September 23, 2019
August 14, 2019
This honored man, Mírzá Mihdí, was from Káshán. In early youth, under his father’s tutelage, he had studied sciences and arts, and had become skilled in composing both prose and verse, as well as in producing calligraphy in the style known as shikastih.1 He was singled out from his fellows, head and shoulders above the rest. When still a child, he learned of the Lord’s Advent, caught fire with love, and became one of those who “gave their all to purchase Joseph.” He was chief of the yearning seekers, lord of lovers; eloquently, he began to teach the Faith, and to prove the validity of the Manifestation.
He made converts; and because he yearned after God, he became a laughingstock in Káshán, disparaged by friend and stranger alike, exposed to the taunts of his faithless companions. One of them said: “He has lost his mind.” And another: “He is a public disgrace. Fortune has turned against him. He is done for.” The bullies mocked him, and spared him nothing. When life became untenable, and open war broke out, he left his homeland and journeyed to Iraq, the focal center of the new Light, where he gained the presence of all mankind’s Beloved.
He spent some time here, in the friends’ company, composing verses that sang the praises of Bahá’u’lláh. Later he was given leave to return home, and went back to live for a while in Káshán. But again, he was plagued by yearning love, and could bear the separation no more. He returned, therefore, to Baghdad, bringing with him his respected sister, the third consort.
Here he remained, under the bountiful protection of Bahá’u’lláh, until the convoy left Iraq for Constantinople, at which time Mírzá Mihdí was directed to remain behind and guard the Holy House. Restless, consumed with longing, he stayed on. When the friends were banished from Baghdad to Mosul, he was among the prisoners, a victim along with the others. With the greatest hardship, he got to Mosul, and here fresh calamities awaited him; he was ill almost all the time, he was an outcast, and destitute. Still he endured it for a considerable period, was patient, retained his dignity, and continually offered thanks. Finally he could bear the absence of Bahá’u’lláh no longer. He sought permission, was granted leave to come, and set out for the Most Great Prison.
July 8, 2019
One night we were in the presence of 'Abdu'l-Baha along with the rest of the pilgrims. While busy writing, the Centre of the Covenant was also attending to all the incoming guests, both Baha'is and non-Baha'is. A few hours after sunset, the non-Baha'is were granted permission to take their leave, after which 'Abdu'l-Baha addressed the friends. Gradually, signs of weariness began to appear in His blessed face; He dismissed everyone with the words, "Go in God's care." When all stood up, the Muslim Shaykh humbly put forward a request: "I beg that a Tablet may be revealed in the honour of Shaykh Hadi so that I may carry it to him." (The late Aqa Shaykh Hadi was the most erudite and highest-ranking Muslim divine in Iran. He had a peculiar creed. Some suspected that he was secretly a Baha'i and some believed him to be a Babi; in any case, he had a large and devoted following.)
'Abdu'l-Baha replied, "I have written to him recently; that should suffice."
But the Shaykh insisted, "I wish to be granted the honour of carrying to him such a gift."
‘Abdu'l-Baha then consented, "Very well, I shall write it."
As we all began to leave the room, the Master said to Aqa Mirza Nuru'd-Din, "I am very busy, but I do not want to put this off. I may as well write it now, or I won't have another opportunity to do so. So come and sit down and I will dictate a few words." Pen in hand, Aqa Mirza Nuru'd-Din complied immediately.
The melodious chant of the Master filled the air, as divine verses in the Arabic tongue, indescribably eloquent and sublime, and with the rapidity of copious rain, flowed from His lips. God be praised, the atmosphere that dominated the hearts and the minds of those present is beyond description. The awesome power of that long, eloquent Tablet so overwhelmed every faculty of my being that neither pen nor tongue can describe it. As the poet says:
As in a dream, yet indescribable,
Nor is the world ready to hear it.
May 13, 2019
circa 1841, Karbilá: a disciple of Siyyid Kázim describes what happened when the Báb made a quiet appearance at one of Siyyid Kázim’s gatherings
|Karbila, 1932 |
‘Why is it,’ that questioner enquired, ‘that you neither reveal His name nor identify His person?’ To this the Siyyid replied by pointing with his finger to his own throat, implying that were he to divulge His name, they both would be put to death instantly. This added still further to my perplexity. I had already heard my teacher observe that so great is the perversity of this generation, that were he to point with his finger to the promised One and say: ‘He indeed is the Beloved, the Desire of your hearts and mine,’ they would still fail to recognise and acknowledge Him. I saw the Siyyid actually point out with his finger the ray of light that had fallen on that lap, and yet none among those who were present seemed to apprehend its meaning.
I, for my part, was convinced that the Siyyid himself could never be the promised One, but that a mystery inscrutable to us all, lay concealed in that strange and attractive Youth. Several times I ventured to approach Siyyid Kázim and seek from him an elucidation of this mystery. Every time I approached him, I was overcome by a sense of awe which his personality so powerfully inspired. Many a time I heard him remark: ‘O Shaykh Hasan, rejoice that your name is Ḥasan [praiseworthy]; Ḥasan your beginning, and Hasan your end. You have been privileged to attain to the day of Shaykh Ahmad, you have been closely associated with me, and in the days to come yours shall be the inestimable joy of beholding “what eye hath seen not, ear heard not, nor any heart conceived.”’
- Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunúzí ([A disciple of Siyyid Kázim], quoted by Nabil; ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)
February 13, 2019
1851 Karbilá, Iraq: A disciple of the Báb becomes the first person to whom Baha'u'llah confided His Divine Mission – as was prophesied by the Báb in 1848
It was during Bahá’u’lláh’s nine-month exile to Karbilá in 1851, on the order of the Persian Prime Minister, that He “encountered, as He was walking through the streets, Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunúzí, to whom He confided the secret He was destined to reveal at a later time in Baghdád. He found him eagerly searching after the promised Husayn, to whom the Báb had so lovingly referred and whom He had promised he would meet in Karbilá. (Nabil, ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)
Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunúzí was an elderly Babi, quietly went about his life as a scribe and quite unknown to the community of Babis in Karbila. He had been an early disciple of Siyyid Kazim and one who during his days among the Shaykhis in Karbila had fleetingly encountered the Báb, not yet known to be the One awaited, visiting Him with Siyyid Kazim when first He had arrived from Shiraz. During Shaykh Hasan’s first months of conversion as a Bábi he had journeyed to Chihriq to join the Báb in that distant prison, there to act as transcriber of His works. It was then 1848 and Shaykh Hasan was moved to join the valiant defenders of Fort Shaykh Tabarsi, for the mustering summons had gone forth to the faithful. He expressed his wish to the Báb, only to be startled by His countermanding the intention.
