August 21, 2017

Baha'u'llah's ancestral village in Takur, Mazindran, Persia

Village of Takur, Mazindaran, Persia, ancestral home of Baha'u'llah.
Room (left) occupied by Baha'u'llah in Takur, Mazindaran, Persia.
Interior of room occupied by Baha'u'llah in Takur, Mazindaran, Persia.
(The Baha'i World 1930-1932)

August 12, 2017

Though under house arrest in Amul, Baha’u’llah praises the treatment He received from the acting governor

No prisoner has ever been accorded the treatment which I received at the hands of the acting governor of Ámul. He treated Me with the utmost consideration and esteem. I was generously entertained by him, and the fullest attention was given to everything that affected My security and comfort. I was, however, unable to leave the gate of the house. My host was afraid lest the governor, who was related to ‘Abbás-Qulí Khán-i- Láríjání,[1] might return from the fort of Tabarsí and inflict injury upon Me. I tried to dispel his apprehensions. “The same Omnipotence,” I assured him, “who has delivered us from the hands of the mischief-makers of Ámul, and has enabled us to be received with such hospitality by you in this house, is able to change the heart of the governor and to cause him to treat us with no less consideration and love.”

One night we were suddenly awakened by the clamour of the people who had gathered outside the gate of the house. The door was opened, and it was announced that the governor had returned to Ámul. Our companions, who were anticipating a fresh attack upon them, were completely surprised to hear the voice of the governor rebuking those who had denounced us so bitterly on the day of our arrival. “For what reason,” we heard him loudly remonstrating, “have these miserable wretches chosen to treat so disrespectfully a guest whose hands are tied and who has not been given the chance to defend himself? What is their justification for having demanded that he be immediately put to death? What evidence have they with which to support their contention? If they be sincere in their claims to be devotedly attached to Islám and to be the guardians of its interests, let them betake themselves to the fort of Shaykh Tabarsí and there demonstrate their capacity to defend the Faith of which they profess to be the champions.” 
- Bahá’u’lláh  (Cited in ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, by Nabil; translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)
[1] A prominent military commander who led troops in battle against the Bábís gathered at Shaykh Tabarsí.

August 4, 2017

The acting governor of ‘Amul succeeded to conduct Baha’u’llah to his house despite opposition by the clergy

Mírzá Taqí succeeded, in spite of the tumult Our arrival had raised, and in the face of the opposition of the ‘ulamás, in releasing Us from their grasp and in conducting Us to his own house. He extended to Us the warmest hospitality. Occasionally he yielded to the pressure which the ‘ulamás were continuously bringing to bear upon him, and felt himself powerless to defeat their attempts to harm Us. We were still in his house when the Sardár,[military commander] who had joined the army in Mázindarán, returned to Ámul. No sooner was he informed of the indignities We had suffered than he rebuked Mírzá Taqí for the weakness he had shown in protecting Us from Our enemies. “Of what importance,” he indignantly demanded, “are the denunciations of this ignorant people? Why is it that you have allowed yourself to be swayed by their clamour? You should have been satisfied with preventing the party from reaching their destination and, instead of detaining them in this house, you should have arranged for their safe and immediate return to Tihrán.”  
- Baha’u’llah  (Quoted by Nabil in ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

July 27, 2017

Baha’u’llah recalls His release from captivity in ‘Amul

The acting governor of Ámul succeeded in effecting Our release from captivity. Through an opening in the wall that he ordered his men to make, he enabled Us to leave that room, and conducted Us to his house. No sooner were the inhabitants informed of this act than they arose against Us, besieged the governor’s residence, pelted Us with stones, and hurled in Our face the foulest invectives. 
- Bahá’u’lláh  (Cited in ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, by Nabil; translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

July 20, 2017

Baha’u’llah was freed from temporary imprisonment in a room of a mosque in ‘Amul but faced very dangerous circumstances

