The Pride of Martyrs

Dispatch of the Lawh-i-Sultán

A Tablet of great significance, described by Bahá'u'lláh as the 'rumbling' of His proclamation to the kings and rulers of the world, was revealed in Adrianople and addressed to Násiri'd-Din Sháh of Persia. But it was sent to him from 'Akká. An account of the Lawh-i-Sultán has been given in the previous volume. Its dispatch required a personal messenger as it would have been impossible for the Sháh to receive the Tablet through any other channel.

Clergy and government in Persia were hand-in-hand in ruthlessly persecuting the defenceless followers of the new Faith during the reign of Násiri'd-Dín Sháh. Anybody or anything remotely connected with the name Bábí or Bahá'í could become a target for assault and destruction. There could be dangerous consequences for a person found to be in possession of a letter which had some connection with the Faith. When travellers entered a city they would be questioned about their identity and could be searched by officials who lived by bribery and extortion; often through harassment, imprisonment and torture, these men extracted from people as much money as they could. Whenever they came across a Bahá'í, they would thoroughly search him for Bahá'í materials such as letters, books and Tablets, and if they found any, not only would these be confiscated but also the Bahá'í's life would be in great danger. Because of these difficulties all the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh were taken to Persia by individual believers, very often by Shaykh Salmán. He exercised such tact




In front of him may be seen the branding irons in the brazier of fire



Who attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh in 'Akká (see p. 302)

and wisdom in his journeys that none of the Tablets he was carrying ever fell into the hands of the enemy.*

To send a Tablet to the Sháh of Persia, however, was a different matter. Not only was a great deal of wisdom needed to protect the Tablet, but the messenger had to be willing to lay down his life as well. When Bahá'u'lláh revealed the Tablet He had commented that the person who was to take it to Násiri'd-Din Sháh had not yet been created. This person had to be endowed with supreme faith and manifest such courage and forbearance in the face of suffering and torture as to astonish the world. Bahá'u'lláh wrote a few lines about the delivery of the Tablet on its cover:

He is God, exalted is He.

We ask God to send one of His servants, and to detach him from Contingent Being, and to adorn his heart with the decoration of strength and composure, that he may help his Lord amidst the concourse of creatures, and, when he becometh aware of what hath been revealed for His Majesty the King, that he may arise and take the Letter, by the permission of his Lord, the Mighty, the Bounteous, and go with speed to the abode of the King. And when he shall arrive at the place of his throne, let him alight in the inn, and let him hold converse with none till he goeth forth one day and standeth where he [i.e. the King] shall pass by. And when the Royal harbingers shall appear, let him raise up the Letter with the utmost humility and courtesy, and say, 'It hath been sent on the part of the Prisoner.' And it is incumbent upon him to be in such a mood that, should the King decree his death, he shall not be troubled within himself, and shall hasten to the place of sacrifice saying, 'O Lord, praise be to Thee because that Thou hast made me a helper to Thy religion, and hast decreed unto me

* Honoured by Bahá'u'lláh by the appellation 'Messenger of the Merciful', Shaykh Salmán carried His Tablets to the believers and brought back their letters to Him. He performed this service for several decades. For his life story see vol. 1, pp. 109-13, vol. 2, passim.

martyrdom in Thy way! By Thy Glory, I would not exchange this cup for [all] the cups in the worlds, for Thou hast not ordained any equivalent to this, neither do Kawthar and Salsabíl* rival it!' But if he [i.e. the King] letteth him [i.e. the messenger] go, and interfereth not with him, let him say, 'To Thee be praise, O Lord of the worlds! Verily I am content with Thy good pleasure and what Thou hast predestined unto me in Thy way, even though I did desire that the earth might be dyed with my blood for Thy love. But what Thou willest is best for me: verily Thou knowest what is in my soul, while I know not what is in Thy soul; and Thou art the All-Knowing, the Informed.' 1
The Story of Badí'

The person who was created anew and performed this sacred mission was a youth of seventeen by the name of Áqá Buzurg, entitled Badí'. The father of Badí', Hájí 'Abdu'l-Majíd-i-Níshápúrí known as Abá Badí' (father of Badí') was one of the outstanding believers of the Bábí Faith and later became a devoted follower of Bahá'u'lláh. An account of his life and martyrdom at an old age is given in a previous volume.† Although Badí' grew up in the home of a very devoted believer, he was not touched sufficiently by the spirit of the Faith as to make him believe in the Cause and he remained cold and aloof in relation to it.

Towards the end of His sojourn in Adrianople, Bahá'u'lláh sent Nabíl-i-A'zam to Persia to strengthen the faith of the believers, especially because of Mírzá Yahyá's opposition to the Cause of God. In the course of his journeys, Nabíl went to the city of Níshápúr where he was entertained by Abá Badí', 'the father of Badí'', who expressed to Nabíl great disappointment in his son. Nabíl, in his unpublished history, has recorded that in Níshápúr, Abá Badí' invited him to his home and himself began to entertain him. Nabíl asked him,


* The names of two rivers in Paradise.

† see vol. 2, pp. 128-36.

1. Translated and quoted by Balyuzi, Bahá'u'lláh The King of Glory, p. 299.
'Do you not have a grown-up son?' He replied that he had one but that he was not obedient to him.* Nabíl called for the son and he came in. He was a simple-hearted tall youth, and Nabíl requested that he act as his host.

Gradually, he became attracted to matters pertaining to God and spiritual things and wept throughout the night. In the morning he prepared the tea and went to town; after he had gone Abá Badí' came to talk to Nabíl. He said, 'I have never heard him weep before...I am prepared to serve him if he remains steadfast in the Cause.' Áqá Buzurg insisted that he would like to accompany Nabíl to Mashhad but his father wanted him first to finish his studies, then study the Kitáb-i-Íqán and make a copy of it† before going on such a journey.

After Nabíl left Khurásán and arrived in Tihrán, Shaykh-i-Fání,‡ a devoted believer, went to Níshápúr. He disclosed his plans to travel to Baghdád and then to Adrianople, and stated that he had permission from Bahá'u'lláh to take one person with him. Abá Badí' provided his son with funds and a beast of burden for transport to accompany the Shaykh to Baghdád where they could join Nabíl and from there all of them proceed together to the presence of Bahá'u'lláh. Badí' accompanied the Shaykh as far as Yazd. There he parted company with him, gave him all his possessions and alone travelled on foot to Baghdád. The spirit of devotion to the Faith had so touched Badí' that he was longing to gaze upon the countenance of Bahá'u'lláh and partake of His glory in person.


* The reason behind the question was that Nabíl must have been surprised that Abá Badí' was entertaining him personally. Because in those days the young generally paid great respect to their parents, and in a case such as this, a young son would not allow his father to serve the guest personally, bearing in mind that it was against the custom of the time for the female members of the family to entertain guests of the opposite sex.

