December 27, 2009

The story of Thomas Breakwell -- as recalled by one of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s secretaries

This young man, who had obtained permission to visit ‘Abdu'l-Baha before the renewal of His incarceration, arrived from Paris in the opening days of the imprisonment. He attained the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Baha for two days and nights and stayed at the Master's house in the midst of those dreadfully anxious times. His devotion, attraction and love were so intense that his blessed name shall endure for centuries in the annals of the Faith of God, while his wonderful life shall be retold in many accounts.

I do not know the story of his conversion, [Please see Baha’i Heroes and Heroines] but it was clear that he came from a Christian background, was endowed with spiritual sensitivity and ardour, and had accepted the Faith on the basis of the verses and prophecies of the divinely revealed scriptures of former religions, rather than a sentimental attraction to the Faith's contemporary social and philosophical principles. He would usually be seen reciting the verses of the Bible in glorification of the Kingdom of God, and while his pilgrimage was not long, yet the intensity of the fire of his love and the fervour of his longing and attraction moved the friends deeply. When in the presence of the Master he seemed enthralled by the matchless beauty of the Beloved, and as he completed his pilgrimage and received permission to depart, he evinced moving signs of deep adoration and veneration.

December 19, 2009

Impact of Baha’u’llah’s arrest in Tehran on His family

From our doors nobody was ever turned away; the hospitable board was spread for all comers …

Whilst the people called my Father 'The Father of the poor', they spoke of my mother as 'The Mother of Consolation', though, naturally, only the women and little children ever looked upon her face unveiled…

One day I remember very well, though I was only six years old at the time. It seemed that an attempt had been made on the life of the Shah by a half-crazy young Babi.

My father was away at his country house in the viliage of Niyavaran, which was his property, the villagers of which were all and individually cared for by him.

Suddenly and hurriedly a servant came rushing in great distress to my mother.

December 14, 2009

A dervish’s early recognition of Baha’u’llah’s station

One day, in the course of one of His riding excursions into the country, Baha’u’llah accompanied by His companions seated by the roadside, a lonely youth. His hair was dishevelled, and he wore the dress of a dervish.[1] By the side of a brook he had kindled a fire, and was cooking his food and eating it. Approaching him, Baha’u’llah most lovingly inquired: 'Tell me. dervish, what is that you are doing'?" "I am engaged in eating God," he bluntly replied. "I am cooking God and am burning Him." The unaffected simplicity of his manners and the candour of his reply pleased Baha’u’llah extremely. He smiled al his remark and began to converse with him with unrestrained tenderness and freedom. Within a short space of time, Baha’u’llah had changed him completely. Enlightened as to the true nature of God, and with a mind purged from the idle fancy of his own people, he immediately recognized the Light which that loving Stranger had so unexpectedly brought him. That dervish, whose name was Mustafa became so enamoured with the teachings which had been instilled into his mind that, leaving his cooking utensils behind, he straightway rose and followed Baha’u’llah. On foot, behind His horse, and inflamed with the fire of His love, he chanted merrily the verses of a love-song which he had composed on the spur of the moment and had dedicated to his Beloved. "Thou art the Day-Star of guidance," ran its glad refrain. 'Thou art the Light of Truth. Unveil Thyself to men, O Revealer of Truth." Although, in later years, that poem obtained wide circulation among his people, and it became known that a certain dervish ... had, without premeditation, composed it in praise of his Beloved, none seemed to be aware to whom it actually referred, nor did anyone suspect, at a time when Baha’u’llah was still veiled from the eyes of men, that this dervish alone had recognized His station and discovered His glory. 
(Nabil, 'The Dawn-Breakers')
[1.Literally beggar, poor one: the name given to one of many orders of religious mendicants and Islamic mystics]

December 10, 2009

A western pilgrim sees ‘Abdu’l-Baha for the first time

To describe 'Abdu'l-Baha so that the reader may form any mental picture of Him that would in any way do Him justice, is as impossible as to try to paint a sunbeam. The artist may put the ray of yellow light in exactly the right place and with most beautiful effect; but no matter how great his skill, he cannot catch the real essence of the sunbeam -- that golden luminosity, which is like an elixir of life, is uncatchable, unpaintable. So it is with the likeness of 'Abdu'l-Baha. His expression is ever changing; each thought and emotion is mirrored forth and the face becomes so illumined that words are but as the dull, lifeless paint which cannot reproduce the sunteams -- yet, some idea can be gathered from them.

