day of their arrival, fifteen of them were put to death, among them Aqa Siyyid Ali who had been abandoned as dead, Karbila'i Rajab the barber, Sayfu'd-Din, Sulayman son of K. Salman, Ja'far, Murad Khayri, Husayn son of K. Baqir, Mirza Abu'l-Hasan son of Mirza Taqi, Mulla Muhammad-'Ali son of Aqa Mihdi. Twenty-three died in prison, thirteen were freed after three years, the only one who remained in Tihran, to die there a little later, was Karbila'i Zaynu'l-'Abidin." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 421-424.)Epilogue
Gobineau, writing in about the year 1865, testifies as follows: "Public opinion holds that the Bábis are to be found in every social class and among the members of every religion, with the exception of the Nusayris and the Christians, but it is especially the educated classes, the men of learning who are suspected of sympathy with Babism. It is believed, and with good reason, that many mullas and, among them, outstanding mujtahids, magistrates of high rank, and high court officials very close to the king, are Babis. According to a recent estimate, there would be in Tihran, a city of about eighty thousand souls, five thousand Babis. But this estimate is not very reliable and I am inclined to think that, if the Bábis were to triumph in Persia, their number in the capital would be much larger, for, at that moment, one would have to add to the number of the zealous ones, whatever that number may now be, a large proportion of those who are recently in favor of the officially condemned doctrine and to whom victory would impart the courage to declare their faith openly." (Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 251.)Page 660, Note 1
Gobineau, writing about the year 1865, gives the following testimony: "Thus Babism has won a considerable influence on the mind of Persia, and spreading beyond the Persian frontier, has overflowed into the pachalick of Baghdad and penetrated into India. Among its characteristics, one of the most striking is that, even during the life of the Báb, many of the newPage 80
faith, many of its most convinced and devoted followers, have never known personally their prophet and do not seem to have attached great importance to the hearing of his instructions from his own lips. Nevertheless, they rendered him, completely and without reservation, the honors and the veneration to which, in their own eyes, he was certainly entitled." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," p. 255.)Pages 663-665, Note 1
"The Cause of the Báb is on the road to great achievements. We have now shown how there has taken place a religious movement which absorbs the deepest attention of Central Asia, that is to say, of Persia, several regions of India and a section of Asiatic Turkey; a religious movement, therefore, truly remarkable and worthy of being studied. Through it, we witness events, manifestations, catastrophes such that one could only imagine possible in remote ages when the great religions were born. I even confess that if I were to see appear in Europe a religion like unto Babism, with advantages such as Babism possesses, with complete faith, an undaunted enthusiasm, tried courage and proven devotion, winning the respect of the indifferent, frightening its adversaries and, moreover, a tireless proselytism constantly gaining adherents in every social class, -- if I were to see such a phenomenon in Europe, I would not hesitate to predict that, within a given time, power and sovereignty would of necessity belong to a group so richly endowed." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 116, 293-294.)
"It seems certain that from the religious standpoint and especially from the moral one, Babism marks an advance over the teachings of Islam; one may hold with M. Vambery (French Academy, March 12, 1892) that its leader has expressed doctrines worthy of the greatest thinkers.... In any case the growth of Babism is an interesting chapter in the history of modern religions and civilization. And thus, after all is said, those who praise it are perhaps right; it may be that from Babism will come the regeneration of the Persian peoples, even of the whole of Islam which is in real need of it. Unfortunately there is seldom a national regeneration without much shedding of blood." (M. J. Balteau's "Le Babisme," p. 28.)Page 81
Reproduction of letter from Shoghi Effendi, through his secretary, to Dr. and Mrs. Perigord.
[The letter was handwritten, and ended on page 83.]