† In the early days of the Faith, the Holy Writings were not published. Handwritten copies were made by individual believers.

‡ Shaykh Ahmad-i-Níshápúrí, not to be confused with Shaykh Muhammad-i-Hisárí, also entitled Shaykh-i-Fání.

While Badí' was in Baghdád, the enemies of the Cause fatally wounded Áqá 'Abdu'r-Rasúl-i-Qumí* an ardent follower of Bahá'u'lláh who had taken upon himself the arduous task of carrying water† to the House of Bahá'u'lláh in that city. The supply of water to that House was essential as some believers were living there. When Badí' learned of the tragic story of the martyrdom of Áqá 'Abdu'r-Rasúl, he volunteered for the job and began to carry skins of water from the river to the House of Bahá'u'lláh and the believers; consequently, he too became a target of assaults by the enemy. He was attacked several times as he was carrying water and each time stabbed with knives or daggers. Undeterred by the malice of the fanatic mob, this youth, whose destiny was to become a new creation of God in this Day and a spiritual giant of this Dispensation, continued in this work. God vouchsafed His protection to him during those turbulent days.

We have already recounted the fate of the believers living in Baghdád. They were eighty-eight in all who were exiled to Mosul.‡ But Badí' was not among them. He had gone to Mosul before the exiles arrived, and was able to serve them in the same capacity of water carrier. After some time the news reached the believers that Bahá'u'lláh had been exiled to 'Akká. Badí' could wait no longer. He departed from Mosul and walked all the way to 'Akká.

He arrived there early in 1869. This was some time after Hájí Sháh-Muhammad-i-Amínu'l-Bayán and Hájí Abu'l-Hasan-i-Amín (the two Trustees of Bahá'u'lláh§) had arrived in the city. Badí' seems to have entered the city without much difficulty. The watchful eyes of Siyyid Muhammad-i-Isfahání and his accomplice Áqá Ján, who were housed above the gate


* see vol. 2, p. 333.

† In those days in the Middle East, there was no running water in houses. Water had to be carried from springs or rivers; there were water carriers in every town. The most common method was to carry large leather skins filled with water on one's back.

‡ see vol. 2, p. 334.

§ see above, ch. 4.

of the city so that they might report to the authorities the arrival of any person they suspected of being a Bahá'í, failed to recognize the youth carrying his water skins and wearing a long cloak of coarse cotton of the type worn among the Arabs. Badí' wandered in the city for some time not knowing the residence of his Lord or how to enter it. He went to a mosque and there he sighted a few Persians and he knew that the one standing in front of them was none other than 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He waited till the prayer was finished and then approached the Master with great reverence and handed him a note containing two lines of a poem he had hurriedly composed on the spot. In it he had, without introducing himself, declared his loyalty to the Master and his faith in Bahá'u'lláh in moving and tender language. 'Abdu'l-Bahá warmly welcomed Badí' and managed to take him to the barracks.*

In one of the Tablets2 written by Mírzá Áqá Ján, it is stated that Badí' was ushered into the Presence of Bahá'u'lláh alone on two occasions. No one knew what was happening in these audiences except that Bahá'u'lláh had said that God was about to create a new creation and Badí' himself was unaware of it. In another Tablet,3 Bahá'u'lláh states that He created him anew with the hands of power and might and sent him out as a ball of fire. It was in the course of these two meetings that Bahá'u'lláh gave him the name Badí'--Wonderful.

In yet another Tablet4 Bahá'u'lláh has testified that He took a handful of dust, mixed it with the waters of might and power and breathed into it a new spirit from His presence, adorned it with the ornament of a name (Badí') in the Kingdom of Creation and sent it out to the King with a Book revealed by God.

In a Tablet5 to the father of Badí', Bahá'u'lláh recounts in moving language the exciting events which took place when


* 'Azízu'lláh-i-Jadhdháb (see p. 168), a devoted believer, has recorded in his memoirs that 'Abdu'l-Ahad (see p. 54) took Badí' with his water-carrying skin inside the barracks. It is possible that 'Abdu'l-Bahá had instructed 'Abdu'l-Ahad to accompany him to the prison.

2. Quoted in Faizi, L'álíy-i-Darakhshán, p. 396.

3. Áthár-i-Qalam-i-A'lá, vol. I, p. 166.

4. ibid. p. 169.

5. ibid. p. 189.

his son had attained His presence. He indicates that when He desired to create a new creation He summoned Badí' to come to His room and uttered 'one word' to him, a word which caused his whole being to tremble. He affirms that had it not been for the divine protection vouchsafed to him at that moment, Badí' would have swooned away. Then the Hand of Omnipotence, according to Bahá'u'lláh's description, began to create him anew and breathed into him the spirit of might and power. So great was the infusion of this might, as attested by Bahá'u'lláh, that single and alone he could have conquered the world through the power of God, had he been ordered to do so.

Bahá'u'lláh states that when this new creation came into being he smiled in His presence and manifested such steadfastness that the Concourse on High* were deeply moved and exhilarated and the voice of God was heard calling aloud: 'Hallowed and glorified be Bahá for having fashioned a new and wonderful creation.' Bahá'u'lláh testifies that He disclosed to his eyes the 'Kingdom of Revelation', and as a result his whole being was filled with an ecstasy that rid him of all attachments to this world and made him arise to assist his Lord and bring victory to His Cause.

There are many references in the Writings to the Kingdom of Revelation of which Bahá'u'lláh speaks in the above Tablet. This Kingdom, sometimes translated as the 'Kingdom of the Cause', is far above the understanding of man. We have written briefly about this in the previous volume.† This is the Kingdom through which all Revelations have been sent down. The kingdom of creation, of which man is a part, has also come into being through the instrumentality of the Kingdom of Revelation. The two kingdoms are often referred to together in the Writings. Man dwelling within the kingdom of creation has the duty to serve the Kingdom of Revelation, because a


* The company of the souls of the Prophets and Holy Ones in the next world.

† see vol. 2, pp. 184-5.

lower kingdom always serves a higher one. The Cause of Bahá'u'lláh has been vouchsafed to humanity through the instrumentality of the Kingdom of Revelation, therefore the true function of a believer is to serve the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, and many thousands have even sacrificed their lives to this end.

That Bahá'u'lláh had enabled Badí', while in His presence, to see the Kingdom of Revelation is a unique bounty of which we can have no understanding. The only thing we can deduce from observing this illustrious youth is that whatever had happened to him in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, he was entirely a different person when he left. Before, he was only 'a handful of dust', but after his two audiences with Bahá'u'lláh he became a new creation into which 'the spirit of might and power' had been breathed. And it is for no light reason that this youth of seventeen is named as one of the nineteen Apostles of Bahá'u'lláh. We are not attempting to compare the station of these Apostles because it is beyond any man to judge the station that God has destined for His chosen ones in the spiritual worlds of God; nevertheless, we observe that he is placed second on the list, the first being Mírzá Músá, Áqáy-i-Kalím,* the most faithful brother of Bahá'u'lláh.