The Báb told him: “Participation in that struggle is not enjoined upon you. You should proceed to Karbila and should abide in that holy city, inasmuch as you are destined to behold, with your own eyes, the beauteous countenance of the promised Husayn. As you gaze upon that radiant face, do also remember Me. Convey to Him the expression of My loving devotion!” And then He added, “Verily I say, I have entrusted you with a great mission! Beware lest your heart grow faint, lest you forget the glory with which I have invested you.” (Nabil, ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)
Soon thereafter Shaykh Hasan departed from the fortress-prison of Chihriq, journeyed to Karbila in Iraq as instructed and settled into life in that city. Fearing that a prolonged stay m that center of pilgrimage might arouse suspicion, he decided to marry and to earn his livelihood as a scribe. He lived thus for two years untill he heard of the martyrdom of his Master in Tabriz, and then waited through another year of anticipation.
December 20, 2018
Mírzá Músá: Bahá’u’lláh’s faithful brother, also known as Áqáy-i-Kalím – a brief account of his life by 'Abdu'l-Baha
Jináb-i-Mírzá Músá was the true brother of Bahá’u’lláh, and from earliest childhood he was reared in the sheltering embrace of the Most Great Name. He drank in the love of God with his mother’s milk; when yet a suckling, he showed an extraordinary attachment to the Blessed Beauty. At all times he was the object of Divine grace, favor and loving-kindness. After their distinguished father died, Mírzá Músá was brought up by Bahá’u’lláh, growing to maturity in the haven of His care. Day by day, the youth’s servitude and devotion increased. In all things, he lived according to the commandments, and he was entirely severed from any thoughts of this world.
Like a bright lamp, he shone out in that Household. He wished neither rank nor office, and had no worldly aims at all. His one supreme desire was to serve Bahá’u’lláh, and for this reason he was never separated from his Brother’s presence. No matter what torments the others inflicted, his loyalty equaled the cruelty of the rest, for he had drunk the wine of unadulterated love.
Then the voice was heard, crying out of Shíráz, and from a single utterance of Bahá’u’lláh’s his heart was filled with light, and from a single gust that blew over the gardens of faith, he caught the fragrance. At once, he began to serve the friends. He had an extraordinary attachment to me, and was at all times concerned for my well-being. In Tihrán he occupied himself day and night with propagating the Faith and gradually became well known to everyone; habitually he spent his time in the company of blessed souls.
December 19, 2018
In Badasht there was a field with a stream running through it and gardens to either side. Quddús remained concealed in one of the gardens, and Táhirih resided in the other. A tent had been pitched for Bahá’u’lláh on that field, and the other believers were also housed in tents erected on the same field. In the evenings Bahá’u’lláh, Quddús, and Táhirih would meet. Bahá’u’lláh made a solemn agreement with them that the truth of the Cause would be proclaimed at Badasht, but no specific day was designated.
Then, by chance, Bahá’u’lláh fell ill. As soon as he was informed, Quddús emerged from his concealment and entered Bahá’u’lláh’s tent. Táhirih sent a message saying: “Either bring Bahá’u’lláh to the garden where I reside or I will come myself.” Quddús said: “Bahá’u’lláh is unwell and cannot come”, which was a signal. Táhirih, seizing upon the opportunity, arose and, unveiled, came forth from the garden. She proceeded towards the tent of Bahá’u’lláh crying out and proclaiming: “I am the Trumpet-blast; I am the Bugle-call!”—which are two of the signs of the Day of Resurrection mentioned in the Qur’án. Calling out in this fashion, she entered the tent of Bahá’u’lláh. No sooner had she entered than Bahá’u’lláh instructed the believers to recite the Súrih of the Event from the Qur’án, a Súrih that describes the upheaval of the Day of Resurrection.
November 5, 2018
In this brief talk, Ali-Kuli Khan recalls how in early 1900 he was able to go on pilgrimage to the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Baha and become one of His translators. Though he only knew Persian, he explains how the Master bestowed upon him the ability to read and understand the Writings in Arabic so he could translate them.
October 10, 2018
The next morning while I [Ali Kuli Khan] was in our room with my family [in Akka, during their pilgrimage in 1906], a gentle rapping attracted me to the door. There I found 'Abdu'l-Bahá standing with a large white handkerchief full of flowers. He said, "Give these flowers to Florence Khanum [American wife of Ali Kuli Khan] and bring me back the handkerchief." This I obeyed instantly. To our joy and delight, we found the flowers to be no other than a bridal bouquet of white roses. In them I found another small bouquet. It was easy to see its significance! All can imagine our joy upon receiving that blessing! My wife burst into tears of joy; for in this lovely act of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's she found the fulfilment of a prayer she had offered for a long time. The prayer was that she might receive a rose from the hand of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
- Ali Kuli Khan (Notes of pilgrimage during 1906; published in ‘1906 Pilgrim Notes of Ali Kuli Khan’)
September 18, 2018
...Among those who left their homeland were two carpenters, Ustád Báqir and Ustád Ahmad. These two were brothers, of pure lineage, and natives of Káshán. From the time when both became believers each held the other in his embrace. They harkened to the voice of God, and to His cry of “Am I not your Lord?” they replied, “Yea, verily!”
