"The Bab in Shiraz" by Mirza Habibu'llah Afnan
Mirza Habibu'llah's Account of the Bab in Shiraz: Translation and Commentary (Revised Edn. March, 2004)
Sanctified be God! The All-Glorious Providence has decreed for the land of Sh[iraz] to be the dawning-place of light and fire. That is, before God, the appearance of these two attributes is most prominent and most evident in that realm. And this is because the fire of opposition broke forth brightly in that city before it appeared in all other lands.
Siyyid `Ali-Muhammad, known to history as the Bab, was born in 1819 in Shiraz and in 1844 declared Himself the Promised One of Islam, thereby inaugurating a new religious movement in Iran. The history of His short life, particularly the eventful portion that occurred in the land of His birth, has fascinated men throughout the east and the west, and has been the object of many studies and histories.
This monograph provides a translation of an important document written by Mirza Habib Afnan – a relative of the Bab – and composed based on family recollections of the early days of the Bab.
During the second half of 1924, on the recommendation of Mirza Asadu’llh Fadil Mazandarani, Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, commenced the process of preserving the recollections of those who had witnessed the early years of the Babi and Baha’i Movements. In Haifa-`Akka area, such companions of Baha’u’llah as Aqa Husayn Ashchi or Aqa Abu’l-Qasim Baghban were interviewed – and sometimes, as in the case of Ashchi, literally on their deathbed – for what they remembered of the days of Baha’u’llah and `Abdu’l-Baha.
About the same time in Iran, Fadil Mazandarani – a deeply learned and capable researcher – had undertaken a massive project to compose a documented history of the Babi-Baha’i Religions, which he titled Tarikh Zuhuru’l-Haqq – an effort that was greatly encouraged by Shoghi Effendi. For his history, Mazandarani needed detailed accounts of events and occurrences during the first century of the Faith. Towards gathering such data and documentations, he and others traveled extensively throughout Iran and vicinity, and combed the Baha’i community for available information, including, Tablets, memoirs, letters, pictures, narratives, poems, historical sites, family trees, etc. However, Mazandarani recognized that he needed lot more information, so he turned to Shoghi Effendi.
During the course of the next two decades, Shoghi Effendi wrote to the Baha’is of Iran urging them to prepare detailed histories of local communities, particularly those that had a significant Baha’i presence from the early days. He further called upon individual believers who had witnessed the unfolding of the Heroic Age, 1844-1921, in the cradle of their Faith to commit to writing their reminiscences.
In accordance with this instruction, the Spiritual Assembly of Shiraz entrusted the task of writing a comprehensive history of the Faith in this central region to Mírzá Habíbu’lláh Afnán, the hereditary custodian of the House of the Bab in Shiraz, who readily obeyed and wrote what he himself had witnessed or the remarkable stories that he had heard from those associated with the founding of the Babi-Baha’i Faiths. Mirza Habib notes:
In accordance with the instructions of the beloved Guardian in his blessed and wondrous letter, each town was to write a brief history of the development of the Cause since the dawning of the Sun of Reality. The Spiritual Assembly [of Shiraz] has placed this service upon this unworthy servant, Haji Mirza Habibu’llah Afnan-i A`la’i. Even though this ephemeral servant considers himself unprepared for this great enterprise, but in hope the divine confirmation of the Beloved, to a prescribed degree, has committed to paper what he has seen or heard from reliable observers so that the sanctified command of the Guardian is fulfilled.
Fars and Shiraz:
Mirza Habib was born and raised in the city of Shiraz, in the province of Fars. The land of Pársa – the Persis of the Greeks – is a province that millenniums earlier had given birth to two great dynasties – the Achaemenian in the sixth century before and the Sásánian in the third century after Christ. These empires were administered by men of great insights and learning, had cultivated societies, formidable armies, great visions for humanity, and just rulers whose achievements were legendary and truly unprecedented. Indeed, the brilliance of their triumphs was so dazzling that the name of the region was extended to the whole of country and Persia – the Greek form of Fars – was born. Therefore, for the Persians the name “Fars” evokes a deep sense of pride and heritage. It calls to mind the past splendors associated with the cradle of civilization when wise rulers from their seat in Persepolis wielded authority over a kingdom that extended from north Africa to China – kings that governed with such liberty and equity that the authors of the Old Testament were prompted to speak most glowingly of their benevolence.
The language of the nation, Farsi – the language of Fars – is the lineal descendant of the language that Cyrus and Darius spoke, and in which the proclamations were engraved by their command on rock-tablets in Bí-sitún and Naqsh-i Rustam, and upon the walls and columns of Persepolis. This language stirs a profound sense of spirituality and civility derived from the poetry of Hafiz, the voice of the invisible, and Sa`di, the sweet-tongued poet. No Iranian writer enjoys to this day, not only in his own country, but wherever his language is cultivated, a wider celebrity or a greater reputation than these two poets of Shiraz. Indeed, for the Iranians there is no Persian language other than what they have learned from Hafiz and Sa`di, and deep in their consciousness, there are no greater men of letter than the legacy of these two towering literary giants of Shiraz.
Beyond the circle of Iranians, the Baha’i world community will forever associate the name of “Shiraz” with the opening of the most glorious epoch in its own Dispensation. For it was in Shiraz that the initial emanation of the divine revelation for this Movement broke forth by the merchant-Prophet of that city. He Who is acclaimed as the “Point round Whom the realities of the Prophets and Messengers revolve,” Who styled Himself “the Primal Point from which have been generated all created things ... the Countenance of God Whose splendor can never be obscured, the Light of God Who radiance can never fade,” arose meteor-like over the horizon of Shiraz.
Mirza Habib Afnan:
It was in the House of the Báb that Mírzá Habíb Afnán (1875-1951) was born and raised by none other than Khadijih Bagum, the widow of the Bab. The stories that he heard from her were the bittersweet stories of the love-intoxicated heroes who circled around the Bab in Shiraz and then at His bidding went forth proclaiming to every town and hamlet the glad tidings of the nearness of God. Khadijih Bagum had a particular affinity towards the young lad’s father, Áqá Mírzá Áqá Nuri’d-Din. It had been the latter, who, at a time when tribulations had most fiercely beset Khadijih Bagum, was promised by the Báb to be the family member who would arise to her protection and support. This immense love of Khadijih Bagum also readily embraced Nuri’d-Din’s children and Mirza Habib basked in the brilliancy of her attention and affection.
As if that blessing was not enough for a lifetime, God showered Mirza Habib with even a greater measure of His munificence when, in 1891-2 at the age of 16 he and his family were called to the Holy Land where he spent some nine months in the immediate proximity of Baha’u’llah in the Mansion of Bahji, and each day were showered the the evidences of His many bounties. Subsequently, for the next decade, from Egypt he remained in constant communication with `Abdu’l-Baha and periodically visited Him in `Akka where as a trusted Afnan he was privy to some of most heart-wrenching scenes of His ministry and granted a glimpse into the most private inner workings of the Faith. He witnessed the defection of the Aghsan, their corrupt ways, the anguish of the Master, His efforts to conceal their perversion and their violation, and the means by which this sad news was transmitted to the Baha’i community.
At the turn of the century, in 1902, `Abdu’l-Baha wished for Nuri’d-Din and his family, including his son, Mirza Habib, to return to Shiraz to rebuild the House of the Bab which had fallen into disrepair. Shortly before the completion of this reconstruction, Nuri’d-Din passed away and it fell on Mirza Habib to complete the construction and to become the custodian of that Sacred Edifice. This was the hallmark service of his life, as for the next half-century he served with great distinction as the hereditary custodian of the House of the Bab in Shiraz. Consequently, he stood uniquely qualified to tell the story of the Babi and Baha’i Movements in Shiraz as well as his recollections of the days of Baha’u’llah and `Abdu’l-Baha in the Holy Land.
Narratives of Mirza Habib Afnan:
Mirza Habib has penned two documents. The first narrative, entitled Khátirát-i Hayát, is the account of Mirza Habib’s pilgrimages to the Holy Land and his decade-long stay in Egypt. The exact date of the composition of this autobiography is not known, but the author’s sons, Abu’l-Qasim and Hasan Afnan, indicate that it was first composed shortly after Mirza Habib’s return to Iran. Based upon the internal evidence and family records it is known that these notes were recopied and reorganized in the middle of 1940s. Of this narrative, the most important part is the author’s recollection of being near Bahá’u’lláh from the middle of July 1891 until shortly after Naw-Ruz 1892, that is, a little over two months prior to the ascension of the Blessed Perfection. The remaining portions are singularly important as they clarify many aspects of the first decade of `Abdu’l-Baha’s ministry when the storm of Covenant-breaking was raging mercilessly in the Holy Land.
The date of composition of the second narrative, entitled Táríkh Amry Fárs va Shíráz, is not known with any degree of precision, although it has been estimated to be in the early to the middle of 1930s. The original version was hand-written by Mirza Habib and the final draft was penned by Mirza Abu’l-Hasan Ansif Nayrizi. This final copy was edited by the author whose remarks are evident along various margins and lines throughout the manuscript; it is this version that has been utilized for translation.
Of this second narrative, unquestionably the most valuable portions are those on the life of the Bab in Shiraz – a city acclaimed by the young Prophet as the baladu’l-amn, “the land of refuge.” Mírzá Habib did not wish to write a comprehensive history of the Bab’s life, since he knew full well that others had already attempted such an undertaking – men like Nabil Zarandi, surnamed Nabil-i A`zam, who was well known to Mirza Habib. Rather his objective was to tell stories of the Bab’s sublime life that were current among His immediate family in Shiraz, particularly reminiscences he had heard from Khadijih Bagum.
Mirza Habib was a well-educated man. He attended the same school that the Bab had attended and received tuition from one of the ablest educators of the city. During his youth, Baha’u’llah arranged for him to study with the Aghsan in the Mansion of Bahji. Subsequently, he spent many years receiving daily instructions from the celebrated Mirza Abu’l-Fadl, one of the most erudite believers of his generation. Therefore, the style of his composition is very learned and represents an important literary achievement in its own right. It is hoped that in due course the original Persian of these two narratives will also be published so that students of the Faith will become better acquainted with his exquisite style of composition.
Notes on the Present Translation:
What is offered in this monograph represents merely a preliminary rendering of the first 115 pages of Tarikh Amry Fars va Shiraz, where the story of the Bab is told.
In the course of this translation, every effort has been exerted to stay as close to the original documents as possible, to the degree that a literal rendering has often been preferred to a more stylistic one. Footnotes have been added to augment information, clarify obscure points, and provide a more detailed perspective. Occasionally comments have been added to improve with the clarity or continuity of the material. These are enclosed in square brackets, thus . All comments in parenthesis are by the author.
Typically the Bab is referred in the text by such honorific titles as, “His Holiness”, or “His blessed Person,” etc, and these have retained faithfully.
By the time that Mírzá Habib penned these narratives, many of the principal personalities featured had passed away and, therefore, the original text often refers to them as “the late” or “the deceased.” These have been kept to aid future researchers in identifying various dates.
It should be emphasized that the spoken words of the Bab quoted in these pages cannot be equated as scriptural authority with His Writings. No one took notes at the time those words were uttered, although it cannot be ruled out that some may be the very words spoken.
First Portion of Tarikh Amry Fars va Shiraz
The Beginning of History:
The names of the paternal and maternal ancestry of the Exalted One – may my spirit be a sacrifice unto Him – are as as follows:
The blessed name of His Holiness the Exalted One was Mírzá `Ali-Muhammad, son of Mírzá Muhammad-Rida, son of Áqá Mírzá Nasru’llah, son of Áqá Mírzá Fathu’lláh, son of Áqá Mírzá Ibráhím. He was of the illustrious family of the Husayni Siyyids to whose nobility, integrity, trustworthiness, piety, devotion and detachment everyone in [the province] of Fars would testify, and they stood exemplary in integrity and purity in the whole of region. Their occupation was commerce.
The name of mother of His Holiness was Fatimah Bagum, the daughter of the late Hájí Mírzá Muhammad-Husayn, son of Áqá Mírzá `Abid, son of Áqá Mírzá Siyyid Muhammad. This family also ranked among the best-regarded and trustworthy merchants of Fárs.
His blessed birth took place on the first night of Muharram of 1235 [A.H.] in the house belonging to His mother’s uncle, Áqá Mírzá `Ali. Reported utterance of that exalted lady, the mother of His Holiness, which were often recounted, are as such:
From the moment of birth, it was evident that, unlike other children, He was not rapacious in drinking milk. Commonly He was serene and made no noise. During the twenty-four-hour period, He would desire milk only four times and while nursing would be most gentle and no movement was discerned from His mouth. Many of times I was disturbed why this Child was not like others [and thought that] perchance He suffered some ailment that prevented Him from desiring milk. Then I would console myself that if indeed He experienced some unknown illness, He would manifest signs of agitation and restlessness.
Unlike other children, He did not complain nor behave in an unseemly manner during the weaning period. I was most thankful that now that the Exalted Lord had granted me this one Child, He was gentle and agreeable.
Moreover according to what the trustworthy personages have reported, from the beginning of His childhood, extraordinary and unusual character were apparent in Him which had excited the wonder and amazement of all the relatives, friends and strangers as the Bab was unlike any other child.
According to Mullá Fathu’lláh Maktab-dar [the school-master], son of Mullá Mand-`Ali, when His blessed age had reached five years old He was taken to the [Qur’anic school of] Shaykh `Abid, known as Shaykh Anám, located in Qahviyih Awlíyá, one of the wards occupied by the mystics of Fars, on the Tayr marketplace, near the house of His maternal grandfather and respected maternal uncle. Mullá Fathu’llah Maktab-dar, son of Mulla Mand-`Ali, was the custodian of the Masjid-i-Vakil and together with his father numbered among the early believers [in the Báb] and, because of the persecutions and people’s harassment, became a fugitive and traveled extensively. He related:
When they brought His Holiness to the maktab [Qur’anic school], I worked for Shaykh Anam in the Qahviyih Awlíyá, which is one of the mystic convents in the old neighborhood of Shiraz, where the school had several rooms and a circular courtyard. The honored Shaykh `Abid, a man of many qualities, was the schoolmaster and taught the children of the noblemen, the affluent, the merchants and other distinguished citizens. He was a tall, ever-dignified man who displayed a long beard. A follower of the late Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa’i and Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti, he ranked among the learned and the divines of Shiraz.
At that time, I served the Shaykh as the khalifih (that is, the [school’s] principle). Those wishing for their youngster to receive tuition from him, had to come beforehand and meet with him in person, or to send a missive or through a distinguished intermediary apply for attendance. This was due to the fact that the Shaykh did not accept the children of just anyone, and particularly, because of their ill-manners and dirty clothing, was reluctant to accept lads from the bazaari shopkeepers.
