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    E.G. Browne
    Materials for the Study of the Babi Religion



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        "Know that the Eternal Fruit (Thamara-i-Azaliyya=Subhi-i- Azal) fell somewhat sick in July, 1911. Gradually he ceased to go from one house to another, until he even ceased to come down from the upper story, and lost his appetite. In the month of September his condition became very critical; he lost all strength and a great debility appeared in his body. He was compelled to accept the ministrations of the physician, who, however, was unable to cure him. In consequence of material troubles and endless vexations he had no rest, and finally on the 28th of April [1912] his condition became suddenly much worse. At seven o'clock on the morning of Monday, the 29th of April, he bade farewell to this transitory world and passed into the world of Immortality. His household and its members applied to the government and asked permission from the Governor [i.e. Commissioner] of Famagusta to deposit his body in a place which belonged to that Blessed Being and which is situated about one European mile outside Famagusta near to the house of Bárútjí- záda Hájji Háfiz Efendi. His Excellency the Commissioner granted this permission with the utmost kindness and consideration, and a grave was dug in that place and built up with stones. A coffin was then constructed and prepared, and in the afternoon all the government officials, by command of the Commissioner and at their own wish and desire, together with a number of the people of the country, all on foot, bore the corpse of that Holy Being on their shoulders, with pious ejaculations and prayers, and


    every mark of extreme respect, from his house to the site of the Holy Sepulchre. But none were to be found there of witnesses to the Bayán1, therefore the Imám-Jum`a of Famagusta and some others of the doctors of Islám, having uttered [the customary] invocations, placed the body in the coffin and buried it. And when they brought it forth from the gate of Famagusta some of the Europeans also accompanied the Blessed Body, and the son of the quarantine doctor took a photograph of it with a great number [of the bystanders], and again took another photograph at the Blessed Tomb2.

        "Now this Holy Person [i.e. Subhi-i-Azal] before his death had nominated [as his executor or successor] the son of Aqá Mírzá Muhammad Hádí of Dawlatábád, who was one of the leading believers and relatively better than the others, in accordance with the command of His Holiness the Point [i.e. the Báb], glorious in his mention, who commanded saying, 'And if God causeth mourning to appear in thy days, then make manifest the Eight Paths,' etc., until he says, `But if not, then the authority shall return to the Witnesses of the Bayán3.' Therefore he appointed him, though hitherto no one has found his testament amongst the writings of that Blessed Being. Moreover twenty-eight years ago he had written for himself a lengthy form of visitation4 at the beginning of which he wrote Li'l-Wahídi'l-Farídi'l-Mawtúr. Please God after the lapse of some days, I will write it out for

       1 i.e. Bábís.
        2 These photographs were published by Mr. H. C. Lukach in his book The Fringe of the East, pp. 264 and 266, and he has most kindly permitted me to reproduce them here.
        3 This obscure quotation is doubtless from the Bayán, but I have not found it, and do not know the context.
        4 Ziyárat-náma, i.e., a form of prayer to be used by those visiting the tomb of a saint or martyr.

    [two photographs]

    Photographs of the Funeral of Mírzá YahSubh-i-Azal at
    Famagusta, Cyprus, on April 29, 1912.

    (Reproduced by kind permission of Mr H.C. Lukach and Messrs
    Macmillian from his book The Fringe of the East.)

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    your Excellency and send it. I cannot copy it now because my eyes see badly. Please God you will forgive me. I hope that God Most High will vouchsafe a complete cure to your Honour and remove the sickness which you have.

        "At all events that Most Blessed Being four hours before his death wept and sorrowed because those of the notable and great men of Europe and other lands whom he had met were not present at his last breath. I have nothing more to add except that whatever difficulties you and equally Mr. Edward Browne may have, if you will refer them to me I will so far as possible give a satisfactory answer. The Light be upon you, and may God heal you and assuage your suffering.

        "July 11, 1912.     C. P." (Constantine the Persian).

        The above account of Subhi-i-Azal's death and burial was communicated to me on September 3, 1912, by Mr. C. D. Cobham, for whom it was written in Persian by Rizwán `Ali (or, as he has called himself since his conversion to Christianity [GREEK TEXT]. On the preceding May 19 Mr. H. C. Lukach, secretary to the High Commissioner of Cyprus, had already written to ask me for a copy of my "brochure on the subject of the community of Bábís dwellng at Famagusta," adding that "the Báb" (meaning Subhi-i-Azal) "died on April 29th last, aet. circâ 82." On the 5th of September he very kindly communicated to me the following further particulars concerning Subhi-i-Azal's family and possessions:

        "I am now able to give you a little further information with regard to the family of the late Subhi-i-Azal.

        "It appears that Subhi-i-Azal left a letter saying that he of his sons who resembled him most closely in his mode of life and principles was to be his successor. The point as to


    which of the sons fulfils this condition has not yet been decided; consequently all the children would appear at present to be co-heirs.

        "The eldest surviving son is Ahmad Subhi-i-Azal, a poor man who is obliged to earn his living as a railway porter in Famagusta. The most affluent of the brothers is `Ali, who keeps a shop. Another, Mehmed (i.e. Muhammad) is not quite right in his head. The youngest, and, as far as I can gather, the favourite son (by a second wife) is one Taqiyyu'd-Dín, who was always near his father. `Constantine the Persian,' alias `Costi2', has been far away from Famagusta for some time. It may be that he will consent to sell some of his father's manuscripts in his possession. The other brothers are at present not prepared to sell theirs.

