Segment 7: The Covenant of the Báb -by Rick Schaut

The Covenant of the Báb.pdf

In every Day, in every Age, the Prophets of the past have had some form of Covenant with their followers regarding the coming of yet another Prophet. Such a Covenant, writes Shoghi Effendi, “had existed, under various forms, with varying degrees of emphasis, had always been couched in veiled language, and had been alluded to in cryptic prophecies, in abstruse allegories, in unauthenticated traditions, and in the fragmentary and obscure passages of the sacred Scriptures.”[1]

The Báb’s Covenant, Shoghi Effendi assures us, is different. While not contained within a single tablet or document, the Báb’s Covenant was, nonetheless, explicit. The Báb denoted to the Promised One using the phrase, “Him Whom God shall make manifest,” and references to Him Whom God shall make manifest are scattered throughout the Persian Bayán. The Báb’s commentary on the Surih of Joseph, the first chapter of which was revealed to Mulla Husayn, asserts that the Surih of Joseph is actually a prophetic text that, among other things, presages the life of Him Whom God shall make manifest.[2]

Space does not permit a full discussion of all of the passages in the Báb’s Writings that mention Him Whom God shall make manifest. We can, however, make brief mention of the passages that refer directly to Bahá’u’lláh by name, and those that denote both the date of Bahá’u’lláh’s initial revelation in the Síyáh Chál, in August of 1852, and His public declaration in Baghdád in April of 1863.

Regarding the dates, Shoghi Effendi quotes several passages in the following paragraph in God Passes By:

‘“In the year nine,” He, referring to the date of the advent of the promised Revelation, has explicitly written, “ye shall attain unto all good.” “In the year nine, ye will attain unto the presence of God.” And again: “After Ḥin (68)* a Cause shall be given unto you which ye shall come to know.” “Ere nine will have elapsed from the inception of this Cause,” He more particularly has stated, “the realities of the created things will not be made manifest. All that thou hast as yet seen is but the stage from the moist germ until We clothed it with flesh. Be patient, until thou beholdest a new creation. Say: ‘Blessed, therefore, be God, the most excellent of Makers!’” “Wait thou,” is His statement to ‘Aẓím, “until nine will have elapsed from the time of the Bayán. Then exclaim: ‘Blessed, therefore, be God, the most excellent of Makers!’” “Be attentive,” He, referring in a remarkable passage to the year nineteen, has admonished, “from the inception of the Revelation till the number of Vahíd (19).” “The Lord of the Day of Reckoning,” He, even more explicitly, has stated, “will be manifested at the end of Vahíd (19) and the beginning of eighty (1280 A.H.).”'[3]

Note that the years nine and nineteen are reckoned according to the Bádí Calendar, which commences with year 1 on the vernal equinox of the year 1844 in the Gregorian Calendar.

Of the passages that reference Bahá’u’lláh directly, two are particularly interesting. The first follows an incident that occurred during the Conference at Badasht. The Conference at Badasht was a gathering of the Báb’s followers and its primary purpose was to signify a break with the laws of the Dispensation of Muhammad. This was a momentous occasion in Bahá’í history worthy of its own discussion. For our purposes, however, we can note that it was at this conference that Bahá’u’lláh gave names to several of the prominent followers of the Báb. We can turn to Nabil’s Narrative for details:

‘Those who had gathered in Badasht were eighty-one in number, all of whom, from the time of their arrival to the day of their dispersion, were the guests of Bahá’u’lláh. Every day, He revealed a Tablet which Mírzá Sulaymán-i-Núrí chanted in the presence of the assembled believers. Upon each He bestowed a new name. He Himself was henceforth designated by the name of Bahá; upon the Last Letter of the Living was conferred the appellation of Quddús, and to Qurratu’l-‘Ayn was given the title of Táhirih. To each of those who had convened at Badasht a special Tablet was subsequently revealed by the Báb, each of whom He addressed by the name recently conferred upon him. When, at a later time, a number of the more rigid and conservative among her fellow-disciples chose to accuse Táhirih of indiscreetly rejecting the time-honoured traditions of the past, the Báb, to whom these complaints had been addressed, replied in the following terms: “What am I to say regarding her whom the Tongue of Power and Glory has named Táhirih [the Pure One]?”'[4]

The Báb’s reference to Bahá’u’lláh as “the Tongue of Power and Glory” is profoundly significant in that it directly relates Bahá’u’lláh to the Word of God.