(Description of His Blessed Condition During Childhood:)
At any event, one morning, I saw the honored Áqá Mírzá Muhammad-Rida, who had been a friend of Shaykh Anam, come to the Qahviyih [Awlíyá]. He sat next to the Shaykh and described his situation thusly: “After forty years, the Exalted Lord has graced me with a Child that has caused me to wonder over His behavior.” The Shaykh asked him to explain further, but he only replied, “It is hard to say.” [The Shaykh] insisted, to which [the father] offered: “O honored Shaykh! Which of His amazing conditions should I recount? Of Him such peculiar characters are manifest that excite one’s wonder. Now that He has reached the age of five, at times He raises His hands in prayers to the threshold of Singular God. At mid-night, He wakes and stands to offer His obligatory prayers in midst of which He weeps. Sometimes He is sad, on other occasions He is happy, or immersed in rapture, or preoccupied with the imaginary world. My astonishment prevents me from describing. Were I to tell all that I have observed from the time of His birth until the present, it would make a large book.
“At such [young] age, He tells the doings of the entire clan, men and women alike. For instance, some time ago, together with His uncle, the honored Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Ali, we were at the bathhouse of Bazar-i-Murgh quarter. This Child was sleep between His uncle and I, when suddenly He rose and stated, ‘The roof of the Garm-khanih [steam chamber] of Mírzá Hadi’s bathhouse has just caved and five women and one child were [killed] under the rubble.’ His uncle said to Him, ‘Aqa, please sleep and refrain from saying such things. What manner of talk is this!’ He responded, ‘It is what I said.’ It was not long after that we heard commotion coming from the direction of the entrance, telling that Mírzá Hadi’s bathhouse was wrecked and a number of women were under the rubble. One person said twenty women [were killed], another told thirty or forty, but then later it was determined that five women and a child had been killed and the truth was what He had told.
“In another instance, a while ago He informed us, ‘Last night, I dreamt that a large balance was suspended in mid-air in the vast space. His Holiness Imam Ja`far-i-Sadiq was positioned on one of the plates and because of His weight, the plate was resting on ground while the other plate was suspended in the air. An invisible Hand lifted Me and placed Me on the empty plate. My plate was now heavier than the other and I came to the ground and the first plate went into the air.’ I said to Him, ‘Child, please do not speak in such wise.’
“What should I say! There are so many astonishing stories about Him that I cannot say. At one time, Áqá Mírzá Siyyid Hasan suggested that perhaps this Child was under the spell of witches or sorcerers and said that we should take Him to those knowledgeable in such matters and request protection prayers for Him. Even though I did not believe Him suffering from such things, because of his [Siyyid Hasan’s] comment, I brought Áqá Muhammad-Hasan, the Munajjim [astronomer], to the house and described for him the details. He made some calculations, said that no harm had come to Him by way of sorcerers or witches, and then asked for His birth-date. Thereupon, he wrote certain prayers and charms, and recited some other verses and having learned of His birth-date, he left. After the departure of Áqá Muhammad-Hasan, the Child tore up the talismans and its instruction sheets and said to me, ‘As the mystic has versified, ‘You bring forth a gazelle, and I am that Musk-deer.’’
“In short, it is some time that I am consumed with the difficulties of this Child and do not know which of His conditions I should describe for you. It is now time for His education, and I wish for Him to receive His tuition and religious training from you.”
I was most astounded by the descriptions of the honored Mírzá [Muhammad-Rida] and the Shaykh was astonished as well. It was decided that at an agreeable time on [the following] Thursday the Child would be brought to the maktab.
On the promised morning, the Child arrived followed by a servant carrying a small [copper] tray filled with sweetmeats and a small copy of the Qur’an which typically was used by the [seminarian] students in Shiraz. Because of Áqá Mírzá Muhammad-Rida’s descriptions about Him, the Shaykh, several of the students, who had reached the age of maturity, and myself were thoroughly enthralled in watching Him. He came in, greeted, and sat before Shaykh Anám. Soon thereafter, His maternal uncle, the honored Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Ali, arrived as well and sat next to the Shaykh. After exchange of formal pleasantries, the Shaykh took the Qur’an from the tray of sweetmeats, opened it and said [to the young Pupil], “Come Aqa, read.” He smiled and said, “As you please.” As customarily, the Shaykh read to Him, “Say, ‘He is the Deliverer, the All-Knowing.’“ His Holiness remained silent. The Shaykh repeated, but He kept His quiet, and then [after a pause] asked, “Who is ‘He’?” The Shaykh responded, “‘He’ is God. You are still a child, and what concern of Yours is the meaning of ‘He’?” The Pupil responded, “I am the Deliverer, the All-Knowing!” The Shaykh was deeply enraged and picked up his stick and said to Him, “Do not utter such things here!” His Holiness commenced reading and His maternal uncle smiled and ordered certain arrangements and then left.
The late Áqá Muhammad Ibrahim-i-Isma`il Baig, who was a well-known and respected merchant, related:
I was twelve years old at that time and on that day, Siyyid-i-Báb came and sat two-legged and with courtesy between me and Áqá Mírzá Muhammad-Riday-i-Mustawfi who was about the same age as I. His head was bowed over the primer, but He did not utter a word, so I asked, “Why like other children, are You not reading [aloud]?” He made no reply, however two other lads sitting near us were heard reading poems from Hafiz and came upon this verse:
From the pinnacle of Heaven they call out unto thee,
I know not why art thee entrapped here?
He turned quickly to me and said, “That is your answer.” I replied, “Well done.”
Similarly, it is related:
As Shaykh Anám was a learned man and a follower of Shaykh Ahmad [Ahsa’i], each morning he conducted a seminary session in Qahviyih Awlíyá where several of his [theological] students would come and engage him in discussions. One day a scientific topic was being discussed and after considerable debate remain unresolved since it was particularly complex. The Shaykh stated, “Tonight I will study the [authoritative] books on this topic and tomorrow will present a solution and complete our discourse. At this point, the exchange was concluded.
Suddenly the young Pupil [who had been listening] raised His blessed head and with sound reasoning, irrefutable proof and scientific evidence propounded the answer which they sought and removed all complexities. They were wonder-struck and amazed. The [seminarian] students informed their teacher that they had no recollection of ever having discussed that topic so that this Child would have parrot-wise memorized it and now repeated it for them. They expressed their bewilderment, and the Shaykh responded that he too was filled with awe, and asked Him where He had gained this knowledge. The Pupil smiled and offered this couplet from Hafiz:
Should the grace of the Holy Spirit once again deign to assist,
Others will also do what Christ could perform.
At all events, during those tender years many such manifestations of extraordinary and innate qualities were observed in Him and are testified by both friends and foes, remaining beyond my abilities to describe.
At the age of nine, His illustrious father, Áqá Mír[zá] Muhammad-Rida, passed away and from then He was raised in the bosom of His honored maternal uncle, Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Ali. With his own eyes, the late uncle had witnessed such remarkable and astonishing feats by Him, that when He declared His Cause, without the need for any proof or evidence, Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Alí readily and unhesitatingly accepted His claim, believed in Him and sacrificed his life and possessions in the path of the Beloved of the world.
My late paternal grandmother, [Zahra Bagum], who was a paternal cousin of the Báb’s mother, related that without the means of another person she had heard the illustrious uncle [Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Alí] discussing [the claim of the Báb] with his younger brother, Hájí Mírzá Hasan-`Alí, and the latter was resisting the argument saying, “Brother, what ideas are these that you have come to now? You have departed from our ancestral religion and follow our Nephew!” The eminent martyred-uncle responded, “You should know well that Exalted God has completed the proof unto me: That which I saw with my own eyes since His childhood, and I have come to behold with the essence of certitude after His adulthood. There is no room for doubt for anyone, especially for me.” He then continued, “Have you forgotten our journey to Sabz-Pushan when He was a child aged nine years old? There was a group of us and He came along as well. When we arrived, being completely exhausted, we performed our ablutions, offered our late afternoon and the evening obligatory prayers, paid our homage of visitation, ate dinner and went to bed. It was not long after, at midnight that I awoke and noticed that He was not in bed. Deeply perturbed, I was overtaken with such anxieties that perhaps He had fallen from the mountain. Finally, after searching extensively, I heard a voice raised in praise and glorification of the Lord coming from the lower extremities [of the mountain]. When I followed the melody of that chant, I found the Child, singularly standing in consummate rapture voicing prayers and supplications to One Who transcend all mention, in the middle of that vast field and at that late hour of the night. My beloved brother, I ask: After observing such things, is there any room for doubt? With a knowledge born out of certainty, with truth that stands most manifest, and with my own unimpeachable observations, it is thoroughly evident that the Promised One whom we had anticipated has now appeared after twelve hundred and sixty years. The proof has been completed. Whosoever denies these revealed verses, each page of which stands equal to the whole of the Qur’an, must surely be among the most inequitable.”
In short, our late grandmother often recounted this story and description for us.
When His blessed Person had reached the age of fifteen, the Bab joined His celebrated uncle, [Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Ali], in commerce. He remained for a short while in Shiraz and then moved to the port city of Bushihr. Once in the new town, He established an office in the Mínandí caravansary. Although it was before His declaration, great many signs of divinity and wondrous verses were revealed through His pen that would attract the envy and the jealousy of men of learning.
One day in Egypt during the time when the illustrious [Mírzá] Abu’l-Fadl was occupied with writing the Kitáb-i-Fará’íd, we came to talk about the early years of the Báb – may my spirit be a sacrifice unto Him – prior to His declaration, and the period when He was engaged in trading. Mírzá Abu’l-Fadl related the following to me:
I myself heard the late Hájí Siyyid Javád known as Karbalá’í relate that:
“When His Holiness [the Báb] was engaged as a merchant in Bushihr, because of my friendship and close association with the maternal uncles of the Báb, I used to stay with them whenever I visited either Shiraz or Bushihr. One day the late Hájí Mírzá Siyyid Muhammad, a maternal uncle [of the Bab] came to me with a request, ‘Give some good counsel to my Nephew. Tell Him not to write or utter certain things that can only provoke the jealousy of certain people. These people cannot tolerate seeing a young merchant of little schooling shows such erudition and, therefore, become envious and resentful.’ Hájí Mírzá Muhammad was very insistent that I should counsel the Báb [to desist from such activities]. I had, however, replied with these lines of verse:
“The fair of face cannot endureth being veiled,
Shut him in and out of eyelet will he show his visage.
“and added: ‘We are earthbound and He is celestial. Our counsel is of no use to Him.’”
In Bushihr He was engaged for six years in commerce and associated with all strata of society, including the `ulama, the merchants, and the shopkeepers, and dealt with all in such wise that in every respect they were most pleased and grateful. In all gatherings, men spoke and praised His splendid qualities.
On one of my [pilgrimage] journeys that I was in the sacred presence of `Abdu’l-Baha, one day in course of a conversation, He spoke of the time and commercial activities of the Exalted One – may my spirit be a sacrifice unto Him. He stated:
During His stay in Bushihr, His Holiness the Exalted One fashioned wondrous things and thoroughly demolished the foundation of people’s corrupt practices. The merchants of Bushihr had a custom that after a deal was consummated they would renege and barter for a lower price. Some of them came to His Holiness, negotiated purchase of Prussian [blue] dye, and bought a very large quantity of the material. After they had reached agreement and moved the lots of Prussian blue to their own office, they returned to renege and bargain. His Holiness did not accept and said, “We had a deal, signed papers, and it is done. I will not give a discount and will not renegotiate.” They insisted. He replied, “What I said is final.” However, they stated, “It is the custom of the country.” He responded, “Many of these practices are wrong and soon shall be changed.” No matter how much they insisted, He would not accept, and at last He said, “If you think you have purchased it too expensively, then return the merchandise as I will not barter.” Once again they said, “It is the custom of this land.” He replied, “I wish to put an end to this custom.” They submitted, “It would be a source of disrepute for a merchant to return the commodities that he has purchased and moved to his shop.” “It is your choice,” the Báb told them, “accept the terms and refrain from re-negotiation.” Insistently, they said, “But this is the custom of the realm.” Yet again, He reminded them, “I will end this custom.”
Eventually, the Báb ordered the merchandise brought back to His shop and did not yield to their bartering efforts, and changed many of the unseemly practices of the wholesalers in Bushihr.
Soon thereafter, one of His maternal uncles arrived at Bushihr and the same merchants, who had failed to persuade the Báb to bargain, came to see the uncle and complained about His behavior, saying, “He has ruined our reputation. We had a deal on dyes, however, as customary, we reneged on our word in hope of renegotiations, but to no avail. He arranged for the goods to be brought back to His shop. This is a great insult to us as merchants. You should counsel Him not to repeat such offenses.”
The maternal uncle approached the Báb advising Him, “Why do You not yield to people’s wishes and disrupt the customs of the realm.” He told him, “Even presently should they wish to barter after our transaction is completed, I will not accept their appeal and will never yield.”
That was a very blissful day. The beloved Master – may the spirit of both worlds be a sacrifice unto Him – smiled unceasingly and repeated several times, “Prior to His declaration, His Holiness the Exalted One informed that He would change many of the precedents.”
After six years of residence in Bushihr, the Báb wrote several times to His uncles, “I plan to visit `Atabat and one of you should come to Bushihr and take over the business so I can commence my journey to Atabat.” Each time, however, they postponed their promise and heed not His wish. When the time for His departure from that city had arrived, He settled all His transactions, prepared a detailed account, sealed the books and left them in the office. He then sealed the entrance to the office and entrusted the key to the custodian of that building with the instructions that whichever of His maternal uncles should arrive first from Shiraz, he is to gain admission. Thereupon, He wrote to Shiraz “Though I wrote you repeatedly asking that one of you come to Bushihr as I have a journey to `Atabat in mind, you have not heeded this request. I have sealed the shop’s door, therefore, and entrusted the key to the custodian and have left for `Atabat.” And after six years of stay in Bushihr, His sacred person left for `Atabat.
Once His blessed letter was received in Shiraz, His [eldest] maternal uncle, Hájí Mírzá Siyyid Muhammad, became deeply worried and perturbed, complaining, “What manner of conduct was this?! Our good name in the commercial community will be ruined and the chain of business transactions will be broken! Who will settle the accounts with our clients?” To this, the illustrious uncle, Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Ali, responded, “Rest assured! I know Him, and our Nephew does not commit wrong acts. I am certain that He has arranged all the affairs of the people prior to departure.”
