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Title: A Traveler’s Narrative
Author: `Abdu'l-Bahá, 1844-1921
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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A Traveler’s Narrative


by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá



Edition 1, (September 2006)



                           BAHA’I TERMS OF USE


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                                 CONTENTS


Baha’i Terms of Use
A TRAVELER’S NARRATIVE WRITTEN TO ILLUSTRATE THE EPISODE OF THE BÁB
   [Pages 1–20]
   [Pages 21–40]
   [Pages 41–60]
   [Pages 61–80]
   [Pages 81–94]



A TRAVELER’S NARRATIVE WRITTEN TO ILLUSTRATE THE EPISODE OF THE BÁB



[Pages 1–20]


Touching the individual known as the Báb and the true nature of this sect
diverse tales are on the tongues and in the mouths of men, and various
accounts are contained in the pages of Persian history and the leaves of
European chronicles. But because of the variety of their assertions and
the diversity of their narratives not one is as worthy of confidence as it
should be. Some have loosed their tongues in extreme censure and
condemnation; some foreign chronicles have spoken in a commendatory
strain; while a certain section have recorded what they themselves have
heard without addressing themselves either to censure or approbation.

Now since these various accounts are recorded in other pages, and since
the setting forth thereof would lead to prolixity, therefore what relates
to the history of this matter (sought out with the utmost diligence during
the time of my travels in all parts of Persia, whether far or near, from
those without and those within, from friends and strangers), and that
whereon the disputants are agreed, shall be briefly set forth in writing,
so that a summary of the facts of the case may be at the disposal of those
who are athirst after the fountain of knowledge and who seek to become
acquainted with all events.

The Báb was a young merchant of the Pure Lineage. He was born in the year
one thousand two hundred and thirty-five [A.H.] on the first day of
Muharram,(1) and when after a few years His father Siyyid Muḥammad-Riḍá
died, He was brought up in _Sh_íráz in the arms of His maternal uncle
Mírzá Siyyid ‘Alí the merchant. On attaining maturity He engaged in trade
in Bú_sh_ihr, first in partnership with His maternal uncle and afterwards
independently. On account of what was observed in Him He was noted for
godliness, devoutness, virtue, and piety, and was regarded in the sight of
men as so characterized.

In the year one thousand two hundred and sixty [A.H.], when He was in His
twenty-fifth year, certain signs became apparent in His conduct, behavior,
manners, and demeanor whereby it became evident in _Sh_íráz that He had
some conflict in His mind and some other flight beneath His wing. He began
to speak and to declare the rank of Báb-hood.(2) Now what He intended by
the term Báb [Gate] was this, that He was the channel of grace from some
great Person still behind the veil of glory, Who was the possessor of
countless and boundless perfections, by Whose will He moved, and to the
bond of Whose love He clung. And in the first book which He wrote in
explanation of the Súrih of Joseph,(3) He addressed Himself in all
passages to that Person unseen from Whom He received help and grace,
sought for aid in the arrangement of His preliminaries, and craved the
sacrifice of life in the way of His love.

Amongst others is this sentence: “O Remnant of God, I am wholly sacrificed
to Thee; I am content with curses in Thy way; I crave naught but to be
slain in Thy love; and God the Supreme sufficeth as an Eternal
Protection.”

He likewise composed a number of works in explanation and elucidation of
the verses of the Qur’án, of sermons, and of prayers in Arabic; inciting
and urging men to expect the appearance of that Person; and these books He
named “Inspired Pages” and “Word of Conscience.” But on investigation it
was discovered that He laid no claim to revelation from an angel.

Now since He was noted amongst the people for lack of instruction and
education, this circumstance appeared in the sight of men supernatural.
Some men inclined to Him, but the greater part manifested strong
disapproval; whilst all the learned doctors and lawyers of repute who
occupied chairs, altars, and pulpits were unanimously agreed on
eradication and suppression, save some divines of the _Sh_ay_kh_í party
who were anchorites and recluses, and who, agreeably to their tenets, were
ever seeking for some great, incomparable, and trustworthy person, whom
they accounted, according to their own terminology, as the “Fourth
Support” and the central manifestation of the truths of the Perspicuous
Religion.

Of this number Mullá Ḥusayn of Bu_sh_rúyih, Mírzá Aḥmad of Az_gh_and,
Mullá Ṣádiq Muqaddas [the Holy], _Sh_ay_kh_ Abú-Turáb of I_sh_tihard,
Mullá Yúsúf of Ardibíl, Mullá Jalíl of Urúmíyyih, Mullá Mihdí of Kand,
_Sh_ay_kh_ Sa’íd the Indian, Mullá ‘Alí of Bastám, and the like of these
came out unto Him and spread themselves through all parts of Persia.

The Báb Himself set out to perform the circumambulation of the House of
God.(4) On His return, when the news of His arrival at Bú_sh_ihr reached
_Sh_íráz, there was much discussion, and a strange excitement and
agitation became apparent in that city. The great majority of the doctors
set themselves to repudiate Him, decreeing slaughter and destruction, and
they induced Ḥusayn _Kh_án Ajúdán-bá_sh_í, who was the governor of Fárs,
to inflict a beating on the Báb’s missionaries, that is on Mullá Ṣádiq
Muqaddas; then, having burnt his moustaches and beard together with those
of Mírzá Muḥammad-‘Alí of Barfurú_sh_ and Mullá ‘Alí-Akbar of Ardistán,
they put halters on all the three and led them round the streets and
bazaars.

Now since the doctors of Persia have no administrative capacity, they
thought that violence and interference would cause extinction and silence
and lead to suppression and oblivion; whereas interference in matters of
conscience causes stability and firmness and attracts the attention of
men’s sight and souls; which fact has received experimental proof many
times and often. So this punishment caused notoriety, and most men fell to
making inquiry.

The governor of Fárs, acting according to that which the doctors deemed
expedient, sent several horsemen, caused the Báb to be brought before him,
censured and blamed Him in the presence of the doctors and scholars, and
loosed his tongue in the demand for reparation. And when the Báb returned
his censure and withstood him greatly, at a sign from the president they
struck Him a violent blow, insulting and contemning Him, in such wise that
His turban fell from His head and the mark of the blow was apparent on His
face. At the conclusion of the meeting they decided to take counsel, and,
on receiving bail and surety from His maternal uncle Ḥájí Siyyid ‘Alí,
sent Him to His house forbidding Him to hold intercourse with relations or
strangers.

One day they summoned Him to the mosque urging and constraining Him to
recant, but He discoursed from the pulpit in such wise as to silence and
subdue those present and to stablish and strengthen His followers. It was
then supposed that He claimed to be the medium of grace from His Highness
the Lord of the Age (upon Him be peace); but afterwards it became known
and evident that His meaning was the Gatehood [Bábíyyat] of another city
and the mediumship of the graces of another Person Whose qualities and
attributes were contained in His books and treatises.

At all events, as has been mentioned, by reason of the doctors’ lack of
experience and skill in administrative science, and the continual
succession of their decisions, comment was rife; and their interference
with the Báb cast a clamor throughout Persia, causing increased ardor in
friends and the coming forward of the hesitating. For by reason of these
occurrences men’s interest increased, and in all parts of Persia some [of
God’s] servants inclined toward Him, until the matter acquired such
importance that the late king Muḥammad _Sh_áh delegated a certain person
named Siyyid Yaḥyá of Daráb, who was one of the best known of doctors and
Siyyids as well as an object of veneration and confidence, giving him a
horse and money for the journey so that he might proceed to _Sh_íráz and
personally investigate this matter.(5)

When the above-mentioned Siyyid arrived at _Sh_íráz he interviewed the Báb
three times. In the first and second conferences questioning and answering
took place; in the third conference he requested a commentary on the Súrih
called Kaw_th_ar(6) , and when the Báb, without thought or reflection,
wrote an elaborate commentary on the Kaw_th_ar in his presence, the
above-mentioned Siyyid was charmed and enraptured with Him, and
straightway, without consideration for the future or anxiety about the
results of this affection, hastened to Burújird to his father Siyyid
Ja’far, known as Ka_sh_fí, and acquainted him with the matter. And,
although he was wise and prudent and was wont to have regard to the
requirements of the time, he wrote without fear or care a detailed account
of his observations to Mírzá Lutf-‘Alí the chamberlain in order that the
latter might submit it to the notice of the late king, while he himself
journeyed to all parts of Persia, and in every town and station summoned
the people from the pulpit-tops in such wise that other learned doctors
decided that he must be mad, accounting it a sure case of bewitchment.

Now when the news of the decisions of the doctors and the outcry and
clamor of the lawyers reached Zanján, Mullá Muḥammad-‘Alí the divine, who
was a man of mark possessed of penetrating speech, sent one of those on
whom he could rely to _Sh_íráz to investigate this matter. This person,
having acquainted himself with the details of these occurrences in such
wise as was necessary and proper, returned with some [of the Báb’s]
writings. When the divine heard how matters were and had made himself
acquainted with the writings, notwithstanding that he was a man expert in
knowledge and noted for profound research, he went mad and became crazed
as was predestined: he gathered up his books in the lecture-room saying,
“The season of spring and wine has arrived,” and uttered this sentence:
“Search for knowledge after reaching the known is culpable.” Then from the
summit of the pulpit he summoned and directed all his disciples [to
embrace the doctrine], and wrote to the Báb his own declaration and
confession.

The Báb in His reply signified to him the obligation of congregational
prayer.

Although the doctors of Zanján arose with heart and soul to exhort and
admonish the people they could effect nothing. Finally they were compelled
to go to Ṭihrán and made their complaint before the late king Muḥammad
_Sh_áh, requesting that Mullá Muḥammad-‘Alí might be summoned to Ṭihrán.
So the royal order went forth that he should appear.

Now when he came to Ṭihrán they brought him before a conclave of the
doctors; but, so they relate, after many controversies and disputations
naught was effected with him in that assembly. The late king therefore
bestowed on him a staff and fifty túmans for his expenses, and gave him
permission to return.

At all events, this news being disseminated through all parts and regions
of Persia, and several proselytes arriving in Fárs, the doctors perceived
that the matter had acquired importance, that the power to deal with it
had escaped from their hands, and that imprisonment, beating, tormenting,
and contumely were fruitless. So they signified to the governor of Fárs,
Ḥusayn _Kh_án, “If thou desirest the extinction of this fire, or seekest a
firm stopper for this rent and disruption, an immediate cure and decisive
remedy is to kill the Báb. And the Báb has assembled a great host and
meditates a rising.”

So Ḥusayn _Kh_án ordered ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd _Kh_án the high constable to attack
the house of the Báb’s maternal uncle at midnight on all sides, and to
bring Him and all His followers handcuffed. But ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd _Kh_án and
his hosts found no one in the house save the Báb, His maternal uncle, and
Siyyid Kázim of Zanján; and as it chanced that on that night the sickness
of the plague and the extreme heat of the weather had compelled Ḥusayn
_Kh_án to flee, he released the Báb on condition of His quitting the city.

On the morning after that night the Báb with Siyyid Kázim of Zanján set
out from _Sh_íráz for Iṣfáhán. Before reaching Iṣfáhán He wrote a letter
to the Mu’tamídu’d-Dawlih, the governor of the province, requesting a
lodging in some suitable place with the sanction of the government. The
governor appointed the mansion of the Imám-Jum’ih. There He abode forty
days; and one day, agreeably to the request of the Imám, He wrote without
reflection a commentary on [the Súrih of] V’al-‘Asr before the company.(7)
When this news reached the Mu’tamíd he sought an interview with Him and
questioned Him concerning the “Special Mission.” At that same interview an
answer proving the “Special Mission” was written.

The Mu’tamíd then gave orders that all the doctors should assemble and
dispute with Him in one conclave, and that the discussion should be
faithfully recorded without alteration by the instrumentality of his
private secretary, in order that it might be sent to Ṭihrán, and that
whatever the royal edict and decree should ordain might be carried out.

The doctors, however, considering this arrangement as a weakening of the
Law, did not agree, but held a conclave and wrote, “If there be doubt in
the matter there is need of assembly and discussion, but as this person’s
disagreement with the most luminous Law is clearer than the sun therefore
the best possible thing is to put in practice the sentence of the Law.”

The Mu’tamíd then desired to hold the assembled conference in his own
presence so that the actual truth might be disclosed and hearts be at
peace, but these learned doctors and honorable scholars, unwilling to
bring the Perspicuous Law into contempt, did not approve discussion and
controversy with a young merchant, with the exception of that most erudite
sage Áqá Muḥammad-Mihdí, and that eminent Platonist Mírzá Ḥasan of Núr. So
the conference terminated in questionings on certain points relating to
the science of fundamental dogma, and the elucidation and analysis of the
doctrines of Mullá Sadrá. So, as no conclusion was arrived at by the
governor from this conference, the severe sentence and harsh decision of
the learned doctors was not carried out; but, anxious to abate the great
anxiety quickly and prevent a public tumult effectually, he gave currency
to a report that a decree had been issued ordering the Báb to be sent to
Ṭihrán in order that some decisive settlement might be arrived at, or that
some courageous divine might be able to confute [Him].

He accordingly sent Him forth from Iṣfáhán with a company of his own
mounted bodyguard; but when they reached Mur_ch_ih-_Kh_ar he gave secret
orders for His return to Iṣfáhán, where he afforded Him a refuge and
asylum in his own roofed private quarters; and not a soul save the
confidential and trusty dependents of the Mu’tamíd knew aught of the Báb.

A period of four months passed in this fashion, and the Mu’tamíd passed
away to the mercy of God. Gurgín _Kh_án, the Mu’tamíd’s nephew, was aware
of the Báb’s being in the private apartments, and represented the matter
to the Prime Minister. Ḥájí Mírzá Aqásí, that celebrated minister, issued
a decisive command and gave instructions that they should send the Báb
secretly in disguise under the escort of Núsayrí horsemen to the capital.

When He reached Kinár-Gird a fresh order came from the Prime Minister
appointing the village of Kulayn as an abode and dwelling-place. There He
remained for a period of twenty days. After that, the Báb forwarded a
letter to the Royal Presence craving audience to set forth the truth of
His condition, expecting this to be a means for the attainment of great
advantages. The Prime Minister did not admit this, and made representation
to the Royal Presence: “The royal cavalcade is on the point of starting,
and to engage in such matters as the present will conduce to the
disruption of the kingdom. Neither is there any doubt that the most
notable doctors of the capital also will behave after the fashion of the
doctors of Iṣfáhán, which thing will be the cause of a popular outbreak,
or that, according to the religion of the immaculate Imám, they will
regard the blood of this siyyid as of no account, yea, as more lawful than
mother’s milk. The imperial train is prepared for travel, neither is there
hindrance or impediment in view. There is no doubt that the presence of
the Báb will be the cause of the gravest trouble and the greatest
mischief. Therefore, on the spur of the moment, the wisest plan is this:
to place this person in the Castle of Mákú during the period of absence of
the royal train from the seat of the imperial throne, and to defer the
obtaining of an audience to the time of return.”

Agreeably to this view a letter was issued addressed to the Báb in his
Majesty’s own writing, and, according to the traditional account of the
tenor of this letter, the epitome thereof is this:

(After the titles). “Since the royal train is on the verge of departure
from Ṭihrán, to meet in a befitting manner is impossible. Do you go to
Mákú and there abide and rest for a while, engaged in praying for our
victorious state; and we have arranged that under all circumstances they
shall show you attention and respect. When we return from travel we will
summon you specially.”

After this they sent Him off with several mounted guards (amongst them
Muḥammad Big, the courier) to Tabríz and Mákú.

Besides this the followers of the Báb recount certain messages conveyed
[from Him] by the instrumentality of Muḥammad Big (amongst which was a
promise to heal the foot of the late king, but on condition of an
interview, and the suppression of the tyranny of the majority), and the
Prime Minister’s prevention of the conveyance of these letters to the
Royal Presence. For he himself laid claim to be a spiritual guide and was
prepared to perform the functions of religious directorship. But others
deny these accounts.

At all events in the course of the journey He wrote a letter to the Prime
Minister saying, “You summoned Me from Iṣfáhán to meet the doctors and for
the attainment of a decisive settlement. What has happened now that this
excellent intention has been changed for Mákú and Tabríz?”

Although He remained forty days in the city of Tabríz the learned doctors
did not condescend to approach Him and did not deem it right to meet Him.
Then they sent Him off to the Castle of Mákú, and for nine months lodged
Him in the inaccessible castle which is situated on the summit of that
lofty mountain. And ‘Alí _Kh_án of Mákú, because of his excessive love for
the family of the Prophet, paid Him such attention as was possible, and
gave permission [to some persons] to converse with Him.

Now when the accomplished divines of Á_dh_irbayján perceived that in all
the parts round about Tabríz it was as though the last day had come by
reason of the excessive clamor, they requested the government to punish
the [Báb’s] followers, and to remove the Báb to the Castle of _Ch_ihríq.
So they sent Him to that castle and consigned Him to the keeping of Yaḥyá
_Kh_án the Kurd.

Glory be to God! Notwithstanding these decisions of great doctors and
reverend lawyers, and severe punishments and reprimands--beatings,
banishments, and imprisonments--on the part of governors, this sect was
daily on the increase, and the discussion and disputation was such that in
meetings and assemblies in all parts of Persia there was no conversation
but on this topic. Great was the commotion which arose: the doctors of the
Perspicuous Religion were lamenting, the common folk clamorous and
agitated, and the Friends rejoicing and applauding.

But the Báb Himself attached no importance to this uproar and tumult, and,
alike on the road and in the castles of Mákú and _Ch_ihríq, evening and
morning, nay, day and night, in extremest rapture and amazement, He would
restrict Himself to repeating and meditating on the qualities and
attributes of that absent-yet-present, regarded-and-regarding Person of
His.(8) Thus He makes a mention of Him whereof this is the purport:

“Though the ocean of woe rageth on every side, and the bolts of fate
follow in quick succession, and the darkness of griefs and afflictions
invade soul and body, yet is My heart brightened by the remembrance of Thy
countenance and My soul is as a rosegarden from the perfume of Thy
nature.”

In short, after He had remained for three months in the Castle of
_Ch_ihríq, the eminent doctors of Tabríz and scholars of Á_dh_irbayján
wrote to Ṭihrán and demanded a severe punishment in regard to the Báb for
the intimidation and frightening of the people. When the Prime Minister
Ḥájí Mírzá Aqásí beheld the ferment and clamor of the learned doctors in
all districts of Persia, he perforce became their accomplice and ordered
Him to be brought from _Ch_ihríq to Tabríz. In the course of His transit
by Urúmíyyih the governor of the district Qásim Mírzá treated Him with
extraordinary deference, and a strange flocking together of high and low
was apparent. These conducted themselves with the utmost respectfulness.

When the Báb reached Tabríz they brought Him after some days before the
government tribunal. Of the learned doctors the Nizámu’l-‘Ulamá, Mullá
Muḥammad-i-Mamaqání, Mírzá Aḥmad the Imám-Jum’ih, Mírzá ‘Alí-Aṣ_gh_ar the
_Sh_ay_kh_u’l-Islám, and several other divines were present. They asked
concerning the claims of the Báb. He advanced the claim of Mihdí-hood;
whereon a mighty tumult arose. Eminent doctors in overwhelming might
compassed Him on all sides, and such was the onset of orthodoxy that it
had been no great wonder if a mere youth had not withstood the mountain of
Elburz. They demanded proof. Without hesitation He recited texts, saying,
“This is the permanent and most mighty proof.” They criticized His
grammar. He adduced arguments from the Qur’án, setting forth therefrom
instances of similar infractions of the rules of grammar. So the assembly
broke up and the Báb returned to His own dwelling.