That Badí' had been carried away into a world of joy and eternal ecstasy as a result of meeting Bahá'u'lláh is not in itself a unique experience. Every one of His followers with a pure heart was deeply moved and exhilarated when they came in contact with Him, like a piece of iron which becomes magnetized when in contact with a magnet. But the case of Badí was a special one. Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí, the account of whose life and services have been given in previous volumes* and who is often remembered as the 'Angel of Mount Carmel'--a designation by which 'Abdu'l-Bahá had called him--has explained some of his experiences in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh in 'Akká and made a comment about Badí'. Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí describes the effect of being in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh when He chanted a Tablet He had revealed for


* see vols. 1 and 2.

him. This is the translation of some of his words:

This Tablet...was chanted by the Beauty of the All-Bountiful.* What an effect it had on me! To what a world did I ascend! To what a paradise did I enter! What did I see! In what way did I hear that voice and that melody!...These I cannot tell. I entered that Paradise which no eye had seen, and no ear had heard, nor any heart had felt. I saw the Kingdom of grandeur and majesty, and felt the might, the transcendent power, the glory, and the sovereignty of the ever-living, the ever-abiding, the incomparable God. But to speak of it, write about it, give an image or likeness of it, exalt and sanctify it, allude to it, extol and praise it, or describe and narrate it, all these are impossible for this humble servant or anyone else in the world. We have only access to words and terms, whereas that experience and condition are exalted above all things. They cannot be put into words or described by talks. No one can interpret the inner feelings of one's conscience...But this condition remains only for a single moment. It is a fleeting experience. Its manifestation within the human being is due to a special bounty of God. Its duration, varying from the twinkling of an eye to a longer period, depends upon one's capacity to become the recipient of this bounty. The deeds and actions of the person demonstrate its existence. But it has never been heard that this condition lasted for three or four months in a person except in Badí'...6
When Badí' learnt that Bahá'u'lláh was looking for someone to deliver a special Tablet to Násiri'd-Dín Sháh, he begged to be allowed to carry out this service, knowing full well that he would have to lay down his life. Bahá'u'lláh accepted him for this important mission, instructed him to proceed to Haifa where he would be given the Tablet and instructed him also not to associate with any believer, either on the way or in Tihrán. The Tablet to the Sháh of Persia was not handed to Badí' in 'Akká. Bahá'u'lláh entrusted Hájí Sháh-Muhammad-

* Bahá'u'lláh. [A.T.]

6. Bihjatu's-Sudúr, p. 243.
i-Amín* with a small case and a Tablet to be delivered into the hands of Badí'.

The following is the story as recounted by Hájí Sháh-Muhammad to Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí and recorded by the latter.

...I was given a small case...and was instructed to hand it to Badí' at Haifa together with a small sum of money. I did not know anything about the contents of the case. I met him at Haifa and gave him the glad-tidings that he had been honoured with a trust...We left the town and walked up Mount Carmel where I handed him the case. He took it into his hands, kissed it and knelt with his forehead to the ground. I also delivered to him a sealed envelope [a Tablet of Bahá'u'lláh for Badí' himself]. He took twenty or thirty paces, sat down facing the most Holy Court ['Akká], read the Tablet and again prostrated himself to the ground. His face was illumined with the radiance of ecstasy and the tidings of joy. I asked him if I could read the Tablet also. He replied: 'There is no time.' I knew it was all a confidential matter. But what it was, I had no idea. I could not imagine such a mission.

I mentioned that we had better go to the town [Haifa] in order that, as instructed [by Bahá'u'lláh] I might give him some money. He said, 'I will not come to the town; you go and bring it here.' I went; when I returned I could not find him, in spite of much searching. He had gone...We had no news of him until we heard of his martyrdom in Tihrán. Then I knew that the case had contained the Tablet of Bahá'u'lláh to the Sháh and the sealed envelope contained a Tablet which imparted the glad-tidings of the martyrdom of the one who was the essence of steadfastness and strength.7

The same chronicler has written the following account given by a certain believer, Hájí 'Alí, who met Badí' on his way to Persia and travelled with him for some distance:

He was a very happy person, smiling, patient, thankful,

* The first Trustee of Bahá'u'lláh; see p. 73.

7. Bihjatu's-Sudúr, p. 244.
gentle and humble. All that we knew about him was that he had attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh and was now returning to his home in Khurásán. Many a time he could be seen walking about a hundred feet from the road in either direction, turning his face towards 'Akká, prostrating himself to the ground saying: 'O God! do not take back through Thy justice what thou hast vouchsafed unto me through Thy bounty and grant me strength for its protection.' 8
The Tablet9 that Bahá'u'lláh sent to Badí' himself when he was in Haifa is very moving and beautiful. In it He calls him by his new name Badí', exhorts him to put on the new and wonderful robe of the remembrance of God and crown himself with the crown of His Love. He reminds him that earthly life will eventually come to an end, and urges him to sacrifice his mortal frame in the path of the Beloved, so that he may attain to everlasting life and eternal glory.

Badí' travelled on foot all the way to Tihrán. On arrival in the summer of 1869, he discovered that the King was on a camping expedition. He made his way to the area and sat on top of a rock far away, but opposite the royal pavilion. There he sat for three days and three nights in a state of fasting and prayer, awaiting the passing of the royal escort. What thoughts must have passed through his mind as he communed with his Lord, and what feelings of emotion must have filled his being as he sat so close to fulfilling the sacred mission with which he was entrusted, no one can say. One thing we can be sure of, that he possessed a supreme power and a supreme joy and was confident of victory.

On the fourth day, the Sháh looking through his binoculars spotted a man dressed in a white garb sitting motionless and in a most respectful attitude on a rock opposite. He guessed that he had some demand to make for justice or was seeking help for his difficulties. He sent his men to find out who he was and what he wanted. Badí' told them that he had a letter from a very important personage for the Sháh and must hand it to him


8. Bihjatu's-Sudúr, p. 245.

9. Quoted by Malik Khosroví, Táríkh-i-Shuhadáy-i-Amr, vol. 3, p. 368.

personally. The officers searched him and then brought him to the King. It seems very surprising that these officials, drunk with pride, ruthless and cruel in every way, did not grab the letter from him and walk away. The only explanation is that they must have felt the extraordinary power with which Bahá'u'lláh had invested His messenger. Otherwise, it was very unusual to allow an ordinary citizen to come and meet the sovereign face to face.

