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)