        "No steps have, as far as I am aware, yet been taken to elect a walí (i.e. successor or executor). I am afraid this information is meagre, but, having been on Mount Troodos for the last few months, I have had no opportunity of making personal investigations in Famagusta."

        On the 23rd of January, 1913, Mr. Lukach wrote to me again, enclosing a letter from a Syrian named Mughabghab who lived in Famagusta, and kindly offering his help should I desire to enter into negotiations for the purchase of any of the late Subhi-i- Azal's manuscripts. From Mr. Mughabghab's letter it appeared that Subhi-i- Azal's son "Costi" (i.e. Rizwán `Alí) was prepared to sell his share of his father's manuscripts, nine in number, but was anxious that his brothers should not know of his intention, as they desired to keep all these books and manuscripts together. The prices demanded

        1 This, I think, must be `Abdu'l-`Alí, who kept a shop in Varoshia, a suburb of Famagusta
        2 His proper original name was Rizwán `Ali.


    were, in my opinion, excessive, and I did not pursue the matter further. The list was as follows:

        (1) Kitábu'n-Nur ("Book of Light") (see p.216 supra), the first and largest of the works so entitled, composed at Baghdád, £30.

        (2) Díwánu'l-Azal (see p.214 supra), £20.

        (3) Lahadhát, £20.

        (4) Sata`át, £20.

        (5) Jawámi-`u'l-Hayákil, £20.

        (6) Lawámi`, £20.

        (7) Lawáhidh wa Nafáyi` (507 súras), £20.

        (8) As-Sawáti`, £20.

        (9) Latá'ifu'l-Azal, £20.

        Four of these manuscripts (nos. 3,4,6 and 7 in the above list) have, as I have recently learned (Sept.26, 1917), been offered to the British Museum. The title of No. 7 is somewhat differently given as Lawáhidhu'n- Nafá'ih, which is no doubt correct.



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        This list was sent to me in June, 1912, by the already-mentioned Azalí scribe of Isfahán, resident in Tihrán, with whom I succeeded in establishing relations, and who supplied me with numerous precious documents. The original is written, not very distinctly, by a certain Mírzá Ibráhím Khán, the son of Fátima Khánim, the niece of Mírzá Buzurg's daughter (the half-sister of both Bahá'u'lláh and Subh-i-Azal) Sháh Sultán Khánim, commonly known as Hájji (or Hájjiya) Khánim-i- Buzurg. It is accompanied by a more legible transcript by the aforesaid scribe.

        Mirzá Buzurg seems to have had six wives (unnamed in the list) who bore him children, and who are here distinguished by Roman numbers.

    (1) Mírzá YahSubh-i-Azal.

    (2) Mírzá Husayn `Ali Bahá'u'lláh: (3) Mírzá Músá Kalimu'lláh1, who followed Bahá: (4) an unnamed daughter

    (5) Mírzá Muhammad Hasan (Azalí).

    (6) Mírzá-quli: (7) an unnamed daughter (both Bahá'ís).

        1 The only one of Mirza Musa's sons with whom I was acquainted was Majdu'd-Din, but he had three other sons named `Ali Rizá, Jamil and Kamál.


    (8) Hájji Mírzá Rizá-qulí, known as Hakím (the Philosopher), d. A.H. 1311 (=A.D. 1893-4), aet.90: (9) Sháh Sultán Khánim, commonly called Hájji Khánim-i-Buzurg, d. A.H. 1322 (=A.D. 1904-5), aet. 84. She wrote in 1310/1892-3 a refutation of `Abdu'l-Bahá (`Abbás Efendi) known as Risála-i-`Amma ("the Aunt's Epistle")1: (10) Mírzá Muhammad Taqí, known as Paríshán, d. A.H. 1292 (=A.D. 1875-6), aet. 45: (11) Mírzá Ibráhim, aet.30: (12) Fátima Khánim, still living in A.D. 1912, aet. 70. All these five were Azalís.

    (13) Husayniyya (Azalí).

        In 1912 five of Fátima Khánim's children, three daughters (Fakhriyya, Hamída and Zamzam) and two sons (Muhammad Khán and Ibráhím Khán), all Azalís, were still living.

    Descendants of Mírzá Husayn `Alí Bahá'u'lláh

        Bahá'u'lláh had two wives, each of whom bore him six children.

        In 1251/1835, when 18 years of age, he married Nawwáb, who bore him:

        (1)   Sádiq, who died at the age of 3 or 4.

        (2)   `Abbás, now known as `Abdu'l-Bahá, who was born in 1257/1841. He had four daughters, two of whom were married to Mírzá Hádí and Mírzá Muhsin respectively.

    1 See p.117 supra.


        (3)   Bahiyya Khánim, b. 1260/1844 (unmarried).

        (4)   `Alí Muhammad, d. aged 7 in Mázandarán.

        (5)   Mahdí, who died at `Akká 1287/1870-1.

        (6)   `Alí Muhammad, b. and d. at Baghdád, aged 2.

        In 1266/1849 he married his cousin Mahd-i-`Ulyá, who bore him:

        (1)   Muhammad `Alí in 1270/1853, the rival claimant to `Abbás. He has three sons, Shu`á`u'lláh, Amínu'lláh and Músá.

        (2)   Samadiyya Khánim, b. at Baghdád, d. aged 49 in 1322/1904-5. She was married to her cousin Majdu'd-Dín (son of Mírzá Músá) and had two daughters.