Only those well versed in the history of Persia in the nineteenth century can appreciate the immense dangers which faced an ordinary person like Badí' wishing to meet a palace official, let alone the King. A despot such as Násiri'd-Dín Sháh ruled his country with a rod of iron. The government officials showed their authority through tyranny. They were accustomed to deal ruthlessly with anyone who dared to utter a word, or raise a finger against them or the established regime. The mere sighting of a soldier wearing the military uniform, or of a low-ranking government officer, was sufficient to frighten people away. As these men passed through the streets most people showed their respect for them; sometimes they had to bribe them and the timid often ran away.

To meet the King was far more frightful! When the forward section of the royal escort arrived in the street, the cry of the herald who announced to the public the approach of the King's entourage would strike terror into the hearts of the citizens. It was a familiar term to all when he shouted: 'Everyone die', 'Everyone go blind.' The significance of these instructions was that as the King and his men passed by, everyone must stand still as a dead corpse and all eyes must be cast down as if blind.

Knowing the circumstances which prevailed at the time, we can appreciate the courage and steadfastness of Badí' and the spirit of ascendancy and superhuman audacity which this youth of seventeen manifested as he stood assured and confident, straight as an arrow, face to face with the King. Calmly and courteously he handed him the Tablet and in a loud voice movingly called out the celebrated verse from the


Qur'án: 'O King, I have come unto thee from Sheba with a weighty message.'*

Badí' was arrested. The Sháh, who must have remembered the attempt on his life by two Bábís about two decades earlier, was taken aback by the courage and fearlessness of Bahá'u'lláh's messenger. Sending the message to Mullá 'Alíy-i-Kání, a well-known Muslim divine, to provide an answer, he ordered his men to get from Badí', first through persuasion and promises, and then by torture if he refused to cooperate, the names of other Bahá'ís. The officer in charge was Kázim Khán-i-Qarachih-Dághí. When he failed to persuade Badí' to reveal names of other Bahá'ís to him, he ordered that he be stripped of his clothes and branded several times with hot bars of iron. Badí' endured these tortures for three successive days with a fortitude that astonished the officials who were watching him. They saw him utterly joyous while being tortured. It seemed to them that he was not feeling the pain; he often seemed to be laughing. This in spite of the fact that at times the smoke and smell created by the burning flesh was so intense that some officials could not stand it and had to leave the tent. The Sháh, who was usually eager to see the photographs of prisoners, ordered a photograph to be taken of Badí', especially when he had heard the stories of his fortitude under torture. This photograph shows the brazier of fire containing the rods of iron in the foreground and is the best testimony to the spirit of steadfastness and resignation, of calm and assurance which Badí''s face portrays.

As the three successive days of torture by branding yielded no information about the identity of other believers, the Chief officer, Kázim Khán, threatened Badí' with death unless he cooperated. Badí' smiled at this threat and, as he did not reveal any name, his head was beaten to a pulp with a butt of a rifle.


* Qur'án xxvii, 22. This verse differs slightly from what Badí' uttered in the presence of the Sháh. The verse refers to words which were addressed to Solomon by his messenger, Hoopoe, a mystical bird, when it brought for him tidings from Sheba.

His body was thrown into a pit and earth and stones heaped upon it. This was in July 1869.

In 1913 when 'Abdu'l-Bahá visited Paris, a high-ranking Persian officer by the name of Muhammad-Valí Khán, a Field Marshal (Sipah-Salár-i-A'zam), was staying in Paris for medical treatment. Mme. Dreyfus-Barney, a devoted American believer, met this man. Mme. Barney had in earlier years attained the presence of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the Holy Land and had asked many questions of Him. 'Abdu'l-Bahá's answers were written down and later compiled by her and published under the title Some Answered Questions.

In Paris Mme. Dreyfus-Barney, having met the above-named Persian officer, presented him with a copy of that book. When Muhammad-Valí Khán read the account given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá of Bahá'u'lláh's Tablets to the kings including Násiri'd-Dín Sháh, he took up his pen and wrote in the margin some first-hand information he had personally heard from the fore-mentioned Kázim Khán, the officer in charge who tortured and eventually martyred Badí'. This is a translation of his notes:

6 Rabí'u'l-Avval 1331
26 February AD 1913
Paris, Hotel d'Albe, Avenue Champs Elysée

That year, when this letter [Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet] was sent, the messenger came to the Sháh in the summer resort of Lár, and this is the full account of what happened.

The late Násiri'd-Dín Sháh was very fond of the summer resorts of Lár, Núr* and Kujúr. He ordered my father, Sá'idu'd-Dawlih the Sardár [Sirdar], and myself (then a youth with the rank of Sarhang [Colonel]) to go to Kujúr and find provisions and victuals for the royal camp.† 'I am


* Bahá'u'lláh's ancestral home is in the district of Núr (Núr means light).(A.T.)

† When Násiri'd-Dín Sháh went on a hunting expedition or touring in the summer he took a large entourage with him. They included his ministers, thousands of troops with their officers, servants and executioners. (A.T.)

Some Answered Questions
coming', he said, 'to the summer resort of Lár and from there to the resort of Baladih of Núr and thence to Kujúr.' These resorts adjoin each other and are contiguous. My father and I were in the environs of Manjíl-i-Kujúr when news reached us that the Sháh had arrived at Lár, and that there he had put someone to death, by having him strangled. Then it was reported that this man [who was put to death] was a messenger of the Bábís. At that time the word 'Bahá'í' was not known and we had never heard it. All the people rejoiced over the slaying of that messenger. Then the Sháh came to Baladih of Núr. My father and I went forth to greet him. Near the village of Baladih, where a large river flows, they had set up the Sháh's pavilion, but the Sháh had not yet arrived. Kázim Khán-i-Turk, the Farrásh-Báshí of the Sháh, had brought the advance equipage.* We wanted to pass by. My father, who had the rank of Mír-Panj [General] and had not yet received the title of Sá'idu'd-Dawlih, was acquainted with this Kázim Khán. He told me, 'Let us go and visit this Farrásh-Báshí.' We rode up to the pavilion and dismounted. Kázim Khán was seated with much pomp in his tent. We entered the tent. He received my father respectfully and showed me great kindness. We sat down and tea was served. The talk was about the journey. Then my father said, 'Your Honour the Farrásh-Báshí, who was this Bábí and how was he put to death?' He replied, 'O Mír-Panj! let me tell you a tale. This man was a strange creature. At Safíd-Áb-i-Lár, the Sháh mounted to go hunting. As it happened I had not mounted. Suddenly I saw two cavalrymen galloping towards me. The Sháh had sent for me. I immediately mounted, and when I reached the Sháh, he told me that a Bábí had brought a letter. "I ordered his arrest," the Sháh said, "and he is now in the custody of Kishikchí-Báshí [Head of the Sentries]. Go and take him to the Farrásh-Khánih. Deal with him gently at first, but if not

