|Shiraz, circa 1841|
This is the story of Mulla Aliy-i-Bastami, one of the Letters of the Living, "the first to leave the House of God (Shiraz) and the first to suffer for His sake…" (The Báb, quoted by Shoghi Effendi, ‘God Passes By’) He was “one of the foremost disciples of Siyyid Kazim…. He was endowed with such vast learning, and was so deeply conversant with the teachings of Shaykh Ahmad, that many regarded him as even superior to Mulla Husayn.” (Nabil, ‘The Dawn-Breakers’)
Following the death of their leader, Siyyid Kazim, Mulla Ali and twelve other followers of Siyyid Kazim decided to follow the example of Mulla Husayn and begin their search for the Promised One – as they were instructed to do so by Siyyid Kazim. Mulla Husayn had just started his spiritual preparation in retirement by praying and fasting for forty days. On several occasions Mulla 'Ali approached Mulla Husayn to ask him where he was going and what his destination would be. Every time he neared Mulla Husayn, he found him so deeply wrapt in prayer that he felt it improper to venture a question. Mulla 'Ali decided to retire in a like manner from the society of men and prepare his own heart for the quest. His companions followed his example with the exception of three who acted as their personal attendants.
As soon as the forty days were up, Mulla Husayn decided to leave Karbila at once for Persia where he felt his search should begin. His brother and nephew also accompanied him. An inner prompting led him to Bushihr on the Persian Gulf. Though he could feel the sweet savors of His holiness the Báb in Bushir something suddenly turned him like a compass needle to the north. He set out at once on foot for the city of Shiraz. When he arrived at the gate of the city, he directed his brother and his nephew, who had accompanied him, to go to the prayer-house and await his return. "Something draws my heart into the city," he said, "but I shall meet you for evening prayers." A few hours before sunset, Mulla Husayn's eyes fell upon the Báb and received an invitation to His House and became the first believer in the Bábi Dispensation.
Shortly after Mulla Husayn had left Karbila, Mulla ‘Ali accompanied by twelve companions also followed him towards Persia.