Mark X shows place where opening was made in the wall
Bahá’u’lláh and His companions remained for a time imprisoned in one of the rooms that formed part of the masjid. The acting governor, who was still determined to shield his Prisoner from the assaults of an inveterate enemy, secretly instructed his attendants to open, at an unsuspected hour, a passage through the wall of the room in which the captives were confined, and to transfer their Leader immediately to his home. He was himself conducting Bahá’u’lláh to his residence when a siyyid sprang forward and, directing his fiercest invectives against Him, raised the club which he held in his hand to strike Him. The acting governor immediately interposed himself and, appealing to the assailant, “adjured him by the Prophet of God” to stay his hand. “What!” burst forth the siyyid. “How dare you release a man who is the sworn enemy of the Faith of our fathers?” A crowd of ruffians had meanwhile gathered around him, and by their howls of derision and abuse added to the clamour which he had raised. Despite the growing tumult, the attendants of the acting governor were able to conduct Bahá’u’lláh in safety to the residence of their master, and displayed on that occasion a courage and presence of mind that were truly surprising. 
- Nabil  (‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

July 10, 2017

Baha’u’llah recalls the treatment He received from the divines in ‘Amul

When … We went to Ámul, such was the turmoil which the people had raised that above four thousand persons had congregated in the masjid [mosque] and had crowded onto the roofs of their houses. The leading mullá of the town denounced Us bitterly. “You have perverted the Faith of Islám,” he cried in his Mázindarání dialect, “and sullied its fame! Last night I saw you in a dream enter the masjid, which was thronged by an eager multitude that had gathered to witness your arrival. As the crowd pressed round you, I beheld, and, lo, the Qá’im [1] was standing in a corner with His gaze fixed upon your countenance, His features betraying great surprise. This dream I regard as evidence of your having deviated from the path of Truth.”

We assured him that the expression of surprise on that countenance was a sign of the Qá’im’s strong disapproval of the treatment he and his fellow-townsmen had accorded Us. He questioned Us regarding the Mission of the Báb. We informed him that, although We had never met Him face to face, yet We cherished, none the less, a great affection for Him. We expressed Our profound conviction that He had, under no circumstances, acted contrary to the Faith of Islám.

The mullá and his followers, however refused to believe Us, and rejected Our testimony as a perversion of the truth. They eventually placed Us in confinement, and forbade Our friends to meet Us. 
- Bahá’u’lláh (Cited in ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, by Nabil)

That which hath touched this Wronged One is beyond compare or equal. We have borne it all with the utmost willingness and resignation, so that the souls of men may be edified, and the Word of God be exalted. While confined in the prison of the Land of Mím (Mázindarán) We were one day delivered into the hands of the divines. Thou canst well imagine what befell Us. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Epistle to the Son of the Wolf’)
[1] He who shall arise; the Twelfth Imám, or Mihdí, awaited by Shí‘ah Muslims and expected to inaugurate a new era of righteousness in the world. The Báb declared Himself to be the Qá’im and the Gate to another divine Messenger, “Him Whom God shall make manifest.”

June 30, 2017

1848: Baha’u’llah suffered the humiliating bastinado punishment

Town of Ámul, circa 1935
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 Amul 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.

The Mosque of Ámul, circa 1935
Taken to the mosque of the chief priest, the first to be bound in order to receive the bastinado was Mulla Baqir of Tabriz, one of the Letters of the Living. Said he, 'I am only a groom of Mirza Busayn-'Ali... [Baha’u’llah].' Whereupon Baha’u’llah intervened and succeeded in inducing his captors to release him. So too He interceded for Haji Mirza Jani, the merchant of Kashan who, He said, was a mere tradesman and whom He regarded as His guest, so that He himself was responsible for any charges brought against him. This merchant had earlier acted as host to the Báb in Kashan, he was also the first chronicler of His Faith. Mirza Yahya, His half-brother and ward, was also set free as soon as Baha’u’llah had declared him to be His attendant. . “None of these men,” Baha’u’llah told the acting governor, “are guilty of any crime. If you insist on inflicting your punishment, I offer Myself as a willing Victim of your chastisement.” The acting governor was reluctantly compelled to give orders that Bahá’u’lláh alone be chosen to suffer the indignity which he had intended originally for His companions.

June 20, 2017

1848: Baha’u’llah is interrogated by a group of hostile divines in Amul

Following His arrest about nine miles away from Fort Tabarsi by soldiers of the acting governor of Amul, Baha’u’llah encountered a group of hostile clerics in the town of Amul. This is how Nabil recorded that incident:

The acting governor asked the ‘ulamás who were present to put any question they desired. To their enquiries Bahá’u’lláh returned explicit and convincing replies.