The heaven-cradled Crown-Prince was at that time governor of
Á_dh_irbayján. He pronounced no sentence with regard to the Báb, nor did
he desire to interfere with Him. The doctors, however, considered it
advisable at least to inflict a severe chastisement, and beating was
decided on. But none of the corps of farrá_sh_es would agree to become the
instruments of the infliction of this punishment. So Mírzá ‘Alí-Aṣ_gh_ar
the _Sh_ay_kh_u’l-Islám, who was one of the noble Siyyids, brought Him to
his own house and applied the rods with his own hand. After this they sent
the Báb back to _Ch_ihríq and subjected Him to a strict confinement.

Now when the news of this beating, chastisement, imprisonment, and rigor
reached all parts of Persia, learned divines and esteemed lawyers who were
possessed of power and influence girt up the loins of endeavor for the
eradication and suppression of this sect, exerting their utmost efforts
therefore. And they wrote notice of their decision, to wit “that this
person and his followers are in absolute error and are hurtful to Church
and State.” And since the governors in Persia enjoyed the fullest
authority, in some provinces they followed this decision and united in
uprooting and dispersing the Bábís. But the late King Muḥammad _Sh_áh
acted with deliberation in this matter, reflecting, “This Youth is of the
Pure Lineage and of the family of him addressed with ‘were it not for
thee.’ So long as no offensive actions which are incompatible with the
public peace and well-being proceed from him, the government should not
interfere with him.” And whenever the learned doctors appealed to him from
the surrounding districts, he either gave no answer, or else commanded
them to act with deliberation.

Notwithstanding this, between eminent doctors and illustrious scholars and
those learned persons who were followers of the Báb opposition,
discussion, and strife did so increase that in some provinces they desired
[to resort to] mutual imprecation; and for the governors of the provinces,
too, a means of acquiring gain was produced, so that great tumult and
disturbance arose. And since the malady of the gout had violently attacked
the king’s foot and occupied his world-ordering thought, the good judgment
of the Chief Minister, the famous Ḥájí Mírzá Aqásí, became the pivot of
the conduct of affairs, and his incapacity and lack of resource became
apparent as the sun. For every hour he formed a new opinion and gave a new
order: at one moment he would seek to support the decision of the doctors,
accounting the eradication and suppression of the Bábís as necessary: at
another time he would charge the doctors with aggressiveness, regarding
undue interference as contrary to justice: at another time he would become
a mystic and say, “All these voices are from the King,”(9) or repeat with
his tongue, “Moses is at war with Moses,”(10) or recite, “This is nought
but Thy trial.”(11) In short this changeable minister, by reason of his
mismanagement of important matters and failure to control and order the
affairs of the community, so acted that disturbance and clamor arose from
all quarters and directions: the most notable and influential of the
doctors ordered the common folk to molest the followers of the Báb, and a
general onslaught took place. More especially when the claim of Mihdí-hood
reached the hearing of eminent divines and profound doctors they began to
make lamentation and to cry and complain from their pulpits, saying, “One
of the essentials of religion and of the authentic traditions transmitted
from the holy Imáms, nay, the chief basis of the foundations of the church
of His Highness Ja’far, is the Occultation of the immaculate twelfth Imám
(upon both of them be peace). What has happened to Jabúlqá? Where has
Jabúlsá gone? What was the Minor Occultation? What has become of the Major
Occultation? What are the sayings of Ḥusayn ibn Rúh, and what the
tradition of Ibn Mihríyár? What shall we make of the flight of the
Guardians and the Helpers? How shall we deal with the conquest of the East
and the West? Where is the Ass of Antichrist? When will the appearance of
the Súfyán be? Where are the signs which are in the traditions of the Holy
Family? Where is that whereon the Victorious Church is agreed? The matter
is not outside one of two alternatives: either we must repudiate the
traditions of the Holy Imáms, grow wearied of the Church of Ja’far, and
account the clear indications of the Imám as disturbed dreams; or, in
accordance with the primary and subsidiary doctrines of the Faith and the
essential and explicit declarations of the most luminous Law, we must
consider the repudiation, nay, the destruction of this person as our chief
duty. If so be that we shut our eyes to these authentic traditions and
obvious doctrines universally admitted, no remnant will endure of the
fundamental basis of the Church of the immaculate Imám: we shall neither
be Sunnites, nor shall we be of the prevalent sect to continue awaiting
the promised Saint and believing in the begotten Mihdí.(12) Otherwise we
must regard as admissible the opening of the Gate of Saintship, and
consider that He Who is to arise of the family of Muḥammad possesses two
signs: the first condition, Holy Lineage; the second, [that He is
divinely] fortified with brilliant verses. What can we do with these
thousand-year-old beliefs of the delivered band of _Sh_í’ites, or what
shall we say concerning their profound doctors and preeminent divines?
Were all these in error? Did they journey in the vale of transgression?
What an evidently false assertion is this! By God, this is a thing to
break the back! O people, extinguish this fire and forget these words!
Alas! woe to our Faith, woe to our Law!”

Thus did they make complaint in mosques and chapels, in pulpits and
congregations.

But the Bábí chiefs composed treatises against them, and set in order
replies according to their own thought. Were these to be discussed in
detail it would conduce to prolixity, and our object is the statement of
history, not of arguments for believing or rejecting; but of some of the
replies the gist is this: that they held the Proof as supreme, and the
evidence as outweighing traditions, considering the former as the root and
the latter as the branch, and saying, “If the branch agree not with the
root it serves not as an argument and is unworthy of reliance; for the
reported consequence has no right to oppose itself to the established
principle, and cannot argue against it.” Indeed in such cases they
regarded interpretation as the truth of revelation and the essence of true
exegesis: thus, for instance, they interpreted the sovereignty of the
Qá’im as a mystical sovereignty, and His conquests as conquests of the
cities of hearts, adducing in support of this the meekness and defeat of
the Chief of Martyrs (may the life of all being be a sacrifice for him).
For he was the true manifestation of the blessed verse “And verily our
host shall overcome for them,”(13) yet, notwithstanding this, he quaffed
the cup of martyrdom with perfect meekness, and, at the very moment of
uttermost defeat, triumphed over his enemies and became the most mighty of
the troops of the Supreme Host. Similarly they regarded the numerous
writings which, in spite of His lack of education, the Báb had composed,
as due to the promptings of the Holy Spirit; extracted from books contrary
sayings handed down by men of mark; adduced traditions apparently agreeing
with their objects; and clung to the announcements of certain notables of
yore. They also considered the conversion of austere and recluse doctors
and eminent votaries of the Perspicuous Religion [of Islám] as a valid
proof, deemed the steadfastness and constancy of the Báb a most mighty
sign, and related miracles and the like; which things, being altogether
foreign to our purpose, we have passed by with brevity, and will now
proceed with our original topic.

At the time of these events certain persons appeared amongst the Bábís who
had a strange ascendancy and appearance in the eyes of this sect. Amongst
these was Mírzá Muḥammad-‘Alí of Mázindarán, who was the disciple of the
illustrious Siyyid (may God exalt his station) Ḥájí Siyyid Kázim of
Ra_sh_t, and who was the associate and companion of the Báb in His
pilgrimage journey. After a while certain manners and states issued from
him such that all, acting with absolute confidence, considered obedience
to him as an impregnable stronghold, so that even Mullá Ḥusayn of
Bu_sh_rúyih, who was the leader of all and the arbiter appealed to alike
by the noble and the humble of this sect, used to behave in his presence
with great humility and with the self-abasement of a lowly servant.

This personage set himself to exalt the word of the Báb with the utmost
steadfastness, and the Báb did full justice to speech in praising and
glorifying him, accounting his uprising as an assistance from the Unseen.
In delivery and style he was “evident magic,” and in firmness and
constancy superior to all. At length in the year [A.H.] 1265 at the
sentence of the chief of lawyers the Sa’ídu’l-‘Ulamá’ the chief divine of
Barfurú_sh_, he yielded his head and surrendered his life amidst extremest
clamor and outcry.

And amongst them was she who was entitled Qurratu’l-‘Ayn the daughter of
Ḥájí Ṣáliḥ, the sage of Qazvín, the erudite doctor. She, according to what
is related, was skilled in diverse arts, amazed the understandings and
thoughts of the most eminent masters by her eloquent dissertations on the
exegesis and tradition of the Perspicuous Book, and was a mighty sign in
the doctrines of the glorious _Sh_ay_kh_ of Ahsá. At the Supreme Shrines
she borrowed light on matters divine from the lamp of Kázim, and freely
sacrificed her life in the way of the Báb. She discussed and disputed with
the doctors and sages, loosing her tongue to establish her doctrine. Such
fame did she acquire that most people who were scholars or mystics sought
to hear her speech and were eager to become acquainted with her powers of
speculation and deduction. She had a brain full of tumultuous ideas, and
thoughts vehement and restless. In many places she triumphed over the
contentious, expounding the most subtle questions. When she was imprisoned
in the house of [Maḥmúd] the Kalantar of Ṭihrán, and the festivities and
rejoicings of a wedding were going on, the wives of the city magnates who
were present as guests were so charmed with the beauty of her speech that,
forgetting the festivities, they gathered round her, diverted by listening
to her words from listening to the melodies, and rendered indifferent by
witnessing her marvels to the contemplation of the pleasant and novel
sights which are incidental to a wedding. In short in elocution she was
the calamity of the age, and in ratiocination the trouble of the world. Of
fear or timidity there was no trace in her heart, nor had the admonitions
of the kindly-disposed any profit or fruit for her. Although she was of
[such as are] damsels [meet] for the bridal bower, yet she wrested
preeminence from stalwart men, and continued to strain the feet of
steadfastness until she yielded up her life at the sentence of the mighty
doctors in Ṭihrán. But were we to occupy ourselves with these details the
matter would end in prolixity.

Well, Persia was in this critical state and the learned doctors perplexed
and anxious, when the late Prince Muḥammad _Sh_áh died, and the throne of
sovereignty was adorned with the person of the new monarch. Mírzá Taqí
_Kh_án Amír-Nizám, who was Prime Minister and Chief Regent, seized in the
grasp of his despotic power the reins of the affairs of the commonwealth,
and urged the steed of his ambition into the arena of willfulness and sole
possession. This minister was a person devoid of experience and wanting in
consideration for the consequences of actions; bloodthirsty and shameless;
and swift and ready to shed blood. Severity in punishing he regarded as
wise administration, and harshly entreating, distressing, intimidating,
and frightening the people he considered as a fulcrum for the advancement
of the monarchy. And as His Majesty the King was in the prime of youthful
years the minister fell into strange fancies and sounded the drum of



[Pages 21–40]


absolutism in [the conduct of] affairs: on his own decisive resolution,
without seeking permission from the Royal Presence or taking counsel with
prudent statesmen, he issued orders to persecute the Bábís, imagining that
by overweening force he could eradicate and suppress matters of this
nature, and that harshness would bear good fruit; whereas [in fact] to
interfere with matters of conscience is simply to give them greater
currency and strength; the more you strive to extinguish the more will the
flame be kindled, more especially in matters of faith and religion, which
spread and acquire influence so soon as blood is shed, and strongly affect
men’s hearts. These things have been put to the proof, and the greatest
proof is this very transaction. Thus they relate that the possessions of a
certain Bábí in Ká_sh_án were plundered, and his household scattered and
dispersed. They stripped him naked and scourged him, defiled his beard,
mounted him face backwards on an ass, and paraded him through the streets
and bazaars with the utmost cruelty, to the sound of drums, trumpets,
guitars, and tambourines. A certain gabr who knew absolutely naught of the
world or its denizens chanced to be seated apart in a corner of a
caravansary. When the clamor of the people rose high he hastened into the
street, and, becoming cognizant of the offence and the offender, and the
cause of his public disgrace and punishment in full detail, he fell to
making search, and that very day entered the society of the Bábís, saying,
“This very ill-usage and public humiliation is a proof of truth and the
very best of arguments. Had it not been thus it might have been that a
thousand years would have passed ere one like me became informed.”

At all events the minister with the utmost arbitrariness, without
receiving any instructions or asking permission, sent forth commands in
all directions to punish and chastise the Bábís. Governors and magistrates
sought a pretext for amassing wealth, and officials a means of [acquiring]
profits; celebrated doctors from the summits of their pulpits incited men
to make a general onslaught; the powers of the religious and the civil law
linked hands and strove to eradicate and destroy this people.

Now this people had not yet acquired such knowledge as was right and
needful of the fundamental principles and hidden doctrines of the Báb’s
teachings, and did not recognize their duties. Their conceptions and ideas
were after the former fashion, and their conduct and behavior in
correspondence with ancient usage. The way of approach to the Báb was,
moreover, closed, and the flame of trouble visibly blazing on every side.
At the decree of the most celebrated of the doctors, the government, and
indeed the common people, had, with irresistible power, inaugurated rapine
and plunder on all sides, and were engaged in punishing and torturing,
killing and despoiling, in order that they might quench this fire and
wither these [poor] souls. In towns where these were but a limited number
all of them with bound hands became food for the sword, while in cities
where they were numerous they arose in self-defense agreeably to their
former beliefs, since it was impossible for them to make inquiry as to
their duty, and all doors were closed.

In Mázindarán amongst other places the people of the city of Barfurú_sh_
at the command of the chief of the lawyers the Sa’ídu’l-‘Ulamá’ made a
general attack on Mullá Ḥusayn of Bu_sh_rúyih and his followers, and slew
six or seven persons. They were busy compassing the destruction of the
rest also when Mullá Ḥusayn ordered the a_dh_án to be sounded and
stretched forth his hand to the sword, whereupon all sought flight, and
the nobles and lords coming before him with the utmost penitence and
deference agreed that he should be permitted to depart. They further sent
with them as a guard _Kh_usraw of Qádí-Kalá with horsemen and footmen, so
that, according to the terms of the agreement, they might go forth safe
and protected from the territory of Mázindarán. When they, being ignorant
of the fords and paths, had emerged from the city, _Kh_usraw dispersed his
horsemen and footmen and set them in ambush in the forest of Mázindarán,
scattered and separated the Bábís in that forest on the road and off the
road, and began to hunt them down singly. When the reports of muskets
arose on every side the hidden secret became manifest, and several
wanderers and other persons were suddenly slain with bullets. Mullá Ḥusayn
ordered the a_dh_án to be sounded to assemble his scattered followers,
while Mírzá Lutf-‘Alí the secretary drew his dagger and ripped open
_Kh_usraw’s vitals. Of _Kh_usraw’s host some were slain and others
wandered distractedly over the field of battle. Mullá Ḥusayn quartered his
host in a fort near the burial-place of _Sh_ay_kh_ Tabarsí, and, being
aware of the wishes of the community, relaxed and interrupted the march.
This detachment was subsequently further reinforced by Mírzá Muḥammad-‘Alí
of Mázindarán with a number of other persons, so that the garrison of the
fort numbered three hundred and thirteen souls. Of these, however, all
were not capable of fighting, only one hundred and ten persons being
prepared for war. Most of them were doctors or students whose companions
had been during their whole life books and treatises; yet, in spite of the
fact that they were unaccustomed to war or to the blows of shot and sword,
four times were camps and armies arrayed against them and they were
attacked and hemmed in with cannons, muskets, and bomb-shells, and on all
four occasions they inflicted defeat, while the army was completely routed
and dispersed. On the occasion of the fourth defeat Abbás-Qulí _Kh_án of
Laríján was captain of the forces and Prince Mihdí-Qulí Mírzá commander in
the camp. The _Kh_án above mentioned used at nights to conceal and hide
himself in disguise amongst the trees of the forest outside the camp,
while during the day he was present in the encampment. The last battle
took place at night and the army was routed. The Bábís fired the tents and
huts, and night became bright as day. The foot of Mullá Ḥusayn’s horse
caught in a noose, for he was riding, the others being on foot. Abbás-Qulí
_Kh_án recognized him from the top of a tree afar off, and with his own
hand discharged several bullets. At the third shot he threw him from his
feet. He was borne by his followers to the fort, and there they buried
him. Notwithstanding this event [the troops] could not prevail by superior
force. At length the Prince made a treaty and covenant, and swore by the
Holy Imáms, confirming his oath by vows plighted on the glorious Qur’án,
to this effect: “You shall not be molested; return to your own places.”
Since their provisions had for some time been exhausted, so that even of
the skins and bones of horses naught remained, and they had subsisted for
several days on pure water, they agreed. When they arrived at the army
food was prepared for them in a place outside the camp. They were engaged
in eating, having laid aside their weapons and armor, when the soldiers
fell on them on all sides and slew them all. Some have accounted this
valor displayed by these people as a thing miraculous, but when a band of
men are besieged in some place where all avenues and roads are stopped and
all hope of deliverance is cut off they will assuredly defend themselves
desperately and display bravery and courage.

In Zanján and Nayríz likewise at the decree of erudite doctors and notable
lawyers a bloodthirsty military force attacked and besieged. In Zanján the
chief was Mullá Muḥammad-‘Alí the mujtahid, while in Nayríz Siyyid Yaḥyá
of Daráb was the leader and arbiter. At first they sought to bring about a
reconciliation, but, meeting with cruel ferocity, they reached the pitch
of desperation; and, the overpowering force of the victorious troops
having cut off every passage of flight, they unclosed their hands in
resistance. But although they were very strong in battle and amazed the
chiefs of the army by their steadfastness and endurance, the overwhelming
military force closed the passage of flight and broke their wings and
feathers. After numerous battles they too at last yielded to covenants and
compacts, oaths and promises, vows registered on the Qur’án, and the
wonderful stratagems of the officers, and were all put to the edge of the
sword.

Were we to occupy ourselves in detail with the wars of Nayríz and Zanján,
or to set forth these events from beginning to end, this epitome would
become a bulky volume. So, since this would be of no advantage to history,
we have passed them over briefly.

During the course of the events which took place at Zanján the Prime
Minister devised a final and trenchant remedy. Without the royal command,
without consulting with the ministers of the subject-protecting court, he,
acting with arbitrary disposition, fixed determination, and entirely on
his own authority, issued commands to put the Báb to death. This befell in
brief as follows. The governor of Á_dh_irbayján, Prince Ḥamzih Mírzá, was
unwilling that the execution of this sentence should be at his hands, and
said to the brother of the Amír, Mírzá Ḥasan _Kh_án, “This is a vile
business and an easy one; anyone is capable and competent. I had imagined
that His Excellency the Regent would commission me to make war on the
Afghans or Uzbegs or appoint me to attack and invade the territory of
Russia or Turkey.” So Mírzá Ḥasan _Kh_án wrote his excuse in detail to the
Amír.

Now the Siyyid Báb had disposed all His affairs before setting out from
_Ch_ihríq towards Tabríz, had placed His writings and even His ring and
pen-case in a specially prepared box, put the key of the box in an
envelope, and sent it by means of Mullá Báqir, who was one of His first
associates, to Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Karím of Qazvín. This trust Mullá Báqir
delivered over to Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Karím at Qum in presence of a numerous
company. At the solicitations of those present he opened the lid of the
box and said, “I am commanded to convey this trust to Bahá’u’lláh: more
than this ask not of me, for I cannot tell you.” Importuned by the
company, he produced a long epistle in blue, penned in the most graceful
manner with the utmost delicacy and firmness in a beautiful minute
_sh_ikastih hand, written in the shape of a man so closely that it would
have been imagined that it was a single wash of ink on the paper. When
they had read this epistle [they perceived that] He had produced three
hundred and sixty derivatives from the word Bahá. Then Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Karím
conveyed the trust to its destination.

