February 7, 2012

How the Báb blessed the parents of Munirih Khanum (the future wife of ‘Abdu’l-Baha) before her birth

Being forced to leave His native city of Shiraz, the Báb reached Isfahan in the early Fall of 1846. As He approached the outskirts of the city, being escorted by armed guards, He wrote a letter to the governor of the province, Manuchihr Khan, in which He requested him to signify his wish as to the place where He could dwell. The letter was expressive of such courtesy and revealed such exquisite penmanship that the governor was moved to instruct the Imam-Jum'ih of Isfahan, who was the foremost ecclesiastical authority of that province and was known as the Sultanu'l-'Ulama, to receive the Báb in his own home and to accord Him a kindly and generous reception. As the Báb approached the gate of the city, the Imam-Jum'ih went out to welcome Him in person, and conducted Him ceremoniously to his house. According to Mirza Abu’l-Fadl, the erudite Baha’i scholar, this Imam-Jum'ih of Isfahan was recognized in the land as the principal ecclesiastical dignitary of Persia at the time.

A believer by the name of Mirza Ibrahim was a friend of the Imam-Jum'ih and associated closely with him, managing all of his affairs. Two of his sons, many years later, gave their lives for the Faith and received from Baha’u’llah the inestimable bounty of being designated as the King and the Beloved of Martyrs. His younger brother, also a believer living in Isfahan, was named Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Nahri. He and his wife did not have any children at the time.

Before the Báb was transferred from the house of the Imam-Jum’ih to the residence of the governor, Mirza Ibrahim invited Him to his home one night. It is reported that the banquet which was spread for the Báb that night was one of unsurpassed magnificence. It was commonly observed that neither the officials nor the notables of the city had ever offered a feast of such magnitude and splendour. The future Sultanu'sh-Shuhada (King of the Martyrs) and his brother, the Mahbubu'sh-Shuhada (The Beloved of Martyrs), who were lads of nine and eleven at the time, respectively, served at that banquet and received special attention from the Báb. That night, during dinner, Mirza Ibrahim turned to his Guest and said: "My brother, Mirza Muhammad-'Ali, has no child. I beg You to intercede in his behalf and to grant his heart's desire." The Báb took a portion of the food which He had been served, placed it with His own hands on a platter, and handed it to His host, asking him to take it to Mirza Muhammad-'Ali and his wife. "Let them both partake of this," He said; "their wish will be fulfilled." By virtue of that portion which the Báb had chosen to bestow upon her, the wife of Mirza Muhammad-'Ali conceived and in due course gave birth to a girl (Munirih Khanum), who eventually was joined in wedlock with the Most Great Branch (‘Abdu’l-Baha), a union that came to be regarded as the consummation of the hopes entertained by her parents. (Adapted from the Dawn-Breakers, pp. 199-209)