When I first saw ‘Abdu’l-Baha I was alone and I came face to face with Him all unexpectedly. He stood not even four feet from me. It was in the upper court, with the blue sky overhead and the sunlight shining down brightly upon Him, the hour being but a little after "high noon." I might have thought Him any other member of His family, as His sons-in-law were often passing to and fro, but every atom of my being, my heart and soul cried out, "This is He." The face of my dreams of Him stood before me with that same heavenly smile of welcome. The Light of Infinite Love was radiating from His countenance. Majestic, and yet sublimely tender, He was looking right into my eyes. I gave a start as if I had suddenly plunged into an ocean, then stood transfixed. It seemed as if I had come upon Him unawares and saw the "Glory of the Lord" shining forth around Him; and I know I must have felt as did Mary Magdalene when Christ revealed Himself to her in her vision after the crucifixion -- "The Risen Lord." He motioned me to pass on. I could not. A sense of my great unworthiness made me bow my head – then He passed by me. He was dressed white. His hair fell in soft waves His shoulders and His head was crowned with a white turban bound around with a white cloth. His step was firm and kingly.

December 4, 2009

Baha’u’llah’s marriage with Asiyih Khanum

In about 1832, Baha'u'llah's older sister Sarih married Mirza Mahmud, a son of a minister of the Shah of Persia for the town of Yalrud, which is located near Baha’u’llah’s ancestral place, Takur in the northern province of Mazindaran. Three years later in about October 1835, Baha'u'llah himself, at the age of eighteen, married the sister of Mirza Mahmud, Asiyih Khanum who was then about sixteen years old. She was reported to have been beautiful, kind and caring. Baha’u’llah’s older sister had an active and supporting role in her Brother’s wedding arrangements.

This is how Bahiyyih Khanum, Asiyih Khanum’s daughter, recalled her mother many years later during a conversation with lady Blomfield, a Baha’i from the West who had gone on pilgrimage to Holy Land:

November 30, 2009

‘Abdu’l-Baha knew the time of His passing

We have now come to realize that the Master, (i.e., ‘Abdu’l-Baha) knew the day and hour when, His mission on earth being finished, He would return to the shelter of heaven. He was, however, careful that His family should not have any premonition of the coming sorrow. It seemed as though their eyes were veiled by Him, with His ever-loving consideration for His dear ones, that they should not see the significance of certain dreams and other signs of the culminating event. This they now realize was His thought for them, in order that their strength be preserved to face the great ordeal when it should arrive, that they should not be devitalized by anguish of mind in its anticipation.

Out of the many signs of the approach of the hour when He could say of His work on earth, "It is finished,” the following two dreams seem remarkable.

November 20, 2009

Being in the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Baha – a pilgrim’s perspective

Dr Youness Afroukhteh, who was honored by the Master as the “Jinab-i-Khan”, served as ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s secretary, translator, envoy and physician between 1900 -1909. He has left the following account concerning the first time he entered the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Baha as a pilgrim:

About two hours after sunset, the pilgrims from Iran and Baghdad were taken individually into the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. I was the second to be summoned. With a burst of excitement and speed I entered the room, and found myself before the blessed person of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. As I fell to my knees and placed my brow at His feet, my pent-up tears of joy and longing were finally released, and as I wept, His gentle hand helped me to my feet and into His arms. I was transported into another world, the highest paradise. And as my spirit soared in that spiritual atmosphere, He helped me to sit on bent knees just opposite Him as He began to speak to me. I did not comprehend a word…

November 13, 2009

First church in US visited by ‘Abdu’l-Baha

The Master went to the Church of the Ascension. This was the first church in America to be honored by the presence of the Master. He had previously received an invitation to visit this great edifice.