For a time they stayed on in their own country, occupied with the remembrance of God, characterized by faith and knowledge, respected by friend and stranger alike, known to all for righteousness and trustworthiness, for austerity of life and the fear of God. When the oppressor stretched forth his hands against them, and tormented them beyond endurance, they emigrated to ‘Iráq, to the sheltering care of Bahá’u’lláh. They were two most blessed souls. For some time they remained in ‘Iráq, praying in all lowliness, and supplicating God.
Then Ustád Aḥmad departed for Adrianople, while Ustád Báqir remained in ‘Iráq and was taken as a prisoner to Mosul. Ustád Ahmad went on with the party of Bahá’u’lláh to the Most Great Prison, and Ustád Báqir emigrated from Mosul to Akká. Both of the brothers were under the protection of God and free from every earthly bond. In the prison, they worked at their craft, keeping to themselves, away from friend and stranger alike. Tranquil, dignified, confident, strong in faith, sheltered by the All-Merciful, they happily spent their days. Ustád Báqir was the first to die, and some time afterward his brother followed him.
These two were firm believers, loyal, patient, at all times thankful, at all times supplicating God in lowliness, with their faces turned in His direction. During that long stay in the prison they were never neglectful of duty, never at fault. They were constantly joyful, for they had drunk deep of the holy cup; and when they soared upward, out of the world, the friends mourned over them and asked that by the grace of Bahá’u’lláh, they should be favored and forgiven. These two were embosomed in bounty, and Divinely sustained, and the Blessed Beauty was well pleased with them both; with this provision for their journey, they set out for the world to come. Upon them both be the glory of God the All-Glorious; to each be a seat of truth in the Kingdom of Splendors.
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha (From a talk; ‘Memorials of the Faithful’)
August 17, 2018
|Aqa Jan Khan-i-Khamsih who carried out |
the order for the execution of the Báb
As we recall, the Armenian regiment that was ordered to perform that heinous task of executing the Báb and His companion Anis by firing squad on July 9th, 1950 didn’t succeed at their mission. This was because before carrying out their order their Christian commander Sam Khan had some doubts about that assignment. To him, the Prisoner looked kind and compassionate. He wondered for what crime was He to be put to death? Unable to still the voice of his conscience, Sam Khan had approached the Báb and confessed that as a Christian he entertained no ill against Him, but that he had to carry out his assignment. He told the Báb: ‘If your Cause be the Cause of truth, enable me to free myself from the obligation to shed your blood.' To this request the Báb had told him: 'Follow your instructions, and if your intention be sincere, the Almighty is surely able to relieve you from your perplexity.'
Having received this assurance from the Báb, Sam Khan ordered his regiment of seven-hundred and fifty soldiers to carry out their duty. They positioned themselves in three rows and fired seven-hundred and fifty bullets. When the smoke of the gunpowder settled they discovered to their amazement that the two captives were completely unharmed. Their commander, Sam Khan, witnessing this miracle refused to order his soldiers to make a second attempt. Another regiment was therefore brought in. Their commander was Aqa Jan Khan-i-Khamsih. Whereas the first regiment was composed of Armenian Christians, the soldiers belonging to the second regiment were Muslims. They were known as the Nasiri regiment.
July 24, 2018
Throughout our pilgrimage  we visited the Shrines of the Báb and 'Abdu'l-Baha in the company of the beloved Guardian. He would chant the Tablet of Visitation in the Shrine of the Báb and then in the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Baha.
He always removed his half-boots outside the doors of the Shrines. One day I noticed that the right wrist of the Guardian was in a white bandage and he had difficulty in moving it. I immediately thought that I should help remove his shoes. I bent down on my knees and started to undo the knots of his bootlaces. He was just bending down, and said very quietly, "Don't go to the trouble." I said, "Beloved Guardian, this is my honor." I removed his shoes, took my handkerchief from my pocket, and cleaned them. As I was cleaning his boots I noticed that one of them had a hole in it and the other one was repaired.
I was truly saddened. I knew that the Guardian lived frugally and simply, but I had not been aware of its extent.
- Ali-Akbar Furutan (‘Hand of the Cause of God Furutan’, by Iran Furutan Muhajir)
July 9, 2018
|Moat surrounding city of Tabriz, circa 1930s|
On the following day the Russian Consul in Tabriz visited the spot, and ordered the artist who had accompanied him to make a drawing of the remains as they lay beside the moat. Nabil, in his chronical, ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, relates the following account from a believer by the name of Hájí ‘Alí-‘Askar who saw this drawing:
“An official of the Russian consulate, to whom I was related, showed me that same sketch on the very day it was drawn. It was such a faithful portrait of the Báb that I looked upon! No bullet had struck His forehead, His cheeks, or His lips. I gazed upon a smile which seemed to be still lingering upon His countenance. His body, however, had been severely mutilated. I could recognize the arms and head of His companion, who seemed to be holding Him in his embrace. As I gazed horror-struck upon that haunting picture, and saw how those noble traits had been disfigured, my heart sank within me. I turned away my face in anguish and, regaining my house, locked myself in my room. For three days and three nights, I could neither sleep nor eat, so overwhelmed was I with emotion. That short and tumultuous life, with all its sorrows, its turmoil, its banishments, and eventually the awe-inspiring martyrdom with which it had been crowned, seemed again to be re-enacted before my eyes. I tossed upon my bed, writhing in agony and pain.”
June 27, 2018
|Tabriz, 19th Century|
As He approached the courtyard of the barracks, a youth [Mírzá Muhammad-‘Alíy-i-Zunúzí, surnamed Anís, meaning “companion”] suddenly leaped forward who, in his eagerness to overtake Him, had forced his way through the crowd, utterly ignoring the risks and perils which such an attempt might involve. His face was haggard, his feet were bare, and his hair dishevelled. Breathless with excitement and exhausted with fatigue, he flung himself at the feet of the Báb and, seizing the hem of His garment, passionately implored Him: “Send me not from Thee, O Master. Wherever Thou goest, suffer me to follow Thee.”
“Muhammad-‘Alí,” answered the Báb, “arise, and rest assured that you will be with Me. To-morrow you shall witness what God has decreed.”