The other passage to consider comes from the third chapter of the Persian Bayán, where the Báb states:

“Well is it with him who fixeth his gaze upon the Order of Bahá’u’lláh and rendereth thanks unto his Lord! For He will assuredly be made manifest. God hath indeed irrevocably ordained it in the Bayán.”[5]

This remarkable passage presages the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh itself. We should note that the word “Order” here wasn’t always thought to refer to the institutions that Bahá’u’lláh would establish. The Persian language has no similar construct to the way capitalization denotes significance in the English language. So, until Shoghi Effendi capitalized the word “Order,” people generally thought that this passage merely referred to Bahá’u’lláh’s literary style.[6] The full significance of Shoghi Effendi’s interpretation of this passage is beyond the scope of our purpose here, but it will certainly become the subject of future discussions of the Bahá’í Covenant.

We’ve discussed the references to Him Whom God shall make manifest as they pertain to the Báb’s Covenant, but we haven’t discussed the actual terms of the Báb’s Covenant. We would be remiss to leave that out, because this, too, is a significant difference between the Báb’s Covenant and those that have preceded it. It is the first time that a Prophet’s expectations of His followers have been made so explicit.

Fortunately, the terms of the Báb’s are very simple, and can be summarized by the following words that the Báb addressed to one of his most learned, influential and eloquent followers:

‘“By the righteousness of Him Whose power causeth the seed to germinate and Who breatheth the spirit of life into all things, were I to be assured that in the day of His manifestation thou wilt deny Him, I would unhesitatingly disown thee and repudiate thy faith…. If, on the other hand, I be told that a Christian, who beareth no allegiance to My Faith, will believe in Him, the same will I regard as the apple of Mine Eye.”'[7]

Thus, the Báb made it clear that one thing, and only one thing, would fulfill our obligations to His Covenant: recognition and acceptance of Him Whom God shall make manifest.

Notes:

[1] Shoghi Effendi, “God Passes By”, p 27 (http://www.bahai.org/r/671696049)
[2] Ibid. p 23 (http://www.bahai.org/r/488745356)
[3] Ibid. p 29 (http://www.bahai.org/r/428008482)
[4] Dawn-breakers, p 293 (http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/nz/DB/db-35.html)
[5] Quoted in Shoghi Effendi, “The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh”, p 147 (http://www.bahai.org/r/584584551)
[6] David Hoffman, essay “Shoghi Effendi, Expounder of the Word of God” (http://bahaitalks.blogspot.com/2014/10/shoghi-effendi-expounder-of-word-of-god.html)
[7] Quoted in Shoghi Effendi, “The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh”, p 101 (http://www.bahai.org/r/776389441)

* … His Cause will be made known after Hin.
According to the Abjad notation, the numerical value of the word “Hin” is 68. It was in the year 1268 A.H. (1852 A.D.) that Bahá’u’lláh, while confined in the Siyah-Chal of Tihran received the first intimations of His Divine Mission. Of this He hinted in the odes which He revealed in that year. (~Shoghi Effendi, “The Dawn-Breakers,” p. 18)

Segment 6: The Relationship Between the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh – by Rick Schaut

The Relationship Between the Bab and Baha’u’llah.pdf

The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh were contemporaries. This unprecedented confluence of the Twin Manifestations of God affords us a unique opportunity to explore how these two Luminaries related to One Another. Their devotion to Each Other, the manner in which They addressed Each Other and Their deference to Each Other can give us insights into the Station of a Manifestation of God.

The earliest episode we might examine occurs as The Báb entrusts several of his early followers with a number of tasks. To Mulla Husayn He gave a scroll wrapped in fine cloth, addressing him with these words:

“Grieve not that you have not been chosen to accompany Me on My pilgrimage to Hijáz. I shall, instead, direct your steps to that city which enshrines a Mystery of such transcendent holiness as neither Hijáz nor Shíráz can hope to rival. My hope is that you may, by the aid of God, be enabled to remove the veils from the eyes of the wayward and to cleanse the minds of the malevolent.”[1]

Here, “Hijáz” is a reference to Muhammad and “Shíráz” is a reference to The Báb Himself, and “that city” refers to Tehrán. The Báb’s instructions included a number of stops along the way, all of which are detailed in history texts. We’re interested in the events that occurred upon his arrival in that city.

Mulla Husayn encountered  Mulla Muhammad-i-Mu’allim, who later became a Babi, and began to enquire as to whether or not a Son of the illustrious Mirza Buzurg resided there. Upon receiving an answer in the affirmative and enquiring as to the qualities of this Son, Mulla Husayn gave the entrusted scroll to Mulla Muhammad and asked that it be delivered into Baha’u’llah’s hands. Mulla Muhammad describes what happened:

“Unfolding the scroll, He [Baha’u’llah] glanced at its contents and began to read aloud to us certain of its passages. I sat enraptured as I listened to the sound of His voice and the sweetness of its melody. He had read a page of the scroll when, turning to His brother, He said: “Músá, what have you to say? Verily I say, whoso believes in the Qur’án and recognises its Divine origin, and yet hesitates, though it be for a moment, to admit that these soul-stirring words are endowed with the same regenerating power, has most assuredly erred in his judgment and has strayed far from the path of justice.” He spoke no more. Dismissing me from His presence, He charged me to take to Mullá Husayn, as a gift from Him, a loaf of Russian sugar and a package of tea, and to convey to him the expression of His appreciation and love.”[2]

At that time, Russian sugar and tea were rare delicacies in Persia.

