“The Lord of the universe hath never raised up a prophet nor hath He sent down a Book unless He hath established His covenant with all men, calling for their acceptance of the next Revelation and of the next Book; inasmuch as the outpourings of His bounty are ceaseless and without limit. (Persian Bayán 6:16; SWB 87)
“Out of this pitch blackness there dawned the morning splendor of the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. He hath dressed the world with a garment new and fair, and that new garment is the principles which have come down from God.
“Now the new age is here and creation is reborn. Humanity hath taken on new life. The autumn hath gone by, and the reviving spring is here. All things are now made new. Arts and industries have been reborn, there are new discoveries in science, and there are new inventions; even the details of human affairs, such as dress and personal effects—even weapons—all these have likewise been renewed. The laws and procedures of every government have been revised. Renewal is the order of the day.”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, 205)
On November 29, 1921 at 9:30 am, the following cable reached Major Tudor Pole ‘s office address: “His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Baha ascended Abha Kingdom. Inform friends.”
Greatest Holy Leaf
(See The Priceless Pearl, p. 39)
The Greatest Holy Leaf (probably with few members of the Master’s family) cabled on 21 December 1921: “Memorial meeting world over January seven. Procure prayers for unity and steadfastness. Master left full instructions in His Will and Testament. Translation will be sent. Inform friends.” (See The Priceless Pearl, p. 39)
The Greatest Holy Leaf announced to the Baha’i world the provisions of the Master’s Will and Testament on 7 January, sending two cables to Persia: “Memorial meetings all over the world have been held. The Lord of all the worlds in His Will and Testament has revealed His instructions. Copy will be sent. Inform believers.” and “Will and Testament forwarded to Shoghi Effendi Center Cause.”
(See The Priceless Pearl, p. 47)
On January 16, the Greatest Holy Leaf sent a cable to the Baha’i world announcing the provisions of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament: “In Will Shoghi Effendi appointed Guardian and Head of the House of Justice. Inform American friends.” (See The Priceless Pearl, p. 49)
Although there was opposition to the appointment among a small minority of Covenant breakers, most Baha’is received the announcement with great enthusiasm and interest and pledged their support to the Guardian: “We long to assist the Guardian in every way and our hearts are responsive to the burdens upon his young shoulders…” (The Priceless Pearl, p 50)
The preceding events prompted Shoghi Effendi to select eight passages from the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha and circulate them among the Baha’is. Only one of these briefly referred to himself: “O ye the faithful loved ones of ‘Abdu’l-Baha! It is incumbent upon you to take the greatest care of Shoghi Effendi. . . For he is, after `Abdu’l-Baha, the Guardian of the Cause of God, the Afnan, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord, must obey him and turn unto him.” (See The Priceless Pearl, p. 48) “Of all the thundering and tremendous passages in the Will referring to himself, Shoghi Effendi chose the least astounding and provocative to first circulate among the Baha’is. Guided and guiding he was from the very beginning.” (See The Priceless Pearl, p. 48)
Before Shoghi Effendi reached Haifa, the Greatest Holy Leaf had been obliged to cable America on 14 December: “Now is the period of great tests. The friends should be firm and united in defending the Cause. Nakeseens [Covenant – Breakers] starting activities through press other channels all over the world. Select committee of wise cool heads to handle press propaganda in America.” (See The Priceless Pearl, p. 49)
In a letter Shoghi Effendi “appointed a body of nine people to act tentatively as an Assembly” (See Priceless Pearl, pp.56-57) under the supervision of the Holy Family and headship of the Greatest Holy Leaf.
He is God!
“This servant, after that grievous event and calamity— the ascension of His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Baha to the Abha Kingdom—has been stricken with grief and pain and so entangled in
the troubles (created) by the enemies of the Cause of God, that I consider my
presence here, at such a time and in such an atmosphere, is not in accordance with the fulfillment of my important and sacred duties. For this reason, unable to do otherwise, I have left for a time the affairs of the Cause, both at home and abroad, under the supervision of the Holy Family and headship of the Greatest Holy Leaf—may my soul be a sacrifice to her—until, by the Grace of God, having gained health, strength, self-confidence and spiritual energy, and having taken into my hands, in accordance with my aim and desire, entirely and regularly the work of service, I shall attain to my utmost spiritual hope and aspiration.