June 10, 2018
Karbila, circa 1841: A meeting between the Báb and His forerunner Siyyid Kazim -- its profound and long-lasting effect on a disciple of Siyyid Kazim who was also present
|Karbila, circa 1930s|
In those days Siyyid Kázim became increasingly aware of the approach of the Hour at which the promised One [the Báb] was to be revealed. He realised how dense were those veils that hindered the seekers from apprehending the glory of the concealed Manifestation. He accordingly exerted his utmost endeavour to remove gradually, with caution and wisdom, whatever barriers might stand in the way of the full recognition of that Hidden Treasure of God.
He repeatedly urged his disciples to bear in mind the fact that He whose advent they were expecting would appear neither from Jabúlqá nor from Jabúlsá.’  He even hinted at His presence in their very midst:
“You behold Him with your own eyes,” he often observed, “and yet recognise Him not!”
To his disciples who questioned him regarding the signs of the Manifestation, he would say:
“He is of noble lineage. He is a descendant of the Prophet of God, of the family of Háshim.  He is young in age, and is possessed of innate knowledge. His learning is derived, not from the teachings of Shaykh Ahmad, [his master] but from God. My knowledge is but a drop compared with the immensity of His knowledge; my attainments a speck of dust in the face of the wonders of His grace and power. Nay, immeasurable is the difference. He is of medium height, abstains from smoking, and is of extreme devoutness and piety.”
May 18, 2018
One day after a meeting when, as usual, many people had crowded round Him, 'Abdu'l-Bahá arrived home very tired. We were sad at heart that He should be so fatigued, and bewailed the many steps to be ascended to the flat. Suddenly, to our amazement, the Master ran up the stairs to the top very quickly without stopping.
He looked down at us as we walked up after Him, saying with a bright smile, from which all traces of fatigue had vanished:
"You are all very old! I am very young!"
Seeing me full of wonder, 'Abdu'l-Bahá said: "Through the power of Bahá'u'lláh all things can be done. I have just used that power."
That was the only time we had ever seen Him use that power for Himself, and I feel that He did so then to cheer and comfort us, as we were really sad concerning His fatigue.
Might it not also have been to show us an example of the great Reserve of Divine Force always available for those of us who are working in various ways in the "Path of the Love of God and of Mankind." A celestial strength which reinforces us when our human strength fails.
- Lady Blomfield (‘The Chosen Highway’)
April 10, 2018
June-July 1849: The Báb’s immeasurable sorrow when the news of the martyrdom of Mulla Husayn, the heroes of Tabarsí, and Quddus reached Him
The news of the tragic fate which had befallen the heroes of Tabarsí brought immeasurable sorrow to the heart of the Báb. Confined in His prison-castle of Chihríq, severed from the little band of His struggling disciples, He watched with keen anxiety the progress of their labours and prayed with unremitting zeal for their victory. How great was His sorrow when, in the early days of Sha’bán in the year 1265 A.H., [June 22-July 21, 1849 A.D.] He came to learn of the trials that had beset their path, of the agony they had suffered, of the betrayal to which an exasperated enemy had felt compelled to resort, and of the abominable butchery with which their career had ended.
“The Báb was heart-broken,” His amanuensis, Siyyid Ḥusayn-i-‘Azíz, subsequently related [to Nabil], “at the receipt of this unexpected intelligence. He was crushed with grief, a grief that stilled His voice and silenced His pen. For nine days He refused to meet any of His friends. I myself, though His close and constant attendant, was refused admittance. Whatever meat or drink we offered Him, He was disinclined to touch. Tears rained continually from His eyes, and expressions of anguish dropped unceasingly from His lips. I could hear Him, from behind the curtain, give vent to His feelings of sadness as He communed, in the privacy of His cell, with His Beloved. I attempted to jot down the effusions of His sorrow as they poured forth from His wounded heart. Suspecting that I was attempting to preserve the lamentations He uttered, He bade me destroy whatever I had recorded. Nothing remains of the moans and cries with which that heavy-laden heart sought to relieve itself of the pangs that had seized it. For a period of five months He languished, immersed in an ocean of despondency and sorrow.”
March 18, 2018
[On another day, the Master gave them a story out of His own life:]
I was a child, nine years old. In the thick of those calamities, [Baha'u'llah was confined in the Siyah-Chal] when the enemy attacked, they stoned our house and it had filled up with stones. We had nobody to help us. There was only my mother,  my sister,  and Aqa Mirza Muhammad-Quli.  To protect us, my mother took us away from the Shimiran Gate to the Sangilaj quarter, where in the back lanes she found a house. In that house she watched over us and forbade us ever to set foot on the street. But one day the problem of how to get food became so urgent that my mother said to me: ‘Can you go to your aunt’s house?  Tell her to find a few krans  for us, no matter how.’
Our aunt lived in the Takyih  of Haji Rajab-’Ali, near the house of Mirza Hasan Kajdamagh. I went there. She tried everywhere and finally managed to collect five krans, which she tied up in the corner of a handkerchief and gave me.
On my way back through the Takyih, the son of Mirza Hasan recognized me. Immediately he called out, ‘This one is a Bábí!’ and the boys ran after me. The house of Mulla Ja’far of Astarabad was not far away, and I reached it and went into the entry. The son of Mulla Ja’far saw me but he did not put me out. Neither did he rout the boys.
February 25, 2018
Táhirih was a woman of rare accomplishment. Most Persian women were not educated, but Táhirih's father had recognized early on that his young daughter was gifted with an especially keen mind. He loved her dearly and educated her the same way he educated his sons. Táhirih had grown into a woman as famous for her intelligence as for her beauty -- more than equal to any man in her knowledge of religion and in her ability to present strong, clear arguments. She possessed other talents as well. In a land where people had, for centuries, turned to their poets as often as their prophets for inspiration, Tahirih was known for the exquisite poetry she wrote. Her father, highly regarded among Persia's religious leaders, had taught his daughter well.