The illustrious uncle, Hájí Mírzá Siyyid Muhammad, immediately left for Bushihr and upon arrival, secured the key to their office, noted the care with which the door was sealed, entered therein and began a careful examination of the books. He found all the accounts most satisfactory and accurate. Relieved, he wrote to his brothers expressing praise and gratitude for the excellent manner in which their Nephew had conducted their business transactions.
[In the `Atabat:]
His Holiness arrived at `Atabat. The story of His blessed stay in the `Atabat is very extensive and it will be related here briefly, as our purpose is to events of Fars.
One day the honored Mullá Husayn, who at that time was engaged in studies in `Atabat under the tutelage of the late Siyyid [Kazim-i-Rashti], saw the Báb while He was standing in prayer at the sanctuary of the Prince of Martyrs [i.e. Imam Husayn]. Bewildered by the condition of this young Siyyid, aged no more than twenty-two, offering His supplications with such intense humility and rapture that until that day had not been observed among any of the `ulama, the mystics or the pilgrims to that sacred Shrine, Mullá Husayn, filled with admiration and praise, approached His Holiness and greeted Him warmly. However, wrapped in devotions, His Holiness did not reply. Mullá Husayn moved to the back and waited there. Having completed His prayers at the inner sanctuary, the Báb came out to the courtyard, and to Mullá Husayn’s utter astonishment, commenced further meditation on that location.
Once more, Mullá Husayn came nigh and offered salutations. Being occupied with His prayers, the Báb did not respond, which further deepened the Akhund’s wonder.
When the Báb had completed paying homage [to the fallen Imam], He moved outside from the courtyard where Mullá Husayn awaited Him and the Akhund stepped forward and greeted Him yet again. The Báb acknowledged him in turn and apologized, “Twice you were kind to offer welcome, but absorbed in My devotionals and concentrated singularly on the exalted Shrine of the Imam – upon Him be peace – I did not respond and hence I apologize. Whosoever attains a Sacred Ground must become oblivious of the world and all therein.”
Hearing such a speech only served to enhance the amazement of the Akhund as he had never thought that a young merchant could manifest such extraordinary depth of humility, reverence, piety and veneration. Therefore, he extensively expressed the depth of his gratitude and thanks, and eagerly asked, “My Master, where is Your abode so that I may attain Your august presence?” The Báb informed him. [Mullá Husayn] then stated, “The honored Siyyid [Kazim-i-Rashti] holds a prayer vigils at his own home every Friday morning and should You decide to attend, it would greatly honor the assemblage, and we would be profoundly appreciative.” [The Báb] responded, “There is no harm in that,” and promised to attend the session.
The honored Akhund reported with great care the details of what had transpired to the honored Siyyid [Kazim] who had smiled and recited this verse of poetry:
That which my heart desired,
was hidden behind veils,
but now is manifest.
During the last two or three years of his classes, the late Haji Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti, exalted be his station, had devoted his sermons and lectures to describing evidences of the manifestation of the Promised Proof and the signs and characters of the Author of the Cause. Many a time he would tell [his students that the promised Qa’im] must be young, not influenced by the learning of others, and must be [a progeny] of the Bani-Hashim.
On the morning of the appointed Friday, [the Báb] arrived at the residence of the Siyyid where the latter was occupied with preaching on the pulpit and the house was filled to capacity with worshippers. Finding no seat available, the Báb sat close to the threshold. Upon beholding His countenance, the late Siyyid discontinued his address and held his peace, which served to heighten the astonishment of the listeners. After some quarter of an hour, he resumed an oration regarding the signs of the manifestation of the Promised One and by uttering, “Lo, His Will is manifest as the sun,” he concluded his arguments and descended the pulpit. It was at this moment that with the utmost reverence Akhund Mullá Husayn approached the Báb and led Him to a seat next to the Siyyid’s.
Were I to describe the events associated with the sojourn of the Báb at `Atabat and all the wondrous occurrences that transpired in that land and the evident tidings and manifest prophecies imparted by the late Siyyid, of a certainty, it would be a voluminous compilation which would be beyond our purpose, which is to outline the events of Fars.
[Return from the `Atabat:]
After six months had passed of His blessed stayed in `Atabat, profoundly longing to once again behold the Face of her only Offspring, His mother earnestly petitioned her brother, the honored Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Ali, to proceed for `Atabat and to bring His Holiness to Shiraz – a matter that she greatly insisted upon. Deeply devoted to his sister and Nephew, the illustrious uncle readily accepted this mission and proceeded at once to the `Atabat.
After attaining the presence of His Holiness, he stated, “I have come to accompany Your return to Shiraz.” The Báb refused. No matter how fervently the uncle pleaded, the Báb rejected his insistence and would reply, “I have in mind to remain for a while longer in the `Atabat.”
Propelled by the fact that his sister expected the arrival of the Báb in Shiraz, the uncle refused to cease his efforts to urge His return and through a message, sent in care of the honored Hájí Siyyid Javad-i-Karbala’i, appealed to the honored Siyyid [Kazim] to convince Him to return to Shiraz.
The illustrious uncle himself one day proceeded to the residence of the Siyyid [Kazim] and explained the situation thusly: “My Nephew had lived in Bushihr for six years prior to coming to the `Atabat. His mother has no other child besides Him, and deeply longs to once again behold Him and to arrange for His matrimony. My entreaties [for His return to Shiraz] have not met with His good pleasure and, therefore, I beg of you to speak with Him, inviting Him to accompany me to Shiraz.” At first, the Siyyid replied, “Why are you forcing the issue? Allow us the benefit of His presence for a while longer.” The illustrious uncle responded, “As His mother is anticipating His arrival and her approval is important as well, kindly make presentation to Him for returning to Shiraz.”
Eventually, the Siyyid asked the Báb, “If it pleases You, return to Shiraz.” Because of his appeal, His Holiness assented to accompany His uncle to Shiraz and arrived there [shortly thereafter].
For several months [the Báb] remained in Shiraz and visited with His mother and kinsmen when once again He began speaking of returning to `Atabat. Hearing that His Holiness entertained such considerations caused His mother to grow deeply anxious and with great urgency she spoke with her brother, Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Ali, about entering Him into wedlock. [For this purpose,] the illustrious Khadijih-Sultan Bagum, daughter of the late Áqá Mírzá `Alí and a paternal cousin of the Báb’s mother, was chosen and arrangements for the marriage ceremony was organized. The wedding took place on Friday, the eighteenth of Rajab 1258 A.H. in presence of an assemblage of the merchants, the noblemen and the `ulama of Fars.
And Since the date of His Manifestation was nigh, He did not travel in any direction, and was constantly engaged in revealing verses in Arabic and expositions on [divine] sciences.
[Ahmad, the Bab’s son:]
After a year, that is in 1259 A.H. , God granted Him a son, but he was stillborn. Before his birth, the Báb had prophesied, “The child is a boy named Ahmad, but it is not his destiny to live.” This child was buried in the Bíbí Dukhtarán cemetery of Shiraz. My paternal grandmother, [Zahra Bagum], who was the sister of Khadijih Bagum, related for me the details surrounding the child’s birth:
The accouchement of the child was most difficult to the point that several times we lost all hope for the mother’s recovery. During the final surge of the labor pain, the mother of the Báb proceeded into His presence where He asked of her, “Has she delivered?” to which she responded negatively. The Báb then took a small mirror besides His blessed Person, penned a prayer in form of a talisman on the face of the mirror, and instructed His mother to take it to His wife and hold it before her face. As bidden, she took the mirror and held it before [Khadijih Bagum] and as her gaze fell upon that mirror [and its inscriptions], instantly the child was delivered and the mother regained her well-being, but the child was deceased.
The Báb’s mother then returned into His presence and remonstrated her Son, “As You evidently possessed such [preternatural] abilities, why did You not perform this act sooner and preserve the life of the child?” He smiled and replied, “It is not My destiny to leave any progeny.” His mother was infuriated with this comment, but said no more.
The illustrious wife of the Báb recounted for me:
One night I dreamt that a fearsome male lion was roaming the courtyard of our house with my hands around the neck of the lion. The beast dragged me twice round the whole perimeter of the courtyard, and once round half of it. I then woke up and was profoundly alarmed and trembled with fright. His Holiness asked of me the cause of my agitation, to which I related the dream. His comment was: “You awoke too soon, as [your dream portends that] our life together will not last more than two-and-a-half years.” And what He said, transpired.
It proceeded thusly until the declaration of the Báb occurred on the eve of Friday, the fifth day of Jamádíyu’l-Avval, 1260 A.H., two hours and eleven minutes into the night. That too has a wondrous and magnificent description that was related to me by the wife of the Báb in such words:
The practice of His Holiness was that each day He would return home about an hour after the sunset and commence His devotionals, prayers and His writings. About three hours into the night He would have the evening meal and retire about four hours past the sunset. In the morning, He would awake one hour before the dawn and after washing, would perform His ablutions and then proceed to the upper chambers of the House where it served as His outer formal guestroom. There, He stood to recital of visitation tablets, prayers, supplications, and repetition of verses. When the sun had risen, in the chamber occupied by His mother, Faddih would fire up the samovar and prepare the tea. His Holiness would come down to that apartment and have the morning tea. After that, He would proceed to undertake His commercial activities and other personal business.
However, one night, unlike other nights, He came home at dusk [earlier than customary], stating, “Inform Fiddih to prepare whatever we have for the evening meal sooner than usual as tonight I have a particular task to attend to.” About an hour and a half into the night, the dinner was served and He joined others for this purpose. Afterwards, Fiddih brought water for Him to wash His blessed hands and, as other evenings, she spread our night bedding and left for her own quarter. His Holiness came to bed and retired for the night.
It was not long after that I saw Him rise from the bed and leave the room towards the outer courtyard. At first, I thought He had gone to visit the facilities, but when His absence prolonged and He did not return, I became concerned. I rose from my bed and went out to look for Him, but He was nowhere to be found. Trying the street door I found it locked from within. I checked the chamber of His mother and did not find Him there either. By then I was deeply bewildered and perplexed. I walked to the western side of the courtyard, looked up towards the upper chamber, situated on the eastern direction of the House and serving as His private quarters, and saw that it was well lighted. It seemed as if a thousand lamps illumined the room. This added to my surprise, because we had no guests that required such profusion of lights. Therefore, with astonishment, I went up the steps of the chamber. When I entered, I noticed although only one light was in the room, it was so brilliantly lit that overwhelmed me.
There I saw His Holiness standing, faced the Qiblih; His hands raised heaven-wards, intoning a prayer. As soon as my gaze fell upon Him, I beheld such majesty and resplendence that is beyond my powers to explain. Suddenly, as if thunder-struck, such fear and trepidation enveloped me that I stood transfixed where I was, trembling uncontrollably. I could neither retrace my steps nor stand. I was near losing consciousness. Fright and quiver had thoroughly overtaken my entire being when all of a sudden He made a gesture with His blessed hand, telling me to go back. This movement of His sanctified hands gave me back my courage, and I returned to my room and bed. But I could not go to sleep and I remained deeply disturbed. Whenever I thought of His blessed Person and that scene [in the upper chamber], it added to my consternation. I felt like a wrongdoer who awaits the all-powerful sovereign to pass sentence on her. Sleep was impossible that night, and then came the dawn, and I heard the muezzin’s call to prayer from the mosque adjacent to our house.
After the conclusion of the adhán, He came downstairs to our room. As soon as my eyes alighted on His blessed Countenance, I paled and shuddered [involuntarily]. He seemed no longer like the Person with whom I had lived for two and a half years. I did not have the courage to utter a word. Somehow the morning arrived and I rose from the bed, preformed my ablutions and stood to prayers.
In accordance with our everyday practice, our servant, Faddih, had taken the samovar and tea sets to the room of His mother and informed us that tea was ready. Accompanied by Him, I went there. In His mother’s room, He drank some tea. Each moment added to my anxiety and perplexity. With His blessed hand He poured a cup of tea, passed it to me, and with a heavenly smile said, “What is it that troubles you? You are agitated.” I drank a bit of the tea, which to a prescribed degree calmed my nerves. I stated, “Áqá, what event and condition was it last night that I beheld in Your chamber?” He replied, “What a peculiar time you arrived. That was untimely. But it was the will of God to see with your own eyes. Know and be certain that at that very moment the One Exalted God appointed Me as His Manifestation to guide these servants. I am that the same promised Person whose advent they have expected for the past twelve hundred and sixty years and for His appearance they perpetually beseeched the Almighty. I have been sent forth for the salvation of the peoples.”
As soon as I heard Him speak these words, I kissed His knees and became a believer in Him. In prostration, I raised my voice in gratitude to Lord for having enabled me to recognize Him.
It was thus that the first women to believe in Him was the illustrious wife of the Bab, [Khadijih Bagum], and among the men of this family [the Afnan], it was the illustrious martyred-uncle, [Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Ali,] and among the `ulama the illustrious Bábu’l-Báb, Akhund Mullá Husayn-i-Bushraw’i, whose story will be recounted next.
Recognition and Meeting of Akhund Mullá Husayn in Shiraz:
After the passing of the late Siyyid [Kazim-i-Rashti] – may his station be exalted – who was a harbinger of this blessed Manifestation, the Akhund [Mullá Husayn] was afflicted with great perturbation and inner agitation. Together with a group of fellow-students who numbered over forty, he undertook a period of meditation, and this assemblage included, Aqá Mírzá [Siyyid] Muhammad-`Aliy-i-Barfurushi, Mullá `Aliy-i-Bastami, Akhund Mullá `Abdu’l-Jalil-i-Khu’i, Mírzá `Abdu’l-Hadi, Mírzá Muhammad Hadi, the honored Áqá Siyyid Hasan-i-Yazdi, Mullá Hasan-i-Bajistani, Mullá Bashir, Mullá Baqir-i-Turk, and Mullá Ahmad-i-Abdal, each ranking as the most eminent of the learned and expecting the manifestation of the Promised One. Details related to each one of them are captured in the historical narratives as our purpose is to recount the events of Fars.
After a period of forty days of ascetic observance in the Masjid-i-Kufih and Masjid-i-Sahlih, the honored Akhund [Mullá Husayn] established a covenant with fellow-disciples whereby should any of them to hear the Call of the Truth, to inform the others at once. Bidding them farewell, he proceeded towards Shiraz.
