February 6, 2010

The amazing story of Mulla Husayn finding the Mystery of God (Baha’u’llah) in Tihran

The story of Mulla Husayn as he tries to find a trace of His Beloved in Tihran is fascinating. The hand of providence brought him into close contact with a certain Mulla Muhammad who became immensely attracted to Mulla Husayn and the Message of the Báb. The story, recorded in the words of this Mulla Muhammad in The Dawn-Breakers, is as follows:

"'What is your name, and which city is your home?' 'My name,' I replied, 'is Mulla Muhammad, and my surname Mu'allim. My home is Nur, in the province of Mazindaran.' 'Tell me,' further enquired Mulla Husayn, 'is there to-day among the family of the late Mirza Buzurg-i-Nuri,[Baha’u’llah’s father] who was so renowned for his character, his charm, and artistic and intellectual attainments, anyone who has proved himself capable of maintaining the high traditions of that illustrious house?' 'Yea,' I replied, 'among his sons now living, one has distinguished Himself by the very traits which characterised His father. By His virtuous life, His high attainments, His loving-kindness and liberality, He has proved Himself a noble descendent of a noble father.' 'What is His occupation?' he asked me. 'He cheers the disconsolate and feeds the hungry,' I replied. 'What of His rank and position?' 'He has none,' I said, 'apart from befriending the poor and the stranger.' 'What is His name?' 'Husayn-'Ali.' 'In which of the scripts of His father does He excel?' 'His favourite script is shikastih-nasta'liq.' [an artistice style of handwriting] 'How does He spend His time?' 'He roams the woods and delights in the beauties of the countryside.' 'What is His age?' 'Eight and twenty.' The eagerness with which Mulla Husayn questioned me, and the sense of delight with which he welcomed every particular I gave him, greatly surprised me. Turning to me, with his face beaming with satisfaction and joy, he once more enquired: 'I presume you often meet Him?' 'I frequently visit His home,' I replied. 'Will you,' he said, 'deliver into His hands a trust from me?' 'Most assuredly,' was my reply. He then gave me a scroll wrapped in a piece of cloth, and requested me to hand it to Him the next day at the hour of dawn. 'Should He deign to answer me,' he added, 'will you be kind enough to acquaint me with His reply?' I received the scroll from him and, at break of day, arose to carry out his desire.

"As I approached the house of Bahá'u'lláh, I recognised His brother Mirza Musa, who was standing at the gate, and to whom I communicated the object of my visit. He went into the house and soon reappeared bearing a message of welcome. I was ushered into His presence, and presented the scroll to Mirza Musa, who laid it before Bahá'u'lláh. He bade us both be seated. Unfolding the scroll, He glanced at its contents and began to read aloud to us certain of its passages. I sat enraptured as I listened to the sound of His voice and the sweetness of its melody. He had read a page of the scroll when, turning to His brother, He said: 'Musa, what have you to say? Verily I say, whoso believes in the Qur'án and recognises its Divine origin, and yet hesitates, though it be for a moment, to admit that these soul-stirring words are endowed with the same regenerating power, has most assuredly erred in his judgment and has strayed far from the path of justice.' He spoke no more. Dismissing me from His presence, He charged me to take to Mulla Husayn, as a gift from Him, a loaf of Russian sugar and a package of tea,[1] and to convey to him the expression of His appreciation and love.

"I arose, and, filled with joy, hastened back to Mulla Husayn, and delivered to him the gift and message of Bahá'u'lláh. With what joy and exultation he received them from me! Words fail me to describe the intensity of his emotion. He started to his feet, received with bowed head the gift from my hand, and fervently kissed it. He then took me in his arms, kissed my eyes, and said: 'My dearly beloved friend! I pray that even as you have rejoiced my heart, God may grant you eternal felicity and fill your heart with imperishable gladness.' I was amazed at the behaviour of Mulla Husayn. What could be, I thought to myself, the nature of the bond that unites these two souls? What could have kindled so fervid a fellowship in their hearts? Why should Mulla Husayn, in whose sight the pomp and circumstance of royalty were the merest trifle, have evinced such gladness at the sight of so inconsiderable a gift from the hands of Bahá'u'lláh? I was puzzled by this thought and could not unravel its mystery.