Well, we must return to our original narrative. The Prime Minister issued
a second order to his brother Mírzá Ḥasan _Kh_án, the gist of which order
was this: “Obtain a formal and explicit sentence from the learned doctors
of Tabríz who are the firm support of the Church of Ja’far (upon him be
peace) and the impregnable stronghold of the _Sh_í’ite faith; summon the
Christian regiment of Urúmíyyih; suspend the Báb before all the people;
and give orders for the regiment to fire a volley.”

Mírzá Ḥasan _Kh_án summoned his chief of the farrá_sh_es, and gave him his
instructions. They removed the Báb’s turban and sash which were the signs
of His Siyyid-hood, brought Him with four of His followers to the barrack
square of Tabríz, confined Him in a cell, and appointed forty of the
Christian soldiers of Tabríz to guard Him.

Next day the chief of the farrá_sh_es delivered over the Báb and a young
man named Áqá Muḥammad-‘Alí who was of a noble family of Tabríz to Sám
_Kh_án, colonel of the Christian regiment of Urúmíyyih, at the sentences
of the learned divine Mullá Muḥammad of Mamaqán, of the second
ecclesiastical authority Mullá Mírzá Báqir, and of the third
ecclesiastical authority Mullá Murtadá-Qulí and others. An iron nail was
hammered into the middle of the staircase of the very cell wherein they
were imprisoned, and two ropes were hung down. By one rope the Báb was
suspended and by the other rope Áqá Muḥammad-‘Alí, both being firmly bound
in such wise that the head of that young man was on the Báb’s breast. The
surrounding housetops billowed with teeming crowds. A regiment of soldiers
ranged itself in three files. The first file fired; then the second file,
and then the third file discharged volleys. From the fire of these volleys
a mighty smoke was produced. When the smoke cleared away they saw that
young man standing and the Báb seated by the side of His amanuensis Áqá
Siyyid Ḥusayn in the very cell from the staircase of which they had
suspended them. To neither one of them had the slightest injury resulted.

Sám _Kh_án the Christian asked to be excused; the turn of service came to
another regiment, and the chief of the farrá_sh_es withheld his hand. Áqá
Ján Big of _Kh_amsíh, colonel of the bodyguard, advanced; and they again
bound the Báb together with that young man to the same nail. The Báb
uttered certain words which those few who knew Persian understood, while
the rest heard but the sound of His voice.

The colonel of the regiment appeared in person: and it was before noon on
the twenty-eighth day of _Sh_a’bán in the year [A.H.] one thousand two
hundred and sixty-six.(14) Suddenly he gave orders to fire. At this volley
the bullets produced such an effect that the breasts [of the victims] were
riddled, and their limbs were completely dissected, except their faces,
which were but little marred.

Then they removed those two bodies from the square to the edge of the moat
outside the city, and that night they remained by the edge of the moat.
Next day the Russian consul came with an artist and took a picture of
those two bodies in the posture wherein they had fallen at the edge of the
moat.

On the second night at midnight the Bábís carried away the two bodies.

On the third day the people did not find the bodies, and some supposed
that the wild beasts had devoured them, so that the doctors proclaimed
from the summits of their pulpits saying, “The holy body of the immaculate
Imám and that of the true _Sh_í’ite are preserved from the encroachments
of beasts of prey and creeping things and wounds, but the body of this
person have the wild beasts torn in pieces.” But after the fullest
investigation and inquiry it hath been proved that when the Báb had
dispersed all His writings and personal properties and it had become clear
and evident from various signs that these events would shortly take place,
therefore, on the second day of these events, Sulaymán _Kh_án the son of
Yaḥyá _Kh_án, one of the nobles of Á_dh_irbayján devoted to the Báb,
arrived, and proceeded straightway to the house of the mayor of Tabríz.
And since the mayor was an old friend, associate, and confidant of his;
since, moreover, he was of the mystic temperament and did not entertain
aversion or dislike for any sect, Sulaymán _Kh_án divulged this secret to
him saying, “Tonight I, with several others, will endeavor by every means
and artifice to rescue the body. Even though it be not possible, come what
may we will make an attack, and either attain our object or pour out our
lives freely in this way.” “Such troubles,” answered the mayor, “are in no
wise necessary.” He then sent one of his private servants named Ḥájí
Alláh-Yár, who, by whatever means and proceedings it was, obtained the
body without trouble or difficulty and handed it over to Ḥájí Sulaymán
_Kh_án. And when it was morning the sentinels, to excuse themselves, said
that the wild beasts had devoured it. That night they sheltered the body
in the workshop of a Bábí of Milán: next day they manufactured a box,
placed it in the box, and left it as a trust. Afterwards, in accordance
with instructions which arrived from Ṭihrán, they sent it away from
Á_dh_irbayján. And this transaction remained absolutely secret.

Now in these years [A.H. one thousand two hundred and] sixty-six and
sixty-seven throughout all Persia fire fell on the households of the
Bábís, and each one of them, in whatever hamlet he might be, was, on the
slightest suspicion arising, put to the sword. More than four thousand
souls were slain, and a great multitude of women and children, left
without protector or helper, distracted and confounded, were trodden down
and destroyed. And all these occurrences were brought about solely by the
arbitrary decision and command of Mírzá Taqí _Kh_án, who imagined that by
the enactment of a crushing punishment this sect would be dispersed and
disappear in such wise that all sign and knowledge of them would be cut
off. Ere long had passed the contrary of his imagination appeared, and it
became certain that [the Bábís] were increasing. The flame rose higher and
the contagion became swifter: the affair waxed grave and the report
thereof reached other climes. At first it was confined to Persia: later it
spread to the rest of the world. Quaking and affliction resulted in
constancy and stability, and grievous pains and punishment caused
acceptance and attraction. The very events produced an impression;
impression led to investigation; and investigation resulted in increase.
Through the ill-considered policy of the Minister this edifice became
fortified and strengthened, and these foundations firm and solid.
Previously the matter used to be regarded as commonplace: subsequently it
acquired a grave importance in men’s eyes. Many persons from all parts of
the world set out for Persia, and began to seek with their whole hearts.
For it hath been proved by experience in the world that in the case of
such matters of conscience laceration causeth healing; censure produceth
increased diligence; prohibition induceth eagerness; and intimidation
createth avidity. The root is hidden in the very heart, while the branch
is apparent and evident. When one branch is cut off other branches grow.
Thus it is observed that when such matters occur in other countries they
become extinct spontaneously through lack of attention and exiguity of
interest. For up to the present moment of movements pertaining to religion
many have appeared in the countries of Europe, but, noninterference and
absence of bigotry having deprived them of importance, in a little while
they became effaced and dispelled.

After this event there was wrought by a certain Bábí a great error and a
grave presumption and crime, which has blackened the page of the history
of this sect and given it an ill name throughout the civilized world. Of
this event the marrow is this, that during the time when the Báb was
residing in Á_dh_irbayján a youth, Ṣádiq by name, became affected with the
utmost devotion to the Báb, night and day was busy in serving Him, and
became bereft of thought and reason. Now when that which befell the Báb in
Tabríz took place, this servant, actuated by his own fond fancies, fell
into thoughts of seeking blood-revenge. And since he knew naught of the
details of the events, the absolute autocracy of the Amír-Nizám, his
unbridled power, and sole authority; nor [was aware] that this sentence
had been promulgated absolutely without the cognizance of the Royal Court,
and that the Prime Minister had presumptuously issued the order on his own
sole responsibility; since, on the contrary, he supposed that agreeably to
ordinary custom and usage the attendants of the court had had a share in,
and a knowledge of this sentence, therefore, [impelled by] folly, frenzy,
and his evil star, nay, by sheer madness, he rose up from Tabríz and came
straight to Ṭihrán, one other person being his accomplice. Then, since the
Royal Train had its abode in _Sh_imírán, he thither directed his steps.
God is our refuge! By him was wrought a deed so presumptuous that the
tongue is unable to declare and the pen loath to describe it. Yet to God
be praise and thankfulness that this madman had charged his pistol with
shot, imagining this to be preferable and superior to all projectiles.

Then all at once commotion arose, and this sect became of such ill repute
that still, strive and struggle as they may to escape from the curse and
disgrace and dishonor of this deed, they are unable to do so. They will
recount from the first manifestation of the Báb until the present time;
but when the thread of the discourse reaches this event they are abashed
and hang their heads in shame, repudiating the presumptuous actor and
accounting him the destroyer of the edifice and the cause of shame to
mankind.

Now after the occurrence of this grave matter all of this sect were
suspected. At first there was neither investigation nor inquiry, but
afterwards in mere justice it was decided that there should be
investigation, inquiry, and examination. All who were known to be of this
sect fell under suspicion. Bahá’u’lláh was passing the summer in the
village of Af_ch_ih situated one stage from Ṭihrán. When this news was
spread abroad and punishment began, everyone who was able hid himself in
some retreat or fled the country. Amongst these Mírzá Yaḥyá, the brother
of Bahá’u’lláh, concealed himself, and, a bewildered fugitive, in the
guise of a dervish, with ka_sh_kúl in hand, wandered in mountains and
plains on the road to Ra_sh_t. But Bahá’u’lláh rode forth with perfect
composure and calmness from Af_ch_ih, and came to Níyávarán, which was the
abode of the Royal Train and the station of the imperial camp. Immediately
on His arrival He was placed under arrest, and a whole regiment guarded
Him closely. After several days of interrogation they sent Him in chains
and fetters from _Sh_imírán to the jail of Ṭihrán. And this harshness and
punishment was due to the immoderate importunity of Ḥájí ‘Alí _Kh_án, the
Ḥajíbu’d-Dawlih, nor did there seem any hope of deliverance, until His
Majesty the King, moved by his own kindly spirit, commanded
circumspection, and ordered this occurrence to be investigated and
examined particularly and generally by means of the ministers of the
imperial court.

Now when Bahá’u’lláh was interrogated on this matter He answered in reply,
“The event itself indicates the truth of the affair and testifies that
this is the action of a thoughtless, unreasoning, and ignorant man. For no
reasonable person would charge his pistol with shot when embarking on so
grave an enterprise. At least he would so arrange and plan it that the
deed should be orderly and systematic. From the very nature of the event
it is clear and evident as the sun that it is not the act of such as
Myself.”

So it was established and proven that the assassin had on his own
responsibility engaged in this grievous action and monstrous deed with the
idea and design of taking blood revenge for his Master, and that it
concerned no one else. And when the truth of the matter became evident the
innocence of Bahá’u’lláh from this suspicion was established in such wise
that no doubt remained for anyone; the decision of the court declared His
purity and freedom from this charge; and it became apparent and clear that
what had been done with regard to Him was due to the efforts of His foes
and the hasty folly of the Ḥajíbu’d-Dawlih. Therefore did the government
of eternal duration desire to restore certain properties and estates which
had been confiscated, that thereby it might pacify Him. But since the
chief part of these was lost and only an inconsiderable portion was
forthcoming, none came forward to claim them. Indeed Bahá’u’lláh requested
permission to withdraw to the Supreme Shrines(15) [of Karbilá and Najaf]
and, after some months, by the royal permission and with the leave of the
Prime Minister, set out accompanied by one of the King’s messengers for
the Shrines.

Let us return, however, to our original subject. Of the Báb’s writings
many remained in men’s hands. Some of these were commentaries on, and
interpretations of the verses of the Qur’án; some were prayers, homilies,
and hints of [the true significance of certain] passages; others were
exhortations, admonitions, dissertations on the different branches of the
doctrine of the Divine Unity, demonstrations of the special prophetic
mission of the Lord of existing things [Muḥammad], and (as it hath been
understood) encouragements to amendment of character, severance from
worldly states, and dependence on the inspirations of God. But the essence
and purport of His compositions were the praises and descriptions of that
Reality soon to appear which was His only object and aim, His darling, and
His desire.(16) For He regarded His own appearance as that of a harbinger
of good tidings, and considered His own real nature merely as a means for
the manifestation of the greater perfections of that One. And indeed He
ceased not from celebrating Him by night or day for a single instant, but
used to signify to all His followers that they should expect His arising:
in such wise that He declares in His writings, “I am a letter out of that
most mighty book and a dewdrop from that limitless ocean, and, when He
shall appear, My true nature, My mysteries, riddles, and intimations will
become evident, and the embryo of this religion shall develop through the
grades of its being and ascent, attain to the station of ‘the most comely
of forms,’(17) and become adorned with the robe of ‘blessed be God, the
Best of Creators.’(18) And this event will disclose itself in the year
[A.H. one thousand two hundred and] sixty-nine,(19) which corresponds to
the number of the year of ‘after a while,’ and ‘thou shalt see the
mountains which thou thinkest so solid passing away like the passing of
the clouds’(20) shall be fulfilled.” In short He so described Him that, in
His own expression, He regarded approach to the divine bounty and
attainment of the highest degrees of perfection in the worlds of humanity
as dependent on love for Him, and so inflamed was He with His flame that
commemoration of Him was the bright candle of His dark nights in the
fortress of Mákú, and remembrance of Him was the best of companions in the
straits of the prison of _Ch_ihríq. Thereby He obtained spiritual
enlargements; with His wine was He inebriated; and at remembrance of Him
did He rejoice. All of His followers too were in expectation of the
appearance of these signs, and each one of His intimates was seeking after
the fulfillment of these forecasts.

Now from the beginning of the manifestation of the Báb there was in Ṭihrán
(which the Báb called the Holy Land) a Youth of the family of one of the
ministers and of noble lineage, gifted in every way, and adorned with
purity and nobility. Although He combined lofty lineage with high
connection, and although His ancestors were men of note in Persia and
universally sought after, yet He was not of a race of doctors or a family
of scholars. Now this Youth was from His earliest adolescence celebrated
amongst those of the ministerial class, both relatives and strangers, for
single-mindedness, and was from childhood pointed out as remarkable for
sagacity, and held in regard in the eyes of the wise. He did not, however,
after the fashion of His ancestors, desire elevation to lofty ranks nor
seek advancement to splendid but transient positions. His extreme aptitude
was nevertheless admitted by all, and His excessive acuteness and
intelligence were universally avowed. In the eyes of the common folk He
enjoyed a wonderful esteem, and in all gatherings and assemblies He had a
marvelous speech and delivery. Notwithstanding lack of instruction and
education such was the keenness of His penetration and the readiness of
His apprehension that when during His youthful prime He appeared in
assemblies where questions of divinity and points of metaphysic were being
discussed, and, in presence of a great concourse of doctors and scholars
loosed His tongue, all those present were amazed, accounting this as a
sort of prodigy beyond the discernment natural to the human race. From His
early years He was the hope of His kindred and the unique one of His
family and race, nay, their refuge and shelter.

However, in spite of these conditions and circumstances, as He wore a
kuláh on His head and locks flowing over His shoulder, no one imagined
that He would become the source of such matters, or that the waves of His
flood would reach the zenith of this firmament.

When the question of the Báb was noised abroad signs of partiality
appeared in Him. At the first He apprised His relatives and connections,
and the children and dependents of His own circle; subsequently He
occupied His energies by day and night in inviting friends and strangers
[to embrace the new faith]. He arose with mighty resolution, engaged with
the utmost constancy in systematizing the principles and consolidating the
ethical canons of that society in every way, and strove by all means to
protect and guard these people.

When He had [thus] established the foundations in Ṭihrán He hastened to
Mázindarán, where He displayed in assemblies, meetings, conferences, inns,
mosques, and colleges a mighty power of utterance and exposition. Whoever
beheld His open brow or heard His vivid eulogies perceived Him with the
eye of actual vision to be a patent demonstration, a latent magnetic
force, and a pervading influence. A great number both of rich and poor and
of erudite doctors were attracted by His preaching and washed their hands
of heart and life, being so enkindled that they laid down their lives
under the sword dancing [with joy].

Thus, amongst many instances, one day four learned and accomplished
scholars of the divines of Núr were present in His company, and in such
wise did He expound that all four were involuntarily constrained to
entreat Him to accept them for His service. For by dint of His eloquence,
which was like “evident sorcery,” He satisfied these eminent doctors that
they were in reality children engaged in the rudiments of study and the
merest tyros, and that therefore they must read the alphabet from the
beginning. Several protracted conferences were passed in expounding and
elucidating the Point and the Alif of the Absolute, wherein the doctors
present were astounded, and filled with amazement and astonishment at the
seething and roaring of the ocean of His utterance. The report of this
occurrence reached the hearing of far and near, and deep despondency fell
on the adversaries. The regions of Núr were filled with excitement and
commotion at these events, and the noise of this mischief and trouble
smote the ears of the citizens of Barfurú_sh_. The chief divine of Núr,
Mullá Muḥammad, was in Qi_sh_laq. When he heard of these occurrences he
sent two of the most distinguished and profound of the doctors, who were
possessed of wondrous eloquence, effective oratorical talent,
conclusiveness of argument, and brilliant powers of demonstration, to
quench this fire, and to subdue and overcome this Young Man by force of
argument, either reducing Him to penitence, or causing Him to despair of
the successful issue of His projects. Glory be to God for His wondrous
decrees! When those two doctors entered the presence of that Young Man,
saw the waves of His utterance, and heard the force of His arguments, they
unfolded like the rose and were stirred like the multitude, and,
abandoning altar and chair, pulpit and preferment, wealth and luxury, and
evening and morning congregations, they applied themselves to the
furtherance of the objects of this Person, even inviting the chief divine
to tender his allegiance. So when this Young Man with a faculty of speech
like a rushing torrent set out for Ámul and Sarí He met with that
experienced doctor and that illustrious divine in Qi_sh_laq of Núr. And
the people assembled from all quarters awaiting the result. His
accomplished reverence the divine, although he was of universally
acknowledged excellence, and in science the most learned of his
contemporaries, nevertheless decided to have recourse to augury as to
[whether he should engage in] discussion and disputation. This did not
prove favorable and he therefore excused himself, deferring [the
discussion] until some other time. His incompetency and shortcoming
thereby became known and suspected, and this caused the adherence,
confirmation, and edification of many.

In brief outline the narrative is this. For some while He wandered about
in those districts. After the death of the late prince Muḥammad _Sh_áh He
returned to Ṭihrán, having in His mind [the intention of] corresponding
and entering into relations with the Báb. The medium of this
correspondence was the celebrated Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Karím of Qazvín, who was
the Báb’s mainstay and trusted intimate. Now since a great celebrity had
been attained for Bahá’u’lláh in Ṭihrán, and the hearts of men were
disposed towards Him, He, together with Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Karím, considered it
as expedient that, in face of the agitation amongst the doctors, the
aggressiveness of the greater part of [the people of] Persia, and the
irresistible power of the Amír-Nizám, whereby both the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh
were in great danger and liable to incur severe punishment, some measure
should be adopted to direct the thoughts of men towards some absent
person, by which means Bahá’u’lláh would remain protected from the
interference of all men. And since further, having regard to sundry
considerations, they did not consider an outsider as suitable, they cast
the lot of this augury to the name of Bahá’u’lláh’s brother Mírzá Yaḥyá.