Upon arrival at Shiraz, because he had been acquainted with His Holiness [the Báb] during His sojourn to `Atabat, he desired a meeting and sought out the abode of His Holiness. He wished to stay at His house during his stay of few days in Shiraz. [Locating the Báb’s House], he knocked at the door, and His Holiness Himself came and opened the door. He warmly greeted and welcomed the honored Akhund, and expressed great kindness and affection. Together they proceeded to the upper chambers that served as the guestroom, [the Bab] stating, “All day I have felt disinclined to go to the caravansary, and now I know that it was because of your coming.”
After they had exchanged the customary inquiries and pleasantries, tea was served for the Akhund and then the Host asked of the teachings and doctrines of the late Shaykh [Ahmad] and Siyyid [Kazim]. [The guest] replied, “Their entire discourse and pedagogy was focused on signs of the manifestation of the Promised One.” The Báb then asked, “You Shaykhis believe that after the passing of the late Siyyid someone else must take his place, and now five months has elapsed since his death. Whom do you recognize as your Guide?” “As yet,” [Mullá Husayn] replied, “we have recognized no one and have found no successor to him. We anticipate the Author of the Cause, Whose advent is expected by all, to appear.” “What manner of man,” asked He, “must the Master be?” The honored Akhund pondered for a moment and then enumerated some of the requisite qualifications and characteristics for the expected Person. “Do you observe these in Me?” As he had not observed signs of knowledge during his Host’s residence in Karbala and knew that He had not studied with any of the teachers, responded, “I see in You none of these qualities.” To this He replied nothing.
After a while, he observed several books lying on the shelf. Examining one of them found it to be a commentary on the Suriy-i-Baqara. After pursuing it for a little, he perceived it to be an exposition of unprecedented merit, and asked in astonishment whom the author might be. “A mere youthful beginner,” answered He, “who lays greater claims to knowledge and attainments.” Again he asked who and where the writer was. “You see Him.” [At the time, Mullá Husayn] did not apprehend His meaning and read on another page where it was written, “the explanation of the essence of the essence.” Considering this an error, he remarked, “It should be ‘the explanation of the essence.’” “What can I say?” He answered, “the Author of this commentary advances claims to even more than this of greatness and knowledge. Consider the passage attentively.” This time, the Akhund read more closely and noted that the original phrase, “exposition of the essence of the essence,” was indeed correct. He stated, “I am wearied now. You read some more and I listen.” His Holiness read for a time, and then, as the divines are wont, the honored Mulla Husayn said, “It is enough. That was sufficient. Do not further trouble Yourself.”
Shortly thereafter, lunch was served and then Mullá Husayn rested for a while. In the late afternoon, His Holiness had invited several of the Shaykhis `ulama and merchants to tea and visit with the Akhund. [In the course of the conversation,] it was agreed that the next morning they all would gather at the Masjid-i-Ilkhání where the Akhund would deliver a lecture.
[The next morning saw them] all assembled at the mosque. However, desiring to commence his discourse, the Akhund found that in place of the ready flow of language and easy delivery customarily at his disposal, he was as though tongue-tied and unable to speak. Filled with amazement, he recognizes that so rare an occurrence must be due to some peculiar cause, and wondered much as to who it was that exercised this secret control over him, and what might be his object for rendering him mute and in such state of ecstasies. Such was the astonishment and emotion which took possession of him that, unable to deliver his scheduled lecture, he was obliged to make the best excuses he could for terminating his discourse. Thereupon the assembly broke up, and [Mullá Husayn] returned to his lodging deeply bewildered.
The next day when he wished to preach he found himself even more than the previous day mute and devoid of ready knowledge. Therefore, he had to excuse the audience.
The same happened on the third day. On this last occasion, he departed from the mosque in a state of utmost misery and wonder, when the Exalted One, noting the Akhund’s despondency, told the rest of their friends to go to their own houses, and instructed the Akhund to accompany Him home.
When they arrived at His Sacred House, after a short rest, the Báb said, “By what signs and evidences can you recognize the Author of the Cause, and what proof do you deem most effectual to convince you that you have attained the object of your search and discovered your Beloved?” The Akhund answered, “By scientific evidences and by possession of the Point of Knowledge which is the wellspring and center of all the wisdom of past and future prophets and near-ones.” “Do you perceive these qualities in Me?”, He inquired, “What if I were so endowed with such attributes?” Upon hearing this, the Akhund was deeply perturbed, and stated, “That You are devout, godly, and holy of life, is true; but only innate knowledge and infinite wisdom can admit to this most exalted Station.” At this comment, His Holiness was silent for while as though in wonder, while the Akhund thought to himself, “What idea can this devout Youth be harboring in His mind that He so persistently introduces this topic? I must at all events ask some questions of His honored Person which He had never heard discussed and cannot answer, so that He may be turned aside from His vain imaginings.”
Therefore, he presented to His Holiness a question which appeared to him very difficult of solution, and which he always had in mind during the life-time of the late Siyyid [Kazim], though never had found an opportunity of propounding it in such wise as to have the difficulty removed in a satisfactory manner. Without hesitation, his Host provided a full and sufficient answer. The Akhund was filled with amazement, and proceeded to propound yet another hard question, which He answered with tremendous facility in the most conclusive way. Utterly astounded and bewildered, nevertheless, [Mullá Husayn] reflected within himself, “Is not this Youth Who but a few days ago did not correctly read the Commentary on the Suriy-i-Baqara? How is it that He has now become the source and well-spring of all past knowledge?”
Even as thus the Akhund thought, he observed His Holiness sitting in a most dignified and majestic attitude, the left hand laid on the left knee and the right hand over it. As the guest looked, He began to utter most wondrous verses containing answers to every thought that passed through the Akhund’s mind, until many verses had been revealed from the Fount of divine revelation. During this entire period, the Akhund waited anxiously for Him to conclude, so strong was the fear and awe that possessed him.
At length He ceased, and [Mullá Husayn], in the extremity of terror, rose up to flee, as some delinquent might flee from before a mighty sovereign. He asked permission [to take his leave, but] His Holiness responded, “Remain seated! Where are you going? Anyone who should see you in this state would think you have lost your mind.” Constrained by His bidding, he regained his seat, while His Holiness withdrew to the private section of the House.
During His absence, the Akhund was prey to most anxious thoughts. Care for the worldly interests and fear of incurring suffering, the needs and avoidances, alike urged him to draw back; and yet, ponder as he might, he could find no pretext whereby he might excuse himself from recognition of the Lord of Creation, neither did he perceive any course save confession and acceptance. As such, he was greatly perturbed, agitated and troubled beyond all measure.
After some while, contrary to His practice from other days, [the Bab] Himself brought in the tea, and seated Himself near the Akhund, and showered him with most gracious expressions. He poured tea [for Mullá Husayn] and handed him the cup, but the honored Akhund, however, remained as one distraught, and filled with wonder presently again asked permission to depart. “You are still,” [the Báb] informed him, “in a state of extreme bewilderment, though you are not yourself aware of it. Should anyone see you as such, he would assuredly deem you to have lost all your faculties.”
After about an hour though, when he had regained his composure, [Mullá Husayn] was permitted to take his leave.
On the occasion of the next visit, [Mullá Husayn] was shown a revealed Commentary on the Hadith-i-Jariyyih and recalled that the late Siyyid [Kazim] had stated when he was alive that the Proof Who was to appear would compose a full explanation of this tradition, and now saw his promise manifest before him. Moreover, he remembered that one day, when he was alone with the late Siyyid [Kazim] in his library, in the course of conversation, he [Mullá Husayn] had inquired the reason why Suriy-i-Yusuf [Joseph] of the Qur’an is titled the Ahsanu’l-Qisas [the Best of Stories], to which the late Siyyid had replied that it was not then the proper occasion for explaining the reason. This incident remained concealed in his mind.
Now His Holiness stated, “Honored Mulla Husayn, do you recall inquiring once of the late Siyyid why Suriy-i-Yusuf was called the Ahsanu’l-Qisas, and how he replied that the proper occasion for explaining this had not yet come? The time for this exposition has now arrived.” Thereupon He showed [Mullá Husayn] a Commentary on this Surih revealed from the Most Exalted Pen, and upon its perusal, the eminent Akhund attained the shore of certitude and prostrated himself in gratitude to God.
[Conversion of Mullá Sadiq-i-Khurasani:]
In the presence [of the Báb, Mullá Husayn] reverently stated, “During our stay at the Masjid-i-Kufih and Masjid-i-Sahlih and prior to dispersing [in search of the Promised Qa’im], my companions and I established a covenant whereby whichever one of us first heard the Call of the Truth would inform the others. For this purpose, Akhund Mullá Sadiq [known as] Muqaddas-i-Khurasaní proceeded towards Isfahan and now dwells in that city. If it would please You, allow me to proceed to Isfahan and to enlighten him so that he, too, would attain the station of assurance.” “There is no harm in that,” the Báb replied “however, it must be conditioned upon several things.” “Whatever is You command,” [Mullá Husayn] responded, “I will instantly and faithfully obey.”
The Báb then revealed an extensive Commentary on one of the shorter Surihs of the Qur’an and entrusted this sacred document to the honored Akhund Mullá Husayn, instructing him, “Take this Commentary with yourself to Isfahan. After you have renewed your acquaintance with the Akhund, first ask if during his period of search, he has heard or met anyone who advanced a claim to be the Promised One? Should he respond that he has neither met a claimant nor heard of such a call, ask if he himself is putting forth a claim. And should he present one, as you have observed yourself, he must firmly and irrevocably prove his station based on the divine verses. But if he stated that he has no claim of his own, then present him with this Commentary without identifying its Author as he himself must discern [the Source of Revelation].”
The honored Akhund proceeded to Isfahan ever mindful of [the Báb’s] instructions, and upon arrival, was united with his old companion, Mullá Sadiq. “O honored Akhund, after we were separated from one another,” Mullá Husayn inquired, “have you met a claimant or heard of [anyone advancing such] a call?” He responded negatively. “Do you observe in yourself such qualities which may serve as evidence of some exalted station?” Deeply puzzled, Mullá Sadiq rejoined, “Have you gone mad? Who are we to contemplate such things? The Promised One must be of necessity possess innate knowledge. Have you lost your rational faculties that you ask such a question?”
Upon being certain of Mullá Sadiq’s position, in accordance with the Báb’s wish, a copy of the Commentary was presented to the former who after perusing a few of it, seized the hem of Mullá Husayn’s garment, inquiring, “Who is the Author of this Commentary as of certainty He is the Truth. Where and Who is He?” Refusing to answer his question directly, [Mullá Husayn] informed him that he was not permitted to divulge such information and that unaided he was to discern [the identity of its Author]. In face of [Mullá Sadiq’s] insistence, however, he remained adamant.
Soon the darkness of dusk fell and supper was served. Afterwards the honored Mullá Husayn retired satisfied in the knowledge that he had carried out the mission entrusted him in its totality.
The story of the honored Mullá Sadiq and the manner of his recognition is quite extensive and no doubt is related thoroughly in narratives pertaining to Isfahan, and as such, this servant will not add to the burden of the reader.
In short, after achieving certitude, Mullá Sadiq together with several others proceeded to Shiraz so that they would attain the blessed presence [of the Báb]. Upon arrival in Shiraz, however, they learned that His Holiness had departed for His journey to Mecca. The honored Akhund Mulla Sadiq and his companions began to propagate the news of the Revelation, particularly from the pulpit of Masjid-i-Baqir-abad. This matter was reported to the `ulama, who consulted [on the matter]. By order of Husayn Khan, the Ajudan-bashi, known as Sahib-Ikhtiyar, those illustrious personages were seized, beaten by sticks, their beards burnt, and their noise pierced and a rope passed through the incision. From dawn to dusk, the Mir-ghazab [the executioner] paraded them throughout the bazaar and [stopped] by each shop and collected a prize from the shopkeeper. At sunset, those severely injured, faithful and wronged believers were released and forced to leave town, bitterly tired and hungry.
[Arrival of Quddus:]
Recognition of Áqá Mírzá Muhammad-`Aliy-i-Barfurushi, who was surnamed Quddús: He was among the `ulama and learned divines famous for piety and godliness, and because of his inner spirituality and purity, no sooner had he heard the Call that had left [his native town] in search of the promised One in Shiraz.
Upon arrival at that city and meeting the Báb in the streets, without seeking proofs or signs, nor evidence or deductions, he instantly attained unto complete certitude. From then, he ranked among the foremost disciples, manifesting unsurpassed qualities and excelled all others in knowledge. The details related to his glorious life, magnificent services and his martyrdom are described in‑depth in history of the events of Fort Tabarsi and as such will not be repeated in these pages.
The Bab’s Blessed Journey to Mecca in Sha`ban 1260 [A.H.]:
The blessed and heavenly cavalcade of the Báb left for Mecca – an undertaking that completed the proof for all that dwell on earth. Among those who were in His blessed presence were: Hájí Abu’l-Hasan, the late father of Áqá Mírzá Baqir Khan-i-Dihqan, whose goodly qualities remains beyond any descriptions; Áqá Mírzá Muhammad-`Ali, surnamed Quddus; and Hájí Mubarak, a servant purchased by the Báb while in Bushihr who possessed a pleasant and noble disposition. This group proceeded from Shiraz. That year a large contingent of the city’s inhabitants, including many of the `ulama and the merchants were journeying towards Mecca as well. Shaykh Hashim, a brother of the Imam Jum`ih, Shaykh Abu-Turab, who was a particularly mischievous and malicious person, was also among this group of pilgrims.
According to the Islamic traditions, whenever the 10th day of Dhi’l-Hajjih, which is the observance of the `Id-i-Adha [the Festival of Sacrifice], falls on a Friday, that pilgrimage is called Hajj-i-Akbar and signifies the year of the Manifestation [of the Promised One]. Moreover, the well-known tradition informs that on such an occasion, the Qa’im will place His back against the Masjidu’l-Ahram and will openly declare His Cause. On that year great many pilgrims from all corners of the world that had Muslim were proceeding towards Mecca.
At that time journey by sea was most difficult and dangerous as steam vessels did not travel the waters of the Persian Gulf and only sailing ships were available which made the voyage to Jaddih a minimum of three or four months. One day the late Hájí Abu’l-Hasan – may his station be exalted – [and who had been a travel companion of the Báb,] described his pilgrimage journey for this servant in such words:
During the time that we were at the presence of His Holiness aboard the ship, there were many passengers, who for the most part were hostile [towards the Báb]. Among them was Shaykh Abu-Hashim who both verbally and physically showed rancor and would cause great discomfort for His Holiness. His troubles and injuries had reached such a degree that often the Captain of the ship would come forth and admonish him not to perpetrate so much abuse and affliction upon the innocent Siyyid [i.e. the Báb]. However, he would not cease from his doings.