The servant of His Threshold,
(See The Priceless Pearl, p. 57)
On April 7, the Greatest Holy Leaf wrote a general letter to the friends. She first acknowledges the letters of allegiance they have sent and says Shoghi Effendi is counting upon their co-operation in spreading the message; the Baha’i world must from now on be linked through the Spiritual Assemblies and local questions must be referred to them. She then goes on say: “Since the ascension of our beloved ‘Abdu’l-Baha Shoghi Effendi has been moved so deeply. . . that he has sought the necessary quiet in which to meditate upon the vast task ahead of him, and it is to accomplish this that he has temporarily left these regions. During his absence he has appointed me as his representative, and while he is occupied in this great endeavour, the family of ‘Abdu’l-Baha is assured that you will all strive to advance triumphantly the Cause of Baha’u’llah. . .” The typewritten letter in English is signed in Persian “Bahiyyih” and sealed with her seal. (See The Priceless Pearl, p. 58)
In her work during the transition period, the Greatest Holy Leaf’s last act was to send members of the Guardian’s family to find him and ask him to return: “In the autumn of 1922 the Greatest Holy Leaf, deeply distressed by Shoghi Effendi’s long absence, sent members of his family to find him and plead with him to come back to the Holy Land. In the street of a small village in the mountains, as he returned in the evening from one of his all-day walks, Shoghi Effendi, to his great surprise, found his mother looking for him; she had come all the way from Palestine for this purpose, accompanied by another member of the Master’s family; with tears she informed him of the distress of Bahiyyih Khanum, the family and friends and persuaded him to return and assume his rightful place.” (See The Priceless Pearl, p. 63)
“We have elevated thee to the rank of one of the most distinguished among thy sex, and granted thee, in My court, a station such as none other woman hath surpassed.”
(Compilations, Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 3)
“He is the Eternal! This is My testimony for her who hath heard My voice and drawn nigh unto Me. Verily, she is a leaf that hath sprung from this preexistent Root. She hath revealed herself in My name and tasted of the sweet savours of My holy, My wondrous pleasure. At one time We gave her to drink from My honeyed Mouth, at another caused her to partake of My mighty, My luminous Kawthar. Upon her rest the glory of My name and the fragrance of My shining robe.”
(Compilations, Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 2)
“Let these exalted words be thy love-song on the tree of Baha, O thou most holy and resplendent Leaf: ‘God, besides Whom is none other God, the Lord of this world and the next!’ Verily, We have elevated thee to the rank of one of the most distinguished among thy sex, and granted thee, in My court, a station such as none other woman hath surpassed. Thus have We preferred thee and raised thee above the rest, as a sign of grace from Him Who is the Lord of the throne on high and earth below. We have created thine eyes to behold the light of My countenance, thine ears to hearken unto the melody of My words, thy body to pay homage before My throne. Do thou render thanks unto God, thy Lord, the Lord of all the world.”
(Compilations, Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 2)
“How high is the testimony of the Sadratu’l-Muntaha for its leaf; how exalted the witness of the Tree of Life unto its fruit! Through My remembrance of her a fragrance laden with the perfume of musk hath been diffused; well is it with him that hath inhaled it and exclaimed: ‘All praise be to Thee, O God, my 4 Lord the most glorious!’ How sweet thy presence before Me; how sweet to gaze upon thy face, to bestow upon thee My loving-kindness, to favour thee with My tender care, to make mention of thee in this, My Tablet — a Tablet which I have ordained as a token of My hidden and manifest grace unto thee.”
(Compilations, Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 3)
Dearly beloved friends:
Moved by an unalterable devotion to the memory of the Greatest Holy Leaf, I feel prompted to share with you, and through you with the concourse of her steadfast lovers throughout the West, these significant passages  which I have gleaned from various Tablets revealed in her honour by Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
[1 Included in Sections I and II.]
Impregnated with that love after which the soul of a humanity in travail now hungers, these passages disclose, to the extent that our finite minds can comprehend, the nature of that mystic bond which, on one hand, united her with the Spirit of her almighty Father and, on the other, linked her so closely with her glorious Brother, the perfect Exemplar of that Spirit.