Still, she was a woman in a Muslim society. When men gathered in her father's house for religious discussion, Táhirih had to speak from behind a curtain, for women were not permitted to be in the company of men who were not members of their immediate family. She could never expect to be a spiritual leader, no matter how great her knowledge and skill. Some mullas even argued that women did not possess souls and ranked little higher than animals. How could they possibly understand religion?
"Would that she had been a boy," said her father, "for he would have shed illumination upon my household, and would have succeeded me."
Táhirih's marriage had been arranged according to the customs of the day, and she became mother to a daughter and two sons.
One day in the library of her cousin's house, she had happened upon the writings of Shaykh Ahmad, which captured her interest and led her into correspondence with Siyyid Kazim. Determined to study with him, Táhirih had traveled to Karbala, but ten days before her arrival Siyyid Kazim died.
February 1, 2018
‘Abdu’l-Baha recalls an example of Baha’u’llah’s majesty and power while officially still a prisoner
One day the government leaders, pillars of the country, the city’s ‘ulamás, leading mystics and intellectuals came out to the Mansion. The Blessed Beauty paid them no attention whatever. They were not admitted to His presence, nor did He inquire after any of them. I sat down with them and kept them company for some hours, after which they returned whence they had come. Although the royal farmán specifically decreed that Bahá’u’lláh was to be held in solitary confinement within the Akká fortress, in a cell, under perpetual guard; that He was never to set foot outside; that He was never even to see any of the believers—notwithstanding such a farmán, such a drastic order, His tent was raised in majesty on the heights of Mount Carmel. What greater display of power could there be than this, that from the very prison, the banner of the Lord was raised aloft, and rippled out for all the world to see! Praised be the Possessor of such majesty and might; praised be He, weaponed with the power and the glory; praised be He, Who defeated His foes when He lay captive in the Akká prison!
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha (From a talk; ‘Memorials of the Faithful’)
January 18, 2018
One day Mírzá Ahmad conducted me [Nabil, he was then about 19 years old] to the house of Bahá’u’lláh, whose wife, the Varaqatu’l-’Ulya, [the Most Exalted Leaf] the mother of the Most Great Branch, had already healed my eyes with an ointment which she herself had prepared and sent to me by…Mírzá Ahmad.
The first one I met in that house was that same beloved Son of hers, who was then a child of six. He smiled His welcome to me as He was standing at the door of the room which Bahá’u’lláh occupied. I passed that door, and was ushered into the presence of Mírzá Yahyá, [Baha’u’llah’s half-brother] utterly unaware of the station of the Occupant [Baha’u’llah] of the room I had left behind me….
On another occasion, when I visited that same house, I on the point of entering the room that Mírzá Yahyá occupied, when Áqáy-i-Kalím, [Baha’u’llah’s faithful brother] whom I had previously met, approached and requested me, since Isfandíyár, their servant, had gone to market and had not yet returned, to conduct “Áqá” [‘Abdu’l-Baha] to the Madrisiy-i-Mírzá-Sálih [school] in his stead and then return to this place. I gladly consented, and as I was preparing to leave, I saw the Most Great Branch, a child of exquisite beauty, wearing the kuláh [hat] and cloaked in the jubbiy-i-hizari’í, [A kind of overcoat] emerge from the room which His Father occupied, and descend the steps leading to the gate of the house. I advanced and stretched forth my arms to carry Him. “We shall walk together,” He said, as He took hold of my hand and led me out of the house.
We chatted together as we walked hand in hand in the direction of the madrisih [school] known in those days by the name of Pa-Minar. As we reached His classroom, He turned to me and said: “Come again this afternoon and take me back to my home, for Isfandíyár is unable to fetch me. My Father will need him to-day.” I gladly acquiesced, and returned immediately to the house of Bahá’u’lláh…
I… returned to the madrisih in time to conduct the Most Great Branch to His home.
- Nabil (‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)
January 10, 2018
Quddús’ amazing ability to pen copious writings – their recital and tributes by Mulla Husayn provided daily spiritual food at Fort Tabarsi
We know from the Baha’i Writings that Quddus, in addition to being the last Letter of the Living and the chosen companion of the Báb during His pilgrimage to Mecca, has a high station. The Guardian elucidates on it in ‘God Passes By’:
“Quddús, immortalized by Him [the Báb] as Ismu'llahi'l-Akhir (the Last Name of God); on whom Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet of Kullu't-Ta'am later conferred the sublime appellation of Nuqtiy-i-Ukhra (the Last Point); whom He elevated, in another Tablet, to a rank second to none except that of the Herald of His Revelation; whom He identifies, in still another Tablet, with one of the ‘Messengers charged with imposture’ mentioned in the Qur'án; whom the Persian Bayan extolled as that fellow-pilgrim round whom mirrors to the number of eight Vahids revolve; on whose ‘detachment and the sincerity of whose devotion to God's will God prideth Himself amidst the Concourse on high;’ whom 'Abdu'l-Bahá designated as the ‘Moon of Guidance;’ and whose appearance the Revelation of St. John the Divine anticipated as one of the two ‘Witnesses’ into whom, ere the ‘second woe is past,’ the ‘spirit of life from God’ must enter” (Shoghi Effendi, 'God Passes By')
Here is an example of Qúddus’ amazing keenness of understanding concerning the manifold meanings of the Word of God:
Following the conference of Badasht, Quddús was en route to his home town when he fell into the hands of his opponents and placed under house arrest.
Nabil, the great Baha’i chronicler, explains that while Quddus was in confinement in the home of a leading clergy of the town of Sari, Mírzá Muhammad-Taqí, the latter asked Quddús “to write a commentary on the Súrih of Ikhlas, better known as the Súrih of Qul Huva’lláhu’l-Ahad” (Nabil, ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi).