One day he began to dispute with the Captain and uttered such unseemly words that caused the latter to grow so aggravated that he instructed sailors to seize the Shaykh and throw him overboard into the sea. Greatly perturbed and enraged, the Captain stood nearby to ensure that indeed his instructions were carried out post-haste and that the Shaykh was cast overboard. At this instance, His Holiness arrived and interceded [on behalf of the Shaykh]. The Captain did not accept [His intercession] and commanded loudly, “Throw this accursed one into the sea!”
Sensing that they were about to carry out the Captain’s instructions, His Holiness threw Himself on the Shaykh and embraced him firmly and once again pleaded with the Captain to forgive the Shaykh on His account. Deeply moved by the benevolence and the generosity manifested by His Holiness, he accepted His request and submitted, “My Master, this accursed one has perpetrated more injuries upon You than anyone else and consequently You must be even more eager than others to see him perish. Why is it then that You prevented us from so doing?” “Such people only harm themselves,” the Báb pronounced, “and we must look upon their deeds with sin-covering eyes.” The meekness exhibited by His Sacred Self, and His intercession on behalf of the Shaykh, caused a change of heart [towards Him] among many passengers and they no longer displayed enmity or inequity, and became repentant and remorseful.
Once our ship had anchored at Jaddih, His Holiness proceeded towards Mecca. The number of pilgrims during that year was beyond adumbration and count. They included Arabs, Turks, Iranians, Kurds and Indians, totaling in excess of seventy-thousands pilgrims who for the most part came from the rank of the `ulama and the learned. Many had mastered the science of divination and jafr [numerology] and had determined that in that year the Promised One would appear and that the True Claimant would openly manifest Himself in Mecca and had come to partake in such an event.
Among them was the renowned Hájí Siyyid Ja`far-i-Kashfi, who ranked as the ablest in the field of numerology and had a profound knowledge of jafr. He had closely studied such sayings as the Hadith-i-Marvy narrated by the Immaculate One [the eighth Imam, ‘Ali ar-Rida], upon Him rest peace: “In the year Sixty, His Cause will be made manifest and His Remembrance exalted.” And the allusions of certain mystics who had openly given many signs for His appearance, much like, Shah Ni`matu’llah Vali who in his poems had clearly given the news of the Manifestation:
If thou reacheth the year ghars, behold,
the renewal of the sovereign, realm, nation and faith.
He had also written:
With the passing of ghars years,
I see the Absent One hath appeared.
And also in the collection of Khajih Hafiz poetry:
Behold the crest of moon in Muharram,
and drink from the wine cup,
Since it’s a sign of safety and absence of harm,
and augurs the year of peace and love.
He [i.e. Siyyid Ja`far] had studied these according to the science of numerology and the had consulted an expert in divination: “As this is the year ‘sixty,’ will the Qa’im appear in Mecca?” To which he had received an affirmative response. He had then asked “If I were to go [on pilgrimage], will I attain the presence of the Qa’im? And again he had received a positive response. The Siyyid had then asked if he was destined to become a follower of the Qa’im, to which the expert had responded: “You will not become a believer.”
I myself met Hájí Siyyid Ja`far in Mecca. He saw [the Báb] with his own eyes and heard [Him proclaim His Faith] with his own ears and yet failed to recognize.
Hájí Mírzá Muhammad-`Ali [Quddús], some other believers and myself were in His blessed presence [of the Báb]. After the conclusion of the pilgrim rites in the Masjidu’l-Haram, throngs of pilgrims were present and all the courtyards and rooftops were overflowed with waves of multitudes. His Holiness approached the Shrine and leaned His blessed back against the Ka`bih, holding the door-chain with His sacred Hand. With the utmost clarity and eloquence thrice He announced in a resonate voice: ‘I am the Qa’im Whose appearance you have been expecting!’
It was a true wonder that despite of the massive multitude and the noise, as soon as the Báb begun to speak a complete silence overcame that whole area in such wise that one could hear a bird flap its wings. Once complete silence was established over everyone, with a reverberating voice and utmost clarity, thrice He uttered the same blessed proclamation so that all the pilgrims could hear.
Deeply excited, the pilgrims were recounting that occurrence and interpreting the meaning of it for one another. All conversations among the multitude of travelers solely surrounded this event. Indeed, the very first topic that the pilgrims wrote to their kinfolk was that, a young merchant-Siyyid, twenty-five years of age, had taken hold of the Ka`bih’s chain and with resounding voice had advanced the claim of the Qa’imiyyat.
In a short time, this news was spread in all parts of the world. Those men who sought the Truth and those among them who thirsted after certitude readily uttered “Yea, yea!” and enrolled among those who believed.
The news of this event was now spreading rapidly in Shiraz. Prior to the voyage to Mecca not all of the city’s inhabitants were universally aware of this Call. Some had heard it and recognized its truth, while others had not heard [the claim], and yet others were wont of saying, “These matters are pure calumny and there is no validity in them.” After the news of Mecca had reached Shiraz and His exact utterances were written and disseminated, the whole of people were now aware and fully informed, and no room remained for doubt and vicissitude.
[Return from Bushihr:]
The time was well nigh for the arrival of His Holiness to Shiraz. Shaykh Abu-Hashim, [brother of Imam Jum`ih,] wrote a most provocative description of the events aimed at promoting mischief, raising the cry, “Our religion is lost!” His sole purpose was to evoke the base elements into protestation. A great excitement was caused when his letter reached Shiraz and, as a result, a contingent of the `ulama, such as, Shaykh Husayn-i-Zalim [the tyrant], known as the Nazimu’sh-Shari`ah, Akhund Mullá Muhammad-`Aliy-i-Mahallati, Shaykh Mahdi [Kajawvi], and a score of others, went before Husayn Khan whom at that time was the Governor-General of Shiraz. They complained, “The Siyyid Who had publicly claimed [the station of] the Qa’imiyyat and the Bábiyyat in Mecca will shortly arrive [in Shiraz] and you must protect the adherents of Islam by quenching this fire and quieting His Call, so it is barred.” Manipulated by the adulation that he received from the divines, Husayn Khan dispatched to Bushihr a mounted escort of several men to arrest His Holiness and to return Him to Shiraz.
Late one afternoon, His Holiness was standing above an elevation by the village of Dálakí, a distance of two days journey to Bushihr, when the soldiers passed through that location and His Holiness instructed Hájí Mubarak, “Quickly go and inquire of the soldiers of their destiny and their mission.” In accordance with His command, Hájí Mubarak approached the soldiers and asked of their purpose. However, the men rebuked him by saying, “What concern of yours is it Blackman where we are intending?” Hájí Mubarak returned to His presence and informed Him, “The horsemen refused to tell of their charge.” This time, [the Báb] enjoined, “Go tell them to come before Me.” Hájí Mubarak went to the soldiers, stating, “My Master asked that you trouble yourself and come so He can make your acquaintance.”
A certain Aslan Khan who was older and wiser than the rest came back with Hájí Mubarak and attained His blessed presence. He was asked, “Where are you going and what mission have you been given?” The soldier tried to hide their intended mission and did not divulge the character of their charge. This time [the Báb] stated, “No reason to conceal your mission as your purpose is to arrest the Siyyid-i-Báb and to return Him forthwith to Shiraz. Do not trouble yourselves. I stand ready. Should you continue on your march to Bushihr and pass this spot, surely you will fail in the discharge of the entrusted mission.” The official looked closely at His Countenance and noted that all the signs that he had been given in Shiraz to identify Him were evident and as such recognized that the intended Person stood before him. He returned to his companions and reported what had transpired which caused them all to exclaim with wonder, “If a man is sought by the government and authorities, surely he must flee those sent for his arrest. How is then that with the utmost courage and firmness this Personage has come forward informing us that indeed He is the object of our quest? Of a certainty He must be of truth!”
The valor of the Báb awakened the consciousness of the men. They attained His blessed presence and His Holiness showered upon them His immense kindness and benevolence. He instructed Hájí Mubarak to serve them the supper he had made ready as these men had been travelling and of a certainty were hungry and tired. Hájí Mubarak placed before the soldiers the same food that he had prepared for his Master and himself, which was only sufficient for two persons. The men looked and noticed that there was very little food and that it would not even suffice one of them. However, they sat to dine and soon discovered that they were all fed most adequately from that one plate. This experience deepened their wonder and throughout the journey they bore witness to many such miracles and extraordinary occurrences.
Eventually, with utmost respect and dignity, the men accompanied His Holiness to Shiraz and told their friends and acquaintances of what they had observed and of the grandeur and majesty of the Báb.
Return of the Exalted One From Mecca to Shiraz in 1261 [A.H.]:
At all events, after the true `ulama, who were the heralds of the Manifestation, had raised the news of the Cause throughout the realm and particularly in Shiraz which had received universal notice. His Holiness returned from Mecca in 1261 [A.H.]. Since He had unveiled and proclaimed His Cause in Mecca and made evident His Manifestation, this accelerated the spread of the Faith in all parts – a fact written extensively in all Baha’i histories and which will be recounted briefly here as well.
In short, His Holiness arrived in Shiraz in company of the guards, and they proceeded directly to the Governor’s office where [the Báb] was handed over [to the authorities]. The soldiers, who had met Him at Dálakí and along the way had witnessed the extraordinary events, reported all that had transpired on this journey to the Nizamu’d-Dawlih. Husayn Khan ordered the arrest of His Holiness and this news was disseminated [throughout the city]. Immediately, the-ignorant-known-for-knowledge were assembled and began to heap scorn and disdain upon [the Bab] and that which was worthy of themselves they attributed to Him. With his own hand, Shaykh Husayn-i-Zalim rebuked His Holiness.
When the illustrious maternal uncle [of the Báb] and the revered mother of His Holiness were informed of these events, they became deeply perturbed. The latter, upon her brother, Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Ali, began to uncontrollably lament and bewail [over the condition of her Son].
The Báb’s maternal uncle departed for the Governor’s office and on meeting Husayn Khan, stated, “His Holiness has only now returned from pilgrimage to Mecca and His mother and other members of His household eagerly expect His arrival. Why have you arrested Him? Is He not a descendent of the Prophet of God? Is there no shame before His illustrious Ancestor?” Noting the forceful manner that the uncle presented His defense, Husayn Khan replied, “Should you consent and intercede, and serve as a guarantor, pledging that He would not meet with anyone and would desist writing treatises, nor would He distribute such things, then I will release Him.”
The illustrious uncle, Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Ali, ranked among the most honored merchants and was well acquainted with all the noblemen of the city. As such, he responded, “I associate with and am a friend to men from all strata of the city and His Holiness is my Nephew. Since it is customary to visit one who has been on pilgrimage, many people will come to visit Him. How am I to ask friends and acquaintances not to come for such a meeting?” Faced with irrefutable logic, Husayn Khan responded, “For three days townsfolk may come for visit, but on the fourth day, you are to close the door to all and allow no further association.” It was such that through sponsorship of the uncle, His Holiness was brought home with him.
[Upon the Bab’s arrival home], His mother and His blessed wife, along with other friends and relatives, attained His honored presence and for three days all believers and acquaintances enjoyed this union and gained indescribable and immeasurable spiritual insights. [During those days,] divine verses poured forth as torrential showers and these were penned in His own blessed hand on large sheets of cashmere papers and bestowed upon the visitors.
On completion of the three days, all access was denied to the friends and none were permitted to attain the presence [of the Báb]. However, though men may strive ever more to hid the Sun of Reality with the cloud of formal restrictions, its radiance and effulgence becomes more apparent. Consequently, although to all appearances the believers were denied access [to their Master] and prevented from gaining such a felicitation, they still continued to submit to Him their question and difficulties, and to receive replies, for it is incumbent on the generous to answer him who asks, more especially when his questions refer to religious matters, and his demands are for guidance and direction into the path of salvation. As such, a large number of people from the surrounding country also came to inquire into the matter, and these likewise submitted their questions, and received, each according to his own capacity, full and satisfactory answers, whereby they too were brought to believe.
[Arrival of Vahid-i-Darabi:]
Among those who attained the presence [of the Báb] during the days of Shiraz, and has a wondrous and amazing story, was the honored Áqá Siyyid Yahyay-i-Darabi, the illustrious son of the late Hájí Siyyid Ja`far Khashi, whose mention was made through the recollections of the late Hájí Abu’l-Hasan – may the Divine Bliss be upon him – in the section pertaining to Mecca.
[Siyyid Yahyay-i-Darabi] was eminent among the mujtahids and the learned scholars, [divinely] gifted with supernatural faculties and high spiritual attainments, and unrivalled in discourse, discovery, and austerity of life and piety. At that time he was residing in Tihra. The late Muhammad Shad of Qajar profoundly trusted him to the degree that he would not take any actions or undertake any decree without the leave and the fatwa of Siyyid Yahya. When the news of this Cause reached the monarch’s ears, he summoned the honored Áqá Siyyid Yahya, stating, “According to the information received at our court, a certain Personage in Fárs has advanced the claim to the Qa’imiyyat and the Bábiyyat. As you enjoy our utmost confidence, you must proceed at once to that province and investigate the matter fully, and appraise us of the veracity or falsity of these reports so that we would know what religious duties behooves us. You must prepare to journey at the earliest time and write a detailed report of your interview.” [The Shah] then appointed a stipend for the mission and provided him with a steed.
Upon arrival at Shiraz he met with a certain eminent and illustrious personage who is in truth learned in Divine Knowledge and wise in the wisdom of the Eternal, the honored Hájí Siyyid Javad-i-Karbala’i, whom were friends and associates in `Atabat. Through him, [Siyyid Yahya] met with several other [Babi] `ulama and prominent believers and as the object of his search, he was eager to obtain forthwith an interview with the Báb, but permission was for sundry reasons deferred, and he spent this interval in examining some of the revealed verses. Finding in them no ground for objection or denial, he said in confidence to the honored Hájí Siyyid Javad, “These luminous words and verses bear witness to the truth of the claim, and leave no room for doubt; yet were it permitted to me to behold some miracle or sign beyond this, I should gain a fuller certitude and assurance.” To this that illustrious personage answered, “For such as like us beheld a thousand marvels stranger than the fabled cleaving of the moon to demand a miracle or sign from that Perfect Truth would be as though we should seek light from a candle or be satisfied with a lighted wick in the full blaze of the radiant sun.”
In short, Áqá Siyyid Yahya prepared a petition and therein requested that a commentary on the blessed Surih of Kawthar be revealed for his edification. One night, about four hours after sun down, he took this supplication to the Blessed House of the Báb and attained His presence, presenting his request. [The Báb] instructed him to return at dawn to receive the answer to his quest.