"A few days later, Mulla Husayn left for Khurasan. As he bade me farewell, he said: 'Breathe not to anyone what you have heard and witnessed. Let this be a secret hidden within your breast. Divulge not His name, for they who envy His position will arise to harm Him. In your moments of meditation, pray that the Almighty may protect Him, that, through Him, He may exalt the downtrodden, enrich the poor, and redeem the fallen. The secret of things is concealed from our eyes. Ours is the duty to raise the call of the New Day and to proclaim this Divine Message unto all people. Many a soul will, in this city, shed his blood in this path. That blood will water the Tree of God, will cause it to flourish, and to overshadow all mankind.'"

The Báb had directed Mulla Husayn to send Him a letter and inform Him of that great Mystery which he was to discover in Tihran. That letter arrived on the night preceding 10 October 1844 when Quddus was present, with whom the Báb shared a number of its passages. Nabil-i-A'zam continues the story in these words:

"He sent his letter by way of Yazd, through the trustworthy partners of the Báb's maternal uncle who were at that time residing in Tabas. That letter reached the Báb on the night preceding the twenty-seventh day of Ramadan,[2] a night held in great reverence by all the sects of Islam and regarded by many as rivalling in sacredness the Laylatu'l-Qadr itself, the night which, in the words of the Qur'án, 'excelleth a thousand months'.[3] The only companion of the Báb, when that letter reached Him that night, was Quddus, with whom He shared a number of its passages.

"I have heard Mirza Ahmad[4] relate the following: 'The Báb's maternal uncle himself described to me the circumstances attending the receipt of Mulla Husayn's letter by the Bab: "That night I saw such evidences of joy and gladness on the faces of the Báb and of Quddus as I am unable to describe. I often heard the Báb, in those days, exultingly repeat the words, 'How marvellous, how exceedingly marvellous, is that which has occurred between the months of Jamadi and Rajab!' As He was reading the communication addressed to Him by Mulla Husayn, He turned to Quddus and, showing him certain passages of that letter, explained the reason for His joyous expressions of surprise. I, for my part, remained completely unaware of the nature of that explanation."'

"Mirza Ahmad, upon whom the account of this incident had produced a profound impression, was determined to fathom its mystery. 'Not until I met Mulla Husayn in Shiraz,' he told me, 'was I able to satisfy my curiosity. When I repeated to him the account described to me by the Báb's uncle, he smiled and said how well he remembered that between the months of Jamadi and Rajab he chanced to be in Tihran. He gave no further explanation, and contented himself with this brief remark. This was sufficient, however, to convince me that in the city of Tihran there lay hidden a Mystery which, when revealed to the world, would bring unspeakable joy to the hearts of both the Báb and Quddus.'"

The story of Bahá'u'lláh's immediate acknowledgement of the truth of the Message of the Báb, when He read a few lines of the Báb's newly-revealed Writings, may lead some to an erroneous conclusion that Bahá'u'lláh had no prior knowledge of the Báb's Revelation and that He was converted through reading a page of that historic scroll. Such a belief is contrary to many statements of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh themselves. For the Báb has made it very clear in His Writings that every word revealed by Him had originated from 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', [Baha’u’llah] Whose station was exalted beyond any description. The spiritual link of divine revelation existed between the two. The only link which needed to be established was a physical one, and this was achieved by the visit of Mulla Husayn. In the Persian Bayan, the Báb states:

"And know thou of a certainty that every letter revealed in the Bayan is solely intended to evoke submission unto Him Whom God shall make manifest, for it is He Who hath revealed the Bayan prior to His Own manifestation.

There are many passages in the Writings of the Báb similar to the above. Bahá'u'lláh also refers to the Revelation of the Báb as 'My Own previous Revelation'. The perusal of the Writings of the Báb will make it abundantly clear that His relationship with Bahá'u'lláh, Whom He designated as 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', was similar to that of Christ with the 'Heavenly Father' Who is reported in the Gospels as the Source of Christ's Revelation. 
(Adib Taherzadeh, 'The Covenant of Baha'u'llah')
[1 Tea and that variety of sugar being extremely rare in Persia at that time, both were used as gifts among the higher classes of the population. (A.T.)]
[2 Corresponding with the night preceding the 10th October 1844 A.D.]
[3 The Laylatu'l-Qadr, meaning literally 'Night of Power', is one of the last ten nights of Ramadan, and, as is commonly believed, the seventh of those nights reckoning backward.]
[4 'The first to embrace the Faith in Khurasan was Mirza Ahmad-i-Azghandi, the most learned, the wisest, and the most eminent among the ulamas of that province.' (The Dawn-Breakers, p. 125)]