The memory of her who was a pattern of goodness, of a pure and holy life, who was the embodiment of such heavenly virtues as only the privileged inmates of the uppermost chambers in the Abha Paradise can fully appreciate, will long live enshrined in these immortal words — a memory the ennobling influence of which will remain an inspiration and a solace amid the wreckage of a sadly shaken world.
Conscious of the predominating share assumed, in recent years, by the American believers in alleviating the burden which that most exalted Leaf bore so heroically in the evening of her life, I can do no better than entrust into their hands these prized testimonies of the Founder of our Faith and of the Centre of His Covenant. I feel confident that their elected representatives will take whatever measures are required for their prompt and wide circulation among their brethren throughout the West. They will, thereby, be contributing still further to the repayment of the great debt they owe her in the prosecution of a mighty and divinely-appointed task.
(Compilations, Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 57)
Your True Brother,
JANUARY 14, 1933
(Shared by Marcelina Duldulao, a Baha’i friend who works for Mr. & Mrs. Ali & Violet Nakjavani)
“There is, though, a great difference between this and previous Dispensations, for Bahá’u’lláh has written that this is ‘the Day which shall not be followed by night’ (“God Passes By”, p. 245). He has given us His Covenant which provides for a continuing centre of divine guidance in the world. The Bahá’í Faith has not lacked for ambitious men who would seize the reins of authority and distort the Faith for their own ends, but in every case they have broken themselves and dashed their hopes on the rock of the Covenant.” (14 January 1979, from a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)
The strength, the incorruptibility of Baha’u’llah’s Covenant can be seen in the fact that each of the major incidents of covenant breaking has been instigated, not by an unremarkable, insignificant individual, but rather by some of the most prominent, influential persons in the community, yet they failed in their machinations.
The Founders of past dispensations, for reasons known only to God, did not leave explicit, written instructions regarding to whom their followers should turn for guidance, after the Manifestation was no longer physically present. It is true that Jesus said to Peter “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18) and “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven” (Matthew 18:16). But these statements, not written down until several decades after the crucifixion, were not explicit enough to prevent the Great Schism of 1054 when the eastern branch of Christianity separated from the church of Rome, nor to avert the Protestant reformation of the 16th century. The division of the Christian community, as the result of lack of a clear covenant, has resulted in a “night” of lack of unity, and even wars. The Thirty Years War of the 17th century, which was partly the result of conflicts between Protestants and Catholics, left millions dead. In more recent times, the decades long conflict between Protestant Northern Ireland and the Catholic Republic of Ireland, resulted in many thousands killed or maimed, and thousands more terrorized. If the destruction of wars, the suspicion and hatreds resulting from differences of religious beliefs, are not a spiritual night, then what is?
In the case of Islam, the Shia branch claims that Muhammad nominated Ali ibn Talib to be His successor, but this is not specified in the Qur’an, and Sunnis do not accept that account as valid. When Muhammad was dying, He asked for pen and paper so His Will could be written; but “Umar said, ‘Pain is deluding God’s Messenger; we have God’s Book, which is enough.'”(1) As the result of the lack of an explicit, written covenant naming Muhammad’s successor, the Muslim community as a whole was deprived of the inspired guidance (2) which Ali and his successor Imams could have provided. In recent times, there was the Iran-Iraq war, which could have been avoided if the entire Muslim community had been united.
By contrast, the Covenants of the Bab and of Baha’u’llah are so clear and unambiguous that even the most prominent and influential opponents have not been able to destroy the unity of the Baha’i community.
Although the Bab did not name a successor, He did not leave any doubt as to Whom His followers should turn after His martyrdom, even referring to Baha’u’llah by name. At Baha’u’llah’s suggestion, He did name Mirza Yahya as the titular head of the Babis, in order to divert attention from Baha’u’llah Himself.(5)
Shoghi Effendi describes Mirza Yahya as “cowardly and credulous”, “vain and flaccid”. He was “irremediably corrupted” by the “black-hearted scoundrel”(3) Siyyid Muhammad. Although his behavior was shameful and confusing to the Babis, still as the Bab’s nominee, he had some influence over that community. During his villainous career, he corrupted the texts of some of the Bab’s writings, he incited the murder of Dayyan, the “repository of the knowledge of God”(4), he claimed that he himself was “He Whom God will make manifest”, and , most shocking of all, he poisoned his noble, sacred Brother, the Manifestation of God.(6) As a result of this poisoning, Baha’u’llah came near death, and had a shaking hand the rest of His life. Consider how great the harm that would have befallen all humanity if Baha’u’llah’s life had been cut short.