By the assistance and instruction of Bahá’u’lláh, therefore, they made him
notorious and famous on the tongues of friends and foes, and wrote
letters, ostensibly at his dictation, to the Báb. And since secret
correspondences were in process the Báb highly approved of this scheme. So
Mírzá Yaḥyá was concealed and hidden while mention of him was on the
tongues and in the mouths of men. And this mighty plan was of wondrous
efficacy, for Bahá’u’lláh, though He was known and seen, remained safe and
secure, and this veil was the cause that no one outside [the sect]
fathomed the matter or fell into the idea of molestation, until
Bahá’u’lláh quitted Ṭihrán at the permission of the King and was permitted
to withdraw to the Supreme Shrines.

When He reached Ba_gh_dád and the crescent moon of the month of Muharram
of the year [A.H. one thousand two hundred and] sixty-nine (which was
termed in the books of the Báb “the year of ‘after a while’” and wherein
He had promised the disclosure of the true nature of His religion and its
mysteries) shone forth from the horizon of the world, this covert secret,
as is related, became apparent amongst all within and without [the
society]. Bahá’u’lláh with mighty steadfastness became a target for the
arrows of all amongst mankind, while Mírzá Yaḥyá in disguise passed his
time, now in the environs and vicinity of Ba_gh_dád engaged for better
concealment in various trades, now in Ba_gh_dád itself in the garb of the
Arabs.

Now Bahá’u’lláh so acted that the hearts of this sect were drawn towards
Him, while most of the inhabitants of ‘Iráq were reduced to silence and
speechlessness, some being amazed and others angered. After remaining
there for one year He withdrew His hand from all things, abandoned
relatives and connections, and, without the knowledge of His followers,
quitted ‘Iráq alone and solitary, without companion, supporter, associate,
or comrade. For nigh upon two years He dwelt in Turkish Kurdistán,
generally in a place named Sar-Galú, situated in the mountains, and far
removed from human habitations. Sometimes on rare occasions He used to
frequent Sulaymáníyyih. Ere long had elapsed the most eminent doctors of
those regions got some inkling of His circumstances and conditions, and
conversed with Him on the solution of certain difficult questions
connected with the most abstruse points of theology. Having witnessed on
His part ample signs and satisfactory explanations they observed towards
Him the utmost respectfulness and deference. In consequence of this He
acquired a great fame and wonderful reputation in those regions, and
fragmentary accounts of Him were circulated in all quarters and
directions, to wit that a stranger, a Persian, had appeared in the
district of Sulaymáníyyih (which hath been, from of old, the place whence
the most expert doctors of the Sunnites have arisen), and that the people
of that country had loosed their tongues in praise of Him. From the rumor
thus heard it was known that that Person was none other than Bahá’u’lláh.
Several persons, therefore, hastened thither, and began to entreat and
implore, and the urgent entreaty of all brought about His return.

Now although this sect had not been affected with quaking or consternation
at these grievous events, such as the slaughter of their Chief and the
rest, but did rather increase and multiply; still, since the Báb was but
beginning to lay the foundations when He was slain, therefore was this
community ignorant concerning its proper conduct, action, behavior, and
duty, their sole guiding principle being love for the Báb. This ignorance
was the reason that in some parts disturbances occurred; for, experiencing
violent molestation, they unclosed their hands in self-defense. But after
His return Bahá’u’lláh made such strenuous efforts in educating, teaching,
training, regulating, and reconstructing this community that in a short
while all these troubles and mischiefs were quenched, and the utmost
tranquility and repose reigned in men’s hearts; so that, according to what
hath been heard, it became clear and obvious even to statesmen that the
fundamental intentions and ideas of this sect were things spiritual, and
such as are connected with pure hearts; that their true and essential
principles were to reform the morals and beautify the conduct of the human
race, and that with things material they had absolutely no concern.

When these principles, then, were established in the hearts of this sect
they so acted in all lands that they became celebrated amongst statesmen
for gentleness of spirit, steadfastness of heart, right intent, good
deeds, and excellence of conduct. For this people are most well-disposed
towards obedience and submissiveness, and, on receiving such instruction,
they conformed their conduct and behavior thereto. Formerly exception was
taken to the words, deeds, demeanor, morals, and conduct of this sect: now
objection is made in Persia to their tenets and spiritual state. Now this
is beyond the power of man, that he should be able by interference or
objection to change the heart and conscience, or meddle with the
convictions of anyone. For in the realm of conscience naught but the ray
of God’s light can command, and on the throne of the heart none but the
pervading power of the King of Kings should rule. Thus it is that one can
arrest and suspend [the action of] every faculty except thought and
reflection; for a man cannot even by his own volition withhold himself
from reflection or thought, nor keep back his musings and imaginings.

At all events the undeniable truth is this, that for nigh upon thirty-five
years no action opposed to the government or prejudicial to the nation has
emanated from this sect or been witnessed [on their part], and that during
this long period, notwithstanding the fact that their numbers and strength
are double what they were formerly, no sound has arisen from any place,
except that every now and then learned doctors and eminent scholars
(really for the extension of this report through the world and the
awakening of men) sentence some few to death. For such interference is not
destruction but edification when thou regardest the truth, which will not
thereby become quenched and forgotten, but rather stimulated and
advertised.

I will at least relate one short anecdote of what actually took place. A
certain person violently molested and grievously injured a certain Bábí.
The victim unclosed his hand in retaliation and arose to take vengeance,
unsheathing his weapon against the aggressor. Becoming the object of
censure and reprimand of this sect, however, he took refuge in flight.



[Pages 41–60]


When he reached Hamadán his character became known, and, as he was of the
clerical class, the doctors vehemently pursued him, handed him over to the
government, and ordered chastisement to be inflicted. By chance there fell
out from the fold of his collar a document written by Bahá’u’lláh, the
subject of which was reproof of attempts at retaliation, censure and
reprobation of the search after vengeance, and prohibition from following
after lusts. Amongst other matters they found these expressions contained
in it: “Verily God is quit of the seditious,” and likewise: “If ye be
slain it is better for you than that ye should slay. And when ye are
tormented have recourse to the controllers of affairs and the refuge of
the people; and if ye be neglected then entrust your affairs to the
Jealous Lord. This is the mark of the sincere, and the characteristic of
the assured.” When the governor became cognizant of this writing he
addressed that person saying, “By the decree of that Chief whom you
yourself obey correction is necessary and punishment and chastisement
obligatory.” “If,” replied that person, “you will carry out all His
precepts I shall have the utmost pleasure in [submitting to] punishment
and death.” The governor smiled and let the man go.

So Bahá’u’lláh made the utmost efforts to educate [His people] and incite
[them] to morality, the acquisition of the sciences and arts of all
countries, kindly dealing with all the nations of the earth, desire for
the welfare of all peoples, sociability, concord, obedience,
submissiveness, instruction of [their] children, production of what is
needful for the human race, and inauguration of true happiness for
mankind; and He continually kept sending tracts of admonition to all
parts, whereby a wonderful effect was produced. Some of these epistles
have, after extreme search and inquiry, been examined, and some portions
of them shall now be set down in writing.

All these epistles consisted of [exhortations to] purity of morals,
encouragement to good conduct, reprobation of certain individuals, and
complaints of the seditious. Amongst others this sentence was recorded:

“My captivity is not My abasement: by My life, it is indeed a glory unto
Me! But the abasement is the action of My friends who connect themselves
with Us and follow the devil in their actions. Amongst them is he who
taketh lust and turneth aside from what is commanded; and amongst them is
he who followeth the truth in right guidance. As for those who commit sin
and cling to the world they are assuredly not of the people of Bahá.”

So again: “Well it is with him who is adorned with the decoration of
manners and morals: verily he is of those who help their Lord with clear
perspicuous action.”

“He is God, exalted is His state, wisdom and utterance. The True One
(glorious is His glory) for the showing forth of the gems of ideals from
the mine of man, hath, in every age, sent a Trusted One. The primary
foundation of the faith of God and the religion of God is this, that they
should not make diverse sects and various paths the cause and reason of
hatred. These principles and laws and firm sure roads appear from one
dawning-place and shine from one dayspring, and these diversities were out
of regard for the requirements of the time, season, ages, and epochs. O
unitarians, make firm the girdle of endeavor, that perchance religious
strife and conflict may be removed from amongst the people of the world
and be annulled. For love of God and His servants engage in this great and
mighty matter. Religious hatred and rancor is a world-consuming fire, and
the quenching thereof most arduous, unless the hand of Divine Might give
men deliverance from this unfruitful calamity. Consider a war which
happeneth between two states: both sides have foregone wealth and life:
how many villages were beheld as though they were not! This precept is in
the position of the light in the lamp of utterance.”

“O people of the world, ye are all the fruit of one tree and the leaves of
one branch. Walk with perfect charity, concord, affection, and agreement.
I swear by the Sun of Truth, the light of agreement shall brighten and
illumine the horizons. The all-knowing Truth hath been and is the witness
to this saying. Endeavor to attain to this high supreme station which is
the station of protection and preservation of mankind. This is the intent
of the King of intentions, and this the hope of the Lord of hopes.”

“We trust that God will assist the kings of the earth to illuminate and
adorn the earth with the refulgent light of the Sun of Justice. At one
time We spoke in the language of the Law, at another time in the language
of the Truth and the Way; and the ultimate object and remote aim was the
showing forth of this high supreme station. And God sufficeth for
witness.”

“O friends, consort with all the people of the world with joy and
fragrance. If there be to you a word or essence whereof others than you
are devoid, communicate it and show it forth in the language of affection
and kindness: if it be received and be effective the object is attained,
and if not leave it to him, and with regard to him deal not harshly but
pray. The language of kindness is the lodestone of hearts and the food of
the soul; it stands in the relation of ideas to words, and is as an
horizon for the shining of the Sun of Wisdom and Knowledge.”

“If the unitarians had in the latter times acted according to the glorious
Law [which came] after His Highness the Seal [of the Prophets] (may the
life of all beside Him be His sacrifice!), and had clung to its skirt, the
foundation of the fortress of religion would not have been shaken, and
populous cities would not have been ruined, but rather cities and villages
would have acquired and been adorned with the decoration of peace and
serenity.”

“Through the heedlessness and discordance of the favored people and the
smoke of wicked souls the Fair Nation is seen to be darkened and
enfeebled. Had they acted [according to what they knew] they would not
have been heedless of the light of the Sun of Justice.”

“This Victim hath from earliest days until now been afflicted at the hands
of the heedless. They exiled Us without cause at one time to ‘Iráq, at
another time to Adrianople, and thence to Akká, which was a place of exile
for murderers and robbers; neither is it known where and in what spot We
shall take up Our abode after this greatest prison-house. Knowledge is
with God, the Lord of the Throne and of the dust and the Lord of the lofty
seat. In whatever place We may be, and whatever befall Us, the saints must
gaze with perfect steadfastness and confidence towards the Supreme Horizon
and occupy themselves in the reformation of the world and the education of
the nations. What hath befallen and shall befall hath been and is an
instrument and means for the furtherance of the Word of Unity. Take hold
of the command of God and cling thereto: verily it hath been sent down
from beside a wise Ordainer.”

“With perfect compassion and mercy have We guided and directed the people
of the world to that whereby their souls shall be profited. I swear by the
Sun of Truth which hath shone forth from the highest horizons of the world
that the people of Bahá had not and have not any aim save the prosperity
and reformation of the world and the purifying of the nations. With all
men they have been in sincerity and charity. Their outward [appearance] is
one with their inward [heart], and their inward [heart] identical with
their outward [appearance]. The truth of the matter is not hidden or
concealed, but plain and evident before [men’s] faces. Their very deeds
are the witness of this assertion. Today let everyone endowed with vision
win his way from deeds and signs to the object of the people of Bahá and
from their speech and conduct gain knowledge of their intent. The waves of
the ocean of divine mercy appear at the utmost height, and the showers of
the clouds of His grace and favor descend every moment. During the days of
sojourn in ‘Iráq this Oppressed One sat down and consorted with all
classes without veil or disguise. How many of the denizens of the horizons
entered in enmity and went forth in sympathy! The door of grace was open
before the faces of all. With rebellious and obedient did We outwardly
converse after one fashion, that perchance the evildoers might win their
way to the ocean of boundless forgiveness. The splendors of the Name of
the Concealer were in such wise manifested that the evildoer imagined that
he was accounted of the good. No messenger was disappointed and no
inquirer was turned back. The causes of the aversion and avoidance of men
were certain of the doctors of Persia and the unseemly deeds of the
ignorant. By [the term] ‘doctors’ in these passages are signified those
persons who have withheld mankind from the shore of the Ocean of Unity;
but as for the learned who practice [their knowledge] and the wise who act
justly, they are as the spirit unto the body of the world. Well is it with
that learned man whose head is adorned with the crown of justice, and
whose body glorieth in the ornament of honesty. The Pen of Admonition
exhorteth the friends and enjoineth on them charity, pity, wisdom, and
gentleness. The Oppressed One is this day a prisoner; His allies are the
hosts of good deeds and virtues; not ranks, and hosts, and guns, and
cannons.(21) One holy action maketh the world of earth highest paradise.

“O friends, help the Oppressed One with well-pleasing virtues and good
deeds! Today let every soul desire to attain the highest station. He must
not regard what is in him, but what is in God. It is not for him to regard
what shall advantage himself, but that whereby the Word of God which must
be obeyed shall be upraised. The heart must be sanctified from every form
of selfishness and lust, for the weapons of the unitarians and the saints
were and are the fear of God. That is the buckler which guardeth man from
the arrows of hatred and abomination. Unceasingly hath the standard of
piety been victorious, and accounted amongst the most puissant hosts of
the world. Thereby do the saints subdue the cities of [men’s] hearts by
the permission of God, the Lord of hosts. Darkness hath encompassed the
earth: the lamp which giveth light was and is wisdom. The dictates thereof
must be observed under all circumstances. And of wisdom is the regard of
place and the utterance of discourse according to measure and state. And
of wisdom is decision; for man should not accept whatsoever anyone sayeth.

“Under all circumstances desire of the True One (glorious is His glory)
that He will not deprive His servants of the sealed wine(22) and the
lights of the Name of the Self-Subsistent.

“O friends of God, verily the Pen of Sincerity enjoineth on you the
greatest faithfulness. By the Life of God, its light is more evident than
the light of the sun! In its light and its brightness and its radiance
every light is eclipsed. We desire of God that He will not withhold from
His cities and lands the radiant effulgence of the Sun of Faithfulness. We
have directed all in the nights and in the days to faithfulness, chastity,
purity, and constancy; and have enjoined good deeds and well-pleasing
qualities. In the nights and in the days the shriek of the pen ariseth and
the tongue speaketh, that against the sword the word may arise, and
against fierceness patience, and in place of oppression submission, and at
the time of martyrdom resignation. For thirty years and more, in all that
hath befallen this oppressed community they have been patient, referring
it to God. Everyone endowed with justice and fairness hath testified and
doth testify to that which hath been said. During this period this
Oppressed One was engaged in good exhortations and efficacious and
sufficient admonitions, till it became established and obvious before all
that this Victim had made Himself a target for the arrows of calamity unto
the showing forth of the treasures deposited in [men’s] souls. Strife and
contest were and are seemly in the beasts of prey of the earth, [but]
laudable actions are seemly in man.

“Blessed is the Merciful One: Who created man: and taught him
utterance.(23) After all these troubles, neither are the ministers of
state content, nor the doctors of the church. Not one soul was found to
utter a word for God before the court of His Majesty the King (may God
perpetuate his kingdom). There shall not befall Us aught save that which
God hath decreed unto Us. They acted not kindly, nor was there any
shortcoming in the display of evil. Justice became like the phoenix, and
faithfulness like the philosopher’s stone: none spake for the right. It
would seem that justice had become hateful to men and cast forth from all
lands like the people of God. Glory be to God! In the episode of the land
of Tá not one spoke for that which God had commanded. Having regard to the
display of power and parade of service in the presence of the King (may
God perpetuate his kingdom) they have called good evil and the reformer a
sedition-monger. The like of these persons would depict the drop as an
ocean, and the mote as a sun. They call the house at Kulayn ‘the strong
fortress,’ and close their eyes to the perspicuous truth. They have
attacked a number of reformers of the world with the charge of
seditiousness. As God liveth, these persons had and have no intent nor
hope save the glory of the state and service to their nation! For God they
spoke and for God they speak, and in the way of God do they journey.

“O friends, ask of Him Who is the Desire of the denizens of earth that He
will succor His Majesty the King (may God perpetuate his kingdom) so that
all the dominions of Persia may by the light of the Sun of Justice become
adorned with the decoration of tranquility and security. According to
statements made, he, at the promptings of his blessed nature, loosed those
who were in bonds, and bestowed freedom on the captives. The
representation of certain matters before the faces of [God’s] servants is
obligatory, and natural to the pious, so that the good may be aware and
become cognizant [thereof]. Verily He inspireth whom He pleaseth with what
He desireth, and He is the Powerful, the Ordainer, the Knowing, the Wise.

“A word from that land hath reached the Oppressed One which in truth was
the cause of wonder. His Highness the Mu’tamídu’d-Dawlih, Farhád Mírzá,
said concerning the Imprisoned One that whereof the repetition is not
pleasing. This Victim consorted very little with him or the like of him.
So far as is recollected on [only] two occasions did he visit
Mur_gh_-Mahallih in _Sh_imírán where was the abode of the Oppressed One.
On the first occasion he came one day in the afternoon, and on the second
one Friday morning, returning nigh unto sundown. He knows and is conscious
that he should not speak contrary to the truth. If one enter his presence
let him repeat these words before him on behalf of the Oppressed One: ‘O
Prince! I ask justice and fairness from your Highness concerning that
which hath befallen this poor Victim.’ Well is it for that soul whom the
doubts of the perverse withhold not from the display of justice, and
deprive not of the lights of the luminary of equity. O saints of God! at
the end of Our discourse We enjoin on you once again chastity,
faithfulness, godliness, sincerity, and purity. Lay aside the evil and
adopt the good. This is that whereunto ye are commanded in the Book of
God, the Knowing, the Wise. Well is it with those who practice [this
injunction]. At this moment the pen crieth out, saying, ‘O saints of God,
regard the horizon of uprightness, and be quit, severed, and free from
what is beside this. There is no strength and no power save in God.’”

In short, formerly in all provinces in Persia accounts and stories
concerning this sect diverse and discordant, yea, incompatible with the
character of the human race and opposed to the divine endowment, passed on
the tongues and in the mouths of men and obtained notoriety. But when
their principles acquired fixity and stability and their conduct and
behavior were known and appreciated, the veil of doubt and suspicion fell,
the true character of this sect became clear and evident, and it reached
the degree of certainty that their principles were unlike men’s fancies,
and that their foundation differed from [the popular] opinion and
estimate. In their conduct, action, morality, and demeanor was no place
for objection; the objection in Persia is to certain of the ideas and
tenets of this sect. And from the indications of various circumstances it
hath been observed that the people have acquired belief and confidence in
the trustworthiness, faithfulness, and godliness of this sect in all
transactions.