In the early dawn, as he was bidden, once more [Siyyid Yahya] attained His presence and there was given the answer in form of an unrivaled commentary on Surih of Kawthar that stood nearly five thousand verses of texts. Bringing that book home with him, no sooner had he peruse its contents and its luminous verses that filled with wonder, he attained the presence of the honored Siyyid Javad-i-Karbala’i and stated, “I have beheld a marvel a hundred‑thousand‑fold beyond what I sought, for, with all my learning and scholarship, I spent nine whole days in writing one single page of questions containing not more than twelve lines. Most wonderful, therefore, does it seem to me that I put my request to Him at four hours into the night and by the dawn time such verses and illustrations of exceeding eloquence and clarity of style should be revealed and written down during five or six hours of the latter part of the night, which is the time for His Holiness’s repose.”
When, therefore, Áqá Siyyid Yahya had well considered that wondrous treatise, he immediately prostrated and attained full certitude. After a sojourn of some little while, during which the honor of further interview was accorded to him, he received permission to depart through Bavanat and Marvast [Marv-Dasht], then subsequently he set out for Yazd to proclaim the blessed Cause and to teach the Faith. Surely, the details of the occurrences in Yazd will be documented in the histories of that city. God willing, his return from Yazd and the events of Nayriz will be narrated later in this book.
[The Bab’s Public Announcement at Masjib-i-Vakil:]
At all events, the enmity of enemies was now manifested to the utmost degree and they exerted many efforts to prevent the friends from attaining the presence [of the Báb] and meeting with His Person. However, the devotion of the believers and the grandeur of the Cause could withstand their onslaught and the friends’ visit to His sacred presence increased considerably in accordance with the verse, “Verily the devils inspire their friends.” The honored opponents reported the events to Husayn Khan [who issued an order for the arrest of the Báb], and on the eve of 21 Ramadan [1262 A.H.], over the neighbor’s wall, the guards entered the House of His Holiness.
`Abdu’l-Hamid Khan, the Darughih, who was charged with carrying out this order, arrived with several of his farrashes and noted that His Holiness was alone in the dwelling. Deeply embarrassed, `Abdu’l-Hamid Khan submitted, “Certain reports had reached us that a crowd had gathered at this location and, therefore, we came to investigate. However, since it is evident that no one is here, we take our leave.” He then asked for a gratuity, to which [the Báb] responded, “Ther eis nothing here. Insisting on receiving a prize, `Abdu’l-Hamid Khan seized the imported cashmere shawl that the Báb was wearing around His waist and sliced it in middle, taking half with him.
The Darughih thereupon went before Husayn Khan telling the latter that none were in the Báb’s House save He. However, the mischievous elements, led by the `ulama, continued to perpetrate sedition and as such Husayn Khan, the Governor, sent his men to summon His Holiness with His maternal uncle to the Governor’s office. There, he [Husayn Khan] rebuked the illustrious uncle, roaring, “You guaranteed that none would be associating [with the Báb], but you have acted against your own written statement. Consequently, you must be punished.” He then turned to the farrashes and spoke harshly and contemptuously with them as well and instructed that sticks be brought. The illustrious uncle, who was greatly respected Siyyid and over sixty years of age, was struck with sticks most severely, and the Báb was struck in the face as well. Afterwards, a sum of money was extracted from the victims and [as the uncle was unable to walk] the farrashes carried him over their shoulders to his house where he remained injured in bed for a period of time.
His Holiness was subject to brutal treatment and imprisoned in the house of `Abdu’l-Hamid Khan. For a while it passed thusly. Once again, the `ulama assembled and went before Husayn Khan demanding that he must follow through and force the Siyyid-i-Báb to be summoned and compelled to recant His claim.
One afternoon all the `ulama gathered in the Government House, that is, the Governor’s office, and consulted on the situation and unanimously decided that His Holiness must be brought to the Masjid-i-Vakil where all of the city’s inhabitants, including such ranks as the `ulama, the merchants, the shopkeepers, and others, would be present, and in that assemblage He must be forced to withdraw His claim.
My brother, Hájí Mírzá Buzurg, and I were present once when the late Hájí Mírzá Muhammad-Sadiq-i-Mu`allim [teacher], who was a most respected man and had witnessed the event of Masjid-i-Vakil, related briefly that episode for the late `Andalib. The details are as such:
I was about twenty-five years old and had reached the age of being able to discern right from falsehood. It was noised throughout the city that, on the request of the `ulama, the authorities were inviting all inhabitants of Shiraz from every strata to gather in Masjid-i-Vakil where the Siyyid-i-Báb would renounce His claims. I went to the mosque as well, and exerted particular effort to find a spot near [the pulpit] where I could behold Him and clearly hear His utterances and speech. From the morning of that day, rank upon rank of onlookers arrived at the mosque, and by three o’clock in the afternoon the entire courtyard, the cloisters, the roofs and even the minarets of the mosque were thronged with people. The Governor, the `ulama, the merchants and other dignitaries entered and sat in the cloisters, near the stone pulpit. (This is a pulpit carved out of one piece of marble and has fourteen steps.)
I was sitting near the pulpit when a commotion was raised in the courtyard: “He is coming!” He entered through the entrance of cloisters in company of ten farrashes and `Abdu’l-Hamid Khan, the Darughih, and came near the pulpit. The Báb was wearing a turban and an `aba and walked with such dignity, might, grandeur and magnificence that is truly indescribable. Such a large multitude of people in attendance meant nothing to Him and He heeded them not the least.
He said to the `ulama and the Governor, “What is your purpose in summoning Me to this place?” They responded, “The intention is that You should ascend this pulpit and repudiate Your false claim so that this fury and excitement would subside.” [The Báb] did not respond and ascended the pulpit where He stood on the third step. With great vehemence, Shaykh Husayn-i-Zalim said, “Ascend to the top of the pulpit so everyone can see You and hear Your voice.” His Holiness ascended to the top of the pulpit and sat there. Suddenly an absolute silence prevailed and not a whisper could be heard from the people, and it seemed as if not a soul was in that mosque. Everyone was listening most attentively.
At first, with utmost majesty and sovereignty, He commenced recitation of an exquisite Arabic homily with absolute eloquence and clarity that lasted some half of an hour. The entire concourse of people, high and low, learned and illiterate alike were in total rapture and listened with great fascination. People’s silence, caused agitation in Shaykh Husayn who said to the Governor, “Have you summoned the Siyyid in presence of these people to establish the validity of His Cause or to recant His false claim? He is casting a spell on the assemblage with His enchanting speech. Instruct Him to say what He was intended to say. What drivel is He uttering?” Husayn Khan, the Sahib-Ikhtiyar, said [to the Báb], “Siyyid, say what they [i.e. the divines] have told you to say, as what is this idle chatter?” His Holiness remained silent for a moment and then uttered, “O People, know this well and be informed. I say unto you what My Grandfather, the Messenger of God, spoke twelve hundred and sixty years ago and that I do not speak what He did not. ‘What Muhammad made lawful remains lawful unto the Day of Resurrection and what He forbade remains forbidden unto the Day of Resurrection.’ In accordance with this Hadith-i-Marvi from the Immaculate One, ‘Verily, the Qa’im will usher forth the Day of Resurrection.’”
Having recited this tradition, He then descended the pulpit. Many of those who had previously harbored enmity or malice, once had encountered Him, were guided aright and repudiated their ways.
Shaykh Husayn-i-Zalim, out of sheer hostility, raised his walking-stick to strike His Holiness in the head, when the late Mírzá Abu’l-Hasan Khan, the Mushiru’l-Mulk, who was a young man in those days, readily brought forward his shoulder to ward off the attack, and it was his shoulder that sustained the hit. Afterwards, Husyan Khan instructed His Holiness to once again be imprisoned in the home of `Abdu’l-Hamid Khan.
In short, the aforementioned Hájí [Mu`allim], though not a believer but an admirer [of the Báb], related this story to the late `Andalib. His purpose was that [the Bab] on that occasion affirmed the truth of His Cause and completed His proof before the concourse of people.
[Fatwa Against the Bab:]
After His Holiness returned from the mosque and was placed under house-arrest at the home of `Abdu’l-Hamid Khan, the entire body of the `ulama assembled and they fixed their seal on a fatwa decreeing the death of His Holiness. Among those who was present and signed the document was Shaykh Husayn-i-Zalim, known as the Nazimu’sh-Shari`ih, who was the source of all sedition and the prime instigator of mischief. Others, were Shaykh Abu-Hashim, Shaykh Asadu’llah, Shaykh Mihdiy-i-Kujúry, Mullá Muhammad-`Alí Mahallati, and others like them. They wrote whatsoever they wished and signed that paper.
That congregation then proceeded to the home of the late Shaykh Abu-Turab, the Imam Jum`ih, who despite their insistence and every effort had refused to attend their assemblage. Attaining the presence of Shaykh, they acquainted him with their purpose and presented the document, requesting him to fix his seal on the paper as well so that the matter of the Siyyid be concluded [and the Báb be slain]. Upon perusing the fatwa and considering its content, the Shaykh, profoundly moved with indignation, threw the paper to the ground and cried, “Have you lost your faculties! Never will I sign such a paper as I have no misgivings whatsoever in the nobility, chastity, integrity, sagacity, piety and virtuosity of this Siyyid! In this Youth, I behold the ultimate manifestation of Islamic and human attributes, as well as evidence of highest reflections of wisdom and rational reasoning. I see two possibilities: either He speaks truthfully, or He is, as you allege, a liar. If He speaks genuinely, then I would be remiss to issue a fatwa against an honest and trustworthy person. And should He, as you aver, be a liar and a perjurer, which of us standing here can claim to have spoken only the truth in our lives? Therefore, arise and leave this place and do not conceive such void imaginings.” No matter how they pleaded, the late Shaykh Abu-Turab, may his station be exalted, refused to signify the document with his seal, and through this refusal, their efforts came to naught, their purpose frustrated, and their wish remained unfulfilled.
[Departure for Isfahan:]
In short, at this time, for the warning and awakening of neglectful and ignorant, the Ocean of Divine Wrath was stirred forth and a grievous cholera epidemic fell upon Iran and raged with especial fury over Shiraz. Great multitudes from all ranks, including nobles, peasants, learned, illiterate, ministers and subjects, escaped quickly from this evident calamity. The first to retreat was Husayn Khan, the Governor, and then others followed from all ranks of society.
And a large number died. It chanced that the two young sons of `Abdu’l-Hamid Khan, the Darughih, fell ill of the cholera and came nigh to the death’s door. Their mother, deeply agitated, spoke harshly with her husband, `Abdu’l-Hamid Khan, saying, “Their illness is because of your evil doings towards this wronged Siyyid Who has been unjustly imprisoned here. Through such negligence, you will bring ruin upon yourself and the whole household. Let this innocent Siyyid leave.” `Abdu’l-Hamid Khan besought the Báb, earnestly stating, “Depart for wherever Your holy inclinations may lead You.” “Husayn Khan has escaped from the city in face of divine chastisement,” [the Báb] responded, “however, when he returns, you will be responsible [for My whereabouts].” `Abdu’l-Hamid Khan pleaded, “It is I who must remain answerable to Husayn Khan as because of my misdeeds, my sons are now near death. After them, I wish not to live any longer in this world.” He cried bitterly for the fate befallen him and beseeched the intercession of His Holiness Who prayed and responded by handing him a sweet pomegranate and stating, “Have your sons eat from this fruit.” After the lads had partaken of the pomegranate near Him and full recovery was theirs, `Abdu’l-Hamid Khan, having witnessed the occurrence of this miracle, implored Him, “Not even for one hour tarry in this dwelling and I will not prevent Your departure in whatever direction that You will. And furthermore, I stand ready to offer whatever service that Your Holiness may require.”
[The Bab] retired to His house and there the family and kinsmen came to visit Him. Later, in company of Áqá Muhammad-Husayn-i-Ardistani, who numbered among the believers and His close companions, [the Báb] proceeded for the city of Isfahan. The events occurring in that land are indeed beyond all descriptions and assuredly have been recorded in the narratives pertaining to that city. For our purposes, only the following note regarding the incidents of Isfahan should suffice.
Upon arrival in the city of Isfahan, the late Manuchihr Khan, the Mu`tamidu’d-Dawlih, exalted be his station, came into the presence [of the Báb] and immediately became a most ardent admirer. His Holiness described some of tyranny and injuries that He had previously endured at the hand of Husayn Khan, adding, “When We departed from Shiraz, cholera raged over the province of Fárs and Husayn Khan escaped with all deliberate speed from the city. I was made captive at the home of `Abdu’l-Hamdi Khan, but because of the epidemic and the fact that his own sons fell victims to the illness, he released this Wronged-One and of necessity asked that I leave. In so doing, he remarked, ‘Upon Husayn Khan’s return, I will personally shoulder the responsibility.’ Surely, after the pandemic of cholera has been eradicated and quite has once again been the city’s norm, Husayn Khan will return and will inquire after Me. As he is a wicked and ill-natured man, upon discovering that I no longer reside within His grasp, he will injure my kinsmen and family. My purpose is to ask your Excellency to petition Husayn Khan so that he would not disturb [My family].” As soon as this request was made by his distinguished Guest, the late Mu`tamidu’d-Dawlih wrote a detailed letter to the Governor-General of Fars, stating to the effect, “The Siyyid-i-Báb is a guest in my abode in Isfahan and I stand as His protector. Should the government summon Him [to Tihran for further inquiry], I will personally deliver Him. You have no cause to pester His family or cause their disturbance.” This letter was sent to Shiraz with a special envoy.
When the epidemic had subsided to a prescribed degree, the people who had fled the city returned forthwith including Husayn Khan whom [as anticipated by the Báb] immediately inquired from `Abdu’l-Hamid Khan the whereabouts of His Holiness. The latter responded, “As the epidemic raged uncontrollably throughout the land and my wife and sons had fallen victim to the illness as well, I no longer could properly minister His affairs and as such asked Him to retire to His own dwelling.” Deeply angered by the turn of events, Husayn Khan instructed `Abdu’l-Hamid Khan to proceed at once in company of ten farrashes and search the home of His Holiness or wherever else that He might be and to bring Him forthwith to the government-house.