He entered the church from a special side door opening into a room in the church and rested for a while. The clergymen came in and expressed their warm gratitude for His presence. After prayers, the Master went to the podium from the upper door. At the insistence of the minister, the Master sat on the tall chair especially reserved for the Viceroy of Christ. After more prayers, the minister spoke about the history and teachings of the Cause and, with great courtesy and respect, introduced the Master. The believers attending the services were elated. The Master rose from His seat and gave a comprehensive talk on the meaning of divine civilization. He presented the Baha’i teachings and spoke about the Revelation of Baha’u’llah and the unification of humankind. The audience sat spell- bound like iguanas sitting in the sun, [1] overwhelmed by the Master's talk, especially at the end when the Master chanted a prayer in a most melodious voice. The prayer greatly affected the hearts of the listeners. As He left the church, group after group rushed towards Him. The Baha’is sang 'Allah-u-Abha and many asked for His blessings. From among the crowd a woman's voice was heard. Tears poured from her eyes as she held fast to the hem of the Master's robe. She was so overcome she could not speak. The Master showered her with His love and kindness and calmed her with loving words of assurance. It was a great day and a most impressive meeting. Not one of the two thousand people was disappointed and everyone left smiling in warm appreciation. 
(Mahmud’s Diary)
[1]That is, they were awe-inspired. This is an allusion to a Persian proverb. When the iguana hunts flies, it sits on s rock facing the sun. In Persian, an iguana is called aftab parast, ‘sun worshipper’]

November 10, 2009

Search for the Holy Grail – The Beloved Bab

This is the story of a modern search for the Holy Grail, the cup of everlasting life. It began in the land from which the three Kings came to Bethlehem guided by a bright star. It was now the nineteenth century, and there was another sign in the heavens, a great fiery comet. Many were awed, many were frightened, many were cheered, for both the East and the West were caught up in a millennial zeal. In Persia, home of the "three wise men," the excitement over the coming of a Messiah was greater than in any other land. In America and Europe, scholars wrote and spoke of the expected appearance of the promised Christ, but in Persia many people were actively searching for Him. They believed the Promised One to be already in their midst. Among these devout searchers was Shaykh Ahmad, a kindly, gentle man. At the age of forty, he left his home and kindred in one of the islands to the south of the Persian Gulf, and set out to unravel the mystery of the coming Messenger. An inner voice kept urging him on. Eagerly, he devoured everything written on the subject. He questioned the great religious and scientific authorities until he felt that at last he knew the truth.

November 7, 2009

Baha’u’llah’s amazement as a boy on pointless discourses by some clerics

Baha'u'llah ... records that on one occasion, when visiting his future mother-in-law, he listened to a cleric with a large turban expounding on whether the arch-angel Gabriel was the greater or Qanbar, the servant of the Imam ‘Ali. He writes that although he was still but a boy, he was astonished at the ignorance of these elders and when an opportunity came, he expressed his thoughts saying that since Gabriel is stated in Qur’an to be the one through whom the Word of God is revealed to the prophet Muhammad, then even Qanbar's master the Imam ‘Ali would not reach that station. Baha'u'llah states that some time later, he visited Qum and was dismayed to find the same cleric expounding the same sort of pointless and fruitless discourse.
- Moojan Momen  ('Baha’u’llah, A Short Biography')

November 3, 2009

Story told by 'Abdu'l-Baha about Baha'u'llah's younger days

From childhood He was extremely kind and generous. He was a great lover of outdoor life, most of His time being spent in the garden or the fields. He had an extraordinary power of attraction, which was felt by all. People always crowded around Him, Ministers and people of the Court would surround Him, and the children also were devoted to Him. When He was only thirteen or fourteen years old He became renowned for His learning. He would converse on any subject and solve any problem presented to Him. In large gatherings He would discuss matters with the 'Ulama (leading mullas) and would explain intricate religious questions. All of them used to listen to Him with the greatest interest.