        (3)   `Alí Muhammad, d. at Baghdád, aged 2

        (4)   Sádhajiyya Khánim1, b. at Baghdád, d. aged 2 at Constantinople.

        (5)   Ziyá'u'lláh, b. at Adrianople 1282/1865, d. at Hayfá, aged 34, 1316/1898. He was married, but died without issue.

        (6)   Badí`u'lláh, b. at Adrianople 1285/1868.

    Descendants of Mírzá YahSubh-i- Azal

        Concerning those of Subh-i-Azal's family who came with him to Cyprus and resided or were born there full particulars, abstracted from official documents preserved in the island, were published by me in Vol.ii of my Traveller's Narrative, pp. 376-386. They included two wives, Fátima and Ruqayya; nine sons, of whom the two eldest, Núru'lláh

        1 I have been informed that Bahá'u'lláh had another daughter named Fárúqiyya, who married Sayyid `Alí Afnán and bore him two sons.


    and Hádí, seem to have resided in Persia and only to have visited their father occasionally, while a third, Ahmad, left Cyprus for Constantinople (probably with his wife Fátima and his four-year old daughter `Adila) in 1884; and five daughters. Of the sons whom I met in Cyprus the eldest and most intelligent was `Abdu'l- `Alí1. The next, Rizwán `Alí, who was for some time in the service of the late C. D. Cobham, Esq., Commissioner of Larnaca, turned Christian and took the name of "Constantine the Persian." He died recently. Most of the Azali MSS. in the British Museum were transcribed by him.

    1 See p. 314, n.1 supra.

    [photograph of Yahyá with three of his sons]



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        Mention has been already made (pp.189—190 supra) of a very elaborate and detailed refutation of the Bábís entitled Ihqáqu'l- Haqq, in the course of which (pp.244—279) the author, Áqá Muhammad Taqí of Hamadán, enumerates some thirty heresies which he ascribes to the Bábís (including under this term the Bahá'ís and the Azalís) and which he endeavours to refute. This portion of the work, which gives a convenient synopsis of most of the characteristic doctrines of this sect, I shall here abridge and summarize in my own words for the information of those who desire to form a general ideal of Bábí theology, and to understand the extreme aversion with which it is regarded by Muslims, alike of the Sunní and Shí`a persuasions.

    1.    Denial of miracles.

        They assert that God does not violate the laws of nature, and that the miracles ascribed in the scriptures and in tradition to the Prophets are to be explained allegorically. (Bahá'u'lláh's Iqán, one of the chief polemical works of the Bábís, affords many instances of such allegorical interpretation of signs and wonders; and when more or less miraculous occurrences are mentioned by Bábí historians and biographers, e.g. in the Ta'ríkh-i-Jadíd or "New History," care is almost always taken by the writer to explain that he attaches little importance to them, and that they are of no evidential value.)


    2.    The only miracle is the Revelation itself.

        They assert that the receiving of revelations and the production of a Scripture or revealed Book are sufficient in themselves to establish the claim to Prophethood, without any adventitious support from such miracles as are generally ascribed to the great Prophets of yore. (In this connection the Bábís are very fond of quoting Qur'án xviii, 110 and xli, 5: "I am only a human being like unto yourselves [but] revelations are made to me.")

    3.    Revelation not subject to the laws of grammar.

        The Báb's grammar, especially in his Arabic utterances, afforded an easy target for criticism, being, in fact, judged by ordinary standards, extremely incorrect1. His reply to his critics was that the rules of grammar were deduced from the Scriptures, while the Scriptures were not compelled to conform to the rules of grammar. He had "freed" the Arabic language from the many limitations (quyúd) or rules wherewith it had hitherto been fettered. But why, asks the author of the Ihqáq, should Persian prophets (if such there be) address their countrymen in a foreign tongue like Arabic, contrary to the practice of all previous prophets, and to the explicit verse of the Qur'án (xiv, 4): "We have not sent any Apostle save with the speech of his own people, that he may make clear to them [his message]"?

    4.    By "Signs" they understand revealed verses only.

        The author has no difficulty in showing that in the Qur'án the word áyat (pl. áyát) is used of any "sign" by which the Divine Power is manifested, not only by revealed

    1 cf. p. 254 supra, last paragraph.


    verses, in which sense especially if not exclusively the Bábís understand it. According to a prevalent theory of the Muhammadans1, each prophet was given as his special "sign" the power to work that miracle which most appealed to his own people and his own period. Thus in the time of Moses and amongst the Egyptians, magic was rated most highly, so he was given power to excel the most skilful of Pharaoh's magicians in their own art; in the time of Jesus Christ medical skill was most esteemed, so He was given miracles of healing; while the Arabs contemporary with Muhammad valued eloquence above all else, and he therefore received the miracle of eloquence, the Qur'án, the like of which none can produce, as it is said (xvii, 90): "Say, verily if mankind and the Jinn should combine to produce the like of this Qur'án, they will not produce the like of it, even though one of them should aid another"' and again (ii, 21—2): "And if ye be in doubt concerning that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a súra like unto it, and summon your witnesses besides God, if ye be truthful. (22) But if ye do it not (and ye will not do it), then fear the Fire whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the unbelievers." The well-known saying, "His signs are His proof and His existence His affirmation," refers to God, not to the prophets, and will not bear the construction the Bábís place on it.