December 5, 2017
Aqa Mirza Ja'jar was an erudite divine of Islam. In his youth, he taught at a theological school... He left the school altogether when he embraced the Cause and became a very steadfast believer. In those days, the Ancient Beauty was in Baghdad. Knowing that He was living an austere life in that city, Mirza Ja'jar wished to provide some funds for the relief of His blessed Person. In the end he came up with a plan. There were many vases and other ornaments made of copper in the mosques of Yazd. He used to go to a mosque at night, climb to the upper chambers, dismantle the ornamental copper vessels which were hanging from the ceiling, and take them home. Little by little he stole similar vessels from several mosques. In the end he gathered nearly half a ton of these copper items... He then transported them to Ardikan (about 100 miles from Yazd) to the home of a certain Ustad Kazim, an ironmonger. There he cut the copper articles to pieces and eventually succeeded in selling the metal for 70 tumans (a large sum of money in those days) in silver coins. He placed the silver inside a specially made leather cummerbund, tied it around his waist and set off on his journey on foot to Baghdad where he attained the presence of Baha’u’llah and presented the money to Him. The Blessed Beauty accepted the money from him, and bestowed upon him His blessings and favors. But He ordered him to accompany Mirza Aqa Jan, Khadimu'llah (the Servant of God), to the banks of the river and throw the money into its waters. Mirza Jajar became a servant of the household, and was among those companions who accompanied Baha’u’llah to Istanbul.
- Adib Taherzadeh (‘The Revelation of Baha’u’llah, vol. 4')
November 20, 2017
|Bedroom of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, where He passed away|
“I seemed,” He said, “to be standing within a great mosque, in the inmost shrine, facing the Qiblih, in the place of the Imám himself. I became aware that a large number of people were flocking into the mosque. More and yet more crowded in, taking their places in rows behind Me, until there was a vast multitude. As I stood I raised loudly the call to prayer. Suddenly the thought came to Me to go forth from the mosque. When I found Myself outside I said within Myself: ‘For what reason came I forth, not having led the prayer? But it matters not; now that I have uttered the Call to prayer, the vast multitude will of themselves chant the prayer.’”
A few weeks later, whilst occupying a solitary room in the garden of His house, He recounted another dream to those around Him.
“I dreamed a dream,” He said, “and behold, the Blessed Beauty (Bahá’u’lláh) came and said to Me: ‘Destroy this room.’” None of those present comprehended the significance of this dream until He Himself had soon after passed away, when it became clear to them all that by the “room” was meant the temple of His body.
“I dreamed a dream,” He said, “and behold, the Blessed Beauty (Bahá’u’lláh) came and said to Me: ‘Destroy this room.’” None of those present comprehended the significance of this dream until He Himself had soon after passed away, when it became clear to them all that by the “room” was meant the temple of His body.
- Shoghi Effendi (‘God Passes By’)
November 1, 2017
Here is a fascinating insight about the Master, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, which Juliet Thompson, heard from Valíyu’lláh Varqa, a member of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s entourage during His visit to America in 1912. The following is an entry from her diary:
The next morning, Thursday, though I [Juliet Thompson] went unusually early to the Master, He had already left the house. But Lua, Valíyu’lláh Khán [son of the great Baha’i poet and martyr, Varqa], and I had a wonderful morning. Valíyu’lláh told us so many things.
“My father,” he said, “spent much time with the Blessed Beauty. The Blessed Beauty Himself taught him.
“One time when my father was in His room, Bahá’u’lláh rose and strode back and forth till the very walls seemed to shake. And He told my father that once in an age the Mighty God sent a Soul to earth endowed with the power of the Great Ether, and that such a Soul had all power and was able to do anything. ‘Even this walk of Mine’ said Bahá’u’lláh, ‘has an effect in the world.’
“Then He said that His Holiness Jesus Christ had also come with the power of the Great Ether, but the haughty priesthood of His day thought of Him as a poor, unlettered youth and believed that if they should crucify Him, His Teachings would soon be forgotten. Therefore they did crucify Him. But because His Holiness Jesus possessed the power of the Great Ether, He could not remain underground. This ethereal power rose and conquered the whole earth. ‘And now,’ the Blessed Beauty said, ‘look to the Master, for this same Power is His.’
October 12, 2017
The hostile clerics of Ámul had created a major commotion in the town. Having Baha’u’llah and His companions in their midst, the situation was further exacerbated by the divines calling upon the people to protect their religion by demanding severe punishment upon the captives – including murder. People were told to come to the mosque, fully armed -- the butcher with his axe, the carpenter with his hatchet – prepared to make a rush at Baha'u'llah and murder Him. The divines of Ámul were particularly marked for their rapacity.
The Acting Governor realized that any indulgence on his part would be fraught with personal danger. By inflicting a befitting punishment upon the captives, he sought to check the mob’s passions. He ordered punishment by bastinado - a form of torture that involves being beaten on the soles of the feet with a rod. He also promised that the captives would be kept in custody following this punishment until the return of the governor.
October 2, 2017
Taking refuge from the attacks of the people of Barfurúsh and neighbouring villages at the persistent instigation of the vindictive leading divine of that district, Mulla Husayn and his companions arrived at the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsi on October 12, 1848. This shrine was situated about fourteen miles S.E. of the town of Barfurúsh in the heart of the forests of Mazindaran. Upon their arrival, Mullá Husayn gave one of the believers who had built the Bábíyyih house in Mashhad preliminary instructions for the design of a fort which was to be constructed for their defense around the shrine. Through Mulla Husayn’s guidance and encouragement his companions began building the fort according that design. Despite continual harassment and fierce attacks by the people of the surrounding villages, who hemmed them in on every side, they valiantly defended themselves. When construction of the fort was completed, Mullá Ḥusayn undertook the necessary preparations for the siege which the fort was destined to sustain, and provided, despite the obstacles which stood in his way, whatever provisions seemed essential for the safety of its occupants.
Meanwhile, news of the situation facing Mulla Husayn and his 300 plus companions reached Baha’u’llah who was staying at his ancestral home of Nur. He learned how, because of the treachery and broken pledges of the authorities in Sari and Barburush, they had been forced to use arms to defend themselves, and had hurriedly thrown up a wall and built a fortress around the mausoleum of Shaykh Tabarsi and were now beleaguered within it. Baha'u'llah decided to visit them and when His preparations were complete, travelled to the village of Afra [located in the vicinity of the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsi], which belonged to a certain Nazar-'Ali Khan. When He arrived in Afra, He ordered for a sumptuous dinner to be prepared for the inmates of the fortress and sent one of the believers to inform them of His impending arrival.