Let us return to our original topic. During the period of their sojourn in
‘Iráq these persons became notorious throughout the world. For exile
resulted in fame, in such wise that a great number of other parties sought
alliance and union, and devised means of [acquiring] intimacy [with them].
But the Chief of this sect, discovering the aims of each faction, acted
with the utmost consistency, circumspection, and firmness. Reposing
confidence in none, He applied Himself as far as possible to the
admonition of each, inciting and urging them to good resolutions and aims
beneficial to the state and the nation. And this conduct and behavior of
the Chief acquired notoriety in ‘Iráq.

So likewise during the period of their sojourn in ‘Iráq certain
functionaries of foreign governments were desirous of intimacy, and sought
friendly relations [with them], but the Chief would not agree. Amongst
other strange haps was this, that in ‘Iráq certain of the Royal Family
came to an understanding with these [foreign] governments, and, [induced]
by promises and threats, conspired with them. But this sect unloosed their
tongues in reproach and began to admonish them, saying, “What meanness is
this, and what evident treason; that man should, for worldly advantages,
personal profit, easy circumstances, or protection of life and property,
cast himself into this great detriment and evident loss, and embark in a
course of action which will conduce to the greatest abasement and involve
the utmost infamy and disgrace both here and hereafter! One can support
any baseness save treason to one’s country, and every sin admits of pardon
and forgiveness save [that of] dishonoring one’s government and injuring
one’s nation.” And they imagined that they were acting patriotically,
displaying sincerity and loyalty, and accounting sacred the duties of
fidelity; which noble aim they regarded as a moral obligation. So rumors
of this were spread abroad through ‘Iráq-i-‘Arab, and such as wished well
to their country loosed their tongues in uttering thanks, expressing
approval and respect. And it was supposed that these events would be
represented in the Royal Presence; but after a while it became known that
certain of the _Sh_ay_kh_s at the Supreme Shrines who were in
correspondence with the court, yea, even with the King, were in secret
continually attributing to this sect strange affinities and relations,
imagining that such attempts would conduce to favor at the Court and cause
advancement of [their] condition and rank. And since no one could speak
freely on this matter at that court which is the pivot of justice, whilst
just ministers aware [of the true state of the case] also regarded silence
as their best policy, the ‘Iráq question, through these misrepresentations
and rumors, assumed gravity in Ṭihrán, and was enormously exaggerated. But
the consuls-general, being cognizant of the truth, continued to act with
moderation, until Mírzá Buzurg _Kh_án of Qazvín became consul-general in
Ba_gh_dád. Now since this person was wont to pass the greater portion of
his time in a state of intoxication and was devoid of foresight, he became
the accomplice and confederate of those _Sh_ay_kh_s in ‘Iráq, and girded
up his loins stoutly to destroy and demolish. Such power of description
and [strength] of fingers as he possessed he employed in making
representations and statements. Each day he secretly wrote a dispatch to
Ṭihrán, made vows and compacts with the _Sh_ay_kh_s, and sent diplomatic
notes to His Excellency the Ambassador-in-chief [at Constantinople]. But
since these statements and depositions had no basis or foundation, they
were all postponed and adjourned; until at length these _Sh_ay_kh_s
convened a meeting to consult with the [Consul-] General, assembled a
number of learned doctors and great divines in the [mosque of the] ‘two
Kázims’ (upon them be peace), and, having come to an unanimous agreement,
wrote to the divines of Karbilá the exalted and Najaf the most noble,
convoking them all. They came, some knowing, others not knowing. Amongst
the latter the illustrious and expert doctor, the noble and celebrated
scholar, the seal of seekers after truth, _Sh_ay_kh_ Murtadá, now departed
and assoiled, who was the admitted chief of all, arrived without knowledge
[of the matter in hand]. But, so soon as he was informed of their actual
designs, he said, “I am not properly acquainted with the essential
character of this sect, nor with the secret tenets and hidden theological
doctrines of this community; neither have I hitherto witnessed or
perceived in their demeanor or conduct anything at variance with the
Perspicuous Book which would lead me to pronounce them infidels. Therefore
hold me excused in this matter, and let him who regards it as his duty
take action.” Now the design of the _Sh_ay_kh_s and the Consul was a
sudden and general attack, but, by reason of the noncompliance of the
departed _Sh_ay_kh_, this scheme proved abortive, resulting, indeed, only
in shame and disappointment. So that concourse of _Sh_ay_kh_s, doctors,
and common folk which had come from Karbilá dispersed.

Just at this time mischievous persons--[including] even certain dismissed
ministers--endeavored on all sides so to influence this sect that they
might perchance alter their course and conduct. From every quarter lying
messages and disquieting reports continually followed one another in
uninterrupted and constant succession to the effect that the deliberate
intention of the court of Persia was the eradication, suppression,
annihilation, and destruction of this sect; that correspondence was
continually being carried on with the local authorities; and that all [the
Bábís] in ‘Iráq would shortly be delivered over with bound hands to
Persia. But the Bábís passed the time in calmness and silence, without in
any way altering their behavior and conduct.

So when Mírzá Buzurg _Kh_án failed to effect and accomplish the designs of
his heart by such actions also, he ill-advisedly fell to reflecting how he
might grieve and humiliate [the Bábís]. Every day he sought some pretext
for offering insult, aroused some disturbance and tumult, and raised up
the banner of mischief, until the matter came nigh to culminating in the
sudden outbreak of a riot, the lapse of the reins of control from the
hand, and the precipitation of [men’s] hearts into disquietude and
perturbation and [their] minds into anguish and agony.

Now when [the Bábís] found themselves unable to treat this humor by any
means (for, strive as they would, they were foiled and frustrated), and
when they failed to find any remedy for this disorder or any fairness in
this flower, they deliberated and hesitated for nine months, and at length
a certain number of them, to stop further mischief, enrolled themselves as
subjects of the Sublime Ottoman Government, that [thereby] they might
assuage this tumult. By means of this device the mischief was allayed, and
the consul withdrew his hand from molesting them; but he notified this
occurrence to the Royal Court in a manner at variance with the facts and
contrary to the truth, and, together with the confederate _Sh_ay_kh_s,
applied himself in every way to devices for distracting the senses [of the
Bábís]. Finally, however, being dismissed, and overwhelmed with disaster,
he became penitent and sorry.

Let us proceed with our original topic. For eleven years and somewhat
over, Bahá’u’lláh abode in ‘Iráq-i-‘Arab. The behavior and conduct of the
sect were such that [His] fame and renown increased. For He was manifest
and apparent amongst men, consorted and associated with all parties, and
would converse familiarly with doctors and scholars concerning the
solution of difficult theological questions and the verification of the
true sense of abstruse points of divinity. As is currently reported by
persons of every class, He used to please all, whether inhabitants or
visitors, by His kindly intercourse and courteous address; and this sort
of demeanor and conduct on His part led them to suspect sorcery and
account Him an adept in the occult sciences.

During this period Mírzá Yaḥyá remained concealed and hidden, continuing
and abiding in his former conduct and behavior, until, when the edict for
the removal of Bahá’u’lláh from Ba_gh_dád was issued by His Majesty the
Ottoman monarch, Mírzá Yaḥyá would neither quit nor accompany [Him]: at
one time he meditated setting out for India, at another settling in
Turkistán; but, being unable to decide on either of these two plans, he
finally, at his own wish, set out before all in the garb of a dervish, in
disguise and change of raiment, for Kárkúk and Arbíl. Thence, by
continuous advance, he reached Mosul, where, on the arrival of the main
body, he took up his abode and station alongside their caravan. And
although throughout this journey the governors and officials observed the
utmost consideration and respectfulness, while march and halt were alike
dignified and honorable, nevertheless was he always concealed in change of
raiment, and acted cautiously, on the idea that some act of aggression was
likely to occur.

In this fashion did they reach Constantinople, where they were appointed
quarters in a guesthouse on the part of the glorious Ottoman monarchy. And
at first the utmost attention was paid to them in every way. On the third
day, because of the straitness of their quarters and the greatness of
their numbers, they migrated and moved to another house. Certain of the
nobles came to see and converse with them, and these, as is related,
behaved with moderation. Notwithstanding that many in their assemblies and
gatherings continued to condemn and vilify them saying, “This sect are a
mischief to all the world and destructive of treaties and covenants; they
are a source of trouble and baleful to all lands; they have kindled a fire
and consumed the earth; and though they be outwardly fair-seeming yet are
they deserving of every chastisement and punishment,” yet still the Bábís
continued to conduct themselves with patience, calmness, deliberation, and
constancy, so that they did not, even in self-defense, importune [the
occupants of] high places or frequent the houses of any of the magnates of
that kingdom. Whomsoever amongst the great He [Bahá] interviewed on His
own account, they met, and no word save of sciences and arts passed
between them; until certain noblemen sought to guide Him, and loosed their
tongues in friendly counsel, saying, “To appeal, to state your case, and
to demand justice is a measure demanded by custom.” He replied in answer,
“Pursuing the path of obedience to the King’s command We have come to this
country. Beyond this We neither had nor have any aim or desire that We
should appeal and cause trouble. What is [now] hidden behind the veil of
destiny will in the future become manifest. There neither has been nor is
any necessity for supplication and importunity. If the enlightened-minded
leaders [of your nation] be wise and diligent, they will certainly make
inquiry, and acquaint themselves with the true state of the case; if not,
then [their] attainment of the truth is impracticable and impossible.
Under these circumstances what need is there for importuning statesmen and
supplicating ministers of the Court? We are free from every anxiety, and
ready and prepared for the things predestined to Us. ‘Say, all is from
God’(24) is a sound and sufficient argument, and ‘if God toucheth thee
with a hurt there is no dispeller thereof save Him’(25) is a healing
medicine.”

After some months a royal edict was promulgated appointing Adrianople in
the district of Roumelia as their place of abode and residence. To that
city the Bábís, accompanied by [Turkish] officers, proceeded all together,
and there they made their home and habitation. According to statements
heard from sundry travelers and from certain great and learned men of that
city, they behaved and conducted themselves there also in such wise that
the inhabitants of the district and the government officials used to
eulogize them, and all used to show them respect and deference. In short,
since Bahá’u’lláh was wont to hold intercourse with the doctors, scholars,
magnates, and nobles [thereby] obtaining fame and celebrity throughout
Roumelia, the materials of comfort were gathered together, neither fear
nor dread remained, they reposed on the couch of ease, and passed their
time in quietude, when one Siyyid Muḥammad by name, of Iṣfáhán, one of the
followers [of the Báb], laid the foundations of intimacy and familiarity
with Mírzá Yaḥyá, and [thereby] became the cause of vexation and trouble.
In other words, he commenced a secret intrigue and fell to tempting Mírzá
Yaḥyá, saying, “The fame of this sect hath risen high in the world, and
their name hath become noble: neither dread nor danger remaineth, nor is
there any fear or [need for] caution before you. Cease, then, to follow,
that thou mayest be followed by the world; and come out from amongst
adherents, that thou mayest become celebrated throughout the horizons.”
Mírzá Yaḥyá, too, through lack of reflection and thought as to
consequences, and want of experience, became enamored of his words and
befooled by his conduct. This one was [like] the sucking child, and that
one became as the much-prized breast. At all events, how much soever some
of the chiefs of the sect wrote admonitions and pointed out to him the
path of discretion saying, “For many a year hast thou been nurtured in thy
brother’s arms and hast reposed on the pillow of ease and gladness; what
thoughts are these which are the results of madness? Be not beguiled by
this empty name,(26) which, out of regard for certain considerations and
as a matter of expediency, was bestowed [upon thee]; neither seek to be
censured by the community. Thy rank and worth depend on a word, and thine
exaltation and elevation were for a protection and a consideration,” yet
still, the more they admonished him, the less did it affect him; and how
much soever they would direct him, he continued to account opposition as
identical with advantage. Afterwards, too, the fire of greed and avarice
was kindled, and although there was no sort of need, their circumstances
being easy in the extreme, they fell to thinking of salary and stipend,
and certain of the women dependent on Mírzá Yaḥyá went to the [governor’s]
palace and craved assistance and charity. So when Bahá’u’lláh beheld such
conduct and behavior on his part He dismissed and drove away both [him and
Siyyid Muḥammad] from Himself.

Then Siyyid Muḥammad set out for Constantinople to get his stipend, and
opened the door of suffering. According to the account given, this matter
caused the greatest sorrow and brought about cessation of intercourse. In
Constantinople, moreover, he presumptuously set afloat certain reports,
asserting, amongst other things, that the notable personage who had come
from ‘Iráq was Mírzá Yaḥyá. Sundry individuals, perceiving that herein was
excellent material for mischief-making and a means for the promotion of
mutiny, ostensibly supported and applauded him, and stimulated and incited
him, saying, “You are really the chief support and acknowledged successor:
act with authority, in order that grace and blessing may become apparent.
The waveless sea hath no sound, and the cloud without thunder raineth no
rain.” By such speech, then, was that unfortunate man entrapped into his
course of action, and led to utter vain words which caused the disturbance
of [men’s] thoughts. Little by little those who were wont to incite and
encourage began without exception to utter violent denunciations in every
nook and corner, nay in the court itself, saying, “The Bábís say thus, and
expound in this wise: [their] behavior is such, and [their] speech
so-and-so.” Such mischief-making and plots caused matters to become
misapprehended, and furthermore certain schemes got afloat which were
regarded as necessary measures of self-protection; the expediency of
banishing the Bábís came under consideration; and all of a sudden an order
came, and Bahá’u’lláh was removed from Roumelia; nor was it known for what
purpose or whither they would bear Him away. Diverse accounts were current
in [men’s] mouths, and many exaggerations were heard [to the effect] that
there was no hope of deliverance.

Now all those persons who were with Him with one accord entreated and
insisted that they should [be permitted to] accompany Him, and, how much
soever the government admonished and forbade them, it was fruitless.
Finally one Ḥájí Ja’far by name was moved to lamentation, and with his own
hand cut his throat. When the government beheld it thus, it gave
permission to all of them to accompany Him, conveyed them from Adrianople
to the seashore, and thence transported them to Akká. Mírzá Yaḥyá they
sent in like manner to Famagusta.

During the latter days [passed] in Adrianople Bahá’u’lláh composed a
detailed epistle setting forth all matters clearly and minutely. He
unfolded and expounded the main principles of the sect, and made clear and
plain its ethics, manners, course, and mode of conduct: He treated certain
political questions in detail, and adduced sundry proofs of His
truthfulness: He declared the good intent, loyalty, and sincerity of the
sect, and wrote some fragments of prayers, some in Persian, but the
greater part in Arabic. He then placed it in a packet and adorned its
address with the royal name of His Majesty the King of Persia, and wrote
[on it] that some person pure of heart and pure of life, dedicated to God,
and prepared for martyr-sacrifice, must, with perfect resignation and
willingness, convey this epistle into the presence of the King. A youth
named Mírzá Badí, a native of _Kh_urásán, took the epistle, and hastened
toward the presence of His Majesty the King. The Royal Train had its abode
and station outside Ṭihrán, so he took his stand alone on a rock in a
place far off but opposite to the Royal Pavilion, and awaited day and
night the passing of the Royal escort or the attainment of admission into
the Imperial Presence. Three days did he pass in a state of fasting and
vigilance: an emaciated body and enfeebled spirit remained. On the fourth
day the Royal Personage was examining all quarters and directions with a
telescope when suddenly his glance fell on this man who was seated in the
utmost respectful attitude on a rock. It was inferred from the indications
[perceived] that he must certainly have thanks [to offer], or some
complaint or demand for redress and justice [to prefer]. [The King]
commanded one of those in attendance at the court to inquire into the
circumstances of this youth. On interrogation [it was found that] he
carried a letter which he desired to convey with his own hand into the
Royal Presence. On receiving permission to approach, he cried out before
the pavilion with a dignity, composure, and respectfulness surpassing
description, and in a loud voice, “O King, I have come unto thee from
Sheba with a weighty message!”(27) [The King] commanded to take the letter
and arrest the bearer. His Majesty the King wished to act with
deliberation and desired to discover the truth, but those who were present
before him loosed their tongues in violent reprehension, saying, “This
person has shown great presumption and amazing audacity, for he hath
without fear or dread brought the letter of him against whom all peoples
are angered, of him who is banished to Bulgaria and Sclavonia, into the
presence of the King. If so be that he do not instantly suffer a grievous
punishment there will be an increase of this great presumption.” So the
ministers of the court signified [that he should suffer] punishment and
ordered the torture. As the first torment they applied the chain and rack,
saying, “Make known thy other friends that thou mayest be delivered from
excruciating punishment, and make thy comrades captive that thou mayest
escape from the torment of the chain and the keenness of the sword.” But,
torture, brand, and torment him as they might, they saw naught but
steadfastness and silence, and found naught but dumb endurance [on his
part]. So, when the torture gave no result, they [first] photographed him
(the executioners on his left and on his right, and he sitting bound in
fetters and chains beneath the sword with perfect meekness and composure),
and then slew and destroyed him. This photograph I sent for, and found
worthy of contemplation, for he was seated with wonderful humility and
strange submissiveness, in utmost resignation.

Now when His Majesty the King had perused certain passages and become
cognizant of the contents of the epistle, he was much affected at what had
taken place and manifested regret, because his courtiers had acted hastily
and put into execution a severe punishment. It is even related that he
said thrice, “Doth anyone punish [one who is but] the channel of



[Pages 61–80]


correspondence?” Then the Royal Command was issued that their Reverences
the learned doctors and honorable and accomplished divines should write a
reply to that epistle. But when the most expert doctors of the capital
became aware of the contents of the letter they ordained: “That this
person, without regarding [the fact] that he is at variance with the
Perspicuous Religion, is a meddler with custom and creed, and a troubler
of kings and emperors. Therefore to eradicate, subdue, repress, and repel
[this sect] is one of the requirements of the Well-established Path, and
indeed the chief of obligations.”

This answer was not approved before the [Royal] Presence, for the contents
of this epistle had no obvious discordance with the Law or with reason,
and did not meddle with political or administrative matters, nor interfere
with or attack the Throne of Sovereignty. They ought, therefore, to have
discussed the real points at issue, and to have written clearly and
explicitly such an answer as would have caused the disappearance of doubts
and the solution of difficulties, and would have become a fulcrum for
discussion to all.

Now of this epistle sundry passages shall be set forth in writing to
conduce to a better understanding [of the matter] by all people. At the
beginning of the epistle was a striking passage in the Arabic language
[treating] of questions of faith and assurance; the sacrifice of life in
the way of the Beloved; the state of resignation and contentment; the
multiplicity of misfortunes, calamities, hardships, and afflictions; and
falling under suspicion of seditiousness through the machinations of foes;
the establishment of His innocence in the presence of His Majesty the
King; the repudiation of seditious persons and disavowal of the rebellious
party; the conditions of sincere belief in the verses of the Qur’án; the
needfulness of godly virtues, distinction from all other creatures in this
transitory abode, obedience to the commandments, and avoidance of things
prohibited; the evidence of divine support in the affair of the Báb; the
inability of whosoever is upon the earth to withstand a heavenly thing;
His own awakening at the divine afflux, and His falling thereby into
unbounded calamities; His acquisition of the divine gift, His
participation in spiritual God-given grace, and His illumination with
immediate knowledge without study; the excusableness of His [efforts for
the] admonition of mankind, their direction toward the attainment of human
perfections, and their enkindlement with the fire of divine love;
encouragements to the directing of energy towards the attainment of a
state greater than the degree of earthly sovereignty; eloquent prayers
[written] in the utmost self-abasement, devotion, and humility; and the
like of this. Afterwards He discussed [other] matters in the Persian
language. And the form of it is this:

“O God, this is a letter which I wish to send to the King; and Thou
knowest that I have not desired aught of him save the display of his
justice to Thy people, and the showing forth of his favors to the dwellers
in Thy Kingdom. And verily, by My soul, I have not desired aught save what
Thou hast desired, neither, by Thy Might, do I desire aught save what Thou
desirest. Perish that being which desireth of Thee aught save Thyself!
And, by Thy Glory, Thy good pleasure is the limit of My hope, and Thy Will
the extremity of My desire! Be merciful then, O God, to this poor [soul]
Who hath caught hold of the skirt of Thy richness, and to this humble
[suppliant] Who calleth on Thee, for Thou art indeed the Mighty, the
Great. Help, O God, His Majesty the King to execute Thy laws amongst Thy
servants and to show forth Thy justice amidst Thy creatures, that he may
rule over this sect as he ruleth over those who are beside them. Verily
Thou art the Potent, the Mighty, the Wise.