    5.    The Qur'án can be understood by all and needs
    no exponent.

        It is said in the Qur'án (iii, 5): "None knoweth its interpretation save God and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge"; and the Prophet said: "I shall depart from

       1 See Dawlatsháh's Memoirs of the Poets" (Tadhkiratu'sh-Shu`ará), pp. 5—6 of my edition.


    your midst, but I leave with you two great, weighty and precious things, which two things will never be separated or parted from one another until they come to me by the brink of the Fountain of al-Kawthar; and these are God's Word and my kin." So not even the Prophet's contemporaries and fellow-countrymen could without help understand the revelation given to him, though in their own language. How, then, can the Bábís pretend that a revelation in Arabic can be understood without external help by Persians, even the illiterate?

    6.    The signs by which each Prophet foretold that his successor
    would be distinguished are to be understood allegorically.

        The Mahdí or Qá'im whom the Shí`a expect and for whose advent they pray is the identical Twelfth Imám, the son of the Eleventh Imám and Narjis Khátún, who disappeared a thousand years ago, and who has been miraculously hidden away until the fulness of time, when he shall appear with sundry signs and wonders, enumerated in the Traditions, and "fill the earth with justice after it has been filled with iniquity." But the Bábís, giving the lie to all these traditions, would have us believe that Mírzá `Alí Muhammad of Shíráz, the son of Mírzá Rizá the cloth-seller and Khadája Khánim, who grew up in the ordinary way at the age of twenty-four advanced his claim, was the Expected Imám.

    7.    The Prophets are not "immaculate' (ma`súm).

        In support of this view the Bábís appeal to certain doubtful phrases in the Qur'án and to certain incidents narrated in the Old Testament (which the author, in common with most Muslims, holds to be corrupt and distorted in the form


    in which it now exists). But if the prophets be not "immaculate" and without sin, what virtue have they over other men, and what claim have they to be listened to?

    8.    Purity and impurity, lawfulness and unlawfulness, and
    the like, depend solely upon the Prophet's arbitrary volition.

        The prohibitions, sanctions and obligations laid down by the Prophet are all based on reason and prompted by care for the welfare of mankind: they are not mere arbitrary enactments, and, though they may be modified in detail in successive dispensations, they cannot be altered in principle. The contrary view, held by the Bábís, is both heretical and opposed to reason.

    9.    The term "Seal of the Prophets" explained away.

        In the Qur'án (xxxiii, 40) Muhammad is called "the Seal of the Prophets" (Khátamu'n-Nabiyyín), and, according to a well-known tradition, he declared that there would be no prophet after him. Belief in the finality of his mission and revelation is therefore a cardinal and universal tenet of the Muslims; but the Bábís, desiring to represent the Qur'án and the Law of Islám as abrogated in favour of their own Scriptures and Law, endeavour to explain away this explicit and unambiguous declaration.

    10.    The claim that the Báb or Bahá'u'lláh is the
    Qá'im or Khátam.

        The Bábís claim that certain of the signs (such as earthquakes, famine and the like) which shall herald the advent of "Him who shall arise (al- Qá'im) of the House of Muhammad," i.e the Mahdí, did actually precede or accompany


    the "Manifestation" of the Báb. Now as we have seen above (No. 6) they assert that these promised "Signs" are to be understood allegorically, not literally. They cannot have it both ways, or claim that such of these signs as happened to accompany the Báb's advent are to be taken literally, while such as did not appear are to be explained allegorically.

    11.    Denial of the Resurrection and belief in Metempsychosis
    and the like

        The Bábís deny the Resurrection of the body, for which they substitute the doctrine of the "Return" (Raj`at) to the life of this world of the dramatis personae—both believers and unbelievers —of previous "Manifestations" or Dispensations. This doctrine the author regards as hardly distinguishable from transmigration (tanásukh) and re-incarnation (hulúl), but in reality it appears that such "returns" are regarded by Bábís less as re-incarnations than as re-manifestations of former types, comparable to the repetition of the same parts in a drama by fresh actors, or the re-writing of an old story. Significant in this connection is the favourite Bábí designation of the protagonists on either side as "Letters of Light" (Hurúfu'n- Núr) and "Letters of Fire" (Hurúf'n-Nár).

    12.    Denial of a Future Life.

        The Bábís deny the Resurrection of the body, and explain allegorically all the beliefs connected therewith. Thus Heaven is belief in and Hell denial of the New Theophany; the Angels are its emissaries and the Devils its antagonists; and so with the Questioning of the Tomb, the Bridge of Sirát, the Balance, the Reckoning, and the like.


    13.    Denial of the miraculous eloquence of the Qur'án.

        The Bábís eagerly associate themselves with the Jews and Christians in denying not only the supreme eloquence of the Qur'án, but even in some cases the correctness of its phraseology and grammar. This they do to palliate the manifest and manifold errors of their own Scriptures.

    14.    Their claim that the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh and
    Subh-i-Azal were "illiterate"

        In two passages in the Qur'án (vii, 156 and 158) the Prophet Muhammad is described as "the illiterate Prophet" (an-Nabiyyu'l- Ummí). "This defect," says Sale in Sect. ii of his Preliminary Discourse, " was so far from being prejudicial or putting a stop to his design, that he made the greatest use of it; insisting that the writings which he produced as revelations from God could not possibly be a forgery of his own; because it was not conceivable that a person who could neither write nor read should be able to compose a book of such excellent doctrine, and in so elegant a style, and thereby obviating an objection that might have carried a great deal of weight." The same claim, prompted by similar motives, was advanced in turn by the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh and Subh-i-Azal; but in their case our author is at some pains to show that it is not true, and that each of them received at any rate a respectable education.