* He is the same Kázim Khán-i-Qarachih-Dághí whose father, Ismá'íl Khán, was a son-in-law of Fath-'Alí Sháh and was present at the conference in Tabríz when the Báb formally proclaimed his prophetic mission to the company of divines and Násiri'd-Dín Mírzá, heir to the throne. (A.T.)

successful use every manner of force to make him confess and reveal who his friends are and where they are to be found--until I return from the hunt." I went, took him from the Kishikchí-Báshí and brought him away, hands and arms tied. But let me tell you something of the sagacity and the alertness of the Sháh. This man was unmounted in that plain and as soon as he raised his paper to say that he had a letter to deliver, the Sháh sensed that he must be a Bábí and ordered his arrest and the removal of any letter he had. He was then detained but had not given his letter to anyone and had it in his pocket. I took this messenger home. At first I spoke to him kindly and gently; "Give me a full account of all this. Who gave you this letter? From where have you brought it? How long ago was it? Who are your comrades?" He said, "This letter was given to me in 'Akká by Hadrat-i-Bahá'u'lláh.* He told me: 'You will have to go to Írán, all alone, and somehow deliver this letter to the Sháh of Írán. But your life may be endangered. If you accept that, go; otherwise I will send another messenger.' I accepted the task. It is now three months since I left. I have been looking for an opportunity to give this letter into the hands of the Sháh and bring it to his notice. And thanks be to God that today I rendered my service. If you want Bahá'ís, they are numerous in Írán, and if you want my comrades, I was all alone and have none." I pressed him to tell me the names of his comrades and the names of the Bahá'ís of Írán, particularly those of Tihrán. And he persisted with his denial: "I have no comrade and I do not know the Bahá'ís of Írán." I swore to him: "If you tell me these names I will obtain your release from the Sháh and save you from death." His reply to me was: "I am longing to be put to death. Do you think that you frighten me?" Then I sent for the bastinado,† and farráshes (six at a time) started to beat him. No matter how much he was beaten he never cried out, nor did he implore. When I saw how it was I had him released from the bastinado and brought him to sit beside

* His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh. (H.M.B.)

† The victim is made to lie on his back while his feet, inserted in a loop, are raised and the soles beaten with a cane or a whip. (A.T.)

me and told him once again: "Give me the names of your comrades." He did not answer me at all and began to laugh. It seemed as if all that beating had not harmed him in any way. This made me angry. I ordered a branding-iron to be brought and a lighted brazier.* While they were preparing the brazier I said: "Come and speak the truth, else I will have you branded"; and at that I noticed that his laughter increased. Then I had him bastinadoed again. Beating him that much tired out the farráshes. I myself was also tired out. So I had him untied and taken to the back of another tent, and told the farráshes that by dint of branding they ought to get a confession from him. They applied red-hot iron several times to his back and chest. I could hear the sizzling noise of the burning flesh and smell it too. But no matter how hard we tried we could get nothing out of him. It was about sunset that the Sháh returned from hunting and summoned me. I went to him and related all that had happened. The Sháh insisted that I should make him confess and then put him to death. So I went back and had him branded once again. He laughed under the impact of the red-hot iron and never implored. I even consented that this fellow should say that what he had brought was a petition and make no mention of a letter. Even to that he did not consent. Then I lost my temper and ordered a plank to be brought. A farrásh, who wielded a pounder used for ramming in iron pegs, put this man's head on the plank, and stood over him with the raised pounder. I told him: "If you divulge the names of your comrades you will be released, otherwise I will order them to bring that pounder down on your head." He began to laugh and give thanks for having gained his object. I consented that he should say it was a petition he had brought, not a letter. He even would not say that. And all those red-hot rods applied to his flesh caused him no anguish. So, in the end, I gave a sign to the farrásh, and he brought down the pounder on this fellow's head. His

* Branding a person was a common form of torture in those days in Persia. Rods of iron were placed in a brazier full of burning coal. When the rods became red hot they were placed on the naked body of a person and kept in that position until they got cold. (A.T.)

skull was smashed and his brain oozed through his nostrils. Then I went myself and reported it all to the Sháh.'

This Kázim Khán-i-Farrásh-Báshí was astounded by that man's behaviour and endurance, astonished that all the beatings and application of red-hot metal to his body had no effect on him, causing him no distress...That same letter the Sháh sent to Tihrán for Mullá 'Alíy-i-Kaní and other Mullás to read and to answer. But they said that there was nothing to answer; and Hájí Mullá 'Alí wrote to Mustawfíyu'l-Mamálik (who was the Premier at the time) to tell the Sháh that, 'If, God forbid, you should have any doubts regarding Islám and your belief is not firm enough, I ought to take action to dispel your doubts. Otherwise such letters have no answer. The answer was exactly what you did to his messenger. Now you must write to the Ottoman Sultán to be very strict with him and prevent all communications.' Sultán 'Abdu'l-'Azíz was living then. It was during his reign.

27 Rabí'u'l-Avval 1331, 2 March AD 1913
Written at the Hotel d'Albe in Paris.
Tonight I could not sleep. Mme. Dreyfus had sent me this book and I had not yet read it. It is early morning. I opened the book and read on till I reached the theme of Letters to the Kings, and to Násiri'd-Dín Sháh. Because I had been there on that journey and had heard this account personally from Kázim Khán-i-Farrásh-Báshí, I wrote it down.

A year and a half later, on the journey to Karbilá, this Kázim Khán went mad. The Sháh had him chained and he died miserably. The year I went to Tabríz, as the Governor-General of Ádharbáyján, I found a grandson of his, begging. 'Take heed, O people of insight and understanding.'

Muhammad-Valí, Sipahdár-i-A'zam.10

The Sháh is reported to have been immensely displeased with the attitude of the divines in refusing to meet the challenge and write an answer to Bahá'u'lláh, but he could do nothing to change their decision.


10. Translated by Balyuzi, Bahá'u'lláh The King of Glory, pp. 304-9.
The Fortitude of the Martyrs

That Badí' endured such unbearable tortures with joy and seemed not to feel the pain during those sessions of torture is no unique event in the history of the Faith. Numerous were other martyrs during the Dispensations of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh who gave their lives willingly and demonstrated to the public in no uncertain terms that they were longing to attain the crown of martyrdom in the path of their Lord. They demonstrated a heroism and a self-sacrifice unprecedented in the annals of mankind. There are many who endured agonizing tortures and did not appear to feel the pain. A notable example is Mullá Muhammad-Ridáy-i-Muhammad-Ábádí otherwise known as Shaykh Ridáy-i-Yazdí.

