October 5, 2009

The Father of the Bab describes the extraordinary qualities of his Son when He was just a young child

The principal of the school that the Bab attended when He was almost five years old has left an account concerning the meeting that took place between the father of the Bab, Aqa Mirza Muhammad Rida and His teacher, Shaykh Anam, before the Bab started His first day at school.

“‘After forty years, the Exalted Lord has graced me with a Child who has caused me to wonder over His behavior.’ The Shaykh asked him to explain further, but he only replied. ‘It is hard to say.’ [The Shaykh] insisted, to which [the father] offered:

O venerable Shaykh! Which of His amazing conditions should I recount? Such peculiar characteristics are manifest in Him that the people are astonished. Now, when He is five years old, He sometimes raises His hands to the threshold of the One God, and recites prayers. He wakes in the middle of the night and stands to offer His obligatory prayers, in the midst of which He weeps. Sometimes He is sad, on other occasions He is happy, or immersed in rapture, or preoccupied with the imaginary world. My astonishment and bewilderment prevents me from describing further. Were I to recount all that I have observed from the time of His birth until the present, it would make a thick book.

At such a [young] age, He tells whether an unborn child is a boy or a girl, for the whole clan. After the birth, it is as He foretold.

And again, some time ago, together with His uncle, the esteemed Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, we were at the bathhouse of Bazaar Murgh quarter. This Child was sleeping between His uncle and me, when suddenly He rose and stated, ‘The vaulted roof of the Garm-Khanih [steam chamber] of Mirza Hadi’s bathhouse, which was for women, has just caved in, and five women and one child have been [killed] under the rubble.’ His uncle said to Him, ‘Aqa, please sleep and refrain from saying such things. What manner of talk is this!’ He responded, ‘It is as I said.’ It was not long after that we heard a tumult of voice from the direction of the bathhouse, saying that Mirza Hadi’s bathhouse was wrecked and a number of women were under the rubble. One person said twenty women [were killed]; another said thirth or forty; but later it was determined that five women and a child had been killed. The truth was just as He had said.

In another instance, a while ago He informed us, ‘Last night, I dreamt that a large balance was suspended in mid-air in a vast space. Imam Jafar Sadiq was seated on one of the plates, and, because of His weight, that plate was resting on the ground while the other plate was suspended in the air. An invisible person lifted Me and placed Me on the empty plate. My plate was now heavier than the other, and I came to the ground and the first dish rose into the air.’ I said to Him, ‘Alas, Child, how bizarre! Do not talk like that.’

What should I say! There are so many astonishing stories about Him that I cannot tell. At one time, Aqa Mirza Siyyid Hassan {The Afnan Kabir of later years, the Bab’s brother-in-law} suggested that this Child might be under the spell of jinn or fairies, and he said we should take Him to those knowledgeable in such matters and request protective prayers for Him. Even though I do not believe that such things are true and trustworthy, in light of his [Siyyid Hassan’s] comment I brought Aqa Muhammad-Hassan, the Munajjim [astrologer], to the house and described for him the details. He made some calculations and said, ‘He is protected from the malevolence of jinn and fairies, and has not suffered any harm from spirits.’ Then he asked for His birth date. Thereupon, he wrote certain protective charms and prayers and gave them [to us], recited some mysterious verses and, having learned of His birth date, he left. After the departure of Aqa Muhammad-Hassan, the Child tore up the talismans, the writings he had left, and the sheet of instructions he had given [us], and tossed them out, saying to me, ‘In the words of the mystic: You make a great show of assistance, but I am that assistance.’

In short, for some time I have been consumed with the difficulties of this Child, and I do not know which of His conditions I should describe to you. It is now time for His education and training, and I wish Him to receive His tuition and religious training from you.”
(The Genesis of the Babi-Baha’i Faiths in Shiraz and Fars by Mirza Habibu’llah Afnan, translated by Ahang Rabbani)