“Agreeably to the permission and consent of the King of the age, this
Servant turned from the place of the Royal Throne(28) toward
‘Iráq-i-‘Arab, and in that land abode twelve years. During the period of
[His] sojourn [there] no description of His condition was laid before the
Royal Presence, neither did any representation go to foreign states.
Relying upon God did He abide in that land, until a certain functionary
came to ‘Iráq, who, on his arrival, fell to designing the affliction of a
company of poor unfortunates. Every day, beguiled by certain of the
doctors of Persia, he persecuted these servants; although nothing
prejudicial to Church or State, or at variance with the principles and
customs of their countrymen had been observed in them. So this Servant
[was moved] by this reflection: ‘May it not be that by reason of the deeds
of the transgressors some action at variance with the world-ordering
counsel of the King should be engendered!’ Therefore was an epitome [of
the matter] addressed to Mírzá Sa’íd _Kh_án, the Minister for Foreign
Affairs, that he might submit it to the [Royal] Presence, and that it
might be done according to that which the Royal command might promulgate.
A long while elapsed, and no command was issued; until matters reached
such a state that it was to be feared that sedition might suddenly break
out and the blood of many be shed. Of necessity, for the protection of the
servants of God, a certain number [of the Bábís] appealed to the governor
of ‘Iráq. If [the King] will consider what has happened with just regard,
it will become clear in the mirror of his luminous heart that what
occurred was [done] from considerations of expediency, and that there was
apparently no resource save this. The Royal Personage can bear witness and
testify to this, that in whatever land there were some few of this sect
the fire of war and conflict was wont to be kindled by reason of the
aggression of certain governors. But this Transient One after His arrival
in ‘Iráq withheld all from sedition and strife; and the witness of this
Servant is His action, for all are aware and will testify that the
multitude of this faction in Persia at that time was more than [it had
been] before, yet, notwithstanding this, none transgressed his proper
bounds nor assailed anyone. It is nigh on fifteen years that all continue
tranquil, looking unto God and relying on Him, and bear patiently what
hath come upon them, casting it on God. And after the arrival of this
Servant in this city which is called Adrianople certain of this community
enquired concerning the meaning of ‘victory.’ Diverse answers were sent in
reply, one of which answers will be submitted on this page, so that it may
become clear before the [Royal] Presence that this Servant hath in view
naught save peace and reform. And if some of the divine favors, which,
without merit [on My part], have been graciously bestowed [on Me], do not
become evident and apparent, this much [at least] will be known, that
[God], in [His] abounding grace and undeserved mercy, hath not deprived
this Oppressed One of the ornament of reason. The form of words which was
set forth on the meaning of ‘victory’ is this:

“‘He is God, exalted is He. “‘It hath been known that God (glorious is His
mention) is sanctified from the world and what is therein, and that the
meaning of “victory” is not this, that anyone should fight or strive with
anyone. The Lord of He doeth what He will(29) hath committed the kingdom
of creation, both land and sea, into the hand of kings, and they are the
manifestations of the Divine Power according to the degrees of their rank:
verily He is the Potent, the Sovereign. But that which God (glorious is
His mention) hath desired for Himself is the hearts of His servants, which
are treasures of praise and love of the Lord and stores of divine
knowledge and wisdom. The will of the Eternal King hath ever been to
purify the hearts of [His] servants from the promptings of the world and
what is therein, so that they may be prepared for illumination by the
effulgences of the Lord of the Names and Attributes. Therefore must no
stranger find his way into the city of the heart, so that the Incomparable
Friend may come unto His own place--that is, the effulgence of His Names
and Attributes, not His Essence (exalted is He), for that Peerless King
hath been and will be holy for everlasting above ascent or descent.
Therefore today “victory” neither hath been nor will be opposition to
anyone, nor strife with any person; but rather what is well-pleasing is
that the cities of [men’s] hearts, which are under the dominion of the
hosts of selfishness and lust, should be subdued by the sword of the Word,
of Wisdom, and of Exhortation. Everyone, then, who desireth “victory” must
first subdue the city of his own heart with the sword of spiritual truth
and of the Word, and must protect it from remembering aught beside God:
afterwards let him turn his regards towards the cities of [others’]
hearts. This is what is intended by “victory”: sedition hath never been
nor is pleasing to God, and that which certain ignorant persons formerly
wrought was never approved. If ye be slain for His good pleasure verily it
is better for you than that ye should slay. Today the friends of God must
appear in such fashion amidst [God’s] servants that by their actions they
may lead all unto the pleasure of the Lord of Glory. I swear by the Sun of
the Horizon of Holiness that the friends of God never have regarded nor
will regard the earth or its transitory riches. God hath ever regarded the
hearts of [His] servants, and this too is by reason of [His] most great
favor, that perchance mortal souls may be cleansed and sanctified from
earthly states and may attain unto everlasting places. But that Real King
is in Himself sufficient unto Himself [and independent] of all: neither
doth any advantage accrue to Him from the love of contingent beings, nor
doth any hurt befall Him from their hatred. All earthly places appear
through Him and unto Him return, and God singly and alone abideth in His
own place which is holy above space and time, mention and utterance, sign,
description, and definition, height and depth. And none knoweth this save
Him and whosoever hath knowledge of the Book. There is no God but Him, the
Mighty, the Bountiful.’ Finis.

“But good deeds depend on this, that the Royal Person should himself look
into that [matter] with just and gracious regard, and not be satisfied
with the representations of certain persons unsupported by proof or
evidence. We ask God to strengthen the King unto that which He willeth:
and what He willeth should be the wish of the worlds.

“Afterwards they summoned this Servant to Constantinople. We reached that
city along with a number of poor unfortunates, and after Our arrival did
not hold intercourse with a single soul, for We had naught to say [unto
them], and there was no wish save that it should be clearly demonstrated
by proof to all that this Servant had no thought of sedition and had never
associated with the seditious. And, by Him in praise of Whose spirit the
tongues of all things speak, to turn in any direction was difficult in
consideration of certain circumstances; but these things were done for the
protection of lives. Verily My Lord knoweth what is in My soul, and verily
He is witness unto what I say. The just king is the shadow of God in the
earth; all should take refuge under the shadow of his justice and rest in
the shade of his favor. This is not the place for personalities, or
censures [directed] specially against some apart from others; for the
shadow tells of him who casteth the shadow. God (glorious is His mention)
hath called Himself the Lord of the worlds for that He hath nurtured and
doth nurture all; exalted is His favor which hath preceded contingent
beings and His mercy which hath preceded the worlds.

“This is sufficiently clear, that, [whether] right or wrong according to
the imagination of the people, this community have accepted as true and
adopted the religion for which they are notorious, and that on this
account they have foregone what they had, seeking after what is with God.
And this same renunciation of life in the way of love for the Merciful
[God] is a faithful witness and an eloquent attest unto that whereunto
they lay claim. Hath it [ever] been beheld that a reasonable man renounced
his life without proof or evidence [of the truth of that for which he
died]? And if it be said, ‘This people are mad,’ this [too] is very
improbable, for it is not [a thing] confined to one or two persons, but
rather have a great multitude of every class, inebriated with the
Kaw_th_ar of divine wisdom, hastened with heart and soul to the place of
martyrdom in the way of the Friend. If these persons, who for God have
foregone all save Him, and who have poured forth life and wealth in His
way, can be belied, then by what proof and evidence shall the truth of
that which others assert concerning that wherein they are be established
in the presence of the King?

“The late Ḥájí Siyyid Muḥammad (may God exalt his station and overwhelm
him in the depth of the ocean of His mercy and forgiveness), although he
was of the most learned of the doctors of the age and the most pious and
austere of his contemporaries, and although the splendor of his worth was
of such a degree that the tongues of all creatures spoke in praise and
eulogy of him and confidently asserted his asceticism and godliness, did
nevertheless in the war against the Russians forego much good and turn
back after a little contest, although he himself had decreed a holy war,
and had set out from his native country with conspicuous ensign in support
of the Faith. O would that the covering might be withdrawn, and that what
is hidden from [men’s] eyes might appear!

“But as to this sect, it is twenty years and more that they have been
tormented by day and by night with the fierceness of the Royal anger, and
that they have been cast each one into a [different] land by the blasts of
the tempests of the King’s wrath. How many children have been left
fatherless! How many fathers have become childless! How many mothers have
not dared, through fear and dread, to mourn over their slaughtered
children! Many [were] the servants [of God] who at eve were in the utmost
wealth and opulence, and at dawn were beheld in the extreme of poverty and
abasement! There is no land but hath been dyed with their blood and no air
whereunto their groanings have not arisen. And during these few years the
arrows of affliction have rained down without intermission from the clouds
of fate. Yet, notwithstanding all these visitations and afflictions, the
fire of divine love is in such fashion kindled in their hearts that, were
they all to be hewn in pieces, they would not forswear the love of the
Beloved of all the dwellers upon earth; nay rather with their whole souls
do they yearn and hope for what may befall [them] in the way of God.

“O King! The gales of the mercy of the Merciful One have converted these
servants and drawn them to the region of the [Divine] Unity--‘The witness
of the faithful lover is in his sleeve’--but some of the doctors of Persia
have troubled the most luminous heart of the King of the Age with regard
to those who are admitted into the Sanctuary of the Merciful One and those
who make for the Kaaba of Wisdom. O would that the world-ordering judgment
of the King might decide that this Servant should meet those doctors, and,
in the presence of His Majesty the King, adduce arguments and proofs! This
Servant is ready, and hopeth of God that such a conference may be brought
about, so that the truth of the matter may become evident and apparent
before His Majesty the King. And afterwards the decision is in thy hand,
and I am ready to confront the throne of thy sovereignty; then give
judgment for Me or against Me. The Merciful Lord saith in the Furqán,
which is the enduring proof amidst the host of existences, ‘Desire death,
then, if ye be sincere.’(30) He hath declared the desiring of death to be
the proof of sincerity; and it will be apparent in the mirror of the
[King’s] luminous mind which party it is that hath this day foregone life
in the way of Him [Who is] adored by the dwellers upon earth. Had the
doctrinal books of this people, [composed] in proof of that wherein they
are, been written with the blood which has been shed in His way (exalted
is He), books innumerable would assuredly have been apparent and visible
amongst mankind.

“How, then, can one repudiate this people, whose words and deeds are
consistent, and accept those persons who neither have foregone nor will
forego one atom of the consideration [which they enjoy] in the way of
[God] the Sovereign?

“Some of the doctors of Persia who have denounced this Servant have never
either met or seen Him, nor [even] become cognizant of [His] intent:
nevertheless they said what they desired and do what they will. Every
statement requires proof, and is not [established] merely by assertion or
by outward gear of asceticism.

“A translation of some passages from the contents of the Hidden Book of
Fátimih (upon her be the blessings of God) which are apposite to this
place will [now] be submitted in the Persian language, in order that some
things [now] concealed may be revealed before the [Royal] Presence. Those
addressed in these utterances in the above-mentioned book (which is today
known as ‘Hidden Words’) are those people who are outwardly notable for
science and piety, but who are inwardly subservient to their passions and
lust. He says:

“‘O faithless ones! Why do ye outwardly claim to be shepherds, while
inwardly ye have become the wolves of My sheep? Your likeness is like unto
the star before the morning, which is apparently bright and luminous, but
really causeth the misguidance and destruction of the caravans of My city
and country.’

“So likewise He saith:

“‘O outwardly fair and inwardly faulty! Thy likeness is like unto clear
bitter water, wherein outwardly the utmost sweetness and purity is beheld,
but when it falleth into the assaying hands of the taste of the [Divine]
Unity He doth not accept a single drop thereof. The radiance of the sun is
on the earth and on the mirror alike; but regard the difference as from
the guard-stars to the earth; nay, between them is a limitless distance.’

“‘So likewise He saith:

“‘O child of the world! Many a morning hath the effulgence of My grace
come unto thy place from the day-spring of the placeless, found thee on
the couch of ease busied with other things, and returned like the
lightning of the spirit to the bright abode of glory. And I, desiring not
thy shame, declared it not in the retreats of nearness to the hosts of
holiness.’

“‘So likewise He saith:

“‘O pretender to My friendship! In the morning the breeze of My grace
passed by thee, and found thee sleeping on the bed of heedlessness, and
wept over thy condition, and turned back.’ Finis.

“In the presence of the King’s justice, therefore, the statement of an
adversary ought not to be accepted as sufficient. And in the Furqán, which
distinguisheth between truth and falsehood, He says, ‘O ye who believe, if
there come unto you a sinner with a message, then discriminate, lest you
fall upon a people in ignorance and on the morrow repent of what ye have
done.’(31) And it hath come down in holy tradition, ‘Credit not the
calumniator.’ The matter hath been misapprehended by certain doctors,
neither have they seen this Servant. But those persons who have met [Him]
testify that this Servant hath not spoken contrary to that which God hath
ordained in the Book, and recite this blessed verse: He saith (exalted is
He) ‘Do ye disavow Us for aught save that We believe in God, and what hath
been sent down unto Us, and what was sent down before?’(32)

“O King of the age! The eyes of these wanderers turn and gaze in the
direction of the mercy of the Merciful One, and assuredly to these
afflictions shall the greatest mercy succeed, and after these most
grievous hardships shall follow great ease. But [Our] hope is this, that
His Majesty the King will himself turn his attention to [these] matters,
which thing will be the cause of hope in [Our] hearts. And this is unmixed
good which hath been submitted, and God sufficeth for a witness.

“Glory be to Thee, O God! O God, I bear witness that the heart of the King
is between the fingers of Thy power: if Thou pleasest, turn it, O God, in
the direction of mercy and kindliness: verily Thou art the Exalted, the
Potent, the Beneficent: there is no God but Thee, the Mighty from whom
help is sought.

“Concerning the qualifications of the doctors, He saith: ‘But amongst the
lawyers he who guardeth himself, observeth his religion, opposeth his
lust, and obeyeth the command of his Lord--it is incumbent on the people
to follow him...’ unto the end. And if the King of the age will regard
this utterance, which proceeded from the tongue of the recipient of divine
inspiration, he will observe that those characterized by the qualities
transmitted in the aforementioned tradition are rarer than the
philosopher’s stone. Therefore the claim of every person pretending to
science neither hath been nor is heard.

“So likewise in describing the lawyers of the latter time He says: ‘The
lawyers of that time are the most evil of lawyers under the shadow of
heaven: from them cometh forth mischief, and unto them it returneth.’

“And if any person deny these traditions, the establishing thereof is
[incumbent] on this Servant; but since [Our] object is brevity therefore
the detail of the authorities hath not been submitted.

“Those doctors who have indeed drunk of the cup of renunciation never
interfered with this Servant, even as the late _Sh_ay_kh_ Murtadá (may God
exalt his station and cause him to dwell under the shadow of the domes of
His grace) used to show [Us] affection during the days of [Our] sojourn in
‘Iráq, and used not to speak concerning this matter otherwise than God
hath permitted. We ask God to help all [men] unto that which He loveth and
approveth.

“Now all people have shut their eyes to all [these] matters, and are bent
on the persecution of this sect; so that should it be demanded of certain
persons, who (after God’s grace) rest in the shadow of the King’s clemency
and enjoy unbounded blessings, ‘In return for the King’s favor what
service have ye wrought? Have ye by wise policy added any country to [his]
countries? Or have ye applied yourselves to aught which would cause the
comfort of the people, the prosperity of the kingdom, and the continuance
of fair fame for the state?’, they have no reply save this, that, falsely
or truly, they designate a number of persons in the presence of the King
by the name of Bábís, and forthwith engage in slaughter and plunder; even
as in Tabríz and elsewhere they sold certain ones, and received much
wealth; and this was never represented before the presence of the King.
All these things have occurred because of this, that they have found these
poor people without a helper. They have foregone matters of moment, and
have fallen upon these poor unfortunates.

“Many sects and diverse tribes rest tranquil in the shadow of the King,
and of these sects one is this people. Were it not best that the lofty
endeavor and magnanimity of those who surround the King should be so
witnessed: that they should be scheming for all factions to come under the
King’s shadow, and that they should govern amidst all with justice? To put
in force the ordinances of God is unmixed justice, and with this all are
satisfied; nay, the ordinances of God [ever] have been and will be the
instrument and means for the protection of [His] creatures, as He saith
(exalted is He) ‘And in retaliation ye have life, O people of
understanding.’(33) [But] it is far from the justice of His Majesty the
King that, for the fault of one person, a number of persons should become
the objects of the scourges of wrath. God (glorious is His mention) saith:
‘None shall bear the burden of another.’(34) And this is sufficiently
evident, that in every community there have been and will be learned and
ignorant, wise and foolish, sinful and pious. And to commit abominable
actions is far from the wise man. For the wise man either seeketh the
world or abandoneth it. If he abandoneth it, assuredly he will not regard
aught save God, and, apart from this, the fear of God will withhold him
from committing forbidden and culpable actions. And if he seeketh the
world, he will assuredly not commit deeds which will cause and induce the
aversion of [God’s] servants and produce horror in those who are in all
lands; but rather will he practice such deeds as will cause the adhesion
of mankind. So it hath been demonstrated that detestable actions have been
and will be [wrought only] by ignorant persons. We ask God to keep His
servants from regarding aught but Him, and to bring them near to Him:
verily He is potent over all things.

“Glory be to Thee, O God! O My God, Thou hearest My groaning, and seest My
state and My distress and My affliction, and knowest what is in My soul.
If My cry be sincerely for Thy sake, then draw thereby the hearts of Thy
creatures unto the horizon of the heaven of Thy recognition, and turn the
King unto the right hand of the throne of Thy Name the Merciful; then
bestow on him, O My God, the blessing which hath descended from the heaven
of Thy favor and the clouds of Thy mercy, that he may sever himself from
that which he hath and turn toward the region of Thy bounties. O Lord,
help him to support the oppressed amongst [Thy] servants, and to raise up
Thy Word amidst Thy people; then aid him with the hosts of the unseen and
the seen, that he may subdue cities in Thy Name and rule over all who are
upon the earth by Thy power and authority, O Thou in Whose hand is the
Kingdom of creation: and verily Thou art He who ruleth at the beginning
and in the end: there is no God save Thee, the Potent, the Mighty, the
Wise.

