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.

Letter from The Universal House of Justice read in joyful ceremony of the Colombia Temple

Courtesy of the Baha’i World News Service

The representative of the Universal House of Justice, Mrs. Carmen Elisa de Sadeghian, read a letter from the House of Justice addressed to the attendees present for the dedication observance of the Baha’i House of Worship in Norte del Cauca, Colombia, following the first prayer offered inside the temple.  The letter read as follows:

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

22 July 2018

To the Friends Gathered in Norte del Cauca, 
Colombia, for the Dedication 
of the House of Worship

Dearly loved Friends,

It is with hearts brimming with joy that we greet you on this historic occasion, when the doors of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in Colombia are opened to all. The Temple that has been built through strenuous effort over four years is now ready to assume its divinely-ordained function—a place “solely designed and entirely dedicated to the worship of God”; “a place of great happiness and joy”; “a collective centre for men’s souls” which “forgeth bonds of unity from heart to heart”; “a means for the exaltation of the Word of God”. What is being celebrated here today is not only the culmination of the construction of a physical edifice, but a significant milestone in a process of development that has unfolded in this region over the course of many decades.

When the Bahá’í Faith entered this land, it took root in its fertile soil; a few pure souls with the courage to break through social barriers plunged into the living waters of this new Revelation from God and drank their fill. Without hesitation, they embraced the sublime vision of Bahá’u’lláh for the betterment of the world and endeavoured to illuminate heart after heart with the light of His Teachings. In the midst of powerful winds that acted to destabilize a society, they attended to the planting of seeds. Their humble efforts to nurture in the young those qualities characterizing a faithful follower of the Blessed Beauty and to imbue their family and community life with the divine teachings evolved into a process of education that would reach thousands upon thousands. While the fruits of the committed labours of growing numbers are witnessed across the whole of Colombia, the region of Norte del Cauca is blessed with the singular honour of being the site of the first Bahá’í House of Worship in the country.

This House of Worship stands now as a symbol of the beauty inherent in the noble people of this region and its design evokes the generosity of their land. It is a manifestation of the power released through persistent collective action, a centre of attraction for all those longing to work for the renewal of their society, an oasis of hope for the spiritual and material upliftment of a population that has endured the trials of history and emerged with an indomitable spirit. Let all who gather within its walls occupy themselves with the remembrance of the One Creator so that “the melodies of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár may rise at dawntide to the Concourse on high, and the songs of the nightingales of God may bring joy and ecstasy to the denizens of the All-Glorious Realm”.

[signed: The Universal House of Justice]

You can read the Baha’i World News Service story about the Colombia Temple’s dedication here.

Letter by the Universal House of Justice for the dedication!

God – The Unknowable Essence

I can not help but notice how, in the final paragraph, Baha’u’llah refers to Himself in the submissive as noted by the lower case reference to Himself.  This signifies His station compared to God.  The difference is striking and alludes to this distinction of when the Almighty, God’s Spirit, speaks through His Pen, and when the Pen speaks to God.  Would love your thoughts about this and anything else that strikes you as moving or remarkable.  

XXVI: Praise be to God, the All-Possessing, the…

Praise be to God, the All-Possessing, the King of incomparable glory, a praise which is immeasurably above the understanding of all created things, and is exalted beyond the grasp of the minds of men. None else besides Him hath ever been able to sing adequately His praise, nor will any man succeed at any time in describing the full measure of His glory. Who is it that can claim to have attained the heights of His exalted Essence, and what mind can measure the depths of His unfathomable mystery? From each and every revelation emanating from the Source of His glory, holy and never-ending evidences of unimaginable splendor have appeared, and out of every manifestation of His invincible power oceans of eternal light have outpoured. How immensely exalted are the wondrous testimonies of His almighty sovereignty, a glimmer of which, if it but touched them, would utterly consume all that are in the heavens and in the earth! How indescribably lofty are the tokens of His consummate power, a single sign of which, however inconsiderable, must transcend the comprehension of whatsoever hath, from the beginning that hath no beginning, been brought into being, or will be created in the future till the end that hath no end. All the Embodiments of His Names wander in the wilderness of search, athirst and eager to discover His Essence, and all the Manifestations of His Attributes implore Him, from the Sinai of Holiness, to unravel His mystery.
 
A drop of the billowing ocean of His endless mercy hath adorned all creation with the ornament of existence, and a breath wafted from His peerless Paradise hath invested all beings with the robe of His sanctity and glory. A sprinkling from the unfathomed deep of His sovereign and all-pervasive Will hath, out of utter nothingness, called into being a creation which is infinite in its range and deathless in its duration. The wonders of His bounty can never cease, and the stream of His merciful grace can never be arrested. The process of His creation hath had no beginning, and can have no end. 
 