[Persecution of the Bab’s Family:]
As instructed, they advanced immediately to the House of His Holiness and not finding Him there, proceeded to the home of His illustrious uncle, [Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Ali,] but unable to locate the latter at home either. They, then, proceeded to the residence of the late Hájí Mírzá Abu’l-Qasim. The latter was a paternal cousin of the Báb’s mother and a brother of the honored wife of the Bab, [Khadijih Bagum,] and at the time was the renowned standard-bearer of the family. My maternal grandmother, [Zahra Bagum,] who was the sister of the Bab’s wife, related:
My late brother, that is, Hájí Mírzá Abu’l-Qasim, was home suffering from cholera and resting in bed due to weakness caused by the illness, when some time before noon, there was a violent knock on our door. The entire household was deeply disturbed. Firuz, our black, in house-born servant, went to inquire whom it was when suddenly and with no warning, `Abdu’l-Hamid Khan, the Darughih, in company of a number of farreshes and some other lewd characters entered our home and filled the courtyard. A most disturbing uproar ensued as they hurriedly searched the house for any trace of His Holiness and disappointed [in their inability to locate the Bab,] came to the room where my late brother was resting in bed due to his illness. The farrashs placed him on their shoulders and took him before Husayn Khan, the Sahib-Ikhtiyar.
Profoundly infuriated, the latter inquired callously, “Wherewith is the Siyyid-i-Báb?” “I have been afflicted with cholera,” my brother replied, “and still suffer from the illness. As such, I do not know His whereabouts, nor do I have any news of Him.” Husayn Khan dealt with him most harshly and severely and finally he was granted fifteen days to either present His Holiness or to pay a fine of fifteen thousands tumans. Reluctantly, he accepted. Then the governor asked for a guarantor and Hájí Muhammad-Sadiq-i-Isfahani who ranked among the best known and most respected of the merchants, and was a very close friend of the honored Haji, stood in this capacity. After a surety was extracted, the Haji was dismissed and returned home.
After the lapse of the agreed upon days, farrashes were sent to summon the Hájí [Abu’l-Qasim] to the Governor’s office and to present him before Husayn Khan. The latter, once again, spoke most sternly demanding either the delivery of His Holiness or the sum of fifteen thousands tumans. The more the Hájí implored for mercy and the more he swore that he was bereft of any news from Him, the angrier the Governor grew. Finally, [unable to withstand the Governor’s admonishments,] the Hájí fell to ground unconscious, and it was at that moment that the special envoy sent from Isfahan bearing the letter of the late Mu`tamiu’d-Dawlih arrived and the envelop displaying the seal of Manucher Khan was presented to Husayn Khan.
Upon considering its content, [Husayn Khan] realized that he could no longer cause trouble or remonstrate, but nevertheless he extracted fifteen hundred tumans from him before allowing the late Hájí to leave.
He further issued a command that hereafter should any piece of paper be found in that city bearing the handwriting of His Holiness or a verse revealed by Him, he would demolish that house.
Husayn Khan rounded all the believers and devotees of His Holiness and, after administering severe beatings by sticks and causing them much injury, he extracted from the victims whatever sum they could muster.
Husayn Khan was an ill-natured, wicked man and His Holiness the Exalted One – may my spirit be a sacrifice unto Him – has described his evil doings in the Khutabih-i-Qahriyyih addressed to Hájí Mírzá Aqasi and the reader may refer to that Tablet. From his contemptible, base and malicious deeds, it can readily be discerned how truly evil and corrupt a person Husayn Khan was.
[Fate of the Bab’s Writings:]
In short, my late maternal grandmother – may the Mercy of God rest upon her – would continue relating:
After the Governor’s order was noised in the city, whoever had received such Writings [revealed by the Báb] would bring them in bundles and deposit the packs in a long vestibule in the house of Hájí Mírzá Abu’l-Qasim. One side of the courtyard was all such Writings that were stacked high, all penned on large exquisite cashmere papers in the hand of His Holiness. Were even a page of those precious Writings available today, it would surely be worth an immense fortune. Those papers all contained innumerable commentaries, prayers, homilies and scientific treaties on diverse themes. The illustrious uncle of the Báb was asked in what manner were we to dispose of those Writings, and he had made reply, “These are all Words of God and as such cannot be treated disrespectfully. Wash the papers and throw the water in the well of the courtyard.”
We placed four large washtubs on the ground of the courtyard, and the four of us, that is, the mother [of the Báb], Khadijih Bagum, wife of Hájí Mírzá Abu’l-Qasim, and myself began to place stacks of these papers in the tubs and washed them much like cloths are washed by hands. Page by page, the ink was washed away from all the sheets and the wash-water and the papers thrown down the well.
 Kindness of Abu’l-Qasim Afnan who initially requested the translation of the two narratives by his father, Mirza Habib Afnan, and offered many valuable suggestions (some of which appear as footnotes under his name) in the course of translation, and Prof. Juan R.I. Cole who generously shared a copy of the Tarikh Amry Fars va Shiraz manuscript is warmly acknowledged.
 Light is a reference to the Declaration of the Bab in Shiraz. Original Tablet in Nuri’d-Din Compilation of Tablets no. 144, dated 1 Rajab 1307 A.H. [21 February 1890]. “Nuri’d-Din Compilation” (in private hands) includes some 161 densely scribed pages containing Baha’u’llah’s Tablets to Aqa Mirza Aqa Nuri’d-Din, a long time follower of Baha’u’llah. This unpublished compilation was prepared at `Abdu’l-Baha’s request and sent to Him in Haifa, and the present translator is grateful to Abu’l-Qasim Afnan for making his copy accessible.
 Shoghi Effendi himself also participated in this enterprise first by producing an edited translation of Nabil Zarandi’s history and later by writing a monumental analytical history of the Cause, titled God Passes By.
 Private communications with the present translator, summer 1985.
 For example, Mírzá Habib notes that fifty-five years had elapsed since the spring of 1892 when he had met Tarazu’llah Samandari in the Holy Land, and assuming these years are reckoned in accordance with the lunar calendars, then this places the date of re-composition around 1945-6.
 An annotated rendering was completed by the present translator in 1998 and remains unpublished.
 INBA (Iranian National Baha’i Archives collection) 91:6-10, no. 3 and 91:13-4, no. 4. In Qayyumu’l-Asma’, Chapter 55, the Bab refers to Himself as the Gate of the Land of refuge (bab-i-baladu’l-amn). Verse 35 of the Chapter pillar (rukn) of the same Book refers to Shiraz as the baladu’l-amn. It should also be noted that INBA volumes 51 and 52 contain many Tablets addressed to believers in Fars. Volume 51 (633 pages) contains Tables of Baha’u’llah, while volume 52 (683 pages) provides Tablets of the `Abdu’l-Baha.
 It should be noted for those not fully familiar with the story of the Báb that the reader’s path may be eased if, while reading this history, reference is made to Nabil’s immortal history, presented in an edited version in the Dawn-breakers, and to Hasan Balyuzi’s biography, The Báb. In these volumes are to be found many of the persons and incidents mentioned in this narrative, but depicted in a wider context. For a more academic treatment of the same subject see, Resurrection and Renewal, Abbas Amanat.
 H-Baha’i has electronically published Tarikh Amry Fars va Shiraz, see (give url here).
 A translation of the complete text has been prepared and approved by the World Centre for publication. It is hoped that it will be published soon.
 In the Qayyumu’l-Asma, Surih al-Qarabih [kinsmen], verse 14, the Báb reveals: “Verily We have named this Remembrance by two Names from divine Self after two Beloved among Our servants in the heavens.”
 The Báb gives a slightly different genealogy in Sahifih Baynu’l-Haramayn (Treatise Between Two Shrines): “Say: My name is Muhammad after the word `Alí [i.e. `Ali-Muhammad]. And the name of My father, as hath been revealed in the Book of God, is Rida after Muhammad. And the name of My grandfather in the Book of God is Ibrahim, and his father is named Nasru’llah as has been revealed in the Qur’an (Fathu’llah).” (Browne Or. MSS F.7(9)) The final statement is a reference to the Qur’an 61:13 where it reads: “And another [favor will He bestow], which ye do love - help from God or a speedy victory; so give the glad tidings to the believers.” The same genealogy is given in the Qayyumu’l-Asma, Surih al-Qaribih, verses 14-5.
 That is, this family traced its ancestry to Imam Husayn.
 Hadrat-i-Nuqtih-i-Ula` 64, give his name as Zaynu’l-`Abidin.
 20 October 1819.
 The Báb provides the date of His birth in the Sahifah Baynu’l-Haramayn: “Say O denizens of the Concourse! Hear the command of the Remnant of God from this Servant, the Exalted, the Wise. And this Servant was born, as hath been concealed in the Book of God, on the first day of Muharram of the year twelve hundred and thirty-five.” Also, the same date can be computed precisely from His age given in His personal diary appended to the Azali published Kitab-i-Panj Sha’n (the Book of Five Modes). Other references to His age are to be found in the Persian Bayan 2:1 and 4:11 and the Dala’il-i-Sab`a (the Seven Proofs).
 In Persian, when someone’s age is reported, say, five years of age, it means they are in their fifth year of life. In English, during the whole of the fifth year of life, a child is called four year old. In general, whenever age is given in Baha’i histories translated from the Persian, it is necessary to subtract one to get the age in English. In the present translation, everywhere that age is provided, the original number is given.
 His given name was Shaykh Muhammad (d. 1263/1847), and he is also known as Shaykh Zaynu’l-`Abidin or Shaykh Mu`allim. The Bab recalled him in the Arabic Bayan 6:11, “Say: O Muhammad, My teacher! Do not beat Me ere My years have gone beyond five.”
 A variation of the same name, Shaykhuná, is employed in The Dawn-Breakers 75.
 Named after a certain Sufi saint, Dervish Awlíyá` (d. 1119AH/1707), this convent is occupied by the dervishes and sufis. Located in the Bazar-i-Murgh, it is situated near the house of the Báb’s maternal uncle, Hájí Mirza Siyyid `Ali, and over the years has decayed so thoroughly that presently no trace of it is evident.
 Known also as Bazar-i-Murgh [poultry market] quarter, it is one of the most prosperous and religiously significant quarters of the city and one of the five Haydari wards of Shiraz. For further details see Farsnamih-i-Nasiri 2:27-47.
 Masjid-i-Vakil is the largest and the most important of Shiraz’s mosque.
 Mullá Fathu’llah and his father converted on the day the Báb proclaimed His Call in the aforementioned mosque. Both were among the martyrs at Shaykh Tabarsi and, therefore, his recollection of the Báb must have been conveyed to the Afnan family at an early time.
 Mirza Habib adds parenthetically: “And this convent was standing in the middle, surrounded by ruins and evidence of old graves and gravestones”
 A.Q. Afnan informs that on that occasion, Hájí Mirza Siyyid `Ali, the Báb’s maternal uncle, went to the school. (Private communication, Aug 1986)
 A.Q. Afnan suggests that only the Báb and His maternal uncle, Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Ali, were present on that occasion. (Private communication, Aug 1986)
 The Afnan-i-Kabir of later years.
 An alternative reading of this poem is: ‘You bring forth a prayer, and I am that Prayer.’
 Original “ghulam” signifies a permanent, purchased servant.
 Qur’an 34:25.
 The Dawn-Breakers 75-6 tells a similar story though considerably different in details.
 Brief recollections of Aqa Muhammad Ibrahim have previously appeared in The Bab 34-5.
 See The Bab 35. For similar childhood stories of the Bab see The Dawn-Breakers 75-6.
 The Báb in the Qayyumu’l-Asma, Surih al-Sina, verse 5, addressing Himself states, “And We favored Thee during Thy Childhood with the mighty Cause of God, as it had been decreed as such in the Mother Book.” In the same Book, Surih al-Ism, verse 34, the Báb proclaims: “Verily as a child I was aware of the truth of My own Self, and God is the Almighty, the All-knowing.”
 In the Qayyumu’l-Asma, Surih al-Jihad, verse 39, the Báb states, “O My God, My Lord! Verily in Thy will, My father passed away and I do not remember Him. My Master, when he is seated with the heavenly angels, inform him of My Cause and record him in this Mighty Book.”
 Mírzá Habib adds parenthetically: “Located south of Shiraz and on the mountains, the shrine of Sabz-Pushan is about twelve kilometers from the city. The route to that place is most difficult and even strong individuals are very tired by the journey. People often visit that spot in the summer.”
 A.Q. Afnan suggests that based on extensive family correspondence examined by him, the Báb began to work in His uncle’s office at the age of ten and it was at the age of fifteen – the age of maturity in Islamic law – that He moved to Bushihr. The same fact is also provided by the Báb Himself in the Kitab-i-Fihrist, “After My childhood had passed, by the will of God, I began the occupation of commerce as this was decreed by God, and I commenced this from the age of ten.”
 Nicolas (A.L.M. Nicolas, Seyyed Ali Mohammad dit le Bab; Paris, 1905. p.189 n. 131) on the authority of Haji Mirza Jani of Kashan (whom Nicolas assumed to be the author of the Kitab-i-Nuqtatu’l-Kaf) suggests that at the age of eighteen the Bab revealed Risalih-i-Fiqihiyyih.
 A similar translation appears in The Bab 39-40.
 The Bab indicates He was in Bushihr for five years; see Selections from the Writings of the Bab 180-1.
 Mírzá Abu’l-Fadl, Tarikh Zuhur-i-Diyant-i-Hadrat-i-Bab va Hadrat-i-Baha’u’llah, gives the date of Báb’s departure as 1 Rabi`u’l-Avval 1257 A.H. [23 April 1841].
 A.Q. Afnan suggests that it was the younger uncle, Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Ali, who went on Bushihr. (Private communications, Nov 1991).
 For a brief description of the Bab’s stay in Bushihr see The Dawn-Breakers 77-80.
 The `Atabat is a general term referring to the region where Najaf, Karbala, Kázimayn and Sámarrá are located. The first of the two city’s hold within them the Shrines of Imam `Ali and Imam Husayn, respectively. Kazimayn is famous because the Shrines of the seventh and the nineth Imam are located there. Sámarrá is where the Shrines of the tenth and the eleventh Imams, `Ali an-Naqi and Hasan al`Askari, are situated.
 For a description of a similar observation by Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi see The Dawn-Breakers 30.
 That is, a direct descendent of the Prophet Muhammad.
 See The Dawn-Breakers 27 where Nabil outlines a slightly different recollections of Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi’s observations on that day.