“They have misrepresented matters before the presence of the King in such
a way that if any ill deed proceed from any one of this sect they account
it as [a part] of the religion of these servants. But, by God, beside Whom
there is none other God, this Servant hath not sanctioned the committing
of sins, much less that whereof the prohibition hath been explicitly
revealed in the Book of God! God hath prohibited unto men the drinking of
wine, and the unlawfulness thereof hath been revealed and recorded in the
Book of God,(35) and the doctors of the age (may God multiply the like of
them) have unanimously prohibited unto men this abominable action; yet
withal do some commit it. Now the punishment of this action falls on these
heedless persons, while those manifestations of the glory of sanctity
[continue] holy and undefiled: unto their sanctity all Being, whether of
the unseen or the seen, testifieth.

“Yea, these servants [of God] regard God as ‘doing what He pleaseth and
ordering what He willeth.’(36) There is no retreat nor way of flight for
anyone save unto God, and no refuge nor asylum but in Him. And at no time
hath the caviling of men, whether learned or unlearned, been a thing to
rely on, nor will it be so. The [very] prophets, who are the pearls of the
Ocean of Unity and the recipients of Divine Revelation, have [ever] been
the objects of men’s aversion and caviling; much more these servants. Even
as He saith: ‘Every nation schemed against their apostle to catch him. And
they contended with falsehood therewith to refute the truth.’(37) So
likewise He saith, ‘There came not unto them any apostle but they mocked
at him.’(38) Consider the appearance of the Seal of the Prophets, the King
of the Elect (the soul of the worlds be His sacrifice); after the dawning
of the Sun of Truth from the horizon of the Ḥijáz what wrongs befell that
Manifestation of the Might of the Lord of Glory at the hands of the people
of error! So heedless were men that they were wont to consider the
vexation of that Holy One as one of the greatest of good works and as the
means of approaching God Most High. For in the first years the doctors of
that age, whether Jews or Christians, turned aside from that Sun of the
Highest Horizon; and, at the turning aside of those persons, all, whether
humble or noble, girt up their loins to quench the radiance of that Light
of the Horizon of Ideals. The names of all are recorded in books: amongst
them were Wahb ibn Rahíb, Ka’b ibn A_sh_raf, ‘Abdu’lláh [ibn] Ubayy, and
the like of these persons; till at length the matter reached such a point
that they convened a meeting to take counsel as to the shedding of the
most pure blood of that Holy One, as God (glorious is His mention) hath
declared: ‘And when those who misbelieved plotted against thee to confine
thee, or slay thee, or drive thee out; and they plotted, and God plotted;
and God is the best of plotters.’(39) So likewise He saith: ‘And if their
aversion be grievous unto thee, then, if thou art able to seek out a hole
down into the earth, or a ladder up into the sky, that thou mayest show
them a sign--[do so]: but if God pleased He would assuredly bring them all
to the true guidance: be not therefore one of the ignorant.’(40) By God,
the hearts of those near [unto God] are scorched at the purport of these
two blessed verses; but the like of these matters certainly transmitted
[to Us] are blotted out of sight, and [men] have not reflected, neither do
reflect, what was the reason of the turning aside of [God’s] servants at
the appearance of the daysprings of divine lights.

“So, too, before the Seal of the Prophets, consider Jesus the Son of Mary.
After the appearance of that Manifestation of the Merciful One all the
doctors charged that Quintessence of Faith with misbelief and
rebelliousness; until at length, with the consent of Annas, who was the
chief of the doctors of that age, and likewise Caiaphas,(41) who was the
most learned of the judges, they wrought upon that Holy One that which the
pen is ashamed and unable to repeat. The earth with its amplitude was too
strait for Him, until God took Him up into the heaven. But were a detailed
account of the prophets to be submitted it is feared that weariness might
result.

“O would that thou mightest permit, O King, that We should send unto Thy
Majesty that whereby eyes would be refreshed, souls tranquilized, and
every just person assured that with Him [i.e., Bahá’u’lláh] is knowledge
of the Book. Were it not for the turning aside of the ignorant and the
willful blindness of the doctors, verily I would utter a discourse whereat
hearts would be glad and would fly unto the air from the murmur of whose
winds is heard, ‘There is no God but He.’ But now, because the time
admitteth it not, the tongue is withheld from utterance, and the vessel of
declaration is sealed until God shall unclose it by His power: verily He
is the Potent, the Powerful.

“Glory be to Thee, O God! O My God, I ask of Thee in Thy Name, whereby
Thou hast subdued whomsoever is in the heavens and the earth, that Thou
wilt keep the lamp of Thy religion with the glass of Thy power and Thy
favors, so that the winds of denial pass not by it from the region of
those who are heedless of the mysteries of Thy Sovereign Name: then
increase its light by the oil of Thy wisdom: verily Thou art Potent over
whomsoever is in Thy earth and Thy heaven.

“O Lord, I ask of Thee by the Supreme Word, whereat whosoever is in the
earth and the heaven feareth save him who taketh hold of the ‘Most Firm
Handle,’(42) that Thou wilt not abandon Me amongst Thy creatures: lift Me
up unto Thee, and make Me to enter in under the shadow of Thy mercy, and
give Me to drink of the pure wine of Thy grace, that I may dwell under the
canopy of Thy glory and the domes of Thy favors: verily Thou art powerful
unto that Thou wishest, and verily Thou art the Protecting, the
Self-Sufficing.

“O King! The lamps of justice are extinguished, and the fire of
persecution is kindled on all sides, until that they have made My people
captives. This is not the first honor which hath been violated in the way
of God. It behooveth everyone to regard and recall what befell the kindred
of the Prophet until that the people made them captives and brought them
in unto Damascus the spacious; and amongst them was the Prince of
Worshipers, the Stay of the elect, the Sanctuary of the eager (the soul of
all beside him be his sacrifice). It was said unto them, ‘Are ye
seceders?’ He said, ‘No, by God, we are servants who have believed in God
and in His signs, and through us the teeth of faith are disclosed in a
smile, and the sign of the Merciful One shineth forth; through our mention
spreadeth Al-Bathá,(43) and the darkness which intervened between earth
and heaven is dispelled.’ It was said, ‘Have ye forbidden what God hath
sanctioned, or sanctioned what God hath forbidden?’ He said, ‘We were the
first who followed the commandments of God: we are the source of command
and its origin, and the firstfruits of all good and its consummation: we
are the sign of the Eternal, and His commemoration amongst the nations.’
It was said, ‘Have ye abandoned the Qur’án?’ He said, ‘Through us did the
Merciful One reveal it; and we are gales of the All-Glorious amidst [His]
creatures; we are streams which have arisen from the most mighty Ocean
whereby God revived the earth after its death; from us His signs are
diffused, His evidences are manifested, and His tokens appear; and with us
are His mysteries and His secrets.’ It was said, ‘For what fault [then]
were ye afflicted?’ He said, ‘For the love of God and our severance from
all beside Him.’

“Verily We have not repeated his expressions (upon him be peace), but
rather We have made manifest a spray from the Ocean of Life which was
deposited in his words, that by it those who advance may live and be aware
of what hath befallen the trusted ones of God on the part of an evil and
most reprobate people. And today We see the people censuring those who
acted unjustly of yore, while they oppress more vehemently than those
oppressed, and know it not. By God, I do not desire sedition, but the
purification of [God’s] servants from all that withholdeth them from
approach to God, the King of the Day of Invocation.

“I was asleep on My couch: the breaths of My Lord the Merciful passed over
Me and awakened Me from sleep: to this bear witness the denizens [of the
realms] of His Power and His Kingdom, and the dwellers in the cities of
His Glory, and Himself, the True. I am not impatient of calamities in His
way, nor of afflictions for His love and at His good pleasure. God hath
made affliction as a morning shower to this green pasture, and as a match
for His lamp whereby earth and heaven are illumined.

“Shall that which anyone hath of wealth endure unto him, or avail him
tomorrow with him who holdeth his forelock? If any should look on those
who sleep under slabs and keep company with the dust, can he distinguish
the bones of the king’s skull from the knuckles of the slave? No, by the
King of Kings! Or doth he know governors from herdsmen, or discern the
wealthy and the rich from him who was without shoes or carpet? By God,
distinction is removed, save for him who fulfilled righteousness and
judged uprightly. Where are the doctors, the scholars, the nobles? Where
is the keenness of their glances, the sharpness of their sight, the
subtlety of their thoughts, the soundness of their understandings? Where
are their hidden treasures and their apparent gauds, their bejeweled
thrones and their ample couches? Alas! All have been laid waste, and the
decree of God hath rendered them as scattered dust! Emptied is what they
treasured up, and dissipated is what they collected, and dispersed is what
they concealed: they have become [such that] thou seest naught but their
empty places, their gaping roofs, their uprooted beams, their new things
waxed old. As for the discerning man, verily wealth will not divert him
from regarding the end; and for the prudent man, riches will not withhold
him from turning toward [God] the Rich, the Exalted. Where is he who held
dominion over all whereon the sun arose, and who spent lavishly and sought
after curious things in the world and what is therein created? Where is
the lord of the swarthy squadron and the yellow standard? Where is he who
ruled Zawrá,(44) and where he who wrought injustice in [Damascus] the
spacious? Where are they at whose bounty treasures were afraid, at whose
openhandedness and generosity the ocean was dismayed? Where is he whose
arm was stretched forth in rebelliousness, whose heart turned away from
the Merciful One? Where is he who used to make choice of pleasures and
cull the fruits of desires? Where are the dames of the bridal chambers,
and the possessors of beauty? Where are their waving branches and their
spreading boughs, their lofty palaces and trellised gardens? Where is the
smoothness of the expanses thereof and the softness of their breezes, the
rippling of their waters and the murmur of their winds, the cooing of
their doves and the rustling of their trees? Where are their laughing
hearts and their smiling teeth? Woe unto them! They have descended to the
abyss and become companions to the pebbles; today no mention is heard of
them nor any sound; nothing is known of them nor any hint. Will the people
dispute it while they behold it? Will they deny it when they know it? I
know not in what valley they wander erringly: do they not see that they
depart and return not? How long will they be famous in the low countries
and in the high, descend and ascend? ‘Is not the time yet come to those
who believe for their hearts to become humble for the remembrance of
God?’(45) Well is it with that one who hath said or shall say, ‘Yea, O
Lord, the time is ripe and hath come,’ and who severeth himself from all
that is. Alas! naught is reaped but what is sown, and naught is taken but
what is laid up, save by the grace of God and His favor. Hath the earth
conceived Him whom the veils of glory prevent not from ascending into the
Kingdom of His Lord, the Mighty, the Supreme? Have We any good works
whereby defects shall be removed or which shall bring Us near unto the
Lord of causes? We ask God to deal with Us according to His grace, not His
justice, and to make Us of those who turn toward Him and sever themselves
from all beside Him.

“O King, I have seen in the way of God what no eye hath seen and no ear
hath heard. Friends have disclaimed Me; ways are straitened unto Me; the
pool of safety is dried up; the plain of ease is [scorched] yellow. How
many calamities have descended, and how many will descend! I walk
advancing toward the Mighty, the Bounteous, while behind Me glides the
serpent. My eyes rain down tears until My bed is drenched; but My sorrow
is not for Myself. By God, My head longeth for the spears for the love of
its Lord, and I never pass by a tree but My heart addresseth it [saying],
‘O would that thou wert cut down in My name and My body were crucified
upon thee in the way of My Lord’; yea, because I see mankind going astray
in their intoxication, and they know it not: they have exalted their
lusts, and put aside their God, as though they took the command of God for
a mockery, a sport, and a plaything; and they think that they do well, and
that they are harbored in the citadel of security. The matter is not as
they suppose: tomorrow they shall see what they [now] deny.

“We are about to shift from this most remote place of banishment(46) unto
the prison of Akká. And, according to what they say, it is assuredly the
most desolate of the cities of the world, the most unsightly of them in
appearance, the most detestable in climate, and the foulest in water; it
is as though it were the metropolis of the owl; there is not heard from
its regions aught save the sound of its hooting. And in it they intend to
imprison the Servant, and to shut in Our faces the doors of leniency and
take away from Us the good things of the life of the world during what
remaineth of Our days. By God, though weariness should weaken Me, and
hunger should destroy Me, though My couch should be made of the hard rock
and My associates of the beasts of the desert, I will not blench, but will
be patient, as the resolute and determined are patient, in the strength of
God, the King of Preexistence, the Creator of the nations; and under all
circumstances I give thanks unto God. And We hope of His graciousness
(exalted is He) the freedom of Our necks from chains and shackles in this
imprisonment: and that He will render [all men’s] faces sincere toward
Him, the Mighty, the Bounteous. Verily He answereth him who prayeth unto
Him, and is near unto him who calleth on Him. And We ask Him to make this
dark calamity a buckler for the body of His saints, and to protect them
thereby from sharp swords and piercing blades. Through affliction hath His
light shone and His praise been bright unceasingly: this hath been His
method through past ages and bygone times.

“The people shall know what today they understand not when their steeds
shall stumble, their beds be rolled up, their



[Pages 81–94]


swords be blunted, and their footsteps slip. I know not how long they
shall ride the steed of desire and wander erringly in the desert of
heedlessness and error. Of glory shall any glory endure, or of abasement
any abasement? Or shall he endure who used to stay himself on high
cushions, and who attained in splendor the utmost limit? No, by My Lord
the Merciful! ‘All that is thereon is transient, and there remaineth
[only] the face of My Lord’ the Mighty, the Beneficent. What buckler hath
not the arrow of destruction smitten, or what pinion hath not the hand of
fate plucked? From what fortress hath the messenger of death been kept
back when he came? What throne hath not been broken, or what palace hath
not been left desolate? Did men but know what pure wine of the mercy of
their Lord, the Mighty, the All-Knowing, was beneath the seal, they would
certainly cast aside reproach and seek to be satisfied by this Servant;
but now have they veiled Me with the veil of darkness which they have
woven with the hands of doubts and fancies. The White Hand shall cleave an
opening to this sombre night. On that day the servants [of God] shall say
what those caviling women said of yore, that there may appear in the end
what began in the beginning. Do they desire to tarry when their foot is in
the stirrup? Or do they see any return in their going? No, by the Lord of
Lords, save in the Resurrection! On that day men shall arise from the
tombs and shall be questioned concerning their riches. Happy that one whom
burdens shall not oppress on that day whereon the mountains shall pass
away and all shall appear for the questioning in the presence of God the
Exalted! Verily He is severe in punishing.

“We ask God to sanctify the hearts of certain of the doctors from rancor
and hatred that they may regard things with eyes which closure overcometh
not; and to raise them unto a station where the world and the lordship
thereof shall not turn them aside from looking toward the Supreme Horizon,
and where [anxiety for] gaining a livelihood and [providing] household
goods shall not divert them from [the thought of] that day whereon the
mountains shall be made like carpets. Though they rejoice at that which
hath befallen Us of calamity, there shall come a day whereon they shall
wail and weep. By My Lord, were I given the choice between the glory and
opulence, the wealth and dignity, the ease and luxury wherein they are,
and the distress and affliction wherein I am, I would certainly choose
that wherein I am today, and I would not now exchange one atom of these
afflictions for all that hath been created in the kingdom of production!
Were it not for afflictions in the way of God My continuance would have no
sweetness for Me, nor would My life profit Me. Let it not be hidden from
the discerning and such as look towards the chiefest outlook that I,
during the greater part of My days, was as a Servant sitting beneath a
sword suspended by a single hair who knoweth not when it shall descend
upon Him, whether it shall descend instantly or after a while. And in all
this We give thanks to God the Lord of the worlds, and We praise Him under
all circumstances: verily He is a witness unto all things.

“We ask God to extend His shadow,(47) that the unitarians may haste
thereto, and that the sincere may take shelter therein; and to bestow on
[these] servants flowers from the garden of his grace and stars from the
horizon of his favors; and to assist him in that which he liketh and
approveth; and to help him unto that which shall bring him near to the
Dayspring of His Most Comely Names, that he may not shut his eyes to the
wrong which he seeth, but may regard his subjects with the eye of favor
and preserve them from violence. And we ask Him (exalted is He) to make
thee a helper unto His religion and a regarder of His justice, that thou
mayest rule over [His] servants as thou rulest over those of thy kindred,
and mayest choose for them what thou wouldest choose for thyself. Verily
He is the Potent, the Exalted, the Protecting, the Self-Subsistent.”

Now since suitable occasion hath arisen it hath been considered
appropriate that some of the precepts of Bahá’u’lláh which are contained
in tracts and epistles should also be inserted briefly in this treatise,
so that the main principles and practice and [their] foundations and basis
may become clear and apparent. And these texts have been copied from
numerous tracts.

Amongst them [is this]: “Consort with [people of all] religions with
spirituality and fragrance.... Beware lest the zeal of ignorance possess
you amongst mankind. All originated from God and returneth unto Him:
verily He is the Source of creation and the Goal of the worlds.”

And amongst them [is this]: “Ye are forbidden sedition and strife in the
books and epistles; and herein I desire naught save your exaltation and
elevation, whereunto beareth witness the heaven and its stars, the sun and
its radiance, the trees and their leaves, the seas and their waves, and
the earth and its treasures. We ask God to continue His saints and
strengthen them unto that which befitteth them in this blessed, precious,
and wondrous station, and We ask Him to assist those who surround Me to
act according to that whereunto they have been commanded on the part of
the Supreme Pen.”

And amongst them [is this]: “The fairest tree of knowledge is this sublime
word: ‘Ye are all the fruit of one tree and the leaves of one branch.’
Pride is not for him who loves his country, but for him who loves the
[whole] world.”

And amongst them [is this]: “Verily he who educateth his son, or one of
the sons [of another], it is as though he educated one of My sons. Upon
him be the splendor of God, and His grace, and His mercy which preceded
the worlds.”

Amongst them [is this]: “O people of Bahá! Ye have been and are the
dawnings of affection and the daysprings of divine grace: defile not the
tongue with cursing or execration of anyone, and guard the eye from that
which is not seemly. Show forth that which ye have: if it be accepted, the
object is attained; if not, interference is vain: leave him to himself,
[while] advancing toward God, the Protecting, the Self-Subsistent. Be not
a cause of grief, much less of strife and sedition. It is hoped that ye
will be nurtured in the shade of the lote-tree of Divine Grace, and
practice that which God desireth. Ye are all leaves of one tree and drops
of one sea.”

Amongst them [is this]: “The faith of God and religion of God hath been
revealed and manifested from the heaven of the Will of the King of
Preexistence only for the union and concord of the dwellers upon earth:
make it not a cause of discord and dissension. The principal means and
chief instrument for [bringing about] the appearance and irradiance of the
luminary of concord is the religion of God and the Law of the Lord; while
the growth of the world, the education of the nations, and the peace and
comfort of those in all lands are through the divine ordinances and
decrees. This is the principal means for this most great gift; it giveth
the cup of life, bestoweth everlasting life, and conferreth eternal
blessedness. The chiefs of the earth, especially the exemplars of divine
justice, must make strenuous efforts to guard this state and to upraise
and preserve it. So likewise that which is necessary is inquiry into the
condition of the people, and cognizance of the deeds and circumstances of
each one of the different classes. We desire of the exemplars of God’s
power, namely of kings and chiefs, that they will make endeavor: perchance
discord may depart out of [their] midst, and the horizons may be illumined
with the light of concord. All must hold to that which floweth from the
Pen of Reminder, and practice it. God witnesseth and [all] the atoms of
existences testify that we have mentioned that which will be the cause of
the exaltation, elevation, education, preservation, and reformation of the
dwellers upon earth. We desire of God that He will strengthen [His]
servants. That which this Oppressed One seeketh of all is justice and
fairness: let them not be satisfied with listening; let them ponder on
what hath become manifest from this Oppressed One. I swear by the Sun of
Revelation, which hath shone forth from the horizon of the heaven of the
Kingdom of the Merciful One, that, if any [other] expositor or speaker had
been beheld, I would not have made Myself an object for the malevolence
and the calumnies of mankind.” Finis.