In every age and cycle He hath, through the splendorous light shed by the Manifestations of His wondrous Essence, recreated all things, so that whatsoever reflecteth in the heavens and on the earth the signs of His glory may not be deprived of the outpourings of His mercy, nor despair of the showers of His favors. How all-encompassing are the wonders of His boundless grace! Behold how they have pervaded the whole of creation. Such is their virtue that not a single atom in the entire universe can be found which doth not declare the evidences of His might, which doth not glorify His holy Name, or is not expressive of the effulgent light of His unity. So perfect and comprehensive is His creation that no mind nor heart, however keen or pure, can ever grasp the nature of the most insignificant of His creatures; much less fathom the mystery of Him Who is the Day Star of Truth, Who is the invisible and unknowable Essence. The conceptions of the devoutest of mystics, the attainments of the most accomplished amongst men, the highest praise which human tongue or pen can render are all the product of man’s finite mind and are conditioned by its limitations. Ten thousand Prophets, each a Moses, are thunderstruck upon the Sinai of their search at His forbidding voice, “Thou shalt never behold Me!”; whilst a myriad Messengers, each as great as Jesus, stand dismayed upon their heavenly thrones by the interdiction, “Mine Essence thou shalt never apprehend!” From time immemorial He hath been veiled in the ineffable sanctity of His exalted Self, and will everlastingly continue to be wrapt in the impenetrable mystery of His unknowable Essence. Every attempt to attain to an understanding of His inaccessible Reality hath ended in complete bewilderment, and every effort to approach His exalted Self and envisage His Essence hath resulted in hopelessness and failure.
 
How bewildering to me, insignificant as I am, is the attempt to fathom the sacred depths of Thy knowledge! How futile my efforts to visualize the magnitude of the power inherent in Thine handiwork—the revelation of Thy creative power! How can mine eye, which hath no faculty to perceive itself, claim to have discerned Thine Essence, and how can mine heart, already powerless to apprehend the significance of its own potentialities, pretend to have comprehended Thy nature? How can I claim to have known Thee, when the entire creation is bewildered by Thy mystery, and how can I confess not to have known Thee, when, lo, the whole universe proclaimeth Thy Presence and testifieth to Thy truth? The portals of Thy grace have throughout eternity been open, and the means of access unto Thy Presence made available, unto all created things, and the revelations of Thy matchless Beauty have at all times been imprinted upon the realities of all beings, visible and invisible. Yet, notwithstanding this most gracious favor, this perfect and consummate bestowal, I am moved to testify that Thy court of holiness and glory is immeasurably exalted above the knowledge of all else besides Thee, and the mystery of Thy Presence is inscrutable to every mind except Thine own. No one except Thyself can unravel the secret of Thy nature, and naught else but Thy transcendental Essence can grasp the reality of Thy unsearchable being. How vast the number of those heavenly and all-glorious beings who, in the wilderness of their separation from Thee, have wandered all the days of their lives, and failed in the end to find Thee! How great the multitude of the sanctified and immortal souls who were lost and bewildered while seeking in the desert of search to behold Thy face! Myriad are Thine ardent lovers whom the consuming flame of remoteness from Thee hath caused to sink and perish, and numberless are the faithful souls who have willingly laid down their lives in the hope of gazing on the light of Thy countenance. The sighs and moans of these longing hearts that pant after Thee can never reach Thy holy court, neither can the lamentations of the wayfarers that thirst to appear before Thy face attain Thy seat of glory. 
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh)

Delegates cast ballots to elect Universal House of Justice – BWNS

Opening of the Twelfth International Baha’i Convention and the election of the Universal House of Justice

The delegates representing the Baha’is throughout the world participate in the divine process of electing the Baha’i’s World Governing Body, the Universal House of Justice! What a glorious Faith this is! Read full article here!

Leaving after many years of service in the Holy Land – BWNS

Mr. Gustavo Correa (left) and Dr. Firaydoun Javaheri (right). Copyright BWNS

BAHA’I WORLD CENTRE — Two members of the Universal House of Justice are leaving after many years of service at the Baha’i World Centre.

 

Mr. Gustavo Correa, 70, and Dr. Firaydoun Javaheri, 72, who have served on the international governing body of the Baha’i Faith for 10 and 15 years respectively, requested permission to resign their office last year. Read full article here!

New section of bicentenary site widens window on celebrations – BWNS

BAHA’I WORLD CENTRE — A new section of the bicentenary website has been made available.

The new feature provides an expanded view—from over 150 countries and territories—of initiatives and celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah.  See full article here.