    15.    Rapidity and quantity of output of "verses" deemed
    by the Bábís an additional miracle

        As every letter, nay, every line, written by, or at the dictation of, the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh, or Subh-i-Azal is deemed inspired, and as they wrote or dictated almost incessantly,


    the amount of their writings is prodigious; while the Báb in particular repeatedly boasts of the number of "verses" he could produce in a given time, so that it is said that ten scribes writing simultaneously could hardly succeed in recording his utterances. The idea that this, apart from the quality of the "verses," is a miracle or even a merit is strongly combated by our author, who inclines to the view expressed in the well-known Arabic saying, "the best speech is that which is briefest and most to the point."

    16.    Their assertion that the miraculous quality (I`jáz) of
    the Qur'án can be appreciated by the ignorant and illiterate

        The Bábís say that if the miraculous quality of the Qur'án were not apparent to all, learned and illiterate, Arab and non-Arab, alike, its proof would not be complete; and they adduce in support of this view the tradition, "Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He will." This view also the author energetically repudiates.

    17.    Their contention that willingness to die for one's
    religious convictions is a proof of truth.

        In support of this view (which the author repudiates) the Bábís cite Qur'án lxii, 6, "Say, O ye who follow the Jewish faith, if ye suppose that ye are the friends of God beyond other men, then invoke Death, if ye be sincere." (In spite of our author, there is, however, no doubt that nothing so greatly conduced to the fame and diffusion of the Bábí religions as the unflinching courage with which its adherents confronted death in the most cruel forms. Compare p. 268 supra.)


    18.    Their assertion that the Muhammadan doctors persecuted
    them because they cannot answer their arguments

        All that the author has to say on this head is that the `Ulamá did not resort to violent methods until they had first tried persuasion and offered opportunities for recantation, and that in this they did but follow the example of the Prophets, whose heirs they are, in their dealings with heretics and infidels.

    19.    Their refusal to listen to rational or traditional argu-
    ments based on Scripture and tradition, philosophy and
    reason, or experience and perception

        The author's meaning, which is not very clearly expressed here, appears to be that while the Bábís constantly quote texts from the Old and New Testaments and the Qur'án when these serve their purpose, they refuse to listen to such texts as run contrary to their beliefs, on the ground that the later and more perfect Theophany is its own proof (as the sun shining in heaven is its own proof) and that earlier and lesser manifestations are proved by it rather than it by them.

    20.    Their assertion that the Jewish and Christian Scriptures
    have not been tampered with

        It is implied in the Qur'án1 and Traditions, and almost universally believed by the Muslims, that the Scriptures now possessed by the Jews and Christians have been corrupted and mutilated, especially as regards the prophecies of Muhammad's mission which they were alleged to contain. The Bábís hold the contrary view, asserting that no people

       1 See especially ii, 39; iii, 63—4; and iv, 48 and the commentaries thereon.


    possessing a Scripture which they regard as God's Word would willingly and deliberately tamper with its text; and they take a similarly indulgent view of the Zoroastrian Scriptures. Their object in this, says our author, is to flatter and gratify these people and win them over to their doctrines, in which aim they have had no small success.

    21.    Their pretended tolerance and gentleness towards all.

        Bahá'u'lláh's commendation of tolerance, charity and loving kindness towards all men, irrespective of race and creed, is constant and continuous, but the author (with some reason) maintains that the practice of his followers, especially in relation to the Muslims, more particularly the Shí`ites, is very far removed from their professions.

    22.    Their adherence to the heresy called Badá.

        The verb badá, yabdú in Arabic means "to appear," and with the preposition li "to occur to," of a new idea occurring to a person. In theological terminology the verbal noun al-badá denotes the heresy of those who assert that God can change his mind, especially in the designation of a prophet or Imám. The classical case of this use of the term is a traditional saying of the Sixth Imám of the Shí`a, Ja`far as-Sádiq, who intended or desired that his son Isma`il should succeed him as Imám, but subsequently bequeathed the Imámate to his other son Músá, called al-zim; concerning which substitution he is alleged to have said "God never changed His mind about anything as He did about Isma`il1." Thereafter this doctrine became very famous in Islám as characteristic of certain heretical sects, notably the

        1[one line of ARABIC TEXT]


    Ghulát, or extreme Shí`ites, of whom ash Shahristáni says in his "Book of Sects" (Kitábu'l-Milal wa'n-Nihal1) that all branches of them agree in four cardinal heresies, viz. metempsychosis (tanásukh), incarnation (hulúl), return2 (raj`at), and change in the Divine intention (badá). The author discusses this question very fully and repudiates this meaning of badá as applied to God. He says that the Bábís cling to it so that, when confronted by arguments as to the signs accompanying the Advent of the Promised Imám in the last days, they may say, "Yes, this was what God originally intended, but He changed His mind and altered His plan."

    23.    Their assertion that no one can falsely claim to be
    a Prophet or Imám

        In support of this view the Bábís adduce Qur'án lxix, 44—6, which Sale translates: "If Muhammad had forged any part of these discoveries concerning us, verily We had taken him by the right hand, and had cut in sunder the vein of his heart; neither would we have withheld any of you from chastising him." This means, they say, that God would not suffer a false prophet to live, or his religion and law to continue on earth. (They even go so far as to say that as the proof of the architect is his ability to build a house, and of the physician to heal the sick, so the proof of the prophet lies in his ability to found a religion; and this is what they mean by their favourite phrase of nufúdh-i-kalám, or the compelling and penetrating power of his creative Word, concerning which doctrine see the article immediately following. Hence the Bábís, unlike the Muhammadans, are compelled to admit that such religious leaders as Zoroaster and Buddha were true prophets. Compare article 25 below.)