By these sentences a clue to the principles, ideas, line of conduct,
behavior, and intentions of this sect is placed in the hand; whereas if we
seek to become acquainted with the truth of this matter through the
accounts and stories which are in the mouths of men, the truth will be
entirely concealed and hidden by reason of their manifold differences and
contrariety. It is therefore best to discover the principles and objects
of this sect from the contents of their teachings, tracts, and epistles.
There is no authority nor are there any proofs or texts superior to these,
for this is the foundation of foundations and the ultimate criterion. One
cannot judge of the generality by the speech or action of individuals, for
diversity of states is one of the peculiarities and concomitants of the
human race.

At all events, in the beginning of the year one thousand two hundred and
eighty-five [A.H.] they transferred Bahá’u’lláh and all those persons who
were with Him from Adrianople to the prison of Akká, and Mírzá Yaḥyá to
the fortress of Famagusta, and there they remained.(48) But in Persia
after a while sundry persons who were discerning in matters, notable for
wise policy, and aware and cognizant of the truth of the earlier and later
events, made representation before the presence of His Majesty the King
saying, “What has hitherto been reported, related, asserted, and alleged
concerning this sect in the Royal Presence was either an exaggeration, or
else [the speakers] fabricated statements with a view to [their own]
individual designs and the attainment of personal advantages. If so be
that His Majesty the King will investigate matters in his own noble
person, it is believed that it will become clear before his presence that
this sect have no worldly object nor any concern with political matters.
The fulcrum of their motion and rest and the pivot of their cast and
conduct is restricted to spiritual things and confined to matters of
conscience; it has nothing to do with the affairs of government nor any
concern with the powers of the throne; its principles are the withdrawal
of veils, the verification of signs, the education of souls, the
reformation of characters, the purification of hearts, and illumination
with the gleams of enlightenment. That which befits the kingly dignity and
beseems the world-ordering diadem is this, that all subjects of every
class and creed should be the objects of bounty, and [should abide] in the
utmost tranquility and prosperity under the wide shadow of the King’s
justice. For the divine shadow is the refuge of all the dwellers upon
earth and the asylum of all mankind; it is not limited to one party. In
particular, the true nature and real doctrine of this sect have [now]
become evident and well known: all their writings and tracts have
repeatedly and frequently fallen into [our] hands, and are to be found
preserved in the possession of the government. If they be perused, the
actual truth and inward verity will become clear and apparent. These pages
are entirely taken up with prohibitions of sedition, [recommendations of]
upright conduct amongst mankind, obedience, submission, loyalty,
conformity, and acquisition of laudable qualities, and encouragements to
become endowed with praiseworthy accomplishments and characteristics. They
have absolutely no reference to political questions, nor do they treat of
that which could cause disturbance or sedition. Under these circumstances
a just government can [find] no excuse, and possesses no pretext [for
further persecuting this sect] except [a claim to the right of]
interference in thought and conscience, which are the private possessions
of the heart and soul. And, as regards this matter, there has [already]
been much interference, and countless efforts have been made. What blood
has been shed! What heads have been hung up! Thousands of persons have
been slain; thousands of women and children have become wanderers or
captives; many are the buildings which have been ruined; and how many
noble races and families have become headless and homeless! Yet naught has
been effected and no advantage has been gained; no remedy has been
discovered for this ill, nor any easy salve for this wound. [To insure]
freedom of conscience and tranquility of heart and soul is one of the
duties and functions of government, and is in all ages the cause of
progress in development and ascendency over other lands. Other civilized
countries acquired not this preeminence, nor attained unto these high
degrees of influence and power, till such time as they put away the strife
of sects out of their midst, and dealt with all classes according to one
standard. All are one people, one nation, one species, one kind. The
common interest is complete equality; justice and equality amongst mankind
are amongst the chief promoters of empire and the principal means to the
extension of the skirt of conquest. From whatever section of earth’s
denizens signs of contentiousness appear, prompt punishment is required by
a just government; while any person who girds up the loins of endeavor and
carries off the ball of priority is deserving of royal favors and worthy
of splendid gifts. Times are changed, and the need and fashion of the
world are changed. Interference with creed and faith in every country
causes manifest detriment, while justice and equal dealing towards all
peoples on the face of the earth are the means whereby progress is
effected. It is right to exercise caution and care with regard to
political factions, and to be fearful and apprehensive of materialist
sects; for the subjects occupying the thoughts of the former are [designs
of] interference in political matters and [desire of] ostentation, while
the actions and conduct of the latter are subversive of safety and
tranquility. But this sect are steadfast in their own path and firmly
established in conduct and faith; they are pious, devoted, tenacious, and
consistent in such sort that they freely lay down their lives, and, after
their own way, seek to please God; they are strenuous in effort and
earnest in endeavor; they are the essence of obedience and most patient in
hardship and trouble; they sacrifice their existence and raise no
complaint or cry; what they utter is in truth the secret longing of the
heart, and what they seek and pursue is by the direction of a leader. It
is therefore necessary to regard their principles and their Chief, and not
to make a trivial thing a pretext. Now since the conduct of the Chief, the
teachings of His epistles, and the purport of His writings are apparent
and well known, the line of action of this sect is plain and obvious as
the sun. Of whatever was possible and practicable by way of
discouragement, determent, eradication, intimidation, reprehension,
slaughter, banishment, and stripes there was no lack, yet nothing was
thereby effected. In other countries when they perceived severity and
persecution in such instances to be identical with stimulation and
incitement, and saw that paying no attention was more effectual, they
abated the fire of revolution. Therefore did they universally proclaim the
equal rights of all denominations, and sounded the liberty of all classes
from east to west. This clamor and outcry, this uproar and conflagration,
are the consequences of instigation, temptation, incitement, and
provocation. For thirty years there has been no rumor of disturbance or
rebellion, nor any sign of sedition. Notwithstanding the duplication of
adherents and the increase and multiplication of this body, through many
admonitions and encouragements to virtue this sect are all in the utmost
repose and stability: they have made obedience their distinctive trait,
and in extreme submissiveness and subordination are the loyal subjects of
the King. On what lawful grounds can the government further molest them,
or permit them to be slighted? Besides this, interference with the
consciences and beliefs of peoples, and persecution of diverse
denominations of men is an obstacle to the expansion of the kingdom, an
impediment to the conquest of other countries, an obstruction to
multiplication of subjects, and contrary to the established principles of
monarchy. In the time when the mighty government of Persia did not
interfere with [men’s] consciences, diverse sects entered in and abode
beneath the banner of the great king, and [many] different peoples reposed
and served under the shadow of that mighty government’s protection. The
extent of the empire increased from day to day; the greater portion of the
continent of Asia was under the just rule of its administration; and the
majority of the different religions and races were [represented] amongst
the subjects of him who wore its crown. But when the custom of
interference with the creeds of all sects arose, and the principle of
inquiring into men’s thoughts became the fashion and practice, the
extensive dominions of the empire of Persia diminished, and many provinces
and vast territories passed out of her hands, until it reached such a
point that the great provinces of Túrán, Assyria, and Chaldea were lost;
until--what need of prolixity?--the greater part of the regions of
_Kh_urásán likewise passed out of the control of the government of Persia
by reason of the interference with matters of conscience and the
fanaticism of its governors. For the cause of the Afghan independency and
the revolt of the Turcoman tribes was in truth this thing, else were they
at no time or period separate from Persia. In face of its evident
harmfulness what necessity is there for persecuting the harmless? But if
we desire to put in force the sentence [of the doctors of religion] no one
will escape fetters and chains and the keenness of the sword, for in
Persia, apart from this sect, there exist diverse sects, such as the
Mutá_sh_arrís, the _Sh_ay_kh_ís, the Súfís, the Nusayris, and others, each
one of whom regards the other as infidels and accuses them of crime. Under
these circumstances what need that the government should persecute this
one or that one, or disturb itself about the ideas and consciences of its
subjects and people? All are the subjects of the king, and are under the
shadow of the royal protection. Everyone who hears and obeys should be
undisturbed and unmolested, while everyone who is rebellious and
disobedient deserves punishment at the hands of his Majesty the King.
Above all, the times are completely changed, while principles and
institutions have undergone alteration. In all countries such actions
hinder development and progress, and cause decline and deterioration. Of
the violent agitation which has befallen the supports of Oriental
government the chief cause and principal factor are in truth these laws
and habits of interference; while that state the seat of whose dominion
over the Atlantic and the Baltic is in the furthest regions of the North
has, by reason of equal dealing with its different subjects and the
establishment of the uniform political rights of diverse nationalities,
acquired extensive colonies in each of the five continents of the
world.(49) Where is this little island in the North Atlantic, and where
the vast territory of the East Indies? Can such extension be obtained save
by equal justice to all peoples and classes? At all events, by means of
just laws, freedom of conscience, and uniform dealing and equity towards
all nationalities and peoples, they have actually brought under their
dominion nearly all of the inhabited quarter of the world, and by reason
of these principles of freedom they have added day by day to the strength,
power, and extent of their empire, while most of the peoples on the face
of the earth celebrate the name of this state for its justice. As regards
religious zeal and true piety, their touchstone and proof are firmness and
steadfastness in noble qualities, virtues, and perfections, which are the
greatest blessings of the human race; but not interference with the belief
of this one or that one, demolition of edifices, and cutting off of the
human race. In the middle ages, whereof the beginning was the time of the
fall of the Roman Empire, and the end the capture of Constantinople at the
hands of [the followers of] Islám, fierce intolerance and molestation of
far and near arose in [all] the countries of Europe by reason of the
paramount influence of religious leaders. The matter came to such a pass
that the edifice of humanity seemed tottering to its fall, and the peace
and comfort of chief and vassal, king and subject, became hidden behind
the veil of annihilation. Night and day all parties were slaves to
apprehension and disquietude: civilization was utterly destroyed: the
control and order of countries was neglected: the principles and
essentials of the happiness of the human race were in abeyance: the
supports of kingly authority were shaken: but the influence and power of
the heads of religion and of the monks were in all parts complete. But
when they removed these differences, persecution, and bigotries out of
their midst, and proclaimed the equal rights of all subjects and the
liberty of men’s consciences, the lights of glory and power arose and
shone from the horizons of that kingdom in such wise that those countries
made progress in every direction; and whereas the mightiest monarchy of
Europe had been servile to and abased before the smallest government of
Asia, now the great states of Asia are unable to oppose the small states
of Europe. These are effectual and sufficient proofs that the conscience
of man is sacred and to be respected; and that liberty thereof produces
widening of ideas, amendment of morals, improvement of conduct, disclosure
of the secrets of creation, and manifestation of the hidden verities of
the contingent world. Moreover, if interrogation of conscience, which is
one of the private possessions of the heart and the soul, take place in
this world, what further recompense remains for man in the court of divine
justice at the day of general resurrection? Convictions and ideas are
within the scope of the comprehension of the King of kings, not of kings;
and soul and conscience are between the fingers of control of the Lord of
hearts, not of [His] servants. So in the world of existence two persons
unanimous in all grades [of thought] and all beliefs cannot be found. ‘The
ways unto God are as the number of the breaths of [His] creatures’ is a
mysterious truth, and ‘To every [people] We have appointed a [separate]
rite’(50) is one of the subtleties of the Qur’án. If this vast energy and
precious time which have been expended in persecuting other religions, and
whereby no sort of result or effect has been obtained, had been spent in
strengthening the basis of the monarchy, fortifying the imperial throne,
making prosperous the realms of the sovereign, and quickening the subjects
of the king, ere now the royal dominions would have become prosperous, the
seed-plot of the people would have been watered by the bounty of princely
justice, and the splendor of the kingdom of Persia would be evident and
apparent as the true dawn throughout the horizons of the world.”

These questions and considerations, at all events, certain persons have
reported. But let us return to our original subject. The Royal Personage
was pleased to investigate the hidden secret in his own noble person.
According to the account transmitted, it became clear and obvious before
the [Royal] Presence that most of these suspicions arose from the
intrigues of persons of influence who were continually engaged in
fabricating matters behind the veil of fancy and casting suspicion upon
the community, and who, to attain advantages for themselves and preserve
their own positions, were wont to make motes appear as globes, and straws
as mountains in the mirror of their imagination. For these suspicions
there was absolutely no foundation or basis, nor had these assertions any
proof or verisimilitude. What power and ability have the helpless people,
or what boldness and strength have poor subjects that they should inflict
injury or hurt on the sovereign might, or be able to oppose the military
forces of the crown?

From that time till now disturbance and sedition have been on the wane in
Persia, and clamor and strife have ceased; although [still] on rare
occasions certain of the official doctors do, for their own personal and
private advantage, stir up the common folk, raise a hue and cry, and, by
their importunity and pertinacity, molest one or two individuals of this
sect, as happened ten or twelve years ago in Iṣfáhán. For there were
amongst the inhabitants of Iṣfáhán two brothers, Siyyids of Tabátabá,
Siyyid Ḥasan and Siyyid Ḥusayn, celebrated in those parts for piety,
trustworthiness, and nobility; men of wealth, engaged in commerce,
behaving towards all men with perfect kindliness and courtesy. And to all
outward appearance no one had observed in either of these two brothers any
swerving from what was best, much less any conduct or behavior which could
deserve torment or punishment; for, as is related, they were admitted by
all [preeminent] in all praiseworthy and laudable qualities, while their
deeds and actions were like exhortations and admonitions. These had
transacted business with Mír Muḥammad Ḥusayn the Imám-Jum’ih of Iṣfáhán;
and when they came to make up their accounts it appeared that the sum of
eighteen thousand túmans was due to them. They [therefore] broke off
[further] transactions, prepared a bond for this sum, and desired it to be
sealed. This thing was grievous to the Imám-Jum’ih, so that he came to the
stage of anger and enmity. Finding himself in debt, and having no recourse
but to pay, he raised clamor and outcry saying “These two brothers are
Bábís and deserve severe punishment from the king.” A crowd at once
attacked their house, plundered and pillaged all their goods, distressed
and terrified their wives and children, and seized and despoiled all their
possessions. Then, fearing that they might refer the punishment to the
step of the king’s throne and loose their tongues in demand of redress, he
[i.e., the Imám-Jum’ih] fell to thinking how to compass their death and
destroy them. He therefore persuaded certain of the doctors to cooperate
with him, and they pronounced sentence of death. Afterwards they arrested
those two brothers, put them in chains, and brought them before the public
assembly. Yet seek as they might to fix on them some accusation, find some
fault, or discover some pretext, they were unable to do so. At length they
said, “You must either renounce this faith, or else lay down your heads
beneath the sword of punishment.” Although some of those present urged
them saying, “Say merely ‘We are not of this sect,’ and it is sufficient,
and will be the means of your deliverance and protection,” they would by
no means consent, but rather confirmed and declared it with eloquent
speech and affecting utterance, so that the rage and violence of the
Imám-Jum’ih boiled over, and, not satisfied with killing and destroying
them, they inflicted sundry indignities on their bodies after death to
mention which is not fitting, and of which the details are beyond the
power of speech. Indeed in such wise was the blood of these two brothers
shed that even the Christian priest of Julfá cried out, lamented, and wept
on that day; and this event befell after such sort that everyone wept over
the fate of those two brothers, for during the whole period of their life
they had never distressed the feelings even of an ant, while by general
report they had in the time of the famine in Persia spent all their wealth
in relieving the poor and distressed. Yet, notwithstanding this
reputation, were they slain with such cruelty in the midst of the people!

But now for a long while the justice of the King has prevented and
withheld, and none dares attempt such grievous molestations.



FOOTNOTES


    1 20 October 1819.

    2 23 May 1844.

    3 Qur’án 12.

    4 Undertake the pilgrimage to Mecca.

    5 Muḥammad _Sh_áh died September 4, 1848; the English translation of A
      Traveler’s Narrative first appeared in 1891.

    6 Qur’án 108.

    7 Qur’án 103.

    8 A reference to Bahá’u’lláh, “Him Whom God shall make manifest,”
      whose precursor the Báb considered Himself to be.

    9 The Ma_th_naví.

   10 The Ma_th_naví.

   11 Qur’án 7:154.

   12 The _Sh_í’ites.

   13 Qur’án 37:173.

   14 9 July 1850.

   15 Atabát ‘Alíyat, literally Supreme Shrines, a term by which the
      _Sh_í’ih Muslims referred to the cities of Kazímayn, Najaf, and
      Karbilá and generally applied to the region of eastern ‘Iráq, of
      which Ba_gh_dád was the center. When Bahá’u’lláh was released from
      prison and banished from Persia, He chose Ba_gh_dád for the place of
      His exile.

   16 That is, Bahá’u’lláh.

   17 Qur’án 95:4.

   18 Qur’án 23:14.

   19 1852. Ḥin, according to the Abjad notation, equals 68. Cf. The
      Dawn-Breakers: Nabíl’s Narrative of the Early Days of the Bahá’í
      Revelation, trans. and ed. Shoghi Effendi (Wilmette, Ill.: Bahá’í
      Publishing Trust, 1932), p. 18, note 1: In 1268 Bahá’u’lláh, chained
      in the Black Pit of Ṭihrán, received the first intimations of His
      Divine Mission, and that same year hinted of this in His odes.

   20 Qur’án 27:90.

   21 Throughout His Writings the “Oppressed One” refers to Bahá’u’lláh
      Himself.

   22 The ordinances of God.

   23 Qur’án 55:3–4.

   24 Qur’án 4:80.

   25 Qur’án 6:17; 10:107.

   26 Mírzá Yaḥyá’s title was Subh-i-Azal, the Morning of Eternity.
      Bahá’u’lláh, in this connection, cites Amos 4:12–13, which says that
      God “maketh the morning darkness.” Cf. Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the
      Son of the Wolf (Wilmette, Ill.: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1953), p.
      146. See Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By (Wilmette, Ill.: Bahá’í
      Publishing Trust, 1974), p.114, for other titles of Mírzá Yaḥyá.

   27 Cf. Qur’án 27:22.

   28 Ṭihrán.

   29 Qur’án 3:35; 22:19.

   30 Qur’án 2:88; 62:6.

   31 Qur’án 49:6.

   32 Qur’án 5:64.

   33 Qur’án 2:175.

   34 Qur’án 6:164; 17:16; 35:19; 39:9; 53:39.

   35 Qur’án 5:92.

   36 Qur’án 2:254; 3:35; 22:14, 19

   37 Qur’án 40:5.

   38 Qur’án 15:11; 36:29

   39 Qur’án 8:30.

   40 Qur’án 6:35.

   41 See John 11:49–50; Acts 4:6–10; 18:13–28; Acts 4:6–10.

   42 Qur’án 2:257; 31:21

   43 Mecca.

   44 Ba_gh_dád.

   45 Qur’án 57:15.

   46 Adrianople.

   47 Reference to the _Sh_áh of Persia.

   48 1868.

   49 England.

   50 Qur’án 22:35.





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