The House of the Báb in Shíráz

In a Tablet revealed in 'Akká Bahá'u'lláh granted custodianship of the House of the Báb, the centre of formal pilgrimage* and the holiest place in Persia, to the wife of the Báb and her sister Zahrá Bagum. This Custodianship, He states, is to be passed on to the descendants of the latter and his descendants. Zahrá Bagum had one son, Áqá Mírzá Áqá entitled Núru'd-Din, who was the recipient of the Lawh-i-Dunyá (see Chapter 22 above).

The House of the Báb has had a turbulent history. It was originally bought by the father of the Báb. While his father was alive the Báb spent his childhood days in that House, but when his father died He went to live with His maternal uncle Hájí Mírzá Siyyid 'Alí. Later when He married Khadíjih Bagum they lived in this House, and His Declaration took place in the upper chamber of the House. When the Báb left Shíráz His wife and mother continued to live there. But the news of His martyrdom dealt such a blow to these two souls that His mother went to live in Karbilá in order to be near the holy shrines of Islám, while His wife, who could no longer bear to live in that House, went to stay in the home of that same uncle, Hájí Mírzá Siyyid 'Alí, who had been martyred in Tihrán.

After this the House was let for some years to some individuals who were not believers and proved to be dishonest people. After some years, not only had the House fallen into disrepair, but the occupants claimed ownership. Áqá Mírzá Áqá eventually


* see vol. 2, p. 240.

The Dawn-Breakers, Genealogy of the Báb
succeeded in regaining ownership by providing alternative accommodation for these people. He then carried out some necessary repairs and made arrangements for certain Bahá'ís to live in the House. In the meantime the House was damaged by earth tremors and had to be repaired again.

Early in 1872 when Munírih Khánum, who was later to become the consort of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, was on her way to 'Akká, Khadíjih Bagum, the wife of the Báb, asked her to seek permission from Bahá'u'lláh for the repair of the House and the transference of her residence to it. Bahá'u'lláh approved the request and issued instructions that the repairs must be carried out in accordance with the wishes of Khadíjih Bagum. Áqá Mírzá Áqá was instructed by her to demolish two rooms, to widen the courtyard and change the place of the pool.* The reason for these changes was that the thought of living in the House of the Báb in its original form brought such painful memories to her mind as to plunge her into the deepest grief and sorrow. The changes were made, and Khadíjih Bagum lived in the House until the end of her life in 1882. After her passing Bahá'u'lláh gave permission for Zahrá Bagum (the sister of the wife of the Báb) and her son Áqá Mírzá Áqá to transfer their residence to the House and be its custodians.

It was in 1905 that 'Abdu'l-Bahá wrote a Tablet to Áqá Mírzá Áqá and instructed him to restore the House of the Báb to its original form. He emphasized the importance of rebuilding the two rooms and the courtyard to the exact size and shape as in the earlier days. He asked for a drawing to be sent to Him, and when He received it He approved it and urged Áqá Mírzá Áqá to proceed immediately with the project. Again He stressed the need for great accuracy in measurements, so that the rooms which were to be rebuilt would be an exact replica of the old ones. He also urged the utmost speed in the execution of this important undertaking.

Áqá Mírzá Áqá was quite familiar with the position of the two


* In the absence of water mains, it was customary to have a small pool of water reserved for domestic use. The water would be taken from a well.

rooms. He excavated the area until the original foundations of the rooms were sighted. Within two months the building work was completed and the doors and windows installed. However, the interior decoration had hardly been finished when Áqá Mírzá Áqá passed away to the world beyond. It was then that the believers understood the wisdom of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in emphasizing speed and instructing Áqá Mírzá Áqá to carry out the work with a sense of urgency. 'Abdu'l-Bahá knew that his days were numbered, and he was the only person who knew the full details of the original construction.

The House of the Báb has been a target for attacks by the enemies of the Faith in Persia throughout the years. Considerable damage was done to the House in 1955 when a large crowd incited by the Muslim clergy demolished a portion of it. The damaged parts were soon repaired and the House was restored to its original form. (In their battle against the forces of truth, the perverse usually resort to physical force and false accusations. These are the two weapons at their disposal, and these two unfailingly bring about their own downfall at the end.)

Incensed by the vast expansion of the Bahá'í community in all the continents of the globe, and unable to arrest the onward march of the Faith throughout the world, a vigilant and inveterate enemy once again put on the armour of violence and among many other atrocities struck at the House of the Báb. This time, in 1980, that noble edifice was razed to the ground. But the Cause of God will be victorious in the end, for none of these cowardly deeds can frustrate the creative power of the Word of God. That House has been ordained as a centre of pilgrimage in Persia and so it shall be.