Nabil-i-Zarandi, after having chronicled the early days of The Báb’s Ministry offers his own summary of this relationship:

“The Báb, whose trials and sufferings had preceded, in almost every case, those of Bahá’u’lláh, had offered Himself to ransom His Beloved from the perils that beset that precious Life; whilst Bahá’u’lláh, on His part, unwilling that He who so greatly loved Him should be the sole Sufferer, shared at every turn the cup that had touched His lips. Such love no eye has ever beheld, nor has mortal heart conceived such mutual devotion. If the branches of every tree were turned into pens, and all the seas into ink, and earth and heaven rolled into one parchment, the immensity of that love would still remain unexplored, and the depths of that devotion unfathomed.”[3]

Dr. Nader Saiedi, in “Logos and Civilization,” notes that in one of His Writings, Bahá’u’lláh,

“refers to the laws of the Bayán which encourage refinement in all things, living in the best houses with the best furniture, wearing the best clothes, using the best perfumes, eating the best foods, and which allow more than two thousand types of food in feasts organized to honor the Promised One. As Bahá’u’lláh says, the explicit purpose of the Báb in revealing all these laws was to ensure that the eyes of the Promised One would never gaze upon unpleasant things and that He would never become subject to hardship and suffering.”[4]

The Báb knew that Bahá’u’lláh would be living amongst the Bábís, but that they would not fully apprehend His Station until Bahá’u’lláh revealed that station Himself. These laws of the Bayan form a part of The Báb’s Lesser Covenant, a topic that we will take up in our next presentation on the Covenant.

Notes:
[1] “The Dawnbreakers: Nabil’s Narrative,” p 96 http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/nz/DB/db-22.html
[2] “The Dawnbreakers: Nabil’s Narrative,” pp 106-7 http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/nz/DB/db-23.html
[3] “The Dawnbreakers: Nabil’s Narrative,” pp 372-3 http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/nz/DB/db-38.html
[4] “Logos and Civilization,” p 208 online text not available

Segment 5: The Station and Claims of the Bab – By Rick Schaut

The Station and Claims of the Bab.pdf

On the evening of the 23rd of May, 1844, in a modest house in Shiraz, Persia, a Muslim cleric met with a Merchant of that city. The cleric, Mulla Husayn Bushrui, was a member of the Shaykhi sect established by Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa’i and led by Sayyid Kazim-i-Rashti. Members of the Shaykhi sect believed in the imminent appearance the Promised Qá’im (He Who Ariseth) of Islam. Upon Sayyid Kazim’s passing, the members dispersed in search of this Promised Qá’im.

Mulla Husayn’s account of that extraordinary meeting can be found in chapter 3 of “The Dawnbreakers.” Mulla Husayn had expected that the Promised Qá’im would reveal a commentary on a chapter of the Qur’an known as the Surih of Joseph. Mulla Husayn describes what happened:

“He took up His pen, and with incredible rapidity revealed the entire Surih of Mulk, the first chapter of His commentary on the Surih of Joseph. The overpowering effect of the manner in which He wrote was heightened by the gentle intonation of His voice which accompanied His writing. Not for one moment did He interrupt the flow of the verses which streamed from His pen. Not once did He pause till the Surih of Mulk was finished. I sat enraptured by the magic of His voice and the sweeping force of His revelation.”[1]

That Merchant was Sayyid Ali Muhammad-Shirazi, known as The Báb, and that Surih of Mulk is the first chapter of a work known as the Qayyumu’l-Asma’. The Qayyumu’l-Asma’ is unique among religious literature of the day. It follows the structure of the Qur’an itself, and many chapters begin with disconnected letters in as do chapters in the Qur’an. These features effectively signal that the Author is claiming a station equivalent to that of Muhammad Himself.[2]

The Qayyumu’l-Asma’ hints at the Báb’s station and claim, but He makes his claim explicit in a number of ways. One notable case is the incident of the Báb’s examination by notable divines in Tabriz. The trial occurred in July of 1848. As is often the case, accounts of that event differ in a number of details, but they all agree on what the Báb had to say about His claims:

“I am, I am, I am, the promised One! I am the One whose name you have for a thousand years invoked, at whose mention you have risen, whose advent you have longed to witness, and the hour of whose Revelation you have prayed God to hasten. Verily I say, it is incumbent upon the peoples of both the East and the West to obey My word and to pledge allegiance to My person.”[3]

In a Tablet addressed to Muhammad Shah, The Báb exclaims:

“THE substance wherewith God hath created Me is not the clay out of which others have been formed. He hath conferred upon Me that which the worldly-wise can never comprehend, nor the faithful discover … I am one of the sustaining pillars of the Primal Word of God…

“All the keys of heaven God hath chosen to place on My right hand, and all the keys of hell on My left…

“I am the Primal Point from which have been generated all created things. I am the Countenance of God Whose splendour can never be obscured, the Light of God Whose radiance can never fade. Whoso recognizeth Me, assurance and all good are in store for him, and whoso faileth to recognize Me, infernal fire and all evil await him…”[4]

Bahá’u’lláh adds His own testimony:

“No understanding can grasp the nature of His Revelation, nor can any knowledge comprehend the full measure of His Faith. All sayings are dependent upon His sanction, and all things stand in need of His Cause. All else save Him are created by His command, and move and have their being through His law. He is the Revealer of the divine mysteries, and the Expounder of the hidden and ancient wisdom…

“Behold from this utterance how great and lofty is His station! His rank excelleth that of all the Prophets, and His Revelation transcendeth the comprehension and understanding of all their chosen ones. A Revelation, of which the Prophets of God, His saints and chosen ones, have either not been informed, or which, in pursuance of God’s inscrutable Decree, they have not disclosed…”[5]

In that same passage, Bahá’u’lláh refers to an Islamic tradition regarding the Promised Qá’im, which says that all knowledge is twenty and seven letters of which only the first two had been revealed. The Promised Qá’im would reveal t
he remaining twenty five letters of knowledge.

These are but a few passages of the many in the Baha’i Writings that unequivocally establish that the Báb claimed to be, and is recognized by Baha’is as, the Divinely ordained forerunner of Bahá’u’lláh and a full Manifestation of God on par with Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and others.

[1] “The Dawnbreakers: Nabil’s Narrative,” p 61 [1970 edition] http://bahai-library.com/books/dawnbreakers/chapters/3.html…
[2] See: http://bahai-library.com/bab_qayyum_asma
[3] “The Dawnbreakrs”, pp 315-6 [1970 edition] http://bahai-library.com/boo…/dawnbreakers/chapters/18.html…
[4] “Selections from the Writings of The Báb”, pp 11-2 http://bahai-library.com/writings/bab/swb/3/sec-5.html
[5] “The Kitab-i-Iqan”, pp 243-4 http://bahai-library.com/bahaullah_kitab_iqan

Segment 4: Quddus, “The Last, But in Rank the First” by Govindah Chinapiel

Quddus: “The Last, But in Rank the First”.pdf

Quddús was the favorite disciple of The Báb and the Persian meaning of Quddús is ‘Holy’, or the ‘Most Holy’.

Quddús was born in the town of Bárfurúsh, in Írán. His mother and father passed away when he was very young and his stepmother, who took great care of him, brought him up. At his very young age his teachers identified him to be very intelligent boy and a very good scholar as well.

During his early adulthood Quddús was attracted to the doctrines of Siyyid Káẓim and his new teachings, so he travelled all the way to Karbilá to be his disciple. He quickly became Siyyid Káẓim’s favourite student. One evening, Quddús came to the city of Shíráz and met with Mullá Ḥusayn. He looked very tired and dirty from his journey, but when he saw Mullá Ḥusayn, he became very enthusiastic.He took Mullá Ḥusayn into his arms and pleaded him to tell him if he had yet found the Qa’im. Mullá Ḥusayn tried to calm him down but Quddús was restless. At that moment Quddús started looking at a Young Man walking a short distance away from them. Quddús turned to Mullá Ḥusayn and said, ‘Why do you try to hide Him from me? I can recognize Him by His walk’. Mullá Ḥusayn was surprised by Quddús’ words, so he excused himself for a minute and went to talk to the Young Man. Mullá Ḥusayn told the Báb what Quddús had said, and the Báb told him not to be surprised, as He had been talking with him through the spirit, and knew him already. He had been waiting for him to come. So the Báb asked Mullá Ḥusayn to go to him, and bring him into His presence immediately. It was at this meeting that Quddus became the 18th, and final Letter of the Living to recognize the Bab.