When Baha'u'llah was twenty-two years old, His father died, and the Government wished Him to succeed to His father's position in the Ministry, as was customary in Persia, but Baha’u’llah did not accept the offer. Then the Prime Minister said ‘Leave him to himself. Such a position is unworthy of him. He has some higher aim in view. I cannot understand him, but I am convinced that he is destined for some lofty career. His thoughts are not like ours. Let him alone.’” 
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (quoted in Esslemont, 'Baha'u'llah and New Era')

November 2, 2009

Baha'u'llah sought justice as a child

While still a child, the Blessed Beauty (Baha'u'llah) watched as a government tax-collector, on three separate occasions, accosted His father and demanded, in cruel and unjust manner, the payment of taxes. Unable to bear the injustice of it all, He, though in early childhood, mounted His horse and rode fpr two days until He arrived in Tihran (the capital of Persia). There He sought the dismissal of this unjust and tyrannical tax-collectot. He succeeded in obtaining the necessary papers ordering the dismissal, and returned to His parents. 
- Mr. Furutan  ('Story of Baha'u'llah')

October 31, 2009

Baha’u’llah, as a youth, surprised a well known religious learned with his insight …

As He grew into a young man, Baha'u'llah exhibited great sagacity and insight. The following story is told by ‘Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'u'llah's son. 

One day while still a youth, Baha'u'llah went to visit Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Mujtahid Nuri, one of the great clerics of Iran at this time who was known as ‘Allamih (the very learned) Nuri, at his home in the village of Yalrtud, near Takur. ‘Allhmih had around him a group of his senior students whom he was teaching. He asked four of them, who had almost completed their studies and were about to receive their certificates, about an Islamic Tradition that says that Fatimih, the daughter of Muhammad, was the best of the women in the world except for the one to whom Mary gave birth. ‘Allamih asked these four what this Tradition meant, since Mary had no daughter. Each gave an explanation that did not satisfy their teacher. Then Baha'u'llah suggested that this Tradition was merely emphasizing the high station of Fatirnih by saying that only an imaginary person could be likened to her. The teacher was silent, but when Baha'u'llah had left he upbraided his pupils saying that he had expected more from them than this: that a mere youth would explain what they who wore a turban and the garb of the learned and had almost completed their studies had failed to discern. 
- Moojan Momen  (Baha’u’llah, A Short Biography)

October 27, 2009

Baha’u’llah recalls the Impact of a Puppet Show He Saw as a Child

“When I was still a child and had not yet attained the age of maturity, my father made arrangements in Tihran for the marriage of one of my older brothers, and as is customary in that city, the festivities lasted for seven days and seven nights. On the last day it was announced that the play ‘Shah Sultan Salim’ [a king by the name Salim] would be presented. A large number of princes, dignitaries, and notables of the capital gathered for the occasion. I was sitting in one of the upper rooms of the building and observing the scene. Presently a tent was pitched in the courtyard, and before long some small human-like figures, each appearing to be no more than about a hand’s span in height, were seen to emerge from it and raise the call: ‘His Majesty is coming! Arrange the seats at once!’. ..there appeared, arrayed in regal majesty and crowned with a royal diadem, a kingly figure, bearing himself with the utmost haughtiness and grandeur, at turns advancing and pausing in his progress, who proceeded with great solemnity, poise and dignity to seat himself upon his throne.

October 24, 2009

Some impressions about the Bab by His schoolmaster Shaykh ‘Abid

There are left for posterity some overall recollections about the Bab’s personality by His schoolmaster many years after he became aware that the Bab was the Founder of a new religion for humanity. These impressions were in addition to his shock and amazement concerning the Bab’s depth of intelligence and knowledge at such a young age.

One of the qualities that he noticed about the Bab was the nobility of His character and the charm of His personality. He recalled that the Bab was always very dignified, serene and calm. Although He was very handsome He did not show much interest in pursuing those activities that were common to boys His age.