 The following is noted in noted in Khanidan-i Afnan 132-33 on the authority of Tarikh Zuhuru’l-Haqq volume 3:
Because of the insistence of the mother of the Bab and other kinsmen as well as his own profound desire, Haji Mir[za] Siyyid `Aliy-i-Khal had come to Karbala. One day the Bab met Mulla Sadiq [Khurasani] in the courtyard of the Shrine of Imam Husayn. The Bab said to him, “My uncle has recently arrived from Shiraz and if you wish to meet him, come to our abode.” The Akhund had expressed his deep interest and with thanks had assured that he would come. That very afternoon he had gone to the home of the Bab where great many of the `ulama, merchants and other dignitaries were present, with the Khal sitting and conversing with the guests and the Bab busy serving tea and sherbet. Mulla Sadiq spoke of the Bab’s peerless qualities and His exalted character. In response, the Khal said, “Even though our entire family is well known in Shiraz and its vicinity for our pious nature and goodly characters, yet this Youth shines like a most brilliant candle in our midst and is most evident that He is cut of a different cloth. Our one wish is for Him to undertake study of diverse sciences so it would bring added honor to us. However, He refuses.” Mulla Sadiq responded, “If you do not take Him with you to Shiraz, I will see to it that He would be engaged in studying.” Thrilled with the prospect, the Khal stated, “Even though it is very agonizing for His mother and other kinsmen to be far from Him, but because of your assurance, I will return by myself to Shiraz.” A few days later, the Khal returned to his native city and left that illustrious Personage in Karbala. However, it was not long thereafter that He, too, returned to Shiraz.
 As customary, such occasions consisted of two separate celebrations, one for the men and the other for the women. The men gathered in the house of the Bab’s uncle, Haji Mirza Siyyid `Ali, while the women gathered in the residence of Khadijih Bagum’s father, which was next door. The wedding was conducted by Shyakh Abu-Turab, the Imam Jum`ih.
 25 August 1842. A copy of the Bab’s marriage certificate provides the same date, see The Bab page opposite 80 and Khanidan-i Afnan 158-61.
 The Báb refers to His wedding as such: “O concourse of Light! Hear My call from the point of Fire in this ocean of snow-white water on this crimson earth. Verily, I am God, besides Whom there is no other God. On the exalted throne a beloved noble woman, bearing the same name [Khadijih] as the beloved of the First Friend [the Prophet Muhammad], was wedded to this Great Remembrance; and verily I caused the angels of Heaven and the denizens of Paradise, on the day of the Covenant, to bear witness, in truth, to God’s Remembrance.” (Qayyumu’l-Asma`, Surih of Qarábat [The Chapter of Kinship], quoted in Khanidan-i Afnan 7-8).
 Named thusly as the tomb of Bíbí Dukhtarán is located there. For further details consult Farsnamih-i-Nasiri 2:1131.
 The following passage from Qayyumu’l-Asma`, Surih Qarábih, is addressed to Khadijih Bagum (cited in Khadijih Bagum 8-9): “O well-beloved! Value highly the grace of the Great Remembrance for it cometh from God, the Loved One. Thou shalt not be a woman, like other women, if though obeyest God in the Cause of Truth, and the greatest Truth. Know thou the great bounty conferred upon thee by the Ancient of Days, and take pride in being the consort of the Well-Beloved, Who is loved by God, the Greatest. Sufficient unto thee is this glory which cometh unto thee from God, the All-Wise, the All-Praised. Be patient in all that God hath ordained concerning the Báb and His family. Verily, thy son, Ahmad, is with Fátimih [the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter], the Sublime, in the sanctified Paradise.” Also, see Khadijih Bagum 9 for another instance where the Báb mentions Ahmad in Suratu’l-`Abd of the Qayyumu’l-Asma’.
 See The Dawn-Breakers 76-7 for a brief reference to this incident and a purported prayer by the Bab marking the passing of His son.
 23 May 1844.
 The exact time and date of the Báb’s declaration is given in the Persian Bayan 2:7.
 Mírzá Habib adds parenthetically: Faddih and Mubárak were two Black servants purchased in Bushihr during His days of commerce.
 See Khadijih Bagum 10-13 for a different rendering.
 The section pertaining to Mullá Husayn correlates closely with the narrative of Siyyid Husayn-i-Hamadani (see Tarikh-i-Jadid 35-9) which is purported to be based on recollections of Mírzá `Abdu’l-Wahháb-i-Khurasaní from utterances of Mullá Husayn and captured in the history of Hájí Mírzá Jani of Kashan. The present translator has not been able to determine if a copy of Mírzá Jani’s valuable history was in possession of the early Afnan family. However, it is known that Mirza Jani’s original text, which stands about 80 or so pages, is extant and is in possession of a non-Baha’i in Tihran. Though he did not allow his precious manuscript to be copied, because of his longstanding friendship with Fadil-i-Mazandarani he permitted the latter to examine this document and he certified its authenticity. See The Dawn-Breakers 52-66 for Nabil’s moving, though very different, description of the Bab’s declaration.
 Quddús had returned to his native town some months prior to the passing of Siyyid Kazim; see Tarikh Zuhuru’l-Haqq 3:405-7.
 Mírzá Habib adds parenthetically: The Báb’s place of business was at the Custom building, known as caravansary.
 See, Todd Lawson, The Qur’an Commentary of Sayyid `Ali Muhammad, the Bab, 1987, Ph.D. dissertation. For copies of manuscripts see, Denis MacEoin, The Sources for Early Babi Doctrine and History, 1992.
 The date of the Bab’s Declaration is fixed in the Persian Bayan 6:13 and 2:7, “And from the moment when the Tree of the Bayan appeared until it disappeared is the Resurrection of the Apostle of God, as is divinely foretold in the Qur’an; the beginning of which was when two hours and eleven minutes had passed on the eve of the fifth of Jamádíyu’l-Avval, 1260 A.H. [22 May 1844], which is the year of 1270 of the Declaration of the Mission of Muhammad.” (Translation in Selections from the Writings of the Bab 107.) In a Tablet in honor of Mirza Qabil of Abadih, `Abdu’l-Baha specifies this date as Kamal (8th) of Azamat; see Ishraq-Khavari’s Ganginih Hudud va Ahkam 426.
 Ishraq-Khavari (Kitab-i-Muhadhirat 14) notes that Jariyyih was a daughter of Khadijih, the wife of Muhammad. For a discussion of this Tradition of Handmaiden attributed to Imam Ja`far-i-Sadiq, see Abu Ja`far Muhammad Kulayni, al-Usul min al-Kafi, 4 vols, (Tihran, 1392/1972-73), 1:495-6. See also C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts in the British Museum (London, 1879-1883) 1:30.
 In the course of the first section of the Kitab-i-Panj-Sha’n (the Book of Five Modes), p. 9, revealed on the sixth anniversary of His declaration, the Báb describes the night of His declaration in language of a prayer: “In the name of God. There is no God but God. Sanctified art Thou, O God, My God. I testify that at an hour such as this, Thou hast bestowed honor and exaltation, glory and loftiness upon this night and has sanctified it above all other nights through Thy Manifestation. This is the hour of the appearance of the Point of Bayan, Who is the sign of Thy dawning, the countenance of Thy morn of eternity, the evidence of Thy unity, the manifestation of Thy oneness, the confirmation of Thy loftiness, the signifier of Thy holiness and the very essence of the divinity of Thy kingdom. Sanctified and exalted art Thou, that thou hast glorified this hour by creating whatsoever is within the Bayan and by decreeing the manifestation of whatsoever Thou willeth. I testify and all things testify that on such a night I was at My house before Thy threshold when the first person [ie. Mullá Husayn] who has tasted the sweetness of Thy love in this Ridvan attained to Me. He prostrated himself before Thy effulgence in this Paradise, and with him were the Letters of the Three. At such a hour, Thou caused Me to show Myself to him. Sanctified and exalted art Thou for enabling him [ie. Mullá Husayn] to recognize upon hearing them the signs of Thy guidance, and for having created in him a clear vision when I made mention of Thee. Therefore praise and gratitude to Thee, O My God, with praise like of which no soul is the past has offered and none in the future will offer, and such gratitude as none before has offered and none in the future will offer, for the first who recognized My person, and for the recognition with which he recognized Me.” From this passage it cannot be determined whether the three travel companions of Mullá Husayn also attained the presence of the Báb that very night, or if they gained that felicity at a later occasion.
 Mírzá Habib has added the following marginal note in his own hand: “Áqá Mírzá `Ali-Muhammad, the illustrious son of the Akhund Mullá Muhammad-Sadiq-i-Muqaddas related for me the following description which he had heard from his honored father: ‘No matter how I implored Mullá Husayn [to divulge the name of Him Who claimed to be the promised Manifestation], he refused and would only state that it was forbidden for him to do so and that I must seek Him independently. Disappointed by this response, I proceeded to the room set aside for devotions and performed my ablutions. I spread the prayer mat and began my supplications. I entreated with such earnestness that tears pouring from my eyes dampened the prayer mat. In the midst of such contemplation and in a state of near-consciousness, I beheld the Young Siyyid that I had met in the gathering of late Siyyid [Kazim-i-Rashti]. He stood over me saying, ‘Akhund, what do you desire? If you seek Faith, it stands appeared and manifest.’ Until dawn, thrice this experience was repeated. After the third occurrence of this vision, I came to the room where Mullá Husayn was resting. I woke him and said, ‘Mullá Husayn, I have discovered the identity of the Master of this Cause. It must be none other than that same Shirazi Siyyid that we met in `Atabat.’ Mullá Husayn responded affirmatively.”
 A similar description is provided in The Dawn-Breakers 144-8 relating to the events befallen Quddus, Mulla Sadiq and Mulla `Ali-Akbar Ardistani subsequent to the Bab’s return from pilgrimage.
 In his writings, Quddús describes the vision of the Báb that he had some time prior to the Latter’s declaration which enabled him to recognize the promised Manifestation. He further states that on the first day of Jamádíyu’l-Avval [18 May 1844], he left his native town for Shiraz. For a detailed discussion of the life and writings of Quddus, see the present translator’s forthcoming book on this subject.
 Among the various eyewitness accounts of Shaykh Tabarsi, the most detailed was recorded by Lutf-`Ali Mirzay-i-Shirazi.
 August-September 1844. The Báb in one of His sermons, known as Kutbih-i-Jaddiyyih, gives the date of His departure from Shiraz as 26 Sha`ban (10 September 1844); see, A.H. Ishraq-Khavari, Kitab-i-Muhadirat 729-31.
 The Bab provides a brief outline of His hajj journey in the Persian Bayan 4:18; for translation see Selections from the Writings of the Bab 89-91. Additionally see Persian Bayan 4:16 and 6:17.
 From Bushihr, the Bab sent the following letter to His wife in Shiraz (Text quoted in Khanidan Afnan 166-7, the original letter is displayed in the International Baha’i Archives in Haifa):
O the best of Protectors! In the Name of God, the Exalted.
My sweet life! May thou be guarded by God!
It was not because of sadness that I did not write sooner,
Nor was it due to My heart being sorrowed
Nay, My hand wrote thee,
But My tears washed away the words.
God is My witness that I have been overcome with so much sorrow since our separation that it cannot be described. However since we are all seized in the grasp of destiny, such has been decreed for us. May the Lord of the world, by the righteousness of the Five Near-Ones, ordain My return.
It is now two days since we arrived in Bushihr. The temperature is extremely hot, but the Lord of creation will protect. Apparently this very month our ship will sail. Out of His mercy, may God watch over Us. At the time of departure, it was not possible to meet My esteemed mother and, therefore, kindly convey My greetings to her and ask for her prayers. Regarding the silk cloth, I will write to Bombay. I also intent on securing a maidservant for you. God willing, that which is ordained will come to pass. Upon thee rest peace, favors and grace of God.
 The renowned father of Vahid-i-Darabi and one of the most distinguished theologians of his generation. For a detailed discussion of his life and writings, see (forthcoming), Ahang Rabbani, Epics of the Brave: the history and documents of the Babis of Nayriz.
 According to the Abjad system, ghars has a numerical value of (1000+200+60=)1260, hence signifying the year of the appearance of the Báb.
 See The Dawn-Breakers 130-41 for further details on the Bab’s hajj journey.
 About five miles south of Burazjan.
 In a Tablet dated 24 Jamádíy’th-Thání 1261 A.H. [30 June 1845] to the His uncle, Haji Mirza Siyyid `Ali, the Bab mentions the esteem that the horsemen showed Him during this journey.
 This paragraph is congruent with the narrative of Siyyid Husayn-i-Hamadani; see Tarikh-i-Jadid 203.
 For comparison, the Qur’an is slightly over 6600 verses.
 Qur’an 6:121.
 11 September 1846.
 Most likely it is meant bastinado.
 See the Bab 96-8 for a slightly different translation.
 A son of Shaykh Muhammad Zahid [pious] who had served as the Imam Jum`ih of Shiraz after his father, Shaykh Abu-Turab ranked as the foremost divine of the city and was greatly loved and admired by the citizens. He lived for a few years during the reign of Muhammad Shah in Tihran, but eventually returned to Shiraz where he passed away in 1855; see Sharh Rijal-i Iran 1:71.
 In language of prayer, the Báb gives an outline of the events befallen Him:
Thou art aware, O My God, that since the day Thou didst call Me into being out of the water of Thy love till I reached fifteen years of age I lived in the land which witnessed My birth [Shiraz]. Then Thou didst enable Me to go to the seaport [Bushihr] where for five years I was engaged in trading with the goodly gifts of Thy realm and was occupied in that which Thou favored Me through the wondrous essence of Thy loving-kindness. I proceeded therefrom to the Holy Land [Karbala] where I sojourned for one year. Then I returned to the place of My birth. There I experienced the revelation of Thy sublime bestowals and the evidences of They boundless grace. I yield Thee praise for all Thy goodly gifts and I render Thee thanksgiving for all Thy bounties. Then at the age of twenty-five I proceeded to Thy sacred House [Mecca], and by the time I returned to the place where I was born, a year had elapsed. There I tarried patiently in the path of Thy love and beheld that evidences of Thy manifold bounties and of Thy loving-kindness until Thou didst ordain for Me to set out in Thy direction and to migrate to Thy presence.” (Selections from the Writings of the Báb 180-1)
 For biography of Manuchihr Khan, see Sharh Rijal-i Iran 4:159-63. `Abdu’l-Baha has revealed a Tablet of Visitation for him wherein it is revealed that visit to this resting-place in Qum is endowed with special spiritual potency.
 Fifteen thousands tumans represented an extremely large sum of money for that time.
 See Hadrat-i-Nuqtih-i-Ulá 151-3 and Tarikh Zuhur’l-Haqq 3:85-9. In a Tablet (INBA 64:115), the Bab describes the Governor to Muhammad Shah as “vicious and sinister” who owing to consummate drunkenness “was never able to pass a sound judgement.”
 Presumably a reference to Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Ali.
 Her name was Sultan Bagum and she was from Jahrúm.
 For other details on the Bab’s stay in Shiraz see The Dawn-Breakers chapter 8.