Since then and over a period of fourteen months, Quddus was with His Beloved. Nine of these months were spent in a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. During the trip although the Báb asked Quddús to ride a camel as well, he declined. Quddús preferred to walk ahead of the Báb’s camel holding the camel’s rein so he could safeguard the Báb in case anything might happen. Quddús walked all the way from Jeddah to Mecca, cheerfully taking care of his Master’s needs and completely forgetting that he was exhausted, and his feet were sore. On this historical voyage, “every night from eventide until the break of day, sacrificing comfort and sleep, he would continue with unrelaxing vigilance to watch beside his Beloved, Who was known as the Bab, ready to provide for His wants and to ensure the means of His protection and safety.” He refused all comforts preferring to walk every step of the pilgrimage. Upon their return to the port of Bushihr, in Persia, Quddus was summoned to the presence of the Bab, Who with the utmost kindness bade him depart for Shiraz. “The days of your companionship with Me”, He told him, “are drawing to a close. The hour of separation has struck, a separation which no reunion will follow except in the Kingdom of God, in the Presence of the King of Glory . . . The hand of destiny will ere long plunge you into an ocean of tribulation for His sake . . . The hosts of the unseen will hasten forth to assist you and will proclaim to all the world your heroism and glory. . . .” With these words, the Báb bid farewell to Quddús.

It is noted in various Baha’i literatures that while Quddús was in Ṭihrán, he was brought into the presence of Bahá’u’lláh. The thoughts of Bahá’u’lláh about Quddús at that time are not known, but Bahá’u’lláh’s brother, Áqáy-i-Kalím, was very impressed. He told a friend, ‘The charm of Quddús, his easy manner, his courtesy, his grace, combined with a dignity of bearing, was liked by everyone. We watched him one day as he prepared for his prayers, and we noticed how different he was, how much more graceful he was, than anyone else who was present. He seemed to be, in our eyes, everything that was graceful and pure.’

From Ṭihrán, Quddús went on to his home in Bárfurúsh, in the province of Mázindarán, where he spent many months with his family. His stepmother looked forward with great hope to the day when Quddús would be married. That was what would make her happier than anything else, she said. Quddús was then about twenty-five years of age, and she often said to him, ‘I am afraid I will go to my grave without having my happiness made complete.’ Quddús told her, ‘The day of my wedding is not yet come. That day will be the most glorious. It will not be in this house; it will be out in the open air. It will be in the midst of the Sabzih-Maydán, while thousands of people look on. There I shall celebrate my wedding and see all my hopes come true.’ His stepmother did not understand what he meant until three years later when Quddús was martyred in the Sabzih-Maydán as he sacrificed his life for the Báb.

A conference was held in Badasht on the border of the province of Mazandaran. Eighty-one disciples attended for twenty-two days. On each of these twenty-two days a new Tablet was revealed and each disciple received a new name. It was here that Muhammad-‘Ali received the name of Quddus (Most Holy). The primary purpose of this conference was to implement the Bayan, the Most Holy Book revealed by the Bab, which provided the laws for the new day which He had announced. On their way from the Conference, the people of the neighborhood in the village of Niyala attacked Quddus and some of the disciples; Quddus was arrested and was imprisoned in Sari.

Throughout all Persia the followers of the Bab were, at this time, in great danger. The Islamic religious leaders were aroused and alarmed at the influence the Bab and His disciples had upon the people. Were this influence to prevail, their own positions might be endangered; their fear of this fast spreading Babi Faith caused them to tyrannize the Babis. “On three occasions a number of Babis driven to desperation withdrew in concert from their houses to a chosen retreat and, erecting defensive works about them, defied in arms further pursuit.” In the East of Persia at Shaykh-Tabarsi a contest took place, which endured for eleven months. Its valiant souls were the Babis with their leader, Quddus. Day after day he guided them through the trials of battle and of privation of every kind. “He dispelled,” one testified, “whatever doubts lingered in our minds and such were the evidences of his perspicacity that we came to believe that to him had been given the power to read our profoundest thoughts and to calm the fiercest tumults in our hearts.”

At the age of twenty-seven, Quddus, “the last, but in rank the first” of the Letters of the Living, was martyred. He has been referred to by Baha’u’llah as holding a rank second to none except that of the Bab Himself.(3)

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

“He exemplified by his life and glorious martyrdom,” says Nabil in another instance, “the truth of this tradition: ‘Whoso seeketh Me, shall find Me. Whoso findeth Me shall be drawn towards Me. Whoso draweth nigh unto Me, shall love Me. Whoso loveth Me, shall I also love. Him who is beloved of Me, him shall I slay. He who is slain by Me, I myself shall be his ransom.’ “

Concerning the station of Quddus, we find the following:
“Regarding the station of Quddus, he should by no means be considered having had the station of a Prophet. His station was no doubt a very exalted one, and far above that of any of the Letters of the Living, including the first Letter, Mulla Husayn. Quddus reflected more than any of the disciples of the Bab the light of His teaching.”
(11 November 1936, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer).

“It may be helpful to consider that in the Dispensation of the Bab, Quddus is referred to as the “Last Point”, and the “Last Name of God”, is identified, as pointed out in God Passes By, with one of the “Messengers charged with imposture” mentioned in the Qur’an, and is one of the “two witnesses” into whom “the spirit of life from God” must enter, as attested by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Some Answered Questions, yet, despite these sublime stations, he is not regarded as an independent Manifestation of God.”
(24 August 1975, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer).