As they were interrogating Him, they discovered a manuscript in the possession of one of His companions which they recognised as the writings of the Báb and which they handed to the chief of the ‘ulamás present at that gathering. As soon as he had perused a few lines of that manuscript, he laid it aside and, turning to those around him, exclaimed: “These people, who advance such extravagant claims, have, in this very sentence which I have read, betrayed their ignorance of the most rudimentary rules of orthography.”

“Esteemed and learned divine,” Bahá’u’lláh replied, “these words which you criticise are not the words of the Báb. They have been uttered by no less a personage than the Imám ‘Alí, the Commander of the Faithful, in his reply to Kumayl-ibn-i-Ziyad, whom he had chosen as his companion.”

June 13, 2017

Baha’u’llah recalls His intention to join the believers at Fort Tabarsi

At a time when the forces of Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza had besieged the fort of Tabarsi, We resolved to depart from Nur and lend Our assistance to its heroic defenders. We had intended to send Abdu'l-Vahhab, one of Our companions, in advance of Us, and to request him to announce Our approach to the besieged. Though encompassed by the forces of the enemy, We had decided to throw in Our lot with those steadfast companions, and to risk the dangers with which they were confronted. This, however, was not to be. The hand of Omnipotence spared Us from their fate and preserved Us for the work We were destined to accomplish. In pursuance of God's inscrutable wisdom, the intention We had formed was, before Our arrival at the fort, communicated by certain inhabitants of Nur to Mirza Taqi, the governor of Amul, who sent his men to intercept Us. While We were resting and taking Our tea, We found Ourselves suddenly surrounded by a number of horsemen, who seized Our belongings and captured Our steeds. We were given, in exchange for Our own horse, a poorly saddled animal which We found it extremely uncomfortable to ride. The rest of Our companions were conducted, handcuffed, to Amul. 
- Baha’u’llah  (Quoted by Nabil in ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

June 6, 2017

December 1848: Faithful to His promise to Mulla Husayn, Baha’u’llah sets out for Fort Tabarsi

In the beginning of that same month [December 1848], Bahá’u’lláh, faithful to the promise He had given to Mullá Husayn, set out, attended by a number of His friends, from Núr for the fort of Tabarsí… [He was accompanied by a number of Bábís including Mulla Baqir, one of the Letters of the Living, and Mirza Yahya, His half-brother.] Bahá’u’lláh had signified His wish that they should proceed directly to their destination and allow no pause in their journey. His intention was to reach that spot at night, inasmuch as strict orders had been issued, ever since ‘Abdu’lláh Khán had assumed the command, that no help should be extended, under any circumstances, to the occupants of the fort. Guards had been stationed at different places to ensure the isolation of the besieged. His companions, however, pressed Him to interrupt the journey and to seek a few hours of rest. Although He knew that this delay would involve a grave risk of being surprised by the enemy, He yielded to their earnest request. They halted at a lonely house adjoining the road. [about nine miles to Fort Tabarsi] After supper, his companions all retired to sleep. He alone, despite the hardships He had endured, remained wakeful. He knew well the perils to which He and His friends were exposed, and was fully aware of the possibilities which His early arrival at the fort involved.

May 27, 2017

Fall 1848: Baha’u’llah visits Mulla Husayn and his companions at Fort Tabarsi

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.

This is how Nabil recounts what then happened:

May 12, 2017

Whereabouts of Baha’u’llah, Quddus, Tahirih, and Mulla Husayn following the conference of Badasht

Following the conference of Badasht Baha’u’llah stayed for the remainder of the summer and early fall of 1848 in the district of Nur in Mazindaran. Quddús, however, before reaching his home town, fell into the hands of his opponents, and was confined in Sarí in the home of the leading clergy of that town. The rest of his companions, after their dispersal in Níyálá, had scattered in different directions, each carrying with him to his fellow-believers the news of the momentous happenings of Badasht. Tahirih, although was able to stay in Nur under the protection of Baha’u’llah, was subsequently detained and taken to Tihran where she was held under house arrest in the residence of the mayor of the capital. Mulla Husayn, however 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 Ḥusayn 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, 1844. Wherever they tarried, at every village and hamlet through which they passed, Mullá Ḥusayn 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. 
(Adapted from ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, by Nabil, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi; and from ‘Baha’u’llah – The King of Glory’, by Baluzi)