In spite of the influence he had, in spite of his scheming over several decades, Mirza Yahya’s attempts to undermine the Bab’s covenant failed utterly. Many of his followers left him and pledged their loyalty to Baha’u’llah. It is significant that he lived twenty years after Baha’u’llah’s ascension, long enough to see “every hope he had so maliciously conceived reduced to naught.”(7)
The second example of a person in a position of influence who attempted to break the Covenant is the case of Abdu’l-Baha’s half-brother, Muhammad Ali. The son of Baha’u’llah’s second wife, given the title of “the Greater Branch (Ghusn-i-Akbar) by his Father, named in the Kitab-i-Ahd as second in rank only to Abdu’l-Baha, this perfidious man, consumed by a “soul festering jealousy”(8) toward Abdu’l-Baha, behaved in a way that “…agitated the minds and hearts of a vast proportion of the faithful throughout the East, eclipsed, for a time, the Orb of the Covenant, created an irreparable breach within the ranks of Bahá’u’lláh’s own kindred, sealed ultimately the fate of the great majority of the members of His family, and gravely damaged the prestige, though it never succeeded in causing a permanent cleavage in the structure, of the Faith itself.”(8)
Muhammad Ali changed the text of at least one tablet of Baha’u’llah to make it appear that Baha’u’llah was condemning the wicked deeds of Abdu’l-Baha.(9) He plotted to murder Abdu’l-Baha. He made repeated false allegations about Abdu’l-Baha to the Ottoman authorities, so that the Master came perilously closed to being exiled to a remote part of the Libyan desert. In addition, from 1892 to 1929, Muhammad Ali and his relatives occupied the mansion of Bahji, where Baha’u’llah’s tomb was located, and it was not until 1952 that the property surrounding the Shrine was finally owned, without hindrance, by the Baha’i community. (10)
In spite of the high rank Baha’u’llah granted him in His Will, notwithstanding his temporary success in dimming the light of the covenant, Muhammad Ali came to an ignominious end. The Guardian wrote:
[Muhammad Ali] “was stricken with paralysis which crippled half his body; lay bedridden in pain for months before he died; and was buried according to Muslim rites, in the immediate vicinity of a local Muslim shrine, his grave remaining until the present day (1944) devoid of even a tombstone—a pitiful reminder of the hollowness of the claims he had advanced, of the depths of infamy to which he had sunk, and of the severity of the retribution his acts had so richly merited.” (11)
It is significant that Muhammad Ali, who died in 1937, lived long enough to see his hopes for leadership dashed, his plotting totally vanquished.
If the Covenants of the Bab and of Baha’u’llah had been challenged by minor individuals of little influence, an objective observer might say that their failure proved nothing, since those opponents were weak and of no consequence. Instead what we see is that the Covenant has been challenged, indeed the Manifestation and the Center of the Covenant were threatened with death, not by insignificant persons, but by the nominee of the Bab Himself and by the one named in Baha’u’llah’s Will as next in rank after Abdu’l-Baha. This is conclusive proof that this sacred Covenant is incorruptible. As Shoghi Effendi wrote:
“Despite the blows leveled at its nascent strength, whether by the wielders of temporal and spiritual authority from without, or by black-hearted foes from within, the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh had, far from breaking or bending, gone from strength to strength, from victory to victory.” (12)
(1) Six Lessons on Islam. Marzieh. Gail, p. 11
(2) Marzieh Gail told this writer that Shoghi Effendi had told her that the Imams were Guardians.
(3) God Passes By, pp. 111-113
(4) God Passes By p. 124
(5) The Covenant of Baha’u’llah, Adib Taherzadeh p. 61
(6) God Passes By, pp. 163-182
(7) God Passes By, p. 233
(8) God Passes By, p. 246
(9) The Covenant of Baha’u’llah, Adib Taherzadeh p. 153
(10) The Priceless Pearl, Ruhiyyih Rabbani, p. 231-233
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.”
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.
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.).”'
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]?”'
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.”
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. 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.”'
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.
* … 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)
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.