Source and Quotes from:
(1) The Dawn Breakers: Nabil-i-A’zam
(2) ‘Quddús’ by Lowell Johnson
(3) Quddus, Companion of the Báb – by Harriet Pettibone

Segment 3 – Mullá Husayn receives the Declaration of the Báb (The First “Letter of the Living”) by Govindah Chinapiel

Mullá Husayn receives the Declaration of the Báb.pdf

You will recall our previous post regarding the two luminaries, Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim, who devoted their lives to the advent of the Qá’im (He who arises). Before Siyyid Kazim died, he told his followers to scatter and find the Promised One, the 12th Imam of Islam. Upon the death of Siyyid Kazim, fear and anxiety filled the hearts of his faithful disciples, but Mullá Husayn was very resilient and fervent in his quest of Him to whose advent his teacher had so often alluded.

Mullá Husayn was born in 1813 and as a student at school he demonstrated his capacity to memorize passages from the Qu’ran and was an exemplary student. His father, Haji Mulla ‘Abdu’llah, and his mother were part of the elite and wealthy people of Bushruyih, a small town not far from Mashhad, Iran. Various narratives of those periods mention that Mullá Husayn’s mother was a notable lady endowed with ability to write eloquent poems. He had three brothers and two sisters.

Upon reaching the age of twelve, after completing his studies in Bushruyih, Mullá Husayn went to the nearby city of Mashhad, the most prestigious center of religious study in Iran, to pursue his religious studies. There, Mullá Husayn showed great spiritual capacities, and upon blessings from his parents, he decided to follow the path of religion and become a mujtahid (A Muslim Doctor of Law). Soon he became attracted to the doctrines of Shaykh Ahmad (as you will recall from our first post) and became a follower of Shaykh Ahmad’s successor, Siyyid Kazim.

Upon the passing away of his father, Mullá Husayn, who during this specific period was unraveling the mystery of the Qa’im together with Siyyid Kazim, had to temporarily leave him and come back to his hometown to take care of his family. However, this did not last for long and he felt the urge to leave for Karbila. His entire family decided to accompany him to Karbila, so they sold some of their property in the village and left. Thus began Mullá Husayn’s journey to Iraq to rejoin his master Siyyid Kazim. This was in 1831 and Mullá Husayn was only 18 years old!

During the early months of 1844, Mullá Husayn felt the need to leave his fellow-disciples and journey from Karbila for Najaf. With him were Muhammad-Hasan, his brother, and Muhammad-Baqir, his nephew, both of whom had accompanied him ever since his visit to his native town of Bushruyih. Just before his arrival in Najaf he decided to spend forty days at Masjid-i-Kufih, where he led a life of retirement and prayer to prepare himself for the holy adventure upon which he was soon to embark. Immediately after, Mullá Husayn, together with his two disciples, departed for Najaf and proceeded directly to Bushihr. From there he was attracted by an irresistible force to Shiraz.

On 22nd May 1844, a few hours before sunset, whilst walking outside the gate of the city of Shiraz, he met The Báb, who was wearing a green turban and who, advancing towards him, greeted him with a smile of loving welcome. He embraced Mullá Husayn with tender affection as though he had been his intimate and lifelong friend. Mullá Husayn initially thought that he was a disciple of Siyyid Kazim but would soon realize that he had come into the presence of the Qa’im. Mullá Husayn was invited by The Báb to visit his home to refresh himself and have tea. Below is a quote from the Dawn Breakers in Mullá Husayn ’s own words regarding his encounter with The Báb.

`We soon found ourselves standing at the gate of a house of modest appearance. He knocked at the door, which was soon opened by an Ethiopian servant. “Enter therein in peace, secure,” were His words as He crossed the threshold and motioned me to follow Him. His invitation, uttered with power and majesty, penetrated my soul”. He further added “It was about an hour after sunset when my youthful Host began to converse with me. “Whom, after Siyyid Kazim,” He asked me, “do you regard as his successor and your leader?” “At the hour of his death,” I replied, “our departed teacher insistently exhorted us to forsake our homes, to scatter far and wide, in quest of the promised Beloved. I have, accordingly, journeyed to Persia, have arisen to accomplish his will, and am still engaged in my quest.” “Has your teacher,” He further enquired, “given you any detailed indications as to the distinguishing features of the promised One?” “Yes,” I replied, “He is of a pure lineage, is of illustrious descent, and of the seed of Fatimih. As to His age, He is more than twenty and less than thirty. He is endowed with innate knowledge. He is of medium height, abstains from smoking, and is free from bodily deficiency.” He paused for a while and then with vibrant voice declared: “Behold, all these signs are manifest in Me!” That evening was the declaration of The Báb on the 22nd of May 1844 and He told Mullá Husayn that this moment would be celebrated in the future throughout the world. Mullá Husayn further states “He then addressed me in these words: “O thou who art the first to believe in Me! Verily I say, I am the Bab, the Gate of God, and thou art the Babu’l-Bab, the gate of that Gate. Eighteen souls must, in the beginning, spontaneously and of their own accord, accept Me and recognise the truth of My Revelation. Unwarned and uninvited, each of these must seek independently to find Me”.