The story of Mullá Ridá in prison is recounted in a previous volume.* The gaoler and his men flogged his bare back most brutally for a considerable time. And yet he raised not the faintest cry and showed not the slightest expression of agony on his face. At the end of the ordeal he confided to his fellow Bahá'í prisoner that he had never felt the slightest pain and that during the beating he was in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, communing with Him.

Mullá Ridá and Badí' were not the only ones who showed this extraordinary fortitude. The history of the Faith is replete with similar stories. The power of faith is such that, as Christ affirmed, it can move mountains. In the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh we can find similar statements affirming that when man acquires faith, he can accomplish great tasks consistent with the measure of his faith.

Let us try to discover, through the study of the Writings as well as the history of the Cause, the reason for this extraordinary fortitude shown by many martyrs of the Faith. History confirms that any time a believer has been conducted to the scene of his martyrdom by his would-be executioners or


* see vol. 1, p. 88. For a similar story, when Mullá Ridá was bastinadoed, see vol. 1, pp. 85-6

has been savagely tortured prior to his death, he has been faced with making a choice between giving his life in the path of God, or recanting his faith as a result of which he would be set free.

If at that moment of decision he is unable to sever himself from the things of the world, from its delights and pleasures, or from the joys and contentment of life at home where he could continue to live among his loved ones, then such a person remains fully attached to this world and consequently severs his connection with Bahá'u'lláh. It is at this point under the threat of death that the individual becomes deprived of the sustaining power of Bahá'u'lláh, and as a result becomes filled with such fear that he will recant his faith in order to save his own life. Although counted as one of the believers before he was confronted with these severe tests and trials; yet because he has not been able to detach himself from worldly affections, he succumbs under the pressure of tests, and like a man who has been standing on the summit of a lofty mountain, falls into the abyss.

We have already discussed in great detail the idea that the only barrier which separates man from the Manifestation of God is attachment to this world. It is this barrier that stops the flow of divine power to the human soul and denudes the individual of the mantle of courage and faith.

On the other hand, if the believer at the hour of his gravest test decides not to barter the precious gift of his faith for this transitory life, such a person reaches the pinnacle of detachment. This is the absolute limit, for there can be no greater detachment than to give one's life. The moment that this decision is made, by virtue of becoming completely detached from this world, he becomes filled with such powers from on high as to become a spiritual giant. The confirmations of Bahá'u'lláh will instantly descend on him and will surround and strengthen him.

Although he still tarries among men, in reality he is transported into another world. Fear will completely


disappear from his being. Instead his face will radiate such joy and strength that it bewilders the onlookers as they see him give his life.

Bahá'u'lláh confirms in many of His Tablets that great powers will descend upon a soul who becomes detached from the things of this world. To cite an example, in one of His Tablets11 He states that if a believer becomes detached from all save God, He will be enabled to influence the realities of all created things, and to do anything he desires. Such a person will not observe anything but the face of his Beloved and will be afraid of no one even if all the peoples of the world arise against him.

Those few such as Badí' or Mullá Ridá who have ascended the pinnacle of faith, were possessed of extraordinary powers including superhuman fortitude. They were so drawn to Bahá'u'lláh that physical separation from Him did not sever the link of the true communion with Him. That they considered themselves in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh was not a mere expression of words or an illusion. It must have been a real experience for them. Badí', for example, at the time of his martyrdom or during those many hours of torture, was so closely linked with Bahá'u'lláh and saw himself so truly in the presence of his Beloved that he was not affected by any affliction whatsoever.

To appreciate such a state of being is not possible for anyone who has not reached to the loftiest summit of faith. But thousands of men and women who went to the field of martyrdom and joyously laid down their lives in the path of God must have experienced the presence of Bahá'u'lláh so vividly and with such real feeling that the giving of life became a joy instead of torture. To cite an example, the following is a story which Hájí Muhammad-Táhir-i-Málmírí12 has recounted about Mírzá Áqáy-i-Halabí Sáz who was a devoted believer and had had the privilege of attaining the presence of Bahá'u'lláh. He was a tinsmith and had a shop in one of the bazaars of Yazd. In 1891, seven Bahá'ís were put to death by


11. Má'idiy-i-Ásamání, vol. 4, pp. 175-6.

12. Unpublished History.

the order of Mahmúd Mírzá, the Jalálu'd-Dawlih, the Governor of Yazd. They are known as the first seven martyrs of Yazd, the story of whose martyrdom Bahá'u'lláh wrote to The Times of London.* The seven were chained together and conducted towards the bazaar amid scenes of jubilation, and at each major crossroads one of them was executed in a most barbaric fashion. The other believers who were shopkeepers or merchants were ordered to stay at their premises and were forced to join others in decorating their shops to celebrate the event.

Hájí Mírzá was sitting in his shop, his heart filled with grief owing to the tragic turn of events. Then came the tense moment when the few remaining of the seven, chained together, passed in front of his shop. The next junction where one of them was to be beheaded was not far away and could be easily sighted. Hájí Muhammad-Táhir-i-Málmírí has recounted that Hájí Mírzá used to tell the believers in Yazd of his unusual experience on that occasion. He saw to his great surprise that Bahá'u'lláh Himself passed in front of his shop only a few hundred paces behind the martyrs-to-be and was walking quickly in order to reach them. Hájí Mírzá immediately stepped out of his shop to follow Bahá'u'lláh, who signalled him with the movement of His hand that he should return to the shop. From there, Hájí Mírzá looked out and saw that Bahá'u'lláh reached the party at the junction and at that very moment the executioner removed the chain from one man and executed him.

Of course, Hájí Mírzá knew that Bahá'u'lláh was in 'Akká and not in Yazd, but he had no doubt that it was Bahá'u'lláh whom he saw in the bazaar. From this amazing vision he realized that the martyrs were not alone at the time of martyrdom, that their unparalleled courage and heroism was not entirely due to themselves, that Bahá'u'lláh strengthened them with His unfailing power and that those who had reached the pinnacle of faith and assurance were bound to feel the


* An account of this will appear in the next volume.

presence of Bahá'u'lláh at their side. It is interesting to note that some years later, Hájí Mírzá himself was martyred in Yazd.*

What Hájí Mírzá witnessed in the bazaar, although there is no way of proving it, was not mere imagination. The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh is not a man-made, man-inspired cult. Any cult which the minds of men have created can only be expressed within the bounds of man's experience by virtue of its limitations. On the contrary, the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh has originated from God, it has released unimaginable potentialities, both material and spiritual, within human society and like other religions it has brought forth mysteries which human beings can in no wise fathom. The history of the Faith shows episodes similar to that experienced by Hájí Mírzá.

