October 7, 2009

The Bab's first day at school

The principal of the school that the Bab attended when He was almost five years old has left an account concerning His first day at school:

On the promised morning the Child arrived followed by a servant carrying a small [copper-tray] filled with sweets and a student’s version of the Qur’an, which is customary for the new pupil to read from in schools in Shiraz.

Because of Aqa Mirza Muhammad-Rida’s [the father of the Bab] descriptions of Him, the Shaykh, several of students who had reached the age of maturity, and I were thoroughly enthralled in watching Him. He came in, greeted [every one] and sat before Shaykh Anam [His teacher]. Soon after, His maternal uncle, Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, arrived as well and sat next to the Shaykh. After the exchange of formal pleasantries, the Shaykh took the Qur’an from the tray of sweet-meats, opened it, and said [to the young Pupil], “Come Aqa, read.” He smiled and said, “As you please.” As was customary, the Shaykh told Him to read, “He is the Deliverer, the All-Knowing.” His Holiness remained silent. The Shaykh repeated the verse, but He kept His silence. The Shaykh persisted. He [the Bab] asked, “Who is ‘He’. Can you explain?” The Shaykh responded, “’He’ is God. You are still a child, and what concern of Yours is the meaning of ‘He’?” The Pupil responded, “I am the Deliverer, the All-Knowing!” The Shaykh was deeply enraged and picked up his stick and said to Him, “Do not utter such things here!” His Holiness commenced reading, and His maternal uncle smiled and ordered certain arrangements and then left.
(The Genesis of the Babi-Baha’i Faiths in Shiraz and Fars by Mirza Habibu’llah Afnan, translated by Ahang Rabbani)