After Mullá Husayn met The Báb, it took nearly 3 months for the rest of the 18 Letters of Living to recognize Him independently. Soon afterwards the Báb gave them their assignments and revealed a Tablet in honor of each of them before sending them away. He took the last Letter of the Living, Quddus, with Him to go for Pilgrimage to Mecca in fulfillment of Islamic prophecy and gave Mullá Husayn an unusual assignment, which was to deliver a letter to a person in Teheran without actually mentioning the name of the recipient. Upon his departure to Teheran, The Báb addressed to Mullá Husayn “Grieve not that you have not been chosen to accompany Me on My pilgrimage to Hijaz. I shall, instead, direct your steps to that city which enshrines a Mystery of such transcendent holiness as neither Hijaz nor Shiraz can hope to rival. My hope is that you may, by the aid of God, be enabled to remove the veils from the eyes of the wayward and to cleanse the minds of the malevolent”.

Upon his arrival in Teheran, Mullá Husayn met Mullá Muhammad and whilst sharing the glad tidings regarding the Qa’im, he came across the name of Husayn-‘Alí who was later known as Bahá’u’lláh. Mullá Husayn took some of the Báb’s Writings, which were rolled up in a piece of cloth, gave them to Mullá Muhammad, and asked him to give them to Bahá’u’lláh in person at the hour of dawn. When Mullá Muhammad delivered the parcel to Bahá’u’lláh, He read The Báb’s Writings, and turning to His brother, Mírzá Músá, said: “Verily, I say, whoso believes in the Qur’án and recognizes its Divine origin, and yet hesitates, though it be for a moment, to admit that these soul-stirring words are endowed with the same regenerating power, has most assuredly erred in his judgement and has strayed far from the path of justice.” He sent Mullá Husayn a gift of a loaf of Russian sugar and a package of tea and a message of love and thanks. In this way, Bahá’u’lláh showed Mullá Husayn how precious He considered the Message which He had received. Mullá Husayn then wrote to The Báb about the gracious response of Bahá’u’lláh. This message brought great joy to The Báb who told Quddus “now the Cause of God is in capable hands and we could start our journey to Mecca”.

From that moment, Mullá Husayn dedicated his life to the spread of the Faith. His courageous service led him across Persia, as instructed by The Báb, to raise the call of the new age in cities, towns, and villages, and to establish Bábí communities wherever he went. Eventually he was surrounded by enemies at the Shrine of Shaykh Tabarsí and died a martyr on the field of battle.

Source and Quotes from:

(1) MULLÁ HUSAYN: Disciple at Dawn, By R. Mehrabkhani
(2) The Dawn Breakers: Nabil-i-A’zam

 

Segment 2 – Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim Announce the Appearance of the Bab by Govindah Chinapiel

Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim .pdf

This is the first of three articles dedicated to a very unique window into the past which opens with the key Bábí historical figures namely Shaykh Ahmad, Siyyid Kazim, Mullá Husayn, and Quddus. This post focuses on a brief overview of Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim, the two luminaries who had great knowledge about Islam and devoted their lives to the advent of the Qá’im (He Who Arises) and the Mahdi (Rightly Guided One). Their role in announcing the advent of the Bab is similar to John the Baptist in announcing Jesus Christ. The Bab appeared in the historical context of Islam, the same as Jesus did in the context of Judaism.

The prophet founder of Islam, Muhammad, was succeeded by eleven Imams spanning 260 years. The first in succession was Imam Ali, His son-in-law. According to the Shiites, the 12th Imam went into hiding, and will reappear as the Mahdi expected by Sunni Islam, or the Qá’im expected by the Shiites, on the the Day of Resurrection. Shoghi Effendi confirmed in God Passes By (First edition: Page 57 and 58) that The Báb is the expected Mahdi and Qá’im.

In 1783 Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsá’í (1743-1826), hereafter referred to as ‘Shaykh Ahmad’ began, at the age of 40, to travel through Persia teaching that the advent of a great day was drawing near, the day that would see the advent of the Qá’im, the Promised One of Islám. This was at the darkest period in the history of Iran, a morally corrupt country ruled by greedy rulers. As he spread this message, his knowledge and wisdom impressed many who were eager to learn from him. Among these was a gifted young man named Siyyid Kázim-i-Rashtí (1793-1843), hereafter referred to as ‘Siyyid Kazim’, who became Shaykh Ahmad’s favoured pupil and eventual successor. Both were very active in teaching in the holy cities of Karbila and Najaf. They taught three revolutionary doctrines which corrected the common understanding of Muslims:

1. Resurrection is not of physical form but is of a spiritual nature
2. The Promised One or the Qá’im will appear after 1000 years have elapsed since the disappearance of the 12th Imam.
3. The continuity of the appearance of Messengers of God, also known as the Progressive Revelation of God.

Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim stated that the statement in the Quran that Muhammad was the ‘Seal of the Prophets’ means that there will be no more Prophets coming to prophesize. However this does not mean that He was the ‘Seal of the Messengers’, as God will continuously send His Messengers with His guidance to mankind. They promoted their teachings about the meaning of the Qu’ran to their followers to prepare for the coming of The Báb. Their doctrines were the true meanings of Islam’s holy words.

In 1819 Shaykh Ahmad grieved the loss of his son Ali. He comforted his mourning disciples with these words: “Grieve not, O my friends, for I have offered up my son, my own Ali, as a sacrifice for the Ali whose advent we all await. To this end have I reared and prepared him.” In that same year The Báb was born in the city of Shiraz; his name was Ali-Muhammad. His parents were both descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (Dawn Breakers, 1970 edition: Chapter 1, Page 14). During his last days Shaykh Ahmad appointed Siyyid Kazim as his successor to continue preparing hearts for the coming of the Qá’im. He passed away in 1826 at the age of eighty-one, and was laid to rest in the cemetery of Baqi’, the close vicinity of the resting place of Muhammad in the holy city of Medina. At that time, The Báb, was only 7 years old.

“Siyyid Kazim, the successor of Shakyh Ahmad had already, from his early boyhood, shown signs of remarkable intellectual power and spiritual insight. His piety, the gentleness of his character, and his humility were such that all who knew him, whether young or old, were profoundly impressed.” (Dawn Breakers, 1970 edition: Chapter 1, Page 10). Just like Shaykh Ahmad, he dedicated his life to expounding of the doctrines and convinced the hearts of the followers to the near advent of the Promised One.

Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi, a follower of Siyyid Kazim relates the following event when the latter prepared for his first meeting with The Báb: “We went to the house of Siyyid Kazim, where we found him fully dressed, wearing his aba, and ready to leave his home. He asked me to accompany him. `A highly esteemed and distinguished Person,’ he said, `has arrived. I feel it incumbent upon us both to visit Him.’ The morning light had just broken when I found myself walking with him through the streets of Karbila. We soon reached a house, at the door of which stood a Youth, as if expectant to receive us. He wore a green turban, and His countenance revealed an expression of humility and kindliness, which I can never describe. He quietly approached us, extended His arms towards Siyyid Kazim, and lovingly embraced him. His affability and loving-kindness singularly contrasted with the sense of profound reverence that characterised the attitude of Siyyid Kazim towards him. Speechless and with bowed head, he received the many expressions of affection and esteem with which that Youth greeted him. We were soon led by Him to the upper floor of that house, and entered a chamber bedecked with flowers and redolent of the loveliest perfume. He bade us be seated. We knew not, however, what seats we actually occupied, so overpowering was the sense of delight, which seized us. We observed a silver cup which had been placed in the centre of the room, which our youthful Host, soon after we were seated, filled to overflowing, and handed to Siyyid Kazim, saying: `A drink of a pure beverage shall their Lord give them.’ Siyyid Kazim held the cup with both hands and quaffed it. A feeling of reverent joy filled his being, a feeling which he could not suppress. I too was presented with a cupful of that beverage, though no words were addressed to me. All that was spoken at that memorable gathering was the above-mentioned verse of the Qur’an. Soon after, the Host arose from His seat and, accompanying us to the threshold of the house, bade us farewell. I was mute with wonder, and knew not how to express the cordiality of His welcome, the dignity of His bearing, the charm of that face, and the delicious fragrance of that beverage. How great was my amazement when I saw my teacher quaff without the least hesitation that holy draught from a silver cup, the use of which, according to the precepts of Islam, is forbidden to the faithful. I could not explain the motive which could have induced the Siyyid to manifest such profound reverence in the presence of that Youth–a reverence which even the sight of the shrine of the Siyyidu’sh-Shuhada’ had failed to excite”. That Youth was none other than The Báb Himself. (Dawn Breakers, 1970 edition: Chapter 2, Page 27)

On 31 December 1843, Siyyid Kazim bade farewell to this world, leaving behind him a group of sincere and fervent disciples who, abandoned of all worldly desire, set out in their mission to find their promised Beloved. His sacred remains were interred within the precincts of the shrine of the Imam Husayn. Amongst his fervent followers was Mulla Husayn, of whom we will give a brief account of his life in the next post.

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