To cite one example: when the Báb was imprisoned in the castle of Máh-Kú, the warden of the Castle was a man named 'Alí-Khán, who discharged his functions with the utmost severity and refused to allow any of the followers of the Báb to gain admittance into His presence. Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunúzí, one of the ardent disciples of the Báb, came to Máh-Kú, but was refused admission. Nabíl-i-A'zam has recounted the following story as related by Siyyid Husayn-i-Yazdí, the amanuensis of the Báb:

'For the first two weeks,' Siyyid Husayn further related, 'no one was permitted to visit the Báb. My brother and I alone were admitted to His presence. Siyyid Hasan would, every day, accompanied by one of the guards, descend to the town and purchase our daily necessities. Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunúzí, who had arrived at Máh-Kú, spent the nights in a masjid outside the gate of the town. He acted as an intermediary between those of the followers of the Báb who occasionally visited Máh-Kú and Siyyid Hasan, my brother, who would in turn submit the petitions of the believers to their Master and would acquaint Shaykh Hasan with His reply.

* For a story of his life see vol. 2, pp. 358-68.

'One day the Báb charged my brother to inform Shaykh Hasan that He would Himself request 'Alí Khán to alter his attitude towards the believers who visited Máh-Kú and to abandon his severity. "Tell him," He added, "I will tomorrow instruct the warden to conduct him to this place." I was greatly surprised at such a message. How could the domineering and self-willed 'Alí Khán, I thought to myself, be induced to relax the severity of his discipline? Early the next day, the gate of the castle being still closed, we were surprised by a sudden knock at the door, knowing full well that orders had been given that no one was to be admitted before the hour of sunrise. We recognised the voice of 'Alí Khán, who seemed to be expostulating with the guards, one of whom presently came in and informed me that the warden of the castle insisted on being allowed admittance into the presence of the Báb. I conveyed his message and was commanded to usher him at once into His presence. As I was stepping out of the door of His antechamber, I found 'Alí Khán standing at the threshold in an attitude of complete submission, his face betraying an expression of unusual humility and wonder. His self-assertiveness and pride seemed to have entirely vanished. Humbly and with extreme courtesy, he returned my salute and begged me to allow him to enter the presence of the Báb. I conducted him to the room which my Master occupied. His limbs trembled as he followed me. An inner agitation which he could not conceal brooded over his face. The Báb arose from His seat and welcomed him. Bowing reverently, 'Alí Khán approached and flung himself at His feet. "Deliver me," he pleaded, "from my perplexity. I adjure You, by the Prophet of God, Your illustrious Ancestor, to dissipate my doubts, for their weight has well-nigh crushed my heart. I was riding through the wilderness and was approaching the gate of the town, when, it being the hour of dawn, my eyes suddenly beheld You standing by the side of the river engaged in offering Your prayer. With outstretched arms and upraised eyes, You were invoking the name of God. I stood still and watched You. I was waiting for You to terminate Your devotions that I might

approach and rebuke You for having ventured to leave the castle without my leave. In Your communion with God, You seemed so wrapt in worship that You were utterly forgetful of Yourself. I quietly approached You; in Your state of rapture, You remained wholly unaware of my presence. I was suddenly seized with great fear and recoiled at the thought of awakening You from Your ecstasy. I decided to leave You, to proceed to the guards and to reprove them for their negligent conduct. I soon found out, to my amazement, that both the outer and inner gates were closed. They were opened at my request, I was ushered into your presence, and now find You, to my wonder, seated before me. I am utterly confounded. I know not whether my reason has deserted me." The Báb answered and said: "What you have witnessed is true and undeniable. You belittled this Revelation and have contemptuously disdained its Author. God, the All-Merciful, desiring not to afflict you with His punishment, has willed to reveal to your eyes the Truth. By His Divine interposition, He has instilled into your heart the love of His chosen One, and caused you to recognize the unconquerable power of His Faith."'

This marvellous experience completely changed the heart of 'Alí Khán. Those words had calmed his agitation and subdued the fierceness of his animosity. By every means in his power, he determined to atone for his past behaviour. 'A poor man, a shaykh,' he hastily informed the Báb, 'is yearning to attain Your presence. He lives in a masjid outside the gate of Máh-Kú. I pray You that I myself be allowed to bring him to this place that he may meet You. By this act I hope that my evil deeds may be forgiven, that I may be enabled to wash away the stains of my cruel behaviour toward Your friends.' His request was granted, whereupon he went straightway to Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunúzí and conducted him into the presence of his Master.13

The Station of Badí'

Returning to the story of Badí': after his martyrdom, the Pen


13. The Dawn-Breakers, pp. 245-8.
of Bahá'u'lláh lamented his sufferings, extolled his act of self-sacrifice and heroism and referred to him as the 'Pride of Martyrs' (Fakhru'sh-Shuhadá). In almost every Tablet revealed in a space of three years, He referred to Badí' in glowing terms, recalling his martyrdom and his indomitable faith. And these Tablets He designated as the 'Salt of My Tablets'.

In these Tablets, Bahá'u'lláh not only glorifies the station of Badí', but also attaches great importance to the proclamation of His message to the Sháh of Persia. In one of these Tablets14 He states in referring to Badí' that He had offered up the life of one of His servants after having created him anew with the hands of might and power, and sent him straight into the mouth of a serpent, so that the peoples of the world might become assured that the Almighty God stands transcendent and supreme over His creation. Bahá'u'lláh further states that He sent Badí' with a Book in which He had proclaimed His Cause and declared conclusively His proofs to all humanity: He affirms that He had removed from the person of Badí' every trace of fear, adorned him with the ornament of faith and power, fired his soul with the utterance of a Word and sent him out as a ball of fire to proclaim His Cause.

Statements such as these may be found in numerous Tablets which flowed from the Pen of Bahá'u'lláh during these three years.

The proclamation of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh to the Sháh of Persia had a special significance. This momentous Tablet,* handed to the person of the sovereign himself, was meant to introduce the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in its true perspective to the inhabitants of Persia. The people in that country knew a good deal about the Bábí Faith and the majority were antagonistic to it. For over two decades the people of Persia had witnessed memorable acts of heroism performed by that small band of God-intoxicated heroes whose devotion and self-sacrifice had


* The main topics of the Lawh-i-Sultán (Tablet to the Sháh) are briefly described in vol. 2, pp. 337-57.

14. Áthár-i-Qalam-i-A'lá, vol. I, p. 208.
lit a great conflagration throughout the country.

The Message of the Báb, the accounts of His martyrdom and the transforming power of His Cause had already reached every corner of that land and from there its reverberations had echoed to the western world. But the people of Persia did not differentiate between the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh and that of the Báb. Most people considered the Bahá'í Faith to be the same as the Bábí Faith and did not appreciate the vast differences in the teachings of the two.