    1 See Cureton's edition, p. 132.                2 See p. 330 supra.


    24.    Their assertion that the proof of a Prophet lies not in the
    eloquence but in the compelling power of his utterance

        According to the Bábís the miraculous quality of the Qur'án was not its eloquence (fasáhat wa balághat), but its compelling power (nufúdh, qáhiriyyat), so that, for example, the Prophet ordered all his followers to fast during the month of Ramazán, and to this day, for more than thirteen centuries, this hard discipline has been scrupulously observed by millions of believers. The author repudiates this view, which he says that the Bábís have taught in order to divert attention from the lack of eloquence and even of grammatical accuracy of their own Scriptures.

    25.    Their assertion that the Founders of all religions were
    really Prophets, and their books Divine Revelations, and
    that on the subsequent idolatrous accretions were not
    from God

        This doctrine the author ascribes not so much to the Bábís and Bahá'ís in general as to their celebrated apologist Mírzá Abu'l- Fazl of Gulpáyagán, who explicitly lays it down in his book entitled Kitábu'l-Fará'id1, declaring that all the religions of the world, Brahminism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and even Fetish-worship and Idolatry, were originally based on a true Revelation, though they may have become corrupted in course of time.

    26.    Their assertion that the promised Messiah, Mahdí, or
    Qá'im will not be, as the Muhammadans imagine, a
    victorious and all- compelling conqueror, but one oppressed
    (mazlúm) and constrained (maqhúr).

        The author says that the early Bábís who fought at Shaykh Tabarsí, Zanján, Nayríz and elsewhere believed, in

    1 See p. 196 supra.


    common with their antagonists, that the Imám Mahdí or Qá'im (by whom they understood the Báb) should be a conqueror and rule by virtue of the sword; and that only later when they were defeated and their hopes and aspirations disappointed, did they evolve this theory of a patient, gentle, persecuted Messiah.

    27.    Their assertion that the interpretation of the prophecies
    given in one Dispensation only becomes clear in the suc-
    ceeding one

        The purpose of this doctrine, as of the doctrine of Badá noticed above (article 22), is, according to our author, to evade the argument of those who seek to prove that the appearance of the Báb was not accompanied by the signs foretold as heralding the advent of the Mahdí. (The Bábís on their part appeal to the history of Christ, who was the Messiah expected by the Jews, though He did not appear as they expected. The signs foretold as heralding his advent were duly manifested, but in an allegorical, not in a literal way.)

    28.    Their assertion that the Mahdí or Qá'im is not merely
    a Divine Messenger but a Manifestation of the Deity

        It does not suffice the Bábís to claim that the Báb was actually the expected Mahdí, Qá'im, or Twelfth Imám; they go further, and assert that he is the bringer of a new Dispensation, a new Law and a new Scripture abrogating those of Muhammad. To the clear declaration1 "What Muhammad

        1[one line of ARABIC TEXT]


    hath sanctioned will remain lawful until the Resurrection Day, and what he hath forbidden unlawful," they oppose certain ambiguous traditions which speak of the Mahdí as bringing "a new law," "a new Book," or "a new Dispensation," which traditions are susceptible of a different explanation.

    29.    Their assertion that the imagined return of the Mahdí
    the Messiah and the Imám Husayn is really a re-mani-
    festation of the same prototypes, not an actual return of
    these individuals

        This is practically, to some extent at any rate, a repetition of article 11 dealing with the Bábí doctrine of "Return" (Raj`at). It is very characteristic of Bábí thought, and I have discussed it pretty fully in my translation of the New History, pp. 334 et seqq. It was in that sense, no doubt, that Khayru'lláh told his American proselytes (p. 118 supra) that "Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua and Daniel are re-incarnated and are at Acre, the `Holy Place.'" In our author's terminology, they hold that the qualities of Christhood (Masíhiyyat), Mahdí-hood (Mahdawiyyat), Qá'im- hood (Qá'imiyyat) and Husayn-hood (Husayniyyat), if these expressions may be permitted, are generic (naw`i), not personal (shakhsí).

    30.    Their doctrine that God, the Eternal Essence, is beyond
    all human cognizance and definition, and that we can
    only see, meet, know, revere, worship and obey Him in His
    Manifestations, to wit the Prophets, Imáms, "Gates," etc.

        This doctrine is also discussed in the New History (p. 331) and elaborated in the Báb's Persian Bayán, to which references are given in Vol. xv of the E. J. W. Gibb Memorial Series (text of Mírzá Jání's Nuqtatu'l-Káf), p. lxvi.


    It is strongly denounced by our author as the quintessence of heresy, leading to an anthropomorphism which oscillates between polytheism and atheism. He concludes this section of his work (p. 279) by saying that this list of Bábí heresies is by no means exhaustive, but lack of time prevents him from enlarging it, though incidental allusion will be made elsewhere to other heretical tenets of the sect.