Shaykh ‘Abid also remembered that every now and then the Bab used to come late to the school. When asked why He was late, the Bab would typically remain silent. On some occasions he would become worried about His absence and would end up sending some of His classmates to go and check on His whereabouts. They would come back and tell him that they had found the Bab at His own home engaged in prayers. This wasn’t commonly expected of children his age – He was about ten years old then.

October 20, 2009

Two accounts of the Bab’s childhood days at school

There are some accounts left for posterity concerning the time that the Bab attended school in Shiraz, Persia. Such accounts are priceless because they help us understand how each Manifestation of God exhibits very special God given qualities even in their childhood.

First Account:
A fellow student who was then twelve years old related the following account many years later concerning the Bab’s first day at school.

“The Báb had taken a seat, with great courtesy, in between this boy and another pupil who was also much older than Himself. His head was bowed over the primer put in front of Him, the first lines of which He had been taught to repeat. But He would not utter a word. When asked why He did not read aloud as other boys were doing He made no reply. Just then two boys, sitting near them, were heard to recite a couplet from Hafiz (a well known Persian poet), which runs thus:

From the pinnacles of Heaven they call out unto thee;
I know not what hath thee here entrapped.

'That is your answer,' said the Báb, turning to …” the older boy who recalled this incident. (The Bab, 'The Herald of the Day of Days', by Hand of the Cause Balyuzi)

The thing remarkable about this account is that not only the Bab who was then only about five years old understood fully the meaning of this couplet, but that he equated himself with the phrase “thee”. To posses such keen understanding of such issues at such a young age is another proof of His innate and God given knowledge.

October 17, 2009

Baha’u’llah teaches how one’s attitude should be towards the Manifestations of God

One day the youthful Blessed Beauty [Baha'u'llah] was present at a gathering convened by Mirza Nazar-'Ali, the Sufi murshid (spiritual guide) who was more highly esteemed at the court of Muhammad Shah [the Persian reigning monarch] than the prime minister himself, Haji Mirza Aqasi. The discourse of Mirza Nazar-'Ali had developed to the point of claiming: 'I shall be the last to hold the seat of mystical learning; the succession of great occupants will end with me, for I have attained such a degree of resignation that should Jesus Christ Himself suddenly appear in the doorway, it would cause no change in my state.'

Everyone nodded and murmured assent except Baha'u'llah, Who addressed the speaker: 'Jinab-i-Hakim, [your honor, the wise one] I shall ask you a question, and I urge you to give a truthful reply. If, without your consent, the curtain should be raised and the royal executioner enter, sword in hand and advancing towards you, would this affect your composure?'

After a moment's reflection Mirza Nazar - 'Ali replied, 'Yes, it would affect me.'
‘In that case’, Baha’u’llah stated, ‘you should not have made such a claim.’
(Recorded by Nabil; Stories of Baha’u’llah, compiled by Ali-Akbar Furutan)

October 13, 2009

Some stories about Baha'u'llah's Childhood compiled by Hand of the Cause Mr. Furutan

Mansion of Baha'u'llah's father
* The mother of the Blessed Beauty was so enthralled with Him that she could not contain her amazement at His behaviour. 'This child never cries,' she would say; 'He is so unlike other babies who cry and scream and are forever restless while in the nursing stage . . .' 
(‘Abdu’l-Baha quoted by Ishraq-Khavari in Risaliy-i-Ayyam-i-Tis’ih p 62 in Stories of Baha’u’llah, compiled by Ali-Akbar Furutan)

* At the age of five or six the Blessed Beauty had a dream which He described to His father. In the dream He found Himself in a garden. Huge birds were attacking Him from every side, but were unable to inflict any harm. He then went to the sea and, as He was swimming, the birds of the air and the fish of the sea attacked Him, but He was not harmed. His father summoned a famous seer to interpret the dream. 'This dream-indicates', replied the seer, 'that the Child shall be the founder of a great Cause, and that all the leaders and learned men throughout the world will attack Him, but, like the birds and the fish, they shall do no harm. He will be victorious over all.’ 
(‘Abdu’l-Baha quoted by Ishraq-Khavari in Risaliy-i-Ayyam-i-Tis’ih p 65 in Stories of Baha’u’llah, compiled by Ali-Akbar Furutan)