May 6, 2017

1848: Baha’u’llah and Quddus faced “bitter denunciations” in the town of Sari

The coastal road to Nur led through Sari and Barfurush where Baha’u’llah appears to have sought out Quddus, perhaps to consult on affairs of the Babi Cause following the conference of Badasht. Many years later Baha’u’llah recounted that brief interval:

“Whilst in Sari, we were again exposed to the insults of the people. Though the notables of that town were, for the most part, our friends  and had on several occasions met us in Tihran, no sooner had the  townspeople recognized us, as we walked with Quddus in the streets, than  they began to hurl their invectives at us. The cry "Bábí, Bábí!" greeted us wherever we went. We were unable to escape their bitter denunciations” (Baha’u’llah, quoted by Nabil in ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi) 
(Adapted from “Robe of Light’, by David Ruhe)  

April 28, 2017

1848: Muhammad Shah orders Baha’u’llah’s arrest and execution

Muhammad Shah
Those opposed to Baha’u’llah in Tihran, including the persistently hostile Prime Minister, were reawakening the suspicions of the gravely ailing Muhammad Shah by reporting Baha’u’llah to be the prime mover of the suspicious and incendiary Bábí gathering near Shahrud, and creator of the disturbance at Niyala. In the end they succeeded in stirring the sovereign's latent antagonisms into evil decision: 

'I have hitherto refused to countenance whatever has been said against him. My indulgence has been actuated by my recognition of the services rendered to my country by his father. This time, however, I am determined to put him to death.

To carry out his deadly intention, through Prime Minister Aqasi, he commanded an officer in Teheran to instruct his son in Mazindaran to arrest Baha’u’llah and accompany Him to the capital for execution. The officer's son received these orders in Bandar-Gaz on the day prior to his own planned reception for Baha’u’llah, for Whom he had a strong attachment. Sorely distressed, he was deeply reluctant either to tell the grim news or to carry out the order, although he knew he must obey his king. Baha’u’llah, however, observed the effect of the unknown message, and relieved the young man's acute apprehensions by advising that he put his trust in God.

April 21, 2017

Baha’u’llah travelled from Badash to Núr “village by village, town by town”

Bahá'u'lláh states in one of His Tablets that after leaving Badasht, He travelled to Nur by easy stages….'village by village, town by town' - until He arrived at Nur. It was probably while Bahá'u'lláh was at Bandar-Jaz during the course of this journey that the following incident occurred. 'Abdu'l-Bahá has related that when Bahá'u'lláh arrived at Bandar-Jaz, He was taken ill. In this sea-town lived a Bábí, named Mirza Masih, a man of superior qualities. 'Abdu'l-Bahá describes him as 'spirit personified', one who, 'having read just one verse from the pen of the Primal Point, observed: "Just let this Báb be mine; you may have everyone else"'. At this very time, while Bahá'u'lláh was at Bandar-Jaz, Mirza Masih passed away. Bahá'u'lláh held a memorial meeting for him, and also wrote a prayer of visitation for this, wonderful man. 
- Balyuzi  (‘Baha'u'llah - The King of Glory’)

April 17, 2017

Baha’u’llah arranged for the safe transfer of Tahirih to Núr in Mazindaran

With his characteristic presence of mind, the courageous Jinab-i-Baha [Baha’u’llah] had made the most of an ugly situation [the village of Níyálá], recovering some of the goods stolen from their camp and reestablishing the confidence of the people. Most important, he had sent the estimable Quddus in disguise to temporary safety in Barfurush and again rescued the noble Tahirih, symbol of all the brave women who would hereafter espouse the new Cause. Soon, wary that the beauteous Tahirih would be recognized and apprehended, he consigned that precious woman, with her attendant, to the protection of Shaykh Abu Turab, who was asked to escort her in safety to Nur. There she might live quietly, writing in relative obscurity, guarded by the faithful Babis, and under the protection of Jinab-i-Baha. She was now homeless, her beloved children stolen from her under Islamic law which mandated custody to her unworthy ex-husband. Plainly she was marked for grave new perils. Asylum was her present need. 
- David Ruhe  (‘Robe of Light’, vol. 1)