    [blank page]

        The following Persian poem was given to me in manuscript by the late Shaykh Ahmad hí of Kirmán, the ill-fated son-in-law and follower of Subh-i-Azal, who told me that the poem (of which, so far as I know, no other copy exists) was composed by Qurratu'l-`Ayn, and that the manuscript which I now publish is in her own handwriting1. Without being able to guarantee either of these assertions, I am inclined to credit them, for the poem is evidently by a Bábí, and the handwriting appears to be a woman's, closely resembling that of a letter from Qurratu'l-`Ayn to Mullá Shaykh `Ali (called Janáb-i- Azím) given to me by Subh-i-Azal, and reproduced in fac- simile, with printed text and translation, in my translation of the New History (pp.434- 441). The two or three other poems ascribed to her are ghazals written in the Kámil metre. This, on the other hand, is a mathnawí of the kind known as Sáqí-náma, or Invocations to the Cup-bearer, such as Háfiz and other lyrical poets have written.

    [three lines of PERSIAN TEXT]

       1 It was enclosed in a letter written from Constantinople on Sept. 19, 1892, and received by me five days later. The writer says that in response to his request his friends in Persia had sent one leaf in "the blessed writing of Janáb-i- Táhira, who herself transcribed some of her works."


    [entire page is PERSIAN TEXT]

       1 This is perhaps an allusion to Qurratu'l-`Ayn's title Janáb-i-Táhira ("Her Holiness the Pure").
       2 i.e. [PERSIAN TEXT]

    [unnumbered page, facsimile of PERSIAN TEXT]

    Fac-simile of alleged autograph poem by Qurratu'l-`Ayn

    [blank page]


    [entire page is PERSIAN TEXT]

       1 There may be an allusion here to the Bábí assembly at Bahasht, where the meeting of Qurratu'l-`Ayn and Janáb-i-Quddús was hailed as "the conjunction of the Sun and Moon." See New History, p. 359, n. 2 ad calc.


    [fourteen lines of PERSIAN TEXT]

       1 The rare Azalí controversial work entitled (see J.R.A.S. for 1892, pp.680-697) complains that Baha'u'llah, not content with making himself God, and even a "Creator of gods," assigns the latter title "even to his meanest servants." It quotes the Bahá'í poet Nabíl as saying:

    [two lines of PERSIAN TEXT]
    "Men say that Thou art God, and I am moved to anger: remove the veil and submit no longer to the disgrace of [mere] Godhead!"
       2 These verses appear to be addressed to Subh-i- Azal, who is also entitled "the Eternal Fruit" (Thamara-i-Azaliyya).


    [seven lines of PERSIAN TEXT]

        Though Qurratu'l-`Ayn's fame as a poetess is considerable, I know only two other poems commonly ascribed to her, both ghazals composed in the Kámil metre, which, though common in Arabic, is little used in Persian save by a few mystical poets like Jámí. Both of these poems are very fine, being only marred by the incorrectedness of the Arabic phrases which they containÑ-a defect only too common in Babi writings. In spite of this I think them worth preserving, and, though I have published both of them before, the first in the J.R.A.S. for 1899 (Vol.xxi,pp.936-7 and 991-2) and the second in my edition and translation of the Traveller's Narrative (Vol.ii,pp.314-316), I here reprint them, together with the versified translations, in which I have made a few trifling alterations.

    [six lines of PERSIAN TEXT]


    [ten lines of PERSIAN TEXT]


    The thralls of yearning love constrain in the bonds of
        pain and calamity
    These broken-hearted lovers of thine to yield their lives in
        their zeal for thee
    Though with sword in hand my Darling stand with intent
        to slay, though I sinless be,
    If it pleases him, this tyrant's whim, I am well content with
        his tyranny.
    As in sleep I lay at the break of day that cruel charmer
        came to me,
    And in the grace of his form and face the dawn of the morn
        I seemed to see.
    The musk of Cathay might perfume gain from the scent
        those fragrant tresses rain,

    1 This poem is presumably addressed to the Báb.


    While his eyes demolish a faith in vain attacked by the
        pagans of Tartary1.
    With you, who contemn both love and wine2 for the hermit's
        cell and the zealot's shrine,
    What can I do, for our Faith divine you hold as a thing of
    The tangled curls of thy darling's hair, and thy saddle and
        teed are thy only care;
    In thy heart the Absolute hath no share, nor the thought of
        the poor man's poverty.
    Sikandar's3 pomp and display be thine, the Qalandar's4
        habit and way be mine;
    That, if it please thee, I resign, while this, though bad, is
        enough for me.
    Pass from the station of "I" and "We," and choose for
        thy home Nonentity,
    For when thou has done the like of this, thou shalt reach
        the supreme Felicity. The second of these two odes or ghazals is as follows:

    [six lines of PERSIAN TEXT]

       1 i.e. the religion of Islam, which, having survived the terrible Tartar or Mongol invasion of the thirteenth century, fell before the Báb
       2 "Love and wine" are to be understood here in a mystical sense.
       3 Alexander the Great.
       4 A Qalandar is a kind of darwísh or religious mendicant.


    [eight lines of PERSIAN TEXT]


    The effulgence of thy face flashed forth and the rays of thy
        visage arose on high;
    Then speak the word, "Am I not your Lord?" and "Thou
        art, thou art!"
    we will all reply1.
    Thy trumpet-call "Am I not?" to greet how loud the drums
        of affliction2 beat!
    At the gates of my heart there tramp the feet and camp the
        hosts of calamity.
    That fair moon's love is enough, I trow, for me, for he
        laughed at the hail3 of woe,
    And triumphant cried,as he sunk below,"The Martyr of
        Karbalá am I4!"

       1 See Qur'án vii, 171. The meaning is, "If you claim to be God, we will all accept your claim."
       2 There is a play on the word balá, which means "yea" and also "affliction."
       3 Salá, which I have translated "hail," means a general invitation or summons.
       4 i.e. the Imám Husayn, of whom several of the Bábí leaders claimed to be a "Return." See p. 338 supra.