* When Baha’u'llah was seven years old, one day His mother was watching the elegance of His bearing as He paced to and fro, and remarked 'He is somewhat short of stature.' but His father answered: 'It is of no importance. Are you not aware of His capacity and His abilities? Such intelligence! And such perception! He is as a flame of fire. Even at this young age He surpasses mature men.' Whenever difficult problems were discussed and no one seemed able to resolve them, the youthful Blessed Beauty would provide the solution. 
(‘Abdu’l-Baha quoted by Ishraq-Khavari in Risaliy-i-Ayyam-i-Tis’ih p 67 in Stories of Baha’u’llah, compiled by Ali-Akbar Furutan)

* While still a child, the Blessed Beauty watched as a government tax-collector, on three separate occasions, accosted His father and demanded, in a cruel and unjust manner, the payment of taxes. Unable to bear the injustice of it all, He, though in early childhood, mounted His horse and rode for two days until He arrived in Tihran. There, He sought the dismissal of this unjust and tyrannical tax-collector. He succeeded in obtaining the necessary papers ordering the dismissal, and returned to His parents. 
(Memoirs of Dr Diya Baghdadidi, unpublished, reporting words heard from 'Abdu'l-Baha in Stories of Baha’u’llah, compiled by Ali-Akbar Furutan)

October 10, 2009

Baha'u'llah defended Prophets of the past

The following story demonstrates Baha’u’llah’s noble vision of the Prophets and how He held Them in high esteem and honour. He would not tolerate it if anyone belittled their station or spoke of them in a discourteous manner. The story concerns Mirza Taqi Khan-i-Amir Nizam, who for many years was Persia’s Prime Minister during the reign of Nasiri’d-Din Shah. It was he who ordered the execution of the Bab, and committed great atrocities against the Babi community.

'Abdu'l-Bahá recounts that one day [when Baha'u'llah was a youth] Mirza Taqi Khan attended a gathering (presumably in Tihran) at which Bahá'u'lláh was present. He was referring to some verses of the Qur'án in a disrespectful manner and mockingly questioned the truth of the following verse:

He knoweth that which is on the dry land and in the sea;
there falleth no leaf, but he knoweth it; neither is there a
single grain in the dark parts of the earth, neither a green
thing, nor a dry thing, but it is written in the perspicuous

Bahá'u'lláh's immediate response was to disapprove the attitude of Mirza Taqi Khan and to affirm that the above verse was undoubtedly true. When he asked for further explanation, Bahá'u'lláh told him that it meant that the Qur'án was the repository of the Word of God; it contained various subjects such as history, commentaries, prophecies and so on. Within its pages were enshrined verities of great significance and indeed one might discover that everything was mentioned in this Book.

'Am I mentioned in it?' asked Mirza Taqi Khan arrogantly.
'Yes, you are,' was Bahá'u'lláh's prompt response.
'Am I alluded to or referred to clearly by name?' he asked.
'Clearly by name,' Bahá'u'lláh stated.

'It is strange', Mirza Taqi Khan retorted with some degree of sarcasm, 'that I have not yet found a reference to myself in the Qur'án!'

'The reference to your name', Bahá'u'lláh said, 'is in this verse: "She said, I fly for refuge unto the merciful from thee if thou art Taqi."' (Naturally, those who rendered the Qur'án into English have translated the word 'Taqi', which means 'fearful'.)

On hearing such a disparaging reference attributed to him by Bahá'u'lláh, Mirza Taqi Khan became extremely angry, but did not reveal his anger. Instead he made a further attempt to ridicule the verse of the Qur'án in question and discredit Bahá'u'lláh. He asked, 'What about my father, Qurban, is there a reference to him in the Qur'án also?'