April 12, 2017

Baha’u’llah recalls the incident at the village of Niyala

We were all gathered in the village of Níyálá and were resting at the foot of a mountain, when, at the hour of dawn, we were suddenly awakened by the stones which the people of the neighbourhood were hurling upon us from the top of the mountain. The fierceness of their attack induced our companions to flee in terror and consternation. I clothed Quddús in my own garments and despatched him to a place of safety, where I intended to join him. When I arrived, I found that he had gone. None of our companions had remained in Níyálá except Táhirih and a young man from Shíráz, Mírzá ‘Abdu’lláh. The violence with which we were assailed had brought desolation into our camp. I found no one into whose custody I could deliver Táhirih except that young man, who displayed on that occasion a courage and determination that were truly surprising. Sword in hand, undaunted by the savage assault of the inhabitants of the village, who had rushed to plunder our property, he sprang forward to stay the hand of the assailants. Though himself wounded in several parts of his body, he risked his life to protect our property. I bade him desist from his act. When the tumult had subsided, I approached a number of the inhabitants of the village and was able to convince them of the cruelty and shamefulness of their behaviour. I subsequently succeeded in restoring a part of our plundered property. 
- Baha’u’llah  (Quoted by Nabil, ‘The Dawn-Breakers’; translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

April 4, 2017

Receiving severe injuries at the village of Niyálá - consequences of misconduct behavior of a few Babís who had attended the conference of Badasht

Following the conference of Badasht, Bahá’u’lláh, Táhirih, and Quddús decided to go to Mázindarán. Quddús and Táhirih seated themselves in the same howdah  which had been prepared for their journey by Bahá’u’lláh. On their way, Táhirih each day composed an ode which she instructed those who accompanied her to chant as they followed her howdah. Mountain and valley re-echoed the shouts with which that enthusiastic band, as they journeyed to Mázindarán, hailed the extinction of the old, and the birth of the new Day.

In the course of their journey to Mázindarán, a few of the followers of the Báb sought to abuse the liberty which the repudiation of the laws and sanctions of an outgrown Faith had conferred upon them. They viewed the unprecedented action of Táhirih in discarding the veil as a signal to transgress the bounds of moderation and to gratify their selfish desires. The excesses in which a few indulged provoked the wrath of the Almighty and caused their immediate dispersion. In the village of Níyálá, they were grievously tested and suffered severe injuries at the hands of their enemies. This scattering extinguished the mischief which a few of the irresponsible among the adherents of the Faith had sought to kindle, and preserved untarnished its honour and dignity.
(Adapted from ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, by Nabil; translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

March 21, 2017

The Guardian describes Bahá'u'lláh’s role in the historic Conference of Badasht – “steadily, unerringly, yet unsuspectedly, steered the course of that memorable episode, and… brought the meeting to its final and dramatic climax.”

It was during this… period, [the “last three and most eventful years of the Báb's ministry”] in the early days of His incarceration in the fortress of Chihriq, that the independence of the new-born Faith was openly recognized and asserted by His disciples. The laws underlying the new Dispensation had been revealed by its Author in a prison-fortress in the mountains of Adhirbayjan, while the Dispensation itself was now to be inaugurated in a plain on the border of Mazindaran, at a conference of His assembled followers.

Bahá'u'lláh, maintaining through continual correspondence close contact with the Báb, and Himself the directing force behind the manifold activities of His struggling fellow-disciples, unobtrusively yet effectually presided over that conference, and guided and controlled its proceedings. Quddus, regarded as the exponent of the conservative element within it, affected, in pursuance of a pre-conceived plan designed to mitigate the alarm and consternation which such a conference was sure to arouse, to oppose the seemingly extremist views advocated by the impetuous Tahirih. The primary purpose of that gathering was to implement the revelation of the Bayan by a sudden, a complete and dramatic break with the past -- with its order, its ecclesiasticism, its traditions, and ceremonials. The subsidiary purpose of the conference was to consider the means of emancipating the Báb from His cruel confinement in Chihriq. The first was eminently successful; the second was destined from the outset to fail.