As attested by Bahá'u'lláh in a Tablet,15 not until this momentous epistle was delivered to the King had the nature of the Cause of God, or the claims of its Founder, or its principles and teachings, been clearly enunciated to those who held the reins of power in their hands. He mentions in the same Tablet that before Badí' had delivered that weighty epistle to the King, God's testimony had not been fulfilled and the conclusive proofs of His Faith had not been declared. But after the proclamation of His Message, there was no remaining excuse for anyone to arise against His Cause. And, since the people of Persia did not respond to the Call of God, which was clearly raised in that Message, sufferings and tribulations which had already been prophesied by the Pen of Bahá'u'lláh descended upon them as a punishment from God.

Divine Chastisement

In one instance this took the form of a famine which soon after the martyrdom of Badí' claimed the lives of a great many people in that land. The effect of the famine was so devastating that Hájí Mullá 'Alí-Akbar-i-Sháhmírzádí, known as Hájí Ákhúnd,* wrote a letter to Bahá'u'lláh, begged forgiveness for the people of Persia and asked for relief in their sufferings. In a Tablet to him,16 Bahá'u'lláh affirms that the famine was God's punishment for the martyrdom of Badí', declares that prior to


* One of the four Hands of the Cause whom Bahá'u'lláh appointed a few years before the end of His life. We shall write about this in the next volume.

15. Má'idiy-i-Ásamání, vol. 4, p. 34.

16. Quoted by Faizi, L'álíy-i-Darakhshán, p. 411-412

that He had prophesied in His Tablets impending afflictions and tribulations, and states that were it not for the sake of the believers, the whole nation would have been struck down by God. He then responds favourably to Hájí Ákhúnd's intercession and assures him that soon the situation would change and God would grant them relief.

In one of the forementioned Tablets,17 Bahá'u'lláh states that after the proclamation of His Message to the Sháh of Persia, and through Him to the public, there was no excuse left for anyone. He then makes an interesting comment about the inevitability of God's punishment and states that the believers ought to meditate as to why the wrath of God, which afflicted the people so promptly, had allowed the Sháh himself a period of respite.

This is a point which had puzzled many believers in relation to Násiri'd-Dín Sháh, stigmatized by Bahá'u'lláh as the 'Prince of Oppressors', one who had inflicted so much persecution on the followers of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. Yet in spite of all his cruel acts he reigned for fifty years, whereas Napoleon's downfall was precipitated so soon after Bahá'u'lláh's warning was issued.

Bahá'u'lláh has explained this point in different ways. In one of His Tablets18 He describes the perversity of the divines in Persia and their continual attacks on the Cause of God from the pulpits and states that if it were not for the mercy of God which pervades all created things, the entire company of the enemies of the Cause of God would have perished. There were two reasons why they were being spared. One was God's forgiveness, and the other, the misdeeds of some who confessed allegiance to His Faith.

In order to appreciate the second reason, let us look at the relationship of the believers and Bahá'u'lláh. The Author of the Faith regards the believers as the 'loved ones' of God. To the non-Bahá'í public too, the believers, individually as well as collectively, are so closely linked with Bahá'u'lláh that their behaviour, whether good or bad, is attributed to Him.


17. Má'idiy-i-Ásamání, vol. 4, p. 34.

18. Ishráqát (A compilation of the Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh), p. 247.

Therefore, every misdeed of a follower of Bahá'u'lláh could be looked upon by the public as coming from Him. According to Bahá'u'lláh's statement, the application of God's justice is impeded when someone who deserves punishment has been grievously wronged by those who profess allegiance to His Cause and are associated with His Name. For how can God punish a person for rising up against His Faith, when some of His 'loved ones' have ill-treated him?

Hájí Mírzá Habíb'u'lláh-i-Afnán, who, in company with his illustrious father, Mírzá Áqá, entitled Núr'u'd-Din (light of faith),* attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh in Haifa and 'Akká in 1891, has recorded the following in his memoirs:

The late Hájí Abu'l-Hasan-i-Shírází...was present. He submitted to Bahá'u'lláh that the reign of Yazíd† came to an end three years after the martyrdom of Imám Husayn, whereas it is almost fifty years since the Martyrdom of the Báb, and Násiri'd-Dín Sháh is still reigning with undiminished power. Day and night he is trying his best to oppose the Cause, and yet God has not seized him, instead he had been given such a long period of respite. Bahá'u'lláh's reply was that this delay was due to an attack by some ignorant believers who in the early days of the Faith made an attempt on his life. Bahá'u'lláh assured him that his turn would also come.19
In the forementioned Tablet20 to Hájí 'Abdu'l-Majíd, the father of Badí', Bahá'u'lláh states that the Temple of the Cause of God was adorned by Badí' and that his station was so exalted that no pen could describe it. Through him, Bahá'u'lláh affirms, the pillars of tyranny were shaken and the countenance of victory unveiled itself. He had attained to such

* He was one of the distinguished members of the family of the Báb. He was the only son of the sister of the wife of the Báb, a devoted follower of Bahá'u'lláh and one whose services to the Cause were valued by Him. We shall give a brief account of his life in the next volume.

† Yazíd I, one of the Umayyad Caliphs of Islám, responsible for the martyrdom of Imám Husayn.

19. Unpublished memoirs.

20. Áthár-i-Qalam-i-A'lá, vol. I, pp. 189-91.

heights in the worlds above that no mention could be made of it.

In this Tablet Bahá'u'lláh reiterates one of the basic teachings of God. He states that he has prescribed unto every son* to serve his father and that this is a commandment in the Book of God. He calls upon Hájí 'Abdu'l-Majíd not only to forgive his son for his failure to serve him during his life, but to be pleased with him.

Hájí 'Abdu'l-Majíd became one of the proudest fathers when he heard the news of Badí' and the story of his martyrdom. In 1876 he travelled to 'Akká where he attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh. Here are his own words:

One day I had the honour to be in the presence of the Blessed Beauty when He was talking about Badí' who had attained His presence, carried His Blessed Tablet to Tihrán [for Násiri'd-Dín Sháh] and won the crown of martyrdom. As He was speaking, my tears were flowing profusely and my beard became wet. Bahá'u'lláh turned to me and said 'Abá Badí'! A person who has already spent three-quarters of his life should offer up the remainder in the path of God...' I asked 'Is it possible that my beard which is now soaked in my tears may one day be dyed crimson with my blood?' The Blessed Beauty replied 'God willing...' 21
And so it happened: the father of Badí' too became a martyr. His story is told in a previous volume.‡


* This obviously applies to a daughter as well.

† The words attributed to Bahá'u'lláh are not necessarily His exact words.

‡ vol. 2, pp. 129-36.

21. Quoted by Muhammad'-'Alíy-i-Faizi, L'álíy-i-Darakhshán, p. 191.