'Yes, there is,' Bahá'u'lláh affirmed.
'Is he alluded to or referred to by name?' he asked.
'He is referred to by name in this verse,' responded Bahá'u'lláh,
"'... come unto us with the Qurban (Translated as 'sacrifice') consumed by fire.’”
(Stories of Baha’u’llah and Some Notable Believers, by Kiser Barnes; Also in Adib Taherzaheh’s the Revelation of Baha’u’llah, volume 3)

October 7, 2009

The Bab's first day at school

The principal of the school that the Bab attended when He was almost five years old has left an account concerning His first day at school:

On the promised morning the Child arrived followed by a servant carrying a small [copper-tray] filled with sweets and a student’s version of the Qur’an, which is customary for the new pupil to read from in schools in Shiraz.

Because of Aqa Mirza Muhammad-Rida’s [the father of the Bab] descriptions of Him, the Shaykh, several of students who had reached the age of maturity, and I were thoroughly enthralled in watching Him. He came in, greeted [every one] and sat before Shaykh Anam [His teacher]. Soon after, His maternal uncle, Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, arrived as well and sat next to the Shaykh. After the exchange of formal pleasantries, the Shaykh took the Qur’an from the tray of sweet-meats, opened it, and said [to the young Pupil], “Come Aqa, read.” He smiled and said, “As you please.” As was customary, the Shaykh told Him to read, “He is the Deliverer, the All-Knowing.” His Holiness remained silent. The Shaykh repeated the verse, but He kept His silence. The Shaykh persisted. He [the Bab] asked, “Who is ‘He’. Can you explain?” The Shaykh responded, “’He’ is God. You are still a child, and what concern of Yours is the meaning of ‘He’?” The Pupil responded, “I am the Deliverer, the All-Knowing!” The Shaykh was deeply enraged and picked up his stick and said to Him, “Do not utter such things here!” His Holiness commenced reading, and His maternal uncle smiled and ordered certain arrangements and then left.
(The Genesis of the Babi-Baha’i Faiths in Shiraz and Fars by Mirza Habibu’llah Afnan, translated by Ahang Rabbani)

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.

October 3, 2009

The Bab's schoolmaster

The principal of the school that the Bab attended when He was almost five years old has left the following description about Shaykh ‘Abid, the Bab’s schoolmaster. It should be noted that in those years in Persia, the schools basically taught students how to read and write passages from the Qur’an.

“The honored Shaykh ‘Abid, a man of many qualities, was the schoolmaster and taught the children of the noblemen, the affluent, the merchants and other distinguished citizens. He was tall, ever-dignified man with a long beard. A follower of the late Shaykh Ahmad Ahsa’I and Siyyid Kazim Rashti, he ranked among the leading figures and divines in Shiraz. …. Those wishing for their youngster to receive tuition from him, had to come beforehand and meet with him in person. They would ask the Shykh for a place either through a letter or through a distinguished intermediary. This was because the Shaykh did not accept the children of just anyone and was particularly reluctant to accept lads from the bazzari shopkeepers, because of all their ill manners and dirty clothing.”
(The Genesis of the Babi-Baha’i Faiths in Shiraz and Fars by Mirza Habibu’llah Afnan, translated by Ahang Rabbani)

The Bab's early Childhood recalled by His mother

The following story which was narrated by the mother of the Bab, is recorded by Mirza Habibu’llah Afnan, a relative of the Bab, who was born in the House of the Bab in Shiraz and reared by Khadijih Khanum, the widow of the Bab:

“From the moment of birth, it was evident that, unlike other children, He was not rapacious in drinking milk. Normally, He was serene and made no noise. During the twenty-four-hour period, He would desire milk only four times. While nursing He would be most gentle, and no movement was discerned from His mouth. Often I would become anxious and ask myself, ‘Why is this Child not like other children? Perhaps He has some illness that prevents His desiring milk.’ Then I would console myself, saying, ‘If He really had some unknown illness, He would manifest signs of agitation and restlessness.’

Unlike other children, He did not complain or behave in an unseemly manner during the weaning period. I was most thankful that now that the Exalted Lord had granted me this Child, He was gentle and agreeable.”
(The Genesis of the Babi-Baha’i Faiths in Shiraz and Fars by Mirza Habibu’llah Afnan, translated by Ahang Rabbani)