    When he heard my death-dirge drear, for me he prepared,
        and arranged my gear for me;
    He advanced to mourn at my bier for me, and o'er me wept
        right bitterly.
    What harm if thou with the fire of amaze should'st set my
        Sinai- heart ablaze,
    Which thou first mad'st fast in a hundred ways but to shake
        and shatter so ruthlessly?
    To convene the guests to his feast of love all night from the
        angel host above
    Peals forth this summons ineffable, "Hail, sorrow-stricken
    Can a scale of the fish of amaze like thee aspire to enquire
        of Being's Sea?
    Sit mute like Táhira, hearkening to the whale of "No" and
        its ceaseless sigh1.

        There is another Bábí poem in the same metre and rhyme which is sometimes ascribed to Qurratu'l-`Ayn, but more often, and with greater probability, to Nabíl of Zarand, who at one time advanced a "claim" on his own behalf, but afterwards became the devoted follower and, if the term may be permitted, the poet-laureate of Bahá'u'lláh. This poem I published with a prose translation in the J.R.A.S. for 1892, pp.323-5, together with another, a tarkíb-band of unknown authorship, in praise of Bahá'u'lláh. Its boastful character may be judged by the three following verses, which are not devoid of a certain grandeur:

    [two lines of PERSIAN TEXT]

       1 i.e. "Thou art a mere tiny scale on the smallest fish of the Ocean of Being, and even the Leviathans of that Ocean can but proclaim their own insignificance and non-existence."


    [four lines of PERSIAN TEXT]


    If anyone walks in my path I will cry to him that he may be
    That whoever becomes my lover shall not escape from sorrow
        and affliction.
    If anyone obeys me not and does not grasp the cord of my
    I will drive him far from my sanctuary, I will cast him in
        wrath to the winds of "No2."
    I am Eternal from the Everlasting World; I am the One
        from the Realms of the Limitless;
    I am come [to seek for] the people of the Spirit, and towards
        me indeed do they advance3.

        Yet a fourth poem in the same rhyme and Kámil metre, of uncertain authorship, occurs in a manuscript (BBP.7) which I brought back from Persia, and which is described in the J.R.A.S. for 1892, pp.444-9; and I have copies of several more contained in a manuscript bearing the classmark P.92 kindly lent to me many years ago by the late M. Ch. Schefer, to whom it belonged. Indeed it would be easy to compile a fair-sized anthology of Bábí poems, but in

       1 Or Saintship, for Wiláyat has both meanings. Amongst the Arabs he who would seek the protection of some great Shaykh or Amír catches hold of one of the cords of his tent, crying Aná dakhíluk! "I place myself under the protection!"
       2 Not-Being, or Negation, or Annihilation.
       3 The Arabic words with which this line concludes are, as is too often the case with the Bábís, hopelessly ungrammatical.


    this place I shall only add two of the best, both by Nabíl. The first is a very fine address to Bahá'u'lláh, in the same Kámil metre for which the Bábís show so marked a predilection. The following English rendering of the five opening verses, intended to give some idea of the form as well as the sense of the original, was read before the Persia Society on April 26, 1912, and was afterwards published for them by Mr. John Hogg of 13, Paternoster Row.

    Though the Night of Parting endless seem as thy nigh-black hair,
        Bahá, Bahá,
    Yet we meet at last, and the gloom is past in thy lightning's
        glare, Bahá, Bahá!
    To my heart from thee was a signal shown that I to all
        men should make known
    That they, as the ball to the goal doth fly, should to thee
        repair, Bahá, Bahá!
    At this my call from the quarters four men's hearts and
        souls to thy quarters pour:
    What, forsooth, could attract them more than that region
        fair, Bahá, Bahá?
    The World hath attained to Heaven's worth, and a Paradise
        is the face of earth
    Since at length thereon a breeze hath blown from thy nature
        rare, Bahá, Bahá!
    Bountiful art thou, as all men know: at a glance two
        Worlds thou would'st e'en bestow
    On the suppliant hands of thy direst foe, if he makes his
        prayer, Bahá, Bahá!

    [two lines of PERSIAN TEXT]


    [entire page is PERSIAN TEXT]


    [entire page is PERSIAN TEXT]


    [entire page is PERSIAN TEXT]

    1 Qurá'n liii, 8.


    [twelve lines of PERSIAN TEXT]

        There is another poem by Nabíl which, though singularly devoid of literary merit, is valuable for its contents, since it gives a chronology of Bahá'u'lláh's life from his birth on Muharram 2, 1233 (=Nov. 12,1817) to his arrival at `Akká on the 12th of Jumádá 1, 1285 (=Aug. 30, 1868). This poem, which comprises 19 stanzas, was written a year and four months later, in Shábán, 1286 (=Nov.-Dec. 1869), when Bahá'u'lláh was 54 years of age, and Nabíl himself, as he informs us in the last stanza, just 40, so that he must have been born about 1246/1830-1. The dates given in this poem, which I published with a translation in the J.R.A.S. for 1889, pp.983-990, agree for the most part with those given by Mírzá Muhammad Jawád in the first section of this book.


        Muhammadan compilers of anthologies and memoirs of poets generally ignore the Bábí poets, but a short notice is devoted to Qurratu'l-`Ayn in the Tadhkiratu'l-Khawátin, or "Memoirs of illustrious women," lithographed at Bombay in 1306/1888 pp.155-157. It contains, however, no new facts.

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