September 13, 2017
Mulla Husayn was still in Mashhad during the conference of Badasht as a guest of the Governor-General of the province of Khurasan - where he was treated with courtesy and consideration. After leaving the camp of the Governor-General, he was preparing his anticipated trip to Karbila when a messenger arrived bearing to him the Báb’s turban and conveying the news that a new name, that of Siyyid ‘Alí, had been conferred upon him by his Master.
“Adorn your head,” was the message, “with My green turban, the emblem of My lineage, and, with the Black Standard unfurled before you, hasten to the Jazíriy-i-Khadrá, [literally: ‘Verdant Isle’] and lend your assistance to My beloved Quddús.”
As soon as that message reached him, Mullá Husayn arose to execute the wishes of his Master. Leaving Mashhad for a place situated at a farsang’s distance [about 3 miles] from the city, he hoisted the Black Standard, placed the turban of the Báb upon his head, assembled his companions, mounted his steed, and gave the signal for their march to the Jazíriy-i-Khadrá. His companions, who were two hundred and two in number, enthusiastically followed him. That memorable day was July 21st, 1848.
Wherever they tarried, at every village and hamlet through which they passed, Mullá Husayn and his fellow-disciples would fearlessly proclaim the message of the New Day, would invite the people to embrace its truth, and would select from among those who responded to their call a few whom they would ask to join them on their journey.
August 13, 2017
Baha’u’llah’s servant: Isfandiyar - "the essence of love, radiant with sanctity and perfection, luminous with light"
Isfandiyar was a gem from Africa, pure and untarnished, and yet firm and steadfast as a diamond under all pressures and persecutions. He manifested his inherent qualities when faced with perils which endangered his life as a Babi. His wonderful countenance reflected the rays of love and courage.
Isfandiyar was a servant in the house of Baha'u'llah and, as a fruitful tree planted in good soil, he yielded a spiritual harvest. His love for Baha'u'llah was unlimited and, though many Ministers and other high government officials coveted him as a servant in their household, he remained ever-faithful to his own Master.
At the time when the persecution of the Babis began in the capital and Baha'u'llah was taken to the Siyah-Chal, the enemies of the new Faith were looking for Isfandiyar so that they could force him to betray the followers of the Bab whom he had seen in the house of Baha'u'llah. The Shah had commanded many people to find Isfandiyar and they were searching for him everywhere. But when he heard of the misfortune which had befallen the family of his beloved Master, nothing could keep him away from them.
We can imagine Isfandiyar standing among the ruins of his Master's house, drowned in an ocean of tribulation, his heart heavy with the weight of anguish. He seemed to have lost everything in the world. He did not think of all the rich furnishings, clothes and jewels which had been looted from the house of Baha'u'llah. But the thought of his Master in the Siyah-Chal and the members of that noble family now dispersed and at the mercy of their foes was more than he could bear. "Where are the children?" he asked himself. "What has befallen their saintly mother?" Isfandiyar decided to find them, but there was no trace of the family in the surrounding neighbourhood. No one knew where they had gone or what fresh misfortune had overtaken them.
July 3, 2017
1848: Baha’u’llah describes the consternation that seized the Bábís when Tahirih suddenly appeared unveiled at the conference of Badasht
We soon joined her [Táhirih] at Badasht, where We rented a garden for her use, and appointed the same Muhammad-Hádí who had achieved her deliverance, as her doorkeeper. About seventy of Our companions were with Us and lodged in a place in the vicinity of that garden.
We fell ill one day, and were confined to bed. Táhirih sent a request to call upon Us. We were surprised at her message, and were at a loss as to what We should reply. Suddenly We saw her at the door, her face unveiled before Us. How well has Mírzá Áqá Ján  commented upon that incident. “The face of Fátimih,” he said, “must needs be revealed on the Day of Judgment and appear unveiled before the eyes of men. At that moment the voice of the Unseen shall be heard saying: ‘Turn your eyes away from that which ye have seen.’” 
How great was the consternation that seized the companions on that day! Fear and bewilderment filled their hearts. A few, unable to tolerate that which was to them so revolting a departure from the established customs of Islám, fled in horror from before her face. Dismayed, they sought refuge in a deserted castle in that neighbourhood. Among those who were scandalised by her behaviour and severed from her entirely were the Siyyid-i-Nahrí and his brother Mírzá Hádí, to both of whom We sent word that it was unnecessary for them to desert their companions and seek refuge in a castle. Our friends eventually dispersed, leaving Us at the mercy of Our enemies.
- Bahá’u’lláh (Quoted by Nabil in ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)
 Bahá’u’lláh’s amanuensis According to Islámic traditions, Fátimih, Muhammad’s daughter, will appear unveiled as she crosses the bridge “Sirat“ on the Day of Judgment. At her appearance a voice from heaven will declare: “Turn your eyes away, O concourse of people!”
June 15, 2017
The whole province of Khurásán was in those days  in the throes of a violent agitation. The activities which Quddús and Mullá Husayn had initiated, their zeal, their courage, their outspoken language, had aroused the people from their lethargy, had kindled in the hearts of some the noblest sentiments of faith and devotion, and had provoked in the breasts of others the instincts of passionate fanaticism and malice. A multitude of seekers constantly poured from every direction into Mashhad, eagerly sought the residence of Mullá Husayn, and through him were ushered into the presence of Quddús.
Their numbers soon swelled to such proportions as to excite the apprehension of the authorities. The chief constable viewed with concern and dismay the crowds of agitated people who streamed unceasingly into every quarter of the holy City [Mashhad]. In his desire to assert his rights, intimidate Mullá Husayn, and induce him to curtail the scope of his activities, he issued orders to arrest immediately the latter’s special attendant, whose name was Hasan, and subject him to cruel and shameful treatment. They pierced his nose, passed a cord through the incision, and with this halter led and paraded him through the streets.
