There is a fascinating account of a believer who recognized Baha’u’llah’s station a year before Baha’u’llah’s imprisonment in the notorious Siyyah-Chal (the Black Pit) of Tihran in 1852. This believer was the celebrated Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi, one of the devoted disciples of the Báb.
Shaykh Hasan-Zunuzi, who had served the Báb during His captivity in Adharbayjan[in Persia], was now living in Karbila[in Iraq], having been directed by the Báb Himself to go to that holy city and make it his home. Shaykh Hasan had been a disciple of Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti, and had first attained the presence of the Báb during the Báb's pilgrimage to the holy cities of 'Iraq, in the lifetime of Siyyid Kazim. Later, Shaykh Hasan served Him as amanuensis, at Mah-Ku and then at Chihriq. When the Báb came to know that both Quddus and the Babu'l-Báb[Mulla Husayn] were besieged in Mazindaran, He urged the Bábís to go to their aid, and He said to Shaykh Hasan: 'Had it not been for My incarceration in this mountain fastness, I would have felt it My bounden duty to go in person to help My beloved Quddus. But such is not the case with you. I want you to go to Karbila, and await the day when with your own eyes you can behold the Beauty of the Promised Husayn. On that day remember Me, and offer Him My love and submission. I am giving you a very important commission. Beware lest your heart shall falter and forget the glory given unto you.' (Nabil, The Dawn-Breakers, p.31) (H.M. Balyuzi, Baha'u'llah - The King of Glory, p. 67)
Here is how Shaykh-Hassan, later recalled that amazing experience:
"Sixteen lunar months, less twenty and two days, had elapsed since the day of the martyrdom of the Báb, when, on the day of Arafih,[The ninth day of the Muslim month of Dhi'l-Hijjih] in the year 1267 A.H.,[ 2 October 5, 1851 A.D.] while I was passing by the gate of the inner courtyard of the shrine of the Imam Husayn [in Karbila], my eyes, for the first time, fell upon Bahá'u'lláh. What shall I recount regarding the countenance which I beheld! The beauty of that face, those exquisite features which no pen or brush dare describe, His penetrating glance, His kindly face, the majesty of His bearing, the sweetness of His smile, the luxuriance of His jet-black flowing locks, left an indelible impression upon my soul. I was then an old man, bowed with age. How lovingly He advanced towards me! He took me by the hand and, in a tone which at once betrayed power and beauty, addressed me in these words: 'This very day I have purposed to make you known as a Bábí throughout Karbila.' Still holding my hand in His, He continued to converse with me. He walked with me all along the market-street, and in the end He said: 'Praise be to God that you have remained in Karbila, and have beheld with your own eyes the countenance of the promised Husayn.' I recalled instantly the promise which had been given me by the Báb. His words, which I had regarded as referring to a remote future, I had not shared with anyone. These words of Bahá'u'lláh moved me to the depths of my being. I felt impelled to proclaim to a heedless people, at that very moment and with all my soul and power, the advent of the promised Husayn. He bade me, however, repress my feelings and conceal my emotions. 'Not yet,' He breathed into my ears; 'the appointed Hour is approaching. It has not yet struck. Rest assured and be patient.' From that moment all my sorrows vanished. My soul was flooded with joy. In those days I was so poor that most of the time I hungered for food. I felt so rich, however, that all the treasures of the earth melted away into nothingness when compared with that which I already possessed. 'Such is the grace of God; to whom He will, He giveth it: He, verily, is of immense bounty.'" (Nabil, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 32)