Mullá Husayn was in the presence of Quddús when the news of the disgraceful affliction that had befallen his servant reached him. Fearing lest this sad intelligence might grieve the heart of his beloved chief, he arose and quietly retired. His companions soon gathered round him, expressed their indignation at this outrageous assault upon so innocent a follower of their Faith, and urged him to avenge the insult. Mullá Husayn tried to appease their anger. “Let not,” he pleaded, “the indignity that has befallen Hasan afflict and disturb you, for Husayn is still with you and will safely deliver him back into your hands to-morrow.”
May 10, 2017
Upon their return from Karbila, [circa 1848] Tahirih and her few companions were falsely accused of having been involved in the murder of her husband, Mullá Taqí, who was a fiercest opponent of the Báb’s teachings that she was promoting.
Nabil records: “The circumstances of the murder fanned to fury the wrath of the lawful heirs of Mullá Taqí, who now determined to wreak their vengeance upon Táhirih. They succeeded in having her placed in the strictest confinement in the house of her father, and charged those women whom they had selected to watch over her, not to allow their captive to leave her room except for the purpose of performing her daily ablutions. They accused her of really being the instigator of the crime. ‘No one else but you,” they asserted, ‘is guilty of the murder of our father. You issued the order for his assassination.’”
Following devious schemes and false promises the kinsmen of murdered Mullá Taqí managed to murder those few remarkable companions of Tahirih, among them were “Mírzá Muhammad-‘Alí, one of the Letters of the Living and her brother-in-law, and Siyyid ‘Abdu’l-Hádí, who had been betrothed to her daughter, travelled with her all the way from Karbilá to Qazvín.” (Nabil, ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)
While “still in confinement, Táhirih, as soon as she was informed of the designs of her enemies, addressed the following message to Mullá Muhammad… the Imám-Jum’ih of Qazvín”: (ibid)
April 7, 2017
Baha’u’llah’s first imprisonment took place in Tihran when He was informed of the plight of a number of companions and supporters of Táhirih who were brought as prisoners to the Capital from Qazvin. They were falsely charged with the murder of Táhirih’s father-in-law, while Táhirih herself was placed in the strictest confinement in the house of her father in Qazvin. Bahá’u’lláh was at that time residing in Ṭihrán.
As He [Baha’u’llah] was already acquainted with the kad-khudá [alderman] in whose home they [the companions and supporters of Táhirih] were incarcerated, He decided to visit them and intervene in their behalf. That avaricious and deceitful official, who was fully aware of the extreme generosity of Bahá’u’lláh, greatly exaggerated in the hope of deriving a substantial pecuniary advantage for himself, the misfortune that had befallen the unhappy captives.”
“They are destitute of the barest necessities of life,” urged the kad-khudá. “They hunger for food, and their clothing is wretchedly scanty.” Bahá’u’lláh extended immediate financial assistance for their relief, and urged the kad-khudá to relax the severity of the rule under which they were confined.
The kad-khudá consented to relieve a few who were unable to support the oppressive weight of their chains, and for the rest did whatever he could to alleviate the rigour of their confinement. Prompted by greed, he informed his superiors of the situation, and emphasised the fact that both food and money were being regularly supplied by Bahá’u’lláh for those who were imprisoned in his house. These officials were in their turn tempted to derive every possible advantage from the liberality of Bahá’u’lláh. They summoned Him to their presence, protested against His action, and accused Him of complicity in the act for which the captives had been condemned.
April 2, 2017
|Hand of the Cause Mr Furutan 1953|
We stayed for two days in that historical city, holy to Baha'is, and met with the friends there. Then via Rutbah, we arrived at Zemakh, which was then on the border of Palestine. Our luggage was inspected at the border, and since we carried two very expensive silk rugs, which were the gift of a believer, we were asked to pay a considerable amount of duty. However, when we explained that these rugs were brought for the House of 'Abdu'l-Baha, they were released without charge.
The director of Customs, who was Christian and a handsome and courteous man, happened to travel in the same bus with us to Haifa, and asked me about the value of the rugs. I said that I did not know as they were the gift of another believer. He offered to pay me an equivalent amount for an identical pair if I would promise to buy and send them to him in Zemakh on my return to Iran. I had to excuse myself from accepting this responsibility while the War was continuing, explaining that I had no experience in these affairs. He said that he would trust me with such a large amount only because I was a Baha'i and could not understand why I refused his request. I replied that I had to excuse myself precisely because I was a Baha'i! When we reached Haifa we parted as friends.
March 14, 2017
In about 1848, four years after recognizing the Báb and becoming His first believer, and receiving the title of Bábu’l-Báb (the Gate of the Gate), Mulla Husayn left the city of Mashhad, in the province of Khurasan, north-east of Tihran, where he had lived since 1844. Desiring to see his Lord Who was imprisoned in the castle of Mah-Ku in the province of Adhirbayjan, north-west of Tihran, he told his friends: “I have vowed to walk the whole distance that separates me from my Beloved.” (a distance of about 900 miles). “I shall not relax in my resolve until I shall have reached my destination.”
His friends offered to arrange for a more conventional and comfortable mode of travel for this long and arduous journey, but Mulla Husayn declined their help. Upon his insistence, he finally allowed one of his friends to accompany him and to act as his servant throughout his pilgrimage to Ádhirbayján. On his way to Tihran, Mulla Husayn was enthusiastically greeted by the believers in the towns through which he passed. They too offered him the same assistance and received from him the same reply.
When Mulla Husayn arrived in Tihran he was visited by many believers. Nabil, the great Baha’i historian, recorded what he heard from Áqáy-i-Kalím, Bahá’u’lláh’s faithful brother, about Mulla Husayn:
“When Mulla Husayn arrived at Tihran, I, together with a large number of believers, went to visit him. He seemed to us the very embodiment of constancy, of piety and virtue. He inspired us with his rectitude of conduct and passionate loyalty. Such were the force of his character and the ardour of his faith that we felt convinced that he, unaided and alone, would be capable of achieving the triumph of the Faith of God.”